Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
12th February, 2016
Individual German generals and historians have left us their testimonies about the courage of soldiers and officers of the Red Army and the huge losses of German manpower and equipment in the first days of the great Patriotic war.
The chief of the General staff of the land forces of Germany, Colonel General Franz Halder, in his diary on June 26nd 1941, wrote: “The “South” army group is slowly moving forward, unfortunately, they are carrying significant losses. The enemy, acting against the “South” group of armies, says that the leadership is firm and energetic”. On June 27th he said: “On the front… events did not develop as planned at higher headquarters”.
On the 11th July 1941, Halder wrote in his diary the following: “The Command of the enemy acts vigorously and skilfully. The enemy is fighting fiercely and fanatically. Tank units suffered heavy losses in personnel and equipment. The troops are tired”. The 17th of July: “The Troops are extremely exhausted… Combat strength is gradually declining…”.
So who and by what means had reduced the “combat strength” and “material numbers”? They had stripped our officers and soldiers of our Soviet weapons. German aircraft were destroyed by Soviet aircraft and antiaircraft guns, and tanks were destroyed in most cases by the Soviet artillery.
Regarding the battles that took place on 22nd June – 3rd July 1941, the German General Kurt von Tippelskirch wrote: “Before July 3rd, heavy fighting continued along the entire front. The Russians retreated to the East very slowly and often only after leaping ahead of German tanks do they stage fierce counter-attacks”.
Paul Carell, in his book “Hitler goes East”, commends the bravery of the Soviet soldiers who fought in Belarus in the end of June 1941: “The Russians fought fanatically, and they were led by resolute officers and Commissars who had not succumbed to the panic that arose after the first set of defeats”. Note: instead of the word “brave”, the word “fanatically” is used, and among other things, he said that there had been panic, and the intelligent courage of our soldiers turned into irrational fanaticism not from the fighters, but commanders and Commissars.
Such evidence suggests that there are two truths: all know the truth about all of our defeats, and even in many times on an exaggerated scale, and no one knows about the truth of our victories in the summer of 1941. The only way of informing the population of the country is through Russian intelligentsia. All over the world, instead, they primarily inform about their victories, and they try to remember defeats as little as possible, or not at all.
The German airforce suffered huge losses, starting from the first day of the war, when they stubbornly all day tried to bomb our airfields. In these raids, the Germans lost a number of aircraft, comparable with the lost Soviet aircraft. We lost on the first day of the war 800 aircraft on airfields.
But this loss could not significantly influence neither the rate of advance of the German armies, nor the state of the Soviet air force at the beginning of the war, we had more than 20 thousand aircraft (only for the period from 01.01.1939 on 22.06.1941, Red army received 18 thousand combat aircraft and seven thousand tanks). But they were mostly tanks with bulletproof armour, and the aircraft were already obsolete.
However it should be noted that the Red Army had, before the war, 595 units of heavy KV tanks, 1,225 units of medium T-34 tanks and 3,719 new types of aircraft: YAK-1, LaGG-3, MiG-3, bomber Il-4 (DB-ZB), PE-8 (TB-7), PE-2, Il-2.
Here’s what the people’s Commissar of the aviation industry of the USSR from 1940 to 1946, A.I Shakhurin, wrote: “For the first 14 days of fighting, according to German sources, the Luftwaffe lost more planes than in any subsequent similar periods of time. For the period from 22nd June to 5th July (1941) the German air force lost a total of 807 aircraft of all types, and for the period from 6th to 19th July – 477 aircraft. A third of the German air force, which they had before the attack on our country, had been destroyed.”
Thus, in the first month of fighting in the period from 22.06.1941 to 19.07.1941, Germany lost 1,284 aircraft. Amazingly, such glorious victories in the worst period of the war are today known by only a few people in all of greater Russia.
So who and what kind of weapon destroyed the 1,284 aircraft of the Luftwaffe during the first month of the war? Our pilots and gunners destroyed a specified number of aircraft in the first weeks of the war because they had the necessary planes and anti-aircraft guns.
According to data published in 2005 by a team of authors from the Institute of World History, RAS, in the period from 22.06.1941 to 10.11.1941, Germany in the war against the USSR lost 5,180 aircraft. The Soviet Union had lost 10,000 planes. Given that our air force had mostly planes inferior in combat to the Luftwaffe, and the fact that our army was retreating, not always having the opportunity to overtake aircraft at other airfields, the ratio of losses confirms the lack of Luftwaffe absolute air superiority even in the first five months of the war.
Our losses of other types of equipment were also huge, as was the loss of the great Soviet people, soldiers and officers of the Red Army. Commanders of the German troops were horrified at the German losses. The former chief of staff of the German 4th Army, General G. Blumentritt said: “The first battles in June 1941, showed us what the Red Army could do. Our losses had reached 50%… Our troops soon learned what it means to fight against the Russians”.
On 29.06.1941, F. Halder wrote in his diary: “The Russians everywhere fight to the last man… Only the occasional surrender”. Some of our researchers claim that the prisoners who had surrendered were basically only unarmed engineers, whose number was more than 150,000 people.
The majority of cultivated liberal Russia historians make the westerners joyful by automatically including all surrounded Soviet soldiers and officers in the number of POW.
Moreover, they quote the well-known and officially confirmed sources of information about the number of personal staff of military units not only before fighting but also before the beginning of military actions.
They use for reference the quantity of surrounded soldiers from the inner quantity of fighters without paying attention to losses during battlefield before their hostitlies.
Thus, willingly or unwillingly there is a very significant increase in the number of Soviet soldiers taken prisoner by the adversary.
