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  • Originally posted by Michele View Post
    The Soviets managed to beat back the Germans, causing unprecedented losses. At a certain point, the Soviet tanks managed to stop the German advance dead. At that point, if they had used "initiative", they might have counterattacked - thus running into the tried and true German riposte, a line of AT guns, 88s and 105mm long-barrelled cannons which would have worked even against T-34s and KV tanks. Instead, the Soviets stuck to their orders, and held their ground until artillery, and long-range HE fire from tanks, destroyed the German AT guns and artillery. Then they received orders to advance, and did so, smashed the German bridgehead, and pushed the Germans in disarray back across the Lisiza River.
    The events were different somewhat. Mot sure that you can cope with a 2 hours video in Russian, in any case the engagement featured a counterattack of Soviet 11 Tank Brigade which apparently inflicted heavy losses to German artillery, but lost 6 own tanks to Paks and German infantry. Losses of the 4 Panzer Division were serious but not catastrophic. Actually 4 and 11 Tank Brigades lost more tanks than 4 PzD did. 4 PzD wasn't stopped altogether but advanced slowly from Orel to Mtsensk. In general, it wasn't some kind of miraculous and easy victory for the Soviet side, rather a bitter and bloody engagement.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
      The events were different somewhat. Mot sure that you can cope with a 2 hours video in Russian, in any case the engagement featured a counterattack of Soviet 11 Tank Brigade which apparently inflicted heavy losses to German artillery, but lost 6 own tanks to Paks and German infantry. Losses of the 4 Panzer Division were serious but not catastrophic. Actually 4 and 11 Tank Brigades lost more tanks than 4 PzD did. 4 PzD wasn't stopped altogether but advanced slowly from Orel to Mtsensk. In general, it wasn't some kind of miraculous and easy victory for the Soviet side, rather a bitter and bloody engagement.
      Never said it was easy or cheap. Also, I'm not talking of the battle lasting several days (during which the Soviets took roughly the same number of tank losses as the enemy), but specifically of the day on which the Germans attempted the Lisiza river crossing for the first time near Voin.
      In any case, had the Soviet tankers launched an "initiative" push after their initial counterattack had succeded, they would have run headlong into those 88s and 105s, and I suspect their losses would have been exceeedingly higher.
      Michele

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      • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
        The negatives of the German style is what you mention (in certain situations there was too much freedom for field officers at the detriment of the bigger picture) and I believe, more significantly, also the structure of their army.
        Thank you. And yes, to some extent it was probably a structural issue too.

        Michele

        Comment


        • It seems the thread, which was about the overestimation of German performance in WWII, as could be expected might veer towards the usual "who had the best army". That is at least tangential to the topic. But could we avoid at least the truly stale "Monty was bad"-"No he was good"?
          Michele

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          • Originally posted by Michele View Post
            but specifically of the day on which the Germans attempted the Lisiza river crossing for the first time near Voin.
            I was talking about this episode specifically
            the engagement featured a counterattack of Soviet 11 Tank Brigade which apparently inflicted heavy losses to German artillery, but lost 6 own tanks to Paks and German infantry
            Funny, that the role of the 11 Tank Brigade was almost completely forgotten for many years.

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            • Originally posted by Gooner View Post

              Are you kidding me? He wasn't in rivalry or competition with the US, he was fighting the Germans. The landings in Sicily were planned by him (now compare that to the landings in Italy which he didn't plan), the campaign was well fought, with the largest Allied error being the dash to Palermo. Market-Garden was a brilliant idea that would have shortened the war.
              good point!
              The original American proposal was to land at multiple points around Sicily - the strategy that had worked for the Torch landings.
              . Bernard |Montgomery insisted on the landing at one beachhead around Gaeta,which proved to be a very wise decision.
              However, Patton's dash to Palermo was a wise move- his intelligence indicated that the Italian coastal troops facing him were not in a 'fight to the death' mood! Exposing the western flank of the Herman Goring division may have tipped the withdraw decision.


              The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

              Comment


              • Gooner, Monti was a joke. He was timid, hesitant, and unprofessional. He was a superb butt-kisser, and was lucky enough to get command in Africa just when US aid flooded in and the DAK was exhausted.

                Even then his 'brilliance' was 'fixed positions and pray'. Patton humiliated Monti in Sicily after Monti (after another clandestine bathroom plea) got the short route, because in the end, Monti was a trench-sitter at heart.

