Capabilities of the Western Allies to keep fighting without the USSR

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Jenisch, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Mar 31, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    Hello,

    Discussing with a individual, I presented the argumentation that both the Soviets and the Western Allies critically needed from each other in WWII, and he replied with the following:

    David Glantz correctly noted (as he wrote elsewhere) that, had the USSR had to fight alone, it would be much more difficult to achieve a decisive victory (if possible at all). However, although the Soviet victory would not be obvious in that case, its theoretical possibility could not be ruled out completely. In connection to that, can anyone tell the same about the Western front? Would be a victory without the USSR possible (even theoretically)? (Please, do not use references to A-bomb, or something of that kind: obviously, without EF Hitler would make the A-bomb, as well as the intercontinental ballistic rocket, first.).

    The guy practically mocked from the Western Allies, and I think his arguments are not that fair. I found the claims that the Nazis would surpass the Manhattan Project like magic, and produce advanced rockets in a very short time and force an Allied capitulation very suspect. Not to mention the fact the same Nazi nuclear weapons and advanced rockets could also have been used against the Soviets, and probably with much more devastating results since the Russians would not have an effective answer.

    Another thing that should have vital consideration in this subject is the year in which the Soviets would be defeated. Frankly, I cannot view Hitler defeating the Soviets with his historical means, specially after December of '41, but let's fix a date to mid 1942.

    Members interested in this subject like Parfisal, can you help the fellow here providing your opinions about the claims the individual did? :)
     
  2. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    Mmm, interesting, reminds me of the 'Hearts Of Iron' (within paradox plaza's forums,) communitiies A-historical societies, and their historical based options of musings towards alternet events.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Jenisch I appreciate that you are quoting someone else but anyone who can write that has a very tenuous grasp of the period's history. I'm not sure how seriously I can take his other opinions.

    Steve
     
  4. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    If I telll you that this person has many awards in a famous site for writing about WWII and a PhD in humanities...
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Maybe,but he has no understanding of the nuclear project in nazi Germany! It didn't have the people or investment to produce a weapon in any timescale relevant to WWII. Such a fundamental misunderstanding doesn't inspire confidence in their other opinions. A quick look at the figures for the Manhattan Project will show that Germany was incapable of developing a weapon during the war,let alone beating the Western allies to the punch. It's basic history and not at all difficult. I'm fortunate as an ex-chemist to have a basic grasp of the scientific principles too,though this isn't neccessary.
    Anyway that's enough of a diversion :)
    Cheers
    Steve
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  6. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #6 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    Thank you for your contributions Stona. I really enjoy chemistry. =D

    About the subject of the topic, Parfisal posted in a discussion about alternative history here: "For every German action, there would be an Allied response". If the Germans didn't attacked the USSR, or the USSR was defeated, there would be certainly an Allied response, and the Soviets would also had their answers if Britain was defeated in 1940 for example. Of course, much would depend on the circunstances. For example, the Soviets defeated in '42 or '43 is very different from 1941.

    I'm curious about the capability of the Germans to deploy accurate missiles to force an Allied surrender in this scenario.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #7 stona, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    I'm curious why anyone would imagine that the deployment of accurate missiles would force an allied surrender anymore than the massive allied bombing of Germany,delivering a quantity of explosive force and destruction an order of magnitude greater than any conventional missile offensive,forced a German surrender.
    Is this idea from the same bloke? Maybe he meant an impossible nuclear missile offensive but then why the need for accuracy? Anywhere in the ball park would do!
    We can debate the efficacy of the allied bombing offensive ad nauseam,how much it contributed to the defeat of Germany, but it certainly did not force a German surrender. Boots on the ground did that.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #8 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    He posted the following:

    Soviet neutrality would not prevent economic collaboration (Sweden was a typical example). Since neutral USSR and Sweden could sell everything Germany needed, the effect of naval blockade would be minimal. Re "If the Soviet Union was defeated, victory from the Western Allies could not be ruled out totally as well" good answer that explains nothing: deficient German logistics in the East was a direct result of ongoing hostilities and partisan war. Re A-bomb: Werner Heisenberg explained it as follows: "Heisenberg tells how German industry was stretched to the limit in 1942. More importantly he says "the undertaking could not be initiated against the psychological background of the men responsible for the German war policy." The military leaders would not back anything that did not promise early results." (Why No Nazi Atomic Bomb The Science News-Letter, Vol. 52, No. 18 (Nov. 1, 1947), p. 276) Obviously, this stretch was a direct result of terrible situation in the East (because no other theatres created problems for Hitler during that time). Re "The Western Allies were capable of muster much more strenght against Germany if necessary." Then why hadn't they done that, and forced the USSR to fight alone? By no means I am offended by this your post. I simply find it illogical: according to you, since two theatres existed, then they both were equally important. That is not the case, however, and Italian or Japanese theatres had much less strategic effect than the European theatre, and especially the EF

    Regarding Germany buy materials from the Soviets, I told him that Germany was broken and would never be able to pay the Soviets in the long term, and would not have the capability to match the Anglo-American industrial power for the incoming air war and defend the Eastern borders. Hitler also didn't have the necessary logistics and infraestructure to conduct a large scale offensive to take Africa and the Middle East (Britain would certainly respond with the 750 tanks and almost 1000 aircraft send to the Soviets in 1941).

    Regarding the German logistics, the guy also did a terrible mistake in trying to take the blame away from the Germans, as this link about the railway shows: http://www.google.com.br/url?sa=t&r...0dyVDw&usg=AFQjCNGCOwGnOqc_D30z1Fak6Aoib92rsA

    A text with more info about logistics:

    At the start of the war in the dry summer, the Germans took the Soviets by surprise and destroyed a large part of the Soviet Red Army in the first weeks. When good weather gave way to the harsh autumn and winter and the Red Army recovered, the German offensive began to falter. The German army could not be sufficiently supplied for prolonged combat; indeed, there was not enough fuel for the whole army to reach its objectives.

    This was well understood by the German supply units even before the operation, but their warnings were disregarded.[107] The entire German plan assumed that within five weeks they would have attained full strategic freedom due to a complete collapse of the Red Army. Only then could they have diverted necessary logistic support to fuelling the few mobile units needed to occupy the defeated state.

    German infantry and tanks stormed 300 mi (480 km) ahead in the first week, but their supply lines struggled to keep up. Soviet railroads could at first not be fully used due to a difference in railway gauges and dismantled railroad facilities in border areas.[108] Lack of supplies significantly slowed down the blitzkrieg.

    The German logistical planning also seriously overestimated the condition of the Soviet transportation network. The road and railway network of former Eastern Poland was well known, but beyond that information was limited. Roads that looked impressive on maps turned out to be just mere dust roads or were only in the planning stages


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_barbarossa

    Just by such informations, I'm more and more convinced that a diploma can very well meant nothing depending on the person.

    ps: by no means I'm trying to diminish the vast efforts from the Soviets or claiming the Western Allies didn't needed them. I'm just saying the Western Allies would not be necessarily hopeless if they were alone, maybe like the Soviets also would not have been.
     
  9. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #9 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    Ah, and about the missiles, yeah, I was thinking just this. Let's take for intance Japan today. According to this guy, I belive that Japan should abandonate it's conventional defensive forces and only have Patriot launchers everywhere, since China, N. Korea and Russia could simply sature the islands with missiles. :rolleyes:
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Heisenberg had made some very serious errors in his calculations regarding an atomic weapon. In the absence of any competent peer review these would have been carried forward in the project. Peer review is a corner stone of any scientific research.
    The Soviet Union,even with access to much of the data from the Manhattan Project and a highly competent scientific team coupled with a massive economic,scientific and infrastructure investment didn't explode a weapon until late in 1949.

    The Soviet Union adopting neutral status,a ridiculous idea.The USSR had other concerns besides Germany. I very much doubt that your man has bothered to read the Hague Convention laying out the rights and responsibilities of a neutral state. His theoretical Soviet neutrality was never going to be respected in any case. Nazi Germany was always going to attack the Soviet Union so the rest of his conclusions,based on Soviet neutrality,are irrelevant nonsense. Again,a poor grasp of history and the politico-racial aspect of nazi ideology.

    The shortcomings of the German campaign in the East are well documented. What is remarkable is that they came as close as they did to achieving their initial objectives. Even had they done so I doubt that it would have been enough.

    The only good thing about this sort of revisionism is that,like a good conspiracy theory,it evaporates in the face of the facts.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  11. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #11 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    Yes. Even if the Germans had taken Moscow in '41, they would still meet Zhukov's offensive, there would be still 1500 km to the Urals, the Germans would still face heavy resistance, overstretched supply lines, Torch would went on, and the Soviets would probably continue with their scorched earth policy, particuly in the Caucasus oil fields. Then, it would be necessary to adapt all the conquered lands to extract resources, supress remaining partisan and resistance focus, and transfer/desmobilize to industry the armed forces to fight the West.

