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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/26/2017 2:35:00 PM   
berto


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quote:

ORIGINAL: nelmsm

quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7--12, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea.

You're a book ahead of me.....

I finished the first volume in the series -- The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864 -- a couple of weeks ago.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/26/2017 2:35:07 PM   
wings7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: durangokid

SAS: Rogue Heroes - the Authorized Wartime History

This book is about the formation of the SAS and it's activities up to the end of WWII. It's an easy entertaining read that isn't just about heroics.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28503837-rogue-heroes?from_search=true


Sounds great! Thanks for the link!

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/28/2017 9:59:04 AM   
loki100


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The House of the Dead. Book about Tsarist policy in respect of using Siberia as a penal colony. Interesting to track the change of approach across the 19C and how the treatment of rich/aristocratic exiles differed from that for the poor.

Interesting analogy to British use of Australia for the same purpose. If the point was punishment/exile, the long term goal was to force the settlement of what was seen as empty lands ripe for colonisation. So many had their sentences reduced but were then forbidden to leave Siberia.

Oh and reading the Peacemakers (as above). Jaunty, rather waspish, romp through the dynamics of peacemaking in early 1919.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/28/2017 10:15:06 PM   
nicwb

 

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"All I see is mud"

A personal account of an Australian soldier on the Western Front in late WW1.

Interesting but a bit short on detail as it comes from a reconstructed diary and letters.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/28/2017 11:07:30 PM   
SuluSea


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Gods War on Terror by Walid Shoebat

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/29/2017 5:10:19 PM   
panzer cat

 

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The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/29/2017 5:20:07 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: panzer cat

The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan.

That's my book - see post 2177.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/30/2017 6:36:59 PM   
reg113


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Just finished "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/30/2017 6:51:25 PM   
durangokid


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The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945
by Max Hastings

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25226971-the-secret-war

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/31/2017 9:14:56 AM   
Greybriar


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The Iron King by Maurice Druon. It is the first book in The Accursed Kings series.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 10:30:33 AM   
ularkusut

 

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i'm still reading harry potter :D

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 1:17:24 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:


Okay thanks. I get the feeling there simply may not be a properly detailed book about the campaign that seeks to support or debunk the 'accepted' version of events. All authors (that I have read) touching on the subject seem largely wedded to one or more of three 'accepted facts' (with perhaps some slight variations on a theme):

- The Germans won because of a new wonder tactic called Blitzkrieg
- The British sold the French down the river and it was all their fault
- The French were rubbish and it was all their fault.

Oh well, I'll keep looking.


What makes you think that some tamed-down version of all three 'accepted facts' *should* be debunked? What if the accepted version of events is pretty close to the mark? How will you avoid modern anti-factual / counter-intuitive / salacious rewritten history that is written just for the sake of making a splash?

I agree and like to look for the 'diamond in the rough' on many military histories. One needs to temper the inherent biases of the authors' perspective, particularly when their opinions are transparent and frequently interjected.

Now the extreme postulates you've provided above are clearly polemics. No, the French were not 'rubbish'. But what if they were woefully unprepared for modern maneuver warfare? No, the Germans didn't win just because of Blitzkrieg tactics, but they won because of some well-executed plans that included Blitzkrieg tactics. No, the British didn't sell the French down the river-but was there some complacency about a war footing that may have exasperated the situation?

With all the countless books written about the War in the West, I would personally look askew at any book that claimed NEW or EXTRAORDINARY facts JUST DISCOVERED can rewrite the body of work written on this topic. Looking for these perspectives at the expense of the body of work may be focusing on the fringe, the bizarre and the 'conspiracy theory' angle. Those lot will be oh so happy to sell you their books if you let them.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 2:19:13 PM   
loki100


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Horne's thesis is pretty conventional (I think). For a start while he deals with three major military events across his books (1871/1916/1940) that shaped the French Third Republic he's not really a military historian. Best way to read the trilogy is as he means it - beginning/middle/end of a political entity.

For 1940, he assigns no especial competence to the Germans. The blitzkrieg worked but I don't think he assumes this was pre-destined. He's open about British mistakes (not least the 'Breda-variant' when advancing into Belgium) and that the commander of the BEF went missing at a critical stage being driven around Belgium trying to find his army. Horne acknowledges (unusually) that the British actually sent fresh battalions to France after Dieppe to release French units for their renewed effort in front of Paris.

His argument is the French army wasn't unusual in not having a doctrine of modern warfare in 1940 but that this added to other problems made things worse. The leadership of the army was typical, the senior officers had been relatively senior in WW1 and had not really changed their view since 1918. The new generation of commanders had been junior officers in WW1 and more aware of what the tank/mobility offered but lacked influence.

One thing Horne notes is the French learnt quickly. The defense in June was well organised, set up to counter modern infiltration tactics and cost the Germans heavily. Just by then it was too late.

The politics of the Third Republic made the military weaknesses more pressing. By the late 1930s something like 40% of the population were voting for parties that wanted to destroy the Republic. Add on it had become a very corrupt political system where favours were traded between a narrow clique of parties. So at the moment of stress the political system failed and beforehand was incapable of shaping French military policy even if it had wanted to.



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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 2:24:53 PM   
ReinerAllen

 

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For the third time I'm reading "Whom The Gods Would Destroy" by Richard Powell. It's about the Trojan War.

"Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." Quote from Seneca. I thought this was appropriate given the destructive Trump era we're in.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 3:46:33 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RickEAllen
I thought this was appropriate given the destructive Trump era we're in.


Put a sock in it. We're not interested in your drive-by political zingers at the expense of getting this thread locked up.

< Message edited by Chickenboy -- 2/1/2017 3:47:14 PM >


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 3:59:25 PM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy

quote:

ORIGINAL: RickEAllen
I thought this was appropriate given the destructive Trump era we're in.


Put a sock in it. We're not interested in your drive-by political zingers at the expense of getting this thread locked up.



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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 4:58:12 PM   
warspite1


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To loki100

The Breda variant was not a British mistake – it was Gamelin’s idea. The problem was – it used up his reserve formation……

To Chickenboy

The problem is that I want Case Yellow written in the almost forensic way that Shattered Sword was written – but then I want every book like that. Clark’s Blitzkrieg is proving to be a very good book – and he stays away from two of the three extremes I mentioned earlier (I haven’t come to the British evacuating without telling the French yet) but…..

….rightly or wrongly I still feel there are unsatisfactory gaps. For example the crossing of the Meuse has been well done, is detailed, balanced and believable in its presentation, but the activities of Army Group B and the Allied First Army Group (inc the Belgians, Dutch and BEF) is a little too high level for my liking – as is the subsequent breakthrough to the coast.

So what do I mean by forensic?
Well one small but important example is the Allied air force situation. The combination of the Allies thinking that Belgium was the key point of attack (and the Germans initially purposely concentrated the Luftwaffe over Belgium to maintain that falsehood), combined with defenders difficulty in knowing where to defend (no radar warning) and what to counter-attack (evidence of German units in the Ardennes were ignored) leads to a situation where the wrong assets were often defending (and attacking) the wrong targets. When the Allies woke up (very late) to the problem on the Meuse, they (mostly RAF in their Blenheim’s and Battles) suffered hideous losses (numbers are given) attacking the crossings that were by now defended by German fighters and a large number of flak batteries. Those losses in turn affected the lack of air activity by the Allies that was possible during the subsequent breakout. Okay. But what about some real detailed numbers? What was available? Where? What was the split of air factors over Belgium compared to the area around Sedan? Is it not possible (maybe not always possible) to get returns for the various squadrons?

So many damn questions……


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 5:16:50 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

To loki100

The Breda variant was not a British mistake – it was Gamelin’s idea. The problem was – it used up his reserve formation……

To Chickenboy

The problem is that I want Case Yellow written in the almost forensic way that Shattered Sword was written – but then I want every book like that. Clark’s Blitzkrieg is proving to be a very good book – and he stays away from two of the three extremes I mentioned earlier (I haven’t come to the British evacuating without telling the French yet) but…..

….rightly or wrongly I still feel there are unsatisfactory gaps. For example the crossing of the Meuse has been well done, is detailed, balanced and believable in its presentation, but the activities of Army Group B and the Allied First Army Group (inc the Belgians, Dutch and BEF) is a little too high level for my liking – as is the subsequent breakthrough to the coast.

So what do I mean by forensic?
Well one small but important example is the Allied air force situation. The combination of the Allies thinking that Belgium was the key point of attack (and the Germans initially purposely concentrated the Luftwaffe over Belgium to maintain that falsehood), combined with defenders difficulty in knowing where to defend (no radar warning) and what to counter-attack (evidence of German units in the Ardennes were ignored) leads to a situation where the wrong assets were often defending (and attacking) the wrong targets. When the Allies woke up (very late) to the problem on the Meuse, they (mostly RAF in their Blenheim’s and Battles) suffered hideous losses (numbers are given) attacking the crossings that were by now defended by German fighters and a large number of flak batteries. Those losses in turn affected the lack of air activity by the Allies that was possible during the subsequent breakout. Okay. But what about some real detailed numbers? What was available? Where? What was the split of air factors over Belgium compared to the area around Sedan? Is it not possible (maybe not always possible) to get returns for the various squadrons?

So many damn questions……



Yes, but these minuscule details and parsimonious factoids won't help your grand strategic "three questions" that you asked earlier, Warspite1. At some point, you've got to have enough information upon which to base a general assessment of these basic questions. At that point, fringe elements and NEW (or conspiracy) theories won't help all that much.

Shattered Sword did a splendid job of explaining what happened to the Japanese at Midway. True, much of the rationale for their defeat had to do with the ship construction, deck orientation, radio communications (or lack thereof), damage control and-yes-even the number of dollys they had to move ordnance around the deck for reloading. But even this extraordinary insight-this forensic insight-doesn't answer the grand strategic questions that you posed earlier.

So to use the Shattered Sword analogy further (and combine it with your 3 strategic questions), I'd ask:

"Did the Japanese lose Midway because of their crap ship and airframe performance"?

The answer to this is, "No. There were many other factors that explained their loss at Midway. A cumulative level of compounded strategic, tactical and operational errors that spelled their demise. Luck had something to do with it as well." Finding yet one more book detailing some novel tidbit about their ships' or crew shortcomings during the battle won't help me answer this question more fully or change my answer meaningfully. So why bother with y.e.t. a.n.o.t.h.e.r book about the same material, even if it is in a slightly different vein?

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 6:04:57 PM   
british exil


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wings7


quote:

ORIGINAL: durangokid

SAS: Rogue Heroes - the Authorized Wartime History

This book is about the formation of the SAS and it's activities up to the end of WWII. It's an easy entertaining read that isn't just about heroics.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28503837-rogue-heroes?from_search=true


Sounds great! Thanks for the link!


Ordered the book,had to purchase via Amazon as the company in the link wouldn't deliver to Germany. Sat down on Sunday and read the Africa Campaign. Great book, funny and sad at the same time. A good read. Well worth the money spent.
Thanks for the link.

Mat

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 7:08:02 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

To loki100

The Breda variant was not a British mistake – it was Gamelin’s idea. The problem was – it used up his reserve formation……

To Chickenboy

The problem is that I want Case Yellow written in the almost forensic way that Shattered Sword was written – but then I want every book like that. Clark’s Blitzkrieg is proving to be a very good book – and he stays away from two of the three extremes I mentioned earlier (I haven’t come to the British evacuating without telling the French yet) but…..

….rightly or wrongly I still feel there are unsatisfactory gaps. For example the crossing of the Meuse has been well done, is detailed, balanced and believable in its presentation, but the activities of Army Group B and the Allied First Army Group (inc the Belgians, Dutch and BEF) is a little too high level for my liking – as is the subsequent breakthrough to the coast.

So what do I mean by forensic?
Well one small but important example is the Allied air force situation. The combination of the Allies thinking that Belgium was the key point of attack (and the Germans initially purposely concentrated the Luftwaffe over Belgium to maintain that falsehood), combined with defenders difficulty in knowing where to defend (no radar warning) and what to counter-attack (evidence of German units in the Ardennes were ignored) leads to a situation where the wrong assets were often defending (and attacking) the wrong targets. When the Allies woke up (very late) to the problem on the Meuse, they (mostly RAF in their Blenheim’s and Battles) suffered hideous losses (numbers are given) attacking the crossings that were by now defended by German fighters and a large number of flak batteries. Those losses in turn affected the lack of air activity by the Allies that was possible during the subsequent breakout. Okay. But what about some real detailed numbers? What was available? Where? What was the split of air factors over Belgium compared to the area around Sedan? Is it not possible (maybe not always possible) to get returns for the various squadrons?

