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Unterlagen zur Gliederung, zum taktischen Einsatz und zur Ausbildung des Sturmzuges einer Grenadierkompanie

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9 hours ago, Ts4EVER said:

That document is not from 1945, but captured then. You can find this information for English speakers here:

http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn131v1sep44.htm

Thanks, great site.

This is november kstn (Fire squad with 2 4-men lmg teams): http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn131v1nov44.htm

The most interesting is tactics! It seems I have to learn German...

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13 hours ago, DMS said:

Pretty interesting! I can make a quick translation if you want.

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3 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

Pity we can't download these documents and print them. Extremely interesting.

Why not print to pdf, and then you can do what you want with them?

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6 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Pretty interesting! I can make a quick translation if you want.

It would be great! For me the most interesting is fire and movement technique. Did Gruppen advance by bounds? Did Gruppen attacked together or separated in Truppen? Could Feurgruppe divide in Truppen, so each would support MP Gruppe?

Do I understand right, that Sturmzugen is return to Stosstruppen tactic of WW I?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, DMS said:

It would be great! For me the most interesting is fire and movement technique. Did Gruppen advance by bounds? Did Gruppen attacked together or separated in Truppen? Could Feurgruppe divide in Truppen, so each would support MP Gruppe?

Do I understand right, that Sturmzugen is return to Stosstruppen tactic of WW I?

I'm working on the translation. Give me a couple of days. :)

 

Some quick basics: 

The new assault platoon (of a Grenadier-company) described in the paper consists of: 

  • 2 assault squads (7 men each, armed with assault-rifles 44 (Sturmgewehre 44*), plenty of ammo, grenades) 
  • 1 fire squad (2 light MGs) - to provide covering fire during the final assault
  • platoon HQ squad/team + 3 grenade launchers (I suppose these are very light ones; they're taken from the squads, concentrated on the platoon-level) the grenade launchers are supposed to follow the assault squads, not stay back with the fire squad (!)
  • (The snipers formerly employed on the squad-level (?) are to be ceded to/used on the company-level.)

It seems as if it was not mobilized/mechnized? The paper only mentions horse-carts and that the soldiers might ride on tanks/trucks when forming part of an advance guard.

It was to be used particularly for assault and recon missions (special emphasis also on clearing trenches, but here the paper just cites other manuals), for combat in rough/difficult terrain, in fog, during night, as a mobile reserve for counter attacks and the protection of open flanks, for the pursuit of the enemy and as an advance guard, as a rear guard during retreat movements, and also as a ski-unit in some circumstances. 

What I found very interesting is that the paper puts great emphasis on the fact that the squads are supposed not to fire during the approach phase (only during the final assault, over very short distances, "fire-ambush"). As much as possible, the squads were to advance to the assault-FUP undetected by the enemy, moving in very open order, relying on the support of heavy weapons / other units. The squads were not supposed to provide their own covering fire ("sich vorschießen") in this phase. I found the advance by "Vortröpfeln" or "Sickern" (lit. trickling) especially interesting: If the squads found themselves forced to cross open terrain that was observed by the enemy, the men were supposed to cross individually or in pairs, with very large and irregular time intervalls (0.5- 5 minutes). The paper emphasises that it's not about time, but about approaching as undetected by the enemy as possible, and suffering as few casualties as possible. So really, the assault platoon was supposed to deliver shock - getting into very close range to the enemy undetectedly at full strength, then using this hidden concentration of force to surprise the enemy with an ambush-like assault, including loud cheers. Such an assault - sudden opening of fire, high volume of fire with assault-rifles, cheers, a fast sprint - was supposed to break the defender's morale.

 

--

* So we're safe to assume that this document is post 1943?

Edited by Kaunitz

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

It seems as if it was not mobilized/mechnized? The paper only mentions horse-carts and that the soldiers might ride on tanks/trucks when forming part of an advance guard.

Sure, it is Kstn for regular Grenadier division. (Interesting, how much units got enough Stgs to implement this Kstn)

21 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

What I found very interesting is that the paper puts great emphasis on the fact that the squads are supposed not to fire during the approach phase (only during the final assault, over very short distances, "fire-ambush"). As much as possible, the squads were to advance to the assault-FUP undetected by the enemy, moving in very open order, relying on the support of heavy weapons / other units

So really, the assault platoon was supposed to deliver shock - getting into very close range to the enemy undetectedly at full strength, then using this hidden concentration of force to surprise the enemy with an ambush-like assault, including loud cheers.

Looks very simmilar to Soviet SMG platoons tactic and to Stosstrupen tactic of WW I! With some differences, of course. In Soviet regulations the main idea is to outflank the enemy. (On micro-tactic level, by 3-4 men groups)

Looking at pictures I guess that usual formation was a column, not line?

