The Soviet Army in the 1980s was the largest military force in the world, with approximately 5 million soldiers at its peak. It was a key component of the Soviet Union’s military and political power during the Cold War era.
The Soviet Army was organized into three main branches: the Ground Forces, the Air Forces, and the Navy. The Ground Forces were the largest and most important branch, with over 3 million soldiers. They were responsible for defending the Soviet Union’s borders and maintaining internal security.
The Soviet Army was heavily equipped with tanks, artillery, and other weapons of war. It had a large number of armored vehicles, including the T-72 and T-80 tanks, which were considered some of the best in the world at the time. The Soviet Army also had a formidable air force, which included advanced fighter planes like the MiG-29 and Su-27.
In the 1980s, the Soviet Army was heavily involved in the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted from 1979 to 1989. The war was a costly and brutal conflict for the Soviet Union, and it is estimated that over 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed during the conflict.
Books about the Soviet Army
There are quite a few good books about the Soviet Army, some of which we would suggest to check out:
- “Armageddon in the East: The Battle for Germany, 1944-45” by Harry S. Laver – This book provides a detailed account of the Soviet Army’s campaign against Germany during the final years of World War II.
- “Uniforms and history of the Soviet Airborne – the 345th Regiment in Afghanistan” by Vladyslav Besedovskyy – This book provides a deep view on the Soviet Airborne, during their time in Afghanistan. The central focus of the book is a massive collection of high-quality photographs that illustrates the progression of the conflict.
- “Red Army” by Ralph Peters – This book provides an overview of the history and organization of the Soviet Army, as well as its military doctrine and tactics.
- “Red Alert: Structure and uniforms of Soviet Infantry Regiment” – This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the Soviet Army’s structure and equipment, as well as thorough description of everyday life.
- “The Soviet Military Experience: A History of the Soviet Army, 1917-1991″ by Roger R. Reese – This book provides a broad overview of the Soviet Army’s history, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its role in the Cold War.
Despite its large size and advanced weaponry, the Soviet Army faced a number of challenges in the 1980s. The Soviet Union was struggling with economic problems, and many of the Army’s weapons and equipment were outdated. There were also issues with corruption and inefficiency within the military.
The end of the Soviet Army
In 1985, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began a program of military reforms known as “perestroika.” The reforms were aimed at modernizing the military and making it more efficient. They included reducing the size of the military, streamlining its organization, and introducing new weapons and technology.
By the end of the 1980s, the Soviet Army had undergone significant changes. It was smaller, more efficient, and better equipped than before. However, these reforms came too late to save the Soviet Union from collapsing, and the Soviet Army was disbanded along with the rest of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In conclusion, the Soviet Army in the 1980s was a formidable military force that played a key role in the Cold War. Despite its size and advanced weaponry, it faced a number of challenges, including outdated equipment and inefficiency. The military reforms of the late 1980s helped modernize the Soviet Army, but they were not enough to save the Soviet Union from collapse.
If you have general interest in the history, especially the history of the Soviet Union and the Soviet-Afghan war, we shall recommend you check out this new blog, dedicated specifically to these two topics. It is called the Safar Publishing blog and it features a number of really well written articles on the topics.