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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

On November 19, our country celebrates the Day of Rocket Forces and Artillery. By this date, on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Defense launched historical and educational section “Heroes of direct fire. Dedicated to the anti-tank gunners of the Great Patriotic War ”. The section is based on a number of archival materials reflecting the contribution to the victory over the German-fascist invaders of the Red Army’s anti-tank artillery.

The main striking force of the Wehrmacht, Hitler’s “iron fist”, were highly mobile tank units. On their massive use, the German blitzkrieg plan was based – a lightning war with the Soviet Union. This plan was not destined to come true: the blitzkrieg was smashed to smithereens on the courage, bravery and mass heroism of Soviet soldiers. An invaluable contribution to the fight against a gigantic number of Nazi tanks and armored vehicles was played by the Soviet anti-tank fighter artillery.

The section is opened by documents describing episodes of anti-tank battles of the 1st Guards Anti-Tank Artillery Regiment. An interesting description of the battle, which was carried out by the anti-tank crews on October 25, 1941, on the approaches to Moscow – in the Volokolamsk region. Then the Nazis launched massive tank attacks on the regiment’s position: 50 tanks participated in the first, the second wave consisted of 200! From the description of the chief of staff of the guard regiment, Major Shipnevsky, one can imagine the colossal tension, courage and skill of the artillerymen, as well as the incredible difficulty of their combat work on the approaches to the capital: “By 12:00 the battlefield was covered with solid smoke and, despite the fact that the day was sunny , the visibility was 20-40 meters. The fire of the guns did not stop for a minute. Submachine gunners / enemy / came to the rear of the gun and fired at the crews. But the artillerymen held out! And the enemy, as a result of two and a half hours of continuous combat, then lost 69 tanks, up to 2 infantry battalions and 3 aircraft! ..

In our country, they perfectly understood the highest risk of the combat work of tank destroyers and tried to assess it in simple and understandable ways for everyone.

Few know that anti-tank gunners had a number of advantages over fighters and commanders of other branches of the armed forces. So, from the published in the section of the declassified order of the People’s Commissar of Defense of the USSR No. 0528 dated July 1, 1942, it follows that, for example, the commanding / officer / staff of anti-tank artillery regiments, battalions and batteries was assigned one and a half, and sergeants and rank-and-file personnel – double salary of content. This order raised the ranks of gun commanders and their deputies (gunners), who were now obligatorily assigned the ranks of senior sergeant and sergeant, respectively, and introduced the position of deputy gunner with the rank of junior sergeant. Here, bonuses were set for each tank knocked out by the gun: the commander of the gun and the gunner – 500 rubles each, the rest of the gun crew – 200 rubles each. Very significant amounts for those times! ..

It is also curious that in addition to the special sleeve insignia for tank destroyers, by the same order of the USSR People’s Commissar of Defense, a special marking was fixed, applied inside the gun shield in the upper right corner, and meaning no less than the number of enemy tanks destroyed by the crew!

By the end of 1942, it became necessary to revise the staff organization of the artillery units. Of great interest to history buffs will be the declassified memo of the Chief of Staff of the Main Directorate of the Red Army Artillery Commander Major General of Artillery Samsonov “On the revision of the staff organization of artillery units” dated December 17, 1942. In it, based on an analysis of the current situation with artillery units and formations, equipment and experience of their combat use on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, substantiates the need for a radical change in the composition and number of cannon, howitzer, mortar and anti-tank units and subunits.

The section also presents one of the results of this painstaking staff work: order of the People’s Commissar of Defense of the USSR of April 10, 1943 No. 0063 “On securing artillery reinforcement regiments for the armies and the formation of anti-tank and mortar brigades for the fronts.”

Declassified archival documents show that the use of anti-tank artillery units during the Great Patriotic War at all levels was given the most serious attention.

The section contains a letter from the chief of artillery staff of the Southern Front dated June 17, 1943 to the subordinate artillery headquarters and units, with whom, in exchange of experience, the memorandums “Use of anti-tank artillery regiments in anti-tank combat” and “The effectiveness of direct fire at long-range tanks distances 1000-1500 meters “. The resolution in red (commander’s) pencil on the submitted copy of the document indicates “Multiply for the regiments to study and exchange experience.” There is no doubt that this document was brought to the attention of every anti-tank officer.

The declassified order of the USSR People’s Commissar of Defense of August 2, 1944 No. 0032 of August 2, 1944: armament self-propelled guns “SU-85”. Within less than three weeks, it was ordered to form and transfer to the Commander of the Red Army artillery fifteen such regiments.

The section contains documents that analyze in detail the use of anti-tank fighters in the battles for the suburbs of the Polish capital – the town of Prague in the fall of 1944, and in the battles on the territory of Hungary in the winter and spring of 1945.

The capital of Poland, Warsaw, was considered by the Hitlerite command as a “gateway” to Germany. By 1944, it was a powerful fortified area with long-term emplacements, anti-tank ditches, escarpments, minefields and other obstacles. Despite this, Soviet artillery was able to break through the enemy’s fortified zone. The artillery attack lasted for one hour and 45 minutes, which then grew into an offensive by the Soviet infantry. The barrage of fire was so strong that enemy units were either destroyed or demoralized and could not offer serious resistance until the end of the operation.

During the battles in Hungary, the Soviet command made the most of the capabilities of the anti-tank artillery regiments in the fight against the enemy’s heavy equipment. However, despite the available combat experience, the Soviet units suffered losses: the need to fire on the advancing infantry of the Nazis gave out the location of the guns, which were destroyed by the enemy’s tanks and self-propelled guns dug into the ground and camouflaged.

Some of the archival documents published on the website of the military department tell about the exploits of tank destroyers.

Thus, the section presents award materials for Senior Lieutenant Boytsov. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to him in February 1944. At that time, he had already been awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd degree. Each time when awarding, the command noted the skillful leadership of the subunit in battle, personal initiative, courage and courage of the battery commander.

On the combat account of the calculation of the guns of the 227th Red Banner Artillery Regiment of the 70th Infantry Division, headed by senior sergeant Voronin, 5 machine-gun nests, 11 dugouts, 4 machine guns with servants, 1 damaged tank and the enemy’s manpower were listed. It is noteworthy that this calculation consisted of five Voronin brothers, who on August 8, 1941, in the battles for the Estonian settlement of Kabala, shot at close range the moving columns of Hitlerite machine gunners with direct fire.

Users can learn about the establishment of a professional holiday for artillerymen from the pages of the army newspaper “For Victory”, the numbers of which are published in the section. “Considering the great military merits of the Red Army artillery on all fronts of the Patriotic War in the struggle against the German fascist invaders, establish an annual holiday, Artillery Day. Celebrate the Day of Artillery on November 19 every year ”, – with these words began the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, published in the newspaper on October 23, 1944. This day was prescribed in all capitals of the Union republics, as well as in Leningrad, Stalingrad, Sevastopol, Odessa, Khabarovsk and Novosibirsk “to celebrate with twenty artillery salvos from two hundred and twenty-four guns.”

The publication of archival documents from the period of the Great Patriotic War from the funds of the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of Russia is a continuation of the activities of the military department aimed at protecting and protecting historical truth, countering falsifications of history, attempts to revise the results of World War II.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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