Antwerp is a city in Belgium, is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary, it is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, about 15 kilometres south of the Dutch border. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally; the city is known for its diamond industry and trade. Both economically and culturally, Antwerp is and has long been an important city in the Low Countries before and during the Spanish Fury and throughout and after the subsequent Dutch Revolt. Antwerp was the place of the world's oldest stock exchange building built in 1531 and re-built in 1872; the inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, "lord", referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century.
The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. According to folklore, notably celebrated by a statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend about a giant called Antigoon who lived near the Scheldt river, he extracted a toll from passing boatmen, for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river. The giant was killed by a young hero named Silvius Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen, akin to Old English hand and wearpan, which has evolved to today's warp. A longstanding theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante Verpia, indicating land that forms by deposition in the inside curve of a river. Note that the river Scheldt, before a transition period between 600 and 750, followed a different track; this must have coincided with the current ringway south of the city, situating the city within a former curve of the river.
However, many historians think it unlikely that there was a large settlement which would be named'Antverpia', but more something like an outpost with a river crossing. However, John Lothrop Motley argues, so do a lot of Dutch etymologists and historians, that Antwerp's name derives from "anda" and "werpum" to give an't werf. Aan't werp is possible; this "warp" is a man-made hill or a river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a construction could be built that would remain dry. Another word for werp is pol hence polders. Alfred Michiels has suggested that derivations based on hand werpen, Antverpia, "on the wharf", or "at the warp" lack historical backing in the form of recorded past spellings of the placename, he points instead to Dado's Life of St. Eligius from the 7th century, which records the form Andoverpis, he sees in it a Celtic origin indicating "those who live on both banks". Historical Antwerp had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus. Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt, 1952–1961, produced pottery shards and fragments of glass from mid-2nd century to the end of the 3rd century.
The earliest mention of Antwerp dates from the 4th century. In the 4th century, Antwerp was first named; the Merovingian Antwerp was evangelized by Saint Amand in the 7th century. At the end of the 10th century, the Scheldt became the boundary of the Holy Roman Empire. Antwerp became a margraviate in 980, by the German emperor Otto II, a border province facing the County of Flanders. In the 11th century, the best-known leader of the First Crusade, Godfrey of Bouillon, was Margrave of Antwerp, from 1076 until his death in 1100, though he was also Duke of Lower Lorraine and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. In the 12th century, Norbert of Xanten established a community of his Premonstratensian canons at St. Michael's Abbey at Caloes. Antwerp was the headquarters of Edward III during his early negotiations with Jacob van Artevelde, his son Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, was born there in 1338. After the silting-up of the Zwin and the consequent decline of Bruges, the city of Antwerp part of the Duchy of Brabant, grew in importance.
At the end of the 15th century the foreign trading houses were transferred from Bruges to Antwerp, the building assigned to the English nation is mentioned in 1510. Antwerp became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from Portuguese and Spanish plantations; the city attracted Italian and German sugar refiners by 1550, shipped their refined product to Germany Cologne. Moneylenders and financiers developed a large business lending money all over Europe including the English government in 1544–1574. London bankers were too small to operate on that scale, Antwerp had a efficient bourse that itself attracted rich bankers from around Europe. After the 1570s, the city's banking business declined: England ended its borrowing in Antwerp in 1574. Fernand Braudel states that Antwerp became "the centre of the entire international economy, something Bruges had never been at its height." Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time. Antwerp's golden age is l
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
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Ardant du Picq
Charles Jean Jacques Joseph Ardant du Picq was a French Army officer and military theorist of the mid-nineteenth century whose writings, as they were interpreted by other theorists, had a great effect on French military theory and doctrine. Ardant du Picq was born at Périgueux in the Dordogne on 19 October 1821. On 1 October 1844, upon graduation from the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr, he was commissioned a sublieutenant in the 67th; as a captain, he saw action in the French expedition to Varna during the Crimean War, but he fell ill and was shipped home. Upon recovery, he rejoined his regiment in front of Sevastopol. Transferred to the 9th Chasseurs a Pied battalion December 1854, he was captured during the storming of the central bastion of Sevastopol in September 1855, he was returned to active duty. As a major with the 16th Chasseur Battalion, Ardant du Picq served in Syria from August 1860 to June 1861 during the French intervention to restore order during Maronite-Druze sectarian violence.
