Quote:World War II started, at least as far as the “European Theatre” was concerned, with the German army steamrolling over Poland in September, 1939. About six months later, even more spectacular victories followed, this time over the Benelux Countries and France. By the summer of 1940, Germany looked invincible and predestined to rule the European continent indefinitely. (Great Britain admittedly refused to throw in the towel, but could not hope to win the war on its own, and had to fear that Hitler would soon turn his attention to Gibraltar, Egypt, and/or other jewels in the crown of the British Empire.) Five years later, Germany experienced the pain and humiliation of total defeat. On April 20, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin as the Red Army bulldozed its way into the city, reduced to a heap of smoking ruins, and on May 8/9 German surrendered unconditionally. Clearly, then, sometime between late 1940 and 1944 the tide had turned rather dramatically. But when, and where? In Normandy in 1944, according to some; at Stalingrad, during the winter of 1942-43, according to others. In reality, the tide turned in December 1941 in the Soviet Union, more specifically, in the barren plain just west of Moscow. As a German historian, an expert on the war against the Soviet Union, has put it: “That victory of the Red Army [in front of Moscow] was unquestionably the major break [Zäsur] of the entire world war.”
Zulu wrote:The truth is, the Red Army was numerically and materially stronger than Wehrmacht at any time in the War, save for the short period of the fall of 1941.
Zulu wrote:Thus the 1942 turned out almost as much of a disaster for the Red Army, as the 1941, and that pretty much gave the Axis a second chance in the war. So Stalingrad became the place where it was all decided, not Moscow.
Zulu wrote:The truth is, the Red Army was numerically and materially stronger than Wehrmacht at any time in the War, save for the short period of the fall of 1941. What it lacked was adequate logistical capacity.
Zulu wrote:Simply put, the Soviets had more tanks and guns, but the Nazis had more trucks and trains. This factor was understimated by the Soviet high command.
Zulu wrote:So after the Battle of Moscow it commenced full scale offensive operations with the goal to crush Nazi Germany within a year. In fact, in his speech on Nov. 6th, 1941 (a whole month ahead of the counteroffensive in the Moscow sector) Stalin expressed little doubt that the war would be over within a year. Part of this certainty was, of course, based on the notion that the British would definitely open the second front once the Red Army has begun its victorious march on Berlin - pretty much like it indeed happened a couple of years later.
Zulu wrote:However, in 1942 most offensive operations were bogged down by the end of the spring when the advancing troops ran out of ammunition, fuel and food supplies that could not be restocked in time. Many of those troops were surrounded and surrendered or starved to death. In one sector, near the town of Rzhev somewhat of a Verdun-like situation persisted for the entire year, with the Soviets several times able to gain some ground against heavily entrenched Nazis at a heavy price but unable to hold it for very long due to insufficient reserves. Thus the 1942 turned out almost as much of a disaster for the Red Army, as the 1941, and that pretty much gave the Axis a second chance in the war.
Zulu wrote:So Stalingrad became the place where it was all decided, not Moscow.
Zulu wrote:It must also be noted, that should Moscow fall it would have meant little in terms of the Red Army's resolve and ability to continue operations,[...]
Zulu wrote:[...]while the loss of Stalingrad would have effectively cut the main "oil artery" of the Soviet Union which the Volga river served as at the time.
Quote:PLUS (and I know it's a hot potatoe here on S-E, it seems that Uncle Joe really was taken by surprise by Barbarossa. All the signs and intelligence info (Sorge) were painfully obvious but (so it seems) Uncle Joe hesitated although (and this is really bewildering) he obviously gave a speech on May 5th 1941 at the military academy in Moscow declaring: "War with Germany is inevitable".
Quote:Despite all his miscalculations, Stalin was not unprepared to meet the emergency. He had solidly armed his country and reorganized its military forces. His practical mind had not been wedded to any one-sided strategic dogma. He had not lulled the Red Army into a false sense of security behind any Russian variety of the Maginot Line, that static defense system that had been the undoing of the French army in 1940. He could rely on Russia's vast spaces and severe climate. No body of men could now dispte his leadership. He had achieved absolute unity of command, the dream of the modern strategist."
Quote:Was Stalin taken by surprise with the turn of events? In the broader sense, no. All his actions from the day Hitler rose to power provide a complete proof of this. But there still remained in the situation an element of surprise in the sense that it was not possible to know the precise moment at which the blow would fall.
Quote:Stalin received the correct information that "Barbarossa" would start on June 22 for instance - but he was also given other dates ranging from April 6 right through May and up to June 15 - and as each one proved wrong, it became less likely that he would accept the true version for what it was. Werner Wachter, a senior official at the Propaganda Ministry, later explained Goebbels's technique in admirably simple language. The preparations for "Barbarossa," he said, were accompanied by so many rumors, "all of which were equally credible, that in the end there wasn't a bugger left who had any idea of what was really going on."
Certainly, that comment seems to have been true for Stalin and his intelligence chiefs as the hour for the attack drew steadily closer.
Quote:I couldn't agree more. Still I'd like to add that Uncle Joe made some very bad decisions at that time, and didn't trust his generals (generally speaking). Much like Hitler did. Ironic, isn't it? Both men were amateurs when it came to warfare and strategy, still they insisted on fumbling around instaed of leaving the crucial tactics to their generals.
Quote:In all, the State Committee for Defense adopted some 10,000 resolutions on military and economic matters during the war. Those resolutions were carried out accurately and with enthusiasm....
Stalin himself was strong-willed and no coward. It was only once I saw him somewhat depressed. That was at the dawn of June 22, 1941, when his belief that the war could be avoided, was shattered.
After June 22, 1941, and throughout the war Stalin firmly governed the country, led the armed struggle and international affairs together with the Central Committee and the Soviet Government.
Quote:I can only repeat that Stalin devoted a good deal of attention to problems of armament and material. He frequently met with chief aircraft, artillery, and tank designers whom he would question in great detail about the progress achieved in designing the various types of equipment in our country and abroad. To give him his due, it must be said that he was fairly well versed in the characteristics of the basic types of armament.
Is it true that Stalin really was an outstanding military thinker, a major contributor to the development of the Armed Forces and an expert in tactical and strategic principles?
From the military standpoint I have studied Stalin most thoroughly, for I entered the war together with him and together with him I ended it.
Stalin mastered the technique of the organization of front operations and operations by groups of fronts and guided them with skill, thoroughly understanding complicated strategic questions. He displayed his ability as Commander-in-Chief beginning with Stalingrad.
In guiding the armed struggle as a whole, Stalin was assisted by his natural intelligence and profound intuition. He had a knack of grasping the main link in the strategic situation so as to organize opposition to the enemy and conduct a major offensive operation. He was certainly a worthy Supreme Commander.
Here Stalin's merit lies in the fact that he correctly appraised the advice offered by the military experts and then in summarized form--in instructions, directives, and regulations--immediately circulated them among the troops for practical guidance.
As regards the material and technical organization of operations, the build-up of strategic reserves, the organization of production of material and troop supplies, Stalin did prove himself to be an outstanding organizer. And it would be unfair if we, the Soviet people, failed to pay tribute to him for it.
Quote:Standard argument: Both A.H. and Stalin were (to a point) betrayed by their generals who didn't understand their masters grand plans...
Loz wrote:I have already provided sources (some of them from Zhukov himself) which describe Stalin's role in the War.[...]
Loz wrote:But OK,would you care to name an instance where Stalin interfered in the matters in such a way to cause a disaster,a la Hitler in Stalingrad and many other battles where he caused German defeats due to his stubborness or his ideas about the ME-262 as a bomber for example?
Quote:Zhukovs memoirs are a bit biased especially when it comes to the great leader - but nevermind.
Quote:No of course not. He was the greatest military genius of all time and all Soldiers of the Red Army where angels of liberation. They never did anything wrong and the USSR was paradise on earth. Hitler and his generals were imbeciles who got lucky, reaching Moscow in 5 months whereas it took the army of supersoldiers and superheroes nearly 4 years to reach Berlin. But that must be a coincidence or timewarp and surely we can blame someone else for that. As always...
Quote:This is my last post in this forum, so rejoice. Apart from a few decent members I met more dogmatic imbecils in this godforsaken forum than is tolerable. Goodbye.
Loz wrote:How exactly are they biased? Zhukov is not Kaganovich or someone else,he's not really known for sycophanty or adoration of Stalin or whatever.