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RE: Soviet Barbarossa

 
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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/4/2018 10:59:55 AM   
821Bobo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

Nothing from my "source" but I did come across an actual Soviet archived top secret document, Document 103202/06, which became available after the fall of the USSR. This was signed by Marshall Timoshenko and the Chief of the Soviet General Staff at that time Merezkov. It outlines "Operation Thunderstorm" (or "Operatsia Groza") comprising the invasion of Europe slated for July 10, 1941. It was signed three months before Operation Barbarossa was signed.

It's mentioned in this Wikipedia entry here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Bunich

I think it's mentioned in that article that Stalin wasn't a military man but a statesman, and relied on others to implement his plans. Now, this looks concrete to me and with something like this in the offing you'd have to insist that nothing short of waiting till an actual Soviet invasion would provide proof of their intent if this doesn't convince you.


You are talking about MP-41 which was mobilization plan for year 41, not plan for invasion. True is that forces mobilized according to MP-41 were enormous and this rises question about purpose of such huge build up. Most obvious answer is attack on Germany.
Plans about Soviet attack on Germany were never revealed and never will(if exist).

< Message edited by 821Bobo -- 4/4/2018 11:01:01 AM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/4/2018 1:52:20 PM   
Capitaine

 

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I defer to your greater familiarity with this matter.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/8/2018 9:03:08 PM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

Maybe, although I doubt puffery constitutes academic proof. Like I've said, evidence to the contrary is evidence to the contrary, Glantz notwithstanding. Vee shall see.


Puffery Smuffery. Read the book then. I did.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 12:14:25 AM   
Aufklaerungs


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If you're interested in Col Glantz's recent/current thinking on this very subject, you can easily reach him directly with the contact info provided at http://www.glantzbooks.com/.

I agree with morvael that "not-so-incredible" what-if scenarios would be a tremendous addition, especially for advanced players who have mastered the conventionally accepted versions they've played over the last eight years.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 2:11:47 PM   
No idea

 

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I wonder how they would do it, because currently attacking as the soviets in june 41 is completely pointless

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 3:09:57 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: No idea

I wonder how they would do it, because currently attacking as the soviets in june 41 is completely pointless


How this games “reality” is set up makes it totally pointless in this game.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 5:33:21 PM   
Capitaine

 

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If you believe that the Soviet units were just inherently poor at the outset of Barbarossa, then it is probably a pointless exercise.

On the other hand, if Soviet units were caught unaware, in attack posture and mentality, had no defensive plan, and thus were in utter confusion responding to the German attack, then perhaps reversing the situation with the Soviets on offense might play differently. You've got to establish the correct rationale for the German offensive success early in Barbarossa, first. In my opinion.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 9:45:33 PM   
tyronec


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quote:

On the other hand, if Soviet units were caught unaware, in attack posture and mentality, had no defensive plan, and thus were in utter confusion responding to the German attack, then perhaps reversing the situation with the Soviets on offense might play differently. You've got to establish the correct rationale for the German offensive success early in Barbarossa, first. In my opinion.

Well there is a good opportunity to test your prognosis. The Soviets are deployed in attack posture - as you say. So just skip the Axis first move and let the Soviets attack. If they can take Berlin in '41 then you have evidence that an attack could have made some sense.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 11:23:42 PM   
Aufklaerungs


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Or do a scenario that has a Sov 1st turn on 15 July, allowing him to finish his attack prep according to his time table; 50+ morale for extra time with the politruks whipping them up; adjust experience to reflect refit-training time and manpower plus-up to reflect new arrivals between 22 June and 15 July. First turn initiative belongs to Sovs, so no axis bonus; full movement allowance, 100%+ for supplies, fuel and ammo, and high TOE rating should make for an interesting situation. Especially if Axis side is not in any kind of defensive posture similar to what the original campaign designers gratuitously provided for the the Red team (dug in and fortified -prepared defensive lines).

