Monday 6 November 2023

IS-2 in Combat

 "To the Commander of Artillery of the 5th Guards Tank Army

In carrying out your order, I present materials on experience of using IS-122 heavy tanks.

  1. During fording of water obstacles.
  2. Use of concentrated volley fire of IS-122 tanks (company and regiment).
  3. Examples of use of IS-122 heavy tanks in offensive combat.
1. IS-122 heavy tanks serve as support for medium tanks. During crossings, they support the medium tanks with their fire and cross the water after them.

For example: the regiment was subordinate to the commander of the 31st Tank Brigade to achieve a penetration of the enemy defenses including crossing the river Dang. When the crossing was being constructed, the heavy tanks supported the construction of the crossing, then the medium tanks as they crossed, and then crossed themselves.

When entering a breakthrough at the river Upina, the medium tanks could not cross due to powerful artillery fire and enemy tank ambushes. IS-122 heavy tanks came up to the river and destroyed the enemy positions that were impeding the advance of medium tanks with their fire. The medium tanks crossed the river and IS-122 heavy tanks crossed after them.

2. The power of heavy tanks comes from their powerful weapons. They can conduct aimed concentrated fire at one or several targets with a company or a regiment at a range of 2.5-3 km. When concentrated fire was conducted, the results were not bad. For example:

In combat in East Prussia, tanks and infantry could not take the village Schmauch over the course of a day. After two companies of heavy tanks fired over the course of 40 minutes, the village was taken easily and the enemy suffered heavy losses.

Another case: Near Schnola 5 heavy tanks opened concentrated fire against 2 artillery batteries and 6-7 enemy tanks concentrated around the batteries. The concentrated fire lasted for 5 minutes. The heavy tanks expended 40 shells, destroying 2 guns, knocking out 3 guns and 4 tanks, killing up to 35 soldiers and officers.

3. A characteristic and educational example of heavy IS-122 tanks in offensive combat:

During the Memel operation, on October 7th, 1944, the regiment was at the head of the corps' forces right behind the vanguard, supporting its advance with fire and tracks, while simultaneously protecting against counterattacks from the south.

Crossing the river Upina, the regiment met with powerful resistance. The regimental commander decided to circle around 20 km to the south. A reconnaissance unit reported that they met no resistance during the detour. When the regiment entered the breakthrough along the scouted route, it came across the Lukni settlement, which the enemy turned into another stronghold, taking favourable positions beyond the river.

Having met resistance at this second stronghold, the entire vanguard went around along swampy-forested terrain with the aim of encircling the enemy from the south and cut off their retreat. The enemy was blocked from retreating from the Upina and Lukni strongholds.

Feeling that they were being outmaneuvered, the enemy pulled tanks and SPGs out of the strongholds and began to retreat in a hurry along dirt roads while the infantry fled into the surrounding forests in small groups that did not pose a significant threat. Continuing its advance, the regiment reached the river Minia and covered the crossing of medium tanks. Subsequently, the regiment crossed the border with Germany and reached the Baltic Sea, cutting off the retreat of the Baltic group.

Commander of the 14th Independent Guards Heavy Tank Regiment, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Litvin"

1 comment:

  1. Any date on this report?

    I'm asking as the 5th Guards Tank army ended up in Courland, being first reduced to a single tank corps and by war's end losing even that and commanding a rifle corps (it kind of reverted by to the 1942 TOE of a 'tank army'). Most of these reports seemed to involve its late 1944 fighting in East Prussia.