After becoming Chancellor of Germany head of government in , Adolf Hitler ignored the Versailles Treaty provisions. However, precisely because the French thought the Ardennes unsuitable for massive troop movement, particularly for tanks, they were left with only light defences which were quickly overrun by the Wehrmacht. The Second World War.
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There are exchangers where you can buy and sell Bitcoin. But lacking the ability to hit them with accuracy only three or four Ju 87s saw action in Spain , a method of carpet bombing was chosen resulting in heavy civilian casualties. Despite the term blitzkrieg being coined by journalists during the Invasion of Poland of , historians Matthew Cooper and J. Harris have written that German operations during it were consistent with traditional methods. The Wehrmacht strategy was more in line with Vernichtungsgedanken a focus on envelopment to create pockets in broad-front annihilation.
Panzer forces were dispersed among the three German concentrations with little emphasis on independent use, being used to create or destroy close pockets of Polish forces and seize operational-depth terrain in support of the largely un-motorized infantry which followed.
While early German tanks, Stuka dive-bombers and concentrated forces were used in the Polish campaign, the majority of the battle was conventional infantry and artillery warfare and most Luftwaffe action was independent of the ground campaign.
Matthew Cooper wrote that. Thus, any strategic exploitation of the armoured idea was still-born. The paralysis of command and the breakdown of morale were not made the ultimate aim of the German ground and air forces, and were only incidental by-products of the traditional maneuvers of rapid encirclement and of the supporting activities of the flying artillery of the Luftwaffe, both of which had as their purpose the physical destruction of the enemy troops.
Such was the Vernichtungsgedanke of the Polish campaign. John Ellis wrote that " Mobile and available in significant quantity, artillery shattered as many units as any other branch of the Wehrmacht. Yellow opened with a feint conducted against the Netherlands and Belgium by two armoured corps and paratroopers.
Most of the German armoured forces were placed in Panzer Group von Kleist, which attacked through the Ardennes , a lightly defended sector that the French planned to reinforce if need be, before the Germans could bring up heavy and siege artillery. Armoured and motorised units under Guderian, Rommel and others, advanced far beyond the marching and horse-drawn infantry divisions and far in excess of that with which Hitler and the German high command expected or wished.
The armoured and motorised forces were halted by Hitler outside the port of Dunkirk , which was being used to evacuate the Allied forces. Hermann Göring promised that the Luftwaffe would complete the destruction of the encircled armies but aerial operations failed to prevent the evacuation of the majority of the Allied troops.
In Operation Dynamo some , French and British troops escaped. Case Yellow surprised everyone, overcoming the Allies' 4, armoured vehicles, many of which were better than German equivalents in armour and gun-power.
The French armies were much reduced in strength and the confidence of their commanders shaken. With much of their own armour and heavy equipment lost in Northern France, they lacked the means to fight a mobile war. The Germans followed their initial success with Operation Red, a triple-pronged offensive.
The French were hard pressed to organise any sort of counter-attack and were continually ordered to form new defensive lines and found that German forces had already by-passed them and moved on. An armoured counter-attack organised by Colonel de Gaulle could not be sustained and he had to retreat.
This was in shocking contrast to the four years of trench warfare they had engaged in during the First World War. The French president of the Ministerial Council, Reynaud, attributed the collapse in a speech on 21 May The truth is that our classic conception of the conduct of war has come up against a new conception.
At the basis of this The Germans had not used paratroop attacks in France and only made one big drop in the Netherlands, to capture three bridges; some small glider-landings were conducted in Belgium to tank bottle-necks on routes of advance before the arrival of the main force the most renowned being the landing on Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium.
Use of armoured forces was crucial for both sides on the Eastern Front. Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in , involved a number of breakthroughs and encirclements by motorised forces. Its goal according to Führer Directive 21 18 December was "to destroy the Russian forces deployed in the West and to prevent their escape into the wide-open spaces of Russia.
The surprise attack resulted in the near annihilation of the Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily VVS, Soviet Air Force by simultaneous attacks on airfields,  allowing the Luftwaffe to achieve total air supremacy over all the battlefields within the first week. The Germans conquered large areas of the Soviet Union but their failure to destroy the Red Army before the winter of was a strategic failure that made German tactical superiority and territorial gains irrelevant.
In the summer of , Germany launched another offensive in the southern USSR against Stalingrad and the Caucasus , the Soviets again lost tremendous amounts of territory, only to counter-attack once more during winter. German gains were ultimately limited by Hitler diverting forces from the attack on Stalingrad and driving towards the Caucasus oilfields simultaneously. The Wehrmacht became overstretched, although winning operationally, it could not inflict a decisive defeat as the durability of the Soviet Union's manpower, resources, industrial base and aid from the Western Allies began to take effect.
