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  • Red Army Combat Orders

    Just got this for Christmas. Its very interesting, and more or less required reading for a WW2 treadhead. I'll be quoting from it on this thread, hopefully giving insights into the RKKA.

    First of all, there are a fair few orders and regulations. This implies a strict structure, and a lack of ability to delegate, restricting initiative. OTOH, for the novice commander, all the basics are covered for a newly promoted commander.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    Just got this for Christmas. Its very interesting, and more or less required reading for a WW2 treadhead. I'll be quoting from it on this thread, hopefully giving insights into the RKKA.

    First of all, there are a fair few orders and regulations. This implies a strict structure, and a lack of ability to delegate, restricting initiative. OTOH, for the novice commander, all the basics are covered for a newly promoted commander.
    Nick

    Is the name of the book "Red Army Combat Orders"? A quick search on Amazon U.S. and could not find it.
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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    • #3
      If the book is about Combat Regulations for Tank and Mechanized Forces Part II (Battalion, Regiment, Brigade), the title is "Red Armor Combat Orders" Edited with an Introduction by Richard N. Armstrong, Translated from German by Joseph G. Welsh. The story behind the book is I found the Red Army regulation in a German unit's staff file in German while I was researching the Lvov-Sandomir operation July 1944. Joe Welsh translated it from German, and I edited into an English translation with regards to Soviet terminology and doctrine. Since the Regulation was published in 1944, the document represents the distillation of Red Army armor lessons learned during the first two phases of the war, hence my title "Red Armor".
      Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 31 Dec 19, 15:46.
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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      • #4
        Have you read "Dubno" or the "Bloody Triangle"

        https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dumbo+194...36&ref=a9_sc_1

        https://www.amazon.com/Bloody-Triang...s=books&sr=1-1

        I have read them both and it gave me an excellent insight of the Soviet Mechanized Corps command structure, OoB and TO&E of the early Soviet command and control problems which existed before 22 June 1941 and continued at commencement of hostilities until these mechanized corps virtually ceased to exist.

        The majority of the mechanized corps were in the Ukraine (Kiev Special Military District) facing Army Group South as that is where the STAVKA had assumed the main German thrust would be if there was an invasion. I believe there was 5 Soviet mechanized corps deployed in General M.P. Kirponos' Southwestern Front.

        These 5 corps were "mechanized" in name only and suffered from many problems. Many did not have their full compliment of tanks (a few were woefully under strength). The majority of the tanks were old and obsolete models. There was a lack of prime movers for artillery and transportation vehicles for the infantry. There was also a shortage of fuel and armor piercing shells.

        Adding to the problems was the many changes in orders coming in from Moscow which had the tank divisions organic to the corps driving 50 - 100 kilometers towards their last order only to turn around and travel another 50 - 100 kilometers in a different direction for the newest order.
        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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        • #5
          Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
          If the book is about Combat Regulations for Tank and Mechanized Forces Part II (Battalion, Regiment, Brigade), the title is "Red Armor Combat Orders" Edited with an Introduction by Richard N. Armstrong, Translated from German by Joseph G. Welsh. The story behind the book is I found the Red Army regulation in a German unit's staff file in German while I was researching the Lvov-Sandomir operation July 1944. Joe Welsh translated it from German, and I edited into an English translation with regards Soviet terminology and doctrine. Since the Regulation was published in 1944, the document represents the distillation of Red Army armor lessons learned during the first two phases of the war, hence my title "Red Armor".
          Thanks I will search for that.

          This is what I found on my first search:

          https://www.amazon.com/Soviet-Organi...s=books&sr=1-1
          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
            Have you read "Dubno" or the "Bloody Triangle"

            https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dumbo+194...36&ref=a9_sc_1

            https://www.amazon.com/Bloody-Triang...s=books&sr=1-1

            I have read them both and it gave me an excellent insight of the Soviet Mechanized Corps command structure, OoB and TO&E of the early Soviet command and control problems which existed before 22 June 1941 and continued at commencement of hostilities until these mechanized corps virtually ceased to exist.

            The majority of the mechanized corps were in the Ukraine (Kiev Special Military District) facing Army Group South as that is where the STAVKA had assumed the main German thrust would be if there was an invasion. I believe there was 5 Soviet mechanized corps deployed in General M.P. Kirponos' Southwestern Front.

            These 5 corps were "mechanized" in name only and suffered from many problems. Many did not have their full compliment of tanks (a few were woefully under strength). The majority of the tanks were old and obsolete models. There was a lack of prime movers for artillery and transportation vehicles for the infantry. There was also a shortage of fuel and armor piercing shells.

