The State of Soviet Artillery on the Eve of Operation Barbarossa WW2 [FIXED]

The State of Soviet Artillery on the Eve of Operation Barbarossa WW2 [FIXED]


Today we’re going to take a look at the
state of Soviet Artillery, Mortars and Anti-Tank guns on the Axis-Soviet Front on the eve of
the Great Patriotic War. This is the new and improved version of this video – since I did
this a couple of days ago, and messed up with one of the charts. The link to the old video
will be in the description for those of you who really want to go see where I went wrong. Anyway, Soviet artillery was split into two
forces. The first being the regular force artillery, which was the organic regiments
and battalions that are within rifle divisions and corps. Then we have artillery from the
Reserve of the High Command (shortened to RGK, later RVGK). This reserve force was a
centralized pool of units that could be attached (where needed) to Soviet armies and corps
during the war. At the outbreak of war in 1941, 92% of all
Soviet artillery was in the regular force artillery. This was the 94 corps artillery
regiments, which were supporting armies, corps and divisions at the front. Therefore barely
8% of Soviet artillery was in the RGK, the centralized reserve artillery force. And when
we look at the total amount of Soviet artillery on the 22nd of June 1941, we find that they
had 117,600 guns and mortars. But 37,500 guns and mortars were located in the western border
military districts – with the rest nowhere near the front. This is going to be bad, as
you’ll see. In June of 1941, a typical Rifle Division
would have a light artillery regiment of two battalions (with eight 76mm field artillery
guns and four 122mm howitzers each), totalling 24 artillery pieces. They also had a howitzer
artillery regiment of two light battalions (with twelve 122mm howitzers each), plus a
medium battalion (with twelve 152mm howitzers), bringing the total to 36 howitzers. And there
was an anti-tank battalion with eighteen 45mm guns, plus an anti-aircraft battalion with
twelve 37mm anti-aircraft guns. This means, a division had 294 guns and mortars (at 50mm
size or greater). But, is this really the case? Well, no, because
this is actually the paper strength. The reality was significantly different. Now, this is
where I went wrong last time – I used the wrong chart (because I’m a moron). Anyway,
here is a chart showing the Southwestern Front’s Artillery Weapons on the 22nd of June 1941.
I don’t have the numbers for all of the Western Military Districts, so this will have
to do. But it’s not unreasonable to imagine that if the Southwestern Front are down in
guns of certain calibres, then the rest of the army was also going to be short of these
guns as well because they were. Blue is the number of artillery guns that they required,
and Red is the number of guns that they actually had. If we look at the first part, we see the numbers
for the 45mm Anti-Tank guns. We’ve got 2,134 required, and they actually had 1,912 on had,
with 62 in repair, therefore 1850 in working order. That’s about 87% of their requirements,
which isn’t too bad. Obviously, being 13% down in your anti-tank guns on the eve of
a panzer Blitzkrieg attack is definitely not good, but it’s also not as bad as some of
the other weapons. Such as the 76mm guns. Now, there is a problem
with the original chart where I pulled these numbers from. So, to be completely transparent,
I’m going to have to give a explanation here as to how I’ve come to the numbers
shown. Table 6.3 in Stumbling Colossus lists the required number of certain 76mm guns as
1037. However, it then lists the shortage of guns as 1301. That’s impossible. If I
require 5 apples, I can’t be short 7 – that’s breaking the laws of physics. But there is
a clue in the numbers. If you add up the On Hand weapons together, you get 1301. So I
don’t think that 1301 figure is the shortage, I think that’s the total on hand. And I
think that the requirement number of 1037 is actually the shortage number. If we’re
short 1037 guns, we require 1037 guns. So I think someone’s put it in the wrong box.
Therefore, if you add 1037 and 1301 together, you’ll get 2338, which is the number I’ve
used to add together with the other 76mm guns, and this totals 3244 – shown in this chart.
Obviously, this is a bit of a guess, but it’s an educated one. It also makes sense because
we know they required more 76mm guns than 122mm guns, which wouldn’t be the case if
we left the 76mm gun numbers as they are. So, this absolutely could be wrong, and if
I’m wrong, fine. But I’ve shown my workings out, and if you disagree, all you have to
do is ignore the 76mm gun numbers. But if we accept the numbers, the Southwestern
Front was down by roughly 37% of their 76mm guns. This is a significant amount. And, considering
the Soviets were down 25% in their 122mm guns, and 35% in their 152mm guns and howitzers,
and that these are the guns found in Rifle Divisions – this means that the Rifle Divisions
were missing roughly 66% of their artillery pieces. What we have to consider as well is
that the Germans alone outnumbered the Soviets on the first day of the war, and most of the
German divisions are infantry divisions. Plus there were infantry in the panzer formations
as well. Therefore the Soviets were severely lacking in the tools required to fight back
against them. In terms of Anti-Aircraft guns, the Soviets
are missing 75% of their 37mm guns, and 31.5% of their 76mm Anti-Aircraft guns. Sure, they’ve
