- SPGs (SU-76), organized into batteries or regiments, are tasked with not only supporting tanks, but mainly supporting infantry in defense and attack.
- When SPGs (SU-76) cooperate with infantry, the SPG (SU-76) should be viewed as an infantry support weapon that is less vulnerable and more mobile than regimental towed artillery.
- Based on this understanding, a regiment of SPGs should be assigned to a division, and inside the division, one regiment should be assigned to every battalion. The use of individual SPGs is undesirable, as the battery is indivisible.
- On the offensive, a battery of SU-76s attached to an infantry battalion positions itself among and behind the infantry lines, same as divisional and regimental artillery. The task of the SU-76 battery is set by the battalion commander, who gives specific targets, no more than 2-3 targets per SPG. The battery commander distributes targets between SPGs. The same commander, the battery commander, picks the positions of the battery based on the given task and terrain.
During artillery barrages, the SPGs may be included in the direct fire group. In this case, the tasks are given to the SPGs by the direct fire group commander, through the SPG regiment commander.
The tasks given to the SPG battery commander by the infantry commander do not free him from the responsibility of independently seeking out and destroying targets in his sector.
- When the infantry moves out, the battery supports the infantry until such a time as the infantry reaches the region of the targets being suppressed by the battery. When infantry reaches target depth, the battery moves out to the next line, either vehicle by vehicle or with the whole battery, depending on the situation, without losing communication or ceasing cooperation with infantry.
When the battery reaches its new positions, the battalion commander issues new targets. If there are no orders from the battalion commander, the battery commander must personally discover and destroy the targets that impede infantry progress the most. During the offensive, the SPG battery acts as infantry support guns and fires from positions dictated by the position of our infantry.
Infantry commanders and soldiers must know and remember that the SU-76 SPG is not a tank, but an SPG, and does not fight outside of infantry ranks. When the enemy is demoralized or retreating, SPG batteries, like regular infantry gun batteries, rapidly move forward, destroy the enemy at close range, and pursue him. The infantry must not lag behind its SPGs, but also rapidly follow.
- When organizing cooperation between infantry and artillery, ensure that there is a mutual understanding of objectives. Shared landmarks must be established to make directions easier. The simplest signals possible must be agreed upon, legible to junior infantry commanders and commanders of individual SPGs.
- One of the objectives of self propelled artillery in the offensive is the support of infantry while it fortifies on new ground.
- In this case, when the infantry moves to a defensive position, the batteries become mobile or immobile artillery with a potentially wider range. Pick concealed positions to shoot from, dig the SPGs into the ground if possible. On the offensive, as in defense, when enemy tanks or SPGs appear, SU-76 batteries ignore all other objectives and fire immediately at enemy tanks or SPGs. The order of opening fire is covered by existing manuals on tank combat. This task remains a priority until all enemy tanks are suppressed or chased off.
- When the regiment fights in the region of a division, the SPG regiment commander remains with the divisional artillery commander or where the commander orders him to be. The regimental commander must, without ignoring the objectives given by the infantry commander, control his battery and control their fire, provide them with ammunition and other supplies. Regrouping or reassigning batteries can be done only through the SU-76 regiment commander.
- These directions do not apply to SPGs assigned to a tank destroyer regiment (SU-85), which follow special directions.
Thursday, 16 July 2015
"Orders to commanders of the 4th Ukrainian Front on the combat use of SPG regiments (SU-76) and their cooperation with infantry in combat
Collection of Combat Documents from the Great Patriotic War, vol. 2, doc. 10.
4th Ukrainian Front commander, Army General Petrov
Member of the Military Council of the 4th Ukrainian Front, Colonel-General Mekhlis
Commander of Artillery of the 4th Ukrainian Front, Lieutenant-General Kariofilli"