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  #21  
Old 14th July 2019, 08:27
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Nick Beale Nick Beale is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

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Originally Posted by Broncazonk View Post
And Nick, when did, "Did the Luftwaffe participate in this battle: air superiority, ground attack, ISTAR?" stop being a question?
I’m all for the uncomplicated approach, e.g. “How accurate is this Wikipedia assessment?”

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And if quoting the information in Wikipedia, "winds people up" THAT ALONE is reason enough to do it. Right?
Might not a better reason be to get information so you could go in and improve the relevant Wiki pages?

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And also, I was just being polite.
Excellent. Not everyone manages that.
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  #22  
Old 15th July 2019, 08:43
igorrB igorrB is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Didn't you think all russian knows Deutsch very well?

[Moderator’s mistake: when replying, I tried to copy a sentence here and somehow removed it. Igor wrote that Kellerhof had stated that he was indeed calling for the monument to be pulled down. NB]

But i show you some magic now.

If you use Google to translate "Eigentlich müsste dieses Denkmal sofort abgerissen werden" in russian, and then translate russian words in english, you became.... "In fact, this monument must be demolished immediately". You can try it. Knowing of russian is not nessecery.
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  #23  
Old 15th July 2019, 09:17
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

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Originally Posted by igorrB View Post
Didn't you think all russian knows Deutsch very well?

But i show you some magic now.

If you use Google to translate "Eigentlich müsste dieses Denkmal sofort abgerissen werden" in russian, and then translate russian words in english, you became.... "In fact, this monument must be demolished immediately". You can try it. Knowing of russian is not nessecery.
I have no doubt that some Russians understand German to a sufficient standard but politicians carelessly mistranslating for the sake of confected outrage would, I suggest, be another matter entirely. [And yes that was an intentional subjunctive]

Kellerhof is one man with an opinion, so nothing a self-confident nation ought to get worked up about, surely?

If you are willing to accept the current state of machine translation over human linguistic skill then anomalous results will surely follow, I fear.

Now, can we please return to discussing the article on the merits or otherwise of the evidence presented?
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  #24  
Old 15th July 2019, 14:34
sidney sidney is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

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Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
Kellerhof is one man with an opinion, so nothing a self-confident nation ought to get worked up about, surely?
Here I would disagree. Kellerhof is a historical editor of one of the most prominent/important German magazines, Die Welt, and his views, apparently sanctioned and disseminated by the said magazine, likely influenced thousands readers. That is no longer a personal opinion.

Last edited by sidney; 15th July 2019 at 18:47.
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Old 15th July 2019, 15:19
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

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Originally Posted by sidney View Post
Here I would disagree. Kellerhof is a historical editor of one of the most prominent/important German magazines, Die Welt, and his personal opinion, apparently sanctioned and disseminated by the said magazine, likely influenced thousands readers. That is no longer a personal opinion.
The two parts of my sentence should be taken together. Overall, the USSR defeated the Zitadellle offensive whatever happened in individual engagements. But, I repeat, may we now return to a discussion of the evidence presented regarding the one battle in question?
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  #26  
Old 15th July 2019, 17:38
sidney sidney is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

We may. Now, not long ago I was watching the more recent Russian documentary entitled Soviet Storm: WW2 In the East, giving an unprecedented Russian perspective on the war’s most decisive and bloody theatre of war.

As expected, there was an entire episode dedicated to the Zitadelle offensive. There the authors paid particular attention to the battle of Prokhorovka. Although they stopped short of saying that the 2nd SS Panzer Corps destroyed the entire 5th Guards Army, they did acknowledge that the Germans fought well and that they inflicted terrible losses on the Russian armour through potent mix of new tactics (der Keil - the Wedge formation), and new Panther, and especially, Tiger tanks, as well as the expert use of their 88's quickly deployed there.

However, in spite of von Manstein's impression that he could see cracks in the Russian defence, the 2nd SS Panzer Corps was facing the entire Steppe front (an inexact equivalent of German Army Group (Heeresgruppe)) left as a strategic reserve, and now rushing to contain the German breakthrough, and more importantly, the Corps could not make contact with Walter Model's 9. Armee (north pincer - failed to advance more than 20 km) and was consequently obliged to withdraw, and thus leave the battlefield to the Red Army.

To some extent similarly to the last great victory of the British Army at El Alamein, the carefully planned offensive, such as Zitadelle was, degenerated into desperate shoot-out between German and Russian tanks, and... admittedly, the German side won the contest, but was unable to exploit it further, and thus the offensive failed.

The assertion that the German main defensive effort suddenly had to refocus on the island of Sicily and the 150 km stretch across the Apennines, is incorrect. It is true that the Germans initially withdrew the entire 2nd SS Panzer Corps and intended to send it to Italy. However, because of the danger that Belgorod-Kharkov offensive posed to the entire German front, in the end only the 1st SS Panzer Division LSAH was extracted from the Corps and sent to Italy.

In short, the evidence presented in Die Welt is likely correct, many more Russian tanks were destroyed in the battle of Prokhorovka, but they could always send some more, while the Germans could not.

Hope that I did not overdo this.

