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garm1and
05-11-2015, 08:02 PM
At which battle did the tide turn against the Axis Powers? Was it the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Kursk, or the Normandy Invasion. Or was it something else?

leccy
05-12-2015, 04:35 AM
Tide turned probably at the Battle of Britain stage - or maybe not exactly turned but was stopped on its headlong charge.

Stopped the Axis expansion in Europe and led Hitler to disregard the British and the capability of Britain to survive and continue the fight - no quick easy victory

Enabled Britain to be an unsinkable aircraft carrier and supply depot for the build up of US forces, disruption of Axis infrastructure by bombing, spreading out of Axis resources and dwindling manpower (over 400,000 badly needed troops stayed in Scandinavia for the whole duration of the war taking relatively little part in the fighting).

Gave hope to Europe and showed determination to stand up to aggressors which reaped increasing benefits as time wore on, convinced some nations to stay out of the war (mixture of bribes, materiel provided, unwillingness to jump in to grab what they can when they may just lose it all) - Spain and Turkey as examples

Kept open two supply routes for lend lease to the Soviets when they eventually were forced to join in (Arctic Convoys and Persian rail route)

Diverted large amounts of resources and manpower away from the East which affected the fighting more and more as time went on - not just in units committed to fighting which were substantial, but as anti invasion forces and defences, huge amounts of air defences both guns and planes, lost production due to bombing of factories and disruption of infrastructure.

It was not the one major right at that time event - it was more one that led to many things later - if Sealion had gone ahead and succeeded somehow or Britain capitulated along the lines of Vichy France - things might have been very different.

No US involvement in Europe, No Lend Lease to USSR, possibly Spain and Turkey joining the Axis, larger amounts of troops and equipment available for use in the Axis future endeavours, possibly British production added to Axis - gets into lots of 'what ifs'

Rising Sun*
05-12-2015, 07:15 AM
Tide turned probably at the Battle of Britain stage - or maybe not exactly turned but was stopped on its headlong charge.

Stopped the Axis expansion in Europe and led Hitler to disregard the British and the capability of Britain to survive and continue the fight - no quick easy victory

Enabled Britain to be an unsinkable aircraft carrier and supply depot for the build up of US forces, disruption of Axis infrastructure by bombing, spreading out of Axis resources and dwindling manpower (over 400,000 badly needed troops stayed in Scandinavia for the whole duration of the war taking relatively little part in the fighting).

Gave hope to Europe and showed determination to stand up to aggressors which reaped increasing benefits as time wore on, convinced some nations to stay out of the war (mixture of bribes, materiel provided, unwillingness to jump in to grab what they can when they may just lose it all) - Spain and Turkey as examples

Kept open two supply routes for lend lease to the Soviets when they eventually were forced to join in (Arctic Convoys and Persian rail route)

Diverted large amounts of resources and manpower away from the East which affected the fighting more and more as time went on - not just in units committed to fighting which were substantial, but as anti invasion forces and defences, huge amounts of air defences both guns and planes, lost production due to bombing of factories and disruption of infrastructure.

It was not the one major right at that time event - it was more one that led to many things later - if Sealion had gone ahead and succeeded somehow or Britain capitulated along the lines of Vichy France - things might have been very different.

No US involvement in Europe, No Lend Lease to USSR, possibly Spain and Turkey joining the Axis, larger amounts of troops and equipment available for use in the Axis future endeavours, possibly British production added to Axis - gets into lots of 'what ifs'

I agree with your concise and accurate summary.

I'd suggest only that, despite being defeats, the Battle of Dunkirk, and the wider evacuation of British troops to Britain then and later as France fell, should be linked with the Battle of Britain soon afterwards as the return of those troops, despite leaving their heavy weapons and transport in France, still left Britain with considerably more means to defend itself against an invasion than would have been the case if those troops had all been captured.

This also allowed Britain later to send land forces to North Africa to divert Axis forces and resources from Europe and Germany's eastern thrust. This also kept the Suez Canal open which kept a vital supply line open to and from Britain and its interests and dominions in India, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand throughout the war (and to Burma, Malaya etc before Japan came into the war), where closure of the Canal would have imposed unacceptable burdens on merchant and naval shipping around the Cape of Good Hope and seriously undermined Britain's war effort.

garm1and
05-12-2015, 07:03 PM
Hey guys, both great answers. Let me ask this......... Why didn't Spain join with the Nazis? After all, didn't Hitler send forces to fight on the side of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War? I've often wondered why they stayed neutral.

leccy
05-13-2015, 01:07 AM
Hey guys, both great answers. Let me ask this......... Why didn't Spain join with the Nazis? After all, didn't Hitler send forces to fight on the side of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War? I've often wondered why they stayed neutral.

Franco needed materiel to rebuild the country after the war, he had a huge debt to Italy and Germany for their help. The Allies could supply food and material which Germany and Italy could not.

Germany transferred a few tanks to Spain, had a lot of sympathisers in Spain and even raised Spanich units in an anti bolshevik league (Azul Division being amongst them) but could not provide what Franco wanted.

You could look at it this way - Germany promised Gibraltar to Spain - If Germany lost though Spain would be on the losing side with all that entails, if Germany wins Britain would have capitulated which makes it more likely Spain could take Gibraltar and retain it.

So staying Neutral with a leaning to the Axis provided Spain with security in any eventuality, the allies provided food and materiel to keep Spain out of the war, Spain provided Germany with troops and limited resources in exchange for limited equipment.

Spain supporting (even though tentatively) Germany did have longer lasting effects though, Spain was placed on a blacklist for British military technology so when they wished to purchase the Leopard 1 tank it was refused on the grounds it had the British L7A3 fitted. France was not as reluctant.

garm1and
05-13-2015, 05:25 AM
Thanks leccy. 7450

JR*
05-13-2015, 05:58 AM
Interesting replies. A good case indeed for the Battle of Britain. An interesting, if unhistorical speculation is whether, even if the Luftwaffe had "suppressed" Fighter Commannd, the Wehrmacht could have brought off "Sealion". It is unlikely that the suppression of Fighter Command would have been complete, and the Luftwaffe would have suffered heavy losses even to achieve temporary "suppression". And then, of course, there was Bomber Command, and the greatly superior Royal Navy. Against this, there is the point that the Germans were very ill-equipped, technologically, to mount a seaborne invasion of anywhere. The Kriegsmarine had few, if any, specialized landing vessels. The idea was to transport the whole land-based invasion force across the Channel in unsuitable vessels, mainly canal barges requisitioned from rivers and canals across western Europe, escorted by a German fleet much weaker in almost all respects than the Royal Navy under air cover from the Luftwaffe. Because of the inadequacies of marine ship location at the time, and the clumsiness of the transports, this operation would necessarily have been conducted in daylight.

This plan had a high prospect of miscarrying. Without going into all the complications, the armada of inherently unseaworthy barges and so on would have been highly vulnerable to the "Spanish Armada scenario" - one good storm in the Channel at the wrong moment could easily have destroyed it. Furthermore, the launch of the invasion fleet would have to be handled with very great care to have any chance of success at all. In view of the inadequacy of Britain's land forces at the time, there can be no doubt that Churchill's government would have regarded the immediate threat of invasion as what is now commonly described as an "existential threat". When the moment came, they would have thrown everything they had at the invasion fleet - Bomber Command, the remains of Fighter Command, and all available units of the Royal Navy.

Substantial British losses could, in these circumstances, have been expected. However, in provoking an all-out, to-the-death confrontation with the Royal Navy and the whole of the RAF, the losses to the German side could have been crippling. The transport element of the fleet would have highly vulnerable to disruptive bombing, and even attack from RN capital ships, which could have delivered fire into it from ranges that would have limited the effectiveness of German bombers against them (co-operation with the U-boat arm of the Kriegsmarine might have been more of a threat - but even there, the RN's superiority in destroyers and other "submarine killers" would have represented a counter-threat). In summary, there is a very strong possibility that, even with a partially-suppressed Fighter Command, the British, at cost no doubt, could have reduced the sort of invasion fleet projected by the Germans to a bloody mess. The effective destruction of the first wave of a German invasion, combined with follow-up attacks (including Grand Fleet bombardment of German forces waiting to take part in subsequent waves) could have compromised the whole Wehrmacht seriously; certainly enough to bring Hitler's dream of an early strike on the Soviet Union into serious question.

Not historical, of course. Just a thought. Yours from the Dover Castle Caves, JR. PS - to my British friends I might lend (paraphrased) a line from an old Oirish Republican song - "Thank God you're surrounded by water" ... JR.

Rising Sun*
05-13-2015, 07:05 AM
At which battle did the tide turn against the Axis Powers? Was it the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Kursk, or the Normandy Invasion. Or was it something else?

Looking at it more broadly, every battle and campaign Britain and its Commonwealth fought up 7 / 8 (depending on which side of the international dateline you're on) December 1941 was a turning point, purely because nobody else was fighting the Axis powers.

Had Britain capitulated as France did, everything upon which the Allied response to the Axis powers was based after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941 and Japan attacked in December 1941 would have been impossible.

America would have been confined to the continental US and Hawaii, with no realistic ability to launch a successful invasion of Britain or continental Europe.

The USSR would have been denied materiel support from and through Britain.

The USSR would have faced much larger German forces then were actually deployed against it.

The USSR would have been on its own, with a much higher risk of defeat.

America would probably have defeated Japan, but to what end when its trade with Britain and Europe was cut off? Presumably it would have done as the rancid American capitalists like Henry Ford wished, and traded with the Nazis for profit, as indeed the rancid American capitalists did while Britain was single-handedly fighting Germany and Italy while Ford and General Motors, among others, were happily supplying the Nazis because, not least, the Nazis agreed with their anti-Semitic and anti-communist views apart from offering great profits to supplement the profits made from supplying Britain at the same time.

America's entry to the war certainly tipped the balance in favour of Allied victory, but without Britain holding the fort alone for the bleak years of 1940 and 1941 on its own shores and in North Africa, Greece, Crete, and against the Vichy French, Italians and Germans in various places, America's entry to the war would not have had Britain as, as Leccy said, the unsinkable aircraft carrier which was the necessary and only base for the land assault on Germany from the west, along with the Mediterranean for the land assault on Italy from the south.

I'm not ignoring the major contribution of America's Lend Lease program to support Britain during the bleak years, but the fact remains that Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting the Germans and Italy for a critical year to eighteen months while the rest of the world either surrendered or looked on.

The USSR and America came in only when attacked and with no choice but to fight, while Britain, with France, got itself involved from the outset by standing up to Nazi expansionism.

The modern world should be eternally grateful to Churchill for, in the face of appeasers and defeatists in Britain, fighting on and laying the foundations for Allied victory over the evils of the Nazis and the Japanese. The modern world would be a very different place if the British appeasers and defeatists had capitulated to Germany.

leccy
05-13-2015, 04:46 PM
Ref Sealion I have recently started to look at some German Documents that have been made available by the Russians and put online (ones they captured from the germans).

One of the methods for supplying the troops from lighters on the beaches tested was literally to build a railway on the beach. each successive lighter would line up with the tracks to disgorge its load of wagons which were towed by halftrack and then static winches on a cable system.

The whole system had sidings, branch lines, winch stations, hardly a suitable system even in peace time.

It is slow going translating them (as they are scans of the original documents) but I have found 6 relating to Sealion so far

JR*
05-14-2015, 07:02 AM
Very interesting contributions. For the heck of it, I would like to state a case for "Operation Barbarossa" and, specifically, its failure to knock the Soviet Union out of the war by December, 1941.

