THE GERMAN CAMPAIGNS IN THE BALKANS (SPRING 1941) - DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PAMPHLET NO. 20-260
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PART ONE. THE MILITARY POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE BALKANS
(October 1940 - March 1941)1
Chapter 1. The Great Powers
I. Germany2
II. Italy3
III. Soviet Union7
IV. Great Britain9
Chapter 2. Germany's Satellites in the Balkans
I. Hungary10
II. Romania10
III. Bulgaria12
Chapter 3. The Other Balkan Countries
I. Turkey16
II. Yugoslavia20
PART TWO. THE YUGOSLAV CAMPAIGN (Operation 25)
Chapter 4. Political and Strategic Planning25
I. Military Topography26
II. Hitler's Concept of the Strategic Factors27
Chapter 5. The Plan of AttackI. The Outline Plan29
II. The Timing of the Attacks30
III. Second Army31
IV. First Panzer Group32
V. XLI Panzer Corps33
Chapter 6. The Defense Forces
I. General33
II. Defensive Plans33
III. Training and Tactics35
IV. Guerrilla Warfare35
V. Fortifications36
VI. Order of Battle36
VII. Deficiencies and Confusion37
Chapter 7. The Attack Forces
I. Command Posts38
II. The Luftwaffe39
III. Second Army39
IV. First Panzer Group41
V. XLI Panzer Corps41
Chapter 8. Logistical Planning and Assembly of Second Army
I. The Rail Transportation Problem42
II. The Danube as a Route of Transportation44
III. Other Logistical Planning46
IV. The Assembly of Second Army47
Chapter 9. Operations
I. The Air Bombardment of Belgrade49
II. The Three - Pronged Drive on the Yugoslav Capital50
III. Secondary Attacks55
IV. Italian and Hungarian Operations60
V. The Final Drive on Sarajevo 61
VI. Armistice Negotiations63
VII. Losses64
Chapter 10. Lessons
I. General64
II. Coalition Warfare65
III. Assembly65
IV. Other Organizational and Tactical Improvisations66
Chapter 11. Conclusions
I. Yugoslav Military Unpreparedness66
II. Internal Disunity68
III. German Propaganda69
IV. Seeds of Unrest69
PART THREE. THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN GREECE (Operation MARITA)
Chapter 12. General
I. Political and Military Events (October 1940 - April 1941)70
II. Military Topography 74
II. Topography74
III. Strategic Factors77
Chapter 13. The Defense Forces
I. Yugoslav Forces79
II. Greek Forces....79
III. British and Imperial Forces80
Chapter 14. The Attack Forces81
15. The Plan of Attack82
16. The Assembly - Logistical Problems83
17. Operations
I. The German Thrust across Southern Yugoslavia86
II. The 2d Panzer Division Drive to Salonika87
III. The Struggle across the Metaxas Line88
IV. The Seizure of Western Thrace89
V. Capitulation of the Greek Second Army89
VI. The German Estimate of the Situation on 9 April89
VII. The Breakthrough to Kozani91
VIII. The Withdrawal of the Greek First Army94
Chapter 17. Operations Continued
IX. Securing the German Rear Areas96
X. The Fighting near Mount Olympus96
XI. Continuation of the XL Panzer Corps Drive100
XII. Regrouping of German Forces102
XIII. The Last British Stand at Thermopylae104
XIV. The Seizure of the Isthmus of Corinth107
XV. The German Drive on Athens and across the Peloponnesus111
XVI. Losses112
Chapter 18. Lessons
I. Employment of Armor in Mountainous Terrain112
II. Air Support112
III. Flying Columns112
IV. Mission Type Orders114
V. Mountain Training and Equipment114
VI. Patrol Activities114
VII. Obstacles and Demolitions116
VIII. Pacification of Enemy Territory116
Chapter 19. Conclusions116
PART FOUR. THE SEIZURE OF CRETE (Operation MERKUR)
Chapter 20. General
I. Strategic Factors and Planning119
II. Situation in the Eastern Mediterranean120
III. Military Topography121
IV. The Defense Forces123
V. The Attack Forces124
VI. The Plan of Attack126
VII. The Assembly - Logistical Problems127
Chapter 21. Operations
I. The Initial Airborne Landings (20 May 1941)129
II. The Seaborne Invasion (20-22 May)133
III. The Continuation of the Struggle (21 May-1 June)133
VI. Casualties and Losses140
