21st Century Toys 21C20019 Russian Infantry 6-Figure Set (1:32 Scale)
"In war there is no second prize for the runner-up."
- General Omar Bradley
At the time of the Nazi assault on the USSR in June 1941, the Red Army had 303 divisions and 22 brigades (4.8 million troops), including 166 divisions and 9 brigades (2.9 million troops) stationed in the western military districts. Their Axis opponents deployed on the Eastern Front 181 divisions and 18 brigades (5.5 million troops). The first weeks of the war saw the annihilation of virtually the entire Soviet Air Force on the ground, the loss of major equipment, tanks, artillery, and major Soviet defeats as German forces trapped hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers in vast pockets.
Soviet forces suffered heavy damage in the field as a result of poor levels of preparedness, which was primarily caused by a reluctant, half-hearted and ultimately belated decision by the Soviet Government and High Command to mobilize the army. Equally important was a general tactical superiority of the German army, which was conducting the kind of warfare that it had been combat-testing and fine-tuning for two years. The hasty pre-war growth and over-promotion of the Red Army cadres as well as the removal of experienced officers caused by the Purges offset the balance even more favourably for the Germans. Finally, the sheer numeric superiority of the Axis cannot be underestimated.
A generation of brilliant Soviet commanders (most notably Zhukov) learned from the defeats, and Soviet victories in the Battle of Moscow, at Stalingrad, Kursk and later in Operation Bagration proved decisive in what became known to the Soviets as the Great Patriotic War.
Pictured here is a 6-figure set of 1:32 scale Russian infantrymen in different poses.
Historical Account: "The Tide Turns" - While the German 6. Armee and 4. Panzer Armees had been fighting their way into Stalingrad, Soviet armies had congregated on either side of the city, specifically into the Don bridgeheads that the Romanians had been unable to reduce, and it was from these that they struck on November 19th, 1942. In Operation Uranus, two Soviet fronts punched through the Romanians and converged at Kalach on November 23rd, trapping 300,000 Axis troops behind them. A simultaneous offensive on the Rzhev sector known as Operation Mars was supposed to advance to Smolensk, but was a failure, with German tactical flair winning the day.
At Stalingrad, the Germans rushed to transfer troops to Russia for a desperate attempt to relieve the defenders, but the offensive could not get going until December 12th, by which time the 6. Armee in Stalingrad was starving and too weak to break out towards the relieving forces. Under the codename Operation Winter Storm, three transferred Panzer divisions made their way from Kotelnikovo towards the Aksai river but bogged down 65 km (40 miles) short of its goal. In an effort to divert the rescue attempt, the Soviets, on December 16th, decided to smash the nearby Italian forces, which would enable them to roll up the relief attempt. While this counterattack failed it did manage to destroy many of the aircraft that had been transporting relief supplies to Stalingrad. The fairly limited scope of the Soviet offensive, although still eventually targeted on Rostov, also allowed Hitler time to see sense and pull Army Group A out of the Caucasus and back over the Don, thereby dooming the defenders of Stalingrad to their own fate.