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Stalingrad Survivors

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Yaldy, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I'm just saying: they walked to Stalingrad so why the Soviets should change their habits. Just let them keep walking.

    But, of course I know and all these soldiers at the both sides knew much better that the life in south-east Russia wasn't a picnic. There were no trains in Stalingrad - the Germans destroyed anything they could, along with the railway station. The 6th army have eaten their own horses. They had no other option but to walk away to wait for transportation to their final destination in other parts of the USSR. Those who want to learn more may find more information in Beevors' "Stalingrad - The Fateful Siege" from page 414 on.

    Now, let's get back to transportation methods and trains. To illustrate how the life of a soldier can bring bitter surprises, here is a short passage from Beevor, pp. 415:

    ... After the experience of Beketovka,
    they were certain that the worst must be over, and the prospect of
    movement and change had its own appeal, but they soon discovered
    their mistake. Each railway wagon, with up to a hundred men forced
    into each one, had a single hole in the middle of the floor as a latrine.
    The cold was still terrible, but thirst was again the worst affliction,
    for they were given dried bread and salt fish to eat, but little water.

    So desperate did they become, that they licked the condensation
    frozen to metal parts inside the truck. At stops men allowed out often
    could not resist seizing handfuls of snow and forcing it into their
    mouths. Many died as a result, usually so silently that their comrades
    only realized that they had gone much later. Their corpses were then
    stacked by the sliding door of the wagon, ready for unloading. 'Skolko
    kaputt?'' Soviet guards would shout out in their pidgin-German at
    stops. 'How many dead?'
     
  2. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    There was another kind of transportation in Stalingrad 1942-1943 (Beevor, A. "Stalingrad - The Fateful Siege", pp 257):

    During this retreat, German infantry divisions found themselves
    in the open fighting off cavalry attacks 'as if it were 1870', as one
    officer put it. Their greatest problem was transport, mainly because
    of the shortage of horses. In some cases the solution adopted was
    brutally simple. An NCO would grab three-quarter-starved Russians
    from one of the prisoner-of-war cages to serve as draught animals.
    'When the retreat started on 20 November,' reported one Russian prisoner
    of war, 'we were put instead of horses to drag the carts loaded with
    ammunition and food. Those prisoners who could not drag the carts as
    quickly as the Feldwebel wanted were shot on the spot. In this way we
    were forced to pull the carts for four days, almost without any rest. At
    the Vertyachy prison camp, an encirclement of barbed wire without
    any shelter, the Germans selected the least unhealthy prisoners and
    took them with them.' The remainder, the sickest prisoners, were left
    behind to starve and freeze in the snow. 'Only two out of ninety-eight
    were still alive', when they were discovered by an advance unit of the
    65th Army. Photographers were summoned to record the horrific scene.
    Pictures were printed in the press and the Soviet government formally
    accused the German command of a war crime.
     
  3. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    I'll tell you why. According to our very own Sloniksp, much of the 90,000 people captured were in pretty poor shape. Very battleshocked, frostbitten, mainourished from weeks of horsemeat and not much else. Some had untreated wounds, others were fever ridden.

    When you make people in such condition walk anywhere, there chances of survival go down the gurgler very fast.

    As I have said before, they were made to walk to punish them, and for no better reason. With all the publicity surrounding Stalingrad, a more conventional country other than the soviet Union would have taken care of them, before putting them on a horse tansport train. No shortage of rolling stock n that part of the front.

    But the Soviets were, (and Russia still is) a barbaric country. I'ts the sort of thing one has come to expect from them.

    AndLj, if you cant be civil anymore ,
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Repeating the racist Nazi propaganda will not convinve people of the correctness of your arguments .
     
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  5. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Lj, they only just announced last night that history in high schools will be taught on an 'official line' with an 'approved list' of approriate authours. The history teacher who is blowing the whistle is taking much personal risk.

    Gosh, cant you see its the same old Stalinism....we may as well call it Putinism.

    How can we trust official history, or even private people studying history with that sort of background.

    Look, I apologise for my comments. I have asked to bury the hatchet before. Can we do that now? I dont come here to spit and fight.
     
  6. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    And as far as Russian losses are concerned, I have as much right to an opinion as any. One man's guess is as good as another on that topic. And just who the hell are you to tell me what to do here anyway, a damned Soviet sympathizer?

    I dont believe much of what those so called historians from that country tell us. Still trying to justify casualty lists that no other country would be able to explain. Any military with a casualty list as long as they have is suspect. They would have used the opportunity to get rid of quite a few 'enemies of the people' at the same time 70 plus years on and they haven't changed at all.

    you can be my guest and lap up everything that comes out of there historically. Those others of us that are not interested in sniffing their rear ends will wait for the truth to reveal itself, all in good time.

