09 July 2010

Always, always, laugh when people

Say America won WW2.

Because Russia did most of the work.

"How serious were they about the Battle of Kursk? Look what they brought:

Almost 800,000 men. About 3,000 tanks. More than 2,000 planes. Nearly 10,000 cannons and mortars.

It would be one of the largest attack forces ever assembled in human history. What could possibly stop it? How about the single most powerful defense force ever assembled? The Soviets caught wind of the force the Nazis were massing, and reinforced the region with this:

Nearly 2,000,000 men. More than 5,000 tanks. More than 25,000 big guns and nearly 3,000 aircraft.

The Soviet defensive line alone was more than 150 miles long, and 95 miles deep. They dug 3,000 miles of trenches, and planted a million landmines. Once it was show time in July 1943, you had the best the Germans had versus the best the Soviets had in the largest toe-to-toe battle in human history.

Who won? Well, the Soviets became the first military to ever stop a blitzkrieg. But holy shit it wasn't easy. By the time the Nazis decided they'd had enough, over 6,000 destroyed German and Soviet tanks sat burning on the battlefield. As many as 5,000 aircraft lay scattered in smoking hunks of twisted metal.

More than one million uniformed corpses littered the ground.

To put it in perspective: that's more losses than every war in American history up to that point put together. And remember, although large enough to be passed off as its own freaking war, the Battle of Kursk was just one battle in the larger Eastern Front of WWII."

We made a cameo and helped resolve things with some witty and cleverly written lines basically by comparison. We did out-build everybody (although in some categories the USSR was pretty damned close, tanks for example, but they also didn't have any trucks and not much in the way of ships). But the actual heavy work was somewhere else. And much like linemen in football, nobody cares about the heavy boring work. Even our own sort of slog, Hurtgen Forest, the Italian campaign, or the post-Bulge winter fights in Metz and Aachen etc, gets ignored (the hedgerow campaign in Normandy does get some attention).

It's much more exciting to build things and have rapid and bold campaigns of maneuver advancing on the enemy with big lines drawn on the map as in Africa, France, Normandy, and the air war. Keeps the people happy back home.

Oh. There's also that little matter of the Cold War making Stalin into the full on enemy bogeyman that his dictatorial reign of terror and oppression deserved to be in the first place. But I give credit where credit is due here.
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