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  • Apart from few rubber or plywood boats there was no organic bridging equipment in brigades or corps. Motorized engineer brigade of late-war tank armies had one pontoon battalion with a bridging park (N2P). That was the only organic bridging element AFAIK.

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    • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
      Apart from few rubber or plywood boats there was no organic bridging equipment in brigades or corps. Motorized engineer brigade of late-war tank armies had one pontoon battalion with a bridging park (N2P). That was the only organic bridging element AFAIK.
      Looking through Soviet force structure, agree with you on brigades. However, in tank corps:
      July '42 - Engineer Co.
      Sep '43 - Aug '45 - Sapper Bn

      In Mech Corps:
      Sep '42 - '45 - Sapper/ Engineer Bn

      In tank army:

      Jan '43 - Engineer Bn
      Jun-Aug '44--Adds Motorized Engineer Bde (2 Mot Eng Bns, 1 Pontoon Bridge Bn)

      I'll have to dig up Losik to see if he has anything additional.
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

      Comment


      • Losik has the same additions to forces noted in post above.

        Losik's work has a chapter on water crossings, and it notes "the difficulties caused by the shortage of river crossing equipment" in tank forces. Generally, he has examples of improvising with local materials and reinforced forward detachments with the mission to capture bridges in tact.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
          Looking through Soviet force structure, agree with you on brigades. However, in tank corps:
          July '42 - Engineer Co.
          Sep '43 - Aug '45 - Sapper Bn

          In Mech Corps:
          Sep '42 - '45 - Sapper/ Engineer Bn
          Yep, but they didn't have bridging parks or similar equipment (see attachment). Corps engineer battalions were authorized 9 rubber boats and some swimming suits and that was all. I've already said about a pontoon bridge park in the army's motorized engineer brigade. A complete heavy pontoon park was a cumbersome stuff: it required almost 100 trucks for transportation.
          From the same file the amount of engineer equipment and materials allotted to a tank brigade of 1944 was generally unimpressive: 4 mine-searchers, 90 anti-tank mines, 1 demolition exploder, some amount of explosive, 90 detonators, 25 camo robes, camouflage nets, entrenching tool, hand saws, axes, wire cutters, electric flashlights and some similar stuff. Unsurprisingly, that was seen as a bare minimum.
          Attached Files

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          • Changes in organization proposed by the 106 Tank Brigade (again after the Kozelsk operation, August-September 1942):

            1-2. Experience demonstrated that each brigade of the tank corps receives its own sector. Hence, tank brigades should be uniformly organized (*) and capable of breaking organized defense - they should have some number of heavy tanks. Consequently proposed organization:
            - one heavy tank battalion (3 companies of KV tanks) and one light company (T-70) as a more mobile units, whose principal task is protection of heavy tanks from tank hunters and AT guns. Total 15 KVs and 10 T-70
            - two medium battalions (2 companies of T-34 and one company of T-70) - total 21 T-34, 10 T-70
            Total in the brigade: 15 KV, 45 T-45, 30 T-70 (90 tanks)
            3. Motorized rifle battalion should be strengthened based on a ratio of one infantry squad per tank, total 900-1000 men, which would make the brigade more self-sustained.
            4. Truck-drawn anti-tank battery didn't prove its worth, since it was not capable to constantly accompany tanks
            5. Instead of the anti-tank battery an anti-aircraft battery and a AA machine gun platoon are needed for protection against air attacks, especially on bivouacs and during transportation by rail.
            6. A reconnaissance company is needed equipped with wheeled and tracked vehicles (armored cars and light tanks). Recce company is especially valuable during offensive march and before meeting engagement.
            7. Stronger engineer elements for clearing minefields, repair of roads and river crossing
            8. Chemical reconnaissance and chemical degassing elements.
            9. All tanks should be equipped with radios for better command&control.

