Author Topic: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread  (Read 57621 times)

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Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #300 on: September 14, 2015, 02:28:38 AM »
Sniper Ace: From the Eastern Front to Siberia by Bruno Sutkus

Another story of a German sniper on the Eastern front. I guess this is like the time I got on streak reading about WWI aerial Aces. I wanted to get an understanding of what their lives were like, and what made the best ones successful. 

Bruno was a by the book kind of sniper, but an exceptionally talented one. He had 207 confirmed kills over a short time period- something like 6 months. 52 of these were other snipers. There were approximately equal shares of a) officers and commisars, b) machine gunners, and c) the final share were a mixture of sentries, couriers, artillery spotters, mortar crewmen, and other infantry.

He sort of saw himself as a dead man walking, not expecting to survive the war. Perhaps that attitude kept him calm under pressure. Unlike Sepp, who started out near the eastern end of the Black Sea, in a fighting withdrawal across Europe with basically nothing in his unit but small arms and grenades most of the way, and whatever they could capture, Bruno was in a WWI style scenario, defending the border of the Fatherland from the Russians in a trench warfare scenario. He only went without food for one week on the front. His grenadier unit had heavy weapons, his division had artillery and an anti-tank battalion. The lost men were replaced sometimes.

Bruno said his success was a matter of skill and luck. He was very proficient at estimating distances and wind and correcting for it. He never gave away his position by firing unless he expected a hit, and while he usually worked between 300 and 600 meters, he had multiple kills as close as 20 in surprise encounters, and a couple at 800 or so. He was also wicked fast, often killing a second enemy while they were staring at their fallen comrade like a deer in the headlights. Or frequently killing a sniper that put a bullet past his neck before they could fire again.

As for luck, shooting at Bruno or somebody beside him was so unlucky as to be suicidal.

  Bruno was doing farm work dawn to dusk as a 14 year-old when his father became an invalid. By night, he was smuggling across the East Prussia- Lithuanian border to make money. Long hours, being outdoors and avoiding sentries was natural to him before he joined the army. He would notice when a clump of grass or cluster of leaves wasn't waving the same way in the wind. He seemed to know when he was being watched and sink lower into the ground.

Heidrick Himmler fancied his exploits and praised and advertised him as a sort of national hero. After the war that would prove to be a problem, seeing as how what used to be his village was behind the Iron Curtain. During the war the attention helped him to get a nurse girlfriend.

"She advised me to speak to an American colonel in Wiesbaden who had a proposal for me. This turned out to be an opening for an armed security officer working at a gold and diamond mine in
the Congo. The contract was for several years. The snag was that beforehand the colonel expected me to accompany his military unit to the Far East where I would probably be expected to snipe freelance. I told him I was not for sale. When he argued that we had wanted ‘to conquer the world’, I pointed out that the United States had helped the Russians slaughter us in our efforts to save Europe from the Red menace. The Americans had betrayed us, costing millions of lives. The United States was interested only in the financial benefits war brought: they had helped the Red lice and now they would have to deal with them. The colonel advised me that if I would not sign his contract I should seek work in Wiesbaden – if I returned to my mother in Leipzig the Russians would arrest me for sure. When I retorted that all I had been was a simple soldier at the front, he said I should not be so naive: they would either put me on trial for my life or I might get lucky and be sent to a forced-labour camp in Siberia."

Sutkus, Bruno (2012-09-26). Sniper Ace: From the Eastern Front to Siberia (Kindle Locations 1380-1387). Casemate Publishers. Kindle Edition.

His integrity was admirable. Unfortunately for him, as person without a country post war, he was both tried and exiled to northern Irkutsk. More than once the KGB offered him a chance to return to Germany on the condition that he become a spy, and he refused. He only returned to Germany after the fall of communism. The second half of the book is about his sufferings after the war.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #301 on: September 14, 2015, 02:53:12 AM »
;popcorn

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #302 on: September 14, 2015, 03:12:35 AM »
The second half is kind of a downer, and I don't really want to turn the thread into a Commies Sux thing. Bruno was a brave Nazi, but he wasn't wise enough to keep his mouth shut. He would have been a famous gunfighter in the old west. He was lethal in a duel. He wasn't as clever as Sepp. I doubt if Bruno would have figured out how to take out 18 opposing snipers in one afternoon.

