Simulated Combat Training (I)


BERLIN (Own report) - For years, the Bundeswehr has been orienting its training of combat troops on the model of the Nazi-Wehrmacht, as has been documented by a manual, aimed at furnishing "aid for combat", published by the Army Office of the German armed forces. The case studies presented in the training manual almost exclusively refer to operations of the Wehrmacht during WW II, citing numerous well known Nazis as sources, including the SS officer Paul Karl Schmidt ("Paul Carell"), who headed the press section of the German foreign ministry until 1945. In its "guide" for the German occupation troops in Afghanistan, the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office (MGFA) makes positive reference to the Nazi military. For example, the fervent anti-Semite Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer is described as representing the "good German-Afghan relations", before, during and after WW II.

Requirements of Warfare

With its manual "Simulated Combat Training", the Bundeswehr seeks to drill soldiers and recruits in accordance with the "requirements of warfare". Of the four case studies of WW II, presented to convey to the trainees an "idea of the reality of war", three are dealing with operations following the Nazi Wehrmacht's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.[1] Detlef Bald, a military historian, wrote in a recent article that this manual has been used "already for many years" in the basic training of recruits. In 2006, the Army leadership again advised instructors to use this manual "because of the combat experiences".[2]

Tough Troops

In referring to the Wehrmacht's "winter combat" against the Red Army in 1942, Bundeswehr instructors are called upon to subject their soldiers to "long-term physical and emotional stress". The "troops should become accustomed to solving combat and deployment missions lasting more than 36 hours". After all, unlike maneuvers, war operations are "open ended", explains the Bundeswehr manual "Simulated Combat Training". The army leadership is pointing to another, in its opinion, positive effect of strenuous training - the immunization against the cruelties of war: "physically tough troops can also bear emotional stress."[3]

In Difficult Terrain

The Army Office writes also that "winter combat" in Russia has shown the importance of "systematic training under difficult, changing and diverse environmental conditions": "heat waves, cold spells, weeks of rain or a snow covered training area are the best framework for combat simulation, because it is not only important to accomplish a mission, but also to maintain human and material operational readiness." Parallels to Bundeswehr operations in Afghanistan are evident, where war is being waged under "hostile" climatic conditions in "difficult terrain".[4]

Head of the Press Section

The Army Office's sources, used to illustrate the selected historical case studies, are, for the most part, based on prominent Nazis. Among the examples, are those quoted from the book "Operation Barbarossa" about the invasion of the Soviet Union. The author, Paul Karl Schmidt ("Paul Carell"), a high-ranking SS ("Obersturmbannführer" or the equiv. to a Lt. Col.) had been the head of the press section of the German Foreign Ministry up to the end of the war. It was in this function that May 27, 1944, Schmidt proposed to Gustav Steengracht v. Moyland, State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, that the Nazis create themselves - through "discoveries of explosives in Jewish meeting halls and synagogues, of sabotage organizations, of plots to overthrow the government, attacks on the police, of large-scale foreign currency swindles directed at undermining Hungary's monetary stability" - the "motives and the justifications" for the planned deportation of Budapest's Jews to German death camps. In his book, "Operation Barbarossa," published in the 1960s, Schmidt reiterated on entire operations of Nazi propaganda, that he had helped create: the lie of a "preventive war," according to which the German Wehrmacht merely preempted the Red Army's meticulously planned aggression and the allegation that Germany was the spearhead of a "family of European peoples defending themselves against Russia." German war crimes and the mass liquidation of Jews and Communists are therefore not mentioned in Schmidt/Carell's narration.[5]

No Future Without National Socialism

The Army Office also used the book "Panzer - marsch" by the Nazi officer, Heinz Guderian as reference literature. As a general in the tank forces, Guderian played a significant role in all of the operations of aggression carried out by Nazi Germany, receiving in 1941 the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, one of Nazi Germany's highest military honors for his "successes" in the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union. As late as August 25, 1944, Guderian wrote in an order to his general staff officers: "No one can believe in victory and radiate this faith more fanatically than you (...). The Reich has no future without National Socialism. Therefore place yourselves unconditionally at the disposal of the National Socialist Reich." According to the British secret service, Guderian remained true to the Nazi ideology even after 1945 and was engaged in neo-Nazi underground circles.[6]

Research Department - Jewish Question

Like the Army Office, the Military History Research Institute (MGFA) of the German Bundeswehr also makes positive reference to prominent Nazi officers. The guide for German troops in Afghanistan published by the MGFA, explicitly praises Maj. Gen. Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer, for representing the "good German-Afghan relations" before, during and after World War II.[7] Niedermayer was a member of the Advisory Council of the "Research Department - Jewish Question" of the Nazi Reich's Institute for "History of the New Germany." He was arrested by the Soviet Union in 1945 for war crimes.[8] The original author of the MGFA paper, which systematically embellishes Niedermayer's biography, is Dietrich Witzel. Before 1945 Witzel had been a member of the Nazi special unit "Brandenburg", responsible for numerous war crimes and the mass murder of Jews.

[1] Heeresamt: Einsatznah ausbilden. Hilfen für den Gefechtsdienst aller Truppen. Köln (Nachdruck) 2001
[2] Detlef Bald: Bedingt einsatzbereit. "Realistische Ausbildung" der Bundeswehr oder mit der Wehrmacht in den Hindukusch. In: Detlef Bald/Hans-Günter Fröhling/Jürgen Groß (Hg.): Bundeswehr im Krieg - wie kann die Innere Führung überleben? Hamburger Beiträge zur Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik, Nr. 153, Dezember 2009. Please read excerpts here.
[3], [4] Heeresamt: Einsatznah ausbilden. Hilfen für den Gefechtsdienst aller Truppen. Köln (Nachdruck) 2001
[5] see also Rezension: Wigbert Benz: Paul Carell
[6] Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945? Frankfurt/M. 2005
[7] Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt/Bernhard Chiari (Hg.): Wegweiser zur Geschichte - Afghanistan. 3. Auflage. Paderborn u. a. 2009
[8] Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945? Frankfurt/M. 2005