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Myths of the Eastern Front

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

  1. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    Very interesting thread. What we need to remember regarding German offensives was their doctrine blitz krieg which was the basis for their whole Russian invasion plan.

    Now, blitz krieg is basically based on pace, pin point attacks and quick break throughs. And here lies the basic reason why they didn't succeed as planned. Blitz krieg doctrine wasn't working due to many, many different factors. Hard weather conditions during autumn and winter, very poor roads, hard terrain, Red Army etc. etc. This is why their offensive got much slower as excepted, supply didn't work as planned and equipment supplied wasn't enough (winter clothing etc.). The plan was indeed to be in Moscow before year end and probably this was stupid mistake by German supreme command blinded by fast victories in Poland and France. That meant that German troops weren't ready to face all those other difficulties in addition to most important of course - the Red Army.

    So, I do believe (but obviously can't state this as a fact) that harsh winter was one factor among many others to influence German failure in eastern front. For the Red Army it certainly did make it a bit easier to defend and gave little more time to organize themselves and this doesn't take anything away from them.
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)This is questionable,as even today there is no unanimity on the meaning of Blitzkrieg: some authors even deny the existence of Blitzkrieg

    2)During the winter,the Red Army was not defending :it was attacking .
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    The winter was a factor. The sand and dust during the summer and fall that damaged tank and truck engines was a factor. The mud that further strained engines was a factor. The death of uncounted horses was a factor. The bitter cold was a factor. All these factors weakened the Germans offensive power to a point that the Soviets could stop them before Moscow.

    It's an uncontested fact of logistics that the farther an army gets from its point(s) of supply, the weaker it gets. This was true in the North African campaign, in the Soviet Union and in France in 1944. It's just that in Russia in 1941 the Germans had other weakening factors to contend with. Then relatively weak Soviet forces that wouldn't have been a big problem two months earlier, became unconquerable.

    Many professional soldiers have argued since the war that the Germans should have realized all this and pulled back to good defensive positions and waited until good campaigning weather arrived. While this is probably "Monday morning quarterbacking" it is also probably right.
     
  4. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    1. Let's name German tactics what ever but it was based on pinpoint attack concentration, pace and quick breakthroughs. You can deny blitzkrieg all you want but that doesn't mean that the tactics weren't there.

    2. Yes because German attack was stuck because all of those reasons added together and slowing them down - Red Army obviously being one of the biggest factors. Before the mud season and winter it seemed like Red Army would run all the way to Urals nonstop.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Stil having problems with the quote function I see.
    No it is not wrong. Your semantic argument is rather off base as well. The August halt was in large part due to a need to resupply and repair units of the German army. Certainly the Soviet resistance was a factor and arguably the most important one.
    And your point is?

    I suggest you take a look at the rates of both over the course of the year. I think you will find you are wrong at least if you have any objectivity at all. Futhermore both the rate and the severity of both can be significantly affected by the physical condition of the individuals infected. Being cold, malnurished, or under signficant stress can lower ones resistance. Fighting in Russia during the winter seems consistent with elevated levels of those factors.

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? It does nothing of the sort. Generalship is a relative thing so it clearly includes some of the Soviet role. Furthermore the Soviet resistance (and for that matter the resistance of the people of the conquered areas) was clearly one of the factors and a very important one.

    That is an assumption/opinion of yours and may or may not be true. Indeed the lack of qualifiers almost assures that at least in some cases it is false.

    You have expressed opinions of this sort before. Repeating them does not make them any more accurate. Trying to find any single cause for defeat or victory is a rather futile undertaking in most cases and it certainly is here.

    You really would be well served if you learned how to put together a well reasoned and logical argument for your position. Repeated statements of opinion and attempted cherry picking do little to support your position.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Single factor analysis of complex problems usually leads to little beneficial insight. That is surely the case here. Things like exposure and activity levels can radically impact non combat losses. If these and other factors are not held constant or at least accounted for your "logic" falls apart.

