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Blitzkrieg
Lightning Attack
A British view on Blitzkrieg!
The History of Blitzkrieg







blitz or blitzkrieg is used in many non-military
contexts (eg.the “blitz” on London; ...
Blitzkrieg Basics
though "blitzkrieg" is a German word
(literally "lightning war", meaning "a war as
fast as a lightning")...
Blitzkrieg Strategy
to hit hard and move on
instantly
 to create panic amongst
the civilian population
(civil population ...
First-Hand Account of Blitzkrieg
The battlefront disappeared, and with it the illusion
that there had ever been a battlefr...
Steps in a Blitzkrieg Action
Select a strategic target
2. Stuka dive bombers sent in to „soften‟
up the enemy, destroy all...
Blitzkrieg


Principles of Blitzkrieg Warfare
 Surprise
 Speed
 Concentration
Surprise


armored weight of the German attack on
France struck westward in the Ardennes
region, in the weakly held cente...
Speed


German war doctrine emphasized:
 Speed (eg. troops were moved by half-track

vehicles so there was no real need ...
Concentration




Two opposing armies had equal numbers of troops
 Allies had more tanks
 Germans had more aircraft
Ho...
Infiltration
Poland, September 1939
On 1 September 1939,
German forces
launched Blitzkrieg
 The Germans had about
1 million men agains...
Poland, September 1939
In just over a week, the Germans were at Warsaw
(capital city)and the following week two German
arm...
Scandinavia, March-April 1940







On 9 April 1940, in a one day campaign, Denmark fell to
the Germans, a small cou...
Scandinavia, March-April 1940
A puppet government was installed.
The British were stunned and
surprised by these lightning...
Low Countries, May 1940








An assault on the Low Countries - Holland, Belgium, and
Luxemburg -- was the essential...
Low Countries, May 1940
Belgium was able to mount a strong
defense, although the result was the same.
 The Blitzkrieg tac...
Allied Planning
Allies expected Germans to attack using
a variant of the WWI Schlieffen Plan
 French expected Germans to ...
French Defences – The Maginot Line




A line of concrete
fortifications, tank
obstacles, machine
gun posts and other
de...
The Maginot Line
French and German Plans for
the Battle of France 1940
Infiltration


The panzer divisions
of Heinz Guderian's
19th Panzer Corps
broke through French
defenses at Sedan
and pres...
France, 1940


German forces pressed the Allied
armies trapped in the north, from south
and east, into the English Channe...
Allied Defeat in the North: Retreat to Dunkirk,
Battle of France, May 25-31,1940
Dunkirk: Halt Order





Hitler halts German armor
 German armor had suffered heavy losses
and would be needed to conq...
Consolidation





Once the Allied forces
in the north were
eliminated, German
forces regrouped and
attacked southward,...
Sources
• http://www.national-army-museum.ac.uk/pages/Second-war/nweurope.html
•http://www.usm.edu/armyrotc/militaryhistor...
Glossary


Manstein Plan - an attack through
southern Belgium that avoided the
Maginot Line.
 Back



Luftwaffe – Name ...
Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
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Blitzkrieg

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An overview of Germany's offensive strategy to begin WWII and how they were able to take over most of mainland Europe in less than a year.

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Transcript of "Blitzkrieg"

