Tanks impotent and omnipotent

Defeats and triumphs of the mighty are Russian

Tanks impotent and omnipotent

Possessing significant armored forces, reddish army first months of the war that is not the least could not hold more than a few quick strokes of German tanks. Quantity is not quality steel, and conduct mobile warfare had to learn the hard way defeats

You can not say that until Hitler attacked nature of future war and the role in it of large mechanized no one in our country is not aware of and did not predict. Quite the contrary, in the USSR the development of armored forces proceeded in accordance with the doctrine of "deep operations." It was launched by Russian military theorist Vladimir Triandafillov published in the 1929 book "The nature of operations of modern armies." In it he analyzed the armed forces of the countries of Eastern Europe, suggested that a future war will be more agile character than the first global, although it is not explained to the possibility of using the new tools, and the fact that the Eastern European army will not be able to put on theater actions rather strength to make such a tight defense, which is required for trench warfare. Further developed the concept of other Russian military theorists, including Constantine Kalinowski. They took into account the progress has occurred in the field of military technology and gave more importance tanks and aircraft.

Pre-war concept of "deep operations" in its final form meant entry into the breach enemy defenses and acts in its depth of the mobile forces — mechanized formations supported by aviation and perhaps airborne assault. These compounds consisting of tanks, infantry and cavalry, in some cases, had to cut the enemy's forces, disrupt its communications and, where appropriate criterion to surround her. Another problem, the number of principal areas of strategic capture and disruption of the enemy's attempts to make the latest line of defense. At all steps of "deep operations", from the breakthrough and finishing environment and liquidation of the enemy, meaningful and immediately and decisive role was played by the tanks. They were to support the infantry in breaking defense and serve as a basis mechanized units.

Obliging armor

It was important not only to construct a correct theory, but also to make these mechanized units. The pre-war period was a time of searching for their good structure. In the end, reddish army entered the war with tank troops, composed of 29 mechanized corps.

Rapidly became clear that Russian mechanized corps did not justify the hopes pinned on them. Most of them have lost almost all of their equipment for a number of days of fighting. Some counter-attacks inflicted by Russian shells, indeed delayed the enemy advance. But none of them did not lead to the destruction of the advancing group, in which it was applied. This stems from the sorry outcome of the battle standard of the mechanized corps in 1941 was a huge number of reasons. In 1-x, unfavorable strategic situation: Reddish army entered the war without completing the mobilization and strategic deployment. This meant that a significant part of the Russian infantry divisions still in the deepest rear, and desperately lacking to cover the flanks of attacking Russian tank armadas and the stabilization of the secondary directions. In addition, the combat abilities of the mechanized corps were reduced because of the lack of people and cars that do not have time to come after the announcement of mobilization. In-2, most of the mechanized corps met a war in the making. And none of them had just laid around the state armament. B-3, the organization of mechanized corps was far from good. Employing around the state more than a thousand tanks Sleep practice on average about half of that number), the body was not comparable to many infantry and artillery, and the Corps of Engineers in its composition were almost not represented.

Develop the success of nothing …

The tragic end of the first mechanized corps led to a severe revision of military doctrine. Initially, it was decided to abandon the mechanized corps as the organizational structure and move to a separate tank divisions with a reduced number of tanks. But this does not seem enough. In autumn 1941 the basic organizational unit of armored forces became independent tank brigade. Since its formation required for significantly less people and military equipment, new teams could be created faster, especially in the criteria prepared by staff shortages and a heck of losses in tanks in the summer of 1941. In addition, the requirements for the level of training brigade were lower than for the commander of a tank division, let alone the commander of the mechanized corps.

Faster and stronger
Tanks emerged during the First World War as an instrument created to break through the enemy defenses. As such, they have proved their worth, especially during the last year of the war, when proved perfect tool for the application of massive unexpected strikes conducted without a long-term training and multi-day bombardment of enemy positions.
In the interwar period tanks underwent significant improvements. In particular principle was that increased their technological reliability and average speed. Now you can use tanks more extensive — not only for the breakthrough, but also for the development of the next breakthrough of success and action in the rear of the enemy.
In the photo — shop Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant, where the assembly of tanks T-34-76 76.2 mm gun F-AF standard in 1940. With the emergence of "Tigers" and "Panthers" anti-effectiveness of this tool was not sufficient, and in 1944 army For the latest model — the T-34-85 with a strong 85-mm cannon
During the war, the German Army and the Soviet Union were divided into two unequal parts. The bulk of the army consisted of infantry / infantry divisions, the men are moved on foot, and artillery and rear weights, mainly horse-drawn. The smallest portion (approximately 1/5) consisted of mobile units — tanks, infantry, self-propelled guns, artillery, towed high-speed tractors.

Tanks impotent and omnipotent

But even at full strength weaponry capability of independent action teams were very limited. They acted more with infantry divisions, tanks used for infantry support. From time to time they can make their own puzzles. For example, during the defense phase of the Battle of Moscow separate tank brigades were used to cover the more insecure areas. In October 1941, proved to be excellent 4th Tank Brigade (which became their awards for the 1st Guards Tank) in the battles of Mtsensk, which became famous for its commander, Col. Mike Katukov. The future Marshal of Armored Forces extensively used in the defense of a way to tank ambushes, by which for a long time holding back progress Panzer Division. But when the German venture outside Moscow failed and it's time to cross from defense to offense, it appeared that the Russian command is not quite powerful tools for action in the depth of the enemy's defense. As a result, the opportunity just to defeat the enemy, taking advantage of the weakness
of his time, was not fully applied. After suffering a defeat at Moscow, in the spring and summer of 1942 the Wehrmacht was able to regain the front and stabilize the situation.

