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The last Luftwaffe dogfights....


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BravelyRanAway #1 Posted 27 February 2020 - 11:00 PM

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I found this quite interesting.....

Hard to believe the Canadians scrapped that Me 262!


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Frateras #2 Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:58 AM

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They fought it too the end. For me, there is too much political background to enjoy some aspects of German warfare in WWII. I probably would habe surrendered as soon as possible in the west and try to survive somehow at the eastern front.

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apartclassic #3 Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:06 PM

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View PostFrateras, on 28 February 2020 - 09:58 AM, said:

They fought it too the end. For me, there is too much political background to enjoy some aspects of German warfare in WWII. I probably would habe surrendered as soon as possible in the west and try to survive somehow at the eastern front.

 

That was actually the idea for a long time, especially when Hitler was concerned. There is a lot to suggest that he himself counted on a British surrender - or at least a long truce - during the German invasion of France; the two most noteworthy points are Dunkerque and Hess' inexplicable landing in the UK (with some suggesting it was an indirect Hitler's attempt at entering serious negotiations with Churchill, but most probably it was Hess' individual initiative). As the war progressed through a stalemate in the West - Seelowe being put off - and then the invasion of Russia, both Hitler's and his General Staff's worse fears came true, as Germany was fighting a two front war again. The idea of making peace in the West, so that East could be dealt with, was evolving too. At first it was quite understandably a desire of forcing a surrender or at least a truce on the UK from the position of force, but as the fates changed it has gradually shifted towards a truce, an alliance against Russia, or even the last hope of surrendering in France (preventing the Allies from entering the Vaterland). At one point the idea looked probable from Germany's perspective, but one has to keep in mind the Casablanca Conference in 1943, where it was decided that the only acceptable solution for the Allies is the unconditional surrender of Germany. Hitler tended to ignore that fact, hoping well into 1945 that the Allies can be 'persuaded' to cease hostilities - in which case Wermacht could have been moved en masse to the Eastern Front and stop the Red Army's advance (which, given the tenacity with which German army performed the fighting retreat since 1944, didn't seem unreasonable). The Ardennes offensive in December 1944 had the idea of stunning the Allies into some sort of peace talks somewhere at its roots, if the attack proved somehow successful. Again, the Germans ignored Casablanca in an example of typical wishful thinking.

Interestingly enough for Stalin - who deeply distrusted the Allies, with Churchill being viewed as actively conspiring against Russia - the fear of peace in the West was real up till the V-day. Stalin ignored Casablanca just like Hitler did, but for a different reason - Uncle Joe simply suspected that for one reason or another the Allies will not stay true to the announced intentions, and will conclude a separate peace treaty with the Reich. He was even wondering aloud about the possibility that the Germans would simply open the Western front and transfer all the remaining forces to the East, thus making it easy for the Allies to enter and occupy most if not all of Germany, just to prevent the Russians from crossing the border. The race to Berlin was real, and all Soviet plans in 1945 had the chance of Germany surrendering to the Americans taken into consideration.

The most curious thing about those last days' fights was that the German pilots could have met literally anyone in the air over Czechoslovakia or Hungary. It could have been both the Russians, and the Allies airforce - which was quite multinational at that point. There is this example of encountering Yaks first, then a Mustang squadron, by the same pilot in the same sortie - quite astounding. Thanks for the vid, interesting stuff.


Edited by apartclassic, 28 February 2020 - 04:10 PM.

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Frateras #4 Posted 29 February 2020 - 06:29 AM

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Hitler not just was a sick, criminal  ***hole, but he never received the education to rule more than himself. Beside the enormous criminal energy which led to the murder of millions of people he became a victim of his own propaganda and underestimated Russia enormously. 1941 the dying of the German Landser starts and it did not end until that last day of war. "Gentleman", Rommel once said, "you have fought like lions but been led by donkeys." It think that describes the situation on the battle fields. Hitler was the worst donkey of all. And I'm glad that Germany has lost that war, so I can pont this out here  without any fear. The brother of my granny was nearly killed for a joke about that ***.

Edited by Frateras, 29 February 2020 - 06:32 AM.

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GonerNL #5 Posted 02 March 2020 - 11:19 AM

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View Postapartclassic, on 28 February 2020 - 05:06 PM, said:

Uncle Joe simply suspected that for one reason or another the Allies will not stay true to the announced intentions, and will conclude a separate peace treaty with the Reich. 

 

Well, it takes one to know one ... he actually had a deal with Adolf until the Summer of '41. If Russia had joined the Allies in '39 (instead of attacking Poland together with Germany) the Blitzkrieg in the West would not have been over so quick.

Could it be that he suspected the Western allies to do the same as payback ?



apartclassic #6 Posted 03 March 2020 - 08:15 PM

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View PostGonerNL, on 02 March 2020 - 11:19 AM, said:

 

Well, it takes one to know one ... he actually had a deal with Adolf until the Summer of '41. If Russia had joined the Allies in '39 (instead of attacking Poland together with Germany) the Blitzkrieg in the West would not have been over so quick.

Could it be that he suspected the Western allies to do the same as payback ?

 

Not really, he didn't expect an active aggression by the Allies - on the contrary, his own play in 1945 was extremely aggressive. On one hand he did know about Churchill's plans of 'Unthinkable' (but keep in mind it was being discussed only after May 1945, though Stalin suspected the Allies of stockpiling ex-Wehrmacht weaponry in case of Soviet aggression, with plans to quickly reestablish some German forces to aid the Allies fight the Soviets), but discounted that - the reality being he already had control of almost half of Europe and had over 400 combat-ready and veteran divisions ready to strike West - which was seriously planned. Stavka (the Soviet Armed Forces HQ) received orders to plan an invasion of France, Benelux and Denmark early in 1945; Stalin had pending orders to give an attack order for the Soviet airforce against Allied units, were they to be spotted East of Elbe River (in other words Soviet units would open fire on Western troops, if the latter crossed that river); he already discounted previous deals with Roosevelt and attempted to take control of Austria, parts of Italy (through Tito and Yugoslavian partisan/guerilla units) and threatened the deal made with Churchill over Greece (which was supposed to be left in the Allied influence zone, but ended up in a civil war between communist and loyalist/royalist guerillas). Indeed he was thinking in terms of 'realpolitik' and expected ANY treaty to be broken on convenience, just like the treaties he was signing, but he was aware of three major factors. The one predating German surrender was Stalin's awareness of immense Soviet advantage in armed forces - he simply knew that the Soviet Army was totally capable of crushing any American/British/French forces in Europe; he was making a counterplay deceiving the Allies as to Soviet military goals in April and May 1945 (up to the point that when Zhukov and Koniev were already surrounding Berlin and SHAEF asked about the dislocation of Soviet troops West of Odra/Oder River, Stavka - on direct orders from Stalin - replied that it was a 'reconnaissance in force' and the major Soviet thrust is directed South toward Austria). The other factor was the news of the success of Manhattan Project - and he knew about it immediately (so when Harry Truman tried to surprise Stalin with the news, Stalin didn't even blink). Modern consensus is that this fact alone prevented Stalin from ordering the already planned offensive West towards Atlantic, as the A-bomb has already been used to threaten Stalin (Churchill was directly speaking about using atom bombs on Moscow and other major Soviet cities). There is also the fact that - surprisingly - Stalin was deeply shocked by Churchill's defeat in the elections, because in Soviet Russia something like that was unthinkable (keep in mind Stalin remained in power despite the catastrophic results of Barbarossa); consequently he realised that the western democracies are fundamentally at a disadvantage in case of any direct confrontation with Russia. For him it was only a question of signing some orders, for the Allies it was a question of political debate, considering public opinion, thinking of future elections etc etc.

Regardless of any other considerations, Stalin's political moves in the powerplay with the Allies were in general mostly successful, and quite possibly he felt secure about what he managed to accomplish and/or conquer. He did consider 'treachery' by the Allies, but he was prepared to react and turn the tables.

 

EDIT: sorry for long and rather off-topic walls of text in my last posts, but I do enjoy this subject. I do not intend to criticize or offend anyone, but the amount and quality of facts that remain mostly unknown to average people is staggerring; once you start digging into facts, a lot of WW2 start to look quite different than what we are used to.


Edited by apartclassic, 03 March 2020 - 08:16 PM.

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zen_monk_ #7 Posted 03 March 2020 - 11:54 PM

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Thank you for this :honoring:

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jakub_czyli_ja #8 Posted 04 March 2020 - 07:20 AM

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View PostFrateras, on 28 February 2020 - 09:58 AM, said:

They fought it too the end. For me, there is too much political background to enjoy some aspects of German warfare in WWII. I probably would habe surrendered as soon as possible in the west and try to survive somehow at the eastern front.

 

Not really to the end, not on West.

 

Surrender on the west to fight on the East was not an option, because such deal was done between western allies and Soviets, and the border between them had been decided in Jalta, some time before units meetup.

 

Patton troops were held to not go too much East, into Soviet zone.

In the opposite direction there were multiple cases of units going west to surrender Allies instead of Soviets.



RoyalFlyingCorps #9 Posted 05 March 2020 - 04:35 PM

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I think Stalin was likely disposed to trust nobody at the end of the war having been completely caught out by Hitler’s duplicity in launching Barbarossa.  One wonders what would have happened if, as reportedly he expected, Stalin had been removed from power and executed then.  Would the resulting confusion been enough to allow the Nazis to go a little further into Russia and perhaps capture Moscow and Stalingrad?  One assumes the outcome would eventually have been the same, that is, the Russians would have still ground the Nazis down, but it would have taken much longer and perhaps the Western Allies would have seized Berlin and much of Eastern Europe.

apartclassic #10 Posted 07 March 2020 - 07:25 PM

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View PostRoyalFlyingCorps, on 05 March 2020 - 04:35 PM, said:

I think Stalin was likely disposed to trust nobody at the end of the war having been completely caught out by Hitler’s duplicity in launching Barbarossa.  One wonders what would have happened if, as reportedly he expected, Stalin had been removed from power and executed then.  Would the resulting confusion been enough to allow the Nazis to go a little further into Russia and perhaps capture Moscow and Stalingrad?  One assumes the outcome would eventually have been the same, that is, the Russians would have still ground the Nazis down, but it would have taken much longer and perhaps the Western Allies would have seized Berlin and much of Eastern Europe.