Germany was still in a strong position to wage war in Summer, 1941. Britain continued to defy Hitler, but was temporarily neutralized, except in relation to its operations in North Africa (yet another complication facing the Germans as a result of Italy's ill-judged declaration of war on Great Britain). The USA was not yet at war with the Axis, and it was far from certain that it would ever get involved. Germany had not yet instituted a fully-fledged war economy. However, the strain on the economy of Germany and German-occupied western Europe were already coming into evidence. As against this, the German war effort was still in a position to support itself with the aid of, in effect, resources looted from the occupied countries, ranging from industrial production to captured war materiel and - importantly - reserve stocks of the "sinews of war" accumulated in these countries, notably of oil. Perhaps there was, at least for now, the capacity to strike a decisive blow in the East.

I know that it is unhistorical to speculate on what might have happened if Germany had captured Moscow and/or Leningrad in 1941. However, I do not subscribe to the view that the Soviet Union could easily have survived the loss of Moscow in particular, a view that seems to have received some currency in recent times. 1941 was not 1812. In 1812, Moscow was important as a communications centre - but only for its river communications. It was Russia's capital, having a relationship not dissimilar to the of Amsterdam with Den Haag in the Netherlands today. However, it was not crucial to the operation of the administrative and political system. At this period, Russia was an empire ruled by a primitive medieval-style autocracy, assisted by a small middle class, lording over a huge mass of people of no education. By 1941, Moscow was a very important hub of a backward, but crucial road and rail network. Furthermore, the Soviet Union was an absolutist dictatorship ruling over a population that was to some extent educated and, to a large degree, literate at least. The late and unlamented Comrade Stalin was brilliantly and brutally effective in controlling this polity (actually an unusually effective performance viewed in a broader historical context). However, the situation over which he exercised control had the potential of considerable volatility. Apart altogether from the enhanced importance of Moscow in communications terms, its loss had the potential to destabilize the faith of the Soviet population in the régime that did not exist in 1812. The paradox of modernization - it requires a substantial educated workforce, but a literate workforce, inevitably, poses the possibility of revolutionary opposition, given the right circumstances. After all, the Russian Empire was destroyed, not mainly by simple military defeat, but by the bunch of rather second-rate intellectuals that constituted the Russian Social Democratic Party. A reasonable conclusion would be that the capture of Moscow would have produced serious disruption in Soviet military transport to the extent that the Soviets might easily have been forced to order a general retreat with, potentially, serious adverse consequences for the régime.

Germany's failure to capture Moscow (or at least Leningrad, which would have allowed the Germans to "outflank" Moscow from the north in a hypothetical Summer, 1942 campaign) had very serious consequences for the Germans. The spoils of the western campaign - particularly the "stockpile" element - were now greatly reduced or running out. Far from crumbling, the Soviet Union remained strong, with a huge potential to mobilize human and material resources for the war effort. A new generation of Soviet commanders was emerging to replace the victims of the "Army purges", and many of these proved highly effective. By contrast, the Germans' need to obtain the oil and mineral resources of the Caucasus was brought sharply into focus. In this context, the highly risky (and, thanks to Hitler, ill-executed) concentration of German effort in the South in 1942 is not at all illogical; it was an improbable last throw, leading to the Germans' calamitous defeat at Stalingrad, and their withdrawal from the Caucasus, events that, arguably, sealed their doom.

Just a speculation, of course. Also, it occurs to me that another candidate for the real turning point took place, not in Europe, but far, far away at Pearl Harbour. That is another story ... Yours from Admiral Nagumo's bridge, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-14-2015, 08:27 AM
JR*

My inclination is that Stalin would have maintained control even if Moscow fell, and that the USSR still had good prospects of defeating Germany or at least fighting it to a standstill, not least because:
1. He was never under threat of being toppled during WWII, even in the USSR's darkest days.
2. He / the USSR could have just kept moving everything east, as they did in the real war, thus extending Germany's strained lines of communication while shortening their own and building to a successful war of attrition for the USSR.

In relation to Pearl Harbor, that introduces a new aspect to garm1and's original question as Japan wasn't an Axis combatant for the first couple of years of WWII. Japan's entry certainly brought America into the war as a decisive Allied combatant and, more importantly, military industrial power, but it also started a fresh set of "tide turning" battles or campaigns in the Pacific, being those on land and sea in the second half of 1942 (Land: Guadalcanal, Papua. Sea: Coral Sea and, critically, Midway).

However, these Pacific battles and campaigns had no or very little bearing on what was happening in Europe, apart from the diversion of British and its Commonwealth forces from, primarily, the Mediterranean / North Africa / Greece / Crete etc. Ignoring for the moment the various logistical problems in getting them there and supplying them, had those forces been available in the latter theatres it is unlikely that the results would have been much different.

Indeed, had, say, the not very good Indian divisions deployed in Malaya been added to the forces in Greece, it is likely that they would have done no more than contribute even more chaos to the British retreat. Their principal contribution would probably have been to add to Germany's burden in dealing with POWs for the rest of the war. The Australian 8th Division's two brigades in Malaya and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders would have fought well in Greece as they did in Malaya, but probably without changing the result and also making their lasting contribution only by adding to Germany's burden of POWs, along with most of the rest not very good British units actually deployed in Malaya.

Perhaps the critical tide turning effect of Pearl Harbor was not in the field but was to encourage Hitler, unnecessarily as there was no treaty with or other obligation to Japan to do so, to declare war on the USA. This removed all impediments to Roosevelt's desire to join the war against Germany and took the formerly largely isolationist American people with him as the US Senate and House of Representatives responded with a unanimous vote declaring war on Germany (and Italy).

Rising Sun*
05-14-2015, 08:46 AM
P.S.

Another important consequence of Japan's entry to the war which helped turn the tide against Germany was the geographic division of responsibilities between Britain and America for fighting Japan.

America became responsible for the Pacific, which relieved Britain of a potentially massive and impossible to meet naval and land force burden in defending Australia and New Zealand in accordance with its agreements with and obligations to those dominions.

Australia and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand became bases for America's thrust northwards to Japan.

The shorter lines of communication between the west coast of America and Australia / New Zealand flowing from this division of responsibilities allowed much greater Allied efficiency overall, and decreased dramatically the burden on Britain of defending its Australasian dominions, than the much longer lines of communication from Britain and consequently much higher consumption of oil and shipping tonnages / miles which were critical to both sides in the war.

Rising Sun*
05-14-2015, 09:14 AM
The real turning point in the Pacific war occurred in March 1942 when Japan, infected with 'the victory disease', chose to go beyond its original firm plans to conquer the Netherlands East Indies and proceed to the provisional but not very useful targets of Papua / New Guinea, and then beyond those provisional targets to, among others, Guadalcanal.

This over-extension produced convincing defeats on land in Guadalcanal and Papua by the start of 1943 and set the stage for the long, grinding and generally little known conflict in New Guinea which absorbed about 400,000 Japanese troops who were steadily reduced to semi or full starvation as the Allies cut off their supply lines from 1943 to the end of the war. (And in worse condition were loyal Indian troops serving in Malaya who had refused to join the Indian National Army Mks I and or II, who were transported to New Guinea and worked in conditions not much better than those on the Burma Railway but about whom nothing of substance has been written to compare with the relatively vast library of Anglo-Australian-American POW experiences).

These extensions beyond the original firm plan bled Japan of land forces; naval forces; and naval and merchant shipping in attempting to maintain over-extended lines of communication in the face of increasingly damaging Allied attacks on those lines of communication. These problems were compounded by Japan's practice of supplying its troops with initial rations which soon reduced in the expectation that its troops would live off the land. This was feasible, at least for a time, as Japanese troops moved like locusts across the landscape in China and to a lesser extent in Malaya and the Philippines. It was not feasible in places like Papua New Guinea where there was no large scale agriculture or animal husbandry but instead only scattered small villages with modest vegetable gardens and a few animals sufficient to meet the subsistence needs of the villagers. Add in the high rate of tropical diseases experienced by troops on both sides in these areas but without much in the way of medical staff or supplies for the Japanese and the result was that by 1944 many Japanese troops were on the way to being or were reduced to pitiful states of hunger and disease which rendered them of little or no use as fighting, and certainly not as sustained attack, troops.

The other effect of the over-extension was that by spreading its troops thinly and over-extending its lines of communication Japan severely reduced its ability to execute its somewhat ill-conceived war plan of taking territory and holding it to great cost to its enemies, primarily America, if they attacked so that eventually its enemies would negotiate a peace allowing Japan to hold all or most of those territories.

As it was, Japan bit off more than it could chew, and gradually choked on what it had bitten off.

Or, in the terms of this thread, Japan created a rising tide and then turned it on itself, and duly drowned.

383man
06-06-2015, 02:23 AM
Looking at it more broadly, every battle and campaign Britain and its Commonwealth fought up 7 / 8 (depending on which side of the international dateline you're on) December 1941 was a turning point, purely because nobody else was fighting the Axis powers.

Had Britain capitulated as France did, everything upon which the Allied response to the Axis powers was based after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941 and Japan attacked in December 1941 would have been impossible.

America would have been confined to the continental US and Hawaii, with no realistic ability to launch a successful invasion of Britain or continental Europe.

The USSR would have been denied materiel support from and through Britain.

The USSR would have faced much larger German forces then were actually deployed against it.

The USSR would have been on its own, with a much higher risk of defeat.

America would probably have defeated Japan, but to what end when its trade with Britain and Europe was cut off? Presumably it would have done as the rancid American capitalists like Henry Ford wished, and traded with the Nazis for profit, as indeed the rancid American capitalists did while Britain was single-handedly fighting Germany and Italy while Ford and General Motors, among others, were happily supplying the Nazis because, not least, the Nazis agreed with their anti-Semitic and anti-communist views apart from offering great profits to supplement the profits made from supplying Britain at the same time.

America's entry to the war certainly tipped the balance in favour of Allied victory, but without Britain holding the fort alone for the bleak years of 1940 and 1941 on its own shores and in North Africa, Greece, Crete, and against the Vichy French, Italians and Germans in various places, America's entry to the war would not have had Britain as, as Leccy said, the unsinkable aircraft carrier which was the necessary and only base for the land assault on Germany from the west, along with the Mediterranean for the land assault on Italy from the south.

I'm not ignoring the major contribution of America's Lend Lease program to support Britain during the bleak years, but the fact remains that Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting the Germans and Italy for a critical year to eighteen months while the rest of the world either surrendered or looked on.

The USSR and America came in only when attacked and with no choice but to fight, while Britain, with France, got itself involved from the outset by standing up to Nazi expansionism.

The modern world should be eternally grateful to Churchill for, in the face of appeasers and defeatists in Britain, fighting on and laying the foundations for Allied victory over the evils of the Nazis and the Japanese. The modern world would be a very different place if the British appeasers and defeatists had capitulated to Germany.


I agree Britian did hang on and not surrender when they could have. But I cant agree that Britian saved the world the way you make it sound. First Britian is lucky enough to be an island with a strong navy which France was not which made it easier for Britian to resist the Germans when on their own. They may have been one of the only ones fighting the Germans for a year or so but they were getting beat almost everywhere on land as they got kicked out of France and Greece and were getting banged around in North Africa for a while and it was mostly Itialians they were fighting in the desert as Germany only had 2 divisions in the desert. And actually the reason I feel Monty finally did defeat the Germans and Itialians in the desert was that Rommel just could not get the supplies that Monty did as you can see in some of the later battles Monty had up to a 1000 tanks and Rommel many times had less the 200 tanks. To me Rommell forces could not get the supplies it needed most of the time and Monty just eventually outnumbered him so much in tanks and supplies that Monty had to win sooner or later in the desert. They did have some naval and air battles they won of course and they fought very bravely where ever they were fighting. But on land early in the war Germany was to strong for them or anyone at that point and to me if they had not been an island nation Britian would have fallen in 1941.