  1. 1. Blitzkrieg Lightning Attack
  2. 2. A British view on Blitzkrieg!
  3. 3. The History of Blitzkrieg     blitz or blitzkrieg is used in many non-military contexts (eg.the “blitz” on London; “blitz” in football; etc.) original military definition, "blitzkrieg" may be applied to any military operation emphasising the surprise, speed, and concentration of military forces developed by German army officer Hans Guderian developed in the years after World War I as a method to help prevent trench warfare
  4. 4. Blitzkrieg Basics though "blitzkrieg" is a German word (literally "lightning war", meaning "a war as fast as a lightning"), the word did not originate from within the German military  first used by a journalist in the American newsmagazine TIME describing 1939 German invasion of Poland  based on speed and surprise  organized around light tank units supported by planes and infantry (foot soldiers) 
  5. 5. Blitzkrieg Strategy to hit hard and move on instantly  to create panic amongst the civilian population (civil population fleeing an attacking enemy will make it very difficult for a defending army to get its forces to the war front)  Result - doubt, confusion and rumour lead to paralysis of both government and the defending military 
  6. 6. First-Hand Account of Blitzkrieg The battlefront disappeared, and with it the illusion that there had ever been a battlefront. For this was no war of occupation, but a war of quick penetration and obliteration—Blitzkrieg, lightning war. Swift columns of tanks and armored trucks had plunged through Poland while bombs raining from the sky heralded their coming. They had sawed off communications, destroyed stores, scattered civilians, spread terror. Working sometimes 30 miles (50 km) ahead of infantry and artillery, they had broken down the Polish defenses before they had time to organize. Then, while the infantry mopped up, they had moved on, to strike again far behind what had been called the front. TIME Vol. XXXIV No. 13, 25 September 1939
  7. 7. Steps in a Blitzkrieg Action Select a strategic target 2. Stuka dive bombers sent in to „soften‟ up the enemy, destroy all rail lines, communication centres and major rail links 3. German tanks move in as the planes withdraw (at the last minute, so that the enemy did not have time to recover senses) 4. Tank attacks supported by infantry 1.
  8. 8. Blitzkrieg  Principles of Blitzkrieg Warfare  Surprise  Speed  Concentration
  9. 9. Surprise  armored weight of the German attack on France struck westward in the Ardennes region, in the weakly held center of the Allied front.  Goal: penetration, then surround  was an unanticipated move and led to a serious crisis for the Allied armies.
  10. 10. Speed  German war doctrine emphasized:  Speed (eg. troops were moved by half-track vehicles so there was no real need for roads)  exploitation of enemy weaknesses  combining combat branches (mobile warfare required armor, infantry, and artillery)  leadership from the front
  11. 11. Concentration   Two opposing armies had equal numbers of troops  Allies had more tanks  Germans had more aircraft How did the Germans achieve success under these conditions?  Germans had a unified operational principle -press forward as rapidly as possible to prevent the French from forming a new defensive line ; Allies did not  French did not launch a decisive counterattack
  12. 12. Infiltration
  13. 13. Poland, September 1939 On 1 September 1939, German forces launched Blitzkrieg  The Germans had about 1 million men against about 600,000 Poles  The Luftwaffe had 3 planes for every Polish aircraft, all were destroyed  The Polish army was rapidly pushed back and had little hope of holding out without outside help from Britain and France. 
  14. 14. Poland, September 1939 In just over a week, the Germans were at Warsaw (capital city)and the following week two German army groups moving from the north trapped 170,000 Polish troops at Kutno (100 miles west of Warsaw).  On 17 September 1939, Soviet troops entered Poland from the east, carrying out the pact between Hitler and Stalin, just signed on 23 August.  Poland was crushed between the Red Army moving westward and the Wehrmacht moving east. Although completely surrounded, Warsaw held out heroically until 27 September when, out of food and ammunition, they surrendered.  Germany and the Soviet Union met the next day to set new borders dividing Poland between them. 
  15. 15. Scandinavia, March-April 1940      On 9 April 1940, in a one day campaign, Denmark fell to the Germans, a small country unable to resist directly. On the same day, Germany moved against Norway With surprise, speed, and daring the Germans defied British Royal Navy patrols along the Norwegian coast, moving shiploads of troops and their supplies directly into Norwegian ports where they quickly disembarked and took up positions. The Luftwaffe bombed targets and landed paratroopers across the nation. Within a few hours all important points of control in Norway were in German hands and by the end of the day German troops occupied government buildings in Oslo.
  16. 16. Scandinavia, March-April 1940 A puppet government was installed. The British were stunned and surprised by these lightning moves. They attempted to respond with ill fated raids but the result was disaster. By 8 June 1940, the British had fully withdrawn from Norway. Although Norway was humiliation for the Allies, valuable lessons were learned and the danger of Hitler's Germany would no longer be underestimated.
  17. 17. Low Countries, May 1940     An assault on the Low Countries - Holland, Belgium, and Luxemburg -- was the essential next step Having neutralized the Soviet Union, absorbed western Poland, and secured Germany's northern flank, on 10 May 1940 the Wehrmacht rolled across the Dutch border in the now familiar Blitzkrieg fashion. German parachutists seized strategic points, dive bombers destroyed the small Dutch air force, and the infantry followed Panzers across the flat land, eliminating any resistance. Tiny Luxemborg fell in a few hours.
  18. 18. Low Countries, May 1940 Belgium was able to mount a strong defense, although the result was the same.  The Blitzkrieg tactics of simultaneous air assault and direct attack on the ground by fast moving armored infantry made a mockery of prepared defenses and Allied plans.  The Germans pushed through the "impassable" Ardennes and opened a breach in the Allied lines.  Within seven days the Germans reached the English Channel, dividing the Allied forces. 
  19. 19. Allied Planning Allies expected Germans to attack using a variant of the WWI Schlieffen Plan  French expected Germans to attack through the north part of Belgium  Instead German attack was based on the Manstein Plan calling for attack further south (Germans had anticipated the French reaction) 
  20. 20. French Defences – The Maginot Line   A line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defenses which France constructed along her borders with Germany and Italy The fortifications did not extend through the Ardennes Forest which was considered “impassable”
  21. 21. The Maginot Line
  22. 22. French and German Plans for the Battle of France 1940
  23. 23. Infiltration  The panzer divisions of Heinz Guderian's 19th Panzer Corps broke through French defenses at Sedan and pressed forward as rapidly as possible to prevent the French from reforming a new defensive line.
  24. 24. France, 1940  German forces pressed the Allied armies trapped in the north, from south and east, into the English Channel.  Meanwhile, German infantry divisions reinforced the southern flank of the German penetration.  But….
  25. 25. Allied Defeat in the North: Retreat to Dunkirk, Battle of France, May 25-31,1940
  26. 26. Dunkirk: Halt Order    Hitler halts German armor  German armor had suffered heavy losses and would be needed to conquer the rest of France  Luftwaffe called upon to finish the job Luftwaffe unable to destroy the British and French 340,000 Allied troops were evacuated
  27. 27. Consolidation    Once the Allied forces in the north were eliminated, German forces regrouped and attacked southward, breaking through the Weygand Line the French had built up. On 16 June French ask for an armistice. Battle of Britain begins.
  28. 28. Sources • http://www.national-army-museum.ac.uk/pages/Second-war/nweurope.html •http://www.usm.edu/armyrotc/militaryhistory/Lsn%2015%20blitzkrieg.ppt •http://www.olive-drab.com/od_history_ww2_ops_battles_1940blitzkrieg.php •http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m222/ej2653/blitzkrieg.jpg •http://www.paradoxmind.com/1302/WWII_Europe/WWII_Euro1.html
  29. 29. Glossary  Manstein Plan - an attack through southern Belgium that avoided the Maginot Line.  Back  Luftwaffe – Name of the German Air Force  Back
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