Created By: SeroccoJuly 18, 2013 Last Edited By: ShanghaiSlaveOctober 28, 2013
Nuked

Blitzkrieg

Overwhelming force and rapid speed.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
One of the more dangerous and effective ways to defeat an opponent is to employ a concentrated series of attacks on your enemy so that they cannot react any longer.

This is a bit of a gamble. Fatigue can take you, which'll keep you from finishing the job. Self-destruction is also likely to happen, if you don't have the resources needed to sustain you after the assault and/or if your exposed forward elements end up Trapped Behind Enemy Lines.

Nonetheless, if your side cannot afford attrition, and is skillful enough to pull it off, it can create a great victory. A successful assault will make you look almost like a really effective Combat Pragmatist. A failure can cause proverbial disasters like Stalingrad and Kursk.

This is the flesh and blood of force concentration, battle of annihilation and maneuver warfare, several Real Life military strategies employed both in ancient and modern times.

Contrast Attack Attack Attack (when they attack without reason), Attack Attack Retreat Retreat (when they think better of it), Leeroy Jenkins (when you're just flat-out reckless) and Overnight Conquest (when victory is achieved via Applied Phlebotinum rather than strategy).

Compare Zerg Rush, where it's more overwhelming numbers at rapid speed than it is overwhelming force at rapid speed. Also compare Fragile Speedster (fast and frail) and Lightning Bruiser (strong, fast and tough), the latter of whom occurs when an individual fighter can both deliver an assault of attrition and tank an assault of attrition.
    Anime and manga 
  • In a massive departure from most of the Shonen-esque fights seen beforehand, the Vandenreich (themselves with a German motif) use this tactic incredibly effectively.
    • One of the first things Yhwach does is to instigate an assault on the Soul Society on the day of his war declaration, putting the Shinigami under a false sense of security, so they wouldn't be prepared for the attack.
    • The second time Yhwach uses it is when he switches his headquarters (the Schatten Bereich) with the headquarters of his opponents (the Seireitei), forcing the Shinigami to halt their training in an effort to even react.
    • When As Nodt stole Byakuya's Bankai, he used it in a way Byakuya never did, relentlessly pounding Byakuya with constant swarms of razor-sharp sakura petals.

     Literature 
  • In Belisarius Series one of the most notable examples is where the Romans are invading the Malwa Empire and Belisarius rides ahead with his heavy cavalry to capture the fertile Punjab region and to confuse and outmaneuver separated enemy forces. The book in fact has a Roman officer compare this offensive with an engineer's knowledge that speed combined with mass equals the actual force.

     Live action 

  • Revolution: The Monroe Republic's drone strike on the rebels in "The Longest Day" qualifies. In one attack, 270 men are killed, and only 30 men are left alive. Then you have the militia charge in overwhelming numbers. As it is, the rebels were forced to retreat.

     Tabletop Games 

  • In Traveller during the Interstellar Wars, Terran naval forces would penetrate deep into the territory of the Vilani Imperium to spread panic and disruption. The Vilani, who relied mostly on crude mass would have they plans completely mixed up. By the time they had things straightened out the Terrans would end up snatching a planet or two until they had an empire of their own. Then they switched their goal from surviving to conquering the Vilani, but continued using similar tactics.

    Video Games 

  • In the first Master Of Orion, the player is allowed more attacks per turn then the AI, and the AI in a panic often diverts a fleet from it's own operations to go to rescue planets only to find that it's planets are ruined anyway, it's campaign against the player stopped and the player attacking another planet by the time the AI's fleet comes to the rescue. This glitch can allow a player to lead an AI on a merry dance. The effect is kind of like the panic caused by a successful blitzkrieg.
  • The Belkan army in Ace Combat Zero The Belkan War uses Blitzkrieg tactics (even if they're not called that way) to roll over most of its neighbors within a couple of weeks.

