Both the Soviet and German armies paid a heavy price in World War II.
the battlefield between the Soviet Union and Germany was the main battlefield of World War II in Europe, and both the Soviet and German armies paid a heavy price in the war.
however, the Soviet and German armies encountered a very interesting phenomenon in the war:
after the end of the Kiev campaign, although the Soviet army lost the entire southwestern front army, the Soviet army was still able to deploy its troops to defend the German troops on the Moscow front, and finally won the Moscow defense battle. While the Germans lost a 6th Army at the Stalingrad front and lost the initiative of the entire Soviet-German battlefield.
what on earth is going on?
first of all, the importance of the two battlefields is completely different.
Kiev was the secondary battlefield between the Soviet and German armies in the summer and autumn of 1941, while Stalingrad was the main battlefield between the Soviet and German armies in 1942.
Let's first take a look at the Battle of Kiev.
the Battle of Kiev took place in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and southern Ukraine from July 7 to September 26, 1941. The German troops participated in the war were 39 divisions of the Southern Group under the command of Londerstedt, and the Soviet troops were the Southern Front Army and the Southwest Front Army under the command of Marshal Bujonni, with a total of 6 group armies, 69 infantry divisions, 11 cavalry divisions and 28 armored brigades.
despite the fact that Bujonni has twice as many troops in the southwestern Soviet Union as the German southern army group. However, the troops in the southwestern region of the Soviet Union suffered heavy losses in the first stage of the battlefield on the southern front of the Soviet Union. For example, of the 44 divisions of the Soviet Southwest Front Army, 40 divisions lost a lot of strength. But the Soviets still fought fiercely in Ukraine with heavy casualties and Germans. During the battle in July 1941, the Germans were blocked by the Soviets on the outskirts of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and their plans to occupy Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, failed at night.
at a critical moment when the Soviet army fully resisted the German attack on Kiev, Zhukov, chief of the general staff of the Soviet Red Army, suggested to Stalin that Soviet troops from the southwest should be withdrawn from Kiev and concentrated to defend Moscow. Zhukov's advice was simple: the Kiev battlefield was the secondary battlefield of the Soviet-German battlefield, and the main direction of the German attack was Moscow and Leningrad. The Soviets must concentrate their forces to defend Moscow. In order to win the defense of Moscow, the Soviets could withdraw their troops from the southwest and abandon Kiev.
the reasons cited by Zhukov are clear. Ukraine, where Kiev is located, is a very important battlefield for the German army, which has much-needed food and oil resources. However, for the entire Soviet army and the Soviet-German battlefield, Kiev was significantly less important than Moscow. The loss of Kiev was not the deadliest loss for the Soviets. The loss of Moscow is conceivable as a blow to the Soviets. Therefore, the Soviet army had every reason to abandon Kiev and concentrate its forces to defend the capital.
however, Stalin thought Zhukov was talking nonsense. In the end, Stalin rejected Zhukov's proposal and removed Zhukov from his post, demoting him to the commander of the reserve force. As Stalin rejected Zhukov's reasonable suggestion, the tragedy of the Soviet army appeared-- from August 3 to 13, 1941, the German army wiped out all 103000 of the Soviet 6th Army and 12th Army in Uman after two raids. The situation of the combination of the Southwest Front Army and the Southern Front Army of the Soviet Army became more and more complicated, and the German army gradually took the initiative in the battlefield in Kiev. Guderian's 2nd Tank Legion moved south from Moscow to take part in the battle to encircle and wipe out Soviet troops in the southwest, although Guderian was dissatisfied with Hitler's order to go south (Guderian's dissatisfaction was understandable. Moscow is the main direction in Guderian's eyes.
on September 16, 1941, the 2nd and 6th German Army launched a counterattack against the 5th, 21st, 26th and 38th Army under the Soviet Army. The Soviet officers and men trapped in the area around Kiev resisted desperately, Stalin's speech sounded from the loudspeakers on the position, and the Soviet officers and men, armed with rifles and submachine guns, launched a desperate counterattack against the German tanks with flesh and blood. On September 17, Stalin ordered a breakthrough, but it was too late. On September 20, the Germans captured Kiev.
700000 Soviet troops in the southwestern region were wiped out by the Germans, resulting in the loss of more than 3900 artillery, 114tanks and more than 160aircraft. The entire Southwest Front Army was destroyed, and Commander Kilbonos, Burns Mitenko, a member of the military Commission, and Tupikov, political commissar of the Front Army, died bravely.
the Soviets buried a front army in Kiev, but such a loss was not fatal to the Soviets. Because of the war in Moscow, the Soviets still had the initiative. For the Germans, annihilating a Soviet front army in the Kiev campaign was a battle victory, not a strategic victory, and the Germans spent four weeks in Kiev.
while the Soviets used these four weeks to deploy weapons and strengthen their defenses in the direction of Moscow. By the time the Germans finished the Battle of Kiev and attacked Moscow again, they found that the Soviet line of the Moscow line was impregnable. In other words, the officers and men of the Soviet Southwestern Front bought time for the Soviets to defend Moscow with their own sacrifice.
