How are books by David Glantz

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Qvist
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 30 Jan 2009 16:09

Thanks Art. But firstly the "Orel-Brjansk region" is not the Kharkov region, so the source he quotes provides no support for the claim he actually makes (and which IS completely wrong). And secondly, though I will have to check it, my first reaction to the claim that 13 divisions were moved from the Brjansk/Orel sector is also one of very strong scepticism. This is the equivalent of a whole, average strength army in a sector where there really were only two armies (2nd and 9th) operating. Of course, PzAOK 2 (but not its forces of course), with more than 20 divisions under command, was sent to the Balkans which led to great changes in force composition among the remaining armies in the area and also strength was sliding north and south as the front approached the Pripyet, but still. But I'll return to this.

In any case, it is a bit of a blooper. You'd think the idea of 16 divisions - a whole army - disappearing from the Kharkov sector given the situation there would immediately strike him as sufficiently odd to warrant further checking. To put it gently.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Art » 30 Jan 2009 17:58

Qvist wrote: But firstly the "Orel-Brjansk region" is not the Kharkov region, so the source he quotes provides no support for the claim he actually makes (and which IS completely wrong).
I agree in basic point, but want to draw attention to the fact that this mistake originated from inaccurately quoted source rather than was based on pure imagination.
And secondly, though I will have to check it, my first reaction to the claim that 13 divisions were moved from the Brjansk/Orel sector is also one of very strong scepticism.
The exercise looks really interesting. :) I can povide the following list of divisions which were regrouped from Orel region to Smolensk-Kirov sector during August according to the scheme from allready mentioned "Operatsiyi...":
211 ID (13.8)
5 PzD (10.8)
36 ID (10.8)
25 motorized division (2.8)
18 PzD (1.8)
9 PzD (1.8)
262 ID (4.8)
2 PzD (4.8)
258 PzD (8.8)
26 ID (14.8)
20 PzD (11.8)
56 ID (9.8)
According to the legend there must on more infantry division, but I can't find it on the scheme.
You'd think the idea of 16 divisions - a whole army - disappearing from the Kharkov sector given the situation there would immediately strike him as sufficiently odd to warrant further checking
Only in case if one realizes the statement he made. In case of automatic substitution of "Orel" with "Kharkov", the author could simply not do that. That doesn't mean that Glantz shouldn't check his texts fro mistakes - surely he should.

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Qvist
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 30 Jan 2009 19:07

The exercise looks really interesting. :) I can povide the following list of divisions which were regrouped from Orel region to Smolensk-Kirov sector during August according to the scheme from allready mentioned "Operatsiyi...":
211 ID (13.8)
5 PzD (10.8)
36 ID (10.8)
25 motorized division (2.8)
18 PzD (1.8)
9 PzD (1.8)
262 ID (4.8)
2 PzD (4.8)
258 PzD (8.8)
26 ID (14.8)
20 PzD (11.8)
56 ID (9.8)
According to the legend there must on more infantry division, but I can't find it on the scheme.
All of these divisions belonged to 2nd Panzer Army in late July. I assume that "258 PzD" is a writing error, and should be 25.Pz.Gren.D. and 8.PzD? But it is quite artificial to say that these were "regrouped" from one sector of the front to another. What happened was that in late July, 2nd Panzer Army HQ was removed from the Eastern Front and sent to Yugoslavia, while its forces were distributed between the neighbouring commands, which were 9th and 4th Armies. In other words - these two armies took over 2nd Panzer Army's part of the frontline, as well as its forces. It was not a regroupment, but simply a change in affiliation and a reorganisation of army boundaries. At approximately the same time, the Germans evacuated the Orel salient, which enabled them to slide forces both southwards and northwards as their frontline shortened.
Only in case if one realizes the statement he made. In case of automatic substitution of "Orel" with "Kharkov", the author could simply not do that. That doesn't mean that Glantz shouldn't check his texts fro mistakes - surely he should.
You mean we should assume that Glantz meant to write "Orel" but instead wrote "Kharkov", so that this is simply a typing error? Well, that is very tolerant of you.:) More than I am inclined to be. But I must agree that it seems very strange that Glantz (who after all elsewhere has covered the Kharkov battles in great detail) should not immediately realise how absurd it is that 16 German divisions should have disappeared from there in late summer. But in any case, it is a major factual error, as it stands.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Art » 01 Feb 2009 13:47

