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Blitzkrieg: Lightning Warefare

Was Blitzkrieg warfare a masterful achievement in military strategy or was it too precise and dependent of too many variables to be truly successful in the long run? Blitzkrieg means “lightning warfare” and was a quick surprise strike on enemy forces that was intended for eliminating any enemy in one swift stroke. The other forms of warfare of the time were based soley on the number of men and how when the first “line” goes down (dies), the next “line” would take it’s place and so on and so forth. There were other factors including trenches and the new aircraft brought a whole new scope to the field of war. In WW I the world of airplanes was significantly more different. Planes now were more maneuverable, could carry numerous bombs, and hundereds of rounds of ammunition were in the internals. A new creation also was invented with flight: the heavy bomber.Blitzkrieg warfare was an extremely effective, ingenious, and tactically impressive maneuver. I plan to write about the battle strategy Blitzkrieg and how it changed World War II. This essay will cover the following parts: Developed by who, where, when, for what reason, the effects, and the gain and/or loss of each party. Not only will write about these important questions but I will also explain the uses of it in modern warfare and how it has influenced the tactics of war today. My paper will be in a report form with citing and a bibliography. I have gathered sources from mainly the internet but also 2 books that thoroughly explain the specific maneuvers of this ever amazing war strategy.In the early 1930s, Charles De Gaulle, Hans von Seekt, Heinz Guderian and many others in the British intelligence became interested in the concept of mobile warfare and tried to implement it in an organizational structure of their armies. They not only predicted the use of mobile tanks and specialized aircraft, but they started plans for fast, specialized aircraft and tactics. Although, these plans were never finished and abandoned. Heinz Guderian, who later became German military advisor for Hitler, brought over this new battle strategy. He, along with Hans Guderian, organized a Panzers into self-contained Panzer Divisions working with the close support of infantry, motorized infantry, artillery, and airforce. From 1933 to 1939, Germany was on a quest to fully mechanize their army for an upcoming conflict.Blitzkrieg warfare was an ingenious art of war developed for crushing opponents with one swift stroke. The strategy included 5 parts: 1. Intence aircraft bombing of the front line, the rear, all supply routes, and communication outposts, 2. tank units along with the infantry and other mechanized units attack the side defense areas with no break in the conflict (this allows no time for reinforcements to arrive); when the defense is wiped out, there is still no stopping, the army continues to push into the weaker portion of the the defences, 3. the army destroys all in its path until the end of the enemies defenses; the army then moves to the flank of the enemy hopefully meeting with other regiments who have done the same, 4. mechanized groups spearhead deeper into the enemy territory outflanking the enemy positions and paralyzing the rear preventing withdrawing troops and defenders from establishing effective defensive positions, 5. Main force links up with other units encircling and cutting off the enemy.The Blitzkrieg warfare was a change of pace from the World War 1’s “trench warfare”. The trench style was extremely gruesome and rather tactic less. When World War II came around the allies realized that the world of warfare was changing and it was the future of their countries at stake. Germany’s Blitzkrieg was devastating during the first 2 years of the war; a quote from a General Fuller, “Blitzkrieg is speed, and still more speed, and always speed was the Secret; and that demanded audacity, more audacity, and always audacity.” The French and Polish military’s tactics were rather Stone Age compared to the superior German tactics. An unidentified German soldier wrote this in his diary, “When the dive-bombers come down, they (the French) stood it for two hours and then ran with their hands over their ears.””The coordination between the tanks and the Stuka dive-bombers was incredible” according to another unidentified soldier. Apparently, the timing of each attack was impeccable and done with amazing precision. Another amazing part of the German war machine is in 1938 Germany’s numerical strength of modern war craft was: 1,466 Bombers, 920 fighters, and 1701 tanks at there disposal, by 1940 Germany had 1,558 Bombers, 1,290 fighters, and 1,852 tanks. German resistance was almost futile.The only real way to counter attack to such a tactic is to beat them at their own game. The best way to stop the onslaught is to attack in the same manner and with the element of surprise. The trick was to know where the Germans were going to strike, and to prepare in advance of it, to hit artillery with artillery, and meet air power with air power. But knowing where they would strike next was the real challenge, made difficult by a little device known as the Enigma machine. The Enigma machine was the most advanced coding device in the world. This device consisted of a geared machine with three numeric dials, and a keyboard. As each dial’s number was changed, the gears shifted positions, and a whole new code was generated. Everyday, a new setting was used, and this device effectively kept the Allied forces in the dark about German movements and positions. The Allies needed to get their hands on the German Enigma Machine to counter the