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Just a minute of reflection...

 
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Just a minute of reflection... - 1/28/2011 9:32:35 PM   
Cannonfodder


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I am rereading Beevor's "Stalingrad"... I realised we are pushing counters around and having fun doing it.. but - I just tried to imagine what it is like to be responsible for 250.000 men surrounded by 100s of thousands of russians.... (or the other way around).

Reading an account of an overloaded HE111 (wounded soldiers) trying to lift off from Pitomnik during the desperate days of december/january... Apparantly its "cargo" slid to the back of the plane, causing it to go nose up, stall, and falling back to earth. Instead of a second chance they fell to a fiery death...

Or russian sappers throwing themselves before german tanks with antitank mines..

Witnessing such a scene would freeze the blood in your veins....

Apparantly, of the germans marched into prison camps after "Festung Stalingrad" Fell, only 6000 survived.. Claims are that 5% of the "landsers" survived the camps and around 95% of the officers....

I guess we all know who was screwed..

Edited for spelling

< Message edited by Cannonfodder -- 1/29/2011 12:15:25 PM >


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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 12:43:01 AM   
Mynok


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I trust your point is that we would do well to remember that we are playing a game and not recreating war. If so, that's an excellent one and one I agree with wholeheartedly.



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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 12:43:53 AM   
Beezle


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I met a man who said he had been in the Panzers during the war and got to know him a little. I don't know if he was telling the truth but he seemed believable and wanting to talk about what he had been through (he was old at that point and dying). This was about 1970 or 1975.

He had been in a unit trapped against the Baltic and bypassed. The unit got smaller and smaller. He was a sergeant and eventually the highest ranked person left. Evntually (I gather probably after the fall of Berlin) they surrendered. He was marched to a Stalinist camp where he stayed until the mid 1950s. He said he had a pistol the entire time (and that this wasn't all that rare). You were not going to use the pistol vs the guards or try to escape but he said he did use the pistol a few times on other prisioners in arguments over food/shelter in the camp. He said otherwise he would have died of cold/hunger. Eventually he was released, returned to Germany and then came to the US.



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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 12:14:36 PM   
Cannonfodder


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mynok


I trust your point is that we would do well to remember that we are playing a game and not recreating war. If so, that's an excellent one and one I agree with wholeheartedly.




Yes, clearly formulated by you Mynok... Thank god the only wars we fight here are forum topic flame wars...

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"An agile, adaptable and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, and that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission."


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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 12:48:37 PM   
Shellshock


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cannonfodder

I am rereading Beevor's "Stalingrad"... I realised we are pushing counters around and having fun doing it.. but - I just tried to imagine what it is like to be responsible for 250.000 men surrounded by 100s of thousands of russians.... (or the other way around).

Reading an account of an overloaded HE111 (wounded soldiers) trying to lift off from Pitomnik during the desperate days of december/january... Apparantly its "cargo" slid to the back of the plane, causing it to go nose up, stall, and falling back to earth. Instead of a second chance they fell to a fiery death...

Or russian sappers throwing themselves before german tanks with antitank mines..

Witnessing such a scene would freeze the blood in your veins....


I've gotten a similar vibe reading William Craig's Enemy at the Gates. The scenes of Sixth Armys' death rattle read like a horror novel. The last desperate, pathetic transmissions from Paulus for which no higher-ups had any good answers are painful to read.

However, I assiduously avoid the Jude Law movie of the same name. Yeah, Law has really got that Slavic look don't he?

(in reply to Cannonfodder)
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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 1:10:24 PM   
Blond_Knight


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I remember a quote from the Stalingrad episode of "World at War" that said at Stalingrad the Soviet soldier only fell back when the ground around him was on fire and his clothes were smoldering. Usually Id dismiss that as pure propaganda, but at Stalingrad...

(in reply to Shellshock)
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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 2:13:08 PM   
Cannonfodder


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Blond Knight, the USSR executed 12.500 Red Army soldiers during Stalingrad.. They did not have much of a choice... a bit of a "damned if you, damned if you don't" scenario...

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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/29/2011 2:20:45 PM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mynok


I trust your point is that we would do well to remember that we are playing a game and not recreating war. If so, that's an excellent one and one I agree with wholeheartedly.





Some of us are trying to learn more about the war by simulating it at the strategic level, on the premise that it is when you fail to understand history that history repeats itself.

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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/31/2011 8:23:13 PM   
RedBunny

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cannonfodder

Blond Knight, the USSR executed 12.500 Red Army soldiers during Stalingrad.. They did not have much of a choice... a bit of a "damned if you, damned if you don't" scenario...