Like all his peers, he saw extensive service in Algeria, in February 1869 was appointed colonel of the 10th Line Infantry Regiment. He was in France at the outbreak of war with Prussia on 15 July 1870 and took command of his regiment, the Tenth Regiment of the Line, he died on 18 August 1870 at the military hospital in Metz, from wounds received at the Battle of Mars-la-Tour. Although comparatively little is known of his life, Ardant du Picq's small corpus of writings has earned him a place in the ranks of great military theorists. Before du Picq began his famous manuscripts, the French military relied upon the writings of former Chief of Staff Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini when it came to warfare. Before his death, du Picq had published Combat antique, expanded from his manuscripts into the classic Etudes sur les combat: Combat antique et moderne referred to by its common English title as Battle Studies; this work was published in part in 1880 posthumously, the complete text did not appear until 1902.
The difficulties surrounding reform of the French military and its organization were discussed and his work referenced, it was a popular work among the army during World War I. As a primary inspiration to du Picq, fellow Périgueux native Marshal Thomas Bugeaud was responsible for supporting him in his calculating and objective view of military operations. Bugeaud's experiences with Marshal Suchet, a regarded former general of Napoleon's, left an indelible impression upon the Marshal that were handed down to du Picq. Marshal Bugeaud's aide de camp, Louis Jules Trochu, provided another inspiration with his work L'Armée Française en 1867, in which Trochu emphasized psychological difficulties in warfare, his principal interest was in the psychological aspects of battle. He loses them in the disorienting smoke and confusion of a battle which he is fighting, so to speak, on his own. Cohesion is no longer ensured by mutual observation." Nor did Ardant du Picq neglect the decisive importance of modern firepower, noting that it was necessary for the attacker to "employ fire up till the last possible moment.
Despite these words, much of his work was used to help justify the doctrine of the offensive à outrance, resting somewhat on his statement that "he will win who has the resolution to advance." What separated du Picq's belief from this new idea was that while du Picq accounted for differences in enemy positions and circumstances in the art of maneuver, the offensive à outrance made no such distinction, making the offensive victorious no matter how it is employed. This stark difference from du Picq's theory was put forward principally by Colonel de Grandmaison. In sum, Ardant du Picq was a talented analyst and, had he lived, would have gained a fine reputation as a military historian, his analyses stressed the vital importance in contemporary warfare, of discipline and unit cohesion. Along with Carl von Clausewitz, he was a major influence in France after the defeat of the French army in the Franco-Prussian War, their attention to psychological and behavioral factors in combat was judged to be supremely important.
The morale aspect of warfare that du Picq encouraged was propagated by the writings of Marshal Ferdinand Foch, in which he concluded that technological advances could not change the human condition and how men react to warfare. Du Picq, Ardant. Études sur le combat. Translated by Greely, John. New York: Macmillan. Earle, Edward Mead. Makers of Modern Strategy: Military Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01853-7. Wawro, Geoffrey; the Franco-Prussian War: the German conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521584364. Works by Charles Jean Jacques Joseph Ardant du Picq at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Ardant du Picq at Internet Archive
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories. In the two years leading up to the invasion and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes; the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, which Adolf Hitler authorized on 18 December 1940. Over the course of the operation, about three million personnel of the Axis powers – the largest invasion force in the history of warfare – invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer front. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht deployed some 600,000 motor vehicles, between 600,000 and 700,000 horses for non-combat operations.
