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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.]


In a retreat-retirement, contact with the enemy is broken off for the purpose of seeking more favorable terrain or conditions for the resumption of offensive action. A commander may be forced by the trend of circumstances to retire, or he may, of his own free will, elect to retire. Only the greatest emergency is considered to justify retreat. Local reverses should not be taken seriously. No second-in-command upon receipt of unfavorable information is authorized to order a retreat. If the situation indicates the necessity, he must report to a higher commander and state his intentions to retire with the reasons therefor.

A retreat should be effected under cover of darkness, with the greatest secrecy. If troops are told the purpose--to improve their future chance of success--their morale will not be adversely affected. Fresh troops if available should be given the mission of rear and flank guards to protect the assembly and movement of the command. If the enemy is employing motorized or mechanized troops, special provision will have to be made to protect the flanks with antitank weapons and road blocks.

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