Talk:Battle of Narva (1944)

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Good article Battle of Narva (1944) has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
June 5, 2010 Good article nominee Listed

the whole article is a[edit]

mockery with history, especially the number of casualties. wikipedia isn't the place where you can make the propaganda of your Estonian nationalism. i want to know who is responsible for this article, isn't there anybody who could edit it neutrally, like a moderator? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:52, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

The article is open for you to edit. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:26, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Exactly, but it is preferred that major changes are discussed in before. And since user already has ideas about the content, couldn't he or she be more precise about what exactly is to be considered incorrect and why? Best regards /Erik EriFr (talk) 21:56, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Correct. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:54, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

One of the issues with casualties in the article is that there is no good way to assess the Soviet casualties as I doubt they have been (or will be) released. I am not convinced the article's indirect method of assessing Soviet casualties ("Deducting the losses in the operations ...") for this battle is good one and it may represent original research. I'm also not sure what the "Post-war status of Estonians in Waffen SS" has to do with this article. The article is about the battle, not the destinies of those who were in any of the armed forces of that period -- if this topic really belongs here, then why isn't there a similar paragraph about Russian veterans of the Battle of Narva who remained in Estonia after the war? "Modern representations" is likewise only given from an Estonian POV, although in this case, the prism through which the battle is viewed today is legitimate article content -- but, again, I am certain the Russians have their own views regarding this battle that are not brought out. The section "Aftermath" takes pains to point out the existence of an Estonian government in exile, but unless I missed it somewhere fails to simply point out that one of the most significant aftermaths was a resumption of Russo-Soviet domination of Estonia for some 45 years. Finally, although some of the pro-Axis cheerleading has been cleaned up in the article, there are still weird little things like referring to Hyazinth Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz by the silly nickname Panzergraf instead of his military rank -- hardly encyclopedic. These kinds of things also bring into question the article's thrust and balance -- one wonders why none of the Soviet generals are referred to by diminutive names or nicknames; are they not as "cute and cuddly" as German generals? I'm also a bit surprised that this wasn't used as a general reference for the article; if nothing else, there are some useful reproductions of Lage Ost maps in Estes' work. W. B. Wilson (talk) 05:18, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

The presented method of assessing Soviet casualties does not originate from this article but reflects the cited source wherefore the accusation of OR is out of line. It is an indirect estimation which should be replaced with a direct one if it should come around. However, the figure accords with other relevant numbers and appears to be repeated by Ian Baxter.
'Post-war status' - perhaps indeed redundant. Should it be removed completely? 'Aftermath' - point taken. Probably a 'Soviet occupation' section should be added. 'Weird little things' - point taken. The 'European anabasis' article cannot be used as a reference as it focuses on the fate of the Blue Legion which did not participate in combat at all but on a closer look, there are paras which could be used as a reference for the 'Preceding combat' section. The map it features is poorly scanned and has little information on the situation at Narva. Regards, --Jaan Pärn (talk) 07:24, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Jaan, my point about the casualties is that there is no good reference, and so perhaps the article should merely note that Soviet casualties were higher than those of the Axis. The article's presentation of the casualty estimation method does not make clear that it comes from a source other than to note it agrees with an, ahem, photographic history of the battle. (Quote from the article: The number of Soviet casualties can only be estimated indirectly. - that is not a clear statement about the origin of the method of estimation) While the method and comment about casualties are interesting, it would probably be more suited to an article footnote than being placed in the main body text. Just to note how "flexible" these numbers are, I find it interesting that the Estonian Wiki article on this battle shows the Soviet "fallen or wounded" as 158,000 while this Wiki's version is 480,000 for roughly the same category of numbers and period of time. Also, please note that I made no accusations about original research; my words were "may represent".
'Post-war status', my take is that this information is not germane to the topic of this article. A final comment about 'Anabasis'. I realize there is not a lot about Narva in that work, but the work is notable in that a) it is an academic work, and b) it is authored by a unbiased party, unlike some works quoted in the article such as those by Carius, Steiner, and Landwehr. W. B. Wilson (talk) 08:02, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Changed "manyfold higher" in the box to an actually neutral phrasing. Keep the poetry down. You can thank me later. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:57, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I changed it back. "Manyfold" is not poetic in this context, it only says the casualties were many times higher, wheras "greater than" does not. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:32, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

mild confusion[edit]

