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Old 03-15-2010, 04:04 AM
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Default Accounting for Soviet Divisions Redux

Webstral

Accounting for Soviet Divisions Redux

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One of the problems I’ve had with The Storm in Germany is accounting for the Warsaw Pact forces. In fact, this is probably the biggest problem I’ve faced. There are a lot of Soviet divisions to track. The Soviet Vehicle Guide has been a key resource, but it hasn’t answered all the questions.
Many sources claim that at the end of the 1980’s the USSR had the equivalent of 220 divisions. Some authors seem to wrap up the KGB security forces in this total, while others treat the border patrol and internal security forces separately. The Soviet Vehicle Guide identifies about 185 divisions, depending on how one counts the separate brigades and regiments. The accounting problem is compounded by the fact that the Eastern European garrisons as of October 1996 are short by a considerable margin, even when the divisions sent to the Far East are accounted for. What to do?
I decided that it isn’t really important to account for every division in the Soviet Army by name. My purpose is to write a corps-level narrative, for which I believe it is sufficient to track numbers and types of divisions. Knowing that the Soviets have fifteen divisions in East Germany at the start of the West German invasion, plus another four in Czechoslovakia and so on, is sufficient.
Some of the thirty-five division gap between the 220 division figure I have decided to adopt as my base number and the 185 (or so) I count in the Soviet Vehicle Guide can be made up by strengthening the Eastern European garrisons somewhat. This accounts for only about ten divisions, but it’s a start.
The remainder I’ve decided to attribute to a draw-down conducted by the Danilov regime starting in 1990. In the real world, the Soviets began a massive demobilization even before the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. Russia and the newly independent republics continued this trend. I have the Danilov regime demobilizing the equivalent of 25 divisions.
The Danilov demobilization hits mostly the reserves. Many Category 3 and Mobilization Only divisions are scrapped, their materiel sold off to bring in hard currency. Losing one of these divisions does not affect the Soviet Army the same way losing a National Guard division would the US Army. The hardware is antiquated and requires a good deal of maintenance just to get up to speed. The troops are older, out of shape, and in need of very substantial retraining before they are worth anything. Getting rid of these divisions actually decreases the burden on the Soviet logistic system without cutting into the combat power very much.
The Danilov demobilization also reduces the cadre strength of a number of the Category 2 and Category 3 divisions. This takes more than 300,000 troops out of active service. This solves a number of problems for Danilov and for me as the author. For Danilov, it means a significant reduction in military spending at a time when he is trying to repair the economy. The addition of 300,000-plus men to the work force is quite valuable. Eliminating the expense of keeping these people on active duty is huge. Theoretically, the Soviet Army doesn’t lose any strength this way, as the divisions with reduced cadre strength are still on the books. In reality, it’s going to cause big problems for the Soviets in WW3.
I noticed as I explored the Soviet Vehicle Guide that a large number of Soviet divisions aren’t mobilized until late 1997 or even 1998. On the surface, this makes no sense. It’s hard to imagine that the Soviet Union would not see simultaneous wars in Europe and the Far East as anything less than a national disaster. Full-scale mobilization should follow. In fact, full-scale mobilization should follow the West German invasion of 1996—if only because a paranoid Kremlin would see this as a prelude to a full NATO invasion through East Germany and Poland. (If the things that have been published regarding the Polish Army of the late 1980’s are true, then the Soviets would have real reason to doubt the loyalty of the Poles.) So why does it take so long to get so many of these divisions moving?
Having Danilov reduce the cadre strength of many of the Category 2 and Category 3 divisions provides a very useful solution. The divisions had less available manpower in 1995 than they would have had in 1989. If one assumes that the losses in the Far East were being made good by pulling troops out of the cadres in the western Soviet Union, then it is possible that the West German invasion caught the Soviets playing paper games with their troops strengths in the western MDs. The Eastern European divisions may have been at full strength, but the other Soviet divisions west of the Urals may have been so understrength that only a handful could be made available by amalgamating the remaining troops from several of them.
The situation is exacerbated by Sorveyev’s strategy of flying in replacement troops to keep the divisions in the DDR in combat. Between October 7 and November 30, Soviet airlift brings in almost 150,000 troops. These people have to come from somewhere. Their absence is going to badly delay the commitment of additional divisions from the western Soviet Union.
In a practical sense, this means that a lot of what I’ve written in the second draft of The Storm in Germany is no good. Much is still accurate, but the number of corps-sized formations the Soviets can deploy to the DDR is much lower than I’ve made it. This makes some things easier to explain, but it means that I have to do some fancy footwork to explain why the Bundeswehr is unable to reach its stop line at the Oder-Neisse by D+21.

Webstral


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pmulcahy

IIRC, part of the "numbers gap" (personnel-wise) is that 1) the typical Soviet/Pact division was 1/2 to 2/3 the size of US/Western Divisions, and 2) the people saying 220 divisions (or whatever) were accounting for everything down to Mobilization-Only units, many of which existed only on paper.



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Jason Weiser




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The Germans not reaching the Oder-Niesse could be explained by a combination of factors.

1. Increased logistical friction on the part of the Germans due to the "standing start" the Germans made to preserve surprise.

2. The fact that Soviet Frontal Aviation managed to gain air parity and hit the logistical network of the Germans, thus leading to the snarl of the German LOG network.

3. Transition from pre-war stocks to home production to replace losses on the part of the Germans
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Jason Weiser

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Antenna

WP divisions prio the fall of berlin wall

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http://www.ludd.luth.se/users/antenna/m2k/wp/

Antenna
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