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Thread: Fall of France

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post

    The Red army was a complete mess, German forces commented on how poor their Russian equivalents were in 39 after meeting them at the Bug River. This was then confirmed in Finland months later when the Russian army was humiliated by a much smaller Finnish army
    Thats becuase of the purges. In Mongolia the Soviet troops raked the Japanese over the coals. Also as BF pointed out, the decline in equipment upkeep was crucial. The T-26 tank was superior to the pzI and pzII and the equal of the early PzIII in gun and armor power. The BT-7 was superior in armor, speed and gun power to the PzIII until the Aufs H model. Parity on paper however was undone by poor availability numbers, poor strategic positioning, bad leadership and poor communications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    I read recently that Liddell Hart was the main source of this story, which he personally nurtured after the 2nd WW. There's absolutely no evidence to support it. Consequently it appears the Germans (Guderian etc) were working independently.
    Sorry, wrong again. Liddell Hart did get Guderian to add a passage to his postwar memoirs that made his influence seem greater than it was. That is the extent of it. Guderian had already acknowledged the influence of Liddell Hart, Fuller & Martel (another Englishman) in his 1937 book Achtung - Panzer!. He freely acknowledged that the work of those men had led to his interest in armored warfare and there is reliable evidence that Fuller in particular - who he personally met before the war - had considerable influence.


    As for the Russians, yes I agree they were beheaded by Stalin's purges which greatly weakened the leadership. But if you going to pretend that a nation that had just lost after fielding an army of men with essentially pointed sticks was somehow miraculously transformed into technologically forward thinking strategists that then helped the Germans who they'd just been comprehensively beaten by...well i just think its stretching things slightly.
    OK, you clearly don't know very much about this and the confidence you have in your own ignorance doesn't encourage me that any time I take to educate you will be well spent.

    The army that Germany defeated ceased to exist in 1917. It was replaced by an army with a vastly improved officer corps based more on meritocracy and a vastly greater scope to change doctrine. The Red Army was on the winning side of its war, often against the remnants of the stick carrying army your have in your head. Tukachevsky was one of the leading lights in the Red Army both as a field commander and a theoretician. The same was true of Mkihail Frunze. Other officers such as Triandafillov and Isserson were similarly influential theoreticians. Led by these men and others the Red Army in the 1920s developed the most sophisticated armored doctrine in the world and built a military to carry it out. Those great Russian Generals you've heard of were all trained in this doctrine and it was that doctrine they used to destroy the German Army in WW2. It formed the basis of post-war Red Army thinking and even influenced US ideas such as AirLand battle.

    I struggle to believe that the years of co-operation between the Germany Army & the Red Army left no influence on the former. The Red Army was well advanced in its armored doctrine in the mid-20s and early 30s and German officers would have had the opportunity to see some of the impact of that up close.

    No it didn't, it had better tanks that were poorly fielded
    Yes, it did. The French Army had the equivalent of Panzer divisions. Look it up. They fought the Germans in the battle of France, but they weren't quite as agile or as strong and they lacked the close air support the Germans had.

    They designed and manufactured small and medium sized bombers to give close support to the Army, it was very effective
    Yes, it was. One of the reasons they developed that structure was that they lacked the resources to develop a big fleet of strategic bombers, so more resources went into close air support.

    So the Polish army being wiped out in 1 month and 5 days was a trial run ? LOL
    Yes, it was. There is no substitute for actually going into combat if you want to see how well your army works. Poland taught valuable lessons, especially about co-ordinating air and ground forces.

    They had no appetite for a war and neither did the British and who can blame them after suffering the 1st WW
    Do you get paid by the tired cliche`, or is this just the way you think? France had a very large, very well equipped army that could have stopped the German advance if it had been better deployed and had a slightly better developed armoured doctrine.

