DECEPTIVE GERMAN ARTILLERY METHODS
IntroductionIn the following article translated from a recent issue of the "RedStar", some German methods of counteracting Russian sound and flashreconnaissance are examined. For a description of similar tactics seeTactical and Technical Trends, No. 31, p. 15.* * *Since the results of sound reconnaissance depend on atmosphericconditions, Germans always try to use these to their advantage. Forexample, when sound carries well, (at night, in fog, on calm days) Germanstry to use their artillery as little as possible. On the other hand, whensound conditions favor the Germans (wind in the direction of theirpositions, vertical midday currents, sharp drops in temperature etc.) theactivity of their artillery increases. In selecting their firing positionsGermans take into consideration the effect of the surrounding terrain onsound. Firing positions on the reverse slopes of the hills, in groves, nearlakes, and marshes are more desirable in this respect than those on tops ofhills.In order to deceive our sound reconnaissance and to draw our fire onempty positions Germans use "swinging" or "duty" batteries (American rovingguns). These batteries swinging from one position to another, fire a fewrounds from each position, mixing it occasionally with systematic fire.These positions are selected away from other batteries and other trooppositions. Germans are very careful not to disclose their fire system. Manybatteries do not fire for a long time as their mission is to ambush eitherour troops or our batteries. Almost never does a gun fire individually asit is then easily located by sound reconnaissance; instead, as a rule,several batteries fire together at an even tempo so that individual shotsare drowned in the general noise.To camouflage fire activity of especially important positions specialdevices are used that imitate sounds of gunfire. These devices are placedfrom 200 to 300 meters on the flanks of the camouflaged battery, or to therear with respect to the direction of actual firing. Sometimes, for morecomplete imitation of a battery, these devices are supplemented by otherswhich produce a flash simultaneously with the real volley.Along the same principle a single piece located also 200 to 300meters from the others is used for ranging fire. This piece if movedfarther away, would interfere with correct ranging for the rest of thebattery and would also enable us to discover the trick. These seperatepieces also have the secondary mission of nuisance fire. If severalbatteries are to take part in a barrage, these ranging pieces are usedduring the first stages. As soon as the Germans think that our soundreconnaissance has located these pieces, the rest of the guns open up. Theranging pieces continue their fire until the end of the barrage.In order to hide their guns from our flash locators, very oftenrockets are sent up, haystacks and other material burned, so that the gunflashes are nearly invisible against the burning background. Smokelesspowder and flash hiders are also used. Large-scale engineering works aremade in order to hide the batteries from ground and air observation. Eachbattery has two camouflage experts who supervise this work.