Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Auftragstaktik

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Auftragstaktik

    While reading the book "Barbarossa Unleashed" by Craig WT Luther I came across this term in a chapter where he was discussing certain German tactical practices and terminologies.Naturally I searched the web for further examples and found this rather interesting article written by Capt M.M. O’Leary of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

    [URL for article : Auftragstaktik
    For copyright reasons a source must be provided when quoting large amounts of another's work. Thank you ACG Staff]


    "The concept of Auftragstaktik or "mission tactics" … made it the responsibility of each German officer and NCO … to do without question or doubt whatever the situation required, as he personally saw it. Omission and inactivity were considered worse than a wrong choice of expedient. Even disobedience of orders was not inconsistent with this philosophy." (1)

    "Auftragstaktik" – an obscure German word related to an approach to warfare, nearly untranslatable into English, difficult to explain, probably even more difficult to comprehend.

    We must endeavour to train the mind, as well as the body, of each and every rank level. In this manner battle drills can become what they should be, a common start point from which to develop a plan, rather than a solution in itself.

    But is Auftragstaktik a truly foreign concept to the Canadian military mind? I would contend that its basic principle isn’t – at least not to the soldiers in our Army. Yet I also believe that Auftragstaktik is a completely unfathomable concept to the mind of the bureaucratic careerist who, it would seem, continues to be held in favour by the system.

    Auftragstaktik won the day at Vimy Ridge. Auftragstaktik led to Canadian successes in Normandy. Auftragstaktik held the line in Korea. It did these things because, in each case, the goal – "the Commander’s Intent" – was clearly defined to every officer, NCO and soldier. Each knew his job, and each knew the jobs of those around him and was prepared to fulfill the unit’s mission with reduced strength, even following the loss of their own superior. An important aspect of Auftragstaktik is initiative, the expectation that subordinates will apply it and the requirement for all rank levels to have the confidence to do so.

    "…initiative is a desirable characteristic in a soldier only when its effort is concentric rather than eccentric: the rifleman who plunges ahead and seizes a point of high ground which common sense says cannot be held can bring greater jeopardy to a company than any mere malingerer." (2)

    For a simplistic approach, think of one aspect of Auftragstaktik in terms of S.L.A. Marshall’s ‘concentricity of initiative.’ Initiative applied toward a defined end-state will contribute to success, as much as does the initiative to not execute an assigned task which no longer supports the attainment of that goal. The NCOs and soldiers of Canada’s Army are prepared and capable of understanding and implementing this. Shortfalls in the Army’s preparedness to adopt Auftragstaktik as a tactical concept lies not with our troops, but with our officers.

    Auftragstaktik requires a fundamental shift from careerist self-protectionism, which we have impressed upon our officers, rewarded them for exhibiting and punished them for not following. The officers of the Army must understand and live within the precepts of Auftragstaktik. They must also be prepared to explain the expectations of Auftragstaktik to their NCOs and soldiers, how to coach them on its application and, perhaps most importantly, how to accept partial success in training as success – not failure. Even when that partial success is only the courage of a subordinate to apply what he or she perceives as concentric initiative.

    The Canadian Army suffers from classic symptomology of hierarchism. Have we been so blind to our failings that we need Dr. Jack Granatstein (3) and Desmond Morton (4) to describe them to us before we are able to recognize them? Laurence Peter (5) could have a field day rewriting The Peter Principle based on a study of our current career structure. The foci on conformity, measurable standards of behaviour and performance, stagnation of the incompetent rather than their removal, and the sidelining of the "supercompentent" are all classic indicators of this disease. The super-competent are those personnel who can execute any assigned task, but fail to conform to the hierarchical expectations of normalcy. They are tolerated (within limits) but not promoted by the hierarchy, and they get the ‘dirty’ jobs, the ones with associated risk to a career, because (a) they’ll get it done, (b) they are considered expendable by their conformist superior. Our career structure is based on promoting conformity, not competence. In fact, we have even achieved that state in which " ... super-competence is more objectionable than incompetence. Ordinary incompetence … is no cause for dismissal: it is simply a bar to promotion. Super-competence often leads to dismissal, because it disrupts the hierarchy, and thereby violates the first commandment of hierarchical life: the hierarchy must be preserved. (6)

