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Why didn't the Russians consider Sicily and Italy a second front?

Discussion in 'Italy, Sicily & Greece' started by GunSlinger86, May 6, 2014.

  1. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure that it would be a good idea to use a German source in a discussion a discussion on Soviet losses and manpower .

    An authoritative Soviet source gives the following figures for the Soviet operational forces (Stavka reserves and inoperational forces not included):

    1 july 1943: 6,626,735

    1 june 1944:6,750,244

    1 january 1945:6,750,149

    And,OTOH,the SU was able to catch the big losses which occurred between 1 july 1943 and 8 may 1945:

    In the second half of 1943,the combat losses were 4,542,638
    In 1944:5,685,785
    In 1945:2,638,167

    Notwithstanding the loss of almost 13 million men ,the strength of the Soviet operational forces remained constant .
    Of course, a lot of these men returned to the front ,but a lot were irrecoverable losses,others still were in hospitals,and other ones returned,but not to the front .
     
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  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Thanks LJAd. Those were the statistics I referred to.

    Ron: The only person who denigrated the Italian campaign was Stalin. No one here buys that for a minute.
     
  3. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Marshall was very upset at the decision, when Churchill tried to get overlord cancelled again at the last minute in 1944, Marshall let it be known he would quit if it was postponed. Churchill was overly obsessive about his fear of a French invasion and caused Marshall a lot of stress over his alternative proposals.
     
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    One often-ignored aspect of the "soft underbelly" idea was the economic effects on Germany; the so-called "Economic Blockade" the british planned to re-institute on the outnreak of ar had fallen apart again by 1940...but the remaining Eutropean Neutrals - Spain and Portugal etc. DID give germany a point of access for raw materielas ...

    The problem with the 1939-40 version....and the ecomonic warfare camapign that didn't begin to bear fruit in the West until the Portuguese and Spanish started to cut down on tungsten in 1943...was that the "blockade" - WASN'T! It was wide open to the south, south-east and east...

    Even once Hitler went to war with the USSR, Germany was STILL getting resources from Turkey via the Balkans - but a campaign that took back the Aegean, and progressed into the Balkans, would cut off THAT source of vital materials from Turkey.

    Turkey was eventually prevailed upon to halt chromium exports to Germany in April 1944 IIRC....but through late 1942 and 1943, the period under discussion here in effect, Germany was just about getting what it needed through the leaky sieve of Allied countermeasures and economic warfare initiatives; the "soft underbelly" would have blocked the last open door.
     
  5. Juno

    Juno recruit

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    Why didn't the Russians consider Sicily and Italy a second front?

    David Glantz

    [SIZE=10pt]THE SUMMER-FALL CAMPAIGN,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]JUNE-DECEMBER 1943[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]Context[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]A COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGY OF OPERATIONS[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]ON THE EASTERN AND WESTERN FRONTS[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]DURING THE SUMMER-FALL CAMPAIGN OF 1943[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]In July 1943 160,000 U.S. and British forces invaded Sicily, defeated 60,000 [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]German defenders, and advanced into southern Italy. The Germans lost [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]20,000 men and the Allies 22,000.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]During July and August 1943, the 2.5 million Red Army troops defeated[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]over 1 million Germans at Kursk and subsequently launched offensives by[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]over [/SIZE]6 million Red Army soldiers against 2.5 million Germans along a front
    [SIZE=10pt]of over 1,500 miles and advanced toward the Dnepr River.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]*****[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]In October and November 1943 in Italy, 11 Allied divisions advanced 16-39[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]miles from the Volturno River line to Cassino against 9 German divisions.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]From October through November 1943, 6 Red Army [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]fronts [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]with 37 armies,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]over 4 million men, and over 300 divisions assaulted German defenses in a[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]770-mile sector in Belorussia, at Kiev, and along the lower Dnepr River,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]piercing the German Eastern Wall in four regions.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]*****[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]On 31 December 1943, U.S. Army strength in Europe reached 1.4 million[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]men and 17 divisions. Red Army strength reached 6.2 million men and over[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]500 divisions.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]FORGOTTEN BATTLES AND HISTORICAL DEBATES:[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]THE 3rd PERIOD OF THE WAR[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]THE WINTER CAMPAIGN,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]DECEMBER 1943-APRIL 1944[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]Context:[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]A COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGY OF OPERATIONS[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]ON THE EASTERN AND WESTERN FRONTS[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]DURING THE WINTER CAMPAIGN OF 1943-44[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]From January through March 1944, 18 Allied divisions were bogged down at[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]Anzio and Cassino in central Italy against an equal number of German[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]divisions.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]" [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]From January through March 1944, the Red Army launched massive[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]offensives with 10 [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]fronts[/SIZE][SIZE=10pt], 55 armies, over 4.5 million men, and over 300[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]divisions and liberated the Leningrad region, penetrated Belorussia, and[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]reached the Polish and Rumanian borders. The assaults badly damaged 3[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]German Army groups and inflicted over 1 million casualties on the[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]Wehrmacht[/SIZE][SIZE=10pt].[/SIZE]

    http://sti.clemson.edu/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&Itemid=310&gid=189
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    This is the Soviet POV,but,it is questionable : the fact that in a landwar,more Soviets were fighting against more Germans,and in the Mediterranean,less allies against less Germans,is no argument for saying that the landwar was more important than the war in the Mediterranean .

    Other point, I find it questionable to compare Soviet divisions with Allied divisions .

    And, it is NOT so that from january through march 1944,the Red Army inflicted over 1 million casualties on the WM .This must be a typo,or Glantz is parotting Soviet propaganda .
     
