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Was the USSR set to attack Germany before Operation Barbarossa??


Jorge MC
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LarS19631 month ago (edited)

Suvorov is either an idiot or a liar of the worst kind.

This "thesis" is so blatantly stupid and so ignoring facts, that it's unbelievable.

First off, the number of T-34s and KV-1s was less than 500 of each dring Barbarossa. The vast majority of Soviet tanks in -41 was utterly obsolete T-26s. There was also a large number of BT-series tanks and to a lesser extent, T-28s.

Second, if the RKKA, (it was not yet called the Red Army) was poised to attack Germany, why were they spread out all along the border? The Soviet tactical doctrine of the time was Deep Battle, that called for concentration of troops.

Third, if USSR was poised to attack Germany, how come the whole army and air force was is such a bloody shambles that they could hardly carry out defensive operations?

Four, if Stalin was ready for war, how come he went out of his way not to provoke Germany, to the extent that he forbade the Soviet air force to engage German reconnaissance planes?

This whole idea has been so effectively debunked an refuted by all serious historians, that the only ones believing in it, is the crackpots and those seeking to defend fascism.

I recommend you read the following works if you are interested:

David Glantz: "Stumbling Colossus" and "When Titans Clashed".

Anthony Beevor: "Stalingrad" and "Berlin".

Cornelius Ryan: "The Last Battle".

Especially David Glantz is unparalleled in his knowledge about Soviet military and tactical doctrines. He was for many years Pentagon's leading expert in Soviet military matters. Suvorov, on the other hand, is a disgruntled defector, unhappy that he never received the limelight he thinks he deserves.

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Ofcourse, both sides knew that one side or the other would eventually have to attack first...Both are the two power houses in Europe. USSR wanted to attack Germany, but simply wasn't ready until probably Spring 42' or later.

For Germany, it was a good thing to attack first with Operation Barbarossa, or they would have been knocked-out of war sooner...Germany simply had no choice but to attack, and was more prepared first for it ( or rather, as prepared as they will ever be, since they weren't in full-time War Production yet ).

Joe

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I'm going to answer these individually.

First off, the number of T-34s and KV-1s was less than 500 of each dring Barbarossa. The vast majority of Soviet tanks in -41 was utterly obsolete T-26s. There was also a large number of BT-series tanks and to a lesser extent, T-28s.

Like I said in my post above, he was gearing up to attack. It's not like he was supposed to attack in july 1941...

Besides, having almost 1000 T-34's and KV-1's is no small thing when the germans had Pz IV's with short 75's and Pz III's with 37's and short 50's (not to mention all the Pz II's and Pz 35/38's and captured french tanks).

If the russians had invaded, they'd still have almost 1000 tanks that were better than anything the germans had, and that's 1/5th of all the german tanks available at that time. So for every T-34 or KV-1 (which were nearly invincible to german tanks) the germans had 5 tanks which were all inferior.

That'd be like if the germans had invaded russia with 2600 Tigers in their ranks in '41... Imagine how that war would have gone. So while the russians had few of those tanks compared to their total number of tanks, it was still quite alot compared to the germans.

Second, if the RKKA, (it was not yet called the Red Army) was poised to attack Germany, why were they spread out all along the border? The Soviet tactical doctrine of the time was Deep Battle, that called for concentration of troops.

Again, the army wasn't standing there on the border waiting to attack. But they were gearing up for an attack.

Third, if USSR was poised to attack Germany, how come the whole army and air force was is such a bloody shambles that they could hardly carry out defensive operations?

Because they were not ready for an attack? Even IF the army was poised to attack germany on the 23rd, they would still have been completely unprepared for defending on the 22nd.

Four, if Stalin was ready for war, how come he went out of his way not to provoke Germany, to the extent that he forbade the Soviet air force to engage German reconnaissance planes?



Because he wasn't ready for war. He was PREPARING for war. Big difference. And he was not going to provoke germany into attacking before he was ready.

He was very happy letting the germans fight in the west instead until he was good and read to attack.

But let's pose some of the questions that he brought up in the video, just for fun.

IF the russians were not going to attack, and just defend, why did they need to develop amphibious tanks?

If the russians were not going to attack, but just defend, why would they put their airbases so close to the front lines?

If the russians weren't preparing to go to war with germany, why were they up-arming their tank force with tanks to specifically match or beat the germans? The japanese and other soviet border states certainly didn't have tanks that were much better than the T-26 and BT-7.

