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75 mm Gun vs KV-1

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"Secret, copy #1

On the organization of enemy anti-tank defenses in the sector ahead of the 178th Tank Brigade and type of damage dealt to knocked out and burned KV tanks.

The enemy organized active anti-tank defenses in front of the 178th Tank Brigade with the use of terrain. Anti-tank minefields were placed in directions where tanks can be used (see diagram). There were no passive anti-tank obstacles (dragon's teeth, anti-tank trenches, barricades, scarps or countescarps) detected along the front or in the depth of enemy defenses.

Active anti-tank defenses include 37 mm, 75 mm, or even larger anti-tank guns as well as dug in medium and heavy tanks. The enemy opened fire from 200-400 meters firing HEAT shells, making several shots.

Firing positions are carefully camouflaged. In most cases anti-tank guns are placed in dugouts.

The enemy carefully positioned anti-tank guns and entrenched tanks. The combination of anti-tank weapons in all directions where tanks could be applied ensured that it was almost impossible to attack them.

When tanks approached the settlement, anti-tank guns concealed inside it were taken outside and set up to fire on all approaches to it. An armoured train drove along the railroad and fired at attacking elements of the brigade. Active anti-tank measures are indicated on the attached diagram.

Main types of damage to KV tanks in this battle are as follows:

  1. Tank #10585 had its second road wheel from the rear on the left side destroyed by a 75 mm armour piercing shell. The shell burst.
  2. Tank #10613 received a penetration in the lower part of the gun mantlet on the right side from a 105 mm armour piercing shell. Another shell of this type destroyed the commander's periscope. Both shells burst.
  3. Tank #10603 had a 105 mm armour piercing shell strike the turret ring in the center, which jammed the turret. The rear machine gun ball was knocked out. Both shells burst.
  4. Tank #10434 was struck under the gun mantlet, 6 bolts were torn out, the turret was lifted and jammed. The tank was knocked out by a 105 mm shell. The shells burst.
  5. Tank #10479 had one road wheel and two return rollers on the right side knocked off by a 75 mm armour piercing shell.
  6. Tank #10449 had two of its road wheels knocked off on the right side by a 75 mm armour piercing shell.
All knocked out KV-1 tanks had, in addition to the above damage, several dents on the turret, hull, and front armour from 75 mm shells. No penetrations from 75 mm armour piercing shells were found in KV tank armour. As a result of the fighting, 7 KV tanks burned up from HEAT shells. It was impossible to determine the location of the hit and caliber as a part of the crews was killed and the rest were wounded and evacuated to a hospital. 
Presently all burned up tanks are on enemy territory and it is impossible to approach them even at night, despite multiple attempts.

Commander of the 178th Tank Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Gromagin
Military Commissar of the 178th Tank Brigade, Senior Battalion Commissar Andreyev
Chief of Staff Major Habibullin"



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