Search Amazon.com:
Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«372 »
  • Post
  • Reply
Retarded Pimp
Jun 2, 2002



Veins McGee posted:

If you flipped to the history channel at any given time you could watch shows about truckers, ghosts, aliens or people going through abandoned storage units.

And people ask me why I dropped cable TV.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Grand Prize Winner
Feb 19, 2007


That brings up an interesting question: can anyone in the historian-ing trades hazard a guess why the History channel (and most other documentary channels) went to poo poo so completely this decade?

Acebuckeye13
Nov 2, 2010

IT GOT HOT


Grand Prize Winner posted:

That brings up an interesting question: can anyone in the historian-ing trades hazard a guess why the History channel (and most other documentary channels) went to poo poo so completely this decade?

Oh, that one's simple: Reality shows get viewers, well-researched documentaries do not, and more viewers=more advertising dollars. Same reason why MTV no longer shows music videos.

THE LUMMOX
Nov 29, 2004


This is really awesome article about the wars between the Chinese Sui dynasty and the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo between 598-614. The second invasion of 611/612 involved the largest army fielded since the second Persian invasion of Greece. A size which would not be matched again until at least the 15th century.

Here's a cool excerpt to show to organization of the Sui army and just how epic this war was. Read the whole article here.

Armchair General Magazine posted:

The military forces that had gathered at Zhuo deserves some special attention, so we will examine it. The heart of the Sui Army was a force named the 24 Armies. Each of these was theoretically identical to the other, making them an uniform force. At the heart of each army was 40 dui (companies) of heavy cavalry, each comprised of a 100 men. Ten dui of cavalry formed a tuan (battalion) of 1,000 men. So there was 4 tuan of heavy cavalry at the heart of each army, comprised of 4,000 men. The infantry was organized into eighty dui, which was also 100 men strong each. Infantry tuan were formed of twenty dui to a tuan of 2,000. So each army had 4 tuan of infantry, comprised of 8,000. An additional 4 tuan of unknown soldiers and unknown numbers guarded the baggage train. Finally there was a special dui of 200 horse archers attached to the Headquarters of each army. Command was shared by the Senior General and Deputy General.

In the field each tuan could be recognized by the color of their uniforms, the color of their cords, and their flags. The main force of these armies was the fubing soldiers. The fubing was the system of rotational military organization inherited from previous dynasties (Northern Zhou, Western Wei, and Northern Wei). Under the fubing system the Emperor would have at any one time a large number (about 50,000 in the capital alone) of well trained, semi-professional, troops recruited from the local military houses all over Northern China. Emperor Yang had, previous to declaring the campaign, already prepared by organizing new fubing headquarters in the area of Zhuo Commandery. Besides these core forces were other troops, such as mass peasant conscripts, and even a contingent of Tujue horseman under Chuluo Qagan, who had a strong claim to the leadership of the Western Tujue. Because Emperor Yang was joining the army personally he was accompanied by the ‘Six Armies of the Son of Heaven’, a force of full time professional soldiers. In addition to all of this was the siege train, logistical support, and lastly a miniature government, so the Emperor could continue to rule even in the field. Traditionally the total number of soldiers has been said to have been 1,133,800 in total with the logistical support being at least twice that number. Modern estimates have placed a much lower total, of at least 600,000 effective troops and an unknown number of logistical support.


The war was eventually won by the Kingdom of Goguryeo because the Sui Dynasty could not produce enough Panzer Mark V's to replace their losses on the eastern front.

wins32767
Mar 16, 2007



THE LUMMOX posted:

The war was eventually won by the Kingdom of Goguryeo because the Sui Dynasty could not produce enough Panzer Mark V's to replace their losses on the eastern front.

As is usual on these forums, you are undervaluing the contribution that lend-lease played in supporting the effort on the eastern front. How many times to I have to quote you the statistics about number of pigs and pounds of rice that were delivered?

EvanSchenck
Sep 8, 2010


Grand Prize Winner posted:

That brings up an interesting question: can anyone in the historian-ing trades hazard a guess why the History channel (and most other documentary channels) went to poo poo so completely this decade?

It has nothing to do with history.

