Reconnaissance - Page 3

   Battle Reconnaissance: (Gefechts Aufklarung)
    Battle reconnaissance, as per all divisions, was the act of sending out small unit patrols. This was done when the enemy was too close to use the Reconnaissance Battalion for profitable employment. Patrol listings in the German Handbook are vague descriptions of what was used during the war, but I will include them here, to give WWII Online squads some idea of what could have been used.

Types of Patrols

   Armored Car :  
    The dispatching of small units, containing armored vehicles and numerous automatic weapons. Armored car patrols normally are composed of three armored reconnaissance cars, one of which is equipped with a radio. An artillery observer often accompanies the patrol for emergency artillery fire. Tasks are defined clearly and nothing is allowed to interfere with the patrols main objective. If enemy forces are met, action is avoided, unless the unit appears to have overwhelming odds. If enemy action is anticipated, the patrol is reinforced.

   Game use :
    This type of patrol will most likely be carried out by the panzer division squads, using whatever vehicles they have on hand. Historically this type of patrol varied greatly, and is generalized in the book.

   Observation Battalion and Air reconnaissance :
    The German observation battalion locates enemy artillery and heavy weapons positions by sound, flash ranging and evaluated photographs. The Luftwaffe assists using small recon. planes flying at aprox. 6000 feet.

   Game use :
    This type of patrol will probably not be seen, as the vehicles will most likely not be drawn up by the "Rats". This is not to say that organized squads will not go hunting for enemy positions etc. or that the Luftwaffe won't be used in conjunction. But the historical makeup of this type of patrol will not be used.

   Battle Reconnaissance Patrols (Spahtruppen) :
    The Germans send out reconnaissance patrols, consisting of a noncommissioned officer and three or four men, to get such information as the location of enemy positions and minefields. They generally avoid contact and retreat when fired on.

   Game use :
    This type of patrol will be common place in some form as Online squads advance into towns, forests, etc. It is a good choice for those squads that have some men in reserve and are advancing using slow elements.

   Combat Patrols (Gefechtsspahtruppen or Stosstruppen) :
    These consist of at least one noncommissioned officer and eight men, but are usually much stronger. As a rule, the combat patrol is commanded by a sergeant with 15 - 20 men, organized into two equal sections, each commanded by a section leader. These are raiding patrols, and their mission often includes bringing back prisoners of war. Combat patrols are often sent out to test the strength of enemy outposts. If the outpost proves to be weak, the patrol attacks and tries to over take it.

   Game use :
    As seen in the 1964 TV series "Combat", this type of patrol will be widely used within the Online game.

   Special Patrols (Spahtruppen mit besonderen Aufgaben) :
    Special patrols are sent out to carry out such tasks as demolition, engaging enemy patrols that have penetrated German positions, and ambushing enemy supply columns. These patrols varied in strength according to the mission.

   Game use :
    This type of patrol will be widely used in the Online game, especially by those units wishing to disrupt enemy supply lines.

   Miscellaneous Reconnaissance :
    Engineer patrols are employed to reconnoiter approaches to fortified areas, defiles or rivers. Artillery patrols, usually consisting of an officer and a few mounted men, reconnoiter routes of approach, observation posts, and firing positions.

   Game use:
    This type of patrol will be widely used in the Online game. Mostly by units in defensive positions, I would imagine. As Machine gun squads will want to get fields of fire, artillery spotters will need to sight , etc.

   Terrain Reconnaissance (Gelandeerkundung) :
    The Germans place great emphasis on terrain reconnaissance, realizing the influence terrain has upon the conduct of operations. Most patrols will have terrain reconnaissance listed within their orders. Special attention was given to the road net, its density, condition, road blocks, mines and demolition, as well as the terrain itself, particularly in tank country.

   Game Use:
    Terrain reconnaissance will most likely be overlooked at first by the Germans. I would be surprised if the High Command takes into account terrain in the order of battle, as they will most likely leave that to the Online squads in the field, who will advance using eye contact (Don't go that way, there's a river!). Kudos to those squads organized enough to actually have terrain listed within their reconnaissance orders.

   Historical Armored Car Tactics :
     While scouting woods, the Germans would often times have the lead vehicle drive forward to it's edges, then halt briefly. It would then turn and drive off rapidly, hoping to draw enemy fire, so as to revel their positions.
    At road blocks, the leading car would open fire. If fire was not returned, the men would dismount and go forward to attach tow ropes to the road block.
     A guarding unit for a supply line, would have some vehicles well in advance of the column and their flanks would be protected when possible.
     Companies of reconnaissance battalions would often times be split up and ordered to reconnoiter advanced areas, so as to cover a wider birth of operations.


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