Stalin and the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War

By Amr Abozeid  – Jun 1, 2021

At the outset of the German invasion of the Soviet Union Britain’s chief of the Imperial General Staff declared that the Wehrmacht would cut through the Soviet forces “like a warm knife through butter.”[1] The prevailing opinion in Washington also held that the Nazis would “crush Russia [sic] like an egg.”[2] Against all odds and expectations the Red Army not only survived the German onslaught but blazed its way through to Berlin by May 1945. The Red Army’s victory over the German invaders was “the greatest feat of arms the world had ever seen.”[3] The war demonstrated the extraordinary resilience of the Soviet order and ranks as the one of the great victories of toiling humanity. Walter S. Dunn has observed that, “the achievements of the Red Army” in the Great Patriotic War, “surpass those of any other army in history.”[4] Soviet leaders even claimed that in the early months of the German invasion the Soviet Union “experienced the equivalent of a nuclear first strike yet survived.”[5] According to Glantz this claim “while overstated a bit … is not far from the truth.”[6] The aim of this paper is to outline how Stalin and the Soviet leadership led the Red Army to victory over the fascist invaders in 1941. It also offers a brief assessment of Stalin as head of the armed forces and his role in the Soviet victory.

The Nazi-Soviet Pact
Western commentators often describe the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact as an alliance but this is profoundly mistaken. Hitler’s ideology centered on the destruction of the Soviet Union and the creation of lebensraum in the east for German settlers. The Nazi-Soviet pact of August 1939 was a temporary expedient for the Nazi leadership which had originally hoped to expand eastwards but was stymied by the British and French declaration of war in support of Poland in September 1939.[7] In a letter to Mussolini in the early months of 1940 Hitler declared that “only a bitter compulsion” had led to the signing of the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. “The pact with Russia, Hitler reminded the Duce, was merely a tactical and economic necessity until he had safeguarded his rear in the west.”[8] Fritz argues correctly that “achieving space for the German nation and the final confrontation with Bolshevism” were “the two great tasks” Hitler set himself.[9]  On 11 August 1939 Hitler informed a League of Nations official, Carl J. Burckhardt, that “everything he undertook was directed against Russia. If the West is too stupid and too blind to comprehend this, he would be forced to reach an understanding with the Russians, turn and defeat the West, and then turn back with all his strength to strike a blow against the Soviet Union.”[10]

The Soviet leadership signed the non-aggression pact with Germany because it feared the Western powers were trying to push Hitler in to a war with the Soviet Union while standing back from the fight themselves.[11] Stalin had seriously attempted to negotiate a triple alliance with Britain and France in the months leading up to August 1939 in order to deter Hitler but received a lukewarm response from the British and French regimes.[12] A similar Soviet proposal for an alliance with Britain and France was put forward during the Sudeten crisis in 1938 and had also been dismissed.[13] Churchill understood that: “the Soviet offer was in effect ignored. They were not brought in to the scale against Hitler and were treated with an indifference – not to say disdain – which left a mark on Stalin’s mind. Events took their course as if Soviet Russia did not exist. For this we afterwards paid dearly.”[14] According to Dmitri Volkogonov, no Stalin admirer, Stalin had been prepared to go to war with Hitler during the Sudeten crisis.[15] On 20 September 1938 the Soviet government informed Czechoslovakia that the Soviet Union was willing to fight in its defense and a partial mobilization of Soviet military forces took place. Seventy divisions were readied for war by the USSR but the Munich agreement was signed on 30 September 1938 and the Soviet Union was ignored.[16] Christopher Read notes that by the summer of 1939 Stalin’s “preferred option of an agreement with Britain and France seemed as far off as ever … Without such an agreement the USSR was in danger of facing Hitler alone, an outcome Stalin was not yet prepared to entertain.”[17] To reiterate British and French reluctance to commit to an alliance with the USSR against Hitler pushed Stalin in to signing the non-aggression pact.

Warnings of War and Stalin’s Response
Many believe that Stalin’s stubborn blindness to reality led to the disaster that befell the Red Army in the months following the German invasion in June 1941. The truth is more complicated. Although Stalin was definitely “guilty of wishful thinking, of hoping to delay war for at least another year in order to complete the reorganization of his armed forces” there were plenty of reasons for Stalin to doubt reports of an imminent German invasion.[18] Stalin worried that Britain would try to embroil the Soviet Union in a premature fight with Germany by providing misleading information.[19] The Soviets also did not mobilize the entirety of their armed forces nor concentrate them in the border areas for fear of provoking Hitler.[20] According to David Glantz: “Stalin was not … the first European leader to misunderstand Hitler, to believe him to be ‘too rational’ to provoke a new conflict in the east before he had defeated Britain in the west. Certainly, Hitler’s own logic for the attack, that he had to knock the Soviet Union out of the war to eliminate Britain’s last hope of assistance, was incredibly convoluted.”[21]

The Germans mounted an “extensive disinformation campaign” to justify their massive military build-up along the Soviet border.[22] The German High Command (OKW) secretly informed the Soviet leadership that the concentration of forces in the east were there to deceive British intelligence and that the German forces needed to practice for Operation Sea Lion in an area outside the reach of the British air force.[23] Hitler also ordered that German troop concentrations appear to be defensive.[24] In addition the Germans put out rumours that their forces deployed along the Soviet border were there to extract economic concessions from the Soviets. This encouraged the Soviets to believe a German attack would be preceded by an ultimatum or a diplomatic warning.[25] The Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in April and May 1940 also helped explain the presence of German forces on the Soviet border.[26] It also led to several delays in the invasion of the Soviet Union. Soviet intelligence correctly identified the 15th of May 1941 as the original date for the invasion but when the German attack failed to materialize on that day they were discredited in the eyes of the Soviet leadership. “By late June, so many warnings had proved false that they no longer had a strong impact on Stalin and his advisors.”[27]

