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

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

Post by Art » 21 Jul 2020 16:29

Sheldrake wrote:
20 Jul 2020 14:30
There are three problems with this proposition

1. Logistics. The resources that could be sent to the USSR were limited by the extreme distances and shipping capacity.
Let me be a devil's advocate for a second: millions of tons were delivered to Murmansk and Caucasus via Iran:
https://www.o5m6.de/redarmy/ll_routes.php
That means that some of this tonnage could be used to maintain a military force of some size (naturally limited) on the Eastern Front. Of course, at the expense of materials and equipment given to the SU.
2. Politics. The US never allowed foreign governments to command their troops in WW2.
But in WWI they did. And as commented below "command" was not a necessity.
There was enough political turbulence when the Texan National Guard lost a couple of thousand men at the Rapido river. Imagine the backlash if US soldiers had been sent forwards on the Seelow heights?
Well, causalities in the Normandy were far larger than in Italy and no backlash followed. In general, given that US, Commonwealth, French and other armies lost nearly a million men on the ETO, I would call a usual idea of their sensitivity to casualties a little exaggerated. As historical events demonstrated allied armies which were parts of the coalition usually retained a very broad autonomy. Even a direct operational control was not always necessary and joint operations were carried out by mutual agreement between independent commanders. When an allied force was under direct operational control of the coalition its commanders usually had authority to protest or elude orders which they found contradicting to their national interests. Sure, collation war is always problematic, but those problems are not fatally insurmountable.
The shuttle bombing using airfields in the Ukraine was a disaster.
It demonstrated that Allied air force didn't need to be under Soviet operational control to operate from bases on the Eastern Front. It also demonstrated that supply problem could be resolved.
The Red Army's inaction at Warsaw in 1944
Sorry for going off-topic, but "inaction at Warsaw" is a myth. And first and foremost Warsaw was a failure of Polish AK leadership to discuss and coordinate their plans with allies.

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

Post by Art » 21 Jul 2020 16:49

Volyn wrote:
21 Jul 2020 15:39
The surrender of Italy was only a formality, they were totally useless to the Germans by that point in the war
The very fact that the Italy had be occupied and Italian occupation force in Balkans had to be replaced meant a considerable diversion of German forces. Also by securing a part of Italy the allies gained a launchpad for future operation Avalanche/Dragoon and bases for strategic air operations against Balkans, Austria and Southern Germany. Finally, there was a moral effect of surrender of one of the Axis members.
All that combined was not that bad.

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

Post by Volyn » 21 Jul 2020 17:43

Art wrote:
21 Jul 2020 16:49
Volyn wrote:
21 Jul 2020 15:39
The surrender of Italy was only a formality, they were totally useless to the Germans by that point in the war
The very fact that the Italy had be occupied and Italian occupation force in Balkans had to be replaced meant a considerable diversion of German forces. Also by securing a part of Italy the allies gained a launchpad for future operational Avalanche/Dragoon and bases for strategic air operations against Balkans, Austria and Southern Germany. Finally, there was a moral effect of surrender of one of the Axis members.
All that combined was not that bad.
What is overlooked is that the German units that were sent to Italy and the Balkans were not from the West, but from the East; the Soviets still had to fight them when they liberated Belgrade, etc. The Italian troops in the Balkans were under attack by Tito and strategically irrelevant, and either way they were still occupied until liberation in 1944-45.

Also, the failures at the Gothic Line begat Operation Shingle, another long term calamity for the Allies. Operation Dragoon was more of a relief effort for the Allies to get out of Italy than it was to liberate Southern France. When Italy did surrender, it only made the situation for the Allies worse, they could have been ignored, it would have prevented the horrible German occupation of the country and the protracted battles that followed. Italy would have most likely imploded under the weight of their own poor decisions.

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

Post by LineDoggie » 21 Jul 2020 17:55

Volyn wrote:
21 Jul 2020 16:24

The Soviets were not needed in those locations, the main force of the Wehrmacht was in the USSR, fight the enemy where he is. Any sized force would have been a welcome addition, just as Yuri pointed out in a previous post, that symbolism is a massive force multiplier in all wars. The symbolism of UK or US soldiers storming Crimea or US fighter pilots attacking panzers on the Ukrainian Steppe would have been a huge boost to the morale of all parties involved. The symbolism of bombing Tokyo gave Americans reassurance that Japan was not invincible, and it was simultaneously humiliating to the Japanese that they allowed a carrier based bomber group to attack their homeland.
typical deflection

as to that Tokyo bombing you interned and kept our aircraft which landed in Vladivostok and kept the crew imprisoned for a year
Volyn wrote:
21 Jul 2020 16:24
What does this have to do with the discussion? This is a post-war detail unrelated to the topic of US troops operating under a joint Soviet-US command structure.
It shows the RKKA was willing to Murder Allied forces so why in gods name would anyone trust them to be in charge of Allied forces.
Volyn wrote:
20 Jul 2020 17:10



