Work on planning a war against the USSR was intensively carried out at the General Staff of the ground forces and at the headquarters of the operational leadership of the Supreme High Command. The presented developments were repeatedly refined and new proposals received development. This process continued until mid-November 1940, when the OKH (commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht land forces) completed the development of a detailed plan for the war against the USSR. He received the code name "Otto".
On November 19, 1940, the Otto plan was considered by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Brauchitsch. He received approval without significant comments. On December 5, the Otto plan was reported to Adolf Hitler. F. Halder in his report noted that “the Dnieper and the Western Dvina represent the easternmost border, where the Russians are forced to fight. If they retreat further, they will no longer be able to defend their industrial areas. As a consequence of this, the plan of the Germans should be reduced to the fact that with the help of tank wedges to prevent the creation of a continuous defensive front west of these two rivers. An especially large strike group should advance from the Warsaw region towards Moscow. Of the envisaged three groups of armies, the northern one will need to be directed to Leningrad, and the forces of the southern will strike in the direction of Kiev ... The ultimate goal of the operation is the Volga and the Arkhangelsk region. " The Otto plan was generally approved by the Fuehrer.
Actively preparing for war with the USSR, the Wehrmacht leadership continued to work on invasion planning. From November 29 to December 7, according to the Otto plan, a war game was held. 13-14 December, a discussion of the “Otto” plan was held at the OKH headquarters. The final decision on the most important issues related to planning a war against the USSR was embodied in Directive No. 21, signed by Hitler 18 in December 1940. The plan was assigned the code name Barbarossa. The nickname of the German Emperor Frederick I was not chosen by chance: he was one of the instigators of the "onslaught to the East." The success of the Barbarossa plan was to be the decisive step of the Third Reich towards world domination. In order to preserve secrecy, the plan was made only in 9 copies.
For the war against the USSR, they planned to attract a maximum of forces and means. The plan said: “The German Armed Forces should be ready to defeat Soviet Russia during the short-term campaign before the war against England is over. The ground forces should use for this purpose all the formations at their disposal, with the exception of those necessary to protect the occupied territories from all sorts of surprises. The task of the air force is to free such forces to support the ground forces during the Eastern Campaign so that it is possible to count on the quick completion of ground operations and at the same time to minimize the destruction of the eastern regions of Germany by the enemy aviation". Emphasized the importance of achieving surprise attacks: "Crucial must be given to our intentions to attack were not recognized." In order to maintain the secrecy of the invasion, the armed forces of Romania, Hungary and Finland had to receive specific tasks immediately before the war.
The main idea of the Barbarossa plan was to crush the main forces of the Russian troops located in Western Russia in bold operations with the help of deep and rapid advancement of armored wedges. The Germans were not supposed to let the Russian troops retreat deep into Russia. The ultimate goal of the invasion was the advance of German troops on the Volga-Arkhangelsk line and the creation of a barrier there against “Asian Russia”. The German Air Force should have crushed Russian aircraft at the beginning of the operation. Germanic the fleet limited tasks were set: the defense of its coast, the fettling of the actions of the Russian Navy and the support of the ground forces, the provision of shipping in the Baltic Sea and security, and the sea supply of the northern strategic flank of the German troops. The bases of the Soviet fleet in the Baltic were to take ground forces. The preparations for the war with the USSR were planned to be completed by May 15, 1941.
The plan of war with the Soviet Union included, in addition to Directive No. 21, a number of directives and instructions of the Supreme High Command and the main commands of the branches of the Armed Forces on strategic concentration and deployment, logistics, camouflage, preparation of the theater of operations, etc. of great importance was the OKH Directive of 31 in January of 1941. It specified and clarified the tasks and methods of operations of the Armed Forces in Operation Barbarossa. In particular, it was noted that "the principles that justified themselves during the Polish campaign" can serve as the basis for conducting combat operations in this operation.
The top of the Third Reich overestimated their strength and underestimated the power of the Red Empire. So, Adolf Hitler argued that the war with the USSR requires all 80-100 divisions, and Russia has only 50-75 good divisions.
Grouping German troops on the eve of the invasion
For the attack on the USSR were allocated huge forces - more than 190 divisions. Of these, 153 German divisions and 37 divisions of Finland, Romania, Hungary. Also for the war in the East, two-thirds of the German Air Force, significant forces of the German fleet, the Air Force and Navy of the Reich allies were allocated. In addition, the Slovak divisions and the motorized brigade and the expedition corps of Italy (2 motorized divisions) were supposed to take over 3 in aggression against the USSR. Only the 24 division remained in the OKH reserve. In the reserve of each of the three army groups were small reserves - for 1-3 divisions.
