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Stalingrad & civilian defenders

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Lucky, Oct 16, 2006.

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  1. Lucky

    Lucky Member

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    How numerous were they, and how effective? Was Vassili Zaitsev one of them?
     
  2. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    According to wikipedia he was indeed one of the defenders of Stalingrad.
     
  3. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Accurate accounts are hard to come by about how motivated the civilians were. Stalin kept them from leaving, and the Red Army put them to forced labor. Zaitsev was there, but he was not a civilian.
     
  4. bouis

    bouis member

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    How motivated were they? Motivated enough, I guess, since the Red Army wouldn't let them evacuate.

    I think a lot of them were killed or ended up slipping out over the course of the battle, but IIRC the ones who were left when the Germans were surrounded were either collaborating or at least not resisting.
     
  5. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Member

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    I believe that the entire Red Army was modivated by Stalin's, "Not one step backwards," policy.
    The Germans MIGHT kill you, but if you retreated the you knew the commanders WOULD kill you.
     
  6. max popenker

    max popenker Member

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    Well, you certainly overestimate the "No step back order".
    There were DIVISION of civilian volunteers fo fought for their (our) country, not for Stalin, Lenin or whoever else you can think

    For example, when Germans came close to the Tula, most of the Tula Arms factory workers armed themselves with production of their own factory, and a BATALLION of older men and boys gave Germans a pretty hard time...
    There are great many other accounts like that; in fact, there were special orders from Soviet government that officially PROHIBITED certain professions from enlisting into Red army as volunteers - industry just could not afford losing skilled workers and engineers.

    One alo may remenber how many thousands of people on occupied territories turned into "partisan" and fought Germans from behind...

    remember, hitler officially declared the slavic nations as "untermensh" relegating them to slavery and extermination. yes, there were those who hated Soviet government more than any thing, or just SOBs who tried to survive under any government... but they are not so numerous, otherwise we just could not win in 1945.
     
  7. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Many civilians were organized by the NKVD and like internal police of the USSR, e.g. the tank traps outside Moscow. Numbers? Who knows. I would not trust the numbers of the USSR, most were fictional or destroyed. The Red Army was not the German Army, who had serial numbers for socks.

    Vasily Zaitsev was not a civilian. In 1936 he joined the Soviet Navy, serving as a bookkeeper, and volunteered for combat upon the German invasion.

    He was assigned the 1047th Rifle Regiment, 284 Infantry Division to Stalingrad. Zaitsev was on the small side and not considered to be a fighter. Then . . . he started shooting.:scrutiny:

    He was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal on Febrary 22, 1943.

    http://www.soviet-awards.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=9237&d=1083181762
     
  8. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    The book "Enemy at the Gates" gave a really good account of the entire siege of Leningrad.

    The movie (which I enjoyed) focused on and fictionalized about 2 pages of the whole thing.

    Basically, the entire population of the city was involved in its defense, either directly in combat roles, or in immediate support roles.
     
  9. CraigJS

    CraigJS Member

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    And least we not forget the Russian women were some of the most deadly and motivated of the breed..
     
  10. offthepaper

    offthepaper Member

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    Quote: "For example, when Germans came close to the Tula, most of the Tula Arms factory workers armed themselves with production of their own factory, and a BATALLION of older men and boys gave Germans a pretty hard time..."
    ---------------------------
    Did the Tula arms factory ever come under German control, even for a brief time?
     
  11. antsi

    antsi Member

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    As noted above, Vasily Zaitsev wasn't a civilian, he was a soldier in the Red Army.

    All through the German-Soviet war, Russian civilians were often conscripted as militia. More often than fighting, they were often conscripted for manual labor like digging anti-tank ditches. This kind of labor was critical in the battles of Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad. I have seen the number quoted of 250,000 civilians conscripted to build defensive works around Moscow in Nov-Dec 41.

    There are other accounts of factory workers being conscripted into battle. This certainly happened at Stalingrad.

    The best book I have read on the battle of Stalingrad is "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege" by Anthony Beevor.
     
  12. antsi

    antsi Member

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    ----quote------
    Did the Tula arms factory ever come under German control, even for a brief time?
    ---------------

    Guderian got very close to Tula during Operation Typhoon in late 1941, but he was driven back from there by the Russian Moscow counteroffensive. I don't think any German forces ever got close to Tula again.
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    IIRC, Sestroryetsk, which had stopped making Mosins years earlier, was the first to fall in WWII. Tula was impacted by the fighting quite a bit, and its production numbers fell during the war years.
     
