Blitzkrieg (/ˈblɪtskriːɡ/ BLITS-kreeg, German: [ˈblɪtskʁiːk] (listen); from Blitz 'lightning' + Krieg 'war') is a word used to describe a combined arms surprise attack using a rapid, overwhelming force concentration that may consist of armored and motorized or mechanized infantry formations, together with artillery, air assault and close air support, that has the intent to break through the opponent's lines of defense, then dislocate the defenders, unbalance the enemy by making it difficult to respond to the continuously changing front, and defeat them in a decisive Vernichtungsschlacht: a battle of annihilation. During the interwar period, aircraft and tank technologies matured and were combined with systematic application of the traditional German tactic of Bewegungskrieg (maneuver warfare), deep penetrations and the bypassing of enemy strong points to encircle and destroy enemy forces in a Kesselschlacht (cauldron battle/battle of encirclement).

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