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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Personalities

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Personalities From the leaders to the followers; this is about the people who made history.

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  #196  
Old 02 Jul 17, 07:27
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For me, in additional to Stalin's doodles and marginalia, Bondarev's Stalin, much like Bulgakov's Pontius Pilate (in The Master and Margarita), makes the memory of a notorious historical figure human.
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  #197  
Old 09 Jul 17, 06:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
Rokossovsky, cdr 1st Belorussian Front, reporting his offensive plan, proposed to break through the enemy's defense not only from the Dnepr bridgehead, but in one additional sector.

"The defense must be breached in one place," Stalin interrupted him.

"If we breach the defense in two places, Comrade stalin, we shall gain many advantages." [Rok replied]

"What advantages?"

"If we breach the defense in two sectors, we can bring more forces into the attack," Rok explained, "whereupon we deny the enemy the possibility of transferring reinforcements from one sector to another. In addition, Comrade Stalin, a success achieved even in one of these sectors will place the enemy in a difficult position, while guaranteeing to our Front a successful development of the operation."

"And that's what you call advantages?" asked Stalin contemptuously. "Go out and think it over again." The voice of the Supreme Commander had a threatening overtone.

Rok went to the next room where he was located alone thinking about his offensive.

The door opened and called back into the conference room.

"Have you thought it through, General?"
"Yes sir, Comrade Stalin."
"Well, then, that means we'll strike a single strike? he asked, squinting, and pushed a marker along the map toward Rogachev.

It was very quite in the office when Rokossovsky, who had followed the marker with his eyes, said: "Two strikes are more advisable, Comrade Stalin"

"Will we not thereby dissipate our forces from the very beginning?"
"A certain dissipation of forces will occur, Comrade Stalin. But we do this, while taking into account the forested and swampy terrain of Belorussia and the disposition of enemy troops."

Silence ensued.

To be continued
Returning to this thing after a while:
Quote:
It was always believed that when breaking the front there is a main thrust and subsidiary thrusts. Comrade Stalin in this question gives us an example of creative approach to a problem. For example, when preparing one operation I proposed to make a main thrust on one direction and a subsidiary thrust on another. After listening to my presentation attentively comrade Stalin thought for a while and than said:
"You have enough forces for two thrusts, just make two thrusts not dividing them into a main and subsidiary."
This direction of the Supreme Commander in Chief had led the operation to a complete success, taught us a lot and further on helped us to chose a form of operational breakthrough and battle formation of the front.
From Rokossovsky's article in "Red star", No.45, 1948
http://paul-atrydes.livejournal.com/82564.html
95% chances that Rokossovsky was talking about "Bagration".
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  #198  
Old 10 Jul 17, 06:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artyom_A View Post
Returning to this thing after a while:

From Rokossovsky's article in "Red star", No.45, 1948
http://paul-atrydes.livejournal.com/82564.html
95% chances that Rokossovsky was talking about "Bagration".
Agree, the chances of this quote is probably 100% about "Bagration".

Three external factors about such a quote have me pull out my salt-shaker.

1) By 1948, Stalin had fully established himself as the architect of the Great Patriotic War victory. By July 1945, he had convened a conference to look at charges against Zhukov for a conspiracy plot fabricated by Beria. The conference was attended by many senior military officers who had to speak to the issue. Rokossovsky took a tactful course of criticism at this early assault on Zhukov's popularity and major credit in the victory. Rok noted shortcomings in Zhukov and mistakes in his work, but he could not be involved in any plot.

Zhukov had been demoted to the unimportant and out of the way Odessa Military District where he served until December 1947. By 1948, Zhukov's Moscow apartment had been searched. All serving military officers knew what was happening not only to Zhukov, but also to Stalin's personal assertions. A Rokossovsky attributed quote in the Red Star as posted is no surprise and unreliable.

To be continued
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  #199  
Old 10 Jul 17, 06:33
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2) By the summer strategic offensives of 1944, Konev, in his memoirs, notes also his argument with Stalin and the General Staff to have two main efforts in the Lvov-Sandomir operation. His rationale uses not terrain, but bringing to bear simultaneously a large armored force of three tank armies, multiple tank corps and two cav-mech groups.

3) When one looks back on the Red Army in the latter part of GPW one can discern that there was room for commander initiative at the operational level.

3) Rokossovsky, like Konev and other senior military commanders, had Stalin's confidence in changing operational procedures to achieve surprise or gain an operational efficiency. One of the major lessons from the first two periods of the war was in the offense, Red Army commanders had dissipated the combat power by not focusing forces on the narrow, single main attack with sufficient echelonment in the attacking force to push to the operational depth of defending force.

Hence, the arguments in mid-1944 from Stalin and General Staff on the deviation from a successful formula in the offensives during 1943 and early 1944.

