The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Artillery is a class of heavy military weapons built to fire munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls, fortifications during sieges, led to heavy immobile siege engines; as technology improved, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today. In its earliest sense, the word artillery referred to any group of soldiers armed with some form of manufactured weapon or armour. Since the introduction of gunpowder and cannon, the word "artillery" has meant cannon, in contemporary usage, it refers to shell-firing guns, howitzers and rocket artillery. In common speech, the word artillery is used to refer to individual devices, along with their accessories and fittings, although these assemblages are more properly called "equipments". However, there is no recognised generic term for a gun, mortar, so forth: the United States uses "artillery piece", but most English-speaking armies use "gun" and "mortar".
The projectiles fired are either "shot" or "shell". "Shell" is a used generic term for a projectile, a component of munitions. By association, artillery may refer to the arm of service that customarily operates such engines. In some armies one arm has operated field, anti-aircraft artillery and anti-tank artillery, in others these have been separate arms and in some nations coastal has been a naval or marine responsibility. In the 20th century technology based target acquisition devices, such as radar, systems, such as sound ranging and flash spotting, emerged to acquire targets for artillery; these are operated by one or more of the artillery arms. The widespread adoption of indirect fire in the early 20th century introduced the need for specialist data for field artillery, notably survey and meteorological, in some armies provision of these are the responsibility of the artillery arm. Artillery originated for use against ground targets—against infantry and other artillery. An early specialist development was coastal artillery for use against enemy ships.
The early 20th century saw the development of a new class of artillery for use against aircraft: anti-aircraft guns. Artillery is arguably the most lethal form of land-based armament employed, has been since at least the early Industrial Revolution; the majority of combat deaths in the Napoleonic Wars, World War I, World War II were caused by artillery. In 1944, Joseph Stalin said in a speech that artillery was "the God of War". Although not called as such, machines performing the role recognizable as artillery have been employed in warfare since antiquity. Historical references show artillery was first employed by the Roman legions at Syracuse in 399 BC; until the introduction of gunpowder into western warfare, artillery was dependent upon mechanical energy which not only limited the kinetic energy of the projectiles, it required the construction of large engines to store sufficient energy. A 1st-century BC Roman catapult launching 6.55 kg stones achieved a kinetic energy of 16,000 joules, compared to a mid-19th-century 12-pounder gun, which fired a 4.1 kg round, with a kinetic energy of 240,000 joules, or a late 20th century US battleship that fired a 1,225 kg projectile from its main battery with an energy level surpassing 350,000,000 joules.
From the Middle Ages through most of the modern era, artillery pieces on land were moved by horse-drawn gun carriages. In the contemporary era, artillery pieces and their crew relied on wheeled or tracked vehicles as transportation; these land versions of artillery were dwarfed by railway guns, which includes the largest super-gun conceived, theoretically capable of putting a satellite into orbit. Artillery used by naval forces has changed with missiles replacing guns in surface warfare. Over the course of military history, projectiles were manufactured from a wide variety of materials, into a wide variety of shapes, using many different methods in which to target structural/defensive works and inflict enemy casualties; the engineering applications for ordnance delivery have changed over time, encompassing some of the most complex and advanced technologies in use today. In some armies, the weapon of artillery is the projectile, not the equipment; the process of delivering fire onto the target is called gunnery.
