Strategy & Tactics Press Briefing Room World at War #84

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Odessa 1941

By Maciej Jonasz


As Operation Barbarossa steamrolled east during the summer of 1941, Hitler told Romanian dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu to have his nation’s forces seize Odessa on the Black Sea coast. ­The city lay south of German Eleventh Army’s area of operations, but was key terrain because its capture would improve the ability to sustain Axis operations in the southern Ukraine.

Holding the port would enable the movement of supplies by sea into the region, thus cutting the distance over which they otherwise had to move on the sparse road and rail net. Even so, with the Germans concentrating their own forces to defeat massive Red Army formations assembled farther north, they did not have the assets on hand to capture the city themselves.

Odessa was also important for the Soviets. Its port facilities supported their Black Sea Fleet’s operations, and its airbase would potentially allow for a bombing campaign against Romania’s oil‑ eld at Ploesti. ­ e latter was a critical asset the Germans needed in order to sustain their economy. ­The Soviets understood that, and sent Odessa-based bombers to attack Ploesti starting soon after the outset of the war.

Read the Full Article in WW84M

Manstein’s War:

Strategy & Operations

in the West, 1940

World at War, Issue #84 Magazine available!

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  • Manstein’s War: Strategy & Operations in the West, 1940: In May 1940 the Germans launched their invasion of the West, and in seven weeks defeated all the opposing armed forces. Credit for the plan that led to the victory is usually and mostly given to Erich von Manstein. Of course, as the proverb goes, success always has many fathers.
  • Odessa 1941: As Operation Barbarossa steamrolled east late in the summer of 1941, Hitler asked his Romanian ally to seize Odessa on the Black Sea coast. That port was key terrain: its capture would significantly improve the ability to logistically sustain German operations across the southern Ukraine. The resultant battle effectively wrecked Romanian Forth Army.
  • B-17s Over Java: The situation in the Far East had been tense as early as the summer of 1941. At that time the increasing tension between Japan and the US resulted in the latter adopting a strategy for the “defense” of the Philippines that would in part be conducted using an offensive capability based on long-range aerial fi repower—meaning B-17s.
  • Nazi Deception Propaganda: Bluffing the Credulous & Fearful: Hitler conducted his diplomacy with bluff, concealing German military weakness with deception. There were two main tracks in the German deception program, one was about aerial capabilities and the other ground force strength. as the proverb goes, success always has many fathers.

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