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  • Other remarks and observations concerning tactical employment of the 131 Tank Brigade

    The brigade was committed to action in a piecemeal fashion with only tank battalion available while other elements were still on the march from a detraining station.
    The attack on Troitskoye village was made after a careful reconnaissance on the previous day which determined location of German anti-tank guns in the village. On the morning of 7 February tanks of the 262 Tank Battalion (4 KV and 5 T-34) were deployed on jump-off positions from where they delivered a fire preparation against spotted hostile positions in the western part of Troitskoye. Subsequent attack of tanks and infantry captured the village with small losses. This method compensated for lacking artillery support and was apparently quite successful, although a large ammunition consumption was needed.
    The success at Troitskoye wasn’t developed and the brigade remained idle on 8 February for a lack of fuel. That gave time to German troops to prepare for continuation of attack.
    On 9-12 February the brigade was involved in attacks on a cluster of villages Aleksandrovka, Znamenka, Cherkasskoye (which formed something like one large settlement) with limited supplies (wheeled transport couldn’t operate due to snowdrifts) and meager artillery support (lack of ammo). Coordination with own infantry in street fighting was also lacking. As a result attacks were generally unsuccessful. The brigade commander proposed to change direction of attack but those proposals were declined.
    At least one case when German mines were laid on a trail in snow left by tanks passing on the previous day was noted. Obviously German pioneers used nighttime to lay mines on expected tank routes.
    On 17 February the brigade counterattacked on Bezzabotovka village captured by Germans previously. Tanks started a firefight but own infantry didn’t come and the attack was called off.
    On 18 Bezzabotovka was recaptured but a subsequent pursuit failed. Tanks advanced to the next village (Ocheretino) but infantry was stopped by artillery fire on an open field between Bezzabotovka and Ocheretino.
    On 19-23 February repeated abortive attacks on Ocheretino. Brigade commander’s proposals to change direction of attack were declined.
    Attack on Andreyevka on 28 February is worth to describe in more detail. This operation was prepared much better than previously. The day of 27 February was available for detailed reconnaissance and planning together with infantry (255 Rifle Division), finally a worthwhile artillery support was available, sappers cleared passes in minefields in the night before the attack. Tank made a pincer attack: one battalion attacked the village frontally from the north-west, another battalion enveloped it from the left and attacked the south-east edge of the village and was to block roads leading from Andreyevka. Both were supported by infantry of the 255 Division. The attack captured a part of the village but was checked by aerial attacks of Stukas against troops on the battlefield, staffs and artillery positions. In particular the brigade commander colonel Abramov was mortally wounded by an aerial bomb on the command post of the 255 Rifle Division. Germans brought armor reinforcements and dislodged Soviet tanks and infantry from the village on the evening. As usual blame was put on infantry of the 255 Division for inability to consolidate its gains and lack of firmness to repulse of counterattacks.

    Scheme of attack on Andreyevka from the after-action report of the 131 Tank Brigade


    Andreyevka 28.2.42.jpg

    In first days of March attacks on Andreyevka were continued although only two tanks were left operational.
    General observations:
    Jump-off positions for attack were usually occupied in daytime which disclosed plans to the enemy. Own infantry systematically deployed on jump-off positions 1.5-2 hours later than tanks.
    Due to a lack of motor transport to carry personnel, weapons and ammunition infantry of the motor transport battalion lagged behind tanks, except two companies riding tanks. Tank riders didn’t have heavy weapons which limited support they could provide for tanks. Aerial attacks inflicted heavy losses to tank-borne infantry.
    Anti-aircraft defense was lacking, two available anti-aircraft guns couldn’t be towed by trucks on bad roads.
    Reconnaissance was performed by foot scouts, there were cases when they returned with information too late.
    Last edited by Artyom_A; 10 Apr 20, 13:20.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
      Also noteworthy things:
      - damage inflicted by heavy artillery is frequently mentioned. It is not clear if it was done by direct laying or by indirect fire of batteries
      .
      When a scout platoon leader, I was trained that when first spotting approaching enemy tank formations, I was to call for veritable-time fuse (rounds would explode above ground) fire from artillery. It would catch tank commanders in their open hatch, and the fragmentation from the VT rounds would strip off radio antennas.
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

      Comment


      • Various German instruction of that period recommended employment of concentrated indirect fire of heavy artillery to break tank attacks. Probably it was employed here as well.

