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How was it that russia defeated the worlds strongest military at the time ( germany )

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Sloniksp, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    You are still using the term "military force", ignoring that ground forces are single component of a "military force."

    The RAF singlehandedly defeated the largest air force in existence in 1940.

    The US conducted large scale combat around the world and supplied those forces over thousands of miles. Remember the adage, "An army travels on it's stomach."

    The US Navy pretty much singlehandedly defeated one of the storngest navies in the world, conducting multi-divisonal landings on a regular basis while building a huge army almost from scratch.

    The US "military" did not have to be bled white, trading space for time. One battle, in June 1942, stopped the space for time dilema in the Pacific.

    The Red Army of 1945 was a mighty force, moreso than in 1939 and 40, when it was defeated by a significantly smaller force. How well was it in projecting force beyond it's borders or the continent, even in 1945?

    An army that had fought heroically does not a "military" make.

     
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  2. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Good points from Slipdigit....

    I wonder, though. Would the U.S. military have been able to stand against a neighbouring state that launched a "Barbarossa" on homesoil? Would Americans have been able to fight "Over Here", be bled white and still have the political strength to be able to keep on fighting without coming to terms and asking for an armistice? Rumour abounds to this day that the Soviets themselves were considering this option in October of 1941, (After Vyazma-Bryansk and before Typhoon).

    This will forever remain speculation. The only 'modern' model we have is the subjugation of the Confederate States, and they collapsed wholeheartedly under significant pressure.

    It's pure speculation anyway....
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Using the war between the states as an example is a poor one at that. When the Confederacy created its army, it stripped men away from the Union. So both sides had to raise an army from scratch.

    Also, the Confederacy did not 'Wholeheartedly' succumb to significant pressure but to lack of resources. Like Germany, the confederacy did not have the resources to sustain a long war. It did not have the industrial capacity to arm and feed its army nor the navy to effectively counteract the blockade.

    The USSR had a great size army in 45' but it was not the great military power presented. If it was, I am sure Stalin would not have hesitated as he did when joining the war in the Pacific. He knew he could not beat the Western allies. The Americans had a great air force and a great navy (more so combined with the Royal Navy). Let us also not forget the atomic technology. The strengths of both sides gave the other a chance to make up for their weaknesses. Thus, the arms race and detente.
     
  4. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    BAsically the ARmy commanders refused to help the SS in anyway, whether it was simply support or just equipping them with weapons. The SS had to rely on captured weapons from Annexed countries such as Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

    The problem did get looked into in the end but not until March 1940 when Himmler himself asked for Hitlers help in the matter, something he was reluctant to do. In that month he ordered the Heer to supply the SS with the weapons and materials they needed to go to war. But even then the army 'Dragged its heels' and only gave them enough to get by so they were still always left short of munitions and support.


    Weapons of the Waffen SS - David Flemming.
    The SS, A fighting Force - Joan Pearce.
     
  5. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Poor example it might be, but the ACW is still the ONLY model we can use, however flawed it may be.

    For as much as I have admiration for the soldiers of the Confederacy, it still does not alter the fact that the Confederate States of America most certainly did not stand up to concerted offensive effort once it was applied in the 'correct' fashion. Maclellan and Lee were not Total War Generals....Grant and Sherman were.
     
  6. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Initially the Waffen SS was dependent on the Armee for it's supplies of arms. Later as the Waffen SS had proven itself and panzer/grenadier divisions were being formed, it had begin to receive it's complement of arms equivalent to the Armee. Later, it did have a higher complement in men but that wore off as the great losses incurred created the manpower shortage.
     
  7. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    One cannot be a 'total war' general with one hand tied behind your back. Grant and Sherman excelled at the time the South was suffering from shortages. I'm not saying the South could have won in the state they were in. It just did not have a choice in the matter. Now if everything was on par, the story might have been different.
     
  8. kipoyph

    kipoyph Member

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    - Hitler had it in his mind that HE was the greatest military leader in history, simply because of the German army's performance against outclassed countries: Poland, Denmark, Norway, UK in the 1940s, and don't make me even start about France who folded like a pancake against the bewildering Blitzkreig.
    - The German generals, including the proud Prussians either followed every letter Hitler said, or were too damn afraid to contradict him, or simply believed the Party hype.
    - German racism caused the the Germans to make disastrous decisions, pushing people who looked at them as liberators into fighting tooth-and-nail against them.

    Considering these, the German military was the "strongest military machine" only on paper. That status as soon as it picked on someone it's own size wouldn't have lasted.... and it didn't.

    On the other had, the Russians started out bad. But a major factor of that was Stalin's purge. No experienced generals except for Zhukov, and he was in the Far East. When well-led, the Russian soldier was a rabid defender. And the Eastern front, from their point-of-view was a defensive war. They didn't need armored columns leading the attack, they required well-defended positions, making use of their best asset, the Soviet rifleman. And they weren't slouches on tanks either (see: T-34).

