Talk:Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket

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One sided-ness[edit]

This entire article is German POV as if the Red Army wasn't there. DMorpheus 01:54, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree - this article needs some serious work to reflect the Soviet decision-making process and actions, and to reduce the sinlge focus on the German side. Andreas 19:45, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
The article is written to much from the german perspective.

Paul Carell (Author of Scorched Earth) was in reality Paul Karl Schmidt - SS_Obersturmbannfuehrer, and a well-known nazi propagandist in Ribbentrops minsistry (e.g. press secretary). He justifies the holocaust during the war (esp. the murder of hungarian jews) and denied german war crimes against the soviet people in his after-war life as author of his "wehmacht" books. He was one of the guys, blaming Hitler and his fatal decisions alone for the lost war ("Stalingrad myth"). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

There is the Soviet General Staff Study for the Soviet side, but it is very flawed. A google search will turn up Zetterling's critacism of it.

The account on the main page does however track well with Nash' Hell's Gate; which is a meticulously researched book based on the German archives. The various units papers from that period were well preserved.

While short, do note the author did not state much about the soviet losses or anything else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Epaminondas (talkcontribs)

Im concerned about the part reflecting the brutality of the Soviet soldiers and the bravery of a German officer saving his men. No war is not brutal. In battlefiled, as a matter of fact, if you dont kill, maybe you will be killed later. But it is a little unneccessary to accuse the Soviet, who lost more than 30 million of their own to, along side with other Allied nations, defeat the Axis. Although the author try to avoid saying it (by saying "the brutality of war" instead of "of the Soviet"), but I think this article is a little pro-Nazi, in which the Germans all appeared as heroes and victims. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hawkie (talkcontribs)
That's what happens when your main source of information is from Paul Carell. Anyone know some good books on Korsun from the Soviet or neutral perspective? TheCheeseManCan 16:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

The article has very little value as it is now. Even number of German loses is given according to German claims while recent research indicates that Soviet estimates are reliable while German are not. See Glantz, House. When Titans Clashed, p. 188.Germans claimed that 30,000 of their troops escaped while according to the Soviet accounts 55,000 Germans were killed or wounded and 18,000 became prisoners. I will revise the article. Also, there is no a need for description of German heroics by individual soldiers, there were also remarkable stories of Russian soldier deeds. Let to describe main actions of the operations. E. W. 6.5.06

(see Hell's Gate Numbers)

Respect from Moscow! When I want to enjoy myself, I get into English Wikipedia site to look about Soviet operations during WWII. If only to count up Soviet losses according this articles, Soviet Union was to have been without army on the whole right up to 1945:):) I'm always LOL LOL:) Thanks for humor:):) --IstrV (talk) 22:49, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

LoL, well if one wanted an as neutral as possible account of 'Soviet operations' I certainly wouldn't be consulting the Russian language version of Wikipedia!1812ahill (talk) 17:25, 7 February 2013 (UTC)


The repetitive “exposure” of author Paul Carell at every mention of his pen name as the former SS man and propaganda writer Paul Karl Schmidt is redundant and skewed -- all this is properly identified and sufficiently belabored on the Paul Carell page. The discussion here seems to suggest that the sole purveyors of facts, of valid estimates and historical truths can only be the scribes of J. Stalin. All Carell books include extensive lists of participants who supplied information and photographs from various campaigns and therefore represent a source as legitimate as the communist (or now ex-communist) historians of the former Soviet bloc.--Gamahler 19:40, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

The dismissal of Soviet, let alone post-Soviet, military historions as Stalin's scribes apart from being vulgarly offensive is also patently idiotic. None of the Soviet, much the less post-Soviet sources cited in any recent article, weather here or elsewhere, are works published in Stalin's time. The preposterously fallacious military literature published in Stalin's era, along with the Cold War atmosphere, made it possible for German-partisan military-historical propagandists to market their "brilliant and noble Wehrmacht" mythology unchallenged. The publication of credible Soviet military histories following Stalin's demise and up to Brezhnyev ascendency, was a challenge to which they responded by labeling all Soviet military writers as Stalinists. As far as whorishly cheap propaganda goes this is fairly effective. Otherwise it is intellectually worthless. It is sad for German partisans that this cheap trick is no longer admired, and that the thinking world has come to dismiss almost all of the West German accounts of the Nazi-Soviet front as the rubbish , often fabricated by ill-disguised unreformed Nazis, fellow travelers and downright war criminals (Manstein, Guderian and so foth). With German history writing fast abandoning apologia in other aspects of the era in question, it may soon come to pass that Wehrmacht worshippers would be faced with valid military historiography of the Nazi-Soviet front emanating from Germany itself. Where would you be then, my poor ducklings?! In order to pre-empt such traumas just accept that the like of Paul Carrel the like no longer have anything to offer us, and embrace the works of David Glantz and company. It is high time isn't it?. Well so long, and don' be iritated when this article is thoroghly revised as it must. Soz