The offensive marked an escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Operationally, German forces achieved major victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union and inflicted, as well as sustained, heavy casualties. Despite these Axis successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow at the end of 1941, the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive pushed German troops back; the Red Army absorbed the Wehrmacht's strongest blows and forced the Germans into a war of attrition that they were unprepared for. The Wehrmacht never again mounted a simultaneous offensive along the entire Eastern front; the failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue in 1942 and Operation Citadel in 1943 – all of which failed. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in which more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history.
The Eastern Front became the site of some of the largest battles, most horrific atrocities, highest World War II casualties, all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the subsequent history of the 20th century. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Red Army troops, who were denied the protection guaranteed by the Hague Conventions and the 1929 Geneva Convention. A majority of Red Army POWs never returned alive; the Nazis deliberately starved to death, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million prisoners of war, as well as a huge number of civilians. Einsatzgruppen death-squads and gassing operations murdered over a million Soviet Jews as part of the Holocaust; as early as 1925, Adolf Hitler vaguely declared in his political manifesto and autobiography Mein Kampf that he would invade the Soviet Union, asserting that the German people needed to secure Lebensraum to ensure the survival of Germany for generations to come. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his army commanders that the next war would be "purely a war of Weltanschauungen... a people's war, a racial war".
On 23 November, once World War II had started, Hitler declared that "racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, with it, the world". The racial policy of Nazi Germany portrayed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, ruled by Jewish Bolshevik conspirators. Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germany's destiny was to "turn to the East" as it did "six hundred years ago". Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost; the Germans' belief in their ethnic superiority is evident in official German records and discernible in pseudoscientific articles in German periodicals at the time, which covered topics such as "how to deal with alien populations". While older histories tended to emphasize the notion of a "Clean Wehrmacht", the historian Jürgen Förster notes that "In fact, the military commanders were caught up in the ideological character of the conflict, involved in its implementation as willing participants."
Before and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, German troops were indoctrinated with anti-Bolshevik, anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic ideology via movies, lectures and leaflets. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the "Mongolian race" threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans", the "Mongol hordes", the "Asiatic flood", the "Red beast". Nazi propaganda portrayed the war against the Soviet Union as both an ideological war between German National Socialism and Jewish Bolshevism and a racial war between the Germans and the Jewish and Slavic Untermenschen. An'order from the Führer' stated that the Einsatzgruppen were to execute all Soviet functionaries who were "less valuable Asiatics and Jews". Six months into the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered in excess of 500,000 Soviet Jews, a figure greater than the number of Red Army soldiers killed in combat during that same time frame.
German army command
Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and shattered the German front line. On 23 June 1944, the Red Army attacked Army Group Centre in Byelorussia, with the objective of encircling and destroying its main component armies. By 28 June, the German Fourth Army had been destroyed, along with most of the Third Panzer and Ninth Armies; the Red Army exploited the collapse of the German front line to encircle German formations in the vicinity of Minsk in the Minsk Offensive and destroy them, with Minsk liberated on 4 July. With the end of effective German resistance in Byelorussia, the Soviet offensive continued further to Lithuania and Romania over the course of July and August; the Red Army used the Soviet deep battle and maskirovka strategies for the first time to a full extent, albeit with continuing heavy losses.
Operation Bagration diverted German mobile reserves to the central sectors, removing them from the Lublin-Brest and Lvov–Sandomierz areas, enabling the Soviets to undertake the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and Lublin–Brest Offensive. This allowed the Red Army to reach the Vistula river and Warsaw, which in turn put Soviet forces within striking distance of Berlin, conforming to the concept of Soviet deep operations—striking deep into the enemy's strategic depths. Germany's Army Group Centre had proved tough to counter as the Soviet defeat in Operation Mars had shown, but by June 1944, despite shortening its front line, it had been exposed following the defeats of Army Group South in the battles that followed the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Kiev, the Crimean Offensive in the late summer and winter of 1943–44. In the north, Army Group North was pushed back, leaving Army Group Center's lines protruding towards the east and at risk of losing contact with neighbouring army groups; the German High Command expected the next Soviet offensive to fall against Army Group North Ukraine, while it lacked intelligence capabilities to divine the Soviet intentions.
