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Divided ArmiesInequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War$
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Jason Lyall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192444

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192444.001.0001

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The Battle of Moscow

The Battle of Moscow

Microlevel Evidence

(p.363) 8 The Battle of Moscow
Divided Armies

Jason Lyall

Princeton University Press

This chapter extends the argument to an outlier case—the Battle of Moscow—to explain the divergent performance of paired Soviet Rifle divisions during October–December 1941. Reconstructing divisional histories from declassified material, the chapter first chronicles the divergent fates of the 38th and 108th Rifle divisions after Germany launched Operation Typhoon in October 1941. It then turns to the 78th and 316th Rifle divisions during the renewed German offensive in early November, its eventual stalling out, and the subsequent Soviet counteroffensive in December. Battlefield outcomes, including the very survival of these divisions, tracks closely with their military inequality coefficients. Indeed, the two units with the highest level of inequality, namely the 38th and 316th Rifle divisions, were either destroyed completely or driven from frontline duties.

Keywords:   Battle of Moscow, Soviet Rifle divisions, divisional histories, Operation Typhoon, Soviet counteroffensive, battlefield outcomes

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