These enemy comments have a special value for U.S. junior officers and enlisted men, not
only because U.S. combat methods are seen through German eyes, but because of the
marked emphasis on German counter-measures.
Several weeks ago a Panzer Grenadier battalion commander prepared a report on his
unit's recent experiences in combat against U.S. forces, and recommended possible
improvements in German methods.
During the past week of operations, the U.S. infantry has not gone in for aggressive
action. When possible, they avoid close combat. When attacking, they mass behind tanks
or sit on the tanks. They very seldom take advantage of darkness or fog to begin an
attack. As a rule, an attack is preceded by a strong artillery preparation in which
the Americans employ all calibers, including their heaviest. Planes are used for fire
direction, and excellent results have been obtained. The infantry shoots wildly into
areas where the presence of our troops is suspected, or into our principal sectors. Most
of the fire is unaimed.
Artillery directed by observation planes places fire on each of our movements. The
infantry main effort usually is supported by good fire concentration and by tanks. German
counterattacks are harassed by U.S. fighter bombers, which strafe and bomb German
Fire concentrations on road crossings and identified positions are always placed at
If a U.S. tank is hit by our antitank weapons, the other tanks immediately turn away. In
breaking through to our positions, they fire on our troops in foxholes with automatic
rifles and machine-gun fire. It is therefore recommended that: we dig our foxholes
at a right angle underground. In attacking U.S. tanks at close range, the large rifle
grenade and bazooka have proved to be valuable weapons. The small rifle grenade was
found to be ineffective and unable to penetrate the tanks.
GERMAN ATTACK METHODS
As to our own attacks, we found them to be more successful when they were launched
without artillery preparation, so as to gain surprise. Also, we have made the most
of darkness and fog.
If artillery support is used, it is best to camouflage the concentration
in the sector of our attack by simultaneously covering the other sectors
Whenever possible, attack preparations should be avoided during the day. U.S. air
observation detects every movement, and directs sudden and heavy fire concentrations
on the deployment area.
To avoid losses, the line of departure should be reached by infiltration. Attack in
depth cuts down our own losses and allows us to employ our troops flexibly.
When our troops have been caught by U.S. artillery fire, we have found it very hard to
escape trying to go around this fire. Therefore, it is recommended that our troops take
cover immediately. If this is done, our troops should work their way close enough to
be inside the minimum range of artillery and mortars. It has often proved advisable
to attach 81-mm mortars to the assaulting units.
It is also useful to have an observation post well forward at the point of main
effort, to direct fire from the captured positions.
With reference to the lack of cooperation by the artillery, it must be emphasized
again and again that everyone must help the infantrymen.
At the point of main effort, double communication must be ensured by telephone
GERMAN DEFENSE METHODS
The following are recommended:
1. Deployment in depth in the sector. Always have a reserve available even though it
is only a small force.
2. Establishment of three observation posts simultaneously—in the main line of
resistance, in the advanced sector of resistance, and in the immediate vicinity of a
In previous engagements the installation of three observation posts proved very
valuable, because the enemy—always was under our observation and fire, even
though a penetration had been made.
Only one 81-mm mortar should be attached to the attacking company. Readiness
and quick changing of positions make this a valuable weapon. The remainder of the
weapons should be under the control of the mortar platoon leader for concentrated
use in any one sector.