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  • Shock Armies?

    Just a question what exactly is a Shock Army?
    The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

    Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

  • #2
    Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
    Just a question what exactly is a Shock Army?
    Special armies for offensive operations reinforced with additional units especially for this purpose...
    If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by amvas
      Special armies for offensive operations reinforced with additional units especially for this purpose...
      Okay thanks I was so lost that a generalization is a big help... Do you or Andrey happen to have any details?
      The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

      Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
        Okay thanks I was so lost that a generalization is a big help... Do you or Andrey happen to have any details?
        At hand I have exact OOBs only for the 3rd and 4th Shock Armies of 1942. Maybe some details are in other books I obtain on CDs
        If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by amvas
          At hand I have exact OOBs only for the 3rd and 4th Shock Armies of 1942. Maybe some details are in other books I obtain on CDs
          do you suppose these were book values and not really full strength figures. I suppose that meeting full book value strengths was a real challenge given the horrendous loses experience by sides in this conflict.

          I know that the Germans were extremely challenged to keep their units up to strength as the war progressed. In the end many units were ghosts strength compared to their paper strength. Most were probably consolidated into other units as the war progressed which seemed to be the practice with most nations during the war.

          Perhaps none of us will ever know...given the rate that veterans are disappearing
          Last edited by Doughboy; 23 Nov 04, 20:46.
          Duchess of Richmond: They're the salt of England.
          Duke of Wellington: Scum. Nothing but gutter trash and scum. Gin is the spirit of their patriotism.

          Waterloo 1970

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          • #6
            Amvas is right, Shock Army is army with more advance ability than usual army. Details? Get OOB for Shock Army and usual Arny and compare it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Andrey
              Amvas is right, Shock Army is army with more advanced ability than usual army. Details? Get OOB for Shock Army and usual Army and compare it.
              Why not make every Army a Shock Army? What is the function of a Shock force? It sounds as though it would be employed to breach the front lines for exploitation by follow-on forces. Is this correct?

              What would the differences be? Would their logistic train be shorter or lacking since they are not expected to exploit breakthroughs?

              Could an analogy be that they are like a shotgun burst. Lots of destructive power for a very short range but the pellets disperse/lose effectiveness rapidly as the distance increases from the barrel.

              Herman
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Herman Hum
                Why not make every Army a Shock Army? What is the function of a Shock force? It sounds as though it would be employed to breach the front lines for exploitation by follow-on forces. Is this correct?

                What would the differences be? Would their logistic train be shorter or lacking since they are not expected to exploit breakthroughs?

                Could an analogy be that they are like a shotgun burst. Lots of destructive power for a very short range but the pellets disperse/lose effectiveness rapidly as the distance increases from the barrel.

                Herman
                Certainly sounds impressive though...surprising that I had came across this term for years and yet never really thought about what it is exactly. Proves its too easy being lazy.
                Duchess of Richmond: They're the salt of England.
                Duke of Wellington: Scum. Nothing but gutter trash and scum. Gin is the spirit of their patriotism.

                Waterloo 1970

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                • #9
                  Shock armies usually have in addition a breakthrough exploitation mobile group or something resembling it that allow the army to continue the penetration of enemy lines farther in depht than normal armies and to complete operational tasks more or less autonomously. That the breakthrough army can also act as the exploitation group instead of having to insert another independent unit can be a huge advantage hence their use by soviet forces.

                  To produce the breakthrough quickly, shock armies also have a supplement of firepower.

                  (That's how I "understand" it)
                  “Die in peace my brothers, but die quietly, so that we hear nothing but the faintest echo of your suffering…”

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trigger Happy
                    Shock armies usually have in addition a breakthrough exploitation mobile group or something resembling it that allow the army to continue the penetration of enemy lines farther in depht than normal armies and to complete operational tasks more or less autonomously. That the breakthrough army can also act as the exploitation group instead of having to insert another independent unit can be a huge advantage hence their use by soviet forces.

                    To produce the breakthrough quickly, shock armies also have a supplement of firepower.
                    I would add that there might be a difference in training. In WW I, the Canadian troops were considered Shock troops because they were able to exploit local advantages. Oft times after capturing their initial objective, they would continue on to self-appointed goals. Some times this was good and some times it led to trouble.

                    If the added element of firepower was, say artillery, why would it not simply be SOP for all field armies? For example, if they were doubling the number of tubes for field artillery in a Shock Army, and thus possibly increasing the density in the area, what would they be giving up? Ammunition supplies?
                    ScenShare Guidelines:

                    1) Enjoy creating it
                    2) Enjoy playing it
                    3) Enjoy sharing it
                    4) Enjoy helping others create them

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                    • #11
                      During the course of WWII the Soviets created 5 Shock Armies and they remained in the army for the rest of the war. Althought the initial 4 Shock Armies were created to spearhead the Moscow counteroffensive, and named "Shock" more to increase morale, the Shock Armies just became the same as any other army as far as divisions and support units assigned. As an example, during Bagration the 1st Baltic Front had 4th Shock Army attached and it was only used in the flank support role and was the weakest Army in the Front. 6th Guards Army was used to provide the breakthrough north of Vitebsk.

