Could the Germans have taken Moscow?

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

When more than 3 million German and German-allied troops surged across the border on June 22, 1941, many expected Operation Barbarossa to be a walkover:

“Bolshevism will collapse as a house of cards,” predicted Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. An embarrassingly large number of U.S. and British experts agreed, mindful of then-Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s officer corps purges and the Red Army’s incompetent performance against tiny Finland in the 1939 to 1940 Winter War. An unending series of Soviet military disasters in the summer and fall of 1941 — including the killing or capture of 650,000 Soviet soldiers at Kyiv — only reinforced that opinion.

But the red banner flying over the Reichstag in May 1945 proved the experts wrong. And a new computer wargame helps explains why.


The game is a number cruncher’s dream, tracking everything from the number of operable tanks and trucks, to the combat and administrative competence of individual generals, to whether sufficient raw materials are reaching arms factories.


Battlefield success in the game depends on factors like morale, combat experience, troop fatigue, and the skill of their commanders. Because the Germans have better troops and commanders in 1941, they can chew up the Soviet armies, forcing the Soviets to hastily commit unprepared reserves, which in turn get destroyed in a vicious cycle.


Compared to the lavishly equipped U.S. Army of World War II, the German and Soviet armies faced a logistical nightmare. Although the United States and Britain held an abundance of Detroit-made trucks to haul supplies, the Germans and Soviets were always short of vehicles, and the ones they had were quickly devoured by Russia’s primitive roads. While armored units were fully motorized, Germany and Russia’s poor infantry relied on horses to haul artillery and supplies. For them, World War II was more like World War I (what historian Omer Bartov has called the “de-modernization” of the German army in the East) and only a short step away from French leader Napoléon Bonaparte’s ill-fated invasion of Russia in 1812.

Hence, both sides on the Eastern Front relied on railroads to move troops and supplies. Armies tended to move along routes where there were railroads to supply them, but even then, logistics were difficult. Compared to Western Europe and North America, rail lines in Russia were sparse and wider than European tracks, which meant the Germans had to re-lay them as well as repair Russian scorched-earth damage to rail yards.


The game features a detailed logistical model that tracks supplies by the tons. (Yes, the tons, although the computer does most of the bean counting). Fuel, ammunition, and food are transported along rail lines to depots, where they are distributed by truck and horse-drawn wagon (and a limited capacity for aerial resupply). But railroads have a limited capacity; the rail lines actually change color on the map as their capacity is quickly overloaded. That leaves trucks, but there aren’t enough of them. And the more trucks that travel through Russia’s forests and swamps, the more trucks that break down. (Yes, the game tracks broken-down and repaired vehicles.)

This is devastating for all mechanized units, for which gasoline is life. But especially so for the Germans in 1941, who relied on their fast-moving panzers to encircle and pin the Russian armies until the foot-slow infantry moved in the for kill. Without gas, the tanks can’t perform their bold maneuvers.

This isn’t a problem at the start of the game as the Germans begin their offensive from well-stocked bases in East Prussia, Poland, and Romania.


The biggest question: Could the Germans have taken Moscow if they concentrated all of their forces on a single knife-like thrust to the Soviet capital? War in the East 2 suggests this strategy would have been a disaster: There simply wasn’t the rail and truck capacity to mass forces for a Moscow-only offensive.

The game is Gary Grigsby’s War in the East 2, from Matrix Games.


  1. Bomag says:

    Crevald makes this point in Supplying War: Logistics From Wallenstein To Patton.

    “Amateurs think tactics; professionals think logistics.”

  2. Adar says:

    Stalin had 14 million trained reservists. Hitler had almost none. The Soviet army as it numbered in Jun 1941 was destroyed. Troops were just replaced. German troops were not so easily replace.

    According to Lucas, in the Soviet offensive to save Moscow in December 1841 the intention was not merely to save Moscow but to destroy the German Army Group Center, and it nearly did.

  3. Dan Kurt says:

    Of course the Germans could have taken Moscow. Read Stolfi’s book Hitler’s Panzers East.

    Also, the Germans could have taken Stalingrad had a competent commander been in command instead of the dithering incompetent Friedrich Paulus; he was a fine staff office but not a suitable commander. Read Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin: The Eastern Front, 1941-1945 by John Mosier.

  4. VXXC says:

    I applaud someone besides soldiers appreciating the importance of logistics.

    On the Moscow drive, I just finished The Viaz’ma Catastrophe, 1941: The Red Army’s Disastrous Stand against Operation Typhoon, by Lev Lopukhovsky.

