What if the Soviet Union during WW2 only sent in fully trained and fully equipped men?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Open Green Fields, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Open Green Fields Banned

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    What if the Soviet Union during WW2 only sent in fully trained and fully equipped men?

    And by full trained I mean all ground forces having at least 1 year of training, all officers having at least 2 years of training or battlefield promotions and all pilots having at least 2 years of training. And the equipment sent in must be up to specs, so for example all tanks must have radios.

    Lets say that for some reason or another Stalin decrees that no soldier may be sent into battle without being fully trained and equipped, and that becomes the law.

    In the original timeline more than half of all tanks in 1941 were lost to non combat issues such as by driving to the front and running out of fuel long before they even reached the front and then being abandoned or being operated by crews who had only received 72 hours of classroom instructions and the vehicles breaking down because of improper use.

    Those vehicles and soldiers who are sent in will put a less strain on the logistical tail because there are less of them.

    For example the logistics of a battle can handle 100 tanks, but 500 are sent in, so these 500 canabalise the resources they need from each other with results in a performance far less than 100 could achieve. Then when one factors in the industry needed to produce those 500 tanks and the people needed to train the crews for those 500 tanks the cost becomes even higher.

    Now if everyone is fully trained and equipped that means less tanks are sent into the early battles and so are less soldiers, which means less tanks and soldiers can be lost.

    This would also change the overall strategy because in the OTL Stalin demanded attacks and counter attacks and attacks again, he would only agree to defense when there was no other option. Now there would be less men to attack with, initially, thereby forcing a change of overall strategy to defense. Attacking is also more costly than defending.

    Those tanks and equipment that are not sent in and lost but instead are sent back or kept where they are can be used for training and it also frees up the industry to produce other things.

    In the original timeline there were units who were half equipped and half trained who were sent in, chewed up and the axis would capture their equipment, in this scenario such things would happen less because the units would be more trained and better equipped thereby being better at handling combat.

    From an overall perspective it also means that Soviet tactics would evolve differently and so would Soviet strategy.

    I personally think that many mistakes made in 1941 by the Soviet Union could have been avoided because there would simply be less men and equipment to lose, lots of people and men were lost because of simply sending in too many people which overtaxed the logistical system, and the people who were sent in sometimes did not have adequate training.

    And by losing less people there would be more people available to work in the factories to produce weapons for those who would fight. And the losses would be less because the people who operate and use the equipment are better trained thereby damaging the equipment less, and also fighting better because they are better trained and have more equipment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  2. nbcman Donor

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    Soviets lose. They start building up their army too early and bankrupt themselves, they get stuck with an enormous army with obsolete weapons, or they have too small of an army to defend themselves.

    EDIT: To clarify, no nation in WW2 had that level of training, not even the US who had the luxury of being protected by 2 oceans. It was impossible then for a total war scenario.
     
  3. Open Green Fields Banned

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    No man, this would be the policy when the war starts in June 1941, instead of sending in people who had not received one years training, they would only send in those who had, and those who had not would be trained until they had received 1 years of training.

    The USSR had over 22,000 tanks when the war started and many were lost to non combat issues. In this scenario only functioning tanks and tanks which the logistics could support would be sent in, the rest would be kept where they are or sent back this in turn would provide more training for the crews and offer less stress on the industry because there would be fewer tanks lost to non combat issues.
     
  4. Maeglin Lómion

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    You'd have to go back and stop Stalin's Purge of the Red Army.

    Note that a better Red Army would not have been humiliated in Finland, and Hitler would have been more cautious (in OTL he thought - not without reason - that he only had to kick down the door). So Operation Barbarossa goes differently from the other side.
     
  5. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    The thing was that for every soviet soldier that got killed there was 1-2 other soldiers bringing up the rear to grab his gun and ammunition and continue fighting the Germans.

    The Soviets lost millions of its soldiers in the first year and did not have the added luxury of training troops that long. Heck even American and other allied troops went through basic boot camp only before being shipped out to the war zone.

    In Europe that meant many actually spent additional months training in Britain but other were sent directly to fight in the pacific.

    When an enemy is marching towards your cities or bombing your troops each nation needs to do everything in its powers to fight back and train not train till you blue in face.

    Also think of morale people sign up to protect their country and expect to be sent to the front with several months of training. It would be hard to keep morale up and train troops for that long. Secondly most countries did not the facilities to train troops that long if a soldiers regular training was 3 months that means you can process 4 times the number of troops through a single camp that trains troops 1 year.

    Lastly training for whole year is not going to make a soldier 4 times as effective or better. After a while soldiers need real live circumstances to really sharpen their skills.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  6. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    The USSR collapses in 1941, with the fall of Moscow and Leningrad. Because without using undertrained men, the Red Army can't maintain the front.

    Burning hundred dollar bills is very wasteful - but if one is freezing to death, and has no other fuel...

    Using only "fully trained" men would leave significant parts of the front unmanned, or covered by only skeleton forces. Axis forces would advance through these areas effectively unopposed, leading to disaster for any troops actually holding out further forward.

    Incidentally, the listed requirements would probably keep about 1/3 of the Red Army as of 22 June out of action, as well as the great majority of the replacements that came into action later in 1941.
     
  7. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    It takes 6 weeks to train a rifleman to an 'acceptable' standard.

    It is units that take longer to train to be able to work together and for the logistics to be understood etc if built from scratch.

    Two major issues impacting the Russian Military in the Summer of 1941 was the effect of the Purges and the peacetime deployment of the army units - with sub units often dozens if not 100 kms apart and reserves not called up.

    This made Regiments and Divisions far less effective than they might otherwise have been with lack of sufficient trained field and staff officers and units then scrambling to organise in the face of the invasion.

    Indeed about 500,000 Russian POWs taken during that campaign were unequipped reservists who were overrun by the pace of the advance.
     
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  8. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    That would be an even bigger problem if such large numbers were being held back for additional training. The troops in those training formations would be not organized or equipped to fight, as well as not being fully trained.
     
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  9. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    If he shortens the time period to 3 months it might be doable. It is long enough to get some more proficiency from the men and possibly short enough a time the war wouldn't be lost yet. After all, with 3 months of training, they will be able to defend better man for man. Whether it is enough is to make up for them losing 2 months of fighting another question. I think it might have been better but its close.
     
  10. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    From the outset, 3 months of training was supposed to be the basic training period for Soviet riflemen, with longer training periods for specialists and officers. In 1941, however, the extreme losses on the front forced the Red Army to short-circuit their training process and toss men out to the front with weeks or even just days of training. It wasn’t until the winter of ‘41/‘42 that the Soviets had enough equilibrium to start consistently training their forces to the three-month minimum standards. During ‘43/‘44 the Soviets even slightly increased the amount of time a replacement received training before committing them to battle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  11. Blue cat Well-Known Member

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    Do you have any insight to the typical ratio between well trained soldiers and barely trained soldiers in typical units formed by the Soviets during the "emergency" phase of the war ?
     
  12. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    Forced to or panicked enough to? Personally, I think someone put on the front line with less than 6 weeks of training is less than useless. I think a lot of those soldiers they just threw at the front line either surrendered, retreated or hid which caused some barely trained soldiers (just the minimum 6 weeks needed) to panic as well. You hand some schlep a rifle with almost no training you wind up with a schlep with a rifle, not a soldier.

    I don't think the Russians would have lost anything important if they let them finish at least the minimum of 6 weeks. The Germans were overextended anyways. It might have even slowed them down a bit. At least they would be fighting something resembling real soldiers not just bullet sponges.
     
  13. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    Not in personnel numbers. In division terms, of the 109 mobilization divisions formed in July 1941, 81 were deployed in July or August and another 20 in September, with only 8 being held back for more then the three months minimum. The second wave of mobilization divisions, formed up mostly in August were much more fortunate, with around half of them being held back until December or later (these formations constituted the main spearheads of the December counter-offensive). After that, the number of formed up divisions seriously drops off, with 20 formed in September, 18 in October, and 11 in November. Of the September divisions, only one was deployed prior to December, but all but two of the October divisions were dispatched to the front within a month of being formed. All of the November divisions were deployed within the same month of being formed.

    By comparison, another 143 divisions were formed during the course of December 1941 to May 1942, of which around 25 were deployed with less then three months between formation and deployment.

    That the Soviets were panicked enough to rush out prematurely trained forces is not mutually exclusive with it being a necessity. It's worth noting that the first wave mobilization formations were the ones who blocked Army Group Center's thrust eastward in August and forced the diversion to Kiev, so without at least some of them the Germans would have had a free shot at Moscow.

    There is also a middle ground argument here, where one can say the Soviets did have no choice but to rush at least some of these divisions out, but they may have overdone it. One can certainly argue that they did themselves no favors by demanding these formations undertake immediate large-scale counter-offensive action, which is a more difficult task then defensive action especially when one is operating with undertrained personnel.

    Three months is more on the order of 9-12 weeks.
     
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  14. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    I am talking about the ones completely and totally rushed without even 6 weeks of basic training. 3 months is better but without 6 weeks basic they are probably worse than useless.
     
  15. wiking Well-Known Member

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    To be fair to the Soviets they mobilized their reservists, who had previous training, but in 1941 generally did not get time for refresher training before being assembled and thrown into battle. IIRC it was only militia units that didn't have previous training when mobilized.

    As awful as it sounds, bodies to soak up bullets and maybe inflict some casualties on the enemy while functioning as speed bumps did have utility given the situation. Think about all the time spent liquidating pockets or even just fighting through another hastily prepared trench line that delayed the Germans to the point that combat effective reserves could be brought up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  16. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    Or did they fly in panic or surrender because they knew they were useless? This is the period of mass surrenders and mass flight and could have contributed to it.

    Nothing causes a soldier to surrender or run quicker than seeing other soldiers do so. It greatly lessens any guilt he would feel about and the loss of face that results from it. Untrained soldiers are the quickest to flee and I think in more than one place it was untrained soldiers that started this "domino effect".
     
  17. HB of CJ Well-Known Member

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    Stalin had no time. If he had waited one to two years to FULLY train up new armies and a totally new Officers Corp the Germans would have swept East to the Urals. And probably stayed.
     
  18. wiking Well-Known Member

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    PoWs are hassle for the enemy to deal with, blocking detachments were there to prevent people from running away, and as it was most were told about the price for surrender to the Nazis. That said dealing with the big pockets probably were aided by those less than willing to fight a lost battle, but it still cost time and resources to finish them off and then of course sort the prisoners and march them off. Still useful.

    Sure, but the Soviets knew that and had a solution:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrier_troops
     
  19. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    Considering how many surrendered, hid or ran during the early period it didn't help that much. A few dozen miles here or there in the short run wouldn't have mattered much. The difference in even a few weeks training is more than worth it IMO. They might have overrun a few dozen more villages in the first month or two but after that, they are fighting at least poorly trained troops instead of a disorganized mob.
     
  20. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Well, the Germans didn't make it to Moscow, so for whatever the penalties were for the lack of training it kept the Soviets in the war in their most vulnerable period.