[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
"Smoke-Shell Tactics Used by German Tanks" from Intelligence Bulletin, Aug. 1944

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   A short note on the tactical use of smoke-shells by German panzers during WWII, from Intelligence Bulletin, August 1944.

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


As a rule German tanks employ smoke shells to achieve surprise, to conceal a change of direction, and to cover their withdrawal. The shells normally are fired to land about 100 yards in front of an Allied force. There are no reports to indicate that smoke shells are used in range estimation.

In attacking a village, German tanks fire smoke shells to lay a screen around the village in an effort to confuse the defenders as to the direction of the attack. Smoke shells always are used to conceal a change of direction of the attack, the wind permitting. When a German tank company (22 tanks) wishes to change direction, smoke shells are fired only by one platoon. With the fire tanks of a platoon firing three shells each, the total of 15 shells is said to provide enough smoke to cover the movement of the entire company.

If a German tank force knows the exact location of an antitank-gun position, it uses both smoke shells and high-explosive shells. If the force does not know the exact location, only smoke shells are used. When a single tank runs into an antitank position, it likewise fires only smoke shells, usually two or three rounds, to cover its movements.

Smoke shells are fired from the 75-mm guns of the Pz. Kpfw. IV's [1], and also, it is reported, from 88-mm guns on other armored vehicles. Smoke shells are not fired by the Pz. Kpfw. II [2] or the Pz. Kpfw. III [3], both of which are equipped to discharge "smoke pots" with a range of approximately 50 yards. These pots are released electrically, and are employed chiefly to permit the tank to escape when caught by antitank fire.

1 Henceforth the Intelligence Bulletin will designate the German tank (Panzer Kampfwagen) series by the abbreviation Pz. Kpfw. followed by a roman numeral indicating the model. This is done to conform with German Army practice.

2 Obsolete as a combat tank.

3 Rapidly becoming obsolete as a combat tank.

[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