    Auftragstaktik cannot thrive within such absolute hierarchism. Auftragstaktik requires a front rank of the bold, the daring, and the intelligent. Hierarchies fear these same characteristics; their proponents disrupt the stability of the hierarchy. Do not confuse the stability of ‘the hierarchy’ with the stability of the Army as an institution. Army structures and mindsets are designed to meet and survive crises, but the inherent resilience that allows this: its esprit, the regimental system, its balance of duty and the well being of personnel, cannot be allowed to atrophy to stagnation in times of peace through bureaucratization.

    An army survives and grows, physically, intellectually and spiritually through its risk-takers. I do not here support the breaking of regulations, or the placing of soldiers in training under unnecessary, or unjustifiable, risk. We have, however, lost our capacity to seek the edge of the allowed envelope. Take, for example, the infantry. I have met over the years many of my own peers who avoid anything to do with field firing, the live fire training of soldiers in tactical scenarios. They achieve this by allowing their own skills to degrade and permitting the willing and capable few to always step in. Field firing ‘by the book’ is not dangerous; it can be the best training a soldier will experience. These officers avoid the challenge not because of the risk to the soldiers, but because of the perceived risk to their own careers if something goes wrong. Risk-takers challenge the comfortable warmth of the status quo; they are willing to trade their potential within the hierarchy for accepting a degree of responsibility the bureaucracy has decided to find distasteful. Even legitimate risk-takers disturb the hierarchy because they refuse to "stay in the box." And there’s no risk-taking, or Auftragstaktik, in the box.

    Bureaucracies maintain hierarchies by cutting away or restricting the growth of the unfamiliar, the new, and the original until, like topiary, they may be pleasing to the outside observer but bear no resemblance to their naturally evolved state. And, in this case, that shape is maintained from year to year without regard for the damage being caused to the component parts of the underlying organism – our soldiers, NCOs and young officers. Auftragstaktik will require such a fundamental change to the Army that only by carefully preparing the ground for change can we approach it with any hope of success. We must consider that Canadian Army as a single dynamic organism, not unlike Churchill’s description of the turn-of-the-century British Regiment:

    "Regiments are not like houses. They cannot be pulled down and altered structurally to suit the convenience of the occupier or the caprice of the owner. They are more like plants; they grow slowly if they are to grow strong … and if they are blighted or transplanted they are apt to wither." (7)

    The Army must be tended with care; we cannot suddenly change the shape or growing conditions of only one part without affecting others by withholding similar or compensatory treatment. Auftragstaktik is such a change, teaching our officers is not enough, we must be prepared to provide the entire tree with this fertilizer. And the change must be tended with care, lest the entire structure be irreparably damaged.

    But how can we expect Auftragstaktik, or concentric initiative, to begin to survive in a structured hierarchy like our current career system? We should not expect it because it cannot. Our career system remains dependent on task allocation and the perceived requirement for ‘measurable performance indicators,’ i.e.; the completion of assigned tasks by the book. That and giving greater credit to subjective potential for future rank than we do for objective performance in current rank continues to defeat the purpose of a shift to Auftragstaktik. Until these undesirable characteristics are addressed, Auftragstaktik is being seeded on barren ground. It is well and good that we have started to teach our officers about the concepts of Auftragstaktik, but that is only scratching the surface. Until the expectations of the system change, officers will volubly speak of Auftragstaktik while on course, then swiftly withdraw to the less daring expectations of the status quo on return to their duties. We must select our next lines of advance carefully.

    The Army must change its fundamental focus on performance and expectations if we expect a shift in command methodology encompassing Auftragstaktik to be successful. Our officers must be taught – or re-taught – that initiative is as strong a personal and professional characteristic as loyalty, and that concentric initiative can be a stronger display of loyalty to one’s superior, and to the Army, than blind obedience.

