Why was Operation Barbarossa a Failure?
Operation Barbarossa was the code name of Germany’s planned attack on Soviet Russia in WWII. It began on June 22nd 1941 with over 3.5 million German troops on a 1,800 mile eastern front of Russia. The attack however was a failure due to many reasons. Most important reason is the Russian winter which battered the Germans. This is followed by poor and uninspiring leadership by Germans and good leadership by Soviet Union. Also Germany predicted an easy victory and this was even more worsened when Germany’s blitzkrieg was very effect.
Germany had a large army and this invasion was the largest ever. However the attack was delayed from May 15th to June 22nd. This meant that Germany only had 4 months before the Russian winter hits rather than 5 months. The reason for delay was Italy who was at the brink of total defeat after Britain defended its control over Africa. Hitler had to send his elite troops to help Italy rather than starting his invasion. This meant that as well as losing troops while helping Italy, they had to wait until they return. As the winter hit in November and December; the Russians were close to Siberia where the temperatures fell below 0˚C. This meant that the guns would not fire, the tanks would not move and the oil froze. Russians on the other hand had “winter proof” weapons and were not too reliant on vehicles so they found it much easier to cope. Germany was virtually unarmed and completely exposed. Some soldiers got pneumonia and some just froze to death. Also in the winter it rained a lot and turned the barren land which Russia had burnt into a mud field causing the Germans to wait longer before progressing and they had nowhere to shelter from the freezing cold. This is backed up by General Guenther telling Basil Liddell about the problems about the invasion. This lead to their operation being a failure and some historians says that if Germany had attacked in May 15th then the outcome would have been different and Soviet Union may have been captured.