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Stalin's Folly by Constantine Pleshakov

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  • Scott Fraser
    replied
    Originally posted by RS116 View Post
    1. You are trying to say that Stalin had stripped the Stalin Line of weapons in order to provide for the new fortifications which did not exist at that time ?

    2. Soviet Army could populate Stalin line with personal and
    field artillery in 1941.

    There were cases when soviet commanders in 1941 used
    Stalin Line fortifications, populated them with their men and
    their own artillery and they managed to stop Germans for days.

    3. Soviet artillery was the most developed and ready for war part of the
    RKKA and may be the only part of RKKA which from the very beginning was supreme to Germans.

    They still could try to arm Stalin Line with filed artillery and machine
    guns, but no attempts had been made.
    At the same time as all this is going on, the RKKA is undergoing a series of fundamental changes that saw the table of organization of Red Army units mushroom into gigantic formations, each with hundreds of tanks and thousands of artillery pieces. The demand was enormous, far greater than supply.

    The construction of new fortifications in the new border zone was woefully behind schedule, an almost comical bungling by NKVD construction battalions. In the case of the VVS, as mentioned, the result was a huge concentration of aircraft on relatively few fields, poorly defended and some lacking basic amenities like dispersals and hardened ammunition or fuel dumps. In February 1941 it had been a scandal, heads rolled, and work had new intensity and direction, but it was a long way from done.

    The Stalin Line was many kilometers behind the area they were to defend, and the weapons there were redundant before the German attack. As the Red Army withdrew, the fortifications were naturally a place to make a stand, rearm them, and use to their best advantage. There is nothing surprising about that.

    Scott Fraser

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  • RS116
    replied
    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    This is easily explained by the fact that the Soviets lacked sufficient numbers of field guns and related defensive armament to man both the Stalin Line and a new forward defensive belt. Hence, it became necessary to strip the Stalin Line of weapons in order to provide for the new fortifications being developed along the new Western frontier. I have cited the documentary evidence for this in a previous post, but am unable to locate it as of now. However, the obvious surmise is that Stalin thought he would have sufficient time to develop these new fortifications and the documents I cited in my first post in this thread show that developing this new line of fortifications as well as the attendant logistical infrastructure was considered a top priority.
    1. You are trying to say that Stalin had stripped the Stalin Line of weapons in order to provide for the new fortifications which did not exist at that
    time ?

    2.
    Soviet Army could populate Stalin line with personal and
    field artillery in 1941.
    There were cases when soviet commanders in 1941 used
    Stalin Line fortifications, populated them with their men and
    their own artillery and they managed to stop Germans for days.


    3.
    Soviet artillery was the most developed and ready for war part of the
    RKKA and may be the only part of RKKA which from the very beginning was supreme to Germans.
    They still could try to arm Stalin Line with filed artillery and machin
    guns, but no attempts had been made.

    Leave a comment:


  • RS116
    replied
    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    As for why there were so many Soviet troops in the Bialystok-Suwalki salient - see my first point above: why were there so many Polish troops around Poznan? The military is generally a conservative establishment - and the sphere of military doctrine even more so.
    1.
    Poles did not have much choice.
    They had to protect industrial areas and
    their country was much smaller than USSR.

    Russians could keep their armies 200-300 km east from frontier
    and don't risk to lose their industrial areas,
    don't put them under German aviation attacks etc.

    2.
    Poles paid for their mistake high price in 1939
    and in 1941 soviet general perfectly knew it.
    You basically are trying to explain Stalin's decisions
    of 1941, by the
    Polish mistakes of 1939, in spite the fact that Stalin knew
    what and why happened with Poles in 1939.

    Leave a comment:


  • Skoblin
    replied
    Originally posted by RS116 View Post
    It is the very point which raises a lot questions.
    If Stalin established a buffer zone between USSR and Germany,
    why he did not use this zone ?

    Why he deployed army, aviation and navy near new frontier,
    not on the old one leaving minimal number of troops on the new
    frontier?
    Part of the idea of creating a buffer zone between you and a potential adversary, is to have the fighting conducted in the buffer zone - and not in your own territory. It would have made little sense to create a large buffer zone and then let your enemy advance through it unmolested. Anyway, the idea of placing one's military forces forward along one's borders was not a singular Soviet idea. The Poles had done the same thing in 1939, when they placed the bulk of their forces in the Polish Corridor, the Poznan salient and generally everywhere forward of the only two really defensible positions the Polish geography offered - the Vistula and Narew rivers. Similarly, the British and French thought it more expedient to rush their forces forward into Belgium instead of hanging back on a line along the Somme river and the Maginot defenses (although the complicated status of Belgium as a potential ally made things more difficult).