Far from doing nothing Stalin responded to the German buildup by mobilizing 800,000 reservists between May and June 1941 and ordering 28 divisions to the Western districts of the USSR in mid-May. According to Dunn the month before the beginning of the invasion witnessed the formation of over 40 Red Army rifle divisions.[28] By the time war broke out in June 1941 the Red Army was composed of around 5.5 million men divided in to more than 300 divisions. 2.7 million were deployed in the western border districts of the Soviet Union. During the evening of 21-22 June these forces were “put on alert and warned to expect a surprise attack by the Germans.”[29] Stalin opted not to implement a full-scale mobilization because he feared that doing so would provoke a German attack which he hoped to delay for at least another year. Stalin and his generals also mistakenly believed that the Germans would initiate the conflict by launching limited probing offensives. The Soviet leadership assumed the decisive battles would be fought a few weeks in to the war and not at the start. They did not expect the Germans to commit their main forces to battle at once which they did to devastating effect.[30] “Paradoxically” says Geoffrey Roberts, “the German surprise attack on 22 June 1941 surprised no one, not even Stalin. The nasty surprise was the nature of the attack – a strategic attack in which the Wehrmacht committed its main forces to battle from day one of the war, slamming through and shattering Red Army defences and penetrating deep in to Russia with strong armoured columns that surrounded the disorganized and immobile Soviet Armies.”[31]

Stalin and his generals also succumbed to German deception efforts regarding the main direction of the German attack. The Germans concentrated their main attack on the Minsk-Smolensk-Moscow axis which was north of the Pripiat marshes but the Soviets expected the enemy’s main efforts to be concentrated on Kiev and Ukraine south of the Pripiat marshes. As a result “the Red Army was off-balance and concentrated in the southwest when the main German mechanized force advanced further north.”[32]

In addition to the strategic surprise achieved by the German forces at the outset of the war the Wehrmacht also benefitted from “institutional surprise.” By June 1941 the Soviet forces “were in transition, changing their organization, leadership, equipment, training, troop dispositions and defensive plans. Had Hitler attacked four years earlier or even one year later, the Soviet Armed Forces would have been more than a match for the Wehrmacht.”[33] According to C. J. Dick when the German invasion occurred the average Soviet mobile corps possessed only 50% of its authorized tank strength. Substantial deficiencies in trucks, artillery and motorcycles also existed. These combined to weaken the Red Army relative to its German foe.[34] Numerous Red Army commanders “were not astonished when the invasion started, though they had not foreseen the weight of the blow. They were surprised in the military sense that their army was in the throes of organizational and doctrinal change and thus unready to fight.”[35]

RELATED CONTENT: Operation Barbarossa: Did Stalin Expect Hitler to Invade? Part II

Glantz believes that the Soviet armed forces were also in serious trouble by June 1941 because of the Tukhachevsky affair which decapitated the Soviet High Command and led to the purge of more than 34,000 officers.[36] Although roughly a third of those purged were eventually reinstated during the war, the elimination of Tukhachevsky and his followers was a serious blow to the combat effectiveness of the Red Army. The timid, cowed, inexperienced and unqualified surviving Red Army officers could not adapt to the fluid tactical and operational situations that emerged during the early months of the war. This contributed greatly to the devastating defeats absorbed by the Red Army during this period.[37] Yet as Roberts observes, “it would be misleading to say that Stalin dominated a High Command consisting of a cohort that had stepped trembling in to the bloodstained shoes of their purged predecessors. When they had gained battle experience and learned from their mistakes Stalin’s wartime commanders performed outstandingly and developed a positive, collaborative relationship with the Soviet dictator in which they displayed initiative, flair, and a good deal of independence.”[38]

War
The German invaders scored spectacular victories against their Soviet opponent in the early months of the war. “By any measure,” says Glantz, the German victories “were unprecedented and astounding.”[39] The Red Army suffered devastating losses of men and equipment and was “all but annihilated” in the summer of 1941.[40] Nevertheless the Germans underestimated their opponent’s ability to mobilize reserves and were painfully surprised by the average Red Army soldier’s tenacity and willingness to fight on in the face of enormous odds.[41] Surrounded Soviet units “fought with a disconcerting fury while inflicting heavy losses on the attacking German infantry.”[42] “From the outset,” says Fritz, “the Germans encountered sharp, fierce fighting that unnerved even veterans of the previous campaigns, accustomed as they were to an enemy who would give up when surrounded, not one who put up a stubborn defense, refusing to surrender while inflicting not inconsiderable casualties.”[43] The ferocious fighting on the Eastern front prompted one German panzer officer to comment that: “War in Africa and the West was sport; in the East it was not.”[44]

It is often claimed that Stalin lost his nerve and became deeply depressed with the outbreak of war.[45] This is highly unlikely given that on 22 June 1941 Stalin approved twenty different orders and decrees. He also repeatedly met with other members of the Soviet leadership. According to Glantz and House Stalin met with 29 people on the 22nd of June 1941.[46] On the 29th of June Stalin ordered party members and government officials to fight to the finish against the invaders, arrest cowards and employ a scorched earth policy in the event of a forced retreat.[47]

Faced with such severe setbacks the Soviet leadership introduced far reaching organizational reforms in the second half of 1941 while accelerating the mobilization of Soviet divisions.

