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Operation "Groza" Soviet Invasion of Western Europe, July 6, 1941

Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by Desert Fox, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Desert Fox

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    Soviet Coat of Arms depicting the
    Hammer and Sickle over the Globe

    Fourteen Days that Saved the World

    Paul Ballard


    ‘The Nazi command succeeded in forestalling our troops literally two weeks before the war began.’
    General S. P. Ivanov, Chief of the General Staff Academy of the Armed Forces of the USSR, 1974.



    The critical moment of World War Two – if not of the twentieth century – is generally regarded as Adolf Hitler's decision in 1941 to launch an unprovoked assault upon a hitherto neutral and peaceful Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa, as it was called, is perceived as the great tactical mistake which doomed Nazi Germany to defeat. Icebreaker, by Russian historian Victor Suvorov, exposes this scenario as nonsense. This extensively researched piece of historical revisionism provides compelling evidence that Operation Barbarossa was a reluctant pre-emptive strike against a massive Soviet military machine which was at that time poised to invade not just Germany, but the whole of Western Europe.

    Suvorov quotes top secret Soviet documents which make it crystal clear that Soviet military theory was based on offence and the conquest of territory "for the World revolution." And this theoretical plan for offensive war was matched by practical preparations in every branch of the armed forces.

    In 1939, when Britain declared war on Germany, Hitler came into the war with a total of 3,195 tanks, fewer than the Kharkov works in the Soviet Union was producing every six months on a "peace-time" footing. The Kharkov works produced the BT high speed tank which was capable of 100km/h and had a range of 700km. Based on a design by the American tank genius J. W. Christie, these tanks had their engine and transmission systems at the rear and were twenty-five years ahead of their time. By 1936, BT tanks were fording deep rivers underwater and driving along river beds.

    On unmade roads the BT operated (although not very effectively) on heavy tracks, but once on good roads, the tracks were discarded and the tank raced ahead on wheels. The only real roads were to be found in western Europe, in particular the German autobahn network, for which the tanks were intended. The claim that Stalin's tanks were not ready for war is not true; they were not ready for a defensive war.

    The same applied to Soviet aircraft in both numbers and quality. Communist falsifiers in the post-war period claimed that although the Soviet Union had many aircraft, they were inferior. In fact, the most heavily armed fighter in the world in 1939 was the Russian Polikarov I-16; the type 17 had two synchronised 7.62mm machine-guns and two 20mm cannons mounted on the wings, conferring a weight of fire twice that of the Messerschmitt 109E-1, and nearly three times that of the Spitfire 1.

    Rocket First
    Soviet aircraft builders created a plane, unique in the world, which had an armoured fusilage. The IL-2 was virtually a flying tank with extremely high powered weaponry, including eight rocket launchers. Soviet planes were the first in the world to use rockets in combat.

    The fatal weakness in this formidable airforce was that none of its pilots had been trained for dog-fights with enemy planes. The Soviet battle plan relied on a massive surprise attack to knock out the enemy airforce on the ground in the first few hours of the war. By mid-June 1941, in final preparation for such a blow, Stalin's planes themselves presented an ideal target, packed wingtip to wingtip on temporary airstrips immediately behind the front line, rather than being dispersed several hundred miles to the rear as they would have been in preparation for a defensive war.

    Likewise, airborne assault troops are only useful to an aggressor. Countries concerned with defence need very few. Hitler had created only 4,000 paratroopers by 1939, but Stalin already had more than a million – 200 times more than the rest of the world, including Germany, put together. There were 10 Corps, each supported by airborne artillery and even battalions of light amphibious tanks.

    Soviet engineers were also hoping to land hundreds, or even thousands, of tanks in the West. Antonov, the aircraft designer, suggested that the ordinary tank be fitted with wings and a tail with its hull used as the framework. The tank crew controlled the flight by turning the turret and raising the barrel of the cannon! The entire construction of the KT was astonishingly simple. The risks of flying it even the short path between being dropped from a plane and landing on the ground were unusually great, but human life was cheap to Stalin. The idea was that just before landing the tank engine was started up and the tracks made to revolve at maximum speed. The KT then landed on its tracks and gradually braked. It is claimed that prototypes were actually flown but, like the million paratroopers, they were no use in the unexpected defensive war started by the German invasion.

    Once the paratroopers had seized key points and airfields, the Soviet plan then called for huge numbers of reinforcements to be flown in. As well as building massive numbers of C-47 (Dakota) heavy transport planes under licence from the U. S. government, Stalin ordered a huge glider building programme. The ten different designs included Antonov's multi-seater assault glider the A-7 and the KZ-20, which could carry twenty soldiers.

    The human cost of this extravagant military expansion was horrific. Having sold Russia's artistic treasures and vast reserves of gold, platinum and diamonds, the Bolsheviks began their notorious collectivisation programme. The peasants were driven into collective farms so that crops could be taken from them without payment. Ten to sixteen million died from the collectivisation and the resulting famine, compared with 2.5 million Russians in World War One. Yet Stalin sold five million tons of grain abroad every year.

