Accession Number:

ADA528263

Title:

Fighting the Russians in Winter: Three Case Studies (Leavenworth Papers, Number 5)

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1981-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

57.0

Abstract:

The Russian winter defeated Napoleon, as every Frenchman knows. It also defeated Hitler, as most Germans know. Many Americans share that knowledge -- which is false in both cases Those popular myths illustrate the uncritical acceptance and perpetuation of rationalizations designed to obscure the fact that those invincible Western military paragons were humbled by the inferior Russians. Although the plans of both of those would-be conquerors of Russia failed before the arrival of winter, there is no denying that snow and severe frost contributed greatly to the magnitude of their subsequent problems and casualties. This study addresses those aspects of warfare in the vicinity of European Russia. The harsh climate of that region can be an indiscriminate killer, and the successful army must adapt to winter conditions. In the following examples, all illustrating combat in northern and subarctic European Russia, both Russians and their opponents paid the ultimate price when they overlooked this reality. Before turning to specific operations, it may be useful to list some of the pertinent environmental factors and their military ramifications. The obvious special conditions encountered in the northern latitudes are extreme cold, deep snow, short days, and -- in most subarctic locales -- dense coniferous forests, sparse population and consequently few ready-made shelters, and poor and widely separated roads. The case studies are as follows Selected Examples and Lessons from the Undeclared Allied-Soviet War in Northern Russia during the Winter of 1918-19 The Destruction of the Soviet 44th Motorized Rifle Division and Pertinent Aspects of Nazi-Soviet Warfare during the Winter of 1941-42.

Subject Categories:

  • Meteorology
  • Humanities and History
  • Snow, Ice and Permafrost
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE