Russians simply won by the power of numbers

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Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 08 Apr 2007 21:13

GaryD wrote:
Andreas wrote:
GaryD wrote:Could it have been as simple as the following?

*Military-Historical Archive, 2/2007, p. 58-59.
Obviously not.

All the best

Andreas
Then what?
Dismissing what is obviously a silly argument does not confer upon me the responsibility to provide an explanation for a phenomenon which I did not even bring up, and which may or may not be relevant to the discussion.

All the best

Andreas

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 08 Apr 2007 21:33

You have obviously started on your PhD. I give it another year or so before sensible debate with you will be impossible. Don't worry, it's part of the process, and necessary for you to finish it.
Hehehe. A wee bit over-theoretical with the paradigm thingy, you thought? Just be happy you didn't know me when i was doing history of ideas. :) Anyway, it's good then that there are people around to reconnect me with the ground. I had been playing around with the notion that different approaches to EF interpretation have something of the paradigmatic about them and I still think there is something in that, but this was probably not a good place to apply it.
To me this question is really quite simple. First of all I fully accept that given the observed performance, the Red Army needed numerical superiority to win the war agains the Germans, during all phases of the war. It needed it to survive the initial battering, to hold on during the second German strategic offensive, and to be able to prevail over its adversary when it started pushing him west. No doubt about it being a critical element.

But the more interesting question for me is whether by itself, numerical superiority would have been enough to not just survive, but to actually win on the battlefield. Here I think that numerical superiority is not sufficient to win, again based on the demonstrated performance on the battlefield. Instead what was required was an evolution in structure, command and control, and strategic direction that used numerical superiority in a way that allowed the Red Army to prevail. Numerical superiority did not help the Red Army to prevail during Operation Mars, and it did not help the Red Army to prevail with its grand designs during the second phase of the winter 42/43 battles. Instead, it got soundly beaten both times. This, from what I have read at least, drove the point home to Stavka that they needed to come up with something better than just numerical superiority if they wanted to beat the Germans, even though it was clear that numerical and material superiority were quite sufficient to beat most of the German allies. This they did. They created a doctrine of assault that would allow them to overcome the defences that they failed on outside Bjelyi, Rzhev, and Ssinyavino in winter 1942, harnessing their ability to generate local superiority, and to sustain large scale losses. They created large maneuver units capable of sustained in-depth combat, the tank armies, to overcome German mobile reserves, which they had failed to do in late winter 42/43. They created the logistical basis to allow these two developments to function. They created an integrated strategic approach to their fight that took stock of their limitations, e.g. by allowing the Germans to attack first at Kursk, instead of trying to pre-empt them as they did at Izyum in 1942.

In my view, all of these developments were absolutely critical, and without them, the Red Army would not have prevailed, and I therefore disagree that these were minor things, compared to numerical superiority. They were the mechanisms harnessing numerical superiority into a war-winning factor, instead of a war-surviving factor.
The development of the tank armies and logistics I would call organisational improvements rather than developments in operational methods, but then it appears that you have something broader in mind than operational methods or operational art strictly speaking.

Otherwise I think you basically prove your point, though I might quibble on some points of detail and ultimate extent. I approached the issue somewhat differently, in terms of identifying the factors that gave the Red Army an advantage over its adversary. Yours is better.

cheers

GaryD
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Post by GaryD » 09 Apr 2007 07:02

Andreas wrote:Dismissing what is obviously a silly argument does not confer upon me the responsibility to provide an explanation for a phenomenon which I did not even bring up, and which may or may not be relevant to the discussion.
I disagree quite strongly that the aggressiveness of some Soviet commanders to drive forward at any cost, regardless of casualties or the considered recommendations of subordinates who might have a better evaluation of the current situation, is irrelevant to why the Soviets suffered such large casualties vs. the Germans. It has to be at least part of the explanation. But perhaps you didn't understand the reference so I'm sorry if it wasn't clear. I thought the quote illustrated it rather well.

