ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2018 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Stalin's strike: the historian's view

I asked Nigel Askey, the author of the massive Operation Barbarossa: The Complete Organisational and Statistical Analysis, and Military Simulation, about his opinion of Viktor Suvorov's thesis we've been discussing this week. He graciously gave permission for me to quote his reply on the blog.

Your email has prompted me, and I have now ordered a copy of Suvorov's Chief Culprit. I haven’t read this one by Suvorov; I probably should. However it looks very similar to, and an extension of, his original Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War? This one was also an entertaining read. I might as well express my opinion about the overall Suvorov hypothesis as it has gained such a lot of attention.

I agree with Suvorov on some points, but definitely not on others.  I believe Stalin did have plans to invade Western Europe at some point, and it completely fits with the overall Soviet - and Stalin - policy of communist expansion as well as Stalin’s character. He definitely gambled on the fact that Germany would be embroiled in  prolonged war with France and Britain, which would buy him time to prepare. He gambled on it lasting at least until 1942, which was backed up by his own Stavka assessments. In addition, it was around this time he attenuated, and mostly stopped, the massively damaging officer purging that were going on. He realised that any Red Army that was going to conquer Western Europe would need decent officers, and that Germany was now a bigger external threat to him than any ‘internal’ threat from his officer corps. I believe Stalin was hoping his Army, especially the mass of newly formed Mechanised Corps with its new tank types; all belatedly formed after the Germans had demonstrated their panzer corps in France, would be ready by the summer of 1942, one year after Barbarossa started. Similarly, his air force was desperately reequipping with more modern fighters and bombers (Yak-1, LaGG-3, Mig-3, Pe-2, etc), and a massive air crew training program was underway.

France and Britain, of course,  had handed all this to him on a plate, so to speak, by declaring war on Germany when Germany invaded Poland, but then only a few days later did not declare war on the USSR when it did exactly the same thing from the East! From a moral perspective, this has always left a ‘bad taste in my mouth’: especially when Britain and France historically claim the moral high ground about why they declared war on Germany in 1939. It turns out that so called treaty with Poland by France and Britain was worded so that it only applied to German aggression; apparently anyone else could do what they liked to any of the three countries. How’s that for selective moralising  and post-war hypocrisy? Anyway I digress.

Where I really disagree completely with Suvorov is timing. 1941, definitely not. The summer of 1942 was very likely Stalin’s plan, and even then, there was a struggle to be ready. I can guarantee that there was absolutely no way the Soviet armed forces were in any shape to conduct a major offensive into Poland and then into Western Europe in June or July 1941. They were just so totally unready at so many levels, they would have been very easily stopped. Their logistical and C&C set up was so bad they would have almost stopped themselves, as they almost did in Poland in 1939. One just has to look at their absolutely dismal performance when they did invade Poland from the East - it degenerated onto a ludicrous fiasco against a  very token Polish force - and the almost equally poor performance against Finland in the Winter War to see just a few of the problems.

I have examined in extreme  detail the Soviet forces right across the USSR on 22nd June 1941, and not just apparent raw number in the Western Military Districts  as Suvorov does. This analysis has been done for the Red Army (the RKKA) and the air force (the VMF). Special attention has been reserved for the forces deployed in the Western Military Districts and the Mechanised Forces. These include a massive and complete Soviet Tank Deployment Matrix and Aircraft Deployment Matrix, which in a great many cases go down to individual tanks and aircraft. In addition, readiness, training, and HQ assignments are included, as well as positions ‘on the map’. In addition, the Soviet truck park is analysed, and it was in a terrible state, along with the Red Army supply and logistics state. All this will be fully published in Volume IIIB. The published Volume IIIA has the Western Military District land forces already.

In comparison to this and some research done by others, I find Suvorov’s figures to be high-level, superficial, token, and worst of all, very selective. I am sorry to say he takes the statistics that suit his agenda, and then simply throws them at the reader with a convincing argument. For the reader, presented with these ‘facts’, the conclusions are  convincing. However, no amount of convincing rhetoric can, in the end, replace weak argument foundations. For example, deeper analysis shows that the Soviets were employing what is termed an echelon defence strategy as laid out by various (now dead from the purges) Red Army theorists in the ‘Deep Battle’ and Deep Operations’ manner. These are not just offensive methodologies, they also lay out the mechanism to defend against  these types of attack as well. The fact that the Wehrmacht had surpassed this in real practical terms and totally ripped through both the 1st and 2nd level of these defences and then encircled them all was surprising, especially  to the Soviets. This, of course, has led to the “why were so many Soviet forces forwards and vulnerable?” questions. The Germans then had to work a bit to penetrate the 3rd echelon defences which were also being deployed and still formed on 22nd June 1941, largely the Stavka Reserves.

Well, its only with post-war hindsight, and the realisation of just how fast the Wehrmacht could operate and had perfected mobile warfare, that we realise how vulnerable the Soviet echelon defence was. To the Soviets at the time, and to the Western observers, it looked like a very reasonable set up. We are talking hundreds of kilometres of depth here, with multiple lines of defence, and not just a single concentration  of forward deployed troops apparently massing for an attack as proposed by Suvorov. Unfortunately, the Wehrmacht, as it was in 1941, could penetrate even hundreds of kilometres of such a defence in days, making all this look extremely vulnerable. Thus, with post-war hindsight, this looks like an extremely incompetent deployment, even for a defensive posture. Note, the Deep Battle and Deep Operations theories stressed the ability to go from a defensive posture to an offensive posture relatively quickly. Thus, when ready, the Red Army could transit from one to the other in a matter of weeks. Eg, in this case the  1st defensive line, mostly rifle divisions, would perform the breakthrough assault, while the 2nd echelon defensive lime, usually mobile mechanised forces, would exploit the breach. I am only stressing this because I do not want to portray the Red Army, or Stalin’s regime, as inherently a defensive force backed by a defensive ideology: the echelon defence used suited both. But it does not mean the Soviets were about to attack in June 1941, and it does explain why they were deployed as they were historically.

Another example is the relatively forward deployment of many VVS units, another fact used by Suvorov. Yes it was stupid to deploy so many VVS air units within a few hundred km of the border and these were hit by the initial surprise airfield attacks. However, the VVS was a huge force, the biggest air force in the world at that time, and was deployed in a great many locations across the USSR. The very large majority of these units were undergoing replacement and training operations and exercises, including those in the Western military Districts, the vast majority of the VVS including most of their new fighter and bomber units were actually deployed well inside the USSR in the Internal Military districts, and the vital Long Range DBA forces, the largest strategic bomber force in the World at that time, was deployed very deep in the USSR and completely unreachable by the Luftwaffe. Suvorov only talks about the VVS forces in the Western Military Districts and how they were therefore obviously “deployed for an attack?”. He doesn’t mention that over 70% of the VVS and VMF (naval air-forces), and especially the bomber forces, were in no position to attack anything in the West, and that the DBA, a very large and totally offensive force was so far back it could barely reach Western Europe.