I'd like to read about the Russian Sniper's perspective on WWII next.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #303 on: September 14, 2015, 03:17:00 AM »
Oh, THAT'll be EVERY bit as objective and fair as the Nazi's account.  No grudges getting in the way or anything...

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #304 on: September 14, 2015, 03:48:44 AM »
The simple slaughter of the Fascist Pigs in the Great Patriotic War?

After the documentation of Operation Thunder and the Soviet intention for a 2nd European War to spread Bolshevism to the Atlantic, what I find most interesting is this-

Both The Russians and Germans embraced the sniper approach as a way to make the most of scarce soldiers and bullets when losing.

The Russian distinction of a War Crime with regard to snipers was executing an un-armed man, or at least an unarmed Russian man. Apparently they had no problem with Commissars shooting un-armed malcontents from the labor camps in the back to keep them advancing on the German trenches.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #305 on: September 14, 2015, 03:58:15 AM »
Russians are hard, and they make very bad enemies, as they will be the first to say.

I have a policy of making friends with Russians when I can, coincidentally.  I love the accents, and the incredible-rudeness can be sort of refreshing/relaxing.  It can mean they like you, you know, if they do it to your face when they didn't have to talk to you, and they just don't play trivial social games.  You always know where you stand with a Russian who deigns to talk to you more than necessary.  They really do droll sarcasm and dry wit well, too - part of the characteristic national fatalism.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #306 on: September 16, 2015, 06:49:13 AM »
NOTES OF A RUSSIAN SNIPER by Vasseli Zietsev

First, let me say that I like this guy. I think that at heart, he was a Patriot. He also retained his humanity. Yes, he did kill other snipers in revenge a couple of times, but it was a straight- forward sniper strike clean kill against the killer of his comrade. His career ended when he went out to accept the surrender of a group of trapped German assault troops. The Germans fired rockets at their own men. Vasseli saw the rocket coming, but refused to show fear before the Germans, and didn't take cover. He awoke in a hospital with bandages on his eyes. He eventually got his eyesight back, but it was the end of his combat career.

Vasseli was a member of the Young Communist League, and for his service during the Siege of Stalingrad was inducted into the Communist Party, Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and made A Hero of the Soviet Union. He is credited with over 300 kills.

His dad was a forester, and he grew up in the Taiga part of the Urals hunting and trapping. He joined the Navy, and was assigned as a bookkeeper in Kamchatka on the Pacific coast. He volunteered to go Stalingrad and defend Mother Russia against the invaders. When he arrived, the life expectancy for a Russian soldier there was 24 hours. Yes, that's right, hours ! That makes 3 or 4 week life expectancy of a U-boat crewman, or a WWI pilot sound rather lucrative by comparison.

Stalingrad being Stalin's namesake, he and Hitler turned the battle into a turning point. The Germans still had air superiority , Stuka squadrons, artillery, and panzer support. Some days were battles for possession of a room in a factory. It was a room by room, floor by floor afair sometimes, although as the city gradually transformed into rubble, it became more of a trench warfare scenario. Both sides were pouring men and supplies into the battle as best they could.

He got assigned as a sniper when he killed two men at 600 meters with a standard rifle with open sights. It doesn't talk about taking longer shots, but he made numerous kills at that range with sniper equipment.

Alexi probably wasn't as clever as Sepp, or as quick as Bruno. But he always did his best, and he learned from his mistakes. He had that outstanding quality shared with Eddie Rickenbacker in biplanes in WWI and Dick O'Kane  in submarines in WWII - a) Strive to become your best and serve as an example, b) figure out better ways of doing things, c) impart that knowledge to as many people as possible.  The way Alexi saw it, it was the best way to avenge his own inevitable death. The way I see it, it's leaders like that who change the course of a war.

At one point they were observing 3 German Lt's washing in a reservoir concealed by bushes. Alexi refused to let his comrades shoot. When they returned the next day they killed 4 officers- majors and colonels. Patience paid off.

