The German Army’s invasion of the Balkans in the spring and summer of 1941. Contrary to popular belief, there was very little mountain fighting in the Balkans, as the Germans invaded Yugoslavia from three directions following the river valleys into the heart of the Kingdom. They were able to use Panzers in the same scale as in Poland or France despite the change in topography. The Germans completely avoided the mountains of Western Yugoslavia and the mountains of Greece, as they took the Vardar right into the Kingdom of Greece as well, unlike the Italians who attempted to fight their way through the mountains of Epirus on the Albanian border. Using flat river valleys, the advantage of attacking from multiple directions, and their superiority in both doctrine and mechanised forces, the Germans destroyed both Greece and Yugoslavia in 3 weeks with very little mountain fighting. Meaning that the mountains were useless for defence. Afterwards of course they became problematic with guerrilla fighting, but the initial invasion and the destruction of the regular Greek and Yugoslav Armies was achieved swiftly and easily. I say this because I had an opponent in an argument who imagined that an invasion of Spain would end the same as the invasion of the Balkans. This ignores geography. First off, the Germans could only invade Spain from one direction, not three. But most importantly, the mountains of the Iberian Peninsula run East-West and thus throw up repeated barriers to any invader, which they MUST cross. There are no rivers that slice valleys through the Sierra Morena or the Sierra de Alcubierre. The only way to cross them is up and over. Which would be difficult for armour, slowing the Germans down. The rivers also generally flow East to West, the largest ones anyway, emptying into the Atlantic, though the Ebro flows West to East, into the Mediterranean. So the river valleys would just shoot the Germans sideways, instead of into the heart of Spain. They’d be useless. Thus despite both being mountainous, Spain would be infinitely more difficult to invade than the Balkans, and the experiences would be completely different. One ignores geography at their own peril.
just a neat new piece of information for the morning.