    Originally posted by RS116 View Post
    Why old frontier fortifications line, which have been build and upgraded for 15 years, was abandonment ?
    This is easily explained by the fact that the Soviets lacked sufficient numbers of field guns and related defensive armament to man both the Stalin Line and a new forward defensive belt. Hence, it became necessary to strip the Stalin Line of weapons in order to provide for the new fortifications being developed along the new Western frontier. I have cited the documentary evidence for this in a previous post, but am unable to locate it as of now. However, the obvious surmise is that Stalin thought he would have sufficient time to develop these new fortifications and the documents I cited in my first post in this thread show that developing this new line of fortifications as well as the attendant logistical infrastructure was considered a top priority.

    Originally posted by RS116 View Post
    Why did he move base of Baltic fleet to Tallinn and than lost up to 30% of ships on the way back in 1941 ?
    Obviously, if the intention was to make use of the new Baltic-Eastern Polish buffer zone as a scene of engagement, it would make sense that the Soviet Baltic Fleet be moved forward. The fact that this ended in disaster, merely shows that Stalin was not infallible - an assertion I do not believe anyone in this thread has tried to make.

    Originally posted by RS116 View Post
    For defense strategy it is strange to deploy millions of troops near the very frontier, making them vulnerable for surprise attack, enemy aviation. In 1941 soviet troops near Belostock were exterminated. But why did such amount of troops was deployed in this area ?
    For one, as made clear in the document from 15 May 1941, the Soviet leadership did not expect a surprise attack as being a reasonable scenario, but instead seemed to believe that there would be strong indicators of a breakdown in relations and possibly even a declaration of war preceding actual military engagement. In hindsight - obviously foolish. Yet, in regards both the Polish and Western campaigns, military engagement was indeed preceded by a breakdown in relations - in the Polish case - and a window of eight months in the Western case.
    As for why there were so many Soviet troops in the Bialystok-Suwalki salient - see my first point above: why were there so many Polish troops around Poznan? The military is generally a conservative establishment - and the sphere of military doctrine even more so.
    Last edited by Skoblin; 08 Nov 10, 12:27.

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  • RS116
    replied
    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    The fact remains: unless you can point to some documentary evidence, this remains mere conjecture. Despite the opening up of the Kremlin archives, and the work done by Международный фонд "Демократия" [International Archive "Democracy"] - which can hardly be considered a pro-Stalinist or pro-Communist organisation - there has been no evidence ever brought forth in support of the thesis that Stalin planned any attack upon either Germany in particular or Europe in General. In fact, almost all documentary evidence shows that Stalin's main strategy was defensive, based upon the establishment of a buffer zone between him and Germany.
    It is the very point which raises a lot questions.
    If Stalin established a buffer zone between USSR and Germany,
    why he did not use this zone ?

    Why he deployed army, aviation and navy near new frontier,
    not on the old one leaving minimal number of troops on the new
    frontier?

    Why old frontier fortifications line, which have been build and
    upgraded for 15 years, was abandonment ?

    Why did he move base of Baltic fleet to Tallinn and than
    lost up to 30% of ships on the way back in 1941 ?

    For defense strategy it is strange to deploy millions of troops
    near the very frontier, making them vulnerable for surprise attack,
    enemy aviation.
    In 1941 soviet troops near Belostock were exterminated.
    But why did such amount of troops was deployed in this area ?
    Last edited by RS116; 08 Nov 10, 11:05.

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  • Admiral
    replied
    Highwayman, you've been hanging your toes over the line on more than one occasion around the community over the last few weeks...

    I suggest you withdraw them a bit before they get chewed off!



    Leave a comment:


  • Tealo
    replied
    I completely agree with Skoblin there's no need for that sort of thing!, yes things can get a little bit heated and I to am guilty of putting too much of that heat in my reply's. Which I apologize for! especailly to Skoblin!!:

    A little more serious piece of work on Stalin's/Communist/USSR motivation's/strategy from the Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars for those interested:

    http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/ACFB01.pdf

    Yes most of it's focus is the cold war/does have a general background on the pre WW2 situtation, which is quite good.

    Leave a comment:


  • Skoblin
    replied
    Originally posted by The Highwayman View Post
    .
    You know, Riley, Alex (AMVAS) isn't always here to moderate his subforum as he has other things on the go. So in his absence, let me say that there was no call for getting personal here. This thread was doing just fine - despite differences in opinion - until you showed up. If you can't present your arguments without personal invective, perhaps you should go someplace else.
    Last edited by Erkki; 07 Nov 10, 15:20.

