Battle of France
The Battle of France, known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries in 1940 during the Second World War. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and attempted an invasion of France, the German plan for the invasion of France consisted of two main operations. After the withdrawal of the BEF, the German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June, the sixty remaining French divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility. German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, German forces occupied Paris unopposed on 14 June after a chaotic period of flight of the French government that led to a collapse of the French army. German commanders met with French officials on 18 June with the goal of forcing the new French government to accept an armistice that amounted to surrender and this led to the end of the French Third Republic. France was not liberated until the summer of 1944, in 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the likely case of a German invasion.
In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to immediately withdraw their forces from Poland was met without reply. Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, on 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions, the French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions, following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland, on 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new Führer-Directive Number 6, the plan was based on the seemingly more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years.
For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germanys ability to survive a long war in the west. Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and it would provide the basis for a long-term air and sea campaign against Britain. On 10 October 1939, Britain refused Hitlers offer of peace and on 12 October, colonel-General Franz Halder, presented the first plan for Fall Gelb on 19 October. This was the codename of plans for a campaign in the Low Countries. Halders plan has been compared to the Schlieffen Plan, the given to the German strategy of 1914 in the First World War. It was similar in both plans entailed an advance through the middle of Belgium
Infantry is the general branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot. As the troops who engage with the enemy in close-ranged combat, infantry units bear the largest brunt of warfare, Infantry can enter and maneuver in terrain that is inaccessible to military vehicles and employ crew-served infantry weapons that provide greater and more sustained firepower. In English, the 16th-century term Infantry describes soldiers who walk to the battlefield, and there engage, the term arose in Sixteenth-Century Spain, which boasted one of the first professional standing armies seen in Europe since the days of Rome. It was common to appoint royal princes to military commands, and the men under them became known as Infanteria. in the Canadian Army, the role of the infantry is to close with, and destroy the enemy. In the U. S. Army, the closes with the enemy, by means of fire and maneuver, in order to destroy or capture him, or to repel his assault by fire, close combat. In the U. S. Marine Corps, the role of the infantry is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy fire and maneuver.
Beginning with the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, artillery has become a dominant force on the battlefield. Since World War I, combat aircraft and armoured vehicles have become dominant. In 20th and 21st century warfare, infantry functions most effectively as part of a combined arms team including artillery, Infantry relies on organized formations to be employed in battle. These have evolved over time, but remain a key element to effective infantry development and deployment, until the end of the 19th century, infantry units were for the most part employed in close formations up until contact with the enemy. This allowed commanders to control of the unit, especially while maneuvering. The development of guns and other weapons with increased firepower forced infantry units to disperse in order to make them less vulnerable to such weapons. This decentralization of command was made possible by improved communications equipment, among the various subtypes of infantry is Medium infantry.
This refers to infantry which are heavily armed and armored than heavy infantry. In the early period, medium infantry were largely eliminated due to discontinued use of body armour up until the 20th century. In the United States Army, Stryker Infantry is considered Medium Infantry, since they are heavier than light infantry, Infantry doctrine is the concise expression of how infantry forces contribute to campaigns, major operations and engagements. It is a guide to action, not a set of hard, doctrine provides a very common frame of reference across the military forces, allowing the infantry to function cooperatively in what are now called combined arms operations. Doctrine helps standardise operations, facilitating readiness by establishing common ways of accomplishing infantry tasks, doctrine links theory, history and practice
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Nazi Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II, which was launched on Sunday 22 June 1941. In the two leading up to the invasion, the two countries signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes. Nevertheless, the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, over the course of the operation, about four million Axis personnel invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2, 900-kilometer front, the largest invasion force in the history of warfare. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht employed some 600,000 motor vehicles, the offensive marked an escalation of the war, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Despite their successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow and was pushed back by the Soviet winter counteroffensive. The Red Army repelled the Wehrmachts strongest blows and forced the unprepared Germans into a war of attrition, the Wehrmacht would never again mount a simultaneous offensive along the entire strategic Soviet–Axis front.
The failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most importantly, the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Soviet prisoners of war who were not granted protections stipulated in the Geneva Conventions, a majority of them never returned alive. The Nazis deliberately starved 3.1 million of the prisoners to death as part of a Hunger Plan that aimed to reduce the population of Eastern Europe, over a million Soviet Jews were murdered by Einsatzgruppen death squads and gassing as part of the Holocaust. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his commanders that the next war would be purely a war of Weltanschauungen. Totally a peoples war, a racial war, on 23 November, once World War II had already started, Hitler declared that racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, and with it, the world.
The racial policy of Nazi Germany viewed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germanys destiny was to turn to the East as it did six hundred years ago. Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the Mongolian race threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood, German army commanders cast the Jews as the major cause behind the partisan struggle. The main guideline policy for German troops was Where theres a partisan, theres a Jew, many German troops viewed the war in Nazi terms and regarded their Soviet enemies as sub-human
Fort Vaux, located in Vaux-Devant-Damloup, France, was built from 1881–1884 at a cost of 1,500,000 Francs, to house 150 men. It became the second Fort to fall in the Battle of Verdun after Fort Douaumont which was undefended and had been captured by a small German raiding party in February 1916. Fort de Vaux, was garrisoned when it was attacked on June 2 by German assault troops, the superstructure of the fort was badly damaged but the deep interior corridors and stations remained intact and can still be seen in their original condition. A side bunker is still equipped with its 75 mm gun, the defence of Fort Vaux was marked by the heroism and endurance of the garrison, including Major Sylvain-Eugene Raynal. The last men of the French garrison gave up running out of water, medical supplies. Raynal sent several messages via homing pigeons, requesting relief for his soldiers, during his last communications, Major Raynal wrote This is my last pigeon. After the surrender of the garrison on June 7, the German army group commander Crown Prince Wilhelm and his soldiers remained in captivity in Germany until the Armistice of 11 November 1918.
The fort was recaptured by French infantry on November 2,1916 after an artillery bombardment involving two long-range 400-millimetre railway guns, after its recapture, Fort Vaux was repaired and garrisoned. Some damage from the fighting on June 2 can still be seen, several underground galleries to reach the far outside, one of them being 1 mi long, were dug and equipped, the water reserve was quadrupled and light was provided by two electric generators. The underground installations of the fort are well-preserved and are open to the public for guided visits. September 11,1914, turret 75 fires 22 shots at a German detachment in the Bois de Mabras, February 18,1915, the fort is bombarded for the first time by 1242 cm rounds which cause little damage. End of 1915, progressive disarmament of the fort is carried out to send the guns, in January 1916, there is now enough gunpowder in stores for the possible destruction of the fort in case of an enemy approach. From 21 to 26 February 1916, the fort is bombarded with shells of all sizes including 129 large heavy shells, pillboxes take damage, armoured observatories take damage and will cut the gallery leading to the turret 75.
Late February – early March 1915, the fort is frequently bombarded, may 14,1916, Commandant Raynal takes command of the fort, which has no artillery. June 1,1916, the Germans begin preparation for the invasion of the fort through the Bois de la Caillett. They cannot be stopped due to the fort having no artillery 2 and 3 June 1916, Germans attack the fort directly with flame throwers and force French troops outside to retreat into the fort. June 7,1916, for three days water supplies are empty and the takes place inside the galleries with grenades, guns. Commander Raynal is captured by the Germans under military honours for having fought bravely in extreme conditions with a thirsty garrison, from 8 June to 1 November 1916, the fort is used by the Germans as a shelter and command post for the area
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome, at the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido-Gari and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges. Together, these formed the Gustav Line. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop abbey founded in AD529 by Benedict of Nursia, dominated the town of Cassino. Lying in a historic zone, it had been left unoccupied by the Germans. They had manned some positions set into the slopes below the abbeys walls. Repeated pinpoint artillery attacks on Allied assault troops caused their leaders to conclude the abbey was being used by the Germans as an observation post, fears escalated along with casualties and in spite of a lack of clear evidence, it was marked for destruction. On 15 February American bombers dropped 1,400 tons of high explosives, the raid failed to achieve its objective, as German paratroopers occupied the rubble and established excellent defensive positions amid the ruins.
Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops, the German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in 55,000 Allied casualties, with German losses being far fewer, estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded. On the western front, the American Fifth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Mark W. Clarks Fifth Army made slow progress in the face of difficult terrain, wet weather, the original estimates that Rome would fall by October 1943 proved far too optimistic. Highway 6 ran through the Liri valley, dominated at its entrance by the rugged mass of Monte Cassino above the town of Cassino. Excellent observation from the peaks of several hills allowed the German defenders to detect Allied movement and direct highly accurate artillery fire, preventing any northward advance. Running across the Allied line was the fast flowing Rapido River, there the Liri river joined the Gari to form the Garigliano River, which continued on to the sea.
Nevertheless, some Allied reconnaissance aircraft maintained they observed German troops inside the monastery. The main central thrust by the U. S. II Corps would commence on 20 January with the U. S. 36th Infantry Division making an assault across the swollen Gari river five miles downstream of Cassino. Simultaneously the French Expeditionary Corps, under General Alphonse Juin would continue its right hook move towards Monte Cairo, VI Corps, under Major General John P. Lucas, was due to make an amphibious landing on 22 January. The intelligence assessment of Allied prospects was therefore over-optimistic and they hardly had time to prepare the new assault, let alone take the rest and reorganization they really needed after three months of attritional fighting north from Naples
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946. It consisted of the Heer, the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe, after the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler’s most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern armed forces fully capable of offensive use. In December 1941, Hitler designated himself as commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht, the Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany’s politico-military power. In the early part of World War II, Hitlers generals employed the Wehrmacht through innovative combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what was called a Blitzkrieg, the Wehrmachts new military structure, unique combat techniques, newly developed weapons, and unprecedented speed and brutality crushed their opponents. Closely cooperating with the SS, the German armed forces committed war crimes and atrocities. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, only a few of the Wehrmacht’s upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The German term Wehrmacht generically describes any nations armed forces, for example, the Frankfurt Constitution of 1848 designated all German military forces as the German Wehrmacht, consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that, from 1919, Germanys national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name that was dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, in March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420, 000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, the army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921, General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty.
The Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, and thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was largely his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air-force by the Versailles treaty and these officers saw the role of an air-force as winning air-superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations. The leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922, Germany had begun covertly circumventing the conditions of the Versailles Treaty, a secret collaboration with the Soviet Union began after the treaty of Rapallo. Major-General Otto Hasse traveled to Moscow in 1923 to further negotiate the terms, Germany helped the Soviet Union with industrialization and Soviet officers were to be trained in Germany
Battle of Stalingrad
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, attempts were made to supply the army by air.
Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city.
The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there
A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 10,000 and 30,000 in nominal strength, in most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, in turn, several divisions typically make up a corps. In the West, the first general to think of organising an army into smaller units was Maurice de Saxe, Marshal General of France. He died at the age of 54, without having implemented his idea, victor-François de Broglie put the ideas into practice. He conducted successful practical experiments of the system in the Seven Years War. The first war in which the system was used systematically was the French Revolutionary War. It made the more flexible and easy to manoeuvre. Under Napoleon, the divisions were grouped together into corps, because of their increasing size, napoleons military success spread the divisional and corps system all over Europe, by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, all armies in Europe had adopted it.
In modern times, most military forces have standardized their divisional structures, the peak use of the division as the primary combat unit occurred during World War II, when the belligerents deployed over a thousand divisions. With technological advances since then, the power of each division has increased. Divisions are often formed to organize units of a particular type together with support units to allow independent operations. In more recent times, divisions have mainly been organized as combined arms units with subordinate units representing various combat arms, in this case, the division often retains the name of a more specialized division, and may still be tasked with a primary role suited to that specialization. For the most part, large cavalry units did not remain after World War II, in general, two new types of cavalry were developed, air cavalry or airmobile, relying on helicopter mobility, and armored cavalry, based on an autonomous armored formation. The former was pioneered by the 11th Air Assault Division, formed on 1 February 1963 at Fort Benning, on 29 June 1965 the division was renamed as the 1st Cavalry Division, before its departure for the Vietnam War.
After the end of the Vietnam War, the 1st Cavalry Division was reorganised and re-equipped with tanks, the development of the tank during World War I prompted some nations to experiment with forming them into division-size units. Many did this the way as they did cavalry divisions, by merely replacing cavalry with AFVs. This proved unwieldy in combat, as the units had many tanks, instead, a more balanced approach was taken by adjusting the number of tank, infantry and support units. A panzer division was a division of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS of Germany during World War II