The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946. It consisted of the Heer, the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe, after the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler’s most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern armed forces fully capable of offensive use. In December 1941, Hitler designated himself as commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht, the Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany’s politico-military power. In the early part of World War II, Hitlers generals employed the Wehrmacht through innovative combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what was called a Blitzkrieg, the Wehrmachts new military structure, unique combat techniques, newly developed weapons, and unprecedented speed and brutality crushed their opponents. Closely cooperating with the SS, the German armed forces committed war crimes and atrocities. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, only a few of the Wehrmacht’s upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The German term Wehrmacht generically describes any nations armed forces, for example, the Frankfurt Constitution of 1848 designated all German military forces as the German Wehrmacht, consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that, from 1919, Germanys national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name that was dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, in March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420, 000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, the army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921, General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty.
The Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, and thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was largely his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air-force by the Versailles treaty and these officers saw the role of an air-force as winning air-superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations. The leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922, Germany had begun covertly circumventing the conditions of the Versailles Treaty, a secret collaboration with the Soviet Union began after the treaty of Rapallo. Major-General Otto Hasse traveled to Moscow in 1923 to further negotiate the terms, Germany helped the Soviet Union with industrialization and Soviet officers were to be trained in Germany
The Workers and Peasants Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and after 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution, the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. The Red Army is credited as being the land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II. During operations on the Eastern Front, it fought 75%–80% of the German land forces deployed in the war, inflicting the vast majority of all German losses and ultimately capturing the German capital. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote, There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, at the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters,1.8 million dead,5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners and he estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million.
Therefore, the Council of Peoples Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918 and they envisioned a body formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes. All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible, in the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary. Because the Red Army was composed mainly of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations, some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army, along with some women, flooded the recruitment centres. If they were turned away they would collect scrap metal and prepare care-packages, in some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy, Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for war, Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as peoples commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars, at a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked, We have no army.
The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies and we have no power to stay the enemy, only an immediate signing of the peace treaty will save us from destruction. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledins Volunteer Army in the River Don region, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics. The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, a series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, and the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. The Whites defeated the Red Army on each front, Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked, the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchaks army in June, and the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-November the White armies were all almost completely exhausted, in January 1920, Budennys First Cavalry Army entered Rostov-on-Don. 1919 to 1923 At the wars start, the Red Army consisted of 299 infantry regiments, Civil war intensified after Lenin dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly and the Soviet government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, removing Russia from the Great War
16th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 16th Infantry Division of the German Army was formed in 1934. On 26 August 1939 the division was mobilized for the invasion of Poland and it participated in the Battle of France in 1940. The division was split, resulting in two independent units, The 16th Panzer Division and the 16th Motorized Infantry Division. The latter, from 1944 onward, combined with other non 16th elements, was known as the 116th Panzer Division, the 16th Panzer Division served as a reserve in Romania during the Balkans campaign in 1941. It participated in Operation Barbarossa with Army Group South, in 1941, the 16th Panzer Division was encircled and ultimately destroyed at Stalingrad during the winter of 1942–43. It was rebuilt for a campaign in the west, fought in Sicily and southern Italy during the Italian Campaign in 1943, severely mauled near Kiev, it was withdrawn to Poland for rehabilitation in 1944. The 16th Panzer Division returned to the east in 1945, where it surrendered to the Soviets, the 16th Motorized Infantry Division, nicknamed Windhund, participated in the Balkans campaign in 1941 along with the 16th Panzer Division.
It took part in Operation Barbarossa with Army Group South in the year and it advanced on the Caucasus with elements coming to within 20 miles of Astrakhan in 1942 — the most easterly point reached by any German unit during the war. It participated in the Battle of Stalingrad, the 16th Motorized Infantry Division participated in defensive operations after the Soviets broke up the front of the southern sector. In 1943, it was upgraded to 16th Panzergrenadier Division and this upgraded formation was depleted in the continuous retreats and was transferred to France for rest and refitting. It was reorganized as the 116th Panzer Division, absorbing the 179th Reserve Panzer Division in the process in 1944 and this new formation fought in the Battle of Normandy and was almost destroyed in the Falaise Gap. It subsequently defended the Siegfried Line at Aachen in an understrength condition, the 116th Panzer Division was withdrawn for refitting and recommitted, but was unable to hold the city of Aachen.
