"In order to fight enemy armoured vehicles (tanks, armoured cars), units must follow these rules of combat:
Send scout units far ahead and out of open flanks, to observe, track, and listen. The goal is to prevent sudden appearances of enemy tanks. Report the appearance of tanks with rockets or signals.
B: Combat readiness
When tanks are spotted, an order to ready for battle is given.
Junior commanders, on their own initiative, can get into a ready position from a march or from a camp. Run to your ordered positions. A trench should be prepared and camouflaged for the commander, so he can control his unit (or gun crew). Each group (machine gun or gun crew) needs to form a defensive point with 360 degree defenses.
Distances to various parts of the terrain are established. Open fire only upon the orders of a unit commander (battery commander).
Armour piercing rounds should be located close to the gun. It is necessary to have:
- For the 98 rifle: 10 AP bullets SmK |H|
- For the 34 machine gun: 100 AP bullets SmK |H| in two drums or in belts
- For the 37 mm light AT gun: 20 AP PzGr 40 shells
- For the 50-mm medium AT gun: 32 AP PzGr 40 shells
- For light infantry guns: 24 "38" grenades
- For the 18 light field howitzer: 10 105 mm AP grenades
- 105 mm gun 18: 10 105 mm AP shell
Have close combat weapons ready. Stick grenades, egg-shaped grenades, smoke grenades, grenade bundles, etc.
C: Combat tactics
When tanks appear, stop all movement.
Aim at the tank ahead of time.
By shooting sharp-tipped sS bullets, force the tanks to close their hatches.
Open fire from the following distances:
- From 1500 meters, with the 105 mm 18 gun, with 10.5 cm AP shells (red).
- From 1500 meters, with the 105 mm light field howitzer 18: 10.5 cm AP grenade.
- From 1500 meters, with the MG 34 firing heavy sS bullets, to suppress accompanying infantry.
- From 1000 meters, with the medium 50 mm AT gun, firing AP shells.
- From 800 meters, with the MG 34, firing AP bullets mixed with tracers to knock out optics.
- From 600 meters, with the light 37 mm AT gun, firing AP shells.
- From 600 meters, with the light infantry gun 18, firing 7.5 cm 38 grenades.
- From 500 meters, with the heavy AT rifle 41.
- From 400 meters, with the 98 rifle, firing heavy sS bullets.
- From 300 meters, with the light 37 mm AT gun, firing PzGr 40.
- From 200 meters, with the light AT rifle 38 and 39.
- From 150 meters, with the MG 34 and 98 rifle, firing SmK |H| bullets.
- From 9 meters, with hand grenades, grenade bundles, gasoline bottles.
Aim at weak points: suspension, turret ring. Do not aim at the front of the tank, as it is the thickest. Fire at the sides and rear of the tank. Aim for concentrated crossfire. Do not only shoot at tanks right in front of you, but tanks to the left and right of them. When shooting with the heavy 150 mm howitzer, aiming at the suspension should yield satisfactory results.
Be calm. Let the enemy approach. Suddenly open fire as late as possible. The heavier the tank, the later you must fire in order to successfully penetrate. Save AP shells.
D: Close combat
Blind the enemy crews with smoke grenades. Let the tank approach to 9 meters, then throw a grenade, grenade bundle, or gasoline bottle, and hide. If a tank stops, climb on it, and cover its vision ports. Kill tank crews that leave the tank.
E: If the enemy breaks through
Defend the position at any cost. Tanks that break through can be destroyed by direct fire artillery or rear forces. Keep fighting approaching tanks and accompanying infantry. Open fire from all weapons. Even if you cannot penetrate, you will have a demoralizing effect on the crew.
Artillery fights tanks with all available guns. Artillery must be positioned far from forests, to be able to fire in all directions at tanks that broke through. Ready at least one AT battery per regiment, and give them more AP shells. Forward observers must be located in regions inaccessible by tanks. Have reliable connections to forward observers, in case they spot tanks.
Rear forces must fight tanks that broke through. This must be prepared in the same way as AA defenses. Supply forces and other non-combat units must be well camouflaged and positioned in regions inaccessible by tanks.