    Real Life 
  • The Trope Namer comes from a strategy employed by Germany's Wermacht during World War II. These involved a highly mobile form of armored and motorized or mechanized infantry and artillery vehicles, backed up by close air support. Once in the enemy's rear, proceeds to dislocate them by utilizing speed and surprise, and then encircle them for the finishing touch. this tactic was meant to keep the enemy from responding to the continuously changing front. Blitzkrieg itself is German for "lightning war". Note that the word Blitzkrieg itself was coined by a New York newspaper (IIRC) and that the word was also used to describe the fast-paced military operations across the European mainland in the early stages of WW 2.
  • In American Football, a blitz (named after this tactic) is an attempt by most of the defending team to immediately rush and tackle the quarterback at the start of a play. It can surprise him and shut him down before he can set up his throw, but is risky since if he does manage to pass the ball, his teammates will have little to no interference and may well have a clear run straight to the goal.
Community Feedback Replies: 100
  • July 18, 2013
    DAN004
    Is the "Shock and Awe" tactic of SWAT related?
  • July 18, 2013
    Sledgesaul
    Depends on whether or not they fit the Blitzkrieg guidelines.
  • July 19, 2013
    Koveras
    Having one fictional example and three RL ones is a bad start for a trope YKTTW. Also, we have Overnight Conquest trope, which isn't differentiated from this in your write-up yet.

    • The Belkan army in Ace Combat Zero The Belkan War uses Blitzkrieg tactics (even if they're not called that way) to roll over most of its neighbors within a couple of weeks.
  • July 19, 2013
    Serocco
    Did I differentiate it yet?
  • July 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Fair enough.
  • July 20, 2013
    Serocco
    Any other examples?
  • July 20, 2013
    jatay3
    The real life example wasn't about overwhelming force but precise force(the difference between a rock and an arrow). The idea was to concentrate mobile forces at a specific point where their concentration would make them stronger(rather then being stronger overall), then bust through leaving the mop-up to the infantry. Flying collumns(as they used to be called) would go past the enemy's line on the assumption that the enemies whole logistical system and civilian infrastructure would be shut down by the mere knowledge of an unopposed force on it's traffic network. Once that is done the enemy simply stops in place allowing the attackers to surround it and defeat it in detail or just wait for surrender. For instance in the Six day war, the IDF raced for the Suez canal leaving fragments of the Egyptian army to surrender when it suited them. In the Yom Kippur war, the IDF got on the other side of the canal, marched parrelel to the Egyptians, destroying missile bases on the way, thus cutting off their army and restoring air superiority from groundward at the same time.
  • July 21, 2013
    Serocco
    How should I fix that up, then?
  • July 22, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Also note that:

    a. the word Blitzkrieg itself was coined by a New York newspaper (IIRC) b. the word was also used to describe the fast-paced military operations across the european mainland in the early stages of WW 2.
  • July 24, 2013
    Serocco
    Any other fictional examples?
  • July 24, 2013
    jastay3
    "How should I fix that up, then?"

    How about "concentrated force", instead of "overwhelming" Serocco? "Overwhelming" implies superiority in the overall Order of Battle(in which case there is nothing remarkable about winning anyway). "Concentrated" gives an idea of how the force is used.
  • July 24, 2013
    jastay3
    Actually yeah, there are fictional examples. The title character does this several times in Belisarius Series(with cavalry instead of panzers but then "blitzkrieg" is Older Than They Think). Blitzkrieg is done in space in Traveller Interstellar Wars. And it is possible to do something rather like it in the first Master Of Orion. That is the player is allowed more attacks per turn then the AI, and the AI in a panic often diverts a fleet from it's own operations to go to rescue planets only to find that it's planets are ruined anyway, it's campaign against the player stopped and the player attacking another planet by the time the AI's fleet comes to the rescue. This glitch can allow a player to lead an AI on a merry dance. The effect is kind of like the panic caused by a successful blitzkrieg.
  • July 24, 2013
    TheHandle
    Lord Vetinari, despite his education, had a mind like an engineer. If you wished to open something, you found the appropriate spot and applied the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve your end. Possibly the spot was between a couple of ribs and the force was applied via a dagger, or between two warring countries and applied via an army, but the important thing was to find that one weak spot which would be the key to everything.

