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Battle for Berlin

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by green slime, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Stumbled across this interesting document, which is an English translation of a post-War German analysis of those last desperate days of struggle around Berlin.

    From the foreword:
    "No cohesive, over-all plan for the defense of Berlin was ever actually prepared. All that existed was the stubborn determination of Hitler to defend the capital of the Reich. Circumstances were such that he gave no thought to defending the city until it was much too late for any kind of advance planning. Thus the city's defense was characterized only by a mass of improvisations. These reveal a state of total confusion in which the pressure of the enemy, the organizational chaos on the German side, and the catastrophic shortage of human and material resources for the defense combined with disastrous effect.
    The author describes these conditions in a clear, accurate report which I rate very highly. He goes beyond the more narrow concept of planning and offers the first German account of the defense of Berlin to be based upon thorough research. I attach great importance to this study from the standpoint of military history and concur with the military opinions expressed by the author."
    - Generaloberst a.D. Franz Halder


    http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/germandefberl.htm
     
  2. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Still rummaging around in Berlin.

    One reference I found that was confusing.

    Almost every reference on the internet to Helmut Weidling (the final Commander for the defence of Berlin, who ultimately surrendered on May 2nd) refers to this interview with a 13 year old Hitler Youth supposedly occurring on or around April 26 or 27

    "The Head Banner Leader (Hauptbannfuehrer, or district leader), Frischefskly, had all of us fetched from our homes by policemen and ordered us to report to the SS barracks and on the Castle Square. Then we were divided into two separate squads and attached to various SS and Volkssturm units. We were detailed to fight north and east of the town. Most of us were killed by rifle fire, when we were ordered to attack across an open field. Later, the fighting shifted to the center of the town. This lasted for two days. During these two days and nights, Oranienburg changed hands several times. Nearly all of us died. Then the Russians started to hammer us with their Stalin Organs. And, when we called it a day and headed for home, we were stopped and had to go along to Eden, across the canal. My Youth-Group Leader, who refused, was hanged on the nearest tree by a few Protective Squad (Schutzstaffel, SS) men and one Storm Division (Sturmabteilung, SA, "Brownshirts") man. He was fifteen. Then the rest of our squad, eight of the original one-hundred-and-twenty, decided to do as we were told. Soon after the bridge across the canal was blown up, they left us in peace. I met a few schoolmates who told me that the Hauptbannfuehrer himself, his girlfriend, and Hitler Youth Leader Schiller of the Aerotechnical School had made off to the West two days earlier on bicycles. I then walked to Velten and tried to make for Henningsdorf, where I have an aunt. But, just before I got there, I was picked up. Then I had to fight in Reinickendorf, on the Spandau road. Then we pulled out. This morning we were picked up again and ordered to fight right here."

    So I thought, "What was this Frischefskly's ultimate fate?"

    And then zip. nada. As a surname, it doesn't exist. Frisch exists as a surname, and is common. Eskly doesn't seem to, that I've found, but there is Efsky, so it could've been a compound surname.

    I thought, maybe its a transliteration error, and all. So I googled for the quote in German. Couldn't even find it. No reference to it exists on the German Wikipedia entry for Helmut Weidling. The German wiki does reference material from the same book that the English wiki references to for that quote:

    Dollinger, Hans: The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 67-27047 page 138.

    Short of obtaining the book for myself, I was hoping one of you rogues would have that book, and could confirm the quote, and any original reference therein.
     
  3. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    While the individual story may not be true, Im sure its based on a lot of true stories.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Indeed, I'm not saying the story isn't true; there's a lot of reasons why the name could've been mixed up. I just wanted to find the original source, and see if I could find out what happened to the bicycling cretin.
     
  5. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    That's a typing error. His rank and name were: Hauptbannführer Frischefsky.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  7. green slime

    green slime Member

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    That's fine. Don't you think it odd, in this day and age, that it is the only reference to that exists to that name, when googled? That is, if you google "Frischefsky" you only see references to Hauptbannführer Frischefsky's bicycling away from the Hitler Jugend with his girlfriend?

    Pick a surname, from the Western world, and it's unlikely that google will find so little. Was he the only person with this name? Did the name die with him on his bicycle?
     
  8. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    It appears that the family name exists just in two books about the Hitlerjugend and that the story of Hauptbannführer Frischefsky is fiction.

    Also, the sufix "efsky" in his name clearly indicates Polish origin but the letter "f" is uncommon: it should have been "-ewsky" or "-evsky" whhich is read like "efski" because the letter "v" in German is read like "f".
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Excellent! Thanks.

