Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, February 06, 2004


This is coolbert:

Last comment on "Icebreaker" [as usual, my thoughts in bold]:

When Hitler launched "Operation Barbarossa" against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Germany's leaders justified the attack as a preemptive strike to forestall an imminent Soviet invasion of Germany and the rest of Europe. After the war, Germany's most prominent surviving military and political leaders were put to death at Nuremberg for, among other things, planning and waging "aggressive war" against the Soviet Union. The Nuremberg Tribunal rejected outright defendants' pleas that "Barbarossa" was a preventive attack.

Well, for the Germans to have claimed pre-emptive strike in defense, they would have to had produced intelligence documents that demonstrated they had absolute knowledge of Stalin's aggressive build-up and intentions. To my knowledge they did not have such intelligence. And the Germans under Hitler did not make a sympathetic bunch on their own behalf.

In making his case, Suvorov stresses here the central importance to Stalin's planning of military strategist Boris Shaposhnikov, Marshal and Chief of the General Staff. His most important work, Mozg armii ("The Brain of the Army"), was for decades required reading for every Soviet officer. Stalin not only respected Shaposhnikov's military acumen, but, uncharacteristically, personally liked the man. He was the only man Stalin was ever known to address routinely in public by his first and patronymic names (Boris Mikhailovich), in Russia a personal form of address, less than formal but definitely respectful. Stalin addressed everyone else by his family name preceded by Comrade ("Comrade Zhdanov," for example). Stalin's admiration was also shown by the fact that he always kept a copy of Shaposhnikov's Mozg armii on his desk.

In the above photo, Shaposhnikov is on the right, obviously.

This is most interesting. Never heard of this Shaposhnikov before. Wonder what an internet search would bring?? Now, it is also interesting that Stalin would address this man in this way. It is reputed that Hitler also had only one other person that he would address in the familiar way. That was Ernst Roehm, head of the SA. And Hitler later had Roehm shot!! Egos of the dictators are always big!!

In 1938 some 1,513,400 men were serving in the Red Army. This was about one percent of the Soviet population, which is generally considered the normal, economically sustainable, maximum ratio of men under arms to total population.

One hundred years ago, the rule of thumb was one division of troops [10,000 men] for each 1 million of populace.

More later.