Chapter 22. Lessons141
23. Conclusions147
PART FIVE. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CAMPAIGNS IN THE BALKANS AND THE INVASION OF RUSSIA148
Chapter 24. Influence of the Plans for Operation BARBAROSSA on the Campaigns in the Balkans
I. Hasty Execution of the Balkan Campaigns149
II. Hurried Redeployment from the Balkans149
III. Defective Occupation of Yugoslavia and Greece149
Chapter 25. Effect of the Balkan Campaigns on Operation BARBAROSSA
I. Delay of Operation BARBAROSSA150
II. The Redeployment of the Ground Forces150
III. The Influence on Air Operations151
IV. The Balkan Campaigns as a Diversion151
Chapter 26. Conclusions152
APPENDICES
I. German Chain of Command at the Start of the Balkan Campaigns (6 April 1941)152
II. Chronological Table of Events153
III. Bibliographic List158
MAPS
1. General Reference Map1
2. German Operations and Plans July 1940 - March 19415
3. The Campaigns in the Balkans - Deployment and Initial Objectives42
4. The German Campaign in Yugoslavia (Operation 25)49
5. The German Campaign in Greece (Operation MARITA)70
6. The Strategic Importance of Crete119
7. The Seizure of Crete (Operation MERKUR)122
ILLUSTRATIONS
1. The Military Bridge across the Danube18
2. Bridge across the Drava River Damaged by the Yugoslavs28
3. Yugoslav Obstacles across the Railway Tracks near Spielfeld34
4. German Supply Column Crossing a 4,100-Foot Pass in Bulgaria40
5. German Emergency Bridge Replaces Demolished Structure45
6. Prime Movers Towing Heavy Trucks along Muddy Road51
7. German Patrol Returning from a Raid across the Yugoslav Border56
8. Man and Beast Working Together to PuIl Vehicles out of the Mud59
9. German Mark III Tank Advancing through Mountain Pass Protectedby Flak62
10. Disabled Yugoslav Tank 67
11. Gun Emplacements in a Greek Mountain Position73
12. Antitank Obstacles along the Metaxas Lie76
13. Obstacles along the Yugoslav-Greek Border78
14. German Infantry Marching through Bulgarian Mountains toward theGreek Border 80
15. Oxen and Horses Hitched in Tandem to Ierman Field Kitchen in theMountains of Bulgaria85
16. German Artillery Firing at Meaxas line Fortifications87
17. Metaxas Line Defenses near Rupcl Gorge88
18. Road Block near Greek Border90
19. Mountain Division on the March thro,:gt! Nor",ern Greece92
20. German Infantry "Invading" Islands i, tLe A ;sn Sea95
21. German Tank Burns during Attack on the Rid:e.near Platamon97
22. German Tank Descending Slope toward Pinios River99
23. German Tanks Get Stuck during the Crossing of the Pinios River101
24. German Convoy Waiting to Cross the Pinios River on a Pneumatic Boat Ferry103
25. German Tanks Approaching the Thermopylae Pass105
26. Construction of an Emergency Bridge near Thermopylae Pass106
27. The Airborne Operation against the Isthmus of Corinth108
28. Right: The Destruction of the Corinth Canal Bridge.Top: The Canal after the Explosion109
29. Motorized Column Advancing along the Railroad Tracks from Thebesto Athens110
30. A Motorized and a Mountain Infantry Column Share Road to Athens113
31. Difficult Terrain in Central Greece115
32. German Engineer Using Mine Detector117
33. German Motor Sailer Three Miles Southwest of Cape Spatha125
34. Mountain Troops Preparing for Airlift to Crete128
35. Maleme Airfield with Hill 107 in Background131
36. Airborne Landings West of Maleme134
37. Disabled British Tank near Canea136
38. The Struggle for Heraklion Airfield138
39. The First Mules Have Arrived in Crete140
40. Airborne Landings over the North Coast of Crete144
41. Antitank Gun, Attached to Five Parachutes, Is Dropped over Crete146
(Most of the illustrations are U. S. Army photos from captured German films; a few are reproductionsfrom the collection of captured combat paintings now in the custody of the Chief of Military History, SpecialStaff, U. S. Army.)
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