Part 3C – Building a Tank Brigade
As mentioned in the previous blog post, we will build out a Soviet Tank Brigade. Tank Brigades were both standalone (early war 1941) and then became the building block that Soviet Tank Corps were built around.
For our example of a Soviet Tank Brigade, if we go back to the BSSA and look under the front reserves we can see that the 18th Tank Corps was part of that reserve. The 18th Tank Corps consisted of 3 Tank Brigades, one of which is the 110th Tank Brigade. We will use this unit as our typical Soviet Tank Brigade.
By late 1943 the Soviets had established the final Shtat for its Tank Brigades. Prior to this they had issued many different shtats with many different tank makeups. This makes it difficult to establish which organization to use during the early war period. This latest Shtat (010/500) established the brigade to have 65 tanks in three Tank Battalions.
Below is a copy of the shtat, and I have translated the combat units so it can be followed easier.
Looking at the Tank Battalions, each had 2 tank companies, each with 3 platoons of 3 tanks and 1 tank for the company commander. In addition, there was 1 tank for the battalion commander for a total of 21 tanks per battalion. Not shown on the chart was 2 tanks under the brigade commander.
The Motor Rifle Company consisted of 2 companies of truck borne riflemen, each with 3 rifle platoons and 1 MG section. Next there was SMG company of 3 platoons, an AT company with 2 AT platoons of 2 76mm guns each, a Mortar company of 2 platoons each with 3 82mm mortars, and finally an AT Rifle company of 3 platoons each with 6 AT rifles.
The AAMG Company had 3 platoons, each with 3 12.7mm MG mounted on a truck.
The last units to look at are in the upper left of the chart. This is the HQ company which besides the 2 tanks of the brigade commander also had a mounted recon and sapper platoon.
At this time period, the tank brigade had 3 tank battalions and a mot rifle battalion, the AAMG was not always present.
Let’s look at the Tank Brigade books I have from the Soviet Archives. Below is the title page from volume VI coving the 101st to the 120th Tank Brigades.
A nice feature in the book is that it gives the Tank Brigades full name at the end of the war , along with the commanders and chief of staffs throughout the war.
Looking at the page below we see that the full name of the 110th Tank Brigade is:
110th Tank Znemansk Red Banner Order of Suvorov, Kutuzov, Alexander Nevsky Brigade.
On the next page, we see that the commander of the brigade at the time of the Konrad Operations was Colonel Ivan Fomich RESHETNIKOV, commanding from August 1944 to February 1945.
The last page from the book shows the units that made up the brigade on the 1st, 10th, and 20th of each month.
The boxed area, indicates the period of January 1, 1945 to February 1 1945. This shows in order, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Tank Battalions, the Motor Rifle Battalion, the AAMG Company, and the HQ Company.
The “Sword Behind the Shield” indicated that the 110th Tank Brigade was at full strength but consisted of the mixture of T34 76s and T34 85s.
With this information, we can now create the OOB of the Tank Brigade. First, let’s look at the Tank battalions. With the tank strengths indicted in the book I made the 1st tank battalion with T34 85s and the other 2 battalions with the T34 76s.
Next, we see the Motor Rifle Battalion and the AAMG Company, which completes the OOB of the Tank Brigade.
As you can see, having the tools and the data at hand makes creating an accurate OOB very easy. That concludes our post for this week.