PDA

View Full Version : The Red Army: Efficient Fighting force or innumerable horde?



Istreliteli
03-08-2004, 05:31 PM
I was very pleased that EMitton's thread had maintaied civility and order and was very productive to our discussion on the sim and WWII in general. I hope this contraversial question will be answered with seriousness and I would like to avoid flaming and/or trolling.
That said, there are very few objective eastern front documentaries or articles that dont take one side or the other. Now, in your opinions, did the Red Army and the VVS improve in its tactical skills to match the germans from 1941 to 1945?
How logical or valid is the common "russian overwhelming horde" argument to explain red victory?

Thank you all, keep it cool.

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

Istreliteli
03-08-2004, 05:31 PM
I was very pleased that EMitton's thread had maintaied civility and order and was very productive to our discussion on the sim and WWII in general. I hope this contraversial question will be answered with seriousness and I would like to avoid flaming and/or trolling.
That said, there are very few objective eastern front documentaries or articles that dont take one side or the other. Now, in your opinions, did the Red Army and the VVS improve in its tactical skills to match the germans from 1941 to 1945?
How logical or valid is the common "russian overwhelming horde" argument to explain red victory?

Thank you all, keep it cool.

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

Chuck_Older
03-08-2004, 05:39 PM
Both.

Stalin traded real estate for time. The vastness of Russia worked for him, and against Hitler. Human wave type attacks did happen, but the Soviets were quite sophisticated in other ways. For instance, nobody could beleive that all these divisions of Russians kept on appearing, as if from thin air. How'd they do that without some efficiency? Same with manufacturing, they up and moved, and still turned out fine designs. I've heard stories about putting bolts in with sledgehammers, but production quality and design quality aren't the same thing http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

*****************************
Wave bub-bub-bub-bye to the boss, it's your profit, it's his loss~ Clash

Steaky_361st
03-08-2004, 05:47 PM
I think that the "russian overwhelming horde" had a little to do with it...heres a quote from Gunther Rall taken from the IL2 instruction booklet:

"The Russians didn't show the same amount of initiative as the enemy pilots on the Western Front. But the Elite units of the Red Guard were really very good. These aircraft were painted in red right up to the cockpit and the pilots had a real taste for battles on the turn. ...We could maybe shoot down five planes in one day, but the next day there were just as many there again..."

Some of the Russian Pilots, as Rall puts it were actually quite skilled, and if i remember Helmut Lipferts diary correctly, he too reminices about some skillful Russian pilots. They knew how their planes fought best, T&B, and they used that successfully on the Germans many times.

However, Rall also states that you could really not completely wipe out the VVS once and for all. So I think the amount of planes and soldiers had something to do with it.

Another factor that is crucial was the unbreakable Russian morale. They were always eager to fight and defend their homeland, no matter what the conditions or circumstances.

So in way, I think that the "overwhelming horde" played some part but not an overwhelmingly major one, but skill and the will to fight helped the "horde" successfully defeat the Germans.

-----------------------------------------------
Steaks
Cpt 375thFS
"And you thought the meat last night was tough..."

FI-Aflak
03-08-2004, 06:18 PM
it wasn't as bad as the horde was in WWI. The French second third wave soldiers didn't get guns or ammo; they were expected to loot the bodies of their dead comrades for weapons on their way towards German trenches.

War had evolved far by WWII, and the soviets did have a huge numerical superiority, but their commanders weren't stupid and they used tactics other than the human wave. Urban warfare, for one.

owlwatcher
03-08-2004, 06:19 PM
The Russian Stream Roller
Up Front and In your face.
With divisions of supporting Artillery.
Out fought the best at Stalingrad.
The russian combat losses just take alittle to get use to.
If the quility had been better of both men & machines it would most likly could have stopped Hitler alot sooner. (big if) Stalins purges
The equipment was top notch. T-34,IL-2,Pe-2,SU152 for the eastern front in mass numbers.
Built to kill germans one by one.
To live threw The seige of Lennigrad.Rather hardy folk.
This game you do not really get the feel of the Eastern Front.
Play some games that replay the 41-45 whole eastern front.
There is a complete diffence in the way the war is raged.
Lossing 10-70,000 men in a day!!?? and the vastness.

Huxley_S
03-08-2004, 06:21 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Lossing 10-70,000 men in a day!!?? and the vastness.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

sickening isn't it... http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/51.gif

Istreliteli
03-08-2004, 07:04 PM
So then was zhukov a good commander? or did he just rely on numbers and overwhelming the enemy?
I know the soviets had some good commanders, including my granduncle, (General Manfred Stern aka Kleber, led the International Brigade) who defended madrid from the fascists until Stalin pulled him out, after which he spent his days at a cozy siberian inn http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/52.gif till he died, because he saw so much of the west.
At any rate, on the tactical level, how much truth is there to the poor performance stereotype of soviet soldiers in all services in wwii?

