Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Lt Fox, Mar 25, 2008.
It can also be said that the reason for these losses was also due to the lack of fuel, air superiority, ammunition, morale, leadership and countless of men and equipment lost on the eastern front.
Not to offend or belittle the brave lads which fought in the West; however, it is almost common knowledge that the German soldier had more respect for the "Ivan" than the "Joe" on the battlefield, even Otto Carius points this out.
Chaplains, Padres and Feldprädiger were also embedded in all units throughout the war and performed similar functions in maintaining the morale and comfort of the troops. This is a normal fixture.
Political officers were latter adopted in the German army, and some alleged that it was an German attempt to have their own commissars so as to boost the fanaticism of their soliders. However I have little knowledge as to how much power did they have over the conduct of operations and if they had the authority to shoot percieved cowards and traitors (which happened more often in the German Army than some supposed, but I digress).
They dont shoot you in the ear if you dont show enough loyalty and ruthlessness . The NVDK were replaced by the KGB but from begining to end from the machineguns setup behind the red gaurds assaulting Kronstad to the KGB Barrage units in Afghanistan the Russian army soldier knew his breathing privelages would be revoked if he was seen as unenthisiastic.
That doesnt take away the resultant bravery by individual russian troops inspite rather tahn because of that threat.
There were a lot of executions at the end of the war with numerous accounts of field executions but the propaganda about the dreadful punishment the russians would hand out to the German army and people for the actions of the German forces in Russia. Thats why they fought on in the east and surrendered in alrge numbers in the west.
The Russains were feared because they would sacrifice any number of troops to win and then execute surviving german troops. Just like the Vietcong General Jaap later stated using communist doctrine "I may lose ten you may one but one day you will go" this did not mean they were better troops just ruthless enough to win because they didn't care about casualties. This did not mean they were better troops than the Germans indeed they lost 5 or six for every casualtie inflicted but it did mean they were more feared by US troops than the Germans had been during the war.
We are talking about perceptions based on personal consequences if you kill a large number of the enemy and they just keep going it scares the hell out the defender just look at the interviews with Germans survivors of the American invasion beach at Omaha. Similar interviews with survivors on Utah beach where the invasion went much easier and the survivors show a lot less awe and fear of the assaulting troops.
The British army feared the Dervish and Zulu's more tahn the French in the 19th century it doesnt mean they were better troops individually but their indifferance to losses was extremely demoralizing and intimidating.
The fact remains losses were less favourable in the west from a german point of view. The level of training of troops ws better in the western armies. This is not to denigrate the skills or courage of the Russian army.
This is untrue. German Army executed 15,000 soldiers from 1939-45 according to official state papers. "Cowards" could be shot out of hand and forgotten without ever being reported. There was also the galvanizing influence of Nazism to be considered.
The will to sustain casaulties and continue an attack had been considered a military virtue in all ages of conflict known to man. Call it courage or ruthlessness if you will, but do not pretend it is not a desirable trait of a fighting outfit.
It is a myth that the Russian soldiers were inept. A plethora of German sources ranking from grunts to generals praised the Russian soldier's skill in night fighting, the patrol, infiltration, the use of camoflage, fire discipline and defensive combat. When you break it down, those encompassed almost all of the necessary incredients in making efficient infantry.
I hate to say it, but with some exceptions the Germans thought little of the Commonwealth or American infantry. This sentiment is found in all ranks including veterans who had fought in both fronts. That is not to say the US military was not a juggernaut but infantry was not its forte.
The effect of massive artillery, air and armored superiority of the western allies could hardly be understated.
HMMMM and all this has to do with what in context of the original subject? LOL. There are a few other threads in the non weapons sections comparing the Soviets, Germans,Ect. Of course with the same predictable responses. :deadhorse: :headbash:
Well, Russian tanks suck, their aircrafts suck, their infantry weapons suck, their navy sucks, their leadership suck, their soldiers were ultimatly tough in giving and taking.
The German tanks, best in the world, their aircraft amongst the finest, their Infantry weapons - absolutly state of the art, their navy was doing well, their leadership (Besides Hitler and Goering) top notch and the german soldier - not bad at all.
So what is there to discuss ??
No the Russian army had a number of very strong points and weak points like any other army. It is difficult to generalise since units perofrmed very differently some SS units were excellent fighting men whilst one SS police division ran from a russian counter attack in 1942 in total panic shouting the russians are coming on its combat debut.
In regard to the russian army in paticular any general statement of its performance would be meaningless. In 1941 it was badly disrupted by the loss of key officers and the placement of political cronies but had thanks to the policies instituted before the purges it had a number of excellent weapon systems like the KV1 and T34 as well as the Yak1 and artillery both rocket and tube. Stalin ensured it hardly had a chance refusing to allow them to prepare for for the assault and then ordering them to stay put so the encirclement tactics of the Blitzkrieg bagged millions of troops.
By mid 1942 the Russian army had replaced its 28,000 strong pool of obselescant tanks with fewer advanced models and the cronies were dead executed or removed . The officers removed and sent to the Gulag were returned to service and the NVDK were ordered to allow the officers to show more initiative. The russian army proved excellent in defence and local counter attacks but was defeated when it attacked because of lack of coordination. Russian doctrine was developing fast and the poorly trained crews were replaced by much better trained crews supported by massive artillery and better trained infantry.
By 1943 to 1945 the russians were becoming skilled in offensive warfare on a massive scale. They had a high proportion of motorized troops and gradually won total air superiority. Stavka planning had become excellent with much better trained logistics and tactical doctrine.
