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Patton quote ref US advantages over Russia & why we'd beat them if we kept going


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Was reading about something else, when I came across this Patton quote. I'm sure we've already long since understood what Patton thought needed to be done and why, so let's stipulate that. What I'd like to see discussed is his argument that if he kept going (wanted to take Prague), he could beat the Red Army in six weeks. I'm hardly a Red Army expert, but I will say several of the Russian accounts I've read talk about how utterly supply depleted the Red Army was, especially after taking Berlin. The Russians had shot their bolt and had no means of rapidly resupplying their forces, if the russian sources are to be believed. Some go so far as to state they were semistarved and deeply grateful to find a big vat of German margarine to supplement their meager rations. In light of that, I invite you to discuss the quote below, particularly since there's been an outcry dating back to CMx1 CMBO asking for the means to let us pit the Red Army vs the US, possibly with some German units under US control. 

 

“The American Army as it now exists could beat the Russians with the greatest of ease, because, while the Russians have good infantry, they are lacking in artillery, air, tanks, and in the knowledge of the use of the combined arms, whereas we excel in all three of these.”

Regards,

John Kettler

 

 
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LukeFF,

 

You urgently need a new hobby--other than harassing me every time I post. A question tied to the combat capabilities of the late war Red Army is entirely relevant to ask here, for the forces and weaponry Patton would've faced were already in service at the time of Operation Bagration, and this is where the people who really know their stuff on the Red Army dwell. If you're so enamored of the GDF, by all means go there, and, as I've repeatedly requested, leave me in peace!

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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John

Thanks for posting an "age old" question to be discussed here in the RT forum among well read and interested players.

I guess we need to know what Georgie meant by "beat" without atomic strikes. Also, what did he mean by "lacking" and

no knowledge of combined arms?

- Conquer Moscow/overthrow communist Russia : Impossible

- Push Russian back to pre-1939 border: Highly unlikely militarily and too costly with casualties

- Push Russians back away from Berlin into Poland: Maybe militarily but the boys are not coming home soon or transferred to

the pacific

- Tanks infantry and artillery: Well with enough supply the Red army would more than be a match for the west.

- TAC and Strategic Air: OK give the west the nod

As far as supply, I think the red army could at least have fielded a force capable of defending their gains.

With that, the was west lucky Stalin took a break in May 45.

Kevin

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I think everyone except for George was tired of war by 1945. For the Western Allies there was still Japan to deal with and the thought of high casualties there. Going after Stalin no matter how big a scoundrel he was and even more casualties would be unacceptable to the Western public. I think Stalin too was more than satisfied with what he had and the USSR was strained by manpower shortages. I don't see a Red Star/ White Star conflict as being at all likely before the Berlin Crisis in 1948. Sure Battlefront could do it anyway but I'd rather them work on something else 

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Wouldn't it be fair to dispute Patton's assertion:

 

 

...the Russians...are lacking in...the knowledge of the use of the combined arms...

too? Their operational art by the end of the war was at the very least "competent", within the constraints of their systems (tactical and logistical).

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The only way Patton would of got a war, is if the Russians continued it on taking Europe.

 

Considering the Germans had more power in the east then the west, is a telling event in itself. If the russians had continued on, they would of made quick gains, however the longer it went on the west would of worn them down by sheer air support and supplies alone. But the russians could of easily won europe if they were quick enough, but would of probably been stopped at the rhine and then suffered germans fate, quickly thrown back because their support lined too stretched by then.

 

I feel for the Polish out of all this, the west went to war over Poland and never won Poland's independence just handed it to another dictator. They had to wait 40 odd years for there independence one again.

Edited by Ardem
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Ardem

Not so sure the Rhine would have been the stopping point. In principle, the Allied supply was easier to interdict given

it needed to cross the Atlantic. The Red Air force probably could not knock out the ports but keep them at less than full

capacity. I wonder how much Stalin knew about the Bomb prior to August? Not to say it would have been used in Western Europe but maybe east of the Vistula striking supply lines.

Kevin

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Ardem

Not so sure the Rhine would have been the stopping point. In principle, the Allied supply was easier to interdict given

it needed to cross the Atlantic. The Red Air force probably could not knock out the ports but keep them at less than full

capacity. I wonder how much Stalin knew about the Bomb prior to August? Not to say it would have been used in Western Europe but maybe east of the Vistula striking supply lines.

Kevin

If the KM-plus-Luftwaffe couldn't interdict the transatlantic supply routes, the Soviet air force certainly couldn't. How many strategic-range bombers had the Russkies built by end-war? How many thousand bomber raids did they fly over Germany? If the Bomb was going to have been used, it would have been used on a city, not anything as flexible as supply lines. Initial production rates were very low. Not that Stalin would necessarily have been moved by that sort of "statistic".

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Given the west relied more on material than manpower and the Reds had a lot more manpower, I do think the west's supply would have been more tenuous vs the 45 Soviets than the 44 Germans. They would still need to be able to off load at the coast and even minor disruptions at the ports could have had a disproportionate effect. The Russians did not have to build a major strategic bomber force since they wanted ground for occupation and they put their resources into the army. I remember reading that allied strategic bombing turned out to be less cost effective than medium bomber and TAC air battlefield interdiction from a military POV.

Supply lines eventually run through cities so you are right about potential placement of 1 or 2 nukes - just not Berlin - farther to the east.

One thing we sometime miss is the Soviet position in southern Europe vs the West's. Covering that flank in a hypothetical WW3 would have stretched the allies even more.

Perhaps Stalin just wanted to consolidate his gains and thought communism would spread on its own with out major military actions. Hence the cold war.

Kevin

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Given the west relied more on material than manpower and the Reds had a lot more manpower, I do think the west's supply would have been more tenuous vs the 45 Soviets than the 44 Germans. They would still need to be able to off load at the coast and even minor disruptions at the ports could have had a disproportionate effect. The Russians did not have to build a major strategic bomber force since they wanted ground for occupation and they put their resources into the army. I remember reading that allied strategic bombing turned out to be less cost effective than medium bomber and TAC air battlefield interdiction from a military POV.

How do you figure the Russians' nonexistent bomber force would have been able to cause even minor disruptions at any port the Allies cared to defend? As you say, they didn't build (m)any strategic bombers and their pre-war models would have just been victims to class-of-45 interceptors fielded by the Allies. They hadn't had any cause to build serious submarine fleets, either, and their Navy would have been even more outclassed by the RN+USN, so they wouldn't even have had the shipping disruption that U-boats were causing (however limited) by the end of the war.

 

And once the supplies have been landed, the sheer industrial muscle of the US would ensure there were enough trucks to keep the logistics moving, better than the Russians could.

 

Attacking the south of Europe via the terrain of the Balkans would have taxed the Russians more than it would have taxed the Allies to defend it, with the littoral dominance they could exert.

 

And it's certain that Stalin thought he'd got "enough" or he would have come on further West. He had a buffer region between the West and the Rodina, and ideology could take care of the rest.

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Womble

I don't recall any significant allied forces in the south of Europe - not even Italy - to confront an albeit slow Red advance. I was thinking more on the lines of 5th column activity in the channel ports. Not strategic bombing. Or naval interdiction. I would not discount the Soviet industrial capacity. The point on getting it to the front is important. You must have noticed the square mileage conquered by the Reds June 44 to May 45 compared to the allies in the same period. But lets get back to John's Patton quote. George was insane to think the west was in position to attack the Soviets. In contrast the Soviets were in a better position to attack the west if so ordered. And if Patton was given charge of an Allied attack it would have failed leaving the west exposed to a massive counter offensive. The real mystery is why Patton thought the way he did, not Stalin's behavior after VE. Even if Stalin did continue the war against the west the decision would not have been as irrational as what Patton put forward in the quote above (beat with ease).

Kevin

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I think Patton just made the same mistake as Hitler (and Napoleon) did: underestimating Russia.

 

After D-day, the Allies went from strength to strength, and though they suffered losses, the war was always headed towards victory. I think Patton got a bit too used to being on the winning side in a war against an enemy stuck in a completely hopeless two-front war.

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And so the next interesting question is about the conspiracy theory regarding Pattons death - that it was orchestrated by elements of the US government to get rid of a extremely high ranking military member who was agitating for war against the Soviets and making embarrassing statements regarding the greatness of the Nazis...

 

I personally think that while  the US had Japan in a position where it could effectively put them 'on hold', and shift much of its USN assets and other ground assets to the ETO.  Then theres the matter of the huge amount of manpower not even used or tapped yet at the end of the war.    The US military had suffered relatively light casualties, while the British were more or less spent. The Soviets had suffered massive casualties, and taking on the US after Germany, combined with cessation of lend lease makes me think that whatever gains the Red Army did make in central Europe would be quickly rolled back.   However it would have to be a Soviet attack, no Western attack would work, the public support would be nonexistent, everyone was war weary and the Western public's perception of the Soviet Union took a few years to make the drastic about face it did and this was after blatant hostility for a few years and provocative actions by the Soviets. Simply trying to say Uncle Joe is now Joe the bogeyman and we're attacking him would perhaps work in a fascist dictatorship such as Nazi Germany, but not in the United States.

Edited by Sublime
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So how would China play in all this?

1. China would stand by and let the WW3 1946 play on, or

2. China would side with their communistic idealist allies, or would

3 China take advantage of the situation and make a land grab across the Ussuri (thus making them allies of sorts)

They didn't stand by in 1950.

Patton wasn't the only one, Churchill's operation unthinkable laid down the ground work for such a continuation of war.

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China wasn't really in a position to do anything meaningful to affect a war between the Allies and the USSR. The two competing blocs of their civil war (Kuomintang and Communists) were only presenting a united front against the Japanese, and as soon as the threat was removed, returned to their internecine conflict. Maybe the two sides would have declared support for their ideological partners, and maybe some minor quantities of war materiel would have been sent their way, but "China" as a unified political entity didn't exist in 1945, and even if it had've, it lacked the reach to affect anything in Europe.

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Yes as womble stated china would do nothing, their civil war wasnt over until 1949 iirc. More interesting to me is the extent of trust between allies and their new nazi allies, how that would work, and the japanese role.

I think it would serve the debate well to remember we view it post the 40 yr long cold war. In 1945 britain and the us had very strong left wing elements in them and it would be hard to adjust public opinion to an evil ussr without blatant soviet aggression. Someone asked or.wondered aloud what stalin knew of the us atomic bomb. He knew quite a bit, as both the us and british governments were pretty thoroughly penetrated by the nkvd - the rosenbergs in.the manhattan project, philby in mi-6? Or was it 5. Etc etc etc.

In addition the year of the what if scenario is crucial 1945 being.quite different than 47 for example. 1945 imo would be the prime time.for the western allies to fight and win - less demob, nuclear head start, forces in place...

Edited by Sublime
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Yes as womble stated china would do nothing, their civil war wasnt over until 1949 iirc. More interesting to me is the extent of trust between allies and their new nazi allies, how that would work, and the japanese role.

I think it would serve the debate well to remember we view it post the 40 yr long cold war. In 1945 britain and the us had very strong left wing elements in them and it would be hard to adjust public opinion to an evil ussr without blatant soviet aggression. Someone asked or.wondered aloud what stalin knew of the us atomic bomb. He knew quite a bit, as both the us and british governments were pretty thoroughly penetrated by the nkvd - the rosenbergs in.the manhattan project, philby in mi-6? Or was it 5. Etc etc etc.

In addition the year of the what if scenario is crucial 1945 being.quite different than 47 for example. 1945 imo would be the prime time.for the western allies to fight and win - less demob, nuclear head start, forces in place...

 

It's an open question how many casualties America would have been able to stomach though, being a democracy fighting a war far from home.

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True. But a different time, with the media completely in step with the government.  Now if it was a US crusade to Moscow with a European coalition with no real pretext, like an American Barbarossa, the US public would prolly get pissy pretty quick.  Then again perhaps not, if it was played right.  However if the Red Army attacked openly, and it was obvious that they were aggressively invading all that we had invaded to liberate from far right facism, and now the exact same was happening with far left communism I think you'd be surprised. The public would stomach casualties. Not millions of dead but I dont think the US would have millions of dead.  I think the conflict would end in an armistice with neither side being able to completely and totally win in the manner of crushing the Third Reich.  So I'd see US casualties maybe around what was expected of Operation OIympic.  And perhaps the forcing hand of the armistice, after lets say a summer of combat in 45 would lead to a couple of atomic bombs being dropped on Moscow and Leningrad by B29s.  Maybe Stalins killed, maybe not.  I doubt bomb shelters even now would stop a nuclear blast, except the ones put in mountains and made after years of atomic testing - this is 1945 we're talking about. (lets say confusion amongst the meeting armies led to skirmishing which led to Stalin fearing Churchill was running the show over the new US president Truman and Stalin ordering the Red Army into open combat against the west for example)

It has to be remembered though that without the Soviets being openly aggressively totalitarian and killing US troops and allies, the public would follow but it wouldnt be the same.  I dont see the public revolting in almost any scenario in that time frame however.  America was completely on a war footing, the media was completely in step with the government, and Hoover was running the FBI.   It also should be remembered that while the Western allies bled heavily, it wasnt like the devastation and casualties the Soviets took. Especially when you compare it to America.  We had millions of men who werent even in combat yet that could be used.  So the Red Army attacks into a hail of napalm, tac air, strat air, and a $hit-ton of US/Brit/French/German troops.  Maybe they'd advance maybe not.  It'd be an interesting fight.  But everyone always remembers the massive Russian army and seems to forget the US military was probably at its all time peak in history with 8 million men and 'only' roughly 500k casualties on both sides of the world.  The Sov. were invaded, and had roughly 30 million dead.  If nothing else even if the Red Army pushed to France you have the troops in Italy already by the Alps. Mobilized.    Of course, the Soviets despite casualties had good equipment and had learned a lot.  So any Western Allied offensive would be blood soaked.  My mind pictures not static warfare in trenches, but an elastic frontline based on WW2 style combined arms offensives and counteroffensives where neither side gets that far from where they started and a ruined wasteland being fought over.  Casualties mount.  Thousand bomber raids around the clock, then nukes and then some uneasy peace treaty.

However if we fast forward to say the Berlin blockade, the situation gets ugly. It gets really ugly in the 1950s.  The Allies would have been overrun and the US would have been tossing nuclear weapons  about like it was going out of style.  Europe would evaporate and much of the US and Russia too (in the 50s)

In the Berlin Blockade scenario the Red Army probably could push to the channel. But the 'soft underbelly' remains, and Americas unsinkable aircraft carrier - England - remains.  So the Red Army occupies Europe. The Allies who basically just went through the toughest training course in history on invading Europe - the destruction of the third reich - repeat 1940-1945.  Bombing, side offensives, eventually an attempted landing in Europe, if peace hasnt came yet.  Perhaps at the same time a surprise Soviet nuking of say London.  Then the question is - after 9 years of war does Britain part with the US, tell us to screw and go home and tell the Russians to stop tossing nukes at the war torn island?

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.

However if we fast forward to say the Berlin blockade, the situation gets ugly. It gets really ugly in the 1950s.  The Allies would have been overrun and the US would have been tossing nuclear weapons  about like it was going out of style.  Europe would evaporate and much of the US and Russia too (in the 50s)

In the Berlin Blockade scenario the Red Army probably could push to the channel. But the 'soft underbelly' remains, and Americas unsinkable aircraft carrier - England - remains.  So the Red Army occupies Europe. The Allies who basically just went through the toughest training course in history on invading Europe - the destruction of the third reich - repeat 1940-1945.  Bombing, side offensives, eventually an attempted landing in Europe, if peace hasnt came yet.  Perhaps at the same time a surprise Soviet nuking of say London.  Then the question is - after 9 years of war does Britain part with the US, tell us to screw and go home and tell the Russians to stop tossing nukes at the war torn island?

"We are now at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia. Big Brother is watching you."

 

1984 was written in 1948.

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Well it was an interesting quote and a great book but can you explain the connection to my feeble mind Womble my old friend?

Yes I know 1984 was written in 48 thats why its 1984 he reversed the numbers.  IIRC he become throughly disillusioned with both fascism and communism.  Having been both at different points.

 

Seriously though womble, my mini essay - can I have your serious opinion on it? Ive always respected your posts if though you are a sarcastic pr*ck ;)

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The Soviets wouldn't have even had an air force to speak of after the first month or two. As for ground forces, if you add up the US, UK and and French troops in Europe on VE day they are nearly a match for the Red Army.

I would also add that America wasn't even fully tapped into their manpower reserves by 1945.  The US was still forming and fielding new full strength divisions almost up until the end of the war and there were several divisions in training that hadn't even been deployed overseas yet. 

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