 

There was that myth that Hitler & Co. believed, namely capturing Moscow equals defeating the Soviets. They expected - with history giving plenty of examples - that capturing the capital city of the enemy forces immediate general surrender. However there's plenty to indicate it wouldn't be the case in 1941. Whatever industry wasn't overrun yet by Wehrmacht was already evacuated behind the Ural mountains, way out of reach of Luftwaffe; most of the beaurocratic machine was also evacuated, with only a handful of top figures still present in Moscow (obviously because of Stalin - but the trains were waiting for them); except for the push towards Moscow most of the fighting was already stalemating for the winter, with the German troops being exhausted, their supply lines stretched hopelessly, weather turning etc etc; last but not least, thanks to the political play with Imperial Japan, and thanks to Soviet superior intelligence about Japan, Stavka was free to relocate the fresh and well-equipped Siberian divisions from the Far East straight to suburbs of Moscow (naturally following a great parade on the Red Square), thus facilitating a counteroffensive. It can not be stated as a fact, but most probably the loss of Moscow could have had results quite opposite from German expectations. It could have consolidated Soviet will to fight and further unified the nation (funny FotD - one of the things Stalin did to rally the people was abandoning the anti-clerical and anti-religious policy for the duration, and as far as I'm aware the Russian Church was allowed to operate almost freely for quite some time). It would also give the Russians an immediate military goal, and instead of Stalingrad there could have happened a siege/recapture of Moscow, with similarly disastrous effects for Wehrmacht.

After the German invasion Stalin virtually dissapeared from public life for a quite some time, and the state functioned mainly on inertia. When he came back however, his grasp on every aspect of life in Russia was even stronger. The initial successes of Wehrmacht did happen with zero interference from Stalin, and it would probably would've been exactly the same even if he was removed in June or July 1941. By the time Wehrmacht reached the suburbs of Moscow though, there was not a slightest chance of Stalin allowing anyone to remove him - he was already too strong. He did expect the Politbiuro to have him executed, but as it turned out, there simply was no alternative for Stalin. There was nobody else who could've given orders, nobody else with the power to sign the papers, and - probably most importantly - nobody else whom the people would rally around. Stalin was indispensable. Even though Zhukov or certain other generals had a lot better (and realistic) grasp of things military, Stalin was an unquestioned master of the political power play. Removing Stalin would've created a void that probably would not have been filled before the Germans overran even more territory, but possesion of teritory never did give anyone a victory in Russia (Napoleon comes to mind, doesn't he); possibly though with Stalin gone AND Moscow lost, there would have been no more will to fight left. The catch is, as I mentioned, that Stalin could not have been touched, and the Politbiuro knew that.

 

Thanks for a chance for some more history talk :)


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jakub_czyli_ja #11 Posted 08 March 2020 - 11:25 PM

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View Postapartclassic, on 07 March 2020 - 07:25 PM, said:

Stavka was free to relocate the fresh and well-equipped Siberian divisions from the Far East straight to suburbs of Moscow (naturally following a great parade on the Red Square), thus facilitating a counteroffensive.

Siberian divisions are a myth: http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/the-siberian-divisions-and-the-battle-for-moscow-in-1941-42/

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It would also give the Russians an immediate military goal, and instead of Stalingrad there could have happened a siege/recapture of Moscow, with similarly disastrous effects for Wehrmacht.

Have you heard about Operation Mars?

At the same time when Soviets encircled Stalingrad, they attempted to push Germans out from Moscow. Backed up by communication lines and big city. Result, tldr: no success, big losses.

Rzhev meat grinder may also work in google.

So any claim that Soviets could be able to recapture Moscow seems like a wishful thinking.

On the other side - they would lose important city with communication lines (http://users.tpg.com.au/adslbam9//Railways1941.png - not much railways going around Moscow), so any operation would be much harder.

 

Nazis could win over Soviet Union if they would state that they don't fight Russians, but communists.

ROA could be built much earlier, from hundreds of thousands hungry and terrorized soviet PoWs. Such thing didn't happen, Nazis were total imbeciles in terms of PR, and instead of such obvious move, they went mass murders way.

 

On the other side - Soviet Army wouldn't do much against western allies in 1945, even without A bombs.

Attack against Allies would mean few things - one is getting back German army up (you know about Operation Unthinkable, so you should know about German Panzer Korps kept by Britons), as well as immediate cut off of Lend Lease - food, clothes, trucks, gasoline, materials like explosives or aluminum.

