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EvanSchenck
Sep 8, 2010


gohuskies posted:

Truman told Stalin that the Americans had "a new weapon of unusual destructive force" on July 24th, about two weeks before the first bomb was dropped. The Soviets were working on their own bomb at this point and Stalin probably knew what Truman was talking about, though Stalin pulls off an unbelievable poker face if he does.

He was a masterful manipulator whose ascent to power was based on his ability to conceal his motives and manipulate people who were much more intelligent and charismatic than him. In that light it's actually kind of cute that Churchill and Byrnes believed they were reading his reactions and getting an idea of what he was thinking. Soviet intelligence was also getting information from assets inside the Manhattan Project, so the only real surprise for Stalin would have been the specific point that the bomb was ready for deployment.

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Ensign Expendable
Nov 11, 2008

Родина слышит


Nenonen posted:

Still, nothing compares to KV-2. 152mm howitzer as the main gun in 1941?! With a turret the size of a Sandcrawler.

Of course, if you're a German, your first instinct is to stick a commander's cupola on top of it to make it even taller...



The KV had a ton of problems. While its armour was impenetrable to anything short of the German 88mm AA gun, the transmission broke down frequtently, it was horribly slow, and the large KV-2 turret couldn't turn unless the tank was parked relatively flat. KV-2s stopped being made before WWII even started, although they are far more recognizable than the KV-1. Once the KV-1 armour was no longer impenetrable by German tanks, it really didn't offer much on the battlefield compared to the faster, cheaper and similarly armed T-34.

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.

Chamale posted:

Did the timing of the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan have anything to do with the timing of the atomic bomb attacks? How much did the Soviet leaders know, officially and from espionage, about what the Americans dropped on Hiroshima?

On the specific point - no, it was just a co-incidence. The invasion timetable for August storm had been planned out long in advance - at Yalta Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific war 3 months after German surrender and the Soviets stuck to that timetable to the very day.

The dropping of the Atomic bombs wasn't timed in relation to that date either - they were cleared for use as and when they became operationally available.

AbdominalSnowman
Mar 2, 2009

by Ozmaugh


This is more contemporary military history, but I'm hoping someone can weigh in with some recommendations either way. I've read a lot about American Special Forces units, but I am still pretty in the dark about any of the foreign ones, aside from unit names and some brief summaries of declassified missions from decades ago. I'm really curious to get a look at some of those units that isn't biased or full of "superman" conjecture (i.e. for some reason most Brits just love saying that everyone but the SAS sucks rear end, and the Spetsnaz have so much ridiculous mythology surrounding them that it is impossible to determine what is reality). Are there any books that anybody could recommend? I don't really care what nation or military is represented, I just want to learn about how people that aren't American approach their special operations in a modern context.

Farecoal
Oct 15, 2011

???


I'm a bit confused about the Spanish Civil War. Which side represented the government from before the war, the Republicans or Nationalists?

Panzeh
Nov 27, 2006

Wargames pretty much make you Hitler. It's awesome being Hitler.

Farecoal posted:

I'm a bit confused about the Spanish Civil War. Which side represented the government from before the war, the Republicans or Nationalists?

The Republican side represented the government as elected just before the war. The latest in a series of divisive elections produced a plurality in the Popular Front, the leftist coalition, by having both communists and some anarchists in participation. This was totally unacceptable to a cabal of officers that included Franco and Mola, which resulted in a botched military coup. In some cities, the military did indeed manage to occupy the places of government quickly. In others, the military didn't defect, or leftist workers with weapons were able to surround and destroy the garrisons. This resulted in a 3-year civil war.

There's a lot of interesting history about it, too, including the first African-American fighter ace(maybe), and the first African-American officer to command an integrated unit(for two weeks).

SeanBeansShako
Nov 20, 2009


A few years ago, before Veoh went to poo poo it had a whole interesting documentary series based on the Spanish Civil War from the mid or late eighties.

Oxford Comma
Jun 26, 2011
Oxford Comma: Hey guys I want a cool big dog to show off! I want it to be ~special~ like Thor but more couch potato-like because I got babbies in the house!
Everybody: GET A LAB.
Oxford Comma: OK! (gets a a pit/catahoula mix)


Would this thread be an appropriate place to talk about the Troubles in Northern Ireland or should that go to D&D?

