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Soviet victory in front of Moscow

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
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Post 13 Dec 2011, 08:54
"70 years ago, today" reads this interesting article that argues that this victory by the Red Army was the most important turning point of all of World War II

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.”
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Feb 2011, 12:58
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Post 14 Dec 2011, 19:55
I would agree with the Historian. The victory at the gates of Moscow was far more significant than the Normandy landings. I feel that the Allied invasion of France in 1944 only hastened along the process of Germany's defeat. By 1944, the Soviets had retaken most if not all the land taken from them and were pushing into German territories.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
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Post 15 Dec 2011, 18:01
As great as the Soviet victory was it is important to not downplay the tremendous contributions made by the Allies in multiple theatres.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Feb 2011, 12:58
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Post 18 Dec 2011, 14:45
Of course. It was not my intention to downgrade the Allied efforts. Any loss of life is significant but, if Germany had taken Moscow, they would have been able to push South into the oilfields of Asia. England and America received much of their oil from Asia, so if Germany had taken the oilfields, it would have been cut off from reaching it's Western destination which, in turn, would have had disastrous consequences for the RAF and such.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 17 Jan 2012, 13:23
As to the significance/impact of three major battles on the eastern front, in all shortness I would put it this way:

Moscow, (November-December 1941): First sign that the Wehrmacht was not invincible (and a major boost of moral for the Sovjets)

Stalingrad, (August 1942 - February 1943): Turning point of the war in the east.

Kursk, (July-August 1943): Point of no return for the Wehrmacht and the Reich. After Kursk the Fall of the Reich was unavoidable and a question of time.

P.S.: ATM I'm reading 'The Battle of Kursk' by David M. Glantz and Jonathan M. House. Many WWII buffs are considering this book as the definitive account of the battle. It's not an easy read though (compared for example to Anthony Beevors books 'Stalingrad' and 'Berlin: The Downfall 1945').
What you get are plenty of facts, numbers, charts and maps. The narrative could perhaps be better - but then again. This is a book for those who are already familiar with the events on the eastern front.
Still: I have my hopes up that Beevor will write a book about Kursk some day.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Jan 2012, 17:25
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Post 17 Jan 2012, 20:13
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. 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. 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.

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. So Stalingrad became the place where it was all decided, not Moscow.

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, 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.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
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Post 22 Jan 2012, 20:38
One factor that is often overlooked is that Moscow is a significant railroad hub. Loss of that would have made moving troops and supplies significantly more difficult.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 22 Jan 2012, 21:30
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.


We have to be careful here, since this kind of statement can be (and often is) misinterpreted to mean that the Soviets just threw wave after wave of human meat at the Nazis to win. The reality was that by 1942 the majority of the USSR's old industrial centre, its agricultural centre, and a substantial portion of its population, were in the hands of the Nazis, while the Nazis held the resources, industrial base and manpower of pretty much all of Europe. It was the Soviets' ingenuity, efficient relocation of industry, the strictness and diligence with which all manner of physical and intellectual activity became directed toward fighting the war, together with the aid in the later years of the war from the Western allies, which allowed it to defeat the greatest military force ever assembled.

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.


1941 and the 1942 winter offensive, while disastrous from the Soviet point of view, weren't so easy on the Germans and their allies either. In the first year alone the Axis lost more men and material than in the rest of their former operations put together. In fact there are some arguments to the effect that by the end of 1941 and early 1942, Germany's best, most experienced and most fanatical troops had already been spent, meaning that any real chance for the Axis to win the war, as small as it was, was already lost.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 01 Feb 2012, 22:33
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.

I'm not completely sure about that. Do you have some numbers from reliable sources?

As to logistical capacity - I can agree 100%.

According to Taylor and Proektor (1974), the Soviet armed forces in the west were outnumbered, with 2.6 million Soviet soldiers vs. 4.5 million Axis soldiers. The total size of the Soviet armed forces in early July 1941, amounted to a little more than 5 million men, 2.6 million in the west, 1.8 million in the far east, with the rest being deployed or training.


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".

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.

Yes - logistics. First in favour of the Wehrmacht, later on (as the front was getting more and more outstreached) in favour of the Red Army.

