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  • Originally posted by Emtos View Post
    http://tankfront.ru/ussr/doc/nko/pri...1945_0013.html

    NKO order about the creation of tank and motorized divisions. I wonder why it wasn't done during the war.
    The short answer is a continuing evolution in establishing firepower and mobility within the division structure under a veteran leadership that had learned to handle a mixed force. Also, the 1945 structures may have been anticipating the postwar reorganization when the Soviet military strength dropped from 11,365,00 to 2,874,00 by 1948.

    The rifle division during the course of the war was reorganized eight times. In April 1941 the TO&E for the RD's mobility was 16 light tanks, 13 armored cars, 558 motor vehicles, and about 3000, transport horses for divisional mobility. Motor vehicles dipped to 119 by July 1942 and did not increase significantly unit Dec 44 when it reached 342. With June 1945 reorg, motor vehicles rose to 445 and the number of horses declined to 1,200 by late 1944.

    The Guards RD’s, since Sep 1941, were better manned and equipped with arty regt of 36 guns and by 1944 nearly every Gds RD received a self-propelled battalion. By the end of the war there were 120 Guards RDs.

    During the war RDs were reinforced as necessary by temporarily attaching to them artillery and armored units. For example, in 1944-45 a division attacking in the main direction normally was reinforced by a tank brigade, or by a heavy tank regiment and a SP gun regiment. It made sense to make the temporary attachments organic to create a more combined-arms fighting force.

    The 1946 structured settled out by 1948, when demobilization reduced the groos tally of some 500 divisions to 175. Representing an adaptation to wartime experience the mechanized division was stabilized at a strength of some 12,000-13,000 men with three mechanized and two tank regiments, while the tank division emerged with 10,500 with three medium tank regiments).

    As the Soviet army emerged in East Germany, as the Group of Soviet Forces (GSFG), it had three mechanized armies (1st, 3rd and 4th) with two tank and two mechanized divisions and “combined-arms” armies (3rd Shock, 8th Guards and 3rd Army) with two or three rifle corps, plus one mechanized division.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

    Comment


    • It's interesting why it wasn't done in prior years. Also it's interesting the creation of units with many tanks and few infantry on one side and the opposite on other. I wonder why units weren't something like 1:1.
      There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

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      • Eight reorganizations in the rifle division during the war shows an evolution in the force structure--like a good wine, it takes time.

        Infantry heavy formations would be necessary for initial breakthroughs, difficult terrain, and urban fighting. Tank heavy formations would have the mobility and speed for penetration, exploitation in the operational depth, and pursuit.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
          While the theory was fundamentally correct for using tanks in combat, it was not fully implemented in troop combat training.
          A natural question is which version of this theory, since in just a dozen of years before the war it experienced several major changes, sometimes even a complete volte-face. Especially in matters concerning to tactical employment. That had large practical consequences: I doubt that many officers that graduated from schools, say in mid-30s, managed to keep abreast with military books.
          By the start of the war on the eastern front, the Soviet Union had 29 mech corps
          With almost 100 tank and mechanized divisions. No surprises that they didn't have even remotely enough material to equip all of them. When the war ended in 1945 the Sov. Army had only about 35 tank and mechanized "corps" generally similar in size to pre-war divisions. So 1/3 of the pre-war number, and even those 1/3 had some large material problem, in particular a lack of motor transport. So the root of the problem was a grossly inflated number of units which the soviet economy was simply unable to supply with material.
          The need for the greater capability of using massed tanks led to some army commanders creating an improvised mobile group which included tank, rifle and cavalry units.
          So when they introduced a permanent HQ instead of improvised that became a 1942-style tank corps.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Emtos View Post
            It's interesting why it wasn't done in prior years.
            For some reasons RA avoided issuing new TO&Es or making large organizational changes in the second part of the war. With was a contrast with a practice in 1941-42 when they issued them practically every month. Anyway, renaming former "corps" as "divisions" wasn't such a badly needed thing to warrant an unavoidable mess during the war.
            Also it's interesting the creation of units with many tanks and few infantry on one side and the opposite on other
            What do you mean by one side and another?

            Comment


            • New video with Dmitry Shein.

              He justifies the existence of so many mech corps pre-war. The reason he gives is the need to reorganise eveything in the same time to don't do it later.
               
              There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                For some reasons RA avoided issuing new TO&Es or making large organizational changes in the second part of the war. With was a contrast with a practice in 1941-42 when they issued them practically every month. Anyway, renaming former "corps" as "divisions" wasn't such a badly needed thing to warrant an unavoidable mess during the war.

