“Attack!” (the Soviet way) (1943)
From a radio talk to Red Army men at Stalingrad by Lieutenant General V. I. Chuikov, Commander, 62nd Soviet Army:
LET YOUR attack be a headlong one. Get to the enemy in one leap. In open spaces where the enemy is target-firing, you must make short runs singly, jump up in a trice and forward like an arrow. It is important to give the Germans no time to take aim; run for two or three seconds and then drop like a stone to the ground. Crawl unnoticed from the spot where you dropped, to the side, and when you get to a suitable firing position, open fire immediately on the enemy. As you run, keep carefully to the rules of camouflage, make use of uneven ground, of hollows, vegetation, and shell holes. Good camouflage will save your life.
And what is more important, keep strictly to the direction indicated. If you find yourself under German artillery fire, do not lose your head. Take a headlong rush forward and you will be out of the firing zone. Then forward again against the enemy.
When advancing with tanks, keep directly behind the tank and do not get separated from it. As you run forward, fire on the enemy’s antitank crew and wipe them out. Determinedly and simultaneously with your tanks, break into the enemy’s positions and wipe him out with fire, bayonets, and grenades.
As you advance, you have the cover of your own artillery and mortar fire. Try to keep as close as possible behind the explosions of your own artillery shells. Your shells give you protection from the fire of the enemy. At such a moment the enemy’s fire is ineffective. But if you fall behind your own artillery and mortar fire, you will only harm yourself.
The attack is the decisive moment in an engagement. Before the attack, load your weapons and get your ammunition together. With your grenades ready, burst headlong into the enemy’s dugouts and trenches at the signal from your commander. Once inside, everything depends on your boldness, your skill, your cunning and initiative.
Break into the enemy’s trenches like this: first the grenades and yourself after them. Once in the enemy dugout or trench, you may meet with the unexpected. The great thing here is not to lose your head. Each of you hurl your grenades and then go in; for each dugout, a grenade, then the automatic rifle, and then again forward.
The enemy may counterattack. Do not fear. Fight boldly. You have already won a success, and the enemy has lost his trenches. Get close to the counterattacking enemy, strike with grenades, use your knife or spade.
The Germans will use tanks, but do not fear them. Don’t try to run away; you won’t get far. Get into a trench or shell hole, go for the tank with grenades and incendiary bottles, and smite the enemy infantry with rifle fire. Try to make the enemy infantry hug the ground, to cut them off from their tanks, then wipe them out. If the enemy tanks pass over your trench, there is still nothing to fear. Your artillery and antitank comrades will deal with them. Your business is to wipe out the infantry, and to press forward.
If the attack is not a success, do not feel bitter about it. Entrench yourself on the lines you have reached, and, at the signal from the unit commander, advance again. If you fail a second time to rout the enemy, there will be a third time, and a fourth, and any number of times, until you achieve your end.
In hand-to-hand fighting keep close together. Strike the enemy with rifle-butt, with bayonet, and with your whole heart. Do not think of yourself. Watch your comrades. Don’t let them get hurt, and they will help you out. Always try not to give way or be beaten off. Hand-to-hand battles are won by those who strike desperately and boldly. Pursue the retreating enemy. Fire as you go. A fleeing enemy tires more quickly than you who are advancing.
Keep a constant eye on the field of action, on your neighbor, and on the sky. Report everything you observe immediately to your commander. If the commander is out of action, take your orders from whoever assumes command. If you feel strong enough, take the command yourself.
Spare no effort, but keep up the offensive.
Source: Reprinted from Information Bulletin, Embassy of the U.S.S.R., in Military Review, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth KS, October 1943, p. 16.http://www.forgottenwarstories.com/2016/07/02/attack-the-soviet-view-1943/WW2combat,morale,red army,soviet unionFrom a radio talk to Red Army men at Stalingrad by Lieutenant General V. I. Chuikov, Commander, 62nd Soviet Army: LET YOUR attack be a headlong one. Get to the enemy in one leap. In open spaces where the enemy is target-firing, you must make short runs singly, jump up...stevenhardestySteven Hardestyforgottenwarstories@gmail.comAdministratorForgotten War Stories