got 90% of their 85mm Anti-Aircraft guns, but it’s clear that they’re lacking a
lot of air defenses on the eve of war. We will come back to discussing the Soviet anti-aircraft
arm later in the video (which is very interesting in itself) but for now, let’s look at this
other chart. This is a chart showing the fulfilment of
artillery and mortar ammunition for units in the Western Military Districts on the 22nd
of June 1941. And yes, if you watch the previous edition of this video, you’ll see I’ve
used different numbers to those used in that. The explanation will be in the Pinned Comment
in the comment section below. Anyway, to explain this chart – if the blue bar is at 100%, then
the units have enough ammunition for that weapon. Clearly, they didn’t have enough
ammunition. They’re down by nearly 60% of their their Anti-Tank gun ammunition – on the
eve of a war where panzer divisions are going to be knocking on their door, they’re lacking
60% of their anti-tank gun ammunition. And, as we said, lots of German divisions were
infantry divisions, and all of the divisions had infantry in them. So to be down by 67%
of your 76mm gun ammunition (which is the most-used artillery gun) is also clearly bad.
Then to have only about 55% of the ammunition for your 122mm and 152mm guns basically means
your Rifle Divisions aren’t going to have enough ammunition to tackle the German infantry
they’re about to go up against. And yes, they have just 7.5% of their 37mm
anti-tank guns ammunition. 7.5%. It’s terrible, and, while the 85mm ammunition isn’t shown,
Glantz makes it clear that they were lacking in that ammunition as well. So they’re relying
entirely on their 76mm anti-aircraft guns. And if we pull up this new chart. This is a
mix of the ammunition chart we’ve just seen and the percentages of the weapons needed
for the Southwestern Front. Yes, it’s not ideal because we’re comparing the ammunition
requirement of the whole of the Western Military Districts to the number of artillery pieces
in just the Southwestern Front, but it should give an indication of the problem. Blue is
ammunition fulfilment, and Red is the weapons fulfilment. So being at 100% is good. And as we can see, they’re down by over
30% of their 76mm aircraft guns anyway, even if they have more ammunition. And the 37mm
anti-aircraft gun may as well not even have bothered! They have 7.5% of the ammunition
for them, and only have 24% of the guns to fire that ammunition. It’s a dual problem.
This chart alone explains why the Soviet anti-aircraft defenses are completely inadequate during
Barbarossa since they’re missing more than half their guns, and lacking in ammunition
on top of that. Then when you consider that they don’t have enough anti-tank gun ammunition,
and that the Soviets are forced to use their anti-aircraft guns as anti-tank guns to stop
the waves of enemy panzers, you then realise that their anti-air defenses are even more crippled.
Yep, they’re lacking over 60% of the anti-tank ammunition required to take out the panzers.
And coupled with the fact that they’re down over 60% of their 76mm Field Artillery guns
and ammunition for them, and the fact that they’ve only got about 57% of the ammunition
required for their 122mm and 152mm guns, which they’re also lacking in guns as well, we
can confidently conclude that the Soviet artillery was not in a position to fight infantry or
tanks. And in terms of mortars, they’re also lacking in ammunition, especially for
the 120mm mortars, but all of them are suffering. So, to summarise, Soviet Artillery was significantly
handicapped prior to Barbarossa. Sure, maybe overall you could argue they had more guns
than the Germans, but the ammunition for them wasn’t sufficient. And if you think the material requirement
and fulfilment is bad, it gets worse. Artillery doesn’t have an infinite range, and needs
to move. But in the Red Army there was a massive shortage of trucks and tractors to tow the
guns and carry ammunition. Only 37.8% of Soviet combat formations had their required tractors
when the war began. The RGK lacked up to 85% of their required tractor systems for movement.
And on the 22nd of June 1941, most of the vehicles that they did have required repair. And the problems continue to mount. Half of
the RGK artillery had no repair, reconstruction, or other logistical support. And all artillery
units were supposed to have artillery-correction aircraft to help aim the artillery. But few
of the units actually had them. The Soviets themselves noted that junior and mid-range
artillery commanders were poorly trained and unable to lead their artillery effectively
in combat. Target acquisition was poor, and commanders were unable to coordinate fire
with cooperating units. But, according to a report prepared by Lieutenant General Parserov,
Southwestern Front’s chief of artillery, which was written on the 14th of July 1941,
the worst problem was that of transport for ammunition resupply. The report states that
the majority of units had to leave more than half their ammunition at their base when the
war began, most of which was subsequently blown up or fell to the enemy. So, that chart
we showed before – let’s half the values and go with that. Wow, suddenly things are
a lot worse. And as we said earlier, the Soviets had 117,600 guns and mortars, and only 37,500
of these were at the front. Because of the lack of transport, Soviet artillery could
not be deployed en-masse, and had to be deployed piece-meal. So just looking at the
sheer number of artillery does not tell the full story. There was also the issue of anti-tank units.
The Soviets had neglected anti-tank warfare until after they saw the Fall of France in
1940. They then suddenly realized that anti-tank warfare was essential – which was far too
late. As a result, an anti-tank artillery brigade was created in each army. An anti-tank
brigade in June of 1941 had 5,309 men, with 120 guns, mostly of the 76mm category. But
the Soviets didn’t have the weapons to create these new units. So, on the eve of war, most
of the divisional and corps anti-tank guns were taken away to form the new anti-tank
brigades. This meant that divisions didn’t have enough anti-tank guns, and had to rely
on anti-tank rifles – which weren’t going to be effective. Now someone pointed out that
the Soviets didn’t have anti-tank rifles at the beginning of the war. I don’t know
if this is true or not, but Glantz makes it clear that they did – “This [the creation of anti-tank brigades]
left most Soviet forces deficient in antitank capability, and once war began, these forces
had to make do with the cheaper and more easily produced, but markedly less effective, antitank
rifles.” – Glantz, Stumbing Colossus, P163. This is why the Red Army soldiers ended up
using many of their anti-aircraft guns as anti-tank guns, rather than as anti-aircraft
guns. And, since there was already shortages of basically everything, the anti-tank brigades
themselves were also lacking in trucks, tractors and had trouble conducting reconnaissance
and acquiring targets. On top of all of this, the NKO (which is short
for Ministry of Defence, or “People’s Commissariat for Defence”) decided to abolish the post
of chief of Red Army Artillery. The result, to quote Glantz, left the Red Army’s artillery
– “…decentralized, poorly controlled, relatively
immobile, without adequate logistical support, and largely ineffective when war began.”
Glantz, Colossus Reborn, P285 The Germans then exploited these flaws. When
Operation Barbarossa opened up, Soviet artillery forces had been out-maneuvered and destroyed.
Four of the ten anti-tank brigades were completely wiped out in the initial battles, with many
of the others reduced in the fighting as well. And because the Red Army was forced to deploy
their anti-aircraft guns as anti-tank guns to stop the waves of panzers, this crippled
their air-defenses at a time when their own air-force had been crushed. The Germans then
proceeded to annihilate the Red Army’s anti-aircraft forces, and air force as well, leaving the
Soviets without any air-defences and completely vulnerable to Stuka attacks. Some have claimed that the Soviet Union was
going to attack Germany in the July of 1941, which is why the Germans had to invade in
the June of 1941. Given the state of Soviet forces on the eve of war, we can confidently
conclude that this wasn’t the case. They were outnumbered, didn’t have anywhere near
enough equipment, had massive logistical and supply issues, didn’t have enough trucks,
their tanks were out of date, their air force was basically useless, and they were forced
to use their anti-aircraft guns as anti-tank guns and thus had no air-defense. To attack
would have been suicidal. In fact, to defend was suicidal, and it’s no wonder that many
chose to surrender. And this is why, when people claim that the
Red Army soldier was cowardly or inferior to the amazing German Aryan, they’ve missed
the other side of the equation. If you’re getting attacked by tanks, artillery, infantry,
dive-bombers, and so on, and all you and you and some out-numbered friends, a couple of
rifles and an anti-tank gun, total defeat is your only option. If you had the equipment
and weren’t overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers, yeah you’d fight back. And this is the point to take away. Looking
at the total number of artillery guns alone does not tell the full story. There was a
massive shortage of weapons and ammunition for the Soviets, but even with the weapons
they did have, because of the lack of trucks and tractors, the Soviets deployed their forces
in penny-packets. So, if you imagine 100 Germans going up against 500 Soviets – yes, they’re
outnumbered. But not if the Soviets send in 50 men at a time. Obviously this is an extreme
example, but you get the point. The same applies with Soviet artillery and tanks. They’re
actually outnumbered at the tactical level, and even in those scenarios where they’re
not, they’re missing the other arms, which means – as I’ve said before – they’re
playing rock paper scissors, but only allowed to pick rock. I will come back to look at the evolution
of Soviet Artillery over the course of the war, but I wanted to set the scene today.
Many people still think that the Soviets were gearing up for war. Even when I showed that
not to be the case in my Keitel and Viktor Suvorov video, many still claim to this day
that just exposing how Viktor Suvorov was willing to manipulate the evidence to support
his conclusions didn’t make his views invalid. Well, this video has shown that the Soviets
weren’t in a position to defend, let alone attack. If you’re of the opinion that the
Soviets were planning to attacking the Germans and that the Germans had to do something about
it, well you might be interested in my Suvorov video. Thank you to my Patreons for your continuing
support, you make these videos possible, because you’re awesome. And to everyone, thanks
for watching, bye for now.

100 Comments on "The State of Soviet Artillery on the Eve of Operation Barbarossa WW2 [FIXED]"


  1. Sorry for slight delay in pinned comment!

    BIG Announcement!

    Yes, I announced this the other day, but I had to take the video down, so only about 2,000 of you saw it. Plus not all of you saw my apology video the other day, therefore I’m announcing it again.

    Because the script is finally done (75,423 words) and because I’m having Battlestorm-withdrawal symptoms, I have decided that Battlestorm Operation Crusader must come out NOW. And, because the laws of space-time dictate that I can’t create Monday videos and Battlestorm at the same time, I’m committing 100% to Crusader. I didn’t want to do it like this, and the script is not set up for it to be released like this, and I’m not sure if I can actually do it in such a short space of time, but I’m biting the bullet and releasing Crusader in weekly episodes, starting from next week.

    In theory, it will be the same as I did with Battlestorm Operation Market Garden where I published several episodes and then put them together into one long video at the end. The only problem is that I actually had Market Garden finished when I started releasing episodes; with Crusader that will not be the case. So any and all mistakes made in the script will have to be ironed out on the fly… which means that if I notice a mistake half-way through that impacts a previous episode – tough luck!

    However, the benefits will hopefully outweigh the cons. I’m expecting Crusader to be 7-8 hours long, and I’ll never get it finished if I carry on creating Monday videos. Therefore the only way to finish it is to supplant the normal Monday videos for Crusader.

    Now, practically the script was not designed for this, so I’m having to improvise massively. I also don’t know how long each episode will be, nor how many episodes there will actually be. It will be at least 11 episodes, but probably several more. Each of these will vary in length, simply because certain days of the operation are much longer than others etc. But regardless of the logistical issues the offensive must continue! And by that, I mean, Crusader is happening whether we’re ready for it or not.

    Notes to this video

    I was actually going to show the evolution of Soviet artillery in this episode but ran out of time… plus Crusader. But here’s a bit of information to think about –

    Soviet anti-tank gun numbers dropped to 1,188 guns on the 31st of December 1941. And because Soviet factories were being shipped to the East in 1941, production was curtailed. Therefore, mortars became the cheap man’s artillery weapon, since they were easy to build and inexpensive to form units out of. The Soviets then formed many independent mortar regiments. And later (late 1942 onwards), formed Artillery Divisions…

    Why? Because by the end of 1941 the Soviets were relying on their centralized artillery reserve force (RVGK) rather than their force artillery. Therefore, comparing a Soviet division to a German division is somewhat pointless.

    In the video I mentioned the ammunition chart had changed so here’s the explanation for that (and if you go watch my previous edition of this video you can see the old version of the chart – link in the description). It’s fairly simple really, and actually I’m glad I had to redo this video because I was able to spot it. The table I got the statistics from (Table 6.6 in Stumbling Colossus) lists the Soviet ammunition supply in the table as the “percentage of required”. I took this to mean, if the Soviets required 7.5% of their 37mm AA gun ammunition, then they had 92.5% of their ammunition fulfilled, because the “percentage of requirement” for their ammunition is 7.5%. This was wrong.

    Reading through the text again, I noticed that Glantz makes the point of saying that they were running out of 37mm AA gun ammunition – which was contradicted by the stats in the chart. I then reread the chart title – “Level of Supply of Artillery Ammunition in the Western Military Districts, 22 June 1941 (percentage of required)” and realized that the chart was showing the level of supply for the ammunition, not the requirement of the ammunition. The “percentage of requirement” should have been written as either “as a percentage of the level of supply” or more simply “percentage of fulfilment”, or just “percentage”. So yes, I got beat by poor English.

    Selected Sources

    Glantz, D. “Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War.” University Press of Kansas, 1998.
    Glantz, D. “Colossus Reborn: The Red Army at War, 1941-1943.” University Press of Kansas, 2005.
    Glantz, D. “When Titan’s Clashed.” University Press of Kansas, 2015.
    Hogg, I. "German Artillery of World War Two." Greenhill Books, Kindle 2013.
    Liedtke, G. “Enduring the Whirlwind: The German Army and the Russo-German War 1941-1943.” Helion & Company LTD, 2016.
    Mawdsley, E. “Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War 1941-1945.” Second Edition, Kindle, University of Oxford.

    For a full list of my books, check out this link –
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/114GiK85MPs0v4GKm0izPj3DL2CrlJUdAantx5GQUKn8/edit?usp=sharing

    Thanks for watching!

    Reply

  2. Another good video, Tik. But you didn't mention the impact the '37-'38 purges had on the Red Army Artillery officer corp. No doubt a sizable number of capable and experienced artillery field and logistical officers were shot or were sent to the gulags because of uncle Joe's paranoia and incompetence.

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  3. Regardless what other viewers say I like every presentation that you have done very informative i am a huge miltary fan of ww2

    Reply

  4. 13:20 TIK you are making the same mistake. There were nearly no antitank rifles until late 1941, they started appearing in numbers only during Moscow battle. It's a popular myth that Red Army was armed with ptrd's in summer 1941.
    The only antitanks rifles that Red Army could have in summer of 1941 were some captured Polish rifles in very limited numbers, and there are no combat reports of their use as far as I know.
    The production of PTRD and PTRS only started in october-november of 1941, and in very small numbers!

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  5. The artillery transport (tractors, trucks, horses etc) were intended to be requisitioned from civilians when needed. So this was always going to be lacking until the Red Army had mobilised.

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  6. Interesting to see that the 203mm and the 280mm were perfectly fine at the beginning of the war. One would think that on sutch big guns a lot can break

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  7. TIK, You've done a great job debunking early Soviet preparations for the invasion of Europe. Now all the big losses in Barbarossa actually make sense from a tactical point of view. The Soviet High Command's lack of gearing up, let alone failing to comprehend blitzkrieg in itself- after almost two years of constant rapid invasion of Europe by Nazi Germany- was appalling.

    As a side note Clark, Glantz and Askey claim Germany had 7200 uptil 23000 artillery pieces. Even though the Red Army was in complete dissaray and taken by surprise, the Soviets apparently also had at least 7000 aircraft near its Western borders. Did this give both sides roughly equal numbers or was the Soviet Union still far outnumbered materially, (taking ammunition into account)?

    I was curious to ask, what do you make of this CIA document questioning Stalin's intelligence reports, stating that an attack from Nazi Germany was imminent with him ignoring the reports?
    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol50no1/9_BK_What_Stalin_Knew.htm

    Also, what's your take on the Soviet Union allowing a defeated pre-Nazi Germany in jointly train its tank crews and developing a doctrine of mobile warfare in Soviet military schools?

    Do you think Stalin was realistic enough in his cold Machiavellian calculations, in that making a pact with Germany increased his nation's chances of survival, and did he count on the possibility Germany going to war with all of Europe with the idea of them slowly losing a war of attrition like in World War One? Is it possible he might have envisaged to invade Europe at a later date?

    All this really makes you question if the Soviet Union, with all its heavy industry and population- like almost every country in Europe, as the majority of French, Polish, and British generals were unprepared to adopt the blitkrieg doctrine of combining artillery, tanks, aviation and infantry- if they were still in a state of mind to re-enact the First World War, i.e. static trench warfare.

    One earlier point you've made was the problem of oil, and the fact that until the invasion of the Soviet Union the Germans were dependent on their oil and that of Romania. Strategically, were the deal with the Soviet Union demanding that Romania cede territory, and Soviet incompetence against Finland's influences on Hitler's decision to strike while the Soviets were still unprepared?

    Reply

  8. Maybe they were planning to attack in 1 or 2 years time? Also they may have underestimated the German army?

    Reply

  9. Tik great videos, ive just finished watching a documentary series called soviet storm: war in the east. It was made for russian TV so i understand there will be some bias and propaganda so i was wondering if you have seen this series and if so, how would you rate the accuracy of the series. Also what is your opinion on documentaries in general

    Reply

  10. Do you have access to the Wydawnictwo Militaria publications on Barbarossa? Volume I has a breakdown of artillery on hand as at June 22 1941 for each of the Western MDs. Some figures for SW Direction are a match to Glantz (107mm guns for example) others differ, but the overall total for Artillery tubes that they give in the Western MDs is close to 60,000 (roughly 55% mortars, 45% guns/ howitzers).

    Reply

  11. @4:20 that seems to answer my question (partly as this is only for the southwesternfront) that I posed last video, TiK. Must say the numbers are fascinating and in some cases startling.

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  12. Tik, what was the size of Soviet Airborne Forces and where were they stationed/deployed to in June 1941? This has always been the tell I have seen referenced for Soviet intent to attack Westward, as Airborne Forces are almost exclusively assault and not defensive in nature.

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  13. TIK, tell us then: do You think that Red Army was less prepared to hipothetical offensive war than Axis forces to actuall Barbarossa?

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  14. Hey TIK, thanks for an awesome documentary once again! I really loved it, however I do have a small request: Could you adjust your visuals so they don't overlap with Subtitles? Its not terribly needed, just thought of it in case people who can't talk english (well or at all) are interested in your documentaries.

    Reply

  15. "Some have suggested that the Soviet Union was preparing to attack in the July of 1941."
    Yes, and I still very much believe this to be the case.
    Read the book: "Deutschland im Visier Stalins" by Bernd Schwipper. A former major-general in the East German Nationale Volksarmee. During his years in the NVA he had access to the Sovjet military archives.

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  16. Well, hey now….Russia had an air force 5 times bigger than the rest of the world combined. Now is true that the Soviet Union was pretty much a peasant, rural country, their machines never ran well, Stalin was all about spreading communism, so yes, unless you want to explain why Stalin had 200,000 paratroops at the outbreak of the war and why they had all those reservists ( which were what defeated the Germans) Stalin was going to attack west. What might be interesting is to see what artillery looked like for the Germans, who were relying on horses for everything

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  17. Found a review of the soviet PTRD-41anti-tank rifle which you have pictured on
    FORGOTTTEN WEAPONS channel
    https://youtu.be/cUO3Bmt5XTQ
    States that Stalin ordered this along with PTRS-41 in August 1941 with field trials by end of august(a 22 day development) after scrapping an earlier antitank rifle (does not name this) . Further states substantial number deployed in the field by November with 17688 guns produced by end of 1941. Unfortunately does not state source. Wikipedia article for this rifle states intially ordered in July again no citation given. Unfortunately serious issues with this article : elsewhere it states the rifle was present at beginning or the war and was available from early 41 so as it contradicts itself not a particularly reliable source.
    So if FORGOTTTEN WEAPONS is to be believed the Soviets did not have anti tank rifles deployed in serious numbers until Nov 1941.

