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View Full Version : So, how did YOUR country screw up in WWII?



alephh
01-18-2008, 06:25 AM
How about we do our (un)patriotic duty and - instead of arguing with each other - voluntarily mash our own country/military by revealing their mistakes during world war II? :-D

I'll go first ;-)

(Stupid) Country: Finland
Place: The Winter War 1939-1940

So, Finland (smaller participant in this conflict) was soon needing more soldiers, and then everybody remembered that during peacetime many fit-and-able men were (unwise, but Finland was young naive nation failing to see the signs of the times) freed from doing their basic military training. They were given an extra-quick (and equally useless) basic training.

So, the big question was: How to deploy these (inexperienced) men?

#1) Spread them to the existing formations, where they could quickly learn the art of warfare from the experienced soldiers.

#2) Create new completely, entirely and totally inexperienced formations, lead by (semi)inexperienced officers.

For some reason, it was decided that #2 is clearly the way to go. :-/

And to make things "perfect", it was decided to use some of these new formations to do a counterattack -- Experienced officers were horrified.

The time for the counterattack came... and passed... and finally, wayyyy to late, these new formations managed to arrive at the point where the attack would/was/may/already did/etc start. Of course, the best moment for the attack was lost. After a lot of disturbance and trouble, some sort of attack was done, causing (at least) a lot of noise. That time the new formations avoided the heavy casualties (which makes one wonder how many meters they actually advanced ;-D).

Unfortunately, and inevitably, the first real battles resulted heavy casualties and panic in those new formations. Surely that was not the best way to handle this matter.


_

Egorka
01-18-2008, 06:59 AM
Great thread, Alephh! :)
I will try to reply later when I get time...

Rising Sun*
01-18-2008, 07:06 AM
How about we do our (un)patriotic duty and - instead of arguing with each other - voluntarily mash our own country/military by revealing their mistakes during world war II? :-D

Great thread.

Well, Australia was so good (bad?)in so many areas it's hard to know where to start.

So I'll start with the one campaign that really mattered to Australia in its darkest hour, in Papua in the second half of 1942 which at the time was quite reasonably perceived as being the last ditch attempt to keep the rampaging Japanese out of Australia, regardless of what we might now know.

We sent the best troops we had left (after sending the really good ones with a higher enlistment age to the Middle East for Britian), being mostly barely trained and modestly equipped teenagers to Papua. Some fired a rifle for the first time on the transport ship on the way up. Others didn't until they got there.

When they got there, they were wisely used as wharf and fortification labourers, so that when the anticipated attack occurred and they were sent to grind their way up the gruelling Kokoda Track, they had no jungle training; bugger all infantry training; and no suitable equipment.

Also a headquarters in Australia run by Gen MacArthur who was determined to show that Australian troops were no good compared with Americans (none of whom were actually fighting in MacArthur's SWPA at the time, mostly because he'd abandoned the last lot in the Philippines who'd been forced to surrender because MacArthur buggered up the whole defence and campaign before he pissed off to Australia to save the world from the Japanese he'd lost to already), ably assisted by his deputy commander the Australian Gen Blamey who'd do anything to save his skin and keep his post, including sacrificing his best Australian commanders in Papua.

Anybody who studies that campaign must come to the conclusion that it was the virtue and strength of the average men combined with the leadership of the NCO's and officers, and especially those drafted in from the battle hardened Middle East divisions who'd returned to Australia (which is a tribute to the little intelligent and successful planning that went on before the campaign), who won in spite of the many failures at senior staff (not field staff) and headquarters levels.

I hope no nation has anyone worse than our ****heads.

tankgeezer
01-18-2008, 07:09 AM
sunday morning golf outings for Fleet officers in Hawii.

Panzerknacker
01-18-2008, 07:47 AM
Well, Argentina declared war on Germany in late april 1945 when that country was pretty much wasted, so that saved of any possible screwing. :rolleyes:

I dont know if that was pathetic or funny...you choose.

Rising Sun*
01-18-2008, 07:49 AM
sunday morning golf outings for Fleet officers in Hawii.

And the other mistakes that day, as distinct from things that just went wrong, were?

And from the other side, how many bloody mistakes could Japan make on a clean sheet with bugger all opposition?

Nickdfresh
01-18-2008, 08:18 PM
sunday morning golf outings for Fleet officers in Hawii.


My first (of many) points...

But I'll say this. I have no problems with the golfing, but I do have a problem with the completely useless command and control of the radar station that actually detected the incoming Japanese strike force. The idiotic fear of saboteurs over the threat of the IJN fleet air arm. And the hubris and arrogance that thought the Japanese incapable and unwilling to launch such a daring and skilled attack...

Nickdfresh
01-18-2008, 08:21 PM
Great thread.

...
Also a headquarters in Australia run by Gen MacArthur who was determined to show that Australian troops were no good compared with Americans (none of whom were actually fighting in MacArthur's SWPA at the time, mostly because he'd abandoned the last lot in the Philippines who'd been forced to surrender because MacArthur buggered up the whole defence and campaign before he pissed off to Australia to save the world from the Japanese he'd lost to already), ably assisted by his deputy commander the Australian Gen Blamey who'd do anything to save his skin and keep his post, including sacrificing his best Australian commanders in Papua.
...

I bet a lot of the American soldiers were eager to show that a certain American general was no good so they could get an Australian (or any other) supreme commander...:D

PA.Dutchman
01-18-2008, 08:27 PM
You both make some good points. There were major errors on all the fronts and all sides the war.

Nickdfresh
01-18-2008, 08:50 PM
The United State beat the English twice fairly. So who do we allow to lead our troops in some of our worse defeats in World War II, the British.
...

So America made the mistake of letting English decide our troops moves rather than our own leaders that lead to some of our worse lose of lives.


Um, seriously. WTF are you talking about? In which theater, or battle for that matter, did US commanders allow the British to lead our troops?

And we only beat the English once. The second time was pretty much a draw...

Rising Sun*
01-18-2008, 11:17 PM
In World War Two Lord Mountbatten killed off his own troops like he was shooting ducks at a State Fair Stand.

Check out his naval career in WWII before he became a land commander. He wasn't lacking in guts or skill.

Mountbatten was a bit given to far-fetched ideas, which might also be the sign of someone who was an original military thinker, but I doubt there's evidence he was wilfully wasteful with his troops.


Britain used its Commonwealth troops like the Canadians, Australians, and others like they had the value of a empty peanut shell.

Again, a rather extreme and inaccurate comment, at least as far as Australians were concerned.

British units fought in the same campaigns that Australian units fought under Britain. They were exposed to the same risks.


In World War One it was Galloplie

The French and British suffered heavier casualties than the Australians at Gallipoli.



in World War II it was Deebee, not sure of the spelling, were just two of many cases where good British soldiers were not killed in battle by their enemy they were murdered by their own poor leadership. Deebee caused the death of many good Canadians and American Rangers and was lead by Mountbatten who never left England.

Dieppe is probably what you're thinking of. Sure, it was a disaster. Lots of military leaders have disasters in their careers. It was nothing compared with the disaster Chuchill managed in Greece in 1941.

So what if Mountbatten didn't leave England? Commanders are always in the rear, unless things go horribly wrong. Eisenhower didn't land on D-Day, nor should he have.



the Bridge on the River Kawi,

It's fiction. The bridge never existed.

Anyway, the film is about POW's on the Burma railway, when they were subject to Japanese control.

If you want to see some examples of good British leadership, read up on the Burma railway.


I just don't think our military leaders should be picked by where he wakes up on the morning of his birth.

There was a strong tradition of aristocratic families in Britain as in Europe of a son going into the armed forces. Usual order was first son inherits the estate; second son goes into the armed services; third son into the Anglican Church. Didn't seem to do Britain any harm as these were the people, among others, and the system which built the British Empire.

Rising Sun*
01-19-2008, 02:43 AM
And we only beat the English once. The second time was pretty much a draw...

Burning the White House and much of Washington has to make it a touch over a draw. ;)

It's not like the Yanks did any damage in London. :D

Digger
01-19-2008, 05:57 AM
Burning the White House and much of Washington has to make it a touch over a draw. ;)

It's not like the Yanks did any damage in London. :D

Americans on leave 1942 and beyond more than compensated for that! Ask any Pommie who lost a girl to a Yank:D

digger

tankgeezer
01-19-2008, 06:46 AM
Question off topic,,, what is the story behind the name "Pommie"?

Rising Sun*
01-19-2008, 07:03 AM
Question off topic,,, what is the story behind the name "Pommie"?

Nobody knows.

The following from Wiki covers all the versions I've heard, with the exception that there was another version that it came from the French pomme de terre, being a potato, and that this related to roast beef and potatoes as the staple English diet. I think this derivation was attributed to the French as a derogatory term for the English.


The term pommy or pommie is commonly used by speakers of Australian English, New Zealand English, South African English and Afrikaans. It is often shortened to pom. The origin of this term is not confirmed and there are several persistent false etymologies, most being backronyms.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) strongly supports the theory that pom and pommy originated as contractions of "pomegranate", Australian rhyming slang for immigrant. The OED cites a well-known Australian weekly, The Bulletin, which on 14 November 1912 reported: "The other day a Pummy Grant (assisted immigrant) was handed a bridle and told to catch a horse."[1]

A false etymology (or "backronym") common in both Australia and New Zealand is that pom originated as an acronym for "prisoner of (his/her) majesty" or "prisoner of mother England". Although many of the first British settlers in Australasia were convicts sentenced to transportation to Australia, there is no evidence for this. Some proponents of this theory claim that upon arrival in the country they would be given a uniform with "POHM" or "POME" emblazoned on the back, but there are no images or examples of these uniforms.

Other etymologies which are unsupported by evidence include:

"prisoner of Millbank", after the area of London where prisoners were held prior to transportation;
it is rhyming slang for tommy, international slang for a British soldier;
an acronym for "Port of Melbourne". However, the term "pommy" was coined long before POM was used as acronym for the port.
comes from "pomme", French for apple. The joke was that the pale British would turn red, like an apple, with sunburn when they landed in Australia.
Another backronym for POM relates to English immigrants who could not adjust to their new surroundings and were considered "prisoners of Mother England", in terms of attitude and culture.

Use of the word "pom" remains slightly contentious. Some British people living in Australasia find the term offensive and demeaning, others find it harmless and amusing. Attitudes to the use of the word have varied over the years; in the 1960s, slogans such as "bash a pom a day" were heard on New Zealand radio. The word has become so common that few Australians and New Zealanders see any reason to avoid using it, some even justifying the use of it as a "term of endearment". In December 2006, the Advertising Standards Board of Australia unanimously ruled that the word "pom" was a part of the Australian vernacular, and was largely used in a "playful or affectionate" sense. As a consequence, the board ruled that the word did not constitute a racial slur, and could be freely used in advertising. The Board was responding to a complaint filed by a community group called British People Against Racial Discrimination.[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_words_for_British

Nickdfresh
01-20-2008, 08:44 AM
Well, first off. There's some anecdotal evidence in "Citizen Soldiers" (by Ambrose) that at least some US soldiers actually preferred being under direct British command. The main reasons being that they felt that the British officers were far more personable and humane than the US junior officer counterparts and would actually visit with them.



Burning the White House and much of Washington has to make it a touch over a draw. ;)

It's not like the Yanks did any damage in London. :D

Yes, the British burned Washington and generally terrorized the Chesapeake Bay area coast (Virginia, Maryland, and DC). But do you know WHY the city was burned? DC had actually little strategic military value to either side. In fact, one of the reasons the British Marines and Army were able to have things so easy is was that it was assumed that the real, main target was Baltimore, which was one of the main US centers of commerce in the United States. Washington was then only defended by second rate militia while the "regulars" of the vastly improving US Army at the time were stationed around Baltimore. The burning of Washington was meant as retaliation for the American burning of what is now Toronto, ONT, Canada, but more to the point, it was done as a means to achieve a better negotiating position at Ghent, Belgium.