You forget to add that Italy had no fuel for their ships, so what are they useful for, floating artillery battalions? The Allies can still sink these ships, they would not have abandoned the Med, they just would not invade Italy.
As to fuel for ships IIRC bunker fuel is the same so US and UK stocks would work in Italian ships since they didnt run on olive oil
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
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Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Jul 2020 18:27

Volyn wrote:
21 Jul 2020 15:39
By the time the Axis surrender in Tunisia in MAY 1943 there are virtually no Italian expeditionary military forces left, and the Regia Marina was resting on the bottom of the Adriatic and the Med. Italy was a handicapped war participant from then on, with no industrial value for Germany whatsoever, forcing them out of the war was just a formality because they were already finito.
You need to check your facts. There were still Italian forces maintain order across the Balkans,. These had to be replaced by 12 German divisions.
Until the Italian Armistice, the Italian armed forces maintained order in Italy and at the armistice still had 200 ships including three battleships and the air force By June 1944 the Germans needed twenty eight divisions to defend Italy.
All of that MTO combat potential could have been employed on the Eastern Front and engaged by early 1944. Notwithstanding the logistical issues, there were no enemies from Africa to Iran to the USSR, so any troop transport or flow of material would have gone unhindered. This was a fully mechanized force that could have been immediately useful at any front from Moscow to the Black Sea. Lastly, there is no reason why any British or American soldier could not be effectively trained on Soviet armor, the T-34 was easy enough to use and there were plenty of them - it would have also been a significant upgrade to the American M4. Which begs the question, why didn't the Soviets share the plans to build the T-34 with the West so they could use it?

It would have been feasible for the US to ship the MTO tanks and armor sets back to the UK for use at D-Day, and send the MTO soldiers along with their air support to the USSR. They could be equipped with US weaponry from the stocks in Iran and learn how to use Soviet armor. Hitler would have been forced to commit everything he had to fight an accelerating war in the East, inherently weakening his forces in the West, which is what the Allies really needed.
Can I refer you my point #1 in my earlier post re logistics. An armchair strategist might be able to ignore logistics, but the first generals I heard talk about winning a war talked of war as the art of the logistically possible.

The US raised a huge army by American standards to fight on the continent of Europe. The biggest single constraint on allied planning was shipping capacity. So what would possess the US Chiefs of staff to contemplate shipping their army in the MTO to Russia, instead of on the build up for Op Overlord?

Search out how much shipping tonnage it would take to land and maintain a ten division US Army in Russia. A US division needs about 600 tons per day, and th same again for its non divisional assets. An infantry division needs 69,900 tons of shipping, and an armoured division 177,000 tons all with vehicles boxed. Don't forget all those non divisional artillery and logistic units. It's probably about two millions tons to move the units, About 200 liberty ships to cross the Atlantic and take the arctic route. Don't forget the capacity of the Soviet rail system to support this arm. https://www.searoutes.com/

Then sea how much more you could transport to Europe or Italy in 1943

As a further question Did Joe Stalin ever ask for an American Corps? I don't think so. Did he really want the arch capitalists, over paid, over sexed and over democratic over there? Given the choice did he want American soldiers or arms, aircraft, radios, rations and tanks

Not wasting any further time on this rabbit hole

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

Post by Yuri » 21 Jul 2020 18:48

LineDoggie wrote:
21 Jul 2020 15:48
Yuri wrote:
21 Jul 2020 11:48
LineDoggie wrote:
20 Jul 2020 22:30
... and lets call a spade a spade- a Tyrannical USSR who didnt give a rats rectum for the lives of their own men....[/b][/color]
If the "tyrannical USSR", and you are all so morally democratic, how can your morally democratic principles be combined with a request to this tyrant to start a war against your enemy in the Pacific?
Russians in such cases say so: "Ty ili krestik snimi ili trusiki oden'" =
= You either take off the small cross or put on your small underpants.
Rude, of course, but very accurate for your sentence.
FDR had numerous soviet symps and agents in his admin and the Soviets had spies in the USA stealing secrets because as usual the small underpants were made in the urals
It is difficult and unclear: or did remove the cross? or put on underpants?