From the section 6-24 March: Simultaneous pitched battles took place north from the town, where the 14th Rifle Corps supported by the artillery of the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps attempted to re-establish a bridgehead. precedes The two Estonian regiments repulsed the attacks causing great losses for the Soviets. -- suggest changing this to The two Estonian SS regiments or The two Estonian regiments of the 20th SS Division just to clarify a bit as the Soviet Estonian rifle corps is mentioned in the preceding sentence. W. B. Wilson (talk) 11:24, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Edit made. W. B. Wilson (talk) 13:18, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Soviet occupation[edit]

Why was the word occupation removed from the section Soviet occupation/regime? Is the fact that Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1944, really debatable? DJ Sturm (talk) 07:34, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Lauri Mälksoo, the greatest authority on the legal aspects of the Soviet regime in the Baltics, uses the terms occupation and annexation combined to denote the Soviet regime. Occupation and annexation are mutually exclusive, meaning that after a territory is annexed, it cannot be occupied anymore. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 09:26, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Annexation is legal and organised de jure, usually without using military power. So this term isn't right for what the Soviet Union did in Estonia in 1940 and 1944, as it was completely illegal and didn't consider the Constitution of Estonia at any point. Occupation is the right word to describe the event debated. DJ Sturm (talk) 12:21, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Not true, Mälksoo uses the term illegal annexation, as subsequent to the occupation. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 13:43, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Just read the lead section of the article you're linking to: ...annexation is a unilateral act where territory is seized and held by one state that tries to make its move legitimate... That it's organized de jure says nothing about legality in general (in most cases, it's legal for the benefactor and illegal for the donor). It can also imply a certain measure of coercion, expansionism or unilateralism on the part of the stronger of the merging entities. makes it closer to the opposite, actually. --Illythr (talk) 14:56, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Re: "Occupation and annexation are mutually exclusive, meaning that after a territory is annexed, it cannot be occupied anymore." I think you meant "after a territory is annexed, it cannot be considered as occupied anymore". That would be correct, had the annexation of the Baltic states been legal and de jure recognized by majority of foreign states. In actuality, the Mälksoo's point is that Soviet domination did have some traits of occupation (he calls it "occupation sui generis"), and that fact provided a ground for speaking about the Baltic states continuity (see, after reading the Mälksoo's book I had to modify my point of view on the subject). Therefore, it is correct to say that the primary term describing the period of the Soviet dominance should be "annexation" (more precisely, "illegal annexation"), although the usage of the term "occupation" cannot be completely ruled out.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:30, 13 March 2010 (UTC)


Sander, any comment why you changed the importance of the article on the largest part of the Second Estonian War of Independence from high to low? Do you really think knowledge on the battle is peripheral, for example, compared to the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, Bronze Night and other high importance articles on historical events? How can the Battle of Tannenberg Line, which was part of the Battle of Narva, be of high importance wheras its main article is tagged as low on the scale? --Jaan Pärn (talk) 08:24, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

A lot of World War II-related articles have been assessed to "top" and "high" by DJ Sturm (talk · contribs), irregardless of WikiProject Estonia importance scale. I've been trying to reassess them to a reasonable importance, as a lot of those articles have very little interest beyond Estonia - and seem to be important mostly for him personally.
The importance for WikiProject Estonia is not a measurement for universal importance. Different topics may have different importance for different projects. The importance has also a lot to do with the current events. Bronze Night, that you brought as an example, has a steadily dropping page view count, barely topping 1000 views in March - and as such, it probably could be reclassified to Low (for example, Estonia had 165146 views in March, 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt almost 11k).
"Low" might not be a good assessment for the current article. Although interest in the article is fairly low, it may be of middle importance for people interested in the details of the World War II. If you don't agree my assessments in the future, just reassess it yourself - there is no need to post on the article talk page.
--Sander Säde 09:22, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Re:Different topics may have different importance for different projects. Are you saying the article may have smaller importance for WikiProject Estonia than for other projects?
The viewing numbers of this article rate above those of the top-important Estonian War of Independence and well above those of Estonia in World War II, highly important Battle of Smolensk (1943)], threefold higher than those of the mid-important Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive. Hence it should be rated no more than a rank below the Estonian War of Independence and Estonia in World War II. This is also logical in the context of the Estonia in World War II, as the Battle of Narva is among its most important sub-articles and should rank not much away from the importance of its main article. Parallel examples could include Battle of Smolensk (1943) ranked highly important by WikiProject Russia and Battle of Tali-Ihantala by WikiPrjoject Finland. Both of them have lower traffic than this article.
Re:just reassess it yourself - Having significantly contributed to the article, I do not feel comfortable in assessing my own work, at least not without discussion. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 10:08, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Numbers are just one side of the importance - and not a very important one. Other is the effect and relation to the WikiProject topic, in this case, Estonia. Although the article has a rather weird section "Annexation of Estonia", major effects of this battle to Estonia was the delay of Soviet re-occupation, which allowed great many people to escape and Tief government to be formed.
I will re-asses the importance to Mid - hopefully that is okay for you.
--Sander Säde 11:37, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
If Estonia in World War II is top-important (or do you contest that as well?) then pure logic tells that its top important subtopics like German occupation of Estonia during World War II or the Battle of Narva should rank as highly important. Mid-importance should be reserved to the subtopics of the subtopics. I mean, how will you rank the Battle of Tannenberg Line then? Mid-important just like its main article?
The set of major effects of the battle that you already pointed out already constitute top importance for Estonia. Let me add that the Battle of Narva was the second biggest engagement by the number of soldiers of Estonian nationality in history.
And I will repeat the parallel with Tali-Ihantala again: while the importance of Continuation War to WikiProject Finland can be accounted as the same as the importance of Estonia in World War II to WikiProject Estonia, then its highly important phase like the Battle of Tali-Ihantala can be ranked having the same significance to Finland as a major phase of Estonia in World War II has for Estonia.
P.S. If you think the Annexation of Estonia section is weird, you should come up with ideas how to improve that. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:59, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Annexation of Estonia[edit]

These paragraphs also appear on the articles Tartu Offensive and Tallinn Offensive and were added by user:Erikupoeg. I did copy edits on all three articles recently. Do you think these paragraphs are out of place on these articles? Should they be removed, or improved? Diannaa TALK 14:57, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the section is somewhat irrelevant to these topics. Of course all those battles/offensives contributed to the start of the second Soviet occupation, but the topic is better handled in a separate article, with only mention or "see also" in such articles. --Sander Säde 15:11, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I added the section to address the following concern posted on this talk page by user W.B. Wilson: " The section "Aftermath" takes pains to point out the existence of an Estonian government in exile, but unless I missed it somewhere fails to simply point out that one of the most significant aftermaths was a resumption of Russo-Soviet domination of Estonia for some 45 years." I don't think a simple "See also" will do. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:55, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I did look for the rationale on the talk page, but failed to spot it. Thanks for clearing that up. Diannaa TALK 16:17, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Battle of Narva (1944)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: –– Jezhotwells (talk) 14:22, 17 April 2010 (UTC)


I shall be reviewing this article against the Good Article criteria, following its nomination for Good Article status.

