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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Offering a delayed thanks for the most recent answers to my questions. A injury, surgery, and related business demands prevented me from continuing this research. Hopefully I can pursue it again soon.

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    My main question at this point concerns the conscription classes. When each was actually called up, the number of men called, and when they were released and if part were retained on active service after the class was nominally released.
    According to the law on universal military service adopted in 1939 the annual draft was to be made each year from 15 September to 15 October. Each year the class that turned 19 (or 18 in case of completed secondary school) in the year of draft was called up. So drafting men born in 1920 in 1939, men born in 1921 in 1940 etc. The normal term of service was 2 years for privates in ground forces, 3 years for NCOs and 3 years for all enlisted in air forces, border guard and navy. Men who completed the term were released about the time when newly drafted recruits arrived to their units, that is soon after the draft. That sounds simple but there were major exceptions:
    1. The classes to be released in the autumn of 1939 (that is those drafted in 1937 and 1936) were partly retained on service for one additional year.
    2. In addition to 1 080 000 men drafted in the autumn of 1939 the government on 28.12.1939 ordered a further draft of 550 000 new recruits. That was to provide for augmentation of the army in connection to the Finnish War. Provided that the order was fully carried out that means about 1 630 000 men drafted autumn 39 - winter 40.
    3. Since the annual class of 1940 was larger than army's requirements it was drafted only partly. 400 000 men of the class remainder were however called later in the spring of 1941.
    As for the size of annual drafts from 1930s and later I don't remember where to find them. In any case it's quite clear that in 1939/40 and 1940/41 they were much larger than in the previous years. That explains massive expansion of Soviet armed forces.

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
    Second, although the Mobilization Order went out to call up the Reservists on 17 September 1939, formation/activation of new rifle divisions had already started. In fact, they started before 23 August 1939, the day the Non-Aggression Pact was signed with Germany, indicating that somebody in the Soviet High Command knew full well the meaning of that document!
    Again activation of new divisions and mobilization which started on 7 September 1939 were two independent things which overlapped mostly by accident. Activation of about 70 rifle divisions in August 1939 required an expansion of the Army to somewhat more than 2 million men. Which could be achieved with the annual draft of new recruits and didn't require call up of reservists. That was a refurbishment of the peace-time (unmobilized) army. According to Meltyukhov the plan for this reorganization was worked out beginning from at least mid-July 1939.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Thanks Mr Sharp.

    The translation of the document on this subject is moving along, at a slow pace. I think this will be worth the effort.

    My main question at this point concerns the conscription classes. When each was actually called up, the number of men called, and when they were released and if part were retained on active service after the class was nominally released. I realize this is a complex question & the information may not be known, but it is increasingly clear this will clarify the overall mobilization or expansion of the Red Army.

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  • Sharposhnikov
    replied
    Unfortunately for trying to get a handle on RKKA strength at any given time between 1939 and 1941, the mobilization of the Red Army was not linear, but filled with numerous new formations, reformations, reorganizations, and disbanding of units.

    First, the distinction between 'cadre' and 'territorial' divisions had disappeared by 1 January 1939, so that by that time the Red Army consisted of :
    84 cadre rifle divisions
    14 cadre mountain rifle divisions
    5 separate rifle brigades

    Second, although the Mobilization Order went out to call up the Reservists on 17 September 1939, formation/activation of new rifle divisions had already started. In fact, they started before 23 August 1939, the day the Non-Aggression Pact was signed with Germany, indicating that somebody in the Soviet High Command knew full well the meaning of that document!

