BLITZKRIEG | Military Tactics
Blitzkrieg: 1. sudden, swift, large-scale offensive warfare intended to win a quick victory. 2. any sudden, overwelming attack. [
Blitzkrieg or "lightning war" is a concentrated, overwhelming attack on an enemy location, with the intent being to breakthru the enemy lines and continue a "lightning attack" forward. Often a syncronized, coordinated attack, utilizing land and air forces simultaneously; the blitzkrieg ignores protecting it's flanks, with the hopes of defeating the enemy before they can organize a defense.
15] Blitzkrieg is a modern adaptation of a military strategy which has been used for centuries, using highly mobile troops to gain an advantageous position relative to the enemy, through
maneuver warfare. [ 14¼] [ 14½] [ 14¾]
WWII Blitzkrieg: Radio communication was a huge breakthrough, which allowed ground and air forces to work in unison.
Blitzkrieg didn't truly take it's modern form until advances in
military logistics were able to support such tactics. Mechanized infantry, faster tanks, improvements in airpower, and effecient use of the railroads all contributed to the rebirth of maneuver warfare, and on a scale much larger than was ever before possible. These "new" blitzkrieg tactics worked well for Germany in the early years of WW2, and even in the inital stages of the invasion of Russia. But once the supply lines stretched for hundreds of miles on the Eastern front, often on poor roads, and with Germany lacking in long-range bombers and support aircraft, Germany could no longer logistically support the blitzkrieg. [ 15½] With Hitler's insistance on taking Stalingrad at all costs, we see a prime example of how risky blitzkrieg can be, as well one of the best counters to blitzkrieg, the
Uses in History HOW THIS TACTIC HAS BEEN USED • 1940 - The Fall of France - Battle of Dunkirk
Even though millions of French troops were manning the defensive Maginot Line in early 1940, Hitler's brilliant blitzkrieg strategy caught the Allies by surprise, and Germany occupied France within six weeks. German forces quickly occupy Belgium and the Netherlands, and trap the Allied forces at Dunkirk. Great Britian has to abandon most of it armor, but manages to save most of their troops with an emergency
breakout by sea. [ 15¼] • 1942-43 - Battle of Stalingrad
epic fail as far as the German execution of the Blitzkrieg, as Russian defensive forces were able to entrench in the city and keep it from falling entirely into German hands. This bought valuable time for the Russians as they were able to position reinforcements on the German flanks. On November 19th the Russians launched Operation Uranus, a pincer movement that ultimately encircled most of the German 6th Army. German commanders pleaded for an immediate breakout, but Hitler's orders stood firm, to fight to the last man.
Although Germany tried to resupply the encircled 6th Army by air, but in another epic fail, came nowhere close to the 800 tons of supplies needed everyday, and lost 100's of aircraft and close to 1,000 experienced bomber crewmen in the attempt. In the end nearly 500,000 axis troops where taken prisoner, many of whom didn't live to see the end of the war. [ 9½] • 1944 - Battle of the Bulge
After the Normandy landing, allied forces quickly advanced through France, but stall along the German border. On December 16, taking advantage of weather that kept allied aircraft grounded, the Germans launched their last offensive of the war; through the dense forest of the Ardennes. Their goal was to divide the Americans and the British and retake the vital seaport of Antwerp.
German mechanized and armored units were only provided with half the fuel they needed to reach their objective, and were instructed they would have to capture more fuel along the way. This was a difficult task with no aerial reconnaissance and limited intel, and at one point the German's came within a mile of one of the largest allied fuel depots but drove right past it; unaware of it's existence. The german advance literally "ran out of gas" and nearly got caught in a pincer movement
Although the Germans retreat in time to avoid being cut off, they suffer heavy losses, including some 220,000 casualties, which contributed to their final collapse in the following months. [ 8¼]
Counter Tactics HOW TO COUNTER THIS TACTIC •
Retreating If you are unprepared to defend against the size/scale of an attack, you can always concede the territory and retreat to a position that will give you a better chance at victory.
Reconnaissance It's a good idea to use some form of reconnaissance at all times, so that you have a reasonable degree of intel regarding the size and location of enemy forces. A variety of special ops, a spare supply truck, or a stray regiment can all accomplish this task. If you are informed of battlefield conditions you won't fall for tactics such as Blitzkrieg.
Pincer Movement (pinch) The ultimate counter tactic against an overly agressive enemy, the Pincer Movement has been used for over 2000 years; to encircle invading forces.
Infiltration Use a small force or special operations to infiltrate enemy territory, to destroy or interrupt their supply lines; or attack vital base structures.
Entrenchment Hardened "entrenched" defenses can hold off an attack force much larger than it's own, or may make the enemy reconsider advancing at this time and place altogether.
Zone of Supply Whenever possible fight within your zone of supply, which not only offers the chance to heal the instant you retreat, but also offers a better view of the battlefield; allowing a commander more time to plan and prepare for enemy attacks.
• Operational Coordination Proper communication regarding enemy troop movements and tactics can help to counter just about any threat.
Terrain Use impassable terrain such as mountains, and natural choke-points on the map, to your advantage. If your enemies must attack make them attack in areas that are hard to operate in.
In Axis and Allies RTS USING THIS TACTIC IN THE FIELD The blitzkrieg is similar to the breakthru, but instead of the flanks hooking outward to widen the gap in the enemy lines; the entire force continues forward to strike into the heart of enemy territory. The blitzkrieg requires a high speed coordinated attack, and basically disregards protecting it's flanks to attempt what can be a risky "all-or-nothing" maneuver.
Proving the blitzkrieg concept was not a German one alone, check out what Patton had to say: "Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don't agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out where my flanks are, I'll be cutting the bastard's throat." General Patton
• Use the "Fog of War" to your advantage For the blitzkrieg to be successful, it is imperative the enemy does not see you coming. Use any area that has not been supplied by enemy forces, and catch them by surprise!!
Feint Use a diversionary maneuver or attack to lure the enemy into defending another area, then launch your main attack in the weakened area.
• Trailing Force While not manditory, having a trailing force behind your main attack will allow an avenue for retreat if the battle does not go as expected. I bet the Germans wish they would have had one at Stalingrad...
• Operational Coordination Operational Tactics are tactics and maneuvers coordinated with your allies, and when executed successfully, are usually more decisive in terms of victory; than tactics that occur in head-to-head isolation play. Once again communication is key, but play your cards right and you may be able to achieve an operational flanking maneuver, and destroy an entire enemy division; instead of just a couple regiments.
Special Ops A variety of Special Ops are well suited for Blitzkrieg, including assembly line, mechanized advance, mechanized and armored resupply, fighting spirit, smoke barrage, and of course the blitzkrieg of
Rommel and Kesselring. •
Airpower Airpower can be used to attack ground units, usually late in the game when all valuable buildings are protected by anti-air defenses. If targeting enemy units, keep in mind to outright "kill" most armored regiments, it will require two airstrikes, which will cost you more than it costs the enemy to replace it; so best to coordinate with an offensive push, special op bomb, or a simultaneous attack on their armor hq's for maximum effect and kills.
Terrain Just as in real-life, the blitzkrieg works best in open terrain, where your vehicles have room to maneuver. Jungle, forest, cities, and mountains should all be avoided as they will slow your
advance, and hinder your retreat.
"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt."
Sun Tzu, the Art of War [maneuvering]
"Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive."
Sun Tzu, the Art of War [tactical depositions]
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REFERENCES | Military Tactics
"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved."
Sun Tzu, the Art of War
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