Author Topic: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE  (Read 4765 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2020, 12:08:25 PM »
A set of 99 of the latest MiG-3 fighters finalizes preparations to ship to Orsha Airbase today. Such shipments are made by trains in a single batch; Air Chief Marshal Novikov says (in JMH, 1969, #1, p.61) that on this day the Northern Front, where at this time he is Major-General in command of the Air Force for the front, a trainload of MiG-3 fighters arrives.

This provides a nice segue from the aircraft preparations to logistics.  ^-^


Piled Up For Plundering
-------------------------

Tracks are jammed with 1320 trains, each one hauling military automobiles. They were requisitioned from the agricultural commissariat, so they aren't hauling grain or any food right now. They are going nowhere at the moment because trains carrying troops, tanks, artillery, planes, and ammunition toward the border take priority over military cars and trucks. Each train would typically pull 45 flatbeds. Even if there was merely one car per flatbed (and during peacetime the practice was to load two or three per bed by resting front wheels atop the chassis ahead), someone has pulled together 59,400 military cars to go to the border, plus the freight trains and beds necessary to carry them, where currently they are doing nothing but blocking the way for the vast majority of other trains carrying military hardware to the border areas.

As noted, ammunition trains take priority over automobile carriers. A directive received at Liepaya on this evening, for example, instructs the station commandant, "Take in special train carrying ordnance. Redispatch to destination on priority basis." ("Red Star", April 28, 1985.) Liepaya and its naval base are very close to the East Prussian border, but the ammunition is going (on a priority basis!) even closer to the border.

In a defensive war preparation, it's easier, more reliable, and cheaper, to pre-position ammunition; also safer, so that if you're overrun the enemy won't capture a bunch of unsecured ammunition they might use instead of you! (As will happen tomorrow with this ammunition going past Liepaya, for example.)

Troops aren't expected to carry their ammunition reserves with them on defense: if they get overrun, they fall back to the next prepared position where fresh ammunition is waiting; then if necessary back to the third position and so on.

When gearing up for invasion, however, and especially for a blitzkrieg, you haul your ordnance with you because you don't have supply depots sitting around to work from. This is much more expensive, more logistically intensive, and much higher risk.

The Nazis are doing the same thing today: sending their ordnance up to the very border, where the ordnance not picked up by invading troops, will just sit around in more-or-less unsecured piles. Why? -- so that the Nazi logistic teams can just go pick it up easily and shuttle it forward to the blitzers on the front lines, once the blitzers kick off. Or the ammo sits in Nazi railcars more-or-less unsecured, for the same reason: they're already ready to go forward once the blitzers get a few dozen miles into enemy territory. Are there different rail gauges? Better stack up rail conversion and repair materials at the border! -- and if your enemy happens to have a bunch of engines and railcars where you can capture them, so much the better!

We know exactly why the Nazis have ordnance sitting out on the ground, and piled up in rail cars near the border. So, why even ask why the Soviets have vastly much more ordnance sitting around on the ground and in railcars near the border? If the Soviets are preparing for defense, those shells should be issued to the troops, not sitting in railcars! If retreat is even suspected, those railcars shouldn't be there at all.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2020, 12:49:33 PM »
Per Kumanyov  (in "Soviet Railway Forces during the Great Patriotic War Years (1941-1945)", p.36), "At just Kalinovka, a minor station, Southwestern Front had one thousand five hundred [railway] wagons carrying ordnance."

Not only ordnance but fuel supplies are sitting around in railcars near the border. Kurkotin (later a Marshal of the Soviet Union) reports later (in "Soviet Armed Forces Logistics in the Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945", p.59), that "at railway junctions and even between stations, some eight thousand five hundred tank wagons [or fuel cisterns] piled up, loaded with fuel" on the final day before Barbarossa. At the beginning of June the "Soviet government, following a proposal by the General Staff, approved a plan to move 100,000 tons of fuel from the inland regions of the country."

