Thursday, March 12, 2009

RE: The Red Army at Stalingrad.

Michael Kuznetsov has left a new comment on your post "The Red Army at Stalingrad":


Your thoughts are, as usual, interesting. I will respond to you a bit later.

Now, I invite you to re-visit my site which I have just updated by placing thereupon a few absolutely UNIQUE photos of the Stalingrad battle.

I bet you have NEVER seen those photos before (at least 7 newly found ones)!


Lawrence responds:


I only have a few minutes before I have to rush off to a dental appointment, but I began looking at your blog again. On the subject of Stalingrad, and since you say that the Red Army treated their prisoners well, there is one thing I have wondered about, well two things actually. On one spot in your blog you write of General Paulus' surrender:

"German losses at Stalingrad were staggering. The Sixth Army, under the command of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, began its campaign with 600,000 soldiers.
"On Jan. 31, 1943, Paulus surrendered. On February 2 the last of his remaining 91,000 troops turned themselves over to the Soviets.

"The Soviets recovered 250,000 German and Romanian corpses in and around Stalingrad and total Axis losses (Germans, Romanians, Italians, and Hungarians) are estimated to have been 800,000 dead."

The first thing I wonder about is the math. If Paulus began his campaign with 600,000 soldiers, how is it that afterward the Soviets found 800,000 dead?

But the main thing I wondered about is this: You mentioned the 91,000 troops that were taken prisoner. Norman Davies on page 108 of No Simple Victory wrote, "On 31 January, Paulus himself accepted the inevitable. He was followed into captivity by 90,000 survivors of the quarter of a million [another math issue, but let's not pause there] with whom he had set out three months before. Half of the survivors perished within a week or two of capture. Only 5 per cent would outlast the Soviet camps and return home to Germany and Austria to tell the tale."

You don't seem to deal with anything that might seem detrimental to the Red Army on your blog, but what of those survivors that didn't survive. Had someone written, 90,000 survived, but their wounds were in such bad shape after the battle that most didn't survive long, only half survived two weeks and all but 5% succumbed to their wounds later on, I would have believed him. That was after all a horrendous battle as we all know. But not to mention what actually happened to those 90,000 survivors makes one wonder. We Americans had the experience of the Japanese "Death March" where American prisoners were treated brutally. Is that what happened to Paulus' 90,000? I don't know. Maybe you know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


The figures you ask about, ironically, are given just above your question where you quote my text from the website.

Thus, again: The 600,000 troops under the Paulus' immediate command were Germans.
I repeat: Germans, i.e. the Wehrmacht.

The other additional troops were their allies: Italians, Romanians, Hungarians, Slovaks and Croats. Thus the total is 800,000.
All correct.

As to the fate of 91,000 Wehrmacht POWs, a New York based historian, T. Kunikov, writes the following:

“I would like to add that a good amount of those that died would have to include those soldiers taken at Stalingrad, their condition prevented the Red Army and Soviet Union from being able to save a large amount of them since they were malnourished and practically dying as they went into captivity.”



As to the “exactness” of the figures.
A difficult question . . .

Most of the sources, almost all of them, as you well know, provide different figures.

No wonder!
It is a very hard job, if at all possible, to find out the numbers that would be absolutely correct and would be absolutely acceptable for everybody.

So, we have inevitably to choose the sources that we personally consider to be more reliable than others. You see?

For example, a British author, Anthony Beevor in his book The Fall of Berlin provides the readers with the number of 2 million German women who were allegedly raped by the Red Army (the Mongol hordes) in 1945.

He likes the exact number of 2,000,000.
We Russians deny it.
So what?

The main idea expressed on my website, if you noticed it, is that we Russians are no angels, but we did not commit atrocities on a regular basis, like our Nazist adversaries.

This idea does well coincide with the following phrases by T. Kunikov:

"Interestingly, the worst atrocities, committed on both sides on the Eastern Front, were official policy on the German side, and spontaneous acts of disobedience on the Soviet side.
This is very important to understand when viewing the differences of both army's and governments. It was the POLICY of the Wehrmacht and the Third Reich/Nazi Party/Hitler to let their armed forces/soldiers commit atrocities on the Eastern front, the same simply cannot be said for the Red Army."

So, help us God!