two stories about that most perfect weapon in itself is not a guarantee of victory in battle. When meeting with a tactically competent and morally stable opponent, it will be successfully destroyed.
Both events occurred on the same day - August 12, but only with a difference of 60 years. In both cases, the latest Tanks, which at that time were the masterpieces of tank building, were bits of an older or theoretically unequal weapon.
The first story dates back to 12 August 1944. Events took place in Poland in the area of the Sandomierz bridgehead near the settlement of Staszów. As a result of the Soviet offensive in the summer of 1944, the fascist army suffered a series of heavy defeats. The troops of the first Ukrainian front reached the Vistula and captured a bridgehead on the west bank of the river. The fascists, in order to eliminate the bridgehead, began to force troops from Germany and Hungary and hoped to dismember and destroy Soviet troops with powerful blows in converging directions. 10 August 1944 The Germans finished concentrating their troops in the area west of Khmilnyk. Their groupings included the 3-I and 16-I tank, 20-I motorized divisions and 501-th battalion of heavy tanks.
The German command intended to strike through Khmilnyk on Rakov and Staszów end-to-end between the 13 and 5-th Guards armies, seize the ferry on the Charna river and go to the Vistula in the Baranuva region. The “secret weapon”, on which the main emphasis was laid, the Germans considered their 501 battalion of heavy tanks, equipped with the latest T-VIB tanks - the “Royal Tiger”.
This battalion had an interesting fate. Formed in May 1942 of the year in Erfurt on the basis of new T-VIH Tiger tanks, in November 1942 of the year it was sent to North Africa. There, despite successful actions against American and British tanks in the desert, six months later, in May 1943, the battalion was almost completely destroyed in Northern Tunisia. After reshaping and retraining in France, the battalion, receiving 45 new "Tigers", went to the Eastern Front near Vitebsk. However, during the outbreak of the Soviet offensive operation, Bagration was again defeated. For the third time, the tank battalion was recreated on the basis of the latest for that time T-VIB Royal Tiger tanks. At the same time, only two companies out of three were equipped with tanks, since by the middle of 1944, their production only gained momentum: in July, 45 tanks were launched, in August - 83 tanks.
The Royal Tiger was very difficult and time consuming to manufacture and operate the machine. Weighed 69,8 tons, the crew consisted of five people. The height of the tank - 375 cm, thickness of the hull - 150 mm, board and feed - 80 mm, turret front - 180 mm, maximum speed - 38 km / h, cruising range - 170 km along the highway, cross-country - 120 km. The radio station provided communication at a distance of 9,4 km. The tank had an 88-mm anti-tank gun, the barrel of which was longer than 6 m (6298 mm), and two MG42 machine guns. The ammunition consisted of 84 shots to the cannon and 4800 cartridges for machine guns. The initial speed of the armor-piercing projectile - 1000 m / s. As an auxiliary weapon, the tank was equipped with a melee device - a mortar of 26 mm caliber, which was equipped with smoke, fragmentation and fragmentation-incendiary projectiles.
The armor penetration of the 88-mm cannon “Royal tiger” at a distance of 1000 m was 165 mm at an angle 30 degrees. With 2286 m firing range, armor penetration was 127 mm. And from a distance of 457, a tank could pierce an armor plate with a thickness of 182 mm even at an angle of 60 degrees. No less important advantage of the “Royal Tiger” was the rate of shooting seven to eight shots per minute, three times the rate of firing of the Soviet heavy tank EC-2 (two or three shots per minute).
As it was established later, the armor-piercing 85-mm projectiles of the Soviet T-34-85 tank did not penetrate the front plates of the Royal Tiger's hull and did not produce any structural damage even from the 300 distance. The tests showed that the fire in the side and the iron tower Monster armor-piercing shells were effective only in 85-mm domestic and 76-mm American guns from a distance of no more than 800 m. Domestic guns ZIS-3 and F-34 (76 mm) did not "take" a tank in the "forehead" and " side". From all this it can be seen what kind of powerful and formidable vehicle our tankers had to face.
