I’ve found these citations in a recent Hungarian paperback publication about Marshal Zhukov (it’s not listed on Amazon so I cannot provide a link). I want to ask whether
- these quotes actually exist
- if so, are they accurately cited
- and (of course) what is your opinion about them?
For his comrades and subordinates Zhukov was more of a demon than a human being. He was merciless to the point of inhumanity.’ Execution squads of the GPU followed him whenever he visited the front, shooting the disobetient, the half-hearted and the scared by the thousands (there were 13000 such executions duing the Battle of Stalingrad alone). He discharged any general who disagreed with him[…] He knew that the counterweight to the Wehrmacht is blood and therefore he kept pouring blood into one scale-pan until the pair of scales moved into the desired direction.
Douglas Orgill: T-34 Russian Armor. MacDonald, London, 1970, page 127
Immensely obstinate and pathologically ambitious. His boundless bragging is aggravated by severe alcoholism; he is lecherous on a daily basis; towards his subordinates he is ruthless. I suggest the higher Party agencies pay attention to comrade Zhukov. He is incapable of commanding people unless he changes his behavior.
Rokossovsky’s report on Zhukov, November 8th, 1930 (Rokossovsky commanded the 7th Cavalry Division in which Zhukov served as a brigadier at that time)
He is prone to immeasurable brutality.
Marshal Budyonny on Zhukov on October 31st, 1931
’Zhukov, that dwarfish tyrant, behaved with me inhumanely. He tramples everyone who stands in his way underfoot. I have served along him before, I know him well, he is dangerous and narrow-minded, a careerist.’
Colonel General Yeremenko in his diary in January 1943
Obtuse; an unscrupulous mercenary and thug.
From Marshal Konev’s article in the Pravda, November 3, 1957
The working conditions in the Ministry of Defense became unbearable after comrade Zhukov had become its head. He only knows one method: merciless oppression.
Obsessed with power, ambitious; he craves glory and respect; never tolerates dissent.
On Operation Mars
This is from an essay entitled ’Not into battle, but into the slaughter!’ by Hodarinov and Vladimirov in the Russian military periodical Neshavisomoye Voyennoye Obosrenie(?), June 8th, 2001, on the battle manoeuvres of the 20th Army of the Western Front during November and December 1942, the ’Second Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive’ a.k.a. Operation Mars:
On November 20th, the troops were ordered not into battle but into the well-defended killing ground of the enemy, into slaughter. The 148th and 150th Rifle Brigades kept attacking the steep banks of the river Vazuza near the village of Klemen for four days. Both units were annihilated completely. The High Command, headed by Zhukov, demanded regular frontal attacks. The 20th Army was strengthened by the 5th Tank Corps and 4 rifle divisons for these attacks. The fields were littered with the burnt-out wrecks of T-34s. Among the 8 tank brigades, 6 had lost all its equipment and were thus withdrawn on December 6th. On the 13th the 6th Tank Corps had 46 tanks, the 5th - sent into battle 2 days earlier - had 38. These units were trying to conquer the villages of Maloya Kropotovo and Podoshinovka. After one week of fighting the 20th Army was completely exhausted. It had no fuel and ammuntion. Nearly all its armoured strengthy was lost. The soldiers were completely exhausted, having gone for days without food and rest. After 23 days of continuous fighting they advanced 10 km into enemy defences in an area 8 kms wide. The average advance was 400 metres a day. For each km of advance the 20th Army suffered 6000 dead and wounded. The other armies of the Western and Kalinin Fronts suffered the same fate. The two Fronts had losses of 215000 in dead and wounded.
All this units were expended fighting a grand total of ONE German army, the 9th, under the command of Model.
Wikipedia (citing David Glantz and the website The Russian Battlefield) gives total Soviet losses during Operation Mars as 335000 dead, wounded, lost and more than 1600 tanks. Soviet advances were minimal and the operation failed to reach its goal, the liquidation of the Rzhev salient:
Other stuff from the same Hungarian publication:
A comparison of the amount of forces deployed in Operation Mars and Operation Uranus (which took place at the same period near Stalingrad)
Operation Mars: 23 rifle (=infantry) armies, 3 shock armies (= essentially motorised rifle units strengthened with tank brigades), one tank army, 2 air armies, 2 armies in reserve
Operation Uranus: 13 rifle armies, one tank army, 3 air armies
(It is ironic that Operation Mars was supposedly a diversionary operation to supplement Operation Uranus, although the latter started later and with much fewer units)
An interesting comparison of the battle effectiveness of the 20th Army under Zhukov and famous traitor General Vlasov
The 20th Army was practically annihilated in fruitless frontal human wave attacks against the Yelnya salient - which the Germans were to withdraw from anyway - under the command of Zhukov during September 1941.
It was subsequently reorganised (taking on only the number since not much remained from the original 20th Army) and put under the command of major-general Vlasov. He led this army into a successful counterattack near the river Lama towards Volokolamsk in December 1941, thus contributing heavily to the Soviet victory in the Battle of Moscow.
In November 1942 it was annihilated in frontal attacks under the command of Zhukov for no gain. Zhukov expended other armies in a similar manner during the First Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive in July and August 1942.
It total Zhukov expended around 13-15 armies throughout the war due to dilettante commanding and insistence on regular human wave attacks without regard to enemy defences - admittedly, he sometimes won despite the heavy losses (Battle of Berlin for example, although his decisions during the attack on the Seelow Heights were nearly criminal.)
No wonder Zhukov was called 'Butcher' by his soldiers.