During my time wasting time on the internet I ran across this gem. Below is a seminar given to MIT by Col. Robert Doughty, former head of the Dept. of History of the US Military Academy, on the “Myth” of Blitzkrieg. I found it rather interesting and felt compelled to share this with you all.

The 1940 German campaign against France and the concept of blitzkrieg have exerted a powerful influence over modern perceptions of warfare. The 1940 campaign is frequently cited in discussions of strategy and operations and in publications about the “Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA). Proponents of the RMA have argued that blitzkrieg was the product of technological and conceptual advances during the interwar period. They have also claimed that the 1940 campaign demonstrates how such advances can quickly change the conduct of warfare.

Many of the concepts associated with blitzkrieg are actually myths. This is a consequence of poor military history and the preponderance of popular accounts of the 1940 campaign. For example, German doctrinal innovation was due more to the unfavorable situation Germany faced rather than to any “revolution” in technology or concepts of warfare. Their planning the 1940 campaign did not expect a swift, easy defeat of France nor was its success solely attributable to technology, specifically tanks and airpower. Rather, the campaign had modest objectives, German strategy and tactics were extremely important, and the infantry played a critical role in its success

The concept of blitzkrieg as it is now understood was not developed by Hitler and the German General Staff. Rather, it was formulated for public consumption. The term appeared occasionally in the literature between 1936 and 1940 and was the subject of a Time magazine article after France’s defeat. At this time, blitzkrieg simply meant a knockout blow in contrast to the trench warfare of World War I. The Germans, for example, employed the term to refer to a short war. No theorist used it to refer to a combined offensive by armored forces and aircraft to deliver a knockout blow against an adversary.

Rather than a revolution, mobile warfare represented a natural evolution in the conduct of war. The development of methods and equipment necessary for mobile warfare was informed by the experience of World War I. Yet, the evolution of technology and strategy was the subject of considerable debate in Germany. There was a lively discussion in the literature about the proper role of tanks and airpower. The development of mechanized forces was retarded by Hitler’s military and economic policies. The best strategy for the 1940 campaign was not immediately evident to the German high command. Hitler dabbled with strategy and inquired about the possibility of an offensive through the Ardennes before Manstein devised his plan. The German strategy for the attack against France was a desperate operational act ultimately chosen for its risky strategic possibilities.

The German advance in the 1940 campaign is widely perceived to have been a rapid “jaunt” through France with armor and airpower playing the dominant roles in the offensive. This notion is unsubstantiated. Rough terrain hindered the progress of the XIX Panzer Corps. The crossing of the Meuse River was also very difficult and its outcome might have been different were it not for some remarkable successes by a few German forces. The movement of armored units across the river was far slower than anticipated and German commanders submitted false reports about their progress and the vulnerability of the bridgehead. Moreover, infantry played a key role on both sides. German armored forces were led across the Meuse by antitank and engineer units. At the beginning of the campaign German forces encountered stiff resistance from Belgian infantry mounted on bicycles. A single rifle company turned back an assault by a German tank division. Furthermore, a German infantry battalion played a pivotal role in the eventual defeat of this company.

Airpower was important in the 1940 campaign and German ground forces would not have been successful without the air support provided by the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe achieved air superiority, established a protective umbrella over advancing German columns, and facilitated the crossing of the Meuse by German forces. German air attacks also confused French commanders about the location of advancing forces and contributed to the collapse of the French 55th Division defending the Meuse. However, German airpower accounted for little of the destruction on the ground nor did its use in the 1940 campaign mark the advent of a fundamentally new way of warfare.

Neither Hitler nor the German high command expected a rapid, easy victory over the French in 1940. They expressed serious concerns about the prospects for success on May 13th and 14th. However, the German forces were victorious because of luck, better leadership, skill and training, superior concentration of forces, and French weaknesses in strategy and tactics. German leaders considered the outcome of the 1940 campaign to be a miracle. Yet, this was soon forgotten as they fell victim to their own propaganda. Seeing themselves in newsreels and movies, the German officer corps became convinced that the myth of blitzkrieg was reality. Confident that blitzkrieg would enable Germany to achieve a swift, easy victory over the Soviet Union, Hitler initiated the invasion of the Soviet Union almost immediately after the 1940 campaign.

