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

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  • #76
    It is unfair to measure the German commitment in NA and Italy and only look at the German forces committed. The British largely fought for the first few years Italy, one of Germany's main allies and a force which did commit troops to the eastern Front.

    Andrey is right in saying Hitler was counting every brigade he had, and at its height a whole third of the Axis armies in Russia were not Germans. While the Italians were not as effective a fighting force as the Germans were, they still offered bodies and men who could hold a line and allow the Germans to concentrate. Ultimately they were still people who could kill Russians in battle.

    The a very large portion of the Italian war effort was against the west, and knocking out Italy removed an industry and manpower pool which could have been used to kill more Russians. Even in regards to the German commitment in Italy, it should be remembered at several points the Germans had more divisions in Italy than the allies did, which is hardly a poor ratio

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    • #77
      Originally posted by wokelly View Post
      "It is unfair to measure the German commitment in NA and Italy and only look at the German forces committed."
      Who was doing that?
      "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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      • #78
        Originally posted by Bellerphon1971 View Post
        So Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio are not a second front?

        Originally posted by Panther3485 View Post
        Sicily/Italy does constitute a second front of sorts IMO, as a logical follow-on from North Africa, but a relatively minor one in terms of the size of Axis land forces engaged, which was very small compared to the Eastern Front. Still, it was something of value and went hand-in-hand with the Allied air offensive and later, the Normandy landings + those in Southern France.
        What he said.

        An attack in NW Europe allows for concentration of effort for the western Allies with attendant efficiencies. The operations in the Mediterranian tended to disperse & expand logistics requirements at the stratigic level. France & Belgium are directly adjacent to the industrial base of the UK, and the well established air forces base, & the Atlantic ports of France are far closer to the US industry that Oran or Naples. Related to this is it is a much shorter and direct route to the industrial heart of Germany from NW France than from anywhere in the Mediterrainian.

        The distances & terrain between the Med. & Germany, plus extended supply routes, allowed the Germans to attempt a economy of force strategy in the south. In the case of an attack via NW France a economy of force strategy is much riskier and difficult for the Germans. By the end of 1942 the Wehrmacht was losing both the battle of material, and the ability to retain quality in its combat units. The direct attack forces the Germans to fight at a level they cannot sustain over the longer haul. This is particualry true for the critical components like air forces, armored forces, and the infantry battalions. Second rate manpower cannot effectively fight these types of combat units. & in the case of aircraft and mechanized equipment the production rates were already unfavorable for Germany.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by Andrey View Post
          you again speak from the position of the success of the landing.

          Try to think about the influence on the common victory. try to think about a diverswionary effect...
          A failure would have been in Germanys stratigic favor. Materially recovering from such a failure would not be excessively difficult, but the resolution of changes in Allied leaders & their stratigic and operational thinking would be the problem. Over the longer time any operational benefits would be lost to the USSR as Germany took advantage of the western Allied failure. If only diversionary efforts are required then the operations in secondary directions and the various deception operations are sufficient. Only a serious effort will force Hitler into unsolvable stratigic choices, and destroy Facist military forces faster. Diversions & failed diversions allow the Facist government stratigic economies of effort.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
            What he said.

            An attack in NW Europe allows for concentration of effort for the western Allies with attendant efficiencies. The operations in the Mediterranian tended to disperse & expand logistics requirements at the stratigic level. France & Belgium are directly adjacent to the industrial base of the UK, and the well established air forces base, & the Atlantic ports of France are far closer to the US industry that Oran or Naples. Related to this is it is a much shorter and direct route to the industrial heart of Germany from NW France than from anywhere in the Mediterrainian.

            The distances & terrain between the Med. & Germany, plus extended supply routes, allowed the Germans to attempt a economy of force strategy in the south. In the case of an attack via NW France a economy of force strategy is much riskier and difficult for the Germans. By the end of 1942 the Wehrmacht was losing both the battle of material, and the ability to retain quality in its combat units. The direct attack forces the Germans to fight at a level they cannot sustain over the longer haul. This is particualry true for the critical components like air forces, armored forces, and the infantry battalions. Second rate manpower cannot effectively fight these types of combat units. & in the case of aircraft and mechanized equipment the production rates were already unfavorable for Germany.
            Yep.
            "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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            • #81
              Consideration of the Southern Front (Italy and Balkans) vis vis France or Russia must also include the terrain, which is predisposed to the defender. In Italy, the lattice of river valleys was a huge force mutiplier for the Germans, who were able to hold a disproportionate number of US and Commonwealth troops at bay for many months with nominal forces. It also allowed the Germans to operate with some confidence of being able to readily regroup at set positions to the rear, limiting the chances of any real breakthrough offensively. These conditions did not generally exist elsewhere.

