Pic translation: https://leftypics.booru.org/index.php?page=post&s=view&id=2432
Early in the war the Soviets understood that a precision built bolt action rifle with sights graduated to 1200 yards was an expensive option and one that required considerable time and resources to train huge numbers of troops on. The Mosin–Nagant of which they made 37,000,000 was a good weapon but one that only a small percentage of their infantrymen could use to its maximum potential and as with all bolt guns was cursed with a slow rate of fire and a limited magazine capacity.
The soviets realized sooner than anyone else that 90% of infantry combat takes place at close range (<=200 meters) where full power cartridges like their 7.62mm X 54R were over powered and the bolt action rifles that fired such heavy hitters had a low rate of fire. Soviet doctrine demanded that in meeting engagements their troops should be able to establish direct fire superiority quickly and then maneuver under the cover of that high volume of fire. Of course the Germans wanted the same capability but were too slow to implement the changes required in time.
The German Solution:
Was to place light belt fed machine guns with high rates of fire such as the MG-34 with its ~900 round/min rate of fire with infantry platoons. Thus the German squad armed predominantly with bolt action rifles was centered around its base of fire the MG34.
The Soviet Solution (s):
•On one level the Soviets adopted the same solution with the 7.62mm X 54R DP-28 drum fed light machine gun acting as the base of fire and the rest of the unit armed with bolt action rifles.
•Another Soviet solution was the creation of SMG battalions where the predominant weapon was the easy to manufacture PPSh-41 sub machine gun (1000 rounds/min) that was supported by DP-28 LMG and designated marksmen armed with either Mosin–Nagant bolt guns or SVT-40 semi automatic rifles. These units could send clouds of lead at German troops while in the attack at a dead run.
Imagine 20 Germans with 1 MG-34, 4 MP-40s and 15 bolt action rifles facing 20 Soviets with 2 DP-28s, 6 SVT-40s and 12 PPSh-41s. The German unit is over matched with respect to the volume of fire it can deliver. And it take less time and effort to train a sub machine gunner than an effective rifleman.
According to meticulous post-Soviet archival work (G. I. Krivosheev in Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses), the total number of men (and in the Soviet case, about 1mn women) who passed through the armed forces of the USSR was 34,476,700 and through Germany’s was 21,107,000. Of these, the “irrevocable losses” (the number of soldiers who were killed in military action, went MIA, became POWs and died of non-combat causes) was 11,285,057 for the USSR, 6,231,700 for Germany, 6,923,700 for Germany and its occupied territories, and 8,649,500 for all the Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Thus, the total ratio of Soviet to Nazi military losses was 1.3:1. Hardly the stuff of “Asiatic hordes” of Nazi and Russophobic imagination (that said, also contrary to popular opinion, Mongol armies were almost always a lot smaller than those of their enemies and they achieved victory through superior mobility and coordination, not numbers).
The problem is that during the Cold War, the historiography in the West was dominated by the memoirs of Tippelskirch, who wrote in the 1950’s citing constant Soviet/German forces ratios of 7:1 and losses ratio of 10:1. This has been carried over into the 1990’s (as with popular “historians” like Anthony Beevor), although it should be noted that more professional folks like Richard Overy are aware of the new research. Note also that cumulatively 28% and 57% of all Soviet losses were incurred in 1941 and 1942 (Krivosheev) respectively – the period when the Soviet army was still relatively disorganized and immobile, whereas for the Germans the balance was roughly the opposite with losses concentrated in 1944-45.
The idea that there were two soldiers for every rifle in the Red Army, as portrayed in the ahistorical propaganda film Enemy at the Gates, is a complete figment of the Russophobic Western imagination. From 1939 to 1945, the USSR outproduced Germany in aircraft (by a factor of 1.3), tanks (1.7), machine guns (2.2), artillery (3.2) and mortars (5.5), so in fact if anything the Red Army was better equipped than the Wehrmacht (sources – Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won; Chris Chant, Small Arms).
Also the 3 men to a rifle thing actually originates from WW-1 when a British officer noted that Russian troops were thrown into battle with 1 rifle per 3 men, really shows why t