Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
mkenny
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby mkenny » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:06 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote: Surrender was not a German characteristic. Their motto was "Victory or Death".



Byron Angel wrote:..... Forgive me for asking, but what is the point of citing these figures, which almost certainly represent the prisoner of war situation after the official German surrender in May 1945? If you are offering it as proof somehow that few Germans fought to the death, I'd have to point out that over seven million Japanese military personnel technically became prisoners of war as a consequence of Japan's surrender in September 1945, yet the Japanese soldier had a well earned reputation for preferring death to surrender.


For starters 3 million were captured BEFORE the surrender.
It is being said that only 1 million POW's were in Allied hands at the war's end. The figures show at least 3 million were in captivity by the time the fighting ended. More were collected after that but the tables directly refute the cut and paste from Glantz that is being used to say it was only a million.

I again repeat my earlier warning because it seems not to have sunk in properly.


It should be noted I am just going by the numbers actualy in captivity. How they got there and where they came from is for others to fight over

I do not care how many died or how many surrendered. I am not trying to say they were all craven cowards I just post the figures to counter the claim the Allied SHAEF totals were mistakes, propagana or faked.
3 million POW's before the surrender, fact.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:53 am

mkenny:

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
Surrender was not a German characteristic. Their motto was "Victory or Death".


:lol: :lol: :lol: That`s hardly from THIS thread or, I believe, from this year though. Must admitt that you must have searched from all the threads to find it. However, I must say, something is that a remark on their motto effectely finds it`s way as a reality, or as an affirmation from me that the Germans fought to their deaths in the western front (maybe they fought harder in the eastern one, the perspectives of fallen PoW were grim there).

:cool:
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minoru genda
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby minoru genda » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:35 pm

I made a search myself and found that remark is from a post from year 2006 !

viewtopic.php?p=5605#p5605

It is impossible mckenny read that before last night. In fact mckenny was refering to this other post from VeenenbergR on February 2, where he said:

German soldiers were certainly no superhuman beings. They did however proved to be very stubborn and most encircled garrisons fought to the death.


and mckenny replied:

You only have to look at the millions of German POW's taken before the surrender to realise your claim is rubbish.
I suspect the reluctance to surrender in the East was because they knew what was going to happen when the relatives of all the murdered civilians caught up with them.


It's all here:

viewtopic.php?p=32010#p32010
Tora! Tora! Tora!

mkenny
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby mkenny » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:42 pm

minoru genda wrote:I made a search myself and found that remark is from a post from year 2006 !

viewtopic.php?p=5605#p5605

It is impossible mckenny read that before last night.


factualy incorrect. I first saw that post many moons ago and what first brought it to my attention was the stark contrast between his views on Montgomery then compared to now.

Karl Heidenreich wrote:[Who fought and beat the German Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain: the RAF. Who fought the battle of the Atlantic against the U-Boat threat? RN. Who fought and beat the italians in Africa? Dessert Rats. Who fought in Norway, who fought in France, who fought in Greece and Crete and all the Meditarreanean? The British. Who beat Rommel? A guy called Montgomery. Who sent thousands of bomber raids over the Germans night after night? Bomber Command. Who landed in Normandy? The Britons with Canadians and the US...
And who, may I ask, invaded Holland with the Market Garden Operation in an attempt to free that country and end the war by December 1944? The British. It were British paratroopers the ones that made the heroic stand in the northern part of the Arnhem Bridge (now called John Frost Bridge). The Hotel Hartenstein in Arnhem is now a musseum of the "Red Devils". So I think that Europe, as a whole, has a some debt with the British.

"Never so many owed so much to so few"


It shows that the oft quoted warning about the word ass-u-me is correct




]

Byron Angel

Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Byron Angel » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:45 pm

mkenny wrote:
For starters 3 million were captured BEFORE the surrender.
It is being said that only 1 million POW's were in Allied hands at the war's end. The figures show at least 3 million were in captivity by the time the fighting ended. More were collected after that but the tables directly refute the cut and paste from Glantz that is being used to say it was only a million.