  14. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Member

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    I read several articles about women snipers the Russians had during WWII. They were very deadly. I sure wouldn't want to come up against one after reading the articles.
     
  15. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    The point is missed that Joesph Stalin himself decreed that in "The Great Patriotic War" there WERE no civilians.
    You either served Mother Russia (Stalin himself) or you were an enemy to be killed by whatever means.

    The only distinction was, some "soldiers" wore uniforms, most didn't.

    A little recalled fact of the Stalingrad battle was, even in the most desperate time when there weren't enough people to fight and make weapons, the NKVD under direct orders of Stalin were holding mass executions of people deemed not doing enough.
    A significant percentage of casualties of Stalingrad, in fact the whole Russian war were actually victims of Stalin's purges.

    After the siege was broken and the battle won, the purges were actually increased in Stalingrad to root out "disloyal" people.
     
  16. Dirk Pitt

    Dirk Pitt Member

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    I read the book "War of the rats" of which Enemy at the gates is based on. There were some interesting stats at the end of the book. One of them was civilian casualties. It stated that there was approximatley 500,000 civilians in Stanlingrad when the battle started and at the end there was about 1500. The losses on both sides were just astronomical. What we have lost in Iraq in 3 years they would loose in one DAY. It is hard to fathom that.
     
  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    It's a real mistake to view the loyal defenders of the Motherland as some Russian version of the American citizen-soldier. I've been reading "Ivan's War" and several books about the Winter War. There were motivated Red Army Men and hard fighting Frotoviks, but they tended to have a lot of genuine party loyalty and faith in the Communist ideals. Those that didn't were purged, even after the reforms reduced the day-to-day oversight of the political overseers.

    The Finnish example is much closer to what we would think of as citizen soldiers fighting to defend their homeland. They were mostly farmers from a nation of riflemen. They had a high literacy rate and were pretty stubborn, independent-minded people. Even though they had emerged from the political struggles of 1919, the Red/White conflict was not a significant part of their motivation for fighting. Indeed the local socialists and Civil Guard agreed to operate as one to defend the homeland against the Soviets. The Red Army Men, driven on by socialist indoctrination and the threat of being shot in the back of the head, got slaughtered.
     
  18. StG

    StG Member

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    > Accurate accounts are hard to come by about how motivated the civilians were.
    Well, some accurate accounts that shows motivations.

    1941 : one division and 8 batalloins of milita were created.
    1942 : over 80 batallions of militia counting at least 11 000 of people.

    Theese troops were fought aside with regular ones, were used for recon and covered the people evacuation from Stalingrad.

    And some more facts about motivation: at 4th November, 1942 17 members of "Barefeet Garrison" (a partizan formation) were captured by Nazi, tortured and 10 of them were executed at 7th November ... They were 9 to 13 year-old boys.

    > Red Army wouldn't let them evacuate.
    Over 300 000 people were evacuated.

    > It stated that there was approximatley 500,000 civilians in Stanlingrad when the battle started
    It couldn't be so -- the population was near 400 000.

    > NKVD under direct orders of Stalin were holding mass executions
    They fought aside with regular troops ... for example 270 and 272 regiments of 10th NKVD Division defended the "Komsomolskiy" park.
     
  19. posadnik

    posadnik Member

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    guys.
    1. from the formal viewpoint, Vasily Zaitsev was a marine.
    2. No step backwards order just motivated the troops, as many soldiers' and officers' memoirs state. Before that, it was disorderly retreat. After that, the retreat started to cease.
    3. Yep, it COULD be that in 400.000-people Stalingrad there were 500.000 civilians in summer, 1942, as the city was an important evacuation hub (see Nekrasov, In Trenches of Stalingrad). But no one dares say the people were not evacuated. Just they were coming and coming from the west. Also, in 1941 and 1942 there awere opeople who refused to evacuate. Justy it was their home, and all that.
    4. The thesis about NKVD holding mass executions to run weapons productions... I am awfully sorry, but it was simply crap instead of facts.
    a) there was simply no need to oppress people like that, making them obey orders: the reppresions boom of late 1930s put everyone to obedience.
    b) people in Europe, not to say in Russia, are community-minded, so I can't imagine regular failure to obey orders.
    c) by summer 1942 the motivation of the people was already like this: it is not just the government's affair, it's one of my own, as the German forces carried the regime that was far from friendly to the people - just remember that by that time SOME of the territories occupied by the Nazi, were already liberated, so there WERE facts of nazi violence and regular pillage revealed. And the propaganda machine provided the people with them.
    d) guys, I do not know if you do, but the evacuation hazzle of 1941 and 1942 was much less disorderly as it could be - as the evacuation plan was compiled well before the war, for every defence-related plant and factory - the hardware and people as well. So, who'd work on those plants back in Siberia, when NKVD shoots workers in huge numbers? But they did issue weapons, and land lease weapons were a great help just for teh period of plants movement and start of their work. Already in 1943 and 1944, the national weapons production was in full swing, decreasing the precentage of aircobras, vallentines etc in the troops. The US help with raw materials, transport aircraft, trucks and jeeps was great, no crap. But the import of weapons was vital only in transition period of 1941 and 1942.

