Tuesday 9 July 2019

Dummy Tanks

"Translated from German
Memo on using dummy tanks
  1. Dummy tanks must influence the enemy's decisions in our favour. They must introduce confusion regarding the amount and application of the tanks that oppose him. In addition, they must trick enemy aircraft into bombing false targets.
    Dummy tanks used on the front lines individually do not create the necessary effect, as they can be fired upon by the enemy without the ability to fire back. They can only be put into motion in exceptional cases, and thus are quickly destroyed.
    One must breathe life into these dummies! This is achieved by concentrating a number of dummies into one squad and moving them from place to place. The dummies must be withdrawn from the zone of enemy observation.
    Do not allow the enemy to observe these tanks for prolonged periods of time. It is possible to permit the enemy to view them from the air in your own rear. This can also reveal the enemy's air reconnaissance. The dummy tank squad is not a force on its own, but an aid for a regular tank unit. It must be used alongside a real tank unit. That breathes life into tanks.
  2. The use of a dummy squad during offensive operations is limited to leading the enemy away from real initial positions to conceal movement or, in the best case, to move the core of his anti-tank defenses to a location of our choice. However, an attentive enemy will realize his mistake, as immobile dummies will behave differently than tanks that engage in mobile combat.
  3. Dummy tanks are much better suited to use in the defense. Here, they behave much like real tanks. The enemy that starts to doubt the reports of his aerial reconnaissance can be convinced in the reality of the tank force by introducing individual real tanks or assault guns into the midst of the dummies. This method can also force the initiative out of the enemy's hands, as his decisions will be swayed by the presence of dummy tanks.
    The defender can take advantage of the fact that the Russians become very conservative in their actions as soon as German tanks are spotted on the front. Attention will be diverted, which will make flanking the enemy with real tanks easier. A dummy squad can be used to defend an important point so that they are spotted by aerial reconnaissance, while a squad of real tanks can hide their defensive positions, engaging the enemy from an unexpected direction.
    A squad of dummy tanks can also mislead the enemy by occupying old initial positions, while real tanks are moved into action many kilometers away.
    The old rule of never leaving tanks without an infantry cover at night must also be maintained during the day in order to keep the secrecy.
  4. It is necessary for a dummy tank squad to be:
    1. Skilled in camouflage and well led.
    2. Connected to the radio net.
    3. Light and mobile in both good and bad weather (snow).
    4. Build and painted in such a way as to not be affected by poor weather conditions.
      Addendum to #1: dummy tanks should be towed by real tanks on soft terrain to leave tank tracks. Camouflage must be applied skilfully. Transport over long distances must be done at night only. One or two vehicles must be left along the way, as thought they had broken down. Just like in a real tank unit, a different amount of tanks must be present at different times.
      Addendum to #2: it is best to use a real tank that houses the dummy tank squad commander. Alternatively, use a portable radio.
      Addendum to #3: in the absence of cars or tractors, simple carts will do. Place wheels on skis during winter.
      Addendum to #4: tanks must be always painted to not be influenced by weather conditions.
  5. The dummy tank squad must be commanded by a reserve officer equivalent in rank to a company commander. He must have a rich imagination, tactical understanding, be energetic, and convinced that skilfully used dummies could be a big help to real tanks.
    The best ratio of dummy tanks to real tanks is 5:1.
  6. Use of dummy squads should be planned at the division or corps level.
Translated by Captain Surkis.
Approved by Chief of the 4th Section of the Intelligence Department of the 1st Belorussian Front, Colonel Smyslov."

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