"their operators [flammenwerfer] could expect
no mercy should they be taken prisoner.
Their life expectancy was therefore short."
German troops during the offensive at Riga, 1917, using that correct combination of strategy, operational art, tactics, able to achieve a breakthrough where previously only stalemate was possible.
Strategy, operational art and tactics to include:
* Infiltration tactics. Also called Hutier tactics. German storm troop units using stealth and avoiding strong points, forward movement at all times imperative.
* Poison gas delivered by shells. This was mustard agent.
* Ground strafing aircraft.
And of course that very short but very intense and very destructive artillery bombardment of an almost apocalyptic nature.
German units also employing for the first time [?] on the Eastern Front during the Great War [WW1] the flame thrower. A particularly deadly and diabolical weapon that does strike fear in troops not aware of or having been prior exposed to flame weaponry, those flame throwers a planned integral part of the offensive at Riga. The results for the German as anticipated outstanding.
"For the Riga attack Flamm=Pioniere were sent from the Western Front, attacking with 84 flame throwers. The results of the attack (certainly not just a flame assault) was 8900 POWs, and 200 MGs and 325 cannon captured. The flame troops remained on the East Front and conducted an attack about two weeks later at Jakobstadt with 101 FW [flammenwerfer]. 4000 POWs and 55 cannon were taken."
For those interested, here with some translations from the German: "Assault Battalion" and "Instructions for the formation of shock troops".
Storm Troops, originally intended to function as instructors, training the front-line troops in the latest tactics, innovations, weapons.
Storm Troops, chosen, hand-picked [?] from among the most able and fittest young men, none over the age of 25, fighting the battle in the manner of the "stripped" down soldier, not encumbered with excess gear, carrying only those essentials necessary for the mission.
Storm Troops using at least during 1918 the sub-machine gun for the first time in battle, officers equipped with a machine-pistol [auto loader], everyone carrying a lot of grenades [?].
Able to use enemy weaponry, capturing French and British gear and ammo, not needing resupply, movement forward an imperative!
Indeed - - Storm Troops wearing a uniform designed for them? Tunics having a lot of pouches to carry "stuff", knee-pads and other part of the uniform reinforced to prevent excess wear! Also wearing some sort of TORSO BODY ARMOR AND HAVING A "SHIELD" OF SOME SORT!!
The whole aspect of the Storm Troop deserves a PhD dissertation? Could be so.
[incidentally, American stockpiles of napalm have now been all destroyed, and for some time too. Napalm was felt to be a diabolical weapon, causing unnecessary suffering, and not worth the effort. Actually causing during the Vietnam War a lot of adverse press, film footage of persons on fire most distressing, even if they are the enemy or enemy civilians!]