Current operations point to the increasing employment
of the small infantry-tank team in a role requiring the
closest cooperation and the ultimate in mutual support.
Recent reports stress the need for the sound training of
each individual in his own and his unit's share of the
job and for better understanding of the cooperating unit's
responsibilities, capabilities, and limitations. Joint
training which will develop team unity must supplement
technical training if missions are to be efficiently accomplished
at minimum cost in lives and time.
Building Team Unity
Acquaintance Aids Teamwork
From the 752d Tank Battalion: "The tank-infantry
team must work together from 48 to 72 hours at a
minimum before it can hope to operate smoothly. It takes
time to learn how the other unit does things and expects
you to do them.
"When the tank-infantry commanders (including
company commanders and staffs) know each other, they can
work together much more efficiently than they can as
An Okinawa report advocates personal contact between
the members of the infantry-tank team: "In addition to
technical training before embarking upon this mission,
one regiment had tankers bivouac in the infantry area
while some of its own men were sent to bivouac with the
tankers. This helped to promote closer teamwork
through discussions, understanding, and friendship."
A Tank Ride Helps Doughboy Morale
Says the Battalion Commander of the 175th Infantry:
"To make him realize the limited vision and field of fire
and the closed-off feeling of the tankers, every infantryman
should be given a ride in a buttoned-up tank. One
such ride does a lot to counteract the infantryman's dread
of a tank attack and to increase his faith in his own
ability to resist tanks."
Knowledge gives confidence.
Tank-Infantry Team Plays
States a report from the 752d Tank Battalion: "At
certain times the burden of carrying the attack must,
because of the terrain and the situation, fall on the infantry.
At other times, the tanks are best qualified to bear the
brunt of the attack. Both units must know this and learn
to recognize the situations in which one or the other
unit should lead."
The following extracts from field reports describe team
plays used by some tank-infantry units in specific
From a 36th Infantry Division training memorandum:
"When infantry and tanks are used together, the tanks'
primary targets are enemy machine guns and riflemen.
Tanks will also make paths through wire and anti-
personnel mines and break up any counterattack . . .
"If infantry does not come up with tanks within a
reasonable time, a section or more of tanks should be
sent back to investigate. The delay will usually have
been caused by enemy MG's previously overlooked by the
From the XXIV Corps
protect the tanks by fire to prevent the enemy from
ambushing the tanks. Ground distance between tanks and
infantry is dependent upon the ability of the infantry to
cover the tanks by effective fire."
"Infantrymen must protect the tanks by fire . . ."
From the 191st Tank Battalion: "When working with
infantry at night, the tanks should follow the infantry.
The tank platoon leader or the tank platoon sergeant,
however, should advance on foot with the leading
elements of the infantry. Then, knowing the location of
our own infantry, he can quickly bring up the tanks
when tank targets are located."
From the 774th Tank Battalion: "We gained surprise
in using our light tanks with infantry in woods by having
the tanks follow the infantry from phase line to phase line.
When resistance was met, the tanks would go up quickly
(with guides) and spray enemy positions with canister
and .30-caliber machine-gun fire. One section of tanks
was assigned to each assault rifle company. Mine
removers moved just behind the infantry and cleared routes
for the tanks. The infantrymen checked all clearings
for antitank positions.
"When possible, the tanks moved off the trails and
covered one another. On each tank the bow gunner
covered the area to the left, and the coaxial gunner covered
the area to the right.
"Two infantrymen rode each tank; one was an
automatic rifleman and the other manned the tank
anti-aircraft gun. Both carried grenades and used the turret
for protection. It was found best to assign a definite
field of fire to each.
"Four mines and fuzes to be used by the infantry for
local protection were carried in each tank."
