Sunday, November 14, 2021

good morning jeremy


Hitler's plan to conquer Russia

Russia was rapidly building its military

in response to Germany's quick

destruction of the French army,

Hitler saw a narrow window of maybe a year

before Germany's opportunity to defeat

the Soviets would close.  From that point

the German nation would be overtaken

in power by their communist rival to the east.

For Hitler, it was a now or never decision -

either destroy his nemesis Stalin

or fall under this Bolshevik's shadow.



Territory to be obtained in the east 

in order to ensure Germany's survival.

The vast agricultural lands of western Russia

would provide the bread basket needed

to feed Hitler's expanding Third Reich.

Natural Resources

Soviet Industry sits atop a wealth 

of the critical resources necessary

for building and sustaining a 

great nation.  

Hitler knew these Russian-mined riches

would free Germany of its economic

and military constraints were they in

his hands.

What a temptation.

The incompetence of the Red Army

was on full display before Hitler

in Russia's struggle to overcome

small, neighboring Finland in 

a recent border conflict.

Hitler may have had these thoughts 

in mind when he told his generals

that all they had to do was to kick in

the front door and the whole Soviet

house of cards would collapse.


Here along the Caspian Sea

just south of the Caucasus Mountains

lie all the energy wealth

Germany would ever need 

to power its expanding industries

and fuel its military ambitions.


With Russia's wealth in German hands

Hitler could afford to ignore any wartime

blockade from the meddlesome British.


The Tsar's jewel of the Baltic

to now become another Nazi Paris.

The Wehrmacht would love possession of this port

to supply their voracious armor pushing deep into Russia.

Military aid from Leningrad to the Red Army would also

be cut off with the capture of this city.

Wehrmacht - German Army


Once captured by the Germans 

Hitler's directive was to destroy

all evidence Moscow ever existed.

Red Army

This was not Poland or France.  No matter

how decisive the Panzer breakthrough,

no matter how many Russian POWs were

rounded up, no matter the cities occupied

by German forces - there they were ...

Russian troops, always awaiting your arrival

just a few miles further down the road.

Despite a months' long string of consecutive 

victories over Russian forces it was evident

to German commanders their strength was

steadily dissipating with each battle won.

Hitler turned to capturing Moscow

as the means to winning this war

having determined the Red Army 

was just too big to destroy.


Invading German troops faced 700 miles 

of flat horizons - a sea of grasslands 

stretching from Poland to Moscow,

the roads no more than country lanes

rutted from the wooden wheels 

of horse-drawn carts.

Primitive infrastructure

Roads were poor, when available.

They were covered by dust, mud

or lost in snow.

For peasants from surrounding villages

these Nazi troops may have seemed

the first evidence the Twentieth Century

had finally arrived.

Caucasus Mountains

All the oil you can imagine

is yours just beyond these passes.

No room for fancy blitzkrieg tactics, 


All that expensive armored hardware

is now reduced to an old man's slow 

dribble of one tank following another -

vulnerable to the deadly shenanigans 

rained down upon the Nazis from

dug-in troops high above.

Arctic Winters

String out the German campaign 

on the calendar and 

give the Russian Winter

a chance to save the day.

It was the subzero winds that 

destroyed Napoleon's army.

Soviet Armor

Reports from German tankers started 

coming in about a Russian tank whose

armor German cannons could not penetrate.

It was the best tank anyone had come to

know and yet, until now, no one knew it existed.

Now that we've taken the plunge

let's find out what's in the water.


Were Hitler to conquer Russia 

he would oversee an empire

second to none - 

giving him strategic freedom, 

the ability to impose his will 

about the globe.

Hitler's victory over Stalin

would need to be quick.

Germany had resources enough

to fuel the war effort for six months.

Beyond that the Nazi economy 

could not sustain a winning campaign.

Since speed was the critical factor

responsibility for a victorious conclusion

was placed in the hands of the panzers -

Germany's armored units.

Panzer mission:

Move rapidly to encircle Russian armies,

then handing them off to the German infantry

for capture or destruction.


There needed to be more motorized infantry.

Tanks were slowed a week at a time

waiting for foot soldiers to catch up.

Meanwhile Russian troops would 

sometimes slip the thin Nazi noose.

Barbarossa started 22 June, 1941.

By August Hitler knew his operation

to conquer Russia was in trouble.

Barbarossa - Hitler's operational name for his

invasion of Russia.




©  Tom Taylor


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