View Full Version : GKO Comission Report M-715, 11-04-1944.

10-21-2009, 04:21 PM
Here is an interesting document available online, which I don't think has been translated to English. At least my goggling did not give anything.
I will be translating it bit by bit, unless some of you guys, scared by my lousy work, would not want to pick up the task. :)

Comment: GKO = State Defence Committee of USSR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Defense_Committee) - the extraordinary superior organ in the USSR during the Great Patriotic War which held total power in the state.

source in Russian: Доклад Комиссии ГКО № М-715 от 11.04.44 (http://ru.wikisource.org/wiki/%D0%94%D0%BE%D0%BA%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4_%D0%9A%D0%BE% D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%B8_%D0%93%D0%9A%D 0%9E_%E2%84%96_%D0%9C-715_%D0%BE%D1%82_11.04.44#II._.D0.9A.D1.80.D1.83.D 0.BF.D0.BD.D1.8B.D0.B5_.D0.BD.D0.B5.D0.B4.D0.BE.D1 .81.D1.82.D0.B0.D1.82.D0.BA.D0.B8_.D0.B2_.D1.80.D0 .B0.D0.B1.D0.BE.D1.82.D0.B5_.D0.B0.D1.80.D1.82.D0. B8.D0.BB.D0.BB.D0.B5.D1.80.D0.B8.D0.B8)

GKO Commission Report № M-715, 11 April 1944.
Att: Comrade Stalin
Following the order of Stavka of the Supreme command, the extraordinary commission consisting of the GKO member Malenkov (head), General-Colonel Scherbakov, General-Colonel Shtemenko, General- Lieutenant Kuznetsov and General-Lieutenant Shimonaev conducted the inspection of the headquarters of the Western Front (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Front_(Soviet_Union)) and as the result concluded the following:

From 12 October 1943 and until 1 April 1944 the Western Front lead by the Army General Sokolovsky conducted 11 operations on the Orsha and Vitebsk directions, namely:

Orsha operation 12 - 18 October 1943.
Orsha operation 21 - 26 October 1943.
Orsha operation 14 - 19 November 1943.
Orsha operation 30 November - 2 December 1943.
Vitebsk operation 23 December 1943 - 6 January 1944.
Bogushev operation 8 - 24 JAnuary 1944.
Vitebsk operation 3 - 16 February 1944.
Local operation on Orsha direction 22 - 25 February 1944.
Vitebsk operation 29 February - 5 march 1944.
Orsha operation 5 - 9 March 1944.
Bogushev operation 21 - 29 March 1944.

All these operations ended in failure and the front did not achieve it's given goals. In none of the mentioned operations could penetrate the enemy's defence line, not even in to tactical depth. At best the operation ended with insignificant wedging into the enemy's defence and with large losses of our army.

Orsha offence 12 - 18 Oct ended with wedging in 1-1,5 km. Our losses KIA - 5858, WIA - 17478. Total - 23336.

Orsha offence 21 - 26 Oct: advance 4-6 km. Our losses KIA - 4787, WIA - 14315. Total - 19102.

Orsha offence 14 - 19 Nov: advance 1-4 km. Our losses KIA - 9167, WIA - 29589. Total - 38756.

Orsha offence 30 Nov - 2 Dec: wedging in 1-2 km. Our losses KIA - 5611, WIA - 17259. Total - 22870.

Vitebsk offence 23 Dec - 6 Jan: advance - 8-12 km. The enemy retreated to the next defensive position. Our losses: KIA - 6692, WIA - 28904. Total - 35596.

Bogushev offence 8 - 24 Jan: wedging in 2-4 km. Our losses KIA - 5517, WIA - 19672. Total - 25189.

Vitebsk offence 3 - 16 Feb: advance - 3-4 km. Our losses KIA - 9651, WIA - 32844. Total - 42495.

Local operation on Orsha direction 22 - 25 Feb: No result. In this operation the forces of the 52nd Defence District (Ukrepraion) were encircled and only with big losses the original situation was restored. Our losses KIA - 1288, WIA - 4479. Total - 5767.

Vitebsk offence 3 Feb - 5 Mar: advance - 2-6 km. Our losses KIA - 2650, WIA - 9205. Total - 11855.

Orsha offence 5 - 9 Mar: No result. Our losses KIA - 1898, WIA - 5639. Total - 7537.

Bogushev offence 21 - 29 Mar: advance - 3-4 km. wedging in 1 - 3,5 km. Our losses KIA - 9207, WIA - 30828. Total - 40035.

In all these fruitless operations the front suffered losses: KIA - 62326; WIA - 219419; Total - 281745. And that is only on the active frontline stretches. If we add the losses on the passive stretches, then for the whole period Oct 1943 - April 1944 the front lost 330587 men. Apart from that 53283 men from Western Front were admitted to hospitals due to sickness.

