troops, manpower, combat matériel, weapons, and supplies kept until a certain time and then committed into action as the situation changes and new missions arise.
According to purpose and scale, distinction is made between tactical, operational, strategic, and national reserves.
Tactical reserves include combined arms, antitank artillery, engineer, and signal units and subunits; they are ordinarily used to perform missions that arise during combat.
Operational reserves consist of larger tank, motorized rifle (motorized infantry or infantry), artillery, engineer, and chemical units designated to reinforce troops in the field, replace troops who have lost their combat capability, and perform missions that have arisen unexpectedly during an operation.
The strategic reserves are composed of larger units and commands of different armed services and combat arms that are directly subordinate to the supreme command. They are located in the military theater or in the rear in the formation and training areas; if necessary, they advance to the fronts. Strategic reserves also include reserve stocks of combat matériel and weapons (for example, tanks, aircraft, artillery, and motor vehicles) stored in the rear of the country at warehouses, bases, and military industrial plants. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 the strategic reserves had at different times, depending on the situation, from two to nine combined arms armies, one or two tank armies, one or two air armies, from three to 14 tank (mechanized) corps, from four to ten artillery corps, from 16 to 60 rifle and airborne divisions, and from three to 24 aviation divisions, as well as a significant number of regiments and brigades.
The national military reserves include contingents of reservists and draftees, energy resources, strategic raw materials, food supplies, and reclamation and repair means for expanding military production, eliminating possible breakdowns in supply to enterprises of the military industry, and replacing massive losses and devastation on the front and in the rear of the country.
The creation, skillful use, and replacement of military reserves make it possible to build up superiority over an enemy in forces and weapons along the decisive axes and to achieve the objectives of the battle, operation, or war as a whole. With modern means of warfare, which have enormous destructive force, and with the growing scale of military operations, military reserves are becoming a decisive factor in the outcome of wars.
N. N. FOMIN