    And more importantly, Stalin was able to admit mistakes and learn to listen to his generals. He de-emphasized defense of Communism and instead emphasized the defense of the motherland. And it was wholeheartedly embraced by the Russian people, to the point that they were willing to sacrifice everything including their very souls to defeat the German menace, including the industrial support of non-military civilians.

    Revenge and absolute pure hatred added to the stubborness of the Russian defense. Some people had entire families wiped out and they were willing to take as many Germans as possible before they die. The Germans never had that willingness, even during the defense of Berlin.

    After Stalingrad, the Russian military industry recovered, and the whole country was focused on one goal. The destruction of Germany body and soul.

    So you take technological advances since the start of the war, more and more people enlisting in the armed forces, generals learning the German tactics, and superiority in street fighting (an area in which the Germans abhored). and then add pure hatred of the enemy. Lethal combination. I don't think any army would have beaten the Soviets in 1945.
     
  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    How would we know? That would be a subject for the Alternate Hx forum. How is this "if" reconciled with the "what" of what actually happened? Your rebuttal includes the civilian response in addition to the military, when the original premise only talks about the "military."
    But the reality remains that they did not.

    A four year war, where the CSA only surrendered after significant portions of the country-side, including the former and current capitals, were occupied by the Union and manpower reserves were fully exhausted?

    Again, please differentiate between the "military" as a whole and it's constituent parts - Army, Navy (including Marines) and Air Force..
     
  10. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    All I can say is that the Soviet military, all three services, saved us a lot of mud and blood spilled by our own servicemen.

    Logistically, I don't think the United States military has had any serious competitors since 1865. The Air Service of the U.S. was (is) also an awesome instrument. The U.s. Navy certainly brought home the title of 'Monarch of the Seas', a title it has worn well since WW2.

    I'm very glad we didn't have to find out just whose Army was the most effective post 1945. As Don Greenwood said of it,

    "Properly lead, the U.S. Army was more than a match for any other in 1945. No military had EVERYTHING in place to match it. "Quick to run, and quick to rally" may be the catchphrase of the Army soldier of 1944-45."

    In any case, I'm very glad to be in the basinette of "Big Nanny", rather than under the heel of "Big Brother"
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Not arguing that at all.
    I'll move on and let y'all continue this discussion.
     
  12. kipoyph

    kipoyph Member

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    Sadly, due to the Cold War, Western (especially American) military historians conveniently try to forget that fact and over-emphasize the U.S. contributions in the European war while trying to ignore the Eastern Front as if it was a lesser theater.

    Few Americans never realize that the Wermacht was stopped outside the gates of Moscow, and was basically decimated at Stalingrad. In fact most Americans think the beginning of the end was the Normandy invasion (as important as that event was for Western Europe).

    As another comparison, while the Allies were touch-and-go in Normandy, the Russians were conducting Operation Bagration which totally annihilated Army Group Center and cost the Germans 670,000 killed, wounded and captured.

    Americans the never let us forget the sacrifices they made during the war for the cause of freedom, but fail to acknowledge the horrendous cost the Russians paid for fighting three-fourths of the German Army so that "only" two million men were available to the Western Front in 1944-45.

    Maybe it was understandable during the Cold War, but it is high time that credit must be given where it is due. Whether we hated their ideology and system of government or not, the truth is that the German army was destroyed in the Eastern Front, and thus was defeated in World War II.

    One sad fact was never emphasized. The Russians suffered more casualties at the Battle of Stalingrad alone, than either that what the United States or the whole British Empire suffered in the whole war.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Why? The Mexican American war actually looks like a much better example to me.

    What makes you think so? That's certainly not the impression I've gotten.
    As stated this conflicts with the theme of your post. In anycase those who have an interest in WWII particularly the war in Europe are very likly to be aware of the war in the East and its import.
    That may actually be a reasonably accurate assessment. I suspect a bit of an over estimation but close.
    Given the rather elastic definition of "beginning of the end" a reasonable case can probably be made for it.
    ??? What exactly are you trying to compare in this example? Normandy by the way was hardly "touch-and-go".
    That's certainly one opinion. My experiance doesn't validate it.
    There is a reason that it should be emphasized?
     
  14. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    As has been stated numerous times before, the victory over Nazi Germany was an allied victory. No one country won the war. No one has denied the USSR's contribution nor their sacrifice. But to say that the USSR solely won by destroying the German Army is not accurate. If the USSR did not need the assistance from the West, then why did Stalin repeatedly demand a second front? Imagine if Hitler did not need to position his divisions in France or the low countries as well as those in Italy and Scandanavia? What would the cost in Soviet lives be then? What year would Russian victory have been? Would they have won at all? Remember, no allied assistance would mean no round the clock bombing of Germany's industry. No blockade. The USSR could not carry the fight alone.
     
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  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    It is interesting that you make that statement, when one of the foremost and most widely read historians of the Eastern Front was born in Chester, New York.

    Perhaps, you meant to say "...Western (especially American) movie makers and 12 year olds conveniently..."
    Can you validate either of these claims? How does the 325,000+/- who surrendered at Tunsia 3 months later figure into the outcome of the war?
    And I am guessing that the German 7th Army and Panzer Group West were a grand, viable forces after 25 Aug 1944?
    Again, validate this claim.
    I notice that you are a relatively new member. Have you read any of the threads here regarding the Eastern Front? Judging by your stereotypical responses, I am lead to think not.
     