    The Red army was a complete mess, German forces commented on how poor their Russian equivalents were in 39 after meeting them at the Bug River. This was then confirmed in Finland months later when the Russian army was humiliated by a much smaller Finnish army
    Yes, it was a mess. I've already told you why. Stalin purged the officer corps and disbanded the armored units. Stalin decided that the Red Army was a potential threat, so he crippled it. The offensive doctrines pushed by the likes of Tukachevsky (a high profile purge victim) were deliberately junked in favour of defensive ideas. Instead of maintaining tanks & other vehicles needed for offensive warfare Stalin spent money on several huge lines of fortifications that proved useless when war came.

    The shock of Finland & the even bigger shock of the fall of France saw Stalin reverse course and move to re-form those armoured units. This process wasn't anywhere near complete when Germany attacked in 1941. Russia already had the required doctrine, it just had to properly implement it and then rebuild the badly damaged army to carry it out.

    Not sure what you mean by that . So investing in Commando forces and revolutionising warfare is not trying? If the British hadn't tried as you put it The Soviet Union would have collapsed.
    What I mean by that is that Britain didn't try to copy the German style of warfare. It had its own style of battle that was less interested in rapid attacks than slower, better resourced ones - Montgomery being an exemplar of this.

    I have no idea what the survival of the USSR has to do with British land warfare doctrines - the very explicit context of my earlier remark. I'm not sure you do either. In fact, I'm not sure you really know much about a lot of this stuff. Unfortunately you seem to think quantity trumps quality. It doesn't.


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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Thats becuase of the purges. In Mongolia the Soviet troops raked the Japanese over the coals. Also as BF pointed out, the decline in equipment upkeep was crucial. The T-26 tank was superior to the pzI and pzII and the equal of the early PzIII in gun and armor power. The BT-7 was superior in armor, speed and gun power to the PzIII until the Aufs H model. Parity on paper however was undone by poor availability numbers, poor strategic positioning, bad leadership and poor communications.
    Russian equipment was in a poor state in 1941. Poorly maintained vehicles, shortages of parts etc. If those units & their equipment had been properly maintained they would have been much more of a challenge in 1941. Had senior proponents not been purged not only would armoured units have been well drilled and better positioned, it is possible that there would have been more tanks like the T-34 on hand. A Red Army in that condition would still have taken heavy losses in 1941, but it would have exacted a much heavier price and most likely held more Russian territory.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Yes, it did. The French Army had the equivalent of Panzer divisions. Look it up. They fought the Germans in the battle of France, but they weren't quite as agile or as strong and they lacked the close air support the Germans had.
    Uhm...



    When war broke out the French had 3 cavalry divisions which lacked organic infantry, were light on artillery, engineers and had a few light tanks and armored cars in a single mechanized brigade. The only real armored divisions at the start of the war were the 1č DLM ad 2e DLM. The DLM divisions were 2 mechanized brigades for 174 tanks plus 100 or so armored cars and AMR's and 1 artillery regiment. Same problem of lack of infantry and engineers and light on artillery as the cav divisions but more and tanks than the dedicated cavalry divisions. These two divisions had the S35 which was superior to any German tank in terms of armor and gun power. They would create 2 more during the course of the war. Most French tanks were various forms of infantry tank and were spread out penny packet style to the infantry divisions. Once war broke out the French began converting the cav divisions into true tank divisions but this was not fully completed by the fall of France. During the Sitzkreig the French also created 4 DCR divisions, these were true tank divisions but only 1 of them was older than 6 months when France threw in the towel and then had only passed the six month mark by less than 2 weeks. These were the divisions that had the Char B1 and B1bis heavy tanks. They were not however organized to fight other tanks.

    The French did not create a well developed armored doctrine prior to the Fall of France. This is why they were always behind the curve and never did grasp how the panzers could breakthrough and exploitation. Their doctrine still called for the infantry or the new DCR divisions to achieve breakthrough and the DLM's and light cav divisions to exploit.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Uhm...