So after losing initial momentum and burning 1st line stockpiled supplies, Soviet war machine would stop due to logistic failure exactly as German in Soviet Union few years ago, because Allied aerial superiority would destroy everything moving within range - Normandy^2, because they wouldn't have to worry much about infrastructure to support their advance in the future.

Things like B29s over Soviet Union would be a cherry on the top.

 

A-Bomb was a nice excuse, and attack on Japan 3 months after end of hostilities in Europe was good enough to Stalin to not do anything stupid.

 

 



apartclassic #12 Posted 09 March 2020 - 07:25 AM

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View Postjakub_czyli_ja, on 08 March 2020 - 11:25 PM, said:

Siberian divisions are a myth: http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/the-siberian-divisions-and-the-battle-for-moscow-in-1941-42/

Have you heard about Operation Mars?

At the same time when Soviets encircled Stalingrad, they attempted to push Germans out from Moscow. Backed up by communication lines and big city. Result, tldr: no success, big losses.

Rzhev meat grinder may also work in google.

So any claim that Soviets could be able to recapture Moscow seems like a wishful thinking.

On the other side - they would lose important city with communication lines (http://users.tpg.com.au/adslbam9//Railways1941.png - not much railways going around Moscow), so any operation would be much harder.

 

Nazis could win over Soviet Union if they would state that they don't fight Russians, but communists.

ROA could be built much earlier, from hundreds of thousands hungry and terrorized soviet PoWs. Such thing didn't happen, Nazis were total imbeciles in terms of PR, and instead of such obvious move, they went mass murders way.

 

On the other side - Soviet Army wouldn't do much against western allies in 1945, even without A bombs.

Attack against Allies would mean few things - one is getting back German army up (you know about Operation Unthinkable, so you should know about German Panzer Korps kept by Britons), as well as immediate cut off of Lend Lease - food, clothes, trucks, gasoline, materials like explosives or aluminum.

So after losing initial momentum and burning 1st line stockpiled supplies, Soviet war machine would stop due to logistic failure exactly as German in Soviet Union few years ago, because Allied aerial superiority would destroy everything moving within range - Normandy^2, because they wouldn't have to worry much about infrastructure to support their advance in the future.

Things like B29s over Soviet Union would be a cherry on the top.

 

A-Bomb was a nice excuse, and attack on Japan 3 months after end of hostilities in Europe was good enough to Stalin to not do anything stupid.

 

 

 

Nit-picking, aren't we? As much as it is true that only a few divisions transferred to Moscow for the Soviet counteroffensive were 'truly' Siberian, there was about 18 fresh divisions deployed, reinforcing the already engaged units. They were fully combat-effective, equipped for winter conditions, had higher saturation of artillery and mechanised/motorized units, etc etc. The divisions participating in the December operation were reorganised into smaller and more flexible armies, airforce was concentrated around Moscow, and - last but not least - the command passed to Zhukov and other, younger commanders, less burdened with pre-war tactics and strategy. Sorge's intel allowed Stavka (or rather Stalin personally, as he kept the troops relocation secret even from some high ranking officers) to reverse the ballance of power on Moscow front. All of the above, coupled with German war fatigue and horrible supply situation, and harsh winter conditions on top of it, gives very strong reasons to believe Wehrmacht would not have been able to capture Moscow, and even if it did, the success would be short-term and with no permanent consequences (except for possibly a bit longer city battle). The mobilization and redeployment of Soviet troops in 1941 was one of, if not the, biggest such events in history - despite the relocation of units from Far East, the Soviet-Japan border saw almost double the number of Soviet units in 1942; the Moscow counteroffensive was possible in large part because of the reinforcement coming from Far East theatre, combined with reinforcement of those already fighting on Western Front. A 'myth' of Siberian divisions is just splitting hairs, and there is not a slightest doubt about the transfer of divisions from other areas of USSR to Moscow area.

 

Operation Mars was a secondary, diversionary attack. It was not meant to succeed on its own, it was meant to support the main effort in and around Stalingrad, i.e. Operation Uranus. When it all started in November 1942, Moscow was far from the front already. There was no 'pushing Germans out of Moscow' in 1942 - all there was to it was focused on preventing the Germans from transferring any units from the central front to Stalingrad. Yes, Soviet losses were collossal, but in general the offensive succeeded and Paulus received almost zero reinforcements from farther up North.

 

Soviet supply and equipment situation in 1945 was radically different than in 1941 or 1942. By then Lend-Lease was just an addition, and Soviet army was almost entirely selfsustainable. Before those '1st line stockpiled supplies' would've been burned, Soviets would definitely achieve breakthrough in several areas against Allied forces - because of the immense numerical advantage. They were capable of reaching the Atlantic before any successful resistance could've been mounted. Most probably the losses would've been horrible, but the Allies would have no chance to re-invade in the West for a long time. Allied strategic bombers were ineffective against mobile forces, and B-29's would achieve nothing significant - most of Russia was out of their range, and bombing the same cities again sort of doesn't make sense. As I have written above, it was the A-bomb that acted as main deterrent for Stalin, not military forces comparison (because in terms of conventional forces Soviets had more than enough to steamroll through Germany, Benelux, Denmark and France), coupled with several political and social reasons (e.g. war fatigue, the will to go home finally, reluctance to fight 'allies' for both sides, etc etc). You seem to be underestimating Stalin and Soviet war machine (but the same can be said about Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, de Gaulle and many others).


