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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Military (and other) History => Topic started by: JasonPratt on June 22, 2020, 07:00:02 AM

Title: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 22, 2020, 07:00:02 AM
For the prior thread of my Icebreaker Thesis Chronology project, click here (

For the Table of Contents and Introduction thread, click here (

The Day of Truth dawns, June 22nd, 1941 -- the other side of the summer solstice, the longest day.

Suvorov's extended piecemeal argument sets up the (vasssstly extended!) context for what's going to happen today, and why it's happening. So for all practical purposes, he's done with his argument when he reaches this point.

But he does provide numerous snapshots of things happening today, and over the next few days, and months, and years, which hearken back to points of his argument. This data, unfortunately, tends to get shuffled around topically instead of chronologically in Icebreaker (especially) and Chief Culprit, just like the rest of his presentation!

So I've collected these parts of his data, too, into as much of a chronological order as I can piece together or figure out (or make a few guesses about. ;) )

I found along the way it's handy, for narrative emphasis, if I focus on the Soviet side of the fighting first, and then on the Nazi side; although obviously both narrative 'tracks' will involve the other side of the fighting, too.

This thread will follow the Soviet side. The parallel thread for the Nazis, will be AGAINST THE POWER THAT RISES IN THE EAST.

I hope to do justice to the accomplishments of each side under their various circumstances, which will look like I'm being a Nazi fanboy or a Commie fanboy. Both sides committed atrocities, even to their own people though especially against each other -- the Wehrmacht, too, not only the SS; the Red Army, too, not only the NKVD. And both sides have "alligator" or "mafiosa" governments as Suvorov likes to say: both sides have "cannibal" leaders who live by eating other people (figuratively though still to death in many cases). If one alligator is fighting another alligator, that doesn't mean one alligator is a good alligator and the other one is a bad alligator; if one mafiosa boss is fighting another mafiosa, that doesn't mean one is a good mafiosa and the other is a bad mafiosa. And each side's government use each other's side obvious supervillainy to (try to) excuse and justify their own supervillainy.

Keeping that in mind: the troops on each side were legitimately fighting to keep the tyrants on each side from taking over and enslaving the world. And they were legitimately fighting to protect their own families and friends and people from being harshly enslaved or even exterminated by the other side.

Reality is messy and complicated. That's how things are.

So, having kept in mind the historical contexts of each side, I'm not going to focus on the evil atrocities on each side, but rather more like a wargame between opponents, so as to provide a proper proportion for what each side was able to accomplish against each other during the East Front / Great Patriotic War.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 22, 2020, 07:06:24 AM
June 22, 1941: Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa.

In 1941, Admiral Kuznyetsov (not the MD and Front commander) is People's Commissar of the Navy of the USSR (a perch loftier than Zhukov's), Central Committee member, and a member of High Command General Headquarters from the moment it was formally established -- last night! (But which had been secretly operating as far back as May 13th.) In his memoir "On the Eve", p.321, he will write, "For me, one thing is beyond dispute: not only did Stalin not rule out the possibility of war with Hitler's Germany, on the contrary, he saw such a war as... inevitable. Stalin conducted war preparations -- extensive and multi-faceted -- based on a timetable he himself had set. Hitler upended these calculations."

The Chief of the General Staff Academy General Ivanov, and a group of leading Soviet historians, will later write a scientific study together, called "The Opening Phase of the War", in which Ivanov on p.212 not only acknowledges that Hitler struck a pre-emptive blow, but also, "The fascist-German command managed, literally in the last two weeks before the war, to steal a march on our forces."

You can get, so to speak, an extra movement phase snuck in somehow to reach an area before someone is ready to defend against you, or to get in place to defend before the attack arrives; I think Suvorov goes too far in claiming that it's impossible to steal a march on someone getting ready for defense (or even preparing to counterattack). Other factors must count toward whether either or both sides were preparing to attack.

How do we know Hitler was preparing to attack? -- not merely by noticing that he attacks today! The signs for preparation have been evident for weeks or even months; and of course we also have documentation to check later. The same is true (by Suvorov's extended argument) for Stalin.

Ivanov's conclusion about stealing a march is presented in a context (unquoted, unfortunately) about Hitler's strike being pre-emptive. It is, at least, totally impossible to 'steal a march' on a force long-prepared to defend in all directions against an attack. As Suvorov quips, try to steal a march on a porcupine and see what happens!
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 22, 2020, 07:36:10 AM
Shots Fired

The People's Commissar for all Communications in the Soviet Union, Marshal Peresypkin, is on the way to the Mobile Command of General Headquarters, activated the night before, with a team of hand-picked experts from his staff. His task force had gathered on the morning of June 21st, near the Politburo, waiting only for Peresypkin to be sent out and depart for the (recently activated) wartime Front. They knew they were going to Minsk; by now they know they're going to somewhere closer to Vilnius.

They weren't the only subordinate task forces created by key Soviet leaders to be gathered at the Politburo on June 21st, however. A number of other such task forces are still hanging around, waiting for their leaders to join them on the way to Vilnius (though they don't know the exact destination, just toward Minsk). Who are they waiting for? Central Committee member, People's Commissar for State Audits and Army Commissar 1st Class Mekhlis; People's Commissar for Internal Affairs (i.e. the NKVD chief), Politburo candidate, and Commissar General of State Security Beria; and People's Commissar for Defense, the current Marshal of the Soviet Union Timoshenko -- along with other leaders.

At 6 am, the bureaucratic task forces hanging around the Kremlin, are told they will not be going to the western frontier: Hitler has started the war, and they won't be needed there now. So they weren't heading westward to prepare to stem such an invasion.

Presypikin, already at Orsha Station with his crew, receives an encrypted cable from 'himself' back at Moscow: "GIVEN CHANGED SITUATION DO YOU NOT DEEM NECESSARY RETURNING TO MOSCOW."

Yes, he does; he deems it so necessary that he leaps from his nice traveling rail car and commandeers the first truck he can find! The chief communications official of all the Soviet Union, does not have the slightest business being at General Headquarters, the command center for the entire Soviet Military, after Hitler attacks.

Wait, at 6 am? How early did Hitler start his surprise attack? 3 am? 2?! midnight?? There are time differences after all, even if all Soviet administrative and logistic clocks have been set to Moscow time a few days earlier. Memoirs of some of the officials hanging around the Kremlin are clear; they actually heard about it at 5 am! It took about an hour to call off their trip.

The formal answer is simple enough. As Zhukov reports, in "Recollections and Reflections" 1969, p.248, "Hurrying into the office came Molotov: 'The German Government has declared war on us.' Stalin slumped into his chair, digesting the news."

Suvorov says that when he was eagerly reading Zhukov's memoirs in 1969 as a Soviet Army Lieutenant, those lines sent him reeling, nearly knocking him right out of his chair.

Why? -- had Suvorov, an educated Soviet officer, never once heard that the Nazis declared war on the Soviet Union and invaded in 1941?!

Actually, no, never once had he heard that. From earliest childhood he had been taught that Germany had attacked, of course, but without declaring war. Every Soviet book said it: "without a declaration..." Every Soviet newspaper, too, the moment talk turned to the War, hammered home: "without a declaration..." Every propaganda outlet, all the experts, and relying on them hundreds of millions of people the world over, had heard and believed and repeated together, "Germany attacked Russia without declaring war."

But that was a lie.

Zhukov casually reveals the lie in 1969, thinking only of the dramatic impact Molotov made upon them all at the time: Germany has declared war.

That's why the various task forces of aides hanging around the Kremlin waiting to accompany their leaders to the General HQ armored train mobile command station, heard about it at 5am.

Specifically, on June 22, 1941, at 4:00 am (Soviet military Moscow time, not local Berlin time), Imperial Minister of Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop summoned the Soviet Ambassador to Germany Dekanozov, who was also the Deputy People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, and handed him a memorandum detailing the reasons for Germany's attack on the USSR. This "Note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany to the Soviet Government" carried three attachments, explaining the Nazis' political justifications for their declaration of war. In short, and as Propaganda Minister Göbbels soon read on the air (5:30 am Moscow time), then Hitler some hours later (once most of Berlin was normally awake), they cited (with those three supporting attachments), active subversion against Germany by Soviet Intelligence; hostile propaganda aimed by the Soviet Government against Germany in violation of signed treaties; and colossal Red Army force concentrations on the frontier.

At the same time, in Moscow, Ambassador of Germany to the USSR, Count von der Schulenburg, called for an immediate meeting with People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, Molotov, and handed him precisely the same memorandum and accompanying documents: declaring war over both diplomatic channels at once. This is why by 5am, the news has reached the aide task forces waiting around to depart for General HQ.

Stalin and his government will never refute the charges; per Suvorov, they will never even try, nor their official successors, down to today.

What Stalin and his government do, is actively ignore the declaration of war.

On June 22nd, 1941, at 7:30 am, Radio Moscow broadcasts a statement by the Soviet government, opening with, "Germany has attacked the Soviet Union without declaring war and without citing any grievances."

Suvorov claims that this line from Zhukov was what first got him interested in seeing if anything else in Zhukov's memoirs ran against the official story to the start of the Great Patriotic War; and from there, questions led to the memoirs of other Soviet generals, admirals, and marshals; from which he developed the Icebreaker thesis. In "Chief Culprit", he says that the primary reason for his decision to defect to the West in 1978 was to make his discoveries available to the Russian people and to the world.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 22, 2020, 07:41:23 AM
At Brest, the first cannon shots zip straight into the headquarters of Major-General Puganov, commander of the Brest-based Soviet 22nd Mechanized (tank) Division (of the 14th Mechanized Corps, 4th Army, Western Front).

Whether he happens to be there or not (Suvorov is unclear), he is about to have a very bad day.

This is why you don't park your divisional headquarters, or any headquarters (maybe not even company HQ), right on the border with your enemy -- if you're on defense. Unless, like Guderian over there across the river, who also parked his HQ right on the border, you weren't planning on being on defense when the shells start flying.

But at least this is only (only!) a divisional headquarters, right? Even the Soviets wouldn't be dumb enough to put a Front HQ with its command staff right up next to the border...?

In his memoir, "On the Northwestern Front", p.173-174, Major-General Zotov, in charge of the Front's combat engineers (and later becoming the Corps of Engineers Lieutenant-General), recalls how Northwestern Front Commander Colonel-General Kuznyetsov spent virtually all of June 1941 hanging around 125th Rifle Division headquarters. The Front's Military Council was there, too; it was simply a convenient place for leaders from all nearby HQs to meet -- more convenient than the actual Front HQ a little farther in the backfield, so that Kuznyetsov won't have to traipse back and forth to tour the border from there.

Thus, 125th Rifle Div HQ became the practical location of Northwestern Front HQ, and Kuznyetsov is here on June 22. The only problem is that 125th Div HQ is so close to the border that "the very first shell aimed at it was a bullseye"!

What absolute morons! -- morons just like Guderian, Manstein, Rommel, and Kleist, who also have moved their HQs, either practically or in fact, straight up to the border, where they can best prepare for, and direct, the start of the invasion today.

Such as where exactly to send those first cannon shells to knock down the Soviet doors.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 22, 2020, 10:00:35 AM
Zhukov, in his "Through Three Wars", p.141, remembers speaking to Southern Front commander General Tulenyev, just moments after the Nazis start invading. "Reported it to Stalin," Zhukov tells Tulenyev -- meaning the military action; they already know about the declaration of war through Molotov, "but he still doesn't believe it, thinks it's a provocation by German generals."

Stalin's disbelief is well-known, documented, and accepted in subsequent histories. Not just Stalin, but Molotov, Zhdanov, Beria, all refuse to believe the Nazis are really invading. Red Army generals from Front level on down are not only caught by surprise, but aren't even fighting back yet: anti-aircraft guns stand quiet, Soviet combat air patrol fighters are ordered not to shoot down Nazi planes, orders are passed down to company leaders and under to take ammunition away from First Echelon troops so that they will not shoot the invasion -- because despite his report, even Zhukov, and his boss Timoshenko, also largely discount the possibility of Nazi invasion.

But based on prior information, what is Stalin thinking?

Despite Soviet propaganda soon (repeated in Soviet and non-Soviet histories down to today), he has to know what the Nazi preparations on his border really mean: not defense but invasion. The Nazis did the same thing (but less extensively) before prior invasions; and they match Soviet invasion doctrines and practices before now (including what Stalin himself has been doing for months and even years for preparations at the border, in synch with Soviet invasion doctrine).

Stalin's intelligence operation checking for Nazi winter weather preparation, necessarily requires that he fully expects a Nazi invasion! -- and of course, Stalin ordered Golikov to justify his position (and life, tacitly) by figuring out a foolproof way to tell when, or even if, Hitler was going to go, because Golikov's pre-GRU military intelligence (corroborated by other Soviet intelligence assets) reported Hitler's details for invasion within 10 days of Hitler signing off on it.

But Stalin is wrong about Hitler's strategic goal for invasion, which only requires (thinks Hitler and his generals) three weeks of operation. (On two weeks of supplies!) So the winter kit signals never show up before Barbarossa.

Once these pieces are in place, Stalin's surprise is very understandable, everything lines up. But why would Stalin specifically think this was only a provocation? Stalin and his high command think Hitler is trying to trick Stalin into invading, but why?

Unfortunately, Suvorov never tries to explain this expectation of 'provocation', at least not in Icebreaker nor in Chief Culprit. So I can only make some educated guesses.

Stalin wouldn't lose support because, unlike his prior fake provocations (as excuses for him to invade somewhere), this would be very obviously something the Nazis are doing. Moreover, Stalin would know that Hitler and his generals would know, that the Nazis are in no position to defend against a serious invasion from Russia: they're all in blitzkrieg invasion mode themselves!

Part of the explanation for Stalin's guess about "provocation", would of course be Stalin's mistake about the goal of Nazi invasion at this time, so he's grasping around for some explanation other than conquest and occupation; and his own prior strategies involved (fake) 'provocations', so that's what he's familiar with. Stalin would be judging Hitler's public declaration of war by the same category: a provocation to see if Stalin will start invading.