    Our soldiers even before they are trained for, and promoted to, supervisory rank, must be imbued with the spirit of Auftragstaktik. We must teach them the concept of concentric initiative, and reward them for any reasonable attempt to apply it. The tendency to begin criticism with the phrase "good initiative, but…" can no longer be considered acceptable. Find fault with the logic used to select the approach and correct it through training, but never blame the soldier’s willingness to try. We must endeavour to train the mind, as well as the body, of each and every rank level. In this manner battle drills can become what they should be, a common start point from which to develop a plan, rather than a solution in itself.

    "Fetishism for battle drills has been largely responsible for sanitizing imagination, creativity and mental mobility in infantry ranks. Battle drills are … a set of reactions … Conversely, tactics are a thought out plan to overcome the threat, the two are therefore dissimilar." (8)

    Those of our personnel who have not become slaves to the system offer fertile ground to the concepts of Auftragstaktik. Auftragstaktik fits the Canadian mind. Our young soldiers, NCOs and officers should thrive under it. But we must shift the established hierarchy away from its current trends. The existing merit system and our embedded means of assessing performance are poisonous to Auftragstaktik – and if we don’t tend the soil, the plant will die.

    The effective application of Auftragstaktik is dependent on individual willingness and capability to apply non-conformist and unique solutions when crisis arises. The readiness of all ranks to depart from "the plan" once it no longer supports the Commander’s desired end-state is essential and must be assumable by each level of command. The Army must accept that continued teaching of its officers and NCOs that unthinking obedience to issued tasks is no longer acceptable because it does not support an evolution to Auftragstaktik.

    As a final note, I would like to mention that the titles of various works that illuminate our current malaise have been around for some time. Even as a young subaltern I was advised that I should be familiar with Crisis in Command (9), and only a few years later I discovered On the Psychology of Military Incompetence (10), afterward finding it more well known than I might have expected. These works offer diagnostic guidance, if we are willing to take them to heart.

    Consider Gabriel and Savage’s (11) attributes of a good combat officer, these are the same characteristics that must become acceptable and desirable if we can adjust to Auftragstaktik. These are:

    "Unobtrusive indicators of the "good [combat] officer"

    Distrust any officer with a perfect or near perfect record of efficiency reports. He is conforming to the existing value system and will have no interest in changing it.

    Look carefully at a man who gets low marks on "tact" and who "deviates from accepted doctrine." He may be creative.

    An officer who gets low marks on loyalty is especially valuable, for he is unwilling to acquiesce to his superior's policies without debate. He is likely to have an independent mind.

    Be suspicious of any officer who has accumulated awards for valour without having sustained physical injury. Trust a Purple Heart wearer.

    Distrust any officer who has had "all his tickets punched" and who sports an array of staff awards on his chest. He is likely to be a manager playing the system.

    Distrust all officers who use "buzz words" and have a poor vocabulary. They tend to be managers of the most obsequious type. True leadership is likely to be foreign to them.

    Trust a man who heads for the sound of the guns and has repeated tours of combat and command duty at all unit levels; it is preferable that he have only minimal exposure to staff work.

    Trust an officer who was seen by his men in combat and whose command performed well and showed low rates of drug use, fragging, body counting, etc.

    Search for the officer whose readiness reports indicate a high percentage of equipment which is deficient. He is a man addicted to the truth." (12)

    "Only he can command who has the courage and initiative to disobey." (13) As well, only those officers and NCOs with the same courage can make Auftragstaktik work in the Canadian Army. The questions remains – does the system have the courage to let them try?
    Regards,Kurt
    Last edited by CarpeDiem; 06 Mar 16, 22:05. Reason: added source.
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

  • #2
    SLA Marshall's example of concentric versus eccentric initiative was the commander that used initiative to a nearby hill despite that it could not be supported by adjacent friendly forces and resulted in heavy casualties and placed the parent unit at risk.

    Auftragtatiks placed the responsibility to make a timely, good decision regardless of command level at the point of the action. There was however an expectation that the selected course of action would be within operating procedures.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
      SLA Marshall's example of concentric versus eccentric initiative was the commander that used initiative to a nearby hill despite that it could not be supported by adjacent friendly forces and resulted in heavy casualties and placed the parent unit at risk.

