Bookfilter - Soviet War Strategy
February 5, 2015 5:32 AM   Subscribe

I once read parts a book online (the text was fully available online, maybe at a think tank's website). It was about Soviet War Strategy and their way of thinking. I found it quite interesting.

Unfortunately I can't find it anymore. The text was written before the collapse of the USSR and possibly by a deflector. One part I still remember was the "ax strategy". Assuming two people fight and both carry knifes and axes. If you start with a fist fight then the party that is starting to lose the fist fight will switch to a knife. Then in the knife fight, the party that is starting to lose will draw it's ax to switch to an ax fight. Assuming you will sooner or later end up in an ax fight anyway, it does not make sense to start with the fist or knife but just start with the ax right away. Obviously the "ax" was a analogy for atomic bombs. And the conclusion was, to immediately escalate a war to a nuclear war with tactical atomic bombs. They assumed they would lose 30-45% of their military might in the first hours in such a scenario. They would "accept" these losses and then start/continue the conventional war with what is left on their side....

I know it is a far shot. But what is the name of the book and or website?
posted by yoyo_nyc to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could it have been Inside the Soviet Army by Victor Suvorov, published 1982? It does include a discussion of the "axe theory" and explores the thinking of various levels of the Soviet armed forces. The text can be found here.

(Note that "axe strategy" doesn't turn up much on Google but "axe theory" does.)
posted by Wretch729 at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2015

Yes, this is inside Suvorov's Inside the Soviet Army, where he complains that Americans have watched too many cowboy movies and think war is going to be gentlemanly. Note that Suvorov/Rezun is considered widely discredited now, mostly for his (again, discredited, see Glantz) thesis that Hitler's invasion of the USSR was preemptive and that Stalin was about to attack first.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:59 AM on February 5, 2015

Yeah, I would take it with large doses of salt. It may be interesting, but it's one guy's interpretation of an immensely complex system. There are many good books on the Soviet Army and the strategic decisions of various generals and leaders (I know mostly the ones involving WWII, like Overy's Russia's War); take this one for what it's worth and don't assume you're getting the real/inside story.
posted by languagehat at 1:34 PM on February 5, 2015

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