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Old January 11th, 2017, 10:07 AM   #231

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Originally Posted by aggienation View Post
That's likely some staff puke officer who probably lived in requisitioned homes or heated tents his entire military career. Or his jacket got stolen from a German soldier (who wouldn't think twice about grabbing something from a prisoner they wanted).

No Sir. As you know very well the American did not expect the german attack.
And they were in no way prepared to fight in high snow and by -20 Celsius.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 10:17 AM   #232
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Well that's the Ardenne. In 1944 it was -20 celsius over there. The German had winter clothes, not the American.
Look how marvelous the German cold weather equipment was in the Ardenne!

Click the image to open in full size.

Of course this is nonsense, since its way more complicated than a simple picture can describe.

Americans had cold weather clothing, they had jackets issued, mittens were made out of spare wool socks, wool blankets and extra cloths, long johns, and such were all worn. They just didn't have the extreme cold weather stuff (specifically the shoe packs, which trapped warm air and prevent frost bitten toes).

As I explained before, similar to what happened to the Germans in '41-42, the Allies had pushed so far, so fast from France in the Autumn of '44 that they were outrunning their own supply lines. The Red Ball Express was a group of supply trucks that ran all the way from Normandy and Brittany, across France 24/7, to either the French-German border or the Belgian German border, where the Americans and Brits were stopped by the newly manned Siegfried Line. Remember all the complaints people like Patton had over not having enough fuel and ammo to fight? Because the Red Ball Express, even though not taking any breaks, couldn't drive the supplies (avg 1 ton a day for every person on the line) fast enough to the front before it was expended.

The supply issues meant only essentials could be moved, they didn't have the space on trucks (and rails were out, since they were nearly all destroyed) to move creature comforts for cold weather that was still months out (cold isn't November-December, cold is Jan-Mar, when it gets REALLY bad). The troops on the line needed ammo, they needed food, they needed fuel. It would have been nice to get shoe packs, but they didn't need them to survive combat. Given their performance, that a few battle weary units and some cherry divisions managed to stop the German offensive cold in its tracks, they did rather well.

And in the grand scheme of things it didn't mean much, US infantry regiments were already suffering nearly 100% casualties in a month on the line, it really didn't change anything if a slight uptick in frostbite casualties cleared out a unit of its veterans instead of getting hammered while attacking major German fortifications. Those units in the Ardenne sector when the offensive started, they were either cherry divisions sent there to gain experience in a quiet sector, or they were the remnants of mauled divisions that needed time to rest and recuperate in a quiet sector. The only problem was it was only quiet because the Germans were planning a major attack there and they didn't want small attacks spoiling it.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 10:33 AM   #233

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Originally Posted by Wrangler29 View Post
One of the most popular explanations why Operation Barbarrosa failed (specifically Stalingrad) was that the German forces lacked proper winter clothing. The popular stigma is that German soldiers were literally freezing to death during the battle and entire battalions were literally rock frozen with tanks and other vehicles being stuck in mud and ice roads. That Soviets were able to counterattack bunkers and trenches with no defenders because German soldiers were asleep borderline dead from freezing and their equipment and vehicles became damaged from winter conditions

Furthermore many movies and games portray Germans as wearing summer khakis that are literally PERFECT for fighting in summer and even for the desert but would be utter suicidal to wear in late October and early November when fall is coming and the weather is getting colder.

But I just recently saw a documentary where footage of the battles so German soldiers in TRENCH COATS. The kind you wear when you are going out on a cold November night. They also so all German soldiers, including captured PoWs, wearing LEATHER BOOTS and even had leather gloves. completely well-prepared to fight in typical Fall and winter .

Some of the more elite units in the battle were even dressed up in complete Arctic gear with fur jackets, snow booths, mittens, thermals and long special socks. The same exact clothes I when I was watching a video on the Germaninvasion of Norway where they described the Germans as being completely well-prepared to fight in the Norwegian snow.

If you saw a picture of these elite German winter units, they are dressed as such that other than local regional dress variations, they almost look exactly like Russian soldiers that were in Stalingrad (with German military emblems and designs to make them distinguised from Russian troops).

If anything the documentary I watched and further research shown me pics and clips of Germans being in such full Winter clothing, they are technically well-prepared!Is the Germans lacking Winter Clothes an exaggeration? How were Germans freezing to death if they had coats, snowboots, and such?

Furthermore the Germans are known to be a scientific people and their military were frequently well-prepared in prior engagements such as the invasion of Norway where they had full winter gear. This alone goes a slap across the face of the notion the Germans were wearing Summer Khakis and military ceremonial uniforms during Stalingrad (which would get you killed within minutes in a typical winter storm).

I mean even videos of Germans fighting in Western European and Central European Winters (which are much milder than in Russia) show them at the very least wearing trench coats with leather gloves and boots and having longsleeves inside their coats!
Sorry to be so late, but there're some inaccuracies in this introduction.


