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Russian Forward Observers

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Belcampo1980, May 5, 2015.

  1. Belcampo1980

    Belcampo1980 New Member Patron  

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    Hey there WW2forum,

    I'm looking for information about Russian forward observers who served on the eastern front in Poland in early 1945. Specifically if they would ever 'work' alone. I know that the Russian army used the British FO system (the observer had command authority and ordered fire, including the type and amount of ammunition to be fired, to batteries.) but have not been able to ascertain whether the FO's would move out in front of the front lines on their own.

    Any help or info would be most appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Belcampo1
     
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    You should have asked me this 30 years ago before we decided to forget the Cold war. ;)

    :Like the British, the The Red Army's observers ordered rather than requested artillery fire. Soviet doctrine made much of commanders being deployed forwards and personally observing the battle. Their documents mention of "command and observation posts" which could be established for Army and IIRC Frond commanders. Thus the observer would ideally be deployed next to the supported army. There was provision for artillery observers to be deployed separately, linked by telephone or radio. They certainly deployed forward observers with their infantry. Whether they ever deployed alone or with some form of infiltrating units is a different matter. The Soviets used all manner of reconnaissance to identify German positions and some of these may have been "artillery recconnaisance".

    The Red army did not decentralise control of concentrated artillery fire to a relatively junior observer as was practised by the British and indirectly the USA Armies. The Red army lacked the network of radio communications to do this effectively in a mobile battle, at least in the early war years. Thier command and control was fairly rigid with an observer only controlling the fire of their own organic unit.

    There is an interesting paper here.http://www.allworldwars.com/Tactics-and-Fire-Control-of-Russian-Artillery-in-1941-44-by-Richert.html

    This looks like a paper from the US Foreign Army Studies series. buy I have not checked its provenance. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Germany/FMS/FMS-2.html

    What is the reason for your enquiry? .,, .
     
  3. Belcampo1980

    Belcampo1980 New Member Patron  

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    Hi Sheldrake,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. This should come in handy. However, the link you posted at the bottom of your reply does not seem to work. Any chance you could post it again?
    I'm working on a film script based on a wartime diary. But the author is not specific about how exactly he worked in relation to infantry units. I want to be as accurate as possible RE historical fact.

    Thanks again,

    Belcampo1
     
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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  6. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The control of artillery would depend on what kind of fight and what phase. At the start of an offence most artillery would have a preset plan as to where, when and what kind of fire. The main use of FO would be to watch for when the offence reached a line and then would have the fire reset to the next line or if a target was deemed eliminated switched to the next one. Each unit starting with a regiment would have some artillery organic to it. Additional artillery attached would generally be attached to a higher commander, up to front control depending on how important the mission was. Example a division commander may have x number of artillery assigned to his area, but it would still be under control of cops, army or front artillery. As with the US, units would be assigned and unassigned frequently.
     
  7. Belcampo1980

    Belcampo1980 New Member Patron  

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    Thanks for all your help and information, guys. I'm always amazed by the wealth of knowledge that exists on forums like this one. If I can repay the favour let me know. best. belcampo1
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    As far as I have read they worked alone and were very highly appreciated. They worked as snipers but also informed own troops of enemy movement. I guess you could call them lonely wolves.
     

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