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JR*
11-14-2012, 12:18 PM
We have a thread already in this Forum on the question of "whether there was anything Hitler could have done to win the war". This thread asks a slightly different question - was Germany actually capable of winning to war, no matter what Hitler, or anybody else, did ? In posing this question, I start from the position that, both for ideological and economic reasons, the trajectory of the National Socialist régime from 1933 to 1939 made war inevitable - if only because the achievement of "Living Space" in the East was an ideological imperative and, on the economic front, failure to achieve a huge military victory was the only alternative to a catastrophic collapse of the bogus Nazi "economic miracle". But, necessary as the war was from a Hitlerian viewpoint, was Germany actually capable of winning ? If so, for what reasons ? And if not, why not ? Best regards, JR.

JR*
11-14-2012, 12:30 PM
Sorry - I suppose I should have put this in "General Discussion". Just dumb, I guess ... JR.

flamethrowerguy
11-14-2012, 12:35 PM
Moved.

JR*
11-14-2012, 12:54 PM
Thanks, Flame. Look forward to views. JR.

leccy
11-14-2012, 01:28 PM
Germany on its own - no it could not have and despite all those that claim all the Axis and co-beligerants were useless Germany would have fared worse without them.

If the British Government had not held out then Britain may have sued for peace like France did (some personalities were considering terms). That would remove alot of assistance from the Soviet Union and the occupied countries (which increased the longer the war went on).

Now you come to the big ifs, Germany with Britain defeated or at least at peace would have had more resources and manpower to send East (possible that Britain may have had to supply materiel like France did).
Spain without the bribing etc from the UK may have joined in with manpower as may Turkey (the US also bribed them to stay out).

With the Western Allies completely actually neutralised (as opposed to Hitlers assumption that GB was), more nations may have done more to support Germany more actively (no resistance movements etc).

With the increased manpower possibly joining the Axis would that have been enough to tip the balance in the East in 1942? (1941 they ran out of time and ability to get resources forward)

Germanys only real chance was Britain to sue for peace and for the Soviets to collapse as they were expected to. Both major stumbling blocks, with those countries still in play Germany had no chance it, was a matter of resources and attrition.

Ardee
11-15-2012, 01:44 PM
Are you asking in pure military terms? Then leccy was correct in pointing out the loss of "aircraft carrier" Britain on Europe's western flank would certainly have complicated any attempts to overthrow the Nazi regime. But your question also drags in other factors, such as economics. Without thinking too deeply about it, my response is, no, Hitler was probably doomed to failure, barring acts of God like earthquakes, meteors, and tsunamis wiping out the opposition. By personality, endless appetite, arrogance, and ideology, he was bound to overreach himself, while trying to serve too many ends: witness his refusal to go to a "total war" economy until way too late, to keep up the superior German life style. No strategic long range bombers. His nuclear program, as I understand it, pursuing a dead-end avenue of research. His knack for betraying allies -- his nominal treaty with the USSR -- and for helping them (e.g., Italy in Greece). His divide-and-conquer approach to internal politics, his fondness for sycophants, his own health issues (Parkinson's?) and substance abuse (can't recall off hand how definitive the proof of the drug use was, but I recall the evidence as being pretty strong). The supression of creative problem-solving (e.g., what almost happened to the MP44). His tiny German population base, trying to dominate the entire world. The inherent rottenness, lack of trust, moral decay, and dysfunction of the society as a whole and government in particular. In many ways, it was the military and the war holding the regime together. The more successful the war, the less necessary the military, the quicker things fall apart, or become divided up (such as the military vs. the party's SS). It was, to use a phrase, a rotten house of cards, waiting to get kicked in.

Is that 20-20 hindsight, a glimpse of history being inevitable? Maybe: in some ways the above analysis seems awfully "neat." I think I've said elsewhere here that war is one of the most obvious "human" demonstrations of chaos theory: how any one small change can have huge unforeseen consequences. But it seems winning would require sounder, saner steps than the internal imperatives of the regime would allow, or at least sustain. To draw a distinction between the Germany" of your question and the Nazis, a successful coup that resulted in a saner regime would probably also entail a saner approach to ending, rather than "winning," the war.

Nickdfresh
11-17-2012, 11:50 AM
It's hard to see Germany winning the World War. The schedule of the Wehrmacht being able to fully match the French and the British went all the way into the late 1940's as far as preparedness went. The Kriegsmarine simply was too small and inexperienced to launch amphibious operations against even a weakened Britain and certainly could not contend with the Royal Navy, even with the help of the Italian Fleet. A question we might ask is "how was Germany as successful as it was in the early part of the war against the Western Powers?" The prohibitions on German armaments imposed by the Versailles Treaty had effects that were twofold. On the one hand, they prevented German military power from developing in the short term and ultimately prevented Germany from commissioning a large enough navy to force the issue against the British. On the other hand, the inherent weakness in numbers of the Reichwehr--and especially the Heer--meant that the German Army was on the cutting edge of command and control technologies, mobility (Bewegungskrieg), and insuring that each unit had the force multiplier of autonomy (Auftragstaktik or 'mission to tactics).

I think this coupled with the fact that the Luftwaffe was completely reconstituted from scratch with a modern fleet of fighters and medium/dive bombers giving the Germans several tactical advantages early on over the French (who were still in the process of modernizing) and to a lessor extent the British, that masked their limited industrial output and vulnerable strategic position as far as resources were concerned. An overview of the German campaigns of Fall Gelb and Rot will reveal fears that the Heer had in the Allied advantage in resources and the inherent weaknesses Germany would suffer in a long campaign resulting in what was seen as a desperate gamble in Manstein's/Halder's plan. Not least of which that German production compared to that of the United States was nominal at best, and her only hope was scoring spectacular victories in order to gain the means of production for a 'long war' in which Germany was incapable of winning.

The quick, shocking victory over the French was the best possible scenario, yet it also resulted in the United States expanding its armed forces and beginning the initial phases of industrial and military mobilization. I don't believe Germany had the industrial capacity to win a long war that it provoked and Hitler's rash foreign policies were a gamble against the odds at best. The hope that conquering the Soviet Union and simply taking over its industry and agriculture would have taken years, if not a decade or more, to actually consolodate and was a pipe dream. But Hitler's early successes against France inoculated him against any further dire warnings and misgivings his generals had. And so he was allowed to attempt to impose his nightmare vision on Europe, a vision that was Pyrrhic at best....

flyerhell
11-18-2012, 11:03 PM
Just thinking out loud - what if the pace of technological development that Germany had during the war, they were able to do prior to the war as well? For example, let's say that the war didn't actually begin until 1944ish...The militaries of the other countries would have been more modern as well but the Germans were well ahead of the other countries even during the war (no other country had anything remotely close to the V rocket program and Germany was the only country to field fighter jets during the war). If the war didn't begin, the Germans would have had many more resources to apply toward the development of weapons and maybe would have even been able to attack the US with long range bombers and missiles. It would have been the US in a much more vulnerable position and the British would have had a much tougher time during the Battle of Britain, if it would even take place.

All of that said, I still think that regardless of when the war started, the end result would have been the same (though, if the Germans got their hands on missiles able to hit the US, it would have been a much bloodier conflict)....the Germans just couldn't compete with the massive industrialization and population of the US and the USSR.

Evillittlekenny
11-19-2012, 05:09 AM
The point is good, but I always think then about how (probably very different) the development of weapons would have proceeded. It is hard to say, with what ideas all countries would have come up if they had more time. We probably would not have seen a Panther tank as it was in the end or a Pershing or an IS-2, most probably different roads would have been taken.

benno bratfisch
11-30-2012, 01:33 PM
We have a thread already in this Forum on the question of "whether there was anything Hitler could have done to win the war". This thread asks a slightly different question - was Germany actually capable of winning to war, no matter what Hitler, or anybody else, did ? In posing this question, I start from the position that, both for ideological and economic reasons, the trajectory of the National Socialist régime from 1933 to 1939 made war inevitable - if only because the achievement of "Living Space" in the East was an ideological imperative and, on the economic front, failure to achieve a huge military victory was the only alternative to a catastrophic collapse of the bogus Nazi "economic miracle". But, necessary as the war was from a Hitlerian viewpoint, was Germany actually capable of winning ? If so, for what reasons ? And if not, why not ? Best regards, JR.

Well, was war really inevitably ? You are right, the "economic miracle" was based on debt. But is'nt the "economic miracle" of the western world, at least for the last forty years, also based on debt ? And yes, from Hitlers viewpoint war was inevitable, but all other Nazi's, especially Goering, were sceptical, not to mention the Generals (if Chamberlain and Daladier would not have sacrificed Czechoslovakia in autum 1938, I think they would have made a coup d'etat).
In my opinion the outbreak of war is absolutely linked to the person of Hitler. It's really hard to imagine what would have happened, if Hitler had not become Chancellor in January 1933 (the Nazi party was financially bancrupt at this time and their votes have considerably decreased in the elections in november 1932). Probably democracy would have consolidated after a few years. Possible, but less probable, were a military, a communist or another right wing regime. Despite the fact, that Hitler and the nazi party were extremely popular in 1939, the war was not (compare the 1.September 1939 to the 1.August 1914, no cheering, only faces of sorrow) and I really can not imagine another person capable of dragging those Germans into another world war.

pdf27
12-02-2012, 02:25 AM
One point for those thinking somehow invading the UK would have made a big difference - the US government response was to order the development of what would become the B-36, with the Manhattan project following 6 months later. With those available by 1945 or so, it really would be game over for Germany. The B-36 was the next best thing to uninterceptible until the development of the afterburning turbojet - something the Germans never really had the metallurgy to do.

leccy
12-02-2012, 04:54 AM
Just thinking out loud - what if the pace of technological development that Germany had during the war, they were able to do prior to the war as well? For example, let's say that the war didn't actually begin until 1944ish...The militaries of the other countries would have been more modern as well but the Germans were well ahead of the other countries even during the war (no other country had anything remotely close to the V rocket program and Germany was the only country to field fighter jets during the war). If the war didn't begin, the Germans would have had many more resources to apply toward the development of weapons and maybe would have even been able to attack the US with long range bombers and missiles. It would have been the US in a much more vulnerable position and the British would have had a much tougher time during the Battle of Britain, if it would even take place.

All of that said, I still think that regardless of when the war started, the end result would have been the same (though, if the Germans got their hands on missiles able to hit the US, it would have been a much bloodier conflict)....the Germans just couldn't compete with the massive industrialization and population of the US and the USSR.

The British actually fielded the first operational jet fighter squadron not the Germans contrary to common belief. Britain also started to field the better Vampire in 1945.
The US had its first F80 jets in Italy and UK in 1945.

Early jets were very vulnerable during landing and take off with many being lost to attacks by conventional aircraft on their home bases, this required a diversion of piston aircraft to protect the jet bases.

The V1 and V2 were developed as an answer to the allied overwhelming superiority in bombers, they were inaccurate, limited tactical or strategic value and ultimately with convetional payload a dead end.

Part of the reason the war started when it did was because of Germanys lack of resources and more importantly money, delaying the start only reduces Germanys ability, it needed the money and resources from Austria to move into Czechoslovakia then those to help with Poland and to keep its own economy going. It stripped the occupied countries of money, manpower and resources to feed its own economy.

The mass expansion in the 1930's was mainly based around the military it spent money which was not replenished by external trade, a huge deficit was built up. At one point it was almost 50% of GDP regulalry 30% which was unsustainable.

Vonss
12-09-2012, 02:17 AM
If Hitler let his Generals run the show; I say yes!

Nickdfresh
12-09-2012, 08:34 AM
If Hitler let his Generals run the show; I say yes!

Which generals and where? Hitler's generals didn't want to invade France...

Vonss
12-09-2012, 07:02 PM
After the rampage of France and Poland, Hitler should've let his Generals take over. Hitler made bone head mistakes, Rommel would've made a great choice. Rommel didn't see the Jews as enemies of Germany's, though, he still had passion for Germany to win the war.

I also like to point out that Hitler's German army was winning the war right until the weather change for the worst in Russia. England was on her knees, Russia was on her Knees and USA could not do it alone.

pdf27
12-10-2012, 03:02 AM
After the rampage of France and Poland, Hitler should've let his Generals take over. Hitler made bone head mistakes, Rommel would've made a great choice. Rommel didn't see the Jews as enemies of Germany's, though, he still had passion for Germany to win the war.Rommel never commanded more than a small Corps, and always fought against those who National Socialist ideology described in good terms. No way would he have been put in command of the entire war effort - he was one of what, a hundred or so Corps commanders in the Wehrmacht at the time, not accounting for the SS, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine. His record in France was unexceptional - both in 1940 and 1944 - and his reputation in the desert is based on a huge amount of luck on his part coupled with very poor doctrine and forces continually deprived of reinforcement to support other campaigns on the part of the British. That's the real reason he is so famous - for a long time, he was the only German general fighting against the English-speaking nations on land.
I also like to point out that Hitler's German army was winning the war right until the weather change for the worst in Russia. England was on her knees, Russia was on her Knees and USA could not do it alone.I'd like to point out you're talking cobblers. England was trapped on an island with few or no opportunities for offensive action (Bomber Command, the Army and the RN escort forces were still in the process of being built up - all were tiny in 1939 in comparison to what they were later in the war.Russia had taken huge casualties but still had the strength left to counterattack and force the Germans back before Moscow. Also, it wasn't just the weather which stopped the Germans (although any competent army would have realised that it gets cold in Russia during the winter and prepared accordingly - the Wehrmacht didn't). Their supply chain was deeply precarious, relying as it did on capturing sufficient grain supplies from the Russians (and by implication causing the death by starvation of millions of Soviet citizens - this was discussed by the German high command before Barbarossa and accepted as a good idea) and a very poor railway network which didn't even have tracks on the same gauge as the German one. Indeed, most Wehrmacht transport for Barbarossa relied on horses to provide the motive power.The USA elected to go for a relatively small army, rather than the much larger one it was capable of fielding. This was a concious decision, made in the knowledge that the British Empire and Soviets could provide a significant amount of manpower while US manpower was more effectively used providing the immense quantities of munitions that no other country could, and which eventually buried the German armed forces under a torrent of steel.Finally, read up on the history of the Manhattan project and the genesis of the B-36. Should Germany by some miracle force an Armistice on Britain and the Soviet Union, and then get in a shooting war with the USA, they should expect the delivery of a large quantity of instant sunshine sometime in 1947 or 48. There wouldn't really be a Germany left after that...

Ardee
12-11-2012, 06:44 PM
forces continually deprived of reinforcement to support other campaigns on the part of the British.

If you're saying the British were continually deprived, I think you should review what Allied Knowledge of ULTRA did Rommel and his supplies. And whatever the reality of the legend of Rommel, I would say his affect on morale -- both Axis and Allied -- was also of considerable value. He also provided very real "hands-on" leadership (with costs as well as benefits). So. was what you describe as his "luck" just that, or a result of things like morale and leadership? ;-)


I also like to point out that Hitler's German army was winning the war right until the weather change for the worst in Russia.

Rommel would've made a great choice.

Isn't your comment about the weather sort of like saying Hitler was winning as long as the weather went his way? Look at the "Hitler Weather" of the Polish campaign, just for example.
Regarding your leadership idea for Rommel -- he has always struck me as strong on tactics, and not so great on strategy.

pdf27
12-12-2012, 10:26 AM
If you're saying the British were continually deprived, I think you should review what Allied Knowledge of ULTRA did Rommel and his supplies. And whatever the reality of the legend of Rommel, I would say his affect on morale -- both Axis and Allied -- was also of considerable value. He also provided very real "hands-on" leadership (with costs as well as benefits). So. was what you describe as his "luck" just that, or a result of things like morale and leadership? ;-)Not to mention the bombers and submarines based in Malta! I was simplifying a bit - Rommel's big (and famous) triumphs came at a time when Malta was largely neutralised by the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica, while the British had lost a lot of combat power diverted to Greece. When Malta was reinforced and the 8th Army reinforced via the Cape of Good Hope, Rommel lost badly.So I'd say to come in at a time like that was lucky, yes. Additionally, he regularly got away with manoeuvres that had the British been even slightly more on the ball would have turned to disaster for him. A classic example of him attempting this is the latter half of Operation Crusader - launching an attack with minimal supplies and hoping to either find some on the way or have the British give up and die of fright. The remarkable thing is how often this very thing happened - and not just in North Africa either, but notably in Burma and Malaya.

Ardee
12-12-2012, 11:10 AM
Additionally, he regularly got away with manoeuvres that had the British been even slightly more on the ball would have turned to disaster for him.
Or perhaps he understood his opponent, one of the hallmarks of a great general! I'm sure we could go on like this all day. Certainly Rommel had his detractors, including some of his superiors, as I'm sure you know. I still tend to admire the man. I certainly don't think I could have done better! :)

Nickdfresh
12-12-2012, 11:17 AM
Not to mention the bombers and submarines based in Malta! I was simplifying a bit - Rommel's big (and famous) triumphs came at a time when Malta was largely neutralised by the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica, while the British had lost a lot of combat power diverted to Greece. When Malta was reinforced and the 8th Army reinforced via the Cape of Good Hope, Rommel lost badly.So I'd say to come in at a time like that was lucky, yes. Additionally, he regularly got away with manoeuvres that had the British been even slightly more on the ball would have turned to disaster for him. A classic example of him attempting this is the latter half of Operation Crusader - launching an attack with minimal supplies and hoping to either find some on the way or have the British give up and die of fright. The remarkable thing is how often this very thing happened - and not just in North Africa either, but notably in Burma and Malaya.

Rommel took risks, but he was a measured gambler who -like Gurderian- was very adept at sensing his enemies' weaknesses and exploiting them while covering his own. I think he had a lot of residual confidence from the Battle for France in the tactical superiority of his forces, for better or worse, while still in Africa and knew he was up against a force that did not function with the same acumen has his Afrika Korps initially could. I also think Rommel was blessed with the sort of second sight that most great commanders have in history - the ability to anticipate their enemies' moves and seemingly to read minds. The initial Luftwaffe air superiority did not help the Commonwealth situation and I think the Desert Rats' prospects for victory rose with the logistical struggle not only going on around Malta (as you mentioned) but also with their own incremental improvements in tactical air support and in the achievement of air supremacy over the battlefield, IIRC. While I do have enormous respect for Rommel's tactical abilities, his leadership, and his seeming guile to maximize his resources: I do agree he was lost when it came to the larger strategic picture and his limitations began to show as he met an enemy that was better prepared and no longer seemed intimidated by his leadership. His penchant for being too close to the battle also did not always help his decision making process....

ubc
12-27-2012, 01:31 AM
Germany was not ready for war in 1939 and Hitler gambled that the allies would have fumbled about and let him build an empire out of eastern Europe.

When they were ready- war would have begun in the mid 1940s. This was based on a strategic plan set in motion before Hitler gained power. If foresaw the following events happening before a "preventative war" could be initiated [with the expectation of a European wide war emerging out of the first actions].

A bilateral trading empire built on credit and barter would be established ,with secure ties through Scandinavia; Eastern Europe; Russia and the Balkans.

The Stockpiling of all necessary arms, ammunition and fuel to wage 12 months of continuous mechanized warfare, including some 8 million tons of naval fuel [marine diesel and bunker fuel].

Stockpiling of sufficient resources to build a second years worth of "necessary arms, ammunition and fuel to wage 12 months of continuous mechanized warfare"....after which time it was expected a total war economy would be in place. Long term view planned for Substitute materials industries to be established to replenish key armaments resources under foreign sphere of control.
Anticipated force structure at completion.

An Army of 75-85 front line divisions with another 40 reserve brigade/divisional units. This included 36 Panzer Divisions, while the rest of the “active divisions” were fully motorised.

A medium sized navy with the follow estimated structure....

Several aircraft carriers plus several fast battleships, supported by at least a dozen fast Panzerschiffe and ½ dozen dedicated replenishment tankers/AOE.
~ 80 Zerstroers /Torpedoboot designed to counter British naval warships.
~ 80 U-Boats plus another ~80 completed in the first war year.
Several hundred R-Boot S-Boot and M-Boot for coastal protection.
Naval aviation with a fleet of 400 planes.

An Air force with strategic bomber force of 400 multi engine strategic bombers -as a deterrence force plus similar number of Me 109 interceptors. The tactical air force started out with about 1500 small by-planes as “trainers” and “army cooperation” planes. This quickly grew to about 4000-5000 planes by 1939 including medium bombers ; dive bombers and fighters. Through the early 1940s the Air force would have been maintained by substituting more advanced models planned from the late 1930s.

Finally advanced weaponry had been planed from the 1930s on, to give the Wehrmacht at technical edge in any future battlefield. These included Helicopters for Naval usage, Ballistic Rockets for Army usage and jet aircraft plus guided missiles for Air force usage. With uninterrupted peace time development these would have been operational by 1943.

Ardee
01-02-2013, 11:13 AM
ubc: so what?

Hitler's personality would not allow him to sit quietly by and build strength. If not before, he proved that on Sept 1, 1939 (decidedly NOT 1943-ish).

Or, if you prefer, assume Hitler's plans went forth exactly as planned (something which happens so often in the real world!). Meanwhile (of course) the rest of the world would be doing nothing, despite the obvious build up by Germany? If you intend to suggest Uncle Adolph would have had an unstoppable juggernaut, it's already been pointed out the UK was closing the gap in arms. The Soviets were building T-35s, of which Hitler knew nothing. Or do you posit a massive improvement in the efficacy of the Abwehr, despite Nazi arrogance and assumptions of racial superiority leading to inevitable victory? Against these, Adolph would throw massive numbers of ... obsolete tanks, because there was no war to drive development. And he probably would still be using inaccurate maps of the Soviet Union to plan his Blitz. And face the same problems of unbalanced manpower and logistics (unless those clever Abwehr agents first convinced the USSR to change the gauge of their rail system?).

Please stop citing pipe dreams to support unstated hypothesizes.

Nickdfresh
01-02-2013, 12:56 PM
ubc: so what?

Hitler's personality would not allow him to sit quietly by and build strength. If not before, he proved that on Sept 1, 1939 (decidedly NOT 1943-ish).

Or, if you prefer, assume Hitler's plans went forth exactly as planned (something which happens so often in the real world!). Meanwhile (of course) the rest of the world would be doing nothing, despite the obvious build up by Germany? If you intend to suggest Uncle Adolph would have had an unstoppable juggernaut, it's already been pointed out the UK was closing the gap in arms. The Soviets were building T-35s, of which Hitler knew nothing. Or do you posit a massive improvement in the efficacy of the Abwehr, despite Nazi arrogance and assumptions of racial superiority leading to inevitable victory? Against these, Adolph would throw massive numbers of ... obsolete tanks, because there was no war to drive development. And he probably would still be using inaccurate maps of the Soviet Union to plan his Blitz. And face the same problems of unbalanced manpower and logistics (unless those clever Abwehr agents first convinced the USSR to change the gauge of their rail system?).

Correct. To this I would add that both the French and the Soviets were improving as well. The French Army was in the midst of creating its own panzer divisions (in mentality as well as equipment wise) and improving their (DLM's) mechanized units with newer and better tanks. The French Air Force was also in the midst of a major upgrade as it was a generation behind the newly created Luftwaffe in 1939. There was also the possibility of a younger, more vibrant French commander rising over the old men like Gamelin had things been delayed for a bit. The British had already closed the gap with the RAF and was now concentrating on improving her Army...


Please stop citing pipe dreams to support unstated hypothesizes.

Seems to be a fetish of his. One also cannot cherry pick how things would have gone differently without looking how the Allies were also evolving. For instance, there were some in the French Command that opposed the Dyle Plan, or at least the scale of it. What if a more dynamic leadership comes to the fore of the French Army?

ubc
01-02-2013, 01:59 PM
OMG "fetish"????? calling the facts "fetish"....Nick Fresh its alwasy a waste of time responding to you as presumable Ardee and his juvenial "Pipe Dream" responce.

Read what I wrote again.... Hitler did not figure in any of these plans I detailed in post # 21. THOSE WERE THE PLANS IN PLACE BEFORE HITLER TOOK OVER STRATEGIC DIRECTION OF THE WAR EFFORT; WITH HIS 4 YEAR PLAN in 1936!!!!

Don't talk to me anymore , instead read and study the following sources.

Wilhelm Deist : "The Wehrmacht and German Rearmament"

Wilhelm Deist : "Germany and the Second World War- Vol 1 The build up of German Agression"

Eberhard Rossler: "The UBoat-The evolution and technical history of German submarines"

Nickdfresh
01-02-2013, 02:43 PM
OMG "fetish"????? calling the facts "fetish"....Nick Fresh its alwasy a waste of time responding to you as presumable Ardee and his juvenial "Pipe Dream" responce.

Read what I wrote again.... Hitler did not figure in any of these plans I detailed in post # 21. THOSE WERE THE PLANS IN PLACE BEFORE HITLER TOOK OVER STRATEGIC DIRECTION OF THE WAR EFFORT; WITH HIS 4 YEAR PLAN in 1936!!!!

So? There were lots of "plans" in 1936 regarding Santa Clause, The Tooth-fairy, and the Easter Bunny. Just because these were "plans" in no way means German industry--already severally overtaxed and on a continuous near war footing after Hitler's rearmament--could have carried them out. Germany was already severally in-debt by 1939, IIRC, and facing belligerent powers that were also "rearming". Secondly, off the top of my head, if you're going about rearmament schedules Germany would not fully be ready for war before 1948...


Don't talk to me anymore , instead read and study the following sources.

If you want your assertions to go unchallenged, then don't post here!


Wilhelm Deist : "The Wehrmacht and German Rearmament"

Wilhelm Deist : "Germany and the Second World War- Vol 1 The build up of German Agression"

Eberhard Rossler: "The UBoat-The evolution and technical history of German submarines"

And what exact information did you glean from these sources? Hypotheticals, optimistic and hopeful projections, and murky long term strategic plans do not an army make. I have a source for you: Adam Tooze's Wages of Destruction. Germany simply did not have enough industry to go around and industrial production was dwarfed by that of a United States in the a midst on an economic Depression and that wasn't even trying at that point. Hitler gambled on Operation Barbarossa against a USSR that had a nearly three-to-one advantage in every strategic category because of this--and he lost...

Ardee
01-02-2013, 03:12 PM
Nickdfresh -- I smell "troll" here, and so won't add to your comments above. You've evidently come across ubc before, so you'll have to use your own judgement on that. But I DID think about saying something very similar (in my previous post) to your tooth fairy analogy!

Nickdfresh
01-02-2013, 04:53 PM
It's been a while since he's posted here at length, but ubc seems to enjoy figuring out how the Third Reich could have won the war with often preposterous assertions, selective history, and cherrypicking facts. When told most of what he is saying is patently ridiculous and that Germany did not exist in a vacuum and the Allies would have reacted, he then gets snippy and demands we stop reading Western sources. At least this time he posted some German sourced-works but notice he doesn't quote anything from them. He has also ignored the fact that much of what I say is based on a German military historian Karl-Heinz Frieser.

I think he suffers from the condition known as Panzer-fonboi'ism...

Ardee
01-02-2013, 05:05 PM
I think he suffers from the condition known as Panzer-fonboi'ism...

Yeah, that was coming through pretty clearly.... ;)

Rising Sun*
01-04-2013, 10:37 AM
If you're saying the British were continually deprived, I think you should review what Allied Knowledge of ULTRA did Rommel and his supplies. And whatever the reality of the legend of Rommel, I would say his affect on morale -- both Axis and Allied -- was also of considerable value. He also provided very real "hands-on" leadership (with costs as well as benefits). So. was what you describe as his "luck" just that, or a result of things like morale and leadership? ;-)


Rommel often outran his lines of communication. Which can be command stupidity or, more often in his case, attempting to maintain the initiative as an aggressive and adventurous commander.

No different to O'Connor on the other side.

Rommel failed to take Tobruk despite about a nine month siege. That was partly a consequence of the ability of the British Commonwealth forces to supply Tobruk by sea, while Rommel was unable to stop that supply line.

The fact remains that Rommel failed at Tobruk and ultimately failed in North Africa, leaving towards the last moment like MacArthur in another example of conspicuous military failure being converted in the uninformed public mind into some sort of misplaced military competence and glory by a military commander who, in the final analysis, was a failure in his last command. Yet in each case they were given commands for the rest of the war (or in Rommel’s case until Hitler chose to dispose of him well before the end of the war, which must have been a power Roosevelt regretted lacking with MacArthur even earlier in the war.).

Rommel was clearly an astute and capable commander with the ability to exploit an advantage, unlike his often more timid Allied opponents, but he was at best a minor commander in the whole scale of things in the war. I’d take a punt that the Soviets had about a dozen and the Americans and British each had maybe half a dozen or so commanders of equal or greater ability, of whom we’ve never heard. Apart from O'Connor, the only one I know of is the American Gen. Eichelberger in the Pacific, and he did a lot more with a lot less and and a lot quicker than Rommel in vastly worse conditions.

Washout
01-04-2013, 11:59 AM
Answer to the original question is "No."

Ardee
01-04-2013, 12:18 PM
RS -- There is, of course, much truth to what you say. I am certainly not a Rommel-phile, one who thinks there is no pedestal grand and lofty enough for the man. And I also admit the study of generals is not my driving interest when I look at war, though I certainly have read a book or two about various individuals, by authors both good and bad. I can't, for instance, relate to your reference to Eichelberger, as I'm not as familiar with the campaigns in the Pacific, and not familiar with him at all.

But I wonder if you engage in a little bit of spacious argument above. Is "ultimate" victory or defeat a valid means for rating a general? This thread is about Germany's ability to win the war, and the consensus seems to be gravitating towards the conclusion "No, it couldn't." By your measure, does that mean Germany had no good/great generals during the war, because they all ultimately lost? And if so, what are we to make of such legendary figures as Hannibal, who also -- ultimately -- lost?

No, I do not mean to compare to Rommel to that level of generalship; it was merely the first name that came to mind of a general who was superb at tactics, but lost first strategically, and then finally, tactically before the gates of Carthage. (Well, maybe the association with North Africa also helped me think of Hannibal). Rommel was brash, aggressive. He took risks, and was astute enough in his choices of risks that many of them paid off. His front-line perspective both hurt and helped his command. So far, much of what I've said echoes what you've said, and is also consistent with my earlier post.