Continued British resistance and the expectation that Soviet forces would quickly be defeated led Hitler to pursue an offensive against the Soviet Union in 1941. The British rejected Hitler’s peace overtures following the defeat of France and a German Navy study concluded that an invasion of Great Britain would be extremely difficult. Meanwhile, military options on the eastern front were evaluated. An offensive would seek to crush the Soviet army before it could retreat and to seize enough territory in the east to prevent Soviet air strikes against Germany. Both Hitler and Halder believed that blitzkrieg would enable German forces to deliver such a knockout blow against the Soviet Union. A campaign against the Soviet Union was also expected to be far easier than the invasion of France. With the defeat of the Soviet Union, any remaining British hope of successfully resisting German domination of Europe would be eliminated.

Hitler therefore directed the German army to prepare to crush the Soviet military prior to the defeat of the United Kingdom. The Germans thus sought a “Super Cannae” against the Soviet Union. The invasion of the Soviet Union was widely anticipated to be a short campaign and military planning reflected this expectation. The German high command believed that 80-100 German divisions would easily be able to defeat the 50-75 top Russian divisions. The German economy was not mobilized for the invasion, stockpiles were not accumulated, and the long distances involved in transporting supplies to advancing German forces were ignored. Operation Barbarossa was based to an unprecedented degree on myths and hopes stemming from the successful invasion of France. Intoxicated by the success of the 1940 campaign, Hitler and Halder even envisaged the use of blitzkrieg operations to secure German domination of the Mediterranean and Asia. Such confidence contrasts sharply with the German high command’s far more sober analysis of the successful 1939 attack on Poland, which generated substantial pessimism among military leaders because of the many deficiencies that it had revealed. Instead, concluding that they had devised blitzkrieg to defeat the French, Hitler and the German high command believed it could also be used successfully against the Soviet Union. In the end, such arrogance and poor intelligence led to German failure in the east.

Link. Other lectures dealing with military affairs are available on the website as well.

64 thoughts on “Blitzkrieg

  1. “oh no another hitlerite poop”

    Neither the Heer, the Luftwaffe, or the Kriegsmarine was effectively prepared for an offensive assault at the start of WWII. Then, the situation became worse after 1940/41… After that, we know what happened.

    • Well, since were in the Myth busting category Alex, lets go over some “other” gems of history for 200? Shall we?

      England and France declared war on Germany, correct?

      But not on the Soviet Union…..for Poland. But at the end, Poland wasn’t defended from the Russians… Hmm, seems awful strange that England went to war to defend Poland then forgot about them at the conclusion?

      England conducted the First Mass bombing on a Civilian Population. It was Hitler that stated he wanted “No civilian Bombing Missions”.

      America froze Japanese assests and placed an Embargo on exports to Japan because of the threat to England’s Colonial Conquests in the Pacific. Not because Japan was threating US intrests….

      As far as the Paper written above, its a nice read. He can take apart a lot Material and Most of its true or I have read the same articles, but if the Germans didn’t “coin” the term Blitzkrieg, then the Propagandists did. I,E; News agencies and authors, the same people he’s using for authentication, lmao.

      Pretty similar to what hes doing imo.

      Their are a lot of Myths about the Germans but lets not forget it can be just as easily reversed. They used the Combined Arms tactics theory at a “revolutionary” level. The industrial level. Technically, the Romans were probably the first Blitzkriegers, but the Germans were the first to bring it to current level. Air, Armor, Land, and Sea, all in a combined Communications linked Force.

      It was Revolutionary, and Evolutionary. Im sure if England had done it first, we wouldn’t be reading this now, would we?

      It would be Extraordinary then.

      Its easy to critique, see, I’ve just done it myself.

      And no, I am not a Nazi. Sorry to take your first defense for my opinion away from you.


