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"German 21st Armored Division--Division Supply" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following brief report on the supply elements of the German 21st Panzer Division was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 16, Jan. 14, 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 German Afrika Korps has, at least until somewhat recently, operated very successfully in North Africa. No small part of this success can be attributed to an efficient German supply system.

According to prisoner of war statements the division supply elements of the German 21st Armored Division (Afrika Korps) consisted of a supply company and 12 supply columns.

The 12 supply columns consisted of 4 heavy columns, 7 light columns, and 1 gasoline and oil column. A heavy column had 24 vehicles with an aggregate capacity of 60 tons; a light column had 12 vehicles with an aggregate capacity of 30 tons. The 12 columns, exclusive of the gasoline and oil column, thus has a total cargo capacity of 450 tons.

The supply company was actually an Arbeitskompanie or labor company. Its function was to cooperate with the division supply columns by carrying out such tasks as unloading, establishing dumps, maintenance, etc. The strength of the company was estimated at from 200 to 250 men.

The division was reported to maintain 3 supply dumps--one each for Class I, Class III, and Class V supplies--which were close together and forward of which supplies were never moved by division transport. It was the function of unit transport to move supplies to the front from these dumps. The operating radius of both the supply columns and supply company was said to be from 100 to 200 kilometers (60 to 120 miles).


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