Qvist wrote: What happened was that in late July, 2nd Panzer Army HQ was removed from the Eastern Front and sent to Yugoslavia, while its forces were distributed between the neighbouring commands, which were 9th and 4th Armies. In other words - these two armies took over 2nd Panzer Army's part of the frontline, as well as its forces.
Where does it follow from? Incidentally I have a translation of 9 Army's situation report of 14 August, it says that units of 2 Panzer Army were taken over by 9 Army at 12.00 13th August. Nothing is said about transfer of any forces under 4 Army command. And from the OOB of 4 Army it also doesn't seem that it inherited some sectors with 13 aforementioned divisions from the 2 Army, when the latter was disbanded.
At approximately the same time, the Germans evacuated the Orel salient, which enabled them to slide forces both southwards and northwards as their frontline shortened.
So did the physical movement of units take place or not?
You mean we should assume that Glantz meant to write "Orel" but instead wrote "Kharkov", so that this is simply a typing error?
It looks more plausible than deliberate substituion of one name with the other, at least I can't imaine reasons which could account for such a strange action.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 01 Feb 2009 16:21

Where does it follow from? Incidentally I have a translation of 9 Army's situation report of 14 August, it says that units of 2 Panzer Army were taken over by 9 Army at 12.00 13th August. Nothing is said about transfer of any forces under 4 Army command. And from the OOB of 4 Army it also doesn't seem that it inherited some sectors with 13 aforementioned divisions from the 2 Army, when the latter was disbanded.
PzAOK 2 wasn't disbanded, but just removed from the Eastern Front. AOK 9 did not take over all of PzAOK 2's divisions had in late July/early August- if it had, it would have ended up with roughly 40. For instance, 5., 20. and 9. PzD are with AOK 4 on 14 August. Also, this changed rather quickly.

The point is whether forces were transferred from one part of the front to another, or if the changes in OOB were due to alterations of the army sectors/and or a result of changes in the frontline.

According to OKH-Kriegsgliederungen:

5.8.

AOK 4: LVI Pz, XII, IX, XXXIX Pz,XXVII. 14 Divisions
2.Pz: XXXV, LIII, XXXXI Pz, LV. 22 Divisions (I think. document is partly destroyed)
AOK 9: XX, XXXXVI Pz, XXXXVII Pz. 16 Divisions.

14.8.
AOK 4: LVI Pz, XII, IX, XXXIX Pz, XXVII. 21 Divisions
2. Pz: HG Mitte reserve, with 3 divisions (in transit)
AOK 9: XXXXVI pz, XXXVII Pz, XXXV, XXXXI Pz, LIII, XXIII, LV. 28 divisions

XX had passed from AOK 9 to AOK 2. Otherwise you are right that all the AKs of Pz2 were taken over by AOK 9. Unless I am much mistaken, this was the time of the evacuation of the Orel bend, and we can see here the "peeling off" effect that the shortening of the front caused. 19 Divisions had changed command since the 5th, 12 to AOK 9 and 7 to AOK 4.

27.8.

AOK 4: Same AKs, plus XXXXI Pz. 25 divisions
AOK 9: XXXV, XXXXVI pz, XXIII, LV. 21 Divisions

XXXXVII Pz had been transferred to AOK 8. XXXXI Pz to AOK 4. LIII had moved into HG Mitte reserve.

15.9.
AOK 4: IX, XXXIX, IX. 14 Divisions plus some remains and an SS-Brigade.
AOK 9: XXIII, Gr. Gen. Praun, LV, XII, XXXXI Pz. 23 Divisions.