Unfortunately, after all the successful approaches of separate units of our troops that took place in June 1941, it isn’t acceptable to write or speak about it. But such evidence stands. For example, in the period from 23rd to 29th June 1941, in tank battles at Dubno, Lutsk and Rivne, our armored tanks on the southwestern front smashed the German armored forces North of Dubno, in particular the 16th Panzer division, moved up to 30–35 miles, entered the city of Dubno and went to the rear of the 3rd Nazi motorized corps.
The Germans pulled troops from other areas and saved the cavalry from defeat, but forces in the encirclement of our troops had already left. Thanks to this counterattack by our troops we orderly departed to Kiev.
From the above evidence it is clear that our forces were retreating, but fought bravely against the Nazi invaders. The reason for the retreat of the Soviet troops was associated with superior forces that attacked us from United Europe.
All the theoretical calculations said the USSR was supposed to lose that war. But we won it!
The army can provide an organized resistance to the enemy on a huge front only when there is solid command and control state structures. Without the state government there will be no troops nor weapons, nor ammunition, nor food. That is, without the leadership of the country, the five million army loses its combat capability.
The head of state, of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, at that terrible time was the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (Council of Ministers), the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU(b), in the future, and the Supreme Commander Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. Many historians write that Stalin lost in the first days of the war, and only confused and “courageous” people like N.S Khrushchev prevented the abdication of Stalin from the government.
They like to refer to the memoirs of A.I Mikoyan. But those memories can’t be taken seriously, since many researchers believe that the memories of Mikoyan had their seals completely redone. Perhaps, after reading “his” memoirs, Mikoyan, in indignation, would turn over in his grave. But the dead can’t protest. The information stated in memoirs doesn’t correspond to the facts given and confirmed by other documents.
Archived records, written by Stalin in the period from 21st June to 3rd July 1941, state that each day, except 29th and 30th June, Stalin received visitors in the Kremlin. The notebook indicates not only the date, time and number, but also the names of the visitors received by Stalin.
On the 29th and 30th June, Stalin was working in the country: he considered the positions in the country, on the fronts, especially on the Western front, surrendered Minsk, edited the “Directive of Sovnarkom and the Central Committee of the CPSU(b)”, prepared text of the upcoming speech to the nation on radio and other public documents. It should be noted that all his speeches were prepared by Stalin himself.
What kind of confusion can be discussed, if only in the first day of the war – 22.06.1941 – Stalin received 29 people? Historian V.M Zhukhrai said that such bold, resolute men, crossed the Rubicon of death by hanging, can’t get lost. Stalin was not like his usual self, because, according to academician B. S Preobrazhensky, on 22.06.1941, he was sick with a heavy form of quinsy with a temperature around 40 degrees. And only the terrible events of war caused him, holding on to the wall, to get up from the sofa at the cottage in Volyn and go to the Kremlin. The illness of Stalin, as well as the members of the great Patriotic war, was recorded by the doctor of historical Sciences, B.G Soloviev and candidate of philosophical Sciences V.V Sukhodeyev.
Regarding the behavior of Stalin on 22.06.1941, Molotov told Chuev: “It would be inappropriate to say that he lost courage, but it’s true that he took it heavily and tried to not show it.” According to the memoirs of the first Secretary of the Communist party (Bolsheviks) of Byelorussia, P. K Ponomarenko, Stalin called him on June 22nd at 7 am. Another witness of the events of those days was Chadaev, who recalled that Stalin came into the office of Molotov after his speech on the radio.
There are many other memories of G.K Zhukov to the pilot M.V Vodopyanov, which tell of a conversation with Stalin on 22.06.1941. A hero of the Soviet Union, pilot Vodopyanov on 22nd June 1941 flew a seaplane from the North to Moscow. He splashed down on the Moscow River in Khimki – and immediately went to the Kremlin. He was received by Stalin. (The Heroes of Soviet union and of Socialist labor were received by Stalin out of turn).
Vodopyanov proposed a bombing raid on Nazi Germany, to bomb Berlin. Setting off from the Islands of Saaremaa (Ezel), and Hiiumaa (Dago), a Soviet aircraft bombed Berlin and the industrial centers of Germany.
At the meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU(b), which was attended by Stalin, the Commissar for defense, Marshal S.K Timoshenko and chief of General staff army General G.K Zhukov, the decision was made to convert the Baltic, Western and Kiev special districts into North-Western, Western and South-Western fronts. The General-Colonel F.I Kuznetsov, General of the army D.G Pavlov and Colonel General M.P Kirponos became commanders, respectively,
The main reason of refusal in Stalin’s speeches on the first day of the war was the vagueness of the situation on the fronts. But only he could write the words: “Our cause is just. The enemy will be defeated. The victory will be ours”. This is a purely Stalinist style, when proposals are not very beautiful, but every word is remembered for a lifetime. And Molotov does not deny that he wrote the text of the speech together with Stalin.
On the 24th of June 1941, it was decided to establish the council for evacuation headed by L.M Kaganovich for the evacuation of the population, institutions, military and other cargoes, industrial equipment and other valuables. In three days the resolution on the procedure for removal and placement of human contingents and valuable property was adopted, as well as the decision to export state reserves of precious metals from Moscow, precious stones of the Diamond Fund of the USSR and the values of the Armoury chamber of the Kremlin.
And 29.06.1941, we adopted the previously mentioned “Directive of Sovnarkom and the Central Committee of the CPSU(b) party and Soviet organizations of frontline areas”. It was a well thought out document that specifically defined the actions of the Soviet government and people during the war.
The given facts testify to the discrepancy in the validity of the statements about the disorganization of the troops, the confusion of Stalin and other members of the government in the first days of the war.
To be continued…