Anti-Tank Weapons (WW2 Fact Files) by Peter Chamberlain

By Peter Chamberlain

From the experimental ordinance of WWI to the high-tech armaments of current, this illustrated background tells the tale of anti-tank weaponry with assistance from archival and glossy images and line drawings.

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Traditionally cruiser warfare against commerce was the most effective tactic for the weaker naval power. The German Pacific fleet, based on the China coast, was the main force available for such raiding The German cruiser Emden broke away from the Pacific Fleet and entered the Indian Ocean to raid in this way, but most of the fleet, under Admiral Graf von Spee, chose instead to stay together as a unit. On 14 October a weak British squadron met the Germans at Coromandel off the coast of Chile and was badly defeated.

During September there was a drift towards war. British attempts to negotiate neutrality foundered on an insistence that the Goeben be given up whilst at the same time Germany began to make offers both of support and reward if Turkey entered the war. On 20 October Enver Pasha, the leading figure in the government, gave the German commanders of the Goeben orders to begin hostilities against Russia in the Black Sea and on 29 October the Turkish fleet attacked Russian Black Sea ports. On 2 November Russia declared war against Turkey and on 3 November, before Britain had declared war against it, British naval units began firing at the outer forts of the Dardanelles which protected the sea approaches to the Ottoman capital.

The battles in the Ardennes were an almost perfect test case of the battlefield qualities of the French and German armies. Numbers were similar, both sides were advancing, and quantities of artillery were nearly identical. The result was a crushing German victory. This was not because French troops in bright coloured uniforms flung themselves heedlessly at German barbed wire and machine guns; this was a manoeuvre battle with both sides attacking. The actual reasons for German victory were primarily the superior training of ordinary German troops, a product of more generous provision of resources in the pre-war period, and a superior doctrine of command, which encouraged lower levels of leadership to take the initiative rather than await orders.

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