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Pre-War Ambush Tactics

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"Tank Ambush
From our special correspondent

The Blue forces forded the Volma river and penetrated the front lines of the 37th Infantry Division, fighting for the Red side. Their front lines relentlessly pushed forward, supported by powerful artillery and a large amount of tanks, developing success in depth.

However, the penetration of the "enemy" defenses does not mean victory. Usually, the defender builds a defense in depth with several lines. In this case, the commander of the 37th had two battalions in reserve at that section of the front. In addition, the attached tank unit was also in the division commander's reserve.


The tanks took up position in a large pine forest. They were aiming for a counterattack. In addition, both the division commander and the commander of the tanks, Captain Pisarev, knew the power of tanks firing from a prepared position. Because of this, the tanks were given a new order, no less important: an ambush. As experience of all wars shows, a well organized ambush always brings success.

Captain Pisarev and his crews understood this. Tanks were hidden well, with the account that any of them could quickly move out in the necessary direction and that the tanks could fire precisely from their positions.

Singular Blue tanks, gained a lead on the main group and rapidly moved forward. The ambush was silent and closely watched the developing battle.

When the main enemy force reached the forest and showed its flank, the captain waved his flag. The ambush opened fire.

The Blue tanks were trapped in a ravine. They had two choices: speed up and leave the danger zone or remove the danger on the flank, destroy the ambush. But how can tanks destroy an ambush in a thick pine forest? The ambush in the forest has an obvious advantage over the tanks moving in the open. The Blue commanders knew this, and ordered their tanks to speed up.

Increasing your speed on the battlefield removes the immediate danger for tanks but creates another danger, the danger of infantry falling behind to such a distance that they are unable to exploit the success achieved by tanks.

That was exactly what happened. The Blue infantry which was quickly advancing was forced to hit the dirt, not just because they fell behind the tanks, but because they came under fire from the same ambush.

The Blue position was regained by the arrival of the second echelon and skilful use of the terrain.

We were able to speak with the commander of the 7th Company, 13th Infantry Regiment. The company commander, along with his platoon commanders, studied a potential crossing sight through binoculars and with the naked eye for 30 minutes and saw nothing. On the next day, during the crossing, it turned out that the Reds had a machinegun nest there.

We heard the battery commander tell the squadron commander: "Who do we shoot at? We can't see anything!" In the meantime, in the ravine, in the bushes, a whole company was moving across, one by one. The concealment was performed very skilfully!

Captain Pisarev considered his task completed. He only wished for one thing, a rapid counterattack. He wanted this for two reasons. One was that this was the perfect time for a maneuver. The second was that the Blue artillery started to "feel" the forest, which could have unfortunate consequences for the ambush.

Of course, the tanks were spread out and the artillery could not deal significant losses, but the captain did not want to lose a single tank, and most importantly, a single soldier.

The ambush remained wary. The infantry battalions in reserve were ready for a counterattack, but the signal didn't come. The division commander was waiting. He acted in the interest of the entire division, holding out until he could completely overturn the Blues.

Finally, it was time. The infantry battalions hit the flanks of the upset enemy echelons. Tanks and infantry delivered a strike at the second echelon and the rear of the first. The Blue forces were cut in half by the Red attack, not from the front, but parallel to it.

The tank ambush stopped being static and gained momentum.

Red Star
September 13th, 1936"

Via paul-atrydes.

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