Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2546
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Jul 2020 21:19

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Jul 2020 06:38
Notice the slight of hand: How many troopships did the Allies lose during WW2 to the Germans? IIRC it was one. So it's a bit ridiculous to assume that 35,000 American troops would be lost, as this assumes they'd have been travelling on slow merchants instead of fast, safe troopships.
Not sure how safe the Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary might have been on the Arctic run. There were a lot more ways to route a s8ingle fast ship around across the Atlantic. There was only one around the arctic.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Jul 2020 06:38
......Had Stalin remained desperate in '42, perhaps things might have gone differently.
As has been stated before on this thread, Stalin did not wan=t British or American troops on Soviet soil. He wanted the western allies to launch attacks on continental Europe.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 5620
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Art » 01 Aug 2020 08:36

Sheldrake wrote:
31 Jul 2020 21:19
As has been stated before on this thread, Stalin did not wan=t British or American troops on Soviet soil.
In September 1941 he wrote that he wanted them in unambiguous terms. Later in August 1942 he agreed in principle to expeditionary air force in Caucasus although without much enthusiasm.

Volyn
Member
Posts: 368
Joined: 04 Jul 2018 04:53
Location: USA

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Volyn » 01 Aug 2020 14:59

Art wrote:
01 Aug 2020 08:36
Sheldrake wrote:
31 Jul 2020 21:19
As has been stated before on this thread, Stalin did not wan=t British or American troops on Soviet soil.
In September 1941 he wrote that he wanted them in unambiguous terms. Later in August 1942 he agreed in principle to expeditionary air force in Caucasus although without much enthusiasm.
Art do you have an estimate on how many Soviet casualties were sustained from SEP 1941 - AUG 1942, would this have negatively affected his attitude by then?

The British also had their own agenda to oppose any real Allied ground or air support, somehow these two forces influenced the decisions that kept the US or UK from specifically fighting in East.

Alanmccoubrey
Financial supporter
Posts: 3039
Joined: 19 Sep 2008 13:44

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 02 Aug 2020 08:00

I cannot believe that such a naive question has produced so much text !
Alan

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2096
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 02 Aug 2020 09:57

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Jul 2020 06:38
This also ignores that the Allies could have - would have - devoted many more resources if the Arctic route is supplying their own armies. Just for example, they could have taken Northern Norway with a force smaller than that used in Torch
I can hear Field Marshal Alanbrooke turning in his grave... :thumbsup:

This was one of Winston's recurring bright ideas - Operation 'Jupiter' I seem to recall it being called.

Brooke's subsequent comments from p.187 of the published version of his diaries and commentaries:
From then onwards [Oct 41] we were to be continually in trouble riding him off mad plans to go back to Norway. Why he wanted to go back and what he was going to do there, even if he did succeed in capturing Trondheim, we never found out...It should be remembered that the plan for the capture of Norway had already been examined by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and had been turned down as impracticable owing to insufficient air support for the operation.
The planning papers are probably on-line in the COS Committee minutes, if you want to continue to fantasise about this.

Regards

Tom

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3083
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Aug 2020 15:45

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
02 Aug 2020 09:57
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Jul 2020 06:38
This also ignores that the Allies could have - would have - devoted many more resources if the Arctic route is supplying their own armies. Just for example, they could have taken Northern Norway with a force smaller than that used in Torch
I can hear Field Marshal Alanbrooke turning in his grave... :thumbsup:

This was one of Winston's recurring bright ideas - Operation 'Jupiter' I seem to recall it being called.

Brooke's subsequent comments from p.187 of the published version of his diaries and commentaries:
From then onwards [Oct 41] we were to be continually in trouble riding him off mad plans to go back to Norway. Why he wanted to go back and what he was going to do there, even if he did succeed in capturing Trondheim, we never found out...It should be remembered that the plan for the capture of Norway had already been examined by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and had been turned down as impracticable owing to insufficient air support for the operation.
The planning papers are probably on-line in the COS Committee minutes, if you want to continue to fantasise about this.

Regards

Tom
Where's the problem? Just build a causeway that incorporates airfields from the Shetland Islands to Bergen. Or a million-ton landing craft with a flight deck.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 08:56

Hi TMP and Volyn,

The sea logistics are not the ussue. The amount of Lend/Lease sent proves that.

The issue is to maintain a separate and regular supply line across the USSR to the chosen battle front. Almost all Anglo-American weaponry, ammunition and equipment requirements were different from those of the USSR. Medical facilities were maintained to different standards and food requirements were also different.

The Normandie-Niemen Squadron was tiny by comparison and operated entirely Soviet equipment. There was therefore no logistics problem for it.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
Yuri
Member
Posts: 1329
Joined: 01 Jun 2006 11:24
Location: Russia

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Yuri » 03 Aug 2020 15:09

Construction of health resorts and sanatoriums in the Caucasus.
Construction of sanatoriums in the Caucasus.jpg
Sanatoriums in Sochi before the war, here workers, peasants and engineers from all over the Soviet Union, as well as soldiers and komanirs of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army were treated and improved their health.

