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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.]


Troops must use every opportunity and means to deny information to the enemy. Otherwise the essential element in the attack, surprise, is lost. Concealment is most effective when the enemy requires a long time to discover that he has been deceived.


a. Hostile Observation

Hostile observers and staffs can see great distances from high points (observation posts) with field glasses and telescopes; therefore, (a) when troop movements are contemplated, study the map carefully to insure cover against possible hostile observation; (b) conceal movements, positions, and installations by a screen of security forces to the front and flanks.

b. Offensive Concealment

Security in all directions must be considered. Concealment may be either offensive or defensive. If offensive, cavalry and other highly mobile combat units are launched against the hostile reconnaissance forces to drive them back. This method is effective, but occasionally hostile patrols are able to infiltrate or go around the attacking force.

c. Defensive Concealment

Defensive concealment is particularly effective when the terrain contributes natural obstacles such as a river, a chain of lakes, a swamp, or some similar area. The stronger the natural obstacles, the weaker the force employed to protect the avenues of approach, and also the stronger the force that can be held as mobile reserve. Reconnaissance units are sent far forward, operating energetically and according to opportunity against the hostile reconnaissance force.

d. False Appearances

In situations where it is desired to deceive the enemy and impart the impression of great strength, circulate false rumors, execute false marches, and send troops against hostile reconnaissance forces with instructions to fire a great deal of ammunition rapidly, to tie up the hostile communications net, to disturb radio transmission, and to organize deceptive transmission on radio or wire.


Strong activity on the part of the hostile air force requires careful consideration for the concealment of troops and installations, particularly when antiaircraft means are lacking or very limited. The fact that photographs reveal every detail must not be overlooked. Artificial means of concealment, such as camouflage, smoke, or nets, are effective; but it is more important to survey carefully the surrounding area. Avoid constructions and artificial works, sharp color contrasts, and lights. Realize, on the other hand, that measures for concealment hinder the troops, render more difficult, freedom of movement and distribution of orders, and through night marches and detours cause loss of time and decrease the capacity to fight.


Select rest areas in wooded locations or in several villages. Place horses, tanks, vehicles, etc., under trees or in stalls or courts, but avoid regular parking or parade-ground distribution. Regulate traffic in the area, keeping the main roads and intersections free.


a. Loading and Unloading

In rail movements it is practically impossible to conceal loading and unloading areas from hostile air reconnaissance. When possible, march the troops by night to a village near the loading station, permit them to rest, and then move them on in smaller groups to the village where the loading station is located. Load rapidly and vacate the vicinity promptly.

b. Road Movements

In road movements, the concealment given by darkness is most effective. Arrange the departure of troops front bivouac at the beginning of darkness, with arrival in the new area before daybreak. When marching by day, select routes leading through woods, villages, or other partially covered areas. The shadows of trees along the roads offer excellent means for concealing columns, including vehicles. Bridge construction cannot be concealed, but equipment can be so disposed prior to the actual construction that there is little or no tell-tale indication of the preparations.


Carry out development and deployment, or either, under the concealment of darkness. If the situation requires execution by daylight, seek covered areas. Utilize camouflage to conceal the positions of guns, of headquarters, and of observation posts.

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