"Maneuver Warfare: German Experiences in WWII"

Those interested in the U.S.Army's Germanophilia of the 70's or  some German officer's' anecdotes will find seven likely interesting documents a the "The Blaster" blog:



  1. Sven, one question that has been nagging me recently is how infantrymen use their rifles in combat. The americans and soviets authored numerous studys in the 1940s-50s indicating that automatic fire from short to medium range is more relevant than traditional marksmanship.

    Every nation authorises different rates of ammunition expenditure (rounds per minute), depending upon circumstances. Some are limited to semi-automatic fire only, while others will use the burst mode. What do you think about this subject?

    1. I didn't observe it first-hand, but the answer seems to be a "it depends".
      You saw my "Infantry combat ranges" text from 2010/09/02 years ago already. And full auto/burst makes only sense at short ranges, especially inside buildings or streets.

      BTW, the new Heer G36 handling and shooting training appears to be inf avour of the short range reaction drills, much less the old "G3 on 300 m range" training.

    2. Do you think semi-automatic fire is appropriate for most engagements? I am not so sure. For one, we still don't know what the relationship between the firing rate and the resulting hit rate is. Semi-auto might get you more hits per unit of ammunition, but does it get you more hits per unit of time? Unlikely.

      The US army lists a sustained fire rate of 12-15 rpm for their riflemen, but this guideline is dictated solely by the need to conserve ammo! It doesn't allow for the complications of environment, target distance or profile, psychological effect, etc. There are too many variables involved!

    3. Rounds per minute is no appropriate measurement unit for CQB; often times it's just fine to empty a magazine 7.62 in a room or even through a wall.

      It's also a pointless unit of measurement for rather long range firefights. Save for tripod machineguns hardly any dismounts do ever shoot at 400+ m for suppression, so their shooting and rate of fire is driven by opportunities; they shoot when they see something and can aim in time. This may be 5 rpm or 5 rounds per hour.

      Rpm is also no appropriate measuremetn when the blue infantryman is frightened. He may shoot very quickly, even spray & pray - or cower behind cover.

      Finally, rpm during suppressive fires at 50-300 m isn't nearly as interesting as the question of duration and how many points a rifleman is supposed to suppress; is he tasked to suppress one window, two or three? Does he support a 50 m advance or a 200 m advance?

      BTW; 12-15 rpm exchausts the ammunitionc arried within about 20 minutes. That's hardly conserving ammo. About 15 rpm is rather a RoF which allows for somewhat aimed single shots under difficult circumstances.

      In the end, the small unit leader is supposed to control subordinate firepower, taking intoa ccount the overall situation. Judgements will vary.