Lot 131

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HEINZ GUDERIAN (1888 - 1953) German general and Hitler's Army Chief of Staff, the inventor of the 'blitzkrieg' who commanded tanks in Poland and France, and during the Russian campaign. Fantastic and lengthy T.Ms.S. 'Heinz Guderian', 7pp. sm. folio, [n.p., n.d., ca. 1945-50], titled 'Der Panzerkrieg: Ruckblicke und Ausblicke' ('The Tank War: Retrospectives and Outlooks'), containing a detailed retrospective about the success of German tank divisions during World War II and the future of tank warfare. Far too detailed to adequately quote, just a small fraction of notable lines include: 'When the German tanks broke through the extended Maginot-line at Sedan in May 1940 and reached the Atlantic at the mouth of the Somme within a few days, the amazement of even the professionals [was] aroused. The question regarding the cause of the defeat of the allied French and English has not come to rest since then. In the beginning, the German success was attributed to their superiority in numbers...[German tanks] stood against 4,500 tanks on the side of the Allies. In actuality, the strength of the German tanks was at 2,800...So it was definitely not a superiority in numbers that the Germans had to thank for their surprising victory. There must have been other reasons for this...The influence of leadership of the German tank troops has asserted itself long before the war. It consisted in a renewal of the old, proven principles of the cavalry leadership...the leader must be far out front...the leading squadron must be small and mobile... the mobility of the leadership and the stay of the commanders was the first reason for the great German successes...the second was the concentration of the tanks in large units...Our opponents may have toyed with the idea of tank units before the war, but they did not go through with it. The Germans were the first to put the idea of a tank division into practice. All other armies copied it...The third factor in our great tank successes was the speed of our movement. The day after the breakthrough at Sedan was completed in 1940, my armored corps marched 165 km. After the breakthrough through the Aisne front in June 1940, we marched an average of 100 km. daily from the Marne to the Swiss border. In the Russian campaign, the rapid exploitation of the initial successes made it possible to prevent the Russians from defending the Dnieper line in a sustained manner, to wrest Smolensk from them, and, through the simultaneous successes of the armored units on the outer wings of the great attack front, to create the conditions for the early continuation of the thrust on Moscow. That Hitler did not take advantage of this opportunity is another matter...' Much more content, covering Allied air superiority and its impact on the German tanks, the potential impact of atomic weaponry and 'V-weapons' on future tank warfare, the importance of engineers and infantrymen within German Panzer divisions, the importance of communications in the field via telephone and radio, General George Patton's successes in France in 1944, etc. Guderian concludes: 'Prophecies in the field of warfare are very risky. Therefore, the author felt obliged to special restraint.' This phrase convinces us that the manuscript is an original first draft for later publication, potentially as part of one of his many best-selling books, though our research could not determine where (or even if) it was ever published. Guderian signs 'Heinz Guderian' at the conclusion. The manuscript is housed within an ornate blue presentation folder, with the adjoining interior page bearing Guderian's glossy portrait, and the front cover bearing an affixed gilt 'swastika eagle' in relief above the affixed label: 'Der Panzer Krieg by Generaloberst Heinz Guderian...The Tank War by Colonel General Heinz Guderian'. Very fine condition. Sold with a complete English translation.

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February 8, 2021 10:00 AM EST
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $499 $20
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $999,999 $10,000
$1,000,000 $1,999,999 $50,000
$2,000,000 + $100,000