"General Foundations of Using a Tank Corps in Combat (1942)
General foundations of using a tank corps:
- The tank corps is the largest tank unit and is used for completing operational objectives.The tank corps organizational structure ensures a strike force (3 tank brigades), the ability to fight independently (presence of motorized infantry and artillery), the ability to perform tank combat, and convenience of control.
- The strong points of a tank corps in an operation can only be realized if the corps is used as a whole.Any picking apart of the corps into brigades for individual fighting deprives it of independence, strength of attack, and it turns into a tank unit for infantry support from an operational level unit. All other elements of the corps lose their combat effectiveness.Therefore, it is unreasonable to pick apart the tank corps, even temporarily, and the tank corps must not be used in combat in this way.
- The presence of homogeneous independent tank brigades and independent tank battalions solves the issue of reinforcing infantry units in attack or defense.
- Operational abilities of the corps: the operational abilities of the corps are defined by the combat ability of its units, specifically:
- High mobility on the battlefield.
- High artillery and machinegun firepower.
- Rapid advance speed: 40-60 km per day.
- High endurance in combat: 3-4 days.
- Tactical and operational mobility.
- Independence of action.
- Ability to fight tank battles.
- Ability to cooperate with aircraft, paratroopers, and elements acting in the enemy rear.
- Ways of using a tank corps: in an offensive operation, the tank corps should be used in the direction of attack by a shock army with the objective of attacking in depth, splitting apart enemy groups, destroying his command structure, encirclement of the enemy's main force with the objective of its destruction, in cooperation with aircraft, paratroopers, and other elements attacking from the front.In this case, the tank corps can be used in the following ways:
- Sending the corps into a breach in order to exploit it.
- Independent breakthrough by the tank corps reinforced with artillery and aircraft, destruction of field fortifications and breakthrough into operative depth.
- Using the tank corps during an operation to build up an attack in the main direction.
- Using the tank corps to liquidate an enemy counterattack against our main offensive.In any case, when the corps is used in an attack situation, it must be equipped, at the very least, with aircraft reconnaissance (no fewer than 6 airplanes), fighter aircraft (one fighter regiment), and bomber aircraft (no less than one bomber division, two sorties per day).It is also desirable to send second echelons of armies after the tank corps. In this case, the corps can attack to a depth of 40-50 km, breaking away from their infantry up to 20-25 km.
- A tank corps on the defensive creates significant operational depth and makes the defense elastic and resilient against large enemy tank units attempting to break through.On the defensive, the tank corps can be used to achieve the following objectives:
- Defeat of a main enemy moto-mechanized group that broke through the defensive lines, aid for other units and restoration of the previous positions.
- Counterattack in the flank or rear of an attacking enemy group with the goal of encircling and destroying it, with a subsequent offensive.In these conditions, the cooperation with artillery, aircraft, and infantry units is the most important command task to solve. In the direction of the corps' attack, it is preferable to subordinate the infantry to the tank corps, ensuring reliable support from fighter and bomber aircraft."
Collection of Combat Documents of the Great Patriotic War, Vol. 10