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Achtung-Panzer!: The Development of Armoured Forces, Their Tactics and Operational Potential Hardcover – Oct 2001

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Armor Tactics Development by a Master 28 May 2010
By J. Hand - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy WWI and WWII history, especially the machinery that came from those wars. WWI, especially, was the first time the modern ways of the Industrial Revolution clashed with the previous century's way of conducting war. Since this title will be of interest mainly to those who share a similar interest I will spare everyone a detailed history lesson. I can sum it up by stating that the refinement of the machine gun, improvements in artillery, the introduction of gas attacks, the development of a military use for aircraft, and the huge human resources available to feed into the meat grinder produced a slaughter unimaginable at the time and still horrendous today. The conflict evolved into a stalemate that seemed to do little but demand more sacrifice on the part of all combatants and civilians caught up in it all. The need to breach fortified defenses and hold them led to the development of the tank. While slow, unreliable, cumbersome and unwieldy at first, once tactics learned by trial and error as well as bloody experience began to yield results, the tank was on its way to becoming a battlefield necessity.Even though the British and the French were the pioneers in the development, there were still many who doubted its value and wanted to abandon it just as aircraft had their detractors. A few had the vision to understand the potential of the tank and began to think of how it could be deployed to maximum effect. A few of these also had the courage to state that the old ways of war, especially with mounted cavalry, were obsolete. Heinz Guderian was one of these men and this book, originally published in 1937, is a translation of a thesis/report/history he wrote of the tank after some 15 years of study and just a few years before he was to put his thoughts into action. The contents are his words and ideas. As such I cannot criticize or argue with them because there would be no point in that. The book is well annotated because some of the material Guderian used in writing it was faulty. These errors and clarifications are corrected at the end of each chapter. To read it and then know what happened after when his ideas were put into play is an amazing historical perspective on tank warfare. If I have one complaint about the book it is that many of the maps are small and poorly reproduced. The smaller print is blurry and hard to read. Some maps have too much detail for their size and it is very hard to sort things out and relate them back to the text. They may be his original sketches and that's why they are that way, but to truly appreciate and follow the battles and deployments he refers to I found a couple books of WWI maps very helpful. The West Point Atlas of War: World War I edited by General Vincent J Esposito was outstanding and Martin Gilbert's Atlas of World War I less so, but still useful. There is a section of glossy plates with b&w pictures showing a variety of armored cars, tanks, and other combat images. This book would be of little use to the military modeler since there are no in depth discussions or descriptions of vehicles in it. Consider as well, that when it was written many of the more famous vehicles of WWII were not in production yet. But, for someone interested in tactics, the evolution of the same relating to armor, or just the history of the wars, I can't say enough about this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beginnings of Organized Armored Forces 15 Dec. 2008
By David A. Newberg - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Guderian does a review of the birth of the use of tanks in World War I and then proceeds to his thoughts of how major armored units should be organized and used. The book is relatively short and not as "dry" as I had initially expected it to be.

More of the book was devoted to the use of tanks by the British and French in the First World War than I had expected; fully 3/4 of the book deals with WWI. As the book was written in 1937 this should not have come as a surprise.

It was interesting to note how Guderian's toughts on armored formations and the use of combined mobile forces including air support are still in use 70 years after the book was written. The man had considerable foresight.

The reader needs to keep one important point in mind: The intention of the book was to promote the German Panzer forces, both in size and making them an independent arm. As such there are some instances of "Political" comments and thoughts to achieve this end. Even with these minor shortcomings the book is an interesting look at how the Panzer units were brought into being (at the time it was written Germany's entire Panzer force consisted of three divisions).

I would recommend it to any reader interested in military history or either of the World Wars.
Germany may have had its Guderian and Great Britain its Liddel Hart and Fuller 1 July 2015
By Christian Potholm - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Heinz Guderian, Achtung-Panzer: The Development of Tank Warfare (London: Cassell, 1992). Originally written in 1937, Guderian’s analysis of tank warfare would turn out to be seminal. Pointing out the changed nature of warfare with the introduction of poison gas, the airplane and the submarine during World War I, he accented the importance of tank warfare with the very crucial addition of motorized infantry, and declared that if panzer forces were “full of verve” and “fanatically committed to progress” they would “restore the offensive power of the army.” He was correct and the resulting German blitzkrieg would turn out to be the revolution he had envisioned. Note: Germany may have had its Guderian and Great Britain its Liddel Hart and Fuller, but America had George S. Patton who, writing in the Cavalry Journal (May, 1920), wrote a splendid little provocative piece entitled “Tanks in Future Wars” (pp. 342-346) about the need to focus on tanks as an armored force and not scatter them in among infantry and artillery. He concluded, “The tank corps grafted onto infantry, cavalry, artillery, or engineers will be like the third leg of a duck; worthless for control, and for combat impotent.” Patton was immediately told to cease and desist by the powers that were if he wished to continue in the U. S. Army. For his part, Captain D. D. “Ike” Eisenhower, wrote a contemporary piece for the Infantry Journal entitled, “A Tank Discussion,” (November 1920), pp. 453-458. In it Eisenhower tries to make the case for keeping tanks as part of the equipment of the infantry units. Taken together, these two articles show what thin gruel were the American musings after World War I about an armor revolution in warfare. For Patton’s war recollections, see his posthumously published War As I Knew.
First rate account ot the German point of view 29 Jan. 2014
By Roland S. Haile - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a good account of what went through the mind of one of Gemany's top two-three generals during the 2nd world war. A must read.
Great History 1 Dec. 2012
By Corporal Clegg - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great piece of history by the man who brought armoured tactics to the battlefield. Fills in a piece of mosaic of military history that I fear will never be completed. Glad to add it to my military history section of my ever increasing library. A must have if you have read Panzer Gudarian.
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