In July the Wehrmacht conducted Operation Zitadelle Citadel against a salient at Kursk that was heavily defended by Soviet troops.
The Germans did not achieve surprise and were not able to outflank or break through into enemy rear areas during the operation. In , David Glantz stated that for the first time, blitzkrieg was defeated in summer and the opposing Soviet forces were able to mount a successful counter-offensive. Allied armies began using combined arms formations and deep penetration strategies that Germany had used in the opening years of the war.
Many Allied operations in the Western Desert and on the Eastern Front, relied on firepower to establish breakthroughs by fast-moving armoured units. These artillery-based tactics were also decisive in Western Front operations after Operation Overlord and the British Commonwealth and American armies developed flexible and powerful systems for using artillery support. What the Soviets lacked in flexibility, they made up for in number of rocket launchers, guns and mortars.
The Germans never achieved the kind of fire concentrations their enemies were capable of by After the Allied landings at Normandy , the Germans began a counter-offensive to overwhelm the landing force with armoured attacks but these failed for lack of co-ordination and Allied superiority in anti-tank defence and in the air. The most notable attempt to use deep penetration operations in Normandy was Operation Luttich at Mortain, which only hastened the Falaise Pocket and the destruction of German forces in Normandy.
The Mortain counter-attack was defeated by the US 12th Army Group with little effect on its own offensive operations. The last German offensive on the Western front, the Battle of the Bulge Operation Wacht am Rhein , was an offensive launched towards the port of Antwerp in December Launched in poor weather against a thinly held Allied sector, it achieved surprise and initial success as Allied air power was grounded by cloud cover.
Determined defence by US troops in places throughout the Ardennes, the lack of good roads and German supply shortages caused delays. Allied forces deployed to the flanks of the German penetration and as soon as the skies cleared, Allied aircraft returned to the battlefield. Allied counter-attacks soon forced back the Germans, who abandoned much equipment for lack of fuel.
The origins of blitzkrieg are in some doubt: There has been a great deal of debate about whether it existed as a coherent military strategy. Many historians [ who? Blitzkrieg had been called a Revolution in Military Affairs RMA but many writers and historians have concluded that the Germans did not invent a new form of warfare but applied new technologies to traditional ideas of Bewegungskrieg manoeuvre warfare to achieve decisive victory.
What makes this story worth telling is the development of one idea: The German Army had a greater grasp of the effects of technology on the battlefield, and went on to develop a new form of warfare by which its rivals when it came to the test were hopelessly outclassed.
Other historians wrote that blitzkrieg was an operational doctrine of the German armed forces and a strategic concept on which the leadership of the Third Reich based its strategic and economic planning. Military planners and bureaucrats in the war economy appear rarely, if ever, to have employed the term blitzkrieg in official documents. That the German army had a "blitzkrieg doctrine" was rejected in the late s by Matthew Cooper.
The concept of a blitzkrieg Luftwaffe was challenged by Richard Overy in the late s and by Williamson Murray in the mids. That the Third Reich went to war on the basis of "blitzkrieg economics" was criticised by Richard Overy in the s and George Raudzens described the contradictory senses in which historians have used the word.
The notion of a German blitzkrieg concept or doctrine survives in popular history and many historians still support the thesis. Frieser wrote that after the failure of the Schlieffen Plan in , the German army concluded that decisive battles were no longer possible in the changed conditions of the twentieth century. Frieser wrote that the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht OKW , which was created in had intended to avoid the decisive battle concepts of its predecessors and planned for a long war of exhaustion ermattungskrieg.
It was only after the improvised plan for the Battle of France in was unexpectedly successful, that the German General Staff came to believe that vernichtungskrieg was still feasible. German thinking reverted to the possibility of a quick and decisive war for the Balkan Campaign and Operation Barbarossa.
Most academic historians regard the notion of blitzkrieg as military doctrine to be a myth. Shimon Naveh wrote "The striking feature of the blitzkrieg concept is the complete absence of a coherent theory which should have served as the general cognitive basis for the actual conduct of operations".
Naveh described it as an "ad hoc solution" to operational dangers, thrown together at the last moment. Hitler had intended for a rapid unlimited war to occur much later than , but the Third Reich's aggressive foreign policy forced the Nazi state into war before it was ready. Hitler and the Wehrmacht 's planning in the s did not reflect a blitzkrieg method but the opposite.