Other technical innovations implemented in the newest tank were also interesting. In particular, the “Royal Tiger” had a monocular telescopic sight with variable magnification. The articulation of the sight ensured the freedom of movement of the objective part together with the twin installation of the gun and the machine gun over the entire range of the vertical angle of attack. The rotation of the tower was carried out using a hydraulic swivel mechanism. The tank was equipped with a unique automatic fire extinguishing system. Starting with the 51 machine, a new Henschel type tower was installed on the tank, in which an air compressor was installed in the fighting compartment under the gunner’s seat to blow the cannon after each shot. The air flow blew the powder gases from the charging chamber and prevented them from entering the combat compartment. All these innovations on Soviet tanks will appear only after the war.
Avoiding the bombing aviation Allies, the Royal Tigers battalion arrived on August 9, 1944 at the Konetspol railway station. During the 50-kilometer march, the battalion suffered the first losses in equipment - a third of the three dozen vehicles remained on the road due to a transmission failure.
The 16 Panzer Division, having formed two battle groups based on the 64 and 79 Grenadier Regiments, on August 10 marched through Pinchuv in the direction of Khmilnyk. August 11 met with the vanguard of our 95 Guards Rifle Division in the Khmelnik – Szydlow Highway. The detachment in the rifle battalion of the 290 Guards Rifle Regiment, reinforced by an artillery battalion, put up fierce resistance, forcing the enemy to turn into battle order ahead of time. The Soviet command immediately took advantage of this delay by transferring two fighter anti-tank artillery regiments to the breakthrough site, which greatly strengthened the thin defensive line of the 112 division. The bridgehead by this time was a rough, half-ring resting on the Vistula River.
Units of our 6 Guards Tank Corps operating in the area, began to quickly transfer their parts to the threatened direction. As a result of rearrangement of Germans opposed 43 the T-34, including nine T-34-76 53-th Guards Tank Brigade, nine T-34-76 and 10 tanks T-34-85 52-th Guards Tank Brigade, 11 tanks T-34-76 and four T-34-85 51-th Guards Tank Brigade. Staszów also had 12 heavy tanks IS integrated into the 71 heavy tank regiment.
The units of the 53 of the Guards Tank Brigade were on the edge of the German strike. The problem for the command of the brigade was the inability to open shelters for vehicles due to loose soil. However, the commanders took note that the terrain is difficult for enemy tanks. In previous battles for Szydłów and Oglendów, in the same conditions, the Panthers stalled. The Soviet troops then managed to inflict serious damage on the enemy. Based on this, the command of the tank brigade concluded that the Germans would not repeat the mistakes a second time and would not go through the sandy fields, but would try to circumvent the brigade’s positions on the flanks.
Before the front of the second tank battalion of Major Korobov, the terrain was clearly visible. On the right flank there was a deep and wide beam, along which a road ran from Ogleduv to Staszów to the rear of our troops. The road stretched along a beam could not help but attract the attention of the Nazis. To cover this road at the exit, two T-34 tanks of the third tank battalion were set in ambush from the girder on the slopes of a nameless height. A part of the tanks was camouflaged at the exit of the beam in a pile of straw on the field. The “thirty-four” junior lieutenant Oskin stood closest to the exit from the beam. He received an order without a fire command not to open.
The largest tank of Nazi Germany, the Royal Tiger, could not resist the mastery of Soviet soldiers.
On the night of August 13, an sergeant-major from the 501 separate battalion of heavy tanks was captured in the Šidlów area. During interrogation, he showed that before the Soviet troops there was the 501 battalion, consisting of three companies and a supply company, consisting of 40 tanks, 20 of which are “Panthers” and 20 - T-IVH. At the same time, the sergeant major deliberately concealed the presence of the newest Royal Tiger tanks in the division.