    When war broke out the French had 3 cavalry divisions which lacked organic infantry, were light on artillery, engineers and had a few light tanks and armored cars in a single mechanized brigade. The only real armored divisions at the start of the war were the 1č DLM ad 2e DLM. The DLM divisions were 2 mechanized brigades for 174 tanks plus 100 or so armored cars and AMR's and 1 artillery regiment. Same problem of lack of infantry and engineers and light on artillery as the cav divisions but more and tanks than the dedicated cavalry divisions. These two divisions had the S35 which was superior to any German tank in terms of armor and gun power. They would create 2 more during the course of the war. Most French tanks were various forms of infantry tank and were spread out penny packet style to the infantry divisions. Once war broke out the French began converting the cav divisions into true tank divisions but this was not fully completed by the fall of France. During the Sitzkreig the French also created 4 DCR divisions, these were true tank divisions but only 1 of them was older than 6 months when France threw in the towel and then had only passed the six month mark by less than 2 weeks. These were the divisions that had the Char B1 and B1bis heavy tanks. They were not however organized to fight other tanks.

    The French did not create a well developed armored doctrine prior to the Fall of France. This is why they were always behind the curve and never did grasp how the panzers could breakthrough and exploitation. Their doctrine still called for the infantry or the new DCR divisions to achieve breakthrough and the DLM's and light cav divisions to exploit.
    Nothing to disagree with there Z. France came to the party late, but by the time it faced Germany it had a number of armoured divisions. Unfortunately they weren't as good and, as you point out, lacked a well developed doctrine for their use. That is what I said. its not the same as claiming france didn't have armoured divisions, which is what I was responding to. The defensive mindset certainly hurt them, but it was perfectly possible to evolve a tank doctrine that worked within that. They were only part way there unfortunately.

    French tanks also had some serious flaws. There were certainly tanks that had better armour and guns than German equivalents, but single man turrets and limited range were costly in combat.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Nothing to disagree with there Z. France came to the party late, but by the time it faced Germany it had a number of armoured divisions. Unfortunately they weren't as good and, as you point out, lacked a well developed doctrine for their use. That is what I said. its not the same as claiming france didn't have armoured divisions, which is what I was responding to. The defensive mindset certainly hurt them, but it was perfectly possible to evolve a tank doctrine that worked within that. They were only part way there unfortunately.

    French tanks also had some serious flaws. There were certainly tanks that had better armour and guns than German equivalents, but single man turrets and limited range were costly in combat.
    Gotcha

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    Tukachevsky lost in Poland when they tried to 'export' the revolution by arms.

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    Got to wonder whether Japans surprise attack, rapid advance and conquest of South East Asia immediately after Pearl Harbor matches or even surpasses the fall of France as the most remarkable event of the war. Certainly the lesson from both (perhaps repeated throughout history) is that the side that attacks where it's not expected, moves fast and hits hard is the one that wins. In this case at least initially, until the momentum fails, weight of numbers come into play and the defender learns to adapt.
    Last edited by Monash; 26 Jun 17, at 11:03.

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    Monash,

    Got to wonder whether Japans surprise attack, rapid advance and conquest of South East Asia immediately after Pearl Harbor matches or even surpasses the fall of France as the most remarkable event of the war.
    i doubt it, because the British had been making contingencies for such a dark day ever since the rise of Japan as a power.

    moreover, when Japan surrendered they were still sitting on most of those conquests anyway.

