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If Soviets had had the AK in WW2...

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Hawksnest, Nov 29, 2010.

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  1. Jaws

    Jaws Member

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    Actually we could learn a thing or two from them. How long did it take the west to get an intermediate cartridge assault rifle in service after the Russians did?
    We only recently started to introduce the "designated marksman" in the squad. They had that covered for ages. In machine guns they are ahead as well. The PKM is light and extremely reliable and their newer 12.7mm MGs are more reliable and way lighter than the old Browning .50cal. Then is the good old RPG. That has to be one of the most effective weapons on the battlefield even today.
     
  2. RS14

    RS14 Member

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    I don't think the availability of the AK-47 would have made much difference. Reasonably early on, they were fielding large numbers of submachine guns, and they had the Mosin and various machine guns for effective long-ranged fire. I'm not clear what other niche the AK-47 fills, other than that it simplifies logistics somewhat by allowing some portion of the of the Mosins to be replaced without substantially affecting the medium-range firepower of Soviet infantry.


    Several posters have commented on ammunition shortages. Can anyone provide a source for such information? I can't find much to support this claim at the moment, and as some have remarked that seems inconsistent with the widespread issue of submachine guns.
     
  3. otomik

    otomik Member

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    word. it's a movie. if we want to talk about armies with logistics problems we could look at the japanese imperial army or the chinese national revolutionary army.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadao
    [QUOTE="dadao" wikipedia]Chinese claim that whenever they had a chance for close engagement, the dadao was so deadly that they could cut off the heads of Japanese soldiers with ease. A military marching song was composed to become the rally cry for Chinese troops thoughtout the Second Sino-Japanese war to glorify the use of Dadao during battle with the invaders.[/QUOTE]
     
  4. Fastcast

    Fastcast Member

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  5. Pingn

    Pingn Member

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    Lol:banghead: Wow

    PowerJoker6.0's memory of the Enemy at the Gates scene made me realize something.

    And correct me if I'm looking at this wrong but I may be onto something.

    Think back to what was happening in that shot. They hand a rifle to a guy and 5 rounds to the next. Now one would think they wouldn't give an empty rifle to one guy and the ammo to the next. What good is an empty Mosin. So in fact, at least in that scene, they had plenty of ammo. Just not enough weapons.

    Again sorry if everyone else is ahead of me on this. Sort of just popped into my head. So had to share. For some reason I never noticed. My mind read it as ammo shortage.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  6. HGM22

    HGM22 Member

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    I wouldn't call 5 rounds of ammo. "plenty".
     
  7. dzelenka

    dzelenka Member

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    I have looked at it from a different angle - What would Patton, Rommel and Guderian think if they could watch the combat from the 1st Gulf War or the initial thrust into Iraq. These armored attacks were the culmination of what they could only theorize upon and dream about.
     
  8. Pingn

    Pingn Member

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    True
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    Don't get your history from Hollywood.
     
  10. goon

    goon Member

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    The Russians still did do massed infantry assaults on entrenched machine guns as late as 1939-40. And we're not talking about your warm and fuzzy air-cooled machine guns that you could keep pressure on until they had to change the barrel and maybe charge it then... Wer're talking water-cooled Maxims that would pretty much keep firing continuously all day long.
    They did learn many lessons from the Winter War, but before that the Russians were still very backwards. I can't say for sure if they still did mass infantry charges in WWII because I haven't taken the time to research that extensively yet - but I wouldn't put it past them. I do know that in one case in the Winter War a 100 man company charged a Finnish MG position and was beaten back, then charged it again. Then they charged it again. Out of 100 men, 38 survived.
    I'm also not sure how good Russian medical care was in WWII, but do you know if it was truly any better than in WWI?
     
  11. tescrex

    tescrex Member

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    The Soviets weren't looking to expand. Hell, Stalin even tried with all of his power to stop Mao from having a revolution in China. That's why there were always strained relations between the Soviets and China. They propped up eastern European countries with state-socialist governments just the same as we did in western Europe with fascists (Spain) or capitalists. The A-Bombs dropped on Japan was the US expanding there and effectively peeing on it to claim it.

