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World War II.

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Presentation on theme: "World War II."— Presentation transcript:

1 World War II

2 Blitzkrieg Germans referred to a Schwerpunkt = focal point or point of maximum effort Ground, mechanized & tactical air forces concentrate on this point of maximum effort local success at the Schwerpunkt is followed by a small force that breaks through and gains advantage by fighting in the enemy's rear “Nicht kleckern, klotzen!” (Don't fiddle, smash!)

3 How to achieve a breakthrough:
armoured forces attack the enemy's defensive line directly supported by motorized infantry, artillery fire and aerial bombardment tanks and motorized units could break through without being slow like infantry on foot (WWI) air forces also gain by attacking aircraft on the ground, bombing airfields, & air to air combat.

4 Schwerpunkt (focal point) principle:
Gives attacker numerical superiority at the point of the main effort, Therefore gives attacker tactical and operational superiority even though the attacker may be numerically and strategically inferior along the entire front

5 Blitzkrieg Pursuit: Once through German forces attempt to paralyze the enemy's ability to react by moving faster than enemy forces They exploit weaknesses and act before opposing forces can form a response Faster mobility + quick decisions = sooner action than opposition

6 Directive Control: = fast & flexible method of command
No explicit orders Commander told of superior's intent Method of execution based on situation Staffing reduced at the top and spread among commands more knowledgeable about their own situation Initiative encouraged at all levels Significant decisions could be made quickly (verbally or short written orders)

7 Destruction of pocket resistance:
Final phase Kesselschlacht ("cauldron battle") = concentric attack on encircled forces Here most losses were inflicted upon the enemy mostly through capture of prisoners and weapons Ex. During Barbarossa - massive encirclements resulted in nearly 3,500,000 Soviet prisoners + equipment


9 Air Power: provided in the form of the dive-bombers and medium bombers
Supported focal point of attack from the air German successes = success in the air war Allied Air Forces success = Army

10 Invasion of Poland: Sept.1939
Black arrows = primary assaults Red arrows =secondary assault Right hand side arrows from the East into Poland, =Soviet advance into Poland that followed the German invasion

11 Blitzkrieg Limitations:
The Environment: dependent upon terrain and weather conditions When ability for rapid movement across “tank country” not possible, armoured penetrations were avoided or resulted in failure Ideal terrain = flat, firm, unobstructed by natural barriers or fortifications, & interspersed with roads and railways. If hilly, wooded, marshy, or urban, muddy or snow =units could be halted by mud or extreme snow Disadvantages nullified if surprise by an attack through such terrain Ex. Ardennes.

12 Panzer tank:

13 Counter-Tactics: Blitzkrieg is very vulnerable to enemy emphasis on anti-tank warfare & anti-aircraft weaponry Holding the flanks or “shoulders” of penetration was essential to channelling the enemy attack Tank and vehicle production was a problem for Germany, ex. late in the war many panzer divisions had no more than a few dozen tanks Near the end of WWII Germany experienced critical shortages in fuel and ammo stocks from strategic Allied bombing & blockades Some Luftwaffe fighter aircraft were unable to fly for lack of fuel & remaining fuel went to panzer divisions

14 Invasion of Western Europe:
May 10, 1940 – Hitler invades Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, & France Retreating forces trapped at port of Dunkirk 340,000 troops evacuated by British navy Why significant? A defeat, but moral victory for Allies Highly trained troops who would go on to fight in the war

15 Operation Dynamo: The Evacuation of Dunkirk:

16 Fall of France: June 14, 1940 Germans enter Paris
June 22, 1940 France surrenders

17 Why Does France Fall So Quickly?
Maginot Line Proves Useless

18 Maginot Line: Named after French Minister of Defense Andre Maginot
Was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defenses Constructed along French border with Germany and Italy, In the light of experience from WWI, lead up to WWII

19 Maginot Line:

20 Maginot Line:


22 Why Does France Fall So Quickly?
Maginot Line Proves Useless French deploy tanks (same # as Germans) at speed to match their infantry Luftwaffe had quality aircraft compared to French Internal division within France: Fascists and Communists existed within and both opposed the war

23 Terms of Surrender: Northern France + Atlantic ports occupied by Germans French Army demobilized Southern France (Vichy) = semi-independent government to begin Later collaborated with Nazis

24 Battle of Britain: Goering’s Luftwaffe vs. RAF
= battle for skies above Britain and English Channel Germans = VIP – Operation Sealion = invasion of British Isles British = survival

25 Spitfire:

26 Battle of Britain: RAF planes outnumbered 3:1
But had kill ratio of 1882 : 1017 Due to manoeuvrability of the Spitfire And radar = could detect German bomber and fighter squadrons

27 The “other” advantage:
German cipher machine- Enabled British to receive and decode German messages

28 The “Blitz”:

29 Battle of Britain Significances:
First time Hitler had been denied conquest Setback meant war would be a long one – advantage Britain with USA’s industry support Future Allies had a geographic “springboard” close to Europe to launch reinvasion of Europe

30 U.S.A Enters the War: Pearl Harbour – Dec. 7th 1940
surprise military strike by Imperial Japanese Navy on USA Navy base at in Hawaii Next day USA declared war on Japan resulting in their entry into WWII Attack was intended as a preventative action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war that the Japanese were planning in SE Asia, against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in Phillipines

31 The Eastern Front: = more intense and larger battles took place
Winter War = Nov. 30, 1939 Red Army attacks Finland – ends March 1940 June 1940 Red Army takes Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) Oct Germany occupies Romania (who later join the Axis) Late Oct Mussolini attacks Greece, British assist the Greeks, but both Greece and Yugoslavia fall in April 1941

32 Winter War:

33 Operation Barbarosa: Hitler’s Attack on the Soviet Union
3 goals: Major object of Nazi policy of Lebensraum (inferior peoples had to make way for “master race”) Hitler wanted the “breadbasket” of Europe –the resources of the Ukraine and Soviet Union Destroy his archrival = Communism

34 Operation Barbarosa: Hitler goes against the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact Attacks on a front stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea – 2,000 miles long Initially Germany sends 153 divisions (10-15,000 soldiers = division) Soviets caught by complete surprise By end of Day 1 = Germans 50 miles into Soviet Union

35 Barbarossa: Germans utilized Blitzkrieg perfectly:
Soviet air force destroyed on the ground Red Army prisoners = eventually reached 2 million Stalin asked citizens to “fight for mother Russia” Adopted the “scorched earth” policy – Germans could not live off the land Nazis take Leningrad, Kiev...halted 50km from Moscow Harsh Russian winter halts Germans



38 Barbarosa video link: 1. http://www. youtube. com/watch


40 North Africa: Important for several reasons:
Suez Canal – vital British shipping connection to Far and Middle East

41 Suez: Important for: 2. Oil – If you control North Africa then it is more possible to control the Middle East oil resources -important for keeping vehicles mobilized during war

42 Introducing: General Erwin Rommel
(the Desert Fox) Commanded the German Afrika Korps

43 Introducing: General Bernard Montgomery
Known as “Monty” Aug took command of British troops in North Africa

44 El Alamein Oct. 1942 Located 60 miles from Suez Canal

45 El Alamein: Winner would control Suez Canal
1st battle of El Alamein in July of 1942 – Allied troops halted Axis advance Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 “Monty’s Desert Rats” defeated Rommel German/Italian retreat across Africa began


47 El Alamein Significances:
Suez Canal stayed under Allied control Hitler could not access oil resources of Middle East Allies gained confidence knowing that the best of Hitler’s commanders could be defeated

48 Following El Alamein: Rommel’s forces retreat towards Tunisia
Allies led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (“Ike”) arrive in Morocco, attack from the west Montgomery attacks from the east, trap the Germans Rommel & 1,000 men return to Europe

49 El Alamein:
(START 2:00)

50 Allied Victory: Prepares way for liberation of Italy
Re-opens routes to Middle East 1st USA action in alliance with European forces in WWII...American involvement key in defeat of Axis

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