                      The Shock Armies were (I don't have exact dates of creation on me at work)

                      1st Shock Army created in November of 1941
                      2nd Shock Army created in December of 1941
                      3rd Shock Army created in December of 1941
                      4th Shock Army created in December of 1941
                      5th Shock Army created in December 1942 (Created during the Stalingrad Offensive, but was not one of the breakthrough armies, that was 5th Tank, 21st and 51st)

                      If you follow the Shock armies on a month to month basis during the war (using the "BSSA" Soviet OOB *) you will find that they were treated like any army, sometimes used as a spearhead army and sometimes relegated to secondary or reserve roles within the Front. There was no "elite" or special capability attached to these armies, and there composition changed with the role assigned to it just like any other Army in the Soviet OOB.

                      Michael

                      * source for month to month organization:

                      Gryler, A. N. et al, Boevoi Sostav Sovetskii Armii, Chast I - V [Combat Composition of the Soviet Army, Volumes I - V], Moscow, Voenno-Nauchnoe Upravlenie Generalnogo Shtaba [Military History Directorate of the General Staff].
                      Last edited by Kharkov; 24 Nov 04, 08:28.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kharkov
                        During the course of WWII the Soviets created 5 Shock Armies and they remained in the army for the rest of the war. Althought the initial 4 Shock Armies were created to spearhead the Moscow counteroffensive, and named "Shock" more to increase morale, the Shock Armies just became the same as any other army as far as divisions and support units assigned. As an example, during Bagration the 1st Baltic Front had 4th Shock Army attached and it was only used in the flank support role and was the weakest Army in the Front. 6th Guards Army was used to provide the breakthrough north of Vitebsk.

                        The Shock Armies were (I don't have exact dates of creation on me at work)

                        1st Shock Army created in November of 1941
                        2nd Shock Army created in December of 1941
                        3rd Shock Army created in December of 1941
                        4th Shock Army created in December of 1941
                        5th Shock Army created in December 1942 (Created during the Stalingrad Offensive, but was not one of the breakthrough armies, that was 5th Tank, 21st and 51st)

                        If you follow the Shock armies on a month to month basis during the war (using the "BSSA" Soviet OOB *) you will find that they were treated like any army, sometimes used as a spearhead army and sometimes relegated to secondary or reserve roles within the Front. There was no "elite" or special capability attached to these armies, and there composition changed with the role assigned to it just like any other Army in the Soviet OOB.

                        Michael

                        * source for month to month organization:

                        Gryler, A. N. et al, Boevoi Sostav Sovetskii Armii, Chast I - V [Combat Composition of the Soviet Army, Volumes I - V], Moscow, Voenno-Nauchnoe Upravlenie Generalnogo Shtaba [Military History Directorate of the General Staff].
                        Yes, name "Udarnyi"="Shock" but it is not equal to "Assault", "Assault"="Shturmovoy" in Russian.

                        And really name "Udarnyi"="Shock" is able to increase morale. "Udarnyi" has meaning "attacking", "making blow" and also has meaning "best in work".

                        Most "famous" in Russia is 2nd Shock Army which was destroyed in Novgorod region in 1942. This Army took part in attempt to break blockade of Leningrad but was encircled and was destroyed by Germans.

                        It was large tragedy... Commander of 2nd Shock Army General Vlasov was captured by Germans and became traitor.

                        And I suppose that making of Shock Armies was attempt to organize large attacking formations. In the end of 1941 Red Army had no large attacking formations.

                        In beginning of war Red Army had huge Mechanized corpses with amount of tanks which was even more than in Soviet Tank Armies of the end of war. But these corps were unbalanced and their command showed bad ability to manage so large tank formations. In result of it and in result of German supremacy in air these corpses lost most part of tanks in border combats.

                        Later in 1941 Red Army command had shortage of tanks and understood that Soviet Tank commanders are not ready to managelarge tank formations. In result Red Army began to use tanks only in small units like Brigades or sometimes divisions which had mainly light tanks (most part of plants which produced KV and T-34 were captured or didn't finish yet redeploy on new place so other plants had to produce inexpensive light tanks T-60 and T-70 for replacing shortage of good tanks T-34 and Kv) and were much less than German units with similar name.

                        So in autumn-winter of 1941 Red Army contained only usual Armies which had name (and has it name now) "obshchevoysovye" ("common troops") and which were used only for defense or for small scale counterblows. And Red Army had no any large attacking formations.

