Following the Northern Greece encounter, the Soviet CO, a Colonel Nekrassov was 'invited' by the KGB to offer his recollections of the battle. A blood and tear-stained copy of the manuscript has found it's way to me via Martin Rapier, and I have reproduced it below.
Combat Report by 371st MRR
Combat Report by 371st MRR
SituationThe Regiment was ordered to penetrate the Greek defences, destroy the border defences and secure the road and river crossings south. To this end the Regiment was reinforced with divisional engineers, a tank battalion and an air assault battalion.
Analysis of the defences and terrain indicated that an enveloping attack by our main force was called for, combined with a deep attack conducted by a Forward Detachment, bypassing the defences altogether an aided in its advance by deep air, artillery and airborne operations.
SolutionThe FD axis of advance was the north side of the river, which appeared to be undefended, main force would envelop the border guard from the south and exploit, whilst leaving the village to be mopped up by MR troops. Airborne detachment would clear the road south and seize the intermediate river crossing, supported by long range artillery strikes, and clear the way for the FD and main exploitation forces.
OutcomeThe regiment advanced 8km into the depth of the enemy position, gapped the border minefields, secured the northern river crossing and completely destroyed all enemy forces encountered. Nightfall and the rugged terrain prevented our forces from assaulting the enemy artillery positions in the rear.
Enemy losses were a complete motorised infantry battalion, which was encircled and over-run. All equipment and personnel were destroyed or captured.
Our own losses were negligible. Half a dozen tanks were disabled by mines, light casualties were sustained by the air assault battalion capturing the bridge and one of the motor rifle battalions clearing the village. Regimental HQ suffered some vehicle and personnel losses from artillery fire.
A special commendation for the air assault commander in conducting a perfect attack synchronised with artillery fire and airstrikes.
AnalysisThe attack was conducted in a textbook manner, although obstacle clearance and the rugged terrain proved a greater hindrance to movement than operational norms indicated.
Mine roller equipped tank units proved highly capable in both obstacle penetration and cross country exploitation. Wheeled infantry carriers are not suitable for cross country operations in this terrain.
The KGB blocking detachment was highly effective in accelerating the pace of the assault.
The Greeks were clearly forewarned of our attack as they had positioned elite infantry units on the frontier who resisted far longer than could be reasonably expected given the weight of firepower deployed against them.
Recommendations.A search for spies should be conducted. The same spies who warned the Greeks may also have indicated the position of RHQ to enemy artillery.
In future operations of this nature, an air assault brigade would provide a far greater deep attack capability to sustain a rapid advance than a single battalion.