Operation Barbarossa - Planning

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Gerard, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I've been reading a pamphlet from the US, Dept of the Army pamphlet 20-261a entitled "The German campaign in Russia - Planning and Operations (1940-42)".

    it deals with the planning of the Operation as well as an account of the Strategic situation as seen by OKH during 1941 and 1942.

    It mentions that on July 21st Hitler asked Walther Von Baruchitsch to submit plans for a campaign against the Soviet Union. He was to take into account the following factors:

    "The Concentration of Attack Forces would take 4 to 6 weeks.

    The Military objective would be to defeat the Russian Army or at least to seize so much Russian Territory that the armaments plants in Berlin and Eastern Silesia as well as the Rumanian oilfields would be beyond the range of Russian Air Attacks. At the same time,German ground forces would have to advance far enough to bring important production centres of European Russia within striking distance of the Luftwaffe.

    The political aims would includethe creation of an independent Ukraine and a confederation of Baltic States under German domination.

    The Army would need approximately 80-100 combat divisions, the Soviet Union had some 50-75 good Russian Divisions in Europe. If the campaign against Russia was launched that Autumn, some of the German Air power committed against Britain would have to be transferred to the East."
    (Please note that the use of the terms "Soviet Union" and "Russia" are from the original text.)

    Its interesting to see how the German preparations for Operation Barbarossa progressed from this initial plan. One thing that strikes me is the complete lack of intelligence of Soviet Strength at the time. I should also point out that the above pre-dates the Marcks plan.

    From the pamphlet, its not clear who outlined the above factors but the establishment of an independent Ukraine may have been a political masterstroke if it had been carried out, giving the Ukrainians a rallying point to revolt against Moscow. But it was never carried out.

    Anyways if people come across any info on the planning for Barbarossa please post it in this thread. It would be nice to discuss the issues facing Germany as it planned for the biggest military campaign of its history.
  2. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Afaics,the plan was
    a) to destroy the Russian forces on the frontier as quick as possible (some 10 weeks:22 june-1 september)
    b) advance as quick as possible unhindered to the A-A line(Archangelsk-Astrachan)(some 13 weeks :1 september-1 december)
    In this plan ,the big cities (Leningrad,Stalingrad,..) had only a minor role:after phase a,they would fall without problems in German hands .
    An other point,there were a lot of planning exercises:the Marcks Plan,the Lossberg plan,the Sodenstern plan .
  3. AlexW

    AlexW Junior Member

    Start with Barbarossa 1941 by Lt Col David Glantz. Like all his books it's a bit heavy going (and his maps are infamously bad) but it reproduces Directive 21 from December 1940 which is the thing that turned all the discussions about invading the USSR into Fall Barbarossa by telling his generals to go off and plan for it.

    The idea was to defeat the Red Army in the West and then the regime was expected to collapse like they did in 1918.

    Incidentally, there is no mention of an independent anything. IMO that's probably wartime propaganda inserted to make sure any nationalists are firmly associated with the Nazis in people's minds. Adolf was never going to allow that as his racist beliefs were at the core of his being. Take them away and there's certainly no invasion and mabye no Nazi Party in charge of Germany.
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    cheers Alex, it's on my shelf.
    Rather than scan the book I'll post this.
    Führer Directive 21: Information from Answers.com

    The Fuhrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed forces
    OKW/WFSt./Abt.L(I) Nr.33 408/40 g.Kdos. 18 December 1940
    9 copies
    Top Secret.
    Directive No. 21. Operation Barbarossa
    The armed forces of Germany must be prepared, even before the conclusion of the war with England, to defeat Soviet Russia in one rapid campaign ('Operation Barbarossa').
    The Army must in this case be prepared to commit all available formations, with the proviso that the occupied territories must be secured against surprise attacks.
    The Air Force will have to make available for the support of the Army in the Eastern Campaign forces of adequate strength to ensure a rapid termination of land action and to give the East German territories maximum protection against enemy air raids. This making of the main effort in the east must not be carried to a point at which we can no longer adequately protect the totality of our battle and our armament zones against enemy air attacks, nor must the offensive against England, and in particular against England's supply routes, suffer in consequence.
    For the Navy the point of main effort will remain consistently against England, even while the Eastern Campaign is in progress.
    I shall give the order for the assembly of troops, etc., for the proposed operation against Soviet Russia, should the occasion arise, eight weeks before the operation is due to begin. Preparations that require more time than this shall - so far as they have not already been made - be begun at once and are to be completed by the 15th May, 1941.
    Great stress however, must be laid on disguising any offensive intentions. Preparations by the high commands are to be based on the following considerations.
    I. General Intention
    The mass of the Army stationed in Western Russia is to be destroyed in bold operations involving deep penetrations by armored spearheads, and the withdrawals of elements capable of combat into the extensive Russian land spaces is to be prevented.
    By means of a rapid pursuit a line is then to be reached from beyond which the Russian air force will no longer be capable of attacking German home territories. The final objective of the operation is to be the attainment of a line sealing off Asiatic Russia and running, in general, the Volga-Archangel. From such a line the one remaining Russian industrial area in the Urals can be eliminated by the Air Force should the need arise.
    In the course of this operation the Russian Baltic Fleet will rapidly be deprived of its bases and thus will no longer be capable of combat.
    Effective intervention by the Russian air force is to be prevented from the very beginning of the operation by means of powerful attacks against it.
    II. Anticipated Allies and their Tasks
    1. On the wings of our operations we can count on active co-operation in the war against Soviet Russia by Rumania and Finland. How exactly the combat forces of those two countries will be under German control when they go into action is a matter that the Armed Forces High Command will arrange and lay down at the proper time.
    2. Rumania's task will be to pin down the enemy's forces opposite that sector and to give assistance in rear areas.
    3. Finland will cover the movement of the Northern German Group coming from Norway (elements of Group XXI) and will then operate in conjunction with this group. The elimination of Hango will also be Finland's responsibility.
    4. It may be anticipated that the Swedish railways and roads will be made available for the movement of the Northern German Group, at the latest when the operation has begun.
    III. The Conduct of the Operations (A) Army (in approbation of the intentions submitted to me):

