On June 29 an article was published in the American magazine Time giving the full picture on the Eastern Front. The data was provided by American intelligence. The analysis is good, but the article itself is very cynical. The magazine has no hint that the USSR is an ally of the United States. The authors treat Hitler's Germany with poorly concealed great respect. The hero of the cover is Franz Halder, the Chief of Staff of the Wehrmacht.The hour has come. This week is the moment of Hitler's decisive attempt to break Russia.
Hitler cannot spend another year conquering Russia. He has at most four, or even three months, to defeat it - otherwise Germany will lose the war. According to his calculations, Russia must be taken out of the war before the U.S. throws its real power on the scales. Hitler must win quickly - so that the German war machine has time to turn around and face the enemy in the West.
When the Nazi high command planned the 1942 campaign, it was based on three fundamental facts. These axioms were imprinted firmly in the mind of Hitler's number one strategist - Colonel General Franz Halder, Chief of the General Staff of the land forces.
He and his staff officers-those unknown squires of the German army that leave the glory to the generals who command on the battlefield, but take primary responsibility for themselves-were well aware of the problem they faced.
This time, in order to defeat the Russian army, they must restrain it by fighting - because even today the Russians, having retreated for 1000 miles, will not even be at the borders of the Ural industrial area. To do this, the Germans need to be able to advance along the entire 2,000-mile long front line. For such an opportunity to arise, the Germans had to wait for the most favorable time of the year. In the north, near Leningrad, the soil does not dry out sufficiently until mid-July (a month later than in Ukraine).
Given these seasonal limitations and the need to finish before winter, General Halder and his staffers needed to devise a plan that would defeat Russia in a matter of months-a plan of attack as devastating as the Polish or French campaigns of 1939-1940 and more elaborate than the failed "blitzkrieg" against Russia in 1941.
Failure would almost certainly result in defeat in the war. But the reward for success would be the opportunity to throw the entire Wehrmacht force against Britain and the United States - and thus the chance to take all of Asia, most of Africa, and even the British Isles.The first year of the war
This week marked exactly one year since the German attack on Russia, and General Halder could draw lessons from the initial failures in planning a new campaign.
During the twelve months of the war, the Germans occupied about 7 percent of Russia (about 5,800,000 square miles), but could not defeat it. They destroyed or captured more than 4,500,000 Red Army men, 15,000 tanks, and 9,000 planes. But they did not destroy the Red Army. German artillerymen photographed Leningrad through the eyepieces of their stereo telescopes. But the Germans could not take Leningrad, the key to supremacy on the Baltic, a roadblock to Murmansk and supply routes through Murmansk. The flag with the swastika flew just 115 miles from Moscow. But the Germans failed to capture the heart of Russia and its capital, the center of a giant railroad network, radiating out from Moscow and covering most of the country.
The German armies halted at the approaches to the industrial Donbass. But Germany did not get its mines, power plants and factories, and a profitable springboard to rush to the Caucasian oil. The Germans forced Russia to evacuate much of its industry beyond the Urals, but they did not come close to this rear forge of military power, which could partially supply Russian armies with everything they needed even if most of European Russia fell into enemy hands. The Germans occupied the Crimea, they occupied the Black Sea port of Kerch. But by the first anniversary of the beginning of the war they had not yet fully captured Sevastopol, the fortress controlling the Black Sea.
But most importantly, they had not captured the Caucasus and its oil. We often hear about Hitler's acute need for oil, how the giant fields of Maikop and Baku beckon him. However, another reason draws him to the south, to the Caucasus: the Russians themselves cannot do without Caucasian oil.
Given how little time they have to achieve all these goals, the Germans had to finish all preparations for a general offensive in advance. And all along the giant front, from Murmansk to the Sea of Azov, the rough work of war began to boil. Echoes of these preliminary clashes reached the world in May in reports from the Kharkov front, last week in news of skirmishes and local battles south of Leningrad, on the Moscow front, near Kalinin and Smolensk west of the capital, and near Kharkov, where the Nazis were advancing. The largest of these battles was the Battle of Sevastopol, the capture of which was a necessary conclusion to the Crimean campaign and an essential prelude to a further offensive in the south.Price paid
"So you have seen the defenders of Sevastopol: The chief, gratifying conviction that you have borne is the conviction of the impossibility of taking Sevastopol, and not only of taking Sevastopol, but of shaking the strength of the Russian people anywhere, - and this impossibility you saw not in this multitude of traverses, brambles, cunningly woven trenches, mines and guns, one on another, of which you understood nothing, but saw it in the eyes, speeches, receptions, in what is called the spirit of the defenders of Sevastopol. What they do, they do so simply: that, you are convinced, they can still do a hundred times more..."
