Stormtroopers on the Eastern Front

Discussions on all aspects of Imperial Germany not covered in the other sections.
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Lawrence
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Stormtroopers on the Eastern Front

Post by Lawrence » 19 Dec 2002 17:52

Hello all, I have a question. Were there any German Stormtroopers on the Eastern Front? And if there were, did they behave in the same way as on the Western Front? Regards!

Durand
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Post by Durand » 19 Dec 2002 23:14

Hallo,

I believe that the Stormtroops fought only on the Western front and Italy. They were developed to break the deadlock created by trench warfare in the West.

Regards,

Durand

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Lawrence
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Eastern Front

Post by Lawrence » 20 Dec 2002 07:55

Hmmm...that's what I thought. Well, do you know if they had any kind of unit similar to that on the Eastern Front? It seems that all in all, the fighting there was not nearly as intense than in the West. Forgive all the questions about the war in the East, I've just been trying my hardest to learn about it due to the fact there is such little information floating around about it. Even the books on it don't answer all that much. Regards!

Durand
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Post by Durand » 20 Dec 2002 14:08

Hallo Kingsley,

My intial post on this thread is incorrect. The German 8th Army under the command of General Oskar Hutier used massed artillery and Stosstruppen in the capture of Riga in September 1917.

You may find more information about this at:

http://www.rickard.karoo.net/warsmain2.html#ww1eastern

http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/hutier.htm

I looked into the question about the Stosstruppen and the East front a while ago and came up with nothing. That is what I based my first response on. Your questions gave me the itch to look into the question again and this time there is a positive result.

There is no need to apologize for asking questions, we all post here to learn something and one never knows what may pop up as a result of our questions. I am glad you asked this one because I also learned something new. It is a shame that so little information is available regarding the East front. As you can see, I have also run into that problem. Good luck to you.

I hope this has been some help.

Regards,

Durand

Durand
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Posts: 1215
Joined: 09 Jul 2002 17:02
Location: USA

Post by Durand » 20 Dec 2002 21:16

Hallo Kingsley,

Here are a few more sites and an article which you may find to be of interest:


http://www.consimworld.com/newsroom/arc ... ort10.html

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/ ... e/riga.htm

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... 90/HPE.htm

http://websites.ntl.com/~wellclge/depts ... nchwar.htm

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2002/20020623/edit.htm#2

The following is a newspaper article found at the last site on the list by retired Indian Major General Kuldip Singh Bajwa:

