This first blog post on this subject strongly made the point that the Russian armor repair effort was not at the same level as the German efforts, which is what I observed when assembling the Kursk Data Base (KDB). But, Zamulin, Demolishing the Myth, continued on pages 448-449, touting what a great job the repair people did. I figured for completeness, I needed to post this.
To continue P. A. Rotmistrov’s (Fifth Guards Tank Army commander) quote from the previous posting:
The mechanics’ profile was diverse. The 83rd Army-level Repair-Recovery Battalion and the corps’ mobile repair depots were staffed with qualified workers from the tank industry (the Stalingrad and Khar’kov factories), but who lacked work experience in field conditions. The tank brigade equipment companies, on the other hand, were staffed primarily with specialists on the repair of armored vehicles under combat conditions. Such a combination of cadres on the whole produced satisfactory results.
Major overhauls, like engine, gun, and turret replacements, were performed at the mobile repair depots of the tank corps. Each tank corps had two of these repair depots, each staffed with 70 to 80 men. For urgent repairs just 8-10 kilometers from the front lines, two army-level, three corps-level and nine brigade collection points for disabled vehicles were set up, which shared all the repair-recovery resources.
On the night of 12 July, as the 5th Guard Tank Army commander later remembered:
The repair workers faced the task of restoring and repairing parts and components, stripped from irreparably damaged tanks from those tanks that needed major overhauls. We had to get hold of 45 engines, 20 gear boxes and several engine and steering clutches. All of the recover and repair units and teams of the separate regiments, brigades, and corps and the army were mobilized to accomplish this task.
To what Rotmistrov said I will add that in order to hasten the repair of the 5th Guard Tank Army’s damaged armored vehicles, the Front’s Armored and Mechanized Forces commander transferred 167 field repair depots from the 38th Army to the 5th Guards Tank Army on 14 July. The truly heroic effort produced results. Of the 420 damaged tanks in its brigades and regiments after the fighting of 12 July, 112 requiring minor or moderate repairs were restored to operation in the very first days after the battle. In addition, the Front command took other steps to assist the army. Already by 15 July, just three days after the engagement, the 5th Guards Tank Army began to receive new tanks. The 29th Tank Corps was the first to begin to received the new vehicles. The 31st Tank Brigade’s war diary notes, “15 July….An order arrived to pick up 16 T-34 tanks at Solntesevo Station. A procurement team had been sent.”