    [His father died there. He spent decades in the archives trying to find out what happened and find his father's body. He did not find his father. He did write a marvelous book. He had to really work to get the info from the archives under both the USSR and even now. He started in the 1960s and published in 2009.]

    He makes the point that the Smolensk and following Viaz’ma encirclements — Kyiv was first one — did in fact slow down and bog down the Panzers enough that their strength was 50% or less by the time they switched from encircling the Red Army for the drive on Moscow and they just ran out of energy, men, tanks and good weather. It was far from just the winter. It was not only the roads and the poor logistics.

    To answer your question, had they concentrated all on Moscow instead of also grabbing Ukraine, is difficult; they didn’t. There’s also delaying the operation several crucial weeks for the sideshow in Yugoslavia. If we want to what-if: given the shock that both Stalin and the entire USSR system had at the outset a main drive for Moscow in the summer, right from the go, instead of putting it off until October, might well have worked, in terms of getting to Moscow. One can also point out that Napoleon got to Moscow, and it availed him not.

    Steven Kotkin, a historian I respect said the final verdict of the Eastern War is the same as 1812: the regime remained intact and marshalled the Russian Empire’s huge resources to final victory. He made the same point that by 1942 the seasoned and brilliant German Army of 1941 no longer existed. They were all casualties. From 1942 on those are new soldiers, often green, as were their lower-level leaders.

    Watch Stalin at War — Stephen Kotkin.

  5. Cassander says:

    German power fell off more as a function of distance than time. If Moscow had been 500 km or 750 km from the German start line instead of 1000, it falls. But 1000 was just a bit too far, and there’s probably nothing they could have realistically done to change that. Focusing more on Moscow leaves the Germans with more exposed flanks and more Russians escaping to fight against Typhoon.

    Dan Kurt, Paulus wasn’t great, but he was trying to go nearly another 1000 km on top of the first lunge, with an army that had a lot more wear and tear on it than it had a year previously. And taking the city would have done little to improve the strategic situation he was in, very far from home on the end of a long tether, surrounded by more and more enemies.

  6. VXXC says:

    Cassander, I’m not going to really disagree about Typhoon. I am saying that the initial focus of Barbarossa had as it’s main objective of Moscow their chances of taking it would have been greatly improved. Whether that wins the war is another matter.

    Hitler had his Generals go after Kiev, Moscow, and Leningrad and seize broad economic objectives, and by the time they really take up the drive to Moscow it’s not only October but the Heer is greatly attrited.

    From David Glantz:

    “[Barbarossa] the operation’s objectives were to defeat and destroy the Soviet Union’s Red Army, seize the cities of Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev, overthrow the Soviet Union’s communist government, and exploit Soviet territory for the benefit of Germany. Plan (Fall) Barbarossa’s most important assumption was that the Soviet Union would collapse if the Wehrmacht could destroy the bulk of the Red Army in the border region of the western Soviet Union, specifically, west of the Western Dvina and Dnepr rivers.

    >>The plan’s most significant flaw was the sharp disagreement between Hitler and many of his generals regarding Barbarossa’s objectives, specifically, the German Fü hrer’s fixation on economic objectives and attacking on a broad front to destroy the bulk of the Red Army in the field and his generals’ concern for seizing Moscow in a rapid advance characterized by a series of spectacular encirclement battles (Kesselschlacht).”

  7. VXXC says:

    And as far as their lunge in 1942 with 6th Army especially their strategic picture and overreach was madness. They overstretched themselves and their flanks to a fatal degree, inviting disaster, and it came.

    I agree with Guderian, Hitler’s orders came from the last person he spoke to, and the entire time he is unable to prioritize what’s important. It happened in 1940 as well when he let the British escape, halting because he was afraid of exposed flanks, or perhaps because Goering told him he could destroy the British from the air, or perhaps he wanted to give them a “golden bridge” to escape and negotiate with England.

    I don’t entirely agree with postwar Generals blaming it all on Hitler — when Stalin died the Russian Generals did the same — but the records are actually clear that both were interfering fools.

    Stalin just learned, and Hitler didn’t.

  8. Gavin Longmuir says:

    A more interesting puzzle is the Red Army’s prior abysmal performance against mighty Finland. Why did Stalin make such a dog’s breakfast of that campaign?

    One explanation is that the particular Red Army forces thrown against Finland were definitely B-team, and were from southern parts of the USSR and unprepared for that kind of winter warfare. But, if true, that would raise the further question of why Stalin would have sent in the B-team and endured the resulting embarrassment?

    Now we know that Stalin was in the process of moving forces to invade German-held territory when Hitler beat him to the punch with Barbarossa, one wonders if Stalin deliberately sacrificed thousands of men in Finland, just so that Hitler would underestimate the Red Army. Certainly, Stalin would not have shed a tear for the loss of so many of his citizen-soldiers.

