“And here is our armor avalanche before the water barrier. And then all the heavy and medium tanks and those light ones who are not trained to swim, lose all their offensive capabilities. And the price for them is zero. Need a bridge. But the enemy protects the bridges and blows up under the threat of capture. Bridges need to beat. Better not from our side, but from the side of the enemy - from where they wait less. And in this situation, the price of light amphibious tanks inflated steeply. If two, three, five, ten of these tanks at night swam across the river away from the bridge and a sudden jerk from the rear captured it, then this may decide the fate of the whole operation, and even the whole war. Now, on the captured bridge, drive all your heavy and medium tanks, self-propelled guns, artillery, infantry, headquarters, hospitals, thousands of tons of ammunition, fuel and spare parts to the enemy shore. On the captured bridges, throw up reserves, transfer wounded, prisoners, trophies, damaged equipment to repair in the rear ”(p. 80).
The author deliberately "nullified" all the possibilities of the army regarding the seizure of bridges in favor of the T-37A tanks in order to coolly "raise" their role in this regard. Who, if not floating tanks, can cope with such a task? Airborne troops? No, I did not hear! Although the massive training of paratroopers, conducted in the USSR in 30-s, Rezun exposes in his “works” (including in the essay we are considering) precisely as “evidence” against the Bolsheviks-imperialists. But when it comes to capturing bridges, our scribbler on Airborne Forces is not a word! Why, then, is this elite branch of the military needed at all, if it is not even considered in such matters ?!
But the stupid German command actively and successfully used airborne assault forces in the conquest campaigns of the Third Reich. And not only in terms of mastering the crossings. During Operation Mercury in May 1941, the German military paratroopers destroyed the English garrison on the island of Crete, securing the occupation of the island, which enabled Germany to establish control over the communications of the eastern Mediterranean. But the reader certainly doesn’t know about such an eloquent example, all the more so since it’s not at all “molded” with the statement that “the German army was backward” (p. 84).
So, on the orders of Rezun, the T-37A tanks are sailing under cover of night "away from the bridge" to the opposite bank, in order to hit the guard of the crossing from the rear ... I would not really place hopes on the darkness and the "surprise effect." .. Firstly, that coast is, whatever one may say, under the control of the enemy. And where there is no his fighting positions, the watch works. This implies, of course, operational observation of the terrain with the aim of timely warning their forces about the appearance of the enemy in one or another of its parts. Carried out by the forces of military intelligence. After all, it is not only in the interests of the offensive, but also in the interests of defense.
One or a couple of T-37A tanks can still slip into the enemy-controlled territory at night, crossing the river (this is a reconnaissance vehicle), but this will be painfully enough to capture such a strategically important object as a bridge. After all, he will be protected tightly! That is, not a handful of soldiers with rifles in their hands. And the characteristics of the "small toothed predators" are clearly not combat. A dozen and more tanks will raise a decent noise among the night silence by motors and propeller blades, which will be well heard from a decent distance. The maximum speed of the T-37A is afloat, as the author correctly pointed out, is 6 km / h. While the Rezunov squadron will sail to the coast, it will be easily “discovered” (even a moonless night will not help here), and the guard of the bridge, proclaimed by the watchman, will have time to properly prepare for the “sudden strike”. And, perhaps, even strengthened by that time additional forces.
But the night adventure described by the author is not his only “attempt” with the help of our reconnaissance vehicles to create conditions for the transfer of military power across the river. We read further in the text: “If the bridges could not be captured, then the floating tanks become truly priceless. If there are no captured bridges, then we must build our own pontoon bridges and crossings. And for this we need a bridgehead on the other side. And the infantry goes into battle. On logs and boards, on bubble-inflated tunicas, she swims to that shore. And mortars are nailed at it, they are poured with machine-gun fire, shot from rifles and machine guns. And here among the floating defenseless people would have a dozen or two even if light, but still tanks. Their armor is insensitive to bullets and shrapnel, and their machine guns are so important when none of the swimming people have the ability to shoot. ”
That is, if the rear did not work out, then surely it will turn into a “frontal” ?! This is optimism!
As you may have noticed, Rezun really does not allow well-armed guarding of bridges ... Rifles, machine guns, machine guns ... There are also mortars, though, but their shells, as we see, do not fall on floating tanks, and cannot get into difference from splinters. And this is at a very convenient speed for “mortar-gunners” in 6 km / h! T-37A tanks - conspired, or what?
But, be that as it may, the Rezunov attack is crowned with success. And now the very “smallness” remains - to defend the occupied position until such time as “our own” will build a pontoon bridge (read below): “Here you are on the other side. Now the main thing is to catch on, for twenty minutes to rush into the ground, then no counterattacks are terrible. ” Yeah, sure!
In general, Rezun successfully solves the problem of overcoming water obstacles by Soviet troops. Glory to him!
It should be noted that Viktor Suvorov is so noble that he is ready to generously share his own fame even with the worst enemies: “Zhukov is a hero and a genius. But only against the background of his lies or ignorance ”(p. 20).
A lot of amphibious T-37A tanks in the Red Army on the eve of the Second World War will probably seem very suspicious to many. If this is "scouts", then why were there so many?
On the territory of the Soviet Union rivers - large and small - a huge amount. Their total length is three million kilometers (!). And therefore in defensive actions, when intelligence services are also irreplaceable, the value of such machines is “sharply pumped up”! The tank T-37А - apart from its most “all-terrain” qualities (its lightness and mobility was very useful on land), it was, although very weak, but armored to allow for deep intelligence raids enemy territory and, of course, increasing the chances of returning "home." I think even the convinced "Suvorov" will not argue with the fact that the deeper reconnaissance-raids are carried out, the more complete will be the idea of the plans of the enemy. It should also be noted here that the fuel economy of the T-37А is enviable for the tank - it was equipped with an automobile engine used in the manufacture of GAZ-AA trucks.
Our "amphibian" was reasonably considered both as a means of watch and as a connected machine.
The T-38 tank, developed in 1936, was an upgraded version of the T-37A, which had improved buoyancy and maneuverability on land. The thickness of the armor plates, weapons, crew size and engine remained the same. As of 1 June 1941, the Red Army had 1129 T-38 tanks, which in Suicide, as it is not difficult to guess, are also “small toothy predators”.
At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the floating tanks T-37А and T-38 were used at the front as combat tanks solely out of despair, due to the huge losses in armored vehicles. Basically, according to the “shoot-retreat” tactic, when you had to rely in a very large degree - on luck. By the beginning of 1942, virtually all T-37A and T-38 tanks were destroyed.
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