      • I would have to agree with most if what you are saying, even though blitzkrieg was not the goal, blitzkrieg was the result. This does not mean that it was a “myth”, rather how we perceive it’s transgression is what is inaccurate.

        And as far as the eastern front goes, there is so much more to the progression of the war in the east than the “unpreparedness” of the invasion of Russia. If it was up to the invader, they would have forever to prepare. Reality doesn’t wait, Russia was building up arms and that was the best opportunity for hopes of a relatively quick fight.

        As far as Japan goes, there is more to it than just protecting British interests. It concerned directly to America with the attack on the USS Panay, and Japanese violence against the US ambassador, and looting of American goods in Nanking. That the US didn’t act more fiercely before Japan’s most aggressive expansion kicked off was due to the policy of isolationism.

        • The timing of Barbarossa was actually largely dictated by purely economic considerations; namely, even with all the phat lewts they were extracting from their recent conquests in the West (and effectively swindling off the Soviets who were rapidly running out of patience with the chronically late payments for the stuff they shipped in) the Germans were starting to run alarmingly short of just about *everything*, up to and including basic foodstuffs.
          Hitler basically had to go for broke or watch the intractable and functionally unreachable British calmly starve his empire into submission.
          This is incidentally also the underlying reason for the infamous lack of winter kit and other insufficient logistical preparations; for the most part the Germans were perfectly well aware of the problems present and potential, but they simply didn’t have the time and resources to do Jack Shit about them. Hence more reckless high-stakes gambling with way too few markers for comfort.

          As far as the Pacific goes the US wasn’t exactly happy about what the Japanese were doing in China in particular and their worrisome expansionist moves in the region in general. British shmitish, Washington was concerned enough about the Philippines as it was.

          • One thing I will never get – and am thankful this monumental oversight happened – why didn’t Germany consider taking Portugal and Malta… Both those nations can control a hell of a lot of ocean if used as a naval base (thence putting Britain in a very uncomfortable position). Both seem infinitely softer targets than Russia and Portugal especially seems to allow the outflanking of any European blockade…

            • Hitler had plans to take Azores Islands (to bomb America), Gibraltar and maybe invade Portugal but he needed Spain help! Franco said that he would not support this since they already had a though Civil War and his country was recovering.

              • “Hitler had plans to take Azores Islands (to bomb America), Gibraltar and maybe invade Portugal [...]” And to build a spaceship to conquer the Moon and the Mars, rename them “Deutschländchen” and “Neue Erde des Reich” respectively. After that he wanted to siege a war against Atlantis and against the molepeople beneath the surface of the earth. Later on the goal was to inject midichloreans to every aryan and kill Cthulhu. Oh and timetravel and resurrecting Jesus also.

            • Portugal, I don’t know about, though presumably having to march through Spain to get to it would be half the issue. As for Malta, it was controlled by Britain during the war and war under siege for several years by German and Italian forces.

              • That’s not exactly true. It got mucked up, no doubt, but if you read some of the generals biographies and authors Ive read, those delays were the real reason Hitler never trusted his Generals after 41′. The three week delay to take that last 650k Russian Army was caused by his Generals. They wanted to go straight for Moscow, Since Hitler wouldn’t, they sat for that time claiming they needed to refit, fuel, etc, etc.

                I believe its one of the main reasons Guderian was Sacked. If they had attacked the Smolensk pocket? was it? They woulda been outside Moscow at least two weeks earlier. As far as the bullets or bread thing, it all ties in from there. Whats the point of bread and clothes without bullets.

                Oh well, it is what it is….

          • You also forget that it was Hitler who mucked up the Invasion of Russia. The original plan would have worked fine but Hitler delayed the troops heading for Moscow by several weeks (iirc 5-6 weeks) while he had them focus on the oil fields. On top of that the invasion started in the first place later then originally planed…

            • Actually the oilfield thing only came in ’42 (what with being in the freaking Caucasus), in ’41 the Ukraine had priority. The whatwasitnow, Ministry of Agriculture making worried noises about the grain stocks of the Grossraum starting to reach critically low levels had a lot to do with that.

