Thursday, 17 March 2016

Summer 1941

"Secret

To the deputy commander of the South-Western Front, Major General of Tank Forces, Volskiy

On June 22nd, 1941, during the hour of cowardly attack by fascists, the 41st Tank Division, 5-6 km from the border (western outskirts of Vladimir-Volynskiy) took fire from artillery. Despite the powerful fire and many casualties, the division mobilized by 14:00 on June 22nd and reached the rendezvous point designated by the mobilization plan, in the forest north of Tuzhisk, after a 50-55 km march over forested and swampy roads.

The division has not received orders from the commander of the 22nd Mechanized Corps for 4-5 days, even though the commander knew where the division was. The division was directed by the commanders of the 5th Army and 15th Infantry Corps.

Composition of the division at the rendezvous point:

The motorized infantry regiment located in Lumobl, by order of the commander of the 5th Army, is attached to the 45th Infantry Division as of 04:00, June 22nd.  The artillery regiment with 16 122 and 152 mm guns did not have a single tractor. 31 KV tanks with naval turrets and 152 mm guns did not have a single shell. The AA battery was also allegedly ready for battle, with four guns as of June 21st, but also had no shells. We were missing 700 wheeled vehicles that were still not received from agricultural duty.

The 81st Tank Regiment (commander: Major Korolev) has 100% of its tanks (16 KV, the rest T-26) and 6 tractors.
The 82nd Tank Regiment (commander; Major Suin) has 86-90% of its tanks (15 KV, the rest T-26) and 6 tractors.

The KV drivers were not prepared, as the tanks arrived 7-8 days before the start of the war. 15 KV tanks that arrived before the war had many defects (final drives, air filters). One KV tank has five indentations 50-52 mm deep from a company AT rifle. In total, 312 T-26 tanks and 31 KV tanks were brought to the rendezvous point with no reserves.

Travel and repairs:

The vehicles of the division travelled 900-1000 km between June 26th and July 7th, 1941, with no spare parts or engines, which mostly contributed to breakdowns. The lack of tractors made repairs even more difficult. The difference in speed (KV: 34, T-26: 12-15 km) and a poor area for heavy tanks (Stokhod river) sapped resources, as there are no bridges capable of holding 60 tons north or north-east of Kovel, and looking for detours and fords increased the travelled distance 30-40%.

Commander of the 41st Tank Division
Colonel Pavlov
July 25th, 1941"

CAMD RF 229-3780-1

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