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Not one step back!
~ Joseph Stalin, Order No. 227

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (often abbreviated to USSR), was a major nation that practiced the Communist ideology. It is notable for it's immense, unmatched manpower, and extensive losses. Much like the Russian Empire in World War I, Soviet soldiers were poorly equipped and poorly fed. Soldiers would often be sent into battle without a weapon, and be required to follow a friendly soldier with a weapon, and grab it when he died, or take a weapon off a dead enemy soldier. The Soviet Union joined the war in 1941 after the surprise invasion of Operation Barbarossa. Though initially being taken off guard by the invasion, allowing the Germans to almost reach Moscow. The Battle of Stalingrad, the largest and bloodiest battle in human history, is often considered the turning point of the war for the Soviets. After victory at Stalingrad, the Soviet march to Berlin began. The unstoppable advance conquered Berlin on May 9, 1945. This day is celebrated as Victory Day. Throughout World War II, the Soviet Union was lead by Joseph Stalin.

Equipment

Main page: Equipment of the USSR

Prewar History

Revolution

World War II====Armed Forces

Army

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (RKAA) was the massive ground force of the Soviet Union. Due to the re-introduction of conscription in 1940, its numbers increased tenfold all the way up to 9 million.

Initially, it suffered from personnel purges, which all but wiped out all the combat veterans, shiftiness of doctrines, and incomplete re-armament. This, and Stalin's orders not to respond to German provocations, left it in an extremely vulnerable position, allowing the larger German invasion force to brutalise it until Operation Typhoon, at which point, bolstered by Siberian units and the civilian militia, it began to push back.

By 1945 the Red Army was a massive, hardened force that combined experienced soldiers, advanced but simple small arms, rugged and versatile tanks, and large amounts of artillery.

NKVD

The People's Comissariat of the Interior, operating the secret police of USSR, also had its own military. While it was initially dedicated to border patrol, it later became associated with barrier troops and hunting down Soviet POWs (all of them considered German agents).

Navy

The Navy of the Soviet Union was impressive. But it was not a major component to World War II naval battles outside the Eastern Front. As a matter of fact, it was in many ways similar to the Kriegsmarine, with a sizeable submarine component and a slightly outdated battleship fleet while lacking any sort of aircraft carriers.

It is highly notable that only the Navy had been mobilised, contrary to Stalin's orders, before Operation Barbarossa and as a result suffered almost no casualties during the opening phase of the "Great Patriotic War".

Air Force

The air force of the Soviet Union initially suffered from outdated equipment and horrendous level of pilot training, allowing Luftwaffe pilots to rack up hundreds upon hundreds of easy kills. However, it fought regardless of losses, eventually growing numerous and confident enough to turn the tables on the Germans.

Political Geography

References