Blitzkrieg advances.Evaluation of SourcesAll the sources that I gathered seemed to say all the same things and some even listed others I had as sources. There was one site on the internet that had a suspicion about. It was a site at www.ww2tactics.dughy’s.com/Blitzkrieg titled “The Strategy”. The website was not professional at all. The reason it got me suspicious was the word Blitzkrieg was spelled wrong in every part of the report. There were also many grammatical errors within the text that made me suspicious of the validity of the words. I used this document the least I possibly could. As opposed to my best source titled, “Blitzkrieg, The Basic Strategy”. This book explained everything about the German invasion plan and how the strategy changed over the events of the war.”The Strategy” was a fairly detailed write up but I could tell a person who had not developed their writing skills had written it. Even though it’s info was Ok, that doesn’t out-weigh the problems with it. There were far too many vocabulary corrections I had to root through to get the info I wanted. I did use it as a source so, the information I got I verified by another website I came across in my search for sources.I did have a book in which was far better than the websites. It was titled “Blitzkrieg, The Basic Strategy” and contained in the book were some very interesting strategy maps as well as pictures of the Blitzkrieg in action. The book explained to me the true genius behind the plan, showing how long it takes to develop a battle system that works and can’t be countered. “The Strategy” had no such information; it just had background information, and general comments on the effectiveness of the tactics that Germany was unleashing on the world. My book also went into detail on the enigma machine and it’s real importance to the Blitzkrieg method of war. “The Strategy” had nothing of the sort.Some sources a researcher comes across can be rather terrible but sometimes you get lucky. The validity of “The Strategy” seemed to be rather shaky because I had to check to see if the information was correct. That is not a good source because it wastes time and I’ll never really receive acceptance because I know that source was not very good. When I come across a book such as “Blitzkrieg, The Basic Strategy” I don’t need to even think about the validity of it. That is a good source.AnalysisHitler’s rise to power is an incredibly part of world history. His sphere of influence enveloped the whole world. Blitzkrieg was the secret behind the early success of Hitler’s attacks on the world. This facet of the war was just the portion that interested me most.The Blitzkrieg wave that empowered Hitler’s armies was the most effective war strategy of the time. Historically, just that fact makes it worth researching. But with Hitler’s daring plan unleashed the plan on the world allowing the plan to mushroom out into a full fledged tactical advantage. This fact makes Blitzkrieg even more worth studying. This period in history shows us that if a country can become the most powerful in the world because of it’s military and strategies, then the best way to combat it is “to fight fire with fire”. We must keep our strategies fresh and anew, unlike that of Britain, France, and Russia.The Allies between 1939 and late 1942 were outmatched against the fast paced strategy. Their flawed, terribly old, traditional strategies were a waste of time. If the strategies had been perfected and redone, maybe the war would have been shorter, with fewer fatalities and less economic strain. I believe Hitler could have been extinguished much quicker with strategies at least on par (maybe a little less advantageous) could have drastically shortened the war. Could Hitler have taken France if France had been prepared adequately? I believe so.Some believe that this new warfare, “though stylish, was still a waste of time money and time against our magnificent defensive lines,” (Lt. Leonce Muare) This man was shown the true might of the strategy in Germany’s invasion of France. Others such as the Americans were unimpressed with the new tactic and were not really phased by it. Although the Americans, who entered the war two years later than the European nations, didn’t face the fact of it being a new unrivaled tactic.The Blitzkrieg method of warfare was effective but one thing that is neglected in mentioning is the Navy and their strategy in cutting off supply routes. The Navy of the German military was a grand one with many, many great vessels, particularly the U-boat or Submarine. This failed to be mentioned in a few of my sources, but this was also needed a great deal of cooperation with the Navy. The U-Boats had special routes guarding key landing positions of Allied troops and supplies. This helped minimize the amount of reinforcements arriving at enemy encampments. But, the Army and Air Force did most of the direct co-coordinating.ConclusionThe Nazi war machine being fast and powerful made use of an exceptional strategy in warfare. The use of all aspects of the Army and Air Force were admirable and were truly impressive to a non-biased viewer. Based not only on pure power and military might, but the incredible Enigma machine was surprising. All of Europe was ill-prepared for such a useful little machine. It took three and a half years to crack the enigma. This impressive fact proves the validity to the statement: The Nazi war machine being fast and powerful made use of an exceptional strategy in warfare.The roots of this strategy come from “lightning” meaning fast, thunderous, maybe even loud and powerful. And then warfare meaning death, destruction, fire.

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