Disambiguations: None found

Linkrot: I dead link repaired, one tagged.diff

Checking against GA criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    WP:LEAD suggests a maximum of four paragraphs, suggest consolidating the six into three or four.
    ''The Soviet Kingisepp–Gdov Offensive, Narva Offensives (15–28 February, 1–4 March, and 18–24 March) were part of the Red Army Winter Spring Campaign of 1944. needs an "and" after "Kingisepp–Gdov Offensive"
    a quick military occupation of Estonia as a base for air and seaborne attacks against Finland and an invasion to East Prussia surely "of" rather than "to"?
    Terrain: there is a mixture of tenses in this section; Terrain played a significant role in operations around Narva; The 45 kilometre wide strip of land is entirely bisected by the Narva River and has large areas of wilderness. I accept that the basic geography has probably not chnaged, but roads may have in the succeeding 66 years. The tense change is confusing.
    The conscription call was received with popular support and the mobilisation brought together 38,000 men[27] which were formed into seven border guard regiments... "which" should be "who"
    The Soviet Long Range Aviation assaulted the Estonian capital of Tallinn Could do with the insertion of "branch" after "Long Range Aviation"
    The result of the air raid was the opposite to the Soviet aim as people felt disgusted by the Soviet atrocities; a little clumsy, perhaps "was the opposite of the Soviet aim"?
Yes check.svg Done All recommended edits have been completed. I have changed the second paragraph of Terrain to past tense; I bet the area does not have large areas of wilderness any more. Someone with local knowledge will have to review the first paragraph and tell us if the swamps etc are still there. Diannaa TALK 17:43, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I know the area and the large areas of wilderness are still there. Nevertheless, I believe the fact is not relevant for the perspective of the battle and the section reads better in the past tense. Although it may be worth mentioning in the Aftermath section that most of the historical terrain has remained the same, allowing the local Vaivara Parish to promote the area as a military historical theme park. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 18:35, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  1. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    One dead link as noted above; all other refernces check out, assume good faith for off-line sources.
Yes check.svg Done Reference corrected
  1. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  2. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  3. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  4. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  5. Overall:
    Ok, just a few things above to be addressed. On hold for seven days
    Fine, thanks for your quick response. I am happy to list this as a Good Article. Congratulations! 22:08, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you very much for taking the time to review the article. Diannaa TALK 23:08, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll second to that! Good luck with your work elsewhere! --Jaan Pärn (talk) 19:36, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Congrats Jaan with this achievement! --Termer (talk) 02:39, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Participants vs. casualties on Soviet side[edit]

2.4 times more casualties on the Soviet side than participants! My congratulation to Estonian propagandists! --Shervinsky (talk) 13:49, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Casualties are counted for the six-month duration of the campaign while strength is not. Hence, your calculation proves nothing. That said, the article is open for casualty estimates from RS. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:13, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I tried several times to edit the section on losses. Odd numbers are taken from some authors who are expressively biased against the Soviet Union (no need to talk of Mart Laar - you can take a peep at Wikipedia on him, what concerns Ian Baxter - I couldn't locate his profile on Internet at all). Why is the view on losses so one-sided? I gave references to alternative numbers:

however, there are other quite-reverse numbers in Russian-language Wiki: Soviet losses - 4685 dead or missing with 18602 wounded or sick [1] [2]

but was blamed of vandalism and banned from making entries. How can one change contents of the article without the wish of the one who has created it? If a politically prejudged person creates some article in Wiki who can override his questionable ideas?

Through his numbers the author managed to made this battle one of the bloodiest battles in the whole human history! Isn't too much, especially if we refer to the Soviet more-or-less documented numbers (in 1944 all the soviet losses were yet pretty accurately recorded).

Slava Glinov (unfortunately I have forgotten my account on Wiki - so I made this entry from IP location). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:28, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Did you read the footnote in the infobox? You are welcome to improve that and suggest alternative RS. The Russian Wiki article is not one as it covers only the 7 days of Narva Offensive (July 1944) while this article spans for 7 months. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:00, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. Regarding 2.4 times more casualties on the Soviet side than participants, well my car has 4 tires, but it's certainly possible to replace one 10 times over seven months if I keep on irreparably damaging them. --Nug (talk) 08:23, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it's possible to replace 10 times your tires on car in 10's possible to replace them even 5 or 6 time in one hour if you driving F1. But, nevertheless this numbers about Soviet casualties are obviously nonsense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 1 January 2014 (UTC) Unfortunately not only this wiki article messed up casualties section, basically all of them regarding East front have same issue especially regarding casualties of Soviet side. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:32, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

In this case, the period is seven months during which the casualties was two times the amount of strength. I can see this is unusual but plausible. That said, I repeat that this article is open for alternative casualty estimates as long as they are based on scholarly research. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 10:37, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

/* Tannenberg Line */ fierce/ferocious[edit]

The article says The SS Reconnaissance Battalion 11 and the I.Battalion, Waffen Grenadier Regiment 47 (3rd Estonian) launched a ferocious counterattack during the night before 28 July. The assault collapsed under the Soviet tank fire which destroyed the Estonian battalion.