Manchuria 1945 a perfectly planned assault on the Japanese demonstrating doctrine that formed the methods that became those of the warsaw pact forces and heavily influenced doctrine for western methods. But like the Warsaw pact forces they became later they had a generally lower level of training with skilled roles done by junior officers or specialists. They also had a diffrent doctrine on weapons rather than like the germans have a few excellent tanks whilst many units ended with semi obsolete weapons they went for mass produceable effective systems that proved more durable in combat.
This meant like the allies in the west they could supply all units with a full issue of tanks, guns and small arms. If you want bragging rights a production of 1200 tiger ones and 480 tiger 2's is excellent if you want to win a war a production of 40000 T34's or 50,000 shermans is superior .
The Germans had nice weapons systems like Panther though even they were hideously over engineered and virtually hand built. In a bragging competition the Germans could point to elite units and excellent weapons but their draining of resources and industrial for elite units like these meant that they had large numbers of units which are rarely written about poorly equipped line infantry units that were out gunned and out classed both in the west and the east.
On the offensive the wide variation of quality in German units hardly mattered since the elite units lead the way like a tungsten point but on the defensive it allowed elite units to be constantly outflanked by break throughs on the section of front held by their less favoured units or allies.
Stalingrad was the first big example but it was repeated frequently. This meant that German elite units spent their time constantly acting as firemen running between break throughs.
In short Germans had the nicest weapons but not enough of them whilst the Russians weapons were more practical and effective.
Mikegb, it is my honest belief that Kruska was being ironic. From Merriam-Webster: 2 a: the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning.
As such I think that at least concerning him (or myself) you would have been more or less preaching to the converted...
Hmm I got the irony but what the hell it opened a possible line for an enjoyable subject area if a Russians were rubbish posting can be provoked especially if its well informed it could be very interesting. If arguements that contadict my current view point stand up it might open a whole new line of enquiry and research.
The Russians concentrated artillery to a greater extend than just about anybody else. Nevertheless, I stand by my statement that western allied artillery was more lethal due to superior communications and fire direction. American and British artillery could attack any target with intense fire without making time-consuming preparations.
The German view on American and British infantry was not attributable solely to propaganda because western solidiers often agreed with their asessment. That was true for both rank and file soldiers as well as senior officers, Gavin and Patton among others.
I would not argue that the German formations possessed superior combat power, in spite of possessing good infantry. The best allied units were just as good as the German elite. The greater concentration of artillery, armor and air elements in allied armies, as well as their better command and control, virtually ensured that the Germans would have to pay a steeper price in blood in everything they do.
I would agree that the Russians were extravagantly and unnecessarily wasteful with soldiers.
The elite special force units like the SAS etc were superior on the Allied side. General line infantry your often comparing apples and oranges many of the troops who fought in Normandy were non combat veterans many had a good level of training but had been sat in England for the whole war. As I said earlier the German troops of mixed quality the best units got all the best men and the best weapons and they were either combat veterans or led by combat veterans there were large numbers of lower grade units that had combat potential far below that of the allied units this tended to create a very uneven performance from the German units.
The allies only occasionally allowed units to draw such large numbers of the best troops these were units like the 101 airborne or the British paratroopers man for man these were better or at least equal with any soldiers the Germnas could field. The German SS and Panzer units performed very well but they were faced by a combat team aproach with the best troops more evenly spread amongst allied units . When on occasion the Germans defeated allied formations they found that the following formations were equally good unlike the German army where once the lead units of an offensive were defeated since the following units lacked the combat power of their allied equivelants.
At an infantry level the Germans were battle hardened they had made the mistakes and lost the men needed to ensure they were very competant.
As the French campaign progressed the US, Canadian and British units etc had paid that price too and were as effective as German infantry or better. The body count is a good indicator of whose military methodology is more effective and it was consistently in the allies favour.
The Riposte that the allies used massive firepower to win misses the point the basis of the much praised Blitz Krieg was exactly the focusing of superior power in the key point in the field. I remember a discusion between an uncle who fought in France in 1944 as a Gaurdsman and a German relative who fought on the otherside. The thesis of the German side was the allies used air power to break through this raised a laugh and derision form from my uncle who said thats what the British had said in 1940 its the defeated armies last refuge for their pride.
The Hastings thesis that German infantry were superior was based on comparing largely green formations against elite battle hardened troops hardly a realistic comparison. The dismissal of the poorly performing divisions as not representative of the German army is to miss the point the reason they were static or low grade divisions was because they had been deprived of key officers, men and equipment to build up the elite formations.
This worked well in an offensive as long as a battle of atrittion did not last too long once the elite units were gone the other formations with the lower grade recruits and equipment could rarely rescue the situation. In the end the allied policy of spreading their best troops more evenly was one that meant that most of their divisions were good whilst the German one of playing favourites led to a mixture of elite and low grade forces. This latter led to armies with initially impressive performance but an inability to win in attritional battles.
There was a problem in the US army in that prestige postings bled off many of the best troops which was not intentional but did reduce the quality of the the US line infantry. The best recruits went to air force and elite units like the 101 or even line of support this meant the logistical units were excellent but the men needed at the front were not always available. Th e replacement system in the US army was impersonal and did not develop a sense of unit the US ended up sending logistics trops into the line becaue of lack of replacements of the correct type.
Some of the late war infantry units produced by the British were lower grade in man power simply because the population had pretty much been combed out for recruits. The average age ratios suggest a representative sample drawn from older and very young recruits mirroring the Volksgrenadier formations.
I see what you mean, even if your intention now stated wasn't entirely visible. Good post, by the way.