Chapter XIV
A Time For Decisions

Hitler's Strategy

A 1942 campaign--contingent on how much was accomplished before the current operations stopped for the winter--came within Hitler's range of concerns in November 1941. He gave General Halder, chief of the General Staff, an order of priorities on the 19th. First would come the Caucasus, in March and April; then Vologda and Gorkiy, at the end of May. Other, more distant, objectives would be set later and would depend on the capabilities of the railroads.1 The directive of 8 December, terminating the 1941 offensive, would still give Army Group South the tentative mission of reaching the lower Don and Donets and would urge Army Group North "to clean up the situation" south of Lake Ladoga.2 These plans, however, were only wisps, already being buried in the Russian snows. Nevertheless, until well into December, Hitler appears not to have been thinking of a break between the two years' operations, but instead of mere pauses in the action, more or less long depending on location and weather, after which the forces would continue in their previous deployments.

Hitler did not begin to take account of a strategic discontinuity in the operations until 23 December, when he talked to General Fromm, the chief of Army Armament and the Replacement Army. He told Fromm the army's aim would have to be "to clear the table" in the East during 1942. Fromm, in reply, told him the army would no longer be on a full war footing in 1942 and, apparently, recommended going over to the defensive for the whole year.3

A Question of Means

The Hitler-Fromm exchange brought out what would be Hitler's most pervasive strategic problem during 1942: how to bring his means into consonance with his objectives. Not new, it had been there all along, masked to a degree by the war's early and easy successes. In the past, though, while the margins of strength had often been less than they later appeared, he had always possessed some elasticity. The coming year was going to be different. The capacity to stretch would be gone. The knowledge of that also was not anything new. It accounted in major part for Hitler's--and Halder's--efforts in November and December to blanket as much as possible of the


unfinished business of the war in the Soviet Union into the 1941 campaign. Specifically, the problem involved two concerns: material and manpower.

When Hitler conferred with Fromm, on 23 December, the army was five months into a decline that was in part mandated. In Directive 32, of 11 June 1941, Hitler had laid down requirements for the period after the victory in the East. Since, as he saw it, no serious threat would exist any longer on the European mainland, he had announced that the army would be "substantially" reduced for the benefit of the air force and navy, the services that would henceforth carry the weight of the war against England.4

A month later, on 14 July, believing the victory to be almost at hand, he had issued an implementing directive. Under it, the main effort in armament was to be shifted immediately to the air force and navy. The only production increases for the army would be in tanks and heavy antitank weapons. How much the army was to be cut back would remain to be decided, but it would have to start, "at once," adjusting its replacement and procurement of "weapons, ammunition, and equipment," to reduced force levels. Orders for items for which more than a six months' supply stockpile existed were to be canceled.5

Fromm reminded Hitler that the army, expecting to disband about fifty divisions, had since curtailed all weapons' procurement other than tanks and antitank guns. He added, too, that even with the new allotments of nonferrous metals, granted just hours before their meeting, the army would be unable to complete more than 80 percent of its tank and antitank weapons programs.6 Hitler indicated that he had already instructed Dr. Fritz Todt, the minister for Armament and Munitions, to restart ammunition production, and he told Fromm, "Air Force and Navy [production] are now stopped for the benefit of the Army."7

The stop was not quite as fast or as complete as Hitler's statement to Fromm seemed to imply, but he did issue a supplementary directive, "Armament 1942," on 10 January 1942. It upheld the air force and navy buildups, "in the long view," while specifying that the changed war situation "for the time being prohibits a decline in Army armament." The army was to be guaranteed a four months' stockpile of general supplies by 1 May 1942 and, in ammunition, one basic load plus six times the total August 1941 consumption in all categories. In armament, "preference" was to be given to the "elevated requirements of the Army."8 The man to whom the job of executing the directive fell was Albert Speer, who replaced Todt on 8 February, the day the latter was killed in an airplane crash. Speer's appointment, as it turned out, was going to have several advantages: Speer very quickly displayed a high talent as a production organizer; he had Hitler's confidence;


and he managed to acquire more authority than his predecessor had had.

Nevertheless, neither a directive nor the promise of its brilliant execution could circumvent the hard realities pressing in on all sides. The Germans had run the 1941 campaign on stockpiles of supplies accumulated beforehand. By November, they had almost exhausted these, and from then on, they had had to provide for their armies in the Soviet Union out of current production, which, even without the cutbacks made during the summer, would have been insufficient to keep them adequately supplied. Some kinds of artillery ammunition had been running short. Less than one in three of over two thousand tanks and self-propelled assault guns lost had been replaced.9 Trucks and other motor vehicles had been worn out, destroyed, or broken down in such numbers and their production cut back so far that Halder had told the chiefs of staff at the Orsha Conference that same month that the infantry division would have to be completely demotorized.

In December and January, Hitler had counted on a several months' pause in the fighting, during which consumption would decline and production could catch up. What he was going to get was vast new wastage of all kinds of equipment during the winter and spring battles. The flow from the pipelines would have to be strong just to keep up, much less get ahead, and it would have to draw from a depleted reservoir. Electricity output in Germany was cut back more than 20 percent in January to conserve coal; even so, production of iron and steel in tonnages declined in the first quarter of 1942. Nonferrous metals, particularly aluminum and copper, rationed since September 1941, could not be supplied to some high-priority industries in the allotted quantities.10

The most pervasive deficiency was in manpower. The factories needed men and so did the army, and after the campaign began in the Soviet Union, either one could only get more men at the other's expense. At least half of the July directive's purpose had been to get skilled workers out of uniform and back into the shops. A million and a half had been needed. As planned, the army reduction would have supplied a half million.11 By January, that prospect had vanished completely. On the 5th, Fromm had told his senior generals in the Replacement Army, "We believed we would be able to put 500,000 men back into industry. Now we will have, instead, to take 600,000 men out."12 For the most part, however, the loss to the labor force would not be translated into a net increase in fighting strength. The OKH was committed to supply 500,000 replacements for the Eastern Front by 1 April and expected to need 340,000 more by 1 June.13 In the 14 July directive, Hitler had wanted to delay calling up the men born in 1922. That resolve had only lasted until October.14 By February, virtually all of the 1922 class was at the front or would be there "before the 1942 [offensive] operations begin," and the OKH was


preparing to start taking in the 1923 class.15

An Offensive in the South

Hitler knew in November 1941 that, in all likelihood, he would be tied down in the Soviet Union during the coming year, and he knew that he would not have the resources to mount another general offensive like BARBAROSSA. Nonetheless, he at no time allowed those considerations or the mischances of the winter to sway him from an early turn to the attack with as much force as he could assemble. The directive of 8 December 1941 set as one of its three objectives "a basis for the resumption of larger offensive operations in 1942," with the other two being to hold the territory already taken and to rest and refit the armies in the East. The directive specified a drive into the Caucasus in the spring and a "clean-up" around Leningrad and south of Lake Ladoga "when reinforcements arrive."16 On the 20th, when he was having to revise his instructions on resting and refitting, Hitler remarked that Italy, Hungary, and Rumania were going to be "induced" to furnish strong forces in 1942 and to have them ready to be brought east "before the snow melts."17 Three days later, he ordered Fromm to set up half-a-dozen new divisions by spring for an offensive to Rostov and Maykop.18 On 3 January, he told the Japanese Ambassador, General Hirosi Oshima, that he did not contemplate any more offensives in the center of the German front in the Soviet Union but would concentrate on the south, the Caucasus, "as soon as the weather is better."19 On the 18th, he gave Field Marshal Bock two missions for Army Group South: "to hold for the present and attack in the spring."20 During the winter he often talked longingly about the campaigning season to come, and in March, making it clear that the main effort henceforth would be elsewhere, he began leaving Army Groups North and Center to shift for themselves.

