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Sickles
08-25-2008, 01:03 PM
Just finished John Mosiers book "The Blitzkrieg Myth" It is a well researched book written by a credible historian. He does make a compelling case that the Blitzkrieg mania was largely overblown especially by the allied countries. He shows how the quick capitulation of Poland, France and the Netherlands was really more of a political surrender than a destruction of the defending armies. As evidenced by the large losses suffered by the Germans during those invasions as well as the large portions of Polish French and Dutch Armies which were still very capable of putting up more resistance if it wasn't for there goverments orders to stop fighting.
He also shows that the best way to defeat the germans was on a broad front which the Russians did from '43 onward not by Blitzkrieg tactics.
He makes the point that the U.S. was ready for a blitzkrieg war as evidenced by the amazing production of the Sherman which was meant as a breakthrough vehicle not meant to fight other tanks, which is why it had a pea shhoter gun.
Anyway, is the Blitzkrieg Real or an invention from overzealous war planners?

flamethrowerguy
08-25-2008, 04:28 PM
As evidenced by the large losses suffered by the Germans during those invasions as well as the large portions of Polish French and Dutch Armies which were still very capable of putting up more resistance if it wasn't for there goverments orders to stop fighting.

In all conflicts you mentioned the invaded countries suffered more losses than the germans. When the war takes place on your own ground meaning your cities are erased and thousands of civilians die, the decision to surrender is made much more easier.


He also shows that the best way to defeat the germans was on a broad front which the Russians did from '43 onward not by Blitzkrieg tactics.

As far as I recall the literature about the russian-german war said that the russians beat the germans with their own tactics: concentrated use of tanks in own unit and not using tanks in dribs and drabs as infantry support.

Sickles
08-25-2008, 04:34 PM
Some of the books points:

The idea of "Blitzkrieg" or Armored breakthrough is not a distinctly German idea.
No Allied army wanted a repeat of 1914-18. The British and Americans both planned around the idea of strong armored thrusts combined with powerful bomber support.

The idea of Blitzkrieg as a successful way to wage war is flawed. It was never sucessful in a large scale in WW2. Why? Because the mobility of a modern army can simply fall back or retreat faster than an aggressor can race through and then supply its tanks.
Also An armored breakthrough would invariably expose the attacking armored flanks to anti-tank guns which all modern army's had en masse in WW2.

The French were ridiculed by historians as "Antiquated" for building the Maginot Line.
In fact the Germans spent much more of its Iron supply building the West Wall. So much in fact that they had precious little iron to build tanks which partially explains there poor state of armored readiness at the beginning of the war. The French at least had enough iron to build a superior tank force than the Germans by 1940. (in numbers and armoured thickness)

If the Germans were indeed the architects of Blitzkrieg they would have gone to war with more and better tanks than the the Pz1-2-3-and short 4s. Almost every Allied Army had more and superior tanks than the Germans. This is an obvious and really pathetic point.

The German Army was the least mechanized Army from 1939 thru 1944.

The German army was able to overrun hundreds of thousands of Russians during Barbarossa, mostly because the Russians were perilously close to there own border while preparing to invade Germany first! Also the Germans could never score a knockout punch to the Russians because the bulk of the Red Army retreated faster than the Germans could advance and supply their Army Groups.

The German Army was extraordinarily succesful in WW2 (despite massive flaws) mostly because of the quality of the Wermacht's officers and the resulting discipline they instilled. 100 German Soldiers were equal to 120 Americans, or 200 Soviet soldiers in combat effectiveness.

kamehouse
08-25-2008, 05:11 PM
The way I understand it,Bewegungskrieg(a.k.a blitzkrieg) was a military doctrine used by Prussia since Frederick the great during the seven years war(Battle of Rossbach,Leuthen and Zorndorf).Nothing new except the means( motorised and armoured divisions) applied to Prussia's culture of War.As far as I know,real Bewegungskrieg only applied in North Africa and the first year of Barbarossa due to the perfect terrain for the war of movement.
Also what the Red army did was only to apply the Deep Operation doctrine which they have been adopting on and off since the mid-thirties.In 1936 the level of motorised and armoured division was superior than Germany and unfortunately had been decreasing until 1942.According to David Glantz ,one of the main reason Russia was taken off-guard in 1941 was that the Red Army was in a transition phase(Reforms of October 1940) to go back fully to the Deep Operation/Battle and the changes in organisation that goes with it(creation of first and second echelon armies).
The closest to its doctrine Russia fought was at the end of the war during the Vistula-Oder offensive.
So to answer your question,Blitzkrieg was real ,just a bit inflated by the Allied media who had to find a reason why the biggest army in the world(France in 1940 that is) collapsed.
Also interesting was the different views from Eisenhower and Montgomery on how to pursue the invasion of Germany after the Battle of Normandy and the German Ruckmarsch.Eisenhower somehow was more inclined to a Deep Operation kind of offfensive(push the ennemy on all fronts until the defense collapse) and Montgomery more a blitzkrieg kind of attack with a spearhead that would push through a certain point(Schwerpunkt) and open the door to Germany.
EDIT:
To respond to some of your points Sickle:
During Barbarossa(I belive Zitadelle must be a mistake) the 10th,3rd,13th,18th,6th,12th,16th,20th,19th,37th,5t h,21st and 26th Soviet Armies were surrounded and most of them annihilated.The reason being that the Red Army were given a direct order from Stalin himself to stand fast,resist and certainly not to retreat resulting in them being trapped.The change of tactics only started by mid-42 (results shown after Operation Blue first phases I,Millerovo and II ,Rostov being called Luftstoss/blow into the air)after the slaughter that was the Battle of Kharkov in May 1942.
And no the Blitzkrieg is far from being a German idea.But they were more inclined (see the comments about Prussia) to adopt ideas from the French and the British.
As for the French Maginot line being ridiculed,let's just say that the Wehrmacht never managed to capture a Gros Ouvrage so if france would have been able to fortify the Belgian border as much as they did in the Moselle region let's say,Germany would have had a hell of a problem to go through as they did in Sedan.
Overall I would say Mr Mosiers is one of these sensationalists writers desperate to get some attention with some avant-guarde ideas and theories but in the end I am not convinced.

flamethrowerguy
08-25-2008, 05:14 PM
100 German Soldiers were equal to 120 Americans, or 200 Soviet soldiers in combat effectiveness.

Oooh, this will cause riots.

Sickles
08-25-2008, 05:39 PM
Kame,
Yes Barbarossa not Zittadelle,,, Thank you!

SS Ouche-Vittes
08-25-2008, 07:04 PM
Oooh, this will cause riots.

I agree with the Russian part but not the american ratio.

flamethrowerguy
08-25-2008, 07:10 PM
I agree with the Russian part but not the american ratio.

I'm sure you don't but I'd really like to know how such a ratio is determined.

Sickles
08-26-2008, 08:12 AM
I'm sure you don't but I'd really like to know how such a ratio is determined.

Here is a quote from the end of book: "The German army did more than fight on; it was consistently successful on the field of battle, regardless of the specifics of the engagement This superiority is not subjective. The American researcher Trevor N. Dupuy quantified it as long ago as 1977, discovering that, on average 100 German soldiers were the equiveleant of 120 American, British, or French soldiers... Dupuy found that the 1.2:1 ratio was generally true throughout the war, while on the Eastern front the ratio of combat efectiveness was much higher: 100 German soldiers were as effective as 200 Soviet soldiers."


I am not sure how the ratio is determined either but would imagine it takes into account casualty figures and losses of material. Mosier makes the point throughout the book that German casualties were consistently lower than there adversaries throughout the entire war whether on offense or defense.

flamethrowerguy
08-26-2008, 08:16 AM
Here is a quote from the end of book: "The German army did more than fight on; it was consistently successful on the field of battle, regardless of the specifics of the engagement This superiority is not subjective. The American researcher Trevor N. Dupuy quantified it as long ago as 1977, discovering that, on average 100 German soldiers were the equiveleant of 120 American, British, or French soldiers... Dupuy found that the 1.2:1 ratio was generally true throughout the war, while on the Eastern front the ratio of combat efectiveness was much higher: 100 German soldiers were as effective as 200 Soviet soldiers."


I am not sure how the ratio is determined either but would imagine it takes into account casualty figures and losses of material. Mosier makes the point throughout the book that German casualties were consistently lower than there adversaries throughout the entire war whether on offense or defense.

That's interesting but now we created a new problem: American, british and french soldiers with the same ratio. I guess especially the american and british will estimate their veterans achievements much higher.

ptimms
08-26-2008, 10:49 AM
Normandy campaign:
US losses 125k
Commonwealth 83k
German 200k (plus 200k in prisoners)

Ardennes Campaign
US losses 81k
Commonwealth losses 1.4k
German losses 100k.

??? Doesn't stack up with that theory really does it.

Sickles
08-26-2008, 11:01 AM
That's interesting but now we created a new problem: American, british and french soldiers with the same ration. I guess especially the american and british will estimate their veterans achievements much higher.

Yes they may,
Here is where the book makes an interesting point about the French.
Historians like to pile on the French for their quick capitulaion as a sign of weakness and even immorality (Because of the high number of communist and Nazi sympathizers in France) But the reality is this: The French always knew they could not hold out against the german army of 1940. They were to rely on the British for help which was promised to them. The British BEF did come to the aid of France but it was really just token aid. More worried about what was in store for England they made there way to the coast (Dunkirk) leading to the eventual surrender of France...

When the surrender occurred, The French army spread out through the country side did not want to give up their arms, most units have not even seen action yet! Those that did see action actually fared well against the German onslaught. They fought hard and the number of crosses in French cemetaries showed that the individual French soldier was not afraid to give his life for France.

flamethrowerguy
08-26-2008, 11:07 AM
I think you just can not leave the special circumstances of every battle unregarded: air supremacy, superiority in both men and material especially heavy weapons...
However, Sir John Hackett, regimental CO of british paratroopers in WW2 stated in his book "The Profession of Arms" (1983) about the highest soldierly achievements in from 1939 to 1945: "There is no doubt at all who wins the prize: it is the german."
British historian Max Hastings ("Overlord", 1984): "The german Wehrmacht was the best battle troops of the war, one of the most splendid the world has ever seen." Furthermore Hastings advises the Wehrmacht as an antetype for the NATO, although is a bit way off in my humble opinion...

ptimms
08-26-2008, 11:15 AM
"More worried about what was in store for England they made there way to the coast (Dunkirk) leading to the eventual surrender of France..."

Not sure if this your or the books conclusion. However it makes it sound like the British Army had a choice and strolled back to Dunkirk and left.

Cut off from the rest of the army by a breakthrough in the French sector the British retreated to Dunkirk and then under considerable pressure evacuated their army along with a lot of the French one too.

It is also unfair to call it a token force. 3 corps of 10 or 11 divisions represented virtually everything available at the time and left the UK with next to no fighting troops on British soil.

Sickles
08-26-2008, 04:46 PM
PTIMMS,

The commentary about the BEF is more a political one than a condemnation of its soldiers.
The German 12th army had created an enormous bulge in the allied line between Chaleroi and Rethel. The bulge was just as hazardous to the Germans as it was to the allies since it exposed them to a threat of an offense from the BEF as well as the French 7th army. This was especially true in the south where the Germans were unable to break through.
Here is where the panic set in, not at the front but at the rear by French commander Gamelin who ordered a retreat instead of seizing the moment to turn the tables. The same thing happened to the BEF (General Lord Gort) whose commander panicked as well. The only thought of the senior British commanders both civilian and military was to save there army. They also began a retreat.

Yes this was a rout, but no more than the battles of 1914, this time the French govt caved in and the BEF said "were outta here".

Carl Schwamberger
09-07-2008, 07:28 AM
The position of the BEF was a bit different in 1940. In 1914 they had not advanced nearly as far into Belgium. In 1940 The German concentration of their main combat power and advance across the Meuse south of Namur was a clear threat to the line of communication. In 1914 the British LOC or supply route led southwest to Atlantic ports. The same for 1940, and the British primary supply base on the continent lay in northern France within reach of the German attack then. The Channel ports were considered by the British to be unsuitable for large scale supply of the BEF in both 1940 and 1939-1940. The western ports on the Atlantic like Cherbourg, Brest, Lorient, St Nazzaire.. were favored.

So in 1914 the logical retreat path was south towards the British supply source. The primary German attack was from central Belgium and aimed southwards at Paris. In 1940 it bcame clear to Gort (commander of the BEF) that his primary supply base and supply route to the ports was in danger from the advance of the German armored group advancing westwards from the Meuse River. The French army commanders were subjected to the same condition. Their supply route also led southwards into the winter positions in Northern France. But in their case they did not consider a sea evacuation practical, so they initally attempted to attack south. The failure of these southwards attacks, the collapse of the Dutch and Belgian armys along with the loss of the large port of Antwerp made any Allied position in western Belgium impractical. So everyone ended up on the coast looking for boat space.

Had the German made the decision to send the main attack south towards paris, instead of to the Channel coast, then Gort may have halted with the French on or near the Escaut line. Their line of communication would have been temporarily secure, until the battle near Paris was resolved. As it was Gort knew his supplys would stop once the German armored group passed through the Lille/Amiens area, so his only chance was to reach the Channel coast.

Carl Schwamberger
09-07-2008, 07:43 AM
Just finished John Mosiers book "The Blitzkrieg Myth" It is a well researched book written by a credible historian. He does make a compelling case that the Blitzkrieg mania was largely overblown especially by the allied countries...

...Anyway, is the Blitzkrieg Real or an invention from overzealous war planners?

The term Bliztkrieg was a propaganda term first used by Gobbels in 1939. Guderian never used the term in his writing about the use of armored mobile units in combat. Neither was it used by any other Wehrmacht doctrine or tactics documents in the 1930s.



The way I understand it,Bewegungskrieg(a.k.a blitzkrieg) was a military doctrine used by Prussia since Frederick the great during the seven years war(Battle of Rossbach,Leuthen and Zorndorf).Nothing new except the means( motorised and armoured divisions) applied to Prussia's culture of War.As far as I know,real Bewegungskrieg only applied in North Africa and the first year of Barbarossa due to the perfect terrain for the war of movement.

Guderian was thinking in terms of 'Mission Orders' and 'Mission Tactics', Schwerpunckt (focal point or center of gravity), speed in both movement and in adaption to constantly changing conditions on the battlefield. These were concepts that had developed in the German military since Prussian times and which were refined by the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht.

Mosier tends to write as if his view had just been discovered and that everyone had been fooled by the "Bliztkrieg Myth" all along. This is a gross exaggeration. While editors of pop history magazines continue the myth most folks have understood the myth after a bit of study, even during the war.

Nickdfresh
09-07-2008, 09:03 AM
The term Bliztkrieg was a propaganda term first used by Gobbels in 1939. Guderian never used the term in his writing about the use of armored mobile units in combat. Neither was it used by any other Wehrmacht doctrine or tactics documents in the 1930s.




Guderian was thinking in terms of 'Mission Orders' and 'Mission Tactics', Schwerpunckt (focal point or center of gravity), speed in both movement and in adaption to constantly changing conditions on the battlefield. These were concepts that had developed in the German military since Prussian times and which were refined by the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht.

Mosier tends to write as if his view had just been discovered and that everyone had been fooled by the "Bliztkrieg Myth" all along. This is a gross exaggeration. While editors of pop history magazines continue the myth most folks have understood the myth after a bit of study, even during the war.

I couldn't agree with your last sentence more. The fact the Germans were vastly superior initially wasn't a reinvention of the wheel so to speak, nor was it solely them stealing the ideals of a couple of British theorists like Hart. It was in fact evolutionary, and certainly strongly rooted in Prussian military tradition.

What often gets lost is the primacy of the Reichswehr and of the militia "Freekorp" of the Wiemer Republic in German military thinking. Much of using a motorized vanguard with an emphasis on speed combined with superior tactical and strategic command and control came from the very fact that Germany was capped at 100,000 soldiers by the Versailles Treaty. An army of "firemen" that could quickly move from one brush fire to another without ever allowing one single fire (or Freekorp militia, communist insurgency, etc.) to overwhelm them. The Freekorp also allowed for a testing lab of armored cars and truck-born troops that was certainly sanctioned and monitored by the military authorities of the German gov't. This is what the US Army of the 1980s would refer to as "speed and violence" -- the shock inflicted on an army slower to react. Ironically, it was the very artificially imposed miltiary handicaps more than anything else that allowed Germany to create an army that was not only highly mobile, but one that also a new army that was an elite with an extremely high standard of training and pride. They were able to keep this standard more or less intact even as the quality of the individual recruit/conscript dropped to comparative levels of other armies.

Panzerknacker
09-07-2008, 10:00 AM
The british military historian and writer Basil Liddel Hart proposed something very similar to the german concept of armored "heavy point" in 1926, he named it "expansive torrent".

Carl Schwamberger
09-09-2008, 08:53 PM
The british military historian and writer Basil Liddel Hart proposed something very similar to the german concept of armored "heavy point" in 1926, he named it "expansive torrent".

Expanding torrent was probablly the term he used. He was using the breach of a levee or dam by water as a example. When a section collapses the water both washes away the edges of the still standing portions of the levee, and it spreads far past the into the countryside.

B5N2KATE
09-13-2008, 12:50 AM
The Origins of the Term BLITZKREIG...(From Forty & Duncan's book, "The Fall of France", 1990...a Spellmount Military Publication)...

Page 25-26, paragraph 2.....

"In order to put things in perspective it is as well to appreciate that in 1939-40 the mechanised portion of the German Army which was responsible for carrying out these new tactics represented only a tiny fraction of the whole. In general terms, as we shall see in the next chapter, the Wehrmacht was still predominantly comprised of foot soldiers who marched into battle, supported by artillery that was still horse drawn. As General Heinz Guderian, the "Father of the Panzers" and chief architect of the build-up of the panzer arm later wrote...]"The development of tracked vehicles for the tank supporting arm never went as far as we wished. It was clear that the effectiveness of the tanks would gain in proportion to the ability of the infantry, artillery and other divisional arms to follow them across country."[/COLOR]

The Origins of Blitzkrieg.
As Mathew Cooper explains in his "History of the German Army(1933-45)", the basic tactics of 'lightning war' go back to much earlier times. He quotes an example of a 14th Century Sultan who was known as the "Thunderbolt" because of his method of rapid attack. The need for "war in a hurry" had been an essential part of Prussian military thinking since well before Bismark; however, it is now indissolubly linked to the German Panzertruppe of the Second World War.
It is not entirely clear how the word BLITZKREIG originated. Some Historians say it was invented by Hitler, yet Len Deighton in his book entitled "Blitzkreig" states that General Walther Nehring was sure that it was not of German origin. This would add credence to the claim that it was used for the forst time by an American "Time" Magazine correspondent who, when describing the events which had taken place in Poland in 1939 wrote of them as being [I]"...no war of occupation but a war of quick penetration and obliteration - Blitzkreig - lightning war". Cooper goes on to explain how even Guderian agreed that,"Our enemies coined the word Blitzkreig..."


While we're at it, German victory in France and Poland can ce ascribed to a single factor among others that dominated proceedings....the high quality of field junior officers and NCOs, able to change their plans QUICKLY and ON THE SPOT to meet opportunities that presented themselves at the time....good example is Rommel's 7th Division crossing the Muese River at a small unguarded weir, and turning this minor crossing into a major bridgehead....INITIATIVE at the mid and lower mid levels of infantry command.....that edge was eroded as losses started to bite, and it gradually slipped away as the war dragged on, until it was non-existent....better communications also enabled German tactical precepts to actually be possible of being put into action in the manner envisaged, and the Ju-87 was the ONLY ARMY CO-OPERATION weapon that could make pin-point attacks, albeit at high cost with a firm defence manned by soldiers already attuned to frontline conditions.....

B5N2KATE
09-13-2008, 01:09 AM
The point is made by Forty and Duncan that these tactical pioneers in all of the Armed Services experimenting with tracked mobility were very much out of the mainstream, and the German Army was simply more willing to accept the new ideas. Guderian did not have it all his own way, and he encountered opposition to the new doctrine from the "Old Order" in the Wehrmacht, and had to fight to overcome it......

Adrian Wainer
09-17-2008, 10:25 AM
Just finished John Mosiers book "The Blitzkrieg Myth" It is a well researched book written by a credible historian. He does make a compelling case that the Blitzkrieg mania was largely overblown especially by the allied countries. He shows how the quick capitulation of Poland, France and the Netherlands was really more of a political surrender than a destruction of the defending armies. As evidenced by the large losses suffered by the Germans during those invasions as well as the large portions of Polish French and Dutch Armies which were still very capable of putting up more resistance if it wasn't for there goverments orders to stop fighting.
He also shows that the best way to defeat the germans was on a broad front which the Russians did from '43 onward not by Blitzkrieg tactics.
He makes the point that the U.S. was ready for a blitzkrieg war as evidenced by the amazing production of the Sherman which was meant as a breakthrough vehicle not meant to fight other tanks, which is why it had a pea shhoter gun.
Anyway, is the Blitzkrieg Real or an invention from overzealous war planners?

I haven't read Mr Mosier's book but as you describe it, it does not make a lot of sense to me. For a start, Poland was a largely Agricultural country that had only been in existance for a very short time i.e. between the End of WW1 and 1939, considering that they were attacked by both the Third Reich and the USSR, the fact that they were able to hold out as as long they did was a very creditable achievement. Holland was admittedly a catastrophe, certainly one could not expect Holland to fight for long without Allied support given the relatively low level of equipment available to the Dutch military but it is not that difficult to stop enemy troop trains entering one's territory when they have to cross a bridge under one's control, which the Dutch failed to do. As for France, France did suffer a major defeat at the hands of the invading German armies but the issue with France was that defeat triggered a political collapse, had not France collapsed politically, she still had extensive forces in metropolitan France and the colonies which were untouched by the fighting. Even had the French forces been driven out of Metropolitan France, they still could have moved to North Africa and England. Given what the Royal Navy was able to do in the Mediterranean even during the darkest days of the War [ post the fall of France ] a seaborne invasion by the Axis of French North Africa defended by the French and British fleets would likely have been a suicide run for the Axis. All that said, the reality is France surrendered and the Blitzkrieg tactics worked perfectly in collapsing France. The fact of the matter was that Blitzkrieg was designed to have a strong psychological element to it and it worked spectularly well in France in that regard. Well if the US was ready for blitzkrieg War, what about Pearl Harbor? Military tactics can have both a limited shelf life and a limitation as to the Geographic arena they can be employed in, Blitzkrieg had much the same effect in Russia as it did in France but both the State and its territory were too large for the German forces to deliver the knockout psychological blow.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

Adrian Wainer
09-17-2008, 11:16 AM
Yes they may,
Here is where the book makes an interesting point about the French.
Historians like to pile on the French for their quick capitulaion as a sign of weakness and even immorality (Because of the high number of communist and Nazi sympathizers in France) But the reality is this: The French always knew they could not hold out against the german army of 1940. They were to rely on the British for help which was promised to them. The British BEF did come to the aid of France but it was really just token aid. More worried about what was in store for England they made there way to the coast (Dunkirk) leading to the eventual surrender of France...

When the surrender occurred, The French army spread out through the country side did not want to give up their arms, most units have not even seen action yet! Those that did see action actually fared well against the German onslaught. They fought hard and the number of crosses in French cemetaries showed that the individual French soldier was not afraid to give his life for France.

"The French always knew they could not hold out against the german army of 1940." Well that point is at least debateable. France had a very large Army, the coastal areas were secure from an amphibious landing due to the superiority of the French and British fleets. They had plenty of tanks and certain of them had advantages as compared to their German opposition. Their Airforce though much it was composed of fighter aircraft of somewhat dubious quality, was vastly superior to anything the Poles had and even they had been able to make an impression on the supposedly invulnerable Luftwaffe, with the obsolete PZL-11. Furthermore, the Maginot line was an exceedingly good idea and forced the Third Reich in to attacking through Belgium and thus reduced the line mobile forces would need to defend, [ also there was no technical reason that the Maginot line could not have been extended to the coast, though it would have meant steping it back from the frontier for much of extra mileage to the coast, though I am not including that in the equation since the line was obviously not extended to the coast ]. The British did not have a standing conscript Army, that France maintained and with that in mind, the French military posture was based on holding the line until Britain could fully gear up for War. Since the contribution of Britain to France in 1940 in the shape of the BEF was pretty much the bulk of the entire British Army in the United Kingdom and Europe but too small to fight the invading German forces without the French at least making a fighting retreat, it would have been both pointless and suicidal for Britain to have tried to fight on using the BEF in the light of a French collapse. Given the equipment and manpower that the French Armed forces had in 1940, there is no reason they could not have halted the Nazi blitzkrieg in its tracks, all they needed was better tactics and a more resolute will at a senior military and political level.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

kamehouse
09-17-2008, 01:06 PM
For those interested by the fall of France and a more in depth analysis than "surrendering monkeys" comments, I would suggest "to lose a battle,France 1940" by Alistair Horne.
An excellent book cleverly written and well documented in my humble opinion.

Adrian Wainer
09-17-2008, 03:49 PM
For those interested by the fall of France and a more in depth analysis than "surrendering monkeys" comments, I would suggest "to lose a battle,France 1940" by Alistair Horne.
An excellent book cleverly written and well documented in my humble opinion.

Unfortunately it is so long ago, since I read that book I have forgotten its main points but I do remember it as an excelent analysis of the French defeat.


The first battle of the resistance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saumur_(1940)

Really anybody who would see the the French as "surrender monkeys" would also do well to read Roy MacNab's book

http://www.amazon.ca/Honour-Alone-Roy-Macnab/dp/0709033311

as it shows a rather different side of France to that exampled by Pierre Laval in response to Nazism or to Jacques Chirac to more recent developments along similar lines.

The Intafada in France as reported in "The Independent" also known as Der Sturmer

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/sarkozy-blames-french-model-for-riots-chiracs-riot-speech-criticised-as-timid-515514.html

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

rhenisch
11-22-2008, 01:58 AM
The british military historian and writer Basil Liddel Hart proposed something very similar to the german concept of armored "heavy point" in 1926, he named it "expansive torrent".

And the Germans studied him, Guderian in depth, if I remember correctly.

If I remember rightly, when the Germans invaded Poland, they had four fully-mechanized divisions. Some 80% of their divisions weren't motorized at all. Along with them all went something like 225,000 horses.

In the larger sense, that doesn't sound very blitzy.

best,

Rhenisch

Nickdfresh
11-22-2008, 06:02 AM
For those interested by the fall of France and a more in depth analysis than "surrendering monkeys" comments, I would suggest "to lose a battle,France 1940" by Alistair Horne.
An excellent book cleverly written and well documented in my humble opinion.

I'll have to pick that up as I'm slightly obsessed with that episode of WWII. Especially all of its "what-ifs?"....

As much as it pains me, I have to say that the Wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France) on it is very extensive and well written. I've read Len Deighton's Blitzkrieg and have to say he's one of the historians that's a tad unfair to the French, but it's a nice read anyways...

kamehouse
11-23-2008, 05:19 AM
I'll have to pick that up as I'm slightly obsessed with that episode of WWII. Especially all of its "what-ifs?"....

As much as it pains me, I have to say that the Wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France) on it is very extensive and well written. I've read Len Deighton's Blitzkrieg and have to say he's one of the historians that's a tad unfair to the French, but it's a nice read anyways...
Horne can be harsh but it's always fair comments with its share of good documentation to back it up.
I thought his book was simply enlightning.

Carl Schwamberger
11-25-2008, 10:16 PM
Chapmans 'Why France Fell' is becoming obscure. While not in the same style as Horne or Shirer it is a excellent refrence for the details of the campaign and its background.

Mays 'Strange Victory' is more of a analysis of the differeences in thinking between the German and French high command. He takes a particualry close look at the development of the Sickle Cut plan. for that alone his book is worth a read.

Doughty 'Seeds of Disaster' reviews and analysis the developments withing the French army that led to its failures in 1940.

Doughty 'The Breaking Point' provides a chronological account of the attack of Guderians mechanized corps at Sedan, and analyzes the background of the attack. This book makes it clear just how risky and near failure the German attack at Sedan was on 13 May.

Shirers book on the collapse of the Third Republic is usefull for understanding why the problem came from the top and was much less a failure from within the ranks of the French army. The idea of a 'moral failure of the French soldier seems to have originated with French leaders who could not accept that they had made some very bad decisions.

Krad42
11-26-2008, 09:56 AM
It has always been my impression that the Blitzkrieg had been blown out of proportion by the Allies and I agree that Mosier's is not bringing anything new in that sense. The German use of motorized units was certainly efficient, but the fact remains that the great majority were foot soldiers and artillery moved by horses. During Barabarossa, definite mistakes by the Russians, that they were in transition, plus the fact that the Red Army's leadership had been harmed greatly by Stalin's own decisions had a lot to do with the quickness by which the Germans moved in. The Germans weren't dumb. They knew exactly that this would be the best time to strike first...when the Russians weren't ready and were in transition.

The Germans took great risks, especially in the West, which paid off for them and I think it became evident that there was a superiority of the German soldier over others in Europe at the time. While France may have had a large Army, I have always questioned the efficiency of a conscript Army. Sometimes superiority in numbers is not enough. The German leadership in the field and in the rear was probably one of the most disciplined and well trained in modern history, and so was the average German soldier. The French leadership collapsed and without leadership, there isn't much more to do but to raise the white flag. The political promises made to Poland drove France and Britain to declare war and I think that the French underestimated the Third Reich's resolve.

