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Soviet troops, after their various successful attacks on Poland, Finland, Rumania, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, were ordered into position by Stalin in spring 1941. The Soviets were ordered far forward, in a very aggressive posture. Hundreds of airfields and military bases were constructed right up to the German frontier. To this day is it not clear if Stalin intended an outright invasion of Germany to begin at any time, or was he just hoping for a German collapse in the west (as in 1918) so that he could quickly march in and take advantage. Either way, the Soviet troops were not correctly placed to defend against the German invasion June 1941. The entire forward Soviet armed forces were swept up by the Germans and the frontier quickly penetrated. The Soviets had a defensive line planned called the Stalin Line, running about 200 miles back from the border. However this was not properly constructed and was poorly manned. It too was quickly overrun by the fast moving German forces. Now in a virtual panic, the Soviets really lacked any coherent central strategy other than to just 'hang on' and hope for a miracle. At this point the Germans gave them their miracle by diverting their main strength to the non-strategic target of Kiev. Finally returning to the important target of Moscow in the fall of 1941, the Germans first became bogged down in mud and then then in snow and freezing temperatures. Strung out, wasted logistically, and worn out physically the German army was put in a 'no win' situation in December 1941 by their high command. The fine Soviet commander Zhukov, organized a limited (about 90,000 men was all he had available) counterattack, that was tremendously effective against the exhausted Germans. At this point, Zhukov counseled caution, knowing the German commanders were highly skilled and recognizing the poor quality of Soviet forces. But, Stalin ordered full speed ahead, and kept the counterattacks going well into spring 1942. The result was disaster for the new Soviet armies and the Germans were able to begin advancing again. The Soviets believed the German main attack would come against the capital, Moscow, and defended it accordingly. Instead the Germans moved against the resource rich southern Volga region. The Germans swept all before them as they had in 1941 but again, incredibly, they left themselves highly vulnerable to counterattack. Again, Zhukov ordered a counterattack, this time with larger forces, and captured the entire German/Romanian force in Stalingrad. Stalin stayed out the strategizing at this point and the Zhukov led strike was hugely successful. After this the Soviets fought a serious of mostly attrition based battles all along the frontier, gradually wearing the Germans down. Ultimately, using their last ounce of logistical support, they entered Berlin and effectively ended the war. To summarize, the first Soviet strategy was to defend forward, hoping to throw the enemy back right at the border (this failed). Their secondary strategy, beginning summer of 1941, was simply to wait for the Germans to make clumbsy, elementary, military mistakes (which they did). Their third strategy, beginning summer 1943, was to pound the Germans into submission with greater force and mobility.

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โˆ™ 2006-04-23 02:08:33
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Q: What were Russia's military strategies during World War 2?
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