Wikipedia Article Errors - von Mellenthin

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Andreas
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Wikipedia Article Errors - von Mellenthin

Post by Andreas » 14 Dec 2005 13:45

Split from Zhitomir discussion:

viewtopic.php?t=91680

Qvist wrote:Yes, you're right, he was.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederich_von_Mellenthin

cheers


Showing in one single article all that is wrong with Wikipedia. ;)

All the best

Andreas

Copy of the article as it appeared on Wikipedia on 14 Dec 2005.

Frederich von Mellenthin
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Frederich Wilhelm von Mellenthin (born 1904 in Breslau, Poland) was a Generalmajor in the German Army during World War II.1 Between 1924 and 1935, he served in the Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the Bundeswehr. After that, he attended the German officers' War Academy until 1937.

Just before the start of World War II, between 1937 through December 1939, he served as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) in the III Corps of the German Army. He participated in the September 1939 invasion of Poland, where III Corps attacked from Pomerania and pressed along the Vistula River toward Warsaw, cutting off the retreat of Polish units in the Corridor.

Between June and August 1940, he was the First General Staff Officer (Ia-Operations) with the 197th Infantry Division during the Battle of France. Then between September 1940 and February 1941, he was the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) in the First Army, then on occupation duty in western Europe. After this quiet period, from March through May 1941, he was the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) with the Second Army during Germany's invasion of the Balkans.

Thereafter von Mellenthin was shipped to North Africa, where between June 1941 and September 1942 he served as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) to Field Marshall Rommel in the Panzer Group / Panzer Army Afrika. He participated in the battles of Tobruk, Gazala, and El Alamein. Between July and September of 1942 he also served as the Acting Operations Staff Officer to Erwin Rommel. Due to the high stress of these assignments, he spent September and October of 1943 in a military hospital at Garmish, Germany recovering from exhaustion.

Upon recovery, from November 1942 to May 1944, he served as Chief of General Staff for the XLVIII Panzer Corps on the Eastern Front, where he participated in battles throughout the Ukraine and at Stalingrad, Kursk, and Kiev. As Chief of Staff for the XLVIIIth Panzer Corps, he made frequent radio contact with General Paulus at Stalingrad, to learn of his battle plans for Hitler's order to hold the encircled city against the attacking Red Army. Shortly thereafter he was transferred, and between May and September 1944 he was Chief of General Staff for General Balck's Fourth Panzer Army, which fought around Baranov on the Vistula River in Russia.

In September 1944 he was transferred to eastern France, where until November he served as Chief of General Staff Army Group G under General Hasso von Manteuffel. He participated in the Campaign of the West along the front line between Luxembourg and Switzerland, serving in battles around Nancy, Metz, Arracourt, and Alsace-Lorraine.

Mellenthin was relieved of his command along with several other German officers in early December 1944, due to the unauthorized retreat of the German forces, and retired to the Officers’ Pool of High Command Army. However, General Heinz Guderian obtained restoration to duty for him in late December. From December 28 through February 1945 he was attached to the 9th Panzer Division during the Battle of the Bulge, where he fought just north of Bastogne. Between March and May 1945 he was Chief of General Staff to Gen. Hasso von Manteuffel’s Fifth Panzer Army, which was defending western Germany in the Ruhr region and around Cologne.

During the eastward retreat he was captured by the British at Hoxter on the Weser River, on May 3, 1945.

His book Panzerschlachten, translated into English as Panzer Battles, documents all the campaigns he participated in with substantial detal.

Note 1: His older brother, Horst von Mellenthin was a General of Artillery during the Second World War.
Last edited by Andreas on 14 Dec 2005 17:15, edited 2 times in total.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 14 Dec 2005 14:18

You mean this?

Code: Select all

As Chief of Staff for the XLVIIIth Panzer Corps, he made frequent radio contact with General Paulus at Stalingrad, to learn of his battle plans for Hitler's order to hold the encircled city against the attacking Red Army. Shortly thereafter he was transferred, and between May and September 1944 he was Chief of General Staff for General Balck's Fourth Panzer Army, which fought around Baranov on the Vistula River in Russia.


Seems to skip a year there. And the Vistula river in Russia?

