Tuesday 31 January 2017

Tank Corps on the March

"March of the Tank Corps in anticipation of battle
  1. The tank corps usually marches along a 8-10 km wide front using two roads, sometimes three. It is preferable to drive the corps along three parallel roads.
    The average speed of the tank corps, depending on the condition of roads and the weather, is 10-15 kph.
    A regular daily norm is 60-80 km per day, a forced march norm is 100-120 km per day.
  2. The march organization should ensure rapid deployment for battle, capture of initiative, and grouping up for a crushing blow against the enemy that was encountered. This can be achieved with well organized ground reconnaissance, sent out both to the front and to the flanks, deployment of a powerful advance guard, and proper formation of the corps on the march.
  3. The HQ sends out advance teams in order to capture advantageous deployment ground, crossings, and in preparation for deployment.
    The advance team consists of one tank company, one or two motorized rifle companies, one mortar platoon and one anti-tank battery platoon.
    The brigades at the front of the corps usually send out two advance teams.
  4. Send reconnaissance groups forward 20-25 km in the direction of the march, arrange for separate recon on the flanks.
  5. Use regular AA guns and massed small arms fire to protect the corps from the air.
    In addition, the corps should be covered by fighter aircraft, no less than one fighter regiment.
  6. The corps formation should be controlled by indicating initial and intermediate lines, through radio signals, and through messengers.
  7. The march formation of the corps depends on:
    1. The objective given to the corps.
    2. The composition of enemy forces and their actions.
    3. The presence of roads.
  8. With three roads available, the corps forms into a strike group and an auxiliary group.
    Depending on the situation, the heavy tank brigade follows along the right or left road.
    The motorized rifle brigade drives along the middle road, and the medium tank brigades drive along the third road (fig. 1).
    If there are only two roads, the corps can be arranged in the following variants (figs. 2 and 3).
  9. The corps HQ marches behind one of the tank brigades moving in the main direction.
March of a T-34 brigade in anticipation of battle

The brigade should be arranged in the following way when anticipating contact with the enemy:
  1. An advance guard consisting of one tank company, one motorized rifle company, one mortar platoon, and one anti-tank gun platoon.
  2. Behind them, in the first echelon, is the first tank platoon with a motorized rifle company riding them. The second echelon consists of the second tank battalion (minus one company), and the third echelon consists of a motorized rifle company and an anti-tank gun platoon.
    The brigade commander and the HQ operational group, as a rule, marches ahead of the first echelon.
  3. The T-60 tank company is used for reconnaissance on the flanks, the reconnaissance reserve (a T-60 tank company) follows the HQ operational group.
  4. Upon encountering the enemy, the advance guard engages and holds the most advantageous line, ensuring the concentration and deployment of the brigade for battle.
    The advance guard acts as a delaying force, engaging from ambushes.
    The brigade commander, upon clarifying the situation, makes the decision to engage, attacking the enemy's main force in two echelons.
    The first echelon consists of the first tank battalion, the second echelon is the second tank battalion (minus one tank company), which attacks shifted to the left or the right, depending on the situation, behind the first tank battalion.
  5. The T-34 company in the advance guard, after its reinforcement with motorized rifle and anti-tank units, is used by the brigade commander as a tank reserve and can be used, depending on the situation, to reinforce the attack on the main enemy group or to repel newly arrive enemy units.
    From the moment that the decision to engage is made, the brigade commander remains at the command center in the advance guard sector, from where he commands the battle.
    The formation of the tank brigade during engagement with the enemy can be as shown in figure 4.
March of a KV brigade in anticipation of battle
  1. The march of the tank brigade in the tank corps, marching along a separate road, must be arranged in such a way that it can quickly deploy, capture the initiative, and attack the enemy while he is still in columns.
  2. It is most reasonable to arrange the brigade in the following way:
    1. Advance guard: T-60 tank company, submachinegunner platoon, and anti-tank platoon.
    2. First echelon: the first tank battalion.
    3. Second echelon: motorized rifle battalion, anti-tank platoon, AA gun platoon.
    4. Third echelon: brigade HQ, command company, medic platoon, AA gun platoon.
    5. Fourth echelon: second tank battalion.
    6. Fifth echelon: technical company and other rear echelon units.
  3. With 10 tanks. a platoon of 76 mm guns, and a platoon of submachinegunners, the advance guard can delay the enemy.
    Under cover from the advance guard, the first echelon can deploy, support the advance guard with fire, and ensure the deployment of the motorized rifle battalion, after which the tank battalion and motorized rifle battalion attack in the indicated direction.
    The second tank battalion deploys and forms the second echelon, necessary for exploitation of success."
Collection of Combat Documents of the Great Patriotic War, Vol. 10

1 comment:

  1. As always, some very interesting and useful information.