In analyzing battles I think that we sometimes forget the impact of one's view of the enemy and what morale can accomplish. It is not all about tanks, artillery and guns. Low morale and fear, whether based on facts or simple perceptions, has great influence on decisions made and the way orders are executed. The Germans were certain of their superiority in the first two years of the war (1939 to end of 1941). They charged ahead with great leadership and confidence. Their enemies became doubtful about their ability to stop them. When one fights with doubts, it doesn't matter how many tanks you have available because one then tends not to use the materiel available wisely, something that the Germans were rather efficient doing. When the winter in the Eastern Front proved that they had become handicapped and that they weren't quite ready to fight a long war, the Soviets had time to gather themselves and come back at them.

Due to the problems in the Eastern Front, the great loss of life, and untimely intervention from a leader that was too arrogant to see the truth, the German Army and the Waffen SS were forced to draw live bodies from whereever they could. The advantage of having superior soldiers was hampered.

So, I think that the Allies spoke so adamantly about Blitzkrieg in order to minimize their own shortcomings, their lack of leadership. It is easier to say that the Germans "came at us with a form of attack that took us by surprise" than saying "we screwed up and they had better soldiers than we did."

Ivaylo
12-06-2008, 07:54 AM
That's out of question the Germans did invite and used the blitzkrieg , but Hitler failed the idea of the blitzkrieg with his strange arrogant decisions. Of course i support what Krad42 said about the Soviet Union and Stalin , but that's their problem actually i seriously doubt that if there weren't some Allied mistakes as well as soviet one , the germans would make such a winning campaign 1939-1941 .

Dixie Devil
12-08-2008, 11:04 AM
100 German Soldiers were equal to 120 Americans, or 200 Soviet soldiers in combat effectiveness.

Guess someone forgot to tell that to the German troops surrounding the American 101st Airborne at Bastogne ;)

Schuultz
12-31-2008, 01:17 PM
Normandy campaign:
US losses 125k
Commonwealth 83k
German 200k (plus 200k in prisoners)

Ardennes Campaign
US losses 81k
Commonwealth losses 1.4k
German losses 100k.

??? Doesn't stack up with that theory really does it.

well, this is surely true, but you have to keep other factors in mind, too.

As I see it, that 1.2:1 ratio would best be applied when talking about comparably sized armies. but this late in the war, the Allied armies hugely outnumbered the Germans, and the Allies had total air superiority.

According to these stats, an army of 100,000 Germans might be able to defeat an army of 120,000 Americans, but when it's 400,000 Americans, this just demoralizes and of course lowers the ratio.

Just think about how 5 jocks might be able to beat up 6 or 7 nerds, but when there's 10 or 12 nerds, with some distracting while the others can beat them up from behind, the jocks lose anyway.

[this might be a somewhat oversimplified , but i think it brings my point across pretty well]

Also keep in mind that the Allied troops (generally) were better supplied than the Germans and had more resources available.

Yosh1aki
04-13-2009, 04:02 AM
This thread seems to be slightly dead, so I hope nobody minds me posting in it.

After reading the various comments above, I decided to buy Mosier's book (The Blitzkrieg Myth) and have just started reading it. Only up to page 18, but it seems pretty good so far.

I read Mosier's previous book (Myths of the Great War) a few months ago, and although I disagreed with some (a lot?) of his conclusions, I found his theories about the German army's more efficient use of artillery to consistently squash allied offensives into the mud very interesting.

So this time, I am interested in Mosier's views about what Blitzkrieg really was (and what it wasn't), and I hope to learn a lot about the Battle of France in particular.

I think I probably have a lot to learn. I remember reading a very good 'based-on-a-true-story' type of novel called 'Tramp in Armour' many years ago and being surprised to learn that the BEF's Matilda tank had better armour and armament than the Panzers it faced.

It seemed odd to me at the time, as I presumed (without any real analysis) that everything the Germans had was better than everything the BEF and the French had. It made me wonder why the Franco-British forces (or should that be Anglo-French forces? :) ) did so poorly in 1940.

My parents (who both lived through the war) explained that they found the psychological aspect of Blitzkrieg overwhelming at the time. My mother was 10 years old in 1940, my father was 14, and they both remembered being scared that the German army was unstoppable and that Britain would be invaded and subdued.

I hope I can contribute a proper opinion when I finish reading the book.
Cheers
Pete

Nickdfresh
04-13-2009, 07:34 AM
...
According to these stats, an army of 100,000 Germans might be able to defeat an army of 120,000 Americans, but when it's 400,000 Americans, this just demoralizes and of course lowers the ratio.

...


Except for at the Battle of the Bulge, where the Wehrmacht and SS suffered huge infantry losses due to tactics that were comprised of seemingly blundering into American lines making them moving targets easily mowed down by machine guns and self-loading weapons...

This all very much depends on "when" in the War we were talking about. By late 1944, the US/British transport and logistics alone meant they could actually FIELD 400,000 men in a given area where Germany could only due so sparingly. Also, German soldiers lacked training in conducting offensive operations later in the War which cost them dearly when they actually went on the attack...

steben
10-13-2009, 08:04 AM
Don't forget that the actual Blitzkrieg was a succes of strategic and psychological gamble along with great insight. The german HQ simply used as the first one an ideal combination of air support, mobility and splendid communication.
A large portion of a succesful "panzer home run" was determined by the way they could bypass enemy resistance, rather than killing it. That's the tactical catch of the blitzkrieg.

Anglo-Saxon-Viking
10-24-2009, 10:04 AM
Well I'm no General (just a Buck Sgt. when I was in) but I believe that Gen. Patton was
right on the money when he said, "You don't win wars by dying for your country. They are won by making the other poor dumb b _ _ _ _ _ d die for his country. So the bottom line is that more Germans died in WWII than Americans in Europe. Also I might add that Stalin used a system of defense whereby the first line fell back into the second
line and the second line into the third etc. By the time of Stalingrad and Moscow the Russian line of defense was so deep that there was no way Germany could penetrate it.
Also General "Winter" helped Russia immensely.

steben
10-24-2009, 01:48 PM
Well I'm no General (just a Buck Sgt. when I was in) but I believe that Gen. Patton was
right on the money when he said, "You don't win wars by dying for your country. They are won by making the other poor dumb b _ _ _ _ _ d die for his country. So the bottom line is that more Germans died in WWII than Americans in Europe.

Well, the most casualties in WWII were ... Russian...
the Americans fought along with Canadians and English, which would lead to sum them up.
I don't believe in this oneliner. Usual I dislike oneliners, with an exception to Von Clausewitz...
Did you know in war today mainstream doctrine is close to disabling (perhaps even wounding) your enemy as much as possible, rather than "make them die"?
I recall notably Patton as well saying: "we can still lose this war...":neutral:



Also I might add that Stalin used a system of defense whereby the first line fell back into the second
line and the second line into the third etc. By the time of Stalingrad and Moscow the Russian line of defense was so deep that there was no way Germany could penetrate it.

If France would have been as big as Russia, it's battle would have been the same. Every army pulling back ... pulls back!


Also General "Winter" helped Russia immensely.
It helped the Germans in the Ardennes as well.
I mean: it's very true, yet it doesn't explain the defeat of Germany, nor does it includes or excludes Blitzkrieg.

Anglo-Saxon-Viking
10-24-2009, 06:59 PM
What defeated Germany was Hitler. He was a greedo. Hitler won the war in Europe and then lost it. He just had to ignore history and invade Russia. He was an ego maniac sold on knowledge he did not possess. As the German losses mounted he got worse and
became "the greatest general" of all time. The German officer corps was also to blame,
mabye more so. Once a dictator takes over there is no controlling him. Germany was
destined to lose WWII because there is a much greater war coming that will involve the
whole European Union.
As for oneliners I couldn't care less what anyone thinks of them. Last time I looked we still have freedom of speech. I for one intend to use it until Komrade Obama takes my life.

steben
10-25-2009, 01:58 PM
What defeated Germany was Hitler. He was a greedo. Hitler won the war in Europe and then lost it. He just had to ignore history and invade Russia. He was an ego maniac sold on knowledge he did not possess. As the German losses mounted he got worse and
became "the greatest general" of all time. The German officer corps was also to blame,
mabye more so. Once a dictator takes over there is no controlling him.

Hitler was determined to invade Russia since Mein Kampf rolled from the presses, no matter what. Russia was his holy grail from the start. The fact he won all Europe except Russia made his hunger only bigger.


Germany was
destined to lose WWII because there is a much greater war coming that will involve the
whole European Union.

That sounds a bit like Star Wars there.




As for oneliners I couldn't care less what anyone thinks of them. Last time I looked we still have freedom of speech.

No one told you not to use them, Viking.

Anglo-Saxon-Viking
10-25-2009, 11:50 PM
Yeah. Well you'll think Stars Wars when it happens.
I intend to keep using them. Sometimes because oneliners are so "simple" they are all that can penetrate a hard head.

Chevan
10-26-2009, 12:50 AM
Here is a quote from the end of book: "[I][B]The German army did more than fight on; it was consistently successful on the field of battle, regardless of the specifics of the engagement This superiority is not subjective. The American researcher Trevor N. Dupuy quantified it as long ago as 1977, discovering that, on average 100 German soldiers were the equiveleant of 120 American, British, or French soldiers... Dupuy found that the 1.2:1 ratio was generally true throughout the war, while on the Eastern front the ratio of combat efectiveness was much higher: 100 German soldiers were as effective as 200 Soviet soldiers."[B][I]




Hmmn , it's interesting.
But there is a logistical problem.The ratio of combat effectivenes is strongly depend on which period of war is considered.
If say, to look at early period, the Soviet beated the Japanises roughtly 1:1,5 ( Battle of Khalkhin Gol and lake Hasan) .
However the same Japanes (having the less troops) succesfully beated the Americans 2:1 during , say the Battle of the Philippines.
Honestly , i can't understand which method the Trevor N. Dupuy used.

Rising Sun*
10-26-2009, 08:12 AM
Germany was destined to lose WWII because there is a much greater war coming that will involve the
whole European Union.

Could you explain this?

Is it some sort of pre-destined event?

That is, WWII had to happen to create the circumstances for the EU to arise by combining nations which had been enemies for centuries so they could self-destruct in the EU which has brought them previously unknown peace and prosperity?

Or is the EU going to be fighting a common enemy? If so, who?

steben
10-26-2009, 09:59 AM
Could you explain this?

Is it some sort of pre-destined event?

That is, WWII had to happen to create the circumstances for the EU to arise by combining nations which had been enemies for centuries so they could self-destruct in the EU which has brought them previously unknown peace and prosperity?

Or is the EU going to be fighting a common enemy? If so, who?

I guess the internal resistance against the EU.

Nickdfresh
10-26-2009, 11:51 AM
Hmmn , it's interesting.
But there is a logistical problem.The ratio of combat effectivenes is strongly depend on which period of war is considered.
If say, to look at early period, the Soviet beated the Japanises roughtly 1:1,5 ( Battle of Khalkhin Gol and lake Hasan) .


Yeah. Who was more effective when? Were German troops more effective largely because they were on the defense? Were German troops as effective at the end of 1944 as they were in say, mid-1943? Because by 1944, the Allies were conducting large scale mobile warfare, maneuver operations that German generals could only dream of. The Japanese Imperial Army was incapable of any large scale mobile warfare whatsoever, and discovered that when they encountered well entrenched American positions by the end of 1942, they suffered a huge firepower deficit and almost inevitably took heavy casualties...


However the same Japanes (having the less troops) succesfully beated the Americans 2:1 during , say the Battle of the Philippines.
Honestly , i can't understand which method the Trevor N. Dupuy used.

Incidentally, the Japanese did not have "less troops" than the Americans strictly speaking. There were only roughly about 15,000 US soldiers and marines in the Philippines at the invasion IIRC. MacArthur did have more forces at his disposal if you count the Filipino forces (which is where you're getting your numbers from). But their army was extremely inconsistent and uneven as some formations such as the Filipino Scouts were first rate while many conventional infantry divisions were armed with a hodge-podge mix of weaponry of different centuries and calibers and many were barely trained...

Anglo-Saxon-Viking
10-26-2009, 01:49 PM
To Rising Sun. I am a Christian and as such believe every word in the King James Version
of the bible. This war I speak of was prophesied several thousand years ago and all of the events are taking place now including the EU which is the revived Roman Empire. Yes, I know, we Christians are supposed to be insane and a detriment to the mental health of society but I know where I've been, I know where I am and I know where I'm
going. I in no way include you in anti-christian conduct. I do not know you personally. This response may well get me kicked off of this forum. If so, Amen.

herman2
10-26-2009, 02:05 PM
To Rising Sun. I am a Christian and as such believe every word in the King James Version
of the bible. This war I speak of was prophesied several thousand years ago and all of the events are taking place now including the EU which is the revived Roman Empire. Yes, I know, we Christians are supposed to be insane and a detriment to the mental health of society but I know where I've been, I know where I am and I know where I'm
going. I in no way include you in anti-christian conduct. I do not know you personally. This response may well get me kicked off of this forum. If so, Amen.

God Bless You Anglo Saxon!
..But RS is sleeping at this time of the day cause of where he's at, but anyways, I don't know what your mumbling about the bible for in this forum. You shouldn't bring the bible into discussion. It just ain't Christian like:army:

Nickdfresh
10-26-2009, 04:40 PM
To Rising Sun. I am a Christian and as such believe every word in the King James Version
of the bible. This war I speak of was prophesied several thousand years ago and all of the events are taking place now including the EU which is the revived Roman Empire. Yes, I know, we Christians are supposed to be insane and a detriment to the mental health of society but I know where I've been, I know where I am and I know where I'm
going. I in no way include you in anti-christian conduct. I do not know you personally. This response may well get me kicked off of this forum. If so, Amen.


What exactly does the Bible say about the European Union?

Schuultz
10-26-2009, 09:08 PM
The war of the religions, succeeded by Armageddon. EU being the new Roman Empire means that with it's downfall, the last Empire will fall which will lead into the Apocalypse.

That is, if I don't interpret Viking's ramblings incorrectly.

Rising Sun*
10-26-2009, 10:40 PM
What exactly does the Bible say about the European Union?

Don't admit Turkey?

pdf27
10-27-2009, 02:16 AM
Well, we've got to get a lot closer to Israel if we're going to have the battle at the appropriate location (Har-Megiddo).