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levlos #13 Posted 09 March 2020 - 09:27 AM

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While it is indeed pleasing to the mind to think that the lack of lend-lease US trucks would paralyze the soviet army in the second half of 1945-1946, you have to remain in awe about the Stavka strategic potency in the last phases of the war. The planning, the execution, the level of operational maskirovka was unbelievable. Remember that even if the Soviet army was defeated many times over and the newer recruits came from places where nobody had seen a bloody lightbulb, this was still an army that had fought for 4 endless years on the ground. The officer corps, initially a spineless and/or incompentant entity, had become hardened and lean. At the end of 1941, only brigades could be barely managed, but in 1945, whole complex maneuvers with army corps would be done in a very professional way. See how they broke through the defensive German lines in days or even hours in the last campaigns. See how the allies struggled in France or in Germany, even after the destruction of the Falaise pocket. See how miserable they were in the Huertgen Forest and around the Rhine. I would hardly trust Monty or Patton to be able to overwhelm a Konev or Zhukov. They were more concerned with PR and their ego than operational effectiveness -see how General Clarke disregarded direct orders to enter Rome and cover himself in glory, and let the German forces nicely retreat to the next defensive line.

 

True, the Soviets would have logistic problems. The allies had them too, there was never enough fuel or APCR ammo to go around. True, the soviets were at the end of their tether from a manpower point of view. Still, the average age of the US recruit in early '44 was slightly more than 18 (and they do all that stupid talk about hitler-jugend), and still going down. The UK manpower was so exhausted it was risible, and the poor Canadians, Australians, Scotts and other odds-and-sods did not have anything more to give. Questions of morale would apply: the Soviets could barely afford a morale: how would the allies deal with a Soviet race to the Atlantic ?

 

You will say that the Soviets suffered greatly in the two-pronged crazy advance towards Berlin, loosing 10 to 1. Yes, because they were pushed to the brink of the very collapse by Stalin: it was the end-game, winner-take-it all. That does not mean that the Soviet forces would suffer the same loss ratio against the allies in a late 1945-46 campaign, if this was not worth it. It would be had for a handful of P-26 Pershings to deal with thousands of IS-2/3, T-34 85 or T-54 tanks, and a few spirited yet brittle US infantry divisions to stop the bulk of Guard Infantry Corps. The latest Yak-3, Yak-9U, and La-9 would have taken serious losses against the allies, but let's not forget that the Germans always had local air superiority in their operations until 1944. This did not lead to victory, as you are well aware.

 

To wrap this up (ApartClassic, you are not the only one who likes the subject hehe), my humble opinion is that a Soviet race to the Channel would have seen a real chance of success. I am pretty glad it did not happen, and that we are now in the claws of a completely failed super-capitalistic oligarchic fascistic system that leads to a devolution to the darker days of the early industrial revolution in England. Or not.

 

PS: the German army in mid 1945 was motley collection of pre-teens, senile citizens, lost Georgians, poor Latvians, some SS and a handful of veteran officers commanding broken men escaping flying-court martials that executed them for barely surviving. They rode in ghost formations and panzer divisions numbering about 2 to 10 running tanks each. The steel of the armor was so brittle (because of the lack of certain ingredients needed in the alloys) it would crack with ease under any impact. Production was almost exclusively made by slave labor in tunnels (hardly a thing the allies would keep running, would they?). To think that the German war machine could contribute ANYTHING in late 1945 is laughably absurd.


Edited by levlos, 09 March 2020 - 09:34 AM.

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GonerNL #14 Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:20 AM

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View Postlevlos, on 09 March 2020 - 10:27 AM, said:

newer recruits came from places where nobody had seen a bloody lightbulb, 

 

My dad actually told stories about that.

He was doing forced labour in Germany after being picked during a razzia in Rotterdam. During a transport in between factories, he jumped train and ended up with the US Army.

When they found out he spoke German and English, they made him their interpreter. He actually translated for German officers who were interrogated.

Anyway, I think it was in Vienna where he witnessed Russian soldiers carefully packing light bulbs, water taps etc to take home, where of course there was no electricity or running water.

One day a Russian came running down the stairs to see where his potatoes were, that he had flushed while washing them in the toilet :facepalm:

 

 



apartclassic #15 Posted 09 March 2020 - 11:43 AM

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View PostGonerNL, on 09 March 2020 - 10:20 AM, said:

 

My dad actually told stories about that.

He was doing forced labour in Germany after being picked during a razzia in Rotterdam. During a transport in between factories, he jumped train and ended up with the US Army.