    now, the attack on Pearl Harbor WAS the most remarkable event of the war...for the Allies. no US intervention in the war, or even delayed intervention in the war, would have resulted in a -lot- of major changes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Sorry, wrong again. Liddell Hart did get Guderian to add a passage to his postwar memoirs that made his influence seem greater than it was. That is the extent of it. Guderian had already acknowledged the influence of Liddell Hart, Fuller & Martel (another Englishman) in his 1937 book Achtung - Panzer!. He freely acknowledged that the work of those men had led to his interest in armored warfare and there is reliable evidence that Fuller in particular - who he personally met before the war - had considerable influence.
    Yes I know I too own the book. Please read this, give me your thoughts..."
    Influence on Panzerwaffe
    Following the Second World War Liddell Hart pointed out that the German Wehrmacht adopted theories developed from those of J.F.C. Fuller and from his own, and that it used them against the United Kingdom and its allies (1939–1945) with the practice of what became known as Blitzkrieg warfare. Some scholars, such as the political scientist John Mearsheimer, have questioned the extent of the influence which the British officers, and in particular Liddell Hart, had in the development of the method of war practised by the Panzerwaffe in 1939–1941. During the post-war debriefs of the former Wehrmacht generals, Liddell Hart attempted to tease out his influence on their war practices. Following these interviews, many of the generals claimed that Liddell Hart had been an influence on their strategies, something that had not been claimed previously nor has any contemporary, pre-war, documentation been found to support their claims. Liddell Hart thus put "words in the mouths' of German Generals" with the aim, according to Mearsheimer, to "resurrect a lost reputation".

    Shimon Naveh, the founder and former head of the Israel Defense Forces' Operational Theory Research Institute, stated that after World War II Liddell Hart "created" the idea of Blitzkrieg as a military doctrine: "It was the opposite of a doctrine. Blitzkrieg consisted of an avalanche of actions that were sorted out less by design and more by success." Naveh stated that,

    "by manipulation and contrivance, Liddell Hart distorted the actual circumstances of the Blitzkrieg formation and obscured its origins. Through his indoctrinated idealization of an ostentatious concept he reinforced the myth of Blitzkrieg. By imposing, retrospectively, his own perceptions of mobile warfare upon the shallow concept of Blitzkrieg, he created a theoretical imbroglio that has taken 40 years to unravel".

    Naveh stated that in his letters to German generals Erich von Manstein and Guderian, as well as to relatives and associates of Rommel, Liddell Hart "imposed his own fabricated version of Blitzkrieg on the latter and compelled him to proclaim it as original formula".

    Naveh pointed out that the edition of Guderian's memoirs published in Germany differed from the one published in the United Kingdom. Guderian neglected to mention the influence of the English theorists such as Fuller and Liddell Hart in the German-language versions. One example of the influence of these men on Guderian was the report on the Battle of Cambrai published by Fuller in 1920, who at the time served as a staff officer at the Royal Tank Corps. Liddell Hart alleged that Guderian read and later took up his[who?] findings and theories on armoured warfare, which thus helped to formulate the basis of operations that would become known as Blitzkrieg warfare. These tactics involved deep penetration of the armoured formations supported behind enemy lines by bomb-carrying aircraft. Dive bombers were the principal agents of delivery of high explosives in support of the forward units.

    Though the German version of the Guderian memoirs mentions Liddell Hart, it did not ascribe to him his role in developing the theories behind armoured warfare. An explanation for the difference between the two translations can be found in the correspondence between the two men. In one letter to Guderian, Liddell Hart reminded the German general that he should provide him the credit he was due, offering "You might care to insert a remark that I emphasise the use of armoured forces for long-range operations against the opposing Army's communications, and also the proposed type of armoured division combining Panzer and Panzer-infantry units – and that these points particularly impressed you


    OK, you clearly don't know very much about this and the confidence you have in your own ignorance doesn't encourage me that any time I take to educate you will be well spent.
    I think I might surprise you

    The army that Germany defeated ceased to exist in 1917. It was replaced by an army with a vastly improved officer corps based more on meritocracy and a vastly greater scope to change doctrine. The Red Army was on the winning side of its war, often against the remnants of the stick carrying army your have in your head. Tukachevsky was one of the leading lights in the Red Army both as a field commander and a theoretician. The same was true of Mkihail Frunze. Other officers such as Triandafillov and Isserson were similarly influential theoreticians. Led by these men and others the Red Army in the 1920s developed the most sophisticated armored doctrine in the world and built a military to carry it out. Those great Russian Generals you've heard of were all trained in this doctrine and it was that doctrine they used to destroy the German Army in WW2. It formed the basis of post-war Red Army thinking and even influenced US ideas such as AirLand battle.

