Author Topic: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR  (Read 3849 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #45 on: April 06, 2020, 02:09:49 PM »
1937: Soviet fighter and bomber airfleet training manuals continue to focus teaching one massive ground strike instead of dogfighting.


1937: The Third Five-Year Plan begins, scheduled to end in 1941. Compared to the prior two Plans, this one focuses on vastly increased quantity and quality of military equipment, even though since 1927 21,573 warplanes have already been produced. (per Shumikhin, "Soviet Military Aviation, 1917-1941", 1986, p.157)

Yes, you read that correctly. A little over TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED warplanes have been produced in the past ten years. Averaging, obviously, 2157.3 per year, with rate variations.

Remember once again, Alexander's most-nervous-men vs Tukhachevsky's tank-spam plan. This isn't anywhere near the rate he wanted for (very crappy) tanks in one year (that was 50,000, ideally 100,000); but as his senior officer politely observed, his ideas and numbers weren't wrong -- by the standards of Soviet military doctrinal plans -- just vaguely reasoned.

Now keep in mind also the logistic lesson from the rejection of Tukhachevsky's tank-spam plan: what do those 21,573 warplanes also imply in everything that goes along with them!?

Also keep in mind that Stalin has serious plans to start manufacturing substantially more than these in only one model: his self-titled "Ivanov"!


Speaking of Tukhachevsky...!
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #46 on: April 06, 2020, 02:14:08 PM »
The Blood of the Butcher
----------------------------

1937: The uniformed "Cheka"-GPU-NKVD had already deployed armored cars, 3-inch guns, and machine guns, in a war of ongoing conquest within Russia. The "Extraordinary Commission -- State Political Directorate -- People's Commission of Internal Affairs" had been created to bring military power against internal threats. These are death squads, equivalent to the Nazi SS, and they have been operating under different names although controlled by the same Chief Directorate, since 1917. The prior terror had peaked in 1930 with the climactic years of the first Five Year Plan (ending in 1932). Soviet historians did not recognize these earlier bloodbaths as terror operations, but as military operations. Now the NKVD starts broad sweeps of even communist party targets, no longer needing armored cars and 3-inch cannons, nor even many machine guns, because its targets could not offer much armed resistance. This became known, even at the time, as the Great Purge.

During this time, the NKVD focuses on fighting "saboteurs" by which they mean any accident in a production line, any breakage, any lack of success. Deeming these evil plots, the guilty failures (and many innocents connected to them) are imprisoned in the gulags, with some being designated as "malevolent saboteurs" and shot instead. Opposition is crushed, and discipline improves, with no more strikes or demands for higher wages. "Special settlers" are also uprooted and exiled to these remote regions to support the gulags, though not as prisoners themselves (yet). Each year, for many years previously, the government has planned in advance how many prisoners they needed for the next year, and has placed an advance order for a quota of arrests with the NKVD. Now millions of new prisoners are needed for the next few years -- and orders are placed to deliver.

The Great Purge is also notorious for targeting the high command of the Army, though moreso in 1938 -- since many of these commanders are of the sort proper for purging other people first! As Rapoport, Alexeyev, and Rodine will later write of such commanders, in their "Betrayal of the Motherland" (page uncited), "After the unheard-of violence conducted by the Bolsheviks against the very people whom they betrayed and sentenced to starvation and death, there was no way back. The only thing left was to run fast to their own grave, under the party flag and Stalin's leadership." More on the military side of the Great Purge later.

For now, we have a special focus of blood running fast to its own grave...
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #47 on: April 06, 2020, 02:16:46 PM »
January 24, 1937, at an open court trial, former member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Karl Radek, who has been accused of espionage, treason, and preparation of a coup, names Tukhachevsky as a collaborator.

According to the confession which Radek is tortured into agreeing with, Tukhachevsky had sent Corps Commander Putna to Berlin on business, where Putna had conducted talk with Trotskyites.

