Originally Posted by Doppleganger
The Germans had two choices in September 1941, after the Battle of Kiev had been concluded:
1) Press on to Moscow and hope that the Red Army are almost finished and aren't able to replace their huge losses in the field
2) Form a defensive line using the Dnieper River as the basis and wait out the winter until spring
Clearly, the 2nd option allows the Red Army time and breathing space and also ensures that the current German initiative is lost. It is possible for the Germans to resist any Soviet counter-attacks and allow their forces to rest and refit and reestablish the initiative in Spring 1942. This is, in fact, what they did historically and in this scenario the Germans could do so again without having suffered the losses in Operation Typhoon. This is using the benefit of hindsight, of course.
With hindsight, pressing on for Moscow is a viable strategy if you believe your enemy is on its knees and almost finished. This is precisely what the Germans believed. Although the cautious Hitler wanted to go for Option 2 he was persuaded by his senior commanders that the Ostheer could capture Moscow and knock the Soviet Union out of the war. Without the benefit of hindsight (and with the knowledge that your enemy has recently suffered greater numerical losses than any other army in history) Option 1 seems like a gamble worth taking.
The importance of the Battle of Moscow is not a myth. It determined the eventual outcome of the war in the east. To say that this had already been determined in September is silly.
IMHO,the dies were already cast when on 30 september,Typhoon started,and the importance of Typhoon (battle of Moscow ) is a myth.
For Typhoon to be decisive,is needed
1)that Typhoon could succeed:that Moscow could fall :Moscow did not fall,and,even with hindsight,I don't see any chances for the Germans to succeed:between june and october,they could not eliminate the Soviet army,why should they be able to do it between october and december ?
2)that the success of Typhoon (elimination of the Soviet army-fall of Moscow,or both) would result in the collaps of the SU :
a)this is very unlikely
b)this has never been proved in any war game
My conviction is that after the fall of Moscow,at the end of november,the German advance would have stopped some miles east of Moscow,that during the winter a)there would be no fighting or b)there would be a Soviet winter offensive(without any success) and that in the spring the war would renew .