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German Army vs. Soviet Partisans
German Army Eastern Front Weaknesses
Operational Art in Defeat
80 pages; 7 chapters and 3 appendixes
German Army Eastern Front Weaknesses is an e-book that describes two
aspects of German Army Eastern Front weaknesses. Because of poor
generalship and the sabotage of traitors, the German Army on the Eastern
Front had many weaknesses. The army’s manpower was too thinly spread out
over too much Soviet space. In addition, the German Army had not practiced
withdrawals and combat retreats sufficiently to be adept at them. Besides blaming
Adolph Hitler for every mistake they made, German generals had to use a
number of obvious improvisations to preserve the army. German Army Eastern
Front Weaknesses provides interesting details on both accounts.
"In early 1942, the commander in chief of German Army Group Center, in agreement with the army chief of staff, began to
entreat Hitler. The German commander wanted to be permitted to move the salient near Rzhev back to what he called “a
more flexible position.” He claimed that he wanted to create reserves for the expected Russian winter offensive and to be
better prepared than during the previous winter. He said that in spite of his knowledge that German forces in the salient
area had already assembled adequate mobile reserves.
Hitler, suspecting that the General Staff, commander and a number of high officers of Army Group Center were traitors
who had frequently sabotaged German war efforts and were plotting to kill him, was mistrustful (See QuikManeuvers.com’s
Traitors of the Third Reich and Inside the German General Staff). Hitler repeatedly refused the constant entreaties of
men he did not trust, quite harshly. He saw in their request only “the softness of his generals” who, “always wanted to
operate backwards.” He finally forbade any further repetition of the proposal as he wondered if they were plotting another
sabotage. He contacted the loyal and very competent commander of the German 9th Army, General Model, who assured
him that his forces could hold the salient and were anxious to “pile up Soviet corpses.”
In the late fall of 1942, General Halder, the chief of staff of the army (OKH), also a traitor who frequently insulted Hitler to
his face, broached the subject again in connection with the basic plan of the general staff. But again Hitler refused. He
reminded Halder of the true purpose of the Rzhev Salient. “I want the reds to think that I need this salient for my next
offensive. It offers a very favorable point of departure for my next offensive operations. It will also draw the Red Army to
attack our defenses there.” At about the same time as that conversation, a massive operation orchestrated and led by
Marshal Georgi Kostantinovich Zhukov, one of the Soviet Union's military heroes, was unleashed on the Rzhev Salient. It
was Operation Mars, a major offensive that formed the centerpiece of Soviet strategic efforts in the fall of 1942.
Because Hitler and a few loyal generals were ready, Mars proved a monumental setback to the brutal and savage
communists. Fought in bad weather and on impossible terrain, the ambitious offensive faltered despite spectacular initial
success in some sectors: Zhukov kept sending in more troops and tanks only to see them decimated by the entrenched
Sent against the strongly prepared German defensive works, Mars was a major failure of Zhukov's command. Yet, both
during and after the war, that failure was masked from public view by Stalin’s government.
For three grueling weeks, Operation Mars was one of the most agonizing episodes in Soviet military history. That failed
offensive was marked by hundreds of mounds of Soviet dead and wounded. The total losses to the Red Army from
Operation Mars were estimated at a staggering 350,000 men. The appalling Soviet carnage that occurred in the forests,
mud, fog, freezing temperatures and raging snow storms of western Russia shocked even the bloodthirsty Soviets. At the
same time it proved that Hitler’s instincts about the Rzhev Salient were correct."
Excerpt from German Army Eastern Front Weaknesses
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