    Funny how nationalism clouds minds to make it seem like its own people are good hearted idealists with no self-interest in mind :p
     
  12. goon

    goon Member

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    If the Soviets weren't looking to expand, why did they negotiate with the Germans to obtain control of eastern Poland, Latvia, Lithiuanian, and Estonia (and part of Romania too I think...)?
    You could argue it was to create a buffer zone against Hitler, but IIRC, Stalin still tried to press for the same areas when he negotiated to join the allies.
    Just a thought...

    Still, I don't think the AK would have made any real difference on Russian performance in WWII.
     
  13. mordechaianiliewicz

    mordechaianiliewicz Member

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    As has been commented, it's not wholely about the weapon. It is also about the logistics. The Soviets don't win along with the US without lend-lease. (bought them time to move production east). While it is true that men with rifles win wars in the since of occupation, a mechanized army is required to get those men where they need to go.

    Only time that doesn't apply is when the populace is armed, or the military is decentralized and entirely defensive.
     
  14. -v-

    -v- Member

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    goon: Now you get into the topic of European history. One of the reasons they might have wanted Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Finland is because in the not so distant past (looking back from 1939), all those countries were provinces within the Russian Empire. Essentially all they wanted was their old borders back.

    As for massed infantry charges? Not a new or an old tactic. They are still a staple of warfare. The invasion of Normandy was a single massed infantry charge into machine gun bunkers, mines, and artillery, some battles between India and Pakistan devolved into nothing more than charging masses of men into machine guns in hopes of success, even in Iraq there was a particular incident involving a Scottish 200-man company performing a massed bayonette charge on insurgent forces.

    As for the film "Enemy at the Gates" you all do realize that most of it fiction, including Vasili Zaitsev's background? I guess its not very sensational to point out that Zaitsev was an accountant/clerk in the pacific fleet, and that he volunteered to go to Stalingrad to fight for his country. In particular, he had been petitioning since 1939 to be sent to the front.

    As for the Red Army's difficulty supplying troops with ammo: Thats true in any war for any side, but as others pointed out, they seemed to have no shortage of 7.62x25 ammunition for their many many many submachine guns, and had enough SVT-40's to usually have a few assigned per infantry squad, with war-time production of SVT-40's exceeding the US's production of M1 Garands.

    I think this is again a problem of sensationalism. In some cases (eg siege of Stalingrad) there were shortages, of everything including food, and clothes. After all, it was a siege situation with the soviets having to support forces across a river.

    In the end, the lesson that the Soviets learned time and again in each engagement was that in infantry combat, the side that can bring the greatest volume of fire, usually won the engagement - hence why the huge number of SMG's issued, and why Automatic is the first setting on any AK.
     
  15. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

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    Or in 1938, when Poland, Hungary and Germany divided Czechoslovakia.
     
  16. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    I believe they would have made a big contribution. Perhaps not as much as the T34 but may have resulted in the Iron Curtain a few hundred miles more to the West. If they were no better than a MN 91/30 then modern militaries would not have bothered with small arms improvements..... As said previously WW2 and subsequent wars were / are primarily organized around crew served weapons (Including airplanes). All that said, the AK47 in 1944 would have made the Soviet army very leathal. They still relied on large numbers of infantry supported by combined arms..... The AK would have made an impact.

    My .02.....:)
     
  17. otomik

    otomik Member

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    Black Dragon

    I really disagree. you seem to have drawn an odd conclusion as to the nature of their strained relations.

    it was a double game. russia backed both the CCP and KMT for many years with varying levels of support. Given time and resources they would have preferred to pick off Qing empire territories like they did with Mongolia and Tuva.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A59191-2003Jul28?language=printer
    If the Soviets in WW2 were more effective they would probably have taken similar amounts of casualties but have expanded their endgame goals.
     
  18. John_galt

    John_galt Member

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    If my aunt had..............you know the rest.:neener:

    Simple concept A is A. Calling it something else does not make it so. Things were the way they were - discussing a difference of tactics or logistics (something that might have happened) would seem a much more interesting concept than the idea of magically transporting technology back in time (which couldn't have happened). Just saying.....
     