                What do you mean by one side and another?
                I mean that USSR had in tank divisions 4 tank regiments and 1 motorized regiment. In motorized divisions it was 3 motorized regiments and 2 tank regiments. Similary tank corps had more tank battalions than infantry batallions while mechanized corps had more infantry than tanks. Why don't make just one unit time with a parity in battalion number ?
                There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

                Comment


                • Well, there are several explanation. The simplest is the known wisdom "If ain't broke don't fix it". RA tested this organization, it proved to be workable, so they stuck to it until the end of the war. As I said there was a general reluctance to make drastic changes in organization after 1943. On the other hand you can view it as a reproduction of the pattern of the 1940's mechanized corps. The corps consisted of two tank divisions and one motorized division (the first more tank-heavy, the second more infantry-heavy). In a similar way in 1945 the Soviet Army had 24 tanks "corps" and 14 mechanized "corps" (the corps being more like division). So the same 2:1 ratio again. One a more theoretical side there were different requirements in different type of operations. In rapid pursuit you need an agile and mobile force with a big punch capable of quickly overcoming disjointed resistance, so a tank-heavy force would be the best. In defense against counterattacks, screening missions, river-crossings, combat in towns or ill-passable terrain, an infantry-heavy force would be better, Having two types of units was an answer to these conflicting requirements.

                  Finally, you should consider different mobility of tanks and infantry. Soviet "motorized" infantry despite the name typically marched on foot, so they lagged behind tanks in rapid operations. Even when they were lucky and had enough motor transport, their trucks still couldn't always negotiate the terrain suitable for tanks and they were more vulnerable to artillery and air bombing. Unpaved roads typical for the Eastern Front tended to become quagmires in bad weather and after tank columns passed them they frequently were so broken that wheeled vehicles couldn't negotiate them without repair. For this reasons even truck columns couldn't always keep up with tanks. The tanks brigade - the basic building block of the Soviet tank forces - had its structure based on a simple rationale. It had as much infantry as could be transported on its tanks. From battle experience a medium tank could comfortably carry 5-6 men on its stern, so they didn't bunch to closely together and were partly protected by a tank turret. When there were more men riding on a tank (T-34 could accommodate a dozen or even more) they universally suffered too heavy losses. The tank brigade had three battalions of 21 T-34 and three infantry company, each of about 100 men. Typically one battalion carried one infantry company plus some additional men (scouts, sappers, tank mechanics) - just enough for 6 men/tank ratio. The brigade had three maneuver elements (tank battalions) in accordance with a typical triangular organization of that time. The tank corps had three tank brigades - again a triangular organization with three maneuver elements. Since about 1000 infantry in three tank brigades was a very small number for an independent formation, there was an additional pool of infantry in a form of a motorized rifle brigade. Again, this brigade had a triangular organization with three rifle battalions. So, this stricture was based on very simple and solid principles and there wasn't an easy way to improve it without disrupting its effectiveness.

                  Comment


                  • With overall shortcomings in the Southwestern Front's offensive in May 1942, opportunities for new experiences in using tank corps and the initial experience for using tank armies in operations in July-September 1942 on the western and Stalingrad axes. But, even in these operations, large tank formations had difficulties which would have to wait for maturing experience, the larger tank units challenged the growing cadre of experienced tank commanders. [Future tank army commanders were tank/mech corps commanders in this period: Katukov, Bogdanov, Kravchenko, Rotmistrov.]

                    Losik cites, "Some of the more typical shortcomings included: poor reconnaissance during the preparation for and conduct of the offensive; poor camouflage/deception [the Soviet term, maskirovka is a concept greater in meaning than camouflage; it includes deception, operations security, misinformation], especially in the period of regrouping and departure by the tanks for the jump-off areas which resulted in the loss of surprise; the absence of artillery, air and engineer support (due to a shortage of equipment and experience); the considerable distance form the assembly area (up to 30 km) which led to the late arrival of tanks at the battle commitment line [here is a big experience factor for commanders/staff to have a feel for how long it takes to get ready for movement and movement time [quite different between a brigade and a corps, and more so in an army.]; weak saturation of the infantry with neutralizing weapons and its inability to breakthrough enemy defenses in short periods of time without calling on the tank corps and armies for this; the weak cooperation of the tank formations with aviation [again with the wipeout of Soviet aviation in the beginning, there was a loss in gained experience from the start of the war]; commitment of armies and corps ot the battle by units without proper massing."


