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Stalingrad program on U.S. Hist Chan now 11:34 p.m. PST

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Still haven't seen the whole thing, even on rebroadcast, but what I saw was really good and most groggy, to include:

* live fire comparisons of zeroing procedures for Russian and German sniper rifle telescopic sights (Russian one zeroed in half the rounds and w/o special tools)

*limitations to Panzers in street fighting from weapon elevation limits, mobility impediments from rubble and other channelization, Russian weapons fired from above (ATR and MMG shown going into high position) and pervasive sniper threat

* discussion of huge Russian trained sniper base (prewar Osoviakhim) and atypical lauding of snipers and their deeds; female sniper shown at work

* weapon function checks after -40 F. 2 hr. cold soak using standard German gun lube

and Russian gun lube with gasoline added (German rifle barely worked, Russian rifle much better)

* substantial heat retention difference between winter equipped German soldier mit Stahlhelm and Russian soldier with ushanka and quilted winter uniform (not the Siberian snowsuit!)--8 degrees F. after 2 hr. coldsoak at -30 F., representing duration of typical sentry tour

* horrific casualties to troops and civilians, including astronomic post surrender % losses of German POWs (roughly 1 in 15 came back after the War) and the fact that much of the fighting didn't take place in Stalingrad proper; Russian fatalities shown being dug up and IDed by amateurs today near former village site 30 miles from Stalingrad

* previously classified Russian female bacteriologist who was responsible for keeping Red Army in Stalingrad fighting (rated as valuable as three senior commanders) via vaccines she created against typhus, tularemia, etc.; German discovery that men keeling over for no apparent reason had starved to death; attempts to combat this with tinned meat paste increased die off rate via "phosphate crashing" before nutrients could be assimilated and save the men, similar to Allied experience with concentration camp survivors and prisoners of the Japanese, both of whom ate themselves to death in fair numbers when given food

* German unpreparedness at all levels for street fighting and related distaste--called it the Rat War; Russian skill and techniques in fortifying and exploiting the buildings and rubble.

By History Channel standards, the footage was pretty much on target and impressive, though the viewer would think that late model Panzer IVs were the norm, based on clips and some ill advised on camera statements by a British expert on German armor. War art, though, showed short barreled Panzer IVs. Marder firing across the steppe is called a Panzer IV in VO.

Hope a bunch of you get to see this!


John Kettler

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