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Great Patriotic War Navy Personnel

The numerical strength of the Soviet Navy at the time of the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War in June, 1941, it was estimated at 8,000 officers and 67,000 men and 45,000 - 50,000 trained reserves.

The general efficiency of the Soviet naval forces at the time of the Great Patriotic War was rather below that of the navies of the western capitalist powers. As a result of the "purge", the Navy suffered from a surfeit of youth and inexperience. The average age of Commanders-in-Chief of Fleets was 40, while commanding officers of the larger units were rarely more than 35, destroyers in many cases being commanded by lieutenants of only three or four years seniority. The officers, on the whole, were a poor lot; they were drawn from all grades of society and enter the Naval Schools with an indifferent education. They appeared, however, to learn much by experience when they were afloat.

Ratings were generally extremely well set up, well-disciplined and exceptionally tough. Petty Officers exert considerable authority, and were given every ehcciaragement to improve their education.

Although the personal appearance of Red sailors was far below the standard of other western navies, it was much cleaner and neater than that of the soldiers of the Red Army.

Individual ship efficiency was generally good. Vessels were always well kept and, considering the inexperience of the officers, quite well handled1 Organization and staff work were generally on a very low level. Little was known of Fleet and Squadron efficiency, but it was probably very backward. Reports indicate that this was particularly" so with destroyer flotilla work, and submarine attacks on battle fleets. The whole Navy was maintained on a full commission basis, much sea time was put in and everyone was kept hard at work, often on useless tasks; The strain on the whole organization was very great, dockyards fail to carry out refitting programs, and individual ships very often do not complete their own annual practices. Tims, although there were a large number of unit s fully commissioned, it was unlikely that such a large proportion was suitable for active service as in case of other European Powers.

The submarine service, on the other hand, was not only strong numerically, but, in quality, had attained a fairly high standard. It was considered as the "Corps d'elite" of the Soviet Navy. Although, as stated above, it was unlikely that flotilla work was particularly efficient, there was no question that submarines individually were efficiently handled.

"To sum up, given good organization and experienced leaders, much could be made of the Soviet Navy, and a considerable improvement was expected once political control had once more been relegated to the background.

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Page last modified: 01-02-2017 19:32:58 ZULU