Portal:Military history of Germany

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Introduction

While German-speaking people have a long history, Germany as a nation state dates only from 1871. Earlier periods are subject to definition debates. The Franks, for instance, comprised a union of Germanic tribes; nevertheless, some descendants of the Franks later identified themselves as Dutch, Flemish, French and again others as Germans. The capital of the medieval ruler Charlemagne's empire, the city of Aachen, lies in present-day Germany, yet he was a Frank. Though France takes its name from the Franks, the Dutch and Flemish people are the only ones to speak a language that descends directly from Frankish (the language of the Franks). Hence nearly all continental Western European historians can claim Charlemagne's victories as their heritage. The Holy Roman Empire he founded c.  800 was largely - but far from entirely - German-speaking. The Kingdom of Prussia, which unified Germany in the 19th century, had significant territory in what is now Poland. In the early 19th century, the philosopher Schlegel referred to Germany as a Kulturnation - a nation of shared culture and political disunity, analogous to ancient Greece. Until the unification of 1871, Austria was considered a part of Germany - even though much of its empire never formed part of the Holy Roman Empire and was non-German in language and in ethnicity. ( Full article...)

Selected article

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-218-0504-36, Russland-Süd, Panzer III, Schützenpanzer, 24.Pz.Div..jpg

Blitzkrieg ( German, "lightning war" About this sound listen ) is a method of warfare whereby an attacking force spearheaded by a dense concentration of armoured and motorised or mechanised infantry formations with close air support, breaks through the opponent's line of defence by short, fast, powerful attacks and then dislocates the defenders, using speed and surprise to encircle them, assisted by Pervitin, a form of Amphetamine, given to drivers to keep them awake. Through the employment of combined arms in manoeuvre warfare, blitzkrieg attempts to unbalance the enemy by making it difficult for it to respond to the continuously changing front and defeating it in a decisive [Vernichtungsschlacht] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup ( help) (" battle of annihilation").

During the interwar period, aircraft and tank technologies matured and were combined with systematic application of the traditional German tactic of [Bewegungskrieg] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup ( help) (" maneuver warfare"), deep penetrations and the bypassing of enemy strong points to encircle and destroy enemy forces in a [Kesselschlacht] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup ( help) ("cauldron battle"). During the Invasion of Poland, Western journalists adopted the term blitzkrieg to describe this form of armoured warfare. The term had appeared in 1935, in a German military periodical [Deutsche Wehr] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup ( help) ("German Defense"), in connection to quick or lightning warfare. German manoeuvre operations were successful in the campaigns of 1939–1941 and by 1940 the term blitzkrieg was extensively used in Western media. Blitzkrieg operations capitalized on surprise penetrations (e.g., the penetration of the Ardennes forest region), general enemy unreadiness and their inability to match the pace of the German attack. During the Battle of France, the French made attempts to re-form defensive lines along rivers but were frustrated when German forces arrived first and pressed on.

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Selected biography

Kapitän zur See Ernst Lindemann as commander of the German battleship Bismarck on 24 August 1940

Otto Ernst Lindemann (28 March 1894–27 May 1941) was a German naval captain. He was the only commander of the battleship Bismarck during its eight months of service in World War II.

Lindemann joined the German Imperial Navy ( German: Kaiserliche Marine) in 1913, and after his basic military training, served on a number of warships during World War I as a wireless telegraphy officer. On board SMS Bayern, he participated in Operation Albion in 1917. After World War I, he served in various staff and naval gunnery training positions. One year after the outbreak of World War II, he was appointed commander of the battleship Bismarck, at the time the largest warship in commission anywhere in the world and the pride of the German Navy ( Kriegsmarine).

In May 1941, Lindemann commanded Bismarck during Operation Rheinübung. Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen—under the command of Admiral Günther Lütjens—were to break out of their base in German occupied Poland and attack British merchant shipping lanes in the Atlantic Ocean. The task force's first major engagement was the Battle of the Denmark Strait which resulted in the sinking of HMS Hood. Less than a week later, on 27 May, Lindemann and most of his crew lost their lives during Bismarck's last battle.

He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross ([Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup ( help)), an honour that recognised extreme bravery on the battlefield or outstanding military leadership. The medal was presented to his widow, Hildegard, on 6 January 1942. ( Read more)

Selected picture

Battle-Mars-Le-Tour-large.jpg
The Prussian 7th Cuirassiers charge the French guns at the Battle of Mars-La-Tour, August 16, 1870

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SMS Prinzregent Luitpold

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Military history of Germany(57 C, 68 P)
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