jonniebgood1 Moderator
#1

This relatively new series has been shown on the military history channel recently. http://www.militaryhistory.co.uk/shows/soviet-storm--world-war-ii-in-the-east/episode-guide.html#bottomOfHeader

Has anybody seen any of this series? If so what did ya think of it?

I have seen several episodes of it so far. I found it fairly good on detail and it uses a mix of first hand evidence (video, photo & first hand accounts) together with some computer generated scenes which I never like and did'nt on this case. There is though also some excellent 3d generated scenes that start from real photos and pan for a few seconds. It is a Russian series so gives a different perspective to the usual German/ American/ British perspective (i.e. western perspective).

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Ping Chow Chi Registered User
#2

It was good to get another perspective, but I found some things like the glossing over of blocking units a bit weak. I think it was refered to 'only a few of the crapest soldiers, who hardly ever had to shot at their fellow soldiers'

DaveyCakes Registered User
#3

New series starting next Monday 9:00 pm. According to the Sky programme guide, the first episode is about Kiev 1941.

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TerrorFirmer Registered User
#4

Haven't watched it yet, still finding time to wrap up their excellent Vietnam in HD series. It looks good however. As regards Kiev 1941...an unprecedented defeat for the SU at the time. Have to say I'm really looking forward to this series when I find time to watch it. Didn't realise several episodes had already aired.

jam_mac_jam Registered User
#5

Just watched the first one there. Really liked it. Loads of maps, reminds me of much older documentaries. I really like that style, where they are talking about an encirclement you are shown on a map so you can visualise much better where everybody is. I will be watching more of those. I know there is a lot of computer generated in it but it looks more like models rather than a cartoon.

DaveyCakes Registered User
#6

There looks to be some interesting stuff in the second series...Sevastopol, the Caucasus. The first half of the first series was shown on Sunday, the second half will be on this Sunday

BlaasForRafa Registered User
#7

jam_mac_jam said:
Just watched the first one there. Really liked it. Loads of maps, reminds me of much older documentaries. I really like that style, where they are talking about an encirclement you are shown on a map so you can visualise much better where everybody is. I will be watching more of those. I know there is a lot of computer generated in it but it looks more like models rather than a cartoon.


I watched some of the first season ones and the graphics are pretty well done although some of the CG seems unnecessary. Some of the archival footage could have been chosen more wisely also, in one episode they had film of german troops with Stg44 assault rifles in 1941.

Also going by some of the narration I'm amazed the germans weren't beaten in 3 months so heroic are the soviet troops and so incompetent are the germans.

jam_mac_jam Registered User
#8

BlaasForRafa said:
I watched some of the first season ones and the graphics are pretty well done although some of the CG seems unnecessary. Some of the archival footage could have been chosen more wisely also, in one episode they had film of german troops with Stg44 assault rifles in 1941.

Also going by some of the narration I'm amazed the germans weren't beaten in 3 months so heroic are the soviet troops and so incompetent are the germans.


Yes, it is a little biased in some places, but you have to expect that a little with a Russian doc. In the same way if you were watching a British one you would need to make allowances. I think they also brought up mistakes made by the USSR but yeah it is one sided in part.

#9

BlaasForRafa said:
Also going by some of the narration I'm amazed the germans weren't beaten in 3 months so heroic are the soviet troops and so incompetent are the germans.
To be honest, so prevalent is the myth of the German super-soldier facing off against the barbaric Russian hordes that I'm not going to complain if someone goes a bit overboard in addressing the balance

TerrorFirmer Registered User
#10

Reekwind said:
To be honest, so prevalent is the myth of the German super-soldier facing off against the barbaric Russian hordes that I'm not going to complain if someone goes a bit overboard in addressing the balance


That's not a myth for the most part in fairness. In terms of general qualities, in 1941, the Wehrmacht was light years ahead of the RA. Only massive reserves and huge industrial capability saved the Soviet Union...true, even in 1941, individual equipment was on par and occasionally exceeding German arms, but overall, in terms of 'combined arms', and leadership it is absolutely no myth whatsoever that the Germany army in 1941 was vastly superior to its Soviet counterpart.

I've actually seen Soviet Storm before and not realised; I saw it a good while back, only subtitled. It was good, but decidedly extremely biased. I agree with what someone else stated - it features a lot of CGI, some excellent, some entirely unnecessary, and it also is rather inaccurate in spots.

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#11

It's a myth. The average Soviet soldier fought bravely and tenaciously throughout 1941. He may have been let down by the incompetence/inexperience of his commanders, and there was certainly a gap in training between his German counterpart, but there was no marked difference. The invaders did not suffer almost a million casualties due to catching colds in a pleasant Russian autumn

What did cause the collapse of the Red Army was the idiotic and indefensible (literally) deployment along the border, coupled with Stalin's insistence that formations did not progress to combat readiness. The Red Army was essentially served up on a platter; its organisational flaws and inexperienced commanders fade to irrelevance in this scenario. No army would have fared better in their place

Where the local commanders were able to circumvent Stalin's orders and actually prepare for the coming war, they fared much better than elsewhere. Particularly so in the Ukraine where, despite the collapse of the command structure and the devastating air superiority of the Luftwaffe, Soviet forces put up fierce resistance, and inflicted heavy losses, before being pushed back. The problem, as with the entire front, is that anything more than local resistance was rendered impossible not by fancy German Blitzkrieg, although the Wehrmacht was well placed to capitalise, but by an insane border deployment and near-complete strategic and tactical surprise achieved by the invaders

Not that you'd know any of this from traditional, German influenced, histories. The dominant narrative, as written by ex-Nazi commanders themselves, has the brilliant and dashing Nazi German commanders waltzing into Russia, scattering the barbaric Red Army before being defeated by the cold, Hitler and increasing hordes of faceless Slavs. It is however a thoroughly outdated view designed to avoid admitting that ultimately they lost to the supposedly inferior Red Army. It's a myth

TerrorFirmer Registered User
#12

Reekwind, that's quite a bizarre response. You claim it a myth, then go on to state:

He may have been let down by the incompetence/inexperience of his commanders, and there was certainly a gap in training between his German counterpart, but there was no marked difference.


That is precisely why the Red Army was annihilated in 1941, and again in 1942 - poor leadership. The quality of the individual RA soldier in terms of bravery has never been doubted, by either myself, anyone else here, or by historians alike. You're defending what doesn't need to be defended nor has ever been disputed. I don't quite understand your point at all.

I've certainly never read any book that questioned the integrity or bravery of the Red Army on a base level, and if you have, do please share!

But on that base level, it's undeniable history that the Germany army did steamroll over the Red Army in 1941, almost destroyed it, and did so by being a far superior army in terms of tactical ability - that's more or less a fact, not an opinion...not sure where you're getting this 'myth' angle from.

Not that you'd know any of this from traditional, German influenced, histories. The dominant narrative, as written by ex-Nazi commanders themselves, has the brilliant and dashing Nazi German commanders waltzing into Russia, scattering the barbaric Red Army before being defeated by the cold, Hitler and increasing hordes of faceless Slavs. It is however a thoroughly outdated view designed to avoid admitting that ultimately they lost to the supposedly inferior Red Army. It's a myth


That is history, not opinion. Using adjectives like 'waltzing', 'barbaric', 'faceless', is simply bizarre. Not historian, has ever, ever referred to the Red Army in such a fashion. Unprepared, ill-equipped, poorly led, perhaps, but definitely not barbaric, or faceless. Faceless perhaps, to symbolize the massive reserves on which the Red Army could draw upon, but that would be about all the credit I could give the word.

German tactical ability was far better in 1941.

The German airforce was far better than its counterpart in 1941.

The average German soldier was better trained in 1941 than his Soviet counterpart.

German tanks were far better than their Soviet counterparts in terms of equipment and doctrine, despite some difficulties with regard head to head comparisons with the likes of the T34 and KV.

Those are not myths, they are fact.

