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John D Salt

I am once again perplexed. At the time of the Kotluban operations the Soviet 24 Army had the 383rd Tank Destroyer Regt assigned to it. I can’t figure out what kit such a unit might use c. August – November 1942. Both SU-57’s and SU-76’s were yet to be deployed. There were precious few Zis-30 57mm SPAT (only about 100 ever made) and most seem to have been destroyed by early 1942. So what kit would the 383 TDR have likely used in 1942? Does anyone have an inkling they can share? Sorry to pester you all with such picayune minutiae but I’m trying to get this right.

Don’t forget that the designation “tank destroyer” does not always apply to SP guns — 3-inch towed ATk gun units in the US Army were referred to as “tank destroyers”.

I suspect, therefore, that this is a towed ATk Regt, which the Sovs knew as an IPTAP. This is short for истребительный противотанковый артиллерийский полк — which would be ATk Regt in British English, Tank Destroyer Regiment in US English, and contains all the ideas of “artillery”, “destroyer”, and “anti-tank”. Indeed, checking in my copy of “The Red Army Order of Battle” (Military Publishers of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR, Moscow, 1966) confirms that 383 IPTAP was part of the Army artillery of 24th Army in September 1942, along with 1166 PAP, 136 MINP, and 247 and 298 ZENAP, which I take to mean gun artillery regiment, mortar regiment, and AA regiment respectively.

Zaloga and Ness’ superb “Red Army Handbook” (Sutton, Thrupp, 1998) mentions that anti-tank regiments were raised in several waves:

Autumn 1941 to March 1942: separate ATK Regts organised from remnants of 11 ATk brigades formed since April 1941.
June-July 1942: 20 + 15 ATk regiments raised, each 5 batteries of 4 guns. 85mm AA used because of shortage of 76mm guns; all such regiments lost in Oct 41 Moscow battles.
August-October 1941: 36 further regiment raised, each 4 batteries of 4 guns, 2 btys 85mm AA and 2 btys 45mm ATk or 37mm AA guns.
October 1941: 1 Regt raised, and 9 converted, with 6 batteries of 4 guns, 5 btys of 76mm guns and 1 bty of 25mm or 37mm AA.
19 April 1942 All ATk regiments to be standardised to new establishment, 5 batteries of 4 76mm guns.
15 May 1942 authorisaton for ATk regts to have 45mm instead of 75mm guns, most ATk regiments with 76mm redesignated light arty regts.
1 July 1942 76mm regiments redesignated again as tank-destroyer artillery regiments (IPTAPs).

There were various other organisational twiddlings both by Stavka and different fronts, but I think it is a safe bet that 383 IPTAP would have had 20 76mm guns (ZiS-3 divisional gun or similar) in five batteries each of four guns. Note that there is no battalion level of command — batteries report direct to regiment (almost like the British Army). Zaloga and Ness give the battery organisation as HQ plus two 21-man platoons, each platoon having 2 76mm guns, 2 gun tractors, 2 ATk rifles and 1 LMG.

All the best,