  19. goon

    goon Member

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    Regardless of what the reasons were for wanting those territories, the still started without them and ended up with them. If it looks like expansion and sounds like expansion, I call it expansion.

    And there are examples I've found just in my own limited research of the Winter War that show the Russians going far beyond an infantry assault.
    It's not just the charging of a machine gun, which might be necessary. It's the repeated charges, all of which were obviously going to result in failure. In another case, I read of Soviet troops linking arms and marching across a minefield to clear it. I'll post a citation if I stumble on to it again.
    Anyhow, my point was that in 1939, they were relying on very archaic tactics. I know that reforms were made because of the Winter War (no SMG's during the war, but by about 1941 over 1,200 were authorized per division), but I'm not sure how that played out on actual infantry tactics.

    While I do agree that the AK is a better overall weapon, the PPSh brought a lot of capability to the Russians. The combination of the SVT, the PPSh, the Degetyrev MG, and a lot of 91/30's did the job well enough that replacing three of them with the AK wouldn't have really done it any better IMO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    Stalin had just purged the officer corps so they had few trained officers left and those that were left were totally unwilling to argue with any orders from Moscow, no matter how suicidal the orders might be. Anybody unwilling to immediately attack a position was in danger of being dragged off and shot as an "anti-Soviet" agitator. So, if Moscow said "Attack position 'X'" they just did so, immediately, no matter the consequences.
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    It would not have made any real difference without the corresponding change in standard tactics. The Red Army started in 1939 using massed charges of very questionable merit, and they had no idea how to use snipers or tanks. They learned as they went along. A massed charge into entrenched positions with AK's instead of Mosins ends the same way. Goon makes a very good point about the advent of effective repeaters towards the end of the war.
     
  22. -v-

    -v- Member

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    Goon: WW2 can arguably be said to be a the second act of WW1. The Russians started WW1 with the Baltic states and Poland, and had to cede them to Germany as part of the armistice You call expansion, I call getting what's yours back. But, if we fought a war with say, Canada, and had to cede say Main for the peace, would you complain if that territory was taken back at a later time?

    As for the linking arms and marching across minefields, that sounds like something that a Penal Battalion would be assigned to do. March across the minefield, or get shot...not a whole lot of choices offered to them.
     
  23. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    One of the most interesting threads ....
    Historic analysis, Logistics, and small arms tech.

    As a german who has studied history
    and has been very deeply interested in mil history,
    there are many interesting analysis in this.

    logistics and timing is key in war.
    Germany was tech leader when they started.
    The axis in europe had a time window to overcome
    west europe AND England.

    with the joined-forces Blitz tactic they overran everyone in sight.

    If it wasn´t for Hitler being a schizo-dictator-ego-/&%$§" strategically,
    England would have surrendered, if invaded early. The Generalstab would
    have acted as taught in the academys .. and by Sun Tsu, Napoleon and Clausewitz.

    The devastating Uboot-Fleet was supposed to be 3x as big, growing by 100%/yr
    when the war started. Hitler new "§$%&" about sea warfare.
    He rather had Tirpitz and Bismark built, cause they look mighty.

    With the Atlantic jammed from ´39 on there would have been no way
    logistics from the US and Canada would have reached England. or later Russia.

    ---
    THE AK.

    Germanys tactic was a joined tactic:
    - Artillery, mortars, planes, tanks ...
    - Infantry with a long range MG42 and K98ers to protect them.

    Other than logistic factors, in battle it would be kind of comparable to Afghanistan.
    Badly trained, green peasants with AKs and **** ammo, eyesight .....
    vs professional soldiers with a MG and good riflemen.

    The peasants seem to win due to sheer mass and the fact that
    they have a reason to be there.

    The PPSHs did extremely well......
    Killing power is not essential. A wounded soldier
    is even better than a dead one.

    i have known old men, who said they shot the "bonesaw"
    on the eastern front. Nobody looked happy saying that. Ever.
    The sheer factor of Zhukov sending them forward while u have to
    reload, eat, rest .... does it.