With a couple exceptions, television networks are for-profit enterprises, so they go where the money is. Reality shows are superb earners for a network, because they are cheap in personnel and resources but people will still watch them, for some reason. If you're an executive at the history channel, you can compare a documentary series about the Vietnam War against, say, Pawn Stars. The documentary series demands trained historians and archivists and their assistants. They have to research, write, fact check, and so on, you have to locate and interview people who lived through it, maybe spring for your guys to travel to Vietnam to meet some genuine VC. You have to find and license archival footage. Then you have to pay your cameramen, editors, producers, and so on to put everything together--but that's a fixed cost, that will happen with any show.

With Pawn Stars, you have you have that fixed cost plus basically nothing. You have a producer and a couple of cameras hang out in Las Vegas and they film some fat guys acting like assholes. You probably don't even have to pay the fat guys much, either, because the show is an advertisement for their shop. And people still watch it, so you can still suck money from advertisers, so from the network perspective that's what you call a win-win. And this is comparing reality shows to a documentary, which are probably one of the cheaper types of original programming to produce. Original drama and comedy, with their union-backed writers and actors, is even more expensive.

Then you take into account that the people who actually make decisions at networks (and film studios) are notoriously flaky. They don't have any loyalty to the stated purpose of the network's programming, they're in it to move up the ladder, get promoted, get paid, maybe transition to a better position at another network, whatever. They do that by being associated with a highly rated program. Why devote time and effort to a big show, putting your standing at the network on the line, when you can bang out a poo poo reality show and get the same result? Really, the only reason that anything good gets on TV is somebody with an MBA took a risk and believed he could ride a prestigious show to success. Like at the AMC network, some executives staked their careers on shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Lucky them, it worked out and they're headed upwards. But the History Channel is basic-cable purgatory. Nobody gives a poo poo, and nobody is going to take a risk.

To bring this tangent back into line with the thread, this is also a known factor in the history profession, which anybody will tell you. The best works of history are generally destined for the purely academic market, and their authors will accrue nothing but professional prestige from them. You write the definitive history of Flemish dyke-building, and you will definitely benefit from it. You'll have a good position to get grants and fellowships for your next book, and maybe you'll get a sweet offer from a prestigious university. But that's all stuff inside the academic world. In terms of making real cash money that goes straight in your bank account, the academic market is a cul-de-sac. Occasionally a book will be influential enough to find its way into every professor's syllabus and it will go through edition after edition and the author will actually make money (e.g. Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson). But this is rare.

By comparison, a totally mediocre history book destined for the paperback market in some popular genre (WWI, WWII, the American Civil War, etc.) can bring tremendous profits to the author. The best-selling history author of recent memory is almost certainly Stephen Ambrose, whose books are academically nonexistent, even before accounting for his plagiarism and habit of fabricating sources (both truly unforgivable sins in the profession). The markets are completely different. The backing for Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap), both in television and in literature, is that is what people will buy. A significant portion of what a grad student in history learns is nothing more than the right to read academic history writing. The average reader won't do it--not that I'm accusing anybody of being ignorant or lazy. Those books can be really challenging, and I think if your typical grad student was being honest he or she'd admit to reading about half the assignment.

Jeoh
Jul 20, 2010



wins32767 posted:

As is usual on these forums, you are undervaluing the contribution that lend-lease played in supporting the effort on the eastern front. How many times to I have to quote you the statistics about number of pigs and pounds of rice that were delivered?

BTW, did you know there was this panda carrying ammo for one of the Chinese armies?

wins32767
Mar 16, 2007



Jeoh posted:

BTW, did you know there was this panda carrying ammo for one of the Chinese armies?

You're right, I totally forgot about the logistical benefits!

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002

This could be too paranoid to be effective, but it's a thought.

...

See, stuff like that make me confident in my decision to convert a Jovian moon mine shaft into a survival bunker!

THE LUMMOX posted:


The war was eventually won by the Kingdom of Goguryeo because the Sui Dynasty could not produce enough Panzer Mark V's to replace their losses on the eastern front.

Oh please, everyone treats these as wonder weapons instead of the gimmicks they were. Totally vulnerable to massed spearmen.

On the subject of Asian military history, the mongols rolled over everyone. Are there any good battles showing just how good Subutai was?

Edit: I just finished reading that whole article. Jeez, that would definitely qualify for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It seems like the Sui court did everything it could to gently caress things up.

Volmarias fucked around with this message at Aug 17, 2011 around 15:23

Marlows
Nov 3, 2009


EvanSchenck posted:



By comparison, a totally mediocre history book destined for the paperback market in some popular genre (WWI, WWII, the American Civil War, etc.) can bring tremendous profits to the author. The best-selling history author of recent memory is almost certainly Stephen Ambrose, whose books are academically nonexistent, even before accounting for his plagiarism and habit of fabricating sources (both truly unforgivable sins in the profession). The markets are completely different. The backing for Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap), both in television and in literature, is that is what people will buy. A significant portion of what a grad student in history learns is nothing more than the right to read academic history writing. The average reader won't do it--not that I'm accusing anybody of being ignorant or lazy. Those books can be really challenging, and I think if your typical grad student was being honest he or she'd admit to reading about half the assignment.

You're right, but I think you are a little harsh on popular history. Without popular history introducing people to topics or subjects, I'd think we would have a smaller historical community. So many professors I've had credit such works for getting them into the field. Popular history, despite flaws, at least recognizes the actual excitement towards history that exists among researchers. I'd also be careful about almost comparing authors of pop history to Ambrose; in a good number of cases such authors are widely respected for their purely academic writings. On that note they are doing a service by communicating their research to the reading public, albeit in a simplified form. Such excitement is barely visible in purely academic texts. Let's be honest, how many of us got interested in history through a journal article?

EvanSchenck
Sep 8, 2010


Marlows posted:

You're right, but I think you are a little harsh on popular history. Without popular history introducing people to topics or subjects, I'd think we would have a smaller historical community. So many professors I've had credit such works for getting them into the field. Popular history, despite flaws, at least recognizes the actual excitement towards history that exists among researchers. I'd also be careful about almost comparing authors of pop history to Ambrose; in a good number of cases such authors are widely respected for their purely academic writings. On that note they are doing a service by communicating their research to the reading public, albeit in a simplified form. Such excitement is barely visible in purely academic texts. Let's be honest, how many of us got interested in history through a journal article?

I didn't mean to imply that every history book you're likely to pull off the shelf at Barnes and Noble is crap, or that their authors are bad historians. I just named Ambrose because he was the top of the pop history field for years. There are a lot of great books written for the popular market by eminent historians, and some of them even sell huge runs. I was just trying to express, rather clumsily, the same thing you wrote more charitably (bolded above), which is that books for the popular market are works of popularization rather than exploration.

NaanViolence
Mar 1, 2010
This sort of shit posting is par for the course

A Fistful of Dicks posted:


Also, what would you say was done "wrong" in Vietnam by the U.S.? Again, it seems like the NVA had the advantage of Chinese/Soviet support and relatively uninterrupted supply lines into the South to support the insurrection; although it was my understanding that the Viet Cong were pretty much a spent force after the Tet Offensive failed. What, if anything, in either the U.S.-Vietnam or Soviet Union-Afghanistan scenarios could the invading powers have actually done to tactically 'win' those wars?


This is a bit of a necro, but anyone interested in the Vietnam War really should read In Retrospect by Robert S. McNamara. Though obviously he's not 100% candid given his instrumental role in what is now known as a total failure, he is surprisingly forthcoming about the mistakes that he and others made and what we should learn from them. There's also an interesting section in the end about his perspective on nuclear war.

Will2Powa
Jul 22, 2009


THE LUMMOX posted:

This is really awesome article about the wars between the Chinese Sui dynasty and the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo between 598-614. The second invasion of 611/612 involved the largest army fielded since the second Persian invasion of Greece. A size which would not be matched again until at least the 15th century.


Here's a cool excerpt to show to organization of the Sui army and just how epic this war was. Read the whole article here.

Oh my god, this poo poo is like out of a acme cartoon. "I'll get that Wascally Goguryeo!"

