“Encouraging it’s leaders to exercise initiative” is NOT the same as being able to do it. You can say “Mike, I expect you to fix this car yourself”; but if you don’t train me how to do it, it’s not gonna happen.
It doesn’t matter what the Soviet army WANTED their junior officers to do. Doctrine reflects reality. In Afghanistan, Soviet pilots would overfly troops in need of air support to deliver their bombs to a location provided to them previously. Didnt matter if the bombs were no longer needed there. They would fly to the ordered target and drop bombs even if no one was there. Part of an after action review I no longer have access to.
You can’t just claim “well, now we expect our junior officers to exercise initiative....that takes a decade or more of transformation and requires extensive training . You simply can’t provide the training needed at the NCO level (and frankly, at the E-1-E-4 level) necessary to truly exercise initiative when you have soldiers conscripted for 2 years. The Soviet Army simply didn’t provide the training schools and programs to its junior offices and NCOs to enable the ability to exercise initiative.
It took the US 10 years to fundamentally change the doctrine in this regard.
In The 1994 Chechnya war, this issue was evident. Russian troops failed to adapt quickly to combat conditions. NCOs and officers lacked training to carry out complex operations without upper level staff work. I’m not just making this up....The reason the Russian army is moving to a volunteer professional army is because of these deficiencies.
So any article can claim: “oh, we aren’t like that anymore” but the fact that you say it doesn’t make it true. What evidence of fundamental change was there in the Soviet Army in the 1970’s or 80’s would indicate that they are expecting junior officers to make major decisions and operate without guidance. You don’t do that merely by declaring it.
I do disagree with the premise in the article that the “old way” of junior officers requiring specific direction was related to Communism. I don’t believe it was. It was related to the fact the the Soviet Union had to maintain an extremely large military of conscripts and it had neither the time nor money to provide all that is needed for a professional NCO and junior officer Corp
There is also something to be said for the general Soviet Philosophy that modern wars are so deadly that one is better off haveinh large numbers of troops instead of fewer with better Training. Same concept in armor. Why invest in Tank Recover and repair as well as large logistical capabilities and parts of Tanks are going to be destroyed by the 100’s every week? A really good tank can be destroyed by an average tank so better to have 4 average tanks than 1 good one. I’m not sure they were wrong.
So I’m not saying the Soviet Army wasn’t good...not at all. They were very capable and I have no doubt that until about 1983-4 or so, they would have steamrolled NATO in a conventional conflict. But the fact remains that in operation, the Soviets simply lacked the capacity to have their junior officers and NCOs excercise true battlefield initiative even had they wanted to.
Or maybe the entire US military was wrong for 45 years. I served in the US army, not Soviet. I just don’t see how a conscript force does th.
Well... You`ve already got answer on this post earlier, but, you wrote it for me, so I think I should answer myself.
First of all, fully centralized command chain gone from Soviet army during WWII (after 1941 NCOs and junior oficers already got some autonomy in their actions on battelfield, and that autonomy just went wider next years untill there was born concept from quote, I gave you earlier. Also you should accept the fact, that Soviet and nowdays Russian army organisation is different from NATO in general and US in person, and when US platoon commander have under control 34 soldiers, with APC\IFV, and mass of other stuff, his colleauge in Soviet Army has only 3 squads of 6 soldiers each and 3 APC\IFV, in total Soviet platoon is smaller, than US one (30-32 soldiers (APC\IFV crews are members of platoon) vs 35) and have different role on the battlefield, and also there is difference between Soviet and US NCO, and that dofference lay not in their qualification, but in different task that they must perform.