Germany - Passau - The City on Three Rivers

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The individual Soviet infantryman was physically hardy, fatalistic, and needed less material support than his German opponent. He was especially effective in the many forests of northern and central Russia. The sheer volume of firepower generated by the rifle divisions exacted a heavy toll on the Germans. More importantly, the Soviets had a military age male population twice as large as Germany's. They could go on feeding full-strength units into the fight long after the Germans were exhausted.

In fact, to help equip the 18 new panzer and motorized divisions formed after the fall of France, the infantry divisions lost many of the motor vehicles they had, their place being taken by more horsedrawn vehicles. Thus the infantry of 1941 was less mobile than it had been in France the year before. The tactics chosen by the Germans for the invasion, the Kesselschlacht or cauldron (pocket) battle, were based on the division of the army into mobile and non-mobile portions. The infantry divisions simply couldn't keep up with the mobile formations on the deep and fast drives called for by the Blitz theorists, but there were too few mobile divisions to defeat the Soviets alone.

It became necessary to collect all available reserve, replacement and training units around the regimental and divisional staffs that had survived those Grand Alliance offensives. These hastily organized new divisions were at first given a variety of names, such as Sperr (Blocking), Kampf (combat), and Grenadier. But by September, all surviving new divisions were renamed Volksgrenadier and given standardized organizational and equipment tables. On the political and administrative side, as a result of the command Page 34 shake up that followed the failed July bomb plot against Hitler, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was given charge of the replacement army.

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