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German Close-in Tactics Against Armored Vehicles

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#1 marc780

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 04:08 PM

German Close-in Tactics Against Armored Vehicles" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following translated German document on infantry close-combat against Russian tanks on the Eastern Front was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 23, April 22, 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.]

GERMAN CLOSE-IN TACTICS AGAINST ARMORED VEHICLES



The following is a translation of a German document issued early in 1942. While some of the methods of attack discussed may have since been altered, it is thought that it reflects the essentials of current German doctrine. The preface explains the scope and purpose of the document.
* * *
Current Instructions For Close-in Tactics Against Armored Vehicles
Preface
These directives are based on experiences of the German Army in close-in combat against Russian tanks on the Eastern Front. The Russian tactics so far as known have been taken into consideration.
New doctrines of our own are in process of development and will be available to the troops after completion, together with directions as to their use. First, the Eastern Army will be equipped with incendiary bottles. Presumably the troops at the front use means of fighting about which, at the time of publication of these directives, no description is yet at hand. In addition, new enemy methods will appear, which will be adapted to our own fighting.

These directives, therefore, present only preliminary instructions. Cooperation of the troops in the field is needed for their completion. To this end, new fighting practices of our own and of the enemy should be reported, with drawings and descriptions of battle conditions at the time. Communications should be sent through the service channels to the General of Infantry and to the General of Mobile Troops in the Army High Command.
The importance of close-in fighting against tanks makes it imperative that individual tank hunters be trained immediately in all the arms. The state of training in the Reserve Army will be tested by recruit inspections.
These directives apply to combat against all kinds of armored vehicles. For simplification, only tanks are mentioned in the text.

I. General
1. If there are no armor-piercing weapons at hand, or if their fire does not show sufficient result against attacking tank forces, specially trained, organized, and equipped tank hunters will have to assault and destroy tanks by close-in combat, making use of their special assault weapons and without waiting for specific orders. All other available arms will lend their support as strongly as possible.
Experience proves that with proper training and skilled use of close-in weapons, all classes of tanks can be destroyed by individual soldiers.
2. Close-in combat against tanks demands courage, agility, and a capacity for quick decision, coupled with self-discipline and self-confidence. Without these qualities, the best combat weapons are of no use. Proper selection of personnel is therefore of decisive importance.
3. Thorough knowledge of enemy tank types and of their peculiarities and weaknesses in battle and movement, as well as complete familiarity with the power and use of our own weapons in every terrain, is necessary for successful combat. This will strengthen the self-confidence of the troops. It will also make up the crucial points in training.
4. Close-in combat against tanks may be necessary for all situations and all troops.
In the first place the combat engineers, and tank hunters are the mainstays of this type of fighting. It must be demanded that each member of these arms master the principles and weapons of close-in antitank combat, and that he use them even when he does not belong to an antitank squad.
5. Over and above this, soldiers of all the armed services should be selected and grouped into close-in tank-hunting squads consisting of one leader and at least three men. They must continually be ready for close-in combat with tanks.
Where special close-in weapons are not at hand, expedients should be devised.
Combining tank-hunting squads into tank-hunting groups may be useful under certain conditions.
6. The equipment for close-in tank hunting consists of the following: incendiary bottles and Tellermines, TNT, automatic weapons (our own or captured), submachine guns, Very pistols, hand grenades, smoke bottles, and camouflage material, as well as hatchets, crowbars, etc., to use as clubs for the bending of machine-gun barrels projecting from the tank. Of this equipment the useful and available weapons for blinding, stopping, and destroying the tank should always be carried along. In the interest of maximum mobility, the tank-hunting soldiers must be free of all unnecessary articles of equipment.

