Much has been written on the topic of how everything was bad in the Russian Empire in 1917. Alive, colorful and detailed. Only in the fourth year of world war, that same empire looked much more prosperous than the industrial USSR in the first summer of the war. Russia in the summer of 1917 from a military point of view did not stand on the brink of an abyss, no matter how hard you are in propaganda (and the Soviet Union was already in the summer of 41). The war with the Germans with the king was somewhere far to the west. Yes, 1917 is a year of big food problems, but they can not be compared with those that the USSR had already in 1941. About 1914 year, I generally keep quiet - everything was quite well there.
That's the more you compare these two big wars with the Germans (and their allies), the more you are amazed at the contrast. The first world in 1914-1917 was in Russia, of course, the number one event, but no more. The economy worked, people lived quite well, technology and culture developed. Literature was also quite on the level. That is, the very "imperialist war" did not constitute the whole life of society. And no one expected the German either near Moscow or near St. Petersburg. And most importantly: no one was afraid of the German (I know, now again someone will remember about the "stuff" and about the armor, fasten yourself). Reading books and memoirs of that era? sometimes it’s easy to forget that war is going on (great Russian literature!). That is, the war, as it were, but somewhere out there ... And this despite the fact that, for example, its aircraft engines for the growing aviation in the Russian Empire (a great military power!) there was no word at all.
But for some reason there were no Germans under Peter. Such a funny paradox. So what the hell is the problem? And you yourself know everything. No worse than me. What, in fact, begins the army? No, not from the roster, not from the number of weapons and the list of combat units. Any sensible army begins (suddenly!) With an officer corps. And this body is created over generations. It’s not even interesting to explain further: from 1917 to 1937 and then the intelligent Russian officer had very good chances not to make a career, but to fertilize the land (if he didn’t manage to emigrate). No, of course, someone stayed, but a little, very little. There was something similar with the engineering staff for the growing Soviet industry — superbly trained Russian engineers were forced to leave, and the USSR invited foreign specialists. Ostensibly its not, as in Papua New Guinea.
So, when in the hot summer of 1941 there was a need to plan and conduct large-scale operations (from the Baltic to the Black Sea) against a strong European army, it turned out that there was practically no one to do it. I'm not talking about Tukhachevsky here (I don't know how much he was a genius), I as a whole. In a war of this scale (as in the First World War!) a well-coordinated management mechanism of a multimillion army, consisting of very highly qualified specialists. So, he was not at the moment level. That is why the Germans have gone so far and so simple. Because almost all the major battles of 1941-1942-th Red Army brilliantly lost. From here all troubles. Attempts to look for the causes of defeat at the level of "overwhelming German technical superiority" or "surprise", I think, can be stopped forever - this is hopeless and not true.
The valiant Red Army in 1941, in contrast to the era of the king-father (1914), had an abundance of artillery barrels and a sea of shells, but that did not save her. Yes, in 1945, this very army took Berlin, but what about the “set of chess pieces”? The first such set (personnel of the Red Army) was taken by the Germans practically "for fook." And this one personnel of the Red Army was no worse than the Wehrmacht on weapons, training and combat capability. That's right - no worse, something better. For some reason, it is customary to depict war as a fight - they say, there is no strategy, no tactics - there is a fight wall to wall and there’s more who have fists and weight and who has a stronger face. Unfortunately, the war resembles not so much fist fun in the winter field, as blitz chess (there is a scuffle, but it is secondary). And then the “red commanders” were not lucky.
For the most part, they were not fools, cowards and traitors (there were very few of them). They were quite ready to fight and defend their homeland. But in order to “lead a symphony orchestra,” there is little proletarian insight. Once again: in general, the professional level of leadership of the Red Army during the 1941-1942 campaign was quite low, hence the catastrophic defeat. Here, of course, it is customary to start throwing stones (or another substance) at Stalin and his faithful student and follower of Beria. Let's start with Beria: as it turned out, it was the NKVD units that turned out to be superbly prepared and showed themselves very well. In general, after all that became known about that era, it is very difficult to present Lavrenty Beria with professional claims: in the critical conditions of war, he provided security.