        Ok, the German view on the battle for Andreyevka on 28.2.42 from the histories of the 100 Leichte Infanterie Division and Infanterie-Regiment 54,a Russian translation is taken from here:
        https://tankoved34.livejournal.com/19791.html
        https://tankoved34.livejournal.com/42845.html
        I distilled these accounts into essential points

        Andreyevka is defended by various elements under command of the 54 Infantry Regiment/100 Light Division. Soviet attack starts at the morning of 28 February supported by artillery and mortar fire. Soviet infantry accumulates in large masses in the Kopani Balka (gully) north of Andreyevka. From there about two infantry battalions with 3 tanks attack the north-west part of Andreyevka and about an infantry regiment with 6 tanks – the north-east part. They are subject to strong artillery barrage. Tanks halt about 300 meters from the village using small recessions and hollows as defilades and knock out every machine gun nest they spotted, thus giving support to infantry advance. Two German 88-mm Flak guns are not favorably located to engage tanks. Whereas the attacks from the north-west and north are checked, three Russian tanks bypass a minefield in front of the north-east edge of the village. Several men advance behind tanks and clear the minefield despite strong machine gun fire. A Stuka support is called. Soviet troops gradually envelope the village from the east and south-east. One T-34 in front of positions tanks knocks out German weapons so that infantry can advance and occupy first houses on the edge. With support of heavy tanks Soviet infantry advance to the center of the village. Own reserves, assault guns and 88-mm Flak guns regrouped from the north-west part of the village start a counterattack. Flaks destroy one heavy tank, knock out a T-34 tank, two other T-34s are damaged by assault guns. Damaged tanks leave the village, infantry left without tank support is dislodged by a counterattack. At noon positions in the eastern part of Andreyevka are fully recovered. Stukas attack Soviet troops in front of the village. At 13.15 an attack is renewed from the north by two infantry companies with one tank. Just like in the morning the tank takes a hull-down position 300 meters from the village, from where it engages machine gun nests and trenches, while infantry comes close to German positions. One assault gun and one 47-mm self-propelled gun are brought there and destroy the tank, after that infantry retreats. A new Stuka attack on the area between Andreyevka and Bezzabotovka wreaks havoc on Soviet troops which retreat in disarray to Bezzabotovka. A new attack didn’t materialize.

        5ba73d53bf57.jpg

        Conclusions from comparative analysis of this account and 131 TBr after-action report:
        - Soviet use of the gully north of Andreyevka as a defiladed jump-off position for infantry was sound
        - Good level of cooperation between tanks, infantry and sappers is noted. Tank skillfully support infantry advance using hull-down positions in terrain recessions, sappers clear mines under cover of tanks, tanks enter the village only after infantry secures its edge.
        - Two-pronged attack dissipates already limited tank forces of the 131 Brigade. Only the eastern half of attack achieves success, probably because it hits the least defended part of the village. That suggests that concentrated employment of tanks on that direction would be probably more effective.
        - Contrary to tankers’ complains the attack fails when Soviet tanks are knocked out or damaged in street fighting and leave the village. Infantry left without tank support fells prey to a German counterattack.
        - German defenders can maneuver with their forces (men, Flak guns, armor) on streets of village without interference of Soviet artillery which seems to be a key to their ultimate success.
        - German artillery is not neutralized and its fire continues unabated. Soviet tanks are busy with fighting for villages and don’t try to attack battery positions.
        - Aerial attacks of dive bombers materially aided the defense but only after the village was fully recovered. By all probability they couldn’t achieve that in close-range street fighting. Soviet air force cannot prevent hostile aerial bombing.
        Last edited by Artyom_A; 10 Apr 20, 13:21.

