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Ravages of disease in Soviet-Afghan War

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  • Ravages of disease in Soviet-Afghan War

    What really defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan-the fighting or the infectious disease? Check out some statistics:
    • Total number of Soviets who rotated through service in Afghanistan: 620,000
    • KIA: 14, 453
    • Wounded casualties: 53, 753
    • Sick casualties: 415,932. This included 115,308 cases of infectious hepatitis, 31,080 of typhoid fever, 140,665 of other diseases!


    I think it is remarkable that an Army fielding T-72 tanks, jet aircraft and nuclear weapons succumbed to infectious diseases like a bunch of medieval barbarians laying siege to a castle. Their destructive weapons could not protect them from microorganisms. Out of 620,000 Soviets who served 415,932 fell to disease. Of course, in modern times we have rapid transportation by truck, helicopter and aircraft which allowed them to evacuate the sick and replace them with fresh cannon fodder which masked the scale of the disaster! When cameras rolled the T-72 tanks were crewed by smiling healthy kids with rosy cheeks.

    This remarkable story also gives us a hint of the overall state of health care in the Soviet Union at the time. I can bet a majority of those who fell ill came into Afghanistan lacking fundamental immunizations. On the other hand, we're about to become another Soviet Union as our health care collapses too so don't glee over the fate of the Ruskis.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan
    Last edited by MonsterZero; 31 Aug 07, 02:15.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    Mark,

    In an arid region there is the risk of insufficient water and interesting parasites not normally experienced back home. There are a number of rare and unusual diseases found in the Iraq region as well. Soviet troops could not maintain standards of cleanliness and caught a number of filth diseases. Immunizations help, but are not always the panacea needed.

    What arouses my curiosity is what happened to all those hepatitis cases that went back to the USSR? What steps were taken to avoid passing it on? There are over a dozen types of Hep out there and only a couple of them have shots available. Look at how fast those Hep C cases are piling up in the US!

    I never hear talk about rare diseases being brought back to the US from Iraq. You think no one wants to talk about it?

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
      What really defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan-the fighting or the infectious disease? Check out some statistics:
      • Total number of Soviets who rotated through service in Afghanistan: 620,000
      • KIA: 14, 453
      • Wounded casualties: 53, 753
      • Sick casualties: 415,932. This included 115,308 cases of infectious hepatitis, 31,080 of typhoid fever, 140,665 of other diseases!


      I think it is remarkable that an Army fielding T-72 tanks, jet aircraft and nuclear weapons succumbed to infectious diseases like a bunch of medieval barbarians laying siege to a castle. Their destructive weapons could not protect them from microorganisms. Out of 620,000 Soviets who served 415,932 fell to disease. Of course, in modern times we have rapid transportation by truck, helicopter and aircraft which allowed them to evacuate the sick and replace them with fresh cannon fodder which masked the scale of the disaster! When cameras rolled the T-72 tanks were crewed by smiling healthy kids with rosy cheeks.

      This remarkable story also gives us a hint of the overall state of health care in the Soviet Union at the time. I can bet a majority of those who fell ill came into Afghanistan lacking fundamental immunizations. On the other hand, we're about to become another Soviet Union as our health care collapses too so don't glee over the fate of the Ruskis.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan
      If you were ever in a Soviet hotel and tried/had to use a communal toilet at the end of the hall, you would know why the disease rate was so high.

      The Red Army during WWII had trouble with typhus, common to dirty armies.

      rna
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
        If you were ever in a Soviet hotel and tried/had to use a communal toilet at the end of the hall, you would know why the disease rate was so high.

        The Red Army during WWII had trouble with typhus, common to dirty armies.

        rna
        Sounds like you are talking from experience!!!!!!!!

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        • #5
          Having served in a foreign environment (To me and my fellow soldiers), Africa, I can see this happening, even with all our pre-mission prep we had problems. I'm sure our medical and preventative hygiene was well above the Soviet Army standard of the time.

          I myself managed to get amebic dysentery (others got the Meeb too from different sources) from our own galley (under cooked chicken) never caught so much as the trots eating local, following simple rules of well cooked and nothing uncooked, bottled or boiled. As for other hazards, we still had cases of malaria because the guys didn't like the preventive drugs. Plus several mysterious diseases Medivaced and assorted STD's because some couldn't keep it wrapped.