Regarding Stalin, first of all it should be noted that if there is a mass of photos where Hitler is leaning over the map of hostilities with the generals, then I have not seen such photos with Stalin. He did not understand this issue, but he did not try to do it. Yes, he could set common tasks, he could demand something, but he did not fit into planning specific operations. By the way, the famous Stalinist order No. XXUMX is, in fact, a disgrace for professional soldiers: 227 year, summer, Crimea (remnants) surrendered, the battle near Kharkov was lost, the front was broken, the Germans go to the Volga and the North Caucasus, the country is on the verge of death . At the same time, it is very difficult to talk about some kind of "suddenness factor". And now, in essence, a civilian person is forced to remind them that there is such a profession - “To protect the homeland ...”.
A year has passed since “that fateful June”, and the picture is one-on-one. At the same time, both German tactics and German equipment are already well known and familiar to everybody. The front near Kharkov tears all the same T-III / T-IV, in the sky all the same Me-109 and U-87 / 88, familiar to Soviet specialists before the war. No tigers in the field and no "jets" in the sky is not observed in principle. The Wehrmacht soldier is armed with the same Mauzer carbine based on the rifle of the 1898 model of the Shaggy Year. That does not like our historians 1942 year. Even more than 1941. Just because it is not at all clear what to tell ... All the “myths and legends” of 41 in “42” are no longer “playing”. Therefore, we immediately, smoothly go to the Battle of Stalingrad (from the defeat of the Germans near Moscow!). By the way, in the summer of 1943, the Germans did have “magic” Tigers and Panthers in serious quantities. but exactly then they began to hit hard on the Eastern Front. Paradox.
If you look closely "history WWII ”, then these holes in the narrative are most striking. They are trying to close them with references to the "terrible Stalinist regime", or to rusty, outdated and dismantled tanks, or something else. And the hardest thing is to “plug” the summer of 1942. Because there is nothing. And if we consider the level of competence of the officer corps, then everything suddenly falls into place: one year of war was still not enough to bring it to condition, therefore defeat again ... It is impossible, as it turns out, to fight without an intelligent officer corps. Those same “gold hunters” whom they so contemptuously called “former” helped a lot, for example, Paraguay in his war. And their absence very seriously plagued Russia in that very hot June 1941.
Civil war - it was one thing, a full-fledged war against a powerful European army is something else. And we didn’t compare our two world wars for one simple reason: the very “goldsmiths” defended the country in 1914 year. The red commanders in 1941 were unable to do this. Full zrada. Therefore, the presentation of two world wars (and in fact wars with Germany and you need to tell them together) we look like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. There are capitalist ministers, the International, and "die, but do not miss the enemy." And the complete lack of logic.
By the way, it is very instructive to compare the orders that prevailed in the old tsarist and new Soviet armies during the battles of the two world wars. Unpleasant and still. And it's not about the atrocities of the Stalin regime, it's about the peculiarities of the situation "on the fronts". The First World War fought long and tedious, and by the end of the war the soldiers simply "tired". They are fed up with war, and they wanted to go home. Although, of course, in general, the losses were also great. In the Second World they did not have the opportunity to "get tired." “Human resource” was spent very quickly and extremely hard. As a rule, those who fought at the front today were no longer those who fought here six months ago, but completely different people. The problem was just that there was practically no time to prepare the new recruitment (the defense was broken and we had to shut it up urgently!), And there wasn’t really any need ... They had to fight for a short time.
The Soviet conscripts were certainly ready “with weapons in the hands of defending the motherland. " All their previous lives prepared them for this. But, unfortunately, in 1941-1942, as a rule, this was not required of them. Having been trained, they were ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with more experienced comrades and stop the enemy. But do not need it. Personnel and later formed parts were burned in the fire of battles without a trace. And a typical situation was when the units of yesterday's draftees were forced to hold defenses in the direction of the main attack. With a very poor set of weapons.
This is why, in our patriotic literature, it is customary to admire this situation immoderately: they say, what heroes! In fact, there is very little good here: in fact, the guys “plugged holes” and their life was very inexpensive. The most annoying thing is that this was repeated time after time, right up to Stalingrad. Units (divisions and corps) were spent just to gain time. This is not a normal / standard form of warfare. A person in uniform and under oath is obliged to risk his life, but is not obliged to commit suicide. However, in the current situation of a permanent catastrophe, the Red Army needed something more than in a normal war: he shouldn’t have to surrender in principle under any circumstances, which was considered a crime. And he could not retreat in principle. And get surrounded too.
