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Report About Operations Of The 71st Indep. Guards Heavy Tank Regt, 14 July - 31 August 1944

Published on Monday, 26 September 2005 01:18
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In the morning of 13 August 1944, the Regiment, in cooperation with 289th Infantry Regiment of 97th Infantry Division began an advance towards Oglendov. The enemy tanks, which were on the outskirts, blocked the infantry attack. At that moment, the tank platoon of Guards Senior Lieutenant Klimenkov was advancing from his previously prepared position and opened fire on the enemy tanks. As a result, after a short engagement, Klimenkov destroyed one tank and damaged another (these were the first King Tiger's to be destroyed) and the infantry entered Ogledov without facing any serious resistance.

Simultaneously, from the height 272.1, seven King Tigers attacked our positions. Concealed in the bushes to the east of Mokree, the tank of Guards Senior Lieutenant Udalov let the enemy approach within 700–800 metres and then opened fire on the leading tank. After several accurate shots, one tank was destroyed and another one damaged. When the enemy started to retreat, Udalov drove his tank along the forest road towards the enemy and, from the edge of the forest, opened fire again. Leaving one more tank on fire, the enemy retreated.

Soon, the King Tigers attacked again. This time they were advancing towards Ponik, where the Guards Lieutenant Beliakov's was in laying in ambush. He opened fire from the distance of 1000 metres. By the third round, he had set fire to one tank and forced others to retreat.

During the day the tankers, in co-operation with artillery, repulsed 7 armored attacks and inflicted heavy human and technical losses on the enemy.

Enemy losses from 14 July to 31 August 1944

Burnt out:
Tiger — 4,
King Tiger — 4,
Panther — 3,
Ferdinand self-propelled gun — 1,
128mm self-propelled gun — 1,
Armored cars — 3.

Tiger — 1,
King Tiger — 2,
Panther — 3.

Guns destroyed of different calibres: 23,
Machine-guns destroyed: 22,
Soldiers and officers killed: 600.

Regimental losses:

JS-122’s destroyed — 3.
JS-122’s damaged — 7. (Three were repaired by the Regiment and four were sent for rebuilding by the Repair Center.)

Killed In Action:
Officers — 3, These included the Regimental Commander Guards Lieutenant-Colonel Judin,
sergeants and solders — 10.

Officers — 8,
Sergeants and privates — 36.

The experience showed that the tanks could have an effective range of 70–100 kilometres per day, with an average speed on roads of 20–25 km/h and 10–15 km/h across country. A maximum range is about 125–150 kilometres. In total, the tanks covered about 1100 kilometres, therefore tank engines worked for 250–270 moto-hours while guaranteed 150 moto-hours.

The actual speed across country on the battlefield reaches 8–12 km/h. The guns could fire 2–3 rounds a minute. During an offensive, the number of rounds carried for a main armament is sufficient for the one day's combat.

In general, the conditions for fire and observation from a tank are satisfactory.

In practice, the 9T-17 telescopic sight was found to be uncomfortable for the gunner when shooting and observing, because it did not permit 360 traverse through the turret roof. It could also not be used because of difficulties relating to adjustment and inability to keep track of the target.

The existing cast armour could be penetrated by 88 mm round from a distance of 800–1000 metres, because of bad quality of our armor (e.g. insufficient thickness, bubbles).


1. The main armament of the JS-122 remains the most powerful of all existing types of tanks. The 122 mm round has great armor-piercing capability and this makes these tanks the best solution against other heavy enemy tanks.

2. The large quantity of smoke from the gun when fired reveals the tank’s position.

3. The experience of defensive combat in the bridgehead, revealed that enemy tanks avoid areas defended by JS-122's. As a result, this situation often results in a change of the attack's direction, looking for the less well defended areas.

71st Independent Guards Heavy Tank Regiment Commander
Guards Lieutenant-Colonel

Translated by: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Sources: «M-Hobby» #4, 1999

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