But another answer is that he expects (somewhat correctly) that Hitler doesn't know just how much power is already massed on the border, but rather that Hitler must know about some levels of troop deployment in the Soviet backfield; the whole point of the two TASS Statements (one in May and one in June) was to try to spoof Hitler about what exactly those are. Stalin would be correctly expecting that Hitler doesn't know how extensive those troop movements are, but more importantly Hitler would know that the Soviet invasion on the border isn't ready to go yet.

Stalin is guessing, with some real reasons, that Hitler is trying to goad Stalin into invading before his sixteen border armies (not all of which Hitler can see yet anyway) are fully up to power. The Nazis are out of defensive arrangement right now, but unlike Stalin they're no longer strung out on logistic transport, and they haven't set up their military hardware to be cripplingly overspecialized for blitzkrieg surprise invasion; so they could theoretically provoke a counter-invasion and then convert temporarily to defense (probably with strong mobile elements thanks to those four Panzer Groups). And Stalin could pretty easily be aware of the implications of the force composition difference: he does in fact listen to his trusted generals (not only Zhukov) and he does in fact trust his generals more than legendarily expected.

Both those factors would explain Stalin's guess about 'provocation': casting about for some invasion rationale other than what he expected, in theories and practices he's familiar with.

(Again, this is not so much Suvorov's analysis in Icebreaker and Chief Culprit, and more my analysis from Suvorov's work. Perhaps Suvorov has more to say about this in his current final book on the topic, Razgrom / Defeat.)
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 23, 2020, 11:28:05 AM
Liepaya Naval Base, in Latvia, sits less than 65 miles from East Prussia. It has many submarines packed like "sardines in a box" (according to uncited "Soviet admirals" as well as "captured German documents"), ready to sally out to join the Baltic Sea Fleet; but the Fleet is already on the move as of yesterday, with orders for combat action against "enemy" lines of communication! So these subs weren't meant to be used against the "enemy" in the Baltic supply lines. Or not yet. The official History of the Soviet Navy, on page 138 of the volume "The Fleet in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945", will openly explain later that the sub base was being prepared for Soviet Navy offensive warfare.

Liepaya (sometimes spelled in English Liepaja) does have the only Soviet Marine brigade, several-thousand strong -- the largest group of Soviet Marines then in existence -- but they aren't deployed to defend against invasion, and can only die heroically as a speedbump. The Nazi invasion will reach Liepaya before the end of the day, and fighting will start by June 23.

According to Admiral Kuznetsov's orders, all reserves of shells, mines, torpedoes, and ship fuel have been transported to the German borders here at Liepaya, and to the Romanian borders in the river ports of the Danube. Thus, aside from everything else, three quarters of the Baltic Fleet's fuel reserves will be lost here at Liepaya.

Consequently, the Baltic Sea Fleet is ordered to pull back from its combat mission, launched last night, and try to find some protection. The Nazis will dump a few hundred mines on the shallow accesses to the naval bases, and the Soviet Baltic Fleet will stay in place without action at sea, supporting the defense of Leningrad.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 23, 2020, 11:40:07 AM
On the Northern Front, the garrison at Hanko Soviet naval base, located on Finnish territory under a 30-year lease extorted thanks to the Winter War, does not hunker down on defense. They begin intensive assault-landing operations, seizing no less than 19 Finnish islands! -- for a few days.

Farther south, 1st Aviation Corps carries out a massive strike on military targets in Königsberg, East Prussia. This, by the way, was no improvisation. Farther south, at 06:44 am, the 1st Aviation Corps of the Soviet Air Force is ordered to go into action as planned. Their first plan is to carry out a massive strike on strategic military targets in the Nazi backfield of Königsberg, East Prussia -- not to hit close air support targets rolling into the Soviet Baltic Republics. At least these strategic bombers manage to get their first mission done on the list! The bombers for the close-air support are having trouble getting off the ground, due to their pilots being sniped at by Nazi sharpshooters, their airfields being bombed, and then being overrun by the blitz on the ground.

Nearby, Northwestern Front Commander Colonel-General Kuznyetsov, unbidden by Moscow, orders his troops to launch an attack aimed at Tilzit in Eastern Prussia. Fortunately they had rehearsed this attack in headquarter exercises a few days earlier, as reported in "Fighting for the Soviet Baltics", p.67: the operation "was quite familiar to formation commanders and their staffs." Also fortunately, later this evening high command will order him to do the same thing, unaware that he has already been doing what he had been told to practice doing earlier: hit Tilzit in Eastern Prussia.

Farther south, Western Front Commander General Pavlov orders an attack on Suwalki, in accordance with his prewar orders, long before the order arrives from Moscow. Fortunately, Western Front knew long before now that their most immediate mission once someone started the war, would be to encircle the German force group around Suwalki. Combat assignments have been spelled out for all senior Soviet commanders. (Tactical-level commanders weren't given such secret instructions, of course.) For example, according to the USSR Defense Ministry Archives, Collection 181, Register 1631, Dossier 1, p.128, 27th Rifle Division's intelligence battalion, massed by the border in the area around the city of Augustov, was getting ready for combat recon targeting Suwalki, so that the rest of 27th Division could move swiftly from being parked around Augustov to Suwalki. NKVD border guards have removed the wire on the Soviet border (Nazis already did that on their side weeks ago, to get ready to invade.) 3rd Army Commander Lieutenant-General Kuznyetsov as well as Corps of Engineering Lieutenant-General Karbyshev (a High Command representative) had spent hours upon hours reconnoitering German territory from Soviet border posts. Karbyshev was training assault teams in how to disable and neutralize reinforced-concrete enemy defense facilities. Massive firepower was concentrated around the Augustov area.

More than that (as previously reported), Soviet troops have already been crossing the Augustov canal to deploy on its western banks along a narrow strip between the canal and the border river Prut (from which the barbed wire had already been pulled, by border guards on both sides.) Daybreak today finds thousands of Soviet soldiers parked in this strip! -- the 164th Rifle Division, and the 96th Mountain Rifle Division, 28,000 troops together with their headquarters, ready to go forward! They have even brought their hospitals forward with them, so that the first wounded Soviet troops will get the quickest treatment! Hitler's own troops are ready to go in just the same way, pressed up to the very border -- just not on this strip, which after all is Soviet territory.

And also a deathtrap.

Hitler attacks first, and so the Soviet troops are the ones to perish in a sudden firestorm. They have nowhere to fall back: behind them is the canal, and the first thing the Nazi airforce does is bomb the bridges leading to safety. Not that this would matter much: to the north, the 1st Panzer Group breaks through and encircles the entire Western Front, cutting off this strip from any help or anywhere to safely retreat. Nobody in the strip has prepared even foxholes or trenches for the hospitals, much less for themselves. Battalion commander Sviridov, with the 164th, will recall (accidentally unsourced by Suvorov?), having survived the slaughter, looking at the bridge across the Prut onto Nazi territory: “The bridge! We kept it in order to advance, and now we can’t blow it up... All my military training was mostly done under the motto: only advance! Retreat was considered shameful, and we were not taught how to retreat. Now, when we were forced to retreat, we had no experience. We had to learn this art under terrible enemy fire.” General K. Galitsky stresses later that the Soviet command did not believe a Nazi attack was even possible, whereas Soviet forces were being trained to carry out an offensive operation.

Pavlov, meanwhile, loses 738 aircraft in the first few hours of the war, and has no blue-sky air supremacy in which to use his remaining aircraft. He still tries to attack Suwalki with what he has: he has no other plan.

Much farther south, 41st Rifle Division, 6th Rifle Corps, 6th Army, isn't waiting for orders on high, but follows prewar plans: they cross the international frontier near Rava-Russkaya. Their 102nd Rifle Regiment invades along an 8 kilometer front, according to the standing plans, penetrating 4 to 6 kilometers.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 23, 2020, 11:48:59 AM
In the gentle and rolling East Carpathian hills, two Soviet Armies have been concentrated, the 12th Army and the 26th Army; the 19th Army has been secretly deployed behind them; the 18th Army is being squeezed in on the other side between the 12th and the super-strike 9th Army. The 12th has been converted steadily since 1940 into a mountain army, and has provided the 26th with a spare mountain division; the 19th behind them has several official mountain divisions.

These armies are lightly armed and loaded with gear for the heavy mountains ahead of them across the river San; both of which they have been intensely training for, not for defending on the plains, and they have no plans for defending their flanks. They must go west to be of any use, into the Czech and Romanian mountains, one army to hit each, the third (26th Army) to act as a followup assault, or to help 9th Army hit the 1st Panzer Group from the side perhaps (although the 26th does have a spare mountain division just in case. So does the super-strike 9th Army.)

No German is fool enough to directly attack these armies from deep in the mountains ahead of them; and (as eventual Lieutenant-General Bagart Arushunyan acknowledges later in a 1973 JMH article) the Soviet High Command knew perfectly well there would be no attack from in front through those mountains.

Instead, the Nazis are attacking from the sides.

Once the Soviet leadership realizes this is the general Nazi offensive starting by surprise, the two armies are ordered to run from the mountains instead of running into the mountains. But they have nowhere to run: the 19th Army is in their way. They are smashed from the flanks by the 1st Panzer Group on one side, and by supporting Romanian forces on the other side.

Bagramayan will write later (JMH, 1976, #1, p.55), "Knowing the Eastern Carpathians helped us gain a clearer understanding of how acutely necessary it was to move with utmost speed to turn lumbering rifle divisions..." into giant well-entrenched deathtraps, for slaughtering invading forces? No, "...into slimmed-down mountain ranger formations." Why? Because normal rifle divisions are "hardly nimble and ill-adapted to operations in high terrain".

But giving them elite training would at least help them on defense, right? True, but their training, and more importantly their gear and organization, had not been directed for even mountain defense; and they were caught not even really in the mountains yet. The result? "At the beginning of the War [i.e. the Barbarossa invasion], after all, these divisions were forced to fight on level ground: reconfiguration mountain-style had weakened them." Bagramayan gravely takes responsibility for his "unwitting mistake". He had trained, outfitted, and configured them for action in mountains of a type found hundreds of miles westward; they had to try to be saved by running eastward, abandoning any and all equipment useless in a flat area. They could only die bravely, and elitely, where they were found.

So, the very weak 1st Panzer Group hits Lutsk on June 22nd, then Rovno and Berdichev, quickly cutting off the 6th Army, the 12th Army (mountain), and the 26th Army.

Wait, very weak?! -- well, by Soviet standards yes: this Panzer Group only has 799 tanks after all (not counting other armored equipment), and they are mostly obsolescent (the earlier versions of the PzIII and PzIV models) or outright obsolete (any PzII models).

While the Soviet armies in the bulge panic and start running into each other, the 1st Panzer Group thrusts into the open, unprotected operational space in the Soviet rear, crushing air bases, staffs, and hospitals, picking up tremendous quantities of Soviet weapons, fuel, ammunition, food, and medical supplies. The three Soviet armies are soon left without fuel or ammunition, and unlike human beings a machine absolutely will not work on starvation rations. The entire Soviet Southwestern Front, the strongest Soviet front, crumbles after one rather weak blow -- but this same blow also threatens the Southern Front!

Suvorov, a little schizophrenically (since he shows elsewhere that he knows what Hitler was trying to do: destroy the armies fast enough to trigger the downfall of the Soviet government), thinks Hitler was odd to try to throw only one Panzer Group into conquering all of Ukraine, Moldavia, Crimea, Donbass, Don, North Caucasus, and Trans-Caucasus -- with only 799 worn out tanks! (And all their support, of course, including infantry boots on the ground. And hundreds of thousands of horses!)

But after effectively destroying three Soviet armies in their way (each of them at least as large as a whole Panzer Group), which had no orders or preparations for defense, the 1st Panzer Group wheels left and races into the Soviet backfield to outflank the super-strike 9th Army, hitting it from behind. Pure disaster engulfs the ultra strong 9th Army: it was not prepared for defense.

The epic 1st Panzer Group attack will go on to quickly capture the undefended Soviet fleet bases, the Donbass region, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, and Dnepropetrovsk, all practically unprepared for defense despite being enormous industrial production areas set up near the borders.

"Having lost them," Suvorov dryly quips in Icebreaker and Chief Culprit, "the Soviet Union managed to only produce one hundred thousand tanks afterward." Vastly much more than Nazi Germany; but the production in tanks and other vehicles (warships, aircraft, artillery), would have been several times much more again otherwise!
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 24, 2020, 06:23:08 AM
19th Army, with its mountain ranger divisions, manages to run away eastward, even farther away from the mountains, as the 1st Panzer Group hits. Along its withdrawal, it picks up another Mountain Ranger Division which on June 21st was arriving by rail from Turkestan: Colonel Kuliev's 21st Mountain Cavalry. (Yes, mountain cavalry!) The 19th Army is thrown into Byelorussia with the newly attached 21st Mountain Cavalry, where they meet an embarrassing end. After all, Mountain Divisions in a Mountain Army are not designed to defend in swamps.

By this enflanking move, the 1st Panzer Group links up with the 2nd Panzer Group to surround and pocket another four Soviet Armies: 664,000 prisoners (not counting dead casualties) and with them equally huge quantities of arms and supplies.

Suvorov thinks that this was a stupid though necessary move since doing so sacrificed the blitzkrieg tempo, meaning now they could not start moving toward Moscow before October in the Rasputista of rain, dirt, and mud. But of course, if the strategic goal was to destroy seven armies and wreck several more nearby, NOT to conquer western Russia before winter, then the Panzer Groups succeeded brilliantly.

Was the genius Zhukov somehow simply unaware that packing the Lvov bulge full of armies pointing the wrong way (straight toward the oil fields), could only be a disaster on defense?!