There is no accusation against the butcher of blood himself yet, but the high commanders who have been arrested so far since 1935, as a group, have been appointed by Trotsky in Lenin's day, and vocally oppose Stalin's perennial favorite Klement Voroshilov, currently the Minister of Defense; and most if not all are allied with Tukhachevsky -- who could save everyone time and hassle at this point by blowing out his own brains.


March 15, 1937, Jan Gamarnik, Chief of the Political Directorate of the Red Army, gives a speech at a meeting of the National Committee for Defense of the USSR: “The Red Army will consider its Bolshevik mission complete when it achieves control of the entire globe.” Well, it isn't like their formal diplomatic flag is ever being, or will ever be, subtle about this!
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2020, 02:21:22 PM »
May 22, 1937 (per the mil-wiki article), relieved of duty as assistant to Minister of Defense Marshal Voroshilov, former Marshal of the Soviet Union Tukhachevsky is appointed commander of the Volga Military District. Shortly after departing to take up his new command, he is secretly today arrested and brought back to Moscow in a prison van, where his interrogation and torture will be supervised by NKVD Chief Nikolai Yezhov who is commanded by Stalin to make him tell everything.

A few days later, the broken Tukhachevsky will confess to being recruited as a Trotskyist in 1928, and also that he is a German agent intending to seize power in cahoots with Bukharin.

His confession survives in Soviet archives spattered by a brown spray identified by forensics as his blood.


May 29, 1937, I.P. Uborevich, the Byelorussian Military District Commander, is arrested. He is a friend and follower of Tukhachevsky, and they will be executed together.

It should be noted that Walther Schellenberg, a Nazi foreign intelligence agent, relates in his memoir "The Labyrinth", 1991, page uncited, that Nazi intelligence succeeded in passing a forged document to Stalin in May 1937 presenting Tukhachevsky as the leader of Red Army generals plotting to overthrow the Soviet government. The story goes that the Nazis convinced Stalin to cripple his own Red Army this way; but in fact Stalin had been carefully starting to oust Tukhachevsky and his allies for two years already (and had floated the idea as far back as 1930).


June 11, 1937 (per the mil-wiki article on Tukhachevsky), the Soviet Supreme Court convenes a special military tribunal to charge and convict Tukhachevsky and eight of his general-rank allies for treason, dubbing this the Case of Trotskyist Anti-Soviet Military Organization. The judges (who are themselves largely terrified) explain to the accused that the trial is being conducted according to the law of December 1, 1934, meaning that any defense attorneys are banned from the courtroom and that appeals of the verdict will be forbidden.

At 11:35pm, all the defendants are declared guilty before lunch, and sentenced to death. Stalin does not even examine the transcripts, but simply says, "Agreed."

About an hour later, the butcher of blood is marched out of his cell and shot once in the back of his head while Yezhov watches. Stalin summons Yezhov to appear immediately after the execution, and asks, "What were Tukhachevsky's final words?"

"The snake said he was dedicated to the Motherland and Comrade Stalin. He asked for clemency. But it was obvious that he was not being straight: he hadn't laid down [put down?] his arms."
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #49 on: April 06, 2020, 02:26:00 PM »
August 27, 1937, the ANT-51 "Ivanov", ordered by Stalin personally (using his highest-ranking and deadliest nickname, in the summer of 1936), takes its first test flight. Its engine is too underpowered, and will be replaced, but otherwise the craft is judged to be up to Stalin's specifications for a "clean sky" craft capable of wiping out all enemy aircraft on the ground.

November 19, 1937, during a meeting with British Foreign Minister Lord Halifax: Hitler (unsourced by Suvorov), "In the event of global conflict, only one country can win: Soviet Russia."