In this edit, User:Jaan reverted me. I wonder how the word ferocious adds information to the article considering that the counterattack factually failed? Even if the word is used in the source? The facts are that the two battalions counteracked, the attack failed and the participating estionian batallion was destroyed. AadaamS (talk) 11:14, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

The adjectives describe the extraordinary nature of the counterattack. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:11, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
In what factual way was this counterattack extraordinary in the context of this campaign? AadaamS (talk) 12:22, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I would have to pick up one of the cited sources to answer that. Meanwhile, the specific section gives a hint. Jaan Pärn (talk) 13:36, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I think the article in a 'pedia should stick to the facts wherever possible. Reading this, I was just reacting that a counterattack that failed and doesn't inflict losses on the opponent worth mentioning is described as ferocious. AadaamS (talk) 22:28, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
The section you linked gives WP:UNDUE weight to the defenders, not mentioning any commanders of the attacking side by name nor any of their intents or plans during the fight for that hill. AadaamS (talk) 10:55, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
As I said, some of the facts are already stated in the section. Instead of deleting I invite you to add facts + Soviet commanders and manpower. Because if you want to act as an editor, you need to pick up sources. Please, introduce a source that describes the 29 July action in detail as nothing exceptional. Until that, you are just act as a reader who does not believe what the article states and deletes it. That is not a normal procedure.
The article is written by very few devoted editors while parts of it have been deleted by many readers. Please join the former. Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:47, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Stopped reading at the second you. Have a good weekend! AadaamS (talk) 20:43, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's been two years, but I agree with AadaamS's sentiment -- "ferocious", "reconquered" are not encyclopedic. I will make the adjustments. K.e.coffman (talk) 19:34, 26 June 2016 (UTC)


Casualties higher than strength?[edit]

This is absurd. Something's up with those numbers. --MaxRavenclaw (talk) 18:37, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

Here's the sourcing:
  • casualties:100,000 dead or missing; 380,000 wounded or sick; 300 tanks; 230 aircraft[1]
  • 480,000 casualties [2]
Mart Laar in his book Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis has presented an indirect account of Soviet casualties for the battles. According to the data of the Stavka, the total casualties of the Leningrad Front in 1944 were 665,827 men, 145,102 of them dead or missing. The share of the battles around Narva is unknown but considering the length of the operation, Laar accounts roughly half of the documented 56,564 dead or missing and the 170,876 wounded or sick in the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive for the Battle of Narva. This is in accordance with the estimation of F. Paulman, stating in his Ot Narvy do Syrve that the 2nd Shock Army lost over 30,000 troops at the Narva bridgeheads during February. Deducting the losses in the operations of the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive conducted elsewhere, the casualties in the battles in Finland and in the Baltic Offensive, Laar totals the numbers of Soviet losses in the Battle of Narva at approximately 100,000 dead or missing and 380,000 wounded or sick. The "cost of nearly 500,000 men" is confirmed in the book Battle in the Baltics 1944–1945 by I. Baxter.


  1. ^ Mart Laar (2006). Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis (Sinimäed Hills 1944: Battles of World War II in Northeast Estonia) (in Estonian). Tallinn: Varrak. 
  2. ^ Doyle, Peter (2013). World War II in Numbers. A & C Black. p. 105. ISBN 9781408188194.
Here's another example:
  • The climax of the Battle of Tannenberg Line was the Soviet attack of 29 July. The shock units suppressed the German resistance on the Orphanage Hill, while the Soviet main forces suffered heavy casualties in the subsequent assault at the Grenadier Hill. The Soviet tanks encircled it and the Tower Hill, the westernmost one. Steiner, the commander of the III SS Panzer Corps, sent out the remaining seven tanks, which hit the surprised Soviet armour and forced them back. This enabled an improvised battle group consisting of different nationalities led by Hauptsturmführer Paul Maitla to launch a counterattack which recaptured the Grenadier Hill. Of the 136,830 Soviets initiating the offensive, a few thousand had survived. The Soviet tank regiments had been demolished.[1][2]