            II. Proposed organization of the tank corps: at least three tank brigades and a motorized rifle division with strong artillery, strong reconnaissance battalion, recon airplanes. Such strengthened tank corps would be capable of executing tactical and operational mission and replacing the present tank army.
            https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=454978956

            * In the Kozelsk operation tank corps of the 3 Tank Army consisted of one heavy KV and T-70) and two medium (T-34 and T-70) tank brigades each.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
              Yep, but they didn't have bridging parks or similar equipment (see attachment). Corps engineer battalions were authorized 9 rubber boats and some swimming suits and that was all. I've already said about a pontoon bridge park in the army's motorized engineer brigade. A complete heavy pontoon park was a cumbersome stuff: it required almost 100 trucks for transportation.
              From the same file the amount of engineer equipment and materials allotted to a tank brigade of 1944 was generally unimpressive: 4 mine-searchers, 90 anti-tank mines, 1 demolition exploder, some amount of explosive, 90 detonators, 25 camo robes, camouflage nets, entrenching tool, hand saws, axes, wire cutters, electric flashlights and some similar stuff. Unsurprisingly, that was seen as a bare minimum.
              Thanks for the attachment, I will learn some engineer equipment and terms!!
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                I'm not saying that they couldn't be employed for some auxiliary tasks (communications, reconnaissance etc) but they couldn't perform tasks of "tanks" in normal sense of the world and didn't justify resources needed for production, maintenance, crews training etc. So again, they were needed in such numbers.
                More (badly needed) trucks produced by the GAZ in lieu of ersatz-tanks seems a better option to me. Then, an armored tractor capable of towing a 76-mm gun would be a veritable Über-vehicle in 1941 or 1942 and would make a killer combination with tanks. A tracked self-propelled anti-aircraft vehicle was another thing desperately needed. Even continuation of "Komsomolets" tractor production would be valuable.
                https://warspot.ru/17363-boevaya-sarancha
                https://warspot.ru/16117-teoriya-bro...otechestvennoy

                When those tanks were produced, Germans were closing to Moscow. Trucs is good but tanks wever needed much more. The motor department on GAZ was taken over by Narkomate of Aviation. T-60 xasn't powerful enough for the guns of divisional artillery.
                There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Emtos View Post
                  T-60 xasn't powerful enough for the guns of divisional artillery.
                  Lw81opEQAcxtI8Ag3B_UIxSHLE8aYkbbSvrDY16LlvQz8oLgm8WC_DC4-qMc7PePzc9yFv8A.jpg


                  Sure T-60 wasn't powerful enough to tow F-22 with a limber/caisson (full weight 2.8 ton). ZIS-3 without a limber (1.2 ton) seemed to be manageable under certain conditions.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Emtos View Post
                    The motor department on GAZ was taken over by Narkomate of Aviation.
                    So? I didn't interfere with production of T-60s.

                    Pasholok agrees essentially that T-60s were produced at the expense of trucks and gun tractors (so there was an option to produce trucks and tractors instead). Whether it was really a good things is highly debatable given very modest capabilities of this tank. The decision to launch it into production and manufacture 10,000 units in 1941 alone is indicative of a panic mood of Soviet leadership and doesn't seem to be well thought-out.

                    Comment


                    • Also some curious numbers from a Pasholok's article (link given above):
                      Soviet tanks available on 1.1.42:
                      403 KV
                      651 T-34
                      2742 T-26
                      710 T-30 and T-60
                      others - ?
                      I guess that only includes tanks with units, but not those at factories or repair bases

                      Similar figures for 1.1.43:
                      1376 KVs
                      6465 T-34
                      1977 T-60
                      3042 T-70
                      375 Matildas
                      672 Valentines
                      502 M3 medium (Grants/Lees)

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                        When I read the engineer/sapper company request, I immediately thought for fording, ferrying, and with augmentation bridging some streams and small rivers.
                        Soviet tank divisions of per-war establishment included a motorized pontoon battalion, a full mobilized strength was supposed to be 732 men and more than 140 trucks:
                        https://forum.axishistory.com/viewto...72151#p2172151
                        The battalion was equipped was one N2P heavy pontoon park (48 pontoon boats and other equipment and materials) which provided for construction of a 60-meters bridge of 60 ton capacity (that is suitable for heavy tanks) or a 100 meters bridge of 30 tons capacity or a 170 meters bridge of 20 tons capacity. Also, the battalion included a technical company with motor sawmills and pile-driving engines.
                        Theoretically it was a powerful set of equipment and machinery, in practice it doesn't seem that theoretical strength was fully achieved. Again, tank/mechanized brigades and tank/mechanized corps formed after the start of the war had no bridging equipment whatsoever.