F: Short conclusions
A brave soldier can destroy any tank forces with his weapon, and other supporting weapons. He must aim carefully to penetrate armour. An indomitable will to destroy a tank is a guarantee that a unit will have no fear when tanks arrive. The unit will always stand before tanks. Will always triumphs over machines."
This is the 1941 or earlier edition, aimed at general tank warfare. Note the abundance of APCR shells, which radically decreased after 1941. Aside from some minor scares, German APCR wasn't really an issue in 1942. Here is another one stored under CAMD RF 204-113-48, specifically about Soviet tanks.
"Translation from German. Captured on 9/1/43.
Summation of Experience of Tank Battles in the East.
1. Soviet tanks
Is it difficult to destroy the following tanks: medium T-34 (26 tons), heavy KV-1 (44 tons), KV-1 (reinforced), KV-1 mod. 1942 (120 mm of armour), KV-2 (52 tons). Light T-26 and BT tanks are of an obsolete design. T-40 and T-60 tanks have light armour.
Resistance of Russian tanks to AT guns is caused not only by armour thickness, but by its angle. The T-34 has high off-road ability. Special measures must be taken when fighting it, especially measures that use terrain impassable by tanks.
The main weakness of the Russians is poor visibility. This must be exploited in order to suddenly open fire from close ranges with AT guns.
2. Significance of tank reconnaissance. (Order 469/2A)
Reconnaissance is the first step in combat with all enemy tanks. In order to destroy a tank with powerful armour, the range, aim point, shell type, all depend on the tank (see order 489/3A "table for shooting a tank").
3. Tactics of Russian tanks
Russians have two main ways of using tanks:
1. Tanks are used as armoured guns (especially on flat ground). The tanks open fire from 1500 meters.
Countermeasures: it is pointless to open fire from light and medium AT guns, the StuG, the PzIII, or the PzIV (with the 75 L/43 gun). At this distance, tanks can only be destroyed by the 88 mm AA gun, artillery guns, heavy AT guns (AT gun model 1941 and 7.62 cm caliber guns, from a distance of no more than 1300 meters).
Infantry, and accompanying heavy weapons, when fired upon, must remain in the trenches, hide themselves, and cease all movement.
2. Tank attack (infantry attack support)
a) Due to insufficient radio equipment, attacking tanks follow the example of the leading tank.
Countermeasures: destroy leading tanks first.
German infantry lets Russian tanks move unimpeded.
b) Infantry escorts follow the tanks closely.
Countermeasures: separate the infantry from the tanks by opening suppressing fire.
c) Tank attacks are performed by moving up line by line.
Countermeasures: try to use cover, constantly change positions of AT guns, and attempt to deflect the tank attack in close combat."
The next section of the document is fairly self-evident (shoot at flat armour when possible, use APCR on highly armoured targets, use guns with weak penetration at point blank ranges, shoot at the sides, etc). A section on infantry repeats the previous orders: when tanks get close, conceal yourself in cracks and trenches, do not open fire. It also mentions some infantry AT devices:
- Rifle grenade model 1940: penetrates 60 mm of armour at a distance of 50-100 meters.
- 250 gram smoke grenade, used to block off the tank crew's vision.
- AT mine, attached by a magnet or a hook, capable of penetrating 140 mm of armour.
That document predates the Panzerfaust and Panzerschrek, so let's see how effective those were. A Soviet document on battle damage to tanks, stored under CAMD RF 233-2309-162, states: "Since the beginning of the operation, a very large amount (hundreds of thousands) of anti-tank grenades "Faust" (large and small) and "Ofenrohr" was discovered. Their application is negligible, barely 3% of all knocked out tanks fell to them. This is explained by the weak morale of the German infantry, shocked by our rapid advances. They run when our tanks are within 200-300 meters (the range of "Faust" is 40-50 meters)."
"Faust", of course, is a nickname for the Panzerfaust, and "Ofenrohr" refers to the Panzerschreck. Seems that the "indomitable will to destroy a tank" from 1941 has been broken by 1944.