Regarding the events of the summer of 1941, there is one very common characteristic - a catastrophe, i.e. irremediable event stories. In this article we will try to figure out how justified this characteristic is for the 1941 summer of the year and whether the term “crisis” is more acceptable for explaining the events of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, i.e. a turning point in history leading to a dramatic improvement or deterioration.
Germany planned its actions in the East, relying on the concentration of the main forces of the Red Army west of the line of the Western Dvina-Dnieper rivers. Accordingly, the Barbarossa plan envisaged the encirclement and defeat of the main forces of the Red Army to the Western Dvina-Dnepr line in the Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine. Eight weeks were allotted for the defeat of the Soviet Union. In the middle of July, the Wehrmacht 1941 was to reach Smolensk, and in the middle of August to occupy Moscow. (1, p. 60; 2, p. 8; 7, p. 468-469) The Barbarossa plan apparently involved coordinating the actions of Germany and Japan in defeating the Soviet Union.
According to A.A. Koshkin "an important indication that the activities of the Kantokuen plan were nothing more than preparations for an attack on the USSR, was developed by 25 June by the Japanese general staff and approved by the rate schedule of completion of the preparation and conduct of the war.
Decision on mobilization - 28 June.
Publication of the directive on mobilization - 5 July.
The beginning of the transfer and concentration of troops - July 20.
The decision to start a war - 10 August.
The beginning of hostilities - August 29.
Redeploying four divisions from Japan - 5 September.
Completion of operations - mid-October.
As follows from this graph, the plan "Kantokuen" to a certain extent was similar to the German plan "Barbarossa" and also assumed a "lightning war" against the USSR ". (3, p. 159)
The Soviet Union opposed the German plan to defeat the main forces of the Red Army to the Western Dvina-Dnepr river boundary plan to defeat the Wehrmacht troops at the Western Dvina-Dnieper river boundary. This plan, due to the mistakes of the Soviet military leadership, which incorrectly assessed the direction of the 3rd strike tank group and did not provide proper and timely cover for the border in the northern section of the Suvalka ledge, was disrupted and remained unfulfilled. The 3rd Panzer Group, breaking through the border at the junction of the North-Western and Western Fronts, together with the 2nd Panzer Group surrounded and destroyed Soviet troops in the Minsk region, which destroyed the entire Soviet plan.
At the same time, the German plan for Barbarossa was also thwarted by the deep echeloning of the Red Army troops. The Soviet leadership, at the expense of the armies of the Reserve Command, managed to close the gap in the Western Front. As a result, both the Soviet and the German plan for the rapid defeat of the enemy was thwarted and hostilities became protracted. Wehrmacht near Smolensk was met by fresh Soviet troops of the armies of the Reserve Command and, instead of the victorious capture of Moscow in August 1941, the Germans were forced to engage in a long bloody Smolensk battle. The fierce battles in the Moscow direction lasted two months (from July 10 to September 10 1941) and finally buried the plans of the German command to quickly defeat the Soviet Union in the next blitzkrieg.