Last edited by sidney; 15th July 2019 at 18:56.
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  #27  
Old 15th July 2019, 21:00
Dan History Dan History is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

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Originally Posted by sidney View Post
I was watching the more recent Russian documentary entitled Soviet Storm: WW2
Here is a link to the animated documentary that you were watching, in Russian. It comes with relatively, but not entirely, accurate subtitles:

The Great War. Episode 9. The Kursk Bulge.
Великая Война. 9 Серия. Курская Дуга. StarMedia. Babich-Design
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvdK7EMIQDs&t=29m11s

The discussion of the battle of Prokhorovka and related events lasts some nine minutes, from the 29 to the 38 minute mark of the video. The video contains some fairly crude misleading elements, for example regarding losses of Panther tanks and the wildly exaggerated effectiveness of the Soviet PTAB anti-tank bomblet.

Concerning the Panther, most of these tanks were not destroyed, but only damaged. Many of these incidents were caused by the low reliability of the early Panther tank, rather than Soviet action.

From the book Panther by Thomas Anderson, https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1472827031/, pages 141-142:
"On the evening of 10 July 1943 there were:
Fighting the enemy 10 Panthers
Totally destroyed 25 Panthers (23 hit by enemy fire and burnt out, two caught fire during the advance.)
Work with repairs units and workshop 100 Panthers of which:
(56) with shell or mine damage
(44) with mechanical damage
(Note: some 60 percent are light repairs.)
Repaired and advancing to open area c.40 Panthers
Remainder c.25 Panthers not yet reached by repairs service.
On the evening of 11 July 1943 there were:
On active service 38 Panthers
Written off 37 Panthers
Under repair 131 Panthers
gradual rise in the fighting strength is expected."

In common with other tanks, Panther losses increased once Manstein's Heeresgruppe Süd had to retreat under Soviet pressure. Page 159 of the same book as above:

"Report by the battalion engineer dated, 19 July 1943:
As a result of the sudden order to retreat, any remaining immobilized Panthers must be abandoned.
The following vehicles are to be blown-up:
Rgt squadron Three Panthers
Abt 51 29 Panthers; perhaps nine are suitable for repair
Abt 52 24 Panthers
Total: 56 Panthers including those 40 reported as write-offs"

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Originally Posted by sidney View Post
the war’s most decisive and bloody theatre of war.
This specific combination of fact and opinion that I have quoted just above is the crux of the problem with the debate not just concerning the battle of Prokhorovka, but the Second World War taken as a whole.

It is a fact that the Eastern front was the theatre in which the Wehrmacht suffered the majority of its casualties. The Soviet and now Russian view is that this somehow constitutes evidence that the Eastern front was the decisive theatre of the entire war. To sustain that view, one would have to demonstrate that military manpower in crude terms was the lynchpin of the German military machine, and other factors were of secondary importance. It is not a surprise that a great many authors, I among them, find this argument to be grossly misleading. The counter-argument is that sophisticated equipment, especially but not exclusively aircraft, and the personnel needed to operate them, were the essential components of the military forces of all the participants in the Second World War. In Germany's case, the majority of such equipment was sent into battle and destroyed in the West and the Mediterranean, hence these taken together were the decisive theatres of the war.

Why does modern Russia find this such a sensitive issue many decades after VE-Day in May 1945? The answer is simple. For the modern Russian state, the Soviet Union's alleged "decisive role in ridding Europe from the scourge of fascism" is at the centre of demands for Russia to be recognised and respected both as a major power and a moral authority.

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Originally Posted by sidney View Post
In short, the evidence presented in Die Welt is likely correct, many more Russian tanks were destroyed in the battle of Prokhorovka, but they could always send some more, while the Germans could not.
The reason that the Soviet Union had far greater resources of military equipment on the Eastern front than Germany were two-fold: First, Germany was fighting on three fronts, and the technological challenge from the Western Allies was much greater than that from the USSR. Second, the Soviet Union received essential Allied support in the form of Lend-Lease supplies of raw materials, machine tools and finished military equipment. The vast supplies of trucks and other vehicles are now commonly known, but they formed just the tip of the iceberg.

The interesting thing about the battle of Prokhorovka is that in many senses it was a routine event. When Rotmistrov's Tank Army blundered into a prepared German defence and suffered great losses, this was no different from a great number of other instances throughout the war on the Eastern front. Here is a description of a similar event on a smaller scale, which happened the very next day on the northern flank of the Kursk bulge. This comes from page 79 of Robert Forczyk's Kursk 1943: The Northern Front https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kursk-1943-...dp/1782008195/ :

"Gorbatov’s 3rd Army and Kolpachki’s 63rd Army attacked again and committed their supporting tank regiments and brigades in order to create a breakthrough. However, Rendulic had positioned his best anti-tank units, including a company of the new Hornisse tank destroyers equipped with 8.8 cm guns, in their path. Three regiments of KV-1S tanks attempted to break through the left flank of 262. Infanterie-Division. However, they ran into uncleared minefields and were shot to pieces by German panzerjägers; this battle proved to be the swan song for the KV-1 heavy tank. Rudenko’s 16th Air Army transferred some of its Pe-2 bombers to support Popov’s front, but the Soviet ground attacks failed to achieve a breakthrough."

The one thing that has distinguished Prokhorovka throughout the years since 1943 is Rotmistrov's elaborate dissembling, both at the time and in his post-war memoirs. In order to explain away the loss of his army, he decided to create a story that a great and victorious tank battle was fought on "the field of Prokhorovka". The primary source of the controversy that continues about this action is the decision by Soviet and now Russian propaganda to give Rotmistrov's account credence, rather than seeing it for what it was - a successful attempt by an incompetent commander to retain his position through misdirection.

Kind regards,

Dan
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