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Most under appreciated battle of the Ostfront?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Gibson, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Nov 28, 2000
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    Hi Heartland--sorry I just saw your posting. The info I got on the Russian Sub Commander was mainly from the Documentary played on The History Channel. The Documentary was on the "Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff"

    And mostly unrelated--I own a "Wilhelm Gustloff" Cap Tally. Its definately one of the most ornate cap tallys I have ever seen.
  2. Paul Errass

    Paul Errass Member

    Oct 28, 2001
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    Yeah it is a bit sad that Porsch should do this,although he has convinced some that he is a Ritterkreuztrager official sources in particular the OdR say he was never ever awarded the RK.

  3. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Jan 24, 2002
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    Very, very interesting, Kai! Many thanks! ;) :cool:
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Jul 31, 2002
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    On Winter War



    "Mainila is mentioned as a site for border clashes in the documents of the Leningrad Military District as early as in March 1939. This was a provocation that the Soviets had planned long before the outbreak of the war", says Juri Kilin, a senior lecturer at Petrozavodhsk University.
    Kilin was born in a small village on the Russian side of the border roughly at the level of Kuhmo. For the last eight years, he has been studying the Winter War in depth. Last April he was given access to the most important archive material on the subject, to be found in the form of instructions hand-signed by Stalin himself in the headquarters of the Red Army. Kilin intends to defend his doctoral thesis - entitled "The Position of Russian Karelia in the Policies of the Soviet Union, 1920-1941" - in Moscow next January.

    Kilin says that the Red Army leadership made three fundamental errors of judgement in the Winter War that prevented the achievement of the war's aims, namely the conquest of Finland by December 21st, which happened to be Stalin's birthday.
    The first blunder was that by the time the shooting started they had they concentrated in Karelia twice as many troops as the theatre of battle had capacity for. By the time peace was made in March 1940, they had no fewer than 25 divisions in Karelia, and the hungry soldiers - who had already been effectively worn out in advance in road-building work that should have been performed years before - were unable to attack across to Oulu in the north or on the flanks of the Finnish forces in the Karelian Isthmus.
    The second error was the lack of reserves in the Isthmus itself in the early stages, which made it impossible to continue the attack in January 1940. Bringing reserves in took far too long because of the poor road network, and any delays like this increased the risk that the Western countries might get involved on the side of Finland if the war dragged on into the summer.
    The Soviets' third big failing was in the area of propaganda. This does not mean propaganda directed at the Finnish enemy so much as the fact that the Red Army troops did not understand the goals of the war, and their motivation to get themselves killed under Arctic conditions in order to liberate the Finnish workers from the yoke of the capitalists was extremely weak. In December they began to explain to the men that the only objective was to secure Leningrad and the north-western areas of the USSR against attack. This produced a marked increase in fighting spirit.

    Kilin congratulates Finland's Prime Minister Risto Ryti on his use of the Western Powers card at the right strategic moment. The Red Army general staff feared that Finland or the Allies might use its air power agains the Kirov railway line, the only link between Leningrad and Petrozavodhsk. From December onwards this single-track railway had been overloaded in shipping men and materiel to the front. The Red Army really got concerned when Finland managed to pick up a few twin-engined Bristol Blenheim bombers from the Allies.
    At the beginning of March there were around 300,000 Russian soldiers at the Petrozavodhsk rail-head, and supplying these units depended totally on this railway line. Any interruption in rail traffic would have put an abrupt stop to ammunitions or foodstuffs deliveries. The troops were certainly not able to live off the land - this was the end of a very severe winter indeed, and Karelia, which suffered from extremely low agricultural output, could supply only a hundredth part of the food required to keep the army on its feet.
    “This meant that the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops depended on just one successful or lucky bombing strike. Just one bridge taken out could have led to their starvation and to the remnants of the Red Army formations being mopped up by the Finns. This would have been a military catastrophe on an even greater scale than the war had already become, and would probably have led to unpredictable political fall-out”, says Kilin.

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