He also doesn’t focus on the overall readiness of the VVS forces in the Western Military Districts just as he doesn’t focus on the readiness or state of the mechanised force (see below). Only raw numbers are used, which are close to useless if there is no context and other factors are not included.  No doubt these VVS forces in the depths of the USSR would have been redeployed forward by the summer of 1942. As it was they survived the initial Luftwaffe onslaught. The fact that the Luftwaffe the systematically destroyed these forces from July to October 1941, is a separate discourse. It does, however, again, highlight how unready the VVS was overall (again, supposed to be fully ready by 1942, if lucky), and how most of the VVS units were entrenched in the depths of USSR that it took that length of time for the Luftwaffe to reach them. None of this suits with Suvorov’s hypothesis.

A final example is the state of the Soviet Mechanised Corps. This is arguably the biggest single massive hole in Suvorov’s whole hypothesis. Over two-thirds of this entire Red Army force had only started forming in February-March  1941, only months earlier. This was the most critical force for any invasion of Europe. The divisions in this force had plenty of tanks, especially those in the Western Military Districts. But this was simply because the USSR had the biggest tank park in the world due to its pre-war production going back to the early 1930s. I have no doubt that Suvorov sticks to these raw tank numbers, most of these were T-26s and BT types only because this is what was mostly produced. However, over 80 percent of these divisions were barely mobile in June 1941! Most were still actually forming and, incredibly, only one mechanised corps in the entire Red Army had actually done any pre-war divisional sized manoeuvres by June 1941! All this is detailed in extreme detail in Volume IIIA for each division for anyone who really wants to know the facts. These divisions had barely mobile artillery, most had no trucks for their infantry, most had almost no mobile  workshop and repair facilities for their tanks, many had almost none at all yet, etc. The list goes on and on.

Many of these so called tank and mechanised divisions were far less mobile than the standard German infantry divisions they faced in June 1941. In fact we find that the average German infantry division that invaded the USSR in June 1941 had considerably more trucks and other types of vehicles than the average Soviet tank and mechanised division. Yet the German infantry divisions were apparently horse-drawn according to most western literature.  What people don’t realise is that the vast majority of Soviet tanks and mechanised  forces in 1941 were destroyed by German infantry divisions. In many cases the German infantry divisions, which almost all had a  motorised anti-tank and reconnaissance battalion, moved faster than the floundering and barely formed tank and mechanised divisions (in the 2nd defensive echelon),  and encircled them! These Soviet divisions never even got to see a German tank, as the German panzer divisions had already moved far eastwards. The biggest actual killer of Soviet tanks in 1941 was the much misaligned little 36mm PaK 36, called the ‘door knocker’ in post-war literature in the West, in German infantry divisions, and the result of breakdowns and abandonment by  the Red Army tankers because there was never any infrastructure(in the barely formed divisions to keep them going.

And yet, despite all this, Suvorov maintains that this force was going to attack and run over Western Europe in June 1941. It is really a joke!  I believe Suvorov is banking on people’s general ignorance and sensational revisionism to sell books! In reality, the Red Army in June 1941 would barely have reached the others side of Poland against the Wehrmacht in 1941 before it ran out of steam at the operational level. It would have then been promptly encircled by the many-times-more combat ready Wehrmacht and annihilated. The Soviets and Stalin were many things in the summer of 1941, but they were not that stupid.

I am all for revisionist history, but only if it is carefully researched and thought out. For example, despite the apparent crazy numbers that apparently make Hitler look nuts to attack the USSR, you have to take into account all the factors. Hitler always planned to “destroy the Bolshevik menace to Western Civilisation” from the very earliest days: he made this very clear. The German OKH new the Soviets were preparing to attack at some point, but would not be anywhere near ready by June 1941. This was also why Stalin was so diplomatically passive at this time: he did not want to prematurely trigger a military conflict until at least 1942. Even the Germans were surprised how fast France had fallen. They also knew the state of the Red Army as they had studied their recent operation.

Thus, despite their underestimating the Soviet raw numbers of tanks and aircraft, they actually accurately estimated the Red Army’s readiness, training, logistics and C&C. With these factors and many others I have not included, they laid their plans, and ultimately came much closer to defeating the USSR than most people realise. With a few different strategic-level and operational-level decisions, I believe the Axis forces might very well have defeated the USSR by mid-1942, or at least enforced some type of Vichy French type treaty. Stalin, of course, would have likely met his end.  In that sense, Hitler waiting until 1942 to attack a much stronger Red Army and VVS was definitely not a good idea.

Also, yes, I believe in the longer term that Stalin was definitely planning to conquer Western Europe. As I said, I do not have a problem with revisionist history as such, as long as it stands up to some close scrutiny.

Labels: ,

70 Comments:

Blogger Ledford Ledford June 13, 2018 11:14 AM  

I haven't finished Icebreaker yet, so I'll read this post after I have my own thoughts.

Anonymous Anonymous June 13, 2018 11:16 AM  

Oy vey, if the Germans had won WW2... we wouldn't have trannies, homos and pedophiles inside our elementary schools. In an alternative universe of Axis victory, would even small towns in Ohio have Holocaust Monuments? Somehow I doubt it.

Blogger Hammerli280 June 13, 2018 11:23 AM  

I tend to agree with the idea that the Soviets were going to attack in 1942. 1941 was a rebuilding year. But there has never been much doubt that the Soviets intended to attack the Germans at some point.

Blogger pyrrhus June 13, 2018 11:24 AM  

Interesting! As usual, the truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle......
But I continue to be amazed at the level of nonsense we were taught as "history" in secondary school... No mention ever of the Russians seizing half of Poland at the same time Hitler invaded, and the allies refusing to declare war on Uncle Joe....

Blogger Looking Glass June 13, 2018 11:33 AM  

If we look at the German position, they very reasonably viewed the situation as a Soviet attack was coming "sooner than later". With that assumption, it makes sense the German actions. Rather than being "Hitler did something stupid" category, it was a logical decision given the eventual reality. Since the early fighting of WW2 showed Offense was being Defense, for the time period, whoever attacked first was likely to be the victor. And, considering how close it was to a German victory, that assessment was correct.

Given the US entry into WW2 in Dec 1941, a 1942 Soviet invasion would have likely happened anyway.

@4 pyrrhus

Those communist influence agents did their job, and we'll be cleaning up the resultant evil mess for a few more centuries.

