Part 40: Turn 6 - Soviet Movement Phase: Turning Red
Kremlin, Moscow, RSFSR
April 4, 1942
- Generalissimus Stalin?
- I'm from the Council of Rationalisation of Logistics and Production Processes. Can I take a minute of your time?
- As long as you haven't decided to arrive empty-handed, comrade.
- So, what was your problem again, comrade?
- Comrade Stalin, we should apply a rationalised manner of naming our Army Fronts.
- Beg your pardon?
- We have had several misplaced shipments. Our men are told to send supplies to, say, the West Front and naturally assume those things are supposed to go west. So they end up with the Northwest Front, which has no need for them or no idea where to send them. It makes logistics a real nightmare. So maybe we could rename the West Front something appropriate?
- Yes, yes. I see what you're saying. Very well. From this point on it shall be referred to as... Hmm... Let me think.
Yes, this makes a lot more sense.
- Umm, comrade... We don't have any other Byelorussian Fronts. And this is hardly anywhere near Belarus.
- Your point?
- Doesn't it, you know... fix nothing at all?
- I still don't see what you're trying to tell me.
- Maybe you could, you know... Just look a little bit to the east on the map. Look at, say, Kalinin.
- Oh, so you don't like the name of the Kalinin Front either? Very well!
(Stavka puts the Allied Lend-Lease back in Soviet hand)
- Comrade, this really isn't funny...
- I can still name them the 7th Southeast Urals Front and 311th Vladivostok Regiment. Is that what you want?
- ...I think I get the message.
- Good. Comrade Beria! Make sure this comrade gets the message. Preferably without tripping on his way down.
Meanwhile, in the Caucasus Front Headquarters, Novorossiysk, RSFSR
- I have to tell you, Volodya, this assignment feels... weird.
- How come, Vanya?
- You know...
It kinda feels like I am where I'm supposed to be.
I need movement orders from Hipster Rooster, Spookydonut and cokerpilot. The deadline for them is Friday, January 17, 7 PM GMT.
The Lend-Lease Act was a legal instrument that authorised the US Government to sell arms and military supplies to belligerent nations for credit. Before it came into being in March 1941, Britain was purchasing a lot of stuff from America, but had to pay for it in gold as required per the US Neutrality Acts. The main purpose of Lend-Lease was to get around this in order to help Britain fight the Nazis. As soon as the Germans attacked the USSR, it was also used to aid the Red Army. The first shipments under actual Lend-Lease (there were some sent before an appropriate deal was signed on September 30) were made in Britain and paid for with US credit. Later ones were mostly manufactured by the US.
The equipment the Russians got out of the deal was less than stellar. They did receive things like the Willys Jeep, which was very handy to their army (since it had fairly poor light recon capabilities), but most of the heavier gear were hand-me-downs, either already obsolete or rapidly on their way there: M3 Grants or British Matildas, Valentines and Crusaders. This was still a very welcome aid for the Soviet war effort: most of Russian tank production was earmarked for the defence of Moscow, so in the north and the south any kind of thing with threads and a turret was good enough. 40% of the tanks used in the Caucasus area were Lend-Lease models.
As an aside, I absolutely love the Matilda tank (pictured above). I really have no good reason for it, I just do. It was heavy, slow and poorly armed, but it absolutely infuriated the Afrika Korps, which had little way of piercing its thick hide. It was also the only tank to ever be given a feminine name.