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Quality of Soviet Guards...

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Not being an Eastern Front buff, I trust the designation of "Guards" to any Soviet force is based primarily on their equipment, tanks , vehicles and what have you. Not based on experience or esprit d' corps?

I note it is possible to have "Green" Guards Tank and Mechanised units. :eek:

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AFAIK Guards units were created from standard red army units that had destinguished themselves in battle, so a certain 'esprit de corps' would seem to be a requirement. Once a Guards unit had been created then I think they'd have gotten primary consideration for equipment much as the SS did.

That's just what I seem to remember so I'm sure somebody else will come along and give a more comprehensive answer smile.gif

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Considering the turnover rates of personnel in Soviet divisions, it all depends on what point in time it is. After participating in bloody offensives, they could consist almost completely of raw recruits, like any division. I don't know if the replacements were given better training than those who were sent to ordinary rifle divisions, though.

So they are not comparable to SS which, for most of the war, remained at higher levels of proficiency. I think it wasn't until 1945 when SS units began to look more like a Kindergarten.

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Sergei is correct...

"Guards" was an honorific, given to units that fought bravely...albeit with high casualties. It WAS common to have a green "Guards" unit. Also depends on how long the guards unit had the designation, the location, etc.


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Yes Guards can be green because of losses and rebuilding. They'd have a higher portion of regulars to vets than line formations. The average might be regular vs. mixed green and regular for other Russian formations.

As for the comment about SS formations, though, those can be green as well. The SS expanded a lot in the second half of the war. While cadres could sometimes be provided, the rank and file started as green as anybody else.

9th and 10th SS had their first combat actions in the spring of 1944, and were by no means veteran formations. 5th SS was basically destroyed around the same time period, and when it reformed in the summer of 1944 most of the men were new. 11th and 12th formed around the same time - 11 was used in Russia while 12 was used in the west until 1945.

Those were still parts of the "rich", "German" SS, in terms of quality of men and the level of equipment (5th SS contained large numbers of non Germans, but volunteers of generally high quality). Initially the best representation would be fit, green, and fanatical.

Only 1, 2, and 3 were long service, veteran formations. They also had periods of burn out and rebuilding, but with enough in the way of cadres to probably deserve regular quality even in subunits recently "topped off" with replacements.

There were also SS formations composed of Latvians, Estonians, Gallicians, Croats, volksdeutch from outside Germany, etc. The level of motivation, training, and equipment of those units was all over the map, with the downside arguably just as low as with Heer infantry divisions.

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