France 1940 (Praeger Illustrated Military History Series): Blitzkrieg in the West

Overview

The German victory of 1940 stunned the world. France, thought to be a major European power with one of the world's largest armies, collapsed in less than seven weeks. The secret of the Wehrmacht's success lay in its revolutionary new tactics of blitzkrieg: lightning war. Fast-moving tank divisions supported by armored, mobile infantry swept over opposition, helped by both conventional bombers and deadly Stuka dive-bombers. Alan Shepperd's highly detailed text examines the tactics, organization, and equipment of ...

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Overview

The German victory of 1940 stunned the world. France, thought to be a major European power with one of the world's largest armies, collapsed in less than seven weeks. The secret of the Wehrmacht's success lay in its revolutionary new tactics of blitzkrieg: lightning war. Fast-moving tank divisions supported by armored, mobile infantry swept over opposition, helped by both conventional bombers and deadly Stuka dive-bombers. Alan Shepperd's highly detailed text examines the tactics, organization, and equipment of the Allied and German forces, and provides a daily account of the most crucial period of the battle.

The German victory of 1940 stunned the world. France, thought to be a major European power with one of the world's largest armies, collapsed in less than seven weeks. The secret of the Wehrmacht's success lay in its revolutionary new tactics of blitzkrieg: lightning war. Fast-moving tank divisions supported by armored, mobile infantry swept over opposition, helped by both conventional bombers and deadly Stuka dive-bombers. Alan Shepperd's highly detailed text examines the tactics, organization, and equipment of the Allied and German forces, and provides a daily account of the most crucial period of the battle.

The tank marks as great a revolution in land warfare as an armored steamship would have marked had it appeared amongst the toilsome triremes of Actium. So said General Heinz Guderian, architect of the stunning German victory over France in 1940. Alan Shepperd examines tactics and the German's application of them to their 1940 French campaign, as he looks at the differing organization and equipment of both Allied and German forces. He gives a daily account of the most crucial period of the battle, that of May 10-17, and also examines the evacuation of Dunkirk, in which 337,000 troops, mostly British, were taken out of the Germans' clutches at the last moment by the Royal Navy supported by a vast armada of privately owned vessels. Not only are German strengths looked at but Allied weaknesses are also examined: their ineffective use of tanks, the obsolete French defensive strategy, and, possibly most importantly, the political splits within France that demoralized her army and combined with the German's speedy advance to bring collapse about so quickly.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275982799
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Series: Praeger Illustrated Military History Series
  • Pages: 95
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.02 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

ALAN SHEPPERD was educated at Magdalen College School and the Royal Military Academy. He served with the British Army during World War II and was for many years Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
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Table of Contents

Background for War 6
The Opposing Commanders 8
The French Commanders 8
The German Commanders 9
The Opposing Armies 13
Forces Engaged 13
Air Forces 15
Morale 18
The Opposing Plans 28
French Strategy 28
German Strategy 29
The Battle for France 31
10 May 31
11 May 36
12 May 39
13 May: Over the Meuse 44
14 May 58
15 May: German Exploitation 65
16 May 69
17 May 72
The General Scene: 16 and 17 May 75
18 to 23 May 77
Dunkirk 85
The Result 88
Chronology 92
A Guide to Further Reading 93
Index 94
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