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

p1ngu666
03-08-2004, 07:11 PM
according to a stalingrad book i bought, the russians where better at street fighting, shock groups..
the pics of piles of dead, a city of rubble, and the general saying he hadto travel to meet someone important, steping over dead, dieing, injured men dragging themselves to the landing site i belive.
:\
they where good soldiers, and equipment good also. pictures of germans with russian guns in book.. even before the encirclement http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

http://www.pingu666.modded.me.uk/mysig3.jpg

Istreliteli
03-08-2004, 07:28 PM
I dont question at all theyre bravery or dedication, only their professionalism and ability to conduct war effectively. If they were good soliders, in the sense that they could fly planes/fire artillery/drive tanks/etc why is the german/russian ratio so disparate?

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

JG26Red
03-08-2004, 07:34 PM
the red horde, thats it... just beat the germans by simple attrition...

LEXX_Luthor
03-08-2004, 07:35 PM
Put it like this. Stalingrad City in December 1942 was The Place many if not most Soviet soldiers wanted to be--just serving inside the city during the battle was becoming a cult status symbol in the Red Army. Stalingrad in December was the last place German soldiers wanted to be.

__________________
"You will still have FB , you will lose nothing" ~WUAF_Badsight
"I had actually pre ordered CFS3 and I couldnt wait..." ~Bearcat99
"Gladiator and Falco, elegant weapons of a more civilized age" ~ElAurens
"I don't have the V2 or B25s, so I'm going to reinstall" ~Bearcat99
:
"Damn.....Where you did read about Spitfire made from a wood?
Close this book forever and don't open anymore!" ~Oleg_Maddox http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

Istreliteli
03-08-2004, 07:58 PM
... thanx Lexx...but, what does that have to do with my question, it isnt too clear...sure youre right but is that because of superior russian planning/tactics/warfare on the basic solider level or what?
For example, kursk, on a strategic level: brilliant.
tactical: you tell me...german tanks outnumbered 3:1 still managed to inflict serious losses on the russians whose tank forces were made up primarily (60%) of T-34's.
Infantry losses as well.
What explains this horrific german/soviet casualty ratio, that remained (to my knowledge) static trhouought the war?
Any corrections to my statements are appreciated as well as more backround. If you are offended by what I say, sorry, im here to learn, teach me, if you can.

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

sfbaytf
03-08-2004, 08:03 PM
Another factor for the Red army was the lack or radios and the technicians to maintain them. Made coordination difficult and changing things in the middle of a operation difficult. Plans had to be simple and changing them once battle was joined was diffiuclt and in many cases impossible.

jensenpark
03-08-2004, 08:07 PM
If you guys get a chance, read the two books by Antony Beevor:

Stalingrad and
The Fall of Berlin, 1945

Answer alot of your questions in a very well told (non-partisan) way.

Describes the human wave tactic employed by the Red Army, and the utter disdain for the lives of their men by the Generals, etc.

http://images.google.ca/images?q=tbn:x5jImasyZY8J:www.spitcrazy.com/ensigncrest.jpg

sfbaytf
03-08-2004, 08:11 PM
Another great read is "War Without Garlands". One of the better books on the Russian front.

Istreliteli
03-08-2004, 09:34 PM
Thanks!What other factors do you think contributed to the 4:1 overall soviet/german causualty ratio?

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

clint-ruin
03-08-2004, 10:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Istreliteli:
Thanks!What other factors do you think contributed to the 4:1 overall soviet/german causualty ratio?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

A look at when the casualties occured is illuminating. This site has a reasonable breakdown on when and where troops were lost: http://www.fireonthevolga.com/Red%20Army%20casualties,%201941-1945.html

Standing directly in front of the German blitzkrieg, spread out on open ground, with no ammunition, communications, fuel or reserves is not what you would call a bright idea.

Multiple Stalingrad-scale encirclements were inflicted on the Soviets in 41/42 - since the Soviets were prohibited from falling back to more defensible positions, regrouping or joining up to form strongpoints, the Germans were able to probe and break through weak-points, then take their time demolishing the completely cut off Soviet troops. This removed practically all of the frontline troops from the Soviet West, leaving untrained and rapidly assembled reserves to fight the elite German units until Stalin was sure the Japanese would not move in from the south or eastern borders.

Order 227 is often quoted as being the explanation for the "not a step back" philosophy [ http://www.mishalov.com/Stalin_28July42.html ] , but the psychological impact of the purges probably played a much greater role before this directive was issued. Any action that could in any way possibly be interpreted as cowardice or disloyalty was known not to be a healthy career move. Hence a million tiny stands to the last man and the last round, very brave and very stupid direct frontal assaults, rushes to counterattack before any strength or reserves could be assembled, etc.

The Soviets own command staff was by far more dangerous to their own men than it was to the Germans in the early war years. The casualty figures reflect more than just a simple statistical ratio that you can use to say "the germans took down 4 to 1". Two totally different concepts of warfare smashed into each other.

I would recommend reading just about anything on the EF by David M. Glantz for the specifics of each campaign. Road to Stalingrad/Road to Berlin by John Erickson takes a more general/strategic overview than Glantz. Russias' War by Richard Overy is the very concise version of events that concentrates more on the political/philosophical aspects of the Soviet army in WW2. Read them all if you can.

http://home.iprimus.com.au/djgwen/fb/leninkoba.jpg

Menthol_moose
03-08-2004, 11:11 PM
Of note that the "human wave" tactics continued in Korea.



