On the German Art of War: Truppenfeuhrung

On the German Art of War: Truppenfeuhrung

On the German Art of War: Truppenfeuhrung

On the German Art of War: Truppenfeuhrung

Synopsis

Truppenfuhrung, the twentieth century equivalent of Sun Tzu's Art of War, provided the doctrinal framework for blitzkrieg and, as a consequence, for the victories of Hitler's armies in World War II.

Excerpt

There are several key elements to success on the battlefield: equipment, leadership, training, and doctrine. of these elements, equipment (weaponry) and leadership receive by far the most attention from military historians. Training, although very important, is rarely discussed in detail. the element of doctrine is granted somewhat more attention than training, but not nearly as much as its real importance requires. This has long been a serious problem in the study of military operations.

World War II is dramatic proof of the importance of operational and tactical doctrine in war. During the first half of World War II the German Army rampaged across Europe, through Poland, France, Norway, the Low Countries, the Balkans, North Africa, and deep into Russia in an unprecedented string of operational successes. in the second half of the war, as the Wehrmacht was pushed back on all fronts and eventually defeated, the German Army repeatedly demonstrated great tactical and operational competence in fighting enemies who outnumbered it. Despite the evil nature of the regime that it served, it must be admitted that the German Army of World War II was, man for man, one of the most effective fighting forces ever seen.

The possession of a superior tactical/operational doctrine was one of the things that made the German Army such a formidable and effective force during World War II. the campaign of 1940 and the defeat of France in six weeks provide a study in the importance of doctrine. For years after the 1940 campaign the German victory was explained by Germany's employment of masses of tanks, motorized forces and aircraft against an enemy bound to the Maginot Line and a defensive strategy. However, we know now that in terms of numbers of troops and weapons, the Wehrmacht in 1940 held few advantages. Indeed, it was often at a disadvantage against the Allied forces. the British-French coalition in 1940 had about as many divisions as the Germans. the French army had a considerable advantage in numbers and quality of tanks and a two-to-one advantage in artillery. in the air, the Luftwaffe had only a slight margin of superiority against the British and French in terms of the number and quality of aircraft available.

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