Recommended reading on the Soviet forces

Discussions on all aspects of the USSR, from the Russian Civil War till the end of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan. Hosted by Art.
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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 09 Dec 2007 16:49

Hallo All!

Some new Russian books.

" As I was in German captivity ". The author - Jury Vladimirov. Interesting memoirs of the veteran. Soviet POW helped to survive in the nazi captivity Luzhichan sorbs (soldiers of the German army).

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" Russian volunteers ". 1824-1941. History of Russian voluntary military movement, including Russian in Civil war in USA and in Spain, in China.
The author - Alexander Okorokov.

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1941. On the Western direction. The author - Valery Abaturov. The review of battles on the Soviet Western front from Brest up to Rzhev.

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Regards.

Alex.

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Post by Kunikov » 09 Dec 2007 23:16

The last book looks promising, I'll try to get it at some point soon.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 10 Dec 2007 11:27

Kunikov wrote:The last book looks promising, I'll try to get it at some point soon.


Средненькая книга. "Mediumssssss" book.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 13 Jan 2008 11:06

The Warsaw Uprising. 1944. In documents and archives of special services.

The joint edition Russia - Poland. In Russian and Polish languages. Almost 1400 pages! The price in Russia - more than 50 dollars.

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Thunder-storm for Panzervaffe. The author - Victor Prudnikov.

Research about activity of Soviet tank commander Michael Katukov. More than 380 pages.

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Post by Art » 19 Jan 2008 13:36

Let's continue with documentary sources. The four-volume collection of directives of the Soviet General Staff was published in 1990s as the 12th volume of the same "Russian Archive" series where the Stavka's documents were published. In general it's a far more technical type of directives than the Stavka's ones. It's in rare cases when they deal directly with operational affairs, and for the most part they are devoted to the units' transfers between the various part of the front and between the front and the rear. However, some part of the documents is devoted to the planning and conduct of military operations, organizational affairs, new fromations, conduct of mobilization etc. As a view on the Supreme Command's activities on the micro-level this source is useful though not the most easy one. As a substantianal drawback, the incompleteness of the publication should be mentioned. Also specialist preparing the book for the publication committed several unfortunate errors or misprints, for example in the dates of directives.
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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 19 Jan 2008 13:57

I have in a paper only three volumes RA (USSR-Japan, the Europe, Baltic). Selection of documents not so successful, certainly. But it is very a pity, that the project has not been realized up to the end....

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Post by Art » 19 Jan 2008 17:05

Different volumes vary in quality. I would say that "Moscow" and "USSR-Poland" are the best among the "topic" ones (i.e. devoted to one certain subject and containing documents from various archives and archival funds).

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Post by Art » 19 Jan 2008 20:18

Now the documetnts of the GKO (the State Defence Committee). This was the suprememe political body of the USSR during the war responsible for coordination of efforts of the different part of the state machine for waging war. Beginning from 30th June 1941 and till 4th September 1945 it issued 9 971 decrees devoted on various subjects from the To&E of the rifle division to the mass deportational campaigns. The most part of them is unclassified now but remain to be available only in RGASPY (the Russian State Military Archive for Contemporary Political and Social History). As I know the editiorial board of "Russian Archive" series had plans to publish some part of these decrees, but since the project failed under the pressure of financial problems, we don't have any publication of that kind. Now the text of only the small part of the decrees is available in the web. See the list of the decrees and text of some of them here (in Russian):
http://www.soldat.ru/doc/gko/
For the most part they are the first-rate source of information on the Soviet Armed Forces and speaking more generally on the USSR at War. Let's hope that the text of the remaining part will be published in the future.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 22 Jan 2008 16:43

There is a significant amount of the archival materials published in Russian province. Volgograd, Petersburg, can be cities of the south of Russia, Urals, Siberia... And certainly it is a lot of archives still waits for research...

P.S. + accessible material-collection on I-net " Blockade of Leningrad ".

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Post by Art » 24 Jan 2008 17:52

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"1941" in two volumes, edited by V.P. Naumov, 1998
A widely known collection of the documents of varous military, intelligence, diplomatic and administrative documents for the period 1st July 1940 -22nd June 1941 (and a small appendix with several documents beyond this timeframe). An absolute must-have for studying the eve of Barbarossa, contains such hits as the intelligence reports, shedules of military production, mobilizational planning papers, documents of war planning (almost all that are known today), documents on Soviet Army organizational changes and a lot of others. Rather easily available in Russian, including web-publications, but as far as I can guess began its way to english-speaking world only is a nutrient medium for Pleshakov's parasitizing.

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Post by Kunikov » 24 Jan 2008 20:52

Murphy in his book on intelligence on the eve of Barbarossa uses 1941 a lot, in fact I'll probably use it a lot. It's a great source for intelligence reports, if someone was to do a study of all the reports I think a new picture would become clear as to how much was really known and how contradictory and general some reports really were.

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Post by Art » 26 Jan 2008 15:46

Kunikov wrote: It's a great source for intelligence reports, if someone was to do a study of all the reports I think a new picture would become clear as to how much was really known and how contradictory and general some reports really were.
Well some attempts of that kind were made, for example, by Metlukhov. But the issue IMO still remains open.

Now "On the eve of the war" publsihed as a first volume of "Russian Archive" series. This is a stenographic record of the annual meeting of leading figures among Red Army high commanders which was held in December 1940. The meeting was rather widely known and was mentioned in a number of secondary or memoir sources, but the ful record was published only in 1993. The conference consisted of two parts. The first traditional one was devoted to current problems, first of all to the state of military training. The second, and it was a peculiarity of that year's meeting contained several reports on theoretical issues which were some kind of summary of the current situation in Soviet military doctrine. More specificaly these reports were: "Nature of modern offensive operation" by Georgy Zhukov, "Nature of modern defensive operation" by Ivan Tyulenev, "Airforces in offensive operation" by Pavel Rychagov, 'Mechanized foces in offensive opeartion" by Dmitry Pavlov and "The rifle division in defensive and offesnive combat" by Andrey Smirnov. In general it's a very instructive reading, moreover I was always impressed by the record of direct speach of real historical characters - it creates a preesence effect, that no other source can give.
The book in electronic form (in Russian):
http://militera.lib.ru/docs/da/sov-new-1940/index.html

BTW the records of the same annual conference for the years 1937 and 1938 were published a couple of years ago. See:
http://www.book.ru/176627
But probably hey were published not a long ago or probably this boks are of less interest thay remianed to be relatively less known than the first.

In 1939 the conference wasn't held because of the Winter War, instead we have the book "Stalin and the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40":
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/071465 ... roduct_top
It was also published in Russian and IIRC in Finnish. Fortunately, this book is more about the SF War than about Stalin. It is a record of the conference again, this time held in April 1940 just after the war ended and summarizing its experience. The remarkable feature is a rather critical attitude of the most part of participants toward Red Army's perfomance in the war sometimes even with sharp criticism.

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Post by Kunikov » 26 Jan 2008 16:19

Very interesting, thanks Art. I read the "Stalin and the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940" and was impressed by some of the candor in it.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 26 Jan 2008 17:09

These sources are very important, but... They do not give all picture occured then... Attempt Meltyukhov was important, but not so successful. Also very interesting researches Nevezhin, other collections of documents of an epoch are represented. For example, Nakanune, published in Minsk in the past to year...

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Post by Art » 26 Jan 2008 17:55

Alex Yeliseenko wrote:For example, Nakanune, published in Minsk in the past to year...
"Nakanune" was edited by Meltukkhov as well. :) Unfortunately, I have only the first volume, but, yes, it's an valuable source.

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