Reforming the Red Army
Stalin and his generals were forced to reorganize and radically reform the Red Army while at the same time adopting desperate stop-gap measures to try and halt the German juggernaut.[48] According to Glantz: “the fact that the Stavka was able to conceive of and execute so extensive a reorganization at a time when the German advance placed them in a state of perpetual crisis management was a tribute to the wisdom of the senior Red Army leadership.”[49] The changes introduced by Stavka included simplifying the formations at every command level by reducing the number of men under the command of its officers. In the early months of the war most Red Army officers lacked experience and were incapable of handling large masses of men.[50] To remedy this problem Stavka created smaller field armies that Red Army officers could more competently control. The size of a rifle division fell from 14,500 men to roughly 11,000 men while the assigned artillery pieces also declined significantly.[51] As the war progressed Red Army commanders gained experience and were increasingly entrusted with larger units.[52] The Red Army lost thousands of tanks during the first six months of war. This encouraged Stavka to abolish mechanized corps and assign all surviving tanks to infantry support roles. The Soviets temporarily abandoned the idea of large mechanized formations.[53] In 1942 however Stavka member Colonel General Iakov Federenko oversaw the resurrection of separate mechanized formations. These were combined arms formations that marked the gradual return to the prewar Soviet concept of the deep operation. Their size and complexity grew as the war progressed.[54] Although mocked by the Germans Stavka also expanded cavalry forces significantly. These served as effective transport units during the winter of 1941-42 when mechanized forces were incapable of action due to the cold weather conditions. They were also deployed in the escalating partisan war behind the German lines.[55] Stavka also initiated changes in Red Army tactics and operational concepts. Its directives were straightforward and seemingly obvious but helped inexperienced officers to understand and more successfully defend against a highly skilled enemy. Red Army officers gradually learned that direct frontal assaults against the most powerful German units were wasteful and ineffective.[56]

In the first six months of the war Soviet officers often made the mistake of not concentrating sufficient forces at important points in the German lines. This was apparent in the Red Army’s counteroffensive at Moscow on December 5, 1941.[57] Stavka issued Directive No. 03 on 10 January 1942 which ordered all front and army commanders to employ shock troops while mounting offensive operations. Attacks at the level of a front would have a width of only 30 kilometers.[58] The December counteroffensive in front of Moscow had been 400 kilometers wide at the front level.[59] Reducing the width of the attack would concentrate superior forces at specific points in the German lines making them more likely to disintegrate.[60] This method combined with Soviet deception efforts known as maskirovka misled the Germans in to thinking they were vastly outnumbered.[61]The same Stavka directive ordered the use of up to eighty guns and mortars per kilometer in artillery offensives prior to attacks on enemy positions. In 1941 Red Army forces on the offensive were supported by, on average, by 7 to 12 guns and mortars per kilometer. This figure increased to 45 – 65 tubes by the summer of 1942.[62] Far greater gun densities became the norm for Soviet forces later in the war but the improvements in artillery use in 1942 were “a key step in the rebirth of Soviet tactical skill.”[63]

To learn from its mistakes and gain a better understanding of all aspects of combat the Red Army leadership ordered all formations to keep track of fuel and ammunition expenditures, operational decisions as well as planning details. These records were studied by a separate department led by Major General P. P. Vechniy. According to Dick, “the Red Army reckoned that using large numbers of scarce, trained, knowledgeable, experienced, often senior officers for military historical research would pay dividends. So it did.”[64] The studies produced covered all areas of combat which improved Soviet military planning and increased the likelihood of success on the battlefield.[65]

The Soviet Mobilization System
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the Soviet military mobilization system in allowing the Soviets to survive Operation Barbarossa.[66] Soviet planners responded to the loss of 3 million men in the summer of 1941 by creating a new Red Army. This Army was also decimated by the Wehrmacht by December 1941. One hundred fifty-four Soviet rifle divisions perished at the hands of the German invaders in the first six months of the conflict. A third Red Army, formed between August and November 1941, halted the German advance on Moscow and a fourth, formed between December 1941 and the fall of 1942, defeated the Germans at Stalingrad.[67]

By June 1941 “the Soviet Union had a pool of 14 million men with at least basic military training. The existence of this pool of trained reservists gave the Red Army a depth and resiliency that was largely invisible to German and other observers.”[68] According to Glantz one of the main factors behind the Wehrmacht’s failure in 1941 was the Red Army’s ability to assemble new forces as quickly as the Germans were destroying existing ones.[69] Five million three hundred thousand reservists were assembled by the end of June 1941. In July 13 new field armies were summoned in to existence.[70] In August, September, October, November and December the numbers were 14, 3, 5, 9 and 2 respectively.[71] Prior to the invasion the Wehrmacht had estimated an enemy force of 300 divisions but by December 1941 the Red Army had fielded more than 600. “This allowed the Red Army to lose more than 4 million soldiers and 200 divisions in battle by 31 December [1941], roughly equivalent to its entire peacetime army, yet still survive to continue the struggle.”[72] A colossal 483 new divisions were assembled by the Soviets during the entire war. The United States only mobilized 90 divisions during the same period.[73] It is also important to note that the Soviets continued to fear a Japanese attack from the east and planned accordingly. Only 7 divisions were sent to the western front from the east and the size of the far eastern forces grew substantially.[74] According to Stahel: “Whatever one may conclude about the Soviet Union’s defeats in 1941, many at the time, including numerous German officers, commented on the remarkable ability of Stalin’s state to take so many losses while at the same time growing the size of the Red Army.”[75]“Soviet reserves,” says Stahel, “allowed for an unprecedented rate of force generation, which German intelligence utterly failed to foresee.”[76] Dunn believes the “herculean” mobilization efforts of the Soviet leadership led to the Wehrmacht’s first defeat in the Second World War during the Battle of Moscow.[77] “Like industrial mobilization,” says Dick, “the mobilization of manpower was a truly remarkable feat.”[78]

