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"More German Obstacles" from Intelligence Bulletin, March 1944

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   An intelligence article on German defensive obstacles in continental Europe, from the Intelligence Bulletin, March 1944.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy defenses and tactics published for Allied soldiers. More accurate data on German defenses and tactics is available in postwar publications.]


Outstanding types of barbed-wire obstacles and concrete antitank obstacles now used by the Germans in continental Europe were discussed in Intelligence Bulletin, Volume II, No. I, pp. 40-50. It is believed that the following additional information regarding German defensive preparations in Europe similarly warrants attention.


Pillboxes in woods are likely to be protected by wire obstacles about 50 yards in depth, with plain and barbed wire irregularly interwoven among the fences. Also, pillboxes in woods may be screened by wire netting, about 7 1/2 feet high, with firing apertures at the level of the pillbox embrasures.


a. The antitank ditch shown in figure 21 serves as a delaying obstacle or as a trap, depending on the depth. The Germans have been tending to increase the width and depth of such ditches. Many ditches in France now exceed the 13-foot width illustrated in figure 20. The sides of these ditches are sometimes revetted.

b. The Germans consider "asparagus ditches" — or "fishbone ditches," as they are also called — useful in ground which is likely to be rather moist (see fig. 22). It is a German principle to mine the spoil used in the parapets.

c. The type of ditch illustrated in figure 23 is revetted with logs. The spoil is used to form a parapet on the German side, while the depression itself is filled with an apron-type barbed-wire fence.

[Figure 20.]
Figure 20.

[Figure 21.]
Figure 21.

[Figure 22.]
Figure 22.

[Figure 23.]
Figure 23.


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