From: Bedfordshire UK
Both countries are in the South Soviet Zone. How could these countries not know what a Russian winter is like and not be prepared for it?
The Axis was fully aware of what the Russian winter was like, letters from German soldiers of all ranks (including Generals) make many references to the coming winter and what had happened to Napoleon's army in 1812. They were not expecting to have to fight in the winter. During the planning stages of 'Barbarossa' it was made clear by logistical studies, that the whole army could not be fully supplied beyond Smolensk.
The plan for 'Barbarossa' anticipated that the Soviet army would be essentially defeated in the battle for the frontiers and that the remainder of the campaign would be mopping up, by a 'railway advance' into the interior, as had happened in WW1. A common criticism of the leaders of the Western Allies, is that they were preparing to fight the last war over again and didn't see that conditions had changed. With respect to 'Barbarossa', the German leadership suffered from the same problem.
After the battles for Smolensk and Kiev, the Soviet army had not been fully defeated and an unopposed advance into the interior could not happen. The German high command driven by Hitler (National Socialist willpower overcomes all) and with the initial agreement of von Bock (fixated on taking Moscow), thought that the Soviet army must be close to exhausting their last reserves and that one final push would win the campaign. To that end 'Typhoon' was launched, but due to the predicted supply limitations, transport priority had to be given to ammunition and POL, leaving no capacity for winter clothing.
Basically the Germans went into the campaign with plan 'A' and when that failed to deliver the expected result, there was no acceptable plan 'B', except to keep pushing on. Contempt for the enemy, inability to accept that the plan had failed, racial and political hubris, etc., etc..
It is a feature of a dictatorship, that it cannot admit to failure, or mistakes, as the justification for absolute power is that it is providing perfect government. The illusion of perfection must be maintained at all costs, the plan cannot be allowed to fail.
It is easy to see the failures now, but most observers at the time expected the Germans to win with a short campaign.
The Romanians and Hungarians would have been equally aware of the effects of the Russian winter, but probably did not expect to be still fighting when the winter arrived. They had limited resources, were not prepared for a long campaign and were reliant on Germany to stay in the war.
< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 2/8/2015 2:26:29 PM >
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon
“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon
“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon