In the second part of the article, we turn to the consideration of the main, in the author's opinion, reasons that led to the defeat of the Red Army in the initial period of the war.
Error in determining the direction of the main strike
In this question, this reason is considered perhaps the most important. Like, if they knew where the Germans would strike, then everything would be in order. About whether they knew or not, there are different points of view. Some authors believe that Soviet intelligence did not have any documentary data on the operational plans of potential opponents. [Pykhalov I. The Great Slandered War, c.274]. Others say exactly the opposite: everyone knew, everyone saw [A.A. Martirosyan The tragedy of June 22: Blitzkrieg or treason? C.38]. But the majority of authors and researchers (A. Vasilevsky, M. Zakharov, P. Bobylev, A. Shubin, and others) stop that the Soviet leadership simply made a tragic mistake in certain main directions of impact. Consider everything in order.
The version that intelligence did not know anything at all, does not hold water. What, then, is the basis for the development of plans for the strategic deployment of the USSR Armed Forces?
On the other hand, they could not know everything. The intelligence that the GRU and the Foreign Ministry received contradicted each other, they constantly needed to be checked and clarified.
We will not go deep into the depths of intelligence, but we will proceed from the plans of the USSR that existed on the eve of the war. The main such plans are “considerations on the basics of the strategic deployment of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union in the West and in the East for 1940 and 1941” from September 18 1940, and its updated version from March 11 1941.
The 1940 plan was developed by B. M. Shaposhnikov (who, unfortunately, did not report it to 1940 in September to I. Stalin in connection with his transfer to the post of Deputy Commissar of Defense), and the plan for 1941 was developed by S. Tymoshenko and D . Zhukov.
These plans are almost the same, but there is one significant difference in the 3 paragraph “Opponents’ probable operational plans ”in relation to Germany. The 1940 plan says that Germany is likely to deploy its main forces north of the r. San with the aim of delivering the main attack from East Prussia through Lithuania in the direction of Riga, Kovno and further to Dvinsk or Kovno and further to Minsk. Further, it is said that the possibility of concentrating the main forces of the German army in the south, in the Sedlets area, Lublin, is not excluded to deliver the main attack in the general direction of Kiev [Zyuzin E. I. Did the USSR prepare a preventive strike? C.25]. That is, according to this plan, it was proposed to deploy the main forces of the Red Army in the strip from the coast of the Baltic Sea to Polesie.
B.M. plan Shaposhikov, 1940
The 1941 plan already states that “Germany is likely to deploy its main forces in the south-east from Siedlce to Hungary in order to take a blow at Berdichev, Kiev to seize Ukraine. This blow, apparently, will be accompanied by an auxiliary blow in the north from East Prussia to Dvinsk and Riga or by concentric attacks from Suwalki and Brest to Volkovysk, Baranovichi. ” [Makovsky V. B. Covering the state border on the eve of the war]. That is, on the eve of the war, the southwestern direction was considered the main [Zhukov G. K. Memoirs and reflections. T.1, c.282]. The General Staff believed that south of p. Zap. Bug Germans will concentrate up to 110 divisions, plus Hungarian and Romanian, and north of r. Zap. Bug no more than 30-40 [Veremeev Yu.G. Strategic deployment plan of the Red Army from 11 March 1941 g.].
Strategic deployment plan of the Red Army, proposed by Zhukov and Tymoshenko, 1941
It is not here that the reason is that the General Staff concentrated the large forces on the south-western direction. Such a concentration of large forces of the Red Army in the southwestern direction caused the weakness of the forces of the Western Front, multiplied by the extremely unsuccessful configuration of the Belostok projection, plus the unreadiness of the URs at the new border, and the disarmament of the fortified areas that began on the old border. So this is a miscalculation of the General Staff?
