May 04, 2006

The World of Spankings

I got Spank to indulge us in a little history lesson, by providing him with the necessary openings. It's rather hard to get him to make your arguments for you, because when you present your side of things, Spank will always distort it and make it something that you didn't mean.

The solution to me, was obvious. Saying something I knew to be at 90 degree angles to what I mean, and Spank will do the necessary modifications. Or maybe just being very very bad at quality control, and let slip things to make it ambiguous. Either way is good.

It won't come out right from his mouth of course, but it will come out with more honesty and with Spank's real beliefs, than would a direct attempt to extract the information through questioning.

Because of Germany's more advanced army and training and equipment, the Soviets could not stop the German blitzkrieg in the urban areas, which were perfect for German panzers. Regardless of Soviet orders to shoot those who flee the battlelines to get back to Soviet lines, regardless of the fact that the Soviet only had enough rifles and ammo so that one person would carry it and the other person would follow him and pick up the rifle when the front guy drops dead. Regardless of all that, the Soviets could not meet the German force of arms translated through combined arms approach, tanks with artillery backed by infantry. What did the Soviets have left? Bodies, many many bodies. Glorious Russian Heros as they may term it. Heroes of the Rodina.

And when bodies could not face Panzers out in the open, they would face them in the cities. Where luck, not doctrine or better strategy, helped the Soviets hold in Stalingrade. Because the Soviets would not give up the right, they would not surrender, and thus this paved the way for Germany's first defeat against Russia, which stopped their advance. Not only that, but the Russian pocket cut off a couple of German divisions and the Germans were forced to surrender. Winter Frisks, great propaganda.

Once they held the line, and stalled the German war machine because of logistics, they could focus on building an even better tank than the Germans had, with American supplies and help of course. But they could never have held the line if the Soviets had given up, if they were "leery of casualties". The Soviet way is not the American way.

Spank defines ruthlessness as using excessive force, not necessary to the battle. The real definition of ruthlessness is using any and all means necessary to accomplish the objective. But first you have to select the right objective, the right goal, the thing that is worth the costs. When the Soviets say "everything should be held at all costs" or when Hitler says "take Stalingrade at all costs", you run into a problem. Force dispersed is force wasted, requiring more ruthlessness, and more ruthlessness requires more force, a never ending cycle. That's fine if your power is unlimited, but Germany's and the Soviet's power were not unlimited. The Soviet's had the help of America and numerous cannon fodder to stall the German war machine with in guerrila fighting.

Spank doesn't believe sheer force of will can help win a battle. And that's really all I wanted to know in the end. A mission success.

Spank's quotes wholesale, in case an accident occurs with the link.

Yammer, I don't know where to start with you because you make so many errors that any one of them should illustrate how little you really know and understand.

Let's pick this one:

"The Germans had better tactics and better machineguns, they only quit cause they were scared of the Dough Boys. What's a naval historian doing with landwar anyway? Hobby time?"

The Germans were certainly more flexible for most of the war, though the French (and the British, much more slowly and reluctantly) adapted their tactics not long into the war. The German's chief advantages at the outset of the war were their extensive use of mortars, which were easier to use against trenches than the French flat-trajectory 75s, and the fact that they spent most of the war in the West on the defensive. German machine guns, being water-cooled, were actually harder to move than Allied air-cooled machine guns, and so offered a distinct disadvantage.

But the Germans didn't lose the war because of America. They lost the war because the German economy was never suited to a war like that. The Germans, throughout the war, certainly killed Allied soldiers at a higher rate than they lost soldiers, but when they were facing the combined forces of Russia, Britian, France, and the rest with only weak allies on their side (Austria was essentially a non-factor after 1916). They just couldn't afford it, in men or material.

No, the Germans lost because of this: they knew that an unrestricted submarine campaign would draw the US into the war, so they gambled that the campaign would starve Britian into submisison before Americans arrived. When that didn't work, the Germans made one last gamble. They moved massive numbers of troops from East to West after the surrender of Russia and launched their Spring Offensives of 1918. They almost succeeded in splitting the British from the French, allowing them to knock the British out of the war, but Foch had carefully preserved a large reserve and plugged the gap. The Germans lots 300,000 men in a matter of a few days, all that was left of their manpower reserve, and they just couldn't keep fighting anymore.

It didn't help that the German soldiers, who hadn't eaten real meat in years, overran Allied stores and found that, unlike them, the Allies were well-fed. It didn't take long before the mutinies broke out. The Germans were already in retreat when the Americans arrived with more the a platoon or two.

