Agnostic views & images I like

Thoughts about things on the web

Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Front

WW II myths vs. the facts

leave a comment »

Soviet soldiers raising the Soviet flag over t...
Image via Wikipedia

Some historians seem to specialize in challenging national myths. Max Hastings seems to do this well enough, as here commented by Geoffrey Wheatcroft about Hastings’ latest opus about “Churchill’s War”:

For all Churchill’s exalted words about the “English-speaking peoples” fighting for freedom together, the fact is that Anglo-­American forces played a subsidiary role in the European war. During 1943, while 70,000 Western servicemen, including bomber aircrew members, died fighting Germany, two million Russian solders were killed. Even after D-Day, Russian casualties were far higher; approximately nine of 10 German Army fatalities occurred on the Eastern Front, where the war was decided.

Just in case you read that too quickly “approximately nine of 10 German Army fatalities occurred on the Eastern  Front, where the war was decided” and not in Western Europe as Band of Brothers and that ilk would seem to want us to believe.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/05/01 at 15:18

It’s not likely that many readers of history will take much time

with one comment

American soldiers taking up defensive position...
Image via Wikipedia

to think back 65 years to November 1944 when Allied forces seemed to be bogged down in Western Europe and held back by a resilient Nazi ground force. Of course, that wasn’t the case on the Eastern Front where Soviet forces were mowing down the Nazi Wehrmacht on the ground and in the air.

But the point here is that an unlikely scenario is described in this NY Times Opinion piece titled “how WW II wasn’t won”. This is the first time I have heard of this controversial decision taken by Gen Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander that seemingly gave Hitlerian forces the brief space and time to launch the attack leading to the Battle of the Bulge, a bloody and cruel battle in Belgium around Bastogne to mention one key place held by a surrounded force of US paratroopers.

The backstory of this unlikely scenario is that Eisenhower shut down an effort to hook around the German forces by crossing the Rhine in the south. He may in effect have shut it down because of  a personality conflict with the commanding US general of Allied Forces on that Southern flank position. Go figure!

 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The debate in Eastern Europe about the main cause of WW2 points to a tweaking of history

leave a comment »

Adolf Hitler
Image via Wikipedia
Panzer IV Ausf.
Image via Wikipedia

One side says that Poland caused the war and guess who that is?

This headline puts it clearly:

The war? Nothing to do with Stalin, says Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev

The other says that Stalin’s deal with Hitler in late August 1939 gave Hitler the military cover he needed to launch his Panzers into the first blitzkrieg action. Now Mr. Medvedev promises a commission and documents to prove his case against Poland. That does sound like Putin is very much in favor of at least tweaking history here.

There is little doubt that the USSR, which was dissolved in the late ’90s and replaced to all intents by the Russian Republic, fought the nasty Nazis and bled Hitler’s armed forces dry and then reconquered the Eastern Front until Berlin was occupied.

But Stalin was playing a many sided game in the late 1930s. When it seemed that the democracies couldn’t cut bait to his satisfaction he certainly seemed to trigger the deal with Hitler which led to the double invasion of Poland in 1939 by the Germans from the West and by USSR forces from the East.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/08/31 at 12:03

Battle of Kursk

leave a comment »

Soviet T34 tanks during the Battle of Kursk.Image via Wikipedia

Battle of Kursk
Originally uploaded by twalls1068@sbcglobal.net

This epic tank/infantry/artillery battle with heavy tactical air support took place on the Russian steppe in July of 1943. More than 2 million soldiers and nearly 6 thousand tanks collided and destroyed each other in many pitched battles over a large area of land.

In several ways this battle represented the mid-point in the savage wars of the Eastern Front.

Here is the Wikipedia link!

The fictional depiction on the right is an artist’s imaginative recreation of a scene he/she probably didn’t ever see in real live battle.

The battle of Kursk was the first major clash between USSR and Nazi military after the epic defence of Stalingrad, which ended with major troop and equipment losses for the Nazi Wehrmacht. By that time, the Nazi Wehrmacht had largely implemented its grotesque style of no-quarter-given warfare, which continued with growing intensity on both sides until the liberation of Berlin in April 1945.

An indication of this is the telling statistic that 9 out of 10 casualties (killed and wounded) on the Nazi side were the result of all warfare on the Eastern Front. So it is truly the USSR military who can get the biggest share of the credit for defeat of the Nazi cause. Of course, the USSR received great quantities of armaments and logistic support from the Allies beginning in early 1942. But the “killing grounds” of the Eastern Front are what wasted away the mass of Germany’s military might.

A German Tiger I tank in combat during the Bat...
Image via Wikipedia
Zemanta Pixie

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/07/01 at 12:52