Yes, it was a big strategic miscalculation of the General Staff, which determined the whole further course of the war. And this is recognized by G. Zhukov himself. But the paragraph below he shifts the blame from the General Staff to Stalin. According to Georgy Konstantinovich: “I. Stalin was sure that the Hitlerites ... would try first of all to take possession of Ukraine, the Donets Basin ... "[Zhukov G. K. Memoirs and reflections. T.1, c.282]. And this confidence, according to M. Zakharov, was gradually strengthened by Stalin, especially in the spring of 1941, when Germany moved to the Balkans [Zakharov, MV The General Staff in the Pre-War Years, c.220]. But S. Shtemenko and A. Vasilevsky do not quite agree with G. Zhukov and M. Zakharov. The first in his memoirs writes that Stalin "expressed the opinion that Germany can direct its efforts not in the western direction ... but in the south-western ..."[Shtemenko S.M. General Staff during the war years, c.17]. A. Vasilevsky says the same thing, relying on the memories of K. A. Meretskov. According to the latter, discussing the likely directions of the main attack, Stalin expressed his point of view, which was that Germany would try to direct its efforts not in the center of the Soviet-German border, but in the south-west. [Vasilevsky, A. M. The Matter of Life, c. 102]. But it was only a point of view, which could be discussed, given that before that there was a plan of B. Shaposhnikov, in which the western direction of a probable blow was defined as the main [A.A. Martirosyan The tragedy of June 22: Blitzkrieg or treason? C.240-241].
An interesting version in such a change of plans is the “Kiev trace”. It is expressed by M. Zakharov in his memoirs. Its essence boils down to the fact that, since the summer of 1940, key positions in the General Staff have been occupied by specialists in the South-Western direction (KOVO): People's Commissar of Defense S. Tymoshenko - before that the commander of KOVO; First Deputy Chief of the General Staff N. Vatutin - before that KOVO Chief of Staff; Chief of the General Staff G. Zhukov - until February 1941 Commander KOVO; Chief of the General Staff Operational Directorate G. Balandin - until March 1941, Deputy Chief of Staff of KOVO [Zakharov, MV The General Staff in the Pre-War Years, c.221].
G. Zhukov and S. Timoshenko at the teachings of the KOVO units
Thus, these workers, by virtue of their previous service, continued to attach great importance to the South-Western direction. Consequently, this method of recruiting employees of the General Staff can not be considered successful. And if you add here and very frequent changes of chiefs of the General Staff (three for one year), then the picture emerges sad.
But to hang all the sins on Stalin or G. Zhukov is still not worth it. They were to some extent right, in general they guessed Hitler’s intentions. But they could not have foreseen that the generals would convince the Fuhrer and insist that the main blow should be applied to the Minsk direction.
At the same time, modern “strategists” have completely lost sight of (or maybe they are simply cunning?) That Hitler was of the opinion that it was one of the main attacks on Kiev, and precisely for political and economic reasons. He believed that, having lost a powerful economic region, the USSR would not be able to continue the war. [Koval V. The first and second versions of the plan "Barbarossa", c.55].
The developers of the “Barbarossa” plan from the German General Staff of the ground forces proceeded from the directly opposite thesis. They believed that the rapid strikes on Moscow and Leningrad would lead to the disorganization of state administration, the military defeat of the Red Army and the death of the Soviet state. At the same time, all the riches of Ukraine, and not only that, will go to the Germans for nothing [Dashichev V. I. Strategic Planning of Aggression against the USSR, p. 16].
There was a sharp controversy between the supporters of one and the other strategy. What option will be chosen, did not know the German leaders themselves before the outbreak of war. Hitler stubbornly adhered to his opinion and retreated only under the combined onslaught of his generals. This happened 17 March 1941. [Koval V. The first and second versions of the plan "Barbarossa", c.56].
The German command in thinking about the direction of the main attack
Even with a map in front of him with exactly the German armies inflicted on it (which Stalin did not have and could not have, although A. Martirosyan believes the opposite [A.A. Martirosyan The tragedy of 22 Jun, c.38]) and seeing that two tank the groups are located on the flanks of Army Group Center, it is impossible to predict the direction of the main attack. For example, the left-flank 3TG of Army Group Center could be both the right-flank fist of Army Group North and have a direction to Leningrad. By the way, Hitler believed that the second blow should be on Leningrad, so that connecting with the Finns, and finally cutting off the USSR from the sea (thereby completely destroying the Baltic Fleet), hang over Moscow from the north and even from the northeast. The right-flank 2TG of Army Group Center could actually be the left-flank strike fist of Army Group South and act in a southeast direction, bypassing Kiev from the north. After all, one phone call from OKH to the headquarters of the army group is enough to reassign one or another tank group and the job is done. And the transfer to the main sections of the 47 divisions of the Wehrmacht was carried out literally in recent weeks, when it was already impossible to change anything in the arrangement of the Red Army divisions.
Say more. After the outbreak of war, taking advantage of the fact that after the Smolensk battle, the Army Group Center exhausted itself and was forced to stop the offensive in the second half of August, Hitler still insisted on his opinion and forced 25TG Guderian to turn (August) 26ТG to Ukraine [Halder F. War Diary. Volume 3: In two books. Book One, c.300-303].
The question of the work of intelligence is very closely connected with the question of the main direction. After all, intelligence was supposed to reveal the direction of the main attack.
I. Pykhalov, A. Shubin believe that Soviet intelligence could not determine the direction of the main attack of the enemy and miscalculated the number of German troops on the western borders of the USSR. This theory is based on the fact that the data that intelligence received was inaccurate and incomplete. In addition, as A. Shubin writes, in Germany important objects of reconnaissance penetration, such as Hitler’s immediate entourage, the top leadership of the National Socialist Party, the Wehrmacht, and special services, in which intelligence could receive information, remained without sufficient covert cover [Shubin A.V. The World on the Edge of the Abyss, c.480]. As a result, information about Hitler’s intentions was incomplete, mixed with misinformation and reached Stalin late. Information received, for example, in April 1941, led to the conclusion that the Germans will try to establish control over Ukraine from the causes of the food crisis. Such conclusions were made with reference to Count Gaschen, who worked on the grain planning and interior committee committee of Germany and who was close to Goering [Makovsky V. B. Covering the state border on the eve of the war, c.37].
In support of this, a photo of the document “List of reports on military training against the USSR in January –June 1941” has been posted below, where reports about plans for attacking the USSR are described.
In addition, from the analysis of intelligence, a picture emerged that confirmed the option of strategic “ticks”: “Murmansk, Vilna, Bialystok, Chisinau should be the targets of the first strike ... the German command will try ... from the north, from Eastern Prussia, and from the south, from Romania, create ticks, which will gradually close in order to surround the Red Army, located on the border " [Shubin A.V. The World on the Edge of the Abyss, c.482].
The data on the number of German divisions on the border with the USSR was very contradictory. On 4 April 1941 against the USSR stood 72-73 divisions [Zhukov G. K. Memoirs and reflections, c.291], and, according to G. Krivosheev, there were only 54 (on 10.04.41), but after 15 in May their number is rapidly growing: 111 divisions on 5 June, 163- on 18 June, and finally 190 - on 22 June [Krivosheev G.F. On the eve, c.42]. V. Kolkovsky speaks about 170 divisions at the beginning of May [Kolkovsky V. Roosevelt vs. Stalin, c.58], and according to the reports of P. Golikov (the head of the GRU) at the same time they were 103-107. Of these, against the Kiev district 34, and against the West - 29 [Zhukov G. K. Memoirs and reflections, c.291]. According to the latest data, Germany on 22 June 1941 had 180 divisions and 16 brigades against the USSR (excluding SS troops) [History West European armies, c.297].
