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WHY IT IS WRONG WAY TO STUDY HISTORY BY MEMOIRS

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by Дмитрий Шеин Actually there are three reasons to be very careful when using the memoir as rather the source of historical information than the good amusement or non-harmful time-killer. First is an academical definition of memoirs as genre: the roots of them stay at the "didactic-but-amusement" compositions... sorry who just mentioned Alexander Duma's "D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers"? Yeah, it is very good example of enlightening adventure novel - the noble proponents, the dastardly opponents, the spectacular adventures and the glorious feats... it is quite allowable to deviate of real history and of real biography of D'Artagnan, Marshal of France. To our main topic, the memoirist is not responsible for authenticity of historical events he mentioned. At pages of his memoirs he could defeat Nazi Germany by himself without any assistance, to behead Hitler, to break apart the Tiger tank with his hands and to cut Tiger turret with his bayone

HUMAN LOSSES OF USSR IN GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR

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by Дмитрий Шеин Today a "legal" value of human losses of USSR in Great Patriotic War is 26.6 millions of souls. So many group-comrades using this value, trying to compare Soviet losses with German losses and deciding as a result that Soviets have a weak degree of art of war and soldiership... is it correct? In short words: no, completely no. Let us consider this situation in some details in the form of questions and answers. 1. Do Soviets have the complete list of victims of war with their names and surnames, and 26.6 millions is the length of this list? - No, it is incorrect. 2. Is the 26.6 millions of perished souls the result of direct measurement of some kind - for instance the sum of army losses counted "man-by-man from June 22nd, 1941 until September 2nd, 1945" and "long-long list of loss of civilians"? - No, it is incorrect too. 3. So what is the nature of value 26.6 millions? - It is just an arithmetical estimation.This figure has the next na

Impact of potential fall of Moscow on Soviet war effort in fall of 1941- transportation aspect

I’ll skip the crutial part how Moscow was simply unreachable and moreover if reached would lead to even greater German overextending and probably to even bigger disaster later. Arguments about effects on the Soviet war effort fall into several categories- impact on moral, political situation, loss of industry and transportational implications. I will focus here on the letter and just briefly mention the rest. Stalinist political system was nothing if not stable and monolithic. There was no political turmoil even in most troubled times and no viable potential alternative was even present. Indeed political decision was allready reached to continue the fight and government, state officces, ambassies and so on were allready evacuated. Moral of the army and population was relatively high considering the situation. There was recorded sense of relief and pride in the army when in autumn finally German advance slowed and first reversals began to happen. So soldiers and people who survived

(X)Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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Part 10- Conclusion In the end, result of war in the east was mostly about what Soviets were doing, not the Germans, it was their unprecedented sacrifice and effort that broke German war machine, rather than any mistakes Germans committed at least after summer of 1941 when Germans were no longer in control, but had to rely on Soviet mistakes and weaknesses rather on own achievements. Thoroughly amazing Soviet mobilization was one of main reasons that enabled Soviet state to withstand German storm and then take the fight to the enemy. During the war Soviets created incredible 700 new divisions demonstrating power hardly anyone expected. Crucial period of raising this army and blunting German power was dark period of 1941/1942 in which Soviets stood pretty much alone, with minimal foreign aid or distraction of German forces. At least as impressive as quantity aspects, is aspect of ever increasing quality of Red Army achieved during incessant crisis and lethal struggle. In spite of c

(IX)Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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Part 9- Battle for production and growing firepower of the Red Army Aside from troop training and quality , battle of materiel was one of most important aspects of the war. After Soviet losses of 1941 of both weapons, raw material, industry, and so on, Soviets were in a fast line toward defeat. In 1942 things started to change drastically. Tank production jumped from some 6.5 thousand in 1941 to more than 25 000 in 1942. Breakdown of tank types is also important as production of medium tanks rose for more than 400% (from around 3000 to more than 12000) and heavy tanks almost 100%. In 1943 27 000 tanks and SUs were made (some 3500 SUs), of which only around 5000 were light tanks(drop of almost 50% to previous year). In 1944 32.5 thousands tanks and SUs were produced. Machine pistols were seen as instrumental in increasing firepower of infantry, thus were produced in huge quantities. At begging of 1942 Army had 100 000 of them in stock, at the end of 1943, 2,64 millions. On 1/1/1942

