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.]



2. Armored Trains

a. GENERAL. At the outset of the Polish and Dutch campaigns, German armored trains actually preceded the main forces and seized and held key railroad stations or bridges. More recently the Germans made extensive use of armored trains, particularly in Eastern Europe. Their main function has been to patrol and keep open railroads in areas of partisan and guerrilla operations, and their usefulness has been confined largely to operations against enemies who lack heavy weapons. Armored trains are under the direct control of the General Staff and are allotted to army groups. Each train carries a train commandant, who is usually also the infantry commander; an artillery commander; and a technical officer, responsible for the operation of the train itself.

b. COMPOSITION. The following details apply to a typical armored train with the nomenclature Epz.Bp. 42:

Composition Armament
Two armored gun trucks
(37 to 41.5 tons)
  . . . . .   Each, one 10 cm le.F.H. 14/19(P)
Two armored antiaircraft gun trucks
(37 to 41.5 tons)
  . . . . .   Each, one 20-mm quadruple antiaircraft guns and one 7.62 cm F.K. 295/1(r).
Two armored infantry trucks
(37 to 41.5 tons)
  . . . . .   Each, two 81-mm mortars, one heavy machine gun, 22 light machine guns, and one flame thrower.
One armored steam locomotive
(in middle of train)
  . . . . .   No armament.
Other details:
Total personnel   . . . . .   113.
Armor   . . . . .   15 to 30 mm.
Maximum speed   . . . . .   35 miles per hour (approximately).
Range   . . . . .   110 miles.

In addition, composition of the train may include two tank transporter trucks, each carrying a Czech 38 (t) tank; two light armored Panhard reconnaissance vehicles, capable of traveling either on railroad tracks or across country; and two spare-parts trucks. Various other types of armored trains may be encountered, some incorporating components of an improvised nature, and in these the armor may be anything from boiler plate to railroad ties.


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