Major-General Andrey Vlassov who is commanding the 4th Mechanized Corps in the Lvov bulge on June 22nd, 1941, doesn’t think so. After his escape from the bulge, he’ll be ordered to take command of the 2nd Shock Army ("shock" being the new designation for strike armies), attempting to relieve Stalingrad in 1942: thereby ordered to complete an operation that he had not prepared, that he had not started, and that the Nazis had already foiled. Vlassov will be taken prisoner, and during interrogation on August 8, 1942 (per the Soviet military newspaper “Red Star” (aka “Krasnaya Zvezda”), October 27, 1992, page uncited), the report will say, “Regarding the question of whether Stalin had intentions to attack Germany, Vlassov declared that such intentions undoubtedly existed. The concentration of troops in the LvoV region [in June 1941] points to the fact that a strike against Romania was being planned in the direction of the petroleum sources... The Red Army was not prepared for the German invasion. Despite all the rumors about the operations conducted by Germany, in the Soviet Union nobody believed in such a possibility. During preparations, the Russians meant only their own offensive.”

Forty-nine years later, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Military Forces, General Makhmut Gareev (from the collection of articles published as the book “Courage”, 1991, p.253), will write about the Lvov bulge, “A main blow to the flank in the main alignment of the [Nazi] troops, delivered in the direction of Krakow, would have allowed us to cut Germany off from the Balkans in the very beginning of the war, to deprive her of the Romanian oil, and to separate the allies.” Further on from the Krakow region, after the grateful Poles have received even Soviet armies with flowers (from two years of being occupied by the Nazis), this thrust which by itself would end WW2 with a Soviet victory, would logically turn north, freely advancing to the Baltic Sea in the Nazi backfield, cutting the northern set of forces from Berlin; being protected in turn by the Oder River to the left, and by the Vistula River to the right. True, any such thrust would have been vulnerable to the 1st Panzer Group in Southwestern Front’s own backfield, but with the Soviet Western Front (and Northwestern, in East Prussia itself) landing their own crushing surprise first strike blows, the southernmost Panzer Group would have been cut off from its own supplies and other lines of communication. There could still be a real question of which snake would eat the other’s tail first! -- but then of course the 1st Panzer Group itself would have been smashed from the side by other Soviet armies upon launching a Soviet blitz.

“On the other hand,” continues Gareev, “carrying out the main blow [of a Soviet first strike] on the joint flanks of the Western and Northwestern fronts [would have] led to a frontal attack in difficult conditions against heavily fortified defense positions in East Prussia, where the Germany army could offer fiercer resistance. And totally different conditions, and consequently different objections, could have arisen if the strategic plans were to lead defensive operations to deflect aggression early in the war. In this case, no doubt, it was more advantageous to have main forces in the strip of the western front. But such a course of strategic actions was not planned.”

In his own Red Star article on the topic, July 27, 1991 (page uncited), Gareev will also judge, “The areas for the concentration of primary efforts were not chosen by the Soviet commanders in the interests of strategic defense operations, but for entirely different means of action.” A strategic defense operation was not even foreseen, much less planned and prepared.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 25, 2020, 07:19:55 AM
During his memoirs of Barbarossa, "Overcome", eventual Colonel-General Sandalov (at that time Chief of Staff for the 4th Army) includes notes he took during the first three days, such as, "Am putting an army blocking squad there" and "They were stopped by blocking squads." (pp. 108, 143) These are the NKVD blocking squads dedicated to attacking Red Army troops, from the rear if necessary, to keep them fighting instead of retreating. The Nazi attack caught Russia by surprise, yet the Soviet government already had blocking squads ready to hit their own Soviet army comrades!

The 4th Army will really need those blocking squads in the first three days, because 4th Army is caught asleep today by the Nazi blitzkrieg over the bridges -- bridges the Poles had wired to be destroyed, but from which Sandalov (following orders from higher up) had removed the dynamite. With the 4th Army caught by surprise and far out of defensive configuration, they themselves are destroyed instead of the bridges, providing the Nazis access to the rear of the super-strong Soviet 10th Army which receives an epic defeat thereby, allowing Guderian to race toward Minsk. Sandalov, the man in charge of those bridges, will not be put up against a wall and shot for catastrophic dereliction of duty, nor even as a scapegoat for poor orders from higher up. On the contrary, he is promoted eventually to Colonel-General, winning distinction in many operations, thanks to his chief character-trait: meticulous preparations to the last detail, leaving nothing to chance.

That 10th Army had ample supplies of fuel at forward depots and railway cars -- all of it stripped away in the first few minutes and hours of combat today, according to then-Lieutenant-General (later Colonel-General) Boldin, Deputy Commander of the Western Front, in his "Pages Out of My Life", p.92.

This is the work of the 1st and 3rd Panzer Groups, pocketing, panicking, and pinching off the 3rd Army, 10th Army, and fatal parts of the 4th and 13th Armies, altogether almost 30 divisions. The Soviet Western Front collapses even more quickly than the Southwestern Front!
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 25, 2020, 07:32:09 AM
Surprise, Motherlanders!  >:D

A large part for why the Nazis are winning so strongly early in Barbarossa, is because the troops and their material were still entrained, which happens all up and down the front at the start of Barbarossa and for some days and even a few weeks afterward. You might expect the Red Army to get the heck off the trains to meet the attack, which does happen to some extent, but many of their forces stay entrained, or barely disembarked in manpower and light arms, as though they expected to quickly load back up and continue railing westward.

Eventual Major-General Iovlyev, then commander of 64th Rifle Division, of the 44th Rifle Corps, 13th Army: "When war began half of 64th Rifle Division's troop trains were en route." (JMH, 1960, #9, p.56)

Colonel (eventually General) Ivanov, Ops Commander for the 13th Army HQ, talks about Major-General Biryuzov's 132nd Rifle Division: "The enemy suddenly attacked the train which some of the Divisions forces and its headquarters contingent were using to get to the front, forcing them to join battle right from their wagons and platforms." ("Red Star", August 21, 1984)

Was Major-General Biryuzov shot for being so stupid as to be caught on his trains? No, he will eventually become a Marshal of the Soviet Union, and in his memoir "With Cannons Rumbling" (p.21) will remember later, "At the very last moment we were integrated into 20th Mechanized Corps. Neither a Corps commander nor a chief of staff did I see, nor, incidentally, did I even know where its command center was. Conducting operations to our left was Colonel Grishina's 137th Rifle Division. It had arrived from Gorky... Our neighbor on the right was thrown into battle right aboard its railcars, just as we were, with not all troop trains yet at their unloading destinations."

"War caught the bulk of 21st Army's formations on trains stretched out over a huge swath from the Volga to the Dnepr." ("On the Motherland's Orders: Where Combat Took 6th Guards Army in the Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945", p.5.) The “6th Guards Army” of his book’s title doesn't exist yet, by the way; it's currently a group of airborne forces still training in the backfield, who will be parceled out with the other airborne forces as elite ground forces throughout the war, some eventually collected into the 6th Guards Army.

From the "History of the Second World War [1939-1945]", Vol.4, p.47, "20th, 21st, and 22nd Army divisions were en route [to the western border on June 22nd]. Massing of General Konyev's 19th and General Luskin's 16th Army was incomplete."

"War surprised 63rd Rifle Corps en route. Only the first few trains managed on 21st June [the day before Barbarossa] to reach the stations at Dobrush and Novo-Belitsa, close to their offloading destinations. Those behind them approached in no more than extremely piecemeal fashion, reaching various stations near Gomel by the first few days in July. A number of Corps units, however, such as all the regiments of the 53rd Rifle Division, did not even reach Gomel, but were shunted northward instead." (JMH, 1966, #6, p.17)

Colonel (later General) Shtemyenko, of the Ops Section for the General Staff, from his "General Staff During the War Years", p.30: "A steady stream of troop trains flowed west and south-west. Now one, now another among us was dispatched to unloading stations. Trying and constantly changing circumstances frequently forced us to stop the offloading and send trains on to some other station. Division command and staff sometimes got off one place, regiments elsewhere or even at several different points quite far apart." This separation of command from the troops was common.

Kovalyov from "Transport During the Great Patriotic War", p.59, "A colossal pile-up of wagons had many junctions all but totally paralyzed. At most stations just a single track stayed open to let trains through."

Anfilov from his "Blitzkrieg Bust" (p.463), "Enemy aviation systematically hit railway stations and tracks, disrupting transport schedules. Rather often, unloading took place not at the stations intended, but elsewhere. On occasion, units landed in neighboring armies and were pulled into battle there."

Eventual Colonel-General Klemin will later (JMH, 1985, #3, p.67) talk about how even a few weeks later in early July, "Sitting on the tracks were forty-seven thousand wagons carrying war material."

These are only a few samples of thousands of similar observations and reflections which Suvorov says he has found.

None of these entrained troops and equipment and supplies, of course, were loaded on June 22nd and sent to the front lines, although this is the impression propaganda likes to give later, which subsequent historians have picked up and passed on. This had all been loaded up weeks or even a few months ago, and sent westward; and that loading didn't happen on a dime phone call either! -- preparations for embarking go back practically into 1940.

After June 22nd, the call from the front will be for nothing but empty wagons to haul stockpiles already on the ground, of weapons, ordnance, fuel, and other war supplies, already concentrated along the border: they are trying to take it away from being captured by the Germans.

The 16th Army has been on the rail since late May from the Trans-Baikal region (moving secretly at night per the explicit orders he had received); its commander, gulag veteran General Lukin, is already fighting near Shepetovka, while most of his army headquarters (packed up and shipped out last, in accordance with standard procedure when expecting to detrain in victorious but ongoing active combat) is still back beyond Lake Baikal! -- his army is stretched out for thousands of miles on the rail, and the tail has barely begun moving yet if at all! Even after his HQ eventually arrives, the communications battalion for his entire army will still be en route.

Even so, the 16th is the first, or among the first, of the Second Strategic Echelon armies that the Nazis to run into, and this surprise -- indeed the Nazi distress and shock -- is well documented in captured and surviving German reports. They thought that Stalin had put practically everything up against the border to be captured and destroyed out of phase. Now these fresh, well-equipped, expertly-led armies, highly dedicated to winning (or at least to proving their loyalty to the Motherland and to Stalin's government), are completely ruining the plans of Hitler and his Panzer Generals! It is not for nothing that they earn the respect of the Panzer Generals, especially the previously unseen 'black units' which the Nazis now start facing, strongly salting the Second Echelon: units made of soldiers with powerful arms, calloused hands, shaven heads, hollow cheeks. They haven't gone through Nazi concentration camps yet; but they have gone through Stalin's gulags.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 25, 2020, 02:15:33 PM
Suvorov's critics tend to reply to his general contentions, that the armies he claims are stacked up at the front are actually weak shells. This is both true and false; three million troops are already at the front, but some armies are also (relatively) weak shells. But they aren't weak shells in the prior Soviet sense of being ready and waiting as an army which is only a weak corps of a few infantry divisions assigned to it, which can be suddenly beefed up into a strike army, able to punch into enemy territory and act thus as "cover" for weaker invading armies to enter enemy territories behind. Instead, all sixteen of the armies have been assigned full covering (i.e. strike, i.e. invasion) army forces, and some have been assigned super-strike forces, with optional plans to bulk those up even farther. The troops for all sixteen covering (strike, invasion) armies are all on the way; these aren't simply hopeful forces for plans someday which may or may not happen. Hitler catches most of the forces on the way; in some cases the infantry are detraining out into fields! But they are already on the way, and have been for weeks or even months.

And there is now an even worse complication for the rail system happening: Zhukov as the Soviet Chief of Staff put his strongest armies south of the Polesye swamp area, aiming toward the Nazi oil fields, while Hitler put three of his four Panzer Groups north of Polesye aiming to concentrate maximum force against the relatively-weaker Soviet armies massed on that side (on the road from Berlin to Moscow, basically). Thus the strongest Nazi blow is landing where the Soviets are weakest; consequently, the Red Army has to urgently send railway trains with divisions, corps, and armies, from the Southwestern Front to the Western Front -- under heavy Nazi bombing raids!

When/if they arrive at the Western Front area, still under heavy bombing of the Soviet lines of communication by the Luftwaffe, the trains are unloading the troops straight into battle. So for example, the 16th Army (the first of the Second Echelon stumbled upon by the Nazi forces) had been advancing from the Trans-Baikal region to the Ukraine, south of the Polesye swamp area, and had just started unloading when Hitler strikes. So part of the 16th is caught still mostly on the trains trying to deal with the blitzkrieg directly, while part are rushing back onto the trains to try to get several hundred miles northward -- along swampy railroad lines not built for backfield movement of armies laterally across the front as in a defensive strategic preparation!

As noted earlier, the headquarters staff of the 16th arrives at Smolensk, but the communications battalion is still far back along the trains coming from the Trans-Baikal, and without communications the headquarters cannot direct its forces. The same thing will be happening with the 19th Army for the same reasons, rendering it also “headless” in the teeth of the Nazi blitz; so for example its artillery are all unloaded in one place while the ammunition for the artillery is somewhere else locked up in rail wagons. Tanks are over here, their repair crews are over there, their fuel is somewhere else...
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 25, 2020, 02:20:37 PM
June 22, noon: Soviet Government Deputy Head and USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, delivers a radio address to the Soviet people, declaring, "Without citing any grievances and without declaring war, German forces attacked our country..."

But remember, Molotov himself had received the declaration of war from the Nazi Ambassador in Moscow (as true also simultaneously in Berlin, where Ribbentrop handed over the same declaration). It was Molotov who had brought the news to Stalin and Zhukov: Germany has declared war on the Russia, bringing them the received list of grievances, in three supporting attachments.

Later during the Nuremberg trials, a key point by Soviet prosecutors will be that Nazi Germany, and Ribbentrop specifically, never gave a declaration of war and so also never any grievances. Whatever the prosecutors did or did not know, the judges accepted their denial that Molotov and Dekanozov had ever been given declarations of war by Schulenburg and Ribbentrop respectively. Thus as part of the eventual verdict, "On June 22, 1941, without a declaration of war, Germany..." (from the "Nuremberg Trial of German Major War Criminals," Moscow, 1960, Vol.5, p.569.) Partly on this ground, Ribbentrop was hung.

"Red Star", the flagship publication of the Soviet Red Army, and later of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, kept up this charge throughout the life of the Soviet Union, but in November 25th, 1998, it acknowledged Germany did declare war. In its June 23, 2001 edition, the same newspaper specifies, "Accusations against the USSR were raised in a memorandum Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs Ribbentrop handed to the Soviet ambassador in Berlin on 22 June 1941 at 04:00."

