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    Smoke signals in German panzer troops

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    Smoke signals in German panzer troops

    Post by lockie on Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:52 pm

    That's a very interesting and unbelievable thing(for me) how many smoke grenades used by German crew. There are any cases, which could happen with tank and crew.
    Source: M3 MEDIUM TANK vs PANZER III, Kasserine Pass 1943.

    Handrauchzeichen were a small colored smoke cartridges thrown by hand onto the
    ground after igniting by a pull-cord friction igniter. They were mainly used to signal
    actions and events to supporting aircraft. They burned for 30-40 seconds arid
    were distinguishable from 6,000ft (1,800m).
    Color Meaning
    Orange..................German troops here
    Orange-red.............We are isolated, cut-off, the enemy is behind us
    Orange-green..........Repeat your attack
    Green................... Increase range of action as we are advancing, we are attacking, or we are making contact
    Red......................The enemy is attacking [infiltrating, penetrating]
    Red-green..............The enemy is attacking [encircling] on our right
    Red-white..............The enemy Is attacking [encircling] on our left
    Violet....................Enemy tanks ahead
    Violet-red...............Enemy tanks to our rear
    Violet-green............Enemy tanks to our right
    Violet-white............Enemy tanks to our left
    Violet-orange..........German tanks are going into action [to ensure aircraft did not attack them]

    And here it is some words abt. communication in German troops:
    Communications between tanks, subunits, higher units, and supporting arms was considered most critical by the Panzertruppen. While most armies installed only two-way radios in platoon commander's and higher echelon tanks, the Germans so equipped all tanks in this fashion. Other armies held to the concept that tanks in the platoons were to only follow orders. It was thought that by eliminating two-way communications, response time would be speed up. However, in reality this concept prevented subordinate tanks from achieving numerous tasks that included confirming the receipt of orders (or even that their radio was even operational), requesting a retransmission of orders drowned out by static or garbled transmissions, reporting they had successfully completed an action or were unable to, reporting detected threats to other tanks, adjusting supporting fires, reporting their fuel and ammunition status, or reporting they had mechanical problems. By allowing all tanks to transmit, the Germans were more responsive and able to pass information up the chain-of-command, which surely enhanced German combined arms tactics.
    The Germans also considered two other means of communications: external (radio, flags, hand signals, flare pistol, flashlight, and hand smoke signals) and internal (intercommunication telephone, speaking tube, and touch signals).
    Voice radio range between two moving tanks was about 6km (3.75 miles) in the desert and 10km (6.25 miles) using continuous wave (Morse code).
    Flags were used for very short-range signaling and might not have been usable owing to dust, smoke, or fog. Signal flags were carried in holder tubes on the left of the driver's seat. When the cupola was open flag signals were given by the commander. When it was closed the loader raised the circular flap in the left of the turret roof and signaled through the port. Flag signals were given in accordance with a code, the meaning of any signal depending on the color of the flag (yellow, green, and red, US forces used the same colors) and whether the flag was held still or moved in a particular manner. Flags were soon discarded as being too conspicuous and were replaced by hand signals.
    The 2.6cm flare pistol was used mainly to signal to accompanying infantry and artillery using colored smoke (during the day) and flares (at night).
    The radio set, in conjunction with the intercom, provided the commander, radio operator, and driver with a means for external and internal voice communications.
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    Re: Smoke signals in German panzer troops

    Post by 33lima on Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:31 pm

    Interesting, but beware of sweeping statements about what the Germans had and the rest didn't, which may be true pre-WW2 or early WW2 only.

    For example in 'Tank Warfare in WW2', British tanker and author Geroge Forty reports this account by a US Army tank officer:

    'Communication in a 5-tank platoon was primarily by radio. The Platoon Leader and the Platoon Sergrant were authorised one transmitter and one receiver (SCR 528), the other 3 tanks only had recievers (SCR 508). However, on reaching Europe [meaning on arrival in the UK] we augmented our communications capability by giving the Platoon Leader an extra receiver (SCR 508) so he could listen to both his platoon net and the company net. The three other tanks with only one receiver each were given a transmitter; then all tanks could both send and receive. Also...the Platoon Leader received an Infantry SCR 300, the walkie-talkie radio...'

    I'm not sure at what point the British Army had transmitters and receivers in all tanks but they will also have had them, by some point in the war. In 1940, during Operation Compass fighting the Italians in A9 and A10 Cruiser tanks, Cyril Jolly in 'Take These Men' describes being in two-way radio communication with his Platoon Sergeant's tank - so at least two tanks in his platoon had 2-way radios in late 1940.

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