                        Before and during Moscow Counteroffensive Red Army had to attack. And it needed attacking formations. To organize large tank formations was impossible (no tanks, no experienced commanders, no prepared enough crews). So I suppose that Red Army Command organized special Armies for advance purposes and used term "Shock" for showing difference between these Armies and usual Armies. I suppose that Shock Armies had more troops, more artillery and tanks than usual Armies. Also I suppose that they got better supply and replacement than usual Armies.

                        Later Red Army got enough tanks for organizing of powerful advancing formations like Tank Armies. And more important, Soviet tank commanders like Katukov, Rybalko and so on (and large amount of lower scale tank officers) got enough experience for effective managing of these formations. Infantry got elite Guards Armies which contained experienced troops which knew "taste of victory" and had excellent morale and which were under command of infantry commanders (and their effective staffs) with high experience of war.

                        So I suppose that after 1941-42 Tank Armies and Guards Armies replaced Shock Armies as advancing formations and in that time Shock Armies became usual "common troops" Armies. But in winter of 1941-42 they were really advancing formations.

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                        • #13
                          Very interesting ... I didn't know Vlasov was head of a "Shock" Army...does this mean that the commanders also were chosen in function of supposed or proven skill?

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                          • #14
                            thanks Andrey and kharkov for the clarifications

                            Actually, Vlasov replaced the injured commander of 2nd shock army while it was already in semi encirclement (only a mile wide corridor allowed supplies to flow in for a month). He was commander of 20th army of the western front during the Moscow counter-offensive.

                            What happened to 2nd shock army was that they were on top of frozen bogs and marshes and once the ground thawed, it would become impossible for them to fight their way out of this uncomfortable position nor continue to attack to deblocade Leningrad because Raspoutitsa would rule out any kind of movement, it would also be impossible to bring in supplies, etc.

                            Meretskov, front commander of the volkhov front had in fact plans along with Vlasov to save 2nd shock, but Stalin refused it... Instead, Stalin made a deal with Gen. Khozin, Leningrad front commander, which disbanded the Volkhov front and transferred all formations under Khozin's command. In return Khozin promissed to Stalin to deblocade Leningrad easily. This of course went against all the advice of the stavka.

                            2nd shock mile wide life line was held by 6th guards rifle corps, a formation which was as powerfull as the entire 2nd shock army. So 6th grc was assigned to another task and 2nd shock army was left to starve and die abominously in the swamps north of Novgorod after the germans sealed it for good.

                            Another of Stalin's fatal ingerence in military operations which led to extraordinary results... though it proved less catastrophic than the Kharkov offensive at about the same time.
                            Last edited by Trigger Happy; 24 Nov 04, 17:51.
                            “Die in peace my brothers, but die quietly, so that we hear nothing but the faintest echo of your suffering…”

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kharkov
                              During the course of WWII the Soviets created 5 Shock Armies and they remained in the army for the rest of the war. Althought the initial 4 Shock Armies were created to spearhead the Moscow counteroffensive, and named "Shock" more to increase morale, the Shock Armies just became the same as any other army as far as divisions and support units assigned. As an example, during Bagration the 1st Baltic Front had 4th Shock Army attached and it was only used in the flank support role and was the weakest Army in the Front. 6th Guards Army was used to provide the breakthrough north of Vitebsk.

                              The Shock Armies were (I don't have exact dates of creation on me at work)

                              1st Shock Army created in November of 1941
                              2nd Shock Army created in December of 1941
                              3rd Shock Army created in December of 1941
                              4th Shock Army created in December of 1941
                              5th Shock Army created in December 1942 (Created during the Stalingrad Offensive, but was not one of the breakthrough armies, that was 5th Tank, 21st and 51st)

                              If you follow the Shock armies on a month to month basis during the war (using the "BSSA" Soviet OOB *) you will find that they were treated like any army, sometimes used as a spearhead army and sometimes relegated to secondary or reserve roles within the Front. There was no "elite" or special capability attached to these armies, and there composition changed with the role assigned to it just like any other Army in the Soviet OOB.

                              Michael
                              I would also add that 3rd and 4th shock armies were the spearheads of the north-western front offensive during the Moscow counteroffensive, then 4th shock was transfered to the kalinin front. The plan was for 4th shock to reach Vitebsk and the highway west of smolensk it never reached both due to logistics. 3rd shock was stopped at Velikie Luki. 1st shock was first supposed to participate in the offensive in the western front sector to reach (IIRC) Sychevka from the east while 39rd army (from Kalinin front) tried from the west to encircle IX army, but was instead moved to north-western front sector with the task to eliminate the Staraya Russa german concentration south of lake Ilmen. It did not succeed. 2nd shock was part of the Volkhov front with the task to deblockade Leningrad with the fate you know.
                              “Die in peace my brothers, but die quietly, so that we hear nothing but the faintest echo of your suffering…”

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