  9. VXXC says:

    Gavin: “Now we know that Stalin was in the process of moving forces to invade German-held territory when Hitler beat him to the punch with Barbarossa…”

    We don’t know that. In fact it’s probably not the case, the Red Arm wasn’t even mobilized, and the Soviet Troops on 22 June weren’t allowed to return fire at first. The Artillery didn’t even return fire until 10 AM. The attack began at 0300. They were under orders not to return fire because Stalin and STAVKA considered it provocations and knew they were in no shape for war. When the initial disasters unfolded Stalin had a breakdown and was muttering, “this is the end,” until Zhukov went to his dacha and manned him up. The USSR was caught not mobilized and indeed paralyzed. That’s not a war footing.

    Finland was a disaster because they’d purged the Army. It was a study in incompetence. There was no A team to send.

  10. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Viktor Suvorov has written a number of books based on Soviet-era archives (e.g. The Chief Culprit, 2008) making a convincing case that both Germany and the USSR were planning to attack each other. But Germany got their blow in first.

    Per Suvorov, the reason the initial German attack was so effective was that the USSR forces were already on the move for their own planned attack on Germany. The USSR forces were out of their defensive positions, in the open, separated from their supply trains, etc. In short, the USSR forces were caught with their pants down, and could not react to the initial German attack.

    Apparently, Suvorov’s assessment is now recognized by many historians as having merit.

  11. Cassander says:

    VXXC, my point is that I don’t think the initial goal makes much of a difference. The logistical situation only permitted so much manpower and supplies to move towards Moscow, and by the time they got to 900 km, those men were going to be exhausted and low on supplies. They sent men to Leningrad and Kiev in part because they couldn’t be sent to Moscow. Or, at least, if you send them that way, then you leave your flanks exposed and end up leaving at least as many men behind guarding them, which is what happened with the Stalingrad offensive.

    Trying to destroy the Soviet Army at the outset, as close as possible to Germany, was the right move. The trouble was the Red Army was a lot bigger than they thought and, more importantly, more able to hold together despite tremendous losses than anyone predicted.

  12. Sam J. says:

    There’s a definitive answer to all this based on more recent information. First I believe Viktor Suvorov completely. I’ve read most of his books and he is obsessive about logistics and logistics all things being equal make or break a war. Suvorov is very convincing.

    And if you don’t believe Suvorov how about Hitler himself? I happened to run across this recording a few days ago. Apparently this is the only recording of Hitler’s normal voice and in part of it he says,”…If somebody had told me a nation could start with 35,000 tanks I’d have said “you are crazy”…”

    Hitler’s verification of the vast amount of armaments that were for attack shows that Stalin meant to attack.

    There’s something I may have pointed out here before but if not it’s one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things that broke Hitler and the Germans. I read most of David Irving’s books and his work is excellent. In the book on Hermann Göring I read a a passage that immediately raised a big flashing red light. When Hitler was slowed down at Stalingrad Hitler called in Göring and asked him if he could deliver so many tons of supplies to Stalingrad and he said he could. In Irvings book he says that Göring and his aid KNEW this was not true. That there was no way possible they could deliver this amount of supplies and Göring lied because he was afraid of Hitler. This is why Hitler insisted they stay. He was told supplies were getting there that never made it. THAT is why Stalingrad was lost. Not because the General sucked, not because Hitler was an idiot, it was because less than 25% (I think this number is correct it’s probably close) of the amount of supplies guaranteed were actually delivered. At the end they couldn’t even defend the airfields to get more in because they didn’t have the material to do so. They ran out of food, fuel and bullets. So Goring lying to Hitler is one of the major reasons that the Germans lost WWII.

    If you read about Göring you realize he was a huge f__k up. Hitler let him get away with so much because Göring was a hero and Hitler looked up to him. I think he assumed a Man like this would do all he could properly but he didn’t. He really messed up a lot of things and did not get the right supply of planes needed in time. He spent a lot of time stealing paintings and art from the places the Germans conquered and in his hunting lodge.

    Later in the war when Speer and others took over logistics they made a massive push and greatly increased weapons supplies and development very rapidly but…not fast enough it was too late.

    Look at this excellent plane they put together in record time. It was a transport plane they cobbled together from a massive glider project. It had wheels all along it’s lower body so it could land on fields even when they had ditches across them. Think if they had a couple thousand of these earlier in the war. Supplies would not have been a problem.

  13. Goober says:

    Could they have taken Moscow?

