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"Wire Communication Used by Germans in Occupied Countries" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on German wire communication was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 7, Sept. 10, 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.]


Full maintenance of telephone and telegraph systems in occupied countries is essential for German control. This raises many technical problems; for example, in Europe telephone communication is often made through roundabout connections; the hook-up between nearby rural subscribers is often put through by means of connecting-junctions terminating at distribution centers, often a distant town.

In case of breakdown, whether due to sabotage or other causes, the Germans decided that machine switching systems were too complicated to permit quick resumption of operations. In some cases, they provided against this by installing manual boards, suitable for connection to the main frames of a telephone distributing center. This permitted them to reestablish an immediate restricted service.

In occupied European territory, the Germans have employed 4-wire rubber-covered cables with encased loading coils inserted in the cables by means of coupling joints. Thus, two physical circuits and a phantom circuit were obtained from each cable. The cables were strung on convenient objects, such as branches of trees, or laid on the ground, sometimes in groups of perhaps 20. The outer diameter of the cable was about 3/8 in., and that of the loading coil container, about 2 in. At elevated points, short lengths of cable comprising loading coil assemblies were looped and suspended to relieve strain.


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