As objective deadlines were missed, it became apparent the operations would not be completed before Winter and Germany made plans to move equipment better suited for cold weather to the front. Of course, with the terrible conditions of the roads and the strain on the movement of supplies, much of this equipment failed to reach troops before the onset of winter. Hitler, thousands of miles from the fighting, ordered fuel and ammunition to take priority over winter clothing.
Without adequate winter wear and equipment, troops were forced to improvise. They packed newspaper into their jackets and trousers to try to stay warm. With temperatures reaching -30°C (-22°F). German soldiers also burned fuel for warmth and kept engines running even when not in military operation. Regarding machinery, fuels and lubricants were not treated with antifreeze and as winter set in, engines failed. It then became preferable to leave engines running, burning fuel that was increasingly difficult to find, or risk being unable to start them again.
Hitler, fearing comparison to Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Moscow, ordered German forces to "stand or die". Literal interpretation of this directive may have prevented strategic withdrawals to better defensive positions, German commanders preferring to hold to the destruction of their men.