The actions involved in operating an artillery piece are collectively called "serving the gun" by the "detachment" or gun crew, constituting either direct or indirect artillery fire. The manner in which gunnery crews are employed is called artillery support. At different periods in history this may refer to weapons designed to be fired from ground-, sea-, air-based weapons platforms; the term "gunner" is used in some armed forces for the soldiers and sailors with the primary function of using artillery. The gunners and their guns are grouped in teams called either "crews" or "detachments". Several such crews and teams with other functions are combined into a unit of artillery called a battery, although sometimes called a company. In gun detachments, each role is numbered, starting with "1" the Detachment Commander, the highest number being the Coverer, the second-in-command. "Gunner" is the lowest rank and junior non-commissioned officers are "Bombardiers" in some artillery arms. Batteries are equivalent to a company in the infantry
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. According to strategist William S. Lind, combined arms can be distinguished from the concept of "supporting arms" as follows: Combined arms hits the enemy with two or more arms in such a manner that the actions he must take to defend himself from one make him more vulnerable to another. In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if then in such combination that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one defends himself from the other. Though the lower-echelon units of a combined arms team may be of similar types, a balanced mixture of such units are combined into an effective higher-echelon unit, whether formally in a table of organization or informally in an ad hoc solution to a battlefield problem. For example, an armored division—the modern paragon of combined arms doctrine—consists of a mixture of infantry, artillery and even helicopter units, all coordinated and directed by a unified command structure.
Most modern military units can, if the situation requires it, call on yet more branches of the military, such as infantry requesting bombing or shelling by fighter or bomber aircraft or naval forces to augment their ground offensive or protect their land forces. The mixing of arms is sometimes pushed down below the level where homogeneity ordinarily prevails, for example by temporarily attaching a tank company to an infantry battalion. Combined arms operations date back to antiquity, where armies would field a screen of skirmishers to protect their spearmen during the approach to contact. In the case of the Greek hoplites, the focus of military thinking lay exclusively on the heavy infantry. In more elaborate situations armies of various nationalities fielded different combinations of light, medium, or heavy infantry, chariotry, camelry and artillery. Combined arms in this context was how to best use the cooperating units, variously armed with side-arms, spears, or missile weapons in order to coordinate an attack to disrupt and destroy the enemy.
Philip II of Macedon improved upon the limited combined arms tactics of the Greek city-states and combined the newly created Macedonian phalanx with heavy cavalry and other forces. The phalanx would hold the opposing line in place, until the heavy cavalry could smash and break the enemy line by achieving local superiority; the pre-Marian Roman Legion was consisted of five classes of troops. Equipped velites acted as skirmishers armed with light javelins; the hastati and principes formed the main attacking strength of the legion with sword and pilum, whilst the triarii formed the defensive backbone of the legion fighting as a phalanx with long spears and large shields. The fifth class were pursuit and to guard the flanks. After the Marian reforms the Legion was notionally a unit of heavy infantrymen armed with just sword and pilum, fielded with a small attached auxiliary skirmishers and missile troops, incorporated a small cavalry unit; the legion was sometimes incorporated into a higher-echelon combined arms unit — e.g. in one period it was customary for a general to command two legions plus two sized units of auxiliaries, lighter units useful as screens or for combat in rough terrain.
The army of the Han Dynasty is an example, fielding mêlée infantry and cavalry. Civilizations such as the Carthaginians and Sassanids were known to have fielded a combination of infantry supported by powerful cavalry. At the Battle of Hastings English infantry fighting from behind a shield wall were defeated by a Norman army consisting of archers and mounted knights. One of the tactics used by the Normans was to tempt the English to leave the shield wall to attack retreating Norman infantry only to destroy them in the open with cavalry. Scottish sheltrons –, developed to counter the charges by English heavy cavalry, had been used against English cavalry at the Battle of Stirling Bridge – were destroyed at the Battle of Falkirk by English archers acting in concert with mounted knights. Both Hastings and Falkirk showed how combined arms could be used to defeat enemies relying on only one arm; the English victories of Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt were examples of a simple form of combined arms, with a combination of dismounted knights forming a foundation for formations of English longbowmen.
