The problem(s) with Operation barbarossa

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by James2019, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I thought Mikhail Koshkin was credited with being the chief designer of the T-34? He died of natural causes in 1940.
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member are correct,I was thinking back to a documentary a few years ago on the T 34,I must have misunderstood it...the documentary requires a revisit.

    The man I was referring to was Konstantin Chelpan who was described as Head of the Diesel Department and appears later to be Head of Engineering Design Bureau of the Kharkov Locomotive Factory.He designed the V-2-34 engine for the T 34 with a change of fuel to diesel which was advantageous for tank warfare being less dangerous then petrol.He fell victim to Stalin's 1937/1938 Purge...arrested in late 1937,charged as a spy for Greece which was a trumped up charge,he was executed on 10 March 1938.

    Mikail Koshkin was appointed in 1937 as Head of Design Bureau KB 190 at the Kharkov Locomotive Factory.The outcome was the design of the T 34 which initially was turned down as a replacement for the B2 tank by Stalin. Koshin is said to have drove a T 34 tank the 600 miles to Moscow in the bad weather of March 1940 to demonstrate the tank to Stalin which was accepted after is said he contracted pneumonia following this trip and despite medical attention,died on 26 September 1940.

    The T 34 drivetrain developer Alexander Morozov succeeded him as Chief Engineer.Mass production started immediately on 31 March 1940 after Koshkin's visit to Moscow to display the tank for testing.

    Morozov is remembered by the Tank Design Team now being known as Kharkiv (Ukrainian for the previous Russian Kharkov) Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau.

    The Kharkov Locomotive "Factory" appears to be also referenced as "Plant".
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  3. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    Unternehmen BARBAROSSA failed because the Heer was not good enough. They thought they were, but history shows they were wrong.

    Guns not firing because of the cold are an irrelevancy. BARBAROSSA was supposed to be won before the winter.
  4. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Plain and easy....
    The entire campaign also bristled with so many insufficiencies, errors, faults and wishful thinking it became from the beginning a suicide in installments. The very few in the OKW who were able and wiling to do the maths saw that already in August 1941.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
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  5. James2019

    James2019 Member

    shame hitler didnt listen
  6. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    What do you mean? Listen to what? Whom?
  7. James2019

    James2019 Member

    MarkN hi, i meant to say that Hitler didn't listen to his generals, even they knew that operation Barbarossa was flawed with logistical problems (supplies and feul). The other problems that Hitler had is that he had to help out mussolini with greece, wasting valuable men just before the USSR invasion. also, compared to Germany, Russia had "an endless supply of men" whereas Germany did not.

    I know that conquering russia was one of the main aims for hitler, but in my opinion, it was always doomed to fail. The russian winter did help the Germans either
  8. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    Didn't listen to his generals...

    Which ones?

    Several generals post war claimed they would have won the war if Hitler had listened to them. But that was based on decisions made AFTER Unternehmen BARBAROSSA had started. If, as you say it was doomed from the outset, their ideas and thoughts are of no greater value than Hitler's. Listening to them at that stage results in the same failure but done a different way.

    Can you name the generals that advised Hitler against starting Unternehmen BARBAROSSA in the first place. The ones you say he should have listened to.

    Securing the Balkan southern flank was a military necessity. It was the Wehrmacht that raised the issue that if the RAF base bombers in Greece that run a successful mission on the Romanian oilfields, their invasion of the Soviet Union would be doomed.

    You believe that old saw. :(

    Winter was not the cause of failure, or even part of the cause. That the fight was occuring in winter is proof that Unternehmen BARBAROSSA had already failed. The success of Unternehmen BARBAROSSA was predicated upon the battles all being won and the Heer victoriously standing on the Volga Line by the end of October at the latest.