Harris also found no evidence that German military thinking developed a blitzkrieg mentality. Blitzkrieg was not a doctrine, or an operational scheme, or even a tactical system. The Germans never used the term Blitzkrieg in any precise sense, and almost never used it outside of quotations. It simply meant a rapid and decisive victory lightning war In the s, Alan Milward developed a theory of blitzkrieg economics, that Germany could not fight a long war and chose to avoid comprehensive rearmament and armed in breadth, to win quick victories.
Milward described an economy positioned between a full war economy and a peacetime economy. Overy wrote that blitzkrieg as a "coherent military and economic concept has proven a difficult strategy to defend in light of the evidence".
The Germans, aware of the errors of the First World War, rejected the concept of organising its economy to fight only a short war. Therefore, focus was given to the development of armament in depth for a long war, instead of armament in breadth for a short war. Hitler claimed that relying on surprise alone was "criminal" and that "we have to prepare for a long war along with surprise attack". During the winter of —40, Hitler demobilised many troops from the army to return as skilled workers to factories because the war would be decided by production, not a quick "Panzer operation".
In the s, Hitler had ordered rearmament programs that cannot be considered limited. In November Hitler had indicated that most of the armament projects would be completed by — The construction and training of motorised forces and a full mobilisation of the rail networks would not begin until and respectively. After the war, Albert Speer claimed that the German economy achieved greater armaments output, not because of diversions of capacity from civilian to military industry but through streamlining of the economy.
Richard Overy pointed out some 23 percent of German output was military by Between and , 70 percent of investment capital went into the rubber, synthetic fuel, aircraft and shipbuilding industries. Hermann Göring had consistently stated that the task of the Four Year Plan was to rearm Germany for total war.
Hitler's correspondence with his economists also reveals that his intent was to wage war in —, when the resources of central Europe had been absorbed into the Third Reich.
Living standards were not high in the late s. Consumption of consumer goods had fallen from 71 percent in to 59 percent in The demands of the war economy reduced the amount of spending in non-military sectors to satisfy the demand for the armed forces. On 9 September, Göring as Head of the Reich Defence Council , called for complete "employment" of living and fighting power of the national economy for the duration of the war.
Overy presents this as evidence that a "blitzkrieg economy" did not exist. Adam Tooze wrote that the German economy was being prepared for a long war. The expenditure for this war was extensive and put the economy under severe strain. The German leadership were concerned less with how to balance the civilian economy and the needs of civilian consumption but to figure out how to best prepare the economy for total war.
Once war had begun, Hitler urged his economic experts to abandon caution and expend all available resources on the war effort but the expansion plans only gradually gained momentum in Tooze wrote that the huge armament plans in the pre-war period did not indicate any clear-sighted blitzkrieg economy or strategy. Frieser wrote that the Heer German pronunciation: A blitzkrieg method called for a young, highly skilled mechanised army.
In —40, 45 percent of the army was 40 years old and 50 percent of the soldiers had only a few weeks' training. The German army, contrary to the blitzkrieg legend, was not fully motorised and had only , vehicles, compared to the , of the French Army. The British also had an "enviable" contingent of motorised forces. Thus, "the image of the German 'Blitzkrieg' army is a figment of propaganda imagination".
During the First World War the German army used 1. Half of the German divisions available in were combat ready but less well-equipped than the British and French or the Imperial German Army of In the spring of , the German army was semi-modern, in which a small number of well-equipped and "elite" divisions were offset by many second and third rate divisions".
James Corum wrote that it was a myth that the Luftwaffe had a doctrine of terror bombing , in which civilians were attacked to break the will or aid the collapse of an enemy, by the Luftwaffe in Blitzkrieg operations. After the bombing of Guernica in and the Rotterdam Blitz in , it was commonly assumed that terror bombing was a part of Luftwaffe doctrine. During the interwar period the Luftwaffe leadership rejected the concept of terror bombing in favour of battlefield support and interdiction operations.
The vital industries and transportation centers that would be targeted for shutdown were valid military targets. Civilians were not to be targeted directly, but the breakdown of production would affect their morale and will to fight. German legal scholars of the s carefully worked out guidelines for what type of bombing was permissible under international law.
While direct attacks against civilians were ruled out as "terror bombing", the concept of the attacking the vital war industries — and probable heavy civilian casualties and breakdown of civilian morale — was ruled as acceptable. This document, which the Luftwaffe adopted, rejected Giulio Douhet 's theory of terror bombing.
Terror bombing was deemed to be "counter-productive", increasing rather than destroying the enemy's will to resist. Such bombing campaigns were regarded as diversion from the Luftwaffe's main operations; destruction of the enemy armed forces.
