This book is potentially interesting but I don’t really understand, what is being proven here:
Having bluffed and been able to conquer on the cheap until June 1941, you can see that in no way was Germany ready for a war on the scale it fought in Russia.
Okay so this is well known and detailed by Cooper amongst others. The German Army on the Eastern Front was tasked with way more than it was capable of handling – as they massively under-estimated the material and manpower strength of the Red Army. Hitler invaded the USSR with barely more tanks than he had for France, though in true Hitler style he created more panzer divisions, so the worst of both worlds - more non-combat troops and staffs and a drop in individual panzer division strength..…. but I digress.
He challenges the etched in stone belief that the Germans were swamped by the Russians and could not keep up with the material and manpower losses. The author has shown that between June of 1941 and July of 1943, the Germans were able to mostly make up for their losses on the eastern front.
But even if they were able to replace the losses of both men and material, they were simply replacing what was insufficient in the first place.
The book not only shows the toll taken on the German Army, but also shows the terrible losses of men and materials that the Russians had to try to replace in that span of time.
As you say yourself, replacing battle-hardened, trained infantry and tankmen, with raw recruits is a problem – as is making good losses through the employment of the 2nd Hungarian, 8th Italian and 3rd and 4th Romanian Armies.
Re the Soviets, again, a given. The horrendous numbers lost in the early encirclements and in the too-hastily ordered counter-attacks – particularly that pre-Blue – are all well known. But if one looks at the numbers engaged in individual battles, the Soviets were able to field more men. That they could bleed the 6th Army white, while building up massive reserves on either flank to enable Uranus is an obvious example.
The surplus of armaments on hand were usually greater than their losses at most points.
Okay, but if they are not getting those armaments to the front then that is all part of the problem. If the equipment cannot be got to where it needs to be then it could be on the moon for all the good it does stuck at railheads. Moreover, is that, in addition to not being able to move the equipment to where it needs to go, they are not able to man those weapons anyway. If they suddenly had all this excess of quality material, why not give it to the Romanians and Hungarians – not to mention the Italians? – all of whom were crying out for better anti-tank weapons, not to mention armour. Not that they would have been able to deliver this equipment to them anymore easily…
One thing the book brings out is even when the equipment was available in Germany, it was usually sitting by the rail heads unable to be shipped to where it was needed. The shortage of railways and of trains was felt from the beginning of the War in Russia until the end.
The problems of rail capacity, the different gauge railways – not to mention using valuable and desperately needed rail stock for the Final Solution, again is well known.
The details of the book show that contrary to other histories, women were used in the work place at a higher level than the Allies at times.
Interesting. I would like to know more about this.
"In short, the German Army was able to generate forces of prodigious strength three times in the space of two and one-half years. If these efforts were ultimately insufficient to produce victory between June 1941 and July 1943, the root cause of Germany's failure during the Russo-German War reside elsewhere." He is able to show that the German Army was sufficiently staffed and equipped by the start of the Battle of Kursk.
Prodigious strength? Well everything is relative isn’t it? The fact is that for the war they were fighting the strength was insufficient:
a) The Wehrmacht units were insufficient for Barbarossa
b) After the Winter of 1941-42 the Germans could no longer consider offensives along the entire front and the two subsequent offensives were of increasingly smaller size.
c) For Blau, the southern army group was able to be reinforced and re-equipped only by removing almost all armour and much of the air force from the other army groups.
d) By the time of Kursk, the size and scope of the offensive was limited to the area of the bulge created either side of the city. Yes the Germans, relatively, brought together armies of great strength, but in no way were they keeping up with losses on a like for like basis.
Sufficiently staffed and equipped for Kursk? By what measure? If its against success or failure, well obviously not as the enemy was so much stronger and the Germans were beaten and had to abandon the offensive.
So not really sure what this book is adding to what is already known. The Germans were swamped by the Russians. They started Barbarossa in no fit shape to win it and soon suffered crippling manpower losses. So even if they kept up with losses in manpower (numbers not quality) and material (quality was improving, as was the enemy's as pre-war material was replaced with newer models) they were doing so in an environment where the enemy was getting relatively stronger.
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 1/7/2017 11:05:15 PM >
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805