    Stalin Line
    Some of the money was spent on the thirteen fortified regions which were built along the Soviet Union's western frontier, in a strip of territory unofficially called the Stalin Line. A complex system of combat and supply installations, armoured and built of concrete, was constructed along the 30-50km deep zone; there were also reinforced concrete underground premises to serve as storage depots and command posts.

    The fortified regions were built with enormous effort and vast expense during the first two Five Year Plans. In 1938 it was decided to reinforce each region by building heavy artillery carponiers. More than a thousand combat installations a year were concreted into the region.

    In 1939 the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed. Once Poland had been partitioned there was no longer a neutral buffer zone. Stalin could have ordered the garrisons on the line to be strengthened and additional belts of fortified zones could have been constructed behind and in front of the existing line. But in fact the existing fortified regions were dismantled. Some military buildings were handed over to collective farms for vegetable storage, but most were buried or dismantled. In the spring of 1941 powerful explosions thundered across the 1,200km line as armoured firing positions were blown up.

    The reason was simple: Stalin had decided to spread Bolshevism westwards, and the belt of fortifications would have blocked supply routes, creating dangerous bottlenecks for the millions of tons of ammunition, food supplies and fuel needed for the offensive.

    Only a week after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, Stalin played his first dirty trick. Hitler began the war with Poland as they had agreed, but Stalin claimed that he was not yet ready. Hitler found himself on his own, and immediately at war with France and Britain as well. Meanwhile, Stalin marked the conclusion of this "non-aggression" treaty by introducing general military service.

    A new "defensive" line was started in partitioned Poland, but although constructed very slowly and visibly, it remained a comparatively light and uncomplicated series of fortifications. Mines were removed from the vicinity of bridges and mile after mile of barbed wire was cut. Unnecessary bridges across rivers on the new frontier remained intact, and later greatly aided the German advance.

    In the spring of 1941, the Germans began similar preparations. Both sides erected offensive fortifications. Before launching an attack great masses of troops would have to be concentrated in very narrow sectors: German troops in the Suwalki and Lublin salients and Soviet troops in the areas of Lvov and Bialystok. In order to assemble these shock groupings the secondary sectors were denuded of troops – the lightweight fortifications prevented them from being completely exposed.

    With, by 1941, the last obstacles to the Red advance removed, the Soviet Union possessed thirty separate armies. This was the largest military force the world had ever seen and it could not be maintained for long without mass starvation. The plundering of neighbouring countries would have been the only means of paying for and justifying such a force.
    Many of the best armies were not deployed to fight Germany but to invade virtually defenceless neutral states, as Stalin had already done throughout Eastern Europe. The 9th army was concentrated on the frontier with Rumania and an assault crossing of the Danube was planned by its 14th Rifle Corps. The 12th and 18th "mountain armies" were positioned to move south-west along the Carpathian mountains to cut Germany off from the Ploesti oilfield in Rumania and west into Czechoslovakia, which would enable Stalin to cut the Rumania-Germany oil pipeline. Without this irreplaceable Rumanian oil, the tanks, lorries, submarines, battleships and planes which were massed far away to the west would simply grind to a halt.

    The seven armies in the Second Strategic Echelon included many thousands of men who had been released from concentration camps that spring to expiate their "guilt" by fighting for the Soviets. The generals and officers were also usually former political prisoners and were desperate to prove their worth. Their lives and those of their families were at stake. They were known as the "Black Divisions" because many still wore their black Gulag uniforms. The most powerful of the Second Echelon armies was the 19th, which was transferred from the North Caucasus to approximately 150km north of the Black Sea. It contained mountain rifle divisions which could also be used in Rumania. They were making their way to the frontier when Germany invaded.

    They were not alone. In the final preparations for the attack on the West, millions of soldiers were still heading for the front in trains. Very often their ammunition and heavy weapons were being transported separately. Huge supply dumps were stockpiled just a few miles from the German lines. Most of the airforce were similarly exposed. For a few critical days, Stalin's mighty invasion force was incapable of defending itself.

    Stalin believed that he had convinced Hitler that the Soviet Union was truly neutral and assumed that the Germans were busy finalising an invasion of Britain. Hitler's conquests had created an unprecedented situation in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, France, Greece and Albania. Their armies, governments, parliaments and political parties had been destroyed. Stalin's huge armies were in an ideal position to take over Europe, but Hitler guessed Stalin's design so that even in 1945 the Soviets only got half of Europe, and some territory in Asia.

    At a Politburo meeting on 21st June 1941 G. R. U. (Military Intelligence) chief General Golikov reported that there was a massive concentration of the German airforce on the Soviet border, enormous reserves of ammunition and a regrouping of German forces. He even knew the name of the operation – Barbarossa.

