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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:41 am 
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The logistics of an intervention in Russia between 1918 and 1920 make the thought impossible.

Germany invaded/counter-invaded in 1915 and never got close to Moscow. With hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Germany invaded in 1941 with 3.8 million, and got bogged down before Moscow.

A force of less than 50,000 would end up wandering aimlessly through the Eastern Russian and Ukrainian countryside, before dissolving from a lack of a supply chain and armed resistance. An even smaller force of less than 10,000 would simply disappear.

About the only thing that can be done is seizing port cities and exerting control on the surrounding territory. The Allies did that to Vladivostok, with pretty much no result. If they tried with St Petersburg and Volgograd, it'd take much more of a commitment of troops and have pretty much the same effect. The US also did something similar with the seizure of New Orleans in April of 1962. Other than disrupting supply to the Confederacy and possibly shortening the war by a couple of months, it had little effect.

The Russian Revolution would simply have to be resolved by Russians.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:25 am 
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No argument on any of the above. It does seem that the Allied intervention in 1918-20 had the effect of crystallizing support behind the Reds who were able to condemn the Whites as being the lackeys of invaders. Again, the comparison with domestic disputes is apposite; various factions of Russians may have hated each other but they hated invaders more and Russians who sided with invaders most of all. (See Vlasov, fate of).

The Russian civil war had to sort itself out. By intervening, the allies crippled the people they allegedly tried to help (I say allegedly because the politics there was ferociously complicated.)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:56 am 
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Belushi TD wrote:
I can think of Bataan as one event where imminent defeat did not equal mass desertion, but I'm not sure its equivalent. I know the US and Filipino troops were on starvation rations, but I don't recall if they were actually starving to death before they surrendered.

In North Africa does Tobruk count? I doubt it, as one time there was a ferocious defense and the other time the surrender was pretty quick, wasn't it?

In both cases, even if the troops wanted to desert, they had nowhere to desert to.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:59 am 
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Belushi TD wrote:
I can think of Bataan as one event where imminent defeat did not equal mass desertion, but I'm not sure its equivalent. I know the US and Filipino troops were on starvation rations, but I don't recall if they were actually starving to death before they surrendered.


Once in Bataan they had nowhere to go. Thousands did not arrive in Bataan but the retreat was chaotic and the Philippine Army was very poorly trained. Taking that into consideration they should have done far worse.

Rations-wise it was still enough to not actually starve but too little to sustain for power to fight or do a march into distant POW camps.


About the Germans, just because they did not want to fight the Entente in France does not mean they would not have fought the Bolsheviks. The latter were weaker and there were plenty of Germans living in the Baltic States. And you would not need 500k. A few ten-thousand cloud have gone a long to to prop up the local anti communist forces.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:08 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
About the Germans, just because they did not want to fight the Entente in France does not mean they would not have fought the Bolsheviks. The latter were weaker and there were plenty of Germans living in the Baltic States. And you would not need 500k. A few ten-thousand cloud have gone a long to to prop up the local anti communist forces.


There were certainly those in Germany itself who did just that although the actual active strength of the Freikorps was much less than their propaganda suggested. However, people defending their locality is one thing, staging major campaign of conquest far from home is quite another. Doing so for no very good reason as the paid mercenaries of the people who had just crushed them is just not going to happen.

Geography alone means one would have to deploy an expeditionary force of at least 500,000; anything significantly less than that is just another armed gang in a country full of them.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:26 pm 
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edgeplay_cgo wrote:
Belushi TD wrote:
I can think of Bataan as one event where imminent defeat did not equal mass desertion, but I'm not sure its equivalent.


Where would an American on Bataan desert to? There were a few who bugged out, but most of them wound up fighting with the Filipino Guerillas.

It was the same thing in the retreat to Pusan. Entire units bugged out, but there was nowhere to desert to, so they retreated en masse until the perimeter could be set up and reinforced. In WW-I and WW-II, there was no one to reinforce.

