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Who was the most powerful nation: USSR or USA?

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by misterkingtiger, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Did I say that those thing weren't important? Silly me.
    You see I think the US had a significant edge in all those things too except for raw numbers but even there it isn't as lopsided as some would think.
    The US Navy was larger and more powerful than the Soviets. The Air Force was a match for the Soviets when all things were taken into account.
    The ground forces were smaller but IMO better led, trained and motivated and significants numbers of ready reserves were just a few days to weeks away.


    The Vietnam war wasn't a military win /loss at all bit a political one so the analogy fails IMO. I fail to see how one training exercise run with the Indian Air Force in which the rules of engagement favored the side that gained the edge in the exercise and which did not involve the most sophisticated weapons systems in the US inventory proves anything.
    I don't understand what you are saying about the digital simulation of Iraq invasion or what point it would support.

    If one doesn't lose only by refusing to engage the enemy then in most situations they lose. Guerilla warfare is a special case and can only succeed (depending upon your definition of sucess) under certain limited circumstances.

    Sorry but I find the scenario to be ludicrous and unrealistic. The analogy wasn't meant to be realistic but to illustrate an extreme. Some people refuse to see a point even if they must put a camel through the eye of a needle to cling to their notions :grin:

    Say what you will the cold war is over... done...finis...and the good guys did win. The best way possible, without having to go to battle at all :wink:
     
  2. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Just to stick my oar in (I never can resist :oops: )

    Assuming that the war happened in Europe:

    Sea War - USA wins. But then how vital is the sea to the USSR? Their coastline is small, and mostly ice-bound. The best thing their navy can do is attack any convoys bringing supplies from America to Europe

    Air War - more tricky to call. Depending on when it happens, the air forces are roughly even (the USSR either having technical parity or a numerical advantage). However, the USA has the huge advantage in AWACS, which would probably be quite decisive.

    Land War - again, it depends on when. Before the M-60 came it, I would argue that Soviet armour was better than American. However, Soviet tactics were a little too rigid. It could go either way. One big point in favour of the USSR is that most American equipment was 3 - 4,000 miles away, and needed shipping in. However, the European members of NATO *should* be able to more-or-less hold on until the cavalry arrives.
     
  3. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Agreed - the USSR just had the wrong economic & governmental system to hope to compete with the USA indefinately.
     
  4. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    True, and that is indeed the best philosophy. Technology alone never is.

    That depends on your definition of what a military win/loss is and what one wishes to accomplish with it. Separating the military from the political in a war of ideologies and nationalism is tricky to say the least.
    It proves that the technologically superior side can lose. Sure, there were restrictions, but these also occur in actual war, just in different ways and for different reasons. The result is the same. If you only count a country's ability by a situation in which it can apply everything it has in any way it wants upon the enemy then frankly there are essential parts of warfare that escape your judgment.

    I'm only arguing that it is possible for a technologically inferior force to avoid annihilation by refusing to engage in terrain that enables the enemy to exploit their technological advantage. They can engage elsewhere and in a different way.

    I do not understand why you percieve my scenario as ludicrous and unrealistic yet argue that technology will give an army all the edge it needs. Even if the above situation will never actually occur, it is in fact one of the ways in which the scenario you have offered as an extreme might work against you - the technologically inferior side (to a ludicrous extent) can still win. I am not bending the parameters or changing the scenario you made in any way.

    Did I deny that anywhere in my post? Did I say the red hordes will vanquish the capitalist evil in the end, in spite of what imaginary advantage you stinking rich people think you have with your toys?

    I would seriously like you to stop assuming that I side with Communists. I do not, in fact I don't think I ever have.

    The point I make about numbers is just as relevant to China now as it was to the USSR then, which is why I made it in the first place.
     
  5. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    One easy way. Military wins and losses occur on the field of battle. Political wins and losses occur in the press, in houses of government and in peoples minds/perceptions.

    There is no evidence that the kinds of restrictions agreed to in the training scenario would/could occur in an actual battle. You place so much emphasis on this war game merely because it was one in which the US performed substandard. Had the opposite occured it would have likely been "oh well. they had no real opposition...just the Indian Air Force" Just as has been said many times on these forums in regard to the Gulf war and the latest Iraq war.




    Of course you are. You allow for the Knights to refuse to take the field at all for example and imagine that the tankers would all fall asleep (presumably outside their tanks) at the same time and permit themselves to be overrun. This kind of discussion is silly and the reason I didn't intend to pursue this as a realistic scenario but merely to point out that when technological differences go beyond a certain point then the advantage can be overwhelming...like a modern aircraft carrier versus an 18th century man o war. Oh crap..I did it again..now you can propose an outlandish scenario wherein the sailing vessel takes the carrier by surprise and swinging aboard from the rigging with cutlasses in their teeth board and take her as a prize :wink:

    I don't recall making any comments about you having a bias towards communists (in this thread). You have admitted to having an anti US outlook in the past so that could perhaps influence your opinion more than an anti capitalist point of view?
     
  6. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    On another forum's M1A2 vs Challenger 2 vs Merkava vs T90 contest, practically all the guys that replied put the T90 in last place.
     
  7. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    If the guys on that forum said so it its got to be true!
    Anyway, we're talking about cold war technology... (maybe you should check out some of the Russian forums - haha)

    Roel, I'd argue that the numbers-factor is actually less relevant to China now as it was to the USSR then. China has more manpower its true, but the USA severely outnumbers China in technology - more armor, more weaponry and more aircraft. The USSR however outnumbered the West in all those respects by a significant margin, they had a larger balanced military force, China only has a large infantry (and artillery) force.

    I think Grieg's analogy of knights-vs-tanks is closer to truth than you think when analyzing China's numerical superiority :p I've said it before and I'll say it again, an overwhelming horde of pure infantry can be beaten back by a much smaller and better equipped armored unit. American forces learnt that in the Korean War...

    However, in the USSR's case, we were dealing with an overhwelming horde of tanks, aircraft, Missiles, APC's artillery as well as infantry... They had the numbers in everything but ships
     
  8. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Definitely, but the reverse can also happen, which is what I'm trying to point out. It is of course less likely - which is why the training exercise against the Indian Air Force is so exceptional. If the Indians had lost, then indeed, it would be because the Americans have the edge in technology and possibly in training and experience also. But the Indians didn't lose, which proves that if the technologically inferior force is capable of creating or imposing conditions upon the enemy they can win.

    It is all about these conditions though, and Grieg seems to think too much in terms of a head-on battle which the technologically inferior force will obviously lose. The scenario of a battle between knights and tanks is of course ludicrous, but it gives plenty of room to allow the knights to engage only at a time and place of their choosing, which could just put the tankers in such a disadvantageous position that they will lose. It is in seeing possibilities like these that generals show their talent for waging war, because exploiting them will lead to faster and less costly victories even with an inferior force. And it is the exploitation of these possibilities that all commanders of technologically superior forces must always be wary of, since they are not invincible at all.

    Regarding the man-o-war vs aircraft carrier, I honestly do not see any advantage the former has over the latter - it is outnumbered and outgunned, in addition to being completely deaf, mute and blind compared to the carrier's modern navigation, radar and communication systems. The knights in the other scenario did have some advantages over a company of Abrams tanks, though, which I listed in a previous post.

    When you said "say what you will, the Cold War is over", I took that as an accusation that I was defending the USSR even though the outcome of the ideological and military-economic conflict is already known. That did not have anything to do with the discussion.

    I am not arguing against the US for the sake of it right now, merely against the recurrent and completely laughable assumption that technology is everything in war (or even more important than other factors). Like you did yourself, people often come up with outrageous scenarios where the technologically inferior party simply must lose, and I see it as useful to point out, with every one of those that I see, how the low-tech side could actually win, just to show that you can not count on technology alone to win wars. The only exception to this that I know is the atomic bomb - of which, granted, the US had the most.
     
  9. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf New Member

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    Not that simple to me - as the Soviet plan during the cold war was to use massed air attacks against NATO fleets using very large numbers of anti-ship missiles to overwhelm defences. The use of tactical nuclear missiles was also likely against NATO ships. Therefore, to talk about the air war and sea war seperately is a bit bogus as land based aircraft would be the most likely attackers of NATO ships. The result then would have very little to do with the size of the Soviet surface fleet.

    P.S. Have you measured the Russian coastline recently - lots of ice, true, but jolly big.
     
  10. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    sorry yes, change to 'useable' coastline :wink:
     
  11. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    Yeah, I think that's what he meant. Russia's coastline may even be bigger than Canada's (or at least rivals it), but, like Canada, most of it is ice.
     
  12. Grabbers

    Grabbers New Member

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    The Northwest passage is a growing concern here in Canada... We claim it as territorial waters but more than a few countries disagree.

    This is all because of the rate that the ice cap is melting at and I would think Russia may be in the same boat but not 100% sure
     
  13. arimanis

    arimanis New Member

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    Well...This is my first post. I am from Paraguay, It's possible you don't know how to find it on a map. jejeje.

    I think the USA was the most powerfull force at the end of the WWII, because they have "the Bomb", and the Russian were tired after 5 years of hard direct fighting.

    I believe, the USA will not doubt to use the bomb against Russia, for the same reasons they used it against Japan.

    Please excuse me if I wrote something wrong.
     
  14. Christian Ankerstjerne

    Christian Ankerstjerne Member

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    Welcome to the forum, Arimanis!
     
  15. Miller phpbb3

    Miller phpbb3 New Member

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    whats the largest number of men that the russians had in one battle?
     
  16. flying tiger phpbb3

    flying tiger phpbb3 New Member

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    The British had the most impact in World War II. Winning the air war over Britian, controlling German surface fleets, and having kept their island from invasion, became the springboard for America to supply the Soviet Union. Would the USA been able to invade Europe if Britian had fallen? Would Australia been used as a submarine base by the US Navy and a springboard for island hopping? Would the Japanese use large Quantities of men and supplies trying to conquer Burma? USA anti-submarine warfare capabilites were almost non-existent until they (USA) followed the British advice on convoys and airplanes used as anti-submarine patrols. My vote is for the British for stopping the German juggernaut, so the USA and the Soviet Union could use their vast supplies of men and material to overwhelm the Germans, Japanese and Italians. Could two of these three nations US, USSR, or UK won the war without the third?
     
  17. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Good question. It has been said by some historians that the Soviets could have defeated the Germans on their own. I think that this is possible, but the casualties would have been even more horrific than they actually were. And one can ask if the Russian offensives would have been possible without the hordes of American made trucks that were supplied to them under Lend-Lease; logisitcs are vital, yet often overlooked. As for the Pacific, the USA could have defeated Japan alone, but how long it would have taken is open to question, as the Brits did tie down large numbers of Japanese troops and other assets in Burma.
     
  18. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    China had a bigger impact on tying down Japanese assessts. I think lend lease adn the Western war effort had agreater impact on the war in the east, than the war in Burma-India had on the Pacific. THe US woudl have probably finished at about the same, with all due respect to the British Empire.
    The Australian contributions in Papua-New Guinea probably had a bigger impact on the final time line than Burma-India.
     
  19. Varyag

    Varyag New Member

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    Or how many Soviet tanks would have been built without the supplies of American steel ...
     
  20. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    THe Soviets didn't actually build all that many trucks, they were supplied for the most part by the west.
    Now someone will find a pile of stats to prove me wrong! :oops:
     

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