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Military Improvisations During the Russian Campaign (Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-201)

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Military Improvisations During the Russian Campaign (Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-201)
  • Historical Study
    • German Report Series
      • Dept. of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-201
        • Dept. of the Army, Washington, D.C., August 1951
          • Facsimile edition published by the Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., 1983
        • 122 pages
        • 7 maps
        • Reference Maps
          • 6th Panzer Division (22 June 1941-20 January 1942)
          • The Snail Offensive (End of January to Beginning of April 1942)
          • Operation Seydlitz (Situation on 3 July 1942, the Second Day of the Attack)
          • Improvisations in East Prussia
          • Corduroy Roads in the Leningrad Area
          • The Withdrawal Across the Dnepr
  • Free PDF download
This study was prepared for the Historical Division, European Command, by a group of former German generals and general staff officers. Although none of the authors was identified by name, the principal author, who by the end of the war had attained the rank of full general (Generaloberst), served on the Eastern Front throughout the Russian campaign and the subsequent retreat into the northern plains of Germany. He was successively commander of an infantry brigade, of a panzer division from November 1941 to February 1943, and of two different corps in the battles for Kharkov and Belgorod during 1943. Appointed commander of a panzer army on 1 December 1943, he participated in the withdrawal in the south until the Germans reached the Carpathians. In August 1944 he was transferred to Army Group Center, and his last assignment was with Army Group Weichsel. During this final phase of his military career he played an important part in the retreat from Lithuania, East Prussia, and Pomerania.
 
Authorized German tables of organization and equipment, official German combat doctrine, or standard German staff methods formed the basis for improvisations throughout this study. As prepared by the authors, this study consisted of a collection of 157 examples of improvisations which were screened by the editors for pertinence, clarity, and interest to the American reader. Moreover, an attempt was made to establish common denominators for the great variety of examples.
 
Contents
  • Preface

  • Introduction

  • Tactical Improvisations

    • The Offensive

      • The Elimination of Russian Forces in a German Rear Area

        • The Blitzkrieg Bogged Down in Mud

        • Desperate Improvisations

        • The Snail Offensive

        • The Scorpion Offensive

        • Cavalry Brigade Model in Operation Seydlitz

      • Some Improvisations Used During Operation Zitadelle

        • The Crossing of Russian Mine Fields

        • A Flak Division Serves as Corps Artillery

    • The Defensive

      • Improvised Hedgehog Defenses

      • Defensive Improvisations in Extreme Cold

      • A Moving Pocket Regains the German Lines

      • Zone Defense Tactics

      • Improvised Fortresses

      • Defensive Improvisations in East Prussia

    • Troop Movements

      • Furlough and Troop Trains Under Partisan Attacks

      • The Commitment of Furlough Battalions

    • Combat Arms

      • Infantry

      • Artillery

      • Combat Engineers as Infantry

  • Improvisations in the Fields of Supply and Transportation

    • Indispensable Expedients

      • The Panje Column

      • The Corduroy Road

    • Other Expedients

      • Improvisations in the Construction of Bridges

      • Improvised Road Maintenance

      • Deceptive Supply Movements

      • Invasion Barges as Means of Transportation

      • Transportation over Frozen Waterways

      • Fuel Conservation Expedients

      • Railroad Tank Cars Towed Across the Baltic

    • Supply by Airlift and by Aerial Delivery Containers

      • The First German Experiments

      • The Stalingrad Airlift

    • Supply and Transportation Problems in the Arctic

  • Technical Improvisations

    • The Manpower Problem

      • The Situation at the Outbreak of War

      • The Luftwaffe Field Divisions

      • Maintenance of Combat Efficiency

      • The Employment of Women in the Armed Forces

    • The Organization of Special Units

      • Staffs

      • Special Formations

      • Last-Ditch Improvisations

        • The Leuthen Project

        • Other Desperate Measures

    • Political Measures Introduced by the National Socialist Party

      • Civilian Labor Procurement

      • The Volkssturm

      • Paramilitary Units During the Last Stage of the War

  • Conclusions

    • Are Improvisations Inevitable?

      • Avoidable Improvisations

      • Unavoidable Improvisations and their Minimization

      • Improvisations in Extreme Emergency

    • The Relative Value of Improvisations

Originally published in August 1951 by the Dept. of the Army, Washington, D.C., as a soft cover booklet measuring 6 × 9 inches, this is the facsimile edition published by the Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., in 1983 and reprinted in 1986.

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