Will2Powa fucked around with this message at Aug 18, 2011 around 02:35

Top Hats Monthly
Jun 22, 2011

This guy is ACTUALLY invested in Gopher Football

I was kind of thinking about something, but I'm not sure if you could answer it, do you know what neutrals the Warsaw Pact may/may not invade in say a 1983 World War III conflict, with a delayed onset of nuclear weapons, I'd assume Austria, but I dunno. And thanks for the Finnish civil war essay.

Top Hats Monthly fucked around with this message at Aug 18, 2011 around 03:12

Grand Prize Winner
Feb 19, 2007


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but by 1983 wasn't the Warsaw Pact's military mostly made of rust?

Morose Man
Jul 8, 2011


Fabulous thread.

My questions: do the historians here feel that certain personal qualities are common to all outstanding military leaders? If so, which?

Acknot
Mar 18, 2008


Grand Prize Winner,

Any reasonable non-nuclear cold war invasion of europe would involve a massive Soviet armoured thrust through the Fulda gap (look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_gap) AND would involve absolutely massive military power.

It's so not true that the Warsaw Pact's military was mostly made of rust in the 80's - on the contrary they were at their peak. It's pretty chilling that contamporary wargames would usually end with crushing Soviet victory, or alternatively the US nuking an advancing Soviet army on German soil. That of course because nuking Soviet soil would initiate the whole mutally assured destruction easter egg feature.

I remember this leading to all kinds of controversy including my country wanting to withdraw from NATO over their willingness to use our soil and military as radiation sponges.

On a more serious note, the Soviet army unit was in many ways superior to the Nato ones. Front line units had nightvision equipment and two SVD-equipped snipers per team, zerg rush amounts of T80 and T72 MBTs (4-1 ratio to NATO armour) and first class ground support and air suprtiority fighters.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008

The level of betrayal I felt when Paradox announced their new wallpaper tore something from me that I'll never be able to recover. They tore away my ability to respect anything, and they tore away my ability to feel human.

Morose Man posted:

Fabulous thread.

My questions: do the historians here feel that certain personal qualities are common to all outstanding military leaders? If so, which?

They tend to be absolute egotistic bastards whom you probably wouldn't actually like to know.

Obvious reasons.

Ensign Expendable
Nov 11, 2008

Родина слышит


Acknot posted:

Grand Prize Winner,

Any reasonable non-nuclear cold war invasion of europe would involve a massive Soviet armoured thrust through the Fulda gap (look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_gap) AND would involve absolutely massive military power.

It's so not true that the Warsaw Pact's military was mostly made of rust in the 80's - on the contrary they were at their peak. It's pretty chilling that contamporary wargames would usually end with crushing Soviet victory, or alternatively the US nuking an advancing Soviet army on German soil. That of course because nuking Soviet soil would initiate the whole mutally assured destruction easter egg feature.

I remember this leading to all kinds of controversy including my country wanting to withdraw from NATO over their willingness to use our soil and military as radiation sponges.

On a more serious note, the Soviet army unit was in many ways superior to the Nato ones. Front line units had nightvision equipment and two SVD-equipped snipers per team, zerg rush amounts of T80 and T72 MBTs (4-1 ratio to NATO armour) and first class ground support and air suprtiority fighters.

Every vehicle since the T-72 was equipped to automatically seal itself and continue fighting in irradiated conditions, so nuking them wouldn't stop the forces not destroyed by the shockwave.

Nenonen
Oct 22, 2009



Acknot posted:

Grand Prize Winner,

Any reasonable non-nuclear cold war invasion of europe would involve a massive Soviet armoured thrust through the Fulda gap (look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_gap) AND would involve absolutely massive military power.

It's so not true that the Warsaw Pact's military was mostly made of rust in the 80's - on the contrary they were at their peak. It's pretty chilling that contamporary wargames would usually end with crushing Soviet victory, or alternatively the US nuking an advancing Soviet army on German soil. That of course because nuking Soviet soil would initiate the whole mutally assured destruction easter egg feature.

I remember this leading to all kinds of controversy including my country wanting to withdraw from NATO over their willingness to use our soil and military as radiation sponges.

On a more serious note, the Soviet army unit was in many ways superior to the Nato ones. Front line units had nightvision equipment and two SVD-equipped snipers per team, zerg rush amounts of T80 and T72 MBTs (4-1 ratio to NATO armour) and first class ground support and air suprtiority fighters.

It also depends on what you think counts. At that time the best Soviet tanks, for example, were T-64 and T-80. Other WP armies had access to only the lesser T-72, T-62 and T-55 MBT's, and it tended to be more T-55's than T-72's. The same went with everything else. Soviets had all the latest east block equipment, the little brothers had rust buckets. On top of that, Soviets had many categories of divisions, and only a small part of them had the very latest equipment. Still, they were the most potent part of the WP striking power, like the US for NATO.

Soviet air power probably wouldn't have been so competitive, though. Especially during the latter half of the decade the flight hours given to conscript pilots weren't sufficient because there wasn't resources to maintain the fighter force regularly enough. And fighting over air superiority would have caused even more wear and tear.

Alchenar posted:

They tend to be absolute egotistic bastards whom you probably wouldn't actually like to know.

Once upon a time there was an outstanding general who was also very humble. No records have remained of him.

HeroOfTheRevolution
Apr 26, 2008



Acknot posted:

It's pretty chilling that contamporary wargames would usually end with crushing Soviet victory, or alternatively the US nuking an advancing Soviet army on German soil.

Contemporary wargames were also based on incredibly shaky assumptions about Soviet military strength which have since proven false. The Warsaw Pact military in 1983 was inferior to NATO's despite the paper strength you're quoting. The Soviet Union just did a great job obfuscating this throughout the entire Cold War, while NATO obsessed over troop strengths and the missile gap.

Keep in mind that the Soviet military was so incompetent that in Afghanistan, Soviet soldiers suffered almost constant bouts of dysentery because it was not standard practice for military cooks to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before handling food. Your SVD snipers would probably be making GBS threads themselves.

There were also massive issues of supply and logistics for the Soviet military that manifested in Afghanistan, and massive amounts of corruption. For example, Soviet conscripts sold weapons to the mujahideen, just like Russian soldiers do today in Dagestan and Ingushetia.

Basically, NATO liked to delude itself into thinking the USSR was a much bigger threat than it actually was (to the benefit of the military-industrial complex), and also knew nothing about the political problems that began to manifest themselves in the 1980s which eventually ended the Soviet Union.

Acknot
Mar 18, 2008


Ah, good, this is interesting!

The year 1983 is special due to the massive psyops and wargames in that year which literally nearly initiated a nuclear exchange. (Arguably biased but still interesting account at https://www.cia.gov/library/center-...drum/source.htm)

Due to the high state of alert in just '83, a great effort was put into estimating Soviet military capability. There have been a couple of interesting Norwegian books published the last few years on the subject of covert action during the cold war, one of which details a number of penetrations through northern Finland deep into Kola and into eastern Europe to assess the size and capability of their assets.

For the northern European flank, the knowledge on their capabilities was sufficiently accurate to be constantly depressing. Even if the Soviet Army suffers the same issues they have always had with discipline, maintenance, logistics and so forth, the fact remains that their equipment is created to suit and their ability to handle losses unsurpassed. For NATO, on the ground in Europe in 1983, it would almost certainly have proven an overwhelming force.

As for the nuclear attack to counter an armoured breakthrough, their losses would of course have been considerable, but I still think it would have been more of a psychological strike. We could probably argue whether a decision to attack Europe could be considered rational on behalf of the Soviet management, but I very much doubt they would have failed to understand that a follow-up strike would hit Moscow.

You are correct that numbers alone don't convey the real-world strength, and perhaps there is some truth to some high level wargames making inaccurate assumptions for political purposes. Myself, I have had the diametrically opposite experience. During my service every military wargame I have come across or participated in has been meticulously prepared. Being a small nation, that often put our forces at a drastic disadvantage, despite some times superior capabilities of our forces. Being an officer during the cold war must have been pretty dark. Our fast response forces up north did not stock food for more than eight days, which was expected lifespan plus one week.

MassivelyBuckNegro
May 26, 2004
HAVE NO FEAR FOLKS, DETECTIVE VEINS IS ON THE CASE. NO DETAIL MISSED, NO SPREADSHEET LEFT BEHIND.

Acknot posted:

Grand Prize Winner,

Any reasonable non-nuclear cold war invasion of europe would involve a massive Soviet armoured thrust through the Fulda gap (look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_gap) AND would involve absolutely massive military power.

It's so not true that the Warsaw Pact's military was mostly made of rust in the 80's - on the contrary they were at their peak. It's pretty chilling that contamporary wargames would usually end with crushing Soviet victory, or alternatively the US nuking an advancing Soviet army on German soil. That of course because nuking Soviet soil would initiate the whole mutally assured destruction easter egg feature.

I remember this leading to all kinds of controversy including my country wanting to withdraw from NATO over their willingness to use our soil and military as radiation sponges.

On a more serious note, the Soviet army unit was in many ways superior to the Nato ones. Front line units had nightvision equipment and two SVD-equipped snipers per team, zerg rush amounts of T80 and T72 MBTs (4-1 ratio to NATO armour) and first class ground support and air suprtiority fighters.

I actually just read an article entitled "Is there a Tank Gap?". http://www.jstor.org/stable/2538895 It was written in 1988 so the data for the Soviets is statistical approximation instead of whatever is available currently. The writers are a bit jingoistic at times so take the article with a grain of salt.

The main thesis of the article is that there was no real tank gap between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces. The Warsaw Pact, after identifying units which would be ready quickly and actually in the European theater, possessed a very slight edge in total number of tanks(something like 1.2~1.5 to 1) not counting for quality. Whatever advantage the Warsaw Pact has is whittled away by the number of obsolete tanks(un-upgraded T-55/T-62) counted in their formations and the inherent superiority of western tanks(which the authors go on about at length; see Desert Storm).

edit: Unless you're a student you probably can't read JSTOR articles. I can email a pdf of the article for anyone that's interested.

MassivelyBuckNegro fucked around with this message at Aug 19, 2011 around 23:39

Ograbme
Jul 26, 2003

D--n it, how he nicks 'em

Why does American military hardware all start with an M?

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008

The level of betrayal I felt when Paradox announced their new wallpaper tore something from me that I'll never be able to recover. They tore away my ability to respect anything, and they tore away my ability to feel human.

Ograbme posted:

Why does American military hardware all start with an M?

'Model'

Rabhadh
Aug 26, 2007


Ograbme posted:

Why does American military hardware all start with an M?

'Merica

R. Mute
Jul 27, 2011


Asking Me About My Opinions On Chairman Mao's Kill Count


Murder.

Admiral Snackbar
Mar 13, 2006


Veins McGee posted:

I actually just read an article entitled "Is there a Tank Gap?". http://www.jstor.org/stable/2538895 It was written in 1988 so the data for the Soviets is statistical approximation instead of whatever is available currently. The writers are a bit jingoistic at times so take the article with a grain of salt.

The main thesis of the article is that there was no real tank gap between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces. The Warsaw Pact, after identifying units which would be ready quickly and actually in the European theater, possessed a very slight edge in total number of tanks(something like 1.2~1.5 to 1) not counting for quality. Whatever advantage the Warsaw Pact has is whittled away by the number of obsolete tanks(un-upgraded T-55/T-62) counted in their formations and the inherent superiority of western tanks(which the authors go on about at length; see Desert Storm).

edit: Unless you're a student you probably can't read JSTOR articles. I can email a pdf of the article for anyone that's interested.

One of the reasons for the talk of a Soviet rust-bucket army was the way Soviet materiel was stored and maintained. Unlike Western assets which were regularly upgraded and phased in/out, Soviet tanks and weapons were simply produced in enormous numbers and stored. It was common for tanks and other vehicles to be placed in storage, taken out and run once a year, and put right back in storage again. The result was a steady increase in numbers, many of which were old models.

Whereas Western observers saw this as backwardness and reliance on outdated technology, the reason for this practice was actually perfectly in line with Soviet strategy. The USSR's best hope for victory in a major conflict was to overwhelm NATO defenses and advance to the Rhine so quickly that the nuclear option wouldn't make sense for NATO since the warheads would be falling on their own soil, as Acknot mentioned. The Soviets fully expected such an advance to take an enormous toll on their manpower and materiel, so they decided not to invest too much in each individual soldier, vehicle, or weapon. Instead, they simply stockpiled a vast number of disposable weapons and vehicles that they could churn through without having to slow their advance. Under those circumstances, where things are happening so quickly that durability doesn't have time to become a factor, their policy makes some sense.

