Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Anti-Tank Gas

"Distribution:
Supreme Command of the Land Forces
Staff of the Chief of Army Engineering Structures and Fortifications

#5681/42
Secret

Translated from German

Army Group A (General of Engineering Forces)

The experiments of the 395th [illegible] division regarding the use of smoke grenades against T-34 tanks in close combat gave the following results:
  1. The tank was standing in place. The engine was running. The hatches were shut. The smoke grenade was ignited near the tank.
    Result: rapid penetration of concentrated smoke through the engine intake and through the front entrance hatch, ball mount, machinegun mount, and turret.
    Result: the crew was quickly forced to exit the tank due to choking and vomiting.
  2. Same conditions, tank engine was not running.
    Result: as in the first event, but the crew was only forced to exit after several minutes, and even then it was only the driver.
  3. The tank was moving with closed hatches. Grenades were thrown but could not stay on the tank.
    Result: limited effect on the crew's ability to fight. The main result was a reduction in visibility and not penetration into the tank.
  4. The tank was moving with closed hatches. Two grenades connected with a two meter long cable were thrown to hang on the gun (this can be taught through brief training).
    Result: the crew is forced to exit the tank within half a minute as it is impossible to see.
    Notes: given sufficient morale it would be possible to put on gas masks, turn the turret 100 degrees to avoid being blinded by the smoke, and drive the tank to a safe place, but the tank would still be out of action for some time.
This experience shows that artificial smoke is an effective way to suppress enemy tanks. It is desirable to teach this experience in all schools, in the rear, and at the front."

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