Stalingrad wasn't part ot Barbarossa. Issues about winter clothing were always a problem for Germany, but in 1942 they fixed them better than in 1941. But in 1941, the problem of clothing was really desperate, and had catastrophic consequences. I've seen videos and pictures from actual Barbarossa soldiers, and they are painful to see

2:45 and onward



When German logistics were unable to provide enough clothes, soldiers picked them from civilians and Soviet prisoners, who had good quality equipment in that regard. These are temperatures for the area:

Click the image to open in full size.




In Stalingrad, German soldiers were far better equiped against the freezing temperatures. The real issue was the lack of food first, and then of fuel to have a fire where warming up. Conditions inside the German cauldron in January 1943 were absolutelly terrible, with no food, neither fuel. With temperatures below -20, a night watch was something deadly. These were temperatures for January 1943

The Winter in Stalingrad - Axis History Forum

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 10:50 AM   #234

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Cotton has the issue of becoming wet and compromising the entire uniform?, I remember reading that they used to take jackets from Russian civilians and used them due to the lack of proper jackets. The padded clothing I assume was far better than that of their German counterparts.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 10:57 AM   #235
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Cotton has the issue of becoming wet and compromising the entire uniform?, I remember reading that they used to take jackets from Russian civilians and used them due to the lack of proper jackets. The padded clothing I assume was far better than that of their German counterparts.
Why does Cotton Kill?

The benefit quilted cotton had over single layer wool jackets was that it better insulation, trapping warm air. But it does worse with moisture than wool, which still retains insulation even when wet, whereas cotton loses all insulating properties (which is why you aren't supposed to wear cotton athletic socks in cold weather or extended walking, for blister issues).

Last edited by aggienation; January 11th, 2017 at 11:01 AM.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:03 PM   #236

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Of course this is nonsense, since its way more complicated than a simple picture can describe.

Americans had cold weather clothing, they had jackets issued, mittens were made out of spare wool socks, wool blankets and extra cloths, long johns, and such were all worn. They just didn't have the extreme cold weather stuff (specifically the shoe packs, which trapped warm air and prevent frost bitten toes).
The American infantry suffered greatly in the winter of 1944-5 from trench-foot and frost-bite, but this wasn't so much the fault of their clothing as that the requirement to change socks and dry the feet regularly even when in the field to help prevent these conditions doesn't seem to have been a widespread practise.
British and Canadian troops in the same theatre didn't suffer anything like the casualties from these conditions as the Americans as the rules were extremely strict in these armies regarding foot-care, they had already learnt their lesson in this regard during ww1

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/666752.pdf

https://www.nols.edu/media/filer_pub...mi_webpage.pdf

Last edited by redcoat; January 11th, 2017 at 01:21 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:54 PM   #237
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The American infantry suffered greatly in the winter of 1944-5 from trench-foot and frost-bite, but this wasn't so much the fault of their clothing as that the requirement to change socks and dry the feet regularly even when in the field to help prevent these conditions doesn't seem to have been a widespread practise.
British and Canadian troops in the same theatre didn't suffer anything like the casualties from these conditions as the Americans as the rules were extremely strict in these armies regarding foot-care, they had already learnt their lesson in this regard during ww1

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/666752.pdf

https://www.nols.edu/media/filer_pub...mi_webpage.pdf
Its not like Americans didn't know to change their socks, that would have been drilled into them during regular 25 mile road marches done way back in basic training. One thing GIs had a lot of was spare woolen socks (though they wouldn't always be clean spare socks). One of the prime job for NCOs and medics was actually to check on the feet of the men. The problems during the Bulge were that the practices developed during training didn't work out during 24/7 continuous combat operations, while manning wet (sometimes flooded) fighting positions.

The only way to prevent frostbite with regular boots, besides changing wet, dirty socks frequently to dry, clean socks (not always available), is to unlace the boots to improve circulation, or better yet take them off to let the feet breath. The problem with that is men that are manning fighting positions in the front lines can't do that, they can't leave their boots off for hours on end. Taking the boots off is a luxury for men who don't have to instantly respond to arty, mortar fire, or respond to firefight engagements. Can't do that without boots on.

British/Commonwealth weren't main effort during the Battle of the Bulge. I'm not saying none were involved but the vast majority of combatants were Americans. Its the reason the Americans took 19,000 KIA, and the British/Commonwealth only 1,400. Had nothing to do with fighting quality, it had to do with American divisions being the ones hit by and then stopped the offensive, and then counterattacking.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 05:15 PM   #238

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Each winter was a different reason why the Germans either did or didn't have their stuff together by winter. In 41-42 it was because the supply lines from Germany to Russia were terrible in condition (too narrow, roads poorly constructed and easily washed away or muddy, train track issues). Being constrained winter clothing shipped late (but it did ship), and the Germans had to learn the hard way how to fight effectively in the cold (tactics, techniques and procedures for operating equipment, conducting operations, all of it changes when fighting in a meter of snow at -30 C.).