Rewrite and Edit[edit]

It is my intent to assist in the edits of the Cherkassy-Korsun page. Douglas E. Nash’s Hell’s Gate is required reading for anyone trying to understand this Red Army victory and Wehrmacht disaster. I may start this effort with correcting the spelling of Stemmermann throughout and use American military rank terminology, etc., even though a Wehrmacht Generalleutnant is not the equivalent of a U.S. Army Lieutenant General on a comparison chart. The ranks of company grade and field grade officers are clearer. The Waffen-SS inherited its arcane titles of rank from the SA - and equivalent Army ranks may be more useful. Even with prior protestations on record here, it essentially will remain more of a German story. Outnumbered at least 4 to 1 in manpower, and in heavy equipment in odds truly enormous, it is remarkable that any escape from the Pocket succeeded at all. Numbers of dead, wounded, captured and missing remain controversial, with Soviet/Russian historians claiming to know more about German losses than their own. Other sources place greater value on German data, since Wehrmacht troops were issued identity disks (similar to U.S. Army “dog tags”) worn by each soldier, whose fate could hopefully be reported to a central personnel register. The huge pools of manpower of the Red Army had no such refinements in place at that time.--Gamahler 03:29, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


The “Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket” page was tagged POV by Mgaved on 22 April 2006 without discussion or any other contribution. I am proposing to remove the tag. Please consider to comment. Thanks.--Gamahler 03:29, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

IMO the tag should be retained. The article is still very - nearly completely - concerned with German operations. Too, there is no strategic context showing how this battle fit into the campaign. Finally there are POV-ish statements, citing the heroism of German troops while the Red Army is depicted as simply a 'wall of T-34s'. And yes, I am as guilty as anyone of letting this situation stand ;) DMorpheus 14:18, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Removed POV tag. I have no problem with German heroism based on survival; I have no problem with Soviet heroism based on the certainty of victory. Walls of T34s and hub-to-hub artillery emplacements profoundly influenced Group Stemmermann’s escape route; if this is insufficient, then an elaboration would be helpful beyond a mea culpa for not contributing. Stavka’s sledgehammer blows had their own crucial quality as Zhukov as their representative, and Konev and Vatutin as able practitioners clearly proved. Certainly by early 1944 (more likely since Kursk or even Stalingrad) the outcome of the German-Soviet conflagration was sealed. Strategy anyone?--Gamahler 04:44, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Removing propaganda[edit]

I removed "No quarter was given by either side, the T-34s running down wounded men and those who surrendered." No quarter being given from eitehr side was rather the norm on the Eastern front, no? and "T-34s running down wounded men and those who surrendered." is for all purposes claiming that it was done on purpose, and not simply incidents boudn to happen in the chaos of the battle. Most importantly I remember reading it in a book by Paul Carell, and if that is the only source for it, forget about it.

Hell's Gate Numbers[edit]

I stand by the German figures as stated in my book, "Hell's Gate." The Soviet Union's claims of the number of Germans killed is wildly inflated. Ration strength of the German forces in the Korsun area immediately prior to the encirclement was approximately 65,000 men. The rest is simple math. The number of survivors that I mention in the appendix of Hell's Gate is a result of daily tabulations made by staff officers of First Panzer Army in order to determine the amount of rations to request to feed the men coming out of the pocket. These figures were not publicized and indeed were buried in the First Panzer Army's daily strength reports annex to the Kriegstagebuch. The staff officers and NCOs in the First Panzer Army's personnel staff section who compiled these figures had no motivation to inflate the numbers of men trickling in each day after the breakout; indeed, they would have been rightly punished if they had done so. The tabulations I show are the cumulative result of their efforts. You can also track the number of men day by day as they were shipped out of the assembly areas after the battle, as each train carrying them lists the number of men on each train and their units. While the number of Germans that the Soviets claim are way off, the number of captured roughly correspond to the reality - some 49,000 Germans were carried on the daily strength of Gruppe Stemmermann on 16 February; 36,263 made it out. Roughly 13,000 or so were left behind by 18 February, being either dead or taken prisoner. The Soviets claimed 18,000 prisoners, which would include men taken captive from 24 January until the breakout began on 16 February. Douglas E. Nash, 13 October 2007.