And it was a cruel necessity: the defense of the country somehow does not add up, so we have to demand the impossible from people. An ordinary Red Army man, of course, was not to blame for the catastrophe that befell his army, but he had to respond. In 1941-42, he constantly had excellent chances of “becoming a criminal” in the eyes of the entire Soviet people. Once again: a soldier during the war is obliged to risk his life, but he is not obliged to "suicide" Surrender in a hopeless situation is quite a worthy way out. By the way, the continuation of resistance in the hopeless situation of certain groups and groups of soldiers is, of course, quite heroic, but large military does not matter. If the enemy has won a major field battle, then the "petty guerrilla" by the forces of the "surroundings" will not change anything here, this is an illusion. Waste illusion.
A great war is won in major battles, not in the heroic defense of the last trench. It's just that our attention in describing the events of 1941-42 has been persistently shifting from the big picture to concrete, certainly heroic events. And this is not entirely correct. Talking about a big war, you need to talk about big war, and not about the countless exploits of unknown heroes. The Red Army and in June 1941 was able to defend the “last trench” to the last, but it really began to fight when it mastered conducting large-scale successful operations. Not earlier. And the main myth: allegedly in the same June, the Wehrmacht was very strong. Incredibly strong.
Soviet-Russian propaganda has done a lot for this. Countless shows of Nazis marching through Europe, their tanks and dive-bombers to brave nazi music. Ostensibly it was an overwhelming force. Able to powder out any. Meanwhile, upon careful study, it becomes clear that the Wehrmacht was a broiler army, an ersatz army, hustled together "from what it was." In 1933, Germany had no army. And millions of hungry-unemployed. And the economy is in crisis. And in 1939 - the strongest army of the planet! What a fairy tale these are! And actually whom and where did Hitler win in Europe during her “capture”? The capture of Europe by the Nazis ... rather resembled a neat drain of that very Europe. Perhaps his only beautiful victory is Norway. Everything.
Poland was frankly and cynically betrayed, Czechoslovakia, too, was surrendered to Austria ... A close examination of the history and the stories about “Hitler who seized the whole of Europe” cause counter-tough questions: “How did he do it? And where is the Wehrmacht here? ”The“ great helmsman ”could have burned even during the occupation of the“ demilitarized Rhineland ”in 1936. But someone helped him ... For some reason ... But what does the "power of the Wehrmacht" mean here? Now it is well known that with the French offensive in September 1939, the Wehrmacht would have been very quickly defeated. The whole of World War II could end in September 1939 by the French occupation of the Ruhr ...
The mythical “power of the Nazi war machine” is not confirmed by absolutely nothing, except for the Nazi film propaganda, enthusiastically used by Moscow filmmakers / TV people after World War II. It was not her, this very "Nazi military power." In reality, it was not. There was a good European army, with very good leadership and with a bunch of "childhood growing pains." I understand the idea that there was a monstrous Nazi "mega monster from the abyss," and we defeated him in a bloody struggle, warms the heart. But it was not true. By the way, the Americans, under the sunset of the war, having complete air superiority, managed to overrun from this "megazuver" more than once (but they don’t have a normal land army at all), so this is not an example.
The French army, which the German generals frankly feared, neatly leaked it (I won’t say who), although the Franks themselves in 1940 were not too eager to fight. The capture of Crete / Norway is, in fact, a special operation. So the “epicity” to the battles on the Eastern Front in 1941-42 was given not by the “invincibility of the Fuhrer’s troops” and not by the “indestructible power of the Third Reich”, but by some features of the Soviet military leadership. It is clear that this option warms pride much less, but what to do. By the way, for yourself losers Germans, the war on the Eastern Front is more banal warand not the heroic epic about the unprecedented battles of "gods and titans." Not that it’s a completely ordinary event, but not something quite incredible.
It was just that the Wehrmacht was unbelievably lucky up to a certain point: he didn’t have to fight "to the fullest" against an equal opponent, hence the legends about "invincibility", hence the Nazi newsreels marching through European capitals to bravura music. I understand that it looks ominous and makes a frightening impression on people who are unprepared, but it can be recalled that in the very same 1940 year, “invincibility”, for example, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe was convincingly dispelled by the British. Yes, the British betrayed and sold “on the continent” all the allies from Prague to Paris, but when it came to a real fight for the islands, they began to actively shoot down Ace Goering, and pocket battleships to drown, and “non-pocket” Bismarck too. And very easily. And Germany began to bomb at night. And by the way, in Africa, the war was almost equal. And the battle for Britain was won not by Goering.
