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Old 22 Feb 12, 21:14
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Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
I've been a bit of a tank nut for several years, so please bear with me. The early versions of the T-28 (models 1932,1933 & 1935) had max 30mm armour. The KT-28 76.2mm gun was 16.5 calibres and the L-10 76.2mm was 26. Apart from the applique armour added to some of them, they were comparable to early Pz-IV. However, it was a bit of a dog. The KV-1 was available in reasonable numbers at the start of Barbarossa, as was the T-34 (combined, 900?). After the Axis invasion, production was ramped up, but it was like swimming in a riptide, hence the request/demand/plea for aid from the West. The Panzer divisions just had too much experience. The KV-2 was a serious bunker-buster but was just too heavy (the Reds recognised this and stopped production when the plant was moved to Siberia), couldn't fire on the move and suffered even more strain on the transmission than the KV-1. Great idea, rubbish delivery.
I still have a hard time believing that the Germans would have performed anywhere near as effectively in June 1941 if not for the Red Army being deployed in a very vulnerable position. While the Germans had experience, so did the Soviets in successful operations against the Japanese, Poles, Finns, Balts and Romanians. Even with a somewhat less experienced officer corps and ORs I find it difficult to see the soviets taking so many loses if they'd been deployed for defence. Zhukov wasn't a fool and neither were other Soviet Generals.

The German Panzer divisions were watered down to create more of them so they were actually weaker going into the East than France and Poland. The Germans also still relied on mostly light to barely medium tanks, well deployed units of T-34 equipped tankers should have made mincemeat of German formations, and just a few KVs likewise.

The early BTs could run on their wheels, but the ground had to be good, or tarmac, otherwise things broke. I'll admit they fitted with Tukhachevsky's Deep Battle doctrine, but somebody had to have the lead in tank design in the 1930s. By chance it was the Red Army. As for obsolete bombers, the Red Air Force never had enough. And again - someone had to lead. Is being first with the technology or capability inherently aggressive?
The well developed road network of western Europe would have worked well fro the BT series tanks, especially the Autobahn system.

When you consider the nature of the Soviet system of government the fact it was building so many weapons of an offensive nature would indicate an aggressive intent. That and the fact the Soviet union was attacking and annexing its neighbours well before the German attack.

While I understand and accept this, I am not the only commentator to lament the lost opportunities of the Phoney War, especially considering the numbers facing the French army and the aforementioned British bombing policy. Once more, with feeling
During the interwar years more thought was given to defence and much less to attack, in France and Britain it was politically unfashionable to be seen as too offensive minded as Churchill found out to his disadvantage for many years. I'm not convinced the western allies could have made much of an inroad in the German western frontier in 1939. And they didn't have just Germany to face, they also had the Soviet Union which had made common cause with Germany.

I would never justify it. Explain it, place it within Stalinist-Marxist-Leninist political doctrine, point out the internal logic based on that doctrine, but never justify. Personally, I think Molotov's figures may be a little on the high side - the demographic data doesn't indicate a loss of 8,000,000 within a year. But given the state of Soviet statistics, all they had were estimates for several years.
It was rule by terror plain and simple and nothing to do with ideology, just the fact that the Bolsheviks were trying to impose their will on a nation that really didn't want them. And there were many examples of a clear contempt for human life and rights, the peasants were crushed during collectivization because of their continuing support for a free market for their products and many minorities in the USSR were singled out for oppression and transportation to the far east such as the Kalmyks, Tartars, Chechens, ethnic Germans, Poles and more. Millions of people were forced into slave labor under the Gulag system to fund much of the industrial expansion of the Soviet Union much of which went into military materials and very little into consumer products.

The closest comparison I can think of to the USSR in contempary culture is Mordor from Tolkiens books.

Ivan would have approved of Oliver Cromwell's behaviour in Ireland. The Catholic Irish still hate Cromwell.
That doesn't say much for Ivan, along with the destruction Cromwell caused in Ireland he also sent thousands of Irish into slavery in the Caribbean, many African Americans claim Irish ancestory.

Communism requires perfect people.
And I'm fully aware of the nature of the Bolshevik revolution, the February revolution and the interplay of the SR, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks - part of those varsity courses. The murder of Kirov is one of those things where the balance of probability indicates Stalin organised it, but there's not enough evidence to hang the man. He certainly profited from it. In fact, Stalin managed to paint himself as the great survivor.
There were so many smoking guns pointing in Stalins direction I think it's pretty plain from a historical standpoint that he was the architect of most of the misery occuring in the USSR after the decline and death of Lenin.

Like any ism, communisn is an ideal that can never be truly reached, but they didn't even really try in the USSR. It was a sham country used to hide a very unpleasant truth. The Bolsheviks were about power and revenge to a large degree, on Lenin's part for the death of his brother by execution by the state and what he felt was discrimination for being related to a revolutionary afterward and the rest had their grudges and psychological issues.

The Ma Deuce could too. The Soviet 45mm was just a Rheinmetall 37mm bored to maximum calibre. The primary advantage is the HE shell packs a punch and not a slap. In a country full of rivers and shyte roads, those amphibious tanks make great sense. The Japanese also had amphibious tanks...
Put in perspective, the Red Army had almost as many amphibious tanks as the Germans had tanks of all models in 1941.

Stalin took advantage of the fact that he could impose his will on the countries the Red Army liberated, just as the West was free to do as well. But then, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and to an extent Poland had been fascist states and the first three had invaded the USSR. So imposing his will on them was to an extent payback. But he stayed true to his word in not supporting communist insurgencies in Italy, France or Greece. And the what later became the Warsaw Pact allies did form a protective glacis. And protection is something paranoids are keen on.
Who invaded who first?

Claims of Soviet retribution ignore the fact it was the Soviets acting in concert with the Nazis that started the whole ball rolling in 1939. The soviet Union was already an aggressor long before Barbarossa began in 1941.

Stalin was interested in one thing, unlimited power, he did everything he could to acheive it in the USSR and in my opinion and the opinion of many others was well on his way to doing the same thing on a much greater international scale when attacked by Hitler in 1941. The two tyrants spoiled each others plans.

Last edited by Mil_dude; 22 Feb 12 at 21:18..