But you also say that the Allied powers also had numerous equals-in-ability to Rommel, of which we've never heard. Hmmm. Maybe my perception of him is colored by authors who may have worshiped the man, but one of the things I find unique about Rommel is that was able to generate a great elan amongst his men, as well as fear in his opponent's. Among the Western powers, the closest analog I can think of is Bradley. And yes, to make an understatement, there were a great many cultural differences between US military services and Nazi Germany's, but I still don't think there were many songs, like the Rommel Lied, written and sung about Bradley -- and any effort to produce one might well have resulted in derision. (Another candidate, mentioned by yourself is McArthur -- but he seemed to generate as much dislike in his subordinates as admiration, and I would not put him in Rommel's category -- and I certainly think he was overrated as a general and a leader as well). Rommel's style of leadership, despite its flaws, also generated intense loyalty and fighting spirit in his troops. Many Western leaders might be his equal in generating one or the other -- but both? As a result, Rommel could ask his men to do risky things, and they could (not always) succeed where others might fail. That may not always be good "generalship," but it is great "leadership."

As for Soviet leadership, I am admittedly less knowledgeable. No names spring to mind, in part due to years of limited information exchange that followed the war, as well as the coloring of my thoughts by Cold War propaganda about the Soviet system and how it operated. Maybe you or others can provide examples.

In the ultimate analysis, I would rank Rommel as a "good" general -- aggressive, daring, astute, calculating, perceptive -- one who was above average, much stronger at tactics than strategy but still, only "good" in military "science." Yet as a leader of men in battle, capable of getting the most of them -- there I would rank him a bit higher. And I think that is the quality, in combination with his "good" application of military science -- that made him, and his luck. And don't think he had many WWII equals when that is factored in.

JMHO, based on the doubtless-biased things I've read.

Nickdfresh
01-04-2013, 02:16 PM
Rommel often outran his lines of communication. Which can be command stupidity or, more often in his case, attempting to maintain the initiative as an aggressive and adventurous commander.

...

Agreed. I would also add that in Rommel's meteoric rise to command, he never lost the propensity to be very close to the battle. I think this inevitably and proverbially allowed him to see the trees with great clarity, while sometimes missing the forest...

Evillittlekenny
01-05-2013, 06:35 AM
One more contributing factor why Germany could in my opinion not win the war is that Germany's Allies, the Axis powers, were also far from being prepared for the war, either not really being preparing (some of them also could not, due to lack of industry) or were in the midst of modernization programmes. They themselves on occassions went on their own to war and putting themselves into bad positions like Germany did itself. Italy attacked too early France, Japan attacked too early China. Then they were already in it, but were not adequately prepared (Japan for China maybe yes, but not for the Soviet Union or the Western Allies). So, after all drawbacks the Germans had with their industry, they still seem to me to have been those best off, concerning industrial capacity especially.


Another thing which at least made huge troubles was the attitude towards conquered nations, especially in Eastern Europe and Southeastern Europe. The Germans in fact would have had a huge pool of people whom they could drag into the war especially agaisnt communism. From the Soviet Union where people experienced communism first hand, they were greeted as liberators (Ukraine, Byelorussia and to some extent also Russia - and of course the Baltic states), in Yugoslavia where many people were quite incontent with the monarchy or hated/feared communism as well, and even in Poland there was at the very very beginning of the occupation, due to the media reporting excessively on Soviet crimes in then Eastern Poland while keeping silent of those committed by the Germans, some tendency among some people to be willing to fight the Soviets together with the Germans, thinking of the Germans as the lesser evil in that case.
Well, none of these for the Nazis actually good opportunities was really used, they instead opted for either annihilating the local inhabitants or in areas with local conflicts to not engage or to do so halfheartedly. More or less they (and their allies) drove themselves local people into various resistance movements on occassions.
The result was that they had to fight the Polish Armija Krajowa and Armija Ludowa partisans in Poland, the UPA in Western Ukraine, the Soviet partisans in conquered parts of the Soviet Union, the Yugoslav Partisans in Yugoslavia as well as Četniks on the occassions their goals were contradicting, Greek Partisans in Greece, Albanian Partisans in Albania and later in the war, Czech and Slovak partisans in the areas of Czechoslovakia (I think I got them all now in Eastern Europe). To them also come the various partisans and resistance movements in other areas like France, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg and, last but not least, even in Austria and Germany itself. Especially at the beginning these wars against resistance moevements were not big, by far not when compared to what was going on at the same time on the Eastern Front or Africa, but it was draining ressources like manpower and material, and this was growing the longer the war took. And all these movements could gather intelligence for their enemies, some more, some less successful.

While fighting the communist partisans in these areas was I think inevitable, they probably would not have grown so big without some sort of "motivation" for people who did not identify with communism. Rather nationalist partisans (which also grew bigger) could have maybe been brought on the own side with some intelligent political moves. The way they handeled it they brought mostly far right extremists on their side as well as people who still thought that communism was simply worse. Not that this means that they have gathered little men, but they certainly could have gathered more.



I hope that it is understandable what I wanted to say, I hurried a little while writing the text.

Nickdfresh
01-05-2013, 07:04 AM
One more contributing factor why Germany could in my opinion not win the war is that Germany's Allies, the Axis powers, were also far from being prepared for the war, either not really being preparing (some of them also could not, due to lack of industry) or were in the midst of modernization programmes. They themselves on occassions went on their own to war and putting themselves into bad positions like Germany did itself. Italy attacked too early France.....

The Italians attacked a France that was already defeated for all practicable purposes. They faltered badly despite this for many reasons, not least of which they were attempting an alpine campaign against pretty good defenses and crack troops...

Rising Sun*
01-05-2013, 08:56 AM
Is "ultimate" victory or defeat a valid means for rating a general?

Not as the sole criterion, but it’s a major factor that has to be considered in any evaluation of a commander.

There is also the question of how to define “ultimate” victory, or defeat. If a nation wins or loses it doesn’t necessarily follow that any of its generals were, respectively, unusually good or unusually bad as there are all sorts of factors beyond the control of any individual commander in a national loss. However, if a commander wins or loses a campaign when he had sufficient control to be largely independent of external factors then the win or loss is highly significant in evaluating the commander’s performance.

MacArthur is a glaring case in point. He lost half his air force on the ground on the first day because he went off the air, for reasons which have never been satisfactorily explained. He appears to have been in some sort of shocked inability to operate. Because of poor planning on his part before and during hostilities, he lost a large and vitally important part of his food supply at a critical point for his hungry forces retreating towards the stronghold at Bataan while they were pursued by Japanese forces who had outrun their lines of communication and were at risk of stalling their advance because of the lack of food. Unlike the Australians during their Kokoda retreat who were in similar, albeit very much smaller in scale, circumstances but who destroyed or fouled their food supplies before abandoning them so that they were useless to the advancing Japanese, MacArthur left his food intact. It was a major bonus for the Japanese and enabled them to press their advance. His forces duly starved at Bataan and Corregidor and were forced to surrender after MacArthur had left. It is likely that better performance by MacArthur would have done no more than delay the American surrender, but the fact remains that his performance didn’t even approach barely competent.

Rommel was in a different position with the siege of Tobruk because as a land based commander he couldn’t do much to control the resupply by sea of the Australian and British garrison which was a major factor in its ability to hold out, and in Rommel’s failure to reduce it.



This thread is about Germany's ability to win the war, and the consensus seems to be gravitating towards the conclusion "No, it couldn't."

Germany couldn’t have won the European war that we now know as WWII, but it could have and in fact did win the European war up to mid 1941. Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting Germany at that time. They had no hope of dispossessing him of his European conquests. Whether Stalin would have attacked Germany between 1942 and perhaps 1944 at the latest is unknowable, but there is a good prospect that this would have happened. There was no guarantee that the Soviets would have won, not least because Germany’s lines of communication would have been very much shorter than after Barbarossa and it could have concentrated its land and air forces effectively against advancing Soviet forces, which had performed pathetically a few years earlier against the vastly outnumbered and outgunned Finns in the Winter War.

Hitler’s attack on the USSR in mid 1941 is usually said to have been his fatal mistake, but this ignores his unnecessary declaration of war on the US following Japan’s entry late in 1941 when the Soviet campaign was far from decided. Indeed, it was the early successes in Germany’s Soviet campaign during the second half of 1941 which was one of the factors which tipped Japan towards deciding to go to war against what would become the Allies.

By giving Roosevelt the opportunity to wage war against Germany when American domestic sentiment might otherwise have wanted America’s military response to focus solely on Japan, and by giving Roosevelt the opportunity to pursue the ‘Germany first’ aims agreed with the British, Hitler ensured that America’s industrial might would be deployed against Germany. While the Pacific War was a massive conflict, America never devoted more than about 15% of its resources to that conflict. The other 85% was devoted to defeating Germany. Once that was combined with the USSR’s massive industrial and human resources under Stalin’s ruthless management of them, and with Germany’s failure to run an efficient war economy under Hitler’s incompetent management of just about everything, there was little prospect that Germany could win. The final nail in Germany’s coffin was probably its lack of sufficient natural resources to sustain the type of war it was engaged in, and the failure to secure those resources from captured territories for the duration of the war.

There were lesser factors which reduced Germany’s war effort, none of major importance in their individual selves but in combination still contributors to the inability of Germany to prosecute its war successfully and which put it at a disadvantage compared with the Allies. To take just four. One, German agriculture tended to use wives and daughters as full time workers while this was less so in British agriculture, so British farm women could replace farm men taken into the armed forces with considerably less impact on agricultural production than in Germany. Two, Germany relied heavily on forced labour, and more so in the final years of the war. That labour was inefficient; required close supervision; and was at risk of sabotaging the war materials it produced. This was the exact opposite of the position with free labour in the Allied countries. Three, the Heer relied heavily on horse transport, which was slower than motor transport; unable to carry loads with the same efficiency as motor transport; and which required fodder, blacksmithing, veterinary services and so on which were less efficient that servicing motor transport. Four, German war production of various items lacked the efficiency, speed and quality control of American mass production methods. (The German disadvantage was probably on a par with the British. When American equipment started being supplied to British forces, many British mechanics etc were amazed that, unlike British equivalents which could require filing etc to make parts fit British machines, the American parts for American machines etc just fitted right in.)

When all these factors are allowed, it is all the more remarkable that the Germans did as well as they did. Without Hitler’s hubris from mid-1941, they might still own France, which would put modern Greece in a very awkward position in expecting Western Europe to bail it out. ;) :)

Evillittlekenny
01-05-2013, 06:18 PM
The Italians attacked a France that was already defeated for all practicable purposes. They faltered badly despite this for many reasons, not least of which they were attempting an alpine campaign against pretty good defenses and crack troops...

Correct me if I wrong, but it was my understanding that, even though it seemed to be a good opportunity to attack practically defeated France, it meant that Italy was also in the war with Great Britain, which was far from being defeated, which in the end meant a lot of troubles for Italy.




There was no guarantee that the Soviets would have won, not least because Germany’s lines of communication would have been very much shorter than after Barbarossa and it could have concentrated its land and air forces effectively against advancing Soviet forces, which had performed pathetically a few years earlier against the vastly outnumbered and outgunned Finns in the Winter War.

I think there should be kept in mind that the Soveits planned and started several modernizations etc., as a result of their poor performance against Finland.
But of course you are right, this does not make a guarantee for a victory.

leccy
01-06-2013, 06:34 AM
Correct me if I wrong, but it was my understanding that, even though it seemed to be a good opportunity to attack practically defeated France, it meant that Italy was also in the war with Great Britain, which was far from being defeated, which in the end meant a lot of troubles for Italy.


Mussolini assumed that Britain would collapse very quickly as well under the might of the German forces, he would then be able to carve out a new Mediterranean and African Empire at relatively little cost. It must be remembered that Britain was in negotiation with Italy for war material and weapons so Italy could assume Britain needed them desperately and therefore was less of a threat than it really was.

He tended to count numbers of men and equipment rather than quality and believed his armed forces to be stronger than they were in reality.

The League of nations ineffectiveness to deal Italy in Ethiopia had given Mussolini and inflated idea of his importance and Italys power, especially coming as they were after aquiring parts of the old Ottoman Empire post WW1.

Rising Sun*
01-06-2013, 06:46 AM
I think there should be kept in mind that the Soveits planned and started several modernizations etc., as a result of their poor performance against Finland.

Good point, but the Soviets also managed to counteract those moderernizations etc by embarking on a fresh purge of military and related leaders in 1940-42 which undoubtedly reduced their offensive and defensive capacity. The extent to which the purges undermined or were balanced by the modernizations is beyond my knowledge.

We should also keep in mind that some months before the USSR suffered spectacular losses in the Winter War it was also, under Zhukov, crushing the Japanese at Khalkin Gol / Nomonhan to the extent that the Japanese decided not to pursue IJA ambitions to push north into Siberia and decided instead to push south. Two Soviet generals from that successful campaign were subsequently executed in the purges, which says something about the idiocy of Stalin and his henchmen in doing all they could to undermine their own army.

This leads into a wider question related to Germany's ability to win the war and the wider conduct of the war by all major combatants, which is: Were the Soviet, German and Japanese forces which were ruled by varying degrees of fear and brutality better or worse for it compared with the non-Soviet Allied forces which weren't?

Evillittlekenny
01-06-2013, 07:01 AM
Good point, but the Soviets also managed to counteract those moderernizations etc by embarking on a fresh purge of military and related leaders in 1940-42 which undoubtedly reduced their offensive and defensive capacity. The extent to which the purges undermined or were balanced by the modernizations is beyond my knowledge.

We should also keep in mind that some months before the USSR suffered spectacular losses in the Winter War it was also, under Zhukov, crushing the Japanese at Khalkin Gol / Nomonhan to the extent that the Japanese decided not to pursue IJA ambitions to push north into Siberia and decided instead to push south. Two Soviet generals from that successful campaign were subsequently executed in the purges, which says something about the idiocy of Stalin and his henchmen in doing all they could to undermine their own army.

Interesting, I knew only of the purge of 1937-1939 which already has cost them dearly. Can you tell me more about it?



This leads into a wider question related to Germany's ability to win the war and the wider conduct of the war by all major combatants, which is: Were the Soviet, German and Japanese forces which were ruled by varying degrees of fear and brutality better or worse for it compared with the non-Soviet Allied forces which weren't?

Well, I think that such regimes which pursue very strict politics can create on the one side brainwashed fanatics which will go to death for their political ideals or emperor, ruler, etc., or may motivate the soldiers to do better as they fear the consequences of not doing so. On the other hand it might make some desperate soldiers who know that they are awaiting bad consequences bad home work together with the enemy.




Mussolini assumed that Britain would collapse very quickly as well under the might of the German forces, he would then be able to carve out a new Mediterranean and African Empire at relatively little cost. It must be remembered that Britain was in negotiation with Italy for war material and weapons so Italy could assume Britain needed them desperately and therefore was less of a threat than it really was.

He tended to count numbers of men and equipment rather than quality and believed his armed forces to be stronger than they were in reality.

The League of nations ineffectiveness to deal Italy in Ethiopia had given Mussolini and inflated idea of his importance and Italys power, especially coming as they were after aquiring parts of the old Ottoman Empire post WW1.

Ok thanks, that clears it up to me :)

Rising Sun*
01-06-2013, 08:32 AM
Interesting, I knew only of the purge of 1937-1939 which already has cost them dearly. Can you tell me more about it?

Wiki ain't my favourie source, but whatever it lacks in accuracy it makes up for by being concise on this issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purge_of_the_Red_Army_in_1941

The Khalkin Gol generals executed were
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigoriy_Shtern who, interestingly, served at a senior level in both the Winter War and Khalkin Gol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Smushkevich

If the entry on Shtern is correct, it alters my understanding and the frequently repeated version that Zhukov was in command at Khalkin Gol and demonstrated his brilliance as a commander by running that campaign. I've never read anything in enough depth that specified the chain of command on the Soviet side and have just accepted the common version that Zhukov was the commander demonstrating his early genius. Which he may well have done, but in a subordinate role in the whole show.

Evillittlekenny
01-06-2013, 09:30 AM
Thanks Rising Sun, I did never hear of that before!

JR*
01-07-2013, 12:54 PM
Just having a quick look over this thread - a number of interesting comments, to which I would like to revert when time permits. Regarding the second Soviet military purge - sometimes referred to as the "Air Force purge" in view of the prominence of Air Force luminaries like Smushkevich among the victims - it is truly remarkable that, some months into the German invasion, Stalin and Beria were still going out of their way to ensure that experienced (if occasionally turbulent/depressive/alcoholic) generals were duly shot, even as the Germans swarmed all over western European Soviet territories. If it was a question of just deserts, Stalin, Beria and company should have witnessed Guderian's panzers rolling past the Kremlin at about the time that Smushkevich became acquainted with "Beria's Basement". Life, of course, has little to do with fairness, or what is justly deserved. Best regards, JR.

Nickdfresh
01-07-2013, 01:33 PM
Good point, but the Soviets also managed to counteract those moderernizations etc by embarking on a fresh purge of military and related leaders in 1940-42 which undoubtedly reduced their offensive and defensive capacity. The extent to which the purges undermined or were balanced by the modernizations is beyond my knowledge.

We should also keep in mind that some months before the USSR suffered spectacular losses in the Winter War it was also, under Zhukov, crushing the Japanese at Khalkin Gol / Nomonhan to the extent that the Japanese decided not to pursue IJA ambitions to push north into Siberia and decided instead to push south. Two Soviet generals from that successful campaign were subsequently executed in the purges, which says something about the idiocy of Stalin and his henchmen in doing all they could to undermine their own army.

This leads into a wider question related to Germany's ability to win the war and the wider conduct of the war by all major combatants, which is: Were the Soviet, German and Japanese forces which were ruled by varying degrees of fear and brutality better or worse for it compared with the non-Soviet Allied forces which weren't?

Not only did he purge his officers, he replaced them with reactionary yes-men idiots like Budyonny. It should be noted that Stalin wasn't just purging people, he was purging the ideas and concepts of Deep Battle, and men like Zhukov not only survived because of their demonstrated competence but because they learned to keep their talk of things on a low profile while showing success on these ideas on the battlefields of Khalkhin Gol.

Stalin also refused to believe the Soviet Union was about to be invaded until the very last moments before Luftwaffe bombs fell. He threatened to execute any commander who put his unit on alert lest they might "provoke" the Germans massing on the border who warming their panzer engines up, tearing down barriers and removing barbed wire in front of their positions, etc. The war warning was only sent out on midnight the 21st of June, 1941 - much too late for most sleepy units to collect themselves and an order that was still worded timidly at that. Stalin refused to believe Hitler had duped him and was hoping against hope that Hitler only was trying to intimidate more concessions out of him and the intelligence chatter he heard regarding Barbarossa (such as the German ambassador, himself an anti-Nazi, telling his Soviet diplomatic contacts that war was afoot) was nothing but disinformation and an attempt of the British to spark a war. (I actually read over some of Beevors' Stalingrad this morning. :mrgreen: )

There's no telling how an adequately alerted and deployed Red military would have performed in the opening days, or even if they would have been much better than the unprepared roused forces encircled in "cauldrons" were. But almost certainly they would have offered better resistance and slowed the Wehrmacht a bit and inflicted more casualties....

Nickdfresh
01-07-2013, 01:42 PM
Wiki ain't my favourie source, but whatever it lacks in accuracy it makes up for by being concise on this issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purge_of_the_Red_Army_in_1941

The Khalkin Gol generals executed were
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigoriy_Shtern who, interestingly, served at a senior level in both the Winter War and Khalkin Gol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Smushkevich

If the entry on Shtern is correct, it alters my understanding and the frequently repeated version that Zhukov was in command at Khalkin Gol and demonstrated his brilliance as a commander by running that campaign. I've never read anything in enough depth that specified the chain of command on the Soviet side and have just accepted the common version that Zhukov was the commander demonstrating his early genius. Which he may well have done, but in a subordinate role in the whole show.

Evil might also want to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Tukhachevsky

Evillittlekenny
01-07-2013, 02:18 PM
Evil might also want to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Tukhachevsky

Thanks for the link, I read on Tukhachevsky already before, the guy who developed a similar tactic as the Blitzkrieg, with some differences like more attacking columns instead of a few etc.

JR*
01-09-2013, 12:42 PM
Tukhachevsky's approach was, in my humble opinion, not so much a version of Blitzkrieg, as an alternative suited to countries like the Soviet Union. I tend to think of it as "Blitzkrieg for the Big Boys". In his writings of the 1930s, Marshal T. actually ridiculed what became known as the Blitzkrieg idea. One example he used was the scenario of a Canadian "Blitzkrieg" army attacking the USA. The Canadians would, of course, have (in this scenario) been superbly equipped with tanks, motorised infantry, AT guns, tactical aircraft ... Tuchachevsky's question, however, was, more or less ... could this Canadian force of perhaps 15 divisions prevail against perhaps 150 US divisions, even if the latter were a plodding, old-fashioned lot ? Tuchachevsky's answer was, "no".

It is worth bearing in mind that the concepts embodied in "Blitzkrieg" were developed by soldiers deeply scarred by the experience of WW1, as perceived from the cultural perspective of Britain, Germany and (to some extent) France and the USA. Fuller, Liddel-Hart, Lutz, Guderian, De Gaulle and Patton were captivated by the idea that it would be possible to win decisive victories (Clausewitz-pattern, sort of) with small but highly potent strike forces based on armour, motorised infantry and artillery and air power. Lurking obviously behind this was the fear of a repeat of the huge loss of life that occurred on the Western and Italian Fronts in WW1 - and abomination to western soldiers who had lived through the process and, indeed, who could blame the theorists for this preference ? What became known as "Blitzkrieg" offered the possibility for this.

Tuchachevsky came from a very different cultural background. It was the culture that proceeded on the assumption of availability of huge human and material resources, and a willingness to expend human life and material resources in much the same way as western commanders would consider expenditure of ammunition. I am not making this up. This is an approach that dominated (it would be unfair to say exclusively, but nonetheless) Russian military thought for centuries. What it boils down to is - if you have huge numbers of soldiers, and large quantities of materiél, and if you do not much care how many of one's soldiers are killed in pursuit of the objective then, well, the considerations underlying Blitzkrieg become irrelevant.

Tuckhachevsky's alternative was descrbed as "Deep War", or "Deep Battle". It was an uncompromisingly aggressive approach, but not depending on "skewer points" or similar points of finesse. It was supposed to work something like this. The Red Army would arrange itself, broadly, in two or three waves. The first wave - in WW2 terms, "Shock" forces, composed of second-grade troops, armour etc. - would slam into the enemy without any restraint or sensitivity to casualties. Remember - huge numbers, massive material assumed. The "Shock" forces would smash the enemy front at any cost. Stage 2 involved the advance of the élite troops - in WW2 terms, the "Guards". These would sweep (sort of Blitzkrieg style) through the shattered enemy front, advancing as far as possible and destroying enemy divisions (motorised, armoured, whatever...) to the utmost degree. Third-grade troops would follow, cleaning up (if that is the term) the shattered enemy remains. Theoretically, the process would then be repeated, until victory was achieved.

One might suggest that, had Tukachechevsky survived the Great Military Purge (a contradiction in terms, since he was its main target) the Ribbentrop-Molotav Pact would never have happened, and the Soviet Union would have attacked and shattered the Germans on Deep Battle lines in, say, 1939. Impossible to say - this is an unhistorical speculation. The interesting thing is that, having survived "Barbarossa" through a combination of luck, German incompetence, skill and luck, "Deep Battle" returned to the fore, and triumphed over "Blitzkrieg" as the great success of grand tactics in WW2. They may not have been anxious to admit it (at least to Stalin) but the great Soviet marshals of WW2 were surviving disciples of Tukaschevsky - Zhukov not least among them. History has featured one great "Deep Battle" campaign - Operation Bagration which, in Summer 1944, followed this pattern as far as was practically possible. "Bagration" comprehensively destroyed German Army Group Centre - so comprehensively that it is almost difficult to believe. The campaign also revealed the limitations of "Deep Battle" - after one cycle of the process, immediate renewal of the pattern proved impossible until lines of command, communication and supply could be restored. Nonetheless, the 1945 Soviet campaigns towards Berlin had distinct elements of "Deep Battle" embedded in them also.

Was Tukhachevsky a threat to Stalin ? Did he need to be purged ? Again, who can say. What does seem clear is that Stalin was right about one thing - for all that he was, from one viewpoint, an uneducated pushy cavalryman who perhaps enjoyed himself too much, and was a bit over-devoted to personal publicity - Marshal T. was very highly respected among the Red Army officer corps. The improtant Soviet commanders of WW2 - again, intelligent products of the Red Cavalry - never lost sight of his inspiration, even if they had more sense ever than to mention it. Zhukov was very much a product of the Tukhachevsky legacy. Stalin, who had conspired with Beria to destroy Tukhachevsky and so many of his comrades, should have had good reason to thank Marshal T. for his contribution, albeit posthumous, to the survival of the Soviet Union. I doubt, mind you, whether the thought ever crossed his mind ... Best regards, JR.

pdf27
01-10-2013, 02:32 AM
It's also worth remembering that the first elements of Blitzkrieg (as personified by Fuller's Plan 1919) were conceived at around the time of Passchendaele, as a reaction to (and misunderstanding of) the slow, attritional campaigns of the time. I can't help but suspect there was a lot of wishful thinking going on, as well as a lack of understanding of the effect previous battles had had on the German army of the time. To give an example, German troops in late 1918 who had been cut off by rapid tank attack would probably have surrendered. Those of 1914/15 who had not gone through the battering of the Somme, Verdun and Passchendaele would probably have fought on, leading the tanks to surrender through lack of petrol.

J.A.W.
03-14-2013, 08:37 PM
Bear in mind that Bagration would not have worked so well...if the cream of Hitler's ultra-modern armour/air forces hadn`t been in Normandy..
Those SS/Luftwaffe 'fire-brigades' which had been so useful in blunting Soviet assaults were sorely missed..
It is a fact that,[ akin to the U.S./C.S.A. civil war], massed allied industrial logistics attritionally overcame [nominally superior] Nazi military individual/local tactics by fairly wasteful/ponderous sheer brute force.[not to mention allied spying/intel superiority].
Another question is whether Europe [& the world] would have been much better off today, if it had not been devastated/dominated by Anglo-American & Soviet hegemony..

Paul Tibble
03-15-2013, 05:04 PM
There are so many different answers to this question. For example if certain countries, like the Soviet Union, sided with Germany (and remained that way) then certainly yes Germany could have won the war. However, even if you consider all countries taking the side they took I still think there are a massive range of answers. I see there being many points in the war when with hindsight it could have gone very differently. For example, while the Battle of Britain was fought by heroes, and that can never be taken away from them, in the end there was luck on their side. If the Battle of Britain was won by the Germans it would not have necessarily resulted in victory for the Axis but it would have certainly tipped the scale in their favour.

flyerhell
03-15-2013, 07:50 PM
I'm pretty sure that awhile ago we came to the conclusion that with the alliances as they were, the Axis could never have won the war - the USSR and the US were just too industrialized and too large to lose.

The previous poster brings up an interesting point though - what if the Germans never invaded the USSR and then the war continued on as it was going prior to June 1941? The Germans could have continued to focus on the UK. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December, it would have been interesting to see how the Soviets would have responded to the Germans declaring war on the US. In this world, it would be the UK and the US against Germany, Japan and possibly the USSR (though, since the ideologies of the Germans and Soviets were so different, I doubt that they really could have been true allies).

J.A.W.
03-15-2013, 08:47 PM
Allies, no - but Stalin was keen to swap Nazi-tech for strategic raw materiels.
U.S. policy meant bleeding Britian of its financials [Fort Knox was home to bulk British gold]& its hi-tech too [given away freely by Churchill] such as radar,aero-engines inc' turbo-jets,proximity fuses,photo recon, ultra, & etc..leaving them broke,[paid off their last war debt `bout a year ago..] & compliant, economically & politically...

J.A.W.
03-15-2013, 10:43 PM
Actually, the Stalin mindset didn`t allow for 'allies' - all foreigners were suspect, & subject to degrees of hostile scrutiny, depending on what level of value they could provide..
Indeed, Stalin had more respect for Hitler, as a fellow, openly vicious dictator, than for the likes of pontificating arch-capitalists like Churchill...
Stalin may have appreciated Churchill's ability to function while permanently pissed [as a "jew-ridden, 1/2 American, drunkard"] though..

royal744
06-21-2013, 06:15 PM
Just thinking out loud - what if the pace of technological development that Germany had during the war, they were able to do prior to the war as well? For example, let's say that the war didn't actually begin until 1944ish...The militaries of the other countries would have been more modern as well but the Germans were well ahead of the other countries even during the war (no other country had anything remotely close to the V rocket program and Germany was the only country to field fighter jets during the war.



Actually, in terms of jet fighters, the Germans were no further ahead than the British in jet technology. It's true the Germans had operational fighters engaged in combat. The British had operational squadrons of Gloster Meteors which they sent to Belgium for reconnaissance missions but never employed them in combat. The Americans were perhaps a year behind them and their test bed - the Comet, I believe - was flying but a poor performer. Had the war gone on much longer, they would have locked horns sooner or later.

Missiles were another story. The Germans were way ahead in the technology, but from a "bang for the buck" point of view, the V2 was a huge waste of resources. About the only thing you could hit with it was a gigantic target like London without any more specificity than that. It was a terror weapon - there was no defense against it - but even there, it was too little too late.

pdf27
06-22-2013, 01:03 AM
I should also point out that the German jet engines were exceptionally poor - their expected life was something like 10 hours, and they were both excessively heavy and incapable of development. That's why all the Soviet jet engines trace their lineage back to either the RR Nene/Derwent engines they bought after the war or indigenous Soviet work - they had the German engines plus a bunch of people who had worked on them, but couldn't get them to work.

Incidentally, the engines were also the reason the Me-262 had swept wings - the turbine section was heavier than expected, so rather than shift the whole wing back they just increased the sweep of the outer section to move the centre of lift aft. The major aerodynamic effect of this would be to give it worse spinning characteristics!

Nickdfresh
06-22-2013, 11:00 AM
It could also be pointed out that in mock combat, the F-80 Shooting Star often came out ahead of the Me262 postwar IIRC, and that while most pilots felt the aircraft were comparable in overall performance at speed - the P/F-80 tended to be more reliable...

Nickdfresh
06-22-2013, 11:05 AM
...

Missiles were another story. The Germans were way ahead in the technology, but from a "bang for the buck" point of view, the V2 was a huge waste of resources. About the only thing you could hit with it was a gigantic target like London without any more specificity than that. It was a terror weapon - there was no defense against it - but even there, it was too little too late.


Quite true. Adam Tooze in Wages of Destruction goes into some depth and adds it to his list of indictments of Albert Speer as an overrated Armaments Minister with an inflated "Armaments Miracle" that was as much self-aggrandizing propaganda as it was truth (though there is some truth to it). The V-2 was a massive net drain on resources and was ideologically driven by Speer rather than logically driven by sense. The Germans were essentially firing white elephants at Britain and Antwerp in absence of a real strategic bomber arm - though occasionally deadly ones...

