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Do you think the German could have actually "won" on the Eastern Front?

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  • Do you think the German could have actually "won" on the Eastern Front?

    What do you think? Had Moscow remained the primary target throughout the '41 campaign would the Germans had enough momentum to take the city? If they would have, what would have been the implications for the Soviet Union?

    Moscow was a critical communications hub as well as the most important rail network in the USSR. It's capture would have crippled the Soviet war effort in my opinion. There would have been tough fighting ahead for the Germans to be sure, but the capture of Moscow would have put the Germans in a far better situation to shore up their logistic situation and hurt the Soviets just as badly.

  • #2
    Moscow's fall would have had a traumatic impact on Russian morale. The city is essentially New York and Washington DC combined into a one city, it's the political, social and economic center of Russia and as you stated, a central logistical and communications hub of the Russian forces. It was also where the Russian war effort was being coordinated. Taking it would have been a major political and military victory for the Wehrmacht.

    As far as being a single blow that finally deals a final decisive victory in the campaign the east however, I doubt it. The war in the east was essentially a war of survival for the Russians due to Hitler's belief that the Russians were 'untermensch' deserving of extermination and reinforced by German attrocities committed in the conquered territories. This means that the Russians really don't have any other option except to fight until the bitter end, which means that the German army would still have been tied down in the eastern front for a significant period of time despite taking Moscow.

    Additionally, most if not all the central political and military figureheads would have been evacuated from the city and sent further east to rally and coordinate the remaining Russian forces, which still vastly ounumbers, in men and resources, a Wehrmacht that would have had a great deal of its strenght sapped away by its assault on Moscow.
    Last edited by Wolfleader; 06 Dec 03, 15:55.
    Sings we a song of wolves.
    Who smells fear and slays the coward.
    Sings we a song of man.
    Who smells gold and slays his brother


    • #3
      Taking Moscow certainly wouldn't have ended the war, but it would have been such a setback to the Soviet cause that I have doubts the USSR would have ever fully recovered on its own. Remember, the Wehrmacht was still very strong at this point and it is highly unlikely anything like the disaster at Stalingrad would have happened.


      • #4
        Little things, big results.

        The decision to treat the people we call Ukyranians as just so much human refuse (which I think sums it up well for the way they were treated), I think doomed the German's war entirely.

        Those people (if all I have ever been told is correct) did NOT totally love Stalin. And if they had been "liberated" by invading German forces, I personally think the effect would have been the deciding factor.

        It would have been one two many nails in the soviet war machine's coffin.

        The war would have been decided in 42, and the Russians would not have been a contributing factor. The Allies would have had any invasion greeted by fully prepared veteran German formations the likes of which the Allies would have had no capacity to best.

        The forces Germany would require to deal with any residual Russian resistance would have been vastly smaller in numbers to what fought and died there instead.

        Racism, amazing how harmful it can be eh. It doomed Hitler, and he never saw it coming.
        Last edited by LRB; 06 Dec 03, 17:49.
        Life is change. Built models for decades.
        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
        I didn't for a long time either.


        • #5
          OK, what ifs:

          I think Germans did their best in 1941 (except that liberator-depressor), but Soviet forces did a lot of mistake, so reaching almost Moscow Soviet did a large portion (personally Stalin did a lot of mistake, to be precise).
          In 1942 the situation was still fluid, and in this year I think the Germans did more mistake than Soviet (they learned much from the previous year). 1943 was a very interesting year, as I see the statistics, however the Soviets were on attack, their loss numbers are skyrocketed, but the German losses (despite the Stalingrad losses) were still moderate (compared to the previous 2 years).


          Speaking about the mistakes you should consider the other side, too.

          So the other side could be: if the Soviets are better in their commander level, could they win the war 1941?
          a brain cell


          • #6
            reading again your post Don:

            I think capturing Moscow alone would not be enough to beat the Soviets, but adding the list Leningrad would be an enough to hit the moral, but as the factories moved to the Ural, it is still not destruct the Soviet ability to fight but the confidence in themself...
            a brain cell


            • #7
              I really don't think that Germany ever really had a realistic chance of conquering the Soviet Union. The Russians would have eventually thrown them out. Once the Russian military got rolling the numbers were against the Germans.


              • #8

                Actually, I think the best chance of Germany beating the Soviet Union was to resolve the Western Front first, before deciding to take on her.

                Hitler made the fatal mistake of underming Great Britain's determination to stay in the war and eventually making her presence felt in North Africa campaigns.

                If it were not for Hitler allowing the Great Britain to hold its ground, then Soviets could not have won the war on Eastern Front alone. So in a sense, the Great Patriotic War was dependent upon the foreign powers doing their bits in the other theatres, I don't think Stalin was happy with that kind of dependency...

                Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                "Aim small, miss small."


                • #9
                  I think the germans could have won if they had taken Moscow.
                  It would not have been a sure thing, but it could be done because of the following factors.

