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Myths of the Eastern Front

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Comrade General, May 19, 2015.

  1. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)This is exaggerated

    2)even if 1 is correct,it does not prove that 2 is correct

    3)Even if 2 is correct,it does not prove that 3 is correct

    4)This is not correct : Belorussian nationalism was almost inexistant and Moldabia was not occupied by the Germans ,but by Romania
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The quote about von Bock had been proved (by a member of this forum) to be a forgery

    100000 cases of frostbite is insignificant on a total of more than 3 million men,besides,it does not prove that a)the winter was exceptionally harsh b) that the Germans were not prepared for the winter:if the winter was less harsh/if the Germans were better prepared,there still would be frostbite cases : winterclothing does not prevent frostbite cases,it limits the number of frostbite cases.

    The Germans knew that it could be cold in the winter in the SU ,and temperatures of -20 were and are not uncommon in Germany in the winter .

    Last point : the Germans were not stopped by general winter,or his brother general mud (these are the usual excuses from defeated generals),but they were stopped by the Red Army .
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not really. It's ~3% which is hardly insiginificant. Furthermore those cases put additional strain on the German supply system as well as the replacement system. People who have had frostbite also tend to be much more sensative to the cold which can lead to their being less productive and efficient in such conditions.

    Inspite of your repeated claims to that effect no they were not. The Germans were stopped by a number of factors certainly the resistance of the Red Army was an important one but so were distance, weather, the German logistical system, and generalship on both sides. I suspect others can come up with more. It makes no more sense to say it was only the Red Army than it does to say that it was only General Winter or Only General Mud or Hilter.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Never?
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Since US and German forces fought at such temperatures on a regular basis it does seem a bit of a stretch doesn't it?
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    3% proves nothing : it does not indicate how cold was the winter,nor how much winter equipment the Germans had ,nor that it had an impact on the ability of the Ostheer to stop the Soviet winter offensive :notwithstanding 3 % frostbite cases,the Ostheer succeeded to stop the Soviets .

    What is significant is that 97 % of the Ostheer was not hurt by the winter: this indicates that the winter was not that cold as was claimed and that more than 97 % of the Germans had winter equipment .More than 97 %,because even if every one had winter equipment,there still would be frostbite cases .

    And the winter was no factor in the failure of Typhoon:Typhoon was stopped before the winter .

    Nor was "weather" (in the general meaning) a factor in the failure of the Germans : the Germans were already stopped in the summer ,and no one will claim that general summer stopped the Germans .

    Nor was it the supply system : the Germans were stopped in the summer,while there were no supply problems,and they attacked again in octobe,thus the supply problems were not the cause .

    Nor was it generalship : the German generals were not inferior/superior to the Soviet generals,besides,big campaigns are not won /lost by generals .
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Where did US forces fight on a regular basis at temperatures of -40° ? And the same for the Germans .
     
  8. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Following the official Soviet sources,the coldest temperature in december 1941 was -28.8 °.

    As usual,january was colder than december,but this does not prove that one would encounter on a regular basis in january 1942 temperatures of -40° on the front in European Russia .
     
  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I think you touch on a good point here. It's not necessarily the fact that the Soviets and the Germans we're not prepared for the winter, how could they not be? Both sides knew that weather would be a problem if the armies were stretched too thin. However I don't think many of the German brass new the effect the winter would have on not only men, but material. Germany's victories in the West with their style of blitzkrieg,IMO, clouded their judgement. The weather was a definite factor in the failure of the Germans, but cockiness played a part.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It certainly calls your original comment to question. I.e. it's a long way from "insignificant".

    And your point is? Although one would expect the loss of manpower of that magnitude along with the effort spent treating them would have some non negligable impact on the strength of the Ostheer. But since you are the proponent lets's see your proof that said impact was negligable.

    Your conclusions are not warrented by either the facts or the logic you express.

    Care to explain how that is relevant to the topic at hand.

    You really need to improve your debating skills. The way you are suppose to do it is state facts and then use logic to show how those facts support your position. You simply state your position and assume that the facts support it whether they do or not. In this case they quite clearly don't. Weather impacted when the campaign started and as it tends to do impacted the whole course of the campaign. It may not have been a dominant factor during the summer of 41 but that's pretty much irrelevant to the topic at hand.
    How absurd. The Germans halted in August due in large part due to the supply situation. Why do you think it took them a month or so to resume the offensive?

    What utter jibberish. Campaigns in general and big ones in particular are indeed won by generals. No claims have yet been made by me as to the relative qualities of the Soviets vs German ones though.

    You seem to be totally missing the point though and that is that all of these factors plus others played a role to ignore that is insanity. Or perhaps just obstinance and lack of vision.

    Over Germany.

    Indeed, but the -40 was, and I think rather obviously, chosen as a somewhat arbitrary number (it does have the advantage of being very close to the point where the two common temperature scales are equal). The point of course was that the Red Army was better prepaired for the weather. Now that point can be argued to some extent but in general seems to be true.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I have also read somewhere that the Germans expecting a quick end to the war were slow to move their winter clothing and supplies forward and once it became clear that they weren't going to take Moscow by the onset of winter the priorities were such that they simply couldn't get as much of the coldweather gear forward as quickly as they needed to.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    As I understand the facts from my reading, it was not just the cold, per se, that stopped the Germans; it was mud, dust, snow and length of supply lines as well, that contributed to the breakdown of the mechanized units, both wheeled and tracked. Thus, they didn't have the fighting power to overcome Soviet resistance.

    We must also remember that the casualties in German horses were huge and that also contributed to the breakdown of the supply system.

