Wehrmacht

Wehrmacht

At the time of Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 year, the German army was a meaningless force, truncated by the Versailles peace conference. According to the provisions of the treaty, she was supposed to count only 100 thousand. professional soldiers, not equipped with any tanks, planes, nor works heavy. The navy was able to issue up to the maximum 15 000 people, in this only 10% officers, the tonnage of all units could not exceed 16 800 your.

Hitler came to the conclusion, that the expansion of the army is the most important goal of his domestic politics, for it was the army that was the tool, which could enable him to achieve his political and ideological goals. However, bypassing the Versailles regulations by cooperating with the Soviet Union, carried out so far since the agreement in Rapallo, was not sufficient to restructure the German armed forces. In May 1935 years Hitler thus denounced the disarmament clauses and began intensive, official reinforcement. From that time on, the entire economic effort of the Third Reich was focused on the modernization and expansion of the Wehrmacht, to what name the current Reichswehr was renamed.

The armaments went quite fast, in all military respects. Infantry, with volunteer 100 of a thousandth army turned into a mighty force in the number of over a hundred divisions, which included well-equipped and trained soldiers. The armored forces and aviation were also expanded, which were created from scratch. Within four years, the Germans managed to create an armored power of almost 3300 tanks supported by over 4 thousands of modern airplanes (which Hitler owed mainly to his air minister, Goeringowi). However, matters with the navy progressed slower (Kriegsmarine), however, it has made quite a lot of progress anyway. If in 1933 In fact, Germany had only one ship of significance for each other, it's already in 1939 years this number grew to 47 ships (including 5 battleships) i 57 submarines. However, this military development had a profound effect on the production of consumer goods, according to the propagated slogan “cannons instead of butter”. However, it did not matter much in view of the need to build a strong army.

However, despite the large numbers, many German generals were careful, that the Wehrmacht was not in 1939 years ready for a long-term war. It was indeed so. Contrary to appearances, the German economy and administration were unable to provide the troops with continuous supplies and supplies of equipment. This impossibility ruled out the possibility of waging any war to exhaustion.

Taking into consideration, Hitler adopted the doctrine of the so-called. lightning war (Blitzkireg), compiled by General Hans Guderian (“Danger, Panzer!”) thanks to which the Wehrmacht was able to conquer the territory of a given country in a relatively short time, which was to postpone the threat of war to the exhaustion and collapse of the German army. Blitzkrieg relied on a strong concentration of land and air forces and the incredible speed and efficiency of maneuvers, aimed at encircling and trapping the enemy army. The impact was based on the cooperation of armored forces and aviation.

The attack usually took place at dawn, to surprise and disorganize as much as possible, which was one of the main goals. It was usually preceded by artillery preparation. Then a huge number of planes flew over the territory, providing attacking troops with air protection and eliminating all threats in the form of fighters, or enemy bombers. After the air zone was taken over by aviation, Tanks entered the battlefield, removing any tactical issues, and by eliminating resistance points, requiring the use of heavier guns. Next, just to clear the area, infantry entered the site of the site.

This tactic compensated for all the shortcomings of the German army. The Wehrmacht successfully proved its effectiveness during the September campaign.

The table below shows the state of the armored and air forces, for day 31 of August 1939 year (the number of aircraft concerns those intended for operations in Poland):

TANKS
type number
PzKpfw I 1445
PzKpfw II 1226
PzKpfw III 98
PzKpfw IV 211
PzKpfw 35 219
PzKpfw 38 59

 

AIRPLANES
type number
Messerschmitt Bf 109 441
Messerschmitt Bf 110 82
Dornier Do 17 521
Heinkel He 111 355
Junkers Ju 52/3 m >300
Junkers Ju 87 “He knocks” 270
Henschel Hs 123 37
Henschel Hs 126 182
Heinkel He 46 33

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