Soviet Motorcycle Units

Discussions on all aspects of the USSR, from the Russian Civil War till the end of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan. Hosted by Art.
Dunnigan
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Dunnigan » 25 Jul 2018 20:26

Art,

Because the forums went down, I haven't been able to reply, but I do want to thank you for all the detailed information on Soviet Recon units.

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Jeff Leach
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Jeff Leach » 26 Jul 2018 07:56

I have some 60 pages from the 23rd Motorcycle Regiment of the 22nd Mechanized Corps for the period 22 June - 29 July 1941 that are not on pamyat-naroda, if anyone is interested.

Art
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Art » 26 Jul 2018 21:27

From what I understand the only motorcycles early-war "motorcycle" regiment had were those in their names. Ok, that's some stretch, but only a little one. They mostly operated as weak foot infantry units.

Sharposhnikov
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Sharposhnikov » 27 Jul 2018 01:26

Art wrote:
26 Jul 2018 21:27
From what I understand the only motorcycles early-war "motorcycle" regiment had were those in their names. Ok, that's some stretch, but only a little one. They mostly operated as weak foot infantry units.
Not in all cases. Especially some of the Mechanized Corps' motorcycle regiments which had been established since mid-1940 had a substantial number of motorcycles on hand (how many were actually serviceable and how many of the units were trained well enough to use them effectively is an entirely different question, of course!)
Examples:
1st Mechanized Corps, Leningrad Military District:
1 June 1941 - 467 motorcycles of all types on hand
5th Motorcycle Regiment 75% complete in equipment and personnel, but men untrained on the machines, the regiment operated as a light motorized rifle regiment.
2nd Mechanized Corps, Odessa Military District:
1 May 1941: 375 motorcycles of all types on hand
3rd Mechanized Corps, Baltic Special Military District
20 June 1941: 457 motorcycles of all types on hand
4th Mechanized Corps, Kiev Special Military District:
1 May 1941: 336 motorcycles with sidecars, 575 without sidecars on hand,
by 10 June 1941 1050 motorcycle of all types on hand
12th Mechanized Corps, Baltic Special Military District
17 May 1941, 39 motorcycles of all types on hand
16th Mechanized Corps, Kiev Special Military District:
10 June 1941 91 motorcycles of all types on hand.

12th and 16th Corps, of course, were not formed until the spring of 1941. The difference in motorcycle equipment on hand between those units and the Corps formed in June 1940 is dramatic. The real problem with the earlier Corps, as you mentioned, was in training: both individuals and units had little or no training, machines broke down in large numbers and no trained mechanics were available (it was one of the most persistent shortages in the 1940-41 tank and mechanized units) and so even units with plenty of motorcycles on hand, like 1st Mech Corps' 5th Motorcycle Regiment, couldn't properly utilize the machines they had. The motorcycle units in the Corps numbered 11q and higher, formed just before the war started in June 1941, had neither machines nor training, and only a handful of the 30+ 'motorcycle' regiments in existence on 22 June were still around by the end of the summer.

Art
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Art » 27 Jul 2018 08:17

Sharposhnikov wrote:
27 Jul 2018 01:26
1st Mechanized Corps, Leningrad Military District:
1 June 1941 - 467 motorcycles of all types on hand
Compared to the establishment of more than 1500, it should be reminded. On the whole, in June 41 RA had some 17 000 motorcycles vs. the establishment of 73 000. Which were also a variety of models, some out of production. Simply put motorcycles were not on the top of procurement priorities before 1941.

Sharposhnikov
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Sharposhnikov » 27 Jul 2018 17:10