    If the russians had something like trained infantry tactics and AKs and plenty ammo
    in that war, now that would have been an immense factor.

    ---

    i´m glad now that Hitler was such an idiot.
    With the Tech and the crazy spirit from those times
    i wouldnt wanna know what my life would be like now.

    My Grandpa did his job ( firing who knows many mortar rounds, not a single bullet)
    The GIs and all other Allies did theirs.
    Sad story. Good outcome.


    By being from where i am i declined an offer (´93)
    for greencard and sponsorship for studying with
    the US-Army to become Officer.... cause my
    Family lost many, and my dad is from a generation
    that was exempt from the draft later on, cause they were the genetic backbone
    as their generation had just by a few months been too young to be
    Volkssturm... and they were to be the fathers of the first new generation.

    Most of us around here do not believe in starting wars for power,
    that one is not absolutely sure to win, and dying for questionable things.

    Nowadays the US has the Tech leadership, but the
    industrial might behind it is lacking, compared to its economical
    opponents. Watch the Elite that is commanding the infantry.


    Sorry if my inspired answer annoys you.
    Just came like this. :)
    02$.
     
  24. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    The bonesaw - awesome!
     
  25. goon

    goon Member

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    Yep, something to the tune of about 40,000 field grade officers and most of the Russian Army High Command were "repressed" between 1937 and 1941. This, at least as much as anything else, severely crippled the Red Army. Especially considering that it was increasing astronomically (and needing MORE OFFICERS!) at the very same time.

    I picked this stuff up studying the Winter War just recently. Really interesting how that "small" war worked out, and how it impacted the history of WWII.

    You got a citation?
    I'm not sure where I read that, but it was likely Chew's White Death, The Winter War by Engle and Paananen, or Trotter's A Frozen Hell. I literally did read a dozen books on the subject in the last month or so for a paper I'm turning in tomorrow, but I don't think I included that in my notes (I was worried primarily with quantitive info and how the Winter War affected Russia on the eve of WWII). Since I turned all the books back in, I can't look it up right now (and I'll be up to my posterior in Finals in a few days). Also, I've read in a couple places that Russian officers trapped in mottis occasionally chose suicide over surrender because they feared their familes would be hurt if they surrendered (pretty sure this came up in Mannerheim's writings). And there is a "rumor" that Stalin also had 5,000 POW's the Finns returned simply shot as traitors for being taken alive. Proof is sketchy, (historians admit this) but it wouldn't have been out of character for Stalin.
    Trust me on this... the Russians were backwards as all hell at this point in time. Even Khrushchev said in his memoirs that a small child could have handled the invasion of Finland better than they did.

    Expansion?
    The Russians gained control of the entire Eastern Bloc after WWII. Maybe those countries were technically not all under the control of the USSR, but that doesn't mean papa Stalin wasn't calling the shots in them (both literally and figuratively). True, they generally wanted these nations as a cushion against the West, but they still did want them. I'd also call that "expansion."
    In fairness, the justification for wanting part of Finland in 1939 was to better prepare for the eventual German invasion and to protect Leningrad, which was within artillery range of the Finnish border. The Finns refused to move the border back far enough or to destroy the Mannerheim Line and refused to hand Hanko (and some islands) over in exchange for land along the northern Russian-Finnish border. Eventually the Russians got fed up and decided to just take what they wanted. It cost them dearly... about nine dead and twelve wounded for every square mile of Finland they got. And they had to fight Finland again in the Continuation War, this time with German backing. Ironic that Russia's actions brought about the very thing she was trying to avoid, huh?

    Anyhow, the Red Army was finally just starting to get caught up when Operation Barbarossa commenced - but still lagged behind in a lot of ways. The AK wouldn't have fixed those deficiencies. I also don't think it would have done much for their small arms situation other than replace the Mosin and PPSh. The 7.62x54 still would have needed to remain in inventory for Maxims and Degtyarevs and some 7.62x25 still would have needed to remain for handguns.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
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