Originally Posted by Pale Rider
Why is it that everyone thinks that by Germany taking Moscow that this would of ended the war in the East, another army during a different time frame achieved that goal and ended up leaving in total chaos.
The difference is that Moscow back in 1812 was not nearly
as important as an economic, political and cultural centre as it was in 1941 and beyond. Moreover, Napoleon's 'Grande Armee' did not inflict the scale of casualties in the field that the Wehrmacht inflicted on the Red Army. The Imperial Russian Army was largely intact, a lesson that was not lost on German military reformists such as Scharnhorst and also not lost on a certain Adolf Hitler. There are differences of opinion on whether the loss of Moscow would have knocked the Soviet Union out of the war but consider this. Had the Germans won the Battle for Moscow they would have:
a) Captured the political centre of the Soviet Union
b) Captured the most important communications and railroad hub
c) Severed the North/South communications/transport link of European Russia
This would have had the likely effect of:
a) Severely compromising the Red Army's ability to plan and coordinate large scale operations
b) Inducing mass panic amongst the Russian population
It must be noted that several times during the Battle of Moscow there was mass panic amongst the local population, none more so than on October 18th when the whole city was on the verge of anarchy. The actual loss of the city would be a hammer blow to civilian morale and the impact of that cannot be understated.
The question for me is not whether capturing Moscow would knock the Soviet Union out of the war as I think it would. The question is whether the Wehrmacht can hold the city against the expected Soviet winter counter-attack. If they can, they win the war.