Armies Tanks Units Wehrmacht WW2

Panzer Doctrine Around 1940 In Nazi Germany

Panzer / tank was the most important element for Blitzkrieg doctrine. Let us start with the crew requirements:

  • Members must be able to support or even replace each other. Error of a single man could lead to loss of the whole tank.
  • For certain roles, one must be a civilian specialist like engineer or electrician.
  • For tank commander: Quick comprehension, physical dexterity, good hearing, healthy nerves, tactical understanding.
  • Driver: Good technical disposition, natural disposition as driver, calm, physical hardship, tactical understanding, adaptibility
  •  Loader: Good eyes, good disposition to estimate distances, healthy nerves, tactical understanding.
  • Gunner: Same with loader expect tactical understanding
  • Radio operator: Clear-dialect German pronuncation, good ears, must known electrical procceses.

Now, there was some tactics used by light tanks. Let’s look at them:

Line formation. It was used mostly in open-field combat. There is one tank in front of the 4 tanks because there must be an element to open covering fire and that will stop, thus it is necessary to put distance. I’ll explain that ”covering fire” later.

 

 

Column formation. It was used mostly in urban combat when passing through narrow streets. According to Germans, tank in the very front must look for any potential anti-tank threats from front direction. Others must destroy soldiers that is in the buildings from left or rigth.

Double column. There is one tank in front of 4 tanks because of the same reason with the Line Formation.

Wedge formation. Same rule apply. I must say this formation was only but only used during combat.

Cover and movement

This method actually comes from infrantry tactics. One shooting to destroy, supress or blind the enemy while the other advances to flank the enemy. But, if they want to suprise the enemy, they must stay hidden until they came to an effective range and they must shoot at once.

What if operation is going bad?

If there are just light tanks, heavy artillery or smoke (mostly smoke) would be used for covering the retreat. But if the operation is bigger and there are both medium and light tanks, they were to use cover each others retreat all the time until reserves come.

Attack on bunkers

First things first, recon aircraft must identify the unit size and location. This is very critical since artillery has to supress the machine gunners and coordination with infrantry is key to the victory. According to Germans, tanks must advance with cover and movement tactic first, then the infrantry must destroy the small and fast elements that is hard for tanks to destroy. Meanwhile engineer equipment is being transported by the Panzers. When they became close enough to bunker, tanks stop advancing and start to provide cover for all enginner units that is busy with cutting barbed wire, setting explosives etc.

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