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Counter-tactics

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"To the HQ Chief of the 37th Army, Colonel Blazhey

During recent offensive action, our units encounter groups of tanks and SPGs (2-5) in the depth of enemy defenses. These groups, without closing their distance, open fire at ranges of 1500 meters from short stops, and stop the advance of our infantry. When fired upon by our artillery, they do not engage in a battle, but retreat, then appear again and fire from either the same place or a different place. This maneuver has become commonplace with the Germans. It delays the advance of our units, and sometimes results in losses. It is necessary to quickly find a way to deal with this tactic, with the main role being given to artillery.

In practice, our units have the following ways of dealing with these tank and SPG groups:
  1. Pulling these enemy forces into a battle.
  2. "Trapping" these enemy groups with direct fire weapons. The enemy groups are tracked, and once they stop at a position to open fire, they are suddenly shot up.
  3. Ambushes, usually involving groups of infantry that lead the enemy tanks and SPG into the ambush.
  4. If it is not possible to trick the enemy into approaching, it is possible to fire on them with multiple weapons. The guns range in with HE shells and, performing the necessary conversion calculations, destroy the enemy with AP shells.
  5. The points of attack are pre-sighted by our artillery. When the enemy tanks appear in places they already used, they are usually destroyed with the first shot.
  6. Artillery moves in turns. While half of the guns moves to the next line, the other half must be constantly ready to destroy enemy tanks and SPGs. The second half may only move out when the first half reached their new positions, set up observers, and ranged in on likely areas where the enemy can appear.
  7. While infantry moves, its supporting artillery may not, even for a moment, stop observing the infantry's flanks and nearby hills before the enemy is spotted there. They must remain in constant readiness, ranged in on these targets.
  8. Each gun must have anti-tank shells.
  9. Our infantry must actively draw in the enemy, not giving them the opportunity to leave the battlefield unharmed.
The aforementioned tactics of dealing with enemy tank and SPG groups give positive results. However, tactics must be found to destroy these groups completely, with no remainder, as soon as they attempt to fire on our infantry. The enemy's tactic must be turned into a deadly trap.

I ask you to devote attention to exploring the issue of fighting individual groups of tanks and SPGs, and raise the objective of studying the experience of unit commanders. Artillery unit commanders and artillery officers should be primarily involved in the solution of this problem.

Your conclusions and recommendations, with the indication of the most successful techniques of destroying the aforementioned groups, should be submitted to the Front HQ by March 25th, 1944.

Deputy HQ Chief of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, Major-General Burenin
Senior Assistant of the Chief of the Operations Department, Colonel Pleshkov"


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