    Clearly it had some effects how significant they were is an open question. Your conclusion that they had no effect on the outcome of Barbarossa has no proof either. It may be correct or it may dependi on how one defines "significant".
    There is no proof that it did not either.

    And this is relevant how?
     
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    A couple of points...

    The Germans did have a real problem with supplies. The rail track width (the gauge) changed twice between Germany and Russia. That means that every bean and bullet had to be offloaded and then reloaded onto a new rail car, twice, before it got to the front. That's a very real issue that they were unprepared for. And an issue that the Russians didn't have.

    In addition, Russians recognize two winters. The first is the "Grandmother Winter" which is the nonstop rains of Autumn. Little can move by road because every road is a morass of mud and clay. So, even those supplies that got near the front faced this additional problem getting to the unit. And of course, those same rains created a real problem moving armor in an assault or to counter an assault by the enemy. I suppose this issue would fall equally on both sides, but at least the Russians were better supplied because they didn't have the rail bottleneck that the Germans faced. They were at least getting their supplies within 20 or 30 miles of the front instead of being backed up hundreds of miles behind the front as the German supplies were.

    The second winter is of course, the cold. As a former Alaskan I would just say that there is not much difference between (Fahrenheit) -10 and minus -30. They're both miserable and they'll both freeze vehicles. If there's a wind, the -10 may be worse than the -30...

    How much those issues affected the campaign are subjective, but they are real issues which (in general) fell heavier on the Germans than the Soviets.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Germans used railroads to send supplies and the width of the rails was different so they had to change the tracks all the time. Also at times the distance from the train supply station to the front could be some 50-60 kms or more and as often there were not that many railroad lines so it was up to decide do you get ammo or food and clothes. I recall it was ammo 75% other 25%, and the troops were told to get the food from the area around.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1) NO : it was not : in the elaborating process of Barbarossa,it was assumed that in august,the war would be decided,the result would be that the main part of the army would remain where it was and that small parts would advance to the AA line .

    What happened now,was that the war was not over : there was a big strategical crisis :the Red Army was not defeated .If it was defeated,there would be no need for resupply and repair .

    2) The NCL of august 1942 were very high:98700,more soldiers were out from sickness in a summer month than in december and february 1941/1942 .Influenza is not limited to the winter,as every one knows .

    The number of soldiers who died from ilness increased in the winter,but,statistically,this increase was insignificant :

    november 1941 :1264
    december 1941 :2194
    january 1942 : 2533
    february 1942 : 2691

    march 1942: 3170
    april 1942 : 2866

    In april (no winter) more soldiers died from ilness than in january (winter),these figures (from WWII stats) are corroborated by those of the frostbites (also from WWII stats) :
    On 31/03 /1942:141.957 (mainly from the east)

    1st degree : 42319

    2nd degree :79201

    3rd degree : 18337.

    not classified :2100

    This sounds big,til one looks at the number of the amputations :1424 = 1 %:eek:nly 1 %:this means that most frostbite cases were not serious and that most of these soldiers returned very quickly to the front .
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    By subtrackting from the total (last column) the figures of the first column (soldiers who died of wounds) one obtains the monthly figures of the soldiers of the field army and reserve army who died from accident (unfall) suicide (selbstmord) and ilness (krankheit).These figures (from WWII stats) are reliable: their source is BAMA (the German military archives in Freiburg) .
    One observes the following :august 1941 :2507 (9105-6598),december 1941:2992(6982-3992):the difference between a summer month and a winter month is only 485,which means that the increase of NCL was meaningless .
    For 1940,the results are even astonishing :more soldiers died in july (1468) than in december (1162) .

    This proves that it is not so that the winter was always causing more damage than the summer .Soldiers also died in the summer from ilness:things as influenza,etc.

    In december 1941 485 more soldiers died than in august,but in march 1942,464 more soldiers died than in january .The ilness figures follow the trend of the dead figures .
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Which points to a defect in the plan and/or the generalship but doesn't address the fact that they needed to stop to resupply.