II. Combat Principles
7. Careful observations of the entire field of battle, early warning against tanks, as well as continuous supply and readiness of tank-hunting equipment of all kinds and in ample quantity, will insure against surprise by enemy tanks and will permit their swift engagement.
8. It should be standard procedure continually to observe the movements and the action of tank-hunting squads and to support them by the combined fire of all available weapons. In this connection, armor-piercing weapons must direct their fire on the tanks while the remaining weapons will fight primarily against infantry accompanying the tanks. It will be their mission to separate the infantry from the tanks.
Sometimes tanks carry infantrymen riding on them, who protect the tanks at forced or voluntary halts against the attack of tank hunters. These security troops must be destroyed by supporting infantry before the tank hunters attempt to assault the vehicles. Should the tanks arrive without infantry, the fire of all the available weapons will be concentrated against the vulnerable places of the tank. The shorter the range and the more massed and heavy the fire, the greater the physical and moral effect.
Fire by sharpshooters is always of special value.
The activity of tank-hunting squads should not be hampered by the supporting fire. The mission of such supporting fire is to split up tank forces, to blind and put the crews out of action, and to have a demoralizing effect on them, thereby creating favorable conditions for close-in assault.
In case fire support by other weapons is impossible, the attack by tank-hunting squads must proceed without it.
9. The basic principles of close-in assault are the same in all battle situations. In defense, knowledge of the terrain and of the time available will be profitable for the preparation and the attack.
10. The carrying out of close-in combat will largely depend on the immediate situation. The number, type, and tactics of the attacking tank force, the terrain, our own position, and the effect of our own defensive fire will always vary, and this variation will demand great adaptability and maneuverability on the part of our tank hunters.
11. Only one tank can be assaulted by a tank-hunting squad at one time. If several tanks attack together and if only one tank-hunting squad is available, then that tank is to be assaulted which at the moment appears as the most dangerous or whose engagement promises the quickest success. In general, the choice must be left to the tank-hunting squad.
If there is a sufficient number of squads available, it is advisable, particularly in defense, to hold one or more squads ready in the rear for the destruction of tanks which may break through.
12. Generally speaking, the procedure will always be: first, to blind the tank, then to stop it, and finally to destroy the vehicle and the crew in close-in combat.
13. Whether the tank-hunting squads advance at the beginning of a tank attack or whether they leave their foxholes only during the engagement or whether the whole assault goes on from under cover depends entirely on the situation.
The behavior of the squads depends on whether the tank is moving or is voluntarily or involuntarily halted.
The attack on a heavy or super-heavy tank will often be easier than on a light tank, because the former in general is clumsier and has poorer observation. But the destruction of heavy tanks generally demands the use of more powerful weapons.
14. It is important in every case to make full use of the dead space around each tank.
In general, tanks should be attacked from the side or the rear. Any moment of weakness of the enemy tank should be utilized (i.e., impeded vision, halts, climbing and overcoming of obstacles, etc.).
15. Tanks should be approached by crawling and stalking, making full use of cover and concealment.
16. The foxholes of tank hunters must be narrow and have steep walls. They must be built without parapets and must not be recognizable by enemy tanks. They may be camouflaged either by canvas strips or branches. Whenever possible they should be protected by a belt of mines.
17. The tank hunters will remain motionless in their foxholes observing their targets and waiting in readiness for the favorable moment to assault. They must face the enemy tank calmly and must have the nerve to "let it come." It is always wrong to run away. While moving, the single soldier is inferior to the tank. In hiding, on the contrary, he is usually superior. He is safest inside the dead area around the enemy tank.
In villages, close-in assault of tanks is usually easier than in open terrain because of the abundant possibilities for hiding and cover (as by roof-snipers).
Often the corner of a house, a bush, or a fence are sufficient as hiding places.
By the use of obstacles of all kinds, dummy mines and guns, and signs like "Warning -- mines!", enemy tanks may be guided into terrain unfavorable to them, but favorable for the assault squads and antitank weapons.
18. When attacking moving tanks, the tank hunters at first must be well concealed and permit the tank to come close to them (7 to 20 meters); then they try to stop the tank by blinding it, or at least they force it to slow down. A strong blinding effect is obtained through the massed fire of all weapons. By using explosive charges, tank hunters destroy the tracks of the tank and cripple it. They will then assault it and destroy it and its crew with their close-in weapons.
In the case of halted tanks, the squad stalks up on it using the terrain to its best advantage.
19. Around every tank there is a dead area which it cannot cover with its principal weapons. The higher a tank, the larger, usually, is its dead space. In general, this space has a radius of about 20 meters (see figure 1). To combat targets in the dead space, tanks have slits through which pistols and submachine guns can be fired. Frequently a machine gun is found on the rear side of the turret.
Posted ImageFig. 1
When assaulting a tank, the tank hunters must make use of the dead space. They should approach the tank from the direction which is opposite to the direction of its principal weapons. This is also opposite to the direction of its principal observation (see figure 2). Should this approach be impracticable because of a machine gun in the back of the turret, the squad will attack from the side or diagonally from the rear.
Posted ImageFig. 2
20. The tank hunter with the principal close-in weapon will use it against the tank while the other tank hunters support him with their fire. Should he be impeded by that fire, it must cease. When the crew of the tank becomes aware of the assault, they will open the turret hatch so as to defend themselves with hand grenades. That instant will be used by the observing tank hunters to fire against the open turret and to wound the crew. Crews of stalled or burning tanks who do not give themselves up when getting out will be destroyed in close combat. If the tanks are still undamaged, they are made useless by removal of the breech-blocks, by destroying the machine guns, and by setting fire to the gasoline tanks.
21. Neighboring units support the attack by rifle and machine-gun fire against the vision slits of the attacking tanks as well as against accompanying infantry which might endanger the tank hunters. The tanks are blinded and prevented from taking accurate aim, and the enemy infantry is forced to take cover. Weak places of the tank are taken under fire with armor-piercing ammunition and antitank weapons. Lead-sprays entering through the shutters into the inside of the tank will wound the crew. The cooperation of the tank-hunting squads with other troops in the area must be previously arranged, and all signals decided upon.


