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"Czechs vs Germans, 1938" Topic


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867 hits since 11 Apr 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Lucius11 Apr 2018 7:56 p.m. PST

I'm reading William Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich". He lays out a compelling case(from German testimony at Nuremburg and quotes from Hitler) that the Germans probably did not have the ablility to break the Czech border defenses in 1938.

THe Czechs had 35 well-trained divisions and the strongest defensive line in Europe. They could at the minimum tied up the majority of the German Army for a long time, leaving the German border with France almost completely undefended. France could have overun Germany in a rout.

Has anyone gamed the Czech-German part of this? I don't suppose there are any Spearhead(or other) scenarios floating around, are there?

Griefbringer12 Apr 2018 2:54 a.m. PST

I did also read that work last year, and found the concept of the hypothetical invasion across Czech border interesting. Don't forget that there were even some officers considering a conspiracy against Hitler to prevent him starting such a war.

GreenLeader12 Apr 2018 3:09 a.m. PST

Very interesting question.

I have always been baffled by the claims that 'Britain left the Czechs to their fate' etc, given that the Czech army in 1938 was so much bigger than the British one.

advocate12 Apr 2018 3:20 a.m. PST

There was a Command magazine game -"What if they had fought" it may have been called.

Texas Jack12 Apr 2018 4:05 a.m. PST

I have gamed it and yes, the Czechs can more than hold their own- on the ground. In the air, however, the Germans have it their own way.

I live in the Czech Republic and most historians I have spoken to here are very happy such a war did not take place. I was mostly surprised at how pessimistic they all were regarding the chances of Czech success. One thing to keep in mind is that the Slovaks would not have been enthusiastic supporters of Czech interests, and would have gone to the other side the first chance any one of them got.
Aside from that, Poland used the occupation to grab what they could from Czech, and who knows what their reaction would have been had there been an all out war?

Gaming it is great though! The Germans have a tough time with Czech armor, and the Czech "Fast Divisions" allow a nice mobile aspect that gets away from static defenses.

Lucius12 Apr 2018 4:12 a.m. PST

GreenLeader, Shirer made it clear that the British and French were threatening more than just abandoning the Czechs. They were hinting joint military action WITH GERMANY, and sanctions to make the diktat happen.

The Czechs also thought that a bad deal that guaranteed their existence would save them from having Poland and Hungary rip parts of Czechoslovakia away from them. The British and French abandoned this part of the deal, and the Poles and Hungarians stole big chunks of land as well.

Lucius12 Apr 2018 4:15 a.m. PST

Great points, Texas Jack. What rules did you use?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Apr 2018 4:23 a.m. PST

I just read William Manchester's massive 3-volume biography of Winston Churchill and a great deal of the third volume deals with the Czech crisis. Churchill (and some others) hoped to form a solid alliance of England, France, and the other countries which border Czechoslovakia to oppose German aggression. Had that been done then it is entirely probable that Hitler would have backed off, or been deposed by the army if he refused to back off, or beaten in the field if the invasion had gone ahead.

But no such alliance could be formed. The will was lacking in England and France and as noted, several of Czechoslovakia's neighbors were looking to grab parts of the country themselves.

Texas Jack12 Apr 2018 4:32 a.m. PST

@Lucius: Those were my 10mm days (when I was younger and could see much better!), and I used Blitzkrieg Commander II, but with a bit modified command system.

I would love to do it in 1/72 now with IABSM, but I don´t think anyone makes Czech infantry as of yet. You could perhaps fudge it with Polish infantry but the machine guns are all wrong.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2018 5:37 a.m. PST

There are a number of boardgames exploring this "what if".

S&T had "Case Green: The War for Czechoslovakia, 1938"

Command Magazine had "Czecholslovakia, 1938"

Schutze games had "Czechoslovakia Defiant"

There are others

Legion 412 Apr 2018 7:25 a.m. PST

Fought a scenario like this in the old SPI Kampfpanzer Game. Interesting … Plus the Czech 35 & 38Ts were superior to many of the German AFVs at that time period. The Germans obtained many and used them in some of their Panzer Divs, in the France '40 Campaign, and afterwards.

However, I have to go with Germans understanding of modern mobile combined arms warfare, i.e. the Blitzkrieg. Which includes the effective use of the LW. In the long run the Germans would have "won" pre se.