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  • The Highwayman
    replied
    Post deleted for proscribed personal attack on fellow forum member.

    ACG STAFF
    Last edited by Erkki; 15 Nov 10, 09:54.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    If you are arguing that the Soviet invasion of Eastern Europe in 1944-45 in response to the German attack in 1941 is evidence that Stalin intended to invade Eastern Europe before the German attack, you might as well state that the United States intended to invade Germany prior to World War II, since the United States eventually did invade Germany.
    Indeed. The US war plans 'Black' and 'Crimson' alone prove the US intended to invade Europe as far back as 1910

    Leave a comment:


  • Tealo
    replied
    In regard to Stalin's strategic (plan/reasoning) to the signing of the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact, was to turn Germany west (UK/France were trying to do the same thing, turning Germany east to attack the USSR), when it was fighting in the east against France/UK after a couple of years (it had weakened itself), to attack Germany(maybe invade France aswell? Stalin Quote "Czar Alexander got to Paris"). Of course this whole idea/strategy/reasoning? went straight down the loo and flushed! when France surrendered!.

    The 1941 reassoning I agree (the USSR preparing to attack Germany) is Bull, The Red Army was in no condition to do so! (not untill at least 1942/that's stretching it, more like 1943/44).

    Might i suggest watching the doc's World At War (dealing with Germany/Allied opinion's by the people who were there) episodes preattack on Poland and the meeting's (Yalta? others) at the end of the war, and the 'Behind Closed Doors' focus on the meeting's of Stalin/Churchill and with Germany.
    There alot more circumstantial evidence in the declassified papers of the US, British MI6/5 (Intelligence report's/ and views of people [top positions in the government/Civil Serivce] at the time), French,Russian,German it is there if you look and pay attention.

    The musical chair's of strategic positioning of the 1920's/30's/40's.

    And Khrushchev's 'Secret Speech' is abit of eye opener.
    Last edited by Tealo; 04 Nov 10, 10:09.

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  • Scott Fraser
    replied
    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    Let's consider it this way...
    OMG, you raise very good questions, many good points, but there are too many.

    Allow me to quote one:
    There can be no detailed instructions ordering the marshaling of rolling stock and locomotives since civilian uses must continue to take precedence.
    These would most certainly still exist. They would be buried too deep to be expunged.

    Evidently, all the copies held by the various military districts, railway administration, fleet and air force commands must have been collected and either destroyed or locked in some super-secret file.
    Again, there is a cascading effect. One order promulgates another, and there is a paper trail. It does not exist. It exists everywhere else. Ergo, there was never a realistic plan contemplating offensive operations to the west, because these details would be addressed and on the record. The details were not addressed, so there is no record, because there was never a viable plan for offensive operations.

    Conspiracy theories will abound, as will the residuals of Cold War propaganda. There comes a time when opinion and projection must be abandoned, and the historical record addressed. English-speakers have been inundated with seventy years of bullshit, and it's time to move on. Unfortunately, translation lags behind research, and comprehension lags behind translation, especially in a world where people think they already know everything.