..... I got this data from an earlier post here -

quote -

By September 1944, German prisoners of war in the West numbered 545,756.
By January 1945 the POW total was 811,796
By March it was 1,000,000
By April it was 3,000,000
The total number of German POW's peaked at 6 million in May 1945

- unquote

These figures indicate that the German POW count (in the West) did not reach a million men until sometime in March of 1945; this count would also include prisoners taken in North Africa, Tunisia, and Italy over several preceding years of war. After March 1945 there was clearly a flood of surrenders, unsurprising in view of the deep advances of the Allied armies into the German heartland and the consequent collapse of German organization and national morale. The troops clearly understood that the war was over at that point and acted upon that sound assessment, even if the German political leadership remained in denial. On that basis, I don't think Glantz's citation of a million POWs is unreasonable if it is seen as a snapshot of the situation at a time when the war was still being fought in earnest in the West.

My opinion, of course. Yours may vary.


Byron

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:50 pm

mkenny:

It`s just pitifull, man, really. You are the one now biting and scratching.

It shows that the oft quoted warning about the word ass-u-me is correct



This was a long time ago but that has nothing false there and shows you that I´m not anti british biased and that I have a great deal of admiration for the western allies, too. Monty beat Rommel at Alamein, yes. That is shown in the quote you used. But it doesn´t refer to the actual discussion of the Germans being outnumbered.

Since yesterday you have been trying, unsuccesfully, to launch smoke screens and divertions. On my behalf the main topic of the last days is closed and I think everybody has it very clear, even you.

Let´s move on.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby mkenny » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:19 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
- the German POW count (in the West) did not reach a million men until sometime in March of 1945;


Perhaps then it should have been made plain Glantz was not giving a final figure. I think though that if you ask the one promting the Glantz figure he will confirm he is indeed claiming it was 1 million in total and not 3 million.
He clearly said it several times.


Byron Angel wrote: this count would also include prisoners taken in North Africa, Tunisia, and Italy over several preceding years of war.


This was laid out in several earlier posts and was the main reason that 3 times now I have tried to warn people it does and to stop them saying this inclusion invalidates the total..

Byron Angel wrote:This was m After March 1945 there was clearly a flood of surrenders, unsurprising in view of the deep advances of the Allied armies into the German heartland and the consequent collapse of German organization and national morale. The troops clearly understood that the war was over at that point and acted upon that sound assessment, even if the German political leadership remained in denial. On that basis, I don't think Glantz's citation of a million POWs is unreasonable if it is seen as a snapshot of the situation at a time when the war was still being fought in earnest in the West.



If you read the cut-and-paste used to claim 'only' 1 millon western POW's you will see it is NOT the POW total but the number who surrendered in May The Glantz quote in no way disputes the 3 million total..

"In May 1945 the Soviets accepted the surrender of almost 1.5 million German
soldiers, while almost 1 million more fortunate Germans soldiers surrendered to the
British and Americans, including many who fled west to escape the dreaded Red Army"


The end result was the Western Allies took up to 3 million Germans POW's before the fighting ended.
All claims that these numbers were propaganda or faked have no basis in reality.

What this boils down to (for me at least) is that a claim that the 6 million total for German POW's in the West is not correct. It is being said 'only' 1.5 million Germans were defending inthe West and thus the POW total can not be more than that.
It is correct. There were more than 1.5 million fighting in The West. Try and see the argument in its totality rather than concentrating on one aspect of it.


Byron Angel wrote:My opinion, of course. Yours may vary.


My 'opinion' is reached using the SHAEF G1 totals.
You may not accept 'my opinion' but how do you treat the SHAEF figures?
Does your estimate of the number of German POW's in the West differ greatly from the G1 estimate?
Do you have a figure you think better reflects reality and if it is lower than the 3 (or 6) million how do you think SHAEF went wrong?
Note I also included the number of POW's in Soviet custody.This was also over 3 million.
I have yet to see a single comment on this figure nor any effort to downgrade, revise or caution that they are wrong.
1 wonder why?
Last edited by mkenny on Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby mkenny » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:22 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: On my behalf the main topic of the last days is closed and I think everybody has it very clear, even you.