Stalin could not only tap in to an enormous pool of potential soldiers he could also count on the good health of the average recruit. The USSR witnessed a significant improvement in the population’s general health during the 1930s.[79] In 1926 3.8% of potential recruits examined had tuberculosis. In 1933 this figure had declined to 0.057%. Those who had heart conditions declined from 78 per 1,000 to 18.6 per 1,000. The number of potential soldiers with “poor physical development” also fell from 25.7 per 1,000 to 4.4 per 1,000 during the same time period.[80]

Contrary to Nazi propaganda the Red Army soldiers mobilized for battle were not fighting against their will for a Soviet system they allegedly hated. While the motivations of Red Army recruits varied considerably by and large they were eager to defend their lands from the German invaders and here lay “the real source of strength for the Soviet state.”[81]

It would also be a mistake to presume that the Red Army simply outlasted the Germans by overwhelming them with numbers. The Red Army also began to gradually outfight its enemy. The new Red Army that emerged from the ashes of the first was heavier in terms of the weapons it deployed and its forces became more operationally and tactically effective than the Wehrmacht. As Dunn has observed the conventional view of the Red Army as an army “composed of masses of poorly armed and poorly led peasants that overwhelmed the Germans does not jibe with details concerning manpower, leadership and the equipment of the Red Army.”[82]

The Soviet War Economy
The strength of the Soviet war economy allowed the Soviets to outproduce Nazi Germany in terms of weapons and equipment which helped secure the Red Army’s victory. The contest for production of arms and equipment between the two sides became increasingly important in the aftermath of the Battle of Moscow. In 1940 the German empire in Europe produced 31.8 million tons of steel while the Soviets produced only 18.3 million tons in the same year. Nevertheless the USSR was able to produce greater amounts of weaponry than the Germans throughout the war.[83] Soviet planners concentrated production on a limited number of basic, defensive weapons and did not waste resources on less important arms such as battleships and long range bombers. These were not essential to the Soviet war effort.[84] The Soviets also adopted the American idea of planned obsolescence in production which meant that even though the life span of the tank or weapon was shortened it took less time to produce and the number of rejected machined parts was kept at a minimum. In the long run the equipment would break down but this was several times greater than the expected lifespan of the weapon on the Eastern front.[85] Overall mass-production, cost-effective design and planned obsolescence secured the Soviet victory in the battle for production.[86] “The Soviet Union,” says Dunn, “with an economy severely disrupted by occupation of its most productive land, analogous to occupation of the United States east of the Mississippi, was able to outproduce Germany. This productive capacity was a major cause of Germany’s defeat.”[87]

The weapons produced in Soviet factories were in many respects superior to their German counterparts. The Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks were rare at the start of the war but as the conflict progressed they became more common on the battlefield. “Tank for tank the Germans were simply outclassed” says Stahel.[88] Only the German 88mm Flak gun was a match for the Soviet T-34s and KV-1s but it could only be used in a defensive posture.[89]“Soviet artillery was another bane of the Ostheer.”[90] During the opening months of the war the Soviets were unable to adequately range and coordinate their artillery fire but as Red Army commanders gained experience they began to subject the Germans to “harrowing bombardments” that were increasingly effective.[91]

Soviet industrialization in the 1930s allowed the Soviet leadership to supply its forces with the massive amounts of weaponry and equipment needed to defeat the invaders. Among the many strategic investments made in the Soviet interior was the Ural-Kuznetsk combine which was begun in 1930 and connected the coking coal of Kuzbas in Central Siberia with the iron ore of the Urals. This metallurgical base maintained a steady supply of equipment that allowed the Soviets to survive the calamities of the war’s early period.[92] Thanks to the industrialization efforts of Stalin and his colleagues in the 1930s on the eve of war the Soviet Union “possessed not only the largest military industrial complex in the world but also one with a trained cadre of administrators already experienced in managing a war economy.”[93] According to Fritz the industrialization of the Soviet Union “was decisive in 1941, as the Soviets absorbed extraordinary losses but kept fighting. The Germans did, indeed, kick in the front door but contrary to Hitler’s expectations, the structure wobbled but did not collapse.”[94] The Red Army used its own weapons and equipment to stop the Germans in December 1941 before British and American lend-lease began to flow in significant quantities in 1942.[95]

The head of the German War Economy Office, General of Infantry Georg Thomas submitted a study on the 2nd of October 1941 about the Soviet war economy. In it he predicted that the Soviet war effort would only breakdown with the conquest of the industrial regions of the Urals.[96] The Ostheer never came close to capturing those areas and the Soviet war economy eventually overtook its German counterpart despite the dislocations caused by the German advance. Hitler’s mistaken optimism about the war’s outcome led him to release War Directive 32a of 14 July 1941 which ordered the redirection of industry towards the Luftwaffe and the Navy and away from the needs of the Ostheer. This reduced the supply of weaponry and equipment available to the German forces in the east.[97]

Unlike their German counterparts the Soviet leadership recognized from the very beginning of the conflict that the war would be an expensive and drawn out affair and planned accordingly. “As a result,” by October 1941, “while Hitler continued to drastically underestimate the economic implications of fighting the war in the east, the Soviet Union was already three months into its ‘total war’ mobilisation, producing armaments in quantity.”[98] In October 1941 the USSR produced around 500 new tanks while Nazi Germany only produced 387.[99] By March 1942 the Soviets were producing 1,000 new tanks a month while German production in that month declined to only 336 tanks.[100]