    Doubtful. The Red Army stopped them and then proceeded to pound them hard at places like Rzhev.

    But even if they did, so what? The USSRs resources and military might didn’t emanate from Moscow, and the Germans had made it very clear that this was a war of extermination. Taking Moscow would likely have done very little in the grand scheme of defeating the Red Army. That’s a whole different ball of wax, and Germany simply wasn’t going to be able to do that.

  14. VXXC says:

    I’m not going to disagree with the above about Moscow falling = win the war.

    I will disagree that Stalin was planning to attack Hitler, no. That they had vast amounts of equipment was simply because they had vast amounts of equipment, and too far forward. The Soviet Army was not mobilized at the time of the war, that’s the clincher. They were no more going to attack Germany than France or Poland was going to attack Germany.

    They were in an idiotic posture of too much too far forward but not mobilized so as to not “provoke” the Germans. There’s also the problem of WW2 thinking across the board with every nation that first encounters the Germans: the Poles, the French, the Russians, and even the English were thinking in WW1 terms of mobility and troop dispositions.

  15. VXXC says:

    Cassander, I’m not really disagreeing with you. Moscow may have well been just too far. But the German effort in the East was strategic dissipation from the start.

  16. Gavin Longmuir says:

    VXXC: “I will disagree that Stalin was planning to attack Hitler, no.”

    What is the basis of your disagreement? It is a genuine question.

    I was impressed with the thoroughness of Viktor Suvorov’s books — very Russian, lots of detail. He shows that after Stalin invaded Poland (in concert with Hitler), the USSR built strong defensive lines close to the line of division. But then shortly before Barbarossa, the Red Army started to move out of those defensive positions into salients ready to attack into German-occupied Poland. That was why the Red Army was so exposed to the initial German assault, and so easily over-run.

    If you think Suvorov is wrong, it would be helpful to explain why. After all, none of us were there at the time. We all have to rely on information from others.

  17. VXXC says:


    1. The Soviet Army was not mobilized in the summer of 1941. This above all.

    2. Defensive lines and troop concentrations far too forward and easily encircled but still defensive.

    3. Despite evidence of a troop buildup on the German side they still do not mobilize.

    4. Even the very night of the attack the Soviet units not caught napping only were so because their commanders disregarded orders.

    5. The actual orders were not to respond to provocations – shooting by the Germans – and the artillery units on the border don’t shoot back until 10 AM, 7 hours into the attack.

    6. Stalin and STAVKA are both at first convinced this is a provocation then stunned and paralyzed for days when the debacle unfolds. This is not an offensive mindset.

    7. The Soviet units aren’t given any offensive orders, indeed few orders at all until shortly before the attack and only the better Commanders stand their units to, see the declas RU links below. This is simply not an offensively minded army.

    8. The Wargames that summer are mostly about defending on RU soil with counterattacks, had they been competent to carry out the plan sound..they were not.

    9. The USSR is well aware it’s not in any shape to attack Germany, or defend and was in the midst of a post Finland [and post purge] reorganization.

    10. Suvorov apparently tells a good tale, but that’s all it is.

    11. Yes the Soviets had huge amounts of material, they’d been preparing for war for a decade. But that is not planning an offensive. It’s an arms buildup in response to foreign buildups and arms races beginning with the Italians in the 1920s, followed by the Japanese, then the Soviets, then of course the Germans, too late France, almost too late England.

    12. RU declas link on the first days. This is not an army prepping for invasion.

    (Google will translate Russian.)

  18. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Thanks for responding, VXXC. I was hoping for something more tangible.

    We all have to rely on reports from others — and we have to recognize that those reports were written by human beings with axes to grind. During WWII, the image of Mother Russia being ravished by the evil Germans served the USSR well — lots of US material aid and a lack of Western criticism for its occupation of Eastern Europe. Perhaps a case of Stalin making lemonade out of the lemons Germany had handed him?

    I find Suvorov’s historical researches to be quite convincing — more than the older post-WWII “innocent Russia surprised by German invasion” tale. But that is merely my current personal assessment, and I try to keep an open mind for additional information.

  19. Sam J. says:

    “10. Suvorov apparently tells a good tale, but that’s all it is…”

    I totally disagree and all the things you raised Suvorov covers. In his books he said defensive fortifications were actually razzed in places. They spent next to no money on fortifications for defense.

    “11. Yes the Soviets had huge amounts of material, they’d been preparing for war for a decade. But that is not planning an offensive…”

    And Suvorov covers this. He goes into absolute minute detail on what “kinds” of weapons Stalin built. They wee offensive weapons. I mean if you’re all for defense why do you (i don’t remember the exact number but it was huge) raise 400,000 paratroopers and outfit them all???