Although Hitler was unswervingly determined to have an offensive on the south flank in 1942, the planning, particularly as compared to the elaborate work done on BARBAROSSA the year before, appears to have been almost desultory. OKH instructions, sent on 15 February, dealing with procedures to be followed during the rasputitsa, alluded "in very broad terms" to operations "contemplated" later in the spring.21 On the 20th, Bock sent Hitler, "on Halder's suggestion," a memorandum on the probable situation in the spring and the conduct of an offensive. Eleven days later, Halder said Hitler had the memorandum but had not read it because he had "so little time for examining far-reaching operations."22 Halder talked to his branch chiefs on 6 March about rebuilding the Eastern Front armies, particularly those that


would be on the offensive.23 On the 15th, in his annual Memorial Day (Heldengedenktag) address in Berlin, Hitler, in effect, closed the books on the winter and promised to wreak unspecified destruction on "the Bolshevik colossus" in the coming summer.24

After mid-March, the pace of the planning did pick up. On the 18th, the OKH assigned a code name, SIEGFRIED, to the summer offensive. Halder and his staff went to work on the deployment, which they at first thought would take until August but later estimated could be mostly completed by the end of the first week in July with some elements left to come as late as August. Halder took the deployment plan to Hitler on the 28th, and in the subsequent discussion, Hitler gave him the objectives for the offensive and instructions for its execution.25 The OKW Operations Staff, in its capacity as Hitler's personal staff, took the results and worked them into a draft directive, which Hitler signed on 5 April after "heavily revising" and adding "substantial new parts" to it. In the interim, he had also dropped the code name SIEGFRIED and substituted BLAU ("blue").26

The directive, Weisung 41, in somewhat ambivalent terms, gave two objectives for the summer: to destroy the Soviet Union's defensive strength "conclusively" and to deprive it of the resources necessary for its war economy "as far as possible." The "general intent" would be to bring about the fall of Leningrad and to break into the Caucasus area. The main effort would be on the south flank where the aims would be to destroy the enemy forces forward of the Don River, take the Caucasus oil area, and gain possession of the Caucasus crossings. The action against Leningrad would be held in abeyance pending favorable circumstances or availability of forces.27

Although much of Directive 41 can be, and in some accounts virtually all of it has been, attributed directly to Hitler, the plan for executing the offensive appears to have been derived from the memorandum Bock had submitted in February. In it, he and the Army Group South staff had maintained that a drive into the Caucasus would first have to be covered on the north and east by advances that would extend the front east of Kursk ninety miles to Voronezh and thence southeast along the Don River to the vicinity of Stalingrad, a distance of close to three hundred miles at the latitude of Stalingrad. To go that far in one sweep on a front over three-hundred-and-fifty miles long would have required more strength than Bock could imagine having in the spring or summer of 1942. Consequently, he had projected a phased offensive. The first phase would carry east to the Don between Voronezh and Novaya Kalitva, providing cover on the north. (Map 25.) In the second phase, the armor used in the first would move southeast from Novaya Kalitva toward the lower Don while the army group's right flank drove east to Rostov and the Don. A third phase would then be required to


Map 25
Plan for Summer Offensive
Army Group South
19 February 1942

take possession of the Don bend and the narrows between the Don and the Volga west of Stalingrad. Bock had believed he would need eighty-five divisions at the start, thirty-nine more than he had had in February 1942. Because he could not see where the divisions would come from or, considering the condition of the railroads, how they would get deployed in time, he had described the memorandum as a "theoretical inquiry into the operational possibilities."28

Directive 41 took the device of the phased offensive from the Bock memorandum, keeping the progression from north to south but altering the


Map 26
Summer Campaign
Projected in Directive 41
5 April 1942

distribution. The first two phases, subsequently known as BLAU I and BLAU II, by carrying the advance between the Donets and Don to the vicinity of Millerovo, only slightly enlarged on the first phase proposed in the memorandum. BLAU II, on the other hand, omitted the third phase proposed in the memorandum by merging it with the second phase to complete the drive to Stalingrad. A "BLAU IV," the advance into the Caucasus, was implicit in the directive but not described. (Map 26.)

The rearrangement of the phases, far from being merely cosmetic or a matter of tactical taste, was for several reasons the actual heart of the plan. For one, it would let BLAU be run on a feasible schedule. The deployment, as Bock had pointed out in the memorandum,


was going to be difficult and slow, and it would be most difficult and slowest on the south. In their compressed form, however, BLAU I could be completed and BLAU II be started and brought well along while troops and material for BLAU III were still being deployed. Secondly, BLAU was going to depend heavily on young, inexperienced, hastily trained troops. A small BLAU I and an only somewhat larger BLAU II would give opportunities to build experience and confidence, particularly confidence. As Hitler put it, "The operation must start with success: young troops cannot be exposed to setbacks. Setbacks must not occur."29

Finally, the object of the summer campaign would be not just to advance but to destroy the Soviet forces while doing so. Hitler believed this had to be done by small, tight encirclements. The sweeping maneuvers of the previous summer, he maintained, had let too many of the enemy get away. The BLAU operations, he said, were designed so that "in each one of these attacks the ground and air forces can achieve the highest degree of concentration at the decisive points."30

Obliquely, Directive 41 also addressed the question of forces raised in the Bock memorandum. In a postscript to the operational plan, it assigned the long stationary front that would develop on the Don below Voronezh to the allies--Hungarians on the north, Italians in the center, and Rumanians on the southeast. The deployment was significant because the Hungarians and Rumanians, who would rather have fought each other than the Russians, could not be stationed in adjacent sectors. All three would have to be backstopped by German divisions, but many fewer of those would be needed than if they had to man the whole line alone. Hitler, who had not particularly welcomed allied participation in the 1941 campaign, had let Field Marshal Keitel, chief of the OKW, do the recruiting during the winter. Hungary, jealous at earlier German favoritism toward Rumania, had been the slowest to "volunteer." Italy had been the most willing because the Duce, Benito Mussolini, had wanted since June 1941 to have his troops participate in the defeat of communism.31 The allied troops were not trained or armed for fighting on the Eastern Front, and they were especially weak in armor and antitank weapons. Their sense of commitment and endurance also was doubtful, and Hitler's instructions were "to hold them to the cause" by showing them "fanatical loyalty" and by being "unstintingly generous" with praise.32

Hitler's Restless Spring

The coming of spring in Russia in 1942 gave Hitler time to turn to other affairs: relations with the allies, the defense of the Atlantic perimeter, and the home front. On 6 April, the Rumanian Chief of the General Staff, General Ilia Steflea, visited the Wolfsschanze, and in the last week of the month,



Mussolini came to Salzburg. In between, Hitler conferred decorations on the president of Finland, the king of Bulgaria, the "field marshal" of Croatia, and Admiral Miklos Horthy, the regent of Hungary.33 Some weeks later, on 4 June, Hitler made a surprise trip by air to Finland to congratulate Marshal Mannerheim, commander in chief of the Finnish Army, on his seventy-fifth birthday.

