Was Patton serious?

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

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TheFerret
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Was Patton serious?

Post by TheFerret » Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:13 am

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General Patton with the Russians.


I am very curious about this. I saw the motion picture Patton with George C. Scott. I was wondering if that scene in the film where he told Omar Bradley about attacking Russia really did happen or was it done to embalish the movie.

And if it were true, what would have been the results?

Could the USSR really have been defeated by the Western Allies?

I find it a fascinating scenario.

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Post by Piet Duits » Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:38 am

Hi,

Interesting question. I think the answer is very clear: no. I think not. Perhaps with the help of the just defeated germans (returning POW's to german soil, rearm them and let them walk in front: they had a score to settle).
But the US Army against the Soviet Army: not a chance.
I do not want to compare apples with oranges, but the russians were a completely different type of warrior than the western allies. Much more brutal, and not concerning about losses, or so it seems.
How often have we read accounts or stories about wave after wave after wave of russian infantry attacking german positions, only to be defeated over and over again. Eventually, the germans lost too much men and material that they lost as well and had to withdraw.
Try to do this with a Canadian unit. Or a British/US/ whatever unit.
Public opinion would have a field day with that!

Furthermore, the russian soldier as of 1945 was a battle-hardened fighting unit. He had fought since 1941, with all the experience he could have.
He had destroyed the german army in a way that would be too inhumane for our westerners.

This is only my opinion.

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:25 am

Hi Piet,

I don't think it is quite that cut and dried.

It must be remembered that the Red Army was very short of manpower by the end of the war, particularly of infantry. Its own rifle divisions were far below establishment (I think Erickson says that at Berlin many began with as few as 2,000 riflemen) and much of its line was made up of Polish, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian and Yugoslav infantry of doubtful reliability, as were many of the USSR's own peoples.

This manpower shortage was different from the shortages faced by the Anglo-Americans. The Soviet Union's national manpower had been massively reduced by casualties (some 26,000,000 out of some 34,000,000 mobilised). By contrast, for the Western Allies their shortage (such as it was) was largely confined to the infantry, which could be rectified by reallocating manpower from elsewhere in the armed forces.

The Red Army was also heavily dependent on Allied lend lease vehicles for its mobility and much of its home-built equipment, especially aircraft, contained vital hi-tech components from the US in particular.

By contrast, thanks to American industry, the Allies were entirely self sufficient. They were also totally dominant in the air and could potentially hit almost any target in the USSR, whereas they were almost invulnerable themselves. Furthermore, thus far their casualties had been relatively very light and they had not yet been called upon to display the mass fortitude and endurance of the exhausted USSR.

In short, if the Red Army couldn't drive straight to the Atlantic coast immediately fighting broke out, I would suggest it was doomed to lose any medium or long term war with the Western Allies. And this is without factoring in atom bombs or German support for the Western Allies.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by oleg » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:52 pm

sid guttridge wrote:Hi Piet,

I don't think it is quite that cut and dried.

It must be remembered that the Red Army was very short of manpower by the end of the war, particularly of infantry. Its own rifle divisions were far below establishment (I think Erickson says that at Berlin many began with as few as 2,000 riflemen) and much of its line was made up of Polish, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian and Yugoslav infantry of doubtful reliability, as were many of the USSR's own peoples.

This manpower shortage was different from the shortages faced by the Anglo-Americans. The Soviet Union's national manpower had been massively reduced by casualties (some 26,000,000 out of some 34,000,000 mobilised). By contrast, for the Western Allies their shortage (such as it was) was largely confined to the infantry, which could be rectified by reallocating manpower from elsewhere in the armed forces.

The Red Army was also heavily dependent on Allied lend lease vehicles for its mobility and much of its home-built equipment, especially aircraft, contained vital hi-tech components from the US in particular.

By contrast, thanks to American industry, the Allies were entirely self sufficient. They were also totally dominant in the air and could potentially hit almost any target in the USSR, whereas they were almost invulnerable themselves. Furthermore, thus far their casualties had been relatively very light and they had not yet been called upon to display the mass fortitude and endurance of the exhausted USSR.

In short, if the Red Army couldn't drive straight to the Atlantic coast immediately fighting broke out, I would suggest it was doomed to lose any medium or long term war with the Western Allies. And this is without factoring in atom bombs or German support for the Western Allies.

Cheers,

Sid.
This manpower shortage was different from the shortages faced by the Anglo-Americans. The Soviet Union's national manpower had been massively reduced by casualties (some 26,000,000 out of some 34,000,000 mobilised). By contrast, for the Western Allies their shortage (such as it was) was largely confined to the infantry, which could be rectified by reallocating manpower from elsewhere in the armed forces.
The casualty figure you mentioned includes people who got sick at one time or another and also people who were wounded on multiple occasions; statistically the number of people who could not be used in armed forces anymore is about one third (less actually) of the number you used. Also Eastern European forces in Soviet Army hardly amounted to anything beyond the token size. And while many Soviet divisions were blow established strength –that happened to be the case thorough the entire war –which did not stop them form achieving victory. All in all in May of 1945 Soviet Army was largest land force in Europe. Btw search for “operation unthinkable” – that was the actual study for the Western Attack against Russia –it was eventually abandoned – my guess mainly because Russian Intel got the wind of it and Zhukov was ordered by Stavka to regroup accordingly which he began to do.

