Complicated exposition of the great war
It is quite funny in our country to talk about the very Second World War in Europe. I mean exactly the fighting. It's just that it's just a matter of constantly changing the "shooting point of events." First from Warsaw, then from Paris, then from London, then from Moscow - and we run in circles around the Nazi Reich. Why such difficulties? All operations in Europe were somehow planned from Berlin (even Rome is secondary here). Germany is the main skirmisher and "fiery engine" of war in Europe. Therefore, for the sake of simplicity, let's try to look at the events from Berlin.
Other points of view are possible, I agree. But rushing from London to Moscow and back is a little annoying, you get tired of such "flickering". In general, any subject or topic is perceived much easier when they are presented from a unified position, and not by the "zigzag" method. That is, to talk about the "war in Europe" separately, on the Mediterranean - separately, in the Atlantic - separately and in Russia - separately ... Well, this, of course, increases the number of published books, but also cloudes the brain.
Both at La Plata and in the North Caucasus, the same Germans fought, representing the same state. Yes, Hitlerite Germany is criticized for the inconsistency of the activities of the Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht, as well as the Wehrmacht and SS units. But this is completely different история... And talking about "several separate wars" is a bit strange. No, from our point of view, it is possible that everything is divided into what is "before" and "after" on June 22, but not with German.
Since September 1939, Germany has been at war continuously. Yes, at first the losses are not impressive, but the trouble is the beginning! The British began bombing German cities back in 1940, if anything.
“By the end of 1940, the total damage from the British raids cost Berlin about 200 killed and up to 1800 buildings destroyed. The relatively small number of victims can be explained simply - the main targets were not residential areas - the largest factories were located in the city (AEG, BMW, Dornier, Heinkel, Focke-Wulf), and the main junction of road and railways Germany, and, of course, the headquarters of the Reich "
That is, everyone knows about the "battle for Britain", but not so many history buffs are aware of the "otvetka". Already in 1940, Britain bombed Hitler. This is while we "lived a peaceful life." Meanwhile, the British Royal Air Force already bombed Germany. And at this time there was already a naval war in the Atlantic. And already in the 41st the Germans will be forced (before Barbarossa!) To form the Afrika Korps ... Already in the 41st Hitler was forced to seize Greece and arrange a landing on Crete.
And this is not so much aggression as a war with Britain. Yes, the land forces of the Britons are rather weak ... But there is a fleet! But there is aviation! It must be understood that Hitler's war with the British Empire, which began (really) in the 40s, never stopped until the surrender of Germany. The war was fought in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and North Africa. Yes, by the number of soldiers, tanks and artillery and they did not get close to the Eastern Front. And there were no such epic land battles as on the Eastern Front. But the war went on continuously. Both on land and at sea and in the air.
Most importantly, Britain blocked German maritime trade. Without this blockade, the Germans would have been many times stronger. That is war alreadywalked. And the Germans no longer lived a "peaceful life". From our point of view, the beginning of "Barbarossa" is a kind of big dividing line between peace and war. From the point of view of the Germans - another operation. They are already are at war. In a big war.
Moreover, for some reason, even Germany's operations in Yugoslavia, Greece and North Africa are considered separately. No, they are part of a "grand strategy" directed against the British. We do not like (for obvious reasons) to talk about the war of the Allies with Hitler. But ideology is better to be swept aside. Let's look at the situation from a military-strategic point of view, located in Berlin. And immediately everything falls into place.
On June 22, Adolf Hitler "closed the encirclement" around the Third Reich. I understand he was planning something different, but that's exactly what happened. Britannia already blocked it from the ocean and the Mediterranean, but until June 22, it could trade with the USSR and through the USSR. After the start of "Barbarossa" the ring was closed. Enemies on all sides. It's just that Britain then was not a small island in the ocean, but a powerful world empire (few people know about this today, and the war is depicted on the map by Germany vs modern Britain). So, Britain (empire!) then stronger and richer than Germany. Oddly enough.
Further more. Good Anglo-Saxons
And the wheels of history keep turning. From our point of view, the 41st summer campaign is just Armageddon. How to say. Nothing super-catastrophic happened. Well, yes, the Wehrmacht attacked, which has very limited supplies of fuel and shells. Spare engines for tanks are also scarce. And in general, the Germans do not have a large number of reserve units. If in the summer of 41 the battles took on a protracted nature, then all these factors would immediately play a role. The Germans had the strength for the first powerful blow. They did not have any opportunities for a serious strengthening of the army.
