Size of WW2 Red Army divisions

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Imad
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Post by Imad » 13 Dec 2006 01:58

Hello
I have noticed that in WW2 Red Army divisions were much smaller than their German counterparts. Does anyone know the normal compliment of a Red Army divison in the war? TIA

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Yuri
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Post by Yuri » 13 Dec 2006 09:50

Regular number of staff and arms of Tank Corps (TC) of Red Army and Tank Division -Panzer Division (PzDiv) Wermacht for January, 1, 1943

TC Red Army / Pz Div Wermacht

1. Staff – 7800 / 16932
2. Guns of field artillery – 24 / 58
3. Mortars – 53 / 54
4. AT Guns – 12 / 101
5. AA Guns – 20 / 63
6. Tanks and SPG – 168 / 200
7. Automobiles – 871 / 2147

The common parity of forces: 1 Pz Div Wermact = 2 TC Red Army

Source: Military - historical archive. September, 2002.9 (33). P.60

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Post by Art » 13 Dec 2006 10:27

Do you mean the rifle divisions? The established wartime strength of soviet rifle division before the war was about 14.5 thousands. After beginning of the war this stregth was reduced and varied between 9.5 and 12 thousands men. However this establishment was usually applied for new formations but it was common for divisions engaged in actions to be undermanned. That's why the establisment strength can frequently say very little about the actual size that could vary in wide range dependant of the unit background, situation with replenisments, unit status (for example guards unit had priority), the overall situation and other factors. As far as I can notice something like semiofficial quota existed for the strength of forntline divisions. This means that when rifle division was withdrawn to reserve for R&R it had to be replenished to the level of 7.5-8 thousands men wich was actually smaller than established size.

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Post by ATH » 13 Dec 2006 13:47

Usually, as the undermanning of frontline divisions were "institutionnalized", what were the parts of/or the division's subunits that were left out? I guess the one thing that stayed was firepower, but how did they succeeded in cutting the division's force without losing Fire Power?

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Post by mars » 13 Dec 2006 17:45

But, my friends, in the reality, if a Soviet rifle division had a strengh of about 7000-8000 men, it would be consider "full strength", usually a Soviet rifle division would have about 5000+ men, and those in the secondry direction could only have about 3000-4000 men.

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Post by mars » 13 Dec 2006 18:00

And one thing, Soviet oob would not tell you anything about their real strength, the secret was Soviet always concentrated their force in the critical point, and sacrifice those in the secondory direction, for example, in 1945, in the most important Vistula-Order-Berlin direction, a soviet tank army usually had as strengh of about 800-900 tanks and sp guns, at the same time, in Hungary-Austria direction, a soviet tank army could only muster a less than 400 tanks and sp guns.

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Post by ATH » 14 Dec 2006 00:36

mars wrote:And one thing, Soviet oob would not tell you anything about their real strength, the secret was Soviet always concentrated their force in the critical point, and sacrifice those in the secondory direction, for example, in 1945, in the most important Vistula-Order-Berlin direction, a soviet tank army usually had as strengh of about 800-900 tanks and sp guns, at the same time, in Hungary-Austria direction, a soviet tank army could only muster a less than 400 tanks and sp guns.
This is a bit fallacious as an argument. The 6GTA and CMG Popov in Hungary did not benefit from a period of refitting and rest like the TAs in the center direction. They were in nearly continuous battle for the duration of the fighting.

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Post by mars » 14 Dec 2006 04:21

ATH wrote:
mars wrote:And one thing, Soviet oob would not tell you anything about their real strength, the secret was Soviet always concentrated their force in the critical point, and sacrifice those in the secondory direction, for example, in 1945, in the most important Vistula-Order-Berlin direction, a soviet tank army usually had as strengh of about 800-900 tanks and sp guns, at the same time, in Hungary-Austria direction, a soviet tank army could only muster a less than 400 tanks and sp guns.
This is a bit fallacious as an argument. The 6GTA and CMG Popov in Hungary did not benefit from a period of refitting and rest like the TAs in the center direction. They were in nearly continuous battle for the duration of the fighting.
ATH, 6GTA only had 2 Corps, which means even in full strength, it would only had less than 400 tanks and SP, at the same, those tank army in main direction had 4 Corps