21 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

* So we're safe to assume that this document is post 1943? 

Yes, and post 11.1944.

Edited by DMS

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On 10/7/2018 at 1:22 PM, Aragorn2002 said:

Pity we can't download these documents and print them. Extremely interesting.

If you refer to the K.St.N then check this site and download PDF: http://sturmpanzer.com/Default.aspx?tabindex=5&tabid=621&item=3&sec=1

and related http://sturmpanzer.com/Default.aspx?tabindex=5&tabid=620&item=3&sec=0

germandocsinrussia stuff can be either printed to PDF or when closing the print PDF screen (x) then saved normally as JPG. I change the zoom scale to 7 for this purpose. Example (german field fortifications and proper camouflage) http://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/nodes/2107#page/68/mode/inspect/zoom/4

I already dumped about 1 Gig of JPG pages from the site to my HD through this procedure.

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3 hours ago, DMS said:

Sure, it is Kstn for regular Grenadier division. (Interesting, how much units got enough Stgs to implement this Kstn)

 

In December 1944, the Germans had 179 Infantry divisions. Of these, 56 had 2/3rds of their line infantry platoons equipped with StG44s. A further 10 had a third of their strength re-equipped.

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16 hours ago, RockinHarry said:

If you refer to the K.St.N then check this site and download PDF: http://sturmpanzer.com/Default.aspx?tabindex=5&tabid=621&item=3&sec=1

and related http://sturmpanzer.com/Default.aspx?tabindex=5&tabid=620&item=3&sec=0

germandocsinrussia stuff can be either printed to PDF or when closing the print PDF screen (x) then saved normally as JPG. I change the zoom scale to 7 for this purpose. Example (german field fortifications and proper camouflage) http://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/nodes/2107#page/68/mode/inspect/zoom/4

I already dumped about 1 Gig of JPG pages from the site to my HD through this procedure.

Thanks for these very useful tips, RockinHarry! Works fine for me too.

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Here is my clumsy translation of the first few pages, more to follow: 

The assault-platoon in the grenadier-company

 I. General remarks

  1. Based on the experiences in the war, a new structure and new armament is required for the grenadier-companies, both for the attack and the defence. The partition of grenadier companies into assault-platoons allows their unitary and flexible/swift employment. [? pretty general remark]
  2.  With its new structure, namely two assault-squads and a fire-squad, as well as with its new armament, the assault-platoon will fulfill a very clearly defined role.
  3. The uniform armament of the squads facilitates their lead, so that even young and inexperienced squad leaders who have not finished their full training, can lead them into battle more readily. The adoption of the assault rifle 44 [Sturmgewehr 44] increases firepower and the manoeuverability of the squads.
  4. The withdrawal of grenade-launchers and sharpshooters from the squads relieves them of specialists. It allows the grenade-launchers to be concentrated on the platoon-level and the sharpshooters on the company-level.

 II. Structure of the assault-platoon [you can compare it to the diagrams on p. 15 of the electronic document]

5. The assault platoon consists of:

  •  the platoon leader
  •  the platoon HQ team, including the grenade launcher team
  • 2 assault squads (7 men each)
  • 1 fire squad (7 men)
  • 2 infantry carts (Jf. 8), coupled, 1 horse, 1 operator/rider
  • 1 backup/reserve/supply [?]  cart (“Feldwagen oder Panjewagen”), two-horse, 1 operator/rider

 6. The platoon HQ team consists of:

  • 2 messengers/runners
  • 1 litter bearer/medic
  • 1 Grenade-launcher-team (3 grenadiers) [probably this means 3 tubes], one of the greandiers is teamleader; The concentration of the grenadiers at the platoon-leader increases the effectiveness of fire and allows them to be used in a concentrated/focused manner

 7. The assault squad consists of 1 squadleader and 7 soldiers. The soldiers are equipped with assault rifles 44. They are to engage in close combat and are equipped with plenty of ammunition and grenades. One of the soldiers is second-in-command of the squad leader.

 8. The fire squad consists of 2 light MG teams. The squad leader is in command of the squad as a whole and one of the MGs in particular. His second-in-command commands the other MG. Each MG is crewed by a gunner (“Schütze 1”) and two ammo-bearers (“Munitionsschützen”).

The first [=standard?] ammunition-allotment is 720 rounds for each assault-rifle 44. On them, the soldiers are to carry 6 magazines for a total of 180 rounds (30 rounds per magazine).