    Third, the actual strength of the rifle divisions varied enormously throughout the 1939 - 1941 period. Aside from 'formal' differences like the difference in official shtat between the divisions in the Far East (about 500 more men and a tank battalion compared to other rifle divisions by late 1940), no division seems to have reached an actual 'authorized' strength during this period. For example, according to a report dated 19 April 1940, this was the status/strength of Red Army units:
    1st and 2nd Red Banner Armies in Far East:
    ...Total: 15 rifle divisions with 12,550 men each
    1 Karelo-Finnish Rifle Division at 9000 men
    1 Sakhalin Rifle Division at 9000 men
    3 rifle divisions at 14,000 men each (in Far East)
    80 rifle divisions at 12,000 men each
    1 rifle division in Leningrad MD at 9000 men
    43 rifle divisions at 6000 men each
    10 Mountain Rifle divisions at 9000 men each
    3 motorized rifle divisions at 12,000 men each
    4 mechanized divisions at 12,000 men each
    Total 161 rifle divisions
    3 separate rifle brigades in Far East, 6098 men each
    6 parachute brigades at 1520 men each
    3 Motorcycle battalions at 600 men each
    12 Cavalry Divisions at 6560 men each
    4 Cavalry Divisions in Far East/TransBaikal at 6820 men each
    5 Mountain Cavalry Divisions at 2950 men each
    2 Cavalry Divisions at 3543 men each
    6 Reserve Cavalry Regiments at 720 men each
    2 separate Cavalry Brigades at 3224 men each
    1 Tank Brigade with KV-T35 tanks
    3 Tank Brigades with T-28 tanks
    16 Tank Brigades with BT tanks
    18 Tank Brigades with T-26 tanks
    3 Motorized (Armored Car) Brigades
    6 separate Tank Regiments
    1 separate Tank Regiment “SVAMM”
    1 separate Motorized Battalion
    75 Corps Artillery Regiments
    7 RVGK Cannon Regiments
    17 RVGK Howitzer Regiments
    1 RVGK Heavy Cannon Regiment
    20 RVGK Heavy Howitzer Regiments
    10 RVGK separate Artillery Battalions - 152mm, 280mm, 305mm pieces
    2 RVGK separate Artillery Batteries (BR-2)

    But wait, it gets worse...
    Individual rifle divisions went through numerous transformations during this period even after they were activated or mobilized. To take a couple of the most egregious examples I've found so far:
    82nd Rifle Division was one of the pre-1939 divisions, which in August-September 1939 formed three divisions: 82nd, 112th, and 125th Rifle Divisions.
    In December 1939 it was officially reorganized as a Motorized Rifle Division.
    In March 1941 it was reorganized again, this time becoming a Mechanized Division for the 29th Mechanized Corps, with its own divisional Tank Regiment.
    In July/August 1941 it was reorganized again, back into a Motorized Rifle Division, its tank regiment going to form the new 111th Tank Division.
    When it reached the Front in late October 1941, it was only a motorized rifle division by title: the official documents (Combat Reports, Combat Summaries) refer to it as a regular rifle division, and its own Journal of Combat Activities makes no mention at all of any unit getting to the battlefield by motor vehicle.
    194th Rifle Division was formed in August 1939 from the 71st Rifle Division in the Siberia Military District
    In December 1939 it reorganized as a Motorized Rifle Division
    In May 1940 it was reorganized again, this time as a Mountain Rifle Division: losing a tank battalion, gaining a fourth rifle regiment, reforming all of its subordinate units.
    In August 1941, just before it went to the Front, it was reorganized again as a regular Rifle Division.
    Can you imagine what the Training Schedules looked like for that unit from December 1939 to August 1941? The wonder is that after all this organizing and reorganizing, the division put up a pretty good fight at Kaluga in 49th Army in October 1941...

    And of course, the internal changes to rifle divisions changing from regular rifle to mountain to motorized rifle to motorized/mechanized pale in comparison to the changes in the tank/mechanized forces, where the pre-war Tank Corps were disbanded in 1939, new Motorized Divisions formed, then tank brigades and rifle division tank battalions disbanded to form new Mechanized Corps in 1940, then a new set of tank brigades formed in late 1940 for infantry support, then 'rifle-machinegun brigades' formed at the end of 1940, then all of them and the remaining tank brigades disbanded in February 1941 to form 21 new Mechanized Corps. Meanwhile rifle divisions were being disbanded to provide manpower for 10 new Antitank Brigades and the expansion of 6 Airborne/Parachute Brigades into 5 Airborne Corps.

    The study of the massive expansion of the Soviet armed forces between August 1939 and June 1941 could form the basis for a whole set of volumes. What it indicates, I believe, is that not only was the command and staff of the armed forces and the Soviet government trying to increase the overall size of the force (tripled in manpower between August 1939 and January 1940 alone) but also engaging in a constant debate over what kind of force was required. The well-known reaction to the fall of France by forming the first Mechanized Corps was only one example of the near-content change taking place in the force structure throughout this period.

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    A technical point now. The 173 divisions account for 2,344,000 at 13,550 men each at full strength. is the balance of the four or five million men in service all in HQ & support services?
    That is the personnel breakdown by 1 February 1940 (Finnish War):
    Rifle units - 1 996 546 (including the Finnish People's Army)
    Tank units - 140 666
    Cavalry - 191 639
    Artillery - 198 653
    Air defense - 117 639
    Armored trains - 10 338
    Chemical units - 18 553
    Signal units - 49 602
    Engineer units - 31 386
    Replacement and march battalions - 374 914
    Fortified regions - 120 440
    Air force - 254 436 (including 73 562 in officer schools)
    Watch guard - 41 810
    Ground forces officer schools - 219 000
    Topographic - 3900
    Railroad engineers - 46 603
    Ski battalions - 62 000
    Services and hospitals - 271 229
    Total 4 229 964 men.
    A call-up of additional 324 196 was expected after 1 February which would bring the strength to 4 554 150 men.
    In addition 242 381 men were in formations of civil organizations not belonging to the Red Army (mostly construction units and railroad operations and construction troops)
    From "Report of the Chief of Red Army's General Staff on composition and strength of the Red Army" 1 February 1940.

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    That Meltyukhov's page consist in essence of several parts:
    1. Large headquarters (districts, armies, fronts) - from the beginning to page 331.
    2. Organization of ground forces - pages 332 to 349.
    3. Air forces - pages 349 to 358.
    4. Overall personnel strength - pages 358 to 363.
    5. Officer corps - from page 364 to the end.
    Page numbers are given in square brackets.
    Also appendices to the book:
    http://militera.lib.ru/research/meltyukhov/14.html

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    Since calling up the entire class of 1921 seems inadaquate for the goals were any classes scheduled for discharge from active to reserve status retained on active service, in 1940 or early 1941?
    By the book (and according to the existing law on military service) the annual class should be called in the autumn of each year. Recruits that finished their normal term of service (which was for the most part 2 years) were to be released about the same time. In fact in September 1939 in connection with mobilization and Polish campaign the class called in 1937 was retained on service for an additional year (according to Meltyukhov their number was 190 000). Later the term was prolonged to the end of 1940.
    As for the class called in 1938 - I don't remember, need to check it.
    Worth to mention that the partial call of recruits in the spring of 1941 was an exception to the normal procedure and was evidently connected to a need in personnel created by formation of new units.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Translated a few of the opening passages of Meltyukhov essy linked in post of 25 July. Pasted those below. Since I have so little confidence in my Russian any constructive criticism is welcome.

    Also if anyone could point to the relevant passages in this document it would save me some time. I'm looking specifically for anything that would help clarify the details of mobilization/expansion of the Red Army in the period from August 1939 to October 1940.

    Thanks

    ************************************************** ************
    Krome togo, na territorii MNR dislotsirovalis' voyska 57-go osobogo strelkovogo korpusa (OSK), sozdannogo prikazom narkoma oborony ? 0037 ot 4 sentyabrya 1937 g. i nakhodivshegosya v operativnom podchinenii Narkomata oborony{1003}.pSYAYAYKHI YUPUKHB. bEKKHYYU" nREVEYARBEMMYU". yaA. DNYSLEMRNB. r.2. l.,1994. ya.321.


    In addition, the troops of the 57th Special Rifle Corps (USC), created by the order of the People's Commissar of Defense, were stationed on the territory of the MPR. 0037 of September 4, 1937, and was in the operational subordination of the People's Commissariat of Defense {1003}.pSYAYAYKHI YUPUKHB. bEKKHYYU" nREVEYARBEMMYU". yaA. DNYSLEMRNB. r.2. l.,1994. ya.321.

    S okonchaniyem Grazhdanskoy voyny armeyskiye upravleniya v Krasnoy Armii byli postepenno rasformirovany (krome Dal'nego Vostoka), i do leta 1938 g.

    With the end of the Civil War, army departments in the Red Army were gradually disbanded (except the Far East), and until the summer of 1938

    analogichnykh voyennykh struktur ne sushchestvovalo. Odnako v usloviyakh chekhoslovatskogo krizisa [326] 1938 g.

    Similar military structures did not exist. However, in the conditions of the Czechoslovak crisis [326], 1938

    **********************************************

    Prikazom narkoma oborony ?

    By the order of the People's Commissar of Defense?