      Auftragtatiks placed the responsibility to make a timely, good decision regardless of command level at the point of the action. There was however an expectation that the selected course of action would be within operating procedures.
      The use of Auftragtatiks by the Gemans on the eastern front had great success.An example of how it is used:

      In this case Alfred Dürrwanger - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_D%C3%BCrrwanger - was to explain to his regimental commander,the situation of their division and contacts all of the other regimental commanders in the division to explain the situation of his regiment which had just arrived near the front and ask for their respective situations since they were already at the front.

      Riding on motorcycle's, Durrwanger and a small company staff located the neighboring regimental commander who proceeded to explain that they had face serious enemy opposition the day before.Durrwanger passed this on to his commander by radio and pondered his next move.It was a bright sunny day with no sounds of battle thus far.

      Durrwanger decided to approach closer to the Nemen River to conduct his own reconnaissance.He then requested from his commander a platoon of infantry and a platoon of light infantry guns from his own company.Upon receiving the small group he continued to cautiously approach a village near the banks of the Nemen River where he observed a bridge leading out of the village and across the river.Creeping closer the discovered the bridge was intact and no visable demolition charges could be seen.The bridge was not on any of the "poor and inaccurate maps"-a universal problem in the opening stages of Barbarossa.

      He Immediately informed his commander of the situation and requested reinforcements to seize the bridge to create a bridgehead across it on the opposite side.The regimental commander approved and also came along with the requested soldiers.We then assaulted the bridge taking the Russians by surprise and with little resistance took the bridge and set up a bridgehead on the other side.The little resistance we faced was probably the enemy rear guards.

      Possession of the bridge provided an enormous advantage for the quick advancement of our division.The regimental commander had pushed his units forward without any direct or specific order from the division,but only motivated by a recently discovered weakness on the Soviet side.

      That is AUFTRAGSTAKTIK !

      Source - Col.Dr A. Dürrwanger, "28th Infantry Division Operations" in: Initial Period of War on the Eastern Front, D.M. Glantz. Also S. Hart-The German Soldier in WWII.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076...=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

      Regards,Kurt
      Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 09 Mar 16, 04:34.
      Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
        The use of Auftragtatiks by the Gemans on the eastern front had great success.An example of how it is used:

        In this case Alfred Dürrwanger - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_D%C3%BCrrwanger - was to explain to his regimental commander,the situation of their division and contacts all of the other regimental commanders in the division to explain the situation of his regiment which had just arrived near the front and ask for their respective situations since they were already at the front.

        Riding on motorcycle's, Durrwanger and a small company staff located the neighboring regimental commander who proceeded to explain that they had face serious enemy opposition the day before.Durrwanger passed this on to his commander by radio and pondered his next move.It was a bright sunny day with no sounds of battle thus far.

        Durrwanger decided to approach closer to the Nemen River to conduct his own reconnaissance.He then requested from his commander a platoon of infantry and a platoon of light infantry guns from his own company.Upon receiving the small group he continued to cautiously approach a village near the banks of the Nemen River where he observed a bridge leading out of the village and across the river.Creeping closer the discovered the bridge was intact and no visable demolition charges could be seen.The bridge was not on any of the "poor and inaccurate maps"-a universal problem in the opening stages of Barbarossa.

        He Immediately informed his commander of the situation and requested reinforcements to seize the bridge to create a bridgehead across it on the opposite side.The regimental commander approved and also came along with the requested soldiers.We then assaulted the bridge taking the Russians by surprise and with little resistance took the bridge and set up a bridgehead on the other side.The little resistance we faced was probably the enemy rear guards.

        Possession of the bridge provided an enormous advantage for the quick advancement of our division.The regimental commander had pushed his units forward without any direct or specific order from the division,but only motivated by a recently discovered weakness on the Soviet side.

        That is AUFTRAGSTAKTIK !

        Source - Col.Dr A. Dürrwanger, "28th Infantry Division Operations" in: Initial Period of War on the Eastern Front, D.M. Glantz. Also S. Hart-The German Soldier in WWII.