1937: this year in tanks, the Soviet Union designs a BT-28 modification known as the Podvodny Khod (the BT-28 PKh). In English that means "underwater travel". Tests will show that if necessary, all BT-28 variants can be converted to cross water barriers while under water as far as one kilometer, to a depth of up to 4.5 meters, with a stream speed of up to one meter per second (stats from "Domestic Armored Vehicles 1905-1941", 2002, p.235). No German, British, American, French, or Japanese tank can still compete with the T-28 in terms of weapons, armor, or engine power. That will slightly change next year with the advent of the British Matilda.

By the end of 1937, the Germans have started producing the A variant of the Panzer IV, which will be the most powerful German tank in the first half of World War II. It is meant to be an anti-infantry tank, with the Panzer III being the Nazi anti-tank tank; but its quality will be good enough to be upgunned and uparmored into an anti-tank role as well.

It has 15mm armor (stats from "The Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two", 1978, p.89.) The BT-28 has 30mm.

The PzIV has a 250hp engine; the BT-28, 500hp.

The PzIV has two machine guns; the BT-28 has four of five (depending on the variant).

At least the PzIV gun is approximately equal to the BT-28! -- 75 and 76mm respectively. Both are short barreled, for maneuvering around and through crowded European cities and forests better (plus to save weight for performance and armor elsewhere); but the PzIV does have a slightly longer barrel for slightly better range and accuracy. This also helps the PzIVA to have a slightly better shell emergence speed (385 m/s to the BT-28's 381) which also helps accuracy at range a little more and kinetic power upon impact, although the difference is trivial: the muzzle energy of the shells is practically the same.

Soviet engineers (and their political leaders, up to Stalin), will be very annoyed that the Nazis have caught up to their tanks in one parameter!

But the practical difference is this: the Nazi gun (also when mounted on the PzIII with proper anti-tank shells) and the Soviet "KT-28" gun can both destroy any Nazi tank currently in production; whereas the Nazi guns have some trouble on Soviet tank armor. (And a lot more than 'some trouble' on Soviet heavy tank armor!)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #50 on: April 06, 2020, 04:51:41 PM »
1938: Soviet fighter and bomber airfleet training manuals continue to focus teaching one massive ground strike instead of dogfighting.


1938: the Spanish Civil War is still ongoing. NKVD officer Vauphsassov, veteran of the secret guerrilla warfare in Poland until 1926, and between then a commander for gulag teams digging canals, is assigned to lead fellow communists in the Spanish Politburo, directing counterintelligence and saboteur formations for the Republican side.

After Franco wins the war in March 1939, Vauphsassov shall train Soviet partisans for defensive action in Russia against (presumptively German) invasion, until September 1939.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #51 on: April 06, 2020, 04:53:51 PM »
1938: in preparation for "liberation crusades", Stalin creates another six airborne brigades (the 201st, 202nd, 204th, 211th, 212th, and 214th) numbering 18,000 paratroopers (apparently not including many more airmobile paratroop trained infantry, although Suvorov, or his English translation, isn't always clear about the distinction). Suvorov cite Deputy Commander of the Air Force Lieutenant-General K. Kurochkin, in JMH #8, 1980, p.94; and also JMH, #9, 197, p.81 (for the total).


1938: while division and corp organizations have remained since the Russian Civil War, armies per se were disbanded after the Civil War as being too large to keep in logistic organization during peacetime.

The exception has been the Special Red Flag Army, which was simply a colorful way of describing the loose organization of all Soviet forces beyond Lake Baikal into the Far East including naval forces (and including nominally non-military areas like the 'kolkhoze' farming concentration camp groups and penal concentration camps.)

During 1938, the Soviets will create their first numbered armies, 1st and 2nd, in the Far East, to deal with deterioration of Japanese relations following Japan's invasion of China and Manchuria.

No such armies have been organized in the European sectors yet, despite the rise of Hitler and the direct clash of Soviet Communists with fascists in Spain.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #52 on: April 06, 2020, 04:56:42 PM »
April 1938: a prototype of the infantry tank Mark II (A12), the Matilda II, is built in Britain. In armor thickness, this tank exceeds all other tanks around the world. Its frontal armor is 78mm, its turret front armor is 75mm, even its side armor is 75mm! Its aft armor is 'only' 55mm.