        Comment


        • Interestingly, one can see from Artyom's tank brigade examples that through March 1942, there were still fundamentals in tactics and support for even the brigade size force. With the formation of tank and mech corps in 1942, the learning curve starts again for corps level tactics and support. Also, the separate tank and mech corps began to receive operational level missions in addition to tactical assignments.
          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

          Comment


          • Thanks Art for the English translations of these very important Red Army tank tactics and other observations concerning Red Army tanks.

            Richard your Red Army Tank Commanders book proved very useful to me. I believe I had mentioned earlier on the thread about Valeriy Zamulin's book trilogy and its very important information for this thread in which Zamulin's sources for the Soviet side of the Kursk battle are 100% from the TsAMO RF. IMO Zamulin's 3 books are a "must have" when researching the battle of Kursk and much of the Soviet content with regards to tank tactics can be used for the remainder of the war post Kursk.

            Some things I have remembered from book 3 "The Forgotten Battle Of The Kursk Salient" in which the books content is focused mainly on the 7th and 6th Guards Army's along with the 69th Army.

            262nd Heavy Tank Regiment, with 21 operational KV 1 was used in dug in positions behind the rifle divisions in case of a penetration through the rifle divisions. The KV's were also moved around throughout 5 - 13 July and were very instrumental on the defense especially when III Panzer Corps as a whole broke through the first belt of Soviet defensive system and were conducting operations to penetrate the Soviets second defensive belt. Almost all of the KV's were still operational at the conclusion of the Kursk battle. Zamulin does not specifically mention KV's mechanical failures but my take on it was they performed fairly well for what their planned assignments were (which was determined prior to the start of the battle).

            There was another heavy tank battalion with 4 British Churchill tanks (I forgot the battalions number) on the right flank of 6th Guards Army and left flank of 69th Army. The Churchill's, along with Matilda's and T34's, helped delay III Panzer Corps penetration into the Soviet 69th Army and subsequent breakthrough into operational depth where they were attempting to reach Prokhorovka and join up with and maintain shoulder to shoulder contact with IISS Panzer corps.

            All individual Soviet tank regiments and battalions were to be deployed in counterattacks in cooperation with the rifle divisions.

            In case of an obvious German axis of penetration a tank grouping was subordinate to the rifle division in which the commander of the rifle division observed through reconnaissance large concentrations of panzer groupings (panzerkampfgruppen) opposite his front along the obvious German advance area.

            During the Soviet counterattack tanks must remain in contact with the riflemen at all times. The counterattack was to be a joint assault of tanks and riflemen.

            The supporting tank group must remain together and not dispersed piecemeal among the rifle division.

            Artillery support to suppress German artillery will support the counterattack so that the tanks' supporting riflemen do not take heavy losses which leads to panic and subsequent lagging behind or stopping of their advance with the tanks leaving the tanks alone and vulnerable. Reconnaissance by air or ground prior to a counterattack must be carried out to determine the positions of the German artillery batteries. The German artillery groups must be destroyed with our own artillery and aerial bombing prior to and during the counterattack.

            It is important that when it is possible, the forward line achieved during the counterattack must be held. If a subsequent German counterattack is imminent to take back the ground gained all damaged but repairable tanks must be towed back behind friendly lines and not left on the battlefield.

            All damaged German tanks must be thoroughly observed and measures taken to damage them in total so the Germans, when retaking lost ground cannot repair them.

