The myth of the strong defense

One of the legends that has been folded after majestically Russian war, was the exaltation of the defense as opposed to offense. The expression "a little blood on foreign soil" has become one of the "charges" of the Stalinist regime that instead of the usual reddish Defense Army was preparing for an offensive war.

Some have even formed the view that if I were able to organize a good defense (as of Kursk) at the very beginning of the war, the enemy on the Dnieper would not let him. In the end, the defense in the Russian Army put on first place in the "Army field manuals" (1989) Part 2 — "Defence", Chapter 3 — "Attack". Previously, it was on the contrary, was removed from the statute underlying the phrase: "The offensive battle — the main type of action of the Red Army."

The myth of the "strong defense"

The myth of meaninglessness counterattacks

In fact, defense, during the second world war, almost always gives way to attack the enemy: he has the ability to destroy the defending aircraft and artillery and mortar attacks. And the most important thing — it's the unknown plans of the enemy. Where he will knock when, by what means, where it will be secondary attack?

Exploration may reveal only part of the manufacturers enemy mechanized and tank units may go for the night 60-100 km and hit where it is not expected. The enemy can over each division enemy standing in the band head blow, do 3-5 times an advantage.

And during the transition phase of the battle to maneuver the situation is even more complicated — not required to guess the only section that knock at subsequent time, and the direction of head impact. This is a very hard task, easier and more reliable to put on it flanking enemy. Its flanks are already known, as opposed to finding the attacker's "edge", forcing the enemy to protect them, weakens his punching power. Thus, in the border battle, the Southwestern Front headed for big success, specifically dealing counterattacks, for example, when the 8th Mechanized Corps DI Ryabysheva came on communication housing B. Kempf in Dubno, not guessing the direction of head punches to build a defense.

The myth of the "strong defense"

October 1941

In order to make a really strong defense, you need to know the direction of the head and hitting the right number of troops to make a defense to the desired depth (the famous battle of Kursk).

The traditional example of the defeat of defensive orders — it's defensive operation in the area of Vyazma and Bryansk in September-October 1941. September 10 troops were ordered to "firmly dug into the ground," was among them three weeks to prepare the defense. In a reserve on the Western Front withdrew several divisions and made the maneuver group. Navigate to the trench defenses, previously made in the main cell — some trenches. On tank hazardous areas to lay mines, dug ditches, built shelters, strengthened gun emplacements. But the number one issue in the defense — which will be the main attack. Meant that the Wehrmacht was banging on the highway Smolensk — Iartsevo — Vyaz'ma, then made a defense system with the usual density. Thus, the 112 th Infantry Division (RD) defense held the 8-km distance in front of its number 10 thousand, 38th Infantry Division (it's all part of the 16th Army Rokossovsky) occupied the front 4 km at population of 10 thousand people. Behind them done and a spare line of defense.

But at the expense of other areas have been weakened, forces them to cover this was not. For example, 211 RD (9653 people) took on the defense of 16 km, 53 Rifle 43rd Army — 24 km. On the Bryansk front it was even worse, the division held the front from 24 km to 46 km (217 sd 50th Army). On the Field stava the Red Army in 1939, the division can defend the strip along the front of 8-12 km in depth of 4-6 km.

The army, which chooses a defensive strategy, it turns into a much worse situation than the attacker. Only an autopsy exploration direction of head impact (shock) gives chances for success. Russian commanders are working out, and other likely areas against enemy attacks, but the strength to securely close them, was not.

The Germans were able to hide from the transfer of Leningrad, the 4th Panzer Group, it is possible to deliver two major impact on converging fronts. Russian intelligence was able to accurately find the start time of the operation "Typhoon", but not revealed the direction of impact. 3rd Panzer Group slammed the north of the highway Iartsevo — Vyaz'ma in joint 19th and 30th armies and the 4th Panzer Group south of the highway, on the 24th and 43rd armies east Roslavl. The Germans made a complete local advantage (against 4 divisions of the 30th Army were 12 German, three of them armored and motorized 1) and broke through the defense of Russian troops in the environment were approximately 600 thousand people.

Also broke through the defense and the Bryansk Front, cerebral stroke in the Bryansk expected direction, and the Wehrmacht struck at 120-150 km to the south.

So Makar, passive expectation has led to terrible consequences, sudden opponent's moves have led to the failure of the defense strategy. Anticipate all the moves attacking enemy is virtually impossible. The only way out — to intercept strategic initiative, at any cost. This principle is true in war and hand to hand combat, the best defense — it is an attack.

No need to think it invented the Wehrmacht — Reddish Army itself will also act in the years 1943-1945, and the massive defense zones Wehrmacht fall as defensive orders of the Red Army in 1941-1942. The Kremlin, starting a counterattack and counter-attacks in the years 1941-1942, did everything correctly, the enemy reacting to them, wasting time, resources, and we have every day, week became only stronger.

Later, in 1942, the Wehrmacht just past the defense of the Southern Front (Barvenkovsky ledge), 57th army held in front of 80 km, its divisions numbering 6-7 thousand people — 16-20 km, the 9th Army — 90 km, its division at 5-6 thousand people — an average of 15-18 km, the density was at border of permissible. Beat the Wehrmacht was irresistible, Barvenkovsky projection was cut.

Successful examples of defense of big cities — Odessa, Sevastopol, Stalingrad — are not equivalent to the defense in front of 10's, the 100-km no. They can concentrate large forces on a narrow site. Help structure, the effect of armored vehicles is difficult.

The myth of the "strong defense"

Counterattack our fighter on the outskirts of Stalingrad.

An example of the Kursk Bulge

This is one of the most suc
cessful examples of a successful defense with relatively good data exploration. And then the defense of the Voronezh Front was broken on the depth: the first line of defense of the 6th Guards Army I. Chistyakov, which was built a few months, the Wehrmacht was held for 17 hours. To stop wedges opponent had to throw against their tank corps front.

At the time of engagement of the 5th Panzer Army P. Rotmistrova, 5th Guards Army A. Zhadova front of the 6th Guards Army was broken, the front of the 69th Army pushed through, the situation was very difficult.

The enemy's plans were not known with certainty, so Zhukov recalled that the wrong groups across the Wehrmacht, the stronger group were considered troops in Falcon, against the Central Front. And in fact, more powerful "fist" raised against the Voronezh Front. Were unable to find the direction of the head hitting the Wehrmacht in the southern fase arc. While in the north (Central Front Rokossovsky) band area, applicable for the coming of the Panzer divisions, was 95 km (31% of the front), then the south of the area was open. Was applicable to the coming of the 164 km (67%) of the front. Because the commander of the Voronezh Front Vatutin had to "spray" their forces across the unsafe zone, the density of troops was reduced.

With the definition of cerebral stroke were wrong, so that the most powerful army of the Voronezh Front — 40th K. Moskalenko — generally found to the left of the upcoming 4th Panzer Army of Gotha. 40th Army artillery units had 35.4 per kilometer front, the 6th Guards Army — 24.4 guns per 1 km., From the 40th Army had 237 armored vehicles, from the 6th — 135, 40th Army held in front of 50 km, 6 th — 64 km. In the end of the 6th Guards Army did not help and redeployed to the aid of division artillery regiment of the 40th Army of the Reserve Front, the Germans broke through the defense to a depth of 35 km or more, and almost thrashed Russian side parts. Helped the situation only strategic reserves — Army Rotmistrova and Zhadova.

And you can not say that the situation has stabilized absolutely, Wehrmacht command more than a month before the coming of the work off of the counter-attack version of the reflection region of Prokhorovka. It was for their expected course. Two SS division — "Leibstandarte" and "Death's Head" — turned towards the strike, and instead of flanking counterattack came a counter fight. Our 18th and 29th Tank Corps had lost 70% of equipment and almost lishis opportunity to fight.

Summing up the results of this battle, we can say that in the battle of Kursk, thanks to an early pause in a few months, commanders have the opportunity to accumulate reserves to focus them on the possible direction of enemy attack, to make a strong defense. But in the end the Germans broke through it, and the only offensive actions have allowed other fronts to avoid defeat.

The myth of the "strong defense"

The myth of the "strong defense"

Construction of defensive lines. Kursk.

The myth of the "strong defense"

The transfer of German troops in the area of the Kursk salient.

The results

The defense is not the salvation army, when you can hit the enemy attack and suffered little loss. It is a myth that made motion picture that shows how our infantry advancing Fritz crumbles or our chains, destroyed by machine-gun and artillery fire of the enemy, who had raised the attack "stupid" commissioners.

The attacker has a strategic initiative, the enemy does not know his plans. The attacker can mix the defending side to the ground by artillery and aviation. Wire fences swept artillery and mortar fire, artillery and mortars punch passages in minefields, destroy the long-gun emplacements. Artillery defending side suppress, because they have the opportunity to bring to this area of its superior strength. Then, under cover of barrage, going into battle tanks and infantry. The attacker can make a full numerical advantages, when the decimated aircraft and artillery regiment stormed a full-blooded division armored units. In the end, the front breaks, abutting portions so as not to get into the environment, begin to withdraw.

The attacker, who is well prepared, can not stop massive fortifications and more than than the field. The Wehrmacht broke through the "Maginot Line" on the border with France, Reddish Army broke strengthening "Mannerheim Line".

The myth of the "strong defense"

Russian assault team moves to the Reichstag.

Sources:
Isaev Antisuvorov. 10 legends of the second world war. Moscow, 2006.
GK Zhukov's memoirs and reflections. In two volumes. Moscow, 2002.
Karpov V. Selected Works. In three volumes. Moscow, 1990.
Konev I. Notes Front commander. Moscow, 2000.
The Battle of Kursk. Moscow, 1970.
Mikhailov I. Setting Vyazma. Vyaz'ma. 1999.

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