Armored and cavalry. Methods of War of Tomorrow
Everything can be in this world. As the Russian proverb says, make the fool pray to God, so he will break his forehead. You can ruin anything. In fact, the horsemen leave the zone of shelling very, very quickly, and the main losses in the last world war were carried by cavalry from air and artillery fire in a dismounted state, in places of concentration. Suffice it to say that not a single large cavalry unit of the Soviet army of the Great Patriotic War was captured in the environment, and there were numerous cases of capture by armored vehicles (of both the Soviet and German sides) that were left without fuel or timely repair. The successful actions of cavalry in the Second World War are well researched and described, but the public mind still has a picture: a sword with a sword, flying on a machine gun.
In order not to get up twice, let us say that in certain mountainous or wooded areas, in off-road conditions, a small mobile unit on horseback would still be very useful. And in the absence of a solid front, in conditions of spring and autumn off-road, with equipping with a sufficient number of anti-tank and anti-aircraft means, horsemen will give odds to armored formations. Moreover, the feed industry has taken a step forward and is ready to provide granulated fortified food with at least all the army of Genghis Khan at moderate prices and with delivery to the home base.
The main blocking in the use of cavalry is the care of the horse: cleaning, reforging, healing, placing little animals and, most importantly, long-term training of the fighter.
In the once famous work of Vsevolod Ivanov's “Armored train 14-69” (about the civil war in the Far East), partisans are developing a plan to seize an armored train based on such shaky psychological premises and assumptions that it even takes aback. Even the first line of the book gives some idea of using such a powerful weaponslike an armored train.
The armored train "Polar" under number 14.69 guarded the railway line from the partisans (italics. VI Ivanov).
In the case of the literary armored train, there is an “agreement” - the transfer of military property to the enemy with an imitation of hostilities on any pre-specified conditions. The method is familiar to us from the time of Gaius Julius Caesar. Not for nothing, he described to the senate his victory over Farnak unusually sparingly. Came, saw, won. You can’t tell a lot about the battle in which less than 100 died of lightly-armed archers who came under the random Pontic distribution.
Let's return to the armored train. First of all, armored trains do an excellent job of securing the rear. Any more or less important object that is under the threat of an air attack can be covered by a group of armored trains with sufficient anti-aircraft missile weapons. Mobility and firepower of armored trains is indisputable when covering the flanks. During the civil war, armored trains were equipped with 122-mm caliber guns capable of shooting 12-14 versts. When firing from such guns, the platforms were disengaged, the brackets were folded back, the platforms were stalled, but the effect was worth it. There were also less heavy weapons that allowed firing from the turn.
It is noteworthy that in 1921, the Americans installed guns in 356 mm, capable of shooting 23 kilometers a kilometer, on railway platforms. And Congress approved the production of four artillery groups on railway platforms. Firepower is impressive. If the Germans in Normandy would have such armored trains, then the landing would have to be arranged somewhere else.
It was noted repeatedly that attempts to head-on the assault on armored trains always ended in failure. Easy vulnerability from the air of trains and armored trains moving by rail is also from the field of fantastic cinema. Mostly uncovered and unarmed freight and cargo-passenger trains were shot. Efficient shooting at trains from aircraft of World War II begins with 3000 meters, and this is a direct action of anti-aircraft guns. In tsarist Russia, it was recommended to install one armored car with 14 machine guns of the Vickers system on an armored train. It was enough that not a single squad was damaged from the air during the entire first world and civil wars. But now the placement of air defense systems at the railway base can only be limited by the designer’s imagination.
For the seizure of stations or other railway units, for the defense of the armored train itself, half of the soldiers with a cannon, two machine guns, communications and other interesting things were included in the crew. Total to 112 man of manpower, including the mountain signalman. And again, it must be understood that the stock of ammunition for this group may be virtually inexhaustible. Unless, of course, too far from the land battleship.
If hypothetically assume the presence of armored trains in the republics of Donbass, then in the conditions of a developed railway network and with the suppressed activity of the aircraft and helicopters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, this would be a weighty argument in favor of the victory of good over evil.
With the development of unmanned aviation an armored train can serve as a base for these same vehicles. A base equipped with a full repair complex, which is almost impossible to achieve in an automotive version. A base where operators are located in comfortable conditions, and, again, the filling of wagons can be specially designed for the challenges.
Back in 1927, Colonel of the Russian Army A.V. Shavrov, who served in the General Staff before the Civil War, based on the combat experience of the First World War and the Civil War, developed methods of interaction tanks and armored train group. The interaction of armored trains and aviation, armored trains and cavalry. He proposed a revolutionary and even somewhere “seditious” thing: to include an air platoon directly in the armored personnel on special platforms. This air platoon was supposed to correct the fire of tower and platform guns from closed positions, conduct reconnaissance and, optionally, bombing.
The actions of a couple or more armored trains along parallel branches were recognized as the most effective. And it was supposed to create heavy and light armored trains to solve specific problems. It is clear that this complicated the control scheme and would have brought to life an unprecedented military unit - the battalion of armored trains. The battalion, which would also include technical staff and repair, with a supply of sleepers, rails and a dining car with a casino, girls and whiskey. The format allows it!
The armored train has drawbacks, one of which is similar to cavalry: the complexity of personnel training. It requires a long study and practical training.
Learn! Learn military art in this way! War will always be fought by man, he will remain its main material. War is the will of man, his moral and physical efforts must be directed towards preparing for military labor. An army unconscious of duty, without love for the Fatherland, without moral duties, is worth little, no matter how perfect the machines are.
- Gennady Generalenko
- archival photos of the Second World War
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