The Evacuation of Soviet Industry
Soviet survival also depended on the leadership’s timely evacuation of heavy industry to the east and out of German hands. This effort was overseen by Nikolai Voznesensky who was head of the industrial planning organization GOSPLAN.[101] Most Soviet pre-war industrial production was located in the Western regions of the USSR especially in the eastern Ukraine and Leningrad areas. 1,523 factories were evacuated out of harm’s way between July and November 1941. They were transported to Siberia, Central Asia and the Volga. This task was accomplished despite intermittent German air raids on the factories and railways. Millions of workers were also relocated in what one authority has recognized as “an incredible accomplishment of endurance and organization.”[102] The Soviet government also sabotaged and destroyed what could not be evacuated so it could not be of use to the German invaders. In addition to saving Soviet industrial production necessary for sustaining the war effort the successful dismantling of Soviet industry in the West deprived German economic planners of important economic resources.[103]

Smolensk July 1941
In July 1941 ferocious resistance by Red Army forces in the area around the city of Smolensk which was located along the road from Minsk to Moscow blunted the German offensive on that axis. Stalin committed sizable forces led by Timoshenko and Zhukov. This forced Hitler and the German High Command to make fateful changes to their campaign strategy. The Germans ceased their attacks along the Smolensk axis for two months and instead focused their energies on Leningrad and the Ukraine. “Stalin’s resolve and the resulting attacks,” states Glantz, “in turn increased the pressure on Army Group Center, reinforcing Hitler’s interest in pursuing ‘paths of lesser resistance’ on the army group’s flanks to gain new successes.”[104] The limited successes of the Red Army around Smolensk raised the morale of Soviet troops and bought time for Stavka to organize the defense of Moscow.[105]

At Smolensk the Soviets launched numerous counteroffensives to stop the Germans. This offensive strategy was very costly and resulted in the loss of around half a million dead and missing Soviet troops in two months. Stalin has been rightly criticized for these attacks which were wasteful and callous. Yet as Roberts has argued, “the doctrine of offensive action was not Stalin’s personal creation or responsibility but part of the Red Army’s strategic tradition and military culture.”[106] Stalin of course embraced this offensive spirit and as head of the armed forces was ultimately responsible for the enormous casualties that resulted amongst his men at Smolensk and at Kiev in September 1941. A defensive posture would have been more realistic given the superiority of the Wehrmacht and would probably have saved many lives.[107] In any case the battle of Smolensk inflicted considerable casualties on the German army which failed to break the Soviet will to resist. According to Glantz and House the Soviet counteroffensives around Smolensk between July and September 1941 “halted German Army Group Center in its tracks for the first time in the entire war.”[108] They also “contributed to a palpable sense of crisis in the second half of July” 1941 amongst the OKH (German Army High Command).[109] On the 26th of July 1941 Hitler confided to the Chief of Staff of the Army High Command Franz Halder: “You cannot beat the Russians with operational successes … because they simply do not know when they are defeated.” German propaganda minister Goebbels noted at the end of July 1941 that, “It is clear that we have underestimated Bolshevism.”[110]

Kiev September 1941
The city fell to the Germans on the 19th of September 1941. Stalin overestimated the ability of his forces to halt German attempts to encircle the Kiev salient. He also ignored early warnings from Zhukov and other military advisers to withdraw the forces of the South Western Front and abandon the city. 43 Soviet divisions or 452,750 men along with 3,867 guns and mortars were eliminated by the Germans in the ensuing disaster.[111] According to Fritz the Germans captured 665,000 Soviet troops but Glantz and House believe the true number of prisoners was probably closer to 220,000.[112] In any case “Germany had achieved a colossal operational triumph”.[113] Stalin bore primary responsibility for the debacle.

The Battle of Moscow:
The Soviets benefitted from the “unchecked arrogance” of the German High Command which continued to underestimate its enemy despite the heavy resistance the Ostheer was facing.[114] They also failed to prepare their troops for a campaign beyond the summer of 1941. In the postwar period numerous German generals claimed that the arrival of rainy Rasputitsa (time without roads due to heavy rains) in October 1941 disrupted their otherwise sound plans. However, as Stahel has pointed out, “there was nothing unusual about the onset of the Russian rasputitsa by mid October.”[115] “That it is cold in Russia at this time [around October],” noted a former officer in the OKH, “belongs to the ABC of an eastern campaign.”[116] The German High Command had expected the victorious end of Operation Barbarossa by the end of the summer of 1941. They therefore made few if any preparations for the inclement weather they faced beginning with Operation Typhoon.[117]It was not “General Mud” or “General Winter” that defeated the Germans in 1941.[118]Instead it was the extraordinary resistance of the Red Army which saved the Soviet Union. The idea that poor weather conditions were the only reason Operation Typhoon failed “does not withstand examination.”[119] The Red Army faced the same weather conditions as the Germans and deployed all the troops it could to stop the advance on Moscow.[120]Roberts correctly concludes that, while the weather played a role, “the decisive factor” in stopping the Germans from capturing Moscow, “was Stavka’s manpower reserves.”[121]

The battles of Viazma and Briansk in October 1941 on the road to Moscow were undoubtedly an “unmitigated disaster” for the Red Army.[122] At Viazma the German forces pulled off a classic “Cannae” and set up a giant “mincing machine” that consumed hundreds of thousands of Red Army troops.[123] Over half a million Soviet soldiers were captured in the encirclement battles that followed. The Red Army lost 6,000 guns and mortars as well as 830 tanks.[124] Despite this the heroic Red army soldiers within the Viazma and Briansk encirclements fought fiercely and bought time for their comrades under Zhukov to organize for the defense of Moscow.[125] As Stahel observes, “Battles do not exist in a vacuum and cannot be judged simply on the index of losses for or against … Viaz’ma was an undisputed operational victory [for the Germans], surpassed in scale only by the battle of Kiev in September; however, strategic success depended on Viaz’ma bringing about the collapse of Soviet resistance or, at the very least, the fall of Moscow.”[126] This it failed to do.