I dont mean to take anything away from how great the British were fighting but in all honestly if they were a nation on the main continent of Europe like France and Hungary they may had fallen to the Germans early in the war but being and island nation and having a strong navy and air force was a good advantage they had over nations on the mainland Europe since Hitlers strongest forces were his land forces which could not get to the British on their island.

Now please dont take this the wrong way as the world is grateful for what Britian did to stand firm and not surrender as they could have easily taken Hitler's offer but they decided to stand and fight. I am merely pointing out that it helped them being an island nation to be able to hold on until Germany attacked Russia and eased up on Britian. Britian was also a great help to the USA for being and island nation as without them the USA may not have had anywhere to send their troops along with the British to built their forces for the invasion of Europe. Ron

leccy
06-06-2015, 04:42 AM
I agree Britian did hang on and not surrender when they could have. But I cant agree that Britian saved the world the way you make it sound. First Britian is lucky enough to be an island with a strong navy which France was not which made it easier for Britian to resist the Germans when on their own.

You get into some big what ifs there - If Britain had not been an island then it may not have had such a powerful Navy, it would have spent more on its Army instead of the majority of the budget being spent on the navy - and when re-equipping RN, RAF then army got what was left - In 1938/39 when the army was told to quadruple in size it was told it had to do it with the budget which had already been deemed too small to fully equip the existing divisions. With Britain being part of the mainland - that would probably have not been the case - The British Army may have continued with its Experimental Mobile Force trials and formed proper armoured divs prior to 1939 - The Army would probably have not been developed around a Commonwealth police force with limited capability on the mainland.

They may have been one of the only ones fighting the Germans for a year or so but they were getting beat almost everywhere on land as they got kicked out of France and Greece and were getting banged around in North Africa for a while and it was mostly Itialians they were fighting in the desert as Germany only had 2 divisions in the desert.

British forces in France and the Low Countries and later Greece were outnumbered and poorly equipped - of the nearly 1000 tanks and armoured cars Britain fielded on mainland Europe in May 1940 only around 200 had AT guns - less than 30 Matilda Seniors and the rest various marks of Cruiser (if Britain had been part of mainland Europe it would have had a continental army and not one equipped to police the empire.

The British Commonwealth Forces in North and East Africa faced overwhelming numbers of Italian troops with much more equipment - most of it comparable to or better than what Britain could field. Even when the Germans entered the field of battle they too were beaten by the British Commonwealth Forces and pushed back to their start point - it was not all 'Rommel' winning, he lost and German tank crews even had cases of 'Matildatitis'.

The British stopped when they pushed the Italians out of Egypt and all the way across Libya as they were exhausted and out of supplies - Germans attacked the weak holding garrison and pushed them back past tobruk which they could not take after an 8 month siege - British forces again push the Axis back across Libya and run out of supplies - not for nothing was the war in North Africa called 'The race track war - or the back and forth war' - the biggest killers of British tanks were mines and AT guns, German armour itself often coming of badly against British armour - but their AT gun screens which were impervious to British tank guns pretty much stopped the British.

British Forces were also on the long end of supply lines and Middle East Command - did not just deal with a single front - facing Rommel - but the whole of the Med and Africa - it had to provide troops, equipment and supplies for all the forces which were fighting in North and East Africa, internal troubles in Palestine etc, antagonistic regimes in Iraq, Iran, Syria


And actually the reason I feel Monty finally did defeat the Germans and Itialians in the desert was that Rommel just could not get the supplies that Monty did as you can see in some of the later battles Monty had up to a 1000 tanks and Rommel many times had less the 200 tanks. To me Rommell forces could not get the supplies it needed most of the time and Monty just eventually outnumbered him so much in tanks and supplies that Monty had to win sooner or later in the desert. They did have some naval and air battles they won of course and they fought very bravely where ever they were fighting. But on land early in the war Germany was to strong for them or anyone at that point and to me if they had not been an island nation Britian would have fallen in 1941.

Monty was the last of a string of Generals who fought Rommel - and he was not the first who had success against him. The Axis failed to provide the resources required by their forces on the ground in North and East Africa - saying there was none available - but then you look at the sudden influx of men and equipment,well supplied which were sent to Tunisia in 1942/43 when the war was lost already there (and the axis situation was more desperate in the Soviet union) and you can see that if they were serious they could have provided more troops, equipment and supplies to North Africa when it mattered and could be used.

Rommels inability to take Tobruk initially also compounded his supply problems as he wasted huge amounts of fuel, food and transport just getting supplies to the front along the single road, similar to the Allied problems - huge distances from your depot areas

I dont mean to take anything away from how great the British were fighting but in all honestly if they were a nation on the main continent of Europe like France and Hungary they may had fallen to the Germans early in the war but being and island nation and having a strong navy and air force was a good advantage they had over nations on the mainland Europe since Hitlers strongest forces were his land forces which could not get to the British on their island.

Hungary was an Axis nation it did not fall to the Germans until it tried to surrender in 1944 - even then it was a Hungarian puppet government in charge afterwards.

Rommel is seen as this great General - but most don't seem to understand him - he was one of the causes for the first German halt in France - when the limited spoiling attack at Arras took place by a small improvised brigade with a few tanks, no artillery and limited infantry support panicked him - He reported he was under attack by several allied tank divs - this forced OKW to stop the advance and turn several armoured divs around to counter this threat - in reality less than 100 Matildas (26 A12 Matildas) and a few Light Mk VI ripped a hole through the German forces - broke an SS unit causing it to flee the battle, Stopped the german advance and allowed the BEF and French forces in the area a chance to recover.

Again, if Britain had been part of mainland Europe its army would have been different - that is a what if that we can never know what would have happened - you have to try to work out centuries of european warfare to even begin to work out a possibility and that would be impossible as it would have changed the whole nature of Britain

Now please dont take this the wrong way as the world is grateful for what Britian did to stand firm and not surrender as they could have easily taken Hitler's offer but they decided to stand and fight. I am merely pointing out that it helped them being an island nation to be able to hold on until Germany attacked Russia and eased up on Britian. Britian was also a great help to the USA for being and island nation as without them the USA may not have had anywhere to send their troops along with the British to built their forces for the invasion of Europe. Ron

As for Britain 'Holding on' they were active constantly against the Axis in the air and sea - most of the Kriegsmarine were sunk in the battle for Norway so negating German surface sea power, apart from two short 'happy periods' the U-Boat arm was not very successful (they came closer in WW1 to starving the british out than at any time in WW2)

Raids against the continent notably ones like 'Vaagso' meant Hitler kept over 400,000 troops in Scandinavia for the duration of the war - they were so worried Britain may try to invade which would cut off their ore supplies. 400,000 badly needed troops with all their equipment that were still there in 1945.

France itself was not beaten by the Germans - it was beaten by itself - Petain was so mindful of the death and damage wrought to France during WW1 that he seeked an armistice when over half the country was unoccupied - when the french forces had started to get the measure of the Germans (and beat the invading Italian army) and were inflicting large numbers of casualties on the Germans.

Germany were stopped at the Channel by their failure to understand sea borne assaults, an inability to actually develop equipment or techniques required, the RN threat (especially as the Kriegsmarine surface fleet was all but finished after Norway), the RAF (no matter how close it may have come for the RAF, the German aircrews and equipment were at breaking point - crew morale was low with high incidences of early turn backs among bomber crews, reliability of planes was slipping lower and lower as German industry could not keep up - unlike Britain when fighter strength increased as the BoB progressed)

Rising Sun*
06-06-2015, 08:51 AM
As for Britain 'Holding on' they were active constantly against the Axis in the air and sea - most of the Kriegsmarine were sunk in the battle for Norway so negating German surface sea power, apart from two short 'happy periods' the U-Boat arm was not very successful (they came closer in WW1 to starving the british out than at any time in WW2)

Raids against the continent notably ones like 'Vaagso' meant Hitler kept over 400,000 troops in Scandinavia for the duration of the war - they were so worried Britain may try to invade which would cut off their ore supplies. 400,000 badly needed troops with all their equipment that were still there in 1945.

France itself was not beaten by the Germans - it was beaten by itself - Petain was so mindful of the death and damage wrought to France during WW1 that he seeked an armistice when over half the country was unoccupied - when the french forces had started to get the measure of the Germans (and beat the invading Italian army) and were inflicting large numbers of casualties on the Germans.

Germany were stopped at the Channel by their failure to understand sea borne assaults, an inability to actually develop equipment or techniques required, the RN threat (especially as the Kriegsmarine surface fleet was all but finished after Norway), the RAF (no matter how close it may have come for the RAF, the German aircrews and equipment were at breaking point - crew morale was low with high incidences of early turn backs among bomber crews, reliability of planes was slipping lower and lower as German industry could not keep up - unlike Britain when fighter strength increased as the BoB progressed)

Agree entirely, and with your specific comments at #15.

I'd add that comparing British and Axis effort, successes and failures in the Mediterranean and North Africa, one should look at a map and logistical comparisons.

The Med and North Africa were in Italy's backyard, but it still couldn't prevail over distant Britain, nor could Rommel.

Rommel is an overrated and somewhat junior general whose principal achievements in North Africa were to make audacious assaults without adequate regard to the ability of his lines of communication and logistics to support those assaults. Daring sometimes wins, and at times brilliantly, but it is unlikely to do in sustained efforts over long distances at perhaps brigade and certainly divisional and above levels where logistics will drag down the most daring, as happened to the panzers approaching Dunkirk in 1940; Patton in late 1944; and, in rather different circumstances where different sorts of line of communication problems were significant at brigade levels and above, Malaya in 1941/early 1942.

Britain's O'Connor was probably at least as good a general as Rommel in North Africa, maybe better.

Focusing on Britain as an island with supposedly inherent advantages compared with continental Europe ignores that Britain was reliant on imports for many crucial war and civilian items, not least petroleum products, which had to be brought by sea transport vulnerable to enemy attack.

Moreover, Britain as an imperial power had a lot more of the planet to defend (whether India directly or Australia indirectly, and various other possessions, colonies and dominions) and over much greater distances than any other power at the start of or during WWII.

The marvel of Britain's WWII is not that it did so badly in various places at various times, but that it managed to survive at all, let alone fight alone for the first part of what later became WWII and later win.

Britain's advantage as an island dependent upon sea imports was a much greater disadvantage than Germany's largely landlocked protection from distant
Britain and Germany's ability to exploit conquered territory in continental Europe.

Given these relative advantages and disadvantages, Germany should have done rather better than it did for the whole of its war against Britain.

That it did not do so is testament in part to the arrogance, hubris and incompetence of Germany's leadership. After all, a country which doesn't go onto a full war production footing until a few years after it's been in the biggest war in history isn't exactly a model of sensible war planning and management.

383man
06-06-2015, 09:54 PM
As for Britain 'Holding on' they were active constantly against the Axis in the air and sea - most of the Kriegsmarine were sunk in the battle for Norway so negating German surface sea power, apart from two short 'happy periods' the U-Boat arm was not very successful (they came closer in WW1 to starving the british out than at any time in WW2)

Raids against the continent notably ones like 'Vaagso' meant Hitler kept over 400,000 troops in Scandinavia for the duration of the war - they were so worried Britain may try to invade which would cut off their ore supplies. 400,000 badly needed troops with all their equipment that were still there in 1945.

