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A book of historical significance.
on 29 August 2015
'Achtung-Panzer' is a significant piece of military history.
Written in 1937 by Heinz Guderian, a World War I veteran, member of the German General Staff, and later a General in WWII - the book explores the application of motorized warfare (largely unexplored at the time of its publication), and argues for the use of tanks, highly mobile mechanized infantry, aircraft and paratroopers in what would later be coined 'Blitzkrieg', otherwise known as 'combined-arms' warfare.
The first half of the book explores the mistakes made by all of the belligerents of WWI, including trench warfare and the obsolesence of horse mounted cavalry in the face of advancements in artillery and the invention of the machine gun, which allowed even inferior numbers of less skilled combatants to easily repel a superior attacking force. Clearly something would have to give if subsequent conflicts were to avoid the wastage and stalemate encountered in the trench war, and that 'something' in Guderians opinion was the tank - the application of which he explores throughout the majority of the book.
The book goes into incredible detail and explores such issues as the effect of the Treaty of Versailles on Germanys ability to develop mechanized forces as well as Guderians own beliefs as to the best applications for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. It is well researched as Guderian was a scholar who was fluent in both English and French and spent much of his time studying the works of British maneuver warfare theorists J. F. C. Fuller, Giffard Martel and B.H. Liddell Hart, whom are credited in this work. The fact that the ideas presented in the book clearly heavily influenced the military actions of Germany during the Second World War is testament to its significance.
This is not a technical manual, and there is very little description or investigation into individual models of tanks themselves or the people who piloted them, however even though this was a theoretical work it avoids being 'stuffy' and is a surprisingly easy read. My only criticism is that most of the many maps included in the book lack detail or are difficult to read.