                  Loss of Moscow and the forces required to defend it would have depleted the russians ability to counterattack in the winter.

                  The Defense of Leningrad would have been outflanked making the winter resupply across lake Ladoga more difficult.
                  The loss of infrastructure around would have reduced the distribution of and effect of foreign aid through the Murmansk convoys.

                  Yes the russians shipped industrial capacity east, but most of the russian population was still living in the western part of russia. You do not just relocate 50 million people to the wilderness and expect them to feed themselves and sustain a war economy.

                  I think the finnish participation would have been more eager had the possibility of a total russian surrender seemed more likely.
                  ...the troops of love are pulling out... (D.A.D.)


                  • #10
                    I think they could have won if they had followed up taking Moscow in '41 with a good winter followed by a good campaign in '42 to mop up the Russian army and secure Stalingrad and the Caucasus. Of course if the Russians had followed better operational plans for their own part the Germans may again have not been able to take Moscow etc.
                    ...a man that can stand up for a principle and sit down on his own stool.
                    -the Firesign Theatre


                    • #11
                      I think several good points have been made. I agree with Lesthe2ndlieutenant , that the German attitude and treatment of the people they conquered absolutely played a big part in doing them in. The Russian people had no choice...lie down and be exterminated or die on your feet. I think while the loss of Moscow would have been a devastating and crippling blow. I think in the end it would have only meant Patton would have taken Berlin instead of the soviets and possibly prolonged the war some but once America got into it, America was not about to get out, like it does these days! the entire world was bent on the destruction of the Nazi Empire, and I don't think it could have resisted that forever.

                      Secondly some questions. Had Hitler stopped at Poland, and at the French border. I feel the wishy washy united nations would have left well enough alone and stuck with a peace deal even if it stuck in their throat abit. If that would have been the case and Russia invaded western Europe, what would that have looked like? Would the Western powers have united with Germany to throw back the Bolshevic Invaders?

                      Another question, what if instead of Barbossa, Sealion was initiated instead? Could the Germans have finished off Britain and Could America have intervened in 41? Again alot of this goes back to the type of conquerors the Germans were. Had Hitler not been a Genocidal mad man the world would have accepted alot more.
                      Last edited by NORAD; 09 Dec 03, 10:11.
                      "Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorius is to die daily" - Napoleon Bonaparte.



                      • #12
                        Sealion was impossible on so many different levels that it wasn't even funny. On their very best day, they didn't have a chance of pulling it off.
                        "When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home."

                        Winston Churchill


                        • #13
                          well i recently watched a documentary on operation sealion and i totally agree with you mantis
                          biggest problems for wermacht were
                          1) the royal airforce, still able to fight and more than that
                          2) the superpower of british navy
                          3) lack of good transport ships and good ship to escort the fleet
                          the conclusion of the documentary is that operation sealion had always been a kind of "bluff" in which the allied believed pretty well until 1942

                          having travelled personaly to dover on a ferry, i can say that the british coast is easy to defend in the south of england
                          looking forward to the new version of toaw


                          • #14
                            Even the Germans didn't think that they could 'win' in the East, in the sense of totally destroying the military potential of the USSR and occupying the whole country. I recall reading that the most ambitious military/political plans forsaw an advance to the Archangel-Astrakhan line, which would have crippled the Soviets industrially and demographically, and the resettlement of the area with German colonists ruling over a population of deliberately poorly educated and fed Russian serfs, with strong armoured mobile forces in the major cities to defend against attacks from the east and crush any incipient rebellions.

                            Treating the non-Russian minorities decently, and thus causing the political break up of the USSR that we've seen over the last twelve years, just wasn't an option given Nazi ideology.

                            All other things being equal, which of course they wouldn't have been, the Germans would then have been forced to surrender following the nuclear bombing of several key cities in 1945-6 by the Anglo-Americans.

                            But certainly the capture of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad would have been major blows and, if the Communist Party survived them, would have led to negotiations for a surrender involving vast swathes of territory. Tentative approaches by Stalin were made in 1941 and 1942 but ignored by the Germans, after which the tide turned and it was too late.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mark Stevens
                              All other things being equal, which of course they wouldn't have been, the Germans would then have been forced to surrender following the nuclear bombing of several key cities in 1945-6 by the Anglo-Americans.

                              with the Russians out of the war sometime 1941-1944, how do you think the western allies could have coped with the Germans?

                              Imagine Normandy on equal terms or the Bulge with a German superiority... The major factors why the Germans lost can be spelled cannon fodder and industrial output combined, and the fact that they never ever were allowed to keep the strategic initiative (for which they in any case never prepared). Attrition killed the Jerry.

                              Clever workmanship can not make good poor leadership in the long run.
                              "You can't change the rules in the middle of the game."
                              "Hey, you just made that rule up."

                              Heil Dicke Bertha!


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