Apart from that , it seems like a fairly straightforward biographical sketch, with at least no very obvious errors? Unless you accesss the links of course. I see they've taken to using a standardised format for battle descriptions, including data on losses that in some cases is enough to make one want to sob, if one cares about that sort of thing.

cheers

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Post by Andreas » 14 Dec 2005 14:35

Wrongly spelled name (Friedrich, not Frederich), he was a member of the Reichswehr, not Bundeswehr up to 1935, Balck was not commander of 4th Panzer Army, Rauss was, in the period May to August 44 at least, when they fought the L'vov operation, it is written XXXXVIII. Panzerkorps (okay, that is nitpicking), Commander of Army Group G was Balck, not von Manteuffel, and von Mellenthin accompanied him there (Balck was sacked afterwards). Mellenthin could not be relieved of 'his command' at Army Group G, since he had none, only of his post. And it is Höxter, not Hoxter. He did not serve in any battles while with Army Group G, but on the staff of the formation directing the battles, AFAICR.

Well that's just the stuff I think I can tell is wrong without going into his book and some minimal checking. I would like to say the rest is okay, but I'd rather not.

All the best

Andreas

Ps. Now I take bets for how long it will take until a Wikifan tells me that instead of complaining I should engage and correct the article.

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Post by Qvist » 14 Dec 2005 14:49

Good heavens - the things I am able to miss. I would not have remembered that Rauss rather than Balck commanded PzAOK 4 at this time or known the correct spelling of Höxter, but the rest are indeed obvious.

Ps. Now I take bets for how long it will take until a Wikifan tells me that instead of complaining I should engage and correct the article.


Hehe, well, no bets from me - I think you just rather pre-empted that. :)

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Post by Andreas » 14 Dec 2005 14:54

Qvist wrote:Good heavens - the things I am able to miss. I would not have remembered that Rauss rather than Balck commanded PzAOK 4 at this time or known the correct spelling of Höxter, but the rest are indeed obvious.


Well if it makes you feel better, I somehow missed that the Vistula river and Baranov had somehow managed to move to Russia.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by trollelite » 14 Dec 2005 20:32

Raus is KG of 1st Pz, the commander of 4th is Model's leutnant Joseph Harpe, to whom Raus had to relinquish his panzer armee. It was somewhat an insult, but Harpe had followed Model since Typhoon, and Raus only an Austrian.

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Post by Andreas » 14 Dec 2005 21:01

trollelite wrote:Raus is KG of 1st Pz, the commander of 4th is Model's leutnant Joseph Harpe, to whom Raus had to relinquish his panzer armee. It was somewhat an insult, but Harpe had followed Model since Typhoon, and Raus only an Austrian.


Thanks - quite correct, I was working from memory on the basis of 'Fester Platz Tarnopol', assuming that Raus did not change command. Balck succeeded to command of 4. Panzerarmee on 3rd August 44, according to Lexikon der Wehrmacht.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Jon G. » 14 Dec 2005 21:21

As far as biographies go, the article omits the second-most important part any biography, namely the date of death... unless von Mellenthin is still around, pushing 102..?

By far the most interesting part of von Mellenthin's memoirs is the part describing the Crusader battles in November 1941 which is quite distinct from the battles for Tobruk. It's especially interesting to contrast Mellenthin's version with Kriebel's. For the North African campaign, von Mellenthin included Auchinleck's memoirs and secondary British/Commonwealth sources in his memoirs.

At least by his own account, von Mellenthin got amoebic dysentery in North Africa, not 'high stress'.

Still, this sentence...
His book Panzerschlachten, translated into English as Panzer Battles, documents all the campaigns he participated in with substantial detal.
...bugs me the most. Memoirs don't document anything when we have other sources closer to the events described.

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Post by JonS » 14 Dec 2005 21:33

Andreas wrote:Ps. Now I take bets for how long it will take until a Wikifan tells me that instead of complaining I should engage and correct the article.

Well, seriously? Nothing is ever perfect, but I view Wiki as having the ability to approach 'perfection' assymptotically, given a chance. Instead of whining about articles, and showing off how much smarter you are than the rest of the world, if an article bugs you - change it. It's easy to do, and it makes you feel studly. I've changed a couple of articles in the past (minor edits like USAF -> USAAF in WWII, that sort of thing).

