Qvist wrote:For the sake of brevity: Operations generally refer to the handling of Corps, Armies and Army Groups. Tactics refers to the fighting methods of Divisions and lower units.
Ok then, we use the same terms. I hope we agree that strategically Soviets were superior, they won the war after all.
Tactically. Looking at Stalingrad where numerically inferior Soviets held the city, I can't say there was a sign of tactical inferiority. The way the fighting teams were orginised - small independent groups, with their own objective, number of men each with its own role - anti tank or machine gunner etc - it was a sign ot tactical thinking, changing, adapting to new conditions. And that case where a group like that held the entire German division for several days.
Also. For example, Berlin was taken in no time compare to Stalingrad. Cybercat suggested a 1:10 ratio for city combat. Well, Soviets didn't have such advantage. And their losses, being very high were smaller than Germans.
Your basic point however is that those casualties were simply the price of victory. Of course, this is true. It is also I think reasonable to say that, given the circumstances and constraints, there probably was no easier or less bloody route to victory for the Soviet Union, there are limits to how much you can improve while fighting a total war.
My basic point is that Soviets greatly improved tactically, and that was one of the main reasons of victory. Lack of tactical knowledge or ability was often compensated or sustituted by higher losses. That was not the general rule by the end of the war however.
But the question remains, why did the price have to be so high? There is no doubt that the Soviet casualty rate was very, very high by historical standards, even relative to the huge size of the forces involved.
What historical standards are you applying if there was no war like that one? New step in weapons, methods of killing, hence unseen before casualties.
If you compare with the Western Front in 1944, the Western allies achieved a comparable advance rate and a comparable level of loss infliction, but at a significantly better exchange rate.
You can't compare West and East fronts!
Regarding Rostov 1941 counteroffensive. If Oleg shows here up, I am sure he will help me on numbers, I remember somewhere in these forums he argued that Soviets were numerically inferior there, so he's got some data.