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"Russian Antitank Tactics" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on Russian antitank tactics was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 19, February 25, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


No particular reference to any specific engagement was made in the report which follows, though the subject dealt with is based on information received from the Russian front and published in the Red Army newspaper "Red Star."

Antitank tactics as practiced by the Russians are based on the essential need to separate the tanks from their supporting infantry. The German tactics of exploitation very often give opportunities of achieving this object. During the earlier phases of the war, before the Russians had realized the best methods of dealing with the enemy armored formations, the deep thrusts of the German "Panzers" actually did cause a certain amount of disintegration, but by the time the outer defenses of Moscow were reached these thrusts failed to achieve their object.

Russian infantry are trained to stop tanks if possible, but when it appears that the infantry are going to be overrun, they get into slit trenches and lie low until the waves of tanks have gone through. Then they come out and put up the strongest possible resistance against the German infantry to prevent it from maintaining contact with the tanks. The artillery is trained to operate on exactly the same lines; if the gun position is overrun, crews go to earth and re-man their guns as soon as the tanks have passed them.

Once the tanks, in rear of the Russian positions, have been cut off from their supporting infantry, every effort is made to prevent their retirement and to mop them up. Mobile antitank groups are formed to harry them, and whenever they go into bivouac, the nearest infantry are instructed to attack them, particularly at night. In fact, whenever tanks are known to be halted in the vicinity, infantry tank-hunting parties are sent to engage them. The air force is always called upon to cooperate extensively in this mopping-up phase.


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