III. Close-in Combat Weapons and Their Use
22. There are several kinds of short-range media (blinding, burning, and explosive) which allow many variations of use. The type of armored vehicle, its position, and the terrain determine which of the available weapons are to be used, or if several should be combined. The leader of the tank-hunting squad will have to decide quickly which medium to adopt under the circumstances.
According to the doctrine "Blind, halt, destroy," the tank-hunting squad has to be equipped with blinding, explosive, and incendiary materials. Explosives have the double purpose of stopping and destroying the tanks.
Blinding Agents
Smoke Candles and Smoke Grenades
23. Smoke candles or several smoke hand grenades, thrown in front of the tank with allowance for wind direction, minimize its vision and force it to slow up.
Smoke
24. Common smoke is used like smoke from candles. To be able to obtain it at the right moment, distribute straw or other highly inflammable material in the probable avenue of approach, drench it with gasoline or kerosene, and ignite it with signal rockets at the approach of tanks.
The detonation of grenades and artillery shells also creates clouds of smoke. Moreover, the firing of armor-piercing grenades against the vision slits promises success.
25. When smoke is used, the tanks are hidden also to our antimechanized weapons, and they are unable to aim accurately. Therefore, smoke should be used only when the vehicles have come so near that they cannot be covered by fire any longer without endangering our own troops, and therefore have to be destroyed at close range.
Signal Rockets
26. Signal rockets shot against vision slits have a blinding effect, particularly at dusk and in the dark; also, the vehicle is illuminated for our antitank weapons. Note that signal rockets only begin to burn at a distance of 25 meters.
Covering of Vision Slits
27. For this purpose one man jumps onto the tank, preferably from the rear, or approaches the tank closely from the side, and covers the vision slits or periscopes with a blanket, overcoat, shelter half, etc., or applies mud, paint, or grease. This is possible only if the tank is moving slowly or is halted, and if it is not protected by the fire from other tanks or following infantry. Any tank crew will be strongly demoralized by the presence of an enemy on top of their tank.

