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  • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

    From Red Armor Combat Orders p18, the width of a front of an extended order, brigade 800-1200m, rgt 500-800m and bat 400-600m. From the description it appears most details are in a previous part 1.
    From the link it should be easy to extrapolate the info you require: http://niehorster.org/012_ussr/45_or...gan_index.html


    Thank you...

    My question was about the depth (not width) of those tactical formations since we were talking about the different echelons but the information in your recommendation is interesting anyway and it may also include the answer regarding that depth.
    My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

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    • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
      David Glantz's "Soviet Military Operational Art: In the Pursuit of Deep Operations". The work has been out since mid to late 1980's; you will probably not find it in e-book. The publisher is Frank Cass.
      Thank you!
      My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

      Comment


      • Originally posted by pamak View Post
        As for the Para 414, I guess that tank formations of echelons in depth can help the subsequent waves engage from relatively safer distance AT guns that were unmasking themselves to engage the first wave. Of course, battlefield conditions, smoke, fire and friendly tanks advancing in front would still make the task of locating the unmasking AT guns challenging for the tankers in subsequent waves.
        Compare with the project of the armored forces manual (1943):
        Battle formations of the tank brigade (regiment) can consist of one or two echelons depending on the strength of hostile defense and terrain conditions.
        When hostile system of anti-tanks defenses is weakly developed and terrain is accessible for tanks the tank brigade (regiment) attacks in one echelon.
        When a developed system of anti-tank defenses is present the tank brigade (regiment) is usually deployed in two echelons. The first echelons attacks 200-400 meters ahead of own infantry. The second echelons advancing in immediate contact with infatry supports tanks of the first echelons with its fire. The distance between the first and the second echelon is 200-400 meters.
        Similar tactics was recommended for heavy tanks or all types of self-propelled (assault guns). E.g. from an instruction on employment of heavy tank and self-propelled regiments (1944):
        4. In attack heavy tanks and self-propelled regiments advance behind the combat echelons of medium tanks at 400-500 m by bounds from one masked position to another and using the range of their guns support the attack of medium tanks with fire.
        When acting with own infantry heavy tanks and SP guns advance in battle formations of infantry 300-500 meters from its forward lines cooperating with infantry support tanks, infantry, artillery and sappers.
        As a rule firing positions are chosen behind natural mask.
        5. Medium and heavy tanks (SP guns) cooperate so that medium tanks advancing forward and delivering fire from movement reveal a system hostile anti-tank defenses and also tanks in ambush positions.
        Heavy tanks (SP guns) following behind formations of medium tanks combat hostile tanks, SP guns and anti-tank guns with their fire.
        When meeting hostile tanks and SP guns own medium tanks using their speed outflank them and heavy tanks engage them from the front and thus cooperate in destruction of hostile forces.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by pamak View Post
          I am on vacation, and I can spare time reading such things. I would be interested in finding details such as the distance between tank companies in a tank battalion level attack or the distance between tank battalions deployed in depth in a tank Brigade level attack. The links you and Artyom exchange are the real deal but unfortunately, I only speak English and Greek.
          Normal interval between tanks (SP guns) or between small tank elements in battle was supposed to be 30-50 meters. Small units like platoons and companies were supposed to be deployed in a line in all cases. Accordingly a battalion (20-30 vehicles) was to be deployed on a front of 600-1000 meters, tank brigade (two or three battalions) - on a front of 1000-1500 meters (1943 project of armored forces manual).

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
            Normal interval between tanks (SP guns) or between small tank elements in battle was supposed to be 30-50 meters. Small units like platoons and companies were supposed to be deployed in a line in all cases. Accordingly a battalion (20-30 vehicles) was to be deployed on a front of 600-1000 meters, tank brigade (two or three battalions) - on a front of 1000-1500 meters (1943 project of armored forces manual).
            Thanks for the info:

            So, for a brigade level attack, was not there an option to have the brigade attack with battalions in column or say two battalion up with one battalion following behind? I assume they had such variations in deployment. At least this is how I envisioned it when I talked about different echelons attacking at a tactical level. And yes one could have a front of 600- 1000 meters for the leading battalion(s) with the third battalion in the Brigade following at some distance from behind and trying to engage from a safer distance the AT guns that exposed their position when they were engaging the leading tank battalion(s). At least, that is what I had in my mind
            Last edited by pamak; 16 Jan 20, 00:43.
            My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

            Comment


            • Originally posted by pamak View Post
              And yes one could have a front of 600- 1000 meters for the leading battalion(s) with the third battalion in the Brigade following at some distance from behind and trying to engage from a safer distance the AT guns that exposed their position when they were engaging the leading tank battalion(s). At least, that is what I had in my mind
              Actually the trailing battalion, still in company columns for faster maneuvering, is looking to reinforce success by either of two forward battalions and commit on command of the brigade/regiment commander's decision. The brigade/regiment is actually the first echelon of the division/corps (depending on force structure). The division/corps is the first echelon of the army.

