Sunday 15 June 2014

Controlling an Army

From L.V. Gorchakov's collection.

16th Independent Tank Brigade repository, file #7

"Assistant commander of the Leningrad Front Armoured Forces, Major-General Bolotnikov orders to deliver to him:
  1. A combat report of the attached format, daily.
  2. A report on every operation that uses more than a tank company (according to the format handed out during the meeting on January 1st) 24 hours after the operation.
  3. A monthly report.
  4. A quarterly report.
  1. Format for urgent messages.
  2. Format for combat report.
  3. Format for a record of unrecoverable losses.
  4. Format for a monthly report."
The next page is a little more exact with the timings:

"Combat report with a note on the condition of the vehicles: every day for the previous day at 20:00
Combat report: every day at 1:00 for the previous day.
Report on operations that use at least one company of tanks: 24 hours after the operation
Report on the condition of the vehicles: 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th of every month.
Monthly report on the use of armoured vehicles: 5th day of every month.
Monthly report on the use of armoured forces: 10th day of every month.
3-monthly report: due on April 5th, July 5th, October 5th, and January 5th.
alternatively: April 12th, July 12th, October 12th, January 12th.
Report on the combat ability of vehicles: daily at 22:00."

Further into the document, even more stringent requirements are given: "To commanders, on February 18th, 1942. No precise control may be performed without up to date information. Inform me of combat progress at least every 3 hours."

Here is what these reports would have contained (another section of the collection):

"Example contents of a monthly report to the Armoured and Mechanized Forces Headquarters of combat use and combat history over the month.

  1. Composition, condition, and location of tank units in the Army at the beginning of the month.
  2. New formations, dismissed formations, and new material possessions over the month.
  3. Overall background of combat action (terrain, weather, what the enemy did and what his forces were).
  4. Description of combat actions of the tank forces:
    1. Tasks.
    2. Preparation for completion of tasks.
    3. Organization and cooperation.
    4. Battle.
    5. Losses.
    6. What the tank units accomplished (destroyed, captured, etc).
  5. Deficiencies and upsides of application of tank forces:
    1. Depending on the Army headquarters.
    2. Depending on all-arms commanders that were assigned tanks.
    3. Depending on tankers.
  6. Precise characteristics of captured equipment.
  7. Enemy tactics (tank, anti-tank, combined arms).
  8. Composition, condition, and location of tank units at the end of the month.
  9. Conclusions and recommendations."
There are more, but they are all as exceptionally tedious as this one.

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