Based on the foregoing, we can conclude that the data on the number of Wehrmacht were underestimated, which could not but influence the decision of the General Staff and top management of the USSR. The reasons for such miscalculations by the General Staff A. Vasilevsky explains by the fact that there was some isolation of the Intelligence Agency from the staff of the General Staff. Thus, the head of the Intelligence Agency, being the Deputy Commissar of Defense, considered it “preferable to report intelligence directly to Stalin”, thereby bypassing the Chief of the General Staff. And if G. Zhukov, according to A. Vasilevsky, were aware of all the important intelligence information, he "could have made more accurate conclusions ... and more authoritatively submit these conclusions to Stalin and ... to some extent influence Stalin's convictions " [Vasilevsky, A. M. The Matter of Life, s.114].
A. Martirosyan argues in his study that intelligence worked very well. And already 20 in March The 1941 report of the GRU contained three options for possible actions by the Wehrmacht, and it was the third option that was closest to the Barbarossa plan. Although it criticizes the GRU for the fact that the intelligence officers did not insist and did not focus attention on the third plan, having all the reasons for it, but simply provided options like that they all deserve attention. Later, however, the GRU increasingly focuses on the grouping of Wehrmacht troops in Poland and report this to Golikov. And that only "skeptical grinned" [A.A. Martirosyan The tragedy of 22 Jun, c.202]. The latest concentration adjustment of the German forces relates to 19 and 20 June. It already speaks about the greatest concentration of German troops on the Baltic and Belorussian directions. [Vasilevsky, A. M. The Matter of Life, s.217]. Unfortunately, in the time that was left, it was impossible to transfer thousands of people and tens of thousands of military equipment to a threatening area.
Three Wehrmacht options filed by the GRU in March 1941.
On the mobilization and strategic deployment of the Soviet divisions
From the above, the following questions arise: why, given the availability of such data, mobilization and the transfer of troops to a state of full alertness were not carried out? What were waiting for? What were you afraid of?
But the Soviet government was not idle. Only did everything slowly and carefully.
First, mobilization is a complex process, which includes a call to the service of reservists, a large number of recruits, and their further distribution in parts; all this must be coordinated with the supply weapons, technology, requires the restructuring of transport schedules and the withdrawal of a large number of vehicles from the farm to the needs of the army: only some cars had to be handed over 298 thousand. [Zakharov, MV The General Staff in the pre-war years, c. 229]. That is, mobilization requires the restructuring of all economic activity. In other words, this is the last step to war. And here two factors are important: the first is to know for sure that you will be attacked (with this, as we found out, everything was fine), and the second is to know the exact date of the attack. But with the date there were certain problems. The Soviet leadership did not know the exact date at least until 21 June 1941. And in one day full mobilization is impossible.
On the other hand, the advance transfer of troops to a state of alert can cause no less harm than being late with it. From the hostile policy of a neighbor to war, the path is sometimes very long. And all this time, to keep the troops militant is very burdensome for the state, because it requires a large concentration of all the resources of the country.
Secondly, some steps were taken in this direction. With 13 May begins the nomination of the rifle divisions and 28 army directorates to the border districts of 4 (16, 19, 21, 22 armies) [Romanycheva N. The Red Army is the strongest? C.13]. After lengthy conversations with Stalin, the General Staff is allowed under the guise of mobile camp fees to make a hidden mobilization. It was strictly ordered to carry out these activities with great care, using the means of operational secrecy. As a result, at the beginning of June, thousands of people were called up from 793,5. [Zakharov, MV The General Staff in the Pre-War Years, c.263]. But these forces were not enough.
Such caution is due to the fact that Stalin did not want to provoke Germany, tried in every way to delay the war. He understood, according to G. Zhukov, that "we were late ... with the rearmament of troops ... with the reorganization of the armed forces ... and with measures to defend the country ..." Therefore, Stalin did not allow to deploy troops near the border. And when Tymoshenko and Zhukov 14 June recommended to take more vigorous measures, Stalin replied: “You are proposing to mobilize the country ... It's a war!”