    I don’t think you read the same books as I did by Suvorov cause he covers all your objections as if he knew you or someone were going to make them.

    The Russians failed because all their plans were for attack. Most all their equipment was moved up but all the preparations had not been done yet.

    Stalin was known to kill off anyone who didn’t follow orders or did things on his own initiative so everything fell apart when the Germans attacked they hunkered down and waited for orders. These people were terrorized for decades. They were not going to do anything without orders and the only orders they had were to attack Germany and that was not happening.

    “I find Suvorov’s historical researches to be quite convincing — more than the older post-WWII ‘innocent Russia surprised by German invasion’ tale…”

    You’re not wrong at all. The detail is very deep. We should note that Suvorov’s job in the USSR was to analyze just what type equipment and logistics were needed for wars. So he knew exactly what he was talking about ad since it was his job he had access to this type analysis done during WWII.

    I’ll take the word of guy whose job is to plan wars any day over a county full of historians.

  20. Sam J. says:

    “9. The USSR is well aware it’s not in any shape to attack Germany…”

    They had 35,000 tanks and I can’t remember how many attack aircraft. Vast large numbers of aircraft also.

  21. TRX says:

    “If you read about Göring you realize he was a huge f__k up.”

    Goering was a legitimate war hero, a decorated fighter pilot who took over the unit formerly commanded by Richthofen. He was with Hitler at the failed putsch in 1923. He moved in high society and industry; if you needed something done, Hermann knew who to talk to. When tested at Nuremberg, he was given an intelligence test and scored 138 despite being in severe drug withdrawal… and that was the problem; he’d been a morphine addict since the early 1920s, and heroin, and methamphetamine, and anything else that gave him a buzz. By the time WWII started he was probably only intersecting with reality-as-we-know-it on rare occasions.

    So… given the Luftwaffe command structure, if Goering wasn’t operating up to snuff, neither was the Luftwaffe, at least from a strategic perspective. Maybe in his drug haze he really thought he could bring Britain to its knees or supply Stalingrad, but he let his mouth write checks his subordinates couldn’t cash.

  22. VXXC says:

    Suvorov is a defector and sang for his supper.

    If someone can show me the USSR mobilized in 1941 I might begin to bend a bit, but that is the clincher. Not to mention being caught flatfooted. There simply was no offensive mindset.

    Vast numbers of tanks, most of which were quite outclassed or obsolete.

    Offensive weapons ≠ planned invasion. They’re just better weapons to have for maneuver warfare. I mean here tanks and aircraft, and of course the Soviets had offensive doctrine and offensive plans- most armies do. Defense alone is merely prolonging your defeat. Austria, the most defensive of powers, had plans and frequently did switch to the offense when they were ready.

    Logistics in shambles because of the purges.

    I just don’t believe it, and I don’t believe him. I’m going to be honest and admit I haven’t read him, and don’t plan to read him. I simply will not believe a defector singing for his supper.

    Simply a wild bit of revisionist history, apparently well told.

  23. Gavin Longmuir says:

    “I’m going to be honest and admit I haven’t read him, and don’t plan to read him.”

    That seems rather closed-minded.

  24. Sam J. says:

    “Suvorov is a defector and sang for his supper.”

    What kind of person sings for his supper “off key”? No one else had this perspective. Why should he, defector or not? A good defector tells them what they expect to hear.

    “I just don’t believe it, and I don’t believe him. I’m going to be honest and admit I haven’t read him, and don’t plan to read him. I simply will not believe a defector singing for his supper.”

    Well there it is.

    “What’s behind door number three?”


    “Wait, we do have something behind door number three.”

    “No, there’s nothing there, and I refuse to look.”

  25. Sam J. says:

    “Offensive weapons ≠ planned invasion.”

    Lots of caskets and piles of bodies drained of blood ≠ vampires, but that’s the way to bet.

  26. VXXC says:

    I am glad the man has his partisans.

    Given the limited amount of time in life I can’t read every book, I must pick and choose. I am choosing not to enter this particular rabbit hole as I have no reason to do so.

    At times we must all close our minds, there simply isn’t room or time for everything.

    If it helps you in some way to believe that Stalin was about to invade Germany through Poland do believe it, I simply can’t justify the investment of time reading a case, Suvorov’s case, that I have no ability to independently refute nor time nor interest to do so, and I’m honest enough to admit I don’t believe it for reasons discussed.

    Good hunting though!

  27. Gavin Longmuir says:

    You are right, VXXC, that there is limited time in life and lots of topics we each can never follow up on. But it might be reasonable for us not to adopt such fixed ideas about topics we have decided not to investigate.

