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Anti T-34 Tactics

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"Translated from German

Chief Inspector of Mobile Forces
Staff of the Supreme Command of the Land Forces
#126/42

Secret

Direction on tank combat against the Russian T-34 tank

Characteristics of the T-34

The T-34 tank is faster, more maneuverable, and more mobile than our Pz.Kpfw.III and Pz.Kpfw.IV tanks, its armour is thicker than the armour of our tanks. Its 76 mm gun surpasses our 50 mm and 75 mm guns in penetration. Beneficial shape (all surfaces are sloped) helps shells slide off.

Combat

Combat against the T-34 tank with the 50 mm gun is possible only at short range firing from the flank or from the rear. It is important to hit the armour at a perpendicular angle.

A direct hit to the turret ring with HE shells or machine guns often leads to the turret jamming. A hit to the gun port from a close range with AP shells results in penetration and bursting of weld seams. The 75 mm hollow charge grenade can penetrate the T-34 tank from 1000 meters.

Tactics of Russian tanks

Tanks can be buried up to the turret on hills, at crossroads, at forest edges, and on the outskirts of settlements in such a way that they can quickly retreat after firing. The T-34 knows its advantage in armament and opens fire at advancing tanks from 1200-1800 meters. Since the T-34 is faster than German tanks, it has the ability to choose the range of engagement.

Our tank tactics

As it is only possible to penetrate the side of the T-34 tank with a 50 mm gun at a short range, adopt the following tactics to correctly combat them:

  1. Bind the enemy by engaging them with Pz.Kpfw.III tanks frontally. Hull down positions or constant movement to make it difficult for the enemy to aim.
  2. Meanwhile, two Pz.Kpfw.III tanks use all possible cover to advance on the T-34 from the left and right flank or come around the rear. Fire the Pz.Gr.40 shot from a short range at the sides or the rear of the tank.
  3. If we have a Pz.Kpfw.IV tank, it can be used to bind the T-34 from the front. The Pz.Kpfw.IV can put up a smokescreen to blind the T-34 or conceal the approach of the other two tanks. It's possible that the enemy will disengage on their own. 
In encounters with numerically and qualitatively superior tanks (T-34 and KV), success can be attained if the entire tank unit forms a single front and blinds the enemy with fire. Even if not a single tank could be knocked out, the enemy almost always disengaged, impressed by the precision and speed of fire from German tanks.

Translated: Volgusova
Approved by: Chief of Documents at the 80th Tank Brigade Staff, Kondrashov"



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