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Orsha Conference 1941 - Hitler holds his ground

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
    Given that all of the above was true, I would say yes.
    However, weren't the main Soviet forces involved in the counter-offensive mainly fresh troops, lead by the famous "Siberians" ?
    Didn't we look at this when we were going to wargame a Japanese 'incursion' into the USSR in 1941 and conclude that the bloc transfer of veterans from Siberia was a bit of a myth? Apart from that, if you substitute 'Green' for 'Fresh' you'd be in the right ballpark.

    It is also known that by December, the ground was frozen rock-hard and made entrenchment impossible. Could bunkers and trenches have been prepared in November?
    Wasn't the problem that the ground was waterlogged prior to the November freeze, the freeze allowing the Germans to resume their breakneck advance on Moscow? If so, digging trenches and building bunkers is no easier in October/November than November/December.

    Also, I still think that the Germans lost more than they gained or inflicted in those last 4 weeks of attacks. The Russians always had more men to throw away, not so with the Germans.
    Hmmmm, one statistic I came across gave Red Army losses during 'Typhoon' as 821,000 (I think that was the referenced figure anyway). Many of these would have been trained men and whilst the Soviet manpower pool was larger those kind of losses, on top of the ones suffered during the first four months of the campaign, were not easy to absorb.
    Signing out.

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    • #47
      I lost the wager on the Germans having more population in their side of the occupation lines. I over stated my case, and I stand corrected. I still think my point stands that the Germans could win a defensive war owing to the fact that the Red Army could not replace its losses without liberating the better part of Russian Europe.

      But this begs a question I've never seen answered. Why is it assumed that Russia would win in a battle of attrition? I say this for the following reason: Germany had about 75 million people, the USSR claimed 185 million, although that number comes from the 37 census which Stalin faked to hide the death toll of his five year plans. But even if accurate, this is a ratio of 2:5. The German kill ratio was 1:6 throughout the war. The Germans have less to work with, but their ability to outkill their Soviet opponent is shocking.

      This is before we consider that Germany had allies to bolster it's lines (although they should have been used as garrison troops or armed by the Germans), the German industrial base was either ahead of the Soviets or the two were so closely matched it didn't matter. Most of the Soviet industry was junked in the process of Babarosa, not to mention Axis forces had control of virtually all of Contenental Europe. Only the kleptocracy of the Nazis kept the Russians in the lead in weapons production. Without factoring the direct involvement of the United States, I cannot imagine anything other than Axis victory in a long war. The battle of attrition belongs to the Wehrmacht.

      That said I am convinced the US was the deciding factor in World War II. I don't say that as an American, but because America controlled 1/3 of the industrial capaicty of the planet before the war and 1/2 at it's conclusion. We built and funded the bulk of the war effort from 42 onwards. We would win if only by nuking Germany into the stone age. Bear this in mind as you reply.
      How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
      275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Wolery View Post
        I lost the wager on the Germans having more population in their side of the occupation lines. I over stated my case, and I stand corrected. I still think my point stands that the Germans could win a defensive war owing to the fact that the Red Army could not replace its losses without liberating the better part of Russian Europe.

        But this begs a question I've never seen answered. Why is it assumed that Russia would win in a battle of attrition? I say this for the following reason: Germany had about 75 million people, the USSR claimed 185 million, although that number comes from the 37 census which Stalin faked to hide the death toll of his five year plans. But even if accurate, this is a ratio of 2:5. The German kill ratio was 1:6 throughout the war. The Germans have less to work with, but their ability to outkill their Soviet opponent is shocking.
        Ummm, I have a figure of 190 million+ for the population of the USSR in 1939. What's your evidence for the faked census of 1937?

        The kill ratio is off btw. Figures vary but the Axis lost roughly 4m on the Eastern Front with around 3m of those Germans. Soviet military deaths, depending on sources, amount to around 9m. Or are you including civilian deaths?
        Signing out.

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        • #49
          The numbers speak for themselves as well. In 1945 the Red Army counted nearly 12.5 million troops in Europe with more again in the interior districts and the far east. The Red Army made use of women in field hospitals, field comms, artillery, tank units, fighter and bomber squadrons and so on as required. The Germans were reduced to drafting 12-14 year old boys and men over 60 years of age.

          Germany never stood a chance in World War II against her chosen enemies and those enemies were not going to let her off the hook for her crimes. It was surrender or destruction - Germany chose destruction.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
            Didn't we look at this when we were going to wargame a Japanese 'incursion' into the USSR in 1941 and conclude that the bloc transfer of veterans from Siberia was a bit of a myth? Apart from that, if you substitute 'Green' for 'Fresh' you'd be in the right ballpark.
            Not a myth, an exaggeration. We were all surprised to learn that Apanasenko still had a Brigade of T-34s at the end of the summer, and I would not be so quick to under-rate the victors of Khalkin-Gol.

            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
            Wasn't the problem that the ground was waterlogged prior to the November freeze, the freeze allowing the Germans to resume their breakneck advance on Moscow? If so, digging trenches and building bunkers is no easier in October/November than November/December.
            I know, and all I have heard about the climate in Russia makes me very glad I never had to go there.
            But my thought is, that it is easier to break ground when it is 5 degrees below frezing than when it is 40 below.
            It also helps when most of your men are not dealing with frostbite yet.