During the night of August 12, an increasing tank rumble from the depths of the German positions began to be heard. Before dawn, the commander of the 53 Guards Tank Brigade returned from headquarters to his tank, which served as an observation point and was in combat formations of the first tank battalion. In the morning, due to heavy fog from the NP brigade, nothing was visible, silence was interrupted by the growing rumble of tank engines. Junkers flying in the air, flying on Staszów, German artillery earned. But German intelligence could not open the brigade's battle formations, and the enemy shells were torn far behind the positions.
From the beam emerged the first, slowly creeping, the monstrous size of the tank. He crawled on the rise in spurts, skidding in the sand. Kombrig ordered not to rush - beat with 400 meters. From the beam came the second and third cars. While the third tank came out, the first one had already passed the ambush. Junior Lieutenant Oskin, whose tank was disguised in a hay pile, opened fire. Kombrig clearly saw through binoculars how black holes appeared in the right sides of enemy tanks. The first tank broke out, the third tank turned to Oskin, but was hit by a caterpillar and stopped, it was finished off. Kombrig ordered everyone to open fire. Immediately hit three dozen trunks. Howitzer battalions covered the beam with hinged fire. Yu-87 and Messerschmites appeared, but they were immediately attacked and driven away by our fighters.
By the end of the day, the 53-I Guards Tank Brigade took up 300 defenses meters east of the village of Oglendów in readiness for an attack on Szydlow. Two tanks of the third battalion with a company of machine gunners attacked the village, which by eight o'clock in the morning managed to completely clear the enemy. Among the trophies taken in the village were the German wonder tanks. It was here that it turned out that the brigade had to fight with the newest German tanks (there was no time to figure out the morning, and the first burning tanks were called "Panthers"). In just three days of fighting from 11 to 13 in August, in the area of the town of Staszów, the troops of the 6 tank corps captured and destroyed the 13 of the newest "Royal Tigers". In addition, 11 T-IV and T-V Panther were hit.
The success was impressive, the units of the 6 Guards Tank Corps did not lose a single tank. The crew of junior lieutenant Oskin burned three "Royal Tiger" and one knocked out. Alexander Petrovich himself was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, the commander of the gun Abubakir Mirkhaydarov - the Order of Lenin, and the rest of the crew were awarded medals.
FIGHT IN THE GASTER WADI SALUKI
After 62 of the year, 12 of August of 2006 of the year, the newest at that time Israeli tank Merkava McNUMX turned out to be bits of the old Soviet Malyutka and RPG-4.
Mc4 - the first tank, built using digital technology. The tank was the national pride of Israel. Private Israeli firms and state-owned enterprises produced 72% components, and only 28% components were imported. The most sophisticated electron-optical systems were supplemented with ordinary sights and observation devices. For the tank commander there was no need to visually observe the enemy in order to know where he is. The whole situation in real time was displayed on color displays. The tank commander and gunner, if necessary, could conduct observations through each other's sights. The MK4 was equipped with four video cameras that allow the driver to monitor around the car. The image from the cameras was transmitted to the display of the driver both at day time and at night.
The combat information system of the tank platoon Mk4 gave a better situational understanding of what is happening on the battlefield. Each crew member had information about the terrain, the location of his car and the neighbors' cars, as well as the location of the enemy. The combat information system made it possible to record all the data, including the image. These data could then be copied to assess the activities of the crew and the commander or used for training.
The mass of the car is 65 tons (according to unofficial data, the mass of the car approached 70 tons). Crew - four people. The height of the commander's turret - 2,8 m. The maximum speed of the chassis - 65 km / h, power reserve - 500 km. Engine power - 1500 HP
The tank was armed with a 120-mm cannon, a launcher for firing an LAHAT ATGM, two 7,62-mm machine guns, one 60-mm mortar. The power plant was controlled by a computer, which also provided information to the driver, and was combined with a new automatic transmission, providing five gears to move forward. The exhaust port was significantly larger than on earlier models, and had a different design. This was done to reduce the thermal signature of the tank. In addition, an attempt was made to reject the visible contour of the exhaust gases away from the cloud of dust emitted from under the tracks of the tank. This was done due to the fact that most thermal imagers could not detect the thermal contour of exhaust gases formed only by gases alone, and only detected targets with a wavelength of 8 – 14 μm. However, thermal imagers clearly see the contour of the exhaust gases when mixed with dust or other particles.
