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German Tactical Doctrine, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 8, December 20, 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.]


Examples of four different German orders are given below in English translation.1 Though slightly awkward in expression, the literal rendering tends to give the reader a more accurate conception, both as to contents and as to structure. The English text is, however, much longer than the original German, partly because several English words are sometimes needed to carry the thought expressed in a single German word and partly because most of the German military abbreviations have been translated in full.


OPERATIONS SECTION NO.--  12.4., 19152


1. Our rear guards withdrew before weak enemy attacks. A long hostile column was observed marching east on the road: BUREN--WINNENBERG--FÜRSTENBERG (head of column here by 1700).

2. I Army Corps continues to retire on CASSEL on 13.4., marching to position behind the FULDA RIVER, where it will establish a defensive position.

3. The 2d and 3d Inf Divs will march upon CASSEL at 0400, with the heads of their main bodies crossing the line: VOLKMARSEN--WOLFHAGEN--IPPINGHAUSEN and the northernmost column of the 2d Inf. Div. over EHRINGEN--OBERELSUNGEN--DÜRNBERG.

The rear guards evacuate their present positions at 0300 and withdraw to the line: VOLKMARSEN--WOLFHAGEN--NAUMBERG. This line will be held at least until 13.4, 1400.

4. The 1st Inf Div withdraws upon HANN MUNDEN. It will cover the wing and flank of the I Corps Boundary between 1st and 2d Divs: BILLENGSHAUSEN--RHODEN--BREUNA--EHRSTEN--SPEELE--WEDEMUNDEN (all to 1st Div).

5. Corps Commander goes at 0300 to DÜRNBERG, in the course of the morning to ESCHERODA. Reports to DÜRNBERG after 0500.

Sent by Officer
in passenger car.
Lt General



Operations No. 3 21.4., 1900


1. In the hostile positions along the Corps front there have been no essential changes noted and enemy will continue to defend his position. Improvement of fieldworks continues. Aerial photographs of the front taken on the morning 20.4. will be distributed today to all units down to include battalions. In the sector GR VARGULA--ALTGURNA along the UMSTRUTT RIVER, work on a rearward defensive position has been noted.

2. The I Army Corps attacks at X hour on 24.4. in its present combat zone and destroys the hostile force south of the UMSTRUTT. Strong forces will follow the Corps in the 2d line available to exploit a break-through.

Attack Objective of the Corps on 24.4:

High ground northeast and north of ASCHARA-WIEGLEBEN--STEIN B--north edge GR HARTH.

3. Reconnaissance.--a. Reconnaissance Echelon (H) 3 (Air) reconnoiter the Corps Combat Zone to include the UMSTRUTT RIVER during 22.4 and 23.4. Observe particularly for special hostile arrangements of dispositions. On 23.4 especially reconnoiter to locate hostile reserves, tank barriers, tank defense weapons, and tank units.

From daybreak 24.4 on are attached to:
       7th Division     1 Airplane
       8th Division     3 Airplanes
Planes available and prepared to fly missions beginning 24.4., 0430, from landing field FRIEDRICHRODA. Drop and pick-up field maintained until 24.4., 0430, as follows:
       by 7 Div at ALS B
       by 8 Div southwest HAIN B

b. Battle reconnaissance by the divisions: through continual surveillance of the battlefield day and night, from 22.4 until 24.4, establish the location of changes involving hostile observation posts, antitank defense, MLR, artillery positions, road blocks and barriers, reserves. For reasons of deception the activity of patrols will not be increased.

4. Organization and Combat Zones for the Attack:
       Right: 9th Div
       Middle: 7th Div
                     Corps Arty Btry 39
                     Hv Arty Btry 35 (only until 24.4, X+2 hours)
       Left: 8th Div
                     Tk Brig 12
                     Army Arty Regt 101
                     Smoke Bn 102
                     between 9th and 7th Divs: east edge ROCHHEIM--west edge ASCHARA--east edge ECKARTSLEBEN--east edge ILLEBEN--275.
                     between 7th and 8th Divs: east edge BRUHEIM--west edge GRUMBACH (STEIN B to 7th Div)--west edge UFHOVEN--west edge THAMSBRÜCK.
                     between 8th Div and I Army Corps: east edge GROSSENBEHRINGEN--west slope 367--west part of GR. HARTH--west edge ALTERSTEDT--east edge GROSSENGÖTTERN.

