[Lone Sentry: German Tactics on the Mareth Line, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"German Tactics on the Mareth Line" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following British notes on German counterattacks on the Mareth Line is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 27, June 17, 1943.

[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.]

The following are some brief British notes on the tactics employed by the Germans in counterattacking on the Mareth Front, March 21 to 23, 1943.

*          *          *

In the attack by the enemy on several of our positions, tanks were not used in direct cooperation with the infantry. A maximum of 20 tanks was seen at one time, and after proceeding for a short distance they split into groups of 3 tanks each. They were always attempting to get to our flank. The tanks operated in bounds, working from one hull-down position to the next, and stopping at each to shell and machine-gun our positions.

After detrucking under cover of palm trees, the infantry stealthily worked its way forward by making clever use of the ground. Snipers were very active, and covered the advance of the infantry very efficiently. The infantry objective at all times appeared to be to gain possession of commanding ground from which our positions could be overlooked and made untenable.

The enemy made great use of mortars as a preparation for his attack. His fire was extremely accurate and intense and his OP work seemed to be excellent. The Germans made frequent use of tracer bullets to indicate targets for their heavier guns farther back.

On one occasion after the capture of an enemy position by our troops, a success signal (British) was given. The enemy was observed to immediately send up a white Very light and his artillery opened on the newly captured position.

Reports indicate that the enemy did not use the former French pillbox defenses except when driven out of open positions. However, there are some indications that the pillboxes were used for infantry weapons. In the concrete, unroofed emplacements 20-mm, 25-mm, and 47-mm guns were used.

In a company defense area, each platoon had either a 20-mm or 47-mm antitank gun and several machine guns. The enemy made full use of the old communication trenches.


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

Web LoneSentry.com