As a side bar, Rommel's 7th Pz Div in France '40 had a number of 38 and/or 35Ts.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2018 8:27 a.m. PST

For the invasion of Poland the German 1st Leichte Divsion had 112 35t and the 3rd Leichte has 55 38t

For invasion of France 3rd Panzer had 118 35t, 7th Panzer had 91 38t and 8th Panzer had 116 38t.

As to Czechoslovakia Hitler anticipated, if invasion were necessary, it would take place by 1 Oct. On 1 Oct 38 the following are the total number of tanks the Germans had:
Pz I 1,468
Pz II 823
Pz III 59
Pz IV 76

Legion 412 Apr 2018 9:00 a.m. PST

Thanks for the breakdown Marc. As we see, the bulk of the German Panzers were Pz I and IIs, both "out classed" by the 35s and 38ts.

Of course during the Poland invasion, the Poles had little armor and what they had were still generally very light AFVs and fewer in numbers. link And again the 35s and 38ts were "superior" …

However, most Infantrymen of that early war period had no real AT weapons. On hand per se. Save for AT guns, which in many case they were not where the were needed, and/or low in numbers, etc. So to the '39-'40 Infantrymen the Pz Is and IIs were very effective if not deadly.

Again, the Germans were pretty much the only force in the world that was not fighting the last war. So to speak. Plus understood "blitzkrieg", etc., and could execute it effectively. While the rest of the world's armor/mech forces, etc., … not so much, generally …

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2018 9:57 a.m. PST

The Czechs had about 350 tanks and 70+ tankettes. The tanks would be a mix of Vz. 34s and 35s, the 38 wasnt manufactured until 39. The Czechs also had some 600 37mm AT guns which were adequate to deal with German tanks of the period. The Czech Army, while in excess of 1.2 million men upon full mobilization, was 300,000 regulars.

Lucius12 Apr 2018 10:24 a.m. PST

One other question is whether a blitzkrieg would have worked in Bohemia. It is not conducive to tank warfare. I really was surprised by the number of Germans at Nuremberg that flatly stated that they could not have punched through.

Texas Jack12 Apr 2018 10:45 a.m. PST

I live in a village in the south of Bohemia, and I am surrounded by high rolling hills and thick forests. This is not good tank country at all.

Fred Cartwright12 Apr 2018 10:51 a.m. PST

Everyone assumes the Germans are all about Panzers. The German infantry, particularly the early war divisions with decent artillery support, weapons devolved down to the appropriate command level and good officers and NCO's were formidable. It was the infantry that ripped great holes in front lines for the Panzers to pour through. So a 1938confrontation comes down to how well the German infantry would have coped with the Czech defences and the fighting in areas which are not good tank country.

khanscom12 Apr 2018 8:21 p.m. PST

From "Hitler's Army" published by Command magazine, some intriguing possibilities:

Czechs had prepared to receive from 450- 600 Soviet aircraft, and the Romanians had acceded to Soviet requests to provide a corridor for passage of both Soviet air and ground(!) forces to Czechoslovakia.

Obviously nothing came of this but what an interesting scenario that would make for a campaign.

Texas Jack13 Apr 2018 1:37 a.m. PST

Wow khanscom, you really opened a can of worms there! Also tons of fun possibilities, such as SB2s and I-15s.

deephorse13 Apr 2018 2:37 a.m. PST

and the Romanians had acceded to Soviet requests to provide a corridor for passage of both Soviet air and ground(!) forces to Czechoslovakia.

The ground forces bit of which is contradicted in the book "Triumph of the Dark" by Zara Steiner.

Legion 413 Apr 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

One other question is whether a blitzkrieg would have worked in Bohemia. It is not conducive to tank warfare.
Armored Forces can still be useful in many types of terrain. Tactics and Techniques may have to be modified. I commanded a Mech Co.(M113s) '87-'89. In the Southern states of the USA, the Mojave Desert. And briefly in (West) Germany …

Everyone assumes the Germans are all about Panzers. The German infantry, particularly the early war divisions with decent artillery support, weapons devolved down to the appropriate command level and good officers and NCO's were formidable. It was the infantry that ripped great holes in front lines for the Panzers to pour through. So a 1938confrontation comes down to how well the German infantry would have coped with the Czech defences and the fighting in areas which are not good tank country.
Exactly ! Such a Good post I had to repeat it. For one thing the Germans had many, many more Infantry formations than Panzer.