My fave (from Stalin to an American diplomat):

quote:

In the Soviet Army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance.

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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/31/2011 8:46:58 PM   
Mehring

 

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quote:

Some of us are trying to learn more about the war by simulating it at the strategic level, on the premise that it is when you fail to understand history that history repeats itself.


Lol. You will not prevent war by studying it seperately from the economics and politics from which it flows. Or do you mean next time the invasion of Russia must succeed?

It's an irony that disturbs me too, between playing, that an abstraction of what was the destruction of more people than those physically killed, should be one of my greatest pleasures. It doesn't stop me playing though.

(in reply to RedBunny)
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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 1/31/2011 9:17:51 PM   
Fänrik Stål


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shellshock

However, I assiduously avoid the Jude Law movie of the same name. Yeah, Law has really got that Slavic look don't he?

Do all Russians look Slavic? Hardly a valid criticism.
I've seen worse war movies get more acclaim.


(in reply to Shellshock)
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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 12:06:23 AM   
rosseau

 

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Yes, when I read the WitE casualty figures, it does give me pause. Especially the Soviet losses. These were real people once. However, I believe doing what we do as wargamers gives them honor and remembrance. We have not forgotten the struggle and sacrifice. Same goes with visiting ACW sites, etc.

(in reply to Fänrik Stål)
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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 12:46:23 AM   
PeeDeeAitch


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For me it is on a day like this, right now it is -5f/-20c, that makes me think about the suffering and the hardship that had to be endured.  I have a modern coat and gloves, synthetic woolen socks, and still being out in the cold (it is supposed to get to -20/-28 tonight) drives home how awful it was - just from the weather.

That makes my pushing around the counters of infantry in January 1942 a bit more poignant.

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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 12:48:23 AM   
Paul Roberts

 

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I've just started reading Curzio Malaparte's KAPUTT. It's pretty amazing.

Malaparte was an Italian journalist comfortable in the highest strata of European society. During the war, despite his distaste for Mussolini and his disgust at the Nazis, he served as a sort of roving war correspondent, covering the Ukraine and later the Leningrad front. KAPUTT is a memoir he wrote in secret and smuggled home in various stages. (Some of his earlier dispatches to Italian papers had been suppressed, and he knew this book would get him arrested.)

At times he's as good as writer as Thomas Mann. He can write lyrical, beautiful sentences, but he never loses his awareness of the ugliness and atrocity of the war going on around him.


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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 2:07:04 AM   
hgilmer3


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I think it is good to sometimes stop and reflect on what really happened. We will never know what it was like, obviously, but I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be 18 or so and thrust into that situation, probably wondering why I had to be there and what caused it.

Sometimes it is good to stop and realize how good our lives really are.


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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 2:18:43 AM   
Mynok


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quote:

Sometimes it is good to stop and realize how good our lives really are.


It's always good to do this.


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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 8:23:52 AM   
bairdlander

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: PeeDeeAitch

For me it is on a day like this, right now it is -5f/-20c, that makes me think about the suffering and the hardship that had to be endured. 

I work outside 12 hours a day for 24 days then 4 days off.I wear gloves with liners,but my fingers still crack and freeze.Its not too bad if you keep moving.But ya,it does make me think of the soldiers on the eastern front.Cant imagine fighting in such conditions.

(in reply to PeeDeeAitch)
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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 12:00:36 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Blond_Knight
I remember a quote from the Stalingrad episode of "World at War" that said at Stalingrad the Soviet soldier only fell back when the ground around him was on fire and his clothes were smoldering. Usually Id dismiss that as pure propaganda, but at Stalingrad...


Or the ending image of that same episode... Very good series.

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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/1/2011 9:45:56 PM   
rosseau

 

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Yes, the Soviet soldiers of that era were very much used to deprivations and living off the land. For the Germans used to living in the the cities and towns, only true grit could have gotten them through the horrors of the East.

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RE: Just a minute of reflection... - 2/2/2011 1:32:42 AM   
Blond_Knight


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I remember in a book named Stalingrad it talked about how the German troops were so malnourished during the encirclement that their hair grew out with a bleached appearance and had a very course texture due to lack of calcium I believe. One troubling incident I remember was after the surrender. Either to commit suicide or protest their treatment some of the German troops would stroke their sickly looking facial hair and gather a handful of lice that theyd throw on the Russian guards. They were promptly shot.
Jesus, kinda puts the problem I had with the mail server today in perspective.

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