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  • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
    See the point 5 here:
    https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...64#post5088464
    So it was contrary to what the manual prescribed.
    Exactly, surprising for those who believed the Red Army was an unthinking foe. Yet, I found often in German memoirs and accounts that they would praise the Red Army for its ability to improvise.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
      IMO its just common sense to have a com in the back of the tank for fire direction and general information. All of the belligerents of WWII came up with many new tactical combat ideas during the course of the war which makes it hard to believe that a simple thing like a com for tank crew/infantry communication was overlooked.
      The fact that frequencies used by American tank and infantry radios didn't overlap seemed to contribute to this invention. I believe, telephones were not in such short supply, and the idea of external tank phone was technically simple, however nobody come up with it. Tank phone could be also useful for communications within the tank unit in static positions or with observation posts, security outposts etc.
      Of course, radio was the most reliable means of communication both between tanks and between tanks and supporting arms. In Soviet infantry radios were relatively scarce, normally one radio per battalion at the end of the war, and, I guess, even less in 1942-43. Which probably partly explains Soviet reluctance to attach tanks to small infantry units. "Motorized" infantry organic to tanks/mechanized formations had a more generous allocation of radios - enough to give a portable set to every company. However, depending on type their frequencies were not necessary overlapping with tank radios frequencies. Worth to add that unlike US or German forces command tanks in companies or battalions carried only one standard radio, so they couldn't communicate in tank and infantry or artillery network simultaneously. Naturally, that was not quite comfortable.
      Various manuals and instructions recommended using open hatches or flags drawn from open hatches or pistol port on tank turrets for communications with infantry. Again, not always practical in combat situations. I suppose, flares or tracer rounds, used to indicate targets, were the most practical solution if radios were not available.

      Comment


      • This radio transceiver weighs just 5 pounds and the range parameters would be fine for communications infantryman to tank and vice versa. 5 pounds is not that heavy and judging from the photo on Wiki it is small enough and easy to use. You would think that every platoon should have a "radio man" that could use the same frequency of the radio inside of the tank.

        Yelling and screaming from outside or waving tour arms in front of the tank is kind of dumb and could get you killed. Opening command hatch and sticking your head out of the tank was also very hazardous.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCR-536
        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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        • Losik then describes "The Nature of Combat Operations of Separate Tank (Self Propelled Artillery) Units and Formations During Breakthrough of a Deliberate Defense".

          The main work for immediate preparation of tank units and formations for combat operations was done in the assembly area, 10-15 km away from the forward edge of the battle area. These areas were occupied usually 1-2 days before the start of the offensive. Here the distribution of tank and self-propelled artillery units for combat was accomplished, specific missions were determined for the DIS tanks and SAU, and their cooperation with the supported rifle units and subunits, and with artillery and sappers was organized. "Much attention was given to reconnaissance of the enemy and the area."

          The night before the offensive or during preparatory bombardment, the tanks and SAU took up starting positions about 1-3 km from the forward edge of the battle area from which they would later engage. In instances when due to terrain conditions it was not possible to select convenient starting positions, the tanks and SAU were shown the deployment line to which they went directly from the assembly area during the artillery bombardment.


          To be cont'd
          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

          Comment


          • In each individual case the battle formation of the DIS tank group during attack of the enemy's main line of resistance depended upon the composition of the group, the nature of the enemy defense and terrain conditions.

            The tank bde (rgt), reinforced by SP arty, in an area suitable for tank operation, usually formed up in one echelon during a weak antitank defense. However, the tanks and SAU attacked the enemy in two lines. Tanks advanced in the first line (about 40-50 meters apart) and the SAU advanced in the second line (at a distance of 200-300 meters). Mine-clearing tanks operated ahead of the battle formation.

            A shortcoming of such a disposition of DIS tank group battle formation was the inability to intensify efforts from depth since the second echelons of rifle divisions, in most cases, did not have DIS tanks.

            Therefore, during breakthrough of a deeply echeloned defense, a brigade's battle formation was made up of 2-3 fighting echelons. Mine-clearing tanks and battle reconnaissance advanced in the lead at distance of 100-150 meters from the first echelon of the battle formation. The mine clearing tanks operated in pairs or in groups of three, depending on the number and width of passages that had to be cleared in the minefield. Since the mine-clearing tanks were the first to be exposed to fire, they usually had fire support from the tanks and SP guns moving behind them and from field arty and mortars. They were also supported by sappers and line tanks that followed in the battle formations.

            To be cont'd
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

            Comment


            • What model tank was used for the mine clearing and how was it modified for this purpose?
              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
                What model tank was used for the mine clearing and how was it modified for this purpose?
                My reference is Zaloga and Grandsen's Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two. It has pictures of a T-34 Model 1943 and T-34-85 with the Mugalev mine roller. The roller unit consisted of a fork on a multi-wheel axle. Each whee consisted of a solid center disc with H-beam girders radiating outwards like a starfish. The whole unit was quite heavy, and on contact with a mine would detonate it, losing an arm or two in the process. Because of the detrimental effect on the clutch and transmission, only the T-34 was adjudged suitable for the role.
                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                Comment


                • T-34-85 wasn't advised for the use with mine roller since it could damage the long gun.
                  There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

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                  • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post

                    My reference is Zaloga and Grandsen's Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two. It has pictures of a T-34 Model 1943 and T-34-85 with the Mugalev mine roller. The roller unit consisted of a fork on a multi-wheel axle. Each whee consisted of a solid center disc with H-beam girders radiating outwards like a starfish. The whole unit was quite heavy, and on contact with a mine would detonate it, losing an arm or two in the process. Because of the detrimental effect on the clutch and transmission, only the T-34 was adjudged suitable for the role.


