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Question about Red Army artillery

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  • Question about Red Army artillery

    Everybody knows the Red Army loved its artillery - light, heavy, medium, guns, rockets, mortars, the whole 9 yards.

    What I'm not sure about is how it was employed. Most stuff I've seen was about pre-attack barrages and the like, but how good/efficient/flexible was Red Army artillery at providing on-call fire support once the battle had gotten underway, a la Western artillery? Was it as sophisticated as US/British systems, or did the Soviets rely more on direct fire support?

    I haven't really read much discussing this, though I have read the Finns had a superb artillery arm, and was curious if the Russians adopted anyting from lessons learned in fighting them.

    Note: I'm not talking about 1941/42, but about later on in the war when the Red Army was really onto its game, so to speak.

  • #2
    Originally posted by 88L71 View Post
    Everybody knows the Red Army loved its artillery - light, heavy, medium, guns, rockets, mortars, the whole 9 yards.
    The Russians call it the "God of War." For a good primer, in English, see Chris Bellamy, "Red God Of War: Soviet Artillery and Rocket Forces." It's a good intro with about 70 pages on its traditional role in Russian history and some 30 plus pages on WWII experience.

    If you read Russian, there is a more indepth, but general, look at Soviet artillery in WWII: "Otechestvennaya artilleriya" udner the editorship of Marshal of artillery, G. E. Peredel'skogo, (Moscow: Voenizdat, 1986)

    For more detailed tactical combat examples see: "Taktika artilleriii v voyevykh primerakh (podrazdeleniya i chasti" by R.B. Braginskii, N.S. Popel'nitskii, M. G. Usenkov, (Moscow: Voeinzdat, 1977).

    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.


    • #3
      This is a good question.

      From what I have read, and understand, about the use of the Soviet "God of War" during late WWII, is that it had reached the level of what was taking place in the West, by 1918 during WWI, which was very good use of artillery.

      During WWII, the US artillery was rated, by far #1 in power, flexibility and overall response time. There are several German accounts of Eastern Front veterans, having moved to the Western Front and being totally overwhelmed by the firepower of the US artillery. They said things like “we never saw anything like this on the Eastern Front”.

      The UK was rated #2, slightly behind the US in use of artillery.

      So, my understanding of artillery ranking during WW2 is like this:

      US #1 - at 100% (the best)
      UK #2 at 95%
      German #3 at 85%
      Russian #4 at 75%
      Italian #5 at 65%
      Japanese #6 at 50%


      • #4
        Here are two points to consider when researching artillery.

        1 From reading though scores of eyewitness accounts by artillery crew and officers, who were actually on the battlefield., I've noticed a significant difference between their descriptions and the information in the doctrine or training manuals, or that provided by historians and non artillery military leaders. The actual practice diverges from the 'book' by various degrees depending on the time & location.

        2. The RKKA artillery varied in effectiveness by several orders of maginitude from 1941 to 1944. This is also true for the other armies, but the change is largest with the RKKA. When evaluating one absolutely haas to consider the date and unit or formation. Trying to judge the effect of 1945 by information from 1943 or 1944 thru 1942 information is 'difficult'.

        There are a few English language memiors from Soviet artillery officers or crew. At least I found on the internet. That one is from 1944-45 and gives some excellent insights into the subject.


        • #5
          About Finnish artillery,
          This link is from axishistory forum:

          Finnish artillery couldn't compete in the amount of ammunition fired, or the range of guns (counter-battery fire), but they could focus huge amounts of ordnance rapidly on certain points.


          • #6
            Awesome link, kek. Heard Finn system compared in some respects favorably even to US, looks like they had certain things in common, like computational aids and ease of fire direction (Finns could use any FO, US Army had plenty of FO's but after gaining combat experience in Tunisia it wasn't difficult for your average platoon commander to call in artillery when FO wasn't avaliable, if neccesary)


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