The protected longbowmen could down their French opponents at a distance, whilst the armoured men-at-arms could deal with any Frenchmen who made it to the English lines. This is the crux of combined arms: to allow a combination of forces to achieve what would be impossible for its constituent elements to do alone. During the Middle Ages military forces used combined arms as a method of winning battles and furthering a war leader or king's long term goals; some historians claim that during the Middle Ages there was no strategic or tactical art to military combat. Kelly DeVries uses the Merriam-Webster definition of combat "as a general military engagement". In the pursuit of a leader's goals and self-interest tactical and strategic thinking was used along with taking advantage of the terrain and weather in choosing when and where to give battle; the simplest example is the combination of different specialties such as archers, infantry
1st Panzer Division (Bundeswehr)
The 1st Panzer Division is an armoured division of the German Army. It bears the designation Intervention Force Division, its staff is based at Hanover. In the course of the current reorganisation of the Bundeswehr it will become the backbone of Germany's newly formed intervention forces which will have a manpower of 35,000 soldiers in total; this division is equipped and trained for high intensity combat operations against militarily organized enemies as well as peacekeeping missions. The majority of all German troops assigned to EU-Battlegroups and Nato Response Forces will come from this division, it represents Germany's permanent contribution to the binational I. German/Dutch Corps; the 43rd Mechanized Brigade of the Royal Netherlands Army is being integrated into the 1st Panzer Division, will be operational from 2019. This division was formed on July 1956, the day of the official inauguration of the Bundeswehr, it was the first operational unit of the new German Army. At first referred to as 1st Grenadier Division, it was reorganized in the 1980s and made armoured in 1981.
During this period it was part of I Corps of the Bundeswehr Heer, in turn part of NATO's Northern Army Group, Allied Forces Central Europe. 1st Panzer Division has deployed to several peacekeeping operations. Troops of this division were deployed to the support of civilian agencies during large natural disasters such as the Hamburg Floods of 1962, disastrous wild fires in Northern Germany in the 1970s and the 2002 Floods in Eastern Germany; the division cultivates a partnership with the United States Army 28th Infantry Division. 1st Panzerdivision in Oldenburg HQ and Signal Company 1st Panzerdivision in Oldenburg 325th Artillery Demonstration Battalion in Munster with 16x PzH 2000 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 8x M270 MLRS multiple rocket launch systems, KZO drones and 2x Euro-Art COBRA counter-battery radars 9th Panzer Demonstration Brigade in Munster HQ and Signal Company 9th Panzer Demonstration Brigade in Munster 3rd Reconnaissance Demonstration Battalion in Lüneburg with Fennek reconnaissance vehicles and KZO drones 33rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Neustadt am Rübenberge with 44x Puma infantry fighting vehicles 91st Rifles Battalion in Rotenburg an der Wümme with GTK Boxer armored personnel carriers 92nd Mechanized Infantry Demonstration Battalion in Munster with 44x Puma infantry fighting vehicles 93rd Tank Demonstration Battalion in Munster with 44x Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks 130th Armored Engineer Battalion in Minden 141st Supply Battalion in Neustadt am Rübenberge 21st Panzer Brigade in Augustdorf HQ and Signal Company 21st Panzer Brigade in Augustdorf 7th Reconnaissance Battalion in Ahlen with Fennek reconnaissance vehicles and KZO drones 1st Rifles Battalion, Schwarzenborn with GTK Boxer armored personnel carriers 203rd Panzer Battalion in Augustdorf with 30x Leopard 2A6 and 14 x Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks 212th Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Augustdorf with 44x Puma infantry fighting vehicles 1st Armored Engineer Battalion in Holzminden 7th Supply Battalion in Unna 41st Panzergrenadier Brigade in Neubrandenburg HQ and Signal Company 41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Neubrandenburg 6th Reconnaissance Battalion in Eutin with Fennek reconnaissance vehicles and KZO drones 401st Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Hagenow with 44x Puma infantry fighting vehicles 411th Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Viereck with 44x Puma infantry fighting vehicles 413th Rifles Battalion in Torgelow with GTK Boxer armored personnel carriers 803rd Armored Engineer Battalion in Havelberg 142nd Supply Battalion in Hagenow 43rd Mechanized Brigade in Havelte, 43rd Staff Company in Havelte 43rd Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron in Havelte with Fennek reconnaissance vehicles 414 Panzer Battalion in Bergen-Lohheide.