But if only the smallest 20 ton tankers were used, Kurkotin is saying there is at least 170,000 tons of fuel -- just at the border. 62 ton tankers were the standard in 1941; so there could be 527,000 tons of fuel piled up in railway tanker cars near the border! -- not counting any fuel in dumps, pumps, or depots, nor already in sixteen armies' worth of vehicles near the border.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2020, 01:03:43 PM »
Soviet and Nazi scout aircraft have been busy straying over the international borders to look around. Like the Soviets, the Nazis have been moving up to the border, and hiding their divisions in the woods in camouflaged tent cities wherever possible; but Soviet scout planes still can see things going on. Officers far up the Soviet chain are flying out to get a look. The commander of the Soviet 43rd Fighter Division, for example, Western Special Military District Air Force Major-General Zakharov, likes to go up to check on the enemy. In "Fighter Planes: Their Story Told", p.43, he will later write, "The impression you gained was that from far back in that enormous territory, things were on the move, had been slowed down here, at the very border, had bumped up against it as if it were an invisible barrier, and were ready at any moment to burst that dam."

Suvorov doesn't quote German documents, because (he says) he doesn't want to be accused of being a Nazi propagandist, but he emphasizes that German intelligence mirrors the words of Soviet line officers, generals, and marshals, about the situation on each other's side of the border up to June 22nd: both sides are very well aware, in their official reports to (and by) their own commanders, of mammoth troop movements by the other side up to the border. Germany just doesn't know how very much more massive the Soviet buildup is, yet! -- but they will soon learn.

At the time, the epic aircraft designer Tupolev (whose designs remained active and famous into the late Cold War and beyond), and all his design team, are sitting in jail. His deputy Orzerov will write a book about this later, to be smuggled out to West Germany and published past the Soviet censors. In his "Tupolev & Co. Behind Bars", p.90, he writes that during his imprisonment at this time, they heard how "The folks living along Byelorussian and Vindava lines are complaining: can't sleep at night, with all the [Soviet] troop trains being run through, loaded with tanks and cannons!"
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2020, 06:26:11 AM »
From "The Estonian People in the Soviet Union's Great Fatherland War, 1941-45", Vol 1, p.43, "The Soviet Baltic Fleet set out from the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland on the eve of the war." They have only one way to go: west.

Why are they going west? "The Fleet's mission was to move into action against the enemy's marine lines of communication."

There is still no war, Stalin still does not know Hitler will attack him in twelve hours or less, and yet the strongest Soviet Fleet has already left port on an offensive strike combat mission against some "enemy's" marine lines of communication.

What enemy's supply lines to the west could they be sailing to attack? Hitler is getting thirty percent of his iron ore from Sweden, which loads at the Swedish port of Lulea (nearly at the Arctic Circl), then which runs down Finland's coast through the Gulf of Bothnia, past the Aland Islands, past the Gotland, Oland, Bornholm Islands, then reaching German ports.

There are also the nickle mines in Finland, but Stalin doesn't need a fleet to attack that; he has a division parked outside all the time for security purposes! What Hitler does have coming from Finland more generally is wood.

No one else has any supply coming from the Baltic Sea -- so if Stalin isn't sailing his fleet to attack Nazi supply lines on the evening of June 21st, 1941, then he can only be attacking Great Britain!  :o
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2020, 06:33:37 AM »
It should be noted that for defending the Soviet Union, a Baltic Sea Fleet isn't needed at all.

Up until the Baltic Sea Fleet helped conquer the Baltic States in 1940 (and the Karelian Isthmus in 1939), only the port and shoreline of St. Petersburg (now known as Leningrad) needed defending, and for more than two hundred years the tsars beginning with Peter the Great had all erected and improved fortifications in that area. Anyone trying to invade would have to get past easily-supplied and reinforced sea forts and coastal artillery batteries (similar to turrets on battleships, with defensive labyrinths underneath, numbering 253 weapons on June 21st, 1941, from 100 to 406mm in caliber, not even counting another 60 guns from 45 to 76mm), and then would find themselves caught in an inland series of fortified regions.

The Bolsheviks only added to those defenses, and they are one defensive line that Stalin has definitely not destroyed! These are like land battleships that don't need fuel to go anywhere, and which can have any amount of metal plating and concrete for armor. A Soviet 305mm cannon can launch shells weighing 470kg to a distance of 43.9km -- once every ten seconds! A Soviet 406mm gun throws a shell weighing 1108kg out 45.5km, once every 24 seconds! (per JMH, #3, 1973, p.78. See also "The Red Banner Baltic Fleet in the Battle for Leningrad", 1973, p.8.)