              An interesting aspect of the first echelons at each level is the Red Army's tolerance for casualties which could be 30-50% to achieve the mission of a penetration. When one looks at Western Eur/American armies, the tolerance is much less, and their commanders could be relieved of command for casualties in the mid-teens or more.
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by pamak View Post
                So, for a brigade level attack, was not there an option to have the brigade attack with battalions in column or say two battalion up with one battalion following behind?
                See the quote above:
                https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...09#post5165809
                Yes, this method could be employed and was actually employed.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                  See the quote above:
                  https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...09#post5165809
                  Yes, this method could be employed and was actually employed.
                  I completely missed that post. Yes, this makes sense, and I noticed that the presence or not of a heavy AT gun screen in the defense is one of the main factors to determine if the attack will be launched in one or two echelons at the brigade level

                  ...When hostile system of anti-tanks defenses is weakly developed and terrain is accessible for tanks the tank brigade (regiment) attacks in one echelon.
                  When a developed system of anti-tank defenses is present the tank brigade (regiment) is usually deployed in two echelons.
                  My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                    Actually the trailing battalion, still in company columns for faster maneuvering, is looking to reinforce success by either of two forward battalions and commit on command of the brigade/regiment commander's decision. The brigade/regiment is actually the first echelon of the division/corps (depending on force structure). The division/corps is the first echelon of the army.

                    An interesting aspect of the first echelons at each level is the Red Army's tolerance for casualties which could be 30-50% to achieve the mission of a penetration. When one looks at Western Eur/American armies, the tolerance is much less, and their commanders could be relieved of command for casualties in the mid-teens or more.
                    And this brings the question of when the commander of higher formations will determine that the time has come for committing his second echelon, and if that second echelon will be used to reinforce a stalling attack or keep waiting and be ready to be used in an exploitation. Once I was reading Greek manuals from the Army School for Staff officers (in the 1950s) and I think regardless of the difference in doctrine the main problem is the same.

                    From what I recall from memory, the claim was that finding the proper time to commit the second echelon (reserve) is one of the trickiest things for a commander during an attack. If it is too late, the second echelon may give the defense's reserves time to move to the threatening sector of the subordinate command which is under attack and choose the most advantageous positions to keep the attack at check. If it is too early, the second echelon finds itself disorganized and in need to regroup when (or if) the time for exploitation comes which can again give the defense valuable time to react and this judgment will be inhibited by a command and control system where delays in passing information from forward troops to the command in the rear will be avoidable.

                    Of course, there are also times when forcing a breakthrough in the defense will require attacks from both echelons of the leading attacking formation in which case its parent formation will commit the necessary forces for an exploitation. So, if all battalions and echelons of a tank brigade are spent in their attempt to force a breakthrough, it will be the higher/parent formation of that tank brigade which will commit the necessary forces to exploit the breakthrough.

                    So, from what I understand, the idea that The brigade/regiment is actually the first echelon of the division/corps (depending on force structure). The division/corps is the first echelon of the army is not that different from the western approach. I always thought that western doctrines were also based in such ideas, and if the leading brigade as the first echelon of a division creates a breakthrough and reaches the rear area of a defending battalion (say 3:1 ratio of attack/defense) that will be the time for the attacking division to release the brigade of its second echelon to continue the fight and try to create a breakthrough within the enemy's brigade defensive zone.

                    As for the comment in red, this is the big difference I see between the Soviet and western approach. Was this perhaps partially a result of having the Soviets being more willing to even reinforce failure and try to impose their will to create a breakthrough according to the initial plan and despite the feedback they were getting (casualties) during the initial stages of the attack?
                    What was the advantage of accepting such high percentage of casualties for the first echelon? I guess, the advantage was saving time. Perhaps they were judging that the soviet revision process of the initial offensive plan was too slow and could help an agile German defense to recover from the initial blow.

                    On the other hand, from what little I have read from people like you, I understand that there is a claim that westerners often underestimate the flexibility of the Soviet command, at least during the second half of the war, and since other than some general reading and comments, I have not really read nor studied Glantz's (and yours) work, I cannot make a good judgment of the Soviet operational thinking. And I cannot exclude the possibility that the German army's quality and flexibility in the eastern front was much better that the one in the west and was forcing the adoption of a Soviet method that had to emphasize higher speed in the execution of an attack with less revisions and more human casualties. In the west, the allied air superiority had sliced the operational speed of the German reserves at a fraction of their theoretical capabilities since they were forced to execute large scale movement during night time. So, the explanation for the Soviet approach in accepting higher rates of casualties may be a result of a much better and more agile German army in the eastern front than a result of some inferior (compared to the west) Soviet planning and doctrine.
                    Last edited by pamak; 16 Jan 20, 16:16.
                    My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                    Comment


                    • My question to Mr. Armstrong would be when the new theories of Soviet tank tactics first started to pay dividends and there was a reversal in the loss ratio of tanks on the eastern front.

