I think Germany did not have the industrial backup and manpower for a long war in USSR. They OKW largely underestimated industrial capacity of the USSR, despite warning from some german officers who saw the factories in the Urals in 1940.
Moscow was well entranched and prepared after the initial summer surprise and managed to have a functional army despite staggering losses in 1941, something like 4 millions soldiers against 700000 - 800000 soldiers for Germany end of 1941. The whermach simply did not have the supply level, logistics level, to stay strong on such a large scale. They were not able to take Leningrad nor Moscow, far from it, maybe close geographically but that is all. In 1942 they were only able to do a serious offensive in the south, center and north stayed mainly idle. Their offensive in the south was a success, because the soviets helped them (partially at least). I mean the soviets did a disastrous offensive in may 1942 aiming to retake Kharkov.
I agree that we can say that USSR did not had unlimited manpower. But Germany already had serious manpower problems early on. They had to maintain forces all accross occupied Europe, large garrisons in France, Norway, Yugoslavia, the Afrika Corps in north Africa, etc. It did only get worst with time. During Koursk battle, the little austrian caporal had to divert divisions in Sicily because of Operation Husky for example.
Germany faced the manpower problem long before USSR ever did.
Germany was not able to create divisions from occupied countries a lot, unlike Napoleon who had a lot of germans, italians, and others in it's Grande Armee when he invaded Russia. That manpower was used for factories and other tasks. I have read somewhere that the so called SS Wiking Division had more german soldiers than danes/norwegians, for example.
There was the hungarians, romanians, italians, allies but they were not well supplied/equipped and not very willing to do that war. The finns, despite a high quality army, were not very willing either.
< Message edited by micheljq -- 2/16/2015 7:09:39 PM >
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