Discuss The Influences On The Development Of The Panzer Arm

1824 words - 7 pages

Discuss the influences on the development of the Panzer armMarch 2004The work submitted is my own work; all material I have used from other sources has been referenced with footnotes.Discuss the influences on the development of the Panzer armBefore looking at the British influences on the Germans, we must ask the question: who exactly in Germany created the Panzer arm? Hitler, War Minister Bloomberg, the Head of the Ministerial Office Reichenau and the Army's Commander in Chief Fritsch either supported or were sympathetic to the creation of large armoured formations. The overall responsibility fell to the Chief of Army's General Staff, General Ludwig Beck. According to Guderian, he was conservative and had no modern understanding of modern technology, and objected to the idea of Panzer formations larger than brigades or to the strategic employment of armour.Erich von Manstein, who as the head of the operations branch and then deputy chief of the general staff, presented his chiefs case and his own against Guderians charges. Manstein described Guderian as: "The man who is rightly regarded the creator of the German Panzer arm...Nobody familiar with the development of this question would dispute that without Guderians tenacity and combative temperament, the German Army would not have had the Panzer arm, upon which its success in the first war years largely rested."Manstein argued that Guderian saw only the Panzer arm, but the general staff had to consider the whole army. He further argued that in contrast to the enthusiastic and impatient Guderian, the chief of the general staff could not responsibly commit the Germany army to revolutionary armour doctrine and organisation before these were fully tested and proven in exercises and manoeuvres. Manstein pointed out it was Beck, who after sufficient evidence had been gathered, ordered the creation of the first three Panzer divisions and combined them in strategic roles in operational planning and manoeuvres.Chief of the General Staff Beck was by no means inattentive and unreceptive to modern ideas, weapons, and techniques but he was nonetheless far behind the cutting edge in the field. Beck was forced forward from pressure from two forces. Firstly, Beck studied the developments abroad, especially in the British and French armies, for whom he had a great respect. Secondly, was the abrasive and persistent Guderian, who in hi constant hammering of his point shrewdly utilised the developments abroad to increase the pressure. The German field service regulations composed by Beck are a good starting point for the development of his thought on armour. Part 1 involved tanks working in close cooperation with infantry and supported by artillery, mechanised engineers, and aircraft were to participate in the battle to break into the enemy's position with the aim of reaching its artillery zone. Part 2 of the manual emphasised that tanks ought to be employed at the decisive point of the battle, both in attack...

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