Blogger Brett baker June 13, 2018 11:42 AM  

NO. We'd be bragging about them, to show "We are not Nazis".

Blogger Brett baker June 13, 2018 11:42 AM  

NO. We'd be bragging about them, to show "We are not Nazis".

Blogger Hans Maulwurf June 13, 2018 11:47 AM  

@2MickDundee: Franco ruled in Spain until the 70's and still all modern vices exist there today. In the unlikely event that Nazi Rule would have lasted longer there would have been much the same change because the root cause (lack of belief) would be there.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother June 13, 2018 12:00 PM  

Read The Pink Swastika before you crow too much about Nazi moral purity.

Blogger TroubleSpeak June 13, 2018 12:03 PM  

OT: is there any reason why the .it, .sk, etc. mirrors of this site all redirect back to the .com domain now? I'm having a hard time visiting because my mobile carrier blocks the .com version and the browser redirects me there every time now.

Blogger S1AL June 13, 2018 12:12 PM  

"Interesting! As usual, the truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle......
But I continue to be amazed at the level of nonsense we were taught as "history" in secondary school... No mention ever of the Russians seizing half of Poland at the same time Hitler invaded, and the allies refusing to declare war on Uncle Joe...."

Seems you had a crappy teacher, then. Mine made sure to emphasize that Churchill wanted to keep going all the way to the Pacific after Germany fell.

"Oy vey, if the Germans had won WW2... we wouldn't have trannies, homos and pedophiles inside our elementary schools."

You really should read more about the rapid decline in sexual mores that came with the Nazis.

Blogger Salt June 13, 2018 12:19 PM  

S1AL wrote:You really should read more about the rapid decline in sexual mores that came with the Nazis.

I understand Hitler saw some interesting hanky panky at the hotel the early morning Ernst Röhm was arrested (night of the long knives)

Blogger Ostar June 13, 2018 12:19 PM  

Interesting that 1942 keeps popping up as the readiness point. I recall reading that Italy and Germany had earlier calculated that 1942 was when their military and industrial bases would be ready for a war footing, and Italy was upset that the Germans forced it in 1939.

Blogger Stilicho June 13, 2018 12:33 PM  

Very interesting. While Soviet invasion of of the West was not imminent, it was planned and Stalin was preparing for it. Looks like Germany took a smart calculated risk and struck when it had the best chance of victory.

Blogger dvdivx June 13, 2018 12:42 PM  

Considering Stalins father was on all likelihood a Rothschild he probably had some help outside of the USSR. My guess was a long term plan for the invasion of western Europe by the Soviets but Hitler threw a wrench in the plans. Nothing could have saved the Germans as they and Japan didn't have the natural resources for any long term war production nor the industrial capacity of the US.

Blogger Nick Siekierski June 13, 2018 12:42 PM  

I'm about 20% into Stephen Kotkin's recently released "Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941", Vol. II of his exhaustive trilogy on Stalin. What struck me immediately about Suvorov's "Chief Culprit" was the lack of primary sources, or apparently any archival research on this subject. Each of Kotkin's volumes contains thousands of footnotes, the product of years of meticulous research, much of it based on Stalin's own words. Suvorov simply hasn't put the work in to support his radical claims. I don't doubt he has some interesting insights, but like Askey noted, there seems to be a lot of selectivity and sensationalism at play. Something like "Barbarossa 1941: Reframing Hitler’s Invasion of Stalin’s Soviet Empire" by Frank Ellis looks like a far entry point into this subject and based on reviews, it provides an in-depth analysis of Suvarov's thesis.

Blogger Looking Glass June 13, 2018 12:50 PM  

Stilicho wrote:Very interesting. While Soviet invasion of of the West was not imminent, it was planned and Stalin was preparing for it. Looks like Germany took a smart calculated risk and struck when it had the best chance of victory.



Right idea, bad execution. Which is much of history in a nutshell.

An interesting reflection on 4th Gen Warfare is that we seem to normally hold the "attack before someone else attacks" countries in lower regard for the action. We talk about the Israeli vs Diaspora split a lot, around here, and much of it stems from the Six-Day War. For the Progressive Mindset, attacking first is too much. Ah, yeah, victim mentality stuff.

Blogger Tars Tarkusz June 13, 2018 12:52 PM  

If a Soviet attack was imminent, whether in 1942 or 1942, the decision to invade was probably a reasonable one. After all, why wait until the Soviets have fully mobilized, armed and trained millions of men, all while Britain was building up its military?

The objections raised in this essay seem to be little more than nit-picking.

If an additional comment shows up, I apologize.

Blogger het1 June 13, 2018 1:19 PM  

Between general plan of "conquer Western countries" and concrete plans of war campaign against them there is a big leap.
Stalin really have planed broad spectrum of subversive activities in Western countries - especially after elaboration of "People Fronts"'s tactic, at Komintern Congress in 1935. He believed in possibility of inner communist revolutions in Western countries - especially because there were many active communists, Soviet spies, and fellow travelers in these countries.

But as for possibility of Stalin's plans of straight war campaign in 1930s against Western countries – first of all, between USSR and Western countries there were Poland, and Poles defeated Red Army in 1920.
As for Stalin's plans after September 1939 – there are many evidences that he afraid even to provoke Hitler. Would he attack Hitler in 1942, if Hitler did not attack in 1941? This is only guessing and alternate history. History do not know subjunctive mood. For example, we can suppose that Moscow and Berlin made ally against "western plutocracies" – Hitler and Stalin often spoke against them. Meanwhile this theme (union between USSR and Germany and common battle against England) is very popular in contemporary Russian s-f.

And there is a very big leap between "possibility", or "it seems", or "I believe" and real plans – fixed in documents or orders.

> From a moral perspective, this has always left a ‘bad taste in my mouth’:

Well, what about ‘bad taste in mouth’ when Poland have occupied part of Ukraine and Belarus in 1920?
Meanwhile, part of Ukraine and Belarus that have been occupied in 1920 by Poland, belonged to Poland three centuries ago. But this part belonged to Moscow ‎kingdom- Russian Empire from the middle of XVII century to 1917. Such is "moral".

Blogger Shevtar June 13, 2018 1:30 PM  

Much better case for why the beginning of the war was so catastrophic for Soviets is presented by other Russian author Mark Solonin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Solonin unfortunately as far as I know never translated into English.

Blogger exfarmkid June 13, 2018 1:40 PM  

Fabulous essay. Great blog.

Blogger qualitycontrol June 13, 2018 1:50 PM  

The question is 'Would Germany have surrendered after a soviet capture of Berlin'.

Anonymous Anonymous June 13, 2018 1:50 PM  

"You really should read more about the rapid decline in sexual mores that came with the Nazis."

Were they worse than the sexual mores that came with the (((Weimar Republic)))?

