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View Diary: Sunday Talk: No one could have predicted (267 comments)

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  •  Recent scholarship shows Dec '41 was turning pt (2+ / 0-)
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    DeadHead, Virginian in Spain

    Basically, the Germans experienced a major calamity when they risked everything in a rash attack on Moscow, with all reserves committed, without winter uniforms, with inadequate supplies, and with only a few hundred tanks remaining after months of fighting.  They were forced into a pell-mell desperate retreat, and the center of the german army was nearly surrounded.   Their casualties skyrocketed due to frostbite and illness, and altogether their casualty rate was close to 1/3, which they were never able to replace.   Much of their heavy equipment was lost.

    From Jan 42 onward, all they could do was try for the oil fields south of Stalingrad, but they never got a drop of oil out of the ground, and their entire 1942 offensive was a complete disaster.  They didn't have a chance, because the Soviet Union was much larger and regenerated its army and tank and air forces much more quickly than the germans could.

    The whole story of the Battle of Moscow is truly fascinating, and the author David Glantz is one who has told the story in detail (his book on the pre-Moscow battle of Smolensk suggests that even the Battle of Smolensk may have been the ultimate "turning point" in August-Sept 1941).    If you're into military history, it's very cool stuff, and the winners were our allies, whom the U.S. heroically supported in their hour of greatest need.

    •  I understand where your coming from now (2+ / 0-)
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      Van Buren, Virginian in Spain

      Operation Barbarossa, indeed just the start of the war with Russia, was certainly the turning point. The winter in Russia, was something they hadn't planned on having to deal with: they thought they'd have it wrapped up by then, not to mention it was unusually severe.

      But I really don't think Hitler was by any means conceding the war at that point. Now, his generals, the smarter ones at least, knew better, but the culture surrounding Hitler discouraged dissent and bad news, however realistic it was, was brushed aside.

      Fatal optimism.

      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:37:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Guderian was interviewed severally (0+ / 0-)

        and walked through war gaming replays of the major actions.

        One interesting result was that he supported the view that the German Army had wasted its resources in the south -- Barbarossa had a three-pronged attack plan. If the south had been held but not occupied, then there would have been resources available to move much faster in the center.

        The target was not Moscow, per se. It was the rail center east of Moscow.
        That logistical resource was the only sizable transfer point and the only large-scale repair facility.

        If Stalin had lost that rail center, he would not have been able to supply the south from central Russia. The south would have fallen eventually and cheaply. War gaming replays showed what it might have looked like.

        That war would have been very difficult to win.

    •  Plus the Germans got bogged down (1+ / 0-)
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      in Yugoslavia and delayed the invasion thus getting caught up in the Russian winter. So the role of the Yugoslav resistance was crucial as well.

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