Nazi Germany was “invincible” until it was beaten “for real”, while European capitals handed over it one by one (why it was a separate question). And even from Norway, the allies at the decisive moment simply left, and even France at the decisive moment, the British were abandoned. From here comes the "tremendous success" in the conquest of Europe, and not the incredible possibilities of the Wehrmacht. And in the USSR, the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe were also adequately evaluated. And they were not particularly afraid of them. The capabilities of the Red Army were also evaluated quite sensibly. The problem was in the adequate leadership of the Red Army itself, but with this there were big problems. As a result, the endless "herds" of tanks and airplanes and millions of Red Army soldiers could not stop the enemy. Apparently, for the Kremlin this was a complete and absolute surprise.
One of the consequences of this military catastrophe: the blockade of Leningrad. The second largest city, the largest industrial, scientific and military center was cut off from the "mainland" already 8 September 1941 of the year. The blockade was lifted only in 1944 (1943 was struck in January), that is, Leningrad was under siege for almost the entire war. Up to a million citizens of Leningrad died from hunger and cold (and keep the “invincible and legendary” Mga station ...). In general, sometimes history repeats itself the other way: first as a farce, then as a tragedy. In 1917, small problems with bread in St. Petersburg (seemingly swept up the ways) led to the overthrow of the king (not the Bolsheviks!). What for some reason is considered by all historians as something logical and correct. Problems with food on 4-th year of world war and the king off. Although the frosty February 1917 nobody died of hunger in St. Petersburg, and the Germans were very far from the capital. But in the course of the “right” war, under the leadership of the remarkable Bolsheviks, who seized power in the same 1917, three months after its beginning, the city on the Neva River was on the verge of surrender, and then mass starvation and cannibalism began in Leningrad. And for some reason, some abstract "fascists" are to blame for all this ... Tsarism, of course, is also to blame.
And here we smoothly leave for one more question, about the supposedly “uselessness”, “uselessness” of the very “Russian aristocracy”. So, in 1812 and in 1914, in a no less difficult situation, they completely coped with the country's defense and did not allow defeat cadre army and as a result, the “free action” of the enemy on its territory. I wonder how they did it? After World War II and thirty million dead, this question is highly relevant. By the way, of the three major invasions into the depths of Russia over the past two centuries (Napoleon, Willy II, Hitler) from a strategic point of view, the first was the most dangerous. The whole of Europe was under Napoleon, and there could be no "second front" in principle (although Wellington is, of course, a general and a gentleman). But survived. Despite the complete and overwhelming superiority of France in people and technology (compare Russian and European industry at the beginning of the 19th century). And the militia were, but on the sidelines.
And Napoleon was not some kind of a “fairytale character,” and his defeat in Russia was by no means predetermined. It was a serious European leader who planned to destroy Russia and had ample resources for that. And it was not so much the “heroism of the Russian people”, but the professionalism of the Russian officers who did not allow the defeat and encirclement of the cadre army or even its units. And this very army already under Borodino could well have given battle to the French, because it had become stronger since the beginning of the war, and the French had weakened. And this is not an accident and not the “finger of fate” (as many people think for some reason), but the result of professionalism on the one hand and adventurism on the other. Napoleon was invincible on the battlefield, but on the whole the Russians fought the campaign much better. Hence the result. And it is not accidental..
During the “big retreat” 1915 of the year, the Russian army also avoided the encirclements and led everyone who could, with generally reasonable losses, despite the “shell hunger”. And about the militia especially no one remembered. And already in July, 1941 in Moscow and St. Petersburg began to massively form some "divisions of the national militia". In July already, at the very beginning. And decisions were made at the end of June ... That is, during the week of battles the Red Army showed itself so brilliantly that panic literally began on the ground: the initiative to create the BOT was not held by Stalin. He is at this moment in general disappeared somewhere. And local party bosses (the initiative belongs to the Leningrad party organization) rushed to gather into the “militia” everyone who could, starting with skilled workers (including defense factories!). I always thought that the militia formed in the fall, when the enemy was approaching the capitals. Nothing of the kind - at the beginning of July, when the war, in fact, only started and the Germans were very far from Moscow and Leningrad.