Do you know what kind of books were burned in the Nazi bonfires? Done any research here?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institut_f%C3%BCr_Sexualwissenschaft

https://hornet.com/stories/nazi-trans-movement-burned/

(PS: Yes, I know the Sturmabteilung was filled with fags)

Blogger Shevtar June 13, 2018 1:53 PM  

The disputes about Suvorov's hypothesis is raging among Russian readers since 1991 when his first book "Icebreaker" was published, there developed a whole sub-genre called Anti-Suvorov in war history literature in Russia. Suvorov's views have evolved over the years, in his later books he radically changed his views about Georgy Zhukov and it is a pity that almost none of his later books is available in English, it gives a skewed impression about his hypothesis among English/American readers. But as I wrote in my previous post much more substantial case made by other Russian writer Mark Solonin

Blogger Akulkis June 13, 2018 1:54 PM  

Homosexuality 2as so rampant among German men that evre in the 1890's, the rest of Europe called it "the German disease"

Blogger Akulkis June 13, 2018 1:56 PM  

And image search for Goering in drag

The results are a slew of studio portraits, in at least 3 different outfits.

Blogger The Chortling June 13, 2018 1:58 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger The Chortling June 13, 2018 2:00 PM  

Allan Bloom hinted at but didn't quite name it outright that while Germany had fallen militarily, it had won the war by exporting German intellectuals to the West en masse as the Nazis took over. They invaded and overtook the rest of the West's universities...

So the mores of Germany, including "Nazi" were exported and seeded the West more thoroughly than if war never happened.

Blogger Stilicho June 13, 2018 2:01 PM  

@18 Tars, it makes one question why Germany invaded Poland. Was it a setup by Stalin as Suvarov argues or was it that Germany thought it necessary in order to successfully invade Russia later? Germany had to know what the likely response of France and Britain would be to an invasion of Poland, so that does lend credence to Suvarov even if there wasn't an imminent attack coming from Russia. Otherwise, the invasion of Poland could have been delayed until Germany was ready to keep going into Russia. On the other hand, Germany could have decided to get Poland and France out of the way first to avoid a two front war (relying on Channel to keep Britain at bay) which if true would undermine Suvarov's argument.

Blogger Hammerli280 June 13, 2018 2:15 PM  

Another factor in the timing of the German attack was the way the Anglo-American side of the fight was developing.

When you dig into it, Hitler's grand strategy made more sense than it's normally given credit for. He understood that the Allies had won the First World War at sea, with a naval blockade that starved Germany into submission. Hitler's grand strategy was therefore based on the idea of acquiring a land empire with enough resources to be immune to seapower. Unfortunately for him, Churchill and FDR weren't playing...they intended to scupper the scheme before Hitler's resources reached critical mass. So Hitler decided to attack the Soviets, which would both clear up that threat and gain him significant agricultural, oil, mineral, and labor resources for the fight with the Anglo-American coalition.

The Soviets then used the traditional Russian method...back up 500 km and let the European invader's lousy logistics trip him up. Then counterattack. It didn't help that Hitler forgot one of the essential strategic rules for an outnumbered combatant, that force preservation comes first. You don't commit to a fight in Stalingrad - indeed, you don't commit to a fight anywhere that you don't have an advantage in fighting power.

See the generalship of George Washington for an example of how to do this...and of Robert Lee (or Prince Charles Edward Stuart) of how to NOT run things.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd June 13, 2018 3:01 PM  

Stilicho wrote:Was it a setup by Stalin as Suvarov argues or was it that Germany thought it necessary in order to successfully invade Russia later?

I don't see these as a dichotomy at all. Hitler no doubt saw Poland as a necessary first step to lebensraum. Stalin could well have seen it as a necessary first step to getting the West to exhaust itself in a re-enactment of WWI. The two go together like cake and ice cream. Hitler had to do it someday, and Stalin had to lead him on to do it sooner rather than later.

In hindsight, neither Hitler nor Stalin got what they expected, but Stalin probably got the bigger surprise - blitzkrieg instead of trench warfare, and suddenly Germany's Western frontier was the Atlantic, rather than the Ruhr. Oops. It's a good thing that Roosevelt was a commie, eager to save Stalin's bacon. Stalin certainly survived the surprises, and Hitler and his adopted nation certainly did not.

Blogger CarpeOro June 13, 2018 3:28 PM  

To be honest, I thought the Deep Battle doctrine was a later development by the Soviets (maybe I am mixing it in my memory with other doctrines based on air-mobile assets). That could place a different spin on things as the way things played out with Operation Barbarossa - more a poor application of the doctrine based on misassessment of the forces involved. Still failing to understand their own weaknesses is still a failure any way you slice it. General Winter still came to the Soviets aid.

Blogger Robert What? June 13, 2018 3:50 PM  

WW2 in Europe was a tragic, pointless White on White fratricide. Ultimately the only winners of WW2 were the Jews. I can't imagine how the world could possibly have been any worse today had Germany and the Nazis won.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey June 13, 2018 4:39 PM  

@The Chortling

Allan Bloom hinted at but didn't quite name it outright that while Germany had fallen militarily, it had won the war by exporting German intellectuals to the West en masse as the Nazis took over. They invaded and overtook the rest of the West's universities...

I assume your post is meant to be satirical (or perhaps that (((Allan Bloom))) did indeed make this rather transparent attempt to divert attention from The Tribe's role), but just in case:

That would be (((German))) "intellectuals" who were exported to the West as the National Socialists took over. Like the (((Frankfurt School))) and the notorious (((Magnus Hirschfeld))).

Needless to say, the hypothesis that the Nazis were fleeing from the Nazi takeover is somewhat lacking in face validity...

Blogger Andrew Pelham June 13, 2018 4:47 PM  

@32: Deep Battle was developed by Soviet strategists in the 20's and 30's, and is one of the first Doctrines to take into consideration "Operations" at a time when everyone else was focused on "Strategy" and "Tactics". It also stressed "Combined Arms" at all levels, which was a very radical departure at the time. With the Officers Purge of 1936-1937 it fell out of favor, but one of the side effects of the doctrine was the "Cult of the Offensive" mentality the RKKA as a whole adopted, which affected how the Russians reacted in 1941.

Harrison's The Russian Way of War: Operational Art 1904–1940 is a good book on the subject IMO, there are others out there as well.

Blogger Daniel June 13, 2018 4:50 PM  

Question: Using July 1940 as a baseline, what percentage of the Soviet Union's industrial output (not mineral or petroleum output) was under German control by July 1942? 25%, 40%, 50%? Anybody have a good guess?