By comparison, the standard Soviet BT-28 has 30,20,20,20mm respectively, while the BT-28E model has 50,80,40,40mm -- better only on the front turret.

However, the Matilda's weaponry is only a 40mm gun, and one or two machine guns. Why so undergunned? Because the Matilda II only has less than 200 horsepower in its engines, 95hp across two engines, to carry all that armor. Consequently, the Matilda II, the pride of the British tank industry, can only carry an undersized weapon with its armor -- and only on level ground, or while going down hills!

Each armored column of Matilda IIs must be escorted by a group of heavy trucks, in order to tow the tank uphill! The tank is also slow (even going downhill, since going faster will tear it apart), and has a short range. Open terrain performance and reliability is rated as unsatisfactory. Only its armor meets modern battlefield needs.

When Britain declares war on Nazi Germany at the end of next summer, only two of these tanks will have been produced. Suvorov highly recommends reading more about this in Fletcher's "The Great Tank Scandal", 1990.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #53 on: April 06, 2020, 05:07:25 PM »
June 29, 1938: a journalist working in Tokyo, Richard Ramsay, is slated for death by Stalin.

Why? Nothing personal; Stalin might not even specify him yet. But Ramsay is actually Richard Sorge, an agent for the Soviet Military Intelligence service, which goes by many names in Soviet history but eventually ends up as the GRU since 1942. (For convenience, Suvorov always calls it the GRU in "Icebreaker".)

Is he disloyal or incompetent? No, he's so loyal and competent, under increasingly adverse conditions, he'll later be named a Hero of the Soviet Union! -- after being labeled a malicious deserter. Why? Because he refuses to come home and be shot in the head.

But why has he been slated for 'liquidation'? Because ever since Stalin came into power, he has been vigorously weeding out the pre-GRU on a regular basis, much more thoroughly and permanently than the other military officers of the recently instituted Great Purge. Each pre-GRU chief from Aralov on down has been arrested in turn on Stalin's orders; only Aralov survived (through several years of 'investigative detention with application of physical force', to fight as a common soldier when Lubyanka prisoners were released in desperation for the battle of Moscow).

Everyone else has been liquidated: Gusyev (aka Drabkin), Pyatakov, Aussyem, Lentsman, Zybot, and then Jan Berzin who served as the main advisor to the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. (From now through 1940 Stalin will liquidate the succeeding successors, too: Uritsky, Nikonov, Yezhov, Gyendin, Orlov, and Proskurov.)

'Liquidating' the chief of military intelligence also means executing his top deputies, the deputies of the top deputies, the advisers, the directorate, and the section heads. Operations officers of those section heads might or might not fall under the axe, but they shall be eyed suspiciously by the new gang; the same is naturally true of all agents being run by the operations officers of those executed section heads.

Sorge is being caught up in the destruction of Berzin's people, but he's sort-of safe in Japan as long as he keeps his head down and refuses to come home for "vacation". Refusing orders, couched as suggestions and invitations, to come home on "leave", to be shot in the head as an agent of the prior administration, gets him labeled as a defector and then as a malicious defector.

Suvorov, himself a former analyst and officer for the GRU, insists that before, during, and after World War Two, down to the time of Suvorov's authorship, the GRU (and its predecessor military intelligence organizations) was and is the most powerful and effective intelligence-gathering organization in the world, standing head and shoulders above its chief rival, and adversary, the Soviet secret police: the KGB, previously known as "Cheka" (thus "Chekists"). Suvorov's pride for his former organization still shines through his work as a defector, along with his competitive disdain for the "Chekists". New, more aggressive generations would replace their predecessors, like a shark getting new teeth. For whatever reason, Stalin stops these regular large-scale fatal purges of the GRU in 1941; but back in 1938 the regular pre-GRU purges every nine months or so on the average, are still going strong.