The above Nash paragraph appears to address comments by the anonymous editor E.W.6.5.06. Edits by E.W.6.5.06 were long ago superseded or corrected or amended with sourced data. The Nash contribution seems inappropriate under the heading “One sided-ness.”--Gamahler 02:13, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Nash seems to feel that his figures are unimpeachable for reasons that are in my view highly unconvincing: A) Since the contemporary documents containing them were not for publication, their veracity is a given. An odd conclusion. Other figures were published and it followed that the figures to be produced by lower staffs were, come hell or high water, to conform to those published were those compiling them to avoid troubles if not downright ruin. It was not commom practice for record keepers in the Third Reich to disregard their superiors' preconceptions when producing official records. B) Nash seems to feel that there existed a general truthfulness in the production of military records. Rudiger Overmans has observed that friendly losses figures submitted by German commands were, as a rule, deflated. We also know from research concerning entirely different fields, namely the Wehrmacht's participation in the Holocaust and German military intelligence, that Wehrmacht officials could be at least as meticulous in falsifying records as they are often believed to have been in preparing truthful ones. It is naive to assume that the staffs recording friendly losses and the success in extricating encircled troops should have feared punishments from superiors if they were to produce overly favourable accounts rather than the reverse. C) According to Nash the extricated men were sent away fron the front, presumably on furlough. While it is conceivable that some of the alleged survivors needed recuperation, although the Germans' account is that the non-ambulatory were left behind, there is no reason to suspect that they were all stumbling derelicts. The Germans could ill-afford to have over 30,000 men sent on home leave given Army Group South's personnel shortage. It is quite implausible. D) How does one reconcile the tale of a successful, organised breakout with reports of survivors trickling through the lines for several days. It too has the makings of a falsification of the record. Soz101 (talk) 23:47, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

POV redux[edit]

The Korsun page has undergone major changes and additions of sourced information in over two dozen footnotes. In my opinion the POV tag is no longer pertinent, perhaps it has not been appropriate for quite a while now. Korsun was a Soviet victory - but a German story; just as Bataan was a Japanese victory - but an American story. I proffer to remove the tag.--Gamahler 01:24, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

With respect, Strongly disagree. Yes, the article is better-sourced than in the past, but that wasn't the issue. There is simply no justification for making this article a "german story" any more than writing the Bataan article as a 'US story'. It is the very definition of POV. DMorpheus 13:35, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok, however, this should not be an exchange again exclusively between DMorpheus and myself. In my view, Wiki’s POV explanations and a “German story” or “American story” within an event based on the available literature are compatible. The outcome of the battle – and build-up towards the conclusion – after all is presented clear and unambiguous with proper citations. Hopefully other contributors will chime in and express their thoughts.--Gamahler 21:55, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Globalise Tag[edit]

I've slightly changed the tag, which may assist. The Soviet side of the story needs expanding; barely any Soviet formations are mentioned, nor plans, changes as a result of the battlefield situation etc. Comments welcome, but I would request that anyone seeking to change the tag again explain their reasons here and wait for further comments for a few days first. Regards Buckshot06 (talk) 09:50, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree this tag is at least as good as the old one, and I agree with your characterization of the article. regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:45, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

“Be bold” vs. rash?[edit]

Restored a (modified) previous lead summary since the 2 Jan 09 rewrite was flat-out inconsistent with text and sources. Refocused summary on the subject of the page: the battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy pocket. The page received somewhat flippantly a new title; in my view, rigid adherence to a naming convention is akin to “one size fits all.” Prior to imposition, major changes deserve the courtesy of a paragraph on the talk page.--Gamahler (talk) 00:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