                      Certainly, half way through 1943 they still were making the same mistakes since 1941 and if one reads the latest material available on the battle of Kursk (July 43) it supports my statement here.

                      A good place to start is all three of the Russian author Valeriy Zamulin's books on Kursk. Here is a quick online review of the second book in his Kursk study which also backs up my claim.

                      Perhaps the best part of “The Battle at Kursk” is in the analysis. And not just the author’s; though that is much appreciated given his unique perspective on the battle. “The Battle at Kursk” features a number of reports from first hand participants in the battle and from the Red Army itself as it tried to understand how and why the Germans, in spite of the immense effort to stop them, still managed to nearly defeat the deeply echeloned defenses on the southern facing of the Kursk bulge. For instance, “The Battle at Kursk” spends a considerable amount of time analyzing command and control within the Voronezh Front. The book finds that Vatutin, though sometimes maligned because Army Group South defeated his strongest defensive belts (and he then required the Red Army’s strategic reserve in the form of the Steppe Front’s strongest formations to stop Manstein’s thrust) performed well in terms of arranging the defensive effort and responding to the situation as the battle evolved. Nevertheless the author uses the Voronezh Front’s experiences as fodder for a detailed discussion of the Red Army’s command and control problems in 1943 as follows:

                      The majority of the commanders at the level of the Voronezh Front’s army and corps levels, thanks to their talent and combat experience also fully corresponded to their occupied posts. However, a significant portion of the officers on the operational-tactical and especially the tactical level, both of the Voronezh Front and the Red Army as a whole, were poorly prepared in a career sense. They didn’t know how to assess an operational situation quickly and correctly, take adequate decisions and make them known to subordinates, organize the work of headquarters staff to assist them, or arrange cooperation with neighbors. They often became lost in combat situations, demonstrating elementary helplessness. This was one of the main reasons for the high losses in the troops subordinate to them. A weakness of the command staff up to the corps level inclusively was the inability to organize the coordinated action of all types of troops during a battle….these commanders had difficulty getting the army’s components working together productively and poorly handled the operations. Similar problems existed in the German Army, but in the Wehrmacht the training of officers was more rigorous and given primary significance, as incidentally was the case with the individual training of the soldier. Thus its tactical commanders, at the very least, demonstrated an excellent level of professional skill in the course of the Battle of Kursk. This enabled the German divisions and corps to operate successfully with forces that were significantly outnumbered by the Soviet side.
                      Full article here: http://www.globeatwar.com/review/bat...lected-aspects

                      My question still stands. Its only one question but has many parts.

                      What was the period of the war (in 3 month quarters) that the Soviets first begin to reverse the loss ratio of tanks in armored operations small and large. Was it the last quarter of 1943 or any of the quarters in 1944?

                      When did the Soviet tank battalions/brigades/divisions/corps/armies finally start successful coordination with

                      1. Artillery support
                      2. Infantry support
                      3. Aerial support
                      4. communications (radio transmission) between the tanks and parts 1, 2 and 3
                      5. communications (wireless radio transmission)) between tank crews
                      6. command and control from the top down and vice versa



                      Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 16 Jan 20, 16:39.
                      Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                      • Originally posted by pamak View Post
                        And this brings the question of when the commander of higher formations will determine that the time has come for committing his second echelon, and if that second echelon will be used to reinforce a stalling attack or keep waiting and be ready to be used in an exploitation.
                        In the Red Army general staff study of the war experiences from operations of winter-spring 1942/43 (Ostrogoshsk-Rossoh', Voronezh-Kastorne) for developing the tactical penetration into an operational breakthrough with tank and mechanized corps. "The most favorable moment of commitment came as the infantry completed its breakthrough of the strongest enemy defensive line, usually the first position and before the regimental sector of the enemy defense." Commitment of armored forces too early resulted in significant losses; commitment too late allowed the Germans to restore the situation with local counterattacks. The Red was gaining a sense of timing of timing for the coordination of armored forces in the operational breakthrough.

                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                          My question to Mr. Armstrong would be when the new theories of Soviet tank tactics first started to pay dividends and there was a reversal in the loss ratio of tanks on the eastern front.