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076...=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

        Regards,Kurt
        Exactly, great example.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • #5
          On the whole Aftragstaktik is no substitute for proper planning of an operation. It's useful for when the situation demands immediate action or things go South, but it's really poor and often very expensive when used instead of a thought through plan.

          I'd point to the 106th Panzer Brigade at Arracourt or how the Mortain counteroffensive was executed as examples of this. Even Wittmann at Villers Brocage is a good example.

          I'd say on the whole that the Wehrmacht bought into it wholesale as the "best" way to command units in the field but against an organized and determined enemy with combined arms capacity it was usually a disastrously expensive failure.
          It could exploit a lethargic or un-unified opponent quite well but one that knows his $h!+ you are royally screwed by using it as your primary method of command.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            On the whole Aftragstaktik is no substitute for proper planning of an operation. It's useful for when the situation demands immediate action or things go South, but it's really poor and often very expensive when used instead of a thought through plan.

            I'd point to the 106th Panzer Brigade at Arracourt or how the Mortain counteroffensive was executed as examples of this. Even Wittmann at Villers Brocage is a good example.

            I'd say on the whole that the Wehrmacht bought into it wholesale as the "best" way to command units in the field but against an organized and determined enemy with combined arms capacity it was usually a disastrously expensive failure.
            It could exploit a lethargic or un-unified opponent quite well but one that knows his $h!+ you are royally screwed by using it as your primary method of command.
            Exactly! When the enemy's communications have been totally disrupted and he was made blind and deaf, such tactic might lead to significant advantages. However, when fighting with an enemy who has plenty of radios and good mobility, it could only result in the needless dispersion or outright squandering of forces. Luckily for the Germans, they found the Red Army in 1941 to be an example of the former and not the latter, but this was one of the few fronts where such tactics could work.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

            Comment


            • #7
              Actually, I think auftragstaktik is more driven by situation and terrain than comms. In broken terrain, such as mountains, bocage, wooded, populated areas especially urban centers, lower level command has greater responsibility for executing orders that fail to appreciate the terrain and determining alternative courses of actions. I think we find the German defenders tenacious on all the fronts: Italian, French as well as Russian.
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                On the whole Aftragstaktik is no substitute for proper planning of an operation. It's useful for when the situation demands immediate action or things go South, but it's really poor and often very expensive when used instead of a thought through plan.

                I'd point to the 106th Panzer Brigade at Arracourt or how the Mortain counteroffensive was executed as examples of this. Even Wittmann at Villers Brocage is a good example.

                I'd say on the whole that the Wehrmacht bought into it wholesale as the "best" way to command units in the field but against an organized and determined enemy with combined arms capacity it was usually a disastrously expensive failure.
                It could exploit a lethargic or un-unified opponent quite well but one that knows his $h!+ you are royally screwed by using it as your primary method of command.
                Auftragstaktik is not about not planning an operation.It is about leaving more of the details to be worked out by the subordinate which always works better as it allows more flexibility and adaptability to the changing situation on the battlefield.The scope for it depends on situation and quality of the subordinate. There are situations in which detailed orders are necessary and the subordinate needs to be capable to use the initiative given. Anyway, Auftragstaktik was not a dogma.
                The examples you cite are not proof of the contrary.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                  Actually, I think auftragstaktik is more driven by situation and terrain than comms. In broken terrain, such as mountains, bocage, wooded, populated areas especially urban centers, lower level command has greater responsibility for executing orders that fail to appreciate the terrain and determining alternative courses of actions. I think we find the German defenders tenacious on all the fronts: Italian, French as well as Russian.
                  Certainly by situation as particularly in a fluid combat situation Auftragstaktik works better because things change rapidly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by navene View Post
                    Auftragstaktik is not about not planning an operation.It is about leaving more of the details to be worked out by the subordinate which always works better as it allows more flexibility and adaptability to the changing situation on the battlefield.The scope for it depends on situation and quality of the subordinate. There are situations in which detailed orders are necessary and the subordinate needs to be capable to use the initiative given. Anyway, Auftragstaktik was not a dogma.
                    The examples you cite are not proof of the contrary.
                    Villers Brocage and Michael Wittmann is a perfect example of this. Wittmann was on a scouting / reconnaissance mission when he encountered the British at Villers Brocage. He took it upon himself and the two Tigers with him, along with a Pz IV he grabbed from Lehr and attacked. That was not his mission, nor was he really prepared or equipped to deal with the unit he was attacking.
                    By the end of the engagement, he lost all four tanks involved essentially to nothing more than a very minor tactical gain of no significance. Had he followed his original orders and reported the British along with strengths etc., and allowed higher command to decide on a course of action the engagement might have turned out in the German's favor.

