From the Vault: Soviet Tank Company Tactics (1976)

For those you wondering what the US military knew about Soviet armor tactics in the 1970’s, this document may prove of interest.  From the Defense Intelligence Agency is this report from 1976 on Soviet Tank Company Tactics.

From the Preface:

This study of Soviet tank company tactics is written as a “how they fight” manual.  Many of the concepts and methods used by the Soviets appear to the US or NATO military reader so alien that there is a temptation to say “This is unworkable.”  The reader should appreciate that the Soviet tank company commander has a vastly different task than his US or NATO equivalent.  His task is to train and lead his company as directed by well established principles set out in field service regulations, and as interpreted by his superiors.  The company fights either as part of a battalion size unit, or with the close support of other tank, motorized rifle, and artillery units.  the battalion is the basic unit of maneuver in the Soviet Ground Forces and a company is best regarded as a fire team.

The entire report can be read at the website for the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Click on the image below to read the report.

Soviet tank company tactics


Readers may be amused at this artists rendition of a Soviet T-72 tank found in this report.  This is a good example of the confusion in the West in this period regarding the new generation of Soviet tanks represented by the T-64 and T-72.

T-72 artists rendition 1976

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