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Old December 27th, 2017, 11:50 AM   #1

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How exactly did the soviet union field enough troops to outnumber the axis?


Now the soviet union obviously had a much larger population than germany but there were 3 things preventing them from reaching their full potential.

1. During operation barbarossa they lost millions of troops
2. By november 1941 large portions of the soviet union had been occupied rendering about 70 million people to the control of Nazi germany. These people were unable to be conscripted into the soviet army while it was ruled by germany. That changed in 1944 when the soviets recovered the lost territories, but they had already achieved a substantial advantage before then.
3. While germany fielded the majority of axis forces in the eastern front, Romania, Hungary, Finland and Italy also had a large amount of troops. Romania by itself fielded over 1 million troops

We also have to keep in mind that germany had the overwhelming majority of their forces fighting in the eastern front.

How was the soviet union able to overcome this?
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Old December 27th, 2017, 11:58 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Karl XII View Post
Now the soviet union obviously had a much larger population than germany but there were 3 things preventing them from reaching their full potential.

1. During operation barbarossa they lost millions of troops
2. By november 1941 large portions of the soviet union had been occupied rendering about 70 million people to the control of Nazi germany. These people were unable to be conscripted into the soviet army while it was ruled by germany. That changed in 1944 when the soviets recovered the lost territories, but they had already achieved a substantial advantage before then.
3. While germany fielded the majority of axis forces in the eastern front, Romania, Hungary, Finland and Italy also had a large amount of troops. Romania by itself fielded over 1 million troops

We also have to keep in mind that germany had the overwhelming majority of their forces fighting in the eastern front.

How was the soviet union able to overcome this?
These are all good points.... The answer I suspect is complicated... you'd need for example to look at the demographics... Obviously the age group 16 to about 35 would be the most important....
Re occupied territories, you'd need to look at how many men of military age had remained there.... I suspect it was much less than the "normal" proportion... (btw about 1 million soviets served in the axis forces, further compounding the soviet problems you mention)
Then there was the proportion of women in the workforce (thus freeing up men for the front) which was probably higher in the USSR than in the axis...

This said, like you, I'd be interested in the answer
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Old December 27th, 2017, 12:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Karl XII View Post
Now the soviet union obviously had a much larger population than germany but there were 3 things preventing them from reaching their full potential.

1. During operation barbarossa they lost millions of troops
2. By november 1941 large portions of the soviet union had been occupied rendering about 70 million people to the control of Nazi germany. These people were unable to be conscripted into the soviet army while it was ruled by germany. That changed in 1944 when the soviets recovered the lost territories, but they had already achieved a substantial advantage before then.
3. While germany fielded the majority of axis forces in the eastern front, Romania, Hungary, Finland and Italy also had a large amount of troops. Romania by itself fielded over 1 million troops

We also have to keep in mind that germany had the overwhelming majority of their forces fighting in the eastern front.

How was the soviet union able to overcome this?
The Germans outnumbered the Russians outside Moscow.

But a combination of factors:

The Germans had lost the initiative due to turning South, when they turned South Panzer Corps who were supposed to close the trap left holes for a quarter of a million of Russian soldiers to escape, Russian agents correctly ascertained that the Japanese had no intention of attacking Russia meaning they could ship tough and skilled in winter warfare Siberian units to Moscow, the Germans had banked on a short war and weren't fully equipped for winter warfare, when the Russians counter-attacked outside of Moscow it was ferocious.

A combination of German shortcomings in planning and tactics, Russian doggedness, defending their homeland, and Russian ability to judge a situation.

The Russians actually produced their best display when they were outnumbered and when they needed it most.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 12:10 PM   #4

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The USSR military that counterattacked the Germans were from the ones that were deployed in the Far East. After the Japanese didn't break the neutrality pact, Stalin was free to redeploy his eastern military. Japan wasn't in the mood to attack the USSR after losing in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and later on being too busy with the Pacific theatre.

Last edited by Blue; December 27th, 2017 at 12:14 PM.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 02:03 PM   #5
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Number 1 I have no idea. I guess just numbers? I'll leave this one to other people

Well for number 2, remember much of the Soviet Union that was conquered and occupied wasn't Russia which had a lionshare of the people. Germany didn't conquer and occupy most of the USSR's major population centers, Kiev was the biggest city I think that would qualify as such the Germans conquered.

According to wikipedia, Russia lost 12.7% of it's population, less than the Soviet average, Belarus, Ukraine and Latvia seem to have suffered more than Russia itself, losing 25.3%,16.3% and 13.7% of their smaller populations. Big point for 2 is that the early occupied territory wasn't the core of the Soviet Union.