                    The 106th Pz Brigade (Feldherrenhalle commanded by East Front tank ace Obrest Bäke) likewise is an example of how attacking on the fly against a prepared enemy doesn't work.
                    In this case, Bäke split his command into two columns each with about a reinforced company of tanks (about 20ish) supported by a strong company of panzergrenadiers with halftracks.
                    He had no knowledge of US positions and did no pre-attack reconnaissance. He had no artillery support or other supporting arms. The 19th VG division was supposed to follow his attack but it had no effective communications with the 106th Pz Bde. Bäke also opted for a pre-dawn attack further limiting his information as he advanced.
                    As the two columns advanced they began to run into elements of the US 90th Infantry Division. These units immediately got on radios and telephones and quickly alerted the division the Germans were advancing.
                    The Germans expected the US forces to become confused and panic over the night attack. Instead, they quickly were loaded for bear and the German columns blundered into defense positions with 3" antitank guns and infantry ready for action. Tanks from the supporting 712th tank battalion maneuvered onto the German flanks and the divisional artillery began to ruthlessly demolish the German columns. By late afternoon the 106th had lost 21 of 47 tanks and had just 9 runners left. 60 out of 119 halftracks were destroyed and the Brigade was finished as a fighting force.

                    The 111th, 112th, and 113th Panzer brigades committed a few days later to attacking the US around Nancy were likewise literally torn apart for virtually no US losses. At Dompaire the 112th ran into the 2nd French Armored division and was smashed. The French called in 9th TAF P-47's on the Germans and the planes bombed and strafed the German armor for hours. The Brigade in a single day of fighting lost about 70% of its equipment rendering it hors de combat.
                    Again, the brigade operated on the basis of auftragstaktiks using small mobile columns operating in parallel but uncoordinated. There was no effort made to get artillery support or other supporting units. Rather, the panzer commanders were relying on fast moving columns and confusion on the part of the enemy to the attack to succeed.
                    Instead, the French, like the Americans used their superior communications and better staff support to coordinate a vicious defense that included tank destroyers, tanks, infantry, and heavy artillery fire.

                    These units were thrown away on the belief that rapid action and command from the front would carry the day. The Germans were dead wrong.

                    You can look at Bagration and the destruction of Army Group Center on the Eastern Front for like examples of the Germans relying on small mobile groups to plug holes and try and disrupt Soviet attacks. They too got smashed by large combined arms units that overwhelmed them.