    I have been told that historians now take Suvorov’s claims quite seriously. After all, it seems hardly surprising to assert that the USSR as well as Germany had no intention of honoring the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact indefinitely.

    It is fairly clear that documents from the USSR in the early 1950s when Stalin was still alive are likely to follow the Party line, regardless of reality. It is also fairly clear that a defector who wanted to sing for his supper would have to have something more timely than a revised version of things that happened decades earlier. That certainly enters my assessment of which version is likely to be more credible.

    One thing that Suvorov pointed out was the parallels between Red Army activities prior to Barbarossa and prior to its (successful) attack on Japanese-held Manchuria at the end of WWII. But if you are not interested, you are not interested.

  28. Sam J. says:

    VXXC says,”…Given the limited amount of time in life I can’t read every book, I must pick and choose…”

    I fully get that. I had piles of books I don’t have time to read but viciously arguing that someone is wrong while refusing to actually see his arguments is not an honest way to debate anything. His book is really detailed and very convincing.

    You’re raising points in argument that he has covered.

    Finland I think the reasons the Finns did so well really is down to poor Russian leadership, because most Generals had been killed, and the terrain was totally against the Russian mass attack system. There were few paths to follow surrounded by swamps and the Finns hammered all paths they had to go through. The Russian system didn’t allow much on the way of innovation and worked great on large plains but failed in more obstructive structured terrain.

  29. Pseudo-Chrysostom says:

    Even if the Heer did take moscow, it would not have made much difference, since the Rus is large, and the leadership could simply move elsewhere.

    The main lynchpins propping up soviet communism were, to the north, lifesupport from American capitalism through the ports, and, to the south, supply of energy from the oilfields. Hitler was broadly correct in identifying the most economically valuable targets as also the most strategically valuable in the conflict (the collapse of transportation capacity and energy supply was itself a deathblow to the German warmachine); the devil of course, was in the details of how this idea would be expressed or prosecuted.

    In broad terms the 4th Reich would have been well served by not starting a war at all – or at least by letting Stalin start it first; which, though Churchill and FDR both wanted war with fascist Germany (the former due to simple narrow-minded rivalrousness vis-a-vis their brother nation, the latter due to ideological madness), would have made it much harder to drag America into the conflict. Who, right up to the very end, had a large and significant isolationist attitude amongst the population – whose existence was largely memory-holed by the post-war false consensus (‘we have always been at war with eastasia’). The Fuhrer really scored an own goal by making Teddy’s little cousin’s job so much easier by declaring war on America himself first.

    In narrow terms victory of the reich over russia would depend on dominant control of sea-lanes, at a bare minimum the areas around the North Aea to Arkanglesk, and around the Atlantic Ocean to Gibraltar, but of course the more the better. Either this strategic goal is emphasized and accomplished, or if not, you can just pack it up and forget about the whole business. The body that can provide for the security of traders prospers, while the body that cannot withers and dies. Attendant to and in similar spirit as this, another strategic lynchpin would be securing lines of commerce through the middle east, which would source oil and other key strategic resources, and also crucially linking up with the Japanese imperial sphere.

    On an operational level, there is something to be said of the general staff idea of successive encirclement battles; but on a scale more like years, rather than weeks or months. The Rus, as has been noted, is very big. A given state in western Europe is rather small; one or two good offenses alone are often enough to decisively settle the fate of a campaign there. So rather instead, you have your smashingly successful offensive movement close to your logistical network, which is then parlayed into miles of elastic defense-in-depth, which the enemy may waste himself on if he wishes, while you bring your logistical network further up, whereupon the cycle repeats. Chief amongst this of course being the logistical network of the people themselves. As von Mellinthin relates:

    “During the spring of 1943 I saw with my own eyes that German soldiers were welcomed as friends by Ukrainians and White Russians. Churches were reopened. The peasants who had been degraded to kolkhoz workers were hoping to get their farms back. The population was relieved to have got rid of the Secret Police and to be free of the constant fear of being sent to forced-labor camps in Siberia.”

    Have you ever wonder how Xenophon could lead the Ten Thousand across the breadth of the near orient back to Greece, or how Alexander could lead his Macedons through the breadth of the near orient going the other way, even though this was nominally ‘enemy territory’, and their ‘lines of supply’ were so impossibly far from home? The answer is simple: they paid for it – and the merchants and peasants of the land *brought the stuff to them*.

