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  •  the battle for Stalingrad was the most brutal (18+ / 0-)

    of the war before the Fall of Berlin.  Soviets were pushed into two small enclaves, one by the tank factory and both by the river which was used for reinforcements and resupply.  The fear was if the river froze, they would be cut off.

    The tank factory stands today abandoned pockmocked with the marks of various shells and rounds.  Tanks rolled off the line even while special Waffen SS shock troops fought for control of the factory on floors above and below. Production never faltered.  Women were on that line, vulnerable to enemy fire.

    Women served in the military.  Stalin had ordered each succeeding line of defense to shoot any in the lines ahead of them who tried to run or who hesitated so the only choice was to stand and die but you decided the nationality of the bullet.  Average lifespan for reinforcements was less than an hour and most units suffered 95% casualties in a 24 hour period.  

    From memory, Pavlichenko took out one of the top German snipers and once she lay in the snow for over 24 hours to get her shot.  The sniper war was a dirty war (is any clean?)  fought in the sewers, in the rubble and in the No Man's Land between the armies (Germans quit sending in tanks because they were knocked out so rapidly and planes proved useless against single snipers.  I have heard this described as a "Wasp Effect" where a single individual affects events far in excess of their apparent ability to do so.
    Almost one half million women served in the Soviet army in WWII in combat roles

    •  Stalingrad (6+ / 0-)

      There is a good book about the sniper war called "The War Of The Rats". I think the movie "Enemy At The Gates" was made from it. After that battle Germany was going to lose the war. I find the story of the tanks coming right off the assembly line and instantly joining the battle even while fighting was going on in the factory itself, truly amazing. It took a few more years, but Stalingrad was their high water mark. Even without a second front the Soviets were going to win. They really didn't need our help. Here's a statistic for you. During the war the Western Allies excluding Russia had about 50 divisions fighting, the Germans had 250, and the Russians had over 500. Even with the disparity between division sizes the Russians were the big dogs in that war. What not many people in the West don't know is that the Soviet troops were responsible for killing 9 out of 10 Germans who died in the war. Lyudmila Pavlichenko  got her share. She was an amazing lady. I first learned of her when I heard Woodies song in the 60's.

      •  Hitler speeded up the decline with his fight to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakedog42, Rogneid, annieli

        the last man order to the Germans trapped in the Stalingrad encirclement.  Russians went for quantity while Germans went for quality.  Of course, Allied bombing of the German factories helped the Russians but they were destined to grind out a win simply by the disparity of manpower

        •  Bombing (0+ / 0-)

          You're right. It was a war of attrition and Russia had almost unlimited manpower and resources. A big deal is made about how we sent them all kinds of war material, but the truth is it was less than 5% of their war effort. The GMC trucks were probable the best thing we sent them.  I remember reading a report of the wartime bombing campaign. The conclusion was that it was mostly ineffective and the men, planes and other resources would have been more useful doing other things. If I'm not mistaken Albert Speer wrote that production was actually higher at the wars end than at the beginning. The only reason we opened the second front was to keep the Soviets from taking over all of Europe. Can you imagine how history would have been changed if we had let them take over all of Europe instead of just half. For some reason I'm fascinated by WWII and have hundreds of books on the subject. Maybe it's from listening to all the was stories from the returning veterans growing up in the 50's.    

          •  that was why we nuked Japan (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            We needed a quick surrender and not a drawn out invasion because Stalin was already moving combat units to grab off Mongolia, parts of China and Japanese islands lost in the Russo-Japanese War.  Imagine if he had managed a land grab in Asia equal to the one he had in Europe at war's end

          •  Studebaker trucks (0+ / 0-)

            ...with Continental engines....which led to The Commies building their own copies of the Studebaker trucks and Continental engines....which led to multiple generations of Commie trucks based upon the Studebaker trucks with Continental engines....which are closely related to late '40s and early '50s Chrysler cars and trucks which used engines patterned on the Continental engines....which led to Cuba being filled with 1952 Plymouths that still run today, because the clever Cubans figgered out that parts from the Commie trucks brought there in the '60s could be used to keep the old Chrysler cars running, and why there aren't that many '54 Chevys and Fords!

            Bizarre, huh?

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:14:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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