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Thread: Fall of France

  1. #61
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post

    I would close up by noting that, though the Russians had a well-deserved reputation of being insensitive to losses, their best generals were quite cunning and had outfoxed their opposite numbers in the OKH. The Germans had failed to assess Russian intent in every major battle since Kursk, so even taking their material superiority in full stock, how bad could the Russian generals be?
    Order No. 227 ensured total commitment and partly explains some of the reckless/ insensitive decisions made by field commanders.
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    a simple comparison of Bagration vs Barbarossa should suffice for even the casual observer regarding the trope that the Soviets won only through sheer manpower alone.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  3. #63
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    We may need to rename the thread at this rate. Enjoying it regardless!!
    Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    The Russians got a bloody nose in 1941 in spite of the superlative quality of their tanks, not because of it. A perusal of writers such as Zaloga, Glantz or Jantz readily conveys the impression that well-handled T-34s and KV-1s were a terror on the battlefield, and the Red Army's self-inflicted logistics and leadership flaws, not their technology, accounted for their defeat in tactical engagements.
    Technology was a failing. It I-15, I-16 and Mig 1 lost the battle in the air. The Me109 totally outclassed them. Radios are a technology, 4x4 trucks and armored half tracks are technologies. A couple of good tank designs and some solid artillery wasn't enough to close the overall technology gap.

    For example, a majority of divisional tank engagements during Op. Barbarossa Jantz related to in Panzer Truppen Vol 1 show that while the Germans usually prevailed in tank combat against the Russians, they did so by throwing an entire Panzer battalion or regiment at a handful of T-34s at a time, with extremely desperate tactics and great difficulty. What was impressive about the Germans were the near suicidal courage of their Panzer crews and motorized infantry. The stereotype of commanders throwing men and machines at a field problem applied almost as well to Germans as the Russians, to my way of thinking.
    Those few T-34's were supported by huge numbers of other Soviet tanks. Look at the clash between the 4th Panzer Group and the Northwestern Front around the river Nueman. The Soviets lost over 700 tanks in just a few days. The T34 and KV tanks outclassed the PzII's, but the PzIII's with 50mm guns just as nearly as badly outclassed the T-26. The BT tanks which excelled on paper turned out to be not so much a much.

    As well, the Russians bungled their logistics and march planning, with the result that for about half a year, they could not manage putting more than a handful of T-34s or KV-1s at the point of contact.
    The Russian's had destroy their mechanized and tank divisions, then seen the Blitzkrieg and tried to rebuild armored formations, but also tried to defend the depth and length of the frontier. This meant most of the armored forces were close to the border and destroyed early on. What was left in the interior military districts was often non-operational.

    When the Russians attacked in the Winter Offensive of '41, the situation was turned around, and in Jantz's select texts it seems that facing an even number of T-34s was considered a very dicy situation for Pz-III and Pz-IV units.
    The short 50's and 75's were definitely not ideal tank killers and the 37 was a door knocker but I think by December odds for the panzer Truppen were about as good as they would ever get. The cream of the Soviet pre-war armored force was gone and the T-34's they encountered were crewed by kids with minimal training.

    Mostly, the Russian logistics during this period was atrocious. Zaloga noted that many T-34s went to the front with only machine gun bullets, some with just high-explosive shells for their main gun and many broke down or ran out of gas for a host of easily avoidable issues. I'd chalk it up to the totalitarian regime's obsession with parade and appearance, which probably infected post-purge Russia to a greater extent than Nazi Germany during this time.
    Most trains were carrying stuff East not west. Massive movement of industrial assets East, poor rail network that could only be supplemented by river routes during the spring summer and the lost of a huge amount of stores not incompetence is to blame as often as not.

    For situational awareness, even the god-awful Frech S-35 and Char-1 could be formidable at the right circumstances. Those were tanks with single-man turrets; the T-34 had two-men turrets. Colonel Kühn, who fought at Hannut leading the 3rd Panzer Brigade said: "The feelings of superiority by our panzertruppen over the opponent is based primarily on our better combat morale, secondarily on our superior firepower." The advantages of the gun-armed panzers over French tanks he cited were bigger guns and better mobility. Those advantages were not present when they were up against T-34s or KVs.
    By the time the T-34 really began to be the most numerous tank on the battlefield the Panzers bega to get long 50's and then long 75's.

    As for doctrine, the Soviet deep battle doctrine was a fully-fleshed out system of mechanized warfare that was comparable to the German system. But Tugashevski and most of Red Army generals who wasn't a brown-noser got purged by Stalin. The military purge would go on in earnest until Russia's military humiliation by Finland, and a goodly number of the able Soviet commanders who performed well during the war with Germany were the new blood whose career as general officers took place after the purge. Rokossovsky, they said, was fished out from the Gulag sans his teeth and fingernails...
    Here we agree

    I would close up by noting that, though the Russians had a well-deserved reputation of being insensitive to losses, their best generals were quite cunning and had outfoxed their opposite numbers in the OKH. The Germans had failed to assess Russian intent in every major battle since Kursk, so even taking their material superiority in full stock, how bad could the Russian generals be?
    Some were very good, others were horrible and at least 1 has a wholly undeserved reputation.