Even in 1975, however, at the height of the Cold War, the official Soviet "History of the Second World War", Vol.4, p.31, will acknowledge that, in relation to the declaration handed over by Schulenberg, "cast in the same mold was a memorandum Ribbentrop handed the Soviet ambassador in Berlin on June 22nd. It asserted the Soviet Government had been trying to bring about the disintegration of Germany from within and was on the verge of launching aggression against it."

Suvorov goes on to claim that Ribbentrop was convicted and hung for being held responsible for direct and immediate involvement in unleashsing a war of aggression. Ribbentrop could have been tried and hung for his part in presenting the declaration of war to the Soviet Union, but then the charges would have had to change, and then the question of those charges would have had to be examined. In effect, Suvorov claims that Ribbentrop was essentially not indicted for anything. But Soviet prosecutors, being managed by Stalin and Molotov in the background, still insisted he had to die. Suvorov charges that the Soviet prosecutors ginned up Ribbentrop's death, because he wouldn't testify for the prosecutors that the Soviet Union wasn't about to attack; that the Soviet Union was unprepared for war and posed no threat; and that he didn't hand the Soviets any declaration of war.

Whether or not Suvorov is correct to go so far, the point seems to be this: that the Soviet Union must now try to convince the next people on the European border, that the Soviet Union wasn't massing ludicrous troops on their prior border to get ready to take over Europe.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 25, 2020, 02:23:50 PM
June 22, evening: 4th Air Assault Corps Major-General Zhadov (as he recalls in his memoir "Four Years of War", p.16), summons Captain A.I. Goryachev, the aide to the chief of operations sector of the corps staff.

"'Do you know what gold is, Comrade Captain?'" Zhadov asks the captain.

"He was dumbfounded by such an unanticipated question, but nevertheless answered, 'I have an idea, but I never had any gold.'

'Not true,' I said to him. 'A parachute was given to every Red Army soldier and commander. This is our nation's gold. Do you know where there are thousands of parachutes sitting out in the open? In the forest, one kilometer east of the river Berezina. Organize the transportation of this precious material to the rear!"

Captain Goyachev finds trucks, and under machine-gun fire from the advancing Nazi troops, brings the parachutes safely out.

For this, Captain Goyachev receives a medal! -- but those parachutes are never used again.

Note that these parachutes are not carefully folded up in a hanger ready to use, although tens of thousands have already been prepared that way today. These are beyond the hangars, ready for troops to pick up while they're briskly marching to field-capable aircraft next to the forest. Those parachutes were intended to be packed up onto someone's back in an airplane within a day. Perhaps a speed deployment exercise was planned for the day after the Politburo formally activated wartime Front HQs and the wartime General HQ...?  ^-^ ::)
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 25, 2020, 02:28:41 PM
June 22, evening: the Red Packets, "M-Packets", distributed in mid-May to Soviet commanders on the German-area borders, after the top secret May 5th directive about being prepared to launch lightning strikes to route the enemy and move military operations onto enemy territory, still wait in the safes of every Soviet Commander. They can only be legally opened upon receiving an order from Stalin. But Stalin, neither directly in his new public post, nor indirectly through Timoshenkov, has given the order to open them. Nor will any such order ever be given.

Rokossovsky relates in his memoir ("A Soldier's Duty") that under Article 58, unauthorized breaking of the Red Packet seal meant a firing squad.

Yet at their own risk, some desperate commanders did open the Red Packets. Perhaps they were emergency orders for defense, and due to the chaos, including the Luftwaffe striking at Command and Control junctures, the orders to open the Packets had just not arrived?

Eventual Major-General Gretsov, or his commander at the time, dared to open one, as he will report later in the JMH, 1965, p.84 (number/volume not given): "We did, of course, have detailed plans and instructions as to what to do on 'M'-Day... all of it timed down to the minute, the last detail... All those plans were on hand. Unfortunately, nothing in them addressed what to do, if the enemy suddenly went on the offensive."

The top Soviet leaders already know this, of course; they wrote the detailed orders. That is why even a simple "Open your packets" command is never given. All their M-day plans, all their packets, all timed down to the minute, to the last detail, are no longer of any use, once the Nazis strike.

Initial orders from the top do come through; but not "defend" and not even "counter-attack". Only "attack" (where not withdrawing to try regrouping for an attack somewhere else). But even these attack orders do not connect with the M-Day Red Packet attack plans! The attack orders are improvised.

(Suvorov will later entitle one of his books on the Icebreaker thesis, "The Day M" or "M-Day", but it remains untranslated to English.)
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 27, 2020, 01:11:36 PM
June 22, evening: Stalin openly took the head of the Soviet Government, back on May 5th, for the first time in 19 years, expecting to take the credit for some foreign policy triumph, so enormous and so assured that he was willing to come out of the shadows where he had effectively ruled without official responsibility for decades.

Tonight it is his responsibility to address the nation to break terrible news: Nazi Germany has invaded the Soviet Union, and the Red Army is already losing badly, disastrously. He has a legal duty to do so as the official leader of all Soviet people. He took this responsibility from Molotov a little more than a month ago.

Now he hides behind Molotov, his deputy, leaving him the shamed responsibility to address the nation on radio with the terrible news.

This same evening, the third directive of Stalin's official reign, orders the Red Army to smash the invading enemy. Stalin refuses to sign it. It is issued (per the "History of the Second World War", Vol 4, p.38) over the signatures of "the People's Commissar of Defense Marshal Timoshenko, the Communist Party Central Committee Secretariat Council Member Malenkov, and the Chief of the General Staff General Zhukov".

What!? -- what does Malenkov, merely a Council member of the Secretariat Council, have to do with this?? (Suvorov doesn't say why Malenkov was substituted in for Stalin and his own highest office.)

Zhukov, in his "Recollections and Reflections", page 251, recalls that General Vatutin said Stalin endorsed this draft of Directive #3, and ordered Zhukov to sign it.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 28, 2020, 03:24:20 PM
Once Hitler starts the invasion, the Second (as well as First) Strategic Echelon will be used for defense -- yet still not at first!

Why does it take some time for the Second Echelon to be deployed for defense?!

General Kazakov (JMH, 1972, #12, p.46), "Once the war had begun, [the Second Echelon's] mission had to be radically revamped."

What was their mission? General Zemskov (JMH, 1971, #10, p.13), "These reserves we were forced to use, not for offense, as planned, but for defense." The offensive planning and arrangement of the Second Strategic Echelon was so strong, that shifting them over to defense required radical revamping.

But what was Second Echelon's offensive mission? General Ivanov's memoir, "Opening Phase of the War", p.206: "Had First Strategic Echelon forces succeeded... in taking combat operations to enemy territory even before our main-force deployment," and notice the classic plan dating back to 1932 for the First Echelon to be used during the opening of the final worldwide revolutionary war: First Echelon invades onto enemy territory BEFORE the main invasion force even arrives to deploy, "Second Strategic Echelon was to build on First Echelon efforts and mount a counterattack in line with our overall strategic objective."

General Ivanov is talking about a "counterattack" similar to the, cough cough, "counterattack" staged by Soviets invading Finland and other areas previously. Remember Soviet ideological military doctrine: the overall strategic objective involves the Red Army, facetiously or otherwise, counterattacking the counterattack of property owners who are busily striking back at some kind of revolutionary workers uprising to seize the property of the property owners.

When Soviets talk about a "liberation crusade", they have been talking about just such "counterattacks", whether or not there was any kind of worker uprising in the target area for property owners to defend against -- a defense treated as an "attack", notice, to be "counterattacked" against by the Red Army!

More than 50 years later, the official version of the Winter War was still that Finland, in suicidal insanity, threw a few artillery shells at the most powerful army on its border, the strike army which just happened to be in formation for invasion, thus providing a pretext for "counterattack".

Anyway, we can be sure that General Ivanov means “first strike” by the politically correct euphamism of “counterattack”, because that was explicitly his plan for such action in this same memoir (p.281) as "preparations for and launching of a sudden first strike, together with opening of a new strategic front." Of course, you can have a surprise first strike on a foe you’re currently at peace with (thus opening up a new strategic front, otherwise the strategic front would already exist, being at war already) -- but NOT while also being a counterattack response to your foe’s attack upon you!
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 28, 2020, 03:30:06 PM
June 22, 1941: in the chapter "Stuka Pilot" of "Bombs Away!" (Moscow 2002 edition, pp. 30, 35), the Stuka (Ju-87) pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel, who will complete 2,430 battle missions against the USSR, describes the start of the war against the Soviet Union, "By the evening of the first day, I had completed four trips beyond the frontline to the area between Grodno and Vokovysk. We saw huge masses of tanks and trucks there. We mostly saw KV-1, KV-2, and T-34 tanks." He mostly saw the latest models, in other words. But they weren't doing anything; they were parked near trucks for preparation of fuel and ammo and crews, not in defensive formation. "We bombed tanks and anti-aircraft guns."

June 23, 1941, Stuka pilot Rudel continues his memoir, "The next day, we first flew out at 3am, and finally returned at 10pm. One had to forget about normal rest during the night, so we made use of every available minute to fall down on the grass by our airplanes and to sleep... Even on my first mission, I noticed innumerable fortifications built along the borderlines. They stretched for many hundreds of kilometers deep into Russian territory." Oh, so the Soviets were preparing for defense after all? "And yet, they were partly unfinished!" He's charitably generalizing the description then, based on what he thinks would be reasonably accurate. These aren't bases built for serious defense, no matter how far into the backfield they're stretching, but are minor defenses for marking out distinction areas between organizational containers, from battalions upward (companies he might not have seen). That's why they look "unfinished".

"We flew over unfinished airbases: in some places, the concrete landing strips were just being constructed." These are forward assault bases of course, just like what Rudel is flying from. "Even at such airbases, however, one could find a few aircraft waiting. We saw, for example, along the road to Vitebsk, which our troops were advancing upon, one such almost-finished airbase with many 'Martin' bombers." These are Western lend-lease aircraft! "They either did not have enough fuel or enough crews. While flying over these numerous airbases and fortifications, we all had the same thought in our heads: how lucky we were to have struck first! It seemed that the Soviets were feverishly readying the groundwork for an attack against us. And which other Western country could Russia have attacked? If the Russians had completed their preparations, there would have been almost no hope of stopping them... The highway Smolensk-Moscow was the target of many raids; it was packed with huge amounts of Russian military equipment and supplies. Trucks and tanks were lined up one after another almost without any intervals, often in three parallel columns." Not spread out in defensive works. "If all this massive machinery had attacked us... There were no difficulties in attacking so enticing a target. In a few days, the entire road was transformed into a pile of rubble."

June 23, 1941, the Soviet 1st Long-range Bomber Aviation Corps carries out a massive strike against military targets in Koenigsburg (an East Prussia major port city near the Lithuanian border) and Danzig (the German pocket city on the Polish border coast, farther west from Koenigsburg). They are following orders sent at 6:44am yesterday morning -- orders to act according to a pre-arranged plan (per A.B. Shirokorad's "Russia's Northern Wars", 2001, p.702.) The Aviation Corps will continue trying to carry out these orders for several days.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 28, 2020, 03:43:11 PM
Stumbling Colossus

After Stalin’s death much later, Nikita Krushchev will recount that in 1941, having found out about the Nazi invasion, Stalin panicked, retreated to his dacha-fortress outside Moscow; and having become totally apathetic he completely kept out of all affairs, did not receive anybody, did not ask about developments on the front, and did not answer telephone calls. After a week of extreme depression, only on July 1st did the members of the Politburo manage to force him to return to the reins of power.

This story will be accepted and repeated in thousand of books and essays, serving as a main evidence of Stalin’s unreadiness for war.

It also happens to be mostly a lie.

After 1991, the Soviet archives became more accessible, including logbooks documenting visitors to Stalin’s Kremlin office from 1927 to 1953. An entry for June 21, 1941 -- a busy day indeed -- reads, “The last [visitors] left at 11pm”.

Stalin has been receiving visitors at his office since 5:45am, working eleven hours without breaks. His visitors today naturally include Molotov, Beria, Timoshenko, Mekhlis, Zhukov, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, Vyshinski, Admiral Kuznetsov (the Front and former MD commander being busy elsewhere, understandably), Dimitrov, Manuilsky, Vatutin, Kulik, and others, including the elder master of mobilization himself, Shaposhnikov.

Stalin might have passed out at 11am, but that would not be typical for his frenetic pace before Barbarossa, when after visiting hours he would work on documents, make telephone calls, or simply leave his office to work at his Kremlin apartment or at his fortress-dacha. According to the logbook, on some subsequent days Stalin kept receiving visitors for twenty-four hours, with short breaks. Despite Khrushchev’s claims, Stalin’s return to the shadows wasn’t due to depressed apathy: during the first seven days of the Great Patriotic War, Stalin worked as much as humanly possible -- typically herding his troops into an attack, not giving orders for defense.

June 23, 1941, the second day starts early at Stalin’s office after visitors ceased back around 11pm; reception begins at 3:20am! Visitors will end sometime early on the following morning of the 24th, for a little while.

June 23, 1941, the membership of the General Headquarters is publicly announced -- it already secretly existed on June 21st. In fact, the General HQ which was set up on that day is abolished, including Force Command for the Second Strategic Echelon! The former GHQ, in its mobile armored train fleet based outside Vilnius, isn't useful anymore in a war of desperate defense.

Of course, Stalin as the ultimate public authority, has put himself on this (newer-than-new!) ultimate military leadership body -- but he has turned down command!

Well.... he turns down public command anyway. Zhukov, in his "Recollections and Reflections" (p.251), recalls, "Given the existing hierarchy, Timoshenko [who was given command] could take no fundamental decisions anyway, not independently, not without Stalin. Effectively, there were two Supreme Commanders: de jure, by virtue of a decree, People's Commissar Timoshenko, and de facto, Stalin."

