Did tanks close assault infantry during World War II?
Barrie Lovell on Tank Close Combat
Some years back I spoke to a Belgian army NCO who was an instructor in infantry anti-tank techniques. The Belgian infantry are trained to approach a vehicle from the rear and, if necessary, to climb onto the engine deck to attack the crew or place an explosive device. I would have thought it would be easier to do this if the vehicle did not have a traversing turret. This explains why the germans introduced Assault Gun/Panzer grenadier teams who trained and worked together, the infantry protecting the vehicle from just this sort of attack.
Steven on Tank Close Combat
It seems that tanks made a habit of running over people/guns:
- Examples from Panzer Aces – tons of guns and infantry getting run down.
- Example from Guy Sajer (the incident with the panzerfaust team getting squished)
Ivan Shelepov, a Russian infantry man, has this to say …
The problem is that a tank is made of steel, and you are not. It fires its main gun and machine-guns at you. It can also squash you. It is very hard to knock out a tank in general, but it is especially hard to knock it out with a hand grenade. If the crew is “green”, then you still have a chance, but if there are vets in the tank, it is utterly impossible. Unfortunately, you only learn this when the tank suddenly turns and squashes you. Or kills you with a machine-gun. … I knew the main thing was not to flee, although my legs wanted to run themselves. We had to let the tanks pass through our positions and stop the Panzergrenadiers. But the tanks turned and rolled along our defensive line, merely squashing us. … I just saw a German Panther with red tracks. They were red with blood, but I realized that much later.