At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Germany's armored forces - the Panzerwaffe - were still in their infancy. The restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles meant that German tank development had to be conducted in secret. Initial armor campaigns in Poland were not completely successful and changes were needed before the invasion of France.
This book examines the organizational changes, developments in doctrine and tactics, and improved command and control that provided the basis for the spectacular success of the Panzer divisions in 1940. Although the Panzerwaffe was still largely inferior to its enemies in terms of both tank numbers and quality, it effectively adapted and developed those doctrines and principles of warfare that had shaped German fighting since the 19th century. Achieving tactical and operational surprise, the Panzer divisions succeeded in breaking through enemy defences in the Ardennes and enveloping a large number of hostile forces at Dunkirk. The legend of the Blitzkrieg was born.
About the Author
Pier Paolo Battistelli earned his PhD in military history at the University of Padua. A scholar of German and Italian politics and strategy throughout World War II, he is active in Italy and abroad writing titles and essays on military history subjects. A contributor to the Italian Army Historical Office, he is currently revising his PhD thesis for publication, The War of the Axis: German and Italian Military Partnership in World War Two, 1939-1943. The author lives in Foligno, Italy.
"Pier Paolo Battistelli's Panzer Divisions: The Blitzkrieg Years 1939-40 follows a German division relatively late to armored warfare, but which formed a formidable 'lightning war' contribution to its side. this focus on the tactics, weaponry and strategies of the Panzer Divisions is an excellent choice for any in-depth World War II military library." -The Bookwatch (February 2008)
"It is a book that puts new light to the use of these divisions and helps the historian understand why the tactics of the early war were not successful in later years. A book that is both interesting, informative, and provides a good source of inspiration for modelers as well." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (December 2007)