History 02/02/20 “In this impossible to believe!”: nothing was ready for the Germans in the war with the USSR

Before the attack on the Soviet Union, the Germans knew about it mostly from movies, and print. However, something with which faced German troops in the first days of the war on Soviet territory, if not shocked them, and forced to radically change the image of the country and the people.

“Not professionals”

Occupied on the eve of the invasion of the Soviet Union almost all of Europe, the Germans were confident in the lightning victory over the red Army. Someone said about three weeks more careful about three months. Those who believed that the war could drag on for a year, he laughed — the first days of the fighting gave the leadership of the Reich optimism.

So, Colonel-General Franz Halder noted with surprise that all the bridges captured by German forces without any resistance. It is, in his words, was the result of surprise attack that caught the Russians by surprise: “the planes were on the ground, covered with tarpaulin, and advanced units, is suddenly attacked by our troops, had requested a command on what to do.”

But very soon the Germans had to deal with this resistance. For the chief of staff of the 4th army of Gunter Blumentritt was a revelation that Russian unlike the poles and the French is able bravely to defend, even surrounded. In this sense, is an excerpt from the transcript of the meeting of the headquarters of the army group “Center”: “because of Russian resistance, their tactics are unpredictable. They resist even in the midst of… This is because you are dealing with an unprofessional opponent.”

the Quality level of military training of the red Army soldiers was significantly different from the initial expectations of the generals of the Wehrmacht. Particularly impressed with the German military leaders of the Soviet pilots. Colonel of the Luftwaffe, discouraged by the frequency of the air rams, threw this phrase: “Soviet pilots — fatalists, they fight to the end without any hope of winning, and even survival.” Need to add that in just one day on 22 June 1941, the Luftwaffe lost more planes than in the entire French campaign.

don’t believe it!

In the letters of German soldiers home repeatedly noted the unprecedented heroism of the Soviet soldiers who did not want to give an inch of their land. Tanker of the army group “Center” says that Russians always fight to the last man, and for this reason the soldiers of the Wehrmacht rarely take prisoners.

German artillery permanently etched in the memory of the picture, as from destroyed T-26 was led pistol fire a Soviet tanker, the explosion tore off his feet. Officer of the 7th armored division noted that even the burning alive of the Soviet soldiers continued to resist: “In this just impossible to believe until you see with your own eyes!”.

after the first days of the war the unbridled bravado of the German commanders began to dry up, to be replaced by pessimism, which was it’s complete lack of understanding. One of the officers angrily noted that more recently, they spent the night in comfortable barracks, and now have to sleep in “a dog kennel”.

Especially the Germans frightened the Russian expanses to navigate which was like in the desert. “If lost horizon – think lost, – says one of the soldiers of the Wehrmacht – the Vast distances frighten and demoralize soldiers. Plains, plains, the end of them and never will be. This is what drives crazy.”

it is interesting that Goebbels forbade the German press to publish a complete map of the Soviet Union, published only a few areas of vast territory. “Great distances can scare the public”, — explained his decision to Minister of propaganda.

Opinions vary

Got to the Ukraine the Germans were amazed at how fertile the land is. Oberstgruppenfuhrer SS Zep Dietrich even ordered to revive the Soviet collective farms to to have at hand an additional source of supply of troops. But the conditions of life of the Ukrainian peasantry, the occupation authorities found it disappointing.

Lieutenant Otto Deissenroth, describing the village, located 40 km from Kiev, used such epithets as “poverty, misery and dirt.” “Everything that we knew before, pales before the face of the shocking reality,” said Deisenroth. In his words, in private property of peasants was nothing in words, everything belonged to the people, in fact – to the state.

Another officer noted an empty and cold house of the Ukrainian peasants, which were much more modest than the Polish home. But most of all he was struck by their meager diet: bread, milk, a little honey and a few potatoes. Also surprised the Germans noted a large number of barefoot peasants. And Sergeant Kurt Hummel revelation was the almost complete absence of electricity in the Ukrainian villages. “And it’s called the Soviet Paradise?” – he asked.

However, the Germans have been in other regions of the USSR, was, on the contrary, surprised the king there is order and prosperity. So, who fought under the Tver Helmut Pabst describes the local village as spacious, clean and with large huts that reminded him of a German peasant house.

the closer to Moscow, the more lively and became civilized settlements. The Germans were amazed at the abundance of brick buildings and small factory. With satisfaction they noted the many well-furnished houses with Dutch ovens, copper utensils and carpets.

against the population of the Soviet Union, the Germans also were not unanimous. Someone compared the Soviet people with herd animals that are easy to manipulate. Tanker Karl Fuchs, for example, have not met a single one “a little bit attractive, intelligent person.” Others noted a neat appearance and quickness, even those who live in the Outback.

What the Germans just did not expect to see this in the Soviet Union a large number of believers. They was configured to meet the crowd of militant atheists, but instead, almost every villager on the question of the relation to God demonstrated a small crucifix.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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