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alephh
11-14-2005, 12:46 PM
Got idea for this from another thread...

IMO, Rommel is the most overrated commander of the WWII.

Man who doesn't care about supply limitations, or intelligence information when it's against his views, or drives around desert ignoring leading his troops, or never gives enough information to HQ, etc etc. is not suited to be a commander.

Excellent captain or something like that, but a commander, not.

Without Westphal and other commanders overriding most of the Rommel's makes-no-sense commands they would have been slaughtered in the desert.

Firefly
11-14-2005, 04:32 PM
Cant argue with that because I agree with you. I think he is an example of a company commander gone too far. Manstein he was not!

Canaris
11-15-2005, 08:51 AM
Hess.

What was up with him? Supposed to be high up in Hitler's staff but only known for flying to Britain at the Hieght of Germany's power. What did he actualy do other than defect?

Cuts
11-15-2005, 10:11 AM
Hess.

What was up with him? Supposed to be high up in Hitler's staff but only known for flying to Britain at the Hieght of Germany's power. What did he actualy do other than defect?

Played a lot of patience in Spandau.

Firefly
11-15-2005, 10:49 AM
Seems he didnt do very much except be a lapdog:

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/biographies/apr-hess-cal.htm

Man of Stoat
11-15-2005, 12:41 PM
The Austrian Corporal did rather over-rate himself...

SS. Kallan
11-16-2005, 12:26 AM
I agree with this. Rommel "The Desert Fox" believed he and his depleting, low morale forces were invincible. Well, stuborness leads to defeat, and Rommel got a taste of Patton's.

Firefly
11-16-2005, 04:08 AM
I agree with this. Rommel "The Desert Fox" believed he and his depleting, low morale forces were invincible. Well, stuborness leads to defeat, and Rommel got a taste of Patton's.


Rommel got a taste of Pattons what? I didnt even know the 2 had met!

Twitch1
11-16-2005, 05:18 PM
They did in North Afrika.

Firefly
11-16-2005, 05:57 PM
They did in North Afrika.

Er, at Kasserine? Then I think Patton may have been the receiver!

Hosenfield
11-16-2005, 07:05 PM
Kasserine Pass- US were defeated badly.

USA


6,054 dead or wounded
3,700 captured
315 tanks
706 vehicles

Germany

352 dead or wounded
258 captured
34 tanks

SS. Kallan
11-16-2005, 08:45 PM
The kasserine battle was such a major defeat for the U.S that its not even mentioned in most text books. The germans were defeated by Patton's boys in tunisia. I really dont know much about the Afrika Corps though, so I might be off a bit.

Hosenfield
11-16-2005, 10:57 PM
ahem... The english armies by far did the most to defeat the afrika korps, since 1941.
US troops were an afterthought, and came when the korps' four divisions were depleted as hell in 1943. Patton's Tunisa campaign bagged far more italians then germans, anyways.

SS. Kallan
11-17-2005, 03:47 AM
Ah, now I see. The British were the first to attack Rommel's Korps, but ended up losing more men and armor than the Germans, hence they asked for U.S support to finish mopping the A.K up.

6,054 dead or wounded
3,700 captured
315 tanks
706 vehicles

Germany

352 dead or wounded
258 captured
34 tanks

Now thats a hell of a defeat! Are these accurate statistics?

BDL
11-17-2005, 04:35 AM
Ah, now I see. The British were the first to attack Rommel's Korps, but ended up losing more men and armor than the Germans, hence they asked for U.S support to finish mopping the A.K up.


The British were already on the offensive against the Afrika Korps when the Torch landings (and there were Brits involved in those landings too, don't forget) took place. The US only had a very small part in the North Africa campaign.

Firefly
11-17-2005, 06:55 AM
I rather thought it was the Eight Army that saved the US, anyway here is a link to get you going on the US in N Africa:

http://www.worldwar2database.com/html/kasserine.htm

Canaris
11-17-2005, 11:54 AM
The British always say that Kaserine was a defeat for the US and usualy add that "us Brits saved your arse...etc, etc" when in actual fact Kaserine, although deeply embarassing for the US, especialy Patton, was not a German victory. Much like Dieppe for the British Kaserine was a useful blooding for the US which meant that they were able to go on to win much larger battles later.

