Soviet ‘deep battle’ theory was a military doctrine first envisaged in the 1930s by Russian military writers and strategists who were looking to update Russian military tactics that had been exposed in recent conflicts. According to deep battle theory, the two well established levels of military planning, strategic and tactical, were bridged with a new intermediary level known as ‘operations’. This would allow for greater cohesion along the entire battlefront, ensuring the maximum efficiency of the Soviet Union’s greatest military asset, its vast manpower. By forming multiple layers of defensive units, or ‘echelons’, sometimes hundreds of miles behind the front line, with reserve units placed within, enemy attacks would be blunted and rendered ineffective against the superior numbers of Soviet troops. Once the enemy front line was broken, further forces would be brought forward to exploit the position, using mechanized, motorized and airborne troops. Multiple movements along the front were intended to confuse the enemy, with shock and holding groups assigned to offensive and defensive duties respectively.
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