Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

German vs Soviet casualties

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Leopard2, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    27
    Its a sign of the worry of the Soviet leadership had on the 22nd June when one of the first questions asked by Stalin was "Are they fighting back"?? Stalin did not know if the Soviet Soldiers would fight for the cause. Thankfully they did.
     
  2. Mibo

    Mibo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    13
    I am actually not that familiar with how fast the soviets were planning on invading Germany (reaching Berlin?).:eek: Anyone with better info, please do tell.

    And by saying "their plan worked", i mean that they won Germany.

    I know the Allied were set on liberating Europe "by christmas", which didn't quite work out, as we all know.
     
  3. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    There was no (Western) Allied plan to end the war, or liberate Europe, by the end of 1944, or even the end of 1945, for that matter. Certainly the British favored a "peripheral" or attritional strategy, and would have been content to chip away at outlying German positions in the Med and the Balkans for years. The Americans, aware of their superiority in war production, wanted a direct confrontation with the main German forces in Europe. And mindful of the strains of full mobilization, which the American economy didn't reach until May, 1945, the Americans wanted that confrontation as soon as possible. It wasn't until the Tehran Conference, when Marshal Stalin threw his support behind the American strategy, that a May, 1944, date for Operation Overlord was agreed to by the British.

    At that point no firm time table was set by the Allies for the defeat of Germany. Each country's General Staff had it's own ideas, but there was no "schedule" for final victory, as such. The idea of the war being over "by Christmas" (1944) originated more as a fervant hope than anything else, among the ranks of the common soldiers, and was speculated on as a definite possibility by the American and British press. This idea died in the winter offensive of the Germans in the Ardennes.
     
  4. marc780

    marc780 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    55
    there are several reasons why the Soviets lost a disproportionately larger percentage of their population in ww2, most of which other people have mentioned in their posts -Stalin refused to believe Hitler would ever invade. He was of the opinion that what his spies were telling about German movements him were merely provocations and tricks by the British.
    -Stalin killed off most of his own officer corps in the purges of the 1930's. The remaining officers may have been politically loyal but they were novices especially compared to the Germans they faced.
    -The Russians had poor communications especially at the start of the war. Most tanks were not even equipped with a radio for the first few years of the war. Almost every German tank had a radio. This meant poor coordination of units, misplaced or even lost units, units sent to the wrong place at the wrong time, and higher losses in battle.
    -The Russian people got it from both sides during the war. Commanders both German and even Russian, usually saw civilians as being in the way of the fighting and often made no special effort to safeguard them. The German and Russian practice of "scorched earth" during the retreat meant that many thousands of Russian civilians would die of exposure and stravation during the winter, as most of their houses and livestock had been confiscated or destroyed.
    -The Soviet high command had very little regard for their troops, they were commodities to be used up. The "human wave" attacks mentioned were often used for lack of any better tactics, leading to huge losses in manpower against German machine guns and artillery. On many occasions Soviet troops were sent into battle UNARMED, and told to pick up the first weapon he could find from a dead comrade or enemy to arm himself . Moroever both German and Russian armies had the infamous "Displinary battalions". These were composed of men guilty of minor infractions and were given the worst, most dangerous jobs such as clearing mine fields (the soviets often simply marched these troops through a minefield to clear a path).

    The above are a few of the reasons the Soviets had such huge losses in world war 2. Probably the most compelling one is Stalin's complete disregard for the individual, whether military or civilian.
     
  5. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    335
    This is simply not the case, whatever may happen in Enemy at the Gates 'human wave' attacks were less and less common as the war went on and were only an emergency measure early on. They were also part of a much wider scheme which involved getting large numbers of men close to a German position covered by artillery etc so that they would appear as a single massive wave and take the position.

    Again, whatever happened in EATG it is a fallacy to say that this happened 'many times.' It simply isn't true.

    Once again, dubious at best. The minefield clearing thing is pretty dodgy, there are very few reliable sources to suggest it happened. When it did happen the soldiers were not clearing a path, Strafbat units were used to attack across minefields when other (more heavily guarded) routes were considered too dangerous.

