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

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World War II Discuss WW2. .

View Poll Results: Was the German Army (Heer) really so superior in WW2?
Absolutely no question. They were easily the best for pretty much the entire war 1 1.01%
The Heer possessed an innate superiority but was overwhelmed by sheer numbers and degraded by attrition 16 16.16%
Clearly more than a match for any opponent in the first half of the war at least; and even after that still often gave better than they got 35 35.35%
Easily the best during the early 'Blitzkrieg' campaigns and remained at least competitive thereafter 30 30.30%
The Heer enjoyed something of an edge in the early campaigns but their opponents caught up quickly 17 17.17%
As per option 5 but some of their opponents actually bettered them on at least one level 13 13.13%
German strategic skills were never anything special; and their tactical & operation skills were only slightly better in the early campaigns 11 11.11%
As per option 7 but Allied armies had clearly at least equally them tactically and bested them on other levels from 42/43 onwards 7 7.07%
They only won the early campaigns through a combination of luck, and the incompetence & lack of preparedness of their opponents. They were never anything special 7 7.07%
The Germans were never much good. It's all propaganda 2 2.02%
Other (please state and explain) 5 5.05%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 99. You may not vote on this poll

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  #91  
Old 05 Feb 12, 20:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
Hi CI

Hi CI, you are right on the nail with your last quotes, it was only in the last final hours of the war when their whole world had collapsed around them and they were in stunned disbelief did they become easy to handle. lcm1
The 'fought to the last bullet' version.
If you check you will find over 100 German divisions surrendered in SE Europe and the Danish and Norwegian garrisons surrendered almost intact. They all could have fought on but they did not.
Too much is made of the Berlin siege and it must be remembered the commader of that fight was insane and they were reduced to hanging their own troops from lampost.
It was only a surrender in the 'last final hours ' of the war because it was their surrender that made it the 'last final hours'.
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  #92  
Old 05 Feb 12, 21:39
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The Germans tended to surrender in droves outside of the Eastern Front like the other armies would. One could perhaps analyze the Heer vs. other Armies from an 'organizational science' perspective using established 'theories of motivation' and so forth.

The key is that it seemed more eager to 'obey', and take on ridiculous missions. It operated in a field of delusions, and behaved accordingly.

The German Army and the German Nation should have mutinied and disbanded (just like the Italian Army) the cause (and probably would have if they were a democracy) after Stalingrad but it didn't.
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  #93  
Old 05 Feb 12, 21:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
Hi CI

Hi CI, you are right on the nail with your last quotes,it was only in the last final hours of the war when their whole world had collapsed around them and they were in stunned disbelief did they become easy to handle. lcm1
What immediately comes to mind are commanders like Model and those small battles lead by 'KG' commanders- like those at Market-Garden or the many operations on the Eastern front.
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  #94  
Old 05 Feb 12, 23:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
What immediately comes to mind are commanders like Model and those small battles lead by 'KG' commanders- like those at Market-Garden or the many operations on the Eastern front.
Yes,you make a good point.lcm1
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  #95  
Old 05 Feb 12, 23:06
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Narva

I should think Narva should really be classified as a mini-campaign as it lasted for six months, and consisted of several major battles: the Battle for Narva Bridgehead from February to July 1944; as a continuation of the Leningrad–Novgorod Offensive of Jan 1944. And the Battle of Tannenberg Line from July–August 1944 All of which were part of the larger Kingisepp–Gdov Offensive, which Following Joseph Stalin's "Broad Front" strategy, coincided with the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive (December 1943 – April 1944) and the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive (July–August 1944). as part of the Red Army Winter Spring Campaign of 1944.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA
How come? Stopping an offensive which had already run out of steam at strong defensive positions prepared well beforehand is hardly a "decisive victory".
Care to elaborate on this statement? The actual battle for the bridgehead over the Narva river started in Feb and gee, ended in Feb. With the German counter attacks nearly obliterating the Soviet bridgehead forces. Being masters of the "Deep Battle Theory" are you telling me that the Soviets were not adequately prepared for this offensive that went all of 60-100km and lasted all of 3 weeks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA
There were lots of offensives which were stopped by either side during the war, however few to none of these battles are considered decisive.
Really?.... Kiev? Stalingrad? First Seige of Tobruk? First El-Alamein? Battle of Britain?? Market-Garden? Did all these battles happen in a vacuum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA
The outcome of a battle like this would be natural, the Red Army tried to break through "on the go"
The outcome was not "natural". They did try to break through "on the go", as part of a larger offensive with a much larger goal Like all of Estonia and onto Prussia. They should have been better prepared than that; shouldn't they have been??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA
it didn't manage to as the defences had been prepared several months in advance.
No they did not. They were stalled as was the whole of their Northern Offensive's goals. But wait... did you just say that the Germans did something smart and effective????

