Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by tommy tater, Sep 6, 2008.
looks impressive tovarisch,nice pics...
It is. Believe me, when I went there, it just changed my whole perspective on Stalingrad. When I saw Rodina-Mat' I nearly burst into tears, it was so moving. I mean, the whole memorial complex is just stunning, just absolutely breathtaking. Too bad that not many people know about them, though. The amount of foreign visitors to Volgograd is catastrophically small, and as a consequence many people think that we've forgotten about the horrors of Stalingrad, and prefer to 'remind' our nation of Stalingrad by remembering 'Human Waves', yelling 'For Mother Russia!' in a perverse Russian accent, always talking about the insufficent weapons supplement, mentioning evil mustache-clad dictator commanders, one rifle per two people, awful Soviet tactics, the zagradotryad regiments etc. Things of that nature. May I remind all of these people that the battle of Stalingrad was actually won?! And a whole German army was encircled and taken prisoner in the course of the battle (!). Fieldmarshal von Paulus was taken prisoner as well, if anyone remembers. A fieldmarshal (!). After Stalingrad the only way for the Fascist hordes was back to where they came from, Germany. Retreat awaited.
Even the posing of that question : 'Was it true that the Soviets charged machine guns yelling "For Mother Russia!"?' deeply offends me and, I would suspect, the Russian nation. And anyway, it was "Za Rodinu, Za Stalina" that they would have been shouting, not 'For Mother Russia!' or anything else that Call Of Duty has engraved in the minds of the West.
Being historically accurate and being biased are two absolutely different things, and ever since I registered all I've been seeing is questions similar to the one above, and that just makes me wonder whether the Soviet side of things is shown in a positive light, anywhere at all, at least when it comes to the Second World War. So much acid has been pourn on the USSR in the Cold War and afterwards, and in that time history literally polarized and obliterated itself. Please hear me out. If you want to keep on believing in a Lenin-obsessed, cattle-like nation, wearing Ushanka hats and charging around drunk, waltzing with bears, keep on believin'. I ain't gonna stop you. Sorry for completely getting carried away with this.
There's Paulus by the way, second on the left, being captured by the Soviet Infantry.
not at all,sometimes it is seen that way,but from recent news reels it looks as any city and very modern too,ray..
I believe he was referring to the victims of that battle. There are no names of the victims anywhere in the city with (perhaps) an exception of a very few. Considering the calamity of the battle and the amount of casualties which both sides sustained in such a short period of time, should be of no surprise.
How tall is the Mamaev Kurgan statue?
Hi Towaritsj ..
The line about the names was indeed referrring to another posting about 'Vets meet at Stalingrad ' were both party's of vets were a bit disappointed not to find any names of their fallen comrades .
Seems they haven't been at the right place now looking at the pics of the large hall , plenty of names there . If you read the other article you'll understand . If I ever make that far as Nowgorod I will shurely visit as looks deeply impressive .
(perhaps thats what the guide from that other article tried to say ...)
Completed in 1967, the statue "Motherland is Calling" is 52 metres high (171 feet) and is made of 5,500 tons of concrete and 2,400 tons of metal. The sword is stainless steel and is 29 metres long weighing 14 tons. The hanging part of the scarf ways 250 tons. The statue not fixed to its foundation by anything but its own weight. At night the statue is illuminated by floodlights.
Heinrich, there are loads of places in Volgograd with names of fallen soldiers, that Memorial Hall being just one of dozens, probably, I don't know the exat amount. There are also books issued with lists of fallen Soviet and German Soldiers, 'Knigi Pamyati' as we call them in Russia, Books of Honor or Books of Memory, but the latter sounds weird. They've got millions of names in them, and info. Literaly, millions. You could also contact the National Archives of Russia or Germany, they must have something on the subject.
I guess they really were looking somewhere else when they failed to notice that hall, for one
Sniper1946, wow, I didn't know that statue was fixed to the foundation only by its own weight thanks for that info, I appreciate it.
Sloniksp, well, maybe there are few, due to the large amount of common graves, but I should think that finding out about a specific military graveyard or some specific monument would help to surface information about fallen soldiers, both German and Soviet. The memorials are there, most of them are unknown, unfortunately.
I posted some in the 'trip to stalingrad' thread by jeffinmnusa.
Do not try to base your knowledge on "Documentaries". Many are innacurate and conflicting in the information they present. There are many other sources out there on the subject. Books are a good thing for a start LOL. And you might want to peruse the threads here too for information.
No human waves at Stalingad?
Somebody hasn't been reading the literature.....
