The Blitzkrieg Campaigns: Germany’s ‘Lightning War’ Strategy in Action

This book discusses the basis for Germany’s blitzkrieg strategy during World War II and describes its application during the battles for Poland, France, and the opening year of Operation Barbarossa in Russia. This book was very interesting when the author focused on the background of blitzkrieg and the battles in different areas, but became tedious as he listed the details of every army group for each country in the different theaters.

Some of the best things I learned form this book were about Germany’s shortage of heavy tanks during these campaigns (using mainly Panzer 1 & 2 light tanks and far fewer Panzer 3 & 4 tanks). Because of this, Germany could have been stopped in France because the British and French had many heavy tanks, but their commanders did not know how to utilize them properly with combined arms as the German generals did.

This book also shows that Germany was not really ready for war in 1939 as far as certain branches of the armed forces were concerned and it was through the brilliance of her generals, the inferior performance of her enemies, and some good luck that she did so well in the early years of the war. As Hitler took over control of the armed forces, sacked many capable generals, and Germany’s enemies grew stronger and wiser, Germany’s chances for victory grew slimmer by the day.

If you can make it through the several pages of boring army lists, the book is pretty good with many photographs of the campaigns and discussion of why events went as they did.

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