London, July 26 (ANI): British historian Andrew Roberts has claimed in a new book -- The Storm of War -- that wrong clothing and not ghastly wintry conditions led to Germany's defeat in Russia in 1941.
In an extract from his new book, Roberts claims that Hitler's troops were fatally ill equipped for the 1941 invasion of Russia.
He also blames dictator Adolf Hitler for that defeat, saying the Nazi leader failed to take care of his troops' needs and was more proud of his hardiness in the cold, boasting how "having to change into long trousers was always a misery to me."
Prior to Operation Barbarossa, the Nazis were not so certain that their invasion of Russia, which began on June 22, 1941, would take place in a very cold winter.
The mistake that the German commissariat made was that they did not organize enough woollen hats, gloves, long johns and overcoats for use in Russia, reports The Telegraph.
So grave had the situation become that on December 20, 1941, Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, broadcast an appeal for warm clothing to send to the troops, saying: "Those at home will not deserve a single peaceful hour if even one soldier is exposed to the rigours of winter without adequate clothing."
Yet two years of clothes rationing meant that there was little to give.
Hitler was also guilty of making some absurd remarks on the great Russian freeze.
"One can't put any trust in the meteorological forecasts," he told Martin Bormann and others during table-talk at Berchtesgaden.
"What we need are men gifted with a sixth sense, who live in nature and with nature - whether or not they know anything about isotherms and isobars.
As a rule, obviously, these men are not particularly suited to the wearing of uniforms. One of them will have a humped back, another will be bandy-legged, a third paralytic. Similarly, one doesn't expect them to live like bureaucrats," he added.
When it came to proper clothing in a winter campaign in one of the world's coldest countries, there was simply not enough, and what was provided was often not warm enough either.
Hitler believed the campaign would be over in three months - by late September 1941 - before the weather turned.
The horrific results of the lack of warm clothing were truly disgusting.
Thousands and thousands of soldiers lost their limbs; thousands and thousands had their ears, their noses, their fingers and their sexual organs ripped off by the frost. Many had lost their hair... Many had lost their eyelids. Singed by the cold, the eyelid drops off like a piece of dead skin...(ANI)