Originally posted by Amur_Tiger
The Russians have fought the Germans before, they know how they fight and know how to counter it, look at Kursk. This isn't to say that the German
way of fighting won't be effective or that the Russians won't be vulnerable to it, however having fought them before and learned so much from them
they will be one of the least vulnerable to said tactics.
OK first a quick lesson in History of WW-II. Many historians are comming round to the realization that Moscow 1941 was the main turning point of
WW-II. THis was the time that a single army by itself first stopped the german blitzkrieg. No one had been able to do this before and in doing so
locked the Nazies into a war of attrition they could not win and that their strategic doctrine expressly forbade.
THe german war economy was not structured for such a war and by the time it had been restructured for such a war, it was all but lost [1943/44]. But
several other events also occured in Dec 1941 to a make it THE critical turning point of WW-II.
The USA was forced into the war giving the allies the strategic depth that the germans could never hope to counter in a million years and Hitler in a
fit of self indulgence sacked his best commanders and took over the day to day direction of the war. This is called political micromanagement and we
have all seen how destructive it can be to ones own side [Nam etc]. Hitler furthered this corruption of the army by appointing political figures to
take over key military commands [he viewed the sacked Generals as potential adveseries].
German doctrine stressed something called 'Auftragstaktik' or "mission orders" at all levels. What this means is that strategic commanders made
strategic desicions and left the operational decisions to the field commanders. THese Field commanders then made operational decisions but didn't
make tactical decisions. This was left to the tactical commanders....and so on and so forth. In essence the 'whole becomes greater than the sum of
its parts'. We all know that command decisions have a profound effect on the prosocution of any battle or war.
That way at each level ,the person most intune with his aspect of the battle makes decisions about how best to carry out the orders.This is why
command training excelled in the german army and is also the basis of the American and most NATO armies.
Once you remove this critical link you remove the brilliant input of commanders at all levels and slow the reaction time and agility of the army in
question.There fore its no accident that except for brief periods where great commanders where able to wrestle control of their battles from Hitler
[Rommel and Mainstein come to mind] , for the most part german operational and strategic command and fighting ability goes down the tubes from early
Infact one could make the case that Hitler ruined Barbarossa [ invasion of Russia] itself ,with his increasing interferance in the command decisions
made during the campaign.
They say that there are two views of history...that its made by 'great' [meaning large] men or History is made by the surrounding enviorment and is
the product of those conditions. Here you had a event that encompast both and all of this. It culminated in a strategic waterchange in the war that
ended with germanies eventual defeat.So to make a long story longer, decisions made during battles from mid1941 on, were crippled by Hitlers
interference and Kursk is a prime example.
The battle itself was planned as an extension of Mainsteins very successful 'Back handed Blow', that he adminstered in the spring of 1943 and did so
by wrestling control of the battle from Hitlers interference. It was planned as an effort to eliminate the 'Kursk bulge' , thus shortening the front
line and allow the high command to husband critical Pz korps into strategic reserve to counter the expected upcoming Soviet summer offensive. Had it
been excuted at the end of April or into may 1943 [as was initially planned] it would probably succeeded in this objective.
Hitler however hyjacked the whole process and tried to turned the whole operation into a 'great' German summer offensive ,at a time when the
strategic reserves of fuel where 1/10th of what they were in the summer of 1941 and 1/3 of what they were in 1942. Thus it had little chance of
achieveing anything even if they won the immediate battle.
Hitler delayed the offensive for 3 months while he ready the first of the Panthers and TIger tanks....The first of the many 'wonder weapons' that
were going to magically win Germany the war. The Soviets were no fools and correctly recognized the plan and prepared the obvious counter a massive
defence in depth trap.
< OMG England just scored its 1:0 over France
IF this had been 1941, the german commanders would have recognised the trap and turned the tables on the Soviets and used Kursk as a fixing attack
[tying down the bulk of the soviet strategic forces]. Then they would have administered a drive on moscow from the north as a feint. This would have
paniced Stalin enough to abandon the safty of his fixed defence around Kursk and try to match the germans in operational maneuver [which they were
still ill prepared for]. The Germans could have then encircled the soviet strategic reserve in another campaign of annihilation, similar to Mainsteins
"Back handed Blow". This would have preempted the soviet summer offensive for 1943.
Contrast the experiences of 1941 to 1943. In 1941 the germans were outnumbered something like 3:1 to 6:1 and nearly annihilated the soviet army ,
while in 1943 they could barely punch their way out of a paper bag [strategically]. Hitlers suffocating control weighs heavly on this.
Now to make this more relevant to the current discussion. Soviet attack method is highly centralised as it was in WW-II and similar to the type of
suffocating control that crippled Germans decisions from 1942 on. As in WW-II soviet commanders were selected for their political allegiance as much
as any field potential.. with the exception of the strategic level . Stalin to his credit staffed real field commanders at the strategic level that
were every bit as good as the contemporay german generals.Thus the soviets ended up making far better strategic decisions than Hitler did and was
instramental in their eventual victory. By the end of the war even their operational decisions were vastly superior to the Hitlers decisions.
So at the end of the day the Soviet /german performance in any war in NATO/Warpac conflict, would be much more similar to 1939-41, than 1943-45.
< Rant mode off>
[edit on 13-6-2004 by psteel]
[edit on 13-6-2004 by psteel]