Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Was Soviet And Now Russian Military Doctrine Based On The Use Of Overwhelming Force?

Reina Pennington, War on the Rocks: Was the Russian Military a Steamroller? From World War II to Today

Joseph Stalin supposedly claimed that “quantity has a quality all its own,” justifying a cannon-fodder mentality and immense casualties. The problem is, Stalin never actually said that, but it fits our stereotype about the Russian military so neatly that everyone believes he did.

When it comes to war, Russia is commonly perceived as favoring quantity over quality and winning mainly by overwhelming its opponents with hordes of poorly trained soldiers. You can hardly find any account of Russia’s wars that does not use terms like “hordes,” “masses,” and even “Neolithic swarms.” Quantity, it is believed, made quality almost irrelevant.

German generals propagated the myth of a Red Army comprised of faceless masses of troops, motivated only by NKVD rifles at their backs and winning only through sheer force of numbers. Many Western histories accept this view, and it is standard fare in Hollywood, notably in the 2001 Enemy at the Gates. The story was also standard fare during the Cold War, when the intelligence community frequently overestimated the quantitative side of Soviet capabilities while belittling its quality.

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WNU Editor: This writers analysis is spot on.


RRH said...

This analysis also helps to understand why the Russians are so peeved about initiatives geared toward neutralizing their nuclear deterrent.

TWN said...

None of the nuclear armed nations can be defeated, because if defeat were to take place I'm sure the nukes would fly. The current crop of nut jobs that make the plans don't believe this, some actually believe in the west that we could defeat Russia or China, and some in Russia and China believe the US could be defeated, well personally I think the UK which has the smallest Nuclear Arsenal could destroy large parts of Russia , China or the US with there Nuke. Now the UK would be totally destroyed, but with their 200+ Nukes they could cripple anyone of the big three and they would never recover, what do you think the Russians would do with their thousands of Nukes.

B.Poster said...


I think you are spot on. The UK nuclear arsenal should make an inevitable victory by a larger power pyric enough that they would not consider the attack in the first place. While this is a sound policy for a smaller power to pursue on the front end, the back end would generally require a policy that is less confrontational to the bigger power. These two things coupled together would be prudent.

This 200+ arsenal works assuming it can be delivered and not taken out either by enemy missile defense or cyber attacks. Also, it may depend upon being able to keep nuclear capable submarines hidden. The US is just beginning to work on such things as detecting hem. As such, we should expect the Russians and Chinese have already been working on this sort of thing and have a big lead.

The bottom line is Russia cannot be defeated by any power or combination of powers at this time or in the foreseeable future. The US can be defeated but might be able to make the inevitable victory for its enemies pyric enough that they would not consider the attack.

Matthew Dupuis said...

I believe that unless French, English, or US territory is directly threatened by the Russians, NATO will not nuke Poland, Lithuania, or Germany to stop a Russian "steam roller". I believe it is conceivable that Russia could occupy half of Europe without nukes ever being used.

B.Poster said...


I think you are correct that Russia could occupy half of Europe without nukes ever being used. In fact, they could probably occupy more than that due to a combination of cyber attacks, sabatoge of enemy installations and infrastructure, and lighting fast troop maneuvers. These actions may make it impossible for Europeans, the Americans, or anyone else to respond with nuclear weapons or otherwise.

If US territory is directly threatened by Russia or anyone else, NO ONE is going to come to our aid. In fact, once other nations see the direct threat, they will likely rush to help America's invader in hopes of gaining favor with this invader. In such a scenario, America could find itself with pretty much the entire world arrayed against it. This is the military scenario that POTUS and other the military planners need to be planning for in the case of an invasion of the American mainland or in general.

Essentially when the entire world is arrayed against us, how do we respond? Perhaps Canada will support us. Americans do intuitively view Canadians as their best friends.