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The battle of Dubno: the forgotten feat
Material posted: Publication date: 30-06-2016

When and where in fact he played the largest tank battle of great Patriotic war.

History both as a science and as a social tool, alas, is subject to too much political influence. And it often happens that for some reason — often ideological — some events are praised while others are being forgotten or undervalued. So, the vast majority of our compatriots, who grew up in Soviet times and in post-Soviet Russia, sincerely believe the largest ever tank battle the battle of Prokhorovka is part of the battle of Kursk. But in fairness it should be noted that the largest tank battle of great Patriotic war actually occurred two years earlier and five hundred miles to the West. During the week in the triangle between the towns of Dubno, Lutsk and Brody met two tank Armada a total population of about 4500 armored vehicles.

The counterattack on the second day of the war

The actual start of the battle of Dubno, also known as the battle of Brody, or the battle of Dubno-Lutsk-Brody, was the 23 of June 1941. This day tank at the time, their habit is also called mechanized corps of the red Army stationed in the Kiev military district, launched the first serious counter-attacks on the advancing German troops. To counterattack the Germans, " insisted the representative of the Supreme command of Georgy Zhukov. First blow to the flanks of army group "South" struck 4, 15, and 22 mechanized corps stationed in the first tier. And behind them, the operation was connected outside the second echelon 8th, 9th and 19th mechanized corps.

Strategically, the intention of the Soviet command was correct to strike at the flanks of the 1st tank group of the Wehrmacht, part of the group of armies "South" and rushing to Kiev to surround and destroy it. Besides the fighting of the first day, when some Soviet divisions — as, for example, the 87th division of major-General Philip Alyabusheva — failed to stop the superior forces of the Germans, gave hope that this plan will be implemented.

Besides, the Soviet troops in this area had a significant superiority in tanks. Kiev special military district on the eve of war was considered the most powerful of the Soviet districts and in case of an attack was given the role of main contractor retaliation. Accordingly, the technique here was in the first place and in large numbers, and the training of personnel was the highest. Now, on the eve of the counterattack of the troops of the district, which has already become by that time, the South-Western front, there were no less 3695 tanks. On the German side the attack came a total of about 800 tanks and self-propelled guns — i.e. four times less.

In practice, unprepared, hasty decision on the offensive operation resulted in the largest tank battle in which the Soviet troops were defeated.

First fighting tanks with tanks

When a tank unit of the 8th, 9th and 19th mechanized corps got to the front and March into battle, it resulted in a counter-tank battle — the first in the history of the great Patriotic war. Although the concept of wars of the mid-twentieth century did not allow this kind of fighting. It was thought that tanks tool of breaking the enemy's defense or creating chaos in his communications. "Tanks do not fight tanks" — so formulated this principle is common to all armies of the time. To fight with tanks had anti — tank artillery well, and thoroughly entrenched infantry. And the battle of Dubno completely broke all the theoretical construct of the military. Here the Soviet tank companies and battalions was literally head-on German tanks. And — lost.

There were two reasons. First, the German troops are much more active and smarter than the Soviet Union used all types of communication and coordination of efforts of various kinds and types of troops in the Wehrmacht at that moment in General was, unfortunately, a head taller than the red Army. In the battle of Dubno-Lutsk-Brody these factors have led to the fact that Soviet tanks often operated without any support and random. The infantry simply could not support tanks to help them combat anti-tank artillery: infantry units moving on foot and not corny caught up with the departed ahead of the tanks. And do the tank units on the level above the battalion operated without overall coordination by themselves. Often happened that a single mechanized corps already rushed to the West, deep into the German defense, and another that might support it, have started to regroup or move away from entrenched positions...


