To the Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 115th Rifle Corps
RE: #0574 May 29th 1945
On the use of mortars
The Great Patriotic War showed that the rifle division cannot complete objectives independently in due time without sufficient organic artillery. Attached independent Supreme Command Reserve regiments are usually too late with their preparations and fire at squares on the map instead of individual targets, expending too much ammunition usually in vain. These operations do not result in desired results.
In order for the division to independently complete tactical objectives its artillery must be reinforced. The 50 mm mortar used by rifle companies have shown themselves useless while penetrating enemy defenses and during pursuit. In defensive battles, when both sides have constructed trenches at full depth, the 50 mm mortar is not very effective at ranges from 300 to 1000 meters. When these mortars fire the enemy usually detects them and responds with massed artillery fire, which causes disproportionate losses. The 50 mm mortar has little impact in offensive or defensive battles and should be removed from use.
The 82 mm battalion mortar with superior firepower should be moved down to the infantry company. Each company needs to have a gun battery of 3 mortars. Communication between the battery and forward observers can be performed by telephone.
With the 82 mm mortars passed on to rifle companies the firepower of a company will increase and fire can be brought to any enemy machinegun nests and direct fire artillery. This will prevent excess losses. Delivery of ammunition can be done by means of the battalion.
Offensive and defensive combat shows that the 120 mm mortar batteries typically fight not in the interests of the battalion, but against the second echelon of the enemy's defenses which is not required for the completion of immediate objectives. The battalion commander at his observation post does not have the ability to move the fire of the battery to concealed enemy strongholds. The enemy 81 mm mortars on the front line of defense are visible by the commanders of company commanders are not being destroyed and can fire freely until they are pointed out to the artillerymen, which takes too much time and allows the enemy to recover from a sudden attack.
To give the battalion commander the ability to complete objectives on his own the 120 mm mortars must be put under his direct command, improving the firepower of the battalion. The 120 mm mortar battery must communicated by wired telephones and radio.
The rifle regiment should keep its 76 mm gun battery and also receive a battery of 4 160 mm mortars.
Only with this distribution of mortars will the regiment have the ability to successfully complete its objectives.
Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 245th Valga-Rezhitsa Order of the Red Banner Rifle Division, Major Nechukhrin
May 31st, 1945"