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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

George Collins

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George Collins last won the day on October 25

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  1. You probably should - but you don't apparently - know that the German arms production really started to accelerate only by 1942 and dropped off only toward the second half of 1944. In particular, assault gun production in 1943 was almost 6 times higher than that in 1941. https://ww2-weapons.com/german-arms-production/
  2. Good enough for the Germans and especially the Finns to use en mass when they captured them.
  3. What's most irritating about Steve's piece about T-34 is that he concludes with the "Soviet propaganda" jab, when in fact he goes along with many bits of what the said Soviet propaganda utilized to explain away the catastrophic collapse of RKKA in 1941 - particularly by minimizing and denigrating its enormous superiority in assets. Of course, if you read most of the archived field reports from the first months of the war, you would be mired in the description of countless transmission failures, broken clutches and alike explaining away rapidly melting tank regiments. But then there are these (a piece of memories of S.A.Afanasiev, a private tankman of the 8th tank regiment in the 4th tank division of the 6th mechanized corps): "... In the morning of June 23 we were attacked by German aircrafts. We had the newest tanks, all of them T-34s and KVs. We were hiding in the forest. At that moment our battalion was under command of Captain Rassadnev, but I had not seen him since afternoon of June 23, as we used to scatter in all directions for several times that day...We retreated through roadless forests and swamps, as all the good roads were taken by the Germans. We left Volkovysk, Slonim, Baranovichi… We did not even get in contact with the enemy. I think the panic was generated by the officers themselves. They used to tear off their officer bars in soldiers' sight…We reached Smolensk this way, and the equipment we left there was just numberless! Everybody just fled, with materiel and weaponry (tanks, guns) being abandoned. I can't even tell where the combat took place as there was almost no combat. There was only one night when we had to break through the German landing force on our way; it was near Slonim or Stolbtsy… (165, page 260)" http://www.solonin.org/en/book_june22/12 Steve should probably try to calculate how long "the average T-34 in World War Two lasted" based on accounts like this.
  4. Steve MacGregor writes, "Most early T-34s were not provided with radios. Only the platoon leader’s tank had a radio (approximately one tank in five). Communication during combat was intended to be by flag." Are you writing about June 1941, Steve? Actually, tank radio 71-TK-1 was installed on 3-4 of 10 RKKA tanks of all models by then. And how many Wehrmacht tanks would you say were equipped with radios at the time? I thought so... Next, Steve writes, "According to the Armored Directorate of the Red Army, the average T-34 in World War Two lasted less than 200 kilometers (124 miles) before requiring major repair or overhaul. This means that a T-34 generally needed significant repairs before it had even used its first full tank of diesel!" Wow! But it's not clear how this failure rate is being assessed. It sure looks as the result of that "It wasn’t unknown for Soviet tank brigades to lose anything from 30% – 50% of their T-34s just traveling to the combat area." And how do you know that these were lost due to actual mechanical failures - not because the crews simply abandoned them and deserted? It is estimated that from 1 to 1.5 million RKKA personnel deserted and another from 3 to 4 million were captured as POWs in the first 6 months of the war. If during the same time period RKKA personnel managed to lose 6.3 million pieces of small arms (including some of the most reliable in the world - like Mosin rifle, TT hand-guns and Degtyarev machine-guns), it sure looks like mechanical failures had little to do with that. If - as Steve says - "Taking all these things into account, it seems that the notion of the T-34 as the best tank of World War Two is little more than an enduring piece of Soviet propaganda," is true, so are the accounts of how exactly these thousands of tanks were abandoned in 1941. I doubt that von Kleist's and Guderian's opinion on T-34 that Steve himself quoted here was beat out of them by NKVD agents.
  5. George Collins

    Why is there a sudden turn to communism?

    To be brutally honest, I don't think that humanitarian or moral aspects of anything dominated most players' calculations. The irony is that arguably the most amoral of them all by the name of Joseph Stalin in many ways facilitated the UN Partition vote establishing Israel for all practical purposes - not out of altruistic considerations, of course, but because he expected its leadership to fall in line. Stalin's attitude dramatically changed when he found out that Ben Gurion successfully purged not only Israeli right but also the Communists.
  6. George Collins

    Why is there a sudden turn to communism?