                    TBC
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                    Comment


                    • Here is a report written on 5 August 1941 by the Chief of Armored Forces Southwestern Front Major General Nikolai Victorovich Morgunov:

                      From the very first day of the war, the mechanized corps were deployed incorrectly, because, while the mechanized corps (I'm no talking about all of them) were really a front level asset, all of them were assigned to [field] armies. Naturally, cases of reassignment of an individual mechanized corps directlt to an army should have been possible, but [only] in instances when situation really demanded it, and it should have been done by grouping them into strike forces.

                      All operations of mechanized corps were conducted without thorough reconnaissance; some units were completely unaware what was happening in their immediate vicinity. There was absolutely no aerial reconnaissance assigned specifically for the mechanized corps. Control of the mechanized corps by commanders of all arms [armies] was poorly organized; units were widely separated, and by the time of the offensive, were not in contact with each other. Headquarters of Armies were completely not ready to control such large mechanized formations as the mechanized corps. Infantry, as a rule, acted independently, and the overall situation did not permit organization of combined operations.


                      Headquarters of armies completely forgot that equipment has a limited lifespan, that it needs maintenance, minor repairs, refueling, and rearming. Mechanized corps completely lacked air cover during the road marches, as well as after combat.

                      Information, top to bottom, as well as with neighboring units, was established very poorly. The war, from the very beginning, assumed fluid character; the enemy turned out to be more mobile. The main features of his actions is the wide use of encirclements and flank attacks. Germans avoided head on attacks and immediately would employ mobile anti - tank assets, while encircling around one, or in most cases, both flanks. Our command personnel were poorly trained during peacetime for these very operations; trying, therefore, to defend in close contact with neighbor, while there were no adequate forces to establish such a defense.

                      There were many shortcomings committed directly by commanders of mechanized formations such as;

                      1. Headquarters of mechanized corps, tank divisions and regiments did not yet possess operational tactical Know - how. They could not reach right conclusions and completely failed to understand plans of army and front commanders.

                      2. Command personnel is lacking sufficient initiative.

                      3. Not all the mobile assets, which the corps possessed, were utilized

                      4. There was no maneuverability - there was listless - sloth in carrying out orders.

                      5. Operations, as a rule, were demonstrated by head - on attacks, which led to unnecessary loss of equipment and personnel. This happened because commanders at all levels neglected reconnaissance.

                      6. Inability to organize combat operations along the routes which would interfere with enemy movements, who advanced mainly along roads.

                      7. Obstacles were not utilized; cooperation with combat engineer groups was non - existent.

                      8. There was no attempt to deny the enemy the opportunity to bring up fuel and ammunition. Ambushes along the main enemy route of advance were not employed.

                      9. Enemy pressure on our flanks led to fear of being encircled; while the tank units should not fear encirclements.

                      10. Large population centers were not utilized to destroy the enemy and inability to operate in them was discovered.

                      11. Control, starting from platoon commander to senior commanders was poor; radio was seldom utilized. To much time was spent on encoding and decoding messages.

                      12. Crews were extremely poorly trained in preventative maintenance. There were cases when crews abandoned their vehicles with ammunition still in them. There were individual case where crews left their vehicle and retreated.

                      13. All units lacked sufficient means of evacuation. The ones that did have them, could support mechanized corps and tank divisions only during offensive operations.

                      14. Personnel was not familiar with new equipment, especially KV and T-34. and was completely untrained in conducting repairs in field conditions. Repair facilities of tank divisions turned out to be incapable to conduct repairs during retrograde operations

                      15. Large percentage of command personnel did not know missions, did not have maps, which led to instances when not just individual tanks, but whole units would wonder around aimlessly.

                      16. Existing organizations of rear echelons is to cumbersome. Commanders technical deputy, instead of working with combat material, as a rule, would remain behind in the rear echelon. The rear support echelons need to be reduced, leaving only those vehicles employed in delivering fuel, ammunition, and food

                      17. There was no, as a rule, army staging areas for emergency vehicles, and nobody oversaw their operations. Lack of organic evacuation assets on army and front levels, led to inability to evacuate combat equipment

                      18. Headquarters turned out to be poorly trained staffed, as a rule, with officers not having experience working with tank units.

                      19. Too many people oversaw mechanized formations; front would assign missions, army would assign missions, commanders of rifle corps would assign missions. Employment of the 41st Tank Division, of the 22nd Mechanized Corps, is a vivid demonstration of this issue.

                      20. Some commanders of mechanized corps turned out to be not up to the task and completely lacked understanding about mechanized corps operations.