While I may agree that, since this battle is more well known than most, there is a more widely accepted name that might be better than the Soviet operational name, which is generally used for things that are rarely seen in English sources. However, the lead is much worse now. There is a tag on it to globalize, implying that the sources don't cover all aspects of the battle. I am working on its parent operation, the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, and am planning to work on this article. Rewriting the lead was something I could quickly do to improve the article prior to completely rewriting it. The reason I didn't mention it on the talk page was, based on the history, I couldn't find anyone actively working on it who would care. Since there obviously is, I'll gladly discuss it, but I do believe that my lead (or a modified version of it) is superior to what is currently up there. – Joe Nutter 01:35, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Permit me to disagree, but that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla. Before you “completely rewrite,” suggest you consider Col. Nash’s Hell’s Gate and Zetterling & Frankson’s Korsun Pocket, both published in recent years. Their combined 802 pages stand for instructive reading – and would make you reconsider the concluding sentence of your “superior” prose of 2 Jan. One form or other of the globalizing tag since April 2006 indeed laments the absence of the-Soviet-side-of-the-story victory lap and is seen as the unforgivable sin afflicting this page. Looking forward to more superior stuff.--Gamahler (talk) 02:31, 6 January 2009 (UTC) Added italics above--Gamahler (talk) 02:52, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
OK, thanks for telling me about those. I'll see if I can lay my hands on a copy of one or both. However, the current lead does not accurately portray events. For example, in your changes you've removed the commanders of the Soviet fronts, and named the parent offensive by it's exact Soviet codename, something that MILHIST has agreed not to do. You've also not made it clear that it was a Soviet offensive. It now no longer is as clear about the location. It does not mention the period of fighting as the Soviets closed in, or the relief attempt that eventually let perhaps 10,000 out of 70,000 escape. It was very clearly a major Soviet victory, and the new lead, by mentioning the German breakout and implying its success before pointing out the heavy losses suffered does not accurately portray that. – Joe Nutter 23:34, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I must agree with Joe here, the Jan 2 lead is far better as a brief intro to the battle. It is a small step towards correcting the major "unforgivable sin" (nice term) of this article. I look forward to his rewrite. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:36, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I should add - the globalize tag should stand even if the Jan 2 intro is restored, because the bulk of the article obviously remains very POV/unbalanced. Hopefully we're on the road to fixing that. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 18:06, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
How can I argue with dictums of both Joe and DM proclaiming the 2 Jan write-up as far better. Let me say though that some of 2 Jan lacks wiki “truthiness” – that is “verifiability” with sources of recent vintage. The Korsun Pocket was a major German defeat; this is not a new revelation from on-high, but is sourced already in the text. I know where the “perhaps 10,000 out of 70,000" fantasy comes from. Based on that phrase alone I have some concerns for what is promised. I am mildly peeved though by what I perceive to be Joe’s thinly-veiled dismissal of the two volumes I suggested for sourcing. I think especially Nash is an essential read for any discussion of Korsun-Cherkassy.--Gamahler (talk) 23:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's discuss edits, not editors, and avoid personal attacks/sarcasm as much as possible, OK? The article as it stands has been tagged for quite some time as unbalanced/POV-ish. If we can work together to correct that, it'll be an improvement. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 18:27, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
The sources I own are: Carell, Scorched Earth; DA Pamphlet 20-234; Nash, Hell’s Gate; Perrett, Knights of the Black Cross; Zetterling & Frankson, Korsun Pocket. --Go!-- Gamahler (talk) 20:00, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
My apologies if I sounded dismissive; I did honestly mean that I would inquire at nearby libraries to see if I could find a copy. If you want to go ahead and add all the information from those and all the other sources you mentioned, then please do. That will improve the article. I will also add all the information from the sources that I have. As said above, the article has been tagged for various forms of bias, for the last two years. Obviously there are plenty of people who think that is needs improvement, which I am trying to bring. – Joe Nutter 22:27, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Article's name[edit]

Shouldn't the article be named Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket, as Korsun–Shevchenkovsky Offensive views battle only from the Soviet side? DJ Sturm (talk) 00:58, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Yet again on German Losses[edit]

