Friday 15 April 2022

Street Fighter

 "Tuesday, March 20th, 1945

Bulletin of street fighting experience, a daily publication of the Red Army newspaper For the Destruction of the Enemy

Guards Jr. Lieutenant-Technician M. Litvinov
Guards Jr. Lieutenant-Technician N. Deryugin

Self propelled artillery in street fighting

Self propelled artillery plays a considerable role in street fighting. Only an SPG can approach a fortified building with enemy machine gunners and destroy it at point blank range. The enemy has felt the blows from SPGs and hunts them, sending out Panzerfaust troops and shooting them on the approach. Completion of the SPGs' objectives requires considerable experience from the drivers.

In this article, we would like to share the experience of SPG drivers in street fighting.

We always fight in pairs, which gave good results. Usually the battery commander gives an objective to one SPG and the other supports it with fire on the approach.

Consider a street that is wide and straight. Streetcar tracks run in the middle. The combat vehicles form a line. One SPG dashes across the street using the second fast gear, quickly turns at the same speed, and drives to its target. When the commander gives the order, it stops to fire.

The second vehicle drives along the right side of the street to maintain cross fire. The street is covered with dust and smoke, shards and bricks are flying every which way. The enemy can't raise their heads at this time, but the Germans open fire as soon as we drive back. Since we have to drive to the same positions several times, the enemy dials in on them. When driving back, the driver has to demonstrate exceptional agility, decisiveness, and understand the commander's orders instinctively. 

We retreat using the fast reverse gear. The driver must engage the gear in advance without waiting for an order (not too soon, to avoid burning the clutch). The reverse gear usually has to be engaged moving from first, since it's difficult to do it directly. Follow your own tracks when reversing in order to avoid obstacles.

You must retreat quickly and in a timely manner. Once we managed to retreat by 20-30 meters from where we fired from before our positions were covered by enemy fire. The vehicle would have been damaged if we delayed even a little bit.

The commander may not be able to see everything, and so the driver must track the enemy himself and if needed maneuver to avoid enemy fire. Once, we were firing at a building where the enemy was hiding at point blank range. We suppressed several firing positions when the driver noticed that a Panzerfaust was about to fire from an upper floor. The first SPG had to quickly change positions with covering fire from the second SPG.

It's important to know how to maneuver and pick fighting positions during street fighting. If you need to turn around quickly, here's how you do it: enable the fast gear and put your levers into the first position. Turn in the necessary direction by shifting your levers into the second position. You will turn in place. As soon as you turned, reset the levers to the initial position and drive forward on the commander's orders without shifting gears. Practice shows that our vehicles are capable of withstanding these turns.

Our vehicles worked for 500 hours without repairs of the running gear or transmission, and they are in perfect running order.

In conclusion, we would like to make a note on infantry cooperation. When our SPGs open fire, most enemy guns (machine guns, submachine guns) fall silent. This creates a good opportunity to push the infantry forward. When the SPG leaves, the enemy gets up again and prevents the infantry from moving up. Rifle unit commanders need to tightly cooperate with SPG crews."

Via ivagkin.

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