How the leader of a German paratroop platoon of 40 men would dispose
men and weapons in an attack on a defended hill is outlined in the following information
which was obtained from reliable sources.
It is assumed that the position to be attacked is defended by one heavy
machine gun, several light machine guns, a heavy and a light mortar, plus light
The German platoon deploys in five lines with the platoon leader 50 or more
yards ahead of the first line. From this forward position the platoon leader controls
movement and fire.
One report indicates that the five lines are made up as follows (see companying sketch).
First line: 3 machine-gun crews
Second line: Light mortar, 6 men including ammunition bearers and riflemen, squad leader on the right
Third line: Light mortar, 6 men including ammunition bearers and riflemen; squad leader on the right
Fourth line: 5 riflemen, 1 ammunition bearer, squad leader at the left
Fifth line: 3 machine gun crews.
Lines are 50 yards apart. Fire and movement discipline are strict. The
men advance 10 yards at a time, taking advantage of all natural cover. Machine-gun
crews must always have three men and the squad leader gives the order of
replacement if any crew members become casualties. Machine guns No. 4, 5 and
6 (see sketch) cover the advance and the setting up of machine guns No. 1, 2 and
3, then move forward to assist in the final assault.
It is presumed that the formation described herein was used to meet the
particular situation prevailing at the time the engagement took place, and is not
to be considered as consonant with normal German offensive measures.