The system used by the Germans in training those selected for intelligence
work at one particular Division headquarters, as well as the organization and
scope of the work of this branch of the service, is described in the following report
based on German sources.
The 10 weeks' course of training in the instance cited was given at what is
known as the Interpreters' Training Depot. This was organized on military lines,
and trainees generally held the rank of corporal.
The Depot did not give courses which lasted a specific time. Trainees remained
there until they had passed the necessary tests and were then assigned.
Three grades of proficiency were established; 3d class or Sprachkundig (conversant
with the language), 2d class or Sprachmittler (translator), and 1st class
or Dolmetscher (interpreter).
Training consisted chiefly of language study, especially translation of
documents. Lectures were given on British army organization, but trainees were
not expected to have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject, and no handbooks
or pamphlets were used. It does not appear, for example, that British tank
recognition was included in the studies.
The Intelligence Section at this Division (light) headquarters consisted of
one officer, one interpreter, a corporal, and a clerk. It was housed in tents and
had no motor transport. It did not issue an Intelligence Summary, but received
the army intelligence summary (Feindlagebericht). Intelligence information was
passed on to Division and unit commanders at the commanders' conference. The
Division intelligence officer did not visit forward troops or battalion headquarters.
Intercepts were not seen by the Divisional Intelligence Staff, but information
from this source was included in army intelligence summaries. An enemy
order-of-battle map was kept, but no card-index system was used. The German
handbook on the British Army (Taschenbuch des Engl. Heeres) was used for
reference. No liaison was maintained with adjacent Italian units.
The work of one man consisted in the preliminary interrogation and identification
of prisoners. He was employed as liaison officer between the intelligence
branch of Panzer Army and Division Intelligence section when necessary. In quiet
periods, he was responsible for the welfare and comfort of Divisional troops.
PWs were brought directly to Division headquarters and were interrogated
in one of the tents belonging to the Intelligence section. The interrogator did not
use the printed form for interrogation of PWs, but listed their personalia (effects).
No selection of PWs was made, and documents were forwarded without the name
of the PW from whom they were taken. Army Intelligence was then informed by
telephone, and occasionally asked for PWs to be sent up to army headquarters.
Normally, PWs were sent to a designated cage; officer PWs were interrogated
and sent to the cage in the same way. The interrogator in the report in
question never went forward to interrogate, (e.g. to the brigade headquarters when
a patrol was sent out) and never worked at the cage.
PWs taken by Italian units remained in Italian hands and were not interrogated
by the Germans.
Great importance was attached to captured documents. These were studied
by Divisional Intelligence and then forwarded to the army.