      • Actually the First Mass bombing on a Civilian Population was conducted by the Condor Legion in Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

      • FYI: Luftwaffe used to strafe refugees as early as 1939. Also, bombing raid over Warsaw claimed over 10 000 civilian victims in the first week of September. The German pilots are also known formy using small towns as target practice during that period. Tl; dr were British

      • “It was Hitler that stated he wanted “No civilian Bombing Missions”. ”

        Yeah, bombing wasn’t as effective as the gas chambers…

      • “England conducted the First Mass bombing on a Civilian Population. It was Hitler that stated he wanted “No civilian Bombing Missions”.”

        LoLz. Go tell that to the people killed Poland invasion, or to the fleeing refugees gunned down by german planes in 1940.

        • Even in the scope of the Battle of britain it’s wrong. Port cities like Portsmouth had already been bombed (although pro-germans will claim they were just bombs aimed at the dockyards that “missed”) . Even the claim of “mass bombing” is wrong. The first raid used only 81 aircraft (from wiki), which when compared to the 400+ the Germans were using, and the 600+ later war raids, shows how much of a skirmish force this was.

  2. Ah, I read this a long time ago, and it does hit all the right points.

    Still, I expect some people not educated in military strategy to say the colonel is wrong and Germans were revolutionary, etc.

    • Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

      “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength”

      or in short

      “No plan survives contact with the enemy”

      German had tech, but they lacked resource. It might be the first war over the resource to begin with.

      • It was; Hitler’s whole “thing” was basically a firm belief in a “final showdown” between the Aryan Race and its enemies being imminent and the need for the former to prepare accordingly by seizing through force the lands and resources needed to ultimately triumph.
        IIRC the long-term scenario included a final “Battle of Continents” between the enlarged Reich plus clients and the final bastion of “World Jewry”, the USA – I understand Adolf didn’t expect the struggle to be finished within his lifetime.

        And over this kind of raving lunacy the world burned. :/

    • The article is good, I agree, but I have to say that it does have a few weaknesses. It does claim to bust some of the myths about the concept of “blitzkrieg as it is now understood” – but without actually pointing out what that concept includes and what it doesn’t include. This makes the article vulnerable to be accused of cherrypicking.
      There have been several “blitzkrieg-like” campaigns, of which the conquest of France was the third. I am pretty sure that such a quick victory would not have been seen as the outcome of a new concept if it had been pulled off only once.
      Secondly the author states the importance of infantry and how much the German strategy relied on it as if that were something remarkable and sort of debunking a myth about the blitzkrieg. Now – as he doesn’t say what “blitzkrieg” actually means to him, I can only guess that it sort of assumes a certain unimportance of infantry. Which is entirely wrong. Even in the late First World War the Germans started developing the tactical concept if infantry further to find a way to break the years-long-stalemate. A new approach to infantry tactics which was called “Sturmtruppen” (yes that is stormtroopers :) or Stoßtruppen (shock troops) was an integral part of the “new way of German warfare”.
      So what he refers to as “better leadership, skill and training, superior concentration of forces” was actually not entirely coincidental.

      So, while I agree with the author, that “blitzkrieg” – however he defines it – was certainly not a revolution and that it of course had nothing to do with any technological advantage over the Allied forces – I have also to criticise that he fails to explain that the German strategy (even if not fully developed by the Fall of France) was indeed innovative on many levels – just not those which were presented by the propaganda.

      The question is – if German tactics and strategy were indeed completely uninnovative and conventional, how did they manage to pull it off in Poland, Norway, France, the Balkans and Greece. Massive luck 4 times in a row?

      • “Even in the late First World War the Germans started developing the tactical concept if infantry further to find a way to break the years-long-stalemate. A new approach to infantry tactics which was called “Sturmtruppen” (yes that is stormtroopers :) or Stoßtruppen (shock troops) was an integral part of the “new way of German warfare”.”

        Problem is, those WWI elite troops were a disaster, and probably helped Germany to lose the war. They received better training, the best equipement still available, but were unable to break the French and British lines. During the last German offensives, these sturmtruppen suffered more casualties than their opponents. The wonderful german elite soldiers weren’t enough to defeat their opponents.