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Post by oleg » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm

Soviet Mobilization balance

total number mobilized (army, navy, industry, other organizations) 34 476,7 ( from here on all numbers are in thousands)
out of this number: dead from all (noncombat causes included) 6 885,1
MIA , POW - 5 059,0
Discharged due to illness or wounds 3 798,2
Transferred to local air defense units, police units, industry 3 614,6
Transferred to NKVD and other non-military organizations 1 174,8
Transferred to Eastern European allied units 250,4
Sentenced to prison terms 436,6
Other reasons 206,0
Lost and deserters 212,4
In the armed forces as of 05.09.45 12 839,8

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Post by PaulJ » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:43 pm

oleg wrote:...search for “operation unthinkable” – that was the actual study for the Western Attack against Russia –it was eventually abandoned – my guess mainly because Russian Intel got the wind of it.
Sigh. Somewhat against my better judgement I'll offer an entry here.

"Unthinkable" was not "abandoned because Russian Intel got wind of it." One cannot properly use the word "abandoned" to describe a course of action that was never adopted in the first place. It was a study to clarify what war with the USSR would have entailed. Asking for such a thing was the responsible thing for Churchill to do -- ie to get the professional assessment of his best experts to confirm what it would have involved. The study, unsurprisingly, did indeed confirm that a war with the USSR would have been a major, costly, difficult, long-term undertaking.

It was not adopted because Churchill never had any intention of taking on such a horrific undertaking. The study was clearly to confirm this.

To suggest that the only reason such a course was not adopted was because "Russian Intel got wind of it" is rather straining credulity.
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Post by oleg » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:15 pm

PaulJ wrote:
oleg wrote:...search for “operation unthinkable” – that was the actual study for the Western Attack against Russia –it was eventually abandoned – my guess mainly because Russian Intel got the wind of it.
Sigh. Somewhat against my better judgement I'll offer an entry here.

"Unthinkable" was not "abandoned because Russian Intel got wind of it." One cannot properly use the word "abandoned" to describe a course of action that was never adopted in the first place. It was a study to clarify what war with the USSR would have entailed. Asking for such a thing was the responsible thing for Churchill to do -- ie to get the professional assessment of his best experts to confirm what it would have involved. The study, unsurprisingly, did indeed confirm that a war with the USSR would have been a major, costly, difficult, long-term undertaking.

It was not adopted because Churchill never had any intention of taking on such a horrific undertaking. The study was clearly to confirm this.

To suggest that the only reason such a course was not adopted was because "Russian Intel got wind of it" is rather straining credulity.
One cannot properly use the word "abandoned" to describe a course of action that was never adopted in the first place.
I understand that my English is far from being perfect but its is my understanding that one can use "abandoned" in regarding to the plan that was drawn but was not adopted.

It was a study to clarify what war with the USSR would have entailed.
Well not just any war against USSR - if my memory serves me – the “plan” was in fact based around the allied attack on the Soviet army.
It was not adopted because Churchill never had any intention of taking on such a horrific undertaking. The study was clearly to confirm this.
Don’t you think you contradict yourself here ? If Churchill never “never had any intention of taking on such a horrific undertaking” why order the study in the first place?


To suggest that the only reason such a course was not adopted was because "Russian Intel got wind of it" is rather straining credulity.
Indeed it is –considering the fact that I never used “only”.

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Post by Herr Doktor » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:48 pm

I doubt the Allies could have defeated the Soviets.

However, the U.S. did have nuclear capability, while the Russians did not ( ...yet. Not so?). Had the motivation existed to deploy them against the Russians...

Send waves of B-17's over with nuclear bombs - disasterous for the future, but perhaps effective to defeat the Red Army and wipe out Stalin, etc. Especially with a fanatic like Patton involved.

Glad that didn't happen.

HD

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Post by oleg » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:08 pm

Herr Doktor wrote:I doubt the Allies could have defeated the Soviets.

However, the U.S. did have nuclear capability, while the Russians did not ( ...yet. Not so?). Had the motivation existed to deploy them against the Russians...

Send waves of B-17's over with nuclear bombs - disasterous for the future, but perhaps effective to defeat the Red Army and wipe out Stalin, etc. Especially with a fanatic like Patton involved.

Glad that didn't happen.