Almost all the combat-ready forces of Germany were concentrated to strike at the USSR. The main formations, which remained in the west and south of Europe, were divisions with limited strike power and mobility, mainly intended to provide and protect. The only mobile reserve was two tank brigades in France, which had armed trophy tanks. In this way, the secret neutrality of England (during the formal war) allowed Hitlerite Germany to concentrate almost all shock and combat-ready formations for the war with the USSR, and also to use the military resources of the eastern allies.
16 army formations were concentrated along the Soviet western borders: German 8, Romanian 2, Finnish Army 2, and German tank groups 4. The troops deployed between the Baltic and Black Seas united into three groups of armies "North", Center "and" South. The first strategic echelon consisted of 129 German divisions and 37 allied divisions.
Hitler's high command planned to strike the main blow north of the Pripyat marshes, between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathians. There were concentrated two army groups, "North" and "Center" and the northern shock flank of Army Group "South". They were supposed to "attack with particularly strong tank and motorized units." It deployed 10 German military units, including all 4 tank groups. At the front, which comprised 40% of the length of the western land borders of the USSR, the Germans formed a grouping that included 70% of all divisions, 90% of tanks, 75% of artillery. To support it from the air, three of the four air fleets were allocated - more than 90% of the existing combat aircraft.
Army groups had one-echelon operational formation (all the armies were in the same line), army unions - in one and two echelons. Two-echelon formation was usually in those field armies that were to advance in a common lane with tank groups, and in those tank groups that had three motorized corps (16, 9, 4, and 6, 2 -I and 1-I tank groups).
Army Group North, under the command of Field Marshal V. Leeb, had 18 and 16 field armies and 4 tank groups, total 29 divisions (including 3 tank and 3 motorized divisions). It was deployed on the front in 230 km from Klaipeda (Memel) to Goldap. The directive on strategic concentration and deployment of 31 from January 1941 was aimed at “destroying the enemy forces operating in the Baltics and seizing ports on the Baltic Sea, including Leningrad and Kronstadt, to deprive the Russian fleet of its bases. The issues of joint actions with powerful mobile forces advancing on Smolensk and subordinated to the Army Group Center will be promptly taken into account and brought to the notice by the especially high command of the ground forces. ”
The right-flank 4-I tank group and the 16-I army were, advancing on the Daugavpils direction, as soon as possible to advance into the area northeast of Opochka in order to prevent the Russian-capable Russian forces from withdrawing, to destroy them, thus creating the conditions for an offensive on Leningrad. 18-I army struck the main blow in the direction of Riga and east, in order to cut off and destroy the Soviet troops south-west of Riga. Then attack the Island, Pskov, to prevent the withdrawal of Soviet troops to the east and take the territory of Estonia. In the Baltic, the Germans had about 100 warships to support the offensive of the group of armies "North" and actions against the Soviet fleet.
It was planned that Army Group North together with the Finnish army and the German forces transferred from Norway would finally defeat the Russian forces in northern Russia. As a result of this, freedom of maneuver will be provided for the fulfillment of subsequent tasks in cooperation with the German troops that are advancing in southern Russia. The offensive forces of the army group "North" were supported by aviation 1-th air fleet (760 aircraft).
A separate army of the Wehrmacht "Norway" commanded by General N. Falkenhorst was located on the territory of Norway and in Northern Finland. She submitted directly to the High Command of the German Armed Forces (OKV). The army "Norway" was supposed to capture Murmansk and Kandalaksha, the main naval base of the Northern Fleet Polar, the Rybachiy peninsula, and the Kirov railway north of Belomorsk. Each of the “Norway” 3 corps was to advance in an independent direction: the “Norway” mountain-rifle corps in Murmansk, the 36 German corps in Kandalaksha, the 3 Finnish corps in Kesteng and Ukhta. Army "Norway" supported 5-th air fleet (240 aircraft). The northern ports of Norway were used to base German ships - 5 destroyers, 6 submarines, etc. In addition, the Germans had at their disposal captured ships of the Norwegian Navy (3 torpedo boats, 2 mine-layingers, 10 patrolmen, etc.).
In South-Eastern Finland, near the borders of the USSR, the Karelian and Southeast armies concentrated (15 divisions and other units). The Karelian army was instructed by the southern part of Karelia and to meet with the troops of Army Group North on the Svir River. The southeastern army was to seize the territory of the Karelian Isthmus and unite with the German troops in the Leningrad region. One army division was deployed against the Hanko Peninsula, and was to occupy the Peninsula and the Hanko Naval Base. The Finnish Navy had 7 ships of the main classes (2 battleship coastal defense, 5 submarines), as well as 53 other ships. The Finnish Air Force counted more than 300 machines.
