Assault Of A Fortified Position

■ 62. Thk Problem—a. A typical prepared defensive system of fortifications consists of a number of mutually supporting strong points, such as concrete emplacements called "pillboxes." The best way many of these can be destroyed is by foot troops armed with special weapons. It's a difficult cornbined-arms job to which engineers are often assigned. It requires aggressiveness, skill, speed, teamwork, courage, and determination. This chapter outlines procedure for a simple assault on a single fortified emplacement containing men and guns which fire from loopholes or embrasures. However, it must be remembered that pillboxes in an area are sited for mutual support; the whole problem is more complicated than this one.

b. The fortification is in a strong position. It is well iced; its walls resist bombardment; it generally has an open area around it so that its guns can cover a lot of ground. But, as the attacker, you have a number of important advantages:

(1) You are free to move around in the area, while the emplacement is stationary.

(2) The emplacement has blind spots, especially once you are close to it. It can fire only out of its loopholes.

<3) Once you get near it, the emplacement can't fire at you.

■ 63. Preparation.—Much training is required to assault a fortified position, and the teamwork is carefully planned. Each individual in the attacking force has a definite job to do at a certain time. He must accomplish his task, or the efforts or the whole force may fail.

■ 84. Organization.—A typical assault echelon for the attack of an emplacement Is composed of two platoons—an assault

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platoon and an infantry rifle platoon. The infantry platoon attacks and neutralizes the earthen entrenchments and emplacements which are near the fortified emplacement and which cover the fortified emplacement with their fire. The assault platoon, which may include engineers, has two sections: the assault detachment and the support. It is this assault detachment which finally reaches and destroys the pillbox.

■ 65. Attack.—The attack proceeds, generally. In the following steps;

a. Artillery and airplanes bombard emplacement.

b. Direct-fire weapons fire at embrasures.

c. A special detachment breaches bands of obstacles to prepare way for assault echelon.

d. Assault echelon attacks.

■ 66. Assault Platoon.—a. The assault platoon works on a simple plan: one part of the assault platoon "covers" the advance of the second part until the fort Is reached and the guns can be silenced hy hand-piarprf charge-? The cover Jn-section may consist of men armed with "tommy guns." r .-rhine guns, pistols, grenades, and riflest which are aimed nt the gun slits in the emplacement In order to stop the fire of the defenders. The advancing group moves forward In bounds, taking advantage of shell holes and other cover. Smoke Is used to cover the advance.

b The forward element of the assault detachment has iwo main parts: flamethrowers, who get close to the pillbox and blind its occupants with fire and smoke (see fig. L12); and charge placers, who rush to the rortiflcation and thrust into the weak spots of the fort (doors arid embrasure openings) TNT attached to the end of long poles. (See fig. 113.»

c. After one pillbox is silenced the assault group reorganizes and moves on to the next pillbox.

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Figure 112.—Engineers assaulting a fortilled emplacement.
Expedient Platter Charge

Ficimt 113.—Charge-placing pole. Improvised charge.

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