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Author Topic: WWII Germany/USSR Bug River Theory?
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In

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I was at a party the other evening, and a Learned Savant was holding forth a theory I'd never heard before: that the German invasion of the USSR in WWII came as late as it did (late June) because the Bug River in Poland was in full flood and was too high to be crossed in a military invasion.

Now, the reason I'd always heard was that the schedule was put back because of operations in Yugoslavia, Greece, and the airdrop on Crete. But the Learned Savant dismissed that, and said it was the Bug River.

Is the bloke Buggy? (Given other evidence, I very much think so...)


Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song

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I wouldn't have thought a flooding river was responsible for the apparent delay, i'd always read it was down to the Balkan campaigns and the need to re-fit essential outfits so I sort of take this for granted...

This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

Posts: 6552 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)

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It's a strange theory...which part of the Bug did he state was flooding? 2.6 million German soldiers launched on June 22 from areas across Poland, Belorussia, and Ukraine. Three Army Groups comprised the German logistical plans of invasion: each could have been temporarily delayed depending on which part of the Bug was flooding.

Flooding aside, I've always read that the invasion's one month delay had more to do with:

Hitler, OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) and the various high commands did not have a unified plan going in. The OKW desired a straight line to Moscow, but Hitler wanted to march into resource-rich Ukraine and the Baltics before taking on Moscow. The resulting squabble disrupted logistical planning for the invasion, delaying it for more than a month after the original invasion date in May.

It is often proposed that the fatal design flaw of the operation was the postponement from the original date of May 15 because Hitler wanted to intervene against an anti-German overthrow in Yugoslavia and Greek advances against Mussolini's Italy in Albania. This cut five weeks off the already short Russian summer. However, this was just one of the reasons for the postponement — the other was the late spring of 1941 in Russia, compounded by particularly rainy weather during June 1941 which made a number of roads in western parts of the Soviet Union impassable to heavy vehicles. During the campaign, Hitler ordered the main thrust that had been heading toward Moscow to be diverted southward in order to help the southern army group capture Ukraine. This move delayed the assault on the Soviet capital, although it also helped to secure Army Group Center's southern flank. By the time they turned their sights on Moscow, the fierce resistance of the Red Army, assisted by the mud following the autumn rains and eventually the winter snowfall, ground their advance to a halt. Thus they were prevented from much further gain.
For those inclined, this site has an extraordinarily detailed logistical list of German forces poised for the invasion of the USSR.

The salty fragrance of L’Eau I’mNotDedalus - made entirely of and entirely for sea turtles.

Posts: 1983 | From: Chicagoland, IL | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Xboxing Day

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The Bug River marked part of the border between German- and Soviet-occupied Poland. The Neman river marked the border between German-occupied Poland and Soviet-occupied Lithuania. They sat in the way of Panzergruppe 2 and 3, respectively, blocking two major avenues of attack.

Rivers in the region are subject to seasonal flooding and, because of the flat topography of the region, they have marshy banks. Paved roads in that region were almost non-existent, and spring rains turn the roads to mush. A late and wet spring in 1941 would have made maneuvering large forces impractical, and would have negated the blitzkrieg's speed and shock effect.

So, had the German forces not been occupied in the Balkans, they probably could not have conducted the same attack in May that they conducted in June. That would really depend on how much the weather changed between the 15th of May and the 22nd of June. I think, however, the late thaws would have made the rivers flood in May, then the problem is compounded by June rains.

The real question, then, is: Would Hitler have allowed a delay in the invasion plans due to the ground conditions? Because of the Balkans campaign, he didn't have to make that decision, and it's anybody's guess what his decision would have been.

"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator

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