Antimechanized Defense

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Antimechanized Defense


the totality of measures taken to repulse attacks by enemy tanks, infantry combat vehicles, and armored personnel carriers and to destroy them.

Antimechanized, or antitank, defense is used in all types of combat. It arose during World War I and by the end of the war had become an important security measure for troop combat. Field artillery fire was applied against tanks, as were bunches of hand grenades, which were laid out in interconnected strings. During the 1930’s, when tanks were introduced into the ground forces of many armies, the role of antitank defense increased. It developed extensively during World War II, especially among the Soviet armed forces in the Great Patriotic War of 1941‣45. Soviet troops successfully repulsed attacks by masses of fascist German tanks, especially in the battle of Kursk in 1943 and the Balaton Defensive Operation of 1945. The antitank defense included company antitank strongpoints joined into battalion antitank centers; antitank fortified areas established along the critical axes of tank approach by specially assigned units of tank-destroyer artillery, tanks, self-propelled guns, flame throwers, and engineer troops with mine equipment; tank ambushes, antitank artillery reserves, and mobile obstacle-construction detachments; artillery fire on the critical axes of tank approach; and antitank obstacles. The antitank defense was organized to the full depth of the operational defense. On the offensive, antitank defense was organized to repulse counterattacks by enemy tanks.

Among the means used to fight tanks were army artillery, antitank artillery, tanks, self-propelled guns, flame throwers, antitank rifles, bunches of hand grenades, special antitank grenades, bottles containing combustible mixtures, antitank obstacles, antitank artillery reserves, and mobile obstacle-construction detachments. Aviation also operated successfully against tanks. At the end of World War II, unguided antitank rocket weapons became widespread, including Faustpatronen in the fascist German Army and bazookas in the US Army. With the appearance of nuclear weapons after the war in the second half of the 1950’s, the role of tanks as the main striking force of the ground troops increased sharply.

As a result of the widespread introduction of new tanks, self-propelled artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles, armored personnel carriers, and armored self-propelled artillery, the fight against them is becoming the main concern of modern combat. Present-day antimechanized defense is carried on by all arms of the ground forces. For fighting against tanks and other armored vehicles, the armed forces use strikes by missile forces and aviation, army and antitank artillery fire, tanks, self-propelled guns, infantry combat vehicles, antitank guided missiles, grenade launchers, grenades, recoilless rifles, flame throwers, and various types of obstacles.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.