Anyway, Yammer, this is the sort of thing that other people know that you clearly do not. I recommend that, instead of reading fiction (which you should still do for fun), you should try reading non-fiction, and quoting that as evidence for your arguments. It does wonders.

And Yammer, a professional historian with a doctorate in history working for the Navy is not a naval historian. A naval historian is an historian who specializes in naval history. The service branches employ a number of historians who work on a variety of topics. The one to whom I referred specialized in German history and military strategy through history. Nice try, though, to denigrate an expert's opinion because it doesn't match up to yours. I shouldn't really say that it surprised me, though.

Seriously: if you're interested in this sort of thing, I can put together a reading list for you.

Oh, here's another one:

"This was actually due to Stalin's ruthlessness, not Hitler's."

This I should have, but did not, expect from you. After all, you're the little wannabe fascist. Oh, how you must long for those cool uniforms...

Hitler planned the war, from the very beginning, to be as ruthless as possible. In fact, he said:

"The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. All officers will have to rid themselves of obsolete ideologies."

This comes from page 830 of William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, in case you were wondering about the citation.

But even if Hitler had never said this, the idea that the 25 million Soviet citizens who died were solely, or even predominantly, the responsibility of Stalin, is revisionist history in defense of Hitler and the Nazis.

Here are a few terms to google:

Babi Yar
Alfred Rosenberg

Official German policy in the East was to divert Russian agricultural output to Germany. This would have two effects: freeing Germany from the threat of a blockade and starving off the population of Russia. It was official German policy to starve to death millions of people. Read page 563 of Michael Burleigh's The Third Reich: A New History for transcripts from Nurenburg in which they discuss planning the murder of thirty million civilians.

I knew I was writing to an idiot, but I didn't know that I was also writing to a Nazi-symp.

"Why would I say that they didn't use tanks in WWI?"

Because this is what you said. I don't know why you said it, when it could so easily be checked, but this is what you said. You immediately back-pedaled when called on it, claiming that you didn't actually say it, and now you're claiming that you said something completely different ("they didn't use them until they had to use them").

I'm not even sure what that means, "they didn't use them until they had to use them." The Allies certainly never had to do anything. War doesn't work that way. The Allies were seeking a weapon that could break the stalemate of trench warfare; both sides tried lots of things (high explosives, flamethrowers, gas, etc.). But tanks were neither necessary nor decisive. They might have tipped a few battles, but the war was won and lost by the infantry and the artillery.

Jesus, Yammer. You know so little it's amazing. You talk and you talk and you talk and you've obviously read a book or two, or seen a couple of shows on this History Channel, because you talk as if you know something, and you might fool a few people who don't know any better. But some of the things you say are just so absurd, it's like listening to a history lecture as translated from Enlgish to Chinese to Swahili and back to English again. Some of the words are in the right place, but they don't really mean what you think they mean.

Oh, and one more:

"Russia would shoot their people in the back, if they ran towards the Soviet Lines. Which meant that Russia's ruthlessness stopped the German advance, by piling bodies onto bodies."

The Russians didn't halt the Germans by "piling bodies onto bodies." The Russians halted the German advance in two battles, Zhukov's offensive at Moscow in the winter of 1941 and again at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942. Do you have any concept of these battles?

See, this is why I make fun of you for reading sci-fi and then using that to justify your beliefs. You have this fantasy in your head, about ruthlessness, about the bodies piling up, about changing the course of the battle through sheer strength of will, because those authors can create whatever world they want. They can create an imaginary world in which sheer strength of will can actually win a battle, and so you think that this applies to the real world. You don't actually know anything about the war, or understand its key turning points, as in the two battles I mentioned above. Instead of actually knowing about the war, you have this vague feeling about the war, this one image (bodies piling up) that encapsulates your entire thinking about the war. In a book, an author can cover a war in a page; in real life, it's a little more complex than that. But to you, that's just it. These wars are like epics, space operas for you to think "wow, how cool! They blew up a planet! The Russians just piled up the bodies until they won! Superficial lack of understanding!"

Yammer, try reading an actual history book for a change.


Blogger blert said...

Spank is impossible to fisk: I just don't have the will to burn that much time when medication is required.

Good lord, he holds himself out as an expert on WWI, WWII... yet look at his analysis.




07 May, 2006 16:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great site, how do you build such a cool site, its excellent.

20 May, 2006 07:09  

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