Hitler had fretted endlessly throughout the winter about possible Anglo-American landings on the Atlantic frontier. That had been one of the reasons for sending General Falkenhorst, commander of the Army of Norway, back to Norway. It had also motivated a train of orders on coastal defense and, in February, the dash through the English Channel by the warships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen, which were supposed to have gone on to Norwegian bases. Hitler had already sent the battleship Tirpitz, Germany's largest and one of the most powerful in the world, to Trondheim in January. In February, he had assigned Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm List to inspect the defenses of Norway and northern Finland. Directive 40, of 23 March, dealt entirely with coastal defense, and a British raid on the naval base at St. Nazaire had prompted a shake-up of the commands in the West. Talking to Mussolini, on 30 April, Hitler dwelled at length on the


dangers of British landings in Norway or France and supposed Swedish and Vichy-French hostility.34

The winter was over but not forgotten, and Hitler decided to give an accounting to the German people on the afternoon of Sunday, 26 April. The forum he chose was the Reichstag, which having provided the stage for several authentic victory speeches, was now to furnish the window dressing for a somewhat spurious one. He had no conquests to claim. Instead, he undertook to elevate the winter campaign to a triumph over the elements, which he embellished with comparisons to Napoleon's experience in 1812. He said a battle had been fought during the winter that had raised problems "far exceeding what should or could be expected in normal wars," and he gave himself credit for having confronted, "with my own person, what destiny appeared to have in store for us."35

Goebbels, the German propaganda minister, rated the speech a resounding success.36 Count Galeazzo Ciano, the Italian foreign minister, far less an admirer of Hitler than Goebbels was, found the tone "not very optimistic," and observed, " . . . there is not a hint of what all are waiting for--the ending of the war."37 What struck Ciano particularly was that Hitler apparently took for granted a second winter of war in the Soviet Union, and he was sparing, for him almost diffident, in his predictions for the coming summer. In contrast, he talked at length about what he would do to be ready for the next winter "no matter where it finds us."38 For the first time, Hitler was hedging on his own strategic initiative.

The speech also did not impress Ciano, "because by now all his speeches are more or less alike." Ciano noted that Hitler had asked for additional powers (which, of course, were granted) but dismissed that as merely a dramatic gesture since Hitler already possessed complete power.39 What Ciano, and probably most other outsiders, did not catch was that Hitler's request was aimed at a group over which he did not yet have complete power, namely, the German generals. Although Hitler at one point spoke of his confidence in "my . . . Reichs Marshal, field marshals, admirals, colonel generals, and numerous other commanders at the fronts," in other passages, he barely took the trouble to conceal his displeasure with the generals. He shared the credit he gave himself for the winter campaign with the soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers "up to those generals who, recognizing the danger, risked their own lives to urge the soldier onward." Elsewhere, he remarked that he had been "compelled to intervene severely in a few individual cases where nerves gave way, discipline broke down, or insufficient sense of duty was displayed."40 Talking to Speer, some weeks later, he said "almost all" of the generals had failed him during the winter.41

The request for more powers--which was, of course, granted--while


ostensibly motivated by a recent court decision on a civilian case, was put in terms that could not have been lost on the generals. Hitler asked for, " . . . an explicit confirmation that I have the legal right to hold everyone to the fulfillment of his duty and to reduce to the common ranks or remove from post and position, without regard for acquired rights or status, anyone whom I find not to have done his duty."42 To Goebbels, Hitler remarked afterward that he was determined "to invoke sharper measures against certain types of swivel-chair generals."43

After the one-day Reichstag session, Hitler went south to meet Mussolini at Salzburg and spent several days at the Berghof, his Bavarian retreat, and returned to the Wolfsschanze on 3 May. He had intended to vacation longer at the Berghof but had cut his stay short because of snow, which he claimed he could not stand the sight of after the last winter. He was restless, and in May, he made several excursions to Berlin. On 1 June, he went to Bock's headquarters in Poltava to congratulate the army commanders on the Kharkov battle.44 Three days later, he was in Finland on the birthday visit to Mannerheim. On the 8th, he went, aboard his private train, via Berlin to the Berghof to complete his interrupted vacation and did not return to the Wolfsschanze until the 24th.

German Strategic Estimates

Men, Firepower, and Mobility

While Hitler was occupied with plans for the summer and other activities, the OKH was engaged in compiling a document that began as a precursor to Directive 41 and eventually became a subsidiary companion piece to it. On 19 March, the OKW had announced that it proposed to compile an estimate of the Wehrmacht's strength for the spring of 1942 and asked the armed services to supply data.45 The first army submission at the end of the month had been a gloomy recital. During the winter, the forces on the Eastern Front had lost nearly 7,000 artillery pieces ranging from 37-mm. antitank guns to 210-mm. howitzers. The new production, restarted in January, could not replace more than part of them. Of close to 75,000 motor transport vehicles lost, only 7,500 had been replaced; another 25,000 could be secured in Germany, but the absolute deficit would still be 42,500. More than 179,000 horses had died, and only 20,000 new animals had been secured. The 176 million gallons of motor fuel and 390,000 tons of ammunition consumed had cut deep into the stockpiles, which would therefore be proportionately smaller in 1942. The conclusion was, "The shortages cannot, for the time being, be covered by new production or by rebuilding. This will compel cutbacks and sharp emphasis on priorities in all areas."46

Five weeks later, the OKH refined its estimate to eliminate what it pronounced (internally) to be "nonsense" in an OKW draft summary and to take into account readiness for the requirements


established by Directive 41.47 The result was a mixed picture or as the OKH put it, a "review of efforts and accomplishments, taking into account also certain irremediable deficiencies." Of the latter, two were immediately acute: the inability of the industrial switchover to army production made in January to be effective before the start of the 1942 summer campaign and the pressures the winter had imposed on men, material, and time. They were affecting short-term readiness. Two other, the strain on raw materials and the mutually interacting civilian and military manpower shortages, affected the short- and long-term readiness. To relate the "accomplishments" and the deficiencies, the OKH expanded the estimate to include "striking power" (Schlagkraft) as well as conventional force strength.

Under the first category of the three considered--men, firepower, and mobility--the estimate gave the army's "strictly numerical" strength (in terms of divisions) as of 1 May 1942 as greater than that of June 1941 by 7 infantry and 3 panzer divisions with 4 more infantry divisions to come before late June 1942.48 On the other hand, even though the Eastern Front had received 1.1 million replacements since 22 June 1941, it was short 625,000 men as of 1 May 1942. Army Group South had 50 percent of its original infantry strength; Army Groups Center and North each 35 percent. Army Group South could be fully replenished by the time the summer offensive began, but it would take until August to bring Center and North up to 55 percent of their original infantry strengths. Reserves in the form of new units could not be created. All of the men, weapons, and equipment becoming available in the summer, including the 1923 class of recruits, would have to be used to replace losses. The forces on the Eastern Front would have a solid core of veterans, but they would have to absorb large numbers of what formerly would have been regarded as underage and overage recruits, and owing to the losses during the winter, they would be short on experienced officers and noncommissioned officers.

As an "accomplishment" in sustaining firepower in spite of curtailed production, the army had sent to the Eastern Front 725,000 rifles, 27,000 machine guns, 2,700 antitank guns, and 559 pieces of light and 350 pieces of heavy field artillery. The weapons requirements for Army Group South would be "substantially" met by the time operations resumed. Army Groups Center and North would have enough infantry weapons to arm the troops they had, but their artillery batteries would have to be reduced from 4 to 3 guns and some of those would have to be old or captured pieces. All told, 3,300 tanks would be on hand in the East, 360 less than in June 1941, but heavier armament would make up the difference.49 The most serious problem


IMPROVISED MOBILITY: THE "MARDER" (MARTIN), Captured Soviet 76.2-mm. Antitank Gun on an Obsolete Tank Chassis

with firepower was likely to be ammunition. Output of artillery and some kinds of antitank ammunition would not get into full swing until the fall, and "strains" on the ammunition stocks could be expected by August.

Mobility was the least satisfactory category. Army Group South's armored and motorized units would attain about 80 percent of the mobility they had in 1941. The infantry, however, would have to make do with horses in place of trucks. Army Groups North and Center would not be capable of "larger operations" except along railroads. The 75,000-vehicle deficit in motor transport would not be covered by much more than half, and new production in the coming months would not be enough to cover the expected summer's losses. Nearly a quarter million horses were being requisitioned in Germany and the occupied Soviet territory, but they would not be enough to compensate for the numbers lost and for those required to substitute for motor transport, and they would be lighter, less powerful animals than had been used in the past.