                Market Garden was a brilliant example of why Monti the rabbit should never be allowed command. He was a useful enough clerk, so long as there was plenty of American aid and supervision. A pity the British 6th Airborne had to pay for the lesson that Monti was better on his knees than in command, but such is the way of history.
                Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Michele View Post
                  Also, I'm not talking of the battle lasting several days (during which the Soviets took roughly the same number of tank losses as the enemy), but specifically of the day on which the Germans attempted the Lisiza river crossing for the first time near Voin.
                  If you allow me to give a long quote, here is a fragment from the 11 Tank Brigade's war diary:

                  5.10.41
                  In view of enemy threat to the right flank of the 4 Tank Brigade, which defended the front Konstantinovka, Sorokino, at 14.00 commander of the 1 Guards Rifle Corps major general Lelyushenko gave an oral order to the 11 TBr commander to detach a group of tanks composed of a medium tank company (12 T-34), light tank company (10 T-26), 4 KV and a company of the motorized riffle battalion. Detachment’s mission: advance along the road Mtzenks-Konstantinovka, reach the area of Konstantinovka and cover the right flank of the 4 TBr. At 15.00 5.10.41 the detachment set out to carry out this mission.

                  6.10.41
                  At 6.00 6.10.41 the detachment occupied defensive positions at the road juncture 2 km east of Khomutovka. Until 16.30 6.10.41 the detachment having no contact with the enemy carried out reconnaissance in the direction to Lomovets. At 16.30 6.10.41 2 messengers from the 4 TBr arrived to the detachment with the order by major general Kurkin:
                  1. Up to 40 enemy tanks bypassed the right flank of the 4 TBr and advance to 1st Voin.
                  2. The detachment is to set out to Sergievskoye, Yarigyno and to attack the enemy from the flank in cooperation with 4 TBr.

                  At 17.00 the detachment started to carry out this order and sent combat reconnaissance (T-34 platoon commanded by lieutenant Odintsov – 5 tanks). The platoon crossed the Lesnitsa (sic!) River at Sergievskoye and spotted 12-14 enemy tanks in movement. By fire from standing position the platoon destroyed 4 enemy tanks, thus bringing confusion to enemy tanks. The enemy started a disordered retreat; our tanks knocked out further 5 enemy tanks (2 of them were set on fire).
                  Our tanks received fire from enemy artillery from the direction of Kamenka. The platoon launched an attack against enemy firing positions. In the ravine south-east of Yarygino the tanks encountered up to 20-30 enemy anti-tank guns. The tanks at high speed rammed 15-20 enemy AT guns. At this moment the platoon received fire from enemy heavy guns, as a result one our tank was knocked out and set on fire. The second group – 6 T-34 crossed the Lesnitsa Riveer at Yarygino, 2 of them bogged down in the river. The detachment commander ordered to evacuate them using 4 tanks, 2 T-34 commanded by lieutenant Ravinskiy were detached to cover the evacuation. Ravinskiy’s tanks after advancing 800-1000 meters encountered enemy tanks and knocked out 5 tanks and 5 AT guns. In this engagement one our tank was knocked out and burned.
                  4 TBr didn’t support the attack of the tank detachment. Only after the actions of major Kravchenko’s tank detachment the 4 TBr launched a counterattack taking use of enemy confusion, but with onset of darkness tanks returned to their initial positions, thus it was impossible to evacuate our tanks from the battlefield and collect trophies.
                  In this battle only a T-34 company took part. KVs, T-26 company and a company of the motorized rifle battalion were not committed to action by the detachment’s commander. As a result of the battle the detachment knocked out and damaged 14 tanks and up to 30 AT guns.
                  Trophies: 1 armored carrier, 8 rifles, 30 hand grenades, 2 binoculars, 2 machine guns, 8 pistols, 1 flare pistol, 1 machine pistol
                  Losses: 6 T-34
                  Conclusions:
                  1) The detachment actions were disjointed
                  2) The detachment wasn’t timely supported by the 4 Tank Brigade
                  See the scheme No.1
                  Scheme1.jpg

                  German sources supports quite unequivocally that counterattacking T-34s reached their gun positions and destroyed several guns in close combat, but lost several tanks were knocked out as well, including at least one tank which was set on fire by German infantry using a can of gasoline. It seems that it was this counterattack that made the most heavy impression on German generals and contributed to the idea of T-34's superiority.

                  As for 4 and 11 Tank Brigades having some superior training compared to earlier units - I somehow doubt that. Both had personnel drawn from earlier tank divisions and diluted with fresh conscripts, and both had just several weeks for training and unit building.

                  Comment


                  • Thank you very much for the detailed account. This is much more than I knew about the engagement.
                    I'd like to point out, though, that while I have no doubt that medium and heavy Soviet tanks could "ram" (more likely, overrun the positions of) the standard German ATG of the time, a 37mm, I tend to believe the German sources used by Macksey, which say that the 88s and the 105s were taken out by HE fire, both from field artillery and from the T-34s themselves. Trying to ram an 88, even with a KV, would have rarely been a success.