    (To a large degree, labouring caste men, and to a lesser extent merchant caste men, simply keep their heads down and bend whichever way the winds of power are blowing. This is a simple and easy strategy for ensuring the survival of a bloodline, which is why broad masses of most humanoid species are composed of this character. Playing for keeps, drawing lines in the sand, and never forgetting your enemies, are attitudes unique to priestly or warrior caste types. Which is also why men composed of latter constitutions are always ruling over men composed of the former.)

    This has long and always been an ancient tradition of war in the west, the unique feature of the western way of war – the aryan way of war, you might even say.

    The East India Company conquered the subcontinent because companies of merchant-adventurers wanted to trade; and in the course of provisioning security of trade, wound up following a chain of necessity that ended with the creation of the British Empire (but the one thing they failed to do was create a state church to go along with it; and lacking memetic sovereignty against the parliamentarian parasites back in London, lost control of that Empire to them – which in turn was quickly ran into the ground by those whig theocrats).

    And, that’s about the short of it.

  30. Bert says:


    I take it you’re a Jimian. Not saying you’re wrong, but there’s a decidedly Jimian vibe.

  31. Jim says:

    Pseudo-Chrysostem, I was with you until you started talking about the East India Company and especially the alleged “run down” of the British Empire. Bad news: London rules the world to this day. It merely went underground. Essentially, by the 70’s it had gained sufficient operational control over the United States to justify the dissolution of its military-industrial apparatus. Soldiers are slaves of the STATE and slavery is a form of debt, a cost center. Refer to Drucker; what do you do with cost centers? Outsource and offshore. USG (a federal corporation) simply “inherited” the British geopolitical position. The stature of the British parliament has been diminished, to be sure. From the perspective of international finance, it was merely a control mechanism to manage the “human capital” for profit and power. It’s needed less and less as common law slides into statute and statute slides into “executive order” and especially “regulation”. Common law reflects natural law and is based on millennia of precedent; statute can be arbitrary insofar as your citizenship lies under the authority of statute; executive order and regulation are enacted by simple fiat. Not that this matters to most. Pretty soon the human capital will be functionally replaced by computers and no longer will overhead walk on two legs. After all, we must return to conformity with nature.

  32. Jim says:

    For those who doubt that USG is literally, not figuratively, a federal corporation, see 28 U.S.C. § 3002.15. They call it United States or U.S., or “the” United States or “the” U.S.

  33. Sam J. says:

    Pseudo-Chrysostom says, “Even if the Heer did take Moscow, it would not have made much difference, since the Rus is large, and the leadership could simply move elsewhere.”

    “In narrow terms victory of the Reich over Russia would depend on dominant control of sea-lanes… Atlantic Ocean to Gibraltar…”

    “…linking up with the Japanese imperial sphere…”

    I’m inclined to disagree with the first point because of the other two you mention. “If” Hitler had taken Moscow it might have spurred the Japanese to attack. This would split Soviet forces and possibly cut off a majority of supplies from the US. THAT would change things a lot. Possibly leaving more manpower and supplies for Hitler to take Gibraltar and that would really hurt the allies and the Russians. It could also lead to Hitler taking the middle east or at the least being able to have as much oil as he wanted. The Arabs were not entirely unfavorable to the Nazis in the first place. Conquering them would not be necessary.

    The whole aspect changes. Instead of being tied down in Russia the Nazis would now be driving events.

  34. Pseudo-Chrysostom says:


    American supply lines were not going to Russia through Siberia in the first place though, so Japanese deciding to send their troops into the trackless tundra might makes waves in the Lügenpresse, but the Soviets could all but ignore it.

    “The Arabs were not entirely unfavorable to the Nazis in the first place. Conquering them would not be necessary.”

    Yes, that was part of the implication. There were a lot of neutral countries around the world that one could trade with, the existence of which being something else largely memory-holed by post-war tastemakers. As a truism, production of value depends on security of value. And Anglo escorts were just as liable to turning into Anglo pirates in order to encourage another party to “see things their way.” It’s all about being able to ensure your protection racket can elbow out other people’s protection rackets.

    “the alleged ‘run down’ of the British Empire”

    The theocratic Whigs maintained theocratic control over the gangrenous mass, as is particular to their character. In terms of material greatness and grandeur though, the empire absolutely did run down. A most emphatic illustration of the shift being their pathetic boondoggle in Afghanistan, a synchronistic rhyme with USG’s own symbolic death in the graveyard of empires.

    The EIC officers that went into India with the simple intention of making a profit found people appreciative of the stability they provided; the parliamentarians who went into India for “purely altruistic” motives “out of the goodness of their hearts” intending only to “improve the lot of their lesser brothers,” found people detesting and defiant of them.

    One of many subtle ironies furnished by modernity.

