Did the Reich have a better chance of taking Moscow or Leningrad in 1941?

Did the Reich have a better chance of taking Moscow or Leningrad in 1941?

  • Germany had a better chance at taking Leningrad

    Votes: 89 84.8%
  • Germany had a better chance at taking Moscow

    Votes: 16 15.2%

  • Total voters
    105
I always thought the Germans were better off going for Moscow first. Since Stalin would have probaly relocated east of the Urals, the Germans can now push to Leningrad and Stalingrad. Taking Moscow would be decisive since it would heavily disrupt the Red Army. This would probably push the Red Army to a war of attrition.
 
Well, if Hitler had a bit more patience when AG north started the offensive in September and moved troops from the central front instead of the other way around Leningrad might have been captured. From wikipedia: "At this stage, Hitler ordered the final destruction of Leningrad with no prisoners taken, and on 9 September, Army Group North began the final push. Within ten days it had advanced within 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) of the city.[263] However, the push over the last 10 km (6.2 mi) proved very slow and casualties mounted. Hitler, now out of patience, ordered that Leningrad should not be stormed, but rather starved into submission. "

If Leningrad falls then the Germans can anchor their northern flank on lake Ladoga and get a secure flank to attack toward Moscow. Sieging Moscow is better than capture the city outright. Why? Well, do what Ceasar did at Alesia and have a blocking force inwards and a larger force outwards to take care of the probable Soviet relief attempt.
 
I think you are underestimating all the dangers the confined Gulf of Finland would present for the Kriegsmarine attack against Kronstadt and Leningrad. Mines, submarines, coastal batteries, land-based air, the guns and torpedoes of any Soviet surface vessels still available. If the Germans went with such an attack, they would have to be prepared to write off a major part of their surface fleet in the operation.
Which has significant implications for the war in the Mediterranean and Far East. Britain can then send more fleet units to both theatres and focus the Home Fleet more to ASW and guarding against "The Twins" and Prinz Eugen sitting in Brest at this time. (Answer, get Churchill to overrule the Bomber Barons and keep on bombing until they're smoking ruins. Worth risking a carrier strike ?)

That's not to say the risk of losses should necessarily have deterred the Germans. It certainly wouldn't have stopped any of the RN, IJN or USN, nor their political leaders. But then none of these ever had a "Risk Fleet" or "Fleet in Being" conception of how to use their Navies. It depends on how valuable the potential prize was. How important was Leningrad?
 
That's not to say the risk of losses should necessarily have deterred the Germans. It certainly wouldn't have stopped any of the RN, IJN or USN, nor their political leaders. But then none of these ever had a "Risk Fleet" or "Fleet in Being" conception of how to use their Navies. It depends on how valuable the potential prize was. How important was Leningrad?
Leningrad has access to the Baltic Sea and was home of the Soviet Navy's Baltic Fleet.
 
Yes - but I meant was taking Leningrad worth the Germans risking the loss of Tirpitz and their other heavy ships?
I just don't see the need for the Germans to use their heavy ships in the capture of Leningrad. It would be a terrible investment, which would as you say risk their whole fleet in being strategy.
Basically, if the Germans want to take Leningrad, they can. It will mean they have to commit a lot of forces that were doing other stuff IOTL, but they could take the city without committing capital ships if they felt the need for it.

Of course, historically, there were always bigger needs elsewhere along the front. Still, in a hypothetical scenario where the Germans recognize the need to eliminate Murmansk AND the Fins are willing to go balls to the wall and take all of the Karelia, I can envision a scenario where Leningrad is captured after a hard fought battle.
I think wiking also made the claim the city could have been captured off the march before winter set it?
 
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