    At least we know what a bunch of bastards the Nazis were. They told us so, eventually.

    You should be listening to people like Kai Petri and Karjarla. They could give you the low-down about Soviet/Russians.
     
  7. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Reports of treatment of Soviet prisoners during Typhoon are pretty horrific, the German supply system had broken down and the prisoners were practically left to starve. The death percentages speak for themselves, the chances of surviving as a POW were so significantly better for the Germans that a different in policy was most likely in place.
    Soviet treatment of POW was still extremely harsh, the USSR was undergoing a famine and medical supplies and skills were short, not likely POW would get priority there but that's different from deliberate mistreatment.

    Stalingrad was possibly the worse case for axis POW because soldiers in the pocket were at the end of their tether, it was winter and the Soviet supply system was stretched to the limit to supply the advance. BTW I wander why posters keep mentioning Italians, the Italians in the pocket were limited to a couple of supply columns totalling a few dozen drivers and mechanics. Little Saturn is a different story, the reason the POW were marched on foot in the snow is likely the same they were retreating on foot in the snow, no transportation available, if you look at pictures of the retreating columns and of POW columns the similarities are striking.

    We should look at all POW survival to get a baseline, though the Eastern front with it's stretched to limit logistics and no Red Cross has some specifics.
    There are some pretty horrific tales around for western allied treatment of POW at the end of the war (and the 1945 "reclassification" to avoid treaty restrictions allows for a lot of suspicion), and about treatment of POW by the French in Tunisia, and I very much doubt the IJA, Mao and Chang were nice to POW. During the island hopping campaign POWs were so few the issue of how to deal with large numbers never came up.
     
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  8. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Soldier, you stated quite clearly, "the USSR was undergoing famine." You believe it, I believe it, mny on this forum now believe it, and yet, you won't read it anywhere in Russian accounts. They put a tight lid on what was going on in the interior.

    So, I surmise that their total casualty figures are much higher than we ever thought possible. 28 million people sounds like an underestimate. There were 220 million people listed in the soviet union in 1938. A famine wasting 25 million people between late 1941 and early 1944 would be a very good guess.

    Lj has told everyone that I have no right to speculate. I have. I'm the first to bring it out of the closet. I'm not going to be rubbished by people like Lj for believing it, because the USSR had a history of famines that were officially 'not happening'

    My guess is that the famine was so bad in the interior that most of the people that suffered through it did not live to tell the tale. They would have been very tightly controlled, so records from the period are scarce. We can even take a guess that the conditions might well have been similar to the ukrainian famine, with people canibalizing their own children, or necrophia.

    Either way, there is a lot to be said for questioning Soviet loss figures.And by God, I've got as much right to an informed guess as the likes of Lj.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Before guessing,learn your basics : the 1937 population of the SU was 162 million,thus your figure of 220 million :you know what you can do with it .
     
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Wouldn't say you do not read famine anyplace in Soviet accounts, I have very few Soviet primary sources but food shortages are mentioned. It was probably inevitable, remove access to a country's traditional bread basket, dedicate most of the transport capacity to military purposes, and enroll a massive percentage of the most fit peasant population in the army and you are going to get big food shortages. The "scorched earth" policies also contributed to food shortages in areas that changed hands.

    Soviet casualty figures are a matter for research not guesses, there are multiple sources available even if figures vary widely. The figures, even if you take the lowest ones, are shocking, splitting them into combat losses, direct result of German extermination policies, indirect deaths due to the Germans grabbing all the food they could lay their hands on, "scorched earth" policies, famine in areas that remained under Soviet control and direct killings by the Soviet regime helps to understand how such a high number was reached. The two last categories have been routinely "altered" by both Soviet and post-Soviet propaganda (and by cold war western propaganda as well) , so the real numbers will probably never be known as the Soviets were not such record keeping maniacs as the Germans and it's pretty hard to find reliable alternate sources to contradict the published figures. But extrapolating on no better grounds than "the Russians are liars so the figures must be different" doesn't contribute anything.
     
  11. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Ok...using the word 'guess' is politically and coventionally incorrect.

    Still, that is what the lack of Soviet truthfullness has reduced the whole question to, educated guesses. They have made sure that its a number that no-one can wrap their fingers around for lack od data. This is deliberate policy, and there is a real reason for it. The figure is far too high for a civilized government to admit to. Notice how I'm not sugessting that the people of the Soviet Union were uncivilized. Just their government and the people that ran their seurity departments.