            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
            Hmmmm, one statistic I came across gave Red Army losses during 'Typhoon' as 821,000 (I think that was the referenced figure anyway). Many of these would have been trained men and whilst the Soviet manpower pool was larger those kind of losses, on top of the ones suffered during the first four months of the campaign, were not easy to absorb.
            I think about 600k of that figure must have come from the Uman pocket and one other. Those battles were done by early November.
            And from what I heard, it was 12 million military casualties, but the Russians keep changing the numbers lately, so who knows?

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
              Not a myth, an exaggeration. We were all surprised to learn that Apanasenko still had a Brigade of T-34s at the end of the summer, and I would not be so quick to under-rate the victors of Khalkin-Gol.
              Okay, the myth is that they were transferred West when Sorge reported that the Japanese were going to focus on the Pacific. These then went on to save Moscow. The truth is that they were transferred gradually and only 2 or 3 Siberian divisions fought in front of Moscow. Hence the 'Green' comment since the men in the other formations were mostly untrained as worstm inexperienced at best.


              I know, and all I have heard about the climate in Russia makes me very glad I never had to go there.
              But my thought is, that it is easier to break ground when it is 5 degrees below frezing than when it is 40 below.
              It also helps when most of your men are not dealing with frostbite yet.
              I understand what you mean, but if the ground was waterlogged then froze there would be no point at which the ground was workable.

              I think about 600k of that figure must have come from the Uman pocket and one other. Those battles were done by early November.
              And from what I heard, it was 12 million military casualties, but the Russians keep changing the numbers lately, so who knows?
              I believe that the 12 million figure includes PoWs. It does tally with Overy's late '90s piece and most books of the last ten years,
              Signing out.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                Okay, the myth is that they were transferred West when Sorge reported that the Japanese were going to focus on the Pacific.
                True, it was a gradual thing. Poor Sorge....

                Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                I understand what you mean, but if the ground was waterlogged then froze there would be no point at which the ground was workable.
                Yeah, I'm just thinking of how deep the frost would have been?
                Ever been outside in 10 below (F) with the wind blowing? My eyelids kept freezing together.

                Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                I believe that the 12 million figure includes PoWs. It does tally with Overy's late '90s piece and most books of the last ten years,
                Cripes... another ten years and we won't be able to recognize that war.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                  Cripes... another ten years and we won't be able to recognize that war.
                  Well, the figures have remained in the same ballpark for over ten years. .... but what figure do you feel is accurate and/or when was the last 'revision'?
                  Signing out.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    I know, but I've been into this since the 70s. 20 million seemed high, lots of people were speculating that such a high total was used to cover up dead from the Purge and all the engineered starvation of the 1930s. Its also about the use the Russians make of it- "look at all our dead, we did it all, you were just spectators!"

                    Meanwhile, everyone else's stats remained the same... except China, which has been revising upwards too in recent years.
                    And, if you accept their version of it, and the proportion, the Germans killed 3 or 4 times as many Russian civillians as they did Jews, and without any of the apparatus that was needed to kill 6 million.

                    Yeah, here we go again, but you asked....

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      I know, but I've been into this since the 70s. 20 million seemed high, lots of people were speculating that such a high total was used to cover up dead from the Purge and all the engineered starvation of the 1930s. Its also about the use the Russians make of it- "look at all our dead, we did it all, you were just spectators!"
                      Well, it's just speculations anyway. This number was counted differently anyway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_P...eople_executed

                      The statistics was changed because the archives were opened up in the late 80ies. Duh!

                      Meanwhile, everyone else's stats remained the same... except China, which has been revising upwards too in recent years.
                      And, if you accept their version of it, and the proportion, the Germans killed 3 or 4 times as many Russian civillians as they did Jews, and without any of the apparatus that was needed to kill 6 million.

                      Yeah, here we go again, but you asked....
                      I can tell you the secret of this "apparatus" plain old bombing, punitive executions and forced starvation. Add to this the scorched earth policy the Germans used when on the retreat. 3.5 million POWs, 800 thousand civilians in Leningrad + 200 thousand civilians in Stalingrad, these are just the widely known cases. Add to these all the towns and villages they burned with their population, especially in Belorussia. The frontline passed though many cities back and forth. What's so surprising 16 million civilians were killed?
                      www.histours.ru

                      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                        I know, but I've been into this since the 70s. 20 million seemed high, lots of people were speculating that such a high total was used to cover up dead from the Purge and all the engineered starvation of the 1930s. Its also about the use the Russians make of it- "look at all our dead, we did it all, you were just spectators!"
                        I've been there too. Grew up reading about 50 million dead, the overwhelming odds the Red Army enjoyed when fighting the Germans etc. etc. I don't see the Soviet military loss statistics changing too much, although the trend over the last few years has been downwards. We'll never know how many Soviet civilians died with any degree of exactitude and the responsibility for some of those deaths will probably be disputed from here until the end of civilisation.

                        And, if you accept their version of it, and the proportion, the Germans killed 3 or 4 times as many Russian civillians as they did Jews, and without any of the apparatus that was needed to kill 6 million.
                        ShAA has partially answered this, but when you consider the disruption that war always brings, the inhumanity of the Nazi regime, the cold logic of 'General Plan East' and the fact that the Holocaust was about much more than the Auschwitz, Dachau and Belsen (as examples) I don't find it particularly surprising that so many Soviet citizens are said to have died.
                        Signing out.

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