    Frozen Wastes

    Yet Stalin at first refused to believe what was happening. He had established a sophisticated intelligence network to give him long advance warning of a decision by Hitler to wage war in the frozen wastes of Russia. His key indicators were breathtakingly simple. For an army to survive the winter, every man would need to possess a thick sheepskin greatcoat. Soviet agents therefore kept a close watch for a sudden rise in the demand for sheepskins and a fall in the price of mutton as slaughter was stepped up. Meanwhile, other agents scoured rifle ranges for scraps of cloth used by German soldiers to clean their weapons. Soviet chemists then analysed them in order to find out whether the Germans had developed a gun oil which would not freeze in harsh weather. There was still no sign of such an oil – or of a non-freezing engine oil – in June 1941, so Stalin was convinced that Hitler had no intention of attacking him. Hitler would have his forces concentrated in France, or even fighting in England, as the Red Army cut off their only source of fuel oil, crashed into a virtually undefended Reich and then "liberated" the whole of Western Europe.

    Hitler, of course, had not ordered such preparations because he had not planned on a war against Russia. Only in the spring of 1941 did intelligence reports of troop concentrations and Soviet moves to cut Germany's oil lifeline with Rumania force Hitler to take the desperate chance of opening a second front with a hasty pre-emptive strike.

    Initially at least, the gamble paid off. Caught in transit or crammed together in their own start-off positions, whole Soviet armies were annihilated. Most of the airforce was destroyed on the ground. The thousands of lightly armoured assault tanks were virtually helpless, and forced to operate in the roadless wastes of Russia they were easily out-manoeuvred by the Germans' conventional cross-country tanks.


    All this makes Icebreaker the definitive account of the build up to Operation Groza ("Thunderstorm") – the Soviet conquest of Europe scheduled to begin early in the morning of Sunday 6 July 1941. Suvorov's revelations about the massive expansion of the NKVD (the blood-soaked forerunner of the KGB) are particularly chilling: these killers would have moved behind the assault troops to liquidate "class enemies." The Bolshevik torture chambers and death pits which claimed millions of victims in the enslaved nations of the East would have spread throughout the West as well.

    With Germany and France under the Soviet jackboot, Italy and Spain would quickly have fallen too. And Stalin's one million paratroopers would have made short work of seizing the airfields of southern England to clear the way for a full-scale invasion.

    Lenin and his pupil Stalin never made any secret of their desire for a Second World War to establish a Communist Europe. For the fact that this monstrous plan failed, the pseudo-democrats, simpering priests and court historians have no-one to thank but Adolf Hitler. If it had not been for the man they love to hate, they would have been the first against the wall.


    First appeared in issue 11 of The Rune



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    The Reichstag salutes after Hitler made a speech at the Berlin Kroll Opera House in 1939
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  2. Desert Fox

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    INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW


    Russian Specialist Lays Bare Stalin's Plan to Conquer Europe

    • Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?, by Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Rezun). London: Hamish Hamilton, 1990. Hardcover. Maps. Photos. Source references. Index.
    Reviewed by Joseph Bishop

    It sometimes happens that the most significant historical works are virtually ignored by the mainstream press, and consequently reach few readers. Such is the case with many revisionist studies, including this important work by a former Soviet military intelligence officer who defected to the West in 1978. Even before the appearance of this book, he had already established a solid reputation with the publication of five books, written under the pen name of Viktor Suvorov, on the inner workings of the Soviet military, and particularly its intelligence operations.

    In Icebreaker Suvorov takes a close look at the origins and development of World War II in Europe, and in particular the background to Hitler's "Operation Barbarossa" attack against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Since its original publication in Russian (entitled Ledokol) in France in 1988, it has been published in an astonishing 87 editions in 18 languages. In spite of its importance to the historical record, Icebreaker has received very little attention in the United States. The few reviews that have appeared here have been almost entirely brief and dismissive -- a shameful treatment that reflects the cowardice and intellectual irresponsibility of a "politically correct" scholarly establishment.

    According to the conventional view, Hitler's perfidious attack abruptly forced a neutral and aloof Soviet Russia into war. This view further holds that a surprised Stalin had naively trusted the deceitful German Führer. Rejecting this view as political propaganda, Suvorov shows Stalin's personal responsibility for the war's outbreak and progression. Above all, this book details the vast Soviet preparations for an invasion of Europe in the summer of 1941 with the goal of Sovietizing central and western Europe. Suvorov is not alone in his view. It is also affirmed by a number of non-Russian historians, such as American scholar R. H. S. Stolfi in his 1991 study Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (reviewed by me in the Nov.-Dec. 1995 Journal).

    In spite of rigid Soviet censorship, Suvorov has succeeded in digging up many nuggets of valuable information from publicly available Soviet writings that confirm his central thesis. Icebreaker is based on the author's meticulous scouring of such published sources as memoirs of wartime Soviet military leaders, and histories of individual Soviet divisions, corps, armies, fleets, and air units.