                    As to the standards of the units fighting the Germans in this case, it may be that they could not count on better-than-average training, but as you'll remember I listed several other common/frequent features of enemy units against which the German "initiative" system worked. And the Soviets, in this case, may have had only average training, but they had good leadership, weren't reacting slowly, weren't weakly equipped, weren't outnumbered locally, and weren't confused. That's 5 out of 6.
                    Michele

                    Comment


                    • Well, I remember reading about this episode in Katukov's memoir more than 20 years ago. Characteristically he completely forgot to mention that 11 Tank Brigade was involved - a common trait of many memoir writers.
                      I believe, the advantage that Katukov and other Soviet commanders had was that they had combat experience and "learned few things" (Guderian) from it. But there were other objective factors: 4 PzD was reduced to just 60 operational tank , most of the Guderian's panzer group busy dealing with the pockets and Bryansk and Trubchevsk, German long and vulnerable supply line, advent of bad weather (hence limited air support and logistical problems) etc.
                      I don't think that RA in general or units in Mtsenk in specifically were more better equipped compared with situation in June 1941. Rather the other way around: what happened in those several months was a rapid and dramatic degradation almost in every respect.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                        I don't think that RA in general or units in Mtsenk in specifically were more better equipped compared with situation in June 1941. Rather the other way around: what happened in those several months was a rapid and dramatic degradation almost in every respect.
                        I'd say that attrition has its upshots. In June 1941, it's pretty likely a higher percentage of the tanks of just about any Soviet armored unit would be obsolete/light, or in such poor maintenance that they'd break down after ten kms, or both. By the time of this battle, attrition would have obviously hit those weaker components first. And indeed, while the Germans by now suffered from their version of the Westerners' "It's-a-Tiger" syndrome (for the Germans, "It's-a-T-34-or-a-KV"), the Soviet forces did indeed field a higher proportion of medium and heavy tanks than what would be the average in June.

                        As to the Germans being depleted, yes, that's true - I did mention the Soviets were not outnumbered, and that is obviously a function not only of what the Soviets could put on the table, but also of what their enemy could. In any case, note that while the "Eberbach" Brigade could committ only a Panzer battalion (I./35.), this was reinforced with two companies from the II., for a total of five companies.

                        Michele

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by lodestar View Post

                          Greetings Proconsul and welcome back!.

                          Thank you for raising this perennial which I've addressed in various threads over the years.
                          It's a tricky and nuanced issue which always needs to approached carefully.

                          One of the recent threads I raised was:

                          The difference between so-called ‘excuses’ for the Germans losing and REASONS why they lost.

                          Which addressed the above question and which included the following from my OP:

                          "In the land war in Western Europe historian after historian has pointed out that massive allied weight in material, manpower, industrial strength, economic might, and logistics made the chances of German victory (especially with so much tied up in the huge struggle in the east) against the Western allies non-existent.
                          Having said that however let me make it quite clear the Allied soldiers who faced off against the Germans at this stage the war deserve every bit of respect and honour they have been given for their role in destroying Nazism.

                          So far as the naval war (essentially the struggle against the ‘U-Boats) goes as I have said in an earlier thread “The German naval threat myth in WWII” :

                          “In overall terms however, they (the U-Boats) had no chance to overcome the massive naval superiority, ship-building capacity, Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft and vast advantage in global network of bases, established sea-lanes, naval training infrastructure and naval warfare experience the Anglo-allied maritime powers enjoyed.”

                          Some people seem to think that anyone who points out the odds the Germans faced in overall terms are ‘just making excuses’.
                          They’re not.
                          They are pointing out that there are perfectly rational, logical and understandable explanations (ie: REASONS) for German failure/defeat".


                          Also anther recent thread:
                          The Lethal lean look of German kit: Me109, Schmeissers, U-Boats, Dorniers, Panzers
                          which addressed the issue of German equipment.
                          Again from the thread OP:

                          "There’s a distinct visual similarity between different German weapons of World War Two.
                          It’s apparent in weapons as varied as the Messerschmitt ME 109 (surely the ‘deadliest’ looking fighter of WWII), the MP40 “Schmeisser” SMG, the early Panzers: Pzkw II, III & IV, U-Boats, Dornier 17, the MG 42 “Spandau” Machine Gun, Heinkel III bomber and even the Fieseler Fi 156 ‘Storch’ reconnaissance plane.

                          Like it or not German ‘stuff’ was just looked plain cool
                          I’m sure that their menacing, deadly appearance of so much German ‘sharp-end’ equipment had a pretty potent psychological impact on their opponents in the early days of Blitzkrieg and played a role however indirect in those early victories.

                          Hope this generates some interest."


                          I'd be very interested in your thoughts on both.