You are right it is clear.
The Western Allies had around 7 million German POW's in 1945 and the Soviets held 3 million.
Facts are facts.


German Pow numbers in 1945 by nation holding them.

France 940,000
Great Britain 3,640,000
USA 3,100,000
USSR 3,060,000

Total 11,740,000

Byron Angel

Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Byron Angel » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:55 pm

mkenny wrote: Perhaps then it should have been made plain Glantz was not giving a final figure. I think though that if you ask the one promoting the Glantz figure he will confirm he is indeed claiming it was 1 million in total and not 3 million.
He clearly said it several times.



..... Fair comment. My intent is simply to point out that, within the context of pre-collapse conditions, Glantz's figure is meaningful.


mkenny wrote:
Byron Angel wrote: this count would also include prisoners taken in North Africa, Tunisia, and Italy over several preceding years of war.


This was laid out in several earlier posts and was the main reason that 3 times now I have tried to warn people it does and to stop them saying this inclusion invalidates the total.



..... Agreed. Prisoners are prisoners.


mkenny wrote: So you say Glantz was unaware he was using a total that was only a partial count of the Allied held POW's? I would have hoped he might have used more up to date information. In a nutshell you recognise he did not use the actual SHAEF numbers. The end result was the Western Allies took up to 3 million Germans POW's before the fighting ended.
All claims that these numbers were propaganda or faked have no basis in reality.



..... I do not know what Glantz was aware or unaware of. Nor do I know what he was necessarily seeking to illustrate by his use of the one million POW figure. I suggest only that it was a reasonable figure to use IF Glantz was seeking to describe the general strategic situation prior to the overall German collapse.


mkenny wrote: What this boils down to (for me at least) is that a claim that the 6 million total for German POW's in the West is not correct. It is.



..... I do not dispute the numbers, only the context in which they appear to be in play. If the question is simply "how many Germans became prisoners of war on the Western Front in WW2?", then the answer is about 6 million men. But if 5 million of those surrendered in the last two months of a six year war, that is contextually meaningful. It is like reading that the Allies took 7.2 million Japanese soldiers prisoner in WW2; without context, it gives a misleading impression of the nature of the war in the Pacific.


mkenny wrote: My 'opinion' is reached using the SHAEF G1 totals.
You may not accept 'my opinion' but how do you treat the SHAEF figures?
Does your estimate of the number of German POW's in the West differ greatly from the G1 estimate?
Do you have a figure you think better reflects reality and if it is lower than the 3 (or 6) million how do you think SHAEF went wrong?



..... I do not dispute the SHAEF figures.


mkenny wrote: Note I also included the number of POW's in Soviet custody.This was also over 3 million.
I have yet to see a single comment on this figure nor any effort to downgrade, revise or caution that they are wrong.
1 wonder why?



..... I can offer no help on this question other than to imagine that perhaps no one disagrees on the point.



Byron

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby mkenny » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:08 pm

Byron Angel wrote:..... I do not dispute the numbers, only the context in which they appear to be in play. If the question is simply "how many Germans became prisoners of war on the Western Front in WW2?", then the answer is about 6 million men. But if 5 million of those surrendered in the last two months of a six year war, that is contextually meaningful. It is like reading that the Allies took 7.2 million Japanese soldiers prisoner in WW2; without context, it gives a misleading impression of the nature of the war in the Pacific.


Forget all that.
It is this simple.
A claim is made that only 1.5 million German soldiers fought in the West in 1944-45.
The total of POW's taken in this period (up to surrender) is some 2.5 million.

Clearly then more than 1.5 million fought.
Can we agree on that?


This is not about the numbers who fought and died in the East.
It is not an attempt to downplay the Soviet role.
It is not an attempt to say at any one time the German Army in the West had 3 million men in combat.
It is plain and simple an attempt to establish the numbers of those Germans who defended the Western Front June 44 -April 45.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:29 pm

mkenny:

This is not about the numbers who fought and died in the East.


It is, everything is inter related, because at the end there is a tally to be observed.