"A complete replenishment," the estimate concluded, "can only be achieved at Army Group South. And there the deficiencies in mobility and the wear of the winter campaign on men, horses, and vehicles raise a likelihood that the endurance will be less than it was in the summer of 1941. In all other theaters, the Army can meet its


defensive obligations provided no presently unforeseeable events occur."50

The navy and air force estimates, as the OKW had probably desired, were cast in more general terms. The navy, which only had peripheral missions in the war in the East, balanced a "clear" German superiority in submarine warfare against an "oppressive" overall British and American naval superiority. The air force reported some decline in numbers of aircraft, compensated for by newer models, better armament, and more experienced crews.51 In fact, the air strength in the East, 2,750 planes, would not be substantially less than it had been in June 1941 (2,770 planes), and a larger proportion (1,500) would be assigned to support Army Group South.52

On 20 June, eight days before the summer offensive began, Halder made his own capsule estimate. BLAU I was ready. The buildup of men and material for BLAU II was still underway but would be satisfactorily completed in time. It was too early to make a judgment on BLAU III. The Germans would have the initiative, and the morale and enthusiasm of the troops were "gratifying."53

Of Soviet Capabilities

At the Orsha Conference in November 1941, Halder told the chiefs of staff, "Although [we are] weak in the knees . . . , the enemy presently is worse off than we are; he is on the verge of collapse."54 In the spring of 1942, Halder's aphorism acquired a renewed currency. Sober, even somber, as their view of their own condition was, the Germans felt compelled to believe that the Russians were worse off. Having endured the winter without breaking, the Germans felt that they had proved themselves superior to the enemy at his best. This appeared to reconfirm what they had, in fact, always believed, namely, that the strategic problem the Soviet Union posed for them was not qualitive but quantitative, a matter essentially of arithmetic. The winter had drastically altered the German numbers, but had it not done the same and more on the Soviet side?

Foreign Armies East, the OKH intelligence branch concerned with the Soviet Armed Forces, compiled a comprehensive estimate of Soviet strength in the coming summer as an annex to the first draft of Directive 41. It was a small masterpiece of staff intelligence work--logical, precise, and persuasive. It was also narrowly conceived and tied to its premises. The first and most crucial of the latter was that the Soviet Union used its manpower essentially the same way Germany did, which meant that the absolute ceiling on Soviet strength was roughly 18 million men. The losses in killed and captured between June 1941 and April 1942 (6.8 million) and in eligibles left behind in the occupied territories had brought the number down to 9.73 million, not far from a 50 percent reduction. The Soviet Armed Forces, as of 1 April, had 6.6 million men and were 20 percent below established strength. The difference


between the potential and actual strengths, 3.13 million, Foreign Armies East figured, was the manpower reserve. After allowances were made for unreliables and physically unfit, it would yield 1.2 million men to cover the existing deficit and 1.12 million for new units. From the 1.12 million, the Soviet Army could form sixty rifle divisions, twelve tank brigades, and some lesser units. Soviet armament output, Foreign Armies East predicted, would stay as it appeared to be, adequate for current operations, with chronic shortages of hand weapons, and not sufficient to build reserves. Coke and steel shortages, however, could cause cutbacks. The sixty rifle divisions and twelve tank brigades, then, were the last real Soviet trump and, on the scale of past experience, not a hugely important one. The estimate concluded: "The enemy can no longer withstand losses such as he took in the battles from Bialystok to Vyazma-Bryansk [June to October 1941]. He also cannot for a second time throw reserves into the scales the way he did in the winter of 1941/42."55 After another month of study, Foreign Armies East reported, "The figure '60' keeps recurring as the number of units in the Soviet operational reserve."56 Hitler told the Reichstag, "The hour will come when the front frees itself from its torpor and then history will decide who won in this winter: the attacker who idiotically sacrificed his masses of men, or the defender who simply held his positions."57

Foreign Armies East had worked hard at counting Soviet divisions in the 1941 campaign and had compiled volumes of reports on those actually and supposedly destroyed. In November, Colonel Eberhard Kinzel, then the branch chief, had admitted that the count so far had been inconclusive, to say the least, and had said that counting divisions did not mean much insofar as the Soviet Union was concerned. It had had (by his estimate) 140 divisions in June 1941, had suffered gigantic losses during the summer, and had had 190 divisions standing in the line just before the battles of Bryansk and Vyazma in October. Nevertheless, he had maintained, the system had been improved and now reliably showed the total Soviet nominal strength to be 160 divisions and the actual effective strength to be the equivalent of 75 divisions and 40 tank brigades. By spring, he had predicted, the Soviet Union could have 150 divisions and 40 tank brigades at full strength and no more.58 As of 20 June 1942, the Foreign Armies East count stood at 270 rifle divisions, 115 rifle brigades, 69 tank brigades, and 2 tank divisions. Nevertheless, five days later, Hitler speculated that BLAU would go faster and more easily than had been expected because the Russians, by his count, had already lost 80 divisions in the German preliminary offensives.59


The main German strategic interest had always been confined essentially to one question: Where would the Soviet forces have to stand and accept a fight to the finish? Most of the generals had thought that it would be in the Moscow region. Hitler had believed it would be in the south, the Ukraine and the Caucasus. In 1941, the Germans had tried both, had run out of time and had not proved--or disproved--the validity of either view. Late in the campaign, in November, the OKH contention, as put by Halder, still had been:

The oil region [of the Caucasus] is not essential to the Soviet conduct of the war, so his defense there will be passive, that is, to deny us the oil, not to preserve his own existence.

Moscow is the central point of all Russian life. It is also the western terminus of the land bridge between European and Asiatic Russia and has decisive operational import for Soviet offensive plans.60

Hitler, on the other hand, was more than ever certain, after the Moscow offensive failed, that he had been right all along. As the gist of a talk with Hitler in March 1942, Goebbels recorded:

The Fuehrer had a plan that was bound to lead to victory.

The Fuehrer had no intention whatever of going to Moscow. He wanted to cut off the Caucasus and thereby strike the Soviet system at its most vulnerable point. But Brauchitsch and his general staff knew better.61

Although the points of view about them apparently remained as far apart as ever, Moscow and the Caucasus did not reappear as rival objectives in 1942, and the debate was not reopened. While the Moscow offensive still seemed headed toward a successful conclusion in late 1941, Hitler had designated the Caucasus as the next objective. From December on, the choice had been between the Caucasus and nothing, and the determinant had been the German, not the Soviet condition. General Fromm, for instance, who believed no major offensive should be attempted in 1942, had conceded that one in the south could be worthwhile for the sake of the oil but then doubted that the army would have enough strength to get to the oil fields.62 By the spring of 1942, Army Group South was the only one of the three army groups anywhere near fit for an offensive, and a discussion of the strategic implications for the Soviet Union of an attack on Moscow would have been largely beside the point. Besides, Hitler was in no mood to listen. He was convinced, with some reason, that he had saved the army from a complete disaster in the previous winter by not paying attention to the generals.

Hitler gave his view of the Soviet strategic situation--in, no doubt, deliberately enhanced colors--to Mussolini on 30 April 1942. The "Bolshevik" industrial capacity had declined drastically. Outside help could only come through Murmansk, via Iran (in small quantity), or through Vladivostok that the Japanese had cut off. Therefore the "Bolsheviks" could not expect substantial material assistance from the outside. Food was already extremely


short; cutbacks in the civilian rations would inevitably "radiate into the military sector"; and the Soviet Union would have to get along for another five months on the stocks it had. If Germany cut off the oil, then Soviet transport would also be paralyzed. The Soviet explosives and powder programs could not keep pace with the "highly developed German chemical industry." The Soviet losses in dead were "almost incalculable," and "the masses being thrown against us [now]" were "nowhere near" as effective as the Soviet troops had been in the 1941 campaign. He shied away, though, from predicting an outright victory, saying, "It can in no wise get worse [for Germany], only better. There can be no doubt that we will have classical successes in the forthcoming operations if we manage all of the time to concentrate our strength at the decisive points."63

As he had in 1940 and 1941, Hitler professed to see the Soviet Union as primarily a tool of British strategy. It was, he told Mussolini, England's "most valuable and most dangerous ally." It tied down German strength; if it defected, the British "could not do anything anymore"; and Stalin was blackmailing them by threatening a separate peace. However, unless they wanted to rid themselves of this onerous ally by conceding the German victory, the British would have to try to help him. Consequently, Germany would have to be on the alert for landings in Norway or France and be ready to occupy Vichy France.64

Soviet Strategy

The Soviet Condition

In mid-March 1942, Goebbels, as he did with nearly all of his best thoughts, confided to his diary, "Whether we shall succeed during the coming spring and summer in defeating the Bolsheviks--this no man can say. We know what we have and what we must risk, but we don't know what the Bolsheviks have and what they can risk."65 There was--and is--the mystery. The Germans did not know then and the world does not know yet what the Soviet Union had and what it could risk. The Germans, it would appear from the result, must have been far off in their estimates. Soviet accounts, however, do not give sufficient information to support clear judgments about the extent of the German miscalculations.

