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  #196  
Old 04 Mar 12, 15:51
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Originally Posted by Scott Fraser View Post
That may be your first problem. Not everyone here suffers from that deficiency.

Suvorov defected and started writing thirty years ago, before Glasnost', before the collapse of the USSR, and before Soviet archives were accessible to academics. His status in the GRU was not great, certainly not sufficient to give him unfettered access to restricted files in the voluminous archives.

In 2003 the archives pertaining to the GPW were opened to those with credentials. Since then, a small army of researchers have explored them and published their conclusions. Russian copyright legislation being what is is, thousands of books have been published, sold out, and put online. I have (too) many of them. Almost none of it has been translated into English.

Nor are western historians broadly proficient in the Russian language. They are lazy, particularly American historians, who fall back on the presumption that everybody important speaks English. They regurgitate rather than research, creating a situation where there is a wealth of material that has not been incorporated into English-language histories as Anglophone historians continue to recite the things they learned by rote.

There is a time lag. Someday western histories will include the same elements that contemporary Russian history address. Until then, everything remains filtered and slanted to promote an agenda that is removed from pure history and interferes with an objective assessment of Soviet capability and intent. There is a host of myths and skewed assessments that remain to be debunked in Anglo history. Glantz and Hardesty are pioneers, but it will still take a long time before the mass of information trickles down to the Anglo world. For the moment, there is controversy and debate as those who read from the flawed Anglo record are challenged by those who read the Russian record.

Suvorov's thesis is flawed, not supported by documentation and contrary to the known limitations and strategy of the Soviet high command in 1941. It has been refuted by countless historians who benefit from access to relevant material from Soviet archives. Despite that, Suvorov's assertions fit very nicely into the anti-Soviet Weltanschauung and continue to be endorsed by those who would advance that agenda.

My own opinion - if you want to know about the GPW, you would be better served to learn Russian and read for yourself rather than to wait for Anglo history to incorporate the factual record found in Soviet archives.

My 2
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There is no such thing as unbiased history, even if someone is doing their best to write as objectively as possible they will inevitably put some of their preconceived notions down.

One of the reasons I like Suvorov's writing is he offers something more than the tired old "The Red Army was broken and rusting in June of 1941". We know for a fact it had some of the best weapons in the world at the time, some of the greatest industrial capacity and a huge manpower reserve not to mention senior officers like Zhukov. While the Red Army may have not been at the same standard as the Wehrmacht and other German forces in the 1940s, who was? One of the reasons Churchill was so reluctant to commit his forces to an invasion of the European continent in 1943 and still in 1944 was the repeated beating his troops had taken at the hands of the Germans. By international standards there was nothing wrong with the Red Army in 1941 as it had already shown in previous operations.

If nothing else Suvorov removes some of the stigma that has been attached to the Red Army for decades over its performance in 1941 that IMO had little to do with its state of training, experience and equipment but had much more to do with its political control which was faulty.

Last edited by Mil_dude; 04 Mar 12 at 15:58..
  #197  
Old 05 Mar 12, 02:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mil_dude View Post
There is no such thing as unbiased history, even if someone is doing their best to write as objectively as possible they will inevitably put some of their preconceived notions down.

One of the reasons I like Suvorov's writing is he offers something more than the tired old "The Red Army was broken and rusting in June of 1941". We know for a fact it had some of the best weapons in the world at the time, some of the greatest industrial capacity and a huge manpower reserve not to mention senior officers like Zhukov. While the Red Army may have not been at the same standard as the Wehrmacht and other German forces in the 1940s, who was? One of the reasons Churchill was so reluctant to commit his forces to an invasion of the European continent in 1943 and still in 1944 was the repeated beating his troops had taken at the hands of the Germans. By international standards there was nothing wrong with the Red Army in 1941 as it had already shown in previous operations.