Stalin reverts to his standard operating procedure: he makes the crucial decisions, and takes any credit he cares for; other people bear official responsibility, in case things go badly.

The Politburo will, in effect, force Stalin to take on the official position of People's Commissar of Defense a month later, and then the position of Commander-in-Chief on August 8th. Until then, while he’s busy all day and night giving orders and trying to salvage the disaster, he dodges all public and official responsibility for a war of defense -- until his own government forces him to take it up again.

However, there will be a short break after the first week, which is what Krushchev will later base his anti-Stalin propaganda legend upon. More on that incident when we get there...
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 28, 2020, 04:34:58 PM
June 24, 1941: on this day, or possibly on the 26th (Suvorov's account somewhat differs depending on his topic), Stalin removes Artyomyev from leadership of the NKVD 7th Chief Directorate, the directorate of the Rapid-response Force armies of motorized rifle divisions (MRDs). We shall have to learn in a few days (on the 26th) whether he is put up against a wall and shot for his MRDs being untrained, unsupplied, and improperly deployed, for a war of defense!

No new leader is provided; and no further NKVD motorized rifle divisions are created. The current armies of NKVD MRDs will be reconfigured into standard Red Army rifle divisions. For example, 8th NKVD MRD becomes 63rd Red Army Rifle Division; 13th becomes 95th; 21st becomes 109th.

As Major-General Nekrasov later reports in JMH, 1985, #9, p.29, twenty-nine such divisions are transferred from the NKVD to the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. Later throughout the war, many of these will be reinforced and renamed into Guards units, using elite air-mobile troops (now without their air-mobility which isn't needed anymore in a war for driving a German invasion out of Russian soil).

While no new NKVD motorized rifle divisions are created from 1941 forward, Stalin still retains some in their secret-police configurations. They will be eventually deployed during the Soviet "liberation" invasions of Central Europe and Germany -- following behind the Red Army to pacify enemy civilian areas now in the rear of the advance, just as they were designed to do.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 28, 2020, 04:39:22 PM
June 25, 1941, visitors start early at Stalin’s Kremlin office today, 1am sharp. They will end the following morning of the 26th. (Unsure if Suvorov doesn’t provide notes for the 24th, or if I’ve accidentally erased them; or possibly the Kremlin’s logbook simply continues through the 24th without any breaks at all!)

June 25, 1941: at the Danube River Flotilla base, rivercraft and shore artillery will be quickly destroyed by local enemy forces if the Romanians launch an attack, because they are not aligned for defense. So far they have survived because no one is bothering to invade the Soviet Union here, which would be crazy.

Fortunately, the Soviet 14th Rifle Corps has divisions massed in the Danube sector, as well as the 79th NKVD Border Guard detachment (i.e. secret police death squads with howitzers and tanks). They have been planning in advance for the start of war against the Nazis, and have been drilling exhaustively. Black Sea airpower has been conducting active combat operations to open the way for them to head upriver at the start of the war; so, three days after the start of the war, in lieu of receiving any clear orders one way or the other, they start their mission!

Fortunately, the Black Sea Fleet surface warships have appeared near the Romanian port of Constanza to unleash an intensive artillery barrage -- the type used as a preparation for Soviet troops to come ashore. They've been preparing for this, but there's a big problem: the 9th Special Rifle Corps was caught on the trains, rolling overland to meet up with the Fleet! Yet the Fleet sailed without them, to go bombard the Romanians; they know there's another Corps on the ground which has been practicing river marine assaults.

On the Romanian border, Soviet river assault craft ferry Soviet assault rangers across in the vicinity of the city of Kilia, covered by the Soviet mobile cannons on the bank, as well as by Rifle Corps and Rifle Division artillery shelling. These rangers seize a staging area, with covering fire provided by NKVD scouts that had landed on the river bank earlier. (Reported in "Guarding Soviet Borders", p. 141.) Regiments of the 51st Rifle Divisions follow them across the river into Romania promptly. Soviet assault forces move with resolve, daring, and speed, in a combined force attack with highly-coordinated river craft, airpower, artillery from the banks and ships as well as far afield: everything has been worked out, synchronized, coordinated, tested and retested many times over. It is a textbook operation.

Similar NKVD elite troops stand ready on boundary-lines northward where the Nazis are striking instead, but are proving totally unprepared to repulse attack or to defend bridges, surrendering almost without a fight.

When the western end of a border bridge has to be captured, they show total preparation, skill, and bravery; when the eastern end of a border bridge has to be defended, the same types of soldiers show total lack of preparation. They have never been taught to defend their side of the bridge.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 29, 2020, 09:52:31 AM
June 25, 1941: Soviet airpower was mauled on the ground in the first few minutes of the war, but 487 aircraft from Baltic and Northern Fleet stage a surprise joint raid on Finnish air bases today, with a spirited and daring performance.

From the staff report of the Northern Front, reported in M. Solonin's "June 25: Stupidity or Aggression?", 2008, pp.442-3, "The air force of the front and of the armies started on 6:20am to carry out, by bomber formations, the task of exterminating the enemy's air force on his airfields... Bombed were all known airfields of the southern part of Finland."

Nazi Germans aren't mentioned in the Soviet report, and Finland hasn't declared war on the USSR: the Soviets simply strike without declaring war, in violation of their own peace treaty signed with Finland back in spring 1940!

But since the Nazis have been attacking for three days now, Finland's own combat air patrol is up, and everyone is ready to receive visitors. The bombers pay a very heavy price, and nothing can be done to follow up their attack.

This undeclared war assault (among several others by land and sea) upon Finland, just so happens not to be brought up during the Nuremburg Trials, of course.  ::)
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 29, 2020, 10:02:03 AM
June 26, 1941 -- let's check in on how the Soviet invasion of southern Romania is going, down near the Danube River Flotilla!

About as well as can be expected, all things considered: the red flag is raised above the central cathedral in the Romanian city of Kilia. Soviet forces now hold a nearly 45-mile stretch of Romanian territory, a major springboard for further invasion. The flotilla, having supported this invasion, is getting ready to fight its way 80 miles up the Danube to kill the Nazi army's fuel supply. There is no resistance; it might take one night. 3rd Airborne Corps stands ready to be airlifted for the assist, from bases in the Odessa area.

Later in 1944, a weaker flotilla with no heavy patrol boats would fight upriver 1250 miles to end the war in Vienna; in 1941 the flotilla was far more capable and faced much less resistance from the enemy. The 4th Long-range Bomber Aviation Corps even starts bombing the Ploeshti oil fields! Under circumstances where almost the entire Soviet Air Force had been crushed on the ground, they still manage to muster enough punch to reduce Romania's oil output by 50 percent! -- for several days.

There is only one small, tiny, gigantic problem: Hitler invaded Russia, not the other way around, and the invasion corps behind the Flotilla (with its amphibious assault groups now in front of the Flotilla), has no support beyond the Black Sea Fleet bombarding from offshore.

Had they still gone ahead, the Flotilla might have won World War Two in one night, almost single-handedly along with the 4th Aviation Corps. But they were supposed to wait for coordinating orders, to be sure they got the invasion done correctly: not merely to stop a world war in its tracks! If this is supposed to be a liberation crusade of all of Europe (or farther), as per Soviet political doctrine since at least the 20s, then they can't just go upstream tonight and end the war by themselves. That might not be expedient.

So a river flotilla and a rifle corps wait in, and near, captured Romania, until they are withdrawn.

In June 1940, with no one threatening war with the Soviet Union, dozens of Soviet river warships arrived in the wake of a Soviet invasion of areas held by Romania, and parked 80 miles downstream of the main fuel artery of the Nazi war machine; next month, Hitler and his generals came to the bleak conclusion that defending the oil link to Romania would be too difficult, thanks to encroachment by the Soviet Union. Ironically, being in position to end the war overnight, the Danube flotilla helped convince Hitler to invade the Soviet Union first.

When the Rifle Corps withdraws, the Danube fleet will be mostly unable to retreat, having to scuttle most of its craft. Huge stockpiles meant to feed and fuel the flotilla simply have to be dumped.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 29, 2020, 10:33:04 AM
June 26, 1941: Moscow Military District was left headless one day before Barbarossa when, according to an arranged plan (going back at least as far as February 1941), its commander Tulneyev was promoted to be commander of the newly created Southern Front. His officer staff was already on the way to establish command in Vinnitsa; his promotion was a special formality held until the last moment, because "Fronts" in Soviet doctrine only exist once Soviets have gone to war.

Now with the Nazis invading Russia, taking Stalin and his generals by surprise (because they weren't expecting, thus weren't preparing for, a defensive war against the Nazis), someone must be promoted to command the Order of Lenin Moscow Military District, the premier MD in Soviet Russia.

Who will that be? Lieutenant-General Artyomyev of the NKVD Tactical Forces Command! -- under whose leadership the armies of NKVD Mobile Response Divisions were so totally unprepared to defend against an invasion, that they're now being disbanded into normal rifle divisions! Fired from his job back on the 24th (or maybe today, Suvorov is unclear), he's promoted to command the Moscow MD, instead of being shot in the head.

Stalin also appoints NKVD Forces Divisional Commissar (later Lieutenant-General) Telyegin as a member of MMD's military council.

These are SpecOps veterans and secret police terror squad commanders. Telyegin for example served with NKVD Interior Forces during the Great Purge as MMD Political Commissar, so he knows the territory well. Even during the years of the Great Purge and the decades of the Great Terror, the Military Districts stayed under military command. Now the MMD has been put under command of two NKVD Divisions and twenty-five stand-alone NKVD extermination battalions. Moscow has to make do with what it has, and it has no more Red Army combat units. Whereas, it does have need for coup suppression veterans.

Telyegin will recall later that when "new people" (his Chekists) arrived at MMD HQ, they had to "spend quite a bit of time and effort getting to know the District's make-up, mission, and potential." Since the Chekists are none too well versed in proper military affairs, poor Brigade Commander Khripunov (notice his old style rank) is released from his gulag to help them out, becoming Section Chief for the MMD. (As you might expect, former GRU agent Suvorov relishes in any embarrassment or incompetence from his old institutional rivals in the pre-KGB!)

But why? Why cripple the interior Military Districts like this at all, if no war was being planned, or even if only a defensive war was expected? Death Squad (with howitzers) Commander Telyegin explains: "Inasmuch as the assumption was that the war would be fought on enemy territory, the pre-war depots of in-country military districts -- with M-Day reserves of arms, equipment, and ordnance -- were moved up into districts near the border." (JMH, 1962, #1, p.36)

Notice his reference to the M-Day packets, by the way: the plans in those red packets, whatever they were, involved needing reserves of arms, equipment, and ordnance near the border -- so many that the most important Military District in all the Soviet Union had to be denuded of its material, sent up to the border (to be captured or destroyed when the Nazis attacked instead of whatever the M-Day plans had been.)
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 30, 2020, 06:15:50 AM
Soon after Hitler invades on June 22nd (Suvorov doesn't supply a precise date), Stalin will fire Army General Papov of the Western Front (secretly created several days or more before Barbarossa), and replace him with Lieutenant-General Yeremenko (a future Marshal of the Soviet Union.)

As you may recall from a prior entry, Yeremenko was on the way to Moscow (from his prior command of the 1st Army) for marching orders to carry out some mission, when he was redirected to take Pavlov's command.

Suvorov will later meet and talk with Marshal Yeremenko, and will try to politely question whether he knew or ever learned his original orders. Suvorov's impression is that Yeremenko never found out -- and also that Yeremenko was surprised and fascinated to learn that also on the same westbound trains were Kurochkin, Sivkov, Kurdyumov, Zhadov, Petrov, and Luchinsky. In gratitude, Yeremenko will reveal to Suvorov the prior informaton about his deputy, Bezarin.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 30, 2020, 06:24:14 AM
Late June: too many Soviet airbases were crammed up within 80km of the border, many falling under the tracks of German tanks on the first day (or even on the first hour!), after being bombed and strafed back to the stone age from the skies.

It doesn't matter a whit how good or obsolete Stalin's air force is compared to Hitler's, if they're caught on the ground or by tanks and mechanized infantry. Stalin could have teleported fourteen thousand 21st century jet fighters and ground-attack strikers back in time, and any of them on the ground would have suffered the same.

The loss in planes is compounded by the loss of unimaginable reserves of fuel, ammunition, and other supplies, without which conducting an air war with even the surviving planes and pilots must range from ludicrous to impossible. Of course, much of this can be used by the Nazi forces, extending their campaign from two to three weeks!

On top of all this, the absolute chaos in command and control will further hamper any effective Soviet air response in compounding ways for days on end afterward, even from air bases not yet struck.

Beyond the air base losses and their snowballing consequences lurching forward, must be counted all the Soviet planes, and their supplies, and their pilots, which are lost on freight trains still riding toward the front, or ready to fight but parked at factories near the front.

Keep in mind, if Stalin had struck 36 hours before June 22, Hitler's air forces would have been in much the same hell! -- though not entirely as bad, because Hitler's air forces had already arrived at the front, and wouldn't have also been caught in strategic transit. Also, Hitler's air forces don't suffer from crippling overspecialization in training, design, and command planning, even with their blitzkrieg orientation, so that would have helped the survivors in being able to shift over from blitz to defensive missions.

Colonel A.I. Rodimtsev will recall later (as a Colonel-General) in his memoir, "Motherland, These Are Your Sons", p.29, talking with Lieutenant-General M.A. Purkaev, the Southwestern Front Chief of Staff, about frustration in not being able to launch their planned airborne operations. Purkaev astutely and dryly explains the reality created by the surprise Nazi attack, "Yes, the situation is now such, Comrade Rodimtsev, that it is easy to find one's way behind the enemy's lines without a paratroop drop! Some of our units and even large formations are already encircled." But everything had been prepared already for such now-useless landings.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on June 30, 2020, 08:16:30 AM
Late June: trains transporting the 24th Army are stretched over thousands of miles; which would normally be impressive because they were one of the last Far Eastern units to embark for the west, after they ran a final airborne assault practice operation back on June 21st -- the day before Barbarossa!

