Operation Mars - Zhukov's greatest defeat

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Gerard, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just got to the Operation Mars bit in 'When Titans Clahed' by Glantz.
    Some facts about this forgotten Operation are really staggering.
    It was actually bigger than Op Uranus, the encirclement of 6th Army but is totally forgotten.
    The chapter notes give this info.

    The three Soviet fronts (Southwestern,Don & Stalingrad) participating in Operation Uranus at Stalingrad contained 1,101,00 men ; 15,501 guns and mortars ; 1,463 tanks; and 928 combat aircraft.
    At the same time , the Kalinin and Western Fronts and Moscow Defense Zone numbered 1,890,000 men; 24,682 guns and mortars ; 3,375 tanks and 1,170 aircraft.

    There are other comparisons between Mars & Uranus but the smaller one was a success & remembered , the larger one failed & is forgotten.
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Conditions were completely different. Uranus was launched against the flanks of an unbalanced enemy over bare steppe, whereas Mars was launched against the Rzhev salient, occupied by a sector of AGCentre since the Winter offensive of the previous year and generally static and fortified since then, a frontal attack over difficult, wooded ground. Totally different.

    Read Erickson's Road to Stalingrad/Berlin afterwards for a fine chained narrative ;)
  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Agree. Another example would be all the fuss and the hype surrounding the German war heroes (KC holders and such). Such an emphasizis on individual performance was quite surprising in a totalitarian state. On the other hand, we must recognize that Max Wunsch or Jochen Peiper are way better poster boys than the average Helmut.

    Every generation needs it's heroes and when you think about it, how better to highlight and glorify Aryan superiority than to show the shining examples, adorned with battle honours.
    Now, far from being heroes, history has shown that Wunsch and Peiper were more like Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer!
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Max Hastings was on BBC Breakfast news about his new book.
    He mentioned Operation Mars.


    Even more cold-bloodedly, Stalin revealed to the Germans via a fictitious agent called “Max” accurate details of a proposed Soviet attack, code-named “Operation Mars”. The Germans then acted on this intelligence and 70,000 Red Army soldiers died as a result. Stalin did this because he wanted to divert the Germans from another Soviet operation around Stalingrad. As Hastings says, “only in Stalin’s dreadful world could 70,000 lives have been sacrificed, without sentiment or scruple, to serve the higher purposes of the state
  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Yes, saw and heard that too, this "Max" had apparently been picked up via Bletchley Park decrypts and was so serious that it was passed to the Soviets that they had a spy in their highest echelon. No action was taken and high quality information was still being fed to the Germans, so Bletchley decided "MaX" must be a double agent that the Soviets were protecting. There were TWO offensives being mounted by the Soviets, Uranus and Mars and the details of the Mars attack were leaked, but not those for Uranus. The Germans switched their forces to maximise on Mars and were then unable to hold back Uranus.....
    Bletchley couldn't (wouldn't?) believe it possible for the sacrifice of one attack with 70,000+ casualties to be a double agent....
    Betraying one part of your Army to assist progress at another....?

    We ought to have done the same to the Kaiser in WW1, but we simply threw troops at a highly defended part of the line, so they didn't need to move any reinforcements away from the Somme.....
  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Wasn't the Mars disaster in April 42, and the Uranus success in November 42?

    Drusus Nero likes this.
  8. Drusus Nero

    Drusus Nero Banned

    Ahhhh...Thanks Tom O'Brien, for putting it in real perspective.

    If 'Mars' was a giant 'distraction' operation, fed to the Germans by stalin himself......(draws breath)

    What does that say about it's apparent 'discovery' by Glantz?

    How do we know, for sure, that Glantz was not simply given the details of this operation to prove Russian willingness to be "Open and honest" about their war record?
    After all, if you give something in the way of information to an outsider and it's seen to be "a big success", that outsider will be far more predisposed to be 'fed' other things that are not so truthful.

    I perosnally believe that David Glantz is, what the British Civil service call...house trained

    They give him something that the rest of us perceive as important, when, to the Soviet leadership of the day, it was 'just another battle'.

    I care not about Glantz's credntials. The background to his work is a political system not undivorced from it's Stalinist past.

    One might note well how Stalin saw the film work of Sergei Einstein. For turgid works like "Battleship Potemkin", Stalin went public and called him a genius. He then went on to make "Ivan the Terrible" with Stalin's full blessing.

    That film was carefully scripted to make it relevant, in a positive way, to Stalin; particularly Ivan's ideas of justification for mass murder to rid the nation of "internal enemies", The scripting for the film might as well have been written by Stalin himself. And if it comes from the mind of a 'genius' film maker, it's got to be true, right?

    People ought to remember that David Glantz has, broadly speaking, the very same political backdrop. After all, if it comes from Glantz, ('The Genius'), every one will believe it,..

  9. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I don't see this has anything to do with Glantz's book - the discussion about Mars being a supposed sacrifice to ensure Uaranus worked is something that Hastings said, not Glantz. I guess, and I am not a student of this, that if you put Glantz's Soviet information together with existing German sources you will get a more balanced view all round...as long as you try to filter out the propaganda both sides pumped out.


  10. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Hastings is telling nonsense .

    Mars was launched independently from Uranus ,and,even without Mars,the Germans could not reinforce the forces at Stalingrad .

    At the same moment of Mars and Uranus,the Soviets launched attacks from Leningrad to the Caucasus .
  11. Drusus Nero

    Drusus Nero Banned

    It has plenty to do with Glantz....

    Everyone hailed David as some kind of new Eastern Front historical messiah. ferreting out the answers that the Soviets couldn't tell us.

    And if the Soviets couldn't give 3 eighths of F*** all about the results of the operation, then it wasn't as important as anyone suggested.

    Glantz ended up with some amazing reviews, and all for an operation whose importance lay in the minds of the readers. I'm not sure how much gravity Glantz placed on it.

    And, if it wasn't that important, why the hell was it trumpeted as an example of Mr. Glantz supposed ability to tell us the amazing stuff about the eastern Front that the Soviets didnt have the guts to at the time? So it wasn't such a stunning revalation as we were told it was, making the entire thing look pretty ordinary, rather than an example of a "new dialogue".

    Glantz was put up on a pedestal over this, making his other work seem a lot more 'special' when it wasn't.

    On the strength of it, now everything that comes out of David Glantz's mouth is touted as the God honest truth. :pipe:
  12. L J

    L J Senior Member

    I would not say that Mars was a defeat,it was a failure .

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