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Series / Soviet Storm: World War II in the East

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"This is the story of Russia's "Great Patriotic War", and the Red Army's long road from defeat to victory"
Introduction

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Soviet Storm: World War II in the East (Russian:"Советский Шторм: Вторая мировая война на Востоке";original Russian title — "Великая война", English: "The Great War") is a 2011 17 (later 18) episode Russian documentary series originally made for Russian television. As the name implies, it covers the Soviet Union during World War II, in particular about their armed forces, and their years-long war against the forces of Nazi Germany during the Great Patriotic War, and later, Imperial Japan during the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria. The series is notable for its use of dozens of War Reenactors combined with Computer-Generated Images to depict tanks, aircraft, and vehicles for most scenes.

The entire series can be watched on YouTube here.


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This series provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Several from the Luftwaffe and Soviet Air Force are featured, most notably Ivan Kozhedub, the highest scoring Soviet and Allied ace of the war.
  • America Won World War II: Averted and downplayed. The series focuses almost exclusively on the exploits of the Soviet forces During the War. However, the Americans are shown providing military aid to them through the Lend-Lease act, such as American-built warplanes like the A-20 Havoc and P-39 Airacobra, which Soviet pilots use to great effect. They're also mentioned a few times such as during the D-Day landings and the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Badass Army: The Wehrmacht. However, after a string of defeats on the Eastern Front, they soon become a shell of their former selves as early as 1944.
    • The Red Army becomes one of these as the series progresses.
  • Battle Epic: The series focuses on the Soviet Union's road from defeat to victory during the Great Patriotic War.
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  • BFG: Quite a number of massive artillery pieces are utilized by the German and Soviet forces, most notably the Schwerer Gustav during the Siege of Sevastopol, and the M1931 203mm howitzers used during the retaking of Crimea and Battle of Berlin.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Several times, but most notably Stalingrad, Kursk, and Berlin, all of which involve thousands of men, tanks, guns, and planes.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: A handful of the Soviet artillery pieces used during the Battle of Berlin are old ones manufactured during the time of the Czar, brought back into service due to their massive caliber.
  • Capital Offensive: Both the Germans and Soviets are shown attacking the others' held capital cities.
    • The Germans, during Operation Barbarossa, manage to capture the capitals of Ukraine and Belarus, Kiev and Minsk, respectively, with relative ease, thanks to their blitzkrieg tactics.
    • Later, the Soviets repay the favor when they finally retake the first two cities in 1943 and 1944, then take it a step further by capturing several German-held capital cities during Operation Bagration, and then topping it off by finally capturing Berlin.
  • Chummy Commies: The Russians here are the protagonists, and are portrayed rather sympathetically.
  • Commissar Cap: Many Soviet officers, including actual commissars, are shown wearing these caps, even when going into battle.
  • Computer-Generated Images: Tanks, vehicles, and aircraft during reenacted battle scenes are depicted in CGI, mainly due to a lack of actual working vehicles to work with.
  • Cool Plane: Several German and Soviet aircraft are featured prominently, most especially during the episode focusing on The Air War over the Eastern Front. The most prominent of these planes include the Messerschmitt BF-109, the Il-2 Sturmovik, the La-7, and the JU-87 Stuka.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Initially, the Soviet forces are on the receiving end of this, particularly during Operation Barbarossa and Case Blue, where they are forced into retreat and/or are annihalated by German blitzkrieg. Starting in 1943, following the German defeat at Stalingrad, they repay the favor and manage to get the Germans on the receiving end, particularly during Operation Bagration.
    • The Japanese themselves are caught completely off-guard when the Soviets invade Manchuria, managing to advance hundreds of miles with minimal opposition.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Often, during what would otherwise be a Curbstomp Battle, the attacking party would suffer from a small setback, usually enemy forces resisting more than expected. One particular example would be the initial Battle of Kiev in 1941, where German mechanized infantry are cut down by Soviet machine guns just outside the Ukrainian capital, or during the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria, where Japanese strongholds manage to hold the Soviets off for a few hours before they're either overrun or bombed by aircraft.
  • Death from Above: Several cases.
    • German Stukas and Soviet Sturmoviks are shown inflicting devastating attacks on the others' ground forces.
    • The Soviet Katyusha is shown to be particularly devastating on massive German formations, both when on the offensive or on the defensive.
    • German and Soviet level bombers, while not given as much focus as the ground-attack planes, are still shown to be effective at destroying cities or massive pockets of resistance.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Battle for the Caucasus episode features members of the Brandenburg unit, elite German soldiers trained for infiltration and sabotage tactics, one of which includes posing as Soviet soldiers. Unfortunately, their cover is blown when a Soviet officer overhears their conversations in German, and shoots them dead.
  • The Enemy Weapons Are Better: Often, during the reenacted portions, Soviet and German soldiers are shown using the others' weapons, most often submachine guns.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Averted. Neither the Germans nor the Soviets commit their surface fleets to engage the other.
  • Epic Tank-on-Tank Action: The Battle of Kursk, as well as Operation Bagration, feature large tank battles taking place.
  • Final Battle: Berlin and the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria. The former is the capital and final stronghold of the Nazi regime, while the latter is part of an agreement that Stalin made with the Western Allies to enter war against Imperial Japan 3 months following the German surrender.
