“We are forming reserves as part of the army corps, the army, plus five regiments of the 20th army. Everything is going according to plan. In fact, by the end of June, we will complete the formation of a reserve army and in the near future we will complete the formation of an army corps, ”said the head of the military department at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with permanent members of the Russian Security Council. According to Sergei Shoigu, now these five regiments are 60 percent complete both in terms of personnel and equipment.
There is reason to believe that the purpose of the measures currently being taken by the RF Armed Forces is to bring the combat strength of the Russian army to the level necessary not only for the successful disruption of the offensive operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the expedient distribution of the created reserves in the areas of combat operations, but mainly
the intention of the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to create the prerequisites for the implementation of subsequent tasks of a purely offensive nature can be traced.
Most likely, the reserve units and formations are completed by servicemen in direct military specialties and direct official assignment. Armament, military and special equipment for the formed army and corps comes both from the presence of the Armed Forces, and from arsenals, district and central bases (warehouses), as well as from industrial enterprises.
In this regard, a completely natural question arises – is one reserve army and one army corps a lot or a little? Let us first turn to the experience of the Great Patriotic War.
The defeats at the beginning of the war of the Red Army groupings forced the Soviet command to bring large military contingents into battle to restore the strategic defense front, which required, first of all, the creation of new armies, corps and divisions. They were formed, as a rule, in a short time.
In June-September 1941 alone, 20 new directorates of combined arms armies were formed (as of January 1, 1942, instead of 20 at the beginning of the war, there were already 71), and if we talk about formations, then from June 22 to December 1, 1941 97 personnel (pre-war formations) and 194 newly formed divisions were sent to the active army, including 35 divisions of the people’s militia, as well as 94 brigades.
The main means by which the Supreme High Command could actively influence the course and outcome of operations and the war as a whole were strategic reserves. The General Staff of the Red Army paid special attention to their creation, preparation and restoration.
In those days, reserves were created in different ways. In the first period of the war, this was carried out mainly at the expense of new formations (over 80%).
In the second period, the withdrawal of formations and formations from the active fronts was more often practiced, followed by their staffing and additional provision with weapons and military equipment.
During the third period, this method was already the main one.
In total, during the Great Patriotic War, the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command and the General Staff of the Red Army formed (restored) more than 100 directorates of combined arms and 17 tank armies, formed (understaffed) over 112 tank, mechanized and artillery corps, about 1000 rifle, cavalry and artillery divisions, almost 2000 separate brigades and regiments of military branches.
Most likely, at present the formation of the reserve army and the army corps in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is proceeding according to the method that was the main one in the second period of the Second World War. That is, units and formations are being withdrawn from the Joint Group of Forces (or their organizational core is being withdrawn to the areas of formation). Then additional staffing of units, formations and associations with personnel is carried out, additional provision of weapons, military and special equipment and all required materiel is carried out.
At the next stage, tactical (operational-tactical) exercises with live firing are carried out (it is unacceptable to send troops to the combat zone without them), then a series of control checks is carried out, which determine the final readiness of the formed organisms for combat use, and finally, regiments and divisions are sent to areas of operational assignment.
As for the importance of strategic reserves in the course of armed struggle, in this regard one should always remember the basic law of war, which is as follows – the dependence of the course and outcome of armed struggle on the ratio of the total military power of the opposing sides, as well as the degree to which the state implements combat , military-economic, moral-political, scientific-technical and other potentials that together make up military power. And strategic reserves are one of the most important components of military power.
“God is always on the side of the big battalions,” a French marshal of the 17th century once said. Jacques d’Estamp de la Ferte. These words were erroneously attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, but they were often said by another monarch – King Frederick II the Great.
The opinion of the author may not coincide with the position of the editors.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Khodarenok – military observer for Gazeta, retired colonel.
Graduated from the Minsk Higher Engineering Anti-Aircraft Missile School (1976), the Military Air Defense Command Academy (1986). Commander of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile battalion (1980–1983). Deputy commander of an anti-aircraft missile regiment (1986–1988). Senior officer of the Main Staff of the Air Defense Forces (1988–1992). Officer of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff (1992–2000). Graduate of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (1998). Columnist for Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2000–2003), editor-in-chief of the Military Industrial Courier newspaper (2010–2015).