              As for a "Second Front", I think it fair to say that Stalin viewed North Africa as a sideshow, not what he expected, which was a direct attack on Germany through France. That was impractical for too long, as far as he was concerned, because he was impatient and used to getting his way. That perspective, and that of the West, is the source of the controversy, just one of many.

              Cheers
              Scott Fraser
              Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

              A contentedly cantankerous old fart

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                Consideration of the Southern Front (Italy and Balkans) vis vis France or Russia must also include the terrain, which is predisposed to the defender. In Italy, the lattice of river valleys was a huge force mutiplier for the Germans, who were able to hold a disproportionate number of US and Commonwealth troops at bay for many months with nominal forces. It also allowed the Germans to operate with some confidence of being able to readily regroup at set positions to the rear, limiting the chances of any real breakthrough offensively. These conditions did not generally exist elsewhere.
                Indeed. Had German strategy in Tunisia been more astute that would have been a economy of force operation as well. With fewer men committed to that stratigic dead end.

                Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                As for a "Second Front", I think it fair to say that Stalin viewed North Africa as a sideshow, not what he expected, which was a direct attack on Germany through France. That was impractical for too long, as far as he was concerned, because he was impatient and used to getting his way. That perspective, and that of the West, is the source of the controversy, just one of many.

                Cheers
                Scott Fraser
                Stalin must have known there were still a half dozen ready divisions in the UK & trained manpower for a dozen others available in the spring of 1943. Worse from his PoV would be the 30+ organized divisions in the US those same months.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                  A failure would have been in Germanys stratigic favor.
                  Why?

                  Soviets were defeaed in Rzhev in November 1942 but Germany didn't celebrate it too much - Germany was in horror because of Stalingrad disaster.

                  Rzhev was a German tactical success which resulted to strategic defeat in Stalingrad.

                  Why do you suppose that a possible failure of a large diversionary landing in France in 1942-43 would be more important than a possible larger scale Soviet victory in the Soviet-German Front?

                  Materially recovering from such a failure would not be excessively difficult, but the resolution of changes in Allied leaders & their stratigic and operational thinking would be the problem. Over the longer time any operational benefits would be lost to the USSR as Germany took advantage of the western Allied failure.
                  Again - why? What is victory and what is defeat depends on propaganda strategy. By other words - how the rules explain situiation to the people.

                  If to say that we lost a few divisions but saved Stalingrad and let for Russians to win there - I think the most people would agree that it had been a victory.

                  If only diversionary efforts are required then the operations in secondary directions and the various deception operations are sufficient. Only a serious effort will force Hitler into unsolvable stratigic choices, and destroy Facist military forces faster. Diversions & failed diversions allow the Facist government stratigic economies of effort.
                  ANY serious landing in Western France (a few divisions) would force Hitler to send erious forces against it. Not how it was in Dieppe when local resistace was preliminary informed that the Dieppe raid would be only a limited diversionary operation.

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by wokelly View Post
                    The allies had no interest in throwing away good men and material for a diversionary raid, especially when there were practical theaters of orations to put them in that were of interest to the western allies. The British demonstrated with France that it was not willing to throw away its fighter squadrons and post-dunkirk under-equipped divisions in for the sake of a country. Churchill knew the fall of France was not the end of the allied war effort (famous line where he told the French PM that the battle was not the decisive threatre or the decisive time of the war), and I imagine he felt the same about the USSR, that ultimately an Anglo-American alliance would prevail even without the USSR, though at a higher body count.

                    Churchill was always a man who looked not just at the situation on hand but the future situation. Sacrificing several divisions to give the USSR a break would be detrimental to the west's efforts to secure its interests, among those not having the Soviets bathing in the channel. A botched invasion may mean the allies were kept out of Europe while the Soviets rolled through all the way to the Channel. As hindsight shows, despite perhaps the common victory over Germany, there was a differing interpretation on was a post war Europe looked like and frankly the Soviet one didn't allow for people to have a say in their government.

