dig-in at events whenever possible, I thought an
article on the proper German Infantry positions would
be of some use. Below you will find information
on the one-man, two-man, and machine-gun positions.
German Army doctrine, the construction of positions
"must conform to factors determined by the enemy,
the ground, one's own forces, and the time and
supplies available. Fire positions and fields of
fire must be established on the fire plan before the
work is marked out and construction begun. Fire
positions must merge with the surrounding country in
such a fashion that the maximum possible use is made
of natural concealment. Furthermore, all
positions, even those to the rear, will be kept
camouflaged as much as possible while they are under
decrease the vulnerability of high-angle enemy fire
such as artillery or mortars, the positions were not
to be made larger than necessary. The angles of
the position walls themselves depended on the nature
of the ground (soft ground would require a larger
angle to prevent cave-ins). Situation
permitting, the excavated soil would be removed from
the position in the least obvious manner using a set
path. The parapet should be kept low, but allow
for clear fields of fire on all sides and still
provide protection. Whenever possible an alternate
position should be established to the rear of the main
are two basic rifleman's positions. The
one-man and two-man Schützenloch
(firing hole). The one-man position
sometimes called a Russenloch
(Russian hole) was a simple 70cm wide hole
just deep enough for a Landser to kneel in.
The excavated soil was piled up to form a
parapet which reduced the amount of digging
needed to provide proper protection.
The soil used to form the parapet was to be
removed to better conceal the position from
the enemy, this usually did not happen due
to time constraints. If needed, this
position could be deepened to allow a
standing position as well as widened to form
a two-man hole.
two-man hole was preferred over the one-man version
for it allowed one soldier to rest while the other
stood guard as well as provided a stronger defensive
point. At first the Schützenloch fur 2
was a short straight trench, 80cm by 1.8m. Later
in 1944 a slightly curved version became the standard.
As you can see in the diagram below, this version had
two firing steps with a deeper centre section.
For protection, the Landsers could sit on the firing
steps with their legs in the center during enemy
artillery or mortar barrages. As mentioned
above, the soil forming the parapet was to be removed
if time allowed. If a panzerfaust was to be used
in the position, the back half was cleared of any
obstructions as well as the parapet was removed to
allow for the weapon's back-blast.
Light Machine-Gun Position
The squad light machine-gun position was a slightly
curved, 1.4-1.6m trench with two short armor
protection trenches angled to the rear. Note how
these short trenches are deeper than the position
forming a fire step like in the rifleman's position
above. On the forward side was a 20cm deep
"U" shaped platform for the bipod of the MG.
This position could be placed anywhere within the
squad line that provided the best field of fire.
Alternate positions were to be established anywhere up
to 50m from the main one.
positions were occupied long enough, crawl trenches
were often dug to connect the various holes into a
defensive network. Unlike the trenches of WWI,
these often followed the contours of the land.
As always, camouflage is of primary importance for all
of the mentioned infantry fieldworks.
- German Field Fortifications
1939-45, by Gordon L. Rottman
- Intelligence Bulletin,
Vol. #7, dated March 1943