There were a lot of mass surrenders on the Western Front in WW-II, as the Germans decided the war was lost, and wanted to surrender to the Americans rather than be captured by the Russians. In view of the ends of WW-I and WW-II, maybe we should be talking about wurst eating German surrender monkeys. But they were better off than than if they had pulled Iwo Jimas, with the same terminal result for their country.

I remember a book by a person who was in the Hitler Jugend for most of the war. At the end, he was a crewman on a flakvierling overlooking Remagen. German troops were retreating through their position, pursued by US troops. They were giving covering fire to the retreating Germans. Their sergeant told them that, when the last German units had retreated through their position, they would destroy their weapon and melt into the crowd. "There will be no Stalingrads, here."

The end stages of failed movements are never pretty.


A 30 years ago I had a conversation with a guy who was an MP in Europe at the end of WW2. He said that when they would take prisoners to the rear, they would take 50 through a woods to the rear, and come out on the other side with 300.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:29 pm 
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Eric wrote:
edgeplay_cgo wrote:
Belushi TD wrote:
I can think of Bataan as one event where imminent defeat did not equal mass desertion, but I'm not sure its equivalent.


Where would an American on Bataan desert to? There were a few who bugged out, but most of them wound up fighting with the Filipino Guerillas.

It was the same thing in the retreat to Pusan. Entire units bugged out, but there was nowhere to desert to, so they retreated en masse until the perimeter could be set up and reinforced. In WW-I and WW-II, there was no one to reinforce.

There were a lot of mass surrenders on the Western Front in WW-II, as the Germans decided the war was lost, and wanted to surrender to the Americans rather than be captured by the Russians. In view of the ends of WW-I and WW-II, maybe we should be talking about wurst eating German surrender monkeys. But they were better off than than if they had pulled Iwo Jimas, with the same terminal result for their country.

I remember a book by a person who was in the Hitler Jugend for most of the war. At the end, he was a crewman on a flakvierling overlooking Remagen. German troops were retreating through their position, pursued by US troops. They were giving covering fire to the retreating Germans. Their sergeant told them that, when the last German units had retreated through their position, they would destroy their weapon and melt into the crowd. "There will be no Stalingrads, here."

The end stages of failed movements are never pretty.


A 30 years ago I had a conversation with a guy who was an MP in Europe at the end of WW2. He said that when they would take prisoners to the rear, they would take 50 through a woods, and come out on the other side with 300.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
M.Becker wrote:
About the Germans, just because they did not want to fight the Entente in France does not mean they would not have fought the Bolsheviks. The latter were weaker and there were plenty of Germans living in the Baltic States. And you would not need 500k. A few ten-thousand cloud have gone a long to to prop up the local anti communist forces.


There were certainly those in Germany itself who did just that although the actual active strength of the Freikorps was much less than their propaganda suggested. However, people defending their locality is one thing, staging major campaign of conquest far from home is quite another. Doing so for no very good reason as the paid mercenaries of the people who had just crushed them is just not going to happen.

Geography alone means one would have to deploy an expeditionary force of at least 500,000; anything significantly less than that is just another armed gang in a country full of them.


Aside from nobody being capable and/or willing to pony up that much manpower it would create the "foreign invaders" problem. So support the local anti communist forces with men and weapons where they can claim to merely defend their own people and weapons everywhere else.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:30 pm 
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edgeplay_cgo wrote:
Francis Urquhart wrote:
As to the civil unrest in Germany, it was mainly the work of relatively small groups of street thugs much closer in concept to street gangs than armies.


In today's politics, AntiFa.


Surprise, surprise, the name was used during the Weimer Republic.

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In the bronze and early iron ages, the rout was almost routine.


It was the most pronounced in barbarian armies that only one trick u their sleeve, shock. It's why the Roman Legions were so effective against vastly large numbers, simply being able to maintain cohesion and keep fighting would scare their opposition who'd quickly start looking out for their own individual welfare and getting out of Dodge.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:55 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
HMS Warspite wrote:
Again, the argument that because people were deserting an unwinnable war means that they would not fight a winnable, and indeed highly profitable, war is not credible. It's hard to see where the forces that fought Germany's civil wars, up to and including the Nazi coup, came from in this case.


