The following extracts from a German Army field
manual on military education and training afford insight
into the German military mind and character.
The principles contained in this manual play an important
part in the development of the enemy soldier.
Parts of the manual, together with a document entitled
"An Introduction to Military Leadership," were
recently combined into a single booklet by the commanding
officer of the 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division,
who ordered that it be distributed to all the officers of
his command. It may be recalled that some of the
notes on military leadership appeared in Intelligence
Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 7, pp. 52-56. The training
principles which follow should serve to give U.S.
junior officers and enlisted men a much clearer understanding
of the German soldier's military background.
2. THE ORGANIZATION OF TRAINING
a. Aside from experience gained in previous wars, training
programs in the German Army are determined only by the
requirements of this present war. Theoretical peacetime experiences
are always misleading.
b. The goal of training is absolute knowledge of essential subject
matter. The result of such training should be the ability
of the student to apply, on his own initiative, the knowledge
he has been taught.
Instruction does not cease when a number of manual skills
have been drilled to mechanical perfection, but finds its end in
stimulating a true understanding of the nature and purpose of
the subject learned.
c. Every commander is responsible for training the unit entrusted
to him, but the company commander's responsibility is
the greatest of all. His work creates the basis for the preparedness
and striking power of the German Army. It is the duty
of all superior officers to support him in his difficult task without
limiting his field of action.
d. Planned organization of training is necessary for an efficient
exploitation of the short time allotted. Every hour is
Training always advances from easy to difficult tasks, from
work of the individual soldier to the combined effort of units.
In the training of individual men, squads, and small units,
an understanding of the cooperation of all arms must be created
and fostered as early as possible.
e. The basic and advanced training of commissioned and noncommissioned
officers must run parallel to individual and group
3. THE PROCESS OF TRAINING
a. It is more essential that a German soldier be thorough
than that he be versatile. Commanders and subordinates alike
must remember that exactness in the performance of all duties
is a most important requirement. Monotony, however, is harmful.
b. The basis for all training with weapons is physical hardening.
It is provided by gymnastics, which steel the body, promote
agility and endurance, increase speed of coordination, and
make a soldier adaptable to sudden changes in the course of
c. Drill accustoms the individual to formations which are
indispensable to the proper appearance of an outfit. It teaches
orderliness and military bearing, and, if used correctly, increases
the self-confidence of the troops. Nevertheless, drill should take
up only a limited amount of time.
d. Weapons training conveys to the soldier the knowledge and
skill that he requires to put his weapons and equipment to the
most effective use.
e. Combat training is the most important phase of the whole
training program. It should mold the soldier into a determined
fighter capable of acting with initiative in behalf of his unit.
The purpose of combat exercises is to give the soldier a lasting
impression of the proper movements on a battlefield, and the
correct use of his weapons in combat.
f. Subjects to be taught and applied in practical exercises must
first be prepared and impressed on the minds of the students in
the classroom. An instructor must be thoroughly familiar with,
his subject before he attempts to teach it.
g. In unit training it must always be kept in mind that our
paramount aim is to force our will upon the enemy.
Special training is required for flexibility of command, mobility
and speed of units, surprise and deception, exploitation of
darkness or terrain features, and skillful camouflage.
h. Although troops must at all times understand the principle
of coordination of all arms, the training schedule embodying
the actual practice of this principle should develop progressively,
beginning with the training of the smallest units and ending
with the training of the largest units.
Careful preparations for each problem must be made. An
exact understanding of its purpose and a careful application
of past experiences are more valuable than too frequent and
too long-drawn-out problems.
i. In unit maneuvers the success of the problems depends
largely on the simplicity of the situation, the clarity of the
combat orders, and the maximum approximation of actual
j. Carefully planned and prudent organization of a unit's noncommissioned
officers, and careful training and education of
these men, decisively influences the unit's appearance and performance.
One of the main duties of the company commander
is the constant improvement of his noncommissioned officers.
k. The aim of noncommissioned-officer training is the development
of independent, efficient leaders for small units, and of
men who will prove good, self-reliant trainers in their own
The development of leadership qualities, intensification of
general and special knowledge, and supervision of instruction
are of the utmost importance. The self-assurance of noncommissioned
officers and their conduct as leaders will be greatly
improved if they are called out in front of their units and
entrusted with missions which entail responsibility. The granting
of enough freedom of action for the execution of such missions
aids in preserving, in the long run, a soldier's alert and
cheerful view of his responsibility to the military establishment.
l. Although an officer's training as a leader, educator, and
trainer is in the hands of his commander, every officer must work
continuously on his own development.
An officer's career can be a success only if he succeeds in
stimulating in others his keen and cheerful conception of duty,
and if he continuously succeeds in enlisting cooperation.
The only really successful type of training is that which is
not content with mere criticism, but which conveys practical
knowledge by means of explicit instruction and concrete
m. The training of officer replacements is one of the most
exacting, and at the same time one of the most rewarding,
duties of the commanders responsible for them.
The course of training through which an officer candidate
must pass, and the impressions which will remain in his mind,
determine his entire career. Only those who know from their
own experiences what the life and service of the enlisted man
is like, and who themselves have learned to obey, can become
n. Almost all further training of the young officer takes place
while he is actually serving with his unit. Under the supervision
of his company or battery commander, he must perfect
himself in his handling of formations, in his ability to treat his
subordinates appropriately, and in his efficiency in carrying out
his regular duties.
o. In his future training, careful preparation for service with
higher echelons and with special branches of the service is added
to the ever-continuing process of training that he undergoes.
Tactical problems, planning exercises, and other work which
permits originality will greatly enlarge his talent for leadership
and his understanding of logistics.
The longer he serves in the German Army, the better qualified
he should be to evaluate character, and the more widely he
should expand his military and general education.
p. The actual quality of a unit is determined by
the over-all picture of its state of training. It
is more important for all soldiers in one line of training
to receive an equal and well-balanced amount than
for a few individuals to perform certain