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

Post by Volyn » 21 Jul 2020 20:09

Sheldrake wrote:
21 Jul 2020 18:27
Volyn wrote:
21 Jul 2020 15:39
By the time the Axis surrender in Tunisia in MAY 1943 there are virtually no Italian expeditionary military forces left, and the Regia Marina was resting on the bottom of the Adriatic and the Med. Italy was a handicapped war participant from then on, with no industrial value for Germany whatsoever, forcing them out of the war was just a formality because they were already finito.
You need to check your facts. There were still Italian forces maintain order across the Balkans,. These had to be replaced by 12 German divisions.
Until the Italian Armistice, the Italian armed forces maintained order in Italy and at the armistice still had 200 ships including three battleships and the air force By June 1944 the Germans needed twenty eight divisions to defend Italy.
The Italians did not have enough fuel, so where are their ships going? The British fleet in the Med can still fight them and the occupying German divisions would still have been destroyed along the Eastern Front if the Italians had remained in the Balkans.
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Jul 2020 18:27
Can I refer you my point #1 in my earlier post re logistics. An armchair strategist might be able to ignore logistics, but the first generals I heard talk about winning a war talked of war as the art of the logistically possible.

The US raised a huge army by American standards to fight on the continent of Europe. The biggest single constraint on allied planning was shipping capacity. So what would possess the US Chiefs of staff to contemplate shipping their army in the MTO to Russia, instead of on the build up for Op Overlord?
The logistics noise you keep clanging on about is not valid when dealing with small forces. Nobody expects a force of 1,000,000+ men to make their way to the USSR. So if an alternate use of the MTO is to integrate them into the plans for Overlord, that still does not preclude a small task force that could be used in the East. There were no supply problems for the French squadrons fighting over there, if it worked for them it would work for the US. You are consistently ignoring the fact that the resources were already in place within Iran and the USSR for smaller forces to be equipped and trained relatively quickly.

A task force ranging in size of 500 soldiers for a small air group or up to 30,000 for an armored Corps and its support troops, could have been well supplied and engaged in combat along the Eastern Front because after MAY 1943 there is no logistics problem. The Allies can even make use of Soviet weapons if needed because they are trained soldiers and can be taught how to operate Soviet tanks, planes, guns, etc. What difference is it to the Soviets if they supply 500 Allies or 30,000 Allies instead of an equal number of Soviets who could be held back in reserve for use elsewhere?
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Jul 2020 18:27
Search out how much shipping tonnage it would take to land and maintain a ten division US Army in Russia. A US division needs about 600 tons per day, and th same again for its non divisional assets. An infantry division needs 69,900 tons of shipping, and an armoured division 177,000 tons all with vehicles boxed. Don't forget all those non divisional artillery and logistic units. It's probably about two millions tons to move the units, About 200 liberty ships to cross the Atlantic and take the arctic route. Don't forget the capacity of the Soviet rail system to support this arm. https://www.searoutes.com/
Why do the supplies only have to come from the US? See my reply above.
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Jul 2020 18:27
Then sea how much more you could transport to Europe or Italy in 1943
Why do they have to fight for the duration of 1943? Have another Sitzkrieg until the supplies can make it to them, nothing would change in the build up of forces in the UK for D-Day.
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Jul 2020 18:27
As a further question Did Joe Stalin ever ask for an American Corps? I don't think so. Did he really want the arch capitalists, over paid, over sexed and over democratic over there? Given the choice did he want American soldiers or arms, aircraft, radios, rations and tanks
He asked Churchill for up to 30 Divisions, do you think if he was offered the soldiers from the MTO, or a smaller sized force, to join in the fight on Soviet soil he would say no? If he did not want them, then it would have been official and we would have an answer for this thread.

The USSR was not a tranquil bastion of sexual excess like the UK was prior to D-Day, and any forces operating in the USSR would not be discussing economic models and political theories. What pay is earned would not be easily spent so it would not be issue with the Soviets either. If Stalin were given the choice he would accept everything he could get his hands on, soldiers and all.
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Jul 2020 18:27
Not wasting any further time on this rabbit hole
Bye

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

Post by LineDoggie » 21 Jul 2020 20:50

As usual this thread has developed into a Stalin Love fest of all things soviet
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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

Post by EwenS » 23 Jul 2020 13:03

While researching some material regarding the opening moves in the Far East war I came across a reference in “Bloody Shambles” Vol 1 that may be of interest to this discussion.