    I fear you you have bought into so many of the myths and falsehoods created and sustained by those who wish to glorify the German military and their mythical Aryan superiority despite their abysmal failures.
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  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    An Ingenious Man who had built a flying machine invited a great concourse of people to see it go up. At the appointed moment, everything being ready, he boarded the car and turned on the power. The machine immediately broke through the massive substructure upon which it was builded, and sank out of sight into the earth, the aeronaut springing out barely in time to save himself.
    "Well," said he, "I have done enough to demonstrate the correctness of my details. The defects," he added, with a look at the ruined brick-work, "are merely basic and fundamental."
    Upon this assurance the people came forward with subscriptions to build a second machine.
    Ambrose Bierce, Fantastic Fables (1898)
    "The Flying Machine"
  10. Joker

    Joker Member

    Few factors have not mentioned.
    1. Very important factor was also stubborn , unyielding ressistence of a Soviet soldiers despite of great losses. Also, great will to resist of civil population, despite imense difficult conditions. Germans put great terror on population, not just army and this terror provoked defiance. Great example is two and a half year long siege of Leningrad which aimed at complete destruction of inhabitants! There were about one milion dead, mostly of hunger and desease. Russians fought for ther lives in a first place, and for ther " Mother Russia". Stalin perfidiously called people to rise and defend "mother Russia" in the name of pre-comunist-era Russian heroes: Kutusov, Nevsky, Suvorov...And people responded.

    2. During the period summer 1941 - summer 1942 Soviets succesfully evacuated more than 2500 massive economic and military factories to the far east (Ural, Siberia..) which decissfully participated in soviet war effort. Germans failed to destroy any important factory, or to seize soviet oil.
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  11. What is past is prologue. Perhaps the single most fatal flaw of Hitlers war effort on the Eastern front was his effort to subjugate rather than liberate Ukraine. No fancy strategy or effort to seize Leningrad alters this basic fact. Recall that Poland and Moscow have been at odds for not just decades but centuries over what historians tend to boil down to the bread basket of Russia. The Russians simultaneously invaded Poland in 1939 just as Hitler expected in an effort to secure Ukraine.

    This is where the USA media has lost its focus and decided to commit to a false narrative that Putin is to blame here.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Not sure the small man has anything to do with Barbarossa
  13. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Not "the Russians", but "the Soviets" - and the Ukraine had long since been secured by the Holodomor. The invasion was made to take back the former tsarist territories lost after the Soviet-Polish war. The fact that this allowed the SU to expand further west was a pleasant side effect.
  14. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    As a historical side note, it should be mentioned that Stalin several times indirectly explored the possibilities of a political settlement of the war via Stockholm
    Ulrich von Hassell wrote very aptly in his diary on August 15, 1943: If Hitler comes to terms with Stalin, the resulting disaster will be unimaginable (...) (page 17).

    One must almost be grateful to Hitler that in his one-dimensional ideological piheadedness he always rejected such a possibility
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  15. Oddly enough , I am not sure if you agreed with me or disagreed with me.
  16. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    In case this was addressed to me: Basically I agree with you - except for the part concerning "securing Ukraine" where I allow myself to hold a different opinion ;-)
  17. I am not convinced that historians have been able to explain or even fully comprehend the (for lack of a better word) titanic and absolutely brutal confrontation between Hitler and Stalin that was initiated on June 22 , 1941. Rounding up , the USA population was less than 140,000,000 in 1941 , perhaps rounding down the Russians lost in excess of 20,000,000 during the Great Patriotic War. You do the math. That is the easy part.

    Among several factors that to this day astound me is the ability of the Russians (respectfully , I use that word loosely , and in its totality) to absorb such an overwhelming defeat many times greater than the total strength of the US army during the summer of 1941. As we all know , but do not entirely understand , entire factory complexes were packed up and moved east to buildings that did not yet exist. I believe it is fair to say that both the T34 (and its variants) and the seemingly inexhaustible supply of human resources came as a stunning shock to Hitler and his generals.

    The USAAF confronted the Luftwaffe in a deadly contest for air superiority forcing OKW to work , in many cases , without a useful force multiplier. Once the US , at great cost , supplied the Red Army with trucks for the artillery , fuel for the trucks and radio networks to communicate , there was no stopping the "steamroller".
  18. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Well to be fair, its nice to see an Eastern Front stay relatively on topic and many fine answers to an extremely open question which requires a seriously long response. Its very hard to answer simply why the Campaign failed since there are so many factors, reasons. And indeed the Historiography that has sprung since the war ended is a huge factor and worthy of its own thread in itself. How the campaign is viewed now is so different from the 60s and 70s, when many of the participants were still alive. I'm not even sure now, that a completely impartial history of the campaign is possible because there are so many obstacle to determing myth from reality. German General's skewed memoirs, their attempt to use the US Historical divisions articles to heap blame on a dead man and perpetuate stereotypes about the Soviet Army (The "Horde"), lack of information from the Soviet side and a small window appearing during the early 90s before the Russians slammed the door shut again on its archives.
  19. KennyD

    KennyD Member

    Why did Operation Barbarossa end in failure?

