Returning to “If Moscow fell…”
I am a big reader of the eastern front, so I like to think I have some knowledge on this.
I think if Moscow fell, the Soviet Union would have been thrown into major disarray. Looking at the transport maps of Russia, Moscow was the major hub. Supplying and reinforcing much of the front would have become exponentially harder. Leningrad and the entire north/western sector would have been cutoff and then withered and surrendered. The south had the Volga some better rail-links directly eastward, but not much.
Yes, Stalin would have fallen further back and probably continued fighting, but further major fighting would have likely only been possible on the Moscow-Gorky Axis. This would have favored the Germans going on the defensive and letting the remnant Russians ram their heads into the wall.
Finally, Stalin would have had to have faced the political implications of losing the capitol. The Soviet government wasn’t entirely monolithic, and I could imagine creeping dissent starting to bubble up, especially from the southern and eastern republics (which did happen during the real war, although the dissenters were brutally suppressed).
So, I think capturing Moscow would have lead to an eventual victory in the east. It wouldn’t have been immediate, but it would have gutted the USSR’s ability to continue fighting regardless of their continued build up.
(Of course I say that acknowledging the possibility Hitler, upon victory, would have stupidly withdrawn forces for other adventures leaving the door open for a Russian resurgence. Pacifying and effectively securing the east would have taken many years.)
Thank you for the input. This is not my area of expertise.
“Pacifying and effectively securing the east would have taken many years.” Adding to this, unlike Lenningrad, which was just under siege for years, the Germans attempted to actually CAPTURE Stalingrad. Heavy fighting in an urbanized industrial stronghold, where the defenders used the rubble to further their defense. To take Moscow seems an even bigger nightmare. House-to-house fighting, and snipers and booby-traps. Lets say the Germans did capture it…holding this would be a nightmare I can imagine. The area is so vast around the city, the Russians could counterattack supply lines leaving the Germans besieged in an unfriendly city.
The amount of time needed to secure and pacify the area would require a huge garrisons and time for the Russians to work out their own supply lines from their new center of operations. Again, this isn’t my area of expertise, but I’m just throwing things out there.