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New look at Stalingrad

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by Michael K Jones, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. Michael K Jones

    Michael K Jones Member

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    I have a new book out on Stalingrad:

    Michael K Jones, Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed (Pen and Sword Military, 2007; ISBN: 9781844155439). David M Glantz wrote the Foreword.

    I have led battlefield tours of the Eastern Front for the last five years, and have worked closley with many Red Army veterans of Stalingrad. My book draws on their remarkable testimony - much of it entirely new - and the recently released combat records of the 62nd Army, the Soviet defenders of the city.

    I believe a very different version of this famous battle emerges as a result.

    With best wishes to all of you on the Forum, Mike.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Yes I agree
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Thank you for this link , I always appreciate new points of view, especially when they are from first hand testimonies.
     
  5. Michael K Jones

    Michael K Jones Member

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    Thanks for your interest!

    Yes - I have tried to present a different view of this extraordinary battle and the book does use a lot of fresh Red Army veteran testimony.

    With best wishes, Mike.
     
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Before going after the book, what new insights does it bring into the battle?
     
  7. Michael K Jones

    Michael K Jones Member

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    Surprisingly - using the recently released combat records of the 62nd Army, the defenders of Stalingrad, and fresh veteran testimony - there are a lot of new things that can be said about Stalingrad.

    The accepted version of events for the two critical days of fighting in the city - 14 September 1942, when the Germans first broke into Stalingrad, and 14 October, when they launched their assault on the Tractor Factory - disguises how desperate the Red Army's position really was.

    On 14 September Rodimtsev's 13th Guards Division was supposed to cross the Volga and join the 62nd Army at nightfall: German bombing made a daylight bombing too dangerous. But an alarming collapse of morale amongst the defenders after the Germans captured the Mamaev Kurgan meant the leading detachments had to be ordered across at 5.00pm in broad daylight. Most of these men drowned in the river. But the remainder - showing incredible bravery - held the main ferry point against the Germans, allowing the rest of their division to reach Stalingrad that night, providing vital reinforcement for the defence.

    During 14-15 October the Soviet position looked so bleak that Chuikov - Stalingrad's commander - twice requested permission to move his HQ to the eastern bank of the Volga, which would have been tantamount to surrendering the city. Permission was refused - and somehow the defenders hung on.

    Many of the oft-repeated descriptions of the city fighting are incorrect. The defence of the Central Railway Station - usually described as lasting between 5 and 10 days - was in fact over within 24 hours. The defence of Pavlov's House and the birth of the sniper movement have become similarly distorted.

    The real story does not diminish the Red Army's achievement. On the contrary, I believe it allows us to properly appreciate the astonishing courage of its soldiers and commanders at Stalingrad.
     
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    It does sound very interesting, one more for my wish list. Thank you for your trouble, Michael.
     
  9. Balderdasher

    Balderdasher Dishonorably Discharged

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    The History Channel here had a new series on Stalingrad.
    I know you criticised using such as a source and I am sceptical too, though I like that they interview veterans including the aide-de-camps of the officers on both sides(assuming they are who they say they are).

    But it just pointed out the futility of the German position there, and although there was no doubt the Germans could have done better, the theme of the program seemed to be it was a 'personality' conflict over a strategically sound decision for both sides. That Hitler literally saw the name 'Stalin' and that became more important than Moscow etc.

    Fascinating program. I wonder if it is based on the new book?

    You come away from the series wondering what the hell Hitler was thinking and that the battle was, however costly, a godsend for the Soviet side strategically speaking. Though to be fair, it does criticise Stalin and Soviet decision making and motives too.
     
  10. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    where are you from? I wonder if the history channel will broadcast that program in the US.
     
  11. Michael K Jones

    Michael K Jones Member

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    Thanks for your comments!

    The History Channel programme on Stalingrad was part of their Lost Evidence: Great Conflicts of World War Two six-part series (which also included the Battle of Britain, Alamein, Breakout from Normandy, Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge). I am sure it will be shown in the USA, as it has a lot of powerful testimony by American veterans.

    I have mixed feelings about the Stalingrad programme. I know all the Red Army veterans they interviewed personally and it was good to see them all here. One of them - Colonel-General Mereshko, the staff officer reporting directly to Stalingrad's commander Vasily Chuikov - was my most important source, and he gave weeks of his time to my book, even travelling around Stalingrad's battle sites with me.

