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04 April 2016

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Chris Chuba

To All, I think that the 'Lucy' connection is being over emphasized. Yes, I am certain that British intelligence was given to the Russians prior to the German attack and that this was factored into the Red Army's defense. However, the Russian's were always suspicious of planted stories and would only act on leads if it was corroborated by other intelligence.

Zhukov himself mentions that the Red Army's preemptive artillery barrage was about an 1hr too early to achieve maximum effectiveness. Many German's were still bunkered and it was based on captured sappers. Also, German plans in early Spring are not going to be detailed down to the actual hour on D-Day. Finally, there is plenty of evidence that the Russian's did NOT know the exact disposition of the German army. They over budgeted the defense of the Central front as compared to the Voronezh Front.

Chris Chuba

Ulenspiegel I just wanted to say that I appreciated a lot of your comments but I didn't respond to them because they were buried in very detailed, nested threads.
I too think that 1942 was Germany's best shot at defeating the Soviet Union. I am thinking that Caucus campaign to take the Baku oil field. If they did that then Russia loses 90% of their oil production, game, set, match. The funny thing is that when I read Zhukov's biography, I get a real sense of urgency here but on the German side it seems that only Hitler was enthusiastic for this campaign. To some extent, perhaps this was telling in and of itself.

I agree with your assessment that the tank killing ratio at Kursk was unsustainable for the Red Army so that it was as good a strategy as any. In fact, that was the spirit of my original post. Kursk was not an attritional loss for the German army, it was a strategic victory for an every increasing competent Red Army.

Regarding the delay of the start of the Battle of Kursk, I forgot to mention that the Luftwaffe did get new Cannon equipped Stukas which proved to be very effective tank killers so this is one way in which a delay favored them, the German army also got a few more Tiger tanks. Finally, one point I didn't mention, the PzIV had a similar silhouette to a Tiger so being confused with a Tiger helped because sometimes the Russians would withhold fire thinking that they had to get in closer range than necessary.

SmoothieX12

Sir John Keegan was a proverbial Russophobe. I also don't know what "consensus" are we talking here about re: Keegan? Consensus among who?

William R. Cumming

Was the book entitled ON WAR?

William R. Cumming

Which side had the best tank and armor recovery units for battle damage?

rjj

Is this the text?

http://erenow.com/ww/ahistoryofwarfare/3.html

If so, I can't find an offending passage. He writes about Cossacks from Clausewitz's perspective. From his own perspective they are an eastern variant of Border Rievers.

Why then did he find the horrors of the Cossack pursuit of the French so particularly horrible? The answer is, of course, that we are hardened to what we know, and we rationalise and even justify cruelties practised by us and our like while retaining the capacity to be outraged, even disgusted by practices equally cruel which, under the hands of strangers, take a different form.

another case of cultural blinkers: German Stalingrad survivors in BBC interviews said absolutely without irony that the Chuikov street fighting methods were thuggish, uncivilized, and pretty much what you can expect of "zeeeese peeeeeople."

Chris Chuba

The Germans definitely had better field recovery logistics than the Red Army at the Battle of Kursk. I don't know if things changed later in the war. The Germans also had the advantage that they controlled most of the battlefield since they were on the offensive. They had easy access to their damaged tanks and were able to demolish any Red Army tanks before leaving.

The Russians were able to repair 100 of 400 damaged tanks within a few days after 7/12. They had some turretless T34's that they used to tow damaged tanks from the battlefield.

I'm adding this here to reduce moderation overhead ...

One of the things that stuck with me from the Zamulin book regarding the first day of the attack, 'Each regiment of the 52nd Guards division faced one Panzergrenadier division ... [later referring to 3 of its rifle company's] Unfortunately, it is difficult to reconstruct the events of this unequal battle because none of the defenders survived it'

Nik

For french readers I recommend "Koursk : Les quarante jours qui ont ruiné la Wehrmacht" by Jean Lopez at edition Economica that brings new light on the operations of the Summer 1943.

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