Talk:Operation Barbarossa

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Three Soviet Directives from 22 June 1941:[edit]

I tried to put this into the article, however my edition was deleted:

Not encyclopedic[edit]


From now on he was not going to listen to any more of that kind of talk or he was going to stop up his ears in order to get his peace of mind.

Can we make it more encyclopedic? --Mortense (talk) 12:55, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Agree EyeTruth (talk) 19:45, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Unrealistic number of significant figures[edit]


the Red Army numbered a total of 5,774,211 troops: 4,605,321 in ground forces, 475,656 in the air force, 353,752 in the navy, 167,582 as border guards and 171,900 in internal troops of the NKVD.

Given the uncertainties, it makes no sense to state such numbers with up seven significant figures (5,774,211 and 4,605,321). Two significant figures should be more than enough. --Mortense (talk) 13:10, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

The problem is not the numbers but how they are presented in Wikipedia's voice. Given the uncertainties, the numbers should not be presented with Wikipedia's voice. In fact IMO war statistics should never be presented in Wikipedia's voice because over the past decades they are continuously being revised. The numbers you noted above are probably originally based on some primary sources or maybe they are just a "precise estimation" by a secondary source. They should be presented in the original source's voice instead of Wikipedia's voice. EyeTruth (talk) 20:04, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Nvm. I checked the article and noticed that the passage was already presented in the source's voice. In which case, there is no problem here. Check out the WP:YESPOV policy. EyeTruth (talk) 20:12, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Causes of soviet defeats

It seems Wikipedia starts to be mistrustful of some of myths of the old Soviet historiography, such as the purge rendering the Red Army incapable of fighting. Good to see, but the principal cause of defeats is strangely ignored. The cause is that the Soviet High Command lost control of its forces in June 1941, due to the surprise of the German attack. If Timoshenko/Zhukov gave 3 completely different orders (don't answer to provocations, repel the enemy but don't cross the border, counterattack on the enemy territory), all in the same day, you can imagine what happened at the lower levels. This led to a massive collapse of morale and discipline among the soviet forces. To evaluate the effects, I'll quote a report from 17 July 1941 of the Chief of Political Propaganda Department on the South-Western Front: "There were many cases of panicking flight from the battlefield of soldiers, groups or units. Often, panic was spread by cowards and scoundrels to other units, misleading the headquarters regarding the real situation on the front, units size and losses. The number of desertors is very high... According to incomplete data, the blocking dettachments detained 54,000 men who got lost from their units and stayed behind, among them 1,300 commanders".

This is why the Red Army lost so badly in the summer of 1941, not because they had obsolete equipment or lacked maintenance. The Soviet High Command understood that perfectly, because from July to September 1941 there was a flurry of orders from Stavka aimed at improving, through propaganda and threats, the discipline in the ranks. The nature of the Stalinist regime was such that it was forced to keep a tight grip on its troops, because many soldiers would simply not want to fight for the soviet power. When that grip weakened, in the confusion caused by the German attack, the fighting ability of the Red Army dropped significantly.

The fairy tales about the "purged army" or "poor logistics" are a myth perpetrated by Cold-war soviet historiography, which obviously could not recognize that a good percent of the soviet troops did not want to fight for the Soviet Union. The last major strategic success of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front occurred at the beginning of October 1941, with the destruction of the Western and Reserve Fronts in the pockets at Viazma and Breansk. From mid-october 1941 up to Kursk, Red Army fought the Wehrmacht on equal terms, so the argument that the Red Army needed 2 years to "improve itself" does not wash. If the traditional causes were true, then the Wehrmacht would have organized the Victory Parade by the end of 1941, because it would have impossible to fix them. It takes several years to prepare even a junior officer, so, for instance, where did the Corps Commander from 1942 or 1943 came from if the lower ranks of divisional commander and colonel were that badly decimated? It was impossible to fix such shortcomings (if they are actually true) in just half a year.

It's a sad sight to see even professional historians never thinking about the implications of their statements: according to them, in 1941 the Red Army was badly led, but at Stalingrad and Kursk it had good leadership - and that good leadership probably came out of thin air. In addition, by refering exclusively to the Red Army, the traditional theory creates a very unbalanced picture - implying that the Germans had it all spiffed up. In fact, the Wehrmacht was suffering from its own problems in the field of logistics, equipment quality and staffing and those problems weren't minor at all. And it couldn't have been any other way, having in mind that the Wehrmacht also increased its number of divisions from 1939 to 1941, from around 50 divisions to almost 200 - both Germans and Soviets were bound to suffer from personnel problems, since those are inherent to any army recently mobilized. (talk) 08:32, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Sentinel79.112.54.101 (talk) 08:32, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

The casualties in the infobox have degraded (yet again). Could anyone tell me, why were Finnish and Romanian losses removed from the Axis tally? Also, why are we simply adding Soviet POW's as per German count to the Soviet archival MIA? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

As for your first question, if you have sources that give some credible figures for Finnish and Romanian losses (and other axis losses) in only 1941, then feel free to put them up. As for the second question, that mess has been fixed. It is a consistently recurring "good faith" vandalism for this article. EyeTruth (talk) 17:13, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the Finnish casualties from 1941 - I don't have a book at hand but this site marks this book as it's source. However you might not want to include those numbers before some one has verified the numbers directly from the source. Source itself is credible, (translated) History of the Continuation War - part 6, author being what is currently known as the Department of Military History of the (Finnish) National Defence University. - Wanderer602 (talk) 04:28, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Reasons for initial Soviet defeats[edit]

This section needs at least the citations/references warning, though considering the sorry shape it currently is I wouldn't mind if it was removed completely. This is below public blog level.