Incendiary Agents
Flame-throwers
28. Flame-throwers are aimed at vision slits, weapon openings, ventilators, and engine cover.
Incendiary Bottles
29. Incendiary bottles are a combat weapon used against tanks, armored scout cars, and other cars. In street and house fighting, they can also be used against living targets. They are thrown against the front part of the tank for blinding purposes, over the engine for incendiary purposes.
Posted Image Fig. 2
The contents of an incendiary bottle (not self-igniting) are 2/3 gasoline and 1/3 fuel oil. Ignition of the incendiary bottles takes place (when it has broken after hitting a hard surface) by the use of special safety matches.
The incendiary bottles are packed in wooden boxes in damp sawdust. The boxes also contain adhesive tape for fastening the matches to the bottles. The safety matches are packed in batches of twenty with 3 scratch pads in containers of noninflammable material. Two safety matches are taped to the bottle. The heads of the safety matches can be pointed either toward the neck or to the bottom of the bottle (see figure 3). The matches are lighted immediately before throwing the incendiary bottle, by friction with any rough surface or the match box. See that both matches are burning properly.
The bottles can be thrown in two different ways; throwing by swinging the arm, holding the bottle at the neck (see figure 4), or throwing by pitching, like putting a shot, grasping the bottle at its heaviest point (see figure 5).
Either of the two ways is practicable. In general, the position of the thrower will determine the type of throw. In a prone or similar position he will not be able to swing his arm, and therefore will have to pitch it. Whenever possible it should be thrown like a stick hand grenade, because the accuracy of aim is greater and the possible range will be increased.
The most vulnerable parts of a tank are: the engine (ventilation -- on tanks usually in the rear), the vision slits, and imperfectly closed hatches.
Posted ImageFig. 4
Posted ImageFig. 5
Should an incendiary bottle miss and remain intact, it is better to leave it until the matches have burned out, as the heightened pressure might cause an explosion. The bottles should be handled with care. They should not be bumped together or against hard objects.
Improvised Incendiary Bottles
30. Any bottle can be filled with an inflammable liquid, preferably mixed with wool fiber, cotton, or torn rags. A good mixture is two-thirds gasoline and one-third oil. Note that Flame-oil #19 is not freeze-proof. A mixture of gas and fuel oil can be used instead.
To ignite it, the bottle is equipped with an improvised lighter. It is constructed in the following way:
A wick is passed through a hole in the cork of the bottle, so that one end hangs in the liquid. To the free end are attached several matches. Several wicks may also be used without the cork, if they completely close the opening of the bottle and are well drenched in the fluid (see figure 6).
At the approach of the tank, the wick is lighted and the bottle thrown. When it breaks, the fluid is ignited by the wick and is distributed over the tank and its engine. Generally the tank catches fire. If further bottles are thrown against the tank, they do not have to be ignited before throwing. Even initially a bottle without an ignition device can be used. After breaking the bottle on the tank, the liquid can be ignited with signal rockets, hand grenades, smoke candles, smoke grenades, burning torches, or burning gasoline-drenched rags.
Posted ImageFig. 6
Captured Enemy Incendiary Bottles
31. Bottles with a self-igniting phosphorus mixture (so-called Molotov cocktails) are used as explained in paragraphs 29 and 30. If large numbers of these weapons are captured, they should be collected and reported, to enable distribution among as many troops as possible.
Gasoline
32. Several quarts of gasoline are poured over the engine housing of the tank, and ignited as in paragraph 30. Gasoline can also be poured into a tank. It is then ignited by a hand grenade which is also pushed in.
Hand Grenades
33. Quite frequently an enemy is forced to open the hatch for better observation. This opportunity can be used to throw grenades in a high arc into the interior of the tank. The crew can thus be eliminated and the tank set afire. Sometimes it may be possible to open the hatches with crow bars or bayonets and throw grenades into the interior.
Smoke Candle or Smoke Grenade
34. When thrown (as in paragraph 33) into the interior of the tank, they start the tank burning, or at least force the crew to get out because of the thick smoke.
Signal Rockets
35. Signal rockets shot into open hatches with a Very pisto1 can also start a tank burning.
Explosives
Hand Grenades
36. Several hand grenades can be combined into one concentrated charge (see paragraph 38).
One-Kilogram Blasting Slab
37. A slab of 1 kilogram [2.2 pounds] of explosive, placed on top of a tank, has about the same strength as a concentrated charge of 7 hand grenades and gives the crew a severe shock. Two such concentrated charges damage the turret hatch considerably and for a short time make the crew unable to fight because of the high concussion. Two or three such charges combined into a multiple charge can so severely damage the tracks of tanks that they will soon break under use. Even better are two such concentrated charges combined into an elongated charge. For this purpose, two to three 1-kilogram charges are tied to a board with wire and equipped with a short piece of fuze (see figure 7).
Posted ImageFig. 7
To destroy machine-gun and cannon barrels protruding from the tank, two 1-kilogram charges are tied together, hung like a saddle over the top of the barrel, and detonated (see figure 8). Machine-gun barrels are torn by the explosion, and cannon barrels bent sufficiently so that an attempt to fire the gun will completely destroy it. Inserting hand grenades into the muzzle of the guns also has good results against cannon and crew. Shells will also burst in the barrel if stones, wood, or earth are rammed into it. Placing hand grenades in the vision slits is also effective.
Posted ImageFig. 8
Several 1-kilogram charges can be tied together as a field expedient in case of lack of finished multiple charges.
Concentrated Charges
38. The bodies of seven stick grenades are tied together securely with wire so that they will not fall apart when used. Only the middle grenade is fitted with the usual handle with an internal igniter (see figure 9). This charge is ineffective against the armor or tracks of heavy tanks. But the concussion of the charge, exploded on top of the tank, will be so strong that the crew will be knocked out temporarily. Posted Image Fig. 9
39. The concentrated charge of 3 kilograms, is found ready for use in the infantry engineer platoon, infantry engineer platoon motorized, engineer companies, and engineer battalions.
It will pierce about 60 mm of armor and is best placed over the engine or the driver's seat. The crew will be badly wounded by small fragments of the inner walls spattering off. The concussion is unbearable. To destroy the tracks, the charge must fully be covered by them.
Even greater effect will be obtained by combining several 3-kilogram charges.
40. The throwing radius for a concentrated charge is 10 to 15 yards. When throwing it, the soldier must consider the length of the fuze (about 1/2 inch burns in 1 second). The thrower aims at the tracks or at the belly of an approaching tank.
41. The concentrated charge can also be used as a multiple charge or as a slide-mine as described in paragraph 37 above.
42. If the charge is supposed to be used on top of the tank it must be secured so it will not fall off. For this purpose, its bottom is painted with warmed tar. If the charge is primed, be careful! A charge thus prepared will adhere to horizontal and even to slightly inclined surfaces. Putty can be used also for this purpose, but it is not reliable on wet surfaces.
Charges may be held on a tank by using an anchor made of strong wire, which is hooked into openings or protuberances of the vehicle (see figure 10).
Posted Image Fig. 10
43. The ignition for paragraphs 39 to 41 is provided by preparing short fuzes with detonating caps (to burn in 4 1/2 to 15 seconds), time fuzes, prima-cord, and wire for improvised pull igniter, or a pressure-igniter. The latter fastening is best suited for the destruction of tracks.
If the charge is thrown, a short fuze is needed (but at least 4 1/2 centimeters* long, like a hand-grenade fuze). If it is placed on the tank, a 15-cm fuze is used for the security of the man placing it.
Sliding Mines
44. Charges of 3 or 6 kilograms can be made and built into a two-sided skid. This sliding mine has to be secured against premature detonation, resulting from falling or turning over, by the insertion of two woodblocks (figure 11).
http://www.lonesentr...e-slide.jpgFig. 11
Two to four sliding mines are linked together and at each end of a given group is a 20-meter cable or rope.
Tank hunters sit in two foxholes about 20 meters apart. The sliding mines are camouflaged and placed somewhere between the holes so that they can be pulled in either direction. At the approach of a tank, they are pulled under its tracks (figure 12).
http://www.lonesentr...nk-mine.jpgFig. 12
Several pairs of soldiers in similar foxholes can protect a larger area, for instance a key-point of resistance (figure 13).
http://www.lonesentr...g-mines.jpgFig. 13
Tellermines
45. Instead of concentrated charges, Tellermines [antitank mines] can be used, either as multiple charges or as sliding mines. However, as they have a high radius of fragmentation, they can only be worked from splinter-proof positions.


