What the Wehrmacht lost the red army: the generals of Hitler

History 28/01/20 what the Wehrmacht lost the red army: the generals of Hitler

Before the attack on the Soviet Union in German military circles was dominated by the underestimation of how the material possibilities of the red army and the fighting qualities of the Soviet soldier and officer. This greatly led to the fact that the objections to the decision of Hitler to fight the USSR expressed only diplomats (foreign Minister Ribbentrop, Ambassador to Moscow Schulenburg) and financiers (President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht), but never military.

a Fatal underestimation

the Generals of the Wehrmacht as a whole shared the view on the war against the USSR, which was expressed by Hitler during an impromptu meeting with them when he visited Paris on 30 June 1940: “compared to the just-ended new campaign will be just a game in the sandbox”. About this phrase shows Guderian. Meant the traditional way of tasking units, when the commander draws the officers ‘ stack on sand box “battle plan”. In the words of the English historian Alan Taylor, the Fuhrer believed that the war against the Soviet Union would not be the first major war in which Germany will take the tension of all forces, and the last small war.

a Former Wehrmacht General Tippelskirch wrote about the fact that before June 22 1941, the German military believed the only strong side of the red army “endurance and unpretentiousness of the Russian soldier”. However, they believed, “Russian troops will not be able to repel sudden attacks army equipped with modern technology and superior the quality of their commanders”.

in the first months of the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht had to face a number of unpleasant surprises. After 1945, the German military was greatly rethink their traditional ideas about the superiority over the Russians.

the Superiority of Russian defense

the German General Friedrich von Mellenthinfrom (“Panzer battles”, 1956) imagined that “the soldiers of the Russian army – an unsurpassed master of disguise and entrenching, as well as field fortifications. He is buried in the ground with incredible speed and so ably adapts to the terrain that it is almost impossible to detect… Often even a long and attentive observation turns out to be useless.”

This feature was confirmed by a former Wehrmacht officer Eike Middeldorf (“Russian campaign: the tactics and weapons”, 1956): “Defensive positions [of the red army. – Approx. J. B.] was selected and equipped for the conduct of anti-tank defense and a well-disguised”.

Soviet troops competently built anti-tank defense. Mellenthin stated: “the Russian infantry has good weapons, especially many anti-tank weapons: sometimes I think that every infantryman has anti-tank rifle or anti-tank gun. Russians are very cleverly have these tools, and there seems to be no place where they were not.” “The Russians have noticed that the Germans tanks were quite often from the following infantry. Using this the biggest mistake of the Germans, they built their tactic of “clipping the tanks from the infantry”,” wrote Middeldorf.

the German anti-tank defense, according to Middeldorf, never could compete with Russian, primarily because of the backlog in the production of technical means. “Antitank defense, without a doubt, is the saddest Chapter in the history of German infantry… Apparently, will remain so until the end of the unknown, why for three and a half years since the introduction of the T-34 in August 1941 to April 1945 was not established reasonable anti-tank infantry”.

Russian tank attacks ably supported by infantry, while the Germans, according to the Middeldorf, did not have such opportunities due to lack of armored personnel carriers. In this logic it remains, however, unclear why the complete absence of APCS, did not hinder the success of the Russian tank attacks.

the Superiority of Russfir
extreme conditions

“the Russians, who knew their terrain better focused and assumne than the Germans, moved on the battlefield. Because of this they were able to achieve local surprise, wrote Middeldorf. – Russian soldier – a master of the battlefield in the forest. He moves through the impassable thickets, with the instinct and confidence of the animal. German soldiers, who grew up in the Western cultural forests had to adapt to new combat conditions. So he conceded to the Russian soldier in the skill of warfare in a wooded area… the Russians often used the way “trickle down”, which was especially unpleasant for the defenders”.

Mellenthin was expressed categorically: “Field kitchen, almost sacred in the eyes of other armies, for the Russian is only a pleasant surprise, and they can spend weeks without it… the Closeness to nature explains the ability of the Russian to become a part of the earth, literally melt into it.” He confirmed the feature, the Middeldorf that “the Russians are the true masters of infiltration”.

the Intellectual superiority of the Russian

Mellenthin warned NATO strategy, that the war with the Russians we must be prepared “for any eventuality”: “it is Impossible to predict how the Russians will react on the environment, a sudden blow, a Ruse. In many cases, Russians rely on their innate instinct is better than the existing tactical principles. And it should be recognized that the instinct often brings them more benefits than they could give training in many academies. At first glance their actions may seem strange, but often they are totally justified”.

But no textbook tactics will not provide for all cases that may arise in the course of hostilities. And extreme conditions (bad weather, shortages of material supply, etc.) in war, but rather the rule, while the exceptions are exactly favourable conditions. Therefore, the ability of the Russian command and Russian soldiers in The second world faster to adapt to such conditions, to not act according to the pattern, and by intuition and wit, showed the total intellectual superiority of the Russian soldier over the German.

But it’s broken as Nazi fighters could not recognize the Russian. Acknowledging the actual superiority of the red army over the Wehrmacht in adverse conditions, they attributed this cultural and even mental underdevelopment of Russian and the high cultural level of the Germans, which they had not thought to call the softness of civilization.

“Russian soldiers… not think independently and has no control over his actions and goes depending on his mood, completely incomprehensible to the Westerner. His personality is fragile,… the other thing is patience and endurance… Due to the natural force of these qualities are Russian in many respects higher and more conscious soldier of the West” – so ornate Mellenthin tried to formulate the paradox of the superiority of the Russian over the German soldier, only to not recognize lying on the surface the fact of his natural intellectual superiority.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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