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"German Defensive Tactics in Russia" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military intelligence report on German defensive tactics in Russia during WWII was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 18, Feb. 11, 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 report contains German conclusions on certain phases of their defensive tactics as used in Russia.

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a. Tanks should be kept in reserve. They should attack the flanks of enemy armored units as soon as the direction of the enemy attack is clear.

b. Defiladed antitank positions are highly desirable. Antitank guns should not open fire until approaching enemy tanks are at point-blank range. However, fire should be brought to bear under all circumstances, even though there appears to be little chance of success. The enemy tank will be slowed down, and will usually swing away. Antitank guns must be highly mobile so that they can be massed at any point where the enemy tanks are attacking. An allotment of half-track vehicles to antitank units is highly desirable to aid in obtaining cross-country mobility.

c. Concentrated artillery fire has a good harassing effect on enemy tanks.

d. Russian tank attacks are usually accompanied by infantry. German infantry which was passed by the tanks had great success against Russian infantry following the tanks. Therefore, all available means should be used to combat "tank shock." Experience has shown that German infantry when Russian tanks passed through them suffered only slight casualties when they were in "dug-in" positions. For this reason it is essential that foxholes be dug deep, and at once, by every means available.


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