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Soviet/Russian Myths of the Great Patriotic War 1-The Second Front

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  • #46
    Originally posted by ozjohn39 View Post
    "If it was necessary to make the invasion that would be failed a few months later (Gallipoli type) to help for Stalingrad defenders and to win the war so it would be a good idea."



    If that is what you are asking, then the answer is NO! NO invasion was possible in mid 1942.

    As I have said, the 'invasion season' in 1943 on the French coast is about 8 weeks long at best, and even then any given day is very dangerous, as D-Day showed very clearly.
    You again speak about a large scall invasion "to land anf to enter Berlin".

    What the hell is the use of landing up to 10 divisions only to have them 'decimated' and thrown back in the sea. That would NOT help the defenders of Stalingrad, it was already won.
    Why 10? Why not 3-4?

    In August-september of 1942 Hitler counted every battalion. To force the germans to send 10 first class divisions against the invasion forces (as low quality division coludn't defeat the Allied landing forces) could be be very important for the common victory.

    And as has been pointed out above, if the invasion is pushed back into the sea the Germans will know for certain that nothing will threaten them until June 1944 at the earliest.
    It depends from propaganda efforts - how tp explain to people the fail of the landing. If to speak them - we had landed and helped our Russian cpomrades to hold out in Stalingrad - so I don't see any reasins why to lose 3-4 division in autumn of 1942 meant to prevent amy landing there later...
    Last edited by Andrey; 04 Apr 10, 04:14.

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    • #47
      Here is the Soviet cartoon by the renowned Boris Yefimov - and I've just found the second one on this topic.



      Generals Noneedtorush, Letswait, Shouldwerisk, Whatiftheybeatus and Whatifitgoeswrong vs Generals Bravery and Decisiveness

      The calendar reads "October 1942"



      Same "wimpy" generals with Churchill and a map of the Eastern Front in October 1942

      I've also googled a memoir with a description of this cartoon and an insight into the attitude of the Soviet people towards the Allies these days.

      http://his.1september.ru/article.php?ID=200500407

      The attitude towards the Allies was generally slightly ironic, even after the opening of the Second Front. Certainly, we were grateful to them when we received cans of SPAM for our rationing cards, but we didn't take them seriously. Nobody would've thought of joking at our front reports on April, 1 - that we'd taken or, conversely, lost some town. This topic was considered too serious. But when the Allies, having stalled in front of Frankfurt-am-Mein for a whole month, finally took it in March 1945, I decided to trick my father and said they'd lost the city to the Germans. The father shrugged:

      - You can hardly expect much from them...
      - April Fool, daddy!
      - Oh well, as if there was nothing better to joke about!

      But I've run ahead of my story. The year of 1944 passed under the sign of a general offensive of our troops. In the beginning of that year we were still thinking - will our army go beyond the borders of the USSR or not? And then, in a special 1st of May decree of the Commander-in-Chief it was said: finish the Fascist beast in its own lair. Maybe, this was what prompted the Allies towards the opening of the Second Front, the news of which was received here with joy, of course.
      www.histours.ru

      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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      • #48
        It's not like there were no positive cartoons about the Allies - here's one about El Alamein.

        "A mirage dispersed"



        Nyle, 8th Army, "To the undefeatable marshal Rommel. Adolf Hitler" and the fist punches the words "Conquest of Egypt" from Rommel's head
        www.histours.ru

        Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
          The question is not how many divisions can the Allies throw into France versus North Africa in 1942 or 1943, it's how many divisions can the Germans respond with in France versus North Africa. In North Africa, as it turned out, the Axis simply did not have the shipping capacity, either by sea or air, to match the Allied build-up, and they were overwhelmed.
          North Africa was too far from the Reich (and too far from England). the disaster in N. Africa couldn't be a reason of military disaster for Axis. In the same time the collapse of
          German defence in North-Western Franvce could be very dangerous for the Hitlerites.

          Don't try to equalize North Africa and France.

