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Viktor Suvorov. Inside the Soviet Army

     © Copyright Виктор Суворов

Viktor Suvorov. Inside the Soviet Army

     Copyright (C) 1982 by Viktor Suvorov
     Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 866 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022
     Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
     Suvorov, Viktor. Inside the Soviet Army. Includes index.
     1. Soviet Union. Armiia. I. Title.
     UA770.S888 1983 355'.00947 82-22930
     10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
     Printed in the United States of America

                               To Andrei Andreevich Vlasov


     Foreword by General Sir John Hackett

     Part I: The higher military leadership
     Why did the Soviet Tanks not threaten Romania?
     Why was the Warsaw Treaty Organisation set up later than NATO?
     The Bermuda Triangle
     Why does the system of higher military control appear complicated?
     Why is the make-up of the Defence Council kept secret?
     The Organisation of the Soviet Armed Forces
     High Commands in the Strategic Directions

     Part II: Types of armed services
     How the Red Army is divided in relation to its targets
     The Strategic Rocket Forces
     The National Air Defence Forces
     The Land Forces
     The Air Forces
     Why does the West consider Admiral Gorshkov a strong man?
     The Airborne Forces
     Military Intelligence and its Resources
     The Distorting Mirror

     Part III: Combat organisation
     The Division
     The Army
     The Front
     Why  are   there  20  Soviet  Divisions   in  Germany  but  only  5  in
     The Organisation of the South-Western Strategic Direction

     Part IV: Mobilisation
     Types of Division
     The Invisible Divisions
     Why is a Military District commanded by a Colonel-General in peacetime,
but only by a Major-General in wartime?
     The System for Evacuating the Politburo from the Kremlin

     Part V: Strategy and tactics
     The Axe Theory
     The Strategic Offensive
     "Operation Detente"
     Rear Supplies

     Part VI: Equipment
     What sort of weapons?
     Learning from Mistakes
     When will we be able to dispense with the tank?
     The Flying Tank
     The Most Important Weapon
     Why are Anti-tank Guns not self-propelled?
     The Favourite Weapon
     Why do Calibres vary?
     Secrets, Secrets, Secrets
     How much does all this cost?
     Copying Weapons

     Part VII: The soldier's lot
     Building Up
     How to avoid being called up
     If you can't, we'll teach you; if you don't want to, we'll make you
     1,441 Minutes
     Day after day
     Why does a soldier need to read a map?
     The Training of Sergeants
     The Corrective System

     Part VIII: The officer's path
     How to control them?
     How much do you drink in your spare time?
     Drop in, and we'll have a chat
     Who becomes a Soviet officer and why?
     Higher Military Training Colleges
     Duties and Military Ranks
     Military Academies




     The book,  Inside the Soviet Army, is written under the name of "Viktor
Suvorov." As a defector, under sentence  of death in  the  USSR,  the author
does not  use his own name and has chosen instead that of  one  of  the most
famous  of Russian  generals.  This is  a  book  that  should  command  wide
attention, not only in the armed  forces  of the  free world,  but among the
general public  as well. It  is an account  of the  structure,  composition,
operational  method,  and  general  outlook  of the Soviet  military  in the
context of the Communist regime in the USSR and  the party's total dominion,
not  only  over the  Soviet Union,  but over the client states of the Warsaw
Pact as well.
     The book  starts with a survey of the higher military leadership and an
analysis of the types  of  armed services, and of the organization of Soviet
Army  formation.  An examination of  the Red Army's mobilization system that
follows is of particular interest. The chapters that follow on strategy  and
tactics  and  on  equipment  are  also  of  high  interest.  The  first,  on
operational method, emphasizes  the supreme importance  attached  in  Soviet
military  thinking to  the offensive and the swift  exploitation of success.
Defensive action is hardly studied at all except as an aspect of attack. The
second, on equipment, examines Soviet insistence on simplicity in design and
shows  how  equipment  of  high  technical  complexity  (the T-72 tank,  for
instance) is  also developed in another form,  radically simplified in  what
the author calls "the monkey model,"  for swift wartime production. The last
two chapters on  "The Soldiers' Lot" and "The Officer's Role" will be  found
by many to be the most valuable  and  revealing of the whole  book.  We have
here not so much a description of  what the  Red  Army  looks  like from the
outside, but what it feels like inside.
     This book is based on the author's fifteen  years of regular service in
the Soviet Army, in troop command and on  the staff,  which included command
of a motor  rifle company in  the invasion of  Czechoslovakia in 1968. About
this  he  has  written  another book, The Liberators,  which  is a  spirited
account of  life  in the Red Army,  highly informative in a painless sort of
way and often very funny. There is rather less to laugh at in this book than
in that one: Viktor Suvorov writes here in deadly earnest.
     There  is no doubt  at  all of the author's right to claim unquestioned
authority on matters which he, as  a junior  officer,  could be expected  to
know about  at firsthand and  in  great detail.  Nevertheless,  not everyone
would  agree  with everything  he has to  say. Though I know  him personally
rather well,  Viktor Suvorov is  aware that I  cannot  myself go all the way
with him in some of his arguments and I am sometimes bound to wonder whether
he is always interpreting the evidence correctly.
     Having said  this, however, I hasten to add something that  seems to be
of overriding  importance. The value of this book, which in my view is high,
derives as much from its apparent weaknesses  as  from  its  clearly evident
strengths--and  perhaps even more. The  author  is a young,  highly  trained
professional officer with very considerable troop service behind him as well
as staff  training. He went through  the  Frunze Military Academy  (to which
almost all  the  Red Army's elite officers  are  sent)  and  was  thereafter
employed as  a staff  officer. He  tells  the reader how he,  being what  he
is--that is  to  say,  a  product of  the  Soviet  Army  and  the society it
serves--judges  the military  machine  created in  the  Soviet  Union  under
Marxism-Leninism, and how he responded to it. He found that he could take no
more of the  inefficiency,  corruption,  and blatant dishonesty of  a regime
which claimed to represent its people, but had slaughtered millions of  them
to sustain its own absolute supremacy.
     It would be  unwise  to  suppose that what  is  found in  this  book is
peculiar only to the visions and opinions of one young officer who might not
necessarily be typical of  the group as  a  whole. It  might be sensible  to
suppose  that if this is the  way the scene has been observed, analyzed, and
reported  on  by  one  Red Army officer of  his generation, there is a  high
probability that others, and probably very many  others, would see things in
much the  same way. Where he  may seem to some readers to get it wrong, both
in his conclusion about his own army and his opinions on military matters in
the  Western world, he  is almost  certainly  representing views very widely
held in  his own  service.  Thus,  it is  just as  important to take note of
points upon  which  the reader may think  the author is mistaken as it is to
profit from his observation on those parts  of the scene which he is  almost
uniquely fitted to judge.
     This  book should  not,  therefore,  be  regarded as no  more  than  an
argument deployed  in a debate,  to  be  judged on  whether  the argument is
thought to  be  wrong  or  right. Its high  importance  lies far more in the
disclosure  of  what Soviet  officers  are taught  and how  they think. This
window opened  into  the armed forces  of  the  Soviet Union  is,  up to the
present  time,  unique  of its kind,  as far  as I am  aware. Every  serving
officer in the Western world should  read it, whether he agrees with what he
reads or not,  and particularly if he does  not. All politicians should read
it, and so should any member of the public who takes seriously the threat of
a third  world  war and wonders about  the  makeup  and outlook of the armed
forces in the free world's main adversary.

     --General Sir John Hackett

Next: Part I

All books by Viktor Suvorov
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