The bombings of Guernica, Rotterdam and Warsaw were tactical missions in support of military operations and were not intended as strategic terror attacks. Harris wrote that most Luftwaffe leaders from Goering through the general staff believed as did their counterparts in Britain and the United States that strategic bombing was the chief mission of the air force and that given such a role, the Luftwaffe would win the next war and that.
Nearly all lectures concerned the strategic uses of airpower; virtually none discussed tactical co-operation with the Army. The prestigious Militärwissenschaftliche Rundeschau, the War Ministry's journal, which was founded in , published a number of theoretical pieces on future developments in air warfare. Nearly all discussed the use of strategic airpower, some emphasising that aspect of air warfare to the exclusion of others. One author commented that European military powers were increasingly making the bomber force the heart of their airpower.
It happened because the German aircraft industry lacked the experience to build a long-range bomber fleet quickly, and because Hitler was insistent on the very rapid creation of a numerically large force. British theorists John Frederick Charles Fuller and Captain Basil Henry Liddell Hart have often been associated with the development of blitzkrieg, though this is a matter of controversy.
In recent years historians have uncovered that Liddell Hart distorted and falsified facts to make it appear as if his ideas were adopted. After the war Liddell Hart imposed his own perceptions, after the event, claiming that the mobile tank warfare practised by the Wehrmacht was a result of his influence.
Through his indoctrinated idealisation of an ostentatious concept, he reinforced the myth of blitzkrieg. By imposing, retrospectively, his own perceptions of mobile warfare upon the shallow concept of blitzkrieg, he "created a theoretical imbroglio that has taken 40 years to unravel.
It was the opposite of a doctrine. Blitzkrieg consisted of an avalanche of actions that were sorted out less by design and more by success. In hindsight—and with some help from Liddell Hart—this torrent of action was squeezed into something it never was: The early s literature transformed blitzkrieg into a historical military doctrine, which carried the signature of Liddell Hart and Guderian. The main evidence of Liddell Hart's deceit and "tendentious" report of history can be found in his letters to Erich von Manstein , Heinz Guderian and the relatives and associates of Erwin Rommel.
Liddell Hart, in letters to Guderian, "imposed his own fabricated version of blitzkrieg on the latter and compelled him to proclaim it as original formula". When Liddell Hart was questioned about this in and the discrepancy between the English and German editions of Guderian's memoirs, "he gave a conveniently unhelpful though strictly truthful reply.
During World War I, Fuller had been a staff officer attached to the new tank corps. He developed Plan for massive, independent tank operations, which he claimed were subsequently studied by the German military. It is variously argued that Fuller's wartime plans and post-war writings were an inspiration or that his readership was low and German experiences during the war received more attention.
The German view of themselves as the losers of the war, may be linked to the senior and experienced officers' undertaking a thorough review, studying and rewriting of all their Army doctrine and training manuals. Fuller and Liddell Hart were "outsiders": Liddell Hart was unable to serve as a soldier after after being gassed on the Somme and Fuller's abrasive personality resulted in his premature retirement in It has been argued that blitzkrieg was not new; the Germans did not invent something called blitzkrieg in the s and s.
The first European general to introduce rapid movement, concentrated power and integrated military effort was Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War. The appearance of the aircraft and tank in the First World War, called an RMA, offered the German military a chance to get back to the traditional war of movement as practised by Moltke the Elder.
The so-called "blitzkrieg campaigns" of — circa , were well within that operational context. At the outbreak of war, the German army had no radically new theory of war. The operational thinking of the German army had not changed significantly since the First World War or since the late 19th century. Harris and Robert M. Citino point out that the Germans had always had a marked preference for short, decisive campaigns — but were unable to achieve short-order victories in First World War conditions.
The transformation from the stalemate of the First World War into tremendous initial operational and strategic success in the Second, was partly the employment of a relatively small number of mechanised divisions, most importantly the Panzer divisions, and the support of an exceptionally powerful air force.
Heinz Guderian is widely regarded as being highly influential in developing the military methods of warfare used by Germany's tank men at the start of the Second World War.
This style of warfare brought manoeuvre back to the fore, and placed an emphasis on the offensive. This style, along with the shockingly rapid collapse in the armies that opposed it, came to be branded as blitzkrieg warfare.
Following Germany's military reforms of the s, Heinz Guderian emerged as a strong proponent of mechanised forces. Within the Inspectorate of Transport Troops, Guderian and colleagues performed theoretical and field exercise work.
Guderian met with opposition from some in the General Staff, who were distrustful of the new weapons and who continued to view the infantry as the primary weapon of the army. Among them, Guderian claimed, was Chief of the General Staff Ludwig Beck —38 , whom he alleged was sceptical that armoured forces could be decisive. This claim has been disputed by later historians.