From 4th Army, LVI AK to AOK 2, XII and XXXXI pz to AOK 9. From AOK 9, XXXV to AOK 2, XXXXVI Pz no longer seems to be in the east. In other words, major shifts in the boundaries.

It seems we must indeed conclude that that the withdrawal of Pz2 HQ did not immediately cause any expansion in the AOK 4 sector. However, it also clear that this changed notably over the next month, while the Smolensk operation was going on. The total number of divisions in the area (northern end of AOK 4 sector to southern end of AOK 9 sector) was 52, 52, 46, 37. (56, 61, 56, 51 in we include AOK 2, which was generally growing in strength). The AOK 4 portion of this was pretty much the same on 5 August as it was on 15 September, so I guess it depends on how you define the forces opposing the Smolensk operation.
So did the physical movement of units take place or not?
The question is what was the nature of the phycial movement. The evacuation of the Orel bend led to a shortening of the front, which more or less automatically leads to a redistribution of forces. If Pz2 had remained in the East and kept its formations, this would reasonably have led to that army taking over a greater part of the remaining frontage. As it didn't, this instead led to an increase in the number of formations in its neighbouring commands. Then as the Germans were pushed back in the Orel/Brjansk area, further reorganisations took place.

Hm, to answer this with finality we would have to track it on the divisional level. Who knows, perhaps one day the time for it will be there.
It looks more plausible than deliberate substituion of one name with the other, at least I can't imaine reasons which could account for such a strange action.
I agree with that. but it's still a bad factual error. Readers who are not specialists cannot know this.

cheers

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Art » 02 Feb 2009 17:34

Qvist wrote:AOK 9 did not take over all of PzAOK 2's divisions had in late July/early August- if it had, it would have ended up with roughly 40.
Here I meant divisions that 2 Pz. Army had by the moment when its HQs were removed from the front, that is by 13 August. If some divisions were transferred from 2 Pz Army to the 4 Army between late-July and 13 August it can only support the notion of regrouping between the sectors not connected with organizational changes.
The AOK 4 portion of this was pretty much the same on 5 August as it was on 15 September, so I guess it depends on how you define the forces opposing the Smolensk operation.
Let's take the sector of the front roughly from the line Kirov-Roslavl' to Velizh-Vitebsk as the area embraced by the Smolensk operation.
The question is what was the nature of the phycial movement.
I mean the movement from the Orel region to the sector specified above. So if a divisions is shifted behind the front and crosses the line Kirov-Roslavl' from the south it can be taken as regrouped to the Smolensk sector. Based on the OOB of the 9 Army available here
we can make the following conclusions:
a) between 25 July and 5 August the 9 Army received 56 ID and 36 PzGrD from the Orel region
b) between 5 and 14 August it additionaly received 3 divisions: 5, 9 and 20 PzD. All the 5 divisions were committed in the sectors of XII AK and LVI PzK which were attacked by the Soviet Western Front.
In all 5 divisions were regrouped between 25 July and 14 August
Then it becomes more complicated because LVI and then XII Corps were taken over by the 9 Army. We can assume however that sectors occupied by the corps remained generally the same so we can take divisions committed in this sectors as regrouped in accordance with the definition given above.
c) between 14 August and 21 August the 9th Army receives 5 divisions: 20 PzGrD, 262 ID and 2 PzD (sector of the XII AK) and 25 PzGrD and 18 PzD (sector of the XXVII AK)
LVI PzK (now under command of the 9 Army as a part of the group Harpe) receives 26 ID, 258 ID and a part of 211 ID (the other part is under LV AK of the same gr. Harpe). 321 ID is transferred from LVI AK to LV AK, but it's likely that it was a technical tranfer not accompanied by actual movement. So in all 3 divisions are regrouped. Total 8 divisions are regrouped during the period 14-21 August. That means that the total number of divisions moved from the Orel region to the Smolensk sector is 13, that is in full accordance with Istomin. Note that the list of divisions derived from the OOBs coincides with the one from my scheme and it seems that 20 PzGrD was the "missing" division which I couldn't find on the scheme.
I agree with that. but it's still a bad factual error. Readers who are not specialists cannot know this.
Undoudtly. I must say however that Glantz sometimes make more conscious errors which are IMO even more serious.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Feb 2009 19:44