ENEMY AT THE GATES, (William Craig, Page 78)
"In the five days he had been at the front, Zhukov had not yet performed a miracle, but he was attempting to co-ordinate Russian infantry attacks with meager air and tank strikes. Such an effort needed time. This Stalin would not allow him. When Zhukov called him, pleading for a delay until ammunition arrived in sufficient quantities, Stalin gave him until September 5. On that day, Zhukhov launched "human wave" assaults, which crashed into the left flank of the German corridor from the Don to the Volga and immediately foundered. At nightfall, the German corridor was still intact."
This was a front wide assault, lasting for 72 hours, and broken up by German firepower for the umpteenth time. Designed only to buy time, it did just that, as Paulus had to switch reserves from the inner city to the outskirts.
Human Waves were used right up to the fall of Berlin. Whether to break morale, buy time, from lack of suitable training for anything else or simply because a local commander had run out of patience.
The Red Army would not have been able to keep throwing untrained ploughboys into uniform as quickley as they did with sophisticated tactical training schools. Many recruits had a limited education in any case, so complexity was shelved in favour of brute strength. "Human Waves" did much to demoralize an enemy who thought themselves superior, and these 'tactics' were, from a Russian point of view, entirely justified. It is indeed something to think about when your opponents are willing to throw men and machines at your position regardless, until you run out of ammunition, or the pressure becomes too great leading to a retreat.
We should not glorify the Red Army hierarchy for this, but rather, THANK the ordinary Russian, brave and tough buggers that they were, for putting up with this 'tactic'. The attitude of the ordinary Russian can be seen by the INCREDIBLE stoicism they showed when wounded. Again and again, 'Ivan' proved to his German counterpart that they were not dealing with 'untermenschen' at all, but real humans that were "bloody annoyed", willing and able to give their all.
I fall to my knees in grateful praise. As a Westerner, so should you.
The Germans, too, could be tactically brutal and thickheaded....
Nicolai Maznitsa, Soviet 95th Rifle Div, Mamayev Kurgan....
"An attack began in the morning and lasted 48 hours. The enemy was moving inexorably towards the summit in six files. At times it seemed to us they were invincible. But the sixth file did not hold under our fire, and we rushed into attack, and dug in on a new line to prepare for the next advance. Then came the planes once again, along with the artillery fire, the iron columns of soldiers, the renewed attacks.
Most of the German soldiers appeared to be drunk, and threw themselves in a frenzy at the summit. After each round of bombing there would be a moment of dead silence- and that was when you would get afraid. But then the hill would come alive again like a volcano, and we would crawl out of the shell holes and put our machine-guns to work. The barrels of the guns were red-hot, and the water boiled inside them. Our men attacked without waiting for orders. I don't know of a single case where someone committed an act of cowardice. It was mass heroism.
We lost many men as a result of direct hits on shell-holes. On September 23rd I was buried in my foxhole during an attack, and was unconcious under the earth for several hours. When they dug me out they took my documents away as evidence of my death, and they were about to bury me in a different hole when a bomb blast threw me several metres and somehow brought me around from the concussion. I re-took command of my company the same day.
The slopes of the kurgan were completely covered in corpses. In some places you had to move two or three bodies aside to lie down. They quickly began to decompose, and the stench was appalling, but you just had to lie down and pay no attention.
The dead were buried, if at all, where they fell. But sometimes, if there was time, they were put in big shell holes - as nearly happened to me. It wasn't always possible to report the names of the dead, and sometimes the courier with the casualty report was himself killed along the way.
Sometimes it seemed that we were all condemned to death - but we despised death all the same, and wanted only to sell our lives as dearly as we could."
One can only stand back in awe of such humanity. It certainly gave the Nazi racial 'supermen' food for thought......
Cheers for that post. We can only stand in awe today and honour the deeds of those who gave so much for freedom, justice, and peace in the years that cost the world so many lives, the years from 1939 to 1945.
The thing you must remember up to around the time of Stalingrad, these tactics that you are mentioning were the norm in the Soviet army, including Conscription, human waves, no retreat and the simple lack of weapons. So although the story of 'Enemy at the Gates' may be misleading in terms of how the Red army eventually evolved, it is historically accurate for the time in history that the movie is set. It is hollywood that fail to explain to the people the changed tactics later on in the war.
I can see by your posts that your are very patriotic, you love your country and your veterans of the past, however, you must be respectful of the Heer German soldiers that fought in the war, they do were doing this for there "fatherland" they were also simply just doing there job. We must respect, and honour them for there bravery in such conditions, but still be thankful that the Nazi party lost the war.
The majority of people on this forum know the answers to the questions you are stating about, however the normal person who is not as interested in ww2 as this forum do not, and they tend to take what they see in the movies as historically accurate.
I am sure that some time during ww2 the Russians would have charged machine guns yelling mother Russia, as at some point the English charged up a hill yelling "For King and Country" just as commonwealth countries yell out there countries names.
