Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918

Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918

Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918

Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918

Synopsis

Describing the radical transformation in German Infantry tactics that took place during World War I, this is the first detailed account of the evolution of stormtroop tactics available in English. It covers the German Infantry's tactical heritage, the squad's evolution as a tactical unit, the use of new weapons for close combat, the role of the elite assault units, and detailed descriptions of offensive battles. Stormtroop Tactics is required reading for professional military officers, military historians, and enthusiasts.

Excerpt

In the spring of 1940, the defenses of the Kingdom of Belgium, and with Belgium, the northern flank of France, depended almost entirely upon a belt of ultramodern concrete fortresses along the border that Belgium shared with Germany. The greatest of these, in both strength and importance, was Eban-Emael. Covering almost four square kilometers, the fort, with its artillery, antitank guns, and machine guns, dominated the terrain around it and made an infantry assault against it unthinkable. Artillery or air bombardment would be equally futile -- the bulk of the fortress was located deep underground.

On May 11, however, the Germans took this fortress, not with a division or even a regiment, but with a battalion of combat engineers acting in concert with a glider-borne engineer platoon. The German heavy artillery fired, not in a vain attempt to destroy the fort, but to create craters in the flat terrain covered by the field guns in their armored cupolas. Other German guns fired at the cupolas themselves, again not to destroy, but to suppress the fire of the occupants.

When darkness fell, the German engineers crossed, in rubber boats, an artificial lake that separated them from Eban-Emael. Using the shell holes made by their own guns for cover, they crept forward. At dawn, flamethrowers sent streams of burning oil onto the embrasures from which the machine guns responsible for the close defense of the fort were expected to fire. Reeling from the heat and blinded by the smoke, the machine gunners failed to see the small team that had rushed forward with a huge shaped charge. A few seconds later, the charge went . . .

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