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Operation Barbarossa   >   German/Soviet Comparison

   
 

German/Soviet Comparison


On June 22nd 1941 at the start of Operation Barbarossa, although the Germans and their Axis allies were able to deploy more troops in the theater of operations, in terms of equipment, the Soviets tend to have more. For example, the Soviets had more aircraft than the Germans, and vastly more thanks (the Soviets actually had more thanks than the rest of the world combined).

However, the Soviets were laboring under considerable disadvantages:
  1. The German attack caught much of the Soviet armed forces by surprise.

  2. After political purges of the 1930s, many experienced officers had been lost, and the quality of leadership in individual military units was often poor.

  3. Much Soviet equipment was obsolete or of poor quality. While it is true that the Soviets had some very good tanks (such as the T-34 and KV-1), at this stage of the war, these were available in only very limited numbers, and most of the tanks deployed were out of date, and not equipped with radios.

  4. The Soviet forces were re-equipping and changing their doctrine. While Soviet military theorists had speculated about armored warfare in the 1930s, at the time of the invasion, tanks were shared between infantry-based units, and a new doctrine of creating armored formations was only just being implemented.
Here is a comparison of the strength of in-theater forces of the Germans/Axis and Soviets at the start of the campaign:

   Germany and her allies   Soviet 
 Divisions   166   190 
 Personnel   4,306,800   3,289,851 
 Artillery & Mortars   42,601   59,787 
 Tanks & Assault Guns   4,171   15,687 
 Aircraft   4,389   11,537 



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