The first five months of war had done enormous economic damage to the Soviet Union, particularly in the output of basic raw materials, and that would be felt more in 1942 than it had been in 1941. As the following table shows, output in most key categories during the first six months of 1942 would be less than half of that called for in the 1942 military-economic plan and substantially below 1941 levels.66 The figures, of course, do not account for quantities in the production pipeline or stockpiles that may have existed.

On the other hand, unlike Hitler, Stalin had not hesitated to convert to a total war economy. By 1942, the metalworking industries (almost totally engaged


Category 1941 1942
1st 6 mos. 2d 6 mos. Planned 1st 6 mos.
Electricity (bil., kwh.) 27.4 19.3 31.0 15.0
Coal (mil., tons) 91.9 59.5 96.9 35.7
Oil (mil., tons) 17.3 15.7 26.9 11.7
Pig Iron (mil., tons) 9.0 4.8 5.1 2.3
Steel (mil., tons) 11.4 6.5 9.4 4.0

in war production) constituted 57 percent of all industry in the Soviet Union, up from 36 percent in 1940 when the emphasis on military production had already been heavy.67 In comparison, only 43 percent of German industry was devoted to metalworking, with only 30 percent of that engaged in armaments production.68 The allocations of iron and steel for ammunition, which had been 830,000 tons in 1940, were 1.8 million tons in 1942.69 Output of artillery pieces went from about 30,000 in the last six months of 1941 to over 53,000 in the first half of 1942. In the same period, output of mortars more than trebled, and production of hand weapons and machine guns increased substantially; however, ammunition production went up less than 5 percent. Output of combat aircraft, 8,300, was about the same in the first six months of 1942 as in the last half of 1941, but it exceeded the German production, which was approximately 7,200.70

The most notable single production increase was in tanks, of which 11,200 were reportedly turned out in the first six months of 1942, more than twice the number for the last half of 1941 and close to 4 times the German output of approximately 3,000 tanks. The number of T-34s produced was apparently close to double the total 1941 output of 3,000. The achievement in tank production, however, great as it was, was less than it appeared to be because 60 percent of the output was in the light T-60 and T-70 types and mostly still T-60s.71 The T-60, which had also made up more than half of the 1941 output, had "not demonstrated outstanding qualities in combat," but it was easier to manufacture and not dependent on the availability of diesel engines as the medium and heavy tanks were. The T-70, put into production in late 1941, was an upgraded T-60, with a three-man crew, weighing somewhat over nine tons, and carrying slightly more armor and a 45-mm. gun.72 The alterations made the T-70 superior to the T-60 but left it inferior to the German Panzer IIIs and IVs.73

In the spring of 1942, the Soviet armored forces were undergoing their second major reorganization of the war. One defect observed during the general offensive had been a tendency by commands to break up the tank brigades and battalions and to commit their vehicles singly or in small batches in infantry support. A Stavka order of 22 January 1942 had required the brigades



and battalions to be used only at full strength and with adequate infantry and air support, but that, to the extent that it was followed, had still not produced a capability to employ tanks in the mass. The units were too small. Consequently, in the spring, the armored forces began setting up tank corps consisting of 3 tank brigades (168 tanks), a motorized infantry brigade, a reconnaissance battalion, and artillery and rocket projectors. From May through August, 4 tank armies, First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth, were activated. Each of these was projected to have 2 tank corps, an independent tank brigade, infantry, and artillery.74

In spite of losses in the winter and heavier ones in the spring, the numerical strengths of the Soviet forces appear to have grown steadily throughout the first six months of 1942. The History of the Second World War gives the total armed forces strength "in action" in "early 1942" as 5.6 million men, of which approximately 4.9 million were in ground forces. The armies "in action" had 293 rifle divisions (at strengths between 5,000 and 9,000), 34 cavalry divisions, 121 rifle brigades, and 56 independent tank brigades.75 At the beginning of the spring offensives, the ground forces had "over" 5.1 million men, "almost" 3,900 tanks, 44,900 artillery pieces and mortars, and the support


of 2,200 combat aircraft.76 At the end of June, the ground forces "in action" had 5.5 million troops, over 6,000 tanks, 55,600 artillery pieces and mortars, and 2,600 combat aircraft in support. This amounted, with the brigades converted to an equivalent in divisions, to 410 divisions.77 Elsewhere, the number of divisions, brigades, and independent regiments is given as 348 divisions, 239 brigades, and 329 regiments.78 None of the above figures includes Stavka reserves, which the History of the Second World War gives as having been (in June) 10 field armies, 1 tank army, 3 air armies being formed, and "more than" 50 independent units.79 Golubovich gives the reserves as 152 divisions, 107 brigades, and 225 independent regiments.80

Estimates of German Capabilities

In an order of 23 February 1942, the People's Commissariat of Defense initiated planning for the coming spring and summer with the admonition that it would be "inexcusably shortsighted" to be content with the winter's successes and assume from them that the German troops had been already beaten. The enemy had suffered defeats, but he was not defeated. He was still strong, and he would muster all of his forces to achieve successes.81

On 18 March, General Staff Intelligence submitted the following estimate:

. . . Preparation for a [German] spring offensive is confirmed by deployment of troops and material. In the period from 1 January to 10 March, as many as thirty-five divisions were brought in, and the field armies received a steady flow of replacements. Restoration of the railroad network in the occupied territories of the USSR is being worked on more intensively, and combat and transport aircraft are being supplied in greater numbers. . . .

It cannot be ruled out that the decisive German offensive will be accompanied by a simultaneous Japanese attack on the USSR and that the Germans will, besides, put pressure on Turkey to permit transit of German troops to the Caucasus. . . . The Germans cannot again attack on a broad front, because they cannot regroup their forces to accomplish that. They will concentrate all their efforts on preparing successive operations: first aiming at conquering the Caucasus and taking the Murmansk (Kirov) Railroad and subsequently at expanding the operations to take Moscow and Leningrad. In this manner the main strategic objectives could be attained: the USSR would be cut off from her allies; she would lose her oil; and even if she were not totally defeated, the country would be so weakened as to lose all significance. This is the main objective of the German leadership.

The main effort of the spring offensive will lie on the southern sector of the front, with a secondary attack on the north and a simultaneous feint in the center, towards Moscow.

