From: Berlin, Germany
Thanks for your comment chaos, interesting read.
I disagree that better results would not have been possible in 1941. Late november, things were quite close: Germans at moscow, a HGN pincer threatening Leningrads last supply chain and rostov was taken but lost after counterattack.
But all in all it was a question of 50km at most to capture/isolate the three major cities (i am aware this would not have resulted in immediate victory but have given better winter shelter (moscow, rostow) and maybe blocked some railway/street routes, delaying soviet counterstrike deployment).
It was not impossible to squeeze out these 50 extra cilometres historically i think.
1) Better preparation (especially of logistics and rail repair teams). This means a half-total war from late 1940 on. Of course there were reasons why Hitler did not choose this path.
2) Better reckon. As already mentioned, germans were unaware of soviet Mechanized Corps for example. Maybe arrogance was the reason. Following Glantz, at least Guderian estimated the soviet tank strength correct.
3) Making eastern front Priority Nr. 1 and sending everything available there in 1941. I somewhere read that Hitler wanted to build new Panzerdivisionen instead of giving reserve tanks to frontline units.
4) Squeezing everything out of the first days. I think that some forces where reserves at the first days. Maybe it would have been better to use everything for the first devastating blow.
5) With higher priority for the south and better reckon, Lemberg pocket might have really worked historcally? Or at least a mini version of it?
Then dont forget: If the germans had been more successful in the first encirclements, this would have meant less time to rebuild red army, maybe more new encirclements due to more gaps in line, Sovs thrown in combat even hastier etc., kind of a death circle.
And less fighting because of weaker red army also means that units need less supply, the supply chain can therefore be longer.
I agree many soviet leaders were bad at the beginning, on the other hand Wehrmacht was one of the best armies on tactival/operational level of all time (but failed hard on strategic level) with experienced leaders, self-thinking suboordinates (Auftragstaktik) and units which can suffer many losses because breaking apart (Kampfkraft study Crefeld).
Your example with Trappenjagd on Crimea reflects this: One of the best High commanders of this time (Mannstein) vs. the exactly opposite on soviet side.
Another example is charkow 1942, i dont really understand what sovs were aiming for with a single deep penetration? It was the perfect invitation for a cutoff counter operation.
< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 5/13/2016 12:40:12 PM >