—In Heavy Undergrowth
A report from Headquarters XIV Corps includes these
comments on target designation: "Jap pillboxes are usually
extremely well hidden and tanks are almost blind in thick
vegetation or undergrowth. For these reasons, prime
consideration should be given to target designation. Tank
obstacles as well as targets should be designated to the
tank commander by the infantry squad leader whenever
"Tracer fire proved unsatisfactory for designating
targets to the tanks. The best method was the use of red
or violet smoke grenades. The full-charge grenade
produces too much smoke and obscures the target.
However, if the fuze is unscrewed from the grenade and half
the charge removed, an adequate amount of smoke will
"Rifle projection of the grenade is desirable for longer
ranges. Best results are obtained by arming the grenade
before firing as this will then give a trail of smoke to the
—Against Tank Stalkers
A G-2 on Okinawa comments as follows: "Infantry
must be trained to work with the tank so that the Jap is
killed before he reaches the tank. The Jap has a nasty
habit of running up to tanks with satchel charges,
bangalore torpedoes, or antitank mines and attempting to stay
with the tank until both tank and Jap are destroyed. If he
is not killed before he gets to a halted tank, the damage to
the tank is usually assured. This is especially true when
tanks are employed in villages and towns."
—When a Tank Is Disabled
Says Colonel C. B. DeVore,
1st Armored Division: "In
the event a tank becomes a casualty, the infantry should
protect it until it can be evacuated.
"The crew of a disabled tank should continue to render
fire support as long as its armament functions and its
"Infantrymen should protect disabled tanks."
Common Errors That Impair Teamwork
From the 36th Infantry Division:
"Platoon and squad
leaders frequently forget during attacks that tanks are
"Infantry leaders frequently go to a tank commander
and tell him an enemy machine gun is holding them up
but can give no idea of its location. Even giving four or
five possible locations helps the tanks to reduce such a
"Lack of communication between tanks and front-line
infantry often makes real coordination impossible. (See
"Time for tank reconnaissance and orders is often not
"Failure to use enough tanks sometimes reduces the
effectiveness of the combined assault.
"Tank timidity is frequently encouraged. Tanks must
expect losses as do the riflemen."
"Failure to give tanks the complete plan of maneuver
reduces the effectiveness of tank support.
"Failure to give tanks the plan of maneuver . . ."
Third Division doughboys ride to the front.
Technique of Transporting Infantry on Tanks
Says Lieutenant Colonel Kinne, 781st Tank Battalion,
after working with six infantry divisions during European
campaigns: "In an infantry mission, a maximum of 10
men may be carried.
"It is imperative that before mounting the infantry,
thorough plans are made by the infantry commanders and
tank commanders who are to ride together. It is the duty
of the infantry commander to mount infantry personnel in
such manner as to preserve unit tactical integrity. This
insures that no time is lost in organizing for combat after
"Heavy-weapons units as well as riflemen may be
transported. A complete machine-gun or mortar crew
with weapon can be carried on a tank.
What Tanks May Expect From the Infantry
"On the march, tanks provide their own security by
pointing some of their turret weapons in each direction.
"The infantry riding these tanks can greatly aid the
security of the column by maintaining watch over the
same terrain covered by the tank gun. This is very
important since the tankers' visibility is generally poor.
"At a halt, the infantry dismounts and takes up
security positions. Two infantrymen from each tank patrol
at a distance, and the others provide close-in security.
"On arrival in the vicinity of the objective, the tanks
will halt and take up all-round defense positions. The
infantry will dismount and leave a small number of men
for tank protection; the remainder proceed with
reconnaissance. When contact is made, the tanks prepare to
support the infantry on call.
Discipline on March
"Mounting and dismounting are on tank commander's
order only; upon coming under fire, tanks will take up
prearranged road-march positions and the infantry will
dismount and form local security.
"All men must hold on to the rope or the tank. They
must not hang on to another rider for support.
"Men must not smoke on tanks. Fire hazard is very
"When going through wooded trails or roads, keep
eyes to the front to avoid being brushed off by branches."