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Post by Art » 09 Apr 2007 14:18

GaryD wrote: 4. The 8th is not Popov's TC, but rather Dremov's Mech. Corps. Since 39GRD was placed in reserve and no longer working with the "TC", it could have been 11GTC,11TC or even 8GMC. The editors think it was Yushchuk's 11TC.
Right. 8th Guards TC was in 2nd Belorussian front that time.
6. Do mean permanent losses or just knocked out? A TA or TC can easily suffer losses of more tanks than it has in a single operation. It happened all the time.
Hardly it was possibly in one day, damaged tanks need some time to be recoverd. As concerns tank losses there is a table with 1st Balorosiian Front's losses in tanks ad SPG here (as far as I understand you know russian):
http://militera.lib.ru/docs/da/berlin_45/18.html
On 16th april the whole front lost 71 tanks burned down, 77 damaged and 40 as other losses (I don't understand what is it, probably noncombat losses)
On 17th 79/85/19 respectively
18th 65/86/13
19th 105/76/8 (it was the day when the highest losses were suffered)
So the loss of 400 tanks in one day was something completely incompatible with these data. It is interesting that contrary to the common myth the highest losses in tanks were suffered not during the assault of Zeelov hights but a couple of days after these hights were succesfully seized (that is on 17th April)
BTW the same topic was recently discussed on russian forum (probably by Kunikov's friends :D ):
http://vif2ne.ru/nvk/forum/0/co/1417055.htm

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Post by Art » 09 Apr 2007 15:21

Qvist wrote: Ah, right. Well, I am supposing that Krivosheev's figures are on the whole on a similar footing - that they do not substantially include those who recovered without leaving their units.
Do you mean the men that were physically present in theair units or do you mean the men that were listed in the units strength while being evacuated in th hospital in the fronline area? The latter system of account of unit strength was not used in Red Army.
and it seems that we are talking about different things again. If I undestand you correctly the Abgange figures you talked about includes only those wounded and sick who left OstHeer and you compared this figures with Krivosheev's ones wich include all men lost regardless of whether they were evacuated from Fronts area or not. The question I interested in is how many of wounded and sick remained in OstHeer and two what extent taking them into account would alter German losses figures.
It is also the case that, taking into account that the Red Army was a much larger force, his NCL figures are already very low compared to the German.

Code: Select all

Well, there are alternative data, that show much greater NCO. And what is the typical scale of German NCO figures?
[quote]The Soviet Ration strengths do not seem to suffer from such weaknesses if my impression is correct - for example, it seems that NKVD forces do not form part of the GKO ration strengths[/quote]
Yes, HKVD forces were written in separate place (if they were). The same should be apllied to the civillian personnel, under the decree #660 of 11th September 1941 wich established the ration system they have to be written of from the quartermaster supply - that is from ration figures.
[quote]3. Important clarification that the figures refer to an earlier point in time.[/quote]
At least that was what decree #663 of 13sr September 1941 called for:
"To oblige People's Commissariat for Defence to give to the GKO the list strength for the 20th date of each month for the establishment of the number of ration"
Also it should be noted that GKO decrees establishing ration strength were freqeuntly issued in the middle of the month, so the lag was even more significant.
[quote]1. Good question. Glantz provides no further details on inclusion, but you can check that (unlike me, who does not read Russian) from the link you posted to the 5 May figure - whatever is included in that is also included by Glantz, who as said gives an exactly similar figure. I'm curious to see what you find. [/quote]
I don't fully understand. To find what?
[quote]What cannot be assumed though is that 3 million men called up turns into 3 million men in the army, still less that it could possibly turn into 3 million men in the Ostheer. 
[/quote]
Well, I didn't say that. However, the number of mobilized to some extent gives some scale of available manpower. 
[quote]If we look at the 1943 figures compared to 1942, there were [/quote]
On what date, but the way?
[quote]Overall, the Wehrmacht increased its strength from 8.3 to 9.5 million.[/quote]
That is 1.2 million increase, significantly more then IL suffered during the same period (I don't include wounded and sick demobilized)
[quote]There were no major personell reserves that they could have drawn on without major negative consequences elsewhere[/quote]
That is generally close to what I said: Eastern Front didn't recieve more men because they were used elsewhere, but not due to the physical anavailability of manpower. But that they were used elsewhere wasn't the law of nature but the result of decisions made. In essence you statement is not that sending higher reinforcement to EF was impossible, but rather that it was unreasonable in that situation.
[quote]more than half a million wounded and sick (this is where the Abgänge ended up).[/quote][/quote]
By the way, it is intersting why such a disparity in number of men hospitalized existed: Soviet Army had about million men hospitalized both in the rear and on the Fronts, German Army had at the end of war 700 thousands or more in rear only, while the sanitary losses of Red Army were much higher.