    I've found a name: Frischewski, which is remarkably uncommon, but does/did seem to exist.
    Furthermore:

    State Archives in Gdansk, Gdynia Branch
    1862-1945
    Records of the town of Sopot

    (Following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Sopot became a part of the Free City of Danzig.)

    Frischewski, Hermann, exactly who, when or what this Hermann was doing in Sopot to be mentioned in the archives was not online.

    The search continues...
     
  10. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    There is something else: there is a standard German language (Hochdeutsch) but there are many various dialects which are so different that sometimes subtitles are required. A person from Südtirol would have communication difficulties in the north Germany without the use of Hochdeutsch. Even interviews of Formula one driver Gerhard Berger (who originates from Tirol, Austria) had to be subtitled in part for the general German audience. Also, there are differences in spelling. Hence even a single family had different versions of a family name. Good example is Hitler who had at least three versions of his fathers family name. Every parish priest in his original province Waldviertel spelled family names differently.

    If Hauptbannführer Frischefsky originates from the territory of contemporary Poland, then it is very likely that his family name has different variants. Especially in official Polish books.
     
  11. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    An Example is Field Marshall Lewinsky AKA Manstein, who was adopted but his family came from Poland.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    OTOH,everything that's originating from Halder is suspect,for obvious reasons .
     
  13. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    That's not an isolated case :a cousin of minewith the same family name,is writing his name differently .
     
  14. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    :thumbup: That's indeed not an isolated case. My mother's family also use two different versions of family name: some of them with "f" and some with "v" (Ger: v="fau"). These who use the "Fau" version consider it fancier. :rolleyes:

    But, let's get back to the theme: The Battle of Berlin is well known as the "Battle for Berlin". On the other side the Battle of Moscow is well known at the West as the "Operation Typhoon". Already the name itself indicates western polarized view. Does anyone know the key differences among the Eastern and Western views on the the "Battle for Berlin"?
     
  15. green slime

    green slime Member

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    1) Tell us, don't imply that knowledge is common, or obvious, because it seldom is.

    2) Did you read the document, or just drive-by and decide to litter the thread?
     
  16. green slime

    green slime Member

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    https://www.google.se/?gws_rd=cr&ei=ettwUoa8BIjx4gSOk4GQAg#q=battle+of+berlin

    Shows both "of" and "for" being used. I don't think anyone is going to feel confused as to which battle I'm referring to, either preposition seems to do the job. It could be sloppy calling it "of", I suppose. Swedish has a single preposition that is used about battles; "om" which can be variously translated as "of", "about", "for", "if", "around", (and probably some more, that I can't think of from the top of my head). My apologies if it lead to your confusion.

    "The Fall of Berlin", is yet a third variant...




    One of the key controversies is regarding the rapes which occurred in the wake of the invading armies. If you were looking for controversy, that is.



    To be honest, "Operation Typhoon", never really got to Moscow (I believe 20 kms was the closest they got, and nowhere near encircling the city), but as in all these things, YMMV. I don't agree that there is a "western polarized" view.

    In order to be polarized, it has to be "divided into sharply opposing factions, political groups, etc.: "The controversy has polarized voters into proabortion and antiabortion." I'm failing to see that here; indeed, it seems reflect more your desire to see it as polarized.


    The first stage of the Wehrmacht plan was to be a double-pincer performed around the Soviet Western and Reserve Fronts located around Vyazma. This was to be followed by a single-pincer around the Bryansk Front to capture the city of Bryansk. The final assault on Moscow was to be another quick pincer north and south of Moscow to encircle the city.

    Bryansk is located some 379 kilometres from Moscow. That's a freaking long way away, even today. That's an 3 hour drive on a autobahn, without traffic. Except there's people shooting at you, and there is no autobahn.

    Operation Typhoon pettered out already early December, but the fighting around Moscow (if you include Tulsa, Kiln, Bryansk, Smolensk,...) didn't cease until '43...

    To some extent, the language chosen may reflect old Cold War schisms, but I see that as less likely. Another reason, maybe the lack of openness with regards to availability of research material; German material was readily available, Soviet material wasn't, and mostly still isn't. For the Germans, the Soviet "Battle for Moscow" episode was two (or three) distinct events: "Operation Typhoon", "The Soviet Winter Counter-Offensive", and then the grinding battle of attrition in that region.

    If anything, the failure to replace "Operation Typhoon" + "The Soviet Winter Counter-Offensive" with a wider scope "the Battle for Moscow" would only indicate a desire to make clear distinctive episodes of the action.

    Lastly, I think no normal person (Rogues inhabiting this here site are definitely not of the "normal" nature) in the West knows it as "Operation Typhoon"; but many know the Soviets halted the Germans on the outskirts of Moscow, and the Winter Offensive that followed. Even Wikipedia lists "Battle of Moscow".

    WRT the Battle for Berlin, I'm sure there are those that can dig up more controversy if they want. Other Things off the top of my head,

    1) Was it really necessary to assault the Seelöwe Heights as Zhuikov did?
    2) Some still waffle on about various Nazi bones, and other sundry endings.
    3) Some could argue about who flooded the subway, and was it intentional?
    4) Some disliked that it was the Soviets that took Berlin. *shrug*
    5) The double encirclement, was that really necessary?
     
  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The German offensive push in late 1941 was mostly but not exclusively towards Moscow, there was a point after the initial encirclements where the Germans believed they could do anything they wanted and some operations, like the attempt by 1st Panzer division to move North from Kalinin to join with AGN failed badly even in late October, the hasty pull back from Rostov that cost AGS's commander his post is another example.

    The naming of battles and conflicts does often reflects bias, WW2 vs the Great Patriotic War is probably the best WW2 related case, and sometimes a name obscures the other side's real intentions and objectives, but I wouldn't quibble on a "of" instead of a "for" :eyebrows:. Is there really a difference between the western and soviet views of the battle ? (besides of course the west calling an episode of the bombing campaign "the battle of Berlin" ?), from the little I read both show a rather brute force approach against a desperate but still deadly opponent . The point is Red Army at the time was still not a precision instrument and finesse would probably be useless against an enemy that was as likely to fight to the last man as to surrender so you had to plan for the later.

    German commanders cold war era memoirs concerning an episode of the war against the USSR have often proved to contain "selective memory" but do we have anything specific to Halder ? I think the only thing from him I have is snippets in The other side of the Hill and that book is a cornerstone of the German-centric view of the Eastern front in the cold war years.
     
  18. green slime

    green slime Member

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    But are the different names, and views of the battles (Western vs "Soviet" or Russian), so biased to be called polarized?

    In any piece of history there's going to be quibbling, but for me, "polarized" is on a different scale. The debate on "Climate change", could be said to be polarized, as is "Abortion". But the Battle for Berlin?

    Are there really diametrically opposed dominant views represented by mainstream Russian vs mainstream Western interpretation of events?

    WRT Rostov; von Rundstedt's withdrawal from Rostov occurred on 28th of November, and it is difficult to see how Hitler's fantasy of capturing the Maikop oilfields and reaching the banks of the Volga in the winter of '41was going to be realised without armour, with the state of the Railway logistical situation, and the complete lack of replacements, as was the case in 1941. Rostov is, however, an important Rail junction. I'm amazed more hasn't been written or said about this operation. The Mercury newspaper article: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1859227?zoomLevel=1
     
  19. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    IMHO: Yes! The battle of Berlin has turned into a synonim for the Rape because in 1944/45 it was the Russian turn to have some fun. However, from the beginning to the end of military engagement of the Axis in the USSR many soldiers had some fun with the Russian women: Germans, Rumanians, Italians, Dutch, Belians, Spaniards, Finns, Niorvegeans etc.Borthels were organised even in the death camps. Tonns of contraceptives were send to the east on the regular basis. Even in December 1942 shipments of condoms have been send by air-lift to the encircled 6th Army. And yet, the name Rapist sticks just with the Red Army. Battle for Berlin is the smoking gun.

    The first who has used rapes for the propaganda reasons was Göbbels, the Cold War rethorics is just continuation of his tune.

    Of course, Red Army soldiers have Raped German women, but all parties involved in the war at the east have been involved in that orgy - more, longer and organized from the top of the Wehrmacht.

    It is an utter hypocrisy to hold just Russians responsible if all parties were deeply involved. I'm not just pedantic but I insist on the truth and nothing but the truth.
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Tamino, rape almost occurs everywhere there is war.

    I don't think anyone has misconceptions about how nice the Axis armies were in Russia.

    What is debatable, is the scale to which rape occurred, and how actively the crime of rape was curtailed or discouraged in the Red Army during the invasion immediately thereafter.

    While rape during a war may be to some extent understandable (but never acceptable), it may (I speculate) have something to do with the fact that the sheer brutality of the conflict in the East was never really brought home in the Western media, until the Red Army stood victorious on the Elbe, and then, no one really wanted to know. You have to remember that during WWI, there were lots of stories about atrocities, which for the large part, were 99,9% pure propaganda. This history of false atrocity stories inclined the public to view statements of German atrocities in Russia to be taken with a too liberal dose of scepticism (normally healthy, but here we see the need for credible, factual-based reporting).

    I don't view it as being a synonym at all... and I don't see how that is relevant to referring to "Operation Typhoon" or "the Battle for Moscow". The polarization is lost on me, I'm afraid. I'm still not seeing the controversy.
     
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