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"Engineer Support of Tanks" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on engineer support of tank attacks on organized defenses was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 15, Dec. 31, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Experience in Russia and Africa has indicated that tanks cannot operate successfully without the support of other arms. Since tanks have probably been more extensively used on the Russian front than anywhere else, of interest is the following summary of an article from the Russian newspaper Red Star of June 7, 1942, written by a Russian lieutenant, on engineer support of tank attacks on organized defenses.

During the attack, each tank should carry at least 2 engineers. The principal function of these engineers is the location and neutralization of mines. For purposes of coordination, a complete set of visual signals between the engineers (when dismounted) and the tanks must be arranged.

Comment: These engineers apparently ride outside the tank behind the turret. In this connection it should be noted that the turrets of Russian tanks are usually set well forward, thereby leaving a relatively large platform-like area between the turret and the rear of the tank. Some protection can therefore be afforded to men riding behind the turret. The Russians also use infantry mounted on tanks (Desyanti) (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 3, p. 44).


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