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Post by GaryD » 09 Apr 2007 16:11

Art wrote:
GaryD wrote: 4. The 8th is not Popov's TC, but rather Dremov's Mech. Corps. Since 39GRD was placed in reserve and no longer working with the "TC", it could have been 11GTC,11TC or even 8GMC. The editors think it was Yushchuk's 11TC.
Right. 8th Guards TC was in 2nd Belorussian front that time.
Right, it's the 8th Guards Mech Corps.
Hardly it was possibly in one day, damaged tanks need some time to be recoverd. As concerns tank losses there is a table with 1st Balorosiian Front's losses in tanks ad SPG here (as far as I understand you know russian)
That's true. As far as the 400 tanks issue goes, I don't put much faith in that any more than I do in figures in other memoirs, and this is second hand to boot. I posted it as an example of certain Soviet generals to disregard casualties. That's not unique to Soviet generals, of course.
On 16th april the whole front lost 71 tanks burned down, 77 damaged and 40 as other losses (I don't understand what is it, probably noncombat losses)
On 17th 79/85/19 respectively
18th 65/86/13
19th 105/76/8 (it was the day when the highest losses were suffered)
So the loss of 400 tanks in one day was something completely incompatible with these data. It is interesting that contrary to the common myth the highest losses in tanks were suffered not during the assault of Zeelov hights but a couple of days after these hights were succesfully seized (that is on 17th April)
Thanks for the info!
BTW the same topic was recently discussed on russian forum (probably by Kunikov's friends :D ):
http://vif2ne.ru/nvk/forum/0/co/1417055.htm
Great, I didn't know about that one. By the way, do you know of any discussions of the of the archival document published in VIA 1/2007 (page 21) from a General Staff officer named Vasilenko which strongly criticizes Zhukov's actions in January-April 1942?

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Kunikov
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Post by Kunikov » 09 Apr 2007 17:14

GaryD wrote:
Kunikov wrote:I asked for a friend of mine to comment on the above since it looked, well, interesting yet suspicious at the same time, at least to me.

"1. G.E.Marchenko is a "she", not a "he".
2. 39 Gds rd was committed only on Apr 18, on the third day of battle. Who attached a tank corps to it "before the battle"?
3. The idea that a tank corps was attached to a rifle division is ridiculous.
4. The 28 Gds RC (to which 39 Gds rd belonged) operated with Popov's 8th Gds TC.
5. Popov's corps did not lose 400 tanks in the entire Berlin operation.
6. A tank corp cannot lose 400 tanks in the first place because it has only 200+ of them by TO&E.
7. The "Military History Archive" is a publication of a bunch of pathological Zhukov haters who will stop at nothing and will even publish hearsay from a woman who barely remembers what her father had told her and managed to confuse every single detail except the 8th Gds Army commander.
8. For a more thorough examination of Zhukov's intent and actual performance at Seelow I recommend Aleksei Isaev's recent book on Zhukov."
Dude, don't shoot the messenger. If you don't like what was in the magazine, write the editor.

