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Pre-Purge competence of the Red Army

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Tiberius Duval View Post
    Why it was then west which declared war to Hitler
    oh yeah they decared war to him, and look what they got: a nice thrashing so that they'd never want to dare him again!

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    • #47
      Originally posted by stalin View Post
      oh yeah they decared war to him, and look what they got: a nice thrashing so that they'd never want to dare him again!
      Nice trashing like UK get? So that pesky Churchill just surrendered? If I remember correctly Germans were trashed quite more BY UK than on other way. Like for example bomber command giving little urban renovation to couple of cities in Germany.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Tiberius Duval View Post
        Nice trashing like UK get?
        yes i meant Dunkirk

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        • #49
          Originally posted by stalin View Post
          yes i meant Dunkirk
          So UK evacuated its troops +big bunch of French troops, but did they surrender? No and no way and that was while Stalin was Hitler's best comrade.
          Last edited by Tiberius Duval; 20 Sep 11, 16:51.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Tiberius Duval View Post
            So UK evacuated its troops +big bunch of French troops, but did they surrender? No
            I AM LAUGHING OUT LOUD!!!
            indeed, the Brits are masters at saving own face after being beaten badly!

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            • #51
              There has been a effort to compare the campaign in the west of 1940 to that in the east of 1941. I'll leave aside the difficult comparison of generals and just look at one narrow measurement here. The numbers presented here are from a magazine article published nearly forty years ago & I'll make no claim for precise accuracy. They are very likely accurate enough for this comparison.

              German Losses Compared: West 1940 vs East 1941.

              The first six weeks of the eastern campaign is used here to compare with the six weeks of the western campaign.

              ..................West.........East.........Ratio
              German
              Divisions ........122.........134.........91%

              German
              Casualties....155,000...213,000.......67.1%

              Loss Per German
              Division .........1,270....1,590.........79.6%

              Enemy Div......140.........183.........76.5%

              Loss per........1,107......1,160........95.4%
              Enemy Div

              One might expect higher German losses in the west since the British and French armies had been mobilized ten months from September 1939. In theory they had at least seven months for training & other preperation after moblization of reservists was complete. Of course the Belgian & Netherlands armys were not on 'war status' and had only partially mobilized. Also there should have been less suprise for the French & British armies. They were alert and seperated from the initial German attack. the Belgian & Dutch armys were also alert and the level of tactical suprise was not as great as wartime propaganda would have folks think. Operational suprise was certainly a factor in the west, as no one properly anticipated the German operational method. There definitly was not strategic suprise as all the governments were anticipating a German attack in May.

              Certainly the training in the west must have been a factor here. hardly half the British & French combat formations had completed a full training program. the British haas sent several unequipped and untrained divisions to Europe for use as labor. Similarly the French had put the second echelon Series A divisions through just part of the training program, and the Series B Divisions had hardly started any training. Only the Active Series and some of the African divisions had completed a full program of training.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Acheron View Post
                The title says it all, just what level of competence had the Red Army attained within their officer corps before Stalin's purges? Were the purged leaders significantly better than their successors?
                is it even possible to answer this kind of question.?

                this is a case where they are better off dead
                than having lived thru the events they didn't participate in
                Human beings are the only creatures who are able to behave irrationally in the name of reason.

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                • #53
                  I wonder if

                  Stalin would have still gone through with this or at least be more selective? IF he knew in advance he would be fighting the Germans in x number of years, in general....

                  Cheers, I'm sure he would still do "something" and that he did think war with Germany was a given, but not until much later I think?

                  Thoughts guys?

