Stereotypes About The Red Army And Russia

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Gerard, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Stig O'Tracy

    Stig O'Tracy Senior Member

    I don't think anybody was going to eclipse anyone, as any communist government was going to be greeted in arms, treated as brothers, not rivals. Cuba & China serve as my examples. I didn't notice any rivalry between the USSR and the aforementioned two.


    My comments concerning the USSR's goals or interest in international communism were specifically about Stalinist Russia as I thought we were discussing the period prior to and during WW2.

    With regards to the USSR and Communist China and their brotherhood, I can't help but wonder how many ICBM those two countries have had targeted at each other since the 70's. It's purely speculation on my part but I imagine it's more than a few. I believe that Vietnam and China fired a few rounds at each other (after the USA had departed the scene) despite their communist brotherhood. Check out this link ( another wiki page. Sino-Soviet border conflict - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    and another one;

    Sino-Vietnamese War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    IMO political ideologies are like religions, perhaps somewhat more tangible but none the less, largely an idea in someones head which looks great but when put into practice by men is always corrupted by the men in control. When it comes to countries and relationships between them, it always boils down to money and power, regardless of what your political faith is. I think in most cases these days it's best to not believe what the people in power are telling you.
     
  2. L J

    L J Senior Member

    of topic,but for the numbers freaks :D(those interested in casualties),on Military Photos,"Abyr" has given an interesting site that's is giving the 10 day reports from the Heeresartz (chief surgeon of the army ),the figures are taken from BA-MA(German military archives )
    WW II STATS COM.
     
  3. civvie

    civvie Member

    I've arrived very late in this fascinating discussion and I'll try not to digress too much from the current direction of the thread.

    Broadly, the assumptions cited in Glanz's summary below seem to me to be alive and kicking in popular informal debate on youtube and the UK newspapers comment sections. I'm fairly new to this area of history and I started with works published in the last ten years or so. What I've read seems like a corrective to the assumptions Glanz evokes. But I guess we are always left with the fact that a definitive history of anything is pretty elusive. Maybe the last, "The stereotypical Soviet soldier..." is the most troubling to me: do I detect a faint echo of notions about 'untermenschen'?

    That aside, the current discussion of Stalin's internationalist designs - or absence thereof - is intriguing, so don't let me interrupt!



    David Glantz, in his paper American Perspectives on Eastern Front Operations in World War II puts forth the theory that the following sterotypes prevailed about the Red Army and the Eastern Front. Do you agree and also do you think some of these still exist?

    Here is the link to the whole article: http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/e-front.htm

    Here is a part of the paper dealing with the stereotypes. I'd be interested to read what people think:



    The dominant role of German source materials in shaping American perceptions of the war on the Eastern Front and the negative perception of Soviet source materials have had an indelible impact on the American image of war on the Eastern Front. What has resulted in a series of gross judgments treated as truths regarding operations in the East and Soviet (Red) Army combat performance. The gross judgments appear repeatedly in textbooks and all types of historical works, and they are persistent in the extreme. Each lies someplace between the realm of myth and reality. In summary, a few of these judgments are as follows:

    - Weather repeatedly frustrated the fulfillment of German operational aims.

    - Soviet forces throughout the war in virtually every operation possessed significant or overwhelming numerical superiority.

    - Soviet manpower resources were inexhaustible, hence the Soviets continually ignored human losses.

    - Soviet strategic and high level operational leadership was superb. However, lower level leadership (corps and below) was uniformly dismal.

    - Soviet planning was rigid, and the execution of plans at every level was inflexible and unimaginative.

    - Wherever possible, the Soviets relied for success on mass rather than maneuver. Envelopment operations were avoided whenever possible.

    - The Soviets operated in two echelons, never cross attached units, and attacked along straight axes.

    - Lend lease was critical for Soviet victory. Without it collapse might have ensured.

    - Hitler was the cause of virtually all German defeats. Army expertise produced earlier victories (a variation of the post World War I stab in the back. legend).

    - The stereotypical Soviet soldier was capable of enduring great suffering and hardship, fatalistic, dogged in defense (in particular in bridgeheads), a master of infiltration and night fighting, but inflexible, unimaginative, emotional and prone to panic in the face of uncertainty.
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Civvie, have you read the paper in the link provided?
     
  5. civvie

    civvie Member

    Civvie, have you read the paper in the link provided?

    Hi Za Rodinu - no, I can't get the link to work, I keep getting 'the page cannot be found'

    What am i missing?
     
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

  7. civvie

    civvie Member

    Thanks, Za Rodinu

    that's a heck of a big read! I've looked through the introduction and sense that Glantz' work might be in broad sympathy with what I've read so far - Richard Overy, Michael K Jones and Chris Bellamy amongst others. I'll stop here because I really don't want to disrupt the existing thread.

    Thanks again!
     
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Disrupt at will, this is a 'discussion' forum, remember? :)
     
  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Indeed Civvie, we welcome a good discussion on the GPW/Ostfront. feel free to comment!
     
  10. noman

    noman Member

    See the "History of the Second World War" series part 69
    German View pp.1916-1917
    Russian View pp.1918-1919
     
  11. Urrah

    Urrah Member

    Clearly this is not directed at anyone on here, but this is my general response to these statements, which I have had quoted at me in the past. I rather like discussing and debunking these things. Obviously this is not exhaustive and is in no way definitive - merely a start using my standard off-the-cuff responses. I welcome discussion on the points below, if anyone is interested.

    - Weather repeatedly frustrated the fulfillment of German operational aims - The Soviets fought on the same fields of battle, often just a few hundred meters apart. They had to deal with the same weather.

    - Soviet forces throughout the war in virtually every operation possessed significant or overwhelming numerical superiority. Not true. If we look at Operation Bagration, for instance, the force ratios were somewhere between 1.46 and 1.94 in terms of men, depending upon which forces you include in the orbat. Often in the actual tactical zones, the force ratios were somewhat more even than that. Where the Soviets did excel in force ratios was in tanks and artillery, but this is what happens when you don't spend 300,000 man hours pissing about making a Tiger.

    - Soviet manpower resources were inexhaustible, hence the Soviets continually ignored human losses. The Soviets had to deploy flexible and powerful Corps Artillery Groupings and introduce more tanks to mask the fact that they had something of a manpower shortage, which became more acute as the war dragged on - tanks and artillery are cheap in terms of manpower. Not for nothing that in 1944, did they extend the conscription age bracket to 55.

    - Soviet strategic and high level operational leadership was superb. However, lower level leadership (corps and below) was uniformly dismal. There is a kernel of truth in this and it showed more in the norther groupings of Fronts that didn't operate with the degree of mobility that their more southerly comrades did. This statement is a bit of a broad brush and takes little account of timescales and of the greater degrees of local flexibility that the commanders were afforded in 1944 and 1945. It also doesn't take into account that some of the higher level leaders were awful - Timoshenko being one of them.

    - Soviet planning was rigid, and the execution of plans at every level was inflexible and unimaginative. Three words - Operation August Storm.

    - Wherever possible, the Soviets relied for success on mass rather than maneuver. Envelopment operations were avoided whenever possible. Not so. Even in the disaster at Karkhov in 1942 and Rzhev in the same year, they did try to envelop their enemies. Unsuccessfully in these cases, but this was a key part of how they developed their methodology for beating the Germans.

    - The Soviets operated in two echelons, never cross attached units, and attacked along straight axes. I don't even need to bother with this one. Combined arms warfare was not new and did not pass the Red Army by.

    - Lend lease was critical for Soviet victory. Without it collapse might have ensured. This is 'what if' history and is worthless.

    - Hitler was the cause of virtually all German defeats. Army expertise produced earlier victories (a variation of the post World War I stab in the back. legend). Anyone who uses this as an argument has never ACTUALLY studied WW2.

    - The stereotypical Soviet soldier was capable of enduring great suffering and hardship, fatalistic, dogged in defense (in particular in bridgeheads), a master of infiltration and night fighting, but inflexible, unimaginative, emotional and prone to panic in the face of uncertainty.
    The evidence is there to show that this isn't the case. Lt Yakhunin on the Stalin-Line anyone? Yefim Fomin or Major Gavrilov at the Brest Fortress? Rodimtsev's VDV at Kiev in 1941 shows this to be nonsense. There are too many to list and as such, we cannot accept this as an argument.
     
    TriciaF and Dave55 like this.
  12. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Just goes to show how we westerners are ignorant of the Russians and their history. And the vast size and variability of their country and people.
     

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