And Anglo-Saxon Viking, such views will not get you banned, although you may have to put up with a certain amount of mickey-taking if you expound them at any length. Beyond the usual bans for trolling, etc. the only thing the mods take very seriously here is racism and actual or suspected neo-Nazi tendencies, due to the somewhat sensitive nature of the subject material of this forum.

steben
10-27-2009, 02:21 AM
Bible --- Armageddon --- Israel --- ...
... on a blitzkrieg thread? :shock:

Rising Sun*
10-27-2009, 03:16 AM
Bible --- Armageddon --- Israel --- ...
... on a blitzkrieg thread? :shock:

But it's also a thread aptly titled 'Fact or Fiction'.

steben
10-27-2009, 03:38 AM
But it's also a thread aptly titled 'Fact or Fiction'.

touché ;)

Rising Sun*
10-27-2009, 07:01 AM
touché ;)

;) :D

Rising Sun*
10-27-2009, 07:38 AM
Well, we've got to get a lot closer to Israel if we're going to have the battle at the appropriate location (Har-Megiddo).

I'm not sure that the Israelis, or even the Arabs, would allow that to happen.

After all, Armageddon is supposed to pretty much wipe out the children of Abraham, being Jews and Arabs (and as matters stand not in itself an entirely unappealing prospect in the interests of promoting world peace) to allow the second coming of Christ.

Personally, I just wish that those responsible for these predictions would give me a definite date for Armageddon.

Then I can go spastic on the plastic and pave my way to hell with unlimited and never to be repaid credit for top level dining, fast cars, fast women, oceans of grog, and a glorious finish plunging a full house red 351 GTHO Phase 3 http://www.savevid.com/video/top-gear-australia-ford-falcon-xy-gtho-phase-3-hd.html into the flames of destruction along these lines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkkXHjQSyEI.

herman2
10-27-2009, 08:09 AM
Maybe the Armageddon. is the swine flu. I just read in the news that a 13 yr old Hockey player near Toronto dies of it today. The whole Hockey team is quarantined. There are 3 hr lineups at the health clinics and people are going crazy. If there is Armageddon. I think I would go to Australia. I think if RS is there, and he being so nice, then all the people there must be nice?!,,besides its nice and toasty...not so bloddy cold and drizzley like here in Toronto....;)

Rising Sun*
10-27-2009, 08:19 AM
Maybe the Armageddon. is the swine flu. I just read in the news that a 13 yr old Hockey player near Toronto dies of it today. The whole Hockey team is quarantined. There are 3 hr lineups at the health clinics and people are going crazy. If there is Armageddon. I think I would go to Australia. I think if RS is there, and he being so nice, then all the people there must be nice?!,,besides its nice and toasty...not so bloddy cold and drizzley like here in Toronto....;)

Herman, I don't know how to tell you this gently but, should you arrive in Australia, we might well regard it as Armageddon. The best you could hope for is to be quarantined, on one of our offshore bases for unwanted immigrants and then returned to Canada. ;) :D

Rising Sun*
10-27-2009, 08:46 AM
Incidentally, the Japanese did not have "less troops" than the Americans strictly speaking. There were only roughly about 15,000 US soldiers and marines in the Philippines at the invasion IIRC. MacArthur did have more forces at his disposal if you count the Filipino forces (which is where you're getting your numbers from). But their army was extremely inconsistent and uneven as some formations such as the Filipino Scouts were first rate while many conventional infantry divisions were armed with a hodge-podge mix of weaponry of different centuries and calibers and many were barely trained...

In any case it wasn't entirely the simple number of Japanese troops which beat the Americans on the Philippines but also the failures of MacArthur at critical command and supply points.

Ably assisted in avoiding a worse disaster by the less than usually brutal and suicidal tactics of the Japanese under Gen Homma, who was close to being relieved of his command during the Philippine campaign and ultimately was dismissed after it.

Meanwhile Emperor Hirohito, who MacArthur post-war presented as having no involvement in the war, had pressed his general staff to press Homma to step up his operations to win in the Philippines.

Nickdfresh
10-27-2009, 11:38 AM
...
Personally, I just wish that those responsible for these predictions would give me a definite date for Armageddon.
...



2012 A.D. is the new 2000 Millennium Armageddon. Something about some silly Mayan prophesies. But those aren't biblical and henceforth must be demonic or heretical... :)

Firefly
10-27-2009, 04:27 PM
And with all that meandering I would ask everyone to get back on track with the thread.

From everything I understand, blitzkreig was only effective for the germans as long as it was just this, a short war full of lighting manouvre, bypassing strong points and heading for a semi-strategic goal, for example, splitting the brits and French in a drive to the channel.

Where it failed was changing this lighting goal to a persisting goal in say the attack on the Soviets, where they could trade space for time.

By the end of the war, say 1944, the Germans had very much changed their force into a force that was pretty much defensive in nature, King Tigers and such like not being conducive to lighting anything. Also by this time all the Allies had caught up with the type of combined arms efforts that the Germans had practically pioneered in the beginning and pretty much surpassed them. Certainly the UK Air/ground coordination had in itself gone beyond what the Germans had achieved initially.

So, while I dont think that it was a myth, it only worked in a limited sense when they were the only force capable of it and were working towards a limited non-persistent type of conflict.

Nickdfresh
10-27-2009, 04:47 PM
I agree with most everything you say FF.

But as a question to the whole, would it be off target to say that the Blitzkrieg idea was a bit of an exaggeration and that the Germans used infantry and artillery tactics that weren't that radically different from say their British or French adversaries? I think I've read that the Battle for France was largely just that towards the end, infantry supported by artillery in its last phases as the panzers were tired and worn out and French defenders in the Bocage and Norman hedgerows actually bottled-up the Heer just prior to the Armistice --not unlike the Germans would do to the American Army in 1944...

royal744
12-13-2009, 09:35 PM
Oooh, this will cause riots.

LOL! German officers were good. I hear this argument a lot but it is meaningless if you lose anyway. The only battle that matters is the last battle. I don't care if the German individual soldier was better and more disciplined than others - this is hilarious and false comfort. Does that mean the German "should have won"? That they 'deserved' to win? Of course not. In fact, it might be argued convincingly that the resourcefulness of the Germans lengthened the agony of Germany in its death throes, costing even more lives, since they had no chance of winning against the powers arrayed against them. In this case, the Germans stabbed themselves in the back and it had nothing to do with the Jews. As Patton was fond of saying, "You've got to help the other guy die for his country" and he did this admirably even if he was a blowhard in nearly every other way.

Nickdfresh
12-14-2009, 08:26 AM
It should be said that, according to Beevor in Berlin, the German Army was broken at the end and although they did manage to inflict a lot of casualties on the Soviet juggernaut, they still suffered a collapse of sorts. Many German soldiers realized that further fighting was futile and the only thing that really kept many resisting was empty promises and lies by the callous, inhuman Nazi "golden eagles" and the fact that no one wanted to be captured by the Soviets, nor let German civilians fall into their hands. There were still many desertions and soldiers abandoning the line in the face of overwhelming odds and the inevitable. And many made a huge effort to go as far west as possible, preferably to the American sector..

Ardee
12-14-2009, 06:00 PM
I agree with most everything you say FF.

But as a question to the whole, would it be off target to say that the Blitzkrieg idea was a bit of an exaggeration and that the Germans used infantry and artillery tactics that weren't that radically different from say their British or French adversaries?

I haven't read all the previous exchange, so forgive me if the comment above was about a specific point I missed. But I would say the tactics of the French WERE radically different than those of the Germans: French doctrine was geared for defense, not offense, in everything from grand strategy (e.g., Maginot Line) down to squad tactics.

ubc
12-14-2009, 06:28 PM
LOL! German officers were good. I hear this argument a lot but it is meaningless if you lose anyway. The only battle that matters is the last battle. I don't care if the German individual soldier was better and more disciplined than others - this is hilarious and false comfort. Does that mean the German "should have won"? That they 'deserved' to win? Of course not. In fact, it might be argued convincingly that the resourcefulness of the Germans lengthened the agony of Germany in its death throes, costing even more lives, since they had no chance of winning against the powers arrayed against them. In this case, the Germans stabbed themselves in the back and it had nothing to do with the Jews. As Patton was fond of saying, "You've got to help the other guy die for his country" and he did this admirably even if he was a blowhard in nearly every other way.

Reminds me of Americans in Vietnam.

When you analyze what happened in history, its common practice to identify the things they did right as opposed to the things they did wrong.

Deaf Smith
12-14-2009, 06:38 PM
The Blitzkrieg idea was not fiction.


We have the same idea now. Back at the first of Desert Storm they were going to do a convention invasion of Iraq beaches. That was the plan till **** Cheney got a hold of a guy name Boyd. That is Col. John Boyd, retired. And the 'Hail Mary' attack was used as a result.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop

That above gives you an idea of the OODA loop, his invention (well not really an invention, but the concept was really how the Blitz worked.)

The Blitzkrieg is more than just a combination of aircraft, artillery, and armored mobile troops. It's a tempo. It's a speed of operation that the enemy cannot keep up with. It's blinding and deafening your opponent so they cannot 'Observe'. It's confusing them by the rapid pace they cannot keep up with or effectively combat and thus cannot 'Orientate'. It's an obscuring and splitting of objectives to keep them from 'Deciding'. And a rapid attack at specific points to keep them from 'Action'.

And that spells OODA. You have an OODA loop, and so does your opponent. Your strategy is to slow down his OODA while you speed yours up. Slow it down by blinding their observers, all except what you want them to see. By jamming their communications (but not all, just the communications YOU want to jam!) Slow it down by letting them move only where you want them to move.

And you speed YOUR OODA loop up. Better communication, faster communication, faster decision making, more mobile troops, speed, speed, and more speed.

It's nothing new. Napoleon Bonaparte did the same thing when he got his soldiers to march twice as fast as the other side did!

But the Blitz, because of the revolutions in armor and communcations, made it so much more effective.

The Blitz was real and many a field army was totaly confused on how to fight it.

Deaf

Chevan
12-14-2009, 11:30 PM
It should be said that, according to Beevor in Berlin, the German Army was broken at the end and although they did manage to inflict a lot of casualties on the Soviet juggernaut, they still suffered a collapse of sorts. Many German soldiers realized that further fighting was futile and the only thing that really kept many resisting was empty promises and lies by the callous, inhuman Nazi "golden eagles" and the fact that no one wanted to be captured by the Soviets, nor let German civilians fall into their hands. There were still many desertions and soldiers abandoning the line in the face of overwhelming odds and the inevitable. And many made a huge effort to go as far west as possible, preferably to the American sector..
While i agree with FF in sence- the Wehrmacht had radically changed the strategy to defence one and Blitzkrieg in its initial role has been finally denied. Though the Battle of Hungary in dec-feb 1945 has proved that GErmans still look at the maneuvreable mobile warfare by the panzer striking forces as a basic tactic of war.The same was in Ardenns. The quick unexpective Panzer ram was a universal force that should open the enemy defence.
So , i think it's wrong to say that Blitzkrieg was abandoned - to the contrast it has been seriously developed and adopted by the ALL fighting sides with great success.
As for GErmans hard determination to fight the Soviets to the last man- the Bevour himself wrote that the some of germans commander were obsessed by false dream - "Peace in west and fight in East".Some diehard Nazis actualy believed they shall join to Allies to fight the "common bolshevic threat" :)
It was widely spread among all sort of colloborators kinda Valsov's ROA , SS-cossacs and others...

Rising Sun*
12-15-2009, 06:20 AM
The Blitzkrieg idea was not fiction.

We have the same idea now. Back at the first of Desert Storm they were going to do a convention invasion of Iraq beaches. That was the plan till **** Cheney got a hold of a guy name Boyd. That is Col. John Boyd, retired. And the 'Hail Mary' attack was used as a result.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop

That above gives you an idea of the OODA loop, his invention (well not really an invention, but the concept was really how the Blitz worked.)


Blitzkrieg (or OODA, or other labels of any era) are simply convenient buzzwords applied to the restatement in a contemporary context of some basic military principles.

The Germans didn't invent those principles any more than anyone else did in the past few thousand years of warfare.

The elements of blitzkrieg were probably 'invented' by some tribal leader and his associates before recorded history began.

Its features but not its elements have differed as weaponry and other aspects of war, such as transport and communications, have changed and improved.

But it always starts with the ancient primary battlefield principles of gaining and maintaining the initiative, which works the same with all armies at all levels at all times, and building on everything that is necessary to do that before and during the battle. And after for armies of sustained conquest.

Alexander the Great used those principles successfully more than two millennia before Clausewitz stated them. In his book Generalship of Alexander the Great (1958) J.F.C. Fuller compared Alexander's achievements with "the five strategical principles of Clausewitz, and points out that "the value of utmost energy, concentration at the decisive point, rapidity of movement, surprise and pursuit were as clearly apparent to Alexander as they were to Clausewitz." He also illustrates Alexander's understanding of other strategical and tactical factors such as the element of surprise, the principles of maintaining the aim, the offensive and the economy of force, and the establishment of secure bases and secure communications.”. " http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~madsb/home/war/alex/

Caesar later used these basic principles very successfully against Pompey in 49 BC, and against others in Gaul later.

The Germans used them with tanks and combined arms and forces in the famous ‘Blitzkrieg’ in WWII.

What is forgotten is that the Japanese used them with equal success with, among other things, bicycles a couple of years later in a blitzkrieg in Malaya which was as stunning a defeat of the defenders as was the German 'blitzkrieg' defeat in France: http://www.ibiblio.net/hyperwar/PTO/RisingSun/BicycleBlitz/index.html

It’s all about adapting your forces, weapons and tactics to the task you face.

If it works you're a winner, which is why it is applied retrospectively to a campaign. If you don’t win nobody remembers that you tried a 'blitzkrieg' and that there is no reason to believe that a 'blitzkrieg' is some unique tactic superior to any others.

Because most of all it depends upon your enemy being weak where you are strong and being unable to resist your thrusts.

It's like leading a waltz: it looks good only if your partner is taking backward steps to all your forward steps. Otherwise you just look like you're stumbling, or that your partner is kneeing you in the balls.

windrider
12-15-2009, 08:29 AM
The Germans didn't invent those principles any more than anyone else did in the past few thousand years of warfare.

.

You are right!
Just think of Attila the Hun, who conquered as much or more territory as those you mention by doing just that : rapid, unpredictable advance with superior forces. And if you care to read on the subject, you'll see that he was a far better planner and strategist than the little corporal... Don't forget that his empire lasted for centuries...
The chinese people are now very proud of the emperor's city on tienanmen square, which was built by the Huns, by Atila or his successor I don't remember...

royal744
12-23-2009, 06:56 PM
I hate to break it to the experts here, but the Maginot line was never attacked frontally by the Germans for the simple reason that it would have cost them too many lives. The run-out of the Maginot line up to the Belgian border was a much less formidable affair and that is where the Germans sensibly struck. A good argument could be made that had the French not decided to be so parsimonious and had they built the same density of fortifications all the way to the Atlantic, that the Germans might have thought more than twice about doing it at all. We Americans love to dump on the French and most of it is undeserved and inaccurate.

royal744
12-23-2009, 06:59 PM
To Rising Sun. I am a Christian and as such believe every word in the King James Version
of the bible. This war I speak of was prophesied several thousand years ago and all of the events are taking place now including the EU which is the revived Roman Empire. Yes, I know, we Christians are supposed to be insane and a detriment to the mental health of society but I know where I've been, I know where I am and I know where I'm
going. I in no way include you in anti-christian conduct. I do not know you personally. This response may well get me kicked off of this forum. If so, Amen.