It was not so much patriotism, but panic. It got to the point that the militia took away not only the unique machine operators from the tank factories, but sometimes the stock commanders to be mobilized! And they went into battle privates. The military commissars were then greatly surprised: those whom they considered particularly valuable personnel, by the time of the call were already either in captivity, or where it was unclear. In fact, the Red Army itself could call, train and send millions to the front. And the help of local "party bosses" was unnecessary in this matter. In fact, during the formation of the so-called "people's militia" (in July 1941!), The call was partially broken! You cannot invoke the same person twice. And even the true Stalinist Leninist. So the enthusiasm about the “heroism of the militia” is not completely clear to me: And what, I'm sorry, is the Red Army already everything? Fly away? Or is it only for "especially gifted"?
There is a version (conspiracy) that, say, the local party bosses prepared a coup (especially in Moscow). But do not look for malicious intent where everything is explained by panic. De facto (if you forget about 1945), the formation of the people's militia at the very beginning of July 1941 meant that the possibility of a regular army to informed people was not really trusted, so they went crazy. There was very little sense in the battle of these "people's divisions", these actions seriously interfered with the call of the Red Army, but here the psychological factor played a role: the leaders of Moscow and Leningrad became frightened. And here they were engaged in such nonsense, grabbing people (and they have a lot of people - two large metropolises!) And without preparation (and often without weapons!) Throwing them into nature ... By the way, for some reason, the “invincible and legendary” singers are categorically overlooked in view of the formation of this “parallel” army. Already at the beginning of July 1941. But you must admit: this is somehow strange ...
Of course, the hindsight reality was lacquered and an illusion of a single plan and a single stream of decisions on the country's defense was created (and even Stalin supported the formation of the BOT), but if we transfer to that fateful summer, then there will be no limit to our surprise: all “cunning plans "flew into the basket and a disastrous monstrous scale spread in the western direction. The most terrible thing happened: war out of control, like a steppe fire: the front is collapsing, armies are being killed, cities are being surrendered, refugees are fleeing in horror to the east ... There was nothing like that in 1914 or 1812. So it’s not so important how many tanks and airplanes you have, it’s much more important how your army is prepared and how professional is she managed. And in the tragedy of 41-42, Hitler was not to blame (he did what the “main fascist” and “doctor evil” should have done in one bottle), not the Western allies (they were not obliged to save the USSR) and certainly not Stalin (he did everything he could for the defense of the USSR). The cause of the tragedy is the low professional level of the Soviet officer corps.
Last so we fought even before Tsar Peter with the Poles and Swedes (certainly “equipped with the most modern equipment”) ... I met an article in “Arguments and Facts” that, say, the tsarist government led the WWI somewhere far and the people simply did not understand its meaning (!) , but when in 41 the Germans approached Peter and Moscow, the people immediately realized everything and the war immediately acquired a “nationwide character”. On the one hand, of course, it’s great, on the other hand, when war acquires a “nationwide character”, this means that the personnel army is not able to cope with the tasks, and it sounds something like: building a nuclear reactor has become “nationwide” . Really nothing good. Imagine: the war in Syria has acquired a "nationwide character" and barges with untrained recruits go one after another to Latakia ...
By the way, with the Germans, the 1941-42 campaign played a very nasty joke, it triggered the “Hannibal syndrome”: why do you need reinforcements, if you are already winning? Almost every time they beat the Red Army in major battles, and in fact they didn’t carry out full mobilization in Germany until 1943 (military equipment was released in general 1944!), Even in 1942 they made a lot of civilian products for comfortable life of the Führer-loving Germans. Were too sure of victory (everything is like ours, but their army really beat the enemy with relatively little blood and completely on foreign territory). And in a whirlwind of victorious battles, they did not notice how the war from “colonial” turned for them into a war of survival. But it was already too late ... And do they conduct a full (a la Stalin) mobilization of Germany and Europe in the summer of 1941 or at least in the summer of 1942 ... We were saved by a "misanthropic ideology": who is fighting in full force with the Untermensch? That is, the problem of the Germans was not so much in the "heroism of the Soviet people" as in strategic miscalculations of the Wehrmacht’s High Command, which could not possibly have realized that the Red Army-43 would be very different from the Red Army-41, primarily command level. So if boxing is not a fight, but a sport, then a big war is not even boxing, but blitz chess. Victory is gained not so much in the “last trench” as on the big map. Or not obsessed, as lucky.