[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.]



Summermann worked out an elaborate timetable for individual weapons in the defense of a stützpunkt. By the time he wrote his report, the individual positions on the frontier had been vastly improved in the light of the recent battle, and he believed them to be impregnable (in the German sense, that is, tenable until the counterattack by tanks). The governing principle was all-around antitank defense with every weapon, including rifles, that can damage any part of a tank. Summarized, the system was this:

First phase.—Antiaircraft and antitank guns open fire on attacking tanks, the heaviest fire being directed on masses of tanks and tanks attacking gaps in the mine fields. The artillery fires on enemy artillery accompanying the tanks and on all active batteries; if there is no artillery accompanying the tanks, the artillery fires on tank masses. The infantry defends with heavy machine guns, light machine guns, and rifles against low-altitude air attack, there being no other weapon then available against enemy aircraft.

Second phase.—Antiaircraft and antitank guns, then guns and antitank rifles, fire on the tanks, aiming now at the nearest, often firing very low over the heads of their own troops. The artillery fires on the enemy artillery covering the attack of the motorized infantry, and fires also on any masses concentrating behind the tanks. The infantry divides its attention between enemy aircraft and the tracks of tanks.

Third phase.—Antitank guns continue to fire on tanks, concentrating on those that have penetrated the positions. This fire naturally endangers the defending infantry, but is less dangerous to them than the enemy tanks. The artillery continues to fire counterbattery and on targets of opportunity. The infantry now finds its position eased by the arrival of friendly aviation over the stützpunkt, and turns to fighting tanks with hand-to-hand weapons—bottles of gasoline, grenades, explosives—at the same time engaging the enemy infantry.

Enemy penetrations into subsectors are driven out by counterattacks of strong forces in pincer formation. Penetrations between subsectors are blocked by antitank guns supported by artillery and infantry.

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