  16. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    He does have some resonable points slip. Many of the world still thinks that in many ways the Americans won ww2, and that Normandy was the beginning of the end.

    My wife for example didn't even know that the soviet union was a nation in ww2 let alone help win the war. Again the problem comes to Hollywood, portraying the Americans as the saviors of the world, now that is sad but true, and it is only the true historians from any level that truly know the truth about ww2, whether it being the true facts and not those based of movies or games.

    We are aware of the contributions the Russians made through ww2 and the sacrifice of there young and old men in the defence of not only their nation but the liberation of Europe's, it is not us that need to be taught this, but the rest of the world, they need to know that the Russians in many ways were the reasons the war was won when it was.
     
  17. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Conversely what does the "average" former Soviet citizen know of the Western Allied contributions to the defeat of Fascism/Nazism? Just curious, since honest historians or even those who study the era with open eyes and minds are fully aware of the fact it was a the combined effort of many nations.
     
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  18. kipoyph

    kipoyph Member

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    You're talking about David Glantz. But how many people really have been able to read his books? Most reading public would have probably read Stephen Ambrose or Cornelius Ryan. As good as their books are, they don't even tell the whole story.

    Even in the Western Front, there is unfairness of coverage. The Normandy invasion and the battle for Normandy itself is unfairly over-emphasized towards the American contributions. "Bloody Omaha", the landings of the 101st and 82nd Airborne. No one talks about the slugfest between the British-Canadians and the Germans at Caen, or the British Airborne landings (except for the Ambrose story about Pegasus Bridge)

    Remember, we are talking about what's being told to the general public which doesn't really read history books.

    How many of those figures are Italian troops? In the Western Desert campaign, much has been made about the Afrika Corps, but no one ever, EVER, mentions that the 8th Army faced an army that was predominantly Italian, although spearheaded by Germans and Rommel. It's almost as if mention of those troops will take away some of the luster of the victory at El Alamein.

    The only time Hitler started removing troops from the Eastern Front was after Operation Zitadelle, when the Allies landed in Sicily. By then, the Eastern Front Wermacht was a spent force.

    No they weren't anymore, agree. But who decimated them in the first place?

    I live outside the United States. And you can't imagine how much we were told (history books, media) as we were growing up that the Americans are heroes, Americans saved the world from tyranny, the whole world owes America.

    Yes, it has a large grain of truth to that, that I will acknowledge, my country has been saved by Americans. I am grateful for the lives Americans gave for the cause of freedom and the freedom of others not their own. In the Pacific, Americans played a very very big role in the defeat of Japan. But I am also saddened by the fact, there is an... ok... maybe not an overstating of American role in Europe, but an understating of Russian role (an also British and their Empire's role, that must be also said). I feel strongly that it must be corrected. 11 million dead (probably more) must be given their due.

    (Of course, it didn't help that the Russian government acted like thugs in post-war Europe, that must be said).
     
  19. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    While we are waxing lyrical about "understatement of the Russian role", we might also acknowledge that Russian participation in WW2 was a direct result of their own expansionism.

    Poland disappeared entirely due to Russian support of Germany.
    Finland was "steamrolled"...
    Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania disappeared entirely...
    Bessarabia occupied...
    France disappears. How much longer would France have been able to resist if a significant portion of the German Army was busy watching, (or even fighting), the Russians?

    All of this was achieved whilst shipments of food, fuell and materials were transported to support the Reich war effort.
    Stalin was the only world leader outside of the tri-partite Pact that had any trust and confidence in the word of Adolf Hitler as a Statesman...

    Further, suppose Hitler was content to rest on the laurels after Dunkirk and the fall of France. What then? Would the Soviets have torn up the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? Unlikely...Zhukov and Vatutin were pressing for a pre-emptive offensive, but Stalin shelved these plans, trusting the agreements with Germany when the rest of Europe wouldn't do business with them.

    So, without Hitler's gambling nature, the Soviet Union would have spent the rest of World War Two as an active ally of the Reich, shipping materials and food, vacillating over British and American diplomatic feelers, threatening everywhere with further expansions....

    Lucky for Stalin that Hitler was a gambler. I would say that "Barbarossa" saved the Soviet Union from experiencing an Atomic strike, sometime in 1945....The Reich would be target No.1, with their partners in crime as next on the list.

    Remember, the Soviets took 2 years to become a Nuke power....more than enough time for America to solve the problem once and for all....
     
  20. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Anthony Beevor's newer book, D-Day; The Battle for Normandy is a much better work on the entire western front than Ryan or Ambrose, and isn't Americentric slanted. It is fair to all involved, Air, Ground, and Navy from all participants. Heck he is even fair to the German defenders.

    Of course this work benefits from being newer, and the fifty year secrecy impediments have been removed from much of the resource material he used. I recommend you pick it up if possible.
     

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