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  • Soviet attack in 1942

    Forgive me if this has been done before.

    There has been some conjecture over whether the Soviets were planning an attack on Germany in 1942. I'm unsure on this one for a number of reasons but let us assume the Soviets did plan an attack. Also assume that there was no declaration of war on the USA in 1941 but there may be if the Nazi's feel that they need the Japanese to interfere in the Eastern USSR depending on the military situation.

    So we assume that the German generals persuaded Hitler that late June would not give them the time they needed to complete the invasion so it needed to be postponed until May 1942 but the Soviet spy service got wind of it and the USSR is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike as the Germans are assembling.

    What do you think the ramifications for the war in Europe would be?
    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

    That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

  • #2
    No, there was no plan by the SU to attack the Germans. This is a myth. Further, Hitler would have been foolish to delay Barbarossa to 1942, if there was to be an attack it hads to be in 1941. By 1942 the SU would have been an even tougher target than 1941

    Japan had little choice but to attack the allied resource centres in SE Asia when they did. It was that or capitulate to US demands over China,... and that was not going to happen.I think for your scenario to be at all plausible the Japanese have to move as they did in Dec 1941.

    I doubt Stalin would have attacked in 1942. While the standing Red Army would have completed much of the reorganisation and re-equipping that it was in the middle of in 1941 there was still the need to call up the millions of reserves and train them up in the newer doctrine and kit. I am not sure why Stalin would want to attack in the first place. The annexation of eastern Poland, Bessarabia, the sliver of Finnish territory and the Baltic States satisfied Russia's immediate strategic defence needs and returned territory the USSR believed was theirs anyway.

    A 1943 attack is more plausible but would only take place if the allies agreed to expand the Soviet sphere of influence in eastern Europe (as in 1944-45) and could launch a co-ordinated second front at the same time.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #3
      yes, pourist is right.

      while there were plans for attacking germany, the USSR - ahem, Stalin - never had the willingness to enaact on them.

      you have to see that from Stalin's point of view, Nazi Germany and capitalist/bourgeois britain were the same rivals to his ruthless power and expansion of communist revolution. Stalin was an extremem realist. he was waiting for Germany and Britain to exhaust themselves in war before making any move.

      besides, the USSR industrialisation and agricultural ouputs were massively growing (to reach their apex in the late 1960's) after the reforms ofn the 1910'a and 1920's.... so Stalin knew his position was becoming bigger and bigger and he would have played both braitain vs germany as long as he could, selling stuff to both, fomenting turmoil against both.

      (( and now for some politically incorrect remarks: ....and you know what, he was completely right Braitain/nazi germany, plus or minus a few genocides here or there, more or less totalitarian (Orwell saw it coming), were exactly the same. imperialistic, bourgeois, war-mongering, power-seeking powers - what else is new under the sun?! (ww2 was not a good-vs-evil war.... alas...)

      fortunately it ended up that Nazism and Soviet Russia bled themselves white, while the US (ok, Britain was a side casualty in this...) reaped the long-term rewards. ))
      "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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      • #4
        On the assumption that the Soviets do attack I'd expect them to get absolutely smashed in the attempt.

        Their airforces would still be mostly using obsolesent or obsolete aircraft with few radios and flown by pilots with few hours under their belts. The Luftwaffe would chew them up in the air rather than on the ground.

        Soviet ground forces while having a bit more new equipment would still have alot of older stuff in the inventory. There would still be major shortages of communications equipment, shells for guns, repair parts for vehicles, skilled technicians for equipment repair, trucks, and a plethora of other stuff.

        Soviet leadership would be just as inept as they were in 1941. The purge isn't the cause so much as the Soviet military system itself. There isn't much room for initiative or for commanders to do things like actually train their troops to high and realistic standards. That costs money and uses resources you have to account for. Pencil whipping the results is easier and less risky.

        So, the Soviets attack with little surprise and the Germans simply cut their army and air force to ribbons. Now we are back at the original scenario: Germany overrunning much of western Russia in the next few months.

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        • #5
          The purges meant that majors and colonels were in command positions normally held by generals. The reforms were doctrinal as well as organisational and while the Red Army would have still had problems in 1942 most of the old kit would have been retired. As it was the Red Army lost over 3500 T-34s between June and Dec 41 and total prodction by the summer of 1942 had passed the 10,000 mark (plus the KV and light tanks produced). I would imagine some of the upgraded T-26 models could still be serving in the rifle divisions but most of the immobilised inventory (as much as 2/3) could safely be disposed of.

          However, despite all of this, it is precisely because the reorganisation and re-equipping would still be in progress that there would be no attack. There is nothing to profit Stalin by attacking. He has what he needs for the moment.

          A more important issue would be the demobilsation of the German army after France (simply don't need 200 divisions) and the lack of need to up-gun and up armour the German tanks. With no experience against the T-34 and KV there is little requirement for German industry to develop further weapons (such as the Pz V) or beyond the 1941 levels already superior to British models.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
            The purges meant that majors and colonels were in command positions normally held by generals. The reforms were doctrinal as well as organisational and while the Red Army would have still had problems in 1942 most of the old kit would have been retired. ....
            The purge was only 50% of the problem. From 1939 there was a vast expansion of the ground and air forces. The leaders for the new units were just as difficult to train as the promoted purge survivors. In the artillery it appears that by mid 1941 only 25% of the officers had significant experience at battery /battalion operations. Enough that is to conduct effective indirect fire operations. Of that portion most were needed as instructors at the schools, or at the senior HQ of artillery regiment and above.

            The Wehrmacht begain its first expansion in 1934 & had until 1939 to expand from eight to 120+ divisions. (The actual officer NCO cadre was probablly adaquate for 24 divisions in 1934.) The US Army started its WWII mobilization in the summer/fall of 1940. The ground combat component went from a dozen under strength active service & 18 NG reserve divisions to 90 divisions in three full years. There were still problems in providing the necessary number of trained units in 1944. Expecting the Soviet RKKA to expand & field a effective army of the the 300+ divisions they had in just two years of preperation is a bit much.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
              while there were plans for attacking germany, the USSR - ahem, Stalin - never had the willingness to enaact on them.
              This has been gone through before. The only known plans involving a Soviet attack upon Germany involved the caveat that a state of war already existed. It did not involve a surprise attack upon Germany, but rather the idea of seizing the initiative once war was declared and striking before the Germans could be fully mobilised. It was rejected in favour of a defensive battle along the frontier to be followed by a counter-strike.

              It is hard to imagine Stalin launching any pre-meditated attack upon Germany. Stalin was at heart an extremely conservative and prudent individual. One need merely survey his path to power which involved slow maneuvers designed to minimise his exposure to danger. When confronted, he would often retreat and seek safety in temporary allies. Aggressive, direct action was generally resorted to only when he had guaranteed the absolute isolation and weakness of his enemies.

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              • #8
                Yeah, 1942 would have been a bad year for this, but what about 1940?
                May of 1940, to be precise. Say.... the last week of that month?

                With all of Germany's Panzers deep in Belgium, and no allies yet, Soviet bungling is the only thing that could have saved Berlin.
                The question is, would it have been another Finland, or a Khalkin Gol?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by skoblin View Post
                  This has been gone through before. The only known plans involving a Soviet attack upon Germany involved the caveat that a state of war already existed. It did not involve a surprise attack upon Germany, but rather the idea of seizing the initiative once war was declared and striking before the Germans could be fully mobilised. It was rejected in favour of a defensive battle along the frontier to be followed by a counter-strike.

                  It is hard to imagine Stalin launching any pre-meditated attack upon Germany. Stalin was at heart an extremely conservative and prudent individual. One need merely survey his path to power which involved slow maneuvers designed to minimise his exposure to danger. When confronted, he would often retreat and seek safety in temporary allies. Aggressive, direct action was generally resorted to only when he had guaranteed the absolute isolation and weakness of his enemies.

                  exactly. having plans does not mean you act on them.

                  look at now, Israel has plans for nuking western europe and USA, but it does not mean they even dream of doing that.
                  "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                    Yeah, 1942 would have been a bad year for this, but what about 1940?
                    May of 1940, to be precise. Say.... the last week of that month?

                    With all of Germany's Panzers deep in Belgium, and no allies yet, Soviet bungling is the only thing that could have saved Berlin.
                    The question is, would it have been another Finland, or a Khalkin Gol?
                    Berlin would have been saved by the inability of the RKKA to supply its army across Poland. They would have run out of steam near Warsaw and required a couple months to improve the LoC (railroads), and stock supplies forward.

                    The difference might be on the German side. Would Hitler & the others panic & cancel the offensive in the west? Or carefully transfer infantry from unimportant sectors like the upper Rhine while the main attack was left alone? I'd think the former.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                      exactly. having plans does not mean you act on them.

                      look at now, Israel has plans for nuking western europe and USA, but it does not mean they even dream of doing that.
                      From around 1904 the US had plans for war with Great Britian (Red), Germany (Black). These do not indicate the US intended to make a suprise attack on either nation. Or on Japan in the case of plan Orange.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                        Berlin would have been saved by the inability of the RKKA to supply its army across Poland. They would have run out of steam near Warsaw and required a couple months to improve the LoC (railroads), and stock supplies forward.

                        .
                        You are forgetting; The Reds were already halfway across Poland in 1940.

                        Yes, they had the greatest trouble moving their massed formations around, and 1941 would prove that... but would they have needed such massive formations? Just Three armies would have given them overwhelming superiority, one of which could have skirted the coast picking up useful ports as it went.

                        They could have panicked the Nazis into doing all sorts of stupid things.
                        Or, von Brauhitsch might have had a break-down after taking a look at the map, walked up behind Hitler and shot him in the head.
                        Hell, faced with a re-play of WW1, Hitler might have shot himself!

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                        • #13
                          Probably worth noting that the Soviets overestimated the size of the Heer by around 100%. The performance of the Red Army in Finland during the Winter War doesn't fill one with any confidence for a summer offensive in 1940. They could have struck in 1942 but, as TP pointed out, the reorganisation process would still have been 'bedding in'. Not only that, but iirc the unit structure set up under said reorganisation proved very unwieldy during combat even when it was complete. Assuming the Germans don't just sit around waiting for the Soviets to attack they will have better equipment of their own come mid 1942. I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope for success for the Soviets in any large scale offensive at this time.
                          Signing out.

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