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Old 09-08-2009, 10:04 AM
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Mohoender Mohoender is offline
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Raellus you have put up here (IMO) some great ideas and some very accurate ones. My comments are, therefore, nothing like critics but they are only inteded to reinforce a point I think well made. Anyone, there is no politics behind it.

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
War Economy and Armaments Production
I'm not an economist so I admit that I don't fully understand the economic factors leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late '80s/early '90s. My understanding is that the proximal cause of the collapse was attempts to at implementing reforms to "Westernize" the Soviet economy. Perhaps if this had not occured, or had been quickly reversed, the Soviet command economy could have held on.
It might be very true and it is more than possible that Reagan/Bush policies (1982-1991) tricked them into it.

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The overall Soviet economy was by no means very healthy in 1941. By most accounts, Stalin's Five Year Plans almost led to the entire system's collapse. However, centralized party control of the war industries allowed their rapid mobilization and incredible production rates.
This is even an understatement. Stalin's political/military purges (more than the Plan itself which was not implemented) weakened the soviet union as never before. Technical teams had been disbanded, leading strategist (Toukhatchevski) was killed, 2 Field Marshall remained out of at least 50, Stalin delayed the mechanization/motorization programs that were well underway to refocus on the artillery (Stalin was an artillery officer). His purge had virtually destroyed the animal care system that existed and the red army was lacking in horses (millions of horses had been killed or let to die because of unproper care in the late 1930's and because of the purge: collateral casualties).

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Tank Design
By all accounts, the T-34 was a fairly crude tank design when compared to the overly sophisticated Panther or Tiger designs employed by Germany. However, their simplicity and reliability allowed them to be produced and employed in far greater numbers than the more complex, expensive German tanks. I see a direct parallel here between the T-34 and the modern Soviet MBTs based on the T-72 design. It is not as sophisticated or effective as modern western MBTs but it is easier, cheaper, and faster to produce than a Leopard II, Challenger 2, or M1A1. Even before the outset of the war in Europe, the Soviets enjoyed a favorable correlation of forces. One could argue that this correlation of forces would become even more favorable to the Soviets as time wore on.
True but the T-34 was not so much a crude tank (It was also well in advanced to any world production in 1941 and was matched by no one). It will take two years for Germany to compete. In addition the simple design allowed for easy cheap upgrade going from T-34m41 to T-34m43 to T-34m44 (85mm Gun). A main difference in T2K would be that the west would already have competing designs.

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The historical parallel extends to the Soviet AF as well. In WWII, the Soviet AF was nearly wiped out on the ground in the first few days of Operation Barbarossa. The Germans had complete or local air superiority through the winter of '42 and, sometimes, even after. But, once again, the Soviets proved that they could replace their lost aircraft while the Germans could not.
I'll contradict you partly on that one. What you say is true but the problem was not that of the aircraft. Many were indeed out of dates and outmatched but they also met with the most success. However, for a time the newer models proved no matched because of their week points and crew inexperience. Converting from one aircraft to another need time and work investments. The other problem came from the taking over of eastern Poland. Before that events, the RKKA had several airfield well located and well supplied close to the front. When the Red army moved to Poland in early 1940 the frontal aviation couldn't compete anymore. The building of new fields was underway but it was only in its infancy when Germany attacked. That is a problem Russia wouldn't have in T2K (as actually stated in Canon).

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Operational Experience
The Red Army of '41 was largely incompetent, in almost every aspect of modern (at that time) warfare. Yet, it was able to take advantage of Germany's logistical difficulties, trading space (and lives) for time, while gaining valuable operational experience.
I'll be more hard on that one because it is a western world legend that has no solid ground to it. Actually, the Red Army of 1941 was full of largely competent officers. The problem was that Stalin Purges had killed tens of thousand of high ranking officers (including almost all field marshall but the two least competent, most army commanders and corps commanders). The younger officers were very good (almost as good as the German ones but they lacked the knowledge to conduct large field operation: this is that field of experience that they had to learn). However, they were highly innovative and the Red army had developped strategies that were soon brought back to life (Parachutist by 1936, Mechanized corps, Cavalry/Army collaboration...). Likewise, while German soldiers were not equipped for the winter of 1941, the soviet trooper was not dying from the cold (Probably thanks to the Finnish war a year earlier). Another problem for the Red army was that of the too influencial political officers who could disrupt proper field command (by early 1942, as he did between 1919-1921, Stalin had understood it and they were loosing ground).

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Soviet Strategy
I'd like to add a second, political motivation as well. I believe it stands to reason that the Soviets wanted to send a message to its E. European client states. In the wake of E. Germany's treachery, the Soviets may be worred about the loyalty of the rest of the WTO.
I don't want to criticize your reasoning here (nothing to critic in fact) but E.German treachery is a v1.0 canon assesment which (IMO) is their worse misunderstanding of the Warsaw Pact at the time (also it makes perfect sense in a game and they certainly didn't have the information available to us 20 years later). In fact (IRL) and up to 1989, The E.German army was and remained the most faithful component of the Warsaw Pact. The treachery was not on the side of E.Germany but on the side of Russia (Gorbatchev). When events started in Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the E.German army asked for Russian backing in crushing the protesters. Basically, Moscow refused and told them they were on their own. It's only when they had lost faith in their Russian ally that the E.German turned to the West.

On the other hand, a real treachery came from the Czech Republics and Hungary who had allowed earlier east german citizens to cross to the west through their borders (fairly logical when you remember the 1956 and 1968 events). Earlier, several treacheries had been done by Poland (Polish communists sending classified information to the West from time to time) but that was not the case in 1989. An important point to Poland would and remained for long its fear of Germany (They feared the Russians a little less).

Bulgaria was the other faithfull ally and could have remain so even to these days if history had taken another path.

Romania is entirely different matter which would deserve more thinking nad more knowledge than I have.

Internaly, outside of the Baltic Republics everything could have stayed in place if Gorbatchev (or anyone else) had been able to come up with some true politics (IMO of course).
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