Russian Tank Rider Battalions

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Jan 30, 2006.

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  1. The other night I was watching the History Channel and we had Hitlers troops invading Russia.
    I had a giggle as a couple of 'Hitlers T34s' stormed into attack complete with the Rooshin troops on the back armed with the Chicargo Piano Drum magazine SMGs.
    After this producers Up C ock, I remembered that some where in the long distance past I had read a comment on
    'Russian Tank Rider Battalions', and how in the absence of Rooshin APCs they where Stalins answer to immidiate infantry support for Rooshin Armour in the assault.
    I cannot remember where the comment was, possibly one of the 'Brit Army Review' mags that used to lillter pilots crew rooms.
    The other comment was
    "Discipline was virtually non exsistant due to short life span of troops and they never saw service beyond end of WW II."
    Never read or heard mention of these Formations again.
    Any board members who can add more information ?
  2. I think the technical name for tank riding troops was "descentni".

    They eventually become the Motor rifle battalion in each post war Soviet Tank regiment and get their own BMP & RTR AFVs. A good book the Red Army shopuld have this stuff.

    There is an interesting account in somemeonoirs by a Soviet M4 Sherman battalion commander about how they were used.
  3. Chiang Mai! Chiang Mai!

    On On ;)
  4. If memory serves it was a ruthless but effective solution to the lack of dedicated vehicles to transport the infantry around. If they all fall off, get shot off by a MG42 or just die during the assault then just get some more.

    Mind you, they didn't stop welding bars to tank turrets for the PBI to hand onto until the T-64 came along. So if you've ever wondered what those bits on T-55/T-62 turrets were for, now you know.
  5. Thanks One_of_the_strange, Pteranadon.
    Apart from the one referance I have never heard anything about these troops who seem to have been the Shock Troops of the Soviet System.
    It would seem that the usually well informed membership of the board is also deficent in this area of knowledge.
    If worse comes to worse I will PM Serge and see if he will give us the Officail view on these men.
    I just found this on Wikipedia
    "Tank desant is a military combined arms tactic, where infantry soldiers would ride into an attack on tanks. They dismount to fight on foot in the final phase of the assault. Desant is the Russian word for airborne or parachute drops, but it can be used more generally, describing amphibious landings or "tank desant".
    This is very dangerous and inefficient; soldiers riding on a single tank are very vulnerable to machine gun and high explosive fire, and of course a tank would draw enemy fire. Smoke and covering fire may be used to reduce the hazards, but this tactic is mostly used by forces with a shortage of motor transport or armoured personnel carriers, and a low regard for their own soldiers' lives.
    The tactic was institutionalized by the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War. Tank desant troops (tankodesantniki) were specialist infantry, trained in the technique. From WWII until the 1970s, Soviet tanks were built with hand-holds for this purpose.
    Almost universal mechanization has rendered this tactic obsolete; most infantry rides inside special-purpose armoured personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles into battle."
  6. I was always under the impression that these tank riders were the politicaly incorrect factions of soviet society, including convicts etc. Simply Cannon Fodder.
  7. Nope, that's the shtrafniki

    Tankriders usually rode to battle not into battle, same as all the guys in halftracks and the like it was just a taxi.

    More stuff here..

    If you get the book just remember that 'Tiger' is Red Army slang for any German tank.
  8. Thanks for the links. Interesting reading.
  9. Once we were going to try this in germany night move through forest on cheftain .Saneness prevailed in the end :(