Friday 26 May 2023

German Tank Tactics, 1945

  "April 9th, 1945


To the commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 2nd Shock Army
RE: #08562 dated March 20th, 1945

Report of the 46th Independent Guards Order of the Red Banner Order of Suvorov Tank Breakthrough Regiment on the study of tactics and combat use of heavy tank regiments in the Red Army as well as enemy tank tactics and use of tanks in combat from January 1st to April 1st, 1945. Map scale 1:50,000


2. Tactics and use of enemy tanks in combat

Recently, enemy anti-tank defenses rely more and more on close combat weapons, especially Panzerfausts, which are continuously improved. This is explained by the growth of the Red Army tank fleet and heavy enemy losses in tanks and anti-tank artillery. Because of this, the enemy compensates for a shortage of anti-tank weapons (especially tanks and anti-tank guns) with mass use of Panzerfausts. As before, the enemy creates ambushes using tanks and SPGs, chiefly heavy ones, which combat our tanks and SPGs in most likely directions of advance. The proportion of heavy and superheavy King Tiger tanks compared to the overall number of tanks continues to increase. 

In areas where the enemy could prepare anti-tank defenses, they include anti-tank ditches (Ciechanow, Mława, Graudenz, Danzig) minefields (bridgehead west of Narew), and anti-tank guns. Passive anti-tank obstacles were covered with direct fire artillery, tanks and SPGs, as well as small arms fire.

More recently, the enemy foregoes using tanks and SPGs in the front of their defenses and only uses them in the depth in order to avoid heavy losses.

During the mud season, the enemy expected our tanks to be bound to roads and constructed defenses around forks, crossroads, and major settlements, leaving anti-tank combat between these strongholds to Panzerfausts. 

In the January operation, up to 12 enemy tanks and SPGs were spotted in front of the regiment, most of them Tiger and Ferdinand types.

In the operation near Danzig up to 10 tanks and SPGs were spotted, of them 6 were Ferdinand type SPGs. 

The enemy clearly works on improvements and modernizations to the Panzerfaust to improve its effect and make it more convenient to use. Expect to see new Panzerfausts in action.

Commander of the 46th Independent Guards Order of the Red Banner Order of Suvorov Tank Breakthrough Regiment, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Parshev

Chief of Staff, Major Bannov"

CAMD RF F.46 Op.2404 D.30 L.30-31


  1. LOL, yes, 20.2.1945 and Ferdinands everywhere :D

    1. I imagine they are thinkling of Jagpanthers

    2. I imagine they are typical soviets - sounds more better in report, if they fight Tigers and Ferdinands, than Pz IV and StuGs III.

    3. Remember, the Soviets are winning the battles now, and occupying the ground, and looking at the German wrecks to get a good look at what they were fighting. While "Ferdinand" had come to meant any kind of non-turreted casemate SPG, King Tigers were still very real and by 1945 "Tiger" most likely meant "King Tiger".

      In short, don't dismiss their reports out-of-hand. While everyone makes errors in their reports, Soviet reports usually far more reliable than German ones.

    4. Actually, Heeres schwere Panzerjäger-Kompanie 614 (former 2/653) was relocated to the Kielce area on late Decembrer, 1944. In January 1945, it took heavy fighting East and South of Kielce and lost most of its Elefants (6 from 10). None were seen or fought near Danzig. Unit then retreated westward. So numbers seems good, but dates and places might be not.

  2. The 4th Armoured Division, which took part in the defence of Danzig in the Eastern Pomeranian campaign, for example, was equipped with Pz. IV, Pz. V, StuG III, StuG IV and Jg. Pz. V. The 7th Armoured Division, which also took part in the battle, was equipped with Pz. IV, Pz. V and StuG IV.
    The 7th Armoured Division, which also fought in the defense of Danzig, was equipped with Pz. IV, Pz. V, StuG III.
    Therefore, the "heavy tanks and heavy SPGs" mentioned here are most likely Pz. IV and StuG III.

    1. See Panzer DB's comment. Surprisingly there might have been some actual Ferdinands left.

      The Soviets also called Panthers "Heavy Tanks", so that matches. As for "Tigers", I can't explain that, but re-iterate at this point the Soviets are taking the grounds and can examine the wrecks to confirm kills, so their claims should carry more weight than claims that lack this kind of confirmation.

    2. Here is a specific direction for research, examining the battle sites of the 46th Independent Guards Tank Breakthrough Regiment and cross-referencing the equipment of German units that fought in the same area.
      I am unable to carry out further research at the moment, my data is from Firebrigades Panzer Divisions 1943-1945.

    3. Agreed.

      A thought occurred to me---thinking of the Gumbinnen operation, where the 505 PzAbt equipped with King Tigers supported the 5th Panzer division in that battle east of there in October 1944, that perhaps some of the King Tigers were disabled (the 505th listed 7 as irrecoverable losses) or broke down in that operation and were sent to repair depots in the rear. And, (as was not infrequently the case) these were never repaired or put back into service.

      When the Soviets then advanced in January 1945, these might have been blown up or abandoned in the face of the Soviet advance, and the Soviets might have wrongly thought they had been fighting them. Just offering a possible explanation.