Below appears a translation of a German document discussing in outline form one of their
later Russian offensives.
* * *
Detailed preparation for the attacks was made possible through the constant collection
of information dealing with previous actions, exchange of information between various
headquarters and distribution of this information down to companies. Preparations
included rehearsals over similar ground and under similar conditions; also, measures to
deceive the enemy.
b. The Attack
The attack was carried out by surprise, with no artillery registration
or preparation. The attack opened with coordinated fire on a narrow front
from artillery and all smoke mortars and heavy weapons available. As
success depends upon speedy removal of obstacles in depth, especially
minefields, strong engineer elements were allotted to the leading elements.
Cooperation with the air force was close. Flight schedules were arranged
to leave sufficient time for refueling and resupply of ammunition. To avoid
bombing of friendly troops, the air force was kept closely informed of the
positions of troops on the ground by the aid of air-force liaison officers,
and by ample supplies of cloth panels, etc.
Minefields were quickly crossed by reconnaissance and by mine-detector
sections, pushed well forward to mark the lanes. Mine-clearing sections rapidly
widened the lanes through the fields from 5 to 10 meters. Two lanes were
made for each company sector.
(1) Whenever strong tank attacks were launched, the Russians coordinated the fire
of all available antitank guns, and antiaircraft guns in an antitank capacity.
(2) The Russians would often let our attack come so close that our artillery could
not continue to fire. Heavy weapons were therefore pushed well forward for use against
positions where such tactics were expected.
(3) Mass formations had to be avoided in favor of organization in depth.
(4) When signal communications had not been set up, traffic difficulties were encountered
between responsible headquarters.
(5) The use of the Fieseler Storch (a small liaison and command plane capable of
landing and taking off in a very small space) was necessary for commands responsible
for observing battle situation and directing traffic.