          Even with complete air supremacy in 1944, it was impossible to keep major German reinforcements from moving from Germany to Normandy.
          Really?????

          I have read that air strikes where one of the main reasons why German mobile reserves (including SS-panzer dvisions) didn't attack allies troops in the beaches... All my sources confirm that the Germans suffered heavy casualties frim air strikes.

          If the Germans surpass the Allied build-up, which they can easily do given the complexities of cross-channel and cross-Atlantic supply versus cross-Rhine travel, then Northern France turns into an Allied disaster very quickly.
          You again speak about "to land and to enter Berlin" version ofthe Second Front. I mean a large scale diversionary operation .

          Now in the short run that helps the USSR because the Germans will have switched several panzer divisions (most likely) from their Eastern Front to France. In the long run it is no help at all, because those same divisions, and a number of others from France, will be coming back to the Great Patriotic Front in a group - a major German strategic reserve, which they have not had since July 1941, that can be committed anywhere they want - because now they know that there will be no Allied invasion anywhere in Europe for some time to come.
          Even the failure of the first attempt doesn't mrean no one more attempte will be done a few months later.

          About a few panzer divisions... It was you who saod only 3 panzer divisions were in Stalingrad. What if they were in France insyead of Stalingrad? Could it help to Stalingrad defenders? Even if 1 division was sent to France from Stalingrad it would mean German panzer troops in Stalingrad would be decreased in 1/3.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Andrey View Post
            Don't try to equalize North Africa and France.
            How strange your reading is: I was making precisely the point that they are NOT equal, and attacking France is not the same in the sense of German reaction capability as North Africa.

            Originally posted by Andrey View Post
            I have read that air strikes where one of the main reasons why German mobile reserves (including SS-panzer dvisions) didn't attack allies troops in the beaches... All my sources confirm that the Germans suffered heavy casualties frim air strikes.
            True, but it did not stop them from reinforcing the 'invasion front', or even from moving 9th and 10th SS Pz Divisions to France from Germany. If it (air power) had been that successful, it would not have taken over a month to break out of Normandy!

            Originally posted by Andrey View Post
            About a few panzer divisions... It was you who saod only 3 panzer divisions were in Stalingrad. What if they were in France insyead of Stalingrad? Could it help to Stalingrad defenders? Even if 1 division was sent to France from Stalingrad it would mean German panzer troops in Stalingrad would be decreased in 1/3.
            Thank you for reminding me. While Kursk was still in progress (11 July) Hitler decided to send the entire 2nd SS Panzer Corps to Italy because of the Allied invasion of Sicily. In other words, the 'third front' was worth as much as the 'second front' would have been? Then why whine for another front to accomplish what the Italian campaign has already accomplished?

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            • #51
              Originally posted by joea View Post
              how much did Stalin know about the real difficulties and constraints of the UK and USA?
              of course he did know, but unlike Roosevelt and Churchill he didn't have the luxury to find excuses in the difficulties the Soviet Union had at the moment.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by ozjohn39 View Post
                "Yes, i see your point. Transporting three corps across the Channel is far more difficult than sending the same to Africa for an assualt on that coast. And, obiviously sustaining a army across the Channel is vastly more difficult than sustaining two armies in Tunisia. And, I clearly see how it was easier to send 4,000 Allied aircraft to Africa to wrest air superiority from the Axis than to use the 6000+ (and growing) in the UK to fight just across the Channel."


                LOVE the sarcasm!


                Given that my scenario is IN ADDITION to the African campaign, maybe it would be a little difficult after all.

                And if needed, shifting all that lot back to the UK after 13th May 1943 in time for a June landing would take a bit of doing I would expect.


                But then again, what would I know about it?



                John


                (late PS)

                Omitted a reference to the Invasion of Sicily at that same time frame. All needing the logistics etc to support this invasion of France in mid 1943. Having 10 or 12 Divisions available in the UK is not the same as effectively landing them in France.
                I see. I think of this in terms of one or the other. Your point is valid. In 1943 the Allies cant run two campaigns of this scale in the west.

