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Old 23 Feb 12, 05:31
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Originally Posted by Mil_dude View Post
I still have a hard time believing that the Germans would have performed anywhere near as effectively in June 1941 if not for the Red Army being deployed in a very vulnerable position. While the Germans had experience, so did the Soviets in successful operations against the Japanese, Poles, Finns, Balts and Romanians. Even with a somewhat less experienced officer corps and ORs I find it difficult to see the soviets taking so many loses if they'd been deployed for defence. Zhukov wasn't a fool and neither were other Soviet Generals.
Quick run through - The RA v the Finns started off a disaster and improved. Against the Japanese, excellent admin work and overall effort. The Invasion of Poland indicated the kit was rubbish and needed replacement. The Poles faced even worse odds than they did against the Germans. Casualties on both sides were quite light (combined total max. 10,000). The "invasions of the Baltics and Romania were not military invasions so much as "gunboat diplomacy". They were all agreed in the R-M pact. As for Soviet troop dispositions - unfortunately the generals had to agree to the Politburo's directives regarding these. Zhukov, Timoshenko and Shaposhnikov weren't fools. Unfortunately for the RA, Voroshilov and Budyonny were.

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The German Panzer divisions were watered down to create more of them so they were actually weaker going into the East than France and Poland. The Germans also still relied on mostly light to barely medium tanks, well deployed units of T-34 equipped tankers should have made mincemeat of German formations, and just a few KVs likewise.
The problem the RA had was that, while the T-34 and KV-1 were deadly on the Panzers, the LW controlled the air making supply, recce and movement difficult. They were also not available in large groups. A lack of radios made coordination a bit hit or miss too.

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The well developed road network of western Europe would have worked well fro the BT series tanks, especially the Autobahn system.
Getting to it involved going through either Poland, Hungary, Romania or Slovakia. These guys are not renowned for their roads.

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When you consider the nature of the Soviet system of government the fact it was building so many weapons of an offensive nature would indicate an aggressive intent. That and the fact the Soviet union was attacking and annexing its neighbours well before the German attack.
Two attacks, four annexations. In the same period, Germany annexed four countries (one twice), and attacked eight. Germany was surrounded by enemies of their own creation. The USSR was surrounded by states inimical to the Soviet system of government, as well as a few distant and vocal opponents. The USSR was the only communist state and perceived itself very much under siege. During the October revolution/civil war, they had been invaded by several western countries, Japan and had the Baltics and a few other pieces of territory stripped off by German machinations.

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During the interwar years more thought was given to defence and much less to attack, in France and Britain it was politically unfashionable to be seen as too offensive minded as Churchill found out to his disadvantage for many years. I'm not convinced the western allies could have made much of an inroad in the German western frontier in 1939. And they didn't have just Germany to face, they also had the Soviet Union which had made common cause with Germany.
Soviet armies charging to the defence of the Third Reich? The R-M pact is a non-aggression treaty: a promise to remain neutral if either party is attacked by a third party. I know you hate the Bolsheviks, but I think you need to take a couple of deep breaths and re-check some of the assumptions you've made here.

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It was rule by terror plain and simple and nothing to do with ideology, just the fact that the Bolsheviks were trying to impose their will on a nation that really didn't want them. And there were many examples of a clear contempt for human life and rights, the peasants were crushed during collectivization because of their continuing support for a free market for their products and many minorities in the USSR were singled out for oppression and transportation to the far east such as the Kalmyks, Tartars, Chechens, ethnic Germans, Poles and more. Millions of people were forced into slave labor under the Gulag system to fund much of the industrial expansion of the Soviet Union much of which went into military materials and very little into consumer products.

The closest comparison I can think of to the USSR in contempary culture is Mordor from Tolkiens books.
The Kalmyks, Chechens, and Crimean Tatars (as opposed to the Volga Tatars) made the mistake of supporting the invading Germans. The ethnic Germans and the Poles were deported because of Stalin's paranoia. Whether the ethnic Germans would have welcomed the Nazi regime is a question I've not heard anyone give a definitive answer to.

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That doesn't say much for Ivan, along with the destruction Cromwell caused in Ireland he also sent thousands of Irish into slavery in the Caribbean, many African Americans claim Irish ancestory.
And the English think themselves civilised...

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There were so many smoking guns pointing in Stalins direction I think it's pretty plain from a historical standpoint that he was the architect of most of the misery occuring in the USSR after the decline and death of Lenin.

Like any ism, communisn is an ideal that can never be truly reached, but they didn't even really try in the USSR. It was a sham country used to hide a very unpleasant truth. The Bolsheviks were about power and revenge to a large degree, on Lenin's part for the death of his brother by execution by the state and what he felt was discrimination for being related to a revolutionary afterward and the rest had their grudges and psychological issues.
No arguments with that.

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Put in perspective, the Red Army had almost as many amphibious tanks as the Germans had tanks of all models in 1941.
Also in perspective, 80% were over 6 years old in 1941.

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Who invaded who first?

Claims of Soviet retribution ignore the fact it was the Soviets acting in concert with the Nazis that started the whole ball rolling in 1939. The soviet Union was already an aggressor long before Barbarossa began in 1941.

Stalin was interested in one thing, unlimited power, he did everything he could to acheive it in the USSR and in my opinion and the opinion of many others was well on his way to doing the same thing on a much greater international scale when attacked by Hitler in 1941. The two tyrants spoiled each others plans.
Who invaded whom first? Germany invaded the Rhineland, then Austria, then Czechoslovakia (twice) and finally Poland before war was declared. Here's a link to the agreed Soviet-German sphere's of influence according to the R-M pact. The interesting thing about the Soviet annexations were that the Germans supported them and to an extent moderated them Romania was to have lost more territory to the USSR than they did but Stalin complied with a German request to lessen his demands. Also, all the territory taken by the USSR had been part of the Tsarist empire in 1914. Stalin was recovering the lost empire (see what they took off Japan in 1945).

The other thing to consider is that Stalin was not a gambler. Part of the reason for the incredibly harsh industrialisation was that Stalin was aware how important industrial output was. It was the reason Russia fell out of WWI. And it was plain Germany, the largest economic power in Europe was going steadily further to the right and the Nazis were making lots of loud noises about Lebensraum, Jewish Bolsheviks and using violence to do something about both. Damn straight they're going to get armed to the teeth. Wouldn't you?