Moscow

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Dpalme01, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    The oil fields captured were not held for long and as far as I am aware produced nothing for the Germans.
    In terms of options , Blue was a failure .

    James,

    Absolutely, that is what I have read in the past.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Wasn't there a order from Stalin (Recalling the BBC's excellent documentary on him) to blow the fields up if the Germans approached them?

    Regards
    Andy
     
  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Scorched earth policy.

    What cannot be recovered and removed to safety was destroyed or rendered inoperable to the enemy.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    It was more specific than that within the documentary....There were telephone conversations and a specific order regarding a some oil field/refinerary to the officer commanding it - There was even a interview with him during the programme about it as he was still alive at the time of it's making.

    Here it is ...I wasn't quite correct:

    The Great Patriotic War – i.e. the Second World War – tested Baibakov's technical and personal skills to the limit. In July 1942, having been absorbed into the central oil management of the Soviet Union and by now deputy oil minister, he was summoned by Stalin. Relating this frequently cited, if rare, anecdote about himself in 1998, he recalled that the German army was making rapid headway towards the Soviet Union's oilfields in the Caucasus, and that Stalin asked him if there was any way of preventing this crucially strategic prize from falling into Fascist hands, while maintaining supplies to the Red Army.

    Baibakov replied that the only way was to dismantle the essential equipment and transport it eastwards, continue to pump and distribute fuel to the front until the last minute, and only then to destroy the Caucasian oilfields.

    Such an audacious plan appealed to Stalin's Bolshevik mentality and he approved it, with the encouraging and – characteristic – remark: "If you don't stop the Germans getting our oil, you will be shot, and when we have thrown the invader out, if we cannot restart production we will shoot you again." Baibakov fulfilled his mission, destroying oil installations as the Germans advanced, and when Stalin made him minister of the oil industry two years later, he commented that Baibakov must have nerves of steel.


    Nikolai Baibakov: Stalin's oil commissar - Obituaries, News - The Independent
     
  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Perhaps this article might be of interest on German-Soviet oil matters.

    Even before Operation Barbarossa petered out in December 1941, Germany's oil reserves were severely depleted. Adolf Hitler worried that his armed forces would soon grind to a halt for want of petroleum products. During the last months of 1941 and the first of 1942, economic considerations played as much of a role in the formulation of a new strategy as did the run-down state of the eastern armies and air fleets. Hitler feared heavy Soviet bombing attacks on Rumanian oilfields, his main source of oil, and knew that the Reich's reserves were almost exhausted. Consequently, he considered the protection of the Rumanian oilfields and the acquisition of new sources of oil crucial if he were to wage a prolonged war against the growing list of nations he opposed.

    He therefore formulated Fall Blau (Case Blue), a major campaign for summer 1942. This aimed first, through preliminary offensives in the Crimea, to protect Rumanian oil centres from Soviet air attacks, and second, through a powerful thrust to the Don River and then into the Caucasus, to deliver that oil-rich region into German hands. The capture of the Caucasus oilfields, he believed, would relieve Germany's critical oil shortages and deliver a massive, and hopefully mortal, blow to the Soviet economy and war effort.

    ...
     
  6. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Hitler's views on Russia did not always follow what was best in military terms , he went for the economic and natural resources which in the long term he needed , what he largely ignored was the need to defeat the Red Army.

    He discounted that the red Army would not always do as he expoected them to and when they did this he took the view that it was a sign that they were defeated or on the brink of collapse.

    He was wrong in 41 , he was wrong in 42 and when he attempted to defeat them in 43 he was wrong again.
    In all instances he largely ignored the advice given or took from it only what he wanted and constructed the wrong decisions , be that with a small heap of his gut feeling .....Hitler did not have a very reliable gut (feeling) !
    He always had to go for broke , all or nothing.
     
  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Hitler's views on Russia did not always follow what was best in military terms , he went for the economic and natural resources which in the long term he needed , what he largely ignored was the need to defeat the Red Army.

    He discounted that the red Army would not always do as he expoected them to and when they did this he took the view that it was a sign that they were defeated or on the brink of collapse.

    He was wrong in 41 , he was wrong in 42 and when he attempted to defeat them in 43 he was wrong again.
    In all instances he largely ignored the advice given or took from it only what he wanted and constructed the wrong decisions , be that with a small heap of his gut feeling .....Hitler did not have a very reliable gut (feeling) !
    He always had to go for broke , all or nothing.
    Its interesting that you say this James because I would have been of the opinion that the Wehrmacht's plan was to defeat the Red Army in the field as far forward as possible and through a series of envelopments to prevent them retreating and trading space for time. I did say Wehrmacht because I still believe that the trouble lay between Hitler's aims, which you have rightly laid out above, and the Wehrmacht's. Whilst I concur about his economic aims, the fact was that he allowed the Generals to convince him of the need to close the Kiev Pocket (which also backs up your pont about Hitler and his gut) and the Smolensk one too when the road to Moscow was conceivably open, but herein lies the German's problem. No matter which plan they chose, they were damned. We know what happened when they turned to reduce the Kiev Pocket But what about the other course open to them To proceed towards Moscow without reducing the Southwestern Front would have left them dangerously exposed on their southern flank. I am always intrigued by the supposition that Hitler was after the oil in the Caucasus and yet Army Group South was not as big as Army Group Centre and had the furthest objectives. Its like the argument that the Red Army was poised to attack the Third Reich and that Hitler beat them to the punch.Yet the biggest army Group was the Southwest Front which was not exactly well positioned to attack Germany directly.

