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"French Exit" Topic

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431 hits since 29 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse29 Jan 2019 9:33 p.m. PST

"…Brief and specific description of personal heroism or achievments: On September 6th, 1944, Guards Lieutenant Kuharenko and his platoon, in carrying out a task of making a 50 km deep path into the enemy's deep rear for a tank column through swampy forest and then rocky mountain terrain, made it to the agreed upon target of the Miokkalahti-Kuoioyarvi highway on schedule, and ensured the destruction of an enemy group. At 21:30 on September 9th, Guards Lieutenant Kuharenko fought in the first echelon of the battalion under a storm of heavy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire. At top speed, he was the first to break through the enemy's reinforced defenses and slipped through a 12 tank German ambush. 1 km away from the front lines, within the enemy rear, he blocked the road and did not permit enemy tanks to escape the encirclement. Forcing the enemy to engage, Lieutenant Kuharenko's platoon destroyed 8 R-35 type tanks and up to 80 fascists. Kuharenko himself destroyed 3 enemy tanks and captured 2 tanks in working order, ensuring success for his battalion and the infantry of 217th Rifle Regiment, 104th Rifle Division….."
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Legion 430 Jan 2019 8:09 a.m. PST

Yes, amazing some of the Axis allies were still using AFVs like R-35s(Romanians ?). They were very much outclassed before '44.

Mark 130 Jan 2019 12:34 p.m. PST

Yes, amazing some of the Axis allies were still using AFVs like R-35s(Romanians ?). They were very much outclassed before '44.

I would suggest that an R-35 was outclassed in 1940, if we are thinking in terms of tank-vs-tank combat.

But in combat against infantry it was almost as viable in 1944 as it was in 1940. That is to say it was not immune to the typical AT guns of it's adversaries, but was immune to small arms and auto-cannons. The one substantial variable was the increasing availability of effective hand-held AT weapons, but even T-34-85s were at risk from those. And even though a 37mm HE round was not as dangerous to entrenched infantry as a 75mm or 85mm HE round, that factor didn't change between 1940 and 1944. An MG nest in 1944 was every bit as much in danger from an R35's fire as an mg nest in 1940.

But, that said … yes, the Romanians still had a few in service in on September 6th, 1944. In fact they had recently up-gunned several with Russian 45mm guns, giving them at least SOME AT firepower (a gun that was not obsolete for tank-vs-tank combat in 1940, but clearly was by 1944). However, by Septmeber 6th (the date of this action) the Romanians were on the Russians' side. I wonder if the Soviets would have given a hero's award to someone who's claim to fame was not knowing he was shooting up new-found allies.

But that's all hypothetical. The chat after the article on the link identifies the area of operations for this action as the Murmansk Oblast. Most likely these tanks (and some French-made S35s that were also in action in the area) were the remains of Pzr Abt. 211, a unit composed of captured French armor, which had fought in the area and then been disbanded three years prior. Probably left it's tanks behind when disbanded, and these were picked up by the infantry divisions in the area.

Which could make for some interesting scenarios, if you ask me. Which no one did -- but just in case someone does …

(aka: Mk 1)

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse30 Jan 2019 12:38 p.m. PST



Legion 430 Jan 2019 3:21 p.m. PST

Interesting Mark … Thanks … But yes in 1940 there were a number of tanks that did not preform well then and probably didn't afterwards.

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