                    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                    Comment


                    • 7 so-called "engineer" tank regiments were formed by the end of the war. Each was to consist of "18 trawler tanks" (T-34-76 with mine rollers) and 4 command tanks

                      tank-inz-polk-1.jpg

                      I remember some indications that rollers were also used by normal ("line") tank units. The results of employment were considered as generally positive, yet it should be remembered that these vehicles were relatively rare.
                      Last edited by Artyom_A; 26 Jan 19, 03:56.

                      Comment


                      • Thanks for the terrific posts. Dmitriy Loza in his memoirs, "Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks" recalls an act of improvisation in tank mineclearing. One of his tank commanders had read how some tankers, racing a T-34 at high speed, had flown through a minefield. Because of the vehicle's high speed, the mines exploded behind it and did not damage the tank. He decided to try it with the Sherman tank:
                        "We quickly prepared the Emcha (Sherman) for sweeping. We removed the auxiliary fuel drums, took the ammunition from under the floor in the combat compartment and put it in the upper storage racks, and placed the main gun and antiaircraft machine gun in travel lock. ... The exercise began with a seven hundred-mete running start. Revving the Emcha's motor, he raced toward the mined sector of the highway, piled with dirt,rutted and cratered from bombs. After a few seconds, there was an explosion, then another, then several more. Geysers of earth and chunks of road surface showered the racing Sherman. By the strained roar of the diesels, we determined that the tank was still running.

                        "Several more explosions, then quiet. Finally, the light breeze carried the yellowish-black smoke away. And we spotted our minesweeper, undamaged."

                        The story reminds me of the Eisenhower's account of Zhukov telling him how the Red Army did not stop for minefields, but moved across, and the casualties they took would be less than if it had been defended and saved them time and momentum in the advance.
                        Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 25 Jan 19, 13:11.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                        Comment


                        • Continuing with Losik

                          First echelon tanks advanced behind the mine-clearing tanks and consisted of medium tank battalions or heavy tank companies. Their primary task was to destroy enemy personnel, weapons and tanks. Besides that, it was the first echelonís mission to secure the operations of the mineclearing tanks. In this case the first echelon could have one or two lines of tanks and SP arty.

                          The second fighting echelon moved 200-300m from the second line of the first echelon and consisted of tank brigade subunits or a regiment of heavy tanks (SP arty). The task of this echelon often was to lead the infantry battle formations behind it, closely cooperating with the first echelon. In certain instances, the second echelon was made up of rifle division SP arty battalions.

                          The reserve, which consisted of a tank brigade motorized rifle battalion and tank or SP arty units, advanced 200-300m behind the second echelon.

                          Losik references the offensive of the 31st Guards Rifle Division, 11th Gds Army in the Orel operation, July 1943, as an example of the three-echelon disposition. There was a total of 85 tanks and SAU in the group. The division broke through the defense in a sector 2.5 km wide. The average density of tanks and SAU in the breakthrough sector reached per kilometer. [I should note that while the Soviets, like the Western Allies, would look at force ratios, they placed a greater value on the indices of density of weapons systems.]


                          To be continued
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                          Comment


                          • Marshal Losik, probably from personal experience, observes "combat experience brought to light a number of substantial shortcomings in such a disposition of the DIS group formations, the main one of which was the impossibility of simultaneous participation in the attack by the maximum number of tanks. Moreover, the great distances between the fighting echelon's seriously hampered the mutual fire support of the tanks and SAU that were advancing in the different echelons.

                            "In subsequent operations, while preserving the concept of deep echeloning of tanks, the main trend in arranging the DIS tank group battle formations was to reduce the distance between the fighting echelons and increase the number of attacking tanks in each echelon.

                            "It was established from the numerous battles during the war that for ensuring the maneuvering of DIS tanks on the battlefield and conducting effective fire from the tank weapons, it was necessary to have about 25-50 meter intervals between tanks and a distance between the attacking tank lines and between the tanks and SAU of 150-200 meters. With any lesser interval between tanks, their maneuvering on the battlefield was hampered which inevitably led to an increase in tank losses to enemy fire. An increase in distances between the lines hampered cooperation between the tanks and infantry and hindered mutual fire support of tanks and SAU.

                            "The above standards, especially the intervals between tanks, were deciding factors in determining the maximum tank densities in the first infantry echelon.*** At the end of the war this density in rifle divisions, attacking on the main strike axes, was 30-40 armored vehicles per frontage kilometer. A higher overall DIS tank density (50-70) could be created only by echeloning tanks deeply."

                            ***[As a military intelligence captain in G2 Operations circa late 1970's, I made that point during a division MapEx to a General officer who insisted a Soviet Motorized Rifle Division would its attack in less than a 5 km sector. I gave him the measured widths of BMPs and T-62's/64's with minimal distance between combat vehicles (5-10m) and the interval between companies, battalions, regiments which showed not only they could not fit all the first echelon in the sector, but also what was there could not maneuver and would be easy targets. He walked away in a huff.]

                            To be continued
                            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                              The tank bde (rgt), reinforced by SP arty, in an area suitable for tank operation, usually formed up in one echelon during a weak antitank defense. However, the tanks and SAU attacked the enemy in two lines. Tanks advanced in the first line (about 40-50 meters apart) and the SAU advanced in the second line (at a distance of 200-300 meters).
                              Frankly speaking, I don't see a difference between "echelon" and "line" described here. To me it seems that they were the same thing essentially.
                              Last edited by Artyom_A; 26 Jan 19, 10:02.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                                Frankly speaking, I don't see a difference between "echelon" and "described" here. To me it seems that they were the same thing essentially.
                                Not sure what you mean by "described" in comparison with "echelon"?
                                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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