To be continued--looking at Rokossovsky's statements after the 1956 denigration of Stalin's cult of personality and leadership in the GPW.
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  #200  
Old 10 Jul 17, 06:46
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Here is the entire article in the "Red Star".

http://paul-atrydes.livejournal.com/83184.html
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  #201  
Old 10 Jul 17, 07:59
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After Voenizdat published their 5th Edition of Rokossovsky’s memoirs, Soldier’s Duty, in 1988, the editorial staff of the Soviet Military History Journal (Vizh) announced “…there are few who know that the book delivered to the stores included only a portion of the marshal’s manuscript. There were abridgments, deletions, and a fundamental changing of precisely those points which at present (it is a question of facts and speculations) which are portrayed by competent and incompetent authors as discoveries in military history. A career officer, a true patriot, a principled and honest man, Konstantin Konstaninovich always consistently and firmly defended his viewpoint, he was not afraid to tell the truth and it was not his fault that many of his valid judgments and valuable reflections were not made public when they were voiced or written.” [I should point out, Rok was know as the general with the ‘steel smile’. He lost all his teeth and suffered broken bones and other injuries refusing to sign false statements during the repression.]

“We, to a certain degree, are making up for this gap by the current publication which will continue over several issues of the journal. [These Vizh articles were spread over four years: 1989—nos. 4, 5, 6; 1990—no, 2; 1991—no. 7; and, 1992—no. 3.] We are aided in this by the marshal’s grandsons Konstantin Vilyevich and Pavel Vilyevich Rokossovsky who kept their grandfather’s manuscript in its initial form. Our publications will contain only the pages which were not part of the well-known book.”
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  #202  
Old 10 Jul 17, 08:01
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In my personal library, I have all the Vizh articles listed previously. I also have the following Rok memoirs editions: 1980 Russian edition; 1985 English edition (based on 1980 Russian edition); 1984 Russian edition; and I have a copy of an on-line 1988 edition with the Vizh amendments tacked on at the end of each chapter. In all of these memoirs, Rokossovsky recalls the two strikes were his position and he had to argue for the acceptance by Stalin and General Staff.

The key chapter in Rok’s memoirs is titled Two Main Strikes. The Vizh three-paragraph amendment to that chapter leads with the lines “Why I so persistently defended the decision about two strikes? The point is that the terrain on the Rogachev, Bobruisk direction permitted assembly there of the 3rd Army and only part of the 48th Army at the start of the offensive. If this grouping could not be supported on another sector, the enemy will prevent a breakthrough of his defenses. He would have the possibility to transfer forces here from sectors of the line not attacked by us.”

“”To this it is necessary to add that the right flank of the 3rd Army butted up against an area that was occupied by the enemy not only on the western, but also the eastern bank of the Dnepr. This forced us to take suitable measures to secure the right flank of the army and the Front. An attack by the 65th and 28th Armies form the left bank of the Berezina in the Bobruisk, Osipovichi area to that opposite the 3rd Army, and vice versa. Strikes in two directions commits to the battle simultaneously the main grouping of the Front’s right wing, which was impossible to achieve by an attack on one sector due to the restricted terrain. …”

“Time tables for the offensive set, forces and means were determined, as well as the time of their commitment, at a meeting with the Stavka. The organization of close cooperation between the Fronts was given great significance, especially between the 3rd Belorussian (commanded by Colonel General I.D. Chernyakovsky) and the lst Belorussian Fronts, to which the Stavka assigned the main missions. The forces of these Fronts were to advance quickly to the west and to link up their flanks west of Minsk, in order then to destroy the encircled enemy grouping.”

Dr. Boris Sokolov in his biography “Marshal K.K. Rokosovsky: The Red Army’s Gentleman Commander”, available in English (Helion: 2015), captures the amendment paragraphs on pages 284-285. He rounds out the amendment by reverting back into Rok’s memoirs:

“I had to defend my decision with renewed vigor. Convinced that I was firmly insistent on our point of view, Stalin approved the plan of the operation in the form that we had presented.”

“The stubbornness of the Front commander,” he [Stalin] said, “shows that the organization of the offensive has been thoroughly considered. This is a reliable guarantee of success.”
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  #203  
Old 12 Jul 17, 06:37
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Quote:
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“The stubbornness of the Front commander,” he [Stalin] said, “shows that the organization of the offensive has been thoroughly considered. This is a reliable guarantee of success.”
Upon reflection, I think Stalin had a unique respect for Rokossosovsky because he held out against signing false statements under extreme torture and had performed well among the Red Army commanders in the early periods of the war. IIRC, Stalin asked specifically Rok for his opinion on the eve of Kursk whether the Red Army should assume the offense or receive the German attack and then conduct a counteroffensive. Rokossosovsky advocated defense, then counteroffensive.
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