Germany is preparing a decisive offensive on the Eastern Front, which will begin in the southern sector and expand to the north. For the spring offensive, Germany and her allies are bringing in as many as sixty-five divisions. . . . The most likely time for the offensive will be mid-April or early May.82

On 23 March, the security organs of the State Defense Committee submitted a variant projection. The part of it


that has been made public read as follows:

The main blow will be in the southern sector via Rostov to Stalingrad and into the North Caucasus--and from there toward the Caspian Sea. In this fashion, the Germans hope to take possession of the Caucasus oil sources. If the operation succeeds, the Germans expect, on reaching the Volga at Stalingrad, to continue the offensive northward along the Volga. In this summer, they will not only want to get to the Volga and the Caspian Sea, but they will also undertake main operations against Moscow and Leningrad, because taking those places is a matter of prestige with the German Command.83

The History of the Second World War describes the two "prognoses" as having been "not without influence" on the decisions relating to the further conduct of the war.84 However, their influence, apparently, was either small or virtually nonexistent. The History of the Second World War, Zhukov, and the Popular Scientific Sketch indicate that Stalin, whose opinion was the deciding one, believed the Germans had strength enough to conduct simultaneous offensives in the center and the south, and he gave particular importance to Moscow.85 The History of the Great Patriotic War maintains that the Stavka recognized the possibility of a German offensive in the south but made "a strategic error" and assumed that the most probable German attack would not be toward Stalingrad and the Caucasus but toward Moscow and the central industrial region.86 Vasilevskiy says that the enemy's strength on the Moscow approaches ("more than seventy divisions") led the Stavka and the General Staff to conclude that his main attack would be in the center. "This opinion," Vasilevskiy adds, "I know very well to have been shared by the majority of the front commands."87

Soviet accounts have maintained that a crucial consideration for the Soviet Command, as it went into the second summer of the war, was a numerical inferiority in troop strength. The most frequently given figure, since it was first used by Platonov in 1958, has been 6.2 million German and allied troops at the outset of the 1942 summer campaign.88 The History of the Second World War gives two figures: 5,655,000 German alone, as of 28 June 1942, and 6,198,000 German and allied, as of 1 May 1942. Of these, 5,388,000 were German.89 The Germans' own count was 3.9 million men in the ground forces, distributed as follows: 2.6 million (allies not counted) on the Eastern Front proper, 212,000 in the occupied Soviet territory, 150,000 in Finland, and 1.3 million in the occupied territories outside the Soviet Union, in the Replacement Army in Germany, and in North Africa.90


A Second Front

In May 1941, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov journeyed to the West, to London, to negotiate a treaty of alliance and to Washington to discuss a second lend-lease protocol. His most urgent task in both capitals was to secure a commitment from the Western Allies to open a second front in Europe in 1942. Prime Minister Churchill's response to the second front proposal was sympathetic but noncommittal.91 President Roosevelt told Molotov that the U.S. government "hoped" and "expected" to open a second front in 1942.92 On 11 June in Washington and 12 June in Moscow, the U.S. and Soviet governments released a joint communique, one sentence of which read, "In the course of the conversations full understanding was reached with regard to the urgent tasks of creating a Second Front in Europe in 1942."93 Molotov had drafted the communique, and Roosevelt had approved it, although General George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, had objected that the statement was "too strong."94 Marshall had told Roosevelt and Molotov earlier that the problem would be in getting the ships to transport U.S. troops and equipment to Europe.95 On 10 June, in London, Churchill gave Molotov a statement which read, in part, "It is impossible to say in advance whether the situation will be such as to make this operation [an invasion of Europe in 1942] feasible when the time comes. We can therefore give no promise in the matter. . . . "96

In the Soviet view, there could not have been any substantive reasons for the Western Allies' not opening a second front in 1942. In the Soviet view, also, a commitment was made during the May-June negotiations. The History of the Great Patriotic War maintains, ". . . the governments of the USA and England assured the Soviet delegation that a second front would be opened in 1942."97 The Short History states, "The pertinent communique pointed out that complete agreement had been reached concerning [the second front's] opening in Europe in 1942."98 The History of the Second World War and the Popular Scientific Sketch maintain that Washington and London were "forced to announce" the creation of a second front in 1942 by "progressive public opinion" and their obligations to the Soviet Union.99

That the second front did not materialize in 1942 was, in the Soviet view, the result of deliberate British-American policy decisions made "behind the back of the Soviet Union."100 The Short History asserts, ". . . neither country, later events showed, had any intention of living up to its commitment."101 The reason they did not, according to the History of the Great Patriotic War and the


History of the Second World War, was because the "ruling circles" in Great Britain and the United States wanted to let Germany and the Soviet Union exhaust themselves "in heavy and bloody battles."102

In the Soviet accounts, the absence of the second front and the alleged duplicity of the Western Allies relative to it are depicted as having had critical bearing on Soviet strategic planning for the summer of 1942. The Soviet plans for spring and summer offensives, the History of the Great Patriotic War implies, were based on an assumption that they would coincide with "attacks by Anglo-American forces on Germany from the west" and that the plans might have been different if the Soviet Union had known "the real intentions of its allies."103 Bagramyan has said Timoshenko and Khrushchev told him in March 1942, when Southwestern Theater began work on its plan, that there would be a second front created in the latter half of 1942, and it would "draw off part of the enemy's forces and his reserves."104 The History of the Second World War contends that the Soviet government was left in uncertainty, until mid-August 1942, as to whether there would be a second front, while the Germans, all along, "counted on" one not existing, and they made their dispositions accordingly.105 The History of the Great Patriotic War charges that the Germans knew there would not be a second front through "secret negotiations on a separate peace" conducted by "unofficial representatives of industrial and financial circles of the USA and England."106

A Strategic Defensive

As the Soviet spring offensives failed, one by one, the certainty that the initiative would change hands before summer became inescapable, and it became imperative for the Soviet Command to devise a defensive strategy. The problem, potentially deadly though it was, was less complicated than it had been the year before. The Germans' condition was known, and their options were limited. Time was on their side, but it was running out because they were going to have to restart from a dead stop. By mid-February, German Foreign Armies East had believed an offensive in the south could hardly be a surprise to the Russians. It observed that, according to agent reports, Marshal Timoshenko, the commander of Southwestern Theater, had talked as early as December about the Germans' being compelled to attack again in the south to get oil and that British newspaper reports from the Soviet Union had repeated the same theme several times since.107 Estimates made in April and May by Foreign Armies East no longer questioned Soviet knowledge of the Germans' plans for the spring and addressed possible Soviet responses "to the expected German offensive."108 The Soviet General Staff's and State Defense Committee's


estimates of German intentions cited above were singularly close to the mark, in fact almost prescient, considering that they were completed ten days to two weeks before Hitler put his own plans on paper. To them can be added, from the Popular Scientific Sketch, the general statement, "As the Supreme Command worked out the plans for further operations it had sufficient information concerning the intentions and measures of the enemy."109

The General Staff completed its calculations in mid-March, and the strategic plan for the spring and summer of 1942 was put into final form during the conference at the end of the month. Within that time, as has been seen, the General Staff's concept of an "active defense" against an expected German offensive gave way to Stalin's active defense, which aimed to forestall the German initiative entirely. This, while it did not invalidate the estimates of German intentions, made them largely irrelevant to the plan. In the stage of the active defense, May through June, the Soviet offensives would "improve the operative-strategic situation of the Soviet Armed Forces, uncover the enemy's intentions, deal his groupings a defeat, and by preemptive blows, frustrate the enemy's prospect of developing another large-scale offensive on the Soviet-German front." After the period of active defense, probably in July, the forces would develop "larger" offensives on a broad front "from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, with the aim of smashing the enemy's main groupings and bringing about the decisive turn of the war in favor of the Soviet Union that had been initiated at Moscow in the winter 1941/42."110 In the second stage, the main offensive effort would be in the south, but beyond that, the plan was not worked out because the details would depend on the results of the first stage.111

At what point the Soviet thinking turned from the active defense to what is called the "strategic defensive" is not entirely clear. The History of the Second World War indicates that defensive elements were included in the March plan, and the fronts operating in the western and southwestern "directions" were required to build up their defense lines and create reserves to be used either to support their own offensives or to counterattack "in the case of an unexpected enemy offensive."112 On the other hand, the History implies that not until late June did the Stavka consider it necessary to observe Lenin's dictum that methods of warfare should change to accommodate changed circumstances. Then it decided to abandon its offensive plans and revert to the strategic defensive.113 The Popular Scientific Sketch states:

