What is it about?

This article sets out to examine the inner working of combined-arms armies logistics over the course of the war through the use of a series of seven reports contained within the ‘Collection of Materials on the Experience of War’ and comparing these assessments with statistics from archival documents on two actual operations, Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev in August 1943 and the Vistula-Oder Operation in January 1945. These results show that combined-arms armies gained their operational mobility from rapid re-establishment of railways and a carefully choreographed use of a small motor vehicle fleet, coupled with strict adherence to weight limits and living off the land by combat troops and their horse-drawn transport. This achievement of high mobility using limited means was a unique approach particularly tailored to the Red Army’s force structure and the Soviet Union’s available economic support.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This is unique research that has not been covered before and throws a new light onto the capabilities of the Red Army given their limited amount of transport. It challenges the current paradigm that the Red Army gained mobility from 1943 by the use of Lend Lease lorries and instead points out that the most common army sized formation in the Red Army rarely received large numbers of Lend Lease vehicles, instead making do with Russian or captured vehicles andhorses. It shows that Soviet offensives were both limited in both time and space by their logistics and when they advanced further this was due to special factors such as the early reestablishment of railways or capturing enemy fuel and supplies.


The article is the third in a series examining the logistics of the Red Army and it builds on previous work to show that the Red Army used a unique way to supply its armies and that its main source of transport was railways.

H. G. W. Davie
University of Wolverhampton

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Logistics of the Combined-Arms Army— the Rear: High Mobility Through Limited Means, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, October 2020, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/13518046.2020.1845091.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page