If they were preparing to only defend, why have tanks that were clearly developed for attack ?

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There's been a lot of revisionist history lately coming from some quarters excusing and justifying Nazi actions in the 30s and 40s. Now Hitler's mad ideology of lebensraum and his plans to literally enslave the 'degenerate' Slavic races to their Aryan masters was mere a 'defensive' measure. You can't talk about history without including the detail that Hitler was as mad as a hatter.

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Any prophesy of a planned a Soviet attack into Western Europe in 1941 or even 1942 is fantasy revisionism.

It's true that Stalin and the Soviets considered conflict with the "Capitalist Imperialist West" inevitable (not surprising, especially considering the direct military support the West provided to the White Generals during the Russian Civil War), but the entire Red Army doctrine of the time revolved around defending and then counterattacking a Western invasion into the Soviet Union. The Red Army of the 1930s expected to fight and defeat the capitalist armies on their home soil, and then invade Western Europe after the foe had been smashed. A fairly logical thesis considering the history of how invasions of Russia had generally played out prior to this time.

In a way, Barbarossa is exactly what the Red Army and Stalin expected to happen. They just didn't expect it in June 1941.

Further out, 1943 or later, it's harder to know what might have happened. Like everyone else, the Soviets were reacting and adjusting to a shifting world reality and it's hard to predict what the world might have looked like had Hitler not invaded Russia in 1941 (would UK and Germany have stalemated and come to some sort of uneasy peace? Assuming a peace, how successful would Germany have been at placating and subsuming conquered territories? What about Japan and the U.S.; how do their actions change if Germany and the USSR are not in direct conflict? What about China and Manchuria?)

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Would a country (or leader) planning to start a war any time soon do such an efficient job of murdering the senior leadership of the army? Stalin was bad, not mad (barring a little paranoia - but some of them probably were out to get him!). He didn't deal with Zhukov until after the war, even when he was a serious threat due to his successes and popularity...

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That'd be like if the Germans had invaded russia with 2600 Tigers in their ranks in '41 ... imagine how that war would have gone.

I'm imagining 2,600 broken down Tigers just the other side of Brest-Litovsk, and then the tank-less German armies barely getting to Minsk.

That's what you had in mind, right?

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My take on this topic is to take a look at what Stalin actually did. From what I can tell his MO was to basically grab land or attack a nation after it had already been defeated or the land was ceded to him by a prior agreement. I don't think he ever aggressively launched an attack on a nation with a military capable of defeating his own or of putting up a good fight. In other words, Stalin never seemed to look for a 'fair fight'.

When he signed the Non Aggression Pact with Germany I sincerely doubt that he thought Germany would defeat France ... probably at all let alone in 1940. I'm pretty confident that his line of thinking was 'hey, I can grab all this land from the Non Aggression Pact and sit back while Germany, France, and Britain all beat each other senseless. Maybe .... there might have been some idea in his head that if the war in the west was going against Germany that he might invade from the East 'IF' he thought it would be the final blow in the manner that he took out the Japanese forces in Manchuria. I can't imagine Stalin launching an aggressive assault against an undefeated Germany who is in possession of the continent of Europe as was the situation in 1941. That just doesn't fit with the way Stalin seems to have operated. Especially when you consider that the German Army of 1941 seemed 'invincible' if you go by the press reports of the time and the Soviet Army didn't exactly impress in the invasion of Finland - which Stalin probably thought of as a breakaway Russian republic. Stalin seems more like a knife in the back kind of guy who prefers to stack the odds in his favor as much as possible before taking an action.

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I'm going to answer these individually.

But let's pose some of the questions that he brought up in the video, just for fun.

IF the russians were not going to attack, and just defend, why did they need to develop amphibious tanks?

If the russians were not going to attack, but just defend, why would they put their airbases so close to the front lines?

If the russians weren't preparing to go to war with germany, why were they up-arming their tank force with tanks to specifically match or beat the germans? The japanese and other soviet border states certainly didn't have tanks that were much better than the T-26 and BT-7.

If they were preparing to only defend, why have tanks that were clearly developed for attack ?

Well, just for fun, these questions are seriously supposed to lead one to conclude that the Sovs were preparing to launch a preemptive attack on Germany??

As has been repeated over and over and over, the Soviets always envisioned a very "offensive" defense which involved large-scale counter-attacks. That by no means proves (or disproves) that they were planning a preemptive attack.

