It has long been accepted that the Soviet Union suffered many more combat casualties than anyone else in the European part of the Second World War, but the exact number of casualties has always been a somewhat controversial issue. In Soviet times any attempt to argument that the official figures were too low was seen as an attack on the Soviet heirachy, and that sort of attitude appears to have carried on into the present. The most recent works by the official team have apparently reduced the ratio of German-Soviet losses down to 1:1.1, much more favourable to the Soviets than any figures I’ve ever seen.
This book is basically an attack on the work of the official team that produced Russia and the USSR in Wars of the 20th Century, and have since produced further works on the casualties on the Eastern Front, which show a tendancy to reduce the Soviet losses and increase German losses (in one recent case by allocating 100% of all German losses to the Eastern Front…).
It must be said this isn’t an easy read. Most of their case is based on a detailed analysis of the available figures for Soviet casualties, which was never going to be easy going. It doesn’t help that the authors have a someone arguementative writing style, so much of the book is framed as an argument with the authors of Russia and the USSR in Wars of the 20th Century. It would certainly be an easier read if that argument had been condenced into one or two chapters, and the others had focused more on the author’s own calculations, which use the same basic sources to produce what is almost certainly a more accurate set of figures.
1 - Circumstances governing the publication of loss date in the Great Patriotic War
2 - Soviet troops casualties in certain strategic operations
3 - Results of the computation of Soviet troops casualties by the authors of Russia and the USSR in Wars of the 20th Century
4 - Soviet armed forces's actual irrecoverable losses
5 - Irrecoverable casualties of the German armed forces on the Soviet-German Front
6 - Irrecoverable casualties of the German and Soviet allies on the Soviet-German Front
7 - Overall ratio of irrecoverable losses of the opposing sides in the Great Patriotic War
8 - Conclusion
Author: Lev Lopukhovsky & Boris Kavalerchik
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military