Burning T-34 in the field under of Dubno. Source: Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F016221-0015 / CC-BY-SA

Contrary to the concepts and instructions

The second reason for mass deaths of Soviet tanks in the battle of Dubno, which need to be discussed separately, was their unwillingness to tank battle — a consequence of most of those pre-war concepts of "tanks do not fight tanks". Among the tanks of the Soviet mechanized corps, which had entered the battle of Dubno, light tank infantry support and the RAID war, created in the early to mid 1930s, were in the majority.

Or rather — almost all. As of 22 June, five Soviet mechanized corps — the 8th, 9th, 15th, 19th and 22nd, there were 2803 tank. Of them medium tanks — 171 thing (T-34), heavy tanks — 217 (including 33 KV-2 and 136 KV-1 and 48 T-35), and 2415 light tanks like the T-26, T-27, T-37, T-38, BT-5 and BT-7, which can be considered the most modern. A part fought just West of the Fords of the 4th mechanized corps was still 892 of the tank, but modern among them was exactly half — 89 KV-1 and 327 T-34.

The Soviet light tanks, due to the nature of their mandated tasks, was bulletproof or ballistic armor. Light tanks are a wonderful tool for deep raids behind enemy lines and actions in his communications, but light tanks really unable to break the defense. The German high command took into account the strengths and weaknesses of armored vehicles and used their tanks, which is inferior to our and quality, and armament, in defence, negating all the benefits of Soviet technology.

Have their say in this battle and the German field artillery. And if the T-34 and KV it is, as a rule, were not dangerous, the light tanks had hard times. But against bulging for direct fire 88-millimeter anti-aircraft guns of the Wehrmacht were powerless even the armor of the new "thirty". Adequately resisted them, except that heavy KV and T-35. The light T-26 and BT, as stated in reports, "as a result of falling anti-aircraft shells partially destroyed" and not just stayed. But the Germans in this area in anti-tank defense used is not only anti-aircraft guns.

The defeat, which brought the victory

Still, the Soviet tankers even in such "inappropriate" machines went into battle — and often won it. Yes, without air cover, which on the March the German air force was knocked out almost half of the columns. Yes, with weak armor, which sometimes pierced even the heavy machine guns. Yeah, no radio, and at your own risk. But it was.

Went and got her. In the first two days of counter-attack scales ranged: success has made it one side or the other. On the fourth day, the Soviet tank crews, despite all the complicating factors have been successful in some areas, throwing the enemy at 25-35 kilometers. In the evening of June 26 the Soviet tankers even have to fight the city of Dubno, of which the Germans were forced to withdraw to the East!


Padded German tank PzKpfw II. Photo:

Still, the advantage of the Wehrmacht in infantry units, without which the war, tankers were able to operate except in the rear of the raids, soon began to tell. By the end of the fifth day of the battle, almost all the avant-garde of the Soviet mechanized corps were simply destroyed. Many units were surrounded and were forced to go on the defensive on all fronts. And the tanks are every hour more and more was not enough serviceable machines, ammunition, spare parts and fuel. It got to the point that they had to retreat, leaving the enemy almost undamaged tanks: there was time and opportunity to put them on the course and take away with them.

Today it is possible to meet opinion that de does not give then the management front, despite the orders of Georgy Zhukov, the command to move from the defensive to the offensive, the Red Army, they say, would turn at Dubno Germans back. Not would turn. Alas, that summer the German army fought much better, and its armored units had much more experience in active cooperation with other branches of the military. But its role is to disrupt fostered Hitler's plan "Barbarossa", the battle of Dubno played. Soviet tank counter-attack forced the German command to enter into battle the reserves that were intended for an attack in the direction of Moscow as part of army group "Center". And the direction to Kiev after this battle came to be regarded as a priority.

And it did not fit into the German long-agreed plans, broke them and broke so that the rate of occurrence was catastrophically lost. And although there was heavy autumn and winter of 1941, his word in the history of the great Patriotic war the largest tank battle said. This is it, the battle of Dubno, the echo in two years rattled on the fields near Kursk and Orel and spoke in the first volleys of victory salutes...


Tags: Russia , armed forces , AME

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