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Rambler's Top100

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"" 6 1999.
71 ;
T.Jentz "Panzertruppen" vol.2

No. 1 :
. -2, ., .
bes, Registered • 2007-09-25 08:56:20
No. 2 :
, , . ?
Email
bes, Registered • 2007-09-29 02:30:49
No. 3 :
Very interesting article, bringing up many good points of tactics and doctrine, but historically dubious as it contradicts other accounts of the battle such as by the noted military historian Steven Zaloga. Some key points are--

1. Better weapons don't win battles, better soldiers do. Even allowing for some exaggeration by the Russian authors, the Russians were clearly the better soldiers and better tankers in this battle; and this is solid evidence that the popular conception of the Germans as super-soldiers who were only overwhelmed by Russian mass is far from fully true. See my comments below on German training and doctrine.

2. German doctrine for the use of heavy tanks was markedly inferior to the Russian. The oft-cited German 'keil' (wedge) or 'glocke' (bell), which put the heavy tanks at the front, exposed their flanks to Russian weapons which would have been ineffective against their frontal armor. It also neglected the long range of the 88mm gun. The Russian doctrine, to put heavy tanks in a second wave behind T34s, took advantage of their heavy frontal armor and the long effective range of the 122mm gun.

3. The German soldiers were obviously poorly trained and poorly oriented, from the commanders down to the lowest ranks. It appears the Germans committed their attack with little or no reconnaissance, time and again falling victim to Russian ambushes. Even this egregious error would not have been so bad if the Germans had kept good formations and good observation to their flanks. Obviously, they did not: Note the position of the two burning King Tigers in the photo above--they were moving in column, one behind the other, a SERIOUS mistake. If better formations and surveillance had been kept, Oskin's tank would have been destroyed in short order, and very probably Udalov's as well.

4. The abandonment of tank 502 is very significant: This was very probably an officer's tank, and to have the crew abandon such a machine without a fight indicates serious morale and training problems in the German unit.

5. Von Legat deserved to lose his command: He was indeed responsible for this defeat. But, I must sympathize with him as well: How is it possible to train when your crews must exert all their efforts simply to make their tanks move a few kilometers?! Give me a 76mm Sherman or a T34-85 any day!

5. The 6th GTC's account is very strikingly different than other accounts I have read of this battle. Zaloga, for instance, in his book on Soviet tanks of the war, credits the 71st with stopping the attack, destroying or damaging 7 King Tigers at a cost of something like 6 IS-2s. This figure seems very close to Jentz's; and Zaloga goes on to describe a thorough Russian analysis of the destroyed IS-2s and their probable resistance to 88mm fire from various, longer ranges than the 600-700m cited in the battle reports. Given this, the 6th GTC's claim of "not losing a single tank" seems very dubious, much more so than Jentz's figures.
PhilHallenbeck, Registered • 2007-11-02 04:07:54
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