Army Group "Center" commander Field Marshal F. Bock had 9 and 4 field armies, 3 and 2 tank groups, all 50 divisions and 2 brigades (31 infantry, 9 tank, 6) motorized, 1 cavalry, 3 security divisions). Troops were deployed from Goldap to Wlodawa, at the front in 500 km. "Army Group" Center ", - noted in the directive of 31 January 1941, - attacking large forces on the flanks, defeat the enemy forces in Belarus. Then, by concentrating mobile units advancing south and north of Minsk, it is possible to quickly go to the Smolensk region and thereby create prerequisites for the interaction of large tank and motorized forces with Army Group North to destroy the enemy forces operating in the Baltic States and in the Leningrad region. ” .
To solve this problem, two shock groups were formed. The Northern, deployed in the Suwalki ledge (3-I tank group and part of the forces of the 9-th army), was to break through the defense at the junction of the Baltic and Western special military districts (region north of Grodno). Then she had to, rapidly advancing to the Minsk region and using the strike of the 2 th tank group advancing on Minsk from the south-west, to create the preconditions for the destruction of the Soviet troops between Belostok and Minsk. In the future, the strike group should advance to the region of Vitebsk and north to prevent concentration of enemy troops in the upper reaches of the Western Dvina River. The South Strike Force as part of the 2 Tank Group and part of the 4 Field Force had the task to move quickly to Slutsk and Minsk and, using the success of the 3 Tank Group, create the preconditions for the liquidation of the Soviet forces between Belostok and Minsk. In the further attack to the east, in cooperation with the 3 tank group, it was planned to occupy the Smolensk region.
The main forces of the 9 Army were aimed along the Vilnius-Vitebsk line, and the 4 Army were directed through the Brest-Bobruisk line and further towards Smolensk. Field armies, interactions with armored groups and with each other, were to destroy the surrounded Soviet troops west of Minsk, then, moving past the tank groups, go to the Western Dvina near Polotsk-Vitebsk and the Dnieper north of Mogilev.
After the liquidation of the encirclement of the Soviet troops that had fallen into the “cauldron” and the withdrawal of the main forces of the Army Group “Center” to the area of Vitebsk, Smolensk, it was possible to operate in two ways. In the event that Army Group North would not be able to immediately accomplish the task of routing Russian forces in the Baltic and Leningrad area, the mobile units of Army Group Center would be planning to turn north and develop the offensive in the Moscow direction by field armies. If the Army Group North could crush the Soviet troops in the Leningrad sector, then the Army Group Center would have all been able to strike Moscow. The actions of the troops of Army Group Center were supported by the 2 air fleet (1600 aircraft).
Army Group South, led by Field Marshal G. Rundstedt, united German, Hungarian and Romanian troops. It was deployed from Polesie to the Black Sea at the front over 1300 km. It consisted of 6-I, 17-I, 11-I German field armies and 1-I tank group, 3-I and 4-I Romanian armies, Hungarian mobile corps, as well as aviation 4-th air fleet (around 1000 aircraft), Romanian and Hungarian aviation. All in all, Army Group had 57 divisions and 13 brigades (including 13 Romanian divisions, 9 Romanian and 4 Hungarian brigades). Romanian command had about 600 aircraft, Hungarian - 50 machines.
On the left flank there was a strike force, which included the 1-I tank group, 16-I and 17-I field armies (more than 60% of all forces of the army group). On the right flank, the 11-I German, 3-I and 4-I Romanian armies were located on the territory of Romania. The Carpathian group of Hungarian troops was the link between the main forces of Army Group South on the left and right flanks.
Army Group "South" was supposed to "advance with its reinforced left flank in the general direction of Kiev, with moving units ahead. The overall task is to destroy the Soviet troops in Galicia and Western Ukraine to the west of the r. The Dnieper and seize timely ferries on the Dnieper in the area of Kiev and further south, thus creating the prerequisites for the continuation of operations east of the Dnieper. ” An important role was given to mobile connections. The 1-I tank group, in cooperation with the troops of the 17 and 6 armies, was to break through the defenses of the Soviet troops “between Rawa-Ruska and Koval, advancing through Berdychiv-Zhytomyr, in time to enter the r. Dnieper near Kiev and south. In the future, without losing time ... continues to advance along the Dnieper in the south-east direction in order to prevent the withdrawal of the river. The Dnieper enemy group operating in Western Ukraine, and destroying it with a blow from the rear. "
The task of 11 of the German army and the Romanian troops according to the plan "Munich", developed in development of the plan "Barbarossa" in June 1941, was initially reduced to the active binding of the Soviet troops on the border with Romania. Subsequently, they were to go on the offensive. If necessary, these troops were to break through the defenses of the Soviet troops on the Prut River and move in the general direction of Vinnitsa.
At the beginning of the war there were no German ships on the Black Sea. Romanian naval forces had 7 destroyers and destroyers, a submarine, 2 auxiliary cruisers, and also 19 ships of other classes (gunboats, various boats). These forces did not pose a threat to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. The Romanian Danube River Flotilla was to assist the land forces.
All three German army groups were to capture the most important Soviet economic areas. It was one of the main installations of Hitler. Possessing great intuition and knowledge of military-strategic and economic aspects, he insisted on paying special attention to marginal zones - the Baltic, the Black Sea, and also to include in operational planning such far-away regions as the Caucasus and the Urals. At the 9 January meeting, 1941, Mr. Hitler declared to his generals: “The Russian space harbors untold riches. Germany ... will have every opportunity in the future to fight against the continents, then nobody will overcome it. ”
In planning the war against the USSR and during the war, the southern strategic direction of the Russian Front attracted Hitler's special attention. In principle, the current “partners” of Russia simply repeat what the Führer already understood. Little Russia-Ukraine had and is of great importance for the Soviet (Russian) empire, as a spiritual, historicaland military-strategic, economic and demographic. And our enemies are well aware of this.
Hitler planned to quickly capture the richest regions of the Soviet Union - Little Russia, Donbass and oil-bearing areas of the Caucasus. This was well understood by the Soviet leader I. Stalin, so many in the USSR believed that the Wehrmacht would send the main blow to Ukraine. The Germans planned to send the plundered resources of these territories to a further build-up of the military and economic potential of the Third Reich, to feed the troops operating in Russia, to get fabulous profits for the German monopolies. Thus, the war was supposed to fuel the war and create the prerequisites for the future world domination of the German nation. This strategy became even stronger and led to major operational and strategic decisions at a time when the “lightning war” in the Soviet Union began to fail — the German offensive was halted in the northern and central areas and the outlook for a protracted war began to emerge. And for its management required the mobilization of much greater material resources. As a result Hitler hoped to turn Ukraine-Little Russia into a base to continue the war with the USSR. Similarly, the owners of the West use Little Russia and now.
E. Manstein noted: “Already in 1941, the Donbass played a significant role in Hitler’s operational plans ... On the one hand, Hitler argued that without coal reserves in this area, we cannot stand the war economically. On the other hand, in his opinion, the loss of this coal by the Soviets would be a decisive blow to their strategy. Donetsk coal, as Hitler believed, was the only coking coal (at least in the European part of Russia). The loss of this coal would sooner or later paralyze the production of tanks and ammunition in the Soviet Union. ”
War of extermination
The war in the East, unlike the campaigns in the West, had to go to destruction. The Third Reich sought not only to crush the main obstacle to the establishment of world domination and capture the "living space in the East." The war was of a conceptual, ideological nature and was supposed to lead to the destruction of the world's first socialist state and the Soviet project, leading to the creation of a society of service and creation. Soviet civilization concealed a threat to the domination of Western masters on the planet, since it could create a different, just world order.
Therefore, the war was radically different from other wars that Germany waged against the capitalist states. In the West, Hitler only established a single order, creating the "EU-1". In the East, the masters of the West wanted to crush the Soviet project and solve the “Russian question” in the most fundamental way. Speaking 30 in March 1941 at a meeting of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, Hitler spoke of the great danger of communism for the future, that in the war with the USSR “We are talking about the struggle for destruction. If we don’t look like that, then, even though we smash the enemy, the communist danger will arise again in 30 years ... This war will be very different from the war in the West. In the East, cruelty itself is good for the future. ”
These common guidelines for the implementation of the total genocide of the Russian people have been put into practice in a number of specific directives, plans, orders of the German High Command. They demanded from the Wehrmacht personnel maximum cruelty towards the army and civilians. So the directive "On special jurisdiction in the Barbarossa area" and on special events of the troops demanded the application of the most brutal measures against the civilian population, the destruction of the partisans and the execution of all suspected persons. She predetermined the issue of the destruction of Soviet prisoners of war.
Thus, from the very beginning, the top of the Reich headed for the implementation of the most ruthless methods of war and the extermination of the Soviet (Russian) people.
For example, in the order of the commander of 4, the tank group of Colonel-General E. Göpner of 2 in May of 1941, it was said that the war against the Soviet Union “should aim to turn today's Russia into ruins, and therefore it should be fought with unheard-of cruelty. Each battle must be organized and conducted with an iron will, aimed at the ruthless and complete destruction of the enemy. No mercy, first of all, to the representatives of today's Russian Bolshevik system. ”
In terms of the colonization of the countries of Eastern Europe (the “Ost” plan), special attention was paid to the dismemberment and liquidation of the Soviet state. The physical destruction of most of the population in the occupied territory was envisaged, the rest was subject to slavery or eviction. The Hitlerite elite, carrying out the plans of the masters of the West, set the goal of "smashing the Russians as a people", physically destroying the Russian intelligentsia as the bearer of national culture. At the same time it was planned to carry out the merciless plundering of the public and personal wealth of the Soviet people.