                          Certainly, half way through 1943 they still were making the same mistakes since 1941 and if one reads the latest material available on the battle of Kursk (July 43) it supports my statement here
                          Spinning off the previous post, the General Staff War Experience Study Vol. 8, published in August-October 1943, identified two missions for the armored forces in two stages: infantry support for the breakthrough and exploitation. It was important "to exploit and consolidate promptly the gains achieved by them in order not to miss the right opportunity, as was the case, for example in the area of Kharkov in March 1943." The study's Kharkov reference was to a previous operational disaster by the 3rd Tank Army and General Popov's armored group southeast of Kharkov at the hands of FM von Manstein's forces. The Soviet armored units became overextended and were destroyed by German panzer units attacking their flanks. This hard learn lessons resulted in artillery, anti-tank, and engineer mobile obstacles units being allocated to flank security.

                          After stopping the Germans, the Soviet counteroffensives north and south of the Kursk salient drove to the Dnepr primarily because of the depleted German forces. There were still numerous problems by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tanks Armies in the north, and the 1st and 5th Tank Armies in the south were depleted during the defensive phase. The 5th GTA at Korsun is a good example of using the lessons learned. But I think the Red Army's armored formations really hit their stride in the summer offensives of 1944 to the end of the war.
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                            In the Red Army general staff study of the war experiences from operations of winter-spring 1942/43 (Ostrogoshsk-Rossoh', Voronezh-Kastorne) for developing the tactical penetration into an operational breakthrough with tank and mechanized corps. "The most favorable moment of commitment came as the infantry completed its breakthrough of the strongest enemy defensive line, usually the first position and before the regimental sector of the enemy defense." Commitment of armored forces too early resulted in significant losses; commitment too late allowed the Germans to restore the situation with local counterattacks. The Red was gaining a sense of timing of timing for the coordination of armored forces in the operational breakthrough.

                            Not sure how to take the bold part.
                            Is it equivalent to say " The most favorable moment of commitment came as the infantry completed its breakthrough of the strongest enemy defensive line, usually the position of the forward battalions of a regiment on the defense?

                            Is this Soviet study available in English?
                            p.s. It seems it is this book https://www.amazon.com/Rollback-Offe.../dp/191077717X
                            In Kindle only $ 4.99!!
                            Last edited by pamak; 17 Jan 20, 03:16.
                            My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by pamak View Post


                              Not sure how to take the bold part.
                              Is it equivalent to say " The most favorable moment of commitment came as the infantry completed its breakthrough of the strongest enemy defensive line, usually the position of the forward battalions of a regiment on the defense?

                              Is this Soviet study available in English?
                              p.s. It seems it is this book https://www.amazon.com/Rollback-Offe.../dp/191077717X
                              In Kindle only $ 4.99!!
                              I don't know if Vol. 5, Collection of Materials on the Study of War Experience has been published in English. The volumes that have been published in English have been volumes dedicated to a single operation, such as:
                              Battle of Moscow edited by Michael Parrish, 1989;
                              Battle for Stalingrad edited by Louis Rotundo, 1989;
                              Kharkov, 1942, Anatomy of a Military Disaster by David Glantz, 1998;
                              Belolrussia 1944: The Soviet General Staff Study, translated and edited by David Glantz and Harold Orenstein, 2001;
                              The Battle For Lvov July 1944, The Soviet General Staff Study translated by Glantz and Orenstein, 2002;
                              The Battle for Kursk 1943, SGS Study, by Glantz and Orenstein, 2001;
                              The Berlin Operation 1945:Soviet General Staff edited and translated by Richard Harrison, 2016.

                              These are the volumes that I have in English. Harrison, I think, has published a couple more. Orenstein has published Vol. 1 (The Initial Period of War), Vol 2 (The winter Campaign 1941-42)**, and Vol 3 (Military Operations 1941 and 1942). I have not acquired these, but I have the first 21 volumes in Russian. I believe the complete set may have about 28-29 volumes. Volume 18 was the last volume published during the war; the remainder were post-war studies on their experiences.

                              ** I know Orenstein has translated more volumes beyond Volume 3. Those listed above was published by Frank Kass (British) and was bought out by Taylor and Francis Group (British) which is where you can track down the above and any subsequent publications.
                              Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 17 Jan 20, 06:58.
                              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by pamak View Post
                                Not sure how to take the bold part.
                                Is it equivalent to say " The most favorable moment of commitment came as the infantry completed its breakthrough of the strongest enemy defensive line, usually the position of the forward battalions of a regiment on the defense?
                                The last "uncommitted reserve" wins the "battle".

                                An ancient concept.

                                But on the Russian front it took on a dimension never seen before, maybe not after either.
                                Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

                                Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

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