Its commander, Lieutenant-General Kalinin, abandoned the Siberian Military District (upon the May 6th orders), now unled, converting its officers and troops into the 24th Army. Currently he is in Moscow, trying to figure out how to keep his scattered army fed in the opening weeks of Barbarossa. In his "Past Battles Remembered", pp.132-133, he tells how he arrives for a meeting with the secretary of the Party's Moscow City Committee, who calls the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs.

Wait, what? That's odd: why is Kalinin getting into contact with the PCIA, through the MCC, and not the Red Army General Staff Logistics Command? Well, Logistics Command staff are overburdened right now, all things considered!

Some comrade at the PCIA (explains the MCC Secretary) has a great deal of experience in food logistics, and used to handle this for the building of the Volga-Moscow canal. Around twenty minutes later, "a tall, strapping NKVD troop commander, belt tightly drawn and sporting three diamond-shaped insignia on his collar, strode into the Secretary's office." Kalinin doesn't name this impressive death-squad leader, but his insignia marks him with a rank, contemporary for this time, equivalent to general. He takes over handling food logistics, having commanded gulag labor forces during the construction of that canal, and gets the 24th Army arranged into the start of a deployment. This is probably NKVD Major-General Konstantin Rakutin, who will very soon take charge of the 24th Army (and its gulag-based 'black units') after the first few battles, replacing Kalinin, and leading it to some distinction.

Why is Rakutin replacing Kalinin? Because Stalin personally orders Kalinin back to Siberia. Going to jail for incompetence in training his army in airborne operations to hit the enemy on their own turf?! No. Because the Siberia MD still has no replacement?! No, it will remain leaderless until 1942.

Kalinin is going back to raise another ten divisions, essentially a whole new army! From his memoir, p.182, "The formations were created in places where there had been no military units at all before. My job started, in fact, with a visit to these localities." Oh? Hm, what kind of Siberian localities are these? "My first sortie took me to a Siberian town. Back a few years before the War, out in the middle of nowhere and deep in the forest, a barracks city was built there to house lumberjacks. This, in fact, was used to billet units of the formation taking shape. Impenetrable taiga virtually ringed the settlement." Oh, lumberjack barrack cities! -- such as what Solzhenitsyn writes about in his three volumes of the "Archipelago Gulag".

Kalinin is there to raise an entire 'black army' from gulag inmates! He's just being carefully evasive about his descriptions: he is visiting these "locales" where he hadn't raised troops before; selecting prisoners as troops (and officers) for his new army; and then sending them to be billeted in this other now-empty "lumberjack city". Why was this one empty? Kalinin had been there before already, when he converted the Siberian MD into the 24th Army!

The 24th Army's heavy composition of gulag inmates explains why a NKVD Major-General (Rakutin) was eventually put in charge of the 24th Army; and why an unnamed NKVD general-rank officer (probably also Rakutin) was assigned for logistics in Moscow.

But the 24th Army's composition also explains why Kalinin, back in Moscow, didn't call up Logistics Command to gather and feed his strung-out army, but rather called up the MCC to get in touch with the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs: that's a very polite and indirect title for one of the governing bodies of secret police death squads! -- and they have direct oversight of the Chief Directorate of Labor Camps!

As Suvorov colorfully puts it, Kalinin is only a half-breed Chekist, so Stalin puts his army under the command of a pure-breed Chekist who knows how to handle those "lumberjacks" from Siberia. Kalinin did a good job raising a partially "lumberjack" army -- one with airborne assault capability! Now he is going back home to raise a more fully "lumberjack" army.

What are these ten new divisions for? "Where do you start?" (same memoir, p.182-183) "What do you concentrate on most in troop training: defense or offense?" Well, DUH YOU'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A NAZI INVASION RIGHT THIS MOMENT KALININ! YOU'VE BEEN IN ONE FOR A FEW BATTLES ALREADY!

"The frontline situation remained tense." That's an understatement. "Red Army troops were still locked in heavy defensive fighting." So you must start training these ten new divisions for defense, instead of, let's say, for airborne offensive assaults, right?

"Combat experience showed we had by no means always done a good job of defending." Again, duh to the power of ultra-duh! You hadn't trained or kitted your army for defense. "Our defensive positions were often woefully flimsy. Sometimes even the outer perimeter lacked a set of trenches. The defenders' battle order more often than not consisted of a single line and meager reserve back-up, sapping the troops' ability to hang on." Yes, having to deploy into fields off train wagons into areas totally unprepared for any defense, and with comrade armies totally unprepared for any defense, while your own army is totally unprepared for any defense, will result in such problems.

"Often, ill-prepared as the men were for fighting tanks, it was no secret they quaked at the sight." You have had ample opportunity since at least September 1st, 1939, to get your men prepared to face Panzer Corps. Ah, but of course you were training them to fly behind the panzers, in blue-sky conditions of Soviet air supremacy, and thus to drop into the enemy's rear where they would face few if any panzers, nor need to carry anti-armor weaponry to amount to anything.

At any rate, you have now thoroughly explained why, if you aren't going to be shot as a traitor to the Motherland, you need to dang well start training your next army in defensive... uh... "Defense in our view has never been and is not now the primary way to fight... In other words, troops have to be trained to take the fight to the foe... I shared my views with the commanders. Our unanimous conclusion: focus training on thoroughly drilling offensive operational tactics."

The Nazis are threatening the very existence of the Soviet regime; Kalinin is painfully well aware that the Red Army is unprepared for defense, and is suffering badly for it; Kalinin has been personally sent back by Stalin's orders to the "lumberjacks" of Siberia to raise ten new divisions; defense is easier to train than offense, and the Soviet Union needs these divisions desperately soon! -- so obviously, in Soviet Russia, teach these new troops nothing but offense! Everyone agrees, this is the right thing to do!

When reality just breaks attempts at satire, only sarcasm remains.  :P

From Anfilov's "Immortal Feat", p.517, "Strategic defense was a type of combat operation imposed [by the enemy], not planned in advance." Suvorov says this is how Soviet military textbooks regard strategic defense; in Soviet military regulations, strategic defense did not rate a single word. Not only did the Red Army have no strategic defense plans, it did not deal even in purely theoretical terms with problems encountered in conducting operational level defense. The Soviet military, and even the civilians, had been trained, and propagandized, to master defensive challenges by offensive means. As Pravda put it back on the day the Soviet Politburo regarded World War II to have already begun, August 19, 1939: "It is precisely the best interests of defense that demand of the USSR sweeping offensive operations on enemy territory, something that in no way contradicts the nature of defensive war." Not a single pre-war operational maneuver (per Suvorov) had even ever practiced for counter-attack! -- the topic had not even been theoretically considered! "The matter of counter-attacking... prior to the Great Patriotic War, had not been raised." ("History of the Soviet Union's Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945", Vol.1, p.441.)

Yet Vasilyevsky says that in the final year before the war, generals and junior officers at General Staff, as well as at Military District and Fleet headquarters, were putting in 15 to 17 hour days, with no time out for weekends or for leave. Bagramayan, Sokolovsky, Shtemyenko, Kurasov, Malandin, "plus many more" (says Suvorov), agree. Some reports say Generals Anisov and Smorodinov were working 20 hours a day on average. Zhukov had been sending up even minor officers for court-martial and capital punishment, for on-the-job negligence; back in his preparations to invade Mongolia, he had sent up seventeen officers to die in only four days. Since February 1941, when becoming Chief of the General Staff, Zhukov has been driving all Soviet generals at typically epic Zhukov-levels (levels that General Staff veterans will later recall as worse than even the Great Purge), to train and prepare -- to not even do counter-attacks.

Yet Stalin does not shoot Zhukov or any other high-ranking General for not being prepared to even counter-attack. They all prove to be brilliant strategists, and everyone in the preceding list ends out the war at four-star general or higher. He does not even rebuke them.

The Navy Admirals are somewhat different; they do have operational defensive plans.

"The Fleet in the Great Patriotic War", p.117, shows the Black Sea Fleet's prewar mission was to engage in "active combat operations against enemy vessels and transports around the Bosporus and other approaches to enemy bases, backed up by land-based forces as they made their way along Black Sea shores." This, as Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov reports, counts as a defensive mission, including similar plans for the Baltic and Northern Fleets. But notice, the "defensive" mission involves picking off enemy navies from approaches to enemy bases, while the land-based forces advance onto enemy bases on the shore! The Black Sea Fleet had even helped develop amphibious deployment of the 9th Special Rifle Corps! In prior entries for this chronology, we've seen what this "defensive" operation looked like down with the Danube Delta Flotilla.

The Baltic Sea Fleet subs are caught stacked like sardines in a can, at their docks, with the crews unable to even surge, even though the Baltic Sea Surface Fleet set sail on June 21st with combat orders to intercept "the enemy's" (i.e. Germany's) lines of naval supply. But other Baltic Sea subs had already been at sea, and on June 22 they did set out immediately for German shores with the mission of "sinking all enemy ships and vessels by right of unlimited undersea war" (per Baltic Sea Fleet Commander Order of June 22, 1941.) The order does not even exempt hospital ships under the flag of the Red Cross! Same day, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet subs set out for the shores of Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, to snipe enemy vessels leaving their ports.

The Red Army has been designed, equipped, and trained, like a giant crocodile. When carefully creeping up on its prey and then lunging, it is an overpowered one-hit killer without a match in the world. When the crocodile suffers a savage surprise attack, such as from another crocodile, the crocodile cannot raise up quills like a porcupine. It has only one skill, nothing else, and thus a one-track mind: its only plan, attack.

In JMH, 1986, #5, p.49, Major-General Mikhalyev acknowledges the Soviet command did not plan on using Southern and Southwestern Fronts for defense or even counter-attack: "The assumption was strategic goals were going to be attained by having Front troops resolutely go on the offensive." Zhukov was caught at Moscow when Hitler attacked, but was going to take command of oversight of both Southern and Southwestern Fronts. Until June 30, 1941, he keeps insisting on offense, demanding from Front commanders nothing but offense.

It takes Zhukov until July to reach the conclusion that the gravely wounded crocodile cannot attack.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 01, 2020, 06:21:35 AM
So, we've learned the fate of the Danube Delta Flotilla. How about the other less-strong remnant of the Dnepr River Flotilla? -- the Soviet Naval Flotilla of the Pripyat River Swamps?

They will be scuttled and sunk in the first weeks; they fight bravely against the invasion, but they are practically worthless on defense. The Dnepr-Bug Canal will be dynamited where the Soviets can still reach it.

June 28, 1941, sometime today, Stalin learns that the Western Front has been pocketed: the 4th Army destroyed; the 3rd, 10th, and 13th Armies encircled.

He asks for a more detailed report of action on the entire border area, to be delivered tomorrow. This will affect his busy schedule for the first time.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 01, 2020, 06:37:55 AM
June 29, 1941, one week into the Nazi invasion: the logbook for Stalin’s Kremlin office records no visitors for the first time since the start of Barbarossa.

The cause isn’t far to seek: upon arriving early at the People’s Commissariat of Defense, Stalin is receiving the most complete description so far of the true extent of failure across all fronts -- a line longer than the eastern coastline of the United States from Maine to the tip of Florida.

Stalin explodes in anger at Timoshenko and Zhukov, bringing the latter to tears! Anastas I. Mikoyan, in his memoir, “The Way It Was: Reflections on the Past”, 1999, p.380, will recall that after leaving the Commissariat, Stalin says, “’Lenin left us a grand legacy, and we, his followers, flushed that legacy down the toilet.’ We were shocked,” Mikoyan will say, “by that statement. Was everything lost for good? In the end, we ascribed those words to Stalin’s emotionally affected state.”

Stalin leaves Moscow for his fortress-dacha, to try to get some rest after the worst week of his life.

Stalin has brought the Soviet Union to a disaster point: it can only survive another catastrophic harvest, from which he has called away all the young men, and many of the old men, too, if they take the harvest of western Europe instead. The USSR must either collapse now, or else its troops must be eliminated so far that the nation can survive not having to feed them. Moreover, the Soviet Union (as Reagan and often his predecessors understood, on either side of the Iron Curtain) can only survive if its people have no clear way to compare their lives with the lives of people in surrounding capitalist nations. Complete victory is only possible on a global scale; but the Soviet government cannot expect to capture the rest of Europe in bulk now, and from there springboard to paint the map of the world red without borders: easy to imagine if you try, but hard to achieve in practice! And this can only doom the parasitic Soviet system to a lingering death, feeding upon its own people instead.

But maybe the Soviet Union will not even survive another day or two.

Maybe Stalin himself will not even survive...

June 30, 1941, no logbook entries in the Moscow office today. Stalin waits in his dacha. This is the event that Krushchev will later, after Stalin's death, distort (per Suvorov's research) to paint the man as a lazy coward who refused to do anything at first to help the nation.

Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan, in his memoir (p.391), recalls visiting Stalin’s room with a deputation including Molotov, Beria, Malenkov, among others. “We came to Stalin’s dacha. Found him in the small dining room, sitting in his armchair. Upon seeing us, he seemed to shrink into the armchair, then to look at us questioningly. Then he asked: ‘What did you come for?’ He had a wary, strange look on his face -- and the question he asked was no less strange. As a matter of fact, he should have summoned us all himself! I had no doubts: he had decided that we had arrived to arrest him. Molotov, speaking for us all, said that power had to be concentrated if the country were to get back on its feet, and that a State Committee of Defense had to be created. ‘Who’s in charge?’ asked Stalin. When Molotov answered that he, Stalin, was in power, the latter looked at Molotov with surprise, but said nothing. ‘Fine,’ he eventually pronounced.”

This lack of relief and gratitude might seem surprising, but Stalin can appreciate the full weight of what has been lost: without taking Europe, without expanding the Soviet Union’s borders into capturing new and fresh property and means of production for the government to exploit in capturing more and more such territory and people, the USSR must sooner or later crumble. It is primarily governed by a criminal gang of bank robbers, after all.

Stalin returns to power with a careless wave of his hand, at first like a symbol and flag around which the remnants of a crushed division could rally. But, to his credit, Stalin does have, and does do, vastly much more than that: he has resources still to call upon to save the nation indeed! Stalin will work hard, and successfully, to achieve that goal.