    The last is a strawman as no one has said or even hinted that Influneza was limited to the winter. It is however much more prevalant then. Source on the former would be nice as well. Some idea of what the causes and severities were would also be interesting.

    Please show how you determined that the above were "statistically insignificant". Indeed it looks like you presented only data which you think supports your positoin, i.e. "cherry picking".

    The data does not support your conclusions. Frost bite can be serious even if there is no amputation. Furthermore there is nothing above that indicates how soon the above cases were returned to the front nor the impact of frost bite on their effectiveness after the event.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How reliable is an interesting question but the bigger problem is how they assessed fatalities that were the result of multiple factors. It would also be useful to know just what defintions were being used and how the data was collected.

    Not really. Again you have to have some measure of exposure to make such judgments.

    Why do you consider that astonishing?

    It most certainly does not.

    A fact I'm sure we are all aware of. So your point was?

    And your point is?
     
  14. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    One overlooked factor is the cold tended to hit the front line troops hardest, and thus the numbers are important because of all the other losses of combat troops. To say cold is not important when you cant fire your artillery pieces and your tanks are limited if working at all and you risk your fingers trying to hold on to a cold metal trigger.
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    A fact I'm sure we are all aware of. So your point was?


    Reply:

    You denied this : you disagreed when I said that influenza was not winter related .
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Notwithstanding the "cold " winter, AGC withstood the Soviet winter offensive,while in the SUMMER of 1944 AGC was destroyed .Thus, the so-called decisive importance of the weather (here :the winter) for the outcome of the Soviet-German war is something good for the H CH,Carrel,Fox,CNN,BBC,and other misinformed people having as aim to misinform the public,who want to be told about the German supermenschen who would have destroyed the Soviet untermenschen,but were prevented from doing so,by the timely arrival of general Mud and his cousin general Winter.
    The story is on the same level as the story of the Angel of Mons who in 1914 saved the BEF .

    That these nonsenses were believed during the Cold War,could be expected,after all,the bad nazi's were now transformed in good democratic (small letter) allies and the heirs of Uncle Joe were now the public enemies of liberal capitalism (draped in the coat of the free world),but that today,(25 years after the end of the Cold War)intelligent people still are considering this as a gospel,makes one despairing of mankind .
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Still having problems with the quote function I see. Or can't you be bothered to use it.
    Looks like an English comprehension problem. Influenza is winter related the number of cases goes up in the winter and down in the summer. the fact that it is winter related or if you prefer correlates with winter doesn't mean that it is completely absent in the summer. See:
    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm
    or
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flu_season
    in particular:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flu_season#/media/File:CDC-influenza-pneumonia-deaths-2015-01-10.gif
    or
    http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Are you completele incapable of understanding how ludicrous that statment is. A bit of a strawman wrapped up in it as well. I don't think anyone here has been arguing that weather was "decisive" merely like many other factors it was important. But comparing the performance of AGC in the winter of 41 with that of the summer of 44 and concluding anything about the import of weather is completely inane.

    Rant on, doing so illustrates quite clearly how little you truly understand.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    One can get the flu every time of the year,thus it is not winter related:why do you think the Germans had 98700 cases of NCL in the east in the month of august 1942?As these 98700 cases did not prevent the Germans from having big successes,why would the NCL in the winter cause German defeats ?

    Now,he will chew the cut how to avoid answer this question .

    I know:as usual,he will do blahblah about something of topic .
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    In 1945,nobody in the West knew anything about the war in the East (not that much people were interested):the last 70 years there were only 2 choices ; German propaganda and Soviet propaganda:the obvious choice was the German propaganda . the result is that today there are no serious works about the war in the East in the Anglo-saxon world (Glantz is Soviet biased).

    In Germany,there was an evolution:the propaganda has been throwed away for something serious : Germany and WWII .But,as the knowledge of German in the Anglo-saxon world has now decreased to the knowledge of Russian in 1945,garbage is still ruling in the Anglo-saxon world :people as Charles Winchester .

    Reactions on this forum are proving what I am saying .
     

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