                Even if Torch is executed there is the alternative of choosing France over italy as the target for 1943.

                To consider some extentions of Andrey's comment "North Africa was too far from the Reich (and too far from England). the disaster in N. Africa couldn't be a reason of military disaster for Axis. In the same time the collapse of
                German defence in North-Western Franvce could be very dangerous for the Hitlerites."

                Tunisia was a stratigic dead end. There were some benefits in terms of control of the sea route between the Atlantic and Egypt, ect... But, those were not of decisive importance. If at the Symbol confrence (Casablanca) in January 1943 Roosevelt & Churchill are persuaded to choose Roundup over the Mediterrainian then it is not a matter of transfering significant forces from the battle there, but of diverting reinforcement and supply to the UK. The Tunisian campaign becomes a holding action with low requirements. if the Germans have further sucesses there it is their bad luck. Hitler might even send his own reinforcement thinking to drive the Allies out of more territory there. Transfering a couple corps to the UK might be nice to do but not essential, and the transfer of experienced commanders and their staff would be just as usefull and far more efficient.
                Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 05 Apr 10, 09:56.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
                  True, but it did not stop them from reinforcing the 'invasion front', or even from moving 9th and 10th SS Pz Divisions to France from Germany. If it (air power) had been that successful, it would not have taken over a month to break out of Normandy!
                  I read "D-day" by S. Ambrose. I remember his description how a few German mobile units moved to the beaches under constant air-strikes of Allied fighter-bombers.

                  They did reached the beaches. But it was too late for them. And they lost too much equipment and people in roads as result of Allied air attacks.

                  Thank you for reminding me. While Kursk was still in progress (11 July) Hitler decided to send the entire 2nd SS Panzer Corps to Italy because of the Allied invasion of Sicily. In other words, the 'third front' was worth as much as the 'second front' would have been?
                  1. It was done when it was practically clear that the German plan Citadel had failed.

                  2. If the Allies landed in North-Western France instead of Italy Hitler would sent there MORe forces than he sent to Italy in reality.

                  3. If Hitler expected Allied landing in North-Westerb France in summer 1943 he would place a few of his panzer fornations in France and they wouldn't take part in the Kursk Battrle at all!!!!

                  Then why whine for another front to accomplish what the Italian campaign has already accomplished?
                  Because in the case of landing in the North-Western France Hitler would be forced to sent there MUCH MORE forces that he sent to Italy!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                    I see. I think of this in terms of one or the other. Your point is valid. In 1943 the Allies cant run two campaigns of this scale in the west.

                    Even if Torch is executed there is the alternative of choosing France over italy as the target for 1943.
                    The Germans had to react on any landing in North-Western France.

                    Even if it could be a 2-division landing.

                    And it was not possible to send there a few low-quiality rears units.

                    To consider some extentions of Andrey's comment "North Africa was too far from the Reich (and too far from England). the disaster in N. Africa couldn't be a reason of military disaster for Axis. In the same time the collapse of
                    German defence in North-Western Franvce could be very dangerous for the Hitlerites."

                    Tunisia was a stratigic dead end. There were some benefits in terms of control of the sea route between the Atlantic and Egypt, ect... But, those were not of decisive importance if at the Symbol confrence (Casablanca) in January 1943 Roosevelt & Churchill are persuaded to choose Roundup over the Mediterrainian then it is not a matter of transfering significant forces from the battle there, but of diverting reinforcement and supply to the UK. The Tunisian campaign becomes a holding action with low requirements. if the Germans have further sucesses there it is their bad luck. Hitler might even send his own reinforcement thinking to drive the Allies out of more territory there. Transfering a couple corps to the UK might be nice to do but not essential, and the transfer of experienced commanders and their staff would be just as usefull and far more efficient.
                    North-Western France was much more important for The Germans as it was a direct threat to Berlin.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                      .....

