Some discussion on popular myths surrounding Barbarossa'41.
Germans had made no preparations for a winter campaign and it was General Winter who defeated them
It is a common myth which is not substantiated by the evidence. First of all Germans suffered 74,000 dead, 36,000 missing and POWs and 604,000 wounded, injured and sick (this results in staggering ca. 815,000 casualties in total casualties in the first five months (July-November) which represented almost 1/3 of the committed German forces. The losses for December and January were of course big but they totaled to ca. 215,000 casualties (H. Schustereit in the second edition of "Vabanque", p. 147, based on the GQ 10-day reports).
The German forces had universal winter equipment and clothing (as almost every standard army during the time) but it was only suitable for weather similar to the Mid-European climate (temperatures not much lower than -15°C in winter) but not nearly sufficient for the continental East European winter (temperatures often -30°C or even lower sometimes). The Winter of 1941-42 was one of the severest in XX century (I recommend reading a short article by H. Lejenas "The sever winter in Europe 1941-42").
Germans were overpowered by sheer numbers of Soviet troops
Let's start with the fact that Germans had almost 1,000 surplus tanks which were not assigned to any front. As stated by Steve Merc (http://globeatwar.com/article/state-barbarossas-panzer-divisions-fall-1941) the German high command had decided to forgo fully reinforcing Barbarossa's panzer divisions in order to pursue a number of competing and questionable and secondary initiatives. For instance, they had been sending considerable numbers of replacement tanks to the Afrika Corp's two panzer divisions (on behalf of Fuhrer's direct orders). An Afrika Corps that was at that time doing little more than fighting back and forth against the British and their Commonwealth Allies to see who could control Mussolini's strategically irrelevant Libyan colony. In addition, a larger number yet of Germany's surplus tanks had been redirected to equipping new armored formations being formed in the latter half of 1941, such as the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Panzer Divisions. We also know additional tanks were delivered to Germany's Axis allies - albeit these deliveries included only 184 mostly obsolete models such as the Panzer 38(t). As to this last decision it must be said that it greatly bolstered the strength of Germany's allies and thus represented a wise and, given the numbers and quality of vehicles involved, cheap investment. All in all ca. 400 tanks were sent to Eastern Front, majority of (376) only in Sept and Oct 1941.
The logistic is a key for operations and railways were the life lines during the WWII. The Reichsverkehrsministerium (Ministry of Transport, or RVM) under Julius Dorpmüller was largely concerned with the railway lines that were run in Germany by the Reichsbahn and in occupied countries. Following the French Campaign, there was friction between the RVM and the Chef des Transportwesens (Head of OKW Transport), which prompted changes for the forthcoming Russian campaign, as Major General Gercke formed his own railway operating units, Feldeisenbahn-Direktion (Field Railway Direction, or FED), one for each Heeresgruppe, from drafted railwaymen under military officers — the Graueisenbahner. For this campaign, the rear area of the armies was to be kept very narrow, as little as 200 km behind the front line, with Reichskommissariats set up to administer and exploit the captured territories, and in this area the RVM was to set up new operating companies or Haupteisenbahndirektion (Main Railway Direction, or HBD) using Reichsbahn staff. The FED were formed in March 1941 and the HBD in July 1941, but this rapid deployment meant that both were short of staff, lacking equipment, and totally without experience. HBD Mitte set up in Brest with only 60 men, a shortage of qualified officials, and no equipment, including the vital telephones needed to run the railway. There were no route maps, timetables, or station information so that locomotives had to be sent out for several days in each direction to explore the network. In September the SS shot the entire printing staff of the HBD. (source: https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/the-influence-of-railways-on-military-operations-in-the-russo-german-war-19411945).
The above are just examples of how the available resources were wasted or not used properly, which can be observed for most of the German operations, were priorities would change in accordance with Hitler's mood-swings.
< Message edited by gliz2 -- 2/12/2019 4:44:40 PM >