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Order Concerning Broad Employment of Fire Obstacles in Defensive Systems, 1941

ORDER TO THE FORCES OF WEST FRONT No. 075

Secret

8 December 1941

Active Army

1. Walls of fire, Molotov cocktail fields, and static flamethrowers FOG have proven their worth in battles with the German occupiers.

A wall of fire implemented on 3.12.41 on the front of 5th Army burned over the course of 4 hours. The height of the flames reached 2-3 meters and in places 4-5 meters. Enemy tanks were forced to change their course and move across the front of the defenses, rendering them more vulnerable to the fires of antitank weapons. As a result of this, artillery and antitank rifles, Molotov cocktails, and flame throwers destroyed up to 20 enemy tanks in front of this fire wall.

2. Obstacles constructed of Molotov cocktails have delayed the movement of enemy tanks and destroyed a portion of them with the resulting fires. Some 15 such barrier fields with a total expenditure of up to 70,000 bottles were constructed on the front of 5th Army.

3. Static flamethrowers that destroyed four tanks and up to a company of submachine gunners were employed with great effect in the area of Dyutkiy and Akulovo. The fire of the static flamethrowers not only repelled the enemy attack but also cause him to flee in panic, leaving weapons, equipment, and many burned corpses on the battlefield.

All these examples demonstrate that with tactically sound emplacement, walls of fire, Molotov cocktails, and flamethrowers are powerful and effective means of destroying enemy personnel and equipment.

I ORDER:

1. Commanders of troop formations and units broadly to employ fire obstacles in the form of walls and Molotov cocktail fields in the system of organization of the defense.

2. Employ available makeshift materials to construct walls of fire: straw, brushwood, firewood, grass, structures, and so on. Capture basic tank-dangerous approaches with fire walls; cover entrances and exits of populated areas.

3. The front of a fire wall should not be less than one kilometer, and its flanks should be contained by natural obstacles. Set fire to the wall with "KS" bottles and mortar illumination rounds upon signal by a combined arms commander using specially designated commands. [Translator's note: "KS" is the name of a self-igniting liquid, yellowish-green or dark brown in color, with the odor of rotten eggs. This substance was a standard filler in factory-produced Molotov cocktails. Igniters or detonators were not required with these devices since the liquid self-ignited upon contact with open air.]

4. Create a Molotov cocktail field in a general system of engineer-antitank obstacles. The field should be 15-20 meters deep and 500-900 meters across. Place the bottles out in a checkerboard manner. Also employ the construction of Molotov cocktail fields in combination with minefields.

5. The chief of the front logistics directorate is to support the forces with the necessary quantity of fuel (oil, kerosene, gasoline).

6. The chief of the front chemical service is to prepare and present instruction to the forces on the construction of fire walls and Molotov cocktail fields.

7. Transmit this order by telegraph.

 

COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF FORCES OF WEST FRONT, ARMY GENERAL
/ZHUKOV/

MEMBER OF MILITARY COUNCIL OF WEST FRONT
/BULGANIN/

FOR THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF WEST FRONT, KOMBRIG
/GOLUSHKEVICH/

Translated by: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Source: TsAMO, collection 208, index 2524, item 10, sheets 201-03. True copy.


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