In Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 28, p. 12, there
appeared a translation of a German document issued in the form of a general
order by the Panzer Army High Command, listing the 10 rules on the function
and employment of tanks. A copy of these rules follows:
1. The tank is a deciding weapon in battle. Therefore, employment should be limited to the "main effort" in suitable terrain.
2. The tank is not an individual fighting weapon. The smallest unit is the tank platoon; for larger
missions, the tank company.
3. The tank is not an infantry support weapon. It breaks into and through the
enemy line, for the closely following infantry.
4. The tank can take a piece of terrain and clear it, but it cannot
hold it. This is an infantry mission, supported by infantry heavy
weapons, antitank guns, and artillery.
5. The tank is not to be employed as artillery, which fights the enemy for an
extended period from one position. The tank fights while moving with short halts for firing.
6. The mission of the infantry is to pin down enemy defensive weapons, and to
follow the tank attack closely in order to exploit completely the force and
morale effect of that attack.
7. The mission of the artillery is to support the tank attack by fire, to
destroy enemy artillery, and to follow closely the rapidly advancing tank
attack. The main task of the artillery support is continuous flank protection.
8. The mission of the tank destroyers is to follow the tank attack
closely and to get into the battle immediately when tank fights tank.
9. The mission of the combat engineers is to clear minefields and to open gaps
under tank, infantry, and artillery protection, in order to enable the continuation
of the tank attack.
10. The tank is blind and deaf at night. It is then the mission of the infantry to protect the tanks.
* * *
It is interesting to report here the following notes by GHQ, Middle East Forces, based on a
report by an experienced armored force officer, which reviews the points presented in the German document.
(1) It is considered that, with the exception of No.'s 2 and 3, the "Ten Commandments" are
sound common sense, based on elementary and fundamental principles.
(2) No. 2, however, is interesting, since it reflects the opinions of von Arnim, von Thoma
and Stumme (now all prisoners of war) who fought in Russia, where they acquired the habit
of using their tanks in "penny packets".
A platoon is 5 tanks, and a company is 17 PzKw 3s, 18 PzKw 4s or 8 PzKw 6s.
Rommel would never have agreed to the company being split, and would normally have
preferred to use the battalion, or even the regiment, as the unit of attack, as we
(3) No. 3 is debatable. Against weak antitank defense and no mines, this rule would be
true. Medenine* showed that now since we are as well equipped with antitank guns as the
Germans, they will have to rewrite this Commandment, and use their tanks in a similar
manner to their recent employment by Eighth Army.
(4) It is interesting to note that in No. 8 the main antitank weapon is considered to
be the tank-hunting platoon and NOT the tank. This accords with our own views but in
the past has not been always understood.
*In the Mareth Line region