At the Harz Mountains in 1921 exercises with Kraftfahrkampftruppen (motorized combat troops) were conducted.
Hans von Seeckt
Hans von Seeckt
was commander-in-chief from 1919 to 1926 and during that time he wanted to reorganize the Heer
into a more mobile fighting force. He started using war games for training purposes. He advocated that orders given to commanders were to be short and direct, thus leaving the local commander the flexibility to choose the method to fulfill the mission and this was known as Auftragstaktik
In 1924 Hans von Seeckt wrote in a German Army manual that once tanks were perfected that they would be used in mobile warfare.
In 1924 Ernst Volckheim wrote Tanks in Modern Warfare and German Tanks in the World War. He predicted that tanks would be faster, mobile, and independent of infantry and calvary. He also advocated the use of radios in all vehicles.
Sweden bought the design of the Leichter Kampfwagen that was developed by Daimler. They modified the tank buy adding a rotating turret. There was also secret agreement with Sweden which accumulated a lot of technical data for the Germans. German tank designers spent a lot of time learning about design and production from the LK II.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-139-1112-17
In Sweden, Heinz Guderian was able to drive a Stridsvagn Strv. m/21 in 1929 during an official visit.
The German's developed a strategy known as Vernichtungsgedanke (annihilation concept). This is where German forces would fall onto the flanks of an enemy, surround, and then destroy it.
Once the Nazis came to power most of this secrecy was abandoned and tank development was more in the open. The manufacturing industry seized the opportunity to develop new weapons.
Treaty of Rapallo
On April 16, 1922, the Treaty of Rapallo with the Soviet Union was signed. Part of the agreement was that Germany and the Soviet Union would share in military technology.
This enabled the Germans to develop their "agricultural tractors" and test them at Kazan, in Russia, in addition to Sweden. Aircraft were also tested at Kazan. Heinz Guderian was one of many German officers that trained at Kazan.
In exchange many Soviet officers went to Germany to receive training, including Gyorgy Konstantinovich Zhukov.
Influences Hart and Fuller
The Germans also learned from the teachings of British tank pioneers Liddell Hart and Fuller. Heinz Guderian was one of the main architects for the development of the Panzer forces. He had wanted to find ways to end the static conditions that occurred in World War I.
General Hans von Seeckt also studied Fuller and Liddel Hart.
In 1922 Captain Heinz Guderian was a communications specialist who was promoted to serving in the Transport Troops Inspectorate. While there he started to read about armored warfare. He said "it was principally the books and articles of the Englishmen, Fuller, Liddell Hart, and Martel, that excited my interest and gave me food for thought."
Soon he started writing his own articles. He was able to rise up the promotion ladder and many wondered if the tanks of the day would be able to live up to what Guderian was writing about.
As a Lieutenant Colonel he was appointed Chief of Staff to General Oswald Lutz
at the Inspectorate of Motorized Troops in October 1931. There, with Lutz
was able develop the structure of armored troops and recommend designs of tanks. One design was of a medium tank, armed with a 75 mm gun, that would fight enemy tanks, and a light tank, with a 50 mm gun, that would be used for reconnaissance. Unfortunately the Chief of the Ordnance Office and the Inspector of Artillery felt that a 37 mm gun was more than adequate.
Many in the German Army hierarchy resisted Guderian's ideas, but it is said Hitler watched one of Guderian's demonstrations and said "That's what I need! That's what I'm going to have!"
On November 20, 1938, he was promoted to General der Panzertruppen and appointed Chief of Mobile Troops. His background in communications let him to insist that all vehicles have a radio and specialized command vehicles be constructed. Another important feature was to be able to communicate with the Luftwaffe's ground attack planes to provide air support.
The tactics that were proposed by Guderian involved a schwerpunkt (concentrated strike force) that would break through the enemy's line. He felt they should be concentrated on a front of no more than 5,000 yards wide. This would then be exploited by rapidly concentrating forces in an expanding torrent that would drive deep into the enemy's rear. This would also lead into the disruption of the enemy's communication and supplies.
Antitank guns would be brought up to set up points where the panzers could retreat through if they were counterattacked by enemy armor. After the antitank guns had blunted the enemy's counterattack then the panzers would again attack them enemy.
Walther von Brauchitsch
During the winter of 1923 to 1924, Lt. Col. Walther von Brauchitsch conducted training to experiment with the coordination of aircraft and motorized troops.
New Aircraft Industries Formed
In 1922 some of the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty expired and on January 1, 1924 the Focke Wulf Flugzeugbau was created. Arado-Handels (later Arado Flugzeugwerke) was created in April 1925. Messerschmitt A.G. was created in 1926. In 1926 the Junkers and Aero Lloyd airlines joined to form Deutsche Lufthansa.
A training program was started in 1925 that was to train the military in close cooperation between service arms.
Secret development of three light tank and two medium tank prototypes was started. The light tanks were to weigh 9.5 tons and the mediums up to 21 tons.
The first was a light tank similar to the British Vickers Medium Mark II. It was designed by Rheinmetall Borsig of Berlin/Tegel and Düsseldorf and code named the leichter Traktor (light tractor). The next larger was developed in 3 versions called the Grosstraktor (large tractor). There were around 20 tons and we similar to the Vickers tank. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche designed the Grosstraktor I and it was built by Daimler-Benz with a 75 mm gun. Rheinmetall built the Grosstraktor II which mounted a 105 mm gun. The Grosstraktor III was built by Krupp.
Alfred von Vollard-Bockelberg
In 1926, Major-General Alfred von Vollard-Bockelberg became the head of the Transport Troops Inspectorate and in 1927 he began training the transport officers in the theories of armored warfare. He based the teachings on the British Army pamphlet Provisional Instructions for Armored Vehicles 1927. Full scale maneuvers were conducted with cardboard tanks and autos with cardboard or lumber hulls that resembled tanks.
He then went to the Ordnance Department in 1929 and stayed there until 1933. He was responsible for accelerating the mechanization of the army. He also formed the 1st motorcycle and mechanized reconnaissance units. He also helped in the design phase of the PzKpfw I and PzKpfw II.