recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

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steinadler1945
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recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by steinadler1945 » 13 Jul 2021 19:43

I am interested in reading about Soviet deep battle doctrine on the Eastern Front, and/or what other tactics were utilized by the Red Army during the war. What books would you recommend?

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Jul 2021 23:27

Anything by David Glantz for the Red army narrative

Storm of Steel: the development of armour doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union 1919-1939 Mary R Habeck

ANALYSIS OF DEEP ATTACK OPERATIONS OPERATION BAGRATION BELORUSSIA 22 JUNE-29 AUGUST 1944 Lieutenant Colonel William M. Conn Free download.
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a483385.pdf

I found Red Armour by Richard Simpkin a very good explanation.

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Art » 14 Jul 2021 07:50

English translation of "The evolution of operation art" by Georgiy Isserson is available online:
https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals ... nalArt.pdf
The author was, briefly speaking, a tutor of most future Soviet marshals and somehow a grey cardinal behind the military doctrine.

Richard Harrison also have a biographical book on Isserson, which present some interest on its own:
https://www.amazon.com/Architect-Soviet ... 0786448970

"Soviet Military Operational Art" by Glantz is obviously a book of choice:
https://www.routledge.com/Soviet-Milita ... 0714640778

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 14 Jul 2021 20:16

There are three main authors that you need to read to get an understanding of operational art:
Svechin:
Svechin, A. A. Strategy. Translated by Kent D. Lee. Eastview, 1927. https://eastviewpress.com/Books/1879944332.

Triandafillov:
The Nature of the Operations of Modern Armies. Routledge, 2013. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203043790.

Isserson:
*Isserson, Georgii Samoilovich. The Evolution of Operational Art. Translated by Bruce W. Menning. US Army CARL Combat Studies Institute, 2013. https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals ... nalArt.pdf.
*Isserson, G. S. G.S. Isserson and the War of the Future: Key Writings of the Soviet Military Theorist. Translated by Richard W. Harrison. Translation edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co, 2016.
*Harrison, Richard W, and David M Glantz. Architect of Soviet Victory in World War II: The Life and Theories of G.S. Isserson. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2010.

A good overview narrative that pulls these together is
Schneider, James J. The Structure of Strategic Revolution.: Total War and the Roots of the Soviet Warfare State. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1994.
Other texts are:
Glantz, Colonel David M. Soviet Military Operational Art: In Pursuit of Deep Battle. Frank Cass, 1991.

However it is worth noting that Triandafiilov was killed in an air crash in 1931 and Isserson was in disgrace from 1938, so that the Red Army had abandoned their ideas of deep battle and operations following the Purges. Its re-establishment was due to the officers who were trained by Isserson before the Purge who had risen to senior levels by the start of the war.

Dick, Charles J. From Defeat to Victory: The Eastern Front, Summer 1944 Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations, Volume 2. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016.

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Art » 15 Jul 2021 11:37

Der Alte Fritz wrote:
14 Jul 2021 20:16
Isserson was in disgrace from 1938
Professor, chair of the operational art in the General Staff Academy. Not bad, considering that many other academic lectures simply didn't survive 1937-1938 in the most literal meaning. Isserson's decline started with the Finnish War, exact reasons were not completely clear even to his biographer (Harrison). In any case it seems that as a practitioner he was not as good as a theoretician.

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Jul 2021 14:29

Art wrote:
15 Jul 2021 11:37
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
14 Jul 2021 20:16
Isserson was in disgrace from 1938
Professor, chair of the operational art in the General Staff Academy. Not bad, considering that many other academic lectures simply didn't survive 1937-1938 in the most literal meaning. Isserson's decline started with the Finnish War, exact reasons were not completely clear even to his biographer (Harrison). In any case it seems that as a practitioner he was not as good as a theoretician.
There is a good discussion about the applicagtion of the ideas of the Soviet theorists in Storm of Steel: the development of armour doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union 1919-1939 by Mary R Habeck

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Paul_Atreides » 17 Jul 2021 20:45

Sheldrake wrote:
15 Jul 2021 14:29
There is a good discussion about the applicagtion of the ideas of the Soviet theorists in Storm of Steel: the development of armour doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union 1919-1939 by Mary R Habeck
I read the book and think that Habeck don't understand what is deep battle and deep operation.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Jul 2021 23:47

Paul_Atreides wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:45
Sheldrake wrote:
15 Jul 2021 14:29
There is a good discussion about the applicagtion of the ideas of the Soviet theorists in Storm of Steel: the development of armour doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union 1919-1939 by Mary R Habeck
I read the book and think that Habeck don't understand what is deep battle and deep operation.
I'll revisit Habeck's work. I seem to remember a good analysis of the difference between the exiting revolutionary theory and the inabiulity of the Red Army to make it work in pre war exercises. It struck a chord with Richard Simpkin's description ofthe Soviet layer cake - and some questiosn about whether the Warsaw Pact could actually make this happen.

