Infantry (Small Unit) Tactics

Rgt. 25

Gefechtsstreifen - Attack Corridor
    Sections, platoons, companies, and battalions were assigned permanent corridors for attack, and they maintained fixed attack frontages based on the ordered Ausdehnung - Dispersal

   Bataillon: 400 - 1000 m Angriffsbreite - Battalion Attack Frontage
   Kompanie: 200 - 400 m Angriffsbreite - Company Attack Frontage
   Zug 100 - 200 m Angriffsbreite - Platoon Attack Frontage
   Gruppe 50 - 100 m Angriffbreite - Section Attack Frontage

    Squads and sections advanced inside their designated attack corridors, maintaining visual contact with each other and with their neighbors, but avoiding interpenetration with friendly platoons on either flank. LMG and attached HMG supporting the platoon from a rearward position had to be able to clearly identify the three sections operating inside their designated platoon corridor in order to avoid friendly fire casualties.

Schwerpunkt - Main Point of Attack
    The actual attack frontage depended on the mission of the unit. Narrow frontages were used at the designated Schwerpunkt - Main Point of Attack, and wider frontages elsewhere. If an unanticipated Schwerpunkt developed in the course of an attack, reserves would be moved forward to increase the density of troops in that attack corridor, thereby reducing the attack frontage of the sub-units engaged in it. The unit which formed the Schwerpunkt received the most support weapons and the largest ammunition supply, its success was reinforced vigorously.

Anschluss - The Lead
    By definition, the Schwerpunkt had the deepest penetration of the enemy line, and it also had Anschluss - The Lead. A single man had the lead in a squad, everyone else guided their movement on the Anschlussmann. In a platoon attack corridor, one section had Anschluss and the others guided on it. Likewise, in larger attack corridors, one platoon had the lead in a company, one company had the Anschluss in the battalion, and the lead battalion had Anschluss in the brigade. The formation or subunit with the deepest penetration automatically had Anschluss and adjacent units guided on it. Anschluss avoided friendly fire casualties, because the borders of the assigned attack corridors were not to be crossed by friendly infantry.
Anschluss was an important concept in attack and defence, it prevented gaps in the line by mandating physically visual contact between the lead unit and the units on its immediate flank. By definition, the unit with Anschluss had a deeper penetration than its neighbours, and it received the combined flank support from HMG and anti-tank guns firing parallel to the flank lines of its attack corridor. HMG and pooled LMG assigned to this corridor would be able to bypass identified enemy positions in adjacent corridors, and bring them under flanking fire.

Durchbruch - Breakthrough
    The constant chiseling at the enemy line would eventually lead to a significant Einbruch - Penetration. If the penetration was chosen as a Schwerpunkt, it would receive further support with which to effect a Durchbruch - Breakthrough. Exploitation of the breakthrough would allow reserves to roll up the front, and mobile formations might punch through to initiate a strategic encirclement.

Entfaltung - Operational Deployment
    Depending on terrain, visibility, and enemy strength, formational attack corridors would be assigned. Company commanders would move into their sectors from march column formation, and order Kompanie-Keil - Wedge with one platoon forward and two in reserve, or Kompanie-Breitkeil - Inverted Wedge with two up and one in reserve.
    If Keil was used, the lead platoon automatically had Anschluss, whereas Anschluss had to be designated in Breitkeil formation. The company HQ section deployed immediately behind the Anschluss platoon. Similarly, platoons deployed their sections into platoon and section corridors, using Keil or Breitkeil.
    Keil was considered the better formation in the opening stages of an engagement, because it gave the company commander the flexibility of deploying either one of the unengaged platoons forward, to flank an identified enemy position. In this case, the remaining platoon would move to the central reserve position. This maneuver is a convenient formation change from Keil to Breitkeil in combination with a Flugelangriff - Wing attack or maybe even a Flankenangriff - Flank attack. The pinned, and pinning, lead platoon is the pivot.

Hinhaltender Widerstand - Delaying Action
    The purpose of the delaying action is to stall the strategic advance of an attacking army without fully engaging it. The attacker is compelled to deploy his formations and prepare a formal attack, a time-consuming process. When the prepared attack is ready to go in, the defender withdraws to the next Widerstandslinie - Line of Resistance and repeats the procedure. Consecutive lines of resistance were approximately 3000 metres apart, enough to compel the attacker to re-deploy his artillery forward in order to support an attack against the next line. A line of resistance had to provide a deep field of fire, with engagement ranges of 1000 - 1500 metres, in order to give defending units enough time to fight and disengage. Units on the 1st line of resitance would fall back to the 2nd Widerstandslinie if enemy pressure mounted. Unit frontage in delaying actions was twice that of defensive actions, up to 4000 metres for a battalion.
    The area between two lines of resistance was known as the Zwischenfeld - Middle Ground. Inside the middle ground, and approximately 800 metres behind a line of restistance, was the Aufnahmelinie - Rally Position which was defended by reserve infantry sections, and heavy support weapons. Withdrawing units from the 1st line of resistance would fall back behind the rally position in one move. They typically pulled out of the 1st Widerstandslinie when the attacker was within 800 metres of it, less if the withdrawal route was well covered. The skirmish with enemy forward elements at the Aufnahmelinie would temporarily halt the attack, buying time for the continued withdrawal to the 2nd Widerstandslinie.

Verteidigung - Defence
    If suitable defensive ground was found in the rear of a formation currently fighting a delaying action, the formation had opportunity to switch to defence, and attempt to stop the strategic attacker in his tracks. A Hauptkampffeld - Battlefield was chosen, and the definite forward line of that area became the Hauptkampflinie (HKL) - Main Line of Battle. Depending on the number of suitable lines of resistance which still separated the attacker from the HKL, the defending formation had more or less time to prepare fortified positions inside the Hauptkampffeld. The LMG squad of each infantry section prepared an MG-Nest on the HKL. The rifle squad prepared one or two nests well behind the HKL, covering the gaps between the adjacent LMG positions.
    Surpise could be achieved by disguising the presence of the HKL, making the attacker believe he might be facing another line of resistance. Accordingly, Gefechtsvorposten - Combat Outposts were deployed up to 2500 m in front of the HKL, which made it difficult for enemy patrols to reconnoitre the line. Infantry sections and infantry support weapons deployed on the outpost line had prepared alternate positions to fall back to if enemy pressure mounted. In front of the outpost line were Vorgeschobene Stellungen - Forward Positions which engaged enemy formations in order to effect premature deployment and delays. Forward positions were also used by forward artillery observers, and they were sometimes held in strength to deny dominant terrain features to the attacker for a while.

Abschnitt - Defence Sector
    In defence, battalions and companies were assigned permanent sectors, depending on the tactical situation, terrain and weather conditions:

   Bataillonsabschnitt: up to 2000 m frontage and 1000 - 1500 m depth in defence.
   Kompanieabschnitt: up to 700 m frontage and 400 - 600 m depth in defence.

LMG, HMG, and riflemen formed defensive nests inside the designated sector, making sure that all avenues of approach were covered with interlocking fire. Alternate anti-tank gun, and infantry gun positions were dug on the HKL, ready to be manned if the situation required it.

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