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Romanians and Hungarians in first winter`

 
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Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/7/2015 11:57:04 PM   
vandorenp

 

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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?

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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/8/2015 7:11:52 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vandorenp

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?


in truth because the whole thing about 'not expecting a harsh winter so being caught by surprise' is a myth. Many of the senior German officers had served on the Russian Front in WW1, by the winter of 1918-19 they were as far east as Rostov (it took time for them to pull back even after their surrender). Others trained in the Soviet Union to evade the Versailles restrictions in the 1920s. They knew full well what would happen to an army without proper winter clothing if the campaign was still going on by Nov-Dec.

Their problem was that in addition to having to move men and ammunition etc eastwards, they lacked enough rail capacity to even keep their army properly supplied. So the who Barbarossa plan was made to work by 2 assumptions. That the Red Army was less than a given size (and again they had a pretty good idea what they were facing in terms of already organised formations) and that the Soviet Union would collapse by October. So of course they then didn't need to worry about moving up winter clothing etc.

Add on when they finally did try to send up winter clothing, there wasn't enough available and the net effect was a lot of looting from the stores before stuff reached the front line.

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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/8/2015 11:55:26 AM   
swkuh

 

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"...is a myth." Well said. Wonder whose interests are served by the misrepresentation.

Not said (but could be IMO...) is that German leadership & managers (many more than Adolph) had their heads up their arses. Not just the decision to do it, but how to do it, etc. What WERE they thinking?

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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/8/2015 1:02:49 PM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vandorenp
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 >


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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/8/2015 5:37:36 PM   
javats


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"German leadership & managers (many more than Adolph) had their heads up their arises." I agree,
Basically the germans attacked out of supply, even if they won the battle of Moscow, they were going to suffer vast losses
because of rail system (or lack of rail supply). This is why game designers have so much trouble with Eastern front
Any experienced gamer is going try to avoid doing stupid things, not go an do them.
Yes, yes the germans wanted to finish the russians, but Supply wise it just could not done in 1941.
NO German high ranking general stop it.

I have study and played eastern front games from 1968
and think GG-WITE is the best,
But War in the east cannot be balance because player experience.

< Message edited by Dark_Star -- 2/8/2015 6:43:38 PM >

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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/9/2015 5:01:31 AM   
heliodorus04


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Or...
The defeated the largest most technologically advanced first-world army in 45 days, and they figured, "Hey, Russia just killed all their officers and they're pretty doctrinally backward (which would be true until 1943), so it's gotta be easier than France, right?

The argument that the fragile Soviet government could be weakened to the point of collapse looked pretty real.

The allies had the same idea about bombing Germany into collapse.

In both cases, direct threat made the government a better ally to the populace (and you can bring up England and the Blitz as a third example).



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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/9/2015 7:08:26 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: heliodorus04

...

The argument that the fragile Soviet government could be weakened to the point of collapse looked pretty real.

...




I personally think this happened in November 1941. In effect, especially in Western Russia and Eastern Ukraine the Soviet state as a functioning unit did fall apart. Partly loss of morale and general shortages, partly that so many Party members joined the army, local militias etc, but the reality was that most of the Soviet Union near the battlefronts (and probably up to about 100km behind), was ruled by ad-hoc committees of the Army, directors of large factories, local mayors, who-ever.

The basic transmission system of the Soviet Govt (ie the Communist Party) had lost all control - both for the good and bad (at the end of the day there was a need for co-ordination).

There aren't many western published books/reports that cover internal Soviet governance at this stage - one of very few is the now dated Soviet Home Front by Barbour and Harrison, which is a regular problem in that there is often little appreciation of these dynamics.

The German summer offensive in 1942 had a similar effect for different reasons. It wasn't a systemic collapse (they had learnt and adapted), more one of morale, as while a German offensive was expected, the extent was a major shock.

But even by early 1943 some Soviet generals (Govorov was one) felt able to suggest quite openly that the Communist Party no longer had a role in the organisation of the state and should be replaced. Didn't endear him to Stalin.

Point is that the USSR could survive a major collapse of its basic government system, in the middle of a war, on the verge of having to defend its own capital. Few other states could have. I'd suggest the underlying reason was sheer size, relative backwardness (even at their best, systemic governance was not essential to survival), local commitment (the ad-hoc committees were often very effective, just not linked together), patriotism and that in the centre the GKO (state defence committee) - Stavka system did function.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 2/9/2015 8:10:14 AM >


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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/9/2015 9:11:14 AM   
PMCN

 

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I don't really know what the winter was like for the Romanians and Hungarians attached to Army Group south, in general the big hit was to AGC as it was over extended due to Typhoon. AGS was over extended but Rumstead managed to convince Hitler to allow a pull back (Hitler complained about this) and so they were in fairly good shape at the end.

But the Soveit Union not collapsing is probably due to Stalin more than any one factor you can name. He didn't intend to surrender, and he had control of the NKVD firmly in his grasp. So there was no serious discusion of surrender once his intentions were made clear. People who did probably ended up in punishment battalions as mine sweepers and machine gun nest finders. To me there isn't a lot of difference between Stalin and Hitler, both managed a good job killing their own people, but Stalin did one thing "better" than Hitler: he stopped trying to run the war, and left that to his generals. But so long as he kept his nerve there was no chance of the soviet union surrendering baring his command bunker being over run...much the same as Hitler in that sense.

From a lot of what I read, the survival of the soviet union in 41 and 42 was one of Stalin's biggest achievements as a leader. I still feel dirty saying good things about him, but much like when dealing with Hitler if you are going to try and analyse the situation you have to be objective...gah...time for disenfectent. The strength of a dictatorship (or any such system) is its weakness as well, a lot more than normal rests on the actions of a single individual.

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RE: Romanians and Hungarians in first winter` - 2/9/2015 11:24:54 AM   
timmyab

 

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You also have to consider that the winter of 41/42 was exceptionally severe even by Russian standards. It may even be the coldest on record, I'm not certain. Someone posted a link here once that listed the max and min temperatures for every day of that winter and it was unremittingly awful. Something like three or four months of max -20 min -40. The Moscow average for example is more like max -5 min -10.

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