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Osprey Men-at-Arms 216 : The Red Army of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945

On the verge of war in the summer of 1941, the Red Army was the largest in the world, however its enormous size could not disguise its serious weaknesses. It had performed well against Japan in the Far East at Khalkin Gol in 1939, but its performance during its unopposed invasion of eastern Poland in September 1939 was lacklustre. It gave the Germans the impression of an army ill-suited to modern, mechanical warfare. The German invasion on Sunday, 22 June 1941 led to a series of staggering defeats for the Russians. In the first five months of fighting the Soviets lost about four million men, amounting to 80 per cent of the total strength of the ground forces at the time of the outbreak of the war. Armoured vehicle losses were close to 20,000 - about six times larger than the total size of the attacking German armour force. Yet the Red Army managed to hold on. The German Wehrmacht finally overstretched its capabilities, and in bitter fighting on the approach to Moscow it was finally stopped. The Soviets had been steadily growing throughout in capability and effectiveness, and after the smashing of the German offensive at the battle of the Kursk salient in 1943, they were never again seriously checked by the Germans, advancing to the ruins of Berlin itself. Steven J Zaloga examines the organisation, equipment and uniforms of the Red Army of the Great Patriotic War accompanied by illustrations by Ron Volstad.

    Contents
  • The Red Army in 1941
  • Organisation of the Soviet Armed Forces - The Rifle Forces
  • Red Army Cavalry
  • Tank and Mechanised Forces
  • Other Combat Branches
  • Red Army Uniforms
  • The Plates

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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