WWII–-75th ANNIVERSARY DISCUSSION--#27---OCTOBER 1941



  • The Battle of Moscow (Russian: Битва за Москву) is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler’s attack on Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the largest Soviet city. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union.

    The German strategic offensive, named Operation Typhoon, called for two pincer offensives, one to the north of Moscow against the Kalinin Front by the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies, simultaneously severing the Moscow–Leningrad railway, and another to the south of Moscow Oblast against the Western Front south of Tula, by the 2nd Panzer Army, while the 4th Army advanced directly towards Moscow from the west.

    Initially, the Soviet forces conducted a strategic defence of the Moscow Oblast by constructing three defensive belts, deploying newly raised reserve armies, and bringing troops from the Siberian and Far Eastern Military Districts. As the German offensives were halted, a Soviet strategic counter-offensive and smaller-scale offensive operations forced the German armies back to the positions around the cities of Oryol, Vyazma and Vitebsk, and nearly surrounded three German armies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Moscow

    Obviously, we all know what happened during this bloddy campaign for the Soviet capital. 
    You are the German commanders.
    What do you guys do in order to win the campaign?


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    By the time the battle started in October 1941, there may not have been anything that the German commanders at the front could have done to save the situation.  The fundamental problem they faced was that they were way behind schedule at that point, for reasons that dated back several months and for which a good part of the blame rested with their boss in Berlin.  First, the launch of Barbarossa got delayed by six weeks because Hitler got sidetracked into Greece and Yugoslavia.  Second, during Barbarossa itself, Hitler changed the main focus of the offensive drives a couple of time; I forgot the details, but I think that at one point he diverted Army Group Centre southward towards the Ukraine and away from Moscow.  The Germans also seem to have underestimated just how large Russia is, and apparently didn’t take into account the fact that it lacked paved roads (which meant that their ground forces would bog down when the autumn rains began).  So by the time they got to the outskirts Moscow, two decisive factors were approaching: the Russian winter (for which the Wehrmacht was utterly unequiped) and the crack Siberian / Far Eastern troops that Stalin had finally transferred westward upon hearing from his top man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that the Japanese had set their sights on going to war against the US and the UK rather than the USSR.



  • at the start of the battle, the german OKH had two options. Both where considered. They had a very limited capacity to transport vital supplies to the front. They had enough to send the ammunition and fuel for a drive on Moscow without winter equipment. Or, they could send the  winter equipment, fuel and ammunition that was needed for defensive operations. They chose to send ammunition and fuel, but no winter coats. This resulted in the disaster in front of Moscow, and the loss of a lot of the elite leadership of the german army. I believe the only reasonable choice would be to realize that the campaign could not be won in 41 and plan for a 42 campaign. Instead they decided to launch a battle with the potential to lose to war.


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