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 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|
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
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
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.