Talk:Battle of Smolensk (1943)

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Former featured article Battle of Smolensk (1943) is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 29, 2006.



  • Spelling, copyedit and so on (you can help!)
  • PICTURES. Pictures of German fortifications and of Soviet troops advancing are welcome
  • Add a section on partizan warfare
  • Get a better map...


I agree with Ghirla... fascinating stuff! ++Lar: t/c 20:22, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

don't grok the whole good article thing... seems to be at the whim of one person. Someone nominated one of mine, Gaylord Building and then it was gone again, with no real feedback on why it wasn't good enough. I never quite got the process. I think it's a good article though. Maybe even a potential Featured Article some day... ++Lar: t/c 18:40, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I nominated one of my articles straight for FA without any GA nomination. Go for it, we can never have too many war articles. :D -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 23:21, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

A suggestion[edit]

First I would like to say congratulations to everyone who contributed to this article. Attaining FA status is a real achievement, and makes this article part of the top 0.1% of all Wikipedia articles.

I do have a suggestion for improving the article still further, however. Below, I post a comment which I made (much too late) on the FA Candidates discussion page.

"A very good article for the technical details of the battle, and an in depth description of unit movements, etc. However I felt that the terrible destruction of the battle needed to be brought out more. What would it be like if you were actually there, a Russian or a German soldier caught up in this horrendous battle? Nowhere in the text is the human cost of the battle mentioned, and nowhere is the immense human suffering of battle mentioned. What about an account from a soldier who was actually there, instead of a general talking about the numbers and titles of 'units' involved? I recognise this might be hard to do, but if possible it would be a worthwhile addition to the article. Where is the human element in this article? It talks about units being able to continue the advance because they were 'reinforced'. Think what that word means - it means that hundreds and thousands of men met their deaths in wretched circumstances amid the blaze of gunfire and artillery explosions. We shouldn't forget that an entire generation suffered death and injury on the eastern front in WW2."

Please don't take this as an attack on the article, or its right to be a FA. All I am trying to say is that war is hell. There should be at least some reflection of that in this article. If this was done, I think this article could be made much better still. Bigdaddy1204 13:33, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Hello there! You are oh-so-right about that. However, there are several reasons that unfortunately led to this particular result:
First, this battle got in general absolutely crappy coverage even from Soviet sources (and don't even get me started about Western). I once had a whole tome of soldiers' memoirs about Kursk, and not a thing about Smolensk. Istomin's and Voronov's books are about the only sources and both are written from a general's point of view...
Second, this is unfortunately a particularity of the whole Soviet war history school. People talk about heroism, about sacrifices, but seldom about losses and blood among soldiers (not in detail that is)
Third, in Histomin's book, there are quite a few examples of soldiers dying and sacrificing themselves to make things happen. However, the distinction of what was true and what was propaganda is oh-so-unclear. The risk of being accused of POV was too high for me, given the sources.
Even Stalingrad, which has a 10000 times wider coverage in books is quite scarce about human details (well, at least compared to the sheer volume of material).
As for German sources, I do not speak German so I can't go and read their memoirs, if there are any... :(
I will see what I can do of course, but that's why I wanted it to pass FA first and think of this second. -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 21:57, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for responding to my suggestion, I do appreciate that it's not always easy to add everything into an article. I am glad that you have said you will look into it. At the end of the day, you can only do so much with an article, based on the resources available, so I respect your answer. Thanks once again for your helpful response - it is nice to see someone answer in the way you have done. I have recently had a bad experience on the M2TW forum, where my posts have been flamed. The kind and helpful way you have answered my suggestion really does mean something to me. Thanks again! :) Bigdaddy1204 01:54, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Stavka or STAVKA?[edit]

A minor point, but the article is inconsistent as to whether to use stanka or STANKA. It would be nice to clear that up before it goes on the main page. HenryFlower 22:40, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