Boiled Water
Apr 5, 2006

YOU ARE A BRAIN
IN A BUNKER


Admiral Snackbar posted:

Under those circumstances, where things are happening so quickly that durability doesn't have time to become a factor, their policy makes some sense.

Until the US nukes it's allies soil, yes?

Admiral Snackbar
Mar 13, 2006


Even then, the Soviet vehicles were designed to operate on a nuked battlefield whereas their NATO counterparts were not. While the possible effectiveness of such operations is obviously open to a lot of question, they at least planned for them...

Graviton v2
Mar 2, 2007

by angerbeet


Admiral Snackbar posted:

Even then, the Soviet vehicles were designed to operate on a nuked battlefield whereas their NATO counterparts were not. While the possible effectiveness of such operations is obviously open to a lot of question, they at least planned for them...
What were some of these vehicles?

Ensign Expendable
Nov 11, 2008

Родина слышит


Like I said, every tank and APC after the T-72 had this capability. I don't know if all the units were fitted with this sort of thing, but it was available.

Ograbme
Jul 26, 2003

D--n it, how he nicks 'em

Sure their tanks and BMPs were radiation protected, but what about their supply trucks!

Ograbme fucked around with this message at Aug 20, 2011 around 04:05

Graviton v2
Mar 2, 2007

by angerbeet


Ensign Expendable posted:

Like I said, every tank and APC after the T-72 had this capability. I don't know if all the units were fitted with this sort of thing, but it was available.
Ah right, sorry must have missed your earlier post.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-72#N...ical_protection

Mr. Sunshine
May 15, 2008

Can anybody find me somebody to love rape and torture?


Ograbme posted:

Sure their tanks and BMPs were radiation protected, but what about their supply trucks!

I'm afraid I can't directly quote any sources, but during my military service back in -01 we had a chance to read through the Swedish "Handbook Soviet Union", a guide to the expected enemy forces. Granted, it was a bit outdated, but still gave a rough idea of what the Russians were capable of.

Anyway, there were several supply vehicles described in that book that were designed for supplying troops in a toxic/radiated environment. They even had mess trucks capable of feeding troops in such conditions.

E: Fun fact! In a possible conflict, it was estimated that the the Soviets/Russians would drop more airborne troops and armour over Sweden in the first wave than what the Swedish Armed Forces numbered in total. Neutrality my rear end - any defensive action would have amounted to "Hold out until the 'muricans show up!"

Mr. Sunshine fucked around with this message at Aug 20, 2011 around 10:27

Acknot
Mar 18, 2008


Thanks for the JSTOR link, interesting stuff! Mr. Sunshine, we were in the same position here in Norway. There's a strategic line in the north and the general idea was to mass pretty much our entire military there and engage in a delaying defensive tactic untill reinforcements arrived. Famously, a number of German officers experienced in this kind of tactics were involved in drafting the plans...

I don't know if the OP picked 1983 on purpose, but there was an event in that year where Soviet forces massed along our border in the north, massive elite elements were 'exercising' in easten europe and so forth. According to one of the books mentioned above, Soviet armour elements were observed performing night operations requiring the kind of night vision gear Nato tankers were confident they did not possess.

Have you had a look at the T-80 spec? For it's time it must have been quite impressive. The T-80 was the first turbine powered MBT, providing it with the best mobility of any contemporary MBT. 46 tonnes through turbine power and composite armour and with an auto-loader main gun the size and silhouette was smaller than ours tanks were at the time. The 125mm smoothbore main gun can fire the AT-8 guided missile. Imagine the kinds of technology we'd see if they'd kept up this kind of engineering effort today..!

It's a common idea that Soviet engineering was not up to western standards, but I think this is a misconception. The budgets and intended users are usually completely different. I can say that some Russian naval binoculars are built to an amazing technical specification, superior to the point where commander of a sub I served on used his private one complete with Cyrillic labelling.

It's a good thing there was never a full-on showdown, though interesting to discuss.

MassivelyBuckNegro
May 26, 2004
HAVE NO FEAR FOLKS, DETECTIVE VEINS IS ON THE CASE. NO DETAIL MISSED, NO SPREADSHEET LEFT BEHIND.

Here's an article written in response to "Is there a tank gap?". It presents the other side of argument. Personally, it does better service to the topic. The authors of the original piece post a response at the end.
http://www.jstor.org/pss/2538783

Admiral Snackbar
Mar 13, 2006


Acknot posted:

It's a common idea that Soviet engineering was not up to western standards, but I think this is a misconception.

When I was doing research on my capstone paper I kept coming across articles from the 20's and 30's written by Western observers that basically said that there was no way the Soviets could ever build a credible tank force because they just didn't have the knack for such complicated things. In fact, one American military attache was actually transferred to a less prestigious position for suggesting otherwise. It seems like even after the crazy amounts of tanks the Russians built during WWII a lot of Westerners just couldn't bring themselves to give the commies their due credit.

On the other hand, the situation within NATO during the 60's and 70's was such that some member nations intentionally kept their conventional forces weak in order to force the US into depending more on the deterrent effect of its nuclear arsenal. It was basically a way for smaller countries to play both sides: their conventional forces were so weak that any Soviet attack would have to be met by a nuclear response if there was to be any hope of defeating it. In their minds, this made any attack less likely, and they could therefore shift the burden of military expense to their larger nuclear capable allies.

Veins McGee posted:

It presents the other side of argument. Personally, it does better service to the topic.
I see that that article is written by Steven Zaloga. He's pretty much the final word on Cold War armor capabilities.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002

This could be too paranoid to be effective, but it's a thought.

...

See, stuff like that make me confident in my decision to convert a Jovian moon mine shaft into a survival bunker!

Admiral Snackbar posted:

When I was doing research on my capstone paper I kept coming across articles from the 20's and 30's written by Western observers that basically said that there was no way the Soviets could ever build a credible tank force because they just didn't have the knack for such complicated things. In fact, one American military attache was actually transferred to a less prestigious position for suggesting otherwise. It seems like even after the crazy amounts of tanks the Russians built during WWII a lot of Westerners just couldn't bring themselves to give the commies their due credit.

Do you have access to former soviet articles? What was the soviet opinion on western armored forces, as compared to reality, and compared to our view of their forces? I know that since the Mao/Stalin split USSR/PRC relations weren't very smooth, was there a concern in the soviet hierarchy that if a war broke out in Europe, China would go after the eastern end?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

MassivelyBuckNegro
May 26, 2004
HAVE NO FEAR FOLKS, DETECTIVE VEINS IS ON THE CASE. NO DETAIL MISSED, NO SPREADSHEET LEFT BEHIND.

Admiral Snackbar posted:

When I was doing research on my capstone paper I kept coming across articles from the 20's and 30's written by Western observers that basically said that there was no way the Soviets could ever build a credible tank force because they just didn't have the knack for such complicated things. In fact, one American military attache was actually transferred to a less prestigious position for suggesting otherwise. It seems like even after the crazy amounts of tanks the Russians built during WWII a lot of Westerners just couldn't bring themselves to give the commies their due credit.

Was it that Western observers thought that the Soviets were incapable of creating a technically sound tank or incapable of developing a sound doctrine for employment?

quote:

I see that that article is written by Steven Zaloga. He's pretty much the final word on Cold War armor capabilities.

In "Is there a tank gap?" as soon as the authors started ranting about the technical superiority of western tanks I started skipping entire pages because they just didn't have any real data to support it. In 1988 there were only the Arab/Israeli wars to use as a basis for making claims and the conclusions that can be drawn from these engagements are extremely limited(Export versions/obsolete tanks, training of crews, doctrine)

Zaloga's article does much better service to the topic but he has the benefit of 10 years of additional data.

Volmarias posted:

I know that since the Mao/Stalin split USSR/PRC relations weren't very smooth, was there a concern in the soviet hierarchy that if a war broke out in Europe, China would go after the eastern end?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino%E...border_conflict

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«372 »