By Victor Kamenir
It used to be a tank conflict handed in dimension and value in basic terms by means of the recognized defeat of
This publication deals the 1st in-depth account of this severe conflict, which started on
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Additional info for Bloody Triangle: The Defeat of Soviet Armor in the Ukraine, June 1941
Corps’ 34th Tank Division also included a battalion of flame-thrower OT-26 tanks and forty-eight giant T-35 tanks. The VIII Mechanized Corps began its conversion in July of 1940 from the IV Cavalry Corps. Its 12th and 34th Tank Divisions were formed around cores of two light tank brigades, plus smaller tank units withdrawn from other formations. The 7th Motorized Rifle Division was a distinguished unit, tracing its history from the Russian Civil War. This well-trained unit with high esprit de corps was handicapped by a lack of wheeled transport.
Col. D. A. Vasilyev, to conduct a briefing for command personnel about these new machines. Reading from the manual, Vasilyev pointed out that due to the extreme weight of these tanks, close to fifty tons, they could be towed only by a specially made heavy “Voroshilovets” tractor, of which the division had none. If one of the new KV-2s would become immobilized, it could only be moved by one or two other KV-2s. It soon became clear that KV-2, even though being a mighty combat vehicle, had major shortcomings: heavy, with poor maneuverability, could not fight against tanks because its 152mm cannon had a steep .
There were 11 light and 62 medium armored cars, 1,069 wheeled vehicles of all types, 133 tractors, and 181 motorcycles. The dearth of armored combat vehicles caused Rokossovskiy to bitterly call his tank divisions the “so-called tank divisions” in his memoirs. Rokossovskiy was bitter for good reason. Among the tanks in his corps, there was not a single modern one. His 20th Tank Division numbered only 36 light tanks. The 35th Tank Division numbered 142 light tanks, 40 of which were armed only with a machine gun.