  7. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    the number is right for about June 44 through about October. AGC lost almost 400k alone
     
  8. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The following are the monthly losses on the eastern front reported in 1944 (reported with arrears:the Bagration losses were reported in august and seprember),LW and KM are not included .Source = WWII stats.,which is using official German figures.

    january :137000
    february:153000
    march:106000
    april:113000
    may:156000
    june:46000
    july:122000
    august:292000
    september:385000 (is including the losses of the southern AG in august)
    october:157000
    november:223000
    december : 70000

    Total : some 2 million.

    While the Bagration losses were initially reported as 400000,they were later adjusted downwards,because a lot of the MIA were returning .

    Comparison:
    losses for 1941: 830000,1942: 1.1 million,1943: 1.7 million
     
  9. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    There is also an issue of strategy here. Russians needed a Second Front desperately in 1941-1942 period when they were under constant retreat and defeat. Italian Front (first Allied landing on Europe and a pre Second Front) opened up in second half of 1943 , way after Moscow , Stalingrad and Kursk victories. After crisis had passed and initiative was regained by Red Army it might have been suitable for them to say "landing to Italy with just one army group ?" , "Is that the best you could do ?" for sake of appearence. At the other hand Italian Campaign was crucial. By 1945 25 German divisions were fighting to keep Northern Italy (Allies had reserves to spare to fight there. German did not) not to mention additional 20 plus German divisions were diverted to Balkans and Aegean to reoccupy Italian territories when Italy surrendered as a result of Allies landings in 1943. Italian Campaign contributed Allied strategy more than it is given credit for. It is just Allied inability to exploit all oppurtunities fully that confuses people.
     
  10. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Merdiolu: How many troups, how many support staff, including civilians and how much heavy equipment would tally into that?
     
  11. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    LJAd,

    I am aware that the number of troops for the Red Army grew, but apparently the quality of that manpower was not particularly inspiring to German soldiers and the Russians themselves. I am sure your copy of Jentz collaborates this; post-1943 AARs from small units point to the relatively poor quality of Russian tankers and infantrymen faced by the Panzertruppen.

    Of course, I called this "silver-lining" because the quality of German manpower was also on the decline, as evidenced by various Panzer Troop bulletins, which repeatedly and readily admits that the German infantry was no longer capable of being the arm of decision, lacked morale and basic combat skills, etc.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    quality is always subjective,more important here is the quantity .
    Some figures :

    1) on 1 january 1944,2528000 Germans faced 5570000 Soviets ,which is : 45/100
    on 1 october 1944,1833000 Germans faced 5320000 Soviets,which is 34/100

    2) in this period,Germany had lost 1.697 million men,the SU 6.475 million men,which is 26/100

    3)BUT,Germany could only replace 967000 men,while the SU had 5.977 million replacements (16 / 100),which means that the German strength was down to 72 % of the strength in january,while the Soviet strenght was only down to 95 %.

    The situation in october was much worse for Germany than for the SU (compared to january).
     
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  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Manpower quality is subjective? Really? I don't see to much subjectivity in age, physical conditioning and motivation, but okay.

    I am not going to keep on arguing in circles. All of this is well known to me since the appendix of Glantz's book includes the chart of troop strength and armaments on the eastern front in absolute numbers as well as ratio of forces. This has nothing to do with my post. Did I say Germany's strategic situation objectively improved? No. Did I say Russian field armies became weaker? No. I am responding to a previous post about Russia's ability to furnish millions of troops and cited the methods via which the manpower was found and utilized, as well as the difficulties that involved in that effort.
     
  14. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Even though the manpower factor suffered, the equipment quality greatly improved for the Soviets. As German equipment was lost, especially artillery it was not replaced. For the Soviets they added vast amounts of artillery, even whole divisions. At Kursk the Soviets would have 400 guns per mile in certain sectors. The decline of the Luftwaffe also hurt the Germans badly since it was depended on the ground support provided by bombers.
     
  15. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The American supply chain and troop transport system made it almost impossible to put the same amount of men in Europe as the Russians, even though by March 1945 there were over 3 million US Army soldiers just in Europe (including Air Force). And US divisional format was entirely different that the Soviet format including divisional size/strength, and the US had many of its combat forces in non-divisional set-ups. AGF in 1945 had over 2.7 million men-- 1.2 million divisional, 1.5 million non-divisional. If the war was fought on American soil we could have brought millions right to the front like what happened in European Russia.

    The air offensive in Germany gave Russia massive air superiority as Germany brought most of its planes, anti-aircraft equipment and personnel back to Germany, and the Germans brought some of their best divisions back for the Italian offensive, and they had almost 60 divisions in France waiting for the inevitable invasion of France.
     
  16. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Here are two reasons why the Russians did not consider Italy and Sicily as the second front.

    1. The Soviets - and the Western Allies, knew that the "Second Front" would occur when the allies opened a front capable of deploying the 100 divisions of the US Army + the British and Canadians. That would have to be in Western Europe. An operation in Northern Africa, Sicily and Italy could only be a diversion. Until D Day the Soviets would have to bear the brunt of the Germans. It was only in 1944 that the Germans switched priorities from the West to the West .

    2. The Soviets wanted the Western Allies as far away as possible from from Soviet geographical interests in the Balkans.

    The Soviets were focused on land warfare and did not fully appreciate the significance of the war in the air and at sea. While operations in the Mediteranean did not involve ma ny divisions they did disproportionately involve mechanised troops and aircraft. While motorised troops made up only 10% of the German army they were 90% of the German troops in North Africa and Italy until Oct 1943.

    German aircraft losses in the mediteranean theatre for the first nine monhts of 1943 are highert than on teh eastern front. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/AAF-Luftwaffe/tables/AAF-Luftwaffe-XXX.jpg
     

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