One result of this regular turnover was that, in critical situations, like for example a disastrous Nazi invasion, no one ever tried to stage a coup by shoving a bomb under Stalin's table; whereas Hitler was constantly fending off coup attempts, including narrowly escaping death from one such detonating bomb.

Sorge remains faithful to the Soviet Union, even though he must spend his own money keeping up his underground bunker and running his agents; even though he has important papers that headquarters won't send couriers for; even though the only message he receives for his constant reports is, "Come on home, have a rest, take some leave." To which he will constantly reply, um, not yet, work too interesting and important, thanks!

Berzin, the pre-GRU chief of this time (more specifically the Chief of the 4th Directorate of the Red Army), is savagely tortured and executed, triggering liquidation orders down the line to Sorge. Berzin's successor, Uritsky, will soon follow; does this help? No, he had been personally giving orders to Sorge, who won't come home to be shot.

Sorge's direct handler, Lev Borovich, deputy head of 2nd section in the intelligence directorate: liquidated.

Sorge was operating as a German national in Japan, and an undercover resident named Goryev used to arrange transiting Sorge out of Germany: not liquidated, but imprisoned (per "Komsomolskaya Pravda", Oct 8, 1968).

One of Sorge's secret collaborators was Aino Kuusinen, wife a deputy head of the pre-GRU, who will himself survive this purge to join the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. (Yes, this is the same Kuusinen who tried to stage a Soviet coup in Finland, and was shut down by Mannerheim!) She isn't liquidated but is imprisoned. Sorge's actual wife Yekaterina Maksimova: arrested, confessed to contact with enemies, dies in a labor camp 1943. GRU undercover resident in Shanghai and former deputy to Sorge, Karl Rimm: accepts the call back to Moscow on "leave", liquidated.

Despite all this, Agent 00-X keeps on being a Soviet agent, just not officially anymore. His mission remains the same, as reported later in the magazine "Ogonyok", 1965, #14, and described by Uritsky: avert the possibility of war between Japan and the USSR. He works with the German Embassy as a journalist, so he picks up information that way, but spying on the Nazis wasn't his main function: thus not to warn about a German invasion of Russia, but to steer Japan away from invading Russia.

Even so, Sorge will warn Stalin about the Nazi invasion eventually. So we'll be keeping an eye on him as we go along.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #54 on: April 06, 2020, 05:11:48 PM »
September 19, 1938: the NKVD has continued the Great Purge this year, now focused more on particular than group targets, but draws its efforts to a close by this time. More than two million men (not counting women and children) have been set under military guard, and military regimen, in the gulags.

This is a slave workforce: inmates do not have to be paid at all; they can be sent anywhere to live and do not need housing -- they can be given a torn tent, or be forced to build their own barracks, or dig their own holes in the ground (though the holes like the barracks belong to 'the people' not to the inmates). Work can be any number of hours per day, no holidays. Unfulfilled production quotas can result in execution.

While those numbers are important, especially for the families tragically suffering from the mass arrests and imprisonments, the Great Purge is more famous for Stalin having gone after his military commanders for the first time directly -- and for the consequences of this purge on the readiness of the Soviet military in the summer of 1941.

It's time to talk about the military results of the Great Purge in quite a bit of detail! -- but we'll be circling back around much later to those two million new prisoners in the gulags, requested by Stalin and gathered by the KGB, around half of whom are being trained now with military discipline...
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #55 on: April 06, 2020, 05:21:11 PM »
The total number of dismissed army commanders, by the and of 1938, will be 36,761; and about another 3000 men in the navy. How did this affect the Soviet Union's ability to fight against the Nazi invasion?

The traditional understanding, is that Stalin had the best forty-thousand military officers all shot to ensure that competent generals would not be able to rise up against him, and consequently few if any competent commanders remained, especially among the generals, to face the Nazi invasion. The details, however, are far more complex.

Up against the wall first, back in 1937, were old guard terrorists of the Russian people such as Antonov-Ovseenko, his deputy Uborevich, Blukher, and the butcher of blood himself Mikhail Tukhochevsky. Suvorov thinks that professional soldiers and reservists would not have willingly followed such leaders into battle, and might even rebel against them to exact revenge for atrocities committed since 1917! Moreover, as Suvorov puts it, "it is well known that an army that has sullied its uniforms with the blood of its own people is incapable of fighting against outside enemies. The primary reason for the decay of any army is its use against its own people." Hitler for example also enacts reigns of terror against his populations using very well-armed Gestapo and SS troops, but these have been carefully distinguished from the German armed forces, even when fighting alongside them. Similarly, the "blocking forces" of the Red Army, are always the (hated!) NKVD, not fellow Red Army units shooting you in the back!

Tukhachevky's whole family, typically, got arrested and shot, too, including his wife and his two brothers (both of them instructors at a Soviet military academy). He had a pre-teen daughter who was 'only' sent to a gulag for life once she reached adult age (along with three of his sisters); she will be freed during Khrushchev's political war against Stalin's memory and crimes, and live in Moscow until she dies in 1982. (This paragraph summarizes portions of the mili-wik article.)

Until Khrushchev's "Secret Speech", Soviet diplomats and apologists will promulgate the official Soviet judgment (preemptory and question-begging through torture as it was) that Tukhachevsky was a Nazi spy; but Khrushchev's regime will declare him and all his co-dependents innocent of all charges.

In 1989, the Politburo will conclude that new evidence found in Stalin's archives indicated he knew German intelligence intended to fabricate disinformation about Tukhachevsky so that Stalin would eliminate him. After the Soviet Union dissolves, further documentation unearthed in the 90s will demonstrate that Yezhov, on Stalin's orders, had used the known double agent Nikolai Skoblin to leak concocted information to Nazi intelligence suggesting a plot by Tukhachevsky and other Soviet generals against Stalin. Reinhard Heydrich believed this, improved upon it, and leaked it back to the Soviets, whereupon Stalin and his gang could produce evidence from the Nazis themselves against Tukhachevsky and his allies! (These were only used as pretexts for the arrests, however; Soviet prosecutors relied on signed confessions beaten out of the defendants including Tukhachevsky himself.)

The generals presiding over Tukhachevsky's trial (such as it was), realized that any of them might be next, so acted with verve in his condemnation to prove their loyalty to the Stalin regime. This did not save five of them.

The rehabilitation of Tukhachevsky's reputation, under Khrushchev's regime, as a strategic genius, seems to be part of Khrushchev's own attempt at undermining loyalty to the deceased Stalin, by taking Stalin's own propagated excuse of the Red Army being unprepared for war, and thus for defense, in 1941, and expanding it to explain this supposed lack of preparation by Stalin's prior executions of Tukhachevsky and his fellow supporters. The idea that Tukhachevsky could have saved all Russia from panzer charges when he could not save one army from horse cavalry charges in Poland, seems unlikely (to say the least); but the idea that Stalin crippled his own military leadership by these purges -- and fatally so! -- will continue on down to the early 21st century.

It must be said on the other hand, that Suvorov himself tends to denigrate Tukhachevsky's strategic competency and yet also testifies, when it better suits his purpose, about how Tukhachevsky's theories formed the basis for the Soviet preparations for a European offensive in 1941 -- which Suvorov expects would have been successful in conquering all of Europe (and tomorrow the world, so to speak)!

Tukhachevsky's "deep operation" theories, refined by Triandafillov, did not reign by any means unchallenged among Stalin's advisors, so their survival and prevalence must be explained by other than mere political convenience; and on Suvorov's own argument, they were superior for Stalin's goals.

