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Inspector of mobile troops at the OKH
Characteristics of T-34
The T-34 tank is faster, more maneuverable and has a better cross-country performance than our Pz.III and Pz.IV tanks, and its armor is thicker than armor of our tanks. Its 76-mm gun is superior in penetration capability to our 50-mm and 75-mm guns. Favorable positioning (oblique position of all armor surfaces) increases chances of ricochet.
Combat versus the T-34 tank with the 50-mm tank gun is only possible at short distance with fire from a flank or rear. It is important to achieve hits perpendicular to the armor. Direct hits to the turret ring even with fragmentation rounds or bullets from machine guns frequently lead to jamming. Also AP rounds hits from a short range to the gun mantlet lead to penetration and disruption of welded joints. T-34 armor is penetrated by a hollow-charge round of the 75-mm tank gun from a distance of 1000 meters.
Tactics of Russian tanks.
In defense and delaying actions T-34s are dug turret-deep on dominating hills, near roads, on forest edges and edges of settlements so that they can retreat after a short firefight. Having superiority in range the T-34 opens fire against attacking tanks already from a distance of 1200-1800 meters. Since the T-34 is faster than any German tank it can choose a distance of firefight.
Tactics of our tanks
Since penetration of T-34 armor with the 50-mm tank guns can be expected only from a short distance and from a flank, the following tactics is assumed as a right method to combat these tanks:
a) Frontal engagement using Pz.III tanks which assume the firefight. Positions selected on a slope or constant motion makes aiming difficult for the enemy.
b) at the same time 2 other Pz.III tank using defilades approach the T-34 from right or left flank and engage it from a short distance with mod. 40 armor piercing rounds aimed at the sides and rear part of the tank.
c) In cases when our tanks include a Pz. IV tank it is employed to pin down the T-34 from the front. Using smoke rounds Pz. IV tank can blind the T-34 or cover approach of our tanks. It is possible that the enemy mistakes smoke for chemical weapons and breaks combat.
When meeting hostile tanks superior in numbers and quality (T-34 and KVs) success is always achieved in case when our tank unit forms a united font and delivers a hail of fire on the enemy. Even when they didn’t manage to knock out any hostile tank, the enemy almost always broke combat impressed by precision and rate of fire of the German tanks.
Russian translation of the captured document at: