Standing Fast: German Defensive Doctrine On The Russian by Timothy A. Wray, Combat Studies Institute

By Timothy A. Wray, Combat Studies Institute

This research examines the evolution of the German Army’s protective doctrine at the Russian entrance from 1941 to 1945. It starts off by means of reviewing prewar doctrine as expressed in German box manuals journals. German protecting innovations are then traced in the course of the battle, with specific emphasis upon the weather of continuity in German doctrine. This doctrinal evolution is tested in 3 degrees: what substantives alterations happened, why these adjustments constructed, and the equipment through which the alterations have been implement inside of German devices. fundamental resources consulted during this research comprise wartime courses of the German military excessive Command (OKH), unit after-action reviews, and different doctrinal fabrics within the German army files assortment, nationwide information.

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69 More immediately disquieting was the woeful German antitank weaponry. Hitler ordered the punchless Panzer IIIs upgunned, an overhaul that was completed within the next year. To The German PC&S, however, could not be so easiIy replaced or repaired. 72 Overview: German Doctrine on the Eve af Barbarossa Before the beginning of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the German Army adhered to a defensive doctrine originally developed to address battlefield conditions of World War I. Although t’emporarily shunted aside in the 1920s 20 ’ ,: during a faddish pursuit of offensive maneuver, the conservative defensive practices of 1918 had been reinstated in the German Army by the mid-1930s.

Between 18 and 28 September, for example, a flurry of Soviet attacks buckled the thin lines of the Waffen SS Totenkopf Division south of Lake Ilmen.

True to this principle, the encirclement operations conducted during Barbarossa contained major defensive components. Once a Kessel was formed, the temporary mission of both the panzer and the infantry rings was defensive: the inner (infantry) ring blocked enemy escape, while the outer (armored) one barred enemy rescue. The defensive fighting that attended the formation and liquidation of these pockets revealed serious problems in applying German defensive doctrine, however. ” Prewar German defensive doctrine had envisioned using infantry for defensive combat and reserving panzer units for counterat~tacks, a role commensurate with their supposedly offensive nature.

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