                      North-Western France was much more important for The Germans as it was a direct threat to Berlin.
                      Refer to the Ruhr in this argument. The industrial area is closer for the western Allies and capturing that area cripples German weapons production faster and further than any thing else we might have done. Berlin was a minor industrial area and a political target. I think political objectives do not always pay as expected. ie: Capturing Rome was of minor stratigic value.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by ShAA View Post
                        The relations with these countries had already been progressing by early 1930ies when the USSR was recognised by practically all major powers. And it didn't take an Einstein to see that the Soviet Union was much less of a threat than Germany. Still, the pro-Nazi aristocrats thought Hitler was a much nicer guy and even thought of implementing his ideas at home.

                        As for the revolutionary incitement, this issue was heavily overblown in the West and used by unscrupulous Conservatives in their dirty games.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinoviev_letter

                        Well, the "boo boo evil commies are coming" tactics is still alive and well, needless to say it was even more efficient these days.
                        I'm not really sure how you can argue that it was obvious that Stalin was less of a threat than Hitler. The Red Army was an army that had smashed the White forces, beaten back nationalist forces from within and withheld against the Entente, while the Germans were defeated by the Western Allies and imposed under what is generally agreed to be unfair terms. One could argue that many in the west looked more sympathetically on Hitler as a man striving to put Germany back on top, but not necessarily too wary of him, because the army was still limited. Hitler himself even expressed fears of intervention during the Czechoslovkia affairs because his army was still understrength.

                        Anyway, not really getting into the whole argument of which was a bitter threat--but as far as I remember, in the 1930s Soviet Operational Art and Mechanized Warfare theory was doing pretty well under Tukachevsky and they have a very large tank and mechanized force.

                        Also, I noticed someone using Ambrose's D-Day to argue for an early 2nd Front--1942-3 and 1944 are totally different years for the American army and I don't think its safe to assume that the Allies would necessarily have the same amount of Air superiority or be able to be as successful with deception and trickery as they were with the invasions a year later. Another point to consider is the Allies had learned a lot from the failure at Dieppe, which was necessary to later success and probably would have delayed any thoughts about attempting a landing so quickly afterwards.


                        Though, wouldn't an earlier Allied force in France would mean that tank fighting would have been more or less equal or even favoring the Allies, since the larger German models were still having teething problems at this time?
                        And it's over the mountain and over the Main,
                        Through Gibralter, to France and Spain.
                        Pit a feather tae your bonnet, and a kilt aboon your knee,
                        Enlist my bonnie laddie and come awa with me.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Tankboy View Post

                          Also, I noticed someone using Ambrose's D-Day to argue for an early 2nd Front--1942-3 and 1944 are totally different years for the American army and I don't think its safe to assume that the Allies would necessarily have the same amount of Air superiority
                          No they would not. In june 1944 there were about 14,000 Allied aircraft based in the UK. In France & Belgium there were some 250 to 300 operational German aircraft and less than 2,000 available in Germany, Norway, or the Balkans as reinforcements. In the late summer of autum 1942 the German strength in France was slightly higher, perhaps 350 aircraft, but the potiential reserves in Germany & elsewhere in the west were no better. The Allied had around 4,000 aircraft availble to suppport an invasion, not counting ASW and training units.

                          How the Allied airforces in the UK would have done is not obvious. The Germans from 1941 only flew against Allied air over France when the situation favored them. Otherwise they had the luxury of avoiding combat. On several occasions the bomber force was expanded for a air offensive against the UK. It was quickly worn down again and rendered impotent.

                          In the Mediterrainian the Germans won several specific air battles in 1942. Particularly over Tunisia where the Allies lacked paved airfields in November & December. Conversely the Axis air had been defeated in Egypt & Lybia the previous summer. In 1943 the Allied airforce grew to over 4,000 aircraft in March & April vs some 2,700 operational aircraft for the Axis. Despite having less than a 2-1 superiority the RAF & USAAF were able to drive the enemy air away from Tunisia. Correctly expecting another Allied amphibious operation in the summer of 1943 Germany expanded its Mediterranian airforce to some 1,300 aircraft distributed across Italy, Yugoslavia, & Greece. By October that was largely destroyed and the Germans confined to harrassing raids.

