Monday, 14 November 2016

Armoured Train Instructions

"Armoured train action

The following was observed during action with armoured trains on the front or during combat against partisans:
  1. Due to picking apart armoured train units into pieces (armoured gun platforms, reconnaissance cars, reconnaissance draisines, using the train crew as regular infantry) deprives the train of its infantry force, gun crews, and important reconnaissance elements, which significantly lowers its combat performance and puts it in danger of premature destruction.
    The armoured train and all its organic units (see armament instruction #14) is one single and whole fighting unit. Any removal of parts or armament makes it unsuitable for carrying out its own tasks, and should be forbidden.
  2. The armoured train is a large target that reveals itself by the smoke from the locomotive and is only armoured against armour piercing bullets. If the locomotive or the tracks are destroyed, it becomes immobile.
    That is why the following uses of armoured trains are incorrect:
    1. Long range reconnaissance along unscouted railroads.
    2. Combat against enemy tanks.
    3. Daily combat trips along the same railroad.
      All of these lead to the train being destroyed quickly.
  3. In addition to insufficient knowledge of the specifics of armoured trains, a frequent cause of the above mistakes is nonsensical subordination.
    The following command structure proved itself:
    1. Tactical subordination to the HQs, down to and including divisional. Only they can provide the necessary change of location, coordination of maneuver, and surprise. A prerequisite for this is knowledge of the specifics of this kind of weapon.
    2. In exceptional cases, cooperation with smaller units for limited short term tasks is possible.
    3. Cooperation with rear and repair services of the army or corps, regardless of tactical subordination. On this way can combat readiness be maintained even with rapid changes in subordination.
  4. The following abilities of armoured trains are not always remembered and applied:
    1. Cooperation with other types of forces, primarily mobile forces. If the latter can suppress the enemy's armour piercing weapons, then the armoured train can fully show off its firepower.
    2. Support during retreats and counterattacks. It is important to remember the following:
      • Pass through front line stations on time, as they are often heavily loaded. Cooperate with transportation authorities.
      • Prevent premature destruction of railroad station equipment, water pumps, and other necessary equipment for the train.
      • Form combat groups from two trains with the possibility of reinforcing them with railroad AA artillery.
        The results of this are:
      • Significant increase in firepower.
      • Mutual support in battle and during exceptional circumstances (towing). There were many cases where an armoured train could be saved from self-destruction. Mutual impedance, even on single-lane railroads, was not observed.
      • Availability of mobile batteries to reinforce artillery. Primarily, this application is used on positional fronts where the railroad network allows it. The use of artillery correction aircraft also proved itself.
  5. Armoured trains often receive combat missions, but without the appropriate orders for support. As a rule, it is necessary to support an armoured train with sappers and railroad engineers in the following cases:
    1. Performance of independent combat tasks.
    2. Performance of special combat tasks, for instance restoration of a damaged railroad, railroad equipment, or bridges, destruction of railroad equipment, and laying mines during retreat.
    3.  It is also possible to take 2-3 squads onto a train in covered positions and up to a battalion in uncovered positions.
  6. Using armoured trains against partisans must be done with the following considerations:
    1. Support of punishment expeditions and small scale independent operations against partisans completely match the armoured train's abilities and allow for full use of its combat ability. These objectives should take precedence over any other objectives of a purely defensive nature.
    2. Guard patrols can be successful only when conducted in complete secrecy due to the developed intelligence network of the partisans. They must be performed;
      • Preferably at night.
      • Over non-uniform distances.
      • Disguised as a regular train.
        Timely resistance to attacks en route requires:
      • Constant vigilance on behalf of the train.
      • Rapid transmission of reports and orders, by radio if possible.
      • Highest priority given to the train, "urgent emergency train" level.
        Where transfer of orders lags behind, the armoured train will be late."

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