To be sure, there are also mobile artillery cannons nearby, purely for the defense of the shore against invasion: naval cannons mounted on railroad platforms, parked in concrete hideaways. They can navigate around a web of railroads, quickly reaching pre-arranged and well-concealed firing positions and shooting before scooting away. The most important such railguns are 180mm cannons, lobbing 97.5kg shells five rounds a minute, out to 37.8km. But don't worry, comrade! -- Leningrad does not depend on such weak and puny weapons alaone for defense! There are also 203mm, 254mm, and 356mm rail guns. (The 356 can shoot a 747.8kg shell out to 44.6 thousand meters.)

Each battery, each fort, each fortified region (the three primary ones being the Kronstadt, the Izhorsk, and the Luzhsk), also each naval base, has ammunition and supplies enough to defend themselves for at least four years -- which turns out to be a good thing starting tomorrow! Have the 352 anti-aircraft cannons been mentioned yet?

The Soviet Union does not need battleships in the Baltic Sea for defense. And, to be fair, they aren't being used for defense: they're sallying forth tonight with a combat mission to attack some "enemy" in his supply line.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2020, 08:07:53 AM »
The Baltic submarines haven't surged yet, which seems a little odd under these conditions, because subs ought to be the first choice of hitting supply routes; the Soviet Navy evidently intends them to be used somewhere other than against a Baltic Sea enemy.

Still, the Shipbuilding Commissariat has earned its informal nickname of the "Submarine Narkomat": by today, the Soviet Union possesses 218 completed submarines, and another 91 in various stages of production. Stalin has 69 of his subs in the Baltic (per "The Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945: Encyclopedia", p.75), largely stacked up liked canned sardines in Liepaya (just over the border from East Prussia). Stalin has also kept two out of three of his battleships in the Baltic, despite regarding the Baltic Sea as "a sealed bottle and we can't open it". (Said in 1933, reported in "Testimony of the Admiral of the Soviet Union Fleet, I.S. Isaakov", in "Znamia" [Banner], #5, 1988, p.77.) Inside this sealed bottle, Stalin has also collected two cruisers, twenty-one destroyers, forty-eight torpedo motorboats, plus lighter and non-attack craft. To this he added 656 warplanes, mostly bombers and torpedo carriers (per "The Warpath of the Soviet Navy", 1974, p.537.)

The Nazis do not have a distinct air force on the Baltic Sea (per JMH, #4, 1962, p.34). As for naval power, they only have five training submarines and twenty-eight torpedo motorboats (some also for training), remaining in the Baltic Sea. The Kriegsmarine only has secondary forces in the Baltic beyond these: mine blockers, minesweepers, and various motorboats. (per F. Ruge's "War on the Sea, 1939-1945", 1957, p.209) This has been true since Hitler pushed the war to Great Britain and the French coast.

Again, there is only one significant target in the Baltic for Stalin's navy and naval air force: Hitler's iron ore transports. Stalin could have destroyed them, and mined the ports, at any moment until now, but only tonight on June 21st is he sending out the Baltic Fleet (without the submarines!) to attack some enemy's lines of communication. Consider the lack of submarines surging to cooperate with this mission, in light of the lack of serious convoy support provided by the Kriegsmarine (according to Suvorov's sources). This isn't a case where the precious subs might be specially in danger going after the convoys in the relative constraints of the Baltic shipping lines. The blunt fact of the matter is that the Soviet surface fleet is massive overkill against these supply lines -- and they can do the work faster than the subs, with the ability to lend fire support against ports and other shore targets afterward.

And in fact, while there seems to be no record of the directive to execute Plan S.3-20 being sent, the Baltic Fleet has been prepared since November 25, 1940, "working jointly with the air force, [to] destroy the active navy of Finland and Sweden (in case of involvement by the latter.)" (per "The Year 1941", Vol.1, pp.418-23.)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2020, 10:30:22 AM »
One hundred and seventy Soviet divisions stand on or near the border, in several dozen corps and sixteen armies, plus three armies worth of NKVD Mobile Response Divisions (MRDs), as the First Strategic Echelon. Of these, 56 divisions are right up next to the border; and even here, subunits have been pressed as close to the border as humanly possible -- even sometimes closer to the international border than the border posts themselves! Aside from prior examples, General I.I. Feduninsky, commander of the 15th Rifle Corps of the 5th Army, talks about how he himself led four regiments from the 45th and 62nd Rifle Divisions "into the woods, closer to the border", in his "Called Up to Alarm", 1964, p.12)

