It was the war that changed it all, but how much do you know about the military tactics that were used? Some were common practice, and some were revolutionary. Let's explore how much you know!
More than anything, cooperation between forces was required during WWII. There was detailed planning between armored units, infantry and engineers.
When facing enemy anti-tank guns, it was definitely the infantry that went in first. This was also the case in extensive tank minefields.
Basic infantry assault doctrine was initially based on covering fire tactics. These were used in the final phase of World War I.
In German, "blitzkrieg" means "lightning war." it is a military tactic designed to create disorganization in the enemy forces.
Blitzkrieg is designed for short military campaigns. This is meant to preserve human lives and also limits the expenditure of artillery.
Traditional 12-man rifle squads were formed, including a squad leader, a scout section, and a fire section. There was also a five-man maneuver and assault section.
Chief of Staff of the Army Ground Forces Lesley J. McNair was one of the first lobbyists for "armor above all." He was an opponent of a traditional infantry and artillery team, well supported with tanks and close support aircraft.
General George S. Patton was indeed against a swift armored thrust. He used a more slow-moving type of battle.
In rugged terrain, it was incredibly difficult for the rifle squad leader to control fire. Often, the squad and platoon leader engaged in fire as well.
Most sizable infantry formations had tanks. Most infantry teams were supported by three to seven tanks, in fact.
It was common practice for tanks to advance first. Sometimes they'd advance with the infantry skirmish line, and often they would carry infantry on the tank.
During WWII, communication became more important than ever. Communication between all parts of the armed forces was essential for success.
The Marching Fire Offensive was favored by General Patton's Third Army. This method resulted in heavier casualties, however.
The infantry would move forward in a thick skirmish line, with tanks close by. BARs and LMGs went with them. These are Browning Automatic Rifles and Light Machine Guns.
Shock action played a large role in WWII. Marching fire also involved a great deal of mutual support.
The blitzkrieg was first attempted in Poland in 1939. From there, the tactic was successfully employed with invasions of Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
German commander Erwin Rommel was famous for using the blitzkrieg during the North African campaign of WWII. Patton eventually adopted it for the army's European operations.
General Patton had a clear understanding of the difference between haste and speed. He emphasized the need for armored attacks to be as closely coordinated as in the infantry division.
Tanks were useful for "reconnaissance by fire." When they led, they would shoot at likely hiding places for enemy anti-tank guns.
Patton proposed smoke to blind the enemy OPs and guns. This was particularly important when it came to crossing open ground.
This is a famous quote from General George S. Patton. It is extracted from the Letter of Instruction No 3., dated May 20, 1944, and issued by HQ Third United States Army.
Blitzkrieg was basically made possible by the combination of the internal combustion engine and modern communication technology. Large formations moving on wheels and directed by radios could rupture an enemy's front and disorganize them.
It's false that the term blitzkrieg was used in German military manuals and handbooks. Most consider to the word to be of foreign origin, coined by their enemies.
1940 was a pretty crazy year. Thanks to blitzkrieg, German forces were able to crush the combined forces of four nations within six weeks.
Aircraft technology advanced the fastest during WWII. By the end of the war, America was dominating the skies.
WWI bi-planes still played an important role in WWII. The most effective of these was the Italian Fiat C. 4.42 Falco, or Falcon.
It's false that there was absolutely no cavalry in WWII. Germany had four cavalry divisions in the war, and the Soviets had 13.
Are you surprised? 80% of the Wehrmacht was horse-drawn. Vehicles were important during WWII, but they weren't everything.
This is no joke. The Brits used 250,000 homing pigeons for communication during WWII. They were used to transmit sensitive information.
WWI is most closely associated with trench warfare. However, even in WWII, troops were often forced to dig in for the long term and construct fortification.
Both the Axis and the Allies employed flooding as a military tactic in WWII. The deliberate flooding of low-lying areas dates back hundreds of years.
The challenge that the war posed for America led to the "Armored Force." The U.S. called for 50 to 60 armored divisions after the German blitz.
Okay, no one toyed with eco-friendly warfare in WWII. But Japan did engage in a bit of biological warfare. However, germ warfare has been around for over 3,500 years.
The approach proposed by Lesley J. McNair focused on flexibility and a balanced team of all arms. This became the basis of American tactics.
At the start of the war, American weapons and concepts were slightly outdated. That's why the German blitzkrieg of 1940 came as such an impressive shock!