The following notes on Russian methods of defense against a tank attack
are taken from an article which appeared recently in the Soviet press.
German tank attacks generally follow the main road in the direction of
the axis of the Russian communication lines. The attack opens with the shelling
of the main road, thus covering the infiltration of small groups of automatic riflemen, who
attempt to destroy the Soviet gun crews. Then three or four German
tanks appear at a distance of a half mile or more, and open random fire to draw
and locate the opposing antitank guns.
If the artillery defense is well organized, "the German tank attack
invariably ends in failure." Long-range artillery has the mission of destroying
the enemy tanks in assembly areas and in defiles prior to the attack. After the
tanks have crossed their line of departure and broken through the forward
positions, the antitank system comes into operation.
Antitank-gun crews operate on the principle of direct fire. Crews are
taught not to fire at tanks at random, but to carefully pick and choose the most
vulnerable spots; for example, the sides. Hits on the turret generally ricochet
and even a direct hit on the turret will not necessarily destroy the tank's crew; the
tank can still run and continue to fire with its remaining machine guns. Where the
tracks are damaged, however, the tank is stopped and presents a very