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"Water Supply of a German Tank Battalion in Libya" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military report on the water supplies required for a German panzer battalion in Libya 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 report gives one example of the problem of supply of troops operating in the desert. A German tank battalion, leaving Tripoli for El Agheila in 1941, took the following water supplies for three days' march:

Unit      For Engine
      For Washing
Headquarters Company 122*  150
5th Company (light) 111   100
6th Company (light) 114   100
8th Company (medium)  93   100
     Total 440   450

*All figures refer to the number of containers carried by the particular unit; each container held about 5 gallons.

The above containers were distributed throughout the battalion as follows: one container per car; two containers per truck, half-track, armored car and light tank; three containers per medium tank.

This quantity of water represented only one-third of the total amount that had to be taken. The remainder was carried in a special water column, and provided about 2 gallons of water per man for the three-day period. The distribution among vehicles was in proportion to the number of personnel carried.

Each company carried 130 containers with water for cooking. These containers were carried on the supply trucks which accompanied the field kitchens.

The total amount of water carried by the battalion was as follows:

Cooling        5,100 gallons
Washing 2,250 gallons
Cooking and Drinking 4,465 gallons
     Total11,815 gallons

A comparison of the amounts per man per day between the British and Germans is as follows: the Germans allow 2/3 of a gallon for washing, 1 1/3 for cooking and drinking; the British allow 1 gallon for washing, and 1 for cooking and drinking.


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