                          In the end I didn't answer in that thread about the 'coolness' of German weapons, so I'll write down a couple points here.

                          Don't you think that Nazi weapons look so cool and menacing because, well, they are NAZI...? I.e. they belonged to a badass enemy, considered by many the epitome of evil. Maybe some of the same weapons, if they belonged to another nation, wouldn't look so impressive.

                          Now, I totally agree that late war panzers are the most badass looking of WW2, with the possible exception of the JS-2 (and 3, but it didn't take part in combat operations so it doesn't really count). Especially when compared with Allied tanks like the M-3 and M-4, which look like children toys with their ridiculous shapes and enormous height. Other German weapons look cool too, but by no means all of them. The early tanks didn't look anything special, with their boxy silhouettes and stubby guns. I think many French tanks, with their camo paints, look indeed more menacing. But they were French, so nobody pays attention...

                          When it comes to airplanes, I think the P-51 and the Tempest Mk V, with their under-hanging radiators, look super badass. And I have a weakness for the B-29. About warships, I think nothing looks more threatening than the Yamato class.

                          I think it's a common psychological trait that the weapons of the enemy seem threatening. I'm old enough to remember those comments about the Iraqi T-72, The Lion of Babylon, before the Gulf War. After the war, of course, the impressions changed.

                          Comment


                          • I'm posting here a table that put some dents in the belief that Germany was defeated only by sheer weight of numbers. In 2009 the Russian historian Isaev published a comparison between Soviet and German ammunition expenditures in 1942-44 (the table is translated by a poster from another forum).
                            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...Amw/edit#gid=0

                            In a nutshell, in 1943 and 1944 the Soviets expended respectively 828000 and 1 million tonnes of gun and mortal shells (+75mm). The corresponding (rounded) figures for Germany are 1120000 and 1540000. By comparison the US expended about 640000 tonnes between June 1944 and May 1945.

                            If these figures are correct they alone would suffice to change a little bit the impression of a small under-gunned Wehrmacht dwarfed by immense hordes of incompetent enemies. Germany even before the war was an economic superpower, second only to the USA, and by 1942 it had at his disposition the resources of most Europe.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Proconsul View Post
                              I'm posting here a table that put some dents in the belief that Germany was defeated only by sheer weight of numbers. In 2009 the Russian historian Isaev published a comparison between Soviet and German ammunition expenditures in 1942-44 (the table is translated by a poster from another forum).
                              https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...Amw/edit#gid=0

                              In a nutshell, in 1943 and 1944 the Soviets expended respectively 828000 and 1 million tonnes of gun and mortal shells (+75mm). The corresponding (rounded) figures for Germany are 1120000 and 1540000. By comparison the US expended about 640000 tonnes between June 1944 and May 1945.

                              If these figures are correct they alone would suffice to change a little bit the impression of a small under-gunned Wehrmacht dwarfed by immense hordes of incompetent enemies. Germany even before the war was an economic superpower, second only to the USA, and by 1942 it had at his disposition the resources of most Europe.
                              What about a depleted field officer reserve. Both commissioned and non commissioned were depleted on a large level. Same goes for the soldiers under them. Old men and young boys with little training or experience. Same with the Luftwaffe. The core of Germany's exceptional pilots were gone by 1944. And don't forget gasoline and oil.

                              Inexperienced mortar men and artillery men will more often then not miss their intended targets. As far as AFV's the Germans were most definitely at a disadvantage.

                              Thanks for the link
                              Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Proconsul View Post
                                I'm posting here a table that put some dents in the belief that Germany was defeated only by sheer weight of numbers. In 2009 the Russian historian Isaev published a comparison between Soviet and German ammunition expenditures in 1942-44 (the table is translated by a poster from another forum).
                                https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...Amw/edit#gid=0

                                In a nutshell, in 1943 and 1944 the Soviets expended respectively 828000 and 1 million tonnes of gun and mortal shells (+75mm). The corresponding (rounded) figures for Germany are 1120000 and 1540000. By comparison the US expended about 640000 tonnes between June 1944 and May 1945.

                                If these figures are correct they alone would suffice to change a little bit the impression of a small under-gunned Wehrmacht dwarfed by immense hordes of incompetent enemies. Germany even before the war was an economic superpower, second only to the USA, and by 1942 it had at his disposition the resources of most Europe.
                                Taking these figures in isolation is misleading. German armaments policy resulted in the allocations of resources for shells per gun to be twice that of any other major industrial nation. This was a hangover from WW1 and has been called the Verdun syndrome. The result was there was less resource available for other items like tanks, artillery pieces, U-boats etc - about 15% of German steel production was going into shells a much higher proportion than any other nation, As a result the Wehrmacht were relatively under gunned even if each of those guns had more ammunition

                                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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