Stalin carefully built up the reserves needed for the Moscow counteroffensive in the months leading up to December 5 instead of committing them directly to battle.[127] The cold December weather and snows affected both sides but slowed the Red Army advance against the Germans. As such the German setback at the gates of Moscow cannot be blamed on the weather.[128] Although the casualties suffered by the Red Army in the December 5 1941 Moscow counteroffensive were “biblical” the Wehrmacht was forced to retreat between 100 and 280 kilometers.[129] The offensive marked the end of the German blitzkrieg against the USSR. The Germans were thrown on the defensive and their complete defeat was staved off with great difficulty.[130] It would be appropriate to say that “the tide of World War … turned on 5 December 1941” with the Soviet offensive.[131]Already by mid-October 1941 the Vatican and the Swiss secret services had concluded that the Germans were bound to lose the war given their debacle in the east.[132] According to Pauwels Hitler personally recognized that defeat was inevitable after the Red Army’s December 5 offensive.[133]

Stalin displayed personal courage by remaining in Moscow as the Germans approached the city.[134] His speeches marking the anniversary of the October Revolution in early November galvanized and encouraged the Soviet people to resist the German invaders. They were printed and disseminated across the USSR.[135] According to the BBC’s correspondent in Moscow, Alexander Werth, “whatever bad memories and reservations [Soviet] generals may have had, Stalin had become the indispensable unifying factor in the patrie-en-danger atmosphere of October-November 1941.”[136] Stalin’s bravery was more than matched by his troops who faced the German onslaught “with fanatical levels of determination and their trademark resilience in the face of daunting odds.”[137] American journalist Henry Cassidy who was stationed in Moscow in the second half of 1941 reported that, “the Soviet Union made its own miracles” during those trying times.[138]

RELATED CONTENT: Operation Barbarossa: Did Stalin Expect Hitler to Invade? Part I

Soviet Operational Art and Operation Bagration
Many historians have erroneously attributed the Red Army’s victory solely to its numerical superiority. As noted above Soviet mobilization and numbers played an important role but the Red Army also increasingly outfought the Germans as the war progressed. “Some commentators,” says Dick, “have denigrated Soviet victories as being the product of mere numbers and a preparedness to suffer what would be, to a Western commander, unacceptable losses. This is mistaken on several counts. The Soviets demonstrated superior operational art by so effectively concealing their concentrations that the Germans did not carry out effective counterconcentrations until it was too late; then the Soviets so vigorously conducted exploitation that they negated the effectiveness of the belated response. It was necessary not only to penetrate the German defenses but also to do so very swiftly if the required tempo were to be achieved and the enemy kept off balance. The demands of time – that most precious asset in battle that can so easily work against the attacker – required massive tactical superiorities. Besides, as Lt. Gen. Sir William Slim replied to the suggestion that he was using a pile driver to crack a nut: why not, if you have a pile driver and you are not too concerned about the postoperation appearance of the nut?”[139]

The Red Army applied the principles of Operational Art against its German foe to devastating effect during Operation Bagration which liberated Belorussia from the Germans. Operational Art was a concept introduced by Soviet officer A. A. Svechin during the 1920s and 1930s.[140] It “is the realm of the conception, planning and execution of major operations and campaigns designed, through a succession of steps, to destroy the enemy’s centre of gravity … It determines where, when, and to what purpose tactical units and formations are committed to battle.”[141] Operational Art lies between the levels of tactics and strategy. It involves arranging and synchronizing individual battles so that their effect is greater than the sum of parts.[142] As Svechin put it: “Tactics makes the steps from which operational leaps are assembled, strategy points out the path.”[143]Operational Art was neglected in the United States and Britain for decades after the Second World War but it was applied by the Red Army in 1944.[144]

Instead of pursuing overambitious, difficult to manage, simultaneous strategic offensives that would destroy the enemy at a single stroke the Soviet leadership learnt from past mistakes and chose to pursue the more limited, staggered strategic offensives of the summer of 1944.[145]

Operation Bagration was launched by the Red Army almost on the third anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, 23 June 1944. It aimed at the liberation of Belorussia and the elimination of Germany’s Army Group Center. The outcome was a crushing victory for the Red Army and “a military disaster of epic proportions” for the Wehrmacht.[146]Army Group Center, the most powerful German formation, was decimated and the Red Army advanced more than 300 kilometers.[147] Bagration, in combination with the Lvov-Sandomierz and Lublin-Brest Operations which commenced a few weeks later, destroyed and mauled more than 30 German divisions.[148] According to German general Siegfried von Westphal: “During the summer and autumn of 1944, the German armies suffered the greatest disaster of their history, which even surpassed the catastrophe of Stalingrad.”[149]“This was Stalin’s retribution for Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa,” says Tucker-Jones. “In one fell swoop the Wehrmacht lost a quarter of its strength on the Eastern Front.”[150]

