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Friday, October 27, 2006

The Destruction of Army Group Centre

How High the Wave? Don’t Just Think 1994; Think 1974, 1958, 1982

By Stuart Rothenberg

With only a couple of weeks until Election Day, we know there will be a Democratic wave on Nov. 7. And we can be fairly certain that by historical standards it will be high - possibly very high. But we still don’t know how many Republicans once considered safe will be swept out of office.

The national political environment currently is worse than it was in 1994, when the Democrats lost 52 House seats, eight Senate seats and 10 governorships, and when Republicans won GOP control of the House for the first time in decades.

You heard me right: It’s worse this year than it was in 1994, when voters were dissatisfied with the first two years of the Bill Clinton presidency.

President Bush’s approval ratings are worse than Clinton’s were - Bush’s are in the upper 30s, while Clinton’s were in the mid-to-upper 40s - and the 16 percent approval rating for Congress in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll ranks far below where Congress stood prior to the 1994 midterms (24 percent).

Similarly, the generic ballot in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was much closer back in ’94, when Republicans held a 5-point edge right before the elections. Now, there’s a 15-point Democratic advantage.

Moreover, the problems hounding Republican Congressional candidates - which range from a second midterm election (as compared to a less dangerous first midterm in the Clinton administration) to House scandals to an unpopular war - are far more challenging than anything Democratic Congressional candidates faced in 1994.

If you are looking for a midterm election year that is comparable to 2006, you need to move beyond 1994 to include other recent "wave" midterms, particularly 1974, 1958 and 1982. In 1974 and 1958, the president’s party, in each case the Republicans, lost 48 seats. In 1982, Republicans lost 26.

Each of these three elections holds a lesson for anyone trying to understand what is likely to happen in House races on Nov. 7.

The 1994 midterm was about Clinton - particularly the Clinton health care plan, gays in the military and his perceived liberalism.

In 1982, the election was about Ronald Reagan and "his recession."

In 1974, the election was about Richard Nixon and Watergate, and then-President Gerald Ford’s September pardon of the disgraced former president. To some extent, it also was about a party that too frequently seemed to defend and shield Nixon.

And the 1958 election was about a farm recession and dissatisfaction with the Eisenhower administration in a part of the country that made up a big chunk of the GOP’s base.

Now, I take this with a grain of salt, shit can happen, but he's talking about is the crushing of the GOP in a historic manner, like the destruction of Army Group Centre.

The destruction of Army Group Centre was the most dramatic victory of the Red Army in WWII.

The battle

The attack began on the morning of June 22, 1944, three years to the day after the German attack on the Soviet Union. OKW had been expecting an attack on Army Group South, which had already been severely weakened and driven from most of the Ukraine, and therefore received armaments diverted from Army Group Centre just prior to the attack.

Operation Bagration pitted over 2.3 million Soviet soldiers in 200 divisions and large formations with almost 6,000 tanks and massed artillery against the 34 German divisions of Army Group Centre. The defeat of this force resulted in the death or capture of nearly 350,000 German troops.

The Lvov-Sandomierz Operation was launched on July 17, 1944, and quickly routed the German forces in the Ukraine. The rapid progress of that offensive brought the Soviet forces to the gates of Warsaw in the final days of July. Operation Bagration also cut off and isolated the German units of Army Group North fighting in Courland. The disruption caused by these operations in turn helped the Soviet Union to advance into the Balkans in August 1944.

The operation halted only when Soviet supply lines were in danger of over-extension, so complete had their successes been. However, controversy still rages about the decision to provide only limited - and late - assistance to the Polish Home Army in the Warsaw Uprising which began just as Soviet forces reached the eastern outskirts of that city.

Contributing to the German defeat was the transfer of units in response to the invasion of Normandy two weeks earlier. Four Soviet “Fronts” (army groups) totaling over 120 divisions therefore smashed into an even more thinly-held German line. The Soviets were able to achieve a ratio of ten to one in tanks and seven to one in aircraft over their enemy. At the points of attack, the numerical and qualitative advantages of the Soviets were overwhelming. The Germans crumbled.

The capital of Belorussian SSR, Minsk, was taken on July 3, trapping fifty thousand Germans. Ten days later, the Red Army reached the pre-war Polish border. Overall the near-total annihilation of Army Group Centre cost the Germans 2,000 tanks and 57,000 other vehicles. German losses are estimated at 300,000 dead, 250,000 wounded, and about 120,000 captured; overall casualties at 670,000. Soviet losses were 60,000 killed, 110,000 wounded, and about 8,000 missing, with 2,957 tanks, 2,447 artillery pieces, and 822 aircraft also lost.
[edit] Aftermath

Considering comparisons to other battles, this was by far the greatest victory in terms of numbers for the Soviets, having inflicted nearly 4 times as many losses for the Germans and capturing a vast amount of Soviet land back in a span of 2 months. It was one of the few major Axis-Soviet battles in which the Germans lost more troops than the Soviets.

posted by Steve @ 5:20:00 PM

5:20:00 PM

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