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/9/2018 11:36:14 PM   
Capitaine

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: tyronec

quote:

On the other hand, if Soviet units were caught unaware, in attack posture and mentality, had no defensive plan, and thus were in utter confusion responding to the German attack, then perhaps reversing the situation with the Soviets on offense might play differently. You've got to establish the correct rationale for the German offensive success early in Barbarossa, first. In my opinion.

Well there is a good opportunity to test your prognosis. The Soviets are deployed in attack posture - as you say. So just skip the Axis first move and let the Soviets attack. If they can take Berlin in '41 then you have evidence that an attack could have made some sense.

I think you'd have to estimate lesser German forces on the frontier as well, since the scenario would presume the Germans didn't preempt the Soviet attack.

And, on Barbarossa D-Day, the Soviet deployments wouldn't be final. You'd have to move them into more effective attack position for a July 10 or 15 jump off date perhaps. Aircraft presence different... Would you assume a standard German garrison force on the frontier? Or what? A lot of variables.

< Message edited by Capitaine -- 4/9/2018 11:37:13 PM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 1:01:12 AM   
Kull


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Has anyone read "Stalin's Folly" by Constantine Pleshakov? It's got a lot of information on this matter, including the existence of a single 15 page document delivered to Stalin ("black ink in Vasilevsky's handwriting"), marked "only copy" which was dated 5/15/41 and lays out the details of a pre-emptive strike. No date was given for the attack, but it "suggested finalizing preparations in 1942".

That certainly doesn't support the "early assault" mentioned in the OP, but the author believes that Stalin accelerated the plan dramatically soon thereafter, to include calling up 800,000 reservists in May & June and directing five armies to take up position on the border by July 10th. There's a lot more to it than this of course, and altogether it's an intriguing read. Certainly there was an awful lot of "smoke" pointing to a pending offensive as opposed to movements intended to support a defensive plan.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 2:17:18 AM   
Aufklaerungs


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I read it and highly recommend it to anyone curious about this controversy. Pleshakov has argued compellingly since 1990 against historians who want to lay full blame for the Cold War at the feet of Stalin (refers to it as "one hand clapping" theory). IMO, he's even-handed and pulls no punches.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 12:33:35 PM   
Telemecus


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I hate to keep banging on these point - but military plans mean nothing. In the 1930s the US military had plans to invade Canada and Britain, Britain plans to attack the USA. Those are well known and published. A good military staff will have plans for everything - including first strike attacks on friends. Only in the latter half of the 20th century did military staffs stop making any plans for attacking everybody.

No amount of war planning meant that the Soviet Union was going to invade Germany anymore than the United States was going to invade Canada. The question is a political one, not military.

The Soviet Union started a war on, blackmailed or occupied every one of its neighbours except Turkey. If Stalin thought he could win a war against Germany easily I have no doubt he would have done it. In 1938 over Czechoslovakia he might have done it in alliance with the west. To know whether the Soviet Union would actually have invaded Germany in 1939 you need to go into the political archives, not military ones. And in the case of totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union probably even then that would not tell you - you need to go into the mind of Stalin himself.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 2:11:51 PM   
postfux

 

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Planning for an attack dated 5/15/41 is likely a reaction to Germanys conquest of the Balkans. This war of agression also brought Germany on collision course with the SU.

Hasty planning in this timeframe for an attack on Germany can also be interpreted as a lack of intent to attack Germany.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 2:24:52 PM   
Stelteck

 

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auto moderated (I do not know how to delete my own post. I should stop posting in troll thread

< Message edited by Stelteck -- 4/11/2018 2:38:29 PM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 3:07:39 PM   
Capitaine

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

I hate to keep banging on these point - but military plans mean nothing. In the 1930s the US military had plans to invade Canada and Britain, Britain plans to attack the USA. Those are well known and published. A good military staff will have plans for everything - including first strike attacks on friends. Only in the latter half of the 20th century did military staffs stop making any plans for attacking everybody.

No amount of war planning meant that the Soviet Union was going to invade Germany anymore than the United States was going to invade Canada. The question is a political one, not military.

