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Deception, German-Style
Transcribed by Jonathan Bocek


The following was taken from the January 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.

A set of German training instructions covering various methods of deceiving Allied soldiers appears to have been so successful with German troops in Russia that Field Marshal Kesselring thought it worth adopting for the German Southwest Command.  Most of the tricks suggested in these instructions apply to troops on the defensive or in retreat.  While some of the methods are old stand-bys, others are fresh little masterpieces of enemy cunning.  The instructions certainly do not leave much to the student's imagination, but go straight to the business of teaching him how to be barbarous by the numbers.  Here they are:

1.   Divert the enemy's attention in the opposite direction, so that you can approach him silently from the rear and make your kill, or so that you bypass him unnoticed.  Make a noise by throwing stones.  Use small parties to attract attention while the main body carries out the envelopment.
 

2.   Draw mines across the road just in front of a hostile vehicle, and kill the crew from ambush as they climb out.     

3.   If a member of your ambush party who has been hit and who has moved away from cover calls for help, do not go to his aid immediately.  The man who does so will also be exposed to enemy fire.

4.   Noise-making devices in the vicinity of wire obstacles, as well as the use of dummies, can induce Allied soldiers to open fire.  In this way the number and location of hostile weapons can be determined.
 

5.   If it is necessary for you to pretend to be dead, lie down as close as possible to enemy dead until the danger is past or until night has fallen.  A helmet pierced by small-arms fire will lend added realism when you are feigning death.    

6.   Mine deserted trenches.

7.   Cut telephone cables at night, and draw one end into an ambush so that hostile linesmen can be killed or captured.

8.   When hostile patrols approach, hold your fire until the last possible minute.  This increases your chance of killing or capturing personnel.

9.   By using single rounds from a 20-mm machine gun in an armored car, you can make the enemy think you have a heavy antitank gun.

10. By warming up your vehicle engines, you can imitate the sound of vehicles approaching and departing, and thus can simulate troop movements.
 

11. Put up boards with "Danger Mines!" and a death's head painted on them.  Fence off the area with wire.  Make tracks around the resulting dummy minefield, and mine them.     

12. Patrols using captured vehicles often can achieve surprise.  Captured vehicles also can be useful when you are trying to lure hostile soldiers into an ambush.

13. When your patrols approach populated places, they may find it profitable to stop suddenly, fire a few shots in the direction of the village, turn, and make a getaway.  The opposition is likely to disclose itself by firing.

14. Patrols operating behind the enemy's front lines should turn sign posts and notice boards to face the wrong direction or to lead into an ambush.
 

15. If the enemy locates an observation patrol, the men should set up dummies, and depart so that they may be employed to advantage elsewhere.       

16. If a reconnaissance or combat patrol is observed by the enemy and finds it necessary to withdraw, the members of the patrol should hang jackets on the wire or place helmets with the tops showing, to hold the enemy's attention.

17. Cover weapon positions with boards, and camouflage them to resemble the surrounding terrain.  The occupant of a position then can push the board up with his helmet, fire at hostile personnel at close range, and duck back into his hidden position again.

18. Place piles of straw or wood around gasoline cans in the vicinity of your positions.  If the enemy approaches you at night, fire on these materials and thus illuminate the attackers.

19. In a system of defense based on strongpoints, build a dummy position between the strongpoints.  At night fire light signals to give the impression of a continuous line of defense.  Put up artificial cover for the enemy in front of such a position and mine it.  Or else arrange that the exits lead him into your field of fire.

20. Prepare dummy fuel dumps out of old cans and barrels, so as to lure hostile air attacks.

21. Prepare dummy bivouacs and other concentrations by using tents, wooden crates, and derelict vehicles.

22. At night, leave lights in partly blacked-out houses -- or keep small fires burning -- in areas well away from genuine bivouacs.

23. Deflect bombing attacks by displaying swastika flags prominently on knocked-out vehicles at a safe distance from your own positions.

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