BDL
11-17-2005, 12:09 PM
The British always say that Kaserine was a defeat for the US and usualy add that "us Brits saved your arse...etc, etc" when in actual fact Kaserine, although deeply embarassing for the US, especialy Patton, was not a German victory. Much like Dieppe for the British Kaserine was a useful blooding for the US which meant that they were able to go on to win much larger battles later.

Dieppe was a raid designed purely to annoy the Germans then withdraw - Kassarine Pass was the main moment of a massive German attack against American troops which was a massive defeat for the US.

Firefly
11-17-2005, 01:05 PM
The British always say that Kaserine was a defeat for the US and usualy add that "us Brits saved your arse...etc, etc" when in actual fact Kaserine, although deeply embarassing for the US, especialy Patton, was not a German victory. Much like Dieppe for the British Kaserine was a useful blooding for the US which meant that they were able to go on to win much larger battles later.

I'd agree with that.

Firefly
11-17-2005, 01:06 PM
The British always say that Kaserine was a defeat for the US and usualy add that "us Brits saved your arse...etc, etc" when in actual fact Kaserine, although deeply embarassing for the US, especialy Patton, was not a German victory. Much like Dieppe for the British Kaserine was a useful blooding for the US which meant that they were able to go on to win much larger battles later.

Dieppe was a raid designed purely to annoy the Germans then withdraw - Kassarine Pass was the main moment of a massive German attack against American troops which was a massive defeat for the US.

I also agree with this. Elements of the truth in both statements in my opinion. Tricky thing war.

pdf27
11-17-2005, 01:54 PM
I also agree with this. Elements of the truth in both statements in my opinion. Tricky thing war.
Both went a bit pear-shaped. Dieppe was always a raid, but it went rather wrong with far less penetration inland and far higher casualties than expected. Kasserine was IIRC the first engagement of any significance by US ground troops in Europe, and IIRC they weren't really ready for it. They learned, and didn't have the same problems again.

In any case, Kasserine was largely irrelevant as the Germans in North Africa were already decisively defeated (even if they didn't realise it yet) and the only question was how many would be captured. IIRC it was on a par with (if not worst than) Stalingrad.

Firefly
11-17-2005, 02:00 PM
Bloody hell I agree with this too. I never understood why Rommel was starved of support right up until the battle was in reality lost and only then did the Germans build up a massive force in N Africa just to have the majority of it transported to POW camps. If they had given that much support to Rommel in 1941-42 there would have been no Kasserine and possibly little allied presence in the Med. Then the Allies may not have been able to work through their teething problems before D-Day. Still as I said, tricky thing war, great in hindsight.

Hosenfield
11-17-2005, 02:11 PM
.... you can't possibly compared the axis defeat in north afrika to stalingrad....Its insulting to do so.

the vast majority of axis troops were italians of dubious or no combat value (except for the Ariete division and a unitof italian paratroopers). Remember, Afrika korps was a CORPS, which composed of a mere two panzer divisions (32,000 men) with supporting infantry divisions

And the german soldiers lost at stalingrad were.... the ENTIRE 6th Army!!!

Firefly
11-17-2005, 03:39 PM
Im not sure its insulting, especially to the Soviets here. Does anyone know the numbers of German forces captured in Tunisia?

pdf27
11-17-2005, 04:47 PM
.... you can't possibly compared the axis defeat in north afrika to stalingrad....Its insulting to do so.

the vast majority of axis troops were italians of dubious or no combat value (except for the Ariete division and a unitof italian paratroopers). Remember, Afrika korps was a CORPS, which composed of a mere two panzer divisions (32,000 men) with supporting infantry divisions

And the german soldiers lost at stalingrad were.... the ENTIRE 6th Army!!!
Actually, by the time of the surrender in Tunisia it was the entire Army Group Afrika that was lost. Total loss in the final surrender was 275,000, and around 40,000 casualties were suffered by the Germans in the last stage of the campaign. That gives a little over 300,000 lost. Of these the best estimate I can come up with is that a little over half were German (60-70% I would guess - this US army document (http://www.army.mil/cmh/books/wwii/bizerte/bizerte-intro.htm) states 5 Italian divisions and 9 German divisions were present in Tunisia during the final battle).
At Stalingrad, the total number who survived to surrender were roughly 91,000. In addition there were approximately 800,000 Axis casualties, of whom roughly 400,000 were German and 130,000 Italians over the course of the Stalingrad campaign. If you're going to suggest that the majority of Axis losses in North Africa were of poor quality troops, it is worth noting that their losses at Stalingrad were only half German - the rest were mainly Romanian, Hungarian and Italian.

