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USA on the Russian Front? A new perspective

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by GIJOE, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But look at the duration of the Soviet stops vs the ones of the Western allies. Also look at the log network (railroads and decent roads) available to the Soviets.
     
  2. green slime

    green slime Member

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    No matter how bad the road network was, it was even worse in Mongolia...

    And are you refering to the stop outside Warsaw? Methinks the duration of that one was politically motivated....
     
  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    IMO, it is very difficult to make such a comparison as there are to many variable between the two sides involved.... For example, Stalingrad, Kursk, and Bagration offensives were larger in size than anything seen on the Western front. The adversary(s) which the Russians faced were more numerous in number, men and equipment. It is only logical that when facing 140-190 very capable divisions on a daily basis with an equall amount of your own, that it will take a bit longer to resuplly such forces after an offensive.

    On the Western Front it was a bit different, the Allies were usually facing 20-40 divisions on a daily basis with full air supriority and the benefit on paved roads.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The allies were not without problems of thier own in the west however. Most of the rail lines had been cut multiple time and many of the bridges were down. Furthermore early in the campaign they didn't have any operating ports so supplies had to come across the beachead and the ports didn't come back on line quickly.

    In the East from what I can tell the Soviets would launch an offensive and then it would be several months before they could launch another one in that aread. In the west the delay due to logistics was seldom more than a month or so.

    As for Soveit log problems in the East:
    The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945: August Storm
    Comparing the maps at:
    File:Soviet invasion of Manchuria (1945).gif - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    and
    Google Maps
    It doesn't appear that the Soviets were ever more than 500km from a railroad and most of the offensive was conducted much closer. Looking at the maps at:
    Leavenworth Papers No. 7 (MAPS)
    The Soviet-Mongolian cavalry group may have been the exception to this but they faced almost no Japanese opposition. As for that opposition here is a relevant quote from wiki at:
    Soviet invasion of Manchuria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Glantz's paper on this op is at:
    http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/resources/csi/glantz3/glantz3.asp#m3
    for those interested. I haven't read it all at this point.
     
  5. Urban Tiger

    Urban Tiger recruit

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    The standard US tank even in the Korean war was the M4, while the Soviet were churning out T55's, I think the US put more emphasis on air power because it had worked against Germany. However, the German army of 1944 had still managed to perform exceptionally well even without Luftwaffe support, fighting on 2 fronts and pulling out some nasty surprises (Caen, Ardennes, Estonia, outside Warsaw, Debreccan etc).

    But... The Soviet air force was atleast good enough to offer strong restistance the USAAF, even if most US fighters (P51 etc) had the edge in overall performance. The USAAF's massive heavy bomber forces could range far and hit hard, the Soviets had bombers but not in anything like the numbers as production had been focussed mainly on army equipment.

    Armour: T34/85 vs M4 Sherman, the US army's most common tank in 1945, it was inferior the to T34 in speed, mobility and firepower, the superior T34 was available in equal numbers (1,200 T34/85's left Soviet factories every month) further reducing the M4's overrall effectiveness. The M4 (76) could match the T34/85's firepower and armour, the introduction of wide tracks and HVSS suspension made the M4 (76) HVSS equal to the T34/85 in everything except speed. Dimitry Lorza, WW2 Soviet tank ace and commander of Russia's Lend Lease M4A2 (75)'s and M4A2 (76)'s said although the M4 lagged behind the T34 in some areas it was less cramped and its armour was made of high quality metal. He says that T34's were prone to "spalling" when hit by a German shell that did not penetrate, shards of metal would spray the crew's eyes and faces, this never happened with the M4...

    In 1944 Britain re equiped 2000 M4, M4A2 and M4A4's with British long barreled, 76mm high velocity guns (QF17 pounder), the "Sherman Fireflies" were capable of penetrating a Tiger tanks armour at 1,500yrds and were rightly feared. In the 1950's Isreal upgraded its fleet of M4 (76) tanks first with French 75mm high velocity (French copy of the WW2 German Panther tank's gun) then the bigger French 105mm. During the 1965 India/Pakistan war Pakistan had M4A3 (75)'s refitted with US 76mm guns and Indian M4A3 (75)'s had French 75mm high velocity guns, unlike Isreals M4's these long guns were mounted in the small (75) turret "Firefly" style.

    Now lets look at tactics, the Russians favoured fast, mobile tank armies supported by massed infantry and (prefferably) self propelled artillery, while the US army discouraged tank vs tank combat, US tanks were intended for infantry support. The Soviet army of 1945 was a vast offensive force bigger than all the western allies combined and superior in armour and SP guns, the best US strategy on the ground would be to follow the succesfull German deffensive battles of 1944.

    Production of 76mm gun M4's only ran to around 6,500 tanks (4000 with HVSS), plus an additional 2000 M4A3 (105) HVSS armed with 105mm howitzers, while the M26 heavy tank was rare in 1945 (only 200 available). The US army had relied on strong, effective artillery and air support to cope with German armoured assaults, Rommel had used a similar tactic by using his outnumbered panzers as bait to draw allied tanks onto his concealed anti tank guns.

    However, there is a problem here, the Russian guns: the US army's main artillery were towed 105mm and 155mm howitzers and British 57mm anti tank guns. The M7 was the only US frontline self prolled gun, while the M10, M18 and M36 took care of destroying enemy tanks, their Soviet counterparts the SU100, ISU122 and ISU152 had heavy armour and could out shoot them. The SU100's powerful 100mm gun was nicknamed "the f*****g end of everything" and was later fitted to the T54, while the ISU 122 and ISU152's mighty heavy guns high explosive shells could rip turrets off Tiger tanks and destroy bunkers. The M10, M18 and M36 had poweful guns but weak armour, they did however have 360 degree revolving turrets as opposed to the Russians fixed guns.

    On infantry the Soviet Guards divisions were the best Russia had, battle hardened veterans of the long, brutal campaign against the Germans, while heavy losses caused when German counter attacks destroyed whole divisions meant many units had to be reformed with new recruits.

    The US Army had built a good fighting reputation over the campaigns from Africa to Germany, many experienced soldiers (most famous being Audey Murphey, the most decorated soldier of WW2) were used to train new recruits, tactics continued to develope.

    Its crazy to say though that it would be a US vs USSR fight, for the power of the US military its worth noting the US actually contributed huge amounts of its wargear to the Allies, half of all M4 tanks for example, went to the UK, France, Russia etc. Russian military manpower was vast compared to the US military, simply because the US was part of a combined multinational allied force, supplied with large amounts of US gear. You can't really fight a US vs USSR war in 1945 without America's wartime allies and expect to win...

    To those who talk about huge gaps between Soviet offensives the scale of the Russian front dwarfs the Western front, its not just the distance advanced, its the width of the offensive, the sheer amount of men, tanks and guns invloved in a Soviet offensive dwarfs anything that happened in the west.

    Its true that the Russians faced the bulk of the German army and the pick of the German army, but as my grandfather would tell you, the Germans were a tough nut to crack even outnumbered, short on fuel and lacking air support. After the breakout from Normandy, my grandfather was a driver in a column of fuel tankers had to keep up with the armoured spearhead. The Germans had set up artillery in a wood, opposite them in another wood were British guns firing back, my grandad had to drive up a raod between the woods with shells falling close by.

    To the persion who mentioned Warsaw the Russian army was beaten just east of the city by a major German counter attack lead the Herman Goering division and several SS panzer units. Many times German counter attacks caught and destroyed Russian forces in 1944, but the sheer size of the Red meant it made no real difference.
     
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  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    However that's only marginally relevant to a Western allies vs USSR war in 45 or 46.
    One of the serious problems that the Soviet ariforce would suffer was the lack of high altitude interceptors and the lack of experiance vs heavy bombers. At low altitudes the two airforces would be failry evenly matched but altitude can be a combat advantage all by itself.
    Not really. They are pretty much on a par. The US was also starting to produce sabot rounds that would give it an advantage in AP department. If the US decided to put M-26 turrets on M-4s as a stop gap then it gains a firepower advantage in several areas. As for speed and mobility it's pretty much situationally dependent. On any extended move however the superior ergonomics of the M-4 are likely to give it an edge in those departments. Furthermore the M-4 had a significant reliability edge.
    Who had the proponerence of self propelled artillery and the logistics to support it? The best US strategy is probably to use thier heavy bombers to strike at Soviet logistics nodes and dumps and make as much use as possible of the C&C supperiority in regards to artillery.
    The US started scaling back production of tanks in 44. If there is any serious indication of a confilict with the Soviets in 45 or 46 this can be turned around fairly quickly.
    The US and British also had the ability to put powerful concentrations on target in minutes. Something the Soviets lacked. Combined with the log system to keep them in decent supply this acts as a real combat multiplier. They simply didn't need to have as many heavy guns up front.
    Many Soviet formations were well understrength when the war ended (I think I've heard that 60% was not unusual). Furthermore it wasn't clear where the replacements would come from if needed at this point. US divisions on the other hand were pretty much all up to strength.
    Acutally they are pretty close. The US just had more people in the navy and airforces and not as many ground troops.

    If the war goes on for any real length of time there's also the fact that the Soviets have a much more severe resource problem.

    I do agree that the US would have been even less likely to do this on their own than they would have been without their western allies. And that's saying something.
     
  7. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Some of the comments here about the performance of Arab tank forces supplied with Soviet equipment are remarkably in context:

    The Egyptian army of '67 at the Battle of Abu-Ageila during the 6 day war had in the field, 66 T34/85's and 22 SU 100s...(and no T55s)

    Against Israel's AMX-13s, Centurions, and Super Shermans with all equipped with the L7/105mm cannon.

    Syria was still using PZ IV's in 1967...
     
  8. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The US armor isn't as bad as the mainstream says. Shermans beat T34s in Korea. We also had the Pershing tank, and M24 Chaffee which was like the T34 of light tanks. The M18 and M36 were capable TDs, and we were working bigger and better cannons. Airpower goes to the US. Our manpower in 1945 could have went against the Russians, who had A LOT of casualties and were on the last of their reserves by victory. We could have attacked from the Pacific side and European side.
     
  9. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Sure sure. Russian had plenty of snow too. Why use slingshots when snowballs are so plentiful?!?

    More reading and less watching ;)
     
  10. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The new Pershing tanks and Chaffee tanks were of better quality, the 90mm anti-tank gun was top notch, and the upgraded Shermans were of value. Also the M18 and M36 in mass production would handle the enemy tanks.
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    There is no question that the Soviet Union would face a vastly different opponent in the US than Hitler's legions, who could strike in a number of ways the Soviet war machine was unprepared for. Strategic bombing, large scale airborne operations, massive naval operations that could strike at Russia's flanks and rear. a nearly inexhaustible war industry immune from from any effective interruption, a far more capable logistics train, a loss of significant aid in the cessation of Lend-Lease, a command system that would not issue or follow foolhardy commands and of course Atomic Bombs.

    Then again the US faced daunting challenges as well. A vast and well equipped army, the need to secure vast territory that has been ravaged by war and offering little to aid them, Not enough troops to cover the entire front without Allies, allies who are already spent. Another war in the Pacific to win first/at the same time.

    Most of all they would be short on time. Like Hitler before, the US would need to win quickly. Not so much that they were in danger of being ground down, but because the American's in Europe believed they had won their war and earned the right to go home. More to the point they could vote, their families back home could vote and unlike Hitler, or Stalin for that matter, they could bend the leadership to their will. If they wanted to go home, eventually, they would.

    At best some ground could be taken, eastern Germany, maybe Poland as well, but no more. The problem being would the cost be worth it, both to the US and her European Allie's. Very doubtful.
     

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