5. Conduct of Attack.--a. General.

After an artillery preparation of 45 minutes, which will cover the approach of the infantry to the line: NESSE--BIEBER, the infantry along the entire Corps front will attack, crossing over the NESSE-BIEBER line at X hour. Simultaneously in the 8th Div combat zone the landing waves of the Tank Brigade will cross the same line.

As 1st Attack Objective, the Corps and the neighboring divisions of the I and II Corps, will win the line: 334 (northeast from MOLSCHLEBEN)--ESCHENBERGEN--292 (north from HAUSEN)--309 (northeast from WESTHAUSEN)--north edge of WANGENHEIM--278 (west from WANGENHEIM)--LOH B--TUNGEDAER HEIGHTS--LEICH B--edge of wood northwest GROSSEN--BEHRINGEN--WARTEN B.

The Tank Brigade will drive its attack through to include the hostile artillery positions in the area: TUNGEDA--REICHENBACH--OSTERBEHRÜNGEN--LOH B. Continuation of the attack after reaching 1st Objective only upon order of the Corps.

b. Coordination of Time.

X-45 until X-40 minutes: Surprise fire by all artillery to disturb hostile communications, reserves, and headquarters. Infantry and Tank Brigade begin to move into attack positions.

X-40 until X-20 minutes: Counterbattery fire by all artillery.

X-20 until X hour: Artillery fire upon hostile forward defensive positions. Smoking of B-STELLEN.3 The 3d Div will smoke particularly the forest edge north of GROSSBEHRINGEN.

X hour
Infantry and initial waves of Tank Brigade cross the line: NESSE--BIEBER B. Transfer of artillery fire to the hostile artillery positions rearward corresponding to the advance of the infantry attack. Simultaneously a box barrage around the point of penetration fired by the artillery of the I and II Corps.

Early advance of positions of the mass of the light artillery to Hill 309 (9th Div)--278 (7th Div)--LOH B--THÜNGEDAER-LORCH B (8th Div) will be arranged and carried out.

The Tank Brigade will, after reaching the 1st Objective and capturing the hostile artillery south of GR HARTH, assemble in the area BRÜHEIM--FRIEDRICHWERTH awaiting further orders of the Corps Commander.

6. The Corps Artillery beginning with the artillery preparation will maintain fire, by the 150-mm artillery, upon the road: GRAFENTONNA--LANGESALZA--GROSSENGÖTTERN.

7. Corps Antiaircraft Artillery--Part of Army AA Art Regt 104 and Army Pursuit Squadron: protect the preparation for the attack--defend the assembly areas from hostile air observation and air attack. Special protection of the tank assembly ordered in paragraph 5b will be provided.

8. Corps Reserves.
       29th Inf
       Corps AT Bn
       Corps Engr Bn

The 29th Inf will reconnoiter for covered approaches to and possible assembly areas in the area: FROTTSTEDT.

9. The Divisions will utilize to the fullest extent cover and camouflage in preparation for the attack.

Divisions will submit their attack and fire plans to the Corps Commander not later than 23.4, 1200.

X hour will be announced at 23.4, 2300.

10. The Corps Command Post will remain at FRIEDRICHRODA until 24.4 (X-30 when it will be established at HAIN B).

General of Infantry





1. Res Inf Regt 19 (with 1st Bn Res Arty Regt 7, 1st Co Res Engr Bn 7 attached) is attached to the X Army Corps (Hq at WITTCHENDORF). It is expected that Res Inf Regt 19 will be employed on the west flank of the X Army Corps in the vicinity of SCHLEITZ.

2. Reinfd Res Inf Regt 19 will be transported in trucks (Trk Bn II) via SCHKÖLEN--EISENBERG--HERMSDORF to AUMA. March to begin from HAUMBURG not later than 2.12., 0000.

