TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



1. General

Before and during the first years of the present war it was the policy of the German army to use the smallest variety of weapons consistent with meeting operational requirements, while emphasis was maintained on developing weapons with a high degree of fighting efficiency. Recent developments in warfare, however, particularly in the last year, gradually have forced the Germans to adopt the opposite policy of experimentation with many innovations in weapon design.

2. Recent Trends

Within the last 12 months distinct trends in the development of German weapons have become apparent.

a. TANKS AND TANK DESTROYERS. First, there has been a tendency for tanks and tank destroyers to become armed and armored more heavily at the expense to some extent of mobility and maneuverability. This is compensated for by the ability to open effective fire at very long ranges.

b. INFANTRY ANTITANK: WEAPONS. Second, there has been a striking increase in the ability of the German infantry to combat Allied tanks. This has been accomplished by the development and constant improvement of close-range grenade and rocket launchers employing the hollow-charge principle.

c. ROCKET WEAPONS. Third, German experiments which began before the war have materialized into a comparatively wide range of rocket weapons used to supplement orthodox artillery. These experiments with rockets are being continued, and improvements in range and accuracy may be expected. In the event of the outbreak of chemical warfare, rocket weapons will assume a greater significance than at present. The German recoilless gun (originally developed as an airborne gun) comes close to combining the lightness and mobility of the rocket weapon with the range and accuracy of the standard type of howitzer.

d. ARTILLERY. There have been some belated attempts on the part of the Germans at improvements in their standard artillery, but no basic redesign appears contemplated at present.


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