    A lot is made of the German's options in Barbarossa but the fact was that they quickly realised that Blitzkrieg was inadequate to fight a war that was required to be fought in the East.

    Could the Germans have defeated the Soviets in Barbarossa - I dont know.

    Could they have taken Moscow - I do think it was a possibility but the chance came and went before the Kiev pocket was reduced.
     
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Hitler's views on Russia did not always follow what was best in military terms , he went for the economic and natural resources which in the long term he needed , what he largely ignored was the need to defeat the Red Army.

    And even then this wasn't followed up in reality. Hitler always made a big hullaballoo about the Don Basin and it's mineral resources, but in reality in the two yers it was occuppied only limited ore amounts were taken, and these from remaining mine stockpiles, no serious effort for proper extraction was made. Of course the Soviets had blown all the mineshafts and plant, but even then.

    Hitler did not have a very reliable gut

    Quite the opposite, Dr. Morell worked a lot to make Hitler's gut to perform way above the call of duty. For an Aryan, Adolf farted like a Kalmuk!

    I did say Wehrmacht because I still believe that the trouble lay between Hitler's aims, which you have rightly laid out above, and the Wehrmacht's... the fact was that he allowed the Generals to convince him of ...

    I'm currently reading Gen. Walter Warlimont's memoirs, and as opposite to v.Manstein's ("What I told Hitler to do but he didn't") the theme seems to be "How Hitler ignored us as a General Staff and used us for our clerical abilities only".

    We know what happened when they turned to reduce the Kiev Pocket But what about the other course open to them To proceed towards Moscow without reducing the Southwestern Front would have left them dangerously exposed on their southern flank. I am always intrigued by the supposition that Hitler was after the oil in the Caucasus and yet Army Group South was not as big as Army Group Centre and had the furthest objectives.
    ...
    A lot is made of the German's options in Barbarossa but the fact was that they quickly realised that Blitzkrieg was inadequate to fight a war that was required to be fought in the East.


    Yes, the complete lack of a clear and coherent strategic line is glaring, isn't it? Where are the equivalents of the Casablanca and Teheran Conferences? Where are the Joint Chiefs of Staff, SHAEF, for instance? No sir, the all command structures had their apex on one single man who was all-powerful but utterly incompetent.

    Could the Germans have defeated the Soviets in Barbarossa - I dont know. Could they have taken Moscow - I do think it was a possibility but the chance came and went before the Kiev pocket was reduced.

    And if they took it how long before they all starved. You are dangerous close to the Sin of Wahtiffing :lol:
     
  9. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Za Rodinu
    And even then this wasn't followed up in reality. Hitler always made a big hullaballoo about the Don Basin and it's mineral resources, but in reality in the two yers it was occuppied only limited ore amounts were taken, and these from remaining mine stockpiles, no serious effort for proper extraction was made. Of course the Soviets had blown all the mineshafts and plant, but even then.

    Very true - being able to hold on to the region long enough to exploit it was taken as read - this proved impossible.

    Although Mansteins "Lost Victories" is a little self serving - in his vioew of Hitler as a commander he made the point that Hitler never appreciated the fact that taking ground was not the end of the game it had to be able to be held as well , the Don Basin so nearly became the graveyard of the Wehrmacht.

    Quite the opposite, Dr. Morell worked a lot to make Hitler's gut to perform way above the call of duty. For an Aryan, Adolf farted like a Kalmuk!
    :D:D:D
    He made a major contribution towards global warming.

    Richtofen said that he was little better than a highly paid NCO , he was probably right the command structure in the east reflected the chaotic famework which would be employed in the West in 1944 - Hitler controlled the keys and no one could do anything without his say so.
    Zeitler's report on the position of the Don prior to Stalingrad was ignored , Hitler was saying the the war in the east was as good as won.
    Moscow was no different - taking the city was impossible , yet expected it to be encircled and the vague halt line to be achieved in the fulness of time.
     
  10. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    And even then this wasn't followed up in reality. Hitler always made a big hullaballoo about the Don Basin and it's mineral resources, but in reality in the two yers it was occuppied only limited ore amounts were taken, and these from remaining mine stockpiles, no serious effort for proper extraction was made. Of course the Soviets had blown all the mineshafts and plant, but even then.