The German Infantry at the beginning of WWII like many of their branches/forces were "superior" to anything much of the Euro militaries could field.

high rolling hills and thick forests. This is not good tank country at all.
Well trained troops know how to use Armor/Mech forces in many types of terrain. But in terrain like that, the Tank's role becomes more of Infantry Support. Just like in MOUT.

I've ran a few Armor/Mech Ops in (West)Germany in the late '80s. You'd find terrain like that in some locations there. As well as in many other parts of Europe. Remember the French wrongly believed that the Ardennes was impassible to Armor. As we saw, they were proved very wrong in the Spring of '40.

As well as the German had very little armor in Denmark and Norway in '40. Before they invade Belgium, France, etc. link But had some and it proved to have some use. From that link:


As stated before, Norway was not seen as the "tank country" and only limited tank force, equipped with either obsolete or pre-production tanks was formed. The opposing tank force was French and consisted of 342nd and 351st Compagnie Autonome de Chars (Independent Tank Company), each equipped with 15 Hotchkiss H-39 light tanks. There is no evidence of combat between German and French tanks, limiting use of German tanks to support the infantry operations, while being supported by the airforce itself. In many cases tanks proved to be very effective providing infantry with support and cover. The experience of using tanks in mountainous and deeply wooded areas proved valuable in Russia and the Balkans, where similar conditions were encountered. After its combat experience in Norway, Pz. Abt. z. b. V. 40 was transferred to Finland in the winter of 1941/42 and was incorporated into 25th Panzer Division in 1943.
Again, Armor used as Infantry Support …

The French and US/ARVN, as well as NVA/PAVN had Armor in Vietnam. And even when I was in Panama in the early '80s. The Bde there had Mech units.

Plus we had 2 Tank Bns(M60s) and 2 Mech Bns(M113s) in the 2ID when I was there in '84-'85 … All considered not "good" tank terrain. Regardless, Armor/Mech units were used in those location/areas. Even in the Korean War the North had @ 150 T34/85s and some SU-76s. In the first battles of that war those overran many ROK and US units/positions, etc.

Combined Arms works in many locations and in many types of terrain. But the deployment just has to be "modified" and adjusted to the current terrain & situation …

Now would the Germans invading the Czech's Territory in '38 have been successful ? Probably, if for no other reasons than in that time period and a few years afterwards. They defeated all the forces of Europe that they met in battle.

by the number of Germans at Nuremberg that flatly stated that they could not have punched through.
Regardless of what they may have said after the war.
They may not have "punched" thru. But they most likely would have still defeated the Czechs in the long run.
Of course that is just my opinion. I could be wrong, I was not there …

Lucius13 Apr 2018 11:32 a.m. PST

Great post, Legion 4.

The Germans probably would have won in the long run, BUT to do so they would have had to put everything into it. Any delay at all would have been fatal.

According to Shirer,this effort would have left 5 poor quality divisions facing the entire French Army of 100 divisions in the West. Any public commitment at all would have doomed the German advance, but Chamberlain's bizarre insistence on giving Hitler MORE than he asked for, and browbeating the Czechs with threats of Allied action, did the Czechs in.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 12:11 p.m. PST

The Germans left minimal forces in the west when they invaded Poland a year later. The French did little.

Daniel S13 Apr 2018 1:32 p.m. PST

Minimal forces? Army Group C had 30 odd divisions if Niehorster is correct and that is not counting border guards and independent regiments and battalions.

On top of that allied intelligence badly overestimated the strenght of the "west wall" and the German armed forces in general at the time. They had no idea that the German logistics were crap and even the short Polish campaign was enough to put them on the brink of running out of munitions. Had the French and the BEF attacked in 1939 the Germans would have run out of ammunition in a few weeks and they would not have had enough muntions for all of their divisions to begin with.

Of course the French had learned the lessons of their wastefull offensives 1914-1917 a bit too well and were fully commited to letting the Germans batter themselves bloddy against their defences before launching a counter attack.

Daniel S13 Apr 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

The Wehrmacht of 1938 was not the force it was in 1939 let alone in 1940. Even with the equipment taken from Austrian and Czechoslovakia, the additional training up to 1939 and the large scale re-training program during the "Phoney War" to correct all the flaws that had been discovered in Poland only 49% of the German divisions were fully combat ready in May 1940.