The German High Command expected the Soviet blow to fall south of the Pripyat marshes and concentrated their available reserves there.[151] The Red Army struck Army Group Centre north of the marshes and so faced fewer German troop concentrations. Even though it made up roughly 30% of the Ostheer, Army Group Centre was spread thin and incapable of properly defending its assigned section of the Eastern front. “There was,” says Dick, “precious little tactical depth, as main defense positions were only 5 to 6 km (3 to 4 miles) deep, and there was no depth at all at the operational level.”[152] In addition to insufficient numbers Army Group Centre was hampered by the thriving partisan movement in its rear areas. The partisans passed on “excellent intelligence” to the Red Army before Bagration commenced and carried out effective sabotage missions in the days leading up to the offensive. These disrupted the rail lines leading from Minsk to Orsha and Mogilev to Vitebsk for a number of days which slowed the German response to Operation Bagration.[153] The Germans also made the mistake of concentrating their forces forward in the tactical zone of defense which made them vulnerable to suppression and encirclement by Red Army forces.[154]

The Red Army prepared for Operation Bagration by secretly transferring formations from other fronts and regions. 2,332,000 men, 4,070 tanks and self-propelled assault guns, and 24,400 guns, mortars and rocket launchers were deployed to crush Army Group Center. These numbers meant that Red Army forces outnumbered their German counterparts by 2.5:1 in terms of manpower, 4.3:1 in tanks and self-propelled assault guns and 2.9:1 in artillery. The Soviet air force dominated the skies.[155]

Maskirovka was a crucial part of Soviet preparations for Bagration and made sure that Army Group Centre had no idea of what was going on deep behind the Soviet lines.”[156] It can be defined as a “single, all-embracing concept that includes concealment and camouflage, deception and disinformation, counterreconnaissance and security.”[157] As such it was vital to the Soviet victory. Soviet air superiority furthered the maskirovka efforts by denying the Germans air reconnaissance over Red Army lines except in those sectors where deception was occurring. The Soviet buildup of forces took place by night and openly defensive preparations were made to deceive the Germans. Strict communications discipline was observed. Newly deployed units were camouflaged and concealed well. The Soviets were also aware that the Germans expected the next offensive to come in the south (in southern Poland or the Balkans) and they did what they could to strengthen this expectation. As a result the Germans transferred six divisions and 82% of Army Group Centre’s tanks southward.[158] Overall Soviet maskirovka efforts were extremely successful and the Red Army managed to strategically surprise the German High Command which reacted sluggishly to the opening attacks.[159]

One of the main factors behind the Red Army’s outstanding successes in the summer of 1944 was that Stavka and its representatives involved front commanders in the decision making process. According to Dick: “By 1944, the goals set, the times to achieve them, and the means provided were subject to negotiation.” Front commanders “had real and not nominal influence over decision making.” This was an advantage because these commanders possessed a detailed understanding of the terrain facing them, the capabilities of their own troops and the state of the enemy forces in their sector. Stavka also allowed front commanders to exercise their own judgment and display initiative within the contours of the overall objective.[160] “After all, operational art was a creative process, not a straitjacket requiring the automatic implementation of an inflexible theory and rigid plan.” By 1944 Red Army commanders and general staffs “had profited from long, hard apprenticeships. With experience came realism, an understanding of what was essential and what was of minor importance, the establishment of well-grounded planning norms and an ability to work accurately and to good purpose. The quality of planning had improved immeasurably by mid-1944.”[161] The Soviets also fully grasped the need to follow up the initial attacks with rapid exploitation in order to keep the enemy disoriented and incapable of restoring the integrity of his defense.

Stalin
Under Stalin’s leadership the Red Army “was very much a learning organization.”[162] Both he and his generals learnt a great deal from the early defeats and increasingly understood how to wage war more effectively as the conflict wore on. Stalin listened carefully to his generals and nurtured the talent and creativity of his subordinates.[163] As their competence grew he increasingly began to trust his officers and follow their advice. He also displayed a personal interest in the wellbeing of his commanders and subordinates which cemented their loyalty to him.

According to Glantz and House, throughout the war Stalin “kept his nerve and eventually learned how to orchestrate the instruments of power to defend the Soviet Union; his cold-blooded insistence on near-continuous offensive operations in the face of the Barbarossa invasion and his patience in waiting for the correct moment to launch what turned out to be a decisive counteroffensive at Moscow contributed markedly to the survival of his regime.”[164]

Hitler paid tribute to Stalin’s organizational abilities when speaking to his propaganda minister Goebbels just before the Battle of Stalingrad. “Compared with Churchill,” said Hitler, “Stalin is a gigantic figure. Churchill has nothing to show for his life’s work except a few books and clever speeches in parliament. Stalin on the other hand has without doubt – leaving aside the question of what principle he was serving – reorganized a state of 170 million people and prepared it for a massive armed conflict. If Stalin ever fell in to my hands, I would probably spare him and perhaps exile him to some spa; Churchill and Roosevelt would be hanged.”[165]

We may close with Seaton who reminds us that: “If he is to bear the blame for the first two years of war, he must be allowed the credit for the amazing successes of 1944, the annus mirabilis, when whole German army groups were virtually obliterated with lightning blows in Belorussia, Galicia, Romania, and the Baltic, in battles fought not in the wintry steppes, but in midsummer in central Europe. Some of these victories must be reckoned among the most outstanding in the world’s military history.”[166]

 

Endnotes

[1] Jacques Pauwels, The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, ( Toronto: Lorimer, 2015)66

[2] Ibid.

[3] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 4

[4] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 1

[5] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)66

[6] Ibid.

[7] Jacques Pauwels, The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, ( Toronto: Lorimer, 2015), 48

[8] Stephen Fritz, Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, (USA: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 36

[9] Ibid.

