Heinz Guderian - Father of the Tank




 
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October 28th, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 

Topic: Heinz Guderian - Father of the Tank


"Father of the Tank" and creator of Blitzkrieg. The man behind the training of the Panzergruppen and developing their tactics WELL before World War II. The man who's concepts on mobile warfare are still studied in military schools to this day. He was the best operational battlefield commander in World War II. He was the Chief of Mobile Troops, a position created by Hitler. Poland and the USSR claim he is a war criminal, probably because he had been so effective at smashing their Armed Forces.

He was a freethinking battlefield commander. On numerous occasions, he was ordered to "stop and wait for the infantry" when there was no need to do so. Just superiors with outdated concepts of warfare stuck in their heads. He was very quick to adapt himself to circumstances on the field of battle. He was a fighter. He repeatedly fought with his superiors, but in every instance I can think of he was right and it was the superiors who should have listened to him. Had he not been ignored, the miracle at Dunkirk probably never would have happened, Army Group Center would have proceeded as planned and they would have taken Moscow and Gorky in 1941, severely crippling the USSR's ability to fight back. Stalingrad would not have played out anything like it did. The Battle of Kursk would have never happened and the Wehrmacht would have probably come up with something a lot more effective for an alternative. Had he been listened to, all of Germany's infantry would have been fully mechanized well before the end of the war and Germany would have placed its economy on wartime footing much sooner. If those two things had happened, the world would have probably had very little chance at stopping the German Juggernaut.

I'm thankful that he was not given full opportunity to win the victory for Germany or he and his fellow commanders probably would have done so.

The man was so many things. Its puzzling that the world at large barely knows anything about him.
October 28th, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 

Topic: Re: Heinz Guderian


Quote:
Originally Posted by godofthunder9010
"Father of the Tank" and creator of Blitzkrieg. The man behind the training of the Panzergruppen and developing their tactics WELL before World War II. The man who's concepts on mobile warfare are still studied in military schools to this day. He was the best operational battlefield commander in World War II. He was the Chief of Mobile Troops, a position created by Hitler. Poland and the USSR claim he is a war criminal, probably because he had been so effective at smashing their Armed Forces.

He was a freethinking battlefield commander. On numerous occasions, he was ordered to "stop and wait for the infantry" when there was no need to do so. Just superiors with outdated concepts of warfare stuck in their heads. He was very quick to adapt himself to circumstances on the field of battle. He was a fighter. He repeatedly fought with his superiors, but in every instance I can think of he was right and it was the superiors who should have listened to him. Had he not been ignored, the miracle at Dunkirk probably never would have happened, Army Group Center would have proceeded as planned and they would have taken Moscow and Gorky in 1941, severely crippling the USSR's ability to fight back. Stalingrad would not have played out anything like it did. The Battle of Kursk would have never happened and the Wehrmacht would have probably come up with something a lot more effective for an alternative. Had he been listened to, all of Germany's infantry would have been fully mechanized well before the end of the war and Germany would have placed its economy on wartime footing much sooner. If those two things had happened, the world would have probably had very little chance at stopping the German Juggernaut.

I'm thankful that he was not given full opportunity to win the victory for Germany or he and his fellow commanders probably would have done so.

The man was so many things. Its puzzling that the world at large barely knows anything about him.
Well you know you're preaching to the converted here. I think it's a shame that he isn't adored in the West with the same reverence that Erwin Rommel seems to be. If the USA had been in the Soviet Union's position during WW2 then guys like Guderian, Manstein, Fedor von Bock, Hermann Hoth et al would have been given much more widespread kudos, especially the first 2 who IMO stand head and shoulders above every other commander of WW2.

Getting back to Guderian, he was an 'old school' general who led his own troops into battle. If you think back to some of the great generals in the past who actually led their own troops into battle, who became the general, the leader because they could fight better than any of their men in battle then Guderian belongs in that category. He could drive and shoot every tank he commanded, he knew the operational range and strengths and weaknesses of every Panzer model in the German Army, mainly because he actually had a hand in designing them. He was hated by many of his superiors (partly because of his brash nature and partly because they were envious of him) but adored by his men, who did so because he was with them at the front and was as good as any of them in battle.

For those reasons and the ones God mentioned he is my favorite military leader of all time.
November 5th, 2004  
BigBert96
 
I like Guderian, but I wouldn't call him the father of the tank, or blitzkrieg tactics. He was just the first general to get to use them. Ive got another thread on here somewhere that goes into more detail about this.

Patton was playing with the idea of "blitzkrieg" with many other generals from other nations at the same time guderian was. Its false to say he was the "First." For all intents and purposes, any general with a progressive nature was reviewing blitzkrieg tactics in the late 20's and early 30's. Like i said above, Guderian is given the credit just because he got to use them first.

He did kick ass though. Im not taking that away from him.
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November 5th, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBert96
I like Guderian, but I wouldn't call him the father of the tank, or blitzkrieg tactics. He was just the first general to get to use them. Ive got another thread on here somewhere that goes into more detail about this.

Patton was playing with the idea of "blitzkrieg" with many other generals from other nations at the same time guderian was. Its false to say he was the "First." For all intents and purposes, any general with a progressive nature was reviewing blitzkrieg tactics in the late 20's and early 30's. Like i said above, Guderian is given the credit just because he got to use them first.

He did kick ass though. Im not taking that away from him.
As far as I'm aware, only 3 people are generally recognized with the concepts of the all-tank formation after WW1 and that's British Captain's Fuller and Liddell-Hart and of course Guderian. Their theories weren't Blitzkrieg yet. Blitzkrieg only became what we understood it to be when the element of close air support was added, as well as the concept of mechanized infantry and far wider use of radio. It was Guderian who alone developed and refined these tactics. I didn't know Patton was also looking at those latter elements. Can you provide a link or some bibliographical references as I'd be interested to check this out further.