                    I think Churchill and others did see the Russians as the next potential enemy and really they were not wrong in that regard. The Western-Soviet alliance was one of convenience that quickly died after the war when there was no greater threat to unite them. I think there was a degree of willingness to let the Soviets carry the burden, especially if the next conflict was against them.
                    HERE!!!! Here what meant Stalin!!! Here what we, Russian, mean when we speak that Western Allies didn't operate as good Allies.

                    When Churchill requested Stalin to begin new large offensive in Poland in December 1944 as soon as possible during Ardennes Offensive - did he think why Russians should die for interests of Western Allies? Any unprepared offensive meant more casualties due worse preparation.

                    In the spite of this Stalin did began the offensive sooner that it had been planned...

                    When somebody speaks that Soviets had to attack Germans at any price during Warsaw Uprising in August-SEptember 1944 - did he think why Russians should die for interests of Western Allies and the Polish rebels which openly treated to Soviets as to enemies? Red Army lost 600,000 KIA (it is only KIA, it is twice more than the US lost for the whole war including casualties in war against Japan) in Poland.

                    It is considered ok that Russians should die to help its allies, nothing extraordinary.

                    But when Russians requested the same from its Allies they listen words like yours "Why should we risk our soldiers to help you to defend Stalingrad?"

                    Think about it.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                      When somebody speaks that Soviets had to attack Germans at any price during Warsaw Uprising in August-SEptember 1944 - did he think why Russians should die for interests of Western Allies and the Polish rebels which openly treated to Soviets as to enemies? Red Army lost 600,000 KIA (it is only KIA, it is twice more than the US lost for the whole war including casualties in war against Japan) in Poland.
                      Actually the U.S. lost about 420,000 during the war. so you did not lose twice as many just in Poland.
                      Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                        Why?

                        Soviets were defeaed in Rzhev in November 1942 but Germany didn't celebrate it too much - Germany was in horror because of Stalingrad disaster.

                        Rzhev was a German tactical success which resulted to strategic defeat in Stalingrad.

                        Why do you suppose that a possible failure of a large diversionary landing in France in 1942-43 would be more important than a possible larger scale Soviet victory in the Soviet-German Front?
                        For much the same reason as the Red Army could not celebrate a victory at Voronezh in 1942 the way they could at Kursk in 1943. They did not have the tools for victory in 1942.

                        ANY serious landing in Western France (a few divisions) would force Hitler to send serious forces against it. Not how it was in Dieppe when local resistace was preliminary informed that the Dieppe raid would be only a limited diversionary operation.
                        Dieppe was a disaster, for many reasons, but important lessons were learned. These included: the need for overwhelming sea and air superiority; the need for adequate equiment to transport men and equiment ONTO the beaches; better means to move men and equipment OFF of the beaches; the need for a harbour; etc.

                        An invasion that failed would be catastrophic. It would be the end to plans for an invasion for years. As it was, it took two years to build all the landing craft and transports needed to land the army, and that was only after most all those men and that equipment had been recruited, trained, and ferried over the Atlantic. At the end of the day, the timing for the invasion of France was determined by the availability of transport and the weather.

                        Cheers
                        Scott Fraser
                        Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                        A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                          HERE!!!! Here what meant Stalin!!! Here what we, Russian, mean when we speak that Western Allies didn't operate as good Allies.

                          When Churchill requested Stalin to begin new large offensive in Poland in December 1944 as soon as possible during Ardennes Offensive - did he think why Russians should die for interests of Western Allies? Any unprepared offensive meant more casualties due worse preparation.

                          In the spite of this Stalin did began the offensive sooner that it had been planned...

                          When somebody speaks that Soviets had to attack Germans at any price during Warsaw Uprising in August-SEptember 1944 - did he think why Russians should die for interests of Western Allies and the Polish rebels which openly treated to Soviets as to enemies? Red Army lost 600,000 KIA (it is only KIA, it is twice more than the US lost for the whole war including casualties in war against Japan) in Poland.

                          It is considered ok that Russians should die to help its allies, nothing extraordinary.

                          But when Russians requested the same from its Allies they listen words like yours "Why should we risk our soldiers to help you to defend Stalingrad?"

                          Think about it.