So many damn questions……



Yes, but these minuscule details and parsimonious factoids won't help your grand strategic "three questions" that you asked earlier, Warspite1. At some point, you've got to have enough information upon which to base a general assessment of these basic questions. At that point, fringe elements and NEW (or conspiracy) theories won't help all that much.

Shattered Sword did a splendid job of explaining what happened to the Japanese at Midway. True, much of the rationale for their defeat had to do with the ship construction, deck orientation, radio communications (or lack thereof), damage control and-yes-even the number of dollys they had to move ordnance around the deck for reloading. But even this extraordinary insight-this forensic insight-doesn't answer the grand strategic questions that you posed earlier.

So to use the Shattered Sword analogy further (and combine it with your 3 strategic questions), I'd ask:

"Did the Japanese lose Midway because of their crap ship and airframe performance"?

The answer to this is, "No. There were many other factors that explained their loss at Midway. A cumulative level of compounded strategic, tactical and operational errors that spelled their demise. Luck had something to do with it as well." Finding yet one more book detailing some novel tidbit about their ships' or crew shortcomings during the battle won't help me answer this question more fully or change my answer meaningfully. So why bother with y.e.t. a.n.o.t.h.e.r book about the same material, even if it is in a slightly different vein?
warspite1

They weren't questions. They were three common themes that, depending on the author's own individual leanings, are trotted out (with some variation) in books I have read on the subject.

The example questions are just that, an example of the hundreds of questions that help one truly understand what happened (which we know) why (for which there are essentially three themes for those that like things black and white (and for which shades of grey are too complicated)) and intriguingly what, if anything, realistically could have been done to give a different outcome.


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 2/1/2017 7:49:38 PM >


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 7:54:13 PM   
Zorch

 

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'Germanicus: The Magnificent Life and Mysterious Death of Rome's Most Popular General' by Lindsay Powell. Excellent family trees of the Julio-Claudians.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 9:20:45 PM   
barkhorn45

 

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true"blitzkrieg"was never used by the germans rather it was"Vernichtungsgadanke"the annihilation concept.
encircling the enemy and destroying him is not true"blitzkrieg"read Fuller.
Sorry forgot to add earlier quote from chickenboy

< Message edited by barkhorn45 -- 2/1/2017 9:23:41 PM >

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 9:22:15 PM   
barkhorn45

 

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Reinhard Heydrich-Hitler's Hangman.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 9:38:53 PM   
TulliusDetritus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: barkhorn45
true"blitzkrieg"was never used by the germans rather it was"Vernichtungsgadanke"the annihilation concept.
encircling the enemy and destroying him is not true"blitzkrieg"read Fuller.
Sorry forgot to add earlier quote from chickenboy


I don't speak German at all (except the jawohl thing obviously) but I'm pretty sure it was Hitler who constantly used the verb "vernicht" aka to annihilate. I would deduce the expression "Vernichtungsgadanke" was used to sort of imitate (and thus please) the parlance of the funny guy with the ridiculous moustache.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/1/2017 11:50:39 PM   
panzer cat

 

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let me know how it ends
quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: panzer cat

The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan.

That's my book - see post 2177.


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Post #: 2275
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2017 2:19:59 AM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: panzer cat

let me know how it ends
quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: panzer cat

The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan.

That's my book - see post 2177.




They fall?

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2017 2:42:07 AM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: panzer cat

let me know how it ends
quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: panzer cat

The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan.

That's my book - see post 2177.




They fall?


They tripped over an ottoman....


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2017 2:46:21 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: barkhorn45

true"blitzkrieg"was never used by the germans rather it was"Vernichtungsgadanke"the annihilation concept.
encircling the enemy and destroying him is not true"blitzkrieg"read Fuller.
Sorry forgot to add earlier quote from chickenboy
warspite1

I have not read a better explanation of the development of German tactics and how ‘Blitzkrieg’ came into such widespread use, than that given by Matthew Cooper – The German Army 1933-1945. One of those books I must read again…….

Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) is a term inevitably linked with the German Army and the Second World War. From a convenient way of explaining the unknown, It evolved into a strict definition of a new form of warfare believed to be the basis for the devastating early victories of Hitler’s Germany……. has been raised to the status of a self-evident truth. But Blitzkrieg is a myth….

….the High Commands of the Army and the Wehrmacht, did not espouse a new, revolutionary idea of war; the German Armed Forces were not organised, equipped or directed according to new revolutionary principles and the German form of war in the years 1939-42 was the product of not one new, revolutionary strategy, but of two strategies – one well defined and traditional, the other ill-expressed and novel – whose mutual conflict went far to hamper the practice of the mode of warfare popularly imagined as Blitzkrieg.


Vernichtungsgedanke (as Barkhorn says, the idea of annihilation) was developed by von Schlieffen (him of the plan fame) from principles laid out by von Moltke in the late 19th Century.

This was the total destruction of the enemy’s forces, not by means of relatively slow, costly frontal attacks, but of swift, decisive blows from the flanks and rear. Victory was seen to lie in strategic surprise, in the concentration of force at the decisive point……all of which aimed at creating the decisive Kesselschlachten (cauldron battles) to surround kill and capture the opposing army in as short a time as possible.

Anyone who thinks that Blitzkrieg was a new tactic for which the German Army was built around and trained for should read some of the more sober accounts of Case Yellow. From the original three versions of the plan (in which a frontal assault through Belgium was envisaged) to the attempts to get Manstein’s revised plan shelved, to the in-fighting between the German generals during the actual battle. Remember Guderian offered to resign at the height of the campaign, an offer which was happily accepted by Kleist – and Guderian was only reinstated when List was sent to mediate. That the French did not have time to consolidate and re-group was essentially down to panzer generals - Guderian and Rommel in particular – refusing to obey orders.



< Message edited by warspite1 -- 2/2/2017 7:18:14 AM >


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2017 7:05:32 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

...

Vernichtungsgedanke (as Barkhorn says, the idea of annihilation) was developed by von Schlieffen (him of the plan fame) from principles laid out by von Moltke in the late 19th Century.

This was the total destruction of the enemy’s forces, not by means of relatively slow, costly frontal attacks, but of swift, decisive blows from the flanks and rear. Victory was seen to lie in strategic surprise, in the concentration of force at the decisive point……all of which aimed at creating the decisive Kesselschlachten (cauldron battles) to surround kill and capture the opposing army in as short a time as possible.

...




which is why I would recommend Horne's first book (1871). You can see the Prussian campaign in exactly these terms. Once they had got between the main French army and the rest of France, they actually lost 3 major encounters (in that the French inflicted more losses and withdrew in good order). But each time the French position worsened. By conventional terms even Sedan was probably a bloody draw but it was the final failure to regain access to supplies.

So I would fully agree, whatever Blitzkrieg was it was not that new. Of course even poor integration of motorisation and air power started to speed up the process. Especially when the side losing the initiative was still largely communicating face to face, especially if their rear area was disrupted?


< Message edited by loki100 -- 2/2/2017 7:06:31 AM >


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(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 2279
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2017 7:52:02 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

...

Vernichtungsgedanke (as Barkhorn says, the idea of annihilation) was developed by von Schlieffen (him of the plan fame) from principles laid out by von Moltke in the late 19th Century.

This was the total destruction of the enemy’s forces, not by means of relatively slow, costly frontal attacks, but of swift, decisive blows from the flanks and rear. Victory was seen to lie in strategic surprise, in the concentration of force at the decisive point……all of which aimed at creating the decisive Kesselschlachten (cauldron battles) to surround kill and capture the opposing army in as short a time as possible.

...




which is why I would recommend Horne's first book (1871). You can see the Prussian campaign in exactly these terms. Once they had got between the main French army and the rest of France, they actually lost 3 major encounters (in that the French inflicted more losses and withdrew in good order). But each time the French position worsened. By conventional terms even Sedan was probably a bloody draw but it was the final failure to regain access to supplies.

warspite1

Cooper suggests the same in 1866 too - a campaign that lasted seven weeks.

I am keen to get Horne's book on the war in 1870 as an intro to that war. Thanks for the recommendation. Just need to finish scratching this WWII Western Front itch first..


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