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Rambler's Top100

3

Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel for the defeat of exposed enemy troops Print E-mail
Documents and Articles - Directives, After-Battle reports

Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel for the defeat of exposed enemy troops


ORDER OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE FORCES OF WEST FRONT No.065

Secret

12 November 1941
Active Army

Combat experience has shown that our artillerymen are completely inadequately employing shrapnel for defeat of exposed enemy troops, instead employing for this purpose projectiles with the fuse set for fragmentation action.

The under appreciation of shrapnel can be explained only by the fact that young artillerymen do not know, and old artillery commanders have forgotten, that the shrapnel of 76mm regiment and division cannons when fired at exposed personnel at average ranges of 4-5 kilometers will cause twice the damage to a target as compared projectiles set for fragmentation action.

The People's Commissar of Defense Comrade STALIN has pointed out this gross error in the combat activity of artillery in a special order and has demanded that it be immediately corrected.

For the adoption of the broad and skillful use of shrapnel rounds in artillery units, I ORDER:

1. Explain to the command component and soldiers of artillery the valuable combat capabilities of shrapnel as a projectile intended for defeat of exposed enemy personnel, especially withering when fired for the destruction of attacking infantry and for self-defense against infantry.

2. Division artillery chiefs, commanders of artillery regiments and separate battalions are to confirm the knowledge of commanders of batteries that are equipped with the 76mm gun in the regulations for firing shrapnel and, when necessary, conduct practical exercises directly at observation posts in the techniques of conducting fire with shrapnel.

3. Require that 76mm gun batteries employ shrapnel in all cases of firing at exposed enemy troops, especially for the destruction of attacking infantry, self-defense against attacking infantry, for destruction of enemy observation posts sited in woods, and for clearing out of forested sectors.

4. Select commanders more capable and qualified in gunnery skills for the position of commander of 76mm batteries.

5. Maintain not less than 20 percent shrapnel munitions in the basic load of regiment and division artillery 76mm batteries. Report by telegraph to army military councils concerning the measures that are taken in compliance with this order.

COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF FORCES OF WEST FRONT, ARMY GENERAL
ZHUKOV

MEMBER OF WEST FRONT MILITARY COUNCIL
BULGANIN


Translated by:
James F. Gebhardt
Sources:
TsAMO, collection 208, index 2524, item 10, sheets 176-78. Original.

 
Discuss (4 posts)
Carl Schwamberger
Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel for the defeat of exposed enemy troops
Sep 28 2008 12:09:38
This thread discusses the Content article: Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel for the defeat of exposed enemy troops

A few questions here to clarify.

The difference between shrapnel and instead employing for this purpose projectiles with the fuse set for fragmentation action. is not clear.

By shrapnel is meant a projectile loaded with metal shot that is scattered in a air burst?

Would with the fuse set for fragmentation action. mean the fuse set for detonation on impact with the ground surface?

The differences are perhaps subtle, but important to a artilleryman like myself. In this case it has much to do with the effectiveness of the divsion artillery, gives some insight into the real abilities of the RKKA artillerymen

A lesser question is: what would be the ammount of ammunition in the basic load of the batterys and regiment? re:5. Maintain not less than 20 percent shrapnel munitions in the basic load of regiment and division artillery 76mm batteries.

thanks for any answers
#182

V_P
Re:Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel for the defeat of exposed enemy troops
Sep 28 2008 19:25:33
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
The difference between shrapnel and instead employing for this purpose projectiles with the fuse set for fragmentation action. is not clear.

By shrapnel is meant a projectile loaded with metal shot that is scattered in a air burst?

Would with the fuse set for fragmentation action. mean the fuse set for detonation on impact with the ground surface?


Yep, this document means soviet artillerists ignored shrapnel ammo at all and used HE ammo instead. They set fuse of a HE round for fragmentation impact.
#183
Keith
Re:Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel
Sep 29 2008 09:43:18
Would the ratio of shrapnel to HE ammo issued to mountain troops have differed from that issued to normal regimental and divisional batteries? In the Caucasus for example there would have been less point in issuing HE rounds since ground penetration would have been impossible in the mountains.
#184
Carl Schwamberger
Re:Concerning the employment of artillery shrapnel for the defeat of exposed enemy troops
Sep 29 2008 16:27:51
Ok, then I understand the shrapnel projectiles were left unused, and the HE projectiles were used with fuze setting for impact rather than timed for air bursts.

"Would the ratio of shrapnel to HE ammo issued to mountain troops have differed from that issued to normal regimental and divisional batteries? In the Caucasus for example there would have been less point in issuing HE rounds since ground penetration would have been impossible in the mountains."

I dont know about the proportion of ammunition. I do know that the penetration of HE projectiles depends on the use of a fuze with a "delay" setting. Most fuzes have a setting with a delay of a fraction of a second. When set to delay it allows the projectile to pass thru tree tops, building roofs, or other light cover to explode underneath. I also know from experince that timing air bursts in hills or mountains is 'difficult'.

In the US and British armys shrapnel type ammunition had become rare. When air bursts were required time fuzes were applied to ordinary HE projectiles for fragmenation in the air rather than at the surface. This is why I wanted to be sure I understood the translation. That it was refering specificically to shrapnel ammunition, and air bursts in general.
#188


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