The British quickly defeated the militia at the Battle of Bladensburg, and marched into Washington and had their way. But the the same force was then defeated at the Battle of Baltimore, essentially in what was a skirmish but subsequently finding the city's works to be too strong to be attacked. After the famous, ineffectual siege and shelling of Fort McHenry (the subject of the Star Spangled Banner), the British raiding fleet was sent out to sea. And the US negotiating position was actually strengthened ironically because the the cost of the British inflicting a decisive strategic victory was too high as there was still substantial trade between the US and Britain (even during the War! Wellington's troops were clothed and fed largely with stocks coming from America. Wellington himself would later denounce the War when asked to lead a British expedition). Also, US privateer and Navy commerce raiding was taking a toll on the British economy and the War was increasingly unpopular in England as such. And if they had waited a little longer, the US negotiating position would have been MUCH greater since the British attacked New Orleans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_New_Orleans) after the Treaty of Ghent was signed, suffering one of the worst defeats in their military history.

The main point is that the US was becoming increasingly militarily competent by 1814, despite the debacle at Washington. The biggest reason was that the British knew that a concerted effort to invade Canada by the increasingly effective US Army would almost inevitably lead to the complete ejection of the British from North America and to a severe strain on her feeding the West Indies colonies since all the US really had to do was cut off Montreal and Quebec to effectively control Canada. The real point was that the British were forced to respect the US as a nation state, and stop regarding it as they had been, as essentially a renegade colony. This is why the War is regarded as "The Second War of Independence" and basically is considered an extension of the Revolutionary War by most historians here..

Erik
01-20-2008, 10:20 AM
I'd like to say Dieppe, but some say "say that for every life lost at Dieppe, 10 more were saved on the beaches of Normandy"... so with the benefit of hindsight I scratch that off my list.

The Verriers Ridge massacre was probably one of the more severe screw ups from command... "325 men left the start line and only 15 made it back." There is a documentary (http://www.history.ca/ontv/titledetails.aspx?titleid=90177) on it thats shown on history television, usually around Remembrance day.


On July 25th, 1944, in the heart of Normandy, France, a group of Canadian soldiers from the Black Watch Regiment make their way up the slope of Verrières Ridge in broad daylight with no cover. Their objective is to secure the ridge. It is one of six objectives to be reached that day under the codename Operation Spring. But what is supposed to be a great Allied victory turns into a horrific massacre. As the men from the Black Watch ascend the ridge, German forces, hidden along the edge of the field open fire. The Canadians are slaughtered.

The massacre on Verrières Ridge ends up to be Canada’s second worst day during the Second World War. Only the failed raid at Dieppe two years earlier is worse than the carnage experienced on Verrières Ridge.

To this day no answers have ever been given to the reason ‘why’ such a failed operation took place. Why were so many young Canadians sent up that ridge in broad daylight? The commanding officers blamed poor execution by the men on the ground and insufficient intelligence leading up to the Operation as the reasons for the failure. Is this a true statement or a way to deflect responsibility?

Black Watch: Massacre At Verrierre Ridge will bring to life the unfolding story of the Black Watch regiments final days and moments leading into the failed attack at Verrières Ridge. Presented by David O’Keefe, Black Watch Historian and leading expert on Operation Spring, this epic story of one of Canada’s worst military disasters will be told and analyzed. Through dramatic re-creations, personal testimony from survivors, and revealing new evidence from recently de-classified top secret documents, David O’Keefe will get to the heart of the story, the reasons for the failure, and who at the end is accountable for the massacre.

Nickdfresh
01-20-2008, 05:22 PM
A couple of very severe US military debacles took place in the Italian Campaign. The most notorious one was the capture or killing of over 1,000 of the elite "Darby's Rangers" when they set about to spearhead an offensive at Anzio by using infiltration tactics to reach Cisterna, but instead they blundered into a Panzer division and the lightly armed Rangers were slaughtered as they were caught in the open. Although they did inflict a number of casualties on the Germans, the operation was a complete waste of some pretty good soldiers and a testament to the US Army's inability to correctly use special operations troops in WWII...

http://darbysrangers.tripod.com/id6.htm

32Bravo
01-21-2008, 12:39 PM
Well, Argentina declared war on Germany in late april 1945 when that country was pretty much wasted, so that saved of any possible screwing. :rolleyes:

I dont know if that was pathetic or funny...you choose.


Gifted! :D

32Bravo
01-21-2008, 12:46 PM
In my opinion, the screw up were those by the politicians that allowed our countries be caught wrong-footed.

The allies were caught with their pants around their ankles by both Germany and Japan. Both of those nations had been preparing for years for the war.

Yes, our countries did screw up. it was a learning curve, and for some it was longer than it was for others. Some of the cock ups made by our own generals can make me rather angry, particularly when one considers the casualties which resulted from it, but it's easy to criticise with hind-sight.

It would be interesting to hear from any German or Japanese for their opinions on how they screwed up.

snebold
02-01-2008, 04:30 PM
Well, Britain and France was rearming at a pace that made Hitler gamble in 1939, as he knew that time was no longer on his side. Take a look at Britain´s programme for naval construction of 1936. They certainly prepared for a war.

As for DENMARK in World War II:
The government decided sometime in the second half of the 1930´s, that Denmark, given its geography vis-a-vis Germany was indefensible and staked everything on neutrality in a coming conflict.
The evolution of military technology since WW I, when Denmark sustained its largest ever peacetime army, in one way justifies that view, but was all screwed up, beacuse that same technological advances insured that Denmark would never be allowed to remain neutral in a conflict between Germany and Britain.
The relevant authorities in Denmark knew very well that something was brewing before the invasion of 9apr1940, but not exactly what the Germans had in mind and so didn´t bother mobilise the forces, which was perhaps just as well as it meant that only about 25 Danish military personel lost their lives that day.
The screw up was to allow the Germans a walk over. That what happens to countries with no credible defense. The Danish forces of WW I, though in no way a match for the German army, at least made Germany think twice and conclude that free access to the Belts and the loot of Danish farm products, could not be had without weakening other fronts, withdrawing troops that was sorely needed.
As the Southern part of Denmark was under German control 1864-1920 (There was some serious political screw ups on the Danish side leading up to 1864, but that´s another story), some danes were forced to serve Germany in WWI. My grandfather had no less than 15 uncles + his own father who served in the German forces. No one ever saw anybody of higher rank than major... two served in submarines, one spending a day caught in an anti-submarine net in the English Channel, all 16 survived, by some miracle.

alephh
02-02-2008, 05:39 PM
it's easy to criticise with hind-sight.

That's true. Some WWII things are easy to "see" now, but were difficult to foresee during WWII-era.

But some of the WWII issues were plain to see even then: For example information about Operation Barbarossa was leaked to Allies by so many ways that it was pretty ridiculous - not to mention the unbelievable massing of divisions to east or Hitler's ranting about getting lebensraum from east.


It would be interesting to hear from any German or Japanese for their opinions on how they screwed up.

Too bad that there is so little information available (in English) about Japan and WWII - especially compared to the number of volumes written about Nazi Germany.


_

32Bravo
02-05-2008, 11:01 AM
That's true. Some WWII things are easy to "see" now, but were difficult to foresee during WWII-era.

But some of the WWII issues were plain to see even then: For example information about Operation Barbarossa was leaked to Allies by so many ways that it was pretty ridiculous - not to mention the unbelievable massing of divisions to east or Hitler's ranting about getting lebensraum from east.


_

Well, Churchill had decyphered intelligence reports of Barbaossa, complements of Enigma, and gave them to Uncle Joe, but he, the latter, chose not to believe them.

Nigel R Sheehan
02-05-2008, 11:51 AM
Did the Germans or the Japanese screw up - we paid for the rebuild of the german cities whilst being in the throes of limited supplies in this country. And from the little I know about Japan, all Japanese school children have to visit at least one of the two sites bombed with the h bomb. perhaps in reality England got it all wrong, I dont know I may be well wide of the mark

pdf27
02-05-2008, 12:17 PM
And from the little I know about Japan, all Japanese school children have to visit at least one of the two sites bombed with the h bomb.
Bikini Attol?

32Bravo
02-05-2008, 12:56 PM
Did the Germans or the Japanese screw up - we paid for the rebuild of the german cities whilst being in the throes of limited supplies in this country. And from the little I know about Japan, all Japanese school children have to visit at least one of the two sites bombed with the h bomb. perhaps in reality England got it all wrong, I dont know I may be well wide of the mark



Aaaah, Neil, we've been hearing that one since I was a nipper. No, we, the British, didn't get it wrong when we fought against Germany and Japan. However, perhaps our Trades Unions got it wrong fifteen, twenty or thirty years, or so, later.

32Bravo
02-05-2008, 12:59 PM
Bikini Attol?


You ought to become an accountant, if you are not one already - pedantic.

Errare est humanum

32Bravo
02-05-2008, 01:12 PM
Well, Churchill had decyphered intelligence reports of Barbaossa, complements of Enigma, and gave them to Uncle Joe, but he, the latter, chose not to believe them.


Then again, why should Stalin have trusted Churchill, after the way Churchill had supported the 'Whites' against the 'Reds'.

Look at it from his point of view: Wasn't the above, a ploy, by Churchill, to drive a wedge between the Soviets and the Nazis, and bring the Soviets into the war on the side of the British?

pdf27
02-05-2008, 05:18 PM
You ought to become an accountant, if you are not one already - pedantic.
Nah, I'm an engineer. My job is to spot mistakes in the few-orders-of-magnitude range which might cause major issues. I figure the difference between a simple fission weapon and a full blown thermonuclear device is one such mistake.
Besides, nuclear weapons are a bit of a hobby of mine!

k-otic
02-05-2008, 06:42 PM
i think my country screw up in ww2 by starting it :D

32Bravo
02-07-2008, 02:53 AM
Nah, I'm an engineer. My job is to spot mistakes in the few-orders-of-magnitude range which might cause major issues. I figure the difference between a simple fission weapon and a full blown thermonuclear device is one such mistake.
Besides, nuclear weapons are a bit of a hobby of mine!

Fascinating hobby!

So, Nigel almost had us on the brink of a nuclear disaster? :D:D

Nigel R Sheehan
02-07-2008, 06:24 PM
hi 32bravo, no nuclear disaster just a point of view the second world war ended in 1945 but dont u think its been a monetary war since. and thats a big screw up

Egorka
02-08-2008, 02:45 AM
We also screwed much... many of our own people were got killed as the result of not being prepared for war. Molotov-Ribbentrop pact at the end played a negative role. Many Polish officers were executed. Some nations were deported for various reasons, which is not unusual as such, but it lead to many people's suffering. So on and on.
Baisicly all the sins of a rough super power were commited.

32Bravo
02-08-2008, 03:05 AM
hi 32bravo, no nuclear disaster just a point of view the second world war ended in 1945 but dont u think its been a monetary war since. and thats a big screw up


Market driven democracies; supply and demand; the ability/inability to compete in the global arena.

No, I don't think it a 'screw-up'. It's just an ever changing over populated world. However, as I've probably lived considerably longer than I have left on this here planet, I'm not about to lose too much sleep over it.

The next crises, in my most humble opinion, will be caused by the over-production of bio-fuels.

Egorka
02-08-2008, 03:16 AM
The next crises, in my most humble opinion, will be caused by the over-production of bio-fuels.

Yes, that is the point that this fallen world is irreperable. It is all just patching, not a solution...

32Bravo
02-08-2008, 06:26 AM
Yes, fire-fighting rather than planning. To plan would be to lead, and the necessary planning, in this case, would be rather unpopular with the electorate. So, we have short-term policies to deal with long-term problems.