    This is a massive question and it is not possible to provide a straightforward answer. What I would say is that one of the problems with the Ostheer was that its two main components, its tanks and its foot soldiers, were advancing into Soviet territory at two different speeds. When the tanks advanced, in semi-blitzkrieg fashion, they were obviously moving faster than the troops, most of whom were walking, and who were using horses to transport their supplies. The German soldiers also had to do two things - fight the enemy troops left behind by the tanks' advance and at the same time, march forward to keep up with their own tanks.

    The German tanks could only move so far forward before they had to turn inward and attempt to encircle the enemy forces. If the tanks advanced too far, in true blitzkrieg fashion, then they would leave their own troops too far behind, and the enemy forces could evade capture by escaping through the inevitable gaps in the attempted encirclement.

    When Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941, the German forces were starting from the centre of Poland. So their first movement for Army Group Centre was an attempted encirclement that only went as far as Minsk. (For the reasons outlined above.) The second major movement reached Smolensk. And there, the Germans stalled. Their tanks and vehicles were breaking down, a lot of their horses were dying and the soldiers were suffering from having to march on foot all that distance into Soviet territory.

    The breakdown problem was made worse by the fact that the Germans had so many different vehicle types, many of which had been scavenged from other countries as they over-ran them. This can be compared to the American system, led by people like Bill Knudsen, who standardised their vehicle production so that it was far easier to get replacement parts sent to their Army units. As for the German forces - how exactly do you get spares for a French lorry when it breaks down on the Eastern Front? What about your tanks? You can't take them back to the workshops in Germany - what exactly do you do when the dust clogs up the air filters and everything starts to break down, and you're stuck in the middle of the Eastern Front?

    At the same time, the Soviets were retreating towards their supply centres, and they had trains that would actually run on the Soviet tracks (which were a different gauge than those in Germany.) So as the Germans moved farther away from their supply centres, and their vehicles began to break down, and the Soviets moved back into their own country, which meant moving closer to their supply centres, a culminating point was reached. As we know, the German forces did eventually advance beyond Smolensk, where their second major encirclement had failed to entrap and annihilate the Soviet forces west of Moscow. But as we know, that failed too. Winter arrived, and they ran out of steam. The Wehrmacht had failed to annihilate the Soviet forces west of Moscow, and they failed to take Moscow.

    So the German forces only had it in them to make two major encirclements, each advancing approximately 200 miles, before their systems and equipment started to break down. That meant they could not reach Moscow from where they started, in the middle of Poland, before reaching a culminating point.
  20. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    The main reason was, of course, the bad underestimation of the opponent and not fully realizing the effects of the weaker infrastructure on the movement, and I guess not even fully realizing the challenges caused by the terrain and the climate. So simply Germans took too big a bite. There is also too little talk about how the different track width and the effective destruction of the railway infrastructure by the Soviets during their retreat made it very difficult for the Germans to maintain their combat troops and moving reinforcements. At least reasonable ammount of winter cloathings were standing in freight cars deep in the rear when the winter arrived. The railways simply did not have capacity to transport all essentials to the front. The Germans still relied heavily on the railways for their transport. If the French trucks were as durable as the German ones, they were not necessarily, if the Germans are to be believed, their maintenance would not have been any more difficult than the German ones if the logistics had been planned correctly and so the maintenance units would have been enough spare parts, the same applies to the air filters of the tank engines. At least most of the factories producing those French lorries were under German control, they were only somewhat more west than the factories producing German lorries.

    In addition, you forget the 3rd encirclement round, the Vjasma-Bryansk encirclements in the direction of Moscow producing some 500 000 - 600 000 PoWs IIRC.

    Ps. Noticed that Harry Ree already noted the importance of railways and the destruction of them by the Soviets in the message #9
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2023

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