Suvorov himself presents a complex legacy for the butcher of blood, and a complex legacy for the blood of the butcher.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #56 on: April 06, 2020, 05:23:33 PM »
The stereotypical idea is that Stalin shot forty thousand of his commanders from 1937 to 1938, and this is why in 1941 most Soviet commanders had not been at their post for more than one year; consequently their inexperience and mere political appointment combine together to explain the epic defeats throughout 1941.

Simply on the math that would not work out: if Stalin has slain every single officer across the Soviet military, from 2nd Lieutenants of platoons upward in 1938, by 1941 their replacements would have had about three years of command experience. Had every single officer been machine-gunned in basements in 1937, the replacements would have had four years experience! Even allowing for normal turnover later, and a hundred or so being shot in 1939, 1940, and the first half of 1941, most would not have had only one year or less of command experience.

And Stalin did not execute all his officers in either or both years -- not even close, as we shall see! So something else is going on.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #57 on: April 06, 2020, 05:27:02 PM »
One simple and accurate answer is that from 1937 to 1941, the Red Army will grow from 1.1 million to 5.5 million, with appropriate command positions to be filled quickly. (Yes, read that number again! We'll be getting back to explaining that number as we go...)

Any such recently promoted officers will not have time to grow into their new jobs, and so the majority will have been in their new positions for a year or less. But they will not have started from nothing either! -- they will not be like Tukhachevsky, promoted (at least per Suvorov's implication) from company commander to army commander overnight. They will be promoted from Major-General to Colonel-Gemeral, or to the intervening rank of Lieutenant-General; one or two ranks in shift, based (where possible) on experience and competency at their prior ranks.

Another related simple and accurate answer, is that while 40,000 sounds like an overwhelming (and indeed impossible) number of commanders to any other nation, in the Soviet Union the number is only significantly large. According to the top-secret speech given at the February-March plenary session of the Central Committee by Politburo member and People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, Klement E. Voroshilov (a strong proponent of the officer purge which had already started throughout 1936, going back to 1935), the officer corps of the Red Army in February 1937 is known to have numbered 206,000 (per JMH #1, 1993, pp.60-63).

Even if all forty thousand Great Purged officers had been machine-gunned in basements, this would be less than 20 percent of all Soviet officers slain. The remainder (such as Zhukov and Vorishilov himself, to remember the most obvious immediate examples) would still be alive, and perhaps better motivated to get things done! True, there would be a normal turnover from various natural causes and criminal removal, from 1939 onward, but there would be normal promotions and replacements, too.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2020, 05:36:51 PM »
But in fact, not all forty thousand purged officers were slain; not even close!

The number itself comes from a document prepared on this day (September 19, 1938) by the chief of the 6th (Manpower) Department of the command staff of the Red Army, Colonel Shiryaev, presented to the Deputy People's Commissar of Defense E.A. Shchyadenko, specifying the number of commanders dismissed from the ranks of the Red Army during the period starting in 1937 through September 1938 (the dismissals having peaked on July 29, 1938, after which the intensity dropped off drastically). The document is kept in the Russian State Military Archive, fund 37837, index 10, case 142, sheet 93. From this primary source we find in 20,643 officers dismissed in 1937, and 16,118 in 1938, for the total of 36,761 (plus around 3000 naval officers).

Now, in Soviet Russia, that term translated "dismissed" might sound like a polite way of saying "executed"! -- if the person was dismissed, he was fired; if he was fired he was arrested; if he was arrested he was executed.

But those arrested were not always executed. And those fired were not always arrested. And those dismissed were not always even fired!

We know for a fact that the term covers all kinds of dismissal in this report, because the report goes on to distinguish: in 1937, only 5811 were arrested; in 1938, only 5057 were arrested.

Out of the 36,761 dismissed in the Red Army during this time, only 10,868 officers were arrested: almost exactly 30 percent of the officers dismissed!