Organization of the Captured Ground
From the XIV Corps in the Pacific: "When the final
objective is reached, the tanks should halt and fire with
all available weapons at definite targets or places of
likely enemy approach or concealment. The infantry
squads of the two forward platoons as well as the company
support platoon, should immediately push forward to the
rear and flanks of the tank line, and construct a defensive
position. (See sketch.)
"If the attack formation has employed a company of
tanks with a company of infantry (i.e., three infantry-tank
teams in line or in echeloned line), a reserve
reinforced company of infantry must be moved forward to
construct the defensive positions. This position should
follow standard infantry procedure of emplacing
automatic weapons and mortars, of organizing the ground,
digging in, and putting out protective wires. Prepared
concertinas may be carried into action on the rear decks
of support tanks because time is too short for apron
fences to be constructed. No guns should be emplaced
nor wire laid in the lanes made by the tanks as they
advanced in the attack.
"After the defensive position is organized, the tanks and
their protecting squads should withdraw via the original
routes of advance. In turning to withdraw, all tanks
should turn to the right if possible. A standard
procedure like this enables the protecting squads to clear the
danger space without confusion and subsequent loss of
time. Tanks on withdrawing must reverse their turrets
and keep them trained in the direction of the enemy
because enemy AT guns silenced during the action may be
remanned in time to fire on the withdrawing tanks.
"After the tanks have withdrawn, the lanes should be
closed by concertina wire, and further preparations made
to repel enemy counterattack. Special attention must be
given to strengthening the flanks of the salient. Infantry
must investigate all ground within the salient and search
all positions for enemy personnel. Heaps of enemy dead
should be investigated to insure that none are feigning
—Between the Leaders
"Because the infantry squad leader furnishes
information which directs the fire and movement of his support
tank, communication between him and the tank
commanders must be continuous and reliable," states a XIV Corps
"Many means of communication were tried, but the one
which worked best under fire was the EE8A telephone
adapted for infantry-tank employment. An EE8A
telephone is placed inside the tank turret. Also in the turret,
at a place easily visible to the tank commander, is strapped
a regulation flashlight. A 20-foot length of four-strand
electric cable is laid from the telephone box inside the
turret and extended down in rear of the tank. An EE8A
telephone handset is connected to the end of the cable.
The butterfly switch on the handset is modified so that
when pressed it completes a circuit through one channel of
the cable, lights the flashlight, and attracts the attention of
the tank commander. Telephone conversation is then held
over another channel of the cable, the telephones being
wired for that effect. With this telephone setup, the squad
leader has only to carry the handset to be able to
communicate readily with the tank commander. The
telephone must not be strapped to the rear of the tank, for
enemy fire will destroy it."
—By Modified Radio
Reported by the Executive Officer,
330th Infantry, 3d Battalion:
"Satisfactory infantry-tank communication was
achieved by modifying and installing SCR-536's in the
tanks. Removal of a bolt from the top of the turret
provided a hole for the antenna. A short piece of rubber
hose was placed around the aerial to keep it from grounding
out. The radio sets were modified so that the tank
commander could use a throat microphone and could operate
the switch with an improvised extension."
From a British Infantry source: "When cooperating with
tanks, we devise visual signals easily understood by the
tankers. Tin hats raised on rifles indicate our positions
when tanks are approaching from the rear to join us. A
single soldier approaching a tank with his headgear or
other distinctive item on a weapon indicates: "Stop, I want
to talk to you." A red Very light indicates the presence
of antitank guns, and the direction in which it is fired
indicates their location. A green Very light fired in the
direction of an enemy machine gun indicates its location, and
also serves as a request to the tank to knock it out. A
white Very light fired at the tank signals: "Cease Fire."
Prepared from combat reports and published by direction
of the Chief of Staff by Operations Division in collaboration
with other Divisions of the War Department General Staff,
Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service
Forces. Photos by U.S. Army Signal Corps furnished
by Army Pictorial Service. Cartoons by
Major Carl R. Giegerich.