When they found out he spoke German and English, they made him their interpreter. He actually translated for German officers who were interrogated.

Anyway, I think it was in Vienna where he witnessed Russian soldiers carefully packing light bulbs, water taps etc to take home, where of course there was no electricity or running water.

One day a Russian came running down the stairs to see where his potatoes were, that he had flushed while washing them in the toilet :facepalm:

 

 

 

In a manner of speaking, Soviet front advanced in three waves. First came the combat units, which were generally disciplined, hardened, experienced and ever focused on driving forward (they had to, because anyone not adhering to those standards was already dead or soon to die). Then came the support units and the NKVD forces - who generally either tried to catch up with the advancing units, or had their own job to do quick (as in arresting and/or mopping up any pockets of resistance). Only then came the infamous third wave, who was often described as Asiatic horde. It was the third wave that did most of the pilfering and commited most atrocities (because what was easy to get was already gone, and they opressed the locals to reveal all the hidden goodies). As far as I know, the third wave was also usually non-Russian soldiers, coming from deep South or East of USSR - the folks that, as you say, basically came out of swamps, forests and mountains and were seeing civilization for the very first time.

It is said that when this third wave reached my city, which used to be one of the most important cities of Germany, they stole everything not nailed down and destroyed what could not have been pried loose. My fav story is of them hoarding toilet paper. They still used newspapers or books for sanitary needs - when and if they used any - but toilet paper was thought to be a special kind of cigar skins, and makhorka (or 'shag') supposedly tasted better when rolled in toilet paper. As they say, 'tru story bro'.


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RoyalFlyingCorps #16 Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:04 PM

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One more thing to note is that, not only did the Soviets have colossal manpower, they also weren’t squeamish about expending it, unlike the democratic allies with a potential hostile public to keep happy.  Unlike Hitler, Stalin knew about overreaching himself.  I suspect that, absent the atomic bomb, at the end of the war he would have more or less honoured his agreements with the other Allies for a little while, then looked to exploit their weaknesses, if any, during the last years of the 40s.  With the atomic bomb in the possession of the US, the priority was to remove this terrifying technological advantage.

It’s quite fortunate Stalin died in 1953.  A man prepared to sacrifice millions of troops might just have thought a vaporised Russian city or two a price worth paying for defeating the West.

Edited by RoyalFlyingCorps, 09 March 2020 - 03:04 PM.


GonerNL #17 Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:35 PM

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View PostRoyalFlyingCorps, on 05 March 2020 - 05:35 PM, said:

I think Stalin was likely disposed to trust nobody at the end of the war 

 

He already trusted nobody before the war !

See : Great Purge ...



RoyalFlyingCorps #18 Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:40 PM

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Well, call it something else, but Stalin was certainly completed wrong-footed by Hitler’s invasion of the USSR.  Perhaps he thought Hitler was like him, more considered, more careful, less fanatical.  I’m quite sure he resolved never to make that mistake again.

jakub_czyli_ja #19 Posted 09 March 2020 - 08:41 PM

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View Postapartclassic, on 09 March 2020 - 07:25 AM, said:

Nit-picking, aren't we? As much as it is true that only a few divisions transferred to Moscow for the Soviet counteroffensive were 'truly' Siberian, there was about 18 fresh divisions deployed, reinforcing the already engaged units. They were fully combat-effective, equipped for winter conditions, had higher saturation of artillery and mechanised/motorized units, etc etc. The divisions participating in the December operation were reorganised into smaller and more flexible armies, airforce was concentrated around Moscow, and - last but not least - the command passed to Zhukov and other, younger commanders, less burdened with pre-war tactics and strategy. Sorge's intel allowed Stavka (or rather Stalin personally, as he kept the troops relocation secret even from some high ranking officers) to reverse the ballance of power on Moscow front. All of the above, coupled with German war fatigue and horrible supply situation, and harsh winter conditions on top of it, gives very strong reasons to believe Wehrmacht would not have been able to capture Moscow, and even if it did, the success would be short-term and with no permanent consequences (except for possibly a bit longer city battle). The mobilization and redeployment of Soviet troops in 1941 was one of, if not the, biggest such events in history - despite the relocation of units from Far East, the Soviet-Japan border saw almost double the number of Soviet units in 1942; the Moscow counteroffensive was possible in large part because of the reinforcement coming from Far East theatre, combined with reinforcement of those already fighting on Western Front. A 'myth' of Siberian divisions is just splitting hairs, and there is not a slightest doubt about the transfer of divisions from other areas of USSR to Moscow area.

Well, myths and propaganda need to be decomposited by detail.

Higher saturation of artillery and mechanized units than what? World biggest mechanized corpses from 1940/1941?

 

Pre-war tactics and strategy was deep operation doctrine. It was introduced in 1936 and was applied through whole war, and since Red Army was focused on offensive, Soviets attempted offensives over and over again, learning how to defend on their own.

