Thursday 9 June 2016

Cheating at Statistics: Across the Front Lines

 As my "Cheating at Statistics" series grows more and more popular, I read more and more complaints that surely it must have been those sneaky Russians lying in their own documents, for the noble German soldiers could not have been wrong! However, Joachim Peiper's recollection of events seems to discredit that idea.

"The one who quietly and bravely did his duty caused no comment and in his seclusion remained the fool. The one however, who did a lot of hollering, making an elephant out of every attacking mouse was officially commended and on top of it received quick aid in cases of emergency. Untrue reporting is an innermost disease of any army and must always lead to a false estimate of the situation and to wrong conclusions.

In the course of time the command realized that of many front line reports, 50% should be disregarded. Since however this procedure had no bearing on the actual situation, many a small honest commander was expected to do tasks which were sheer madness and which had to shake the confidence in his superior. At first the orders wore followed, ­later on one was satisfied with the telephone report of fictitious combat accounts."

The entire article, which is available here, is a very interesting read. While full of typical "Asiatic hordes" nonsense, it begrudgingly accepts that the Red Army was effective in both attack and defense and that the tactics and weapons it used were quite effective.


  1. Apparantly Peiper was not very impressed with the IS-2 or its 122 gun (which was seen as too cumbersome and inefficient), while the SU 100 and its gun had favourable comments.

  2. "Accounts by General Sepp Dietrich and Colonel Joachim Peiper, Commander of the First SS Panzer Regiment, First SS Panzer Division, and their involvement in World War II, between 1939 and 1945. The account was written by them for the trial judge advocate while they were awaiting trial for the Malmedy Massacre."
    You think they might have a motive in blaming reports as untrue or exaggerated in the defense of their actions?

    Any confessions from those on the rack?

    1. Didn't stop him from flooding the memo with hilarious amounts of racism, now did it? That would be the part that would play against him in trials, if anything.

    2. To be fair, from what I've read the Nazis had so saturated the everyday German life with their vulgar-biological BS that a lot of people simply didn't realise there was something *off* about it, nevermind now for the victors. Apparently while the rather farcical postwar "denazification" efforts lasted (IIRC the Brits and Yanks were the only ones who seriously bothered going down that rabbit hole), the interviewers commonly had to deal with Germans who with a completely straight face and not a hint of irony argued something along the lines of "the evil of Nazism being in the blood"...

      Yes, these were people earnestly attempting to convince the occupation authorities that they had been mere "fellow travelers", or bystanders swept up in the events, who had never been believers in the official dogma. :/

      Utter blindness to such details (and how that made you look like) is perhaps only to be expected in former SS officers in the immediate aftermath.

  3. Interesting report, thank u.