                          So yes the German AF can momentarily put up a stiff fight against a invasion into France, but over the long haul they are likely to be shot out of the sky as they were over Tunisia and Sicilly. While German aircraft production was rising the output of trained pilots from the schools was not. !942 was the crossover when the training standards of the German aircrew schools fell below that of the Allies. The numbers trained was no where close to requirements either. Conversely despite heavy bomber losses over Germany the RAF & USAAF was able to nearly double its operational aircraft in the UK in 1942, and again in 1943. So Goering has two choices. He can either fight a very unfavorable battle of attrition against the Allied invasion, or he can abandon the battlefield to the Allied airforces.

                          Originally posted by Tankboy View Post
                          or be able to be as successful with deception and trickery as they were with the invasions a year later.
                          Short answer is they were good. Holts book 'The Decievers' has a detailed summary of West Allied deception operations. i'll leave Andrey or others to comment of the Soviet deception operations.

                          Originally posted by Tankboy View Post

                          Another point to consider is the Allies had learned a lot from the failure at Dieppe, which was necessary to later success and probably would have delayed any thoughts about attempting a landing so quickly afterwards.
                          How fast is "quickly"? The Gymnast and Torch operations continued in planning & preperation. The British planning group also continued preparing the plans for the various attacks under the Sledgehamer operation. That is the Brits had plans for two major amphibious operations continue after Dieppe and executed the larger operation of three corps at the start of November.


                          Originally posted by Tankboy View Post
                          Though, wouldn't an earlier Allied force in France would mean that tank fighting would have been more or less equal or even favoring the Allies, since the larger German models were still having teething problems at this time?
                          Yes, the Tiger and Panther tanks were insignificant in the West or Mediterranian in 1942 & 43. But, their effect in 1944 is frequently misunderstood. In terms of armor and gun power the Allied tanks may or may not have been a little better than the Germans. What counted was the Germans were better at using theirs. Where the British and Yanks were superior was in their use of AT guns and artillery. By mid 1942 both the US and British Armys had their techniques for using the field artillery in place and were consistently able to defeat Germans attacks with artillery and AT fires. Some Allied commanders understood this and took full advantage of it, others tried to imitate German methods and were usually less sucessfull.

                          It is probable that large scale tanks battles in France in 1943 would result in a faster upgrade of the M4 Sherman tank, and a quicker production of a replacement. No one is likely to approach 1944 thinking the early M4 models will still be a competitive tank.

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                          • #58
                            Both Churchill and FDR were politicians reliant upon on constituencies. What is the political fallout from a failed invasion in 1942 or 1943 in the UK and US? Could Churchill survive such a setback? Would a failure hurt FDR's majority in Congress (or cause him trouble in the upcoming 1944 election), or convince FDR to abandon the Germany first strategy?

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                            • #59
                              Aside from that there were many other more important factors than a battle won or lost in the elections of the legislators, 1943 is a off year for US elections. The next serious polling is in Nov 1944 so there will much water under the bridge before then. Worst case Roosevelt can blame it on Republican Secretary of War Stimson and fire him.

                              The coast was so poorly defended in 1942, and only a little less so in 1943 the defeat of a invasion would probablly occur a couple weeks or more after the landing & after a counter attack is built up. So it would be not unlike the many defeats the British army or Soviet RKKA had suffered.

                              Probablly a defeat would consist of heavy casualties and the invading army driven back into a enclave along the coast, perhaps pinned in the Cotientin pennsulla. Think of Thesisalonika in the Great War, or the Anzio beachhead.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                                Both Churchill and FDR were politicians reliant upon on constituencies
                                in other words, they had a choice which Stalin didn't.

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