France itself was not beaten by the Germans - it was beaten by itself - Petain was so mindful of the death and damage wrought to France during WW1 that he seeked an armistice when over half the country was unoccupied - when the french forces had started to get the measure of the Germans (and beat the invading Italian army) and were inflicting large numbers of casualties on the Germans.

Germany were stopped at the Channel by their failure to understand sea borne assaults, an inability to actually develop equipment or techniques required, the RN threat (especially as the Kriegsmarine surface fleet was all but finished after Norway), the RAF (no matter how close it may have come for the RAF, the German aircrews and equipment were at breaking point - crew morale was low with high incidences of early turn backs among bomber crews, reliability of planes was slipping lower and lower as German industry could not keep up - unlike Britain when fighter strength increased as the BoB progressed)



Very well said. I did want to say I just used Hungary as being a country on the mainland Europe as was not really thinking of what side it fought for when I stated that as I just pulled Hungary out of my head. Ron

burp
06-07-2015, 04:41 AM
Rommel is an overrated and somewhat junior general whose principal achievements in North Africa were to make audacious assaults without adequate regard to the ability of his lines of communication and logistics to support those assaults. Daring sometimes wins, and at times brilliantly, but it is unlikely to do in sustained efforts over long distances at perhaps brigade and certainly divisional and above levels where logistics will drag down the most daring, as happened to the panzers approaching Dunkirk in 1940; Patton in late 1944; and, in rather different circumstances where different sorts of line of communication problems were significant at brigade levels and above, Malaya in 1941/early 1942.

Sorry, but Rommel can act differently? I mean, what were the real possibilities for him, except using a daring strategy of attacks?
The Axis logistic chain across Mediterranean was not working, with progress of war is clear that Axis naval convoys attacked by sea and air from RAF and RN cannot bring enough reinforcements for his army. Any demand of reinforcement in terms of soldiers was denied from Roma and Berlin anyway, because they consider the North Africa a secondary theater of war.
If he choosen a strategy more conservative, the physical attrition of men and vehicles caused by an harsh ambient like desert cripple his armies, while British chain supply can bring reinforcements without serious problems.
He had only some months of time frame where he can use his fresh german troops to win, after that he will had only exhaust men, with vehicles low on fuel and spare parts.

leccy
06-07-2015, 10:53 AM
Sorry, but Rommel can act differently? I mean, what were the real possibilities for him, except using a daring strategy of attacks?
The Axis logistic chain across Mediterranean was not working, with progress of war is clear that Axis naval convoys attacked by sea and air from RAF and RN cannot bring enough reinforcements for his army. Any demand of reinforcement in terms of soldiers was denied from Roma and Berlin anyway, because they consider the North Africa a secondary theater of war.
If he choosen a strategy more conservative, the physical attrition of men and vehicles caused by an harsh ambient like desert cripple his armies, while British chain supply can bring reinforcements without serious problems.
He had only some months of time frame where he can use his fresh german troops to win, after that he will had only exhaust men, with vehicles low on fuel and spare parts.

In France in 1940 Rommel outran his supply lines and pushed on regardless of his flanks - that was what led to the recall of Panzer Divs to help him (when he did not need it) after his cry of 'Attacked by several Armoured Divs' (Britain only had one and it was in the Somme area no where near him), he was a daring commander that took risks. You can not be lucky all the time though and you will end up with taking too many risks or bad risks.

Everyone focuses on his success but he had failures, he was often out of contact with his headquarters as he was too close to the front - great for troop morale but not so good for seeing the bigger picture - it meant his junior staff took on more responsibility yet get no credit - due to the German military 'Cult of Personality - of heroes' which many people around the world post war have fallen into.

Rommel was originally sent to North Africa just to prevent the Italian collapse, act defensively - he was equipped and supplied to do that - he saw the British were exhausted and had minimum forces on the front facing him so took a well calculated risk which paid off - of course no one really goes into all the times his forces lost, just the victories, as if the allies just retreated for two years.

It was far easier for the Axis to resupply their forces than it was for the Allies - much shorter routes and able to be protected better with air and sea forces - not the Allies fault the Axis failed - but Germany when it was in a worse state for manpower, shipping and resources still managed to send over several fully equipped Divisions with all their supplies in 1942 in Tunisia - men and material it had been telling Rommel it could not provide when requested earlier so the claimed inability to supply or reinforce Rommel seems a bit off - as they did it when the axis had lost but not when they had a chance of vctory.

Most of the supplies sent to north Africa from Italy and Germany were landed successfully (return convoys were heavily hit though so reducing available shipping for later dates), Rommel's inability to capture Tobruk early enough (besieging it for 8 months) used up much of what was landed as it was used up just getting resources to the front (as well as costing him men and equipment). It was not just the Axis never sent him enough supplies - he failed to take a major port in time that would have eased his logistical problems hugely.

Rising Sun*
06-07-2015, 11:04 AM
Sorry, but Rommel can act differently? I mean, what were the real possibilities for him, except using a daring strategy of attacks?
The Axis logistic chain across Mediterranean was not working, with progress of war is clear that Axis naval convoys attacked by sea and air from RAF and RN cannot bring enough reinforcements for his army. Any demand of reinforcement in terms of soldiers was denied from Roma and Berlin anyway, because they consider the North Africa a secondary theater of war.
If he choosen a strategy more conservative, the physical attrition of men and vehicles caused by an harsh ambient like desert cripple his armies, while British chain supply can bring reinforcements without serious problems.
He had only some months of time frame where he can use his fresh german troops to win, after that he will had only exhaust men, with vehicles low on fuel and spare parts.

My comment about Rommel was in the context of challenging 383man's comments about Britain having advantages as an island nation and in particular his comment that:

They may have been one of the only ones fighting the Germans for a year or so but they were getting beat almost everywhere on land as they got kicked out of France and Greece and were getting banged around in North Africa for a while and it was mostly Itialians they were fighting in the desert as Germany only had 2 divisions in the desert.

Your comments about British air and naval power restricting Rommel's supply lines, or more accurately keeping open British supply lines, confirm my view that Britain did very well to support its land forces in North Africa some considerable distance from the island advantage 383man put forward, and in the Mediterranean where the Axis powers should have had at least equality if not superiority.

I accept your position that Rommel had to be audacious in the circumstances, but the fact remains that his audacity exceeded his logistics. This was as fatal to him as it was in WWII to, among others, the Japanese on a very much larger scale.

The SAS and other special forces have as their motto "Who dares wins", but none of them have ever been or ever will be in a position to decide a major or long campaign by their audacity and other skills.

In the end, all other things being equal, major and long campaigns and long wars are more likely to be decided by logistics supporting competent leadership and soldiering, rather than audacity without the necessary logistical support.

Then again, they can also be decided by indecision, confusion, incompetence and timidity at high command levels compounded by failing to utilise to the best advantage the available logistical assets, as Britain managed in Malaya in WWII.

Separate issue. I just noticed that it is implicit in 383man's comment that the British "were getting banged around in North Africa for a while and it was mostly Itialians they were fighting in the desert as Germany only had 2 divisions in the desert" that the Italians were lesser troops than the Germans.

While it is certainly true that many Italian troops had the good sense not to waste their lives fighting to the death for a fascist regime which offered them no benefit, those Italian units which fought hard fought as well as the Germans and the British. The failure of Italian troops was not a personal failure of their courage or potential as soldiers but of the regime which conscripted them and its failure to convince them that they should die in pursuit of that regime's aims. It's a pity that Germans and Japanese weren't equally sceptical of, and unwilling to waste their lives for, their equally unworthy regimes in WWII.

383man
06-08-2015, 12:29 AM
[
It was far easier for the Axis to resupply their forces than it was for the Allies - much shorter routes and able to be protected better with air and sea forces - not the Allies fault the Axis failed - but Germany when it was in a worse state for manpower, shipping and resources still managed to send over several fully equipped Divisions with all their supplies in 1942 in Tunisia - men and material it had been telling Rommel it could not provide when requested earlier so the claimed inability to supply or reinforce Rommel seems a bit off - as they did it when the axis had lost but not when they had a chance of vctory.

Most of the supplies sent to north Africa from Italy and Germany were landed successfully (return convoys were heavily hit though so reducing available shipping for later dates), Rommel's inability to capture Tobruk early enough (besieging it for 8 months) used up much of what was landed as it was used up just getting resources to the front (as well as costing him men and equipment). It was not just the Axis never sent him enough supplies - he failed to take a major port in time that would have eased his logistical problems hugely.[/QUOTE]




I cant agree with that as the Brits got much better supplied then the Germans in North Africa. Thats why Monty had so many more tanks then Rommel most of the time in North Africa. All Generals do make some mistakes but I would say Rommel was a good fighting general as even the British respected him enough to call him the "Desert Fox". If Rommel would have had as many supplies and tanks as Monty things may have been different in North Africa. Ron

Frankly Dude Really
06-11-2015, 03:45 AM
not having read all the followup comments; but i disagree with the BoB affectionados...no doubt British Imperialist dreamers:

First you'd have to define a "Turning point" more clearly.
Most of the above people mistake it for "when is it clear in hindsight that Hitler would never win "the" war". Well, effectively you could go as far back as invading Poland1939 for pointing out "when is the moment it would turn out badly for Hitler". Or perhaps the time that most german opponents were put away in KZ lager or driven out of Germany from 1936...


For me, a TURNING point, is the moment after which it is clear and obvious to all belligerents (Fascists, Allies, Occupied civilians, Soviets, the whole spectrum, from Top brass, politicians down to the lowest trench soldier) that the power, momentum, war chances , have shifted. That moment when the "ball" is labile before it rolls back.
That moment CERTAINLY was not at end of BoB.
Also not at EL Alamein (yes, it cld be foretold that the role of the DAK and Italy in N Africa was over...but uncertain still was how a jump to S Europe wld take place...)

The invasion of Russia would IN HINDSIGHT count as a turning point if ALL the production data would have been on the table (Hitler was surprised to learn of the Soviet production capacity and numbers of -old type- tanks) but becoz it was unkown it doesn't count.
In 1942 you'd EXPECT the germans to get a rough beating now that the soviets are able to MASS produce the BETTER tanks and airplanes...BUT, through a stroke of luck, Hitler pointed his troops in another direction away from Moscow into the Kaukasus....and AGAIN pulled off large victories.
SO , obviously, not until the Kessel of Stalingrad and the clear for all belligerents to notice capture of 300.000 german troops you can truely speak of a turning point.


The declaration of war of Hitler on the USA is diplomatically countable as "a turning point" as it would effectively result in amassing the US massproduction against the Nazis...HOWEVER, effectively it is only a paper text, and it means nothing if it isn't followed up by effective actual troops and material.
So, I , and most of the unbiased world stick to Stalingrad.