    I struggle to believe that the years of co-operation between the Germany Army & the Red Army left no influence on the former. The Red Army was well advanced in its armored doctrine in the mid-20s and early 30s and German officers would have had the opportunity to see some of the impact of that up close.
    Some good info there , thank you. I'm fully aware that due to the treaty of Versailles certain German capabilities were denied its Military. Which caused it to conduct clandestine operation in the Soviet Union...these lasted until 1933??? So clearly "Deep Operations" strategy would have been learned by the Reichswehr. Strong emphasis on learned not necessarily used. To draw an analogy..Its a bit like showing somebody a car for the first time and its a Larda. They then go away and build a Mercedes. Hardly comparable are they...Mind you I guess the first Larda would not have built if not for the horse and cart....



    Yes, it did. The French Army had the equivalent of Panzer divisions. Look it up. They fought the Germans in the battle of France, but they weren't quite as agile or as strong and they lacked the close air support the Germans had.
    Apologies I misunderstood you, but there's absolutely nothing wrong in what I said "it had better tanks that were poorly fielded"



    Yes, it was. One of the reasons they developed that structure was that they lacked the resources to develop a big fleet of strategic bombers, so more resources went into close air support.
    Can you recommend a book?




    Do you get paid by the tired cliche`, or is this just the way you think?
    I get paid when I fix what others break, When you are brought up by people that lived through the aftermath, you are unavoidably affected. It actually still resonates today...

    France had a very large, very well equipped army that could have stopped the German advance if it had been better deployed and had a slightly better developed armoured doctrine.
    and not been obsessed with the Maginot line which was incomplete when the Germans did arrive



    Yes, it was a mess. I've already told you why. Stalin purged the officer corps and disbanded the armored units. Stalin decided that the Red Army was a potential threat, so he crippled it. The offensive doctrines pushed by the likes of Tukachevsky (a high profile purge victim) were deliberately junked in favour of defensive ideas. Instead of maintaining tanks & other vehicles needed for offensive warfare Stalin spent money on several huge lines of fortifications that proved useless when war came.
    Yes I know that's common knowledge O level history

    The shock of Finland & the even bigger shock of the fall of France saw Stalin reverse course and move to re-form those armoured units. This process wasn't anywhere near complete when Germany attacked in 1941. Russia already had the required doctrine, it just had to properly implement it and then rebuild the badly damaged army to carry it out.
    Almost obliterated army from my reading



    What I mean by that is that Britain didn't try to copy the German style of warfare. It had its own style of battle that was less interested in rapid attacks than slower, better resourced ones - Montgomery being an exemplar of this.
    The British parachute formations were a direct result of witnessing German Fallschirmjäger operations in the low countries and Crete.

    I have no idea what the survival of the USSR has to do with British land warfare doctrines
    neither do I

    - the very explicit context of my earlier remark. I'm not sure you do either. In fact, I'm not sure you really know much about a lot of this stuff.
    I know exactly what I was referring to. The Soviet Unions Air and land based formations were effectively smashed on their western Front between and June/ November 1941. Factories had to be moved East of the Urals, Military equipment via the British Merchant fleet at this moment was vital to bridge the gap while those factories came back online, this coupled with Stalin's decision to move his Siberian troops west effectively saved the Soviet Union from Annihilation. Various RAF squadrons were also sent to bolster up the Soviet defences.

    Unfortunately you seem to think quantity trumps quality. It doesn't
    That's definitely a Soviet mindset, not mine!
    Last edited by Toby; 27 Jun 17, at 07:33.

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    Jesus! Almost fell of my chair.Stalin purged his army in order to promote a more defensive doctrine.

    There was no Soviet defensive doctrine.The defensive belts existed on map only.Soviet defensive battles were hasty.No deliberate defense.The only ones were on Dnestr and Bessarabia,which happened due to the planned delay of the Axis offensive.

