The Red Army 1922–41

The Red Army 1922–41

From Civil War to 'Barbarossa'

Men-at-Arms 546
  • Author: Philip Jowett
  • Illustrator: Steve Walsh
  • Short code: MAA 546
  • Publication Date: 18 Aug 2022
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This study explores the organization, history and uniforms of the Soviet Red Army during the 20 years between its victory in the Civil War and the invasion of the USSR by Germany in 1941.

The two decades following the Bolshevik victory over the 'Whites' in the Russian Civil War saw widespread and fundamental developments for the Red Army. Nevertheless, these still left it largely unready to face the German's Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. Having been reduced in size and planning for modernization, the Red Army of the 1920s was employed to ruthlessly crush anti-Bolshevik opposition (real or suspected) in several regions of the USSR, notably Ukraine and Central Asia, and to fight a brief border war against Chinese Manchuria.

During the 1930s, Stalin virtually 'beheaded' the army by a needless series of murderous purges of the officer class; despite this, the Red Army was victorious in clashes against Imperial Japan in the Nomonhan region in 1938-39, where General Zhukov earned his spurs. Simultaneously, the Soviet Union sent instructors and pilots to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

The non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany allowed Stalin to take over half of Poland in September 1939; but a few months later his 'Winter War' against Finland demonstrated serious inadequacies in the Red Army's readiness for modern warfare, which would be shockingly confirmed in the first days of Operation Barbarossa. This study explores the interwar history of the Red Army, detailing its campaigns, organization and uniforms, and focusing on the 20 years between its victory in the Civil War and the invasion of the USSR by Germany in 1941.

Biographical Note

Philip Jowett was born in Leeds in 1961, and has been interested in military history for as long as he can remember. His first Osprey book was the ground-breaking Men-at-Arms 306: Chinese Civil War Armies 1911-49; he has since published the three-part sequence The Italian Army 1940-45 (Men-at-Arms 340, 349 and 353). He lives in North Lincolnshire, UK.

Contents

INTRODUCTION
THE RED ARMY IN THE 1920s
Strength
Clandestine contacts with Germany
The role of political commissars
CAMPAIGNS IN THE 1920s
Anti-Basmachi campaigns, 1920s-30s
The Sino-Soviet War, 1929
The ‘secret invasion' of Afghanistan, 1929
THE RED ARMY IN THE 1930s
Expansion and re-equipment
Cossacks in the Red Army 1936-41
Formation of armoured units, 1922-41
Soviet security forces, 1922-41
Stalin's purges, 1934-41
CAMPAIGNS IN THE 1930s
Far Eastern border clashes: Changkufeng, 1938, and Khalkin Gol, 1939
Soviet invasion of Poland, September 1939
The Russo-Finnish ‘Winter War', 1939-40
The Red Army in 1941
UNIFORMS, 1922-41
Headgear
Helmets
Field and service uniforms
Legwear and footwear
Greatcoats and protective clothing
Rank and insignia
Branch colours
Branch insignia
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
PLATE COMMENTARIES
INDEX


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