EvanSchenck
Sep 8, 2010


AbdominalSnowman posted:

Are there any books that anybody could recommend? I don't really care what nation or military is represented, I just want to learn about how people that aren't American approach their special operations in a modern context.

I don't really have any recommendations, but comparing Special Forces is pretty much just insipid nationalist dick-measuring. At a certain level of training and discipline soldiers are just going to run up against the limits of what a small unit of soldiers can realistically accomplish in the field, or of what an individual soldier can do physically, so top-level special forces are all going to be effectively interchangeable. It's not like the SAS knows some secret method of modern combat that gives them a decisive advantage over Delta Force or GSG-9, or whoever.

EDIT:

Oxford Comma posted:

Would this thread be an appropriate place to talk about the Troubles in Northern Ireland or should that go to D&D?

It would depend on what aspect of it you were wanting to discuss.

dokmo
Aug 26, 2006

man


Farecoal posted:

My brother claims the Civil War was a useless war because slavery would have become economically unviable around 30 years after the 1860s. He told me it would become too expensive to care for the slaves. (He also claims this is why in a libertarian society there wouldn't be slavery) Bullshit? Not bullshit?

There was a famous paper by Alfred H. Conrad and John Meyer in 1958, which concluded:





I believe other studies by economists have confirmed the point that there's no economic reason (as opposed to political or social reason) to believe that slavery would have become unprofitable (eg).

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Some missions, you just can't get rid of a bomb

This may be a bit of a technical question, but how was artillery plotted out in the time of, say, World War 1, when we didn't have computers and I assume the ballistics math was too involved to do by hand. I also heard of something called sound-ranging as a means of performing counter-battery fire. How did that work?

Mans
Sep 14, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 21 days!


Farecoal posted:

I'm a bit confused about the Spanish Civil War. Which side represented the government from before the war, the Republicans or Nationalists?
Hemmingway made a great film about the civil war, you can find it on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT8q6VAyTi8), it's a fascinating film.

gohuskies
Oct 23, 2010


gradenko_2000 posted:

This may be a bit of a technical question, but how was artillery plotted out in the time of, say, World War 1, when we didn't have computers and I assume the ballistics math was too involved to do by hand. I also heard of something called sound-ranging as a means of performing counter-battery fire. How did that work?

For sound-ranging, the basic idea is that you have a couple microphones set up and you know the positions of all the microphones and the distances and angles between them. Somebody shoots a big gun, and the microphones hear the boom.



You measure the time when each mic hears the boom, figure out the distance from each mic to the gun based on that time and the speed of sound, and then it's trigonometry to calculate the position. Back in the day, not many people knew trig, and their commanders were smart enough to keep them behind the lines where they wouldn't be blown up, so the operators used tables and graphs to plug in numbers and calculate the solution.

The ranging was pretty crappy, for many reasons. It's tough to tell how long exactly the sound takes to get to the mic - how precise is your recording equipment, when exactly is the gun going off and are you hearing the gun or the sonic boom of the shell (they eventually figured this out based on audio frequencies), and an artillery gun is more like a longer "boooom" than a sharp, clear "bang" so you lose precision there, and how do you tell which boom is from which gun if they shoot more than one gun at a time? And how do you precisely measure the distance and angles between mics in a combat environment, and maintain the mics and the cables back to signal processing so that you are actually getting the data? And then some poor kid with a 1910s quality education is trying to use the law of cosines in a bunker while being shelled? Plus the whole shebang relies on a predictable speed of sound, which changes with wind and temperature.

Apparently in tests they could get the location of a gun within 25 meters but c'mon, seriously, there's no way this actually worked that well, that consistently. There's a reason those who could switched to radar in WWII.

Rapey Joe Stalin
Jun 12, 2007
Uncle Ronnie had the right idea in the 80s when he sent in death squads to rape and kill nuns!