    The area of operations is divided into southern and northern halves by the Pripet Marshes. The point of main effort will be made in the northern half. Here two army groups are to be committed.
    The southern of these two army groups - in the center of the whole front - will have the task of breaking out the area around and to the north of Warsaw with exceptionally strong armor and motorized formations and of destroying the enemy forces in White Russia. This will create a situation which will enable strong formations of mobile troops to swing north; such formations will then co-operate with the northern army group - advancing from East Prussia in the general direction of Leningrad - in destroying the enemy forces in the area of the Baltic states. Only after the accomplishment of these offensive operations, which must be followed by the capture of Leningrad and Kronstadt, are further offensive operations to be initiates with the objective of occupying the important center of communications and of armaments manufacture, Moscow.
    Only a surprisingly rapid collapse of the Russian ability to resist could justify an attempt to achieve both objectives simultaneously.
    The primary task of Group XXI, even during the eastern operations, remains the protection of Norway. Forces available other than those needed for this task (Mountain Corps) will first of all be used to protect the Petsamo area and its mines together with the Artic road, and will then advance, in conjunction with Finnish forces, against the Murmansk railway and will cut the Murmansk area's land supply routes.

    Whether an operation of this nature can be carried out by stronger German forces (two to three Divisions) coming from the area of Rovaniemi and to the south is dependent on Sweden's willingness to make the Swedish railways available for such a move.
    The mass of the Finnish army will have the task, in accordance with the advance made by the northern wing of the German armies, of tying up maximum Russian strength by attacking to the west, or on both sides, of Lake Ladoga. The Finns will also capture Hango.The army group south of the Pripet Marshes will make its point of main effort from the Lublin area in the general direction of Kiev, with the object of driving into the deep flank and rear of the Russian forces with strong armored formations and of then rolling up the enemy along the Dnieper. The German- Rumanian group on the right flank will have the task of
    (a) protecting Rumanian territory and thus of covering the southern flank of the whole operation;
    (b) in co-ordination with the attack by the northern of Army Group south of tying up the enemy forces on its sector of the front; then, as the situation develops, of launching a second thrust and thus, in conjunction with the air force, of preventing an orderly enemy withdrawal beyond the Dniester.Once the battle south or north of the Pripet Marshes have been fought, the pursuit is to be undertaken with the following objectives:
    In the south the rapid occupation of the economically important Donetz Basin, in the north the speedy capture of Moscow.
    (B ) Air Force:
    It will be the task of the air force, so far as possible, to damage and destroy the effectiveness of the Russian air force, and to support the operations by the army at the points of main effort, that is to say in the sectors of the central army group and in the area where the southern army group will be making its main effort. The Russian railways will either be destroyed, or, in the case of more important objectives close to hand (i.e. railway bridges) will be captured by the bold use of parachute and air-borne troops. In order that maximum forces may be available for operations against the enemy air force and for direct support of the army, the munitions industry will not be attacked while the major operation is in progress. Only after the conclusion of the mobile operations will such attacks, and in particular attacks against the industrial area of the Urals, be considered.
    (C) Navy
    During the war with Soviet Russia it will be the task of the navy to protect the German coast line and to prevent any hostile naval force from breaking out of the Baltic. Since once Leningrad has been reached the Russian Baltic fleet will have lost its last base and will thus be in a hopeless position, major naval operations are to be previously avoided. After the destruction of the Russian fleet it will be the responsibility of the navy to make the Baltic fully available to carrying sea traffic, including supplies by sea to the northern wing of the army. (The sweeping of minefields!)
    It is important that all Commanders-in-Chiefs make it plain that the taking of necessary measures in connection with this directive is being done as a precaution against the possibility of the Russians adopting an attitude towards us other than what it has been up to now. The number of officers engaged in the early stages on these preparations is to be kept as small as possible, and each officer is only to be given such information as is directly essential to him in the performance of his task. Otherwise the danger will arise of our preparations becoming known, when a time for the carrying out of the proposed operation has not even been decided upon. This would cause us the gravest political and military disadvantages.
    I anticipate further conferences with the Commanders-in-Chief concerning their intentions as based on this directive. Reports on the progress made in the proposed preparations by all services of the armed forces will be forwarded to me through the Armed Forces High Command.
    Signed: Adolf Hitler

  5. AlexW

    AlexW Junior Member

  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Hi Jonathan and sorry for taking so long to get back to you - Is this the document produced for the US Army after the war by Halder and Heinrici, Dept of the Army No 20-261a?
  8. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Hi Jonathan and sorry for taking so long to get back to you - Is this the document produced for the US Army after the war by Halder and Heinrici, Dept of the Army No 20-261a?

