Barbarossa and three links

Today, 70 years ago, Unternehmen Barbarossa began; the invasion of the Soviet Union.

I actually prepared a topic on Barbarossa (without this date in mind), but hold it back till I've got less concerns about the ability of readers to misinterpret it (political correctness and all).

Being rather tired and exhausted, I'm not really in the mood for blogging.
Thus, I'll simply drop some good links:

"War in practice" , a review of the Boer Wars from a theoretical perspective (by someone who participated in the 2nd Boer War). It shows nicely the military though in the early 20th century, is surprisingly accurate in its assessments and it also confirms the tactical limits, as were later demonstrated in the First World War.

Argus As 292, an aerial photo reconnaissance drone of Germany, WW2 period. Photos here.
I looked a bit more about early remote control and autopilot drone developments, there are more than I indicated in an earlier post. It seems as if there was a huge deal of activity in the area around 1917, followed by rather anecdotal use in the inter-war period and then a new fashion during WW2. Developments happened in all industrialised major powers.

The War Nerd Surveys The Baltic Armies is about how NATO bullied (?) the Baltic members into creating armies not meant for their national defence, but as specialised auxiliary contingents for military adventures.

These links were meant as recommendations.



  1. Heh. Love the alternative C3 interpretation in "War in Practice" - courage, common-sense, and cunning.

  2. What will happen if the readers misinterpret?

    I have heard such speculations a hundred times in different fora, what if hitler had done this or that military sensible thing while waging war? The bottom line is that a sensible hitler would not have started the bloody thing in the first place. War is seldom a calculated throughly thought out bid to win a net gain, it often happens due to powerful people being crazy or behaving in a way that limits the end result to a loose-loose sitution. The worst of the lot go out with a bang that brings lots of people to their grave.

    Hitlers party won the german street fight about being the most brutal socialist, the german communist lost that fight but had they won it would probably have been about as brutal but perhaps with rallied agression towards another power then Sovjet Russia. The only good outcome would have been political victory by a leader selected by a constructive political climate were the brutal movements were supressed by police and people rallied around constructive ideals.

    Such constructive idelas could even have included a rebuilt wehrmacht with a realy good outcome. For me did the Molotov-Ribentrof pact show that stalin Sovjet had agressive intents. Had stalin followed thru with that on his own and a Germany withouth "lebensaruam" ambitions had saved east europe we would have had a history with a german leader as "Churchill" and Churchill might have gone down in the history book fotnotes as a drunken supporter of the failed colonialism.

    An operation Barbarossa leading to a german vitory would have needed to adress several issues. The major issue is breaking the enemies will to resist. The policy of treating councured enemies as slaves or worse led to resistance, probems with protecting logistics and a tougher enemie to beat. A wehrmacht supported by a political power intent on helping ex sovjet people to create opportunities for trade after winning the war would have saved lots of manpower, might even have provided additional troops and would have had an easier to break the Sovjet forces.

    The ideal allie for an alternative history Barbarossa would have been USA. Not for arms but for trucks, rolling rail stock, clothes, food and oil needed for a faster operation with support for the civilian population. Operational aim should have been to encircle Moscow to size up the most important Sovjet logistics and administrative center and then preassure with strategic bombing of railway and power infrastructure to get the rest of the Sovjet power to crumble.

    Winning the war while being bogged down by hitlers agenda is a lot harder. The easiest way to do that that does not assume super intelligent and still hitler following commanders is probably wish fulfillment with drawings of year 1945 wepons and their correct tactical use time capsule transported as wonder waffen to 1937. It would be a hardware centric mind game that misses the core problems that made germany have a mad fight to total exhaustion against most of the industrialised world.

  3. I was actually only looking at theoretical strategy/operational art considerations.

    Your view on the topic is part of why I hold the text back. Few people shed all the dead weight and are willing + able to focus on one aspect of a topic.