EvanSchenck posted:

I don't really have any recommendations, but comparing Special Forces is pretty much just insipid nationalist dick-measuring. At a certain level of training and discipline soldiers are just going to run up against the limits of what a small unit of soldiers can realistically accomplish in the field, or of what an individual soldier can do physically, so top-level special forces are all going to be effectively interchangeable. It's not like the SAS knows some secret method of modern combat that gives them a decisive advantage over Delta Force or GSG-9, or whoever.

Yeah, at that level I would think it's more about experience (practical and institutional), and specialisation than which Superman can jump a taller building.

For instance, the Royal Marines aren't necessarily any better than their US equivalent, but when the US were hunting Osama in the mountains at the start of the Afghanistan campaign, they specifically asked for RM help because the Mountain & Arctic Warfare Cadre had exactly the experience required.

Nenonen
Oct 22, 2009



There were a multitude of solutions, but they normally involved a good deal of calculations, drawings on a millimeter grid, correction charts for wind, temperature, air pressure etc. But still much depended on manual calculations. There were also rules of thumb: eg. "a 10 change of temperature from +15C changes range by 5%".

One effective solution to the problems before computers was the Finnish Correction Converter (1943), a piece of plywood with an opaque plastic disc on it. With it the Forward Observer didn't have to know the relative difference in heading of himself and the battery to do corrections. The converter did this in a turn of hand, enabling the FO to easily control the fire of several separate artillery battalions at once.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952

gradenko_2000 posted:

This may be a bit of a technical question, but how was artillery plotted out in the time of, say, World War 1, when we didn't have computers and I assume the ballistics math was too involved to do by hand. I also heard of something called sound-ranging as a means of performing counter-battery fire. How did that work?

WW1 artillery used recalculated tables for the math involved. Battery officers had to do a lot of crunching to plan an attack. This really cut into the number of recalculated or pre-registered points you can prepare and artillery flexibility was essentially nonexistent. A great deal of reliance was placed on aerial spotting and directly spurred the development of military aviation.

The crippling state of tactical communications guaranteed that an infantry unit that got ahead of schedule would run into friendly barrages, and one that was delayed would fall behind their supporting fires. Those latter guys got stuck attacking defenses alerted by the bombardment but no longer suppressed by it. Signaling mirrors, semaphore flags and signal flares all had issues. Dragging a wire behind you had numerous problems, not least their susceptibility to defensive artillery fire. There was just no way to send word back and forth.

Poor communications killed more people than bad tactics. On the flip side, good tactics turns into bad tactics when you grossly overestimate your communications ability. You can't adjust timing or send in reinforcements or change the axis of attack. You absolutely cannot put artillery on target of opportunity.

The noted German successes in counterattacks relied on responding to calls over emplaced wire to very well mapped spots, and the Surmtrupp tactics from 1918 relied heavily on individual initiative at about the battalion level to keep large groups moving with only local coordination. That was still more than the rigid structure of the French and English armies was capable of at any point in the war.

I'll qualify that last with a mention of the advanced infantry tactics that came out of the Vosges and the mountain warfare school. Their tactics didn't get very widely accepted in any reasonable timeframe, but the guys who taught modern tactics to the Americans as they arrived were from this school so the US forces benefited. That's why Belleau Wood was an expensive glory and not a bloody failure.

Sound ranging was used for both counterbattery and anti aircraft detection. As I mentioned before, aerial spotting was the most effective. And that involved a two-seat scout plane with a radio transmitting Morse code to a ground station radio that weighed tons. Not super flexible, but it got results.

Mr. Sunshine
May 15, 2008

Can anybody find me somebody to love rape and torture?


AbdominalSnowman posted:

This is more contemporary military history, but I'm hoping someone can weigh in with some recommendations either way. I've read a lot about American Special Forces units, but I am still pretty in the dark about any of the foreign ones, aside from unit names and some brief summaries of declassified missions from decades ago. I'm really curious to get a look at some of those units that isn't biased or full of "superman" conjecture (i.e. for some reason most Brits just love saying that everyone but the SAS sucks rear end, and the Spetsnaz have so much ridiculous mythology surrounding them that it is impossible to determine what is reality). Are there any books that anybody could recommend? I don't really care what nation or military is represented, I just want to learn about how people that aren't American approach their special operations in a modern context.