The remaining 114 divisions are themselves closer to the border than they had been before June 12th, when between then and June 15th every one of them has been ordered to move closer to the border. (e.g., Gylev and Khvostov in "Communist" 1968, #12, p.68, "From 12 through 15 June, western military districts were ordered to move all divisions deployed deep in-country closer to the international borders.")

Another 77 divisions, belonging to the Second Strategic Echelon, are on the way, or are preparing to move as soon as the bottlenecks clear.

Final tally, including the NKVD divisions? Two hundred forty-seven. (If I've followed out Suvorov's math correctly. He spreads this data out in various ways, so it's hard to get a final tally.)

TASS Soviet radio, back on June 13th, had called this greatest military troop transfer in human history, an "ongoing summer call-up of Red Army reservists and impending maneuvers are aimed at nothing other than training reservists and testing the functionality of the railway grid. Since it is common knowledge that these steps are taken every year, portraying them as hostile to Germany is nothing less than ludicrous." Ah, you see, in Soviet Russia, the greatest logistic triumph in human history is just business as usual, nothing to see here, we do this every year, as everyone knows!  >:D
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2020, 10:43:57 AM »
As a comparison, cited by Suvorov from the article "Operational and total strength of the USSR Armed Forces during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)," in "Statistical Digest", #1 (covering June 22, 1941), 1994, pp.10-12, along with several other sources (see his footnote 9 in chapter 20 of "Chief Culprit"): when Stalin drafted reservists in July 1939 to support the troops of the Trans-Baikal military district and the 1st Army Group in Mongolia (preparing for Zhukov's blitz against the Japanese 6th Army), the Red Army added 173,000 troops to bring the Red Army up to 1,871,600 men (not counting border guards, interior troops, or the navy). Out of those, only around 58,000 blitzed the Japanese (many of those being support for the troops doing the actual fighting, of course).

On this day, June 21st, 1941, the Red Army alone numbers 5,081,000. This has been done without openly declaring mobilization; in fact Hitler has no accurate idea how many Soviet troops are waiting behind the line, and no idea at all how many are on the way in the Second Strategic Echelon.

In total today, the USSR Armed Forces strength tally the aforementioned 5,081,00 in the Red Army; plus 344,000 in the Navy; plus another 337,00 combined interior troops (protecting against insurrection) and border guards (many of them on the western frontier).

This numerical increase since mobilization, which started with universal conscription, back on August 19th, 1939 (publicly first announced on September 3rd), has not been a straightforward process of constant growth. In fact, it is even significantly less than the previous high watermark of 5,289,400 in the Red Army alone -- attained on September 20, 1939, shortly after invading Poland! That number however was much more on-paper as a preparation; this number is in the field -- and growing. (As for why and how that technical high watermark happened in September 1939, see entries back at that time.)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2020, 10:51:30 AM »
General Ivanov, in his "Opening Phase of the War" (p.211), says that this still-ongoing logistic operation (which started in February and intensified from there), was scheduled to be completed on July 10th. Rail transport has been (and is scheduled to be) monopolized by clandestine military traffic for half a year: absolutely wrecking this year's part of the current Five-Year Plan.

TASS calls wrecking the Five-Year Plan "testing the grid".  ::)

However, there is literally not enough room for all these pieces to arrive by July 10th. A large number of divisions and corps already at the border must go somewhere else for this logistic transfer to be completed on time -- but where can they go? They cannot go back east: the arriving divisions and corps are coming and would be in the way! They cannot go north or south: numerous divisions and corps are already stacked up in the way there, and more are arriving every day. They only have one way to go, to make room for the arriving Second Strategic Echelon: west, across the border. And they have to get moving west, out of the way of arriving forces, several weeks before July 10th.

Major-General Yovlyev (JMH, 1960, #9, p.56), "Extraordinary as the call-up was, beyond anything military preparedness plans envisaged, it put people on edge." Indeed, the largest logistic transfer in human history, much of it on 1941 Siberian rail technology, would make people a little jumpy!