                          It's all politics, Andrey. Churchill was deeply suspicious of Stalin, and had been fed Anti-Bolshevik propaganda all his life. Roosevelt was naive, an optimist, not the cynic that the other leaders were. It was only in 1936 that the Comintern had stood down from the doctrine of World Revolution, and the USSR was viewed with as much suspicion as the west was viewed in the Kremlin.

                          People who complain that the Red Army failed to advance to Warsaw in Warsaw in August 1944 do not understand that the Red Army was out of gas, food and bullets, at the limit of their transport corps, and that many units were depleted and exhausted after eight weeks of advance.

                          Any request for a diversion at the time of the Ardennes attack could only be a Hail Mary (have the faintest hope of a favourable outcome). Obviously the time needed to begin an attack that would have any effect would take far longer than it would for the weather to clear. The drive on Berlin began because everyone wanted to get it over with, and there was also the desire to ensure that the Red Army was first to Berlin (more politics). The Ardennes Offensive was Germany's last gasp, in the air and on the ground, and it was likely clear to all in Washington, London and Moscow that the end was near for Hitler's Reich.

                          Cheers
                          Scott Fraser
                          Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                          A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by tsar View Post
                            Actually the U.S. lost about 420,000 during the war. so you did not lose twice as many just in Poland.
                            I heard the number of 250,000 - the US irreversible (KIA, died in POW camps, died from wounds in hospitals) casualties in whole WWII

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                              It's all politics, Andrey. Churchill was deeply suspicious of Stalin, and had been fed Anti-Bolshevik propaganda all his life. Roosevelt was naive, an optimist, not the cynic that the other leaders were. It was only in 1936 that the Comintern had stood down from the doctrine of World Revolution, and the USSR was viewed with as much suspicion as the west was viewed in the Kremlin.
                              Stalin also had enough reasons to distrust to Western Allies. Look on the after-war events. But it is not considered a good reason for him to reject Allied requests for help and cooperation.

                              People who complain that the Red Army failed to advance to Warsaw in Warsaw in August 1944 do not understand that the Red Army was out of gas, food and bullets, at the limit of their transport corps, and that many units were depleted and exhausted after eight weeks of advance.
                              These people don't want to hear about Soviet casualties. They suppose that Soviets should try to breakthrough to Warsaw rebels at any price, the lives of Soviet soldiers are nothing to them.

                              Any request for a diversion at the time of the Ardennes attack could only be a Hail Mary (have the faintest hope of a favourable outcome). Obviously the time needed to begin an attack that would have any effect would take far longer than it would for the weather to clear. The drive on Berlin began because everyone wanted to get it over with, and there was also the desire to ensure that the Red Army was first to Berlin (more politics). The Ardennes Offensive was Germany's last gasp, in the air and on the ground, and it was likely clear to all in Washington, London and Moscow that the end was near for Hitler's Reich.
                              I know the history of Ardennes Offensive. In any case Churchill asked Stalin to help knowing that for the USSR it would cost additional casualties.

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                                For much the same reason as the Red Army could not celebrate a victory at Voronezh in 1942 the way they could at Kursk in 1943. They did not have the tools for victory in 1942.
                                The Russians celebrate Stalingrad Victory and it is known that diversionary operations in other directions also were a part of that victory.

                                Dieppe was a disaster, for many reasons, but important lessons were learned. These included: the need for overwhelming sea and air superiority; the need for adequate equiment to transport men and equiment ONTO the beaches; better means to move men and equipment OFF of the beaches; the need for a harbour; etc.
                                I read that the Germans knew about Dieppe from the interception of radio-messages to French Resistance fighters. So there was no element of surprise.

                                Also the Germans knew it was not a lrage scake invasion.

                                Also the forces involved in Diepppe landing were too small to organize an effective bridgehead to defend it effectively against German counterattack.

                                By other word, Dieppe landing was a sacrifice of landing forces to show for Stalin that the landing in 1942 was impossible. Here what is the Russian point of view on Dieppe landing 1942.

                                An invasion that failed would be catastrophic. It would be the end to plans for an invasion for years. As it was, it took two years to build all the landing craft and transports needed to land the army, and that was only after most all those men and that equipment had been recruited, trained, and ferried over the Atlantic. At the end of the day, the timing for the invasion of France was determined by the availability of transport and the weather.
                                Disagree. It is a question of propaganda efforts - how to show it for the people.

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