Yes, it is a war. Evidence that Germany was ready to attack was abound. It was necessary to deploy the division. And it would not be worthwhile to fear that in the West there will be a fuss about the aggressive aspirations of the USSR. Because the country by the will of circumstances approached the Rubicon of War. And it was necessary to firmly take a step forward. That was what the interests of the country demanded at that time. Because the defense engagement of the first echelon armies of covering the border gave the aggressor less reason to attack (here I am, try to attack now!) Than pushing reserves from the depth, or deploying field control points that started on 14 — 19 June [Drobyazko S. Savchenko I. The Second World War 1939-1945, c.16]. In this case, it is obvious that it is much easier to hide the exit to defense positions than the march from the rear of large reserves and headquarters. And it was Stalin's mistake.
No less significant error was the erroneous view of the military leadership of the country at the beginning of the war. It was believed that with the outbreak of hostilities in the border area, small forces would be involved on both sides for 10-15 days. During this time, the main forces of the Red Army should complete the mobilization and continue to deploy under cover of the first operational echelon (covering armies). According to this concept, it is not necessary to keep a lot of troops in the covering armies. From here and the big stretching of the last on the front (in one echelon), and as a result low operational density of troops. So, in PriboVO, they were about 40 km per division, in ZOVOVO - 36 km, and in KOVO - up to 60 km [Romanycheva N. The Red Army is the strongest? C.13]. And according to the 1939 Field Regulations (with which the Red Army entered the war), the division could defend normally in the 8-12 km zone.
This meant that the density of the battle formations of the Soviet divisions was small: approximately 0,1 — 0,16 soldier per meter of front. The Germans had this number on the order of 4, and on the main lines of attack and up to 10 soldiers per meter of front, and the German offensive range was about 4 — 6 km. Those. the troops were not ready in advance to carry out the tasks assigned to them. And even more to countries, it looks like the background of the war in Poland, where Germany fully deployed its forces, and even more so against the background of Tymoshenko’s closing speech at the December 31 1940 meeting [Zyuzin E. I. Did the USSR prepare a preventive strike? C.19]. At the meeting, the Commissar of Defense, speaking about the nature of the modern offensive operation, emphasized that the main type of offensive operation is a breakthrough, which is carried out by concentrated forces of several armies on a relatively narrow sector of the front with the aim of “making a dent and then widening it ... deliver a powerful, crushing blow with concentrated forces ... "In words everything is true, but in deeds ... What is this? Negligence? Unprofessionalism? Or some kind of a game of giveaway with the enemy?
So, the Wehrmacht ahead of the Red Army in a strategic deployment. If the aggressor at the end of June 21 was fully mobilized, then the Soviet troops were in such a state that they could neither attack nor defend. The main reasons for this are as follows.
First, the Wehrmacht began deploying troops in February 1941, i.e., in 3,5 months. earlier Soviet troops.
Secondly, the throughput of the enemy’s railway was twice as high as in the USSR. In addition, Germany from 25 May transferred them to the schedule of maximum movement, and the Soviet railway worked (within the framework of secrecy) before the war as usual [Kiselev V.N. Stubborn Facts of the Beginning of the War, c.16].
Third, the Soviet leadership, following the instructions of Stalin and trying not to give Hitler a reason for war, acted extremely cautiously. And this caution led to the hesitant nature of preparing the troops of the western districts to repel an attack. Many examples can be cited when units were advanced to the border, occupied their own defense lines, and then were diverted to the rear. So it was with 87cd KOVO, which was taken 20 June from the border to the camp almost 250 km [Romanycheva N. The Red Army is the strongest? C.16].
Finding out the reasons for the defeat of spacecraft in border battles, I would like to draw attention to strategic operational games on maps in January 1941. We believe that it was precisely at these games that one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Red Army at the beginning of the war was laid. It was in these games that the variants of the future actions of the Red Army and its adversary (that is, the main provisions of the country's defense plan) were tested, it was here that the top military leadership had to get some experience in conducting front-line and army operations. And at the same time it was the games that were supposed to show the level of operational-strategic skills and skills of top-level commanders.
The idea of holding such games with the highest commanders of the Red Army was approved by the People’s Commissar of Defense S. Tymoshenko as 11 of October 1940 in October. It was planned to be bilateral in the north-west direction on the theme “Offensive operation of the front with a breakthrough of the fortified areas”. The game was supposed to be from 17 to 19 on November 1940. Later, the dates were postponed in connection with the December meeting of the higher command personnel of the Red Army. After this meeting, it was decided to hold two games: the first 2-6 in January 1941 in the north-west direction; January 2nd 8-11 Southwest [Bobylev P.N. Rehearsal of a catastrophe, c.15].
The development of an operational-strategic game in the south-western direction is connected with the September plan of strategic deployment of the Red Army on the western borders. According to this plan, as we found out above, it was in the south-west direction that the Soviet leadership decided to concentrate the main grouping of Soviet troops in case of war with Germany. Therefore, the development of a second, more ambitious game was necessary. At the same time, the first game (in the north-west) from the “blue” ones was now considered as an offensive in the interests of the main operation conducted in the south-west direction. [Zakharov, MV The General Staff in the Pre-War Years, c.240].
The games were held under the general direction of the USSR Commissar of Defense Marshal Marshal S.K. Tymoshenko.
In the operational tactical games on the cards in January 1941, the ideas that were expressed at the December meeting of the Red Army high command personnel found their practical embodiment [Bobylev P.N. Rehearsal of a catastrophe, c.16]. Most of their participants had to solve problems on the side of the “Western” and on the “Eastern” side. The higher command of the Red Army received practice in decision-making in difficult conditions, in planning and material and technical support for front-line and army operations, in managing large mobile formations in cooperation with aviation.
From the point of view of getting top commanders of the practice of command and control in operations of the game, they achieved their goal. But at the same time, they showed that many senior commanders do not yet have the necessary operational and strategic horizons, the art of troop control in the dynamics of operations Bobylev P.N. Rehearsal of a catastrophe, c.33].
If we talk about checking plans to repel possible aggression by Germany and its satellites, in this regard the games have brought little benefit.
Red Army Action Card in the first game
Firstly, their most significant drawback was that the operations of the initial period of the war were completely excluded from the rally, although under the terms of the game the “Westerners” attacked the “Easterners”. In the first game, the "Western" who invaded the territory of the "Eastern" 23-25 July reached the Osovec, Skidel, Lida, Kaunas, Shulya line (70-120 km east of the state border), and then, before 1 August, were rejected to the state border to the original position. And already from this position further actions of the parties were played out.
In the same scenario, the war began in the second game: after the invasion of the “eastern” territory to the depth of 50-70 km, the “western” under the blows of the “eastern” were rejected to the depth of 90-180 km to the west of the state border Bobylev P.N. Rehearsal of a catastrophe, c.32].]. But the question remained open: how was it possible for the "eastern" not only to drop the enemy to the state border, but also in some places to transfer military operations to the territory of the enemy. In both games this question was not disclosed.
Red Army Action Card in the second game
Thus, neither at the meeting in December, nor in the games did they even attempt to make out the situation that may arise in the first operations in the event of a German attack.
The groups of troops of the parties created in the games corresponded to the views of the Soviet leadership approved by 1940 in the fall, according to which Germany would be able to concentrate the main forces (110-120 divisions) in the south in the Sedlets, Lublin region, to strike in the general direction of Kiev to seize Ukraine. An auxiliary strike may be inflicted from the North Prussia by forces of 50-60 divisions. [Zyuzin, E. I., Did the USSR Prepare a Preventive Strike, c.25]. In the documents of the first game, it was stated that the Northeastern and Eastern fronts of the “Western” will act in the interests of the main attack, which is carried out south of Brest, and where the main forces of the “Western” are deployed - before the 150 divisions Bobylev P.N. Rehearsal of a catastrophe, c.16].].
But the beginning of the war showed that in January 1941, the operational-strategic link of the Red Army commanders played on this cards a variant of military operations that was not carried out by real “Western” ones.