From David Glantz, noted in his very long, detailed, but far from exhaustive four volume study on the battle of Stalingrad: in the dire year of 1942, the Soviet Union was able to produce approximately 20,000 battle tanks while the Germans were able to produce about 4,000 in that year. Similar proportions relate to other weapons and material: planes, artillery, rockets, machine guns, etc. This is remarkable, hence my interest on how much of their base line industrial output the Soviet Union was able to draw upon, even after suffering devastating defeats with the loss of so much industry and workforce.

Blogger Andrew Pelham June 13, 2018 4:53 PM  

@32: Well, I shouldn't say it fell out of favor, the Purges removed most ofs it's adherent's, practitioners, and teachers. As WW2 went on the Soviets made their way back to it, but their first attempts in 1942 were abject failures. Operation URANUS and the first part of the battles collectively known as Third Kharkov were the first successes the Soviets had with Deep Battle, Operation BAGRATION in 1944 is probably the best example of Deep Battle in action achieving the desired results.

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 4:55 PM  

Salt wrote:S1AL wrote:You really should read more about the rapid decline in sexual mores that came with the Nazis.

I understand Hitler saw some interesting hanky panky at the hotel the early morning Ernst Röhm was arrested (night of the long knives)


Look, this is really absurd. It's well known that Weimar was morally decadent (live sex acts performed on the stage in Berlin cabarets, ready acceptance of sexual deviance, etc.) How could the Nazis have lowered those standards? Röhm's homosexuality was well known among the leadership of the Nazi party, and was one of the reasons why he had become an embarrassment and had to be killed.

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 5:14 PM  

Ostar wrote:Interesting that 1942 keeps popping up as the readiness point. I recall reading that Italy and Germany had earlier calculated that 1942 was when their military and industrial bases would be ready for a war footing, and Italy was upset that the Germans forced it in 1939.

The German General Staff put the year in which Germany would be ready to sustain a major war much later than this. I've seen various years as late as 1952 cited; it was certainly no earlier than 1944.

That is why Hitler kept having to reassure his generals that he had no intention of starting a major war. In The Blitzkrieg Legend, Karl-Heinz Frieser says:

Hitler's military advisors had warned him that the outbreak of a new world war, and this early stage, would lead to a catastrophe. According to what Raeder told the officers of the submarine fleet on 22 July [presumably 1939], Hitler noted that there must under no circumstance be a war with England because that would be tantamount to Finis Germaniae (the end of Germany).

Here's how the same author cites the observations of the translator who rendered the English declaration of war after Hitler invaded Poland:

After I finished, there was total silence...Hitler sat there as if petrified and stared straight ahead...He sat in his seat completely quiet and motionless. After a while, which seemed like an eternity to me, he turned to Ribbentrop who kept standing at the window as if frozen. 'What now?' Hitler asked his Foreign Minister with a furious gaze in his eyes as if ... Ribbentrop had misinformed him about the reaction of the British. Softly, Ribbentrop replied: "I assume that the French will shortly give us an identical ultimatum." ... Göring turned to me and said: "If we lose this war, may Heaven have mercy on us!"

Doesn't sound as though things went according to plan, does it?

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 5:23 PM  

Stilicho wrote:Very interesting. While Soviet invasion of of the West was not imminent, it was planned and Stalin was preparing for it. Looks like Germany took a smart calculated risk and struck when it had the best chance of victory.


Both sides would have been idiots to rule out the possibility of war, so both sides planned and prepared for it. I still don't think that--contra Suvorov--Hitler's invasion of Russia was in any way forced. The problem was that by 1941, Hitler was no longer listening to his generals. After all, they had been consistently wrong. They had whined about the disastrous outcomes of every one of his initiatives, from sending troops into the Rhineland to invading France, and they had been wrong every single time. So why should he listen to them now? Every time Hitler threw the die, he won. Why would Russia be any different? Hitler was given to profound mood swings, and his series of victories had landed him at a manic high in 1941. When explaining historical events, we mustn't rule out simple human failings--such as hubris.

Blogger Ceerilan June 13, 2018 5:26 PM  

One thing I have never seen an adequate explanation for is what concessions approximately would Germany have had to make to achieve de jure peace with GB.

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 5:29 PM  

Nick Siekierski wrote:I'm about 20% into Stephen Kotkin's recently released "Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941", Vol. II of his exhaustive trilogy on Stalin. What struck me immediately about Suvorov's "Chief Culprit" was the lack of primary sources, or apparently any archival research on this subject. Each of Kotkin's volumes contains thousands of footnotes, the product of years of meticulous research, much of it based on Stalin's own words. Suvorov simply hasn't put the work in to support his radical claims. I don't doubt he has some interesting insights, but like Askey noted, there seems to be a lot of selectivity and sensationalism at play. Something like "Barbarossa 1941: Reframing Hitler’s Invasion of Stalin’s Soviet Empire" by Frank Ellis looks like a far entry point into this subject and based on reviews, it provides an in-depth analysis of Suvarov's thesis.


You're right. I got the same perception of superficiality when I read Suvorov. His theses are sensational, but his research isn't that impressive. On should, however, keep in mind that when he first started writing about his thesis, he was stuck in the West as an exile, and Soviet archives were inaccessible to everyone in any case. Things are different now, and we really need to ask for more documentation before accepting claims like Suvorov's that a Russian invasion of Germany was imminent in 1941.

You say Ellis examines Suvorov's thesis? I'll have to take a look.

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 5:37 PM  

het1 wrote:Well, what about ‘bad taste in mouth’ when Poland have occupied part of Ukraine and Belarus in 1920?

You mean those peace-loving, helpless Poles took over other people's territories? Why, that's impossible, sir! I'm sure there's also absolutely no truth that Poland took a chunk of Czechoslovakia (the Zaolzie region) after the Munich Agreement of 1938. Why, it says in all the histories how those mean Germans attacked peaceful, benign Poland without any reason whatever!

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 5:58 PM  

Stilicho wrote:@18 Tars, it makes one question why Germany invaded Poland. Was it a setup by Stalin as Suvarov argues or was it that Germany thought it necessary in order to successfully invade Russia later?

Neither. I have seen no evidence that Hitler was looking any further than Poland in 1939. He didn't have a Timetable For World Conquest. He had plenty of reasons for wanting to get rid of Poland. Well, two major reasons, anyway: the Corridor and Danzig. The Corridor cut off all land communication between East Prussia and the rest of Germany, and occuppied land that was populated by ethnic Germans. Danzig was a German city that had been removed from German sovereignty by the Versailles Diktat. There may also have been truth to the German claims that ethnic Germans were discriminated against by the Polish authorities (though of course no "legitimate" contemporary historian will even consider the possibility).

Those were very good reasons of state for hostility to Poland. Whether the conflict could have been solved by negotiations we'll never know, because Poland insisted on having bad relations with both its neighbors.

