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British Armour Theory and the Rise of the Panzer Arm: by Azar Gat (auth.)

By Azar Gat (auth.)

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9o He was encouraged by the growth in the number of French mobile formations and by the quality of their planned tank models; and this was partly, but not wholly, due to his desire to create a favourable impression of the French ability to confront the Germans without the support of a substantial British army. Mostly through Hobart, Liddell Hart was fully informed of the British intelligence reports which throughout the period portrayed a fairly good picture of the number, structure, strength, and doctrine of the main antagonists' tank formations.

There is no doubt that his overriding concern during the 1930s to devise a limited strategic response to the Nazi challenge biased his judgement, most notably regarding the superiority of the defensive. He was all too eager to take new developments which were only beginning to take shape, such as the Allies' acquisition of tanks and anti-tank guns and creation of mobile formations, as if they were already a reality rather than an incomplete and greatly deficient process. 'lls In addition, although the battlefield Liddell Hart foresaw was dominated by modern mobile forces rather than by the traditional arms of the First World War, he portrayed it all too frequently if not as static then at least as frozen in the operational sense as the battlefields of the Western Front in the previous war.

Thus, even though the Belgian delaying forces performed quite effectively, especially on 10 May, the German mechanized spearheads encountered little opposition and no wide-scale obstruction. By the end of 13 May, the Germans began to cross the Meuse, which the weak French forces in the area again proved incapable of holding. 11 4 So what does all this prove in respect to Liddell Hart's doctrines of armoured warfare? There is no doubt that his overriding concern during the 1930s to devise a limited strategic response to the Nazi challenge biased his judgement, most notably regarding the superiority of the defensive.

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