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA
It took a few months to prepare the major offensive which broke the Narva and Tannenberg lines
Why?? If the Germans were such "rubbish" why did it take any time at all?? Why didn't the all powerful and ever victorious Red Army crush them at will?
And they did not break through until the summer of 1944, when the Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle and seven infantry divisions were removed from the Narva Front, leaving only 22,250 troops at the location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA
as the main thrust of the Red Army was concentrated at other fronts at that time.
No it was not.
Stalin's order belies your statement. "It is mandatory that our forces seize Narva no later than 17 February 1944. This is required both for military as well as political reasons. It is the most important thing right now. I demand that you undertake all necessary measures to liberate Narva no later than the period indicated. (signed) I. Stalin" And after the failure of the Leningrad Front, Stalin gave a new order on 22 February: to break through the "Narwa" defence, give a shock at Pärnu, eliminate the German forces in Estonia, direct two armies at Southeast Estonia, keep going through Latvia and open the road to East Prussia and Central Europe. On the same day, the Soviet Union presented Finland with peace conditions. While Finland regarded the terms as unacceptable, the war waging around them appeared dangerous enough to keep negotiating. To influence Finland, Stalin needed to take Estonia. His wish was an order to the commanders of the Leningrad Front, with their heads at stake. After reinforcements, the Narva front acquired the highest concentration of forces at any point on the Eastern Front in March 1944. By July 1944, a detailed plan was prepared for the Soviet advance to Tallinn.

I believe these people (Sources) would argue with your statement.

(Mart Laar (2006) (in Estonian). Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis (Sinimäed Hills 1944: Battles of World War II in Northeast Estonia). Tallinn: Varrak.)
(Евгений Кривошеев; Николай Костин (1984). "I. Sra˛enie dlinoj v polgoda (Half a year of combat)" (in Russian). Битва за Нарву, февраль-сентябрь 1944 год (The Battle for Narva, February–September 1944). Tallinn: Eesti raamat. pp. 9–87.)
(David M. Glantz (2002). The Battle for Leningrad: 1941–1944. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas)
(Laar, Mart (2005). "Battles in Estonia in 1944". Estonia in World War II. Tallinn: Grenader. pp. 32–59.)
(L. Lentsman (1977) (in Estonian). Eesti rahvas Suures Isamaasõjas (Estonian People in Great Patriotic War). Tallinn: Eesti Raamat)
(Wilhelm Tieke (2001). Tragedy of the faithful: a history of the III. (germanisches) SS-Panzer-Korps. Winnipeg: J.J.Fedorowicz)(Steven H. Newton (1995). Retreat from Leningrad: Army Group North, 1944/1945. Atglen, Philadelphia: Schiffer Books)

So was it a victory for the Germans?
I would think that the following stats below (taken from the above sources) alone would seem to indicate that it was.
It stalled one third of the Soviets winter Spring Offensive.
On top of that: it stalled the entire Soviet Northern Offensive, kept the Finns and Estonians in the war for a few months longer, kept the northern flank of AGN safe and allowed the Germans to retreat to Prussia in one piece, rather than being decimated in the early spring of '44.

Casualties and losses

AXIS
14,000 dead or missing
54,000 wounded or sick
68,000 casualties

SOVIET
100,000 dead or missing
380,000 wounded or sick
300 tanks
230 aircraft
480,000 casualties

According to the data of Stavka, the total casualties of the Leningrad Front in 1944 were 665,827 men, 145,102 of them dead or missing. The share of the battles around Narva is unknown but considering the length of the operation, Laar accounts roughly half of the documented 56,564 dead or missing and the 170,876 wounded or sick in the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive for the Battle of Narva. This is in accordance with the estimation of F. Paulman, stating in his Ot Narvy do Syrve that the 2nd Shock Army lost over 30,000 troops at the Narva bridgeheads during February. Deducting the losses in the operations of the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive conducted elsewhere, the casualties in the battles in Finland and in the Baltic Offensive, Laar totals the numbers of Soviet losses in the Battle of Narva at approximately 100,000 dead or missing and 380,000 wounded or sick. The "cost of nearly 500,000 men" is confirmed in the book Battle in the Baltics 1944–1945 by I. Baxter.

