78% of Soviet tank fleet 1/1/1936 missing from HoI4

78% of Soviet tank fleet 1/1/1936 missing from HoI4

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Fulmen

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So lately I've been doing some casual research into Soviet equipment and production figures again. Here's how their real-life armour figures from 1/1/1936 compare with HoI4's.

The following table is based on primary sources from Russian archives, and is Google translated from a page detailing some of Russian military historian Mikhail Meltyukhov's research.

The automated translation is why some of the wording comes out a bit strange. E.g. in this context:

2 bash. = twin-turreted
Chemical = flamethrower

1592469777085.png


Do note that this is not a completely exhaustive list of every armoured vehicle in the Red Army or available to it. There were other tanks as well, mainly WW1 leftovers like FT-17s, Mk. Vs, experimental Soviet tanks like the T-19, Austin armoured cars, etc. I will not be including those, but I will include the D- and FAI-series armoured cars as they were numerous enough (particularly the FAI series as almost 700 were built by around January 1936) and were still in active frontline use in WW2. In other words, the real number of vehicles was slightly higher than what you see below.

Vehicle typeReality 1/1/1936HoI4 1/1/1936Percentage of real figures included
Tanks & tankettes~13,3392,98522.38%
BA-, D-, & FAI-series armoured cars~1,71000%

Given the extremely limited nature of HoI4's tech tree, most of the tanks and tankettes in the table for 1936 qualify as Light 1 or Great War tanks.

When I began writing this post, I thought I'd add in a table for aircraft as well, and perhaps some other things, but due to source, time and game-related constraints, I'll limit myself to this chart of tanks for the time being. More specifically, I don't currently have a table on Soviet aircraft figures for 1936, though I do have one for 1937, but it doesn't specify types of aircraft, and may or may not include aircraft under certain branches. Another problem is that many of these aircraft should rightfully be represented as early 1930s techs, but the game only has such techs for FTR & TAC specifically, and not for other types of aircraft, which certainly existed well before 1936.

Needless to say however, the Soviet Union had far more military aircraft in 1936 than are present in the game. E.g. the figure in the table I have on 1/1/1937 is 10,742 aircraft, including those in the Navy Air Force, but it may or may not include aircraft in the AONs (Specific Purpose Air Armies), which were precursors to the ADD (Long-Range Aviation), and in other organisations not a part of the VVS (Military Air Forces) or MA (Naval Aviation).
 
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This is kind of a general and intentional trend across most nations. All ww1 beligerents, for instance France had huge stockpiles of leftover rifles and arty from ww1, yet in game they start with a huge deficit.
 
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This is kind of a general and intentional trend across most nations. All ww1 beligerents, for instance France had huge stockpiles of leftover rifles and arty from ww1, yet in game they start with a huge deficit.
Except that the USSR did have large stockpiles of interwar Equipment, other than the allies, who mostly used the same equipment their fathers had used.
 
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Does any country besides Germany have anything close to their historical 1936 stockpile at game start?

I assumed the answer was no, but I wonder...
 
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Yeah the Soviets had an absolutely insane number of Tanks and Aircraft. Which the Germans learned to their surprise when they attacked them and thought they were going to knock them out easily. The first 4 days or so they destroyed like 2,000 or more Soviet aircraft. Mostly on the ground. And they destroyed thousands of tanks as well I think.

The Soviets actually had better tanks than the Germans which really shocked them. There were Soviet tanks with better guns and armor than the German tanks. German tanks couldn't penetrate the armor of many of the Soviet tanks.

They fixed the new Coordinated Strike mechanic so it works properly on Port Strikes. You can now pull off a Pearl Harbor style attack at least if the American Fleet is actually there. Which it usually isn't in my experience. That's an entirely other problem. The American Pacific Fleet was intentionally moved to Pearl Harbor in 1941 to defend the Pacific. California was too far away. Actually, I think the damage output might be too high now with Coordinated Strike-Port Strikes.

But Coordinated Strike can also be used on an enemy Airbase presumably to destroy their Aircraft on the ground. But I haven't tested it yet myself so I can't say if it works well or not. The Germans really devastated the Soviet Air Force in the first few weeks of Barbarossa. They attacked all their Airbases all along the Front. Coordinated Strike really needs to work on multiple enemy Airbases to properly model that.
 