The German losses figures of both Nash and the Zetterling, Frankson duo are based on contemporary German figures which are falsely assumed to be incotestably truthful. Whenever Soviet figures disagree with them they are dismissed as exaggerations if not downright propagandistic fiction. Rudiger Overmans is but one scholar to have observed that the casualties figures admitted by German commands were drastically deflated. This battle happens to be one where the deflation was particularly extreme. The reason for this is obvious. The German command rightly feared that the death and capture of over 70,000 men would cause the long suffering morale of army group South's troops to collapse. The lie that over 30,000 men made it out of the pocket proved too ridiculous to fool their men. While inevitably failing to fulfill its original purpose, this lie does seem to have found an unforeeen use, as a device for duping future historians into believing that Wehrmacht generals were far more successful than the enemy allowed them to be. Soz101 (talk) 08:08, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth, so if the current numbers are more widespread in Western sources, they get prevalent usage. If you have authoritative non-German non-Soviet sources supporting your point, do bring them in. --Illythr (talk) 12:25, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Of course there cannot be a source detailing the distortion of the records. One does not truthfully document one's falsification of documents. This after all would defeat the purpose in the worst way. My point is that an extreme deflation can be safely inferred from 1) our general awareness that German records deflated own losses for reasons of self aggrandisement, just as Soviet commanders, more pragmatically, sometimes did the opposite. 2) That the German command was painfully well aware that conceding the Soviets' success would terribly damage morale already harmed by a long retreat 3) that the claim to a succesful breakout by group Stemmermann was completely at odds with all Soviet sources including contemporary accounts - see Alexander Werth's book and is preposterous on the face of it given the forces arrayed against it and last but foremost 4)that as Nash himself reports the Germans recorded that the extricated men were sent on furlough , when personnel shortage was very acute. Be the matter as it may, my point is not that the works of Nash and Zeterling & Frankson's should be dismissed on my saying so, but that their dismissal of Soviet claims should be severely qualified and that Soviet and post-Soviet russian publications should be given more weight and credibility despite their incogruity with a highly dubious German claim to a practically impossible acheivement. Soz101 (talk) 17:29, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not demanding a source that directly accuses the Germans of lying (such a source would probably be of Mukhin-level quality). You see, the current article presents both claims equally, so, at a first glance, the NPOV is ok. What you most likely mean is that the current POV distribution violates WP:UNDUE, and, considering that someone has put a globalize:Germany tag on the article, you're probably right. However, to actually get something done here, a source is needed that's authoritative enough to override the present POV distribution. I don't know of such a source, unfortunately. Also see the section above for a similar discussion. --Illythr (talk) 23:08, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I have again visited the article and now it emerged that the Soviet estimate of German losses, that is much larger than the figures that the German command would concede have been downright deleted. This cannot be tolerated. I have reinstated the Soviet claim while indicating that it is indeed just one side's claim just as the smaller figures are a German claim. Ther were, it need always be remembered, two sides to this battle, and the only certainty regarding the records is that the Germans invariably deflated their own losses. Soz101 (talk) 09:01, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

CS troops[edit]

Citation suggested. There is no reference to a Czechoslovakian Independent Brigade in the Soviet Order of Battle for the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky operation in either Nash’s Hell’s Gate or Zetterling & Frankson’s The Korsun Pocket.--Gamahler (talk) 20:35, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but mentions of it have been added in several other articles on Eastern Front battles, all without references. I've hesitated to remove them, but the adding editor needs to provide references. – Joe N 21:06, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
While neither Russian nor German articles say anything about Czechoslovak presence, the Czech article has the following passage (google translated):
1. Czechoslovak independent brigade in Kosruň-ševčenkovské excluded operation around 1000 German soldiers, 3 aircraft destroyed, 20 tanks, 5 offensive works, 20 kulometných habitat and 50 cars. She suffered the loss of 46 killed, 104 wounded and 10 missing. She came by 1 tank, 1 armored car, 6 trucks, 1 car, 1 howitzer and a few pieces of light weapons [1]. - the source given is "Vojenské dějiny Československa, Naše vojsko, 1989" (rougly translated as "Czechoslovak military accomplishments, Our army").
According to this page(see 17.01.1944), the Czechoslovak troops did not participate in this operation directly, but did play a notable role in paving the way for the operation to commence. --Illythr (talk) 01:34, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
In terms of proportionality of Soviet forces vis-à-vis the Czechoslovak Brigade, a billing in the info box seems to give WP:UNDUEWEIGHT to a unit that did not participate in the operation directly, as pointed out above. If a reference can be cited (i.e., “better” than a website line-item), a mention of the brigade in the text or in a footnote should suffice in my view.–Gamahler (talk) 20:10, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

German losses[edit]

everyone seems to forget that the german losses for the battle should include the losses of the III panzerkorps and other german forces that took part in the relief attempt איש שלום (talk) 07:35, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

According to the Zetterling Critique ("Comments on the Soviet General Staff Study on the Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation," 2 September 2002), III Panzerkorps suffered 630 and XLVII Panzerkorps 668 casualties from 1 through 29 February 1944.--Gamahler (talk) 16:36, 19 August 2010 (UTC)


