Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

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Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 09 May 2021 12:39

An intersting document with insights into Soviey appraisal of the sutation as of 22 June 1941, my comments are posted square brackets in red.
Intelligence report No. 1 of the Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army

20.00. June 22, 1941

1. As a result of hostilities during the day of 22.6, the data available on 20.6. regarding the following enemy grouping located directly on the border with the USSR have been actually confirmed:

Northern Front:

According to the data on 21.6, 24 age classes were called up to the Finnish army, that is, until the 1897 year of brth, which makes it possible to mobilize an army of 350-400 thousand men and form up to 18 infantry. divisions (including brigades and separate battalions).
[The Finnish Army mobilized 16 divisions and 3 brigades with about 350,000 men in the field ground forces]

Data on the deployment of the Finnish army at 21.6 was not received, however, according to the experience of the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-40 and recent location of divisions and infantry brigades in the Finnish army the following option is possible:

a) The coast of the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland, the Abo (Turku) region, Helsinki, Loviisa - up to 3 infantry divisions;

b) Kouvola direction, Lappeenranta, Kouvola, Virolahti region - up to 5 infantry divisions;

c) Mikkeli direction, Savonlinna region, Mikkeli, Imatra - up to 2 infantry divisions;

d) Kuopio direction, Nurmes region, Kuopio, Kitee - up to 4 infantry divisions;

e) Uleaborg direction, Taivalkoski, Kajaani, Kuhmoniemi - up to 2 infantry divisions;

f) Reserve - up to 2 infantry divisions.

In the north, the main grouping is made up of parts of the German army, which in the Rovaniemi direction has up to 3-4 divisions, and in addition, in the Kirkines area, up to three additional divisions.
[In reality 2 divisions in the Rovaniemi area and 2 divisions in the Kirkines area]

In the southeastern regions of Finland, construction of field obstacles continues. In the area of the peninsula Hanko wire fences are being prepared for electrification.

On 22.6. Finnish troops entered and continue to enter the demilitarized Aland Islands. The Governor of Aland proposed the Soviet representatives to urgently evacuate.

According to the NKGB, the Finnish General Staff (obviously, the headquarters of the main command) is installed in the Hakoiken estate on the northwestern shore of Lake Kernalanjärvi, which is 18 km southeast of Hamenlinna.

Northwestern Front:
Groupings are confirmed:

a) In the Tilsit area, 3-4 infantry divisions, two motorized divisions and one tank division. The operational direction of this group is - Tilsit, Shauliai. To her left in the Silute and Memel areas there is a support group consisting of three divisions, of which one is motorized.
[In reality 18 Army and 4 Panzer Group with 15 divisions, including 3 tank and 3 motorized]

b) A grouping in the area of Insterburg, Goldap, Schirvindt, consisting of at least three infantry divisions, cavalry brigade and one tank regiment with an operational direction to Kaunas (Kovno);
[In reality 16 Army with 8 infantry divisions]

c) A grouping in the area of Suwalki, Augustow, Sejny, consisting of at least three infantry and two motorized divisions with an operational direction to Alytus, Vilnius and with part its their forces bypassing Grodno from the north through Pozce (Poreč).
[In reality 3 Panzer Group with 4 tank, 3 motorized and 3 infantry divisions]
New in the composition of the troops in this area is the transfer to the Suwalki area of one or two SS tank divisions with a total strength of up to 500 tanks during 21.6;

d) Grouping in the area of Lötzen, Lyk, Augustow, about three infantry divisions with one tank division operates in the direction of Grodno.
[In reality 9 Army with 8 infantry and 1 security division]

The strength of enemy groupings in East Prussia is 29 divisions, of which: motorized - 5, tank - 4-5.
[In reality the Army Group North and 3 Panzer Group and 9 Army of the Army Group Center with 49 divisions, including 6 motorized and 7 tank]

Western Front:
Groupings are confirmed:

a) In the area of Mlawa, Ciechanów, Ostroleka, Myszyniec on the operational direction of Bialystok consisting of approximately 5 infantry divisions;
[In reality elements of one infantry division (87)]

b) grouping of troops in the region of Brest, Siedlce, Domachevo on the operational direction Brest – Kobrin consisting of at least three infantry and one tank division.
[In reality 2 Panzer Group with 15 divisions (5 tank, 3 motorized, 6 infantry, 1 cavalry)]

c) grouping to the east and north-east of Warsaw in the Malkin, Wyszków, Wegrów area, consisting of 6 infantry and one motorized divisions operating to Bialystok.
[4 Army with 12 infantry and 2 security divisions]

The total strength of the grouping in front of the Western front in the Warsaw region is 31 divisions, of which 21 infantry, 1 motorized, 4 tank and 1 cavalry divisions.
[Army Group Center w/o 3 Panzer Group and 9 Army – total 19 infantry, 3 motorized, 5 tank, 1 cavalry and 2 security divisions, total 30]

Southwestern Front:
Groupings are confirmed:

a) In the area of Schebrzeszyn, Tomaszow (Lubelski), Sokal, Hrubieszów. This group operates on the front Vladimir-Volynsk - Rava-Ruska; of this group 4 infantry and one tank divisions were revealed in battles .
It is necessary to reckon with the fact that as a result of the approach of enemy troops during 20 and 21.6 from behind the Vistula River this group includes about 10 infantry, 3 motorized and 1 tank division;
[1 Panzer Group and 6 Army w/o XVII Army Corps, IV Army Corps of the 17 Army – 9 infantry, 4 motorized, 5 tank, 1 security divisions, total 19]

b) Grouping in the area of Leżajsk, Rzeszow, Radymno, Jarosław, operating in the direction of Yaroslav, Lvov composed of 4 infantry and two tank divisions.
Of these tank divisions, in battles of 22.6 one tank division has been revealed so far.
[17 Army w/o elements – 11 division total]
Groups that haven’t reveal themselves:

a) Grouping in the Wlodawa, Lublin, Chełm area, consisting of 4 infantry and one tank division;
[XVII Army Corps with 2 infantry divisions]

b) Grouping in the area of Krosno, Jaslo, Sanok, consisting of 3-4 infantry divisions;
[2 security divisions]

c) Grouping in east Slovakia composed of 5 divisions. Two additional divisions have been revealed in its composition.
[no forces in reality]

Southern Front:
Expected composition and grouping of the Romanian army

As a result of the eight days of general mobilization, by the present day the Romanian Army has:
infantry divisions - up to 30;
cavalry divisions - 4;
mountain rifle brigades - four;
motor mechanized brigades - 2-3;
tank regiments - 2;
air regiments - 9.
[24 active and reserve infantry divisions, 5 cavalry and mixed brigades, 4 mountain brigades, 1 armored division]

The main grouping of the Romanian army is located in Moldavia and Dobrogea; highest density
(up to 4 army corps) is detected in the area of the Focsani gates - Tecuci, Focsani, Braila and
Buzau.
The Romanian troops that were previously stationed in Sibiu (17th and 28th Infantry Divisions) have been transferred to Moldavia.
The 32nd Reserve Infantry Division has been formed in Medjidia.

Number of German troops in Romania:
The grouping is confirmed:

a) in North. Moldavia in the Darabani, Radauti, Suceava, Botosani area the grouping consisting of seven German divisions (of which one tank, two motorized) and 2-3 Romanian divisions for operations in the direction Kamyanets-Podolsky. Part of the forces of this group operates in the direction of Chernivtsi.
According to data received from the front on 22.6 3-4 infantry divisions from its composition have been revealed so far.

The grouping of German troops in the Carpathian Ukraine, consisting of 4 divisions, has not yet been revealed
In relation to it data have been received about an additional increase by 2-4 infantry divisions.
[no forces in reality]

2. The general increase in the density of the direct concentration of German troops in front of
Front is emphasized
Specifically, by additional data on 20 and 21.6 it was established:

a) Strengthening of the Suwalki grouping by two SS Panzer divisions (noted above);
b) Strengthening of the grouping in the area of Krasnystaw, Rozduv, Tomaszow, Zamosc - by six infantry divisions;
c) Strengthening of the area of Katowice, Krakow, Rzeszow by 4 divisions;
d) Strengthening of the Krosno area by 1 division;
e) Strengthening of the eastern Slovakia by 2 divisions (noted above);
f) Strengthening the area of the Carpathian Ukraine by 2-4 divisions (noted above);
g) The end of the transfer of German divisions from Bulgaria to Romanian territory, which gave an increase by approximately 5 divisions. Taking them into account, the total of German divisions in Rumania should be counted as 33-35 divisions.
[In reality 11 Army and German military mission to Romania with 7 infantry divisions]
The overall strengthening of the German grouping at the front - 22-24 divisions.

In this regard, the total strength of enemy groupings is determined as:

a) On the North-Western Front - 29 divisions, of which 5 are motorized, 4-5 - tank divisions;
[49 divisions, including 5 motorized and 7 tank division]
b) On the Western Front, in the Warsaw region, 31 divisions, of which 21 are infantry, one motorized, four tank and one cavalry;
[30 divisions: 19 infantry, 3 motorized, 5 tank, 1 cavalry and 2 security divisions]
c) On the Southwestern Front (up to Slovakia) - 48 divisions - of which: 5 motorized and 6 tank divisions.
[35 divisions, incl. 4 motorized and 5 tank]

In addition, in Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine, the number of German troops is 13-15 divisions.
[no forces in reality]
In Romania - 33-35 divisions; of them 4 tank, 11 motorized and one mountain rifle division.
[7 infantry divisions]

Front-level reserves in the Czestochowa, Breslau, Moravska Ostrava - up to 7 divisions; in Thorn, Bromberg, Poznan, the number of front-level reserve divisions has not been established.

The reserve of the main command until 20.6 consisted of 17-20 divisions located in the central regions of Germany. Due to the fact that the June transfers of troops to the east were carried out from the Western Front, the composition of this reserve should be considered as remaining constant, especially since further withdrawal of troops from the West for deployment against the USSR is possible.

Concusions:

1. The enemy committed significant forces to battle on 22.6; namely 37-39 infantry divisions, 5 motorized, 8 tank divisions, and total 50-52 divisions.
However, this makes only about 30% of the enemy forces concentrated at the front.

2. In the direction of the main strikes 22.6 it is clear that the enemy has the following immediate targets:
a) to envelope and destroy our Bialystok grouping and b) to create conditions for the encirclement of the Lvov group, taking advantage in both cases of his position encompassing the Bialystok and Lvov salients.

Active operations in the direction of Vilnius and Kaunas, made simultaneously with strikes on Grodno and Volkovysk, obviously pursue the goal to separate the North-Western and Western fronts.

Head of the Intelligence Directorate
of the General Staff of the Red Army
Lieutenant General Golikov
Translated from the Russian publication:
http://docs.historyrussia.org/ru/nodes/ ... nya-1941-g

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 11 May 2021 21:46

A related intelligence document issued a weak earlier:
Intelligence Summary No. 5 (West) of the Intelligence Directorate, Red Army’s General Staff

June 15, 1941

Germany

Distribution of the Armed Forces of Germany between operational theaters and fronts as of June 1, 1941

The total number of the German army on June 1, 1941 is determined as 286-296 divisions, including: motorized - 20-25, tank - 22, mountain - 15, parachute - 4-5, air landing - 4-5, SS divisions - 18.

The German command continues concentrating troops in the areas bordering the USSR, making massive transfers of units from the depths of Germany, occupied countries of Western Europe and the Balkans.

The total number of German troops on our western border with Germany and Romania (including Moldova and Dobrudja) on June 1 reaches one hundred twenty - one hundred twenty-two divisions, including: fourteen tank and thirteen motorized. By directions the German troops are distributed:

a) in East Prussia twenty three to twenty four divisions, including: eighteen to nineteen infantry and three motorized divisions, five tank regiments (two tank divisions) and seven cavalry regiments;

b) On the Warsaw direction (against the West Special Military District) thirty divisions,
including: twenty-four infantry, one motorized, one tank and six tank regiments (a total of four tank divisions), one cavalry division and eight cavalry regiments;

c) in the Lublin-Krakow region (against the Kiev Military District) thirty five to thirty six divisions, including: twenty-four to twenty-five infantry, five motorized, up to six tank divisions and five cavalry regiments;

d) in the area of Danzig, Poznan, Thorn - six infantry divisions, one cavalry regiment;

e) in Slovakia (in the area of Duplin, Presov, Michalovce) - five divisions (according to the latest data, some of them allegedly left for the former Poland);

f) in the Carpathian Ukraine - four divisions;

g) in Moldova and Northern Dobrudja - seventeen divisions, including: four motorized, one mountain and two tank.

Against England (on all fronts) one hundred twenty-two-hundred twenty-six divisions, of which: in Norway - 17 (of which six are located in northern Norway), in Africa - 8, in Italy - 9, in Greece (inclduing the island of Crete) - 10, in Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Sarajevo, Nis) - 2, in the north-western coast of France, Belgium, Holland and Denmark - 57-60, in the occupied part of France - 9-10, on the border with Spain - 10.

The reserve of the main command is forty-four to forty-eight divisions, of which: in the center of Germany - 16-17, in the region of Breslau, Moravska Ostrava Katowice - 6-9, in the center of Romania - 11, in Bulgaria - 11.


Grouping and strength of German troops

As a result of the redeployment German troops in the Balkans are situated approximately as follows:

a) in Romania - against the USSR in Moldova and Dobrudja there are: 10 infantry divisions, 4 motorized divisions, one mountain rifle division and two tank divisions. In the central part of Romania are situated: six infantry, two motorized, two tank divisions and one aviation division.

b) in Bulgaria - the main grouping of German troops (nine infantry and two tank divisions) is situated on the Turkish border;

c) in Yugoslavia - German troops amounting to two infantry divisions occupy mainly industrial and mining areas of old Serbia (Belgrade, Bor, Niš, Kragujevac and Valjevo);

d) in Greece – the bulk of the German troops (three infantry, one motorized and one tank division) is concentrated in Western Thrace on Turkish border. In the southern part of Greece, including the island of Crete, the presence of two mountain rifle, one parachute and two aviation
divisions is assumed. German and Italian troops of unidentified strength also occupied all the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Total in the Balkans, according to estimated data, there are fifty-one German division, of which: infantry - 30, mountain rifle - 3, motorized - 7, tank - 7, aviation - 3 and parachute - 1.

Of the total number of German troops in the Balkans, situated in Romania are
twenty-eight divisions, of which: infantry - 16, motorized - 6, mountain rifle - 1, tank - 4 and aviation - 1.

Thus, the main grouping of German troops is in Romania and it is directed against the USSR.
...
http://docs.historyrussia.org/ru/nodes/ ... nya-1941-g

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 May 2021 10:13

Thanks Art.
Art wrote:The total number of the German army on June 1, 1941 is determined as 286-296 divisions
Did SU know the TOE of German divisions, i.e. that each was ~30% larger in manpower than Soviet?

In general, this reinforces the impression that Soviet reactions to Barbarossa were conditioned by prewar conceptions of how the attack would unfold: Germany and its allies would need several weeks to spool up to a maximal effort, during which time the screening forces could hold and launch operations into enemy territory. Also consistent with prewar plans is the over-estimate of total available German strength. Also the perception that the main effort would be in Ukraine with a massive grouping in Romania.

The 22.6 document reads as straightforward confirmation bias that the prewar intel was broadly correct (this would of course be true also of German intelligence re Soviet reserves until pathetically late in Barbarossa). Whether the 22.6 authors believed their assessment or were afraid of bucking accepted wisdom is of course another matter.

Does that seem right or did you find surprising revelations in these documents?
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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 25 May 2021 19:43

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 May 2021 10:13
Also consistent with prewar plans is the over-estimate of total available German strength. Also the perception that the main effort would be in Ukraine with a massive grouping in Romania.
Yes, the most logical conclusion from these assessments was that a likely German main effort would be a concentric attack on Ukraine from Poland, Hungary and Romania. Actual grouping and plans were not revealed.
Did SU know the TOE of German divisions, i.e. that each was ~30% larger in manpower than Soviet?
I don't see it. Wartime strength of the Soviet infantry divisions was 14,500 men, strength of the German infantry divisions - from 15 to 17,000, the difference was mostly due to a larger size of the horse train or due to field replacement battalions. There were other parameters, like the number of weapons, which were at least not worse for the Soviet division. I believe, it was generally assumed that a Soviet division at full establishment strength was at least equal to a German division.
Another curious question is how they counted about 300 German divisions, while in fact there were only 200 something. I didn't remember seeing anything which could clarify that.

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 May 2021 20:17

Art wrote:
25 May 2021 19:43
Another curious question is how they counted about 300 German divisions, while in fact there were only 200 something. I didn't remember seeing anything which could clarify that.
Well, let's see if we can figure that out. Estimate versus actual was:

286-296 divisions

motorized - 20-25 - there were actually 15
tank - 22 - there were actually 21
airborne - 15 - there was actually 0
parachute - 4-5 - there was actually 1
air landing - 4-5 - there was actually 1
SS divisions - 18 - there were actually 4
infantry/all others - unstated, but you can imply c. 203-206 - there were actually 164 (158 infantry, 1 cavalry, 6 mountain, and 9 security

It appears that Crete may have resulted in a major inflation of the estimate of German airborne forces, while I suspect the confusion WRT the SS was possibly the result of the numerous divisional name changes (VT to DR, Germania to Wiking, believing LAH, Nord, and the two SS brigades were divisions, and assuming the Totenkopf Standarten were intended to form additional divisions. That would add around 12 divisions to the SS estimate.

The inflation of the number of motorized infantry divisions is more curious, but may stem from the conversion in the fall 1940-winter1941 of infantry divisions to Panzer? They may have assumed the rump infantry formations left over would be utilized to form more motorized formations?

That may also partly account for the inflation of infantry and other divisions?
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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 26 May 2021 19:26

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 May 2021 10:13
Does that seem right or did you find surprising revelations in these documents?
What is the most interesting is the assessment of German plans and immediate objectives. From the 22 June's report it appears that they excepted a limited offensive aimed at straitening the salients at Białystok and Lvov, which was, of course, wrong. One can question if this opinion belonged to Golikov alone or it was shared by the top brass. Then the Soviet idea of the German disposition was wrong, in particular it underestimated the strength of the armies deployed in Prussia, and overestimated the strength of forces in the southern part of the front against the Ukraine. This wrong idea led to a wrong assessment of German plans. Finally, the report left a question hanging in the air: if only 30% of German divisions available in the border zone were committed to action, then when to expect the other 70%? There was no definite answer. Expectations that they were dealing with only 50 divisions could lead to excessive optimism among the Soviet leadership.

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 May 2021 07:58

Art wrote:the Soviet idea of the German disposition was wrong, in particular it underestimated the strength of the armies deployed in Prussia, and overestimated the strength of forces in the southern part of the front against the Ukraine. This wrong idea led to a wrong assessment of German plans.
The only immediately-available hypothesis for me is massive confirmation bias, especially in a context where not confirming the biases of higher-ups could be literally deadly.
Art wrote:Expectations that they were dealing with only 50 divisions could lead to excessive optimism among the Soviet leadership.
It makes the counterattack orders much more understandable - should be easy for Southwest Front, for example, to throw back Kleist and push on to Lublin as planned (depending on what the other 70% of divisions are doing).

I'd be very interested to hear the evaluations reaching Zhukov's desk a few days later, around the time of the Dubno-Brody counterstrokes, if those kinds of documents are available and you're feeling generous. Did Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Kirponos et. al. believe they were counterattacking a much-smaller force?
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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 28 May 2021 14:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 May 2021 07:58
The only immediately-available hypothesis for me is massive confirmation bias, especially in a context where not confirming the biases of higher-ups could be literally deadly.
Hi TMP,

It does seem that the likelihood of Soviet intelligence reporting on anything happening in Nazi Germany that would make Stalin "wake up and smell the coffee" before 22 June 1941 was very unlikely. Certainly not just finding out that the Germans were giving any greater priority to tank production. That's OK, I'll just have to change my mind about that. :D

Regards

Tom

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 28 May 2021 19:51

Who reported about 120 German divisions at the Soviet border then? Beginning from the spring official intelligence bulletins registered continuous increase of German forces in "the East". It's not immediately obvious why information about German divisions in Romania was supposed to be more relaxing than information about German divisions in Prussia.

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 29 May 2021 10:18

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 May 2021 07:58
I'd be very interested to hear the evaluations reaching Zhukov's desk a few days later, around the time of the Dubno-Brody counterstrokes, if those kinds of documents are available and you're feeling generous.
I've seen only excerpts from GS intelligence summaries issued on 23-25 June, but not publication of the entire documents. The summary of 23 June, for example, said that German committed thus far 62-64 divisions. The summary of 25 June - total 88-90 divisions, distributed in the following way:
vs. the North-West Front - 22 divisions, incl. 4 tank and 4 motorized
vs. the West Front - 25 divisions, incl. 4 tank and 4 motorized
vs. the South-West Front, save for forces in Slovakia, Hungary and Romaniaь - 25-26 divisions, incl. 6 tanks and 3 motorized
army reserve (in Lotzen, Allenstein, Warsaw, Lublin, Tarnow) - 15 divisions

Also in Slovakia, Hungary (and Romania) - 46 German Divisions
Operational reserves at Danzig, Poznan, Katowice - 26 divisions

The crucial event was a capture of German documents and maps at the West Front in two episodes on circa 25 June which provided a more or less detailed information about compositions and objectives of 2 and 3 Panzer Groups.
Did Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Kirponos et. al. believe they were counterattacking a much-smaller force?
Bagramyan (chief of operations of the South-West Front) left a detailed description in his memoir:
By the evening of June 22, none of the command and staff of our front even thought about the possibility of an immediate counteroffensive. If only we could survive! Everyone was convinced that the directives from Moscow would also aim us at defensive actions.
At about 11 pm the chief of encoding department, Klochkov, informed me that a new operational directive from the People's Commissar of Defense was being transmitted. Without waiting for the complete document to be delivered, I began to read passages of it as they arrived.
The telegram began with an assessment of the situation. It was correctly pointed out that the enemy was delivering the main blow to Vladimir-Volynsky and Radzekhuv, in the center and on the left flank of our 5th Army. However, the results of the first day of the war [were overly optimistic. It was pointed out that the enemy achieved insignificant successes only in these directions at the cost of large losses, and on the rest of the border with Germany and Romania the attacks were repulsed with heavy losses for the attacker. With a heavy feeling, I read these phrases. One couldn't help a thought that optimism of assessments in the document from the center was also largely inspired by our rather cheerful reports.
At 3 pm, not yet having comprehensive information, we got off with, in essence, general phrases and did not report anything about the breakthrough of two powerful tank groupings - we received accurate information about them only at the end of the day. Indeed, while the headquarters of the corps summarize the accumulated information and transmit it to the army headquarters, the latter, in turn, will evaluate all this information and transmit it to the front headquarters, several hours pass, and during this time, in such a rapidly changing situation, crucial changes often occur in the course of operations.
Looking now at our first intelligence and situation reports, I am bitterly convinced that they were far from reflecting all the enormous danger that threatened the troops of the northern flank of our front. What, for example, information about the enemy advancing on our 5th Army, were our front-line intelligence able to report? They noted that one infantry division was advancing in the area of ​​Luboml, one infantry and one tank was advancing in the direction of Vladimir-Volynsk, and two more German infantry divisions on the south until the border with the 6th Army,
It turned out that only five enemy divisions were advancing in the entire zone of the army. Considering that we had four rifle divisions not far from the border, the situation naturally did not seem so threatening. This was the basis for the directive we received. After all, neither the People's Commissar nor the Chief of the General Staff knew that from Sokal the German motorized corps poured to Radzekhów across the territory free from our troops and that the same corps was trying to break through from Ustilug to Lutsk. When we more realistically assessed the threat to the right flank of our front, our reports, which did not reflect the full severity of the threat, were already in Moscow. Probably, the same errors in assessing the forces of the enemy who invaded the country, were made by other fronts.
Based on them, the high command now set tasks for June 23 and 24. The troops of our front were ordered:
"While firmly holding the state border with Hungary, by concentric strikes in the general direction of Lublin by the forces of the 5th and 6th armies, at least five mechanized corps, and the entire aviation of the front, encircle and destroy the enemy grouping advancing on the front Vladimir-Volynsky, Krystynopol, and by the end of 24.6 take possession of the Lublin area ... "
I was breathless. After all, this was an impossible task! ..
So essentially lack of intelligence led to inevitable reaction lag, and the command South-West Front believed that the tasks given to them were altogether impossible. Yet, in reality they didn't even try to advance to Lublin or even imitate such advance and issued orders for more limited counterstrikes aimed at restoring situation at the border. Zhukov, who arrived to the HQ of the SWF on the night of 22/23 June de facto approved this decision. Was it due to a change in situation assessment or he didn't believe in feasibility of this directive from the very start, as he implies in his memoirs, - one cannot say for sure.

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 31 May 2021 09:49

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 May 2021 20:17
airborne - 15 - there was actually 0
parachute - 4-5 - there was actually 1
air landing - 4-5 - there was actually 1
It appears that Crete may have resulted in a major inflation of the estimate of German airborne forces
My bad, 15 mountain divisions instead of "airborne".
Anyway a natural question was where these 8-10 parachute and air-landing divisions would be employed. And the most natural answer was "against the British Isles". Apparently the Soviet General Staff was of the same opinion and the bulletin of 31 May 1941 concluded that
"As concerns fronts against England (sic!) the German command, having presently sufficient forces for further development of operations in the Middle East and against Egypt (29 divisions, including Greece with Crete, Italy and Africa), at the same time quickly rebuilt its main grouping in the West, simultaneously continuing transfer of troops to Norway (from Stettin), having in the prospect execution of the main operation against the English Isles"
(underlined in the original text).

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 May 2021 15:46

Art wrote:
31 May 2021 09:49
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 May 2021 20:17
airborne - 15 - there was actually 0
parachute - 4-5 - there was actually 1
air landing - 4-5 - there was actually 1
It appears that Crete may have resulted in a major inflation of the estimate of German airborne forces
My bad, 15 mountain divisions instead of "airborne".
Anyway a natural question was where these 8-10 parachute and air-landing divisions would be employed. And the most natural answer was "against the British Isles". Apparently the Soviet General Staff was of the same opinion and the bulletin of 31 May 1941 concluded that
"As concerns fronts against England (sic!) the German command, having presently sufficient forces for further development of operations in the Middle East and against Egypt (29 divisions, including Greece with Crete, Italy and Africa), at the same time quickly rebuilt its main grouping in the West, simultaneously continuing transfer of troops to Norway (from Stettin), having in the prospect execution of the main operation against the English Isles"
(underlined in the original text).
Okay, I wondered. That makes more sense. They nearly tripled the number of mountain divisions in the estimate, which seems to be a trend for the specialty divisions. ISTR that British intelligence was making a similar inflated estimate of German airborne capability.
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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jun 2021 12:05

Art wrote:The summary of 23 June, for example, said that German committed thus far 62-64 divisions. The summary of 25 June - total 88-90 divisions
Art wrote:command South-West Front believed that the tasks given to them were altogether impossible... in reality they didn't even try to advance to Lublin or even imitate such advance and issued orders for more limited counterstrikes aimed at restoring situation at the border. Was it due to a change in situation assessment or he didn't believe in feasibility of this directive from the very start, as he implies in his memoirs, - one cannot say for sure.
Thanks. I highlight the interpretive problem for this amateur historian considering the importance of these documents. While we can't say for sure, doesn't it seem likely that Zhukov et. al. viewed the intelligence as worthless?: were the intelligence correct, RKKA'd have local superiority and an opportunity to deal a crushing counterblow. That would seem particularly true of Western Front's sector, where German forces were massively under-estimated. Popov of course didn't give us a memoir but if he believed the intel he'd have expected success in his ill-fated counterattacks. I doubt he so expected.

I guess what I'm asking: is it your sense that the higher command viewed the intel as worthless, as merely reflecting what Stalin wanted/expected to hear?
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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 20 Jun 2021 15:46

According to an official Russian history of war on 25 May 1940 the chief of the Red Army's Intelligence Directorate Ivan Proskurov submitted a report that said:
The last two years were a period of purging of agent departments and intelligence organs from alien and hostile elements. In three years NKVD organs arrested more than 200 men, all the leading staff down to departments chiefs were replaced. During my tenure from the central apparatus and subordinated units alone 365 men were discharged for various reasons. 326 men were newly accepted, the vast majority of whom don't have any experience of intelligence training.
It should be mentioned that Proskurov himself (a bomber pilot with a distinguished record in the Spanish War) didn't have any intelligence training or experience prior his appointment. So certain failures of the Soviet intelligence were unsurprising.

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Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by AriX » 31 Jul 2021 20:23

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 May 2021 10:13


In general, this reinforces the impression that Soviet reactions to Barbarossa were conditioned by prewar conceptions of how the attack would unfold: Germany and its allies would need several weeks to spool up to a maximal effort
Please, provide source for further reading about this. I hear about it a lot of times and newere had opportunity to read about it in detail.

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