Another significant drawback of the games was that the overwhelming majority of the participants in the game led the associations in it, regardless of which associations they headed at that time. With almost the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, almost none of them had to act where they acted in games. In the first game, none of the commanders of the armies of PribOVO and ZAPOVO performed the duties of commander of at least one of the five armies of the “Eastern” North-Western Front. The commanders of 3, 8, 10 and the 11 armies of these districts acted as chiefs of army headquarters. [Zakharov, MV The General Staff in the Pre-War Years, c.243]. In the second game, from the seven armies of the Southwestern Front of the “Eastern”, only one was led by the commander of the post, I. Muzychenko, and in the direction where 6А was located before him. Bobylev P.N. Rehearsal of a catastrophe, c.34].]. In the main, the army in both games was headed by the commanders of the Arkhangelsk, Trans-Baikal, Transcaucasian, Leningrad, Moscow, Odessa, Volga, North Caucasus, Ural military districts and the Far Eastern Front. They all received the practice of command and control in modern operations.
But the big mistake was that those who did not need it in the first place, the commanders of the armies on the western borders of the USSR, did not receive such a practice.
Of course, the results of the games gave some rationale for reflection and conclusions. Probably, not without influence of the conclusions from the first game, in which the “Eastern” did not fulfill the tasks set for them to encircle and destroy the “Western” in East Prussia, the following provision was made in the plan of strategic deployment of the USSR Armed Forces in March: “Deployment of the main forces The Red Army in the West ... against East Prussia and on the Warsaw direction raises serious concerns that the struggle on this front could lead to protracted battles ” [Zyuzin E.I. On the strategic deployment of the Red Army, c.22]. Note that in addition to this addition, no other measures have been taken. And above all, G. Zhukov as the Chief of the General Staff. No analysis, no adequate measures, although he, G. Zhukov, showed in the first game how the Red Army can lose. It turns out that the guilty of destroying the Western Front is not so much the fault of D. Pavlov (although he is also guilty), namely G. Zhukov, as the Chief of the General Staff. And one more thing, despite the fact that in the first game G. Zhukov beat D. Pavlov, Stalin remained, according to A. Shubin, pleased with the game of both commanders [Shubin A.V. The World on the Edge of the Abyss, c.471]. Why? After all, the Red Army actually lost. Why did Stalin not draw conclusions, but continued to strengthen the southern flank?
During the games another mistake was made. This is a miscalculation with the creation of a favorable balance of forces of the parties. The advantage in the strength of the infantry troops in both games were on the side of the enemy. This allowed the “Westerners” in the first game to gather a large grouping to strike in the direction of Riga, Dvinsk and win the operation. Game developers explain this, according to M. Zakharov, by the fact that when developing the tasks they proceeded from the fact that the Soviet division was 1,5 times more powerful than the German one. And therefore, with a smaller number of connections, the advantage in manpower and technology was on the side of the Soviet divisions [Zakharov M. V. General Staff, c.250]. A. Martirosyan also speaks of this, relying on the December report of the Chief of the General Staff Meretskov. The latter asserted that “... our division is much stronger than the German one and will surely crush it in a head-on battle. In defense, our division will immediately strike the enemy's 2-3 divisions. In the offensive, one and a half of our divisions will overcome the defenses of the enemy's division ” [A.A. Martirosyan The tragedy of 22 Jun, c.300]. The last sentence seems strange at all, given that the onset of the balance of power should be 3: 1. That is, three advancing divisions against one in defense.
As you can see, the General Staff believed that the enemy had no numerical advantage. And this is a big mistake that led to a variety of reasons for defeat. Therefore, to underestimate the strength of the enemy is unacceptable negligence.
Consequently, the restriction of the goals of the games mainly to the top commanding staff of the preparation and conduct of an offensive operation by the front and the army, the wrong orientation of participants on a number of important issues (about the possible direction of the main attack of the enemy, about the initial stage of the war, which was absolutely successful, etc.) Not the last role in how the USSR Armed Forces were prepared to repel aggression in the six months that remained before the war.
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