German organizations have consistently shown a trend toward conversion
of infantry divisions into motorized infantry divisions (Panzer Grenadier Divisions)
which in turn have been converted into armored divisions (Panzer Divisions).
The German motorized infantry division represents a definite step in the direction
of the armored division as shown by its organization:
Approximately 15,000 officers and enlisted men.
Armored reconnaissance battalion
Panzer battalion, including 4 tank companies.
Two motorized infantry regiments.
Divisional artillery regiment
It is apparent that the German panzer grenadier division is extremely
mobile and flexible.
Each weapon is employed to the fullest advantage while maintaining the
maximum mobility. The motorized infantry is particularly strong in the attack
because of its mobility, high fire power and armor protection. It is able to carry
out independent tasks because of the high allotment of heavy weapons. Its main
roles are: cooperation with tank units in quick mopping up and consolidation of
terrain penetrated by the tanks, supporting the tank attack by overcoming nests
of enemy resistance, removing obstacles, establishing bridgeheads, and
protecting assembly and bivouac areas.
(1) Without Motor Transport
Troops must be trained in endurance by systematic marches up to 25
miles (at night, through woods, in all weather and with equipment and ammunition)
and in winter bivouac conditions. Six men from each company will be given a short
course as radio operators for use at company headquarters.
(2) With Motor Transport
In every section 3 men will be thoroughly trained as drivers. Others will
be trained as drivers if there is sufficient time and fuel allowance. All must be
competent to carry out motor transport maintenance. Drivers must be able to
withdraw quickly from enemy fire and to find good fire positions. All types of
firing from the vehicle at halt and on the move must be practiced, especially at
targets of opportunity. The sections consist of 12 men with the following weapons:
3 LMGs -- one mounted.
2 Submachine guns.
b. Approaching the Enemy
All weapons are to be ready to fire and men detailed for all around
observation. When under rifle or machine gun fire move forward, when in an area
under artillery and mortar fire make a detour if possible, otherwise continue at
c. Fighting from the Armored Personnel Carrier*
The chief weapon of the section in fighting from the vehicle is the fixed
machine gun. This will generally be fired when the vehicle is at halt. Halts for
firing should not be longer than 15 to 25 seconds.
d. Fighting Dismounted
The fixed machine gun will be used to cover the section as it dismounts.
The vehicle must be kept ready under cover. If the enemy offers strong
resistance and when support from adjacent sections or heavy weapons is lacking,
strong machine-gun fire is necessary to allow the rest of the section to move
The armored vehicle is useful for reconnaissance tasks with limited
objectives, but in view of its insufficient radio equipment it is not suitable for
long-range operations. A patrol is usually organized as follows: commander and 3
riflemen with 37-mm antitank gun in one vehicle and a section, including
riflemen trained in gas detection and engineering, in another vehicle, together with 1
or 2 messengers.
Unnecessary fighting is to be avoided but a weaker force may be
destroyed if this does not interfere with the original mission. If the enemy is in force,
contact should be quickly broken. Smoke can also be used in these circumstances.
When taking up a position for observation two alternative positions must
be chosen; one for the night and another for occupying before daylight. The
vehicles must be off the road, under cover, but kept in readiness for battle. Reports
should be made on all mined areas marked by the enemy. If the patrol does not
have time to remove mines, the area must be marked and a detour made. Ground
reconnaissance is always to be linked with the main reconnaissance. A detour
should be made of inhabited places unless the execution of the order makes
driving through them absolutely necessary.
If the enemy is presumed to be present, a part of the patrol must go
forward on foot under cover of the weapons on the vehicles. When making a
reconnaissance of a river sector an approach with the vehicle right up to the river
must not be made. Speed should be reduced and the vehicle driven off the road
to avoid causing dust clouds and noise. When used as a point, messengers will
f. Assault Troops
When used as assault troops and also in wood fighting the weapons carried
should consist mostly of submachine guns, plenty of hand grenades, smoke
grenades and demolition charges. Often only one machine gun will be taken but
plenty of ammunition distributed among several riflemen. The latter can, instead
of taking their rifles, be given submachine guns.
g. Division Organization
In the German Panzer Grenadier Division, each of the 2 panzer
grenadier regiments is composed of the following units:
3 panzer grenadier battalions
13th company (infantry howitzer)
14th company (antitank)
Light infantry column
The panzer grenadier battalion, according to previous information, consists of:
Battalion headquarters, with communication section
3 rifle companies
1 machine gun company and the battalion trains.
The rifle company breaks down into:
Antitank rifle section
Each platoon breaks down into:
1 light mortar section, each squad having:
1 light machine gun
The machine gun company breaks down into:
3 machine gun platoons
1 medium platoon
Each machine gun platoon has 2 sections of 2 heavy machine guns each,
the medium mortar platoon having 3 sections of two 81-mm mortars each.
New reports indicate a trend within the organization of the panzer
grenadier battalion of the panzer grenadier division toward that of the panzer grenadier
battalion of the panzer division. According to these reports each panzer
grenadier battalion would break down into 3 to 4 companies, each of 3 light platoons
and 1 heavy platoon. Each light platoon is reported to consist of 3 squads, each
armed with 2 light machine guns; in the heavy platoon, 2 heavy machine gun
sections, each with 2 heavy machine guns and 1 heavy mortar section of two
Over level country, average speed of 15 miles per hour can be maintained.
Maximum speed under favorable conditions is 18 to 22 miles per hour. An
average of 94 to 125 miles can be covered in a day if there is no contact with the
Intervals between the point squad and support platoon are generally one
minute and between the support platoon and the company, 2 minutes. If the
company has under command a heavy antitank weapon it should be placed forward.
Other heavy weapons are normally placed in the rear. The company commander
with commanders of allotted heavy weapons and artillery observers normally
travel together behind the support platoon. Each platoon will detail observers to
watch the flanks.
When contact is made the command must decide quickly whether the enemy
can be attacked on the move or whether the company has to take cover and prepare
for the attack. Obstacles covered by antitank weapons will necessitate an attack
dismounted, if a detour cannot be made to take the enemy in the flank or rear.
Twenty-minute halts every 2 hours should be made if the situation allows.
These halts must be utilized for making small repairs and refuelling vehicles.
Rests are normally taken every 4 to 5 hours. If a meal is taken during this
period the full time allowed should be 2 to 3 hours. All available sheds, barns,
farm buildings, etc., must be used. Vehicles must be backed in so that they can
resume the march quickly without having to turn around.
*The number of armored vehicles per unit is unknown. Where fighting from vehicles
is mentioned above, it is presumed that it is from armored personnel carriers.