No "superweapons" or "secret tactics" were observed either. And hundreds of strategic bombers too. And the Japanese did not strike from the east ... That is, if you look at the defeat of the Red Army in the summer of 41, this is one picture. If you look at the ratio of the forces of the Red Army and the Wehrmacht (l / s and equipment) in the summer of 41, the picture is different. And if we consider the situation in Europe as a whole, then A. Hitler had no reason to rejoice. And the Soviet commanders had no reason to despair either. Help is already underway, and the enemy's resources are melting like snow in the sun.
Once again: the British Empire itself is a worthy opponent for Mr. Hitler, but the matter was not limited to Britain. On December 7, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched their bombs and torpedoes on Pearl Harbor. And on December 11, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States. Everything. After that, the general strategic situation for the Germans became absolutely hopeless.
The gears of the great machine of American expansion were turning slowly. But absolutely non-stop. The entry of the United States into the conflict (in the 41st year!) Meant that no Germany has no chance of winning. Provided that the Soviet front does not fall apart. But this was just the problem. Big problems.
I understand that we categorically do not like to assess the general situation on the planet during the Great Patriotic War. Say, where is your Second Front? But December 41 was not only a counteroffensive near Moscow, but also Hitler's declaration of war on the United States. And that meant carpet bombing for Germany. And thousands of aircraft and tanks for the USSR. And hundreds of thousands of trucks. And stew, and shells, and aluminum.
Not immediately, but gradually. The main supplies and bombing - after Stalingrad. But Hitler "from the outside" did not have to wait for anything good. Already in the fall of the 42nd, the United States landed in North Africa. It's November 8th. And on November 19 - a counteroffensive by Soviet troops at Stalingrad. Yes, there were no German troops either in Morocco or in Algeria. But this operation meant that the United States was deploying large forces near Europe. The countdown has begun ... In the meantime, no, not the Manhattan Project is in full swing, while the Uranium Committee is still working. That is, in the fall of 42, the general strategic situation for the USSR, oddly enough, is much better than for Germany.
Starting in the summer of 1943, the situation for Germany became peak: the battle on the Kursk Bulge was lost, which destroyed the hopes of stopping the Red Army and exhausting it, the allies landed in Sicily. And it was in 43 that Germany "really" began to be bombed.
So, try to imagine the situation: the German armies are forced to retreat on all fronts, famine begins in the country, German cities are regularly and tastefully bombed, and even German U-bots turn from predators into hunted victims, they are poisoned and destroyed. That is, in the summer of 1943 for Germany, everything is not just "bad", but absolutely bad. We in the USSR, fortunately, at least do not know what "carpet bombing" is. In this we were more fortunate than the Germans or the Japanese.
And here, first of all, it is necessary to point out moral the impact of such strikes: if the war thunders somewhere "out there" - this is one thing. But when most large cities, first at night, and then in broad daylight, are subjected to air strikes, it is much more difficult to survive. It is even more difficult in such a situation to maintain faith in victory. When the enemy turns your cities into rubble month after month.
Once again: the difference with the USSR was that a relatively small Germany, which did not have special resources, was surrounded on all sides. Already in the summer of 43, one could speak of an absolutely hopeless and hopeless situation. July month: Americans in Sicily, Italy withdraws from the war, the Battle of Kursk is lost. This is the final. In fact, Italy is a fairly large and developed country and Hitler's only truly valuable ally in Europe. Kursk is the last chance to drag out the war in the east. After that, the Wehrmacht there will never be able to carry out major offensives. Only defend and retreat, sometimes snapping back.
With the landing of the United States and Britain in Sicily and the withdrawal of the Italian kingdom from World War II, the situation became simply tragic. If anything, the "south" of Italy then - these are the colonies in Africa, where the war was going on. It is very far from Germany. And the "north" of Italy borders on Austria. Austria is a small country, and there is already Bavaria. The Alps, I understand, but they are not a hindrance for the Liberators. And for Fortresses.
They don't like to talk about it somehow. That the intervention of the allies had results. And that, having suffered small losses, they were able to radically change the situation in the Mediterranean. After the fall of the Mussolini regime, Mr. Hitler's European allies and satellites had a very good reason to think about their future fate. You see, Kursk is somewhere out there, far away (from the point of view of a European), but the Anglo-Saxons are very close.