So does calling this heroic feat "reservist maneuvers", which as Vice-Admiral Azarov notes (JMH, 1962, #6, p.77) is something that usually happens in the fall.

Why would doing even mere reservist maneuvers in the summer make people edgy? -- much moreso in proportion beyond normal reservist maneuvers? Because as Colonel-General I.I. Ludnikov will report later (JHM, #9, 1966, p.66), “Usually, reserves are called in [for practice maneuvers] after the crops have been harvested... In 1941, this rule was broken.”

That means the harvest will be much worse or at least much more difficult this year; and the Soviet Union has been starving by murderous millions for years, so it's important to get what grain you can during the harvest!

By calling in such massive reserves on a logistic transfer before the harvest, the Soviet Union will effectively starve to death this year -- unless food is picked up by some other method. And supposedly, starving the Soviet Union to death is being done for standard reservist maneuvers?!
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2020, 11:08:16 AM »
By this date, all Soviet Armies on the German and Romanian borders, plus one on the Finnish border, fully meet Soviet doctrinal standards for strike armies, even though they aren't formally labeled "strike" (or "covering") armies. From north to south along the line these are the 23rd (at Finland), 8th, 11th, 3rd, 10th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 26th, 12th, 18th, and 9th.

16th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Armies (all sometimes considered by Suvorov as Second Strategic Echelon) have also been brought up to strike army doctrinal standards, and are secretly on the way to the western border but aren't totally there yet. The Central Archives for the USSR Ministry of Defense, Section 208, Register 2511, File 20, p.128, reports that 16th Army (for example) now has 1483 tanks, plus 560 armored cars including 397 armored cars armed with heavy cannon. More specifically, the 16th's 5th Mechanized Corps counts 1076 tanks (per the Central Archive of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, Fund 208, Index 2511, Case 20, Sheet 128); the separate reserve 57th Tank Division included 375 tanks; and the two rifle divisions had another thirty-two tanks.

It must be noted that while Suvorov emphasizes (in ALL CAPS) that ALL the armies on the border are fully up to strike army standards, he acknowledges ("true enough") that not all strike armies were at full strength in terms of tanks (or, I'll add, in terms of anything else, for that matter). He means that their units have been organizationally assigned and are on the way, but not all of them have arrived yet; and for the tanks, perhaps not all have even left the factory yards although already assigned. 16th Army in any case is moving across seven thousand kilometers, commanded by Lieutenant-General M.F. Lukin, with Colonel M.A. Shalin (a future chief of the GRU) as chief of staff. Its relocation started on May 26, 1941, and is scheduled to end on July 10th.

At the very least, the German invasion tomorrow will catch the Soviet Union at work completing, debugging, fine-tuning, and reserve-deploying sixteen strike armies, each one equivalent in composition to one of Germany's four East Front Panzer Groups.

If the "invasion armies" of the 1920s were renamed "strike armies" to sound less aggressive; and if armies have been configured since then to be temporarily converted to and deconverted from strike armies so that there won't standing armies which might be called strike armies; then doesn't creating permanently configured strike armies (labeled that way or not) seem counter-productive to diplomacy and propaganda?

Indeed! -- but Soviet experts are already ready for this already!  :D To explain the sudden bulking of these panzer-groupish strike armies, they have now been labeled "covering armies": a plan prepared in military academies all the way back in 1935, according to a diplomatic doctrinal shift dating from 1932. Quoting again (as in a previous entry) from (apparently) a paper or lecture from the Frunze Military Academy at that time: "in modern parlance a 'covering army' embodies the prevailing strategic operations concept of dynamic sudden invasion. The current defense term 'covering army' thus clearly serves, if anything, to cloak an 'invasion army' designed for sudden offensive."

This is typical double-speak of the type Orwell complained about: a "liberation crusade" is the approved public way to talk about an offensive invasion to seize control of a nation; a "counter-strike" is the approved public way to talk about a strike; and "seizing the strategic initiative" is a polite way to shade talking about a surprise "counter-strike" on a neighbor using "covering armies" for a "liberation crusade" without declaring a war.

