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In one corner is Russia, a ghost desperately
trying to reclaim the glory of its former superpowerdom but mostly only succeeding at
further alienating itself from the rest of the world. Russia is still a considerable military heavyweight
however, and continues to develop cutting edge weapons- even if it more often than not
is unable to afford their manufacture. In the other corner is Germany, an industrious
powerhouse of a nation, German engineering remains some of the best in the world, and
many consider the nation the de facto leader of Europe. Closely allied with the United States, Germany
it seems has turned its back on its 20th century ambitions for world domination, and enjoys
a global security partnership where it contributes cutting edge military hardware to ensure world
peace. Hello and welcome to another Who Would Win
episode of The Infographics Show, today we’re putting old rivals up against one another
to determine a modern winner in Germany vs Russia- who would win? During the twentieth century Germans and Russians
found themselves at war against each other twice, both as a result of Germany’s growing
desire to become the dominant European power. Long renowned for fielding some of the finest
soldiers in the world, in both conflicts German command and leadership was far superior, though
ultimately too-great ambitions would doom Germany to defeat. Had Germany focused its efforts more precisely,
it’s very likely that Europe would still be ruled by Germany to this day, and the Cold
War would have been a conflict between the United States and Germany instead of the Soviet
Union. Luckily for all involved, Germany’s totalitarian
leaders failed their nation and its military leaders on the occasion of both world wars,
and ultimately their personal hubris saw one of the finest fighting machines in world history
brought to catastrophic defeat- twice. Today, Germany has shelved its imperial ambitions
and instead has embraced the cause of peace with as much fanaticism as it once pursued
war. Far from becoming pacifists, Germany contributes
some of the finest military forces in operation today to conflicts around the world as part
of the NATO alliance, determined to keep global peace at all costs. An incredibly resilient nation that pulled
itself together after being partitioned for decades by the Soviet Union, Germany is both
determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past but to never allow its people to be split
in half as they had been during the Cold War. Russia is a land of historical hardships,
and a people as tough as the climate they live in. Having suffered foreign invasions for almost
their entire history, the Russian people take a very dim view of those who invade other
nations, and were quick to reap their revenge when they suffered catastrophic losses at
the hands of the Germans in World War II. Embarking upon a campaign of extermination,
Hitler’s Wehrmacht thrust into the Soviet Union with the aim of eliminating all undesirables
from seized territories, which came out to nearly all Russian people caught behind enemy
lines. An estimated fifteen million civilians died
during the Great Patriotic War, along with over seven million troops versus Germany’s
four million. Absorbing catastrophic losses which may have
broken the back of any other nation, the Soviet Union nonetheless not only fought the powerful
Wehrmacht to a standstill, but chased it all the way back into the heart of Germany itself. For decades during the Cold War the Soviet
Union pursued a hardline foreign policy that pit Soviet communism against the liberal democracies
of the west. Having suffered greatly at the hands of invaders
twice during both world wars, the Soviet Union was quick to seize eastern europe under its
power behind the iron curtain, and create a buffer zone between itself and west europe. Unfortunately Soviet communism was poorly
managed and ultimately a failure, leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991,
and the birth of the Russian Federation. Allegedly a free democracy, Vladimir Putin
has carefully manipulated elections for the last two decades and ensured his continued
rule over a nation that today finds itself in turmoil as it struggles to shake off the
reins of authoritarianism and embrace a truly democratic process. So who would win between these two modern
heavyweights? Let’s find out! The Russian military remains the second most
powerful military on earth, coming in behind the United States and just ahead of China. For decades the Russian military operated
under Stalin’s old adage that quantity is a quality all its own, fielding very large
numbers of capable- if not cutting edge- equipment meant to overwhelm smaller, yet much more
technologically sophisticated NATO forces. This strategy was brought to a screeching
halt when in 1991 the United States and its allies devastated the Iraqi military. At the time Iraq fielded one of the largest
militaries in the world, mostly made up of Soviet-made fighters, tanks, and artillery. It also operated from a very top-down, Soviet
style command structure which limited individual initiative and relied on direct orders from
superior officers. When outnumbered American armored divisions
smashed through Iraqi defenses while being supported by technologically advanced fighter
and spy aircraft, Soviet military leadership was quoted as saying, “The only way to stop
an American armored advance is with nuclear weapons.” This was a problem, as the Soviet Union knew
it could not rely solely on nuclear weapons, and needed to be able to fight a conventional
war. Immediately it became clear that quantity
was no longer a quality. Unfortunately the collapse of the Soviet Union
shortly after left the Russian military in a financial lurch for decades. Today Russia fields far fewer forces than
it once did, and places a much higher premium on the quality of its equipment and not just
its numbers. The nation continues to develop cutting edge
military technologies, yet unfortunately is often unable to actually afford to equip its
military with those technologies. This forces Russia to be selective about what
new equipment it will choose to field, and while its extremely capable S-500 air defense
units are indubitably the world’s best, it has had to shutter its 5th-generation fighter
program indefinitely, leaving it in a potentially disastrous strategic position if the US manages
to work all the kinks out of its F-35. On the ground Russian forces are also plagued
by equipment shortfalls, with the vaunted T-14 Armata, an exceptional main battle tank,
