Soviet Mechanised Corps (II)

Another layer of complexity

As we saw in the last article the lack of detail in the two main sources was a major stumbling block to discovering the true organisation of the mechanised corps and this fog was matched by the lack of intelligence information in publications such as the US Army TM 30-340 Handbook on USSR Military Forces. One of the principal reasons that the Mechanised Corps organisation remained obscure for so long, was that it contained both Tank Regiments and a Tank Brigade which themselves varied in organisation. This meant that any figures for Mechanised Corps or Brigades were meaningless unless you knew the relevant tank units.

Album 54 from 20th March 1944 to 15 September 1944

Our next source is a classic example of this. These are the albums of establishment diagrams produced for the General Staff which give an outline view of most combat units. There is one page for the very early 010/290 Mechanised Corps which existed from September 1942 to February 1943 when it was replaced by the 010/418 Mechanised Corps. Unfortunately this particular diagram is missing from the album 50 and 54 though it might be in another album in the TsAMO archive. Well at least we have the early version - or do we?

Mechanised Corps 010/290 September 1942

010/292 Tank Regiment

A closer look at 010/290 shows something strange, the Mechanised Brigade total is given as 3,676 personnel whereas our previous source gave the total of 3,492 a difference of 184. Looking a little more closely, the Tank Regiment of the brigade has a total of 524 personnel yet the total for the 010/292 Regiment should be 339 men with 23 T-34 and 16 T-70 tanks as shown in the diagram on the right.

010/370-380 Mechanised Brigade

The Mechanised Brigade 010/370-380 is shown in greater detail in the diagram on the left which duplicates the 524 total and shows it having 39 tanks however the split is 32 T-34 and 7 T-70 tanks. These numbers do not relate to the 010/292 Tank Regiment used to raise the original six Mechanised Corps and which was officially replaced in February 1944 by 010/465.

010/414 Tank Regiment of February 1943

Instead these total personnel and tanks relate to Tank Regiment 010/414 which was used to form the second tranche of 7th to 9th Mechanised Corps starting in February 1943. The problem is that all of these had changed over to the 010/420-431 Mechanised Brigade by the time they joined the operational army in August 1943. So essentially the diagram of the 010/290 Corps shows a combat unit that never existed!

010/370-380 Motor Rifle Brigade

Recreating the actual 010/290 is relatively straightforward as the 010/370-380 Motor Rifle Brigade used in Tank Corps was exactly the same as the Mechanised except it did not have the Tank Regiment attached. It is shown here on the left and adding the totals from the 010/292 Tank Regiment shown earlier will produce the correct totals for the Mechanised Brigade. To correct the Mechanised Corps, simply deduct the totals of the three 3,676 Brigades and add in the three new Brigades.  The albums give details of further sub-units of the Corps and these are shown in the gallery below. Some sub-units are missing however details of the Armoured Car Battalion 010/289 are displayed on the website.