(VIII)Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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Part 8- Training improvements in the Red Army As decently trained regular pre war army was destroyed in surprise attack,urgent needs of 1941 and early 1942 dictated short training, rapid deployment and consequently unusually high losses. By late 1942 things were already changing. Year and a half of combat exposed and eliminated inept commanders, hasty promoted before the war during the purge and expansion. Entire officer corps had much more experience and capable junior officers were rising to senior positions. Unfortunately unlike Germans who accumulated experience in period prior to Great Patriotic War, Soviets had to do their learning through combat and constant crisis. Contrary to what many think, Soviet command tried to emphasize training of the troops but could engage in it only as much as situation permitted. As early as March 16th 1942 Stalin issued orders for improvements of recruits training.By late 1942 because of influx of officers was higher than needed, length for infa

(VII)Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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Part 7- Maintaining the army strength and sources of manpower Where did people for SU’s huge mobilization come from and was ratio of influx of men to losses sustainable? To start from the basics,women and children took over male jobs in agriculture and factories, freeing men for military service. Women themselves gave full contribution to war effort not only by taking over male jobs but by directly serving in armed forces itself as more than 2 million did, serving in all kind of units, not just usual female posts like rear services, anti aircraft, drivers or in signal units, but also as mechanics, pilots(even fighter pilots), tank crews and even infantry. Another important factor facilitating Soviet response to invasion was improvement of general population health during the 30s, which enabled for rejection rate based on health reasons for the army to be as low as 5%, similar to German army, while only couple of decades before Imperial Army was crippled by 30% rejection rate on he

(VI)Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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Part 6- Importance of unit continuity and key change in breakdown of Soviet losses Though Germans were destroying less and less units in entirety( 75 in 1942 compared to 155 in just 6 months of 1941), manpower losses were still huge, though steadily declining. Why did it matter if entire units were lost? It was of decisive importance that units as a whole weren’t lost, even if its strength dropped sharply. When units are lost or dismissed loss occurs of accumulated experience of the officers and NCOs, who maintained units tradition and integrity, also close bonds existing in a unit among individual soldiers are lost. If unit survives even as a skeleton force, these experiences and veterans can be effectively used to rapidly reinforce such unit with new troops to much better unit than it would be the case if it was created from scratch. Loss of weapons is also much greater when entire units were destroyed(usually in encirclement) instead just weakened in battles. Thus in 1941 5,5 mi

(V) Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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1942 summer crisis and the end of unsustainability of Soviet war effort In late spring of 1942 Soviets undertook several ill fated offensives from Leningrad region, to bigger ones in Crimea and Izyum(Kharkov). All of them were costly failures because of yet insufficiently trained troops and officers, unmatured doctrine and tactics, command and control, reconnaissance but also very importantly political meddling that insisted on actions and solutions contrary to professional advice (pushing deeper in a trap at Izum as typical example). Defeats at Harkov(Izum) and Crimea alone cost Red Army 25 divisions completely destroyed, compared to only two from beginning of the year. These defeats failed in their basic intention to wear Germans down and retake initiative. On the opposite, they created perfect conditions for the Germans to strike greatly weakened Red Army in southern part of the front. Operation Blau created big crisis and contrary to some myths that Red Army was simply tradin

(IV)Mobilization, evolution and sustainability of Soviet army and war effort

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Part 4 Battle of Moscow and beginning of recovery from wounds of 1941 What seemed to entire world as ‘miracle before Moscow’, an inexplicable resurgence of Red Army and reversal of war luck, were in fact units of second wave of mobilization (August-November) that took the fight to the enemy after units from the first wave (June ,July) grind them to a halt but at huge cost . Ten Soviet armies with 71 divisions (only 3 tank and 1 motorised) hit exposed German positions before Moscow. Offensive was first strategic surprise of the war for the Germans as STAVKA and Zhukov skilfully harboured and deployed these divisions. Zhukov’s plan included holding attacks in the center and deep thrusts from the flanks, where main forces were concentrated, aiming to retake main railhead of AGC at Vyazma which would be its death sentence. This plan required mobile warfare, but by this stage both sides were pretty much waging a poor man’s war..Moscow counter offensive was mostly an infantry offensive