IV. Close-in Combat with Firearms
46. There should always be close cooperation between the tank-hunting squads and the other combat elements in the area. Discussion between the leader of the tank-destroyer squad and the leader of the other available arms is advisable in order to fix the beginning and end of the fire attack against a tank.
47. New [Russian?] tanks have especially strong armor at some points. But they have many weak spots, against which even the fire of weapons which are not armor-piercing can be successful. It is therefore imperative to hit the tank not only as a whole, but especially at those weak spots.
48. For this purpose, it is necessary that the rifleman, conscious of the power of his weapon and of his superiority over the tank, should keep cool. He must be able to open fire on the tank as late as possible, surprising it at the shortest possible distance. Courageous riflemen with rifle or antitank rifle, making full and skillful use of terrain, should crawl up to the best range.
The shorter the range, the greater the accuracy of the weapon. Also, the armor-piercing capacity of the ammunition will be increased.
When using armor-piercing ammunition, in order to ensure its successful use, it is important to follow closely the instructions found in the ammunition boxes concerning the aiming points and the effective range.
Opening fire as late as possible has the further advantage of keeping the weapon concealed from covering tanks and observers up to the decisive moment.
49. Frequently it will be advisable to concentrate the fire of several similar or different weapons on one tank e.g., rifles, a light machine gun, a heavy machine gun, an antitank gun, and a light infantry cannon. Ambush-like concentration of all weapons to surprise the tank is preferable. The physical and moral effect will be heightened by such concentration. If only a few tanks appear, it is preferable to assault them successively according to the danger presented by individual tanks. In the case of a massed attack, rigid fire control must insure that the most dangerous tanks are attacked simultaneously.
50. When several different weapons are combined against it, the tank will be blinded by the use of heavy machine-gun fire and small explosive grenades. At the same time, guns of 75-mm caliber and larger will fire against the tracks to cripple the tank. It is necessary to wait for a favorable moment, when for instance difficult terrain slows up the tank, or when it halts to fire. Once it is stopped, it will be destroyed by combined fire or by close-in assault.
51. Weapons with armor-piercing ammunition of smaller calibers are sometimes ineffective against tanks with sloping armor plates, even if their power of penetration would be great enough to pierce the plate if vertical. Because of the slope of the plates, the ammunition ricochets from the tank. On such tanks it is necessary to aim at the vertical parts.
Even in the case of vertical armor plates there will be an oblique angle of impact if a tank approaches at a sharp angle. In that case the angle of impact is also such that the projectiles will ricochet. Therefore, the tank should be fired upon at right angles. If the tank appears at an unfavorable angle, firing will be withheld until it assumes a more vulnerable position, either by revolving the turret or by actually turning and maneuvering.
52. It is possible to increase the effect and accuracy of fire by the selection of a flanking position, because the tanks are usually less strongly armed on the sides, and also offer a bigger target. Furthermore, vertical armor is more common on the sides than on the front.
53. Weak parts of tanks, against which fire from all arms is effective, are: vision slits, openings for hand weapons, periscopes, hatches, shutters, turret rings, ventilator openings, track, belly (the part of the hull between the tracks), and the engine cover (usually in the rear). The accurate location of these parts in the individual types can be found in the manuals.
54. Severe physical and moral effect can be achieved with the rifle, the light machine gun, and the heavy machine gun by firing heavy ball ammunition and armor-piercing ammunition at less than 300 yards against the weak parts of the tank, or by firing with submachine guns and armor-piercing grenades from a grenade discharger at very close range.
Projectiles hitting the vision slits or periscopes blind the crew, and prevent them from aiming or driving accurately. Also, small particles of molten lead and lead fumes penetrate into the interior of the tank and may injure the crew. Some bullets might jam the turret ring or weapon shutters so that revolving of the turret or firing the weapons will be made impossible.
As tanks are more poorly armored on top, attack from high points such as trees or houses will get better results.
The demoralizing effect on the crew of the noise of bullets hitting the tank surface should not be underestimated.
55. HE and armor-piercing grenades (impact fuzes) fired with the rifle grenade-launcher (flat trajectory), antitank guns up to a caliber of 50-mm, the 75-mm infantry howitzer, and the 150-mm infantry howitzer directed against the weak parts of a tank will have about the same results as described in the preceding paragraph. Furthermore the power of impact will cause the inside surface of the armor plates to splinter off and wound the crew. If the projectiles have high explosive charges like the heavy infantry howitzer, the crew will become casualties from the concussion, or they will be at least temporarily knocked out.
When firing against the engine cover in the rear with explosive shells of all weapons, an incendiary effect may be obtained under favorable circumstances. Light and heavy infantry howitzers attack the tracks most effectively.
The ranges for individual weapons have to be selected so that great accuracy of aim can be achieved. For small dispersion and flat trajectory the light and heavy infantry howitzers should use the maximum charge.
The turret, the side, and the rear of the tank are considered weak parts for armor-piercing ammunition. Armor-piercing weapons, unable to use armor-piercing ammunition, can effectively assist in the assault against tanks with high-explosive ammunition.
57. Destructive results in combat against armor are obtained with the 37-mm stick grenade or bomb. Its short range, however, results in success only at close distances.