The Commander of the Truck Battalion II will report at 1630 in NAUMBURG to the Commander of the Res Inf Regt 19. The loading of troops into trucks in the bivouac area is not possible before 2200.

After the troops are unloaded in the new area, the Trk Bn II will march immediately to ZETZ.

3. The Commander of Res Inf Regt 19 will report at the COURT HOUSE in AUMA at 1.12., 0200, where he will receive further orders through the Commander of the X Corps.

(by Radio)
For the Commander-in-Chief



NUMBER --     


(to Division Order Number-- General Staff Section Ia, 8.10., 1930)

1. Ammunition.--The supply of ammunition for the rear guards will be provided from the balances now in hands of troops and from the additional amounts to be delivered not later than 2200 to each regiment as follows:

       75,000 rifle cartridges
       1,000 hand grenades
       130 flares
       60 signal light cartridges
       680 light infantry mortar shells
       330 37-mm shells

The supply of ammunition for the artillery will be handled by the existing supply installations. Supply of anmnunition for the Division Reconnaissance Battalion will be handled by 1st Infantry Regiment.

As reserve for the rear guards, ammunition will be left back in the present ammunition distributing point under guard, as follows:

       100,000 armor-piercing cartridges
       200 light infantry mortar shells
       300 37-mm shells
       600 105-mm light howitzer shells

The commander of the rear guard is responsible for the proper distribution of this reserve ammunition.

Place and time for issue of ammunition to the troops marching to the rear will be indicated later.

2. Rations.--Rations and reduced iron rations for the rear guards will be left behind under guard as follows:
       For rear guards in east sector: INGERSLEBEN CHURCH.
       For remaining rear guards: GROSSRETTBACH CHURCH.
These rations will be collected by the rear-guard troops on 9.10., 0400.

Rations for remaining troops for 9.10. will be delivered to the bivouacs of March Groups A, B, and C, by means of supply column (animal-drawn) before 9.10., 0600. These supply columns will then remain with the march groups.

3. Medical Service (Men).

       Collecting point (severely wounded) at FRIEDENSTADT.
       Collecting point (lightly wounded) at GAMSTADT.

These collecting stations will be closed at 2100. The Med Co and Mtr Amb Plat (less section remaining with rear guard) will march to GRÄFENRODA via KLEIMRETTBACH--BITTSTADT--GRAWINKEL.

Collecting point for wounded will be established in GOSSEL to open not later than 9.10., 0700.

The F Hosp will remain in ARNSTADT until 9.10., 0400, and will then be marched to SUHL. Wounded will be transported from ARNSTADT up to including 9.10., 0400, in hospital trains.

To take care of unforeseen losses (matériel) and wounded within the rear guards, one-half plat of the Med Co and 5 Mtr Ambs will remain in FRIEDENSTADT available to the Comdr of the rear guard.

4. Medical Service (Animals).        Collecting point at ERMSTEDT will remain open until 2100.
       Collecting point will be opened at GOSSEL not later than 9.10, 0700.

Animal park and hospital will be marched at 2100 to the vicinity of GEHLBERG.

5. Motor Supplies (Gas--Oil--Grease--Repairs).

Filling station for passenger cars and trucks remain open until 2200 at present location, then move to GRÄFENRODA immediately.

Motor Repair Company will march at 2300 to DÖRNBURG (south of GRÄFENRODA).

6. Salvage.--Salvage materials not yet delivered to the present division salvage collecting point, will be carried back by troops as far as is practicable. The mobility of trains and transport with troops will not be sacrificed for this purpose.

7. Trains.

       Combat trains march at 2000 on OBERSHOF.
       Supply trains (Mtz) march at 2000 on ELGERSBURG.
       Supply trains (animal): see paragraph 2.

Same as Division Order No. --

1 Examples of German combat orders in the German language are included in "The German Rifle Company, For Study and Translation," Information Bulletin, No. 15, May 16, 1942, pp. 295-307.
2 This is the date and hour of the order, namely April 12, at 1915 (7.15 p.m.). Dates and time are similarly indicated throughout this and the other orders presented here.
3 Observation posts.

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