1941: best options for the Soviets?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by tomo pauk, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The discussion of the German best options for the Op. Barbarossa prompted me for this thread. From early 1941, what would be the best options for the Soviets to better withstand Axis invasion? It is not much about their equipment (it's much too late to do many of the changes), but about the deployment and use of the historically available assets (units, hardware etc). For the sake of discussion, we will assume the Soviets expect the attack to commence anytime from June to July 1941.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Soviet military - industrial complex was largest in the world by a huge margin. British and American leadership were sympathetic towards Soviet domination of Europe, a condition not likely to happen again for decades if ever.

    IMO historical situation was best case option for 1941 Soviet Union. So don't change a thing.
     
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  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Got any facts/figures to back that up?

    Of course it may depend on exactly what you call the "military - industrial complex" as a very large part of the overall Russian production capability was devoted to military production. There was not a lot of 'civilian' production capacity to switch over or take up slack. Civilian production capability included (but not limited to) cars, trucks, locomotives, rolling stock, rails and on down.
    German steel production in 1941 was over double Russian steel production. The Germans did not use their capacity very wisely but the that does not mean the Russians had the largest in the world.
     
  4. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Whats a Military - Industry complex. Does a shoe factory that changes to making marching boots count as a military industry. Does a tyre factory that changes to making tyres for armoured cars count.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Locomotive "shops" that built tanks? Railcar "shops" that built tanks?

    Russian population was generally figured at 50-55% larger than the German population in 1941 (not counting occupied countries/territories) so the GDP has to be looked at in that light. Since the GDP was the TOTAL amount of goods and services produced, including food, clothing, fuel for heating/cooking (which can be wood) etc, the Russians, even if their GDP was a bit larger than Germany's were spending more just to keep their larger population alive (feed, clothed, and warm in Russian winter) even if at a lower standard than Germany.
    Russians swapped back and forth with the Germans in the late 1930s/40/41 as to who was spending more (percentage wise) of their GDP on armament.
    Russians may have large aircraft and tank factories but had little "back up" for them, for instance Allison had something over 800 subcontractors supplying parts for their engines (a lot of nuts/bolts/springs/fittings, etc). A system that was a lot thinner in Russia.
    Germany in the 1930s was an exporter of machine tools and equipment like cranes and even printing presses. Russia was an importer of such things.
     
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  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Well in Germany (Dresden to be precise) there was a firm that converted from making machines to make waffles to making parts for the KM's torpedoes, so just about anything is possible :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    They were making machines - not that unbelievable at all?
     
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  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I assume this is in reference to Europe only, since U.S. manufacturing output was unmatched.

    Yes...in the U.S., all the industries jumped into wartime mode.

    Frigidaire, a refrigeration company was making Rifles; Rockola, a juke-box company produced M1 .30 carbines; Spicer, an automotive component manufacturer was making rifles; Sperry, an electronics manufacturer was making ball turrets.
     
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  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not during June 1941.

    For instance Soviets built / imported four large tank plants by 1935. Equivalent German and American tank plants didn't begin construction until 1940. June 1941 U.S. tank plants were still working up to capacity while Soviet tank plants were fully operational.
     
  10. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The failure to build a 109/Spitfire in the same timeframe cost the Soviets dearly in my opinion.
    Stalin didn't believe Hitler was going to invade and I aint gonna disagree with him!
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    In 1940, the U.S. manufactured 6,068 aircraft of all types, the Soviet Union manufactured 10,565 of all types (Germany manufactured 10,826).

    In 1941, the U.S. manufactured 19,433 aircraft of all types, the Soviet Union manufactured 15,737 aircraft of all types (Germany manufactured 12,401).

    By 1944, the U.S. manufactured 96,318 aircraft of all types, the Soviet Union manufactured 40,300 aircraft of all types (Germany manufactured 40,593).

    Before the U.S. got drawn into the war, several factors contributed the ramping up of manufacturing. Even still, Russia was not the industrial powerhouse you're claiming it to be.
     
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  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Except the Russians didn't have the industrial capacity to feed the tank plants and other users/requirements for raw materials.

    For instance

    "By the way here are the figures of rail production ralis production in USSR.
    Broad gauge rails in thousands of tons:
    1940 - 1173
    1941 - 752
    1942 - 87
    1943 - 70
    1944 - 63
    1945 - 151
    Narrow gauge rails
    1940 - 187
    1941 - 122
    1942 - 25
    1943 - 45
    1944 - 66
    1945 - 157
    According to B. Sokolov's article in Journal of the Slavic Military Studies, 1994, vol. 7, No 4, len-lease deliveries of rails consitiuted 622 thousands tons.
    Just for comarison - the production of armor plates in USSR, thousands of tons:
    1940 - 75
    1941 - 294
    1942 - 527
    1943 - 446
    1944 - 588
    1945 - 510"

    From: Steel: Compare Soviet and German Productions - Axis History Forum

    The US used the following companies to build tanks while the special tank factories were being built, or to supplement production.
    American Car Foundry Co.
    American Locomotive Co.
    Baldwin Locomotive Works
    Lima Locomotive Works
    Pacific Car and Foundry Co.
    Pressed Steel Car Co.
    Pullman Standard Car Co.

    And a few others.

    BTW "August 2, 1941: ACF's (American Car Foundry) 1,000th military tank is completed for the United States military effort of World War II" These were M3 Stuart tanks.

    This is part of the difference between a country with a broad based manufacturing capability and one with a narrow/specialized manufacturing base like Russia in the late 30s.
     
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  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Getting back to the original question. Better deployment/use could have been done with existing forces. I don't know how much difference it would have made. More forces closer to the front might have made for a tougher 'crust' but a softer (or hollow) 'filling'. Perhaps a better defense in depth? Some of the Russian units had a pretty poor state of readiness with less than 50% of their tank strength listed as "runners". lack of spare parts? waiting for new models?
    Deployments were not supposed to "provoke" the Germans according to legend. Getting Stalin to OK large scale movements also took a lot a time.
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The first thing the Soviets could have done to prepare for the inevitable showdown with Germany, would have been to NOT purge the military.

    Stalin was Germany's best ally in the fact that he purged the top leadership several times before 1941. He cost the Red Army a valuable resource in combat experienced leadership...one of the only saving graces for the Soviet Union, was Marshal Zhukov
     
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  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Move everything behind the Urals Sverdlosk (Yekaterinburg) can be the new capital. Then let Germany invade an empty land with no supplies, using only small strategic stop lines to slow the advance so that the Germans arrive at the Urals about October. Wait for General Winter to make a counter attack only this time the German Army is much much further from its supply bases its minus 45C and all the Red Army needs to do is shovel the frozen soldiers out of the way and put the Generals into the bag and half the Heer is gone.

    Stupid but I did game Barbarossa that way once and I was in Berlin in 44.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately even early 1941 is too late, the purges had already happened. The 2nd effect of the purges was to almost stop initiative. It took a very brave commander to start anything without explicit and detailed orders from above for fear of being shot. Or to modify a plan from above even in the light of information gained as a combat was going on.
     
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  17. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I think adopting a fighting retreat and laying minefields around large towns and cities to make the German advance as costly as possible would be the best defence for 1941. The Russian Army would need to wait for the T34 to appear en masse and the transfer of troops from the far east to go on the offensive.
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Roughly: don't hold any major military assets closer than 200 km (give or take) to the present Soviet-Axis border. Geographically, closer to the 'Stalin line', that need further works; don't bother to fortify the closer regions. Major aircraft assets not closer than 300 km. The tanks will be used only/when the enemy forces are committed against a sector of the line, until then they are tactical reserve, located 20-50 km behind the strong-points, never in front of those. Plan for blowing up the bridges. Prepare the small units that would be messing with Axis logistics airbases, once the Axis forces are well within the SU.
     
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