 

It's undisputable that Germans weren't able to capture Moscow.

On the other side, in view of Operation Mars, Soviets wouldn't be able to recapture Moscow once lost - they would have almost as bad infrastructure as Germans, and Germans would have other German units around, with everything, because Moscow would be the Schwerpunkt of the whole Eastern Front.

If there would be a puppet Russia government established, probably war would end up with a massive riot an desertions from Red Army units.

Block Quote

Operation Mars was a secondary, diversionary attack. It was not meant to succeed on its own, it was meant to support the main effort in and around Stalingrad, i.e. Operation Uranus. When it all started in November 1942, Moscow was far from the front already. There was no 'pushing Germans out of Moscow' in 1942 - all there was to it was focused on preventing the Germans from transferring any units from the central front to Stalingrad. Yes, Soviet losses were collossal, but in general the offensive succeeded and Paulus received almost zero reinforcements from farther up North.

Checking numbers:

Operation Uranus: ~1150 troops, ~900 tanks.

Operation Mars  ~700k troops, ~1700 tanks.

Indeed, secondary, diversionary attack. Had it succeed, it would be called a main offensive pushing Nazis out from the heart of motherland. Only it didn't.

Block Quote

Soviet supply and equipment situation in 1945 was radically different than in 1941 or 1942. By then Lend-Lease was just an addition, and Soviet army was almost entirely selfsustainable. Before those '1st line stockpiled supplies' would've been burned, Soviets would definitely achieve breakthrough in several areas against Allied forces - because of the immense numerical advantage. They were capable of reaching the Atlantic before any successful resistance could've been mounted. Most probably the losses would've been horrible, but the Allies would have no chance to re-invade in the West for a long time. Allied strategic bombers were ineffective against mobile forces, and B-29's would achieve nothing significant - most of Russia was out of their range, and bombing the same cities again sort of doesn't make sense. As I have written above, it was the A-bomb that acted as main deterrent for Stalin, not military forces comparison (because in terms of conventional forces Soviets had more than enough to steamroll through Germany, Benelux, Denmark and France), coupled with several political and social reasons (e.g. war fatigue, the will to go home finally, reluctance to fight 'allies' for both sides, etc etc). You seem to be underestimating Stalin and Soviet war machine (but the same can be said about Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, de Gaulle and many others).

Like Germans were able to go through Ardennes and reach Antewerp?

Even successful attack against Allies and punching through their lines would mean that Soviet army would immediately fall under aerial offensive.

Soviet air force wouldn't do much - even not top dogfighters like P-38s were able to fight on equal terms with top Soviet fighters - Yaks-3 over Nis, so much more capable P-51s, late Spitfires, Tempests would be enough. Meteors and P-80s as a surprise. Allies would quickly gain total aerial superiority, as it happened against Luftwaffe. No local aerial superiority would be possible, as western front would be much shorter and much more saturated with allied planes than eastern front with Luftwaffe.

Of course Germans would be more than willing to team up with Allies, and wast coastline would make possible commando raids.

 

Ardennes offensive was planned for bad weather, to prevent allied aerial support. Attack during summer wouldn't have such comfort, so soft targets like supply trucks, and still standing infrastructure would become immediately targets, forcing Soviets to move at nights, like Germans in France in 1944. That would slow down Soviet advances within days since the start of operation. Then supply shortages would become even more problematic, as they would have to go through incompatible (different railroads) through more and more deteriorating infrastructure, and through hostile countries saturated with guerillas, generously supplied by Allies, that would tie more and more Soviet forces, using more and more deteriorating supply forces.

 

Soviets might reach Rhine. Clearing its right bank may be disputable, crossing - even more. Then lack of supplies would kick for good, as it kicked Germans in Soviet Union.



apartclassic #20 Posted 10 March 2020 - 12:13 AM

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View Postjakub_czyli_ja, on 09 March 2020 - 08:41 PM, said:

Checking numbers:

Operation Uranus: ~1150 troops, ~900 tanks.

Operation Mars  ~700k troops, ~1700 tanks.

Indeed, secondary, diversionary attack. Had it succeed, it would be called a main offensive pushing Nazis out from the heart of motherland. Only it didn't.

 

So let's decompose the myths. Firstly, the most readily available source for a quote, namely Wiki:

 

British historian Antony Beevor disagrees with Glantz, citing that Zhukov spent less time planning Mars than Uranus, and that the Soviet artillery shell allocation was much smaller for Mars than for Uranus. Operation Uranus received "2.5 to 4.5 ammunition loads [per gun]... compared with less than one in Operation Mars."[12] In addition, the Russian historian Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareyev, citing Stavka orders, asserted that the goal of Operation Mars was to tie down German forces in the Rzhev sector, preventing them from reinforcing Stalingrad. Thus, it ensured the success of Uranus and the Soviet offensives in the south.[13]

