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"German Attacks on Permanent Defenses" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on German attacks on permanent defenses 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 following German method of attack on permanent fortifications was observed in Russia; the steps were--

(a) Heavy dive-bomber attack on the Soviet artillery;

(b) Selection of two or three front-line pillboxes which were subjected to terrific box barrage;

(c) Under cover of barrage, a small party of storm troops crawls up, and either attacks the embrasures with flame throwers, or attacks with small, accurate, antitank guns, which put shell after shell into the same hole;

(d) When the selected pillbox has been captured, infantry advances, and occupies the position.

It is interesting to compare the above with the method employed against the Maginot Line:

(a) Casemates were subjected to 2 hours' heavy artillery fire followed by dive-bombing attacks for 20 minutes;

(b) Special engineer assault detachments, under cover of antitank, machine, and infantry guns, advanced and threw explosive charges into the embrasures;

(c) Smoke grenades were used to protect the assault troops from enfilade fire;

(d) Infantry advanced as soon as the casemates were captured.

The above methods are in keeping with the normal German practice of concentrating the maximum effort at one point with the object of effecting a breakthrough.


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