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ORDER TO THE FORCES OF WEST FRONT No.087

Secret

29 December 1941
Active Army

A significant quantity of antitank rifles, which combat experience has shown to be an effective means of combating light and medium enemy tanks, has come into the inventory of front units.

However, only the 16th and 20th Armies have made regular use of these antitank rifles. In the remaining armies antitank rifles have not assumed a proper role in the general system of antitank combat, despite the fact that the enemy has employed his tanks generally everywhere.

In a number of cases antitank rifle crews have been employed as riflemen, and the antitank rifles themselves, as a result of their poor accounting, have been abandoned on the battlefield.

This attitude toward such an effective means of antitank combat is completely unacceptable.

I ORDER:

1. The military councils of armies and commanders of large formations to exercise personal supervision over the combat employment of antitank rifles and to demand from the commanders of rifle units specific guidance in their employment.

2. Antitank rifle platoons to be included organizationally in the composition of rifle battalions and not be employed as riflemen.

3. In the defense, antitank rifles to be employed in groups of 4-8 rifles to cover the most important tank-threatening axes, organizing their coordination with antitank artillery and tank killer teams. The actions of antitank rifles must be covered by submachine gun, machine gun, and mortar fire of infantry units.

In the offensive, antitank rifle platoons must move behind the combat formation of infantry in constant readiness to defeat enemy counterattacks supported by tanks.

In all cases fire at enemy light and medium tanks from ranges 250-300 metres and below.

4. Establish strict accountability of antitank rifles and do not permit incidents of their loss or abandonment on the battlefield go unpunished.

5. The military councils of armies will report concerning the measures taken and will submit brief monthly reports concerning the employment of antitank rifles in the armies' units.


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

MEMBER OF WEST FRONT MILITARY COUNCIL
/BULGANIN/

CHIEF OF STAFF WEST FRONT LIEUTENANT GENERAL
/SOKOLOVSKIY/


See also:
- Report Concerning the under appreciation of antitank rifles and antitank grenades
- Article Soviet Antitank Rifles
- Booklet Destroy Fascist Tanks With the Antitank Rifle



Translated by:
James F. Gebhardt
Sources:
TsAMO, collection 208, index 2524, item 10, sheets 235-36. True copy.

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