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On the German Art of War: Truppenführung

translated and edited by Bruce Condell and David T. Zabecki
On the German Art of War: Truppenführung
ISBN: 978-1-55587-996-9
2001/320 pages/LC: 2001019798
Art of War

"An excellent translation of [a] groundbreaking doctrinal document.... The first to include the 1933 and 1934 components of the German manual.... The ‘Editors' Introduction' can stand alone as an excellent secondary reference to the value and purpose of Truppenführung."—Maj Michael A. Boden, Armor

"There are a handful of books every student of the military art should read. On the German Art of War: Truppenführung is one of them.... The editors have provided a valuable addition to the list of vital military readings."—Dr. James Jay Carafano, Field Artillery

"Truppenführung represents the culmination of lessons learned from the [German] army's operational experience in World War I....On the German Art of War is a must read for anyone with either a professional or casual interest in German military history, especially those who wish to understand how the German army enjoyed such success at the operational and tactical levels of warfare in World War II."—Lt. Col Robert B. Bane, Air & Space Power Journal

"Excellent....The editors and their publisher have done the military history community a great service in issuing such a fine edition of this very important manual. It should become a standard reference for those interested in German performance during World War II, as well as American doctrinal debates before that war and after the Vietnam War."—Stephen A. Bourque, Army History

"There's everything in here form how many trains can be loaded or unloaded at a railroad station to how to cope with a threat to one's flank. Very useful for anyone interested in the German Army and in tactics and operations."—The NYMAS Newsletter

"This volume is indispensable. Condell and Zabecki have done military historians a great service. Their translation is crisp and their notes informative. Students, military professionals—anyone, in fact, interested in the development of modern warfare—will benefit from reading it."—Robert Citino


A Selection of the Military Book Club

Truppenführung, the twentieth-century equivalent of Sun Tzu's Art of War, served as the basic manual for the German army from 1934 to the end of World War II. This astonishing document provided the doctrinal framework for blitzkrieg and, as a consequence, for the victories of Hitler's armies.

Rather than giving German military leaders a "cookbook" on how to win battles, Truppenführung offered instead a set of intellectual tools to be applied to complex and continually changing battle conditions. The keys to understanding the psychology, philosophy, and social values of the German army that fought World War II are to be found here. This first complete English-language translation is annotated to help the contemporary reader understand its military and social context.


The late Bruce Condell worked with defense contractors in the United States and Asia and was been involved with the development of numerous military aircraft, including the PC-6 Tactical Transport and the PC-7 Multi-Role Training Aircraft. Col. David T. Zabecki is the editor of Vietnam Magazine, the editor of World War II in Europe: An Encyclopedia (1999), and the author of Steel Wind: Colonel Georg Bruchmüller and the Birth of Modern Artillery (1994). An assistant professor of military history with American Military University and a brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966, and served as an infantryman in the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam.


  • Introduction—D. Zabecki.
  • Introduction.
  • Order of Battle: Task Organization.
  • Command.
  • Reconnaissance.
  • Security.
  • Marches.
  • Attack.
  • Pursuit.
  • The Defensive.
  • Disengagement: Withdrawal.
  • Delaying Action.
  • Combat Under Special Conditions.
  • Quartering.
  • Cavalry.
  • Armored Combat Vehicles.
  • Air Defense Units.
  • Communications.
  • Chemical Warfare.
  • Smoke.
  • Obstacles.
  • Armored Trains.
  • Transport.
  • Logistical Support in the Operational Area of Operations.
  • German Infantry Division, 1937-1938.
  • Notational German Panzer Division, 1935-1937.
  • German Divisional Staff, 1937-1938.
  • Contents of U.S. Army FM 100-5. Field Service Regulations: Operations (1940).
  • German Analysis of U.S. Field Service Regulations.