The Wehrmacht had redeployed one-third of Army Group Centre's artillery, half of its tank destroyers, 88 per cent of tanks to the south. The entire operational reserve on the Eastern front was deployed to Model's sector. Army Group Centre only had a total of 580 tanks, tank destroyers, assault guns, they were opposed by over self-propelled guns. German lines were thinly held. Operation Bagration, in combination with the neighbouring Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive, launched a few weeks in Ukraine, allowed the Soviet Union to recapture Belorussia and Ukraine within its 1941 borders, advance into German East Prussia, but more the Lvov-Sandomierz operation allowed the Red Army to reach the outskirts of Warsaw after gaining control of Poland east of the Vistula river; the campaign enabled the next operation, the Vistula–Oder Offensive, to come within sight of the German capital. The Soviets were surprised at the success of the Belorussian operation which had nearly reached Warsaw; the Soviet advance encouraged the Warsaw uprising against the German occupation forces.
The battle has been described as the triumph of the Soviet theory of the "operational art" because of the complete coordination of all the strategic front movements and signals traffic to fool the enemy about the target of the offensive. The military tactical operations of the Red Army avoided the mobile reserves of the Wehrmacht and continually "wrong-footed" the German forces. Despite the massive forces involved, Soviet front commanders left their adversaries confused about the main axis of attack until it was too late; the Russian word maskirovka is equivalent to the English word camouflage, but it has broader application in military use. During World War II the term was used by Soviet commanders to describe measures to create deception with the goal of inflicting surprise on the Wehrmacht forces; the Oberkommando des Heeres expected the Soviets to launch a major Eastern Front offensive in the summer of 1944. The Stavka considered a number of options; the timetable of operations between June and August had been decided on by 28 April 1944.
The Stavka rejected an offensive in either the L'vov sector or the Yassy-Kishinev sectors owing to the presence of powerful enemy mobile forces equal in strength to the Soviet strategic fronts. Instead they suggested four options: an offensive into Romania and through the Carpathian Mountains, an offensive into the western Ukrainian SSR aimed at the Baltic coast, an attack into the Baltic, an offensive in the Belorussian SSR; the first two options were rejected as being too open to flank attack. The third option was rejected on the grounds; the only safe option was an offensive into Belorussia which would enable subsequent offensives from Ukraine into Poland and Romania. The Soviet and German High Commands recognised western Ukraine as a staging area for an offensive into Poland; the Soviets, aware that the enemy would anticipate this, engaged in a maskirovka campaign to catch the German armoured forces off guard by creating a crisis in Belorussia that would force the
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, or flanking manoeuvre is a movement of an armed force around a flank to achieve an advantageous position over an enemy. Flanking is useful. Therefore, to circumvent a force's front and attack a flank is to concentrate offense in the area where the enemy is least able to concentrate defense. Flanking can occur at the operational and strategic levels of warfare; the flanking maneuver is a basic military tactic, with several variations. Flanking an enemy means attacking from one or more sides, at an angle to the enemy's direction of engagement. One type is employed in an ambush, where a unit performs a surprise attack from a concealed position. Units friendly to the ambushing unit may be hidden to the sides of the ambush site to surround the enemy, but care must be taken in setting up fields of fire to avoid friendly fire. Another type is used in the attack. Upon receiving fire from the enemy, the unit commander may decide to order a flank attack. A part of the attacking unit "fixes" the enemy with suppressive fire, preventing them from returning fire, retreating or changing position to meet the flank attack.
