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The German Motorized Infantry Regiment
Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 4, October 17, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Special Series 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.]


71. Attack is preceded as a rule by deployment. Deployment increases readiness for action and enable units to adopt formations best adapted for the coming operation. The order to deploy is given usually by a higher commander. It can also be given by the regimental or battalion commander when he commands an advance guard or an independent column.

If a formation of motorized infantry is surprised by the enemy, or forced off the road by enemy aircraft or artillery, it will deploy on the order of its commander or of the local commanders. The deployment will usually be carried out on the move.

72. In deploying the units, roads and trails must be utilized as far as possible, in order to advance quickly and to save wear and tear on the vehicles. The cross-country performance of all vehicles in the regiment, however, allows movement to be continued off the roads and tracks without any great reduction in speed, unless the terrain offers considerable obstacles.

When the tactical situation allows it, commanders during deployment will move in front of their units until the latter have taken off the positions allotted to them, after which they will join the forward companies.

Advanced headquarters follows the commanders; rear headquarters follows behind the unit.

73. When time is short, deployment will be carried out on signals; otherwise, on orders.

74. In deploying a regiment, battalions may be placed side by side, one behind the other, or echeloned.

In deploying a battalion, company commanders will lead their companies as far as possible in close order until allotted positions are reached, and then only will they deploy their units.

75. The formations adopted when advancing deployed depend upon the mission, the ground, and the anticipated enemy resistance. When the situation is obscure, the troops will, as a rule, be moved up in a narrow, deep formation. If information about the enemy and the mission give clear indication regarding the conduct of the battle, battalions or companies can be moved up side by side in deployed order.

The choice of formation to be adopted by units will be left to their commanders. Companies will remain as long as possible in narrow, deep formations in order to reduce the difficulties of moving across country and to escape observation.

76. The formations adopted by motorized infantry on wheeled vehicles are to a great extent dependent on the terrain. They will make considerable use of the roads.

77. A battalion mounted on vehicles can be signalled to adopt either of two formations:

(a) Battalion arrowhead formation;

(b) Battalion inverted arrowhead formation.

(For an example of battalion deployment, see Appendix 2.)

Other formations can be ordered when required by the terrain and situation.

78. In battalion arrowhead formation, one company occupies the front line, and two companies the second line.

In battalion inverted arrowhead formation, two companies are in the front line and one company in the second line.

79. Appendix 3 contains a guide for the distances and intervals to be maintained between units. At night, and in wooded country, there must be close contact.

80. The machine gun company and the heavy weapons company follow behind the motorized infantry companies. Their commanders hurry forward immediately after deployment to the battalion commander, who will issue orders regarding the positions companies are to occupy, or regarding protection.

81. Antitank guns allotted or attached on the march will remain with companies during deployment, unless the situation demands the concentration of antitank defense.

82. The order to deploy will, in general, contain:

(a) Enemy and own situation.

(b) Decision,

(c) Reconnaissance,

(d) Orders for

(1) the forward battalions or companies—if necessary, orders to occupy important topographical features;

(2) the units with support weapons, regarding protection of the advance in deployed order;

(3) the battalions or companies which are to follow in rear—if necessary, instructions for reconnaissance and protection of the flanks.

(e) The disposal of forward transport.

(f) The position of the commander.

(g) Communications.

83. Battle reconnaissance must be initiated at latest with the commencement of deployment. When deploying on signals, each company sends out a patrol to the front and to an open flank. The patrols remain within sight. These patrols must be supplemented as early as possible by a full-scale reconnaissance.

84. If the units ordered for the deployment are lost, they will be regained during the advance.

If after deployment a force is compelled to pass through a defile there must be no bunching either in front of or on the far side of the defile. To prevent this from happening, the force will be dispersed in depth in good time. On coming out of the defile, the original formation must be resumed.

85. When advancing deployed, the motorized infantry units remain on their vehicles as long as enemy fire and the ground permit. If single enemy antitank weapons are encountered, they must be quickly neutralized by heavy weapons on self-propelled mounts and antitank guns. If battle reconnaissance reveals that obstacles occupied by the enemy cannot be avoided by a detour, detachments will dismount and attack on foot, while the remaining forces keep under cover in their vehicles.

86. Observed enemy artillery fire and extensive natural obstacles usually compel the whole formation to dismount and to advance deployed.

87. The decision to dismount is, as a rule, left to the company commander.

88. The commanders of formations order dismounting only if their knowledge of the general situation leads them to suppose that fighting on vehicles holds no prospect of success and they have decided to launch a general attack on foot.

89. Armored motorized infantry companies generally undertake their own protection when dismounting. Unarmored motorized infantry must be protected during dismounting by heavy weapons, especially antitank guns.

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