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  • #91
    What other side, German?

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    • #92
      Both German and Soviet. I'm interested in the evaluation and knowledge from the other side and impact on his own organiation evolution.
      There are no Nazis in Ukraine. Idiots

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      • #93
        A comparative analysis of the US Field Manuals FM 17-32 (Tank Company) and FM 17-33 (Tank Battalions). I was especially interested in points contrasting to Soviet doctrine:
        - A strong emphasize on combination of fire and movement, which is thought be a key principle for tanks employment. Every maneuver of tanks should be supported by fire from other tanks elements, artillery, heavy infantry weapons etc. Maneuver and supporting elements can alternate.
        - The use of linear formations is strongly discouraged from and it is considered to be only suitable for screening missions. Instead both tanks company and tank battalion should be organized in depth to facilitate control and increase the sustaining power. Tank battalion in attack is normally organized in three echelons: assault, support and reserve echelon, which roughly corresponds to the 1st, and 2nd echelons and reserve in Soviet terms. It should be reminded that the US tank company is roughly equivalent to the Soviet late-war tanks battalion/regiment and the US tank battalion to the Soviet tank brigade.
        - A tank attack is expected to advance from one objective to another. The objective is usually well-recognizable terrain feature. The first and the final objectives ere fixed, whereas the intermediate objectives are tentative. Upon reaching the objective tanks reorganize, prepare to meet a possible hostile counterattack, and wait for infantry to catch up and mop up the area controlled by tanks. Upon the reorganization the attack is continued if needed. Note a similarity with a "caterpillar tactics" described above.
        - Rather little attention is given to technique of tank-infantry cooperation. It is said that the order of attack must be flexible and infantry can frequently advance ahead of tanks to remove anti-tank obstacles or to seize terrain unsuitable for tanks.

        Worth to add: US manual FM 17-12 (Tank gunnery) discourages from using fire from a tank while in movement even with a gun stabilizers, saying that is only suitable for exceptional cases.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Emtos View Post
          Both German and Soviet. I'm interested in the evaluation and knowledge from the other side and impact on his own organiation evolution.
          If you are talking about the Germans their tactical armored doctrine from 1941-1942 was superior to the Soviets. This was true in all areas from corps down to battalion level. The Germans basically had 2 full years - 22 June 1941 through 15 July 1943 (Kursk) of Armor corps superiority. This superiority was not just doctrine but command oriented. German panzer divisions had better Generals at the armored corps/division level and better officers from colonel down to captain at regiment - battalion - company levels

          The Germans had developed an armored doctrine of rapid maneuver and breakthrough using command tanks (befehlswagon) and thorough radio communication implementation of tank to tank and tank to infantry. Armored carriers for infantry support were used in the initial breakthrough at the schwerpunkt. They began practicing and perfecting this 3 years before the invasion of Poland and had it perfected after defeating France.

          It took the Soviets a long time before they had the same level of coordination as the Germans but until they fixed the problems they learned from their mistakes with high losses in men and material. I would like see more posts of late 43 until late 44 when they were more successful. Was the success at this stage because of their insane superiority in man power and number of tanks, tactical doctrine advances, or a combination of both.
          Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 20 Jan 19, 16:10.
          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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          • #95
            I'm talking about the structural changes which lead to creation of Soviet tank corps and their evolurtion and also about the evolution of German tank units.
            There are no Nazis in Ukraine. Idiots

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Emtos View Post
              I'm talking about the structural changes which lead to creation of Soviet tank corps and their evolurtion and also about the evolution of German tank units.
              The Structure of German tank/mechanized corps and divisions was in place before their invasion of Poland. If anything once they invaded the Soviet Union they were, even when predominately successful until Kursk, being slowly, through attrition having to re-structure the panzer divisions with far less operational tanks and many of their veteran commanders, especially at the colonel to captain rank, were dead wounded or MIA. You could even say that from mid to late 43 until the end of the war, the Germans devolved while the Soviets evolved. The introduction of radios tank to tank and intercom system by 1944 was probably standard in a large percentage of the Soviet tank formations and their commanders had gained experience. A big plus was the introduction of the T-34/85 with the 3 man turret. The Soviets had become an unstoppable force in 1944.
              Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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              • #97
                It will be interesting to know how much of it was their own invention and how much was the copying of enemy. For exemple, the creation of German tank brigades in 1944 is similar to the same action of Soviets in 1941. I wonder if they get the idea by themselves or decided to do the same.
                There are no Nazis in Ukraine. Idiots

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                • #98
                  Besides the shortcomings noted in my previous post. Losik remarks that the orders and directives noted the poor cooperation of the infantry with tanks. Attention focused on the many cases the infantry would fall behind and not secure the lines captured by the tanks. "The tanks, having broken off from the infantry, would lose their cooperation with the infantry and engage enemy tanks and artillery by themselves, thus suffering great losses." He also notes the advancing tanks did not have the necessary fire support.

                  Another frequent mistake was tanks hurried into battle, without reconnaissance of the terrain and enemy. "The lack of reconnaissance inevitably led to slow operations and made frontal attacks necessary, for opportune covered lines of approach were still unknown. Poor area reconnaissance resulted in tanks finding themselves in minefields or getting stuck in obstacles."

                  These shortcomings were noted in NKO No. 325 with the requirement, "DIS tanks have as their primary mission the destruction of enemy infantry and should not be separated from their own infantry by more than 200-400 meters. Upon the appearance of enemy tanks on the battlefield, artillery should conduct the primary fight against them. Tanks can engage the enemy tanks only in the event of a clear superiority in forces and advantageous position."

                  To be continued
                  Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 21 Jan 19, 09:27.
                  Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Emtos View Post
                    I'm talking about the structural changes which lead to creation of Soviet tank corps and their evolurtion and also about the evolution of German tank units.
                    While I have not studied in detail the changes in German tank units, I use for reference Thomas L. Jentz's two volumes, "Panzen Truppen: The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force: Vol. 1-1933-1942 and Vol 2-1943-1945".

                    The introduction to "Red Army Tank Commanders: The Armored Guards" describes in general force structure changes in the creation of the Soviet tank corps from the early death of mech corps during Barbarossa.

                    Artyom has given us some good posts for discussion on the Red Army tank tactics in the regulations. I am posting a series to give the context of the Red Army's evolution in Direct Infantry Support tank units within the Red Army's system of using their war experiences. I have not found another army in WWII that had established as system for collecting, evaluating, establishing directives for implementing changes and monitoring the employment of the directed changes from their war experiences. Jentz has captured the changes with some commentary examples of the distillation of German war experiences.

                    After I post a series of on DIS tank units, I can give you a gist from the Red Army Tank Commanders introduction on the evolution to the Soviet tank corps.
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                    • Upon reflection of implementing a consistent change or enforcement, it was not as structured on the German side as on the Soviet. A couple of examples come to mind:

                      Reading through the changes on the German side from actionable war experiences was not a straight line. Before Kursk one can see differences in the German defenses. Model, for example, in the northern part of the front fought his units with a shield and sword concept to hold and fight for every bit of turf--much like the Viking shield wall. Manstein, in the southern part of the front, wanted to let the Red Army forces advance then strike with a backhand stroke. Heinrici, in the central part of the front, developed the technique of abandoning the frontline position to avoid the Soviet heavy artillery prep, and counterattack the lead force in confusion when they hit a sack of air. This variety on the German side was more idiosyncratic than a process in distillation of war experiences.

                      Jentz captures the controversy in the truncated German panzer divisions. Many of the panzer commanders wanted the large panzer division. Balck thought the smaller ones would be better commanded and fought. He relied on his experiences in the Chir River battles in which his 11th PzD took on Soviet corps size units with essentially a brigade-size division.
                      Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 21 Jan 19, 10:11.
                      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                      • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                        Worth to add: US manual FM 17-12 (Tank gunnery) discourages from using fire from a tank while in movement even with a gun stabilizers, saying that is only suitable for exceptional cases.
                        Also a curios point: as follows from FM 7-12 indirect fire was considered a normal part of tank gunnery training. I don't think that any of Soviet tank crews received much training in it.

                        Ok, another US manual FM 7-20 (Infantry Battalion) from 1944 contains quite a lot of info regarding combined tank-infantry actions. Some important points:

                        - Decentralized employment was considered normal. A portion of the tank battalion (one or several companies) could be attached to a infantry battalion. In some circumstances a parts from a tank company (platoons) could be attached to rifle companies. In its turn infantry can be attached to tanks units.
                        - Three methods of tanks-infantry attack: tank forward (against weak anti-tank defenses), infantry forward (against strong anti-tank defenses or in difficult terrain), tanks and infantry together (mixed situations, in woods, in close terrain, at night or in conditions of limited visibility)
                        - When tanks lead the attack they advance to the objective (a distinct terrain feature) and wait for the infantry to advance to their level an mop up the remaining resistance). Air bursts of artillery rounds (to which the tank are immune) are typically used to support the tank attack, infantry should be as safe distance
                        - When infantry leads, tanks initially support the attack by fire from standing positions, probably by indirect fire, then join the attack.
                        - When infantry and tanks attacks together no rigid formation is prescribed, by they should be kept at supporting distance. Platoons from a tank company can be attached to rifle companies for better coordination. Infantry protects tanks from tank hunters.
                        - Infantry can ride tanks, normally 4-6 men on each tanks, more in rear areas. Before launching an attacks infantry dismounts (so no attacks with tank riders).
                        - Infantry support is essential: tank can capture the objective but cannot hold if for a prolonged time and should be relieved by infantry before nightfall.


                        There was another American manual FM 17-36 dealing specifically with tanks-infantry cooperation, but I can't find it online.

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                        • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                          Besides the shortcomings noted in my previous post. Losik remarks that the orders and directives noted the poor cooperation of the infantry with tanks. Attention focused on the many cases the infantry would fall behind and not secure the lines captured by the tanks. "The tanks, having broken off from the infantry, would lose their cooperation with the infantry and engage enemy tanks and artillery by themselves, thus suffering great losses." He also notes the advancing tanks did not have the necessary fire support.
                          Infantry should be as close as possible to the tanks at all times but not grouped to tightly. at least one infantryman should be at the rear of the tank for communication with the tank crew. There should be an intercom on the back of the tank for an infantry man to direct firing on targets. When were Soviet tanks provided, eventually, with these intercoms? The Germans had tank to tank and tank to infantry coordination from the beginning as I stated above.

                          Another frequent mistake was tanks hurried into battle, without reconnaissance of the terrain and enemy. "The lack of reconnaissance inevitably led to slow operations and made frontal attacks necessary, for opportune covered lines of approach were still unknown. Poor area reconnaissance resulted in tanks finding themselves in minefields or getting stuck in obstacles."
                          Reconnaissance from planes can give you the enemy troop and tank dispositions and some topography - location of forested area's ect. Ground reconnaissance at the immediate area of operations is critical. However lacking or poor the reconnaissance was, it does no good when the tank has poor interior ergonomics and peripheral vision, in all directions, as in the early versions of the T-34. Two man turrets without cupola's is not beneficial for taking advantage of terrain and enemy locations, even with a reconnaissance mission and report, if you cannot see. Anti tank diches and streams with soft/muddy banks can be spotted with aerial or ground reconnaissance. Attached engineer companies must build appropriate bridging in an expedient manner or choke points/bottlenecks can occur. Minefields detected by ground reconnaissance need to be neutralized by sapper companies. An undetected mine field will be detected once the lead tanks hit them and then the advance penetration as a whole will be stalled.


                          These shortcomings were noted in NKO No. 325 with the requirement, "DIS tanks have as their primary mission the destruction of enemy infantry and should not be separated from their own infantry by more than 200-400 meters. Upon the appearance of enemy tanks on the battlefield, artillery should conduct the primary fight against them. Tanks can engage the enemy tanks only in the event of a clear superiority in forces and advantageous position."
                          Direct infantry support does not function at all if your infantry lags behind or is killed/wounded by enemy rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire. On the flip side, if the tanks get knocked out, the infantry is stranded without armor support. Artillery as a means of knocking out tanks is a sound tactic but there will, on many occasions, be tanks that are hidden in the terrain that the artillery spotters cannot see. Here they need to be spotted by the infantry up front with the tank formations or spotted by the tank commander or another member of the crew. This is not as easy with the early model T-34.
                          Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 21 Jan 19, 16:18.
                          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                          • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                            There should be an intercom on the back of the tank for an infantry man to direct firing on targets. When were Soviet tanks provided, eventually, with these intercoms?
                            Never.

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                            • Besides what I noted above there are more considerations. A Soviet rifle division supported with tank brigades will assign regiments of the division parallel with each other on the axes to a targeted chain of enemy positions opposite them. Tank battalions of the brigade will be attached to each regiment.

                              As an example, an enemy defensive position, fortified with trenches and obstacles/barbed wire, on a frontal width of 6 km could be attacked with the force strength of the example above. Artillery would be used to soften up the furthest forward position of the enemy for 30 minutes and then adjust the fire mission further into the enemy position as your first assault echelon draws near.

                              If your forward penetration targets are a depth of 3 km and any one of the regiments falls behind due to the reasons above it will leave the remaining regiments open to attacks on its flanks. This is why radio contact and coordination with engineers, sappers, infantry, artillery, and armor is critical. A scenario where the regiment in the center makes progress while the regiments to its right and left do not this will create a small salient that the enemy can encircle. If the 2 regiments on the right make progress and the regiment on the left does not then the left flank of the 2 advanced regiments is vulnerable.
                              Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 21 Jan 19, 17:19.
                              Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                                Never.
                                You would know for sure. What was the reason for this?
                                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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