Tankodesantniki (Tank Borne Troops) ride T-34/76 tanks into battle in what is probably a staged photo. Tank Desant (From the French Descent) was a Red Army invention during the Spanish Civil War. Desant is a Russian word meaning "drop" and was previously applied to naval and airborne troop landings. Suffering from a lack of adequate infantry transport, the Red Army solved their tank-infantry coordination by having the troops ride the tanks into battle. This was also of much propaganda value, as the image of soldiers riding tanks into combat was very dramatic. In practice, the infantry were exposed to small arms and artillery fire, leaving the tanks vulnerable to German infantry. Later, when the Red Army received sufficient quantities of American trucks and prime movers and had built their own native designs, Tank Desant was not as common; it was still present in the Red Army 1942 Field Manual. After World War II, the creation of specialized infantry carriers (Infantry Fighting Vehicles or Armored Personnel Carriers) like the American M113 and the Soviet BTR series, rendered Tank Desant obsolete as a battlefield tactic. Date estimated.
Caption ©2007 MFA Productions LLC
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