JR*
06-11-2015, 05:28 AM
A few comments. Regarding Rommel - it may seem harsh, but for all his merits, he comes across, ultimately, as an absolutely splendid junior infantry officer. He showed this in his outstanding performance at Caporetto (WW1). However, his promotion to a high level of command came about as a result of vigorous self-promotion, exceptional luck, and political contacts. It may be impressive to picture him jumping into French rivers to help his engineers build bridges, or advancing with the panzer vanguard in Libya, but these were not actions appropriate for someone at his high level of command. He came very close to death or capture in France on a number of occasions, generally for no good reason. Many of his fellow generals - and even some of his subordinates - regarded his performance in France as crazy. In North Africa, his approach was facilitated by the nature of the operational area - a relatively thin line of contestable territory hemmed in on one side by the trackless desert, and on the other by the sea. It ultimately failed because of deficiencies in supply and logistics - and because of the fact that the only approach to Egypt was via a narrow gap (too narrow this time) between Tobruk and the virtually impassable Quattara Depression that allowed the British and Imperial forces to establish a "block" that would not be overcome by sheer dash and courage. Rommel was certainly a good soldier - but no strategist. It is interesting to note that, while he retained the confidence of Hitler and Goebbels almost to the end, most of his professional peers begged to differ.

I am also puzzled by the assertion that, because the superior material and technical resources of the Soviet Union were not fully known to the Germans, the fact "did not count". Of course, taken objectively, it did count. The objective fact cannot be dismissed as "hindsight".

Finally, I am puzzled by the assertion that I figure among the ranks of "British Imperialist dreamers". That is certainly a first for me ... Yours from Mount Street Bridge, 1916, JR.

Rising Sun*
06-11-2015, 08:08 AM
not having read all the followup comments;

Which somewhat limits your understanding of, and ability to give a balanced reply to, this thread.


but i disagree with the BoB affectionados...no doubt British Imperialist dreamers:

The Battle of Britain was a fight for the survival of Britain, not its distant empire. At that time the survival of the empire depended upon the survival of Britain, not the other way around.

As one who sees the Battle of Britain as one of the turning points in WWII, and as one who lives in what was in WWII a British dominion still treated as a colony by Churchill & Co who through strategic and military arrogance and incompetence in relation to Japan were prepared to and went close to sacrificing my country and my ancestors to preserve Britain and its greater imperial interests elsewhere, I can assure you I am not a "British Imperialist". To the extent that Australia relied on external support, Australia was saved in WWII by America. This was recognised by our government at the time, much to Churchill & Co’s chagrin, and is recognised now by me and other Australians who are moderately well informed on WWII history. We are very much the opposite of ‘British Imperialists’, and very much realists rather than dreamers.

When I and other realists who are opposed to British imperialism in WWII consider the Battle of Britain to be a turning point, it cannot be dismissed as “no doubt British Imperialist dreamers’.

Perhaps you would like to support your dismissive attitude to the Battle of Britain with a more incisive analysis using, for example, facts rather than empty, inaccurate and irrelevant opinions.


First you'd have to define a "Turning point" more clearly. Most of the above people mistake it for "when is it clear in hindsight that Hitler would never win "the" war".

Could you specify the posts where most of the above people said this, and the points they specified "when is it clear in hindsight that Hitler would never win "the" war"?


For me, a TURNING point, is the moment after which it is clear and obvious to all belligerents (Fascists, Allies, Occupied civilians, Soviets, the whole spectrum, from Top brass, politicians down to the lowest trench soldier) that the power, momentum, war chances , have shifted.

Then how is it that the Italian fascists came to the conclusion that the war had reached a turning point, requiring their surrender, considerably earlier than the German fascists?


That moment CERTAINLY was not at end of BoB.
Also not at EL Alamein (yes, it cld be foretold that the role of the DAK and Italy in N Africa was over...but uncertain still was how a jump to S Europe wld take place...)

Churchill, at the time, correctly thought El Alamein was a turning point, being the "end of the beginning" in the war against the Axis powers. http://www.winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1941-1945-war-leader/the-end-of-the-beginning



The invasion of Russia would IN HINDSIGHT

But you objected above to posters in this thread allegedly using hindsight and put forward instead your view that a turning point was one when everyone involved had a blinding flash of cosmic insight and realised at the time that “the power, momentum, war chances , have shifted”.



count as a turning point if ALL the production data would have been on the table (Hitler was surprised to learn of the Soviet production capacity and numbers of -old type- tanks)

Now you’re not requiring hindsight or foresight or insight, but mind reading.


but becoz it was unkown it doesn't count.

Are you channelling Donald Rumsfeld?

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."



In 1942 you'd EXPECT the germans to get a rough beating now that the soviets are able to MASS produce the BETTER tanks and airplanes...BUT, through a stroke of luck, Hitler pointed his troops in another direction away from Moscow into the Kaukasus....and AGAIN pulled off large victories.
SO , obviously, not until the Kessel of Stalingrad and the clear for all belligerents to notice capture of 300.000 german troops you can truely speak of a turning point.

Care to expand on that, relating it to development of the war in Europe to that point and how the efforts of the British, British Commonwealth and American forces elsewhere had absolutely no effect on Germany’s ability to wage war against the Soviets? For example, Stalingrad would have played out exactly as it did if Britain had surrendered before, or after, the Battle of Britain and Germany had been free to deploy poor occupation forces in occupied Britain and good frontline troops against the USSR without the distractions of North Africa, Greece, Crete and the logistical demands associated with those campaigns, along with minor annoyances such as the air war, and the merchant and naval sea war?

In those circumstances, I’m inclined to think that Stalingrad, and Moscow, would have been turning points more favourable to the Germans, and the Italian forces also not lost in North Africa, along with the great logistical drains on the Axis in campaigns before Germany attacked the USSR.


The declaration of war of Hitler on the USA is diplomatically countable as "a turning point" as it would effectively result in amassing the US massproduction against the Nazis...HOWEVER, effectively it is only a paper text, and it means nothing if it isn't followed up by effective actual troops and material.

But it was followed up, quite considerably, by effective actual American troops and material, wasn’t it?

Or was D Day and the following roll up of Germany just the dreaming of British imperialists?


So, I , and most of the unbiased world stick to Stalingrad.

You expose your bias, and lack of understanding of the breadth of contribution to various turning points by all the Allies to victory over the Axis, in that comment.

Rising Sun*
06-11-2015, 08:42 AM
Finally, I am puzzled by the assertion that I figure among the ranks of "British Imperialist dreamers". That is certainly a first for me ... Yours from Mount Street Bridge, 1916, JR.

Possibly a coded allusion to the Bax/O'Byrne English/Irish duality, which produced these Wilfred Owenish lines referring to your Bridge.


And stare at gaps of grey and blue
Where Lower Mount Street used to be,
And where flies hum round muck we knew
As Abbey Street and Eden Quay.

And when the devil made us wise
Each in his own peculiar hell,
With desert hearts and drunken eyes
We're free to sentimentalize
By corners where the martyrs fell.

Nah, probably not. ;) :D

Frankly Dude Really
06-12-2015, 07:56 AM
Let's just say that I was surprised to read after the 4th comment that all of them (up to then) agreed "yes, the BoB was indeed "the" turning point". Despite all the books and historians in the world (east and west) always pointing to Stalingrad.
One pro-BoB statement is acceptable and one can chuckle it away, but a couple of different individuals (including supposedly Americans) in a row , all vowing for BoB ? That is peculiar.

Even dear old Churchill is not on your side with his "this is not the end, not even the beginning of end, etc...." speech (on nov 1942 ?..on even later moment, on another occasion).*****

Naahh..Just accept the truth: Stalingrad is the evident and only proper turning point.
And I am not pro russian at all.


**** looks like we disagree on the meaning of his words wrt turning points.

But the end of a beginning is really different than a beginning of an end.
Imagine the Nazis wld have produced a few atomic bombs by 1944 ? In 1942 the west saw it still as a dangerous possibility.

Frankly Dude Really
06-12-2015, 08:07 AM
a simple other example: Charge of light brigade, Crimea:
When is the turning point that all is waisted/lost for the British ?

Logistically , in Hindsight, you could say the invasion of Crimea as such is a bad move and thus a "turning " point. But none of the French and British decision makers realised it.

The moment Cardigan got his order to attack "a" artillery position might be assessed as a "turning" point. But how was he or his superior to know he'd go in the wrong direction ?

The moment Cardigan and his cavalry faced the enemy artillery position at the end of the run ? the "uh-oh" moment ? Not quite: if for some strange reason the gun powder of the russians didnot work, or the russians panicked..then Cardigan wld have won his attack....or perhaps with a lot of gunpowder smoke and blasts the cavalry would have steered away in some safe direction; then not so much casualties..; no turning point.

No, only when his cavalry got decimated, on the spot, THEN it becomes clear for the russians, the british , the french, the newsreporters, the world reading the papers; a turning point !

Rising Sun*
06-12-2015, 08:47 AM
Despite all the books and historians in the world (east and west) always pointing to Stalingrad.

Given your confidence in the superabundance of this opinion in east and west, specify 20 books by qualified western historians, with usual author, title, publication details, page, references and specific quotes supporting this. And another 20 from the east.

Rising Sun*
06-12-2015, 09:31 AM
Imagine the Nazis wld have produced a few atomic bombs by 1944 ? In 1942 the west saw it still as a dangerous possibility.

Why not a few hundred Nazi atomic weapons by 1933?

Or a few squadrons of Nazi spaceships with geostationary satellite death rays by 1940?

Or squillions of hovercraft with endless divisions of robot soldiers to invade Britain by a sneak attack in 1938? Or any year between 1933 and 1945?

Whatever it is you're smoking, inhaling, injecting or swallowing, it's not helping you make rational or useful contributions to a fact based historical discussion.

JR*
06-12-2015, 10:45 AM
@Rising Sun* - yes, that Arthur Bax/Dermot O'Brien chap was quite a mixed-up puppy, English/Irish-wise. But you could say the same for W.B. Yeats, Irish/English-wise. I have on more than one occasion suggested that our two peoples have "grown up together". There have been many resulting "misunderstandings" and, as the Queen put it when visiting us, regrets. I am very glad that relations are so good at the moment (actually could be better on some points but ... nonetheless). Bax/O'Brien's poem, "A Dublin Ballad: 1916" has a pronounced sub-Yeatsian character, but is not at all without its power. This Mount Street Bridge business must be confusing for some; perhaps I should post on it ?

@FDR - maybe this "turning point" discussion is too closely approaching the dimensions of the head of a pin ? Yours from the GPO, returning fire, JR.

leccy
06-12-2015, 12:38 PM
Turning point - a point at which something changes direction -

Hitlers wish to conquer Western Europe and knock Britain out of the war so he could concentrate on the east - Well the BoB was a turning point - he had to change his aims - that change led to the later downfall. It led to something he wished to avoid - a two front war

Diverted huge amounts of men and material away from the East - you mention Stalingrad and the Germans losing 300,000 troops - Britain with small raids like Vaasgo kept nearly half a million German troops waiting for an invasion in Scandinavia - they sat out the war from 1940 - 1945 pretty much wasted.

So many just look for a big battle and want to claim that is the point of no return - well its rarely like that - British Commonwealth and sponsored Forces drained resources away from the East.

Stalingrad is seen by some as the point at which it was considered militarily Germany could not win the war - although some already believed that Germany could not win the war long before then - including members of the german high command - in 1945 there were still german leaders who believed they could win.

Rising Sun*
06-13-2015, 05:10 AM
Diverted huge amounts of men and material away from the East - you mention Stalingrad and the Germans losing 300,000 troops - Britain with small raids like Vaasgo kept nearly half a million German troops waiting for an invasion in Scandinavia - they sat out the war from 1940 - 1945 pretty much wasted.

So many just look for a big battle and want to claim that is the point of no return - well its rarely like that ...

Exactly.