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.

His speech at that point was IMHO a speech to motivate people. It took the Red Army 3½ years and more than 10 million casualties to achieve that. Yes: The second front, the D-Day - I don't underestimate the significance of a second front, still: at the time of D-Day it didn't matter a whole lot for the Red Army anymore IMHO. By that time victory was inevitable.

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.

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.

Zulu wrote:
So Stalingrad became the place where it was all decided, not Moscow.

I repeat myself: Stalingrad was a turning point. But first after Kursk was it clear that the Wehrmacht had lost the war. From then on - the fall of the Reich was a matter of time and human casualties.

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,[...]

Psychologically and in terms of motivation it would have meant a lot!

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.

Correct!
Last edited by Pink Spider on 01 Feb 2012, 22:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 01 Feb 2012, 22:48
It is generally correct that the Soviet forces were indeed outnumbered throughout 1941 and 1942.
But even in 1943,from what i know,the Red Army didn't have some significant numerical supperiority against the Axis.

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".

Stalin thought that the war would begin maybe in 1942 and that the German intelligence was sending him false information.
Just for curiosity,some days before the German invasion of Belgium and other Low Countries Belgian AA shot down a German plane and from it they recovered complete plans for the invasion,but they disregarded them believeng that the whole thing was a ruse.

But even the inveterate Trotskite Deutscher noted that:
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."

Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 461

More:
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.

Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 221


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.

Read, Anthony and David Fisher. The Deadly Embrace. New York: Norton, 1988, p. 600


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.

Nonsense:

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.

Zhukov, Georgii. Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov. London: Cape, 1971, p. 268


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.

Zhukov, Georgii. Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov. London: Cape, 1971, p. 284-285

Much,much more on all this:
http://anonym.to/?http://revolutionarys ... d-war.html
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 01 Feb 2012, 23:06
Loz wrote:
Nonsense

Why? Do you suggest that Uncle Joe and A.H. were military geniuses? Do you realize that by painting up a picture of Stalin as all-knowing, military genius and Sovjet Super-leader it is the same picture the Germans painted/and (some still) paint of A.H.?
Standard argument: Both A.H. and Stalin were (to a point) betrayed by their generals who didn't understand their masters grand plans...


Otherwise: Thank you for the information and sources.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
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Post 01 Feb 2012, 23:17
I have already provided sources (some of them from Zhukov himself) which describe Stalin's role in the War.
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:
Standard argument: Both A.H. and Stalin were (to a point) betrayed by their generals who didn't understand their masters grand plans...

What exactly are you talking about? Von Paulus and Vlassov?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 02 Feb 2012, 00:08
Loz wrote:
I have already provided sources (some of them from Zhukov himself) which describe Stalin's role in the War.[...]

Yes. And what a source. Zhukovs memoirs are a bit biased especially when it comes to the great leader - but nevermind.

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?

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...

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.
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Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 02 Feb 2012, 00:12
Quote:
Zhukovs memoirs are a bit biased especially when it comes to the great leader - but nevermind.

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.

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...

Calm down,i only asked you to substantiate your claims.

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.

Cool story.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Jan 2012, 17:25
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Post 03 Feb 2012, 03:20
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.

Actually, there is certain circumstantial evidence, that Zhukov's memoires were not written by him, and definitely they have been "improved" in later editions. It's kind of a case study for the "Ministry of Truth" thingy. Lots of food for anti-soviet trolls there.

The facts, however, are that unlike others Soviet top WW2 brass (Rokossovsky, Vasilevsky, Konev, etc.) Zhukov's career suffered a demotion of office during the War. He began it as the Chief of General Staff of the Red Army, and finished as a front's CO, one of many. Soon after the War he completely fell out of Stalin's favor, in part due to the scandals about the "trophy taking", in which Zhukov and officers close to him had outrageously overstepped some informally tolerated limits, and it was not until Stalin's death that Khrushchev gave Zhukov a brief boost, only be used in the dirtiest moment of the power struggle that ensued, and then be tossed away.

So it's quite possible that Zhukov was not quite such a St. George on White Horse he's been "canonized" as in Brezhnev's time.
It would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet. - Hugo Chavez
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