1. TANK AND ARTILLERY TACTICS
The Germans have developed a new method of combining tanks
with 88-mm and 50-mm guns for an attack. The procedure is for
a wave of tanks to charge in close to a United Nations position
and then crisscross until a dense cloud of dust rises. After
this, a second wave of tanks comes up in the dust, accompanied
by the 88-mms and the 50-mms, which entrench themselves in
wadis  or, wherever possible, behind
abandoned vehicles. While the dust is settling, the guns open
fire from these close ranges with considerable effect. The Germans
rarely ever fire directly at the front of opposing tanks; they wait
for angle shots and try to hit the tanks on the side.
2. BREAKING TRAILS THROUGH MINEFIELDS
The Germans have two methods for going through minefields:
(a) They lay a smoke screen and send in engineers to plot a
trail through the minefield, locate mines in the passageway
with mine detectors, and detonate the charges.
(b) Or, behind an artillery barrage, they send a tank over the trail
selected. The tank goes ahead until its tracks are blown off by exploding
mines. A second tank then tows the first one out, and resumes the forward
drive until its own tracks, in turn, are damaged. A third then comes to
tow the second, and the process is repeated until a trail through the
minefield has been established. The Germans usually get through at a
cost of three or four tanks. Since the only damage these suffer is the
loss of their tracks—which the German recovery system can repair in
three or four hours—the Germans do not regard minefields as serious
obstacles in the desert. It should be noted that the Germans use
anything and everything to pull tanks off the field. The recovery
and maintenance system operating in Libya has been so well developed
that it can repair 10 tanks a day.
3. AIR-GROUND RECOGNITION
The Germans usually have accurate air-ground recognition. First, ground
troops release a chemical smoke, often pink, which can be seen
at 10,000 feet. Artillery then fires on the target. Planes observe the
fire and bomb the area where the shells are falling.
4. SLIT TRENCHES
It has been found that slit trenches are an absolute necessity in case
of bombing or artillery fire. Personnel in them are in very little danger
from bombers unless they score a direct hit on the trench.
There are few long marches in the desert; nearly everything is now
on wheels. On or near the front there are some foot movements, but
even these are not practical over long periods. Thousands of trucks
must be used, creating special problems.
Vehicles behind the lines are not dug in, but scattered at least
200 yards apart. Thus arranged, they make poor targets for aircraft
since it is impossible to damage two trucks with a single bomb—and
bombs are too expensive to use one per vehicle.
Excepting a small section for the driver to see through, the
windshields of trucks are often greased lightly so that the dust
will blow against them and stick. Sometimes they are painted. This
prevents the windshield from reflecting light. The windshields are
necessary to protect personnel from wind and dust.
In the daytime most trucks are kept out of artillery range.
The Germans advance with supplies for 5 days in their trucks. On
the fifth day the emptied trucks turn back, and a freshly loaded
group replaces them.
7. EFFECT OF WEATHER
Most German soldiers are accustomed to temperate weather, and
have to adapt themselves to the dry desert heat. To United States
soldiers from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and the California
valleys, dry heat is no novelty. Military observers agree that
the heat of the African desert, although not the last word in
comfort, has been exaggerated by newspaper correspondents.
 A wadi is a gully which wind and water have cut out of the rocky, sandy
soil of the desert.