Late in August of 1942 the German Sixth Army bore down on Stalingrad. The German commander, General Freidrich Paulus, had much to contemplate regarding how he would approach the task of seizing the city that would become the bane of his existence and end his military career in catastrophic fashion. Stalingrad sprawled down the broad Volga River's western bank in a long (at over 25 miles) strip of land. Problematically for it's defenders, the Volga's western bank rose significantly higher than it's east bank.
When most people think of the Red Army circa 1942 they imagine a war machine on the rise, and blessed with fleets of wordclass T-34 medium tanks. On the one hand it's true that by the spring of 1942 Soviet tank factories cranked out far more T-34's than they had during the nadir of Soviet fortunes late in 1941. But, for a number of reasons (including both T-34 losses at the front as well as the decision to parcel out T-34's in independent tank brigades versus concentrating them in the Tank Corps) there were never enough of these reliable, well armed armored fighting vehicles to go around.
As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising I thought it would be appropriate to set the stage for the brave but doomed efforts of the Polish Resistance to free their city from Nazi occupation. Late in July of 1944 and as the Red Army approached Warsaw's outskirts it must have seemed as if the Soviet war machine was unstoppable. Alas, this would prove not to be true.
Even though much of the blame for the failure of the Polish Resistance to overcome their Nazi overlords must be placed at Stalin's feet (with his decision to not raise a finger to help the courageous resistance
World War II enthusiasts will almost assuredly find interesting our newest guest author's work: The T-34 in WWII: The Legend vs. The Performance. Author Nigel Askey graduated from the University of Sussex, in the UK, with an honours degree in physics. Since the early 1980s he has taken a keen interest in military history and military simulations. In 1997 he worked as a consultant for Talansoft Inc, on war games in their Campaign Series.
The technical superiority of the T-34 (with a T-34/76 pictured here) in 1941,and during WWII in general has become the stuff of legend. Its apparent superiority has become so entrenched in the psyche of post WWII authors that it is now assumed without question. Some go as far as to claim the T-34 as “the finest tank of the twentieth century”, and that the T-34 “rendered the entire fleet of German tanks as effectively obsolete”.
However, if battle performance was, and indeed still is, the ultimate determinant of the effectiveness of any weapon system, then unlike some
The 1941-45 war fought between Germany and Russia ranks as the bloodiest war fought in human history. Yet, in spite of this historically significant and horrific distinction, modern descriptions of the war often remain grounded in myth or distortion.