The Russo-German War, 1941-1945

The Russo-German War,
LTC (Retired) Oakland McCulloch
• Non-Aggression Pact and Polish Deal
• Operation Barbarossa
– The Plan and Opening Moves
– Decision Points
– Outside Moscow
• Battle for Stalingrad
– Decision to Fight in the South
– Splitting of Army Group South
– Stalingrad
• Kursk Battle
– A Final Throw of the Dice
• Battle for Berlin
• Brutality of the War
• Why the Soviet Union Won
The Russo-German War,
German-Soviet Treaty of Non-Aggression
• Signed 23 August 1939
• Set the stage for the first two years of World War II
• Why would the two cooperate?
• Both had fundamental objections to the Versailles
• Both wanted territory in Eastern Europe
Polish Deal
• Germans and Soviets decided how to divide up Poland
• Germans occupied a little less than half of Poland, the
Soviets occupied the rest plus the Baltic States
• Both were very brutal in their methods
Operation Barbarossa
The Russo-German War,
• 22 June 1941 – 129 Anniversary of
Napoleon’s crossing of the Niemen
• Late Start
• Not Well Defined Strategic or
Operational Plan
• German Forces
• 153 Divisions - 3.6 Million soldiers, 3,600
tanks, 2,700 aircraft
• Soviet Forces
• 140 Divisions plus 40 brigades – 2.9
Million soldiers, 10-15,000 tanks, 8,000
• Complete tactical Surprise
• Minsk, Kiev, Smolensk pockets
• Fateful Decisions
• Battle for Moscow
The Russo-German War,
Battle for Stalingrad 1941-1945
• Decision to Fight for
Resources in the
• Splitting of Army
Group South
• The Decision to
Capture Stalingrad
• Encirclement and
Loss of 6th Army
The Russo-German War,
Battle for Kursk
• Decision to Eliminate Kursk Salient
• Decision to Delay the Attack
• Loss of Initiative
Battle The
for Berlin
• Allied Decision Not to Take
• Stalin’s Plan
• Hitler’s Orders
• Civilian Suffering
The Brutality of the War
• Mass Execution of Civilians
• Take No Prisoners
• Scorched Earth Policy
The Russo-German War,
Why the Soviets Won
• Delaying the start of the war allowed Mother Nature to intervene
• Fall rains, early winter
• Lack of modern logistics nodes
• Poor to non-existent roads
• Non-standard railroad gauge
• Poor airfields
• Not prepared for a long war
• Lack of Strategic and Operational direction from the start
• Indecision at key times
• Wrong choices made by Hitler
• Very poor intelligence on Soviet capabilities
• Tenacity of the Russian Soldier
• US Logistical Support (mainly trucks)
The Russo-German War,
• Hitler’s Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted, R.H. Stolfi
• Hitler Moves East, 1941-1943, Paul Carell
• Scorched Earth: The Russian-German War 1943-1944, Paul
• Operation Barbarossa: Strategy and Tactics on the Eastern
Front, 1941, Bryan I. Fugate
• The Russo-German War 1941-45, Albert Seaton
• Deadlock Before Moscow: Army Group Center 1942/1943,
Franz Kurowski
• Enemy At The Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, William Craig
• Citadel: The Battle of Kursk, Robin Cross
The Russo-German War
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