One of the big secrets of World War 2 is why Nazi Germany succeeded in surprising Soviet Russia in June 1941. The usual reasons were that Stalin trusted a non-aggression pact with Hitler or Stalin was afraid of Nazi Germany. Viktor Sukorov analyzes some recently released Soviet documents and comes to a different conclusion which makes more sense. All of Stalin’s actions and what happened with the Soviets was the result of Stalin planning to sweep across all of Europe. Stalin was planning to let the Nazis fight Europe and weaken themselves and weaken those they attacked and then the Soviets would attack and defeat the Nazis and what remained. The Soviets were prepared and positioned to launch an attack on the Germans and were out of position for defense when the Nazis attacked. This left planes too close to the front and in position to be overrun. Why did the Soviets not think that the Nazis were going to attack ? The Soviets spies detected no build up of winter gear by the Nazi units. How could an army unit attack the Soviets and Russia without winter gear ? They did not think the Germans would be so foolish as to think that they could attack and defeat the Soviets in three months before winter.
I would say that the Soviets were probably planning to attack but their attack may not have been launched until 1942. The Soviets made huge mistakes in not having some flexibility to react or to have some forces in a defensible position until they were launching their attack. The Nazis armies and the Soviets armies were set up for conquering and it was a good thing that they expended their resources fighting each other. It would have been far more costly for the United States, UK and Canada and the rest of Europe to fight 3 million more Nazis soldiers and then 9 million Soviet soldiers on top of the fraction of the Nazis armies that they did fight.
Looking at the wikipedia entries on the T-28 and T-35 tanks, the mainstream view is that those tanks were plagued my mechanical (in particular transmission) failures. The wikipedia T-34 description.
Viktor Suvorov was an analyst from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces. (GRU) He was not a spy that killed people but a detective and puzzle solver who would take a hundred thousand piecs of information and work out what was missing and solve the one, two or three or N numbers of puzzles in piles of information. Historians treat the Soviet Union as a regular country. Viktor considers the Soviet Union a criminal conglomerate. Therefore, he uses the methods of criminology and intelligence rather than classical scientific research. It has been over sixty years since the German invasion yet most of the Soviet archives are still closed. Suvorov indicates that the Russians publish the documents that show the Soviet “unpreparedness” for war but hide the offensive war plans.
The Soviets in 1920s helped train German Panzer cops and helped them to make tanks and prepare for the second world war.
After the war the soviets called the T-28 tank that they started the war with as “obsolete and worn out”. However the T-28 had a 500 horse power engine and 30 mm armor 76 mm gun with 555 m/s muzzle velocity. The T-28E had 80mm thick armor. The Germans did not catch to this tank until 1942. the T-28 was obsolete only compared the newer soviet T-34 (introduced in 1939 and widely quoted by German generals and field Marchals as being the best tank in the world).
The Soviets had more tanks and better tanks and even after the disasterous start of the war and the loss of thousands of tanks and millions of troops. The Soviets were still able to mass produce thousands of tanks and mobilize over 30 million troops.
The Nazi attack on the Soviets broke up an imminent Soviet attack, that Soviet attack would have crushed the Nazis who were not positioned for defence and probably resulted in a Soviet victory in 1942 or 1943. Both the Soviets and the Nazis wre ready to and preparing to attack each other and only the Nazis struck first.
Superior soviet tank designs and greater troop mobilization capabilities and the large terrain which allowed factories for tanks, weapons and planes to remain beyond the reach of the Nazis meant that a Nazi loss was inevitable.
World War 2 Deaths
On June 22, 1941 Hitler dealt a death blow to the Soviet Union. The best part of the male population of the Soviet Union died in the war against Germany. The underaged men stayed in Stalins army until Stalins death 7-8 years after the war. There were not enough people in the farms and famine broke out in 1946 and 1947. The Soviet Union also lost World War 2. The Soviet Union was created for war and conquest. It concentrated all of its strength and resources in preparing for a new war and it was crushed in 1991 by the burden of its military expenditures.