Tuesday, 10 November 2020

The lost partnership | Military cooperation of the Reichswehr and the US Army 1918-1933

Army officials of the German Reichswehr visiting West Point military academy: on the right General Werner von Blomberg, on the left Colonel Erich Kuehlenthal inspecting the lined up cadets.
„We needed to face the task to be able to provide the missing weapons latest at the start of an armed conflict. Similar to the US Army, which during peace times was little more powerful than our Reichswehr, had planned for a case of emergency based on the experience during the world war I in 1917. My journey to the US as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in 1927 provided very good insights for our needs.” This is how General Wilhelm Heye described his visit to the US and started a chapter of relations of the Reichswehr to a foreign force which has not been paid much attention to date. While the secret connections of the Reichswehr to the Red Army have been met with broad scientific interest and were subject of widespread investigation, the collaboration with the U.S. Army has so far not been in the focus of historical research. The missions between 1922 and 1933 of almost 30 officers, including well-known names such as Wilhelm Speidel, Werner von Blomberg and Walter Warlimont, are therefore almost completely unknown. | A Master Thesis by Paul Fröhlich (in German).

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Jomini and the Ardennes: An Analysis of Lines of Operation and Decisive Points

Königstiger of KG Peiper with mounted Grenadiers.

This paper, by MAJ Thomas M. McGinnis, USA,  examines the applicability of the theories of the 19th Century military theorist, Baron Antoine Henri Jomini, to modern 20th Century mid-to high-intensity conflict. To do this it briefly reviews the core of Jomin' most famous work, The Art of War. It then tests two key Jominian concepts, lines of operation and decisive points against the reality of a major 20th Century operation, the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes in December 1944. The study first sets the strategic and operational setting then traces the general conduct of the operation from the corps and army perspective. The first phase studied is the German offensive and American defensive from 16 December to 26 December 1944. The second is the American offensive and German defensive from 22 December 1944 to 28 January 1945. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Campaign in Lorraine | Arracourt, September 1944

GIs in front of a Sherman tank awaiting a German counter-attack
This battle study,  by Richard H. Barnes, MAJ, US Field Artillery, "...investigates operational and tactical considerations of the battles of Arracourt, which took place in September 1944 as the 4th Armored Division of Patton's Third Army clashed with the Fifth German Panzer Army in the French province of Lorraine on the U.S. drive to the German West Wall. By examining detailed German and American unit histories, logs, and summaries, as well as personal papers, this study illuminates differences and similarities in reporting the U.S. penetration from the Nancy Bridgehead to Arracourt, the German offensive at Luneville as a prelude to Arracourt, and the two German offensives at Arracourt, as the Fifth Panzer Army attempted to link up with a German unit cut off at Nancy. Arracourt exemplifies penetration and mobile defense and illustrates the demand for good intelligence and flexible command and control. It shows the inherent risks of piecemeal commitment of reserves, the need for timely orders and good logistical support, as well as the tactical advantages."