                  Tom

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                  • #54
                    What Stalin would have done depends on what Stalin considered to be the greatest threat to himself. His actions answer that, I think: he was more worried by far by internal threats - from rival members of the Party, from the generals of the Red Army - than he was by the German military. Making a major miscalculation, he thought that he could predict Hitler's actions in 1941, and that he and the Soviet Union would have at least another year to prepare against any conceivable major external threat (read: Germany - no one else in Europe was a possible major threat to the USSR, and no one in the world understood what the United States was capable of in a war, including the United States). In this he was tragically wrong, a tragedy that was inflicted primarily on the Russian/Soviet peoples.
                    Had Stalin judged differently - in other words, had he not been Stalin - then the track of Soviet history from the beginnings of major re-armament of Germany in 1933 would have doubtless been very different. The differences are not limited to merely being better prepared against an invasion by Germany. If the USSR is putting every effort into a modernization of its military in every aspect, will there be a Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler in 1939? Will it so scare the other European powers that Stalin faces a coalition in 1940-41? Will Hitler simply decide that he has to take out the USSR regardless of the course of the war against England, and attack even earlier? Or, would the Soviet leadership (Stalin and the unpurged and empowered Marshals) misjudge things in a different way and mount an attack on Germany in 1939-1941? An attack, by the way, which would probably result in a military disaster, and since it would be a largely self-inflicted military disaster, might result in Stalin and his associates being suddenly and violently removed from office or (worst case scenario) a civil war breaking out between the Party (NKVD troops) and the Army.
                    We are dealing entirely in 'What If?" here, but remember that there is never a simple answer to that question: If A changes, Z alone does not change, but W, X, Y and Z and possibly a bunch of other letters as well. No historical event happens in a vacuum, least of all a changed decision by a major power such as Stalin's Soviet Union...

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                    • #55
                      (Forgot this thread. Late reply...)

                      Originally posted by stalin View Post
                      no they weren't that way, actually they did it on purpose so that not to give Hitler any reason to go and attack.
                      I trust you understand that I won't simply take your word for this. There was a good discussion on this earlier but I can't find it now. IIRC, while Stalin indeed was careful to avoid conflict with Hitler, there were also large scale maneuvers still uncompleted when Barbarossa launched. Perhaps somebody else can chime in sourcing actual research?

                      and Soviets won that war because Finland had no ties with the West that Nazi Germany had, for then Germany was used as the instigator of a geopolitical worlwide reshuffle.
                      No ties? What about France's and Britain's plans to defend Finland? (Even if Sweden's iron was a major factor, it wasn't the only factor.) Are you saying that in 1939 Nazi Germany had better relations to "West" than Finland had? Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you mean by "ties" though. Feel free to clarify.

                      That said, we're somewhat drifting away from the topic.

                      Thanks for good interesting posts by Carl and Sharposhnikov.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Tuomas_ View Post
                        (Forgot this thread. Late reply...)
                        IIRC, while Stalin indeed was careful to avoid conflict with Hitler, there were also large scale maneuvers still uncompleted when Barbarossa launched. Perhaps somebody else can chime in sourcing actual research?
                        There were no major (meaning above division) maneuvers scheduled for the summer of 1941, as far as I know. Normal training schedules would have culminated in divisional maneuvers in the fall, but the massive expansion of the Red Army from the fall of 1940 through the spring of 1941 (forming, for instance, 41 new tank divisions and 21 new mechanized/motorized divisions, forming 50 new tank brigades and then disbanding them, disbanding 10 rifle divisions to form 5 new airborne corps and 10 new antitank brigades, etc) had disrupted all the normal training schedules completely. What was happening in May-June 1941 was that crew training was supposed to take place. In practice, most of the tank units were just receiving the new KV and T-34 tanks to train on, and had barely started driver/crew training on those vehicles (see Erickson's "Road to Salingrad" or Glantz's "Stumbling Colossus" for the state of tank crew training at the start of the war). Artillery crews, on the other hand, were away from their units at the firing ranges, while most of their guns not being used for training were parked without transport (see Bialer's "Stalin and His Generals" for quotes from Soviet officers at the beginning of the war on this - one, whose name I don't recall at the moment, was particularly bitter that he had the equivalent of 10 regiments of artillery parked in Western Military District without a tractor among them to move the heavy guns).
                        Finally, the construction program in the newly-acquired territory had stripped a great deal of men and material from the divisions in those territories. In addition to 'civilian' construction workers, the sapper battalions of most of the rifle divisions in the Baltic, Western, and Kiev Districts were working on border fortifications, along with most of the (artillery) tractors and vehicles from those divisions (see Erickson and Glantz, and Harrison's "900 Days").
                        Some individual rifle divisions were conducting training on the weekend of 21-22 June: several rifle divisions in the Kiev Special Military District, for instance, were conducting field training in cross-country foot marches - something they could do without most of their vehicles and heavy equipment.
                        Give me another day and I can probably look up the Russian language sources for the English language works I've cited here, but I hope what I've written is clear enough: no large scale maneuvers, but on the eve of the war a lot of 'distracting' activity in the border Districts that degraded the readiness and ability of the units there to respond to German actions.