It participated in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest in the Battle of the Bulge and it was caught in the Wesel Pocket, but got across the Rhine, ultimately surrendering within the Ruhr Pocket in April,1945. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende, Frankfurt am Main 1969, p.286. Georg Tessin, Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg,1939 -1945, vol. Iv, Die Landstreitkräfte 15 -30
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland, roughly 260 kilometres from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometres from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population is estimated at 1.750 million residents within a metropolitan area of 3.101 million residents. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres, while the area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres. Once described as Paris of the East, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. On 9 November 1939, the city was awarded Polands highest military decoration for heroism, Warsaw is one of Europe’s most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world, in 2017 the city came 4th in the “Business-friendly” category and 8th in the “Human capital and life style”. It was ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central, Warsaw is considered an Alpha– global city, a major international tourist destination and a significant cultural and economic hub.
The city is a significant centre of research and development, BPO, ITO, the Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external security, has its headquarters in Warsaw. Together with Frankfurt and Paris, Warsaw is one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union, the city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Warsaw. The historic city-centre of Warsaw with its picturesque Old Town in 1980 was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, buildings represent examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period. Warsaw provides many examples of architecture from the gothic, baroque and modern periods, the city is positioning itself as Europes chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and renowned restaurants. Folk etymology attributes the city name to a fisherman, according to legend, Sawa was a mermaid living in the Vistula River with whom Wars fell in love.
In actuality, Warsz was a 12th/13th-century nobleman who owned a village located at the site of Mariensztat neighbourhood. See the Vršovci family which had escaped to Poland, the official city name in full is miasto stołeczne Warszawa. A native or resident of Warsaw is known as a Varsovian – in Polish warszawiak, warszawianka, other names for Warsaw include Varsovia and Varsóvia, Varsavia, Warschau, װאַרשע /Varshe, Варшава /Varšava /Varshava, Varšuva, Varsó. The first fortified settlements on the site of todays Warsaw were located in Bródno, after Jazdów was raided by nearby clans and dukes, a new similar settlement was established on the site of a small fishing village called Warszowa
18th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The German 18th Infantry Division was formed on 1 October 1934 as Infanterieführer III in Liegnitz and renamed 18. Mobilized in August 1939 it participated in the Invasion of Poland, after the French campaign the division was motorized and redesignated 18th Motorized Infantry Division on 1 November 1940 serving on the Eastern Front for the remainder of the war. In June 1943 the division was redesignated 18th Panzergrenadier Division, from September 1939 until May 1940 the division fought in Invasion of Poland and made up part of the occupation force. From May 1940 until November 1940 the division fought in the Battle of France, formed 1 November 1940 Part of the occupation force in France from November 1940 until June 1941. Fought on the Eastern Front, central sector from June 1941 until January 1942, fought on the Eastern front, northern sector from January 1942 until June 1943 when it was redesignated 18th Panzergrenadier Division. Fought on the Eastern front, northern sector from June 1943 until October 1943, fought on the Eastern front, central sector from October 1943 until September 1944.
It was devastated in the Soviet 1944 summer offensive, the remnants of the Division fought in Eastern Prussia and in the Battle of Berlin. The survivors tried to fight their way out of Berlin on 2 May 1945 when Berlin surrendered to the Soviets, hans Boelsen,6 July 1944 –1 January 1945 Generalmajor Josef Rauch,1 January –8 May 1945 Burkhard Müller-Hillebrand, Das Heer 1933-1945. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende, Frankfurt am Main 1969, p.286. Georg Tessin, Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg,1939 -1945, vol. Iv, Die Landstreitkräfte 15 -30
A response to Frances experience in World War I, the Maginot Line was constructed in the run-up to World War II, after the Locarno Conference gave rise to a fanciful and optimistic Locarno spirit. Nevertheless, it proved ineffective during the Battle of France. Instead of attacking directly, the Germans invaded through the Low Countries, the French line was weak near the Ardennes forest, a region whose rough terrain they considered unlikely for the Germans to traverse. The German Army took advantage of this point to split the French–British defensive front. The Allied forces to the north were forced to evacuate at Dunkirk, having failed in its purpose, the line has since become a metaphor for expensive efforts that offer a false sense of security. The defences were first proposed by Marshal Joffre and he was opposed by modernists such as Paul Reynaud and Charles de Gaulle who favoured investment in armour and aircraft. Joffre had support from Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, and there were a number of reports and it was André Maginot who finally convinced the government to invest in the scheme.