    When you have a choice between two tyrants, and you pick one of them "because he spoke Russian", it does not bode well as a motivation for war efforts. As a body politic, the people of the SU were pushed forward at the pint of a gun. This was supposedly what the Western countries were fighting against. To hear their government defend the manner in which their country was kept under their own control is a crime of large proportions. Pandering to their numbers games as they try to obscure just what it took to achieve this, and just how many of their citizens it cost them to do it, is an even bigger crime.

    We help keep that damned Putin government in place. They still oppress their own people on a large scale. I for one am not fooled for a minute.
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The choice was not between two tyrants, it was between a tyrant and a madman who had publicly declared he wanted exterminate the Russians (and a number of other ethnic groups) and was putting his words into practice, you do not need a gun at my back to convince me which side to choose with that option though I would much prefer having a third one.

    When judging political systems, thinking in terms of absolute good is unrealistic. choosing the lesser evil is often all you have.
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    It's even more complex than that, given the history of the regions in question, and the answer would vary according to your ethnicity, education, and upbringing (your family's experience).

    Another issue is that neither of the regimes sprang into being as violent or callous as they became at their height.

    To suggest as Christopher47 does, that many Russians were not highly motivated in their war against the Third Reich and only did so because of the tyrant's rifles in their backs is to do them a great diservice. The Germans too, shot deserters in droves, especially in the Third Reich's final death throes, when it became clear that the wunderwaffen wasn't quite so wonderous, and weren't going to alter the tide. What does that prove?

    Russians of the previous century have proven to be remarkably tenacious in suffering, if the promise of something better for society as a whole looms around the corner. Even if it means your own doom. In fact, if it took NKVD blocking units to secure the spine of 1 or 2 % or even 50% of those standing beside me, so be it. Because if they're allowed to run, why should I make any sacrifices? Obviously, the tendency to flee is going to be higher, when the war is going badly, and something had to be done to stop the tide. The Western Allies have never had to face an enemy that was so superior in arms, losing so much youth (killed, injured and captured), for such an enduring length of time, the morale of the Red Army soldier was shattered. Until that December in 1941, the Wehrmacht sliced through the Soviet Union like a hot knife through butter. That's nearly six months of near continuous backpeddling covering 1000km in distance, on an enormous front. Something entirely impossible according to Soviet preWar expectations. What would you have the Soviet leaders do to prevent mass surrender and fleeing? Ask nicely? Their solution worked. Yes, it was brutal. So was the war. The alternative is actually a lot worse; a Soviet collapse in 1941.

    Blocking units have been used since ancient times; the Romans used experienced Triarii at the rear of their formations, precisely for this purpose.

    During the Napoleanonic wars, troop losses were far greater due to desertion than combat losses. Since desertion was so easy in that era, the use of Barrier troops allowed the commander to retain some degree of unit cohesion.


    What was probably worse for the war effort, were the Political Commissars, who's presence hung over the Commanders like the Sword of Damocles, suppressing initiative, reducing flexibility, and increasing casualties.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Which is not our business.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Immediatily after reading this I was in pretty much complete agreement, after giving it some more though not so much. I'm not sure Stalin wasn't a madman either the difference was one targeted people based on race where the other target them based on phylosophy or persieved opposition. In the former case at least you had a decent idea where you stood in the latter case not so much as the security aperatus could be used by unscrupulous individuals for their own purposes as well as for Stalins. If I were one in one the proscribed groups as far as the Nazis were concerned the obvious choice would be Stalin if not it might be Hitler. I'd defintily prefer a third choice though.

    Concur in the best of worlds it's the other way around which will do the more good but none are perfect and what you see is not always what you get either.
     
  16. huddyhuddy

    huddyhuddy recruit

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    Hello,
    How can one trace the unit one survivor served at and was captured at Stalingrad?
    His name was Albrecht Grussner.
    Thank you.
     
  17. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    Stalingrad Lost Germany the Second world war.
     
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Support? Do you have reasons for your statement, or backup for your conclusion?
     
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  19. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    I do indeed have support. The reason why Stalingrad lost Germany the second world war was because Hitler drew forces from the Southern advanced to capture the southern oil fields. With out those oil fields Hitlers army continued to have sever oil shortages. However if those oil fields were captured Germany would have been able to produce and fuel more tanks plains and especaly trucks.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Those forces had already been stopped. Even if they reach the oil fields (and they'd only reach the western most ones) it wouldn't do them much good. The Soviets would have a somewhat reduced oil supply but Germany wouldn't be getting any oil from those fields for years and Germany didn't have years. Furthermore even if they did get the oil all it means is that after the summer of 45 Berlin doesn't need street lights.
     

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