Regarding the tanks, I suspect that they developed the best tanks that they could--if they were only trying to outclass the Germans, they could have stopped far short of the T34...

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Any prophesy of a planned a Soviet attack into Western Europe in 1941 or even 1942 is fantasy revisionism.

Only two numbers that proove without any shadow of a doubt, that the German attack was a preemptive strike:

2000 destroyed soviet aircraft in the first 24(!) hours.

3.5 MILLION (M.I.L.L.I.O.N.!!!) Soviet POWs in the first six(!) WEEKS.

Anyone with a rudimentary military understanding knows, that such a tremendous concentration of military forces at borders and not in depth makes absolutely no sense as a defensive deployment.

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Only two numbers that proove without any shadow of a doubt, that the German attack was a preemptive strike:

2000 destroyed soviet aircraft in the first 24(!) hours.

3.5 MILLION (M.I.L.L.I.O.N.!!!) Soviet POWs in the first six(!) WEEKS.

Anyone with a rudimentary military understanding knows, that such a tremendous concentration of military forces at borders and not in depth makes absolutely no sense as a defensive deployment.

Defense in depth wasn't understood as the defensive doctrine to beat the German blitzkrieg at that point in time. If it had been, France wouldn't have fallen (in less than six weeks). The development of the defense in depth wasn't really tried until Kursk in 1943.

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Defense in depth wasn't understood as the defensive doctrine to beat the German blitzkrieg at that point in time. If it had been, France wouldn't have fallen (in less than six weeks). The development of the defense in depth wasn't really tried until Kursk in 1943.

Prior to the Fall of France, no. But the Fall of France took place about a year before Barbarossa, and everybody in the world sat up and took notice when that happened.

The German success in France caused a radical re-evaluation of strategic plans and doctrine in the Red Army. Prior, a heavily dug-in, linear defense had been favored, not unlike the French defensive plan.

After the Fall of France, the Soviets trashed this doctrine and began a transition to an overall strategic plan that included large tank armies held in reserve, which would counterattack and envelop and attacking enemy from the West. Specifically, if Germany invaded, a large mobile force was to be held in reserve in Ukraine. It was to sweep Northward and cut off the invading foe. After this was accomplished and the German Army was defeated in the field, the mobile tank armies would continue into Western Europe.

Barbarossa actually caught the Red Army in the middle of this transition, which is one of many reasons why the Germans were initially so successful. Red Army forces neither here nor there; the bulk of the Red Army wasn't in well-entrenched forward positions, but the mobile tank armies hadn't been completely trained, equipped, and positioned yet, either.

As it was, several of the large tank corps did attempt major counterattacks early in Barbarossa. But for a whole range of reasons, they failed miserably.

At the strategic theory level, the Red Army was actually pretty good. It was their operational and tactical execution that was a complete shambles.

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The Vulture, YankeeDog

I'd suggest three things:

1. Study how Russia defeated Napoleon. You will recognize that defense in depth is nothing really new. ;)

Especially not for big countries. That brings me to:

2. Look at a map and try to find Sovietrussia and then France. Maybe you will discover a few differences of strategic importance?

3. Look at the deployment of the French army. You could even take the Maginot-line into your considerations and what effect this defense had.

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The Vulture, YankeeDog

I'd suggest three things:

1. Study how Russia defeated Napoleon. You will recognize that defense in depth is nothing really new. ;)

Especially not for big countries. That brings me to:

Hellas,

I'd suggest two things:

1. Stop acting like an arrogant jerk.

2. Consider that some countries, perhaps Soviet Russia included, might prefer a strategic forward defense to a "defense in depth" which results in your country being overrun and your capital burnt to the ground.

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Look at a map and try to find Sovietrussia and then France. Maybe you will discover a few differences of strategic importance?

I'm not sure what you have in mind, but for a very long time one fact has stood out for me. During WW II, land armies were pretty much at their limits after advancing ~200mi/300km. After that, they were forced to pause in order to bring up their logistical support, incorporate replacements of men and matériel, etc. And army that has covered 200mi across France has conquered a very big chunk of the country. An army advancing 200mi in the USSR has just barely gotten started. As long as the Soviets could manage to replace the divisions lost in combat, they could keep fighting. For the French, that first 200mi was home to so much critical industry and population that their chances of replacing losses were already getting dim. After that, the German forces reorganized for the second stage of the battle and swept over the rest of the country.