Like others have said, it's always difficult to compare SF units simply because, well, they conduct "special" missions and not standard combat missions. Could the Swedish SSG have successfully undertaken the Osama raid just as well as the US SEALS? Sure, if you'd supplied them with a base of operations in southern Afghanistan, helicopters to carry them into Pakistan, skilled pilots to fly them in, and the intelligence to act on. In a large enough context, SF from a superpower like the US will always outperform SF from a small country like Sweden, simply because they have so much more resources, logistics and intelligence to call on.

Also, SF tend to be crazy secretive. We Swedes don't really know what it is the SSG actually do. We know they've been to Congo and Afghanistan and probably Yugoslavia, but we don't know what they did there. The only thing I personally know for certain is that they're usually armed with G36 instead of the souped-up FN-FNC the rest of the army uses, they served alongside the Foreign Legion in Congo and helped storm some city or other, and that their conclusions afterwards were "Swedish armed forces combat training is up to the job, but we need better body bags."

IM_DA_DECIDER
May 7, 2005
custard title

One thing I know about contemporary special forces is that I would not want to be anywhere near a Russian hostage rescue operation.

Mr Crustacean
May 13, 2009

one (1) robosexual
avatar, as ordered



IM_DA_DECIDER posted:

One thing I know about contemporary special forces is that I would not want to be anywhere near a Russian hostage rescue operation.

Hey how many hostage takers have gotten away?




Rapey Joe Stalin
Jun 12, 2007
Uncle Ronnie had the right idea in the 80s when he sent in death squads to rape and kill nuns!

That's not so much a condemnation of their skills as it is of the Russian policy on terrorism which could be summed up as "I don't care who started it, you kids stop or I'm turning this car around".

Rabhadh
Aug 26, 2007


The Belsan school siege turned to poo poo when every parent with a gun showed up to lend a hand and the security forces on site couldn't keep them away, amongst other things

Oxford Comma
Jun 26, 2011
Oxford Comma: Hey guys I want a cool big dog to show off! I want it to be ~special~ like Thor but more couch potato-like because I got babbies in the house!
Everybody: GET A LAB.
Oxford Comma: OK! (gets a a pit/catahoula mix)


Mr Crustacean posted:

Hey how many hostages have gotten away?





Ghost of Mussolini
Jun 26, 2011


Rabhadh posted:

The Belsan school siege turned to poo poo when every parent with a gun showed up to lend a hand and the security forces on site couldn't keep them away, amongst other things
This is overblown for some reason. Its true that everyone and their grandma pulled their moisins out and rushed to scene. However, while this is part of the incompetent handling of the siege by the government, it probably did not result in many casualties. What did cause a massive amount of casualties was storming a tightly packed, booby-trapped, gymnasium with waves of special forces supported by T-72s, APCs, and armed helicopters including at least one Mi-24 Hind. Then they fired Shemel rockets, which have fuel-air warheads. Some conscripts and police also apparently refused to enter the battle.

Although lots of FSB, OMON and MVD troops were deployed in addition to local police and army units, almost no special medical services were brought in. They had plenty of time to do it and the resources to bring in more medics, ambulances, etc. but seemingly nobody bothered to do so. Firefighters were also totally unprepared.

So yeah, they bothered to bring in tanks and attack helicopters to storm a schoolhouse, but they didn't think to bring in a few more ambulances.

The fault doesn't fall on the shoulders of some concerned parents with their own rifles, but rather on the immense incompetence of the Russian state. After all, considering it's track record, in that situation I'd rather do it myself before letting the Russian army deal with it.

IM_DA_DECIDER
May 7, 2005
custard title

Rabhadh posted:

The Belsan school siege turned to poo poo when every parent with a gun showed up to lend a hand and the security forces on site couldn't keep them away, amongst other things

"Other things" being the complete lack of restraint from the special forces. The wikipedia article is just horrifying, I mean look at this:

quote:

At least three but as many as nine powerful Shmel rockets were fired at the school from the positions of the special forces three or nine empty disposable tubes were later found on the rooftops of nearby apartment blocks). The use of the Shmel rockets, classified in Russia as flamethrowers and in the West as thermobaric weapons, was initially denied, but later admitted by the government.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952

Rapey Joe Stalin posted:

That's not so much a condemnation of their skills as it is of the Russian policy on terrorism which could be summed up as "I don't care who started it, you kids stop or I'm turning this car around".