On the contrary it is entirely credible, indeed inevitable. An army that has lost the will to fight won't win anything and in November 1918 the German Army had indeed lost the will to fight. When you try and deny that simple fact, I have to conclude that you are trolling.

The German army in 1918 had very reasonably lost the will to fight the Entente, a group of powers against which it had no chance of victory. It's pretty reasonable to lose the will to fight an unwinnable war, even if you still have a large number of men, a large amount of materiel, and a large accumulation of war industry. Which is exactly the situation Germany was in in 1918. it seems uncharitable for you to accuse me of trolling for not conceding when you did not actually even engage with the point I have made - that a Russian civil war intervention would be a totally different war, and a totally different political environment.

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As to the civil unrest in Germany, it was mainly the work of relatively small groups of street thugs much closer in concept to street gangs than armies.

It wasn't. The Stahlhelm had 500,000 members. And I'm not even talking exclusively of the people trying to overthrow the government, but also of the people who restored order, the Freikorps. Essentially the German socialists disarmed the Wilhelmine army so they could proclaim a socialist republic, and then hired back small elements of it to crush the German equivalent of the Bolsheviks on the even-further left.

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Rot. It was causing problems with communist agitators and their "mainstream" apologists, who, while more important than the Bolshevik army, were not actually all that important. The idea that Britain couldn't find 6,000 men who actually wanted to fight communism in the whole Empire is obvious bunk. The dirty truth is that communism was quite popular in the allied elite, in a similar way Islam is today.

Once again, you are completely wrong. The opposition to any further extension of the war was very widespread and spread across class and political barriers. Once again, read Tooze. It was a combination of war-weariness, casualties and the effects of realizing what the war in the trenches was really like. It wasn't communism that was popular in the allied elites, it was pacifism muddied up with the knowledge of what the next time around would be like.

The interwar pacifist movement was much like the Vietnam era American peace movement. It wasn't in favour of peace, it was in favour of the other side winning. In Britain as in the US the far left was essentially a gentleman's hobby.

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The harshness of the treaty is really irrelevant. It would have been fine to have signed a white peace with Germany, and fine to have sold the population into slavery in the Bahamas with the land to be repopulated by French and British colonists. The key mistake was to suppose that Germany could be disarmed without being occupied, to become a non-aligned country and simply stay safe and non-aligned forever, while sandwiched between two great powers.

At last, you have said something accurate )Assuming we ignore the first two sentences). WW2 proved that Germany had to be occupied and subdivided if its menace to Europe was to be ended. In that, the Allies learned from WW1.

It proved no such thing. The Soviet Empire in 1945 had pretty much the same borders that Germany would have had had they been given free reign by the Entente in 1939. Did this prove that the Soviets needed to be occupied and subdivided if its menace to Europe was to be ended? No, we just lived with it because the US becoming European hegemon was able to balance out their concentration of forces. There was nothing uniquely evil about Germany as a country (even if Naziism was uniquely evil as an ideology - again pretty questionable when compared to that of our communist allies), it was just placed in a strategic environment that was wildly out of equilibrium. It was placed there primarily by the United States.

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Wilson concluded a peace that was essentially religious in nature and not strategic or diplomatic.


No, it was worse. It was liberal. And Wilson had very precise strategic aims. Again, read Tooze.

Same thing at that time.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:04 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
No argument on any of the above. It does seem that the Allied intervention in 1918-20 had the effect of crystallizing support behind the Reds who were able to condemn the Whites as being the lackeys of invaders.

The White movement would barely have existed without allied intervention broadly defined - the forces from Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltics plus the Czechoslovak Legion etc. - and with them it lost because it lost on the battlefield. It lost basically because the Bolsheviks seized control of the Tsarist army in a palace coup, giving them all the cards at the start. They were not a popular uprising and their military strength wasn't heavily based on [voluntary] popular support. There was no way they were going to lose without their opponents getting significant external help. The Whites lost because they were given token external help, which was later blown up into a huge travesty etc. by communist propagandists. Just like how South Korea apparently aggressed against North Korea by existing and most school children believe the United States invaded a peaceful communist country called Vietnam that was just minding its own business.