    As for the nature of the Strafbat, keep in mind that these units were commanded by regular officers and aside from those guilty of 'minor infractions' consisted of murderers, rapists, thieves, pickpockets and other dregs of society (these guys were in the majority in fact). Also remember that whilst these units did get a very tough time, as soon as you lost a drop of blood on the battlefield or as a result of enemy action you were returned to your former unit or transferred to the regular army with rank, awards etc re-instated. Their commanders sometimes (at least one veteran I know of for sure) considered it an honour to serve with these units and welcomed the awards and promotion that came with the job.
     
  6. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Of course. A couple of good possibilities come to mind: the Russian soldier might have a personal score to settle, could be a Siberian or Mongolian who think this is the best hunting trip ever, or the battalion's political officer is just the scarriest bastard ever wore a red star.

    Pretty much what Stefan said. The Russian human wave attack is as a myth pretty well busted. What is a human wave attack in so far as it is disguinshable from an massed fixed bayonet assault? The German Army often find the Russians hamm-fisted in the attack, their attacking units are often poorly coordinated and the tactics rarely deviated from a stereotyped pattern, and their officers often press on an offensive even though it is clear to the Germans that it has already been defeated and sacreficed many more lives than was strictly necessary. Those however does not really account to "human wave" attacks. On the western fron the Americans observed that the German infantry often attacked American positions in close order with bayonets fixed, and when such attacks are anticipated met with predictable results. In so much they are extant, the Red Army's clumsy handling of infantry on the offensive was more endemic to 1941 then the whole war in general, and they were far from the only army to have mishandled their infantry.
     
  7. Leopard2

    Leopard2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    1941? Who had higher casualties at Kursk in 1943 despite knowledge about the attack and heavy preparations?
     
  8. skywalker

    skywalker Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hey guys is there a topic in here with detailed Eastern Front tactics. For example did they use tacking or any other monuveres that modern militaries still practice.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,271
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Location:
    Finland
    I think one of the reasons he asked this was that they had no contact to the units. Actually Stalin kept sending them messages to drive the German troops back in German territory, and thus had no suspicion per se whether they were fighting or not. Stalin was not getting info on the status of the units or their actions.
     
  10. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    335
    Well, the soviet Razvedchiki (scouts) went on to become Spetznaz but their tactics for camouflage, silent movement at night etc are all very much still in use. Maskirovka (the art of making the enemy look one way while you go another) is another popular tactic though no one really does it to the same extent these days (think 'telling everyone you are getting the paras ready to drop on Baghdad then charging in by land instead'). Then of course there is the diagonal creeping barrage, defensive systems and intergrated tank/infantry movement which are pretty common today.
     
  11. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    Interesting. I can find no record a trip by Truman to Moscow during, or after, World War II.

    Are you sure it was Truman?
     
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Portugal
    Do you mean there were 'human wave' attacks at Kursk? What phase of Kursk do you mean? Are you aware that at Kursk there were intense Soviet counter-attacks, culminating in Ops. Kutuzov and Rumiantsev that rolled back the German gains? What were the strategic outcomes of your German 'victory by numbers at Kursk'?
     
  13. Vet

    Vet Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    36
    I'm pretty sure it was him.
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Portugal
  15. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    Unlikely. The Truman Library record of his trips during his administration does not list any trip to Moscow.
     
  16. Kruska

    Kruska Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    190
    Hello Vet,

    I think you might have mixed this up with Eisenhower and Zhukov who took a trip to Moscow around June/July 1945.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,835
    Likes Received:
    2,286
    Location:
    Alabama
    I think you are probably right.
     
  18. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    Or possibly, with the entry in Truman's diary about his flight to Potsdam in which he describes seeing mile after mile of nothing but the ruins of GERMAN cities.
     
  19. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    335
    Lets face it, both were pretty flattened!
     
  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Portugal
    Once you've seen a flattened European city you've seen them all!
     
    Miguel B. likes this.

Share This Page