By the end of June, the situation of the Soviet forces had worsened everywhere on the Soviet-German front. The spring operations of the year 1942, with which the Headquarters had wished to create conditions for development of a larger offensive in the summer, had been frustrated by the enemy. . . . The Stavka saw itself compelled to forego the offensive and resume the strategic defensive.114


By Vasilevskiy's account, the Soviet forces went over to the defensive in May, after Kharkov.115 The timing of the Molotov mission appears also to have been the result of a change in Soviet thinking in the latter half of May. In March, Stalin had not believed the Soviet forces would be capable of "larger offensive operations" in the spring without a second front, but, by implication at least, he had thought they would have such a capability in the summer.116 The British government had invited Molotov to come to London on 8 April, but the Soviet response had been slow, and for the more than five weeks before he arrived, the main Soviet concern had been with getting better territorial and political terms for itself in the alliance treaty. At the first meeting in London, on 21 May, at the height of the Kharkov battle, Molotov said he had come to discuss two matters: the treaty and a second front, and the latter was now the more important. In the subsequent sessions in London and Washington, he appeared to be talking in terms of two possibilities: a victory in 1942, with a second front that would draw at least forty German divisions off the Eastern Front, or a Soviet reversion to a defensive, the results of which could not be positively predicted.117 The summer offensive had by then, most probably, become wholly contingent on the second front.

The History of the Second World War gives a picture of preparation by stages for the shift to the defensive. Beginning in March, the fronts and armies built up their lines to depths of six to seven miles. At the same time, and continuing into the summer, the theater commands and the Stavka saw to the construction of rear lines back to the Volga River, a distance of up to three hundred and fifty miles. This included renovating and improving works built in 1941, the Mozhaysk line, the Moscow and Oka River defenses, and lines on the Volga east of Moscow and on the Don, from Voronezh to Rostov. In May, work began on defenses for the Caucasus, between the Don and the Kuban, along the Terek River, and, among other places, around Voroshilovsk, Krasnodar, and Groznyy.118 In May, "when the big battles in the south began," the Stavka "took measures" to strengthen the defenses of Bryansk, Southwest, and South Fronts.119 In May and June, when, as the History of the Second World War puts it, "the Wehrmacht attacked only on the south" and not toward Moscow, the Stavka "made corrections" and began to prepare for a strategic defensive, which included building up the strength in the south.120

Although the History of the Second World War maintains that as part of the preparations for the strategic defensive, five of the ten reserve armies were redeployed from the center to the southwest (in early July, after BLAU began), Stalin, the Stavka, and the General Staff, apparently, at no time believed the German main attack would be aimed anywhere other than at Moscow. Vasilevskiy says they did not "exclude" an attack from the vicinity of Kursk to Voronezh but believed the


final objective would, nevertheless, be Moscow.121 At the end of June, the main weight of the Soviet deployment was in the center. The former Western Theater (Kalinin and West Fronts) was somewhat stronger than the Southwestern Theater (Bryansk, Southwest, and South Fronts). Expressed as percentages of total Soviet front line strength, relationships were as follows:

Command Divisions Artillery Tanks Aircraft
Western Theater 31.3 31.6 40.3 32.7
Southwestern Theater 28.3 29.6 38.3 29.2

These, however, did not comprise the whole difference. Of the reserve armies, six and the one tank army then operational were positioned to cover Moscow on the line Kalinin-Tula-Tambov-Borisoglebsk-Stalingrad, and four were ranged in a broad arc east of Moscow on the line Vologda-Gorkiy-Saratov.122 Moreover, close to a third of the former Southwestern Theater forces, almost all of Bryansk Front, were deployed on the north flank to defend the Tula approach to Moscow.

The implication to be drawn from the deployment is that a stronger concentration in the south would have produced a better result in the summer campaign. The History of the Great Patriotic War concludes:

The incorrect determination by the Soviet Supreme High Command of the direction of the enemy's attack in the first stage of the summer campaign led to decisions that were in strategic error. Instead of concentrating forces in the operations zone of the Southwest and South Fronts and establishing on the left flank a deeply echeloned defense that would have been insurmountable for the enemy, the Stavka continued to fortify the central sector of the front. . . .123

On the other hand, the course of the war in the coming months would show the "error" at least to be self-compensating and, perhaps, to have been a stroke of high good fortune.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (XIII) * Next Chapter (XV)


1. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 295.

2. OKW, WFSt, Abt. L (I Op.) Nr. 442090/41, Weisung Nr. 39, 8.12.41, German High Level Directives, CMH files.

3. Der Chef der Heeresruestung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres, der Chef des Stabes, Tagebuch, 23 Dec 41, CMH X-124 file.

4. OKW, WFSt, Abt. L (I Op.) Nr. 448864/41, Weisung Nr. 32, 11.6.41, German High Level Directives, CMH files.

5. OKW, WFSt, Abt. L (I Op.) Nr: 441219/41, Weisung Nr. 32b, 14.7.41, German High Level Directives, CMH files.

6. Chef H. Ruest. und BdE, Stab OKH, Nr. 1441/41, Notizen ueber Vortrag beim Fuehrer am 23.12.41, 28.12.41, CMH X-124 file.

7. Ibid.

8. Willi A. Boelcke, Deutschlands Ruestung im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Frankfurt: Athenaion, 1969), pp. 61-64.

9. Reinhardt, Moskau, p. 114.

10. Ibid., pp. 284-86.

11. Ibid., p. 39.

12. Der Chef der Heeresruestung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres, der Chef des Stabes, Tagebuch, 5 Jan 42, CMH X-124 file.

13. OKH, GenStdH, Org. Abt., Kriegstagebuch, 1-5 Jan and 16-22 Feb 42, H 1/213 file.

14. Reinhardt, Moskau, p.40.

15. OKH, GenStdH, Org. Abt., Kriegstagebuch, 10-13 and 16-22 Feb 42, H 1/213 file.

16. OKW, WFSt, Abt. L (I Op.) Nr. 442090/41, Weisung Nr. 39, 8.12.41, German High Level Directives, CMH files.

17. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 361.

18. Der Chef der Heeresruestung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres, der Chef des Stabes, Tagebuch, 23 Dec 41, CMH X-124 file.

19. Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, 1939-1945, Der Zweite Weltkrieg in Chronik and Dokumenten (Darmstadt: Wehr und Wissen Verlagsgesellschaft, 1961), p. 288.

20. Bock Diary, Osten II, 18 Jan 42.

21. Ibid., 15 Feb 42.

22. Ibid., 20 Feb and 1 Mar 42.

23. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 410.

24. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, p. 1850.

25. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 420110/42, 18.3.42, H22 215 file; Halder Diary, vol. III, pp. 316, 417, 420-21.

26. OKW, Stellv. WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch, 1.4.-30.6.42, 2 and 5 Apr 42, I.M.T. 1807 file.

27. OKW, WFSt, Nr. 55616/42, Weisung 41, 5.4.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files.

28. Der Oberbefeldshaber der H. Gr. Sued, Ia Nr. 276/42, Betr: Fortfuehrung der Operation im Sommer 1942, 19.2.42, MS P-114c, pt. III, CMH files.

29. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 420.

30. OKW, WFSt, Nr. 55616/42, Weisung 41, 5.4.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files.

31. Walter Warlimont, Im Hauptquartier der deutschen Wehrmacht, 1939-1945 (Frankfurt: Bernard & Graefe, 1962), p. 244; Walter Goerlitz, ed., The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Keitel (New York: Stein and Day, 1966), pp. 174-76.

32. OKW, Stellv. WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch, 1.4-30.6.42, 5 Jun 42, I.M.T. 1807 file.

33. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, pp. 1860-62.

34. Diensttuender Adjutant (Schmundt), Bericht ueber Besprechung am 30.4.42, CMH X-1010 file.

35. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, pp. 1867-71.