Rising Sun*
06-22-2013, 11:46 AM
It was a terror weapon - there was no defense against it - but even there, it was too little too late.

We might start a separate thread on this, but what qualifies something as a 'terror weapon'?

The absence of defence?

That covers every weapon from a peashooter to a nuclear weapon if you happen to be on the wrong end of it.

Were the planes on 9/11 terror weapons or should we just look at the people who took them over as terrorists?

IIRC, the Germans referred to Allied bomber crews about late 1943/1944 - 1945 as "Terrorflieger" or 'terror flyer'. I don't recall them using the same terms about their own bomber crews at Rotterdam, Coventry, etc when they were carrying the worst air raids the world had known to that point.

I'd suggest that whether or not a weapon is a 'terror weapon' depends very much upon whether you're delivering or receiving it.

leccy
06-22-2013, 05:34 PM
We might start a separate thread on this, but what qualifies something as a 'terror weapon'?

The absence of defence?

That covers every weapon from a peashooter to a nuclear weapon if you happen to be on the wrong end of it.

Were the planes on 9/11 terror weapons or should we just look at the people who took them over as terrorists?

IIRC, the Germans referred to Allied bomber crews about late 1943/1944 - 1945 as "Terrorflieger" or 'terror flyer'. I don't recall them using the same terms about their own bomber crews at Rotterdam, Coventry, etc when they were carrying the worst air raids the world had known to that point.

I'd suggest that whether or not a weapon is a 'terror weapon' depends very much upon whether you're delivering or receiving it.

I always took the V1 and V2 to be pure terror weapons as they had no tactical or real strategic value (the V1 was deemed to be a more cost effective weapon iirc), they could only be used as indiscriminate area weapons.

Allied and Axis bombing could be termed as terror tactics (when targeting destruction of a city) but the weapons themselves (bombers) were not terror weapons, no more so than shelling a city to destruction (ie Warsaw, the weapons were not terror weapons but the tactics were, similar with Lidice and Ležáky in the wake of Heydrich's assassination).

ubc
06-23-2013, 03:38 AM
The Jumo 004A jet engine was developed in 1942 and was bench tested at over 250 hours continuous running and would have gotten ~80 hours life. It used a super alloy "Tinidur" that was 1/2 Fe and the rest strategic metals including 45% Chrome /nickel. With hollow blades they would reach > 100 hours.

An alternative was engine Jumo 004B was developed using a new alloy "Cromadur" that was 14% chrome and used no nickel at all substituting Magnesium. This was combined with hollowed turbine blades, to make a working engine. As pointed out it had average life of 10 hours but part of that was due to poor training when throttling up too fast, it dumped too much fuel ; overheating the engine. So improved jet engine models were developed with better controls that probably would have gotten 50 hours [?] .

By the end of the war an improved jet engine was in development using a new alloy "Vanidur". This alloy used 2/3 Fe and 30% strategic alloys mostly nickel and Chrome ,but also molybdenum and vanadium. Post war Americans reconstructed a Jumo 004 engine with a similar alloy and got bench tests of 500 hours that projected a life expectancy of 150 hours.

So like all German weapons , given enough time they would have worked out the bugs.

leccy
06-23-2013, 07:59 AM
The Jumo 004A jet engine was developed in 1942 and was bench tested at over 250 hours continuous running and would have gotten ~80 hours life. It used a super alloy "Tinidur" that was 1/2 Fe and the rest strategic metals including 45% Chrome /nickel. With hollow blades they would reach > 100 hours.

An alternative was engine Jumo 004B was developed using a new alloy "Cromadur" that was 14% chrome and used no nickel at all substituting Magnesium. This was combined with hollowed turbine blades, to make a working engine. As pointed out it had average life of 10 hours but part of that was due to poor training when throttling up too fast, it dumped too much fuel ; overheating the engine. So improved jet engine models were developed with better controls that probably would have gotten 50 hours [?] .

By the end of the war an improved jet engine was in development using a new alloy "Vanidur". This alloy used 2/3 Fe and 30% strategic alloys mostly nickel and Chrome ,but also molybdenum and vanadium. Post war Americans reconstructed a Jumo 004 engine with a similar alloy and got bench tests of 500 hours that projected a life expectancy of 150 hours.

So like all German weapons , given enough time they would have worked out the bugs.

The problem they had was not that they could not design the engines but that had a lack of the strategic resources to make them with the optimum materials. Same with many other equipments. They were forced to use sub-par components which is what affected the engine life more than anything else.

Even after making the engines there was a lack of capability for training pilots on the new jets (even for the well understood piston engined aircraft).

The Volksjager He 162 was an attempt to reduce the strategic materials useage (only one engine for a start) but despite supposedly being designed to be easy to fly it was a death trap for inexperienced pilots (German and British pilots who flew it during and post war claimed it was better than the Me 262 but required highly experienced pilots).

Production of engines as it was could not keep up with demand for operational units never mind increasing the amount of units (hundreds of airframes were captured with no engines being available). Even with an increased life span of the engines the detrimental problems of the first generation jet aircraft could not be overcome (poor acceleration, sluggish at low speed, poor dogfighting as they bleed speed quickly, requirements for piston fighters and massed AAA to defend the German airbases)

The British had their second iteration fighters coming into service in 1945 which were better than the Meteor, the US had the P80 in Italy, with the allies having better production, material availability and training than the Germans so they would not have had any advantage over the allies.

Rising Sun*
06-23-2013, 10:03 AM
I always took the V1 and V2 to be pure terror weapons as they had no tactical or real strategic value (the V1 was deemed to be a more cost effective weapon iirc), they could only be used as indiscriminate area weapons.


The same could be said of aspects of the Allied raids on Germany and especially Tokyo with bombers whose accuracy left a lot to be desired when attempting precision bombing. Which is precisely why area bombing was pursued.


Allied and Axis bombing could be termed as terror tactics (when targeting destruction of a city) but the weapons themselves (bombers) were not terror weapons, no more so than shelling a city to destruction (ie Warsaw, the weapons were not terror weapons but the tactics were, similar with Lidice and Ležáky in the wake of Heydrich's assassination).

I'm inclined to the view that whether or not a weapon is a terror weapon depends upon the intention of the user.

A bayonet or sword is not necessarily a terror weapon, but the Japanese certainly managed to use them as such to instil fear into their enemies.

Similarly, a knife and meat cleaver aren't necessarily terror weapons, but the Islamic ****s who killed the soldier in England recently used them as such.

But what hasn't been defined so far is: What do we mean by terror; terrorist; and terror weapon?

Nickdfresh
06-23-2013, 10:36 AM
The same could be said of aspects of the Allied raids on Germany and especially Tokyo with bombers whose accuracy left a lot to be desired when attempting precision bombing. Which is precisely why area bombing was pursued.



I'm inclined to the view that whether or not a weapon is a terror weapon depends upon the intention of the user.

A bayonet or sword is not necessarily a terror weapon, but the Japanese certainly managed to use them as such to instil fear into their enemies.

Similarly, a knife and meat cleaver aren't necessarily terror weapons, but the Islamic ****s who killed the soldier in England recently used them as such.

But what hasn't been defined so far is: What do we mean by terror; terrorist; and terror weapon?

Perhaps a "terror weapon" would be a weapon system with little or very limited tactical or strategic value. But one pursued in order to achieve a political outcome such as influencing a population to pressure their gov't to end the war more quickly. Of course, WWII pretty much showed it never really worked and only instilled either a sense of vengeance or a stoic acceptance of their plight. The V2 was a pure gamble designed to not only pressure the British, but to hit the continental United States and perhaps influence the civilian populations there to seek a negotiated settlement - as absurd as that would have been...

pdf27
06-23-2013, 05:20 PM
The Jumo 004A jet engine was developed in 1942 and was bench tested at over 250 hours continuous running and would have gotten ~80 hours life. It used a super alloy "Tinidur" that was 1/2 Fe and the rest strategic metals including 45% Chrome /nickel. With hollow blades they would reach > 100 hours.
Which in the circumstances is somewhere between not a problem and completely depressing. Not a problem because the life expectancy of the pilot was rather shorter, hence rather depressing!
Remember that this was an aircraft which relied absolutely on speed for survival and combat effectiveness - lose an engine and chances are you lose the aircraft.
I would also point out that German quality control by the stage of the war that the Me-262 was actually in squadron service was extremely poor - so I don't believe that bench test figures tell more than a part of the story. I can't find figures for the Derwent 1, but the Derwent 9 (not a very closely related engine, but of the same era and probably metallurgy) has a recommended time between inspections of 450 flying hours in modern-day use (http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.caa.co.uk%2Fdefault.aspx%3Fca tid%3D1594%26pagetype%3D90%26pageid%3D2629&ei=RmPHUbr2EIu1Pd_hgfgI&usg=AFQjCNHArFuSHwRgsdhDrqhY9MtmDYozGw&sig2=a_wjoIZuUcr4m3x4ez3-lg). That suggests to me that UK engines were at least an order of magnitude more reliable than contemporary German engines.


An alternative was engine Jumo 004B was developed using a new alloy "Cromadur" that was 14% chrome and used no nickel at all substituting Magnesium. This was combined with hollowed turbine blades, to make a working engine. As pointed out it had average life of 10 hours but part of that was due to poor training when throttling up too fast, it dumped too much fuel ; overheating the engine. So improved jet engine models were developed with better controls that probably would have gotten 50 hours [?] .
At a time when other engines of the era were managing a thousand? Actually, that probably flags up some major design issues with the combustor, rather than just the control system - if you're relying on training to ensure a ticklish system is operated well when people are fighting for their lives you have a problem.


By the end of the war an improved jet engine was in development using a new alloy "Vanidur". This alloy used 2/3 Fe and 30% strategic alloys mostly nickel and Chrome ,but also molybdenum and vanadium. Post war Americans reconstructed a Jumo 004 engine with a similar alloy and got bench tests of 500 hours that projected a life expectancy of 150 hours.

So like all German weapons , given enough time they would have worked out the bugs.
Rather like A. A. Griffith - he'd pretty much invented the jet engine a decade before Whittle, but the technology didn't really exist to build it. Whittle's genius - and there is no other word for it - was realising that a simple, crude engine COULD be built using extant technology, and that it would outperform everything else out there. As an engineer, I'm in awe of that ability when I meet people who have it - precisely because it is so rare. Whittle had, pre-1945, come out with most of the concepts in modern jet aircraft - axial compressors, reheat, bypass, etc. - but didn't work on them because they were out of reach of the technology of the time. The Germans worked on them despite being out of reach of the technology of the time - one of many reasons they lost so badly.

2nd of foot
06-23-2013, 06:14 PM
A bayonet or sword is not necessarily a terror weapon,

Just nitpicking for the fun of it :)

I would class a bayonet as a terror weapon. It has little use beyond intimidating the enemy. In the good old day of the musket it was one round at close range followed by a bayonet charge. They just never managed to catch the yanks. A French surgeon did a survey into the battle field injuries and found that most bayonet wounds were in the back.

I remember reading an account of the fighting in Vietnam by a soldier in 1RAR. He related that your perception changed when in the FUP and the order came to "change mags, fix bayonets". It told you it was serious. Every one carries it but very very few have or will use it. And now that I think about it it was used as a riot/crowd control tool.

Rising Sun*
06-23-2013, 06:33 PM
I would class a bayonet as a terror weapon.

Actually, you're right.

The prospect of being on the receiving end of one terrifies me.

They're also useful for controlling uncooperative foreigners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhWlAKdlQp4

Nickdfresh
06-23-2013, 06:59 PM
Just nitpicking for the fun of it :)

I would class a bayonet as a terror weapon. It has little use beyond intimidating the enemy. In the good old day of the musket it was one round at close range followed by a bayonet charge. They just never managed to catch the yanks. A French surgeon did a survey into the battle field injuries and found that most bayonet wounds were in the back.

I remember reading an account of the fighting in Vietnam by a soldier in 1RAR. He related that your perception changed when in the FUP and the order came to "change mags, fix bayonets". It told you it was serious. Every one carries it but very very few have or will use it. And now that I think about it it was used as a riot/crowd control tool.

There actually was a bayonet charge in the Ia Drang Valley battle of 1965 (the first major engagement of U.S. infantry). Things were pretty bad...

ubc
06-23-2013, 07:00 PM
Certainly by the end of the war training was in the toilet . I remember reading that average LW training flying hours dropped from 235 in 1942 down to 150 hours by 1944 and after the collapse of the LW and the oil industry the best they could achieve was 50 flying hours. Mean while RAF flying hours increased from 200 to 340hours per pilot, while American pilots were up to ~385hours?

If you reference the increasing numbers of LW planes in service with the decreasing number of flying hours , it comes out consistently at about 1.05 million flying hour per year from 1942-44. By late 1944/45 these flying hours would work out to 1.15 million flying hours. So like a lot of their solutions to stretch their forces to meet the needs of attritional warfare, they just diluted the capability to achieve more.

It was never part of their doctrine to wage wars of attrition against multiple enemies on multiple fronts. Prior to the War the USA and Germany faced the same choice. Resort to the potential combination of rockery and remote guidance to make wunderwaffen for their forces in War, particularly strategic bombing. The USA rejected this since their entire doctrine infrastructure and war economy was based on massed 'surgical bombing' and the faith they had in the bomber bomb sight and numbers. Germany sought to develop such super weapons to aid their forces, fighting the western allies and keep these forces manageable. But that entire assumption was based on such a war not starting until the 1944-46 time frame.

pdf27
06-24-2013, 04:31 AM
There actually was a bayonet charge in the Ia Drang Valley battle of 1965 (the first major engagement of U.S. infantry). Things were pretty bad...
IIRC the Argyll & Bolton Wanderers used them in Iraq, and this cha (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/6178044/British-officer-wins-two-gallantry-awards-for-fending-off-Taliban-attack-with-bayonet.html)p got an MC in similar circumstances. They tend to be a secondary weapon though, rather than a formed up charge.

JR*
06-24-2013, 05:51 AM
Regarding the bayonet, 2nd of Foot is quite correct. Of course it has been used from time to time in recent wars. However, in Bonaparte's day, it was (as Wellington described it) "queen of the battlefield", in succession to the halberd and the long pike of the later Middle Ages. In fact, the musket with bayonet was very much the same thing as a long pike much of the time, just with a rather limited addition of firepower. This changed radically with the arrival of fully practical muzzle-loading rifles in the 1840s. The difference lay in the ability to lay down effective fire at 400-450 yards as compared with the approx. 90 - 140 yards of the smoothbore. It was no longer possible for a running soldier to cover the ground between himself and his opponent in the space of 1 (or at most 2) shots, so that the old-fashioned bayonet charge became, in most circumstances, impractical. Not that generals immediately understood the point. The one great muzzle-loading rifle war (in which the front-line troops on both sides were armed with such weapons) was the American Civil War, and generals on both sides did their best to fight it in Napoleonic fashion. Ordinary soldiers often had more practical ideas. A read of Stephen Crane's "Red Badge of Courage", written on the basis of the author's interviews with Civil War veterans, gives one some idea. As Civil War historian Shelby Foote said, of the men killed in action in the Civil War, few died from bayonet wounds. Best regards, JR.

2nd of foot
06-24-2013, 12:58 PM
IIRC the Argyll & Bolton Wanderers used them in Iraq, and this cha (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/6178044/British-officer-wins-two-gallantry-awards-for-fending-off-Taliban-attack-with-bayonet.html)p got an MC in similar circumstances. They tend to be a secondary weapon though, rather than a formed up charge.
A common misconception generated by bad reporting in the Sun, it was the PWRR. I believe the case is still being inquired into as it was wrong to kill the poor militia in such a nasty and unwar like way.

Back to the actual topic, I feel that if the Germans had not treated the Ukrainians in such a bad way they would have had a much larger force pool to fight the Soviets. The only advantage in winning the BofB for the Germans would have been a possible peace treaty with Britain. German would never have been able to invade Britain, so taking them out in another way would have eased up supply and production problems. With Britain out of the war lend lease would not have been in place and the Soviets did not have the production capacity to beat the Germans. Moscow would have fallen and if Germany had a peace deal with the Soviets which included Ukraine being part of Greater Germany the war would end for a short time. Russia may then go east to sort out the Japanese but would not have the supplies to win another war against German on it own.

BloodFalcon
07-03-2013, 11:42 AM
One point for those thinking somehow invading the UK would have made a big difference - the US government response was to order the development of what would become the B-36, with the Manhattan project following 6 months later. With those available by 1945 or so, it really would be game over for Germany. The B-36 was the next best thing to uninterceptible until the development of the afterburning turbojet - something the Germans never really had the metallurgy to do.

Not true as if Germany had taken over Britain then the Usa never would of had any form of staging for bombing campaigns or any amphibous assault. Without britain the Usa never could of gained any real Advantage over Germany and with the fall of Britain the rush to the east could be easily completed with the reasigning of all western troops to the east. But in the end its all about recources and the Brits held their ground against BOMBING campaigns well which drained the German war machine without that there would of been no chance of russia being able to survive also there would of been no point in a preemptive attack of russia before the fall of Britain. As if Britain wouldnt of held out so well then the German war machine wouldn't of been exhausted.

BloodFalcon
07-03-2013, 11:43 AM
Hitlers Generals did not want to fight in the first place.

pdf27
07-03-2013, 12:21 PM
Not true as if Germany had taken over Britain then the Usa never would of had any form of staging for bombing campaigns or any amphibous assault. Without britain the Usa never could of gained any real Advantage over Germany and with the fall of Britain the rush to the east could be easily completed with the reasigning of all western troops to the east. But in the end its all about recources and the Brits held their ground against BOMBING campaigns well which drained the German war machine without that there would of been no chance of russia being able to survive also there would of been no point in a preemptive attack of russia before the fall of Britain. As if Britain wouldnt of held out so well then the German war machine wouldn't of been exhausted.
That was the entire point of the B-36 - it was capable of hitting Germany from the continental US. That explains the development history - it was started with high priority at around the time of the Battle of Britain, but when the British were clearly safe the B-29 took higher priority. Should Germany have taken out the UK, the US would have had the ability to hit Germany with a huge tonnage of bombs and potentially nuclear weapons. Critically, nobody could intercept the B-36 until the development of jets like the MiG-15 - it's service ceiling was just so high.

J.A.W.
07-11-2013, 01:38 AM
The Nazi Wasserfall radar-directed S.A.M. would've made short work of the lumbering B-36..
& likely..Ta 152's could reach/destroy any unescorted B-36 toting a useful bomb-load..

Strategic bombers used against technically proficient opposition have never cut it..

pdf27
07-11-2013, 02:47 AM
The Nazi Wasserfall radar-directed S.A.M. would've made short work of the lumbering B-36..
& likely..Ta 152's could reach/destroy any unescorted B-36 toting a useful bomb-load..

Strategic bombers used against technically proficient opposition have never cut it..
Ta-152 could **just about** reach the operating height of the B-36. However, they would be using max boost and hence have extremely short endurance/range at that height. One of the odd things about aerodynamics is that large aircraft are more manoeuvrable than small ones at very high altitude. The Vulcan is a classic example - design operating altitude is about the same as the B-36, and when it entered service it could outmanoeuvre any fighter jet on earth at that height.
Incidentally, US and German sources quote "service ceiling" differently - IIRC for the Germans it's absolute ceiling while carrying a warload, for the US it's when rate of climb dropped below a certain value (1,000 ft/min rings a bell, not sure though). The Pilot's manual (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=eflKhY26inwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false) makes it clear operation at 50,000ft+ was routine, yet the ever-reliable Wiki gives a service ceiling of 43,600 ft.
I would also question the selection of the Ta-152 - it was built in response to the B-29, only a handful were built and it was a right bastard to fly, by all accounts. If the US is in the war and bombing Germany with the B-36, odds are it'll be a nuclear campaign. That won't give Germany time to come up with an interceptor.

Wasserfall had similar problems, even if it was inherently a better solution. Taking the data from Luft '46 (http://www.luft46.com/missile/wasserfl.html) (usually pretty optimistic - those are best-case values usually for what they thought they could build rather than actually did) gives a radius of action of 26,400m and ceiling of 26,400m. Since max ceiling will be straight up, and max range will be at zero altitude (coming down on a ballistic path) that gives a maximum cross-range ability of 12.8 km at 50,000 ft (expected B-36 operating altitude).
Maximum speed is quoted at 2736 km/hr, or 758 m/sec. This will be achieved immediately before the motor burns out (least air resistance and lightest rocket = peak acceleration), so average will be lower - I'd suggest assuming 500 m/sec unless you have other data. At 15,000m that gives a ~30 second reaction time for the B-36.
The flight manual for a heavily loaded B-36 (370,000 lbs at 50,000 ft) gives a maximum speed of 167 mph indicated. What I can't find is the true airspeed, but it looks to have been around twice that. Assuming 300 mph true air speed, that cuts the no-escape zone down by ~2.5 miles (4km). Manoeuvring a missile also bleeds off a lot of energy, so we can assume say a 5% loss in total slant range from this. The two together gives Wasserfall only a 5km radius no-escape zone - so the B-36 will have to overfly within ~3 miles of the battery not to be able do dodge the missile - and that is even before we get into questions of how good the guidance actually is (given that the radar guidance never actually worked...).

pdf27
07-11-2013, 02:54 AM
Oh, and checking the B-36 once in service was generally armed with twin Hispano-Suiza 20mm cannon (radar-aimed), while the Ta-152 had twin MG 151 and an MK 108. We can probably ignore the MK 108 here in a "dogfight", which gives two radar-aimed cannon in a more manoeuvrable aircraft versus two eye aimed cannon in a less manoeuvrable one!

J.A.W.
07-15-2013, 09:59 PM
Some good tech info presented in this thread, thanks fellas..

Also in Chuck Yeager's memoir is an evaluation of the MiG 15 as a B-36 interceptor..

The SAC guys jumped on his report of the Soviet plane being a poor gun platform at altitude.. til he
pointed out the fact that the MiG's cannon shell cone - spread nice & effectively on a B-36 sized target..

Fact is, anytime the Strategic bomber has been met by serious opposition, it gets real costly, real quick..

Has anyone seen a mission profile for the B-70?
Maybe, given the difficulty shown in intercepting other Mach 3 planes,
it could have actually done the job..

leccy
07-16-2013, 03:10 AM
The Nazi Wasserfall radar-directed S.A.M. would've made short work of the lumbering B-36..
& likely..Ta 152's could reach/destroy any unescorted B-36 toting a useful bomb-load..

Strategic bombers used against technically proficient opposition have never cut it..

Radar directed but manually guided by radio control, so immediately negating its effectiveness in cloud, night, poor weather conditions. Any radio guidance system is also vulnerable to jamming as are the radars themselves.

By 1944 the British and US had many different types of jamming systems for Radar and Radio mounted on aircraft (some were specialist aircraft built to test and goad German equipment to gather data iirc).

pdf27
07-16-2013, 05:29 AM
Yefim Gordon's book gives a service ceiling of 49,868ft for the MiG-15, and 50,853ft for the prototype MiG-15 bis. The table in the back gives a range of 43,963ft to 52,493ft (late 1951). Just enough to reach the B-36, but like the Ta-152 a bit marginal. The MiG-17 is a different kettle of fish however - the reheated engine and thin wing made a big difference and essentially confined the B-36 to night bombing.

The big advantage of the B-70 isn't even in the difficulty of intercepting it, but in the reaction time needed. It isn't just a case of faster interceptors, they would have had to rebuild their entire air defence system - longer range radars, faster C2 systems, longer-ranged SAMs, longer ranged & faster interceptors, etc. Same thing happened with the B-36 and B-52 - the performance increase was sufficient to render the existing air defence system obsolete, so the Soviets built a new one.

J.A.W.
07-17-2013, 12:14 AM
The Strategic bomber campaigns against Germany were saved from defeat in 1944 by..

A, The P-51 escort for the USAAF..

B, The invasion of France for the RAF..

The British were losing 90+ heavies on their worst nights in `44, it wasn't 'til the defence network was disrupted by loss of early warning/radar/control sites & etc, post invasion, that losses became bearable..

They could hack down 60+ heavies over Germany in daylight, but could not stand their own losses to the escort..

pdf27
07-17-2013, 03:58 AM
I would also add in the effect of the Mosquito intruder sorties on the German night fighter force, and improved tactics/electronic countermeasures. France had IMHO fairly limited effects on the early warning network, simply because the RAF flew further north.
6622

Nickdfresh
07-17-2013, 04:48 AM
The Strategic bomber campaigns against Germany were saved from defeat in 1944 by..

A, The P-51 escort for the USAAF..

B, The invasion of France for the RAF..

What do you mean with "B"? The RAF and USAAF were both involved in the "Transportation" plan smashing French rail and transport infrastructure prior to D-Day. How did the Invasion of France save anything for the RAF? Air power was used (reluctantly) to virtually paralyze the German logistical networks into France and was probably the most directly effective application of air power by the Western Allies in the entire war...


The British were losing 90+ heavies on their worst nights in `44, it wasn't 'til the defence network was disrupted by loss of early warning/radar/control sites & etc, post invasion, that losses became bearable..

They could hack down 60+ heavies over Germany in daylight, but could not stand their own losses to the escort..

It didn't matter in the end. The Allies could make good their losses, the Luftwaffe could not despite Goering's best efforts and Speer's so-called "Armaments' Miracle". In the end, the Luftwaffe still relied heavily on obsolete designs such as the Me109, a dated airframe increasingly burdened with heavier guns and outclassed by virtually any of the Allied fighters by 1944 - of course, with the best Jadgwaffe pilots dying and being replaced with ill-trained green crews, it probably didn't matter all that much...

royal744
07-17-2013, 01:47 PM
To sum up the answer to the question, "Could Germany have won the war?" The answer is:

NO

J.A.W.
07-17-2013, 10:35 PM
Who did?
No-one in Europe, 'cept maybe Stalin,
& what was it he said.. something like '1 death may be a tragedy ,but a million deaths is just a statistic'..

Rising Sun*
07-27-2013, 10:35 AM
Who did?
No-one in Europe, 'cept maybe Stalin

The Marshall Plan gave Germany a stunning post war recovery and wealth which endured until West Germany foolishly re-unified with East Germany.

Meanwhile, Britain, which didn't start the war; which fought it alone for the first couple of crucial years which held the Nazis at bay while the US sat on its hands; and which paid heavily for it until not so many years ago in discharging its debts, largely to the USA, got sweet FA economically and actually ended up on its economic knees for many years after the war it won.

Germany was the ultimate winner in long term economic terms, being given post-war assistance by the Allies to haul it out of its wartime devastation to avoid a re-run of the aftermath of WW1.

The price the average German paid for the consequences of the war initiated by the Nazis was undoubtedly too high, but so was that paid by the average Briton in the few decades after the war where generally they were worse off than the Germans.

Similar result in Japan.

Debatable whether "The Mouse That Roared" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7L7WLFBYR4 was fiction or a prescient documentary, which included the line "There isn't a more profitable undertaking for any country than to declare war on the United States and to be defeated."

And Afghanistan isn't any ****ing different!

royal744
07-28-2013, 12:40 PM
The Marshall Plan gave Germany a stunning post war recovery and wealth which endured until West Germany foolishly re-unified with East Germany.

Meanwhile, Britain, which didn't start the war; which fought it alone for the first couple of crucial years which held the Nazis at bay while the US sat on its hands; and which paid heavily for it until not so many years ago in discharging its debts, largely to the USA, got sweet FA economically and actually ended up on its economic knees for many years after the war it won.

Germany was the ultimate winner in long term economic terms, being given post-war assistance by the Allies to haul it out of its wartime devastation to avoid a re-run of the aftermath of WW1.

The price the average German paid for the consequences of the war initiated by the Nazis was undoubtedly too high, but so was that paid by the average Briton in the few decades after the war where generally they were worse off than the Germans.

Similar result in Japan.

Debatable whether "The Mouse That Roared" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7L7WLFBYR4 was fiction or a prescient documentary, which included the line "There isn't a more profitable undertaking for any country than to declare war on the United States and to be defeated."

And Afghanistan isn't any ****ing different!

RS, I hate to tell you this, but BY FAR the biggest expenditure of Marshall Plan aid following WW2 was to the United Kingdom. Please consult Wikipedia and you will see a chart that shows expenditures by country - nearly 2-1/2 times the amount that Germany received. The first 2 on the list are the UK (#1) and France (#2). It is a common mis-conception that England got squat. It ain't true, my friend. Not even close.

I'm befuddled as to why Sweden got even one thin dime in Marshall Plan aid since a) it wasn't a belligerent, b) it suffered no war damage, c) it spent the war trading with the enemy and d) it was in no danger of a communist take-over. Interestingly, Spain received nothing, yet Portugal, a fascist dictatorship under Salazar, did.

royal744
07-28-2013, 03:50 PM
Perhaps a "terror weapon" would be a weapon system with little or very limited tactical or strategic value. But one pursued in order to achieve a political outcome such as influencing a population to pressure their gov't to end the war more quickly. Of course, WWII pretty much showed it never really worked and only instilled either a sense of vengeance or a stoic acceptance of their plight. The V2 was a pure gamble designed to not only pressure the British, but to hit the continental United States and perhaps influence the civilian populations there to seek a negotiated settlement - as absurd as that would have been...

Except, of course, the V2 didn't have the range to hit anything past Britain...

pdf27
07-28-2013, 05:11 PM
Except, of course, the V2 didn't have the range to hit anything past Britain...
There was a longer ranged version planned, but that was way beyond the technology available to Von Braun et al. Bit of a case of not knowing what they didn't know...

J.A.W.
07-28-2013, 11:26 PM
& Britain alone?
Hardly, as a quick check of the nationalities of the RAF fighter pilots in the B.o.B. will show..

& Fort Knox was chocka with the Empire's gold when 'cash & carry' was the deal..

JR*
07-29-2013, 08:57 AM
On the question of whether Germany could have won the war - little though I approve of the "what if" approach to history, there is a valid question of what might have happened had the Germans taken Moscow and/or Leningrad in 1941, or secured the southern Soviet oilfields in 1942. The latter question is, perhaps, the less interesting, notwithstanding the fact that capture of these facilities in 1941 or 1942 seems to have been one of the underlying lazy assumptions upon which German hopes of victory over the Soviet Union were based. It is hard to see how even total success in Army Group South's 1942 Summer campaign, in terms of securing the oilfields, could have been secured in the face of the hugh Red Army "overhang" that would have threatened the Germans' new northern flank.