    'Second Imperialist War'
    A central tenet of Soviet ideology was that the Soviet Union, as the world's first Marxist state and bulwark of "workers' power," would eventually liberate all of humanity from the yoke of capitalism and fascism (the "last resort of monopoly capitalism"). While Soviet leaders might disagree about the circumstances and timing of this process of global liberation, none doubted the importance of this objective. As Suvorov notes:

    "For Lenin, as for Marx, world revolution remained the guiding star, and he did not lose sight of this goal. But according to the minimum program, the First World War would only facilitate a revolution in one country. How, then, would the world revolution take place thereafter? Lenin gave a clear-cut answer to this question in 1916: as a result of the second imperialist war ..."

    Initially the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" was made up of only a handful of constituent republics. Lenin and the other Soviet leaders intended that more republics would be added to the USSR until it encompassed the entire globe. Thus, writes Suvorov, "the declaration accompanying the formation of the USSR was a clear and direct declaration of war on the rest of the world."

    Hitler understood this much better than did the leaders of Britain, France or the United States. During a conversation in 1937 with Lord Halifax, one of Britain's most important officials, he said: "In the event of a general war [in Europe], only one country can win. That country is the Soviet Union." In Icebreaker, Suvorov explains how in 1939 Stalin exploited the long-simmering dispute between Germany and Poland over Danzig and the "Polish Corridor" to provoke a "second imperialist war" that would enormously expand the Soviet empire.

    Stalin anticipated a drawn-out war of attrition in which Germany, France and Britain would exhaust themselves in a devastating conflict that would also spark Communist uprisings across Europe. And as the Soviet premier expected, "Icebreaker" Germany did indeed break up the established order in Europe. But along with nearly everyone else outside of Germany, he was astonished by the speed and thoroughness with which Hitler subdued not only Poland, but also France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece. Dashing Kremlin expectations that a "second imperialist war" would quickly usher in a Soviet Europe, by July 1940 Hitler was effectively master of the continent.

    Soviet Preparations
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] The Soviet armies of the First Strategic Echelon were deployed in mid-1941 to strike against Europe. Another seven armies in the rear were making their way to the frontier in preparation for the massive Soviet offensive.
    [​IMG] The Soviet 9th Army was concentrated not on the German border, but on the frontier with Romania. A 9th Army strike at Romania would quickly seize Germany's most important source of oil.
    [​IMG] Two Soviet mountain armies were set to help cut off Germany's oil "jugular" and prevent the movement of German forces into Romania.
    [​IMG] Deployment sites of the "first wave" Soviet airborne corps. Another five airborne corps were secretly being organized deep inside the Soviet Union.
    Throughout history, every army has had a basic mission, one that requires corresponding preparations. An army whose mission is basically defensive is accordingly trained and equipped for defensive war. It heavily fortifies the country's frontier areas, and employs its units in echeloned depth. It builds defensive emplacements and obstacles, lays extensive minefields, and digs tank traps and ditches. Military vehicles, aircraft, weapons and equipment suitable for defending the country are designed, produced and supplied. Officers and troops are trained in defense tactics and counter-offensive operations.

    An army whose mission is aggressive war acts very differently. Officers and troops are trained for offensive operations. They are supplied with weapons and equipment designed for attack, and the frontier area is prepared accordingly. Troops and their materiel are massed close to the frontier, obstacles are removed, and minefields are cleared. Maps of the areas to be invaded are issued to officers, and the troops are briefed on terrain problems, how to deal with the population to be conquered, and so forth.

    Carefully examining the equipping, training and deployment of Soviet forces, as well as the numbers and strengths of Soviet weaponry, vehicles, supplies and aircraft, Suvorov establishes in great detail that the Red Army was organized and deployed in the summer of 1941 for attack, not defense.

    Peculiar Tanks
    Germany entered war in 1939 with 3,195 tanks. As Suvorov points out, this was fewer than a single Soviet factory in Kharkov, operating on a "peacetime" basis, was turning out every six months.

    By 1941 everyone recognized the tank as the primary weapon of an army of attack in a European land war. During this period, Suvorov shows, the Soviets were producing large quantities of the well armed "Mark BT" tank, predecessor of the famed T34 model. "BT" were the initials for the Russian words "high speed tank." The first of this series had a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour, impressive even by today's standards. But as Suvorov goes on to note, this weapon had a peculiarity:

    "Having said so many positive things about the numbers and quality of Soviet tanks, one must note one minor drawback. It was impossible to use these tanks on Soviet territory ...Mark BT tanks could only be used in an aggressive war, only in the rear of the enemy and only in a swift offensive operation, in which masses of tanks suddenly burst into enemy territory ...