Cheers,
Deter
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  #96  
Old 05 Feb 12, 23:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
The 'fought to the last bullet' version.
If you check you will find over 100 German divisions surrendered in SE Europe and the Danish and Norwegian garrisons surrendered almost intact. They all could have fought on but they did not.
Too much is made of the Berlin siege and it must be remembered the commader of that fight was insane and they were reduced to hanging their own troops from lampost.
It was only a surrender in the 'last final hours ' of the war because it was their surrender that made it the 'last final hours'.
I know that the forces as a whole,both army and navy in and around Kiel appeared if anything glad that it was all over. It was almost like,...."OK,OK, anything you say". I think with the crews on those German destroyers, it was not so much a case of resistance as having just arrived in port into a situation that was far more advanced than they had realised. They had not expected to be greeted on the dock side by a bunch of British 'bootnecks'. lcm1
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  #97  
Old 05 Feb 12, 23:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deterrumeversor View Post
confirmed in the book Battle in the Baltics 1944–1945 by I. Baxter.
If Baxter made a statement that we have 5 fingers per hand I would only accept it after I had checked several thousand hands.
Baxter is a terrible author and nothing he says should be taken on trust!
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  #98  
Old 06 Feb 12, 01:02
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I chose option 8. They got a lot of practice in before the war with occupations of the Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia and the Spanish Civil War. The victory over Poland was to be expected, but Operation Yellow was a gamble va banque and they won. After that they started a war with the SU by a surprise attack. Considering the situation on the SU side of the border, it is not surprising they did so well for the first few months. The rest of the war they didn't display anything special - their opponents were playing catch up.
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  #99  
Old 06 Feb 12, 04:24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deterrumeversor View Post

Casualties and losses

AXIS
14,000 dead or missing
54,000 wounded or sick
68,000 casualties

SOVIET
100,000 dead or missing
380,000 wounded or sick
300 tanks
230 aircraft
480,000 casualties
Most Axis-Soviet battles ended like this.

Joseph Stalin...'The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.'

Shows what little he thought of his Army.
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  #100  
Old 06 Feb 12, 04:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
You obviously did not understand what I said,to stop ANYTHING in ANYWAY, never to have that particular thing start again, automatically makes the event decisive, lcm1
And how did this battle "never started this particular thing again" when the defensive belt was broken several months later?

Even in 1941 the Germans were stopped several times at Soviet defensive belts for several weeks at each. Mainly this was caused by the fact their mobile units outran the infantry and when they faced the first serious obstacle and not hastily dug trenches, they had to wait for their infantry and artillery to catch up and prepare a breakthrough. However, nobody is calling these checks of German offensives "decisive" as they neither turned the tide of war or that campaign, nor really stopped the enemy cold in his tracks.
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  #101  
Old 06 Feb 12, 04:49
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I actually voted 4, 5 and 6 not 3, 4 and 5 as I stated earlier .

Statement 3 is
Quote:
Clearly more than a match for any opponent in the first half of the war at least; and even after that still often gave better than they got
and the second part is clearly incorrect imo.

However, those who want a more favourable opinion of the effectiveness of the Heer after 41 could do worse than this.

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  #102  
Old 06 Feb 12, 05:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

However, those who want a more favourable opinion of the effectiveness of the Heer after 41 could do worse than this.


He rather stops his analysis before the rout and destruction of the German armies in Normandy though, doesn't he?
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  #103  
Old 06 Feb 12, 06:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I actually voted 4, 5 and 6 not 3, 4 and 5 as I stated earlier .

Statement 3 is and the second part is clearly incorrect imo.
Well, if they constantly gave better than they got they would have won the war. But, taking Normandy as the example, to hold up and inflict as many casualties on the Allies as they did for as long as they did was a pretty good effort considering what they had to work with.

The allies held just about every advantage once they got off the beaches, and they sheer effort and violence they put into the landings meant that they were always going to do that.

Give them equal numbers in the air and an unshattered line of reinforcement and supply and an allied victory in that campaign becomes a pretty iffy thing at best.
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  #104  
Old 06 Feb 12, 06:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rojik View Post
Well, if they constantly gave better than they got they would have won the war. But, taking Normandy as the example, to hold up and inflict as many casualties on the Allies as they did for as long as they did was a pretty good effort considering what they had to work with.

The allies held just about every advantage once they got off the beaches, and they sheer effort and violence they put into the landings meant that they were always going to do that.

Give them equal numbers in the air and an unshattered line of reinforcement and supply and an allied victory in that campaign becomes a pretty iffy thing at best.

Allied forces landed on D-Day - 156,000

German forces in the West - 1,873,000

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Old 06 Feb 12, 06:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deterrumeversor View Post
I should think Narva should really be classified as a mini-campaign as it lasted for six months, and consisted of several major battles: the Battle for Narva Bridgehead from February to July 1944; as a continuation of the Leningrad–Novgorod Offensive of Jan 1944. And the Battle of Tannenberg Line from July–August 1944 All of which were part of the larger Kingisepp–Gdov Offensive,
The Kingissepp-Gdov offensive was the concluding part of the larger Leningrad-Novgorod offensive. Get your sources right.

Quote:
which Following Joseph Stalin's "Broad Front" strategy, coincided with the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive (December 1943 – April 1944) and the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive (July–August 1944). as part of the Red Army Winter Spring Campaign of 1944.
Do you want to show off your immense knowledge of the Eastern Front when discussing one particular offensive? I'm very impressed

Quote:
Care to elaborate on this statement? The actual battle for the bridgehead over the Narva river started in Feb and gee, ended in Feb. With the German counter attacks nearly obliterating the Soviet bridgehead forces. Being masters of the "Deep Battle Theory" are you telling me that the Soviets were not adequately prepared for this offensive that went all of 60-100km and lasted all of 3 weeks?
The Germans had been working on building several strong defensive belts there since mid-1943. The terrain was forested and boggy, which severely hampered the use of tanks - the main breakthough force. In the same terrain conditions the Soviet defences at Luga stopped the German blitzkrieg for 3 weeks in July-August 1941, although at the time they were making progress by more than 10 km a day at other fronts.

Quote:
Really?.... Kiev? Stalingrad? First Seige of Tobruk? First El-Alamein? Battle of Britain?? Market-Garden? Did all these battles happen in a vacuum?
And this battle is comparable to Stalingrad how? BTW, I wonder how Market-Garden made it to that list?

Quote:
The outcome was not "natural". They did try to break through "on the go", as part of a larger offensive with a much larger goal Like all of Estonia and onto Prussia. They should have been better prepared than that; shouldn't they have been??
For the same reason the Allies didn't break through all German defensive lines in Italy in 1943 - why weren't they prepared for that? Maybe, it was evil Stalin who screwed them up, cause the armies of the Free World always plan everything right and win after making the first strike no matter how prepared the opposition is, right?

Now I can say that the Germans had to take Moscow in early September 1941. Why did they fail? And unlike the case of Leningrad-Novgorod offensive, this was a clearly declared goal for the Germans

"They had to be prepared for that"

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No they did not. They were stalled as was the whole of their Northern Offensive's goals.
Are you going to deny the construction of the Panther Line? Wow, fanboys are such fanboys. Of course, they stopped the offensive without even jumping in trenches, standing tall and being invulnerable to bullets - these Nazi supermen

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But wait... did you just say that the Germans did something smart and effective????
Why?? If the Germans were such "rubbish" why did it take any time at all?? Why didn't the all powerful and ever victorious Red Army crush them at will?
See my first post on the first page of this thread.

Nice try though.

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And they did not break through until the summer of 1944, when the Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle and seven infantry divisions were removed from the Narva Front, leaving only 22,250 troops at the location.
Did this battle happen in a vacuum?

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No it was not.
Stalin's order belies your statement. "It is mandatory that our forces seize Narva no later than 17 February 1944. This is required both for military as well as political reasons. It is the most important thing right now. I demand that you undertake all necessary measures to liberate Narva no later than the period indicated. (signed) I. Stalin" And after the failure of the Leningrad Front, Stalin gave a new order on 22 February: to break through the "Narwa" defence, give a shock at Pärnu, eliminate the German forces in Estonia, direct two armies at Southeast Estonia, keep going through Latvia and open the road to East Prussia and Central Europe.
Yes, in June 1941 Stalin gave an order to "stop the aggressor immediately and throw him back to his borders and beyond". In September 1941 he ordered Kulik, who had 1 (one) day of preparations, to break the encirclement ring around Leningrad. In 1942 he ordered to start several offensives at a time "to decisively defeat the Germans", etc.

It's so typical of these fanboys to throw curses and damnations against evil Commies... and quoting them (with a touching "signed Stalin" tidbit) as absolute truth. Ever heard of the difference between Stalin's wishful thinking and the reality?

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On the same day, the Soviet Union presented Finland with peace conditions. While Finland regarded the terms as unacceptable, the war waging around them appeared dangerous enough to keep negotiating. To influence Finland, Stalin needed to take Estonia. His wish was an order to the commanders of the Leningrad Front, with their heads at stake. After reinforcements, the Narva front acquired the highest concentration of forces at any point on the Eastern Front in March 1944. By July 1944, a detailed plan was prepared for the Soviet advance to Tallinn.
Govorov kept his post of the commander of the Leningrad Front to the end of the war and led the successful Vyborg-Petrozavodsk offensive in June-July 1944. Seems like your sources are BS.

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I believe these people (Sources) would argue with your statement.

(Mart Laar (2006) (in Estonian). Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis (Sinimäed Hills 1944: Battles of World War II in Northeast Estonia). Tallinn: Varrak.)
(Евгений Кривошеев; Николай Костин (1984). "I. Sra˛enie dlinoj v polgoda (Half a year of combat)" (in Russian). Битва за Нарву, февраль-сентябрь 1944 год (The Battle for Narva, February–September 1944). Tallinn: Eesti raamat. pp. 9–87.)
(David M. Glantz (2002). The Battle for Leningrad: 1941–1944. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas)
(Laar, Mart (2005). "Battles in Estonia in 1944". Estonia in World War II. Tallinn: Grenader. pp. 32–59.)
(L. Lentsman (1977) (in Estonian). Eesti rahvas Suures Isamaasõjas (Estonian People in Great Patriotic War). Tallinn: Eesti Raamat)
(Wilhelm Tieke (2001). Tragedy of the faithful: a history of the III. (germanisches) SS-Panzer-Korps. Winnipeg: J.J.Fedorowicz)(Steven H. Newton (1995). Retreat from Leningrad: Army Group North, 1944/1945. Atglen, Philadelphia: Schiffer Books)
Really? Let them argue with me and bring up their points. I just can's see you arguing here.

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So was it a victory for the Germans?
I would think that the following stats below (taken from the above sources) alone would seem to indicate that it was.
It stalled one third of the Soviets winter Spring Offensive.
On top of that: it stalled the entire Soviet Northern Offensive, kept the Finns and Estonians in the war for a few months longer, kept the northern flank of AGN safe and allowed the Germans to retreat to Prussia in one piece, rather than being decimated in the early spring of '44.
There have never been such things as "Spring" and "North" offensive. Unless you specify exactly what these things are you are just making empty statements. The German did a good job building their defences, however it was mainly the terrain which favoured the defenders there, along with the extremely narrow frontline, compared to the other fronts.

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Casualties and losses

AXIS
14,000 dead or missing
54,000 wounded or sick
68,000 casualties

SOVIET
100,000 dead or missing
380,000 wounded or sick
300 tanks
230 aircraft
480,000 casualties
According to the data of Stavka, the total casualties of the Leningrad Front in 1944 were 665,827 men, 145,102 of them dead or missing. The share of the battles around Narva is unknown but considering the length of the operation, Laar accounts roughly half of the documented 56,564 dead or missing and the 170,876 wounded or sick in the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive for the Battle of Narva. This is in accordance with the estimation of F. Paulman, stating in his Ot Narvy do Syrve that the 2nd Shock Army lost over 30,000 troops at the Narva bridgeheads during February. Deducting the losses in the operations of the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive conducted elsewhere, the casualties in the battles in Finland and in the Baltic Offensive, Laar totals the numbers of Soviet losses in the Battle of Narva at approximately 100,000 dead or missing and 380,000 wounded or sick. The "cost of nearly 500,000 men" is confirmed in the book Battle in the Baltics 1944–1945 by I. Baxter.
Lol, now I see Wikipedia is your source, something I've expected.

The battle of Narva is the subject of a never-ending Nazi fanboys' wankfest, mainly for the reason that a bunch of devoted Nazi degenerates and cutthroats from several European countries participated in it. This allows them to present it as a "clash of Aryan European National-Socialists against Russian subhuman hordes" or, in a milder and more PC version stemming from the same intellectual root and implying exactly the same thing, "battle of brave, honest but misunderstood European volunteers who defended the Western Civilisation against the Red Menace". It was totally no surprise you've brought it up here.

As for Mart Laar, he is a fervent Estonian nationalist (and admitted Russophobe) who actively implemented the policies of ethnic segregation in Estonia and endorsed SS veteran rallies - he is as much a historian as an average Communist or Nazi party hack.
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