The SS summoned the head of the Wermacht sniper school to the front to eliminate this pesky Ruskie. The dual took several days, as both men were very patient. Some of Alexi's understudies were wounded in the process of them stalking each other, but the German Major died.  Alexi always respected the enemy's cunning and organization. They had a saying that you had to first deceive a German before you could kill one.

*********************************
I'm reading a book about WWII snipers in general, now, including Alexi. To be clear, Alexi shot the German Major in the head.

I thought when I read the first book that Alexi was foolish for not getting more sleep. Sniping requires keen senses and wits. Reading the second book I learned that sniping was additional duty, and that a Russian soldier wasn't exempt from night time guard duty, or joining an assault just because he became a sniper and was out digging holes and concealing them at night so that he could be in them by daybreak.


« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 02:49:44 AM by Rusty Edge »

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Russian who 'saved the world' recalls his decision as 50/50
« Reply #307 on: September 17, 2015, 05:03:55 PM »
Quote
Russian who 'saved the world' recalls his decision as 50/50
Associated Press
By LYNN BERRY  9 hours ago



In this Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 photo former Soviet missile defense forces officer Stanislav Petrov poses for a photo at his home in Fryazino, Moscow region, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. On Sept. 26, 1983, despite the data coming in from the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellites over the United States, Petrov, a Soviet military officer, decided to consider it a false alarm. If he had decided otherwise, the Soviet leadership could have responded by ordering a retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)



FRYAZINO, Russia (AP) — The elderly former Soviet military officer who answers the door is known in the West as "The man who saved the world."

A movie with that title, which hits theaters in the United States on Friday, tells the harrowing story of Sept. 26, 1983, when Stanislav Petrov made a decision credited by many with averting a nuclear war.

An alarm had gone off that night, signaling the launch of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles, and it was up to the 44-year-old lieutenant colonel to determine, and quickly, whether the attack on the Soviet Union was real.

"I realized that I had to make some kind of decision, and I was only 50/50," Petrov told The Associated Press.

Despite the data coming in from the Soviet Union's early-warning satellites over the United States, Petrov decided to consider it a false alarm. Had he done otherwise, the Soviet leadership could have responded by ordering a retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States.

What made this even more dangerous was that the Soviet Union appears genuinely to have feared a surprise U.S. nuclear attack during what was an exceptionally tense period of the Cold War. That month, the Soviets had shot down a passenger plane flying to South Korea from the U.S., suspecting it of spying. The United States, after a series of provocative military maneuvers, was preparing for a major NATO exercise, called Able Archer, which simulated preparations for a nuclear attack.



In this Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 photo former Soviet missile defense forces officer Stanislav Petrov poses for a photo at his home in Fryazino, Moscow region, Russia. On Sept. 26, 1983, despite the data coming in from the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellites over the United States, Petrov, a Soviet military officer, decided to consider it a false alarm. If he had decided otherwise, the Soviet leadership could have responded by ordering a retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)


In the movie, "The Man Who Saved the World," by Danish director Peter Anthony, actors portray the events of that night in 1983. The dramatic scenes are interwoven with footage of the real Petrov as an older man at his home in Russia, and on a 2006 trip to the United States, where he receives an award at the United Nations and meets with movie stars, including Kevin Costner, Matt Damon and Robert De Niro.

In his homeland, Petrov's role in history has won him little fame. He still lives in Fryazino, a town on the outskirts of Moscow, in a simple, unkempt apartment that looks much as it does in the movie, down to the long strip of yellow fly paper hanging from the ceiling. Unlike in the movie, where Petrov is shown angrily chasing out foreign journalists who have come to hear his story, he proves a gracious host, welcoming guests into his kitchen.

When Petrov, now 76, looks back on that night at the secret Serpukhov-15 control center, he remembers the sound of the alarm that shattered the silence shortly past midnight.

"It was this quiet situation and suddenly the roar of the siren breaks in and the command post lights up with the word 'LAUNCH,'" he said. "This hit the nerves. I was really taken aback. Holy cow!"

He stood up and saw that the others were all looking at him in confusion. "My team was close to panic and it hit me that if panic sets in then it's all over." He needed to make a decision.



