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The Great Patriotic War
Transcript of The Great Patriotic War
Adan Wang, Charles Liu On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler invades Poland in Operation Fall Weiss. The League of Nations has failed to contain Hitler.
After two days of warning Germany, Britain and France declare war, honouring their alliance with Poland.
The Second World War begins. The German juggernaut sweeps through the derelict and ramshackle defences of the Polish Armed Forces, applying their new tactic of the Blitzkrieg warfare.
By September 28, the capital of Poland, Warsaw, is in German hands, before the Allies could do a thing to stop them.
By October 6, the Polish government has fled the country. Hitler declares Poland German territory. However, to the bewilderment of the rest of the world, Hitler gives all of Eastern Poland to the Soviet Union, under Joseph Stalin.
The secret Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Germany and the Soviet Union is ratified by Hitler. Nazi Germany and Russia agree not to attack each other. Germany gets to focus on conquering Western Europe, while the USSR gets to conquer parts of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Poland would act as an intermediary area between German and Russian borders. With the non-aggression pact in place, Hitler is free to focus the bulk of his military on Western Europe.
By June 25, 1940, Hitler's troops invade and occupy Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France. Britain is left alone to face the Nazis. Meanwhile, the USSR was also busy acquiring the land promised by Hitler.
By August 9, 1940, Stalin had won the Winter War against Finland, and had annexed Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. However, despite the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Hitler had once again lied. Even as early on as 1926 in his book, "Mein Kampf," Hitler had always dreamt of invading Russia for 'lebensraum.'
Hitler yearned for the open plains of Russia, where Germanic people could settle in comfort. He also desperately needed the food supply from the Ukraine, and the oilfields of the Soviet Caucascus to forward his war. After eliminating all possible threats from Western Europe, including a blockade on Great Britain, Hitler turned to the vast expanses of Russia.
On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa was invoked. A land invasion force like no other was launched in a surprise attack on the Soviet Union. Italians, Fins, Lithuanians, Poles, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Croatians and Romanians all participated alongside Hitler's troops.
Size of invasion force
Tanks and Self Propelled Guns: 5,200
Infantry: Approx. 13,750,000 (Wehrmacht and SS troops) Size of Soviet defence forces
Tanks and Self Propelled Guns: 6,590
Infantry: Approx. 34,401,187
Although the Germans were outnumbered by a ratio of two-to-one, most of their soldiers were battle-hardened veterans from the Western campaigns. All Russia could boast were masses of conscripts and volunteers. From the North to the South, Poland was happening again, this time on a massive scale. The inexperienced and lightly armed Soviet soldiers fell by the millions as the German blitzkrieg plowed through them.
By the end of Summer in 1941, the Russians had lost all their possessions in Poland, the Baltic, Byelorussia, and Ukraine. As the Germans advanced, Stalin had to order drastic measures to keep his resources from ending up in German hands. As with the Napoleanic Patriotic War over a hundred years ago, Stalin enacted a scorched-earth policy. All fleeing Russians were mandated to destroy their homes, crops and livestock. All Russian military personell were ordered to destroy the railways, post offices, public buildings and anything else that would help the Germans. The odds looked grim for Soviet Russia. By the end of 1941, about 40% of all Russians, 60% of all resources needed for production, as well as 38% of all grain in Russia belonged to the Germans.
In order to save at least some of their assets, Stalin ordered retreating factory workers to pack up their factories and relocate East to the Ural Mountains. From there, Stalin hoped the factories could provide materiel to fight the Germans, while still far enough away to not be under direct attack.
By the end of 1941, as many as 1360 Soviet factories were relocated and readied for production. Meanwhile, the German advance was concentrated on the Ukrainian city of Kiev. Under heavy attack, the city lasted 3 days before surrendering to the Germans on September 26, 1941.
The entire Soviet Southern Force was wiped out, with those soldiers not dead being marched off to concentration camps.
Now Hitler was free to conquer the entire Black Sea region, with little resistance.
Meanwhile, the Germans' Army Group North had begun to besiege the city of Leningrad on September 8, 1941.
The Russian defenders were few, and were largely comprised of civilian militias. Soviet High Command had virtually no way to supply the city, as the Germans had completely encircled the region. The people of Leningrad scrounged and crawled to survive, eating whatever they could, even the glue used to hold their walls together.
They held out for over two years. After being driven back from Kiev, what remained of any Soviet troops still alive in the South were sent to defend Rostov. It presented the last major port city in the Black Sea still inside Soviet territory. It was also the last chokepoint, that if captured, would lead Hitler straight to Georgia and her oilfields.
Hitler attacked on October 21, 1941. After capturing and recapturing the area by the Germans and Russians, Hitler finally gave up on the attack. With the Northern German Army occupied with taking Leningrad, and the Southern German Army busy trying to gain a substantial foothold at Rostov, Hitler ordered all his reserves to march on Smolensk and Moscow in Operation Typhoon, starting from October 2, 1941. They never came near Moscow.
As the blitzkrieg's initial Shock and Awe effect wore away, it was replaced by something new. Temperatures drastically lowered, and blizzards appeared with increasing frequency. The Russian winter was once again on Russia's side during its greatest time of need.
With close to half of the German forces being immobilized by the weather, reinforcements from Siberia arrived to drive back the German advance. It was the first decisive victory for the Soviet Union. Failing to capture Leningrad, Moscow or even Rostov, Hitler turned his attention on Stalingrad. The city was located conveniently on the Volga river. If captured, Hitler believed it could successfullly halt Eastern reinforcements and supplies from reaching Southwestern Russia. Hitler also viewed the city with another importance; it bore Stalin's name. To crush Russian morale by figuratively crushing Stalin's name, Hitler amassed a new army. The campaign started on July 17, 1942.
At the peak of fighting, roughly a million troops on both sides fought each other to the death in what would become the bloodiest battle in all of human history. Almost all soldiers who had fought in the battle were dead or wounded, close to two million casualties in total. In the end, however, the Russians held their ground. The Germans were once again thwarted. But while the Soviet troops could replace their numbers, the more experienced Germans could not. Tanks:
Panzerkampfwagen III (Panzer III):
Caliber-50mm KwK 34 (early in the war)/75mm KwK 37 cannon (Later in the war)
Power Per Mass - 12 Hp/Ton
Operational Range-155 km
First intended to be used as a main battle tank, the Panzer III outranked most of the tanks when the war broke out. However, it was proven inferior by the Soviet T-34 and KV tanks during operation Barbarossa, and therefore later on replaced by Panzer IV tanks and was used as a support tank to destroy fortifications and infantry in later parts of the war.
Panzerkampfwagen IV (Panzer IV):
Caliber-75mm KwK 40
Power Per Mass -11Hp/Ton
The Panzer IV was first intended as a support tank to the Panzer III, it was built to destroy enemy anti-tank guns and fortifications and was fitted with first with a KwK 38 low velocity cannon to take out enemy fortifications, not armored vehicles. However, during operation Barbarossa the Panzer III is proven to be inferior against the Soviet T-34 and KV tanks, and therefore the Panzer IV was fitted with a higher velocity 75mm KwK 40 cannon so that it can destroy soviet T-34s. Tiger I
Caliber-88mm KwK 36
Power Per Mass-10 Hp/Ton
The Tiger tank held a relatively new philosophy than its predecessors, it favored armor and firepower rather than a balanced approach made by the earlier Panzer Tanks. The tank has a similar design compared to Panzer IV but weights twice as much, thus bringing the tank to the absolute limit and therefore breakdowns were very often during the war.
Caliber-76mm F-34 Cannon
Power Per Mass-18 hp/Ton
The T-34 tank was a revolutionary tank designed by soviet Russia in 1939, its gun and armor was proven to be much more superior than the German Panzer III and Panzer IV at the time. It effectively outranked all German tanks in 1941, and the PaK 38 anti-tank gun has no effect against the tank. This tank was used as a symbol for soviet counterattack in World War II. KV-1
Caliber-76mm F-34 Cannon
Power Per Mass-13Hp/Ton
The KV-1 tank was used as a replacement plan for the failed multi turret T-35 heavy tanks, it combined firepower, horsepower, and armor, it sufficiently out weighted even the heaviest German tanks at the time. The armor was proven to be very effective against all anti-tank guns to the extent that no tank mounted gun can penetrate its armor unless it’s at point blank range.
Stuka Bomber (Junker JU-87)
This German dive bomber was the symbol of fear in WWII, it has very high efficiency. Combined with its dive bomber properties it also has high accuracy against ground targets. The high explosive bombs it carry are very effective against trains as well as tanks, making it very suitable to render soviet counter attacks useless. The siren it carries was a symbol of fear to all allied military forces, and civilians. Light Weapons
The Kar98k was the standard 7.92mm rifle issued to German Troops in WWII, it combined accuracy with lethality. This gun is said to be Adolf Hitler’s favorite gun.
The mp40 is the standard issue 9mm submachine gun, it was designed for close quarter combat and was used extensively by paratroopers in WWII. Soviet
The standard issue 7.62mm for Soviet infantryman in WWII, it is highly accurate and proven to be very effective as both a rifle and a sniper rifle.
This 7.62mm sub machine gun has an unusually high caliber for its type, and therefore it is a very lethal weapon both at medium and short ranges. It was proven that submachine guns are highly effective in urban combat and forest combat in when fighting Finnish troops in the winter. It is equipped with a drug magazine and therefore has high potentials for rapid firing. The only drawback for this gun is that due to its drum magazine it is very hard to reload the gun. By now, German victory was turning into defeat after defeat. They had already lost their grip on North Africa, and Sicily was falling to an American landing. The Japanese in the Pacific were not faring much better.
In a last ditch effort to hold on to their Russian territory, Hitler makes one final attack to destroy the newly formed Soviet armies. On July 4th, 1943, an armada of close to a million soldiers, and three thousand tanks began pounding towards Kursk to face two million Russian soldiers and five thousand Russian tanks.
Despite these odds, Hitler had one secret weapon up his sleeve - the new and nearly indestructable Panzer IV tank. On December 7, 1941, The Imperial Japanese launch a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour. The Americans are forced into the war, on the side of the Allies. They increase their aid to the Soviet Union, through the Lend Lease Act. The Russians were well aware of the new Panzer. They were also well aware that their T-34s would be swatted aside like flies by the German monstrosities.
But Hitler made a huge mistake. He waited. As he waited for more Panzers to arrive, the Soviets mass produced and conscripted more soldiers to the fight, as well as digging entrenchments and tank traps. In the ensuing battle of attrition, the Russians won again, even using suicide dog and airplane bombs against the Panzers.
This would become the largest tank battle of all time. Hitler's tanks were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of mass-produced Soviet weaponry. And with his best troops and tanks destroyed or captured at Kursk, Hitler was left with little to defend his flank on the Eastern Front. In the meantime, Allied forces had removed Mussolini, Germany's Italian ally, from power on July 25, 1943. Germany was left powerless in the Mediterranean.
To try to reinstate Mussolini, Hitler withdrew his remaining Russian Front to be redirected to Italy and France. The Russian army marched towards Berlin after the Battle of Kursk.
On December 31, 1944, the Soviet Union liberated all conquered German lands, and established client states out of them, or Soviet Socialist Republics.
On June 6, 1944, Operation Overlord began. 175000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, thus creating a third front for the German military to counteract. On the 21st of April, Soviet forces had successfully encircled Berlin. By the 23rd of April, Soviet and Ukrainian Troops tightened the encirclement, continue to advance towards the city itself.
In the same day, Soviet Shock Troopers had entered the city and began urban combat within the city. Germany, however, put up a fierce resistance, and many new prototyped, including the Maus Super-Heavy Tank, is used in favor of defending the city.
In the 29th of April the 3rd Shock Army was on the streets near the Reichstag, the Nazi Governmental Building. German troops were heavily entrenched inside the building but however was outnumbered by the Red Army. By May 1st Russian troops already planted the Flag on top of the building but faced a counter attack. By May 2nd Soviet had complete control of the building, and in that night the war in Europe was over from Germany’s unconditional surrender.
On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies. After intense fighting at their capital in Berlin, there were simply no more draftees left for the Germans to fill their ranks. In addition, Hitler himself had committed suicide on April 30, 1945.
After its surrender, Germany was divided into the East and West.
The defeat of Hitler and fascism brought forth the two emergent powers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of Western Europe, and the Warsaw Pact of Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe.
And with the spread of Soviet communist ideals to their 'liberated' countries, the two new powers were in direct idealogical conflict.
The Great Patriotic War had ended, but the Cold War was just beginning.