Friday, October 27, 2017

Why Michael Peck Is Not A Military Historian.

He surely portrays himself, and I quote from his biography, as:
I'm a defense writer, avid gamer and history buff. I'm currently a contributing editor for Foreign Policy Magazine, a writer for the War is Boring defense blog and of course a contributor at Forbes. My work has also appeared in the Washingon Post,Slate, Defense News, USA Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other fine publications. I'm a contrarian, an iconoclast, and I know that not everyone will agree with me. That means I must be doing something right. 
He holds some degree, in what else--Political Science--and that is about the extent to which his actual competencies stretch.  Obviously, if being a "contrarian" and "history buff" are qualities required for speaking out on some serious military issues, then, as I pointed out not for once in this blog--there should be no surprise with US "achievements" in geopolitical and military spheres. This is not to mention that someone who thinks WaPo or Slate to be "fine publications" has to really create an immediate alertness to a possible BS. And BS Mr. Peck produced aplenty in his, yet another, ignorant piece titled:

Why the Battle of Kursk Might Just Be the Most Misunderstood World War II Battle

And here is the issue immediately--there is nothing misunderstood about that Battle. It was studied in so much detail by now that no amount of Peck's BS can obfuscate the fact of him lacking even remote knowledge of the basic facts. Of course, he covers his BS with this:

Pointing this out takes nothing away from the bravery and skill of the Red Army, any more that it disparages the Western Allies to point out that the Soviets fought and destroyed the bulk of the German army. But today, as America and Russia confront one another, it is worth remembering there was a time when both nations cooperated to save the world from a new Dark Ages.

It is a load of patronizing BS not because it takes anything away from the Red Army, which Peck does exactly(I'll show it below)  but because, most likely, he knows it. If he doesn't--then he should stick to writing for Papua-New Guinea's (nothing personal per se against this fine country) publications. Here is a first "bomb":

On July 10, Anglo-American troops landed on the beaches of Sicily. Two days later Hitler informed his generals that he was canceling the offensive and transferring the SS Panzer divisions to Italy, to repel any Allied landings on the Italian peninsula.

Obviously it is a complete crap since WW II has NO recorded facts of transfer of SS or Wehrmacht combat units from the Eastern Front to the Western one, the other direction? All the time. But here is what really happened:

Western historiography would continue to quote in unison Mainstein's assertion that allied Operation Husky, as Sicily landing was known, would force Hitler to shift some of his crack divisions from Kursk area to Italy. What was omitted, of course, was the fact that the only division which actually made it to Italy, completely without its heavy equipment which was transferred to Das Reich and Totenkopf SS Panzer Divisions, was Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Division. Both Das Reich and Totenkopf were never transferred to Italy and were redeployed to the so called Mius-Front, which was a heavily fortified German defensive line along the river Mius in Southern Russia. There they would face another Red Army offensive. Moreover, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Division was deployed to and then remained stationed in Northern Italy mostly for garrison and punitive functions, which could hardly be called combat tasks. This Division would find its end on the Eastern Front, with some remnants of once crack unit surrendering to the US Army in the West.

Damn facts!! Oh am I being a "contrarian" or an "iconoclast"? The offensive was stopped because a Husky? Dir Mr. Contrarian even take a look at what Mius-front was, or what was transpiring there and why those 2 crack SS Divisions were sent namely there? Then, of course, our "iconoclast" comes up with another trivia.

Military theory holds that the attacker should outnumber the defender three-to-one, and that fighting through dense fortifications will render an attack ever more costly

Well, military "theory" holds that one calculates a required force and "designs" its structure often with the use of serious staffs and long and tedious calculations and "modelling" which was done even in WW II times and in reality was about same ol', same ol' ability to mass (concentrate) its forces on a key axes. Obviously Mr. Peck never learned that at proverbial Schwerpunkts the ratio of forces could reach sometimes 20 to 1 but here we are getting ahead ourselves and getting into serious operational issues which even for WW II could be fitted into C3ISR. But the real wowser from Peck comes here:

7. Kursk was an Anglo-American victory as well as a Soviet one:
Just as the SS Panzers were about to achieve a decisive breakthrough -- or so Von Manstein claimed -- an Anglo-American amphibious force landed on Sicily. Hitler called off Operation Citadel and transferred the SS Panzer divisions to Italy. The timing was coincidental. The Anglo-Americans didn't land on Sicily to support the Soviets at Kursk, nor could they have mounted a large amphibious invasion on such short notice. But the practical effect was to draw German troops from the Eastern Front at a critical time.

You see, friends, what was a real contribution of the US 7th Army of 66,000 men lead by Patton or Montgomery's 115,000 men facing about 60,000 German troops in Sicily, most of them later successfully evacuated, to a titanic struggle on the Eastern Front is difficult to comprehend. Of course, those crack SS divisions factually never fought Allies in Italy, but that, as you can see, doesn't bother Mr. Peck in the least. In this case, I agree with Peck's assertion--Battle of Kursk is the most misunderstood battle by Michael Peck. In fact, I have reasons to suspect that he knows shit about it, as well as about Eastern Front, as well as about WW II in general.  Highlighted in yellow is a completely contrived, counter-factual BS. I guess that is what one gets when one becomes a military history "buff", or maybe it is a buffoon? 

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