Art wrote:
27 Jul 2018 08:17
Sharposhnikov wrote:
27 Jul 2018 01:26
1st Mechanized Corps, Leningrad Military District:
1 June 1941 - 467 motorcycles of all types on hand
Compared to the establishment of more than 1500, it should be reminded. On the whole, in June 41 RA had some 17 000 motorcycles vs. the establishment of 73 000. Which were also a variety of models, some out of production. Simply put motorcycles were not on the top of procurement priorities before 1941.
Procurement/Production priorities, of course, were subject to constant change from 1939 to 1941 in both the Soviet Union and Germany, and motorcycles were not even the Red Army's worst shortage by far. Once they had established 61 tank divisions by March 1941, for example, they had a requirement for 12,810 T-34 tanks just in those units against 969 on hand on 1 June 1941, a much worse establishment versus on hand ratio than with motorcycles.
But one thing is different: while T-34 production was prioritized and T-34 units in the form of tank brigades, regiments and separate battalions were formed constantly from August 1941 on, most of the pre-war motorcycle regiments, regardless of their state of equipment, were disbanded or destroyed within two months of the start of the war and not reformed. Despite the General Staff Directive of 23 July 1941 to form the motorcycle regiments into separate motorcycle battalions, by October 1941 in all of Western Front the only designated motorcycle unit remaining was the (much photographed) 36th Motorcycle Regiment, and formation of new motorcycle battalions did not start again (in relatively small numbers) until mid-late 1942.

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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Art » 16 Sep 2018 14:53

80 Motorcycle Battalion/5 Guards Tank Corps on 19.8.44 (Yassy-Kishinev operation);
total 356 men, 10 T-34 tanks, 5 armored cars, 13 armored carriers, 10 trucks and 8 (eight!) motorcycles.
Like in some other cases "motorcycle" was mostly just a name.

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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Kelvin » 30 Dec 2018 03:17

Art wrote:
03 Jul 2018 12:55
Unit structure and weapons allocations:

Late-war motorcycle battalions (Shtat 010/487) included:
- HQ and HQ platoon (radio section and a motorcycle section)
- two motorcycle companies (each with 9 light machine guns, 2 82-mm mortars)
- tank company (10 tanks)
- armored carrier company (two scout car platoons and and armored car platoon, total 11 M3 scout car and 5 BA-64 armored cars)
- anti-tank battery (4 57-mm guns, frequently replaced with SU-57 SP guns)
- service platoon with maintenance and transport sections
- supply section

47 officers, 168 sergeants, 236 privates, 451 men total
10 tanks (T-34 or Shermans or Valentines)
11 M3 scout cars
5 BA-64 armored cars
18 light machine guns
4 82-mm mortars
4 57-mm guns
207 machine pistols
82 rifles
5 radios (excluding those installed on tanks and scout cars)
56 motorcycles with sidecars
55 motorcycles solo
5 jeeps or Dodges 3/4 tons for AT battery
17 trucks
4 special purpose vehicles (workshops, ambulance etc)

Late-war motorcycle regiment (Shtat 010/433) included:
- HQ and HQ company
- motorcycle battalion ( about 560 men, three companies, each with 12 light machine guns)
- anti-tank battalion (about 140 men, two batteries each of 4 45-mm guns, towed by jeeps, and one battery of 4 76-mm guns towed by M3 scout cars or M2 halftracks)
- tank company (10 tanks)
- sub-machine gun company (13 M3 scout cars)
- machine guns company (12 medium machine guns transported on jeeps)
- mortar company (74 men, 30 motorcycles, 12 82-mm mortars)
- service company with maintenance and transport elements
- medical aid point

110 officers, 337 sergeants, 742 privates, 1189 men total (personnel numbers vary somewhat)
10 tanks
18 armored carriers (13 in a SMG company and 5 in a AT battalion)
3 BA-64 armored cars (likely in a HQ company)
36 light machine guns
12 medium machine guns
18 AT rifles
12 82-mm mortars
4 76-mm guns
8 45-mm guns
405 rifles
517 machine pistols
8 radios
224 motorcycles with sidecars
12 motorcycles solo
2 cars
23 jeeps (in a HQ company, machine gun company and AT battalion)
17 1.5-ton trucks
23 2.5-ton trucks
9 special purpose vehicles (staff bus, 2 GAZ-55 ambulances, 1 "A mobile workshops, 2 "B mobile workshops, 1 recharging station, 2 fuel trucks)
As already said towed guns were frequently replaced with SU-57, also 45-mm guns could be replaced with 57-mm towed guns.