At the beginning of Nov 1941 4 RAF Hurricane squadrons forming part of 267 Wing (17, 135, 136 and 232) embarked on troopships destined for the Middle East. Initial destination Iraq. The passage continues “Its further destination was a closely guarded secret, but the squadron commanders and intelligence officers were advised that it was to be the Caucasus. It was assumed the wing would aid the Russians in the struggle against the German army, on the southern end of the massive Eastern Front, in the same way that 151 Wing had aided them in the north a few weeks earlier.”

151 Wing was of course comprised of the two Hurricane squadrons in Murmansk.

The Japanese invasion of Malaya changed everything and the squadrons were diverted while in transit, and by various routes, to India, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies.

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

Post by Sheldrake » 23 Jul 2020 21:25

I stumbled on another reason the Americans might not send their boys to the USSR. The allies suffered one of their largest loss of armour and aircraft north of the arctic circle. Some 5,000 tanks, 7,000 aircraft and 200,000 tons of supplies were lost in merchant ships sunk on the arctic route. 7% of ships sailing were lost, compared to 0.7 of global sailings. Sailing an army of 500,000 might cost 35,000 men. A hard one to sell in Peoria.

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

Post by Volyn » 23 Jul 2020 22:33

EwenS wrote:
23 Jul 2020 13:03
While researching some material regarding the opening moves in the Far East war I came across a reference in “Bloody Shambles” Vol 1 that may be of interest to this discussion.

At the beginning of Nov 1941 4 RAF Hurricane squadrons forming part of 267 Wing (17, 135, 136 and 232) embarked on troopships destined for the Middle East. Initial destination Iraq. The passage continues “Its further destination was a closely guarded secret, but the squadron commanders and intelligence officers were advised that it was to be the Caucasus. It was assumed the wing would aid the Russians in the struggle against the German army, on the southern end of the massive Eastern Front, in the same way that 151 Wing had aided them in the north a few weeks earlier.”

151 Wing was of course comprised of the two Hurricane squadrons in Murmansk.

The Japanese invasion of Malaya changed everything and the squadrons were diverted while in transit, and by various routes, to India, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies.
Great information, this shows us that logistics was never a problem if 4 squadrons were able to divert all the way to the Indies, which were several thousand more kilometres to the East. The Allies were capable of moving anything to anywhere in the world, even if it was contested along the way.
Sheldrake wrote:
23 Jul 2020 21:25
I stumbled on another reason the Americans might not send their boys to the USSR. The allies suffered one of their largest loss of armour and aircraft north of the arctic circle. Some 5,000 tanks, 7,000 aircraft and 200,000 tons of supplies were lost in merchant ships sunk on the arctic route. 7% of ships sailing were lost, compared to 0.7 of global sailings. Sailing an army of 500,000 might cost 35,000 men. A hard one to sell in Peoria.
There is no dispute that a massive expeditionary force of 500,000 is not feasible, but if the Allies sent a smaller task force such as the example given of 267 Wing, then the issue over logistics is not real. It would be a challenge, however, a formation as large as an Armored Corps could have been equipped and fought within the USSR. Your own example shows how much was lost at sea to get there, which means significantly more actually arrived safely. Equipping and sustaining an Allied Corps is not going to weaken the Soviets in any way, and it would have been a welcome addition at any of their active fronts.

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

Post by EwenS » 24 Jul 2020 12:15

Sheldrake wrote:
23 Jul 2020 21:25
I stumbled on another reason the Americans might not send their boys to the USSR. The allies suffered one of their largest loss of armour and aircraft north of the arctic circle. Some 5,000 tanks, 7,000 aircraft and 200,000 tons of supplies were lost in merchant ships sunk on the arctic route. 7% of ships sailing were lost, compared to 0.7 of global sailings. Sailing an army of 500,000 might cost 35,000 men. A hard one to sell in Peoria.
While you have the percentage of ships lost in convoy to Murmansk and the return journey correct at approx 7% this represents only just over 100 ships sunk both en route there and back of which about 86 were sunk before the end of 1942. So only part of that number were carrying lend lease supplies TO the USSR. However, I believe your figures grossly exaggerate the losses of tanks and aircraft even allowing for the fact that only about 25% of total lend-lease supplies went via that route.

Steven Zaloga in “Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II” has published data on AFVs of all types from Universal Carriers to Sherman tanks shipped to the USSR by all routes and recorded as received by the USSR. That suggests about 2600 were lost from approx 21,100 of all types shipped by all routes. To put it in context the most numerous item shipped was the Sherman tank, 4102 sent with 428 lost. Next up the Valentine tank, 3715 sent 415 lost. The bulk of these AFV shipments happened after 1942 and the major shipping losses on the Murmansk route before that date.

