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  #1  
Old 22 Jul 16, 08:35
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Combat tactics, East/West Front

This thread will compile observations from primarily the commander's POV. Comparative differences will be noted.

Focus:

Eastern Front 1941-1945

West Front 1944/1945
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  #2  
Old 23 Jul 16, 15:32
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A lot of material is available on www.history.army.mil

Improvisations in the Russian theatre

http://www.history.army.mil/html/boo...ub_104-1-1.pdf

Defense tactics against Russian breakthrough

http://www.history.army.mil/html/boo...b_104-14-1.pdf

Operations of encircled forces (Covering the Korsun pocket , encirclement of the 1st Panzer Army in the first months of 1944)

http://www.history.army.mil/html/boo...Pub_104-15.pdf
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Old 19 Aug 16, 08:54
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I stumbled upon this yesterday. This is about comparing the Soviet and Allied war methods. It covers a bit of what I have suspected all along :

From Victory to Stalemate: The Western Front, Summer 1944 Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations, Volume 1

https://www.amazon.com/Victory-Stale...1611190&sr=1-2

Quote:
By the summer of 1944, the war in Europe had reached a critical point. Both the western Allies and the Soviets possessed the initiative and forces capable of mounting strategic offensives against the German enemy. Writing a study of operations on first the Western then Eastern Front, respected military analyst C. J. Dick offers rare insight into the strengths and weaknesses of generalship on both fronts, especially the judgments, choices, and compromises made by senior commanders. At the same time, he clarifies the constraints imposed upon leadership―and upon operations―by doctrinal shortcomings, by logistics, and, not least, by the nature of coalition war.

From Victory to Stalemate focuses on the Western Front, specifically American, British, and Canadian operations in France and the Low Countries. Dick's lens throughout is operational art, which links individual tactical battles to broader strategic aims. Beginning with the D-Day landings in Normandy and the strengths and weaknesses of the armies, including their military doctrines, Dick goes on to analyze the offensives launched in the high summer of 1944. He considers the strategic factors and plans that provide the context for his main concern: the Allied commanders’ handling of army, army group, and theatre offensive operations.

Dick’s analysis shows us an Allied command limited by thinking that is firmly rooted in the experience of small wars and the World War I. The resulting incremental approach was further complicated by a divergence in the ideas and interests of the Allied forces. The man responsible for pulling it all together, Dwight D. Eisenhower, proved remarkably capable in his role as statesman; he was to be less effective as a military technician who could govern such difficult subordinates as Bradley and Montgomery. As a result, the Allied offensive faltered and became a war of attrition, in contrast to the Soviet effort on the Eastern Front.
From Defeat to Victory: The Eastern Front, Summer 1944 Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations

https://www.amazon.com/Defeat-Victor...1611212&sr=1-1

Quote:
By the summer of 1944, the war in Europe had reached a critical point. Both the western Allies and the Soviets possessed the initiative and forces capable of mounting strategic offensives against the German enemy. Writing a study of operations on first the Western then the Eastern Front, respected military analyst C. J. Dick provides a uniquely informative comparison of the different war-fighting doctrines brought to bear by the Allies and the Red Army in contemporaneous campaigns. His book offers rare insights into the strengths and weaknesses of generalship on both fronts.

In volume 2, From Defeat to Victory, Dick turns to the Eastern Front, where battle lines stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea—nearly 1,500 miles to the Allies’ 600—and the Soviet armies and engagements dwarfed in scale those in the West. More importantly, they reflected a war-fighting philosophy significantly different than the Allies’, which in turn produced different military operations. The Soviets were masters of deception-and-surprise, a concept called maskirovka that was an essential part of every military operation. The Soviets were committed to highly mobile and high-tempo offensives. They massed troops in heavy concentrations to achieve a breakthrough that would quickly set conditions for decisive operational maneuvers; they were relentless in their will to destroy the enemy’s forces and, unlike their counterparts in the West, were willing to contend with an enormous amount of casualties. Dick’s analysis shows us how the Red Army, largely free of the political problems that constrained the Allies, was able to develop more radical operational ideas and implement them with a daring and ruthlessness impossible for the armies of democratic states.

From Defeat to Victory also offers a critical lesson in the enduring importance of finding, inculcating, and implementing operational and tactical doctrine that fits the conditions of contemporary war, as well as in the technology, politics, and psychology of the times.