If nothing else Suvorov removes some of the stigma that has been attached to the Red Army for decades over its performance in 1941 that IMO had little to do with its state of training, experience and equipment but had much more to do with its political control which was faulty.
The unfortunate thing about the Red Army in 1941 was that some of the gear was great, and some of the generals, such as Zhukov, were good. But, the majority of the gear was not great and most of the generals lacked sufficient experience. As I've mentioned before, experience commanding large bodies of men was sadly lacking for most of the officer corps. The recent deployments into the Baltic states and Bessarabia had not been fully analysed to determine command and control weaknesses, logistical failings and other important considerations of a large army. Contrast this with the Wehrmacht, which had a solid core of experienced, career officers and had grown at a steady though substantial rate during the late 30s. More importantly, the Germans had had a decent break between the Rhineland occupation and the Anschluss to improve performance. The only hostile occupation before war began was that of Czechoslovakia, and that was not a large scale invasion.
  #198  
Old 05 Mar 12, 12:18
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The unfortunate thing about the Red Army in 1941 was that some of the gear was great, and some of the generals, such as Zhukov, were good. But, the majority of the gear was not great and most of the generals lacked sufficient experience. As I've mentioned before, experience commanding large bodies of men was sadly lacking for most of the officer corps. The recent deployments into the Baltic states and Bessarabia had not been fully analysed to determine command and control weaknesses, logistical failings and other important considerations of a large army. Contrast this with the Wehrmacht, which had a solid core of experienced, career officers and had grown at a steady though substantial rate during the late 30s. More importantly, the Germans had had a decent break between the Rhineland occupation and the Anschluss to improve performance. The only hostile occupation before war began was that of Czechoslovakia, and that was not a large scale invasion.
The Red Army also had a long tradition of military action and training, not all of it successful. Part of that training and development was with the Wehrmacht and is in part why the Soviets had such good weapons in 1941.

The Germans were good, there's no doubt about that, but were they as good as the events in the summer of 1941 made them out to be and the Red Army so bad. IMO opinion given the performance of the Red Army in complex operations well before Barbarossa and how they performed afterwards when most of the regular army was dead or in captivity, there was something much more fundamental going on in the lead up to the German attack. I think it's possible the Red Army would have performed better if its divisions had been randomly placed across the western USSR but intact, not in the process of movement to the front or in exposed salients on the front as Suvorov claims. They weren't in bad shape in 1941, they were rapidly modernizing and already had weapons and capabilities that would have been the envy of most nations in 1941. The close to 1,000 T-34s(Suvorov numbers are 967 T-34s in forward units and more in the second echelon and in final testing bringing the total to 1,400 at the time of the German attack) with forward units alone was a potent force. The Red Army showed it knew how to use tanks, infantry, artillery and aircraft in complex combined arms operations when it defeated the Japanese at Khalkhin Gol:

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

Quote:
Zhukov decided it was time to break the stalemate.[21] On 20 August 1939, at 0545 hours (5:45AM) Soviet artillery and 557 fighters and bombers[21] attacked Japanese positions, the first fighter/bomber offensive in Soviet Air Force history.[26] Approximately 50,000 Soviet and Mongolian troops of the 57th Special Corps defended the east bank of the Khalkhyn Gol. Three infantry divisions and a tank brigade crossed the river, supported by massed artillery and the best planes of the Soviet Air Force. Once the Japanese were pinned down by the attack of Soviet center units, Soviet armored units swept around the flanks and attacked the Japanese in the rear, achieving a classic double envelopment. When the Soviet wings linked up at Nomonhan village on 25 August, the Japanese 23rd ID was trapped.[10][27][28] On 26 August, a Japanese counterattack to relieve the 23rd ID failed. On 27 August, the 23rd ID attempted to break out of the encirclement, but also failed. When the surrounded forces refused to surrender, they were again hit with artillery and air attacks. By 31 August, the Japanese forces on the Soviet side of the border were destroyed, leaving remnants of the 23rd ID on the Manchurian side. The Soviet forces had achieved their objective.[29]
This doesn't sound to me like an incompetent army .

Last edited by Mil_dude; 05 Mar 12 at 20:52..
  #199  
Old 06 Mar 12, 03:10
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Khalkhin Gol/the Nomohan incident (it's got a number of names) was Zhukov showing what could be done. Zhukov was one of the few senior commanders not purged. Semyon Budyonny, another senior officer not purged, would have made a complete dog's dinner of it.

