Why did Russia always lose so many man in war and why did their morale never break?

Nov 2014
1,384
Birmingham, UK
#53
British SAS and US SFOD-D (Delta Force) and other JSOC Special Mission Units regularly do shoot houses where team members role play as hostages next to dummy targets that are shot with live ammo. Its a culminating exercise in order to improve confidence in abilties, and because their real job requires them to be that precise, so they need to know how it feels. I'm pretty sure Maggie Thatcher even played the role of a hostage in an SAS live fire.

But what the Russians are doing is just bravado and nothing more. Sure, they have done countless rehearsals before shooting the videos, but they are willing to accept that level of risk to look like badass. In a nation full of individuals desperately trying to prove their toughness and fearlessness, it takes work to show how elite a unit is.

All the jumping through loops on fire, or doing backflips while throwing hatchets, or when they jump feet first through car windshield as part of a public hostage rescue VIP exercise, or during another hostage rescue VIPEX they blow themselves up entering a bus

Westerners probably look at this stuff as the craziest **** they've ever seen anyone in uniform do, and don't understand in the slightest why they are doing it. But then they also go onto websites and ask why Russian always lose so many men in war and why their morale is strong.

Its just part of being Russian, and it is something that needs to be factored in when fighting Russians. They are not going to be easy to suppress, but probably not all that hard to kill either.
I once said to a mate that the primary Russian talent for warmaking lay in their ability to die in large numbers. I was being slightly facetious.
 
Likes: Dir
Jul 2016
7,160
USA
#54
I once said to a mate that the primary Russian talent for warmaking lay in their ability to die in large numbers. I was being slightly facetious.
Definitely true to some part and it isn't to be discounted. There is great danger fighting an enemy whose combatants, not to mention its govt and society as a whole, are seemingly unafraid of large scale casualties, it speaks to a resilience that many other nations and societies lack, some near completely. Not only does it affect politics and strategy, but trickles down heavily to the operational and tactical level. Russians (and those like them) have a freedom of a whole slew of methodology for war making that many western nations lack, because it is simply too costly to attempt. More choices is a good thing.

I think the biggest problem the Russians had in the past (and still suffer today, though not nearly as bad) was centralized planning and lack of initiative and willingness to adopt at lower levels. What this meant in terms of a people willing to take great casualties was the big tendency to reinforce failure for the sake of no other option, following bad plans and orders and to showcase bravery/fearlessness meant forces would not stop doing something that wasn't going to work. In the best of times, when Mr Murphy isn't there to get in the way it can lead to great victory, but in the worst of times, when chance comes to play, the result will often be a massive slaughter of one's own forces. Since war is chaos, the latter is more likely to happen and this was always a problem the Russians faced in many wars they fought. When things went bad for them, they went very very bad because institutional/cultural norms within their military pushed them to reinforce failure.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,781
Spain
#55
Always and never means nothing.... Russian lost the moral and were Broken in 1914-1918... and also in 1904-1905.... words as never or always are only for TV in a Sport programme or in a Intoxication News... not for serious people...both words have the same meaning and both words are false.

The never Russian Broken morale in a Train...1917!



Yes, they deserted in mass. they didn´t obey their officers and yes.. they left the Front without orders!!! (and not hide.. at all)

Who said never morale broken? By the way.. few months later.. Germans.. August 8th.. and Austro-hungarians (Vittorio Veneto) also lost the morale! (as italians in Caporetto or French in Chemin des Dames)

Not "always" and not "never"...

By the way.. not always the Russian casualties were higher than enemy casualties...
 
Nov 2015
1,474
Kyiv
#57
In the story of the exceptional resilience of Russians in battles, one must distinguish facts from myths and propaganda.

For example, the heroic Brest Fortress of 1941, glorified in Soviet propaganda. In practice, most of its defenders - 101 officers and 7.122 soldiers - surrendered during the first 2 days of the defense of the fortress. Heroism was shown only by the fighters of the 132nd Separate Battalion of the convoy troops of the NKVD, who had previously forged the arrested citizens of their country. It is clear that the soldiers and officers of the NKVD did not count on the good attitude of the Germans after the surrender. So they fought to the death in Brest in summer 1941.

Here are the Germans with the trophy banner of this battalion captured in the Brest Fortress.



In the Soviet propaganda was a number of fakes. For example, the story of 28 Panfilov soldiers who heroically threw themselves under German tanks with grenades in hands - it was a complete fabrication of war correspondents. And there were a lot of such stories. There were real stories of Russian heroism in WWII. But the 5.5 million Russians who surrendered to the Germans at a time when their country continued to fight — this, I think, is the absolute world record in the history of wars. And this is despite the fact that the Russian authorities severely punished their military for surrender when they could return to Russia in some way, and the families of Russian surrenders remained without any allowance and could die of starvation in the rear. The figure could have been much larger if the Germans did not treat the Russian POWs very badly, and the Russian propaganda did not tell their soldiers and officers about the horrors of the German captivity.

It is difficult to appreciate the heroism of the Russian soldiers, who fought with the the machine guns of their retreat-blocking detachments - заградотряды - behind their backs. Among the million Russian soldiers put on trial, executed or sent to the penal battalions during WWII, there were a lot of cowards.

