- In battles at the Narev Foothold, the 80th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment was used in both attack and defense, In defense, the regiment was used for combat with enemy tanks, deflecting their counterattacks. Heavy tanks from the regiment cooperated with tanks from the 17th Tank Brigade. IS-122 tanks fired at enemy heavy tanks from 2 km away, and T-34s fired at closer, less important targets.When our heavy tanks appeared at the foothold, enemy tank actions became more careful. Counterattacks became more thoroughly planned and better synchronized with artillery. In part, the enemy would move his heavy tanks as close as possible to our positions at night and begin counterattacks with medium tanks at dawn, supported by guns of the forward heavy tanks.
Lately, counterattacks in regions where the enemy knows we have heavy tanks are performed very carefully, even meekly, even when Tiger and Panther tanks are present. Heavy enemy tanks and SPGs fire from great distances and from cover, trying to not expose themselves to IS-2 fire.
- In defense, the regiment formed itself into a line along a 600 meter front. Experience showed that the range and firepower of the guns could make the regiment effective over a wide front. Actions of our heavy tanks in ambush directly from the front line drastically increased the robustness of the defenses and quickly drained the enemy of enthusiasm in trying to push back our units and attain success.
- The regiment lost 6 IS-122 tanks during defensive battle. This is explained with the following reasons:
- The regiment was thrown into battle right off the march, without a chance to perform reconnaissance of terrain and the enemy, without even knowing the overall situation on the foothold. According to the corps commander, tanks took up initial positions at night, and immediately deflected an enemy counterattack.
- The enemy has a numerical advantage in tanks and SPGs, and there is powerful artillery and mortar fire on our tank positions.
Losses of tanks were compensated by significant losses to enemy tanks and failure of enemy plans to take the foothold.
- During the offensive, the regiment was used to support infantry. The main objective of the tanks was to fight enemy tanks and SPGs, strongholds, deflect enemy tank attacks, and protect the flank of the advancing division.
Skilfully organized and executed cooperation with infantry and within the regiment, correct use of terrain, skillful combination of fire and movement, and excellent knowledge of the capability of heavy tanks in combat gave excellent results for the regiment during the offensive.
No matter what, heavy tanks must be accompanied with constant tactical, combat, and special reconnaissance, before and during the battle. Without it, heavy tanks cannot complete their objectives and will take losses.
- Since the enemy, as a rule, reveals his tanks and SPGs with fire only when our forces advance, and the main task of the IS-122 is to fight them, it is necessary to aim to use tank regiments in cooperation with medium tanks and SPGs.
Monday, 19 September 2016
"Conclusions regarding the combat actions of the 80th Guards Idritsa Order of the Red Banner Heavy Tank Regiment from October 4th to 25th, 1944, in battles for the Narev Foothold
Commander of the 65th Army Armoured and Motorized Forces, Colonel Novak
Chief of Staff of the 65th Army Armoured and Motorized Forces, Guards Lieutenant-Colonel Burdakov"