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There are some things that have to be mentioned though:

a) basically everyons is lacking equipment they had historically
b) a large part of the Soviet tanks were very far away from being in proper combat condition, making them all but useless in actual operations, hence the 20k+ tanks the Soviets had when the Germans invaded being a nice number, but ultimately meaningless. The problem is, there is no real mechanic for this in HOI 4. You don't have tanks that need repairs. The only thing that is remotely similar is the attrition-factor due to combat, training or terrain. And that one is rather negligible compared to what would be needed here.

When 50-75% of your tanks are either unavailable or in dire need of repairs, they don't go you any good. And that number seemingly applied to tanks like the KV-1 and T-34 at the beginning of Barbarossa as well.

Would be nice to get closer to historic numbers, but then you would need a way to account for the state of the tanks in question as well.
 
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Fulmen

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When 50-75% of your tanks are either unavailable or in dire need of repairs, they don't go you any good. And that number seemingly applied to tanks like the KV-1 and T-34 at the beginning of Barbarossa as well.
A lie that has become myth. I quote Meltyukhov:

"For 38 years, Russian historiography claimed that by June 15, 1941, 29% of Soviet old-type tanks needed an average, and 44% needed major repairs {1533} . However, the available materials completely refute this version, and Table 57 in parentheses indicates the number of serviceable tanks of both armies."

1592503466104.png


Note that the Wehrmacht figures may or may not be correct, as I noticed many of the Russian sources overestimate the Red Army's opponent's forces.

Another table that goes into more detail on the condition of Red Army tanks 1/6/1941, is this one from here:

1592503781214.png


1st category = Brand new and suitable for operations in its intended role.
2nd category = Has already been in operation, is in good working order and suitable for operations in it its intended role.
3rd category = Needs to be repaired in local workshops (medium repair).
4th category = Needs to be repaired in central workshops and factories (major repair)
5th category = Unfit for operations and to be discarded. Tanks in this category were deregistered and not accounted for in summary reports, hence why it is not on the table.

To summarise, about 77% of Red Army tanks were fully operational on the eve of Barbarossa, 10.7% needed local repairs and 12.25% needed major repairs.
 
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If I remember correctly Italy also had a relatively big stock of interwar equipment. The main reason we don't get historical stocks is that there is nothing stopping the player to place it on the field ASAP. Unless the logistics to deploy equipment is properly model, I would prefer the current reduced stocks
 
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Fulmen

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Does any country besides Germany have anything close to their historical 1936 stockpile at game start?

I assumed the answer was no, but I wonder...
Considering no country in the game has historical figures of equipment in their units at the start of the game, even when accounting for the limitations of what is represented in the game, I wouldn't expect the stockpiles to be particularly accurate either.

If I remember correctly Italy also had a relatively big stock of interwar equipment. The main reason we don't get historical stocks is that there is nothing stopping the player to place it on the field ASAP. Unless the logistics to deploy equipment is properly model, I would prefer the current reduced stocks
There's nothing stopping the AI or other players from doing the same, which would cancel out the potential balance advantage (human players being able to use their equipment more efficiently than the AI not withstanding). As for the logistics argument, it already doesn't apply to larger stocks of equipment being deployed later in the game as is, so what difference does it make if said equipment is being deployed a little bit earlier? Not that I don't wish for a far more realistic logistics system than the arcade shambles more fit for a mobile game that we have now, I just don't see how your point is logical in this particular case.

I honestly believe the fault here lies in the fact that acquiring such information for most, let alone every country in the world at the time for 1936 specifically is a monumental task. Acquiring it for 1.9.1939 would be easier, but that too would be an enormous task. Why spend money on the dev team doing research more suited to professional historians, than have them develop more shiny features and focus paths, when the latter is already netting plenty of revenue?
 
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@Fulmen

First I have to say: Thank you :)

Thank you for you research, the translation and time you invested.

And of course a big Thank you sharing those results.
--------------------------------------
A few thouths:
You quoted M. Meltyukhov "....the available materials completely refute this version.... "
"Available" is always a complicated word regarding historical research; no one knows whether this is the complete material.
Archives in that time were mostly "created" by state-authorities; and those guys don't like to answer questions about being bad prepared for war. History is quiet full of "manipulated" documents to let countries stay in a better light.

I do not say, that M. Meltyukhov is totally wrong; but I put a little question mark on his numbers.


Nevertheless: I think, everyone knows, that the numbers we find now ingame at 1936-start are much too low.
 
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I do not say, that M. Meltyukhov is totally wrong; but I put a little question mark on his numbers.
The numbers were already confirmed by the Germans on the battlefields of summer 1941. All the publishing of these primary sources to the general public essentially does is confirm those numbers from Russian sources, but in far greater detail. Numbers which are in contrast to what Russian historiography had previously taught (and still to a large extent does today); namely those of the Soviet strength figures that had been doctored to be smaller than they were in reality to make the Red Army's defeats seem less colossal.

