How strong was the Soviet military, really?

Jun 2012
235
It was no doubt strong enough to defeat Germany and conquer Eastern Europe. However, the war's damage to the USSR and the system's long-term inability to adjust to changes must have hurt the military. The West's main concern during the Cold War was preventing an invasion of Western Europe.
Was the threat of nuclear obliteration that ONLY thing that prevented this?
 

Gorge123

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,833
Valles Marineris, Mars
In the beggining of the WW2, the Sovoet Army was a paper tiger. :( The Winter War proved that :)
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,606
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It depends on which period of Cold War we consider.

Among the main concerns during the most hot years of the war in Vietnam, for the US generals there was the condition of the American forces in Western Europe. Since the best fighting units and troops were in South East Asia, Europe was quite badly defended on the ground.

USSR had numbers, enormous numbers on its side. I could imagine that an invasion of armored brigades with air coverage and support of missile brigades in, let's say 1972, would have been a really serious threat to face for NATO in European continent.

But USSR [as we would have seen in the following decades] had no suitable economy to sustain a military long effort [expenses for military developments were among the causes of the fall of the Soviet empire], so I doubt they would have been able to keep the conquered territories. Not to mention that NATO prepared hidden guerrillas [like Gladio "stay behind" in Italy] to run an eventual resistance against the invaders from East.
 
Mar 2012
18,030
In the bag of ecstatic squirt
^The air power of the U.S. and U.K. incapacitated the Luftwaffe to halt the Soviet advance from the eastern front.
 

Space Shark

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,474
Redneck Country, AKA Texas
It was no doubt strong enough to defeat Germany and conquer Eastern Europe. However, the war's damage to the USSR and the system's long-term inability to adjust to changes must have hurt the military. The West's main concern during the Cold War was preventing an invasion of Western Europe.
Was the threat of nuclear obliteration that ONLY thing that prevented this?
Well the Soviets did have enough to take Western Europe with some struggle. But I think that tech wise, the USA and the USSR were roughly equal when it came to military tech. It was the economic systems that decided the Cold War.