    Reply

  18. Good point about the Red Army failing due to poor equipment, not inferior men. The Italians, who are often derided for cowardice, got some great results against the British in North Africa. Why? Because they had some decent equipment donated by the Germans. Suddenly, the 'cowardly' Italians became effective. Same for the Red army. Imagine the Romanians and Italians defending the flanks at Stalingrad, but with 1000 PAK 38 each, and a few 88mm. They could have been quite formidable.

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  19. How many Soviet Artillery pieces where moved, later in the war, by lend/lease trucks? I don't want to start a argument. Its just that I think logistics wins wars.

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  20. TIK 4:55 "…a guess, but it is an educated one." This is about Stalin's USSR, and you've done a major revision, so it's 'obviously' a RE-educated one! =D I kinda hope those responsible for the strategic reserve's lack of mobility (10:55) got re-educated, too. :0
    Hey, I just got re-educated, too: 15:30 — looks like the reason there are "always more Russians" is because there aren't very many ready at the get-go.

    Reply

  21. Even the ammo stocks shown can be misleading. What the total stock is, is not necessarily what is readily available to the gun crews themselves (in other words, they only have a basic combat load). These charts do not indicate exactly what was on hand and distributed at the moment of impact (Barbarossa). You would have to assume that in all the confusion and disarray the Soviets would have been able to properly distribute this ammunition. For all one knows most of this ammo may have been stuck in the divisional/ brigade quartermaster stores.

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  22. Reminds me of the Napoleonic era, when it was difficult and expensive to get imported gunpowder and lead to the many remote garrisons of the Empire. Russian troops could only afford to do live fire exercises at most a couple times a year while Napoleon's army had division sized live fire exercises every other day.

    Come to think of it, the Mongol horse archers had a similar advantage. They were outnumbered by Kievan Rus' but they were divided into interrelated and feuding principalities and were using chivalric arms (hardly conductive to the large open steppe). The Mongols ran circles around them and picked them off one by one while the main body was on a wild goose chase, tired and hungry. Hence the myth of the barbarian hordes was born, because the Mongols consistently had numerical superiority at the tactical level.

    Reply

  23. I’m no artilery expert but wouldn’t a 122mm gun be a bit big for a “light artilery” brigade? A 76mm hortzier made sense though. Unless that’s different to for the Soviets. Compared to the Germans they had smaller divisions

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  24. Okay, if you don't like the name "Suvorov" . . . just skip the first two paragraphs and read on . . . Yes, I believe Barbarossa was a pre-emptive strike and there's mountains of evidence for it. The reason the Soviets were out-numbered initially was that a HUGE number of them . . . and their equipment and ammunition . . . were in transit to the front and the Soviet railway system couldn't move that fast. http://www.heretical.com/miscella/14days.html

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  25. I'd always heard that the Soviets were planning to attack in Spring '42, which is why they were caught so unawares. Didn't some of the declassified documents in the 90's lend this theory some credence?

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  26. this video is a nonsense, those were gigantic numbers of artillery, so they still had far more ammo and number of guns than Germans, so they were able to attack Germany

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  27. The Red Army was in terrible shape in 1941 and Stalin bore total responsibility for the disaster because he was incompetent in military affairs. Later in the war Soviet propaganda called him a military genius which he wasn’t. A complete dilettante surrounded by mediocrity. Hitler was a better commander and better man, despite lack of formal education.

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  28. A big problem was transportation, many Soviet units lacked fast moving tractors to move their guns, especially the mechanized corps.

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  29. You kept saying the 76mm field gun was the most common artilery in the Rifle Division, yet the Force structure you showed does not support that.

    Each Rifle Division has 1 Light Artillery Regiment with a total of 16 76mm, and 8 122mm guns split equally between two Battalions.
    They also have a Howitzer regiment, with 24 122mm guns, and 12 152 mm guns, split between 3 Battalions (2 122mm and 1 152 mm).

    That means that each Divisions Artillery component (ignoring AT, AAA and Mortars) consists of 16 76mm Field guns, 32 122 mm guns, and 12 152 mm guns. In other words, at the Divisional level the most common gun is the 122mm. Now I am not saying that 76mm field artillery was not the most commonly used Soviet Artillery piece, but it was not in the Rifle Divisions, only thing I can think of is Field Artillery Regiments or Batteries that are attached at Corps or even Army level and spread out among the units as required at the Corps or Army level.

    EDIT: Aha, it was those anti tank brigades that accounted for much of the discrepancy. Also did some research and apparently many of the 76mm Anti Aircraft guns were in fact the same gun, but mounted on an Anti Aircraft Gun Carriage rather than the more usual Field Gun Carriage. In other words their Anti Aircraft capability was even more screwed than you thought, as the F-22 was not a particularly good anti aircraft gun. Accounts for the numbers issue though, as most of the 76 mm guns were not held by Divisional Artillery Regiments.

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  30. The thing is the Soviet didn't expect a German attack so early, and thus the intended strenght was to be got in 1942.

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  31. Great video!

    1) I read in a book the the Soviets had excellent AA Defense in Moscow at the end of 1941. More AA Defense than London had. I read somewhere in a book from Rodric Braithwaite about Moscow 1941.

    2) One German General/officer said that if the Soviets decided to attack during the French campaign, the Soviets simply could have walked into Berlin because the entire German army was on the Western Front. Do you believe the Soviets would have any chance of 'walking into Berlin' even if unopposed, or was their supply system too bad for even that?

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  32. TIK, are you going to watch World War 2 channel with Indy? Maybe you could co-operate with them about some topics later in the war?

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  33. TIK, your presumption who would have attacked first is based on logic en ratio, but communism is irrational. Soviet archives have proven Stalin's intention to attack.

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  34. How much ammunition is needed for an artillery unit to be considered fully supplied? I am a bit puzzled on the definition of fully supplied because I imagine artillery firing its salvos as soon as a valuable target is identified so in the front-line action that would mean firing without stopping just like in ww1. Is there actually a clear understanding/definition of what a fully supplied artillery unit is.

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  35. Ya know, you are a historian, so, people don't like it, but questions does not diminish your work, your excellent videos actually bring up more questions..Watching this I start to wonder A: How horses affected the artillery s opossed to motorized and now I want to learn how the motion war affected artillery..

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  36. Great vid, much better then a previous one! Thank you TIK, though I think you should of stick – "its not only artillery had this situation, but throughout armed forces" explanation, like you mention on 16th through 17th minute of your vid at the begging of your vid, since some people don't watch the whole thing, and taking it the wrong way.

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  37. Yes, AT rifles(slightly larger then 50 caliber browning round) was developed in a very short time 21 days, and showed up in time for a end second part battle of Smolensk, and begging battle of Moscow(operation Typhoon) in sufficient numbers. Two main designed(there was more, but the one that made to mass production) was Degterev's PTRD-41 single shot, and Simonov's PTRS-41with semi-auto 5 round box mag. Here is hilarious vid of petite girl shooting PTRS-41, and getting up saying – "oh, my ear drums… I hate you, I hate you!"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjDnehXjZWw

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  38. Sry i remember that you Made a Video about Operation Barbarossa and how they saw Stalingrad Just as a secondary objectiv and now i didn't find it again thanks

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  39. Well done Tik, thanks.
    Can i recomend documentary film subversives. If you have time to study Baltik, and northern fleet

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  40. If you require 5 apples, you can't be short of 7, but that's not breaking the laws of physics – that's breaking the law of mathematics.
    Yeah folks I'm gonna be here all week.
    …..

    Excellent video, mate. Cheers!

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  41. Another insightful video, thanks TIK. I have a question:
    The Germans also (famously) deployed their anti-aircraft weapons as anti-tank weapons. Did this have a similar effect on the effectiveness of their anti-aircraft defence to the effect this same approach had on the Soviet forces?

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  42. I'd like to see your documentary on Finnish army and especially its' use of captured Soviet material in WW2. I've nearned it was pretty good, but why..?

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  43. Why would you expect any different numbers? the USSR had rapidly expanded their military, obviously the weapons and ammo supplies/factories had not caught up.
    The Germans had the same sort of problems from 1938 until France fell in 1941 – and then they captured a bunch of artillery to fill out their needs.
    Difference is Germans had the advantage with the Luftwaffe numbers, which was vital on offence.

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  44. I like your videos, TIK, even though i don't really understand some of it. One question: So you mentioned that the Soviets weren't going to attack the German Reich like what Keitel/Suvorov said. So, does that mean fascism and communism really can lived side by side or i'm just missing something ?

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  45. Great video. German intelligence must have known many of these facts and saw their opportunity to defeat Russia was to attack sooner rather than later. From youe stats it seems to confirm the belief that the Germans had only a few months to knock Russia out.

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  46. Could you make a video about special forces operations on the eastern front (both russian and german)? Did either side commence in any large successful special forces operations? Did they have any significant impact on either sides war effort?

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  47. SO THINK ABOUT IT LIKE THIS. MOST OF THE UNITED STATES WAS (IS) OF GERMANIC DECENT. ENGLAND, MOST OF FRANCE AND GERMANY ARE OF GERMANIC DECENT (AFTER THE FALL OF ROME). SLAVS IT TURNS OUT SHARES SIMILAR Y CHROMOSOME GENETIC MARKERS. SO IN THEORY, ALL THE, 'GREATEST GENERATION' DID WAS KILL THEMSELVES. HAHA. GOOD JOB! NOW THE WORLD IS DOMINATED BY THE CHINESE! YOU PEOPLE JUST KILLED YOURSELVES. GREATEST BUNCH OF MORONS MORE LIKE IT! HAHA

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  48. About Soviet anti-tank rifles:
    A. they indeed were not awailable at the begining of the German attack.
    B. they were much more effective then people think.

    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUO3Bmt5XTQ

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  49. OFC Germans had 100% of arty ammo everywhere at all time…oh wait. They didn't.

    Well i Guess that's what happens if you use MP-41 as a legit source 😉

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  50. I am no expert, but I have a few comments about this. You mention mortars, yet you didn't cover WHERE the fell in the table of organization in the Army. Mortars, ( 81mm and 60mm) at least in the US forces were directly under the command of Infantry Company and Battalion Commanders and were not at all under the Artillery Structure. The Soviet 120MM mortar could have been assigned to Infantry at the regimental level, or ben formed in seperate Battalions under control of the Artillery.
    As far as ammunition, these percentages really mean nothing unless you can define how long these weapons were supposed to be actively firing. A daily allowance for a battery of 6 152 MM howitzers might be 30 rounds per tube so a battery would need 180 rounds on hand at any given time a 30 day supply of ammunition would be 5400 rounds . If you were talking about an artillery unit having 50% of a 30 day allowance on hand its a totally different matter than having 50% of a daily allowance. When you speak of the Russians having to leave behind so much of their ammo you have to look at the transport issue. if you have artillery unit that has 2000 152mm rounds in an ammo dump you have an issue. I don't know the load capacity of the Soviet transport but I'd venture to say 50 rounds would be on the optimistic side. That would mean you needed 40 trucks alone to evacuate the ammo. Multiply that by scores of various ammo dumps and you would need thousands of trucks to haul ammo.

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  51. Lanchesters square law is relevant, especially when feeding units in piecemeal, it massively amplifies the advantage. The soviet AT rifle could punch through the side armour of a panther, that's why they added those little skirts to panthers, so not exactly useless although not really much use..

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  52. Is there any credible evidence that the Germans thought the Russians where getting ready to attack prior to Barbarossa? Forget what we might think looking back. What did they think looking forward? Barbarossa for me, is one of the great mistakes made by Germany in WW2 and it only makes sense in my view, if the Germans thought that it had to happen and could not wait.

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  53. With the manpower chart, it says Axis east which would be the troops on the eastern front. But the chart also shows the Soviet east manpower. Is that the manpower on the Soviet western front or is that the Soviet manpower in their east?

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  54. you would have to be cu-cu crazy to think the russians were planning a 1941 offensive. that however does not necessarily mean that barborossa was not a pre emptive strike. the two are not mutually exclusive. perhaps the officer purge was one of the first steps of preparation. certainly stalin just just began a huge fleet building program that included 15 battleships. who would really put a huge and brutal invasion into the balkans past uncle joe? and i am not nazi lover!!!

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  55. Interesting, when it comes to required ammunition how were these figures derived, they appear to be percentages of what the Soviet army thought they should have, but was what they thought they should have excessive or optimistically high? Ammunition is used up and how much physically at hand is less important than rate of resupply during protracted operations. Also having the bulk of your artillery away from the frontier is not necessarily bad, it means it can be used to counter an attack and not get encircled, destroyed etc. in the first phase of a surprise attack.

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  56. When you describe the division ORBAT you list a light artillery regiment with 16 x 76mm and 8 x 122mm and a howitzer artillery regiment with 24 x 122mm and and 12 x 152mm. So a total of 16 x 76mm, 32 x 122mm and 12 x 152mm.

    Later on you claim that there should be more 76mm than 122mm. Unless there are other units with 76mm guns you omitted this is not true.

    Other sources indicate 6 x 76mm guns at regimental level, but that is the M1927 which is shown separately in table you show at 3:48 (714 required, 641 on hand).

    So I think that all is wrong with the table you show at 3:48 is that the total-on-hand figure has slipped right into the shortages column, i.e. they are over on 76mm divisional guns with 1037 required and 1301 on hand. Totalling this with the regimental guns this gives 1751 x 76mm required not the 3244 you show at 3:42. That makes the ratio of 76mm guns to 122mm howitzers required closer to the division ORBAT you state. Also with the extra divisional 76mm guns substituting for missing 76mm regimental and 122mm divisional weapons, the divisions are more or less up to strength in total weapons.

    P.S. I was looking at the Wikipedia entry for the 76 mm divisional gun M1939 and noticed “In 1941, production was stopped as the plan for divisional guns was already fulfilled.” Which fits my interpretation that they had enough 76 mm divisional guns in 1941.

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  57. Aren't horses pretty good at moving the light and even medium artillery? Do they really need that many tractors? Couldn't they requisition any handy farm tractor? or horse? or Ox? for ammo as well?
    They also had some Polish equipment, didn't they? along with the Polish Army of the East? I'm also not sure what made anti-tank rifles ineffective? Their superior portability and concealment enabled them to ambush at closer range as well as flank in order to hit side armor and tracks instead of frontal armor. Though I'm uncertain of their effectiveness against tracks. How were the Poles fixed for AA in '39? Why was so much stuff out of theater? Where was it? Manchuria?

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