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"German Notes on Street Fighting" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on German street fighting tactics in WWII was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 17, January 28, 1943. Based on a German training handbook from 1939, the tactics described here had been modified and improved by 1942 from German experiences on the Eastern Front.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


In view of the importance of the strong internal defense of towns under siege as demonstrated in Russia, the following notes on street fighting has particular significance at this time. The notes which follow are taken from a German handbook dated January 1939.

It is of interest to compare this article on German methods with British notes on street fighting contained in the next article.

a. Attack

(1) Towns will be surrounded, and water, power and gas cut off.

(2) The enemy-occupied area will be attacked with the object of dividing it. These areas will then be isolated into as many pockets as possible, so as to deny the enemy freedom of movement.

(3) Attacking parties should move in the same direction along parallel streets. Parties moving in opposite directions create confusion and cause friendly troops to fire on each other.

(4) High buildings with commanding positions will be taken whenever possible.

(5) Flanking attacks should not be attempted.

(6) Troops should advance along both sides of the street, keeping close to the houses.

(7) Parties should also attack across roofs, and from house to house.

(8) In the streets, men will be detailed to watch roofs, windows, crossings, etc., on the side of the street opposite them.

(9) Single light machine guns can be moved along streets to open direct fire on points of resistance. To destroy large buildings, smaller guns than 150-mm are useless.

(10) Tanks will not be brought into towns.

(11) Areas occupied will be systematically searched.

b. Defense

(1) The enemy must not be able to pick out the main defense areas. These should therefore not be on the edge of the town, where strongpoints only should be used to threaten the enemy's flank.

(2) Important buildings must be defended from positions outside, and not from the building itself.

(3) The enemy should be driven into pockets, and any advanced elements cut off by sudden flank attacks.

(4) All windows will be left open so that the enemy will not know out of which window fire may come, and thus he will be unable to concentrate his own fire.

(5) Do not fire from the window-sill, but from a point as far back as possible.

(6) Remove tiles to make loopholes. Good positions can also be obtained behind chimneys.

(7) Barricades must be properly erected and well covered with fire.

(8) Use all means possible to keep streets illuminated at night.


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