Ever want to sit and chortle to yourself for an hour? Read the entry on Operation Barbarossa on Wikipedia.
“The German forces were unready to deal with harsh weather and the poor road network of the USSR. In autumn, terrain slowed the Wehrmacht’s progress. Few roads were paved. The ground in the USSR was very loose sand in summer, sticky muck in autumn, and heavy snow in winter.”
“German tanks had narrow treads with little traction and poor flotation in mud. In contrast, the new generation of Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV had wider tracks and were far more mobile in these conditions. The 600,000 large western European horses the Germans used for supply and artillery movement did not cope well with this weather. The smaller horses the Red Army used were much better adapted to the climate and could even scrape the icy ground with their hooves to dig up the weeds beneath.”
“German weapons malfunctioned in the cold. Lubricating oils were unsuitable for these temperatures, leading to engine malfunction and misfiring weapons. To load shells into a tank’s main gun, frozen grease had to be chipped off with a knife. Soviet units faced less severe problems due to their experience with cold weather. Aircraft had insulating blankets to keep their engines warm while parked. Lighter-weight oil was used. German tanks and armored vehicles could not move due to a lack of antifreeze, causing fuel to solidify.”
“The German High Command grossly underestimated the control the central Soviet government exercised. The German High Command wrongly thought the Soviet government was ineffective. The Germans based their hopes of quick victory on the belief the Soviet communist system was like a rotten structure which would collapse from a hard kick. In fact, the Soviet system proved resilient and surprisingly adaptable. In the face of early crushing defeats, the Soviets managed to dismantle entire industries threatened by the German advance. These critical factories, along with their skilled workers, were transported by rail to secure locations beyond the Germans’ reach. Despite the loss of raw materials and the chaos of an invasion, the Soviets managed to build new armaments factories in sufficient numbers to allow mass production of needed war machinery. The Soviet government was never in danger of collapse and remained at all times in tight control of the Soviet war effort.”