 III. The assault platoon in combat

 General principles

 9. In the attack, it’s the assault platoon’s task to wipe out the last resistance of the enemy. In the defence, the assault platoon defeats the final assault of the enemy.

 10. The assault platoon can accomplish any task, both in the defence and in the attack.

 11. The assault platoon is best used for the following tasks:

  • For assault and recon missions, for combat in rough/difficult (lit. hard to oversee) terrain, for missions during night or in foggy weather
  • In the defence as a mobile reserve for the counter-attack and the protection of open flanks
  • For the pursuit of the enemy and as an advance guard, riding on Stugs, trucks/cars or tanks;
  • As rearguards in retreat actions, or for combat “im Zwischenfeld” (?)
  • as a hunter-platoon of a ski-unit or as a ski-equipped part of a winter unit [… I don’t know how to translate all the special terms – generally it refers to their usage on skis]

 12. The assault platoon is the smallest tactical combat unit of the grenadier-company. The individual deployment of assault squads or the fire squad is an exception.

 Attack

13. In all combat conditions, the completely hidden, hunter-like (“jägermäßige”) approach into the rear or a flank of the enemy and the sudden, overwhelming and surprising employment of fire at short distance is the key to success.

14. When approching, the platoon leader leads his assault platoon close to the enemy, evading fire combat. 

15. Proper assessment of the terrain is required prior to any action. Every opportunity of concealment needs to be taken. It’s not that important to reach the forming up point for the final assault as fast as possible, [but – is missing] to reach it undetected by the enemy and without any casualties.  

16. The assault platoon opens fire as late/close as possible and needs to make even more use of the support fire of heavy weapons [to cover its movement, obviously] than before. It’s not the assault-platoon’s task to use [it’s own] suppressive fire to get/manoeuvre within large or medium distance to the enemy.  

17. To advance, the assault platoon evades enemy fire zones, exploits even the smallest cover, and crosses areas observed by the enemy in a trickling manner (“Vortröpfeln”). Very narrow but deep formations as well as spreading out a lot helps reduce casualties. Any method of advance that does not offer good targets to the enemy is suitable.  

18. When crossing open areas in a trickling manner (“Vortröpfeln”), the intervalls between the men (or pairs of men) are to be set between 0.5 and 5 minutes. The objective area for the manoeuvre needs to be determined beforehand. An energetic squadleader should be picked to be “Schießender” (lit. firer). He oversees the manoeuvre, and ensures that the men move from one waypoint to the next in irregular intervals. (see example attachment 3) 

19. Only if all other means (support by heavy weapons, terrain, fog/smoke, darkness) fail, the assault platoon may stop its forward movement and advance by fire [so that means providing its own suppressive fire]. 

20. Concentrated fire by all supporting weapons needs to be exploited for a swift and cohesive advance.  

21. When assaulting, one or both assault squads are to be deployed in front/attack. The fire squad  and the grenadier-team are following closely. They provide fire-support wherever the enemy is still resisting. 

Assault squads roll up enemy trenches (“stoßtruppartig”). See the details about rolling up trenches in “Merkblatt 25/3: Instruction for close combat and grenade-training”, Nr. 73-86)

22. If the fire support delivered by the company or battalion proves insufficient for the assault, the platoon leader needs to employ his fire squad and the grenadier-team for fire support or suppressive fire. 

23. The platoon leader needs to plan the attack according to H.Dv.130/2a Nr. 458-463.

24. The combat-plan needs to consider the following questions:

  •  Where do I need to go?
  • What/who is preventing me from going there?
  • How/where do I launch the assault?
  • From where and when can the assault be supported by the fire squad?

 25. The combat-plan then needs to be broken down into individual orders:

  • a) To the fire squad: Fireposition – where?, Target – where? Fire support – how? (time to open fire, duration of fire); Follow up – when? Where?
  • b) To the assault squad: Target of the assault – where? How to approach? How to assault?
  • c) For the grenadier-team: Follow up – to whom? (advance together with the assault squad or stay with the fire squad?) – fire position – where? Target, where? Ammo-consumption

 26. This is how the assault squad is to be used on the attack:

  • a) When conducting a two pronged attack [“zangenförmiger Angriff”], the fire squad and both assault squads are to be used in a way so that they don’t lose their communication with each other
  • b) The grenade-launcher team follows the assault squads to support them in the attack and in the assault against targets that pop up surprisingly
  • c) The assignment of the grenade-launcher-team to the fire squad is an exception and depends on the terrain and the distance to the target
  • d) Holding back one of the assault squads as a reserve of flank-guard to support the fire squad is the exception

 27. Assault and fire squads complement each other even if there is no explicit order for it. The light MGs of the fire squad always need to cover the assault squads, even when they [the MGs] are advancing in alternate bounds. The assault platoon’s squads act upon signals or shouts.