Yet the goal of his life, charted from his first days of authority after World War I under Lenin? -- the goal which he thought he would achieve in becoming, at long last, the open leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?

That goal has died.

And its ongoing death may yet doom the Soviet government sooner rather than later, for all that Stalin knows today.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 02, 2020, 06:13:27 AM
A Colossus Grim and Shredded

July 3, 1941, Stalin makes his first public appearance to pull Soviet morale together.

KGB Major-General O.D. Gotsiridze will remember (in “Literaturnaya Gazeta”, August 20th, 2002, page uncited; and apparently also interviewed by A.B. Zubov, in “Continent”, #84, 1995), “Before July 3, when Stalin made a public appearance, it was completely unclear as to what we were to do. Everyone had thought that the war would be quick and on foreign soil.” You cannot have a quick defensive war on foreign soil, of course.

He continues (or possibly this is from Zubov's interview now, but Suvorov is unclear), “The complete demoralization among our troops occurred because... the people had planned to fight on the enemy’s territory, and [my emphasis] our military commanders were dreaming of a blitzkrieg no less than the Germans were. But everything turned out not quite so happily. [...] The sudden need for defense turned into a total retreat on all fronts for the troops and the people.”

The Soviet military commanders weren't merely "dreaming" of a blitzkrieg -- no less than the Germans were merely dreaming about it. The plan had been to fight on enemy territory, and suddenly there had been a catastrophic need for defense instead.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 02, 2020, 06:34:59 AM
July 7, 1941: Stalin sends a telegram to Southern Front Commander Army General Tulenyev, demanding Bessarabia be held no matter what, "bearing in mind that we need Bessarabian territory as a staging area for organizing our offensive." Stalin is still not thinking about defense. An offensive from Bessarabia means an attack on Romanian oil fields.

July, 1941: a few weeks earlier, on the day before Barbarossa, Major-General Petrov's 27th Mechanized Corps, created in the Turkestan Military District, was secretly on the way to join the recently re-created 9th Army, joining two other mechanized corps there, and bringing 9th Army to twenty divisions (including six armored). At full strength the seven corps would have had 3341 tanks.

Petrov had himself taken a different train to Moscow while his troops were en route, in order to receive his orders in person. This was very typical of final maneuvers before Barbarossa, remember: a corps is formed in the interior in, or rather from, a Military District; and then while its equipment, troops, and most of its officers are on the way to the western border, the Corps' top commander rides to Moscow for orders delivered to him in person -- not by courier, which wouldn't be secure enough for whatever Stalin was planning at the border, but which would have allowed the General to stay at least somewhere near his corps.

When Hitler invaded, the 24th Mechanized Corps had been caught on the rails, and Petrov had been caught away from them. He never receives his orders for which he was riding to Moscow.

He does however receive orders about what to do with his 24th Mechanized Corps: in the teeth of the Nazi blitz, at the time of the most desperate crisis of the Soviet Union, he is ordered to disband 24th Mechanized Corps!  :o :wow: :timeout:

Are they being punished somehow??! No, or anyway not any moreso than all the other Mechanized Corps of the Red Army: the same July, after the 24th is disbanded, every single one of the twenty-seven Soviet Mechanized Corps, each organizing over one thousand tanks (not counting other armored fighting vehicles) are also disbanded!!

Now of course the divisions and sub-units of the corps won't simply go home and wait for the end. I had been going to quip that neither will the tanks be detonated unused -- except that this happens with some notorious frequency! Why?? Because the tanks on the trains aren't near their ammo and fuel and crews. Stalin could have M1A2 Abrams tanks from a portal into the future, or Battletech-style mechs built from captured alien tech on those trains, and they would be just as useless, or rather worse than useless because the Nazis could capture them intact and then take the time to fuel, crew, and ammo them up! (Using captured Soviet ammo lying out on the ground near the border, or stacked in railcars near the border!)

The Mechanized (i.e. armored, panzer) Corps planned to be of key use on the Nazi border, where they were being dispatched. They are not useful enough now, in the most desperate defense against the Nazis, to stay organized as corps.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 02, 2020, 07:03:05 AM
July 8, 1941: say, whatever happened to poor, doomed Golikov, who bet his life, with solid backing from Stalin, that Hitler wasn't ready to invade and certainly not on June 22? How many and what kind of exquisite tortures does Stalin have inflicted upon Golikov before liquidating him like every other former not-yet-GRU chief, none of whom failed this disastrously (or even failed at all)?

Hm, well, let's see here...


...huh: none!  :o

Today, July 8th, Stalin entrusts Golikov to travel to Britain and the United States as Stalin's personal representative, on personally delivered instructions.

After this very important, and very successful, mission, Golikov will go on to army command; and then to front command; and that's before being named by Stalin, in 1943, to the post of Deputy People's Commissar of Defense for Senior Officer Staffing! -- which means Golikov will select and place senior officers for Stalin! Even Beria didn't get that job! After Stalin's death, Golikov will even become, someday, a Marshal of the Soviet Union.

In Golikov's memoirs, he says not one word about why Stalin didn't liquidate him the moment Barbarossa started. This riddle will prey upon Suvorov's mind, in his own career, until he solves it at the GRU Academy and corroborates it with research at GRU Headquarters: i.e. Stalin knew and understood Golikov's invasion prediction strategy, and rationally realized that Golikov had faithfully carried out this plan with meticulous effort. It was no fault of any Soviet leader that Hitler decided to invade without the slightest winter preparations to signal his invasion.

We'll be catching back up with Golikov before the end of the war, when he will arrive in the nick of time with Soviet heroes to save Russia and (and Stalin's Soviet Union) from certain defeat! -- more on this later.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 02, 2020, 07:09:38 AM
Come to think of it, what happened to Major-General Vasilevsky, who spent May 1940 through June 1941 working on strategic deployment plans for Soviet armed forces in what eventually became the Northern, Northwestern, and Western Fronts? In other words, he worked on the war plans for the Karelian, Baltic, and Byelorussian regions.

The troops of the Northern Front, under his plans, let the Finnish troops (of all people) through to Leningrad from the north; the formations of the Northwestern Front fell apart under his plans, letting Nazi troops through to Leningrad from the south: together they accomplished setting what Suvorov calls the worst blockade in human history! The troops of the Western Front in Byelorussia were meanwhile almost instantly surrounded and crushed, leaving the way to Moscow wide open.

Does Stalin order anyone to go shoot Vasilevsky in the head as a maliciously incompetent traitor to the people of the Motherland? Nope! -- one month later Stalin appoints Vasilevsky to the position of head of the Operations Directorate of the General Staff (replacing Meretskov, who also doesn't get a bullet in the head for the failure of all his plans), entrusting him with drafting all plans on all fronts in all directions!

Vasilevsky will walk the path from Major-General to Soviet Marshal faster than anyone else: only one and a half years. Stalin will entrust him personally with the defeat of the Nazi armies near Stalingrad, the defeat of the Nazis at Kursk, and eventually the war against Japan.

Meretskov, whom Vasilevsky replaces, will be teamed up with him in command of the 1st Far Eastern Front in 1945. General Purkaev, former commander of the Southwestern Front, formerly commander of the Kiev Military District, will get command of the 2nd Far Eastern Front, by the way. Major-General Malinovsky, commanding the 48th Rifle Corps on the Romanian border where there were no German troops, but which had to retreat anyway from being destroyed by mere Romanian forces, will be put in charge of the most powerful Trans-Baikal Front in 1945, under Vasilyevsky: once again placed where the enemy is most vulnerable.

Their plans will all be principally the same as on the Nazi front before June 22, 1941; even identically the same in some ways -- but this time they shall succeed: the strong Japanese garrisons won't blitz them first while they're aligned completely out of defense! Marshal Meretskov's Front will also receive all his command staff from Karelia: they have massive experience in breaking through the Mannerheim Line once upon a time, which will perfectly serve them in overrunning occupied Eastern Asia.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 06, 2020, 05:00:31 AM
Late Summer 1941: sometime during this period, 1st Lieutenant Yakov Dzhugashvili is captured by the Nazis.

In the protocol of his interrogation, he is asked why Soviet artillery seems so incompetent, since on examination it looks very well designed. Were they not trained? Yes, he replies, Soviet artillery is superb, and he was trained very well. It is just that “The maps let the Red Army down, because the war, contrary to expectations, unfolded to the east of the state border.” (Reported in “History of the Motherland”, #4, 1993, p.26.)

Direct aiming and firing are only a small fraction of the work of artillery; most of the time artillery shoots beyond their line of sight. Moreover, the Nazis in 1943 will conclude about Soviet topographical services, in “Petermanns geographischen Mitteilungen”, Vols 9 and 10 (page uncited by Suvorov), that “It turned out that in Soviet Russia, a map-making industry was created that surpassed everything that had ever been done before in its size, organization, volume, and quality of work.” Yet Yakov and his artillery comrades have been let down by Red Army maps -- because they were expecting to shoot at targets to the west of the state border, not to the east in defense of Soviet territory against an invasion.

In JMH #10, 1992, p.82, Lieutenant-General A.I. Lossev will reveal some interesting details about what maps did exist at the time: “Storages of topographic maps, located unreasonably close to the border, were either seized by the enemy, or destroyed by the enemy during the first bomb raids. As a result, the troops lost one hundred million maps.”

Now that is very curious, so many maps being so “unreasonably” close to the border as to be wiped off the map (so to speak!) at the start of the war -- caught by the Nazi invasion. But it is even more curious that all these maps did exist but had not been given to the Soviet troops yet!

It is also partly untrue that the Nazis were responsible for the loss of all those maps: in a 1970 JMH article, #12, p.22, Lieutenant-General M.K. Kudryavtsev (who under Stalin was the director of the topographic services of the Red Army), will report that during the first days of the war, Soviet troops in the Baltic, Western, and Kiev Military Districts (apparently only there per Suvorov?) are ordered during retreat to destroy over two hundred railcars of their own topographical maps.

The smallest railcar in the Soviet Union in 1941 could carry twenty tons, so even if only smallest cars were used that would be four thousand tons of maps in the three districts. More specifically, Kudryavtsev said that on average each railcar carried 1,033,000 maps. That average works out to 206,600,000 maps!

Now, of course, the Soviets would not want the Nazis to get their hands on defensive maps of Soviet regions, very reasonably. But why would vastly more than TWO HUNDRED AND SIX MILLION defensive maps of Soviet regions be sitting around in railcars at the western borders? Moreover, why not save some of those maps, since some could reasonably be saved? -- why destroy twice as many as the Nazis themselves overran?

Perhaps relatedly, millions of Russian-German and Russian-Romanian phrase books were burned along with those maps, so that only a few now exist in Soviet archives for Suvorov to find later.

But, wait, recall back to what Yakov said! He was not left without any maps at all! -- his maps just let him down. So he and his fellows had been given great maps after all, and also no maps at all? Yes, he has very good topographical maps -- for Nazi territory (some copies of which were also recovered by Suvorov), and he has only been trained to shell those areas, west of the border.

A letter from one of his friends, a certain junior lieutenant in the reserves named Victor, dated June 11th (Suvorov claims the 21st elsewhere, either a typo one way or another, or perhaps he is reporting the send date and also the receipt date), is found in Yakov’s pocket: “I am at the training camps. I would like to be home by fall, but the planned stroll to Berlin might hinder this.”

Nazi intelligence officers show the letter to Yakov and ask him to clarify what kind of stroll to Berlin his friend was planning; the interrogation record says Yakov quietly mutters, “Damn” after reading it.

Hitler will mention this letter himself in his May 18th, 1942 table talk (p.303 of Piker’s edition).

Incidentally, Yakov happens to be the son of Josef Stalin.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 06, 2020, 05:43:15 AM
August, 1941: the outstanding leader Petrovsky, who has been a militant supporter of the Communist revolution since joining the assault on the Winter Palace at age 15, had eventually been given charge of the 1st Moscow Proletarian Rifle Division at age 20; and at age 35 had risen to Deputy Commander of the Moscow Military District. However, he was caught up in the Great Purge, and sent to prison.

Released in November 1940, he was ordered to put together the 63rd Rifle Corps, which activated in June, featuring many 'blackshirt' units, in the 21st Army, part of the Second Strategic Echelon. BrigCom Fokanov and BrigCom Rakovsky, political prisoners with the old command ranks, were assigned to command two of three divisions in his Corps. Colonel Prishchepa was also released from prison, despite not having "Commander" rank, and given the remaining divisional command.

Petrovsky's talent, even as a political prisoner, is well-recognized by Stalin, by his peers, by his troops, and by his Nazi enemies, even in the disastrous early weeks of Barbarossa. After fierce fighting, 63rd Rifle Corps is surrounded in August, and rather than lose this commander, Stalin and his high command commute his sentence, converting him up to modern Soviet 'general' ranking, and promoting him to Lieutenant-General in command of the whole 21st Army.

Stalin orders him to abandon the largely penal 63rd Corps to destruction; but Petrovsky refuses, requesting a delay, and using the plane sent for him to evacuate some wounded instead.

Petrovsky extracts his 'black corps' from blitzkrieg encirclement, and heroically leads them in an attack upon the rear of a Nazi force to rescue fellow 'black division' 154th Rifle (led by Brigade Commander Fokanov). Taking them under command, he breaks the Corps and the Division out together -- but is mortally wounded and must be left behind on the field of his victory.

German soldiers discover and recognize his body; and Nazi headquarters orders him to be buried with full military honors, with a huge cross over his grave reading in German: "Lieutenant-General Petrovsky, Commander, 'Black Corps'."