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#13

TerrorFirmer said:
That is precisely why the Red Army was annihilated in 1941, and again in 1942 - poor leadership
I'm fairly sure that I then went on to note that this, while obvious, was not a significant factor in '41 and that the annihilation of the Red Army was primarily due to errors on the strategic level. Let me check...

"What did cause the collapse of the Red Army was the idiotic and indefensible (literally) deployment along the border, coupled with Stalin's insistence that formations did not progress to combat readiness. The Red Army was essentially served up on a platter; its organisational flaws and inexperienced commanders fade to irrelevance in this scenario. No army would have fared better in their place"

... yep, that's my argument. Or to spell it out further, it was blunders by Stalin/Stavka that saw the almost the entire Red Army wiped out, not some inherent superiority on the part of the Germans. The myth is not that there were differences in the capabilities of the two armies (that is obvious enough as to be banal) but that these were yawning enough as to explain over five million Soviet casualties in a matter of months

And this feeds into the much larger 'Blitzkrieg' myth: that German success in general during the war was a by product of "a far superior army in terms of tactical ability". This either glosses over or ignores the inconvenient truth that in the two greatest German campaigns of the war - France and Barbarossa - victory was virtually guaranteed by terrible, terrible strategic errors from their opponents. Now credit must go to the German generals for being able to capitalise on these mistakes but, again, that is a strategic discussion and not a matter of tactics

Faceless perhaps, to symbolize the massive reserves on which the Red Army could draw upon, but that would be about all the credit I could give the word.
A typical example. The "massive reserves" of the Red Army had largely been drained by '42. By '44 the Red Army was coping with a severe manpower shortage. Throughout the war the two armies were far more numerically balanced than most previous histories assumed. None of which is surprising when you consider the Soviet losses suffered in the first year of the war

However, more to the point, Western historians have typically bought into the idea of masses of 'faceless' Russians (the term itself is telling) because they were reliant on German sources. What the latter did not realise is that Soviets had no such massive numerical advantage - they were simply very good at covertly moving their reserves across the front; shuttling them to where they were needed. That is an example of one myth that has been exploded by the likes of Glantz since the opening of the Russian archives

Stovepipe Registered User
#14

@reekwind,
With regard to Soviet inability, I have read accounts of the Spanish Civil War and the Finnish War that said exactly the same about the Russians. For instance, one Spanish account, from a Republican source (don't ask me exactly who) said that the Russians would not move unless a Russian gave the order, they made very bad use of their tanks and the local junior leadership kept referring every tactical question up the command chain, which often extended even to Moscow and they often failed to inform the Republicans of their intent and their plans for intended battles. They kept making the same errors. One German account said that the SB bombers and I-16 fighters continued to fly tactically unsound formations, right to the end of the Spanish war and then continued to do so in Russia in 1941 and in Finland. Now, to my mind, if three different nationalities encounter the Russians in combat, either as allies or as enemies and they all come to the same conclusions, then it's hard to disagree.

regards
Stovepipe

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jonniebgood1 Moderator
#15

Stovepipe said:
@reekwind,
With regard to Soviet inability, I have read accounts of the Spanish Civil War and the Finnish War that said exactly the same about the Russians. For instance, one Spanish account, from a Republican source (don't ask me exactly who) said that the Russians would not move unless a Russian gave the order, they made very bad use of their tanks and the local junior leadership kept referring every tactical question up the command chain, which often extended even to Moscow and they often failed to inform the Republicans of their intent and their plans for intended battles. They kept making the same errors. One German account said that the SB bombers and I-16 fighters continued to fly tactically unsound formations, right to the end of the Spanish war and then continued to do so in Russia in 1941 and in Finland. Now, to my mind, if three different nationalities encounter the Russians in combat, either as allies or as enemies and they all come to the same conclusions, then it's hard to disagree.

regards
Stovepipe

Is this not what Reekwind is saying, i.e. the problem for the Red army was leadership.

The Stalinist purges would be the obvious link for the poor initial leadership.

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