Let everyone ensure they don't overfill their kettle or coffeepot and ensure that their TV isn't left on standby, and they will believe the world is saved. :)

Seefu Sefirosu
02-19-2008, 09:07 PM
I'm not living in Germany, but...


Goddamnit! I was just writing up Hitler's mistakes, and my mouse ****ed up and instead of scrolling down, it operated the back function in my browser! I lost all of it. Be back to write it later.

Liner notes for me:

Hitler
- Weird stuff he did

Rommel
- Weird things he did

Heydrich
- Weird stuff HE did

Russia
- Never fight em in the winter.

Battle of Britain
- big mistake.


To be updated.

MayberrySaint
02-19-2008, 09:43 PM
1. Putting Lloyd Fredendall in charge of US forces in North Africa at the beginning of the campaign.
2. Relieving Patton for his "slapping" incident.
3. Eisenhower approving Monty's Market Garden Plan.
4. Roosevelt agreeing on the partition of Europe post-war, essentially condemning millions of people to totalitarian control...especially Poland (France and England declared war on Germany after they attacked Poland and then essentially abandoned her to the Soviet Union after the war).

Covenanter
03-16-2008, 04:41 AM
My country ? My country should have sold out to Nazi Germany, invade Russia together and screw the allies.

Instead Poland got stabbed in the back by Russia, sold out by western allies, twice and ended up economically a decade behind the west due to our russian 'guests' who drained our economy dry.

Nickdfresh
03-16-2008, 06:29 PM
My country ? My country should have sold out to Nazi Germany, invade Russia together and screw the allies.

Instead Poland got stabbed in the back by Russia, sold out by western allies, twice and ended up economically a decade behind the west due to our russian 'guests' who drained our economy dry.

Perhaps you'd care to elaborate as to how Poland was "sold out by the western allies?"

Nickdfresh
03-17-2008, 06:37 AM
Please continue discussion of "Poland being sold out/stabbed in the back" in this thread: http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3795

Nickdfresh
03-17-2008, 08:50 AM
And if we're talking about Polish screw-ups, not allowing their soldiers to deploy their key, secret anti-tank rifle has to rank as one of the biggest, and unknown, blunders of WWII.

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4388

It may well have had some effect against the panzers...

Covenanter
03-20-2008, 01:03 PM
And if we're talking about Polish screw-ups, not allowing their soldiers to deploy their key, secret anti-tank rifle has to rank as one of the biggest, and unknown, blunders of WWII.

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4388

It may well have had some effect against the panzers...

Oh yes it was one of the biggest blunders, definitey up there with Dieppe and Market Garden, yup.

I would also like to mention that the Tiger was the most succesfull german submarine and the Panther was the best german combat race rad, yep sure was.

Nickdfresh
03-20-2008, 02:58 PM
Oh yes it was one of the biggest blunders, definitey up there with Dieppe and Market Garden, yup.

I would also like to mention that the Tiger was the most succesfull german submarine and the Panther was the best german combat race rad, yep sure was.

Do you have anymore off topic nonsense to offer?

Really, I want to know...

herman2
05-01-2008, 11:04 AM
Nah, I'm an engineer. My job is to spot mistakes in the few-orders-of-magnitude range which might cause major issues. I figure the difference between a simple fission weapon and a full blown thermonuclear device is one such mistake.
Besides, nuclear weapons are a bit of a hobby of mine!

Truman screwed up by not sending enough A-bombs to Japan and he should of sent a few to Germany and even Italy. He had enough bombs so I don't know why he didn't use them. The war would have been shorter then.

Churchill
05-01-2008, 03:23 PM
Truman got into office on April 12, 1945, and the war in Europe was over on May 7 and May 8, 1945. Italy capitulated on September 8, 1943. The first A-bomb was tested on July 16, 1945. All of those dates are somewhat close,(except Italian surrender) but the dates wouldn't allow Truman to drop a bomb or two on Germany.

gumalangi
05-01-2008, 07:06 PM
well,. like most colonized countries,.. it was like,. whoever wins,... is our lost

snebold
05-02-2008, 04:48 AM
Had enough bombs?

As far as I´m informed (and I could be wrong), they were quite out of bombs a short while after 9aug1945...

Rising Sun*
05-02-2008, 04:55 AM
Had enough bombs?

As far as I´m informed (and I could be wrong), they were quite out of bombs a short while after 9aug1945...

You're right. The third one was ready around mid-August, and then several a month could be produced after that. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/72.pdf

Major Walter Schmidt
05-03-2008, 09:32 AM
Truman screwed up by not sending enough A-bombs to Japan and he should of sent a few to Germany and even Italy. He had enough bombs so I don't know why he didn't use them. The war would have been shorter then.

Truman only had 2 tactical devices and one prototype as far as I know.

Churchill
05-03-2008, 11:27 AM
Thank you. And those he sent to Japan.

Major Walter Schmidt
05-03-2008, 05:23 PM
no. the 2 were the ones Truman sent to Japan........ not even a 3rd nuke

Churchill
05-04-2008, 09:06 AM
Yeah, you said he had two and a prototype. He exploded the prototype in New Mexico, and sent the other two to Japan. I was talking about the 2 that were done and ready to go.

HAWKEYE
05-04-2008, 10:10 AM
After the invasion of Sicily the inability of the US to stop the German troops there from getting to the Italian mainland and having to face the same troops all over again there.

Not capitalizing on the initial landings at Anzio. Not taking the "High Ground".

Three words..Mark Clark, Rome.

Not realizing the potential in the use of Hobart's "Funnies" at Normandy.

The use of "Elite" troops like the Rangers and Paratroops as line grunts.

The whole re-placement system.

aly j
09-18-2008, 06:34 AM
Americans on leave 1942 and beyond more than compensated for that! Ask any Pommie who lost a girl to a Yank:D

digger

well said ...........the yanks pinch every thing

Nickdfresh
09-18-2008, 07:00 AM
Americans on leave 1942 and beyond more than compensated for that! Ask any Pommie who lost a girl to a Yank:D

digger


Hence, "Yanks: overpaid, oversexed, and OVER here!" :D

aly j
09-18-2008, 07:17 AM
Hence, "Yanks: overpaid, oversexed, and OVER here!" :D

that would really shit me if i
was a pommie lad in 1940s

kamehouse
09-18-2008, 08:14 AM
I am French.
I.........really..........don't.........know...... ..where.........to..........start!:rolleyes:

pdf27
09-18-2008, 08:36 AM
I am French.
I.........really..........don't.........know...... ..where.........to..........start!
I would suggest some time around Napoleon. The French did so badly in WW2 because they suffered so badly in WW1, and that in turn was because they industrialised far later and less completely than other European powers like Britain and Germany (hence giving them a lower population and massively lower industrial base). Hence, you have to go back to when the Industrial Revolution kicked off (during the Napoleonic Wars) to find out why France never really joined in.

aly j
09-18-2008, 09:58 AM
Question off topic,,, what is the story behind the name "Pommie"?

another word 4 englishman
us aussies call them pommies

aly j
09-18-2008, 10:03 AM
Then again, why should Stalin have trusted Churchill, after the way Churchill had supported the 'Whites' against the 'Reds'.

Look at it from his point of view: Wasn't the above, a ploy, by Churchill, to drive a wedge between the Soviets and the Nazis, and bring the Soviets into the war on the side of the British?

hitler did it himself

aly j
09-18-2008, 10:04 AM
i think my country screw up in ww2 by starting it :D

why dont u put ur self as bein german
i dont hate germans

Ardee
09-18-2008, 02:30 PM
Just to toss my two pennies in, I thought I'd offer a different view on a couple of the mistakes previously mentioned.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
sunday morning golf outings for Fleet officers in Hawii.
And the other mistakes that day, as distinct from things that just went wrong, were?



The idiotic fear of saboteurs over the threat of the IJN fleet air arm. And the hubris and arrogance that thought the Japanese incapable and unwilling to launch such a daring and skilled attack...

Hi Nickdfresh, I'm not sure everyone knew what you were talking about when you said this, way back on page 1. You are referring to the way almost all the aircraft were parked in close together, yes? That made it easier for sentries to guard the planes from saboteurs, but presented lovely targets for an air strike. I am not sure your comment about "hubris and arrogance" is *as* dead-on, however. IIRC, Pearl Harbor was seen as one of the highly-likely targets for a Japanese surprise attack. One issue was the shallow depth of Pearl Harbor: the US did not believe Japanese torpedoes could be dropped by air and not "sink" to the bottom. The debacle at Taranto had raised awareness of the possibility in planners minds. But Pearl was shallower than Taranto, so they concluded they were more-or-less safe. But the Japanese had adapted the technology -- I believe the key change was use of wooden running fins on the torpedoes, reducing weight, and maybe (the fins) had some design improvements as well. You can make a case for hubris, etc, in the USA thinking the Japanese couldn't solve a problem the US couldn't -- but historically, that's a pretty common failing among military planners. But I don't think it's fair to say they were dismissive of Japan being able to make an attack. They expected maybe some bombers and strafing, but not the torpedoes, which I believe were responsible for most of the ship sinkings at Pearl. Of course, given the actual preparedness of the defenses when the Japanese came, bombing a strafing, especially with subsequent waves, may have done just as good a job.

So far as other blunders that day, the list could go on for quite a while. The two that spring foremost to my mind was the lack of response to reported detection (and sinking) of the Japanese midget submarine, and worst all, the failure of intelligence: IIRC, the US had broken the Japanese codes, AND had picked up the "climb Mt Suribachi" message -- the US knew what that meant, but the message got lost in paper piles before it got to the people who knew. Thank God the carriers were out to sea....



Quote:
the Bridge on the River Kawi,
It's fiction. The bridge never existed.

I believe you are mistaken, Rising Sun. There was a real bridge (in fact there were TWO of them - one wood, and wood steel -- the steel one may be in use even today; it was certainly used post-war, after being repaired of damage done by airstrikes), built by POWs, and some of the characters are also real. In most cases, their personalities are fictionalized, as well as some of the events, but there is a basis in truth. I believe there was also a SAS attempt to blow the bridge - I may be mixing fact and myth on this point -- but it did happen, the operation failed: the bridge was not blown up, as shown in the film. The British commander of the camp building the bridge was also quite different than portrayed in the novel/film: he encouraged his men to do sabotage to the bridge, etc. Somewhere I read the author of the novel had actually based the character of the commander on some of the French officers he saw collaborating with the Japanese. As an interesting bit of trivia, the man who wrote the novel about the bridge also wrote another book made into a film -- The Planet of the Apes. That's quite a range of subject matter!


And if we're talking about Polish screw-ups, not allowing their soldiers to deploy their key, secret anti-tank rifle has to rank as one of the biggest, and unknown, blunders of WWII.

I believe this is also incorrect, Nickdfresh. IIRC, the ATR was fully issued to the troops, and actually accounted for quite a few panzers. the big problem was, because it was a secret weapon, few Polish troops had received any training with it, so it potential effectiveness was sharply reduced.

Somebody had also listed not capitalizing on the Anzio Beachhead as a blunder. I've forgotten his name, but the General "on the ground" for that operation was indeed blamed at the time for relative inaction. But as I understand it, opinion has since changed, and he is given credit for "doing the best anyone could do" under those circumstances. Manpower, logistics, resources being drawn away (e.g., the US or Royal Navies, or both, withdrew many of the ships from the battlezone because of fears of Luftwaffe strikes. I believe some of the ships left without even unloading the supplies they had stored to support the landings, but I'm not 100% sure. Certainly, their departure made other ships left behind even more vulnerable to air attack, as well as depriving the beachhead of "bases" from which supply/landing boats could operate.

