Discuss the influences on the development of the Panzer arm

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Discuss the influences on the development of the Panzer arm

March 2004

The work submitted is my own work; all material I have used from other sources has been referenced with footnotes.

Discuss the influences on the development of the Panzer arm

Before looking at the British influences on the Germans, we must ask the question: who exactly in Germany created the Panzer arm? Hitler, War Minister Bloomberg, the Head of the Ministerial Office Reichenau and the Army's Commander in Chief Fritsch either supported or were sympathetic to the creation of large armoured formations. The overall responsibility fell to the Chief of Army's General Staff, General Ludwig Beck. According to Guderian, he was conservative and had no modern understanding of modern technology, and objected to the idea of Panzer formations larger than brigades or to the strategic employment of armour.

Erich von Manstein, who as the head of the operations branch and then deputy chief of the general staff, presented his chiefs case and his own against Guderians charges.

Manstein described Guderian as:

"The man who is rightly regarded the creator of the German Panzer arm...Nobody familiar with the development of this question would dispute that without Guderians tenacity and combative temperament, the German Army would not have had the Panzer arm, upon which its success in the first war years largely rested."

Manstein argued that Guderian saw only the Panzer arm, but the general staff had to consider the whole army. He further argued that in contrast to the enthusiastic and impatient Guderian, the chief of the general staff could not responsibly commit the Germany army to revolutionary armour doctrine and organisation before these were fully tested and proven in exercises and manoeuvres. Manstein pointed out it was Beck, who after sufficient evidence had been gathered, ordered the...