In this Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 photo former Soviet missile defense forces officer Stanislav Petrov poses for a photo at his home in Fryazino, Moscow region, Russia. On Sept. 26, 1983, despite the data coming in from the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellites over the United States, Petrov, a Soviet military officer, decided to consider it a false alarm. If he had decided otherwise, the Soviet leadership could have responded by ordering a retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)


In the movie, Petrov speaks of not wanting to be responsible for setting off a nuclear war. But in the AP interview he suggests this was more of the filmmakers' poetic license.

"Sorry, I didn't have time to think about whether I would be the one who started World War III," he said. "I had to decide how reliable the information sent by the computer was."

Within minutes of the first alarm, the siren sounded again, warning of a second U.S. missile launch. Soon, the system was reporting that five missiles had been launched.

Petrov reported to his commander that the system was giving false information. He was not at all certain, but his decision was informed by the fact that Soviet ground radar could not confirm a launch. The radar system picked up incoming missiles only well after any launch, but he knew it to be more reliable than the satellites.

The false alarm was later found to have been caused by a malfunction of the satellite, which mistook the reflection of the sun off high clouds for a missile launch.

Petrov was not rewarded for his actions, most likely because doing so would have brought to light the failure of the Soviet's early-warning satellites. Although his commanding officer did not support Petrov at the time, he was the one who revealed the incident after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. If Col. Gen. Yury Votintsev had not spoken out, Petrov said he himself "would have forgotten about it like a bad dream."

Ret. Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, an expert on Russia's strategic nuclear forces, played down the importance of the decision forced on Petrov, saying the Soviet leadership in any case would have waited for confirmation from the radars before launching a retaliatory attack.

What's more, Dvorkin said, Russia no longer even has full satellite coverage of the United States, and relies fully on its radar network to monitor U.S. nuclear forces.

"The situation in Russia today is such that the satellite system doesn't work at all, and this doesn't frighten anyone too much," he said. "As you can see, everyone is living peacefully, without panic."
http://news.yahoo.com/russian-saved-world-recalls-decision-50-50-062250867.html

Offline Mart

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #308 on: September 17, 2015, 05:58:35 PM »
I remember watching a documentary in which they said, Stanislav Petrov was fired from the army for this. Militarily thinking, he could significantly increase chances of loosing the war, if that was not a false alarm. And then I can understand his superiors decision to get rid of him from this kind of post.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #309 on: September 17, 2015, 06:18:30 PM »
Welll - this guy's almost JarlWolf's age, and would have grown up in hardship most of us would find sorta unthinkable.  Even the relatively-spoiled current generation in charge would think little of consequences I would find unacceptable.  Russians respect toughness and value survival over all - you can see were the leadership would tend to contemplate considerable risk with equanimity and still want to take no chances in personnel matters.  That was the Soviet way.

Offline Mart

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #310 on: September 17, 2015, 06:33:00 PM »
It seems he was the right man in the right place. Some other officer could, in these circumstances, without much thinking start the nuclear hell.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #311 on: September 17, 2015, 06:45:25 PM »
A good officer has a situational awareness of the limitations of his equipment and tactical intelligence - by his own account, he seems to have been that good officer.

Offline Mart

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #312 on: September 17, 2015, 07:46:07 PM »
A good officer has a situational awareness of the limitations of his equipment and tactical intelligence - by his own account, he seems to have been that good officer.
I agree 100%.
But then, it looks to me, that he subconsciously knew something, like having a feeling of what's the equipment doing, that even now he does not want to admit. By saying "...and I was only 50/50" he makes us think, that he was in a case he did not know. Like it was a leap of faith, that the future cannot be that bad and no nuclear war just started. And this was a bold thing to do. On the other hand, he could think: "if this is a false alarm, I would be to be blamed the most. And I will not do it."
If all this happened quite quickly, seconds? a minute? or maybe two minutes? I do not remember how long he was deciding, but in that documentary it was kinda mentioned. So having not enough time to overthink was a good thing.
That was tough job.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #313 on: September 17, 2015, 07:55:31 PM »
I wouldn't want that job.

Offline Mart

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #314 on: September 17, 2015, 07:57:14 PM »
Me neither.

 

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