German operational mobility in WW II.

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German operational mobility in WW II.

Post by tigre » Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:36 am

Hello to all people :D; here goes this article on that subject for those who may be interested....

German operational mobility in WW II.

World War II witnessed the armored spearheads of the German Wehrmacht slash through the numerically superior armies of Europe with r elative ease and speed. It was a new application of a classic military theory -- Napoleon's concept of marching separately and striking together. This rapid, elastic concentration of forces in time and space was the lightning ' warfare known as Blitzkrieg. [33] (See enclosure 1, the Blitz Transport Plan] The doctrine of Blitzkrieg emphasized the indirect approach, capitalizing on the ability of armored forces t o concentrate quickly and strike hard where least expected. [34] As an operational concept it gave the Wehrmacht the ability to fight outnumbered and win. [35].

Writing after the war, General von Senger und Etterlin considered that German corps and divisional size units fought at the operational level of war. He stated, "German operational mobility at divisional and corps level led not only t o the victories of the Blitzkrieg but likewise to the German Army's success in keeping the superior Soviet Army off German soil for nearly four years." [37].

At the operational level, the Wehrmacht was organized into army groups, armies, corps, and divisions. Divisions were the largest units in the German Army which had a prescribed organization. [38]. Considering the combat power demonstrated by these divisions, the assertion they were an operational level force may not be unreasonable. Colonel Trevor N. Dupuy found that throughout World War II, the German ground forces regularly inflicted casualties at a 50% higher rate than the opposing British and American units and at a 300% higher rate then the opposing Russian units. He determined that one German division was a match for at least three Russian divisions of comparable size and firepower. [39].

The German Army firmly established its doctrine for operational maneuver in World War II. This doctrine "avoided giving detailed directions and confined itself to conventional principles-which applied to all arms and services." [40] Command responsibilities were satisfied by issuing broad directives which gave freedom of action to subordinate commanders. Emphasis was placed on command-leadership and not control-management. [41] The movement directives issued by higher commanders were broad in scope and included order of march and traffic control measures.

Overall responsibility for the control of marches and the regulation of traffic rested with the commander. He generally marched near the head of the main body and organized the march column for security purposes by dividing it into an advance guard (Vorhut), main body (Gros), and rear guard (Nachut). On the march, each front-line division, whether motorized or armored, was given either an all-weather road or a designated sector of advance. When a German corps or division was engaged in combat, it was almost always reinforced by units from its General Headquarters. When a General Headquarters or other unit was to use the same route at the same time as a particular division, they were subordinated to the division which controlled the route for the duration of the move. [42] The only exception to this was when the terrain included forests or swamps. Then the senior command would not allow its non-divisional units to move forward until the last elements of the division had cleared a predesignated phase line. The units would then proceed i n close formation strictly observing road intervals between vehicles and their assigned rate of march. [43].

Source: THE COMBAT SUPPORT ROLE IN OPERATIONAL MOVEMENTS: ANOTHER STEP IN LEARNING THE ART OF OPERATIONAL MANEUVER. A Monograph by Major Daniel G. Karis Military Police. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Second Term 88-89.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: German operational mobility in WW II.

Post by tigre » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:32 am

Hello to all people :D; here goes a little more about this article........

German operational mobility in WW II (2º part).

Time and space requirements were carefully calculated to prevent traffic congestion and disruption.[44] A German motorized division could maintain an average daily march of between 90 and 150 miles while an armored division achieved between 60 t o 90 miles a day. [45] March itineraries, Aufmarschse, and march tables, Aufmarschgraphikon, were used t o integrate and schedule the movement of large units. [46] Accuracy was considered critical. The failure to precisely compute time and space requirements or to consider the impact of the march on men and materiel would adversely affect the implementation of tactical plans.

