Lecture | Blitzkreig: The Myth and the Reality

Tuesday 3rd March 2020 | 6.30pm-8.00pm

The term Blitzkrieg – literally ‘lightning war’ – brings up images of spectacular German military successes in the initial stages of the Second World War. The Wehrmacht’s campaigns in Poland, France, the Balkans and the Soviet Union during the period 1939-1941 stunned the world. Maj Gen (Retd) Mungo Melvin will discuss how an overwhelming combination of air power and armoured forces defeated a succession of opponents, relying on a lethal cocktail of surprise, speed and shock action. Yet Blitzkrieg did not represent a fully resourced operational concept: the German Army of the Second World War remained predominantly horse-powered rather than motorised. While the German system of decentralised command and tactical flair generally prevailed in these early campaigns, the wheels began to come off in Western Russia where Soviet forces could trade ground, generating the necessary time to bring up reserves and to learn how to counter German methods while inflicting crippling losses. In due course the Western Allies and the Soviet Union brought superior strategic resources, technical expertise and relentless pressure to bear. No amount of military effort in 1942-1945 could prevent the eventual collapse of Nazi Germany in the world’s most costly conflict. Hence Blitzkrieg provided a series of illusory ‘lost victories’ on the path to destruction and defeat.

6:30pm drinks reception (drink included in ticket price), 7:00pm lecture commences
Tickets £10 | £8 Friends | reservation recommended | 01738 638152 Option 3

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Lecture | Blitzkreig: The Myth and the Reality
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