Another example is that the USSR held many divisions of Japanese troops against the Soviets in Manchuria for the duration of the 1941-45 Pacific war. Had those troops and their logistical support been available for Japan's southern thrust it quite probably would have produced different results in the turning points favourable to the Allies of Guadalcanal and Papua in the second half of 1942, not least because the Japanese retreat when in sight of their goal of Port Moresby after the hard fought Kokoda campaign was ordered because of the demands being made on Japan in the larger campaign on Guadalcanal and Japan couldn't sustain both. This simplistic "what if" ignores Japan's basic problem in WWII that it might not have had sufficient merchant shipping available to transport and sustain the extra troops, but if that problem was overcome there would have been vastly more Japanese troops available for those campaigns.

The turning point for the Japanese decision to hold troops against the Soviets was Japan's defeat by the Soviets (led by Zhukov) in 1939, well before Japan had decided on its southern thrust.

As with your example of the Norway situation, the Soviet / Japan situation involved hundreds of thousands of Axis troops doing nothing and, in so doing, deprived the Axis powers of their firepower and burdened the Axis powers with logistical drains to no advantage.

The most spectacular or largest battles or campaigns aren't necessarily the most important events viewed against the whole course of a war.

As for Stalingrad, it's well known in popular culture and military history circles, but the much longer and more vicious siege of Leningrad also made a major contribution to draining German troops and resources but for some reason seems to be largely unknown in popular culture and commonly overlooked in many amateur military history circles.

Rising Sun*
06-13-2015, 10:29 AM
... British Commonwealth and sponsored Forces drained resources away from the East.

And in ways less spectacular than Stalingrad or other battles, such as the increasing diversion of 88 mm gun production to defensive anti-aircraft roles to meet Allied air raids on continental Europe rather than those guns, and their profligate use of ammunition in anti-aircraft roles, and their crews being used in anti-tank and other ground roles on battlefields.

WWII was as much, if not more, a war of grinding attrition between the industrial / logistical / shipping capacities of the combatants as between their fighting forces. It was the factors behind and consequent upon some of the seemingly crucial battles which determined the course of the war much more than the battlefield actions of the forces involved, no matter how large or spectacular the battlefield.

For example, the Heer was heavily dependent upon horse drawn transport for all of WWII compared with the British Army which was relatively already a mechanized army before WWII began, although much of that advantage was lost in the short term by leaving much of its transport in France in 1940.

Add in various factors such as Germany's relative scarcity of petroleum sources compared with the Western Allies, and Japan's relative inability to replace merchant and naval losses compared with America's seemingly endless ability to keep ramping up production, and it was the 'off battlefield' factors which contributed as much or more to victory than the 'on battlefield' factors. Similarly, it was often the 'off battlefield' factors consequent upon 'on battlefield' events which had greater significance than the battlefield clash.

A good example is Frankly Dude Really's view that the capture of 300,000 German troops on the battlefield made it a significant event and a turning point in the war. The loss of those troops was insignificant for both Germany and the USSR compared with the failure of Germany to gain the Soviet oilfields and cut off the southern Lend Lease supply lines to the USSR, which resulted in Germany's ability to wage a sustained war being further curtailed by a shortage of oil products (not to mention the oil expended in the failed campaign to capture Soviet oilfields) and the USSR's ability to wage a sustained war enhanced by retaining the oilfields and keeping open the Lend Lease supply lines.

A good example of the opposite, being no great battle but countless small actions depriving a nation of its great battlefield gains, is Japan's inability to exploit its acquisition of the critical oil fields in the Netherlands East Indies in a brilliant advance down the south east Asian land chain. The acquisition of those oil fields was Japan’s primary aim in a war it commenced from fear of inability to wage war because of oil embargoes imposed by America and Britain. As the war progressed, Japan’s idiocy in starting a war dependent upon shipping it didn’t have to maintain and exploit its gains was compounded by the Allies steadily sinking Japanese shipping at a much greater rate than it could be replaced. Japan’s great and brilliant advances in 1941 – early 1942 increasingly came to nought as the Allies strangled its shipping by sinking increasing tonnages. By the end of the war Japan still occupied most of the Netherlands East Indies, but to no advantage as it couldn’t ship anything out of them as its merchant fleet had been pretty much wiped out. Unlike the naval battles of the Coral Sea and especially Midway which were turning points in the naval war with Japan, there was no turning point in the sinking of its merchant fleet – just a steady increase in reducing Japan’s merchant tonnage and capability. In the long term of the war, the reduction of Japan’s merchant tonnage in countless individual sinkings was in some respects about as significant in defeating Japan as the major naval battles, but it attracts no attention compared with the major and decisive naval conflict at Midway and the various amphibious assaults on Japanese held islands.

It is ultimately pointless trying to identify any one or even several major battles or campaigns as the turning points which inevitably led to eventual victory or defeat by any nation in WWII as there are too many factors off the battlefield, which could exist independently of the battlefield and battles such as the relative industrial capacity of combatant nations, which also contributed to victory or defeat.

383man
06-15-2015, 04:03 AM
I also believe the the RAF and the US 8th and 15th air force bombing raids on Germany just about everyday and night tied up a good 1 million German troops. Many times I see a figure for the Germans air force from 1.5 to 2 million and I know they did not have an air force that needed anything over 1 million to keep all of the planes flying and maintained since Britian had a larger air force late in the war and I believe Britian had about 950,000 in in the RAF. So you know if the German air force was around 2 million I am sure 1 to 1.5 million were manning anti-aircraft guns all around the country because of the RAF and USAAF's bombing campaigns. To many times you here how the USSR complained about the allies not opening a second front in France soon enough but the USSR seemed to forget how many men and planes bombed Germany everyday and night and just how many troops it tied up. I know between the USAAF and the RAF about 140,000 men died bombing Germany through the war. It ending up being a huge campaing by the time it ended. Heck in late 1944 the RAF could put 1500 bombers up each night and the USAAF could put 3000 heavy bombers (B-17's and B-24's) up every day between the 8th and 15th air forces. And thats not to mention all the medium & light bombers and over 6000 fighters that were going up dailey. Heck the allies had 28,000 combat aircraft (most were American and British) in the European campaign in 1945 that did alot to help end the war and tie up German troops. Even in the Battle of the Buldge the Germans were running out of gas and you can thank the bombing campaign for that as it was seen hurting the Germans in many ways that many did not realize. Ron

leccy
06-15-2015, 04:59 AM
The Germans themselves had nearly 1 million personnel in home defence Flak units, due to manpower shortages they were increasingly manned by sick and wounded (declared unfit for even the 'stomach type' battalions), women and Hitler youth. This decreased the reliance on militarily fit males to serve in frontal combat units but had a negative effect on production in factories.

Nickdfresh
06-15-2015, 07:11 PM
I also believe the the RAF and the US 8th and 15th air force bombing raids on Germany just about everyday and night tied up a good 1 million German troops. Many times I see a figure for the Germans air force from 1.5 to 2 million and I know they did not have an air force that needed anything over 1 million to keep all of the planes flying and maintained since Britian had a larger air force late in the war and I believe Britian had about 950,000 in in the RAF. So you know if the German air force was around 2 million I am sure 1 to 1.5 million were manning anti-aircraft guns all around the country because of the RAF and USAAF's bombing campaigns. To many times you here how the USSR complained about the allies not opening a second front in France soon enough but the USSR seemed to forget how many men and planes bombed Germany everyday and night and just how many troops it tied up. I know between the USAAF and the RAF about 140,000 men died bombing Germany through the war. It ending up being a huge campaing by the time it ended. Heck in late 1944 the RAF could put 1500 bombers up each night and the USAAF could put 3000 heavy bombers (B-17's and B-24's) up every day between the 8th and 15th air forces. And thats not to mention all the medium & light bombers and over 6000 fighters that were going up dailey. Heck the allies had 28,000 combat aircraft (most were American and British) in the European campaign in 1945 that did alot to help end the war and tie up German troops. Even in the Battle of the Buldge the Germans were running out of gas and you can thank the bombing campaign for that as it was seen hurting the Germans in many ways that many did not realize. Ron

I would add to that it wasn't just the men and as RS* pointed out, the 88-mm (and many other calibers of) guns, hindering the German victories in other theatres, but also the massive resources infused into R&D. Creating an integrated air defense network that was so massive and sophisticated drained divisions worth of resources over the duration of the war and forced dispersion of of production facilities and the rail hubs and transport networks that sapped much energy fracturing the German effort...

Nickdfresh
06-15-2015, 07:14 PM
The Germans themselves had nearly 1 million personnel in home defence Flak units, due to manpower shortages they were increasingly manned by sick and wounded (declared unfit for even the 'stomach type' battalions), women and Hitler youth. This decreased the reliance on militarily fit males to serve in frontal combat units but had a negative effect on production in factories.

I think Tooze pointed out that German women were also near full employment when one takes into account the reliance on them for agriculture, IIRC...

leccy
06-16-2015, 04:10 AM
I think Tooze pointed out that German women were also near full employment when one takes into account the reliance on them for agriculture, IIRC...

Tooze does make the point that in pre war more German women were employed (as a percentage of the workforce) than in the USA or UK at their highest points (in 1944). Most though as you say was to do with their agriculture system - the UK had largely modernised and mechanised theirs while Germany was still heavily reliant on manpower. Even before the war there were calls for 'volunteers' to go to the farms and help bring in the harvest.

In 1940 part of the German army was demobbed along with a large number of horses to help ease the struggling farms manpower and transport/motive force shortage - often overlooked when trying to work out why Germany was defeated - it could not feed itself and so had to strip resources from occupied nations (the British blockade worked for many essential goods - goods that had a long term effect not instant).

Seems most people equate Germany not mobilising women with them not being in the factories - but have little knowledge of how big a part they already played in the farms and workplace pre war.

JR*
06-16-2015, 09:29 AM
It is clear that manpower, and horsepower, were issues even before the war. With the wartime mobilization of men, a huge burden was placed on women (and children) to keep German agriculture running. The exhortation for women in the farming sector to "endure" was a specific subject of German wartime propaganda. This, however, was no mere wartime issue; Germany had suffered a number of indifferent harvests in the years leading up to 1939, something not helped by its relatively backward technology.

Regarding horses - this was a complex problem for wartime planners. Whatever about "sparing" horses from Army duties in Germany, there was an undoubted shortage of horses critically required for the use of army transport. In a way, this paralleled the situation in agriculture; establishing a balance was very difficult. It is a tribute to German organization that it managed to satisfy both requirements for so long. Even then, an adequate supply of horses (both for German military use and for German agriculture) required the effective requisition of farm horses from occupied countries on a large scale - which in turn reduced the potentially vast agricultural capacity of, say, France, to grow food for the Reich. How about the birthrate for draught horses in western Europe as a sort of "turning factor" ?

Yours from the Barn, JR.

JR*
06-16-2015, 09:31 AM
I note the references to the Charge of the Light Brigade. Is it suggested that this was a "turning point" in the Crimean War ? Hardly. It was, of course. a very stupid blunder made by very stupid people. However, the British/French alliance still overcame Russia, in the end. Turning point ? No. Best regards, JR.

Frankly Dude Really
06-17-2015, 03:27 AM
Turning point - a point at which something changes direction -

Hitlers wish to conquer Western Europe and knock Britain out of the war so he could concentrate on the east - Well the BoB was a turning point - he had to change his aims - that change led to the later downfall. It led to something he wished to avoid - a two front war

Diverted huge amounts of men and material away from the East - you mention Stalingrad and the Germans losing 300,000 troops - Britain with small raids like Vaasgo kept nearly half a million German troops waiting for an invasion in Scandinavia - they sat out the war from 1940 - 1945 pretty much wasted.