    To preside as king over a crumbling pile of rubble is a recurrent character of leftism throughout the course of history; to pull things down into rubble in order to be king.

  35. Sam J. says:

    Pseudo-Chrysostom says, “American supply lines were not going to Russia through Siberia in the first place.”

    Not true. And the rest I covered when I said that less pressure on the German Eastern front due to Japanese attack meant they could step up control of the Med. which would cut them off.

    “The U.S.S.R. attacked by Germany on June 22, 1941 and was declared eligible for lend-lease aid on November 7, 1941. Even before that date urgent supplies were sent to the Soviets with the help of 50 million dollars credit advanced by the United States government. The first convoy of American and British cargo ships steamed into the harbor of Murmansk…”

    Here’s a map with tonnage. If the Japanese had attacked the USSR from the east, well, you see the problems for the USSR on this map. (And notice I didn’t say Siberia specifically. I said “from the US”. That I specified Siberia you made up.)

  36. Pseudo-Chrysostom says:

    Thank you for the source. Yes, Japan not staying neutral with respect to Russia would have a big impact, by closing off the eastern ports, which is still in line with the broad strokes of the dynamics outlined, since, why would they or wouldn’t they?

    For one thing they would need to feel assured that open hostilities would not result in chaos for their logistical situation, which means the Arabia-India-Indochina corridor would need to be brought about in any case.

    More broadly, they would need to feel that Soviet Russia is a weak and weakening horse, not a strong and strengthening horse. The main argument for a drive to Moscow seems, unless im misrepresenting this, to be that it would be a symbolic gesture sufficient to motivate such an impression.

    On the other hand though, victories are victories, and defeats are defeats. Demonstrating the Soviets to be a weak horse would depend, naturally, on the capability of actually defeating their forces here or there, on carving up possessions of theirs here or there. And there is a whole continent’s worth of space for such acts. And more important that just isolated acts, is the implied trends of momentum. A victory that kills all momentum is just prelude to ultimate defeat. Which in turn again ties back into the importance of being able to interdict naval traffic to cut down their lines of supply.

    Of course above all trusting the Communists to stay uninvolved if the opportunity to pounce on a target they feel they can get away with victimizing in a moment of weakness is a fool’s errand, and that conflict is both inevitable and necessary when such types are involved; but that is a matter of diplomacy, unrelated to one set of marching orders over another.

    To put things in summary, I agree that arranging the involvement of Japan (and furthermore other countries as well) would have significant effect in the conflict; it is just that this is also an orthogonal matter to the utility of a drive to Moscow, which for the Heer would be throwing themselves to the brink of catastrophe, selling out with no way to capitalize on anything even if they succeed, for the sake of a target that would not be a significant aspect of the soviet’s warfighting capability anyways.

  37. Pseudo-Chrysostom says:

    So as to be clear, I think it would in fact be possible for Reich forces to take Moscow in many situations, if it was made a strategic priority; it is rather I do not think this would be a winning strategy.

  38. Sam J. says:

    I also want to be clear that I’m not necessarily saying that going straight for Moscow would be a good idea. As I said here,

    Goring flat out lied to Hitler about the transport capability that he had. I believe this led to the loss at Stalingrad.

    I think Hitler was overconfident about the gains in the USSR but on the other hand it’s hard to blame him for direct lies from Goring and getting rid of Goring would have been difficult. As noted he was a real war hero…at one time.

    I say this over and over. I really believe that the lie about supply that he could provide at Stalingrad and the subsequent loss from lack of supplies turned the war against Germany. The Generals on the front at Stalingrad were saying they needed to pull back but Hitler was adamant that they not. Now I haven’t read this nor have documentation for it but suppose the guys at the front are telling Hitler they have no supplies or that they see none is coming in so decide they can not hold out Goring is right there next to Hitler telling him,”plenty of supplies” but in actuality he was not able to deliver.

    People fault Hitler for not pulling back but “if” he would have known that the army had no food, no bullets, no gas, no supplies he might very well have made a good orderly retreat until supplies could be brought changing everything.

    If your interested in WWII it would be worth reading
    Goring by David Irving. It’s free on his site or used to be. I think where the supply situation is discussed and Goring’s lie is in that book but it is possible it’s in David Irving’s “Hitler” book but I’m 90% sure it’s in the Goring book. You’ll see where I’m taking about.

    David Irving is I think one of the best if not the best WWII historian and his books read well also. He uses a lot of first person and unique data that he digs and digs for to get an accurate picture.

    Of course all of this is just wild speculation as there were so many things going on all over as the whole world was involved in one way or another. So I’m just speculating like everyone else.

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