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Assault Gun Tactics
Transcribed by Jonathan Bocek

The following was taken from the March 1945 issue of The Intelligence Bulletin.  This publication was issued by the U.S. War Department to military personnel with the intention of providing helpful information concerning the enemy.

To teach German infantrymen some of the tactics used by assault guns, the Fifteenth German Army outlined the advantages and disadvantages of these self-propelled weapons so that the infantry could have a better understanding of how to cooperate with them in the field.

In reply to the question "What must the infantry know about the assault guns?" the Germans offer these comments:

The assault guns are the strongest weapons against hostile tanks.  They engage all your most dangerous enemies, and destroy them or force them to take cover.  Assault guns are strong when concentrated, but have no effect when used in small numbers.  They are capable of forward fire only, since they have no turrets; therefore they are sensitive to attack from the flanks.  This is why the guns must never be employed by themselves, but always in conjunction with infantry.  These weapons may be considerably restricted by marshy land, thick woods, and natural or artificial obstacles; moreover, they constitute large targets.  They can see and hear little.  Even during a battle, the assault guns occasionally must withdraw to cover, and obtain fresh supplies of ammunition and fuel.

This brings us to the question of how the infantry should assist the assault guns.  Infantrymen must draw the guns attention to hostile tanks and other targets by means of the signal pistol, prearranged light and flag signals, and shouting.  The infantry must neutralize hostile antitank guns.

The flanks of assault guns must be covered and protected by the infantry against hostile tank-hunting detachments, which are always ready to operate against our assault guns.  Such protection is especially necessary in built-up areas and in terrain where visibility is poor.  The infantry must warn the assault guns of the proximity of antitank obstacles and mines, and must be prepared to guide the guns through such obstacles.

The infantry must take advantage of the guns' fire power to advance in strength via prearranged lanes not under fire.  The assault guns must be given sufficient time for reconnaissance.  The guns and the infantry will formulate plans through personal consultation, and will ensure means of communication during battle. 

Infantry should not stay too close to the guns, and should not bunch.  Instead, deployment is advised, to lessen the danger of drawing hostile fire and to avoid injury by ricochets.  Since the driver of an assault gun has limited vision, infantrymen must keep in mind the danger of being run down, and must move accordingly.

Assault guns are "sitting targets" when they have to wait for the infantry; infantrymen can find cover almost anywhere, but the assault guns cannot.  Since the guns fire at the halt, the infantry must gain ground while the guns are firing.  Although the assault guns are of great assistance when ground is being gained, it is the infantry that must hold the ground.

Since the assault guns must keep their ammunition available for unexpected or especially dangerous targets, the infantry must engage all the targets that it can possibly take on with its heavy and light weapons.

Although the assault guns must withdraw after every engagement, to prepare for the next engagement where their assistance will be required, the infantry will not withdraw.



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