I mean, why don't you change it?

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Post by Andreas » 14 Dec 2005 21:51

JonS wrote:I mean, why don't you change it?


  • Because this particular entry is so poor that it simply beggars belief. It is not that whoever wrote it did not have any sources, that is clearly not the case. It is that despite this a wealth of information in that article is so completely off the mark that I can just shake my head. I find it astonishing that one can have all this info and still get it completely wrong.
  • Because anyone can then alter what I wrote later and replace it with faulty information again - at least that is how I understand Wikipedia works. Why should I invest time in it?
  • Because I fundamentally don't care about wikipedia - this discussion came off a separate thread, and from a glib remark of mine that I then needed to back up.
  • I normally don't use wikipedia, I am unconvinced it actually adds any value, and therefore see no reason to invest time in it.


Good enough reasons? :)

Edit: I don't go to Wikipedia to check articles there for correctness and then come back here to complain about it. This one was linked, I clicked on the link and then felt compelled to point out the inaccuracies here. It'll be interesting to go back in a few weeks and see if it has been improved.

Now where's my turn?

All the best

Andreas

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Post by JonS » 14 Dec 2005 22:42

Andreas wrote:
JonS wrote:I mean, why don't you change it?

  • Because this particular entry is so poor that it simply beggars belief.
  • Because anyone can then alter what I wrote later and replace it with faulty information again.
  • Because I fundamentally don't care about Wikipedia.
  • I am unconvinced [Wiki] actually adds any value, and therefore see no reason to invest time in it.

Good enough reasons? :)

3) The third one certainly is.
4) The fourth one ("think it adds no value") isn't. It depends on what you expect Wiki to be, and what level of detail you expect it to have. I suspect that many people have unrealistic expectations, and hold Wiki to a far higher standard than say Britannica, and an amorphous standard at that. They then say things like "see, Wiki doesn't meet my [arbitrarily imposed] standards". Well, d'uh.
1) The first one amounts to "it's bad because it's bad", which isn't much of a reason, IMO.
2) The second one only works if you are of the opinion that the forces of evil will win. I don't believe that to be the case. Most people write stuff for Wiki in good faith, and want it to improve. There are 'edit wars', and malicious writers, but the number of such events are small. Besides the same things - and worse - happen here, without making AHF completely worthless.

In fact, you can view quite a few of the threads on this forum as mini-Wikis on specific topics. There is a shitload of dross, hero worship, arguments, repition, poor writing, bad conclusions, and so on. But taken in toto most threads contribute something to the whole.

Edit: I don't go to Wikipedia to check articles there for correctness and then come back here to complain about it. This one was linked, I clicked on the link and then felt compelled to point out the inaccuracies here. It'll be interesting to go back in a few weeks and see if it has been improved.

And if it hasn't? That'd be evidence of ... what, exactly? You found a poor article and chose not to improve it. That's about it, really.
Now where's my turn?

Meh. I've been busy. Maybe tonight, probably not. If not, maybe Sunday sometime.

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Post by Andreas » 14 Dec 2005 23:03

JonS wrote:4) The fourth one ("think it adds no value") isn't. It depends on what you expect Wiki to be, and what level of detail you expect it to have. I suspect that many people have unrealistic expectations, and hold Wiki to a far higher standard than say Britannica, and an amorphous standard at that. They then say things like "see, Wiki doesn't meet my [arbitrarily imposed] standards". Well, d'uh.


You got that wrong - it is my opinion that Wiki adds no value, I do not proclaim it to be a fact. I do not do what you think regarding holding it to high standards. I hold it to low standards, and that's why it does not add value for me. I do think Wiki adds no value, because whatever I find there is unreliable, as far as I am concerned, so I have to do further research in order to confirm it, in which case I do not need to bother with Wiki in the first place. I also don't use Britannica, so that has nothing to do with it. Wiki may add value for other people, and that's great for them.

JonS wrote:1) The first one amounts to "it's bad because it's bad", which isn't much of a reason, IMO.