V. Training
58. Training in close-in attack on tanks includes the knowledge of the weak parts, of the construction, use, and effect of close-in weapons, and of combat principles. To this purpose, instruction (using sand-table models and captured enemy tanks) and practical exercises are necessary. After the individual fighter has been trained, the cooperation of the squad and group in terrain exercises will be practiced. Combat exercises with live ammunition against large dummies or captured tanks will complete the training.
59. To improve accuracy in antitank fire, riflemen and gunners of all the arms (machine gun, antitank, infantry howitzer, field artillery) must know all vulnerable parts against which their weapons can be used effectively, and they must perform daily aiming exercises against tank models. Special practice is needed for the use of the Very pistol and rifle grenade. By the use of sub-caliber fire with antitank guns and practice firing with rifles and machine guns against tank models, and by combat exercises, marksmanship is to be developed to the utmost.
60. Each rifleman, whether he is part of a tank-hunting squad or the gunner of an individual weapon, must be thoroughly convinced that, if he fights skillfully he and his weapon are superior to any tank. He has to know that he is the hunter and the tank the game. This thought is to be given great weight in the training period.
VI. Assault Badge
61. The destruction of tanks in close-in combat counts as an assault. Rifemen, tank hunters, and other personnel who have fulfilled the necessary requirements in destroying tanks, will be awarded the assault badge.
* As stated above 1 centimeter of fuze burns in about 4 seconds.