Political propaganda should be removed, (If the USSR and Nazi Germany were totalitarian, so were the western European and transatlantic empires) because it fails to adhere to neutral point of view, because it is uncited and because it is a non sequitur plenty of governments make self-serving claims. Note that it was an edit not a deletion and the reason was given.Keith-264 (talk) 22:36, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Hello Keith-264 and thank you for addressing this on the talk page. First off, let's note that Wikipedia itself, in Totalitarianism, cites this quotation: "Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible."
That pretty much describes life in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Secondly, because this article is about a battle between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, your comments about other governments that had nothing to do with it don't apply here. Third, where is the propaganda? The USSR and Nazi Germany were totalitarian. It is a very valid adjective with which to describe their political systems.
If my statements are unconvincing to you, then we'll have to see what other editorial viewpoints on this are. W. B. Wilson (talk) 05:22, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Keith, whether you argue or not that other countries were totalitarian, does not remove the fact the USSR and Germany were totalitarian at the time, and this is of value -- *very much* of value, in explaining why the casualty figures may have been tampered with or not updated, rather than respecting historical research and the facts. This is why Mr Wilson made the point he's making. The adjective should remain, and if you wish to argue the totalitarian nature of other countries, this is the wrong article for it. Buckshot06 (talk) 05:52, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Wiki is not a source as you can see here /wiki/Wikipedia:Avoiding_common_mistakes#Contributing...