The Moscow/Leningrad question is more interesting. Comparison with Napoleon's capture of Moscow in 1812 is, I believe, facile. The Russia of 1812 was, to all intents and purpuses, roadless, and the pace of war, by 1941 standards, very slow. Also, The Tsarist Russian Empire was well established, and ruled over a small élite in strong control of a huge, virtually uneducated population of agriculturalists. By 1941, the Soviet transport network was far from wonderful, but one major feature was the establishment of Moscow as a major road and railway hub that allowed reinforcements and supplies to be distributed along the full length of the Soviet western front, and in from the east by way of the Siberian railway. Also, the Russian population had changed, as had its relationship with the regime. The Bolshevik regime was quite new - it had only properly secured itself in power about 18 years previously. In that 18 years, it had performed actions that had alienated large elements of the population. In addition, the social processes that had helped the Bolsheviks to power in the first place - industrialisation, and the consequent need for an urban population at least partly educated to the needs of a modern economy (albeit an education highly tainted by propaganda) - had put in place a much larger cadre of people who might have been a lot less tolerant of serious and obvious national failure than had the kulaks and peasants of the age of Tsar Alexei.

There is a case for saying that the capture of Moscow would have resulted in a strategic situation in which the Soviets would have been forced into a general retreat along most of their front. Even the capture of Leningrad, consolidated by the Germans to the east of the city, would have exposed Moscow to a severe threat in the Summer of 1942, possibly leading to a reorientation of the German campaign in that year leading to the capture of Moscow, with similar result. Further, consideration should be given to the possibility at least that such a development could have triggered the political collapse of Stalin's regime. I am reluctant to speculate beyond this point - but it might suggest the possibility that the Hitler/Himmler dream of securing "living space" in the expanses of the old Russian Empire might have moved a lot closer to reality, had German strategy been more focused and Moscow been captured. Just a thought.

Oh well, that's enough idle speculation for today ... Best regards, JR.

pdf27
07-29-2013, 11:04 AM
& Britain alone?
Hardly, as a quick check of the nationalities of the RAF fighter pilots in the B.o.B. will show..
Even in summer 1940, the British didn't exactly think they were alone (cartoon is from July 1940)

http://punch.photoshelter.com/image/I00004lS91fhaQno

JR*
07-29-2013, 11:22 AM
Yes - and the Empire and Dominions did rally more or less loyally to the "Mother Country". The problem was to co-ordinating this effort of the "red" portion of the world's map to the defence of GB. Doubtful, ultimately, whether it would have been sufficient in itself. Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
07-29-2013, 11:23 AM
Even in summer 1940, the British didn't exactly think they were alone (cartoon is from July 1940)

http://punch.photoshelter.com/image/I00004lS91fhaQno

Perhaps, but a lot of that 500 million diverted fighting troops and resources from the wars against Germany and Japan, primarily in India and among Indian forces concerned with Indian independence.

royal744
07-29-2013, 11:41 AM
When my parents lived in India for 5 years, I visited the Bombay Gymkhana where my parents were members (and where father indulged his tennis mania). On the wall in the men's locker room were plaques each representing a Spitfire that had been bought and paid for by the members for the defence of Great Britain. Very impressive.

Rising Sun*
07-29-2013, 11:57 AM
When my parents lived in India for 5 years, I visited the Bombay Gymkhana where my parents were members (and where father indulged his tennis mania). On the wall in the men's locker room were plaques each representing a Spitfire that had been bought and paid for by the members for the defence of Great Britain. Very impressive.

To which one could add the thousands of Indian troops under the Japanese who had the option of changing sides, and didn't. And often suffered immensely for it, as did other POWs of the Japanese.

But on the other hand there were the likes of Chandra Bose and Mohan Singh and their followers who fought with the Japanese against the Allies.

pdf27
07-29-2013, 12:02 PM
Perhaps, but a lot of that 500 million diverted fighting troops and resources from the wars against Germany and Japan, primarily in India and among Indian forces concerned with Indian independence.
Maybe, but the contribution of the Indian Army to the war was massively in excess of the resources expending in garrisoning India. Bose et al were very much exceptions rather than the rule.

royal744
07-29-2013, 05:44 PM
& Britain alone?
Hardly, as a quick check of the nationalities of the RAF fighter pilots in the B.o.B. will show..

& Fort Knox was chocka with the Empire's gold when 'cash & carry' was the deal..

True, JAW; however, when it became apparent that the English would soon be broke, FDR passed Lend Lease - difficult under the circumstances and heavily opposed by Isolationists - and the $31.5B or so that it represented was a gift and was never repaid. So much for "lease". On the other hand, leasing a fighter or bomber that was subsequently shot down wasn't exactly a business proposition to begin with. Still, in my view, it was money well-spent...

J.A.W.
07-29-2013, 06:38 PM
Yes, a good U.S. business plan to take off at the knees & in one fell swoop..
.. replacing centuries of British globalisation/hegemony.. also..

Setting Europe back decades & cementing the 'Military & Industrial Complex' for the cold-war anti-commie squeeze..

royal744
07-29-2013, 09:24 PM
Yes, a good U.S. business plan to take off at the knees & in one fell swoop..
.. replacing centuries of British globalisation/hegemony.. also..

Setting Europe back decades & cementing the 'Military & Industrial Complex' for the cold-war anti-commie squeeze..

I wonder if your observation would be slightly less acerbic if it had been the other way around. The British had had their way for so long that it's only natural that they might think it would continue forever. The arc of history was irrevocably moving away with Indian and Pakistani independence inevitable. Churchill declared that he didn't become PM to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire, but the sad fact was that there was nothing he could do to halt it. Setting Europe back 'decades'? Perhaps you think that Europe would have "advanced" under the gentle tutelage of die Herren Hitler, Goering and Himmler? Maybe I just can't tell if you're kidding or not.

What, I wonder, would have happened if the evil Americans hadn't given England all that money - for free - to get all those worthless American arms and inedible American food? I guess we'll never know because we did give it... you're welcome!

J.A.W.
07-29-2013, 10:47 PM
& the items so freely given to the U.S.?
War[& peace]winners such as radar, sonar, proximity fuzes, nuclear science, gas turbines, Penicillin, Ultra decrypts & etc?

royal744
07-30-2013, 12:35 AM
I guess., jaw, you think this is some form of satisfactory response...

I quite agree that the items transferred by the British were useful in every respect. I would point out that pennicilin had been in service nearly a decade before WW2 and its anti-biotic effects were noted in the last part of the 19th century; nuclear science was not invented by the British and it wasn't received by a scientific community in the US that had never heard of it either. There was a group of scientists working on it all over the country but they lacked the funding by the government until Tizard and Einstein lit a fire under Roosevelt. The first sustained nuclear reactor pile came into service at the University of Chicago under the direction of the Italian refugee nuclear scientist Enrico Fermi, supported by a large cast of characters. Sonar too was under active research here but I understand they were behind the British. Jet engine research in the US was considerably behind the English and didn't catch up until 1945. I agree the proximity fuze was very valuable to us, especially in the Pacific. ULTRA was absolutely vital in the European war, as was the US breaking of Japanese codes in the Pacific.

J.A.W.
07-30-2013, 01:14 AM
Those precious gifts were gratefully received..
& If Hitler'd gottem instead?

pdf27
07-30-2013, 02:35 AM
True, JAW; however, when it became apparent that the English would soon be broke, FDR passed Lend Lease - difficult under the circumstances and heavily opposed by Isolationists - and the $31.5B or so that it represented was a gift and was never repaid. So much for "lease". On the other hand, leasing a fighter or bomber that was subsequently shot down wasn't exactly a business proposition to begin with. Still, in my view, it was money well-spent...
My understanding was that we finally repaid it a couple of years ago. The interest rates and repayment terms were however extraordinarily generous, particularly considering that we probably couldn't have even borrowed money on the capital markets at the time for any price.

leccy
07-30-2013, 02:46 AM
My understanding was that we finally repaid it a couple of years ago. The interest rates and repayment terms were however extraordinarily generous, particularly considering that we probably couldn't have even borrowed money on the capital markets at the time for any price.

Post war Britain needed even more money and was turned down by the US (Britain was crippled as an economy with rationing only ending in the late 50's for the last items).

The interest rate was generous on the lend lease loans though and we finished paying it back about 8 years ago now I think.

One thing most people also forget (or do not know about) is the Destroyers for bases deal, the reverse Lend Lease (British Commonwealth countries supplied the US to offset the lend lease borrowing), Commonwealth countries loans to the UK (Canada was the biggest next to the US).

J.A.W.
07-30-2013, 02:49 AM
But wasn't it a standard quip - that the only thing the U.S. charged in the first couple of years of both world wars..
.. was interest on their war loans..

Nickdfresh
07-30-2013, 06:08 AM
But wasn't it a standard quip - that the only thing the U.S. charged in the first couple of years of both world wars..
.. was interest on their war loans..

Well, we did arm and guard Australia for a while. Why all this mourning for the Poms?

leccy
07-30-2013, 07:12 AM
But wasn't it a standard quip - that the only thing the U.S. charged in the first couple of years of both world wars..
.. was interest on their war loans..

No loans in the first couple of years of WW2 until the Lend Lease Act, it required a change in US law to give loans to beligerant Nations - before lend lease everything had to be paid for at market value.

The Destroyers for bases was a one off fudge around.

WW1 US bankers and companies loaned money and credit from 1915 onwards (not the US Government which was saying the loans and credit were against the spirit of neutrality), the loans and credit were also to the Central Powers although not as much as to the Triple Entente. US Government loans themselves started in 1917 with the US entry to the war.


The outbreak of war in 1914 coincided with a recession in the United States. By 1915, American neutrality was being criticized as bankers and merchants began to loan money and offer credits to the warring parties, although the Central Powers received far less. Between 1915 and April 1917, the Allies received 85 times the amount loaned to Germany. This was good business for American enterprises, notably munitions and foodstuffs.

According to Harold Faulkner, [1] the total dollars loaned to all Allied borrowers during this period was 2,581,300,000. The scope of the loans was not unnoticed in early 1915 as Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan sent a letter to J. P. Morgan & Co., reminding that the policy of neutrality and private bank loans were “inconsistent with the true spirit of neutrality.” [2] Bryan also quipped that “money is the worst of all contrabands because it commands everything else.”

After the United States entered the war, the government itself kept the Allies afloat with loans, financed partially through the sale of war bonds. Barbara Tuchman, in The Guns of August, writes that, “Eventually, the United States became the larder, arsenal, and bank of the Allies and acquired a direct interest in Allied victory that was to bemuse the postwar apostles of economic determinism for a long time.” [3]

The Nye Report of 1936

It was precisely this postwar view that influenced Senator Gerald Nye’s report on US neutrality in World War I and the role of war debt as a factor in declaring war. Speaking in the Senate in July 1939, Nye reiterated that: “No member of the Munitions Committee…has ever contended that it was munitions makers that took us to war. But that committee and its members have said again and again, that it was war trade and the war boom…that played the primary part in moving the United States into war.: [4]

The June 5, 1936 fifth committee report exonerated Wilson in terms of allegations that he had taken America to war to protect financial interests. However, the report also mentioned that Wilson was, “caught up in a situation created largely by the profit-making interests in the United States…” [5]

Summary

Despite American neutrality, loans and trade with Britain and France during the war accelerated the need to see the Central Powers defeated. Even the Lusitania carried contraband munitions, a fact downplayed by Wilson but mentioned in Senator Robert LaFollette’s anti-war speech of April 1917. American investment between 1915 and 1917 was one factor in entering the war. The 1936 Nye Report’s investigation and analysis sought to avoid a similar financial entrapment as another continental war loomed in the 1930s.

[1] Harold Underwood Faulkner, The Decline of Laissez Faire 1897-1917 (New York, Rinehart & Co., 1951.

[2] Quoted in same source.

[3] Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (New York: MacMillan Company, 1962), p. 337.

[4] Congressional Record, 76 Congress, 1 Session (1939) pp. 10,405-6

[5] United States Special Committee, Senate Report 944, Part 5, 74 Congress, 2 Session, pp. 1-9.

Rising Sun*
07-30-2013, 09:36 AM
One thing most people also forget (or do not know about) is the Destroyers for bases deal, the reverse Lend Lease (British Commonwealth countries supplied the US to offset the lend lease borrowing), Commonwealth countries loans to the UK (Canada was the biggest next to the US).

Something I read in some reliable secondary source ages ago, but which I've not been able to confirm from other sources, is that Australia ended the war with a Lend Lease credit from supplying the American effort in the SWPA and other support to the Americans such as naval bases.

Rising Sun*
07-30-2013, 09:43 AM
Well, we did arm and guard Australia for a while.

Yeah, but only from 1942 to 2013, with some long periods of lack of interest, bordering on "let Australia sink or swim against the Asian hordes"* in between.

We got on okay from 1788 to 1942 without your help. ;) :D

* Which is why we cunningly encouraged you to get involved in Vietnam, after alarm at your lack of interest in the threat posed to us by Indonesia in the early 1960s.

royal744
07-30-2013, 11:55 AM
But wasn't it a standard quip - that the only thing the U.S. charged in the first couple of years of both world wars..
.. was interest on their war loans..

Let me repeat, Lend Lease was never paid back. It was a gift. I may be off by a few years, but loans made prior to Lend Lease were, I think, paid back around 1976. In the immediate post war period before the Marshall Plan - of which the UK was by far the biggest recipient - there was a "bridge loan" from the US on the order of $3-4B, when a billion actually meant something.

I'm racking my brain trying to find a single instance of anyone, any country anywhere after the Revolution, just handing us free money to remain afloat. What do they say about biting the hand that feeds you?

royal744
07-30-2013, 12:04 PM
Yeah, but only from 1942 to 2013, with some long periods of lack of interest, bordering on "let Australia sink or swim against the Asian hordes"* in between.

We got on okay from 1788 to 1942 without your help. ;) :D

* Which is why we cunningly encouraged you to get involved in Vietnam, after alarm at your lack of interest in the threat posed to us by Indonesia in the early 1960s.

I could have sworn Australia is a member of the BRITISH Commonwealth. I wasn't aware that it was America's responsibility - as opposed to Australia's - to protect Australia against "Asian hordes". And, I'm having a difficult time visualizing any Indonesian "threat" to Australia that wouldn't be immediately reduced to cinders by the Australians. Maybe in a parallel universe.

On the other hand, maybe Australia could petition the US government to add another thirty or so states to the Union.

pdf27
07-30-2013, 12:11 PM
Let me repeat, Lend Lease was never paid back. It was a gift. I may be off by a few years, but loans made prior to Lend Lease were, I think, paid back around 1976. In the immediate post war period before the Marshall Plan - of which the UK was the biggest recipient - there was a "bridge loan" from the US on the order of $3-4B, when a billion actually meant something.
The deal was that lend-lease items had to be paid for if not returned or destroyed, and that anything delivered after it terminated also had to be paid for (both at a 90% discount). HM Treasury made the final payment of $83.3 Million on the 29th of December 2006 (as part of the Anglo-American loan - the outstanding Lend-Lease balance was rolled into this). The lend-lease proportion of the loan was $650 million in 1946 dollars (~$8.3 billion in current terms).

royal744
07-30-2013, 12:11 PM
But wasn't it a standard quip - that the only thing the U.S. charged in the first couple of years of both world wars..
.. was interest on their war loans..

Let me repeat, Lend Lease was never paid back. It was a gift. I may be off by a few years, but loans made prior to Lend Lease were, I think, paid back around 1976. In the immediate post war period before the Marshall Plan - of which the UK was the biggest recipient - there was a "bridge loan" from the US on the order of $3-4B, when a billion actually meant something.

I'm racking my brain trying to find a single instance of anyone, any country anywhere, just handing us free money to remain afloat. What do they say about biting the hand that feeds you?

pdf27
07-30-2013, 12:13 PM
I could have sworn Australia is a member of the BRITISH Commonwealth. I wasn't aware that it was America's responsibility - as opposed to Australia's - to protect Australia against "Asian hordes". And, I'm having a difficult time visualizing any Indonesian "threat" to Australia that wouldn't be immediately reduced to cinders by the Australians. Maybe in a parallel universe.

On the other hand, maybe Australia could petition the US government to add another thirty or so states to the Union.
Since about 1943 or so the Australian Government (and indeed people) have considered the US rather than the UK to be the ultimate guarantor of their security. And since they don't have nuclear weapons, they actually can't do much to Indonesia - the F-111s were bought to give them the ability to drop 1,000lb bombs on Jakarta in the event of such a war, and their capability isn't much greater nowadays.

royal744
07-30-2013, 12:14 PM
The deal was that lend-lease items had to be paid for if not returned or destroyed, and that anything delivered after it terminated also had to be paid for (both at a 90% discount). HM Treasury made the final payment of $83.3 Million on the 29th of December 2006 (as part of the Anglo-American loan - the outstanding Lend-Lease balance was rolled into this). The lend-lease proportion of the loan was $650 million in 1946 dollars (~$8.3 billion in current terms).

True, pdf. I didn't mention the $650M because it was the only part of Lend Lease that had to be repaid. It was a tiny fraction of the Lend Lease total.

Rising Sun*
07-30-2013, 12:50 PM
I could have sworn Australia is a member of the BRITISH Commonwealth. I wasn't aware that it was America's responsibility - as opposed to Australia's - to protect Australia against "Asian hordes". And, I'm having a difficult time visualizing any Indonesian "threat" to Australia that wouldn't be immediately reduced to cinders by the Australians. Maybe in a parallel universe.

On the other hand, maybe Australia could petition the US government to add another thirty or so states to the Union.

Next time I'll try to make it clearer that I'm mixing humour and irony with history, in a comment specifically directed to Nickdfresh who I expect would have understood my comment.

As for Australia in the 1960s reducing any Indonesian threat to cinders, we were fighting them in a long-forgotten fringe war without any American assistance, or interest.

At the time, Indonesia had perhaps the largest communist party in the world outside the USSR and PRC with a population about ten times ours, with potential support from the nuclear armed USSR or PRC in any conflict with Australia while America's washing of its hands over West Irian made it clear to us that America wasn't going to support us as it had in WWII because we weren't a base it needed for that conflict in pursuit of its own interests. The country most likely to be reduced to cinders if that conflict grew was Australia.

I lived through that period.

You clearly have no understanding of it, from the Australian perspective.

royal744
07-30-2013, 01:36 PM
Next time I'll try to make it clearer that I'm mixing humour and irony with history, in a comment specifically directed to Nickdfresh who I expect would have understood my comment.

As for Australia in the 1960s reducing any Indonesian threat to cinders, we were fighting them in a long-forgotten fringe war without any American assistance, or interest.

At the time, Indonesia had perhaps the largest communist party in the world outside the USSR and PRC with a population about ten times ours, with potential support from the nuclear armed USSR or PRC in any conflict with Australia while America's washing of its hands over West Irian made it clear to us that America wasn't going to support us as it had in WWII because we weren't a base it needed for that conflict in pursuit of its own interests. The country most likely to be reduced to cinders if that conflict grew was Australia.

I lived through that period.

You clearly have no understanding of it, from the Australian perspective.

Perhaps so, RS, but it's still difficult to imagine or visualize. Would Australia have been invaded? By whom? Sarong-wearing, bamboo-spear toting Batik-clad warriors? Invading Australia would be like the Germans invading Russia: the geometry and geography of the situation argue against it.

Considering that Sukarno was an oft-inebriated wannabe starlet-entranced playboy who liked to visit night clubs in New York, I have to say the threat might have been a tad overstated. In the end, how did that work out for Sukarno?

But then, I didn't live in Australia, so I defer to your knowledge on the ground.

Ardee
07-30-2013, 01:39 PM
Let me repeat, Lend Lease was never paid back. It was a gift.

A little basic fact checking suggests otherwise. And you don't even have to trust Wiki.... I'd be interested in seeing any info supporting the Britain got it as a *literal* (as opposed to a 10-cent-on-the-dollar deal) gift. I am less sure about all the other recipients of L-L repaying, but that's a different question.

http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2006/12/29/britain-finally-pays-off-wwii-debt
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/britain-pays-off-final-instalment-of-us-loan--after-61-years-430118.html
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/may/05/secondworldwar.comment
http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/industrialmobilization/p/lend-lease-act.htm

royal744
07-30-2013, 02:12 PM
A little basic fact checking suggests otherwise. And you don't even have to trust Wiki.... I'd be interested in seeing any info supporting the Britain got it as a *literal* (as opposed to a 10-cent-on-the-dollar deal) gift. I am less sure about all the other recipients of L-L repaying, but that's a different question.

http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2006/12/29/britain-finally-pays-off-wwii-debt
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/britain-pays-off-final-instalment-of-us-loan--after-61-years-430118.html
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/may/05/secondworldwar.comment
http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/industrialmobilization/p/lend-lease-act.htm

I could be in error, but my Wikipedia stated that the 10% rule only applied to the Lend Lease material that was delivered to England after Lend Lease Expired, thus a 90% discount. It further states, "There was no charge for the Lend Lease aid delivered during the war." This isn't the only reference in Wikipedia to the gift of Lend Lease but it was handy so I quote it here. The chapter is entitled "Repayment"; the reference is "Anglo-American Loan".

Regards

royal744
07-30-2013, 02:34 PM
Post war Britain needed even more money and was turned down by the US (Britain was crippled as an economy with rationing only ending in the late 50's for the last items).


Not sure where you got that from Leccy, but Wikipedia says:

"Loans and Grants[edit]

The Marshall plan, just as GARIOA, consisted of aid both in the form of grants and in the form of loans.[78] Out of the total, 1.2 billion USD were loan-aid.[79]

The UK received 385 million USD of its Marshall plan aid in the form of loans.[79] Unconnected to the Marshall plan the UK also received direct loans from the US amounting to 4.6 billion USD.[79] The proportion of Marshall plan loans versus Marshall plan grants was roughly 15% to 85% for both the UK and France.[82]"

As nearly as I can tell, the loans had to be repaid, but the grants did not.

Regards

pdf27
07-30-2013, 02:39 PM
I could be in error, but my Wikipedia stated that the 10% rule only applied to the Lend Lease material that was delivered to England after Lend Lease Expired, thus a 90% discount. It further states, "There was no charge for the Lend Lease aid delivered during the war." This isn't the only reference in Wikipedia to the gift of Lend Lease but it was handy so I quote it here. The chapter is entitled "Repayment"; the reference is "Anglo-American Loan".

Regards
The 90% discount also applied to that war material that the UK wished to retain after the war rather than return or destroy. Given our worldwide commitments that remained (e.g. fighting a communist insurgency in Greece) as well as occupying Germany, that wasn't an insubstantial amount of materiel.

leccy
07-30-2013, 03:29 PM
Ref loans and lend lease repayment



On the termination of Lend-Lease by President Truman in August 1945, Britain’s economic position was precarious and the eminent economist Lord Keynes was dispatched to Washington to negotiate further assistance from the United States. Keynes originally believed that he could obtain an interest free grant of £1500 million, but the Americans were less than agreeable. The negotiations dragged on from September to December, and finally a loan of $3700 million over fifty years at 2 per cent interest, plus a payment of $620 million to settle the Lend-Lease debt, was the best Keynes could extract. The negotiations are fully documented DBPO, srs. 1, vol. III; whilst the economic and political ramifications are covered in the final volume of Alan Bullock’s magisterial trilogy on the life and
career of Bevin, Ernest Bevin Foreign Secretary, 1945-1951, 1983, chs. 4 and 5.

The best, and most incisive, account is undoubtedly in Bullock pp. 129-137. A broader, and more detailed, documentary record of the meeting is available in DBPO, srs. I, vol. II.

J.A.W.
07-30-2013, 05:33 PM
Tougher than Hitler's offer of peace terms in `40?..

royal744
07-30-2013, 05:53 PM
One thing most people also forget (or do not know about) is the Destroyers for bases deal, the reverse Lend Lease (British Commonwealth countries supplied the US to offset the lend lease borrowing), Commonwealth countries loans to the UK (Canada was the biggest next to the US).

There was "reverse lend lease" but it didn't apply to the "Bases for Destroyers" deal which preceded Lend-Lease.

J.A.W.
07-30-2013, 06:07 PM
So post-war, decades of U.S.A.F. nuclear airbases sited in Britain were a gift too?

royal744
07-30-2013, 07:56 PM
No idea JAW but highly unlikely. My guess is land for those bases was leased and utilities were paid for - watery sewage, electricity, etc. the bases served mutual defense goals or they would not have been there,

royal744
07-30-2013, 08:00 PM
Tougher than Hitler's offer of peace terms in `40?..

Gee, and how sincere was that? Towards the end of the war, Ribbentrop had a little party in his office during which they brought in originals of every single peace treaty the Germans had signed. Which ones had they broken? Pretty much all of them. It is recorded that they found this hilarious. But then, the jig was up.

J.A.W.
07-30-2013, 08:33 PM
Hitler did seem pretty fixated on his ideological fantasy of Aryan racial destiny, & the Anglo-Saxons were def'
seen as 'racial cousins' - being on the positive end of his plan..

He always held out hope that a 'regime change' would get the Brits on-side..
Wonder when we'll find out what really went down with the Hess mission in `41?..

pdf27
07-31-2013, 02:29 AM
Hitler did seem pretty fixated on his ideological fantasy of Aryan racial destiny, & the Anglo-Saxons were def'
seen as 'racial cousins' - being on the positive end of his plan..

He always held out hope that a 'regime change' would get the Brits on-side..
Wonder when we'll find out what really went down with the Hess mission in `41?..
At the same time his idea of peace terms (give me loads of stuff and a government which will roll over whenever I tell them to, and I won't do something you all know I cant' to anyway) wasn't exactly convincing - even Halifax didn't believe him by that stage. The sort of peace terms the UK might have accepted (German withdrawal from France and the Low Countries for starters) wouldn't have been acceptable to Hitler.

So in pure financial terms, the UK might indeed have been better off accepting Hitler's peace terms in 1940 - but the US loan was a one-off payment, and nobody had any trust that Hitler wouldn't keep extracting cash in future. Brest-Litovsk was very much on people's minds, and the way that the Germans went on to systematically plunder France by means of charging "occupation expenses" to their clearing account only showed they were right to do so.

Rising Sun*
07-31-2013, 03:14 AM
Perhaps so, RS, but it's still difficult to imagine or visualize. Would Australia have been invaded? By whom? Sarong-wearing, bamboo-spear toting Batik-clad warriors? Invading Australia would be like the Germans invading Russia: the geometry and geography of the situation argue against it.

The Australian military's assessment of Indonesia's capability to invade was that it was (and is) low, but there was a risk of becoming involved in another war in New Guinea, this time with the Indonesians, with whom we were already engaged in armed conflict. http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/confrontation.asp

The public perception of the risk of invasion and or conflict outside Australia was generally less confident in the face of the vast numerical superiority of the Indonesians. As someone I knew said around that time "Give every one of them just a broomstick and they'll still beat us." It was barely 20 years since Japan looked like invading us and the Australian public was generally still acutely aware that we were, and are, a small population in a very large land which is impossible to defend around the whole coastline at the same time. These were common perceptions, regardless of whether they were militarily correct.

The background, and why we encouraged America into Vietnam, is covered in the next link. In very brief terms, a central factor was Australian support in the 1950s and early 1960s for Dutch retention of West New Guinea in the face of Indonesian claims to it. Australia falsely assumed that Britain and America also supported Dutch retention. In 1961 Indonesia ordered a general mobilisation in pursuit of its previously stated aim of resolving the issue by a contest of power. America and Britain did not support Australia. America was seen as siding with the Indonesians. Our sense of vulnerability was reinforced by resumption of arms shipments to Indonesia by American and Britain. Australia sensed it was being abandoned by America and left to its own devices when faced with a hostile and much more populous neighbour which had already embarked on armed attacks against its other neighbours in pursuit of its own aims. The Australian solution was to re-engage America militarily in the region, which led to Australia encouraging American involvement in Vietnam.

http://www.vvaa.org.au/bross-2.pdf

I wasn't aware at the time of the aspects covered in that link as I wasn't even a teenager then, but I well recall the concern of adults about the risk of armed conflict with Indonesia which filtered down to us kids.

steben
08-06-2013, 04:00 PM
At the same time his idea of peace terms (give me loads of stuff and a government which will roll over whenever I tell them to, and I won't do something you all know I cant' to anyway) wasn't exactly convincing - even Halifax didn't believe him by that stage. The sort of peace terms the UK might have accepted (German withdrawal from France and the Low Countries for starters) wouldn't have been acceptable to Hitler.

Strictly speaking it would have made the Germans winners however, because Poland would have been captured?
I Think I would call it even decent politics, if war is ment to be extent of politics ..... Bismarck - worthy ... The war would have gone in history the same as the Franco-Prussian war. Bismarck knew that getting 2 and giving 1 back is still winning and winning peace as well. Not a chance it would have crossed Hitler mind though. War was not just the extent of politics to him...

steben
08-06-2013, 04:03 PM
The Australian military's assessment of Indonesia's capability to invade was that it was (and is) low, but there was a risk of becoming involved in another war in New Guinea, this time with the Indonesians, with whom we were already engaged in armed conflict. http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/confrontation.asp

The public perception of the risk of invasion and or conflict outside Australia was generally less confident in the face of the vast numerical superiority of the Indonesians. As someone I knew said around that time "Give every one of them just a broomstick and they'll still beat us." It was barely 20 years since Japan looked like invading us and the Australian public was generally still acutely aware that we were, and are, a small population in a very large land which is impossible to defend around the whole coastline at the same time. These were common perceptions, regardless of whether they were militarily correct.

The background, and why we encouraged America into Vietnam, is covered in the next link. In very brief terms, a central factor was Australian support in the 1950s and early 1960s for Dutch retention of West New Guinea in the face of Indonesian claims to it. Australia falsely assumed that Britain and America also supported Dutch retention. In 1961 Indonesia ordered a general mobilisation in pursuit of its previously stated aim of resolving the issue by a contest of power. America and Britain did not support Australia. America was seen as siding with the Indonesians. Our sense of vulnerability was reinforced by resumption of arms shipments to Indonesia by American and Britain. Australia sensed it was being abandoned by America and left to its own devices when faced with a hostile and much more populous neighbour which had already embarked on armed attacks against its other neighbours in pursuit of its own aims. The Australian solution was to re-engage America militarily in the region, which led to Australia encouraging American involvement in Vietnam.

http://www.vvaa.org.au/bross-2.pdf

I wasn't aware at the time of the aspects covered in that link as I wasn't even a teenager then, but I well recall the concern of adults about the risk of armed conflict with Indonesia which filtered down to us kids.

I understand the position of Australia you are describing but don't you think the USA had their own interests at stake there in the region?

Firefly
11-02-2013, 06:15 PM
One could argue that Germany did indeed win the war, although by losing it and having to wait a few decades.

Hitlers dream was to have a Europe dominated by Germany and today we have an economically sound Germany at the heart of Europe, a country with huge influence and no massive national debt.

Funny how things turn out in the end but I'm not comparing today's Germany with the inherent evil that was a nazi regime.

Firefly
11-02-2013, 06:15 PM
One could argue that Germany did indeed win the war, although by losing it and having to wait a few decades.

Hitlers dream was to have a Europe dominated by Germany and today we have an economically sound Germany at the heart of Europe, a country with huge influence and no massive national debt.

Funny how things turn out in the end but I'm not comparing today's Germany with the inherent evil that was a nazi regime.

ubc
11-02-2013, 09:15 PM
I remember thinking in the 1970s and 80s that Japan had finally won the war in the Pacific. If both countries had only realised the best way for them to reach their objectives was economically , what a century it could have been.

Rising Sun*
11-03-2013, 05:55 AM
I understand the position of Australia you are describing but don't you think the USA had their own interests at stake there in the region?


Sorry I missed that at the time you posted months ago.

I probably wouldn't have seen it but for Firefly rising from the dead and gracing us with his presence after a long absence during which he was sorely missed, and bringing this thread up again.

Yes, the US had its own interests in the region, which revolved primarily around containing communism which the US and the rest of the West mistakenly thought at the time was some unified risk rather than the Soviets and Chinese each pursuing their own interests and own versions of communism, and various communist satellites and independent communist movements pursuing their own, primarily nationalistic or or national liberation, movements and aims.

America got slowly involved in Vietnam for its own ill-judged and ill-defined purposes, but Australia vigorously encouraged that involvement in part to stop the domino theory which saw communism in North Vietnam coming south and joining with Indonesian communism on our border. America was, of course, already subscribing independently to the domino theory. So Australia got itself involved in Vietnam for its own ill-judged and ill-defined purposes so far as the Vietnam War was concerned, but for the very clear purpose of trying to anchor America in South East Asia to challenge the communist threat from China and others which both America and Australia recognised as threats to their interests.

Almost all Australians then and now think that we went into Vietnam to support America as some sort of lap dog which blindly follows America in the absurd hope that America will repay the debt if we get into trouble in the future. Realpolitik is that that won't happen, in exactly the same way that Eisenhower suggested letting Australia sink without American assistance in an early assessment in WWII, which didn't happen because America decided that we were the best base for its war against Japan (and thank Christ America did decide that!). So far as Vietnam was concerned, Australia wasn't America's lap dog but more like an energetic Judas goat that helped lead America into that awful conflict and solely for our own purposes.

One consequence is that in all uninformed quarters, being about 99.999 infinite % of the world's population, America is seen as the sole and prime mover for involvement in Vietnam, when Australia was a small but significant mover in encouraging America into that conflict but is generally wrongly seen as just a timid follower of America into that conflict.

Rising Sun*
11-03-2013, 06:11 AM
I remember thinking in the 1970s and 80s that Japan had finally won the war in the Pacific. If both countries had only realised the best way for them to reach their objectives was economically , what a century it could have been.

Yes, but at the time the economics were that the US and the West were intent on exploiting Japan on the basis of paying low prices for Japanese products and charging high prices to sell things to Japan. This was complicated by the trade barriers erected by various nations in naturally self-interested attempts to survive the 1930s Depression, along with the general economic collapse in all countries. The prospect of co-operation between nations for global good was well below zero.

Japan's most positive contributions through WWII to global advancement were the destruction of European colonialism in Asia and the resultant self-determination of various countries and the emergence of strong independent economies in those countries.

The dark side of that picture was the emergence of dictatorships, military juntas, and corrupt governments in much of Asia, but that's the way of much of that part of the world, regardless of significant elements in those countries which yearn and agitate bravely for better governments and societies.

Kiwiguy
01-25-2014, 08:32 AM
Yeah of course by simply not invading Russia before defeating Britain.

pdf27
01-26-2014, 03:56 AM
Yeah of course by simply not invading Russia before defeating Britain.
Given that he failed the first time to defeat Britain, it's hard to work out exactly how waiting an extra year at a time Britain was gaining in strength faster than Germany was would have helped...

Rising Sun*
01-26-2014, 04:36 AM
Given that he failed the first time to defeat Britain, it's hard to work out exactly how waiting an extra year at a time Britain was gaining in strength faster than Germany was would have helped...

Germany's magnificent secret weapon program would have advanced to the point that it had nukes 'n shit.

Nickdfresh
01-26-2014, 10:07 AM
Or Hitler's secret Kreigsmarine hover craft and flying saucers. He of course could have taken the good Aryans of Britain in a matter of days. He decided however to just use his regular panzers against the Bolsheviks to graciously save humanity against the Red Horde, then promptly forget where they kept the flying saucers...

ubc
01-26-2014, 12:30 PM
I can see the ignorance level has not changed here; good thing I don't waste my time with this site anymore.

Rising Sun*
01-26-2014, 06:18 PM
I can see the ignorance level has not changed here; good thing I don't waste my time with this site anymore.

You just did.

tankgeezer
01-26-2014, 08:59 PM
Egregiously so.

JR*
01-27-2014, 05:58 AM
Why wait a year ? Well, simply, because Germany was nowhere near ready to attack the Soviet Union in 1940. It is easy to forget that the Polish and Western campaigns of 1939-'40 were, at one level, a learning experience for all concerned. In spite of their successes, the lessons learned for the Germans were costly. Even Poland made it obvious that German equipment was sometimes less than ideal. In particular, the preponderance of light tanks, many with little or no tank-on-tank capacity, was clearly exposed as a weakness. Quite heavy losses were suffered by the panzers at the hands of Polish artillery, and the vulnerability of the light tanks even to cannon-armed Polish tankettes would have come as an unpleasant surprise.

The set piece of the Western campaigns - the attack on Belgium, France and the Netherlands, yielded further expensive lessons. Light tanks (PzKpfw I and II, and PzKpfw 35t and 38t) still dominated the panzer forces. The disastrous performance of the French command and communications (which were centrally important for the Allied response) are widely noted; at the same time, the performance of French, Belgian and Dutch troops on the ground was patchy, but could locally be very impressive. Where the panzers met determined resistance from French Somua and "B" class tanks, their deficiencies were seriously exposed. These vehicles could mix it with the best German tanks. In particular, in those rare instances where "B" class tanks offered determined resistance, the panzers faced severe difficulties. No German tank could knock out a thickly armoured "B" tank except by shooting away their vulnerable tracks, and the "Bs" and Somuas made easy meat of the German light tanks, as noted by German commanders. The presence of one or two PzKpfw IVs, with their reasonable armour and relatively effective 75mm guns, was regarded even by Guderian as "comforting" when the more effective French tanks were encountered. French, Belgian and Dutch antitank units and infantry also proved capable against the panzers where they did resist. Apart from a number of instances in France, the Germans suffered at least one thought-provoking engagement in the Netherlands, where elements of the relatively lightly equipped and inexperienced 9th Panzer Division lost over 20 tanks to Dutch infantry and antitank units in a one-day action at Dordrecht. The shock to German nerves administered by this incident may have influenced the subsequent calamitous screw-up at Rotterdam.

JR*
01-27-2014, 06:18 AM
[sorry - not finished last post; system problem prevented]

The result of all this was that the all-conquering panzers actually suffered heavy casualties in France and the Low Countries, as did élite infantry units such as the "Grossdeutschland" regiment, which were required to bear the burden of much of the fighting against the more determined French infantry units. Finally, the postscript to the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain - apart from occasioning significant losses to the Luftwaffe for the first time - also revealed weaknesses in that arm of the Wehrmacht. The suspected weaknesses of the lightly armed Dornier 17 bombers were confirmed; the extreme vulnerability of German dive bombers to effective fighter and anti-aircraft resistance was revealed; and the very limited effectiveness of the Luftwaffe's fighter élite, the Me-110 "destroyer" squadrons, against modern single-engine fighters was revealed.

In sum, the Wehrmacht emerged from their early victories in a surprisingly battered condition, with serious losses to make up, and serious lessons to learn and implement, before it could reasonably contemplate another major campaign. The one-year delay was not nearly enough to do this, so that (thanks to Hitler), the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in a barely sufficient state of readiness, still depending to a large extent on obsolete light tanks, vulnerable aircraft and frontline combat units still working to recover from their losses in earlier campaigns. The huge tactical superiority of the Germans over the Soviets at this time allowed them to stay in the game in 1941-'42; an attack in late-1940 would by contrast have involved unacceptable risk, even allowing for obvious Soviet deficiencies. Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
01-27-2014, 08:29 AM
[sorry - not finished last post; system problem prevented]

The result of all this was that the all-conquering panzers actually suffered heavy casualties in France and the Low Countries, as did élite infantry units such as the "Grossdeutschland" regiment, which were required to bear the burden of much of the fighting against the more determined French infantry units. Finally, the postscript to the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain - apart from occasioning significant losses to the Luftwaffe for the first time - also revealed weaknesses in that arm of the Wehrmacht. The suspected weaknesses of the lightly armed Dornier 17 bombers were confirmed; the extreme vulnerability of German dive bombers to effective fighter and anti-aircraft resistance was revealed; and the very limited effectiveness of the Luftwaffe's fighter élite, the Me-110 "destroyer" squadrons, against modern single-engine fighters was revealed.

In sum, the Wehrmacht emerged from their early victories in a surprisingly battered condition, with serious losses to make up, and serious lessons to learn and implement, before it could reasonably contemplate another major campaign. The one-year delay was not nearly enough to do this, so that (thanks to Hitler), the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in a barely sufficient state of readiness, still depending to a large extent on obsolete light tanks, vulnerable aircraft and frontline combat units still working to recover from their losses in earlier campaigns. The huge tactical superiority of the Germans over the Soviets at this time allowed them to stay in the game in 1941-'42; an attack in late-1940 would by contrast have involved unacceptable risk, even allowing for obvious Soviet deficiencies. Best regards, JR.

Yes, but the other side of that coin is simply: hubris.

Hitler and Co thought they were on a roll, and they pressed on.

And, but for the Italian distraction in Greece on the eve of the Soviet invasion, the Germans might have done rather better against the USSR, or at least advanced further before the winter.

The Japanese certainly suffered from hubris in early to mid 1942 when the 'victory disease' encouraged them to expand their original limits of expansion.

The people at the top making broad strategic decisions based on recent, and stunning, victories in Germany and Japan were essentially politicians / egoists / marginal (or full on) psychopaths rather than detached military analysts undertaking the coldly objective sort of analysis you've offered.

Which is in large part why they lost in the end, because they were faced largely by Allies who were more disposed to detached military analysis rather than hubris (with due allowance being made for Churchill's periodic flights of fancy).

Kilroy
04-09-2014, 02:36 PM
Simple just no. The area the country was surrounded by other countries. Eventually lacked resources and fit men. Top command chain was broken when the assassination attempts started....

SFM
05-21-2014, 03:51 PM
Re: Could Germany have won the war?

What does Nazi Germany do when the Western Allies (more specifically the United States) starts dropping Atomic Bombs? The German Atomic Bomb program for various reasons was far behind that of the United States, any German successes would have to be done by conventional military means. If Germany was in good condition by the end of 1945, whether due to defeating Russia, defeating an Allied invasion, invading/conquering the island of Britain, etc, unless the United States is out of the war, sometime in 1945 there is going to be a few Atomic Bombs dropped on Germany. The Atomic bombs were being developed to be used on Germany and with the building of B-29 bombers (with the B-36 already in the works), the first Atomic Bomb will most likely reach Germany. What next? What does Germany/Hitler do?

pdf27
05-21-2014, 05:21 PM
What does Germany/Hitler do?
Turn into radioactive fallout and spend the next 20 years gradually circling the globe and spreading himself over a wide area, of course.

SFM
05-22-2014, 03:37 PM
Hitler dying in the Atomic Bomb blast is possible, but not likely. By this time frame of the war Hitler spent most of his time in the underground bunker (under the old Chancellery, I believe), and since the Atomic Bombs were air bursts, he might have been buried for a bit, but not vaporized. It was unlikely that the Atomic bombs being dropped were going to be ground bursts to throw out the necessary fallout of irradiated material to kill rescue personnel. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, long term exposure to the radiation associated with the initial blast would be a problem later in life, but not enough to stop people from getting in there to help. If Hitler did survive such an attack, his near messianic pull with Germany would only be amplified

pdf27
05-22-2014, 03:58 PM
Hitler dying in the Atomic Bomb blast is possible, but not likely. By this time frame of the war Hitler spent most of his time in the underground bunker (under the old Chancellery, I believe), and since the Atomic Bombs were air bursts, he might have been buried for a bit, but not vaporized. It was unlikely that the Atomic bombs being dropped were going to be ground bursts to throw out the necessary fallout of irradiated material to kill rescue personnel.
Depends who their target was - if it was Hitler, they would certainly have been ground-burst fused. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fused as they were to maximise the damage over a wide area of highly inflammable city. That doesn't really apply to Berlin - much less flammable, and the really critical targets are underground but only spread over a very small area.

JR*
05-23-2014, 05:01 AM
Re atomic bombs over Germany - don't forget that Germany has a distinct advantage when it comes to closing the Mineshaft Gap ...

Yours from the War Room,

JR.

tankgeezer
05-23-2014, 09:18 AM
We can't afford to have a mineshaft Gap !!

SFM
05-23-2014, 01:18 PM
Whether Hitler survives such an attack will make a difference, but how does Nazi Germany respond in either case? If the Allies are across the Rhine and the Russian's are at the Oder rivers, the Atomic bomb just completes the act of the defeat of Nazi Germany. What if Nazi Germany still holds Western Europe and the Russians for what ever reason have been held out of Europe? Do Buzz bombs full of nerve gas start hitting London, does the Luftwaffe go practically suicidal to stop another bomb, does Germany go all out building the Trans-Atlantic capable rocket or do they follow Field Marshal von Rundstedt's advice and "Make peace, you fools!"

leccy
05-24-2014, 05:44 AM
Whether Hitler survives such an attack will make a difference, but how does Nazi Germany respond in either case? If the Allies are across the Rhine and the Russian's are at the Oder rivers, the Atomic bomb just completes the act of the defeat of Nazi Germany. What if Nazi Germany still holds Western Europe and the Russians for what ever reason have been held out of Europe? Do Buzz bombs full of nerve gas start hitting London, does the Luftwaffe go practically suicidal to stop another bomb, does Germany go all out building the Trans-Atlantic capable rocket or do they follow Field Marshal von Rundstedt's advice and "Make peace, you fools!"

"Buzz bombs" had long since been pushed out of range of targets in Britain
V2 were being used more against Antwerp than London.
Luftwaffe had not the means to do anything, if it committed its remaining aircraft in the air to stop allied bombers they would be destroyed just as well, allied tactics was to escort the bombers to engage the Luftwaffe in the air. Allied air superiority in aircrew and equipment meant the Axis forces had lost the air war.
Germany did not have the means to produce a trans atlantic rocket by 1944 - it could not even test one and it had no worthwhile payload - even aiming the relatively short distance from Holland to the UK with V2's they had to aim for a big city to hit a target and even then large numbers missed.

Nickdfresh
05-24-2014, 04:16 PM
The only thing I would add is that the Allies had Air Supremecy, not just Air Superiority. The tactics of directly attacking Luftwaffe fighters rather than waiting for them to come to the bombers was the final nail in the coffin of the Luftwaffe...

Kregs
05-26-2014, 10:56 PM
The only thing I would add is that the Allies had Air Supremecy, not just Air Superiority. The tactics of directly attacking Luftwaffe fighters rather than waiting for them to come to the bombers was the final nail in the coffin of the Luftwaffe...

So you don't think that the strategic bombing campaign did much to add to the Allies' Air Supremacy, especially in the later stages of the war? If the Luftwaffe Commanders applied the strategic bombing thesis to British and French armaments factories, as the British RAF, the American Air Force and, to some extent, the Red Air Force applied to German armaments' factories, would that have changed the situation? The researchers from the Strategic Bombing Survey came to the conclusion that the primary reason why the armaments industry continued its pace unabated was because Speer moved weapons production underground, telling us little about the effectiveness of strategic bombing.

Rising Sun*
05-27-2014, 10:14 AM
If the Luftwaffe Commanders applied the strategic bombing thesis to British and French armaments factories, as the British RAF, the American Air Force and, to some extent, the Red Air Force applied to German armaments' factories, would that have changed the situation?

Strategic bombing of armaments factories has useful effect only in a sustained conflict where the aim is to wear down the enemy's ability to sustain the conflict by depriving him of resources to replace battle and related losses, or to build up forces and materiel for operations against the bombing nation.

France's collapse was so rapid that attacks on its armaments factories would have had no impact in accelerating its defeat, and would have diverted German air forces from better tactical use in the German advance.

As for Britain, Germany lacked the heavy bombers which Britain and America used in their assaults on Germany. In 1940, when Germany had its best chance of defeating Britain in and from the air, in response to a characteristically aggressive Churchillian inspired raid on Berlin when all the odds were against Britain, Hitler made the stupid decision to divert his forces to bombing London, to no tactical or strategic advantage.

This ranks with the Japanese response to the tactically and strategically inconsequential Doolittle raid on Japan, which caused Japan to revise its policies and adopt a more defensive stance when America had no ability to repeat the raid in the near future.

Churchill's and Doolittle's raids against the odds are great examples of the impact which can be made by vigorous, if largely symbolic, aggression against an enemy which thinks it is invulnerable, and which changes the enemy's strategic and or major tactical aims and or operations out of all proportion to the fragile assault.

leccy
05-27-2014, 11:06 AM
So you don't think that the strategic bombing campaign did much to add to the Allies' Air Supremacy, especially in the later stages of the war? If the Luftwaffe Commanders applied the strategic bombing thesis to British and French armaments factories, as the British RAF, the American Air Force and, to some extent, the Red Air Force applied to German armaments' factories, would that have changed the situation? The researchers from the Strategic Bombing Survey came to the conclusion that the primary reason why the armaments industry continued its pace unabated was because Speer moved weapons production underground, telling us little about the effectiveness of strategic bombing.

The Luftwaffe mounted a campaign against the British Aircraft industry as well as one against RADAR. They were unsuccessful though, in the majority of case against aircraft factorys though due to the British setting up shadow factories - Supermarines works were destroyed in Sept 1940 - one raid damaged the factory and production was moved to shadow factories - just in time as it was totally destroyed a day later - at the time it was the sole factory producing Spitfires.

Many other aircraft factories and companys producing war material were attacked - at heavy loss to the Germans in many cases.

They tried to do what the allies were doing and did much more effectively later, but they lacked the equipment suitable for the task.

Relatively few factories were moved underground - more production was split up and assembly carried out centrally, there was slack in the German economy that Speer and his predecessor tightened up on,

The strategic bombing campaign was itself successful in a way, the main problem when enough tonnage could be dropped was the changing priority of the targets, just about to cripple an industry and the allies change target.

Nickdfresh
05-27-2014, 08:41 PM
So you don't think that the strategic bombing campaign did much to add to the Allies' Air Supremacy, especially in the later stages of the war? ...

I'm not totally sure how you gathered that from my comments as a I made no statements regarding strategic bombing. The American Air Forces made a cognizant shift towards more aggressive, direct attacks on Luftwaffe aerodromes using long range fighters, which was in fact the final death-knell of organized Luftwaffe resistance. But I might add that I think strategic bombing was valuable if often misapplied and dispersed. Speer did move the weapons factories to an extent, but in the end it was the stifling of fuel and lubricants production that hindered the German war effort the most. I would also point to Air Marshall Teddor's "Transportation" planning and his use strategic bombers against French rail yards and depots over the objections of Harris and Spaatz as probably the most effective use of bombing by the Western Allies in WWII as it ultimately seemed to be a much more economical use of strategic resources and no doubt saved a lot of Allied lives after Overlord and had a much more direct effect on the fighting than trying to destroy ball-bearings factories in the heart of Germany's elaborate defense networks.

It should also be said that strategic bombing was so effective against Germany because of its limited industrial output from the start and the vulnerability of geographically situated industrial bastions such as the Ruhr River Valley, and the need to have vast supply lines of logistics to feed the war industries as Germany lacked adequate resources within her baundries. However, that doesn't mean that strategic bombing wasn't as massive draw on Allied resources and manpower that may have weakened their ground forces somewhat. Heavy casualties and the skilled German air defense system also meant that even America's seemingly boundless resources were sorely tested in the dark days of 1943, where entire units were battered into combat ineffectiveness with near 100% losses of original crews and planes in a matter of only a few sorties.

The argument between strategic bombing versus bombing in support of armies is a very complex one of costs and benefits. But I think the arguments have somewhat been muddled by the misapplication of Allied strategic air-power on boondoggle targets and wishful, fantasist thinking - the first raid on Ploesti is a prime example of this. And I generally agree with RS*'s comments here. I'll add that The Luftwaffe certainly had plenty of strategic capability for France as twin engined bombers more than sufficed - especially since France had no real equivalent capability in 1939-1940. Against Britain, the Do17's, He111, and Ju88's (and certainly the beleaguered Stuka!) were strained at the limits of their ranges and capabilities. But remember, had the war happened the way it played out earlier, Britain would not have had the numbers of Spitfires and Hurricanes to face down Germany with and they might have been enough. Also keep in mind the Luftwaffe had already suffered significant attrition in both the Polish and French campaigns and many of their crews were already exhausted from relentless hi-tempo operations closely followed by intense training for an air campaign against the RAF they were not designed for...

SFM
05-27-2014, 10:13 PM
"Buzz bombs" had long since been pushed out of range of targets in Britain
V2 were being used more against Antwerp than London.
Luftwaffe had not the means to do anything, if it committed its remaining aircraft in the air to stop allied bombers they would be destroyed just as well, allied tactics was to escort the bombers to engage the Luftwaffe in the air. Allied air superiority in aircrew and equipment meant the Axis forces had lost the air war.
Germany did not have the means to produce a trans atlantic rocket by 1944 - it could not even test one and it had no worthwhile payload - even aiming the relatively short distance from Holland to the UK with V2's they had to aim for a big city to hit a target and even then large numbers missed.

Okay this is stating the historical situation, but then historically Nazi Germany had already surrendered by the time the Atomic Bombs were developed. Given this subjects title with possibility of Germany winning the war, thought it was safe with the assumption that the neither the Allies or Russians were at the borders of Germany. Doesn't matter to which situation you want to consider; that the Russian were defeated/surrendered, England conquered, or just the Allies fail to land across the channel. Unless the United States hasn't entered the war against Germany, sometime late in 1945, the Atomic Bomb is going to attempted to be dropped and most likely at least the first one is going to be successful. How would Germany respond?

Rising Sun*
05-28-2014, 07:40 AM
But remember, had the war happened the way it played out earlier, Britain would not have had the numbers of Spitfires and Hurricanes to face down Germany with and they might have been enough.

The threat to Britain in the Battle of Britain wasn't supply of fighter aircraft but wastage of fighter pilots. IIRC there were many more fighter planes than fighter pilots in Britain at the end of the Battle of Britain.

If Germany had persisted for perhaps even a few more weeks the British losses might have allowed Germany to gain the ascendancy. Against that, or course, is that the British were shooting German planes down at a greater rate than the Germans were shooting down British fighters, so Germany's ability to persist was debatable.

These 'what if' discussions often tend to focus too much on the spectacular conflicts rather than the real strategic threats and issues.

Until America came in, Britain's major problems for long term issues affecting its ability to sustain a long war, and to some extent Germany's, were more on the sea than in the air or land, North Africa notwithstanding.

One aspect is that Germany couldn't get its major capital ships out in the latter part, and Britain couldn't get its transports to North Africa through the Mediterranean but had to sail around the whole of the African continent to come back up through the Suez Canal, which took months out and home and effectively reduced Britain's transport and RN escort shipping capacity to about a third or less of what would have existed if the Med route was open.

Meanwhile, some British naval activity was based in or came through Gibraltar and denied the Italians, and to a lesser extent the Germans, the Western Mediterranean.

Germany could have had a major impact on Britain's war by:

1. Pressuring Franco to accept German forces in Spain to take Gibraltar or, given Franco's wily refusal to get involved in Germany's war, taking the same approach Hitler took to Belgium, France and, later, Italy by just imposing German forces on Spain. Or just Gibraltar, which compared with the German airborne assault on Crete would have been a much less demanding exercise, as long as the Spaniards didn't get involved.
2. Concentrating submarine and or surface ships to attack British convoys which had to stop at Freetown to coal and water. As it was, those convoys generally proceeded without incident to supply North Africa with troops and materiel.

These two fairly simple steps would have deprived Britain of the ability to fight the war it actually fought in North Africa; possibly or probably resulted in a solely Italian defeat of or at least a stalemate with British forces in North Africa; and avoided the British campaign in Greece which may have delayed Barbarossa by a critical six weeks or so and perhaps improved Germany's prospects of success in the USSR by getting it to Moscow six weeks before the crucial winter.

Conversely, if British forces weren't diverted to Greece, they would have been stronger in North Africa with a different result there.

The major problem in this scenario is whether Italy's campaigns in North Africa would succeed, without the German involvement which was actually required because of Italy's failures, against British forces which had reduced reinforcements and supplies because of the Gibraltar / Freetown challenges to Britain's lines of communication.

Obviously there is a fair bit of simplistic projections in these comments and what is built on them, but I think there was a definite opportunity for Germany to change the course of its war by taking just these two steps.

Kilroy
05-28-2014, 02:08 PM
I haven't read all the comments yet but I just wanted to add that the war would have lasted longer if it wasn't the fact that the allies outnumbered German by 8:1. Otherwise that war would have lasted at least a few more years. In my personal opinion.

Nickdfresh
05-28-2014, 04:21 PM
I haven't read all the comments yet but I just wanted to add that the war would have lasted longer if it wasn't the fact that the allies outnumbered German by 8:1. Otherwise that war would have lasted at least a few more years. In my personal opinion.

"8:1" where? Does that include U.S. and Commonwealth forces arrayed against Japan in the Pacific?

Nickdfresh
05-28-2014, 04:25 PM
The threat to Britain in the Battle of Britain wasn't supply of fighter aircraft but wastage of fighter pilots. IIRC there were many more fighter planes than fighter pilots in Britain at the end of the Battle of Britain.

....

I was under the impression that Britain's RAF had only fully modernized Fighter Command not long before, or perhaps not long after, the initiation of hostilities whereas the Luftwaffe had a ready supply of Me109's from the outset - which conceivably could have been a larger advantage. That being said, the Hurricane was by far the bigger killer anyways in terms of numbers of German aircraft destroyed. Of course, it's debatable how far the Germans were willing to persist as Barbarossa was already more than a glimmer in Hitler's eyes by that point IIRC...


But I'm no expert on any of this LOL...

Rising Sun*
05-29-2014, 05:18 AM
"8:1" where? Does that include U.S. and Commonwealth forces arrayed against Japan in the Pacific?

Also the almost always forgotten Chinese forces fighting the Japanese before and during the Pacific War, which forced Japan to keep most of its army in China.

IIRC Japan started the war with roughly 50 army divisions and could spare only about 12 of them for its southern thrust. (I'm ready to be shot down in flames on this.)

The demands in China were critical to the IJA's opposition to the IJN's desire to invade Australia early in 1942.

Can't recall, and probably never knew, the proportion of Japanese forces engaged against Chinese forces and Japanese forces in static positions facing the USSR from the start of the Pacific War until the last days when the Soviets attacked, but I think it was perhaps about a quarter to a third of Japanese army forces in China facing the Soviets.

The net result of the Chinese fighting and Soviet threat was that the bulk of the IJA was committed to China rather than to the Pacific land war.

The general ignorance in the West of the contribution made by the Chinese, of which I confess I have only superficial knowledge as it's an extraordinarily complicated history with the division between the Nationalist and Communist forces (it's on my long list of things I have to read up on at some stage), overlooks the fact that if Japan had conquered China before starting its southern advance then Japan's war would have turned out very differently. As with Hitler, Japan made the mistake of opening a war on two fronts, oddly enough inspired by Hitler's early victories against the USSR.

I'm not sure that Japanese victory over China would have contributed much to Germany's war. Eisenhower did an early paper in which he considered letting Australia go. As it was, America wanted to keep the lines of communication to Australia open to enable it to build up a base for a thrust against Japan. However, if Japan had been stronger and had succeeded in Guadalcanal and other eastern thrusts to Fiji etc and discouraged America from basing troops in Australia, those American troops and the naval, notably aircraft carriers, and air forces used in the South West Pacific in 1942 could (depending upon what forces America actually committed to a different war than the one which actually occurred) have been available for operations elsewhere, notably North Africa and Italy which could have advanced considerably the timing of American involvement in those campaigns while the Germans were faltering in the USSR.

leccy
05-29-2014, 06:07 AM
I haven't read all the comments yet but I just wanted to add that the war would have lasted longer if it wasn't the fact that the allies outnumbered German by 8:1. Otherwise that war would have lasted at least a few more years. In my personal opinion.

Not forgetting of course that the Germans were not on their own - a few million Romanians, Bulgarians, Italians, Japanese, Finnish, Slovaks, Volunteers, ex PoW, Austrians, Annexed areas whose people were declared German and I am sure still more could be added - seems that many forget Germany was not fighting alone.


I was under the impression that Britain's RAF had only fully modernized Fighter Command not long before, or perhaps not long after, the initiation of hostilities whereas the Luftwaffe had a ready supply of Me109's from the outset - which conceivably could have been a larger advantage. That being said, the Hurricane was by far the bigger killer anyways in terms of numbers of German aircraft destroyed. Of course, it's debatable how far the Germans were willing to persist as Barbarossa was already more than a glimmer in Hitler's eyes by that point IIRC...


But I'm no expert on any of this LOL...

RAF Fighter Command was just about at the bare minimum they deemed that was required for the defence of the UK (55 squadrons were required - in May 1940 it had 30+ with 13 going to France), this number included Gladiators, Defiants and Blenheim 1F which were all of limited value.

By the end of the BoB the Luftwaffe was losing more aircraft than it could replace - it was suffering increasing numbers of unservicable aircraft with lack of spares, crew morale was dropping with crews being reported as dropping loads at the slightest excuse and running for home.

Compare to the RAF that had more aircraft at the end with more spares than at the beginning. The Empire pilots training schools were now turning out trained pilots and aircrew.