I don't want to kick anyone off this site for having a different opinion, but where does this bible talk fit into a discussion of blitzkrieg?

royal744
12-23-2009, 07:03 PM
The Germans took great risks, especially in the West, which paid off for them and I think it became evident that there was a superiority of the German soldier over others in Europe at the time. While France may have had a large Army, I have always questioned the efficiency of a conscript Army. Sometimes superiority in numbers is not enough. The German leadership in the field and in the rear was probably one of the most disciplined and well trained in modern history, and so was the average German soldier. The French leadership collapsed and without leadership, there isn't much more to do but to raise the white flag. The political promises made to Poland drove France and Britain to declare war and I think that the French underestimated the Third Reich's resolve.
"

[Cough, cough] The German army was a conscript army [cough].

royal744
12-23-2009, 07:14 PM
What defeated Germany was Hitler. He was a greedo. Hitler won the war in Europe and then lost it. He just had to ignore history and invade Russia. He was an ego maniac sold on knowledge he did not possess. As the German losses mounted he got worse and
became "the greatest general" of all time. The German officer corps was also to blame,
mabye more so. Once a dictator takes over there is no controlling him. Germany was
destined to lose WWII because there is a much greater war coming that will involve the
whole European Union.
As for oneliners I couldn't care less what anyone thinks of them. Last time I looked we still have freedom of speech. I for one intend to use it until Komrade Obama takes my life.

Calm down, Viking. Komrade Obama? Maybe Der Fuhrer Bush will save you? Geez! Isn't this thread about blitzkrieg?

Schuultz
12-23-2009, 07:44 PM
[Cough, cough] The German army was a conscript army [cough].

Not from the get-go.

Nickdfresh
12-23-2009, 09:24 PM
Not from the get-go.

Perhaps not. The Nazi regime inherited an artificially small, elite army in the Reichswehr--many of whose corporals could have been officers in many other of Europe's armies. But Germany had introduced conscription early on, probably by 1934 IIRC. So I think it's pretty clear that they were indeed an involunteer army from the get-go...

In regards to the point earlier about the French Army being a massed, conscript army--this was true--to an extent. It's forgotten however that the French, for various reasons mainly having to do with the republican virtues of liberty, fraternity, equality--and the fear of Vichy-like military ***** governments--had long since adopted a "peoples' army" concept in which a relatively small cadre force garrisoned the Maginot Line and maintained a training nucleus for an elaborate, extraneous system of reservists that was to expand only periodically for training and on the eve of war.

The numbers given on most pages indicate a very large French force, but most fail to mention or elaborate on the fact that this army was largely raised just before hostilities were launched in Poland in August of 1939 and many of the units were ill trained, lacked a sense of longstanding professionalism, a coherent modern doctrine, and cohesiveness that the large standing Heer had long enjoyed since its reorganization under the Reichswehr--where only the best and brightest need apply. This continued as the force expanded under the Nazi regime into a conscript army that enjoyed a modern, "think-outside-the-box" mentality (for want of a better term :) ), longstanding revolutionary (or maybe evolutionary) doctrines, intricate war gaming testing and confirming the viability of the tank as a focus of the battle, and thoroughly modern equipment with an emphasis on command and control in a combined arms battle. A mentality that manifested itself into simple things such as mounting wireless radio sets in every tank, and the delegation of authority to local commanders who were in the thick of battle and thus far more in tune with the fluid, unfolding chaos that is the proverbial 'fog of war' than the armchair commander sitting in his isolated headquarters. That is what made them virtually invulnerable in the early part of the war as the Wehrmacht resembled something of a chiseled, agile boxer making quick-work of a flabby buffoon of a gargantuan, but awkward, amateur street fighter flaying away as he was methodically disassembled...

Regards, and Merry Christmas...

Deaf Smith
12-23-2009, 09:27 PM
Yes the Germans didn't invent the principles of such as OODA, but they used them while their adversaries FORGOT THEM.

And thus history repeats itself. In time we will forget the concepts such as OODA and some other nation will, using the technology of the time, do a blitz again.

So yes the Blitz was real, but real cause we forgot the lessons of history.

Deaf

Schuultz
12-23-2009, 10:28 PM
Wouldn't be so sure about that, Deaf.

Most European armies are slowly changing their doctrine to a highly mobile light army, and start to discard the skills of tank battles and heavy or immobile weaponry.
This is simply based on their confidence that war won't come back home to them, and that all they'll need will be Expeditionary Forces.
Germany alone is slowly leaving it's tank fleet to rot, while they start to focus on Paratroopers, Mountain troopers and other highly mobile units.

So it is more likely that the Western world could be overrun with heavy machinery and high numbers of heavy armor than that it would let itself get outmaneuvered and shocked by a Combined Arms attack.
While this threat is obviously rather low, it is, in my eyes, the biggest flaw in the defense doctrine of the Western European nations.

But then again, in the case of Total War, they have nukes, and the world will probably go down the Shitter anyway... :mrgreen:

Rising Sun*
12-24-2009, 07:18 AM
Yes the Germans didn't invent the principles of such as OODA, but they used them while their adversaries FORGOT THEM.

Maybe it's not so much a case of forgetting such things but that the advantage is usually with the attacker in a blitzkrieg type attack.

It's a lot easier to be a highly mobile force running a blitzkrieg type assault at the defender's weak points than it is to be the defender trying to move and mass forces at the points of attack without knowing the attacker's true intentions.

The Germans suffered exactly that problem in the crucial early days after D Day in marshalling their own forces, notably mobile armour, to defend.

Plus the defender has the problem of transporting men and materiel to meet the thrust at points where the attacker has already concentrated his men and materiel.

The defender is pretty much bound to be responding to the attacker's initiative rather than dictating the initiative to the attacker.

And the problem is compounded hugely when the defender has based his defence on concentrations of men and materiel in static defensive positions, as happened with France at the start of WWII, and lacks the tactics and resources to respond quickly and flexibly to the attacker's thrusts.

royal744
12-24-2009, 08:31 AM
2012 A.D. is the new 2000 Millennium Armageddon. Something about some silly Mayan prophesies. But those aren't biblical and henceforth must be demonic or heretical... :)

If all the people and texts can predict the future so well, how come they never seem to know what's going to happen tomorrow morning? If all the texts - Bible, Mayan Codices, Aztec Calendars, Nostradamus and assorted others) "know the future" so exactly, how come when a predicted date occurs when an event is supposed to take place, it never happens? And how come when people talk about events predicted in these texts, they all point to current events happening now, and predicted the same things two generations ago? How come? Huh? Huh? There are other words besides 'blarney' that could be used.

ubc
12-24-2009, 08:32 AM
[Cough, cough] The German army was a conscript army [cough].


Up until 1935 it was a volunteer Army and many of the best officers joined up during this period it time. many that were conscripted prior to the war would have volunteered through nazi euphoriea anyway. Many Germans saw Hitler and the nazi as some kind of saviour and were only too glad to join in the 'movement'.

While I don't want to contribute to any flaming, the German military doctrine was vastly superior to anything else in Europe and it took most of the war to teach the rest of the Europeans how to fight properly.

royal744
12-24-2009, 09:03 AM
Up until 1935 it was a volunteer Army and many of the best officers joined up during this period it time. many that were conscripted prior to the war would have volunteered through nazi euphoriea anyway. Many Germans saw Hitler and the nazi as some kind of saviour and were only too glad to join in the 'movement'.

While I don't want to contribute to any flaming, the German military doctrine was vastly superior to anything else in Europe and it took most of the war to teach the rest of the Europeans how to fight properly.

Isn't this usually the case when the aggressor plans diligently for war and the defender has planned only for peace? Surprise attacks have a way of succeeding precisely because the 'enemy' doesn't want war and believes war won't happen or at the very least, hopes it doesn't happen? Those surprise tactics have a rather short half-life too, as the folks who are still standing figure out how to counter them.

Is it a surprise to anyone here that the strong beat the weak? But if they aren't completely beaten, the attacker may get a really nasty come-uppance later on. In order for this to work, a nation has to be able to trade something for time. In the case of Russia, it was vast numbers of soldiers thrown willy-nilly into battle, and LOTS of space that the Germans realistically could never occupy effectively; in the case of Great Britain, it was the English Channel that the Germans had no means of crossing, and the RAF which handed Germany its first taste of defeat.

Eventually, the Americans had the Atlantic and long air distances, but the American example during WWII is interesting to me because the Americans had the resources to trade equipment and ordinance in vast quantities to overcome "better" soldiers even if the enemy's individual pieces of equipment were of higher quality. US commanders already knew that many soldiers fired their weapons hoping not to hit anyone unless they were in really close quarters, and developed "stand-off" weapons in such quantities that it didn't matter in the end: massed artillery, hordes of fighter bombers, light, medium and heavy bombers and a navy so big that it equaled all of the navies in the world put together.

As has been sagely observed, this worked in WWII but worked less well in Korea and not well in Vietnam. When the enemy doesn't wear a uniform, the rules become irrelevant. But in WWII, the German Blitzkrieg was quickly countered by its opponents on a vastly larger scale. When Operation Citadel launched in Russia, the Germans were already wholly outclassed in this arena and just didn't know it.

The German army, as another observer noted, was not very mechanized, one might even say barely mechanized in 1939 by 1943 standards. The Germans were really set-up for a short, sharp war and a quick victory, not a long war for which they did not possess the resources.

Nickdfresh
12-24-2009, 09:14 AM
Up until 1935 it was a volunteer Army and many of the best officers joined up during this period it time. many that were conscripted prior to the war would have volunteered through nazi euphoriea anyway. Many Germans saw Hitler and the nazi as some kind of saviour and were only too glad to join in the 'movement'.

Actually the best and brightest officers were already in the Reichswehr and were only too happy to have a job in a small, but very mobile and efficient military constabulary force that sowed the seeds of Germany's successes of the early part of WWII...


While I don't want to contribute to any flaming, the German military doctrine was vastly superior to anything else in Europe and it took most of the war to teach the rest of the Europeans how to fight properly.

Most would question whether there really was any coherent German military "Blitzkrieg" or "Schwerpunkt" doctrine at all. And what we attribute to German successes early on was the adaption of new technology for command and control and merely an evolution of their "stormtrooper" infiltration and flanking tactics--avoiding enemy strong points--from WWI and incorporating the ideas of their former enemies such as Liddell Hart...

One could also argue that the Soviets early on had a very capable doctrine in "Deep Battle" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_deep_battle) that was actually far more methodical than anything the Germans practiced overall. But this was largely (though not totally) eviscerated by Stalin with his purges of the "Trotskyist" officer corp...

ubc
12-24-2009, 04:49 PM
The term Blitzkrieg is much mis used and miss understood. German doctrine was "Auftragstaktik" adapted to modern warfare with wheel track and plane.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission-type_tactics


However the essence of the "Blitzkrieg" as a method of warfare is based on The British General Fullers WW-I operational "Plan 1919", which was to be the final attack planned for 1919 to defeat Germany.

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB939.pdf

The essence of this type of operational warfare was to pin the enemy reserve armies paralizing the GHQ ability to influence the out come of the battle at the precise time and space where your forces intend to break through. In essence you give your enemy a reason to sacrifice his mobility and trade it for ridge defence around something critical to the countries survival. Defeating that enemy army in this situation will precipitate a whole sale collapse of both the military morale and civilian belief in their national security, leading to military route and panic civilian flight.

The best example is France 1940, the enemy is lured into the Lowlands and then cut off from his lines of communication and resupply through a massed lightning operational maneuver. Contry to popular opinion the most important aspect of this warfare is not the lighting breakthrough, but the front wide offensive that deceives the enemy into committ his reserves prematurely thus giving up any remaining operational mobility. Once that happenes the enemy army is already defeated and thus his countrys will to fight on.

It would have worked in Russia if they had ignored Hitler and gone after Moscow with all their mobile forces combined into one gigantic operational push, or a series of operational envelopments aimed at reaching Moscow ASAP. Meanwhile the masses of the German horse mobile infantry armies, engaged and pinned the Russian horse based infantry armies in place and along with that, their mechanized reserves. This prevents the Soviet command from organizing counter attacks at all but the lowest levels, as was the case of the counter attacks in France a year earlier.

Soviet command was an order of magnitude slower in its tempo of command of operations at this time and would never have been able to counter such a concentrated operational drive. However such a drive required the German concentration of logistics along the entire length and duration of this main offensive. Hitlers racial beliefs convinced him the Red Army could be defeated by Smolensk so insufficent concentration of forces or supplies were applied to achieve anything beyond Smolensk. As the German armies got bogged down, this gave Stalin and the RED Army the time and space it needed to mobilize sufficent reserves to grind the German offensive to a halt.

Britain could have been defeated in a similiar mannor of sequential operational maneuvers, had sufficent time been alloted to amassing the naval forces needed for such operation maneuvers.

royal744
12-24-2009, 05:17 PM
Britain could have been defeated in a similiar mannor of sequential operational maneuvers, had sufficent time been alloted to amassing the naval forces needed for such operation maneuvers.

I doubt this because the Germans simply didn't have the tonnage or the firepower to make this happen. The Kriegsmarine wouldn't guarantee a corridor wide enough to make an invasion practicable and frankly, the English would have committed the entire home fleet to destroy whatever the Germans put into the fray. German landing craft capabilities were pretty close to zero and they had to bring all those horses over as well. Not very realistic. Not to mention that they didn't have absolute control in the air.

Ivaylo
12-24-2009, 05:21 PM
Still a doubts even if "they" captured Moscow that would be the end , Napoleon captured it and it wasn't the end even if he crushed them many times ( i know the times were different and the warfare too ) . Capturing the resources might be a different thing though , capturing Stalingrad and cutting the oil reserves would be a blow ,as it was the transport hub . Moscow was a simbolic and capital , capturing it would demoralize maybe but not stop the Reds to continue . This is what i think . On the thematic about blitzkrieg , whatever the therm is used rightly or not it was a complete fact , the germans used the lightning quick attack against France , never used before and based or not the germans show it in practice . The only problem for me that the blitzkrieg was a limited war , you can't continue blitzkrieg for 4 years , because soon or later the enemy overthrow you and your armies come in defence instead in attack .

ubc
12-24-2009, 10:31 PM
I doubt this because the Germans simply didn't have the tonnage or the firepower to make this happen. The Kriegsmarine wouldn't guarantee a corridor wide enough to make an invasion practicable and frankly, the English would have committed the entire home fleet to destroy whatever the Germans put into the fray. German landing craft capabilities were pretty close to zero and they had to bring all those horses over as well. Not very realistic. Not to mention that they didn't have absolute control in the air.