India will have to evolve a military doctrine for the future
Kuldip Singh Bajwa
MILITARY leaders are inclined to fight their present wars and plan for the future on their experience of yesterday. Unfortunately, this approach does not fully take into consideration the impact of technological developments on military tactics and doctrine. There can be no better example to bear witness to this flaw in military thinking than the Maginot Line concept of the French prior to the Second World War. The French military concepts were influenced by their experience of the static trench warfare during the First World War. At that point of time, the machine gun and the artillery had robbed the opposing armies of power of manoeuvre on the battlefield. The French generals had built the Maginot Line, an extensive system of fortifications along the frontier with Germany, which they pronounced to be impregnable.
It was evident that the potential of two new developments, which had appeared on the battlefield towards the tail end of the War, was not fully absorbed by the French military thinkers and planners. On September 16, 1916, the British had sent 49 of a somewhat crude version of a tank, across the German lines at Flers on the River Somme. Many of these unwieldy steel monsters broke down even before starting and most of the rest could not easily negotiate the shell craters in the no-man’s land and the German trench system. Next year the British tank attack at Cambrai had successfully demonstrated the ability of the tank to move through a hail of machine gun fire. This potential of the tank to restore battlefield manoeuvre had made a strong impression on the German military high command.
Towards the closing months of 1917, the Germans had adopted an innovative battle tactic to carry out infantry attacks without suffering prohibitive casualties. They employed specially trained and equipped storm troops to speedily penetrate deep into enemy defences and attack from the rear and flanks in conjunction with an attack by the main force. This tactic was first tried out in September 1917 against the Russians at Riga. The Twelfth Russian Army had established a very strong bridgehead across the Dvina River near the Baltic coast. Ahead of the river, the Russian defences were in considerable depth. A direct frontal assault would have been very costly. On September 1, German General Oskar Von Hutier, a rather unconventional soldier, crossed the river on a flank and then used specially trained assault troops to speedily infiltrate into the rear of the Russian defences. The Russians were completely taken by surprise and within hours their whole front had collapsed into chaos.
Young Erwin Rommel tried similar tactics to break up Italian defences on the Isonzo-Caporetto Sector of the Italian front. Taking a lesson from these successes, the Germans had raised a number of specialised battalions of assault troops to break up the stagnation on the western front in France. On March 21, 1918, these storm troops infiltrated the front of the British Fifth Army and soon ripped it apart. Continual movement and penetration into the depth to disrupt the British command and support infrastructure was the essence of their tactics. From over-head German aircraft provided information and gave fire support. The main German forces followed up to mop up the paralysed defenders.
The German offensive had met with considerable success, but it came too late at the end of four years of a debilitating war. Weary Germans could not match the induction of fresh American troops and their superior material resources. Their offensive was halted and the Allied counter offensive that followed brought an end to the war. The lessons learnt, however, were not lost. Over the intervening years, Germany developed the Blitzkrieg, a combination of storm troops, armour and the dive-bomber to over-run Western Europe, despite the much-vaunted Maginot Line and the Belgian fortresses like Eban Emael.
A hard look at wars fought by the Indian armed forces starting from October, 1947 highlights our very conventional military thinking. Admittedly in the operations in Jammu and Kashmir during 1947-48, a great deal of dynamism and innovation was displayed in the actual fighting on the ground. This was, however, not matched at the conceptual and directive levels of command. The only flash of unconventional tactical brilliance was the employment of tanks to break through the enemy defences at Zoji La on Nov 1, 1948. During the subsequent wars of 1962, 1965 and the western sector in 1971, the planning and conduct of operations was largely conventional and pedestrian. It was only in the operations in the erstwhile East Pakistan in December 1971, that some tactical innovations were witnessed. The crossing of the Meghna River by 4 Corps by a vertical envelopment using helicopters was a brilliant stroke. Even the advance down south through Jamalpur-Mymensingh to Dacca had considerable tactical merit. All the other operations did not rise above conventional plodding.
Pakistan is our primary adversary on land. Both the opposing armed forces are very similarly organised, equipped and trained. The leadership concepts and operational philosophy is not far different. In both countries the main defences are based on canal and ditch-cum-bund obstacle systems. It is also rather difficult to achieve strategic as well as tactical surprise. Invariably in the past both the opposing forces had ended up in a near parity in their fighting potential on the battlefield. While Indian forces did succeed in carrying the fighting onto the Pakistani soil, the advances made were dismal by any operational yardstick. In the future any sizeable concentration of forces to break through these strong linear defences would run the risk of a tactical nuclear strike. It is evident that in this operational environment a force organised and trained to disorganise a near static defensive structure by infiltration can help achieve a significant breakthrough.
It is essential that we raise a sizeable force of elite storm troops to spearhead our operations. A combination of these specialised forces, helicopter mobility, airborne firepower, armoured spearheads and mobile follow up echelons in time would be needed. Even more important is dynamic military leadership with mobile and innovative minds positioned well forward in battle. It would not be easy for the adversary to decide to resort to tactical nuclear weapons in the state of confusion and chaos created by deep penetration into its defended zone.
Nuclear weapons have brought about another radical change in the concept of war. There is undoubtedly considerable deterrence to any large-scale conventional war. Pakistan has chosen penetrative as well as proxy terrorism as a state policy. The fundamentalist-jehadi outfits encouraged by the state, and with which the state apparatus had developed a close nexus, have started acting independently on their own. These organisations follow their own agenda and are not deterred by any show of organised force. Pakistani ruling establishment including the army no loger seem to have effective leverage with these jehadi outfits created and nurtured by them. Even if some clout is there the rulers are restrained from using it by their domestic compulsions. It would be an illusion to depend upon other powers to act overtly and strongly against the erring state and terrorist organisations that flourish in Pakistan. The attitude of the USA amply proves this point. It has adopted eradication of international terrorism as an article of state policy, and yet it has found it expedient to take on board the Pakistan Government headed by General Musharraf, which has been a widely acknowledged sponsor and patron of international terrorism.
What are our options? Do we go to war with Pakistan every time a heinous terrorist act is committed such as the recent massacre of innocent civilians at Jammu? This is neither feasible nor desirable nor would it be cost effective. Do we then strike in a big way on terrorist camps or establishments in Pakistan? This too may not be practicable and may turn out to be counter-productive as Israel is finding out in Palestine.
On the other hand, we are resolved to recover Kashmir territory illegally occupied by Pakistan. It would be perfectly legitimate to undertake operations into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and where necessary undertake selective surgical strikes. These operations should be so planned and operationally calibrated that Pakistan can neither claim a cause to breach the nuclear threshold nor start an open conventional war. Careful political and diplomatic preparations would also keep the global reaction within manageable bounds.
While we must continue with our diplomatic pressures and deterrence with force, we must examine the selective elimination of the terrorist leadership. “Extermination with extreme prejudice” has been practiced by nearly all the secret services of the civilised world. Moral squeamishness has little relevance in a world willing to accept strange bed-fellows in pursuit of their chosen interests. Time has come to critically examine our security and defence management concepts, formulations and practices.


Hope this also has been of some help.

Regards,

Durand

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Lawrence
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My thanks

Post by Lawrence » 26 Dec 2002 22:21

Thanks Durand, for the information. I really appreciate it. Sorry I haven't responded to you in a while, busy for Christmas. Again, thanks a lot, it's nice to know there are such helpful people on the forum! Regards.

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