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Anti-tank Plans

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"Directive of the Commander of Artillery of the 3rd Ukrainian Front #001931
RE: anti-tank defenses of footholds on the Dniester
May 10th, 1944

Commanders of artillery of the armies:

Temporary defensive positions of the Front demand that we take a number of measures to provide the defenses with artillery. All captured footholds on the right shore of the Dniester should be thoroughly and thoughtfully prepared for anti-tank defenses. To prevent the enemy from gathering resources, deflect attacks of infantry and tanks, and combat his artillery, it is necessary to prepare and negotiate the following systems of fire with combined arms commanders: long range attack, concentrated fire, immobile screening fire, anti-tank screening fire, both in front of our front line and in the enemy's depth. Pay special attention to the joints between the armies, corps, and divisions.

I demand that the following measures be taken immediately:
  1. Organize anti-tank defenses on the right shore of the Dniester. Move 45 mm guns, 76 mm regimental guns, individual 76 mm divisional guns from infantry divisions and anti-tank squadrons, and captured guns into the infantry's lines. Ensure the creation of anti-tank reserves: anti-tank artillery squadrons for the division's artillery commander, independent batteries of 76 mm guns from the infantry division's artillery regiment for the corps' artillery commander, and anti-tank artillery brigades for the army artillery commander. If the armies have independent anti-tank artillery regiments (army or Reserve of the Supreme Command) or brigades, attach independent regiments for anti-tank defenses, if necessary, to the artillery commanders of rifle corps, and preserve the anti-tank brigades in the anti-tank reserve, do not split them up and needlessly move them out to the front. In all cases, preserve units equipped with mobile prime movers in reserve.
    Prepare a maneuver plan to move the anti-tank reserve out to tank-susceptible directions and likely deployment areas, as well as maneuver of individual 122 mm and 152 mm howitzers to combat Tiger tanks and Ferdinand SPGs. Organize defenses on the right side of the Dniester predominately with artillery not equipped with mobile prime movers. Each gun position, closed or open, must have at least 40% AP or HEAT ammunition. Anti-tank guns must fire only at tanks or in self defense.
  2. Prepare a firing system both in front of our front lines and in the depth of out defenses. Zero in on all areas in front of the defensive lines, concentrating on areas of possible enemy crossings.
    The artillery firing system must be developed jointly with the combined arms commanders and be combined with small arms fire and engineering obstacles. Pay special attention to preparation for immobile screening fire and anti-tank screening fire in front of our defensive line. Joints between divisions, corps, and armies must be covered reliably with fire. Communications and control measures must be supplied for combined arms cooperation. Systematically check the fire in joints between units, and the organization of communication and direction.
  3. Compose a counter-barrage plan based on existing reconnaissance data. Correct and send updates as new informtion comes in.
  4. Deliver the following the Front artillery HQ before the end of day on May 13th, 1944:
    1. A diagram of the anti-tank defenses on a 1:100,000 scale map with an attached plan for the maneuver of an anti-tank reserve and a brief legend (number of anti-tank regions, composition, order of direction, senior artillery commander).
    2. Diagram of fire of the army's artillery combined with existing and planned engineering obstacles, with a legend (who provides the fire where, number of guns used).
    3. Agreements and diagrams of supporting the joints.
    4. Counter-barrage plan.
Send the materials along with a staff officer who can explain the materials.

Commander of Artillery of the 3rd Ukrainian Front.
May 10th, 1944"

Collection of Combat Documents of the Great Patriotic War, Volume 16

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