3)Really good question. Well aside from Hungary who were pretty loyal to the Nazis from beginning to end, the rest of the Axis abandoned the effort prior to the end of the war, when the Soviet numerical advantage began to become ridiculous. Italy changed sides in 1943, Romania changed sides in 1944 and in the Romanian case added to the Soviet numerical advantage as they just changed sides in the middle of the war. In the case of Finland, I don't know but I'm going to guess and say once the war started going bad for the Germans in the Baltics and the siege of Leningrad failed that Finland just went back to protecting their country from the USSR and didn't have any interest in supporting the Nazis once they went on the defensive. Finland also had a much smaller population than the Hungarians, Romanians and Italians and I'm doubtful they could have closed the numerical gap.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 02:10 PM   #6

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The USSR is not caught off guard, it expects a German attack, but for 1942.
However, its war economy and military preparation are already well advanced.

It has been prepared for a total war since 1934.

It uses intense propaganda, tries to elaborate doctrines of warfare and has begun to mobilize its industrial means, well before the war.

Indeed the Soviet defence budget had been set for 1934 at 1.6 billion rubles. It was then raised to 5 billion rubles. Then, it is the constant growth: 6.5 billion in 1935,14 billion in 1936,40 billion in 1939. The 1940 military budget was increased to 56.1 billion rubles. And on 25 February 1941, Finance Minister Zverev proposed military credits of 71.9 billion rubles to the Soviet supreme Soviet, or one third of the Soviet state budget, 6 on 25 February 1941.

The 18th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided in March 1939 to give absolute priority to the military industry. The industry growth rate was set at 13%. The military industry accounts for 39%7.

The German invasion had the effect on the Soviet economy of abandoning the 3rd Five-Year Plan, begun in 1938: the USSR suddenly turned to a war economy that was only intended to provide for itself in order to ensure its survival.

Indeed, the Soviet manufacturing capacity proved to be far superior to its opponent. Here is a comparison of Nazi Germany/Soviet Union production over the period 1941-1945 in thousands of units:

Rifles: 8 525/12139;
machine guns: 1 098/ 6 174
Machine guns: 1 097/ 1 516
Mortars: 73/351,8;
Armoured: 43.4/ 102.8;
Aircraft: 80.6/112.1.

Summary of German and Soviet industrial labour (including those classified as handworkers), and summary of foreign, voluntary, coerced and POW labour.

Surprising figures, contrary to what is believed, the soviets have a less numerous but more motivated and efficient industrial workforce.
Many will die from exhaustion, malnutrition or cold weather.
Of course they are under the supervision of a totalitarian regime, but let us not underestimate also the patriotism and heroism of a people who are fighting for their survival.

Industrial Labour

Soviet / German
1941 : 11,000,000/ 16,400,000
1942 : 7,250,000/ 16,200,000
1943 : 7,700,000/ 16,800,000
1944 : 9,000,000/ 18,000,000
1944 : 12,400,000/ unknown
Moreover, let us not forget that millions of Soviets are mobilized in agriculture, for instance the total labor in economy for 1941 is of 30,000,000 people.

Thanks to this formidable industrial production it can equip its soldiers highly motivated by effective propaganda and under the constant supervision of the political commissioners.
Besides Soviet people know they fight for their own survival, that's what they call the "Great Patriotic War".
Either they are victorious, or they will be destroyed by the Nazi war machine that wants to crush them.

staff mobilization plans have been in place for years and although gaps and confusion will exist, they still exist.
They will be able to be effective enough to surprise the Germans whose intelligence services had greatly underestimated the capabilities of the Soviet Union.

As early as 1941, the headquarter was able to be more efficient than is generally believed.
This enabled it to overcome the staffing crisis of early autumn 1941.
The manpower will be well managed by mass surveys that will just keep up with little or no trained soldiers and that sometimes don't even have a weapon for everyone.


The strength of the Red Army

From 1939 to 1941,161 divisions were formed and the army grew from 1.5 million men to 4.2 million.
In June 1941, the balance of power was very unfavourable for the Soviets: of the 303 divisions and 29 brigades, only 166 divisions and 9 brigades, i. e. 2.9 million men, were deployed in the military districts of the west facing the Axis, which totals 5.5 million men grouped into 181 divisions and 18 brigades. However, this unfavourable balance of power must be put into perspective, with the Red Army lining up nearly 20,000 tanks, including 12,000 T-26s, armed with a 45 mm gun with ballistic performances that were more than correct for the time. The bad use of these masses of materials did not prevent the debacle despite some local successes. Combined with strategic and tactical surprise, the effect on the Red Army was disastrous: it had to retreat several hundred kilometres inland and lost a considerable number of troops and equipment in large encirculations throughout the summer of 1941.

Of course, in order to make up for the terrible losses of the summer of 1941, the Soviets called for a total mobilization both to recomplete the decimated units, create new ones and mobilize the civilian populations for defensive work or the relocation of factories to the Urals.

What is less well known is that the numbers of soldiers in the units will decrease.
For example: the size of the fussiller division decreased from 14,383 men in April 1941 to 10,859 men in July 1941 and fell to 9,380 in July 1943.
The Soviet general staff is forced to juggle the numbers in order to maintain a constant number of units.
Another example: In the summer of 1941 "mini tank brigades of 286 men and 27 tanks"will appear.

Sources for this post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter...ustrial_output


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Army#Organization

French source "structure and Organization in Red Army"
Structure et organisation dans l'armée rouge

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armée_...re_patriotique

Sorry I don't have a lot of time , I have to stop there for now.
See you,
(maybe)

Last edited by phil1904; December 27th, 2017 at 02:24 PM.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 03:13 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl XII View Post
Now the soviet union obviously had a much larger population than germany but there were 3 things preventing them from reaching their full potential.

1. During operation barbarossa they lost millions of troops
2. By november 1941 large portions of the soviet union had been occupied rendering about 70 million people to the control of Nazi germany. These people were unable to be conscripted into the soviet army while it was ruled by germany. That changed in 1944 when the soviets recovered the lost territories, but they had already achieved a substantial advantage before then.
3. While germany fielded the majority of axis forces in the eastern front, Romania, Hungary, Finland and Italy also had a large amount of troops. Romania by itself fielded over 1 million troops

We also have to keep in mind that germany had the overwhelming majority of their forces fighting in the eastern front.

How was the soviet union able to overcome this?
The Germans are busy occupying western europe, diverting forces to protect against a seaborn invasion, fighting in the middle east and have to concentrate a good deal of their technology and manpower into civil defence, air defence and naval forces.

It gets worse when theyre having to pay for rehousing civilians, losing war production factories and transport links that have to be rebuilt and having to guard against internal attacks in every country. That soaks up manpower.

The soviets dont have to worry about protecting their rear areas or protection from air attack, they dont have naval assets of any worth and they only have one front to worry about. They can concentrate all their effort on the ground campaign
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Old December 27th, 2017, 05:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl XII View Post
Now the soviet union obviously had a much larger population than germany but there were 3 things preventing them from reaching their full potential.

1. During operation barbarossa they lost millions of troops
2. By november 1941 large portions of the soviet union had been occupied rendering about 70 million people to the control of Nazi germany. These people were unable to be conscripted into the soviet army while it was ruled by germany. That changed in 1944 when the soviets recovered the lost territories, but they had already achieved a substantial advantage before then.
3. While germany fielded the majority of axis forces in the eastern front, Romania, Hungary, Finland and Italy also had a large amount of troops. Romania by itself fielded over 1 million troops

We also have to keep in mind that germany had the overwhelming majority of their forces fighting in the eastern front.

How was the soviet union able to overcome this?
By a totalitarian sacrificing of their own people, shooting into backs of their own soldiers, mass executing of them and total propaganda lying and repression.

A fact that 20% of 1921 born Soviet males survived WWII tells enough. If there was a Pyrrhic victory than it was a Soviet one in WWII.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 06:09 PM   #9
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The Soviets were also not as dumb as the Nazis who instead of using their Jewish popuation as the Kaiser's Germany had between 1914-18 to fight as loyal German citizens (THE OFFICER WHO RECOMMENDED Hitler for his Iron Cross in WW One was Jewish-Hitler and the Nazis murdered many W.W. One Jewish soldiers-many highly decorated- as part of their Holocaust programme.
Many of these WW. One Jewish vets were highly decorated and would have fought as proud Germans-just as they had during 1924-18.
In contrast , Stain fully utilised his Jewish population so that 100 Soviet Generals fought in the Red Army and many were decorated with the Soviet's highest honours for their war service.
The NAZIS DiD NOT HAVE female bomber and fighter combat pilots like the Soviets did either.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 08:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl XII View Post
Now the soviet union obviously had a much larger population than germany

2. By november 1941 large portions of the soviet union had been occupied rendering about 70 million people to the control of Nazi germany. These people were unable to be conscripted into the soviet army while it was ruled by germany. That changed in 1944 when the soviets recovered the lost territories, but they had already achieved a substantial advantage before then.
How was the soviet union able to overcome this?
They lost access to new conscripts from much of European Russia but were able to get troops from the east. These Siberian troops were critical in stopping the Nazi advance in front of Moscow. The surviving veteran troops that were already drafted from areas later occupied were still with the Red Army I would presume. They would likely have been highly motivated to drive back the invaders.

Last edited by stevev; December 27th, 2017 at 08:50 PM.
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