July 11, 2014

German Defense Tactics Against Russian Breakthroughs: The Spoiling Attack

Continuing with German defense tactics against Russian breakthroughs we will examine the spoiling attack. The spoiling attack, if successful, can disrupt the enemy’s offensive plan. But if it fails a significant portion of the defender’s reserve will be lost and his position will worsen considerably. Thus only an experienced commander can take that risk.

The Spoiling attack

“The spoiling attack—a surprise thrust into the enemy attack preparations—is a very effective, though rare, operation. Its purpose is to disorganize the enemy's assembly and thereby delay and weaken his offensive or to force him to launch his attack at a less vulnerable point.

Such an attack from the defensive can be undertaken only under certain conditions. The enemy assembly area must be easily accessible to a surprise thrust, and the defender must have strong armored reserves on hand. The terrain and road net must facilitate quick maneuver under cover of darkness. All attack plans must be concealed from the enemy, or he must be deceived with regard to the real intentions. For this reason, it is imperative that one act without delay”.

Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-233. "German Defense Tactics Against Russian Breakthroughs." Historical Study. 1951.

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