Hi Art,

"I must say however that Glantz sometimes make more conscious errors which are IMO even more serious." ssems rather accusatory. It appears to mean that you think Glantz has deliberately falsified the historical record. Is that what you meant?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Art » 03 Feb 2009 17:46

No, Sid, that wasn't what I meant. I just wanted to say that apart of errors caused by simple misprints Glantz has errors caused by lack of information/erroneous information or by misjudgements. Just to give an example, in "The battle of Leningrad" chapter 1, when discussing pre-war plans he writes that the task of the Leningrad military district according to the mobilizational plan MP-41 was the defend the border with Finland etc. That is not correct, because the mobilizational plan didn't touch any military operations. Then in the same chapter Glantz constantly associates plan of operations with so called "plan for border defense", which he quotes in the text. The latter, however, was an auxiliary plan which didn't reflect the full plan of operations. So it's not correct to made judgements on pre-war planning based solelely on this document.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 03 Feb 2009 19:15

Art,

Thanks for what seems to be solid work, as usual. I am too pressed for time to give much input at the moment but will return to it.

cheers

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Feb 2009 11:29

Hi Art,

Thanks for the clarification.

A couple of points.

Glantz's work is, thank heavens, very fact-heavy. Regretably, this inevitably leaves an enormous number of hostages to fortune. It is always possible to find factual errors in such books that one cannot find in fact-light books such as Beevor's, that leave far fewer hostages to fortune. Do you think that Glantz's errors are statistically significant in terms of the weight of hard facts he usually lays out? And do you think that these errors significantly distort the historical record?

A second point is that Glantz avowedly writes mainly from Soviet sources. Much of the discussion above relates to he limitations regarding German forces. Do you consider him more reliable regarding the Red Army? There certainly seems little English-language alternative to him.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Art » 04 Feb 2009 14:33

Sid Guttridge wrote: Glantz's work is, thank heavens, very fact-heavy. Regretably, this inevitably leaves an enormous number of hostages to fortune.
Of course, factual errors are almost inevitable, I have never implied that the very presence of errors should be regarded as a deadly sin. But, undoublty, it's better to have less errors than more.
A second point is that Glantz avowedly writes mainly from Soviet sources. Much of the discussion above relates to he limitations regarding German forces. Do you consider him more reliable regarding the Red Army?
Speaking honestly I can't answer the question without preparation. I must say that I never regarded the precise knowledge of numeration of 666th Infantry Division's subunits or a precise number of personnel in the laundry detachment as a crux of military history and if you mean this type of errors, I don't find them critical except in special researches or handbooks. As for my personal impession of Glantz's works (I mean those I've read) I didn't find "Stumbling colossus" great (the answer to the question requires additional refreshing) but the rest are worth reading.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 19 Jul 2009 20:15

I must say,having tried to read for the second time "Before Stalingrad" I am not impressed ,more I am disappointed. First some factual mistakes:on p. 114 he gives the Leibstandarte as a regiment,on p.189 as a division and on P.298 again as a division. His casualty figures: on p. 174: 1656717 including 636383 killed,captured or missing (source Krivosheev)for the 4th quarter of 1941. But on A H Factbook:I have 1656717 of whom 1007996 irrevocable losses and 648521 wounded and sick ,the figures of Krivosheev are CL and NCL . Index :his index is worthless , it's full of names of Sovjet generals and places in Russia ,but no figures of casualties ,armies of strength :you have to look in the notes.If I want the order of battle in september,no use using the index.The book is full of numbers of armies and divisions,but he gives no strengthfigures,so one can't know the strengthproportion (a division in november hasn't the same strength of a division in june. And why -in God's name- the custom of giving and giving again and again the names of the Russian generals with the initials of their christian names? Exemples: F.M. Kharatinov, M.G. Efremov etc. etc...It makes the book almost illegible and has no importance . I must say that I prefer Magenheimers "Hitlers War " although I disagree with many of his conclusions . Reading "Before Stalingrad" is a fatigue and after reading two chapters, I had forgotten the contents of the first chapter .The book gives the impression of a literal traduction from a Russian one.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Jul 2009 18:54

Hi ljadw,

I don't know the particular book you refer to.