The flanking force advances to the enemy flank and attacks them at close range. Coordination to avoid friendly fire is important in this situation; the most effective form of flanking maneuver is the double envelopment, which involves simultaneous flank attacks on both sides of the enemy. A classic example is Hannibal's victory over the Roman armies at the Battle of Cannae. Another example of the double envelopment is Khalid ibn al-Walid's victory over the Persian Empire at the Battle of Walaja. Despite being associated with land warfare, flanking maneuvers have been used in naval battles. A famous example of this is the Battle of Salamis, where the combined naval forces of the Greek city-states managed to outflank the Persian navy and won a decisive victory. Flanking on land in the pre-modern era was achieved with cavalry due to their speed and maneuverability, while armored infantry was used to fix the enemy, as in the Battle of Pharsalus. Armored vehicles such as tanks replaced cavalry as the main force of flanking maneuvers in the 20th century, as seen in the Battle of France in World War II.
The threat of flanking has been existent since the dawn of warfare and the art of being a commander entailed the choice of terrain to allow flanking attacks or prevent them. In addition, proper adjustment and positioning of soldiers is imperative in assuring the protection against flanking. A commander could prevent being flanked by anchoring one or both parts of his line on terrain impassable to his enemies, such as gorges, lakes or mountains, e.g. the Spartans at Thermopylae, Hannibal at the Battle of Lake Trasimene, the Romans at the Battle of Watling Street. Although not impassable, forests, rivers and marshy ground could be used to anchor a flank, e.g. Henry V at Agincourt. However, in such instances it was still wise to have skirmishers covering these flanks. In exceptional circumstances, an army may be fortunate enough to be able to anchor a flank with a friendly castle, fortress or walled city. In such circumstances it was not necessary to fix the line to the fortress but to allow a killing space between the fortress and the battle line so that any enemy forces attempting to flank the field forces could be brought under fire from the garrison.
As good was if natural strongholds could be incorporated into the battle line, e.g. the Union positions of Culp's Hill, Cemetery Hill on the right flank, Big Round Top and Little Round Top on the left flank, at the Battle of Gettysburg. If time and circumstances allowed field fortifications could be created or expanded to protect the flanks, such as the Allied forces did with the hamlet of Papelotte and the farmhouse of Hougoumont on the left and right flanks at the Battle of Waterloo; when the terrain favoured neither side it was down to the disposition of forces in the battle line to prevent flanking attacks. For as long as they had a place on the battlefield, it was the role of cavalry to be placed on the flanks of the infantry battle line. With speed and greater tactical flexibility, the cavalry could both make flanking attacks and guard against them, it was the marked superiority of Hannibal's cavalry at Cannae that allowed him to chase off the Roman cavalry and complete the encirclement of the Roman legions.
With matched cavalry, commanders have been content to allow inaction, with the cavalry of both sides preventing the other from action. With no cavalry, inferior cavalry or in armies whose cavalry had gone off on their own it was down to the disposition of the infantry to guard against flanking attacks, it was the danger of being flanked by the numerically superior Persians that led Miltiades to lengthen the Athenian line at the Battle of Marathon by decreasing the depth of the centre. The importance of the flank positions led to the practise, which became tradition of placing the best troops on the flanks. So that at the Battle of Platea the Tegeans squabbled with Athenians as to who should have the privilege of holding a flank; this is the source of the tradition of giving the honour of the right to the most senior regiment present, that persisted into the modern era. With troops confident and reliable enough to operate in separate dispersed units, the echelon formation may be adopted; this can take different forms with either strong "divisions" or a massively reinforced wing or centre s
M36 tank destroyer
The M36 tank destroyer, formally 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage, M36, was an American tank destroyer used during World War II. The M36 combined the hull of the M10 tank destroyer, which used the M4 Sherman's reliable chassis and drivetrain combined with sloped armor, a massive new turret mounting the 90 mm gun M3. Conceived in 1943, the M36 first served in combat in Europe in October 1944, where it replaced the M10 tank destroyer, it saw use in the Korean War, able to defeat any of the Soviet tanks used in that conflict. Some were supplied to South Korea as part of the Military Assistance Program and served for years, as did re-engined examples found in Yugoslavia, which operated into the 1990s. Two remained in service with the Republic of China Army at least until 2001. American soldiers referred to the M36 as a "TD", an initialism of "tank destroyer". U. S. combined arms doctrine on the eve of World War II held that tanks should be designed to fulfill the role of forcing a breakthrough into enemy rear areas.