#2 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 08:56 PM

:eek:Good work on an interseting topic! There is an video of close combat tank killing on youtube. It is a wehrmach PR-movie but its nice to see.
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Regards, Ulrich

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#3 Barbarossa

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 05:34 PM

nice very impressive
https://encrypted-tb...6UvpQBj9dZLLylw

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#4 Erich

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 05:48 PM

a former friend serving in Infantrie rgt 43 in the 1st Inf. Division in Ost Preußia told me serveral times he and his team would set up ambush traps for Soviet T-34's within the bogs/marshes with 1-2 Panzerfausts roped to trees and trip wired by the tank the panzerfaust head hitting the flank of the tanks to assure a kill, the heavier Soviet types if making it through this type of ambush would be dealt with by the AT Panzerschreck teams. being in late war fall of 44 into 1945 Helmuth never made mention at all of receiving nor his team of 8 any tank destruction strips for the uniform nor credit given. Son insane were these times of little know Ost front activity and the chaotic movements awards were not given as each was trying to seek survival from day to day.
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#5 Von Poop

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 06:04 PM

If anyone fancies a bit of tank-hunting, I scanned a facsimile copy of Panzerknacker for WW2T a few years back:
http://www.ww2talk.c...html#post152860

Front & rear cover:
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#6 Von Poop

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 06:04 PM

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#7 harolds

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 11:31 PM

While mentioned in the above post, there is one weapon that I have read about in many German accounts and probably deserves special mention. That is the magnetic, hollow-charge granade. They were made is several sizes but the three Kg. size was probably used most. Placed on the tank at a vulnerable spot, its powerful magnets would hold it on despite the tanks motion. Since it had the perfect stand-off distance and was exactly perpendicular to the armor, it was extremely deadly. The only problem was getting to the side of the tank and then back to your fox hole in one piece! Because Germany expected their enemies to have similar weapons, they coated their tanks with Zimmerett paste. However, I don't think any other country had anything similar.

#8 Erich

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 11:51 PM

harolds yes a very powerful weapon one that would have to run and duck behind cover, due to the fact the T-34's as an example were having Infantrie now ride like the German Panzergrenadiers the hand held device was slowly discontinued and the longer independent ranged one shot weapon : Panzerfaust series was born
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#9 harolds

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:11 AM

I agree Erich that if there was enemy infantry around, running up to a tank definitely would not be habit forming! However, one of the basic tactics of modern war was to separate the accompanying infantry from the tanks. Basic tactic was to shoot mortars, arty, and/or small arms at the infantry and make them go to ground. When they took cover they left the tanks very vulnerable. From what I've read, I get the impression that the Soviets made their tanks push on anyway, which made them very vulnerable to those tank-killer teams.





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