    As a sidenote,any great commander killed? I mean by name and deed of arms.What did those great leaders did in actual fighting?
    Second,the Soviets did not eliminated the massed armored formations.The had more than 20 corps in 1941.
    The readiness and numbers were variable,but overall they had a huge superiority.In proper conditions,a la Khalkin Gol,it worked.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Tukachevsky lost in Poland when they tried to 'export' the revolution by arms.
    Tukhachebsky was a crap commander. Stalin was even worse though. And it was STALIN who was leading the assault on Warsaw back then and lost it all miserably. I still believe that the Great Patriotic War waswon not BECAUSE of his "leadership", as some idiots in Russia like to say; but more DESPITE him, if anything... And... Well... Hitler was even MORE incompetent than him lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_One View Post
    Tukhachebsky was a crap commander. Stalin was even worse though. And it was STALIN who was leading the assault on Warsaw back then and lost it all miserably. I still believe that the Great Patriotic War waswon not BECAUSE of his "leadership", as some idiots in Russia like to say; but more DESPITE him, if anything... And... Well... Hitler was even MORE incompetent than him lol
    After reading various sources, I came to the conclusion many years ago that Soviet Strategy and tactics during WW2 were in general lacking any 'deep thought'. The Soviet Hordes were in large part driven forward by inept murderous political commissars of the NKVD. No other country sacrificed human life so callously. I've lost count of the times I've read German military communications describing human waves heading straight into fields of fire cut to pieces only for another alcohol fueled wave to appear immediately after. It was this method that won the day against the Germans as they in general started to run out of ammunition after the 3rd and 4th waves of drunken humanity charged forward. Yes Certain armour was superior (initially) though as has been stated the T34 being the obvious one, but again the Soviets lost thousands of tanks due to lack of any intelligent plan.....and they didn't improve either as was demonstrated in 1944 in Hungary during the Budapest offensive, 1,766 Soviet tanks destroyed compared to 269 German tanks..
    Last edited by Toby; 27 Jun 17, at 07:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Got to wonder whether Japans surprise attack, rapid advance and conquest of South East Asia immediately after Pearl Harbor matches or even surpasses the fall of France as the most remarkable event of the war. Certainly the lesson from both (perhaps repeated throughout history) is that the side that attacks where it's not expected, moves fast and hits hard is the one that wins. In this case at least initially, until the momentum fails, weight of numbers come into play and the defender learns to adapt.
    The Japanese advance was remarkable for speed & breadth. To take that much territory in such a short space of time while already deeply engaged in a war with the largest country in the world is arguably as impressive as the German achievement in France. While it is true that what Japan faced was weakened by the war in Europe, it still had to fight against forces that could and should have been able mount more effective defences. In Malaya, Burma, the Philippines and at Pearl Harbor the cost exacted for victory should have been higher and in the case of the first 3 taken much longer. Japan was able to take advantage of the flaws its opponents had in the same way Germany did.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    After reading various sources, I came to the conclusion many years ago that Soviet Strategy and tactics during WW2 were in general lacking any 'deep thought'. The Soviet Hordes were in large part driven forward by inept murderous political commissars of the NKVD. No other country sacrificed human life so callously. I've lost count of the times I've read German military communications describing human waves heading straight into fields of fire cut to pieces only for another alcohol fueled wave to appear immediately after. It was this method that won the day against the Germans as they in general started to run out of ammunition after the 3rd and 4th waves of drunken humanity charged forward. Yes Certain armour was superior (initially) though as has been stated the T34 being the obvious one, but again the Soviets lost thousands of tanks due to lack of any intelligent plan.....and they didn't improve either as was demonstrated in 1944 in Hungary during the Budapest offensive, 1,766 Soviet tanks destroyed compared to 269 German tanks..
    And that is antiquated knowledge.

    So what if they lost 6 times more tanks at Budapest?The German ones are ireversible,since they lost the ground.3/4 of the Soviet ones can be recovered,repaired and put back into action.
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