Maginot was another veteran of World War I, he became the French Minister of Veteran Affairs, in January 1923 after Germany defaulted on reparations, the French Premier Raymond Poincaré had French troops march in and occupy the Ruhr region of Germany in response. The British—who openly championed the German position on reparations—applied intense economic pressure on France to change its policies towards Germany. The British diplomat Sir Eric Phipps who attended the conference commented afterwards that, from 1871 onwards, French elites had concluded that France had no hope of defeating Germany on its own, and France would need an alliance with another great power to defeat the Reich. A variant of the Foch plan had used by Poincaré in 1923 when he ordered the French occupation of the Ruhr. French plans for an offensive in the 1920s were realistic, as Versailles had forbidden Germany conscription, French military chiefs were dubious about their ability to win another war against Germany on its own, especially an offensive war.
France had an alliance with Belgium and with the states of the Cordon sanitaire, the French assumption was always that Germany would not go to war without conscription, which would allow the German Army to take advantage of the Reichs numerical superiority. Without the natural defensive barrier provided by the Rhine river, French generals argued that France needed a new defensive barrier made of concrete and steel to replace it. Part of the rationale for the Maginot Line stemmed from the severe French losses during the First World War, and their effect on the French population. The drop in the birth rate during and after the war, resulting in a shortage of young men. Static defensive positions were intended not only to buy time but to economise on men by defending an area with fewer. Germany had the largest economy in Europe but lacked many of the raw materials necessary for an industrial economy
A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 10,000 and 30,000 in nominal strength, in most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, in turn, several divisions typically make up a corps. In the West, the first general to think of organising an army into smaller units was Maurice de Saxe, Marshal General of France. He died at the age of 54, without having implemented his idea, victor-François de Broglie put the ideas into practice. He conducted successful practical experiments of the system in the Seven Years War. The first war in which the system was used systematically was the French Revolutionary War. It made the more flexible and easy to manoeuvre. Under Napoleon, the divisions were grouped together into corps, because of their increasing size, napoleons military success spread the divisional and corps system all over Europe, by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, all armies in Europe had adopted it.
In modern times, most military forces have standardized their divisional structures, the peak use of the division as the primary combat unit occurred during World War II, when the belligerents deployed over a thousand divisions. With technological advances since then, the power of each division has increased. Divisions are often formed to organize units of a particular type together with support units to allow independent operations. In more recent times, divisions have mainly been organized as combined arms units with subordinate units representing various combat arms, in this case, the division often retains the name of a more specialized division, and may still be tasked with a primary role suited to that specialization. For the most part, large cavalry units did not remain after World War II, in general, two new types of cavalry were developed, air cavalry or airmobile, relying on helicopter mobility, and armored cavalry, based on an autonomous armored formation. The former was pioneered by the 11th Air Assault Division, formed on 1 February 1963 at Fort Benning, on 29 June 1965 the division was renamed as the 1st Cavalry Division, before its departure for the Vietnam War.
After the end of the Vietnam War, the 1st Cavalry Division was reorganised and re-equipped with tanks, the development of the tank during World War I prompted some nations to experiment with forming them into division-size units. Many did this the way as they did cavalry divisions, by merely replacing cavalry with AFVs. This proved unwieldy in combat, as the units had many tanks, instead, a more balanced approach was taken by adjusting the number of tank, infantry and support units. A panzer division was a division of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS of Germany during World War II