1. Unfortunately, the article gives no clue as to the gender, just "G. E. Marchenko"
2. Ask the editor
3. Perhaps they meant that tanks from a brigade were attached.
4. The 8th is not Popov's TC, but rather Dremov's Mech. Corps. Since 39GRD was placed in reserve and no longer working with the "TC", it could have been 11GTC,11TC or even 8GMC. The editors think it was Yushchuk's 11TC.
5. Wrong corps.
6. Do mean permanent losses or just knocked out? A TA or TC can easily suffer losses of more tanks than it has in a single operation. It happened all the time.
7. Complain to the editor
8. Thanks for the suggestion

Don't forget that this story was probably relayed by the father to his daughter years ago, and she's probably not a military person, so she could have mixed up some things.

39GRD was in 28GRC reserve according to Chuikov, but with the change in attack plan that's plausible. Chuikov, Getman, Babadzhanyan, and Katukov all say that the tank armies were engaged early in the operation, before a breach was made in the enemy lines, and suffered heavy losses (Katukov). Katukov even says that "some writers" claim that the method of attack was ill-conceived.

If you want to continue discussing this battle I suggest opening a new topic.
1. FYI, past tense of any Russian verb gives a clue to the gender of the subject. Which are present in the text with reference to the speaker.

2. Are you implying that the editor made this up?

3. And perhaps many other details of this fascinating diatribe against Zhukov are wrong?

4. True, I should've been more careful. It was of course the 8th Gds MC, not TC. 11 TC is unlikely, it was with a different rifle corps on the dates in question.

5. Even then, not a single corps of the 1st Belorussian Front lost that many tanks on any given day.

6. The passage implies 400 tanks burned (i.e. permanent) losses in a single battle. That is a wild exaggeration, of course. The losses of the entire front on 18 April were 65 burned and 86 damaged, and on the 19th - 105 burned and 76 damaged. The total losses of the 1st Tank Army on the 19th were 35 burned and 23 damaged. The assessment of a particular battle that the 39 Gds rd commander might've observed are the result of someone's unbridled fantasy.

7. I'm afraid I'll have to decline. The editor of the esteemed publication has his ideological ax to grind. The problem is not with him, but with people who use dubious sources without doing due diligence.

8. You are welcome.

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Post by GaryD » 09 Apr 2007 17:38

Kunikov wrote:1. FYI, past tense of any Russian verb gives a clue to the gender of the subject. Which are present in the text with reference to the speaker.
Thank you. Please point out which verb that is because I don't see it.

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Post by Kunikov » 09 Apr 2007 17:48

GaryD wrote:
Kunikov wrote:1. FYI, past tense of any Russian verb gives a clue to the gender of the subject. Which are present in the text with reference to the speaker.
Thank you. Please point out which verb that is because I don't see it.
Although all those points are once more from my friend, I'll simply point this out:
G. E. Marchenko retells a story from his father, Colonel Efim Timofeevich Marchenko, who, as commander of the 39th GRD, 8th Guards Army of General Chuikov, participated in the storming of the Seelow Heights.

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Post by GaryD » 09 Apr 2007 17:58

Kunikov wrote:
GaryD wrote:
Kunikov wrote:1. FYI, past tense of any Russian verb gives a clue to the gender of the subject. Which are present in the text with reference to the speaker.
Thank you. Please point out which verb that is because I don't see it.
Although all those points are once more from my friend, I'll simply point this out:
G. E. Marchenko retells a story from his father, Colonel Efim Timofeevich Marchenko, who, as commander of the 39th GRD, 8th Guards Army of General Chuikov, participated in the storming of the Seelow Heights.[/u]
First you say it's a verb, then you say it's a pronoun. In both cases you're wrong. The text says "G. E. Marchenko retells a story [recollection] from father, Colonel Efim Timofeevich Marchenko..." There is no possessive pronoun. To leave it out sounds bad in English, so I put one it. You'd prefer "he or she" when in doubt?

This tells me that you're arguing about something you've never read. Do you do that often?

