Monday 21 November 2016

Nighttime Tank Defense

"Instructions on Combat Training #6 (Defense)

Defense against nighttime attacks and combat against enemy tanks and tank crews

1. Lately, the enemy began nighttime attacks in significant numbers. In this he is aided by long nights, the acclimatization of soldiers to local conditions, and knowledge of terrain.

Up until now, the distinguishing traits of nighttime attacks were:
  • High mastery in concealment of all preparations, always in complete silence.
  • Significant forces are pulled up and prepared under the cover of darkness.
  • There is no artillery barrage, the penetration into an already scouted out weak section of the front is sudden.
  • The main line of defense is penetrated by densely packed attacking columns, a continuous line in order to not lose direction, despite the increased losses.

Constant vigilance on behalf of all watchmen and observation posts, elevated vigilance when there are signs of preparation, and readiness to quickly repel the attack should make any sudden enemy attack impossible.

Most importantly, the following should be ensured:
  • Dense and powerful fire in the main defensive sector, especially at presumed attack routes and areas of enemy concentration.
  • Quick concentration of fire of as many heavy weapons and batteries as possible at discovered concentrations of enemy forces from prepared positions where the direction of fire, ranges, etc. are already established.
  • 360 degree defense of all watch posts and command posts.
If the enemy manages to penetrate the main line of defense, the objective becomes to take advantage of the enemy's weakness at dawn, before he can win time to orient, bring his tightly packed forces into order, and spread them out in order to continue the fight.

At night, isolate the penetration with local reserves, establish its depth and width in order to cut off the flanks and ready all available reserves.

At dawn, the enemy can be defeated by a rapid and powerful counterattack before he can entrench on captures territories.

Any delay means a failure of the counterattack.

2. When enemy tanks appear to deflect our attacks, the following enemy tactics are often seen: quick and skillful movement of the tanks to prepared positions and formation of a front of fire from hull down, and often covered positions.

Along with dismounted crewmen that act as observers, tanks fire from a long range (2000-4000 meters) from which our weapons cannot effectively destroy enemy tanks.

Only the deployment, dialing in, and concentration of fire of a large amount of batteries against enemy tanks could the attack that was stopped by the enemy's fire be renewed.

This means that the most effective countermeasure is a quick concentration of as many batteries as possible to provide heavy fire that forces enemy tanks to turn back or retreat. This must be provided by flexible command, rapid observation, and close cooperation with infantry.

3. The training of Russian infantry in killing dismounted tank crewmen, assault gun crews, accompanying infantry, and especially tank commanders peeking out of turret hatches with a single shot is notable.

Conclusions: observe and communicate with infantry only through side hatches that are turned away from the enemy, and never the turret. In order to communicate with infantry, tanks and assault guns drive behind infantry on terrain that is hard to observe, not in front of it. 

It is necessary to teach our infantry to precisely kill tank riders, dismounted crews, and observing commanders with single shots (sniper training). Infantry must know that visibility from a tank is limited and the odds of discovery for a single shooter are low.

Signed: Zeitler"

CAMD RF 500-12480-12

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