In 1938 the Germans would have been in the middle of suffering all of the problems caused by the rapid expansion of armed forces, the army in particular had a list of problems a mile long. Just look at the problems suffered during the Anschluss with 2nd Panzer losing 30% of it's tanks without facing any resistance.
A 1938 invasion of Czechoslovakia would have been a very messy affair with an uncertain outcome, well suited to what-if scenarions if you give the Germans their actual capabilities rather than doing what the boardgames have done and assumed that they would have operated as in 1940 minus 10-20% depending on the unit.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 2:57 p.m. PST

Not all Divisions in Army Group C were up to strength and due to the fact much of the transportation was stripped away for use in Poland left them pretty much static. All 5 of Germany's Panzer Divisons, all 4 of their Motorized Divisions, all 4 of their Light Divisions and all 3 of their Mountain Divisions were committed against Poland as was the bulk of their army. The majority of the Luftwaffe was also committed to Poland. Many of the border guard, as well as mobilized reserves, were sent east to cover what the German's saw a a weakness in their center which might tempt the Poles to launch an offensive. It is estimated, for example, in the Saar region Army Group C had approximately 100 artillery pieces for the whole area.

And the French did attack, the ill fated Saar offensive.

Legion 413 Apr 2018 3:05 p.m. PST

Great post, Legion 4.
Thanks Lucius
The Germans probably would have won in the long run, BUT to do so they would have had to put everything into it. Any delay at all would have been fatal.
Possibly, but again I was not there. However, we do all know, that any OBJ can be taken if you are willing to pay the price in assets, i.e. blood & treasure the saying goes … I still believe the overall effectiveness and efficiency that the Germans repeatedly demonstrated in the first few years of the war would have given them the edge. The Czech military at the time was like many in Europe at that time. They were fighting the last war and were really in no condition to go to war with Nazi German War machine. Again, as we see repeatedly in those early years of WWII it the ETO. But again, I could be wrong …
According to Shirer,this effort would have left 5 poor quality divisions facing the entire French Army of 100 divisions in the West. Any public commitment at all would have doomed the German advance, but Chamberlain's bizarre insistence on giving Hitler MORE than he asked for, and browbeating the Czechs with threats of Allied action
A good point but as other's pointed out the "allies" did nothing, in many cases, e.g. The Phony War.

In 1938 the Germans would have been in the middle of suffering all of the problems caused by the rapid expansion of armed forces, the army in particular had a list of problems a mile long. Just look at the problems suffered during the Anschluss with 2nd Panzer losing 30% of it's tanks without facing any resistance.
True … but I still think they were better "suited" to go to war than the Czechs … But again, I was not there … so

Texas Jack14 Apr 2018 3:54 a.m. PST

Ralph I always enjoy your military insights, but I will have to disagree that the Czech army was prepared to fight WWI all over again. True, their main line of defense was a series of fortifications, but they also maintained what they called Fast Divisions, which were mechanized and designed to move quickly to fill any gap that the Germans may have created in their defenses.

I am not saying they would have done any blitzkrieging, but the Czech army was open to innovation and not fixated on the past.

As an aside, my late father in law was in the army at the time and told me in his unit the Czechs were disappointed they didn´t fight the Germans, while the Slovaks were decidedly pro-German. Wouldn´t have been very comfortable going into battle not being able to trust the fellows around you.

Katzbalger14 Apr 2018 6:04 a.m. PST

TJ--If you do gun swaps on the MG figures (taking Bren guns from Brit figures to replace the BARs from Polish figures) I think you can just about do it, infantry figure-wise.

Not perfect, but for me, at lest, good enough.

I lived for a few years up by the German/Polish border of Czechoslovakia and can verify that area is essentially like the Ardennes--forested, hilly/low mountains, and would have been a VERY tough fight for any attacker (assuming the defender was ready). On the other hand, the area around Praha (Prague), looks to me like fine tank country.

Rob

Texas Jack14 Apr 2018 6:32 a.m. PST

Thanks Rob, it would be good enough for me too! It looks like I get to plan a new project. grin

I agree with you on the area around Prague, it is one of the few flat spots in the whole country. Of course getting there would have been the problem.

