During the interwar period , aircraft and tank technologies matured and were combined with systematic application of the traditional German tactic of Bewegungskrieg manoeuvre warfare , deep penetrations and the bypassing of enemy strong points to encircle and destroy enemy forces in a Kesselschlacht cauldron battle. During the Battle of France , the French made attempts to re-form defensive lines along rivers but were frustrated when German forces arrived first and pressed on. Despite being common in German and English-language journalism during World War II , the word Blitzkrieg was never used by the Wehrmacht as an official military term, except for propaganda.
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The German Air Force Luftwaffe provided close air support, bombing key objectives and establishing local air superiority. Radio communications were the key to effective Blitzkrieg operations, enabling commanders to coordinate the advance and keep the enemy off balance. These techniques were used to great effect in , when the Polish Army was destroyed in a series of encirclement battles. Spectacular success was also achieved during the invasion of the Soviet Union in and large numbers of Soviet troops were captured.
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Blitzkrieg in practice
Blitzkrieg is most commonly associated with Nazi Germany during World War II even though numerous combatants used its techniques in that war. Its origins, however, can be traced to the 19th century, and elements of blitzkrieg have been used in present-day conflicts. So as to eliminate that wasteful use of manpower, he advocated for a concentration of force against an enemy. All employment of force should have an effective concentration in a single moment, with a single action, Clausewitz argued. For historical generals, from Alexander the Great of ancient Macedonia to Frederick II of 18th-century Prussia, their armies functioned as the centre of gravity. If the army was destroyed, the commander would be considered a failure. Beginning in the 20th century, technological advances such as radio , aircraft , and motorized vehicles allowed a commander to concentrate force at the Schwerpunkt so as to annihilate the opposition and achieve victory.
Germany's strategy was to defeat its opponents in a series of short campaigns. Germany quickly overran much of Europe and was victorious for more than two years by relying on a new military tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" lightning war. Blitzkrieg tactics required the concentration of offensive weapons such as tanks, planes, and artillery along a narrow front. These forces would drive a breach in enemy defenses, permitting armored tank divisions to penetrate rapidly and roam freely behind enemy lines, causing shock and disorganization among the enemy defenses. German air power prevented the enemy from adequately resupplying or redeploying forces and thereby from sending reinforcements to seal breaches in the front. German forces could in turn encircle opposing troops and force surrender. At first, the German Blitzkrieg seemed to succeed. Soviet forces were driven back more than miles to the gates of Moscow, with staggering losses. In December , Hitler unilaterally declared war on the United States, which consequently added its tremendous economic and military power to the coalition arrayed against him. A second German offensive against the Soviet Union in brought German forces in the east to the shores of the Volga River and the city of Stalingrad.