Out of the six fighter groups in Fighter Command only 10 and 11 were fully engaged with 11 facing the brunt. it is not widely understood that you still had one moderately engaged (12) and three relatively un engaged groups in the UK - Squadrons and crews could be rotated with the quieter sectors - with pilots being taken out of the line to train the new ones (something that the Germans and Japanese were failing to do and completely collapsed with by late war).

Rising Sun*
05-29-2014, 06:46 AM
The Empire pilots training schools were now turning out trained pilots and aircrew.

Did the EATS make much of a contribution to the Battle of Britain?

I'm inclined to think it was later, purely on the basis that the first EATS trained RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force, as distinct from RAF for non-British / Commonwealth readers) fighter squadrons weren't formed in Britain until 1941.

There were certainly some Australians in the RAF during the Battle of Britain, but I think they were officers on exchange or direct enlistments in the RAF.

Don't know about contributions from other Dominions to the Battle of Britain.

leccy
05-29-2014, 08:11 AM
They were starting to make their presence felt at the end of the BoB - if the battle had gone on longer they would have had a marked effect - the Germans had no reserve pool like that though - their training was cut while the allies was actually increased.

Contrary to some belief as well the Germans still had Bi-Plane fighters in action in 1940 and as ground attack up till 1944 - they never fully modernised their forces and as the war progressed were forced to rely more and more on obsolete aircraft and designs as well as poorer quality aircrew.

Rising Sun*
05-29-2014, 08:22 AM
They were starting to make their presence felt at the end of the BoB - if the battle had gone on longer they would have had a marked effect - the Germans had no reserve pool like that though - their training was cut while the allies was actually increased.

Contrary to some belief as well the Germans still had Bi-Plane fighters in action in 1940 and as ground attack up till 1944 - they never fully modernised their forces and as the war progressed were forced to rely more and more on obsolete aircraft and designs as well as poorer quality aircrew.

Not familiar with German air training, but similar problem for Japanese who lost cream of the IJN pilots in the first year or so of the Pacific War. They still clung to a lengthy traditional training regime which couldn't replace losses, while the Allies in general and the Americans in particular developed training systems which produced pilots relatively quickly at a higher rate than losses, along with aircraft production on the same basis. From then on it was only a matter of time before the Japanese lost control of the air, which in turn meant losing control of the land and sea battle grounds.

Nickdfresh
05-29-2014, 08:46 PM
Also the almost always forgotten Chinese forces fighting the Japanese before and during the Pacific War, which forced Japan to keep most of its army in China.

IIRC Japan started the war with roughly 50 army divisions and could spare only about 12 of them for its southern thrust. (I'm ready to be shot down in flames on this.)

The demands in China were critical to the IJA's opposition to the IJN's desire to invade Australia early in 1942.

I'm not shooting you down or checking your facts on this and think you make an excellent point that should be mentioned more often irregardless of correctness of numbers. I was trying to watch one of the worst WWII documentaries I've ever seen produced by the miserably declining History Channel. During their idiotic, lazy, and generally ignorant use to random stock footage having nothing to do with the subject they were discussing at the time in a very ADATS manner (i.e. showing the same B-17 footage over and over when talking about the "Nazi Blitz" on Poland or during the Battle of Britain), I recall being outraged several times. One time of which was when seemed to wet themselves about MacArthur in the Philippines and mentioning how his 20,000+ (American) servicemen were outnumbered by the Japanese IJA of nearly 2,000,000 without ever bothering to mention that most of that Army was tied down in China...

Ardee
05-29-2014, 10:15 PM
I was trying to watch one of the worst WWII documentaries I've ever seen produced by the miserably declining History Channel.

Hi Nickdfresh -- I was channel surfing and came across that History Channel abomination too. Within just a couple of minutes they made two non-trivial misrepresentations/errors.

I continued surfing. I guess they value Pawnstars more than their namesake. Pretty sad, actually. And educational channels like Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel are self-immolating with documentaries about mermaids and non-extinct extinct giant sharks. And idiots eat it up....

tankgeezer
05-30-2014, 12:07 AM
That must be the same trash I caught on history, it was aggravating to see 30's German police, and Soldiers using British Rifles, Japanese too. Very poorly produced, and fact checking was nearly non-existent. I had to turn it off after a short time, and watch something more edifying like Barney.

Rising Sun*
05-30-2014, 09:18 AM
I was trying to watch one of the worst WWII documentaries I've ever seen produced by the miserably declining History Channel. During their idiotic, lazy, and generally ignorant use to random stock footage having nothing to do with the subject they were discussing at the time in a very ADATS manner (i.e. showing the same B-17 footage over and over when talking about the "Nazi Blitz" on Poland or during the Battle of Britain), I recall being outraged several times.

The problem for filmed treatments of any war or any other topic is that, at least in the hands of uninspired directors, they require motion picture film or video.

It often seems that the film available determined the limits of the commentary rather than the commentary being based in accurate history and obtaining film to support that accuracy.

With rare exceptions, (1970s series ?The World at War? and occasional specific topic documentaries) I've rarely seen a so called filmed documentary which relied on motion picture film that was anything more than at best superficial and at worst stunningly inaccurate historically.

Conversely, there have been some excellent programs where filming contemporary images with relevant commentary has compensated for the lack of motion picture film, notably an American series quite some years ago on the American Civil War. That series, like ?The World at War? combined contemporary historical images with modern interviews with people who had connections with the War, and commentary by modern historians.

A series currently showing here on WWII secret colour film or somesuch is, compared with the latter, an excuse to show colour or colourised WWII film (most of which I've seen before in the couple of episodes I endured, so it's not that secret) with an embarrassingly inaccurate commentary.

There is nothing wrong with programs which accurately inform people about topics which those well informed about the topic would regard as superficial. Those programs can, for example, let people like me with no scientific training get an understanding of complex subjects such as climate change. The problem is that those of us who, like me, are ignorant on such topics may lack the discernment to work out whether the program is usefully superficial or just plain wrong.


One time of which was when seemed to wet themselves about MacArthur in the Philippines and mentioning how his 20,000+ (American) servicemen were outnumbered by the Japanese IJA of nearly 2,000,000 without ever bothering to mention that most of that Army was tied down in China...

Conveniently overlooking the rather larger number of Filipino soldiers MacArthur had been recruited to train and command before he reverted to American rank shortly before Japan attacked. At least he was consistent in doing a shithouse job in both commands, ensuring that he was responsible for both the Filipinos and the Americans losing.

leccy
05-30-2014, 01:28 PM
For a pretty good modern documentary on WW2 this was pretty good - a mix of modern actors and original film - 6 part series on Dunkirk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u0Vsyt2PaM

herman2
05-30-2014, 06:20 PM
I personally LOVE the History Channel. I don't know about authenticity but it intrigues me to learn. Did you guys not like the movie GRAVITY with Sandra Bullock?..Well, the Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield was ejected from a movie cinema for heckling the movie....because to him, space is not what is is portrayed in the movie, yet I loved the movie. Guys, I think the point is, like the Bible, as long as we get people interested in the movement then it will encourage them to want to reach out and learn more and value more about the cause. The people that watch History Channel are not all Brainiacs like Nick, PDF and maybe RS,..but people like me that get motivated to want to learn more, and want to join websites about war stuff, and subsequently learn the truth from real war historians like the ones who contribute to this site. In conclusion, I love History Channel because it gets the ball rolling and it mnakes me want to look up more facts and learn more. God Bless the Queen and God Bless The History Channel!!

Samoax
05-30-2014, 07:54 PM
i don't know what Histroy Channel shows in North America but over here in Norway it's only Pawnstars, Ancient Aliens and Iceroad truckers...

tankgeezer
05-30-2014, 09:03 PM
Like Norway doesn't have enough Ice of it's own, Hist. Channel sends you shows about it? I visited your Country many years ago, enjoyed it immensely. The Forests in Winter were amazing.

leccy
05-30-2014, 10:23 PM
I personally LOVE the History Channel. I don't know about authenticity but it intrigues me to learn. Did you guys not like the movie GRAVITY with Sandra Bullock?..Well, the Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield was ejected from a movie cinema for heckling the movie....because to him, space is not what is is portrayed in the movie, yet I loved the movie. Guys, I think the point is, like the Bible, as long as we get people interested in the movement then it will encourage them to want to reach out and learn more and value more about the cause. The people that watch History Channel are not all Brainiacs like Nick, PDF and maybe RS,..but people like me that get motivated to want to learn more, and want to join websites about war stuff, and subsequently learn the truth from real war historians like the ones who contribute to this site. In conclusion, I love History Channel because it gets the ball rolling and it mnakes me want to look up more facts and learn more. God Bless the Queen and God Bless The History Channel!!

Unfortunately myths are spread and more readily believed by people through the medium of TV and the history channel has produced some exceedingly bad and inaccurate documentaries about warfare and equipment - perpetuating myths by spouting them instead of investigating them.

Many accept what those poorly researched shows claim as the truth and then come and say it on the net, some will accept corrections and enter a discourse others well they will rant up and down so spoiling factual discussion that can be backed up from various sources.

herman2
05-31-2014, 07:29 AM
Unfortunately myths are spread and more readily believed by people through the medium of TV and the history channel has produced some exceedingly bad and inaccurate documentaries about warfare and equipment - perpetuating myths by spouting them instead of investigating them.

Many accept what those poorly researched shows claim as the truth and then come and say it on the net, some will accept corrections and enter a discourse others well they will rant up and down so spoiling factual discussion that can be backed up from various sources.

You know my Motto!...I have had it on my signature for years and it speaks for itself! Right on Brother!

Samoax
05-31-2014, 07:49 AM
yeah it's pretty silly, where in Norway where you?

tankgeezer
05-31-2014, 08:15 AM
On a deployment with the Ace Mobile forces in March,1974, we landed in or around Bardufoss . Aside from spending time in Narvik, we were mostly in the woods, or on the road.

Samoax
05-31-2014, 10:14 AM
woooah, awesome! what kinda vehicles did you drive?

tankgeezer
05-31-2014, 11:59 AM
My little group had an M-151 Jeep, we were separate from the rest of the AMF contingents. British M.I., and our M.I. scouted around to determine likely avenues of approach the Rampaging Soviet Hoards might use if they ever got itchy feet, and decided to come visit you. Other parts of the AMF had their own vehicles from whatever Country they came from. The AMF was comprised of some NATO member Nations and was a rapid deployment force whose purpose was to meet, and delay any soviet incursion into Countries sharing a Border with them. This until regular forces would arrive to do the heavy lifting.

Rising Sun*
05-31-2014, 12:33 PM
This until regular forces would arrive to do the heavy lifting.

Ah, yes, a well tried and brilliantly implemented strategy / large scale tactic of putting forward insufficient forces to little purpose apart from the humiliation and suffering of defeat, as in the Philippines with USN and Malaya/Singapore with RN in December 1941/ first few months of 1942. :rolleyes:

You're lucky it was only an exercise.

tankgeezer
05-31-2014, 03:32 PM
Well, the small force was intended to get there quickly to determine if the Warsaw Pact was serious, or just fishing for an easy gain. If it were to be an actual situation with a concerted invasion, then the question would have been when, and where to place the Tactical, and Theater Nuclear ordnance. Assessments of the conditions allowing for, or requiring deployment of Nuclear weapons comprised about a third of the communique's that passed through our tent in the woods. Yes, it was just an exercise, not real World. (thankfully). It would not surprise me though to learn that some of that old stuff was being reviewed in the event things go really sour over there in the near future.

leccy
05-31-2014, 06:58 PM
Ah, yes, a well tried and brilliantly implemented strategy / large scale tactic of putting forward insufficient forces to little purpose apart from the humiliation and suffering of defeat, as in the Philippines with USN and Malaya/Singapore with RN in December 1941/ first few months of 1942. :rolleyes:

You're lucky it was only an exercise.

My troop in the 1980's was given a lovely motivating talk about our role and how important it was - We were the covering force for BAOR.

Within 24hrs we were expected to have 90% casualties - we would not be coming back as the Warsaw Pact plans were to drop an Airborne Division behind us - our job was to slow down the ground troops by route denial and demolitions for 24 hrs while the main force was positioned - even in training many of our bridge demolitions were targeted by Lance missiles "in case".

Rising Sun*
06-01-2014, 08:24 AM
My troop in the 1980's was given a lovely motivating talk about our role and how important it was - We were the covering force for BAOR.

Within 24hrs we were expected to have 90% casualties

That's got to be right at the top of morale boosting talks. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Then again, the command to the Sutherland Highlanders at Balaclava "There is no retreat from here, men. You must die where you stand." produced a stout and successful defence.

Conversely, Churchill's 'die where you stand' order to the commander in the dying days of the Singapore defence was rather less inspirational, but at least Churchill had the charity to allow a surrender when it was clear that further resistance was futile.

Nickdfresh
06-01-2014, 01:24 PM
Hi Nickdfresh -- I was channel surfing and came across that History Channel abomination too. Within just a couple of minutes they made two non-trivial misrepresentations/errors.

I continued surfing. I guess they value Pawnstars more than their namesake. Pretty sad, actually. And educational channels like Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel are self-immolating with documentaries about mermaids and non-extinct extinct giant sharks. And idiots eat it up....

It's a shame, because they had Adam Tooze on for like a minute, then a bunch of politicians and ret. generals that really don't know much more than the typical comic book narrative of history. I mean they had Cheney and Powell on, and Stanley McChrystal babbling incoherently about how the Germans had a new for of warfare in Blitzkrieg (even though they had no such strategy or operational doctrine until after the Fall of France)... :rolleyes:

Ardee
06-01-2014, 04:08 PM
It's a shame, because they had Adam Tooze on for like a minute, then a bunch of politicians and ret. generals that really don't know much more than the typical comic book narrative of history. I mean they had Cheney and Powell on, and Stanley McChrystal babbling incoherently about how the Germans had a new for of warfare in Blitzkrieg (even though they had no such strategy or operational doctrine until after the Fall of France)... :rolleyes:

It's more than a shame. History is owned by A&E, which is in turn owned by Disney and Hearst. So it's not like they're lacking the resources or expertise to do the job properly. Since they fail to do so, it's reasonable to wonder if they're careless, incompetent, or just don't give a damn. When they misstate facts and events that are easy to state correctly, that's unforgiveable.

Most company websites include things such as statements of their corporate mission. If A&E or History do, I couldn't find it on their websites. I did go to History's facebook page, and read their "About" statement. Interestingly, no where in the statement does "accurate" or a similar word appear. They do claim their programming's "non-fiction" (!) but anyone age 10+ who's seen Ancient Aliens knows what that's worth. Tellingly, variations of "entertainment" appear in their "About" at least twice. But they also billed this particular show as a documentary (as opposed to a "docudrama" or whatever). By definition, that means it is supposed to be factual, NOT entertainment. And obviously, *they don't care.* By deliberately or carelessly putting out misinformation (not to mention programs they KNOW are total BS), they are doing nothing but a public disservice, and leaving a viewer of ANY of their programs unsure what to believe or not. They're out to make a buck off the wide-eyed innocents who aren't smart enough or educated enough to realize they're being suckered.

JMHO.

tankgeezer
06-01-2014, 05:40 PM
One particular detail that they misreported was in the first use by Germany of lethal gas in WW I The show indicated that Artillery was the delivery system, when it was just a massive release of gas from storage cylinders behind German lines fed through pipes into No-Man's land. It had been necessary for Germany to wait until the wind conditions were favorable to carry the gas toward the Allied side. Sadly, it was more a docudrama than a serious work of History. After seeing German using British Rifles, as well as WW I German Soldiers using WW II German Rifles, I was just waiting for Giorgio A. Tsoukalos to come on and say it was Aliens all along.

Ardee
06-01-2014, 08:50 PM
...and ret. generals that really don't know much more than the typical comic book narrative of history. I mean they had Cheney and Powell on, and Stanley McChrystal babbling incoherently....

Hi Nickdfresh -- Guess I had to add this!

While I vouchsafe nothing in regards to Cheney, but regarding Powell and McChrystal, I would sooner guess they were victims of creative editing by History rather than assume their knowledge of WWII was *really* at a comic book level. To me, it suggests even greater guilt by History. But I certainly appreciate your sentiment! ;)

tankgeezer
06-01-2014, 09:27 PM
Paid appearances, and while having some latitude, are still responding to a formatted, if not scripted dialogue. The only plus in this sort of programming is that someone may become interested enough to actually read accurate accounts, and learn History. Sad to think that it takes a Graphic Novel format to appeal to viewers.

Ardee
06-01-2014, 10:47 PM
Agreed!

Kregs
06-02-2014, 12:09 AM
I'm not totally sure how you gathered that from my comments as a I made no statements regarding strategic bombing.


I know. I apologize again for jumping into discussions way too late. When I finished reading the comments in this discussion board, I still had a documentary that I had watched about the development of the four-engined B-17 and B-24 in my mind. I just finished readingThe Luftwaffe Diaries and I could not help but feel some sympathy for the Luftwaffe aviators who died knowing that their long-range bomber force could not return the strategic devastation of their enemies. I feel this sympathy, although I know what these Luftwaffe airmen did to my country when we were weak and helpless. It is ironic that I feel this way, 70 odd years later, such is life I guess.


The American Air Forces made a cognizant shift towards more aggressive, direct attacks on Luftwaffe aerodromes using long range fighters, which was in fact the final death-knell of organized Luftwaffe resistance. But I might add that I think strategic bombing was valuable if often misapplied and dispersed. Speer did move the weapons factories to an extent, but in the end it was the stifling of fuel and lubricants production that hindered the German war effort the most.

I have only glanced at Speer's testimony at Nuremberg and what he told George Ball, Director of the United States' Strategic Bombing Survey. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I think that the armament industry seemed to face what economists call the law of diminishing returns, as shortages of raw materials in the 1930s forced the Germans to produce more and more synthetic fuel, which in turn, yielded diminished marginal returns of ships, tanks, airplanes, etc. In my mind's eye, I think of my former economics classes, where the teacher's Production Possibility Curve on the board was bowed outward. I'd like to think that that might explain why Germany's armament production was an anomaly that can't serve to justify the need for strategic bombing when the entire production process would eventually, one day, run out of steam. In 1936, I believe that Naval officers started to discuss the acute shortage in iron ore, which of course, is crucial in the production of steel. Todt found a short-term solution but the problem resurfaced again in the same year. I can't remember what solution Todt found to appease the Navy and the Army, who were fighting a vicious battle over resources. I imagine that someone somewhere knows that story better than I.

Rising Sun*
06-06-2014, 09:35 AM
Someone else or others, and possibly including me, made the point earlier in this thread that the most important difference between the Allies and the Axis is that, certainly from 7 December 1941 onwards, the Allies pursued a coherent and cooperative strategy to achieve their mutual aims, and the Axis didn't at any time from 1939 onwards while pursuing their own independent and unrelated aims.

Had the Axis powers pursued a similar strategy, Italy would not have diverted its substantial forces to North Africa and later Greece which in turn diverted German forces to North Africa and later Greece. Japan could have aimed its Pearl Harbor / South East Asia / Pacific forces at the southern end of Suez and the Persian Gulf to aid the German drive to the oilfields in that region, with no or negligible British Commonwealth land forces in North Africa and probably modest RN forces in the eastern Mediterranean and Arabian Sea.

There would have been a vast saving of Axis men, materiel, weapons and fuel which in practice was consumed in North African land campaigns and related sea and air operations. It would have allowed much greater German and Italian air and land forces to be applied against the USSR in Barbarossa at an earlier start time, which could well have defeated the USSR or forced it into a vastly worse position by the end of 1941 and avoided Stalingrad etc.

The critical issues, upon which I have no knowledge, are whether this combined strategy would have released sufficient oil to meet the needs of all the Axis forces and, so far as Japan was concerned, sufficient shipping to transport it.

leccy
06-06-2014, 01:24 PM
The Allies also had a cohesive supply and equipment programme.

The US the main economic partner provided material at cost or lend lease to be paid later to all the allied nations, the latest versions in most cases to all

Compare that with Germany the main economic partner in the Axis forces who was constantly taking from its allies and the occupied countries to keep its own economy and production going, the majority of equipment it provided to its allies was out of date and what was being discarded by itself - often sold at very high mark ups and way and above the worth of the equipment.

herman2
06-07-2014, 06:01 AM
The critical issues, upon which I have no knowledge, are

I find that extremely hard to believe..YOU,,No Knowledge??...must be a slow day for you...:shock:

Nickdfresh
06-07-2014, 01:25 PM
The Allies also had a cohesive supply and equipment programme.

The US the main economic partner provided material at cost or lend lease to be paid later to all the allied nations, the latest versions in most cases to all

Compare that with Germany the main economic partner in the Axis forces who was constantly taking from its allies and the occupied countries to keep its own economy and production going, the majority of equipment it provided to its allies was out of date and what was being discarded by itself - often sold at very high mark ups and way and above the worth of the equipment.

Yes, basically because Germany had difficulty keeping its own forces supplied with weapons and transport. And her conquests of the Gauls and Low Countries really did little to remedy the situation at the end. I believe after the initial bonanza of captured French trucks and the like, there was little in the way of significant production of lorries and other vehicles from the occupied countries...

Kregs
06-11-2014, 01:24 AM
Yes, basically because Germany had difficulty keeping its own forces supplied with weapons and transport. And her conquests of the Gauls and Low Countries really did little to remedy the situation at the end. I believe after the initial bonanza of captured French trucks and the like, there was little in the way of significant production of lorries and other vehicles from the occupied countries...

Is this the main reason why Hitler's generals were reluctant to invade France and the Low Countries in 1940?

leccy
06-11-2014, 05:47 AM
Is this the main reason why Hitler's generals were reluctant to invade France and the Low Countries in 1940?

Some were reluctant - they thought they would lose - some thought it would be a long fight as at the time France had what was widely thought to be the best army in Europe and the best equipped (although they were more a hard shell, too many things wrong underneath)

Nickdfresh
06-11-2014, 07:10 AM
Is this the main reason why Hitler's generals were reluctant to invade France and the Low Countries in 1940?

Mainly, there was absolutely no credible war plan. The Heer OKW had a "Fall Blau" plan that was both purely defensive and also very nebulous as to how it was to actually be carried out. There was no major offensive plan to knock France out until General Halder came up with the first draft of Fall Gelb - which was almost as abysmal as it foresaw a limited advance through Belgium into France to largely set up a staging area for further offensive operations and air bases to be used against Britain in what would be a long war of attrition. Such a war was strategically dubious for a Germany susceptible to blockade and without direct access to most resources. The fundamental assumption --by both sides-- early on was that Germany would need to rely on the sophisticated Belgian road and rail networks and population centers to maintain their mechanized advances as well as seize production. The first plans were grim, even for Hitler, with casualty projections of somewhere in the 600,000 neighborhood for rather modest gains.

Then some unknown general named Manstein managed to get an audience with Hitler to show his his rather revolutionary (or actually evolutionary) plan for Fall Gelb, which envisioned a deep thrust using armor through the Ardennes to rush the rather nearby French coast cutting off a mechanized French Army and BEF springing into Belgium. A series of unfortunate events took place for the French, such as the infamous plane crash of German officers with the first drafts of Fall Gelb forever preventing any possible advance through Belgium by even the most conservative German generals and opening the possibilities of what would become "Sichelschnitt", or sickle-cut, in Churchill's words actually. The plan was taken over by Halder (after Manstein was sent to an outpost to shut him up) and was reshaped and rolled back and its previous ambitious envisioning of a deep armored thrust and was severally curtailed. However, the quickly unfolding actions on the ground allowed commanders like Gurderian to push well past their mandates in order to ensure a total French collapse in the Sedan, and effectively bring Manstein's vision to fruition. But it should be noted that even the audacious plans never envisioned the complete and rapid strategic breakthrough that occurred and projected the war to last at least for a few months, IIRC...

Rising Sun*
06-11-2014, 10:48 AM
Some were reluctant - they thought they would lose - some thought it would be a long fight as at the time France had what was widely thought to be the best army in Europe and the best equipped (although they were more a hard shell, too many things wrong underneath)

Some of the major things wrong were a French high command detached from its troops; disdainful of then modern communications and related command and control and therefore the ability to respond rapidly to what turned out to be a much more rapid war than they expected; and a largely conscript and often resentful army with little will or ability to fight.

At the risk of being the Minister for Stating the Bleeding Obvious, good equipment in the hands of poorly led, or poorly trained, or poorly motivated troops, or any combination of the above, is frequently of little or no benefit, and more so when confronted by well led, or well trained, or well motivated troops, or any combination of the above.

Throw in other advantages for the well led etc, such as air superiority or ground mobility or tactical advantages in weapons, and it's not surprising that they will prevail.

Once a force establishes its overwhelming superiority and starts rolling back the other force with enough battlefield and psychological momentum to become unstoppable except by a military miracle, as happened in France, Greece, the Philippines and Malaya, the end is pretty much only a question of time. Sure, there were exceptions such as the see saw war in North Africa and Germany's seemingly unstoppable advance into the USSR and the war in China before and during WWII, but viewed as entire campaigns the rapid steamroller advances such as France, Greece etc were short and sharp campaigns with steady advances by the superior force and no meaningful counter-attacks by the defender.

Ardee
06-11-2014, 10:55 AM
Is this the main reason why Hitler's generals were reluctant to invade France and the Low Countries in 1940?

"Reluctant" covers a lot of ground. People also tend to forget that in 1940, it was widely believed that France, rather than Germany, had the best army in the world (as leccy also said). Moreover, while Germany did manage to blood its army in Poland, and though Poland was *not* an insignificant power, the Germans realized they were lucky on several fronts (e.g., "Hitler Weather," terrain, limited (60%?) mobilization because of Allied pressure, etc.). And the Poles themselves had known that unaided, even at full strength they stood no chance against a German invasion. As Nickdfresh points out, the Germans were not expecting what happened anymore than the French were. The Great War was still "fresh" in everybody's mind, and war is always a crap shoot, so I'd say all these concerns (Nickdfresh's comments included) and more were together their "main reason" for reluctance.

Kregs
06-18-2014, 11:48 PM
Mainly, there was absolutely no credible war plan.

Well, you see Nicholas, I am by no means a competent historian or have excellent command of details, but I do remember that sometime in 1936, weeks before the Rhineland crisis, there was preliminary talk amongst the General Staff that France might, after all, declare war on Germany, as German's actions in the demilitarized zone constituted a violation of International law and England, provoked by her treaty duties, might respond by enacting an economic embargo on Germany, which she didn't need, as her weak foreign currency reserve was already unable to afford the massive armament imports. Is it completely incorrect for me to write in this tiny reply box that the Germans might have been planning for an aggressive war against France even before 1939 because Germany could no longer rely on its brief strategic alliance with the Soviet Union or win its submarine war in the Channel and Atlantic and, therefore, could no longer rely on the "false neutrals," like Belgium, who were secretly stymieing Germany's lebensraum, which must be used to validate Fall Gelb's defensive posture? I suppose that the French government knew much of what I have already wrote above, but the French army decided against acting on its knowledge in 1936--possibly because the French were not completely confident in Great Britain's political/military support, a reasonable belief. Forgive me if I'm wrong, (and I often am), but I thought you suggested that the Halder plan was a modernized version of the discarded Schlieffen Plan. The Manstein plan seems to visualize defensive-counter attacks in the eventuality that Britain would enter the war, as she probably would after the Rhineland crisis, which may explain the 600,000 or more expected causalities in the Fall Gelb and Blau plans.

Kregs
06-19-2014, 12:07 AM
the Germans were not expecting what happened anymore than the French were.

But how much did the French really know? Did the French know that Germany began rearming in the 1920s, and clandestinely avoiding the military and reparations clauses in the Versailles Treaty in order to prepare itself for aggressive warfare against the new states to the East? (The "Lohmann" Affair comes to mind, as I am still impressed by how deftly Germany managed to extricate herself out of that embarrassing international situation.) Did the French have reason to believe that the demilitarized zone was secure, or that the Powers' treaty obligations to her rested on shaky foundations of international goodwill, a reasonable belief, as the Powers' subjects were not willing to enforce the obligations? It seems possible that the French military knew the date of the scheduled invasion but, for some reason, refused to act accordingly to changed events on the ground. I

Ardee
06-19-2014, 02:36 AM
But how much did the French really know? Did the French know that Germany began rearming in the 1920s, and clandestinely avoiding the military and reparations clauses in the Versailles Treaty in order to prepare itself for aggressive warfare against the new states to the East? (The "Lohmann" Affair comes to mind, as I am still impressed by how deftly Germany managed to extricate herself out of that embarrassing international situation.) Did the French have reason to believe that the demilitarized zone was secure, or that the Powers' treaty obligations to her rested on shaky foundations of international goodwill, a reasonable belief, as the Powers' subjects were not willing to enforce the obligations? It seems possible that the French military knew the date of the scheduled invasion but, for some reason, refused to act accordingly to changed events on the ground. I

Kregs, my quote (the one you are responding to above) was about the Germans in May 1940 not expecting the collapse of France in 43 days any more than the French did. Maybe I'm just tired, but what you are talking about here seems to be "something else."

Rising Sun*
06-19-2014, 06:07 AM
With the benefit of hindsight, which is the critical ingredient in all ‘what if’s’ as distinct from the limited information and clouded foresight available to the people who actually had to run a battle or war, Germany’s best prospects of winning the war were around the middle of 1942 had it and Japan cooperated in the same sort of combined fashion the Allies did from December 1941. Paradoxically, this probably would have accelerated Japan’s defeat, without the use of nuclear weapons.

By the end of March 1942 Japan had achieved its primary and critical strategic aim of taking the oil rich Netherlands East Indies. The IJN wanted to press on to take Australia, but the IJA didn’t, not least because the IJA couldn’t spare the necessary forces and the shipping wasn’t available to land and supply the necessary IJA force. The compromise was to press on to the east towards Fiji etc to cut Australia off from America and a potential American base to strike back at Japan. This eastward movement resulted in Guadalcanal, the Battle of the Coral Sea, Kokoda, and a severe strain on Japanese land and naval resources which, together with Midway and the IJA’s major naval losses, became the turning point against Japan. Meanwhile, by the end of March the IJA had expelled the British from Burma and was poised to enter India.

Had Germany and Japan had a combined aim to defeat the USSR, which would have aided Japan’s desire to move into Siberia, then after taking the NEI Japan would have devoted its forces to pressing west towards the Persian and Iraqi oilfields. The IJN forces used in the Coral Sea and Midway and other resources spent to no advantage to Japan on Guadalcanal and in Papua would have been available to support Japan’s westward thrust, and would have overwhelmed the scant RN forces in the Indian Ocean while the USN would have been unable to do much or anything to alter Japan’s supremacy in the Indian Ocean.