I don't think there were many commanders looking at these concepts when Guderian, Fuller and Liddell-Hart were. For example, before the Battle of Poland the vast majority of German Generals, Rommel included, thought all armored divisions were 'nonsense' and still believed that infantry would still provide the decisive breakthroughs.
November 5th, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBert96
I like Guderian, but I wouldn't call him the father of the tank, or blitzkrieg tactics. He was just the first general to get to use them. Ive got another thread on here somewhere that goes into more detail about this.

Patton was playing with the idea of "blitzkrieg" with many other generals from other nations at the same time guderian was. Its false to say he was the "First." For all intents and purposes, any general with a progressive nature was reviewing blitzkrieg tactics in the late 20's and early 30's. Like i said above, Guderian is given the credit just because he got to use them first.

He did kick ass though. Im not taking that away from him.
I didn't give him the nickname. Historians did. Heinz Guderian has been referred to as "Father of the Tank" since decades before most of us were born. So if you disagree, go find the historians that started it and tell them to take it back.

No, Blitzkrieg wasn't uniquely thought up solely by Heinz Guderian. Earthshattereingly great ideas seldom are the product of only one mind. He did manage to go a lot further with the development and he also managed to get a lot more done in the way of actually training soldiers in the tactics. The idea of keeping constant radio contact between all tanks in a unit was largely thanks to his WW1 specialty being just that: communications. To my knowledge the development and implementation of THAT aspect of Blitzkrieg is essentially his alone.

There is certainly a degree of luck involved. Guderian managed to sell the idea to Hitler himself. Patton didn't manage to have Roosevelt offer to give his idea consideration. Hart's was not given a chance to convice Chamberlain directly. Both Roosevelt and Chamberlain would have likely consuted their senior staff in their respective Armed Forced and given it a "thanks but no thanks." But Hitler, for all his evils, apparently had an eye for its potential. Because Hitler was sold, the Wehrmacht had no choice but to go along with it.

Guderian had previously worked with dummy tanks, many of which had no engines (basically a wood or metal frame with canvas or other things draped over it to make it at least look a bit like a tank). This was because the Treaty of Versailles did not allow Germany to have tanks. He even secretly train in the Soviet Union for awhile so that he could work with REAL tanks for a change.
November 6th, 2004  
BigBert96
 
Well it could take me awhile to research where I got this from, but I know its in Pattons biography. Been awhile since I've read it, but its in there. I dont remember where the rest of info came from but it wasn't the history channel. LOL. I do give credit to Guderians use of radio traffic. Quite smart of him to do that. But I wouldn't give him all the credit for the Luftwaffe being used as ground support. Billy Mitchell and many others experimented with "ground support" for army units in the 20's and 30's.
November 6th, 2004  
Animal Mother
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
As far as I'm aware, only 3 people are generally recognized with the concepts of the all-tank formation after WW1 and that's British Captain's Fuller and Liddell-Hart and of course Guderian.
Charles De Gaulle also had a pretty high interest in those theories as well (he was looked on as a bit weird over that inside the French army, but when the Germans invaded France he put his ideas to pretty good use with is own unit, but it was too little and too late), also one could look up the 'deep battle' doctrine that the Red Army developed, before the purges killed or scared into submission the best and brightest of the officers.
March 1st, 2009  
Martin Davies
 

Topic: Guderian...



As we consider who (Guderian?) should be considered as the inventor of Blitzkrieg. I think a good place to begin is with Fuller and his book “Tanks in the Great War 1914 – 1918” especially Chapters 29 thru 33 where he deals with the Battles of Amiens (Aug 8th 1918) and Hamel (July 4th 1918). This is the first time that the various capabilities that we are familiar with when we talk about Blitzkrieg are deployed. Tanks heavy Mark V’s and lighter Whippets in large numbers breaking through enemy lines, protecting infantry and destroying enemy command and control capability in the rear. The infantry comprised British, Canadian, Australian and, for the first time, Americans fighting as an integral part of the BEF (Americans by this late date are being switched to the British sector France becomes exhausted and unable to initiate and engage in effective offensive battles). Finally in embryonic RAF subduing anti-tank weapons, providing real-time battlefield intelligence and logistical supplies. Fuller’s post battle analysis is insightful especially his observations that outcome of these two pivotal battles had on German morale on both the soldiers and high command… Over time these two relatively small battles (in comparison to other WW1 battles) are now considered to be war winning… changes in the thinking and tactics of the German high command are particularly revealing.. one example being that the primary purpose of the German artillery changes from supporting infantry to destroying tanks.. a weapon they had concluded earlier in the war as not war wining and that could be countered by anti-tank capability.. which as we now know turned out they could not accomplish .… Finally no successful battle occurs without effective leadership lor which we need to look to Sir John Monash the Australian General. It his skill and careful planning along with his philosophical view that the infantry are the most valuable resource on the battlefield and that they need to be preserved as much as possible (his experiences in Gallipoli in 1915 not doubt helped forge this belief!). Monty called Monash (Americans please refrain from knee jerk groans in response to reading Monty’s name) says of Monash "I would name Sir John Monash as the best general on the western front in Europe". Praise indeed from someone with a very high opinion of himself… and so my candidate for the originator of Blitzkrieg… let the debate commence
March 2nd, 2009  
LeEnfield
 
 
The basic tactics were in use at the end of WW1. Britain launched an attack of Germans defence line with fighter aircraft, a rolling barrage followed by tanks and infantry. They smashed the Germans line which they thought were impregnable and in doing so made German realise that the war was lost.
January 19th, 2010  
art818
 
 
does anyone have any information about guderian being armenian?