Eh, mates! What's the good word?

CzechTexan
03-09-2004, 12:31 AM
"Quantity has a quality on its own." --Stalin.
In my opinion, the Soviets had the unlimited manpower to "throw away" men as in the human wave attacks. Their mentality was a purely Russian idea: "bigger is better"...huge land spaces, huge industry, huge weapons output, huge army.
In the beginning it was feasible to endure huge losses of men. They did so because they had few officers with military skill (due to the army purges before the war). That was the only way they knew how to fight-head on human waves hoping to overwhelm the enemy.
I remember reading one book when a German officer asked a captured Russian officer, "why do you charge in human wave attacks time after time with no success?" The Russian replied, "that is the only way we know how."

Later in the war the Soviet officers had gained more experience and used more skill in battle than just using the human wave attacks.
Their European Russian manpower was becoming limited and more Asian Russians were used in battle.
I think the normal grunt officers cared about their men and didn't want to sacrifice them easily. However, the senior officers didn't care as much. The men were just numbers to them. If you didn't obey orders to "take the hill at all costs" there would be grave consequences enforced by the NKVD.



***
80% of all German casualties in WW2 were on the Eastern Front.
http://server6.uploadit.org/files/czechtexan-000_0049B.jpg
P-63C KingCobra "Gift From Kolkhoze Workers in the name of Lenin Vitebsk Province"

Willthisnamedo
03-09-2004, 12:51 AM
Some interesting points here, but the overall view seems to be leaning toward 'human waves, careless of their men's lives, infinite space' argument.

There was a 'small' campaign at the end of the war when the Soviets decided that they wanted some of Manchuria, so they attacked the Japanese army (they had not formally been at war with one another up to this point) It is generally regarded as a model of efficient, professional mobile warfare, and is used to teach about such stuff by both the British and US staff colleges. (They gutted the Japanese, by the way...) By that stage, the red army had 'been to hell and back', and the commanders, tools and techniques were as good as anyone else - and certainly more ruthless than many. Anything less, and you died at the hands of the Nazis or the NKVD... They were extremely good in pure 'operational' terms.

Their problems came when political considerations affected operational decisions (eg Seelowe heights outside Berlin: the op was rushed for prestige/in-fighting reasons)

03-09-2004, 01:01 AM
Quantity is a prerequisite for winning battles and wars, but quantity without quality pretty much means nothing.

Quantity is a terrifying thing to face, only when there is enough basic quality behind it to use the advantageous numbers advantage in devastating efficiency.

In that sense, I strongly doubt any other military force in the world, could have managed an operation in the scope of Operation:Uranus during those years. Could the British or the US army have done the same if they were in Soviet Russia facing the full might of the Wehrmacht? I sincerely doubt it.

By the end of the war, the Soviet Red Army was probably the most powerful military force in the world in regards to both quantity and quality.

..

Every general wants to command a military force with quality. However, a good general, knows when those qualities may be expected, and when not. Neither Zhukov nor Stalin, had any fantasies of suddenly training unfit soldiers into elites to square off against the Germans. Such efficiency cannot be expected, so they did what they had to do. They perceived what they were given with, and used it accordingly to gain victory.

Feeling contempt towards those who make "disdainful use of a soldier's life" is clearly a luxury inappropriate to the general environment which surrounded the Eastern Front. It was by no means a "gentlemanly" war. Hitler started the war with the cries of ethnic cleansing and the total destruction of Russia.

No matter how cruel it may look, the policy of terror which swept through the Red Army, ironically, became the most effective means of maintaining strong and determined motivation towards facing the enemy, to both the high command and the frontline soldier.

Was there an alternative? I think not. Which is a sad thing to think about. Probably anyone else, would have made the same decision as Stalin, if they were in his shoes. That was the only way to keep Soviet Russia alive. That's a chilling thought. Probably undeniable, but chilling.

clint-ruin
03-09-2004, 01:21 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CzechTexan:
I think the normal grunt officers cared about their men and didn't want to sacrifice them easily. However, the senior officers didn't care as much. The men were just numbers to them. If you didn't obey orders to "take the hill at all costs" there would be grave consequences enforced by the NKVD.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Force preservation and concentration were well understood by the Germans up until Hitler got the bright idea of replicating Stalins' disasterous "not a step back" policy after Kursk.

Just because this interview has become something of a bible here, here's a quote from N. Golodnikov:

A.S. Whatâ's so bad about that?

N.G. Often, in order to be victorious, one has to risk it all and tilt the battle in oneâ's own favor. But the Germans did not like to take risks. If they felt that the battle was equal or was just beginning to develop not in their favor, they preferred to withdraw from combat more quickly.

A.S. Well, thatâ's correct. The next time they might win it all.

N.G. It depends! There are times when situation does not repeat itself. There are such battles when one must fight to the deathâ"”there will be no â"next timeâ"ť.