It is not an attempt to downplay the Soviet role.


No one can. The Eastern Front was the main front, which is why the Germans alocatted the bulk of their units and effort there.

It is not an attempt to say at any one time the German Army in the West had 3 million men in combat.


Agreed. they can barely account for 1,8 million by May 1944, as per your own information reveal. Glantz put that figure in 1,5 million. By January it was less than a million.


It is plain and simple an attempt to establish the numbers of those Germans who defended the Western Front June 44 -April 45.


Experts has done that. We are only posting what they researched.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Bgile » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:54 pm

It's hard to get a handle on what is being argued about after all these posts, but what seems clear to me is:

The greatest quantity of German military resources went against Russia.

The Germans didn't always fight to the death. In fact, contrary to Hitler's orders to do so, they often tried to retreat instead. Several times during the war large numbers of German troops surrendered when they were surrounded and unable to retreat. This happened at El Alemein, Stalingrad, Falaise, and the destruction of Army Group Center just to name a few salient ones off the top of my head.

The Army with the propensity to fight to the death was the Japanese Army.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby lwd » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:59 pm

Byron Angel wrote: ..... That was T N Dupuy's tactical opinion: fractionally better than soldiers of the Western allies on average; about 4-5x better than typical Soviet soldiers of 1941, with the Soviets making rapid improvements to materially reduce the difference in tactical efficiency as the war progressed.

That may be what he said but I'm not sure it's supportable at least from his published studies. The confounding factor here is small unit cohesion and leadership. A very good case can be made here for at least the early war superiority on average of the German forces. Compound that with a system that did a better job of integrating replacements so as to maintain that cohesion and it's hard to actually draw conclusions on the relative quality of the individual fighting man. Similarly given the Soviet doctrine and discipline in particular the very limited intiative allowed to low level officers and their approach to NCOs.

Byron Angel

Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby Byron Angel » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:15 pm

mkenny wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:..... I do not dispute the numbers, only the context in which they appear to be in play. If the question is simply "how many Germans became prisoners of war on the Western Front in WW2?", then the answer is about 6 million men. But if 5 million of those surrendered in the last two months of a six year war, that is contextually meaningful. It is like reading that the Allies took 7.2 million Japanese soldiers prisoner in WW2; without context, it gives a misleading impression of the nature of the war in the Pacific.


Forget all that.



..... OK. I assume we are moving to different matter.



mkenny wrote: It is this simple.
A claim is made that only 1.5 million German soldiers fought in the West in 1944-45.
The total of POW's taken in this period (up to surrender) is some 2.5 million.

Clearly then more than 1.5 million fought.
Can we agree on that?



..... We certainly can. If Germany had approximately 6 million men under arms in 1944 and 60 pct (~3.6 milliion) were committed to the Eastern Front, then clearly 40 pct (~2.4 milliion) were committed elsewhere - presumably in the West.

However, in the suspicion that a certain imprecision or inexactitude of expression may be in play, it is probably necessary to ensure that everyone agrees upon exactly what constituted "the Western Front" for the purposes of the discussion at hand. If the Western Front in 1944/45 is defined as everywhere else other than the East, then the matter is simple. However, if one defines "the West" in terms of the Normandy invasion and the battle across France and the Low Countries to the German border, then the issue becomes more complex, with certain distinctions and allowances in order to exclude German troops actually fighting on that front versus, for example, occupation troops in Norway and Denmark, or those committed to Italy and the Balkans, or those stationed within the German homeland. In any case, it is clear that Germany DID reinforce its western forces in response to the collapse of the Normandy front and in preparation for the Ardennes offensive, then pulled troops out of the west after the Ardennes offensive to oppose the greater perceived threat from the Soviets in the East , so exact strength figures in the last six months of the war will certainly be of a dynamic and fluctuating nature.


Byron

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Postby VeenenbergR » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:29 pm

Hello guys.