To ensure compliance with the march itineraries, a traffic echelon was established as part of the transport plan. [47] See enclosure 3, the Blitz Transport Plan: Detail: Military traffic was controlled both by unit march discipline and external traffic control. [48] Traffic control personnel wore red-orange brassards and military police, Feldgendarmerie, involved in traffic control were distinguished by metal gorgets. [49] Traffic control was enhanced by friendly air observation of the march column. Air observers would report the location of traffic congestions, any unusually prolonged halts, the crossing of phase lines by the various units, and the over-all progress of the movement. [50]

Traffic control was further enhanced by the appointment of a special traffic control officer, the Stabsofficier-fuer Marschueberwachung, commonly called the Stoma. This officer was the staff point of contact for the coordination of traffic planning and was granted both judicial and executive authority. [51] The Stoma would be briefed by the commander on his intent and overall plan. The Stoma was then granted full authority to handle the traffic control situation to support the plan however he saw fit . [52] The Stoma was responsible for the even and uninterrupted flow of the movement, for route marking, road maintenance, vehicle recovery, and rerouting. In order to enforce strict traffic discipline and to prevent any column or single vehicle from moving in the opposite direction, he was given special authority within the scope of his assignment. Even officers of higher rank had to follow his instructions. [53]

As campaigns continued and the experience of German field commanders increased, they recognized the continuing importance of traffic control to operations and appointed a permanent special staff section for highway traffic control. This section, commonly referred as the G-3/Traffic Regulation and Control Office (TRACO), was responsible for rapidly adjusting the standing operating procedures to the changing combat conditions. During a movement, the TRACO exercised temporary jurisdiction over all the various type troops that were involved in completing the movement. This included military police, motorcycle messengers, interpreters, supply personnel, signal troops, engineers, scouts, medical personnel, and other combat support elements. The TRACO was the sole responsible agency for the distribution and employment of all personnel assigned traffic functions.[54]

Source: THE COMBAT SUPPORT ROLE IN OPERATIONAL MOVEMENTS: ANOTHER STEP IN LEARNING THE ART OF OPERATIONAL MANEUVER. A Monograph by Major Daniel G. Karis Military Police. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Second Term 88-89.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: German operational mobility in WW II.

Post by John W. Howard » Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:33 pm

Hello Raul:
I love your postings, especially this one :D Do you have a library the size of a small factory?? Just wondering where you get all of this stuff :wink: Best wishes.
John W. Howard

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Re: German operational mobility in WW II.

Post by tigre » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:37 am

Hello to all people :D; thanks for your kind comments John, I like to go wherever the dust grows over the books and take a look there...........because I know that always I'll find something amazing :wink:. Now the article follows..........................

German operational mobility in WW II (3º part).

To accomplish an operational movement, adequate communications had to be provided between headquarters elements, traffic control, and towing details. [55] Before a march would begin, a trunk telephone line would be extended as far forward as possible. A signal unit would be designated to march with the advance guard in order to establish necessary wire communications at key points. If the march was along several roads, the trunk line would be laid along the route of the division commander. In addition to the trunk line, the German commander would communicate using radios and messengers. Messengers, depending on the type of terrain, unit, or movement, were mounted on horses, bicycles, or motorcycles. [56] German commanders did not rely on lengthy, typewritten operations orders to implement a move. Orders were generally given face-to-face during discussions between field commanders or brief messages were sent out over the radio. [57]

To support a large scale movement, German commanders would conduct a reconnaissance, which covered a large area in great depth t o obtain the information required. Tasks performed by the reconnaissance included determining the location and activities of enemy forces, the location of rail concentrations, lines of communication, loading and unloading areas for army elements, and the construction of field and permanent fortifications.


This reconnaissance was carried out in two phases. The first phase was an aerial reconnaissance. Aerial observation and aerial photography were preliminary measures conducted along important roads and railroads. The second phase was conducted by the advance guard. It would be given a general direction in which to proceed and objectives to recon. [58] It would then report the presence of mines, roadblocks, and other obstacles, and the estimated time required for their removal, as well as possible detours around impassable or obstructed stretches of road. [59]

Al1 advance detachments were accompanied by an engineer echelon which repaired the worst stretches of road and placed out road and terrain markers to aid in orientation. [61] The engineer echelon would also support the movement by testing and repairing bridges, constructing bypasses around road craters, and repairing roads damaged by enemy action or the advancing - traffic . [61] At an early stage of the movement, construction units would work along the entire route, performing road maintenance and constructing bypasses, bridges, and corduroy roads. In addition, a highly mobile engineer unit was held in reserve to cope with special emergencies. [62]