In reality the Russians were relatively meticulous in archiving events, though some files have been intentionally destroyed to cover things up (many of the records on VVS operations against Finland on 22.-25.6.1941 come to mind), and of course much of the touchier stuff is still not accessible to historians today. The data I have linked originates from primary sources; from military sources that needed accurate information and had little reason to artificially inflate their own unit strengths (and I doubt officers, who were constantly being surveilled by political commissars, would have gotten away with such inflating of numbers anyway). I do not think the Russians overestimate their own figures here. If anything, the figures may fall short of reality, as the history of Russian sources has shown us, though I do not think the tables I linked fall short by much. Not every tank and armoured car is included, as I already noted in the original post, but with the exception of the D- and FAI-series ACs, these are to my knowledge mostly antiquated tanks and a handful of other armoured cars.
 
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I honestly believe the fault here lies in the fact that acquiring such information for most, let alone every country in the world at the time for 1936 specifically is a monumental task.
I don't think this is a "we don't have time or resources to get the information" problem. The information is readily available for the majors, and with some (like France), it's clear that deliberate reductions were put in place.

It's almost certainly a mechanic for balancing out the game.
 
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Fulmen

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I don't think this is a "we don't have time or resources to get the information" problem. The information is readily available for the majors, and with some (like France), it's clear that deliberate reductions were put in place.

It's almost certainly a mechanic for balancing out the game.
There is most definitely a stark disparity between information easily available about the equipment figures of the armed forces of the English-speaking world in 1936 and those of the rest of the world. You may have an easier time with countries like Germany, France and Italy, of which there is a relatively plentiful amount of literature in English, even detailing the nitty-gritty stuff, but good luck getting exact rifle and helmet counts of the Soviet Army, Navy, state police (NKVD), etc., particularly if you don't speak Russian. Now try the Latin American countries, or the various Asian minors and warlords. Having done this kind of research for the ULTRA mod as well as my own, I'm all too well aware with the difficulties of obtaining this kind of information on a global scale. And doing it for one nation would mean they'd have to do it for everyone, so it's far easier to just not do it at all.
 
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grommile

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The Soviets actually had better tanks than the Germans which really shocked them.
The T-34 was stronger (better gun, better armour) than the Pzkpfw.IV.

It was not better.

There is an incident often cited of a German field AT gun needing 30-odd shots to kill a T-34.

If the T-34 had the same anciliary equipment (sights, etc) as the Pzkpfw.IV, that AT gun's crew would not have survived to fire that many shots in the first place.
 
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CrazyZombie

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The T-34 was stronger (better gun, better armour) than the Pzkpfw.IV.

It was not better.

There is an incident often cited of a German field AT gun needing 30-odd shots to kill a T-34.

If the T-34 had the same anciliary equipment (sights, etc) as the Pzkpfw.IV, that AT gun's crew would not have survived to fire that many shots in the first place.
Well, it was basically "intermediate" tank until improved version with all the "bugs" fixed would have come into production, but the war made it impossible to switch from tank which with all it's flaws of design and production quality was present right here right now to the promising project which wasn't even built in metal yet.
 

Zauberelefant

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The T-34 was stronger (better gun, better armour) than the Pzkpfw.IV.

It was not better.

There is an incident often cited of a German field AT gun needing 30-odd shots to kill a T-34.

If the T-34 had the same anciliary equipment (sights, etc) as the Pzkpfw.IV, that AT gun's crew would not have survived to fire that many shots in the first place.
The fire from a 37 mm AT "Door knocker" from a concealed position is tricky to make out from inside a Tank, especially a T34. Tiger tanks which had been riddled with in excess of 230 hits from all calibres show the same Problem on the German side. And they had all the bells and whistles.

So, the T34 was a good tank and arguably able to take the 1941 Pz IV head on.
 

Eisscrat

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If it would be the war ended 41.

T34 has only a two men turret. No radio. Heavy to handle transmission etc.

 

Zauberelefant

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If it would be the war ended 41.

T34 has only a two men turret. No radio. Heavy to handle transmission etc.

The T34 caused Guderian to call for an all out new tank. It crushed the myth of invinceble German Armour and the lie of racial inferiority. Guderian remarked that, lest the army had something equivalent, morale of Panzer troops would deteriorate.

Not bad for such a bad tank.