Masters of the Panzer Universe Reunion
I recently finished reading Friedrich von Mellenthin’s classic Panzer Battles and I decided to Google around a little bit to check some things. That lead me to a fascinating document, a summary of a 1980 conference on tactical warfare where von Mellenthin and General Hermann Balck discussed their experiences fighting the Russians in World War 2 and also made suggestions for how a U.S. armored division could counter a Soviet strike in the Fulda Gap.
This quote from the summary gives away the basics of how Balck and Mellenthin fought the Russian onslaught:
The first set of questions by General Otis and the other American participants dealt with the advisability of turning a Soviet tank division loose in the army rear area and deep into the heavily populated areas north of Frankfurt. To this the generals replied at first that the farther the enemy goes, the greater the opportunity for his destruction.
The Soviets were also sticking to their World War 2 experience: Tanks! Lots and lots and lots of tanks!
At about the same time as the conference was held I read an article in some military intelligence magazine (my brother’s best friend’s father worked as an intelligence analyst in the Old Country and had fun magazines like that laying about) about NATO’s new deep-battlefield strategy, which wasn’t all that different from the free-wheeling battles that Balck and Mellenthin favored.
I hope I’ll get around to posting more on von Mellenthin and armored tactics soon.