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Lecture 15

2S03 Lecture 15 November 2012.docx

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Martin Horn

2S03 Lecture 15 November 2012 After defeat of France, Hitler thought Britain would sue for peace. When they didn’t, how do they try to win war against Britain? Intermarries with ideological views – desire for Lebensraum. Needed land in the east – Soviet Union. Summer of 1940, these two factors come together – one of the reasons British continue is because they hope for Soviet assistance. Operation Barbarossa planning begins in 1940 – immediately after fall of France. Finalized December 1940. Aims to defeat USSR in a fast campaign. The USSR is a funnel. Much difference from France. First object not capital but Leningrad Army Groups – North, centre, south – how the German army split for the attack – giant force (3.6 million men) – trucks lorries tanks aircraft in large numbers. Not exclusively German – some from allies. Against 3 million red army troops. Attack initially goes well. Soviets surprised. Stalin refuses to believe reports from the front – believes it’s a provocation and tells front commands not to respond. Thesis advanced that Soviets planned to attack Germany and that was why Soviet army in forward positions. They were anticipating some sort of blow, not the one that came, not their own offensive. Germans make huge gains but never quite gets to Moscow or Leningrad. Same general tactic – armor punches through and tries to encircle Russians Creates pockets of trapped red army troops at Bialystik & Minsk – July 1941 Smokensk – July & August 1941 and Kiev – Spetember 1941 – many prisoners and stuff taken. Rampant optimism. Colonel-General Halder, Army Chief of Staff for Germany Hitler orders a switch in German armament production priorities – toward army and air force (dealing with Britain) – army material production falls 30% and when the war clearly isn’t over, it is switched back but too late. Ominous signs. Halder – “we had expected to encounter 200 Russian divisions, we’ve already counted 360 and more are appearing” Underestimated Soviet military Operation Typhoon – October 1941 by Germans goes well at the beginning but Soviets continue to fight – not lost a battle but lost the war Why did the Soviets continue to fight? What did the Germans do wrong? Geography. In France, compression of space and time – Allies had no geographic space to recover. Not the case in USSR – trade space for time. They CAN give up ground – allows them to recover their nerves. Command, control, intelligence continue to function (not well) – many mistakes though. As the Germans create pockets, they have a problem – created by armour but most of the army is infantry who have to walk to the pockets to eliminate them – takes a long time. Smolensk pocket – had to liquidate pocket and rearm worn out troops – successes have a downside, wears army down German military intelligence is consistently wrong – ideology – belief of superiority leads German military analysts to underestimate Lack of reliable information and the treatment of the populations in the areas that the Germans have overrun – initial enthusiasm in many places in the USSR until they found out Germans were the same or worse – considered them subhumans. Generates partisan networks and other resistance that destroy communication Also destroy supply lines – longer supply lines the further into USSR they get. Far slower. Linked to railway – principle means of moving stuff – Soviet railways of a different gauge – wider than German rails – massive problem. Every train has to stop at border, be unloaded and reloaded onto a Soviet train. Two choices – lay your own railway lines (tons of time needed – lots of railway tracks to replace) or capture Soviet stock. Shortage of winterized locomotives. Caucasus – only one railway line. They blow up the trains
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