  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    How about "Concentrated overwhelming?"
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Sure, that would get the point across.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    I'm not sure "Fabian Tactics" would apply as those were a long wearing out rather then a series of sudden strikes.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    You could be right about the Fabian tactics. Those were concentrated skirmishes.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    The concept was known in World War I, in theory. The problem was there wasn't a Lightning Bruiser arm then that could both make a breech and get through in time to exploit it. Infantry and artillery combinations often made breeches but there was always enough reserves to bandage them especially as the defenders had access to railway transport and the attackers didn't, their railways being all the way accross no mans land. Cavalry could do exploitation operations assuming there was a wide enough space, but they were to fragile in World War I to survive intense combat-at the least they had to get off their horses to fight which meant they could no longer maneuver as cavalry. Imperial Germany tried an experiment with Stormtroopers(specialized infantry which did not graduate from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy though they were technically Imperial stormtroopers), but those turned out to be not much faster then ordinary infantry. Tanks did reasonably well but World War I tanks were curmudgeonly creatures. It took about twenty years of planning to reintroduce maneuver warfare and it required a large supply of reliable mechanized vehicles, and an organization system based around them.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Yeah. I think Fabian tactics would be closer to Hit And Run Tactics and blitzkrieg refers specifically to a high-intensity campaign.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    Should I put the World War I example over the World War II one, or just have it separate?
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Depends on taste. World War I was an example of how blitzkrieg didn't work because technology and tactics weren't up to it.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    One problem they had while working out the bugs was that generals who had fought in World War I were shy about the fact that a flying column(a force detached from the main body to go and look for trouble; one of the essential parts of blitzkrieg) carrying out a blitzkrieg is in effect voluntarily Trapped Behind Enemy Lines. They would continually worry about flanks not realizing that if the flying column kept up a good enough pace the flank would be ahead of any enemy before it could organize an attack.

    The main problem with World War II style blitzkriegs was that if there was effective enough resistance, sooner or later the logistics would clog. Food and fodder can be stolen as in the days of Napoleon but fuel and ammunition can only come from home. Which is in fact why it only temporarily worked in Russia. Russia is a big place, the roads were bad and there was plenty of wilderness full of partisans. Another example was the Ardennes. The Americans simply continued to hold a large number of outposts that blocked critical roads and though panzer task forces could bypass strongpoints, resupply convoys couldn't.

    Thus while we hear about the blitzkriegs that went right, we don't hear as much about the ones that went wrong. Or rather, they are just not called blitzkriegs.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Blitzkriegs happened several times in the Arab Israeli Conflict. The Middle Eastern deserts are a very good place for tanks to maneuver.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    Hmmm, well, is this enough of a list, or do we need more examples?
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Examples need to be sorted into genres. But I should think every armchair geek-militarist in TV Tropes will be info dumping into this anyway so I doubt you need to worry to much.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    By the way, the "More attacks per turn in Master Of Orion" is not in the official rules but is a programing quirk. I learned about it from a strategy guide. In point of fact the AI can be slower then that. I have several times, when I didn't have enough of a fleet to split it up, been able to confuse the enemy by making no more then one attack per turn. Also it doesn't need to be an effective attack; sometimes I just send a nominal force to a planet and then withdraw it to annoy the enemy.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    There we go. I indented them.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    It's not working the way it should on my computer.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    Shall I launch?
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    I think the rules say you need five hats. The sorting needs a little work. I don't know what's wrong with it. Maybe you could use A Cs instead of folders.

    By the way, it was great working with you.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    I think the indention will return to normal after it's launched. That's how it usually occurs.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Oh, ok. Then all that is needed is the hats. I'll give you one.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Oh, Belisarius series is literature. Traveller is tabletop.
  • July 25, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Zero Context Examples on this draft: Belisarius Series, Traveller, Ace Combat Zero The Belkan War and the SWAT example.

    "Blitzkrieg tactics is used in work X by group Y" is not a valid example. You need to describe how it's employed, or the example won't be worth a damn.
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    In Belisarius Series one of the most notable examples is where the Romans are invading the Malwa Empire and Belisarius rides ahead with his heavy cavalry to capture the fertile Punjab region and to confuse and outmaneuver separated enemy forces. The book in fact has a Roman officer compare this offensive with an engineer's knowledge that speed combined with mass equals the actual force.

    In Traveller during the Interstellar Wars, Terran naval forces would penetrate deep into the territory of the Vilani Imperium to spread panic and disruption. The Vilani, who relied mostly on crude mass would have they plans completely mixed up. By the time they had things straightened out the Terrans would end up snatching a planet or two until they had an empire of their own. Then they switched their goal from surviving to conquering the Vilani, but continued using similar tactics.
  • July 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    • In American Football, a blitz (named after this tactic) is an attempt by most of the defending team to immediately rush and tackle the quarterback at the start of a play. It can surprise him and shut him down before he can set up his throw, but is risky since if he does manage to pass the ball, his teammates will have little to no interference and may well have a clear run straight to the goal.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    I've reworked the examples. Anything else?
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
    Like I said, I think you will get plenty of info dumping once it's launched. Just remember the hats. This is after all a consensus project.
  • July 25, 2013
    Serocco
    I got one hat. Anyone else?
  • July 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    I hat your YKTTW! I HAAAAAT YOUR YKTTW!
  • July 25, 2013
    jatay3
  • July 25, 2013
    kjnoren
    I think the trope as written is quite confusing. The description is mostly a heaped-together set of buzzwords, and the term blitzkrieg is evocative but also quite diffuse.

