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World War II

The German Sixth Army on Stalingrad's Approaches

on Fri, 08/19/2011 - 16:17

By August of 1942 reinforcements sent to assist Army Group B's drive on Stalingrad had transformed the German Sixth Army from a potent assembly of men and machines to the most powerful army in the world, with 22 divisions and supporting units under the command of General Friedrich Paulus. Facing the Sixth Army, and Fourth Panzer Army's seven German and four Romanian divisions, was a Soviet Stalingrad Front that had been decimated in July.

Evaluating The German Army and Luftwaffe's Growth From September of 1939 to June of 1941

on Mon, 10/23/2017 - 19:41

In a previous article I detailed why as early as 1939 one could see that at least in terms of the equpping and manning of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht (armed forces) that quantitative measures were proving less important in comparison to the qualitative in deciding the size and shape of Germany's military machine.

From Reichswehr to Wehrmacht

on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 20:59

Though it is popular to think of the 1939-1941 "Blitzkrieg" era Wehrmacht as a near unstoppable war machine, reality is far different. Material shortages similar to those afflicting the German army in the years 1944-1945 were all too apparent during the Third Reich's early war march across Europe and the Mediterranean littoral. Ironically, however these shortages had far more to do with German decision making than the commonly held view that Germany didn't have enough economic resources capable of being converted into military strength.

Notable Problems in Determining World War II Era German Divisional Strength Returns

on Wed, 09/27/2017 - 19:21

For over a decade now, I have sought, via my professionally published work and at this website, to drill down into exactly how and why the Second World War in Europe ended as it did. To that end, the major component of my research has focused on the war fought between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. More specifically, I have sought to show that qualitative elements proved more instructive in determining the outcome of Germany and the Soviet Union's struggle in comparison to other theories that mass/quantitative factors proved decisive in the Red Army's victory.

However, when examining the

How The Air War in the Mediterranean Theater Undermined Germany's Strategic Effort in 1942

on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 17:51

When it comes to World War II, at times it's hard to get past the numbers. After all, they are huge. In the course of civilization there has never been a more destructive war. However, it's imperative in analyzing the reasons why the war ended as it did that we also take account how much qualitative factors proved the trump card in determining victory or defeat.

How the British Strategic Position in 1942 Highlights The Mediterranean Theater's Role in Undermining Germany's Schwerpunkt

on Mon, 06/05/2017 - 00:39

I have often and long argued that the Mediterranean Theater of the War became not just a crucial drain on Nazi Germany's efforts during the Second World War - but perhaps represented the primary cause Hitler's war machine failed to lock down a long-term strategic advantage in Eastern Europe during 1942. There are numerous reasons why this is true. This month I would like to further develop a few of those elements.

World War II: Getting Past the Numbers

on Tue, 04/18/2017 - 19:59

The Second World War ended seventy-two years ago. Yet, today it is still easy to find historians arguing that the reason Germany lost the war boiled down to a numbers game. Perhaps the leading advocate of the brute force thesis behind Germany's predetermined defeat is David Stahel.

The Three Levels of War: Strategy, Operational Art, and Tactics

on Fri, 03/31/2017 - 15:19

War fighting has long been dominated by concepts of strategy and tactics. However, in the period between the World Wars a newer concept in military thought fully matured as it's own level of war: the operational art. This vital element of war making was perhaps best described by one of the pioneers in bringing the operational art to life: Soviet military theorist and strategist Alexander Andreyevich Svechin who nearly a century ago wrote, "tactics makes the steps from which operational leaps are assembled; strategy points out the path" (quoted from David Glantz's book Soviet Military

U-Boats in the Black Sea

on Tue, 02/14/2017 - 00:30

Last week I examined the U-boat war in the Arctic. This week I'd like to turn your attention roughly 2,000 miles to the south. There in the Black Sea, the Soviet Navy faced off against the Axis powers in a poorly understood war that nevertheless featured nearly the full spectrum of potential naval operations: from amphibious landings, to big-gun fire support for ground forces, convoy battles, sea-control efforts, sea-denial operations, anti-shipping missions, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine laying and clearing, and submarine warfare.

In this article we shall look at the battle beneath the

U-Boats in the Arctic: An Expensive German Mistake

on Thu, 02/09/2017 - 20:40

The Nazi war against the Soviet Union defined the Second World War's outcome. Had the Germans focused single-mindedly on fighting that war (following their unprovoked June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union code-named Operation Barbarossa) the world may look very different today. Thankfully, they did not. In fact, during the war's critical years of 1941-1942 the Mediterranean theater would prove to be the biggest drain on the German war effort. Nonetheless, and somewhat paradoxically, another problematic distraction would prove to be the naval battles in the frigid Arctic Ocean.

During the

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