Military History/Infantry riding on tanks in WWII
I've been researching my father's service in an Armored Infantry Battalion (Rifle Company) in WWII. During an ambush in a small town in Germany, several soldiers were killed or wounded while riding on top of tanks.
My question is, since these rifle, machine gun and mortar squads used Half Tracks for transportation, during what conditions were they be required to dismount and ride on tanks?
There are several reasons. You can dismount a tank faster than a half track. Not all infantry units had halftracks so a tank ride was a feet and time saver. Typically you would ride a tank to near an enemy held town and dismount and hunt for infantry with anti tank weapons thus helping the tanks to engage enemy armor. Also high command would order for infantry to ride on tanks and skip the half tracks. The Soviets even welded hand holds on their tanks for infantry to use.
I hope this helps and check out this book.
World War II Infantry Tactics (2): Company and Battalion
By Stephen Bull
Also check out the links