 28. The platoon leader takes in hand all the preparations for the assault. He is the first to charge forward, motivating his soldiers to do the same, and assaults with the assault squads.

During the assault itself, a lively fire of all of the platoon’s weapons is employed, as well as loud and continous cheering. The assault-rifle 44 is fired on the move, the enemy needs to be drowned in fire. In the first phase of the assault [? not sure; “beim Sturm”], the soldiers are to fire aimed single shots in quick succession, in the second phase [?  not sure; “beim Einbrechen”] bursts (2-3 rounds).

29. The big effect that  the assault rifle 44 has on morale needs to be exploited for a quick assault sprint into the enemy line/position. When approaching close to the target, going prone and throwing grenades often leads to unneccessary casualties and threatens the success of the action.

30. After the successful assault, the fire squad and the grenade launcher team follow up without orders.

31. After the successful assault, the platoon-leader reorganizes his platoon for the next assault. Any success needs to be exploited further. The enemy must not be given time to reorganize his defences.

32. If the assault was directed at a limited target [so the platoon is supposed not to exploit a success with continous attacks?], the platoon leader sets up a defence of the conquered position with the two light MGs of the fire squad and the grenade-launcher team. They (the MGs + grenade launchers) ensure that the position is not lost to a counter attack, even if no explicit order is given.

33. Due to its quick readiness to fire and its high firepower, the assault rifle 44 is of particular use in the night attack. Assault-platoons are to be used in the first line. Moonlit nights and snow are favourable conditions for a night attack.

 34. A night attack requires a very detailed attack- and fire plan. The attack needs to proceed according to the very strict plan. It is impossible to redirect the attack on the fly.

 35. Night attacks are always conducted against a limited target. The enemy position is taken by a surprising dash/assault by the asssault squads in line [? “in breiter Front”, on a broad front], with continous fire of all soldiers. The fire squad follows up closely.

Defence

a) The assault platoon in the main defensive line ("Hauptkampflinie")

 36. When the assault platoon is used in defence at the front line, it deploys in a way to defend the position.

 37. For defending a large front, the light MG from the reserve [? “Gerätereserve” - the diagrams at the end of the document show it being transported on the horse cart] is to be used [in addition to the other MGs, obviously]. It is to be manned by the ammo-bearers of the fire-squad. The platoon leader decides where to position the fire squad, either deploying it in individual nests over the platoon sector, or, depending on the terrain, he might use concentrations of the light MGs and the assault squads. All MG positions need to be fortified as “fighting nests” and equipped with anti tank weapons. Additional anti tank weapons (Panzerfausts, blinding devices, mines, Molotov cocktails) are to be distributed all over the position, readily available for every man.

38. The grenade-launcher team needs to cover those folds in the terrain that cannot be reached by the fire of the light MGs and the assault rifles 44. It supplements the effect of grenades to cover the dead angles in front of the position. The grenade-launcher team has to be mobile.

39. The counter-attack-reserve of the platoon leader consists of one assault squad. If the sector is very large, however, the counter-attack-reserve only consists of the platoon leader and a few soldiers. Counter-attacks in various situations/in different directions need to be preplanned and practiced.  

40. On the defence, one needs to consider daytime and nighttime positions (setup of pickets, organization of the sentry duties, coordination with other observation posts close-by).

 b) The assault platoon as a counter-attack-reserve

 41. Usually, a battalion’s or regiment’s counter-attack-reserve is made up of its assault platoons (fire extinguisher!).

 42. The assault platoons that are deployed in the rear area of the front (“in der Tiefe des Hauptkampffeldes”) need to be set up in a way so that their fire squads can destroy any breakthroughs by the enemy and support the assault squads’ counter attack.

 43. If the whole assault platoon counter-attacks, the fire squad is to be used as the fire-reserve of the platoon leader in the re-conquered position. [?]

 44. Counter-attacks have to be conducted against the flanks or rear of the enemy, along the main line of defence (“Hauptkampflinie”). The faster/earlier the assault platoons counter-attack, the better their chance for success, even if the enemy is in superior strength. Therefore, the platoon-leader needs to make his own decision [on his own initiative] if/when to counter-attack.

 45. Fire by all weapons and any means available are applied in order to destroy an enemy breaktrough and overrun it with a swift counter-attack.  The counter-attack is to be carried out with all guns blazing, reckless personal commitment, and continous cheering.

Edited by Kaunitz

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5 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

32. If the assault was directed at a limited target [so the platoon is supposed not to exploit a success with continous attacks?], the platoon leader sets up a defence of the conquered position with the two light MGs of the fire squad and the grenade-launcher team.

It seems the idea is that the assault squads are waiting for the fire squad to get into position so they can support the assault squads when they continue forward. Otherwise the risk might be that the assault squads continue their attack and the fire squad doesn't know exactly where the assault squads are and thus aren't really able to support them.

5 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

The assault-rifle 44 is fired on the move, the enemy needs to be drowned in fire

It's a pity the Combat Mission games don't have this ability. In the game the units have to stop and take position, sometimes by crawling around for a few seconds, before they can start shooting.

- - - - - -

What is the German like in the documents? I guess it's quite a bit different from how people speak today. Almost like learning school English and then read and hear the colloquial one.

Edited by BornGinger

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3 hours ago, BornGinger said:

What is the German like in the documents? I guess it's quite a bit different from how people speak today. Almost like learning school English and then read and hear the colloquial one.

No, just normal written German. Not different from any technical paper I would write today.

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15 hours ago, hank24 said:

No, just normal written German. Not different from any technical paper I would write today.

Yep, no difficulties understanding the language itself, it's just that some phrases are not entirely clear in their meaning and I have a few troubles here and there with some terms that are taken for granted and probably described in more detail in other manuals.

E.g. in pt. 28, what's the difference between "Sturm" (lit. assault) and "Einbrechen" (lit. bursting in)? They're obviously not synonymous. I suppose that the former refers to a quick dash to the enemy position, the latter the final process of "entering" the enemy position/trenchline? 

From my understanding, "limited target" (pts. 32, 35 in night attacks) seems to refer to a situation, deviating from the usual "quickly exploit a success" idea (pt. 31), in which the platoon is supposed to take one position and NOT proceed any further. It's an "assault and hold", not an "assault here and then continue the attack as you see fit". The manual clearly states that the fire squad is set up to defend the position, not to cover further attacks.  I guess that this is why continous assaults are deemed too risky during night: Improvising an assault over terrain that has not been reconnoitred in daylight is dangerous to say the least.

In another manual, I was wondering about the term "niedergekämpft" (maybe best translated as "overpowered"). Does it mean that the enemy has clearly been (permanently) knocked out or just supressed? It's a bit woolly. But I guess you couldn't really tell the enemy's exact condition on the battlefield anyway. 

Edited by Kaunitz

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4 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

I was wondering about the term "niedergekämpft" (maybe best translated as "overpowered")

The German word "niedergekämpf" is the same as the Swedish word "nedkämpa".  According to the Wikipage Lista över militära taktiska begrepp the word nedkämpa, and thus niedergekämpf, literally means "to put out of combatable condition, i.e. kill, hurt, force for retreat or capture".

But I think "overpower" is another word for it.

Edited by BornGinger

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19 minutes ago, BornGinger said:

The German word "niedergekämpf" is the same as the Swedish word "nedkämpa".  According to the Wikipage Lista över militära taktiska begrepp the word nedkämpa, and thus niedergekämpf, literally means "to put out of combatable condition, i.e. kill, hurt, force for retreat or capture".

But I think "overpower" is another word for it.

As a Swedish native speaker, I wouldn't use overpower as the best synonym as that would be something like "överväldiga", to have superior fighting power over the enemy, to overwhelm him. "Put out of combatable condition" seems just right to me.

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Maybe you need to overpower (överväldiga) the enemy to be able to outfight (nedkämpa) him?

If you check synonyms for överväldiga (overpower, overwhelm) they are  besegra (defeat), betvinga (subdue) and ta överhand över (get the upper hand over) all of which could be used as nedkämpa (outfight). None of them give the idea that you need to be superior in fighting power but perhaps in the tactics you use and soldiers' morale and fighting ability.

Edited by BornGinger

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Niedergekampft would litteraly translate to "Downfight" IE the enemy is struck so effective that he is rendered unable to fight effectively for the duration of the engagement.

In NATO mission task terminology Niedergekampft would roughly translate to Defeat. Difference being that the Germans used the term down to the lowest level while I believe in NATO its not a task verb used below a certain echelon. (I think Batallion).

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Kaunitz, thank you! Very interesting regulations. Very close to Soviet SMG platoon regulations, but much more detailed. In Soviet is said that SMG gunners (automatchiki) should attack enemy from flank and rear, but how? German manual develops Soviet (actually late WW I German) ideas in some way.  I like German manuals for their focus on details. Soviets translated Kühlwein book about battalion tactics in Russian (Gefechtstaktik des verstärkten Bataillons) before the war, I really enjoyed reading.

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