From digging in GRU files, Suvorov asserts that in the spring of 1941, Stalin was poised to launch 170 divisions, 24,000 tanks and thousands of warplanes in a surprise blitzkrieg against Western Europe, supported by mountains of munitions and more reserve armies from Asia and the Far East. The first target was Ploesti, Romania, Germany’s sole source of oil. Germany was also Italy’s sole source of oil. Losing Ploesti would have knocked both Axis powers out of the war. The Red Army and Air Force were deployed in vulnerable offensive formations hard on the new German-Soviet border. Stalin ordered all 1,000 plus defensive casemates of the formidable Stalin Line defending the USSR’s western border destroyed. But Hitler struck first. Learning of the Soviet threat, Hitler secretly massed his armies and attacked on 22 June, 1941. Operation Barbarossa caught the Russians flat-footed: warplanes on the ground, tanks on rail cars, and munitions in the open. Soviet ground forces were quickly enveloped, cut off and destroyed in vast numbers. Had they been positioned in defensive deployments behind the Stalin Line, this rout would not have happened.
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