            Although the above tactics were already part of Soviet tank doctrine before the battle of Kursk and were implemented successfully most of the time but there were far to many cases where they were either ignored by the rifle division commander (in deploying tanks in separate groupings), and, in most cases the German artillery was not properly zeroed in and destroyed by Soviet artillery or the Soviet aviation missed the artillery targets which led to the breaking up and standing still in time of the riflemen by German artillery.

            Richard it is worth noting that during the battle of Kursk the Soviet Katyusha's were used as anti tank weapons! When I have time I will check Zamulin's books which mention the way in which they were deployed.
            Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 10 Apr 20, 14:43.
            Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

            Comment


            • Yes, Rokossovsky was keen on mobile katyusha launchers (in previous operations) used in a direct fire mode with artillery for an antitank force stopping Model's large panzer force. Their use in such a mode required preparation of ramps which would lower the angle of the guide rails. So, it took foresight in using the Katyushas and putting in the ramps on the most likely avenue of approach used by the Germans--the Front staff estimate was correct.
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

              Comment


              • From the memoirs of I.K. Morozov commander of the 81st Guards Rifle Division of the 25th Guards Rifle Corps which were subordinate to the 7th Guards Army as part of Vatutin's Voronezh Front opposite German Army Detachment Kempf's III Panzer Corps and corps Raus:

                Morning of 7 July 1943:

                20 German tanks, 10 self propelled guns and up to one and a half infantry regiments advancing from the south toward Mickhailovka and the Machine Tractor Station; 60 tanks and self propelled guns and up to 2 infantry regiments of the Germans were attacking the "Day Of Harvest" collective farm toward Kreida. Flame throwing tanks and infantry advancing in their wake had already broken through to the railyards and were pushing toward the commanders observation post.

                However, 2 battalions of Katyusha rocket launchers with thermite rockets that had been deeply dug into the ground at the railroad embankment and had been patiently waiting for them for a long time. Not far to the east of them stood our famous anti tank battalion led by the bravest gunner Captain Georgii Sushitsky [87th Guards Separate Destroyer Anti Tank Artillery Battalion], whom our Guardsmen called "The War Hawk" for his energy and dash, ready to fire over open sights.

                The tanks, emitting black smoke and fire, crawled toward the railroad embankment with self propelled guns accompanying them. Some were carrying sub machine gunners on their armor. Now the group had crossed the low ground in front of the railroad, and the tanks began to climb upward. At this moment a volley of our anti tank artillery and a salvo from our Guards mortars rang out. Everything became jumbled together, explosions and flames....The Katyusha thermite warheads were shattering on the tanks armor and sending out billowing streams of fire. Machines and Nazi soldiers were being consumed in the flames. The self propelled guns were bumping into the tanks and running over their own infantry.

                The battalions of Captain Kachanov, Antonov, Akimov, Iarko and Zavodsky rose on the counterattack and finished off the work of the artillery gunners with bayonets. A sudden silence rose over the Kreida Railyard.

                Morozov, Polki srazhalis po - Gvardeisky Richard could you kindly translate the title of Morozov's book?




                Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 10 Apr 20, 14:39.
                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                Comment


                • [QUOTE=Kurt Knispel;n5184045]

                  Morozov, Polki srazhalis po - Gvardeisky Richard could you kindly translate the title of Morozov's book?

                  /QUOTE]

                  The Regiments Fought On

                  I'm still working on the first ten experimental Katyusha batteries where eight of them are in the battles for Smolensk, Vyazma and Yel'nia and the battles on the approach to Moscow. I have tucked your post in my files for when I will arrive at Kursk. I went through Kursk through the eyes of the tankers. This will be interesting to look at the battles through the eyes of rocketeers.
                  Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 11 Apr 20, 01:16.
                  Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                  Comment


                  • Thanks Richard for the translation. That combat story from Morozov's book was taken from Valerie Zamulin's book 3 of his Kursk trilogy "The Forgotten Salient" page 321. Zamulin sprinkles many individual Soviet soldier excerpts from their memoirs throughout the book. Here is what Zamulin had to say about Morozov's text from "The Regiments Fought On";