Another good article on the bloody-mindedness of Soviet commanders in their counterattacks is available here: http://rhino.shef.ac.uk:3001/mr-home/rzhev/rzhev3.html - David Glantzs' view of the disasterous Mars operation in late 42. Classic case of seeing the map as the terrain and using the wrong units for the wrong jobs .. and continuing to do so in the face of all evidence.

http://home.iprimus.com.au/djgwen/fb/leninkoba.jpg

Slush69
03-09-2004, 02:26 AM
Anyone interested in this subject should study David Glantz' research that's based on recently opened Soviet archives. A few good reads are:

"When Titans Clashed"
"Stumbling Colossus"
"Zhukov's Greatest Defeat"

His point is basically that the Soviets recovered from the initial blow in 1942/43 and developed into a highly skilled and sophisticated fighting force that was second to none in tactical and operational doctrine.

I for one happen to believe that he is absolutely right. But of course the myth of a Red Army of mindless zombies is more comforting for some.

cheers/slush

http://www.wilcks.dk/crap/Eurotrolls.gif

Stalker58
03-09-2004, 04:37 AM
Without lend lease help the Soviets woudl had never won the war, all Red Army for ex. was mobile due to Jeeps/Studebackers, famous T34 were made with US high speed tools, L&L was not only thousand Cobras, havoc and other war machines but most primarily machinery, tools, technology that made possible for Soviets along with massive allied bombing to beat German wr machine.Even in '44 there was lost ration 1:10 in favour of Wehrmacht!

Altitude, speed, manoeuvre and.... CRASH!

Slush69
03-09-2004, 04:50 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Stalker58:
Even in '44 there was lost ration 1:10 in favour of Wehrmacht!
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Could you, just for the fun of it, come up with a source for that wrong claim?

cheers/slush

http://www.wilcks.dk/crap/Eurotrolls.gif

Stalker58
03-09-2004, 05:14 AM
For ex. the Carpahian operation (entering Slovak teritory in October '44), loses: Germany - cca 13000, Soviets &gt; 115000 (exact data are not availabe, no one actualy counts bodies, they were disposable as new recruits wer on their way from Asia). Also many Red Army's soldiers engaging in central Europe/Germany were send to camps on Siberia, because they were "not reliable" any more.These sould be counted as well....and yes Stalin was bloody dog but I'm not in mood going into any political discussion, because my grand parents had lived TAHT throught and I don't need to read any "educated" books about the matter...

Altitude, speed, manoeuvre and.... CRASH!

Cossack_UA
03-09-2004, 05:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Stalker58:
For ex. the Carpahian operation (entering Slovak teritory in October '44), loses: Germany - cca 13000, Soviets &gt; 115000 (exact data are not availabe, no one actualy counts bodies, they were disposable as new recruits wer on their way from Asia). Also many Red Army's soldiers engaging in central Europe/Germany were send to camps on Siberia, because they were "not reliable" any more.These sould be counted as well....and yes Stalin was bloody dog but I'm not in mood going into any political discussion, because my grand parents had lived TAHT throught and I don't need to read any "educated" books about the matter...

Altitude, speed, manoeuvre and.... CRASH!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Slush69
03-09-2004, 06:43 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Stalker58:
For ex. the Carpahian operation (entering Slovak teritory in October '44), loses: Germany - cca 13000, Soviets &gt; 115000 (exact data are not availabe, no one actualy counts bodies, they were disposable as new recruits wer on their way from Asia). Also many Red Army's soldiers engaging in central Europe/Germany were send to camps on Siberia, because they were "not reliable" any more.These sould be counted as well....and yes Stalin was bloody dog but I'm not in mood going into any political discussion, because my grand parents had lived TAHT throught and I don't need to read any "educated" books about the matter...
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Of course not. Ignorance is bliss. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Anyway, I thought you were talking about the overall loss ratio, not about single instances. If that's the case you're of course right. There WERE instances when Soviet losses vastly exceeded German, just as there were instances when the opposite was the case. That line of arguing leads nowhere.

I don't know where Stalin is supposed to fit in here. We're talking about the capability of the Red Army, not about some evil dictator.

cheers/slush

http://www.wilcks.dk/crap/Eurotrolls.gif

BaldieJr
03-09-2004, 07:47 AM
Um, when talking about body counts and combat effectivness, I hope you are all taking the facts into consideration.

A lot of the fallen were russian, sure, but that part of the world was practicly in civil war at the time. At one point, the Germans had a million russian troops under thier command, and a lot of parisan troops helped the red army.

Its difficult, at best, to draw any conclusions from body counts because there was more than 2 armies fighting at the eastern front.

Signature:
Note: you may include UBBCodeâ™, UBBCodeâ™ Images and HTML in your signature. However, if the forum you are posting to does not allow these codes, your signature will not display as intended.

LilHorse
03-09-2004, 11:23 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kweassa1:

No matter how cruel it may look, the policy of terror which swept through the Red Army, ironically, became the most effective means of maintaining strong and determined motivation towards facing the enemy, to both the high command and the frontline soldier.

Was there an alternative? I think not. Which is a sad thing to think about. Probably anyone else, would have made the same decision as Stalin, if they were in his shoes. That was the only way to keep Soviet Russia alive. That's a chilling thought. Probably undeniable, but chilling.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think it's pretty debatable whether or not such a policy of terror actually helped them. It certainly didn't at the start of the GPW. Commanders at the Kremlin were so terrified that they denied or didn't want to believe that an invasion was taking place when their subordinates in the field were telling them so as they were being bombed and overrun. All because they knew that Stalin didn't want to hear that they were being invaded. They lost at least a critical days worth of reaction time.

