Time Machine - What World War 2 Battle to Witness

Ithikial

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#1
Let's play a game.

Congratulations, you have a working time machine. After fixing a few things like investing in some shares in Google when it was a startup you turn to your passion for military history.

Which World War 2 battle do you go visit? Why?

Due to the miracles of science fiction like technology you have a personal shield, shielding you from physical harm and a holographic projector which will easily allow you to blend in with your surroundings.

My answer:
The Battle of Monte Cassino - I'd like to be a fly on the wall in the successive Allied HQ's as they try to break the Gustav Line. How did they cope with the ongoing pressure of being consistantly repulsed. See how the troops on the front line felt looking up at the Monestary on the hill and hearing what they thought of their chances. Would also jump over to the German side to see the Fallschirmjager in action. To see just how close they really came to losing the town on a number of occaisions.

Your turn. Go!
 

Shorker

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#4
Never heard of the battle of Brody before - thank you for the hint! ;)

In Kursk the total number of tanks (from both sides together) was higher it seems.


These are the numbers according to Wikipedia:

Battle of Brody (1941):

Strength
750 German tanks vs 3500 Russian tanks.




Battle of Kursk:

  • Operation Citadel:
    • 780,900 men[2]
    • 2,928 tanks[2]
    • 9,966 guns and mortars[3]
  • Soviet counteroffensive phase:
    • 940,900 men[2]
    • 3,253 tanks[2]
    • 9,467 guns and mortars[4]
  • 2,110 aircraft[5
 

rocketman

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#5
In the age of VR I have thought it would be interesting with an all immersive WWII simulator, but a time machine will do.
I would want to experience the assault on Merville Battery on D-day morning. That way I would get to parachute during intense AA fire and then do the assault under chaotic battle circumstances. And, of course, since I have made a scenario of the battle I would want to know if it was like I imagined it (probably much worse).
 

Bootie

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#6
@Shorker

Also from Wikipedia on the Battle of Brody page.

This was one of the most intense armored engagements in the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa and recent scholarship considers it the largest tank battle of World War II, surpassing the more-famous Battle of Prokhorovka.[4]


Kursk numbers are incorrect as they add in armour that was not directly involved in the battle but the Operation on a wider scale.


 

Rico

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#7
@Shorker

Also from Wikipedia on the Battle of Brody page.

This was one of the most intense armored engagements in the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa and recent scholarship considers it the largest tank battle of World War II, surpassing the more-famous Battle of Prokhorovka.[4]


Kursk numbers are incorrect as they add in armour that was not directly involved in the battle but the Operation on a wider scale.

Yep - -also recently read about this being largest armored engagement ever -- when Russians through all their Tanks and Mech Corps at German panzers of Army Group South ... although Russian performance was totally inept with huge breakdowns on the approach marches, confusion and uncoordinated commands and orders. But it did seriously slow down AG South's advance on Kiev and Uman.
 

Panzer Lehr

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#11
I think I would have liked to see those brave 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikh Regiment of the British Army and their last stand against 10,000 Afghans in the Battle of Saragarhi fought before the Tirah Campaign on September 12th 1897.
 

Josey Wales

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#16
I'm going to put a downer on this thread and say that I would categorically not ever want to witness any battle.

It's fine to play games, watch re-enactments, movies, tv series or read books that recreate these events but to go back in time and actually watch one would have a permanent damaging psychological effect which would be hard to recover from. There's a reason why many combat veterans don't talk about their experiences and those that do still become uncontrollably emotional decades after the event.

My grandfather (who is still with us) was a Royal Marine Commando who took part in Operation Husky over 70 years ago and still won't talk about it. He gets upset whenever someone gets onto the topic of the war. During my own military service I never took part in a battle but still recall seeing events in Belfast which happened over 20 years ago that I try not to think about and don't like to talk about. It matters not how closely connected you are to those around you being annihilated and maimed, it will change you regardless. These games we play rarely capture the reality of war and for me that's a good thing.
 

Badger73

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#17
I'm going to put a downer on this thread and say that I would categorically not ever want to witness any battle.

It's fine to play games, watch re-enactments, movies, tv series or read books that recreate these events but to go back in time and actually watch one would have a permanent damaging psychological effect which would be hard to recover from. There's a reason why many combat veterans don't talk about their experiences and those that do still become uncontrollably emotional decades after the event.

My grandfather (who is still with us) was a Royal Marine Commando who took part in Operation Husky over 70 years ago and still won't talk about it. He gets upset whenever someone gets onto the topic of the war. During my own military service I never took part in a battle but still recall seeing events in Belfast which happened over 20 years ago that I try not to think about and don't like to talk about. It matters not how closely connected you are to those around you being annihilated and maimed, it will change you regardless. These games we play rarely capture the reality of war and for me that's a good thing.
Regular doses of cold reality are a good thing, @Josey Wales. My wife's uncle never, ever, spoke of his US 85th Infantry Division experiences as a mortar-man in WW2 Italy and always refused the family school age children's requests to inteview a Greatest Generation Veteran. After the United States Army commissioned me a brand new "butter bar", my first command was a stateside 4.2" self-propelled mortar platoon comprising multiple Vietnam Veteran "losers"; pot-heads and ne'er do wells. I thought they were shiftless and useless. On the day the battalion formed to award one of them a Bronze Star for Valor displaying heroism in Viet Nam as a helicopter door-gunner, I started to realize that my self-righteous sensibilities sorely failed to account for the Gorgon's face of war.
 

Ithikial

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#18
I'm going to put a downer on this thread and say that I would categorically not ever want to witness any battle.

It's fine to play games, watch re-enactments, movies, tv series or read books that recreate these events but to go back in time and actually watch one would have a permanent damaging psychological effect which would be hard to recover from. There's a reason why many combat veterans don't talk about their experiences and those that do still become uncontrollably emotional decades after the event.

My grandfather (who is still with us) was a Royal Marine Commando who took part in Operation Husky over 70 years ago and still won't talk about it. He gets upset whenever someone gets onto the topic of the war. During my own military service I never took part in a battle but still recall seeing events in Belfast which happened over 20 years ago that I try not to think about and don't like to talk about. It matters not how closely connected you are to those around you being annihilated and maimed, it will change you regardless. These games we play rarely capture the reality of war and for me that's a good thing.
Same with my late grandfather and his time in the Dutch Resistance.

Well said.
 

Prof Oz

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#19
Yes, the same here. My father, who led an 81-mm mortar platoon in 30th US Infantry Division in Normandy, was reticent about his combat experience, which lasted from 11 June to 28 July 1944, when he was shot in an accidental rifle discharge. However, in 2007 at age 83, he said he was ready to visit Normandy. So, he, my son, and I travelled there. I was able to locate the place where his battalion (2/117th) led an assault across the Vire River north of St Lo. When we visited the site, he was initially more intrigued than anything else. He said, “You know, I didn’t see much at the time. It was dark, and I was busy.” Then, as he oriented himself, he proceeded to give us a 20-min brief on the operation. So, I have witnessed the most important WWII battle – to me at least – through my father’s eyes. He passed away in 2016 at 93 and was interred with full military honours.