Japan bypasses a land war in India and presses on to Iraq and Persia where it lands the IJA and or IJN marines to take oilfields in those countries, and ultimately links up with Germany which instead of devoting its effort to taking Moscow concentrates its forces in its thrust for the Caucasus oilfields, which in fact it commenced in June 1942 but failed to achieve as losses at Stalingrad etc forced Germany to withdraw.

Had Germany and Japan linked up, they then control the bulk of Soviet oil production as well as denying Britain its oil from the Middle East; most of the tin and rubber in the world; and various other resources in which each was deficient but together were able to make up much of the other’s deficiencies. This enables them to continue their war in better condition than they actually managed by their separate wars.

Worse for the Allies, Britain has lost access to its forces in North Africa as the IJN controls access to the Suez Canal. The USSR has lost the bulk of its oil supply and is unable to prosecute its war while faced by Germany and Japan to its west and east respectively, which leads to a Soviet surrender; or a grinding war by Germany and Japan against the USSR; or just a war of containment and gradual advance against the Soviets, who have vastly reduced military and industrial capacity through losing the bulk of their oil resources. Britain has now lost vast forces in North Africa which can be left to wither on the vine as at best only limited supplies can reach them, and certainly none sufficient to sustain them as a fighting force. Germany can withdraw from North Africa and use those forces to support the combined effort with Japan to open the corridor through Persia etc.

Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway don’t occur under this scenario, so the IJN still has the forces it used against Pearl Harbor to control the Indian Ocean and southern approaches to the Suez Canal.

The Mediterranean is closed to Britain while its forces there are largely lost. There will not be an invasion of Sicily and Italy. Britain cannot launch a land invasion on continental Europe.

Although US Gen Marshall was sufficiently ambitious, and inexperienced, to propose a doomed invasion through France in September 1942, there is no prospect this or the real D Day would happen under the altered circumstances of a combined German Japanese thrust to the Middle East oilfields etc. Europe is closed to a Western Front once the USSR surrenders or, through loss of oil, is severely reduced in its ability to fight, which in turn allows Germany to place stronger forces to resist any invasion from the West.

America, accepting that there is no realistic prospect of defeating Germany through what became the Italian and Normandy invasions, devotes it forces to defeating Japan, which accords with strong public and political opinion in the US. Instead of applying at most 15% of its resources to Japan, America devotes almost all of them. Japan is defeated before the atom bomb is brought to fruition.

Germany, however, holds what it has and nobody can see how to dislodge it.

Ardee
06-19-2014, 10:50 AM
With the benefit of hindsight, which is the critical ingredient in all ‘what if’s’ as distinct from the limited information and clouded foresight available to the people who actually had to run a battle or war, Germany’s best prospects of winning the war were around the middle of 1942 had it and Japan cooperated in the same sort of combined fashion the Allies did from December 1941. Paradoxically, this probably would have accelerated Japan’s defeat, without the use of nuclear weapons.

...

America, accepting that there is no realistic prospect of defeating Germany through what became the Italian and Normandy invasions, devotes it forces to defeating Japan, which accords with strong public and political opinion in the US. Instead of applying at most 15% of its resources to Japan, America devotes almost all of them. Japan is defeated before the atom bomb is brought to fruition.

Germany, however, holds what it has and nobody can see how to dislodge it.

Except Germany declares war on the US anyway, following the same Hitler logic (of whatever nature). The hypothesized collapse of Japan changes the nature of the Pacific run of Lend-Lease materiel; so the USSR does still holds on with its capacity admittedly diminished.

Hitler's hubris drives him to invade China, so he can "get at" the US and British forces there (much larger than historically accurate, because they're not able to open the Western fronts as you mentioned). Removing them from the Asian continent, after all, will remove Stalin's last hope, and finally bring Stalin to surrender (sound familiar?). China replaces the USSR as a logistical nightmare for Hitler, compounded by China's vast (if technologically unadvanced) manpower (getting skill upgrades from the US and UK). Hitler's resources are even more strained if he uncharacteristically tries to help arm and supply the remnants of Japanese forces in China. The Chinese quagmire eventually makes a western front possible after all.... Meanwhile, The US continues to develop nuclear weapons, which, if I recall correctly, where developed initially for use against Germany anyway....

If Japan avoided Pearl Harbor and invaded the USSR instead, to cooperate with Germany and leaving the US out of the war, what would have happened when the two expansionist regimes meet in the middle? How long before one turned on the other, and they fought themselves to exhaustion and the breaking point of the technology and manpower? Maybe Japan is on the right track in its atomic research program, but Germany was historically not (though that might change over time).

Basically: Italy wanted to re-establish the Roman Empire, including vast swaths currently occupied by the Germans. Germans were the master race, destined to rule everybody. Japanese culture also carried themes of racial superiority and world dominion. With such mutually exclusive long-term goals, how can the Axis powers truly cooperate beyond a fleeting momentary advantage? At least with hindsight, it seems the leadership of the major Axis powers always had an appetite bigger than their stomachs and human/other resources. The more they expand, the greater their mutual distrust, while external resistance becomes more rigid (e.g., Hitler's attack on the USSR setting a poor precedent for trust by third parties). If you posit Axis strategic unity, how is that unity to be achieved in a credible fashion that will last longer than a year or so?

Kregs
06-19-2014, 05:47 PM
Kregs, my quote (the one you are responding to above) was about the Germans in May 1940 not expecting the collapse of France in 43 days any more than the French did. Maybe I'm just tired, but what you are talking about here seems to be "something else."

I do apologize. I thought you were referring to what the French knew prior to 1940.

Nickdfresh
06-19-2014, 09:37 PM
Well, you see Nicholas, I am by no means a competent historian or have excellent command of details, but I do remember that sometime in 1936, weeks before the Rhineland crisis, there was preliminary talk amongst the General Staff that France might, after all, declare war on Germany, as German's actions in the demilitarized zone constituted a violation of International law and England, provoked by her treaty duties, might respond by enacting an economic embargo on Germany, which she didn't need, as her weak foreign currency reserve was already unable to afford the massive armament imports.

The German General Staff were following the orders of a deranged habitual gambler as they were bound to do by their oath. I think it also has to be noted that Hitler calculated the Reoccupation of the Rhineland with a blend of a bit of genius for calculated bluffing, blind luck, and the knowledge that Germany had already violated the terms of Versailles with its ambitious but infant rearmament program that included conscription in 1935 --draft that was expressly forboden-- and yet the Allies did nothing. Did Hitler guess that the British were not willing to send their boys to their deaths' over a piece of real estate that probably should have been part of Germany anyways? After all, was there not a referendum held that clearly showed the vast majority of the residents of the Rhineland wanted to rejoin their Fatherland? Perhaps the greatest target of Heer military aggression had the French fired on them, might not have been the French, but Hitler and his Nazi Party?


Is it completely incorrect for me to write in this tiny reply box that the Germans might have been planning for an aggressive war against France even before 1939 because Germany could no longer rely on its brief strategic alliance with the Soviet Union or win its submarine war in the Channel and Atlantic and, therefore, could no longer rely on the "false neutrals," like Belgium, who were secretly stymieing Germany's lebensraum, which must be used to validate Fall Gelb's defensive posture?

In short: I think so. If Germany couldn't rely on "false neutrals" like Belgium, neither could the French! They may have been secretly stymieing Germany's greater glory, but the Belgians were also stymieing any sort of cohesive, unified response to German aggression and thus creating a vacuum of communication and decaying it to what was little more than a guessing game and a nudge and wink approach to liaison between the militaries of France and Belgium. In fact, Hitler was so reckless that he went to war against Poland --knowing the possibility of war with the Allies would result-- with NO strategic war plan against the Western Powers! The Bohemian Corporal had also assured his Wehrmacht that he would seek no confrontation with the Western Powers prior to 1944. Many in the High Command balked at his orders to invade France, only three weeks after the fall of Poland, based on critical ammunition shortages alone. Heer commanders were also very aware that the Army was still reconstituting itself, lacked training in many parts, was still staffed by large numbers of overage and hopelessly anachronistically trained WWI veterans that were often in their 40's. This is not to mention the critical shortages in the strategic reserve of 23 of 30 precious raw materials that German war industry faced in the Fall of 1939.

So no, there was absolutely no real plan to aggressively invade France in 1939 prior to Halder's first draft of Fall Gelb. One that was so awful and dreary in its outlook that it is said he wrote it to deflate Hitler from invading France and instead to seek peace. I'm not sure there is any real evidence of that though. But the casualty projections, dire warnings of critical ammunition shortages that might have even marred the Polish Campaign had the Soviets not shortened the war as co-belligerents, and frankly bad late autumn and winter weather stopped any campaign until the fateful May of 1940. And only after the infamous plane crash of two German officers who happened to be carrying that very version of Fall Gelb that confirmed the Allies' suspicions, but conversely also confirmed the German fears regarding the Dyle Plan and telegraphing the deployments of Allied units that their planning for entering Belgium should the Germans do so first. So even when the Germans were unlucky, they were lucky.


I suppose that the French government knew much of what I have already wrote above, but the French army decided against acting on its knowledge in 1936--possibly because the French were not completely confident in Great Britain's political/military support, a reasonable belief.

I agree. But one must also conclude that the French Army was a "peoples' army!" of reservists with only a relatively small cadre of active duty elite troops manning the Maginot Line and serving as training cadre for the potential of a vastly expanding war time mobilization. It wasn't that easy for the French to respond in force at the drop of the hat --politically or militarily. I would like to know if the French had any sort of strategic "rapid reaction force" in this period. But some of the best works on it are rare and far above my little budget at the moment...


Forgive me if I'm wrong, (and I often am), but I thought you suggested that the Halder plan was a modernized version of the discarded Schlieffen Plan. The Manstein plan seems to visualize defensive-counter attacks in the eventuality that Britain would enter the war, as she probably would after the Rhineland crisis, which may explain the 600,000 or more expected causalities in the Fall Gelb and Blau plans.

I forgive and you are wrong. :mrgreen:

The initial Case Yellow plan by Halder was so uninspiring and horrid that it is offensive to compare it to the Schlieffen Plan, which envisioned a flanking and encounter battle that would destroy the French Army and seize Paris. Halder's plan was vastly more humble and only was to set the preliminary stage for the sort of long war Germany faced in WWI, but one hopefully more advantageous to the Wehrmacht. I believe the plan was in many respects the antithesis of Schlieffen, because Halder was trying to avoid the overreach of WWI and the specter of exhausted men marching towards fresh French troops driven forward in mechanized taxi cabs. Both plans shared the logistical premise of using the Belgian roads and rails, but little else. Fall Gelb was far more limited.

It was in fact the Fall Gelb "Sickle Cut" plan initially birthed by Manstein, and raised to manhood by Halder, that was the true equivalent to the "Schwerpunkt" encounter battle of annihilation the original Schlieffen Plan envisioned. Halder and the General Staff saw the 600,000 causalities as an extension of the bloodletting of WWI and inability to engage in a battle of annihilation such as Verdun without annihilating one's own army in the process. I think he was just trying to be realistic in his casualty projections based on the past war where no one saw the death tolls that modern weapons could inflict on attacking soldiers. It should also be stated that what eventually became the breakthrough that was Sickle Cut was vastly more scaled down in planning than actual execution. The unfolding battle and the complete collapse of second-rate French solders guarding the ignored Sedan sector took on a life of its own and local German commanders abused the leeway of their "Mission to Tactics" to ignore the overcautious command of OKW's fear of a severed "Panzer Corridor" and reached the Channel in a far shorter time than was ever hoped...

Kregs
06-20-2014, 01:23 AM
The German General Staff were following the orders of a deranged habitual gambler as they were bound to do by their oath.

But, Nicholas, if we are to take Nuremberg Trials' Criminal International Laws seriously, wouldn't we have to say that following orders is no excuse, or that following orders does not erase the culpability of the OKW, which knowingly committed the international violations in the name of Germany? My main criticism about the International Criminal Laws at Nuremberg is that the Laws are derived exclusively from Anglo-American criminal and common law. It seems that the Laws imply criminal responsibility for men who did not issue orders but followed his Officers without question. If I remember correctly, one of the American attorneys equated the culpability of non-commissioned officers to a passive fellow burglar, who, although not actively committing a crime, lends his services as a look-out for the other burglars who are committing a crime. Thus, the German General Staff are still to blame despite the oath. And I agree because what the German army did in my country far exceeded the bounds of an oath.
Also, as I am a retiree, and have lots of time on my hands, I discovered an interesting article about the General Staff, entitled, 'Black Marks: Hitler's Bribery of Senior Officers during World War II." The article's thesis is that historians have long ignored the monetary incentives behind the General Staff's reticence. I strongly recommend everyone to read it, as I found the article by chance in a collection of essays edited by Emmanuel Kreike.


After all, was there not a referendum held that clearly showed the vast majority of the residents of the Rhineland wanted to rejoin their Fatherland? Perhaps the greatest target of Heer military aggression had the French fired on them, might not have been the French, but Hitler and his Nazi Party?

In all due respect, how do we know how the Rhineland plebiscite was conducted and under what conditions? Granted, I have not studied the issue, but if the Rhineland plebiscite was conducted like the Saar's plebiscite a year earlier, I would suggest that that referendum is not a valid or fair measure of support.



If Germany couldn't rely on "false neutrals" like Belgium, neither could the French! They may have been secretly stymieing Germany's greater glory, but the Belgians were also stymieing any sort of cohesive, unified response to German aggression and thus creating a vacuum of communication and decaying it to what was little more than a guessing game and a nudge and wink approach to liaison between the militaries of France and Belgium.

But I doubt Hitler would have known this information, or believed it, in 1940. Hitler used the "false neutrals" phrase to Ribbentrop and others in order to describe countries he was quite willing to invade on the false assumption that those countries were, in fact, helping Germany's enemies and could not be trusted to support the Axis. The situation you accurately described above might easily fit the chaotic situation of the "Little Entente" countries in the 1920s, who could not agree to form a common defense against Germany (although I assume France wanted the Little Entente to work because she had hoped to curtail German expansion in the East).


I agree. But one must also conclude that the French Army was a "peoples' army!" of reservists with only a relatively small cadre of active duty elite troops manning the Maginot Line and serving as training cadre for the potential of a vastly expanding war time mobilization. It wasn't that easy for the French to respond in force at the drop of the hat --politically or militarily. I would like to know if the French had any sort of strategic "rapid reaction force" in this period. But some of the best works on it are rare and far above my little budget at the moment...

Forgive me. I did not know this. In the 1970s, I remember having a conversation with a gentleman from the French Army at the dinner table. We were discussing World War II, and eventually, we started to discuss the so-called "phoney war." He remembers watching the German army rehearsing military maneuvers at the Maginot Line through a set of binoculars. I asked him, "Well, you were at war with the Germans, why didn't you shoot at them?" He said, "They did not shoot at us, so we thought it convenient that we not shoot at them." At the time, I thought it a peculiar way of thinking, but, of course, I didn't know what I know now.



It was in fact the Fall Gelb "Sickle Cut" plan initially birthed by Manstein, and raised to manhood by Halder, that was the true equivalent to the "Schwerpunkt" encounter battle of annihilation the original Schlieffen Plan envisioned. Halder and the General Staff saw the 600,000 causalities as an extension of the bloodletting of WWI and inability to engage in a battle of annihilation such as Verdun without annihilating one's own army in the process. I think he was just trying to be realistic in his casualty projections based on the past war where no one saw the death tolls that modern weapons could inflict on attacking soldiers. It should also be stated that what eventually became the breakthrough that was Sickle Cut was vastly more scaled down in planning than actual execution. The unfolding battle and the complete collapse of second-rate French solders guarding the ignored Sedan sector took on a life of its own and local German commanders abused the leeway of their "Mission to Tactics" to ignore the overcautious command of OKW's fear of a severed "Panzer Corridor" and reached the Channel in a far shorter time than was ever hoped...

I do apologize. It seems that I have mistaken the two plans.

Rising Sun*
06-20-2014, 08:48 AM
Except Germany declares war on the US anyway, following the same Hitler logic (of whatever nature).

Which is largely symbolic as America's focus is on the Pacific and Germany is limited to relatively unimportant attacks on America's Atlantic shipping and nuisance shelling of the east coast, with no prospect of engaging America on its own turf and vastly less chance of defeating it. Germany is at worst a nuisance to America in its war against Japan.


The hypothesized collapse of Japan changes the nature of the Pacific run of Lend-Lease materiel; so the USSR does still holds on with its capacity admittedly diminished.

Perhaps, but it’s more likely that America doesn’t waste shipping on costly transatlantic support to the USSR when that doesn’t aid its war against Japan, particularly as the Soviets are holding sufficient forces in the east to stop Japan invading the USSR, which also prevents Japan removing its forces for fears of a Soviet advance into the vacuum Japan leaves, so the forces on both sides are, and actually were, taken out of the war without firing a shot at each other, at least until the last few days of the actual war.


Hitler's hubris drives him to invade China, so he can "get at" the US and British forces there (much larger than historically accurate, because they're not able to open the Western fronts as you mentioned).

Can’t see that.

German logistics alone are against it. Far too much land to cover.

Also, there won’t be any British forces in China because Britain is now unable to support its now marooned troops in North Africa and can’t do much in India, and nothing in Burma after the China road is cut by the Japanese, as Japan has the ascendancy in the Indian Ocean.
As for the Americans, they don’t need to be in China as they now have about six times the forces actually used in WWII to drive across the central Pacific and from the SWPA.

In the actual war, there is a slight window of opportunity when the Japanese fleet is damaged sufficiently by the British in defending Ceylon in mid-1942 to force the IJN to return to Japan to refit, but in this 'what if' war that might not have been necessary or important as Japan would have had greater forces available in the Indian Ocean.


Meanwhile, The US continues to develop nuclear weapons, which, if I recall correctly, where developed initially for use against Germany anyway....

The intention was to use them on Germany, but in this war America isn't going to attack Germany and Japan will be defeated well before the first nuclear weapon is tested.


If Japan avoided Pearl Harbor and invaded the USSR instead

That wasn’t going to happen. The Japanese learned at Nomonhan in 1939 that the Soviets could defeat them, which led to the debate in Japanese circles about whether to go into Siberia or south deciding , in mid-1941, in favour of going south.

Ardee
06-20-2014, 10:38 AM
RS*', re German declaration of war on US: Which is largely symbolic as America's focus is on the Pacific and Germany is limited to relatively unimportant attacks on America's Atlantic shipping and nuisance shelling of the east coast, with no prospect of engaging America on its own turf and vastly less chance of defeating it. Germany is at worst a nuisance to America in its war against Japan.


As per my comment about America continuing to develop the atomic bomb, and Lend-lease, and perhaps others, I think you're forgetting part of your own scenario -- as Japan is quickly defeated, and a state of war still exists between the US (and the Allies). Germany may not have the resources to reach the US mainland, but history showed the US was capable of building naval, air, and land forces where capable of reaching fighting fronts pretty much anywhere in the world. Where would Germany draw a line and say "stop here, we have enough real estate" -- allowing Allies to concentrate against them? Why wouldn't the Allies go through Africa, and up through the Middle East or Europe's underbelly? Or are you positing the collapse of Allied will to fight?

And whether Hitler declares war on Germany or not, FDR clearly wanted to defeat Germany. Once at war (and perhaps especially if there is a "quick" victory against Japan), I suspect one way or another the US would end up at war with Germany.

Re German invasion of China, I agree I was being *somewhat* spurious, my point being more that Hitler was likely to do *something* irrational. China? It still might have happened, depending on how far into the USSR he had been able to advance, etc.

Japan invading the USSR? Certainly Stalin was worrying about it until he had confidence in the agreement allowing him to draw units from Siberia to defend Moscow. (What a beautiful moment for Japan to have then struck if there was no Pearl Harbor?) Just a continued threat of Japanese invasion would have been a critical aid to Germany at a time when it was still at high tide. Admittedly, as in chess, it may be that the threat is mightier than the deed. On the other hand, the Red Army was not the same Army as had victorious in 1939, thanks to Stalin and his purges, the potential psychological effect of a two-front war, etc. Japanese armor was certainly not a match for the Soviets', etc., but how would the Soviets balance the drain on their resources between east and west? If Japan and Germany are truly cooperating, what lessons and advice might Germany provide that would increase the effectiveness and confidence of Japan?

Which of course raises again the final and most important question I raised about any "Axis United" scenario: how is their unity to be achieved in a credible fashion that will last longer than a year or so? What is the nature and the strength of the glue that holds them together when there is so much to drive them apart as they pursue their own expansionist policies? Without knowing what their joint strategic aims are, how can you reasonably project any probable course of their actions, or Allied response?

And if Japan is driven out of the war quickly, that leaves Italy and Germany and the minor Axis powers against the world, while also dealing with restive populations in occupied territories. How long could they hold on given the constant drain on their manpower, even under favorable circumstances?

tankgeezer
06-20-2014, 11:28 AM
My troop in the 1980's was given a lovely motivating talk about our role and how important it was - We were the covering force for BAOR.

Within 24hrs we were expected to have 90% casualties - we would not be coming back as the Warsaw Pact plans were to drop an Airborne Division behind us - our job was to slow down the ground troops by route denial and demolitions for 24 hrs while the main force was positioned - even in training many of our bridge demolitions were targeted by Lance missiles "in case".

I remember an exercise in which we maneuvered along one of the routes we would likely take in heading off the Warsaw Pact were they to come through the Fulda Gap. Along the way, we heard similar things, though ours were 50% in the first 24 hrs, and 75% in 48 hrs. (IIRC )This assumed the contributions of air assets, and our own organic Red Eye missile teams, and the light bridge over the Donau Kanal still being there when we got to it.

leccy
06-20-2014, 01:41 PM
I remember an exercise in which we maneuvered along one of the routes we would likely take in heading off the Warsaw Pact were they to come through the Fulda Gap. Along the way, we heard similar things, though ours were 50% in the first 24 hrs, and 75% in 48 hrs. (IIRC )This assumed the contributions of air assets, and our own organic Red Eye missile teams, and the light bridge over the Donau Kanal still being there when we got to it.

Our heaviest assets would the the Scorpions and Scimitars - the infantry had their Blowpipe and Milans (at the time they were still equipped with 432 and L37 turrets, they had a few Fox armoured cars as well), we had 4 x LMG and 3 x GPMG for air defence and one Charlie G 84mm as our sole AT weapon (apart from Barmines). If we were lucky we would get our assigned Cent AVRE (for us it was a 165mm version, but often it would be taken from us as it was more important as a surviving asset for the later main battle).

We were a speed bump, a very small speed bump.

tankgeezer
06-20-2014, 07:47 PM
Our heaviest assets would the the Scorpions and Scimitars - the infantry had their Blowpipe and Milans (at the time they were still equipped with 432 and L37 turrets, they had a few Fox armoured cars as well), we had 4 x LMG and 3 x GPMG for air defence and one Charlie G 84mm as our sole AT weapon (apart from Barmines). If we were lucky we would get our assigned Cent AVRE (for us it was a 165mm version, but often it would be taken from us as it was more important as a surviving asset for the later main battle).

We were a speed bump, a very small speed bump.
We were regular Armored forces, having in each Company 17 M-60 series Tanks, one with a dozer blade, an M-88 retriever, and M-113 APC, a couple Jeeps, a Gama Goat, and a Deuce an a half or two. Each Battalion had 3 line companies, and an H.Q Company containing supply, intel, maintenance, and all of the household stuff, a bridge layer, and the Red Eye guys. Each Armor Brigade had 3 Armor Bn's, and 2 infantry Bn's IIRC. The Grunt BN's were kept on the other side of the post from the tread heads, they didn't want the dogs to quarrel. Our Delaying mission was pretty much expected in worse case to be a speed bump, but then, as now, Russia had limited avenues of approach to Germany (then W. Germany. ) The Fulda Gap was our ambush site, and at the time NATO had far superior fire control in Tanks, and could engage at greater ranges than could the Warsaw Pact. If our Artillery, and air cover was intact (this was a huge concern for us) and the Red Eyes and Cobras did their part, we stood a good chance of keeping them hemmed into the confines of the Gap, or at least slowing them enough to allow the follow up forces to check them. This is also one reason that (at that time) Tactical nuclear weapons were integrated into operations, and training. NATO had no desire to see the ravening hoards escape the Gap. At the end of the Viet Nam War, it was felt that NATO strength in Western Europe would be questionable for some time, and thought the Warsaw Pact might decide to take advantage of that condition. I am thankful to this day that no one got to feeling Froggy.

Nickdfresh
06-21-2014, 12:07 AM
But, Nicholas, if we are to take Nuremberg Trials' Criminal International Laws seriously, wouldn't we have to say that following orders is no excuse, or that following orders does not erase the culpability of the OKW, which knowingly committed the international violations in the name of Germany? My main criticism about the International Criminal Laws at Nuremberg is that the Laws are derived exclusively from Anglo-American criminal and common law. It seems that the Laws imply criminal responsibility for men who did not issue orders but followed his Officers without question

Okay. So what does this have to do with me or anything I've stated?

leccy
06-21-2014, 07:06 AM
We were regular Armored forces, having in each Company 17 M-60 series Tanks, one with a dozer blade, an M-88 retriever, and M-113 APC, a couple Jeeps, a Gama Goat, and a Deuce an a half or two. Each Battalion had 3 line companies, and an H.Q Company containing supply, intel, maintenance, and all of the household stuff, a bridge layer, and the Red Eye guys. Each Armor Brigade had 3 Armor Bn's, and 2 infantry Bn's IIRC. The Grunt BN's were kept on the other side of the post from the tread heads, they didn't want the dogs to quarrel. Our Delaying mission was pretty much expected in worse case to be a speed bump, but then, as now, Russia had limited avenues of approach to Germany (then W. Germany. ) The Fulda Gap was our ambush site, and at the time NATO had far superior fire control in Tanks, and could engage at greater ranges than could the Warsaw Pact. If our Artillery, and air cover was intact (this was a huge concern for us) and the Red Eyes and Cobras did their part, we stood a good chance of keeping them hemmed into the confines of the Gap, or at least slowing them enough to allow the follow up forces to check them. This is also one reason that Tactical nuclear weapons were integrated into operations, and training. NATO had no desire to see the ravening hoards escape the Gap. At the end of the Viet Nam War, it was felt that NATO strength in Western Europe would be questionable for some time, and thought the Warsaw Pact might decide to take advantage of that condition. I am thankful to this day that no one got to feeling Froggy.

We were to give as much time as possible for the main defencive positions to be prepared and manned, for defence in depth to be done. 50 missile Regt with its Lance were always ready to drop on us if we failed in a bridge dem.

tankgeezer
06-21-2014, 09:38 AM
That would certainly have been an incentive to get it done quickly, talk about the boss over your shoulder.. The one bridge we did have to cross if it were still standing when we got to it, was a light ,and narrow thing rated for 20 tons. We would have to move one at a time, very slowly with one track up on the sidewalk.

Rising Sun*
06-21-2014, 10:10 AM
That would certainly have been an incentive to get it done quickly, talk about the boss over your shoulder.. The one bridge we did have to cross if it were still standing when we got to it, was a light ,and narrow thing rated for 20 tons. We would have to move one at a time, very slowly with one track up on the sidewalk.

Nice.

Enemy waits for first tank to almost complete crossing and then destroys it, blocking bridge and trapping remaining tanks, assuming enemy hasn't previously destroyed bridge.

What was the drill then? Stand and fight to the death; scatter and try to find another crossing; or abandon tanks? (I'm guessing that the drill didn't go past the first option.)

It's revealing what you and leccy have said.

Down here, we were preparing in that 1960s-1980s era for small wars / jungle wars which were essentially infantry wars with conventional weapons with a high prospect of survival for most combatants, as was the case in Vietnam.

Until your and leccy's posts, I didn't realise just how massively and rapidly destructive WWIII in Europe was expected to be.

What was the ultimate expectation? That the Warsaw Pact steamroller produces a new Dunkirk; the Pact forces are held somewhere in Europe; or they're defeated?

Whichever, it sounds like the civilians in western Europe were in for a worse time across more ground than WWI and WWII.

Nickdfresh
06-21-2014, 10:23 AM
But, Nicholas, if we are to take Nuremberg Trials' Criminal International Laws seriously, wouldn't we have to say that following orders is no excuse, or that following orders does not erase the culpability of the OKW, which knowingly committed the international violations in the name of Germany? My main criticism about the International Criminal Laws at Nuremberg is that the Laws are derived exclusively from Anglo-American criminal and common law. It seems that the Laws imply criminal responsibility for men who did not issue orders but followed his Officers without question. If I remember correctly, one of the American attorneys equated the culpability of non-commissioned officers to a passive fellow burglar, who, although not actively committing a crime, lends his services as a look-out for the other burglars who are committing a crime. Thus, the German General Staff are still to blame despite the oath. And I agree because what the German army did in my country far exceeded the bounds of an oath.
Also, as I am a retiree, and have lots of time on my hands, I discovered an interesting article about the General Staff, entitled, 'Black Marks: Hitler's Bribery of Senior Officers during World War II." The article's thesis is that historians have long ignored the monetary incentives behind the General Staff's reticence. I strongly recommend everyone to read it, as I found the article by chance in a collection of essays edited by Emmanuel Kreike.


I'm not arguing that OKW was "moral" or necessarily legal in every endeavor. However, there is little doubt that the resentment caused spitefulness of the Versailles Treaty certainly created a situation that Hitler was able to exploit. Many of the General Staff were not pro-Hitler, but they certainly were not Francophiles either...


In all due respect, how do we know how the Rhineland plebiscite was conducted and under what conditions? Granted, I have not studied the issue, but if the Rhineland plebiscite was conducted like the Saar's plebiscite a year earlier, I would suggest that that referendum is not a valid or fair measure of support.

It's mentioned in Tooze's "Wages" but it has been a while since I have read about it. From what I remember, any dissent of anti-Nazi German-speakers in the Rhineland was certainly quashed but there is little doubt that the residents overwhelmingly wanted to rejoin Germany. Again, its occupation at various points - often conducted heavy-handedly by the French - was a cause of resentment and bitterness...


But I doubt Hitler would have known this information, or believed it, in 1940. Hitler used the "false neutrals" phrase to Ribbentrop and others in order to describe countries he was quite willing to invade on the false assumption that those countries were, in fact, helping Germany's enemies and could not be trusted to support the Axis. The situation you accurately described above might easily fit the chaotic situation of the "Little Entente" countries in the 1920s, who could not agree to form a common defense against Germany (although I assume France wanted the Little Entente to work because she had hoped to curtail German expansion in the East).


