The Concept of Blitzkrieg
"The Lightning War"
The foundation of mobile warfare has its roots in Ancient and Medieval World. The German Army late in World War I initially developed basic tactics that eventually evolved into modern mobile warfare. Germans developed those tactics in an attempt to overcome the static trench warfare on the Western Front. Elite "Sturmtruppen" (Stormtroops) infantry units were created to attack enemy positions using the momentum of speed and suprise but eventually failed because of the lack of mobility and support needed in order to continue advancing further into enemy controlled territory. During 1920s, British military philosophers Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart, General J.F.C. Fuller and General Martell further developed tactics of mobile warfare. They all postulated that tanks could not only seize ground by brute strength, but could also be the central factor in a new strategy of warfare. If moved rapidly enough, concentrations of tanks could smash through enemy lines and into the enemy's rear, destroying supplies and artillery positions and decreasing the enemy's will to resist. All of them found tank to be an ultimate weapon able to penetrate deep into enemy territory while followed by infantry and supported by artillery and airforce. In late 1920s and early 1930s, Charles De Gaulle, Hans von Seekt, Heinz Guderian and many others became interested in the concept of mobile warfare and tried to implement it in an organizational structure of their armies. Heinz Guderian organized Panzers into self-contained Panzer Divisions working with the close support of infantry, motorized infantry, artillery and airforce. From 1933 to 1939, Germany was on a quest to fully mechanize their army for an upcoming conflict.
At the same time, potential of Blitzkrieg and related tactics was fully appreciated by the Allies, who implemented its tactics on all fronts. US Army General George Patton used Blitzkrieg and mobile warfare tactics in his European operations of 1944. After World War II, tactics of Blitzkrieg and mobile warfare developed by the Germans were used by Israeli forces during their numerous conflicts with the Arab Nations as well as by American forces during the Operation Desert Storm.
Overall, tactics of Blitzkrieg are based on coordinated, concentrated and precise air and land attacks to provide a rapid and powerful punch through the enemy lines in order to eventually encircle the enemy and/or capture strategic position. Important factor behind mobile warfare was communication between the HQ and field units and vice-versa, as well as prepared starting points along with supply base and logistics to maintain the speed of the initial attack. Although, it is often forgotten that suprise was also very important to the success of Blitzkrieg and that is why Germany never declared war on any country that it attacked. The revolutionary tactics of Blitzkrieg and mobile warfare developed during World War II formed a base for future development of weaponry and warfare.
The Concept of Blitzkrieg.