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Paul_Atreides » 18 Jul 2021 03:52

She has a negative attitude towards any changes in the deep battle pattern. She thinks that the disappearance of some elements (DD/DPP tanks) has led to the abandonment of the deep battle.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Sheldrake » 18 Jul 2021 10:19

Sheldrake wrote:
17 Jul 2021 23:47
Paul_Atreides wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:45
Sheldrake wrote:
15 Jul 2021 14:29
There is a good discussion about the applicagtion of the ideas of the Soviet theorists in Storm of Steel: the development of armour doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union 1919-1939 by Mary R Habeck
I read the book and think that Habeck don't understand what is deep battle and deep operation.
I'll revisit Habeck's work. I seem to remember a good analysis of the difference between the exiting revolutionary theory and the inabiulity of the Red Army to make it work in pre war exercises. It struck a chord with Richard Simpkin's description ofthe Soviet layer cake - and some questiosn about whether the Warsaw Pact could actually make this happen.
Habeck's study concluded that whatever Deep Battle and deep operations meant to the theorists the Red Army could not make them work in the exercises that took place min the 1930s. The experience of the small wars of the 1930s further discredited the significance of massed around, which is why the Soviets abandoned the ideas by 1939.

Before WW2 there were lots of ideas about how internal combustion engine would change warfare. One big idea championed by Fuller and Liddell Hart and adopted by Hobart, Lindsey, de Gualle and other tank enthusiasts was that tanks triggered a revolution. Small numbers of professionals behind armour would cut through massed armies and avoid the bloodshed of the trenches and attrition. No one knew how this might work in practice.

James Colvin's Eighth Army versus Rommel: Tactics, Training and Operations in North Africa 1940-1942 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eighth-Army-ve ... 1913336646 is in many ways a study of how the British attempted to make the armoured theories work in an ideal theatre of war. It is also a case study on how not to learn and apply lessons. There was a confusion of bright ideas that turned out to be utterly wrong. A lack of communication between different theatres, internal politics, and a failure to think through tactical procedures and inadequate training.

How much of the writing about the "Deep Battle" is retrospective and ignores the failues?

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Paul_Atreides » 18 Jul 2021 12:49

Sheldrake wrote:
18 Jul 2021 10:19
Habeck's study concluded that whatever Deep Battle and deep operations meant to the theorists the Red Army could not make them work in the exercises that took place min the 1930s. The experience of the small wars of the 1930s further discredited the significance of massed around, which is why the Soviets abandoned the ideas by 1939.
It's not true.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Art » 18 Jul 2021 15:47

Sheldrake wrote:
18 Jul 2021 10:19
Before WW2 there were lots of ideas about how internal combustion engine would change warfare. One big idea championed by Fuller and Liddell Hart and adopted by Hobart, Lindsey, de Gualle and other tank enthusiasts was that tanks triggered a revolution. Small numbers of professionals behind armour would cut through massed armies and avoid the bloodshed of the trenches and attrition.
In SU that was generally considered "reactionary bourgeois" theories. It was expected that new weapons wouldn't replace the massed armies but only supplement them. It was true in retrospect since WWII saw employment even larger masses of men than WWI.
The Soviet concept of deep combat/deep battle did't postulate replacement of large infantry armies with small mechanized armies. Rather it said the strength of modern (late WWI-type) defense relied in its depth (deeply echeloned fortifications, weapons and reserves). A frontal assault on such defense meant grinding through a series of defense positions and was excessively costly in terms of expenditure of time, personnel and materiel. It was postulated that a more economical way of attack was engaging weapons (especially artillery batteries), reserves and command centers behind the frontline from the very start of attack using tanks, long-range artillery and combat aircraft. That would undermine the strength of defense to such extent that remaining resistance could be mopped up by frontal attack of infantry supported by tanks. This concept was more practically-oriented than writings of Fuller and von Seeckt and although its elements were not truly original it arranged them in a systematic way.
As Pavel already said employment tanks for deep attacks on the battlefield against batteries and staffs dropped out from manuals by late 30s. Yet these manuals continued to pay lip service to ideas of deep attack and engagement of tactical depth of hostile positions with artillery and aircraft. Did these mutated tactical concept corresponded to "deep combat" as originally formulated in early 30s is at least contentious.

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 26 Jul 2021 10:46

Art wrote:
15 Jul 2021 11:37
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
14 Jul 2021 20:16
Isserson was in disgrace from 1938
Professor, chair of the operational art in the General Staff Academy. Not bad, considering that many other academic lectures simply didn't survive 1937-1938 in the most literal meaning. Isserson's decline started with the Finnish War, exact reasons were not completely clear even to his biographer (Harrison). In any case it seems that as a practitioner he was not as good as a theoretician.
Stalin waited until he finished his final book before having him arrested. What Harrison does make clear is that Isserson and his thoeries were regarded as part of the Mikhail Tukhachevsky clique and hence against Voroshilov, so while he remained in place at the General Staff Aacdemy, a case was being built against him, it is probable that he was just a long way down the list being a teacher rather than an active officer.

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Art » 26 Jul 2021 19:32

I doubt that Stalin knew who Isserson was, even more than that he was interested in his writings. That actually raises and interesting question - how much Stalin knew about current military literature. For example, before June 1941 did he ever read some works on military strategy (other than Marks and Engels), which was after all his professional responsibility?

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Re: recommended Books on Red Army tactics on the Eastern Front (deep battle ?

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 27 Jul 2021 07:41

The story comes from
Harrison, Richard W, and David M Glantz. Architect of Soviet Victory in World War II: The Life and Theories of G.S. Isserson. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2010. p.245
and he quotes Isserson's daughter as the source.
"Rudolf Pavlovich Khmelnitskii who at the time was chief of Voroshiliov's chancellery, told the family thatlate in April or May 1941 he had seen a list of commanders who were slated for arrest. Across from her father's name was the notation inn Stalin's hand: "Don't touch him, l,et him finish his work."
(note 120 Yeremina interview March 2004).

They have all of Stalin's books and I have seen a list of the titles somewhere, probably at the Hoover Library so probably at Rusarchives.

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