Somebody also mentioned the Diepee (sp?) Raid. I read at least one book that claimed the Raid actually mounted as an example for the Yanks. Quite a few American planners were supremely confident of green US troop performance vs. the Germans, and they argued for an immediate cross-Channel invasion in 1942. The British thought such a move would be a disaster. The theory went that the Raid was something of a deliberate sacrifice to show the realities of what a cross-channel attack would mean. Whether that's true or not, the Raid did help change American thinking, resulting in the African Campaign (Operation Torch) instead. So Diepee may actually have success of sorts. I'm sure conspiracy theorists can also make hay out the fact that so many of the units "sacrificed" were Canadian, rather than British....

So, since I've taken pot shots at some other people's comments, I guess It's only fair to give you a comment of my own to tear apart! There are so many possibilities ranging from the entire Italian campaign, to ignorance about hedgerows, to the Ardennes, the "Black Thursday" raid on Schweinfurt, which virtually crippled the USAAF, Kazzarine...it also depends on whether you are talking about purely military blunders, or throwing in strategic/political mistakes, etc. Some things like the Italian Campaign were a tactical waste, in the sense of cost-per-inch of ground, but it did have political pluses, as well as tying down a lot of Germans.

So, my nomination for the worst mistake, as seen with 20/20 hindsight, made by the US is...Hurtgen Forest. God-awful terrain, little strategic value, and a black hole for eating up men's lives and resources. It's not something I know a whole lot about, so somebody is free to educate me, but what information I have come across suggests it was all for naught, the reason for the campaign a misunderstanding of what the Germans could actually do (I think it was something to do with the German's using a reservoir to cause flooding downstream should Allies try to cross "further downstream"?!?)...it all seems to have been an entire waste.

herman2
09-18-2008, 03:02 PM
Ardee!..You don't know what you have done. You said that Nick was wrong and you said " believe you are mistaken, Rising Sun".....As a Staff Sergeant, I have to tell you from experience that an officer should never be told their wrong. Trust me. From my experience, the officer is never wrong, and if they hear you saying or talking like that, youll see what haqppens. They will pounce on you and not let go. They will chew you up and spit you out for breakfast. these guys, especially RS, live for this environment. I don't even think these guys sleep!. They are the encyclopeida of war. They are never wrong. You may choose to hold a different opinion, but watch out, they'll poke your eye out I tell you!:shock:

flamethrowerguy
09-18-2008, 03:06 PM
Ardee!..You don't know what you have done. You said that Nick was wrong and you said " believe you are mistaken, Rising Sun".....As a Staff Sergeant, I have to tell you from experience that an officer should never be told their wrong. Trust me. From my experience, the officer is never wrong, and if they hear you saying or talking like that, youll see what haqppens. They will pounce on you and not let go. They will chew you up and spit you out for breakfast. these guys, especially RS, live for this environment. I don't even think these guys sleep!. They are the encyclopeida of war. They are never wrong. You may choose to hold a different opinion, but watch out, they'll poke your eye out I tell you!:shock:

Haha, herman2, you should stick to "bump".:mrgreen:

navyson
09-18-2008, 03:08 PM
Ardee!..You don't know what you have done. You said that Nick was wrong and you said " believe you are mistaken, Rising Sun".....As a Staff Sergeant, I have to tell you from experience that an officer should never be told their wrong. Trust me. From my experience, the officer is never wrong, and if they hear you saying or talking like that, youll see what haqppens. They will pounce on you and not let go. They will chew you up and spit you out for breakfast. these guys, especially RS, live for this environment. I don't even think these guys sleep!. They are the encyclopeida of war. They are never wrong. You may choose to hold a different opinion, but watch out, they'll poke your eye out I tell you!:shock:
you are a riot:p:lol:!

herman2
09-18-2008, 03:14 PM
Bump!

Churchill
09-18-2008, 03:42 PM
There you go! ;)

Rising Sun*
09-19-2008, 05:50 AM
I believe you are mistaken, Rising Sun. There was a real bridge (in fact there were TWO of them - one wood, and wood steel -- the steel one may be in use even today; it was certainly used post-war, after being repaired of damage done by airstrikes), built by POWs, and some of the characters are also real. In most cases, their personalities are fictionalized, as well as some of the events, but there is a basis in truth. I believe there was also a SAS attempt to blow the bridge - I may be mixing fact and myth on this point -- but it did happen, the operation failed: the bridge was not blown up, as shown in the film. The British commander of the camp building the bridge was also quite different than portrayed in the novel/film: he encouraged his men to do sabotage to the bridge, etc. Somewhere I read the author of the novel had actually based the character of the commander on some of the French officers he saw collaborating with the Japanese. As an interesting bit of trivia, the man who wrote the novel about the bridge also wrote another book made into a film -- The Planet of the Apes. That's quite a range of subject matter!

Pierre Boulle's book was fiction.

Colonel Nicholson was fiction.

The bridge was fiction.

The River Kwai was fiction. It didn't even exist during the war or in the 1950s when the book and film were released.

The bridges you mention were over the Mae Klong river during the war and in the 1950s, although the relevant part of it was renamed the Kwai in the 1960s, presumably being a spectacular example of life following art.

As the river didn't exist during the war, then a bridge to cross it couldn't exist either.

As for the wooden bridge depicted in the film http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Kitulgala-bridge.jpg , it's nothing like the real wooden bridge which spanned the Mae Klong. http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-battles/ww2/kwai.htm

The film is a great film, but it has no historical accuracy.

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 06:11 AM
Also, there was no SAS Mission, I think the bridge was hit by an American air strike. The romantic notion of commandos blowing a bridge is a bit silly when you have lots of air power available...

Rising Sun*
09-19-2008, 06:24 AM
Stand by for smug post by Herman of the "I told you so." variety. ;) :D

Rising Sun*
09-19-2008, 06:41 AM
Also, there was no SAS Mission, I think the bridge was hit by an American air strike. The romantic notion of commandos blowing a bridge is a bit silly when you have lots of air power available...

Did the SAS even have anyone in the Burma theatre at any stage of the war, let alone around 1943 when the film appears to be set?

I thought the SAS was LRDG in North Africa and then moved into the campaigns in Europe.

pdf27
09-19-2008, 07:43 AM
Did the SAS even have anyone in the Burma theatre at any stage of the war, let alone around 1943 when the film appears to be set?

I thought the SAS was LRDG in North Africa and then moved into the campaigns in Europe.

Correct, although the SAS were by no means the only "irregular" troops in British service - something in the national character seems to breed them in wartime. There were about 5 distinct groups of them in North Africa alone...

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 07:45 AM
But it was "Force 10" that blew the bridge! ;)

pdf27
09-19-2008, 07:52 AM
They didn't blow up a bridge, they blew up a dam. Get it right! Call yourself a moderator? You should be ashamed of that level of knowledge :p

herman2
09-19-2008, 07:57 AM
Leave my friend Nick alone. Everyone is entitled to a temporary memory lapse!...I swear, sometimes I wonder if they were to throw you 2 in the ring with a fleet of battleships, air planes and tanks, who would be the victor!..You guys are TOPS!

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 07:58 AM
They didn't blow up a bridge, they blew up a dam. Get it right! Call yourself a moderator? You should be ashamed of that level of knowledge :p


Damn it, I hate when you're right! But of course they did. The amazing thing is that they originally blew up German guns in Greece, then the guy with the American accent and David Niven morphed into two entirely different, lessor actors who previously were New England giant shark hunters and and they helped Han Solo and Apollo Creed take on the Nazi stormtroopers! And the "other Jaws," ironically...

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 08:02 AM
Leave my friend Nick alone. Everyone is entitled to a temporary memory lapse!...I swear, sometimes I wonder if they were to throw you 2 in the ring with a fleet of battleships, air planes and tanks, who would be the victor!..You guys are TOPS!

The world would fear us!

Rising Sun*
09-19-2008, 08:05 AM
Correct, although the SAS were by no means the only "irregular" troops in British service - something in the national character seems to breed them in wartime.

And breeds irregulars in peace time. ;)

I well remember a training film (British and made about 1950, or possibly 1850 :D) about the importance of not being irregular.

It showed the squaddie who evacuated his bowels irregularly and another who was regular. The former, somewhat paradoxically, was a sloppy soldier and the latter wasn't. ;)

Rising Sun*
09-19-2008, 08:13 AM
They didn't blow up a bridge, they blew up a dam. Get it right! Call yourself a moderator? You should be ashamed of that level of knowledge :p

A moderator is not required to know anything, but merely to exercise authority.

This is why, just like in most armies, they are automatically made officers. :D

pdf27
09-19-2008, 08:18 AM
Leave my friend Nick alone. Everyone is entitled to a temporary memory lapse!

http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/Assets/sycophant.jpg
Sycophant (http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/sycophant.htm) differs from Me-Too (http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/bigdogmetoo.htm) in that he is much more concerned with sucking up than he is with actually doing battle. Of course, he WILL engage in some light combat to impress Big Dog (http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/bigdogmetoo.htm) and other stronger Warriors, but he never exposes himself to unnecessary danger. Although combatants sometimes employ Sycophant (http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/sycophant.htm) to buttress an attack, his constantly shifting loyalties make him a weak and unreliable ally.

Ardee
09-19-2008, 02:58 PM
Okay, I'd been expecting a response, if not quite the ones I got! :shock: I'll have to try to remember my etiquette when dealing with officers. lol


Pierre Boulle's book was fiction.

Colonel Nicholson was fiction.

Yes, the book was indeed a novel, and therefore by definition, fiction.

Yes, the Nicholson character was totally contrived, and had nothing to do with the nature of the man in charge at the historical setting.

I think I said both things in my post, so we're in agreement there!


The bridge was fiction.

I guess now we are delving into the realm of semantics. There WAS a bridge upon which the story was (very loosely) based, built by POWs, etc. I would say that made it real, not fiction. Though I can also see your point of view, since the actual bridge was nothing like the one depicted, the location, etc. At what point does something move from "being based on actual events" to being total fiction? I was reacting to your saying "The bridge never existed." Maybe you'll call it hair splitting, or maybe my line of work (a specialized type of writing) makes me too sensitive to loaded/absolute words like "never." Anyway, I hope we can agree to disagree on that one!


The River Kwai was fiction. It didn't even exist during the war or in the 1950s when the book and film were released.

The bridges you mention were over the Mae Klong river during the war and in the 1950s, although the relevant part of it was renamed the Kwai in the 1960s, presumably being a spectacular example of life following art.

As the river didn't exist during the war, then a bridge to cross it couldn't exist either.

I think the last sentence falls under what I just wrote above, so I won't go into again. You are quite right about the rest, and I had forgotten these details. Regarding the rest -- now that you've rubbed my face in it, I can remember reading a Time - the US weekly news magazine - article something like 10 years ago, in which they were discussing these facts. I think the story had something to do with an anniversary of some sort, related to the bridge, but I can't recall the story's main thrust. What does stick in my mind, though, was the reason given for the name changes you referred to: tourism. Veterans and just plain tourists were coming and spending lots of $$$ to see the famous bridge of the movie, and were disappointed to learn (when they were already in-country; I guess they never did trip planning with a travel agent before leaving home ! :) ) the truth. Makes the "art" being "followed by life" sound rather crass and tawdry, eh? I guess that, too, is Hollywood!

Anyway, thanks for the corrections, and now I hope we each understand where the other is coming from! (Hey Herman, will that get me out of trouble?!?) And look at all the interesting comments my post generated! But why hasn't anybody commented on my Hurtgen nomination? ;) Should I duck...?

herman2
09-19-2008, 02:59 PM
Your funny Ardee...stick around and you will go places!

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 05:39 PM
Just to toss my two pennies in, I thought I'd offer a different view on a couple of the mistakes previously mentioned.





