Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Battle of the Belgian Plains essays

The Battle of the Belgian Plains essays In Gunsburgs article he tries to examine the first great armored battle that took place on the plains of Belgium in May of 1940, and to note the part it played in the historic Allied defeat. Principally to analyze the battle as a test case of the French conception of mechanized warfare in 1940. Gunsburg believes that too much has been written on this subject and much of it based on ignorance. He believes that other reasons need to be found for the French collapse. Hitlers plan was for General Erich Hoepners XVI Army Corps (the spearhead of the German Sixth Army, and the whole Army of Group B) was to seize the area of the Allied front of Gembloux before the Allies could settle in there and tie down the Allied force in Belgium until the principal German thrust could cut it off. Here the first great armored battle would play a major strategic role. The main question was would Hoepners Panzers forestall the First Army at Gembloux, or would General Rene Priouxs mechanized Cavalry Corps check them and free the powerful French forces to meet the main German thrust to the south? Through sources from German military reports and Journals of French Officers Corps, we see that Hoepners Panzers were unable to forestall the First Army at Gembloux despite the superiority of the Luftwaffe. However, Hoepners leap onto the Belgian plain tied down the elite Cavalry Corps and part of the French First Army while the decisive German assault succeeded on the Muese to the southeast. This first tank battle showed that the two forces more evenly balanced than either side expected, the strength of the French armor and armament offsetting the German superiority in numbers of tanks and infantry and in the air. In the end it was Priouxs choice to play it safe and deploy his Cavalry Corps to meet the Panzers at prepared positions rather than to strike the Panzers as they struggled over the wat...

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