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why is Russian infantry so much smaller than the German units

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#1 Andrew Burton

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 12:46 PM

  Just was doing some digging on why Russian infantry is smaller than their German counter parts.  Was looking on line and comparing platoons and they  should be around the same size. Instead of the Germans having 12 squads to the Russian 9 squads for a company? Why is that?

#2 Mark 1

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 09:57 PM

I am not too well studied on the Germans, but I believe the German army has 3 squads per platoon, plus platoon HQ with a 50mm mortar.  It was pretty consistent throughout the war.


The Soviets had 4 squads per platoon in the early war period, plus platoon HQ with 50mm mortar.  As the war progressed they mostly reverted to 3 squads per platoon. In both armies it was typical to have 3 platoons, plus a support platoon and HQ unit, per company.


Here is an illustration of a Soviet platoon and company structure in a rifle division in 1941:


(source: http://niehorster.or...rd_inf-co.html)


I would be interested to see information indicating smaller Russian infantry platoons or companies compared to the Germans.  It would be divergent from most of what I have found so far.


There was a fair bit of variety, though. Both nations had a lot of different TOEs, and so the size of a company in one formation might be different than in another formation. So these are just guidelines -- imperfect guidelines to be sure.


Later in the war the squads got smaller but automatic weapons became more frequent, in both cases. They had as much or even more firepower, but fewer men, as the war continued on.


At least that's my understanding.



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