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"German Trip-Wire Alarm" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on a German trip-wire alarm device (Alarmschussgerät) 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.]


Reports recently received from credible sources, describe a German trip-wire alarm which gives warning of movement of patrols or individuals in areas where the Germans have erected wire defenses.

a. General

Although complete details concerning the equipment are not available, it appears (see accompanying sketch) that the device consists of a box (1) with a neck at the top into which the alarm cartridge (2) fits. Through the bottom passes a striker, with a T-shaped head (3) by which it may be pulled down against a spring for cocking.

[German Trip-Wire Alarm]

A spring-equipped, right-angle lever (4), pivotted at the top (5) is forked on the horizontal part which passes beneath the box and holds the striker pin in the cocked position. To the center of this lever is fastened a clamp (6) whose jaws grip the trip wire. This wire may be a strand of the existing wire defenses, a special trip wire, or one of the wires used in the construction of an obstacle.

The alarm cartridge (2) is of signal cartridge type, 83-mm (3 1/4 inches) long and 27-mm (1 1/16 inch) diameter. It weighs 2 1/2 ounces. The body is painted black. Its recognition by feel is easy since its sealing disk (7) extends over the outside, and the rim (8) of the base is half smooth and half serrated.

b. Operation

A picket (9) is driven into the ground near the wire. Then the alarm device is well-lubricated and slipped over the picket and fastened to it by clamps (10). By positioning the retaining ring (11) the equipment is held at such a height that the clamp (6) engages the wire. The wire is placed between the jaws of the clamp and locked in such a position that it is not under tension and does not move the lever. Slight pulling or pushing of the wire should, however, be sufficient to operate the device.

The alarm is tested by pulling down the T-shaped head (3) until the cocking stop engages with the fork of the lever (4). Then, if the wire is moved slightly, the striker pin should rise.

The alarm is loaded by pulling down the retaining spring and side wall (12) and sliding the alarm cartridge in from the front, over the striker pin. The device is then cocked by pulling down the T-shaped head (3) until the cocking stop engages with the fork of the lever (4), in the same manner used in testing. Now, however, the trip-wire must not be touched.

c. Action

When the alarm cartridge is fired, a flame is ejected from the cartridge. The flame will rise to a height of about six feet, it will burn for about 10 seconds and at night will illuminate an area with a radius of about 50 feet.


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