Questions tagged [ww2-european-theater]

For questions relating to World War 2 in Europe, waged primarily between France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and their allied nations between 1939 and 1945.

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1answer
228 views

Why couldn't the Allies clear out D-Day gun emplacements before landing troops? [closed]

It's common knowledge that the D-Day assaults on the beaches were a horrific "meat grinder" due to Allied troops having to face the suicidal conditions of charging gun emplacements on high ground ...
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3answers
394 views

Was the Volga really Russia's last line of defense before the Urals?

That was a claim made by General Vasily Chuikov in "The Battle For Stalingrad." He even went so far as to postulate a German column heading for Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), toward the Chinese border. That ...
10
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2answers
241 views

Why did Fall Blau start at Voronezh instead of further south?

The main objectives of Fall Blau, the German 1942 summer offensive, were the Volga River, to cut off Soviet oil supplies from further south, and the Caucasus oil fields themselves, for German use. ...
4
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1answer
90 views

How many naval mines were cleared for D-Day?

I was interested to read in this question about the clearing of naval mines for D-Day in 1944. There are estimates of the frequency of the mines on the beach -- history.com says there were "4 million ...
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2answers
139 views

Was there a plan from the USSR to invade Germany before Barbarossa? [closed]

Were there any intentions from the USSR to invade Germany before Operation Barbarossa? Did the USSR intelligence services know that Hitler had intentions to invade them?
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3answers
482 views

Did the Germans consider an amphibious landing for Fall Blau?

In the operation Fall Blau (Case Blue) the German Wehrmacht advanced towards the Don river, and then sent Army Group A into the Caucasus region to take the oil fields in the region. They managed to ...
5
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2answers
480 views

What was the strategic importance of Moscow to the Soviet Union in Dec 1941?

According Rodric Braithwaite the British Ambassador to Russia in 2005 "Four-fifths of the fighting in Europe took place on the Eastern Front, and that is where the Germans suffered 90% of their ...
8
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4answers
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Were armed merchantmen effective against submarines?

The armed merchantman Jervis Bay was no match for the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer in a ship to ship duel. Nevertheless, the merchantman put up a brave fight lasting over an hour, allowing ...
5
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1answer
238 views

Did the Germans “mix up” Army Groups A and B during Fall Blau?

Fall Blau was the 1942 campaign conducted by Germany's Army Group South. This was subdivided during the campaign into Army Groups A and B. I was surprise to read that Army Group A was sent to the ...
16
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1answer
816 views

Did the USA have a plan to defeat Germany without Britain?

If Britain had surrendered during World War II (eg. during the May 1940 crisis), what was the American plan for defeating Germany? Without the British Islands as a staging area, an amphibious assault ...
26
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5answers
9k views

How did the Axis intend to hold the Caucasus?

We all know how the Axis offensive in 1942 led to the "turning point" battle of Stalingrad and the eventual defeat of the Third Reich, and that this offensive had been launched in order to capture and ...
3
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1answer
735 views

How strongly defended was Baku in 1942?

Baku was the single largest source of oil in the Soviet Union in World War II. The Germans captured Maikop and seemed on the verge of capturing Grozny. But Baku was much larger than either of the ...
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3answers
468 views

Did the Germans attempt the easier or harder of two possible objectives in the Caucasus?

During the summer and fall of 1942, German Army Group A advanced into the Caucasus pursuant to Fall Blau. This consisted of two armies, the First Panzer Army and the Seventeenth Army. The advanced ...
3
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1answer
204 views

How long might the campaigning season in the Caucasus have lasted for the Germans?

The Caucasus Mountains included some of the most southerly points in the former Soviet Union, but also some of the highest altitude points. The book, "Marching Orders" referred to "ice and snow" for ...
23
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2answers
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How did the Allies achieve air superiority on Sicily?

The Allies had freed all of Africa by the start of 1943. Afterwards, they landed in Sicily with a huge air force and fleet. How did they manage to land with the opposition of the Luftwaffe and Regia ...
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2answers
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Why did the USSR stop in the Winter War against Finland in 1940?

To me, this is one of the biggest history mysteries. By the end of February 1940, the USSR breached the Mannerheim line, and the Finnish troops were exhausted and short of ammunition. I have little ...
2
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2answers
383 views

Did Army Group Center have easier going up to Smolensk than between Smolensk and Moscow?

To try to get an answer to this question, I would like to explore its factual bases, including, but not limited to the following: 1) How did the road/railroad communication network west of Smolensk ...
14
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2answers
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How did the British keep Enigma 'snatches' secret?

During WW2 the British (and allies) occasionally managed to capture an Enigma machine and/or code books from a sinking sub or weather-ship. How did they keep the capture secret? The crews must have ...
83
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9answers
28k views

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

When people discuss the causes of Hitler's defeat in Russia, one topic is frequently mentioned: climate. People claim that winter contributed significantly to the problems of German army on the ...
62
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6answers
24k views

Why didn't Wehrmacht soldiers refuse to kill civilians?

Why didn't Wehrmacht Soldiers refuse to execute civilians (and Kids) when it was clear that they did nothing wrong? I know that they were probably told they're partisans or Jews or something along ...
2
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0answers
117 views

Operation Biting — composition of the German naval patrol

Before the British paratroopers were rescued during Operation Biting in 1942, it was reported that a German naval patrol was operating nearby, which delayed the rescue of the paratroopers by the Royal ...
3
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1answer
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Did Poland help Germany take Czechoslavakia before Germany invaded Poland?

In March of 1939, "with Germany's permission" (WW2 for dummies), Poland invaded Czechoslovakia while Germany was annexing the Sudetenland per the Munich agreement. Only 6 months later, in September, ...
6
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1answer
962 views

How (and why) did Hitler create “the world's largest traffic jam?”

This is not a reference to "current events" but to Fall Blau the 1942 attack on the southern Soviet Union by Army Group South. The campaign started smoothly enough, with the approach to (and capture ...
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3answers
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Why did the Allies lose the Battle of France (1940)?

I know for a fact that Allied forces were slightly inferior to German forces on some points. I know that the Ardennes was ill-protected on the French side. The defenses were poorly constructed, and ...
4
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2answers
640 views

Right before D-Day, how were naval mines cleared secretly?

Wikipedia says Minesweepers began clearing channels for the invasion fleet shortly after midnight and finished just after dawn without encountering the enemy. It also shows this map: This seems ...
62
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6answers
23k views

Why did the Germans spare Allied troops trapped at Dunkirk?

I haven't seen the movie but know enough of the story to understand that Allied troops had fallen back to Dunkirk for evacuation but were trapped there until transport came. I also understand that ...
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4answers
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Is there documentary evidence that Stalin intended/prepared to fight Germany after the Nazi-Soviet pact?

It's often said the peace was only both sides buying time. There's ample evidence Hitler always intended to break the pact. Did Stalin? Suvorov's thesis that Stalin was preparing for an offensive ...
2
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1answer
351 views

What prevented the Finns from building a “counter ice road” to disrupt the “Road of Life?”

During the siege of Leningrad, the Soviets built an ice road over Lake Ladoga called the Road of Life to supply Leningrad during the winter months. What prevented the Axis (the Finns and a few German ...
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3answers
730 views

Was one of the main reasons Hitler attacked the Soviet Union due to oil?

Some people say the reason for Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union was due to the oil fields in the Caucasus. Which, according to many historians, was the fact he prioritized his armies south rather ...
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8answers
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Why didn't Hitler have more submarines in the English channel?

Hitler was expecting an invasion somewhere on the coast of north of France. So why didn't he have more submarines there that could torpedo the invading allied fleet when they were crossing the channel?...
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3answers
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How accurate is Karl Heinz Frieser when he said that the blitzkrieg was a myth?

In his book, The Blitzkrieg Legend (original title Blitzkrieg-Legende, der Westfeldzug 1940), Karl Heinz Frieser wrote that during the campaign in France, blitzkrieg was just improvised, and that even ...
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2answers
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Normandy: Why did the landing craft open on the front?

I assume this beach scenario was typical on D-Day. (Graphic violence) It shows a landing craft reaching the shore, where it lowers a hatch on the front of the craft, exposing the invading soldiers to ...
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9answers
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Why was Stalin surprised by the German attack in June 1941?

Although he was warned by many, including Churchill, of the forthcoming German attack on 22 June, Stalin did not believe those warnings and was surprised when the attack started. I believe the ...
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7answers
27k views

Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

The Strait of Gibraltar, at its narrowest point, is about 14 km wide. Why didn't Germany blockade it during WW2? It seems to me that only a handful of submarines and destroyers could do the job. Wasn'...
5
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1answer
783 views

How was Russian AFV production affected by the relocation of factories during WWII, after the German invasion of 1941?

How was Russian AFV production affected by the relocation of factories during WWII, post the German invasion of 1941? They went on to out-produce the Germans by around 3-1 in tanks from 1942 onwards. ...
4
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1answer
252 views

How did the supplies shipped in winter over the “Road of Life” to Leningrad compare to those at other times of the year?

A key factor in the survival of Leningrad during its 900 day siege was the "Road of Life" built across a frozen Lake Ladoga during the winter months of 1941, 1942, and 1943, and lasting nearly half a ...
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2answers
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Why couldn't Germans and Finns capture Leningrad? [closed]

The Siege of Leningrad lasted for about 2,5 years. And Germans cooperated with Finns during the siege. As we know Wehrmacht dominated the battlefield in 1941 and 1942. So why couldn't they capture ...
3
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3answers
752 views

Was Germany's “Fall Blau” plan in the Soviet Union partly aimed at Mediterranean neutrals or Japan (a neutral vis-vis the Soviets)?

In 1942, Germany adopted Fall Blau, a plan for a southward push in the Soviet Union toward the Caucasus, and the borders of Turkey and Iran. (Stalingrad was added to the plan later.) Decrypts by "...
4
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1answer
9k views

Why did the Allied Forces choose Normandy as their geographic point of invasion? [closed]

It seems that the fact that Normandy lies close to the United Kingdom must have played a role. However, parts of the Netherlands and Belgium are (almost) just as close, or even closer. So why not ...
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7answers
9k views

Why did the Germans not encircle and besiege Stalingrad?

The Germans spent a large amount of manpower in adverse territory for this city, even after long exhausting continuous combat. After the war, Kliest wrote: The capture of Stalingrad was ...
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1answer
231 views

What would have happened had Stalin not had the Siberian forces help? [closed]

During World War II, part of the reason that Germany was stopped cold(pun intended) on the Russian front was due to the fact that Stalin was able to move all the Siberian troops that had been ...
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3answers
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What was Finland's role in the siege of Leningrad?

My understanding was that Finland was not really pro Nazi Germany, but merely wanted to recover the lands lost to the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-40. That is, "the enemy of my enemy is my ...
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2answers
454 views

Did German win any victories between Normandy and Bulge?

In regards to World War II, I always hear about the great number of Allied victories won between the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Very little is spoken of German victories. ...
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4answers
7k views

During the Normandy landings, were any German naval assets brought to bear against the Allies?

I know the allied fleet suffered heavy losses during the operation: Naval losses for June 1944 included 24 warships and 35 merchantmen or auxiliaries sunk, and a further 120 vessels damaged. ...
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3answers
3k views

How close did Germany come to interdicting Soviet oil shipments from the Caucasus in 1942?

In 1942, the Germans captured a relatively small oil complex at Maikop in the North Caucasus, and got within 25 miles of a larger one at Grozny. But the biggest prize was at Baku, on the "far" (...
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2answers
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Did the Torch operation help doom the Germans at Stalingrad?

Amid calls for a "second front," the Anglo-Americans landed in North Africa Operation Torch, in early November, 1942. Some say that it was a "sideshow," others say that it was a "cross-ruffing" ...
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2answers
4k views

Why were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 Finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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3answers
4k views

Why were 40,000 German troops left in Prague instead of pulled back to defend Berlin?

In the wikipedia article for the 1945 Prague Uprising implies that there were still a large number of German troops stationed in Czechoslovakia; at least 40,000 of them, including crack SS armored ...
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6answers
3k views

Was there a plan “B” for the D-Day?

I could find only debates on the subject whether there was a plan "B" or not in case D-Day landing would have had actually failed. I wonder if there was an idea to make an alternative invasion plan. ...
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4answers
820 views

Why are only the Normandy landings referred to as D-Day?

Thinking about the anniversary of the Normandy landings, I was struck that the terms D-Day and H-hour were used to denote the start time of all allied military operations. Are there any specific ...