What happened to the other 70 percent of officers dismissed during this time? There is no secret: in every army there is a continuous process of change, replacing the old with the new. The main reason for dismissal is the completion of service as old officers retire and new officers enter and promote up behind them. Certainly not seventy percent in two years, of course, but as the actual vindictive purge examples show (given prior), many officers in these years dated back to 1917 or thereabouts! It was time for them to retire, and for political reasons they had been able to stay around as heroes and beneficiaries of the Red October.

G. Gerasimov will later study the hard data on the officers purged, and will report in his landmark study ("The Effective Impact of the 1937-1938 Purges on the Commanding Personnel of the RKKA [i.e. in English the WPRA, the Workerss and Peasants' Red Army]," for the "Russian Historical Journal", #1, 1999), that many of the commanders dismissed in the Great Purge were not only honored as heroes of the Civil War but were quickly promoted to the political leadership, leaving behind active military service while retaining their high ranks.

Still not seventy percent, of course, but a much higher percentage of older officers to be moved along at this time, than would be expected in a modern functioning army.

Then comes state of health as a next reason, in many cases from the same old age of the lingering officer corps. Then there are illnesses that anyone might contract such as cancer, tragically but needful for dismissal. Then there are accidental injuries sustained on the job; and accidents sustained off the job. Aside from debilitating injuries and accidents, must also be included fatal ones, which for the purpose of this report would be included under dismissals.

After that very large secondary category, can be found normal punitive dismissal: drunkenness, moral degradation (i.e. sexual affairs), breach of discipline, disobedience to authority. Might there be drunks among the officers of Soviet Russia in 1937 and 38? -- the stereotypical answer is funny because it's true! But they are not usually executed or even arrested.

Still not seventy percent of the dismissals you may think? True, there can also be dismissals for political purposes without arrests much less executions. In fact, there will be direct evidence of such dismissals in 1940! -- to be discussed in its time.

Even among the nearly eleven thousand arrests, no doubt most of them for political purposes, there will still be some for normal crimes ranging from theft to rape to murder.

Nearly eleven thousand officers arrested still sounds like a lot -- by the standard of any other nation! But in Soviet Russia that amounts to just under 5.3% of all Soviet officers.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron III: PREPARING THE WAR
« Reply #59 on: April 06, 2020, 05:40:28 PM »
Still, shooting 5.3% of one's officers might be considered wasteful perhaps? But wait, they weren't all shot!

Out of the 10,868 officers arrested, only 1654 of them died in prison before trial or were executed afterward.

Sixteen hundred officers of your military dying by nine-millimeter brain hemorrhage, or by wounds received on arrest, sounds like a crippling travesty in any other nation. But in Soviet Russia, we are now talking about 00.8 percent. Not eighteen percent, not eight percent, but point-eight percent. (Per for example O.F. Suveniroc's "The Tragedy of the RKKA", 1998, page uncited.)

To give an example of the difference, the famous Soviet 5th Cavalry Corps Commander Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovsky was dismissed from the ranks of the Red Army. In his case he didn't retire, and he wasn't dismissed on a minor charge: he was arrested. But he was imprisoned, not executed. Soon he will be let out, given high command and authoritative responsibility (before Hitler invades, not after), will fight throughout the entire war, and will finish out the war as the top Marshal of the Soviet Union! -- personally commanding the Red Square victory parade of the Great Patriotic War! He is not an exception to the 9214 officers who survived being arrested, either, except for how high he rose in rank afterward. More about this, in the chronology entry for May 5th, 1940.

Khrushchev's regime (and afterward), will not fully publish this document, nor explain the context of their figures. They will purposefully publish only fragments of information in order to hide and change the meaning. Thousands of historians and agitators will write into their works the information about 40,000 executed troop commanders; hundreds of millions of people will know about this statistic; and then the document, after the fall of the Soviet Union, will be fully published.

But who will pay attention to a small article in a journal for specialists?
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.