    All that would be achived when? Late 42', early '43? By that period the Western Allies would be by no means weaker, and the Germans would probably already have suffered some heavy casualities in the East.

    I'm also confident with the Soviet troops in the Far East. There was much men there, and the Lend-Lease could provide food and arms to them. They could have open another front as soon as the Allies were ready. My country, that sent 25,000 men to Italy in '44, wanted to send 300,000 if necessary, and Brazil's vast resources were already helping the Allies. It would take some time to train all this personal, and probably only by late '45 a good part would be ready, but they certainly would be there if necessary. So, the Axis life would be by no means easy. :)
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #12 stona, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    It is important to remember that Germany was not at war with Britain as she is today but the entire British Commonwealth and Empire,a very different thing. Britain was still,just,the world's pre-emminent naval power,not reduced as she is today to a handful of warships and submarines and without an aircraft carrier! India alone raised an army of close to 3,000,000 men. Even a small island nation like Tonga raised funds for three Spitfires. Aside from the massive contributions from the "Old Commonwealth" (Canada,Australia,South Africa,New Zealand) to the air war nearly 400 men from the Carribean islands served as air crew.
    Add to that the industrial,economic and military might of the United States and it is difficult to see how Germany could ultimately have prevailed even with the USSR somehow miraculously removed from the equation. I'm sure it would have been a longer and harder road but leading,one way or another, to the same result.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  13. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #13 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    Yeah Stona, it's "politically incorrect" to talk about the Impire today, isn't? :lol:

    Ah, and I just finish to watch an excellent documentary about Britain in the war:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQqt1UcY-w0

    I think it was you who said Britain's role in the war is being increasingly diminished, and I agree with that.

    Now, even with all the Allied superiority, I don't rule out the possibility of the Axis be victorius or at least survive the war. The correct way of see WWII is like if the conflict was happening today. I notice many people lack this broad and dynamic view, analyzing the war in a much inflexibile way, many times reduced to numbers and much, much hindsight.

    An example of what I'm talking can be seen in this article about the Battle of Kursk: Battle of Kursk: Germany's Lost Victory in World War II

    Anyway, the point has been done that the Western Allies were by no means week. Unfornately, the guy in the discusssion is now ignoring my posts. lol
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    August 1939. Did President FDR still suggest to Soviet Ambassador Konstantin Oumansky that the Soviet Union should reach an agreement with Britain and France to safeguard its future?

    Soviet invasion of Finland. Does the British Government still do everything possible to downplay public outrage over Soviet aggression?

    April 1940. Large scale Soviet deportations from occupied eastern Poland. Historically the U.S. and British Governments were well informed of these events but did everying possible to ignore or downplay the murders. Do Britain and the USA still adopt this diplomatic position?

    12 Nov 1940. Does Molotov still suggest to Hitler that the Soviet Union would like to occupy Bulgaria? Does Molotov still ask about German views concerning the neutrality of Sweden, Hungary and Yugoslavia?

    Britain will quit the war during 1940 and the USA will stay out entirely unless they are reasonably certain of military alliance with the Soviet Union. What has changed to cause an Anglo-USA military alliance vs Germany without Soviet military assistance?
     
  15. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #15 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    A Soviet neutrality is impossible following the conventional historical logic (if Hitler wanted fight Britain from the start, we would see Germany with a stronger navy). So, the only way would be Germany defeat the Soviets. The problem is: how they would do this? I can see Germany being capable of defeat the Soviets in case the war with the West didn't existed, and Hitler managed to obtain the historical surprise assault, or an armistice was signed with the west. In other way, it's higly unlikely, because both the West and Eastern Fronts would start to drain Germany, and she proved unable to hold both. And even in such ways its impossible, since Hitler needed to take Poland to attack the USSR, and this would bring the West to the war. And an armistice with the West would be just as impossible, because Germany was simply unable to force the Allies to this by any means.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. But it's not a matter of "how" but "when"?

    Soviet defeat has to be after December 1941 if you want the USA to fight Germany. By December 1942 German victory is unlikely.

