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German Army vs. Soviet Partisans
Flying Columns in War
Deep Thrusts by Flying Columns
125 pages; 9 chapters
Flying Columns in War traces the history and use of flying columns since
Alexander the Great until modern times. The reader will immediately note
that there has been some confusion down through the ages regarding the
definition of Flying Columns in War, beginning with Alexander the Great.
As Flying Columns in War explains, the term “flying column” is a western
European word coinage. The Soviets have always referred to any
semblance of flying columns as forward detachments (see Forward
Detachment War). Flying Columns in War not only focuses upon the
confusion in understanding of the concept, but also how it has worked in a
tactical sense. The reader will be both entertained and informed by Flying
Columns in War.
"On 11 July 1941, the German 6th Panzer Division was diverted from its eastward advance toward Porkhov and Dno to
assist 1st Panzer Division whose drive via the Pskov-Leningrad Rollbahn [Ed: road designated as a main axis for
motorized transportation] toward Luga had run into stiff enemy resistance near Novoselye.
What the Germans then called a “Flying Column” of mechanized an armored vehicles was then organized by the 6th
Panzer Division Headquarters. General Raus was placed in command of the flying column and ordered to assist the
bogged down 1st Panzer Division as fast as possible. Soon Flying Column Raus roared off down the dirt road, which
the map indicated led to the bogged down 1st Panzer Division.
Hardly had Flying Column Raus’ leading echelon, started for the trouble spot, than the road, shown on the map as
leading directly through a swampland to Novoselye, came to an end. Local residents said no such road had existed for
forty years. With guides and engineers to the front, the column took up a zigzag course from village to village over the
best wagon roads that could be found. At the first swampy hole, about thirty feet wide, an apparently sturdy bridge
collapsed under the weight of a light tank. The advance was delayed for five hours while a new bridge was built."
Excerpt from Flying Columns in War
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