According to Pavel Anatoliyevich Sudoplatov, Soviet intelligence intentionally leaked the plan of Operation Mars to the Germans as part of a series of deceptive "radio games" named "Monastery" (Монастырь). One of the "Monastery" operations was intended to lure the German attention to the Rzhev sector. During this intelligence operation, the Soviet double agent Aleksandr Petrovich Demyanov (code name "Heine") sent information about a large-scale Soviet offensive in the Rzhev area in order to make the Germans believe that the next main blow by the Red Army would occur in the central sector. Aside from the Soviet intelligence agency, only Joseph Stalin knew about this "Monastery" operation.[14][15][16][17]

Zhukov concluded the main reason the Soviet forces were unable to destroy the Rzhev salient "was underestimation of the rugged terrain", and "the shortage of supporting armour, artillery, mortars, and aircraft to pierce the enemy defences." He also did not expect the Germans to bring "up considerable reinforcements to this sector from other Fronts."

 

Secondly, Zhukov's involvement in Mars versus Uranus. Let me quote Beevor directly on this one (compressing a bit). Zhukov was personally responsible for supervising Operation Mars, yet he dedicated most of his efforts and time to Operation Uranus. The first 19 days if his command were spent in Moscow, then it was eight and a half days in Kalinin sector (i.e. the Mars sector), abd then 52 days around Stalingrad. It could be argued that Soviets attempted to rewrite the history (ekhm ekhm...) after the horrible beating they received during Mars, but on the other hand there is strong evidence supporting the thesis of Mars being subordinate to Uranus. Apart from the immediate result of pinning down the German 9th Army, it had a long-term effect up till Kursk (so mid-1943). Both when it comes to positioning and force disposition, 9th Army was effectively crippled - and its failure to meet the objectives had a significant result on all the Eastern Front.

Tactically Mars was a bloodbath for the Soviets, like you claim. Strategically however Soviet Army benefited from it immensely. Can't even call it a 'pyrrhic victory' in the classical sense - as it was nowhere near a victorious operation - but once one accepts the basic premise of Stalin being able to sacrifice huge numbers for a greater propaganda goal (victory in Stalingrad, after all, with an unexpected bonus of capturing a German field marshal), the puzzles fall into place. It wouldn't be the first example of such approach by Stalin, and certainly happened many times again before 1945.

 

Back to Moscow in 1941 - commanders first. It was the first time that 'young' commanders like Zhukov, Koniev, Rokossovski or Lelushenko were put in the lead. No need to say they performed a lot better than the old cadre, responsible for the collapse during the fighting on the border. Zhukov himself has just started to employ his experience from fighting with the Japanese units, and it was modern mobile warfare, with lessons learned also from Germans. New commanders had a first chance to move from the defensive towards offensive actions, and they did it very well. They also took advantage of Russia's natural conditions (wide tracks of Soviet tanks being one of many examples), and combined many factors into a very efficient fighting force.

Force composition in December 1941 was decidedly different than what they had in June. Gone were the huge and useless corps, instead you had small field armies (typically of only 4 divisions) that were significantly more flexible and cohesive. Some of the divisions fighting on the front were down to roughly 2 thousand soldiers, whereas the new units had full rosters (so roughly 6 thousand soldiers when it came to rifle divisions). Most of the heavy equipment used at that start of hostilities - tanks and artillery - was already lost; the new divisions were formed with newer types, and were already transitioning to the motorised assets thanks to Lend-Lease. I already wrote that the second half of 1941 saw an incredible mobilization effort in Russia, and around Moscow it bear fruit immediately. When you compare the state of German and Russian forces there, Wehrmacht was in nowhere near as good a shape as the Soviet Army, because of many factors. The army that was defeated in June and July 1941 was gone forever, and in place was what has become a model for the rest of the war. Tactically Wehrmacht always had the edge - on Western Front as well - but strategically the balance was already shifting.

 

As for any alternate history, we're just groping in the dark. I do believe you underestimate the Soviet Army of May 1945, while at the same time exaggerating the Allied air power. Let me say this again - in 1945 Stalin had around 400 divisions on the front; can you compare that to US/UK/etc combined forces? Do you realize the US - who were arguably the backbone of Allied forces in Europe - were already shifting to Pacific, and were already refusing any bigger commitment in what was a war already won for them? Last but not least, Soviets would probably only need to break the frontline with Allies - after that it would be a race to the coast, as the Allied would not have enough ready units to quickly transfer to the continent (as it was already observed, everyone but the Americans were already using their last humans reserves). Reinstated Wehrmacht as serious opposition? Impossible on anything but tactical level. Allied planes being far superior to Soviet planes? Kozhedub (yeah, THE Kozhedub) shot down two P-51's in single sortie, and several B-17's on a later patrol; most probably he was flying La-5 on both occasions (and he wasn't the only one). Stalin wasn't planning a defence against Allied attack, he was planning an attack, and there are a lot of factors strongly suggesting such an attack would have been successful (even if extremely costly for the Russians - but hey, had they succeeded, they would have controlled almost all of Europe, bar southern flank and Scandinavia; by all means sounds like a fair prize).


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