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  • Soviet losses in 1941

    What are your opinions, as to why the USSR suffered such high losses in 1941 in manpower?
    War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

    Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

    My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

  • #2
    Originally posted by Theocide View Post
    What are your opinions, as to why the USSR suffered such high losses in 1941 in manpower?
    Were the Russian losses in 1841 that high ? I have the following weekly casualties :1941:162262 1942 :141320 1943:150691 1944 :131558 1945:163527 I took the casualty figures from Krivosheev,divided them by the number of days and multiplied them by seven .

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Theocide View Post
      What are your opinions, as to why the USSR suffered such high losses in 1941 in manpower?
      Because Germans from the beginning of their aggression naturally got initiative and performed many successful offensive operations, which RKKA couldn't parry due to many reasons. Thus causalities of Soviet troops were very large
      If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

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      • #4
        Never forget though the Germans suffered significantly higher losses even in the early part of Barbarossa themselves then they had until that point in the war.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ljadw View Post
          Were the Russian losses in 1841 that high ? I have the following weekly casualties :1941:162262 1942 :141320 1943:150691 1944 :131558 1945:163527 I took the casualty figures from Krivosheev,divided them by the number of days and multiplied them by seven .
          I can't coment on your statistics, since I don't see how you've arrived to it.

          Yes, they undoubtedly were.

          According to same Krivosheev statistics, in third quarter of 1941 alone, the Soviet Army suffered irrecoverable losses of 2.067.801, more than in any other period of war. Source - table 138.
          War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

          Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

          My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

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          • #6
            Originally posted by amvas View Post
            Because Germans from the beginning of their aggression naturally got initiative and performed many successful offensive operations, which RKKA couldn't parry due to many reasons. Thus causalities of Soviet troops were very large
            What is interesting, is what these reasons were.

            Personally, I see that other than the obvious - Sovet army (and especially, the Soviet Airforce) weren't mobilized the day it was attacked - there were also very low skills among troop commanders (not top brass, but the ones that actually led troops into battle - from platoon commanders).
            War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

            Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

            My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

            Comment


            • #7
              IMO it wasn't most important factor - perhaps even not in the first five. Agreed with Amvas - main cause was that Axis had strategic initiative so Red Army occurred poorly mobilized and dispersed in a huge space.

              Second I suppose German superiority in mobile troops - real "wunderwaffe" of that time and not only on the East front. Germans used their mobile corps to cut thin front line troops and then to prevent them from organized regrouping and reinforcing. And again, and again. Soviets spared their Mechcorps in first month and they didn't have anything to meet them even roughly.

              And why are you saying about only combat COs - Universal Primary Education was introduced in 1930. In 1939 every fifth soviet resident older 10 couldn't read. That was big problem everywhere not only in the army. Lack of skilled officers played some negative role, however that situation was not improved critically in followed years but Soviets won somehow.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Theocide View Post
                I can't coment on your statistics, since I don't see how you've arrived to it.

                Yes, they undoubtedly were.

                According to same Krivosheev statistics, in third quarter of 1941 alone, the Soviet Army suffered irrecoverable losses of 2.067.801, more than in any other period of war. Source - table 138.
                Using irrecoverable losses only is giving a wrong picture :I used the total figures;for 1941 :447382O ;the daily losses are :4473820 divided by 193 =23820;the weekly losses :23820 multiplied by 7 =162262 .And those losses were heavy,but were they that heavy in comparison with the other years ? Look at the figures of 1945

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                • #9
                  The Red Army in June 1941 was in many ways stronger than the Wehrmacht. It had more men, more equipment, a better industrial & supply base, a good rail network.

                  The truth is the Germans began the war on Russia with insufficient forces. The German army was essentially the same army that had fought against France a year earlier. 120 and 2/3 German divisions were concentrated along the Soviet border on June 22. In comparison, 128 divisions had been used to invade France a year earlier.

                  Between the Summer of 1940 and the Summer of 1941 unfavorable changes took place in the Wehrmacht. The Germans greatly increased the number of panzer and motorized divisions (10 Pz. Divisions in France vs. 21 Pz. Divisions for Barbarossa) but with very limited deliveries of new equipment. All those new divisions were created by basically scavenging equipment from existing units. The new panzer division of Barbarossa had only 196 tanks compared to 258 tanks in France so its combat value was lower. When Hitler was counting the number of panzer divisions on his staff maps, he could have been deceived as to what his real power was.

                  Despite so many factors in their favor, the Soviets suffered such heavy losses because they were defending a front line more than 1800 km long. It was not always possible for the Soviet high command to predict where the Germans would concentrate their main thrusts. Hence the very high Soviet losses-inflicted mainly by panzer and motorized units, armored infantry, etc.
                  Last edited by MonsterZero; 10 Sep 09, 03:38.

                  "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
                  --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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                  • #10
                    High Soviet Losses in 1941 were due to several issues.

                    1. Soviet forces were deployed forward.
                    Large numbers of troops were near the frontier.
                    Large amounts of equipment, tanks, and aircraft were too close to the frontier.
                    Troops and equipment were not deployed in combat ready manner.

                    2. Troops were not ready for combat
                    Ammunition, fuel, spare parts were not available in sufficient amounts.
                    Units were not up to full strength in manpower.
                    Leadership near frontier was kept in the dark about impending attack.

                    3. Lack of effective leadership during first weeks of attack.
                    Stalin failed to make critical decisions in time.
                    Lack of command flexibility forced units to fight as isolated groups.
                    Lack of maneuver allowed units to be surrounded and destroyed.

                    4. Germans were well prepared, well lead, and ready to take advantage of Soviet weakness.
                    German units were at full strength.
                    German units had abundant ammunition, fuel, and spare parts.
                    German command and control was very good.
                    German leadership produced a good attack plan.
                    German units maneuvered with the intent to surround and destroy large numbers of Soviet troops.

                    In conclusion:
                    German forces were ready for combat and had a good plan.

                    Soviet forces were not ready for combat, had no real plan (attack or defense) and were let down by leadership.

                    Dann

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rambow View Post
                      IMO it wasn't most important factor - perhaps even not in the first five. Agreed with Amvas - main cause was that Axis had strategic initiative so Red Army occurred poorly mobilized and dispersed in a huge space.

                      Not saying that it was THE most important factor, of course. The most important factor is that the Soviet army wasn't fully mobilized when the hostilities broke out - I agree here.

                      Originally posted by Rambow View Post
                      Second I suppose German superiority in mobile troops - real "wunderwaffe" of that time and not only on the East front. Germans used their mobile corps to cut thin front line troops and then to prevent them from organized regrouping and reinforcing. And again, and again. Soviets spared their Mechcorps in first month and they didn't have anything to meet them even roughly.
                      True also. Yet the problem I see is that these are all technical problems, which still wouldn't have changed things much for the best.

                      Originally posted by Rambow View Post
                      And why are you saying about only combat COs - Universal Primary Education was introduced in 1930.
                      Because Combat Cos were the ones who were actually leading troops into battle.

                      Reading this
                      http://ww2doc.50megs.com/Issue05/Issue05_15.html

                      One can see that up until 1942 (and even later, since it didn't heal the problem to full extent) tanks were used extremely primitively despite the field manuals, were thrown into battle without artillery support or recon or any support troops.

                      The Soviets won, when war itself made disdain leaders all to obvious, providing new more efficient cadres, leading to the absolutely new army - RKKA of 1944.
                      War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

                      Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

                      My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                        High Soviet Losses in 1941 were due to several issues.

                        1. Soviet forces were deployed forward.
                        Large numbers of troops were near the frontier.
                        Large amounts of equipment, tanks, and aircraft were too close to the frontier.
                        Could you be more specific how this is a problem and where they should have they been deployed were it not the Molotov Line?
                        War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

                        Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

                        My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                          Using irrecoverable losses only is giving a wrong picture :I used the total figures;for 1941 :447382O ;the daily losses are :4473820 divided by 193 =23820;the weekly losses :23820 multiplied by 7 =162262 .And those losses were heavy,but were they that heavy in comparison with the other years ? Look at the figures of 1945
                          I don't see the use of dividing yearly losses equally for all days of war, since battles weren't evenly spread, and neither did losses.

                          The most catastrophic losses fell on third quarter in 1941 - if you want to include sanitary losses, fine, let's do that.

                          IIIrd quarter 1941 - 2 744 765 (july included)

                          That's apprx. 196 054 per week. Nothing comparable in 1945.

                          Overall Losses were bigger only in IIIrd quarter of 1943, for well-known reason.