    Hi Gerard

    I believe it is. I picked it up in a library clearance sale. R.G Grant appears to have been the editor of this version only. Im not familiar with the Naval & Military Press version of the report you quote but there is a 'look inside' review on the US Amazon site. If you have the report is it one of the same thing?

    Amazon.com: Barbarossa: The German Campaign in Russia - Planning and Operations (1940-1942) (9781412084260): Dr R. Gordon Grant: Books

  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Jonathan, yes it is the same report. I recognise some of the pages on it, good call on that one!! This was the basis for my original post. Good to see its still in circulation although I got it as a free download somewhere.
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes,interesting as regards Hitlker's PR with relation to the status of the Ukraine.Hitler never ever intended that there should be an independent Ukraine.The Ukraine as he thought, would be the "bread basket" of the Greater German Reich that would stretch from Calais to the Ural Mountains.People such as Himmler egged on the Ukrainians that there was something for them in the defeat of the Soviet Union.Hitler was very quite on the proposal but it suited Himmler that Ukrainian nationalists would ease Germany's manpoiwer shortages.

    The status of the Baltic States was settled in August 1939 with the Russian/German pact.Germany gave Russia an understanding that they would not interfere with Russian control,influence,occupation,call it what you wish,of the three Baltic states.Russia for her part agreed that they would not interfere with the occupation of Poland but would take her share of Poland by the occupation of the eastern half.

    As regards Hitler's intentions for his vision of a Greater German Reich and the lebensraum which it would provide leading to aggression in the east.You have to look no further than the Hossbach Memorandum or Protocol of November 1937.Its a very interesting document and which only surfaced at the Nuremburg International Military Tribunal in November 1945.Hitler places the importance of Germany's place in the world economy beside his traits as a warloard.Bolshevism is referenced in the document insofar as the accusation that economic disturbances arise from it but no mention of the Soviet Union etc.(Not forgetting it was a 1937 covert document with its source,the minutes taken by Hossbach at the conference)

    Hitler was very confident in the defeat of Bolshevism and declared to the military leadership, "kick in the front door and the whole house will topple down".His wrath was also aimed at the eastern jewry who, he declared,were at the core of Bolshevism.

    According to Wolf,Himmler's adjutant,Barbarossa's final planning stages were being progressed by March 1941.He declared that the intended plan was for the operation to start in April 1941 but Hess's flight delayed the execution of the plan.Wolf cites the added problems dealing with the occupation of Yugoslavia.The operations in Greece and Crete further delayed Bararossa to late June.Apparently Hitler became very impatient with all these actions and wanted them to be finished quickly.
  11. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

  12. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    I've been reading a pamphlet from the US, Dept of the Army pamphlet 20-261a entitled "The German campaign in Russia - Planning and Operations (1940-42)".

    it deals with the planning of the Operation as well as an account of the Strategic situation as seen by OKH during 1941 and 1942.

    It mentions that on July 21st Hitler asked Walther Von Baruchitsch to submit plans for a campaign against the Soviet Union. He was to take into account the following factors:


    The political aims would includethe creation of an independent Ukraine and a confederation of Baltic States under German domination.

    I'd suggest that the key part of the sentence quoted is 'under German domination.' The Germans may have intended there to be areas on the map called Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, but they would have been ruled by Germans, perhaps aided by local quislings, for the benefit of Germany.
  13. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Also it is worth noting that this was factors set out in July 1940. By the time 1941 came around I'm sure the whole question of Ukrainian Nationalism was well buried.
  14. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    The 21 July date entered the histograph of Unternehmen BARBAROSSA based upon an entry in Halder's notes (diary).

    He wrote that Brauchitsch was called to a meeting with Hitler and was asked about an invasion of Russia at which point he, Brauchitsch, advised Hitler on what could be done and suggested objectives.

    If that is a true recollection of the actual conversation, it implies some prior thought had already gone into such an invasion by the OKH.

    That theme, that it was the Heer generalship that initiated invasion planning not Hitler, is the subject of at least 1 book and plenty of internet gossip and speculation. Some go as far as to suggest that it was Brauchitsch who proposed attacking the Soviet Union at the July 21 meeting rather than responding to Hitler's question.

    Historical evidence on this is fragmentary which thus offers wide scope for speculative theories and an inability to prove any right or wrong.

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