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Old 01-21-2010, 07:56 PM
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Default Accounting for Soviet Divisions

Webstral 02-05-2003, 01:30 AM I just received the Soviet Vehicle Guide [V1] and spent some time doing some accounting. (There are silver linings for having been laid off.) I came up with some interesting items.

1) The entire book lists 205 formations. Take away the separate regiments and brigades, and we're left with about 185 divisions. This is a lot of people, but not all that many. It's not as many as some were talking about the Soviets having towards the end of the 1980's.

2) The book accounts for fourteen divisions in the GSFG. At the beginning of the 1980's, there were more than twice this number. Also, the official guide skimps the garrisons of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.

3) About twenty-six divisions are committed to the initial invasion of China. Okay, I can see where the sudden start of the conflict might catch the Soviets off-guard. On the other hand, one might expect a little more effort from them throughout the course of the year. About nine Soviet divisions reinforce the Far East during the course of the year. This is a fair amount of combat power, but hardly overwhelming against a defender with literally millions of men under arms. Granted, the Soviets are hoping in 1995 to wage a somewhat limited war. Look where that gets them.

4) About another nine Soviet divisions are brought into the theater for the 1996 Offensive. Nine! Throw in six or seven divisions from the Warsaw Pact, and you still have far from an overwhelming start to the second offensive. A further ten to eleven divisions move into the theater throughout 1996. And another seven or so (almost all Mobilization Only divisions) arrive during 1997.

5) The thing that really befuddles me, though, is that I only count seven Soviet divisions moving into Central Europe between October and December 1996. I've had to fudge a little to make that work, even. Given the weak forces the USSR has left in Eastern Europe and gets into the field between 10/7/96 and 12/1/96, I'm hard-pressed to see how GDW thought the Soviets were going to hang on in East Germany.

6) Lots of Category 2 divisions reach full strength some time in 1997. Not January 1997, mind you--May or later. The mobilization process in general is terribly slow.

Looking at all this, I have come to the conclusion that there is no call for trying to match the chronology I'm working on with the division histories given in the Soviet Vehicle Guide. It would be nice to do, but the numbers are just too low to keep the history looking anything like it does. (And here I was concerned that I was underestimating the numbers of Soviet divisions that would become available to Western TVD in the seven weeks between 10/7/96 and 12/1/96.) In fact, I'm going to have to do some thinking about why the Soviet strength in the Far East never reaches more than about 60 divisions--and this only in 1997. Any ideas, gentlemen?


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