Such lines wrote one young officer - participant of defense of Sevastopol. His name was Leo Tolstoy, and the events he experienced took place during the Crimean War.
In Tolstoy's time, the dying enemies - and the victors (when 127,000 Russians fell, the city was abandoned) - wore English and French uniforms. Last week, the powerful fortifications around the city, without regard for casualties, were stormed time after time by an even more formidable enemy armed with far more fearsome weapons. A distant relative of Leo Tolstoy, Alexei wrote in the Red Star: "Today in Sevastopol it is impossible to breathe because of the decomposing corpses of the Germans and Romanians. The troops of Hitler's Colonel General Fritz-Erich von Manstein were moving steadily closer to the city, piling up their own dead. One American correspondent reported: "The question that is being decided in Sevastopol is not whether the Germans can take it, but what price they are willing to pay for it.
The Germans paid the price. They needed Sevastopol for grand strategy, but they wanted to take it this week for political reasons: June 22 was the one-year anniversary of the German armies invading Russia, and the German people never got the promised victory. And by this date, Adolf Hitler desperately needed success in order to boost German morale on the eve of a gigantic new campaign.Armies prepared to rush in
However, the bacchanalia of death at Sevastopol is only an overture to what lies ahead. In spirit, in readiness to win or die, the Red Army is not surpassed by anyone. What its numbers and armaments are, only the Soviet High Command knows. Moreover we know two undoubted facts: 1) Russia urges the USA to increase the volume of supply; and 2) since May every time the German and the Russian armies met, the victory was with the Germans. However, London and Washington have rough estimates of the number and disposition of German troops:*
- On the northern section of the front, from Murmansk to Staraya Russa south of Leningrad - almost 1000000 soldiers (35 German divisions, including three tank divisions, 12 Finnish divisions, 2 Italian divisions).
- On the central section of the front (Moscow, Kalinin, Rzhev, Vyazma, Bryansk) - over 850,000 (40 German divisions, including 4 tank divisions), 2 Italian and one Spanish division.)
- On the southern part of the front, from Kharkov to the Crimea about 1300000 (50 German divisions, including 8 tank divisions, 14 Romanian and 2 Italian divisions).
- In the reserves (in the occupied territory of Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, Poland and East Prussia) - over 1,500,000 people (70 German divisions, including at least 4 armored, 6 Romanian and 4 Italian divisions).
- The Luftwaffe forces, now concentrated mainly in the south, are about 6,000 first-line aircraft, divided into three air fleets of 2,000 aircraft each.
Opponents of Nazism wanted to believe that the German army was a colossus on clay feet, that the stalemate on the front and the horrors of the Russian winter had broken its morale and bred apathy. The Germans themselves admit that their losses reached 1,500,000 soldiers. Well, the Russians can probably discount the Spanish and Italians, and no doubt some of those Germans who bore the brunt of the past winter are broken physically and spiritually. But of the soldiers who stormed Sevastopol one would not say that they were discouraged; even the servile Romanians marched forward and died by the thousands alongside their German masters.
Last week correspondent Leland Stowe spoke to Germans recently captured in Russia. Here's what he writes: "Psychologically, they are no closer to being knocked out than Joe Lewis in the third round (Joe Louis is a famous American boxer. Stowe alludes to his first fight with German heavyweight Max Schmeling in 1936, in which Lewis was knocked out after going 12 rounds) We - Americans and Brits - and especially our military should consider this fact. Any illusions that Hitler's army will collapse from within in the near future will only lead to disaster:. The spirit of the Germans is not broken, their will and stubbornness are firm: They will fight desperately, knowing that in the event of defeat Germany, or at least their generation, will lose everything.The plan is also ready
Today in Russia Hitler faces enormous problems: all along this gigantic front line his armies are confronted not only by unyielding and well-armed enemy troops (perhaps outnumbered by the Nazis), but also by deeply echeloned lines of defense, blocking every mile in the direction of the main strike (Moscow and south), and in a secondary direction (north).