Looking at those figures I see no way in which it can be construed as insulting to compare the two battles. Both saw the loss of comparable numbers of Axis troops, huge stocks of war materiel and in the case of Tunisia a very large amount of shipping. Both were also happening at roughly the same stage of the war too.

Edited to note that "casualties" will include those who were wounded and could return to duty later - something not possible for captured or killed soldiers. Allowing for this, the battles look even closer together since in most battles there will be 2-3 times more wounded than killed.

Firefly
11-17-2005, 04:57 PM
Then you can add in the Hiwis, which were Russians who fought for the Axis. So Tunisia was probalbly as great a loss for the Germans.

pdf27
11-17-2005, 05:48 PM
Then you can add in the Hiwis, which were Russians who fought for the Axis. So Tunisia was probalbly as great a loss for the Germans.
I've seen estimates of 50,000 or so at Stalingrad. Records are most likely nonexistent so this will be a very approximate figure. I'd be surprised if more than a handful survived the war.

Halger280HVMag
11-18-2005, 07:16 PM
Gentlemen

The link will point you to a site that makes fairly clear the reasons for the Dieppe Raid.....

Also the sidebar included mentions the 50 US Rangers that participated in the Raid.....

AFAIK, the US suffered the first casualty in the European Theatre at Dieppe.....

Interestingly, the main body of the article contains a bit of information about my father, then Lt. Col. D Menard O.C. Les Fusilers du Mont-Royal......

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/content1.php/cid=101

Firefly
11-18-2005, 07:22 PM
Thanks for that link, a good read and I would ask all here to do so.

Can you give us any specifics on your Father? Did he write his memoires etc?

Hosenfield
11-19-2005, 12:02 AM
.... you can't possibly compared the axis defeat in north afrika to stalingrad....Its insulting to do so.

the vast majority of axis troops were italians of dubious or no combat value (except for the Ariete division and a unitof italian paratroopers). Remember, Afrika korps was a CORPS, which composed of a mere two panzer divisions (32,000 men) with supporting infantry divisions

And the german soldiers lost at stalingrad were.... the ENTIRE 6th Army!!!
Actually, by the time of the surrender in Tunisia it was the entire Army Group Afrika that was lost. Total loss in the final surrender was 275,000, and around 40,000 casualties were suffered by the Germans in the last stage of the campaign. That gives a little over 300,000 lost. Of these the best estimate I can come up with is that a little over half were German (60-70% I would guess - this US army document (http://www.army.mil/cmh/books/wwii/bizerte/bizerte-intro.htm) states 5 Italian divisions and 9 German divisions were present in Tunisia during the final battle).
At Stalingrad, the total number who survived to surrender were roughly 91,000. In addition there were approximately 800,000 Axis casualties, of whom roughly 400,000 were German and 130,000 Italians over the course of the Stalingrad campaign. If you're going to suggest that the majority of Axis losses in North Africa were of poor quality troops, it is worth noting that their losses at Stalingrad were only half German - the rest were mainly Romanian, Hungarian and Italian.

Looking at those figures I see no way in which it can be construed as insulting to compare the two battles. Both saw the loss of comparable numbers of Axis troops, huge stocks of war materiel and in the case of Tunisia a very large amount of shipping. Both were also happening at roughly the same stage of the war too.

Edited to note that "casualties" will include those who were wounded and could return to duty later - something not possible for captured or killed soldiers. Allowing for this, the battles look even closer together since in most battles there will be 2-3 times more wounded than killed.

130,000 german troops surrendered at Tunisia . Germany and Italy suffered only 25,000 causalties in battle, so the battle of Tunisia is more of a great logistical victory.
The german soldiers that fought at Stalingrad were some of Germany's most valuable men, many specialists and combat engineers. During the siege, 500 of germany's experienced veteren Air combat instructors were lost while they desperately tried to fly transports to save teh 6th army.

The sturmpionere were valuable specialists and many were lost there. Germany lost around 300,000 killed, wounded, and captured there, double the amount of german soldiers lost in Tunisia.

Hosenfield
11-19-2005, 12:22 AM
anyway, back to topic. Rommel is famous for his "sword and shield " technique and others, mostly using flak 88 and 76mm traps against enemy tanks. However, these strategies were standard procedure in the eastern front, so I don't see how brilliant he was at all.