Michael

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On the supply issue, Tooze in "Wages of Destruction" makes an interesting point, namely that the German Army, under ideal circumstances, wanted to have at least one dedicated railway line per Army. In Russia, they had to make do with one dedicated railway line per Army Group, i.e. 3 lines instead of 10.

In practice, this meant that the first phase of the offensive would peter out 500 km from the start line. 500 km being the absolute limit at which truck borne transports could keep the spearheads supplied from the depots in Poland over what passed as "roads" in Russia and this only in dry weather.

Compared to that, the campaign in France, over an excellent, paved, all-weather, road network was a picnic.

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My five cent's to this ultimately pointless discussion is that a) yes nazi-germany was bent on conquest of the east ideologically so war was inevitable and B) soviet knew this and since RKKA was largely a offensive weapon if any (as far as I have understood) , they were preparing for offensive readiness (even if that would have been in 1942 or later). Even if two mad dogs are getting ready to get on each others throats doesnt make one or the another any wiser or moraly justified. They are just mad dogs.

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DMS,

Suvorov/Rezun a clown? Hardly. Clowns do not have their understanding of how the Russians organize for combat and structure their forces get turned into a key piece of an official US Government document published by the Pentagon (Soviet Military Power), nor do clowns cause wholesale changes to threat documents as a result of their disclosures. I saw the changes myself--after I'd already alerted my bosses as to what was said by Suvorov and the huge associated implications. I was inside military aerospace when this stuff hit, and some of it practically unhinged people.

Suppose you suddenly find out there are, in some categories, half again as many SAMs as your war planning envisions or that SSM units have three nuclear capable launchers, not four? Suppose you discover that lots of what you thought was in development was fielded, en masse, years ago--and has now been retired, replaced by goodness knows what?

We now know, for example, that Russian HEAT rounds fired from the PT-76 and ZIS-13 guns, ammo designed to defeat a tank we never built called the T95 (went M48 family instead), a tank whose advanced armor was a steel-glass-steel sandwich, was capable of piercing an M1 Abrams frontally because the M1s siliceous core armor was functionally the same as the T95! Suvorov on security procedures for antitank weapon tech.

Inside the Soviet Army

(Fair Use)

"The, Soviet Army takes exceptionally strict measures to safeguard the secrets of its anti-tank weapons. Many of these are completely unknown in the West. The Chief Directorate of Strategic Camouflage insists that the only anti-tank weapons which may be displayed are those which can be exported-in other words the least effective ones. The systems which may not be exported are never demonstrated but remain unknown from their birth, throughout their secret life and often, even, after their death. We will say something about these later."

In order for the Egyptians to get that ammo, it first had to be obsolete, per above, in the Red Army. Ironclad rule, which Suvorov told us about. We knew nothing of those rounds until circa (winging it here) 1980, when Israel provided us with some captured during the 1973 Yom Kippur War! It then took us another five years to really figure out what we had and what it could do. Kill every AFV we had! That HEAT ammo was but one horrifying discovery of the many which forced the US to spend billions to improve tank survivability (DU armored M1s) and ability to kill Russian tanks practically invulnerable (frontally) to most US antitank weapons. The XM256(?) "Silver bullet" for the 120 mm armed M1A1 HAs was part of that crash "get well" program. That's why the 105 mm armed M1s were swapped out before the Hail Mary attack into Iraq during ODS. Iraqi tanks, IFVs and lots of other things might well have eaten them alive otherwise. That's why Javelin was fielded, for even Improved Dragon was hopeless against well thought out armor plus ERA. That's why TOW went to ITOW (5" WH w/standoff probe) to TOW II (6" WH w/probe) to TOW 2a (6" WH w/probe w/precursor charge to defeat ERA) to TOW 2b (downward firing WH to kill tank through weakly protected roof when missile overflew tank). Given these harrowing discoveries, the LAW had to be scrapped and replaced with the vastly more potent AT 4. In fact, the conclusion of the Defense Science Board Summer Study on armor and anti armor was that the US had two antitank weapons which were still effective: the Maverick antitank missile and the Hellfire.

The first is no surprise, since the founded in fact joke was that the only reason we put a warhead (173-pound HEAT) on the missile was in case it missed (not likely, given demonstrated combat performance of 0.92 Ph). A direct hit followed by WH detonation would obliterate the tank. A near miss (10 feet or less) w/WH detonation sufficed to M-Kill the tank.