    As far as winter clothing goes, my understanding is that it was issued from Germany, but was either misdirected, purloined by troops in the rear and/or weren't brought up to the front in time because the supply system was breaking down.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The siberi were mission capable at lower temps.

    ETA: "siberi" = Siberian units.
     
  14. Comrade General

    Comrade General Member

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    I'd rather this not derail into a back-and-forth, and would point out that a lot of these details we're arguing over could be resolved by citations of scholarly works, such as the academic paper I linked to which indeed proves that the 1941-42 weather was one of the coldest on record for Europe. As to whether or not German troops received winter clothing late or not, pretty much every historical work I have read on the Eastern Front from Catherine Merridale to David Glantz reports that the Germans were ill-equipped for winter fighting and did not receive gear specifically designed for harsh winter until February 1942. Merridale goes into some detail about the Soviet image of "Winter Frtiz" dressing up in improvised clothing so as to protect himself from the elements. So this was not just German soldiers looking for an alibi. The Soviet Union embraced the unpreparedness of the German troops and even made propaganda surrounding it.

    Yet, this all ignores what I said about temperatures being irrelevant. Bottom line, harsh winters make life miserable for troops, and even if you downplay the amount of frostbite and amputations on either side (never mind the cost of influenza and pneumonia) your troops are going to suffer, which is going to have an influence on their ability to fight. Whether you get three or four hours of sleep at night is going to affect your performance the next day, just as whether it's -20C to -30C.

    As to the Soviet troops, it was indeed common sense for them to be better equipped for the winters of Eastern Europe, but it was only after the Finnish war that the general staff made the concerted effort to equip all soldiers with valenki, padded jackets, trousers, fur gloves, etc. I would also say that the winter's negative impact on the Soviet troops had more to do with Soviet shortcomings in terms of industrial output -- not that the USSR hadn't rapidly industrialized under Stalin, but that there was simply a heavy burden to produce enough material and clothing to a Red Army that was making wide strategic withdrawals in the early stages of the war. Merridale covers this too in the "Black Ways of War" in Ivan's War.
     
  15. harolds

    harolds Member

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    As far as German and American forces fighting in extreme cold at high altitudes, it should be remembered that all air crew had very warm clothes to combat the cold. Not only that, if they survived they were back on the ground after the mission where it was warmer-in summer, very warm. Therefore, they weren't obliged to deal with the cold constantly 24-7 as were the soldiers in Russia. So it wasn't exactly the same thing.
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    How absurd. The Germans halted in August due in large part due to the supply situation

    Why do you think it took them a month or so to resume the offensive?



    1)This is wrong : The Germans did not halt in august (halt = stop voluntarily) : they were stopped by the Soviets

    2)They resumed the offensive in october:mini Barbarossa .
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Influenza ans pneunomia are not winter related.
     
  18. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The figures given in "early and harsh winter" on the AHF indicate

    that november,although colder than normal,was not exceptional cold: only on ONE day was it very cold ,with a temperature of -22°,besides,the Germans were still advancing that month .If on that day,the Germans had no winter clothing,thousands would have died :as this did not happen,this proves that they had winterclothing

    december : it was cold,colder than normal,but not exceptionally cold :the coldest day was -28.8°(on 21/02/1956,it was -25.2 ° in Belgium) There were in december 2 periods with very cold weather : in the beginning (coinciding with the start of the Soviet winter offensive) and at the end .But meanwhile,there were days with positive temperatures .Whatever, if at the day of -28.8° the Germans had no winter clothing,no one would have survived:as we know they survived and stopped the Soviets,this proves they had winter clothing .

    Saying that the Germans were stopped by a combination of several factors (weather,supplies,generalship) is denying the role of the Soviets : with better supplies,etc,the Germans would also be stopped .

    It is the usual excuse (on BOTH sides) when one is defeated : it was the same for Market Garden,when on Allied side,the claims were : it was logistics,the weather,generalship,a traitor,...: no : it were the Germans who defeated the Allies,as it was the Red Army which stopped the Germans in the summer .

    For both operations,the conditio sine qua non for success was that after a few shootings,the eneme would give up and cry :kamerad .

    All the rest is searching for culprits. there were no culprits .
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Distances do not stop a victorious army : the victorious allies were not stopped in september 1944 by distance, but by the Germans : if the Germans had given up,the allies would be in Berlin in october .Distance did not stop the Germans in Norway in may/june 1940 :they arrived at the North Cape .Distance did not stop Napoleon in 1812,nor the Germans in 1941.

    The Soviets were stopped in the winter of 41/42 but not in the winter of 44/45:thus,they were not stopped because of the winter .

    Supplies : idem :during the first phase of Compass,the British advanced,they were not stopped by supply problems.In the second phase,they were stopped, ...by the Italians .

    It took the US 3 1/2 year to advance to Japan,not because of distance but because the Japanese were fighting .It took several months to occupy Guadalcanal,not because of supplies and such things,but because of the Japanese ;when they left ,Guadalcanal was occupied in a few days .

    It was the same in Russia : if the Soviets were defeated,there would be no problems of logistics,weather,distance,....
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The winter had a small impact on the increase of non combat losses,a small : november 1941 : NCL :73000;december 1941 : 90000= an increase of 17000,and these 17000 were not all related to/caused by the winter .In august 1942 : 98000 NCL,more than in december 1941.

    There is no proof that the increase of NCL had a significant effect on the outcome of the campaign;it had no significant effect on the outcome of Barbarossa .

    There is also no proof that the weather as such had a significant effect :

    during the winter of 1941/1942 AGC resisted successfully the Soviet attacks,while in the summer of 1944,AGC was destroyed .
     

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