Last edited by Cult Icon; 19 Aug 16 at 09:26..
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  #4  
Old 19 Aug 16, 10:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
I stumbled upon this yesterday. This is about comparing the Soviet and Allied war methods. It covers a bit of what I have suspected all along :
"Dwight D. Eisenhower, proved remarkably capable in his role as statesman; he was to be less effective as a military technician <snip> As a result, the Allied offensive faltered and became a war of attrition."

Fixed that for you.
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Old 19 Aug 16, 11:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooner View Post
"Dwight D. Eisenhower, proved remarkably capable in his role as statesman; he was to be less effective as a military technician <snip> As a result, the Allied offensive faltered and became a war of attrition."

Fixed that for you.
Rather too simplistic to blame it all on one person.
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Old 19 Aug 16, 11:46
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It would be interesting to see what sort of analysis is put forth. Background of the author:

C. J. Dick served in the British Army. After, he worked as a senior lecturer at the Soviet Studies Research Centre, which he directed from 1989–2004. From 2005–2006, he was a senior fellow at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
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Old 19 Aug 16, 12:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
Rather too simplistic to blame it all on one person.
Why? He chose the strategy. Blame also applied to Bradley for backing it though.
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Old 19 Aug 16, 12:04
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Talking about 'background' see what Zetterling (your other idol) thinks of Dick:


http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...18049808430334


This evaluation is in good agreement with ballistical data on the T-34/85 gun
and the armour protection of the Panther. Rotmistrov's analysis contradicts C.J. Dick
who asserts that the T-34/85 was able to contend with the Panther on equal terms (C.J.
Dick, 'The Operational Employment of Soviet Armour in the Great Patriotic War', p.101
in J.P. Harris and F.N. Toase (eds) Armoured Warfare (London: Batsford 1990). The only
sources Dick presents are Soviet published books.



and:
http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Fo.../000025-2.html


Back in 1990, Harris and Toase edited a book called ”Armoured Warfare” in which C. J. Dick wrote a chapter called ”The Operational Employment of Soviet Armour in the Great Patriotic War”. Here Dick argued on western perception of the war in the east:
”The Wehrmacht is generally portrayed as immensely superior in every aspect of military endeavour, save at times in strategic leadership. Its failures are ascribed to adverse climatic conditions, the sheer size of the USSR, overwhelming Soviet numbers, Hitler’s mistakes – to everything, in fact, except superior Red leadership and combat performance.”
Dick goes on to suggest as a corrective the use of Soviet publication, especially those who ”are written for didactic purposes, to educate the Soviet officer in his profession. For such material to serve its purpose, it must be truthful, even if it does not tell the whole truth.”
The latter statement is merits some comment. The fact that it ought to be truthful does not assure that it actually is. The available evidence strongly suggest that the lies and distortions were well entrenched in Soviet didactic material too.
Furthermore, the causes behind the eventual Soviet victory in WWII belittled by Dick seem far more plausible than his own statements. Also, as far as I can see, what has come out of Soviet archives since 1990 supports the notion that the Red Army overwhelmed the Germans by numbers and not by skill, and that the Soviet victory was bought at a cost that is not commensurate with a highly developed military skill



Difficult not to laugh when someone claims the Soviets won the war by manoeuvre rather than attrition!
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Old 19 Aug 16, 14:59
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Agree with Kenny on C.J. Dick. I read his articles on contemporary Soviet military issues during the 1980's. He would extrapolate from Soviet military literature on specific topics for articles in contemporary defense journals. For example, articles such as, "Soviet Chemical Warfare Capabilities" or "Soviet Doctrine, Equipment Design and Organization" both in International Defense Review issues. We took note of his articles and if interested we went to the Soviet sources ourselves.

I think he is out of his depth with the two broadly scoped historical books Cult has referenced--never considered him a historian. You will not find him referenced in other eastern front histories by Glantz, Overy, Mawdsley....

Disagree on the over emphasis on attrition, although the Red Army relied on depth in numbers to stay in the fight, but by mid-1943, one can look to operational level maneuver which would put high densities of forces in the main efforts, but risks in stretched forces was taken in supporting and holding sectors. From the counteroffensive at Stalingrad, the Germans were primarily beaten at the operational level. In Glantz's comparative strengths of combat forces, eastern front Table C in his "When Titans Clashed" the Soviets do not consistently achieve a 3:1 correlation of forces until October 1944.
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Old 19 Aug 16, 22:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
This thread will compile observations from primarily the commander's POV. Comparative differences will be noted.

