Of 120,000 soldiers from 6th army captured, only 5000 return

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 25 Feb 2003 08:59

official Soviet figure for Italian POWs satated in Krivosheev's book is 48957 he does not give any numbers for mortality

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 25 Feb 2003 09:14

the data for italian losses are more or less

soldiers MIA at the end of winter retreat: 90000

of which captured by russians: 45000 (estimated; substantial agree between italian andsoviet sources)

of which back in italy at the end of war: 10000

morale: italians dead in russian prisony: 35000

ratio on total POWs: 77%

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Post by CHRISCHA » 25 Feb 2003 22:15

Oleg, did you use my previous post as an example or would you be intrested in the sources because you disagree? Regards.

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Post by guntis » 01 May 2003 12:04

I am reading a book in russian called "The second live of Fieldmarshall Paulus" by Blank and other one. Sorry I've forgotten the name of other author. It was published in 1989. Blank was a young leutenant of NKVD. He was an interpreter, he had a lot of dialogues with Paulus. It is written that all the POWs had a healthy food, normal life in prison etc. They lived in Suzdal, 200 km from Moscow. I am reading and it it hard to believe what is written there. I know that the soviets destroyed the army of Latvia in 1940-1941, the best officers were killed or sent to Siberia... :x
Paulus was needed just to declare that nacional-socialism is bad, the Fuehrer is murderer etc.

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Post by Nick Pears » 01 May 2003 13:22

The mortality rates for the 6th Army after its surrender can be put down to many factors including:

The condition of the troops at the surrender - the majority were on the verge of death from disease and starvation and also from having to spend the last few weeks of the encirclement force-marching from the comparative comfort of their dug-outs in the middle of the brutal russian winter as the soviets tightened the noose.

The "War of Annihilation" attitude whipped up by both sides, particularly the, "Kill the German"-type journalism by people such as Ilya Ehrenberg(sp?).

The general lack of food and medical supplies that the Russians had for themselves, never mind for the Germans.

The policy of taking German prisoners on death march's to reduce their numbers - it must be remembered that the Russian supply lines were atrocious and the number of German's surrounded was grossly und-estimated.

I'm not trying to defend Russian actions but... some old adage about, "Reaping what you sow." comes to mind.

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Post by guntis » 20 Jun 2003 16:00

By the way only 5% of pows returned to the Motherland. :(

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Post by Rommel8 » 20 Jun 2003 18:53

Im not sure if anyone posted this (i didnt see it), but the Russians were not one of the countries to sign the Geneva Convention treaty, which we all know is giving fair treatment and such to POWs.

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Post by cyberdaemon » 22 Mar 2004 10:20

Eightball wrote:It was also quite common to shoot POWs at that time. So some might have felt victim to bullets, though that all were shot is unlikely.
no , they died because of horrible conditions : hunger , extremely hard work etc...

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 22 Mar 2004 10:27

most of them died before ever reaching the camps. they were half-dead when they capitualted alredy.

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Post by Molisani » 04 Nov 2004 18:58

Krasnaya is correct.I am an American just returned from a stay in the Ukraine for a month,Stalin's memory conjures nothing but fear and hate in these people who I consider wonderful in the least.The guy was a bigger monster than Hitler in the broader sense of his career in the soviet regime.Front line soldiers were sent to gulags for noticing how well the German people were living in comparison,his legendary paranoia along with his henchmen is unfathomable against his own people.I asked some people in Kiev about the ravine where the SS shot all the Jews and the reply was "forget that,the forests are full of good loyal soviet citizens that pales that in comparison" thanks to the NKVD and KGB. You would have to travel to the former USSR to understand the history we in the USA can't fathom as reality.We have been isolated and protected as a whole thanks to a wonderfully free way of life.

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Mathias Forsberg
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Post by Mathias Forsberg » 04 Nov 2004 23:29

Oleg Grigoryev wrote:most of them died before ever reaching the camps. they were half-dead when they capitualted alredy.
I believe this is more or less true for every POW taken during WWII, but especially those captured in large numbers on the Eastern Front.

Once you actually reached a POW camp, designated labour camp area, or similar mortality dropped significantly (although very high in some instances).

Allied POW:s in German POW camps had the lowest mortality rate of all, but they also never surrendered in large numbers or had to be transported longer distances. It's easier to transport 8 000 US POW:s from the Ardnnes than 650 000 from the Kiev area.

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Post by Uninen » 05 Nov 2004 04:37

In a book Unknown war by Harrison E. Salisbury 1978 there is note by Nikita Hruštšov about how he saw piles of thousands of Germans that had been executed by Red Army after their surrender and also on pages 146-147 theres a picture on one such pile, and the dead there certainly didnt die in combat.

It also mentions how he summoned Red Army troops with German POWs to burn the bodies of those executed.. on pages 146-147 also.

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Post by Cannonball » 12 Nov 2004 06:25

Here is what I know, from what I have read about this:

When the Soviets launched Operation Uranus, they thought that Paulus was actually the one calling the shots. He wasn't, it was Hitler. When the Sovitets launched the offensive, they expected Paulus to do the prudent thing, and withdraw to avoid encirclement. As such, the Soviets originally expected that they would only capture a comparatively small rearguard force of perhaps as many as 60,000, and that they would surrender by December, in relatively good condition.

As it happened, Hitler ordered Paulus to hold fast. Therefore, the Soviets were able to encircle about 250,000 Axis troops, many of whom continued fighting until late Jan./early Feb. With the lack of supplies during that period, their condidion was far worse, and their numbers greater, than the Soviets were prepared to handle.

Also, the Soviets didn't release thier German POWs until 1953/'54. The work camps in Siberia weren't exactly conducive to maintaining good health.

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Post by Shc » 12 Nov 2004 06:42

Musashi wrote:115000 German POWs its really NOTHING comparing to the numbers of the Soviet POWs who died in the German camps.

Dunno but I have always thought the Germans were incapable of treating the Soviet POWs because the Germans were in huge shortage of well... basically everything!! meaning that very little or none would go to the POWs because the Wehrmacht themselves had poor treatements..

The perfect example would obviously be the POWs in Stalingrad but im sure it was the same for many other POW camps.

So isin't the main reason as to why Russian POWs were treated badly by the Germans was because the Germans couldn't treat themselves?

Im not sure for the Russians though.


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Post by David Thompson » 12 Nov 2004 07:02

JoseFrancis --
So isin't the main reason as to why Russian POWs were treated badly by the Germans was because the Germans couldn't treat themselves?
No. The German mistreatment of Soviet POWs wasn't because the Germans had shortages. That was not an excuse in 1941-1943, when the Germans had seized everything from the occupied countries that wasn't nailed down. The Nazis believed that Russians should be mistreated because they were inferior. See the orders and correspondence collected at:

"Documents on German treatment of Soviet POWs" at:

You can see the same racist thought process at work at:

"Nazi occupation policies for the USSR"

In both threads you can also see the protests of more thoughtful Germans who thought such treatment was a bad idea, along with explanations of why they thought that way.

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