We know in hindsight that invading Poland was a poor decision by Hitler, because it brought on something he absolutely did not want: a major war with France and England (and the English colonies). Hitler should have waited after the British government issued its "Poland guarantee".

Some historians (e.g. John Lukacs) have suggested that Hitler was informed of a medical diagnosis, perhaps in the mid 1930s, that caused him to think he was short of time, and that whatever he had to do, he had best do quickly. We can see in those late "Berlin bunker" movies where he awards Iron Crosses to Hitler Youth that his hand is violently shaking, as though he had late-stage Parkinsons or a similar nervous disorder. So it's possible that Hitler was over-hasty because he was literally short of time. Of course, that's just speculation.

Blogger Sidehill Dodger June 13, 2018 6:11 PM  

Ceerilan wrote:One thing I have never seen an adequate explanation for is what concessions approximately would Germany have had to make to achieve de jure peace with GB.

After the British declaration of war? Germany would have had to lie down and die. The fact that Hitler tried repeatedly to make peace with Britain has been suppressed by official historians (though they did a poor job of it; it's hard to hide the obvious.) Hitler didn't want war with Britain to begin with, and he would have gladly ended it--and would probably have given back France to get peace (with modified borders, to be sure). Why do you think they kept Rudolph Hess locked up in Spandau prison all by himself for all those years? For "crimes against peace", of all things! (And then the uncooperative fellow simply would not die. Until he committed Arkancide at 93. Hanged himself with an electrical cord. Right.)

Hess flew to Britain in a German air force plane to make peace. When the British threw him into prison and held him incommunicado, Hitler could not officially acknowledge Hess' mission, but the whole thing makes no sense unless Hess was actually on a peace mission and Churchill absolutely did not want peace.

To top it off, Hess was taken out of action so early in the war that it's ludicrous to assert he could have had time to be involved in any war crimes. And considering that much more obvious "criminals" were released after a couple of years, well why would they want to keep the guy locked away forever?

Blogger tublecane June 13, 2018 6:19 PM  

@17- The 6-Day War was definitely a seminal event in turning a bunch of Jewish liberals into "neoconservatives," who at least act as if Israel is their country.

Blogger Matamoros June 13, 2018 6:22 PM  

Vox, why don't you get in touch with John Mosier and ask for his comments?

Also, I read somewhere that the minutes of Stalin's talk at Frunze on launching the war in early July 1941 has been found.

Blogger tublecane June 13, 2018 6:31 PM  

@45- The Nuremberg Trials were of course a farce. Hess couldn't be implicated directly in war crimes, but his prosecutors worked from the old show me the man, "I'll show you the crime" template. Six degrees of criminal separation logic.

One of the allies conceits was that the entire war was Germany's fault, and that the Nazis plotted as early as the Beer Hall Putsch to take over the country, then start a "war of aggression," then conquer the world or whatever.

Hess, having been a Nazi official, had his nane on documents connected to the supposed grand schemes. For instance, mandating military service, the Nuremberg laws, the incorporation of conquered territory, etc.

In that sense, he was held to be a conspirator and just as guilty as the rest.

Blogger tublecane June 13, 2018 6:32 PM  

@48- Well, not *just* as guilty, considering he wasn't given a death sentence. But you know what I mean.

Blogger VFM #7634 June 13, 2018 6:36 PM  

Sounds like Askey is picking nits. So the Soviets weren't ready to invade in 1941, but would be in 1942, certainly by 1943. The Germans obviously figured they had their one and only chance during the summer of 1941. That would only make sense, and be consistent with both Askey's and Suvorov's points.

Blogger Ken Prescott June 13, 2018 8:49 PM  

After the British declaration of war? Germany would have had to lie down and die.

Not really. HITLER would have to lie down and die, not Germany.

Hitler had to go because he'd broken one too many agreements. As long as he was in charge, nobody was willing to cut a deal after 1 September 1939. Unfortunately, he was Reich Chancellor for Life, which kind leaves only one option for removing him from office . . .

Churchill probably would have had to go as well just to keep his name clear. But given the British constitutional system, it would've been very proper, no blood, just Georgius Rex saying I-say-old-chap-your-services-are-no-longer-required-as-PM, and Winston would've quietly returned to the back benches of the Tory caucus when he wasn't too busy painting or writing.

Blogger Crew June 13, 2018 9:09 PM  

@47: Is this what you are referring to?

http://vho.org/GB/Journals/JHR/19/6/Michaels40.html

This most recent compendium of Russian revisionist writings deepens our understanding of Stalin’s preparations for a military first-strike against Germany in the summer of 1941. The strategic deployment plan, approved by Stalin at a conference on May 15, 1941, with General Staff chief Georgi Zhukov and Defense Commissar Semen Timoshenko, called for a Blitzkrieg: ...

Blogger IncoherentM June 13, 2018 9:38 PM  

I don't have anything to add, but I enjoyed listening to the related Darkstream and enjoy the insight of this post and introduction to Nigel Askey's work.

Blogger Bobiojimbo June 13, 2018 10:44 PM  

It's enthralling to watch a master at work, and read one so articulate. Thank you for sharing, Vox, and thank you, Mr. Askey, for your work.

Blogger Samuel Nock June 13, 2018 11:10 PM  

Ron Unz also did a large write-up (positive) of Suvorov a week or so ago:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-stalin-almost-conquered-europe/

Blogger Remonstrances June 14, 2018 3:24 AM  

From everything I've read, this is a far more reasonable and accurate estimation of the reality of the situation than either Suvorov's or the orthodox point of view.

Blogger wreckage June 14, 2018 4:22 AM  

In any case, my nerd-rage aside, thanks to Askey and Vox for the post, and to all here for the commentary. Most educational!

And now the nerd-rage:

There's not much point talking about "nit picking" when the entire argument is about the specific cause of a known event.
It's all nit-picking, it has to be; Suvorov's theory is nit-picking to start with. We all know what happened when, the question is why, and what preceded it? The discussion at hand is whether the known Russian deployment signified readiness for aggressive action.

Readiness.

That is a matter of logistics and details.

People who don't know talk tactics, people who THINK they know talk strategy, people who actually know talk logistics.

It's perfectly valid to say it didn't look this way to the Germans, or that Stalin really did want an aggressive deployment but hadn't gotten it yet, but it's just stupid to dismiss logistical detail as the decisive factor in determining when Stalin was going to attack.

It doesn't mean the book is worthless or the hypothesis is entirely wrong, and Askey says as much, acknowledging that the book is entertaining, acknowledging that the overarching hypothesis is actually correct - that Stalin did indeed plan to conquer all of Europe, and Hitler, and Churchill, for examples, both believed Stalin was doing so.

