#3355 re: Stalingrad

Stewart Sinclair stewsinc at SPAMeol.ca
Thu Mar 29 00:45:09 MST 2001

This passage, as it stands;

 >The really, really unpalatable truth, which most Russians fervently agree
with, is that without Stalin, the USSR would have >lost the war. You do not
have to subscribe to weird ideas about genius leaders, great helmsmen etc,
to recognise that >individuals play a role in history, and sometimes a
decisive role. Just as much as Hitler lost the war for Germany, Stalin >won
it for Soviet Russia. He made his mistakes and learnt from them. Hitler did


although probably inadequately explained, strikes me as one of the
strangest contributions I've seen on this list in my - albeit rather short
- time on it.  To start with lets see what Uncle Joe actually did to win
the war.  First, he slaughtered the Stavka in the fall of 1937.  This purge
wiped out the the best tank generals in the world bar none - including
Hienz Guederian, et al.  After that he initiated the execution and
imprisoning 9 out of 10 generals and 8 out of 10 colonels from the ranks of
the Red Army.  The largest army with the largest most modern tank force in
the world at that time was left completely demoralized and
disorganized.  (It should be noted here that one of the best Soviet
commanders of the war - Marshal Zukov - survived because he was a cavalry
officer and thus part of Budieni's and Vorisholov's favoured cavalry
clique.)  The tank men - Tukachevsky, Yakir and company - had all been

The army was so disorganized under Stalin's favourite Vorishelov that the
majority of the fastest, most powerful, heaviest gunned, heaviest armoured,
longest ranged, most automotively reliable tanks in the world were
destroyed by German infantry men sticking mines under the backs of the
turrets after they ran out of diesel fuel.  The reason for this tactic was
that the German anti tank guns were hopelessly ineffective against the
armour of the T34's and the KV I's.  The German infantry christened their
standard 3.7 cm anti tank weapon "the door knocker".  That's what they
thought it was good for against a T34 and they suspected that the crews of
the much heavier KV I's didn't even know they were being shot at.

Just to set the record straight on the real relationship of forces a few
statistics need to be kept in mind.  When Germany launched it's attack on
the Anglo-French forces at the beginning of the Battle of France in May
1940 she had - according to Hienz Guederian - a total of 2456 tanks
including armoured reconnaissance and command vehicles.  That included:
1. approx. 600 Mark I's (a crew of 2 and 2 light machine guns with armour
only capable of stopping a rifle caliber bullet - training vehicles - never
meant to be used in combat)
2. approx. 900 Mark II's (a crew of 3 and a 2.0 cm cannon. lighter than any
other tank in any of the 3 armies except the Mark I - only intended as stop
3. 300 Mark III's (standard light tank, 3.7 cm cannon and crew of 4 or 5
and no more that 13 to 15 tons)
4. 300 Czech type 35's and 38's - courtesy of Neville Chamberlin (the type
38's were also a standard light tank generally considered one of the best
of that size in the world at that time)
5. 250 Mark IV's their only standard medium tank, with a low velocity 7.5
cm howizer and all of about 21.5 tons, capable of maximum speed of 24 mph.

The tank force that Germany sent into the Soviet Union in 1941 was not
substantially different from this except that most of the Mark I's were
replaced by Mark II's and III's.

Against that the Red Army had several thousand T26's (older light tanks)
and mainly BT 6,7 and 8's (Bestrokodyne Tanks - fastest tanks in the
world), 4.5 cm cannon, same weight as the light tanks but capable of over
40 mph.  Added to that were 1350 T34's and over 500 KV I's.  They both had
the heaviest turret mounted cannon in the world - 7.62 cm field guns with
higher velocities than those of any of the German tanks.  The T34 was over
28 tons and capable of 35 mph while the KV I (then the heaviest tank in the
world) was 45 tons and capable of 26 mph.  Beyond that, the engine in all
the medium and heavy Soviet vehicles was a 500 hp V12 diesel engine that
gave their machines, not only highest horse power to weight ratio of any
tank in any army of the time, but gave the T34 a single fueling range more
than double that of the German tanks.  Of course diesel fuel was much safer
than the gasoline used in the German tanks.  The German commanders asked
their manufacturers to simply duplicate the T34 but they could not in the
time available.

In case your thinking that this technical superiority was Uncle Joe's doing
forget it.  The engine and the suspension that made the T34 so mobile and
reliable were the end product of several projects started by Tucachevsky
and the Stavka in 1930.  At that time he initiated the purchase of a very
advanced suspension system developed by an American engineer named
Christy.  One that all the other colonel blimps in the world's capitalist
armies ignored until the war started.  At the same time he saw to the
purchase of what had been the most powerful aircraft engine of the 1st
World War (an aluminum/magnesium bodied V12 power plant called the Liberty
Engine).  That engine became the base of development of the powerful
lightweight diesel engine that drove nearly every Soviet AFV's by the end
of the war.

In spite of all this technical superiority the irony is that the Soviet
Union was probably saved from Stalin's insanity by the Finns as well as the
resistance of the Serbs.  The resistance put up by capitalist Finland in
the Winter War of 39/40 so badly exposed the mess in army caused by the
purges and the terror that a considerable amount of reorganization had been
undertaken by the time the German invasion started.  In fact just before he
was murdered Trotsky pointed out that up to the Finland War the Soviet Army
had been over estimated in the west and that now it would be seriously
under estimated.

Furthermore it was revealed by Kruschev in 1956 that for the first period
of the invasion Stalin ordered the Soviet Forces not to resist.  For a time
after that he locked himself in a room fearing that all was lost.  During
this period the generals took control and started to organize the
resistance.  In short, by a combination of cupidity, stupidity and
cowardice, Stalin did his best to lose the war.  It was the combination of
technical superiority, revolutionary dedication, patriotism, a lack of any
alternative provided by Nazism combined above all with the common ownership
of the means of production that brought the Soviet peoples and soldiers to
their feet in a measure not equaled by any other large social formation in
modern history.  The cost was far greater than it reasonably need have
been.  That we can certainly lay on Mustache Joe's criminal legacy.

Stewart Sinclair

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