HD
Well I don't believe that B-17 was capable of lifting an atomic bomb – if I recall correctly Enola Gay almost crashed during takeoff and that was B-29. Secondly number of atomic munitions available to USA was hardly sufficient to provide for waves of anything. Thirdly with such a heavy load US bombers would have been well within reach of latest Soviet fighters such as La-7 La-9 and modified Yak-9 and Mig-13 (to say nothing of upcoming jets such as MiG-9 and Yak-15). Fourthly – USSR would have undoubtedly retaliate with chemical and biological weaponry – all in all it would have been quite a mess.

P.S I just plainly hate what ifs.

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Re: Was Patton serious?

Post by Paul_9686 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:14 pm

TheFerret wrote:... I saw the motion picture Patton with George C. Scott. I was wondering if that scene in the film where he told Omar Bradley about attacking Russia ...
Begging your pardon, Ferret, but in that scene, Patton wasn't talking to Bradley on the phone, but to Gen. Walter Beedle Smith, Ike's chief-of-staff.

Yours,
Paul

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Post by Darrin » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:21 pm

sid guttridge wrote:
This manpower shortage was different from the shortages faced by the Anglo-Americans. The Soviet Union's national manpower had been massively reduced by casualties (some 26,000,000 out of some 34,000,000 mobilised). By contrast, for the Western Allies their shortage (such as it was) was largely confined to the infantry, which could be rectified by reallocating manpower from elsewhere in the armed forces.

Oleg sids rus losses stand on the low side of the off rus numbers. If the rus off mob 34 million people during the war they also off lost 34 mil total cas during the war. This includs all KIA, WIA MIA POWS acc and sick in all branches and accross the entire coutry at least according to kiroshev.

Also the rus pop from which these soilders are drawn and supported had suffered huge cas. Off 27 mil dead from all causes during the war.

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Post by oleg » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:29 pm

Darrin wrote:
sid guttridge wrote:
This manpower shortage was different from the shortages faced by the Anglo-Americans. The Soviet Union's national manpower had been massively reduced by casualties (some 26,000,000 out of some 34,000,000 mobilised). By contrast, for the Western Allies their shortage (such as it was) was largely confined to the infantry, which could be rectified by reallocating manpower from elsewhere in the armed forces.

Oleg sids rus losses stand on the low side of the off rus numbers. If the rus off mob 34 million people during the war they also off lost 34 mil total cas during the war. This includs all KIA, WIA MIA POWS acc and sick in all branches and accross the entire coutry at least according to kiroshev.

Also the rus pop from which these soilders are drawn and supported had suffered huge cas. Off 27 mil dead from all causes during the war.
darrin do you need an explantion of the difference between irrevocable casualtie and casualty?

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Patton

Post by John W. Howard » Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:09 pm

It is always difficult with Patton to separate bluster from real intentions or desires. He was a very complex man and to judge him from the film PATTON is a mistake. He was far from being a fanatic. If one were to take everything he said literally, one would get a very distorted view of the man; he regularly disparaged virtually everyone who entered his sphere, even those folks he liked!! After the war ended, he was a man in search of a war, a place to utilize the talents he had spent years perfecting. He was frustrated by the Allied anti-nazi campaign, which excluded from positions of local government, the only people with expertise in areas critical to getting Germany back on its feet. He was a general of the old-school; a general first and a politician second, but he had the prescience to see the trouble brewing with the Soviet Union.
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Post by sid guttridge » Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:52 am

Hi Oleg,

It is never necessary to kill wound or otherwise incapacitate all a country's manpower to destroy its capacity to continue fighting. For example, being wounded may not disqualify a man from being re-employed, but in most cases it degrades his physical and moral value and even that of those around him.

The USSR had already suffered massive inroads into its prime manpower by 1945, whereas the Western Allies had suffered little drain on theirs.

If war broke out in 1945 between the USSR and the Western Allies, the Red Army had to reach the Atlantic coast at the first attempt just to achieve a stalemate, or such a war was lost.

Why? Because the USSR was already operating close to its manpower limits, the Allies had total air superiority and the Red Army was heavily dependent on Allied deliveries for its mobility and high tech equipment. You might be surprised at how much American gear there was in apparently all-Russian fighters, for instance. (There is a good article by a Russian pilot on this in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies).

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Darrin » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:06 am

Total US mil dead during the war was 400,000. This includes all services all theatres combat and non combat related.

Rus suffered from roughly 9 mil mil dead during the war using the same def as above. That is more than 20 times greater than the US dead figure above.

The MUCH higher rus mil losses of all types combined with the MUCH higher general pop deaths spelt doom in any battle bettween them and the west.

As well the west not spprisingly had better treatment of its cas. Somewhere between 30-50% of the rus cas never returned to the front line. The avgerage time the rus cas spent out of the line up was roughly 2 months or 60 days. Less than 25% of the US cas never returned to front line service. Also the avg US cas spent about 14 days in hospital before retuiring to service.

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