  5. #65
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    a simple comparison of Bagration vs Barbarossa should suffice for even the casual observer regarding the trope that the Soviets won only through sheer manpower alone.
    You would think that, wouldn't you. Bagration demonstrated a level of capability comparable to those German armies. So did a subsequent offensive in Romania, which learned lessons from a failed offensive two months earlier and crushed Germans forces with relatively little Russian loss of life.

    The use of deception is something the Russians were very good at and it was notable in both these battles. I remember reading about just how elaborate this was, right down to making sure German recon flights weren't intercepted in certain places precisely so they would see what the Russians wanted them to see. It was impressive stuff and it wasn't limited to this battle. It allowed the Red Army to concentrate forces. I don't have exact figures, but at this point I think the numerical advantage across the entire Eastern front was about 2.5 or 3:1. Locally the Red Army was able to get advantages 2 or 3 times that without the Germans being aware of it.

    These two battles also illustrate the difference in awareness of Red Army operations v Wehrmacht operations among English speakers. The German generals who drove through the French & British armies in 1940 & the Red Army in 1941 have shelf after shelf of books dedicated to them. Yet few of the people who can list their 'top 5' German generals have even heard of Bagramyan, Vasilevsky, Chernyakhovsky, Zakharov or Malinovsky, who won these two battles, or Konev, Chiukov and Vatutin, who won many more. Get beyond Zhukov, Rokossovsky and maybe Timoshenko and most folks blank. Its a pity, because lack of familiarity makes it easy to assume lack of ability. Like all armies, the Red Army had a mixed bag when it came to high command, but they deserve greater recognition than most of them have.
    Last edited by Bigfella; 03 Jul 17, at 11:15.


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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Some were very good, others were horrible and at least 1 has a wholly undeserved reputation.
    Come on Z. We're all friends here. Out with it. You talkin' about the other big Z?


    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    I would close up by noting that, though the Russians had a well-deserved reputation of being insensitive to losses, their best generals were quite cunning and had outfoxed their opposite numbers in the OKH. The Germans had failed to assess Russian intent in every major battle since Kursk, so even taking their material superiority in full stock, how bad could the Russian generals be?
    The work of Stavka is far less appreciated than it should be. Like all other things Red Army it struggled in 1941 but rebounded well. The quality of Russian planning improved rapidly and fairly consistently. Shaposhnikov and then Vasilevsky and Antonov also had the unenviable task of dealing directly with Stalin more regularly than most. No easy task trying to run the biggest army in the world while dealing with a boss who had a penchant for arresting generals.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Come on Z. We're all friends here. Out with it. You talkin' about the other big Z?
    His failures in front of Armygroup Mitte until Bagration speak for themselves. Rewriting the history of the Battle of Stalingrad to hide his failures in the center does not make him a good general.

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    Toby

    I believe this is the document which BF was referring to:

    http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/car...ubs/glantz.pdf

    If you have problems send me an e-mail in a private message and I can send it to you in digits.

    Cheers!

    Buck

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    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Toby

    I believe this is the document which BF was referring to:

    http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/car...ubs/glantz.pdf

    If you have problems send me an e-mail in a private message and I can send it to you in digits.

    Cheers!

    Buck

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    Just read the first few pages, Looks interesting. cheers!
    Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
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    That one is fine,but IIRC it ends in 1943,then talks about post war experience.However,the most interesting part was in Manchuria.There the airbourne forces had some astounding successes.
    Glantz' book has some conclusions that are opposed the operations described.It describes Soviet failures in large scale ops,while talking of succes in small scale ones.Post-war doctrine however saw both the emergence of increasingly massive drops,of ever more heavier VDV units and the appearance of dedicated small scale units.

    There is a coonection between pre-war doctrine,Manchuria and post-war developments that I believe to be insufficiently presented.

    Soviet fvck ups vs the Germans are easily explained.The 10 abn corps were wiped out in '41.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  12. #72
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    The 10 abn corps were wiped out in '41.
    Because they were being used as Infantry?
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  13. #73
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Yep.

    Like the US Abn was used as infantry in a crisis.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Toby

    I believe this is the document which BF was referring to:
    Getting soft in your old age Buck. I like to make the new folk work for it just a bit. ;-)


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  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Because they were being used as Infantry?
    No becuase they lacked the support that other infantry formations had. They lacked almost all heavy weapons larger than small mortars and had no organic transport on the ground. The Corps command had 18 76mm guns and 18 82mm mortars, each brigade had 6 guns and 6 mortars for a total strength of 36 guns and 36 mortars to support 10,000 men. In contrast a rifle division had 188 mortars and 44 guns, some of 122mm. Also factor in the much reduced supplies of ammunition an airborne unit had in comparison to a rifle division. Artillery ammo is heavy when it has to be transported by 1930's technology radial engined aircraft, it is also in great demand when the bleeding starts and quickly depleted.

    Western units suffered the same problems (Arnhem). The shining light of paratroopers resisting heavy units is often cited as Bastogne, but at Bastogne the 101st was backed by an armed divisions CCB. This added a lot of fire power including a full battalion of 105mm guns

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