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"German Destruction of Motor Vehicles" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following military report on the German destruction of motor vehicles was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 41, December 30, 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.]


Provision should be made for the systematic destruction of one's own motor vehicles where it is necessary to keep them from falling into enemy hands in a usable condition. The following data from a translated German directive are illustrative of the thoroughness with which the enemy has approached this problem.

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a. Destruction (Limited Time Factor)

The following parts of the vehicles are to be destroyed: carburetor, distributor, fuel pump (einspritzpumpe), coil.

The following tools may be used: hammer, hatchet, pickax and hand grenade.

The hand grenade is especially effective. It should be placed between the carburetor or distributor and the cylinder block, or in such a way that it touches the engine mounting on the side.

b. Destruction (Ample Time Factor)

The magneto, generator, starter and tires should be destroyed. After these parts have been destroyed, fuel should be poured over the vehicle and then set on fire.

c. Destruction of the Prime Mover

Demolition charges should be placed on both sides between the drive and the front wheel if one intends to destroy the prime mover. The explosive must be touching the two axle stays. Clamping with wood or stones increases the effect. The charge must be exploded by a detonator (with delayed fuze lasting 25 seconds). For that purpose the following explosives and detonators are to be carried on every prime mover truck; demolition charges (6 1/2 lb each) and detonators (25) packed in a tin box in the detonator bag.

In the theater of operations these destructive loads can be drawn at the engineer equipment depot of the Army. Units from home which are transferred to the front, make their requisitions at the appropriate Air Force (Landing Zone) group. Explosives and means of detonation will be stored and carried separately. Ordnance officers, ordnance and depot officials and ordnance sergeants are to instruct the men in handling these explosive materials. All drivers in the theater of operations are to be well instructed in this matter.


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