    If one were to look at the early examples of German military actions in WW 2 (though the Germans never used the term themselves), I think one can identify the following:

    • Relatively small but highly mobile forces
    • High operational tempo - decisions were made and carried out quickly
    • Focus on bypassing prepared enemy forces, and disrupt headquarters, communications, and supplies

    Some other factors, like tight integration between ground forces and air support, good communications within the mobile forces, and so on should probably be viewed as enablers.

    In fact, what you describe is more similar to the Soviet doctrine of Deep Battle, though even there the doctrine includes plenty of things not part of the trope as described.
  • July 25, 2013
    jastay3
    One of the most important aspects was the concept of "Mission Orders" where instead of ordering each commander what to do it simply told him his objective. For example, General von Badass would not be told to cross river X, on bridge Y, and commence an attack on town Z, using tactic a12 by a Guy In Back constantly jabbering over the radio. He would simply be told "take town Z and report back when you're done."
  • July 25, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I don't understand what the current page quote has to do with this trope. The description talks about "relentless barrage of attacks" and the quote about "minimum amount of force necessary". To me it seems they don't fit together at all.
  • July 25, 2013
    jastay3
    Actually, he's right. The whole point of blitzkrieg is to avoid a Pyrrhic Victory. It is certainly not the same as attrition which is We Have Reserves. Or am I misreading?
  • July 25, 2013
    jastay3
    Here's something:

    Strategically a blitzkrieg had several phases.

    Aufmarch, movement to the enemy's front, something that could be done quite rapidly despite an apparent wide dispersal of forces, given that all the attacking troops would be moterized.

    Gefechsstriffen, concentration against a narrow sector of the enemy's, front, then

    Scherphunkt, center of gravity of the attack, to be made with great force, in contrast to the numerous feints that would be undertaken simultaneously with the main attack.

    Einbruch, penetration of the enemy front, which if successful would be followed up by additional forces in order to achieve

    Durchburch, breakthrough, permitting the mobile forces access to the enemys, rear where they could employ

    Flachen Und Luketaktick, the tactics of "space and gap" avoiding the enemy's reserves and strong points as much as possible, hitting him where he was least able to defend himself, in order to press on and secure control of his lines of communication while other troops undertook the

    Aufrollen, rolling up, of the tattered ends of the pierced enemy front, mopping up strong points and widening the gap, so that additional forces(even nonmoterized forces} could move up to support the spearheads in attaining

    Keil Und Kessel, litterally "wedge and pocket," the encirclement of the enemy.

    Dirty Little Secrets of World War II by James Dunnigan.
  • July 25, 2013
    jastay3
    paridisesnake is right. The first part needs to be reworked. It simply sounds to vague. Blitzkrieg is more specific then "relentless barrage of attacks"; it is about how and where the attacks are made, and when attacks are refrained from as well. It can simply be vaguely synonomous with "maneuver warfare" or it could refer to a technique first used in World War II to allow mechanization to restore maneuver warfare which had been obsolete for a long time. It needs some specific points like a Lightning Bruiser force breaking a hole in the line and then going through to take control of the enemy traffic net(that is why no one could pull it off in World War I; there was nothing that was both powerful enough to break in and fast enough to do the exploiting at the time) while avoiding enemy forces and leaving them for a follow-on Red Shirt Army. That is probably a good enough summery if you don't want to get really technical.
  • July 25, 2013
    jastay3
    Sorry, I really did think it ready for launching.
  • July 26, 2013
    Arivne
    The Blitzkrieg article on The Other Wiki has a comprehensive discussion and explanation of the term.
  • July 26, 2013
    jastay3
    This could be made to work. It's just that the description needs work.
  • July 27, 2013
    Serocco
    There. Changed first part to concentrated barrage of attacks. Sound fair?
  • July 27, 2013
    jatay3
    "Concentrated series of attacks to break through the enemies line and into his supply system." The key point is that you make as few attacks as you can get away with as possible(making those overwhelming) and once you succeed you get your mobile forces into his rear area. In effect a panzer division is like a virus inserted into his system to cause a crash. The attacks are primarily made to get past the "firewall". Once this is done the rest of his army will hopefully surrender; if not your follow on redshirts can surround the chunks and take care of them one by one.