Hi, Art, if in 1942 e.g 8th Motorcycle regiment, given the allocation of resources in this tough period, Motorcycle regiment still had tanks and armoured cars ? Or just fully equipped with motorcycles and light arms ? Thank

Art
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Art » 31 Dec 2018 07:37

Equipment of the 8 Motorcycle Regiment on 11 November 1942:
BA-10 armored cars 4 authorized/4 available
BA-64 armored cars 6/5
Universal carriers 10/10
M-72 motorcycles 187/176
Willys jeeps 21/12
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=154009516

Kelvin
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Kelvin » 31 Dec 2018 16:14

Art wrote:
31 Dec 2018 07:37
Equipment of the 8 Motorcycle Regiment on 11 November 1942:
BA-10 armored cars 4 authorized/4 available
BA-64 armored cars 6/5
Universal carriers 10/10
M-72 motorcycles 187/176
Willys jeeps 21/12
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=154009516
Hello, Art, thank so much for your information and Happy New Year !

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Gary Kennedy » 01 Jan 2019 16:19

This was the only Motorcycle unit I was able to get hold of full details for. It's a lot lighter in terms of personnel and firepower than most of the types Art has detailed, with no tank element included.

Shtat 010/353 dated 9th April 1942

17 officers
15 warrant and political officers
72 sergeants
183 other ranks

10 armoured vehicles, described as Брен, so Bren or Universal carriers, each with a Bren gun and an anti-tank rifle (also identified as a Bren rather than a Boys).
12 DP LMGs
10 POKC flamethrowers
44 SMGs

1 car
8 1.5-ton trucks
1 2.5-ton truck
1 ambulance
1 petrol truck (?)
1 workshop truck
1 kitchen
66 motorcycle combinations
9 solo motorcycles

Battalion HQ - 11 officers, 2 men
HQ Platoon - 11 men, 1 radio truck, 3 solo m/c and 5 combinations
Flamethrower Platoon - 1 officer, 21 men, 11 combinations, 10 flamethrowers (two Squads each of 10 men and 5 FT)

Two Motorcycle Companies, 5 officers, 66 men each;
Company HQ - 3 officers, 8 men; 4 combinations, 1 solo m/c
Two Platoons, each ;
HQ - officer, messenger, motorcyclist; 1 combination, 1 solo m/c
Three Squads, each - Sgt (SMG), Jnr Sgt (LMG), Asst gunner (rifle), 3 riflemen (1 SMG, 2 rifles), 3 motorcyclists (rifles); 3 motorcycle combinations

Carrier Company, 6 officers, 55 men
HQ - 3 officers, 4 men; 1 carrier
Three Platoons, each;
1 officer, 2 Snr Sgts, 3 Sgts (drivers), 6 Cpls (machine gunners), 3 Jnr Sgts and 3 Cpls (anti-tank rifle gunners); 3 carriers, 3 Bren guns and 3 Boys atk rifles

Services - 4 officers, 34 men; 2 m/c combinations, 1 car, 1 workshop truck, 1 kitchen, 1 ambulance, 8 1.5-ton trucks, 1 2.5-ton truck

Gary

Kelvin
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Kelvin » 02 Jan 2019 05:08

Gary Kennedy wrote:
01 Jan 2019 16:19
This was the only Motorcycle unit I was able to get hold of full details for. It's a lot lighter in terms of personnel and firepower than most of the types Art has detailed, with no tank element included.

Shtat 010/353 dated 9th April 1942

17 officers
15 warrant and political officers
72 sergeants
183 other ranks

10 armoured vehicles, described as Брен, so Bren or Universal carriers, each with a Bren gun and an anti-tank rifle (also identified as a Bren rather than a Boys).
12 DP LMGs
10 POKC flamethrowers
44 SMGs


Hi, Gary, thank for your additional information.



1 car
8 1.5-ton trucks
1 2.5-ton truck
1 ambulance
1 petrol truck (?)
1 workshop truck
1 kitchen
66 motorcycle combinations
9 solo motorcycles

Battalion HQ - 11 officers, 2 men
HQ Platoon - 11 men, 1 radio truck, 3 solo m/c and 5 combinations
Flamethrower Platoon - 1 officer, 21 men, 11 combinations, 10 flamethrowers (two Squads each of 10 men and 5 FT)

Two Motorcycle Companies, 5 officers, 66 men each;
Company HQ - 3 officers, 8 men; 4 combinations, 1 solo m/c
Two Platoons, each ;
HQ - officer, messenger, motorcyclist; 1 combination, 1 solo m/c
Three Squads, each - Sgt (SMG), Jnr Sgt (LMG), Asst gunner (rifle), 3 riflemen (1 SMG, 2 rifles), 3 motorcyclists (rifles); 3 motorcycle combinations

