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Reliability of Sovjet military deaths

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  • Reliability of Sovjet military deaths

    Whom am I to believe:Krivosheev giving Sovjet military deaths as 8668400(AH Factbook) or Glantz giving Sovjet military deaths as 14700000(strom clemson.edu. publications) one of both giving the wrong figures ? Thank you

  • #2
    I'd presume they had different criteria for the sums. One may be recording proper red army deaths and the other also including militia etc. At Stalingrad factory workers manned T34's so you could argue that when they died they died as civillians not soldiers. Likewise Poles etc fighting in the Polish units attached to the Red Army may not be counted as 'Soviet' either.

    I don't know the exact figure myself... I've always worked on about 20M total Soviet deaths of which about half those were soldiers.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ljadw View Post
      Whom am I to believe:Krivosheev giving Sovjet military deaths as 8668400(AH Factbook) or Glantz giving Sovjet military deaths as 14700000(strom clemson.edu. publications) one of both giving the wrong figures ? Thank you
      I think that Glantz lists irrevocable losses (killed, missing, captured, disabled), while other figure is only killed servicemen.

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      • #4
        To elaborate a bit on that, the Red Army did not actually record casualties as "Killed", "Wounded", "Missing", but rather as Unrecoverable and Recoverable(Temporary) Losses. Unrecoverable includes not only actual Killed in Action, but also Too Severely Wounded to Return to Any Kind of Duty, Captured and never returned to the USSR, and Missing. 'Casualties' could move back and forth between Unrecoverable and Recoverable during a battle. For instance, the daily casualty reports from a rifle division might list several hundred men as Captured (Unrecoverable) one day, and several days later those same men, having been cut off but worked their way back from behind German lines, will be back to duty. Even though the war is long over, therefore, the exact casualties are still not known - there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who are still 'missing' - either quietly living in Germany or buried in a mass grave somewhere in the Russian woods, no one really knows. Likewise, during the war the figures from individual units for Unrecoverable and Recoverable casualties could change day by day, and only a monthly or special summary at the end of the battle/campaign would give a final figure - which, being compiled from various daily/weekly sources, could be suspect as well.
        Too many never came home: that's for certain and it's the one certainty in any war.

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        • #5
          In the sovjet-german war,Glantz gives first 14.7 military deaths,then total casualties 35 and 14.7 KILLED,MISSING and Captured. Alittle confusing.

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          • #6
            Very much so, and possibly deliberate.

            The number goes up every couple of years. God only knows why.

            I stick to 20 million, total, which was the number that stood between 1950 and 1990.

            They started jacking the number up when numbers for Soviet atrocities since 1918 started coming out. Some sort of moral equivalency there, in some people's minds.

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            • #7
              Ah stiking to your cold war material I see. Well it is a trend. All numbers go up it seem, 4000 in one languge, 15000 in the next. Same book, different languge.
              “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

              Max Sterner

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                I stick to 20 million, total, which was the number that stood between 1950 and 1990.
                IIRC that was all deaths, including civilians. Krivosheev gives 26.6 million for that.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
                  To elaborate a bit on that, the Red Army did not actually record casualties as "Killed", "Wounded", "Missing", but rather as Unrecoverable and Recoverable(Temporary) Losses.
                  In aggregated numbers - yes, but in primary documents all was clear usually. Krishoveev used such data, don't know about Glanz
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Opinion:

                    It's not possible to compare those two works because Glanz does not show his sources and methods clearly. I suppose he based on common understanding that soviet manpower and losses outnumbered german manyfold. And took numbers to support that. Krivosheev works in opposite direction. Look, Glanz uses number of official casualties 10,008 (here missing and captured are included yet) then adds 4,7 million claiming new number "actual". I couldn't find explanation how he counted that addition - perhaps I missed that somehow. Finally he cuts the tail "missing and captured" and receives 14 millions of death.

                    Krivosheev takes pretty similar number from official reports - 10,281.5 thousands of died, missed and captured, then adds 1,2 million of unrecorded casualties of 1941 but then he subtracts 2.8 million of returned POW, encircled and remained in the german-occupied areas.

                    I presume Glanz added more unrecorded and subtracted less returned.

                    This is the power of statistics - everyone may play with numbers as he wishes.

                    For instance, comparing strength of sides for 1941:

                    Glanz shows only Wehrmacht manpower in the east against all Red Army and the reader sees - Soviets outnumbered Germans in 1.7 times.

                    Krivosheev takes all armed forces of Germany and its allies and compares with soviet troops of western districts only. There Axis outnumbered Soviets in 1.9 times.
                    Last edited by Rambow; 25 Jul 09, 01:37. Reason: typos

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                    • #11
                      For total deaths (civilian and military combined), IMHO and sifting through everything I've seen and read, the figure would not be less than 20 million and not more than 27 million. I usually work on 25 million, myself.
                      "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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                      • #12
                        "1 death is a tragedy, a million merely a statistic"
                        -Joe Stalin.

                        However many exactly died it was a lot and too many of those deaths were unnecessary.

                        On the subject of casualty figures creeping upwards its not unique to Russia. The amritsar massacre (one of the few times the British Empire screwed up and went too far) has crept up from 370 to 2000. The death toll in Iraq seems to double each time some new critic of the war appears on TV and it seems that the US killed every man woman & child in Vietnam if the last casualty figures I heard (on the BBC too- shame on them) are to be believed.

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                        • #13
                          Nope Stalin never said that, it was E.M Rermarque

                          apart from that I fully agree
                          “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

                          Max Sterner

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