From the Ground Up

Niklas Zetterling

An examination of the German Blitzkrieg operations from Poland to Operation Barbarossa, as experienced by junior commanders and enlisted men, exploring why they were so successful.
Publication date:
May 2017
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
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ISBN : 9781612004600

Dimensions : 236 X 159 mm
This book is temporarily out of stock.
ISBN : 9781636240558

Dimensions : 236 X 159 mm
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• Dispells many myths about Blitzkrieg
• Uses the experiences of the ordinary soldiers based on unpublished sources

The successes of the German Blitzkrieg in 1939-41 were as surprising as they were swift. Allied decision-makers wanted to discover the secret to German success quickly, even though only partial, incomplete information was available to them. The false conclusions drawn became myths about the Blitzkrieg that have lingered for decades.

It has been argued that German victories in the early part of the war rested less upon newly developed tanks and aircraft and more on German military traditions: rather than creating a new way of war based on new technology, the Germans fitted the new weapons into their existing ideas on warfare. These doctrines focused on independent action, initiative, flexibility, decentralized decision-making and mobility. The conduct of German soldiers, particularly the lower-ranking men, on the battlefield was at the core of the concept and German victories rested upon the quality of the small combat units.

This book focuses on the experience of the enlisted men and junior officers in the Blitzkrieg operations in Poland, Norway, Western Europe and Russia. Using accounts previously unpublished in English, military historian Niklas Zetterling explores how they operated, for example how a company commander led his tanks, how a crew worked together inside a tank, and the role of the repair services. The author fits these narratives into a broader perspective to give the reader a better understanding of why the Germans were so successful in 1939-41.


Blitzkrieg' not only shows you the big picture, economically, strategically, but also takes you right into the Panzers. This book looks at the nuts and bolts of the German army during the Blitzkrieg years. It gives you a background on the theory of blitzkrieg war-making as well… As usual, this Casemate Publishers book is a well written and absorbing read. For those of us who are interested in the tactics and strategy of the early war years, it is a book you won't want to miss.
A Wargamer's Needful Things

A comprehensively detailed work of definitive scholarship… 'Blitzkrieg: From the Ground Up' is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community and academic library World War II Military History collections.
Military History Matters (Reviewer)

For those who wargame these periods there are some good scenarios which would translate very nicely onto the wargames table.
Miniature Wargames - John Drewienkiewicz

In support of his convincing argument the author uses several accounts of German actions seen through the eyes of the soldiers and junior officers who had to put theory into practice on the battlefield. 4.5 stars
Army Rumour Service