  1. ^ Toomas Hiio (2006). "Combat in Estonia in 1944". In Toomas Hiio; Meelis Maripuu; Indrek Paavle. Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn. pp. 1035–1094. 
  2. ^ Laar
It seems hardly plausible that a few thousands out of 130,000+ "had survived".
Are there perhaps other historians who have looked at the battle? It does not appear to be clear what timeframe Baxter is referring to in the first example. Much of the content is sourced to Hiio and Laar. K.e.coffman (talk) 19:26, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Not clear what the issue is, but certainly casualties can be higher than strength when decimated units are constantly replenished with new conscripts. --Nug (talk) 07:42, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh, K.e.coffman, hey man. Nice spotting that "ferocious" thing I missed. Back to the matter here. I am questioning how one unit can have 100 tanks but lose 300. I get it that the Soviets counted losses differently than the Germans, but this is absurd. There is no source linked for that number (300) though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MaxRavenclaw (talkcontribs) 10:18, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Just look at the timespan. The Soviets were redeployed several times over it. Jaan Pärn (talk) 11:02, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Out of 130,000 only a few thousand survived[edit]

Re this passage:

  • Of the 136,830 Soviets initiating the offensive, a few thousand had survived. The Soviet tank regiments had been demolished.[1][2]


  1. ^ Toomas Hiio (2006). "Combat in Estonia in 1944". In Toomas Hiio; Meelis Maripuu; Indrek Paavle. Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn. pp. 1035–1094. 
  2. ^ Laar

This is 95% casualty rate. Is this plausible? K.e.coffman (talk) 02:33, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Hi, You are welcome to check the sources and see whether the claim holds up. Cheers, --Jaan Pärn (talk) 10:26, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
This is what the article currently claims. Are the sources reliable for these claims? I believe that the tag "dubious" should be applied to this statement as this casulaty rate is extraordinary and should be supported by multiple reliable sources (i.e. reputable historians). K.e.coffman (talk) 00:26, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
I can't name a more reliable source than the cited historians who have dedicated decades of work on this subject matter. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 00:29, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Who are these historians? K.e.coffman (talk) 00:30, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Toomas Hiio and Mart Laar --Jaan Pärn (talk) 00:42, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Is there any Western other (i.e. non-Estonian) historiography on the topic? K.e.coffman (talk) 00:44, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
These historians do work in a EU country. Do you mean American? Anyway, check out the rest of the reflist. They are the only accounts of the battle I know. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 00:51, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Apologies for the slip. I will see what I can find elsewhere. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:53, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

@Jaan: What is the timeframe for these Soviet losses? K.e.coffman (talk) 01:35, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Reports of the Estonian International Commission is a good source. Attacking it as "non-Western" and therefore unreliable is bizarre; by that logic we should rely on HIAG and such material over the Soviet archives!
This source is not available online. I would question whether it actually says this. It's quite a ridiculous claim. Normally the only way that 120,000+ out of 130,000 participants in an offensive could be made casualties is if they were counterattacked and cut off, which did not happen here. Probably someone has synthesized figures from different sources that aren't directly comparable, or perhaps made the classic amateur's mistake of thinking that "casualties" means "killed."
Whatever the mistake is – and I don't think it's a mistake in the source material, or in using unreliable sources, as the Estonian commission is serious and well-received – something mistaken is going on here, though. If you go to Battle of Tannenberg Line and especially the 'casualties' section there is very different information. (There is also the usual "maybe it happened that way, maybe this is propaganda, but in any case why the fuck are we repeating this SS-sponsored crap" like a reference to a mortally wounded German radio operator calling in artillery on his own surrounded position, source Tieke's Tragedy of the faithful which is an SS veteran lionizing his fallen comrades in a book by a right-wing extremist publisher; why are WP:RS rules just suspended when it comes to SS, huh?)
The best step to take next would be for someone to access Hiio in Laar (it's the same source, just by author vs. editor for some sloppy reason) and see whether it actually says this. TiC (talk) 02:30, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Likely some confusion over the total losses of the entire battle as opposed to the losses from the initial battle, and a bit of sloppy editing. The Battle of Tannenberg Line 'casualties' section mentions a few thousand troops fit for combat out of the 46,385 men who initiated the Estonian Operation on 25 July. There is a difference between "fit for combat" and "survived". So the line should probably read "Of the 46,385 Soviets initiating the offensive, a few thousand remained fit for combat", which aligns with the article Battle of Tannenberg Line. --Nug (talk) 08:32, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
46,385 was only the strength of the 2nd Shock Army. The majority of units either belonged to the 8th Army or answered directly to the Leningrad Front. The total number of Soviet troops who initiated the offensive was 136,830. But yes, 'fit for combat' is the correct phrasing. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 09:30, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thank you for making the edit. For clarity, I believe the following should be added:

