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"Radio Communication for German 105-mm Gun Battery" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following WWII report on radio procedures for German artillery units appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 26, June 3, 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.]


Recent information gathered from German sources refers to the radio facilities that are part of the equipment of these batteries. The equipment consists of two 30-watt transmitters, one mounted on an armored reconnaissance car, the other, on a truck when on the march, or near battery headquarters while stationary. In addition a battery has at least three portable transceivers known as "Fritz." This is a two-man outfit; one carries the transceiver, the other, the accessories, batteries, and antenna. Each radio set has two microphones, throat and mouth; however, the latter are preferred. The "Fritz" radio set is not a walkie-talkie and must be set up for operation. It has a range of about 5.5 miles. The battery also has direction-finding equipment.

a. Tactical Use of the Radio Equipment

The two 30-watt sets are only used when on the march. Then the armored reconnaissance car is sent out ahead and keeps in contact with the battery by radio. When in stationary position, it is stated that the 30-watt equipment was not used and that no radio net existed among the various batteries; only telephone was used.

Two advanced observation posts are set up by each battery. The forward advanced post is equipped with telephone and radio, the radio being used only as a standby. The forward observation post reports directly to the battery, and only in emergencies will it communicate with the other observer. Direction-finding equipment is theoretically to be used to locate enemy stations, but was also used in the Libyan desert by the observers to orient themselves in case they got lost or detached from their battery. Under ordinary circumstances, so it appeared, the direction-finding device was little used.

b. Use of Codes

Codes are used by the observers. The radio-station call signs and frequencies are changed every 4 hours. The call signs are made up of letters and numbers. The signal operation instructions concerning call signs and frequencies are issued every 3 days. No authenticators are used. It is thought that changing call signs and frequencies every 4 hours is sufficient signal security. All messages transmitted to the battery headquarters and all orders to observers are sent in a prearranged code. All points in view of the observer, and the area in general, have previously been mapped and designated points given code numbers. As a result, the observer gives all points mentioned in a report in code. Reference was here made to the fact that the sending of false messages by enemy troops either to the observer or to battery headquarters would be difficult. Only fire commands are given in the clear; otherwise, code is strictly used. The only exception to this is the case where the officer originating the message signs a statement that he wants it sent in the clear.

The statement was made that considerable trouble was experienced because the German radio equipment was not watertight. It was felt the British equipment was superior to the German in this respect. It usually took 3 days to get a set back when it was sent in for repairs. Other than the equipment getting waterlogged, no troubles were encountered.


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