[10] Jacques Pauwels, The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, (Toronto: Lorimer, 2015), 63.

[11] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 32

[12] Ian Grey, Stalin: Man of History, (Great Britain: Abacus, 1982), 308

[13] Ibid, 302

[14] Ibid.

[15] Christopher Read, Stalin: From the Caucasus to the Kremlin, (New York: Routledge, 2017), 215

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., 216

[18] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016), 25

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 68

[23] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)26. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 68

[24] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)26

[25] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)26-27.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 64

[29] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 69. On the call up of 800,000 reservists see David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)22

[30] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 69-70

[31] Ibid.

[32] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)16. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 73-74

[33] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)27

[34] C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 28

[35] Ibid., 292, note 12

[36] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016), 20. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 15-16

[37] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)55

[38] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 16

[39] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)48

[40] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 1

[41] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)49

[42] Stephen Fritz, Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, (USA: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 87

[43] Ibid., 87-88

[44] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)48

[45] This story originated in Khrushchev’s secret speech of 1956. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 89

[46] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 74-75, 419, note 3.

[47] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 90-91

[48]David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)57

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid., 57-58

[52] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 122

[53] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)58. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 97

[54] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 123-124. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 161-162

[55] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)58-59

[56] Ibid., 59-60

[57] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 120-121

[58] A Red Army front was the equivalent of a Western Army Group and was intended to perform strategic missions usually in tandem with other fronts. C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 14

[59] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 121

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 54

[65] Ibid., 54-55. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 161

[66] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 4

[67] Ibid., 1

[68] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)61

[69] Ibid., 60-61

[70] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 271

[71] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)61

[72] Ibid., 62

[73] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 69, 74

[74] Ibid., 93-94

[75] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 5

[76] Ibid., 271

[77] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 5

[78] C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 51

[79] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 15

[80] Ibid.

[81] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 220

[82] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 2

[83] Ibid., 24

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Ibid., 26

[87] Ibid., 41

[88] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 226-227. Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 91

[89] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 227

[90] Ibid., 228

[91] Ibid.

[92] Alec Nove, An Economic History of the USSR, (London: Allen Lane, 1969), 133, 221-222

[93] Stephen Fritz, Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, (USA: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 81

[94] Ibid.

[95] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 93

[96] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 108

[97] Ibid., 107

[98] Ibid., 134

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)63

[102] Ibid., 63-64. Christopher Read, Stalin: From the Caucasus to the Kremlin, (New York: Routledge, 2017), 228

[103] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)65

[104] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 88

[105] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016)76-77, 131. Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 99

[106] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 99-100

[107] Ibid.

[108] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 70

[109] Stephen Fritz, Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, (USA: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 121

[110] Ibid.

[111] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 95

[112] Stephen Fritz, Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, (USA: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 145. David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 95

[113] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 95

[114] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 6

[115] Ibid., 98

[116] Ibid., 167

[117] Ibid., 98. Operation Typhoon was the German operation that aimed at capturing Moscow. It commenced on the 2nd of October 1941.

[118] Ibid., 167

[119] Ibid., 240

[120] Ibid.

[121] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 111

[122] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 151.

[123] Ibid., 150-151. David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941,(Great Britain: The History Press, 2016), 147

[124] David Glantz, Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941, (Great Britain: The History Press, 2016), 147. David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 151

[125] Ibid., 156

[126] Ibid., 150

[127] Walter S Dunn, Stalin’s Keys to Victory: The Rebirth of the Red Army, (USA: Praeger Security International, 2006), 76, 90

[128] Ibid., 64

[129] Christopher Read, Stalin: From the Caucasus to the Kremlin, (New York: Routledge, 2017), 230

[130] Jacques Pauwels, The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, ( Toronto: Lorimer, 2015)69

[131] Ibid., 70

[132] Ibid.70-71

[133] Ibid.71

[134] Christopher Read, Stalin: From the Caucasus to the Kremlin, (New York: Routledge, 2017), 230

[135] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 109-111

[136] David Stahel, Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941, (USA: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 5

[137] Ibid.

[138] Ibid.

[139] C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 304, note 4

[140] Ibid.20-21

[141] C. J. Dick, From Victory to Stalemate: The Western Front, Summer 1944. Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations, Volume 1, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016)11

[142] Ibid., 11-12

[143] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015)5

[144] C. J. Dick, From Victory to Stalemate: The Western Front, Summer 1944. Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations, Volume 1, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 4

[145] C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 89-90. David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 257

[146] Anthony Tucker-Jones, Stalin’s Revenge: Operation Bagration and the Annihilation of Army Group Centre, (Great Britain: Pen and Sword Military, 2009), xii

[147] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 278

[148] Ibid., 277-278

[149] Anthony Tucker-Jones, Stalin’s Revenge: Operation Bagration and the Annihilation of Army Group Centre, (Great Britain: Pen and Sword Military, 2009), xii

[150] Ibid., xi

[151] C. J. Dick, From Defeat to Victory, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 95

[152] Ibid., 96

[153] Ibid., 96-97

[154] Ibid., 97

[155] Ibid., 99

[156] Ibid., 103

[157] Ibid., 14

[158] Ibid., 100-103

[159] Ibid., 103

[160] Ibid., 170

[161] Ibid., 170-171

[162] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 161

[163] Ibid., 159, 161

[164] David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Revised and Expanded Edition, (USA: University Press of Kansas, 2015), 51

[165] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars, (London: Yale University Press, 2008), 373

[166] Ian Grey, Stalin: Man of History, (Great Britain: Abacus, 1982), 424

 

 

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