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Viewing Topic "The Panfilov 28"
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Posted by: Black 5
Posted on: 05/12/2016 20:33:41

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Posted by: Black 5
Total Posts: 23
Joined Date: Thursday, 24 October 2013

On 24 November 2016, a new Russian film, “The Panfilov 28” (28 panfilovtsev), opened in Moscow. This film covers a controversial action that occurred during the Battle of Moscow on 16 November 1941, when a platoon of Soviet infantrymen conducted a desperate defense against the 11. Panzer-Division. According to the official Soviet version, all 28 soldiers from Panfilov’s 316th Rifle Division (part of Rokossovsky’s 16th Army) died in the action, but they succeeded in knocking out 18 German tanks and fatally delaying the German advance toward the capital. Subsequently, all 28 were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.

However, the official version of events didn’t hold water for long, particularly when 6 of the supposedly dead heroes were found alive after the war. Apparently, some were captured and at least one may have been a Hiwi volunteer with the Germans. Despite these flaws in the official version, there is no doubt that Rokossovsky’s 16th Army fought the Germans to a bloody stalemate outside Moscow and there were real acts of Russian battlefield heroism.  

Unfortunately, the Russian Government today is extremely touchy about anyone questioning the official line about the Great Patriotic War.  Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky launched a strident outburst in a TV interview stating that "They [those who question the story] are trying to knock away the foundations of our faith in things that are absolutely set in stone and holy. Even if this story was invented from start to finish... this is a holy legend, which is simply untouchable. And people who do this are the scum of the earth.”

Anyone who researchers and/or reads Eastern Front history should cringe at this kind of statement. Apparently facts are irrelevant – and potentially dangerous - to Soviet military history. As a researcher, I rely heavily upon Russian-language websites like BDSA.ru, which has everything from operational plans to tactical reports. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have seen a treasure trove of primary source material made available by the Russian Government, but Mr. Medinsky’s comments makes me wonder how much longer they will be available.

Posted on: 05/12/2016 20:33:42
Posted by: Daitengu
Total Posts: 7
Joined Date: Thursday, 3 November 2016

'Ethnic Truth' strikes again.


I guess one of the biggest issues with history is when history has to take a back seat to nationalism or faith. In Modern Greece, there has long been an official government line with history  - which author Romilly Jenkins called 'ethnic truth'. That is, national identity is so important that many will happily sign up to an agreed fiction - an 'ethnic truth' - which makes the nation look better, regardless of the underlying truth.


It can be seen in Greece (who the term was written for), unfortunately Russia it seems from this article, China's government engages in revisionist history, and even Egypt (who actually believe they won the 1973 war!). It's not just nations either, social movements cling to false narratives long past the date they are widely debunked (Hand's Up Don't Shoot, etc.).


One thing I am glad about Osprey is there is nothing jingoistic in their histories and there is little bias detectable in their books - you are likely to get authors from nations on both sides of a conflict.

Posted on: 06/12/2016 20:56:08
Posted by: GI Gene
Total Posts: 59
Joined Date: Saturday, 7 February 2009

It is my understanding from reading the works of Max Hastings and Antony Beevor, that the Russian archives have now been denied to Western researchers and that Russian proxies are needed to access certain materials. 

Posted on: 07/12/2016 00:41:04
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 345
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

On a lighter note I've been trying to imagine some strange, alternate reality where the US Secretary of State goes in front of the television cameras to tell us that the film "U-571" is a sacred legend that we should all show the deepest respect to...

Posted on: 30/12/2016 11:14:07
Posted by: Black 5
Total Posts: 23
Joined Date: Thursday, 24 October 2013

In an alternate, better reality, Kerry would never have been secretary of state and Churchill would have been prime minister in September 1938.

Sorry about U-571, but Hollywood hacks simply don't give a hoot for historical reality. Once in awhile we get a reasonably accurate war film, but those are increasingly rare. I don't care for the fact that even when a war film is attempted, Hollywood usually tries to take some weird, off-beat angle, like Saving Private Ryan (not only fictional, but rather illogical to waste valuable Rangers looking for one private). Of course, even British films like Submarine X-1 (1968) were not very accurate, even though it had great material to work with.

Maybe as a start, Osprey should start a campaign to promote better, more accurate war films, rather than let the film industry just pander about for sub-par scripts. For a start, how about we identify the five most dramatic moments in military history in the past 200 years and then try to scale that down to a reasonable film-size topic? Then perhaps start a sign-in campaign to assess support for these? Just a thought.

Posted on: 04/01/2017 17:01:54
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 345
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

I concur with everything you say, Black 5. Good war films should hold our attention by the sheer drama of their narrative. There is no need for the director to keep hitting us over the head with a "message."

 As for a list of proposed films, I shall go slightly outside your suggested period and ask for a really big-screen, no-expense-spared film of the Battle of Trafalgar. Keep the personalities to the necessary minimum and give us a couple of solid hours showing the reality of warfare in the Age of Sail. Something like "Master and Commander" scaled up and less chat from Russel Crowe.

Posted on: 04/01/2017 20:46:22

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