          I found it to be a matter of remembering where you were, some forgot, and paid the price. Just because the locals drink the water don't mean we can, they used to pour out our clean water and keep the bottles when offered, our water tasted bad to them (chlorine)
          Last edited by PzKfwBob; 17 Sep 07, 03:31.
          Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

          History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
          Lazarus Long

          Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
          David Bowie

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          • #6
            I dont think is anything new though. The British lost more soldiers to cholera and yellow fever around the world during the days of empire than we ever did to enemy fire. I also I think I saw I saw a statistic once that said that in the frist world war allied troops had more cases of VD than bullet wounds.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
              This remarkable story also gives us a hint of the overall state of health care in the Soviet Union at the time. I can bet a majority of those who fell ill came into Afghanistan lacking fundamental immunizations.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan

              You would lose that bet. When it comes to immunizations the soviet medcare was probably one of the best in the world. When it was decided that some kind of immunization was necessary, everyone and their mom got it. One of the perks of a totalitarian society, easy to organise stuff for your whole population.

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              • #8
                There was an excellent articlea long time ago in either the Leavenworth Papers or Parameters that addressed this issue. I believe it stated at any one time the Russians had almost an entire Army Group's worth of soldiers out due to severe dysentery and disease. Definately worth reading if you can find it.
                Welcome to the adult world. Kinda sucks when you have to be the responsible ones and take all the pot shots from the chagrined lefties and mongoloid celebrities, who don't know their collective posteriors from sound economic policy. - 98ZJUSMC

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arkane View Post
                  ... the Leavenworth Papers...I believe it stated at any one time the Russians had almost an entire Army Group's worth of soldiers out due to severe dysentery and disease...
                  if it did state this, then it apparently was prone to writing utter bollocks !!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                    ... If you were ever in a Soviet hotel and tried/had to use a communal toilet at the end of the hall...
                    why being so stingy and not rent a room at a decent hotel ??

                    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                    ... The Red Army during WWII had trouble with typhus...
                    from what source did you get this ?... - because it's just not true.

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                    • #11
                      Dunno about dysentary in Afgahnistan (but i wouldnt be suprised in aplace like that)but they definitely had trouble with a lot of soldiers being out of commision in WW2, drinking antifreeze and very bad alcohol. Stalingrad had a lots of that. Mind you considering how bad that was I dont blame them.
                      Last edited by copenhagen; 21 Sep 07, 04:26.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by stalin View Post
                        if it did state this, then it apparently was prone to writing utter bollocks !!
                        If you can find it, read the following:

                        V. S. Perepelkin, V. F. Korol'kov, V. F. Kolkov, V. A. Mandrik and P. N. Ogarkov, "Uroki bor'by s kishechnymi infektsiyami v period voyny v Afganistane" [ Lessons in the struggle with intestinal infections during the war in Afghanistan], Voenno-meditsinskiy zhurnal [Military medical journal, hereafter VMZ], July 1991, 27-31.

                        For a good synopsis of that article and other into an individual article try reading "Medical Support in a Counter-guerrilla War: Epidemiologic Lessons Learned in the Soviet-Afghan War" Located at
                        http://leav-www.army.mil/fmso/docume...med/afgmed.htm

                        Notice that most of the references are Russian, and a few are papers fromt he Frunze Academy. Hardly Bollocks.
                        Welcome to the adult world. Kinda sucks when you have to be the responsible ones and take all the pot shots from the chagrined lefties and mongoloid celebrities, who don't know their collective posteriors from sound economic policy. - 98ZJUSMC

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
                          What really defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan-the fighting or the infectious disease? Check out some statistics:
                          • Total number of Soviets who rotated through service in Afghanistan: 620,000
                          • KIA: 14, 453
                          • Wounded casualties: 53, 753
                          • Sick casualties: 415,932. This included 115,308 cases of infectious hepatitis, 31,080 of typhoid fever, 140,665 of other diseases!
                          According to The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost, compiled by the Russian General Staff, translated and edited by Lester W Grau and Michael A Gress (published and distributed in the US by the University of Kansas Press, 2002) the Soviet 40th Army suffered roughly 26,000 KIA between 1979 and 1989 (page 44.) I'm only a fifth of the way through and to this point there has been no mention of excessive casualties due to infectious disease.
                          I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Arkane View Post
                            ... read the following: V. S. Perepelkin, V. F. Korol'kov, V. F. Kolkov, V. A. Mandrik and P. N. Ogarkov...July 1991...
                            are you seriously suggesting to trust anything published after the USSR had collapsed ?...
                            back then, they would write any crap only to satisfy the West - the victor in the Cold War !!

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                            • #15
                              Actually Stalin, was there any real winner to the "Cold War"? I thought both sides lost!

                              Pruitt
                              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                              Comment

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