Was the Russian Army the largest in history?

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 05 Apr 2002 16:49

CabinetMinister,

Please write in english.

/Marcus

rodent
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Oleg and LeoAU

Post by rodent » 11 Apr 2002 03:34

I have been reading the first few pages of this thread and I've been amazed by the idiocy of some people. Utterly amazed. It is so clear if you look at it from a distance. I am also impressed with the extreme patience of Oleg and partly, LeoAU in dealing with them and their persistence in trying to straighten their idiotic thinking, or lack thereof. In my opinion, it is a waste of time and a very irritating activity, but I commend them for their effort. Oleg, especially.

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Starinov
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Re: Was the Russian Army the largest in history?

Post by Starinov » 23 Apr 2002 01:44

Vapor Trail wrote:Was Stalin's army the largest army mobilized in history?


According to Helene Carrere d'Encausse, the RKKA had 6 million men in 1941. In the first two weeks after June 22nd, almost 1 million was called from the reserve.

Dan Feltmate
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.

Post by Dan Feltmate » 23 Apr 2002 01:55

Wow...this topic is still open. Yikes

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 01 May 2002 14:24

I dont think Stalins intentions are being understood properly. From my understanding Stalin wanted to keep on best terms with Germany and grab as much land of the old Russian empire. It was a thrn in the flesh of the communist party that states that were part of the empire did not quickly come and join the revolution. Whilst Hitler was busy in France etc Salin grabbed land in the baltic etc. This infact is possibly one of the best things he could have done. If the Soviet Union had done nothing and not received part of Poland then Barbarossa would have started nearer to Moscow by roughly 250km. Considering advance German units were under 1km from Moscow at the peak of the inavsion this could have had a dramatic effect.

I cannot see where this Pre-emptive strike idea comes from.

In the practical field perhaps the truest comment is that the 15 monthes between the end of the Finnish war and the German invasion were used by the Soviet military to dismantle the 1939 organisation, without progressing very far with its replacement by a new and up-to-date establishment according to a realistic timetable. So much time was spent disscussing what ought to be done that when invasion came, the old had not been completlety abandoned, the new was still being argued over. The result was that the ordinairy Russian soldier faced the worst invasion in his countries history insufficiently armed, led by inexperienced officers ( term officer only being allowed to be used in 1942) who in many cases were cowed by the secrety police in memory of the purge, and as part of incompletley organised units and formations - and yet politically indoctrinated in the conviction that his army was invincible.

His was to be the greatest shock when war came, and it would be him, the Russian soldier, that all hope would lie, in spite of the many avoidble disadvantages with which he went out to face the test of war.


:wink: :wink: :wink: :lol:

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Galahad
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Re: Stalin's intentions in 1941

Post by Galahad » 02 May 2002 16:39

There is a contradiction here.
On the one hand, after the Finnish fiasco, Stavka--and Stalin--HAD to know that the Red Army wasn't proficient enough to attack the Wehrmacht in 1941.
On the other hand, the Soviet deployment along the frontier at the start of Barbarossa was not a defensive deployment.....it was clearly an offensive deployment.
Maybe Stalin was trying to run some sort of a bluff, to convince Hitler not to attack him. Or maybe he thought that Soviet numbers would be able to overcome the lack of proficiency, as they did in Finland.
The Russian Archives may have the answer as to what Stalin had in mind then, but I sure don't.

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 02 May 2002 20:21

Well I think that is the key point. The deployment and posture of the Soviet forces was misinterpreted. To everyone else it was an obvious offensive placement of troops. However Russian Propaganda told people that the battle would be won at the frontiers. This commited the Military to this position. Also the generals were out of touch with tactics as i mentioned. They placed the troops at the frotier preparatory to them putting the army in the forts being constructed. All in all propaganda forced the Red Army to do what they did.

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Re: Stalin's intentions in 1941

Post by Starinov » 04 May 2002 19:03

Galahad wrote:after the Finnish fiasco, Stavka--and Stalin--HAD to know that the Red Army wasn't proficient enough to attack the Wehrmacht in 1941.


The two situations are different. If we suppose that there was to be an offensive against Germany, it would be done through southern Poland and Ukraine which are a "tankodrome". Nothing else than opened plains.

On the other hand, war against Finland took place in woods during the winter. Only a few roads are available. You can not pass wooded areas. You have to follow the roads. Put a few dozens snipers and entire divisions can be annihilated.

Compare the Finnish war with the Ardenne offensive. The latter also took place in winter in a wooded area. all units had difficulties with breaking through enemy lines. There was no snipers hidden behind so that's why the different kampfgruppen could continue their advance. But the moment theyr encountered a resistance they had to fight or back-up since they could not go around....

It was impossible to break through finnish lines. No army could do that with the conditions that existed.

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Post by Roberto » 16 May 2002 13:28

Was there any major offensive on "open plains" that the Red Army managed to carry out successfully before Stalingrad in late 1942?

Was there any major offensive on "open plains" that the Red Army managed to carry out successfully before Kursk and Orel in mid-1943?

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 16 May 2002 18:27

Roberto wrote:Was there any major offensive on "open plains" that the Red Army managed to carry out successfully before Stalingrad in late 1942?

Was there any major offensive on "open plains" that the Red Army managed to carry out successfully before Kursk and Orel in mid-1943?
Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941

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Post by Starinov » 16 May 2002 19:07

The moment the RKKA had the initiative, their offensive was actually working. The moment they were surprised (like in Barbarossa), the Russians had no other choice but to retreat. by the way, 1942 was a disaster simply because all the economy was slowing down due the its transfer to the Ural. It started working again at the end of 1942 - beginning of 1943.

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Post by Roberto » 16 May 2002 19:55

oleg wrote:
Roberto wrote:Was there any major offensive on "open plains" that the Red Army managed to carry out successfully before Stalingrad in late 1942?