The Soviet Union started a war on, blackmailed or occupied every one of its neighbours except Turkey. If Stalin thought he could win a war against Germany easily I have no doubt he would have done it. In 1938 over Czechoslovakia he might have done it in alliance with the west. To know whether the Soviet Union would actually have invaded Germany in 1939 you need to go into the political archives, not military ones. And in the case of totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union probably even then that would not tell you - you need to go into the mind of Stalin himself.

So the only evidence acceptable to you is actual behavior -- actually launching the offensive. If "plans" to attack and orders to mobilize wouldn't be enough for you, what separates you from just being a reflexive denier?

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 3:10:34 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine
So the only evidence acceptable to you is actual behavior -- actually launching the offensive. If "plans" to attack and orders to mobilize wouldn't be enough for you, what separates you from just being a reflexive denier?

Never a good idea to attack the messenger and ignore the message. I have no views beyond a guess Stalin probably would have done if he thought he could win - so no denial or agreement from me.

The facts come from political analysis, not military war plans - as was described in the message. To refute that message you have to show why military plans would mean an intention to invade in the Soviet Union while it did not anywhere else? Without that you have a fallacious argument - quite simply however true "A" is "B" does not follow. In which case you have to establish things which really would prove the Soviet Union was going to invade which would be something else. If there is no "proof" you are back to the reality of a lot of what we know about history that it is guesses and balance of evidence, not "proof." You cannot refute an argument that your logic is flawed by pretending someone else has a different view they have never claimed to have.

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 4/11/2018 3:55:41 PM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 4:19:40 PM   
Aufklaerungs


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quote:

I hate to keep banging on these point - but military plans mean nothing. In the 1930s the US military had plans to invade Canada and Britain, Britain plans to attack the USA. Those are well known and published. A good military staff will have plans for everything - including first strike attacks on friends. Only in the latter half of the 20th century did military staffs stop making any plans for attacking everybody.


There's a huge difference between contingency planning and operational planning. OPlans are based on timelines and critical dates/actions set by an operational commander. In this case the debate hinges more on operational planning and designated dates. Both types of planning include specifying resources, but only operational planning triggers marshalling those resources in assembly areas, as we know was the case with Germany. Question remains was SU in the same posture, and concentrating for a jump-off in compliance with their own operational timeline.

Pleshakov's fact-vidence seems to be that there were undeniable early warning indicators of imminent hostilities on both sides of the border, and neither side was preparing for defensive operations.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 4:38:30 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aufklaerungs
There's a huge difference between contingency planning and operational planning. OPlans are based on timelines and critical dates/actions set by an operational commander. In this case the debate hinges more on operational planning and designated dates. Both types of planning include specifying resources, but only operational planning triggers marshalling those resources in assembly areas, as we know was the case with Germany. Question remains was SU in the same posture, and concentrating for a jump-off in compliance with their own operational timeline.


That would be much more persuasive. We could get into semantics about the difference between "plans" and "intentions" - but clearly documents giving an order to invade on date "X" signed by Stalin would be much closer to proof than contingency plans. Operational plans, without political signoff, are still a very grey area. In world war two Britain had very advanced operational plans with dates to invade Norway - but it is still very debatable whether there was the real political intention, or possibility, to do so. And that was with units already assigned tasks and being assembled. As it happens Germany got there first, and some of the units for the invasion became units to help the Norwegian defence. Even with just operational plans including dates it is still contentious whether Britain and France would have invaded Norway.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Aufklaerungs
Pleshakov's fact-vidence seems to be that there were undeniable early warning indicators of imminent hostilities on both sides of the border, and neither side was preparing for defensive operations.

I do not know Pleshakov's evidence so I would be interested. Clearly my thought is there would still be an is-ought gap. Some facts can be 100% true but still not imply a commitment to invade if they are not about the political decision. If Churchill could keep troops near ports for an invasion of Norway without pressing the go button, so could Stalin in the East. Leaders like to have options even if they will not use them.

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 4/11/2018 5:07:31 PM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 8:29:37 PM   
Ridgeway

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

..... denier?



