Thursday 2 February 2017

Tank Corps Breakthrough

"Exploiting a Breakthrough with a Tank Corps in an Offensive Operation
  1. In an offensive operation, the tank corps usually acts to exploit a breakthrough and execute its tasks in the enemy's operational depth. These tasks are:
    1. Destruction of approaching enemy reserves.
    2. Destruction of headquarters and interference with the command structure.
    3. Capture and retention of important operative objectives, crossroads, or lines.
    4. Encirclement and destruction of the main enemy force.
  2. Considering the highly maneuverable nature of our enemy and a large amount of mechanized forces, it can be assumed that tank units will be sent to the area of the breakthrough and the tank corps will be drawn into tank battles.
    Therefore, the tank corps must enter the breakthrough suddenly, expending little effort to break the enemy's tactical defenses. The breakthrough must be created with the forces of the front to retain the tank corps' ability to act within operative depth.
  3. If the offensive begins in the morning, then the tank corps can be sent into battle in the afternoon or on the next morning. More frequently, especially during breakthrough of long-term defenses, it will be sent the morning after.
  4. The corps should be sent in when the infantry units reach the enemy's artillery positions, i.e. a depth of 5-6 km.
    The corps must be sent into the breakthrough by the commander of the attacking forces, under the order of the front commander.
  5. By the time the corps HQ moves into the breakthrough, all issues of cooperation with infantry, artillery, engineers, and aircraft must be thoroughly worked through based on carefully organized and executed reconnaissance, the enemy and terrain in front of the tank corps must be studied.
  6. During preparations, the corps must wait 15-20 km from the front line. All work must be done here.
    The HQ's command point should be deployed near the command points of the commanders of the infantry divisions. All preparations and discussion of cooperation must be done from here.
    As infantry units are attacking, non-stop observation and reconnaissance must be performed.
  7. The width of the breakthrough of a tank corps is 8-10 km. In that region, at least two roads and two parallel marching routes must be freed up and prepared from the preparation area.
  8. It will take up to two hours to approach the front line of the penetrated defenses and stop to pull up stragglers, so the approach should be done at night if the tank corps is attacking on the next morning or at 12:00 if the tank corps is attacking on the same day.
  9. The depth of the corps' actions on the first day will depend on the situation, but will be no further than 40 km from the front lines, breaking away no more than 20-25 km from other forces.
  10. The formation of the tank corps should meet the following requirements:
    1. Low vulnerability to machinegun and artillery fire, as well as counterattacks during action in the enemy's tactical depth.
    2. Convenience of deployment and control in order to engage rapidly while in the enemy's operational depth.
    3. Minimum depth of the pre-battle order of the corps.
      The corps can be potentially deployed in the following ways:
      1. Variant #1 (diagram 5): recce in force 500-600 m ahead, a brigade of T-34 or KV tanks in the first echelon, prepared for battle, tank brigades in columns with a motorized rifle brigade in the second echelon, the tank corps HQ is in the motorized rifle brigade column keeping up with the tank brigades.
        This deployment is necessary if pockets of enemy resistance remain throughout his tactical depth or if the brigade must storm the enemy's second line of defense from march.
      2. Variant #2 (diagram 6): recce in force 500-600 meters ahead, tank brigades in columns parallel to each other in the first echelon, motorized rifle brigade in three columns in the second echelon, the heads of the echelon follow the tank brigades.
        This deployment is preferable when it is possible to meet with an enemy tank counterattack after passing through the enemy's tactical depth."
Collection of Combat Documents of the Great Patriotic War, Vol. 10

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