  • Red Army was not "surprised" by the German attack. Units received orders to enter combat readiness around midnight of 22nd of June, hours before German invasion.
  • The Wehrmacht's "experience" is greatly exaggerated. Like any army Wehrmacht suffered casualties which were replaced with new, inexperienced recruits. Besides, the same could be said of Red Army who fought against Finland in the Winter War of 1939 - didn't they gain "experience" too? Finally, I've never heard a single valid claim that Wehrmacht's training was somehow superior to that of any other army. Their tactics might have been(See Mission-type tactics) but that has little to do with training quality as such.
  • Wehrmacht didn't have a doctrine of annihilation, and you can't certainly claim that "Axis" had such a doctrine as a whole.
  • How much the purges affected Red Army's leaderships is, at the very least, a subject of debate. On one hand, yes, the cadre was decimated; on the other, it was replaced by new officers straight out of officer schools. Obviously a commander with actual combat experience is better than one without any experience at all, but that doesn't make the unexperienced one a worthless wet rag incapable of doing anything right. Otherwise why even have schools in the first place?
  • The concept of an "offensive army"(I guess we have Suvorov to thank for this one?). Offense is a military action an order of magnitude more complicated than defense. To claim that there can be an army(or command) that can attack but not defend is nothing short of ridiculous. And even if it wasn't, then the "offensive army" can simply defend by... attacking.
  • The claim that Red Army expected "up to two weeks" before the main forces meet each other can only be treated as a bad joke considering the dislocation of the Red Army right on the German border. And what were the "promising, but untested" weapons of Red Army in June 1941?
  • The "conflicting orders" of Timoshenko and Zhukov. These were peace time standing orders, not wartime orders. The moment war starts every commander opens his safe, unseals the red envelope and acts in accord with the orders found inside. What were the orders in the safe? Well if we knew that we wouldn't have the "Soviet offensive plans controversy" article, but it is highly unlikely that they were conflicting with themselves.
  • "History alloted us too small a period of peace". Look at that, the cruel History couldn't wait until the biggest standing army in the world, with more tanks than the rest of European countries combined(and almost all of them completely outclassing German ones), got even bigger. I'd love to personally ask Zhukov what else he'd like to see in the Red Army that it didn't have in 1941... what would make the Eastern Front, in eyes of the History?
  • Wunderwaffe Luftwaffe - the favourite of many soviet "historians". I have bad news: without guided weaponry, aircrafts are terribly ineffective against tanks. Even dive bombers had troubles hitting bridges, much less a moving, small target such as a tank, and putting a cannon on a plane hardly solves the issue.
  • The breakdowns. Curious how soviet tanks seemed to work just fine when invading Finland, Poland or Romania(or, for that matter, when counterattacking against Germany later in the war), yet experienced this horrible epidemic during Barbarossa. Also curious that it was always the tanks that broke and not for example the trucks, even including the legendarily simple and unreliable ZiS-5/6. The reason is very simple: trucks make much better escape vehicles than tanks. Tanks didn't break down; they were simply abandoned by their crews and the "breakdown" was just a bad excuse. (talk) 09:45, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

You've made some interesting points and I may sympathize with many of them, but they are ultimately just your opinions (a quaternary source), until you or someone else can buttress them with better sources. EyeTruth (talk) 06:19, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Using a figure of "over four million soldiers" for the invading force[edit]

"Over four million soldiers" is the highest figure I have ever seen listed when reading about this conflict. Given all the scholarly works on the German offensive, the use of "World War II Chronicle" seems a curious source to select for the size of the invading force. Most conventional works give the size of the German force at 3.2 million men and then separately list the other nations' fighting forces and their limitations. Some of these other invading countries didn't even consider themselves allies with the Germans but instead comrades in arms. I think to state that over four million soldiers invaded the USSR can be misleading because of the restraints placed on some of the countries. For instance, Finland was under heavy pressure from the U.S. to not go beyond their nation's 1940 boundaries and they never did. So it's debatable whether Finland really "invaded" the USSR when they only recaptured territory lost in their recent war with them.TL36 (talk) 01:07, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Stalingrad?[edit] (talk) 08:41, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

About nine months. Still mentioned in "Outcome" and "Aftermath." --illythr (talk) 20:15, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Axis casualties[edit]

@Paulinho28: I have reverted your change to over 1,000,000. When "show" is clicked there is a well referenced breakdown showing over 800,000. If you would like to change this, could you cite better, or at least as good, references please? Gog the Mild (talk) 18:44, 13 July 2014 (UTC)