    Quite the opposite, Dr. Morell worked a lot to make Hitler's gut to perform way above the call of duty. For an Aryan, Adolf farted like a Kalmuk!



    I'm currently reading Gen. Walter Warlimont's memoirs, and as opposite to v.Manstein's ("What I told Hitler to do but he didn't") the theme seems to be "How Hitler ignored us as a General Staff and used us for our clerical abilities only".



    Yes, the complete lack of a clear and coherent strategic line is glaring, isn't it? Where are the equivalents of the Casablanca and Teheran Conferences? Where are the Joint Chiefs of Staff, SHAEF, for instance? No sir, the all command structures had their apex on one single man who was all-powerful but utterly incompetent.



    And if they took it how long before they all starved. You are dangerous close to the Sin of Wahtiffing :lol:
    I wasnt saying that the Germans would have been victorious, Za. They could have taken Moscow but they would have been surrounded. You know well that I dont pander to the "Wehrmacht were brilliant but General Winter halted the best Army in the world" muck. But there was an opportunity to strike for Moscow and that opportunity was before the Kiev pocket was surrounded. However overall the result would have been the same - German defeat in Russia! They were damned if they did and damned if they didnt.

    And as regards the Whatiffing well I remain consistent - Berlin gets nuked by the USAAF and Germany gets defeated!! :p
     
  11. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Internal collapse of the Soviet system would have been Germany's only assurred chance , the men who ran the German Army must have seen problems arising long before Moscow.
     
  12. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Which is why the biggest fear the politburo had on the day of 22nd June 1941 was that the Border Units would not stand and fight.
     
  13. L J

    L J Senior Member

    I've read that the weather -the rains- made impossible an earlier barbarrossa anyway, even without Balcans campaing. The only real chance the germans had was to keep Moscow as the main target. In august, after the battle of Smolensko, the soviets had very little forces an unprepared defences in front of Moscow. Hitler ordered his troops to head south and deal with the soviet forces in Ucraine. As is known, he choosed the latter, achieved one of the greatests victories in history (more than 600.000 prisoners) but when he gave the order to take Moscow it was too late.
    Some writers claim that he was right to do so, that the Kiev forces would have smashed its flank if left untouched. Other say that those forces, harrased by Gruoup Army South and under a Luftwaffe-controlled sky, where no real threat. We will never know if the fall of Moscow in the summer of 1941 would have meant a soviet collapse: it was, anyway, the political and economic center of the country, the center of rail communications and (with its surrounding area) a main center of manpower. In my opinion, the germans should have bet stronger, gone for Moscow and take the maximum advantage of the disastrous situation of the Red Army, in continuos retreat and poorly directed. If Hitler had a chance in the war, that was the one.
    I think that in september it was to late:the plan was to destroy the Red army in 10 weeks,before the Russian mobilisation ,and then,with was left of the resources to puirsuit the retreating enemy and advance to the A-A line. The fall of Moscow would follow automatically . In september the Wehrmacht was already weakened:total losses (CL and NCL ):510000;replacements :175000 and the Russian strenght ...was increasing:from 2.7 to 3.2 million notwithstanding their losses of 2000000 .Why had Barbarossa failed in september ? Because the Russian mibilisation did not start after 10 weeks,as in WW I,but after the first day:the Russians send 2.5 million to the front in the 10 weeks fom june to september. The Germans started a second Barbarossa in october with as aim the destruction of the "last" Russian reserves by attacking Moscow as a baite and lure the Russians in to combat. About the winter:the assertions that the winter was the harshest in a century is a mythe (excuse invented by the Germans for the failure of Typhoon) ;see :Russia at war:General Winter ;and Typhoon had failed before the Winter. A last point :the Russian Winteroffensive:was a failue:none of the objectives were acieved and the German CL were "only" 20000 weekly;between june and september:40000 and between september and december:27000
     
    James S likes this.
  14. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    "We were stopped by the mud" was what some German Commanders said ...truth is as LJ notes that by August Barbarossa had changed from that which had been planned and the vague hand movements over a map which made it all seem so easy and simple it took no account of men , distance and means - logistically the Wehrmacht was well out on a limb , and as the will of the Fuhrer was translated into reality this situation became more desperate and hopeless.

    How bad was the winter - it was what it was and the lack of preparedness from the German point of view killed them stone dead , Moscow illustrates the utter illusion which Barbarossa was , that "going for broke" mentality which Hitler employed in almost all situations.

    Had the Germans not pressed for Moscow in 1941 we might now be wondering if they had made that last effort might they have brought down Stalin and that perhaps it might have been worth it ......... in any case unless politics came into play the Germans had reached their high tide mark.
    Hitler being Hitler was no longer a politician but a warlord - his "destiny" ( as he saw it) had been achieved and in his own preordained mindset the outcome was not in doubt , "final victory".
     

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