Miscellaneous notes on German tactics and weapons in North Africa, from the Intelligence Bulletin, December 1942.
1. ARMORED-CAR TACTICS
Questioning of German reconnaissance-unit prisoners reveals the following information about armored-car tactics:
Antitank guns moving on self-propelled mounts have advanced at times with the armored cars.
When attacked by low-flying aircraft, only the 4-wheeled vehicles engage with fire from their open turrets; 8-wheel cars, lacking open turrets, cannot fire.
The commander of an armored-car reconnaissance patrol always moves in the leading armored car.
2. AMMUNITION SUPPLY FOR TANKS
It is reported that trucks no longer go well forward to supply tanks with ammunition. Trucks now unload out of range of enemy artillery and establish small dumps, which can be cleared in a day. Drivers unload their own vehicles, no extra personnel being allotted for this purpose. Wherever possible, these dumps are located under cover of rising ground, and the tanks come back to the dumps for fresh supplies of ammunition.
3. TANK TACTICS
German tank tactics are very flexible. Often a local commander can vary them, according to his own ideas and local circumstances. No tank opens fire until it is definitely sure of the identity of the target. German tanks advance on the enemy at full speed until they are within 200 to 300 yards; at this point they halt temporarily and fire. The operation demands a high degree of self-control, but the compensating factor is that a much larger percentage of hits can be scored from a stationary tank than from a moving tank.
A knocked out Panzer III with track damage near El Alamein 1942.
4. TANK REPAIRS
Each tank battalion carries seven fully qualified tank mechanics. The regiment has a small repair shop, with adequate spares, which follows very closely behind the fighting units. Eighty percent of all tank repairs are made on the battlefield, but if a tank has to go back to its base, it is usually taken on a recovery vehicle.
The total number of shells carried by a Mark III tank is 80. Previous information indicated that 100 rounds were carried.
6. RADIO COMMUNICATION
Intercommunication between units ranging in size from the battalion to the regiment is on medium wave lengths. Intercommunication between units lower than the battalion is on short wave lengths. All wave lengths are allotted by the division, and are changed frequently.
7. LATEST INTERROGATION PROCEDURE
No formal questioning of prisoners regarding tactics is carried out by leading combat elements. As soon as prisoners have been captured, they are searched and then dispatched to division headquarters for tactical interrogation by division intelligence officers. The officer or noncom in charge of the front-line troops who have taken the prisoners goes alone to the rear, ahead of the captured men. He takes with him all captured documents, and informs division intelligence officers as to the local tactical situation so that they will be well equipped to examine the prisoners. If possible, he also attends the interrogation.