First it's Stavka. :) Second it is an acronym that is also a word (Stavka means command camp and it is also an abbreviation of Shtab verkhovnogo komandovanya. In western literature it is sometimes written capitalized as STAVKA. -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 22:42, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
There was no such thing, as "Штаб Верховного Командования" (Shtab Verkhovnogo komandovaniya). Red Army had a General Staff (Генеральный Штаб Красной Армии), that's it. But there is a part of truth in there - the full title of Stavka after August 8, 1941 was Stavka Verhovnogo Glavnokomandovaniya (Ставка Верховного Главнокомандования).Fat yankey 22:48, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
Update: I set all to lower caps just to be sure... :) -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 22:44, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Hey, I got it right in the heading, at least. ;) HenryFlower 22:49, 28 July 2006 (UTC)


Congratulations to the editors thus far on chronicling an important battle. I have one question - what the heck is a "depeche"? I tried to edit this out but honestly couldn't figure out if it meant "officer", "staff officer", "briefing" or something else based on context clues.

I've also made some copyedits and tightened up the prose - the article was very conversational in tone but otherwise quite good as far as content; hopefully the number of edits won't seem alarming, they are almost all stylistic rather than factual. I've also changed "Wehrmacht" in some cases to "German" though perhaps "Axis" would be better. Wehrmacht refers to the Air Force, Army and Navy. Axis would include Romanian, Hungarian, Italian etc. troops. I also deleted the phrase about Germany "losing their best men" in two years of war as a POV statement that is unprovable and probably false in any event. Again, good work so far, I enjoyed reading it.Michael Dorosh 08:24, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

A depeche is a dispatch, or message. I'd agree a more common word would be better. HenryFlower 09:03, 29 July 2006 (UTC)


It might be good idea to search also for other sources than Russian ones. I remember that for example the Zhukov Memoirs (cited as source in article) are often heavily criticised for their blatant inaccuracy.


Has the use of "repel" been considered? "Repulse" does not sound like a verb, and even though the dictionary lists it as such. "Drive back" would be an anglosaxon alternative (studies show that texts written predominantly in anglosaxon words are easier to understand than texts written in Latin-derived vocabulary; I will not provide a reference for this). - Samsara (talkcontribs) 10:54, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Wholesale reverts[edit]

Whoah....I spent a lot of time cleaning up language that was misleading and historically inaccurate - please don't simply revert wholesale without considering why the changes are made. I've outlined the reasons for some of the changes above - ie use of "Wehrmacht" where "Germans" is more appropriate, and the use of "best men" which is POV and really has no meaning. The article would benefit from an examination of these points one by one rather than assuming pride of ownership and making blanket revisions. Can we not work together?Michael Dorosh 14:27, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Umm... WTF gives?![edit]

Is it just me, or is there an enormous picture of a penis in this article? The thing took me off guard and nobody is editing it out, and I can't seem to figure out how to remove it.

Someone added it top the military conflicts template. Gone now. Gillis 18:02, 29 July 2006 (UTC)



Liberate vs. Retake[edit]

Okay these areas were indeed part of Russia and in that way were "liberated from germany" but i doubt anyone would say Germany would have liberated anything in case it would hae retaken land belonging to it in the end of the conflict.

I just think liberate is quite POV when what encyclopedicly is done is the action of retaking an area.

Gillis 18:11, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

You may have a point there. I think "liberation" is more often used to refer to the taking of concentration camps. - Samsara (talkcontribs) 00:42, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
No, liberation is commonly used to refer to any formerly Allied area retaken from the Germans (not just concentration camps). It is commonly used in histories of Northwest Europe, for example. It's use in eastern Europe becomes sketchier due to conflicting territorial claims, especially in places like Poland, etc.Michael Dorosh 01:02, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but smolensk is in Russia afaik. I clearly oppose to using liberate for eastern european areas independent before the war that then became satellite states or such. And still i disagree on the use of Liberate here either. I oubt we can have a census on the definition "everything taken by the allied from germany or its allies during WWII was liberated", this is something that is probably commonly used in history writing in different countries, especially such that is intended for a national audience. But as we are writing an itnernational encyclopedia we should account on this. If this definition was used it would be fair to say "eastern carelia was liberated by russia from Finland", which I doubt would be easily swalloed. I think wikipedia would need a common policy on this. Gillis 22:21, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
There were endless discussions on the subject here and what emerged was that it was 100% okay to use the term for ethnically Russian territories, while the word applied to Ukraine, Baltic states, Finland and so on... is indeed disputed. The battle of Smolensk took place entirely in RSFSR, so there's no problem. The example of Finland is different, so don't compare them please. I'm not even talking about the fact that in Western literature tje word is used even for Poland or Ukraine. If you want to know all the details, read Talk:Battle of the Dnieper and the two archives, but prepare for a long read beforehand :) -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 22:45, 13 August 2006 (UTC)