Separate GHQ tank battalions would support infantry in destroying fixed enemy defenses, armored divisions would exploit the breakthrough to rush into the enemy's vulnerable rear areas. U. S. tanks were expected to fight any hostile tanks they encountered in their attack, but the mission of destroying massed enemy armored thrusts was assigned to a new branch, the Tank Destroyer Force. Tank destroyer units were meant to counter German blitzkrieg tactics. Tank destroyer units were to be held as a reserve at the corps or army level, were to move to the site of any massed enemy tank breakthrough, maneuvering aggressively and using ambush tactics to destroy enemy tanks; this led to a requirement for fast, well-armed vehicles. Though equipped with turrets, the typical American design was more gunned, but more armored, thus more maneuverable, than a contemporary tank; the idea was to use speed and agility as a defense, rather than thick armor, to bring a powerful self-propelled gun into action against enemy tanks.
With the advent of heavy German armor such as the Panther and Tiger, the standard U. S. tank destroyer, the M10 tank destroyer, was becoming obsolete, because its main armament, the 3-inch gun M7, had difficulty engaging these new tanks frontally past several hundred metres. This was foreseen, in late summer 1942 American engineers had begun analyzing the potential of designing a new tank destroyer armed with a 90mm gun; this study resulted in a prototype vehicle, the 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage T53, which placed the 90 mm gun in an open mounting at the rear of an M4 Sherman chassis. In August 1942, it was agreed to produce 500 vehicles, with 3,500 more later; the Tank Destroyer Force objected. The 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage T53E1 proved to be worse, the entire contract was canceled. In October 1942, the Ordnance Department tested mounting the experimental 90 mm gun T7 into the turret of an M10 tank destroyer. General Andrew Bruce, head of the Tank Destroyer Force, objected to the project, favoring the M18 Hellcat, but was ignored.
Mounting the 90 mm gun was straightforward. A new turret was designed that incorporated power traverse and a massive counterweight to balance the gun; the first two M36 prototypes, designated 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage T71 were completed in September 1943. A request for full production was denied as 90 mm guns were being studied for use on tanks, but Army Ground Forces approved the project in October 1943, tests began; the ring mount on the left side of the turret for the.50 caliber Browning M2HB antiaircraft machine gun was changed to a pintle mount at the rear. It was decided that production vehicles would use the chassis of the M10A1 tank destroyer, as significant amounts of M10A1s were available, it was determined that the M10A1 had superior automotive characteristics. After testing, an initial order for 300 vehicles was issued; the T71 was designated upon standardization on June 1, 1944 as the 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage M36. After July 1943, the appliqué armor bosses on the hull side of the M10A1 were deleted as the armor kits were never manufactured.
This meant. The M36 retained the M10A1's "stirrup" gun rest on the rear hull; as the massive muzzle blast of the 90 mm gun obscured the crew's vision and reduced the rate of fire, a double-baffle muzzle brake was fitted to all vehicles after the first 600, beginning in early November 1944. A proper folding travel lock better-suited to the 90 mm gun was added to the rear hull at about this time; the gun itself was modified with a better equilibrator and more powerful elevating mechanism. As the initial contract was for 300 vehicles, General Motors' Fisher Tank Arsenal produced the last 300 M10A1 tank destroyers in January 1944 without turrets for immediate conversion to M36s; this conversion lasted from April to July 1944. The contract was increased to 500 vehicles, as it was decided that existing M10A1s were to be converted to M36s; the requirement was increased to 600 vehicles on May 15, 1944. As it was found that the M10 tank destroyer had struggled against German tanks like the Panther and the Tiger during the Normandy campaign, the contract was increased to 1,400 vehicles on July 29, 1944.
This caused problems, as only 913 of the 1,413 M10A1s, completed could be requisitioned from training units. Due to t