Military History Lecture - Manstein: Hitler’s Greatest General

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A lecture by Major General Mungo Melvin OBE, Senior Army Member, Royal College of Defence Studies.


Field Marshal Erich von Manstein was the mastermind who created the plan for the 1940 Blitzkrieg that overran France in just six weeks. He played a key role in the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa) and conquered the Crimea (1941-42), but failed to rescue the doomed Sixth Army at Stalingrad (1942), his most controversial campaign. Three months after the inevitable failure there, he inflicted a massive defeat on the Red Army at Kharkov (1943) in a brilliantly designed counter-attack; a battle that has been studied in military academies ever since. He was later dismissed by Hitler over differences in professional opinion. In his lecture, Major General Melvin will provide a compelling account of a senior military commander’s conflict with his political leader and the dilemmas involved in following a flawed strategy and in resisting an immoral regime.

Major General Mungo Melvin OBE is currently the Senior Army Member at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, responsible for strategic analysis and teaching. He has directed the British Army’s Strategic and Combat Studies Institute, managed the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, advised Ministers and the Chiefs of Staff on lessons from operations and commanded the British forces in Germany. He has contributed to a significant number of academic and military studies over the last 15 years and is regarded as one of the British Army’s foremost thinkers.



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