Duhh...How did the "not winning BoB/or invading UK" automatically led to a two front war ?
If Hitler or OKH decided to postpone or cancel the invasion of Russia (is very comfortable to have no totalwar even for the Nazis..hence the Molotov-Ribb Pact..also comprising goods exchanges), then there wld have been no two front war..(stating the obvious)..
UK wld NEVER be able to stage a successfull invasion in europe on its own...so an end of the war from UK alone wld NEVER happen. and so NEVER wld there be a turning point.
whereas Hitler still wld have that opportunity to invade UK. If he'd put ALL his effort and men that was put in the war in the east (that is MILLIONS of soldiers, a magnitude factor of 8 to 10 more in the east than ever in 1944 in the west) to an invasion on UK, he'd succeed....but at relatively unacceptable costs...and which wld entice Stalin to invade Germany....there wld have been no doubt with Hitler about that risk.
So he, hitler, obviously, wanted rather an invasion in Russia, and expected from the british to go his way there (as Uk and SU were not exactly friends).

A sequence of events, doesn't mean a causality per sé.
A lot of birds lay their eggs and hatch it in May.. a lot of children are also born more than average in the same period may-june; that doesn't make egg laying influencing the birth rates of humans.



Also having "half a million" troops on the west wall, still means having a reserve being capable of getting moved to fire brands, if need be.
A destroyed army of half a million (0,3 mill) in Stalingrad, really means the end of capabilities and initiatives in that sector.
There is simply no comparison between destroying an army and celebrating that you have bypassed a number of reserves.

That's like claiming the germans with their 3 Uboat raids near the US coast managed to hold 10 million american service men on their stations in the US for a year or two. What a terrific strategic feature.
That certainly turned the US war effort....not.

Frankly Dude Really
06-17-2015, 03:43 AM
I note the references to the Charge of the Light Brigade. Is it suggested that this was a "turning point" in the Crimean War ? Hardly. It was, of course. a very stupid blunder made by very stupid people. However, the British/French alliance still overcame Russia, in the end. Turning point ? No. Best regards, JR.

I am no expert in the 19th c wars, and after looking it up the crimeanwar did not end to Russia's 100% satisfaction...but also not 100% dissatisfaction.
However, this is clear : "As the legend of the "Charge of the Light Brigade" demonstrates, the war quickly became an iconic symbol of logistical, medical and tactical failures and mismanagement."
I wanted to use an example that shows that a turning point (in this case thus tactical in stead of strategical) is not a turning point until something is "in the bag" and that "all get to realise it".
Hindsighting and tracing the earliest seeds for the future demise is not enough to point to a turning point.
For all the events that led to a disaster/turning point, there are equally factors of events that could have avoided it, and made it not into a turning point.
Like the Nat Geo "seconds to disaster" series mindset; had Paulus evacuated his troops from the Kessel (or realised about the risk of surrounding forces), then Stalingrad wld have been a simple tactical retreat...no big celebrations on the allied side ..and the nazi troops wld have been deployed elsewhere. Slowing down the soviet advance, or making a succes of the Kursk battle..or making the Kursk battles the first turning point. who knows.

JR*
06-17-2015, 04:15 AM
Regarding the outcome of the Crimean War ... well, to paraphrase an English music hall song of the time, "The Russians did not have Constantinople".

I think I am going to retire from this thread - it is doing my head ... Yours from the Lines at Sebastopol, JR.

leccy
06-17-2015, 06:16 AM
Duhh...

Oh dear, oh dear, personal now deary

How did the "not winning BoB/or invading UK" automatically led to a two front war ?

Well lets see, Germany failed to Knock Britain out of the war in 1940, Hitler had already decided to invade the Soviet Union - so that means he was facing something he did not want - a two front war - he could have postponed Barbarossa but chose not to, chose to accept a two front war - he failed to understand what would happen.

Britain diverted men and material away from the Soviet Union, considerable amounts. It engaged the axis on land, sea and air all round Europe

If Hitler or OKH decided to postpone or cancel the invasion of Russia (is very comfortable to have no totalwar even for the Nazis..hence the Molotov-Ribb Pact..also comprising goods exchanges), then there wld have been no two front war..(stating the obvious)..

He never chose to though did he so he got a two front war

UK wld NEVER be able to stage a successfull invasion in europe on its own...so an end of the war from UK alone wld NEVER happen. and so NEVER wld there be a turning point.

A turning point is a point on which direction was changed - Hitler wanted to knock Europe out so he would not have an enemy behind him one that would divert men and resources, cut imports with blockades - Hitler failed with that - so had to either postpone Barbarossa or turn away from Britain and bury his head in the sand and ignore it - he chose to to leave britain - so he changed from his aim - its a turning point - maybe you should read all the posts made before and what people have written

whereas Hitler still wld have that opportunity to invade UK. If he'd put ALL his effort and men that was put in the war in the east (that is MILLIONS of soldiers, a magnitude factor of 8 to 10 more in the east than ever in 1944 in the west) to an invasion on UK, he'd succeed....but at relatively unacceptable costs...and which wld entice Stalin to invade Germany....there wld have been no doubt with Hitler about that risk.

The Germans even with the Italians did not have the capability of invading the UK, 3 1/2 million german troops in 1941 (who were not all just sat in one place) could not walk to the UK.

Hitler gambled on knocking britain out and failed, when he failed he chose to ignore the UK - just assume that Britain would not be capable of doing anything - well he was proved wrong - He left a place and means for a future invasion, but even without that - raids on the Norwegian coast kept more Germans sat in Scandinavia than were lost at Stalingrad - those troops sat there for 5 years taking little part in the war - troops and equipment that were desperately needed.

Germany suffered increasing drains on its resources, manpower, material and manufacturing due to British actions (and later joined by the US) a consequence of Germanys turning away from defeating the UK - a turning point is rarely a single battle it is an accumulation of things over time.

People by nature though want to look for one point - a simple pivot and say - that is the beginning of the end - The Soviets halting the Germans before Moscow was a turning point, Soviets losing massively in Finland initially was a turning point, Khalan Ghol was a turning point - all stopped plans and forced major changes.

So he, hitler, obviously, wanted rather an invasion in Russia, and expected from the british to go his way there (as Uk and SU were not exactly friends).

He made his choice to continue with the invasion of the Soviet Union in spite of him saying he did not want a two front war and failing to eliminate the UK - so it was simple he turned away from the UK and left it alone - came back to bite his *** that one.

A sequence of events, doesn't mean a causality per sé.
A lot of birds lay their eggs and hatch it in May.. a lot of children are also born more than average in the same period may-june; that doesn't make egg laying influencing the birth rates of humans.



Also having "half a million" troops on the west wall, still means having a reserve being capable of getting moved to fire brands, if need be.
A destroyed army of half a million (0,3 mill) in Stalingrad, really means the end of capabilities and initiatives in that sector.
There is simply no comparison between destroying an army and celebrating that you have bypassed a number of reserves.

Half a million in Scandinavia (a whole separate army with naval, air force and ground forces, not the West Wall - France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg had their own occupation forces - not including the drain in North Africa or the Balkans) - imagine no threat from UK, those half million plus troops and equipment could have been used to bolster the German Divs which were bled dry in 1941 and never regained full strength afterwards. No diversion of forces and production to counter the air threat, no loss of production, no blockade - a simple choice to leave Britain alone (as he could not defeat it) was a major turning point - not for that day (which if you actually read all the thread you will have seen me post) but it led to consequences he never imagined.

That's like claiming the germans with their 3 Uboat raids near the US coast managed to hold 10 million american service men on their stations in the US for a year or two. What a terrific strategic feature.
That certainly turned the US war effort....not.

But that never happened did it (the US had a lot more concerns at the time like building an army, it did not have one [1939, 334,473, service personnel] and definitely not 10 million men in 1942 [3,915,507 all services] end of 1943 it was still just under 10 million [9,195,912] Army, Navy, Marines, Coastguard)

The U boats tried to interdict the shipping, they never stopped it, all they did was sink some ships and tonnage - the allies were building more tonnage than the Germans could sink. The US never stopped sending troops or equipment to the UK because of them (it was slow due to lack of ships and camps to place the troops).

Hitler stopped all plans at invading the UK and left it - Britain though kept hitting back - constantly. Not the same at all

Rising Sun*
06-17-2015, 07:28 AM
Duhh...How did the "not winning BoB/or invading UK" automatically led to a two front war ?

I have no idea.

You're the only one saying it did.

Everybody else probably accepts the historical fact that Hitler decided, contrary to all good military sense, to celebrate his failure to defeat Britain by advancing east against a greater enemy while leaving an undefeated Britain in his western rear.


If Hitler or OKH decided to postpone or cancel the invasion of Russia (is very comfortable to have no totalwar even for the Nazis..hence the Molotov-Ribb Pact..also comprising goods exchanges), then there wld have been no two front war..(stating the obvious)..
UK wld NEVER be able to stage a successfull invasion in europe on its own...so an end of the war from UK alone wld NEVER happen. and so NEVER wld there be a turning point.
whereas Hitler still wld have that opportunity to invade UK. If he'd put ALL his effort and men that was put in the war in the east (that is MILLIONS of soldiers, a magnitude factor of 8 to 10 more in the east than ever in 1944 in the west) to an invasion on UK, he'd succeed....but at relatively unacceptable costs...and which wld entice Stalin to invade Germany....there wld have been no doubt with Hitler about that risk.
So he, hitler, obviously, wanted rather an invasion in Russia, and expected from the british to go his way there (as Uk and SU were not exactly friends).

All of this is 'what if' alternative history.

None of it disproves, or even addresses, that the Battle of Britain was a turning point in the real war.


Also having "half a million" troops on the west wall, still means having a reserve being capable of getting moved to fire brands, if need be.

And thus leaving open Germany's rear as it advanced east? Even Hitler wasn't that deranged. Anyway, they weren't first rate troops and would have been of lesser value than the same number of first rate troops, assuming they could instantly and magically have been transported around Europe as a massive mobile reserve.


A destroyed army of half a million (0,3 mill) in Stalingrad, really means the end of capabilities and initiatives in that sector.

To be consistent with that opinion, it follows that you have to accept that the defeat of the Luftwaffe as the spearhead of the proposed invasion of Britain "really means the end of capabilities and initiatives in that sector" which, as you apply it to Stalingrad, means Britain's success in defeating Germany in the BoB was a turning point in preventing the invasion of Britain of which the German air war was the most important part.


OKW DIRECTIVES FOR THE INVASION OF U.K.
OPERATION SEELOWE
SUMMER AND AUTUMN 1940

O.K.W. F.H.Q. 2.7.40

Prosecution of the war against England

The Fuhrer and Supreme Commander has decided:
1. Invasion of England is quite possible under certain conditions of which the most important is the gaining of air superiority.
http://www.da.mod.uk/Research-Publications/category/51/operation-sealion-okw-directives-for-the-invasion-of-the-uk-20371

A couple of weeks after this preliminary planning document was issued, Hitler issued Directive No 16 (text at last link) in which he confirmed that the invasion was to take place and that

The aim of this operation will be to eliminate England as a base for carrying on the war against Germany and, should it be requisite, completely to occupy it.

It requires rare strategic idiocy to recognise Britain as a base for carrying on the war against Germany and then, having failed to achieve the stated aim of eliminating that base and recognised risk, to embark on a bigger campaign against the USSR.