Legion 414 Apr 2018 6:38 a.m. PST

Texas Jack, no harm no foul ! We all are having an good discussion. So all POVs are welcomed. Again, I was not there so … I'm really just giving my opinion based on my study, gaming, past training, experiences, etc. And my time on the ground in Europe was in (West) Germany.

But you make some good points there. And again, the 35t & 38t were pretty much superior to much of the German armor fielded at the time. And were very useful in the France '40 battles.

But I think we have to also look at the Luftwaffe, which is a key element/asset in the Blitzkrieg. Infantry(well trained) being the largest asset of their military, plus FA, Aircraft and then the AFVs/Panzer Arm. Combined Arms is the way they fought. Most of the militaries in the world were not. That is what I meant by others "fighting the last war". E.g. the French depended on the fixed defenses of the Maginot Line, or even Belgium's Eben-Emael Fortress … Not mobile combined arms warfare which was the advantage of the Blitzkrieg.

Many militaries at that time never evolved past the paradigm of Tanks use in WWI. Which are primarily/basically "just" for Infantry Support. Which in reality is only one of their capabilities.

In many cases Tanks were "penny packed" out in small elements in direct support of the Infantry. Instead of massing larger units of armor and mech/motorized Infantry with direct support from FA and CAS.

But again, I was not there … so … your and anyone else's comments may be as accurate vs. mine … Or Not … wink

Texas Jack14 Apr 2018 6:42 a.m. PST

I agree with you, the Luftwaffe would have made the deciding difference. Most military people hear agree as well, and say that had there been war, Prague would not be the popular tourist destination it enjoys now.

Legion 414 Apr 2018 6:48 a.m. PST

Very true … And of course I have to bow to you father-in-law's POV. He was there …

I have seen Prague only on the Travel Channel, etc. It is a great city with a very long history. If I ever get back to Europe, I'd like to visit it !

Texas Jack14 Apr 2018 8:29 a.m. PST

I live about 70km from Prague, so if you ever make it over here I´ll buy you a beer or three! :)

Legion 414 Apr 2018 8:30 a.m. PST

I'll drink to that !!! beer Thank you very much ! thumbs up

Bill N14 Apr 2018 12:06 p.m. PST

I played a couple of board games based on the scenario that Germany and the Czechs went to war in 1938. I was not impressed with them. They seemed to start with the assumption that the German army of 1938 was the same quality force that overran Poland in 1939 and France in 1940. Czech forces didn't seem to be based on what the Czech army of 1938 could do either. So I suppose the takeaway from this is that any game based on a fictional campaign between an army that never fought and an army that fought in a slightly different form is going to be highly subjective.

One thing I am certain of is that if the Czechs resisted militarily, Germany would have been as strong in 1939 or 1940 as they were in the historic timeline. A Czech war would have used up resources that Germany was able to use in 1939 and 1940. It would have largely destroyed Czech resources which were available to the Germans in the historic timeline.

Daniel S14 Apr 2018 2:20 p.m. PST

but I still think they were better "suited" to go to war than the Czechs

I am not sure how much being better suited to war helps when your army is missing 50% of its regulation equipment and 70% of the artillery and mortar ammunition. And these shortages did not just impact the landwehr and other reserve formations, in the summer of 1938 the Germans had 49 active duty combat units (divisions plus panzer & cavalry brigades), these units were missing 47 complete infantry battalions (14.5% of the regulation strenght) and other branches that had been too rapidly expanded such as the artillery had similar shortages.
Now they did raise 28 of those 47 missing battalions in the fall of 1938 but we both know that you don't create "well trained infantry" with a few months of training.
5 of the divisions were formed from ex-Austrian troops and were in the middle of existensive reorganisation, retraining and reequipment. (The Germans broke up the Bundesheer rather than absorbing the units intact.)

The vaunted Panzerdivisions lacked armoured cars for their recon units and instead had to make do with requisitioned civilian cars, the resulting units were considered to be jokes by the Germans themselves in internal documents. The mechanized and motorized units also had huge problems with supply and maintainance, 1. leichte division had such shortages of spare parts for their vehicles that the situation was "completly intolerable".

In many ways the Germans would have been better off if they had disbanded 5-10 infantry divisions and used the officers, NCOs, specialists and equipment to bring the remaining divisions up to strenght. The Reichswehr had provided a cadre of very well trained troops but these had been stretched very thin by the rapid expansion of the army, indeed the officers had constantly protested and warned against the speed of the army expansion.

