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What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

Article about: If one looks away from the political aspects and look at the war on the Eastern Front form a strategically and tactical aspect, what made it turn out the way it did for the Axis side? Was it

  1. #1
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    Default What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    If one looks away from the political aspects and look at the war on the Eastern Front form a strategically and tactical aspect, what made it turn out the way it did for the Axis side? Was it because Hitler did not want to go to Moscow at first, and only concentrated on Leningrad and Stalingrad, only to change his mind later also wanting to take Moscow?

    In my mind i think the idea that Soviet Union should be taken fast in one sweep was pretty "bold" to say the least. I write What went "wrong", because in the beginning all looked very much according to plan.

    It was not because of Zhukov. He was far from a strategic genius. Imo he was a "bloody" general who could or would not admit defeat and just sent his men to a certain death. Also he only mentioned Operation Mars briefly in his memoirs. Konev not at all.

    Regards

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    It started snowing..........?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Many factors combined Datrus. Historians argue that an earlier assault, with a kinder autumn(!) may well have changed things. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but one factor can never be overlooked. Russia is vast, and this creates logistical nightmares. Combine that with the harshness of the weather, resources being diverted to many different theatres and a desperate enemy fighting for the survival of their nation and we can perhaps begin to recognise some of the issues that in retrospect, were maybe not considered as thoroughly as they may have been.

    Regards,

    Carl

    p.s. Good post, I am sure that this thread will progress nicely, with some stimulating debate!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Sounds like a good bid on what went "wrong". But is that all there is to it. Snowy weather and Barbarossa is in the toilet?

  5. #5

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Starting 2 months late because of the diversion of resources to the Greek/Yugoslav campaigns-the German plan was to have achieved their goals (admittedly poorly defined) before winter closed in-the lack of winter equipment was not an oversight, it was a calculated risk that didn't come off in part due to the prev mentioned delay-Soviet resistance was also more dogged than the Nazis had expected, boosted by their poor treatment of the civil population that might otherwise have been more favourable to the Germans, especially in the Ukraine.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    I suppose the whole issue with Hitler not taking advice from his excellent generals also played a significant role in it, too.

    If you think about it, there isn't much one could have changed about the plan as a whole. You could argue that maybe he should have gone straight for Stalingrad and Moscow but that would have left the German supply lines exposed and, as Adrian has so clearly put it, it started snowing.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Quote by Datrus View Post
    Sounds like a good bid on what went "wrong". But is that all there is to it. Snowy weather and Barbarossa is in the toilet?
    No, I'm sure it wasn't the only factor that contributed to the disaster that was the Eastern Front but the Russian winter certainly played a major role in the downfall of the German army advances. Not just the snow obviously but the lack anything approaching contingency to take this rather important weather feature into account.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Another thing wrong is Hitler. He kept changing his mind! The Germans were at the gates of Leningrad and some units made it into the suburbs. He then sends the panzers south toward Moscow.
    The German instead laid siege to Leningrad till 1944. IMO they should have took the city and then head south accomplish the objectives! Moscow of course was the capital, but it was also a communication hub and logistic.

    Stalingrad again Hitler’s fault, Germans didn’t really need the city. They should have just captured the Caucasus and then if possible cross the Volga and surround the cities are not will to give up. Part of blitzkrieg is to move around strong points and cut them off. Let the following elements siege the strong points or destroying them. (The Infantry)

    Logistics is always a problem that faces every army... that nothing new.

    A Corporal should not be acting like a General!

    BTW the Germans didnt plan pass Barbraossa. Everything counted on that operation. (bad idea)
    Last edited by Franz1944; 09-29-2011 at 07:32 PM. Reason: fix spelling

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    I did not knew that Barbarossa was halted because of Greece and Yugo, just that it was postponed many times. In Ukraine people saw Germans as liberators, in the beginning anyway. Germans should have taken advantage of that. I will also give Franz1944 right in his view that Stalingrad as a city should have been ignored. Germans should have sat on the oil and corn of the south imo, sieged Leningrad and taken Moscow.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Again, one has to discount the Russian winter as the plan was to have finished fighting by the time it started-the German army had 4 long years of fighting in Russia in WW1 and was well aware of the country's climate and primitive communications-the delay in the start was the crucial factor in the failure of the overall strategy which otherwise had worked remarkably well until the Autumn and Winter set in-2 months of favourable weather could not be regained.

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