I did mention earlier that Glantz is fact-heavy. This certainly makes for dry reading, but he provides far more detailed information on the Red Army in particular than anything else I am aware of in English.

And yes, some of the work for which he is editor is a literal translation of Russian General Staff post battle analyses. This is not a secret.

Although an error, I am not sure the Leibstandarte point is a particularly substantive one, and certainly not enough to damn Glantz's book.

Yup, his indexes are a bit limited, but his consecutive mapping more than makes up for it. If only more military history books had such prolific maps!

The fact that one may find the provision of the initials of Soviet general's irritating isn't really substantive either.

Have you any weightier objections?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 20 Jul 2009 20:21

His indexes are not "a bit limited" but useless; if you want finf anything usefull,you have to search in the notes ,who are good .His bibliography:how many of those who bought his book,will look at:"Krinov,Iu.S :Luzhskii rubezh god 1941-i (The Luga line in 1941 )I won't,neither you! His maps are good,but not exceptional,I have seen ones that were equally good. On p. 158, he writes "Driven by his own hatred of bolchevism and his appreciation that the seizure of Moscow would raise popular morale ,wich was beginning to flag,Hitler personally ordered Army Group Center to capture Moscow " And he gives a note .But this note (note 9) sasys the following "An SS Security Services(probably SD Inland ljadw) report underscored German popular bewilderment over the Wehrmacht's inability to capture Moscow in late Oktober ....." But the note do not mention that Hitler was driven by his own hatred of Bolchevism and that he personally ordered AGC to capture Moscow! Also on p. 158 he writes that the winter of 1941 was one of unprecedented severity and he cites 2(!) days . I regret:two cold days (where , day or night temperatures ? ) are no proof of a winter of unprecedented severity .A winter of unprecedented severity means a winter within memory without precedents. And he continues "the worst had yet to come" Maybe,but that has nothing to do with the situation in november 1941,when in december the winter began(with very cold and moderate periods) the german offensive was already over and that had nothing to do with the winter (a cold one or not ) And I already mentioned his casualty figures,conflicting with the ones of Krivosheev.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 20 Jul 2009 21:18

T o continue:his figures on German strenght are unreliable and contradicting. On P 14:"To destroy the Red Army,Hitler massed 151 German divisions (including 19 panzer and 15(?)-I count only 12 ljadw - motorized infantry divisions ) in the east ,equipped with an estimated 335O tanks ,72OO artillery pieces and 277O aircraft ,but in his own(!) foot note 3 he gives contradicting figures: 4170 tanks (right number),40500 guns and mortats and 3613 combat aircraft (russian sources ) . Forgetfullness or negligence or slovenliness? On P 17:"The 1941 panzerdivisions consisted of 2 or 3 tank batalion each with an authorized(=theoretical ? ljadw) strength of 150 tot 202 tanks per division (in practice a average of 125 operational tanks) . On the Dupuy Institute Forum on the other hand(German PD strength on 22nd june 1941) Rich gives 7 divisions with a strength higer than 202 and he says "these are probably operational totals" . Glantz gives also the strength of a PD of 17000 men . I think it is much to high. Finally,I can only conclude the follow:most of "Before Stalingrad consist of translated Russian documents ( that is not a death sin) but by shortage of time,or indifference (maybe he knows nothing of the existence of the Dupuy Institute ) the remainder of his work is swarming of errors,incorrectnesses , slovenlinesses .....

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