[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 71 Smoke Regiment" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following WWII intelligence report on German Nebelwerfer regiments was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 45, April 1, 1944.

[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 German army employs a great number of methods for spreading smoke and gas. These are special hand-grenades for close combat, smoke rifle-grenades and the widely used smoke candles. There are smoke grenades for grenade throwers and smoke shells for artillery.

A description of the organization and employment of the German 71 Smoke Regiment equipped with 6-barreled mortars should be of more than general interest. The very light Nebelwerfer, or six-barrel rocket gun, in the Italian mountain warfare, has been put to good advantage. It can be transported to mountain positions because of its lightness with more ease and despatch than a 75-mm or 105-mm gun. It lays down a heavy barrage though with less precision accuracy (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 27, p. 29 and No. 17, p. 39 for previous reference to this type of weapon.

a. Organization

A battalion may consist of four batteries, each of two sections, each section containing three projectors.

The crew consists of:
No. 1 -       layer
No. 2 -firer and loader
Nos. 3 and 4 -ammunition numbers
Nos. 5 and 6 -ammunition carriers

b. Dispositions

Projectors are usually sited on reverse slopes and not dug in. The six projectors may be arranged in a V formation or with 1, 3 and 5 forward and 2, 4 and 6 in the rear. In the latter case the gun line may be parallel to the enemy's front or at an angle of 45° to it. It is essential to have a free field of fire for each of the projectors which are usually set up at intervals of about 15 to 30 yards. If trajectories intersect, the effect is considerably reduced.

Battery Hq is usually 1,000 to 2,000 yards behind the gun line. The OP is seldom more than 1,000 yards in front of the fire positions, but this depends on the terrain.

c. Communications

Between battery Hq and OP; and between battery Hq and gun line, communication is by telegraph or radio telephone. Orders are transmitted from battery Hq to a directing post usually situated in the center of the gun line and orders from there are given verbally.

d. Fire Procedure

The procedure for loading is the same as for an ordinary mortar, but when the six bombs have been inserted into the barrel the whole crew fall back to a slit trench 12 yards to the rear to avoid injury from the blast. The NCO (No. 1) reports "Ready to fire", and on the order "Fire" from the battery commander the NCO fires the projectors in rapid succession by means of a six-point contact connected by cable with the six projectors. Duds are then reported and the projectors reloaded.

According to one source a new salvo can be fired immediately after the first, the rate of fire depending on the reporting, jumping up from the trench, reloading and getting back to the trench. Intervals between salvos are generally about 8 minutes.


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

Web LoneSentry.com