Here are some worth-while hints in simple language about the command of
an infantry company carried in armored vehicles, which appears below as a
translation from the French version of the original German. The document was
entitled "The Thirty Commandments for the Command of an Infantry Company
Carried on Armored Vehicles".
* * *
1. Before a march, give the itinerary of the company in writing to each
chief of section and to each march unit commander. Unnecessary mistakes
occur in Russia because place names have been misunderstood.
2. Maintain liaison between front and rear. A company that arrives a little
late, but compactly, has more value than a company commander arriving by himself.
3. The slowest vehicle, if it is absolutely indispensable for combat, determines
the speed of your company. Place it behind your own vehicle.
4. Unit commanders, even in bad weather or at night, make observations
standing. Otherwise, experience has shown that a commander who is seated
makes poor observations.
5. To negotiate narrow or difficult places, unit commanders should
alight and guide their vehicles.
6. When field or combat trains are with the company, as a rule place the
armored vehicles in the rear. In this way, they can get stalled cars started, pick
up the baggage of these cars and assure security to the rear.
7. When the roads are in bad condition, place each vehicle of your train
as well as each motor sidecar between armored vehicles and see that their towing
cable is ready (on trucks place the cable on the front axle and on the strut of the
side-cars motor). Load the motorcycles on the vehicles.
8. Assign the most capable officer to ride at the rear of the company. He
prevents the other vehicles from going two abreast without authorization. A motorcycle
follows behind, which from time to time goes ahead and gives the officer
information about distances and difficulties on the march. When a great distance
lies between you and the preceding unit, have a second motorcycle ride behind it. This
establishes liaison with your vehicle ahead, and indicates the route to take at crossroads.
9. No permission should be given to stray vehicles that wish to get into
your column; they should follow in the rear; if not, they may leave the road at
some point and carry with them all the rest of the column.
10. Fight the tendency of vehicles to advance several meters when there
are interruptions during the march. This causes gasoline wastage and wear on
motors. Allow the unit ahead to proceed to the distance of visibility and do not
yourself leave until that moment arrives. Do not forget that you are responsible
to your battalion commander for the maintenance of liaison. Motor couriers
should be used for this purpose.
11. When there are interruptions, each unit commander should go ahead to
determine the cause. Most frequently it is a driver who has fallen asleep.
12. In the course of night marches, interrupted by numerous halts, form a
motorcycle awakening detachment. Each time the column starts they will awaken
the drivers. In this way your column remains compact. Likewise, notify the
column in your rear when the march is resumed.
13. The tactical chiefs have nothing to do with driving the vehicles.
14. When the company passes through defiles or gullies, send some vehicles
to the flanks to observe on the other side of the screening terrain. Make liaison
15. When you place your company under cover in a wooded area, place it
rather 50 meters too far towards the interior than a centimeter too
close to the outside.
16. You will not again see vehicles sent singly on patrol, except under
favorable conditions. A swamp or carburetor trouble, may be the occasion of their
loss; moreover, always send two or more of them on patrol.
17. Never engage your company in action without previous reconnaissance
of the terrain.
18. Utilize your speed and the power of your heavy weapons to advance and
19. When your company attacks behind the tanks, keep it at a distance from
them in crossing the zone of barrage fire, to avoid artillery fire concentration.
20. Support the tanks as closely as possible with all weapons, in combat inside
the enemy's defensive zone. Do not forget to provide protection to your rear.
21. The submachine gun of the driver should not remain on its support. It
is a valuable weapon for close combat against vehicles.
22. The fire of rear vehicles ought not to be dangerous for the crews of
forward vehicles that fight on foot.
23. When there is danger from mines, follow the tracks of vehicles that
have just passed.
24. Every enemy antitank weapon has superiority over you because it is
always ready to fire. Compensate for this superiority by rapid travel, by
utilizing the terrain, making short stops to fire, and by actively concentrating your
shots. When you have located an antitank gun close to you, charge it while firing
and destroy it.
25. Do not give the order to alight from the vehicles until the fire from
enemy antitank guns, or the terrain make it necessary, and at a time when you
cannot be outflanked. Always utilize the protection afforded by your armor.
26. If you establish yourself with vehicles at a strong-point for defense
protect yourself during the night by sending out advance patrols. From time to time
run the motors for a quarter of an hour so as to be ready to fight from the vehicles.
If the enemy attacks, remove the field of fire from the vicinity of friendly troops
and utilize your mobility.
27. Do not permit reserve gasoline containers to be carried on the outside
of the vehicles. One tracer bullet is enough to set them on fire.
28. On the defensive keep your vehicles under cover and group them at a
minimum by sections, in order to permit them, with the driver and gunner in the
vehicle, to move quickly to the attack.
29. Use your radio-telephone sparingly. When the motor is stopped, it
discharges the battery in five hours. However, if you must use the radio-telephone,
turn the motor over for a quarter of an hour every hour.
30. Your radio-telephone is of no service to you unless the unit commanders
have the receiver and speaker in position; otherwise the alarm, when enemy cars
are approaching, arrives too late.