Terror also kept field commanders to outmoded "by-the-book" tactics such as waves of frontal assaults because to deviate from them risked a visit from the NKVD. Were these commanders inexperianced due to the military purges? Yes, many were. Were they stupid? No. Were they terrified into using stupid tactics? Absolutely. The policy kept them from using something, anything like their own initiative to formulate tactics that might have prevented the needless slaughter of soldiers and the eventual massacre of civilians. And what was the Kremlins response to the initial disasters? To make the situation even worse by instituting the Duel Command structure with commisars at every level of command reporting on commanders, second guessing and even changing commands. Not very helpful at all.

Taylortony
03-09-2004, 11:35 AM
I read an excellent book on this years ago, I think it was called War on the Eastern Front and that layed out how they did it, they would work out how many machine guns the Germans had, how many soldiers in the trenches, work out the total rounds per minute the Germans could put out, calculate the time to cross the ground to the German trenches. Multiply the rounds per minute by minutes to cover the ground, add a Thousand odd on top of that, then send those many troops against the trenches, that way the Germans could not stop them even at maximum rate of fire....If they failed to take objectives or bottled out they were formed into penal battalions and one of there jobs was to march line abreast across minefields clearing them, if they didn't go they were shot if they "cleared a mine" and survived they were deemed to have served their punishment and were invalided back home.

They also tried starving dogs putting food on the bottom of tanks so the dogs would run to get the food even as they were moving, then in combat the dog would have an explosive pack strapped to them with an aerial onto that when knocked would detonate, if tanks were spotted the dogs were let loose to go get lunch, this was abandoned after a bit when it was realised the dog could not diffentiate between German or Russian tanks..

[This message was edited by Taylortony on Tue March 09 2004 at 10:43 AM.]

DONB3397
03-09-2004, 11:46 AM
So far, an interesting thread. My father, who survived the air war over Germany, was a bit cynical about kill ratios and similar stats. The Wehrmacht was, he thought, the most efficient fighting force in history, and it was defeated...by its own leadership, arrogance, and overwhelming numerical and material superiority.

He wasn't a very religious man, but I recall him saying, "They told us God was on our side. Actually, God was on the side of the army with the most men, equipment and bombs."

Quantity vs. quality? Incidentally, Stalin killed more Russian officers in the purge of the late '30's than the Germans did. Do you think that had something to do with the way the surviving Generals fought the war?

http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/3fe77b7e_1812a/bc/Images/Sig---1.jpg?BCh2UTABU0w9LZQo
There is no 'way' of winning;
There is only Winning!

Mitlov47
03-09-2004, 11:55 AM
I think that a major factor in the behavior of the Red Army during WWII has not been addresssed here (EDIT--I see the post directly above me addressed this, so I'll just re-emphasize the point). The military brass suffered very heavily during Stalin's purges of the 1930s. At the outbreak of WWII, nearly all the officers were rapidly-promoted and under-experienced. Most of the grizzled veterans from the Civil War had been deemed traitors and stripped of their position (or worse). The Red Army's poor decision-making during the first couple years of the war is a direct result of the leadership's inexperience. Once that leadership had built up experience again, they were more effective and sophisticated.

---------------------------

"I hear the roar of a big machine; Two worlds and in between.
Love lost, fire at will; Dum-dum bullets and shoot to kill.
I hear dive bombers and Empire down, Empire down..."
--Sisters of Mercy

KI-84-1a -- "Kaoru"

Cessna182
03-09-2004, 12:00 PM
I think it also depends on where, when, and what unit you're discussing. The Red Army was so big that it certainly covered a huge spectrum of quality.

There would be a huge difference between, say, Conscripts in early 1942 and Guards in 1945.

darkhorizon11
03-09-2004, 12:23 PM
They mowed down their own men by the thousands. It seems the Russians were better at killing Russians than the Germans were. I go with reckless.

Cossack_UA
03-09-2004, 12:24 PM
From German memoirs that i red (in translation)many noticed how Red Army retreat changed from the beginning of war to the time Germans took Kharkov and mooved to positions to srike Stalingrad. During the fist period Germans captured hundreds of thousands of POWs, captured weapons and equipment, Red Army was retreating in panic. Later on they noticed that they almost don't have any POWs from battle to battle and all the weaopons and equipment gets evacuated and all that they can capture is destroyed.

There's two kinds of retreat: the panic one and the organized one. The second type brought victory at Stalingrad.

BTW, who of you is familiar with Patriotic War of 1812, the one against Napoleon's invasion? It is very similar to GPW of 1941-1945.

BlackHawkLeader
03-09-2004, 12:44 PM
To the Defenders of Stalingrad.