Was there any major offensive on "open plains" that the Red Army managed to carry out successfully before Kursk and Orel in mid-1943?
Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941


At three o’clock in the morning of December 5, in deep snow, the Red Army moved forward. The attack began north of Moscow, against the armored forces on the Moscow-Volga canal and in the small town of Klin. The use of concentrated ‘shock troops’ broke holes in the German defense. Klin was taken on December 15 after ten days of stubborn fighting. By the end of the month Kalinin was retaken. In the south the encirclement of Tula was broken, and German forces were driven back more than eighty miles to the city of Kaluga, which was taken in a week of ferocious house-by-house struggles, both sides now under orders to yield nothing and to fight to the death. As the German pincers snapped off, Soviet forces became more confident. Much of the fighting had been done in blizzards and freezing winds that took a toll of both sides. For all the hardiness of the Red Army soldiers, fighting at the height of winter was easy for neither side. The Army Group Center facing the Soviet onslaught was itself threatened with encirclement. German commanders began to petition Hitler for withdrawal to better defensive positions. Like Stalin, Hitler would permit no general retreat. He sacked his leading commanders and on December 19 took over the command of the army himself, with the promise that he would ‘educate it to be National Socialist’. Hitler and Stalin now faced each other directly, two amateur commanders in charge of the largest forces ever mobilized for war.

On December 13 the population of Moscow was told the news that the German threat to encircle the capital was over. In fact the battle raged well into January. Despite the bitter weather and shortages of reinforcements and vehicles, German troops and commanders fought with tenacity and skill. The situation at the front was far from being clear-cut. German units found themselves surrounded and had to be supplied by air. Soviet units infiltrated behind the German lines and found themselves in turn surrounded. Zhukov wanted to concentrate his remaining reserves for a second stage of the offensive, to push back the strong German formations still in front of Moscow and straighten the Soviet line. Stalin had other ideas. The sight of the enemy in flight was enough to foster fantasies of a larger victory. With both his cities saved, Stalin now wanted to drive the enemy back all along the front, before the spring rains and German reinforcements slowed down Soviet momentum.

[…]

Stalin was almost certainly eager to try to wrest the military initiative away from Zhukov and the rest of the military leadership. Stalin deliberately crossed out Zhukov’s name on a list of those to be awarded honors for saving Moscow. When Zhukov was summoned to Stalin’s study in the Kremlin on January 5, he argued against the idea of a general offensive, but everyone else present stayed reverently silent. The offensive stood. In February and March Stalin hounded his commanders to move faster and harder. Offensives were launched to relieve Leningrad, to encircle German Army Group Center and to liberate the industrial heart lands of the Ukraine. All failed, and at a terrible cost. A further 440,000 Soviet soldiers perished, for the loss of 80,000 more Germans, an indication that the offensive was rich in manpower but poor in weaponry. The Soviet war machine was woefully deficient in the weapons and equipment needed to inflict decisive defeats. The battle for Moscow allowed Stalin to fight another day, but it was no t the turning point of the war, as is so often asserted. In December 1941 the Red Army chief of staff, Marshal Shaposhnikov, observed that Russia still needed ‘to assimilate the experience of modern war … Neither here nor today will the outcome of the war be decided … the crisis is yet far off. Not until 1943 did the Red Army succeed in inflicting a major defeat on the German army in summer campaigning weather, at a time when the invader was still as deep inside Soviet territory as in 1941. Even then the balance of material resources heavily favored Germany. Moscow was a first, faltering step, a brief success almost squandered by Stalin’s own military ineptitude.


Source of quote:
Richard Overy, Russia’s War, Penguin Books 1997, pages 119 to 122

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 16 May 2002 23:33

well it is agood quote but I don't see how it contardicts me. offensive which was initially planned for the depth of 25km achived depths of 120 km. Guderian considered winter fighting around Moscow to be major defeat for the Germans.

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Post by Roberto » 17 May 2002 11:02

oleg wrote:well it is agood quote but I don't see how it contardicts me. offensive which was initially planned for the depth of 25km achived depths of 120 km. Guderian considered winter fighting around Moscow to be major defeat for the Germans.


The point is that, without having been able 'to assimilate the experience of modern war', as Shaposhnikov pointed out and the failure of the offensive following the successful Moscow counterattack showed, how could the Red Army have expected to successfully conduct an all-out attack on Western Europe, moreover not in wintertime and on its own home ground against an overextended and inadequately equipped foe, but in summertime on foreign soil against powerful and intact enemy forces benefiting from an organization and experience the Red Army was woefully short of?

Not until the summer of 1944 was the Red Army in conditions to conduct offensive operations on the scale and with the effect of the German attack in 1941.

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 18 May 2002 02:13

Roberto you are of course right when you make a point that in 1941 Soviet army had little experience (when compared to Germans) in conducting large scale offensive operations. However it is probably not fare to compare the army of 1942 of pre-Barbarossa army. One important difference that that in 1942 Soviet army had to rely on much depleted military industrial complex . One of the reason why 1941 counteroffensive did not achieve its ultimate goals was that Soviet industry had not recovered form the havoc wrecked by the evacuation, and consequently could not produce enough war material so that RKKA could sustain prolonged operation. The whole 1941 counteroffensive was mainly supplied through what was at the hands at the moment. 1942 – especially the first half was the most difficult for RKKA in terms of equipment by 1943 Soviet industry (or whatever was saved) got in top gear) hence the results. As of June 22 1941 RKK definitely needed more time to get organized maybe as much as year. But then again nobody starts war fully prepared. Consider German attack on USSR - in retrospective it could be seen that there were many mistake is planning as well as many problems that German army was not ready to solve, yet it did not stop the attack form being commenced.

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