The infobox and the intro both give "Second Battle of Smolensk." Why isn't that the title of the article. It might be too cumbersome to move this while its on the mainpage, but is their a reason why the title is Battle of Smolensk (1943). "1943" should also appear somewhere in the first sentence or at least first paragraph. savidan(talk) (e@) 18:18, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

See WP:MILHIST#Naming conventions. While terms like "first" and "second" are commonly used in article text (when the context of a particular war is present), years are preferred for disambiguation in titles. (In this case, we have Battle of Smolensk (1941), Battle of Smolensk (1812), and a bunch of others to disambiguate with. Having "Second Battle of Smolensk" as a title—where the context of WWII would not be present—would be very confusing.) Kirill Lokshin 18:22, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Ok ok[edit]

I accept it now. Peace. Kurt.

Irrelevant quotation[edit]

Rokossovsky quotation in the "Main breakthrough" section is irrelevant. His front didn't take part in the operation "Suvorov". Central front of Rokossovkij was busy in the Battle of Dnieper, mentioned earlier in the article. 22:40, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

In the strict sense of the term you're right. However, first, the operation aimed at clearing the Orel Salient and the Operation Suvorov were pretty much interrelated. Second, Rokossovsky was not limited to his own front and his memoirs largely mention the operation Suvorov as well. A front commander had to know more than his own front. -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 22:45, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
That's exactly the point - the quotation would be relevant in the article about Kursk battle, part of which was the operation "Kutuzov" (cleaning up Oryol salient). I'll tell you more - Rokossovskij himself found suitable to tell about this in "Operation Citadel" chapter, where this quotation is from.Fat yankey 23:00, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
This is a wiki, so you're welcome to fix anything you can think is out of place. :) -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 23:24, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
Rationale first. Fat yankey 03:04, 20 September 2006 (UTC)


It seems to me that many of these references are only available in Russian. If so this should be noted in the References section. For example the only reference in English to "Nikolai Shefov Russian fights, Lib. Military History, Moscow, 2002." is at Recent Acquisitions: January 2007 "Shefov, N. A. Bitvy Rossii / Nikolai Shefov. Moskva : AST, 2002." and it is in Russian not English. If the cited books are in print in English then there will be ISBN numbers which can be added to them. --Philip Baird Shearer 09:38, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Update and revise[edit]

Hi gang. As you can see I have made some changes. Please do not panic. If this is FA quality article then by the time its finished they will have to invent a new category a bit higher ;o)
Not that I do not appreciate the work and effort that has gone into the article so far, and at least its here. However there is a drive to add Soviet operations and update them, and also add Soviet Armies and Corps (and divisions). I would also like to add more detail on the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe side. Actually I got here because of the partisan operation Concert that was completely left out of the article despite its significant. PLEASE lets talk before you edit or undo anything--Mrg3105 (talk) 07:31, 26 December 2007 (UTC)


Would like to hear from the person who did the maps for this article--Mrg3105 (talk) 07:35, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Western USSR[edit]

This was a general region of combat operations, and roughly corresponds to the Eastern European Theatre of operations. The republics are political entities, and several operations were conducted simultaneously over territories of several republics. The best way to describe these are as Western USSR where they were large strategic operations.--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 00:39, 1 March 2008 (UTC)


Hello Yura, You deleted the following from the Battle of Smolensk with the comment "Delete soviet propaganda"
Russian sources: 200.000–250.000 casualties[1]

That is not how Wikipedia works. Wikipedia tries for a NPOV, and that usually involves listing the opinions of both sides as long as they are reliable sources. If you believe that Zolatarev is not a reliable source, then you should explain the reasons for that belief.

