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On 1 September 1939, when Germany attacked Poland, the Wehrmacht numbered 3,180,000 men. It eventually expanded to 9,500,000, and on 8-9 May 1945, the date of its unconditional surrender on the Western and Eastern Fronts, it still numbered 7,800,000. The Blitzkrieg period, from 1 September 1939 to 25 June 1940, was 10 months of almost total triumph for the Wehrmacht, as it defeated every country, except Great Britain, that took the field against it. In this first of five volumes examining the German Army of World War II (1939-1945), Nigel Thomas examines the uniforms and insignia of Hitler's Blitzkrieg forces, including an overview of the Blitzkrieg campaign itself.
In August 1914 the mobilization of Imperial Germany's 800,000-strong army ushered in the first great war of the modern age - a war which still stands as the greatest slaughter of soldiers in history. That German Army is also the best example of a particular period of military thought, when virtually the whole manpower of the European nations was integrated into mass conscript armies, supported by several age categories of reservists and by dedicated industrial and transport systems. In this first of three volumes the author offers an extraordinary mass of information, in text and tables, illustrated by photographs and colour plates.
This third volume of a mini-series covering the German forces in World War I (1914-1918) examines the troops that fought during the climax of the war on all fronts: the last great battles of attrition in the West (Arras, Messines, 3rd Ypres - Passchendaele/Langemarck - and Cambrai, 1917) and the collapse of Russia in the East. The 'Kaiserschlacht' campaign is covered, as are the German operations in Italy, the Balkans, and in support of Turkey in the Middle East. Uniform changes during this period reflected the introduction of new tactics and weapons and new types of troops, such as tanks and assault battalions.
The Baltic nations - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - enjoyed a brief independence between the World Wars before being annexed by the USSR in 1940 during World War II. The grim experience of Soviet occupation made it inevitable that after the German invasion of Russia in 1941 they would fight beside the Wehrmacht as allies against the Red Army while always hoping for restored independence. That hope was crushed again in 1944-45; yet 'Forest Brother' guerrillas continued to fight against hopeless odds for years after the second Soviet occupation. This extraordinary story is illustrated here with rare photos, insignia charts, tables of units and detailed uniform plates.
The armies of Scandinavia and the Low Countries bore the first crushing impact of Hitler's mighty Blitzkrieg war machine in Western Europe, in campaigns that astonished and terrified the world.The German Wehrmacht was millions strong, equipped with the latest guns, tanks and aircraft, and had the priceless advantage of having learned the realities of modern warfare in Poland the previous September. The defenders of Scandinavia and the Low Countries were raised from small populations, and were inadequately funded, trained, equipped and armed. Their modest numbers, inexperience, and largely indefensible borders condemned them to rapid defeat - in a few hours (Denmark), a few days (Holland), a couple of weeks (Belgium), and at most two months (Norway). For this reason they have tended to be neglected by history - in many cases, unjustly. Vastly outnumbered - and, in the case of the neutral Low Countries, with their potential French and British allies reeling under simultaneous attacks - thousands of soldiers fought heroically in the hopeless defence of their homelands against the Nazi juggernaut.Tiny Denmark had only 6,600 troops when it was invaded on 9 April 1940 by six times as many Germans with air and tank support; resistance lasted only four hours. On the same day, mountainous Norway, with 25,000 men mainly scattered in small numbers along its cliff-bound coastline, was invaded by the first elements of seven German seaborne and airborne divisions totalling 100,000 men. A British, French and Free Polish force landed to support the Norwegians, but despite the serious casualties inflicted on the German forces the country was finally forced to surrender two months later on 9 June 1940.In the mean time the massive German Operation Yellow, undertaken by 2.75 million troops backed by strong air forces, had fallen on the neutral Netherlands and Belgium (10 May), and on France (16 May). The 250,000 Netherlands troops put up unexpectedly stubborn resistance, but were ordered to surrender on 15 May after the German bombing of Rotterdam. Belgium had mobilised some 900,000 troops, and received some help from Britain and France, but the resistance faltered as Panzergruppe Von Kleist outflanked them through the supposedly impassable Ardennes; Belgium requested an armistice on 26 May, and surrendered on the 28th. Between 26 May and 4 June the survivors of the British Expeditionary Force were evacuated from Dunkirk. On 10 June the Germans crossed the Seine; the French government fled Paris on the 12th; on the 17th Marshal Pétain requested an armistice, and France finally capitulated on 22 June.Informed by the latest research and drawing upon archival records and period photography, this absorbing study explains the organization and combat performance and depicts the appearance of the armies of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium as they sought to counter overwhelming German forces in the fateful spring of 1940.
The Royal Hungarian Army was Germany's largest ally on the Eastern Front during World War II (1939-1945), providing a vital contribution in terms of both men and equipment. Information about the Hungarian Army in English is rare, and in this book co-authors Nigel Thomas and Hungarian expert Laszlo Szabo fill in the gaps about an important German ally.Deployed in Ukraine at the beginning of the war, the Hungarian Army were involved in a number of brutal encounters with the Red Army, including stubborn resistance in Transylvania in the summer of 1944 and the brave defence of Budapest in the face of overwhelming odds. The Hungarian Army was a varied and colorful force, ranging from mountain troops and tank units to horse cavalry and specialist infantry. All of these are illustrated in full color artwork, and the text is full of details about the Hungarian Army's own, quite distinct uniforms and insignia as well as many of its own weapons and tanks. With so little of this information readily available outside of Hungary, this is an essential starter resource for war gamers, modelers, re-enactors and military historians.
Though the 'Wehrmachtsgefolge' (Armed Forces Auxiliaries) were generally inferior to their armed forces equivalents, their contribution to the German war-effort was far from negligible. Auxiliaries including the NSKK, Transportkorps Speer, Reichsarbeitsdienst and Organization Todt supported the Wehrmacht in their duties. In 1944, the strength of these organizations peaked at 3,800,000-40% of the size of the armed forces. As they became increasingly aware of their importance, the Auxiliaries introduced uniform and insignia modifications which made them virtually indistinguishable from their comrades in the armed forces. This book examines the organization, uniforms and history of the various Wehrmacht auxiliary forces of World War II.
This title presents a detailed analysis of the Soviet Army at the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), including the Red Army's campaigns against Japan on the Manchurian plains as well as in Finland. It also covers the Red Army's first operations during Operation Barbarossa when the Red Army was forced to defend Mother Russia against the German onslaught. With a breakdown of all the armed forces including the army, air force, paratroopers, navy and NKVD troops, author Nigel Thomas gives special attention to the evolution of uniforms, equipment and insignia with the introduction of new regulations in 1935 and 1940.
Osprey's examination of Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia's involvement in the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1995), as well as their involvement in the conflicts of the years that followed. Following the death of the Yugoslavian strongman President Tito in 1980, the several semi-autonomous republics and provinces that he had welded into a nation in 1945 moved inexorably towards separation. As the world watched a series of wars ripped through this modern European state. In this second of two volumes, experts on the Balkan region give an unprecedented, clear and concise explanation of the armies of the the Bosnian Civil War 1992-5 as well as the conflicts in Kosovo and Macedonia. This includes the regular and militia forces which fought in these campaigns and which ultimately resulted in the UN/NATO policing of the region that continues to this day. The book is illustrated with rare photos and an extraordinary range of colour uniform plates.
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