In terms of aircraft Yefim Gordon in “Soviet Air Power in World War 2” gives the number of lend lease aircraft sent as approx 19,600 with approx 18,800 received by the USSR. So only 800 or so lost. The sent figures tie back to within a few hundred to “Air Arsenal North America” by Butler & Hagedorn. Most of those aircraft were being delivered by land routes. Nearly 8000 were flown via the Alaska-Siberian route for example. The favoured route for British aircraft was via the Middle-East.

To suggest as you do that nearly 25% of all AFVs shipped and 35% of all aircraft shipped were lost on the Murmansk route alone in less than 100 ships lost travelling to Murmansk is simply not credible.

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

Post by EwenS » 24 Jul 2020 12:20

While researching my last post I came across a reference to an Operation Clawhammer, a plan for the deployment of British troops to southern Russia with 20 RAF squadrons. No timeframe given. It came to nothing as it depended on the defeat of Rommel to release the necessary forces. Presumably by the time that had happened the entire strategic outlook of Britain and the US had changed.

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

Post by Gooner1 » 24 Jul 2020 12:24

Volyn wrote:
23 Jul 2020 22:33
Great information, this shows us that logistics was never a problem if 4 squadrons were able to divert all the way to the Indies, which were several thousand more kilometres to the East. The Allies were capable of moving anything to anywhere in the world, even if it was contested along the way.
The Western Allied logistic situation was such that they could support far more combat power in Italy and the Mediterranean then they could in the Ukraine.

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

Post by EwenS » 24 Jul 2020 12:37

Volyn wrote:
23 Jul 2020 22:33
EwenS wrote:
23 Jul 2020 13:03
While researching some material regarding the opening moves in the Far East war I came across a reference in “Bloody Shambles” Vol 1 that may be of interest to this discussion.

At the beginning of Nov 1941 4 RAF Hurricane squadrons forming part of 267 Wing (17, 135, 136 and 232) embarked on troopships destined for the Middle East. Initial destination Iraq. The passage continues “Its further destination was a closely guarded secret, but the squadron commanders and intelligence officers were advised that it was to be the Caucasus. It was assumed the wing would aid the Russians in the struggle against the German army, on the southern end of the massive Eastern Front, in the same way that 151 Wing had aided them in the north a few weeks earlier.”

151 Wing was of course comprised of the two Hurricane squadrons in Murmansk.

The Japanese invasion of Malaya changed everything and the squadrons were diverted while in transit, and by various routes, to India, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies.
Great information, this shows us that logistics was never a problem if 4 squadrons were able to divert all the way to the Indies, which were several thousand more kilometres to the East. The Allies were capable of moving anything to anywhere in the world, even if it was contested along the way.
Sheldrake wrote:
23 Jul 2020 21:25
I stumbled on another reason the Americans might not send their boys to the USSR. The allies suffered one of their largest loss of armour and aircraft north of the arctic circle. Some 5,000 tanks, 7,000 aircraft and 200,000 tons of supplies were lost in merchant ships sunk on the arctic route. 7% of ships sailing were lost, compared to 0.7 of global sailings. Sailing an army of 500,000 might cost 35,000 men. A hard one to sell in Peoria.
There is no dispute that a massive expeditionary force of 500,000 is not feasible, but if the Allies sent a smaller task force such as the example given of 267 Wing, then the issue over logistics is not real. It would be a challenge, however, a formation as large as an Armored Corps could have been equipped and fought within the USSR. Your own example shows how much was lost at sea to get there, which means significantly more actually arrived safely. Equipping and sustaining an Allied Corps is not going to weaken the Soviets in any way, and it would have been a welcome addition at any of their active fronts.
Volyn
I would never say that logistics were never a problem for the Allies. Shipping was always at a premium and that was particularly so until US shipyards began to crank out merchantmen in huge numbers. It is only from about 1943 that new shipping joining the merchant fleets exceed losses to enemy action. Until well after D-Day there were never enough LSTs. British efforts in the Far East were constrained by lack of shipping until 1945 along with efforts to support the BPF.

What Stalin wanted was a Second Front in France to force the Germans to divide their forces. He certainly had little interest in having British & US forces on Soviet soil. Evidence of that is the lukewarm support given in the summer of 1944 to the shuttle bombing operations from the U.K. and Italy to the Poltava area of the Ukraine, Operation Frantic. And also the less than warm (and not just the weather) reception for RN personnel in northern Russia.

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