Stalingrad will survive, or you shall die with it!
Joesph Stalin.

melkorjl
03-09-2004, 01:22 PM
russian waves were abandoned 1943, i think that the last time they used it were in some parts of kursk were there wasnt any artillery support or tanks. In operation Bagration, the most important operation in the eastern from between the battles of kursk and berlin, the kill ratio was 4 germans death, one russian death (4:1). also the russian generals were different, much more skilled and with experience. Also is important to remenber that russian army operated in much more smaller units than the germans at the end, giving a far much more flexiblity in combat, less soldiers but the same amount of atillery support and tanks support. this means simply that that the units were more protected and more speciallized. in contract the german army had become in 1944 an army of conscript without training, without support and scared of their commanders, in the same way as the russian army was at the beggining of the war. only some units like the ss remained without changes until the end of the war.
And some interesting points to finish, the only german attack after kursk, the attack to retake budappest, was a failure. in this attack some germans units used the russian wave only to meet russian machineguns.
another interesting point was how easy the russian army was capable to change tactics and the germans simply were unable, the most clear example is stalingrad.

At the end of the war the russian army was probably the most powerful in the world, not only in men but in tactics, morale and combat experience.

melkorjl.

Agamemnon22
03-09-2004, 01:48 PM
After the initial German advancements had been stopped in the winter of '41, the Red Army was able to adapt to the situation and make the best of it. By the summer of '42 Germans paid dearly for every mile of russian land. By '43 they were on the run. The Red Army became extremely mobile thanks to Lend-Lease trucks and was able to quickly manouver into advantageous positions. Germans had no such ability. Equipment-wise, new T-34 tanks outperformed Panzers until Mk. V, the Tiger. Of course Russian Army was larger than the German force, it had to be. As every tactician knows, in order to have a succesful offensive, you need more units than the enemy has on defense. Ideally you want 2 or 3 times more. Germany had 2.6million men on the front lines in Russia in 1942. The Red Army numbered 5+ million.
So, being an efficient force and innumerable horde are not quite mutually exclusive. The Red Army was very large in its size and quite efficient in unit to unit combat. Yes there were battles that went bad, but overall the ratio of German to Russian losses is consistent with regular defensive/offensive operations. And let's not forget that the Nazis were quite efficient fighters themselves.

Istreliteli
03-09-2004, 02:11 PM
True, excuse my ignorance, but it seems that the russians respect the germans more than the other way around. Anyone else see this?

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

Blutarski2004
03-09-2004, 03:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Willthisnamedo:
Some interesting points here, but the overall view seems to be leaning toward 'human waves, careless of their men's lives, infinite space' argument.

There was a 'small' campaign at the end of the war when the Soviets decided that they wanted some of Manchuria, so they attacked the Japanese army (they had not formally been at war with one another up to this point) It is generally regarded as a model of efficient, professional mobile warfare, and is used to teach about such stuff by both the British and US staff colleges. (They gutted the Japanese, by the way...) By that stage, the red army had 'been to hell and back', and the commanders, tools and techniques were as good as anyone else - and certainly more ruthless than many. Anything less, and you died at the hands of the Nazis or the NKVD... They were extremely good in pure 'operational' terms.

Their problems came when political considerations affected operational decisions (eg Seelowe heights outside Berlin: the op was rushed for prestige/in-fighting reasons)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Quite so. But it is fair to note that the Soviet forces which invaded Manchuria enjoyed huge superiorities in manpower, armor, artillery, air support, and logistics. Assuming competent leadership, the result was a foregone conclusion. It is to the credit of the Soviet command that they executed the offensive in an efficient and businesslike manner.

BLUTARSKI

Tovarish_06
03-09-2004, 03:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Istreliteli:
True, excuse my ignorance, but it seems that the russians respect the germans more than the other way around. Anyone else see this?

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That might have to do with the fact that Nazi propaganda portrayed the Slavic race as being inferior.

http://academic.algonquincollege.com/students/lope0036/bf109eKill.gif http://academic.algonquincollege.com/students/lope0036/sigPart12.jpg

Cossack_UA
03-09-2004, 03:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Istreliteli:
True, excuse my ignorance, but it seems that the russians respect the germans more than the other way around. Anyone else see this?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Germans always considered Slavs inferior

Two_Hawks
03-09-2004, 03:45 PM
Great thread! Germany's later {42 on..} tactics in fighting Russia is like Bruce Lee {Germany} wrestling a Sumo {sp?} wrestler {Russia}, instead of using speed, mobility and percise hits.

"The Forgoten Soldier" written by a frenchman fighting for the Germans on the eastern front is a powerful insight to what is was like to be a grunt on the east front. This book also tells how the appearance of even just 1 german plane would boost the morale of german troops.

Kahvikuppi
03-09-2004, 04:09 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jensenpark:
If you guys get a chance, read the two books by Antony Beevor:

Stalingrad ...
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I fully agree. I Have read it and there by dare to recommend it to anyone interested in this matter. Try this too, if you can get it:

"THE RUSSIAN FRONT"
Germanyâ´s War in the East, 1941-1945
Edited by James F. Dunnigan
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data:"---ISBN 0-85368-152X---"
Here you find loosely written story of the whole campaigne and quite a lot of detailed information about land units. Not so much about air- and naval warfare, but something.