    "The Mark BT tanks were quite powerless on Soviet territory. When Hitler began Operation Barbarossa, practically all the Mark BT tanks were cast aside. It was almost impossible to use them off the roads, even with caterpillar tracks. They were never used on wheels. The potential of these tanks was never realized, but it certainly could never have been realized on Soviet territory. The Mark BT was created to operate on foreign territory only and, what is more, only on territory where there were good roads ...

    "To the question, where could the enormous potential of these Mark BT tanks be successfully realized, there is only one answer: in central and southern Europe. The only territories where tanks could be used, after their caterpillar tracks were removed, were Germany, France and Belgium ... Caterpillar tracks are only a means for reaching foreign territory. For instance, Poland could be crossed on caterpillar tracks which, once the German autobahns had been reached, could then be discarded in favor of wheels, on which operations would then proceed ...

    "It is said that Stalin's tanks were not ready for war. That was not so. They were not ready for a defensive war on their own territory. They were, however, designed to wage war on others."

    Airborne Assault Corps
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    The Soviet KT (A-40) winged tank. Upon landing, the wings and tail were quickly detached, making the tank immediately ready for battle. Suited only for offensive warfare, this remarkable weapon was rendered useless by Hitler's "Barbarossa" attack.

    Similarly designed for offensive war are paratroops. This most aggressive form of infantry is employed primarily as an invasion force. Germany formed its first airborne assault units in 1936, and by 1939 had 4,000 paratroops.

    And the USSR? Suvorov explains: "By the beginning of the war [1939], the Soviet Union had more than one million trained paratroopers -- 200 times more than all other countries in the world put together, including Germany.... It is quite impossible to use paratroopers in such massive numbers in a defensive war.... No country in history, or indeed all countries in the world put together, including the Soviet Union, has ever had so many paratroopers and air assault landing sub-units as Stalin had in 1941."

    As part of the planned invasion, in early 1940 orders were given for large-scale construction of airborne assault gliders, which were produced in mass quantity from the spring of 1941 onward. The Soviets also designed and built the remarkable KT "winged tank." After landing, its wings and tailpiece were discarded, making the KT instantly ready for combat. The author also describes a variety of other offense-oriented units and weapons, and their deployment in June 1941 in areas and jumping-off points right on the frontiers with Germany and Romania. All these weapons of offensive war became instantly useless following the Barbarossa attack, when the Soviets
    suddenly required defensive weapons.

    Suvorov tells of a secret meeting in December 1940 attended by Stalin and other Politburo members at which General Pavel Rychagov, deputy defense minister and commander of the Soviet air force, discussed the details of "special operations in the initial period of war." He spoke of the necessity of keeping the air force's preparations secret in order to "catch the whole of the enemy air force on the ground." Suvorov comments:

    'It is quite obvious that it is not possible to 'catch the whole of the enemy air force on the ground' in time of war. It is only possible to do so in peacetime, when the enemy does not suspect the danger.

    "Stalin created so many airborne troops that they could only be used in one situation: after a surprise attack by the Soviet air force on the airfields of the enemy. It would be simply impossible to use hundreds of thousands of airborne troops and thousands of transport aircraft and gliders in any other situation."

    Suvorov also reports on the dismantling in June 1941 of the Soviet frontier defense systems, and the deployment there of masses of troops and armor poised for westward attack.

    Stalin Preempted
    During the period just prior to the planned Soviet invasion, the USSR's western military districts were ordered to deploy all 114 divisions, then stationed in the interior, to positions on the frontier. Thus, remarks Suvorov, June 13, 1941, "marks the beginning of the greatest displacement of troops in the history of civilization."

    Such a massive buildup of forces directly on the frontier simply could not be kept secret. As Suvorov notes, Wilhelm Keitel, Field Marshal and Chief of Germany's armed forces High Command, spoke about the German fears during a postwar interrogation:


    "All the preparatory measures we took before spring 1941 were defensive measures against the contingency of a possible attack by the Red Army. Thus the entire war in the East, to a known degree, may be termed a preventive war ... We decided ... to forestall an attack by Soviet Russia and to destroy its armed forces with a surprise attack. By spring 1941, I had formed the definite opinion that the heavy buildup of Russian troops, and their attack on Germany which would follow, would place us, in both economic and strategic terms, in an exceptionally critical situation ... Our attack was the immediate consequence of this threat ..."


    In 1941, Admiral N. G. Kuznetsov was the Soviet Navy minister, as well as a member of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party. In his postwar memoirs, published in 1966, he recalled:


    "For me there is one thing beyond all argument -- J. V. Stalin not only did not exclude the possibility of war with Hitler's Germany, on the contrary, he considered such a war ... inevitable ... J. V. Stalin made preparations for war ... wide and varied preparations -- beginning on dates ... which he himself had selected. Hitler upset his calculations."


    Suvorov comments:

    [​IMG]
    In early 1941 the Soviet Union had vastly more paratroops than all other countries combined. Parachutists, by their nature, can only be used in offensive operations.