The traditional thinking is that they Germans could either get the troops across, but not support them in the field with supplies. Or transport and support a force too small to be effective. The First Sealord of the Admiralty wrote a letter to Churchill in mid Aug 1940 admitting that up to 100,000 German troops could land on British ports and there was precious little they could do to prevent this. Maritime survaillence was very poor at this point in the war. Each month most of the 500-1000 vessels that went through British waters did so undetected.

Infact the survaillence task was so difficult that the HMG concentrated what air and naval assets they could on establishing only two corridors to prevent German access to the Atlantic Ocean. These corridors where the "English Channel" and the "Northern Patrol". However the record of even these barriers was poor. Reportedly 2/3 of the German vessels that crossed these barriers got through. In the channel it was much worse with 3/4 of the vessel getting through well into 1942. There was no channel wide survailence to prevent invasion, except a number of gun and ASW trawlers, reinforced by nightly Destroyer sweeps, none of which had Radar until 1942.

Without radar they were fly and fighting blind. Infact in most of the naval clashes between German and allied warships during this period went to the Germans due to superior naval leadership. Often the German warships were twice as effective as the allied counterparts despite the fact they were outnumbered & out gunned by the allies.


All the RN could garrantee HMG is that they could isolate any landed force from resupply.Pound would later admitt that infact the Germans could probably land 200,000 troops before they were cut off. Infact the RN felt firmly that the task of perventing any invasion of the UK was the job of the RAF and the Army, not the task of the RN. Chuchill forbade any Capital ship from entering the Channel during such an invasion, since he feared the loss of the capital ships more than he feared invasion. So the Home fleet would stick to its main tasks.

What makes matters worse is that British bombing was very poor at this time in the war with most of RAF bombing missions missing there targets over Germany by something like 20 miles. Even a mission over the Channel is likely to be off by 5km. Historically the British airpower averaged 150 sortie to sink a single vessel through out the war. There is evidence to suggest that at this time in the war, the bombing figure was more like 600 sortie to sink a single vessel. So Germany didn't need airsuperioty over England. When the invasion scare reached its peak in September 1940 the British bombed the German ports where their vessels were gatheing for invasion . The claim was 260 German vessel sunk in one week of bombing, but the German records show that only 65 vessels were lost, with the rest being lightly damaged and returned to service soon after. The BoB was sufficent to keep the RAF out of the battle. If they do get into the invasion, the kill ratio would swing decisively to the LW side.

The germans DID have the transportation tonnage for the straight forward channel crossing. They also had converted the bulk of the river barges for a slow crossing of the straits of dover, where the wave height is very low and within limits of the seakeeping of the converted barges. This was tested and it was found these barges could survive force 4-5 without too much difficulty and only suffered light damage when the wind and waves reached force 6-8.

There were very few horses in the first waves since these were substitued out for biycles. Infact these divisions had 2000 biycles in the TOE for this mission. They also carried Howitzers in the first waves.

The Germans may have also had the navy large enough to escort this invasion and prevent most RN interceptions. Historically in the fall of 1940 German navy had 650 auxiliary warships plus couple hundred U-Boots, M-Boots , F-Boot; S-Boots R-Boots & Destroyers and T-Boot. What remains of the Sealion plan indicates that 320 of these vessels were detailed to support the Sealion plan.

Historically the allied record on intercepting German convoys is not very good until late in the war [1944/45]. Infact in the first years of the war 2/3 of all German convoys evaded Allied interceptions, without suffering any damage at all. It didn't seem to matter too much how many RN attacking sortie or how many German escorts were in these clashes, which is good since 3/4 of these escorts were simple converted trawlers.Most often this occured due to actions by the escorts combined with the fog of war and unaggressive/ incompetant RN commanders.


In the cases were the allies were able to intercept the convoys, they were only able to sink one German vessel for each attacking RN Sortie, and most of those damaged or sunk were infact the German escort vessels. This was also true of the attacks on the convoys of German troops invading Crete in 1941, even though all the RN Cruisers and Destroyers were Radar equipped and the lone counter attacking Italian Torpedoboot were not Radar equipped.

Later in the war the situation reversed itself and the more competant RN commanders were able to intercept most German convoys, however they were still unable to manage destroying more than 1-2 enemy vessels per attacking RN sortie.

From what we know of the German sealion plan, their invasion featured 4000 vessels, which makes RN 'sweeping the channel of invasion vessels' difficult to comprehend. It can only be understood in the context of propaganda and the faith that generally goes with national security after the fact.

Chevan
12-24-2009, 11:09 PM
One could also argue that the Soviets early on had a very capable doctrine in "Deep Battle" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_deep_battle) that was actually far more methodical than anything the Germans practiced overall. But this was largely (though not totally) eviscerated by Stalin with his purges of the "Trotskyist" officer corp...
Oh no one will argue except ,probably you my friend..
The false "Deep battle" ( attacking the enemy with huge number of airborne troops ) wasn't even near simular to German armoured blitzkrieg.

Ivaylo
12-25-2009, 07:46 AM
The traditional thinking is that they Germans could either get the troops across, but not support them in the field with supplies. Or transport and support a force too small to be effective. The First Sealord of the Admiralty wrote a letter to Churchill in mid Aug 1940 admitting that up to 100,000 German troops could land on British ports and there was precious little they could do to prevent this. Maritime survaillence was very poor at this point in the war. Each month most of the 500-1000 vessels that went through British waters did so undetected.

Infact the survaillence task was so difficult that the HMG concentrated what air and naval assets they could on establishing only two corridors to prevent German access to the Atlantic Ocean. These corridors where the "English Channel" and the "Northern Patrol". However the record of even these barriers was poor. Reportedly 2/3 of the German vessels that crossed these barriers got through. In the channel it was much worse with 3/4 of the vessel getting through well into 1942. There was no channel wide survailence to prevent invasion, except a number of gun and ASW trawlers, reinforced by nightly Destroyer sweeps, none of which had Radar until 1942.

Without radar they were fly and fighting blind. Infact in most of the naval clashes between German and allied warships during this period went to the Germans due to superior naval leadership. Often the German warships were twice as effective as the allied counterparts despite the fact they were outnumbered & out gunned by the allies.


All the RN could garrantee HMG is that they could isolate any landed force from resupply.Pound would later admitt that infact the Germans could probably land 200,000 troops before they were cut off. Infact the RN felt firmly that the task of perventing any invasion of the UK was the job of the RAF and the Army, not the task of the RN. Chuchill forbade any Capital ship from entering the Channel during such an invasion, since he feared the loss of the capital ships more than he feared invasion. So the Home fleet would stick to its main tasks.

What makes matters worse is that British bombing was very poor at this time in the war with most of RAF bombing missions missing there targets over Germany by something like 20 miles. Even a mission over the Channel is likely to be off by 5km. Historically the British airpower averaged 150 sortie to sink a single vessel through out the war. There is evidence to suggest that at this time in the war, the bombing figure was more like 600 sortie to sink a single vessel. So Germany didn't need airsuperioty over England. When the invasion scare reached its peak in September 1940 the British bombed the German ports where their vessels were gatheing for invasion . The claim was 260 German vessel sunk in one week of bombing, but the German records show that only 65 vessels were lost, with the rest being lightly damaged and returned to service soon after. The BoB was sufficent to keep the RAF out of the battle. If they do get into the invasion, the kill ratio would swing decisively to the LW side.

The germans DID have the transportation tonnage for the straight forward channel crossing. They also had converted the bulk of the river barges for a slow crossing of the straits of dover, where the wave height is very low and within limits of the seakeeping of the converted barges. This was tested and it was found these barges could survive force 4-5 without too much difficulty and only suffered light damage when the wind and waves reached force 6-8.

There were very few horses in the first waves since these were substitued out for biycles. Infact these divisions had 2000 biycles in the TOE for this mission. They also carried Howitzers in the first waves.

The Germans may have also had the navy large enough to escort this invasion and prevent most RN interceptions. Historically in the fall of 1940 German navy had 650 auxiliary warships plus couple hundred U-Boots, M-Boots , F-Boot; S-Boots R-Boots & Destroyers and T-Boot. What remains of the Sealion plan indicates that 320 of these vessels were detailed to support the Sealion plan.

Historically the allied record on intercepting German convoys is not very good until late in the war [1944/45]. Infact in the first years of the war 2/3 of all German convoys evaded Allied interceptions, without suffering any damage at all. It didn't seem to matter too much how many RN attacking sortie or how many German escorts were in these clashes, which is good since 3/4 of these escorts were simple converted trawlers.Most often this occured due to actions by the escorts combined with the fog of war and unaggressive/ incompetant RN commanders.


In the cases were the allies were able to intercept the convoys, they were only able to sink one German vessel for each attacking RN Sortie, and most of those damaged or sunk were infact the German escort vessels. This was also true of the attacks on the convoys of German troops invading Crete in 1941, even though all the RN Cruisers and Destroyers were Radar equipped and the lone counter attacking Italian Torpedoboot were not Radar equipped.

Later in the war the situation reversed itself and the more competant RN commanders were able to intercept most German convoys, however they were still unable to manage destroying more than 1-2 enemy vessels per attacking RN sortie.

From what we know of the German sealion plan, their invasion featured 4000 vessels, which makes RN 'sweeping the channel of invasion vessels' difficult to comprehend. It can only be understood in the context of propaganda and the faith that generally goes with national security after the fact.

Very nice said UBC and interesting also , i didn't know that facts , thanks for posting it :)

Nickdfresh
12-25-2009, 08:09 AM
Oh no one will argue except ,probably you my friend..
The false "Deep battle" ( attacking the enemy with huge number of airborne troops ) wasn't even near simular to German armoured blitzkrieg.

I think you have that backwards, my friend. No one who has access to a history that was not wiped clean by the Stalinism would ever argue anything other...

Here again is the Wiki article you failed to in anyway refute or even acknowledge:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_deep_battle

This topic is also touched on by numerous historians, and indeed, you yourself have unintentionally acknowledged its success against the Japanese at Khalkhin Gol as Gen. Zhukov crushed them using many of the precepts of Deep Operations/Battle...

Nickdfresh
12-25-2009, 08:19 AM
The traditional thinking is that they Germans could either get the troops across, but not support them in the field with supplies. Or transport and support a force too small to be effective. The First Sealord of the Admiralty wrote a letter to Churchill in mid Aug 1940 admitting that up to 100,000 German troops could land on British ports and there was precious little they could do to prevent this. Maritime survaillence was very poor at this point in the war. Each month most of the 500-1000 vessels that went through British waters did so undetected.

...

Meh. Even Gen. "Smiling" Albert Kesselring claimed that Operation Sealion never would have worked and was little more than a bluff, or ploy, to pressure the British into peace negotiations and avoid a protracted naval and air blockade against a superior naval force. The Kreigsmarine had already suffered crippling losses of destroyers at Nardvark--and this was widely seen as a Pyrric naval victory for the Germans.

More importantly, Sealion was based on the notion that river barges were to make a crossing in the English Channel laden with troops and equipment, if the Royal Navy didn't inflict serious losses the likes of which Germany would not see until 1942-43; the rough seas surely would have caused serious problems...

More on Sealion in this thread. (http://ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2548)

royal744
01-07-2010, 06:56 PM
Meh. Even Gen. "Smiling" Albert Kesselring claimed that Operation Sealion never would have worked and was little more than a bluff, or ploy, to pressure the British into peace negotiations and avoid a protracted naval and air blockade against a superior naval force. The Kreigsmarine had already suffered crippling losses of destroyers at Nardvark--and this was widely seen as a Pyrric naval victory for the Germans.

More importantly, Sealion was based on the notion that river barges were to make a crossing in the English Channel laden with troops and equipment, if the Royal Navy didn't inflict serious losses the likes of which Germany would not see until 1942-43; the rough seas surely would have caused serious problems...

More on Sealion in this thread. (http://ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2548)

I agree. German notions of amphibious assault forces were, at best, infantile and stillborn. Add to that the destruction of the Graf Spee and the Bismark and frankly, it was a threat made up mostly of bluster and blarney.

royal744
01-27-2010, 04:26 PM
The traditional thinking is that they Germans could either get the troops across, but not support them in the field with supplies. Or transport and support a force too small to be effective.

From what we know of the German sealion plan, their invasion featured 4000 vessels, which makes RN 'sweeping the channel of invasion vessels' difficult to comprehend. It can only be understood in the context of propaganda and the faith that generally goes with national security after the fact.

Let's suppose for a moment that all of the foregoing is true. Why didn't the Germans do it? The question begs an answer. By not doing it, Germany guaranteed that there would be an unsinkable aircraft carrier offshore for the duration. Not too smart. Or maybe they really couldn't do it.

ubc
01-27-2010, 08:54 PM
Let's suppose for a moment that all of the foregoing is true. Why didn't the Germans do it? The question begs an answer. By not doing it, Germany guaranteed that there would be an unsinkable aircraft carrier offshore for the duration. Not too smart. Or maybe they really couldn't do it.

Its simple Hitler never wanted to go to war with the UK since he believed they were part of his so called aryan race , but they just hadn't figured that out yet. More importantly he believed that if Germany attacked the UK , the British Empire would disintegrate and all the other colonial powers would be well placed to exploite this, but not Germany.

Finaly Hitler demanded that what ever plan was to be carried out, it had to guarantee success. Since only the German engineers had conducted on going amphibious ops at the battalion level, no one else had much experiance beyond Norway. At this point Goering stepped in and declared his Luftwaffe could guarantee success. So the Fright war against the RAF and UK began.

Hitler believed that attacking the USSR would be easier and isolating UK that way....since at that point Britian would be standing alone.


Nick; the modified barges were tested in the waters of the Straits of Dover and performed well enough, even in near gale force winds, to ensure crossing was possible. More importantly the waters in the Straits are calmed compared to the rest of the Channel. The Significant Wave Height [SWH]through out the channel varies from 2-7 meter waves with the occasional 10meter waves. However the Straits are always 1/2 meter SWH all year round.

If you don't believe me just check out this site for a year or two as some people have already done.

http://www.oceanweather.com/data/


So there is no question that the modified Barges could cross , they could.

Just as importantly if you care to study the naval clashes with German surface ships through 1941 , you will see that the Germans won most of their clashes [2/3] . The RN had a number of weakness that if arranged, would have drastically reduced there defence. Notably survaillance was poor until mid war as was accurate bombing capability. Further aggressive naval command was lacking in many clashes with German vessels. The British Admiralty placed alltogether far too much importance on the phantom of German surface raiders that their sheer presence would have drawn the bulk of the Home fleet away. They like many interneters today, believed a single large surface raider could wipe out entire convoys, when they rarely were ever able to sink more than 4-5 vessels during such a clash. Further British naval intelligence was poor compared to German naval intelligence which seems to have done quite well in the first half of the war.


