Monday 19 August 2013

Soviet Partisans vs Tanks

When you have no anti-tank weapons, any tank is a great threat, even an obsolete one. Theoretically, Soviet partisans were helpless against new tanks being sent to the front and obsolete PzI and PzII tanks sent specifically to hunt them. However, the Partisan's Companion, a booklet sent to partisans to teach them how to organize an effective resistance, has some ways out of this situation.

IX. Destroy enemy tanks!

During battle with a tank, remember:

A brave man has nothing to fear from tanks. The more bravery you meet an enemy machine with, the easier it is to destroy it. Seek out fascist tanks and destroy them. A tank's engine is its source of movement. Destroy the engine and the tank will stop. The engine works on gasoline. Stop its delivery and the tank will stand still. If the tank still has gasoline left, try to ignite it, and the tank will burn. The tank's turret spins, while the main gun moves vertically. Try to jam the turret to deny the enemy the ability to aim. The tank's engine is cooled by taking in air from vents. All moving connections and hatches also have holes. If you pour in flammable fluid, the tank will burn. In order to look around, there are viewing ports and instruments behind hatches. Cover the ports with mud and shoot at the hatches with any weapons to try to jam them. In order to traverse rough terrain, the tank has tracks. Try to take out the tracks or the drive wheel. When the tank's crew is evacuating, take them out with whatever you have: bullets, grenades, bayonets.

The weaknesses of tanks

The crew cannot hear due to how loud the tank is. The crew can see poorly due to the difficulty of using viewing instruments, especially while moving. It is difficult to fire from a moving tank due to the amount of shaking. Effective fire can only be performed from a distance of 400 meters. In order to fire accurately, the tank will have to stop briefly.

Weak points of fascist tanks

The tracks and leading wheels
View ports
Bottom and roof
Engine compartment
Attack these sections. Study figure 141 carefully, and remember where you have to shoot or throw grenades and flammable fluids to disable the tank.

Figure 141: Tank weak spots. The boxes pointing to the turret say “sniper fire”. The one pointing to the engine compartment says “flammable fluid”. The ones pointing to the tracks and roof say "bundles of grenades".

Be ready to meet the tank

The sooner you notice it, the easier it will be to destroy. During the day, use your eyes more than your ears. During the night, the sound of a tank's motor can be heard up to 900 meters, 450 if the wind is towards the tank, 1500 is the wind is towards you. The sound of a moving tank travels even further. A tank has appeared. Do not fret and run around from place to place. Conceal yourself using the environment. Hide in a ditch, hole, trench, pit or even behind a hill or bush. Be ready to meet the tank and destroy it using any available equipment. Learn where the Fascist tanks are located. Approach them unnoticed and destroy them.

Bullets and tanks

Using a 7.62 mm rifle or regular machine gun, you can destroy tankettes, light tanks and armoured cars of the enemy. Open fire from 100-300 meters. Fire at the view ports of the tank. Accurate file can spray the crew with molten lead.
Especially accurate shooters (snipers) shoot at the viewing instruments and weapons of the tank. Using large caliber machine guns, open fire at the gas tanks and sides of the tank. Armour in those places is usually thinner. Heavy tanks have thicker armour. Use large caliber machine guns to fire at the viewing ports and weaponry.

Grenades against tanks

Destroy fascist tanks using grenades thrown from 25-30 meters. The best device to use in this case is the anti-tank grenade (see page 132). Throw it from cover. Aim for the tracks, leading wheels, roof of the engine compartment and turret. If you don't have special anti-tank grenades, throw grenade bundles. Here is how you make one. Five grenades, loaded and with the safety on, tie together with twine or wire: four grenades with handles in one direction and one in the other (fig. 142). 

Figure 142: A bundle of five grenades.

Take the bundle by the handle of the fifth grenade and throw it at the tank. That grenade explodes first and will trigger the rest of the bundle.
You can make the bundle from three model 1933 grenades. Take off the casing and screw off the handles from two of the grenades. Throw the bundle while holding the third grenade's handle. After throwing the grenade, duck and take cover.
Antitank rifles and rifle grenades are also useful weapons against tanks. To see how to use them, look at pages 157 and 160.
If possible, sneak up to the tanks and attach explosives or anti-tank mines to weak points, and destroy the fascist tanks with explosions.