    "The admiral is telling us quite clearly and openly that Stalin considered war inevitable and prepared himself seriously to enter it at a time of his own choosing. In other words, Stalin was preparing to strike the first blow, that is to commit aggression against Germany; but Hitler dealt a preventive blow first and thereby frustrated all Stalin's plans ...


    "Let us compare Keitel's words with those of Kuznetsov. Field Marshal Keitel said that Germany was not preparing an aggression against the Soviet Union; it was the Soviet Union which was preparing the aggression. Germany was simply using a preventive attack to defend itself from an unavoidable aggression. Kuznetsov says the same thing -- yes, the Soviet Union was preparing for war and would inevitably have entered into it, but Hitler disrupted these plans with his attack. What I cannot understand is why Keitel was hanged [at Nuremberg], and Kuznetsov was not."


    Suvorov believes that Hitler's preemptive strike came just two or three weeks before Stalin's own planned assault. Thus, as Wehrmacht forces smashed Soviet formations in the initial weeks of the "Barbarossa" attack, the Germans marveled at the great numbers of Soviet tanks and other materiel destroyed or captured -- an enormous buildup sufficient not just for an assault on Germany, but for the conquest of all of Europe. Suvorov writes

    "Hitler decided that it was not worth his while waiting any longer. He was the first to go, without waiting for the blow of the 'liberating' dagger to stab him in the back. He had begun the war in the most favorable conditions which could possibly have existed for an aggressor; but given the nature of Stalin's grand plan, he could never have won it. Even in the most unfavorable conditions, the Red Army was able to 'liberate' half of Europe ..."

    [​IMG]
    These Soviet tanks, with removable caterpillar tracks, were designed for use on German roads and highways. So equipped, they were of little use on Soviet territory, where few roads were paved.

    As devastating as it was, Hitler's assault was not fatal. It came too late to be successful. "Even the Wehrmacht's surprise attack on the Soviet Union could no longer save Hitler and his empire," Suvorov writes. "Hitler understood where the greatest danger was coming from, but it was already too late." With great effort, the Soviets were able to recover from the shattering blow. Stalin succeeded in forming new armies to replace those lost in the second half of 1941.

    As Suvorov repeatedly points out, the widely accepted image of World War II, and particularly of the roles of Stalin and Hitler in the conflict, simply does not accord with reality:

    "In the end ... Poland, for whose liberty the West had gone to war, ended up with none at all. On the contrary, she was handed over to Stalin, along with the whole of Eastern Europe, including a part of Germany. Even so, there are some people in the West who continue to believe that the West won the Second World War.

    "... Stalin became the absolute ruler of a vast empire hostile to the West, which had been created with the help of the West. For all that, Stalin was able to preserve his reputation as naive and trusting, while Hitler went down in history as the ultimate aggressor. A multitude of books have been published in the West based on the idea that Stalin was not ready for war while Hitler was."

    A Soviet Europe?
    An intriguing historical "what if" is to speculate on the fate of Europe if Stalin, and not Hitler, had struck first. For example, a less rapidly successful German campaign in the Balkans in the spring of 1941 could have forced the postponement of Barbarossa by several weeks, which would have enabled Stalin to strike the first blow.

    Could German forces have withstood an all-out Soviet assault, with tens of thousands of Soviet tanks and a million paratroopers? With the advantage of striking first, how quickly could Stalin have reached Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Rome and Madrid? Suvorov writes:

    "It would be a mistake to underestimate the enormous strength and vast resources of Stalin's war machine. Despite its grievous losses, it had enough strength to withdraw and gather new strength to reach Berlin. How far would it have gone had it not sustained that massive blow on 22 June, if hundreds of aircraft and thousands of tanks had not been lost, had it been the Red Army and not the Wehrmacht which struck the first blow? Did the German Army have the territorial expanse behind it for withdrawal? Did it have the inexhaustible human resources, and the time, to restore its army after the first Soviet surprise attack?"

    Partially answering his own question, Suvorov states: "If Hitler had decided to launch Operation Barbarossa a few weeks later, the Red Army would have reached Berlin much earlier than 1945."

    Suvorov even presents a hypothetical scenario of a Soviet invasion and occupation of Europe, replete with Stalinist terror and oppression:

    [​IMG]
    By mid-June 1941, Stalin had concentrated enormous Red Army forces on the western Soviet border, poised for a devastating attack against Europe. This diagram appeared in the English-language edition of the German wartime illustrated magazine "Signal."

    "The [Soviet] troops meet endless columns of prisoners. Dust rises on the horizon. There they are, the oppressors of the people -- shopkeepers, bourgeois doctors and architects, farmers and bank employees. The Chekists' [NKVD] work will be hard. Prisoners are cursorily interrogated at every stopping place. Then the NKVD investigates each one in detail, and establishes the degree of his guilt before the working people. But by now it has become necessary to expose the most dangerous of the millions of prisoners: the former Social Democrats, pacifists, socialists and National Socialists, former officers, policemen and ministers of religion.

