BLUFDetermined Soviet Forces, critical logistic shortages, weather and poor German planning contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany in WW2.
- Germany was over-confident, having previously conquered France, defeating both British and French armies in just under six weeks.
- Three million German and German-Allied (Finnish, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian and Slovakian) troops attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941.
- The Germans expected an easy victory due to the Red Army's poor performance against Finland and Soviet leader Stalin's purge of the Officer Corps.
- Initially, the Germans had better troops and commanders.
- Early victories in late 1941(including the killing or capturing 650,000 Soviet soldiers at Kiev in Ukraine, reinforced German feelings of superiority.
- Hitler underestimated the importance of logistics and communications and how difficult it was to supply German forces over long distances.
- Apart from elite motorised units, vehicles were always in short supply for German forces.
- The bulk of the German army still relied on horses.
- Railways were crucial in the supply chain.
- The Russian railway gauge (1520 mm) was incompatible with the German (1435 mm), and gauge conversion was slow.
- German tactics relied on fast-moving panzers to encircle Russian armies, impossible without adequate fuel; a similar situation to the later Battle of the Bulge.
- Poor German planning allowed the Russians to make the most of time, space, terrain, and climate.
- Soviet troops were operating on familiar terrain and were better able to receive logistics support.
- After the war, Operation Barbarossa was the beginning of the end for Hitler and resulted in the Soviet Union becoming a superpower after the war.
- The Soviet Union paid a huge price for victory according to Britannica losing eighteen million people, for comparison Germany lost 4.2 million, see Britannica article Cost of the War
- Russian President Vladimir Putin uses the Great Patriotic War to inspire his people as to what Russia was and can be.
Worth noting and remembering the following:
"Amateurs study tactics, but professionals study logistics." Martin van Creveld.
Recent Runway Posts related to this topic:
- Battle of Kursk---The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- Kursk The greatest tank battle in history might have ended differently had it not been for the action in the air--- The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
References from the Web:
- Operation Barbarossa And Germany’s Failure In The Soviet Union--- Imperial War Museum
- JUN 2021 Invasion of the Soviet Union, June 1941--- United States Memorial Holocaust Museum
- JUN 2021 Hitler’s ‘war of annihilation: Operation Barbarossa, 80 years on---France 24
- Article Source: FP (Foreign Policy)
- Media Check: FP –Media Bias/Fact Check (mediabiasfactcheck.com)
- Learning Outcomes: RUNWAY Topics, Learning Outcomes