Unfortunately Suvorov's figures are a little out of date with regard the number of T-34 in service - the original air filter was so bad the engine would often seize from wear, and supplies of spares was always variable early on. But one other thing to be considered is that until the start of Barbarossa, the Red Army wasn't "mobilised". Okay, for certain operations they had been, but during the first half of 1941, they weren't. Large numbers of soldiers were on leave. It was complete pandemonium as they tried to get back to their units when it was realised the war had started between the Axis and the USSR.
  #200  
Old 06 Mar 12, 05:33
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It's amazing the things you can find on the internet. This map is dated May 1941, and shows the construction program for pending fortifications, running from Ostashkov - Rzhev - Vyazma - Spas Demensk, complete with signatures and annotations from the relevant authority.

http://narpolit.ru/po_suti_dela/kak_...6_10-31-25.htm

It is presented in the essay as showing that it was business as usual, this deep defense under construction, and clearly contradicts any alleged plan to invade Germany. The question is posed: how will the Rezunites respond?

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Old 06 Mar 12, 15:49
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Oh,... That's an easy answer, Scott...

Quote:
"No, no, no, that's wrong! The Red Army was massive behemoth in June 41, poised to steamroller the Germans and race across Russia. It's so obvious and shocking that people cannot see how such tidal wave of steel and human waves would have crushed all of Europe. Thank Gawd Hitler struck first. This is the most likely reason the West was saved from Hordes from the East and evil Communist philosophy."
Now, of course, archives, unit histories, production numbers and technical evaluations to the contrary are obvious "Maskirovka", obvious disinformation. These were cleverly placed by an army of Stalin's minions in every folder right down to battalion diaries and every mechanic's log. No potential source was left unaltered, no chance left that the conspiracy of all conspiracies could be discovered.
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  #202  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:27
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Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
Khalkhin Gol/the Nomohan incident (it's got a number of names) was Zhukov showing what could be done. Zhukov was one of the few senior commanders not purged. Semyon Budyonny, another senior officer not purged, would have made a complete dog's dinner of it.
Some officers like Konstantin Rokossovsky survived being caught up the purge and went on to high command.

Quote:
Unfortunately Suvorov's figures are a little out of date with regard the number of T-34 in service - the original air filter was so bad the engine would often seize from wear, and supplies of spares was always variable early on. But one other thing to be considered is that until the start of Barbarossa, the Red Army wasn't "mobilised". Okay, for certain operations they had been, but during the first half of 1941, they weren't. Large numbers of soldiers were on leave. It was complete pandemonium as they tried to get back to their units when it was realised the war had started between the Axis and the USSR.
I need to find some other sources.

I've got ahold of Christer Bergstom's book Barbarossa about the air war on the Eastern front in the summer of 1941 but I'm still looking for a comprehensive study of the forces in action in June 1941. I've read David Glantz's Zhukov's Greatest Defeat before about Operation Mars, but there doesn't seem to be anything by him dealing with Barbarossa in the library system here.
  #203  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:42
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Oh,... That's an easy answer, Scott...



Now, of course, archives, unit histories, production numbers and technical evaluations to the contrary are obvious "Maskirovka", obvious disinformation. These were cleverly placed by an army of Stalin's minions in every folder right down to battalion diaries and every mechanic's log. No potential source was left unaltered, no chance left that the conspiracy of all conspiracies could be discovered.
So what are you saying, that the Red Army was a purely defensive force?

There's a lot of people in Poland, the Baltic States and Bessarabia who would disagree with you. It's almost certain that Stalin was heading west at some point, that was the driving force behind all the sacrifices the Soviet people had been making for a couple of decades.