    "Millions of prisoners have to be sent far away to the east and the north, in order to give them the opportunity, through honest labor, to expiate their guilt before the people ..."

    In Suvorov's scenario, a camp called Auschwitz is captured early on by the advancing Soviets. In response to the question, "Well, what was it like in Auschwitz, pal?," a Red Army man replies: "'Nothing much, really' The worldly-wise soldier in his black jacket shrugs his shoulders. 'Just like at home. Only their climate is better'."

    Actually, "what if" historical speculation is normally uncertain because key factors are often simply imponderable. In this case, one such factor is Soviet morale. While it is certainly true that Soviet troops fought bravely and tenaciously in 1941-1943 defending their home territory, they may not have fought with the same fervor and morale in an invasion of Europe. The tenacity and endurance shown by Red Army troops in Hungary and Germany in 1944 and 1945 is not necessarily indicative, because these soldiers were bitterly mindful of more than two years of savage fighting against the invaders, and of stern occupation, on their home territory.

    Another imponderable is the response of Britain and the United States to an all-out Soviet invasion of Europe. If Soviet forces had struck westward in July 1941, would Britain and the United States have sided with Stalin and the USSR, or would they have sided with Hitler and Germany, Italy, France, Romania, Finland, Hungary, Denmark, and the rest of Europe? Or would Roosevelt and Churchill have decided to remain aloof from the great conflict?

    Anyway, when Hitler did launch his preemptive strike against Soviet Russia, Roosevelt and Churchill immediately sided with Stalin, and when the Red Army took half of Europe in 1944-45, neither the British nor the American leader objected.

    What can now be stated with certainty -- thanks to the work of Suvorov and other revisionist historians -- is that in smashing the great Soviet military buildup in 1941, Hitler dashed Stalin's plan to quickly conquer Europe, and that, in spite of his defeat in 1945, Hitler saved at least the western half of Europe, and tens of millions of people, from the horrors of Soviet subjugation.

    From The Journal of Historical Review, November/December 1997 (Vol. 16, No. 6), pages 22-27.

    The Author

    Joseph Bishop studied history and German at a South African university. Currently employed in a professional field, he resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and three children.​
     
  3. SarthakGanguly

    SarthakGanguly BANNED

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    There indeed was a STAVKA/General Staff plan to invade and take over Western Europe but July 41 was not probably the time. Zhukov did submit a draft(which was accepted) for a plan to begin from May 15, 1942. But then contingency plans are made up for any eventuality and the existence of the plan does not mean that they were very very serious about it. But that said, Stalin was known to be a man with tremendous ambitions and overall - the operation, however far fetched it may seem, was quite possibly in the works.

    Though the facts(Soviet preparations) are true, many of the conclusions and inferences in the above document is not. Besides, the 'Institute of Historical Research' is an anti Semitic Neo Nazi organization that even claims that the holocaust did not happen. Suvorov can be believed, at least some of his claims. But not the IHR.
     
  4. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    Some points-

    1]Bulk of these 'paratroopers' were badly trained.And soviets didn't have a sufficient transport fleet to make use of them.
    2]Conscription had been in place since 1925 and the soviets had begun a steady industrial and military buildup since then.It was not a sudden thing.
    3]Stalin did think war with germany was inevitable and was preparing.He admitted to churchill as much.But to say he intended to start it is not corroborated by evidence.
    4]Most important - the military doctrine of the red army was offensive.A variation of the deep battle doctrine.The soviets had no intention to trade large parts of russian territory and subject them to german occupation.Their plan was to launch immediate large scale counterattackjs.If u see the first days of operation barbarossa u'll notice several suicidal soviet counterattacks all along the front.So offensive preparations are not uncommon.
    5]Importantly the large scale field exercises of 1940-941 didn't simulate a russian attack on germany as is claimed but a blue force's invasion of soviet territory followed by russian counterattack.The russian commander was removed after unimpressive results in this exercise.
    6]The other 'offensive weapon' the flying tank didn't begin development till dec 1941,AFTER the german invasion had begun.

    Also this theory hasn't really much evidence except some supporters.No former major soviet commanders corroborate it.

    What is more probabale was that stalin wanted france and germany to bleed each other like in ww1 and then maybe wait for an oppurtune moment in 1939-1940.One of the reasons why an infuriated stalin was shocked and letting out choice verbal insults at the rapid french collapse.After the fall of france it is almost certain that stalin didn't plan on an immediate attack at all.He actually took every step not to antagonize hitler and buy time.
     
  5. scorpionx

    scorpionx PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Although Stalin was more than assured by Hitler that the rapid movement of German troops East Wards were simply a precautionary measure to save them from British bombing,Zhukhov or Timoshenko were under no such impressions,especially after the rapid collapse of France.It was quite imperative that the Soviets had to fortify their western border with a massive thirty divisions,no matter how ill prepared their generals were.

