The Firefight & Actions in Combat
following is a translation from an original German
manual dated 1940. While we did try to keep the format
of this article as close to the original as possible,
adjustments were made in effort to make it a
bit easier to read. Rest assured, the
information itself is true to the original. Enjoy!
The Gruppenfuehrer is the captain of his team.
The Gruppe is the primary, basic unit put into
battle. There is no such thing as the division of the
Gruppe into Trupps with different assignments.
Feuerkampf (firefight) is conducted in
the framework of the Gruppe. When the situation
requires commencing fire, the Gruppenfuehrer as a rule
positions himself by the MG and directs its fire. The
Gewehrschützen (riflemen) may open fire early when
good prospects present themselves; at the latest when
the enemy is deployed for a breakthrough. The part of
the Gruppe that doesn’t take part in the firefight is
held back under cover when the terrain permits, and
when it won’t affect the cohesion of the Gruppe.
As a rule,
commencing fire is ordered/controlled by the
Gruppenfuehrer. The Gewehrschützen usually conduct the
firefight on their own, unless the fire of all the
riflemen is concentrated upon a single target by the
MG & Gewehrschütze Seperately:
“MG: Geradeaus, Schornstein! - rechts davon
im Acker, Schützen! Visier 400! - Stellung!
(“MG: the chimney/smokestack straight ahead! To
its right in the field! Sights at 400 meters!-
Into position! Fire at will!” )
During the firefight the committing the riflemen
“Schuetzen! Stellung! Marsch! Marsch! Feuer
(“ Riflemen! Into Position! Doubletime, March!
Fire at will!”)
Entire Gruppe simultaneously:
1. “Halbrechts im Waldrand Schützen! Ganze
Gruppe: Visier 450! MG: 100 Schuss! Stellung!
(Right oblique into the treeline! Entire Gruppe:
sights 450 meters! MG: 100 rounds! Into
position! Fire at will!”)
2. “Ganze Gruppe! Stellung! Marsch!
(Entire Gruppe! Into position! Doubletime,
March! Fire at will!”)
In order to insure accurate operation of the MG,
insure the belt is perfect during preparing the MG to
fire. Every Schütze checks his own weapon
and ammunition during fire-pauses. The fire
readiness of the MG is ensured by having the bolt in
the forward position, the drum hung or belt loaded.
All means for increasing fire-effectiveness must be
used. Surprise and flanking fire from all ranges
(distances) against all targets is especially
effective. This multiplies the fire-effectiveness and
frazzles the nerves of the foe.
The MG and Gewehrschützen should always strive to
pop-up by surprise and aggressively come into action.
The victor is he who lays down the most accurate fire
on his opponent the quickest. The MG and riflemen then
disappear as soon as the intention of the fire is
accomplished (Never lay around as an inactive
target!). When necessary, change positions under
cover/concealment. Preparations for opening fire are
always made under any available cover .
The soldier engages the targets ordered.
Against widely dispersed targets, the portions of the
target most directly opposite (in his front). When the
choice of target is left to the soldier, he again
generally engages the targets most directly opposite
his position. Every soldier must know the unit’s
battle mission and what the commander’s intent is.
Under the most opportune conditions, the beaten zone
of fire will also cover targets not specifically
included in the unit’s combat mission, if engaging the
targets promises especially good results, and the
combat situation permits it.
The rear sights are set to the determined distance.
The soldier can determine the accuracy of his fire
from the behavior of the enemy and from observing
where the rounds are striking. After moving forward,
the sights are of course readjusted.
in all types of combat:
The aim of the firefight is achieving fire superiority
through the strong application of fire discipline.
This is expressed through the selection of individual
fighting positions, preparation of the fire positions
(camouflage, cover, and concealment) the correct range
selection of the sights, choice of proper targets,
opening fire, and assignment of fire sectors. Fire
discipline is therefore the prerequisite to the
successful firefight. It must also be enforced after
strenuous exertions (marching/fighting).
- Reibert, W.
Der Dienstunterricht im Heere. E.S. Mittler & Sohn,
Berlin, 1940. P. 275