Temperamentally Unstable

Monday, July 18th, 2011

The Russians had their strengths, von Mellenthin notes in his Panzer Battles, but they did not respond well to surprise counterattacks:

The Russian soldier is temperamentally unstable; he is carried on by the herd instinct and is therefore not able to endure a sudden change from a triumphant advance to an enforced and precipitate withdrawal. During the counterattack we witnessed scenes of almost unparalleled panic among the Russians, to the astonishment of those who had experienced the stubborn, almost fanatical resistance the Russians put up in well-planned and efficiently organized defenses. It is true that the Russian can be superb in defense and reckless in mass attacks, but when faced by surprise and unforeseen situations he is an easy prey to panic. Field Marshal von Manstein proved in this operation that Russian mass attacks should be met by maneuver and not by rigid defense. The weakness of the Russian lies in his inability to face surprise; there he is most vulnerable. Manstein realized his weakness. He also realized that his own strength lay in the superior training of his junior commanders and their capacity for independent action and leadership. Thus he could afford to let his divisions withdraw for hundreds of miles, and then stage a smashing counterattack with the same divisions, which inflicted heavy blows on their startled and bewildered opponents.

I can definitely believe that was written by a German general.


  1. Chris says:

    Nothing like a tactical withdrawal of “hundreds of miles” to take the starch out of your enemy.

  2. Red says:

    Sounds about the same way the Red Chinese fought. For the last couple years of the Korean war we basically let them attack while we fell back until they reached their objectives. We then counter attacked rolling them back up all the way to the former lines while inflecting very heavy casualties on them. We basically bled them white for a couple of years till they decided to make peace. The Red Chinese troops had similar characteristics to the Red army troops.

  3. Isegoria says:

    I thought the exact same thing. This German description of the Red Army from WWII sounds just like an American description of the Red Chinese from Korea.

  4. Isegoria says:

    I don’t think it’s the disengagement that “takes the starch out of” them, so much as the sudden re-engagement.

  5. Kurt Steiner says:

    You are a typical bunch of politically correct WW2 history stooges. You believe everything the anti-Hitler generals, the US military and the woefully regimented corps of history ignoramuses.

    Hitler was a god, eh? He could micromanage the actions of literally hundreds of thousand German small units spread across Russia (to say nothing of Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa) many of whom had no radios? Did the God Hitler communicate telepathically? Yet, he is blamed for every mistake made by that minority of German generals who posture as experts and forgive themselves by blaming Hitler.

    Even the massive exaggerated tales of US Army prowess are believed by you. You must know then, that in spite of the wastage of billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars on micromanagement, the US military cannot keep track of most of its large units in any battle or even peaceful troop movements. Yet Hitler could micromanage the far less technically equipped Wehrmacht, circa 1939-45, which died over SIXTY (60) years ago?

    None of you even know that a minority of German Army Generals, colonels and other officers, as well as most General Staff officers, were traitors in service to the USSR. You do not know the extent of their sabotage that cost at least 2 million German soldier lies! You know nothing but what you are fed by turds who blame every error on Hitler. You of course do not bother to learn German and Russian as I have, and you don’t know of the thousands of German generals who disagree with the traitors and their sympathizers and are thus suppressed; or the secret Wehrmacht archives stolen by the US government which still keeps their truth under wraps.Yet, because the rest of the moron mobs say the same crap, you not only eat that crap but you chew it up , digest it, and it becomes part of your turdly physicality.

    It is now possible for those of you who want to know the truth to find it, first as the tip of the iceberg of truth, as written by men like Beevor. You must simultaneously be wise enough to not believe the bigoted, pro-Soviet Army pap of US military writers like Glantz. Of course Glantz has taught many of you to scorn anyone who challenges pro-Soviet propaganda with facts. For example, I’ll bet all of you hate Suvorov and other revisionists because you refuse to entertain any concepts but the ones feverishly beaten into your dogmatic minds from cradle to grave.

    Yes you are members of the great unwashed historical ignoramuses. You stupidity is displayed on every site that discusses war. Every now and then, like today, those of us who know the facts about the lies you swallow, tell you what we think of you.

  6. Isegoria says:

    Who and what are you responding to, Herr Steiner?

  7. etype says:

    Perhaps, “I can definitely believe that was written by a German general” was construed as criticism.

    Anyway, the General Staff wanted to fight a war of maneuver in the east, while it seems Hitler was determined to take and hold European Russia at all costs. This was his goal, and many feel, the fatal mistake.

    At any rate, the 1933–43 decade had been a whirlwind for Herr Hitler, and was becoming only more challenging with each week. Unfortunately Hitler really only trusted personally devoted party members and long-term political comrades, who were incapable of constructive input in these matters…. and he lost his bearings… that is one and my own theory.

    However the theories concerning the essential soundness of Hitler’s strategies, also that he was betrayed everywhere in these matters, has not been formulated and presented, chiefly as a matter of propaganda, and secondarily of habit and pride.

    Even if Hitler’s strategies were of the greatest genius the world had ever encountered, smaller matters such as personal stress and mental fatigue were overlooked to a degree so as to become overwhelming. Other matters such as access and degree of communication between the General Staff in the field, with the OKW and OKH completely marginalized, contrary to all German Military Tradition, which asserts the independence of command in front of the line of fire, and not behind… among other things… would lead many to dismiss the Hitler strategy in the east.

    Strategy is fine, the German General Staff needed to attend to tactics… and were restricted.

    For that matter a withdrawal of several hundred kilometres would have been an excellent start in destroying Russian supremacy in material.

  8. Isegoria says:

    Speaking of Antony Beevor — or ranting, as the case may be — C-SPAN has a one-hour interview with him discussing his most recent book, The Second World War.

  9. etype says:

    Well, I’ll watch the video. Does he rant? I’d love to see an author of history really go into a hitlerian rant during a book promotion on the second WW.

  10. Isegoria says:

    I’m afraid Beevor does not go into an epic rant. The closest thing I could find to a rant would be this interview on war movies.

Leave a Reply