    Revisionist historians do come up with theories that Stalin had projected an invasion of Europe there are simply not enough evidence to bed this claim at rest. The red army was not prepared at all to attack Germany.Not only they were poorly trained,their commanders simply had no doctrine for a massive counter attack.When Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed,the Soviets were supplier of a huge amount of Chromium.Manganese and oil to the Reich. So this assumption that Stalin actually planned an invasion at that time to bulldoze Europe sounds too erratic from strategical point of view.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  6. Juice

    Juice SENIOR MEMBER

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    The Allies had plans to....for attack or Soviet attack. By that time in the war...if you didn't plan ahead for any turn of events....you were an idiot or already occupied. This thread makes me wanna go listen to the "Red Alert" opening.
     
  7. IND151

    IND151 BANNED

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    Interesting article.
     
  8. flamer84

    flamer84 BANNED

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    I wonder what could the Allies do.The only armies available to face the soviets in Europe in 1941 were of the following countries:

    Germany-superb army but i think that given their inferiority in men,weapons they would have been steamrolled in a defensive war.Their chance was a quick offensive,as they tried in "Barbarossa".

    Italy-Oh Lord have mercy !

    Finland-Brave souls but few in numbers and machines-no match

    Bulgaria,Hungary,Slovakia,Croatia-small,insignificant armies

    Romania-large army but a small officer corps and badly equiped to face soviet modern weapons altough the troops,contrary to popular myths had the spirit to fight ...you need more than spirit and numbers of troops in modern warfare-See the romanian disaster at Stalingrad,charging T34's,jumping on them to strike with hammers don't make good AT weapons.
     
  9. IND151

    IND151 BANNED

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    Agreed............
     
  10. Juice

    Juice SENIOR MEMBER

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    True....equipment with out spirit or spirit with out equipment were both tragedies....but at least if you had spirit they didn't make such cruel jokes! (pooor Italians!)...lol
     
  11. flamer84

    flamer84 BANNED

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    Indeed,i had to research it myself,because generally in wikipedia the romanian debacle in Stalingrad is shortly mentioned.If you do a little reading you will see that romanian troops equiped with WW1 era artillery,almost no tanks and AT guns did held their ground as best they could in the face of the biggest artillery barage up until that period and huge soviet armour.

    The "Lascar Group" ordered not to retreat stood and were massacred almost to the last man.That's why the casualties for the romanians were so high,those poor peasants stood and died.

    Also,at the end,from the last 91.000 prisoners of the Axis in Stalingrad,3000 were romanians,rest were germans.The hungarians and italians had long dissapeared from the fray.
     
  12. SarthakGanguly

    SarthakGanguly BANNED

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    This cannot be denied that the STAVKA did give it a thought about the 'Liberation of Western Europe'. St. Petersburg(Leningrad) archives are still not declassified. These documents contained the plans of Soviet Union. How serious they were in implementing already existing plans is open to question - till these docs come out into the open.

    The British also were beginning to plan on a similar plan - just the opposite one. A brainchild of Churchill, it was aptly called Operation Unthinkable. All top Allied leaders like Monty/Eisenhower etc(except Patton) rejected this plan out of hand. But there was a contingency draft to attack Soviet Europe immediately after the German surrender. Churchill even kept captured German soldiers in a way better than their American counterparts - hoping to enlist them in the anti Bolshevist crusade. The world however had enough of bloodshed for the time being and his plan was dumped.
     
  13. flamer84

    flamer84 BANNED

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    I sadly still see people calling these revelations as "revizionism".
    News flash,the soviets were no angels,and certainly no innocents attacked by "ze evil jermans"

    Facts at the outbreak of WW2:

    1.USSR attacks Finland and gains territories.
    2.USSR wrongfully anexes the Baltic States.
    3.USSR attacks Poland with Germany,snatches polish territories and executes the polish elites.
    4.USSR bullies Romania and snatches romanian teritories.Executions and deportation of romanians begin in the occupied teritories.

    All of this in the 1939-1940 time period.What Germany was doing in Western Europe the soviets were doing in the East.
     
  14. SarthakGanguly

    SarthakGanguly BANNED

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    Not really, German rule in the West was way more civil than Soviet rule in the East. Except for the Jews and some resistance members(yeah that's bad too), the local authorities were not really disturbed much by Germany. In the East however the Germans were 'entirely different'. The Soviets however changed the entire system where they ruled.
     
  15. Desert Fox

    Desert Fox ELITE MEMBER

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    Massive troop and armored concentrations, buildup of new airfields as well as expansion of existing ones proves that this wasn't just a plan on paper, rather something which was in the works.

    Questioning a historical event is not considered denying it. All the articles posted on that website reference reputable sources.

    Lets not derail this thread because if it makes you feel any better, i can post similar articles from other websites as well.