Tanks impotent and omnipotent

The new building — the first sample

The counter-offensive in the winter of 1941/42 showed that for the successful operation ended bezotstupno need massive effective connection of armored forces. Recovery evacuated industry and the widespread use of mass production techniques in tank provided for this ever growing stream of modern armored vehicles. In the spring of 1942, begins the formation of a new type of tank units. Each of them consisted of a 3-tank and one mechanized infantry brigade. Although they were christened tank corps, the reality in their tanks was less than in the pre-war armored division. Russian command again to get their hands a tool designed for "deep operations." But his first application again ended in disaster. In May 1942, two tank corps were killed in the battle of Kharkov, had no material impact on its course. Proved to be slightly better tank corps in defensive operations of the summer of 1942. Their counter-attacks were more effective than last year. But as in the past they only delayed the coming of the enemy, and did not lead to his defeat. The losses were lower, but still remained the highest, especially in comparison with the insignificance of the results achieved. Did not help even the concentration of the tank corps in the special tank armies.

Tanks impotent and omnipotent

Sochitaya in the operation and mechanized infantry forces, it was necessary to achieve their sustainable use, preventing the enemy and solving the same puzzles. The advantage of mobility in their own mobile troops over the bulk of the enemy forces allowed him to put sensitive lesion.

Hammer breakthrough

Seeking a way out of the impasse control of the Red Army once again begins to change doctrine. In addition to the Tank Corps has a new type of mobile connections — Mechanized Corps. The number of tanks, these compounds were approximately comparable, but the new mechanized corps had much more infantry. October 16, 1942, Stalin signed the order of People's Commissar of Defense number 235 "On the operational use of armored and mechanized units and formations." It laid down the principles of their use, some of which are repeated in the famous pre-war ideas, as part of the study came as a result of accumulations of experience of armored warfare. This order has separated mechanized and armored corps from smaller tank units in accordance with their puzzles. If some parts were in the main support the infantry in breaking the enemy's defense, the body considered as a means of Commander of the Army or the front, designed for the development of a breakthrough of success. Mechanized Corps was considered more adapted to act alone, could therefore be used to harass the enemy, and without the help of others to advance on the enemy not had time to gain a foothold. The order sought by armored forces to avoid a collision with bolshennymi enemy armored units, shifting the burden of the struggle with them on the shoulders of anti-tank artillery. Panzer Corps had to act first against infantry. Here we see an attempt to imitate the ways of the Wehrmacht used the reflection of Russian counter-attacks in 1941-1942.

The principles of order number 235 shown to be effective in the coming Russian winter of 1942/43. Its success is largely was provided effective implementation of mobile connections, the acts which led to the encirclement of the 6th Army at Stalingrad, the defeat of the Italian 8th Army in Ostrogozh Ros-soshanskoy operations and other big successes. For the first time since the war began mobile connections were used because they are supposed to be used: to break into the depth of the enemy defense. In this campaign in particular proved to be excellent tank armies (5th under the command of PL-Romagna to the operation of Stalingrad, the third under the command of PS fishing in Acutely-gozhsko-Rossoshanskij). They were more suited to addressing such problems.

How to overcome the "Tiger"?

The next step in the development of armored forces was the Battle of Kursk. It Russian tank forces had to take the brunt of the blow tank of the Wehrmacht, who used the new tanks "Tiger" and "Panther" significantly superior to their Russian traits. In the battles unfolded again proved excellent strategy tank ambushes, again a master of tank warfare used Katukova Misha, now no longer commanded a brigade, and the 1st Panzer Army. Having exhausted in fighting the enemy, for all that he was able to maintain combat effectiveness of their own troops. Significantly less successful were the results of a counterattack near Prokhorovka 5th Guards Tank Army, which has suffered the loss of languishing.

In the course of the offensive phase of the Battle of Kursk became clear that to avoid a collision with mobile enemy troops for the upcoming tank connections are not so simple — the fact they are mobile troops. Acts had been transferred to the critical points of the bout of German armored divisions which had often stopped the initial success of Russian pressure. And only if the Russian mobile forces able to overcome their resistance was coming success.

Russian tank triumph

The true potential disclosure of Russian armored forces began operations 1944-1945 period. At the beginning of 1944, the armed forces of the USSR there were 24 armored and mechanized corps 13 [total mobile connections 37], also 87 separate tank and mechanized brigades and some 156 tanks and self-propelled an artillery regiments created to interact with the infantry. The high command by this time has accumulated significant experience. Strategic situation was appropriate. Reddish army has the initiative and thereby itself to determine where and how will be the subsequent principal strategic operation. Panzer troops could best way to prepare for it and applied in a more suitable for their role. Reddish Army received the latest equipment: tanks languid "IP", the T-34 with a 85-mm gun, self-propelled artillery. This allowed us to successfully fight against the German tank forces.

Brilliant page in the history of Russian tank forces were Belarus, Iasi-Kishinev, Vistula-Oder strategic offensive operations. In these operations, due to the action of the mobile forces have managed not only to defeat and kill quite a large enemy force. Each of them has made significant strategic outcome: the liberation of significant areas, the conclusion of the war party coalition aggressive, substantial progress deeper into enemy terrain and occupation abroad to apply the finishing blow that ended the war.

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