    Scott Fraser

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  • Skoblin
    replied
    Originally posted by Tealo View Post
    Yes I have and I admit the actual evidence of this is bit scetchy (in regards to the book!!) what remains of the records (wouldn't be the first time certian papers get destroyed by a government cause it a bit Embarrassing/Writing history)
    Just it makes a bit more sense the actions of Stalin, preattack on the USSR.
    Let's consider it this way...
    Suppose that Stalin did indeed plan to attack Germany first, as claimed by Suvorov and now Pleshakov as well, and that the forward deployment of the Soviet forces was evidence of this.
    The claim on the part of Suvorov that the forward deployment of Soviet forces was evidence of Soviet intentions to engage in a pre-emptive strike would mean that Soviet plans were in a moderate to very advanced stage of development. After all, you don't send your forces into battle-ready positions for an attack in the absence of some drawn out instructions.
    That said, what sort of documentation should there be?
    Well, we should expect to see more than just a few musings in Stalin's confidential diary - if he had one.
    First of all, there should be a detailed set of instructions sent to each of the Soviet military districts which would be directly engaged upon the Western frontier and those immediately adjacent to them. This would mean instructions sent to the Baltic, Western Special, Kiev Special, Odessa, and Belorussian Special military districts. These instructions should consist of an elaboration of the overall plan as well as instructions regarding the specific tasks for the forces under each command.
    Second, there should be instructions sent to the various commands of the Soviet Air Force and the Soviet Baltic Fleet.
    Third, there should be assessments and directives provided to the Railway Administration regarding rolling stock, locomotives, and supplies.
    However - none of these are in existence.
    Instead, we have only one draft plan, sent to various military districts, absent any detailed timetable for a beginning of the supposed offensive and no detailed instructions other than a vague outline of a proposed attack. Yet, how does this accord with Suvorov's claim that Soviet forces were already positioned near the borders for such an offensive?
    The reason for the anomaly lay in that there is a profound difference between a military plan in case of war and a military plan in support of a planned offensive. A plan in case of war - as specifically stated in the preamble of the document cited by Suvorov and Pleshakov - can only be a general outline of directives. It can have no detailed timetable for there is no certainty when war will actually take place...or will take place. There can be no detailed instructions ordering the marshaling of rolling stock and locomotives since civilian uses must continue to take precedence.
    In short, one has a plan very similar to the British and French Dyle Plan of 1939-1940. Basically, a what-if response plan whose actual implementation depends upon the actions of one's opponent. Very different from the detailed set of orders with timetables and army level instructions as seen in German documentation regarding Barbarossa.
    However, even assuming that if such documentation did indeed exist, and such plans were truly afoot on the part of the Soviet command in 1941, the question remains - where did it go? Evidently, all the copies held by the various military districts, railway administration, fleet and air force commands must have been collected and either destroyed or locked in some super-secret file. This leads to the next obvious question - why was it destroyed or why does it remain classified? What potentially damaging repercussions could come from the knowledge that the now-defunct Soviet government was planning to attack a now-defunct barbarous regime? How could it be more damaging to the current Russian government than say - documentation regarding Katyn, the deportation of minorities, the GULAG labour system, Cheka-NKVD repressions or Soviet espionage?
    It is not just the absence of documentary evidence that sinks the Suvorov claim - it is the absence of a rational explanation for the absence of this documentation that sinks it.

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  • Scott Fraser
    replied
    Originally posted by Tealo View Post
    NO just that if the opportunity arose (the Molotov Ribbentrop Pack?did it cross his mind/think of this?) Stalin would of took it!
    In the beginning, there was oppression and exploitation, followed by revolution. Then there were paranoid delusions on the part of capitalists and imperialists who feared for their position if this nonsense of socialism and revolution got out of hand. By 1935 the dream had died, the last Communist International was a staged show, and Stalin turned his attention to domestic problems. If you look at the USSR historically, politically, culturally, economically, or any other way you will see this retrenchment.

    In military terms, Germany and the USSR had maintained a working relationship that allowed each to collectively pursue development, production and experimentation with a variety of advanced weapons systems that would otherwise be denied them, including aircraft, tanks, chemical weapons, and so on. This was abandoned with the collapse of Weimar Germany, but Stalin and were Hitler both able to continue testing new weapons and tactics in Spain.

    In 1939 the Red Army was the largest armed force in the world, by a huge factor, however it was not strong. The leadership had been decimated by Stalin's Purges. From the experience of Spain, it was recognized even before the Winter War that the Red Army was in need of new equipment. The T-26 and BT-7 were both approaching obsolescence, as were the I-15 and SB-2. The clash with the Japanese had made the point that the frontiers were long, and needed to be secured.

    The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a marriage of expedience. Germany got a quick victory in Poland and a secure peace thereafter, as well as considerable quantities of food and strategic materials, in exchange for delivering up the lands of the former Empire that Stalin coveted, including Finland, BTW. The USSR got desperately needed time, and unfortified borders with Germany and her co-belligerents that were as much a liability as an asset, as noted above.

    More to the point, this whole these is based on mention of a "plan", in case of war with Germany. All armies make plans. There was probably also a plan for war with Iran. That does not constitute a prima facie case that the USSR had any intention of pursuing a war of aggression in Europe. To leap to that conclusion on that basis is an act of faith, or fantasy, depending on one's point of view.

    I subscribe to the latter belief. By 1939 The Red Army was a hollow shell of what it had been in 1936. There was no way it was capable of undertaking offensive operations on any scale. It is not well reported, but there were ample misadventures even against the Poles, who were quite preoccupied with fighting the Germans. Their failure in the Winter War was disastrous. As it was, even after eighteen months of intense activity to reinforce reorganize and introduce new weapons, 1941 came too soon.

    Scott Fraser

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  • Tealo
    replied
    NO just that if the opportunity arose (the Molotov Ribbentrop Pack?did it cross his mind/think of this?) Stalin would of took it!

    Leave a comment:

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