I personally don't doubt that 11.740 German POWS were in the hands of the Allies at VE day.
But you all seem to forget that in addition to these soldiers most of the 110.000 surrendered at Stalingrad were already dead at that moment: they ONCE were POW's but ended up somewhere in Siberia
in a mass grave.....
That happened also to 80% of those 20.000 wounded soldiers surrendering at Korsun in february 1944; the 10.000 surrendering in Sevastopol in may 1944; 66% of the 200.000 surrendering near Minsk, Bobruisk, Vitebsk in july 1944 and 66% of the 30.000 surrendering near Brody; the 60% of those 125-140.000 surrendering near Kishinev in Rumania August 1944.
And still many more pocket battles would have to come: Warsaw, Budapest, Breslau, Königsberg, Heiligenbeil, Danzig, Kolberg, Thorn, Posen, Halbe.........
Their numbers does NOT appear in the Soviet inventory at VE-day: 2 million captured by the Red Army in total with 1,5 taken in may 1945.

I can recommend you the 2 books of ROLF HINZE, which dramatically describe the total anhillation of the Germans in White Russsia. Only a few hundred men were able to break out and reach German lines.

An easy computation leads to the the fact that 500.000 of all the ones taken before (1 or 2 million?) were still or presumed alive according to the Soviets at VE-day.
This also means that the Soviets took FEW prisoners during the massive offensives starting in january 1945....... that most Germans fought to the death literary: 450.000 graves in nowadays Poland !!! Of them many may be killed as POW's after 1945 and burried in mass graves in Poland. But 450.000 deaths is a huge number for the offensives during those 3 months in Poland (Pommerania, Ost Preussen, Brandenburg, Silesia). Source: DRK statistics. Yes mkenny you have to face it again: of the German garrison of Budapest 30.000 survivors broke out during the last night: of those 25.000 were killed during that break out: this was THE example of fighting to the death and NOT surrender to the Soviets. The remaining 5000: most were too wounded to be able to fight, some (very few) escaped.
Halbe was also such an example: of 100.000 men surviving in the pocket almost 50% were killed in only a couple of days at the end of april 1945.
German losses were huge during the last year of the war in the East: almost the same number as all 3 years before on the Eastern Front. And more dramatically: they were also relatively high if you realize that only 2 million German soldiers were in the front lines until the end and during this proces 1,25 million (including Volkssturm, Hitlerjugend, Polizei) were killed.

I can recommend you the book of Krisztian Ungvvary: Battle for Budapest: 100 days in WWII. A terrible battle and again the Germans suffered an insame, inhuman carnage and prize. Like Stalingrad, Like Berlin.
The breakout battles of Halbe, Brody, Korsun and Budapest were hug slaughterhouses: in Budapest 50.000 men Soviets, Germans and Hungarians were killed in ONE SINGLE NIGHT (11-12 februari).
But on 3 februari Berlin was hit by the most terrible air attack, killing over 20.000 in one day attack! Hamburg, Dresden and Swinemünde were even worse attrocities.

What I find strange is that according to Glantz in France 340.000 Germans are burried (65.000 in Normandy); in Italy 150.000 and in the Balcans 102.000, were losses of all the campaings are about 50% of these totals. One explanation is that many East-Front wounded died in those former "peaceful" areas and were burried near the hospitals in France and Italy.
In France the number of German POW's (970.000) which died of malnutrition may be much higher than the French authorities officially published, but it fits perfectly to fill the gap between the 40.000 died in 1940; the 15.000 which died between 1940 and 1944, the 65.000 died in the battle for Normandy (with the 15.000 burried there on the same cemeteries) and the other KIA"s during the battles for Brest, Marseiles, Toulon, Valence, Calais and Elsace/Vosges/Lotharingen: at least another 60.000. 180.000 died in France because of the fighting, but 160.000 died of other reasons: 50% because of being wounded and 50% because the French starved them after the War?? Mkenny: is this not a very interesting analysis? I am curious to your views about these casulaties. You are an eager guy!! :D

In Italy all German KIA's during 1943 and 1945 was 75.000, but double that amount is burried there. After the war NO German POW's were starved here so they all must be attributed to death because of being severely wounded on the Eastern Front. Who can help me with these intangibles???
Last edited by VeenenbergR on Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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