Daniel S14 Apr 2018 2:41 p.m. PST

Remember the French wrongly believed that the Ardennes was impassible to Armor. As we saw, they were proved very wrong in the Spring of '40.

The French believed no such thing, they themselves sent armor into the Ardennes in May 1940 as part of the troops that were to screen the main French position along the Meuse as well as the flank of the advancing part of the French army.

What they did not expect was the sheer scale of the German advance through the Ardennes but it is worth remembering that the belief that the Ardennes was not suited for the use of massed armour was shared by more than a few German officers. If you look at the initial drafts for the attack in the West none of the plans used more than a single armoured division in the Ardennes, some had not armour at all in the area. (They expected that the area would be defended by the Belgians who could be easily reinforced by the French but after 1936 Belgian plans called for a fighting withdrawal to join the main body of the Belgian army further north.)

Legion 414 Apr 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

I am not sure how much being better suited to war helps
Yes, but compare that to the Czech forces at that same time period. And the Germans it appears were preparing for war, i.e. "better suited", is what I was trying to say.

As many militaries know, many times you go to war with the forces you have not what you'd like to have.

I'd like to see a chart or table with the forces of both the Germans and Czechs side by side. In that time frame …

And again, I'd think the Luftwaffe was probably "superior" to the Czech AF. But I'd need the see a chart or something like that to make a better "estimate" …

What they did not expect was the sheer scale of the German advance through the Ardennes but it is worth remembering that the belief that the Ardennes was not suited for the use of massed armour was shared by more than a few German officers.
That was the point I was trying to make … Not many thought massive armored units could pass thru those forests. IIRC the Germans sent 4 or 5 Pz Divs with many Infantry Divs, etc.

The French based their defense of France on :

The Ardennes being impassible to large Armor formations. But again, the Germans sent 4-5 Pz Divs + thru there.

The Maginot Line was unbreakable. The Germans attacked in a number of places along the Line. Tying up huge numbers of French assets. The Germans did break thru near, Sedan, etc., etc.

The Germans will advance thru Belgium. And the French, etc. would defend behind the Dyle River. Known as the Dyle Plan. The Germans did send @ 5-6 Pz. and many, many more Infantry Divs thru there. By passing the Maginot Line, etc. Keeping those French troops positioned there with feint/diversionary attacks, etc. And enveloping the French, UK, Belgium, Netherland forces with that massive Pincer Movement. One arm coming thru Belgium, etc. and the other arm thru the "impassible" Ardennes.

The Germans clearly demonstrated a number of The Principles of War :

Surprise
Mass
Maneuver
Economy of Force

Off the top of my head …

Of course I could be wrong … I was not there … so …

Lucius14 Apr 2018 6:19 p.m. PST

Just wanted to thank all of you for a really informative, lively thread. I did learn a lot.

Now, if someone would make Czech infantry in 1/144 . . .

Texas Jack15 Apr 2018 4:12 a.m. PST

Lucius, Pithead make Slovak troops in 10mm, (same kit as the Czechs) but I saw somewhere a post that he may not be trading anymore.
At that scale you could fudge it with Polish troops, but you would still need the BESA machine guns. Ah, sounds like a merry chase, good luck!

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 6:10 a.m. PST

"But you make some good points there. And again, the 35t & 38t were pretty much superior to much of the German armor fielded at the time. And were very useful in the France '40 battles."

Once again, and NOT to nitpick, but the Czech's had the Vz 34 & 35. The 38 was not produced until 39 after the crisis period we are discussing here and not available to counter a German invasion in 38. :)

Legion 415 Apr 2018 6:52 a.m. PST

Yes, you are correct … again … I'm old … I get confused … frown old fart

However in the Invasion of France in the Spring of '40. The 35t & 38ts were deployed and very effectively it appears. E.g. as we see with Rommel's 7th Pz Div, earning the name the "Ghost Division". As to the French, UK, etc., the 7th Panzer "appeared out of nowhere", so to speak. On the Allies, flanks, rear, etc.