Prepare ambushes on forest roads. Partially saw some trees on both sides of the road. Leave about one quarter of the trunk intact. Saw at the height of 50-80 cm. Topple the trees across the road, preferably across each other, so their tops point towards the enemy. Have 15 meters of obstructions. Hide. Destroy stopped tanks using any methods available.
If you have antitank mines of explosives, lay them at the obstruction. This makes it impossible to clear the obstruction. If the crew leaves the tank to clear the road, kill them with rifles or grenades. In case enemy tanks try to go around, set up mines at the side of the road.

Tank Traps

Dig a trench 3 meters in depth (fig 144). The width of the trench should be 5.5 meters at the top, 1.5 at the bottom. Construct a cover on top. For a foundation, use four moderately thick logs, two at the edges of the trench and two in the middle. On top of those, lay twigs and branches. Cover them with a thin layer of soil. People should be able to walk on top of the trap, but tanks should fall though. Carefully disguise the trap. Remove excess dirt, even out the ground, lay down some grass. During the winter, cover the trap with snow.
Stay close to the trap. Destroy the tank with grenades or bottles. Shoot at the crew as they try to leave.

Figure 144: Tank trap.

Combat against armoured cars

The same tactics apply against armoured cars. Throw grenades at the bottom of the car, leading and rear wheels and the mesh on the turret. Throw flammable fluid bottles at the front of the car, where the motor is. Remember that armoured cars have armour thinner than 10 mm. It can be pierced with AP rounds from machine guns and rifles. Open fire from less than 300 meters. When facing heavy 4-axle cars, fire at the viewing ports from close range.
When fighting a truck, shoot at the driver, throw flammable fluid at the radiator or the driver, throw grenades at the wheels. If the truck is full of enemy soldiers, use an antitank grenade so they don't get away.

Wire against motorcycles

An enemy motorcyclist can be dismounted by putting up wire across his path. Choose a sturdy tree in a forest. Tie one end of the wire about 1 meter above the ground. Toss the wire across the road and stand near a tree across from the first one (fig. 145). When you hear the enemy approach, wrap the wire across the tree and hide. The motorcyclist will hit the wire and fall off. Kill or capture him.

Figure 145: Fascist motorcyclist hits the wire.

Winter obstructions

Snow obstructions: During the winter, fight tanks with snow. Build obstructions given a thickness of snow of at least 25 cm. The height should be 1.5 m, length – 4 m (fig 146). A tank that hits this obstruction will get stuck and the tracks will lose traction. It is better to make these traps after it gets warmer. In order to hold the snow in place, use straw or twigs, poking them into the snow. Make these traps close to hills, in lowlands and clearings in forest or bushes. It's good to make several of these, especially close to roads.
It makes sense to combine this trap with mines and tree obstructions. Place the mine diagonally on a solid base. The mines will explode under the tank.

Figure 146: Diagram of a snow obstruction.

Icing: Slopes steeper than 15 degrees should be covered in water. The resulting ice hill will cause the tank to lose traction. You can do this when it is colder than -5 degrees. It is more effective at very low temperatures. Use this tactic on banks of rivers and streams.

Ice holes: Make holes in ice on rivers and lakes. The width should be 4 meters, the length, 5-6 meters. Cover the hole with branches and twigs and cover it with snow. Such a hole will last a long time and will not be noticed by moving tanks. This is a very effective technique. Remember to keep a distance of 2-2.5 meters between the holes.

Hunting group

Fight tanks in groups of 4-6 people. Two or three throw grenades or bottles. The rest open fire on the evacuating crew.
In case of an ambush, it is good to position some people on the trees. If making an ambush in a narrow place where the cars cannot go offroad, destroy the front and rear cars first. The resulting traffic jam will make it easier to destroy the rest.

Here's an instance of partisans being useful against tanks using an unconventional method.

"At an enemy crossing over the Chudokoye lake, in the Pnevo region, quadrant 542, partisans sawed 300 logs into three pieces."

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