An Analysis of the German End Game in the Baltic
This book covers the latter years of WWII around the Baltic region. In 1944, the Soviet counteroffensives had pushed Germany nearly out of the USSR’s 1941 borders except for the Baltic regioin. Here, they were still withiin striking distance of Leningrad.
This extended the German lines in a long thin band northward with their backs to the sea. Was Hitler crazy?
Well, probably, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some reason to this deployment.
Keeping Finland in the war
Finland was increasingly restless as the war went bad. The loss of the Baltic would mean they would make peace – as they did when the retreat was forced in the summer
Training area for submarines
The region was the only safe place for testing submarines, especially the new models. This was likely a lost cause at this point
Secure supply of metals from Sweden
Losing the sea might threaten the iron shipments from Sweden. This might justify some effort.
Holding off Soviets
Guarding this front locked down Soviet troops. This is the most wishful thinking of the excuses, as the Soviets could and did draw out first line forces and use them elsewhere.
By Fall 1944, this flank had collapsed, and a good part of Army Group North was pinned in the Courland Peninsula where much of it sat out the rest of the war. Other coastal pockets were reduced.
This is an interesting, short look at a part of the Eastern Front that usually escapes coverage in the Barbarossa to Stalingrad then forget it histories that are so common. It is a difference to try and balance a series of bad options in a losing war effort to the usual discussion of how the Germans could have triumphed.