You might want to be careful throwing that word around.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 9:00:00 PM   
Kull


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Pleshakov points out that the Soviets had a non-specific plan that favored offense over defense (building fortifications and airfields right on the border and shoving armies into salients is not something you do when planning to defend), but there were no details behind it, other than a requirement for the western-facing forces to be forward deployed. But several things changed in early 1941. In April Stalin signed the pact with Japan, which he felt gave the Soviets at least an 18 month window in which the far eastern arena would be quiet. Shortly thereafter (May 5th) he took on a formal role in the government as chairman of the council of ministers (the Soviet equivalent to the Prime Minister role). Until then he'd been General Secretary, which while powerful, gave him no direct responsibility for the formulation of government defense policy.

That very same day he gave a speech for the Red Army academy commencement. At the following banquet, a general congratulated him on following a "peace policy", but Stalin was quick to correct him:

quote:

"Let me introduce a correction here. A policy promoting peace did secure peace for our country. It was a good thing. For a while we emphasized the need for defense - until we rearmed our troops and gave them modern weaponry. Now, with the army restructured and possessing equipment for modern combat - now that we have become strong - it is time to go from a posture of defense to one of attack".


So that's the context in which you now see the new plan submitted to Stalin only 10 days later, which lays out the specifics of the invasion plan, and you also see how it fits with the massive mobilization of reserves and the orders directing 5 additional armies to move toward the front. Pleshakov does not cite any evidence pointing to a specific date for the offensive, but given Stalin's paranoia and his rather impulsive nature, that's not really surprising. It seems clear that he felt the time was very near, and he wanted to be able to pull the trigger whenever he felt the moment was ripe. And the gun was clearly cocked, loaded and pointed. It's just that Hitler pulled his trigger first.

< Message edited by Kull -- 4/11/2018 9:04:14 PM >


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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/11/2018 10:11:16 PM   
postfux

 

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I must admit I havent read Stalins Folly, but building defences on the border is was everyone does who plans to defend. That the Soviet deployment also had depth cant be denied.

Early 41 also saw Germany occupying the Balkan and Bulgaria joining the Axis. Reinforcing the defenses wouldnt be a surprising move.

On the other hand Germany denying the SU their area of influence in southeastern Europe and access to the Med must have led to offensive thinking in Moscow.

But an imminent invasion? Why take the risk? Why now? It is clear Britain will stay in the war and the Luftwaffe has failed. Time is working for the Soviets.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 12:00:19 AM   
Kull


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He wasn't "reinforcing the defenses". The Soviet army was forward deploying for an invasion. There's also something pretty close to proof that it wasn't a defensive alignment. On January 2nd 1941, there was a major war game encompassing the new border with Germany. Zhukov played the "blues" (Germany) and devastated the Reds. On the 15th, Stalin sat in to review the results, and nobody wanted to admit what had happened. Except Zhukov, who pointed out that the Reds lost because their forts were DIRECTLY on the border and the troops themselves were so close that it was impossible to prevent themselves from being "pocketed" (sound familiar WitE players?)

He had to phrase it carefully, but the gist was that the troops were not positioned properly in order to defend successfully. Which of course was entirely in keeping with the draft plans (still not fully fleshed out) for an offensive, plans of which Zhukov was unaware. To his credit, Stalin recognized that his top generals were old, incompetent, or both, and as a direct result of this meeting, Stalin fired his Chief of Staff (Meretskov) and replaced him with Zhukhov (the very next day).

So what you have is a situation where the Soviet troop dispositions were PROVEN to be a defensive failure, and the guy who knew that best of all was made Chief of Staff. And in this pre-eminent planning position, what did he do? Fix the issues identified by the war games? No. He was now part of the planning team and probably the person most responsible for turning the hazy draft into a detailed plan for an offensive that specified basically everything except the timing.

It just doesn't make sense that Zhukov would do NOTHING to fix the Soviet troop postures if the intent was to prepare for a defensive campaign.