more importantly, when the Germans occupied Ukraine, Hitler had to send troops to defend Ukraine for a long time. As a result, the German mobile forces to attack Moscow seemed somewhat stretched. When the Germans ended the Kiev campaign and attacked Moscow, the German infantry divisions on the eastern front lost more than half, and the Germans were not fully prepared for winter operations. All in all, the total annihilation of the Southwest Front Army in the direction of Kiev did not have a fatal negative impact on the entire war situation of the Soviet Army. If the Soviets lost a front army in the direction of Moscow, its meaning would be completely different from that of Kiev.
the Kiev battlefield was the secondary battlefield of the Soviet-German battlefield in 1941, while the Stalingrad battlefield was the main battlefield of the decisive battle between the Soviet and German armies in 1942.
the war enters 19.In 42, the front between the Soviet and German armies was still clinging. For Hitler, he had to defeat the Soviets in 1942, because the United States and Britain had already begun to assist the Soviet Union, and if the Germans could not win, once the strong arms production capacity of the United States and the manpower of the Soviet Union were concentrated, the damage to the Germans was fatal.
to defeat the Soviet Union in 1942, the Germans chose Stalingrad. Because Stalingrad is a big city in the southwest of the Soviet Union, there are famous tractor factories in the Soviet Union. Stalingrad is also the gateway to the lower Don and Kuban, the main grain, coal and oil producing areas. Once lost, the links between the central and southern regions of the Soviet Union will be cut off, and the resources of the grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union will be fully utilized by Germany, with extremely serious consequences.
the Germans chose an elite army to attack Stalingrad, which was the sixth Army of Paulus. At its peak, there were 3 motorized infantry divisions, 3 armored divisions and 14 infantry divisions. The total strength exceeds 300000, with 3500 artillery and more than 1000 tanks. In the previous battles of Stalingrad, the 6th German Army took part in the attack on Kiev and Kharkov, which was invincible and was the German ace.
in addition to the 6th Army, the German army also joined other troops. On the whole, the Germans were well prepared to attack Stalingrad: they withdrew the name of the Southern Group and formed Liszt's Group A (1st Tank Army of Kleist and 17th Army of Ruff). The target captured the Caucasus. Bock's Group B Army Group (4th Panzer Army of Holt, 2nd Army of Wickes and 6th Army of Paulus) was aimed at capturing Stalingrad. The German army AB consists of the 2nd Hungarian Army, the 8th Italian Army and the 3rd Romanian Army. The 11th Army and the 4th Army of Romania commanded by Manstein in the direction of Crimea are the reserves of the two German AB armies.
through the above force analysis, we can see that the German army is a huge strategic cluster, with about 1.5 million troops participating in the war, and its core force is the 6th Group Army, and other forces are all cooperating with the 6th Group Army. If the 6th Army had been wiped out by the Soviets, the Germans would have lost more than half of the battle at Stalingrad.
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facts have proved that the subsequent development of the war revolves around the German sixth Group Army. In the street battles in Stalingrad, the Soviets slowed down the attack speed of the 6th Army with huge casualties. On November 19, 1942, the Soviet army successively gathered three front armies, one tank group army, four air force group armies and other combat units. A total of 1.1 million divisions, 15500 artillery, 1463 tanks and 1350 aircraft launched a counterattack against the Germans. On January 31, 1943, the 230000 army of the 6th Group Army was completely destroyed.
during the Battle of Stalingrad, the German army lost far more than these 230000 troops. According to the statistics of western scholars, the German army lost 850000 troops. This is one of the main German combat forces on the eastern front. More fatally, many of the German soldiers killed in Stalingrad were veterans with rich combat experience. This dealt a heavy blow to the combat effectiveness of the German army. No wonder German general Zeitzler once said, "We lost a lot of troops on the eastern front (Stalingrad), which is tantamount to breaking our backbone on the eastern front."
second, Soviet losses can be quickly replenished, while German losses cannot be quickly replenished.
World War II is a mechanized war, whether the war can be won or not.
1. The industrial production capacity of the country.
take manpower mobilization as an example. Germany, which has a population of 80 million, mobilized 11 million troops to participate in the war during World War II, and no more than 3.5 million troops were put into the Soviet-German battlefield. The Soviet army, with a population of 180 million, was able to mobilize more than 10 million troops to participate in the war. In the early days of the Soviet-German War, 28 Soviet divisions were completely wiped out and 70 were badly hit, but with a sound military service system and mobilization capacity, the Soviet army re-established more than 140 divisions to the front in August of that year. The ability to mobilize and replenish losses in wartime is unmatched by the Germans.
for the Soviet Union, as long as its front troops were not lost in particularly important places (such as Moscow), he could replenish new troops and form new troops to continue to fight.
therefore, the demographic superiority also brought the Soviet Union a stronger ability to maintain the war, allowing the Soviet Union to last until the final victory of the war.