Post by The Horny Goat
On Sun, 13 Aug 2017 13:09:43 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman Post by The Horny Goat
Unfortunately for Russia most of the officers who trained with the
Wehrmacht in the 1920s were purged in the 1930s.
I doubt that this would amount to too many and this definitely was not the
main reason for the weakness of the lower officers and non-coms.
Never said it was. What I said was in the Seeckt era there was
considerable cooperation between the Wehrmacht and Red Army and that
both sides gained technical skills from their cooperation.
Unfortunately the Germans gained more from their joint efforts as
having German connections in 1935-37 was hazardous to an officer's
Well, it was but anyway the Germans were almost "doomed" to gain more because
during the period of that cooperation (which ended when Hitler came to power)
the Soviets hardly had a professional army and most definitely did not have
anything close to the necessary numbers of the technically competent personnel
capable of benefitting from the experience and neither did they have enough of
the officer cadres with an adequate military education to benefit from the
non-technical part of the cooperation (if there was one).
Post by The Horny Goat
Was it A factor in 1941? Definitely.
Well, off the top of my head I can list quite a few "A" factors of at least
equal importance besides those I already listed above. This is strictly for the
(a) Rather chaotic developments in the tank production which resulted in
almost complete absence of the spare parts.
(b) Inability to provide the field technical services including the repairmen
shops towing equipment (they supposed to be present but remained on paper).
As a result, even slightly damaged tanks had been abandoned on a battlefield.
(c) Severe shortage of the soldiers and non-coms with any type of a technical
expertise in the mechanized units. Plus big percentage of the personnel of the
mechanized units in the spring of 1941 had 4 years of school or less (or none
whatsoever), significant numbers did not even speak Russian.
(d) Mechanized corps did not have the auxiliary units outside the divisional
structure. As a result, the divisions had been routinely weakened by the units
taken for the corps-level tactical tasks. IIRC, mechanized corps did not have
infantry units either.
(e) No coordination with aviation. At least some of the mechanized corps units
had their own aviation unit but, AFAIK, they were equipped with the old bi-plans
(later made famous as the night bombers flown by the female crews) pretty much
useless for the daytime support or even reconnaissance.
(f) The anti-tank artillery was effective against the pre-WWII
armor but after campaign in France the Germans added armor to their old tanks
which made them almost invulnerable to the 45mm guns.
(g) A complete (as in 0%) shortage of the armor-piercing shells in the tank
units as of summer of 1941.
(h) T-34 having so many serious defects that technical review conducted few
weeks before German attack declared it unfit for the service. Its legendary
invulnerability applied only to a direct hit by a reasonably small caliber
into the front armor (unfortunately, the Germans tended to attack from the
You are seemingly unwilling to recognize that a country which was just in
a process of industrialization simply could not simultaneously develop
industry AND military hardware AND to produce enough technically-savvy cadres
to serve in industry AND agriculture AND military. The same goes for the
new types of equipment: the Soviet Union did not have enough high quality
engineers (neither did Tsarist Russia), which means that any new development
involved a protracted trial and error process before it was launched into
the production and when it was coming to the production, the industrial plants
routinely had difficulties with adopting the new models and usually were
well behind the schedule. Why? The same reasons: shortage of the qualified
cadres (on all levels), primitive equipment, etc. When the war start started
there was no even enough rifles (my father was training an infantry unit with
the wooden "rifles"). And "not enough" goes for pretty much everything all
the way for such trivial things as phone wire (not sure if usage of a barbed
wire as a substitute is not a legend). So what can be expected from an army
in such a state?
As for the leadership, quite a few of those executed were the leftovers of the
RCW with a very limited understanding of a modern war (like Marshal Blucher).
Out of those who left quite a few had the same service record as those
executed and most of them did not produce any miracles. Most of those who
reached Marshal's or Army General level by the end of war had relatively low
ranks when the war started or had what could be considered as the wrong
association. Zhukov came from the 1st Cavalry Army and until 1938 was a cavalry man, Konev was Voroshilov's protégé, Bagramyan was a cavalry commander
until 1936 and started WWII as a colonel, Rokossovsky - a cavalry officer who
served under Timoshenko (later sided with Tukhachevsky but was arrested mostly
due to association with Blucher) who managed to release him from the prison,
started war as Major-General, etc. So not every former cavalryman was an
idiot and not everybody who was not prosecuted was a nincompoop.
What is missing in the legend is a simple fact there were not enough of the
qualified officers in the Red Army even before the purges: it was rapidly
expanding from a small semi-regular post RCW force with the same issues from
which suffered Soviet industry and everything else, no adequate base.