No piece of equipment can be said to be satisfactory until it has successfully
met the test of combat conditions. Also, relatively minor modifications
of equipment may greatly improve its performance. The man actually using the
equipment is one of the best sources for determining its quality and ways in which
it can be improved. In order to tap this source, the German High Command on
April 17, 1942 issued the document set forth below. It will be noted that
soldiers who think they have useful suggestions to make are to communicate them
directly and not through the usual channels.
* * *
To Army Groups, Armies, Corps, and Divisions for Distribution down to Battalions.
War demands continual improvements in weapons and equipment. New
ultra-modern weapons are now being produced. These will show the world
our superiority to the enemy in armament also.
To hold this advantage, and if possible even to increase it, is an important
condition for final victory.
The basis for the creation of new weapons and for every improvement
in existing equipment must be the practical experience of the front-line soldier.
He actually realizes the advantages and disadvantages of his weapons and equipment,
and knows best the requirements of battle. The quickest possible interpretation
of this front-line experience and its immediate utilization in armaments
production must be ensured. The Minister for Armaments and Munitions has
set up a special board to test immediately all practical suggestions and proposals
from the front for the improvement of our weapons and the invention of new ones,
and to pass them on to the actual manufacturers.
Any soldier who thinks that he can make any useful suggestions or proposals
in regard to weapons and equipment on the strength of his experiences in
battle is authorized and ordered to communicate them direct, and not through the
usual channels, to the Headquarters of the Armed Forces, Army Branch.
This order is to be repeated to all front-line troops.