In 2019 this battalion will consist of 48 Leopard 2A6 MBTs. Destributed between one Dutch company and three German companies. 44th Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Havelte with 46 CV9035NL infantry fighting vehicles 45th Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Havelte with 46 CV9035NL infantry fighting vehicles 11th Armoured Engineer Battalion in Wezep 43rd Maintenance Company in Havelte 43rd Medical Company in Havelte 10th National Reserve Battalion Official website of Intervention Force Division / 1st Armoured Division Concept of the Anti-Air Regiment 6New organisation of the Army Air Defence Troops
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe; the designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the used term Reichswehr, was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler's most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern offensively-capable armed force, fulfilling the Nazi regime's long-term goals of regaining lost territory as well as gaining new territory and dominating its neighbors; this required the reinstatement of conscription, massive investment and defense spending on the arms industry. The Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany's politico-military power. In the early part of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht employed combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what became known as a Blitzkrieg, its campaigns in France, the Soviet Union, North Africa are regarded as acts of boldness.
At the same time, the far-flung advances strained the Wehrmacht's capacity to the breaking point, culminating in the first major defeat in the Battle of Moscow. The operational art was no match to the war-making abilities of the Allied coalition, making the Wehrmacht's weaknesses in strategy and logistics apparent. Cooperating with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the German armed forces committed numerous war crimes and atrocities, despite denials and promotion of the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht; the majority of the war crimes were committed in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy, as part of the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and Nazi security warfare. During the war about 18 million men served in the Wehrmacht. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, German forces had lost 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were missing or killed during the war. Only a few of the Wehrmacht's upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The majority of the three million Wehrmacht soldiers who invaded the USSR participated in committing war crimes. The German term "Wehrmacht" stems from the compound word of German: wehren, "to defend" and Macht, "power, force", it has been used to describes any nation's armed forces. The Frankfurt Constitution of 1849 designated all German military forces as the "German Wehrmacht", consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that: "The Reich's President holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich". From 1919, Germany's national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name, dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, the armed forces were dubbed Friedensheer. In March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420,000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr; the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, in June, Germany signed the treaty that, among other terms, imposed severe constraints on the size of Germany's armed forces.
The army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, twelve destroyers. Submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921. General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty; the Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, retained only the most capable officers. The American historians Alan Millet and Williamson Murray wrote "In reducing the officers corps, Seeckt chose the new leadership from the best men of the general staff with ruthless disregard for other constituencies, such as war heroes and the nobility". Seeckt's determination that the Reichswehr be an elite cadre force that would serve as the nucleus of an expanded military when the chance for restoring conscription came led to the creation of a new army, based upon, but different from, the army that existed in World War I.
In the 1920s, Seeckt and his officers developed new doctrines that emphasized speed, combined arms and initiative on the part of lower officers to take advantage of momentary opportunities. Though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air force by the Versailles treaty; these officers saw the role of an air force as winning air superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations; the leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, a close protégé of Alfred von Tirpitz, was dedicated to the idea of reviving Tirpitz's High Seas Fleet. Officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922
The word Panzer is a German word that means "armour" or "tank". It is used in English and some other languages as a loanword in the context of the German military, it is used in the proper names of military formations, in the proper names of tanks, such as Panzer IV, etc. The dated German term is Panzerkampfwagen, "tank" or "armoured combat vehicle"; the modern used synonym is Kampfpanzer, or Panzer. The first German tank, the A7V of 1918, was referred to as Sturmpanzerwagen; the German word Panzer refers to any kind of armour. It derives through the French word pancier, "breastplate", from Latin pantex, "belly", "paunch", is related to panus, "swelling". German tanks in World War II Panzerschreck Panzerschiff