Hi Nickdfresh, I'm not sure everyone knew what you were talking about when you said this, way back on page 1. You are referring to the way almost all the aircraft were parked in close together, yes? That made it easier for sentries to guard the planes from saboteurs, but presented lovely targets for an air strike. I am not sure your comment about "hubris and arrogance" is *as* dead-on, however. IIRC, Pearl Harbor was seen as one of the highly-likely targets for a Japanese surprise attack.

No, it wasn't. Please post any evidence to the contrary, but although Washington, DC realized that a Japanese attack or an act of war was imminent, the line of thinking was that they would strike on the Pacific rim. I think the Philipinnes was mentioned as a likely target:


Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese agression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

From: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm


One issue was the shallow depth of Pearl Harbor: the US did not believe Japanese torpedoes could be dropped by air and not "sink" to the bottom. The debacle at Taranto had raised awareness of the possibility in planners minds. But Pearl was shallower than Taranto, so they concluded they were more-or-less safe. But the Japanese had adapted the technology -- I believe the key change was use of wooden running fins on the torpedoes, reducing weight, and maybe (the fins) had some design improvements as well.

Correct, which sort of builds on my post regarding the above...


You can make a case for hubris, etc, in the USA thinking the Japanese couldn't solve a problem the US couldn't -- but historically, that's a pretty common failing among military planners. But I don't think it's fair to say they were dismissive of Japan being able to make an attack. They expected maybe some bombers and strafing, but not the torpedoes, which I believe were responsible for most of the ship sinkings at Pearl. Of course, given the actual preparedness of the defenses when the Japanese came, bombing a strafing, especially with subsequent waves, may have done just as good a job.

They were expecting nothing at Pearl, unless you adhere to the ludicrous conspiracy theories...And bombing and strafing would have been much less effective against the shipping, though they may have crippled the air fields.

I'd have to ask what your historical evidence is for this? Because Pearl was on a shockingly, embarrassingly low state of alert, with only a couple of lieutenants on duty at a small radar post and a skeleton manning of stations. If the US command were believing an attack to be highly probable, then they should have been shot for derraliction of duty! And if it was though plausible that Japan would penetrate so deeply into the eastern Pacific without detection, then why would the US have parked their fighter pursuit planes so close together? Why would they not have been on a standing alert?


So far as other blunders that day, the list could go on for quite a while. The two that spring foremost to my mind was the lack of response to reported detection (and sinking) of the Japanese midget submarine, and worst all, the failure of intelligence: IIRC, the US had broken the Japanese codes, AND had picked up the "climb Mt Suribachi" message -- the US knew what that meant, but the message got lost in paper piles before it got to the people who knew. Thank God the carriers were out to sea....

No one knew exactly what it meant, and the code was not fully broken (I believe), in any case, the Japanese maintained excellent radio discipline as there was no communication between the strike force and the home islands...

windrider
09-19-2008, 07:19 PM
Well... from the "canadian" point of view ... Relying on the Brits too much.
(I don't feel canadian myself, being what they called a french-canadian, a "québécois", proud descendant of the fighters who liberated the first french town in Normandy, Bayeux 1944).
While the Dieppe blunder is well documented, other strange things happened.
For example, during the liberation of Holland, the RAF bomber command denied repeated requests for attacks against fortified positions and concentration of troops*.
In effect, this resulted in frontal attacks on narrow roads surrounded by water, covered by deadly accurate german artillery fire all the way. Just because the RAF couldn't divert a few bombers from the night raids on Germany (even the canadian squadrons). They basically told the commanders on the field to deal with it by themselve, or as we say in french : "arrangez-vous avec vos problêmes".

The result was nasty. No wonder the people from Holland still have a lot of respect for the veterans (few still living) who liberated their country, at the price of blood.

* It is well know how relunctant the bomber command was of tactical air support during the Normandy invasion, and how they were forced to, sort off, by Eisenhower. It is also well known how heavy bombing was a decisive factor in that particular campaign.

So, what in hell were they thinking???
Just my two cents, I'm curious to read your opinions on the matter.

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 07:22 PM
...
* It is well know how relunctant the bomber command was of tactical air support during the Normandy invasion, and how they were forced to, sort off, by Eisenhower. It is also well known how heavy bombing was a decisive factor in that particular campaign.

So, what in hell were they thinking???
Just my two cents, I'm curious to read your opinions on the matter.


They were indeed reluctant. But the RAF and AAF as well were not "sort of" forced too, they indeed committed totally. It wasn't just Ike that ordered the reluctant bomber generals of Harris and Spaatz, his deputy, RAF Air Marshal Tedder, was also instrumental...

Nickdfresh
09-19-2008, 07:30 PM
Leave my friend Nick alone. Everyone is entitled to a temporary memory lapse!...I swear, sometimes I wonder if they were to throw you 2 in the ring with a fleet of battleships, air planes and tanks, who would be the victor!..You guys are TOPS!


"Annoying Man"

http://www.retrojunk.com/img/art-images/RSCN1205.jpg

pdf27
09-19-2008, 07:35 PM
I think you mean this image Nick...

Ardee
09-22-2008, 02:48 PM
Hi Nick,

Incoming! Well, this is the risk I run by writing off of memory. The understanding I have of the events at Pearl Harbor are a conglomerate of many sources: probably the two chief historical ones being the books At Dawn We Slept and Day of Infamy, and I haven't read either recently. You are correct that I erred and went too far in calling Pearl a "highly-likely" target, but my recollection is that it was studied in several war games/studies before the war, by both sides. And, as noted on another page of the site you linked to:

The Pearl Harbor naval base was recognized by both the Japanese and the United States Navies as a potential target for hostile carrier air power. The U.S. Navy had even explored the issue during some of its interwar "Fleet Problems". However, its distance from Japan and shallow harbor ... and a belief that intelligence would provide warning persuaded senior U.S. officers that the prospect of an attack on Pearl Harbor could be safely discounted.

I guess I was emphasizing the first part, and had not given proper due to the latter: they were discounting it, unless Intelligence said otherwise.

In another part of my post, hindsight makes me realize I was guilty of sloppy writing. When I wrote: "They expected maybe some bombers and strafing, but not the torpedoes, ...." I should have said something like "If an attack were to happen, they expected it to be some bombers and strafing...." I did not mean to suggest they were actually "expecting" an attack; they obviously weren't. Excuse me while I go wipe some egg off my face....


And if it was though plausible that Japan would penetrate so deeply into the eastern Pacific without detection, then why would the US have parked their fighter pursuit planes so close together? Why would they not have been on a standing alert?

Isn't that part of the reason Short and Kimmel got sacked? And I thought one or the other of them (Short?) had enough qualms about the idea that he did order a few planes be dispersed to ancillary fields? (I'm not sure if I read about that or not; Hollywood's Tora, Tora, Tora! might be coloring my recollections.)

Regarding the code and the "climb Mt Suribachi," I based what I said on recollections of a rather thorough discussion of in *a* book...I'm not sure if it was one of the two I mentioned, but if I had to guess, I'd pick Day of Infamy. I'll see if I can find it in that book. I would agree that they didn't know exactly what it meant (an attack at Pearl), but did have a lot of particulars (going by memory again) of it involving a (surprise?) attack on the US, using carriers. Under those circumstances, it seems reasonable to (at least to me) that Pearl would have been put at a much higher alert than was the actual case.

Regarding "conspiracy theories," no, I don't think I qualify as being a devotee. I have little doubt FDR want to get us into the war (e.g., our "neutral" destroyers escorting UK convoys), but sitting on your hands if you know an attack is coming is...ludicrous, as you said.

Incidentally folks, when I make posts like the one that started this, it's not in any way personal, rather I read something that didn't ring true to my understanding. So I challenge it, hopefully politely, with my understanding. Being corrected is how I learn and get my "facts" checked. I am NOT stating YOU ARE WRONG; instead I am being sincere with the "IIRC" (If I recall correctly). I don't know if that's how it comes across or not, but that's my meaning.

That's not to say I don't sometimes screw up royally: in the photo section, I stated, without the "IIRC" or similar qualifier, something I was quite sure of, but which I believe I got from only a single (forgotten) source. Dixie Devil challenged me on it, and I, although at first fully confident I was correct, found I couldn't support what I "knew." When I don't have the IIRC/something similar in there, that's the time to really go for the throat when I am wrong! :cool:


Your funny Ardee...stick around and you will go places!

Where? :) Actually, I think it's kind of funny: you were paraphrasing the old Navy recruitment slogan about joining up and seeing the world/going places....

BTW, maybe Admin should add another "smiley" to the option when we post -- the animated one of the head hitting himself with the hammer? Sometimes seems appropriate.

herman2
09-22-2008, 03:10 PM
"Annoying Man"

http://www.retrojunk.com/img/art-images/RSCN1205.jpg

We Love You Nick!....If love is annoying then I ask you what is the point of living...I am simply exhibiting my passion to you and the Gang...but I will tone down a bit if it bothers you. I was simply wanting to let you know how much we all admire your wealth of knowledge. I actually have a nephew who is plagerising some of your past comments in various threads for his WW2 project in grade 5...so You have more admirers that just me!..fyi...over and out.

herman2
09-22-2008, 03:12 PM
BTW, maybe Admin should add another "smiley" to the option when we post -- the animated one of the head hitting himself with the hammer? Sometimes seems appropriate........ya, I agree with you Ardee, I want another smiley too!...maybe Nick and the boys can pull some strings for us to get another type of smiley?...

Walther
09-22-2008, 04:19 PM
Well, for my own country, Germany, where do I start? The crazy wave on jingoism after we won the war of 1870-71 against France, trying to take on all established powers with our own aim at colonial expansion, which eventually led to WW1?
Leaving too many loopholes to be used by authoritarian regimes in our constitution of 1918, leading to civil war like scenes in the 1920s?
Letting a political hazardeur like Hitler and his gang of criminals getting into power, well knowing that he was spoiling for a fight and basically had two lifetime goals:
1) Colonising Eastern Europe by enslaving the the local population (after declaring them to be inferior to Germans (I think this answers all suggestions that Poland should have sided with Germany against the Russians) and
2) Killing all Jews and Gypsies in Europe.

Starting WW2?
Attacking Russia?
Having Corporal Schicklgruber meddle in affairs, of which he didn't have a clue, like how to run an army?

Jan

Ivaylo
09-28-2008, 08:03 AM
Well for Bulgaria ....
First Balkan war not signing any adequate agreement about Macedonia with Greece and Serbia and trusting them that they will give us something . What they give us was second Balkan war which lead to first national catastrophe giving much of our teritory such as Southern Dobrudzha and Macedonia thanks to our " briliant " tactician King Fedinand and his clique .After loosing WW1 we got Treaty of Neuilly Aegean coastline to Greece, recognized the existence of Yugoslavia, ceded nearly all of its Macedonian territory to that new state, and had to give Dobrudzha back to the Romanians. The country had to reduce its army to 20,000 men, and to pay reparations exceeding $400 million.Results of the treaty was the "Second National Catastrophe".(doesn't it sound pretty similar as the german fate after ww1 ? )
Second under the new King Boris III ( son of the previos great tactician ) we instead to keep strictly neutrality and to learn from WW1 we got into the same stupid mistake to become ally with the Axis and Germany .
But there were good things too :
1 Bulgaria became one of only three countries (along with Finland and Denmark) that saved its entire Jewish population (around 50,000 people) from the Nazi camps by refusing to comply with a 31 August 1943 resolution.
*This had to be remebered very well , the jewish people here still are very gratefull for that , in my town even is a memorial for that .
2 no Bulgarian soldiers participated in the war against the USSR

And here again come the gratefull USSR and his policy without to be in situation of war with it , out of the coalition of Axis powers , we were "liberated " from Nazi Germany , as the Allies already got a deal of saving their own *** instead of liberating europe so they didn't care for such a small country as mine .
And in September 1944, the Soviet army entered Bulgaria, enabling the Bulgarian Communists (the Bulgarian Workers Party) to seize power and establish a communist state. Our third national catastrophe .
That was the USSR way of to say "thank you for not sending soldiers against us " .
And maybe something of which no one here ever heard Bulgaria had a Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS (bulgarisches Nr 1) in formed when Bulgaria joined the USSR side in september 1944. It was made up of 500 - 600 Bulgarian workers and soldiers who were in Germany at the time and was willing to keep fighting with Germany. This unit was reformed as the SS Panzer-Zerstörer-Regiment (bulgarisches) Apr 1945.The Germans hoped this unit would form the basis of a Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS (bulgarische Nr 1) but that never happend.
You can look what i found here http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1713

VelvetClaw
11-28-2011, 11:56 PM
Let's try MY country: Malaya.