            Adding to the problems was the many changes in orders coming in from Moscow which had the tank divisions organic to the corps driving 50 - 100 kilometers towards their last order only to turn around and travel another 50 - 100 kilometers in a different direction for the newest order.
            Yes, Dubno and Bloody Triangle. Dubno is by Isaev who brings some good references from Soviet archival material. Triangle by Kamenir is a good account, but he works from secondary sources. The Lutsk-Dubno-Brody area involved more tanks than the greater Prokhorovka battle.
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post

              Nick

              Is the name of the book "Red Army Combat Orders"? A quick search on Amazon U.S. and could not find it.
              Red Armor Combat Orders. My bad.
              https://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Armor-C...7823868&sr=8-1
              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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              • #8
                Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                The story behind the book is I found the Red Army regulation in a German unit's staff file in German while I was researching the Lvov-Sandomir operation July 1944.
                Just a comment: there were actually three parts of the armored forces regulation of 1944.
                I guess, are talking about the part II (battalion, regiment, brigade).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                  Just a comment: there were actually three parts of the armored forces regulation of 1944.
                  I guess, are talking about the part II (battalion, regiment, brigade).
                  Correct, I never got my hands on the other two parts.

                  Perhaps they are online now (na russkom yazyke)??
                  Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 01 Jan 20, 10:23.
                  Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                  • #10
                    Part I (tank, platoon, company) is available in Russian:
                    http://militera.lib.ru/regulations/r...eh1/index.html
                    Part III - I've never seen it anywhere online. Only libraries, I guess.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Artyom, appreciate your time and effort in finding the Part I, as well as looking for Part III!!
                      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                      • #12
                        Nick’s opening point on the combat regulations raises an interesting and important point on initiative. Through 1980’s I argued against a Western and American military belief that the Soviet military system was based upon a harsh, rigid discipline which produces soldiers who are relatively efficient in the use of their weapons but are unimaginative, hidebound and inflexible in their fighting ability. With this belief came the stereotype of a Soviet tactical leadership whose ability to perform only routine tasks efficiently is vulnerable to counteraction by more imaginative and agile-thinking individuals of Western democratic societies. This supposed inability became the taproot assumption for a Soviet command structure that is tactically inflexible when faced with a changing situation. According Western analysts, concentration on rote battle drill tactics compensates for missing initiative. My major assault on this belief was in the U.S. Army’s professional journal, Military Review, June 1984, in an article, “Initiative Soviet Style”.

                        Excerpts follow:

                        “By the end of 1941, Soviet leadership and tactical units were nearly expended to thwart the invasion. Soviet tactics were born of desperation. Red Army survival depended upon correcting deficiencies in combat experience on the part of many tactical leaders that resulted in inadequate tactical handling of formations.”

                        “With tremendous sacrifice and growing skill gained through costly experience, The Soviet army took the strategic initiative during the winter of 1942-43. By 1944, the Soviet advance on Berlin was limited primarily by logistical not tactical considerations. …”

                        “As a general conclusion in the summaries from 1944-45, the Soviets were capable of fighting and did fight in accordance with the theoretical principles as expressed in their official tactical manuals and directives. The German operational summaries called attention to the increasing flexibility of Soviet commanders in the conduct of the breakthrough operations. The coordinated use of tanks, artillery and air units—that is, the use of combined arms—replaced the exclusive commitment of massed infantry.” (Source: PRRU-4-51, “Soviet Tactics During the Latter part of World War II—Breakthrough”, 12 Sept 1951, Report, G2, Department of the Army, Washington D.C.”

                        “The credibility of the German critiques is further damaged by some German commanders’ comments on the “Russian knack for improvisation.” (Source: A. Kesselring and C. Gallenkamp, “The Soviet Army and Air Force”, Office of the Chief of Military History, Dept of the Army, Wash DC, MS D-395)

                        To Be Cont'd
                        Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 02 Jan 20, 12:38.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                        • #13
                          “S.L.A. Marshall, a noted combat historian, observed that “improvisation is the essence of initiative in all combat just as initiative is the outward showing of the power of decision.” (Source: Marshall’s “Men Against Fire”)

                          “A study of human judgments under uncertainty has shown that people rely on a limited number of assumptions which reduce the complex tasks of assessing chances and conclusions to simpler judgmental operations. In general, these assumptions are quite useful, but sometimes they lead to severe and systematic error. The study reveals that, in many situations, people make estimates by starting from an initial value that is adjusted to yield a final answer. The initiat value, or starting point [ed: in our case Combat Regulations], may be implied by the formulation of the problem, or it may be the result of a partial computation. In either case, adjustments are typically insufficient. That is, different starting points yield different estimates which are biased toward the initial value.”(Source: Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases”.)

                          “To the Soviets, initiative is not an innate quality in the combat leader. It is developed through a process of combat studies. Initiative is not an untutored individual response based on some individual notion founded in “native wit.” It is, rather, recognizing the relationship of situational factors to studied norms and making decisions that will solve the problem or accomplish the tactical mission. … Such distrust of the adequacy of native wit is not completely foreign to Western military thought. While professing the innateness and importance of imagination and initiative, Marshall cautions that: “…initiative is a desirable characteristic in a soldier only when its effect is concentric rather than eccentric: the rifleman who plunges ahead and seizes a point of high ground which common sense says cannot be held can bring greater jeopardy to a company than any mere malingerer.” (Men Against Fire)

                          Article’s concluding sentence, “Beware if we expect more from men in battle lest we are surprised as were the Germans of 1945.”
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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