The WWII knows many examples of Russian heroism. But it also knows many examples of Russian panic and the surrender of entire battalions. And information about the "million of Russian Khivi" who fought against Russia on the side of the Germans in that war differs little from the truth.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,468
#58
There does seem to be a high degree of lets say fatalism, that has been cultivated in the Soviet armed forces through the 20th c., and is still discernible with modern post-Soviet armed forces, not just the Russians. A kind of "crap happens" attitude to health and safety. It's not as if the Russians are alone in that. 20th c. Spain in the Civil War displayed a lot of similar attitudes, brave as hell to the point of fatalistically accepting with relative equanimity high degrees of probability of being shot, blown of ground up. Individually this would vary of course, but as an aggregate general attitude the effects would be rather noticeable.
 
Jul 2016
7,160
USA
#59
Always and never means nothing.... Russian lost the moral and were Broken in 1914-1918... and also in 1904-1905.... words as never or always are only for TV in a Sport programme or in a Intoxication News... not for serious people...both words have the same meaning and both words are false.

The never Russian Broken morale in a Train...1917!



Yes, they deserted in mass. they didn´t obey their officers and yes.. they left the Front without orders!!! (and not hide.. at all)

Who said never morale broken? By the way.. few months later.. Germans.. August 8th.. and Austro-hungarians (Vittorio Veneto) also lost the morale! (as italians in Caporetto or French in Chemin des Dames)

Not "always" and not "never"...

By the way.. not always the Russian casualties were higher than enemy casualties...
And?

I can list a dozen times the Japanese surrendered in WW2, along with pics, but that doesn't change the fact that they didn't typically do that. Just like I can show when Americans didn't rely on technology and abundance of supply and firepower, instead fighting tooth and nail with poor support while suffering great loss with no great discouragement. Neither of those is typically associated with those two nations.

Nobody is speaking in absolutes, nobody is suggesting the Russians always had high morale along with high casualties. Just that it was often, enough so to influence the culture of their military.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,781
Spain
#60
Simply: it is proved words Always and Never are synonyms and mean nothing in history. In this thread I only read few typical topics that do not stand up to the least scientific analysis . The "massive" Russian Army is from 20th Century (althought the famous "Russian Steamroller" is from 20th Century... well exactly from the late 19th Century and the French alliance... not at all before.. and not .... in 1792 - 1815.... French Army was the "massive"...not the Russian one.... and the "morale" not broken....they just broke in 1914 - 1918 (in a conflicth where Serbian, French, German, Austro-hungarian etc had higher level of casualties than Russian in relation to the population).. in 1904-1905... in Crimea...

I can list a dozen times the Japanese surrendered in WW2, along with pics, but that doesn't change the fact that they didn't typically do that


You are talking about "topics" and "typism".... again 1941-1945... Saipan, Eniwetok, Kwajelein, Iwo Jima etc... in fact, Japanese had hundreds thousands POWS in the last phase in War in Manchuria. Tarawa is truth... and Manchuria massive surrenders also is truth.

Just like I can show when Americans didn't rely on technology and abundance of supply and firepower, instead fighting tooth and nail with poor support while suffering great loss with no great discouragement. Neither of those is typically associated with those two nations


Exactly... typism for tourism! Not real.. whay you are talking about US... it is about the period AFTER 1941 Wars...In 1898.. the US Army had an awful armament (save the Gatlings). In 1917-1918... US was a great economic power, the greatest industrial and economic power on Earth.. but not a military power... not air force (their planes were French and British)...not even they had helmets.. most of them British! (and some French)...So what kind of "US" abundance of technology in WW1?

In 1941.. US Army was not a Great Militar Power... but yes.. the USA industrial power was able to built a great military force and from those days you can talk about the "technology and abundance of supply"... not at all in 1776, 1812, 1848, 1861, 1898, 1917...not even in 1941-early 1942. So the "typism" is reduced to 1942-1945, 1950-1953, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars.... only 70 years...

Nobody is speaking in absolutes, nobody is suggesting the Russians always had high morale along with high casualties.

From the moment the thread is named "
Why did Russia always lose so many man in war and why did their morale never break?

it is not possible any kind of interpretation...it is what is written... Always and Never.. synonimus mean nothing. The Russian morale was not different than the morale from any other place...and it is as false as to write a thread about "Why did Russia always surrender so massive?.. Each war is different... and myths are only myths to be used by some Hollywood lazy scripter... but it is not truth...Serbia was the country with higher casualties in 1914-1918 and they never surrendered (Yes Montenegro). In 1999.. however they surrendered. Each War is different and each attitude is related to the character of the war and the time in which it is fought (and the society) ... not with a "national character". About German offensive is other "typism": Dutch, Spanish, French, Swedish, Austrian, Russian, British, Danish, Turks etc etc they fought for centuries in German lands without the Germans could prevent it ... And the offensive... not at all in 1806... so you are talking about 1864 onwards. (After the defeat in the Marne...Germans mostly were deffensive positions in West Front in 1914-1918 save Verdun and the Spring Offensives).

I do not intend to undervalue anyone ... just put everything in context.
 
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