Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Did World War II German soldiers learn a certain martial arts system for hand-to-hand combat?
The Germans do not seem to have excelled in this area and did not especially train for it.
The opinion of a German general who led soldiers against the Russians:
# [Marshal] Timoshenjko told his men that the Germans' chief strength lay in their technical skill and in their equipment. The German soldier, he said, was inferior to the Russian in man-to-man combat, and became nervous and timid when fighting at night or in the great forests and marshes. In this sort of warfare the Russian was the better soldier. Of course this was not quite accurate: Had it been we would now not be at the gates of Moscow. Nevertheless, the Russian order did contain a grain of truth. The Western European is so highly civilized that in many respects he cannot stand up to the tougher easterner who lives so much closer to nature. #
BLUMENTRITT, Gunther. 'Moscow,' in FREIDEN/RICHARDSON, 'The Fatal Decisions,' USA, 1956, p. 68.
Yisroel Davis pointed out to me that the answer of General Gunther Blumentritt above reflects an attempt at reverse snobbery: The Germans were more advanced than the Russians. The Russians being more primitive were closer to nature, more animal-like. The Russians were therefore more formidable in that type of combat more suited to animal types.
The German advantage derived from technological superiority, will-power, versatility, resilience, discipline, team-work, forbearance, bravery, leadership, attention to detail, and unified effort. Its commanders revealed competence, professionalism, and intellectual ability as well as concern for those they were leaders of. Germans as individuals can be tough. They also had their share of lone warrior types. Nevertheless, this was not a preference of theirs and not something they were known for.