The general consception goes all in all, that the Germans were better trained and better led than their eastern opponent. Germans did have good weapons, but in many cases the Russian ones were better.

One of the critical factors here are the Stalinâ´s purges. Commanders did not dear nor want to take initiative in a fear of revenge by their supers etc. (Itis difficult or even impossible to write shortly about this - sorry for that - but I try).

When the new generation of the Russian generals finally got their positions - like ROKOSSOVSKI - they were about 15 years younger compared to their german counterparts. It explains some parts of their lack of tactical knowledge. But the main problem was the overall educational level in Russia. It was simply impossible to teach enough good leaders for the huge logistical etc. operations.

[This message was edited by Kahvikuppi on Tue March 09 2004 at 03:23 PM.]

crazyivan1970
03-09-2004, 04:23 PM
This is the first objective and mature discussion i`v seen here on the given subject...

V!
Regards,

http://blitzpigs.com/forum/images/smiles/smokin.gif

VFC*Crazyivan aka VFC*HOST

http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/coop-ivan.jpg

http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/vfc/home.htm

Kozhedub: In combat potential, the Yak-3, La-7 and La-9 fighters were indisputably superior to the Bf-109s and Fw-190s. But, as they say, no matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down.

Capt.LoneRanger
03-09-2004, 04:59 PM
I've found a site, just a few days ago, with several quotes from German aces and pilots, that flew on the Russian front.

They all confirmed, what was allready said in this thread:
The Russian planes were of lousy quality, put together in outdated factories quickly, many of them dropping out of the skies before even shot at, many of them unarmed or only equiped with a few shots. The majority of the Russian pilots came to the front with 2-5 lessons on older a/c.
The only thing that made them really frightening, was the pure mass of fighters, that was involved in each attack. One could down 10-12 a/c a mission, but the next day, they attacked in full strength again.

There was also a quote from an officer, that had a chance to inspect I16 and some Yaks, the Germans captured. They claimed I16 was obselete at the beginning of the war and they wondered, how these a/c could fly anyways.
It was also said, that the large caliber guns of yaks and LAGGs were useless in a furball, because they were too unreliable.

I'll try to post the link here, if I still have it in my IE-history. It was really interesting read.


greets
Capt.LoneRanger

http://www.cptloneranger.privat.t-online.de/SIG2.jpg

Istreliteli
03-09-2004, 06:34 PM
I guess they didnt realize that Russian planes were made for t&b at low level...how obsolete were they then eh? ...
i guess when it comes to the aerial aspect yeah then russian pilots who had flown 10 hours ever wouldnt rep' their planes too well.
However put someone who flew in the Moscow Aeroclub into the same plane youd have a dead or sweaty german at the end of the DF after they met.
LoneRanger, why dont you read the memoirs of some GIAP aces...i guess if you took just the GIAP units by themselves they were capable of taking on the LW, pilot for pilot. But the majority of pilots had so little training...

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

Capt.LoneRanger
03-09-2004, 07:00 PM
Istreliteli, I don't think the Russian a/c were bad and actually, given the circumstance, I would say a Russian ace is a better ace than a German ace.
However, that doesn't represent the majority and that is, what we're discussing about.
I also don't think that all a/c produced in Russia were bad, but I like the example of the La7-unit deployed to a subtropical area and being decomissioned completely after 3 weeks, because the frames were rotten beyond repair.


greets
Capt.LoneRanger

http://www.cptloneranger.privat.t-online.de/SIG2.jpg

Istreliteli
03-09-2004, 07:18 PM
hm...but, they were meant to fight the Germans in Europe, in RUssia's time of need, and they were cheap and easily replaceable, they werent "bad" planes, they were good bc they did their job well...anyway i concede your point Ranger that we are discussing majorities...

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay; drop your bombs between the minarets, down the casbah way...- Yeah its Another Clash Fanatic

Two_Hawks
03-09-2004, 08:03 PM
Watched a show on the history channel called
"blood in the snow" on the eastern front. A russian pilot, during the battle of stalingrad", told how he was given only 2 hours 40mins. of training before being sent into combat. He also told of a entire formation of Russian planes turning and running .. "up the Volga".. from a formation of German planes. The Russian pilots were sent to a penal battalion.

BlackHawkLeader
03-09-2004, 08:32 PM
It really was a Clash of Titans.
The largest Scale land Battles in Human History, where fought out in Russia.
Casualties where horrific, whole armies where annihalated.
Most of the people who died because of WW2, died as a result of that Eastern front.

Even now 60 odd years later, it is still hard to imagine the scale of the fighting.

Yet with out this War between Russia and Germany, the allies would probably never been able to hold ground in North Africa, Malta would have fallen, and any invasion of Europe would have been out of the Question trying to stop German Expansion, further to the South.

It all becomes a bit what if after that though.

Slush69
03-10-2004, 01:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Taylortony:
I read an excellent book on this years ago, I think it was called War on the Eastern Front and that layed out how they did it, they would work out how many machine guns the Germans had, how many soldiers in the trenches, work out the total rounds per minute the Germans could put out, calculate the time to cross the ground to the German trenches. Multiply the rounds per minute by minutes to cover the ground, add a Thousand odd on top of that, then send those many troops against the trenches, that way the Germans could not stop them even at maximum rate of fire...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

"War on the Eastern Front" with the subtitle "The German Soldier in Russia, 1941-1945" is from 1979 and solely based on German accounts, as are all other books by the author James Lucas, who for some reason seems to have a special interest in the SS.