Certainly an attack westwards in the summer of 1941 would have presented an unparalleled challenge to the Red Army, but with its massive numbers and newly created offensive capabilities it would have done a great amount of damage to the Axis forces arrayed against it in a suprise attack of the type Hitler made. All Stalin really needed to do was advance to and seize the oil production centers in Romania to end any chance of Germany surviving the coming conflict, done in concert with a cutting of the supply lines from Sweden and Finland it would have proved devastating to German industry as well. I don't think it's a coincidence that after the German attack Stalin scrambled to redeploy the massive forces he had in place south of the Pripyats Marshes to meet the main German advance that was to the north.
  #204  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:44
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Hmm. Sounds like this author doesn't have much credibility. But while the idea that the Soviet Union started the fight with Germany in 1941 doesn't hold much water, the fact remained that the Soviet Union contributed to the start of WW2 in 1939 by providing Hitler with the resources for him to start his gamble by invading Poland, then launching the attack on Western Europe. Without the Soviet Union providing fuel and grain, Germany would not have risked starting the war. So, yes, the Soviet Union contributed to the start of the war, although it was Hitler that launched the actual military attacks.
  #205  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:58
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One thing I've got so far from Christer Bergstrom's Barbarossa is how well some VVS units did flying "obsolete" aircraft against the Germans on the first day of the war in the east.

Command was a shambles and there was little or no coordination at theatre-wide level but local commanders put up a huge amount of sorties and the VVS flyers fought with incredible tenacity. If there had been a way to provide fighter cover for the numerous bombing raids against German airfields and advancing ground forces the VVS loses in the air wouldn't have been nearly as high. The Odessa Front which had stood its forces up before the attack fared much better than other sectors. And many of the best units, especially the fighters wings were right up on the border where Suvorov places them in his book and suffered huge loses on the ground before being overrun by the Germans.
  #206  
Old 06 Mar 12, 22:40
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Originally Posted by Mil_dude View Post
But I'm still looking for a comprehensive study of the forces in action in June 1941. I've read David Glantz's Zhukov's Greatest Defeat before about Operation Mars, but there doesn't seem to be anything by him dealing with Barbarossa in the library system here.
Your doctor will prescribe for your Suvorov Syndrome Glantz's Stumbling Colossus, MilDude ... read regularly until any Cold War symptoms have cleared up.
  #207  
Old 06 Mar 12, 23:21
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Originally Posted by Mil_dude View Post
I've got hold of Christer Bergstom's book Barbarossa about the air war on the Eastern front
If you're interested in the air war, Bergstrom's are a good place to start. I also recommend Hardesty's Red Phoenix, older now but still very valuable, especially for the bibliography.

Glantz has several books that may be of interest. According to the jacket notes, Stumbling Collossus describes the Red Army in 1941. Apart from When Titans Clashed, Glantz is not in the Calgary library either. I have not read it --- I have several recent Russian books that cover the same period. Glantz's book may be one to buy for your own library.

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  #208  
Old 06 Mar 12, 23:29
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According to the jacket notes, Stumbling Collossus describes the Red Army in 1941.
He wrote it to put a bolt into the forehead of Suvorov's thesis, apparently, Scott. But you can't keep a good conspiracy theory down!
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Old 06 Mar 12, 23:43
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An excellent place to start. Should be followed up by "Colossus Reborn" which follows the Red Army from Barbarossa to 1943. The next read should be "Kharkov, Anotomy of a Military Disaster" and then volume 1 of the Stalingrad trilogy. If there are still beliefs in place that Red Army was posed to knave Germany in 41 or that the Red Army was a power house waiting to be unleashed,... the patient may be too far gone to help.

The counters to Suvorov are out there (have been for more than a decade), they just have to be read.
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Old 07 Mar 12, 03:10
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Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
An excellent place to start. Should be followed up by "Colossus Reborn" which follows the Red Army from Barbarossa to 1943. The next read should be "Kharkov, Anotomy of a Military Disaster" and then volume 1 of the Stalingrad trilogy. If there are still beliefs in place that Red Army was posed to knave Germany in 41 or that the Red Army was a power house waiting to be unleashed,... the patient may be too far gone to help.

The counters to Suvorov are out there (have been for more than a decade), they just have to be read.
....and understood. Don't forget the important bit. If you have already decided that any and all evidence that runs counter to your ideas is unreliable than understanding is unlikely.
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