I'd say it's more like "You shut up or I'll give you something to cry about."

SeanBeansShako
Nov 20, 2009


You know how bad AI bots are some sub-par shooter games?

They remind me of the modern Russian Army sometimes.

Anyways, I'd love it if somebody could talk about the last days of the Red Army before the Soviet Union collapsed and why the modern Russian states soldiers are so horrifyingly bad.

Flippycunt
Apr 27, 2006

History has shown us that the love of power will always exceed the power of love. Plan accordingly.


SeanBeansShako posted:

why the modern Russian states soldiers are so horrifyingly bad.

Probably a combination of:
-Conscripted
-Paid poorly
-Treated like absolute poo poo
-No longer even have any ideology to fight for
-Mostly used for counter-insurgency work, which they not even remotely prepared for

Mans
Sep 14, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 21 days!


SeanBeansShako posted:

You know how bad AI bots are some sub-par shooter games?

They remind me of the modern Russian Army sometimes.

Anyways, I'd love it if somebody could talk about the last days of the Red Army before the Soviet Union collapsed and why the modern Russian states soldiers are so horrifyingly bad.

They don't have the entirety of their country's resources (plus loans) backing them up nor are their leaders directly controlled by the army.

And they're not "bad". That's a really weird adjective to call an army. They've been in Chechnya for years without a gaping hole in casualties and the South Ossetian conflict was dealt with swiftness. Saying that they're "bad" because of the Belsan and Moscow hostage crisis is silly, the west would be as hosed as them, how the christ do you deal with a theater with 50 suicide bombers and assault rifles?

Ghost of Mussolini
Jun 26, 2011


Mans posted:

And they're not "bad". That's a really weird adjective to call an army. They've been in Chechnya for years without a gaping hole in casualties and the South Ossetian conflict was dealt with swiftness.
The army as a whole is bad. The units deployed to Chechnya and then to South Ossetia are mostly the good, well-equipped formations.

The same stuff happened during the Soviet era. The conscript system in Russia is downright horrible. With new recruits coming in every six months for a two year period. This results in the older conscripts abusing the new recruits in every way they want. Seniority counts for more than rank, you can have a 20 month private telling a 2 month NCO to give him his rations, or his clothes. Clothes are very popular to steal and new recruits are "traded" really old items for their newly issued uniforms. The new recruits then have the incentive to perpetuate the system, because once they're done their first six months they now have bitches to boss around. Hazings, psychical and sexual abuse, etc. is incredibly widespread as well. Soldiers will also sell anything thats not bolted down to the locals.

There is a very small proportion of officers, and they cannot really control the troops because they still have to do things. In fact, they end up having to entrust a lot of tasks that in most armies would be given to common troops to junior officers or professional NCOs.

High-ups know that this is the situation, and politicians too, since (especially during Soviet times) most have seen service as officers. Theres a reason that the Soviet divisions in Europe had a higher % of officers and volunteers. When the invasion of Afghanistan first happened, there were normal divisions of the central-Asian districts thrown in, and they preformed very poorly. After they thought better and realized that they would have to send more professional formations. Theres an attitude that it can't be helped, due to the size of the armed forces, which is seen as a matter of pride (and its essentially a huge diplomatic bluff). However, it must therefore rely on conscripts if its going to be so big, and the army is going to get the shittiest pick of conscripts. The smarter ones are going to go to the specialist branches, then air force and navy will get their picks, then the army gets the rest. One must also remember that the key formations (and this is particularly important when it comes to the more technical branches of the military) are staffed with ethnic Russians, which are seen as loyal to the Russian state. You get a lot of lower quality formations that are just filled with more random ethnic groups that are seen as useless even by Russian army standards. (This was something that was even worse during Soviet times, when only Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians could really be trusted).

Sorry for the text wall!

Mans
Sep 14, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 21 days!


Ghost of Mussolini posted:



Sorry for the text wall!

Never apologize for making such an interesting post! I knew about the corruption in the Russian\Soviet army, but that was a fascinating read. It seems weird how many states still rely on conscription. You'd think the last centuries would show how poorly forced soldiers fare in battle in comparison to voluntary forces. On the other hand, a voluntary army would need higher wages so that people would consider the army as a decent job. That would probably cause a lot of economical problems for Russia i guess.

INTJ Mastermind
Dec 30, 2004

It's a radial!

On the other hand, this basically guarantees that everyone in your country has had military training, vastly improving your chances should you need to do a nation-wide draft.

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.

INTJ Mastermind posted:

On the other hand, this basically guarantees that everyone in your country has had military training, vastly improving your chances should you need to do a nation-wide draft.

Except it doesn't: See Iraq, Lybia, Syria.

Conscript armies are horribly expensive and only serve to divert resources from developing a well-equipped professional force. We don't live in the days where you can just thrust a musket into the hands of every able bodied man, give them a couple of weeks of drill practice and Presto! instant army.

Ensign Expendable
Nov 11, 2008

Родина слышит


Mandatory service is down to a year, now. My grandfather keeps complaining how you can't learn anything in a year and that they should bump it back up to 3. Also being in university grants you an exemption, and then you start off as an officer, so all those poorly trained privates either failed out of post-secondary education or weren't smart enough to get in in the first place.

Nenonen
Oct 22, 2009



Alchenar posted:

Except it doesn't: See Iraq, Lybia, Syria.

Conscript armies are horribly expensive and only serve to divert resources from developing a well-equipped professional force. We don't live in the days where you can just thrust a musket into the hands of every able bodied man, give them a couple of weeks of drill practice and Presto! instant army.

Do you think that Iraq would have done better if it had a tiny army of well equipped professional soldiers? Or, for example, that Soviet Union could have defeated the Wehrmacht (itself a conscript army) if they had opted for a tiny professional force instead of putting a rifle into the hands of every swinging Ivan so that they could hold a line extending from the Arctic Sea to the Black Sea? I don't think so. Conscription is pretty much the only alternative when you have long borders and huge areas to defend, like Russia. Russian army is going to professionalise, but to lose conscription completely would be like saying "go ahead, China, take Siberia!" Professional army is a good alternative when you are not under a threat of invasion or have bigger allies to save your rear end.

SeanBeansShako
Nov 20, 2009


Ghost of Mussolini posted:

The army as a whole is bad. The units deployed to Chechnya and then to South Ossetia are mostly the good, well-equipped formations.

The same stuff happened during the Soviet era. The conscript system in Russia is downright horrible. With new recruits coming in every six months for a two year period. This results in the older conscripts abusing the new recruits in every way they want. Seniority counts for more than rank, you can have a 20 month private telling a 2 month NCO to give him his rations, or his clothes. Clothes are very popular to steal and new recruits are "traded" really old items for their newly issued uniforms. The new recruits then have the incentive to perpetuate the system, because once they're done their first six months they now have bitches to boss around. Hazings, psychical and sexual abuse, etc. is incredibly widespread as well. Soldiers will also sell anything thats not bolted down to the locals.


I can see why Trotsky worked hard trying to bring a new system in during the Civil War now and banned the older traditional ranking system for a while, jesus.

Rodrigo Diaz
Apr 16, 2007

Knights who are at the wars eat their bread in sorrow;
their ease is weariness and sweat;
they have one good day after many bad

Ensign Expendable posted:

Mandatory service is down to a year, now. My grandfather keeps complaining how you can't learn anything in a year and that they should bump it back up to 3. Also being in university grants you an exemption, and then you start off as an officer, so all those poorly trained privates either failed out of post-secondary education or weren't smart enough to get in in the first place.

Your grandfather has a point. The problem isn't so much that you can't teach them anything in that time but that the time taken to teach them leaves them with less time in the field.

What's more, it's all very well to desire a more professional ground force but while Russia still has a tremendous land border with China and considers the Chinese a danger to that border she will need a conscript force to defend herself. The conscripts can be made more effective by having longer periods of conscription and better training but given the unpopularity of the dangers of military service by and large with the Russian youth and the falling numbers of kontraktniki the ground forces will have to rely on an unpopular conscription system for the foreseeable future, and very likely beyond.