Yes well, Germany was going in rationalize the invasions of it neighbors by any logic it needed. And Belgium was going to play an important part in the attack in any case, even with the emphasis being in the Sedan. Also, Hitler may have been aware that the French wanted a secure Netherlands as they ultimately hoped to use the Low Countries for an eventual invasion route into Germany...



Forgive me. I did not know this. In the 1970s, I remember having a conversation with a gentleman from the French Army at the dinner table. We were discussing World War II, and eventually, we started to discuss the so-called "phoney war." He remembers watching the German army rehearsing military maneuvers at the Maginot Line through a set of binoculars. I asked him, "Well, you were at war with the Germans, why didn't you shoot at them?" He said, "They did not shoot at us, so we thought it convenient that we not shoot at them." At the time, I thought it a peculiar way of thinking, but, of course, I didn't know what I know now.
.

Interesting, I've read that they often would do things such as hang their washing in the open with little fear of sniper fire. There were some desultory clashes of patrols I understand, but certainly the period of waiting was far more caustic for the French Army as they did little more than build forts and do agricultural labor in many cases as the Heer trained and reequipped itself...

pdf27
06-21-2014, 11:31 AM
What was the ultimate expectation? That the Warsaw Pact steamroller produces a new Dunkirk; the Pact forces are held somewhere in Europe; or they're defeated?
Whichever, it sounds like the civilians in western Europe were in for a worse time across more ground than WWI and WWII.
I wasn't around at the time, but my understanding was that nobody expected the nukes to stay grounded for more than about 48 hours or so. Once the tactical nukes in Germany start flying, everything else would fly and then we'd all be crispy critters.

Kregs
06-21-2014, 08:48 PM
I'm not arguing that OKW was "moral" or necessarily legal in every endeavor. However, there is little doubt that the resentment caused spitefulness of the Versailles Treaty certainly created a situation that Hitler was able to exploit. Many of the General Staff were not pro-Hitler, but they certainly were not Francophiles either...

I do apologize, as I often write in tangents about history because I have no one to talk to about these things. My friends are all buried or have perished at the hands of the Germans and Russians, and those that are still alive to have remembered those times are thousands of miles away from the shores of America. (Thank the Lord for the Internet!)

Now on to the subject. I remember reading an interesting book called, "Tapping Hitler's Generals." I found this book enjoyable because, for the first time, Hitler's Generals are speaking candidly about the war situation and Hitler's military commanding abilities without the Gestapo or political police listening in on the conversation. I particularly found General Thoma's observations fascinating reading; Thoma, of course, was captured by the British in North Africa in 1942, and he professed that the war was over for the Axis the minute France fell but no one in the General Staff had the audacity to stand up to Hitler at the end of 1940 or since. "Ninety-nine percent of them are spineless creatures," He said of the General Staff, "They've always been 'yes' men. They've never been commanders, but only assistants of the Commander." He goes on to say: "The Kaiser was as gentle as a nun in comparison to Adolf Hitler. The former did at least let you speak your mind--the latter won't let you open your mouth....None of my superiors has the right to order me to do [Hitler's] dirty work, let him do it himself. I've said so straight out. I can swear a solemn oath that not a single man has been shot by my people." And: "I remember that last spring in the conferences with HQ, the army commanders were there and they told us about conversations they had had with the Fuhrer, 'The Fuhrer is personally firmly convinced that the country in Europe which is nearest to communism is England. He said that last year [1941].' That's complete madness, that's a sign that the man has never been out in the world."

I think you are right about the General Staff, and Hitler's willingness to exploit the raw emotions of these commanders who had seen Germany's defeat. But it is indeed interesting how he cleverly promoted lebensraum as not just an abstract political theory written by a Pan-German nationalist but of military necessity, thus intertwining the political with the military, arguably disproving what the General Staff insistently declared at the Nuremberg Trials (Keitel and Jodl still believed that what they had done was strictly military and, therefore, as military men, had no interest in the political aspects of the regime they had served).

But, I don't believe that the General Staff whole-hardheartedly supported war. There is too much evidence to support the hypothesis that most of the Staff thought that Germany did not possess enough raw materials to wage a war of attrition, which Hitler's lebensraum suggested. It seems safe to say that Hitler visualized a war without an end and probably wouldn't tolerate peace with the eastern Slavs for longer than a year. I don't know, Nicholas, if you've read George Orwell, but the situation here calls out similarities with his book, 1984. If my memory serves me well, one can equate Nazi Germany to Oceania, which is in a constant state of war with Eurasia or Eastasia. (Goebbels would be proud of Orwell's Ministries of Peace and Truth.) Anyway, I thought that the General Staff believed that French POWs should be treated with respect, while the OKW had less interest in treating Russian, Polish, Italian, or Ukrainian POWs honorably, although, I am aware of only one complaint made about the treatment of Polish and Russian POWs. Historian Richard Evans once said that some of the General Staff spoke French even though she was a constant thorn in Germany's side.


From what I remember, any dissent of anti-Nazi German-speakers in the Rhineland was certainly quashed but there is little doubt that the residents overwhelmingly wanted to rejoin Germany. Again, its occupation at various points - often conducted heavy-handedly by the French - was a cause of resentment and bitterness...

I think that was the case with the Saar Plebiscite, although in the case of the Saar, the referendum didn't provoke much international protest, despite League of Nation's protest at the heavy-handed behavior of the Nazis. I keep forgetting to read Adam Tooze's book, although I should. I am still slogging my way through Clay Blair's esoteric "Hitler's U-Boat War."


Yes well, Germany was going in rationalize the invasions of it neighbors by any logic it needed...

Sometimes I believe that Hitler didn't know himself why he had started the war. I'm often reminded of a quote from Joachim Fest's book, "Inside Hitler's Bunker," where Ribbentrop states that Hitler said to him, and I'm paraphrasing here, that he didn't want to negotiate peace with the Russians because he would end up breaking his promise in the end, and that he couldn't help himself in that regard.


Interesting, I've read that they often would do things such as hang their washing in the open with little fear of sniper fire. There were some desultory clashes of patrols I understand, but certainly the period of waiting was far more caustic for the French Army as they did little more than build forts and do agricultural labor in many cases as the Heer trained and reequipped itself...

My French friend believed that the High Command was largely to blame during that period. He said that when he would write his reports, he knew that most of what he would write would end up in the trashcan or worse, heavily criticized by his Superiors for the wrong reasons.

tankgeezer
06-22-2014, 01:42 AM
Nice.

Enemy waits for first tank to almost complete crossing and then destroys it, blocking bridge and trapping remaining tanks, assuming enemy hasn't previously destroyed bridge.

What was the drill then? Stand and fight to the death; scatter and try to find another crossing; or abandon tanks? (I'm guessing that the drill didn't go past the first option.)

It's revealing what you and leccy have said.

Down here, we were preparing in that 1960s-1980s era for small wars / jungle wars which were essentially infantry wars with conventional weapons with a high prospect of survival for most combatants, as was the case in Vietnam.

Until your and leccy's posts, I didn't realise just how massively and rapidly destructive WWIII in Europe was expected to be.

What was the ultimate expectation? That the Warsaw Pact steamroller produces a new Dunkirk; the Pact forces are held somewhere in Europe; or they're defeated?

Whichever, it sounds like the civilians in western Europe were in for a worse time across more ground than WWI and WWII.
That is the text book move when dealing with a Column formation, especially if one has the opportunity to catch them on a bridge, or a causeway, or even a city street. There is no room to disperse, and maneuver. Hit the leading element, the rearmost element, and then you can pick the rest apart as you please. Normally, we would have Brigade level recon units, and air cover watching out ahead of the column to be sure that the bridge was still there, and not a trap. We kept in mind that Warsaw might use airborne troops, but were mostly concerned with their air force taking down the bridge preemptively.
If the recon said the bridge was there, across we would go at walking speed, a 52 ton Tank on a 20 ton bridge. If it was out, then hopefully, those in charge of alternatives would head us toward the secondary crossing point. (if there was one.) the idea being in all of this to not engage any such forces if it was possible to go around them.(unless ordered to do so.) The mission was to take our positions at the Fulda Gap, and Delay, and reduce Warsaw forces should they begin to come through.
The contemporary wisdom was that Warsaw had minimally, a 3 to 1 advantage in Armor, and possibly as much as 5 to 1. In reality it was probably less than 3 to 1 even including their marginally serviceable tanks, and the scads of light BMP's and PT-76 vehicles, which could not withstand the M-2 50 BMG. Warsaw preferred mass armored formations for invasion, and while armor, and gun technology was pretty much even between us, NATO had superior fire control, and communications. This would allow us to engage them at ranges much greater than they were able to answer. It was hoped that this advantage, along with Artillery,TOW missiles, and air support, (assuming there was any left) the massed formations could be ground down, and stopped. Planners worked from the worst case point of view which is why the tactical nuclear weapons were so well integrated, even our 8inch howitzers had Nuclear ordnance. Although I'm sure that there were several different yields on the shelf, we knew mostly of the .5 kiloton device. If it looked like Warsaw was going to break out of the Gap, they were then to be used. And I concur with PDF that if the tactical stuff started going, then the larger stuff would follow soon enough. Part of this idea was to punch them in the face so hard, that they would stop to reconsider their plan. (the moment of pause) If they stood down, then the city killers might stay in their holes. But there was no guarantee of that, its just what we were told. All of those decisions could/would be made within the first 48 hrs.
My knowledge of the war plans at the time would agree with you RS in that they intended to roll over the NATO delaying forces stationed in Europe, and going as far as they could, and at the least be too entrenched for the follow up forces to dislodge easily. A second Dunkirk would doubtless have pleased them greatly. The ultimate plan was to contain, and destroy them in the approach ways, then successively delay any surviving units should there be any still able, or interested in continuing.(it was said that if you lived through the first minute of an engagement you were likely to survive it altogether) There were 3 avenues of approach for the Warsaw Pact, Fulda was the one we had to cover. The much advertised Neutron warhead that came along later, was intended to lethally irradiate the enemy formations while causing much less blast damage. I'm just really happy that Dr. Strangelove, and Failsafe were as close as humanity ever came to all of that. (I'm wearing my Capt. Midnight anti radiation tinfoil hat as I type this..) Sweet dreams all...

Nickdfresh
06-22-2014, 11:17 AM
I wasn't around at the time, but my understanding was that nobody expected the nukes to stay grounded for more than about 48 hours or so. Once the tactical nukes in Germany start flying, everything else would fly and then we'd all be crispy critters.

I think maybe towards the end with the generation of NATO 'super' tanks, there was a thought that NATO could hold (without nukes) and even turn the tables on the Warsaw through counter offensives using mobility and vastly superior fire control and survivability....

Rising Sun*
06-22-2014, 11:22 AM
Normally, we would have Brigade level recon units, and air cover watching out ahead of the column to be sure that the bridge was still there, and not a trap.

Around the time you were doing your tank commanding I was in what might have been equivalent to your recon unit, which was called an assault troop (variously configured but about the equivalent of an infantry platoon, except fewer in number and mechanised in APCs = M113, although we rarely had an M113 as they were mostly in Vietnam or training the troops who were going there,) in our armoured corps.

As armoured corps, but cavalry (and that’s generous for grunts delivered by any vehicle which happened to be available) rather than armour, our primary function was to go ahead of whatever was more important coming down the road behind us and identify, report back on, or clear threats such as ambushes, road blocks, bridges set to detonate, etc.

What was coming down the road behind us was presumed for our corps to be tanks, which have a strong dislike of going into places where they could be ambushed, road blocked, or on bridges which detonate etc, but in practice could be any unit which wanted a path cleared.

We weren’t exactly expendable in the sense of being put forward to no purpose, but just better to lose than seriously useful battlefield assets like tanks. Or artillery. Or even trucks.

We followed the standard tactic for such units in all armies of being pushed out on foot anywhere between about 50 metres and, rarely, ½ to 1 kilometre ahead of whatever was thought to be more important behind us.

However, we were also trained in various Vietnam era infantry tactics such as patrolling, ambushing, and cordon and search. And a bit of search and destroy.

But, unlike you and leccy, nobody told us that most of us weren't going to make it past the first 48 hours. It seems we were training for and tens of thousands were involved in a real war in Vietnam where, statistically, very few got killed or badly hurt although raw numbers are that many did, while you and leccy were training for a possible war with unimaginably worse casualties but nobody ended up getting killed or badly hurt.

Which leads to the paradoxical conclusion that several hundred thousand combatants, and perhaps an equal or greater number of civilians, died in Vietnam which ended up as a communist victory, yet nobody died in Europe in a potentially vastly worse war which ended up, without a shot being fired, in defeat of the Soviet and aligned communists.

Are wars of mutually assured destruction better, as long as they don't happen, when backed by economic and other sanctions and greater military production / capacity by the winner which overwhelm the loser, than real wars?


If the recon said the bridge was there, across we would go at walking speed, a 52 ton Tank on a 20 ton bridge.
Not unlike one of our officers who, upon our column coming to an old timber bridge in the middle of nowhere with a sign stating its maximum load was about 20% of the Saracens we were in, duly inspected it on the basis of his deep knowledge and experience as a tax department clerk or something equally irrelevant in civilian life (my troop officer was a junior pharmacist and, as an officer, was probably a very good pharmacist), pronounced it safe to cross. Naturally, the officer stood in a suitably impressive military pose outside the Saracens watching the crossing while those aboard hoped the Saracens didn’t plunge into the creek below, because it’s hard enough to get out of a Saracen with SLRs and in full kit with everyone inside cooperating when it’s upright and, I expect, ****ing near impossible when it’s upside down under water and panic takes hold.

The problem with tanks on the battlefield is that, at least when they’re in support of infantry and given that infantry takes the ground that matters, tanks are a bit like capital ships on the ocean pre-aircraft carriers which can do massive damage to lesser forces but are too valuable to expose to the risk of loss, so they tend to be held back once there is any sign of a serious threat to them or, in many cases, just uncertainty about whether there is a serious threat, with a protective screen around them.
I take it from your description of your tank unit’s function that it wasn’t the sort of mobile infantry support role I was trained in (without tanks, as most of them were in Vietnam) but more of part of a massed, and potentially sacrificial, defence in an overall plan to delay the enemy’s advance.

Nickdfresh
06-22-2014, 11:29 AM
...
The contemporary wisdom was that Warsaw had minimally, a 3 to 1 advantage in Armor, and possibly as much as 5 to 1. In reality it was probably less than 3 to 1 even including their marginally serviceable tanks, and the scads of light BMP's and PT-76 vehicles, which could not withstand the M-2 50 BMG. Warsaw preferred mass armored formations for invasion, and while armor, and gun technology was pretty much even between us, NATO had superior fire control, and communications. This would allow us to engage them at ranges much greater than they were able to answer....

By the late 1980's, some military analysts were saying that NATO had a 1.2-to-1 advantage in armor when all factors such as optics, gun power (the 120mm Rheinmetall gun), vastly superior armor on the new M-1's and Leopards, and mobility were factored in...

Nickdfresh
06-22-2014, 01:04 PM
Around the time you were doing your tank commanding I was in what might have been equivalent to your recon unit, which was called an assault troop (variously configured but about the equivalent of an infantry platoon, except fewer in number and mechanised in APCs = M113, although we rarely had an M113 as they were mostly in Vietnam or training the troops who were going there,) in our armoured corps.

I think the Aussies get some of the credit for adapting the first ad hoc Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV's) by converting the M-113's from battle taxis to an AFV with real teeth and organic firepower. The South Vietnamese also get a bit of credit I think.


...
Not unlike one of our officers who, upon our column coming to an old timber bridge in the middle of nowhere with a sign stating its maximum load was about 20% of the Saracens we were in, duly inspected it on the basis of his deep knowledge and experience as a tax department clerk or something equally irrelevant in civilian life (my troop officer was a junior pharmacist and, as an officer, was probably a very good pharmacist), pronounced it safe to cross. Naturally, the officer stood in a suitably impressive military pose outside the Saracens watching the crossing while those aboard hoped the Saracens didn’t plunge into the creek below, because it’s hard enough to get out of a Saracen with SLRs and in full kit with everyone inside cooperating when it’s upright and, I expect, ****ing near impossible when it’s upside down under water and panic takes hold.

What an arsehole! At least evacuate the Saracens of all but a driver and have everyone else walk across...

tankgeezer
06-22-2014, 01:53 PM
Our Recon forces had some teeth to them if a fight was called for, Their principal vehicle was the M-114 Track, which carried as its primary weapon an automatic 20 mm gun. It fired a "bridge mix" of A.P. and explosive ammo. This was deemed enough to cause trouble for the enemy, and still provide a fast exit for the recon boys. The M-113 APC was also pretty versatile, lending itself to many different roles. One a Command track, another as medical track. Then there was the "A-Cav" version which had two .30 cal machine guns positions, and one .50 BMG position, all with plate armor protection. Then the Mortar track having a 4.2 inch mortar which could be operated from either inside, or outside the vehicle. A very handy addition to the Recon Track and its gun. There was also a version that had a 20mm Vulcan with Radar for A.A. 1st pic, M-114 recon. 2nd bad manual pic of the M-113 mortar track. 3rd, the 20mm Vulcan A.A. track.

Rising Sun*
06-22-2014, 02:03 PM
I think the Aussies get some of the credit for adapting the first ad hoc Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV's) by converting the M-113's from battle taxis to an AFV with real teeth and organic firepower.

We made them a lot more survivable than the American APC's by field welding belly plates to them to resist mines, and running ours on diesel rather then the much more flammable petrol the Americans ran.

pdf27
06-22-2014, 03:17 PM
What an arsehole! At least evacuate the Saracens of all but a driver and have everyone else walk across...
Or better yet, order the guys in the back out and ride there himself - that or stand underneath the bridge.

tankgeezer
06-22-2014, 03:19 PM
We made them a lot more survivable than the American APC's by field welding belly plates to them to resist mines, and running ours on diesel rather then the much more flammable petrol the Americans ran.
Which vehicles were you using? the 113's we used were aluminum hulled, and burned diesel, the M-59 it replaced was steel hulled, and used gas. The recon M-114 also ran on gas.
I was sent to school for the 113, 2 weeks learning the details of maintenance mostly, but driving, and swimming them as well. Although I graduated with the highest scores, I was also voted most likely to sink my own track while swimming it. :mrgreen:

tankgeezer
06-22-2014, 10:59 PM
RS*: "The problem with tanks on the battlefield is that, at least when they’re in support of infantry and given that infantry takes the ground that matters, tanks are a bit like capital ships on the ocean pre-aircraft carriers which can do massive damage to lesser forces but are too valuable to expose to the risk of loss, so they tend to be held back once there is any sign of a serious threat to them or, in many cases, just uncertainty about whether there is a serious threat, with a protective screen around them.
I take it from your description of your tank unit’s function that it wasn’t the sort of mobile infantry support role I was trained in (without tanks, as most of them were in Vietnam) but more of part of a massed, and potentially sacrificial, defence in an overall plan to delay the enemy’s advance. "

The plan did include infantry, all of which was mechanized and driven around in the lovely M-113 There was also a fair amount of Cavalry both Armored, and Air. The only parts of the Cav units that we would be likely to have along were those having M-551 Sheridan tanks. their Tow missiles would be handy in the open, and if it was woodsy, they could always go to the regular munitions (while not very fast, their 152mm HE would be nice to have around ) It would be a bad idea to have these light little tanks moving out in the open as they had very little protection. Better to keep them in the tree lines, or defilade positions like snipers. The missiles would be very useful ranging past 3,000 meters, but the caseless, really a combustible case conventional ammo made for slow work.
At any rate, as far as we were trained for this particular adventure, the infantry would remain out of the way as we would operate as Tanks only, hiding behind whatever features we had, or could make, and engage the enemy formations at the extremes of our ability (for the M-60 series that was 4.4 km.) this was all poke and hope, as no one had ever been trained to fire from that range. ( you might miss your intended target but hit another nearby.) At ranges nearer to 2,500 meters, the system was pretty good, and hits were 70% sure. If we could keep about 2,000 meters between us, and them, that would allow us to retain the initiative. This supposedly would force the Soviets to disperse, take up a fighting formation, and proceed more slowly. This could take some time as soviet line tanks did not have radios,only the platoon leaders, company commanders did, so everything had to be communicated by hand signals, or flags and this only after going up, and back down the centralized command system. While they were doing all of that, we would move back by alternating bounds maintaining fire as much as possible, along with whatever Gun, and rocket artillery was delivering. and maybe some air support, maybe. We would do this as many times as we could, slow them, take some out, and move to do it again. If it became clear that we were on the short end, or were destroyed, like the stand of the 300 at Thermopylae, that is when the little nukes would be let off the leash . We did not consider ourselves in any way as hard to chew as the Spartans were, but we would do our share.
If for some reason we had orders to close with the enemy, then the infantry would come forward in their aluminum chariots to help protect us, and exploit any opportunities to further reduce the evil Empire's numbers. The Cav guys would attempt to make flank attacks to sow confusion, and distraction. Well around our whole formation, would be the Red Eye teams, 4 of them at their compass point positions to help knock down Migs, and Helos that came to rain on our parade. In the big scheme, we were considered completely expendable to keep the Red army out of Western Europe. (Hopefully, Chuck Norris would get there before that happened, and make the World safe for Democracy ) included, a pic of a Red Eye launcher.

leccy
06-23-2014, 07:56 AM
As a Sapper with CRA CF my sections particular operating area for the initial day was the Harz mountains, we had the simple job of blowing and mining everything we could, just complete route denial. If left alive and by some miracle able to rejoin our Squadron we would revert back to 33 Armd Bde in 4 Armd Div (as always happened in exercise after the obligatory 6 hours dead).

Not too many knew that every bridge, ferry crossing, narrow defile road between hills or mountains was pre-prepared for demolition.

Explosives for each were kept nearby in the quantity and type required along with the actual demolition plan for where to place them. Brackets on bridges so charges slotted straight in, measleshafts in which "cheese's" were lowered down (40-150lb charges that looked like a wheel of cheese) on abbutments, in roads, defiles, ferry landing pads.

Steel beams in holes in the ground that could be pulled up and locked in place, concrete blocks on sides of road to drop on them (sounds so similar to what the British did in 1940 onwards).

As the covering force we just blew everything to slow them down, the recce reported strength and direction, infantry provided cover for us and small units of point defence 'hit and run in 432 :/', the plan was designed to make parts of the assault slow while others could advance at fast speed and then be caught in the flanks and dealt with by overwhelming firepower, the Warsaw Pact forces having no back up from their flanks.

One of the main reserves counted on was the French placing their military under Nato Command for operations. Britain itself only had one full Division in reserve (2nd Inf) in UK along with the TA and Reservists called up to flesh out the existing Divs (1st, 3rd and 4th Armd in Germany) and provide most of the rear area support and defence. Nato flanks were the responsibility of the Commando Brigade (A)MFL UK - (ACE) Allied Command Europe, Mobile Force and the Airlanding brigade based around the Paras.

Rising Sun*
06-23-2014, 08:56 AM
Which vehicles were you using? the 113's we used were aluminum hulled, and burned diesel...

Bearing in mind that, with the following exception, we weren't permanently using any M113s as most them were being used by real soldiers, apart from a command M113 (in which I spent a few lonely hours one night jammed against the ramp as the lowest of the low and found that its principal function was to provide a dry crib for sergeants looking at pictures in stick - i.e. porn - books while officers were up the front - i.e. a few feet away - doing officery things, which was probably looking at upmarket stick books and, unlike the sergeants, possibly reading the articles.).

The original M113s were petrol engined and built until 1964. I expect that a fair number of these were in Vietnam with US forces in the mid to late 60s which is the period I had in mind with the reference to US M113s having petrol engines. As far as I'm aware, all Australian delivered M113s followed the switch to diesel in 1964. My understanding of US M113s in Vietnam being petrol engined and inclined to brew up is based on information from Australian soldiers serving there from the mid 60s.

You have PM.


[Australian] M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers

Designed and built in the United States in the late 1950s, the M113 was introduced into service with the US military in 1960. The improved, diesel powered M113A1 was purchased in 1964 by the Australian government and the first vehicles began to arrive in Australia in 1965. The M113A1 has been employed by a variety of units, including armoured and infantry. This vehicle type has been used operationally in South Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, and East Timor.

The first Australian APCs to arrive in South Vietnam were from 1 APC Troop, a reduced troop of ten M113A1 APCs from A Squadron, 4th/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse Regiment, which arrived at Vung Tau on 8 June 1965. Initially armed with an M2HB .50-calibre machine-gun, the M113A1 was soon fitted with a protective armour shield to provide protection for the otherwise exposed crew commander. The shields proved to be of limited value, and in the second half of 1966 some of the APCs deployed to South Vietnam were modified by fitting Model 74C command cupolas, made by Aircraft Armaments Incorporated. Only 20 Model 74C cupolas were purchased, of which 19 were sent to South Vietnam.

Permanent improvements were made with the introduction of the Cadillac Gage T-50 (Aust) turret, which could be fitted with either a .50 calibre machine-gun and .30 calibre machine-gun combination, making the vehicle an LRV, or twin .30 calibre machine-guns in the APC. Only the APC and LRV variants were fitted with the turret: all other variants within the family of vehicles retained the flex-mounted commanders machine-gun. By the end of the Vietnam commitment, or soon afterwards, the armament on the APC/LRV was standardised with a .50/.30 combination.

The M113AS3 upgraded the M113A1 with a new engine, drive train, brakes, increased ballistic protection, external fuel tanks, modified stowage, and many other modifications. The M113AS4 (APC/LRV) upgrade lengthened the vehicle and an additional pair of road wheels were added. A new single-person turret armed with an M2HB Quick Change Barrel machine-gun was also added.



Specifications

M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)

Armament: .50 calibre and .30 calibre machine-guns

Armour: 12–38 mm

Crew: 2 + 10 passengers

Power plant: GMC V6 diesel

Speed (max.): 66 km/h

Length: 4.87 m

Height: 2.41 m

Width: 2.69 m

Weight: 10.5 t

http://www.awm.gov.au/units/subject_21659.asp

Rising Sun*
06-23-2014, 10:09 AM
Or better yet, order the guys in the back out and ride there himself - that or stand underneath the bridge.

Apparently he was well regarded as an officer, at least by other officers.

His custom made or customised uniforms certainly gave the strutting little **** a certain distinction, as did his 'press on' attitude, as with the Saracen episode.

That's about as much as know about him. A captain was only marginally more remote to me than a colonel (I believe my unit had one) or a field marshal (my country didn't have one) for grunts like me.

tankgeezer
06-23-2014, 10:43 AM
I did a bit more reading and find the original 113 was gas. I s'pose I should have read that to begin with. We did have the A1 version, the only tracked vehicle we did have that was Gas was the very noisy M-88 retriever which needed the extra H.P.- Kw-PS given by the gas engine. Present day 88's are Diesel I believe. Navigating in the 113 in amphibious mode was mostly a matter of luck, and made a hovercraft look like an F-1 car for steering. About a foot of it was above water.

Rising Sun*
06-23-2014, 10:59 AM
About a foot of it was above water.

This is standard, or you as the most likely to sink one? ;) :D

tankgeezer
06-23-2014, 11:47 AM
Well, I was informed by a couple of the training NCO's that my turning was less than optimal, and made me the most likely candidate of the class to sink one. Something to do with causing the thing to get tippy by stopping the track too quickly. The thing was propelled, and steered by the tracks in water, it sort of dog paddles its way around at a few mph, and had a different set of control levers for aquatic steering. Apparently, stopping the track quickly causes the entire machine to tip, and rock a bit. I was for the whole of that day, subjected to jokes about submarines. ;) :)
In order to swim the 113 A1 if it wasn't full of people, it had to be ballasted with an equal weight of whatever to keep it trimmed, otherwise if it was empty it would just nose down and bob around like a bottle. We piled old track sections in the back, and had to generously grease the ramp, and door seals to stop any leakage. The 113 A1 has a bilge pump that runs constantly, and it could or perhaps should, keep things dry enough to stay afloat.

tankgeezer
06-23-2014, 06:45 PM
I think maybe towards the end with the generation of NATO 'super' tanks, there was a thought that NATO could hold (without nukes) and even turn the tables on the Warsaw through counter offensives using mobility and vastly superior fire control and survivability....
PDF agrees with you, with the advent of present day MBT's and the host of long standoff smart ,and unmanned weapon systems,all the things that ones sees on the Military channel these days, they would probably not be needed. Given recent events in Eastern Europe, and the middle East, maybe this topic is going to gather greater interest in the wider World.
Soviet Tanks were not all great, nor all bad. (well other than the T-54 anyway) They did have some serious drawbacks in their designs, and equipment. Though I can't speak for the rest of NATO, the M-60 series had some deficiencies as well. The 60 used a high pressure hydraulics to operate the Turret power traverse, elevation, and depression of the gun. There was an accumulator that was kept at 1200 psi by a noisy pump. This fed the system of lines that ran around the Turret walls, and here and there to where ever they needed to go. This created a fire hazard for the crew. If an incoming round came through and cut these lines open, it would be a blow torch. The 60 was a bit too high, though it was felt that this was a minor problem. The fuel filters were a problem to service, the bulkhead between the crew, and engine/fuel cell compartment would have to be removed to get at them. Its not the best thing to have thin, bolted plates between you, and 500 gallons of diesel fuel. Later, there was an upgrade done to run tubes from the filters back to the top of the engine compartment just under the grill doors. A pair of valves not unlike thermos cooler taps were used to purge the filters. Honestly, no real protection for them, and if damaged they would start pumping fuel into the rear of the Hull. The plusses as I said earlier are good operating range, excellent fire control (for the time) a Turret floor that moved with the Turret a definite one up on the Soviets who didn't have such decadent luxuries. Every 60 had a nice radio setup, with an auxiliary receiver to allow each tank to communicate with company, battalion, and whomever else they needed to. After Day 1, or 2, the Company Commander could be a buck Sergeant , and would need to talk to the higher levels of command. The U.S. military made a big fuss over the Soviet T-72 Tank, and were very wary of it at first. Part of the fuss was to keep us motivated, the rest was just because they had not gotten hold of one yet. Once they did, it was a case of never mind. I do have to add that the T-72 did spur NATO to begin freshening up the armored forces in W.Europe. New tanks began to show up, even the M-60 A2 (not to be confused with the A1E2 having the missile launcher) the A2 was pretty much a modernized A1 but had full stabilization for the main gun. its replacement, the A3 had a new rangefinder, and fire control, and a wind direction detector added some additional finesse to gunnery. I have to say that its a bit weird to see Tanks that weren't even out when I was serving on display in parks, and taking hits on gunnery ranges. Gives one to wonder what is on the drawing boards, and hiding away on remote proving grounds waiting for their day.