Given the future significance of Britain as the base for the air, sea and land wars against Germany and support for the Soviet effort, the failure to eliminate it as recognised base for carrying on the war against Germany was a major turning point, and one which Hitler either did recognise or should have recognised at the time.

Rising Sun*
06-17-2015, 08:04 AM
I would add to that it wasn't just the men and as RS* pointed out, the 88-mm (and many other calibers of) guns, hindering the German victories in other theatres, but also the massive resources infused into R&D. Creating an integrated air defense network that was so massive and sophisticated drained divisions worth of resources over the duration of the war and forced dispersion of of production facilities and the rail hubs and transport networks that sapped much energy fracturing the German effort...

Not to mention German war production which, compared with America and even Britain, was, at least until Speer took over late in the war, relatively disorganised, fragmented and inefficient.

royal744
11-17-2015, 05:56 PM
I agree with your concise and accurate summary.

I'd suggest only that, despite being defeats, the Battle of Dunkirk, and the wider evacuation of British troops to Britain then and later as France fell, should be linked with the Battle of Britain soon afterwards as the return of those troops, despite leaving their heavy weapons and transport in France, still left Britain with considerably more means to defend itself against an invasion than would have been the case if those troops had all been captured.

This also allowed Britain later to send land forces to North Africa to divert Axis forces and resources from Europe and Germany's eastern thrust. This also kept the Suez Canal open which kept a vital supply line open to and from Britain and its interests and dominions in India, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand throughout the war (and to Burma, Malaya etc before Japan came into the war), where closure of the Canal would have imposed unacceptable burdens on merchant and naval shipping around the Cape of Good Hope and seriously undermined Britain's war effort.

Except that Britain generally did not use the Suez Canal during WWII until the Axis was defeated in N. Africa (maybe even longer). Hard to believe, but they went around Soiuth Africa most of time because it was just too risky to run convoys through the Med unless they absolutely had to (such as the re-supply of Malta).

royal744
11-17-2015, 06:04 PM
Leccy, I'm with you. I doubt the Germans could have carried off an invasion. There would have been grievous losses on both sides, but the biggest loss would have been a failed invasion which would have been not only a terrible PR disaster but a morale buzz-kill for the Wehrmacht. Hitler's instinct to cancel the whole mis-begotten enterprise was right on target.

royal744
11-17-2015, 06:15 PM
Looking at it more broadly, every battle and campaign Britain and its Commonwealth fought up 7 / 8 (depending on which side of the international dateline you're on) December 1941 was a turning point, purely because nobody else was fighting the Axis powers.

Had Britain capitulated as France did, everything upon which the Allied response to the Axis powers was based after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941 and Japan attacked in December 1941 would have been impossible.

America would have been confined to the continental US and Hawaii, with no realistic ability to launch a successful invasion of Britain or continental Europe.

The USSR would have been denied materiel support from and through Britain.

The USSR would have faced much larger German forces then were actually deployed against it.

The USSR would have been on its own, with a much higher risk of defeat.

America would probably have defeated Japan, but to what end when its trade with Britain and Europe was cut off? Presumably it would have done as the rancid American capitalists like Henry Ford wished, and traded with the Nazis for profit, as indeed the rancid American capitalists did while Britain was single-handedly fighting Germany and Italy while Ford and General Motors, among others, were happily supplying the Nazis because, not least, the Nazis agreed with their anti-Semitic and anti-communist views apart from offering great profits to supplement the profits made from supplying Britain at the same time.

America's entry to the war certainly tipped the balance in favour of Allied victory, but without Britain holding the fort alone for the bleak years of 1940 and 1941 on its own shores and in North Africa, Greece, Crete, and against the Vichy French, Italians and Germans in various places, America's entry to the war would not have had Britain as, as Leccy said, the unsinkable aircraft carrier which was the necessary and only base for the land assault on Germany from the west, along with the Mediterranean for the land assault on Italy from the south.

I'm not ignoring the major contribution of America's Lend Lease program to support Britain during the bleak years, but the fact remains that Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting the Germans and Italy for a critical year to eighteen months while the rest of the world either surrendered or looked on.

The USSR and America came in only when attacked and with no choice but to fight, while Britain, with France, got itself involved from the outset by standing up to Nazi expansionism.

The modern world should be eternally grateful to Churchill for, in the face of appeasers and defeatists in Britain, fighting on and laying the foundations for Allied victory over the evils of the Nazis and the Japanese. The modern world would be a very different place if the British appeasers and defeatists had capitulated to Germany.

No one disputes the importance and valor of the British, but left-handed swipes at Henry Ford are really unnecessary. Americans familiar with history know that Ford was a terrible anti-semite and that Hitler even sent him a medal. He was a great, if limited idustrialist, but when push came to shove, he knuckled under and mass-produced B-24 Bombers at Willow Run. In total, he was but a cog in the war machine, however.

I do believe that the Battle of Britain was a turning point, not because it was a big militry victory, but because it denied the Germans the easy victory they were due. Those "shopkeepers" - how dare they? It was a close-run thing, but probably less close-run than most folks think. Germany just had the wrong air force for the job and by the time they realized it, it was too late.

Other than that, Stalingrad was a terrible blow to the Germans. Kursk sealed their fate. D-Day was hammering nails in the coffin. After Kursk, thoughtful Germans must have known how this was all going to end - badly.

leccy
11-18-2015, 03:10 AM
Not so hard to believe really, supply's and troops from India and the Far East could use the overland routes or the Suez to reach Egypt and the Eastern Med, the southern part of the Suez opens into the Red Sea and then into the Gulf of Aden, Italian Forces were had invaded Kenya as well as occupying Ethiopia, I do not know the naval strength of the Italians in the region but initially their airforce outclassed and outnumbered the Commonwealths.

Most supply's to the UK were coming from North America after Italy declared war in June 1940 (suez was in constant use till then).

With the loss of France (who were to protect the Med) and Italy's entry into the war the mediterranean was neutralised as a common transport route, coal and the added week or so to travel round the Cape were in plentiful supply, ships themselves were a more precious resource.

Nickdfresh
11-18-2015, 06:18 PM
I read an article in the WWII magazine that was waned in popularity here and it seemed that a slight majority of the major historians agreed that the turning point of the war was The Battle of Moscow. It was the first serious setback for The Third Reich on the ground and was the culmination of a growing fear in the Nazi war-machine that they had bitten off far more than they could chew in the vast steppes of the Soviet Union. There were set backs and casualties before, but an entire German army was thrown back and suffered severe casualties from a revitalized Red Army able to move well trained and equipped reinforcements from Siberia after being released from the threat of Japanese attack. It was also a stunning realization that Germany was now locked in the stalemate of a two-front war she so loathed and sought to avoid. Certainly the Battle of Britain was huge but the defeat after the tantalizing high water mark of reaching the Moscow suburbs must have been great as this was the first serious land reversal the Heer suffered whereas perhaps the OKW could rationalize the defeat in the air with the belief that Britain could be blockaded and starved. They couldn't plausibly do either to the USSR...

Frankly Dude Really
11-20-2015, 05:37 AM
...as this was the first serious land reversal the Heer suffered whereas perhaps the OKW could rationalize the defeat in the air with the belief that Britain could be blockaded and starved. They couldn't plausibly do either to the USSR...

Naaah...both the BoB and the Moscow block are similar in set-back for the Germans, and equally not perceived immediately negative destructive and at least manageable!
In both cases the Germans had to pull through and finish the job for attaining a proper military milestone/stepstone. To target the neutralisation of the heavy industries (material and men) far behind the front.

Only if british industry (incl sea transport) were neutralized (by occupation or cease fire), there would be no chance of expecting end of hostilities (by building and training more and more bombers, destroyers) or facilitating a stepping stone /aircraft carrier for the perhaps getting involved USA (in the eyes of Hitler, FDR was always frustrating the Nazis so ANY opportunity cld be used to get the US involved). By leaving UK unattended "for the time being" to focus on the East, the Germans may have expected to contain the striking capability of UK, but couldnot manage to defend themselves against the ever increasing penetrations (bombers, raids, resistance ) lateron.

The same goes for Moscow 41... The German HQ of course realised they were at their end of their stretch..for the moment. Yes, a fresh force of siberian troops with new tanks fell upon the front...but they didNOT crush through like an unstoppable tsunami. The front stabilized. And Leningrad was stable..and were getting starved...quite long time really.
And for the German HQ its experience is that the russian menace CAN be contained, and MANAGED..with a few more AT guns, few more fresh troops.
Following the next year with a batch of new "wunder"panzer, and 1000's of new recruits, they may "easily" revive the 41 momentum and crash through the unique ,once deployed surplus of siberian troops (there can be only ONE time of administering the reserve of the Siberian troops...right?).

So both set backs are seen as manageable temporary problems and in no way the realisation of Nazi armageddon.
(one proof: the resistance of german officers against Hitler had not started in winter 1941...AT-ALL....).



Titanic metaphor:
BoB end = "watch out, Ice berg ahead!" ,
Moscow block = screeching past iceberg, many hear the noise and feel a shock..but NONE realise there is a gaping hole, or Titanic will ultimately sink.
Stalingrad = Crew learn too many watertight compartments flooded, life boats out, and ship listing at 20degrees.start of panic.
Kursk = systems out...30% already drowned . Titanic uncontrolled listing.
DDAY = realisation there are not enough life boats out there...and help ships are too far away.
Operation Bagration = Titanic breaks up.....rats leave the sinking ship....
Hitler attentat = rats leave the sinking ship

Rising Sun*
11-20-2015, 06:26 AM
Naaah...both the BoB and the Moscow block are similar in set-back for the Germans, and equally not perceived immediately negative destructive and at least manageable!
.....
So both set backs are seen as manageable temporary problems and in no way the realisation of Nazi armageddon.
(one proof: the resistance of german officers against Hitler had not started in winter 1941...AT-ALL....).

I think the discussion so far was looking at turning points from an objective historical perspective, not the subjective German perspective you're describing.

If we're looking at a purely subjective German perspective, in the sense of the leadership not accepting that it was defeated, the turning point didn't occur until late April / early May 1945.

This goes a long way to explaining why Hitler and his leadership failed to recognise the earlier turning points which doomed Germany, and certainly none later than the failure of the Ardennes offensive several months earlier.

If one focuses only on subjective German leadership turning points, then the turning point for Hitler was the realisation when Berlin was besieged that Roosevelt's death in April 1945 was not, as he jubilantly hoped, a repetition of the salvation in similar circumstances nearly two centuries earlier of Frederick the Great by the death of the Russian Empress being succeeded by Peter who was sympathetic to Frederick.

Nickdfresh
11-20-2015, 01:54 PM
...
So both set backs are seen as manageable temporary problems and in no way the realisation of Nazi armageddon.
(one proof: the resistance of german officers against Hitler had not started in winter 1941...AT-ALL....).

...

Except their problem was now they were facing a war of attrition with an enemy that did not collapse at the "door" being kicked in. Even Hitler's opponents on the General Staff thought that the Soviets would collapse once the Dniester River was reached. And any hope of the British suing for peace -no matter how delusional- was now never going to happen...

historian_101airborne
11-27-2015, 08:43 AM
That was the turning point of the war in the sky but I would say the major turning point would be Stalingrad or D-Day

Frankly Dude Really
11-30-2015, 07:42 AM
That was the turning point of the war in the sky but I would say the major turning point would be Stalingrad or D-Day

Now you hear it from an expert ! :rolleyes: