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:

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)

Clausewitzian theory?[edit]

Back in April, this edit added info about Hitler and his "more modern" thinking vs. his generals thinking like Clausewitz. It all looks fine, but I've never heard of this before, and it's unsourced. Can we please find some sources for this? Otherwise, I'm afraid we have to remove it. --A D Monroe III (talk) 21:57, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Well, the difference in thought between Hitler and the OKH is well-attested and easily sourced. However, the usual conclusion is that the OKH had it right and that Hitler squandered the best chance of a German victory, attacking Moscow in August, by redirecting the attack to the Ukraine. So that alone would justify a removal of the text, apart form the rather flippant style :o).--MWAK (talk) 08:02, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
I've read other opinions on that too. Either way, we need a citation. I'll see if I can find anything in the books I have, I seem to remember reading something like that. Martijn Meijering (talk) 09:04, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
The conflict between Hitler and his generals is accepted. The two added points here are (A) Hitler was right, and (B) the conflict was Clausewitzian vs. "modern" thinking. I'd say both of those points need refs, or face deletion as WP:OR. Even if we find refs, we'd still have to reword this to balance with conflicting opinions that are accepted and sourced. --A D Monroe III (talk) 15:16, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Opinion is divided over whether he was right, so we certainly shouldn't be saying he was. Martijn Meijering (talk) 19:58, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Elsewhere in the article Glantz is said to support Hitler's view being more modern and correct. I have his book on Barbarossa, and will try to find a citation. Martijn Meijering (talk) 20:11, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
I've checked the e-books by Glantz that I own, but couldn't find a reference. Martijn Meijering (talk) 11:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

"According to Clausewitz, wars were won by concentrating your armies at the enemy's focal point, their tactical Schwerpunkt. At the tactical level, this meant that your armies would win a battle by concentrating effort at unexpected locations, then having them converge upon the enemies focal point, leading to a Kesselschlacht, a cauldron battle."

The Schwerpunkt ("focal point" or "weight of effort") to Clausewitz is the strategic object that can be won in order to assure victory in war, and this could be military, political or geographic. This is very different from the concept of Schwerpunkt as it is used in German "Blitzkrieg" doctrine, which is more directly descended from Alfred von Schlieffen, not Clausewitz These are not the same just because they use the same very common German expression to describe them.

Von Schlieffen: Operations and tactics. Clauswitz: Politics and strategy.

Just because Guderian might talk about the "focal point" of an attack or where to place the "weight of effort", does not mean that it is the same as Clausewitz talking about the "focal point" of an enemies base of political and military power.[1]

Quote from Joint Operational Warfare: Theory and Practice: "... his focus was obviously on the strategic, not operational or tactical, level of war,"[2]

  1. ^
  2. ^ {{subst:Unsigned|1=Livedawg|2=08:47, 19 September 2014 (UTC)}}
    Good point. Beyond that by the XX century it was totally inconceivable winning a war by a stroke at the schwerpunkt in a classic way. ~~~~ {{subst:Unsigned|1=Cryfe|2=18:09, 19 September 2014 (UTC)}}