                        Originally posted by Tuomas_ View Post
                        No ties? What about France's and Britain's plans to defend Finland? (Even if Sweden's iron was a major factor, it wasn't the only factor.) Are you saying that in 1939 Nazi Germany had better relations to "West" than Finland had? Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you mean by "ties" though. Feel free to clarify.
                        Two things, if I can interject here. First, any intervention in Finland was predicated on who could physically reach Finland with any aid, and as a practical matter, that was Germany. England and France (and the USA) were all very sympathetic with Finland, but short of running through the ice (White Sea) or past Germany (Baltic) or through Sweden, there was no way they could directly aid Finland. Had Germany desired, on the other hand, she could have directly and almost immediately poured aid into Finland, but that would have broken the Non-Aggression Pact completely, and probably opened a two front war long before Hitler wanted one.
                        Second, the 'better relations' Germany had with the West, such as they were, were based entirely on the perception of the Soviet Union as the 'Red menace' to capitalism and the economic and political systems of the West, and Germany as a 'Western' nation with economic, cultural and political similarities to the traditional western values. The extent of Germany's slide into barbarity under the Nazis was simply not appreciated (see Eric Larson's "Garden of Beasts" for the attempts of the American ambassador to Germany to educate the US government on what was actually happening: he failed and was recalled), while the "Red Menace" had been broadcast ever since 1918. The fact that there was no practical difference between the two systems was not appreciated, except perhaps by a Kulak in Russia and a Jewish shopkeeper in Germany...

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                        • #57
                          competence

                          Marshall Kulik who wanted to abolish all tanks and motorized vehicles, Voroshilov, who was great during the Russian civil war, but never learned anything after that are some of the ones who were greatly incompetant. THe main issue was not so much competance, but a total lack of experience for most commanders.

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                          • #58
                            Sharpy, thanks for the explanations. And good book suggestions; I confess I still have "Stumbling Colossus" (and "Clash of the Titans") in back order and unread.

                            You also make good points about the US financial involvement in Germany. Look into ITT (a sort of troll company of AT&T), they were deep down and totally understanding where 1930's Germany is going to.

                            Better answers when I get to reading the books. Again, thanks for all the info you posted -- healthy food for (my humble) thought.

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                            • #59
                              Thanks for the great reply Sharp, If "Stalin was'nt Stalin", thats a good one, did anyone in the government or Army predict Germanies invasion sooner that what Stalin thought, maybe some of those purged perhaps??

                              Cheers, thanks again sir!!

                              Tom

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                              • #60
                                Aside from 'Mein Kampf', which pretty explicitly predicts a conflict with the Soviet Union, remember that there was absolutely no planning in Germany for an attack on the Soviet Union before the fall of 1940, and therefore no intelligence basis for predicting any such attack. On the other hand, in the 8 - 9 months before June 1941, an increasing flood of information poured into the Kremlin concerning German preparations and plans. This included some pretty detailed material direct from the Soviet agents in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany, as well as forwarded material from England, border crossing and 'fly-over' incidents by the hundreds, and reports of German troop movements into the areas along the Soviet border.
                                The existing Soviet military commanders had some knowledge of this, and more and more evidence is coming out of the archives that they wanted to take precautions: from Zhukov at the General Staff to Kirponos in Kiev and Kuznetsov in the Baltic, at least, there were requests for authorization to improve readiness, all of which were denied.
                                As to the purged commanders, the prewar and early war plans that I've seen evidence of all assumed a defense/counterattack against a coalition of eastern European powers: X number of divisions from Poland, plus Z number from Rumania, Hungary, etc. Remember that up until the late 1930s - after the purge had removed most of the Soviet high command - the German Wehrmacht could field less than 30 poorly equipped infantry divisions (all but 7 formed after 1933) plus a bunch of police and landwehr (militia) for border defense. They did not constitute a credible offensive threat to anybody until the end of the decade. Even the first panzer divisions, until after 1938, fielded only mediocre Pz I and Pz II training tanks and botched the 'march' into Austria (they made just about every organizational and logistical mistake that the Soviet tank forces made in their march into Poland in 1939), and so did not seem very formidable.
                                There was, therefore, no realistic basis for any of the purged commanders to predict an attack by Germany in the future, unless they could have predicted the pace and scope of German re-armament - which even the Germans couldn't do accurately!

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