[Lone Sentry: www.LoneSentry.com] [Lone Sentry: Photos, Articles, and Research on the European Theater in World War II]
Photos, Articles, & Research on the European Theater in World War II
"Miscellaneous (German)" from Intelligence Bulletin

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   Miscellaneous section from the July 1943 issue of the Intelligence Bulletin, covering "88-mm AA/AT Gun (Dug-In)," "New Machine Gun," "Tank Recognition," and "Flame-Throwing Tank."

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy tactics and equipment published for Allied soldiers. In most cases, more accurate data is available in postwar publications.]



The drawings in figure 1 are views of a dug-in but uncamouflaged German 88-mm dual-purpose gun in North Africa.

[Figure 1. (German 88-mm AA/AT Gun Dug-In)]
Figure 1.


The Germans are using a new type of machine gun, the MG 42 (see fig. 2). It has an unusually high rate of fire and is very likely to replace the MG 34 as the standard dual-purpose machine gun of the German Army.

[Figure 2. German Machine Gun 42. (MG-42)]
Figure 2.—German Machine Gun 42.

Weight with bipod   _ _ _ _   28 3/4 lbs
Over-all length   _ _ _ _   48 in
Length of barrel   _ _ _ _   21 3/4 in
Weight of barrel   _ _ _ _   3 lbs 14 1/2 oz
Cyclic rate of fire   _ _ _ _   1,050 rpm
Mounting   _ _ _ _   bipod and tripod
Caliber   _ _ _ _   7.92 mm

Since stamping, riveting, and spot welding are used extensively in the manufacture of the MG 42, the new gun can be turned out much more rapidly than the MG 34. The barrel, barrel extension, and bolt head are virtually the only parts of the MG 42 which require intricate machine-tool work; as a result, the gun does not have the finished look which characterizes most German weapons.

The frequent barrel-changing made necessary by the high rate of fire is accomplished by a new and very good arrangement. A simple movement allows a hot barrel to be removed from the gun, and a fresh, cool barrel inserted with a reverse movement.

There is no provision for semi-automatic fire, as is the case with the MG 34.

The MG 42 is used as a light machine gun on a bipod, and as a heavy machine gun on a tripod. An antiaircraft rear sight is hinged on the leaf sight base, and a detachable antiaircraft forward ring sight can be fitted to a base on the barrel casing.

Both the MG 34 and the MG 42 use the same ammunition, ammunition belt, and drum or belt box, and are handled and stripped in the same general manner.


In preparing revised recognition charts of our armored vehicles, the German Army relies heavily on the full cooperation of troops in the field. Through the usual channels, troops report:

a. New types of tanks, or altered models.

b. Organization and strength of our tank units.

c. Unusual tank tactics.

d. Types of tanks, shown in earlier German recognition charts, which have not been seen for some time.

Efficient German recognition of our tanks and other armored vehicles, and a thorough knowledge of the organization of our armored units, is the basis of all German antitank methods. A German Army document points out that this information is used in evolving:

a. The principles for attacking heavy armored vehicle. In other words, the time to open fire, the time to stop the hostile tank, and the choice of ammunition vary according to the particular type.

b. An estimate of the enemy's intentions and, with this in mind, an appropriate use of our own antitank methods.

German troops learn to distinguish readily between the models and markings of German armored vehicles and those of the United Nations. Special attention is paid to different types of the same tank, and to captured tanks used by the German Army.

It may be said that measures which thwart successful German recognition are also likely to hinder German tactical decisions, especially those pertaining to antitank gunnery.


The Germans have been known to adapt Pz. Kw. 2's for use as flame-throwing tanks. Details of the flame-throwing equipment mounted on these 12-ton tanks suggest that it is designed to fill an antipersonnel role at very close range.

Two independent flame throwers are mounted, one on each track guard. Each weapon traverses 180 degrees (presumably from front to rear), and is supplied with 35 gallons of fuel—enough for 80 flame projections, each lasting from 2 to 3 seconds. Two high-pressure cylinders of nitrogen propel the oil to each flame thrower. Refueling the flame throwers takes from half an hour to an hour. For additional armament, each tank has a belt-fed machine gun fitted on a fixed mounting in the revolving turret, and carries 1,800 rounds of ammunition. There is an optical sight, adjusted to a range of 219 yards.

The tank has a 165-mile radius of action, and is capable of a speed of 34 miles per hour.

It is interesting to note that the flame-throwers' rate of fuel consumption (not more than 0.2 gal. per second) seriously limits the range of flame projection, which may be estimated at 30 yards (maximum).

A German manual on tank tactics observes that flame-throwing tanks should usually advance by bounds, halt, fire, and then repeat the procedure. The chief function of the weapon is to reach personnel among rocks, in cellars, in foxholes and dugouts, in wooded areas, and generally in places not accessible to tanks, or where gun fire is of little use.

[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

Copyright 2003-2005, LoneSentry.com. All Rights Reserved. Contact: info@lonesentry.com.  

Web LoneSentry.com