[Lone Sentry: 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 Gun-Fire Against Aircraft" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on German small-arms fire against aircraft was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 14, Dec. 17, 1942.

[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 Germans apparently do not resort to desultory fire against enemy aircraft but "turn on the tap" by using every weapon capable of pointing skywards, including heavy and light AA guns, machine guns, automatic rifles, rifles, and pistols. These are fired to the limit whenever an attempt is made to attack one of their columns. Bombing a German column has often proved to be a dangerous and costly matter, as was evidenced both in the battles of France and in the fighting in Libya. This information, reported by a British air officer, emphasized in addition the effectiveness of the German 20-mm AA cannon which is distributed throughout all columns.

This air officer suggests that troops should not feel disappointed if, despite their fire, an enemy plane gets away apparently unscathed. Few planes vigorously attacked escape without some damage. Some are seriously shot up. Not only must all serious damage be repaired, parts replaced, and sometimes even entire engines replaced, but every bullet hole must be patched, and a thorough, painstaking check made of the aircraft to discover hidden spots which may have been hit. All this takes time and requires labor, with the result that the aircraft is grounded during the time needed for inspection, repair, and subsequent re-check. All of these points should be remembered. Consequently, the need for an all-out attempt to inflict damage on attacking aircraft with the weapons available should be of paramount importance.

This same British officer, when asked if there was any difficulty in determining the nationality of columns of troops in the desert, said: "No. All columns of troops in the desert look alike from the air, and both friend and foe shoot at you; but their nationality is immediately apparent. If they are our own, the fire is disturbing, and one fires the identification signal; if they are German, the fire is terrifying, of unbelievable volume and intensity, and leaves no doubt as to the identity of the column."


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

Web LoneSentry.com