You must remember also that during the cold war, the sides of Capitalism and Communisn were at war without actually being at war, so they attempted to portray the other side as being evil, and since in almost every aspect the Capitalist countries won that war, they have had more ammunition to fuel the hate for communism across the world. Even as far back as before ww2 communism was a scary thought and people saw Russia as the very place that you are describing.
In the opening days and months of Barbarossa things were a bit chaotic. Certain troops were allowed to withdraw and some were not. On the Leningrad axis an organized retreat took place all the way from the Baltics to Leningrad with Von Leeb on hot pursuit. This was not the case around Kiev. The infamous order 227 (NOT ONE STEP BACK) was only given at Stalingrad. To claim that the retreats in general were not permitted in the Red Army might (for some) prove misleading.
Human waves can also prove to be a bit confusing. In the opening days of combat such was the case. The poorly trained and equally led Red Army troops simply had no choice. Such orders were given from the top out of desperation and in a futile attempt to slow the German advance (it had the intended effect though casualties were horrific). In October of 41', however, Zhukov forbade Human Waves unless the infantry was supported by artillery and/or from Soviet aircraft. At the same time the tanks were to assault the flanks.
Such was the case at Bryansk(?) at which just such an attack took place. Guderian later commented on this "new tactic" at which he wrote "The Russian infantry came at us from the front shielded by artillery while their tanks attacked my flanks. They are learning."
Stalingrad was a matter of its own. All rules were broken in this battle and Germans too attacked their objectives in wave after wave and were mowed down. Pavlovs house is an example.
PLEASE go to the thread in the "General" section. There is a real task for someone who is a speaker of Russian and knows the countryside and it's localities far better than I do.
"Journals of a recconissance cartographer" is a 'sticky' near the top of the page. The very nice lady there needs a little help from one of Russia's own to translate certain placenames that she has provided from the text of a forthcoming book. Some seem obvious to me, but most are a little bit obscure for my style of atlas...
this one is right up your street....
Most readings I have done regarding Stalingrad state that the Red Army fought with extreme cunning and a high level of sophistication. The very high force-space ratio there might have made frontal attacks by massed troops inevitable and to the enemy on the receiving end it would resemble human-waves. I recall in the battle for a grain silo a platoon (-) of Red Army troops pinned down a German infantry division for three days until it ran out of ammo and exfiltrated. Did it appear to them that the Germans were attacking in wave after wave of humanity? When the fight moved into the residential districts it took a full battalion to secure both sides of the road and the road itself. IIRC in the struggle for the city proper the Russians were actually fighting in small platoon sized battle groups, constantly re-infiltrating the German lines at night and defended choke points during the day. I don't think there is evidence to support the portrayal of Red Army troops in Enemy at the Gates.
There is actually plenty of evidence, not just from the book, "Enemy At the Gates" by William Craig.
Firstly, an army does not suffer over a million casualties in a five month long confrontation by being sparing with it's soldiers. We have all read accounts by the dozen of the profligacy with which the Stalin regime liked to chew through it's human resources. I've read far too many accounts of this particular style of 'steamroller' between 1939 and 1945 to NOT believe it.
I realise that it's very politically incorrect to suggest that the Soviet Red Army was anything other than a brilliantly tactical entity, full of officers and leaders who's only concern was sparing the lives of their troops. I also realise that modern Russians love to gloss over this aspect of the struggle, and prefer to concentrate on the more patriotic aspects of the story.
Inside the city
Not according to City Fights: Selected Histories of Urban Combat from WWII to Vietnam by Col. J. Antal. In the initial stages of the combat, perhaps. For most of the siege the Red Army was pretty good at small-unit level tactics. They were outnumbered and barely supplied. I think a defender whose position is being overran would be hard pressed to tell the difference between "human-wave attacks" and application of concentration and infiltration... A US Marine wise cracked to journalist in Korea, "How many platoons do you think are there in a Chinese human wave?" Its easy to read anything into your enemy qualities that reflect one's presuppositions about him instead of what actually was.
Not all! What is PC does not concern me. We all know that huge tactical blunders were made during 1941 and after and that the Russians considered their troops expendable to a far greater extend than other armies. What I don't believe is the portrayal of Russians as inept fools. Glantz obviously did not subscribe to that school of thought for one bit. If an argument that contradicts yours is automatically branded as politically-motivated and therefore false, then what basis is there for a discussion and who exactly is exercising political correctness? FYI, I am not a Russian.
Dude call of duty?Every one knowes that's fake but I belive the russains did use mass attacks but not alot like you think. Enemy at the gates....I saw it I think it's the kind of movie that would offend a soviet vet.weapons were not in that short supply I don't think russain generals commer suicide and German sniper we not even as professional as russain snipers who some were born shooting rifles.I should not even have to start on call duty do I? O I watch the history and millitary channle they are very bias a bit on russains.
Yes. These "shock troops" consisted of about 15-20 men and gave the Germans quite a head ache.