Against such defenses the typical blitzkrieg tactics-surprise attack, breakthrough, development of the offensive by tank wedges supported by aviation and self-propelled artillery, clearing the way for infantry-would not work with the same effectiveness as in Poland, Belgium and Russia itself in the first months after the attack. Today the depth and thoroughness of the Russian defense is superior to that which last fall allowed the Nazi offensive to be slowed and then, with the onset of the paralyzing winter cold, halted it permanently. However, if Stalin and his staff had learned how to counteract the blitzkrieg tactics of 1940, then Hitler's generals also had plenty of time to learn the Soviet defense. In their calculations, the Moscow command can only assume that the Germans have a plan of some kind, that everything is ready for its implementation, and that its scale corresponds to the tasks facing the Germans.
In the course of the "preparatory" offensives this spring German troops have already demonstrated some "innovations. The essence of this updated tactic is to choose a very small sector of the front to attack, "treat" it with maximum massive air strikes (according to the Russians, up to 1000 planes were involved in the fifteen mile stretch south of Kharkov), and then throw in the offensive closely cooperating infantry, tank and artillery formations. Now the Germans are no longer trying to break through the Russian defense with entire tank divisions to wreak havoc in the rear. Instead, German tanks appear to be operating in small groups, keeping up with the infantry and artillery. As a result, although the Germans advance more slowly, they ensure that the advancing columns are monolithic, and at any moment have enough strength to repel encirclement attempts by the Russians. At Kharkov this tactic worked so successfully that Moscow was forced to admit that it was not yet possible to stop the Nazi offensive. At Sevastopol, the brutal onslaught of masses of men and metal in 16 days brought the fortress to the brink of collapse.Massive air strikes on cities - a favorite technique of German strategists
Perhaps the latest variations in German tactics simply mean a change of pace, probably in part due to the desire to save tanks. Given the size of the theater and the size of the Russian armies-and General Halder's propensity for grandiose schemes in all previous World War II campaigns-the Nazi plan for 1942 might well envision breakthroughs and encirclements on a grand scale.
There are many possibilities for such operations. If the main strike is centered, it could be aimed at capturing Moscow and then flanking the southern front of the Russians. A major offensive in the south could involve a direct strike in the direction of the Caucasus, or a turn to the north to reach the rear of the central front. An offensive in the far north would cut the communications that carry Allied aid from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. A major offensive through Turkey or bypassing its territory could cut off the Russian supply routes through Persia or continue south toward the Suez Canal.
We can not exclude variations on these topics. For example, offensives in several of these directions are possible simultaneously - some of them will really be the main strikes, while others will be distractions. Any two offensives along parallel directions could turn into 'pincers'. In general, whatever the German plan is, it will be astonishing in its scope.Ready and author of the plan
Adolf Hitler decides where the German army, air force, and navy fight the war. Sometimes he specifies exactly when this or that operation is to begin. But how they wage war is determined by General Halder and a small group of his highly professional assistants.
Colonel General Galder belongs to that group of dodgy officers who joined the Nazis immediately after Hitler came to power. If the army aristocracy - the Prussian Junkers - stayed away from them, the middle-class opportunists tried to make friends with the Brown House (the name of the NSDAP headquarters in Munich), safely turning a blind eye to the Nazi atrocities, and became the favorites of the new authorities long before the Prussian Reichswehr top brass "capitulated" to them. Today, members of this group are among Hitler's confidants: among them are the Führer's chief military advisor Jodl, the commander of the German forces in the High North Dietl, and List, who is now probably in charge of the central front.
Many Germans believe that Colonel General Halder was directly involved in the curious documents circulating last year called "Explanations to the Official Communiqués." Their carefully veiled meaning can be reduced to the following: "God, we should beware: Hitler thinks he is Napoleon. However, when Hitler deposed Field Marshal von Brauchitsch as commander of the land forces, Galder found himself even closer to the Führer.
Until now, the result of plans developed by Franz Halder has invariably been a crushing lightning strike - under his power Poland, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France collapsed, and last year Russia barely survived. But lightning must strike at the right moment. For Hitler in Russia, the right moment - and the only moment - is now. The world can expect a terrifying confrontation. If the strike does not follow, or it will not be devastating, this too will change the course of history. For in this case the Nazi war machine would be in a dire straits, and its days of glory would be numbered. https://weapon.temadnya.com/1246782882553006519/kaka-zapad-opisyval-nemetskie-pobedy-na-sovetskoj-territorii/