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Osprey Campaign 3 : France 1940 : Blitzkrieg in the West

'The tank marks as great a revolution in land warfare as an armoured steamship would have marked had it appeared amongst the toilsome triremes of Actium.'. Colonel-General Heinz Guderian, 7 Achtung! Panzer! (1937). The German victory of 1940 stunned the world. France, major European power and owner of the World's largest armies had fallen in less than seven weeks to the might of the German Wehrmacht. The secret of the Wehrmacht's success lay in its carefully thought out organisation and the tactics of blitzkrieg. Fast moving tank divisions supported by armoured, mobile infantry swept over opposition, helped by devastating air bombardment from both conventional bombers and deadly Stuka dive- bombers. Alan Shepperd examines these tactics, the German's application of them to their 1940 French campaign, and also looks at the differing organisation and equipment of both Allied and German forces. He gives a daily account of the most crucial period of the battle, the 10th to 17th May and also examines the evacuation of Dunkirk, between the 24th May and the 6th June, in which 337,000 troops, mostly British, were taken out of the Germans' clutches at the last moment by the Royal Navy supported by a vast armada of privately owned vessels - a sea of little boats. Not only are German strengths looked at but allied weaknesses are also examined: their ineffective use of tanks, the obsolete French defensive strategy, and, possibly most importantly, the political splits within France that demoralised her army and combined with the German's speedy advance to bring collapse about so quickly.

    Contents
  • Background for War
  • The Opposing Commanders
  • The Opposing Armies
  • The Opposing Plans
  • The Battle for France
  • The Result
  • Chronology
  • A Guide to Further Reading
  • Wargaming France 1940

 

Osprey Campaign


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