The support of tanks by the other arms is essential to success of tank
operations. German application of this principle is illustrated in the following
information on the Axis 1942 spring offensive in North Africa.
Great alertness was shown by the German forces in covering their front
with antitank guns when their tanks were halted or stopped to refuel, and in
protecting their flanks at all times with an antitank screen. A threat to the German
flanks by tanks was immediately met by the deployment of antitank
guns while the German tanks continued their movement. The enemy appears
to have a rapid "follow the leader" system of deployment and a system
of visual control by means of colored disk signals.
Every effort was invariably made to draw the fire of the defense, especially
the fire of antitank weapons, by the deployment and advance of a few tanks. These
tanks advanced, and were then withdrawn, and the enemy concentrated his
artillery and mortars on all the defenders' weapons that had disclosed
themselves. After a thorough preparation of this kind, the real tank
attack was launched.
In at least one instance, a passage through a minefield was cleared for
German tanks in this manner: A detachment of tanks advanced to the edge of
the minefield and engaged all the defending weapons they could see. Pioneers
then dismounted from the tanks and proceeded to clear mines on foot, covered
by the fire of the tanks. Tanks that were hit were pulled out by other tanks and