More detail about the 63rd Corps can be found in JMH 1966, #6; in the Soviet Military Encyclopedia Vol.6, p.314; and in General Plaskov's memoir "With Cannons Thundering", p.163.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 06, 2020, 10:42:59 AM
August, 1941: virtually all of the thousands of BT tanks are progressively abandoned by the Soviets in the face of Hitler's surprise deep-penetration attack. Hitler's forces are nailing vast numbers of these tanks as they sit clustered up in tank parks near their fuel and ammo, ready to load up and roll out, or overrunning them strung out apart from their crews and/or supplies on rail lines. But Hitler is also using equipment better suited than the BTs to fighting armored and even unarmored foes, on Russia's rough 'goatpaths' and terrain. There are no reports of the BT units fighting or operating untracked even once in Russia -- despite being designed that way and taught by Soviet military doctrine and textbooks, which did not expect the BTs to be fighting much with their tracks on. On the contrary, Soviet textbooks stressed that the most important component of the wonderful BT series was the wheels, and the speed achieved by its autobahn-quality wheels.

All 4200ish of the floating Soviet tanks are also scuttled, being useless in defense against a Nazi attack. Four thousand amphibious PzI and II equivalents are no longer needed: they are blown up, burned, broken, sunk, or just abandoned -- after commanders order the fuel and ammunition salvaged, where possible. The best, and the only, amphibious tanks in the world on June 21st, 1941, became unnecessary on June 22nd. Stalin could not sail them wherever he had been planning.

Even the Soviet tanks which might have been (and in some cases are being) better at fighting on defense in Russian terrain, have been left without fuel, ammunition, or spare parts -- because on the orders of the People's Commissar for Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union Timoshenko, and the Chief of the General Staff, Army General Zhukov, tens of thousands of tons of spare parts for tanks, and hundreds of thousands of tons of ammunition and fuel for tanks, were brought out to the very borders of Soviet Russia, where in the first few hours of the war they all fell under fire or into the hands of the enemy. Consequently, the best Soviet tanks must also be progressively abandoned, along with most of the finest Soviet artillery, none of which are in defensive arrangement.

Once the mud and snow arrive, however, any surviving BT series tanks in the backfield will work better, paradoxically: like every Soviet tank, they'll have superior ground pressure distribution to anything the Nazis are fielding. They just have to be careful not to blast apart their transmissions with their overpowered engines meant for superhighway quality zooming.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 06, 2020, 10:47:36 AM
August 1941: Stalin calls Illyushin personally (unsourced by Suvorov, but in "Chief Culprit" he calls the time "several days" after Barbarossa starts) and orders him to put the rear gunner back into the IL-2 design going forward. Stalin now expects them to defend against enemy aircraft.

But once again, it is impossible to simply redesign and refit the complex IL-2, unlike the Su-2. Production would have to be stopped; and production during the Nazi invasion simply cannot dare to be stopped. So the IL-2 continues being produced as a single-seater for a while.

In order to get around the massive problems in recreating the machinery necessary to produce a two-seater armored fusilage, Stalin will eventually approve a compromise: the rear gunner's position (which still needs redesign and alteration to the line production to add back in), will retain the single-seat armored construction -- and so will be unarmored aside from some plywood. To keep from affecting fuel and bomb capacity too much, his position will be as open-air as possible, which will at least allow him to bail out through the bottom of the tail area easily (if high enough to parachute)!

Usually however the tail gunner will only get off some bursts before being slain, and the craft will be back to one crewman again for the rest of its voyage.

In the years 1941 and 1942, the average lifespan of an active IL-2 will be only ten or thirteen flights before destruction. Only by the end of 1942 will the slapdash rear gunner solution be implemented within the crushing demand for replacements for this wunder-waffen.

Had a proper rear gunner been provided from the beginning, that average lifespan would have been tens or dozens of flights. The thousands of IL-2 produced during this time would have continued surviving longer for more operational sorties; and might have turned the tide of the war earlier all by themselves! As it was, the half-assed reintroduction of the rear-gunner only improved craft survivability against enemy fighters by a little bit. The best trained IL-2 pilots before the war, died quickly after the start of the war. Typical pilot replacement training will be 90 minutes of flight time (such as with one of Suvorov's military academy instructors, Hero of the Soviet Union and eventual Air Force Major-General Alexander Kuchumov.)
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 06, 2020, 12:23:14 PM
For Russia In Her Agony

November 1941: back in February 1939, there was not even hestitation about the new Ammunition Narkomat putting its new ammunition factories up near the border. In January 1941, there was not even hesitation about creating new support factories near the border for producing the components to assemble into ammunition. So, how did that work out for the Soviet Union?

As N.A. Voznessensky reports (in "War Economics of the USSR during the Period of the Great Patriotic War", 1947, p.42), "From August [not even counting late June through July?] to November 1941, the German troops took 303 Soviet gunpowder, shell, and missile factories, which had a production capability of supplying 101 million artillery shells, 32 million mines, 24 million air bombs, [and] 3600 tons of TNT. This constituted 85 percent of all output from the Ammunition Narkomat." Not all these factories had been made since 1939, but Stalin's government didn't only start building those factories near the border since then either. This had been a running habit.

In addition to this, the mobilization reserves of the most valuable raw materials had been concentrated in those factories, including lead, tin, and forged steel. Most of this raw material could not be easily destroyed; it all goes to the National Socialists now, with all captured means of production, to be used against their international socialist enemies.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 06, 2020, 12:30:15 PM
November 1941: Stalin cancels production of the practically unarmored Su-2 and related successors. The IL-2, being very armored, can become a useful close-support weapon in a sky filled with enemies (even without a rear gunner yet); but the Su-2 and its direct successors cannot.

Fortunately, Stalin hadn't frightened his neighbors and the world by ordering production to start on a hundred and fifty thousand Su-x light bombers yet! That might have been a fatal diplomatic disaster under the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, now that Stalin is in a defensive war, he needs fighter aircraft produced in quantities large by even Soviet standards. Aviation designer S.A. Lavochkin urgently needs a powerful, reliable engine to modernize his LaGG-3 fighter. No problem! -- Soviet industry is already ready already to mass produce the M-82 engine at a moment's notice! Name your quantities, the Su-2 order won't need them! Lavochkin will install the newly upgraded engine design, and the renowned La-5 fighter, beloved by pilots, will be born.

Soviet industry is also prepared to mass produce the rapid-firing ShKAS machine guns for the Su-2; and bombs for the Su-2; and those 82mm and 132mm rockets. And Soviet industry does start mass producing them -- for other aircraft. Moreover, in the blink of an eye the Red Army will also have thousands of Stalin's Pipe Organs on the ground, in simple trucks but with a mass explosive terror weapon to launch in its operations.

Communist propaganda and historians will call the amazing Pipe Organs an entirely new weapon system developed from seemingly nowhere, barely produced before the war, an economic miracle: demonstrating the superiority of communism to capitalism! In fact, Stalin had been about to produce millions of those rockets anyway, just not for his iconic trucks -- a weapon system much less effective than the Su-2. Artillerists must first receive information about their targets, several kilometers away, unable to be seen usually, or specks at that distance, or a broad non-target area. Pilots would seek out specific targets in their assigned areas, hit up close, report back the results, and the next wave would adjust. The other fine aircraft to carry these rockets could be mass produced by any other standards, but not by the standards planned for the Su-2; the Katyushas will demonstrate in a vague yet epic and iconic fashion what terror Stalin's foes could have been facing instead from millions of rockets.

Still, even after losing all his aluminum supplies, all his aluminum factories, and most of his aircraft and motor factories, Stalin's Soviet Union will go on to produce 38,729 IL-2 and (its successor toward the end of the war) IL-10 aircraft, amazing wonders of the war, incomparably more complex than the Su-2 variants and direct successors; not even counting the other tens of thousands of other combat aircraft, all more complex than the abandoned "Ivanov". The IL-2 will be, and down to the publication of "Chief Culprit" will remain, the most mass-produced warplane of all time.

What about the mass-trained Ivanov pilots? Like their aircraft, they are of no use in a defensive war, so they are told to pick up rifles and help form the Third Strategic Echelon. Most famously, massive numbers of them will help fight for Stalingrad (per "Kraznaya Zvezda", Dec 15, 1992) -- where they will help literally outnumber the rifles available for Soviet defenders by two to one!
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 07, 2020, 06:11:10 AM
Third and Fourth Quarter of 1941: Stalin creates ten whole armies of sappers for building defenses against the German army. He waits until after Hitler has invaded Russia to do this.

During the war, P.K. Ponomarenko will be Chief of the Main Staff of the Partisan Movement (under Starinov). After the war (and long after Stalin's death, in the new Soviet anti-Stalinist regime), he will voice his anguish and frustration in a JMH article, Vol.1, 1962 (page uncited by Suvorov): "Stalin's incorrectly aimed statements that, if attacked, we would fight only on enemy territory led to the complete dismantling of all efforts to harness the experience from previous partisan wars and to develop corresponding mobilization directions. As a result, the initial phase of the war was marked by a particularly difficult effort to organize the partisan movement. The Party had to pay dearly for Stalin's mistakes."

Colonel Rodimtsev and his men of the 5th Airborne Assault Brigade, 3rd Airborne Corps, will be stripped of their parachutes and related airborne assault equipment, and be given more defensive armaments. As commander of the 42nd Guards Division (created from former Airborne troops), he and his men will bleed white while famously holding the final houses on the Volga River in Stalingrad.

Ten air assault corps, around one hundred thousand men, are sent to the trenches to stop the blitz; one hundred fifty thousand if we count the separate air assault brigades and reserve elements. This is like using a magnetic levitation speed train to haul bricks. But hm... where are the more-than-a-million parachute trained infantry mentioned by Pravda? These must be some of them, but...
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 07, 2020, 06:13:23 AM
Autumn 1941: Sorge sends a report to Stalin, backed with evidence, that Japan will not enter the war against the Soviet Union. His evidence shows instead they are planning to go to war in the Pacific against Britain and the United States.

He doesn't only get evidence for this; according to the "Hearings on American Aspects of the Richard Sorge Spy Case, House of Representatives Eighty-Second Congress, First Session, August 9, 22, and 23, Washington, 1951", Sorge actually contributed significantly toward convincing Japan to attack and conquer the Pacific. This is why Sorge can produce hard information proving Japan will soon be too busy to team up with their Axis partner Germany against the Soviet Union.

Thanks to this data, Stalin will release the ten divisions being trained in the Far East, to come westward later this year, to the rescue of the Battle of Moscow.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 07, 2020, 06:15:10 AM
Artillery Colonel-General Volkotrubyenko reports in JMH, 1980, #5, p.71, that in 1941 Western Front alone lost 4,216 artillery ordnance railcars.

That was only artillery shells, not other ammunition.

That was only one front; there were five administrative fronts at the border.

The ammunition had been sitting in railcars at the border, close enough that they could not be salvaged when Hitler invaded. At least those shells were not just sitting out on the ground near the border! -- but the Soviets also lost an unthinkable amount of artillery shells that had been laid out, since April 1941, on the ground near the border, upon the orders of the artillery chief directorate. There had been no more room in storage, so the chief had ordered the shells to be put where they ought first to be used.
Title: Re: IceBreakChron X: THE DAY OF TRUTH
Post by: JasonPratt on July 07, 2020, 02:44:33 PM
1941 and 1942: with Moscow under threat, the steel beams of the nascent Palace of the Soviets are dug out and used for fortifications including anti-tank barriers.

The Palace has been used for propaganda promotion for years, and will still be used for some time to come, but eventually the site will become a 129.5 swimming pool (after being an unsightly but well-guarded hole in the ground until 1958).

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior will be rebuilt between 1995 and 2000.

September 8, 1942, after two years of crushing defeats all up and down western Russia, including a totally failed attempt at a strategic counter-offensive in the Southern sector, you might think Stalin was ready to despair.

Winston Churchill, reporting back in a speech at the House of Commons today, after his famous diplomatic visit to Moscow, thinks otherwise.

From the Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons Official Report, “It is very fortunate for Russia in her agony to have this great rugged war chief at her head.” For context, you should keep in mind that Churchill despises Stalin as a thug, and correctly stands as his greatest immediate foe after Hitler. But the British Parliament needs some reassurance. “He is a man of massive outstanding personality, suited to the sombre and stormy times in which his life has been cast;” largely by Stalin's own plotting, of course, “a man of inexhaustible courage and will-power and a man direct and even blunt in speech, which, having been brought up in the House of Commons, I do not mind at all, especially when I have something to say of my own! Above all, he is a man with that saving sense of humor which is of high importance to all men and all nations, but particularly to great men and great nations. Stalin also left upon me the impression of a deep, cool wisdom and a complete absence of illusions of any kind.”

That doesn’t sound much like the man who supposedly fled in a panic unable to face his failures upon the Nazi invasion! -- but then, he wasn’t really fleeing the Nazis, or even his people, so much as withdrawing to see if his government would stage a coup to overthrow him, after a week of failing to turn the growing disaster around.

And despite continuing disasters, Stalin has been dealing out his ace cards recently this year, with more on the way, so his calm and confident attitude shouldn't be too surprising.

What aces are those?! -- I've mentioned them before in earlier entries...  ^-^

But let us turn now to regard the East Front from the perspective of the Nazis (under Suvorov's Icebreaker thesis), from Barbarossa through to the end of the Great Patriotic War.

In case you'd like an Icebreaker-related spoiler for how this match is going to end, however...

Winter 1943: once again a flotilla is created on the Dnepr; once again it motors up the Pripyat; and once again Soviet engineers are recreating the canal from Pripyat to the Bug, just as Stalin had demanded must be ready by the spring of 1941 -- and just as had been completed, on schedule, under Zhukov, who took understandable pride in this little Soviet Navy base more than five hundred kilometers from the nearest salt water.

Admiral Grigoyev takes command of the new flotilla in the Kiev area, and in an article of the JMH (1984, #7, p.68) recalls a conversation with Zhukov:

"'The Pripyat [said Zhukov] will let you cross over to the Western Bug, the Naryev and the Visla, on the way to Warsaw, and from there transit to the rivers of Germany... Who knows, maybe all the way to Berlin!'

"He wheeled around, fixed me with a searching gaze and repeated, stressing every word, 'All-the-way-to-Berlin! Eh?'"

The admiral and his little fleet will in fact go all the way to Berlin -- providing an iconic snapshot for Soviet naval history, of the Soviet Navy ensign against the backdrop of the Reichstag!

[Next up, the grand finale: AGAINST THE POWER THAT RISES IN THE EAST! (]