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The German Campaigns in the Balkans (Spring 1941) (Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-260)

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The German Campaigns in the Balkans (Spring 1941)

(Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-260)

  • German Report Series
    • Dept. of the Army, Wasdhington, D.C.
      • 181 pages
      • 41 photos
      • 7 maps
  • Free PDF download
The purpose of this study is to describe the German campaigns in the Balkans and the seizure of Crete within the framework of Hitler's military policy during the second year of World War II.
     The German Campaigns in the Balkans is written from the German point of view and is based mainly on original German records and postwar military writings by Dr. Helmut Greiner, General Burkhart H. Mueller-Hillebrand, and the late General Hans von Greiffenberg. The lessons and conclusions following each narrative have been drawn from the same German sources. Material taken from U.S. and Allied sources has been integrated into the text, but specific cross references have been made only in those instances where these sources deviate from the German documents.
     The work of preparing this study in English, which consisted of translating basic German records and manuscripts, performing additional research, expanding and then rewriting the narratives with an eye for continuity and factual data, was done chiefly by Mr. George E. Blau of the Foreign Studies Branch, Special Studies Division, Office of the Chief of Military History. In the process of presenting the material, every effort has been made to give a balanced account of German strategy and operations in the Balkans during the spring of 1941.
 
Contents
  • PART ONE. THE MILITARY-POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE BALKANS (October 1940-March 1941)
    • Chapter 1. The Great Powers
      • Germany
      • Italy
      • Soviet Union
      • Great Britain
    • Chapter 2. Germany's Satellites in the Balkans
      • Hungary
      • Romania
      • Bulgaria
    • Chapter 3. The Other Balkan Countries
      • Turkey
      • Yugoslavia
  • PART TWO. THE YUGOSLAV CAMPAIGN (Operation 25)
    • Chapter 4. Political and Strategic Planning
      • Military Topography
      • Hitler's Concept of the Strategic Factors
    • Chapter 5. The Plan of Attack
      • The Outline Plan
      • The Timing of the Attacks
      • Second Army
      • First Panzer Group
      • XLI Panzer Corps
    • Chapter 6. The Defense Forces
      • General
      • Defensive Plans
      • Training and Tactics
      • Guerrilla Warfare
      • Fortifications
      • Order of Battle
      • Deficiencies and Confusion
    • Chapter 7. The Attack Forces
      • Command Posts
      • The Luftwaffe
      • Second Army
      • First Panzer Group
      • XLI Panzer Corps
    • Chapter 8. Logistical Planning and Assembly of Second Army
      • The Rail Transportation Problem
      • The Danube as a Route of Transportation
      • Other Logistical Planning
      • The Assembly of Second Army
    • Chapter 9. Operations
      • The Air Bombardment of Belgrade
      • The Three-Pronged Drive on the Yugoslav Capital
      • Secondary Attacks
      • Italian and Hungarian Operations
      • The Final Drive on Sarajevo
      • Armistice Negotiations
      • Losses
    • Chapter 10. Lessons
      • General
      • Coalition Warfare
      • Assembly
      • Other Organizational and Tactical Improvisations
    • Chapter 11. Conclusions
      • Yugoslav Military Unpreparedness
      • Internal Disunity
      • German Propaganda
      • Seeds of Unrest
  • PART THREE. THE   GERMAN  CAMPAIGN   IN   GREECE  (Operation MARITA)
    • Chapter 12. General
      • Political and Military Events (October 1940-April 1941)
      • Military Topography
      • Strategic Factors
    • Chapter 13. The Defense Forces
      • Yugoslav Forces
      • Greek Forces
      • British and Imperial Forces
    • Chapter 14. The Attack Forces
    • Chapter 15. The Plan of Attack
    • Chapter 16. The Assembly—Logistical Problems
    • Chapter 17. Operations
      • The German Thrust across Southern Yugoslavia
      • The 2d Panzer Division Drive to Salonika
      • The Struggle across the Metaxas Line
      • The Seizure of Western Thrace
      • Capitulation of the Greek Second Army
      • The German Estimate of the Situation on 9 April
      • The Breakthrough to Kozani
      • The Withdrawal of the Greek First Army
      • Securing the German Rear Areas
      • The Fighting near Mount Olympus
      • Continuation of the XL Panzer Corps Drive
      • Regrouping of German Forces
      • The Last British Stand at Thermopylae
      • The Seizure of the Isthmus of Corinth
      • The German Drive on Athens and across the Peloponnesus
      • Losses
    • Chapter 18. Lessons
      • Employment of Armor in Mountainous Terrain
      • Air Support
      • Flying Columns
      • Mission-Type Orders
      • Mountain Training and Equipment
      • Patrol Activities
      • Obstacles and Demolitions
      • Pacification of Enemy Territory
    • Chapter 19. Conclusions
  • PART FOUR. THE SEIZURE OF CRETE (Operation MERKUR)
    • Chapter 20. General
      • Strategic Factors and Planning
      • Situation in the Eastern Mediterranean
      • Military Topography
      • The Defense Forces
      • The Attack Forces
      • The Plan of Attack
      • The Assembly—Logistical Problems
    • Chapter 21. Operations
      • The Initial Airborne Landings (20 May 1941)
      • The Seaborne Invasion (20-22 May)
      • The Continuation of the Struggle (21 May 1 June)
      • Casualties and Losses
    • Chapter 22. Lessons
    • Chapter 23. Conclusions
  • PART FIVE. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CAMPAIGNS IN THE BALKANS AND THE INVASION OF RUSSIA
    • Chapter 24. Influence of the Plans for Operation BARBAROSSA on the Campaigns In the Balkans
      • Hasty Execution of the Balkan Campaigns
      • Hurried Redeployment from the Balkans
      • Defective Occupation of Yugoslavia and Greece
    • Chapter 25. Effect of the Balkan Campaign, on Operation BARBAROSSA
      • Delay of Operation BARBAROSSA
      • The Redeployment of the Ground Forces
      • The Influence on Air Operations
      • The Balkan Campaigns as a Diversion
    • Chapter 26. Conclusions
  • APPENDICES
    • German Chain of Command at the Start of the Balkan Campaigns (6 April 1941)
    • Chronological Table of Events
    • Bibliographic List
  • MAPS
    • General Reference Map
    • German Operations and Plans—July 1940-March 1941
    • The Campaigns in the Balkans—Deployment and Initial Objectives
    • The German Campaign in Yugoslavia (Operation 25)
    • The German Campaign in Greece (Operation MARITA)
    • The Strategic Importance of Crete
    • The Seizure of Crete (Operation MERKUR)

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