Author Topic: Barbarossa or D-Day?  (Read 5572 times)

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Offline LongBlade

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Barbarossa or D-Day?
« on: June 22, 2013, 06:32:07 PM »
Having a discussion with someone regarding which operation was of greater significance.

Thoughts?


Offline LongBlade

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 06:38:51 PM »
Actually, for clarification the suggestion was that Barbarossa didn't rank with D-Day in terms of significance.

Offline GDS_Starfury

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 06:59:51 PM »
A few divisions landing on a coast vs the largest invasion force in history.  Hmmm
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Offline mirth

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 07:03:58 PM »
^Exactly. Without Barbarossa and the war in the east, the Normandy invasion would have never been possible.
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Offline Longdan

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 07:13:28 PM »
Well I hate to agree with you gentlemen but I do.  IMHOP the war was won somewhere during the Barbarossa campaign.
If that is not the case then the Axis could not have won at all.
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Offline Longdan

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 07:30:03 PM »
Let me rephrase that.  If the Western Allies were to have any say over post war Europe the Overlord operation
had to occur.  In that it is extremely important but for a very different reason.  Der Fuhrer was buggered when he went East
but France and part of Germany and Italy had to be seized by force in order to keep them in the western community
of nations.  France and Italy nearly voted themselves out when they were essentially occupied by the US.
Thus the Italian operation was important as well.  We could have ended up with a couple more Yugoslavia's if we were lucky.
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Offline phredd1

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 08:06:16 PM »
D-day had to succeed in order to salvage as much of Western Europe from postwar Communism as possible.

Had Barbarossa succeeded, this world would be a much uglier place.

Of course, had D-Day failed, this world would also be much uglier.

Of the two monsters, I think Hitler is worse than Stalin, if only by a eyelash, and therefore I feel Barbarossa was the more important event.

Offline Gusington

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 08:09:28 PM »
Barbarossa...to me it began the central struggle of WWII. Sounds like a cliche but Barbarossa changed the world forever.
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Offline TheCommandTent

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2013, 08:45:13 PM »
I am going to be that guy and ask for clarification.  Significance to what?  Just to the war or the historical impact of the war.  If you are just talking about in the context of WWII then I would agree with the others that Barbarossa was more significant.  However, if you are talking about the lasting historical significance beyond the war I think, as others have mention, that D-Day would take the cake due to the impact of the West having a say in Europe during the Cold War and beyond.
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Offline Longdan

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2013, 08:58:37 PM »
When Barbarossa failed the war was lost by Germany.  When Overlord succeeded the War was won  (sort of) by the Western Allies.
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2013, 09:08:07 PM »
When Barbarossa failed the war was lost by Germany.  When Overlord succeeded the War was won  (sort of) by the Western Allies.

I agree. I'll go so far as to say that when Barbarossa started the war was pretty much lost for Germany - at least in 1941.

Had Germany held off on Barbarossa until they had launched Operation Sealion then we might have an interesting discussion.

Several caveats would have to be placed. First, the RAF would have had to have remained the primary target for the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain until it had been decisively defeated.

Then we get into the prep time and logistics surrounding a sea invasion of Britain. That in itself is a dicey proposition. The Germans ultimately could have succeeded...but at what point does Stalin cease to believe in Molotov-Ribbentrop? At what point might he take the initiative and launch his own attack on Germany?

If (big if) the Germans can actually get the UK to sue for peace (perhaps along the lines of Vichy France) - by no later than 1943 - Maybe Germany has a good shot to take on the USSR by itself. And win. They nearly did it in '41, but as usual Hitler managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory so many times that it didn't matter how well his troops performed.

In the end, Germany's best chance to win WWII is not to have Hitler calling the shots. That rewrites history so far that it's difficult to wrap your brain around how the Germans manage to kick off the war in '39.