36. Louis P. Lochner, ed., The Goebbels Diaries (Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 1948), pp. 191-93.

37. Hugh Gibson, ed., The Ciano Diaries (Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 1946) p. 476.

38. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, p. 1873.

39. Gibson, Ciano Diaries, p. 476.

40. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, pp. 1872-73.

41. Boelcke, Ruestung, p. 127.

42. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, p. 1874.

43. Lochner, Goebbels Diaries, p. 192.

44. Bock Diary, Osten II, 1 Jun 42.

45. OKW, WFSt, Org. (I), Zusammenfassende Darstellung der Wehrkraft im Fruehjahr 1942, 19.3.42, H 1 382 file.

46. OKH, GenStdH, Gen. Qu./Qu.3, Nr. 18270/42, Darstellung der Wehrkraft der Wehrmacht fuer 1942 durch OKW, 31.3.42, H 1 382 file.

47. The OKW draft has not been found. References to it are in OKH, GenStdH, Org. Abt. Nr. 389/42, 10.5.42, H 1 382 file.

48. On 8 April 1941, Halder had proposed eliminating two divisions because they only existed on paper, and Hitler had refused. OKW, KTB, vol. II, pt. 2, p. 317. At the Orsha Conference in November 1941, the chief of the Organizational Branch, OKH, had talked about disbanding eleven divisions on the Eastern Front to bring the others up to strength. That also had not been done. H. Gr. Sued, Der Chef des Generalstabes, Ia Nr. 21323/41, Vortragsnotiz, 17.11.41, AOK 6 181117 file.

49. The Mark III and IV tanks were being converted to mount long-barreled guns.

50. OKH, Chef H. Ruest. u. BdE, AHA, Chef des Stabes Nr. 41/42, Wehrkraft der Wehrmacht im Fruehjahr 1942, 12.5.42, H 1 382 file.

51. OKW, Wehrkraft der Wehrmacht im Fruehjahr 1942, 6.6.42, in Jacobsen, Chronik, pp. 314-17.

52. British Air Ministry Pamphlet 248, pp. 162, 178.

53. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 461.

54. H. Gr Nord, Chef des Generalstabes, Ia Nr. 769/41, Niederschrift ueber die Besprechung beim Chef des GenStdH, 13.11.41, AOK 18 35945/1 file.

55. OKH, GenStdH, FHO, Russischer Kraeftestand, 31.3.42, H 3/113A file; OKH, GenStdH, FHO, Auswerte-Gruppe, An Gr. II, 4.4.42 and OKH, GenStdH, Fremde Heere Ost Nr. 803/42, an Op. Abt. 4.4.42, H 3/198 file.

56. OKH, GenStdH, Abt. Fremde Heere Ost, Beurteilung der Gesamtfeindlage und ihre Entwicklungsmoeglichkeiten, 1.5.42, H 3/198 file.

57. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, p. 1875.

58. H. Gr. Nord, Chef des Generalstabes, Ia Nr. 769/41, Niederschrift ueber Besprechung beim Chef des GenStdH, 13.11.41, AOK 18 35945/1 file.

59. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 461; OKW, WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch, 1.4.-30.6.42, 25 Jun 42, I.M.T. 1807 file.

60. H. Gr. Sued, Der Chef des Generalstabes, Ia Nr. 2123/41 Vortragsnotiz, 17.11.41, AOK 6 181117 file.

61. Lochner, Goebbels Diaries, p. 136.

62. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 295; Chef H. Ruest. und BdE, Stab OKH, Nr. 1441/41, Notizen ueber Vortrag beim Fuehrer am 23.12.41, 28.12.41, CMH X-124 file.

63. OKM, 1.SKL, Ia., Bericht ueber Besprechung am 30.4.42, CMH X-1010 file.

64. Ibid.

65. Lochner, Goebbels Diaries, p. 129.

66. Based on Tyushkevich, Vooruzhennye sily, p. 269, and IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 491.

67. Voznesenskiy, Economy of the USSR, p. 43.

68. Deutsches Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung, Deutsche Industrie im Kriege, p. 159.

69. Voznesenskiy, Economy of the USSR, p. 43.

70. IVMV, vol. IV, p. 158; Boelcke, Ruestung, p. 25.

71. IVMV, vol. IV, p. 158; Boelcke, Ruestung, p. 24; Deborin and Telpukhovskiy, Itogi i uroki, p. 260.

72. Tyushkevich, Vooruzhennye sily, p. 273.

73. See Perrett, Fighting Vehicles, p. 20f and John Milsom, Russian Tanks, 1900-1970 (London: Arms and Armour Press, 1970), pp. 92-94.

74. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 360; Tyushkevich, Vooruzhennye sily, p. 284; Krupchenko, Tankovye voyska, p. 55.

75. IVMV, vol. V, p. 22.

76. Ibid., p. 121. It appears likely that the Soviet figures on tanks for this stage of the war (perhaps also earlier) do not include the light tanks. See p. 300.

77. Ibid., p. 143.

78. See Golubovich, "Sozdaniye," p. 17.

79. IVMV, vol. V, p. 143.

80. Golubovich, "Sozdaniye," p. 17.

81. IVMV, vol. V, p. 30.

82. VOV, p. 138f. See also IVMV, vol. V, p. 111f.

83. IVMV, vol. V, p. 112.

84. Ibid., p. 112.

85. Ibid., p. 113; Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 364; VOV, p. 139.

86. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 404.

87. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 206.

88. Platonov implied that the allied troops were not included in the 6.2 million. Platonov, Vtoraya Mirovaya Voyna, p. 286. The subsequent accounts give the figure as being inclusive. See VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 157; Deborin and Telpukhovskiy, Itogi i uroki, p. 356; and Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 207.

89. The figures for the allies are as follows: Finnish, 300,000; Rumanian, 330,000; Hungarian, 70,000; Italian, 68,000; Slovakian, 28,000; and Spanish, 14,000. (Spain was not an ally but supplied a division of "volunteers.") IVMV, vol. V, pp. 121, 145.

90. OKW, KTB, vol. II, p. 52.

91. J. R. M. Butler, Grand Strategy (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964), vol. III, pt. II, p. 594f.

92. Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1953), p. 231.

93. Ibid., p. 232; IVMV, vol. V, p. 73.

94. Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, p. 232.

95. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 563; IVMV, vol. V, p. 72.

96. Butler, Grand Strategy, vol. III, pt. II, p. 597. See also IVMV, vol. V, p. 73.

97. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 400.

98. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 152.

99. IVMV, vol. V, p. 73; VOV, p. 480f.

100. VOV, p. 481.

101. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 152.

102. IVMV, vol. V, p. 71; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 400.

103. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 401.

104. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 51.

105. IVMV, vol. V, p. 111.

106. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 400.

107. OKH, GenStdH, Fremde Heere Ost, Nr. 61/42, Russischer Angriff im Fruehjahr 1942, 20.2.42, H 3/2 file.

108. OKH, GenStdH, Fremde Heere Ost, Beurteilung der Feindlage, 10.4.42 and OKH, GenStdH, Fremde Heere Ost, Beurteilung der Gesamtfeindlage, 1.5.42, H 3/198 file.

109. VOV, p. 139. See p. 302f.

110. IVMV, vol. V, p. 117. See pp. 238-40.

111. Ibid., p. 114.

112. Ibid., p. 116.

113. Ibid., p. 142.

114. VOV, p. 146.

115. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 218.

116. IVMV, vol. V, p. 113.

117. See Butler, Grand Strategy, vol. III, pt. II, pp. 592-96.

118. IVMV, vol. V, p. 116.

119. Ibid., p. 146.

120. Ibid., p. 146f.

121. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 219.

122. The Western Theater was terminated as a command on 5 May; the North Caucasus Theater on 19 May; and the Southwestern Theater on 21 June. IVMV, vol. V, p. 143.

123. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 404.

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation