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Artillery is the god of war
Stalin

Artillery in the Great Patriotic War

On artillery and artillery industry, Stalin, showed the greatest concern. In relation to Stalin's artillery and artillery industry felt a special sympathy. It is possible that this was due to his memories of his past military activity, when only artillery decide the outcome of battles, and all other types of equipment have not yet reached such a high degree of development, what they got before World War II. Stalin expressed his attitude to guns, repeating the catch phrase: "The artillery - the god of war."

In the period between the two world wars artillery systems had undergone radical modification and improvement based on the latest scientific and technological achievements. New types of weapons were developed and tested in the USSR long before the beginning of World War II and remained largely unchanged until the final defeat of the enemy. Overall, the Red Army artillery weapons system throughout the war did not feel the need for new calibres or urgent need to radically new designs.

The great work done in the pre-war period, enabled the designers and production-vooruzhentsam focus their creative efforts in the war on the further improvement of artillery weapons and improving its manufacturing process. This made it possible to improve the performance of systems that facilitate the design of parts and components, to better organize production, increase output and reduce its cost.

After the Great War, work on construction of an anti-small arms in all major Western countries continued in the same direction, which is essentially limited the possibilities to get a good tactical and technical performance of antitank weapons. Increased machine guns caliber, bullet weight and its initial speed, while maintaining the necessary qualities for the anti-aircraft fire (in particular the rate of fire) as required to increase the weight and dimensions of the structures that make them unsuitable as an infantry anti-tank weapons. Gunsmiths came to the conclusion that "with increasing tank armor penetration heavy machine guns can not be considered sufficient and these guns gradually lose its former importance as antitank weapon" (Fedorov. The evolution of small arms. M., 1939). There was a further development of anti-tank weapons in the transition from a small-caliber small arms to artillery.

Soviet designers Degtyarev, Tokarev and Simonov created a semi-automatic and non-automatic anti-tank guns caliber 14.5 mm with an initial 1,000 meters bullet per second or more. They had good tactical and technical indicators: were simple in design, comfortable, reasonable weight and size, in the campaign two soldiers without much effort could carry a weapon.

And at the same time there was a proposal to remove from productionthe cannons of caliber 45 and 76 millimeters, as allegedly ineffective in combat against tanks. Apparently, it was based on outdated data, and perhaps even on the misinformation being spread by Hitler's command regarding the anti-tank and equipment of the Wehrmacht. But the Soviet military, while exaggerating the power of the German tanks, explicitly downplayed the effectiveness of the German anti-tank weapons. They were late in the evaluation of these funds.

The artillery of the Red Army of the late 1930s was beginning to reap the benefits of Stalin's Five Year Plans. Large numbers of modern 76-, 122- and 152-mm guns and howitzers were leaving state factories and entering the artillery regiments. The first test of these new weapons came in late 1939 when Stalin launched his assault on Finland. The Russians then concentrated the majority of true guns and howitzers in non-divisional regiments and brigades.

As World War II progressed, the Red Army concentrated more and more of its guns and howitzers into large non-divisional units. Whereas the 19,000-man 1939 rifle division had 82 guns and howitzers, the late-1941 rifle division had 12,000 men with only 24 artillery weapons. As partial compensation, the number of mortars (82- and 120-mm) went from 30 to 108. The reasons for this were simple: it was going to take many months for the factories to replace the huge losses of 1941, and in the meantime, mortars were far simpler for hastily trained replacements to use and much easier to produce.

By the end of the War, the Russians had created more than 90 artillery divisions (usually with 288 guns and howitzers) and some 140 separate artillery brigades. In 1941, roughly 20 percent of Soviet artillery was in non-divisional units; by 1944, more than 65 percent of the artillery was in artillery divisions and brigades. In 1943, the Russians formed artillery corps headquarters to control particularly dense concentrations of guns. By the end of World War II, the Red Army was supported by a huge artillery organization, manning more than 500 divisional artillery units, 149 independent brigades and 90 artillery divisions. Additionally, the Soviet artillery had built up a rocket force without parallel, with units as large as rocket divisions.





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