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2/13/2014 1:23:33 AM

Destroying the Soviet Myth (Revised)

The myth I am referring to is the "Unintelligent Red horde of tanks and infantry massing in waves mindlessly, overrunning the brave well disciplined German soldier", Whoever told you that has no idea what they are talking about. While some of these attacks were of course made, that doesn't describe the Soviet Unions tactics as a whole what so ever. So lets break down two important parts of a battle, on the Strategic and tactical level. Strategic level- Overall scope of the campaign, (IE, for the Germans and the Russians this would represent the entire eastern front, or if they are carrying out a massive operation they focus it on that sector). This is where you find those pretty pictures with arrows and those strange symbols you don't realize that describe tank divisions, infantry, and rear echelon support and logistics. Tactical Level- This is the real nitty gritty level, this describes the fighting going on between units, company against company, platoon against platoon, these are the battles that make up the tactical level. Now, lets get something straight away here to deter confusion, the Germans were almost ALWAYS superior on the tactical level, this can be seen in casualties for both sides, almost always the Germans are inflicting way more casualties on the Russians. HOWEVER, the Soviets beyond Stalingrad were pretty much in strategic control up until the end of the war. They dictated where the fights would be fought and were on the offensive. The Germans suffered strategically because they always thought the Russians were on the verge of defeat (IE, Operation Typhoon the battle for Moscow, and Stalingrad). This continued up until Kursk when the German high command (Not Hitler because hes an idiot) knew for certain this war was unwinnable. The Stavka (Soviet High Command) used many strategic level tactics to wear out the Germans at the front lines on there front, it is important to remember how the Germans reacted to attacks. German units who were attacked, immediately called upon a mobile tactical reserve (Usually a Panzer Division sitting nearby to counter attack the attack immediately, this is a classic German tactic and can be seen used with good effect anywhere during the war), now the Russians abused this by attacking one place one at a time over a period of days, drawing out the mobile reserve and than making it rush to a new panicked sector. This was employed greatly, and in fact a few days before Kursk began the Russians had made a 25KM breach in the German lines around Orel! I bet you never heard that one haha! The Soviets had a very refined way of managing breakthroughs and exploitations as well, from 1943-the end of the war it stayed a tried and true formula. First, there would be specific divisions/regiemnts/battalions tasked with achieving a breakthrough against enemy lines, those men would then hold there positions. Once the breakthrough was achieved more mechanized and infantry units would move through the breach and continue the advance, finally once that was done the units who made the breakthrough and more reserves would move through and mop up any survivors. Without turning this into a giant paper (Which I would oh so love to do :D), it is important to note that the Soviets were not a bumbling horde for the entire war, maybe in the beginning you can be a bit harsh, but from Stalingrad onwards it was there war! As for the Germans, well winning tactically just wasn't good enough, per capita there soldiers were better but strategically they could not hold it together. So there you go, I hope I dispelled that stupid myth once and or all for some people on here, I recommend you read a few books on Kursk and other battles if this made you interested! Thanks for reading and as always if you like this stuff feel free to follow me! As always if you like this stuff feel free to follow me, if you want me to make a post on something specific please ask!

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