TANK DESTROYER BATTALION
The primary mission of tank destroyer units is the destruction of hostile tanks by direct gun fire.
Suitable secondary missions are –
(1) Direct or indirect fire to reinforce or supplement that of artillery units.
(2) Destruction of pillboxes and permanent defensive works.
(3) Support of landing operations.
(4) Defense of beaches against waterborne attack.
(5) Roving gun and roving battery mission.
The self-propelled battalion consists of a headquarters and headquarters company, a reconnaissance company, three gun companies, and a medical detachment. Each gun company has three platoons of four self-propelled guns each – a total of 36 guns within the battalion.
Tank destroyer units are highly mobile, have great fire power, and are provided with radios for rapid communication. Their light armor makes them vulnerable to antitank weapons.
Tank destroyer battalions should be employed as units. Employment by separate company or smaller unit seldom gives good results, and frequently fails.
Massed tank destroyer units may be deployed in firing positions, subject to rapid movement to other positions; or they may be held in readiness initially, prepared to move to firing positions as the situation develops.
The more advanced are tank destroyer positions, the sooner tank destroyers can begin destruction of hostile tanks which advance against them. However, if positions are too advanced and are exposed, the tank destroyers themselves may be destroyed by fire of hostile infantry and artillery. While much depends on terrain and other local conditions, attached tank destroyers ordinarily are advanced no farther than the reserves of the forward infantry battalions. Massed tank destroyers in general are emplaced some what more to the rear. If tank destroyers are committed to advanced firing positions, it may be impracticable to maneuver them further thereafter.
Tank destroyers are capable of high speed on roads. Their effective employment demands high road priority.
Hostile armored units have the initiative, at first. Tank destroyers overcome this initial advantage by thorough reconnaissance, by preselection of positions, and by utilizing good routes of approach. These advantages must be exploited by making thorough plans and preparations.
Reconnaissance elements of tank destroyer battalions are essential for the successful employment of battalions, and should not be detached for other purposes.
An efficient antitank warning service is essential. Information of hostile tanks is obtained also by liaison with higher headquarters and with other ground and air intelligence agencies.
GUN COMPANY x3
The primary mission is to destroy hostile tanks. It accomplishes this mission by-
(2) Selection of the best available gun positions.
(3) Maximum use of cover, concealment, secrecy, and deception.
(4) Coordination of plans and actions with adjacent tank destroyer companies and with other nearby troops.
(5) Accurate, surprise gun fire.
Secondary missions include reinforcing artillery, roving battery, augmenting the fire of armored units, support of infantry by direct fire, beach defense and assault of fortified positions.
The primary mission is specifically to-
Select routes over which the battalion will move.
Select bivouac areas and positions in readiness.
Determine the exact dispositions of friendly troops.
Select areas suitable for the employment of tank destroyers on their primary mission.
Gain and maintain contact with enemy armor prior to, during, and after the firefight.
Determine location of friendly and enemy mine-fields.
Locate areas and observation posts for the execution of secondary tank destroyer missions.
At times the reconnaissance company may be charged with security missions, that is, reinforcing advance, flank, or rearguards, and establishing and manning outposts. However, the assignment of security missions must not interfere with the proper execution of reconnaissance.
When the battalion is executing indirect fire missions, the reconnaissance company continues reconnaissance for primary mission positions and routes thereto. While such reconnaissance is being completed, selected reconnaissance company personnel may act as forward observers.
The primary mission of the pioneer platoon is removing, bridging, or constructing bypasses around obstacles including mined areas that interfere with the movements of the battalion. Other missions are construction of obstacles, executing demolitions, assisting in general construction work, and preparation of emplacements and camouflage.
MEDICAL SERVICE OF TANK DESTROYER BATTALION
The battalion surgeon is charged with both a command and a staff function.
a. As medical detachment commander he is responsible for all administration, training, and welfare of the medical detachment, under the direction of the battalion commander.
b. As a member of the battalion commander's special staff he is responsible for advising the battalion commander concerning the health and sanitation of the command, for preparation of medical department reports of the battalion, and for the supervision of battalion training in first aid and sanitation.