Top post, again, thankyou for the high quality content.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 14, 2018 7:59 AM  

@41

"One thing I have never seen an adequate explanation for is what concessions approximately would Germany have had to make to achieve de jure peace with GB."


None. Churchill made Germany the priority for the following reason:

Everyone could tell that Communism can't work. Germany, on the other hand, was a real threat, because Nazi-ism might just work.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 14, 2018 8:09 AM  

"Why do you think they kept Rudolph Hess locked up in Spandau prison all by himself for all those years? For "crimes against peace", of all things! (And then the uncooperative fellow simply would not die. Until he committed Arkancide at 93. Hanged himself with an electrical cord. Right.) "


And when you consider that a truly monstrous war criminal -- the owner of the Krupp (family) Steelworks was let out after only a few years.... in fact, nobody else stayed in Spandau more than a decade or so... what happened to Hess is not merely tragic, but criminal in and of itself.

Blogger Ledford Ledford June 14, 2018 10:56 AM  

Here are my first thoughts after just reading Suvorov’s Icebreaker, 2008 edition. I’ve not yet read Nigel Askey’s post above. My questions may already be answered, but I thought it more interesting and fair to pose them in advance of reading any expert review or criticism.

Suvorov makes a very strong case that the Red Army of 1941 was built for offense. The lack of prepared defensive positions, the destruction of the expensive Stalin Line, the design of tanks, airplanes, etc., and the massive airborne formations all show the Soviet Union expected to attack, not defend. Not having studied the matter closely, I can’t speak to the details, but it’s hard to imagine a defensive strategy that would fit with the nature of Soviet forces. Anyone who lived through the Cold War would find this familiar. No one expected NATO to strike through Warsaw Pact lines into the DDR, Poland and beyond. We lived in fear of the Red Army and allies crashing through an irradiated Fulda Gap.

Was the plan to attack Germany in 1941? Suvorov believes so, and enters as evidence various press statements, unread secret orders made obsolete by Barbarossa, uncharacteristic silences and omissions by Stalin and his staff, etc. He describes in detail mobilizations, troop movements, supply, fuel and ammunition shipments that are only consistent with a massive offensive. Once set in motion, he says, this attack had to be launched. With manpower in uniform and not on the farm, famine would eventually ensue.

According to Suvorov, Stalin outfoxed Hitler with the Molotov – Ribbentrop partition of Poland. After Hitler was at war with Britain, his new border with the Soviets left him at Stalin’s mercy. Having realized this, Hitler takes the almost hopeless gamble of Barbarossa, hoping to knock out Stalin before an inevitable Soviet invasion.

The Red Army’s offensive orientation is his strongest and easiest case. It’s much simpler to demonstrate the nature of the Russian armed forces in 1941 than to reveal the intentions of Stalin in building that force. An offensive force can attack at a time of it’s choosing. A defensive force must prepare for the enemy’s decision. You get mugged when the mugger wants to mug you. What did Stalin want to do? When did he want to do it?

Key questions for me:

Does Suvorov’s description of Soviet deployments and movements in May and June of 1941 check out? The fuel deployment is critical, as without gas (also for the Soviets diesel), tanks and trucks don’t move. Someone tell if the author is right. I don’t know.

How much does he cherry pick orders, statements, speeches, etc. to build his case? Can you make a good case for something else if you look at things he leaves out? I don’t know.

A note if you decide to read the book: Suvorov hates Stalin, and he goes to great pains to demonstrate how much and why. If you, like most, already hate Stalin, it gets a bit tedious. You can skip a lot of paragraphs and get to the meat.

All in all, a fascinating hypothesis, and a very important question.

Blogger Blunt Force June 14, 2018 11:06 AM  

@VD
Are you familiar with Guido Giacomo Preparata's assertion that the Anglo-American-Jewish club created two world wars, financing both Bolshevism and Hitler in order to destroy any chance that Germany becomes a hegemonic power able to rival and possibly threaten the British empire ? If so, do you think it's all conjecture or is there anything to it?


Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich
by Guido Giacomo Preparata

https://www.amazon.com/Conjuring-Hitler-Britain-America-Third/dp/074532181X

Blogger Ledford Ledford June 14, 2018 11:53 AM  

Having now read Mr. Askey's post (thanks for that), he mostly confirms what I thought before reading Suvorov. Stalin was thinking of attack, but wasn't ready and willing in Summer 1941.

I disagree that Britain and France were remiss in not declaring war on both Germany and the USSR upon the invasion of Poland. If you feel you have to fight enemies more powerful than you, pick only one.

The commenter above who defended nitpicking is correct. Suvorov's case for a July 1941 Soviet invasion plan depends on details of movements, deployments, supply positioning, etc. I think Mr. Askey is correct in attacking the case on these details.

I'd like someone to comment meaningfully on Suvorov's description of fuel deployment. Mr. Day cited it earlier, here it is again:

Marshal of the Soviet Union Kurkotkin informs us that in early June, “as proposed by the General Staff, the Soviet Government approved a plan for transferring 100,000 tons of fuel from the country’s interior” (“ Soviet Armed Forces Logistics in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945,” p. 59). In all likelihood that decision was one of many more just like it: “At railway junctions and even between stations some 8,500 tank wagons piled up, loaded with fuel” (ibid., p. 173). Even if just 20-ton tankers were used – the smallest – we are talking here not about 100,000 tons, but more. Standard, at the time, however, were not 20-, but rather 62-tonners. Still, even those 8,500 tank cars were only what was sitting at stations, waiting to be unloaded during the opening days of the war. You further have to factor in what enemy air power had destroyed at railway stations already during the war’s first few minutes and hours.

Suvorov, Viktor. Icebreaker. WHO STARTED THE SECOND WORLD WAR? (Kindle Locations 4030-4036). PL UK Publishing. Kindle Edition.


Any Soviet fuel nerds out there? You know you the bait is irresistible.

