Could Germany have skipped BoB, Greece and North Africa and gone straight into the USSR autumn 1940?

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Admiral Beez

1st Lieutenant
Oct 21, 2019
Toronto, Canada
While taking Norway was essential, given that there was no real attempt or credible plan for invasion, the Battle of Britain seemed a waste of German resources and time. As was the distraction of saving Italy in Greece and North Africa. Did Germany have the aircraft, armour, artillery, transports, men and logistics to attempt Barbarossa a year earlier? Of course over that year Germany expanded its strength, but so did the USSR.

tomo pauk

Creator of Interesting Threads
Apr 3, 2008
They might or might not have logistics (in German sense, not in late war American sense), but Autumn of 1940 is a bad time to attack Soviet Union - rain will make it even worse this time around, thus making Soviets loosing less men and land to the initial push.
The best time for Germans to invade Soviet Union is two-three years after they have a working peace with UK and there is no US involvement - be it in 1942, 1945 or 1950.


Staff Sergeant
Jan 17, 2011
I don't think Wehrmacht could launch Unternehmen Barbarossa without securing the Balkans and Greece before.


Chief Master Sergeant
Jun 25, 2013
With no German interest in North Africa, Italy is likely out of the war earlier. This releases a lot of RN surface assets, but, on the other hand, the US and British armies don't learn what they're doing wrong for armored warfare quite so soon. Germany also has to worry about direct attacks on its forces from Greece and occupied Italy.


Tech Sergeant
Feb 18, 2018
As I remember, Balkans and Greece were not considered as pre-requisites for the Barbarossa (or for the plan Otto, initially).

As for the initial topic, the autumn of 1940 was an interesting period in the German-Soviet relationship. Until the end of November, or at least until the visit of Molotov to Berlin on 13th-14th November, there was a real chance for the USSR to become a member of the Axis.

Let's say, that Germany needs at least 4 months of preparation in the East, as in real history. Therefore, the Barbarossa plan has to be developed in the summer of 1940, but Berlin was pre-occupied with other more urgent issues at that time. And autumn is, as Tomo mentioned, the worst season for the blitz offensive.

Admiral Beez

1st Lieutenant
Oct 21, 2019
Toronto, Canada
With no German interest in North Africa, Italy is likely out of the war earlier. This releases a lot of RN surface assets,
Greater RN availability is bad for Japan‘s plans for Dec 1941 onwards, but IMO it’s either victory in Russia asap or Germany is lost. If Italy is out of the war in by say, early 1941 this does not hinder Germany much, provided Romania‘s oil fields are safe. Unless post-Mussolini Italy can be encouraged to join the British that would present a challenge to a Germany whose armies are far off in Ukraine.

The USA is still neutral, and Britain still isolated, though now with Russia on side - but Stalin’s violation of Britain’s security guarantee to Poland may be too soon to easily overlook.


Major General
Jun 29, 2009
Central Florida Highlands
With France falling on June 25th the German Army is stretched across much of France and the lowlands, Many/most of the tanks need repair/overhaul. Ammunition stocks need replenishing. Some motor vehicles (trucks, cars, motorcycles) need replacing/repair. The Army needs to transported across France Germany and Poland to start positions.

What is the status of both Romania and Bulgaria as allies or bases for German troops in the late summer/fall of 1940?

The Germans have very few tanks with even the short 50mm gun. The 5cm Pak.38 AT gun is only introduced to the army in late 1940.

Some divisions used in Russia had French artillery. How long would it take to sort through the captured guns, issue them, supply a decent amount of ammunition (even if form captured stocks) and transport the lot across Europe?

The German army of July 1940 is not the German army of April/May 1941. If the invasion of England was weather dependent in Sept/Oct of 1940 the invasion of Russia would be even more so.
How long would it take just to march (few German divisions were fully motorized) from the Polish/ Russian border to Moscow even without opposition?
Germans had 10 Panzer divisions in the Battle for France. They had 20 for the invasion of Russia (in large part due to spreading the tanks out, fewer tanks per panzer division)

What the Luftwaffe could or could not do to support such an invasion without the losses of the BoB is certainly subject to question but the Army is not up to the job and with bad weather coming in weeks the Luftwaffe's ability to support the ground troops is going to be limited by weather, not numbers.


Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
Germany coming to the aid of Italy in North Africa is what threw a wrench in the invasion plans, consuming a considerable amount of men and material.

Bulgaria joined the Axis early in 1941, so those bases (Plovdiv, Varna, etc.) were available to the Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine before the invasion.
Romania (who joined the Axis in 1940) also had key bases, both airfields and ports, available to the Germans.

The Basket

Senior Master Sergeant
Jun 27, 2007
Romania was key to Barbarossa and Romania wasn't fully on board until 1941. Also the planning happened over the winter of 1940-41.

Original invasion date was 15 May. The weather in USSR was usually dicey so heavy rains and of course General Winter. Giving very narrow invasion windows.

To be frank, the Germans were understrength in 1941 so any invasion on the fly in 1940 is just nuts.


Tech Sergeant
Feb 18, 2018
One more disadvantage (for Germany) in autumn 1940. Red Army did not yet concentrate in western regions so much as to allow Wehrmacht to encircle and eliminate large parts of it - as it happened in real history in 1941. Loss of the territory for the USSR was not catastrophic, but the loss of hundreds of divisions was.

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