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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

George Collins

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Everything posted by George Collins

  1. George Collins

    Age of Tanks (4 part mini series Netflix)

    RKKA was by far the largest army at the onset of WW2 - more so than at its end.
  2. George Collins

    Very confused about my history

    Interesting. I saw another twisted tale. Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, the son of a decorated Wehrmacht officer, as a kid met Stauffenberg's widow in his hometown at the end of the war, and later - wait for this - converted to Judaism and served in the Israeli Defense Forces: https://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/2375263/jewish/I-Am-the-Son-of-a-Nazi.htm
  3. George Collins

    Germany in WW I

    I thought it was common knowledge that Germany was not equipped for the war of attrition, especially after the United States would enter the fray.
  4. George Collins

    Russian Invasion

    We had a go at that already multiple times, of course. Like here:
  5. George Collins

    Today's Post---myths of WW2

    I don't dismiss the Soviet story - I simply don't have enough information to go on... except that, if the Soviets correctly identified the burnt body as his, there would be literally nothing to perform a meaningful autopsy on. But I fail to see the importance of the one-ball story's origin. Surely, with or without the second ball, Hitler's reputation remains pretty marred.
  6. George Collins

    Today's Post---myths of WW2

    Autopsy? That's news to me. I though his body was found completely burnt but for some skull and bone fragments that would be transported to Moscow and archived there. At least, that's what the Soviets claimed.
  7. 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.
  8. That's a perfectly reasonable position, Steve, and it only underscores the need for critical view of many snippets you're using here. I must say that this is a rather irrelevant statement, all things considered. First of all, it does not pertain to a tank design, per se. Secondly, I've already quoted Solonin about from 30 to 40 percent of RKKA tanks of ALL models being equipped with the radios by June 1941, which means that most if not all T-34 and KV tanks (brand new at the time) were. And if you in any way are implying that Pz-III and Pz-IV were in any way better than T-34, you are not being serious. The Pzs' only comparable feature was 75 mm gun on some (not all) of Pz-IV tanks. Diesel engines powered T-34s faster, farther, and in worse conditions compared to highly flammable gasoline powered Wehrmacht tanks at the time. A ‘Stalin Order’ is a very poor sourcing format, Steve. There were hundreds of "Stalin Orders", so you might want to be more specific about the number, the date and the context. Something tells me that you're using a second hand account here, without specifying what it is. I assume you inadvertently transposed 3 and 4 here, but more to the point is that I can fetch many anecdotal accounts by Wehrmacht personnel of all ranks complaining about their immobilized tanks in vast wilderness of Russia - there is no shortage of that, quite obviously. Yet, one of the foremost authorities on all things WWII, Müller-Hillebrand, wrote, "The appearance of T-34 tank was an unpleasant surprise... Due to its speed, all-terrain travel capability, reinforced armor and armament, especially the extended 76 mm gun providing for improved accuracy and piercing power at unreachable before distances, [T-34] represented an entirely new type of tanks." (Das Heer 1933-1945). Lastly, when you write, "I believe it is still reasonable to say that the T-34/76 in service was notably less reliable than its American or German counterparts (with the exception of early versions of the German Panther which also suffered from reliability issues)", you kind of contradict your own argument. Why would you compare early versions of T-34 to later versions of its "counterparts", if vice versa is not acceptable?
  9. Your first comment was, "Imagine thinking the Degtyarev guns are good," which in the context of your body of work here appears to ridicule my first comment ...and incidentally misses my point by a mile.
  10. Actually, that's not what I've said - and your misreading of it muddies the point. This is what I wrote (look it up): "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)". The point is that they did not lose these pieces because they were jamming or blowing up or not firing, etc, etc. They lost them because they were on the run. Just like T-34 crews did not lose hundreds of tanks due to the alleged mechanical failures - which is what the article in question is about. Rather, they alleged mechanical failures to excuse themselves from losing the tanks. Seriously, what does it have anything to do with M1919?
  11. Excuse me? My point had nothing to do with M1919 or MG34 to begin with - you brought those up, and now you demand that I prove a negative? Are you raised on marxist dialectics or something? And I've already stated that I have no idea what does it have anything to do with RKKA losing 6.3 million pieces of small arms in 1941. Certainly not because they were overpowered by the said M1919 or MG34, simply because Wehrmacht infantry invaded Russia with comparatively small number of machine guns to begin with. They were overwhelmingly armed with rifles.
  12. Grammatical error? How about making common sense? You're saying that the German war production picked up in 43-44, but "in between" "such as at Stalingrad when they used the PPSH and DP-27"... What? Firstly, the 6th Army at Stalingrad was sacked at the end of November of 1942, with only a few weeks to go in the year. Secondly, once sacked, they would not get many of anything to get their hands on. Thirdly, my original point was not to compare Degtyarev to "MG34 or M1919A6 browning" or anything else. The point was that RKKA obviously lost 6.3 units of small arms for a distinctly other reason than whether Degtyarev's "RPM being far too low ( 550 )" or not. This argument is ludicrous on its face.
  13. 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/
  14. Good enough for the Germans and especially the Finns to use en mass when they captured them.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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!
  21. I have a couple of comments here: "The Union Army was a multi-national one" and so was the Confederate Army, Russell. "Legend has it that at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, none of the soldiers were seriously hurt because most of their bullets collided with each other in mid-air. The Myth Busters looked into this and found it entirely plausible because of the soft lead used." I'm not sure what you mean to say here, Russell, but it reads funny. You must know, of course, that there were over 15 thousand casualties in that battle. And by "casualties" I mean killed and seriously hurt.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.