    Btw, nazis were no socialists. They usurped "sozialist" in name, but only in name. There was no ideological similarity at all.
    I'm aware that many right wing propagandists in the US work hard on mixing socialists and nazis into a whole for fearmongering purposes, but this blog is by a German author and I won't give such nonsense a pass.

  4. I assume that strategic and operational art do take the battlefield conditions seriously. The eastern front is famous for cold winters and mud that shapes what can be done and when it can be done.

    How the political goals shape the handling of civilians create another kind of road conditions that limit the operations. During the historical operation Barbarossa were manpower wasted at harassing or worse that created problems that locked up manpower for protecting supply lines and creating a friction that bogged down operations. Remove that friction and the wermacht reach and power is increased and lots opportunities ought to be possible.

    I did get carried away in storytelling to kind of set the stage for a more palatable operation barbarossa that opens up possibilities.

    But both the real historical political boundaries and slightly worse were every technological opportunity is used to its fullest potential give to depressing thoughts for me to feel good about analyzing them on my extremely simple hobby level.

    I am myself more into figuring out things about the political and economical conditions that lead to changes in how society works and behaves including military capability and use. I think a little about this to better understand physical resurce issues.

    Regarding political movements is my main criteria what they do in reality and who they associate with. Some ideas have positive connotations during their time and is used by manny oragnizations and are then defined as only beloninging to the winner while the loser were not true to the ideals. Arguing who were and are true socialists, nazists or fascists is quite futile and someone calling themselve something positive like democratic might mean nothing.

    I am quite sure that people who want corporativistic states with party officials as leaders on every level, a strong leader on top of the party, who sort people into classes and are ok with violence and murder as a political tool has a lot in common.

    My view on mixining nazis and socialists is from a Swedish perspective and it is built on our history, the modern conflict between neo nazists and autonomus left that often call themselves socialist and on top of that various historical anecdotes about how nazi Germany and Sovjet were run. I know that there is a large difference in practical policies between social democrates and socialists that call themselves communists. In Sweden were this divide inluenced by Finlands civil war wich made our social democrates adapt some policies that I find to be good ones that gives room for other peoples way of life. I grew up with what I could call state propaganda that everything good had come from the social democrate party who brought us economical development, equality and peace. They distanced themselves from the bad sides of socialism while having very near realtions to rough regimes such a Cuba. We also had almost complete silence on issues that could irritate the Sovjet Union like there having been free baltic states. I were fortunate to have some free thinking teachers including one who had come from Estonia but many children were thought that there were two equal systems of governence, one shown by West Germany and one shown by East Germany. We had kind and benign socialism in Sweden but step it up a little in the bad directions and it would have become horrible.

    This do of course not hinder evil people and people in their organizations to do some very brilliant things that are interesting to analyze. They would not be such a problem if there were dumbs as rock...

    This blog do contain some realy interesting thoughs and its sad that some lines of thought dont get followed to their conclusions.

    I am truly sorry for making the problem worse, I might have done it again now. :-/

  5. This Aufklärungsgerät 'Fernfeuer' As 292 is way cool ! is there anything that Germany did not invent decades before everyone else !

    I think Germany already had TV cameras for the occasion of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Sven, was there any attempt to put TV cameras on remote controlled crafts ? (and get live video feed!)


  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hs_293
    check the "D" version


  7. Ah, Barbarossa the sad result of Adolf's Attention Deficit Disorder and obsession with Russia. Strategically, a fatal mistake, but to a land-centric mind-set of a continental European, totally understandable, and much more entertaining to the senior German service (the Wehrmacht) than a long-term naval blockade of England which should have been Job 1.

    Fascism is inherently corrupt, and the failure of the Nazis to rationalize their procurement processes for the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht sealed their fate. Erhard Milch who had run Lufthansa, was put in charge of Luftwaffe procurement, and along with Adolf's input, proceeded to run the procurement process into the ground, as he contended with the prima donnas like Willi Messerchmidt and wasted time with ill-thought projects like the He-177.