The first part of the sentence is NPOV, reference to the wiki definition is dosn't mention a place or time or the disputed nature of the term and its use; if you use the criteria to analyse the British, French or American empires they fall into the same category as the USSR and nazi Germany - ask the Irish, Indians, Nisei, Philippinos, Algerians etc. Your assumption that the term decribes the USSR anf n-G but not the other states is facile. Assertion is not fact and thus does not conform to wiki guidelines. Buckshot, if the Germans and Russians manipulated statistics because they were totalitarian does it follow that any country which does the same is totalitarian? If they were totalitarian why would they bother cooking the books? If you wish to argue that n-G and the USSR were totalitarian this is the wrong page to do it; failing to note the controversial nature of totalitarianism theory when it is used to damn some polities and not others which have more similarities than differences is NPOV as the article demonstrates. Does fiddling the victim count for the invasion and occupation of Iraq make the USA totalitarian? Having read the article again that part of the sentence appears out of a bright blue sky with nothing to support it since but assertion, hence my edit. I would be grateful if you would restore it.Keith-264 (talk) 07:07, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Please read more carefully. The Wiki definition is cited -- that is, it is taken from a published source -- it is not simply a Wikipedia definition. I'm not arguing anything -- you are -- and your argument will not stand up as it is an extremely mainstream view that NG and the USSR were totalitarian states. And once again, we are not discussing "other states" or other periods of history here -- just the USSR and NG in the mid-1940s, both of which were at that time totalitarian states. W. B. Wilson (talk) 13:58, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
What is your source, is it reliable and is the rest of the article based on received opinion? Your reference to the Wiki page omitted the disputed nature of the term and its validity to the USSR. If it was due to totalitarianism that both governments made fictitious claims then is that the definition of totalitarianism or tautology? Please think more carefully and remember that Wiki doesn't define anything and isn't a source. Fiddling statistics suggests a state isn't totalitarian enough. I'm not arguing anything except the relevance of a polemical claim, its illogical inclusion as a reason for statistical chicanery which is commonplace and justifications which are veering towards the ludicrous.Keith-264 (talk) 14:12, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Keith, I guess we don't agree then. The citation for the intro sentence in the Wikipedia article mentioned above is from "Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000) ISBN 0-393-04818-7, page 74". Here's another statement, in a review of H. Arendt's book "The Origins of Totalitarianism" -- "The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia" -- from . From Arendt's work itself, page xxv: "The end of the war did not spell the end of totalitarian government in Russia."
My assertion is that characterization of these two states as totalitarian is something that is widely accepted. I think your view of this subject veers on being a fringe view. Understand that I do not consider that bad, but it is a view that you will have a hard time convincing many people of. If you really believe the USSR was not a totalitarian state, then my suggestion is that you include an information note tied to that statement with appropriate citations that argue the USSR was not a totalitarian state. So, Keith -- I have now provided you some citations that illustrate the mainstream view of these states as totalitarian. You talk about "the disputed nature of the term" -- so please provide some citations for your view and maybe we can make progress on this. W. B. Wilson (talk) 14:29, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
W.B. Wilson, I have given two objections to the sentence I edited - totalitarianism is not a description of the political systems of either country, (You must know Conquest and Arendt are not undisputed authorites, see M. Tauger, R.C. Allen, Zizek (!), Ian Kershaw for example.) a point which is asserted as widely as the opposite and you have not addressed the illogic of using the term as a reason for statistical chicanery. "Considering the totalitarian political systems of the Nazis and Soviets, it is not surprising that both hailed the events at Korsun as a victory.", can you provide a citation for the claim that both sides claimed a victory because they were totalitarian? "Both sides hailed the events at Korsun as a victory." is a description of a fact not an explanation (necessarily speculative) of a reason.Keith-264 (talk) 15:27, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
The sentence "Both sides hailed the events at Korsun as a victory." may seem more an assertion of fact but it is also becomes an orphan because there is no preceding phrase relating the significance of this fact to the section of the article it falls in: Propaganda and historiography. The Russo-German war is infamous for the distortions of both sides when it came to the outcomes of battles and losses of men and matérial. Totalitarian systems seek absolute control and control of information is no exception to this. Keith-264, again: Can you provide one or two citations (not just author names) to support your view? W. B. Wilson (talk) 05:06, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
♠Let me argue another view. Not calling them totalitarian is also POV, & equating them with the Allies is mistaken & POV. That the U.S. & Britain did barbaric things does not make them totalitarian. That they were colonial powers doesn't, either. The Soviet constitution had limits in law on what the government could do; AFAIK, NKVD & GRU never paid any attention, nor had to. The U.S. constitution also had limits; they were & are mostly honored. (Yes, Hoover had his problems; so did, & do, local police. Not a perfect system.) Removing these characterizations is a mistake.
♠I should also say I find claiming a moral equivalency between Nazi Germany & colonial Britain pretty disturbing. Colonial misbehavior, even brutality, in the 19th Century isn't remotely equal enforced famine & engineered genocide. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:56 & 19:54, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
My tuppence-worth; leaving aside the fact that the term 'totalitarian' has Cold War associations that are not necessarily helpful, I don't think either side's 'totalitarianism' is the cause of both claiming this battle as a victory. Political systems of all kinds portray military events as victories regardless of results - the British government called Dunkirk a miracle, for instance, and George Bush declared 'mission accomplished' in Iraq a touch prematurely. I think this isn't a case of 'not calling the USSR and Nazi Germany totalitarian' in a POV fashion, it's a case of that not actually being relevant to the mutual claiming of victory. I tend to agree with Keith-264 that "Both sides hailed the events at Korsun as a victory" conveys the necessary meaning without the use of a problematic term (totalitarianism) or suggesting that the victory claims were a product of respective political systems. --IxK85 (talk) 20:23, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
As I pointed out, use of the term is controversial and ascribing contemporary claims to totalitarianism is a non-sequitur unless similar claims by other governments are ascribed to the same reason. "Colonial misbehavior, even brutality, in the 19th Century isn't remotely equal enforced famine & engineered genocide.", mass death is mass death and the record of western European polities in the eras of empire and colonialism (C17th - present) make Hitler and Stalin resemble amateur Johnny-come-latelys. The technology of atrocity has increased in the C20th and C21st but to judge means rather than ends is somewhat dismissive of the crimes committed against hundreds of millions of Africans, Asians, Americans and even Europeans (potato famine anyone?). How about limiting the discussion of the relevance of the first part of the sentence to the second?Keith-264 (talk) 23:23, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
The sentence "Both sides hailed the events at Korsun as a victory." may seem more an assertion of fact but it is also becomes an orphan because there is no preceding phrase relating the significance of this fact to the section of the article it falls in: Propaganda and historiography. The Russo-German war is infamous for the distortions of both sides when it came to the outcomes of battles and losses of men and matérial. Totalitarian systems seek absolute control and control of information is no exception to this. Keith-264, again: Can you provide one or two citations (not just author names) to support your view? W. B. Wilson (talk) 05:06, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
W.B."Both sides hailed the events at Korsun as a victory." is a description not an assertion and not an orphan since it comed under the rubric of Propaganda and historiography. Your comment is an argument for the suppression of all the sentence. The German-Russian war may be notorious for many things but unless they are unique how can they be ascribed to purely local phenomena? Isn't the point that the Germans mitigated a big defeat with a local Dunkirk, which was used as a crumb of comfort and the Russians did the opposite? I think that the place to argue about the inadequacies of obsolete cold war rhetoric is elsewhere but we don't treat the loss of Worthington Force or the 1st Parachute Division as an example of competitive totalitarianism because of the Bengal famine do we? (If you want to define a totalitarian system by the criterion of absolute control I suggest you need to demonstrate a qualitative difference between Soviet and n-G practices and those of the regimes before and after and of regimes elsewhere.).Keith-264 (talk) 07:30, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Keith-264, we are in disagreement. Go ahead and edit the sentence. W. B. Wilson (talk) 17:16, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment from uninvolved editor. Ignoring the debate about whether these countries were totalitarian or not, I'm not sure of the relevance of the assertion anyway. Totalitarianism isn't mentioned anywhere else in the article, so why it needs to make an appearance at this stage I don't know. Personally I'd move the first two paragraphs of the section into the Outcome section and reword the first sentence to something like "In the aftermath of the battle, both sides attempted to claim victory at Korsun." I'd also be inclined to delete the bits about post-war deaths of generals at the bottom of the outcome section... Ranger Steve Talk 13:18, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Hence my edit.Keith-264 (talk) 14:07, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I concur with Ranger Steve that the mention of totalitarianism is entirely unnecessary and out of place. Military leaders have long claimed victory (or otherwise fiddled results) for reasons having nothing to do with the political environment they worked in. Arguing about who is and is not totalitarian is irrelevant to the matter at hand, absent a clear and direct connection (not presently in evidence). Magic♪piano 16:55, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
The sentence, as written, states that it is because the states were totalitarian that they both claimed victory. "Considering the totalitarian political systems of the Nazis and Soviets, it is not surprising that both hailed the events at Korsun as a victory." There are many instances in military history when both sides claim victory (there are few, or no, occasions of both sides claiming defeat in the same battle - maybe Hastenbeck) and it is never surprising, irrespective of their political systems. Citations that support the conclusion that it was because of their totalitarianism, as opposed to any of a dozen other reasons, national pride e.g., that both sides claim victory are needed. I concur with Ranger Steve and Magic.Tttom1 (talk) 17:26, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that a citation can alter the obvious non-sequitur that the sentence contains but I'm willing to wait a while in case someone has the ingenuity to find one. Hastenbeck was intriguing by the way.;O)Keith-264 (talk) 10:00, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Apologies everyone, just noticed WB's suggestion. Removed the citation needed tag as redundant.Keith-264 (talk) 10:14, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Lead para[edit]

