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Blitzkrieg

 

Disciplines > Warfare > Strategies > Blitzkrieg

Action | Analysis | Example | Analogy | See also

 

Action

Make lightning attacks, overwhelming the enemy with speed and concentrated fire-power. This is typically led by tanks which combine weaponry with speed.

The basic principle is to bombard a designated weak point (schwerpunkt) in the enemy defense, followed by feints and probes to find a breakthrough point, plus a follow-up encirclement (kesselschlacht) to prevent flanking and capture remaining forces.

When the enemy is defeated, the position may be held by a follow-up force whilst the main force moves on quickly to the next target.

Analysis

Blitzkrieg works first and foremost by shock. When the enemy arrives at speed you may well not have time to get ready. And when they have strong weaponry they can create physical shock in the noise and damage that leads to rapid collapse and giving in.

Blitzkrieg is not war of attrition, depending more on maneuver and surprise than wearing them down by long bombardment or pitched battles. It is thus not a method for attacking a major army -- it is a typically cross-country technique for conquering large tracts of relatively lightly defended land.

Blitzkrieg can also distract an enemy who has to dispatch forces to deal with your attacks. If, however, you are nimble enough, they will never Be able to catch you.

Note that although the term comes from the German strategies of the second world war, much of their ideas for this came from Napoleon's successful mobile attacks against the Prussians.

In German, Blitzkrieg means 'Lightning War' or 'Flash War'.

Example

The Germans made great use of Blitzkrieg in World War 2, initially using it to defeat Poland in which tanks and armored columns raced many miles ahead of the main force.

Analogy

In an argument, suddenly change tack and strongly attack a minor point held by the other person. When they concede, rapidly move on to another point you can quickly win.

See also

Speed in war, Surprise attack

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