                      Bold emphasis above is mine. Although this report is not directly tactical in nature, all of the problems summarized by Morgunov have a direct effect on implementing tactics at the tip of the spear.
                      Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                      Comment


                      • General Dmitrii Ivanovich Ryabyshev, cdr 8th Mech Corps, and Brigade Nikolai Kirillovich Popel, 8th Mech Corps military commissar, wrote about their experiences with the 8th Mech Corps in June 1941. Their stories confirm the disarray, even in a corps that fought fairly well, is captured in "Red Army Legacies: Essays on Forces, Capabilities, & Personalities" in the chapter, 'Popel: The Fighting Commissar'.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                        Comment


                        • As previously noted, the Supreme High Command (SHC) focused attention on using tank armies and corps. The experience of their actions in all operations were closely studied and generalized. In the armies and fronts orders and directives were issued which contained instructions on using the tank forces. In October 1942 NKO Order 325 was issued, in which the principles of tactical use of tank and mechanized units and formation were set forth [the order did not cover the use of tank armies]. SHC orders were often proscriptive as well as prescriptive in instructions.

                          Order No. 325 clearly specified that the tank and mechanized corps were a resource of the Front and army. In offensive operations they were intended for actions on the main axes as exploitation echelons; splitting up of corps into brigades was not permitted [proscriptive].

                          Commitment of the corps to the battle was recommended to be accomplished only after the rifle armies had overcome the main enemy defensive zone. Artillery and aviation were required to reinforce the corps during their independent breakthrough of weak enemy defenses.

                          The order set forth in detail the procedure for organizing tank cooperation with infantry, artillery and aviation and established the procedure for commitment of the corps to the battle and methods of supporting them. This is the essence of the Red Army's study and exploitation of its war experiences which would continue through the war.

                          An important provision of Order No. 325 was the requirement to conduct tank attacks at maximum speeds, firing on the move; to execute a broad maneuver on the battlefield for directing firepower into the enemy flank and rear; front tank attacks were forbidden [proscriptive, but was often difficult to achieve when assisting in the penetration].


                          TBC
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                            Germans avoided head on attacks and immediately would employ mobile anti - tank assets, while encircling around one, or in most cases, both flanks.
                            Compare with:

                            126. If the armored division encounters enemy tanks during the attack, engaging them must take precedence over all other tasks. The tank brigade must quickly find covered positions from which it can fire effectively at the halt, while the enemy is compelled to fight at a disadvantage (attacking over open country, against the sun, with the wind). This method is particularly recommended when the enemy is superior in numbers of antitank weapons. Success in these circumstances can also frequently be gained by quick and determined attack, especially against the enemy flanks.
                            http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/ge...er-attack.html
                            So, yes, sounds similar.

                            Then, the main thesis of the Volsky's (*) report is that mechanized formations were used do defend or conduct delaying actions on a broad front alone independently of infantry - a task for which were not designed and nor prepared. Which was not something unusual - a German instruction quoted above has a mere couple of sentences regarding defensive employment of panzer division:
                            http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/ge...n/defense.html
                            In a similar way Soviet large tank formations later in the war were used for this type of tasks in exceptional cases only and, from what I can recall, without much success.

                            * The first signatory was actually general Vasily Volsky.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                              General Dmitrii Ivanovich Ryabyshev, cdr 8th Mech Corps, and Brigade Nikolai Kirillovich Popel, 8th Mech Corps military commissar, wrote about their experiences with the 8th Mech Corps in June 1941. Their stories confirm the disarray, even in a corps that fought fairly well, is captured in "Red Army Legacies: Essays on Forces, Capabilities, & Personalities" in the chapter, 'Popel: The Fighting Commissar'.
                              Thanks Rick for the book mention. Another book authored by you that I will be buying.
                              Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                                Compare with:


                                http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/ge...er-attack.html
                                So, yes, sounds similar.

                                Then, the main thesis of the Volsky's (*) report is that mechanized formations were used do defend or conduct delaying actions on a broad front alone independently of infantry - a task for which were not designed and nor prepared. Which was not something unusual - a German instruction quoted above has a mere couple of sentences regarding defensive employment of panzer division:
                                http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/ge...n/defense.html
                                In a similar way Soviet large tank formations later in the war were used for this type of tasks in exceptional cases only and, from what I can recall, without much success.

                                * The first signatory was actually general Vasily Volsky.
                                Thanks Art for the Sentry links. I book marked it. Great resource site.
                                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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