Saturday, July 13, 2024

Checkmate

  








Maurice Gamelin was in a rare good mood,

having fought off another attempt to have him

fired as Supreme Allied Commander for being

out of touch - complacent in his view of the 

looming threat posed by Hitler.


Now Gamelin could be heard softly humming a tune

as he moved about his HQ.  Reports from the front

appeared to confirm his view of Germany's intent.

The troops were ready.  His staff was upbeat.

Everyone's optimistic.

 






A trap is sprung.


French and British troops dashed north up 

Belgium roads towards prepared defenses along

the River Dyle.  The Allies were putting everything

they could muster into this left punch.


Funny thing, though.  The Luftwaffe is the most

powerful air force on the planet.  But where are they?

You'd expect constant bomber and Stuka attacks

to disrupt and slow down the Allied surge forth.

Nothing.  What gives?  Officers talked of this

among themselves.  It's like the Germans 

actually want us to get away from France

as fast as possible.








Surprise.


The Luftwaffe was providing an umbrella of air

protection for an army of tanks nudging down

forest roads.  Then, from out of the forest

and onto the quaint village streets of Sedan

rushed Guderian's armor.


Gamelin is confused by these reports but he 

persists in believing the German attack is coming

from his front and not his now exposed flank.







Concentrated firepower acts like the blade of a knife.


French doctrine disbursed tanks among the infantry

because their perspective was primarily defensive.

The burden of success lay with the offense.

It was for the Germans to devise a tactic that wasn't

suicidal in the face of machine guns and anti-tank 

cannon fire.  World War I had proved to generals that

defense dominated the battlefield and rushed forward 

assault was obsolete. 








Guderian's mobile command.


The order of the day was to look neither left nor right

but to plunge straight ahead, peddle to the metal,

all the way to the English Channel.  Your enemy's

confusion was your best defense against any 

counterattack.







Race to the Channel.


The Allied forces were fighting a war familiar

to Civil War generals of the horse and buggy era.

You endured a series of battles that hopefully

led you to the steps of your opponent's capital.


Blitzkrieg doctrine was to make it all very quick.

Go for the jugular.  

Get me checkmate in five moves.  




* * * * *





©  Tom Taylor







OVER EASY



coldValentine




Saturday, July 6, 2024

Sedan

  







Objective:  Cross Meuse River


There will be no blitzkrieg, no World War 2

if the French hold the Germans at Sedan.

Maybe.  A hundred miles of armored breakthrough

depends first on men under fire in rubber dinghies.







P a n z e r   I I


Without bridges water barriers make for 

stop and go blitzkrieg.  Defensive works

on the far bank need to be cleared of

resistance.  The rapid firing cannon of this

panzer saturates the target with 20mm rounds,







Establish bridgehead.


These fast rowing teams are sitting ducks if their

covering fire is not effective.  A couple of platoons

with a foothold on the far side enables combat

engineers to begin building a bridge.







Stuka


These dive bombers replace the cumbersome artillery 

that normally accompanies an army into battle.

The Stuka's bombload is light but its aim is precise.

A fortified bunker does not withstand its attack. 







Pontoon Bridge


A road for tanks came together in a matter of hours.

The large armored force of Guderian was free to

run rapid across the tank friendly terrain of France.









Breakout


French troops have been routed and German armor

now controls both sides of the Meuse around Sedan.

A number of HQ generals want time to bring up the

infantry and consolidate their forces.  Nonsense.

Delay gives the French time to regroup.  The road to

the English Channel is wide open, undefended.

Guderian forges on, unrelenting.  Flank support 

mostly nonexistent.  It's a big risk.

Hitler is unnerved.




* * * * * 





©  Tom Taylor






OVER  EASY



coldValentine