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The Russian civil war had to sort itself out. By intervening, the allies crippled the people they allegedly tried to help (I say allegedly because the politics there was ferociously complicated.)

It also sort of ignores the fact that Lenin was explicitly sent as a German agent to destabilise Russia and that this couldn't possibly have been a secret to anyone who was paying the slightest attention. The Bolsheviks were chock full of emigres, many of whom barely spoke Russian, and foreign money, both CP and Entente. They won because they secured all the hard power quickest and most ruthlessly, end of story.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:20 am 
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Just finished reading "The Deluge"...

Very dense read. Lots to ponder.

I find more interesting than the war finances, the machinations that went on after the war, and in fact, all the way into the 30's to keep the world's financial system afloat.

Huge efforts went into getting countries to do things that they flat out were never going to do. And the degree to which the politicians took responsibility for doing things that were short term painful, but long term benenficial was something to behold. None of today's politicians would do that.

Also interesting how it flows right into Wages of Destruction, which is effectively part II of The Deluge, just focused on Nazi Germany.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:43 am 
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I’m on Wages of Destruction (and Nelson to Vanguard) right now. Deluge will be my next read.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:55 am 
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Oh, I forgot about nelson to vanguard. Who wrote that? Sounds like my next library request.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:00 am 
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Belushi TD wrote:
Oh, I forgot about nelson to vanguard. Who wrote that? Sounds like my next library request.

Belushi TD

It's part of DK Brown's Design and Development series.

Before the Ironclad
Warrior to Dreadnought
The Grand Fleet
Nelson to Vanguard

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:01 am 
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Belushi TD wrote:
Oh, I forgot about nelson to vanguard. Who wrote that? Sounds like my next library request.

Belushi TD

D K Brown. He did Before the Ironclad, Warrior to Dreadnought, the Grand Fleet, Nelson to Vanguard, and Rebuilding the Royal Navy. Excellent for the feel of ship design (he was a naval architect before he started writing), good for RN history, but he's rather more pro-British than I think is justifiable.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:26 pm 
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ByronC wrote:
Belushi TD wrote:
Oh, I forgot about nelson to vanguard. Who wrote that? Sounds like my next library request.

Belushi TD

D K Brown. He did Before the Ironclad, Warrior to Dreadnought, the Grand Fleet, Nelson to Vanguard, and Rebuilding the Royal Navy. Excellent for the feel of ship design (he was a naval architect before he started writing), good for RN history, but he's rather more pro-British than I think is justifiable.


Except when it comes to machinery. There he is highly critical.

In related news: The late German veteran and author Harald Fock was a huuuuge fan of ... British machinery. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:52 pm 
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Damn... The local library only has Warrior to Dreadnaught.

Looks like I have to go through the state system, which SUCKS.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:12 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
In related news: The late German veteran and author Harald Fock was a huuuuge fan of ... British machinery. :lol:


Didn't he serve on destroyers during the War? I can see why he would have been a fan of anything other than German DD machinery.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:19 pm 
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gral wrote:
M.Becker wrote:
In related news: The late German veteran and author Harald Fock was a huuuuge fan of ... British machinery. :lol:


Didn't he serve on destroyers during the War? I can see why he would have been a fan of anything other than German DD machinery.

The Italian DD plants were supposedly very complicated as well.

There’s an anecdote when Sweden bought a few second hand DDs from the Italians during WW2. First off it took a substantial effort to figure out the intricacies of the steam machinery even with Italian assistance.
Then when they were briefly confiscated by the RN on the way to Sweden the British engineers nearly blew up the plants as they tried to run them without instructions. Suffered enough damage that the Swedes at first thought the Brits had intentionally tried to sabotage them when they got them back. :lol:
I understand it made wonders for the view of the Swedish made plants ”Hey maybe ours aren’t that bad after all!”. :P

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