Wednesday 1 February 2017

Tank Corps in an Attack

"Tank Corps in an Attack
  1. There are situations when a tank corps, reinforced with artillery and aircraft, in cooperation with infantry units, will attack the enemy who has prepared his defenses.
    An independent breakthrough by a tank corps is reasonable against field type defenses that were organized hurriedly over the time of several hours to two days, under the condition that there is no natural anti-tank obstacle in front of the enemy's defenses.
  2. The offensive of the tank corps is organized by concentrating tanks, an artillery barrage, and a sudden attack combined with artillery and aircraft.
    The density of attacking tanks should be 40-60 tanks per kilometer, and the width of the offensive should be no more than 3 kilometers.
  3. Infantry must advance behind the tank brigades in order to hold ground, clear out remaining pockets of resistance, and prepare the roads for transport of motorized infantry and auxiliary units.
    In this case, the motorized rifle brigade moves along by wheeled transport, dismounts when movement is no longer possible due to enemy dire, and attacks on foot, reinforcing the infantry attack.
  4. After breaking through the entire tactical depth, 10-15 km from the front line, the corps concentrates and prepares to attack approaching reserves, moving out powerful advance guards for capturing important points or crossings, pulls up wheeled transport of the motorized infantry and auxiliary units.
    This will take up to 4 hours. After that, the corps will advance in its assigned direction for up to 30 km in cooperation with artillery.
  5. An independent breakthrough by a tank corps is prefaced by: 
    1. Thorough reconnaissance of the terrain and the enemy, especially his anti-tank weapons and obstacles.
    2. Well organized cooperation with infantry, artillery, and aircraft.
    3. Organization of communication by radio and by signals.
      The corps HQ develops a cooperation plan for the entire duration of the breakthrough.
      While the brigade is in deep in the enemy's defenses, cooperation with aircraft, paratroopers, and tank units acting in other directions is planned.
  6. During preparation, the HQs of the corps and its brigades are located near the rifle division HQs.
    Tanks are placed in waiting positions, the motorized rifle brigade is concentrated in the direction of the corps' attack, around the second echelons of the rifle divisions.
  7. Move the tank corps out to their initial positions either the night before the attack, if it is planned in the morning, or during the artillery barrage.
  8. For the duration of the breakthrough, supporting artillery and infantry units attacking in the direction of the tank corps are subordinate to the tank corps commander.
  9. Infantry units will be needed to reinforce the tank corps in the enemy's tactical depth. Infantry can be delivered by wheeled transport belonging to the motorized rifle brigade by order of the tank corps commander, approved by the army commander. Use infantry from the army or front reserves.
  10. Supporting units should be assigned in the ratio of one artillery regiment per brigade, up to three in total, no less than one aircraft regiment per brigade, one air division in total. In addition, aerial reconnaissance must be supplied, and at least two fighter regiments for cover from the air.
  11. The tank corps must be arranged in a way that provides the following:
    1. Concentration of tanks.
    2. Echelon in depth.
    3. Maneuverability on the battlefield.
    4. Ability to influence the battlefield with fire and attack.
      In order to meet these requirements, the corps must be arranged into a tank breakthrough echelon, an infantry and tank echelon, and a reserve with up to a company of tanks and from a company to a battalion of motorized infantry.
      The corps can be arranged in the following ways:
      1. Variant #1 (diagram 7): Tank echelon in the front (two brigades), second echelon with a heavy tank brigade on one flank and a motorized rifle brigade in the main direction, and a corps commander reserve: a company of T-34 tanks, tank destroyer company on APCs, a motorized rifle company, and at least a platoon from an engineering company.
      2. Variant #2 (diagram 8): All three tank brigades, echeloning their tanks in 2-3 waves, attack in their separate sectors. The motorized rifle brigade attacks on one of the flanks.
      3. Variant #3 (diagrams 9 and 10): Tank brigades advance along a 3 km strip, medium tanks in the front, heavy tanks behind them, and T-60 tanks and infantry last.
T-34 Brigade in an Attack
  1. The medium tank brigade can attack either in the overall formation of the corps, or on its own lane with tank brigades to the left and the right.
  2. The brigade's formation consists from a binding group and a strike group, with an exploitation group and a reserve.
    In a strike group, one tank battalion advances on an 800-1000 m wide front, a company from the second tank battalion with a tank rider company attacks 200-250 m behind it, with an offset to the left or right.
    A company of T-60 tanks and a motorized rifle battalion follows with the brigade commander's reserve (one T-34 tank company) in the center.
  3. The fighting order of the tank brigade can be composed of these echelons:
    1. First echelon: medium tanks, first tank battalion.
    2. Second echelon: medium tanks, second tank battalion.
    3. Third echelon: T-60 tanks with motorized infantry.
  4. If the heavy tank brigade attacks in a different direction, its arrangement will be the same as that of the T-34 brigade."
Collection of Combat Documents of the Great Patriotic War, Vol. 10


  1. "The medium tank brigade can attack either in the overall formation of the corps, *or on its own lane with tank brigades to the left and the right.*"

    Is there a translation error here? Should the second part be, "with tank battalions ..."? I can't make out what it's trying to say.

    "The brigade's formation consists from a binding group and a strike group" What is a binding group?

    "Organization of communication by radio and by signals." Does signals mean wire, flare, flags?

    1. The corps consists of several brigades. You can put them all in a clump or have them attack separately. I don't know why the original document singled out the medium tank brigade.

      A binding group prevents the enemy from maneuvering.

      Signals in this case would likely be flags or flares.