The chapter on Soviet tactics, you are refering to, is from some SS minor who after the war made a living out of teaching US intelligence about Soviet tactical doctrine. This is pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if he told people, what they wanted to hear.

If you think about your example a few things spring to mind:

1) It requires an extremely detailed knowledge of the enemy position, and therefore also a very long amount of time in which to gather that intelligence, while accounts of human wave attacks show, that they were used as a last measure, when inexperienced troops were thrown into the battle.

2) It's hardly an economical and sane way to fight for the very existence of ones nation, especially when you are scraping the bottom of the manpower barrel as the Soviets were. It's one thing to be utterly ruthless, as Stalin and the Stavka were, it's another thing to be stupid, which they were not.

Our knowledge of fighting on the Eastern front comes mostly from German memoirs, of which most were written in the first years after the war. It's hardly surprising that they show their former enemy in a certain light. Obviously there's no such thing as an objective account of the war and the capabilities of the belligerents, but any analysis should at least be judged on the accounts of both parties.

Why could of course also just stick to the old myths. I don't care. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

cheers/slush

http://www.wilcks.dk/crap/Eurotrolls.gif

Cessna182
03-10-2004, 08:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Two_Hawks:
he was given only 2 hours 40mins. of training before being sent into combat.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



Yow!

I'm a private pilot - it took me 14 hours of flight time before I was allowed to solo, and no one was shooting at me...!

BaldieJr
03-10-2004, 08:45 AM
slush69,

Right on.

Remember one thing though: Russia helped rewrite her own history. Remember the 'iron curtain'?

Signature:
Note: you may include UBBCodeâ™, UBBCodeâ™ Images and HTML in your signature. However, if the forum you are posting to does not allow these codes, your signature will not display as intended.

Master.Mariner
03-10-2004, 09:09 AM
The Red Army: Efficient Fighting force or innumerable horde?

clint-ruin
03-10-2004, 09:21 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Slush69:
It's one thing to be utterly ruthless, as Stalin and the Stavka were, it's another thing to be stupid, which they were not.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree with you completely about the inherant bias of any historical account, whether russian or german or whatever country you could name. I also agree completely that Stavka/Stalin were quite ruthless and calculating, but in the case of Stalin I would suggest that the man had quite a large number of conceits that almost lost him the war. His views on Hitlers reliability being number one on the list, of course.

I don't think it comes down to stupidity, just that when someone like Stalin or Hitler gets an idea into their head, a person who contradicts them stands a fair chance of losing their command, at best. The biographies of Stalin I have are filled with stories of his plans for the industrialisation of the SSSR where an initial plan to build say, a couple of factories, is expanded under Stalins watch to build 10 factories in the original time. None get completed for lack of labour or materiel, and heads start to roll.. same story with just about any aspect, be it agriculture, military units, objectives on a map or internal party affairs.

The bureaucratic fascination with organisation and numbers was great for building up reserves or shifting industry and people around - whether to the front or factories or militias or out of history. That part worked out pretty well, with the "or else" imperative giving people quite an incentive to do as they were told.

"Or else" does not work when the task is genuinely, physically impossible to achieve.

If the only target is raw numbers then it is quite logical to assume that quality control will slip. It also gives people who can dissemble or blame-shift or network their way out of trouble a big head start over those in the system who try to get things right. Can you tell I've worked for government departments before? :&gt;

Throughout the war you find examples of utterly brain dead ideas being applied, failing, continuing to fail, then continuing to fail for a while longer .. before someone actually worked up the balls to tell Stalin in plain language to his face that what was being done was just not working, nor would it ever work. At which point it would either stop, or that person would not be heard from again. Quite a gamble for the officers and technocrats to take.

http://home.iprimus.com.au/djgwen/fb/leninkoba.jpg

Vortex_uk
03-10-2004, 10:55 AM
taking back stalingrad...Russia - Many many many many...ect russians...2 in a group one with an out-dated Mosin-nagant rifle and the other with 1 ammo clip.. still took stalingrad...

Germans - latest weapons -MG42s,MP44s,MP40s,KAR98s ect...plus air superiority...LOST!

}-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-{

~S~
from =97th=Vortex

http://www.gamefileworld.com/upimages/newbanner.jpg
www.freewebs.com/fightingpumas (http://www.freewebs.com/fightingpumas)

Cossack_UA
03-10-2004, 11:20 AM
Speaking of Stalingrad.
An example of bravery and determination of Soviet soldiers would be Pavlov's House.
for long 59 days a squad of around 25 people defended a house agains German infantry and tanks. They alone killed more enemy soldiers than Germans lost in capture of Paris.
http://216.198.255.120/pavlov/ruspavlov.htm

Another example would be the defence of Brest Fortress:
http://www.brest.by/ct/page3e.html

These are just a few examples of Red Army holding agains Germans outnambered, outgunned, wihout supplies.