                          And yet again, if we compare only the irrevocable losses (since for the army itself these losses aren't the same as sanitary losses for obvious reasons), we get more than 2 mln for IIIrd quarter of 1941 - 3 to 10 times more than in any other quarter of war after 1941.

                          That's why its absolutely fair to speak of 1941 losses as disastrous.
                          Last edited by Theocide; 12 Sep 09, 04:09.
                          War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

                          Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

                          My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1. Soviet forces were deployed forward.
                            Large numbers of troops were near the frontier.
                            Large amounts of equipment, tanks, and aircraft were too close to the frontier.
                            Troops and equipment were not deployed in combat ready manner.

                            Originally posted by Theocide View Post
                            Could you be more specific how this is a problem and where they should have they been deployed were it not the Molotov Line?
                            Well this is the big question right now. That is, what were all these Soviet forces doing so close to the border?

                            If the Soviet Union (Stalin) were trying to defend, it would make much more sense to have 100,000 troops or so along the border. Then another 100,000 troops 20 miles further back. Then 1 to 2 million 50 or 60 miles from the border in the main defence line. That way the main group of troops would not be involved in ground combat for 24-48 hours. They woluld have 2 days to get ready for combat. Aircraft would be deployed even further back.

                            This is not what happened. Soviet troops Tanks and Aircraft were very close to the border within easy reach of German forces. The only reason for this type of deployment is offensive. In other words, Stalin was planning to attack Nazi Germany. The Germans were able to inflict huge losses on the Soviet troops only because they were not ready to launch their own offensive yet. I have heard that Stalin was planning to attack in 1 to 2 years but Hitler struck first.

                            Several books have come out recently talking about this hypothetical Soviet attack.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                              1. Soviet forces were deployed forward.
                              Large numbers of troops were near the frontier.
                              Large amounts of equipment, tanks, and aircraft were too close to the frontier.
                              Troops and equipment were not deployed in combat ready manner.



                              Well this is the big question right now. That is, what were all these Soviet forces doing so close to the border?
                              In accordance with Soviet doctrine, waiting to counter-attack in case of enemy attack, I guess.

                              I see, this is going to be another go at Suvorov-esque style of arguement, already beaten to death multiple times... Too bad, didn't really expect that one.


                              Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                              If the Soviet Union (Stalin) were trying to defend, it would make much more sense to have 100,000 troops or so along the border. Then another 100,000 troops 20 miles further back.

                              You must be kidding. For a frontline with the length of 1600 km, you'll either have gaping holes in your whole defense line, just waiting for German panzers to poke through, or thinly spread them about a single squadron for 1 km.

                              These troops wouldn't be able to hold the enemy even for several hours.

                              The Soviet army would have lost the most battle ready troops with little use.

                              Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                              Then 1 to 2 million 50 or 60 miles from the border in the main defence line.
                              That way the main group of troops would not be involved in ground combat for 24-48 hours.
                              In other words, 100 miles from border. That would have delayed the attack by German panzer divisions against the main bulk of forces for several hours.

                              Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                              They woluld have 2 days to get ready for combat.
                              Not really. And even then, 2 days wouldn't help much according to Soviet mobilization plan.

                              Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                              Aircraft would be deployed even further back.


                              This is not what happened. Soviet troops Tanks and Aircraft were very close to the border within easy reach of German forces. The only reason for this type of deployment is offensive. In other words, Stalin was planning to attack Nazi Germany.
                              Point A doesn't really connect to point B. For one simple reason - as said above, Soviet military doctrine of that time believed that in case of enemy attack he'd be met with counter-attack in force with fight taken to enemy territory, see Field Manual-39.

                              Thus the fact that Soviets believed that victory is won only through offensive stage of war, doesn't really give much.

                              Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                              The Germans were able to inflict huge losses on the Soviet troops only because they were not ready to launch their own offensive yet. I have heard that Stalin was planning to attack in 1 to 2 years but Hitler struck first.

                              Several books have come out recently talking about this hypothetical Soviet attack.
                              Yes, Suvorov and buddies. Old news, really...
                              Last edited by Theocide; 13 Sep 09, 11:11.
                              War is the continuation of politics through other means. - von Clausewitz

                              Politics is the continuation of war through other means. - Vo Nguyen Giap

                              My song called 'My Leben': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmjGV7LNWl8

                              Comment

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