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tanks assigned to signal units

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  • tanks assigned to signal units

    In reading "Stalin's Favorite", I have come across something interesting:

    signal battalions are assigned T34 tanks. Usually around 5 of them.

    Are these tanks special in any way? Do the have extra or more powerfull radios? How were they used?
    Or are they for the defense of the signals unit?

    I can't recall any other nation in WWII assigning tanks to their signals units. It seems odd but the Red Army probably had a good reason to do it.

  • #2
    It was quite common for German panzer divisions to have tanks in their signal battalions, usually special command models. Here is a part of schematic OOB of the 12 Panzer Divison on 1.08.44, just to give and example:



    So 2 command type Pz-III in a signal battalion. The unit also had radio-equipped armored cars and armored carriers.

    Are these tanks special in any way? Do the have extra or more powerfull radios?
    Probably RBS type radios, but I'm not sure.

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    • #3
      Or as another example, AFV status of the 9 Panzer Division before the Balkan Campaign (April 1941):
      http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...?f=56&t=218851
      The authorized strength included 7 command tanks in the signal battalion (3 actually available), and 11 Pz-I and 2 Pz-II tanks in the pioneer battalion (11 and 1 available).
      There is a common misconception that German panzer divisions had tanks only in their panzer regiments, it is not true though.

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      • #4
        The US and Britain assigned tanks to their artillery regiments specifically for communications, mostly as forward observers. The British developed a special version of the Sherman called a "Rear Link" that had extra radios, field telephones, and large spools of telephone wire that could be reeled out as the tank advanced.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          The US and Britain assigned tanks to their artillery regiments specifically for communications, mostly as forward observers. The British developed a special version of the Sherman called a "Rear Link" that had extra radios, field telephones, and large spools of telephone wire that could be reeled out as the tank advanced.
          Yep. The British also used Cavaliers and Churchills with dummy guns in the same role.

          I've said this before but its worth repeating . Most powerful tank of WW2 is the Churchill VII FOO. Armour up to 6", best side armour of any tank, and can cross terrain better than any other. Firepower is 48 25pdrs on immediate call, plus as many 4.5" and 5.5" guns, 8" howitzers, and whatever else is necessary to make the enemy have a bad day .
          How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
          Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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          • #6
            Tanks assigned to artillery units are not assigned to signal units specifically, so they don't really count for the purposes of this thread. They are similar though.

            We know from Jentz and others that the German command tanks had extra and more powerful radios but no guns and that they were assigned to Panzer regiments. I looked at Panzer Truppen vol 1, 9th panzer in operation Marita (the source used in the thread quoted by Artyom_A) and it doesn't actually give numbers for anything other than the panzer regiments.

            The Niehortster orbat site shows that the signals battalions in German panzer divisions had armoured radio and signal companies (example: http://niehorster.org/011_germany/39.../39_pz-01.html)

            However none of this tells us anything about the tanks in Soviet signals battalions. Note these are independent units attached to the tank corps or tank army. Are they different than regular T34s? How were they used?

            If I was to guess, I would assume they had more powerful radios and one would be assigned to the HQ of each brigade and one to the corps HQ to keep information flowing.

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