In the winter of '42-43 the Germans in Army Group North and Central were fine really, no issues, the only ones who suffered were Army Group A, specifically 6th Army, because they were encircled, their supply lines were cut, before winter, so they never got a chance to fully winterize their force, or the extra supplies needed for cold weather operations. They didn't get enough ammo, parts, food, medical supplies, let alone cold weather.

Winter of '43-44 the Germans did pretty good in the Eastern Front, no major losses due to cold besides the usual attrition any army would have. Winter of '44-45, they actually did very in the Winter, especially against the western allies, largely because they prepared to fight a winter battle, whereas the Americans weren't prepared to fight it (but still did pretty damn good stopping the offensive).

And while the Germans were often ill prepared for winters in certain sectors, the reality was that everyone was too. Its not like the Soviets were having a good time, they were suffering too, especially units that weren't being adequately supplied (those in Leningrad and Moscow, those units directly on the front line). The only Russians that were really prepared for the winter were those that weren't on the line, that Zhukov was staging for the giant winter counteroffensive (because he knew the Germans would settle in for the winter, defensively, wait till the spring thaw, and launch the standard warm weather annual offensive that Germany did every year of WWI and WWII.

So it varied by year, by place, by the units participating. And while special shoes are nice, German soldiers had access to a whole lot of abandoned homes to loot for warm clothes to layer up. What they couldn't make shift were techniques and special pieces of equipment needed to keep equipment running in such unusual cold temps (for them). For the Germans in Russia in '41-42, that was probably the coldest they'd ever been in their lives (especially living outdoors for months on end). Whereas for the Russians, they were of a hardier breed (their standard of living being so much lower than most of Germany, thanks to the terrible leadership of the communists), the temps weren't all that cold compared to what they were normally used to, and many of the techniques for surviving the cold were either well known already or recently learned and implemented from what came down to being the dress rehearsal for the '41 winter offensive, the 1940 Winter War in Finland, which taught the Russians through the school of hard knocks how to survive combat in the freezing temperature of Nordic hell.
Thank you for addressing my question. Well put in my friend.

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Originally Posted by Seabas View Post
Your discussion reminds me a speech of my favorite comedy character, Wild Ensign from movie "DMB" (acronym for demobilized)

"Army is not just a nice word but also a very quick deed. That's how we won all wars. While the enemy draws maps for an offensive we change the landscape, manually by the way. When it comes time to attack the enemy gets lost on unfamiliar terrain and becomes tactically inefficient. That's the reason! That's our strategy!"

Very good point.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 05:08 AM   #239

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Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
The American infantry suffered greatly in the winter of 1944-5 from trench-foot and frost-bite, but this wasn't so much the fault of their clothing as that the requirement to change socks and dry the feet regularly even when in the field to help prevent these conditions doesn't seem to have been a widespread practise.
British and Canadian troops in the same theatre didn't suffer anything like the casualties from these conditions as the Americans as the rules were extremely strict in these armies regarding foot-care, they had already learnt their lesson in this regard during ww1

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/666752.pdf

https://www.nols.edu/media/filer_pub...mi_webpage.pdf
Good post. That's what I have been trying to say thince the beginning: It is not enough to have good clothes, you need to be able to rest in the warm.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 05:11 AM   #240

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Originally Posted by aggienation View Post
Its not like Americans didn't know to change their socks, that would have been drilled into them during regular 25 mile road marches done way back in basic training. One thing GIs had a lot of was spare woolen socks (though they wouldn't always be clean spare socks). One of the prime job for NCOs and medics was actually to check on the feet of the men. The problems during the Bulge were that the practices developed during training didn't work out during 24/7 continuous combat operations, while manning wet (sometimes flooded) fighting positions.

The only way to prevent frostbite with regular boots, besides changing wet, dirty socks frequently to dry, clean socks (not always available), is to unlace the boots to improve circulation, or better yet take them off to let the feet breath. The problem with that is men that are manning fighting positions in the front lines can't do that, they can't leave their boots off for hours on end. Taking the boots off is a luxury for men who don't have to instantly respond to arty, mortar fire, or respond to firefight engagements. Can't do that without boots on.

British/Commonwealth weren't main effort during the Battle of the Bulge. I'm not saying none were involved but the vast majority of combatants were Americans. Its the reason the Americans took 19,000 KIA, and the British/Commonwealth only 1,400. Had nothing to do with fighting quality, it had to do with American divisions being the ones hit by and then stopped the offensive, and then counterattacking.
Correct. Some American soldiers where killed in her fox holes with her boots off.

Last edited by Isleifson; January 12th, 2017 at 06:18 AM.
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