Perhaps you have found yourself in this situation: you are setting up a hasty defense, maybe after pullingback or maybe after taking an objective. Then comes the inevitable German attack. Some come from exactlywhere you’d expect, but then others come from out ofnowhere on your flanks. What is this phenomenon? Whydoes it happen? What can we do about it?
These are all questions we intend to answer in this training film. By understanding THE AXIS OF ATTACK you will be able to anticipate German movement, put yourself in a position to interdict their flanking maneuver, and stop their attack COLD.
That German habit ofgetting out on our flanks is something they call “Schützenkette”, or “skirmish line.” This issimilar to our own flankingmaneuver. They will add adirection to it, left or right: “links” or “rechts.” So out in the field you may hear a German officer or N.C.O. direct his men by saying what sounds like, “Shoot- zen-keteh recks!” Or, “Shoot-zen-keteh links!”
That is how theGermans end up on ourflanks all the time. But how do they know where to go? That is dictated by THE AXIS OF ATTACK.
THE AXIS OF ATTACKis nothing more than a line that connects two points: where theenemy is and where we are.
Enemy Line of Departure Now these points may actually be lines themselves, The Axis of Attack our line of defenses and the German line of departure. But somewhere between these two general positions is a straight line, the shortest distance between the two, and that forms the AXIS OF ATTACK. Line of Defense
Enemy Line of Departure In hastily-planned counter attacks and even most The Axis of Attack Schützenkette linksSchützenkette rechts planned attacks, we can expect some portion of the enemy to move along the axis of attack. We can also expect a schützenkette links or rechts that will move out from the axis of attack and then turn back to hit us on our flanks. Line of Defense
It might seem like theseflanking maneuvers come from nowhere, but if you know where the axis ofattack is, then it is easy to predict where theschützenkette will go. Wehave a method to help you figure that out, it’s called the VEER method.
THE VEER METHOD V ISUALIZE E LIMINATE E STIMATE R ESPOND
THE VEER METHODVISUALIZE1. Visualize your position2. Visualize the enemy’s general position3. Visualize THE AXIS OF ATTACK4. Visualize the left and right schützenkette V stands for VISUALIZE. There are 4 steps to Visualize. You don’t need a map to do this, just a map in your mind. This may seem like a lot, but it’s not. As you practice this it will really become one step that you can do automatically.
Enemy Line of Departure The next step is to ELIMINATE. You visualized two schützenkette, but it may The Axis of Attack Schützenkette links be that the Germans won’tSchützenkette rechts use one of them. There could be several reasons why they would do that: to avoid open ground, to avoid tough terrain, or to avoid our forces. Consider the terrain around you, does the terrain eliminate one of their potential flanking routes? Line of Defense
Enemy Line of Departure Now it’s time to ESTIMATE. Based on what you know of The Axis of Attack the terrain, where do you think their flanking route will take them? How far out? Where will they make contact with your forces? Will terrain features force them to take a certain route? This may be the hardest step, but it gets easier with practice. If you have never covered the ground they will be attacking over, it can be nothing more than a rough guess. A rough guess is better than no guess though!Line of Defense
Enemy Line of Departure All the thinking is over, it’s The Axis of Attack now time to RESPOND. You know where they are, you know where they are going to go, what do you do? If you are commanding other men you will need to position them to respond to attacks along the main axis and the schützenkette. Move quickly and give precise, clear orders so that they are well understood.Line of Defense
Perhaps you are a private, what should you do? Show someinitiative! No N.C.O. or officer will ever be upset with you for stopping a German attack and saving the lives of your buddies. If you see something that he is missing, point it out. If you can’t reach him in time, you make the call. Get you and your buddies in position to RESPOND.
Always remember: the ability of the individual soldier to grasp the implications of the situationand take the necessary action is key to every single victory. The results of combat are the fruits of the combined efforts of individuals. You must understand that your individual action may be the decisive factor in the final result.
Let’s take a look at areal life situation wheresoldiers put VEER intoaction and helped stall a German attack longenough for their men topull back and regroup.
Here’s the situation: 2 squads took an importantcrossroads but soon came under heavy fire from across the road and casualties began tomount. Unable to continue the attack, they took up hasty positions and tried to hold as long as possible.
The German forces across the road began to receive reinforcements. Realizing they had the advantage,they began to plan a counterattack to retake the crossroads. That Only a few of our troopers counterattack would involve keeping remained at this point. One fire up across the axis of attack and soldier recognized the sending out a schützenkette links. A imminency of a counterattack schützenkette rechts was not and put VEER into action. He attempted. visualized the AXIS OF ATTACK and schützenkette.
REINFORCEMENTS First he VISUALIZED the AXIS OF ATTACK by mentally locating German and American positions. Then he VISUALIZED possible schützenkettes.
He ELIMINATED theschützenkette rechts due to the openground, distance, and that the Germans would be cut off by American reinforcements whomight follow the initial line of attack.
He ESTIMATED where theschützenkette links would hit their position based on terrain the terrain features which included a dry streambed.
He RESPONDED by placing 2 men along the main axis and then placing himself to interdict the schützenkette.The plan worked exactly as it should have. The Germans made their way through the woods andcame out exactly where the soldier ESTIMATED. TheGermans weren’t taking that position!
Alright, soldier, now it’s your turn to put VEER into action. The nextslide will present you a map with an Americandefensive line defended by 4 soldiers and a German line of departure for their You will put attack. VEER into action and STOP THEIR ATTACK COLD!
First, the lay of the land.American forces are at thebottom of the map holdinga defensive line marked byfoxholes A through H. The Germans are advancing from north to south along an air strip. To the west of the air strip is low-lying vegetation. A road leadsoff to the east of the airstrip and between it and the strip is wooded land. You are holding this defensive line with 3 other men.
Now it’s your turn. The first step is VISUALIZE. 1. Where is the AXIS OF ATTACK? 2. Where would schützenkette links go? 3. Where would schützenkette rechts go? Once you think you know, you may move on.
Do your answers look something like this? If so, good. If not, where did you go wrong? AXIS OF ATTACK
Now it’s time toELIMINATE. Which schützenkette should be eliminated? AXIS OF ATTACK
It is very likely that the Germans will not want to advance over the ground to the west of the air strip due to its low vegetation and having to cross a good sized stream. AXIS Did you get that OF right? Excellent ATTACK work then!
Third is ESTIMATE. Where would you estimate that they would hit the American position? Envision the exact route they might take to hit your lines. AXIS OF ATTACK
The most probable attack would come down the road to the east of the airstrip. The trees would block our view right up until they hit. AXIS OF ATTACK
Alright, now you have 4 men and you need to place them where they will be most effective. Which foxholes will you choose? These foxholes are big enough to AXIS accommodate two OF men each. Don’t ATTACK forget about the halftrack coming down the airstrip!
Did you place men in foxholes E, F, and G? Good work! I would advise two men in E to counter the main thrust, a man in F who can be looking for both the main attack and the schützenkette, and a man in G who is placed on a corner AXIS of the road and in perfect ambush position for the OF schützenkette. Having a ATTACK man in F also maintains communication between E and G.
So, how did you do? Did you stop the German attack COLD?
Any combat veteran can tell you, maps are one thing, real terrain is another. Keep the VEER Effective method in mind and put it implementation of theinto practice whenever on VEER method by every the attack or defense. soldier in our unit willRead the terrain, anticipate only make us a German movement, and stronger fighting force plan accordingly. and secure future victories on the field of battle. So train hard and train smart and let’s show the Germans what the American fighting man can do!
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