[Lone Sentry: The Development of German Defensive Tactics in Cyrenaica, WW2 War Department Publication]
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The Development of German Defensive Tactics in Cyrenaica—1941
Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 5, October 16, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. 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.]


The frontier warfare resulted in a flood of theory on defense, much of which originated with Rommel and his three major generals, Neumann-Silkow, Summermann, and Ravenstein.


Neumann-Silkow emphasized the value of antitank trenches, as at Point 208, which remain tenable even when an enemy has penetrated a defense area. He ordered them to be dug at all positions. He declared the personality of the stützpunkt commander (undoubtedly thinking of the fine showmanship of Bach) to be one of the most important elements in stützpunkt defense.

For special emphasis, he singled out the camouflage of Point 208, where the British had not seen the position even after penetrating the defended area. He directed that stone walls be removed and used in future only on dummy positions, and that 88-mm guns should open fire before the 37- and 50-mm weapons, which should remain hidden and fire armor-piercing ammunition at short ranges.

The artillery in defense, he said, has three principal missions: to attack concentrations of tanks and motor transport; to disperse columns pushing past stützpunkte; and to lay a barrage on infantry attacks. It was not to fire upon individual tanks except at close range, when the position had been penetrated. All artillery (including antiaircraft) must be prepared to move rapidly out of the stützpunkt in an offensive role.

In the counterattack, artillery was to fire upon tank concentrations, infantry in trucks, enemy batteries, and retreating forces of all kinds. The 88-mm guns were to be used for opening a tank battle. German tanks were not to halt while under enemy fire, but were either to make a sudden dash in one direction or to disperse.

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