The operation against Hezbollah began in June 2006, when more than the IDF's 400 tanks invaded Lebanese territory with the task of destroying the armed units of the Allah party leading to the shelling of Israel. As a result, even judging by the statements of the Israeli and Western media, the IDF, having absolute superiority in aviation, UAV, artillery, tanks, RTR, EW, night vision devices, lost a large number of armored vehicles.
"VAMPIRES" AGAINST "THE MERKAVY"
The ground formations of the Israeli army were not ready to fight an enemy well-trained and prepared for such a war, the main difficulty for Israeli soldiers was related to the tactics of Hezbollah’s fighters, which were based on sudden strikes with powerful weapons from maximum ranges, as well as fire ambush. The classic illustration of Hezbollah’s described tactics was the battle of Wadi Saluki, which actually happened on the eve of the end of the Israeli-Lebanese war. In this battle, the IDF suffered the greatest losses during the 401 brigade offensive, equipped with Merkava Mk4 tanks, across the Saluki river in the direction of the village of Randuria. Of the 24, the 11 tanks that participated in the attack were hit by anti-tank missiles. The Israeli media immediately began to claim that they were amazed by the newest Russian ATGM “Cornet” and the RPG-29 “Vampire”.
In my opinion, the great losses of the IDF were a result of Israel’s underestimation of the professional training of Hezbollah’s fighters. Advertised Israeli intelligence failed to timely uncover the enemy. The result was an armed confrontation between the high-tech IDF and well-trained troops.
By invading Lebanon, the IDF hoped to wage war against savages armed with Kalashnikovs and rush to Allah Akbar! Screaming, and met a well-armed, trained, strong-willed, trained army aimed at protecting their land. Hezbollah, without having the latest EW complexes, communications, aviation, artillery and tanks, Israel’s armored fist posed a new tactic against the high-tech army.
In the mountainous and wooded area of Lebanon, Hezbollah prepared in advance well-disguised and sheltered from all types and means of reconnaissance strongholds, minefields and land mines, fire bags, shot down landmarks. Knowing the advantage of the IDF in the EW and RTR means, he refused to use electronic means of communication, switching to a wired connection. In addition, he put messengers messengers on motorcycles and bicycles. Small mobile groups of fighters armed with obsolete ATGMs and RPGs covered the entire territory of Lebanon, where Israeli troops were expected, starting from the Israeli border to the most extreme point of invasion.
In the mountainous areas there are not so many roads for movement, therefore it was not difficult to arrange a large number of ambushes. It should be noted good equipment fighters Hezbollah. They abandoned the Kalashnikov assault rifle in favor of the M-4 and M-16, while having a large number of night and thermal sights. Their ability to use camouflage tools, perfected in numerous exercises, also deserves high praise. The equipment, fire and tactical training of the fighters turned out to be appropriate for the equipment and training of the IDF soldiers.
For example, according to some data, during the second Lebanon war, the Israelis used the latest Trophy active defense system in separate Merkava tanks, consisting of a radar system connected to four antennas located on the front and aft parts and sides of the platform, and providing protection in the 360 sector degrees, and two mechanisms for the destruction of flying weapons of destruction, located on each side of the platform.
The Hezbollah specialists opposed no less original tactics to the possibilities of this miracle of design: the Trophy was put out of action with concentrated fire from ordinary small arms and good old rocket launchers, after which even the outdated Malyutki successfully drilled the newest IDF technology miracle.