    It does give a reasonable introduction to the topic, but the structure of the programme follows the traditional interpretation: Germans get stuck in a battle of attrition and quickly lose their way. In fact, the reality of Stalingrad was far more complex - and the Red Army's position far more desperate - than was ever openly admitted. I have tried in my book - using new veteran testimony and archive material - to offer a complete re-evaluation of this famous clash of arms.

    With best wishes, Mike.
     
  12. Balderdasher

    Balderdasher Dishonorably Discharged

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    Thanks Mike,

    maybe now some will believe me about these documentaries and video series.

    Mike, what did you think of the movie, "Gates of Stalingrad?", story of famous Soviet sniper and it's presentation of the situation?
    answer me by messenger if you prefer

    what book do you have coming out and when?

    i am fully aware of Russia's censorship problem today
    but do you know the name of the Russian production company that has ties with the BBC for these things?
    who might be more impartial?
     
  13. Michael K Jones

    Michael K Jones Member

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    Thanks for your queries. My book, Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed (Pen and Sword Military, 2007) is out in the UK - and the best way to get it is on www.amazon.co.uk Casemate are bringing it out in the USA later this summer.

    The film Enemy at the Gates is nothing like the book - instead it focuses on the sniper duel between Zaitsev and a German opponent who is largely the invention of Soviet propaganda.

    There is at last a lot of new material - both archival and veteran testimony - coming out about the battle in Russia, allowing us the chance to re-evaluate this famous clash of arms.

    Best wishes, Mike.
     
  14. JipThePeople

    JipThePeople Member

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    Mike - I will be buying your book after I have completed "Voices from Stalingrad". So far it is a very good read as it retells the story of Stalingrad from eyewitness testimony in a first person account. I have read the Beavor book as well as Enemy at the Gates and I liked both of them tremendously for different reasons. I felt Beavor's book gave a good idea of what it was like to be among the soldiers in the rubble. I am looking forward to checking out the new book by Mr. Jones.
     
  15. Hawkerace

    Hawkerace Member

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    I will also be purchasing your book. I am very excited.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Got the book and read some 70 pages "deep" into the book. I always love the soldiers´comments on warfare so it´s been great "fun" reading the book.

    We have had this discussion about the importance of certain cities if they should be conquered.( Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad )

    On p 7 in the introduction I found this

    In private Chuikov would say simply:

    "....If the Germans had wiped us out and crossed the Volga everything would have been different. The psychological effect of capturing Stalingrad would have been enormous.The counter-offensive would not(!) have worked."

    Doesn´t this mean that Chuikov was saying that by taking Stalingrad early on the Red Army would have been beaten and Hitler would have won...?!!
     
  17. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    Now on my wish list too, sounds excellent! It will be good to read another work which breaks away from the 'disgruntled German officer' mould of the cold war days.
     
  18. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Kai, not having read the book or knowing too much about it, i think he might be referring to the battle of Stalingrad itself. Say, if they had been forced across the river, then the Germans would have captured Stalingrad, the city named after Russia's great leader. That would have been a crushing blow to the Russians and a major victory for the Germans. The Russians would have been very demoralized and probably wouldnt have been able to take it back immediately. Look at how the few Russians defended it right from the outset - a small number holding the ferry, for example - they were fighting for their Stalin, in Stalingrad. So they get a morale boost from holding on to it, and an even bigger one when they destroy the German Army trying to take it. An Army with High Morale can do wonderous things.
     
  19. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Or reading betwwen the lines he might have been saying "So, as the hero of Stalingrad look what I have prevented!" :p

    This may or may have any bearing, but remember Chuikov had the homour of being the only Marshal S.U. that was buried away from Moscow, in the place of his being annointed a Hero, his Stalingrad city.:hsu:

    Here are two pics of his tomb.
    http://www.geocities.com/sfjinmoscow/images/chuikov01.jpg
    http://www.geocities.com/sfjinmoscow/images/chuikov02.jpg
     
  20. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Did you intend to type "honour" instead? At first I thought you had typed 'humour' which struck me odd, but then I realized that you probably type as poorly as I do. Post on, my friend. :D
     

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