  • The encircled German units broke out in coordination with a relief attempt by other German forces, with "roughly two out of three" encircled men succeeding in escaping the pocket,[1] "and almost one third of their men ... dead or prisoners."[2]


  1. ^ Nash, p. 366
  2. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 280

Alternate sources:

  • Weinberg, A world at Arms: "of some 50,000 to 70,000 in those trapped in pocket as many as a third were able to escape..."
  • Glantz & House, When Titans Clashed (2015 ed.): refers to German number of escapees (30,000) as 'claims' and finds the Soviet version "more credible": 55,000 German troops killed or wounded, and 18,000 taken prisoner. "Any units that may have escaped lost all of their equipment, were in shock, and had to be completely reorganized."

I'd like to modify the lead para to introduce the range of numbers reported in sources. Please let me know if there are any objections. K.e.coffman (talk) 23:09, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Department of the Army Pamphlet[edit]

This source is used extensively in the article:

The article states about it:

One of the initial historiographical works on the fighting at Korsun was a 1952 U.S. Army publication, DA Pamphlet 20–234, Operations of Encircled Forces: German Experiences in Russia. This work was written in the context of NATO's Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union, and authors were highlighting historical experience of the Wehrmacht that may have proven useful to NATO forces had a war between the Soviet Union and NATO broken out.[1] Like most of the English-language works on the Eastern Front of this era, it was written from the German point of view.


  1. ^ DA Pamphlet 20–234, p. 1

The pamphlet was written based on the accounts of Wehrmacht's commanding officers, without the benefit of any records, and is therefore unreliable. I don't believe it's a suitable source for the article. I suggest reducing content cited to it to basic facts and replacing it wherever possible. Please let me know of any feedback. K.e.coffman (talk) 21:46, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

Since it does not appear that there are objections, I will go ahead and trim the content source to it where possible. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:49, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
I agree, this series probably should not be relied on unless we can corroborate it with scholarly material or when discussing just the German POV. GABHello! 03:13, 17 April 2016 (UTC)