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Post by Kunikov » 09 Apr 2007 18:08

GaryD wrote:
Kunikov wrote:
GaryD wrote:
Kunikov wrote:1. FYI, past tense of any Russian verb gives a clue to the gender of the subject. Which are present in the text with reference to the speaker.
Thank you. Please point out which verb that is because I don't see it.
Although all those points are once more from my friend, I'll simply point this out:
G. E. Marchenko retells a story from his father, Colonel Efim Timofeevich Marchenko, who, as commander of the 39th GRD, 8th Guards Army of General Chuikov, participated in the storming of the Seelow Heights.[/u]
First you say it's a verb, then you say it's a pronoun. In both cases you're wrong. The text says "G. E. Marchenko retells a story [recollection] from father, Colonel Efim Timofeevich Marchenko..." There is no possessive pronoun. To leave it out sounds bad in English, so I put one it. You'd prefer "he or she" when in doubt?

This tells me that you're arguing about something you've never read. Do you do that often?
And do you often argue without reading what the other side had written? The previous reply, numbered 1-8, was provided by a friend. My PERSONAL addition was the fact that you've put in the word 'his' when speaking of the authors father, thus leaving the reader no choice but to draw the conclusion that the 'author' of the text or the person behind the recollection was a male. My friend has yet to respond to your specific question regarding language rules, when he does I'll be sure to post it here for all to see.

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Post by GaryD » 09 Apr 2007 18:43

Kunikov wrote:
GaryD wrote:This tells me that you're arguing about something you've never read. Do you do that often?
And do you often argue without reading what the other side had written? The previous reply, numbered 1-8, was provided by a friend. My PERSONAL addition was the fact that you've put in the word 'his' when speaking of the authors father, thus leaving the reader no choice but to draw the conclusion that the 'author' of the text or the person behind the recollection was a male. My friend has yet to respond to your specific question regarding language rules, when he does I'll be sure to post it here for all to see.
This is probably the stupidest argument yet seen on this forum, was it "he" or "she". Who gives a #$!? If you must comment further, please send it as a private message.

What was interesting to me about that article was the Zhukov and Chuikov part, not the 400 tanks, which I treated with a grain of salt, and certainly not the gender of Marchenko's child! It's unfortunate that my bumbling effort sidetracked the main point. But hey, then I wouldn't have seen Art's great links.

I just looked at one of those links, and that led to an article in the periodical Novaya Gazeta titled "Seelow Heights, The Victory We Suffered: In The Last Days Of The War Soviet Military Command Laid To Rest 361,367 Soldiers And Officers. That article and the subsequent one on readers' comments show that more people than the Marchenkos are critical of Zhukov's methods, the evil VIA editor not withstanding.

Oh, and by the way, THAT article does say that it's his daughter.

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Post by Kunikov » 09 Apr 2007 18:51

GaryD wrote:
This is probably the stupidest argument yet seen on this forum, was it "he" or "she". Who gives a #$!? If you must comment further, please send it as a private message.

What was interesting to me about that article was the Zhukov and Chuikov part, not the 400 tanks, which I treated with a grain of salt, and certainly not the gender of Marchenko's child! It's unfortunate that my bumbling effort sidetracked the main point. But hey, then I wouldn't have seen Art's great links.

I just looked at one of those links, and that led to an article in the periodical Novaya Gazeta titled "Seelow Heights, The Victory We Suffered: In The Last Days Of The War Soviet Military Command Laid To Rest 361,367 Soldiers And Officers. That article and the subsequent one on readers' comments show that more people than the Marchenkos are critical of Zhukov's methods, the evil VIA editor not withstanding.

Oh, and by the way, THAT article does say that it's his daughter.
If someone is too lazy to get all their facts straight then their conclusions are obviously quite baseless.

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Post by GaryD » 09 Apr 2007 19:01

Kunikov wrote:If someone is too lazy to get all their facts straight then their conclusions are obviously quite baseless.
You mean like someone who doesn't even read what he's arguing about? Are those the facts you're talking about?

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Post by Kunikov » 09 Apr 2007 19:05

GaryD wrote:
Kunikov wrote:If someone is too lazy to get all their facts straight then their conclusions are obviously quite baseless.
You mean like someone who doesn't even read what he's arguing about? Are those the facts you're talking about?
My friend made a mistake and corrected himself, his points still stand. If you're done arguing about history and can only come up with ad hominem attacks then we're done now.

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