    Prikazom narkoma oborony ? 07 ot 15 yanvarya g939 g. v BOVO na baze upravleniya 16-go strelkovogo korpusa byla sformirovana novaya Minskaya AG, v sostav kotoroy vklyuchalis' voyska, raspolozhennyye na territorii Minskoy i Mogilevskoy oblastey.

    By the order of the People's Commissar of Defense? 07 from January 15, 1939 in BOVO on the basis of the management of the 16th Rifle Corps, a new Minsk AH was formed, which included troops stationed on the territory of the Minsk and Mogilev regions.

    Sootvetstvenno izmenyalsya sostav Vitebskoy i Bobruyskoy AG, a 23-y strelkovyy korpus vydelyalsya v podchineniye upravleniya okruga{1006}.Sootvetstvenno izmenyalsya sostav Vitebskoy i Bobruyskoy AG, a 23-y strelkovyy korpus vydelyalsya v podchineniye upravleniya okruga{1006}.rYUL FE. d.22. k.22.

    Accordingly, the composition of the Vitebsk and Bobruisk Agencies varied, and the 23rd Rifle Corps was allocated to the administration of the district {1006}.P. 22. K.22.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    I'll go back the Glantz rext, peraps his numbers were to reflect only the fronts facing the west, & not the far east or south.

    Since calling up the entire class of 1921 seems inadaquate for the goals were any classes scheduled for discharge from active to reserve status retained on active service, in 1940 or early 1941?

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    Teased this out of Glantz. Table 4.1

    .................December 1940........June 41
    Army HQ...........20.........................20
    Rifle Corps HQ...30.........................62
    Rifle Div..........152........................196
    Motor Rifle/Mech Div..10..................31
    Cav Corps..........4............................4
    Cav Div............26..........................13
    Rifle Brigades.....5............................3
    Tank Div...........18...........................61
    Fortified Regions 21........................120
    Abn brigades......12.........................16
    Abn Corps HQ......0...........................5

    Strength......4,207,000.........5,373,000
    Not completely accurate. By the end of 1940 there were 166 rifle, 10 mountain rifle, 3 motorized rifle divisions, 20 tank and 9 motorized divisions, 20 cavalry divisions, 45 tank, 20 motorized, 3 armored car, 5 rifle and 6 airborne brigades. With 3.9 million men not including Navy and construction/railroad troops. By June 1941 the number of regular personnel increased to 4.3 million mostly through conscription of the remainder of 1921 annual class:
    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewto...83134#p1383134

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  • Artyom_A
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    A technical point now. The 173 divisions account for 2,344,000 at 13,550 men each at full strength. is the balance of the four or five million men in service all in HQ & support services?
    The wartime strength of the rifle division according to an establishment from September 1939 was nearly 19 000 men. I can't say though if they were already using that establishment or an earlier one which was smaller somewhat (about 17 000). In any case the mobilization in September 1939 involved only 98 rifle (and 14 cavalry) divisions in 7 military districts. I don't know what was the exact composition of 5 million number. I had numbers relating to the winter 1939/40 somewhere but I'm away from my home computer now. In any case the full mobilization strength of the Red Army according to a mobilization plan active in 1939 was supposed to be 6.8 million men. Of them 2.8 million in rifle divisions, brigades and rifle corps HQ and the rest elsewhere.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Thanks. I'll place that on my acquisition list. Been trying to translate some bits from the links posted here. My russian is far to stale to make that practical in the near future.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Glantz in 1982 passed me a document that he compiled in 1981 titled The Evolution of Soviet Force Structure: 1918-1980. His right-hand margin has his sources for the information (listed by author, short title on edited works, Soviet Military Encyclopedia), so you could replicate his research. The document has been his (and my) backbone for force structure in all his works.

    A quick review of his catalogue and price list does not show the document for sale.

    Recommend you email Glantz to see if he would sell you a copy (and if you do not have his catalogue ask for it). His address is David M. Glantz, 805 Forbes Road, Carlisle, PA 17013; email: [email protected].
    Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 27 Jul 17, 08:39.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    A technical point now. The 173 divisions account for 2,344,000 at 13,550 men each at full strength. is the balance of the four or five million men in service all in HQ & support services?

    A second question is was there a pool of reservists that were not assigned to existing formations, or assigned to some sort of formation that existed on paper only? I am trying to understand how the many conscript classes of the 1930s fit into the structure of full mobilization.

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