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"Red Storm Over the Balkans" by David M. Glantz


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#1 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:55 AM

A rather dry analysis of the defeat of the Red Army in Romania during the Spring of 1944. The defeated Wehrmacht forces were driven out of the Crimea and into the hill country of Romania. The Red Army followed the seemingly disorganized forces into Romania only be be dealt a stinging defeat by the combined Wehrmacht/Romanian defenders under the leadership of Von Manteuffel. Glantz analizes just how this could have happened. The Romania terrain favored the defense, it was Rasputitsa and the Soviets faced logistical problems, the rivers were flooded, the attack was ill coordinated, but mostly it was the combat power of the Wehrmacht fighting forces that turned victory into defeat for the Soviet invaders (AND Colonel Glantz-I would add that there were no Red Partisans reporting on German armoured movements as there were in the Crimea and throughout the USSR). This embarrassing campaign was largely "dissappeared" during the Soviet era along with some other serious setbacks experienced by the Red Army during the course of WWII. What the book illustrates is what a really formidable force the Allies were up against-even in defeat. Von Manteuffel's "Strike Groups" were made up of hastily assembled composites of destroyed units and still they managed to land devastating blows on the Soviets. A wounded tiger is a very dangerous beast-something the Western Allies were to find out.
Red Storm over the Balkans
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Red Storm over the Balkans

#2 Kai-Petri

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:48 PM

Yes, it´s always easier to defend and cause losses to the enemy. However the end result was already known and every loss by Germans was a bigger blow to them because reserves were running out and fast.

Glanz books are great though in their detail, and very tough to read.
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#3 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 04:16 PM

Kai (That is a Finnish name isn't it? My mother is Finnish/Karelian.);
I think that Romania also shows what a formidable defense the Axis might have mounted if they would have withdrawn from Russia sometime before or even after Kursk-or really anytime before Bagration. Leave it to a pig headed supreme commander like Herr Hitler to hang onto every inch of captured territory despite the fact that Russia became increasingly untenable. And those who argue "that it was only a matter of time before the Allies prevailed" are not factoring in the Axis vs. Allied technological gap-as well as the capricious nature of the fortunes of war. If I would have been an NKVD general during WWII I would have argued for a secret protective cordon around Der Fuhrer so as to prevent people from taking a shot at him and to keep the cockeyed strategic decisions coming.
JeffinMNUSA

#4 Za Rodinu

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 06:38 PM

Haven't read that one yet, I'll put it in my wish list. Thanks for the heads up ;)

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#5 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 03:18 AM

Za;
Colonel Glantz is a military man and his writing is rather too militarily explicit for some readers to easily follow. I used to play "Panzerblitz" for days on end with my friend Jim back in the 70s (I ALWAYS played the Russki) and can sort of follow Glantz-but I could see where some people might find his "blow by blow, flags on the map" writing incomprehensible. His analyses are the best however, and have opened up whole new worlds of understanding on just how the modern world came to be.
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#6 Kai-Petri

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 11:34 AM

Kai (That is a Finnish name isn't it? My mother is Finnish/Karelian.);
I think that Romania also shows what a formidable defense the Axis might have mounted if they would have withdrawn from Russia sometime before or even after Kursk-or really anytime before Bagration. Leave it to a pig headed supreme commander like Herr Hitler to hang onto every inch of captured territory despite the fact that Russia became increasingly untenable. And those who argue "that it was only a matter of time before the Allies prevailed" are not factoring in the Axis vs. Allied technological gap-as well as the capricious nature of the fortunes of war. If I would have been an NKVD general during WWII I would have argued for a secret protective cordon around Der Fuhrer so as to prevent people from taking a shot at him and to keep the cockeyed strategic decisions coming.
JeffinMNUSA


Yes, that is a Finnish name. I know there´s lots of Finns in the US as well as other nationalities moving there mostly in the 19th century and early 20th century, I guess. ANyway, can you speak any Finnish? ;) BTW, did you know Pamela Anderson´s grandfather was Finnish...

On the military subject: I think it is a miracle Germans did as well as they did if you consider the number of troops Hitler ordered to stay back and hold the line leaving loads of men to be trapped by the Red Army. If you for instance simply think about the August-September 1944 situation and German losses in the west and east you must wonder how on earth it all did not crumble down....
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#7 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:17 PM

Kai;
The North Dakota I used to spend my summers in as a kid might as well have been called "Little Finland." The Finns held onto their ethnic identity long after most of the other immigrant groups had assimilated. I remember Finn Halls, all the adults speaking Finnish (No I did not pick much of any of that language up) and Finnish music. Here are some photos-the turn of the century stuff is toward the back of the album; Juntunen photos, from the Finn community in ND; 100 years pictures from history photos on webshots
At any rate; So why was NAZI able to hold out as long as it did? Well other than that demonic leader in Berlin there was the crushing tactical power of the Wehrmacht-which consistently outfought all comers. The reasons why the Wehrmact was such a powerfull force are still being analized, but it does seem that the German soldier of the era really was "ten foot tall" in relation to other militaries.
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#8 Kai-Petri

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:51 PM

Kai;
The North Dakota I used to spend my summers in as a kid might as well have been called "Little Finland." The Finns held onto their ethnic identity long after most of the other immigrant groups had assimilated. I remember Finn Halls, all the adults speaking Finnish (No I did not pick much of any of that language up) and Finnish music. Here are some photos-the turn of the century stuff is toward the back of the album; Juntunen photos, from the Finn community in ND; 100 years pictures from history photos on webshots
At any rate; So why was NAZI able to hold out as long as it did? Well other than that demonic leader in Berlin there was the crushing tactical power of the Wehrmacht-which consistently outfought all comers. The reasons why the Wehrmact was such a powerfull force are still being analized, but it does seem that the German soldier of the era really was "ten foot tall" in relation to other militaries.
JeffinMNUSA



Thanx for the site. Nice pics!

ALso you must recall that once you enter to fight on your home ground many soldiers fight much harder back than , say, 2,000 miles away from home. There are several examples: East Prussia for Germans, Tali-Ihantala for Finns, Moscow and Stalingrad for Red Army, just to name a few. ALso for the enemy it is sometimes harder to explain to their troops why you fight away from your own country and perhaps for some ideological reason only. So the effective fighting morale is not as strong. I know for instance that during autumn 1941 when the Finns were crossing the old border with the USSR there were loads of men refusing to do that because they considered the job was done, and old land that was "stolen" during Winter War had been taken back. Strict measures with some executions followed and the troops crossed the border and followed orders from the HQ.
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#9 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 05:53 PM

Kai;
But the Finnish Army DID NOT move on Leningrad-a fact which may have saved the city. Why? Well I would suppose that as a nation the Finns were quite wary of the erstwhile "ally".
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#10 Kai-Petri

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 08:34 PM

Kai;
But the Finnish Army DID NOT move on Leningrad-a fact which may have saved the city. Why? Well I would suppose that as a nation the Finns were quite wary of the erstwhile "ally".
JeffinMNUSA


That is true. There is also pics of Leningrad with streets with signs telling not to worry about the "Finnish side" of the street as there would be no artillery fire from there, nor did we ever bomb the city. This was a decision by Mannerheim, and somehow Hitler never truly requested him to do a thing about it. So far it seems Mannerheim considered it a politically wise move with the US political pressure being one of the major reasons behind it ( FDR saying that Finland would not be treated with silk gloves after war if Finland attacked Leningrad ). Also after war it was said Mannerheim knew "the best" which was that not being too aggressive led to peace negotiations in Sept 1944 and the separate peace treaty.
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