We somehow do not like to remember that Germany is located in Europe, which has a long coastline (even for imperial France this was a big problem). So, in the conditions of complete domination of the Anglo-Americans on the water and in the air, the entire Atlantic and Mediterranean coast of Europe was "under attack"! From northern Norway to Greece! At the same time, the Anglo-Saxons have an order of magnitude more material resources (fuel, shells, trucks, aerial bombs, soldiers) than the Germans in this region ...
No, Bremen will not be able to attack with a landing force from the sea. But most of the coast is quite vulnerable to itself. And even Franco is not exactly Hitler's ally. But with the Anglo-Saxons, he lived in perfect harmony ... The giant coast, and there is nothing to defend it ... In the sense - nothing at all: no fleet, no aviation. "Fortress Europe" is such a "fortress" ... But it actually held out for exactly two years, if we count, starting from the moment the German-Italian troops were defeated in North Africa.
In our military-post-war propaganda, this was a commonplace: Hitler had no chance of victory. To some extent, this is true. But if he had not attacked the USSR or if he had taken Moscow in 41st ... Or Stalingrad in 42nd. The weakness of the leadership of the Red Army gave him a certain chance. Having got rid of the Eastern Front, Germany could "rise". But ... it didn't work out.
Once again: from the moment Barbarossa began, Hitler was already in a strategic environment. That is, it is stupidly cut off from the rest of the planet by the British Empire and the Soviet Union. This is serious. This is very serious. There are no large natural resources in Europe. Hitler simply could not attack for a long time and successfully, being surrounded. And the German generals should not be considered idiots - they understood this perfectly.
The USSR did not have to smash the Wehrmacht right away, it was enough just to "hold the front", and the Reich itself would suffocate. But this was exactly the problem. And, oddly enough, the strategic situation for the USSR in the summer of 41 was not hopeless (in the sense: the general strategic situation). There was no way to fight at the front - that was the problem. But the general strategic situation at the time of the Kharkov defeat for the USSR was quite favorable. The coalition, which includes the United States, cannot lose the war. That is, everything is bad at the front, but on the planet in general and in Europe in particular, the situation is in our favor!
Thus, we can "play for time." Hitler cannot afford this. For some reason, our historians like to ignore this moment. It makes no sense to consider the Eastern Front in isolation from the whole of Europe. Because for Germany it was only one of the fronts. Let it be the most important and the most expensive one. But there were other fronts as well. And they also "ate resources". Our historians love to view the summer campaign of 42 and the general situation of the USSR and Germany as if there was no one else on the planet.
But this is already wrong. Theoretically, the USSR could go on the defensive. Active, but defensive. Don't try to break through to the west. Save resources. Germany in the summer of 42 was doomed to launch a decisive offensive in the east. The reason is the threat from overseas and the depletion of resources. That is, her general strategic position was much weaker. Theoretically, after the 41st, the Red Army and the Wehrmacht had some kind of equality of forces. But in practice, the position of the Wehrmacht is peak ...
That is, just the Red Army for the summer campaign of 42 could have very different options, the Germans could not have them - only a decisive offensive! Otherwise, death. Therefore, in 41st, 42nd, and 43rd only acceptable option for the Wehrmacht in Russia - decisive offensive at any price in order to defeat the Red Army (the strategic position of the Wehrmacht was desperate from the very beginning of the campaign in Russia). On this they could be "caught". Unfortunately, they did not catch it. And even the actions on the Kursk Bulge in the summer of 43 are far from ideal.
And do not start the "countdown" of the participation of the allies from June 44th. Yes, their land "successes" after June 6 were not very impressive. But there was a "battle for the Atlantic" that required a lot of German resources. And there was a constant war in the air over Germany, which devoured a significant part of the forces of the Luftwaffe and the products of the German military-industrial complex. That is, in order to get an adequate picture of the hostilities in Europe, one must look at the picture as a whole. And, oddly enough, it is more logical to do it from Berlin. It turns out easier.
For those who will persist: the British Empire in 39th had more money, as well as industrial and scientific resources than the USSR or the Third Reich, which tried to fight everyone around it.
Which of the three was “the strongest and most beautiful” is, of course, a debatable question.