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Post by Art » 14 Dec 2006 18:23

mars wrote: ATH, 6GTA only had 2 Corps, which means even in full strength, it would only had less than 400 tanks and SP, at the same, those tank army in main direction had 4 Corps
Speakiing frankly I don't understand how the conclusion "Soviet oob would not tell you anything about their real strength" follows from this.
Some examples of numerical strehgths of soviet divisions that I have on hand:
54th Army Leningrad Front 30th March 1942
3rd Guards rifle division 6980
294th rd 6025
311th rd 3733
11th rd 3514
281th rd 2358
285th 3363
80th 3256
115th 3135
198th 3731

59th Army Volkhov Front January 1944

310th rd 5935
239th 6352
378th 5530
191th 3761
225th 3783
65th 6426
2nd 4567
372th 6305
377th 6159

5th Guard Army Voronezh Front 10th July 1943
6th Guards Airborne division 8894
9th GAD 9018
13th Guards rifle division 8567
42th grd 8046
66th grd 8837
95th grd 8771
97th grd 8837

69th Army Voronezh Front 5th July 1943

183th rd 7981
305th rd 7803
107th rd 7920
92th grd 9574
93th grd 9426
94th grd 9385
375th rd 8715

37th Army Steppe Front 25th September 1943
62th Guard rifle division 8368
92th grd 8472
110 grd 8818
1st Guards airborne divison 8256
10th gad 7818
188th rd 7044
89th grd 3864

42th Rifle Corps 48th Army 1st Belorussian Front June 1944
399th rd 6005
170th rd 6077
137th rd 5911

28th Army 3rd Belorussian Front January 1945
50th grd 6753
54th grd 6893
96th grd 6858
61th rd 6993
130th rd 7382
152th rd 7062
20th rd 5337
48th grd 6416
55th grd 6175

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Post by Art » 14 Dec 2006 18:32

As one can see from this numbers such strength as 6-7 thousans men were quite normal even among soviet guards divisions before the large scale offensive. Data for 69th and 5th Armies before the battle of Kursk give an exception to this rule, however one should be aware
that these were units on the decisive direction and they had a prolonged period of lull in operations to be properly replenished. The same should be applied to the 37th Army that was committed from reserve (89th grd was involved in actions from July and that had an evident impact on numerical strength of this unit). The numbers for the 54th Army are the lowest ones, probably because they are given for the period when army was permanently in action.

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Post by mars » 15 Dec 2006 01:27

Art, what I means was, for example, when you fought Americans or British, if you knew there were 10 divisions facing you, you usually could have a fair accurate idea of the strength of your enemy, but if you were fighting Soviet, and you knew there were 10 Red army division facing you, then well, you could not have a clear idea about the strength of your enemy ? 30,000 or 80,000 ? how many heavy artilley did they have ? did they have any tanks ? No way to be sure.

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Post by Yuri » 15 Dec 2006 09:01

Here (by the example of 333-rd rifle division) You can see number and arms of a rifles divisions Red Army of a sample of summer 1942.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... c&start=15
Yuri 04 Sep 2006 07:38

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Post by Art » 16 Dec 2006 15:36

Mars, I understand what you want to say but the example you gave is unsuccesfull because it is rather proves the opposite
You said that 6th Tank Army was weaker in tank strength than armies operating in the central part of the front. But then you explained it by the fact that this army had only two corps - less then other tank armies. Hence this shows that relation between order of battle (in this case - number of tank units) realy existed. That's why I found you line of argumentation to be strange.

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Post by mars » 16 Dec 2006 18:01

Art, what I mean, based on the standard size of a Soviet tank army, 6th Gurard Tank army should get 3 Corps, but because this tank army was deployed at secondary direction, and at the main direction, soviet tank army not only had all of 3 Corps, some time they would get one more Corps, so that make it four

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Post by Art » 20 Dec 2006 10:58

The problem is that units as large as Tank Army didn't have strictly defined TOE and constant organization. This means that composition of different armies varied and even composition of the one peculiar army wasn't constant. This is the basic difference from the lower level units such as divisions that were organized according to TOE and had the similar organization. Hence all rifle divisions had the same authorized strength (the reality could be somewhat more complicated but it's the factor of the second order) because they had the same set of subunits. The real size of the divison could vary only if it was underequipped end undermanned. But the authorized strength of different armies could be different due to the different composition. That's why there could be a difference in real strength of the armies even if they were fully equipeed and fully manned. You gave the example of this phenomenon and it wasn't actually related to the underequipment. And as I've previously said your example shows that the actuall strength of the tank army was affected by it's OOB (for example the number of corps) instead of showing the opposite.

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