                    Morozov's memoirs came out in the early 60's, and thus like the majority of publications of that time, it is overflowing with heroic pathos, but rather sparse in details. They only show the outline of the events, with respect to facts, the author rarely sinned (there is the sense that Morozov relied not only on his own memory, but also worked with documents); practically all of the events described in his memoirs actually took place. For this reason this source is valuable.
                    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                    Comment


                    • The rocket launchers were not intended to counter tanks. However in the course of the battle of Kursk the Soviet side had to resort to them in order to repel tank attacks, including in the 7th Guards Army sector, and they proved to be rather effective. The aggregation and analysis of such experience probably wasn't conducted after the battle, because so far no such documents have been found. Therefore the examples of Katyusha rockets that are sighted in the books by veterans of the battle are quite interesting. They briefly testify that the Voronezh fronts defense rested on the initiative and creative approach to combat work of the soldiers and officers. So that the reader might become convinced of this, I will cite the recollection of a former commander of a BM - 13 rocket artillery battery of the 79th Guards Mortar Regiment M.P. Ivanikhin:

                      We knew that the Fascists would be using a large quantity of tanks, and so it was necessary to learn to conduct direct fire from open firing positions at approaching enemy tanks. I immediately want to stipulate that the Katyusha couldn't really place targeted fire; it wasn't tube artillery. Its minimal range of fire at targets is just 400 meters, because of the fact that the guide rails are angled upwards. In order to place direct fire, it was necessary to point the guide rails directly at a target, and for this reason it was necessary to dig the ground beneath the wheels of the truck so that they settled into this pit and the guide rails became parallel to the ground, which means they were pointing directly at the target.

                      On 30 June 1943 test firing was conducted in out battery, which demonstrated that it was possible to fire in this manner. We drove out into a balka - a deep ravine that was overgrown with woods here and there, and set out targets. We dug the pit, which the forward wheels of the Studebakers would be entering, carefully aimed the weapon at a target, and fired one rocket. However, our rocket launchers and shells were designed for firing at area targets, so the scattering of the rockets was quite high. Thus, the rocket exploded 50 meters to the right of the target. We didn't fire any more rockets, it was clear that it would be possible to hit a tank in this way only if all 16 rockets were fired in a salvo. The attacking tanks would unquestionably stop if a warhead struck the tank itself, a track was broken or the fragments would hit the engine. The experience was later very beneficial in the course of the battle of Kursk, when we often had to fire from open firing positions.
                      Zamulin:

                      I want to add that the rocket launching crews also worked out, and then employed a means of firing a Katyusha so the shell would ricochet. At a certain angle of incidence with the ground it would ricochet upward by 8 - 12 meters, and if the detonator triggered at that height, the area of damage would significantly increase. Although all of the above listed techniques were not in the manuals, or part of the training curriculum, they often bailed out the Guardsman when in a pinch.

                      In the course of the battle of Kursk, not only the larger BM - 13 rocket launcher was used widely, but also the BM - 8 and other rocket launchers. For example, in order to damage or destroy enemy armor on the central front, the BM - 30 rocket launcher was used rather widely. They equipped 3 brigades of the 5th Guards Mortar Division of the 4th Guards Artillery Breakthrough Corps of the Supreme Command Reserve. According to Soviet data, between 7 and 12 July this guards mortar division brewed up 58 German tanks. Even so, because of the construction and low mobility, it was difficult to use these systems for defensive fighting on tank vulnerable directions.
                      Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                      Comment


                      • Kurt, Thanks for the source. I thought Morozov's memoirs had to be in Russian. So, I was wondering how you could quote an excerpt and then ask for the title translation. I have not run across the ricochet technique. As noted previously, the anti-tank role was pre-meditated on Rokossovsky's Front.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                        Comment


