[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]
Russians are typically good at some things, and not so good at others. One of the things which Russian politicians are still terrible at, is avoiding self-inflicted PR disasters. Remember how Russian officials mismanaged the entire topic of “S-300s for Syria” (if not, then check out “part six” of this analysis)? Something similar is happening again, but this time with the procurement of new advanced and expensive weapons systems.
We have all seen the “Russia is canceling the Su-57!” and “Russia cannot afford the new Armata T-14 tank!” headlines. Pretty soon I expect to see something along the lines of “US sanctions force Putin to abandon the XXXX” (fill the blank with whatever weapon system you want). So is there any truth to any of that?
Well, yes and no.
Aircraft and main battle tanks
What is true is that Russian officials have been way too eager to declare that the Russian military will soon have many weapons systems much superior to anything produced in the West. Alas, these same officials rarely bothered explaining where, why, when and how many of these weapons systems actually would be deployed. That kind of ambiguous message makes it look like Russia is zig-zagging (again!). Perfect example: Russia deploys 4 Su-57s to Syria and then appears to more or less cancel or, at least, dramatically reduce the procurement of this weapons system. The reality is both much simpler and a little more complex. And to explain what is taking place we need to first understand the difference in military procurement in the West and in Russia.
In the West, the main goal of any procurement of any weapons system is the transfer of as much money as possible from the government to the pockets of the private individuals controlling the Military-Industrial Complex. Put differently, Western force planning (especially in the US) is not threat or mission-driven, but profit driven. And while some outrageously expensive weapons systems do get canceled (like the Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter), other even more expensive and poorly designed ones remain funded (such as the F-35). This is the kind of situation only a fantastically corrupt country with no real threat to itself can afford. In contrast, Russia is far less corrupt and has potential enemies right across most of her borders.
In contrast, Russian force planning is threat/mission driven. This means that before the Russian military decides that it needs X number of Su-57 or T-14s it has to make the case that there is a threat which only Su-57s and T-14s can counter (or, at least, that it makes more sense – human, economic or tactical – to use new systems)
During the Cold War, the general rule (there were exceptions, of course!) was that the US was typically the first side to deploy a new technology/capability which the Soviets then studied before developing a counter-capability once the strengths and weaknesses of the new US technologies/capabilities were fully understood. The price to pay for that method was that the Soviets were usually one step behind the US in deploying a new technology. The main advantage of this dynamic for the Soviets was that their weapons systems typically ended up being both cheaper and superior. A good example of this kind of dynamic is the development of the Su-27 in response to the US development of the F-15 or the development of the Akula-class SSN in response to the Los Angeles-class SSN by the USN.
Today the situation is quite different. If you compare Russian and western weapons systems (say, the latest versions of the Su-35/Su-30s vs the latest versions of the F-15s/16s/18s or the T-90/T-72B3/B3M vs the Abrams/Leopard MBTs) you realize that the current Russians systems are at least as good as their US/EU counterparts, if not better. This happened because with the official end of the Cold War US/EU force planners decided to waste money on hugely expensive weapons systems instead of modernizing their aging aircraft or tanks. After all, 20-30-year-old tanks and aircraft were more than adequate to deal with such “threats” as Iraq or Yugoslavia, so why waste the money: nobody expected Russia to be able to rebound as fast as she did.
All this begs the question of what threats the Su-57s or T-14s were supposed to deal with? Logically this threat would have to be a threat which already existing Su-35s or modernized T-72/80/90s could not deal with. Can such threats be identified? Probably yes, both in the West and, in the case of aircraft, in the East. But how big (in terms of numbers) this threat will actually be is a huge question. For example, I would argue that the only strategic direction in which the deployment of T-14 would make sense is the West, specifically for the First Guards Tank Army which would have to fight NATO in case of a war. And even in this case, there is an optimal mix of old/new MBTs inside the two divisions composing the backbone of this Army which would make more sense than replacing all their current MBTs with T-14s (this will be especially true if a 152mm gun version of the Armata is ever deployed). As for deploying the T-14s to the South or East of Russia, it would make no sense at all since no opposing force in these directions would have armor superior to the Russians. In the case of air-power, this issue is not so much a geographical one (tactical air-power can be rapidly moved from one location to another one) as it is the number of F-22s/F-35s/(X-2s?) the US and its allies could deploy against Russia (assuming air-to-air refueling and that the F-35 actually works as advertised).
[Sidebar: in reality only comparing tactical aircraft to tactical aircraft and MBTs to other MBTs is a gross oversimplification; in the real world you would have to compare the full spectrum of capabilities of both sides, such as MBTs vs anti-tank weapons or attack helicopters (in the case or air combat this would be even much more complicated), so I kept it simple just for illustration purposes.]
For the foreseeable future, the threat to Russia will come from the latest iterations of the F-16/15/18s in which case the Su-35s/Su-30SM/Mig-25SMT/MiG-35/MiG31BM will be more than enough to deal with that threat, especially with their new radar+missile combos. And for a more advanced threat, a combination of Su-57s and already existing generation 4++ aircraft makes more sense than trying to deploy thousands of 5th generation aircraft (which is what the US is currently doing).
Finally, there is the issue of exports. While exports can help finance the costs of new and very pricey systems, the export potential of already existing Russian systems is much bigger than the one of recently deployed systems. Originally, the Russians had hoped to basically co-develop the Su-57 with India, but the pressures of the very powerful pro-US lobby inside India combined with differences in design philosophy and technical requirements have made the future of this collaboration rather uncertain. Of course, there is China, but the Chinese also have to ask themselves the question of how many Su-57 they would really want to purchase from Russia, especially considering that they have already purchased many Su-35s and are still working on their own 5th generation aircraft.
The Cold War years illustrate how the Soviet Union dealt with this problem: both the advanced and expensive Su-27 and the cheaper, but still very effective, MiG-29 were developed and deployed more or less simultaneously (along with some very good missiles) and while the Sukhoi was a much more complex aircraft with a much bigger upgrade potential, the MiG was cheap, fantastically maneuverable and superbly adapted to it’s “front line fighter” mission in spite of not even having fly-by-wire! It is therefore hardly surprising that Russian force planners today would like similar options.
Which makes me wonder which major weapon procurement program will be “mothballed” next?
Russian aircraft carriers and aircraft-carrying assault ships
My vote goes for the much announced Russian Project 23000 “Storm” super aircraft carrier (check out this article by Andrei Martyanov on this topic). Without going into the issue of whether Russia needs aircraft carriers and, if yes, what kind exactly (I personally think that the Russian Navy has more important programs to spend money on), it strikes me as extremely premature to declare, in 2018, that Russia plans to deploy not one, but three or even four (!), such super aircraft carriers. The reality is that for the foreseeable future budgetary and technological constraints will only allow Russia to build one carrier and that that carrier will probably be what Martyanov calls a “niche” carrier. Oh sure, if the Russian military budget was anywhere near the US one and if the Russian MIC was anywhere near as corrupt as the one of the United States, three or four carriers would be possible, but as long as every ruble has to be accounted for and justified through a comparison of opportunity costs and mission requirements, this will not happen. I am still waiting to see if the Russian Navy will ever get the promised “Priboi” universal assault ships to replace the French “Mistrals” and, if that happens, what the Priboi-class will actually look like, how they will be equipped and when they will be accepted for operation by the Russian Navy.
Conclusion: less hype, more common sense please!
Russia has, and will developed, new, expensive and advanced weapons systems simply because she needs to maintain the technological and industrial capabilities to keep up with the evolving threats. You cannot build a 6th generation fighter if you have not ever developed a 5th-generation one. However, Russia has had to tackle the immensely complicated task of replacing all the systems components previously developed abroad (say, in the Ukraine) with indigenous ones. Following western sanctions, it has become absolutely self-evident that Russian weapons systems must be built exclusively with Russian technologies and components (which, by the way, their US counterparts are not). While Russia did benefit from the brain-drain from the Ukraine (and other ex-Soviet republics) which saw many highly skilled engineers and scientists leave following the collapse of the Ukrainian industrial base, Russian resources have still been severely stretched by the urgent need to create a truly autonomous military-industrial complex, most of it ex nihilo. Furthermore, there are still technological and industrial bottlenecks which need to be dealt with before Russian can produce her new weapon systems in sufficient numbers (that is especially true of large warships). As of today, the goal of full “import substitution” has not been fully realized, even if immense progress towards it has already been made.
The one thing Russia could – and should – immediately do is learn how to present a consistent and balanced message to her public opinion. Every time loud and triumphant declarations are followed by more sober assessments, the anti-Putin forces in Russia (and abroad) scream to high heavens about “Putin” having promised the sky and delivered nothing (again, the entire mess with S-300s for Syria is a perfect example of this). So yes, Russia public relations still often suck. But there is nothing wrong with Russian force planning.
Russia or the former Soviet Union developed or develops unsophisticated reliable weapons, you can depend on.
I have seen that from both sides of many weapons, the receiving end and the delivering end.
Current situation is much like WWII, the US makes sophisticated weapons (Tiger tank) and Russia makes less sophisticated (T-34). Who won ?
100 million dollar aircraft ‘aint going to win no war, and neither will 11 billion dollar aircraft carriers. (And neither are not working properly yet).
Plenty of servicemen have been killed quite effectively by the AK 47, which is no newcomer. While a Javelin WILL break most tanks, it is not exactly cheap a pop ($ 174 000) while most Russian RPG’s are pretty cheap and extremely durable and reliable.
As Saker writes, the western MIC is corrupt, they care about making money, and less about their own country’s survival rate of soldiers.
And anyway Russia has at least 2500 T 72 tanks in storage, that is an awful lot, even they are not Armata’s.
Quantity is a quality in itself.
The Tiger tank was the ‘best’ tank of world war two. By which I mean if you put it on a proving ground one on one against any other tank, my money would be on the Tiger winning that duel.
— it was hard and slow to produce. Porsche actually had one version of the Tiger which was hand-made like a luxury sports car. Not many of those came off that production line.
— it was hard to maintain on a battlefield. Units with Tigers usually had a lot of broken down tanks sitting out of the battle. This was especially true if the Tigers had to move to meet the enemy, as more would break down on that trip.
In comparision, the American Sherman was a lousy tank. If you put it against a Tiger one on one on that testing ground, the Tiger had a better gun and better armor and the Sherman tended to explode into a fireball when hit. The best thing the crew of the Sherman could do to survive that one-on-one testing ground duel with a Tiger would be to quickly get out of the tank and run away.
But, that’s one on one on a proving ground. Henry Ford’s assembly lines were cranking out Sherman tanks one after the other. And the army could keep them running on a long campaign. Thus, the typical battle of Tigers vs Shermans wasn’t a one on one duel but it was 150 Shermans against 15 Tigers. The typical tactic was to use the large numbers to get around to the sides and rear of the Tiger and shoot it where it had less armor.
Or actually, another good tactic was to simply hide the Shermans and get on the radio to the hundreds of fighter bombers that were circuling overhead in large numbers after also being cranked out by the Detroit assembly lines and let them blow up the Tigers.
Since this is this blog, I’m sure someone is about to comment on the Russian tanks. And yes, the Russian tanks were far better than the American tanks, almost as good as the Tiger. And they were also being mass produced off assembly lines that had been heroicly moved deep into the heart of Russia by motivated workers who wanted revenge on the Nazis who’d killed so many and done such harm to their country.
The main point is, wars are not won by comparing the technical specifications of the weapons systems and deciding who’s are best. If that was true, we’d be writing and speaking German while watching those hand-tooled Porsche Tigers dominate the world.
General agreement, but the claims about ( DLA mentioned )T34 are not entirely agreed to by some:https://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/2012/07/wwii-myths-t-34-best-tank-of-war.html
In 1941 T-34 tanks often had to carry a spare transmission strapped on the back to counter equipment failures (10). In 1942 the situation worsened since many vehicles could only cover small distances before breaking down. In the summer of 1942 the following Stalin order was issued to units (11):
‘Our armored forces and their units frequently suffer greater losses through mechanical breakdowns than they do in battle. For example, at Stalingrad Front in six days twelve of our tank brigades lost 326 out of their 400 tanks. Of those about 260 owed to mechanical problems. Many of the tanks were abandoned on the battlefield. Similar instances can be observed on other fronts. Since such a high incidence of mechanical defects is implausible, the Supreme Headquarters sees in it covert sabotage and wrecking by certain elements in the tank crews who try to exploit small mechanical troubles to avoid battle.’ ”
About “winning”… One may engage in a multiparty conflict and prevail, thus ending the conflict. And one may engage in a multiparty conflict and win. One may do both, or neither.
In W2 phase USSR prevailed. USA won. This is why the war continues.
The T34 was very simple, easy to produce and maintain by workers and troops with only basic education. It could be churned out at 2,000 a month in basic factories thrown up in the middle of Siberia. Its faults like the lack of a radio and two man turret could be rectified over time. The breakdowns referred to were I suspect more down to poor logistics than either unreliability or crew cowardice..
There were no tank factories in the “middle of Siberia”. Nizhny Tagil, Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg are all on the eastern drainage of the Urals and thousands of kilometres from the “middle of Siberia”. Production in Nizhny Tagil was based on Uralvagonzavod and the relocated Kharkov Komintern Locomotive Factory. Production in Cheyabinsk was based on Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and the relocated Kharkov Diesel Factory. Production in Yekaterinburg was based on Ordzhonikidze Ural Heavy Machine Building Plant with help from the two relocated Kharkov plants.
Uralvagonzavod became the world’s largest tank factory. Even today Chelyabinsk is still referred to as Tankograd.
Please show me a photo of a T34 with a transmission tied on the rear deck, or anywhere on the vehicle. I see none in the shelf full of books on T34 production and use I have, most being in Russian and produced here.
In any fight, he who controls the battleground after the fight, and this is not always the victors, gets to salvage the field. In the first half of the war, this was generally the Germans. It was in this manner that the Germans managed to field whole companies of T34’s of both marks. The second half of the war, the Germans were in steady withdrawal and retreat, ergo they rarely had control of damaged or abandoned vehicles and AFV’s.
@Auslander… I wrote “not entirely agreed to by some”. This claim is clearly established by the statements proffered at the given url. Thus I suspect you are addressing the wrong man.
One may easily imagine that, if they were tying spares to the tanks it might not seem like a good idea to take pictures…
Perhaps some would trouble themselves to inquire about photographs from the man who has some (of gears and stuff) as well as historical data, as it is obvious that I am not the source.
But it may also be the case that they’d rather ask somebody who probably doesn’t have ’em, thus assuring themselves of a nice un-troubling response.
The Christos site allows commentary and the author responds to reasonable approach. Author’s given also a bibliography / end notes.
Maybe he has the picture you desire. If I did I’d let you see it.
Nice fantasy document on that site. I’m not going to take the time to pick that document apart, but I will mention that for instance the Christie suspension leaves a relatively uncluttered floor instead of one or two torsion bars going from side to side for each road wheel arm.
Having been in a 1942 model 76 and a wartime model 85, they are as ‘roomy’ as any contemporary tank and much more so than ‘modern’ tanks.
Concerning reliability, look at the 2018 Victory Day Parade in Sevastopol. That T34/85 was put on a plinth in 1955 or so, he is a war veteran, literally driven up there, the accumulators were disconnected and the tank was left in the elements, fuel, lube oil and all. A little over a year ago, the tank was pulled off it’s plinth, the fuel lines purged, new accumulators installed, and in but minutes the tank not only started, but was driven on to the low loader for transport to a military facility for total restoration. Everything except the diesel and transmission was restored to as new. The power system will be rebuilt this winter, they simply did not have time to accomplish that task before the parade.
If you want to know how a particular weapon system performs, talk to or read the writings of the veterans who actually use or used those weapons. I did, and do.
No doubt some will not perceive the fantasy. Please provide some evidence that document (which one?) is a fantasy and send it to the man you believe is proffering fantasy. No doubt he’ll want to change his presentation.
Do you imagine that the analytical work at Aberdeen was simply made up? https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp81-01044r000100070001-4 From there it’s a pdf file…is this a fabrication they did in 1950’s for us to see today?
As you say, if you want to know… The report (which I have read) seems to describe the T34 pretty well, and honestly, although the chauvinism is distracting. It also describes, inadvertently, the attitudes held by the analysts toward the USSR and therefor gives us some ideas about why the boffins were doing their analysis. But you yourself will enjoy the reading and sleuthing through.
The source for the engineering analysis is also available at
The first brush I had with the T34 was with a man who destroyed one in Budapest. Like any machine, there were vulnerabilities.
You have second hand information, Auslander has first hand experience.
His hands on and eyes on trumps your persistently weak argument.
Obduracy is not an attribute, but your ‘persona appellation’ is a true indicator.
Around here, Auslander has the highest credibility.
You just lost all relevance.
I stand by what I wrote. Talk to the veterans who fought in them and maintained them, there should be plenty left in this world even though just about all the Soviet tankers who fought in those tanks are gone now. In my humble opinion, the proffered report is ludicrous, almost to an extreme.
The T34 was far from perfect and it did have it’s foibles, but all in all it was a good armored platform that performed the tasks assigned to it rather well. That, and numbers do tell at times.
As an aside, the problems with ‘transmission shifting’ was an early KV 1 problem, not a T 34 glitch, the earliest KV’s actually arrived from the factory with a five kilo maul used to pound the transmission in to reverse. Try that trick when Brand X is doing their level best to give you a bad day and your adrenaline is flowing at roughly a thousand liters a second. Or better yet, sit in your Sherman, the one with the radial aircraft motor, not the Ford V8 (a LOT of them had that radial abomination), and try to get the heck out of the sights of that Panther D (The one with the letter box hull MG mount and letter box driver’s ‘eyes on’ goody) admiring your paintwork as your spark plugs foul…yet again.
I have fought T34 85’s amongst more than a few others, although after the fracas I and my comrades didn’t wander out in the veldt to see when they were made, which factory, and whether or not our attempts at installing flow through ventilation worked or did they simply run out of diesel, we had other things to do. I’ve studied them and many other tanks from various countries, and for the times, the T34 filled the bill. Simple, generally easy to drive considering the time frame of design and manufacture, and Steven gave you the main factories and assembly points for this tank.
I’ve read all the foolishness about all kinds of tanks, those from roughly 1939 to present, some of which are in service to this day, it was part of my vocation, and I paid very serious attention to their good attributes. Bottom line, no tank is the omnipotent Queen of the Battlefield, they all burn, they all blow apart, they all shudder to a stop as the crew bales out….if they are lucky. It’s the ‘combined operation’ gig that gets them. If they don’t have that support, or even if they do, once their infantry support is helped to go to ground and their fellow AFV’s button up, they are done for.
And one final truism. Even a 1917 Renault will kill you just as dead as the most modern Leo 2 A-whatever if you have no means or knowledge of how to kill him.
Good point. You have to compare like with like, what was available at the time.
In mid 41, Russia had a little over 1,000 T34/76 of the early models in service. I think the exact figure was 1,115.
Germany had a similar number of Mark IIIs available for the invasion, making it their most important and numerous type.
26-27 tons, 76mm gun firing a 14lb shell, 45mm sloped armour, 450hp diesel, broad tracks, range 200 miles.
The sloped armour gave it 3 x the protection of the Mark III. Shells bounced off it.
20 tons, 50mm gun firing a 5lb shell (some with a 37mm), 30mm unsloped armour, 300hp petrol engine, narrow tracks, range 100 miles.
Mark, excellent point. Again, many years ago in my teenage years, I have read stories, where on occasion Russians in their T34 would hitch up Tiger or Panther (with crew in them) to their little T34 and pull the Germans while they were trying to outpull the T34. In these stories, T34 always won that tug of war. Again, those were stories written by Russians. And, of course these events happened during or shortly after battle in the real field conditions.
Shall I then assume that you regard the Aberdeen analytical work as a fantasy? Did you read it through? I see that no specific refutation is proffered, but we do see paralipsis and similar evasive rhetorical usages.
You may note that I myself have said, to begin with, that I was in substantial agreement, but that others were not. This remains the case.
Have you bothered to correct chris-intel about his presumably erroneous Stalin quote, his fantasy (perhaps). Or maybe fantasy has become merely ludicrous. Everybody has a sense of humor…
He quotes Stalin as follows: ‘Our armored forces and their units frequently suffer greater losses through mechanical breakdowns than they do in battle. For example, at Stalingrad Front in six days twelve of our tank brigades lost 326 out of their 400 tanks. Of those about 260 owed to mechanical problems. Many of the tanks were abandoned on the battlefield. Similar instances can be observed on other fronts. Since such a high incidence of mechanical defects is implausible, the Supreme Headquarters sees in it covert sabotage and wrecking by certain elements in the tank crews who try to exploit small mechanical troubles to avoid battle.’
I recall that the famous Curtis LeMay had some problems with bomber crews aborting due to minor or imaginary mechanical problems. But it also seems that there were serious transmission problems with the tank. LeMay also made it clear what was going to happen to any aircrew that did not follow him (and he led the subsequent mission in person)
I have no personal opinion about tanks, other than they are death traps. As to the types, a pal destroyed a T34 in 1956. It was dangerous, he said, but not very hard to do. Another pal was commander of M48 in Germany and Vietnam…until a VC mortar caught up with him. That too is personal experience. Neither one of us actually disagrees, except Auslander insists that chris-intel is posting a fantasy. I am not persuaded by mere claims. Let him refute the documents…rather than dismiss them.
Dismissing inconvenient evidence signals the end of logic, they say. And then? Well, fantasy, I suppose, becomes dominant. Caesar, they say, thought that the beliefs men help were not a particularly suitable subject for effort. This is to say that men treasure their beliefs, which are fantasies to everybody else.
My objective and clear opinion, rather, is that Auslander’s views do not closely align with documents created in the 1940’s and 50’s. In fact they, his observations, do align rather well with my observations.
That, it is obvious (if you will trouble to look) is true.
I believe Aus is dead on with the last para…in the M48 the comm had 5 seconds to decide , shoot or no shoot. Get it right, and fast. Or check out.
The Aberdeen work gives, regardless of its superficial merit, a window into the origins of the antisoviet and antirussian policy of the US. It dovetails into the Dulles boys’ efforts, and illuminates the deadly pathway that has brought us to now. One must do a bit of textual analysis…
We’ll see how Mr Chris responds to the chat we’ve had about his putative fantasy. He probably won’t…instead finding it “ludicrous”?
So do I.
I have heard reports of this, but they seem to refer to the very beginning of the war in 1941. I have never seen anything being carried on the outside of the hull (except for tank riders.) I think this may relate to KV1s rather than T34s.
Irrelevant, it seems to me that my compatriot Christos (Chris for short) is spreading a lot of BS. Looking at the picture of the presumed T-34 with the turret knocked off, I have a difficult time recognizing the said T-34.
Check out this picture of the real T-34: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-34
As for the gear box. Having been driving sticks all my life (since I was 12, illegally, thanks to my father who in the years after the war worked as car mechanic specialized in diesels as well as professional bus driver.) I can say one thing. People blubbering about the gearbox problems, have never driven any sticks. I’d like to point out one thing: no gearbox had synchronized gears in those days and many years after. It took some training in shifting those boxes. A person with proper training would shift them on the fly. Thank you.
Are you talking Tiger E or Tiger B? Tiger E was the original, and the competition was between Henschel and Porsche for the tank. Porsche used a petrol/electric drive system, Henschel used a proven Maybach V-12 with an almost semi automatic Olvar transmission.
Since the good Doktor Porsche was on the in with the government, the good Hr. Doktor assumed he would get the contract for the Tiger. He started producing his Tiger before the contract was awarded to Henschel, leaving him with around 100 partially built tanks. Hitler was kind to him, and the majority of the Porsche efforts morphed in to a turretless anti tank vehicle, known as Elephant and Ferdinand. Only three Porsche Tigers were produced, and they disappeared in to the grinder of the East Front. Several of the Porsche Tigers became Berg Elephants, recovery vehicles, but they, too, disappeared in the East.
As for the Shermans ‘sneaking around behind the Tigers’, you’ve got to stop watching TV propaganda and instead read such tomes as ‘Tigers in Combat’ 1, 2, & 3 among many other books written in the words of the veterans, or visit the TiiF sight, in German.
My father was 101 Airborne, jumped D Day, fought in Monties debacle of Market Garden, and was cut off in Bastogne. In 2005, thanks to my wonderful maid Miss Dora, we actually talked without burying the hatchet in each other’s cranial cavity. He arrived for a visit, and saw my hobby, RC Tanks, sitting on the shelves in the Florida Room. He asked me to start one, and I did. It was a Tiger E, with the sounds recorded from the Tiger B (same engine) at Samur Museum. When he heard the enertia starter (which the Germans rarely used), 60 years after the war, the colour drained from his face and he asked me to turn it off. He was still in fear of this tank after all those years.
We talked until dawn the next morning, sitting in the park in front of my house, and Miss Dora kept us in good Weissen with lemon and Cubans the whole time. We talked of everything, he told me what he did, I told him what I did. He told me that during Bastogne, he several times saw Shermans sent out in packets of 6 to deal with a ‘lone’ Tiger. Tigers never fought alone, the Germans used the combined arms principle, infantry, assault/anti tank guns and infantry together. He said on the rare occasion a Sherman returned from these forays, it was one unit that was half shot to pieces. He also told me more than one officer or tank commander refused to go out, and was relieved on the spot.
At that time, it was a numbers game. SSSR produced over 50,000 T 34’s of various marks, over 3500 IS 2 units, and Lord knows how many KV 85’s, a hybrid KV with a T34 8.5 cm gun in a different, although similar, turret. US produced over 50,000 Shermans of various marks, and some Pattons made it in to service. No one cares how many tanks the Brits produced. Germany produced roughly 1600 Tiger E’s, just under 500 Tiger B’s, around 4900 Panthers of the three versions, and around 20,000 of the PZKW IV, this unit receiving the long 7,5 cm main tube in early ’43 if memory serves.
In today’s scenario, neither Russia nor US can rely on what they can produce in a war, they will fight with what they have at the beginning. The T72 upgraded variants are every bit as good as the Abrams, Leo 1 & 2, and what few tanks UK and La Belle France can field. Even Germany, at this time, does not have enough serviceable tanks to equip a single armor division.
In today’s battlefield, the tank is not the queen of the battlefield, this being learned in Novorossiya. Important, yes, and if the leash is ever taken off, we’ll see just how good the T72 is, but for the time being, it’s still and again a combined forces fight, tanks, infantry, arty, and whatever air assets don’t get blown out of the sky.
Russia will produce the Armata’s she needs, and the Dry 57’s she needs. I doubt Russia will ever produce another carrier, they are too vulnerable and fragile, no matter who made them.
However, in the end, it will be the infantry who takes the fight to the enemy and crosses the fields and forests to dig out his enemy at bayonet point. Who do you think will win that one? My money is on Russia.
Never The Last One https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZGCY8KK A deep look in to Russia, her culture and her Armed Forces, in essence a look at the emergence of Russian Federation.
Sevastopol, The Third Defense. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079KRPLS4 Book 1, A Premonition, The Move South. Set against a backdrop of real events and real places, the reader is left to filter fact from fiction.
Many years ago I read memoirs of a Polish General, who before the war commanded first and only Polish armored division. Later on he was ordered to sneak through Austria with his men to Palestine and later to England (he may have fought Desert Fox in Northern Africa, but I am not sure anymore). There (in England), they were equipped with Shermans and later shipped off to France. Any way, his story was that Shermans were an incredible piece of $hit that never stood a chance against German tanks. The point I still remember was that German rounds would go through Sherman’s body like through butter, not to mention that they would take the turret off it (sort off decapitate) without any effort. General’s name was Maczek.
If you want to read what the Sherman was really like, read R. Belton Cooper’s ‘Death Traps’. Few books are written by or about the maintenance and supply cadre of either side, but he tells it like it was. It wasn’t pretty, and while Cooper does have some of the usual misinformation about German tanks, most of what he wrote was backed up by my father’s observations.
The advantage the Panthers, Pzkw 4’s and Tigers had was the main gun, that and superbly trained crews. ‘Assault guns’, and the Hetzer, are an entirely different category of AFV.
I am back, for those interested in WWII history, this is Wikipedia page about the General Maczek:
As you see on the picture, he was was quite a decorated Two Star General.
Oh dear, you are a treasure trove of tank knowledge!
Never seen some much historical information, condensed in so few words!
Could you please contribute a post or two, on the subject of modern armor in the battlefield?
I understand you had a military occupation specialty as a Panzerjäger in Germany?
By the way, do we have any estimate as to the next installment of your Sevastopol, series?
I very much enjoyed the first one!
I especially enjoyed the interactions between the people, as this gives an “inside” view of Russian society and psyche.
May I make a suggestion?
Could your wife contribute a few chapters, preferably in the first person?
This way, we could also see the story unfolding from the eyes of native Russian women.
I think it will contribute a fresh and interesting social, cultural, and psychological perspective.
Auslander has a series of books, novels, linked to factual history.
If you enjoy his commentaries and articles, then support his writings with a purchase or two or three.
They are packed with “military” subject matter.
He is an amazingly different “voice”, a unique stylist with an absorbing panache and uncommon vocabulary.
My hobby, one of them, is RC tanks of the second war, although I do have models of a T55 and a Leopard 1, both in the box and scheduled in the build stream. Modern armor, until four or five years ago there were few good kits in 1/16, the scale I build in. There is enough informations out there that one can, with reasonably dutiful research, build individual tanks at one set time of the war. In regards to modern tanks, most of my informations stored in the brain bucket are ways to kill them or at least immobilize them, and immobilizing them will almost always lead to the crew abandoning ship. This abandonment is in regards to the crew knowing that if they’ve been hit once and immobilized, in short order another nasty little item is on the way to finish the job.
The second half of Sevastopol, The Third Defense, will be finished late in the fall, as will be the second Blue Cloud book by Annya V. Koli. We’ve had a difficult spring and summer, the worst of which was we almost lost Annya Koli a week ago. She was saved by an emergency operation this past Monday, done at our house by our long term vet, and she is doing well now, although not totally out of the woods yet. All of this turmoil has affected my available time to write, but with things calming down, it’s time to get the fingers working the keyboard again.
The second installment of Third Defense, you will see Annya Dmitrovna, her daughter Tatyana, the young girl Ulyana, and other women including the two very old partizani Soleena and Anastasiya from the first book, taking even more significant roles in this story. My standing comment about Russian women you can see in my writings, in essence they are tough as nails, stand on their principles and don’t take prisoners. These traits will come in to significant play in the second tome, as will actions of some of the villagers, both men and women, and spies, counter spies, betrayal, loyalty, and some outright farce. There will be tragedy towards the end, and hope and a glimmer of the future at the very end. I write, according to ‘real’ authors, in a peculiar form in that I write the beginning and the end of a book, then I fill in the middle.
I mix real events, characters and happenings with fiction to give a competent story line that is fiction but believable. What parts are fiction and what parts are truth? I’ll never tell, I simply try to convey events in a readable and enjoyable form. I do go to great lengths to assure that no real characters are identifiable, and with the Sevastopol books, there are some things that I know of that I will never write of without ‘their’ permission. For instance, it was, and is, common knowledge in this little village that 35th Battery Museum was the C&C hub for our Russian Spring in early ’14. When I started to write, I had a little get together with some folks and during this chat I said I was going to use 30th Battery in Lubimovka as the C&C in the books, this to deflect any unwanted publicity from 35th Battery Museum. I was told in no uncertain terms to use 35th Battery, which I did. This year, four years after Russian Spring, at the burial ceremony we have every year at 35th Battery on 03 July, it was publicly announced that 35th Battery was the C&C of the operation and many details were filled in as to who did what, with which and to whom.
My wife is my muse and my foil, and she is a very important part of any writings I do. She is the one responsible for Blue Cloud series, she wrote the initial idea and prose herself, I just took it and filled it out a bit. She is also responsible for Annya Koli’s unusual terms for things we take for granted, such as ‘rooms that move’ and ‘hard stuff I can see through’. Reality is, without her, I doubt I would have, or could have, written any of what I write. What I write is not only for you, it’s also for her. I am older than she is, and the books will be my legacy to her in the end.
Never The Last One https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZGCY8KK A deep look in to Russia, her culture and her Armed Forces, in essence a look at the emergence of Russian Federation.
Sevastopol, The Third Defense https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079KRPLS4 Book 1, A Premonition. Set against a backdrop of real events and real places, the reader is left to filter fact from fiction.
I had no idea what all the Tank talk and numbers mean, but through Auslander’s easy style and ability to bring wit to the page, the picture becomes clear. Thanks for your special insights.
Hope Annya Koli makes a speedy recovery and she gets busy writing her next adventure.
My lady, thank you for your wishes for Annya and your enjoyment of my writing style.
Annya is improving each day, although it will be another week before she will be allowed to be alone. She has already given me her ideas of what she is writing next, and it should be interesting. She said her next book will show her as a growing young lady, and she hinted at a visitor to her house, although who that will be she did not say.
Blue Cloud https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0797XJM91 A pleasant little adventure of a young collie, told in her words.
I’d rather have 70,000 T34s or 50,000 M4s than 1,300 Tiger Is and 485 Tiger IIs.
They were a monstrosity in the 56 ton version, let alone the 68 ton.
They were probably so much of a liability they should never have been produced.
Grossly overweight, underpowered, poor suspension, transmission and steering.
Completely unreliable. More were probably blown up by their own crews after breaking down than lost to enemy action.
Poor mobility. A special set of narrow tracks had to be fitted temporarily for rail transit to load it on a flatcar.
Very expensive, overly complex, difficult to produce and maintain.
The suspension was a system of overlapping road wheels difficult to work on which clogged and froze up in snow and mud.
The Russian heavy tanks were far more mobile and practical at 43 and 46 tons, KV1 and JS2.
Russians thought more highly of captured Mark III and IV tanks and STUG assault guns and considered them worth repairing. They dismissed captured Tigers and Panthers as unreliable rubbish.
German tank design was very poor even before the Tiger monstrosities. All things considered, the war should have been lost and over long before 1945.
They produced 2 types of medium tank, the Marks III and IV. They were almost the same size and weight, give 1-2 tons. They even used the same engine. Yet the Germans insisted on having separate production lines for 2 very similar tanks, with lower output and problems over spare parts and training.
In October 1942, German monthly output of the Mark IV passed the 100 mark for the first time. Russia turned out 900 T34s the same month.
Germany should have produced one medium tank in the 20 ton class and really mass produced it.
It should have been replaced in 1942/3 by the VK3002, the 30-35 ton close copy of the T34 that was (wrongly) turned down in favour of the MAN Panther – even more of a liability than the Tiger. To his credit, Hitler preferred the VK3002.
I am not a tank specialist, but from what I read about WWII and I read many, I understood that German tanks were made to very tight tolerances and kept seizing up in extreme Russian weather conditions (cold). Soft ground in the spring did not help either as they were getting stuck in it.
Dr. Porsche did NOT make “a luxury” tanks for Wehrmacht; although he did submit a design of probably
the first “hybrid” tank, where a smaller petrol, air cooled engine (of Tatra’s origins) powered the generator
feeding 2 el.motors, driving actual tank. What had killed that design was unavailability of the copper needed
for all that equipment and wiring, so Henschel-Krupp prevailed with their classical design powered by
petrol V12 Maybach of reported [email protected] rpm. (later enhanced to 700Hp). Although a fine power
plant for luxury passenger cars, it was not impressive in the tanks, so German High Command searched
for more reliable engine with wider operational ability, lower fuel consumption and lesser ability to ignite.
They had already commissioned Tatra (in1940) to provide V12 air cooled diesel engines model T103 of
14.8L capacity (appx. 220Hp) to the 8wheeled Bussing NAG 234-Puma, armored battle vehicle.
So order was issued to Tatra co. to present W18 (yes 3 rows of 6cyl. blocks) air cooled diesel engine of
22.2L capacity Model V955, with appx. 300 Hp reachable at apx.1100 rpm. It was to be finalized
with appx. 650Hp @2800rpm – and two of such motors were intended for King Tiger? This Project
was apparently frozen, since diesel fuel could be distilled from raw oil only (petrol was already manu-
fractured from coal, but biodiesel was not known) and that oil was not available either, during 2nd half
of 1944. Still pity that we may never hear 36 air-cooled cylinders propelling the TANK!
Where is my “reply” comment to the above??
(Unless there is more than one you made.You should see it posted,MOD)
Porsche didn’t make ” luxury tanks” – though his prototype design was probably first hybrid tank=
smaller air cooled (Tatra design) petrol engine powered generator, powering 2 electric motors, powering
the tank. This Project was killed for it needed a lots of copper, which was not available in Germany in
early war years, so traditional approach by Henschel-Krupp prevailed in 1942, with the power of Maybach
V12 petrol engine of 650Hp @ 3000rpm. (later increased to 700Hp).
German High Command though was not happy with such Maybach power group (75kms range in terrain)
and limited operational range. They had already ordered from Tatra outstanding air cooled diesels V12
(T103) of 14.8L capacity for all their armored 8 wheelers Bussing NAG 234 / Puma and similar V12
(with only 2 cooling turbines) for their most successful trucks T111. So an order was placed for W18
(yes 18cylinders, 6 in 3 lines) “air cooled” diesels (V955) of 22.2L capacity and starting at 300Hp at slightly
over 1000rpm. The plan was to get 600Hp @2800 rpm and place 2 of those engines to the “King Tigers”.
This Project was also cancelled for the diesel fuel could be then only distilled from oil, which (after loss of
Romanian production) was NOT that much available (petrol then was already made from coal – and bio-
diesel not known yet) – pity, today collectors could enjoy sound of 36 air cooled cylinders in their Tiger.
That comment sums up my beliefs pretty well.
You know, I’ve seen some video from the Russian military over the last couple years that was unconvincing to my critical eyes. It might be CGI video of a bulbous object with voice/text claiming it is a supersonic transport capable of circumnavigating the globe.. Or the video announces that you can witness a mach 7 missile being tested, and then it switches back and forth between a military control room and haltingly spliced visible/infrared footage. You see the apparent target ship sitting unmolested, then it switches to IR footage that doesn’t seem to match the visible (not from the same POV and you can’t tell what kind of object) and the explosion is showin in IR. Was it just splliced-together footage?
And then there was a description on these pages, of a cruise missile which can fly forever, in violation of thermodynamic laws.
I’ll grant that it’s difficult to photograph something flying at mach 7, but some of the ‘new weapon’ announcements seem sort of fanciful.
On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with the hard fact that the USA is still buying rocket engines from Russia. And plain old common sense of look at a map, or read some history. It doesn’t matter whether this new-technology stuff works or not. With plenty of old-reliable military equipment and training, Russia is not going to be invaded. Ever.
And if Russian EW capability works one tenth as well as rumored, it could settle a lot of conflicts with very minimal casualties. Losing side has to slink on home with lights out. Or get out and walk…
Agree with this analysis essentially, but there are a few things I take a different view.
“Remember how Russian officials mismanaged the entire topic of “S-300s for Syria”
I don’t think they did mismanage it, the back and forth had its desired result. Others can play the psywar game besides the zpc/nwo. ;-)
“We have all seen the “Russia is canceling the Su-57!” and “Russia cannot afford the new Armata T-14 tank!” headlines. Pretty soon I expect to see something along the lines of “US sanctions force Putin to abandon the XXXX” (fill the blank with whatever weapon system you want).”
Consider the sources. Really why sweat their propaganda? They will vomit bs regardless. Russian defense doesn’t rely upon hyped nonsense, but solid policy. That is one of their strengths. Nor does Russia doesn’t rely upon foreign opinions of what they do. The mixed public messages by the Russians may look haphazard, but they also make planning by Russia’s enemies more difficult.
The Russians know what they need and how much is needed to secure their defense and that of their friends from the pale blue/brown octopus in the military sphere. There is no need to give their enemies any more info than what Russia wants them to consider. It’s actions that count, and on that count, Russia is doing very well. Just looking at the zionazi-gay hysterics by regime officials and media, along with daily new sanctions and other petty chickenshi*t zionazi-gay crap the zpc/nwo does, one can see Russia’s enemies are aware they are now limited to “Wizard of Oz” psywar pyrotechnics.
Interestings, and thanks for saying this, as I had almost identical reactions to this part.
I didn’t think at all that Russia had a “PR disaster” over the S-300’s in Syria. I saw that some official seemed to plant some leaks that got picked up by Southfront. I saw someone, either the FM or the Kremlin press spokesperson make a comment that it might happen. Then they decided not to do so.
What I did see was “the internet” get into an uproar after that. But, I pay very little attention to what “the internet” says. A huge amount of it is propaganda designed to get into your mind, and anything dealing with Israel is sure to have an overdose of propaganda, trolls and general hasbara working on it. Thus, I am selective on what I pay attention to. I pay no attention to the headlines that say “Twitter reacts” in some form or another as any decent organization can have enough followers and employees to get a message out on twitter, and such “Twitter reacts” stories always involve cherrypicking comments to make a point of view. They are never rational, scientifiv stories that say that 43% of comments went this way and 37% went the other way and 20% are just in their usual clueless stance. Instead its always a selection of outrageous comments by people I’ve never heard of.
Which gets to the second part of my comment. The part where I read “We have all seen the “Russia is canceling the Su-57!” and “Russia cannot afford the new Armata T-14 tank!” headlines.”
Actually, if we is supposed to be universal, the no, we have not all seen this. I pay no attention to such headlines and I pay no attention to the sort of outlets that publish them.
We live in a world that is awash in propaganda. If we let them, and them could be just about anyone you can imagine, if we let them get into our head, then we’ve already lost. Years ago, I used the parental controls on my TV systems to block the American “news” networks from my home. Life was much better after that. And its only after doing something in that direction that people start to realize just how much propaganda and mind-control was getting into their brain.
Thus, I am rather careful about what I take in. For two reasons. My time is valuable to me, its my whole life as it were, and I hate to waste in on liars and propaganda artists who just want to con me. And, I find it also helps me see the world more clearly, as I now spend much less time getting their lies out of my head and replaced with the truth. Its so much easier just to keep the lies out in the first place.
So, no, I have not seen the headlines. And I wouldn’ t click to read the story underneath unless for some reason I really trusted the source. Right now, I wouldn’t trust anything I see in corporate media about Russia. Or China or Venezuela or Iran or Syria for that matter. Since I don’t trust them to tell me anything that is accurate, truthful and useful, I don’t see any reason to waste my time and my life paying them any attention.
Stopping the power of their propaganda from getting into our head is one of the most powerful steps we can take to move out from under their control. Wouldn’t it be great if someday they tried to tell us lies, and absolutely no one was listening? That’s what victory would look like.
Guess what! For about 40 years (I am over twice that old) live without TV. And people are always amazed about my level of information. Even before the internet there was an is now a wealth of info sources available. All it takes is to search, read and crosscheck. That I comment here gives you a tiny clue what I actually read. Kampfbeobachter
I absolutely agree with the above comments re main stream media…. Its childish trash…..
over the decades I have …. changed my sources of information
Dont have a TV to be insulted by its “news” ….. documentaries ….. subjective stuff so I am told.
Dont read newspapers/magazines (political) ….. dribble and courtroom dramas …. so others say…
and radio ….. I listen to music ….. No adds …. no commentators ……
But I read by visiting a long list of sites where the authors are folk who have proved themselves over the decades.
And I learnt to be an analyst in post grad many decades ago….
and thus life is more sobering ….
I’ve always wondered what would be more bone-chilling to an idiot who would have to lead an invasion force into Russia: meeting a wall of tanks at the border, or driving to within 60km of Moscow (like the Germas did 77 years ago) and not seeing a living soul?
Excellent analysis as always. As I have written before, the Russian Military Industrial Complex is in Government hands, while the American one is privately controlled. This means that Russia gets more for less money spent while the US gets less for more money spent. The US Military Industrial Complex certainly contributed to the decline of American infrastructure.
Russian weapons systems are cheaper than American ones and they are certainly reliable. During the NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (made up of Serbia and Montenegro), the Serbs shot down 137 NATO combat aircraft and 25 helicopters, using basically Russian equipment. Among the aircraft shot down was one F-117 stealth bomber (shown on TV) and one B-2 stealth bomber (not shown on TV). The name of the B-2 was “Spirit of Missouri”. NATO never dared admit it’s total losses, and by the end of the air campaign only American and Turkish pilots were flying, the others giving up, scared of further losses.
As The Saker points out, it makes sense to upgrade existing weapons systems rather than spend money on new ones, as it’s cost effective, something that would never happen in the US. Even if a the S-57 and the Armata tank were postponed, NATO should not forget about the other high tech which will be placed into production, as mentioned by Putin during his address in March.
Could you, please, elaborate regarding these aircraft losses during the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999?
I remember seeing Venik’s website years ago (I think that it is inactive now) that claimed many NATO planes being shot down, but I never saw any other confirmation. Is Venik’s information reliable or was it just wishful thinking?
The F-117 shoot down is definitely true. But, what about the B-2?
Also, there were stories about the successful raids of the Yugoslav Air Force on the Tuzla airport in Bosnia and the Rinas (spelling?) airport in Albania, but I have also seen witness accounts that dispute those stories. Are these stories true?
Finally, if what you are saying is true (137 aircraft shot down etc.), why hasn’t that been officially confirmer and publicized by Yugoslavia/Serbia?
I don’t believe Russia should formulate its information war around what the opposition might think of it. It might look like a PR disaster, but is it, really? To sew confusion into the minds of the enemy is a traditional tactic. Trump does this all the time – intentionally. He knows he is contradicting himself from day to day. But my oh my, aren’t his enemies confused!
I believe Russia knows exactly what they are doing by such tactics – opposition be damned.
The main problem with your article is that the solution to the present situation is of military nature, which is NOT, since there would be no winners in WW3. Just think what was achieved in last 2-3 months in south south-west Syria after bit of diplomacy – all terrorists removed, UN and Syrian forces back to Israeli border without any fight with Israel or US. Russia had one of the best organised world cup with close to million visitors, no fighting on the streets and all supporters, especially from UK praising the organizers and hospitality of Russian people despite all the anti Russian propaganda by media. For the first time the younger generation from western countries have seen and learn about huge sacrifices that Russia had fighting Germans in WWII. Another major issue that has not been discussed on any other blog sites or by RT is this apparent softly-softly approach by Putin, the approach that you have criticized on few occasions. What is the source of all the power of USA? The main power is not military but financial one – they have been paying-off all other countries and especially the UN so that the paymaster can do anything they want without being challenged in any court of law. But that comes with the huge bill, like negative balance in trade deals. Now, Trump is calling off all the I-Owe-You debts without realizing that he is cutting-off the huge branch of power that the USA is sitting on. So quite soon the EU and the rest of world will realized that huge world-wide financial crisis is coming up and all the fingers will be pointing not at Russia or China but USA.
The “diplomacy” that led to the clearing of terrorists from the southwest and Syrian borders was done by Putin through Shoigu and Gerasimov. Shogui sat in on the last Moscow meeting with Bibi and his military. The word was delivered that Russia wanted the border cleared. That the aerospace forces would be flying and Israel would be “standing down”.
Then Gerasimov and Lavrov toured the world relevant to Syria (and Ukraine) went to Jerusalem and Berlin and Paris and delivered the word. The Russia military was going into action and everyone had better shut up and stand down.
Then we had bombing on both sides of the Jordan border, no Israel zone left, and Russian military in charge of the DEZ. US and Israel are “standing down”.
That was the believability of the Russian Military, not diplomacy. Yes, it was delivered in a quasi-diplomatic form, but it carried the hot lead, titanium and thermobaric hellfire of the military.
Putin did it all politely, as usual. But he was presenting the two top faces of Russia superpower.
There was no ambiguity.
(Meanwhile, the World Cup played on.)
And the Black Sea NATO exercises ending abruptly, inexplicably. https://cont.ws/@kemerunec/1029287
What you are saying is basically the big boys came to the marble game and said enough, stand down and get out of the way, game is over. Kind of like the contretemps of a couple months ago when the same team, behind closed doors, told the offenders that one Russian soldier gets a scratch in the missile ‘chemical attack retaliation’ in Syria, and all the launch platforms that participated in the missile barrage would be shot down or sunk.
Both times, end of problem.
During the Cold War USSR had a clear and simple military doctrine: full security of Rodina (sea, land, air), no enemies allowed on the borders (and possibly near the borders…) and every weapon system was thought to fullfil this defensive duty. So, for example, also Naval Infantry Brigades and aircraft carriers (large Antisubmarine Cruisers) had a defensive purpose and the rest was for counter strike duties to grant a sure and peaceful MAD.
The soviet military system made a military attack/impossible. In fact USSR was destroyed and conquered by a perfect internal operation.
The nowadays Russia military doctrine, at least for me, it is not clear as they are almost completely surrounded by very militarized enemies but also they seem not bothered for this so the question is: ok they can built 50,000 T-14 Armata tanks, but have they an effective anti maidan/colored revolution “weapon system”? Have they an anti 5th column “weapon system”? If they haven’t, tanks, missiles etc. are completely useless.
Mike, well said. The enemy from within has always been a big factor in any conflict in any country. USofA seems to think that they are impervious to that problem but they are not. Hence the famous Trojan Horse or “Dourios Hippos – gifted horse” as Greeks called it.
Fascinating. Because growing up in the American propaganda zone, we were given a very different picture of the Soviet military. Large tank armies forming up in east germany ready to invade the west with such a huge force that America might well have no choice but to go nuclear to stop them from rolling all the way to the Atlantic.
No, I’m not saying that the American propaganda was right. Its just interesting to note the difference in viewpoint.
I was also reading Daniel Ellsberg’s latest book. He draws the picture of being with RAND and doing secret work for the Pentagon on nuclear war at the time just after Sputnik was launched. Everyone was obsessed with the ‘missile gap’ and more a question of when and not if the Soviets would launch their devasting ICBM powr upon the west and could the west do anything to prevent. Of course, it turned out there really was no missile gap.
BTW, Daniel Ellsberg’s “Doomsday Machine” has been a good read for the first few chapters at least. CNN of course won’t promote it and won’t have the author on to promote it, but it seems like a book that at least some who inhabit these forums would appreciate. ellsberg.net is an interesting site. Since I’m at that point in the book, I have to remember soon to go check out the additional material on the 1958 Taiwan Straits crisis. Back before Ellsberg became the first Edward Snowden with Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers, he was a high-ranking civilian consultant on nuclear issues during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It is fascinating how events can be viewed so differntly based on where you are and which sides propaganda you are exposed to.
Yes fascinating and compared to our dark present days those were good clear days for planet Earth…a sort of age of innocence. There were large tank armies, soviet and Warsaw Pact, but were for prevent an invasion or at least that was the Doctrine… In any case when there are a lot of weapons and obsessions around, things may become dangerous and then, when the first shot (or trick) is fired, it is very difficult to say who is the defender and who is attacking. Luckily in that disappeared old world there were wise men in the right places.
Also the Cuban Missile Crisis had a double side: soviet missiles pointed to US territory but those soviet missiles were a response to the Jupiter IRBM that US had previously deployed in Italy and Turkey to hit the soviet territory and that was the main capital sin for Soviet Military Doctrine. A lot of things with double sides.
> “Remember how Russian officials mismanaged the entire topic of “S-300s for Syria”
This part was in line with diplomacy message to Bibi in this time.
Otherwise agree with the Saker assesment.
That’s fantastic!!! Merged-even says , ” Our American FRIENDS should not make mistake about it”.
Yeah, we know they are your good friends from TelAvive to Moscow and beyond you pig heads.
“I’m all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.”
Gadgets and gizmos do not decide who wins or loses…the maintenance department does.
Chose which State has the better maintenance department.
Chose which State has reality-based military machines designed to be maintained by real people in real situations…
The quote? Szilard…but of course people will now dismiss the quote and decide it is part of a zioist plot… Oh well,,, sigh.
Believe what you will, it changes nothing except the surprise when you realize it was magical thinking.
Excellent post. You can have the best equipment in the world, but what happens when it becomes NFG. Also, how long does it take to get it back after you sent it for service? This is one thing Russians excelled at. Their equipment was field serviceable. Simple design to extreme. Of course, it all depends in the duration of the conflict.
I was recently reading about Russian help (in Syria) in getting Syrian equipment back in to the action. Can Abrams be serviced in the field or does it have to be send back to the States? I am thinking: States. I was also recently reading about Greece having to send their F16s’ to the US for service, so much for the equipment numbers on the paper.
Just a thought, how much can a country rely on say it’s pilots, if they are totally brainwashed during “re-training” in the US?
Yes, thanks, but the statement was also intended as metaphor…the “maintenance department” fixes things, sometimes not very well, but that is the job, and they try.
The Murkin maintenance department fixes the urgent needs of the MIC for money and power.
Ivan’s maintenance department has a similar job – fixin’ the Murkin maintenance department.
This may be why the Murkin maintenance department is is a “fix”, eh?
Now for that grog ration…undt zee veemen!
The Russians are good a designing good stuff and then making, uh, 3 of them. The American often make design just OK stuff but they make a thousand of them. The Russians need to stop the whining crybaby business. You designed it not don’t freeze up. Make a lot of it. Now. And use it. Windows of opportunity don’t last long. They’re going to cheap out and throw away their advantage.
Ed, wow. Big difference: Unlike the US, Russia does not engage in endless wars. None to be exact, this is why they do not need thousands of things. So, whatever they make actually goes into storage. The key point about equipment in storage is that it also requires maintenance. Oh yes, helping Syria is not considered Russia’s war.
I found this news interesting.
Russian warship tracked down, watched ‘stealthy’ US nuclear sub in Med for hours – paper
“A Russian warship in the Mediterranean reportedly tracked down and followed a ‘stealthy’ US nuclear-powered submarine. The incident took place in April, the month the US, UK, and France launched airstrikes against Syria.
The frigate Admiral Essen of the Russian Black Sea Fleet managed to track down one of the Ohio-class submarines currently in service with the US Navy, Izvestia newspaper revealed on Friday, citing a source in the Russian Navy.
The pursuit lasted more than two hours, during which the Russian ship recorded the basic parameters of the American submarine, which will be deciphered and added to the acoustic characteristics of the submarine. Izvestia said the USS Georgia, a cruise missile submarine, was the one that might have been tracked by the Russian Navy.”
It shows how the Russians take a much more proactive approach to defense than is generally reported on. Those new Poseidon sub drones will probably prove very useful as trackers, and when necessary, neutralizers, of zpc/nwo warships. Especially against other subs.
I think that former VMF, that had a powerful ASW component, also back in the ’70 – ’80 was able to track other countries SSBN. Ohio Class dates from end ’70.
One bad bearing in a primary cooling pump…and geewhiz, submarine “Sam” is discovered. Similarly, one bad bearing in Ivan’s boat and the noise would have made Sam’s boat invisible…
hypothesis: Ivan’s boat is part of maintenance department. Sam’s is part of testing department.
Used to be the the other way round, until 2 idiots outvoted one genius, in November 1963…
Well, these things take time…
Interesting that the signal to noise ratio was favorable to the surface ship.
Reactor ship always make more noise, as they cannot use reactor without also pumping fluids.
Ivan must have good sonobouys and helio crews.
I see claim about Ohio boat “superior communication”. Assume this means ULFcom. The low baud rate of ULF radio and the physics means that boat must be near surface to receive signal and stay there for some time…considering the time frame (US attacking from Med) Ivan may well have heard boat near surface (getting radio instructions?) and perhaps even making ready to launch (which takes time and is noisy). And it may be that boat sent radio traffic at a bad time…always not so smart…
Perhaps obvious, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Grigorovich-class_frigate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio-class_submarine The Ohio class sub masses over 18,000 tons, and the frigate just over 4,000 tons… Is easier to find big ships than it is to find small ships. To compare submarine, consider ww2 “Fleet-boat” (which was a big sub) was about 2,000 tons.
Or maybe some fella dropped a wrench…
Duhya tink maybe 18,000 tons of steel pipe might just maybe have a large magnetic “signature”…but then –
Considering the poor quality of fodder units (declining since November 1963, until now (no kidding!) the kiddies can’t read or write cursive scrip, or even sign their names… Considering that…
I ain’t s’priz’d… I guess the skipper better fergit about being an admirl, eh?
The article only says the Russian vessel tracked the usn sub for 2 hours. It didn’t say how. It also didn’t say if the sub was previously or later tracked or whether the sub was aware of being tracked.
Reporting on this now, it happened several months ago, around the time israel ordered its pindo colony to run a missile attack on Syria, is Russia sending a message to the israeloamericans and providing just enough information so the israeloamericans understand it’s not fiction.
I remember, many years ago, while talking to my neighbor, who served in Greek Navy, he said that during some exercises in the Aegean Sea, Soviet sub surfaced just beside their ship, giving them runs as their anti-sub people did not even have an idea that they were being tracked by that sub. OK, you do not need to tell me that Greek Navy is a second rate navy, which uses discarded American, German, etc equipment.
It is british engkish nation which told lies about chemical attack and promoted attack on syria – then why dies name of israel come here _ to distract from real satan which is england ?
Also says they got acoustical information, suggesting acoustical contact, (well the Murkinz didn’t mail them a recording…). This may or may not be how boat was found. But there is little room for doubt in the article that the contact has acoustical component. As the energy of sound varies with the square, and the magnetic force as the cube, discovery, even of 18,000 ton boat, is (Occam’s Razor) probably acoustical. (Actually the sub is not an isotropic source due to acoustical ducting, so the attenuation is less than the square root/d.) The boat was there in support of some “mission”…with weapons. Making ready to fire means being near surface, and also making noises…both tend to make discovery less difficult. At about that time weapons were fired from other US ships nearby eg in the Med., at Syrian “targets”. Nuclear engines make noise, so do valves and pumps and so forth. The detection and even brief tracking of a missile submarine is a considerable achievement, as in war-time it means that the boat quite probably ends. Sinks. Permanently. Contrawise, the surface ship itself is a target…
Given the specification published for both sub and frigate I see that the sub can outrun the frigate, but only at the price of making lotsa noise and becoming nearly useless.
It was very good that the boat and the frigate were not under orders to engage one another, as one or both would have ended right there and right then.
10 years back China was doing this with US Navy. And they don’t have great EW. Subs shadowing US ships.
The US is as Saker has described ad nauseam, bloated, second class in many ways, self-deceptive and weak where it matters.
French Twitterati furious over ‘Russophiles’ report, launch ‘Russian bots’ flashmob
What would make a lot of sense to Russia would be to develop small numbers of new and advance weapons. That way, Russia would know how to build the very best weapons it can build should they ever need them. But as long as the American MIC is so highly corrupt and waste money on Future Combat Systems it never builds and Littoral Combat Ships that don’t do the job and F-35’s that can do everything for every service but which cost a fortune to buy and seem not to be able to fly most of the time, as long as the American MIC stays in that state, then no need for the Russians to spend a lot of money developing new systems to beat new American systems.
Russia could take it as far as getting the assembly line up and working and getting a few out to the field so the researchers can see them there, but then save money and shut down the line because they don’t need the new ones to beat the 1980’s stuff the Americans are fielding.
Russia would have to be careful not to let the Americans steal the Russian designs.
The good thing is that everytime Russia releases a new weapon, the American MIC runs to Congress and demands billions more to meet this new horrible threat, and then they waste those billions and many billions more with a corrupt system that can not turn out working weapon. A few more new Russian weapons, and America could go bankrupt!
I am curious about what Russia is doing with their navy.
It seems to me that Russia’s big problem is still defensive in nature of making sure that NATO can’t attack from its foward bases in eastern europe with any success. NATO is still threatening war, and blunting that threat would appear to be top priority for Russia. A navy is somewhat secondary to that task. The coasts such as the Baltic, the Black sea, and the Pacific can largely be defended by missiles launched from land or with missile carrying aircraft. These days that can be enough firepower to keep an enemy a few hundred miles out to sea. And since NATO can drive to Riga anyways even before the war starts, a navy doesn’t seem like an existensial need for Russia.
A navy could be raiding force to attack NATO cross-ocean supply lines. But specific ships mentioned, the aircraft carrier and the amphibious ships would be in such a role. They are more about force projection, which basically would mean they can be useful before a major war starts but rather useless after such a war begins. In fact if they are being used for force projection at the time a war begins, they are probably too weak and exposed and quickly lost.
I did think the whole Mistrial thing was about Syria. I think the reason NATO cancelled the deal was because they could see a Mistrial being used by Russia in Syria. And in such a situation, a Mistrial could have been useful. It would have been able to put about 2000 Russian marines with landing craft and especially transport helicopters right off the Syrian coast. That’s what those ships are designed for. But, the Russians were also capable of getting troops and helicopters to that port by regular cargo and transport ships, so even in this near ideal case a Mistrial still wasn’t absolutely neccessary. About the same for the carrier. It didn’t hurt to have it off the coast of Syria, but there were other ways to get the same number of planes flying out of a base in Syria. I suppose both go from nice to needed if the security situation on the ground is so risky that Russia doesn’t want to put a base on the coast. But until then, Russia doesn’t really have to have them.
And, if a real, full-fledge shooting war began while either ship was off the coast of Syria, its likely that they are early casualties in that war. And its rather unlikely that they’d survive to make it back up into the Black Sea to a safe base.
Thus, these sorts of ships seem to me to be a bit of a luxury for Russia. My long-term view of the world is that the Russia-China combination comes out on top if they don’t get beaten in a war before then. The key strategic point at this time is for both to have enough defensive strength to make it to that long-term victory. A small force projection navy doesn’t really contribut to that.
There is a point as the Russia-China partnership becomes stronger where it transistions from defense into more of a force projection role. And thus it makes me wonder if perhaps Russia and China believe that such a transition is within the time-frame of ship building projects if both are now starting to build more aircraft carriers and amphibious ships.
Whatever Russia wants for its Navy I think that is very related to its real shipbuilding capabilities. With the end of USSR most of those capabilities, yards, facilities, and most important of all, Main Design Bureaus (TsKBs) are lost and with them is lost the knowledge, the experience. For example all the large and most advanced naval units of Adm. Gorshkov era (Moskva, Kiev, Kara, Slava etc. class) were built at Black Sea Shipbuilding Works at Nikolaev Ukraine. And in Ukraine there was the production of the large naval gas turbines. Maybe they already have the once called Baltic Yard Leningrad or Zhdanov Leningrad where the Kirov and Kresta I Class cruisers were built.
I always thought about the SU-57 is that it gave the Russians the perfect opportunity to perfect their stealth aircraft tracking radar. That is the reason they went to Syria to see if the S-400 could get a weapons lock in a crowded combat environment. So now they do not need so many stealth aircraft as missiles are cheaper to produce than aircraft and will handle any F-22/35 incursion into Russian airspace.
Let us also never forget that Russian military planning is based on defence, whilst the west’s military planning is based on an entirely different premise.
I think that the Russians, in providing information, follow the sequence that would be somehow like this: it is not the same as the one and the same information, for example; “Americans must leave Tanf until the Sunday morning until 10 am,” said by Putin or some military official. by the hierarchy, information has different weight and effect. if Putin says, Americans must run away. if Gerasimov says that, the matter is very serious and should be discussed. if Lavrov says, diplomacy is at the end of power in solving this problem and the problem will be addressed in a “more rough” way.
Russia is not alone in Heartland…
The (removed ethnic slur,MOD) do a bit of predictive programming….they are making noises about making a few gadgets, which would take, what? 10 minutes?
Give it a few years and it will be…
While reading this Saker’s indeed well informed and careful analysis, I am inescapably diverted to ruminating on the meaning and purpose of Putin’s peculiarly public announcement on Russia’s new super-weapons, delivered this past March.
An overall impression one might get from the latter is an underlying high degree of insecurity. To use zoological imagery, akin to a small weak prey signalling to a large potential predator (via bright colours or pungent smells or extended barbs etc.) the high price to be paid for being eaten. The October 2015 show-firing of Kalibr missiles from the Caspian also neatly fits this picture.
Is the U.S. getting the intended message, or – au contraire – just the above impression?
” I am curious about what Russia is doing with their navy.”
Signed December 8, 1987, the INF Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to verifiably eliminate all Ground-Launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
It looks like russian navy works as F22 or F35. Stealth mode. From Caspian Sea they can attack the enemy navy in Mediterranean sea using Kalibr missiles. One example.
Or from Black Sea to Baltic Sea…..
The fight will be between russian long range missiles on one hand and enemies ships ( aircraft carriers,destroyers,frigates…) on the other hand. Simplified ( and funny ) version.
If the oil price is less than $150/barrel,Russia doesn’t need aircraft carriers ! Maybe a few new destroyers for blue waters.
“Russia deploys 4 Su-57s to Syria and then appears to more or less cancel or, at least, dramatically reduce the procurement of this weapons system”
I do not agree with this statement.
Russia didn’t ever officially “cancel” SU-57 except in some Western MSM propaganda “news” outlets.
Russia didn’t “dramatically reduce” SU-57 order recently, because they have been talking about that last few years.
So relating test in Syria with “sudden” canceling or “dramatically reducing” order of SU-57 is simply not true.
This interpretation could have been just another propaganda ploy of Western MSM.
Those who have followed “FGFA” saga with India know well that story and change of heart of Russian side.
India didn’t like (among other things) drastic reduction of the Russian order of SU-57.
The official Russian reason was absence of 5th stage engine (the real reason was also absence of money)
After announcing much bigger order at the beginning Russians have ordered only 12 SU-57 with “1st stage engine”(4+ stage upgraded engine – “article 117”) till “second stage engine”(5th generation engine) comes out next year 2019 and production starts in 2020.
Only than with the “second stage engine” they will start with full production of SU-57 and bigger batches of that airplane.
And all this is an old news by now.
What is Western MSM propaganda doing afterwards with those informations is not entirely Russian fault.
BTW I agree that Russian decisions are “threat/mission driven” with the spending of limited fond always on their mind.
I always look bright side of the situation. Western MSM are such good liars that they believe their own rubbish.
So Russia is often in position to surprise West because they underestimate Russia so much, thanks to their own so advanced propaganda.
This is completely out of tune, but I I realized something important: We are human!
I dont understand a word in his song, but the beatutifullness is evident, I wass moved to tears, just listening and not understanding.
The film is “Here, the dawns are quiet”. The story of an anti aircraft unit during The great Patriotic War, in a remote village. Sent to command the All Women unit, near the Finnish border, in Karelia, Sr. Sargent Vaskov had requested a command where there was no brawling and no alcohol. A Nazi reconnaissance platoon is spotted in the forest and so the story unfolds.
It is a prime example of the beauty and commitment of Russian women to their duty, whether it is to being a Wife, daughter, or a soldier to endure everything and anything and ready to fulfill the order, to fulfill the promise, to commit and perform any sacrifice. This is the second version of the film the first one back in the early 70´s was nominated to an Oscar. a must watch, it´s in the video website.
Ever wonder why Russian women are so admired?
Articles that describe how Russia and the rest of the world are arming themselves against the world’s terrorist (USA) make my day. I pray every day that the Lord will not allow the evil empire (USA) to continue murdering people all over the world, and I know He will use Russia, China, and others, to do this work.
Interesting back and forth about WW2 armour and tactics up thread. Enjoyable read while sitting in the car awaiting a rain storm to pass. There is a few things I can add, not in any particular order.
Regarding Aberdeen proving ground material from the 1950’s:
I have a couple of books which compiled such material. A lot of the material on Soviet material relied upon wartime German reports. Some of the other material was the sort of nonsense , obviously pushing propaganda. Very much in keeping with the pindo religion of propaganda before facts. (Not exaggerating), I would regard the material the same way any other american “historical” work should be regarded. Propaganda and corrupted.
This is a very serious obstacle in studying history in the western “wonderland” , finding decent factual material.
In summer 1943, the Russians were designing both heavy and medium tanks utilizing the same gun. What’s the point of the heavies then? So they initiated a design competition to provide the heavies with a more powerful weapon.
Two options were tried out, the 100mm, which was in development as an at artillery weapon and a av version of a 122mm tube (43 cal, if I remember right) that was already existing.
The Russians set out a captured Panther and fired a round of the 122 at it. It went through the sloped 80mm front armour and exited out the 50-60 rear (forget which thickness, may have been 40).
Result, 122 it is, it is already in production, so can be quickly adapted. The 100mm actually was more potent, and was produced as such later, but in 1943 it was less ready for production.
The 122 proved its worth, the kinetic energy alone seeing off any afv hit, no matter the armour. A turret hit usually resulted in a turret less victim. This weapon was actually more powerful than the 5″ 38cal arming usn destroyers as primary gun tube and the secondaries of cruisers, battleships and carriers at that time.
Wow, the rain stopped…time to move before the next wave arrives.
Making sense of a few rumors,
I agree totally!
I remember the day i saw the terrorist TOW missile set off one replaceable external re active armour module on those remarkable T 95s via a mislabelled video on the WashPo.
No NATO army could touch that!
Since then it has become clear to me that modern Russian technology is qualitatively different to Soviet era achievements.
The up armouring and refitting of old T 72s provides staggering back up.
The game changing T 14 series, apart from research never being wasted, appears a lot less urgent.
Bruce in Adelaide
Well I have actually had a ride in both a T 34, t 55 an a T 72 and it is no joy. But they work. The T 34 was used in the Angolan war.
Anyways a RPG 18 was plenty effective and made life in armor upbeat.
The Russian Navy has very, very limited needs for a Shtorm type carrier. In reality only the Pacific Fleet could use it and it would be subject to danger when exiting the Sea of Okhotsk in hostile times. The Black Sea Fleet is constrained by the Montreux Convention from having such a carrier. A Shtorm type carrier is a sitting duck when exiting from the Baltic Fleet. And I can’t see any logical reason for the Northern Fleet to have such a vessel.
Aircraft carrying ships are a different matter, something like the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) capable of amphibious landings, helo operations, ASW and like the Spanish ship Juan Carlos I STOVL aircraft. Or an even larger multi purpose ship of 60,000 tonne capable of STOBAR aircraft like Kuznetsov or even CATOBAR. A ship of this types main function would be amphibious and helo operations but carrying a limited complement of aircraft for ship defence and extended range projection. Much longer range projection if the aircraft are fitted with Khinzal. A ship of this type would be able to operate as part of the Black Sea Fleet and be a useful addition to the other fleets.
In the former Soviet VMF aircraft carriers such as Kiev class or Orel Class (Riga/Brezhnev Class now Kutznetzov) had the main purpose to defend the so called “bastions” that were naval areas where soviet SSBN could stay safe. A lonely carrier is almost useless because she needs periodical maintenance works cycle that can last also a year or more.
Moreover every aircraft carrier must have an appropriate Task Force that Soviet VMF had but Russian Navy didn’t has. Another question is if they now have the design and shipbuilding capability to put at sea a new aircraft carrier or such large ships.
Those claiming that Sherman was lousy tank while T-34 excellent are total idiots. In fact T-34 was never reliable, excellent and serious design and production shortcomings. It wasn’t even as cheap as claimed.
Soviet Union produced mediocre tanks, aircraft and vessel and when not able to do as good as those in western nations it tried to outproduce them. The idea to to beat them with numbers had weak points when double numbers of mediocre tanks and aircraft led to double training need, double servicemen, double logistics, double fuel, double weaponry, double ammo, double support etc… In fact poor quality might cause triple death spiral.
Poor quality is poor quality and it will always cause serious problems.
Don’t mistake different requirements and different purposes for “poor quality”. Several soviet weapons systems are doing a good work also after thirty-forty years. After the defeat of USSR and the end of Cold War some soviet weapons systems were acquired by the West. If I am not wrong also the basic technology for the new F-35 originates from Yak-141 designed for Morskaya Aviatsiya (Soviet Naval Air Force). In the early ’70 soviet naval missiles (P-15 / SS-N-2 Styx) often “outgunned” western naval systems ( Indo-Pakistan War 1971 and Middle East Wars). And before the downing of U-2 on Soviet Union with S-75 missiles.
Soviet Union didn’t have even aluminium production during WW2 to produce more than 60 000 aircraft. They used wood which was one of the reasons why VVS had terrible high non-combat loss rate and short life cycle of their aircraft.
T-34 unlike mythmakers have claimed took 17,600 labor hours per unit in Jan 1943. Not 3,000 hours. It had not effective gun. Its gearbox was lousy, it lacked shock absorbers, quality of steal mostly poor. Tank itself was unable to pass 300 km road marches and so on…the list of dark sides of T-34 is long. It’s crew was not able to open fire as fast as those of Sherman, Pzkw IV or Panther.
It really makes me wondering why still so many people are believing in myth of T-34 superiority. In fact it got the title: most destroyed combat armor of military history. Red Army won the war but not because T-34. It was not such excellent tank as often claimed.
According new studies made of WW2 (O’Brien, German state backed studies of German WW2 production, etc) with exception of Soviet Union, big powers gave not much for army production. Numbers of ww2 munitions were something like these:
Germany: 55-58% for airwar, 12% for sea war and only 30-33% for land warfare.
USA: 24-25% for landwar and great deal of that for Royal Army, Red Army, Free French etc, not even near all for US forces.
UK: 20-21% for land warfare, some 50% for building only aircraft (without even their ammo and weapons)
Japan: 17-18% for landwar. In fact Japanese Army had to earn their own living in China and Pacific islands.
(O’Brien didn’t Soviet figures but other sources are suggesting that more than 60% of Soviet munitions went to land war)
WW2 was the beginning of era when land armies in most military powers became lowest priority armed branches. And as military history has told technology used in sea warfare has always been much more advanced than that in land. Generally speaking – landwar is more primitive and less advanced as sea and airwar. There is no need to even dream of times when land war will have highest priority of big military powers. Even Russia have learned bitter lessons of Soviet WW2 poor technology, mediocre short range tactical air power and lack of strategic warfare ability. According to studies made by Russian military academy Soviet military personal losses during 1941-45 have been staggering 14,241,000 deaths. Lev Lopukhovsky, Boris Kavalerchik and Harold Orenstein are suggesting those military deaths have been even worse: 14,600,000.
This or that there is no doubt that modern Russia doesn’t want such a slaughter and want to have extremely highly advanced smaller but more effective strategic military competence.
“Germany: 55-58% for airwar, 12% for sea war and only 30-33% for land warfare”.
The German state-sponsored histories of World War II, published in English translations as “Germany and the Second World War”, are remarkable achievements of scholarship. Fairly-minded and detailed, they present a thorough picture of Germany at war. In one of the sections on war production the authors seemed surprised that Germany’s economic effort was geared much towards aircraft production than land armaments. They then pose a question:
It’s a central question, but it is also misdirected in its assumptions. Instead of Germany spending “conspicuously” small amount of effort on the land war, the Nazi state’s efforts in this are were absolutely typical of all the major powers, with the exception of Soviet Union. This was the way war was waged by US, UK, Germany and Japan.
Here is the munitions production of Germany, divided by type in July 1944, the record highest ever German war production month:
– Aircraft: 48.3%
– Ammunition: 24.0%
– Weapons: 9.3%
– AFV (combat armor): 7.8%
– Naval vessels: 4.5% (record lowest share, 8% in 4Q/1944, 12-16% in 1939-42)
– Motor vehicles: 2.4%
– Half-tracks: 1.6%
– Powder 2.0%
Source: USSBS, European Report 3, page 145.
Aircraft production has during the war it peaks and valleys but generally average share was above 40%. Now getting break points of weaponry and ammo production will bring another big surprise for many. Not even near all went to land warfare. In fact average 46% of weapons went to Luftwaffe (aircraft), AA-artillery and Navy. Ammo, the second largest type of munitions got average more than 25% of production. However surprisingly large share of it didn’t go to army. In quarters of 1942: 27%, 44%, 54%, 59%. In 1943: 67%, 67%, 64%, 63%. In 1944: 66%, 68%, 68%, 69%.
When Germans were victorious the army share of ammo was surprisingly low: little bit over 50%. Later when Germans lost battle of Atlantic and air war the army share of ammo was little bit over 2/3. In same way Germans uses remarkable low share of munitions for building tanks and other combat armor when they were victorious. Until late 1942 less than 4% according German internal documents. During the same period they used more than 3 times effort for Navy vessels (especially U-boats) and 10 times more for building aircraft.
The interesting correlation to be victorious and using more effort for building aircraft was almost a norm in WW2. British figures of numbers of tank production vs. aircraft production is revealing:
1944…………1:5.9 (first half of the year)
German figures are almost totally reverse.
1944…………1:1.9 (first half of the year)
Figures are even flattering tank production because Britons produced in 1942-44 more and more heavy bombers. The real rate in the eve of Normandy might have been equal to 1:10 or even more if comparing that Germans were producing mostly just single engine fighters or fighter-bombers. It didn’t help Germans at all to give more effort for AFV production. When air cover was gone the German army became just hunted prey. German put all their effort to get new generation jet aircraft, V-2 to take advantage in air war. This all underlined how high priority Germany, just like US/UK/Japan put on air war. In same way new generation U-boats got even as late as in Jan 1945 the highest priority with aircraft production. On that same list there was not army production with exception of assault guns (but not panzers).
It’s time to rethink WW2 warfare and abandon that land warfare centric attitude. It was much more air and sea warfare will and effort than most of historians have realized. Armies had such low priority in those countries (Soviet U only exception) that it’s really stunning.
Don’t get me wrong but tanks (AFV = armored fighting vehicles) were not as crucial and decisive even in WW2 as many are believing. Americans built over 80,000 AFV but that was just 4% of US war production. What is even more amazing is that German AFV production (about 50,000 including all SPG’s) was average just 6.6 – 6.8% of German war production.
Tanks without logistics and infantry (using half-trucks), perfect recon and logistic chain were hapless. If lacking air cover it was in desperate situation. Even in WW2 it was impossible for big powers to win battles without air dominance. Tanks became subordinates in warfare and they were not really “winners of war”.
Oil, production and air superiority were more vital than battle centric historians are claiming. Land war was cheap but man costly. It’s time to stop the land war hype. Just check butcher’s bill. Americans beat Japanese flat with cost of less than 100,000 battle deaths. They might have even cut those losses 1/3 if avoiding some unnecessary land battles. They cut the neck of Japanese in Marianas anyway.
“If you want to read what the Sherman was really like, read R. Belton Cooper’s ‘Death Traps’.”
Belton Cooper should have studied personal losses of Sherman tank crews: they were remarkable low. The death rate of AT-gun penetrated Sherman was 60% lower than those of T-34. Only Panther crews had as low loss rates, but Pzkw IV’s much higher. In fact only 1,300 US tank crew members KIA during WW2 and half of them Sherman crews.
Belton Cooper was claiming nonsense and ignorants believed those myths.
Shoigu’s quote: (believe “our” grandfathers is misquote-read on another site as “your” grandfathers to a German audience.
“Given what Germany did in our country, I think they should keep mum on the matter for the next two hundred years,” Shoigu stressed, in an apparent nod to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union during World War Two.
In addition, he said that one should “ask [our] grandfathers” what it means to talk to Russia from a position of strength, in another clear reference to the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany.
Instead Russians themselves should ask what Marshal Zhukov mentioned about lend lease and how important it was for Soviet warfare. Zhukov’s conclusions were far from some “4% bullshit” claim.
“Now they say that the allies never helped us, but it can’t be denied that the Americans gave us so many goods without which we wouldn’t have been able to form our reserves and continue the war”.
Then he continued:
“We didn’t have explosives, gunpowder. We didn’t have anything to charge our rifle cartridges with. The Americans really saved us with their gunpowder and explosives. And how much sheet steel they gave us! How could we have produced our tanks without American steel? But now they make it seem as if we had an abundance of all that. Without American trucks we wouldn’t have had anything to pull our artillery with.”
Then we have to go to production issue. Let’s never forget the fact that over 75% of Luftwaffe combat losses were caused by western allied plus 90% of losses of Kriegsmarine. But here’s the point as Mats pointed it: German war production was targeting much more air and sea warfare than most of people, even many historians are aware. According studies made in Germany in 1990’s and early 2000’s German historians were totally surprised to find that great majority (67-70%) of German munitions were targeting air and sea war. According Doctor Phillips O’Brien of Glasgow University the share of army might have been even lower than 33% if taking all development costs of aircraft, navy production, V-1/V-2s and concrete shelter construction project (of which over 80% was targeting allied strategic air war).
The pale fact seems to have been that majority of German war production never went to war in Eastern Front because army production took surprisingly small share of German production. There is no way any contradiction between German military personal losses been mostly (80%) in Eastern Front while smaller share of aircraft/navy vessel losses (25% and less than 10%). Germans had just 17.2% of their all fighter aircraft in Eastern Front in 10 Dec 1943 and just about 14% of their antiaircraft artillery. Later even less. That contrast was part of the big picture. Most of value of German munitions production went to war against Western Allied. Eastern Front land war was relative cheap but of course man costly. We should not also be too shy to claim that there was huge gap between value of some German U-boat crews at Atlantic to those mostly bulk infantry soldiers of Heer in east. When Nazi Germany leaders (Hitler and his near henchmen) had to made prioritizing they without hesitation abandoned Heer in east and pulled Luftwaffe air cover from east to west to defend desperately German munition production which of course was always Germany’s top number one priority.
ON virtues and flaws of Sherman Tanks in service with the Red Army, I believe the best and most reliable source is Dmitriy Loza in his book ‘Commanding the Read Army Sherman tanks’.
My father, who was also a doctor, was mobilised (called to arms) in 1953, during the so-called ‘Trieste crisis’, a tense situation that developed between Yugoslavia and Italy regarding the Trieste issue. He was assigned to a mixed tank brigade, consisting of T-34/85s and Shermans. He entered both tanks, out of curiosity, and his comment when he told me about the event twenty years later on was ‘Sherman was sooo comfortable on the inside, like you were sitting in a luxury car, while T-34 was entirely spartan. In peacetime, every tankman wanted to be inside a Sherman, but when the going got tough, and firefight became a possibility, each and every one of them would never leave their T-34’
” each and every one of them would never leave their T-34″
And they didn’t leave them many times. They burned inside that cramped tank which T-34 really was. Sloped armor might sound fascinating first. The dark side of that it made things for crew pretty terrible. When Germans got their powerful 75 mm gun they could destroy T-34 from long range while 76 mm gun of T-34 has penetration ability. Let’s check that:
Armour-piercing (AP): penetration at 1,000 m 50 mm
That of StuG III assault gun
7.5 cm KwK 40 L/48 APCR: 1000 m 130 mm, 1500 m 109 mm penetration. Even in distance of 2000 m that German gun could penetrate 92 mm.
When T-34/85 arrived in 1944 it has 85 mm gun but it was never better than that of German 75 mm gun used by StuG III and far behind 75 mm gun used by Panther.
Pzgr. 40/42 (APCR): 1000 m 199 mm, 1500 m 170 mm, 2000 m penetrated 145 mm armor.
While that of 85mm/L52 (D-5T): 1000m 100 mm, 1500 m 73 mm and 2000m just 54 mm.
T-34/76 was far behind reliability and serviceability of modernized M4 Sherman, Pzkw IV and Panther. The gap widened in 1942-43 and T-34/85 could never narrow that gap. The irony here is that German high commanders when trying to make pretext of 1941 failure in east were together with Soviet myth makers building that legend of T-34 superiority.
There are however more interesting Soviet weaknesses of WW2 too easily veiled by weaponry, tank and other production data. First :Soviet Union had problems to increase its oil production after 1941 when it produced 33 million tons oil. In 1943 that production was 18 million and even more surprisingly in 1944 to production was still as low as 18.2 million tons. That has been big surprise.The second interesting thing is poor Soviet aluminium production compared to even Japan. You see unlike so often claimed Japanese production increased remarkable fast in 1942-43 and until mid 1944 when US forces finally cut ties between raw materials and their industry. Japanese aluminium ingot production was in 1943 144 000 metric tons while that of Soviet Union just 62 000. Without American warfare that production would have been likely 160-170 000 metric tons in 1944 while Soviet Union had still only 82 000 m-tons.
Even when taking steel ingots production Japanese did quite well. In 1943 8.8 million m-tons, slightly more than Soviet Union (8.5 million m-tons). Before mid 1944 Japanese outproduced Soviet Union in coal (1943: 117 million vs. 93 million tons). Iron ore was where Soviet Union outproduced Japan but not in large marginal (1943: 7.5 million m-tons vs. 9.3 million m-tons).
Soviet Union was desperately short of aluminium. When Harry Hopkins paid his first visit to Stalin in July 1941 to ask the Soviet dictator what the country needed to keep fighting in light of the German invasion, the number one priority he was given was immediate aluminium shipments so that the Soviet Union could build more aircraft. From there until the end of war , the United States poured aluminium into Soviet Union . By 1943 it was providing the Soviets more of the metal then was actually allocated to the entire US Navy. By the end of the war USA had transferred 75 000 tons of processed aluminium and almost 195,000 aluminium bars and ingots to Soviet Union, 98% of which came under lend-lease. Only because of this enormous infusion of aluminium was the USSR able to out-produce the Japanese in aircraft between 1942-44, thought the numbers are closer than people often realize, and the Japanese even increased production by larger number and at higher rate. Besides if the Soviets out-produced the Japanese in individual units, the Japanese out-produced the Soviets in terms of technological quality.
From early 1942 on wards, the Eastern Front was, even during the height of Kurs campaign, a minority for the Luftwaffe. For the rest of the war, between 70 to 80 percent of the Luftwaffe, numerically, was always deployed against British and Americans. And loss rates for Luftwaffe fighting against the British and Americans were much higher, even considering that the best pilots and equipment were sent to the west. The Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front was therefore made up of the less-skilled German pilots, often flying out of date technology that had proved to be ineffective during Battle of Britain in 1940 – such as Stuka Ju-87 dive-bomber and Heinkel 111 bomber. Yet, even with the Soviets overwhelming numerical superiority the loss rates they were able to inflict on the Luftwaffe were modest so say the least. Much of that seems to be down to two elements: the relatively poor performance of Soviet aircraft and the weakness of t heir pilot-training schemes.
(Luftwaffe combat loss rates in both 1943 and 1944 was about 0.7% per combat flying sorties while staggering 5.37% in west during 1944. Luftwaffe in west had absolutely zero chance to use aircraft they were using in east and that’s why the est vs. west gap was likely even higher than 1:8)
So I sit here and listen to a song I do not understand.
Н.Расторгуев и ЛЮБЭ, А.Филатов и офицеры группы “Альфа” “А зори здесь тихие-тихие”
Ilove the song, and can feel what it says, but not in words. It is very strong.
I understand the spirit, the Geist in the song and the love of one’s country This is true love, the love of the soil, the black earth.
You know us Swedes and Danes are patriotic too, we love our countries and harbor no ill will to other people.
This catches me:
And maybe I am a dumb Swede or Dane, however…….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUFFImcgeHA , here you have it with English subtitles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=511Lt3Kg0aI this one is awesome, especially when performed by Pyatnitski choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rO4Ougc5VE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alejKZhngvg song ‘Kombat’ by Lyube, from the serial ‘Shtrafbat’ (Penal battalion), no English subs, regretfully, ‘Kombat’ does not mean ‘combat’ as in English, but is an abbreviation from COMmander (of) BATtalion
Here’s the refrain, though:
Combat-“batyanya,”* “batyanya”- combat,
You didn’t hide your heart behind boys’ backs.
Planes are flying, and tanks are burning,
He strikes, yo, combat, yo, combat.
Combat-“batyanya,” “batyanya”- combat,
Behind us are Russia, Moscow, and Arbat,
Open fire, battery, open fire, battalion,
Combat, yo, he issues a command.
by the way, in my opinion, ‘Penal battalion’ is one of, if not the, best Russian series dedicated to WWII
But the most beautiful song, in my opinion, is ‘To the generals of the Civil war’, by Zoya Yashchenko and ‘Biyelaya gvardiya’ (White guards) band:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUKQIlHu3tk (the scenes are from the Russian blockbuster ‘Admiral’, 2008)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0bR4_TidvE and here is the song with English subs
“There is nothing wrong with Russian Federation force planning.” Thank you Saker for your complex, exacting analysis of that Rus force planning capability! A must read, pass on, debate.