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Military Digest: Army conducts ‘Exercise Blitzkrieg’ in Ladakh

The GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, spent five days in Ladakh last week where, among other things, he evaluated the conduct of Exercise Blitzkrieg. The combined arms Corps Level exercise was conducted to validate several operational concepts as an aftermath of the standoff with the Chinese PLA in eastern Ladakh.

Newly inducted All Terrain Vehicles were tested in Exercise Blitzkrieg conducted in Ladakh by the Army’s Northern Command. (Photo: Indian Army)

There are many innovative names which have been used for military exercises conducted by the defence services in the country but it was quite amusing to learn that the Army’s Northern Command conducted an exercise named Blitzkrieg, a method of offensive warfare pioneered by the military of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, spent five days in Ladakh last week where, among other things, he evaluated the conduct of Exercise Blitzkrieg. The combined arms Corps Level exercise was conducted to validate several operational concepts as an aftermath of the standoff with the Chinese PLA in eastern Ladakh.

While almost all armies in the world have drawn valuable lessons from the German conduct of operations in the Second World War, it is assumed that the Northern Command had a similar concept of speed and manoeuvrability in mind when it named the exercise after the German tactics.

As far as using the term, Blitzkrieg, for an exercise in Ladakh is concerned, it may project an image divorced from reality. It may also give the Chinese the idea that some Blitzkrieg tactics may be in offing in the area which may not be the right impression to give in the current strained circumstances. Given the propensity of the Chinese to micro-analyse announcements, particularly military, any other name like ‘Firm Resolve’ or something similar would have been more neutral and not open to misunderstanding.

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For those unaware of the concept of Blitzkrieg, The Imperial War Museum (IWM) defines it as the “lightening war which was the method of offensive warfare responsible for Nazi Germany’s military successes in the early years of the Second World War”. It involves striking deep into enemy territory to seize objectives.

The Blitzkrieg tactics of Nazi Germany’s Army comprised using combined elements of tanks, motorised infantry, foot infantry, artillery and air force to attack the opponent’s defences on a narrow front and penetrating deep into the enemy territory, leaving the rear and flanks to be protected by the elements following the strike groups. It was the original ‘shock and awe’ or rapid dominance tactics made popular by the Americans decades later.

Effective radio communication between the fighting elements was a key element of Blitzkrieg. The IWM notes that these techniques were used to great effect in 1939 when the Polish Army was destroyed in a series of encirclement battles.

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“In May 1940 Hitler attacked France, his panzer divisions smashing through slow-moving French formations and cutting off the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. Spectacular success was also achieved during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and large numbers of Soviet troops were captured,” the IWM states.

Param Vir Chakra awardee tweets opposition to Agnipath, deletes tweet

Subedar Major and Honorary Captain Bana Singh tweeted his opposition to the Agnipath recruitment scheme last week and later deleted the tweet. However, while speaking to some news channels, he stuck to his opinion that it was not a well-thought-out scheme.

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In the now deleted tweet, he said, “Save the country, Agnipath scheme will badly damage us, India is going through a crucial stage. Youngsters are the future of our motherland.”

Speaking to new channels and other media houses, Bana Singh said more discussions should have been held before the scheme was introduced. He said all stakeholders should have been consulted before making the sweeping changes in the system of recruitment of jawans.

Meanwhile, voices in opposition and support of the scheme have been making their point about the scheme through write-ups in newspapers. Khap panchayats in Haryana have debated social boycott of those youth who apply for the Agnipath scheme, though such a move would not be advisable. The youth are quite well informed about the merits and demerits of the scheme and they should be left to make their own choices and not be pressured one way or the other.

The Army, Navy and the Air Force are, in the meantime, gearing up to hold recruitment rallies for the new scheme and advertisements inviting applications are already out as per schedule.

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First published on: 27-06-2022 at 04:29:49 pm
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