                        For comparison the German armored divisions of 1941 had one B and one K bridging column in their engineer battalions. B column was a pontoon bridging park similar to the Soviet N2P but smaller (16 pontoon boats, 6 assault motor boats, 2 cutters):
                        https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn7331jun44.htm
                        The column could build a 50 meters-long bridge of 20 tons capacity (that is suitable for Pz-III or Pz-IV tanks).
                        K column could build a box girder bridge of 20 tons capacity and something like a 80 meters maximum length. The column included about 80 men and 24 trucks for transportation of bridge elements and pontoons:
                        https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn7371okt37.htm
                        Also the engineer battalion was supposed to have some number of bridging tanks, but I don't know how many were actually available
                        https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn7166mar40.htm

                        So German bridging capacities were (at least according to TO&Es) a way smaller, on the other hand their bridging elements were less cumbersome.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                          Soviet tank divisions of per-war establishment included a motorized pontoon battalion, a full mobilized strength was supposed to be 732 men and more than 140 trucks:
                          https://forum.axishistory.com/viewto...72151#p2172151
                          The battalion was equipped was one N2P heavy pontoon park (48 pontoon boats and other equipment and materials) which provided for construction of a 60-meters bridge of 60 ton capacity (that is suitable for heavy tanks) or a 100 meters bridge of 30 tons capacity or a 170 meters bridge of 20 tons capacity. Also, the battalion included a technical company with motor sawmills and pile-driving engines.
                          Theoretically it was a powerful set of equipment and machinery, in practice it doesn't seem that theoretical strength was fully achieved. Again, tank/mechanized brigades and tank/mechanized corps formed after the start of the war had no bridging equipment whatsoever.

                          For comparison the German armored divisions of 1941 had one B and one K bridging column in their engineer battalions. B column was a pontoon bridging park similar to the Soviet N2P but smaller (16 pontoon boats, 6 assault motor boats, 2 cutters):
                          https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn7331jun44.htm
                          The column could build a 50 meters-long bridge of 20 tons capacity (that is suitable for Pz-III or Pz-IV tanks).
                          K column could build a box girder bridge of 20 tons capacity and something like a 80 meters maximum length. The column included about 80 men and 24 trucks for transportation of bridge elements and pontoons:
                          https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn7371okt37.htm
                          Also the engineer battalion was supposed to have some number of bridging tanks, but I don't know how many were actually available
                          https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn7166mar40.htm

                          So German bridging capacities were (at least according to TO&Es) a way smaller, on the other hand their bridging elements were less cumbersome.
                          Good data. The pre-war tank divisions within mech corps were both cumbersome units. As noted above, in the war, there were shortages in bridging equipment and a great reliance on material on hand.

                          On the German side, Rommel's 7th PzD ferried its initial tanks across the Meuse River under a smoke screen set up by burning nearby houses during the invasion of France.
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                            So? I didn't interfere with production of T-60s.

                            Pasholok agrees essentially that T-60s were produced at the expense of trucks and gun tractors (so there was an option to produce trucks and tractors instead). Whether it was really a good things is highly debatable given very modest capabilities of this tank. The decision to launch it into production and manufacture 10,000 units in 1941 alone is indicative of a panic mood of Soviet leadership and doesn't seem to be well thought-out.
                            Trucks and gun tracktors lack any fighting capabilities at all. In the situation of collapse on all fronts, there were no many solutions.
                            There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

                            Comment


                            • Still, the Soviet industry continued production of trucks and tractors after the war start. For example, the same Stalingrad factory that produced T-34s also manufactured STZ artillery tractors until August 42. So it appears that the "tanks before trucks" principle wasn't applied consistently and uniformly. I strongly suspect it was because "10 000 T-60s" plan appealed to comrade Stalin or was inspired by him personally.
                              In general the story looks like a conceptual and planning failure. The SU had some industrial capacities capable of producing light armor and tracked vehicles but was lacking a clear idea what to produce on them. And so ended up manufacturing obviously outdated tanks. Of course, they should think about it before the war started.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                                Still, the Soviet industry continued production of trucks and tractors after the war start. For example, the same Stalingrad factory that produced T-34s also manufactured STZ artillery tractors until August 42. So it appears that the "tanks before trucks" principle wasn't applied consistently and uniformly. I strongly suspect it was because "10 000 T-60s" plan appealed to comrade Stalin or was inspired by him personally.
                                In general the story looks like a conceptual and planning failure. The SU had some industrial capacities capable of producing light armor and tracked vehicles but was lacking a clear idea what to produce on them. And so ended up manufacturing obviously outdated tanks. Of course, they should think about it before the war started.
                                T-50 was sheduled to be produced but it was to complex for factories other than those already busy with T-34/KV. Komsomolets were outdated like many pre-war vehicles. T-60 wasn't that bad. Germans massively used Pz II which weren't much better. As a tankette to support infantry and heavier tanks, it could be useful.
                                There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

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