Focus:

Eastern Front 1941-1945

West Front 1944/1945
What do you defines as Combat tactics ? And why exclude MTO since 1943 and especially Sicily campaign ?
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Old 22 Aug 16, 07:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
Talking about 'background' see what Zetterling (your other idol) thinks of Dick:


http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...18049808430334


This evaluation is in good agreement with ballistical data on the T-34/85 gun
and the armour protection of the Panther. Rotmistrov's analysis contradicts C.J. Dick
who asserts that the T-34/85 was able to contend with the Panther on equal terms (C.J.
Dick, 'The Operational Employment of Soviet Armour in the Great Patriotic War', p.101
in J.P. Harris and F.N. Toase (eds) Armoured Warfare (London: Batsford 1990). The only
sources Dick presents are Soviet published books.



and:
http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Fo.../000025-2.html


Back in 1990, Harris and Toase edited a book called ”Armoured Warfare” in which C. J. Dick wrote a chapter called ”The Operational Employment of Soviet Armour in the Great Patriotic War”. Here Dick argued on western perception of the war in the east:
”The Wehrmacht is generally portrayed as immensely superior in every aspect of military endeavour, save at times in strategic leadership. Its failures are ascribed to adverse climatic conditions, the sheer size of the USSR, overwhelming Soviet numbers, Hitler’s mistakes – to everything, in fact, except superior Red leadership and combat performance.”
Dick goes on to suggest as a corrective the use of Soviet publication, especially those who ”are written for didactic purposes, to educate the Soviet officer in his profession. For such material to serve its purpose, it must be truthful, even if it does not tell the whole truth.”
The latter statement is merits some comment. The fact that it ought to be truthful does not assure that it actually is. The available evidence strongly suggest that the lies and distortions were well entrenched in Soviet didactic material too.
Furthermore, the causes behind the eventual Soviet victory in WWII belittled by Dick seem far more plausible than his own statements. Also, as far as I can see, what has come out of Soviet archives since 1990 supports the notion that the Red Army overwhelmed the Germans by numbers and not by skill, and that the Soviet victory was bought at a cost that is not commensurate with a highly developed military skill



Difficult not to laugh when someone claims the Soviets won the war by manoeuvre rather than attrition!
Hard not to laugh if you think that they didn't.
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Old 23 Aug 16, 03:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
Difficult not to laugh when someone claims the Soviets won the war by manoeuvre rather than attrition!
Maneuver is not an antithesis of attrition. In fact the very notion of "attrition" was introduced to military theory by Delbrück based to a large degree on examination of XVIII century campaigns. Nothing prevents the war of attrition from being the war of maneuver at the same time.
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Old 23 Aug 16, 17:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artyom_A View Post
Maneuver is not an antithesis of attrition. In fact the very notion of "attrition" was introduced to military theory by Delbrück based to a large degree on examination of XVIII century campaigns. Nothing prevents the war of attrition from being the war of maneuver at the same time.
Manoeuvring just gets you in a better position to attrite the enemy.
Once he breaks then maneuver is a doddle. I could, if I was so inclined point to the liberation of France and Belgium in August as a brilliant example of 'maneuver' but without the attrition of the Germans in June-July it never would have worked.
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Old 24 Aug 16, 10:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
Manoeuvring just gets you in a better position to attrite the enemy.
Once he breaks then maneuver is a doddle. I could, if I was so inclined point to the liberation of France and Belgium in August as a brilliant example of 'maneuver' but without the attrition of the Germans in June-July it never would have worked.
We really need the Purist to chime in here with his observation that maneuver is only possible once the enemy's reserves have been defeated (by attritting them).

If you count the days from June 22 1941 to November 19, 1942 and then look at the front line the same number of days after November 20, 1942, you will see that the Red Army had driven the Germans back almost as far as the Germans had advanced. Add 3 months and the Red army has driven the Germans back past their start line. If the Germans had advanced that far using manuever, then surely the Red Army must be creditted with the same.
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Old 24 Aug 16, 10:58
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The different approaches of soviet breakthrough can be noted. (a distinct willingness for enormous expenditure of manpower and machines in the former in the interest of speed and exploitation of the time element)

I think Dick may emphasize how Soviet deception focused on fooling the Germans in misplacing and misallocating their reserves. That was very important in soviet victories. Theoretically the Germans had the reserves to stop soviet breakthroughs (eg. in Bagration they were in AG north ukraine). But if they can be only allocated in pieces as the Soviets (or US forces in Cobra) dictate the situation, then their effectiveness becomes much reduced.
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