Meanwhile, the opponents of the USSR took the initial military setbacks of the Soviet Union very seriously. Germany, in accordance with Directive No. 32, "after the defeat of the Soviet armed forces" planned to begin the conquest of Egypt, the Suez Canal region, Palestine, Iraq and Iran. In the future, the fascist German leadership hoped to seize Gibraltar, cut off England from its sources of raw materials and undertake the siege of the island. (6, p. 199-203; 7, p. 512-515)
The moderation of Hitler's requests is appealing - Germany demands Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Plans for an attack on England, the United States, and India are absent. Most likely, Germany demanded from England hegemony in Europe, control over the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East and the removal of W. Churchill from power. In any case, as Franz Halder notes in his diary, 30 of June 1941 of the year Hitler really discussed the issues of European unity as a result of a joint war against Russia and the possibility of overthrowing Churchill in England by conservative circles. (1, p. 60)
There is no visible pressure on England and the United States from Germany and in the later theses on the reorganization of the German ground forces after the end of the Barbarossa plan of July 15 from July 1941. It was supposed to reduce the army on 34 divisions from 209 divisions to 175. 11 divisions, Denmark - 1, Holland - 2 were allocated for the occupation of Norway. On the occupation of the Balkans - 6 divisions, the Soviet Union - 65, on France, including Spain - 43 divisions. 2 divisions remained in North Africa, 14 divisions were assigned to the Middle East. In reserve OKH left 31 division. (calculated by: 6, p. 212) Forces to capture England, India, and even more so the struggle with the United States of America is not visible. By the way, in September 1940 of the year, when the Wehrmacht’s numbers were reduced to 123 divisions, 77 divisions were allocated for the occupation of France, Holland and the operation of the Sea Lion by the German command. (calculated by: 5, 739-778)
2 July 1941 in Japan at the imperial meeting adopted the "Program of the national policy of the Empire in accordance with changes in the situation", which included "continuing the war in China and the simultaneous completion of preparations for war against the United States and Britain, and against the Soviet Union. From the transcript Imperial Conference (Godzen Kaygi) 2 July 1941: ... Our attitude towards the German-Soviet war will be determined in accordance with the spirit of the Tripartite Pact. However, until we intervene in this conflict. We secretly strengthen our military training against the Soviet Union, adhering to an independent position. At this time we will conduct diplomatic negotiations with great caution. If the German-Soviet war develops in a direction favorable to our empire, we will resort to the northern problem and ensure the security of the northern borders .... By the decision of the imperial conference, an armed attack on the USSR was approved as one of the main military and political goals of the empire. Having made this decision, the Japanese government essentially broke up the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact signed only two and a half months ago. In the adopted document, the Neutrality Pact was not even mentioned. "Despite pressure and threats from Germany," Japan was preparing to attack the USSR under the condition that the Soviet troops were clearly defeated in the war with Germany. War Minister Tojo stressed that the fall should happen when the Soviet Union "becomes like a ripe persimmon ready to fall to the ground" ....
In accordance with the decision of the Imperial Conference of July 2, 1941, the General Staff of the Army and the Ministry of War of Japan developed a set of broad measures aimed at speeding up preparations for conducting offensive operations against the Soviet armed forces in the Far East and Siberia. In the Japanese secret documents, he received the coded name "Kantogun to Enshu" ("Special Maneuvers of the Kwantung Army") - abbreviated "Kantokuen". 11 July 1941, the imperial headquarters sent a special directive No. 506 to the Kwantung Army and the Japanese armies in northern China, which confirmed that the purpose of the “maneuvers” was to strengthen readiness for action against the Soviet Union. “Kantokouen” was based first on the operational strategic plan of the war against the USSR, developed by the General Staff on 1940 year, and from the first half of July 1941 on the “Project of operations in the current conditions". (3, p. 142, 149, 151, 157-158)
In accordance with the schedule for completing the preparation and conduct of the 5 war on July 1941, the Supreme Command of the Japanese Armed Forces issued a directive ... to conduct the first mobilization line ... After the second mobilization line was ordered by order No. 102 from 16 July 1941 in Manchuria and Korea was concentrated 850 thousand soldiers and officers of the Japanese army. " (3, p. 159-161, 165, 196-197)
3 July 1941 of the year at the Headquarters of the High Command of the German Ground Forces discussed further plans for the occupation of the industrial regions of the USSR and the advance of the Wehrmacht in the Middle East after forcing the Western Dvina and the Dnieper. (1, p. 77) 15 July 1941, the requirements of the occupation and protection of Russian territory were detailed. It was assumed that “as soon as the Russian troops east of the Dnieper-Dvina line are overwhelmed, the operations will need to be continued, if possible, only by motorized formations, as well as those infantry formations that will finally remain on Russian territory. Most of the infantry formations should in early August, after reaching the line Crimea - Moscow - Leningrad, proceed to the return march. " The German Armed Forces should have been reduced from 209 divisions to 175 connections.