  • Final Solution: The Soviets, during their advance into Poland following the Vistula-Oder Offensive, discover the remains of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where the Nazis tried to cover-up their activities by blowing up the gas chambers and crematoriums. However, thanks to the the speed of the Soviet advance, there were still enough traces for them to piece together what had happened.
  • The Greatest History Never Told: Many of the campaigns and battles covered have so far been overlooked outside of Russia, such as the Battle for the Caucasus and the Soviet Offensive in Manchuria.
  • Hidden Army Reveal: The Soviets pull this off to great effect just before and during Operation Bagration, where they catch German Army Group Center completely by surprise.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Averted. Dogfights on the Eastern front generally took place below 5,000 ft, often within sight of the ground forces.
  • La Résistance: The Soviet partisan movement, discussed heavily in episode 14. Initially composed mostly of untrained farmers and villagers with the occasional Red Army straggler, by 1943 they've managed to organize themselves into an effective resistance movement that burdens German forces enough for the latter to have to divert troops away from the front.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Unlike the previous 17 episodes, which focused on the Eastern Front in Europe, the final episode covers the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria against the Japanese Empire.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Both the Germans and Soviets are shown upgrading their arsenals throughout the series.
    • Starting in 1942, following the nasty shock of German tanks being outclassed by the T-34 and KV-1, the Germans begin upgunning their Panzer III and IV tanks, as well as Stug III assault guns, to mount long-barreled 50mm and 75mm guns. Later, they begin introducing newer, more powerful tanks such as the Panther and Tiger I, the former of which replaces the increasingly obsolete Panzer III.
    • The Soviets begin upgrading their own tank arsenal in early 1944, first by replacing the KV tank series with the more powerful IS series of tanks, then by supplanting their T-34/76 tanks with the T-34/85. Both these new tanks feature more powerful guns capable of defeating the armor of a Panther or Tiger.
    • In terms of aircraft, the Soviet Air Force gradually begins phasing out their older I-15, I-16, and SB aircraft for more modern monoplanes such as the Yak-9, La-5, and Il-2. In addition, they also begin receiving American aircraft from the Americans via Lend-Lease, such as the A-20 and the P-39. In both cases, these planes are massive steps up from the obsolete I-15 and I-16, and are also capable of competing against their German counterparts.
  • Naval Blockade: The episode "The War at Sea" has the Germans, with help from the Finns, doing this to the Soviet Northern Fleet, in order to prevent the latter's submarines and surface ships from harassing German convoys. The only time the blockade is truly lifted is when Finland capitulates to the Soviets in 1944.
  • Old School Dogfight: The entire topic of the episode "The Air War", detailing Soviet and German dogfights over the Eastern Front.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Germans are shown doing to Soviet citizens following their occupation, particularly in areas with strong partisan activity. In retaliation, once the Red Army enters Germany, they begin doing this en masse, looting German houses of goods, burning others down, and raping any German women they come across.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Soviet partisans' method of resisting the Germans is to cause as much wanton destruction to their infrastructure and materiel as possible. On the side, this also includes executing collaborators and Nazi sympathizers, sometimes brutally.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: By the time the Battle for Germany occurs, the Red Army offensive turns into this, with hundreds of Red Army soldiers, many of whom lost their homes, family, and neighbors during the German occupation, return the favor to German civilians and cities.
  • The Siege: Several battles devolve into these, most notably Leningrad and Sevastopol, the former of which lasts almost three years. The Germans later end up with their own examples once they're kicked out of the Soviet Union, with Konigsberg and Poznan, among others.
  • State Sec: The NKVD and the SS, in addition to their usual roles as political enforcers, have frontline-capable units actively fighting against elements of the Wehrmacht and Red Army.
  • Storming the Beaches: A few amphibious invasions by the Soviets are mentioned or depicted during the Eastern Front campaigns, such as during the retaking of the Crimea, as well as during the invasion of the Kuril Islands.
  • Suicide Attack: The Japanese, in a desperate move, try to rush Soviet tanks with suicide bombers, and promplty get cut down. Later, their Army Air Force tries to use kamikaze tactics against them, with no success.
  • Tank Goodness: Several times, German and Soviet tanks are shown helping to win major battles. The biggest example of this would undoubtedly be the Battle of Kursk, which involved thousands of German and Soviet tanks.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As the series goes on, the Red Army begins learning from its past mistakes, and begins taking in the harsh lessons learnt from its early battles, gradually overpowering the Wehrmacht through attrition and the Russian Winter. By the end of the series, they've successfully retaken their lost territories from the Germans, and advanced into Berlin.
  • Translation Convention: Averted. The Russians speak Russian and the Germans speak German.
  • Urban Warfare: Constantly. Stalingrad and Berlin are arguably the most famous examples, but there are other, lesser-known cases such as the Siege of Konigsberg.
  • War Reenactors: The series relies heavily on the use of reenactors for scenes recreating battles.
  • Winter Warfare: Again, a constant case, considering most of the battles take place in Russia. The Germans, just like Napoleon before them, end up losing momentum during the Russian winter, while the Soviets manage to make full use of the harsh weather and attack them during these times.
  • Zerg Rush: The Soviets utilize this as their primary method of attack. While initially ineffective thanks to lack of artillery and air support, once the tide is turned against the Germans, they are able to fully utilize this, such as during the retaking of the Crimea.
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