"Covering armies" are partly intended to mask or screen or provide cover for the build-up of Soviet offensive invasion forces farther behind them -- which is certainly happening today -- but they are also meant to be blitzkrieg strikes to create the equivalent of beachheads in enemy territory, thus covering for the main-strike elements to follow.

So in the Winter War, 7th Army was up-converted to a strike (or covering) army, out of the four armies already on the Finnish border (plus another two on the way), with the operational purpose of punching a hole into the defensive security corridor and providing cover for the other three (or five) much weaker standard armies to continue through into the enemy's backfield: just like the Nazi Panzer Groups lined up for Barbarossa tomorrow, "covering" for the standard divisions behind them. In the Winter War the security corridor proved more difficult than they were expecting, but the Finns did get the point! -- and sued for peace once the covering army managed to get through the final line of defense.

Now, all the armies along the Western border have been pumped up in organization to covering army standards (although equipment is still coming in on June 21st). But who are they supposed to cover for? By deduction, they must be covering for the other divisions of the Second Strategic Echelon coming up behind them. The covering armies, in Soviet military doctrine, are supposed to cover for them by invading the enemy, thus allowing subsequent forces to arrive, deploy, and enter the enemy nation in an orderly fashion.

Most of these sixteen invasion (i.e. "strike", i.e. "covering") armies are tooling up to, or are already at, the ordinary standard for covering armies: one mechanized corps equivalent in equipment to an entire Nazi Panzer Group, plus two rifle corps, plus several separate divisions.

But three of them, the 6th, 9th, and 10th Armies, each feature two mechanized corps, one cavalry corps, and three rifle corps. Each of these super-covering armies has been moved as close to the border as possible, including where the front line juts specially toward Germany. Each mechanized corps has around 450 of the latest T-32 and KV tanks (not counting earlier tanks), and each of these armies has air divisions featuring hundreds of fresh-off-the-line strike aircraft (also including some fighters). Plans called for each of these three super-cover armies to have 2350 tanks, 698 other armored fighting vehicles, more than 4000 heavy guns and grenade launchers, and over 250,000 troops, plus another 10 to 12 heavy artillery regiments, plus NKVD units and much more.

Neither Germany nor any other nation on Earth has anything like these three super-strike armies. Each of them BY THEMSELVES already, or soon will, equal nearly about three-quarters of the Nazi tanks on the East Front, and roughly half the Wehrmacht (everywhere, not only on the East Front) in sheer numbers of tanks -- not counting debates and disputes over quality of the tanks.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2020, 11:13:42 AM »
Quality, however, is partly relative.

Most of the Soviet tanks are based on the BT-28 system, of course. After the war, Soviet generals and historians will call the T-28 tanks obsolete, but they're currently only obsolete compared to the T-34 systems (and arguably the KV-1, with the KV-2 not being really designed for tank warfare but as a mobile siege engine). In comparison with all foreign tanks, including everything on the German Eastern Front the day before Barbarossa, the T-28s are still outstanding! Relatively few Nazi tanks have an equivalent of a 76mm gun, and none of them have a muzzle velocity of 555 m/s; none of them have four or even five machine guns; none of them have 80mm frontal armor; none of them have 500 horsepower engines. Also, none of them can shed their tracks, much less shed the governors for their 500hp engines, to run at superhighway speeds on superhighways. None of them have underwater-capable travel (in the sense of being able to travel up to one thousand meters fully submerged), nor is a single Nazi tank capable of swimming along rivers and lakes for hundreds of miles even in stormy lake weather.

This is not to disparage Nazi tanks: no one else has such tanks yet either! Even today, in 2020, modern nations lack tanks with some of those capabilities!

Much less do the Germans have anything like the T-34! Neither do the Germans have even one heavy tank yet.

After the war, Soviet historians will exclude all T-28 tanks (in BT configurations or otherwise) from the statistics of Soviet readiness near the border, or put them in the obsolete and worn out categories. However, Finland captured some T-28 tanks in the 1939 Winter War, and are about to capture some more during Barbarossa; and those tanks will serve to the end of the war, being successfully used against Red Army T-34 tanks and even KV units! One surviving Finnish T-28 will be remodeled into an evacuation unit, and serve until 1951. This is despite Finland having no spare parts for the T-28; aside from the 'speed tank' variants, primarily designed to operate in very cultured roadway areas, they were designed to operate during wartime in the harshest conditions, in almost impassable terrain, without needing spare parts. The Germans will certainly be happy to pick up any T-34 and even T-28 tanks they can find surviving the blitz!
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2020, 11:25:29 AM »
Communist historians will be put in a bit of a quandry on how to explain the early crushing defeats of Barbarossa, while acknowledging with proper pride (and propaganda) the greatness of the T-34. Part of their solution will be to claim that only a very few such tanks were available at this time.

Indeed, only NINE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN T-34s exist on June 21, 1941, spread across the five special Military Districts (now converting to Front operations), out of the many thousands of other Soviet tanks in these districts! -- a pauce fraction by Soviet standards! But this does not count the 258 T-34 units still on the way with the second strategic echelon, nor the 138 unloading from having been shipped directly from the factories, nor the 37 that are certified ready to ship.

Altogether, the total stands at exactly 1400 T-34s, with 967 under Front commands ready to go. (per "Military and Numeric Composition of the Armed Forces of the USSR", in "Statistical Almanac", #1, for June 22, 1941, Military History Institute, of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, 1994, p.241)

Stalin has the embarrassingly low number (by Soviet standards) of only nine hundred and sixty-seven T-34s ready to fight today, a little less than one third of Hitler's total East Front tank force. Hitler has exactly zero comparable tanks ready to fight today.

Stalin has another 473 completed T-34s already on the way or ready to be on the way today. Hitler has exactly zero comparable tanks already ready to be on the way.

Stalin has another ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-NINE T-34 tanks which will finish production this year. Hitler has exactly zero comparable tanks even in design yet, much less in production.

Next year, Stalin will be able to complete thirty-five T-34 tanks per day on average in 1942, for a total of TWELVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY produced next year; some with improvements of course. Hitler will have Tigers (to compete with the KV-1) and Panthers (to compete with the T-34) on the drawing board by the end of 1942.

The T-34 will still surpass the Panther in all maneuverability factors, so will still be superior on offense. Nazi Major-General von Mellentin will agree that the T-34 is "the best example of an offensive weapon [for WW2]." (source uncited) Stalin has fourteen hundred of the best example of an offensive weapon for World War Two on the line today or moving up to the line, with another eighteen hundred-ish of them still to come this year, and another one-hundred-twenty-five hundreds of them slated for production next year.

Hitler has zero of the best offensive weapon for World War Two, ready to invade Russia tomorrow, or even on the drawing board for a year and a half to come.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 11:28:31 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2020, 12:17:07 PM »
Quality, however, is partly relative.

Most of the Soviet tanks are based on the BT-28 system, of course. After the war, Soviet generals and historians will call the T-28 tanks obsolete, but they're currently only obsolete compared to the T-34 systems (and arguably the KV-1, with the KV-2 not being really designed for tank warfare but as a mobile siege engine). In comparison with all foreign tanks, including everything on the German Eastern Front the day before Barbarossa, the T-28s are still outstanding! Relatively few Nazi tanks have an equivalent of a 76mm gun, and none of them have a muzzle velocity of 555 m/s; none of them have four or even five machine guns; none of them have 80mm frontal armor; none of them have 500 horsepower engines. Also, none of them can shed their tracks, much less shed the governors for their 500hp engines, to run at superhighway speeds on superhighways. None of them have underwater-capable travel (in the sense of being able to travel up to one thousand meters fully submerged), nor is a single Nazi tank capable of swimming along rivers and lakes for hundreds of miles even in stormy lake weather.

This is not to disparage Nazi tanks: no one else has such tanks yet either! Even today, in 2020, modern nations lack tanks with some of those capabilities!

Much less do the Germans have anything like the T-34! Neither do the Germans have even one heavy tank yet.

After the war, Soviet historians will exclude all T-28 tanks (in BT configurations or otherwise) from the statistics of Soviet readiness near the border, or put them in the obsolete and worn out categories. However, Finland captured some T-28 tanks in the 1939 Winter War, and are about to capture some more during Barbarossa; and those tanks will serve to the end of the war, being successfully used against Red Army T-34 tanks and even KV units! One surviving Finnish T-28 will be remodeled into an evacuation unit, and serve until 1951. This is despite Finland having no spare parts for the T-28; aside from the 'speed tank' variants, primarily designed to operate in very cultured roadway areas, they were designed to operate during wartime in the harshest conditions, in almost impassable terrain, without needing spare parts. The Germans will certainly be happy to pick up any T-34 and even T-28 tanks they can find surviving the blitz!

Interesting analysis of the T-28. It generally gets panned whenever it is mentioned. Any idea of what the crews thought of it?
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2020, 02:37:35 PM »
That's an excellent question. Suvorov doesn't provide any citations from tankers (Soviet or otherwise) on the T-28, and I haven't read of any independently to add to the chronology. T-28s were super flexible, however -- which is why some variants were speed tanks (the model started out as an upgrade to the BT series) and some apparently not, and why they were the first mass production model to be rated for one kilometer underwater fording to a depth of 4.5 meters, and why Stalin's designers are busy in 1941 working on getting a floating version of the T-28. It was definitely the "T-34" of its time.

Back in an entry for 1937, I recorded Suv's comparative analysis of the BT-28 of that time with the A production model of the PvIV. Both have gone through upgrades since then, of course, by June 21st, 1941.

Suv's comparison of the 1938 T-28 with the Matilda II.

The T-28 got its upgrade to a longer gun that year, too. (Not counting the experimental 85mm artillery variant.) With its 80mm armor upgrade, this was when models stopped dropping the 'speed tank' designation. Even their premier heavy-tank of the time, the T-35, only got an armor upgrade to 50mm.

Suv recommends Bariatinsky and Pavlov's Medium Tank T-28 study; there are copies of a 1993 34-page technical specs update by the Pavlovs for sale used on Amazon right now, if anyone reads Russian!  :D  https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0083CMAS2 (The photos and technical data charts have English translations apparently.)

Jim Kinnear translated Baryatinsky's Steel Fortress back in 2000, into English, and there are SEVERAL used and new copies at Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Steel-Fortress-Russian-T-28-Medium/dp/0953877701 Alas, my book-budget is being refilled at the moment...
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2020, 11:25:16 AM »
Speaking of competing with the KV-1, back on May 31st, half a month ago, Stalin had 'only' 508 KV tanks (whether the KV-1 field tank, or combined with the bunker-busting KV-2, is unclear in Suvorov's notes) while Hitler had some preliminary sketches of a heavy tank (with blueprints to be produced by the end of 1942). These 508 KVs are spread throughout the First Strategic Echelon; but back on May 31st, the Second Echelon already had 128. By today, factories have unloaded another 41 ready to fight but not yet assigned to any group; and the factories have another 34 today ready to fight but not yet shipped. (per "Military and Numeric" ibid, p.241.)

Thus today the Soviet Union has 711 KV tanks ready to fight, although not all are in position yet by any means; while the Nazis have zero heavy tanks beyond preliminary sketches. It is pointless to even compare the KV models with the PzIII and PzIV, radically under-gunned (for the most part, and even where up-gunned not for fighting heavy tank armor at any range), underweight, under-armored, and under-powered; but the latter must try to fight and beat the former -- especially while the former are out of position for defense in various ways. Beating the KV-2 is sort of easy, fortunately, since it isn't designed to fight tanks at all; but unfortunately the Nazi tanks have to get through the crazy amounts of KV-2 armor.


On the other end of the Soviet tank spectrum, Soviet commanders understood the special value of the light "BT" models, as for example in "War and Revolution" [Voyna I Revolutsia], September-October edition, 1934 (page uncited), "High speed tanks [by] their nature are a weapon of sudden attack. Their full effect (and success in general) can be obtained only if their use is hidden." In other words, if we suddenly attack our enemies with BTs we will have success, but if surprise is not on our side then we will not. The thousands and thousands of BT tanks produced since 1932, vast majorities still operational a day before Barbarossa, are designed and intended only for aggressive warfare, only in the enemy's rear (which they are designed to reach as quickly as possible), and only in a decisive lunge of hordes of such tanks breaking suddenly through into enemy territory, bypassing points of opposition, thrusting deep behind enemy lines, where there are no (or few) enemy troops but all the cities, bridges, factories, airports, ports, storage facilities, command posts, and communication units.

This will be impossible to achieve, starting tomorrow.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.