    And the next two paragraphs seem to describe "attrition" which is a contrast to "blitzkrieg" which has the avoidence of attrition as it's goal. You are simply spending to much time on attrition and not enough on blitzkrieg.

    And I know this is pedantic, but "barrage" is an artillerists term. "Series" of attacks would be better.

    Look I'm sorry to keep bugging you; I want this to work too. But it should get the point across of what a blitzkrieg is.
  • July 27, 2013
    jatay3
    Remember the sniper scare of about ten years ago where two serial killers nearly shut down New York City? Or all those panics caused when a shooter gets inside the school? Now imagine what it would do to a country to have several thousand disciplined men with modern weapons roaming around along the roads no-one-knows-where except that their own soldiers can't get at them. The defending soldiers would be deprieved of fuel and ammunition and the whole nation vulnerable and in a panic. The idea of blitzkrieg is to get enough soldiers through the enemy line to bring that about.
  • July 27, 2013
    jatay3
    Or imagine opening cans. You would think that from the size of can openers that the can is the most important thing. It is not. It is just the toughest thing. The most important thing is to get inside and get the food. Once that is done you can throw away the can. That is the philosophy behind blitzkrieg.

    So say something like "concentrated series of attacks designed to break through the enemies line, attack his infrastructure, and leave his army helpless."
  • July 27, 2013
    jatay3
    Come on you can make this work.
  • July 29, 2013
    Serocco
    Okay, concentrated series of attacks. What's next?
  • July 29, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    Live-Action TV

    • Revolution: The Monroe Republic's drone strike on the rebels in "The Longest Day" qualifies. In one attack, 270 men are killed, and only 30 men are left alive. Then you have the militia charge in overwhelming numbers. As it is, the rebels were forced to retreat.
  • July 29, 2013
    AgProv
    Blitzkreig was finally trumped in the Battle of Kursk in 1943, when the Germans realised the Russian defensive line was so well constructed and integrated that there were no weak points to exploit and break through. The Germans ended up wasting their strength on a very solid anvil that broke their hammer so badly that they lost the strategic advantage completely, and ultimately the war.
  • July 29, 2013
    jatay3
    After the concentrated series of attacks, you keep going with as much speed as you can get Serocco, because the target is behind what your first attack is aimed at and the first attacks are just to get enemy combat units out of the way. Then without looking back you go straight through, ignoring the enemy, and get behind him. Your infantry will take care of his combat units; your armor and mechanized are after his supply dumps. "Concentrated series of attacks causeing a breakthrough and a collapse of enemy logistics."

    At the end the enemy should be in a bunch of little bite sized chunks, low on supplies and incapable of supporting each other.
  • July 29, 2013
    Serocco
    How about now?
  • July 30, 2013
    jastay3
    Now modify the second paragraph. Say something like "This is a great way to win a victory especially if you need to avoid a contest of attrition warfare but it can be a bit of a gamble and tends to work best against an unprepared enemy.

    In the third say "this is the flesh concentration of force concentration, maneuver warfare, and battle of annihilation, several Real Life military strategies employed both in Ancient and Modern times." Eliminate the words "attrition warfare" from the third paragraph.

    Blitzkrieg is a means of avoiding attrition. It became associated with Germany because Germany was a vulnerable valley country with large cultivated areas and good roads, less protected by natural obstacles then other countries. It could not afford to allow an opponent to take the offensive. The idea of blitzkrieg was studied by the German General Staff under various governments, but it needed the development of 1930's technology to work properly.

    That is neither here nor there; ignore it if it confuses you. The point is to take out "attrition warfare" from the third paragraph. Blitzkrieg is not "attrition warfare"-that's just We Have Reserves. Blitzkrieg is a means specifically designed to avoid attrition warfare.
  • July 31, 2013
    jatay3
    bump
  • July 31, 2013
    jatay3
    I think that will work good enough for the purposes Serocco. I hope you won't mind my doing the rewrite myself?
  • July 31, 2013
    jatay3
    The Finnish "Mottis" during the Winter War were an example of a counterblitzkrieg done primarily with light infantry. Ski troops would circle round through the forest and cut the enemy into chunks where they could freeze to death. This is a curious example both because it was a counteroffensive rather then a straightout offensive and because it was carried out by a Fragile Speedster(ski-troops) rather then a Lightning Bruiser(tanks of which the Finnish army was chronically short along with everything else but pluck or "sisu" as they call it).