Sanatorium 10 Let Oktyabrya (10 years of Oktober)
Sochi_Sanatorium 10 Let Oktyabrya (10 years of Oktober).jpg
Sanatorium named M.V.Frunse
Sochi_Sanatorium named M.V.Frunse.jpg
Sochi_Sanatorium Nauka (The Science)
Sochi_Sanatorium Nauka (The Science).jpg
Sanatorium of the Workers'-Peasants' Red Army named Voroshilov
Sochi_Sanatorium of the Workers'-Peasants' Red Army named Voroshilov.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Yuri
Member
Posts: 1329
Joined: 01 Jun 2006 11:24
Location: Russia

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Yuri » 03 Aug 2020 15:12

Sanatorium of the Workers-Peasants's Red Army named Voroshilov (before War)
Sochi_Sanatorium of the Workers' Peasants' Red Army named Voroshilov (before War).jpg
During the war, there were military hospitals here.
Sochi_Sanatorium of the Workers' Peasants' Red Army named Voroshilov(1).jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Yuri
Member
Posts: 1329
Joined: 01 Jun 2006 11:24
Location: Russia

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Yuri » 03 Aug 2020 15:33

I did not think that the treatment in such hospitals was worse than in an American or British hospital.
A couple of years ago, one of the members of this forum (from Germany) already tried to convince us that medical care in the Red Army (SU) was bad. I can repeat what I said once before: military field surgery in Russia/The Soviet Union was significantly higher, for example, than in Germany. Or, for example, during the war of 1854-1856 (Crimean war), the death rate of the Ottoman-Franco-British-Italian troops were higher than that of the Russian Imperial Army.
You confuse high-tech medicine (such as Oncology) with military medicine and mass preventive medicine.

Volyn
Member
Posts: 368
Joined: 04 Jul 2018 04:53
Location: USA

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Volyn » 03 Aug 2020 15:48

Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Aug 2020 08:56
The issue is to maintain a separate and regular supply line across the USSR to the chosen battle front. Almost all Anglo-American weaponry, ammunition and equipment requirements were different from those of the USSR. Medical facilities were maintained to different standards and food requirements were also different.

The Normandie-Niemen Squadron was tiny by comparison and operated entirely Soviet equipment. There was therefore no logistics problem for it.
Greetings Sid
This is exactly why this must have been a politically motivated decision by the Allies not to send combat forces of any size to fight in the USSR. The point I have been making is that the US or UK could have easily done what the French did with Normandie-Niemen and send pilots to the USSR, where they would train on Soviet aircraft and then fight under their command hierarchy. The French did not suffer any mistreatment during their 2+ years in the 1st Air Army and they were enormously productive throughout their combat experience.
Alanmccoubrey wrote:
02 Aug 2020 08:00
I cannot believe that such a naive question has produced so much text !
What is naive about this topic?

It is not well known as to why the Western Allies refused to deploy combat units to the USSR with the intent to do battle on the Eastern Front. This is especially noteworthy when considering that they were literally found fighting everywhere else on Earth.

There was a window of opportunity from September 1941 - January 1943 when both the USSR and the W-Allies could have done something willingly. There is also a fair bit of UK opposition, obfuscation and an overall procrastinating attitude towards the idea of using US, UK or French forces to fight in the USSR during that time. Churchill's tepid response was to offer meager fighter coverage only for Baku in late-1942 when it was completely unnecessary and he knew it; clearly Churchill did not want any UK combat participation in the East. Yet, the French were able to negotiate with the USSR to get Normandie-Niemen to join them in battle, and they arrived in Moscow on 28 November 1942.

History shows us that W-Allies did very little in the USSR until Operation Frantic, which ran from June - September 1944, but the intention of the bombing campaign had nothing to do with the immediate Soviet battlefield needs. These were just stopover bases used to refuel and rearm, then they would attack a target that was hundreds of kilometres away from the front. The Soviets never asked for strategic bombing support, they wanted frontline support.

Operation Frantic could be translated as:
Let me into your home so I can go fight the enemy in the neighborhood across the street, never mind the fact that more of the enemy happens to be in your home.

Keep in mind that by mid-1944 the USSR had already lost millions of soldiers and civilians without any direct combat support from the Allies. Therefore it is not surprising that the Soviet attitude is less hospitable and even overtly hostile at times, which ultimately brought about the end of the operation.

I believe that the UK leadership was desperate to control the US/UK portion of the alliance and would do anything to prevent a US/USSR tilt in the relationship. The British ended up losing control over the alliance anyways after D-Day, and the US seems to be wholly ignorant about the unnecessary insult to the Soviets by not making any meaningful effort to join in their fight on the East.
Last edited by Volyn on 03 Aug 2020 23:01, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Yuri
Member
Posts: 1329
Joined: 01 Jun 2006 11:24
Location: Russia

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Yuri » 03 Aug 2020 20:58

The story of the lack of interaction on the battlefield between the troops of the Red Army, on the one hand, and the Anglo-American allies, is not as simple as it may seem to some.Those who wish to study this topic thoroughly should begin at least on August 15, 1939.
On this day, the United States Ambassador delivered a personal oral message from the us President to Stalin. Briefly the essence of the us President's message is as follows: events in Europe are developing in such a way that European democracies can take the path of concluding an agreement with Germany. This development will require interaction between the USSR and the United States both in the Euro-Atlantic space and in the Pacific ocean. He (the US President) cannot now openly address the Soviet leadership because his opponents are sitting not only on Capitol hill, but among the members of his administration there are many opponents of the agreement with the USSR.
However, he will do everything in his power in this direction.