    5) I would like to have some info on why Russian data is either a fake or incomplete info, while the guys who bnever crossed teh Atlantic possess the Sacred Truth in their books. Especially bearing in mind that during the Cold War there was a lot of semi-propaganda stuff (on both sides!!!) that crept into regular historiography, distorting the real picture. Not to say Europeans and especially Russians have a more community-oriented mentality, so it is completely wrong to tell those days' guys motivations from the viewpoint of a 21-century American.
     
  20. antsi

    antsi Member

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    --------quote----------
    I would like to have some info on why Russian data is either a fake or incomplete info, while the guys who bnever crossed teh Atlantic possess the Sacred Truth in their books. Especially bearing in mind that during the Cold War there was a lot of semi-propaganda stuff (on both sides!!!) that crept into regular historiography, distorting the real picture.
    -----------------------

    There are lots of potential distorting factors in trying to write history about the Great Patriotic War.

    First is the fact that in the 1950's and 60's, Western historians had much better access to German participants and archives, particularly interviews with German generals. Therefore they tended to unconsciously adopt the German perspective on the war. The German generals naturally tended to interpret things in such as way as to preserve their own reputations. Therefore, you get the general impression that the war was mostly about overwhelming Russian numbers and Hitler's meddling.

    Second, much of the Soviet history writing was distorted by Soviet information control. Many powerful postwar politicians did stupid and/or criminal things during the war (or, altnernatively, did nothing very helpful or glorious during the war) and therefore had both the motive and the ability to re-write history to try to make themeselves look good. Kruschev is a good example of the first and Breshnev is a great example of the second.

    Post 1980's, the opening of Soviet archives has done much to correct these distortions. Western historians have had the opportunity to set the record straight by mining Soviet archives and they have made much of this opportunity. Generally, Western historians have had greater resources: bigger book contracts, better supported university positions, so they have been able to spend the time and money doing their research.

    I don't think it is reasonable to say that current and recent western historians like Anthony Beevor, David Glantz, and Jonathan House are motivated by an anti-Russian bias. These folks certainly have spend large amounts of time in Russia. Beevor may not have "crossed the Atlantic" to do his Russian research but that's because he's based in England. To some extent, they've made their careers by reversing the anti-Russian bias in previous accounts.
     
  21. djpullen

    djpullen member

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    Whoever would have thought that in 1996 that American soldiers would be interacting and training with Russian soldiers. I was in Lviv Ukraine for Peace Shield 96. That was a great time. Good Vodka and lots of it.

    http://www.nato.int/structur/nmlo/links/yavoriv-training-centre.pdf

    I have a few pictures that the military photographer sent me but the attachment tool says that they are too big to attach on here. I'd love to go back to the Ukraine and tour all over Russia one of these days.
     
  22. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    It seems unlikely that Soviet archives regarding WWII are any more accurate than their official reports on military readiness or economic numbers. With a high degree of certainty, we know those reports were routinely falsified. It seems likely that official reports from the WWII era were also routinely falsified.

    Opening up of the Soviet archives certainly does give historians another data set to work from, but it is probably far less reliable than the German archives. Propoganda was an integral part of the Soviet system. Soviet leaders never had much in the way of reliable infomration to work from because their own people lied to them almost continuously to avoid the penalties for telling leaders what they did not want to hear.
     
  23. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    Just two minutes from sanity.
    Have you ever heard of a fellow named Joseph Goebbels?
     
  24. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Member

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    Yes, but that was disseminated information to the masses (we had a fair bit of that here in the US as well).
    Did the Germans actively falsified records?
     
  25. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    Official reports of the German military and of the German government for internal use were generally pretty reliable. Keep in mind how many German generals got into trouble because of them. The leadership knew they needed reliable information on which to make decisions.

    I am not suggesting there was no slanting, or that some conclusions were not just plain wrong, but that there was not wholesale fabrication and falsification as there was in the Soviet Union.
     
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