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The Blitzkrieg (German Term to lightning war) was a military doctrine in operational level, which consisted in using mobile forces in quick attacks and surprise in order to prevent enemy forces had time to organize their defense. Its three essential elements were the effect surprise, the speed, the maneuver and the brutality of the attack, and their main objectives were: the demoralization and disorganization of the enemy forces ( paralyzing their control centers ). The architect of this strategy was the general Erich von Manstein

Origins[edit | edit source]

The strategy of blitzkrieg was perfected by the German General Heinz Guderian in the late 1930s.

The desired effect by lightning war can only be achieved by the coordinated use of infantry, Of armoured and aviation that act together to " pierce " the enemy lines on a breaking point. Every " friction "with enemy forces was avoided.

Classical Features of Blitzkrieg: armored infantry and extremely agile, with strong air support.

A focus of resistance was found, was immediately surrounded, their communications disrupted ( which hampered the decision-making and transmission of orders ) and the rest of the troop's attack continued its advance inside the enemy camp as soon as possible. The focus of resistance was later destroyed by the forces of infantry which followed the surprise attack.

It was thanks to such offensive tactics that Wehrmacht managed to beat the allies during the first part of WWII especially when they invaded Poland, Denmark (Operation Weserübung), France (and Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg on the same time) Yugoslavia, Greece and Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) And also thanks to its superior military might and the unpreparedness of the armed forces of the invaded countries.

Whether the campaign in Poland or in France lasted just over a month: in both cases massive columns tanks Still broke through the enemy lines and moved deep into the heartland of the opponents, while the German air force (Luftwaffe) destroyed communication lines, the enemy air power, its key industries and other military targets, paving the way for a ground invasion . The results were overwhelming: Poland saw his army destroyed and lost its independence, while for the Allies in the west, was the humiliating withdrawal of the British at Dunkirk (Battle of Dunkirk) And the occupation of France.

However, this tactic began to show its limitations from 1942. In reality, blitzkrieg only applied successfully in theaters of operation and reduced short-lived.

Post-WWII[edit | edit source]

After WWII and particularly during the Cold War the military commanders feared an invasion of type "blitzkrieg", either by Warsaw pact either by the NATO. In the near past, the principle of " blitzkrieg "was used by Allied forces under the command of U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf to achieve a quick victory over Iraq of Saddam Hussein in 1991 in Gulf War, and Invasion of Iraq of 2003 by General Tommy Franks.

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