Guderian expressed a hearty contempt for General Ludwig Beck, chief of the General Staff from to , whom he characterized as hostile to ideas of modern mechanised warfare: This is a crude caricature of a highly competent general who authored Army Regulation Troop Leadership in , the primary tactical manual of the German Army in World War II, and under whose direction the first three panzer divisions were created in , the largest such force in the world of the time. By Guderian's account he single-handedly created the German tactical and operational methodology.
Between and Guderian wrote a number of articles concerning military movement. As the ideas of making use of the combustible engine in a protected encasement to bring mobility back to warfare developed in the German army, Guderian was a leading proponent of the formations that would be used for this purpose. He was later asked to write an explanatory book, which was titled Achtung Panzer! In it he explained the theories of the tank men and defended them.
Guderian argued that the tank would be the decisive weapon of the next war. In an article addressed to critics of tank warfare, he wrote "until our critics can produce some new and better method of making a successful land attack other than self-massacre, we shall continue to maintain our beliefs that tanks—properly employed, needless to say—are today the best means available for land attack.
Guderian's leadership was supported, fostered and institutionalised by his supporters in the Reichswehr General Staff system, which worked the Army to greater and greater levels of capability through massive and systematic Movement Warfare war games in the s. Guderian's book incorporated the work of theorists such as Ludwig Ritter von Eimannsberger, whose book, The Tank War Der Kampfwagenkrieg gained a wide audience in the German army. Another German theorist, Ernst Volckheim, wrote a huge amount on tank and combined arms tactics and was influential to German thinking on the use of armoured formations but his work was not acknowledged in Guderian's writings.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Blitzkrieg disambiguation. Prehistoric Ancient Post-classical Early modern Late modern industrial fourth-gen.
Blitzkrieg Deep operation Maneuver Operational manoeuvre group. Military recruitment Conscription Recruit training Military specialism Women in the military Children in the military Transgender people and military service Sexual harassment in the military Conscientious objection Counter recruitment. Arms industry Materiel Supply chain management. Shimon Naveh Naveh , pp. David Glantz Glantz , p.
The method of "terror", was denied to German aerial operations and strategic bombing methods by the Luftwaffe field manual The Conduct of Air Operations , Regulation 16, issued in Corum , pp.
Regulation 16 denied "terror" operations against civilians, and it was not until when indiscriminate "terror" operations, in which terror and civilian casualties become the primary target, took place Corum , pp.
The five or six days necessary for that would have easily given us time to reinforce our own dispositions" Liddell Hart , p. Lloyd Clark Clark , p. Several German officers and commanders involved in the operation wrote their account of the battle after the war, and some of these postwar accounts were collected by the US Army. Some of these officers are: Theodor Busse Newton , pp. Handbook for a new Strategy.
Mazzanti Libri — Me Publisher. Now came the riposte - a counter-attack [ The French had developed a light and fast-moving tank. Two generals, Debeney on the British right, and Mangin, to his right, began the tactics that were to become famous in as Blitzkrieg - tanks, fast-moving infantry, and aircraft flying low to keep the German gunners' heads down.
Three hundred tanks Renault and eighteen divisions, two of them American, struck in open cornfield, entirely by surprise, and went five miles forward. With the whole of the German force in the Marne salient threatened by a cut-off, Ludendorff pulled back from it, back to Chemin des Dames.
By 4 August the French had taken 30, prisoners and guns. Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change.
The Phantom Army of Alamein: The Men Who Hoodwinked Rommel. Men of War in the Twentieth Century. Military Technologies of the World. The Dynamics of Military Revolution, — Panzer Lehr, for instance, on 7 June alone lost 84 half-tracks, prime movers and self propelled guns, 40 fuel bowsers, 90 soft-skinned vehicles and five tanks as it made its way from Le Mans to Caen..
Italics removed—the quoted sections are all italics in the original.. Battistelli, Pier Paolo The Eastern Front — Barbier, Mary Kathryn The Greatest Tank Battle, The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War — Bevin, Alexander . How Great Generals Win repr. Air Power in the Age of Total War. The Russian—German Conflict, — The German Way of War: University of Kansas Press.
The German Army, — Its Political and Military Failure. The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform. University Press of Kansas. Creating the Operational Air War, — The Life of Basil Liddell Hart. Panzer Breakthrough in the West.
Reden und Proklamationen — Kommentiert von einem deutschen Zeitgenossen [ Speeches and Proclamations — Commentary by a Contemporary German ]. Panzer, a Revolution in Warfare: Erickson, John . The Soviet High Command: Falls, Cyril; Becke, A.