1. LIGHT ASSAULT BRIDGE
a. Version 1
The Germans make use of a portable light assault bridge
(Kradschützensteg), which can accommodate manhandled antitank
and infantry guns, light cars, motorcycles with and without
sidecars, and infantry in file.
This light assault bridge (see fig. 1) consists of prepared wooden
sections which, when assembled and laid across small, inflatable boats, become
the superstructure of the bridge. A single boat with its superstructure is
known as a "bay." The work of assembling is carried out on land, preferably
under cover, and the finished bridge is then carried to a desired site
The bridge is constructed in lengths of approximately 80 feet, each length
consisting of 5 bays. A strong individual timber frame is lashed to each
inflatable boat. Track supports are then laid down and secured by screw
clamps, and finally the tracks themselves are screwed, nailed, or lashed
into place. The tracks consist of planks which
are 16 feet 5 inches long, 8 inches
Water obstacles less than 10 feet wide can be spanned by a single unit
without floating support. Such a unit can be carried and assembled by two men.
|Figure 1.—German Light Assault Bridge (Version 1).|
b. Version 2
The tracked light assault bridge also comes in a heavier version, which
will carry light motor transport with a maximum load of 1 ton, provided
that the track width does not exceed 4 feet 6 inches.
Although the two bridges resemble each other, the heavier version is
decked, rather than tracked, and affords a track 5 feet 1 inch wide. There
are two boats per bay, so that the bridge can be separated into
independent rafts, unlike the tracked bridge, in which the joints of
the superstructure meet in the center of each boat (see fig. 1a).
2. USE OF SMOKE AGAINST TANKS
The Germans have been conducting experiments to test the effect of
smoke weapons used at close quarters against tanks. No information
is available as to the type of tank and the type of grenade employed
in these tests. However, it is known that the results convinced the
Germans that smoke can be an important factor in combatting tanks. Four
experiments under varying conditions yielded the following data:
a. Experiment 1
A smoke hand grenade was set off beside a stationary tank; the tank's
hatches were closed, and its engine was
running. Not only the suction of the engine fans, but leaks in the
forward entrance hatch, the mantlet of the hull machine gun, the
turret ring, and the turret ventilators, filled the tank with a thick
accumulation of smoke. Opening the hatches did not ventilate the tank sufficiently.
The Germans decided that a tank crew, fighting under these conditions, would
be forced out of the tank after a short period, and that the driver and hull
machine-gunner would suffer most from the effects of the smoke.
b. Experiment 2
In a second experiment the conditions were duplicated, except that the
engine was turned off. It was discovered that although smoke entered the
tank, evacuation would have become necessary only after several
minutes—and, even then, probably for no one but the driver.
c. Experiment 3
A third test was held, this time with the tank moving and its hatches
closed. Smoke grenades were thrown at the tank, and failed to lodge on
it. The crew lost almost none of their capacity to fight, and were
affected more by limitation of their vision than by the actual
penetration of smoke into the tank.
d. Experiment 4
In the fourth experiment, a moving tank with closed hatches was used; but
this time a cable 6 1/2 feet long, with a smoke grenade tied to each end, was
thrown across the barrel of the gun. (After a little practice, the thrower
became quite adept at this.) It was found that evacuation of the tank was
necessary after 30 seconds. Observation from the tank was, of course, out
of the question. The Germans felt that if members of a crew were to show
enough presence of mind to put on their respirators instantly, and rotate
the turret through 180 degrees, it would be possible for them to avoid
the effect sufficiently to bring the tank to safety. However, it was clear
that in any case the fighting capacity of the crew would be seriously affected.
 U.S. troops should not use these bridges unless they have been inspected and approved by Engineers.