Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Significance of Siberian divisions a myth?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by Not One Step Back, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Not One Step Back

    Not One Step Back Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    7
    okay, here's the story as I (and many other people) had always learnt:

    Stalin is informed by spies, most notably Sorge, that the Japanese plan to move against Pearl Harbour not the USSR, and so is able to transfer many siberian divisions from the far east. This, combined with the breakdown of the roads into mud and the paralysing effects of the winter, turned the tide of the battle of Moscow.

    But I saw a comment saying that these Siberian divisions made up only 10% of the forces defending the area around moscow. Is this true?
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    The transfer was of import, but probably only about 10% of the forces already there. What changed was their preparation/training, equipment, and recent combat experience in the Far East under Zhukov who also transferred to the west.

    Here is a short run-down of the Soviet Forces remaining in the Far East shortly before and then after Operation Barbarossa had been launched:

    Soviet troops in the far east on 22 June 1941:

    17 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 3 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, and 12 fortified regions organized into five rifle corps and four rifle armies.

    Soviet troops in the far east on 1 January 1942:

    19 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 2 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, 2 cavalry regiments, 1 rifle regiment, and 12 fortified regions organized into four rifle corps and five rifle armies.

    Apparently, even when units were sent west, they were replaced by new formations, so the Soviets didn't really let down their guard vis-a-vis Japan. There are also artillery and tank units listed in the order of battle, what is listed above are the major combat formations, and does not include units assigned to the Trans-Baikal Front, nor the 80,000 Mongolian regulars which remained in the Far East facing the Japanese with Soviet supplied weapons.

    Source for the data is:

    Index of /BoevojSostavSA/

    This was translated for me by a fellow poster at the now defunct Historic-Battles forum a few years ago, and I keep it on file just because it is so interesting.
     
    Kai-Petri, Slipdigit and LJAd like this.
  3. Not One Step Back

    Not One Step Back Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    7
    nice one cheers. very helpful
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,238
    Location:
    Michigan
    Assessing their importance is rather difficult. Certainly they weren't present in the numbers that some believe. They were also present earlier than some would have you believe as well. On the other hand they appear to have been well trained confident troops so may have had an impact bigger than their overall numbers would imply.
     
  5. Anderan

    Anderan Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    4
    regardless of their over all significance, even a few extra divisions would have been useful for the Russians at that point.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    236
    A list of Siberian divisions with date of arrival on the front (a lot of them in the summer and the autumn) has been given on AHF by Art (A Russian member ).
     
  7. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    99
    Hi;
    The Siberians also were some tough Winter fighters and were feared by German frontline troops throughout the conflict. The Siberians were most often of rural and tribal backgrounds, familiar with firearms, hardy from the difficult climate, and of an overall "frontier mentality"-a great combination of factors that made for some tough soldiering material. Perhaps they compare to the Australians of WWII and the Vietnam era who our fathers and older brothers had nothing but good words for. The arrival of these sturdy fighters would have done much for the morale of the defenders of Moscow.
    JeffinMNUSA
    Mission To Moscow: Battle of Moscow
     
  8. tovarisch

    tovarisch Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    16
    The Siberian divisions, if not a large presence from the perspective of amount, were way better equipped than the original defenders of Moscow in 1941. They were also issued with better winter camo, they were used to operating in extreme below-zero conditions, they had skis, for Christ's sake :D

    Siberians are known in Russia for being really sturdy, tough types, nerves of steel, stiff upper lip and all. They were a much needed addition in the defence of Moscow.
     
    Jaeger likes this.
  9. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    603
    I think the myth is that the Soviets denuded the Far East of troops and the Japanese could have won the war for the Axis by attacking Siberia instead of going after oil and other resources that they actually needed.......
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    24,829
    Likes Received:
    1,708
    Location:
    Finland

    Yes, this is the myth broken. The Siberian troops were important as special troops experienced in winter weather fighting. What I´ve read they caused panic among the Germans with their "name" just as well the their own side´s moral was boosted.
     

Share This Page