We got outflanked by Yamashita time and again, and we like many other eastern nations were too divided to really put up any stiff resistance against British encroachment in the 19th century.

The British (our leaders) thought the Japanese could never build planes, tanks or warships.
The Japanese assailed Kota Bharu in December 1941 with planes.
They caught us out with our pants down again, by sending tanks (functioning as light artillery and meat shields) against Indian regulars at Kampar.
Which albeit not as good as British or even German armour, was still better than no armour, and actually seemed adept at jungle and amphibious warfare.

We in Malaysia still wonder to this day what'd have happened if General Percival actually listened to Churchill and stood up against the Japanese...

muscogeemike
12-01-2011, 04:30 PM
As to the U.S. - Already mentioned are getting ambushed at Pearl Harbor and MacArthur in the Philippines.

I think that Halsey falling for the trap a Leyte Gulf and later getting caught in a Typhoon are also worthy of listing.

But I think the biggest mistake was to insist on the “Daylight Strategic Bombing” campaign. I believe that we would have at least as good results by joining the Brits and bombing at night and with far less loss.

Nickdfresh
12-01-2011, 07:18 PM
Thread returned to active service...

Rising Sun*
12-02-2011, 04:41 AM
We in Malaysia still wonder to this day what'd have happened if General Percival actually listened to Churchill and stood up against the Japanese...

You have it the wrong way around.

Churchill denied Malaya, and Percival, everything that was needed for a proper defence, from the aircraft to the ships to being able to initiate Operation Matador to stop the Japanese landing.

Percival, and Malaya, were victims of Churchill's arrogance and ignorance.

I've posted a lot on this on the forum but don't have the time to dig out the old threads now, but if you have the time to find them you'll see what I mean.

royal744
12-08-2011, 08:14 PM
Burning the White House and much of Washington has to make it a touch over a draw. ;)

It's not like the Yanks did any damage in London. :D

True, burning Washington was pretty bad. Even more hilarious was the American victory at New Orleans which occurred after the peace treaty was signed, but then the mails were kinda slow.

royal744
12-08-2011, 08:30 PM
No one knew exactly what it meant, and the code was not fully broken (I believe), in any case, the Japanese maintained excellent radio discipline as there was no communication between the strike force and the home islands...[/QUOTE]

Actually, the Japanese fleet maintained solid radio silence all the way to Pearl. As for radar, the station did detect the incoming aircraft, but the station was highly experimental, not entirely trusted and the incoming aircraft were confused with a group of B17s that were supposed to arrive at nearly the same time.

royal744
12-08-2011, 08:34 PM
well said ...........the yanks pinch every thing

One imagines that the Yanks found the British bottoms both inviting and available for pinching and they, after all, were merely "filling in" for their British brethren.

royal744
12-08-2011, 08:43 PM
1.
4. Roosevelt agreeing on the partition of Europe post-war, essentially condemning millions of people to totalitarian control...especially Poland (France and England declared war on Germany after they attacked Poland and then essentially abandoned her to the Soviet Union after the war).


This was bad and disastrous all right, and Churchill was especially pained at the loss of Poland because he of all people knew fully well the historical importance of that loss. He was desperate NOT to lose Poland but in fact neither he nor Roosevelt could actually do anything about it in the face of the Stalin's fait accompli. Same with Czechoslovakia which Churchill desperately wanted to keep out of Soviet hands. Unfortunately, General Marshall told Eisenhower to forget about taking Prague, so it wasn't contested. The allies did race to the Baltic in time to prevent the Soviets from also capturing Denmark, thank god.

royal744
12-08-2011, 08:46 PM
My country ? My country should have sold out to Nazi Germany, invade Russia together and screw the allies.

Instead Poland got stabbed in the back by Russia, sold out by western allies, twice and ended up economically a decade behind the west due to our russian 'guests' who drained our economy dry.

True, Covenanter, but you were also stabbed in the back by the Germans big time. The definition of a Hobson's choice would fit well with having to choose between the Germans and the Soviets.

royal744
12-08-2011, 08:51 PM
To round out the list of blunders, one would have to include the disaster at Slapton Sands.

Rising Sun*
12-09-2011, 07:16 AM
On one view, Australia's biggest mistake was repeating its biggest mistake of WWI, being going to war automatically with Britain on the other side of the planet in a European war which had considerably less to do with us than it did with America, which wisely stayed out of the European war until the Austrian corporal declared war on the US.

But that was the sentiment of the times when we (apart from a significant component of Irish descendants and the odd person of clearer eye) generally thought of ourselves as British.

On another view, it was lucky that we did get involved in fighting the Nazis because it gave us three battle hardened divisions two of which, over Churchill's desires to waste them elsewhere in another of his ill-considered frolics (Burma, which would have been even worse than his waste of one of those divisions in his earlier Greek adventure and about as bad as his loss of two brigades of a fourth Australian - the 8th - division in Malaya), returned to Australia in 1942 and were crucial in stopping the Japanese advance on us.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

But, alas, every silver lining usually has a cloud.

Rising Sun*
12-09-2011, 07:27 AM
No one knew exactly what it meant, and the code was not fully broken (I believe), in any case, the Japanese maintained excellent radio discipline as there was no communication between the strike force and the home islands...

Actually, the Japanese fleet maintained solid radio silence all the way to Pearl. As for radar, the station did detect the incoming aircraft, but the station was highly experimental, not entirely trusted and the incoming aircraft were confused with a group of B17s that were supposed to arrive at nearly the same time.

[Hope I got that right so far as quotes go. The first quote lacked an opening identifier, but I assumed from royal's post that he was responding to it. Post a correction if I'm wrong and I'll correct it.]


One of the problems with long threads and short memories is that I don't know if I've (and probably someone else has) mentioned it in this or another thread, but not only did the IJN attack fleet maintain complete radio silence but the callsigns of the ships in it were assigned to ships in Japanese home waters which maintained normal radio traffic to give, quite successfully, the impression to the Americans etc that those ships were still no threat and certainly nowhere near Pearl Harbor.

The Americans, British and Dutch accurately identified the likely targets south of Japan but, although it was recognised that an attack on Pearl was possible, nobody on the Allied side in their wildest nightmares foresaw the risk of the attack which actually happened.

royal744
12-09-2011, 10:13 AM
[Hope I got that right so far as quotes go. The first quote lacked an opening identifier, but I assumed from royal's post that he was responding to it. Post a correction if I'm wrong and I'll correct it.]


The Americans, British and Dutch accurately identified the likely targets south of Japan but, although it was recognised that an attack on Pearl was possible, nobody on the Allied side in their wildest nightmares foresaw the risk of the attack which actually happened.

Right, RS. If memory serves, the Orange Plan for the US fleet was to sail out and defend the Philippines and maybe Guam, Wake and MIdway. Pearl Harbor was not contemplated as a likely target. There was little question that the US and its allies knew something was going to be attacked.

The irony, of course, is that the Japs sank only battleships and not a single carrier (which were out to sea); that they failed to launch a second strike which might have destroyed the vast oil storage tanks at Pearl; and that the Japanese had a failure of vision in not invading Hawaii at the same time. The greater irony was that the attack on Pearl ensured Japan's defeat. A brilliantly executed first strike does not a victory make.

royal744
12-09-2011, 11:10 AM
Well... from the "canadian" point of view ... Relying on the Brits too much.
(I don't feel canadian myself, being what they called a french-canadian, a "québécois", proud descendant of the fighters who liberated the first french town in Normandy, Bayeux 1944).
While the Dieppe blunder is well documented, other strange things happened.
For example, during the liberation of Holland, the RAF bomber command denied repeated requests for attacks against fortified positions and concentration of troops*.
In effect, this resulted in frontal attacks on narrow roads surrounded by water, covered by deadly accurate german artillery fire all the way. Just because the RAF couldn't divert a few bombers from the night raids on Germany (even the canadian squadrons). They basically told the commanders on the field to deal with it by themselve, or as we say in french : "arrangez-vous avec vos problêmes".

The result was nasty. No wonder the people from Holland still have a lot of respect for the veterans (few still living) who liberated their country, at the price of blood.

* It is well know how relunctant the bomber command was of tactical air support during the Normandy invasion, and how they were forced to, sort off, by Eisenhower. It is also well known how heavy bombing was a decisive factor in that particular campaign.

So, what in hell were they thinking???
Just my two cents, I'm curious to read your opinions on the matter.


Because of the Canadian liberation of Holland, the Dutch still revere the Canuks for what they did. After the war, tens of thousands of Dutch emigrated eagerly to Canada which welcomed them with open arms.

royal744
12-09-2011, 11:17 AM
As to the U.S. - Already mentioned are getting ambushed at Pearl Harbor and MacArthur in the Philippines.

I think that Halsey falling for the trap a Leyte Gulf and later getting caught in a Typhoon are also worthy of listing.

But I think the biggest mistake was to insist on the “Daylight Strategic Bombing” campaign. I believe that we would have at least as good results by joining the Brits and bombing at night and with far less loss.

Agree, Muscogee. Daylight Strategic Bombing was a great concept without the tools to make it a success. The Strategic Bombing Survey after the war showed that very few bombs, actually hit the intended targets. The Norden bombsight did not live up to expectations. Of course, this couldn't have been known ahead of time, but after so many repeated calamitous losses to aircrew and equipment(the raids on Schweinfurt being an example) , perhaps they should have awakened to the facts in the number of men and planes that did not return. When the re-engined P51 came into service, odds of survival increased dramatically, although bombing accuracy did not.

leccy
12-09-2011, 04:27 PM
Originally Posted by windrider
Well... from the "canadian" point of view ... Relying on the Brits too much.
(I don't feel canadian myself, being what they called a french-canadian, a "québécois", proud descendant of the fighters who liberated the first french town in Normandy, Bayeux 1944).
While the Dieppe blunder is well documented, other strange things happened.
For example, during the liberation of Holland, the RAF bomber command denied repeated requests for attacks against fortified positions and concentration of troops*.
In effect, this resulted in frontal attacks on narrow roads surrounded by water, covered by deadly accurate german artillery fire all the way. Just because the RAF couldn't divert a few bombers from the night raids on Germany (even the canadian squadrons). They basically told the commanders on the field to deal with it by themselve, or as we say in french : "arrangez-vous avec vos problêmes".

The result was nasty. No wonder the people from Holland still have a lot of respect for the veterans (few still living) who liberated their country, at the price of blood.

* It is well know how relunctant the bomber command was of tactical air support during the Normandy invasion, and how they were forced to, sort off, by Eisenhower. It is also well known how heavy bombing was a decisive factor in that particular campaign.

So, what in hell were they thinking???
Just my two cents, I'm curious to read your opinions on the matter.

Unfortunately strategic bombers are not much good being used in a tactical setting, they are wasteful in resources, destroy large areas making them a hinderance to the advance, provide lots of hidey holes for the defenders, when they were used you had as much of a chance of bombing your own troops as the enemy (even medium bombers suffered from this).
Much better to have the dedicated close air support of the Typhoons etc on call. The weather for large parts of 1944 were unsuitable for the aircraft working off of the advanced airstrips, many were waterlogged until the all weather runways, taxiways, hard standings etc.