        And what happened when those Sturmtruppen got pushed back? The regular units defending behind them were simply unable to stop any counter-attack.

        Plus, by 1917/1918, the French army was by all means superior. The regular Poilu was perhaps not as well trained as the german assault trooper, but he was better equiped, had food in his belly, knew that he had air superiority and a crapload of FT-17 behind his back, a couple of buddies carrying Chauchat assault guns, and hundreds of armored trucks to supply him and transport him anywhere on the front.

        The Allies of 1918 outclassed the germans in pretty much every way, and their strategy had a lot in common with the WW2 era: a lot of quick, coordinated attacks on differents points, supported by armored vehicles and a complete air superiority. The July 1918 offensive is a good example.

        • I never talked about the Sturmtruppen as “superior” or as “wonderful german elite soldiers”. I referred to the concept as something the Germans tried out to break the stalemate and that greatly influenced their infantry tactics they used in the second world war.

          Secondly I frankly have no idea where you take the information from that the use of the “Sturmtruppen” was “a disaster” and “helped Germany to lose the war”.

          I’m referring to openly available facts that you can find for example at Wikipedia, yet your Information that the Germans sucked oh so badly seems a little more hidden. So if your would kindly provide me with a source or two I might even believe you. Until that happens I can only call massive BS.
          As for your statement that they were “unable to break the French and British lines”. That is wrong. They did and at several points. the German command was just unable to exploit that.

          As for the “by all means superior” french Army, you mention. (I never made any claims of any superiority of anybody – I am not interested in silly dick-comparation. As for these “superior” forces of 1917/18 – they were indeed of so high morale that they threw spontaneous parties:

          You are not, concidentally, French?

          • The Sturmtruppen were an elaboration of the assault-squad concept just about everyone was using to a greater or lesser degree by that point; IIRC the Italians may actually have been the ones to pioneer them as specifically organised sub-branch. Anyways they were in effect the German try at something to break the trench stalemate with whereas the Allies were banking on the tank instead.
            The Stormtroopers bluntly failed while the tank was wildly succesful.
            See, the basic problem was that for all their hot-shit training and whatever those were still *people*; they died when shot at just the same as any common grunt, and when they went to action they got shot at a LOT. With everything from small arms to the ubiquitous MGs to full-on artillery pieces.
            They also tired like any other trooper, and offered el zippo nada towards solving the far more fundamental problem of exploiting and consolidating any holes punched in the trench lines (which feat had been achievable from quite early on with proper application of artillery).
            Looked at the casualty estimates for the Michael offensive? The Germans lost only slightly fewer men than the Allies, and a predictably disproportionate number of those came from the fancy elite assault formations at the vanguard.

            The whole operation basically ran out of steam in about two weeks and achieved little of strategic consequence. The successive attacks in other parts of the front did little better.

            Moreover it should probably be noted that the (relatively) dramatic territorial gains of the Kaiserslacht spring offensive were only achieved on sectors whose defenses weren’t, for varying reasons, properly echeloned in depth as by this point of the war should have been the case. Against proper defenses in depth the Sturmtruppen didn’t do all that much better than humbler troops – and certainly nothing of the sort the Allies went on to achieve with massed tanks.

      • What did they pull off in Poland? A month of heavy fights with a smaller, weaker and surrounded country is hardly a big feat. Invasion of Poland was actually quite a shameful fight for the Germans, as it took them really long, especially when you consider that two weeks later Soviets attacked from the other side…

        • When the soviets “attacked” the bulk of Poland Army are already defeated or encircled, this map show the situation after soviet invasion, other point is that German attack is expected, the soviet no.

          Like you see even the troops in soviet territory are already defeated by Germans.

          “A month of heavy fights with a smaller, weaker and surrounded country country is hardly a big feat.”
          The soviets take from 30 November of 1939 to 13 March 1940 (3,5 months) to defeat the Finland taking 126.875 dead, 264.908 wounded, now if you compare with Poland campaign look a loot better no?

          • …are you *seriously* trying to compare Case White and the Winter War?
            Go read some actual military history to learn why that’s hilarious.

                • The Finland have changed the geography of the land before the Soviet invasion?
                  No, the Forests, Mountains, Lakes and Snow are already here: if geography is a problem, its evidence of poor reconnaissance, planing and execution.
                  If terrain impossibility the use of the number advantage to flank the enemy, the Soviets have others cards like Air Superiority, Artillery Superiority, Tanks, but failed to use these.

                  If Germans suck in forests, i don’t care, i’m not trying to show that X is better that Y, i’m only showing that if Germans don’t have done the things right they can get humiliated in Poland.


                • *sigh* The POINT being that Poland is damned near exactly the kind of terrain the German and Soviet style of mobile mechanised warfare was designed *for* – that the invaders had the target geostrategically outflanked six ways to Sunday hardly hurt, either.

                  Finland is damned near the exact opposite even today, nevermind now sixty-odd years ago when this place was a piss-poor agrarian backwater with a woefully underdeveloped transportation infrastructure *especially* in the sparsely populated eastern interior. Heavy mechanised units could barely even *operate* here in the first place, and a plethora of forests and rugged terrain has universally done wonders to hamper the effects of high-tech support.
                  The point is, even discounting the black farce that was the practical execution of the Soviet invasion the Red Army was badly out of its element – and facing an opponent heavily specialised for the environment.

                  Later on the Germans had the fundamentals of soldiering together far better, and Army Group North *still* had the hardest going in the comparatively obstructed “Forest Russia” – while the German forces in Finland barely made any progress *at all*.

                • I cannot reply you last comment so i’m doing its here:

                  If you try to use a car to cruise a lake, the fault is from the car?
                  No, its your fault.
                  1-The regions of Murmansk port and north of Lake Ladoga, is a 900 km border so the Finns consider this border indefensible, due to absolute lack of roads and the snow that hit the region Finns never expected the Soviets to try to attack em mass here, but the Soviets chose to attack in these two points to seize the port of Petsamo and to cut the Finland in half.
                  2-In the Karelian Isthmus Later in the war, the tanks and Artillery worked very well to defeat the Finns Fortifications.Why its not worked at First?
                  You can say that the winter freeze the lakes so tanks can pass but actions reports showed its not a good idea(Finns shelling the ice), the change in Soviet command and in the Tactics make them work again.
                  3-The Army Group North big problem is the large and well positioned(using a defense in depth) Russian forces in the recent occupied Baltic countries, yet the objective to reach Leningrad before Winter is accomplished.
                  4-you mean the troops in Lapland?The only objective of German forces here is to keep the control of local Nickel mines later, by Soviet pressure , the Finns begin to force Germans to retreat to Norway, but only ~1000 Germans die in the fight.

                  The Poland is doomed for the begin, Finland too, but they can change their fate exploiting the enemy mistakes.

                • You’re getting any number of details wrong there (go read Wikipedia or something for that), but that’s not terribly important anyway
                  Because you’re totally missing the main point.
                  Which is that the combat theater in Finland was and remains fundamentally different from the relatively open terrain of the great Eurasian plains both the German and Soviet armies were trained and organised for and mostly operated in. There mobility was a big deal, numerical superiority could be exploited to full and unless the weather intervened airpower had a field day.
                  Hah. To put things in perspective: I doubt I need to elaborate greatly on the late-war performance of the Red Army down south, other than observing that when it went seriously on the offensive advances tended to be counted in hundreds if not thousands of kilometers.
                  In the Karelian Ishtmus the massive ’44 summer offensive took most of June just to push the frontline from the Leningrad outskirts to the “VKT” defense line running from Vyborg to Ladoga, and ultimately ran out of steam short of the ’40 border by early-mid July (after which Germany took priority and the troops were ordered to dig in).
                  And the Soviets sure as *fuck* weren’t doing a repeat showing of the farce of four years earlier.