Of greater concern to the Germans than route maintenance was air defense. As the Germans lost air superiority, they had to concern themselves with antiaircraft protective measures. To cope with the air threat the Germans marched at night or in open columns, Fliegermarschtiefe, so as to benefit from the protection of dispersion. Antiaircraft defense units were concentrated on key terrain features, providing protection to bridges, crossroads, and defiles. [63]

Allied air supremacy mandated that the Germans conduct movements only at night and without lights. Commanders were instructed to leave burned out vehicles on the road in order to attract allied pilots into wasting strafing and bombing runs. [64] Night movements exacerbated road capacity and increased movement times. The requirement for constant low-gear operations increased vehicle unserviceability rates and fuel consumption and considerably lowered the tonnage which could be moved. [65] Field expedients had to be used to overcome the problems involved in the movement of large forces. [66] To aid succeeding units in finding their way, directions were indicated by the use of marking tape, luminous paint, and tree and road markers. To provide orientation at night, vertical searchlight beams and even the firing of tracer ammunition proved satisfactory. [67]

Source: THE COMBAT SUPPORT ROLE IN OPERATIONAL MOVEMENTS: ANOTHER STEP IN LEARNING THE ART OF OPERATIONAL MANEUVER. A Monograph by Major Daniel G. Karis Military Police. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Second Term 88-89.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: German operational mobility in WW II.

Post by tigre » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:41 am

Hello to all :D; the end...........................

German operational mobility in WW II (4º and last part).

Based on their accomplishments, the German ground farces were effective in conducting operational movements in World War II. To summarize, the essence of German Blitztkrieg was the ability to concentrate forces quickly and to strike hard. The responsibility for the concentration and movement of operational forces rested with the German commander. To assist him, heappointed a special traffic control officer, the Stoma, and gave him judicial and executive authority to execute the movement within the given intent. Traffic control was of decisive importance to the movement of operational level forces and march discipline was essential for the speedy and proper concentration of large formations. A traffic echelon to control the march and an engineer echelon to reinforce the route were an established part of these formations.

Careful planning before a movement greatly facilitated traffic control. Time and space requirements were precisely calculated to prevent congestion .and disruption. Prior operational reconnaissance was conducted to obtain needed information and identify critical points that required surveillance and protection. Obstacles were removed and the route reinforced by the engineer echelon and trunk telephone lines were employed by signal personnel to effect communications. Enroute communications were facilitated by messengers and by radio, if listening silence was not imposed. The lack of air superiority made night movements the norm and innovation was encouraged in order to cope with any unforeseen circumstances.

German traffic control was tested during the protracted battles of World War II, especially against the Soviets on the Eastern front. German experience substantiated the fact that the integration of traffic control with engineer, signal, and antiaircraft units was of vital importance to the conduct of operational maneuver. Despite short falls in both men and equipment, the German Army was able to fight outnumbered against the Red Army successfully for years longer than what might have been expected.

40. Department of the Army, DA Pam 20-242, German Armored Traffic Control During
the Russian-campaign (1952), p. 1.
41. Runals, p. 36.
42. TM-E 30-451, p. IV-4 and IV-5.
43. Department of the Army, DA Pam 20-231, Combat in Russian Forests
and Swamps (1951), p. 16.
44. DA Pam 20-242, p. 5.
45. TM-E 30-451, p. VI-26.
46. Miksche, p. 91.
47. Ibid.
48. DA Pam 20-242, p. 7.
49. TM-E 30-451, pp. 11-100 h IV-5.
50. DA Pam 20-231, p. 16.
51. DA Pam 20-242, pp. 8-9.
52. Center f o r Army Lessons Learned, Combined Arms Training Activity, CALL Bulletin No. 1-87 (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combined Arms Training Activity, April 1987) p. 22.
53. DA Pam 20-231, 14.
54. DA Pam 20-242, pp. 8-9.
55. DA Pam 20-231, p. 14.
56. TM-E 30-451, p. IV-5.
57. Runals, p. 15.
58. TM-E 30-451, p. IV-2.
59. DA Pam 20-231, p. 13.
60. Ibid.
62. DA Pam 20-231, pp. 13-14.
63. TM-E 30-451, IV-5.
62. Ibid.
65. Headquarters, Northern Army Group Battlefield Tour-1985-
Offensives-in the Ardennes, December 1944 - January-1945 (Maastricht,
Holland: Headquarters, Northern Army Group, 1985) , p. 6-7.
66. DA Pam 20-242, p. 3.
67. DA Pam 20-231, 15.