Carrier Company, 6 officers, 55 men
HQ - 3 officers, 4 men; 1 carrier
Three Platoons, each;
1 officer, 2 Snr Sgts, 3 Sgts (drivers), 6 Cpls (machine gunners), 3 Jnr Sgts and 3 Cpls (anti-tank rifle gunners); 3 carriers, 3 Bren guns and 3 Boys atk rifles

Services - 4 officers, 34 men; 2 m/c combinations, 1 car, 1 workshop truck, 1 kitchen, 1 ambulance, 8 1.5-ton trucks, 1 2.5-ton truck

Gary

Art
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Art » 10 Jan 2019 08:37

Organization of the motorcycle regiment, shtat 010/86 II half of 1941:

Regimental HQ
Three motorcycle company (each 232 men, HQ, HQ platoon, flame section, three motorcycle platoons, motorcycle machine gun platoon, motorcycle mortar platoon)
AT battery (45 men, 6 45-mm guns)
Tank company (24 men, 10 T-60 tanks)
Service company (maintenance, administrative and transport platoons, ordnance workshop)
Regimental medical point
Total 940 men (66 officers, 124 NCOs, 750 privates), 10 T-60 tanks or light armored cars, 6 45-mm AT guns, 6 radios, 18 50-mm mortars, 12 heavy MGs, 54 light MGs, 15 backpack flamethrowers, 51 various automobiles, 6 artillery tractors, 257 motorcycles w/sidecar, 37 motorcycles solo, 450 rifles, 300 PPSh SMG

So here tanks were included, but possible substituted with armored cars. Note a similarity with earlier shtat 010/31:
viewtopic.php?p=2167955#p2167955

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Yuri
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Yuri » 24 Jan 2019 10:07

Art wrote:
31 Dec 2018 07:37
Equipment of the 8 Motorcycle Regiment on 11 November 1942:
BA-10 armored cars 4 authorized/4 available
BA-64 armored cars 6/5
Universal carriers 10/10
M-72 motorcycles 187/176
Willys jeeps 21/12
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=154009516
8-th separate motorcycle regiment (8th December 1942 3-th separate guard motorcycle regiment) was involved with operation "Uranus" in structure 5-th tank army. In December 1942 year acted in"Battle for state farm no 79." Reports of the commander, staff, officers and soldiers of this regiment allowed to restore details of this battle.
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=116000&start=15
The battle order of 8SMR
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=116000&start=255

Achtung Minen
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Re: Soviet Motorcycle Units

Post by Achtung Minen » 31 Aug 2019 19:02

Art wrote:
30 Jun 2018 09:33
There are many curious military experience reports online as well as reports on armor reconnaissance. In short in most cases "motorcycle" (or reconnaissance in fact) battalions were split by separate recon patrols/groups with the rest of the battalion kept as a reconnaissance reserve. In some cases motorcycle battalions/regiments could be employed as whole units for other missions (screening, flank guard, vanguards in cases when there was no contact with enemy, raids etc). It was universally noted that motorcycles were not suitable for Eastern Front roads and were incapacitated by snow/mud/rains for a large part of the year, so they were frequently kept at baggage trains while scouts operated on foot. Neither BA-64 (the only scout vehicles built in the USSR) made a good impression. Consensus was that half-track type armored carriers would be the best vehicles for recon units.

Organizational scheme of the motorcycle battalion (Shtat 010/487):
Image
Not to necro a thread but I have been wracking my head trying to figure out where the mortars were placed in the 1944 Shtat 010/487 separate motorcycle battalion organization. I went ahead and translated everything on the above table kindly provided by Art.

Image

There are indeed 82mm mortars mentioned on the battalion equipment table (bottom right of the image). However, the only place on the diagram mortars are mentioned is attached directly to the motorcycle reconnaissance platoons. This seems weird for a number of reasons... firstly, I have never seen 82mm mortars attached to infantry platoons during WW2. Secondly, if a single 82mm mortar is attached to each platoon, that would require 6 mortars, but there are only 4 mentioned in the equipment table. Thirdly, it seems much more likely that these platoon mortars are actually 50mm light mortars—however, these are not mentioned in the equipment breakdown table (while things like DP machine-guns, submachine guns and rifles are). So where are the 82mm mortars located in the battalion?

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