                • “You’re getting any number of details wrong there (go read Wikipedia or something for that), but that’s not terribly important anyway” Sure…
                  “Because you’re totally missing the main point.
                  Which is that the combat theater in Finland was and remains fundamentally different from the relatively open terrain of the great Eurasian plains both the German and Soviet armies were trained and organised for and mostly operated in. There mobility was a big deal, numerical superiority could be exploited to full and unless the weather intervened air power had a field day. Here?’

                  The mountain terrain of Greece is hard a tank friend terrain and can be defensible by few troops , but this not make any difference. You can say weather is better, but you replace this by British help an the Yugoslavia change.

                  “Hah. To put things in perspective: I doubt I need to elaborate greatly on the late-war performance of the Red Army down south, other than observing that when it went seriously on the offensive advances tended to be counted in hundreds if not thousands of kilometers.”

                  The only reason they need to count “Hundreds if not Thousands of kilometers” is due to fact that they lost these same kilometers early in the same battlefields.

                  “In the Karelian Ishtmus the massive ’44 summer offensive took most of June just to push the frontline from the Leningrad outskirts to the “VKT” defense line running from Vyborg to Ladoga, and ultimately ran out of steam short of the ’40 border by early-mid July (after which Germany took priority and the troops were ordered to dig in).”
                  For obvious reason i don’t use the 44 offensive(Focus em Germany) , by later war i’m referring to second half of Winter War, when Soviets changed their tactics and command, same army, same enemy but the results improved.

                  “And the Soviets sure as *fuck* weren’t doing a repeat showing of the farce of four years earlier.”
                  About time. What you mean to farce?

  3. I don’t really quite get the Cannae reference there at the end though; the last I checked that battle was won by the *defender* via the combination of yielding at the center to draw the enemy in and turning the flanks…

      • That… doesn’t quite compute, then. IIRC quite enough Romans got away to represent a real potential threat to any advance on Rome proper once reorganised – which they started doing quite promptly.

        • Bringing up Hannibal’s Italian adventure is odd in general as for all his spectacular victories the whole venture was ultimately a failure – in no small part thanks to the Roman Republics usual ace in the hole, the ability to just absorb the casualties and keep mobilising more armies until the enemy was worn down. “Hey baby, can you bleed like me?”

          While there’s obvious historical parallels in *that* it makes little sense to invoke the Second Punic in the context of the German strategic goals methinks…

    • It is a little bit confusing, I read it first as Calais which made more sense. I guess it is either a typo or he was trying to say something along the lines of a large decisive victory.

      • Nice read and hits the nail on the head. Unfortunatly I guess a lot of the people that should read such articles, will never visit FTR.

        On topic of the german army and their believe of a easy win voer the USSR: You can even see the “short war” expectation by the planings of the quartermaster general in regards to the planned war against the soviet union. Everything was planned ahead for a very fast war so no time would be wasted. They hoped to capture/eliminate as many soviet soldiers by fast and deep advances in pockets as possible. The army even didn’t plan to bring food supplies, but rather ammo and fuel. The soldiers where supposed to live out of the land, on the backs of the civilian population. But for the german army to “win”, the death of millions of civilians was at least deemed “acceptable”.

        I am writing articles for a museum exhibition right now and if you read the original documents from that era and some of the comments made by german officials, you really have to shiver.

    • In the first World War the German Generals are in love with the Battle of Cannae, a big battle-encirclement to annihilate the Enemy French Army, so the vast colonial resources and sea power of France and Great Britain could not count.
      The Plan is to defeat France in 40 days, and after face the Russian Empire, a map to understand the plan:

      Germans came very close of success, but a counter-attack close to Paris halted the German advance.

  4. Okayyy. So this was all luck and hype.

    If I recall my “r&f of the third reich” correctly, it was mentioned inside the weakness of the French Ardenne’ troops were stated, and proved to Gamelin when manoeuvres/ exercisers back in 37/38 (forgot). This was one of the main point during his trial later.

    Somehow it seems this guy had another point to sale and relied to creative history to make it.

    • Just like the Germans were worried by the weakness of their troops after the fall of Poland. Yet, a couple months later, they tumbled France.

      Perceived weakness doesn’t mean much by itself. Whenever they fought on equal ground, the French, British and Belgium gave the Germans a run for their money. Problem was, they rarely fought on equal ground. By 1940, no belligerent had a competent, trained army. That’s what you get for 30 years of peace and pacifism.

  5. my take on situation: Blitzkrieg was a thing and Germans used it. It worked well in Poland because it did not had many tanks or planes + it was first country that Germany occupied so surprise factor was there too. France fell because of old fashioned strategical thinking and of course some bad luck (D-day was a lucky thing too tbh). Germany did not managed to beat Brits because tanks and soldiers can’t fly. The problem with soviet union was that it was big and stalin was not afraid to send millions of people to the front, some of them even gunless, just to win some time. Also hitler was a bad commander and if his generals were in charge of campaign god knows what the world map would be today.

    • “… it [Poland] was first country that Germany occupied [...]” Tell this to any czech and they will laugh.
      “France fell because of old fashioned strategical thinking and of course some bad luck [...]” I would say that they fell because of they relied more on their allies and because of the failure to adapt to the “new tactics”.
      “D-day was a lucky thing”. Yeah right. Lucky as the battle of Gaugamela or the battle of Zama.
      “Germany did not managed to beat Brits because tanks and soldiers can’t fly.” Germans lost against the Brits because of the 3 fronted war and the “backup” that the U.K. got back then.
      Otherwise you are right in the summing up.

      • How did France rely on its allies? That’s something I don’t understand.

        France certainly didn’t expect Poland to defeat Germany by itself, but there was no way to set up a sizeable military expedition to Poland, even with the help of the UK navy.
        Similarly, France (once again) hoped the Germans would respect Belgium neutrality, and thus have to face the Maginot line. Lastly, the BEF was even less in fighting shape than the France army, and everyone knew it. So, what did those bastradly french do? They died on the shores of Cherbourg to allow their allies to escape. Really, what a bunch of douchebags.

        The problem was rather that everyone was relying on France, a country still traumatized by 1914-1918.

        • Only the Belgians themselves entertained any delusions of the Germans respecting their neutrality any more than in ’14. The French built the Maginot specifically to restrict the realistic axes of advance of any German offensives to the north, and had it been up to them their troops would’ve been entrenched in the Benelux before the latter even crossed the borders.

      • Yeah your right with Czech, but war started with poles going down so that was my idea. You are wrong about french tho, they had good army and the failure to adopt new tactics thing… well basically its the same thing that I wrote, they did not progress remained as they are old fashioned. D-day would have been canceled if the weather was shit, google about it it really partially was based on luck and prays for good weather.
        When Germans were fighting Brits there was no 3 front war, I don’t know where you got that idea from.

        • Between Case Yellow and Case Red the French concluded their initial doctrine of solid contiguous battlelines was shit, and switched to a system mutually supporting strongpoints.
          The Germans found this a highly unpleasant surprise.
          “Failure to adopt new tactics” my ass, but there’s only so much you can do inside a damn *month*. All the more so if you’ve already lost the bulk of your first-rate stuff and are fighting without reserves against an enemy with de facto total air supremacy.

  6. Why the hell would you write it all in italic font?
    It would make more sense to make the entry paragraph italic, but making a wall of text written in either bold or italic makes it a pain to read.

  7. _The_ book to read regarding the ad-hoc Blitzkrieg in France 1940 is
    “The Blitzkrieg Legend: The Campaign in the West, 1940″ by Karl-Heinz Frieser.
    Outstanding book on the very subject, both for an overview and details. The map material is fabulous too, which isn’t too common.

  8. The invasion of Poland was already referred to as a proponent of Blitz Krieg. Also, the close co-ordination between airforce and army was part and parcel of German military doctrine. It is not some weird accident that led to a myth. However, the Germans did get a little too confident regarding their own abilities. So yes, one could talk about myths regarding Blitz Krieg, but this article is filled to the brim with huge factual errors and very shaky reasoning.