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The German Armored Division
Military Intelligence Service, Information Bulletin No. 18, June 15, 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.]

Chapter 2

6. The armored division normally fights in the framework of the armored corps, but is also suited to carry out independent operations, in which case reinforcement with motorized infantry and artillery is usually necessary.

7. Its supreme role is to obtain decision in battle. Within the framework of the armored corps it can carry out the following tasks:

a. Break through an enemy protective screen to make early contact with the enemy's main force;

b. Obtain early possession of topographical features and sectors of decisive importance for further fighting;

c. Gain surprise in an attack on the advancing enemy to frustrate his plans and take the initiative from him;

d. Attack an enemy incompletely prepared for defense;

e. Attack on a narrow front against a prepared enemy;

f. Restore momentum to an attack which has come to a standstill;

g. Break through on a wide front against a demoralized enemy;

h. Exploit success and complete the destruction of the enemy by deep penetration or flank attack;

i. Pursue a defeated enemy;

j. Carry out strategic envelopment;

k. Attack to destroy enemy tank units;

1. Cooperate with parachute and air-borne troops.

8. The armored division acting independently can carry out the following strategic tasks:

a. Reconnaissance in force in cooperation with strategic aerial reconnaissance;

b. Early occupation of sectors important for further operations, of politically and economically important localities, and of industrial installations;

c. Delaying the enemy advance, providing a protective screen, or acting as a flank guard to a larger unit.

9. The armored division is equally suitable for breaking through a prepared position when the position is strengthened by isolated permanent fortifications. The cooperation of medium artillery and bombardment aviation then becomes necessary.

In an attack on a prepared position, the speed and mobility of an armored division cannot be exploited. There is a danger that tanks may be exposed to such heavy casualties against a prepared defense that the further employment of the division becomes impossible.

Armored divisions are therefore only to be used for breaking through a permanent front if infantry divisions are not available, if the delay in bringing them forward may result in losing an opportunity to exploit the success with armored divisions well forward, or if the enemy is already demoralized. The armored division must then be reinforced by motorized infantry, artillery, and motorized engineers, weapons capable of assaulting concrete works, and smoke troops. They must also be supported by bombardment aviation.

10. The armored division can attack across a river. The necessary amount of reinforcement by other arms, especially engineers, depends on the strength of the enemy and his defense, and on the width of the river.

11. The role of the armored division in a protective task is generally offensive. It carries out counterattacks to relieve parts of the front under heavy pressure, breaks up enemy tank attacks by surprise thrusts, is employed against the flanks of an enemy who has broken through, or attacks the enemy from the flanks or rear while he is held frontally.

If the armored division has to take part in a defensive operation, which will be exceptional, every effort must be made to relieve it as quickly as possible by infantry units.

12. The armored division can also be used independently to screen the withdrawal of large units. This task is usually carried out offensively.

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