Well no, it is an observation about the self-repair capabilities of Wiki in a topic of interest to me. They appear to be non-existant, unfairly judging from one horrendous example, or at the very least fairly weak when it comes to groggy specifics.

JonS wrote:2) The second one only works if you are of the opinion that the forces of evil will win. I don't believe that to be the case. Most people write stuff for Wiki in good faith, and want it to improve. There are 'edit wars', and malicious writers, but the number of such events are small. Besides the same things - and worse - happen here, without making AHF completely worthless.

In fact, you can view quite a few of the threads on this forum as mini-Wikis on specific topics. There is a shitload of dross, hero worship, arguments, repition, poor writing, bad conclusions, and so on. But taken in toto most threads contribute something to the whole.


The difference to me is that it is immediately obvious here on AHF what is happening. The history of the discussion is there, the character of the contributors is known. Controversy draws out further arguments and information (see e.g. the Panzergrenadier thread) This process is completely accessible, and I can weigh the information accordingly. On Wiki, I have (in this case) some dross written by someone I don't know and can not judge, which can be overwritten by somebody else with noone being ever the wiser (unless you want to tell me that not only would I have to check the entry, but also the editing history, each time I want to use Wiki).

JonS wrote:And if it hasn't? That'd be evidence of ... what, exactly? You found a poor article and chose not to improve it. That's about it, really.


Well no, it shows that the self-repair idea in a topic of interest to me is not working. It may work a bit better were I to spend time on it, but I have a realistic view of my capabilities, and that tells me that it would not even be a drop in the ocean were I to start it, so I can not fix it.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by JonS » 15 Dec 2005 01:49

"The difference to me is that it is immediately obvious here on AHF what is happening. The history of the discussion is there, the character of the contributors is known. Controversy draws out further arguments and information ... This process is completely accessible, and I can weigh the information accordingly. On Wiki, I have ... some dross written by someone I don't know and can not judge, which can be overwritten by somebody else with noone being ever the wiser (unless you want to tell me that not only would I have to check the entry, but also the editing history, each time I want to use Wiki)."

Andreas, you can swith the places of AHF and Wiki in that paragraph, and it makes complete sense. Reading the Wiki history is just the same as reading a thread, etc.

"Well no, it shows that the self-repair idea in a topic of interest to me is not working. It may work a bit better were I to spend time on it, but I have a realistic view of my capabilities, and that tells me that it would not even be a drop in the ocean were I to start it, so I can not fix it. "

Well, no, it shows that either:
a) no one has read it, or
b) no one who did read it noticed a problem, or
c) people who did read it spotted problems, sniffed, and said "See? Told ya Wiki sux0rz", or
d) someone read it and intends to correct it, but hasn't got round to it yet, or
e) etc.

BTW, you can fix it, even if only a little bit. You don't need to cure cancer or anything, just make it better than it was.

You don't use either, but this is still interesting.

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Post by Qvist » 15 Dec 2005 08:34

For my part, I sort of agree with both of you. I have edited articles in Wikipedia, at least a few times, and would like to see it evolve into something good. That being said, I very rarely use it, and consider its info, on the strength of experience, to be generally and fundamentally unreliable. I guess it can be OK for simple and limited purposes (such as above), but only with care. I find the most valuable part in many contexts to be the links - you can usually expect to find something useful and pertinent there.

cheers

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Post by Andreas » 15 Dec 2005 09:16

JonS wrote:Well no, it shows that the self-repair idea in a topic of interest to me is not working. It may work a bit better were I to spend time on it, but I have a realistic view of my capabilities, and that tells me that it would not even be a drop in the ocean were I to start it, so I can not fix it. "

Well, no, it shows that either:
a) no one has read it, or
b) no one who did read it noticed a problem, or
c) people who did read it spotted problems, sniffed, and said "See? Told ya Wiki sux0rz", or
d) someone read it and intends to correct it, but hasn't got round to it yet, or
e) etc.

BTW, you can fix it, even if only a little bit. You don't need to cure cancer or anything, just make it better than it was.

You don't use either, but this is still interesting.


Jon

I think our statements are not mutually exclusive - yours is just providing the reasons for why mine is correct. ;)

I had seen you link the article about Britannica before. Interesting, but does not really change anything for me.

All the best

Andreas

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