But for context on the vz34 since we are discussing this period …

The Germans captured twenty-three LT vz. 34s and the prototype when they occupied Czechoslovakia, but there is no record of their use so they were presumably quickly scrapped. Ten LT vz. 34s were captured after they were abandoned by the insurgents during the Slovak National Uprising in 1944. They were shipped to Skoda for repairs, but the local military representative ordered them scrapped because of their poor condition and obsolescence. The Waffen-SS tried to overturn this order as it planned to transfer them to Nazi puppet state of Croatia. Two were saved from the scrapyard, but by March 1945 the others had their turrets salvaged to be rearmed with two machine guns and mounted in fixed fortifications.[16]
In Slovakia, twenty-seven LT vz. 34s formed one company in the Armored Battalion "Martin" formed by the Slovak Army in mid-1939, which was later expanded into the Armored Regiment, but they were relegated to training duties once the Slovaks began to receive more modern tanks from Germany in 1941.[17] Ten were abandoned by the insurgents when the Slovak National Uprising began in September 1944 and were quickly captured by the Germans. The others were dug in on the approaches to Zvolen.[16]
link

But as can be seen, in '38, they would not have been a "game changer", it appears … And certainly not in '44-'45(!) … evil grin

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 7:33 a.m. PST

If I remember correctly only about 50 of their 350 tanks were the 34. The 38 had been designed and contracted for but first deliveries were in 39.

And don't worry, gray beard myself :)

Legion 415 Apr 2018 8:13 a.m. PST

old fart wink

Legion 416 Apr 2018 6:37 a.m. PST

The Germans clearly demonstrated a number of The Principles of War :
Surprise
Mass
Maneuver
Economy of Force

DOH ! Speaking of being an old fart I forgot OFFENSIVE ! huh? WDF was I thinking ?!?!?

Refer to US Army Field Manual FM 3–0)
The United States Armed Forces use the following nine principles of war:

Objective – Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective. The ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy's ability to fight and will to fight.

Offensive – Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. Offensive action is the most effective and decisive way to attain a clearly defined common objective. Offensive operations are the means by which a military force seizes and holds the initiative while maintaining freedom of action and achieving decisive results. This is fundamentally true across all levels of war.

Mass – Mass the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time. Synchronizing all the elements of combat power where they will have decisive effect on an enemy force in a short period of time is to achieve mass. Massing effects, rather than concentrating forces, can enable numerically inferior forces to achieve decisive results, while limiting exposure to enemy fire.

Economy of Force – Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible; allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts. Economy of force is the judicious employment and distribution of forces. No part of the force should ever be left without purpose. The allocation of available combat power to such tasks as limited attacks, defense, delays, deception, or even retrograde operations is measured in order to achieve mass elsewhere at the decisive point and time on the battlefield. …

Maneuver – Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power. Maneuver is the movement of forces in relation to the enemy to gain positional advantage. Effective maneuver keeps the enemy off balance and protects the force. It is used to exploit successes, to preserve freedom of action, and to reduce vulnerability. It continually poses new problems for the enemy by rendering his actions ineffective, eventually leading to defeat. …

Unity of Command – For every objective, seek unity of command and unity of effort. At all levels of war, employment of military forces in a manner that masses combat power toward a common objective requires unity of command and unity of effort. Unity of command means that all the forces are under one responsible commander. It requires a single commander with the requisite authority to direct all forces in pursuit of a unified purpose.

Security – Never permit the enemy to acquire unexpected advantage. Security enhances freedom of action by reducing vulnerability to hostile acts, influence, or surprise. Security results from the measures taken by a commander to protect his forces. Knowledge and understanding of enemy strategy, tactics, doctrine, and staff planning improve the detailed planning of adequate security measures.

Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared. Surprise can decisively shift the balance of combat power. By seeking surprise, forces can achieve success well out of proportion to the effort expended. Surprise can be in tempo, size of force, direction or location of main effort, and timing. Deception can aid the probability of achieving surprise.

Simplicity – Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure thorough understanding. Everything in war is very simple, but the simple thing is difficult. To the uninitiated, military operations are not difficult. Simplicity contributes to successful operations. Simple plans and clear, concise orders minimize misunderstanding and confusion. Other factors being equal, parsimony is to be preferred.

Officers in the U.S. Military sometimes use the acronyms "MOSS MOUSE", "MOOSE MUSS", "MOUSE MOSS", "MOM USE SOS", and "SUMO MOSES" to remember the first letters of these nine principles.

We used MOUSE MOSS … back in my distant youth … evil grin

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