The is a difference between the strategic bombers and the tactical aircraft. There may be some overlap with certain types of medium bomber but generally they can not do each others jobs.

Nickdfresh
12-10-2011, 02:04 AM
...
The irony, of course, is that the Japs...failed to launch a second strike which might have destroyed the vast oil storage tanks at Pearl; and that the Japanese had a failure of vision in not invading Hawaii at the same time. The greater irony was that the attack on Pearl ensured Japan's defeat. A brilliantly executed first strike does not a victory make.

You mean a third strike wave. And if they did, the number of planes would have dictated night carrier landing operations, something the Japanese Navy was not really trained for nor adept at. Also, it was recognized that the U.S. anti-aircraft fire was getting much more deadly by the end of the second wave (where most of the Japanese casualties occurred). It was feared that this would only intensify against low flying, unarmored Japanese aircraft. Lastly, the IJA had no idea where the carriers were that you mentioned, and they feared a counter-punch wave of both carrier and land based U.S. aircraft if they lingered...

Rising Sun*
12-10-2011, 04:09 AM
Unfortunately strategic bombers are not much good being used in a tactical setting, they are wasteful in resources, destroy large areas making them a hinderance to the advance, provide lots of hidey holes for the defenders, when they were used you had as much of a chance of bombing your own troops as the enemy (even medium bombers suffered from this).


An outstanding example being the Allied carpet bombing on 25 July 1944 at the start of Operation Cobra in Normandy in which the USAAF killed, among others, US Army Lt Gen Lesley McNair. Bombing their own troops was predicted in earlier planning when air force staff said that early waves of bombing could cause smoke and dust to obscure the target with the risk of later waves drifting into Allied lines, which is what happened. My recollection is that this is dealt with in The War Between the Generals by David Irving (written when he was a reputable historian).

Nickdfresh
12-10-2011, 09:48 AM
While it is unfortunate that MccNair was killed, he--being one of the last, pious defenders of the dunderheaded "Tank Destroyer Doctrine"--was no great loss. It also should be noted that the operation was a success as it rendered a Panzer division completely combat ineffective and dazed like zombies. And many of the American losses were attributable to soldiers, and press, wanting to see a big show when they should have been underground. I recall something about Gen. McNair being out of his shelter because he was trying to find the jittery GI who accidentally stabbed his comrade with a bayonet IIRC...

royal744
12-12-2011, 03:41 PM
I would suggest some time around Napoleon. The French did so badly in WW2 because they suffered so badly in WW1, and that in turn was because they industrialised far later and less completely than other European powers like Britain and Germany (hence giving them a lower population and massively lower industrial base). Hence, you have to go back to when the Industrial Revolution kicked off (during the Napoleonic Wars) to find out why France never really joined in.


I think the history surrounding what happened to France in WW2 is quite complicated and goes well beyond numbers and types of armaments. We should never forget that the reason the British were able to withdraw from Dunkerque at all is because the French fought a resolute and stalwart rear-guard action in front of that forlorn port giving the English the time to escape. The French often get dumped on in the screeds posted in this forum, but the French resisted longer than any other country invaded by the Germans at that point in the war, and, I would submit, if England had shared a common border with Germany instead of having a fortuitous channel in the way, it too would have fallen like an overripe apple into the Hun's clutches. Without the luxury of trading space for time as did the Soviets, the French had no place to go.

leccy
12-12-2011, 05:36 PM
I think the history surrounding what happened to France in WW2 is quite complicated and goes well beyond numbers and types of armaments. We should never forget that the reason the British were able to withdraw from Dunkerque at all is because the French fought a resolute and stalwart rear-guard action in front of that forlorn port giving the English the time to escape. The French often get dumped on in the screeds posted in this forum, but the French resisted longer than any other country invaded by the Germans at that point in the war, and, I would submit, if England had shared a common border with Germany instead of having a fortuitous channel in the way, it too would have fallen like an overripe apple into the Hun's clutches. Without the luxury of trading space for time as did the Soviets, the French had no place to go.

Part of the reason for Britain's perilous state of her Army was because the channel was there. It had always favored its Navy over the Army and with the advent of airpower the army got pushed into third place for money and resources. Even when it was decided that Britain needed a continental army, the army was promised half the money it needed and ended up with only a third of what was promised, this came at the time the government also said the Army had to raise and equip another 5 Territorial Divisions with no budget increase for them.
With no channel the decisions may have been different.

flyerhell
12-13-2011, 12:21 AM
Part of the reason for Britain's perilous state of her Army was because the channel was there. It had always favored its Navy over the Army and with the advent of airpower the army got pushed into third place for money and resources. Even when it was decided that Britain needed a continental army, the army was promised half the money it needed and ended up with only a third of what was promised, this came at the time the government also said the Army had to raise and equip another 5 Territorial Divisions with no budget increase for them.
With no channel the decisions may have been different.

With no channel the Germans probably would have been in London.

leccy
12-13-2011, 01:51 PM
With no channel the Germans probably would have been in London.

Without the English Channel Europe would have looked different, Britain would have been part of the European mainland, part of its wars and lands for the centuries prior to WW2. Depending where in Europe the land mass of Britain was added would change a whole lot of things in parts of Europe.

The Channel coloured British and European politics for Centuries by affecting the way Britain acted with its neighbours, its policys abroad, it becoming a seafaring Empire. Therfore deciding its priorities on how to deal with nations, its defence spending (how much and on what and when).

With no channel Britain would possibly have been part of France so no Britain to be saved by any means (or France could have been part of Britain).

The simple fact is, it was there, Britain's ideas, capability's, defence, outlook was the way it was because it was there. Those that say the channel saved Britain would also have to change every other aspect of what happened in 1940 based on their never having been any channel so the effect that would have had on the whole European history.

Cojimar 1945
12-27-2011, 04:20 PM
Earlier someone was critical of the U.S. for not having a high opinion of the Japanese and thinking them incapable of attacking Pearl Harbor. I think this arrogance is borne out to some degree by the Japanese performance later in the war. For example, the Japanese failed to sink any American battleships after Pearl Harbor (and all but one of the battleships at Pearl Harbor were eventually repaired and recommissioned as far as I can tell) and they didn't sink any American fleet carriers after 1942 while by contrast their navy was decimated by the end of the war. This inability to take out the enemy's capitol ships along with suffering far heavier losses than American forces is not very impressive.

pdf27
12-28-2011, 02:09 AM
I think the history surrounding what happened to France in WW2 is quite complicated and goes well beyond numbers and types of armaments. We should never forget that the reason the British were able to withdraw from Dunkerque at all is because the French fought a resolute and stalwart rear-guard action in front of that forlorn port giving the English the time to escape. The French often get dumped on in the screeds posted in this forum, but the French resisted longer than any other country invaded by the Germans at that point in the war, and, I would submit, if England had shared a common border with Germany instead of having a fortuitous channel in the way, it too would have fallen like an overripe apple into the Hun's clutches. Without the luxury of trading space for time as did the Soviets, the French had no place to go.
1) I wrote that in 2008!
2) Did you even read what I was replying to

(apologies for the slow reply - very busy few weeks)

Laconia
12-31-2011, 08:45 AM
Forgive me if I mention some things that have already been said as I haven't read the whole thread, but a few of the biggies for the U.S.

1. Just about total unpreparedness for the war at all.
2. Pearl Harbor
3. McArthur losing all the planes in the Phillippines
3. Admiral Halsey twice. A. Putiing all his ships in the typhoon. B. Folling Japanese decoy ships north during the Phillippine Invasion.
4. Kasserine Pass
5. Slapton Sands incident.
6. Bombingof Allied forces in Normandy
6. A sickly Roosevelt trying to govern in 1944. He should have never run for re-election. The only positive was Truman as VP

And I could probably point out a whole lot more, but I think these were some big blunders.

Nickdfresh
12-31-2011, 10:59 AM
Forgive me if I mention some things that have already been said as I haven't read the whole thread, but a few of the biggies for the U.S.

1. Just about total unpreparedness for the war at all.
....

I agree with most of your post, but not this. Compared with 1939, the United States had made incredible progress at setting the stage for a total war economy, and building up the infrastructure of its armed forces for rapid expansion with conscription. I think it is pretty hard to say we were "totally" unprepared. The American military was probably in better position for that war than just about any other in its history of the peacetime armed forces save Vietnam or the Gulf Wars...

Laconia
12-31-2011, 12:21 PM
I agree with most of your post, but not this. Compared with 1939, the United States had made incredible progress at setting the stage for a total war economy, and building up the infrastructure of its armed forces for rapid expansion with conscription. I think it is pretty hard to say we were "totally" unprepared. The American military was probably in better position for that war than just about any other in its history of the peacetime armed forces save Vietnam or the Gulf Wars...

Okay, so maybe not "totally". You are right, we had taken some steps in the right direction. The winds of war were blowing and they did accept that reality back then.

Nickdfresh
12-31-2011, 08:35 PM
See this thread for more info:

www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?5080-The-Pre-War-US-Army-From-Emaciation-to-Power.

Rising Sun*
01-01-2012, 04:54 AM
Forgive me if I mention some things that have already been said as I haven't read the whole thread, but a few of the biggies for the U.S.

1. Just about total unpreparedness for the war at all.

Maybe, but there had been elements of the US engaged in convoy protection in the Atlantic before the formal declaration of war against the US by Hitler following Pearl Harbor while the US armed forces were building up significantly during 1941.

I don't know the details, but I suspect that the Cash and Carry then Lend Lease programs from 1939 until America entered the war was building up American war production capacity.

From a position of limited preparedness, the American response in enlistments, arming, and war production was the most impressive and effective example among all the combatant nations, and more so because America fought a long way from home in the Pacific, Europe and Mediterranean theatres.


2. Pearl Harbor

I think that was more a triumph of Japanese planning and execution than a failure by America to be ready for something beyond reasonable expectation.

It was also a double edged sword for Japan as the attack galvanised Americans and ensured that Japan would be defeated, which Japan ably assisted by a relatively ineffective, in military and strategic terms, attack which put only a few major ships out of action permanently; failed to destroy the oil storages without which the whole American fleet at Pearl Harbor would have been rendered useless; and, surprisingly for Japan which saw the importance of aircraft carrier attacks, failed to damage one US carrier.


3. McArthur losing all the planes in the Phillippines

That's overly generous. ;) :D He lost whole of the Philippines as well, after losing his major food supplies to the Japanese (because he didn't want to affect morale by moving them to safer positions, rather like Percival in Singapore thought it would be bad for morale to prepare defensive positions on the island when he had plenty of time to do so) so that the Filipino and US troops would starve when they retreated to their final defensive positions, which is a stroke of considered strategic brilliance which exceeded even losing half his bombers on the ground on Day One by going off the air.

Nickdfresh
01-01-2012, 08:44 AM
...

That's overly generous. ;) :D He lost whole of the Philippines as well, after losing his major food supplies to the Japanese (because he didn't want to affect morale by moving them to safer positions, rather like Percival in Singapore thought it would be bad for morale to prepare defensive positions on the island when he had plenty of time to do so) so that the Filipino and US troops would starve when they retreated to their final defensive positions, which is a stroke of considered strategic brilliance which exceeded even losing half his bombers on the ground on Day One by going off the air.

Didn't MacArthur's delay of a phased tactical withdrawal to the redoubt of Bataan also allow an unexpected number of Filipino civilians to flee into the area further straining food supplies?

Laconia
01-02-2012, 09:01 PM
Maybe, but there had been elements of the US engaged in convoy protection in the Atlantic before the formal declaration of war against the US by Hitler following Pearl Harbor while the US armed forces were building up significantly during 1941.