Source: THE COMBAT SUPPORT ROLE IN OPERATIONAL MOVEMENTS: ANOTHER STEP IN LEARNING THE ART OF OPERATIONAL MANEUVER. A Monograph by Major Daniel G. Karis Military Police. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Second Term 88-89.

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: German operational mobility in WW II.

Post by tigre » Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:34 am

Hello to all :D; more...............

Ernst Volckheim and the early Reichswehr Mobile Force Doctrine.

Little known outside of professional military and historical circles, Volkheim is considered the foremost military academic influence on German tank war proponent, Heinz Guderian, because both Volckheim’s teaching as well as his 1924 professional military articles place him as one of the very earliest theorists of armored warfare and the use of German armored formations including independent tank corps.

The Reichswehr’s infantry training manual of 1921 warned against the infantry laming its offensive spirit by becoming too dependent on armor. These positions were in good part shaped by the tanks’ existing technical limitations. In particular they were considered too slow and too unreliable to play a central role in the fast-paced offensive operations central to Reichswehr tactics. At the same time, German military thinkers and writers, recognized that even with their current shortcomings, tanks had a future. The trailblazer here was Ernst Volckheim. He had been a tank officer during the war, and afterward returned to his parent branch.

In 1923 he was assigned to the Reichswehr’s Inspectorate for Motor Troops. That same year he published an operational history of German tanks, affirming armor’s continuing technological development and its corresponding importance in any future war. “If tanks were not such a promising weapon,” Volckheim dryly asserted, “then certainly the Allies would not have banned them from the Reichswehr!”

Above all, Volckheim argued, tanks were general-service systems, able to engage any objective and move in many different formations. In that way, they resembled the infantry more than any other branch of service. The tanks’ future correspondingly seemed to lie with emphasizing their basic characteristics: speed, reliability, and range. In contrast to a general European predilection for light tanks that focused on improving their mobility, Volckheim saw the future as belonging to a medium-weight vehicle built around its gun rather than its engine. In a future war where both sides had tanks, speed might provide some initial tactical opportunities. The tank with the heaviest gun would nevertheless have the ultimate advantage.

The next year (1924) Volckheim published two more books on tank war. One repeated his insistence that tanks would develop to the point where infantry would be assigned to support them—a hint of the rise of the panzer grenadier that was near-heresy in an army focused on infantry as the dominant combat arm. Volckheim’s second book went even further, projecting the future main battle tank by asserting that technology would eventually produce a family of armored vehicles specially designed for particular purposes. Equipped with radios, exponentially faster, better armed, and with more cross-country ability than anything even on today’s drawing boards, they would in fact be able to operate independently of the traditional arms.

Volckheim was also an officer for the working day. First detached to the Weapons Testing School at Doeberitz, in 1925 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and assigned to teach tank and motorized tactics at the infantry school at Dresden. From 1923 to 1927 he also published two dozen signed articles in the Militär-Wochenblatt, the army’s long-standing semiofficial professional journal. Most of them dealt with tactics of direct infantry support by setting problems and presenting solutions. An interesting subtext of these pieces is the scale of armor Volckheim’s scenarios usually presented: an armor regiment to a division, a battalion supporting a regiment.

Volckheim also addresses the subject of antitank defense—a logical response to the Reichswehr’s force structure—and some of the best were published in pamphlet form. Volckheim recommended camouflage, concealment, and aggressive action on the part of the infantry, combined with the forward positioning of field guns and light mortars to cover the most likely routes of advance. Unusual for the time, Volckheim also recommended keeping tanks in reserve, not merely to spearhead counterattacks but to directly engage enemy armor as a primary mission.

Sources: https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/05/0 ... -doctrine/.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Kaiserreich/co ... rs_of_the/
https://www.auctionzip.com/auction-lot/ ... 625422AB73
https://www.warrelics.eu/forum/cloth-he ... 344027-31/

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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