    I suggest May 1942 as that was probably high tide for German and Japanese military fortunes. The Red Army suffered a massive defeat at Kharkov during May 1942. Perhaps this plus Soviet defeats during 1941 will cause a military coup that takes the Soviet Union (what's left of it) out of the war. The provisional Russian Government signs Brest Litovsk II, which looks a lot like the 1918 treaty.

    This still leaves us with the question as to whether Britain and the USA would keep fighting without the Soviet Union. Most of the Wehrmacht was inside Russia. What would prevent the Heer from sending Army Group South and the supporting air fleet into the Middle East via Iran? Most of those nations including Iraq and Iran would be happy to align with Germany. Turkey might also.

    The German Government and especially Hitler had no desire to fight Britain or destroy the British Empire. 1942 Britain has no idea if or when the atomic bomb will work. Nor do they know whether Germany will build their bomb first. I think 1942 Britain would form a new Government (Churchill must leave) and make peace with Germany before Hitler changes his mind.
     
  17. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #17 Jenisch, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    I don't know why the Russians would do this, since Hitler just wanted (and had actually taked most of) the more rich regions of the USSR. This "provisional government" would have no resources and prospect of susteinabillity. If the things become worst, the best thing for the Russians would be gain as much time as possible in order to the Western Allies do something. And in fact is was what they did, since Stalin was always putting pressure in the Allies to open new fronts.
     
  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Even if Germany had took Russia all the way to the Urals, I wonder about their ability to hold on to it long term.

    Because of their racial policies, and plundering, they had the amazing trait of being able to turn most conquered people against them.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #19 stona, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
    We've been here before. The fact that Britain was not forced out of the war in 1940 ensured not only that the USA stretched the boundaries of her neutrality for a couple of years but also guaranteed her entry into the European war after Pearl Harbour.
    I keep on saying this. Germany was always going to attack the USSR. This is has absolutely nothing to do with diplomacy and everything to do with nazi ideology. There was always going to be an alliance between the USSR and the Western allies,once Britain had survived,simply on the grounds that your enemy is my enemy. The assistance was from West to East for a substantial period,not the other way around,another point often overlooked. The North Atlantic convoys were a tough task and the merchant seamen (civilians) who lost their lives delivering nearly a quarter of the total aid to the USSR are also often overlooked.
    Germany tried to land two quick knock out punches,once in 1940 (BoF,BoB) and again in 1941 (Barbarossa) and on both occasions came up short. She was not prepared for a fifteen round slugging match with weightier opponents which she inevitably lost.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  20. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #20 Jenisch, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
    After a series of dramatic Nazi successes during the opening stages of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, foreign observers predicted that Soviet resistance would soon collapse. By October, German troops were poised outside both Leningrad and Moscow. But the Germans were doggedly held off in front of Moscow in late November and early December, and then rolled back by a reinvigorated Red Army in a staggeringly brutal winter counteroffensive.


    That the Soviet victories of late 1941 were won with Soviet blood and largely with Soviet weapons is beyond dispute. But for decades the official Soviet line went much further. Soviet authorities recognized that the "Great Patriotic War" gave the Communist Party a claim to legitimacy that went far beyond Marxism-Leninism or the 1917 Revolution, and took pains to portray their nation's victories in World War II as single-handed. Any mention of the role that Western assistance played in the Soviet war effort was strictly off-limits.

    During Nikita Khrushchev's rule in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a window of greater frankness and openness about the extent of aid supplied from the West under the Lend-Lease Act—but it was still clearly forbidden for Soviet authors to suggest that such aid ever made any real difference on the battlefield. Mentions of Lend-Lease in memoirs were always accompanied by disparagement of the quality of the weapons supplied, with American and British tanks and planes invariably portrayed as vastly inferior to comparable Soviet models.

    An oft-quoted statement by First Vice-Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Nikolai Voznesensky summed up the standard line that Allied aid represented "only 4 percent" of Soviet production for the entire war. Lacking any detailed information to the contrary, Western authors generally agreed that even if Lend-Lease was important from 1943 on, as quantities of aid dramatically increased, the aid was far too little and late to make a difference in the decisive battles of 1941–1942.

    But since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a trickle of information has emerged from archives in Moscow, shedding new light on the subject. While much of the documentary evidence remains classified "secret" in the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense and the Russian State Archive of the Economy, Western and Russian researchers have been able to gain access to important, previously unavailable firsthand documents. I was recently able to examine Russian-language materials of the State Defense Committee—the Soviet equivalent of the British War Cabinet—held in the former Central Party Archive. Together with other recently published sources, including the wartime diaries of N. I. Biriukov, a Red Army officer responsible from August 1941 on for the distribution of recently acquired tanks to the front lines, this newly available evidence paints a very different picture from the received wisdom. In particular, it shows that British Lend-Lease assistance to the Soviet Union in late 1941 and early 1942 played a far more significant part in the defense of Moscow and the revival of Soviet fortunes in late 1941 than has been acknowledged.

    Particularly important for the Soviets in late 1941 were British-supplied tanks and aircraft. American contributions of the time were far fewer. In fact, for a brief period during December 1941, the relative importance of British aid increased well beyond levels planned by the Allies as a result of American reaction to the outbreak of war with Japan; some American equipment destined for the Soviet Union was actually unloaded from merchant vessels and provided to American forces instead.

    Even aid that might seem like a drop in the bucket in the larger context of Soviet production for the war played a crucial role in filling gaps at important moments during this period. At a time when Soviet industry was in disarray—many of their industrial plants were destroyed or captured by the advancing Nazi troops or in the process of evacuation east—battlefield losses of specific equipment approached or even exceeded the rate at which Soviet domestic production could replace them during this crucial period. Under these circumstances even small quantities of aid took on far greater significance.

    According to research by a team of Soviet historians, the Soviet Union lost a staggering 20,500 tanks from June 22 to December 31, 1941. At the end of November 1941, only 670 Soviet tanks were available to defend Moscow—that is, in the recently formed Kalinin, Western, and Southwestern Fronts. Only 205 of these tanks were heavy or medium types, and most of their strength was concentrated in the Western Front, with the Kalinin Front having only two tank battalions (67 tanks) and the Southwestern Front two tank brigades (30 tanks).

    Given the disruption to Soviet production and Red Army losses, the Soviet Union was understandably eager to put British armor into action as soon as possible. According to Biriukov's service diary, the first 20 British tanks arrived at the Soviet tank training school in Kazan on October 28, 1941, at which point a further 120 tanks were unloaded at the port of Archangel in northern Russia. Courses on the British tanks for Soviet crews started during November as the first tanks, with British assistance, were being assembled from their in-transit states and undergoing testing by Soviet specialists.

    The tanks reached the front lines with extraordinary speed. Extrapolating from available statistics, researchers estimate that British-supplied tanks made up 30 to 40 percent of the entire heavy and medium tank strength of Soviet forces before Moscow at the beginning of December 1941, and certainly made up a significant proportion of tanks available as reinforcements at this critical point in the fighting. By the end of 1941 Britain had delivered 466 tanks out of the 750 promised.

    The British Military Mission to Moscow noted that by December 9, about ninety British tanks had already been in action with Soviet forces. The first of these units to have seen action seems to have been the 138th Independent Tank Battalion (with twenty-one British tanks), which was involved in stemming the advance of German units in the region of the Volga Reservoir to the north of Moscow in late November. In fact the British intercepted German communications indicating that German forces had first come in contact with British tanks on the Eastern front on November 26, 1941.

    The exploits of the British-equipped 136th Independent Tank Battalion are perhaps the most widely noted in the archives. It was part of a scratch operational group of the Western Front consisting of the 18th Rifle Brigade, two ski battalions, the 5th and 20th Tank Brigades, and the 140th Independent Tank Battalion. The 136th Independent Tank Battalion was combined with the latter to produce a tank group of only twenty-one tanks, which was to operate with the two ski battalions against German forces advancing to the west of Moscow in early December. Other largely British-equipped tank units in action with the Western Front from early December were the 131st Independent Tank Brigade, which fought to the east of Tula, south of Moscow, and 146th Tank Brigade, in the region of Kriukovo to the immediate west of the Soviet capital.

    While the Matilda Mk II and Valentine tanks supplied by the British were certainly inferior to the Soviets' homegrown T-34 and KV-1, it is important to note that Soviet production of the T-34 (and to a lesser extent the KV series), was only just getting seriously underway in 1942, and Soviet production was well below plan targets. And though rapid increases in tank firepower would soon render the 40mm two-pounder main gun of the Matilda and Valentine suitable for use on light tanks only, the armor protection of these British models put them firmly in the heavy and medium categories, respectively. Both were superior to all but the Soviet KV-1 and T-34 in armor, and indeed even their much maligned winter cross-country performance was comparable to most Soviet tanks excluding the KV-1 and T-34.
     
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