< Message edited by Kull -- 4/12/2018 12:01:39 AM >


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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 4:38:09 AM   
tomeck48

 

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There are inconvenient facts that can't be ignored in this matter. First the Soviet performance in the Winter War was less than promising. Second, plans are nice to have, but need competent officers and well equipped, trained men, sorely lacking in the Soviet Army in 1941. Third, the Soviets did counterattack a lot in 1941 but none of them worked until the Germans were out of supplies and freezing to death (conditions that would not have occurred on the Polish border in July). Finally, Stalin went into hiding after the Germans invaded, hardly the reaction of a confident offensive leader.

Can anyone say Tannenburg?


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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 3:29:43 PM   
Kull


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After an event happens, it's easy to go through the list of actual occurrences and point to the important facts. But before Barbarossa, Stalin was looking at a lot of others, and in his mind these were the important ones:

- The Red Army had clobbered the Japanese in Manchuria just a few years earlier, and suffered few casualties in so doing.
- The War in Finland wasn't a great success at first, but the Soviets "muddled through" and won in the end. At no time were they seriously threatened with an actual loss.
- The conquest of Poland, and the subsequent occupations of the Baltics and Bessarabia were all cake walks.

As for the German Army, Stalin felt that it's results were magnified by the incompetence of it's opponents, and in particular that none other than France were remotely comparable in size and weaponry. But on that count, the Soviets clearly outclassed the Germans:

Tanks: 14,000 to 3300
Aircraft: 9000 to 2000
Manpower: 3M Soviet troops in the Baltic-to-Black Sea theatre alone, a number that Germany couldn't remotely approach

Now those are just raw numbers and don't account for differences in quality and tactics, but even there the Soviets had encountered German weaponry in Spain only a few years earlier - and had visited German factories - and they weren't that impressed. Even the outmoded T-26 had proven superior to the German Mark I and II, and if German equipment "won out" in Spain, the Soviets felt it was only due to superiority in numbers, something that would not be true in a mano-a-mano encounter.

I think we can all agree that Stalin was drawing the wrong conclusions and vastly over rated the ability of his forces, but that's really the whole point. Stalin believed what he wanted to believe and there were just enough facts readily available to convince him that he was right.

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 3:53:01 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kull
I think we can all agree that Stalin was drawing the wrong conclusions and vastly over rated the ability of his forces, but that's really the whole point. Stalin believed what he wanted to believe and there were just enough facts readily available to convince him that he was right.


This does reflect my own impressions. We can see that even after the invasion Stalin repeatedly ordered counter attacks that reflected what he thought they were capable of but which they were not. And why most military "facts" do not really say either way whether or not Stalin was going to attack Germany.

The other calculation that Stalin would have been making is whether to delay any conflict so that Germany's war in the west would weaken it further first, or whether they needed to attack sooner to avoid Germany becoming too strong. Hence why deployments could have been about giving options rather than reflecting decisions. I do think his foreign policy, while aggressive, also displayed caution. The quick fall of France was a shock. There is no doubt they assumed there would be a conflict at some point, the caution was only at choosing when would be the best time and who would start it. If Stalin was being cycnical, a not unreasonable assumption, he would rather Germany and the West wore each other out first.

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 4/12/2018 3:59:15 PM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 5:22:51 PM   
Capitaine

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ridgeway


quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

..... denier?



You might want to be careful throwing that word around.


No. I won't. What do you think of that?

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 5:26:25 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine


quote:

ORIGINAL: Ridgeway


quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

..... denier?



You might want to be careful throwing that word around.


No. I won't. What do you think of that?

Very uncool to call me names.

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 4/12/2018 5:30:27 PM >

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 6:00:04 PM   
Capitaine

 

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I don't know the answer, but has anyone looked to see what kind of plans and orders existed for the Winter War and Bessarabia on the Soviet side? Suggesting that the Soviets were using some standard military protocol in their offensive operations isn't convincing to me unless it can be shown this was how they normally behaved. I.e., "their normal course of business".

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RE: Soviet Barbarossa - 4/12/2018 6:01:07 PM   
Capitaine

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine


quote:

ORIGINAL: Ridgeway


quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

..... denier?



You might want to be careful throwing that word around.


No. I won't. What do you think of that?

Very uncool to call me names.

Since when is that "a name". Explain.

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