                    Leaving all the details to the commander at the front means that the commander at the rear is often left out of the picture. That means it's hard or impossible to coordinate support for the forces at the front. Sometimes being a little slower is actually faster than ignoring the "Six P" rule (Proper Planning Prevents Pi$$ Poor Performance).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      Villers Brocage and Michael Wittmann is a perfect example of this. Wittmann was on a scouting / reconnaissance mission when he encountered the British at Villers Brocage. He took it upon himself and the two Tigers with him, along with a Pz IV he grabbed from Lehr and attacked. That was not his mission, nor was he really prepared or equipped to deal with the unit he was attacking.
                      By the end of the engagement, he lost all four tanks involved essentially to nothing more than a very minor tactical gain of no significance. Had he followed his original orders and reported the British along with strengths etc., and allowed higher command to decide on a course of action the engagement might have turned out in the German's favor.
                      .
                      Historically, he stopped a dangerous advance. So, it did end in the German's favor and he got rewarded for it. He showed initiative and that is good.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                        The 106th Pz Brigade (Feldherrenhalle commanded by East Front tank ace Obrest Bäke) likewise is an example of how attacking on the fly against a prepared enemy doesn't work.
                        In this case, Bäke split his command into two columns each with about a reinforced company of tanks (about 20ish) supported by a strong company of panzergrenadiers with halftracks.
                        He had no knowledge of US positions and did no pre-attack reconnaissance. He had no artillery support or other supporting arms. The 19th VG division was supposed to follow his attack but it had no effective communications with the 106th Pz Bde. Bäke also opted for a pre-dawn attack further limiting his information as he advanced.
                        As the two columns advanced they began to run into elements of the US 90th Infantry Division. These units immediately got on radios and telephones and quickly alerted the division the Germans were advancing.
                        The Germans expected the US forces to become confused and panic over the night attack. Instead, they quickly were loaded for bear and the German columns blundered into defense positions with 3" antitank guns and infantry ready for action. Tanks from the supporting 712th tank battalion maneuvered onto the German flanks and the divisional artillery began to ruthlessly demolish the German columns. By late afternoon the 106th had lost 21 of 47 tanks and had just 9 runners left. 60 out of 119 halftracks were destroyed and the Brigade was finished as a fighting force.

                        The 111th, 112th, and 113th Panzer brigades committed a few days later to attacking the US around Nancy were likewise literally torn apart for virtually no US losses. At Dompaire the 112th ran into the 2nd French Armored division and was smashed. The French called in 9th TAF P-47's on the Germans and the planes bombed and strafed the German armor for hours. The Brigade in a single day of fighting lost about 70% of its equipment rendering it hors de combat.
                        Again, the brigade operated on the basis of auftragstaktiks using small mobile columns operating in parallel but uncoordinated. There was no effort made to get artillery support or other supporting units. Rather, the panzer commanders were relying on fast moving columns and confusion on the part of the enemy to the attack to succeed.
                        Instead, the French, like the Americans used their superior communications and better staff support to coordinate a vicious defense that included tank destroyers, tanks, infantry, and heavy artillery fire.).
                        You illustrate again that you do not understand Auftragstaktik. Nothing to do with not planning but only with leaving the details to be worked out by the subordinate commander . So, there was no failure because supposedly auftrtagstaktik is no good. The brigades were simple a failed concept because too weak and also inexperienced.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          Leaving all the details to the commander at the front means that the commander at the rear is often left out of the picture. That means it's hard or impossible to coordinate support for the forces at the front. Sometimes being a little slower is actually faster than ignoring the "Six P" rule (Proper Planning Prevents Pi$$ Poor Performance).
                          Nothing to do with that,particularly because the commander will not be at the rear. He will still be looking over the shoulder of the subordinate.
                          You simply do not understand what auftragstaktik actually is. Nothing to do with not planning or not coordinating. It has everything to do with giving initiative to the competent subordinate who does not always need to be told in the greatest posssible detail how to achieve his objective. An officer that is teached to think on his own will be better at his trade and use his initiative when out of contact with higher command or faced with orders being outdated by a rapidly changing battlefield situation. Works better but was never a dogma, contrary to what you imply.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                            You can look at Bagration and the destruction of Army Group Center on the Eastern Front for like examples of the Germans relying on small mobile groups to plug holes and try and disrupt Soviet attacks. They too got smashed by large combined arms units that overwhelmed them.
                            Again nothing to do with auftragstaktik. Germans relying on small mobile groups was not a matter of choice. There was simply nothing more available.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by navene View Post
                              Auftragstaktik is not about not planning an operation.It is about leaving more of the details to be worked out by the subordinate which always works better
                              Well, imagine two battalions (regiments, divisions) attacking an enemy position next to each other. One decides to attack at 5 am and another at 10 am. Both attack will not have a mutual support and can be defeated in one by one and the second will lose an advantage of surprise. It doesn't always work better actually.
                              As a general rule any large military operation required a huge chunk of planning and coordination between units, branches and services which would be impossible if they operated independently from each other.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X