In the mentioned operation the Front used large quantities of ammunition, namely 7261 rail cars. During the year (March 1943 - March 1944) the Front used up 16661 rail cars of ammunition. The Byelorussian Front during the same period used up 12335 rail cars of ammunition. The 1st Ukrainian Front - 10945 cars. 4th Ukrainian Front - 8463 cars. And all other remaining fronts used up fewer rail cars of ammunition than the Western Front. Thus the Western Front used up much more ammunition than any other front.

Unsuccessful conduct of actions of the Western Front, large army losses and ammunition usage can not be explained by neither enemy's superiority nor by the existence of impenetrable defencesí positions, but exclusively by unsatisfactory leadership on behalf of the Front commander. The Western Front had significant superiority over the enemy during all of the operations, which giving solid ground to expect successful outcome.

To be continued...

10-22-2009, 12:33 AM
Very intersting analisys of red army failures,unfortinatelly it was not for public reading in USSR.I heard before that the big soviet strategical offensive operation kinda Bagration did suffer from lack of tactical abilities of command and the lack of cooperation of troops.

10-22-2009, 04:44 PM
first part (http://ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?p=161725#post161725)


The relation of forces was the following:

Orsha operation 12 - 18 October 1943:

Our forces. 19 RDs, of which 8 RDs in the 1 line, 11 RDs in the 2nd line; tank korps, cavalry corps, 12 artillery brigades, 20 art. regiments of RGK (comment: "Katusha" rocket launchers), 3 tank brigades, 6 tank and SPG regiments. Total tanks - 134. Artillery fire density was 150 - 200 barrels per 1km.
Opponents forces. 2 RDs, 3-5 artillery regiments and about 30 tanks. Later reinforcement arrived: 1 RD, 2 MRDs and 3-4 artillery regiments.
Orsha operation 21- 26 October 1943:

Our forces. 11 RDs, of which 8 RDs in 1st line, 3 RDs in 2nd line; tank corps, 13 artilery brigades, 19 artillery regiments of RGK, 2 tank brigades, 3 tank and SPG regiments. Total tanks - 172. Artillery density was 115 - 260 barrels per 1km.
Opponents forces. 4 RDs, 1 brigade SS, 6-7 artillery regiments and up to 60 tanks.
Orsha operation 14-19 November 1943:

Our forces. 32 RDs, of which 18 in 1st line, 14 in the 2nd line; tank corps, 16 artillery brigades, 23 artillery regiments of RGK, 4 tank brigade, 7 tank and SPG regiments. Total tanks - 410. Artillery density was 120 - 260 barrels per 1km.
Opponents forces. 4 RDs, 2 tank divisions, SS brigade, up to 12 artillery regiments. Total tanks - up to 70.
Orsha operation 30 Nov - 2 Dec 1943:

Our forces. 34 RDs, of which 24 RDs in 1st line, 10 RDs in 2nd line; 13 artillery brigades, 24 artillery regimnets of RGK, 4 tank brigades, 10 tank and SPG regiments. Total tanks - 284. Artillery fire density was 120 - 170 barrels per 1 km.
Oppenents forces. 4 RDs, 2 tank divisions, up to 10 artillery regiments. Total tanks - 200.
Vitebsk operation 23 Dec 1943 - 6 jan 1944.

Our forces. 11 RDs, of which 5 in the 1st line, 6 in the 2nd line: tank corps, 10 artil. brigades, 4 artil. regiments of RGK, 4 tank brigades, 5 SPG regiments. Total tanks - 147. Artillery fire density was 110 barrels per 1km.
Opponents forces. 2 RDs, up to 5 artillery regiments and about 60 tanks. 3 RDs arrived as reinforcement at the end on the operation.
Bogushev operation 8 - 24 Jan 1944.

Our forces. 16 RDs, of which 11 in 1st line, 5 RDs and 1 Rifle brigade in 2nd line, tank corps, 12 artil. brigades, 6 artil. regiments of RGK, 6 tank brigades,8 SPG regiments. Total tanks - 295.
Vitebsk operation 3 - 16 Feb 1944.

Our forces. 16 RDs, of which 9 RDs in 1st line, 7 RDs in 2nd line, tank corps, 15 artil. brigades, 9 artil. regiments of RGK, 2 tank brigades,2 SPG regiments. Total tanks - 129. Artillery fire density was 115 - 140 barrels per 1 km.
Opponents forces. 5 RDs, up to 9 artil. regiments and about 140 tanks. Reiforcement - about 2 rifle regimetns.
Vitebsk operation 29 Feb - 5 Mar 1944.

Our forces. 15 RDs, of which 13 RDs in 1st line, 2RDs and 1 rifle brigade in 2nd line, 7 artil. brigades, 10 artil. regiments of RGK, 6 tank brigades. Total tanks - 87.
Opponents forces. 5 RDs, 10 artil. regiments and about 90 tanks.
Orsha operation 5-9 MAr 1944.