    Naval warfare in the Pacific in World War II had some of these traits. Carriers would smash their way through acting like panzers at sea, while marines would do the job of infantry, reducing islands after the sea around them was controlled. For instance before the Second Phillipines Campaign, Admiral Halsey raced all the way to Okinawa and destroyed the local air force keeping it from supporting opposition to Mac Arthur's landing. At the same time of course, Japanese maritime traffic(slowing to a trickle anyway) would have been completely shut down by the mere knowledge that Halsey was there, just as French roads were shut down by the appearance of Guderian.
  • August 1, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    The Finn example sounds more like Guerilla warfare.
  • August 1, 2013
    jatay3
    The units involved were to large. Guerillas don't attempt to destroy whole divisions at a time; they use loosely coordinated bands of no more then a few dozen strong each and make attacks such groups are capable of. That's what the(overused)term "guerilla" means: "little war". Blitzkrieg in fact does bear a superficial resemblance to guerilla warfare in that it focuses the attack on vulnerable spots. But guerilla warfare is more prolonged in time and focuses on small engagements. Guerillas are also usually irregulars though that is not strictly necessary; and the Finnish army was a regular if unfunded military force. It was coordinating battalion and above sized forces including artillery with specific operational plans. When guerillas start to do that they are no longer guerillas.
  • August 1, 2013
    kjnoren
    Neither side in the Winter War could be said to employ a Blitzkrieg strategy in any sense of the term. The Soviets tried to employ a prototypical form of their deep battle doctrine, but their army wasn't ready to employ that doctrine, and the terrain was unsuited for it as well.

    Simply using superior tactics and mobility (as the Finnish army did in the northern front of the Winter War) does not a Blitzkrieg make.
  • August 1, 2013
    jatay3
    Blitzkrieg can mean either,"high risk, high reward maneuver warfare characterized by aggressive use of flying columns ahead of the main force designed to cripple logistics". Or it can mean specifically,"Wehrmacht operations, in the early part of World War II." The second is to esoteric to make a trope, and in any case is indistinguishable except in the tactical sense from methods used in other environments. So much so that if you use that as a term, blitzkrieg does not in fact exist in a meaningful sense as the specific tactics used by the Wehrmacht, however ingenious, are not as important as the objective and the German generals were not attempting anything new. If Guderian and company had suddenly stopped upon making a breech it would not have been called a blitzkrieg while on the other hand, similar techniques on the operational level were used by Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, and Sherman.
  • August 1, 2013
    jatay3
    Or to put it another way kjoren, what you are talking about is a Trope Namer, whereas I was talking about historical examples of this trope. It is not just "using superior tactics and mobility". "Superior tactics" is just whatever works and mobility is just "being able to move around." Alexander The Great used superior tactics and mobility against the Persians at Gaugamela and he probably would have sniffed at the Finns "superior tactics and mobility" as unmanly. Genghis Khan on the other hand did use methods recognizably similar to blitzkrieg.

    Blitzkrieg is not about tactics. Tactics is what brings it about. Blitzkrieg is about application of operational art in a specific way.
  • August 1, 2013
    jatay3
    Honestly though, we are overdoing this. Once a succient definition is made we can argue it in the discussion. I think it is ready for launch. The definition is admittedly not technically complete but it is close enough for government work, war coincidently being government work.
  • August 1, 2013
    jatay3
    Just Launch It Already. Let the troppers sort it out later.
  • August 1, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Moar hats plz.
  • August 2, 2013
    kjnoren
    Sorry, but finding a reasonable definition and a trope name that supports that definition is central to the YKTTW process. Blitzkrieg has the dual problem of being a very evocative phrase, and at the same time being poorly defined.

    So right now we are having Trope Decay going on while in YKTTW.
  • August 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    A typical tactic was to halt long columns of approaching armor and motorized troops on narrow, poor roads and attack their flanks and rear, cutting them off from support – a practice the Finns called motti or 'logging' tactics." Carl Conetta, Charles Knight and Lutz Unterseher, "Defensive Military Structures in Action: Historical Examples", Confidence-Building Defense: A Comprehensive Approach to Security & Stability in the New Era, May 1994

    That's guerrilla tactics: take out supports of an invading force until you can defeat the main army with conventional tactics.

    Blitzkrieg is the reverse; quickly pass through the defensive lines, and then cut off the head.
  • August 2, 2013
    JonnyB
    Elements of this sort of warfare were tried as early as the American Civil War. Several Southern cavalry generals were known for pushing rapidly past enemy lines and deep into enemy territory, but it was never followed up with a major assault behind it.
  • August 2, 2013
    jatay3
    No Crazy, that's the same thing not the reverse. Pass through the defensive lines. In both cases the supports are the target and the combat forces are avoided as much as possible. However in guerilla warfare the attacks on supports are incremental and done by small forces over a long period of time. You cannot have multi-battalion level guerilla warfare. And just targeting supports and going round the flank and rear is certainly not guerilla warfare. The term "guerilla warfare" is itself misused anyway. Almost anything more indirect then phalanx warfare seems to be called guerilla warfare. In any case there is no such thing as "guerilla tactics", as the tactics used by guerillas are indistinguishable from any other tactics used in small-unit engagements. Any definition of guerilla warfare must focus on it's operational and strategic aspects. Otherwise you have to call every patrol detachment "guerillas" and the word will cease to exist except as a slogan.
  • August 2, 2013
    jatay3
    I gave a reasonable definition Kjornen. It avoids the enemy line forces as much as possible(unlike attrition), it uses medium sized mobile flying-collumns ahead of and coordinated with a main body(unlike guerilla warfare which uses small bands and is only an army in aggregate having little coordination), and it targets infrastructure with the purpose of quickly destroying it(unlike guerilla warfare which works in increments). That is in line with historical examples which are referred to as "blitzkrieg".
  • August 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    I think you're the one misusing guerrilla. It is a type of asymmetric warfare. Certain military tactics are associated with it, especially ambushes and harassment.

    Guerrilla is unrelated to coordination, speed, and actual army size. Although the English term is only a few centuries old, the military tactics associated with it is older than the phalanx.
  • August 2, 2013
    jatay3
    In which case all that would mean is "the way humans usually fight." Any military term that means that means nothing and might as well not exist.

    I am well aware that "ambushes" and "harrassment" are older then phalanxes. That is my point. All you are doing is using "guerilla" as a synonymn for "small unit tactics." It is not the tactics that make a guerrila a guerrila. By that definition tribal warfare, vendetta, reconnaissance, and even criminality are "Guerrila warfare" as the tactics used in all are recognizably similar despite extremely disparate goals. Guerrila warfare has to be a strategy based on such or it is of no value as a term. You might as well just say "warfare" and spare three syllables. There can be no such thing as "guerilla tactics." Only "guerilla strategy". Which in fact the Finnish army was not engageing in. It was engageing in "conventional"(also a misnomer as it is not the normal way to fight and is no more fraught with conventions then other forms)warfare that happened to be taking place in a forest. And like all "conventional" forces it engaged in maneuvers round the enemies flank and sent scout parties to dominate no-mans-land.
  • August 2, 2013
    jatay3
    For the Finns to have been engageing in "guerrilla warfare" would have required them to refrain from setting up roadblocks(for which they had to stand and fight), disband their army and effectively let the Russians conquer Finland while they made small attacks against an occupying force. Instead they actually isolated two divisions and destroyed them which is certainly not limiting themselves to "ambushes and harrassment" even though it was a part of it as indeed it is a part of all war. Attacking large forces and fighting them to a conclusion is not "harrassment" even if you use the weather to hold other forces in place until you get to them. Nor is shuting down the enemys entire logistics at once.
  • August 2, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    I'm not interested. I do not feel like we are having a discussion. Your posting behavior strikes me as being a rant. I have no interest in continuing when I don't feel respected.
  • August 3, 2013
    jastay3
    Then I apologize. I should hardly want anyone to take it personally and I can certainly be insensitive at times. And I know what it is like to have an Insufferable Would-be Genius at the other end so I really don't want to be one myself.

  • August 3, 2013
    jastay3
    To be honest Crazy, part of it was I got wrapped up in helping the posters project to succeed.
  • August 4, 2013
    Serocco
    Do I need to fix anything more?
  • August 5, 2013
    kjnoren
    My problems with the trope as written:

    1. The trope name is a currently existing term that is both very evocative, poorly defined, and strongly tied to a specific era (early WW 2). That will make it likely to get plenty of poorly fitting examples. Ie, it needs a better name.

    2. The definition (first paragraph) doesn't include things that are implied in the discussion (second paragraph).

    2. The definition (first paragraph) fits poorly with the discussion (second paragraph). Eg, the first paragraph doesn't imply anything about exposed forward elements.

