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Combat in Russians Swamps and Forests

Combat in Russians Swamps and Forests

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Published by bawb-2
One of a series of U.S. Army special studies made after WWII, almost always from the German point of view, concerning warfare with the Soviet Union as the Cold War dawned..
One of a series of U.S. Army special studies made after WWII, almost always from the German point of view, concerning warfare with the Soviet Union as the Cold War dawned..

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Published by: bawb-2 on Dec 30, 2009
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Here is another out-of-print and otherwise unavailable US Army HistoricalStudy from the "German Series." Generaloberst Franz Halder authored theForeword. This is part 1 of 2:RESTRICTED
This pamphlet supersedes MS No. P-052, "Combat in Forests and Swamps,"which was given a limited distribution by the Office of the Chief of MilitaryHistory, Special Staff, U. S. Army.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY JULY 1951RESTRICTEDDEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WASHINGTON 25, D. C., 31 July 1951DA Pamphlet 20—231 is published for the information and guidance of allconcerned.[AG 385 (12 Jun 51)]BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:OFFICIAL: J. LAWTON COLLINSWM. E. BERGIN Chief of Staff,United States Army Major General, USAThe Adjutant GeneralDISTRIBUTION :GSUSA (5) ; SSUSA (5) exc NGB (15) ; Tech Svc (25) ; Bd(10) ; AFF (25) ; AA Comd (2) ; OS Maj Comd (50) ; A (10) ;CHQ (10) ; D (8) ; R (3) ; Bn (4) ; FC (5) ; PMS & T (1) ;MAAG (2) ; SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION.For explanation of distribution formula, see SR 310—90—1.
Combat in Russian Forests and Swamps, prepared for the HistoricalDivision, EUCOM, by a committee of former German generals and generalstaff officers, deals with the principles of combat in the vast woodlands andswamps of European Russia. The main author and all other contributorshave drawn upon their own extensive experience on the Eastern Front andthat of their allies, especially the Finns, to present the actual lessons learnedfrom the events of the war. When the study was translated and prepared for  publication, every effort was made to retain the point of view, theexpressions, and even the prejudices of the original authors.The reader is reminded that publications in the GERMAN REPORTSERIES were written by Germans from the German point of view.Throughout this pamphlet, any mention of "normal methods" or standardinfantry tactics refers to German combat doctrines, and applies to unitsorganized and equipped in accordance with German regulations. Similarly,the recommendations contained in the final section are made against the background of German methods of individual and unit training before andduring World War II.iiiFOREWORD[*]In conformance with the assignment, this study had to be confined to adiscussion of tactical principles. The author's lucid and methodical presentation fully corresponds with the experiences reported to me by our combat forces during the Russian campaign.Apart from tactical principles, however, another problem calls for seriousconsideration : The problem of education and training, of teaching self-confidence to young men of military age and of training them in the art of improvisation. The need for this training is pointed out in the final section of this study.Furthermore the presence of vast forest and swamp regions, as encounteredin eastern Europe, must be taken into consideration in the planning of military operations. Future planners will have to make certain that extensive
areas of woodlands and swamps are not permitted to assume more thantactical importance. The German command in Russia was not alwayssuccessful in this respect, partly because it did not see clearly all theelements involved and partly because it did not succeed in driving the enemyaway from the large wooded and swampy areas. On the contrary; there werenumerous occasions when we deliberately drove the Russians into theswamp, assuming that this would prevent them from interfering with thefurther course of operations. That proved to be a fatal error.When the enemy has been maneuvered into a large forest and swamp region,the area cannot be sealed off by the same methods as a beleaguered fortress.Even a force with great numerical superiority will never have enough menavailable for such a task. It was also our experience that Russian forces, oncethey were driven into wooded and swampy areas, were extremely difficult toattack by normal means and could hardly ever be completely destroyed. Oncountless occasions, we were confronted with the fact' that the Russian wasable to move about in these impenetrable forests and treacherous swampswith the certain instinct and sense of security of an animal, whereas anysoldier reared and trained in a civilized country of the West was severelyrestricted in his movements and thereby placed at a dis- _____________________________________________________________ [*] By General Franz Halder, Chief of the General Staff of the GermanArmy, 1938-1942.vFOREWORDadvantage. There are no effective tactical remedies to compensate for thisdisadvantage. Even the most thorough training applied to troops from theWest cannot replace the natural instinct peculiar to eastern Europeans whowere born and raised in a region of forests and swamps. In the course of several generations the Soviet policy of concentrating masses of workers inlarge industrial areas will certainly have the effect of eliminating thesenatural instincts, even among people of the eastern type, but this is still far inthe future. Until that time arrives, I am convinced that there is only onereally effective method to use against the dangers of Russian forests andswamps, namely, to plan and conduct operations in a manner which willdrive the Soviet forces from those areas where—for the time being—they

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