Our forces. 8 RDs, of which 3 in 1st line, 2nd line - 5 RDs, 3 artil. brigades, 6 artil .regiments of RGK, 1 tank brigade, 2 tank regiments. Total tanks - 80. Artillery fire density was 100 barrels per 1km.
Opponents forces. 1 RD, 3 artillery regimetns and up to 35 tanks.
Bogushev operation 21 - 29 MAr 1944.

Our forces. 9 RDs, of which 6 on the 1st line, in the 2nd line - 3 RDs; 10 artil. brigades, 6 artil. regiments of RGK, 5 tank brigades, 4 SPG regiments. Total tanks - 73. Artillery fire density was 100 - 150 barrels per 1km.
Opponents forces. 2 RDS, up to 5 artil. regiments and up to 40 tanks.
Thus the Western Front had clear superiority over the opponent in both personel and equipment. Despite all that all of the operations failed ad the front line had not been advanced since October 1943.

As the result of stalling on the Western Front and on the other hand advace on other fronts, there appeared extrimely disadvantageous for us situation on the Smolensk - Minsk direction. The opponent has a 150 km deep bulge into our front line.

This disposition affects negatively the adjacent fronts. It provides enemy with possibility of having an air force operating from the triangle Lepel - Mogilev - Minsk. Enemy's air force therefore can strike the supply lines of the Pribaltijsky Front and the Bielorussian Front with a very short flight time. The Western Front is also the front that has the shortest distance to Moscow city.

to be continued...

11-27-2009, 02:32 PM
first part (http://ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10023)


In the conducted operations, our artillery did not suress the enemy's artillery, despite the concentration in large quantities and superiority over the enemy. It did not happen neiter during an artillery barrage, nor during the battle. Often artillery targeted an empty spot, did not meet the Infantry requests and lost interaction with infantry units. Sometimes even the friendly forces were barraged. Infantry was attacking the unsupressed enemy positions and as the result suffered huge losses and did not advance. The work of our artillery, especially in the counter artillery duel part, was insuficient during all the stages of combat engagement.

Multiple cases existed in the 33rd, 31st and 5th Armies whne artillery targeted the quadrants (which coordinates were sent from the Army artillery HQ) whereas in reality these quadrants were had no real targets. At the same time our infantry positions were fired upon from different places.

The observation posts of some artillery regiments in 33rd Army on Dec. 23, 1943 were not manned by officers, but by ordinary soldiers. Not all observers were in the first line together with the infantry. As a result, 199th Infantry Division received friendly fire. In the same division were incidents when guns fired direct fire on their infantry.

During the assult by the 33rd Army on February 3 in a number of divisions failed to organize interaction of artillery with the infantry. For example, 144 I.D. advanced towards Pavlyuchenko, and its supporting artillery barraged west side of Pavlyuchenko. At the same time during the advace of 222 I.D. the supporting artillery was silent.

Unsatisfactory work of the artillery in the Western Front was reported by many German POWs.

Commander of the Western Front, Army General Sokolowski, a former member of the Military Council of the front, Lieutenant-General Bulganin and artillery commander of the front, Colonel-General of Artillery Kamera are guilty of not detecting major shortcomings and mistakes in the work of their artillery. The artillery personel reigns complacency, conceit and arrogance. They hide their mistakes and shortcomings, do not study, and try to gloss over the errors. The Front HQ and the Army HQs until recently did not issued any regulations to correct the situation and did not specify measures to address them. As a result of this improper attitude of the Fronts HQ the errors were repeated in all the operation.

During the time prior to the beginning of an operation, artillery units on all levels are exceptionally bad at reconnaissance and revealing the enemy firing positions. Due to the lack of knowledge of the enemy positions , he artillery can not delivery precise and specific fire, but, as a rule, leads an ineffective area barrage. At the same time, artillery units are slow in deploying forward observers and resort to passive observation, the observers rarely approach the edge of enemy defenses. The senior artillery commanders and their staffs do not conduct their personal duties in this crucial aspect. They limit themselves to gathering info from the subbordinates. The received info is not checked.

Especially badly is intelligence id conducted during the infantry assults. The artillery observers are not assigned specific front line sectors, and as the result the oservers just literaly observe the battle field instead of revealing specific targets. In many artillery formations the reconnaissance units are understaffed, though with full staff levels of noncombat units parts. Aircrafts are poorly used for the purposes of observation and fire correction. The observation balloons are not used at all.

Artillery targets, as a rule, are assigned in HQ, without specific knowledge of enemy artillery positions, therefore it is planned per area and not per specific target. Often the battery commanders receive battle maps that are not in accordance with the uptodate situation. This results in fireing at empty spots and missing enemy's positions. Becasue HQ planning take most of the time during the preparation for an operation, the actual combat level units have no time left for proper preparation.
to be continued...