Monday 11 June 2018

Ranks and Posts

"Order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0400 regarding commanders of heavy and medium tanks
October 9th, 1941

To increase the combat ability of the tank forces and improve their cooperation in combat with other types of forces, appoint the following:
  1. As medium tank commanders: Lieutenants and Junior Lieutenants
  2. As medium tank platoon commanders: Senior Lieutenants
  3. As KV company commanders: Captains and Majors
  4. As medium tank company commanders: Captains
  5. As heavy and medium tank battalion commanders: Majors and Lieutenant Colonels
The Chief of the Red Army Financial Directorate must make the appropriate changes to salaries.

People's Commissar of Defense, I. Stalin"

Order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0433 regarding the assembly of tank crews
November 18th, 1941

In order to increase the skill set of tank crews, I order that:
  1. Tank crews will be composed exclusively of junior officers and NCOs.
  2. Tank crewmen must have the following ranks:
    1. In heavy tanks:
      1. Tank commander: Lieutenant, Senior Lieutenant
      2. Senior mechanic-driver; Starshina
      3. Radio-telegraph operator: Senior Sergeant
      4. Gunner: Starshina
      5. Junior mechanic-driver (also loader): Sergeant
    2. In medium tanks and light tanks with cannons:
      1. Tank commander: Junior Lieutenant, Lieutenant
      2. Mechanic-driver: Senior Sergeant
      3. Turret commander: Sergeant
      4. Machinegunner: Junior Sergeant (on a tank with a radio the radio operator/machiengunner must be a Senior Sergeant).
    3. In small T-40 and T-60 tanks, as well as machinegun tanks:
      1. Tank commander: Starshina
      2. Mechanic-driver: Sergeant
      3. Turret commander: Junior Sergeant
  3. Replacement personnel training in replacement regiments and training battalions, training companies at the factories is to be picked in such a way that NCOs are chosen for tank crews. With this, the Chief of Training of the Armoured Force must give the order by December 1st, 1941, to set different training times for those who have already served in tank units and those who have been called up from reserves in training units.
  4. Check the quality of trained tank crews with special commissions led by the regiment commander or the commander of the factory training center.
    Include a representative from Armoured Force Training in active units and the GABTU or GAU representative at factories.
  5. Crews that demonstrate good knowledge of their speciality and good practical skills in working as a crew are to be awarded the ranks mentioned in section 2 of this order.
  6. The control over training the required amount of tank crews in the set timeframe is given to the Chief of Training of the Armoured Force.
  7. Introduce changes to TO&E the armoured force according to this order.
Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Tank Forces, Fedorenko."


  1. Replies
    1. Going by the context in the medium tank entry that seems to be an odd name for the loader (unless the below applies there too), but no idea what the distinction is in the case of the two-man light tanks. Wonder if "tank commanders" were platoon leaders and "turret commanders" the TCs of individual rank-and-file vehicles under them?

    2. Turret commander is the loader, yeah. Ironically, I've only seen this post used on tanks with two turret crewmen, so if the tank commander is knocked out, the turret commander commands only himself.

  2. Soviet's had a flair for dramatics. Perhaps Turret Commander was just a fancy way of saying the loader had the job of ensuring the turret was cleaned up and working.LOL