Blogger rudie June 14, 2018 7:04 PM  

Jörg Echternkamp and Stefan Martens, editors. Experience and Memory: The Second World War in Europe. The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Historical Association: «The simplifying views of the former Soviet military scout and later GRU (Soviet military intelligence) defector Viktor Suvorov, alias Vladimir Rezun, which some conservative historians support, are not convincingly confirmed by the available data. The core idea is adapted from National Socialist propaganda… Suvorov alias Rezun searches for contradictions, for deviations from the facts, and for the concealment of certain events in the memoirs of Red Army commanders, and constructs a conspiracy theory of sorts from these conclusions. In fact, the only thing proven here is that human memory is fallible and that memoirs can only be consulted as one type of source among various others»
David E. Murphy. What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa. Yale University Press, 2006. «The idea that Stalin intended to attack Germany in July 1941 is put forward by Viktor Suvorov in his book Ledokol: Kio naclial vtoruiu vohui? (Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?).» Suvorov claims that Stalin failed because Hitler got wind of the plan and launched Operation Barbarossa, a preemptive strike. This thesis started a controversy that continues, but most historians in Russia and abroad reject it as unsupported by evidence, while there is overwhelming archival and other data demonstrating that the Red Army was incapable of mounting an offensive of the magnitude required. Nevertheless, some historians have defended the idea. "
Walter Moss. A history of Russia: Since 1855. Anthem Press, 2004. « During the 1990s, some historians accepted Viktor Suvorov’s argument that Soviet defenses were unprepared for a German attack because Stalin was preparing to attack Germany first and was therefore stressing offensive operations rather than defensive ones. Albert Weeks' recent study argues in a similar fashion. Most scholars, however, including Glantz, Gorodetsky, Ericson, and Uldricks, reject the Suvorov viewpoint.»
Philip Michael Hett Bell (Dep. of History University of Liverpool). The origins of the Second World War in Europe. Pearson Education, 2007. «Suvorov’s book has been generally dismissed, often with contempt. Two expert authorities have dismissed it as 'flimsy and fraudulent' and 'totally unfounded' … The Icebreaker thesis has no substance.»
David R. Stone. Soviet Intelligence on Barbarossa: The Limits of Intelligence History // Intelligence and statecraft: the use and limits of intelligence in international society. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. " Most serious historians, in Russia and the West, find Suvorov’s methods and conclusions beneath contempt, but the amount of effort devoted to proving them false is truly staggering.// In Russia, for example, the chief Russian military history journal published May 1941 directives from the Ministry of Defense ordering its military districts to draw up «a detailed plan lo defend the stale border» to "cover the mobilization, concentration, and deployment of troops, « along with the defense plans themselves of the Baltic, Western, Kiev, Odessa, and Leningrad Military Districts.1 The publication’s goal was clear and explicit: to refute Suvorov’s notion that Soviet war plans were anything other than defensive.».

The above are English-language references from https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Концепция_Виктора_Суворова

Blogger Dirk Manly June 14, 2018 7:33 PM  

How many of those criticizing Suvorov have had access to the documents, as Suvorov (says he) did?

Blogger Paulie Boy June 14, 2018 8:54 PM  

"The rapid decline in sexual mores", lol. You do know that Weimar preceded National Socialism?

Blogger Stephen St. Onge June 15, 2018 1:17 PM  

As I said before, the question of whether the U.S.S.R. was ready to attack in 1941 is irrelevant. What matters is whether Stalin was preparing to attack that year.

“Unfortunately, the Wehrmacht, as it was in 1941, could penetrate even hundreds of kilometres of such a defence in days, making all this look extremely vulnerable.”

What on earth does that mean? Has any army EVER advanced “hundreds of kilometers” in a day? The 4th Panzer, e.g., advanced about 45 kilometers a day for the first ten days.

If it means “hundreds of kilometers of front”, the remark appears pointless. Note that the Germans had smashed through the French deployment in 1940. Why would they think the Germans couldn’t rip big holes across large sections of front?

If Stalin and his General Staff thought the Red Army’s deployment in June of 1941 was equally suitable for attack and defense, it makes for interesting questions about timing. Stalin is on record, well supported by evidence since the fall of the Soviet Union,* saying he did NOT expect a German attack in 1941. So what were those troops along the border there for? I’ve yet to see a straight answer to this question by those who reject the hypothesis of a Soviet attack in 1941.

*OOH! I just LOVE to type “fall of the Soviet Union!” Almost as much as I like typing “fall of Nazi Germany!” OOH!

Blogger Stephen St. Onge June 15, 2018 1:23 PM  

16. Nick Siekierski
42. Sidehill Dodger
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Suvorov#Life_and_career “However, he states that he has never visited the countries of the former Soviet Union, fearing a pending search warrant and Soviet court conviction in absentia.”
Rather difficult to do archival research when attempting to visit the archives means arrest.
It’s also of questionable relevance. My information is that access to Soviet-era archives is tightly controlled, with material likely to embarrass the Soviet regime not available to outsiders. Documents available and partially quoted in the West are now reclassified and unavailable.

Blogger Mac June 15, 2018 1:23 PM  

Well, then, Hitler's mistake of not sending few more divisions to Rommel in 1941 to reach Iraq oil fields appears to be a really monstrual strategic blunder... Did he really believe that there is no difference between Kirkuk and Baku??!

Blogger Stephen St. Onge June 15, 2018 1:26 PM  

63. rudie
This is just arguing about words. In the modern world, no one prepares for wars of “conquest” or “aggression.” Nor do they need to. Tom Kratman once told me that the information and planning needed for a U.S. attack on Canada with intent to conquer it is essentially identical to that needed to support Canada against an attack from abroad.

Remember that Hitler launched his war against Poland with a phony attack by “Polish forces,” and produced their bodies. Except they were actually concentration camp inmates, dressed in Polish uniforms, then shot.

Similarly, Stalin claimed his attack on Finland was a response to a Finnish artillery attack on the U.S.S.R. This was dropped down the memory hole when it turned out Mannerheim had anticipated him, and pulled all artillery pieces out of range of the border before Stalin’s phony incident.

Which brings up a Suvorov claim. He says the U.S.S.R. wargamed the “defense” of the Soviet Union in the winter of 1940-’41. The games were done in three stages: Stage 1), The “Blue” forces invade and penetrate deeply till eventually stopped. Stage 2) The Red Army forces the invaders out of the country, with all troops on both sides back to the pre-war borders. Stage 3) The Red Army counter-invades, and conquers the aggressors. Only Stages 1 and 2 weren’t gamed, just ‘taken as read.’ Only Stage 3 was gamed out.

So, a “purely defensive” war plan, that just happens by sheer coincidence to be identical to the plan for an aggressive war on Germany its satellites. To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to.

Blogger Thucydides June 19, 2018 11:47 AM  

@30

"It didn't help that Hitler forgot one of the essential strategic rules for an outnumbered combatant, that force preservation comes first. You don't commit to a fight in Stalingrad - indeed, you don't commit to a fight anywhere that you don't have an advantage in fighting power."

While generally true, in this particular instance the Germans needed to hold Stalingrad in order to secure the northern flank against the Russians for their forces moving in on the Caucuses and attempting to secure the oil fields there. Stalingrad also was a road and rail nexus which, if under German control, would also make follow on operations in Southern Russia that much easier.

Often times, you end up having to make a bad choice because it is the "least worst" choice.

The article is quite fascinating, and many thanks to Vox for posting it.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts