Written by Grant G
Growing up in the late 60`s early 70`s, an era of few television stations, movies, dramas and few selections available for viewing, loved to watch westerns and war movies, standard plots with white hats and black hats, heroes riding in on galloping stallions to save the day.....
War movies, almost every film had the Americans saving the day, if one watched just cinema you would come to the conclusion that only America fought, only America won battles, very few feature films recognized Canada`s contribution to WW II....The longest day featuring John Wayne was one of them, a true story about the D-day invasion and subsequent battles...
Recently I watched couple of films on war, in particular STALINGRAD....And another film called The Battle Of Stalingrad..
Only now, in looking back do I realize the reason why Hollywood left Russia out of the glory, that is if one believes there is any glory in war, ....The cold war, so soon after WW II tensions between the Russian Bear and the USA flared up, the long cold war battle, a race to build up armaments and a race to win the hearts and minds of those paying attention, this all taking place at a time when Hollywood was coming into its glory days....Cold war was raging while Hollywood was grooming white hat heroes, this unfortunately left the Russian`s WW II efforts in the cold, shut out, mainstream media made hundreds of American war movies that literally edited Russia and Canada out of the scripts..
Canada paid a heavy price in WWII....
Canada's military was active in every theatre of war, though most battles occurred in Italy, Northwestern Europe, and the North Atlantic.
Over the course of the war, 1.1 million Canadians served in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Of these more than 45,000 lost their lives and another 54,000 were wounded. The financial cost was $21,786,077,519.13, between the 1939 and 1950 fiscal years. By the end of the War, Canada had the world's fourth largest air force, and fifth largest navy. As well, the Canadian Merchant Navy completed over 25,000 voyages across the Atlantic. Many Allied pilots trained in Canada during the war. Canadians also served in the militaries of various Allied countries.
By D-Day, 6 June 1944, the landings at Normandy were accomplished by two beachheads made by the American forces at Omaha and Utah, two by British forces, Sword and Gold, and a final one at Juno made by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.
The war had significant cultural, political and economic effects on Canada, including the conscription crisis which affected unity between Canadian francophones and anglophones. However, the war effort not only strengthened the Canadian economy but further established Canada as a major actor on the world stage.
Canadians were as brave, as heroic as any other military in the world, our contribution was rooted in right, as in a right to exist and live in peace, my admiration to all those who enlist, all those who serve is high, braver than me they be..
Only though the lens of time does one see how the Russians were vilified, those movies played around the world portrayed an American fighting machine standing up for our British and European friends, so few films documented the heavy toll the Russians suffered in WWII....Hollywood then portrayed Russia as the bad guy in the decades long cold war with the USA....Many feel as I do, through political and media spin that Russia lost the cold war, nothing could be further from the truth, the escalation of nuclear arms was scary, the Bay of Pigs episode, I remember as a boy the fear educators schooled us in, fear of Russians dropping nuclear bombs....From what I read and come to understand what really ended the cold war, Russian leaders actually saw the light, they also saw something very scary in Ronald Regan`s eyes, a cowboy, a wannabe white hat Hollywood actor with his finger firmly placed on nuclear launch buttons, Russia test fired the largest nuclear bomb ever, it wasn`t about losing the battle, losing the cold war, Russia backed down because Ronald Regan was prepared to launch, assuring mutual destruction in a world set afire..
So once again Russia is labeled a loser, headlines go the American`s way, again...
Stephen Harper, wagging his pointed finger at Russia, pretending he has clout, standing or means, when all Harper possesses is the hat, by no means do I wish to disparage our fine, upstanding members of our military but truth be told Russia could squish us like bug underfoot, without America`s might directly south at the ready to defend us Harper wouldn`t dare utter a sordid word, we are weak, our military machinery is in disarray, our navy near non-existent, fighter jets held together with super-glue, every military procurement deliberately botched so Harper can claim a balanced budget, Harper awarded Seaspan and Irving shipyards multi-billion dollar contracts for new naval ships 5 years ago and to this day not one piece of steel has been cut, if Canada was in war today, we would be losers, WW II, the time was pressing, the need urgent, we built ships we chose a design and went with it....Stephen Harper the cowboy is riding a jackass and it`s not just military ships, still no new jets, no transport vehicles, no new helicopters available for anything, including flying out to fishing lodges to pick up Peter McKay...Stephen Harper`s military shame goes far beyond hardware, he betrayed the men betrayed veterans, through guile and thievery the Harper regime treated our military persons as castoffs as costly discards, only now with a federal election looming does Harper pretend to be human..
Canada lost 45,000 heroes in WWII....but what of Russia, the country left out of Hollywood`s feature films, the loser of the cold war, the big bad Russian bear, what about them...How many heroes did Russia lose in WWII...?
Russia lost 27 million people fighting in WWII, they also accounted for 80% of all German troop losses..
Although it has been debated whether the Soviet Union intended to invade Germany once it was strong enough, Germany itself broke the treaty and invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, starting what was known in the USSR as the "Great Patriotic War". The Red Army stopped the seemingly invincible German Army at the Battle of Moscow, aided by an unusually harsh winter. The Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from late 1942 to early 1943, dealt a severe blow to the Germans from which they never fully recovered and became a turning point in the war. After Stalingrad, Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe to Berlin before Germany surrendered in 1945. The German Army suffered 80% of its military deaths in the Eastern Front
The same year, the USSR, in fulfillment of its agreement with the Allies at the Yalta Conference, denounced the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1945 and invaded Manchukuo and other Japan-controlled territories on 9 August 1945. This conflict ended with a decisive Soviet victory, contributing to the unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of World War II.
The Soviet Union suffered greatly in the war, losing around 27 million people. Despite this, it emerged as a superpower in the post-war period. Once denied diplomatic recognition by the Western world, the Soviet Union had official relations with practically every nation by the late 1940s. A member of the United Nations at its foundation in 1945, the Soviet Union became one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which gave it the right to veto any of its resolutions (see Soviet Union and the United Nations).
The Soviet Union maintained its status as one of the world's two superpowers for four decades through its hegemony in Eastern Europe, military strength, economic strength, aid to developing countries, and scientific research, especially in space technology and weaponry
Without Russia sacrificing a huge portion of their entire population fighting to the death against Hitler we would probably be speaking German today...In fact if one examines the history of the battle of Stalingrad and Russia as a whole, one could say that Russia`s never surrender attitude won the war...If Russia laid down like some nations did the war would have been lost..I`m not exaggerating, it`s true, Russia is owed much respect, and no, I`m not saying I agree with Russia`s advancement into the Ukraine but it`s not our battle, huge swaths of that country`s populous wants Russian intervention, they believe it will bring prosperity and a brighter future..
The battle of Stalingrad was brutal hand to hand face to face bloodshed, ...I`m going to cut n paste some more Wikipedia on Russia`s WWII effort, I recommend every read it in its entirety...
The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the south-western Soviet Union.
Marked by constant close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as the single largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. The heavy losses inflicted on the Wehrmacht make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole war. It was a turning point in the European theatre of World War II–the German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses.
The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in late summer 1942 using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The fighting degenerated into building-to-building fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones generally along the west bank of the Volga River.
On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian forces protecting the German 6th Army's flanks. The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out; instead, attempts were made to supply the army by air and to break the encirclement from the outside. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food. The remaining elements of the 6th Army surrendered.:p.932 The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days.
On 23 August the 6th Army reached the outskirts of Stalingrad in pursuit of the 62nd and 64th Armies, which had fallen back into the city. Kleist later said after the war:
"The capture of Stalingrad was subsidiary to the main aim. It was only of importance as a convenient place, in the bottleneck between Don and the Volga, where we could block an attack on our flank by Russian forces coming from the east. At the start, Stalingrad was no more than a name on the map to us."The Soviets had enough warning of the Germans' advance to ship grain, cattle, and railway cars across the Volga and out of harm's way but most civilian residents were not evacuated. This "harvest victory" left the city short of food even before the German attack began. Before the Heer reached the city itself, the Luftwaffe had rendered the River Volga, vital for bringing supplies into the city, unusable to Soviet shipping. Between 25 and 31 July, 32 Soviet ships were sunk, with another nine crippled.:p.69
The battle began with the heavy bombing of the city by Generaloberst Wolfram von Richthofen's Luftflotte 4, which in the summer and autumn of 1942 was the most powerful single air formation in the world. Some 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped in 48 hours, more than in London at the height of the Blitz.:p.122 Much of the city was quickly turned to rubble, although some factories continued production while workers joined in the fighting. The 369th (Croatian) Reinforced Infantry Regiment was the only non-German unit selected by the Wehrmacht to enter Stalingrad city during assault operations. It fought as part of the 100th Jäger Division.
Stalin rushed all available troops to the east bank of the Volga, some from as far away as Siberia. All the regular ferries were quickly destroyed by the Luftwaffe, which then targeted troop barges being towed slowly across the river by tugs. Many civilians were evacuated across the Volga. It has been said that Stalin prevented civilians from leaving the city in the belief that their presence would encourage greater resistance from the city's defenders.:p.106 Civilians, including women and children, were put to work building trenchworks and protective fortifications. A massive German strategic bombing on 23 August caused a firestorm, killing thousands and turning Stalingrad into a vast landscape of rubble and burnt ruins. Ninety percent of the living space in the Voroshilovskiy area was destroyed. Between 23 and 26 August, Soviet reports indicate 955 people were killed and another 1,181 wounded as a result of the bombing.:p.73 Casualties of 40,000 were greatly exaggerated,:p.188–189 and after 25 August, the Soviets did not record any civilian and military casualties as a result of air raids.[Note
Soviet operations were constantly hampered by the Luftwaffe. On 18 September, the Soviet 1st Guards and 24th Army launched an offensive against VIII Army Corps at Kotluban. VIII. Fliegerkorps dispatched wave after wave of Stuka dive-bombers to prevent a breakthrough. The offensive was repulsed. The Stukas claimed 41 of the 106 Soviet tanks knocked out that morning, while escorting Bf 109s destroyed 77 Soviet aircraft.:p.80 Amid the debris of the wrecked city, the Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies, which included the Soviet 13th Guards Rifle Division, anchored their defense lines with strongpoints in houses and factories.
Fighting within the ruined city was fierce and desperate. Lieutenant General Alexander Rodimtsev was in charge of the 13th Guards Rifle Division, and received one of two Heroes of the Soviet Union awarded during the battle for his actions. Stalin's Order No. 227 of 27 July 1942 decreed that all commanders who ordered unauthorized retreat would be subject to a military tribunal. However, it was the NKVD that ordered the regular army and lectured them, on the need to show some guts. Through brutal coercion for self-sacrifice, thousands of deserters and presumed malingerers were executed to discipline the troops. At Stalingrad alone, 14,000 soldiers of the Red Army were executed in order to keep the formation. "Not a step back!" and "There is no land behind the Volga!" were the slogans. The Germans pushing forward into Stalingrad suffered heavy casualties.
Many women fought on the Soviet side, or were under fire. As General Chuikov acknowledged, "Remembering the defence of Stalingrad, I can't overlook the very important question ... about the role of women in war, in the rear, but also at the front. Equally with men they bore all the burdens of combat life and together with us men, they went all the way to Berlin." At the beginning of the battle there were 75,000 women and girls from the Stalingrad area who had finished military or medical training, and all of whom were to serve in the battle. Women staffed a great many of the anti-aircraft batteries that fought not only the Luftwaffe but German tanks. Soviet nurses not only treated wounded personnel under fire but were involved in the highly dangerous work of bringing wounded soldiers back to the hospitals under enemy fire. Many of the Soviet wireless and telephone operators were women who often suffered heavy casualties when their command posts came under fire. Though women were not usually trained as infantry, many Soviet women fought as machine gunners, mortar operators, and scouts. Women were also snipers at Stalingrad. Three air regiments at Stalingrad were entirely female. At least three women won the title Hero of the Soviet Union while driving tanks at Stalingrad.
For both Stalin and Hitler, Stalingrad became a matter of prestige far beyond its strategic significance. The Soviet command moved units from the Red Army strategic reserve in the Moscow area to the lower Volga, and transferred aircraft from the entire country to the Stalingrad region.
CasualtiesThe calculation of casualties depends on what scope is given to the battle of Stalingrad. The scope can vary from just the fighting within the city and suburbs itself to the inclusion of almost all fighting on the southern wing of the Soviet-German front from the spring of 1942 to the end of the fighting in the city in the winter of 1943. Different scholars have produced different estimates depending on their definition of the scope of the battle. The difference is comparing the city against the region.
The Axis suffered 850,000 total casualties (wounded, killed, captured) among all branches of the German armed forces and its allies; 400,000 Germans, 200,000 Romanians, 130,000 Italians, and 120,000 Hungarians were killed, wounded or captured.
On the material side, the Germans losses were 900 aircraft (including 274 transports and 165 bombers used as transports), 500 tanks, and 6,000 artillery pieces.:122–123 According to a contemporary Soviet report, 5,762 artillery pieces; 1,312 mortars; 12,701 heavy machine guns; 156,987 rifles; 80,438 sub-machine guns; 10,722 trucks; 744 aircraft; 1,666 tanks; 261 other armored vehicles; 571 half-tracks; and 10,679 motorcycles were captured by the Soviets. An unknown amount of Hungarian, Italian, and Romanian material was lost.
The USSR, according to archival figures, suffered 1,129,619 total casualties; 478,741 personnel killed or missing, and 650,878 wounded or sick. On the material side, the USSR lost 4,341 tanks destroyed or damaged, 15,728 artillery pieces, and 2,769 combat aircraft.
Anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing by Luftflotte 4 as the German 4th Panzer and 6th Armies approached the city; The total number of civilians killed in Stalingrad is unknown.
In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7–2 million Axis and Soviet casualties.
Luftwaffe lossesAircraft losses of the Luftwaffe for the supply of the 6th Army at Stalingrad, and the recovery of wounded from 24 November 1942 to 31 January 1943:
|269||Junkers Ju 52|
|169||Heinkel He 111|
|42||Junkers Ju 86|
|9||Focke-Wulf Fw 200|
|5||Heinkel He 177|
|1||Junkers Ju 290|
|Total: 495||Equivalent to five squadrons or more than an air corps|
These losses amounted to about 50% of total aircraft committed. In addition, the Luftwaffe training program was stopped and sorties in other theaters of war were significantly reduced to save fuel for use at Stalingrad.