I don't know the details, but I suspect that the Cash and Carry then Lend Lease programs from 1939 until America entered the war was building up American war production capacity.

From a position of limited preparedness, the American response in enlistments, arming, and war production was the most impressive and effective example among all the combatant nations, and more so because America fought a long way from home in the Pacific, Europe and Mediterranean theatres.



I think that was more a triumph of Japanese planning and execution than a failure by America to be ready for something beyond reasonable expectation.

It was also a double edged sword for Japan as the attack galvanised Americans and ensured that Japan would be defeated, which Japan ably assisted by a relatively ineffective, in military and strategic terms, attack which put only a few major ships out of action permanently; failed to destroy the oil storages without which the whole American fleet at Pearl Harbor would have been rendered useless; and, surprisingly for Japan which saw the importance of aircraft carrier attacks, failed to damage one US carrier.



That's overly generous. ;) :D He lost whole of the Philippines as well, after losing his major food supplies to the Japanese (because he didn't want to affect morale by moving them to safer positions, rather like Percival in Singapore thought it would be bad for morale to prepare defensive positions on the island when he had plenty of time to do so) so that the Filipino and US troops would starve when they retreated to their final defensive positions, which is a stroke of considered strategic brilliance which exceeded even losing half his bombers on the ground on Day One by going off the air.

Point 1. Yes I was wrong in my comments about us being totally unprepared. We had started to do a lot of things right starting in 1939, but the country should never had let it's armed forces deterioate to the level it did in the inter-war years. We were lucky that we had the capacity to quickly turn things around, in both industrial and a will to fight sense.

Point 2. Pearl Harbor's attack could have been lessoned if the detrmination had not been made the the newly installed radar units had been tracking American planes, the Japanese could have had a much warmer reception. Also, intelligence had been monitoring the Japanese diplomatic traffic and they knew something was afoot, but again they didnt see Pearl Harbor as the main target. Setting our planes wingtip to wingtip was not a good idea, but again, I heard intelligence had been warning of a possible ground sabotage attack. They blundered here too. It was a well planned attack resulting in complete surprise and great destruction and loss of life. Fate intervened with our carriers at sea and the oil tank farm remaining unscathed. The American public was rightly riled up and this proved to be an unfortunate thing for Japan in the end.

Point 3. Yep, McArthur did lose the whole Phillippines. War Plan Orange was a disaster and it was suicide to pen all your troops up on the Bataan Peninsula, fighting a delaying action while you waited for help to come from America. Any other General would have been cashiered, but "Mac" had too many friends in high places.

Laconia
01-02-2012, 09:07 PM
Didn't MacArthur's delay of a phased tactical withdrawal to the redoubt of Bataan also allow an unexpected number of Filipino civilians to flee into the area further straining food supplies?

I don't know, but I think it was stupid to bottle your troops there with no way out. To my mind, the Army should have been sent to the hills for a massive guerilla campaign. There are many islands in the Phillippines and troops could have been allowed to go to them all to continue the fight. As I said before, War Plan Orange did not turn out well. The U.S. had been attacked everywhere and with our limited forces, no help was available to the Phillippine garrison. Thank God the Japanese were somewhat inept in their total strategic thinking process, this helped give us time to recover.

Rising Sun*
01-02-2012, 11:59 PM
... the country should never had let it's armed forces deterioate to the level it did in the inter-war years.

America wasn't alone there. Britain and Australia, and maybe Canada, did the same thing.

Boutte
01-31-2012, 11:10 PM
The US also fell into the same trap the Allies had already fallen into twice by assuming that an offense couldn't be launched in the Ardennes Forest. The lesson should have been learned from 1914 and certainly from 1940. It was just luck Airborne troops had been stationed there to allow them to rest and refit in what was expected to be a quiet zone of the front in '44. There was plenty of evidence that Germany was massing for an attack but it was discounted at least partly because it was still dogmatically believed that it wasn't possible to launch an armored attack through such terrain.

Eisenhower believed that this attack was actually fortuitous for the Allies because it allowed them to destroy the Axis forces in open battle rather being forced attack them behind prepared defenses. This would eventually prove to be true but it was very nearly a disaster. Even then many question the decision to attack the salient in a frontal attack rather than attacking the shoulders from the north and south and cutting off the main body in an encircling maneuver. It took several months of brutal combat to regain the ground that had been lost. It should be pointed out however that the German Army in the West largely destroyed in the action.

leccy
02-02-2012, 03:11 PM
It was not so much that they did not expect an attack in the Ardennes region, more they did not expect an attack of that scale again at all in the west.

royal744
06-06-2012, 10:08 PM
Burning the White House and much of Washington has to make it a touch over a draw. ;)

It's not like the Yanks did any damage in London. :D

Yes, but then they didn't invade England, did they? It is true that the burning of Washington was a disaster, but it is also instructive that the last battle of the war at New Orleans was a resounding defeat for the British.

royal744
06-06-2012, 10:19 PM
I haven't read all the posts here, but did anyone mention Slapton Sands?

The other one that immediately comes to mind is the turkey shoot off the Atlantic Coast called "Paukenschlag" by the Germans (Drumbeat) and colloquially referred to by them as the Second Happy Time. For reasons I have never understood, the US did not a) blackout coastal cities and b) had no convoy system in place after hostilities with the Germans formally commenced. The result was the mass sinking of dozens if not hundreds of vessels that were highlighted by the lights of coastal cities. This was eventually remedied, but it was really inexcusable.

royal744
06-06-2012, 10:24 PM
I don't know, but I think it was stupid to bottle your troops there with no way out. To my mind, the Army should have been sent to the hills for a massive guerilla campaign. There are many islands in the Phillippines and troops could have been allowed to go to them all to continue the fight. As I said before, War Plan Orange did not turn out well. The U.S. had been attacked everywhere and with our limited forces, no help was available to the Phillippine garrison. Thank God the Japanese were somewhat inept in their total strategic thinking process, this helped give us time to recover.

Much truth here, but fundamentally, the Japanese lost the war the moment it attacked Pearl Harbor.

Nickdfresh
06-06-2012, 10:25 PM
Burning the White House and much of Washington has to make it a touch over a draw. ;)

It's not like the Yanks did any damage in London. :D

No. But there were several commerce raids off the British coast that made things uncomfortable for his majesty's gov't. And the burning of Washington (and of my hometown) were retaliations for the U.S. burning Toronto. While the war may have been a touch over a draw, the British were forced to concede (in their own secret documents) that the United States would inevitably conquer Canada and begin to threaten their possessions in the Caribbean by 1817...one of the main reasons why the British gave back captured U.S. territory in Maine and Michigan with no real counter to their generosity in the Treaty of Ghent...

Nickdfresh
06-06-2012, 10:29 PM
Yes, but then they didn't invade England, did they? It is true that the burning of Washington was a disaster, but it is also instructive that the last battle of the war at New Orleans was a resounding defeat for the British.

New Orleans was a resounding defeat, but it wasn't the last battle of the War of 1812. I believed the British stormed a fort at Mobile, AL and won a useless victory...

And while Washington was a disaster of the first order, the successful defense of Baltimore began the process of ending the war as the British now realized it was becoming a "peoples' war" where their relatively small numbers of soldiers and marines were beginning to lose their military advantages...

pdf27
06-08-2012, 05:57 AM
It should also be pointed out that the war of 1812 was being fought at the very height of the Napoleonic wars - and France was a much bigger threat than the US so got the overwhelming majority of the attention.

JR*
06-08-2012, 07:16 AM
A good observation, pdf27. Apart from the obvious case of the Napoleonic invasion of Russia, the British were much more directly interested in contemporary events in the Iberian Peninsula, where 1812 marked the "turn of the tide" in favour of Britain and her Portuguese and anti-Napoleonic Spanish allies. In that year, Wellington ground out what were ultimately decisive victories over the French at Badajoz and Salamanca, and the Spanish/Portuguese armies scored multiple victories over the French in southern Castile. The net outcome was the liberation of significant western Spanish territories in the north and the south, temporary Allied occupation of Madrid, and the undermining of the French strategic position in the Peninsula as a whole, pointing to ultimate Allied victory over the following two years. Compared to the Peninsula, New Orleans must have seemed a long way from London. This is certainly not to deny the latter's ultimate importance. Best regards, JR.

Nickdfresh
06-08-2012, 10:28 AM
The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the peace treaty of Ghent was singed so the lives of the Royal Marines and soldiers were thrown away unless you count from the American perspective that it legitimized the United States as a regional military power. There is no questions that Napoleon provided a much more existential threat to Britain than did her former colonies. But at the same time, even with the winding down of the wars, I believe the economic toll on the two countries--Britain and America--was simply to great to continue. And while Britain's navy was far more powerful, there was a fear that a militarized United States, with a large standing army that was becoming ever more effective and well led, could cause problems. But in the end, Britain needed America's resources and markets, and America needed Britain for the same reasons.

Regarding the Burning of Washington, one interesting thing of note was a massively violent storm cell erupted over the city as the British Army was setting fire to it dousing much of the flames and killing and wounding dozens of His Majesty's soldiers and marines. The British suffered more casualties in burning the city than they had suffered and the abortive Battle of Bladensburg. Providence? :)

JR*
06-08-2012, 10:39 AM
Nick - I agree that there was a certain absurdity in the decisive battle in the war taking place after the peace treaty was signed; one of a number of absurdities connected with this war. You would know much more about the "remembrance" of the war in the US - but it is my impression that the memory of this first major post-Independence war in the United States suggests that considerable importance is attached to the peculiar victory as a legimating act for the new state.

None of that detracts from the sense that this war was a bad-tempered postscript to hostile relations between Great Britain and her former American colonies that should, really, have been regarded as settled some years before. Best regards, JR.

Nickdfresh
06-09-2012, 10:39 AM
Nick - I agree that there was a certain absurdity in the decisive battle in the war taking place after the peace treaty was signed; one of a number of absurdities connected with this war. You would know much more about the "remembrance" of the war in the US - but it is my impression that the memory of this first major post-Independence war in the United States suggests that considerable importance is attached to the peculiar victory as a legimating act for the new state.

There's no question about this. The Battle of New Orleans was a significant, unifying event. The War of 1812 was in many ways even more unpopular than Vietnam and caused significant dissent in the New England states were individuals contemplated succession over the fact that the war was severing them from their key markets of Britain and Western Europe. The end of the war concluded on a military triumph and the securing of the key Mississippi River waterway ushered in an era of good feelings and an economic boon followed soon by a depression in the early part of the nineteenth century IIRC. It of course also propelled General Andrew Jackson's political career...


None of that detracts from the sense that this war was a bad-tempered postscript to hostile relations between Great Britain and her former American colonies that should, really, have been regarded as settled some years before. Best regards, JR.

Both sides are to blame for this. Where I live was a major war theatre (The Niagara Frontier/Southern Ontario) and there are still several forts, historical markers listing gun positions along the Niagara River, etc. As a specific, one of the bigger attractions having to do with the war is Fort Niagara, built by the French in the eighteenth century and eventually captured by the British/American colonists after the securing of Canada from the French. The fort was strategically located on a choke point of Lake Erie making its guns potent to hostile shipping. The British held the fort for the duration of the American Revolution using it as a post to launching raiding parties of British troops and American Loyalist "Rangers" through Western New York and even into Pennsylvania. Fort Niagara was supposed have been turned over to the New York Militia/U.S. Army but the Brits held onto it for years after the treaty refusing to leave. Despite this, the relations between the U.S. Army officers eventual stationed at the fort and their British counterparts across the lake were actually rather good with exchanges and dinner parties being the norm. With the coming of the War of 1812, it was also one of a string of ignominious defeats the early U.S. Army suffered as they essentially forgot to lock the gate allowing a large British raiding party to basically sneak in and secure the fort and circumventing its rather formidable rampart defenses..