The above is but a fraction of what the US did. It was Suvorov who revealed the existence of the Chief Directorate fo Strategic Deception, whose job was to show us what the Ministry of Defense wanted us to see and hide what it didn't. I've personally seen some of the imagery from when we got a glimpse behind that deception veil, and it showed a radical improvement in military capabilities which we might not otherwise ever learned of. Again, Suvorov was right.

As you'll see from the thread below, the very things for which Suvorov was crucified in such places as International Defense Review have been proven right.

https://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?p=1396150

If Suvorov was a clown, please tell me why, to this day, his roughly foot thick 8.5 x 11" debrief is still classified through the stratosphere? After all, we're talking about a guy who defected circa 1980? How often does someone defect who has commanded both an MRC and a TC, who has actually been directly involved in invading a foreign country, who has been intimately involved in intelligence work, to include tasking agent networks and monitoring and analyzing vast rivers of data, from which emerge the most startling insights? That's without considering Spetsnaz, the then-GRU's deep recon and strike arm for a military district, which in wartime becomes a Front? When did the West ever get someone who was also a Spetsnaz training officer and a fully trained GRU officer who operated against NATO? How about never when it comes to someone with all the above experiences combined?! Wiki on Suvorov's military background.

"From 1965-1968 Rezun finished the Frunze Kiev Red Banner Higher Military Command School. In 1968 he served in the 145th Motorized Rifles Regiment of the Carpathian Military District in Ukraine, participating in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1970-1971 he served in the Volga Military District Headquarters, and later with the 808th Independent Army Reconnaissance Company (Spetsnaz)."

The Frunze Military was the Red Army equivalent of the US Command and General Staff School. You had to be a captain or a major to get in. This was the stepping stone to general's stars or even becoming a Marshal. Again, no clown. At least, the way he did things. You should see the things he says about those who gamed the system and the impact it had on usable manpower and combat effectiveness.

If you read Suvorov's books, you'll find he has an in-depth knowledge of Russian military stuff, real arcana, and knows how to decode what he reads, for it was the system in which he lived and worked, and he was a highly trained spook--after his years and years in the military, including stints on the intel stafffs of two different MDs. This man was brought in time and again to school Western officers and political leaders on how the Russians see things and how they planned and organized for war. Bluntly put, their whole approach to war is dramatically different from ours, to the point our people were simply reduced to sputtering in sheer confusion and disbelief. Suvorov is no fool, and I believe you ignore him at your peril. The United States Naval Academy must've found what he had to say of real interest when it came to the "Icebreaker" scenario, for it had him in to discuss it! An hour of time devoted to what he had to say by some very busy people.

)

The "Icebreaker" argument will make much better sense after you have a chance to watch this man in action. He notices things others don't, and if they did, don't know why it's significant. He does. His argument about Red Air force forward basing is quite telling. In a nutshell, "If you plan to attack, you want your airfields close to the border, where they can have maximum reach as your forces advance into enemy territory. You certainly don't have some 800 meters from the border! Why? If you're attacked, you will suffer terribly. And that happened to...?"

I consider that an excellent argument and refer you to customary artillery practice. Artillery set up for offense is typically 1/3 of range back from the line of contact. Artillery set up for defense is typically 2/3 of its range back, to protect the vulnerable artillery in the event of an enemy breakthrough and to make it harder to locate and kill.

Regards,

John Kettler

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The "Icebreaker" argument will make much better sense after you have a chance to watch this man in action. He notices things others don't, and if they did, don't know why it's significant. He does. His argument about Red Air force forward basing is quite telling. In a nutshell, "If you plan to attack, you want your airfields close to the border, where they can have maximum reach as your forces advance into enemy territory. You certainly don't have some 800 meters from the border! Why? If you're attacked, you will suffer terribly. And that happened to...?"

Arguing that Suvorov is a genius because the US military values his work is akin to saying the Bernie Madoff was a brilliant investor because lots of "smart money" invested with him (and they did). The question in both cases is whether that faith turns out to be justified.

I haven't studied Suvorov enough to form a personal opinion about him, but honestly, his "insight" about forward placement of air bases that you describe above is so completely obvious that it is difficult to understand why you consider it the mark of genius? I sincerely hope that this is not the kind of thing that the US military needed his help to figure out?

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