                        • A broader look on battle of the 28 February 1942 on the South Front. Situation: on 28.2.42 the South Front starts a major offensive in South Ukraine which, if successful, would give it a full control of the Donetsk Coal Basin area. The focal point is the sector of the 57 Soviet Army, which attacks with a shock groups composed of 4 rifle divisions, each paired with one tank brigade
                          255 Division - with 131 Tank Brigade
                          106 RD - with 121 TBr
                          216 RD - with 15 TBr
                          14 Guard RD - with 6 TBr
                          These units are deployed on the frontage of approximately 12 kilometers. Terrain in the area is an open rolling plain.
                          On the opposite side the front was defended by various units under control of the 100 Light Infantry Division. Two large villages on the forward line - Andreyevka and Ocheretino were occupied by 54 Infantry Regiment (+various elements) and 100 Reconnaissance Battalion respectively. Further back two other villages - Gromovaya Balka and Golubovka were defended by the Walloon Legion (aka 373 Infantry Battalion) and I Battalion/SS Regiment Germania.
                          Situation map:

                          28.2.42.png
                          Scheme from a history of the 100 le. Infanterie-Division
                          https://imgprx.livejournal.net/99dff...3H8nvL47u8X068

                          As of 27 February 1942 the South Front possessed the following tank strength:

                          57 Army:
                          4 Guards Tank Brigade - 1 KV and 6 T-34 operational; 5 T-34 under repair
                          6 Tank Brigade - 5 KV, 13 T-34, 4 T-26 operational; 2 KV, 3 T-34, 5 T-26 under repair
                          15 Tank Brigade - 17 T-34 operational, 1 KV and 4 T-34 under repair
                          121 Tank Brigade - 3 KV, 13 T-34 operational; 7 KV and 2 T-34 under repair
                          130 Tank Brigade - 1 KV and 6 T-34 operational; 3 KV and 3 T-34 under repair
                          131 Tank Brigade - 3 KV, 5 T-34 operational; 1 T-34 under repair
                          9 Army:
                          12 Tank Brigade - 4 T-34, 13 T-34 operational; 3 KV and 6 T-34 under repair
                          37 Army:
                          2 Tank Brigade - 7 KV, 6 T-34 operational; 5 KV and 6 T-34 under repair
                          Kamkov's operational group:
                          54 Tank Brigade - 2 KV, 3 T-34, 6 T-26 operational; 5 KV, 2 T-34, 4 T-26 under repair
                          3 Tank Brigade - 5 KV and 7 T-34 operational; 7 KV and 7 T-34 under repair
                          62 Tank Battalion - 2 BT and 13 T-26 operational; 9 T-26 under repair

                          Characteristically, T-60s were not even counted in this document, although they were present and some even took a part in action.

                          Simple observation about this plan:
                          + clear focal point of attack
                          + simple organization of tank support (one tank brigade given to each attacking division)
                          + at last 1-2 days (26 and 27 February) were available for detailed planning and orders of local commanders
                          - main effort is made in the area where attacks were already launched in a previous week or more
                          - each tank brigade was essentially just a handful of tanks
                          - more than half of the tank strength was elsewhere
                          - lack of artillery and especially artillery ammunition

                          Comment


                          • The frontage of a unit in the attack was a density index factor. Radzievskii's in his study "Proryv" (Breakthrough), notes for the Berlin operation the offensive sectors in the 2nd Belorussian Front achieved 9 kilometers per division, lst Belorussian--7 km, and 1st Ukrainian--10.5 km. (1st Ukrainian had dense wooded areas in their sector.)
                            Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 13 Apr 20, 16:02.
                            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                            Comment


                            • Attack on Ocheretino on 28 February 1942: infantry (216 and 14 Guards Rifle Divisions, 23 Rifle Brigade) attack the village from the front while 15 and 6 Tank Brigades envelop it from both flanks. In particular, 15 TBr starts an attack after infantry of the 216 RD reaches the road from Ocheretino to Andreyevka. 1st tank battalion transports 90 infantry riders to the western part of Ocheretino where they dismount, then envelops the village from west and south. 2nd Tank Battalion stays in reserve. Motor rifle battalion (save tank-riders) follows the 1st Tank Battalion on foot. Plan of attack:
                              00000046.jpg

                              6 Tank Brigade: deploys on jump-off positions north of O. After an artillery preparation 2nd Tank Battalion (5 KV, 9 T-34) carrying a company of the motor rifle battalion envelops O. and attacks it from the east. Two tanks from the battalion envelop O. from the south and block retreat routes. 1st Tank Battalion (3 T-34, 4 T-26) supports maneuver of 2nd Tank Battalion with fire then makes a front attack on O. supported by two companies of the motor rifle battalion.

                              6 TBr Ocheretino.jpg

                              On 27 February tank brigades commanders made reconnoitering together with commanders and staff of respective divisions and settled details pf plans on the spot.

                              On the morning of 28 February the attack started according to a plan. Ocheretino was captured after a brief combat by 10.30 AM. Large spoils (field and anti-tank guns and others) were captured. Own losses were: 6 Tank Brigade: in the 2nd Battalion 2 T-34 were knocked out by hollow-charge rounds (one beyond repair), 1 KV and 1 T-34 were damaged by mines. In the 1st Tank Battalion - 1 T-26 run into a mine. Tanks damaged by mines were repaired by the end of the day. 15 Tank Brigade: 3 T-34 were knocked out by cannon fire, 2 were damaged by mines. After-action report of the 15 TBr blamed the tank battalion commander for losses, saying that he made a direct attack on the village rather then bypassing and enveloping it as required by the plan. Brigade commander couldn't correct him for a lack of radio on tanks.
                              The history of the 100 Light Infantry Division briefly mentions that the garrison of Ocheretino was overwhelmed by "45 heavy and super-heavy tanks".
                              In general the attack was a complete success for the following reasons:
                              - employment of a large number of tanks (38 operational tanks in 15 and 6 Tank Brigades)
                              - sound plan - mobility of tank was utilized for maneuver and envelopment, a small part was used for pinning down from the front. Frontal attack was mostly executed by slow and less mobile foot infantry.
                              - good synchronization between infantry and tanks. In participial the 15 TBr attacked only after own infantry came advanced close to the village
                              - sufficient time was given for detailed planning.
                              Relatively large losses (10 tanks with various scale of damage) were a result of a strength of mines and anti-tank defenses, which were probably strengthened after attacks on previous days.

                              Capture of Ocheretino was the single material success of the large Soviet offensive on 28 February. Characteristically, attempts to develop it were unsuccessful and further attacks on that day were checked.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                                Capture of Ocheretino was the single material success of the large Soviet offensive on 28 February. Characteristically, attempts to develop it were unsuccessful and further attacks on that day were checked.
                                Sustaining an offensive operation was a major issue well into 1943. One of Zhukov's observations in his memoirs which hit the censorship's editing room floor was on the "supplied high-performance Studebaker trucks for the U.S. Lend-Lease program which was important to the motorization of Soviet artillery prior to the Kursk Battle" [This censored piece along with others came out in Zhukov's three-volume memoirs in 1992]. From my current research, drivers from trucks used in the Katyusha rocket units (Guards Mortar Units), found the Studebaker and Ford trucks had a better trafficability in mud, speed, and transport capability over the ZIS-6. The ZIS-6 carrying capacity was 3 tons; Studebaker 5 tons. The Katyusha launch system was too heavy. Some observers attribute the early capture of Katyusha launchers to the poor performance of the ZIS-6 and an inability to escape. I believe, many of the situations in the early battles made tactical escape for most vehicles difficult.

                                Additionally, I would add that the motorization of the support units with faster and more carrying capability, helped in increasing the sustainment of logistical and other support in offensive operations.
                                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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