Here is an excellent monograph on the subject that can tell you more about the current shape of Russia's ground forces than I can:
https://www.strategicstudiesinstitu....cfm?pubID=1071

Edit:

SeanBeansShako posted:

I can see why Trotsky worked hard trying to bring a new system in during the Civil War now and banned the older traditional ranking system for a while, jesus.

The current ground forces and the Sukhomlinov - Guchkov era ground forces have very little in common, and hazing exists in all armed forces. Moreover, dedovshchina as a serious problem is a Soviet and post-Soviet phenomenon. So what, exactly, are you seeing?

Rodrigo Diaz fucked around with this message at Nov 26, 2011 around 19:01

Mr. Sunshine
May 15, 2008

Can anybody find me somebody to love rape and torture?


Conscription won't necessarily result in an army full of poorly trained peasants, it all depends on how you train the soldiers, and how you treat them. If you go the Russian or Iraqi road of treating the soldiers like poo poo, training them like poo poo and supplying them with poo poo, then you will have a poo poo army. In Sweden we had a conscript army for about a hundred years before we switched to a professional one just last year, and let me tell you - as someone with a fair amount of insight into the military - that I give the professional army no more than 15 years before it must either be painfully reorganized, reduced or disbanded entirely.

Universal conscription gave the military a great amount of people, from different walks of life and with different civilian skills, who served for 7-15 months for little more than food and housing. The training could be as intensive as it needed to be, since the soldiers served around the clock and were not guaranteed any holidays or free time. Conscription also meant that the conscript was a citizen first, soldier second, giving the army a firm rooting in society at large. If the Russian attacked, we could call up every male from 18 to 50 years old and realistically expect them to carry a weapon.

The professional army, on the other hand, will be composed almost entirely of neo-nazis, gun nerds and otherwise unemployable youth. The army does not have the economy to offer enough pay to attract anyone else. The professional soldiers are guaranteed the same amount of holidays and free time as other workers. Every hour they have to work past 18:00 is overtime pay, which means training in the field is expensive as hell. And the professional soldier sings up for a minimum of four years. What the hell are we going to do with them? We can't send them abroad, since we've got like 500 soldiers in Afghanistan and those are being pulled out 2014.

Switching to a professional army lowers the quality of available soldiers, further alienates the army from the rest of society, costs insane amounts of money and (in my opinion) will not work for Sweden in the long run.

Mr. Sunshine fucked around with this message at Nov 26, 2011 around 19:22

Mans
Sep 14, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 21 days!


The example about Iraq and Syria is moot since the opposition had such superior firepower that their soldiers could be half Brandenburguers, half SAS, with SEAL toenails and Visigothic heavy infantry arms and still be obliterated.

Rodrigo Diaz
Apr 16, 2007

Knights who are at the wars eat their bread in sorrow;
their ease is weariness and sweat;
they have one good day after many bad

In general it's hard to assess the effectiveness of conscripts for large-scale state-on-state conflict, where conscription is understood to be a more useful tool. The last time we saw that was 60 years ago, and nobody used an exclusively volunteer army at that time so we don't have anything to provide a direct comparison.

Modern technological advancements, and the training needed to operate them, may mean that conscription is no longer as useful as it was. However I cannot really predict a war where the infantry grunt does not have a place. As long as that position remains prominent the conscript will be a practical resource.

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Graviton v2
Mar 2, 2007

by angerbeet


AbdominalSnowman posted:

(i.e. for some reason most Brits just love saying that everyone but the SAS sucks rear end, and the Spetsnaz have so much ridiculous mythology surrounding them that it is impossible to determine what is reality)
Isn't this more about creating the necessary brainwashing to believe you are the best that these nutters need to do the very dangerous things they are asked to do?

Ex USA governor and wrestler Jesse 'The Body' Ventura (guy with the minigun in Predator) was a US navy SEAL and the fucker still wont shut up about it.

Graviton v2 fucked around with this message at Nov 26, 2011 around 20:40

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