Offline GDS_Starfury

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2013, 11:14:47 PM »
as an operation Overlord wasnt even the largest amphibious landing conducted during WW2.  without it the US would still have had working nuclear weapons to help shape post war Europe.  WW2 was not won or lost on the events of D-Day.  it was however won or lost on the outcome of Barbarossa.
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Offline bob48

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 05:14:03 AM »
Just to play the Devils Advocate here, since this is an interesting subject that is worth some discussion.

The war against Russia was poorly handled, and Hitler made many mistakes in conducting the war. Its possible that Germany could have knocked the Soviet Union out in which case the liberation of Europe would have been a much tougher scenario.

Just one point (amongst many) is the 'broad front' deployment. What if, instead of halting AGC he had made a lunge for Moscow while the weather was still in his favour, maybe also using 4th Pz group from AGN (or at least, one of the Pz Korps from that Group). The terrain facing AGN through the Baltic States was poor tank country at best, so maybe the armour would have been of more use bolstering 2nd or 3rd Pz groups.

Lets just consider a scenario where Moscow was taken before winter, and before any significant resources had been moved to the Urals (and much of the party administrative mechanisms).
Moscow was a significant rail and communications hub, and its loss would have had a severe effect on the Soviet war effort and may have had a significant impact on the movement of forces/supplies and have a paralyzing effect on command control - given that it was pretty poor at that point anyway following the purge of the officer corps.

I'm aways surprised that Hitler did not pressure the Japanese to exert a bit more of a threat to Russia as well, which may have prevented the transfer of significant forces from Siberia to bolster the Moscow defences.

Further on, the splitting of AGS into army groups 'A' and 'B' seriously weakened the southern offensive (plus the Russians had learned to fall back, preserve forces and trade space for time).

Not only that, but there really was no strategic need to commit 6th Army to taking Stalingrad. It was not that significant as an a strategic objective, and oil traffic along the Volga could have been interdicted at a number of other points.
Even so, Hitlers insistence of Paulus to hold Stalingrad was clearly wrong and served no purpose, and the failure of German intelligence to detect the build-up of Soviet forces east of the Volga finally doomed 6th Army to its fate.

OK, I could go on with more, but I'll let someone else continue the debate  :)

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Offline besilarius

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2013, 07:45:36 AM »
Keegan mentions a meeting between some of the german generals and Hitler. 
He proclaims that he has read Clausewitz and understands it better than the generals.  One of Clausewitz's points was that a nation's capitol is not an objective of the first degree.
Threatening the capitol, in the black gunpowder era of the Napoleonic wars, could lead to decisive results.  (At that time, losing your capitol, with all of its unique administration abilities, could be a war loser.)
In Clausewitz' view, it was more important as a means of getting the enemy army to fight a decisive battle.  Destroying the enemy army was the first, and primary, objective.
I think this meeting is very important in illustrating how Hitler viewed war, differently from his generals.
It is often stated by Hitler that he understood the whole of a war.  Not just the warfighting, and the methods of fighting.  However, he fought his wars as a beginning wargamer would do. 
In the long meetings, especially when LGen Zeitzler replaced Halder as army Chief of Staff, they would start at the end of the line, and go through the entire East Front, division by division.
This is not strategy and not in any form strategic planning.  It was a microscopic focus on divisional tactics.
By taking over the army leadership, Hitler basically usurped all serious strategic planning.  He had gotten the army and nation into a situation where the future was not just bleak it was terrible.  Rather than grapple with that, he immersed himself in details.  Work that should have been decided at the divisional level, corps level, army level, was being done by Fuehrer headquarters.
And by his heavy reliance on Clausewitz, which was based on that person's work during the Napoleonic Wars, Hitler had a basic view that was based on an earlier age.  A pre railroad age, when communications were limited to the speed of a fast horse.
The less Hitler got involved in controlling the army, and the minute details of command, the better he was.  His strategic insight could be very good (France '40 for example), but his inability to face reality led him to try and take more control.  This fed into his very real weaknesses, and the string of poor decisions he made on the Eastern Front.
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Offline bob48

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Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 08:01:26 AM »
^Good points, bes.

Also, Hitlers early successes only served to convince some of his doubters that he was indeed a military genius, with unfortunate repercussions.
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