Blitzkrieg Facts

Blitzkrieg Facts
Blitzkrieg, translated into English as "lightning war," was first termed by Western journalists to describe the incredibly fast and effective German assault on Poland. It was a new type of warfare that relied on fast moving tanks and mechanized infantry backed up by fighter and bomber planes. Blitzkrieg played an enormous role in the first few campaigns of the war, giving the Germans a tremendous advantage, but much less so once the Allies went on the offensive. Blitzkrieg was also not much of a major factor in North Africa. When the Germans effectively employed the strategy early in the war, success was contingent less so on superior weapons, but more so on the initiative and ability of German commanders. Indeed, during the invasion of France, the French and British forces had tanks that were equal to or better than the German panzers (tanks), but the Germans' use of dive bombers, artillery, and paratroopers along with their tanks and infantry proved to be decisive.
Interesting Blitzkrieg Facts:
The Germans claim to have never used the term themselves.
The strategy arose after the futility of trench warfare became apparent to the German high command between the wars. German commanders saw that tanks would play a much bigger role in the next war.
German general Heinz Guderian was an early advocate of armored warfare and using tanks in conjunction with infantry and other units.
Paratrooper drops played an important role in early German blitzkrieg attacks, capturing bridges and airfields behind the enemy lines.
World War II was the first war where air power played an extensive and often decisive role in battles. In the practice of blitzkrieg, German fighters first established air superiority, which allowed for bombers to dislodge enemy infantry positions and destroy enemy airfields and ports. The "Stuka" dive bomber played a key role in taking out enemy infantry and tanks, creating an element of fear with its screeching siren in the process.
German tanks and mechanized infantry would then thrust quickly and deep into enemy territory. The use of mechanized infantry first played a major role in World War II and was crucial to a successful blitzkrieg campaign.
Artillery would be used in conjunction with bomber planes to dislodge heavily fortified enemy positions, especially in cities.
Finally, non-mechanized infantry, and on the Eastern Front and in North Africa, non-German Axis infantry units would mop up residual enemy units and occupy enemy cities and airfields.
The escarpment in North Africa limited the Germans' ability to fully enact blitzkrieg there against the British.
Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, was initially a successful blitzkrieg operation.
Once the weather began playing a role on the Eastern Front and the element of surprise was lost, blitzkrieg was no longer a factor against the Soviets.
It was once believed that "terror bombing" campaigns of urban civilian populations was once part of blitzkrieg philosophy, but scholars now believe that is false.
During the German invasion of the Low Countries and France in May 1940, the Allies had over 4,000 tanks, many of which were better than the German panzers. Military historians believe that the Germans prevailed in most of those battles because they used the tanks in groups instead of as infantry support as the Allies did.


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