A document issued by a German infantry division
itemizes the essentials of German infantry tactical
training. It is prefaced by a statement that in all
situations the chief considerations are reconnaissance,
protection, and the fire plan (ground and air). The
document lists briefly the fundamentals of the approach
march, the attack, and the defense. Certain
similarities between German and U.S. tactics will be
a. Approach March
(1) The work of reconnaissance patrols must be extremely thorough.
(2) Protection must be afforded by advance units (scouts, advance guards).
(3) Fire protection must be provided in the assembly area.
(4) The advance should be made by bounds.
(5) The main body will be in the rear (commanders well forward).
(1) Reconnaissance should lure targets into revealing themselves, and
should deceive the hostile force as to the intentions of our
own [German] units.
(2) There should be sufficient protection forward of the main attacking force.
(3) An organized fire plan is a necessity.
(4) The objective or task of each unit must be detailed.
(5) The point of main effort (Schwerpunkt) must be decided upon.
(6) Details.—(a) The first objective should be visible. (b) As
far as possible, the advance should be made under cover. (c) The main
effort must be made against an estimated weak point. The main effort must
be so flexible that, regardless of the location of the weak point, it can
be adapted in any sector to meet the situation. (d) All supporting arms
must be informed of the intended point of breakthrough. (e) Reserves
may also be brought forward into the flanking sector.
(1) The main line of resistance (Hauptkampflinie) is the
forward edge of the main defensive zone. The main line of
resistance is often referred to as including the general
outposts (Gefechtsvorposten) and the covering
positions (Vorgeschobene Stellungen), although
both are in reality forward of the main line of resistance. The
fire of all weapons must be planned so that it can be concentrated
forward of, and within, the main line of resistance.
(2) It is the task of reconnaissance and observation to discover
the intentions of the hostile force.
(3) The covering positions must conceal the actual location
of the main line of resistance. The personnel manning the
covering positions will fall back slowly, fighting a delaying
(4) The general outpost must goad hostile targets into revealing
themselves, and then withdraw to the main line of resistance.
(5) The fire plan must include the coordination of the fire
of all arms, arrangements for barrages and concentrations, the
numbering of targets, and indications as to whether the targets
are suitable primarily for infantry or artillery fire.
(6) Details.—(a) The fields of fire allotted to
positions manned at night will be under the personal supervision of the
company commanders. (b) Platoon commanders must be informed
about all positions, and about the tasks of support
weapons located in their sectors. (c) Each squad must have
its own orders for defense. (d) The company commanders will
determine the need for local reinforcements, and will arrange
for defensive fires within their own sectors. (e) Only regimental
commanders may order local withdrawals.