    3. No mention of manoeuvre or the size of the operations in the definition.

    4. This is minor, but I wouldn't use Applied Phlebotium in relation to Overnight Conquest. It probably is more used as a Plot Device.
  • August 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ About #1: Blitzkrieg is still pretty much the trope we're looking for here so maybe it would be a good idea to come up with a more neutral and descriptive title and use Blitzkrieg as a redirect?
  • August 5, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    @jastay3 - then let's rewind to your example of the Finns. The given example doesn't show how it qualifies as a Blitzkreig. Instead of piercing a defensive line, it surrounds an invading force. Instead of an initial attack that then proceeds to disrupt supply lines, supply lines are disrupted and then the main body is attacked.

    Rewording wouldn't work; it needs to be redescribed to show how the mottis attack matches the definition of Blitzkreig.
  • August 16, 2013
    Serocco
    Well, you see the Bleach examples? That was the variant of the Blitzkreig that I wanted to use. Is it actual Blitzkrieg or is it something else?
  • August 23, 2013
    Serocco
    You know what, Blitzkrieg is too specific of a war strategy. I decided to change the name to Assault Of Attrition, where this can be used for both war strategies (like Yhwach in Bleach) and individual battle tactics (like As Nodt versus Byakuya).

    Is this fine?
  • August 23, 2013
    Arivne
    If this is about blitzkrieg tactics it should definitely not have "attrition" in the title as that will seriously confuse anyone who knows what "attrition" means.
  • August 23, 2013
    gallium
    Yes, "attrition" is the exact opposite of "blitzkrieg". "Attrition" is what the Soviets did to the Germans after the blitzkrieg of 1941 failed--namely, they bled the Germans white.

    This article is about blitzkrieg, so the name should be "Blitzkrieg". There are many gratuitous foreign language trope names on this wiki, but "Blitzkrieg" is a commonly understood term that has passed into common English usage.
  • August 24, 2013
    spacemarine50
    Whoever changed the name of this to attrition please change it back. It's now a bad Non Indicative Name. Blitz is a fast strategy. Attrition is as long as it takes for the enemy to have enough and surrender.
  • August 24, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Wow, the current name is so bad I'm going to play the ninja card and just revert it.
  • August 24, 2013
    Serocco
    The whole point of this trope is to create something for what As Nodt does to Byakuya under the Bleach example. Do I have to change the whole description?
  • August 24, 2013
    kjnoren
    Wow.

    What you should do then is describe whatever action that you want to trope, in detail, and its context. But from your writeup in the draft, using a war-centric trope name seems quite odd.

    I'd discard this trope (the discussion and draft here is beyond salvaging, I think), and go to http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/query.php?type=lnf instead.
  • August 24, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Where exactly is this Bleach example? I am not seeing it so far.

    According to Wikipedia, at least, "Blitzkrieg" has two contexts:
    • Strategic context: A quick rush on the enemy intended to land a decisive blow before they are fully readied for battle. E.g. in almost any RTS, massing a quick Zerg Rush to take out opponents who are focused on base building or research.
    • Tactical context: A concentrated assault intended to break through the enemy's front lines and carve up their interior ranks.

    So what is the definition here?
  • August 25, 2013
    DAN004
    Make a new YKTTW plz.
  • October 27, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • The 1986 film Delta Force starring Chuck Norris features an elite commando squad trained to strike at an enemy stronghold faster than they can react to the attack. Their speed is critical to their objective of rescuing several American hostages.
  • October 28, 2013
    DAN004
    Often The Berserker relies on this.
  • October 28, 2013
    kjnoren
    ^^^^ Neither, I'd say.

    The strategic context fails, in that it simply is reduced to a surprise assault aimed at a quick campaign.

    The tactical context also fails, in part because the scope of "carve up their interior ranks" falls outside tactics, and in part because the blitzkrieg wasn't about breaking through the enemy's front lines.

    Now, there is no good definition of blitzkrieg anywhere, in large part because it was always more of a popular term than one used in military theory.

    However, I think the following needs to be emphasised:

    • Mobility over firepower; defeating the enemy not directly in battle but by cutting of their means of support
    • As a corollary to the above, focus on bypassing and encirclement
    • "Just-in-time" support for the mobile forces
    • Quick decision making and leadership from the front

    Recommended reading: The Operational Art of Blitzkrieg

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