  • Of the 136,830 Soviets initiating the offensive on [date], a few thousand had remained fit for combat by [date].

Otherwise, it's not clear as to what period the casualties sustained refer to. Can this be done? K.e.coffman (talk) 18:57, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Did that. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 09:33, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Latest research about casualty numbers, based on German and Soviet primary data, is this article: N.N. (talk) 08:52, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Thank you! It seems finally someone has made a proper account of the battle. However, I cannot access the paper via EBSCO. The online journal archive appears to be down. I will be able to access an Estonian library in September. Another problem is that we do not really have article on a battle that spans 24 July till 7 August 1944. The Narva Offensive (July 1944) spanned from 24–30 July and did not include the attacks on the Tannenberg Line. The Battle of Tannenberg Line spanned from 25 July till 10 August but did not involve the landing of the 2nd Shock Army across the Narva river and the capture of the town. However, if the 35,000 losses estimate is correct, which needs to be checked, then it will be safe to say neither battle resulted in Soviet casualties higher than 35,000. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 07:06, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Fictitiously named[edit]

It's not clear to me what "fictitiously named" means in this context:

  • The conscription call was received with popular support and the mobilisation brought together 38,000 men[1] who were formed into seven border guard regiments and the fictitiously named[2] 20th Estonian SS-Volunteer Division,[3][4] commonly referred to among the German Armed Forces as the Estonian Division.[5]


  1. ^ Lande, D. A. (2000). Resistance!: Occupied Europe and Its Defiance of Hitler. MBI. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-7603-0745-8. 
  2. ^ Robert Sturdevant (10 February 1944). "Strange Guerilla Army Hampers Nazi Defence of Baltic". Times Daily. Florence, Alabama.
  3. ^ "20. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (estnische Nr. 1)". Axis History Factbook. 
  4. ^ Toomas Hiio & Peeter Kaasik (2006). "Estonian units in the Waffen-SS". In Toomas Hiio; Meelis Maripuu & Indrek Paavle. Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn. pp. 927–968. 
  5. ^ Laar

The linked article -- 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) -- describes the unit as:

  • 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) (German: 20.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (estnische Nr.1), Estonian: 20. eesti diviis[1]) was a unit of the Waffen SS established on 25 May 1944 in German-occupied Estonia during World War II. Formed in Spring 1944 after the general conscription-mobilization was announced in Estonia on 31 January 1944 by the German occupying authorities, the cadre of the 3rd Estonian SS Volunteer Brigade, renamed the 20th Estonian SS Volunteer Division on 23 January 1944, was returned to Estonia and reformed. Additionally 38,000 men were conscripted in Estonia and other Estonian units that had fought on various fronts in the German Army, and the Finnish Infantry Regiment 200 were rushed to Estonia.


  1. ^ Saksa okupatsioon (1941–44). Eesti. Üld. Eesti entsüklopeedia 11 (2002). pp. 312–315

Can someone clarify? K.e.coffman (talk) 20:16, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

"fictitiously named" is referring to "volunteer" part of the unit name as it evolved over time. As you well know, it was Nazi propaganda (part of the so called pan-European anti-Bolshevism propaganda line) that claimed these northern European units were "volunteer", when in fact they comprised mostly of forcibly conscripted men from Nazi occupied countries. --Nug (talk) 20:33, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
Otherwise correct but most of the northern European SS divisions were indeed volunteers. Only in the Baltics were they forcefully mobilised.
The fact that the Estonian units were only formally subordinated to division headquarters but received their operational commands from the III Panzer Corps (General Steiner) may be considered another fictitious aspect. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 09:30, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

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