The European part of Russia was divided into four state formations - the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus, for the occupation of which two army groups were allocated as part of 65 German formations, as well as one Italian and Spanish corps, the Finnish, Slovak, Romanian and Hungarian units. "Mobile units (12 tank, six motorized, one cavalry divisions) are designed to perform the following tasks -
a) One tank corps (two tank, one motorized divisions) to act as a task force in Transcaucasia.
b) Two tank corps (three tank, two motorized, one cavalry divisions) to capture the Don-Donets industrial region and protect the Southern Volga region.
One tank corps (three tank, one motorized division) for mastering the Central Russian industrial region and for the protection of the Northern Volga region.
c) One tank corps (two tank and one motorized divisions) advances to the South Urals.
One tank corps (two tank and one motorized divisions) is being advanced to the Northern Urals. "(6, p. 207-212)
“Hitler’s confidence that the issue with respect to Russia would be reached in September 1941, determined his cautious strategy in the war on the Atlantic Ocean.“ There should be no incidents with the United States until mid-October. ”However, Russia stubbornly held on.” (4, p. 203) 27 July 1941 of the year, in connection with the tightening of hostilities in the East in Germany, the plan of operation against the industrial area of the Urals was considered, which involved not so much occupation as an expedition to destroy the Ural industrial region.
The operation was supposed to be carried out by motorized troops using eight tank and four motorized divisions. Depending on the situation, separate infantry divisions are involved (to protect rear communications) .... The operation is carried out in full compliance with surprise while all four groups perform simultaneously. Its goal - as soon as possible to reach the Ural industrial region and either hold, if the situation allows, captured, or again move away after the destruction of vital structures specially designed commissioned and trained for this by the troops. " (6, p. 216-217)
"In the summer of 1941, the Kwantung Army deployed the battle formations of the six armies and a separate group of troops against the USSR, not counting the reserve. In accordance with the Kantokouen plan, three fronts were formed for conducting combat operations: the eastern part of the 4 armies and the reserve, the northern part of 2 armies and reserves and the western part of the 2 armies. By early August, the grouping allocated for the invasion of the Soviet Union was mainly prepared. The deadline for making a decision about the start of the war was approaching - August 10. ii hesitant, waiting for the defeat of the Soviet Union in the West. " (3, p. 159-161, 165, 196-197)
6 September 1941 of the year at the imperial meeting due to the failure of the German Barbarossa plan, as well as the entry of Soviet and British troops into Iran 25 August 1941, the implementation of the Kantokuen plan in 1941 year was canceled, which, however, did not mean abandoning the Kantokuen plan , but only postponed the deadline for its implementation. " (3, p. 197)
Analysis of the events of summer and autumn of 1941 of the year made it possible to establish that the governments of Germany and Japan intended to work together to defeat the Soviet Union in the summer and autumn of 1941. Later, after the expulsion of the British from Europe (seizing Gibraltar), North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the removal of W. Churchill from power, Germany intended to coexist to some extent with both England and the United States of America.
To the German plan for defeating the main forces of the Red Army west of the Dvina and Dnieper rivers, the Soviet command set off a plan for the defeat of the Wehrmacht troops at the Dvina and Dnieper line. The Soviet plan was thwarted by the encirclement and destruction of the Minsk grouping of the Red Army. At the same time, the German plan "Barbarossa" was thwarted by deep echeloning of the Red Army. The Soviet leadership, at the expense of the armies of the Reserve Command, managed to close the gap in the Western Front. As a result, both the Soviet and the German plan for the rapid defeat of the enemy was thwarted and hostilities became protracted.
Thus, since the Western Front after its catastrophe was nevertheless restored, it was possible to avoid the worst development of events (the Wehrmacht during the entire war did not allow further Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad, and Japan did not dare to open military actions against the Soviet Union) the events of the summer of 1941 must be spoken of as a disaster of the Western Front and the crisis of the Red Army, which was overcome at the cost of enormous human losses and material deprivation. As a result, the extremely painful military catastrophe of the Western Front did not escalate into a military catastrophe of the entire Red Army and the political catastrophe of the entire Soviet Union.
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