We do not want to end up with an unbalanced Wikipedia that lists the views of only one side. NPOV is an important goal of Wikipedia, and without it Wikipedia's reputation will suffer. Your edits to Brusilov Offensive have created a rather absurd article that says in the introduction "Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory" yet lists Russian casualties as twice of Austria-Hungary and Germany. Numerous edits made by you to articles involving Russia seem to violate NPOV.


JS (talk) 23:47, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Hello JS, First, are you read the book: VA Zolotarev and al., Great Patriotic War 1941-1945? I read this book, i have this book in paper version, the figure of 200-250 thousand German causilites - without reference to the German documents. it's just a Soviet estimate without reliable confirmation. we have reliable German documents about German military losses.

Second, I removed the introduction "Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory" by mistake. I just do not agree with the figures of losses.

all the best, Yura2404 (talk) 01:41, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Why do you believe that including only German sources and ignoring Soviet sources is NPOV? Also do you understand the absurdity of having "Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory" and the casualties figures you have put in the Brusilov article? Depending upon the time period for which an event is assigned and the reliability of the source, you will get many different casualty figures. The goal is to give the reader the best possible NPOV view. Unfortunately your edits have all proceeded in one direction. JS (talk) 17:02, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I including figures only from German sources? this is a joke? in the article about the battle of Smolensk and offensive of Brusilov: Russian and Soviet losses - according to Soviet sources, the German - from German sources. It is right!Yura2404 (talk) 03:16, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
This is your edit to the Battle of Smolensk [[1]]. After your edits German casualties stand at 70K, and Soviet casualties are 451K. The result of this battle is described as "Soviet Victory". This again makes this article look absurd. The Soviets are victorious and conquer territory but have 6 times as much casualties? This makes this article sound like military propaganda rather than NPOV. You deleted V.A. Zolotarev and al. reference which had German casualties at 200K to 250K calling it "Soviet Propaganda". What is your proof that Zolotarev is not a reliable source? If the Soviets really suffered 6X casualties how did they push the Germans and their allies all the way back to Berlin?
Also what about the Brusilov Offensive? No one can seriously believe that the Russians broke through the Austro-Hungarian lines, overran large amounts of territories creating the "worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary" and yet managed to suffer twice as much casualties!!! These biased edits are really detrimental to Wikipedia's quality. JS (talk) 23:24, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
German losses 70,000 - a sum 10 daily reports of German losses, the Soviet losses 451000 - is the summ the Soviet reports of 10 daily losses. they do not exist on the Internet (10 German daily reports there), there is only the figures for the entire operation in the book of Krivosheev. this is the most reliable sources for Germans and Soviets. why do we have to write the Soviet estimate of the German losses?Yura2404 (talk) 02:20, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
Hello Yura, You did not answer my question why you consider Zolotarev as not a reliable source? Saying "Soviet Propaganda" is not an answer. I am not Russian, Ukrainian, or German, in fact not even European. I however dislike biased edits, and want Wikipedia to be a reliable source of information for the readers. When I see edits like the ones you make, in which the outcome of the battle is a "Soviet Victory", yet their casualties are 6X German casualties, I have a hard time believing the information. And my concern is increased when I see that your other edits are all on one side. Unless you can provide a better reason why Zolotarev is not a reliable source, I am restoring his numbers. Best, JS (talk) 16:33, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
German losses must be from German sources not from Soviet. And not only Soviet Union fight against nazi. Best, Yura2404 (talk) 00:28, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

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  1. ^ V.A. Zolotarev and al., Great Patriotic War 1941–1945, Moskva, 1998, p 473.