But we will not go that far, and we will start on June 22, 1941.
On June 22, 1941, the British Prime Minister made a famous speech. At the end of June, the President of the United States announced that his country would assist the red Army in the fight against the Nazis. In early July 1941, an Anglo-Soviet agreement was signed on a joint struggle against Hitler's Germany.
German propaganda actively used the fact of the lack of assistance and actions of the British troops.
German propaganda portrayed Stalin as a puppet of Anglo-American plutocrats and that Stalin was forcing Russian workers and peasants to shed blood for the profit of Jews from new York's wall Street and the city of London.
Even only for this reason alone, the Soviet leadership wanted British troops on its territory.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6438
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Aug 2020 23:38

Volyn wrote:
03 Aug 2020 15:48

Keep in mind that by mid-1944 the USSR had already lost millions of soldiers and civilians without any direct combat support from the Allies.
Keep in mind the UK had lost nearly all its Army & equipment in 1940 without any offers of help or aid from The Soviet Union. Where were the Soviet ships unloading BT-5s in Scotland?
Volyn wrote:
03 Aug 2020 15:48
Therefore it is not surprising that the Soviet attitude is less hospitable and even overtly hostile at times,
Keep in mind the Soviet Pact with Hitler and the division of Poland. That is a Soviet attitude less than hospitable to The UK and even overtly hostile.

You lie with dogs you get fleas.
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 03 Aug 2020 23:46, edited 1 time in total.

Volyn
Member
Posts: 368
Joined: 04 Jul 2018 04:53
Location: USA

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Volyn » 04 Aug 2020 16:02

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Aug 2020 22:53
There was the small matter of the Russo German pact in which Hitler and Stalin agreed to ignore their ideological differences to invade Poland and gobble up the Baltic states. The British and French contemplated acting against the Soviet Union in Winter 1939-40.
All of this was tossed aside once Germany invaded the USSR, as the Allies seemingly dropped it with Stalin thereafter.
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Aug 2020 22:53
Churchill hated Bolshevism, as did his Cabinet colleagues. The British left had seen what Stalinism brought to the Spanish Civil War. However much the British public might have admired the fighting spirit of the Red Army, anyone with contact with the USSR recognised that it was an evil regime and we were only on the same side because the villains had fallen out. Churchill's verdict was that if Hitler invaded hell he would find a good word to say about the devil. Frankly, Stalin's Russia was pretty close to hell on earth.
This is pretty much as close to the actual reason as to why the UK and US were not in the USSR; it was not an issue of logistics, it was exclusively political. However, the US did not have an ideological problem fighting alongside Communists, they even sent a military delegation to China in order to:
evaluate the Communist potential for military collaboration against the Japanese. This meant American aid and an American relationship, which was exactly what Chiang Kaishek feared and the reason he had done his best to obstruct the mission.
viewtopic.php?f=113&p=2283697#p2283697
Sounds eerily similar to the UK opposition towards potential French and American combat support in the USSR. We already know that enormous amounts of American aid made it to the USSR, but an American relationship was not encouraged by the UK version of Chiang Kaishek, PM Winston Churchill.

It is well known that he did not like the Communists, there is nothing wrong with that. The Allies do not have to like each other, they only need to treat each other as military professionals, although Churchill did get along well enough around the dinner table with Stalin after a few drinks. The Normandie-Niemen pilots did not convert into Bolsheviks simply because they fought beside them; this is a nonsensical fear and fantasy.

Why would Stalin's miserable society matter to the Allies in determining the location in which they need to fight their common enemy?

They would not care at all, they would fight and win wherever they were sent, so the only conclusion as to why the US and UK were not present on the Eastern Front is because they intentionally chose not to. This is the point that I made in a previous post, Stalin interpreted that the US and UK were content to let the Soviets do the heavy lifting on the ground, even if it meant the mutual destruction of both the Nazi and Communist governments. Large Allied forces were not necessary, but even a symbolic force could have gone a long way towards a change in the Soviet attitude post-war.

FYI - When the US and USSR ground forces finally did meet in 1945 there were a few instances in which US soldiers were decorated for their joint actions, and they were treated exceptionally well. Here is a photo and the newspaper article detailing one of those soldiers, Master Sergeant Leo Pedroza from the US 84th Infantry Division receiving the Order of the Red Star from a Soviet General (he was a Staff Sergeant at the time of the award).
Awarding of Red Star.jpg
Order of the Red Star.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6438
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Michael Kenny » 04 Aug 2020 16:10

Volyn wrote:
04 Aug 2020 16:02
All of this was tossed aside once Germany invaded the USSR, as the Allies seemingly dropped it with Stalin thereafter.

Conveniently ignored would be a better description. However that does not make it any more acceptable. The Soviet invasion of Poland was still an invasion.

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”