    Right, and here is where the gap lies. KGB indeed was the agency that arrested Penkovsky, but he was a GRU operative, so the version about him being the General Staff's "messenger" is quite plausible without KGB archives containing anything pointing to it. I doubt very much that Penkovsky would be allowed to commit suicide in such a case. Your interpretation of what Viktor Suvorov claimed is inaccurate, since you're obviously referring to the Aquarium containing the scene in its preface. However, Suvorov repeatedly stated that Aquarium should not be taken as his literal autobiography, but rather as fiction based on his life story - particularly because he meant to protect certain people from being implicated as aiding and abetting him. Neither he actually named the person in the scene. Hence the perceived discrepancy.
  7. George Collins

    Why is there a sudden turn to communism?

    This part is a conjecture. The fact is that Penkovsky handed out information about the deficiencies of the Soviet delivery means for nuclear weapons. There is a version claiming that he was picked by the Soviet Army brass to leak the info to sabotage Khruschev, when they realized that the latter went all-out warmonger on Kennedy. Obviously, this is a conjecture too. How do you even know this? He was announced to have died in a plane crash - the rest is open to imagination. Otherwise - agreed, Penkovsky was certainly a true martyr for peace, if there ever was one.
  8. George Collins

    Why is there a sudden turn to communism?

    Well, can't tell you for sure why the uptick, but the story about a Soviet submarine command restraining itself from launching nuclear weapon in several variations is a complete bunk. At the time of the Cuban Crisis no Soviet submarine was capable of launching such a weapon without surfacing and arming it for like 15 to 30 minutes. Throw a limited range on top of it, and it obviously would be toast well before the launch.
  9. Totally agreed. The opening statement that reads, "It’s hard to imagine there are war stories as bad as the Holocaust of World War II, or the internment of Japanese citizens in North American camps during that same period" is either intentionally provocative or unbelievably (literally speaking) ignorant. As bas as a temporary internment was, to compare it to deliberate murder of millions of people and enslavement of millions more takes a special kind of "journalistic" malice. Cheers, George!
  10. George Collins

    The Capitulation of France in WW2

    That's funny, because Guederian was actually developing tactical prowess on ranges at Kazan, USSR, together with a bunch of other future Wehrmacht leaders, following the infamous - essentially anti-Versalles - Rapallo Treaty of 1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia.
  11. George Collins

    Emancipation proclimation

    In addition to that, in the South it was perceived as an incentive for the slaves to riot, escape and spy on the Confederates. At the end of the war, when the "rebels" faced severe attrition problems, the Confederate Secretary of State Benjamin even pushed his own version of Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves who would fight for the South. This measure, however, was delayed and watered down to the point of being completely ineffective.
  12. True, but it does not make it the worst one by any stretch - even just among the RKKA planes. "Il[ushin]"s were not efficient but certainly effective enough tactically. The worst RKKA planes were less known and scarcely produced fighters Yak2/4 and very well known and mass produced Yak3, all pretty much tactically useless and vulnerable at the same time. On the other hand, minimally produced and therefore relatively unknown fighters I-185 and tactical bombers Tu-2 were among the best in their class.
  13. George Collins

    Vets & PTSD

  14. George Collins

    Why the Axis lost the war.

    The battle of Stalingrad? What phase of it are you referring to? The Operation Uranus in 1943 was executed by a completely different Red Army (from top to bottom) than that holding the line on the west bank of Volga in 1942. Why don't you give us a pertinent example, void of conflations and misnomers? Like, an army of comparable size mobilized and maintained in concentrated pockets for more than several weeks on end in what formally was peace time? Granted, it would be hard to do, because not once in history - before or after - an army of this size with so much stuff in it ever existed. But I find the way you go about debating this particular subject very interesting in that you ignore the factual content - like the actual Plan that is now out in public domain for all to see - and rush to debate hypotheticals. That's not a stance of somebody interested in getting to the bottom of anything, but rather somebody who has a stake in defending a position at all cost.
  15. George Collins

    Why the Axis lost the war.

    But why would they wait until 1944? If anything, Stalin’s geopolitical advantage peaked out in 1940.
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