having its production run of 2,300 units dropped to only 100. This leaves Russian armored forces relying
on about one thousand T-90s, and T-80s, but primarily on two thousand T-72s. The T-72 is the same tank that faced off against
American Abrams and British Challengers in the Gulf War and was utterly defeated as a
result, scoring not even a single kill on allied tanks. The biggest problem with the Russian military
however is its very large conscript force, with approximately two thirds of its one million
strong military all being conscripts. Notorious for poor morale and poor training,
conscripts are the scourge of modern, professional militaries, and sadly Russia has not been
very successful in encouraging the growth of an all-volunteer military force, mostly
due to the military being seen as a very unattractive career option for Russian youth. With West Germany serving as a frontline buffer
against a potential Soviet incursion into West Europe, Germany for decades invested
heavily in its defense, averaging a 3% of total GDP in military spending. However after its reunification and the end
of the Cold War, the German military atrophied catastrophically, resting on a false sense
of security that it would be rudely shaken out of by Russia’s annexation of the Crimea
in 2014. For almost two decades the German military
had been allowed to shrink exponentially, content to have the capability only of lending
forces to allied expeditionary conflicts. With Russia’s aggression against the Ukraine
though, Germany has once more seen a need to ensure that its military is able to fight
a conventional war on its own, without relying completely on its NATO allies. Today the Bundeswehr is in the middle of very
severe growing pains. After the annexation of Crimea, Germany immediately
recognized a need to take its own defense much more seriously, and vowed to spend at
minimum 2% of its GDP by 2020. However, the German military remains in a
very troubled state, and in 2017 a report by an American think tank found that Germany
would need at least a month to mobilize a single armored brigade in the event of a Russian
invasion in the Baltics- and even then only at the expense of stripping other units of
vital equipment. A full mobilization of the German military
could take as much as three months, an absolutely damning report which deeply alarmed Germany’s
NATO allies. It’s air forces however prove to be in an
equal state of unreadiness, with the Luftwaffe stating in the summer of 2018 that most of
its Typhoon jets were not ready to carry out combat operations. For that entire year, none of the German navy’s
submarines took to sea, and none of the Luftwaffe’s heavy air transports could be deployed because
they were all under repair. It’s trainee pilots were also unable to train
because of a lack of available aircraft. Gross mismanagement of basic logistics along
with a five year push to upgrade weapon systems and prepare them for combat have all wreaked
havoc on the German military. An incredible 21,000 vacancy in officer positions
across its armed forces has left the German military with a very poor command and control
structure, and dramatically reduced the efficacy of what troops it could bring to bear in a
war against Russia. It’s clear that both Russia and Germany are
facing serious challenges to their armed forces, but what do the numbers alone tell us? Currently the Russian military numbers at
1,013,628 active duty forces, versus Germany’s 178,641. Russian reservists number at 2,572,500 versus
Germany’s 30,000. The numbers appear hugely lopsided, but its
important to note that Russia’s military is made up mostly of conscripts with poor morale,
and Russian leadership very much fears mass desertions in case of war. This means that Russia would lead with its
professional volunteer forces, leaving its conscript forces for rearguard actions and
light fighting- or leaving as much as two thirds of its military out of direct fighting. In the air Russia enjoys an overwhelming advantage
however, with 869 fighters versus Germany’s 122. Russian fighters vary in modernity, but have
always been some of the best engineered in the world, and as we’ve just learned Germany
can’t guarantee that any of its own fighters would be available for service in case of
war. With 1,459 attack aircraft versus Germany’s
178, Russian air forces would enjoy virtually unlimited reach into every corner of Germany,
delivering devastating blows against German military and civilian infrastructure. Germany’s tank force of 900 would be hard-pressed
to defend against an onslaught of 3,000 Russian tanks. While on paper Russia officially lists its
tank forces as reaching 20,000, most of these tanks are cold war relics that would take
weeks to refurbish for combat and would fare extremely poorly in modern war. Realistically Russia would only be able to
field around three thousand capable battle tanks, which would be more than enough to
overwhelm Germany’s meager force of 900- of which most lie with their reserve units. However Germany does field the extremely capable
Leopard 2, which would be more than a match for Russian T-72s, T-80s and T-90s. Despite its smaller size, Germany spends five
billion more on defense than Russia does- with $49.1 billion allocated for defense versus
Russia’s $44 billion. This disparity comes from the fact that Germany
is very much attempting to field an increasing amount of modern equipment, and looking to
offset number disadvantages with technological advantages. A big part of its expense is also its all-volunteer
force, having phased conscription out completely in 2014. This makes the German soldier over all more
motivated and better trained than his Russian counterpart, even if a lack of non-commissioned
officers continues to plague the ranks of the German military. In a war between the two nations though, Germany’s
inability to prevent the Russian air forces from savaging the country would lead to a
quick defeat of its military, and while the war would be costly for the Russian military,
we’re declaring Russian the hands-down winner of this You Versus. Quantity truly does have a quality all its
own in this scenario, specially when facing a foe who’s huge logistical problems have
left as much as 40% of its military not ready for combat operations. Who do you think would win in a real war? Agree with our assessment? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments! And if you enjoyed this video check out one
of our other epic matchups in our who would win series, and don’t forget to Like, Share,
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Tony wyaad