Infact when you study WW-II Uboat and surface ship clashes with convoys, its startling to realise that very few warships were able to sink more than one enemy vessel each in such clashes. So you can calculate how slowly the RN would be able to whittle down such a massive invasion force.

Heres a good book on the subject.

http://stonebooks.com/archives/041121.shtml

http://www.amazon.com/German-Fleet-At-War-1939-1945/product-reviews/1591146518/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful?ie=UTF8&coliid=&showViewpoints=1&colid=&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


Whats more the Germany navy of that time was much bigger that most people realise. Take the time to check out the following site. Baring in mind that many auxiliary warships involved in convoy patrols on both sides of the war, did very well as escorts repelling such attacks.

http://www.navypedia.org/ships/germany/ger_converted.htm

I make it about 690 auxuiliary vessels by late 1940.

royal744
01-27-2010, 09:22 PM
[QUOTE=ubc;164762]Its simple Hitler never wanted to go to war with the UK since he believed they were part of his so called aryan race , but they just hadn't figured that out yet. More importantly he believed that if Germany attacked the UK , the British Empire would disintegrate and all the other colonial powers would be well placed to exploite this, but not Germany.

Finaly Hitler demanded that what ever plan was to be carried out, it had to guarantee success. Since only the German engineers had conducted on going amphibious ops at the battalion level, no one else had much experiance beyond Norway. At this point Goering stepped in and declared his Luftwaffe could guarantee success. So the Fright war against the RAF and UK began.

Hitler believed that attacking the USSR would be easier and isolating UK that way....since at that point Britian would be standing alone.

Thank you for the answer. I still don't buy it, but c'est la vie, mon ami.

Ardee
01-29-2010, 11:48 AM
Regarding a Blitz of Britain, I think some are forgetting Germany's lack of planning and experience in this type of operation. France et al fell far quicker the Hitler imagined in his wildest dreams: he had never envisioned being in a position to assault the UK so quickly, and I, at least, had the impression that the logistics and supply situations were unworkable. I'll ignore the problem of getting adequate craft together, unmolested, in time for the invasion, and just move on to the other point concerning German experience. As an example, I recall the German theory was that they would have to land their transports at high tide, and then (for the armor) wait for the tide to go enough out enough to allow the vehicles to "drive off." I've even read the German preconception of a "high tide" requirement influenced D-Day (despite what may have happened in the case of other Allied amphibious operations). Remember all the high-and-dry beach obstacles with mines attached, so as to blow up landing craft at Normandy? And the lack of them out where the landing craft actually were?

The idea of German infantry advancing without armor for what could easily be several hours is one thing. Have their collected armor sitting in a nice row of boats, stock still on a beach for the same length of time is quite another. Where they chose to land would of course influence how quickly the UK artillery could get into action against such tempting targets, but the RAF would not have such a problem - and the Luftwaffe, with its lack of long-range fighters, would have a great deal of difficulty sticking around to provide adequate protection. Such considerations were, I believe, a major reason why Operation Sea Lion never came to pass - and wisely so, given Germany's limitations.

curious
03-01-2010, 02:24 PM
Does anyone know if there has ever been a detailed study of Sealion's chances given actual ships and planes that the Germans could have used, sailing/flying times from the French to English coast, numbers of mines that could have actually been placed, actual ships that the English could have responded with, actual divisions the English ground forces could have mustered?

All I can every find are general statements like "the RN was too strong". Maybe they were too strong strategically, but did they have ships near at hand that could have actually intercepted the invasion fleet before significant ground forces made it ashore?

I know the British did a war game for Sealion but I have not been able to find any actual details about the force dispositions.

I did a little bit of research on the ships/boats that the KM could have fielded, I was quite surprised by the diversity and numbers of ships they had at their disposal. Counting the regular KM and adding S boats, MFPs, AFPs, Mine Layers, Mine Sweepers, R boats, U boats, auxiliary cruisers, converted trawlers, converted fishing boats, etc., the KM could put over 1,000 ships in the water. They also had 2,400 barges.

From South Foreland to Cap Gris Nez is 18.4 nautical miles. Most of the ships in this list of 1,000 could make the crossing in 2 hours. I think the barges had a speed of 9 knots, so give them 2.5 hours.

Then there are the possibility of mines blocking the entrance to the Dover Straight, and anti-ship batteries on the French coast. Several questions here, what capacity did the KM and LW have for mine laying in terms of mines per hour layed, and how many mines did they actually have, and how many mines would it take to seal off the Dover Straight? I know an S boat can lay 6 mines at a time, then they have to go back and get more.

It would be interesting to see actual numbers of the resources that each side could get into the Dover Straights before the RN fleet based at Scapa Flow shows up.

I have talked to a few people who have spent a lot of time in and around Dover and they say that even if a force makes it to the beaches there is no place to go. Rough terrain, few roads, lots of defensive positions, etc. Not sure how true that is.

pdf27
03-01-2010, 04:08 PM
Does anyone know if there has ever been a detailed study of Sealion's chances given actual ships and planes that the Germans could have used, sailing/flying times from the French to English coast, numbers of mines that could have actually been placed, actual ships that the English could have responded with, actual divisions the English ground forces could have mustered?
This was done at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in the 1970s, with a significant number of people who were in actual command positions on both sides taking part. Several scenarios were run, and the best for the Germans was for a smallish (divisonal sized) force surrounded at Romney Marsh and surrendering in about November. For most cases the Germans barely got off the beaches.


All I can every find are general statements like "the RN was too strong". Maybe they were too strong strategically, but did they have ships near at hand that could have actually intercepted the invasion fleet before significant ground forces made it ashore?
From memory the RN maintained about 50 destroyers in the Thames estuary (Chatham?) and Portsmouth until the threat of invasion had receded - causing quite a stink in the Western Approaches where they were desperately needed. A further significant number (~50?) were with the battleships and cruisers of the Home Fleet in Scapa Flow. The home fleet was about 24 hours steaming from the Channel coast, those in the Thames or Solent were about 4-5 hours steaming. With the level of intelligence available (early Ultra decrypts plus photo recon), the British could reasonably expect to have the Home Fleet arriving at about the same time as the first wave of the invasion goes in.


I did a little bit of research on the ships/boats that the KM could have fielded, I was quite surprised by the diversity and numbers of ships they had at their disposal. Counting the regular KM and adding S boats, MFPs, AFPs, Mine Layers, Mine Sweepers, R boats, U boats, auxiliary cruisers, converted trawlers, converted fishing boats, etc., the KM could put over 1,000 ships in the water. They also had 2,400 barges.
All very nice, but the actual troop carrying ability is what counts. For D-Day, the Allies used over 5,000 ships, the vast majority of them much bigger and more capable. There is a really nasty hidden feature to the barges too - they were mostly cast iron, not steel. This has a habit of shattering when hit hard (back when these hulls were common barges would sink every year from just being hit by chunks of ice on the Rhine - so imagine what even rifle-calibre machine gun rounds would do, let alone shellfire).


From South Foreland to Cap Gris Nez is 18.4 nautical miles. Most of the ships in this list of 1,000 could make the crossing in 2 hours. I think the barges had a speed of 9 knots, so give them 2.5 hours.
Couple of points there. Firstly, the Germans were planning to hit further east and the ports in Northern France around Calais really weren't very good at the time (remember Dunkirk being considered a miracle? Part of the miracle was down to how bad the port was). 20 NM is the bare minimum - a very significant proportion would be doing over 50 NM. Secondly, you're also radically overestimating the barge speeds - these were Rhine barges, often without engines and in rough water (the Channel can be VERY rough at times). Quite apart from the very real risk of swamping, 4kts is much more plausible (the figures I've seen for flat, still water are 10kts loaded, 5.5kts loaded - both for a slightly more modern powered barge). Allowing for loading/unloading times in the limited ports available, and you will frequently have German troops being on barges for over 24 hours. Not too bad for the LSTs the Allies used in Normandy, but horrific on a Rhine barge. Those troops who did get ashore (being swamped by heavy seas or the wake of a passing ship is a major risk for these barges) would be nowhere near their best fighting ability.


Then there are the possibility of mines blocking the entrance to the Dover Straight, and anti-ship batteries on the French coast. Several questions here, what capacity did the KM and LW have for mine laying in terms of mines per hour layed, and how many mines did they actually have, and how many mines would it take to seal off the Dover Straight? I know an S boat can lay 6 mines at a time, then they have to go back and get more.
Given that the RN would quite happily clear a minefield by driving "expendable" ships straight through it if an invasion was on, then it has to be a thick one (and both sides of the invasion due to the fact that the RN has major bases at Scapa and Portsmouth). You're looking at tens of thousands of mines, the laying of which will tell the UK that an invasion is imminent and exactly where it is going to be.

Sealion was a massacre waiting to happen, and had it been attempted the Germans would have suffered very badly indeed - possibly enough to shorten the war by a year or two.

Big_Chil
03-01-2010, 04:14 PM
I believe I watched a special on this on the History Channel. It was war games done by the Brittish military. The landing force was ultimatly cut off from supplies from the channel. If I am not mistaken the Nazi's never fully gained air superiority over the RAF and this was actually one of the main reasons Operation Sealion was never materialized. To pull off such an invasion they would have had to dominatie the skys which at that time they still did not fully. They were still suffering heavy losses on their bombing runs into London. The landing force would have been cut off by the RN and the RAF and it would have been a horrid defeat.

pdf27
03-01-2010, 04:23 PM
Bit more to it than that - the Germans **thought** that if they had air superiority they could use the Luftwaffe to keep the RN at bay. As demonstrated at Dunkirk and Crete, this was a rather... optimistic idea.

Big_Chil
03-01-2010, 04:35 PM
I agree there is alot more to it than that, like the useage of barges and make shift fishing boats as landing craft and the inability to protect the landing all played a key role. But I think that the Luftwaffe's inability to pound the Brit's into submission during the Battle of Berlin, and still not being able to gain power of the RAF did infact play a large role in the decision not to invade. I believe Speer touches on this in his book but I will have to go back and read on the discussion of Sealion, but Speer does mention how much Hitler desired a treaty with the English instead of the Italians. I just really think he did not want war with the English or Americans.

Nickdfresh
03-01-2010, 04:56 PM
I believe I've heard from several sources that the Luftwaffe continually underestimated the RAF's ability to reconstitute itself and always thought the British has less fighters available than what they had.

And again, Gen. "Smiling" Albert Kesselring stated that Sealion was little more than an over optimistic bluff that few in the Wehrmacht really wanted to carry out, and that there was little coordination between the branches. And even less in the way of serious planning...

curious
03-01-2010, 05:10 PM
I am aware of the wargame. I just cannot find any actual OOB for it. The wargamers "assumed" a division would make it ashore. Based on what?

I would like to see detailed lists of the resources that both sides could deploy, perhaps these are not available online. I have tried putting together such a list but I don't have the detailed source materials that compiling such a list requires.

I did some research on the German's minelaying ability. From what I have read they did not have the ability to put thousands of mines into the Dover Straight in any reasonable time frame. It isn't clear how long the mines would have stayed in place anyway, so the minefields would need constant maintenance.

I'm not looking for the outcome of such a study but the OOB for it.

Too bad no company has made a realistic wargame for Sealion with all units that were available historically represented.

ubc
03-01-2010, 06:47 PM
The Sandhurst Wargame was initiated by a Newspaper editor to boost sales. I gather that none of the scenario resembled the actual plan thats been pieced together by German historians like Peter Schenk. Further what little I've seen resembles a NATO WARPAC scenario with all the trappings associated with poor NATO cold war intell etc. I would not trust it for anything other than some kind of back handed warning to the Soviets during the cold war ....just incase they were developing any ideas :shock::lol:

Schenk Invasion England 1940, has probably the best english translation of the availiable Orbats etc and vessels available etc. His conclusion was they had sufficent transport to furful the mission demanded of them.

http://www.antiqbook.com/boox/olda/167881.shtml

But posters are right in pointing out that from Hitles POV, Sealion was nothing more than fearmongering and fright wars to convince/bully etc the UK into Neutrality he never wanted to invade or go to war in the first place. The same argument holds true for BoB. No were in German WW-II experincences did the Germans follow the allied doctrine of sequential phased service campaigns ...IE Naval campaign against UBoats followed by aircampaign against the Luftwaffe followed by destruction of the Nazie war industry leading to Normandy. Germans would have done everything instep with each other to overwhelm the enemies ability to command at the same time. Norway 1940 is a reasonable example of this as is Barbarossa.

heres a quick summation of the German Orbat.

http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1145


For a more scientific apprasel of the sea states etc log into the site go to North Sea map and study day in day out month in month out. Its remarkable how the seas around the Straits of Dover are always SWH of 1/2 meter to a meter. Looking at Schenk book the modified barges could handle these sea conditions without too much difficulty.

http://www.oceanweather.com/data/

Going by Schenk book, the Germans planned to exploite the Channel currents to average about 4 knots towed speed, but the assembly and actual invasion route from Belgian and French ports would have ended up taking considerable amount of time.

Other interesting points raise show the Germans mustered 4000 invasion vessels plus 320 naval vessels for the invasion fleet. It appears to only refer to the cross channel invasion forces and doesn't include Uboats or east coast diversions and decoy forces etc.

It appears the Germans had extensive listings of British sea mine feilds and planned a campaign of ~ 5-6000 mines to link all these minefields up to form barrier mine field up to 6 lanes thick. The planned density of mines exceeded the German mine campaign against the Soviets at Kaliningrad, that claimed claimed atleast one out of every three vessels that tried to penetrate.


It appears that German first echelon landing forces had armor artillery and infantry plus flak and supplies to last weeks.

German invasion plans didn't require BoB to defeat the RAF BEFORE invasion. That campaign would have been run parrallel to ground and sea actions to overwhelm UK command ability. All that was required was to be able to operate in the channel area. Invasion did plan for a 1-2 week build up period where LW would divert some airpower from BOB to hammer RAF coastal bases and RN naval units in port possibly duplicating their success in Dunkirk [ 3/4 of the Allied destroyers out of action after one week]. For some strange reason the Admiralty concluded that all anti invasion warships [~ 56 destroyers and 1/2 dozen cruisers] had to remain in port during day light hours inorder to sortie overnight ??? making them sitting ducks for Stuka attacks.

If you look at the following site it appears in late 1940 German had > 700 auxiliary warships alone to choose from.

http://www.navypedia.org/ships/germany/ger_converted.htm

But it also appears that the bulk of any proper landing craft were built in 1941-43 period. Unfortunatly, none of the converted barge vessels are delt with on that great site.

Another interesting book is Peter Smiths "Hold the Narrow Sea", which explores combat in the English channel through out the war. Its clear that the Germans fought very effectively in both air and sea battles around this period in the war.

http://www.amazon.com/Hold-Narrow-Sea-Warfare-English/product-reviews/0861900790

Another book that high lights the effectiveness of the KM smaller unit naval battles is Vincent Oharas "The German Fleet at War, 1939-1945."

http://stonebooks.com/archives/041121.shtml

Both these books high light just how impossible it was to fight against enemy naval vessels at night at this time in the war.

Another thing these books high light along with many UBoat studies in the war is how difficult and time consuming it is to actually sink a vessel even a civilian one. As a rule of thumb, the number of enemy vessels including lowly barges and trawlers, that are sunk in any 'convoy attack' is approximately equal to the number of attacking vessels. Rearly does this exceed 1:1 only occasional German surface raiders got between 4:1 up to 8:1. These are not the kind of attacks that can be duplicated on a massive operational scale. So you can roughly calculate how many German invasion vessels the allies can expect to destroy on any given day by totaling the number of attacking ships.

Another surprising finding you get from examining OHaras book is that German escort fleets were very effective until the last year of the war as was indeed the bulk of the small units [Destroyers on down]. It appears that in 3/4 of the cases when the allies attacked German convoys [no matter how badly out gunned] the germans convoys were able to escape their attackers, focusing any losses on their own escorts and not the convoys.

flamethrowerguy
03-03-2010, 03:07 AM
And again, Gen. "Smiling" Albert Kesselring stated that Sealion was little more than an over optimistic bluff that few in the Wehrmacht really wanted to carry out, and that there was little coordination between the branches. And even less in the way of serious planning...

That's an interesting point. I recently finished a book of a German war photographer/correspondent where it's mentioned that "Unternehmen Seelöwe" was nothing but one giant gamesmanship to distract from Germany's deployment in the east.

Rising Sun*
03-03-2010, 07:37 AM
That's an interesting point. I recently finished a book of a German war photographer/correspondent where it's mentioned that "Unternehmen Seelöwe" was nothing but one giant gamesmanship to distract from Germany's deployment in the east.

I recall reading a long time ago something vaguely along the same lines in a reasonably well researched source which, alas, I can't recall but the essence was that Hitler gave Sealion to his commanders to distract them from whatever it was he wanted to distract them from. It was primarily an internal exercise in distraction rather than one aimed at the Allies.

Nickdfresh
03-03-2010, 09:54 PM
I saw an interview with Adolf Galland on the excellent "World at War" series in which he pretty much states the very same thing--that Sealion was little more than a bluff coupled with an elaborate feint in order to cover preparations for Barbarossa...

pdf27
03-04-2010, 01:19 AM
It **may** have been a feint to cover the fact that the Germans couldn't invade the UK from Hitler, and try and scare the British into a negotiated peace. It cannot have been about Barbarossa however, as the decision to invade was not made until quite some time after invasion preparations had been under way.

Nickdfresh
03-04-2010, 04:31 PM
It **may** have been a feint to cover the fact that the Germans couldn't invade the UK from Hitler, and try and scare the British into a negotiated peace. It cannot have been about Barbarossa however, as the decision to invade was not made until quite some time after invasion preparations had been under way.

But wasn't there some overlap in planning? And even though Sea Lion was officially canceled, I'm not sure this was adverted to either the British or the Soviets, and I think Hitler still had units earmarked for the "phony" invasion even after the start of German hostilities against the Soviets...

geord
04-23-2010, 11:15 PM
I have been reading a book called "The German Generals Talk" by B. H. Liddell Hart.I'm sure that Hart's work is well know to most on this forum and I believe his discussions with German Generals in this book is genuine and their answers accurate.
in it, on page 146 he cites a conference between Admiral Raeder and Hitler. Hitler expressed his views summarized in the record of that conference that, "The Fuhrer also views the invasion as a last resort, and also considers air superiority a prerequisite". This was a conference on July 16th.
Hitler then made a peace appeal to Britain in his speech to the Reichstag on the victory in France.
Hitler knew that a continued war with Britain would be long and bloody and he had no desire to continue. politically he was already looking to Russia and didn't want a war on 2 fronts.
General Blummentritt also confirmed the total lack of interest by Hitler to want an invasion of Britain to take place. He says on page 153, " Although Operation Sealion was ordered, and preparations made, the affair was not pushed forward. Hitler scarcely seemed to bother about it all - contrary to his usual way..."
This seems to confirm the "bluff" theory but according to those "close" to Hitler is was hardly a bluff but a complete lack of heart in the completion and execution of the plan, for his mind was already turned eastward.

Egorka
04-24-2010, 01:52 AM
Sea Lion order - 16 July 1940.
Work on invasion plan against USSR ordered - 22 July 1940.
Sea Lion postponed indefinately - 17 Sept 1940.
Operation Barbarossa ordered - 18 Dec 1940.

ubc
04-24-2010, 08:05 PM
I have been reading a book called "The German Generals Talk" by B. H. Liddell Hart.I'm sure that Hart's work is well know to most on this forum and I believe his discussions with German Generals in this book is genuine and their answers accurate.
in it, on page 146 he cites a conference between Admiral Raeder and Hitler. Hitler expressed his views summarized in the record of that conference that, "The Fuhrer also views the invasion as a last resort, and also considers air superiority a prerequisite". This was a conference on July 16th.
Hitler then made a peace appeal to Britain in his speech to the Reichstag on the victory in France.
Hitler knew that a continued war with Britain would be long and bloody and he had no desire to continue. politically he was already looking to Russia and didn't want a war on 2 fronts.
General Blummentritt also confirmed the total lack of interest by Hitler to want an invasion of Britain to take place. He says on page 153, " Although Operation Sealion was ordered, and preparations made, the affair was not pushed forward. Hitler scarcely seemed to bother about it all - contrary to his usual way..."
This seems to confirm the "bluff" theory but according to those "close" to Hitler is was hardly a bluff but a complete lack of heart in the completion and execution of the plan, for his mind was already turned eastward.


As many historians have written, including Adam Tooze, Hitler had the idea stuck in his head that the UK was part of his Ayran race and he hoped that one day they would see sense and join him in his war against the Bolshiviks in Russia and the Jews in America. He pushed this idea from the moment he got in to power. When you compare Hitlers prewar ramblings and ravings, with everything he tried to do in the 1930s and WW-II, you see he got his way most of the time. As I already reported, Hitler never wanted to invade or go to war with Britain. These were all 'fright wars' to make the British see they were all alone.

All military comments by generals and admirals etc can only be understood with this back drop in mind. Raeder had been pleading with Hitler from 1933 on to invest in a large navy to battle the UK, but Hitler constantly insisted there would be no war with the UK until the late 1940s, so there was plenty of time to build a fleet.He would not even tollerate any discussion in this direction in the 1930s. The only way Raeder got some semblence of a fleet built is because he insisted the ships were needed to defeat the French fleet, not the British fleet....which is also way those ships resembled French designs like their high speed torpedo boats and super destroyers etc.

Nickdfresh
08-27-2010, 07:33 PM
As many historians have written, including Adam Tooze, Hitler had the idea stuck in his head that the UK was part of his Ayran race and he hoped that one day they would see sense and join him in his war against the Bolshiviks in Russia and the Jews in America. He pushed this idea from the moment he got in to power. When you compare Hitlers prewar ramblings and ravings, with everything he tried to do in the 1930s and WW-II, you see he got his way most of the time. As I already reported, Hitler never wanted to invade or go to war with Britain. These were all 'fright wars' to make the British see they were all alone.

All military comments by generals and admirals etc can only be understood with this back drop in mind. Raeder had been pleading with Hitler from 1933 on to invest in a large navy to battle the UK, but Hitler constantly insisted there would be no war with the UK until the late 1940s, so there was plenty of time to build a fleet.He would not even tollerate any discussion in this direction in the 1930s. The only way Raeder got some semblence of a fleet built is because he insisted the ships were needed to defeat the French fleet, not the British fleet....which is also way those ships resembled French designs like their high speed torpedo boats and super destroyers etc.

Sure! They begged Hitler to "invest in a large navy," as well as a large strategic bomber force, a number of "heavy breakthrough" (Tiger) tanks in 1938, and various other competing projects. But where was he to get the resources to actuate it all? The Germans were saddled with various strategic limitations and thought that taking most of Western Europe would have alleviated their naval weaknesses on the surface...

And I think you're reading far more into the poppycock rhetoric of Hitler's bombastic speeches more so than in his actual policy decisions...

ubc
08-28-2010, 05:06 AM
Sure! They begged Hitler to "invest in a large navy," as well as a large strategic bomber force, a number of "heavy breakthrough" (Tiger) tanks in 1938, and various other competing projects. But where was he to get the resources to actuate it all? The Germans were saddled with various strategic limitations and thought that taking most of Western Europe would have alleviated their naval weaknesses on the surface...

And I think you're reading far more into the poppycock rhetoric of Hitler's bombastic speeches more so than in his actual policy decisions...

They didn't beg him to invest in any large navy or super bomber force! These were all programmed and underway when Hitler took over power. Both programmes were doable within the constraints of the existing strategic situation. Both programmes were squashed in a fatal attempt to address Hitler’s ever-expanding demands for more occupation troops. The lack of resource issue was pressurized by German heavy industry, which wanted nothing to do with Hitler’s warmongering. Not that they were against Hitler, they just had no faith in diverting their heavy industry towards war. They feared more the loss of their traditional market share than any enemy threat, so the hoarded the steel production and thus prevented further armaments expansion through the late 1930s. Westerners just don’t seem to understand how much Hitler’s demands molded and crippled the German rearmament and war effort . Perhaps you need to read more translated German histories and less English histories of the war?

We don’t have any idea how much resources Hitler’s nazi wasted on the massive building projects to suite nazi vanity before the war. Examining secondary military programmes like the "West Wall”, the Steel alone allocated to the 'West wall' was on the order of ¾ million tons plus millions of tons of concrete; sand; gravel & timber. This production effort spanned 4 years requiring ½ million workforce and nearly 2 billion RM investment to build a string of hundreds of mini “Atlantic Wall” style fortifications, backed up by thousands of infantry bunkers and gun/artillery positions. Just to give you an idea, the entire German armaments building programme from 1935-1939 amounted to about 6 billion RM, in otherwords West Wall amounted to fully 1/3 of this investment.

The armored steel component built for the Westwall was about 65,000-70,000 tons. In many cases that was wasted building massive steel wall of 10-35cm thick-armored steel, for a machine gun position along with similar thickness armored doors. Worse hundreds of massive armored copulas [some times 130 tons] were built for light mortar or machine gun positions in these fortifications. Since German military doctrine was built on mobile warfare such luxuries as heavy fortification went completely against doctrine.

To give you an idea of this wastage, the entire German warship-building programme through 1934-1940 [~ 21 major warships of which only about ½ were completed, even through 1942-43] required an investment of ½ million tons steel including nearly 110,000 tons of armored steel. Many of the above mentioned warships were repeatedly delay or never completed due to the shortages of steels going to existing army projects like the Atlantic Wall etc. In fact all warship-building schedules had to be set back an additional year in 1937, due to these resource shortfalls.

This means even ½ of the steel allocated to the ‘West Wall’ plus all the armored steel also diverted, could have allowed Germany to build a prewar fleet of two aircraft carriers [0]; 4 battleships [2]; plus 5 heavy cruisers [2] and two light cruisers [0] ; supported by ½ dozen [4] fast replenishment tankers and 30 destroyers [22] to be completed by 1940 [Actual number completed by end of 1939 is in brackets] . In fact the amount of ship construction and armored steel left over in 1940-42 time period would have allowed the “Twins” to be re gunned from 9 x 11” guns to 6 x 15” guns plus over 20 destroyers built. In addition either two of the H class battleships; all three of the OPQ battle cruisers or up to 4 of the P class Panzerschiff; could also have been built with these displaced resources.

A scaled down simpler ‘Westwall’ programme could have still continued, but been limited to thousands of infantry bunkers and built up gun positions for static divisions to occupy.

Rising Sun*
08-28-2010, 06:27 AM
They didn't beg him to invest in any large navy or super bomber force! These were all programmed and underway when Hitler took over power. Both programmes were doable within the constraints of the existing strategic situation. Both programmes were squashed in a fatal attempt to address Hitler’s ever-expanding demands for more occupation troops. The lack of resource issue was pressurized by German heavy industry, which wanted nothing to do with Hitler’s warmongering. Not that they were against Hitler, they just had no faith in diverting their heavy industry towards war. They feared more the loss of their traditional market share than any enemy threat, so the hoarded the steel production and thus prevented further armaments expansion through the late 1930s. Westerners just don’t seem to understand how much Hitler’s demands molded and crippled the German rearmament and war effort . Perhaps you need to read more translated German histories and less English histories of the war?

We don’t have any idea how much resources Hitler’s nazi wasted on the massive building projects to suite nazi vanity before the war. Examining secondary military programmes like the "West Wall”, the Steel alone allocated to the 'West wall' was on the order of ¾ million tons plus millions of tons of concrete; sand; gravel & timber. This production effort spanned 4 years requiring ½ million workforce and nearly 2 billion RM investment to build a string of hundreds of mini “Atlantic Wall” style fortifications, backed up by thousands of infantry bunkers and gun/artillery positions. Just to give you an idea, the entire German armaments building programme from 1935-1939 amounted to about 6 billion RM, in otherwords West Wall amounted to fully 1/3 of this investment.

The armored steel component built for the Westwall was about 65,000-70,000 tons. In many cases that was wasted building massive steel wall of 10-35cm thick-armored steel, for a machine gun position along with similar thickness armored doors. Worse hundreds of massive armored copulas [some times 130 tons] were built for light mortar or machine gun positions in these fortifications. Since German military doctrine was built on mobile warfare such luxuries as heavy fortification went completely against doctrine.

To give you an idea of this wastage, the entire German warship-building programme through 1934-1940 [~ 21 major warships of which only about ½ were completed, even through 1942-43] required an investment of ½ million tons steel including nearly 110,000 tons of armored steel. Many of the above mentioned warships were repeatedly delay or never completed due to the shortages of steels going to existing army projects like the Atlantic Wall etc. In fact all warship-building schedules had to be set back an additional year in 1937, due to these resource shortfalls.

This means even ½ of the steel allocated to the ‘West Wall’ plus all the armored steel also diverted, could have allowed Germany to build a prewar fleet of two aircraft carriers [0]; 4 battleships [2]; plus 5 heavy cruisers [2] and two light cruisers [0] ; supported by ½ dozen [4] fast replenishment tankers and 30 destroyers [22] to be completed by 1940 [Actual number completed by end of 1939 is in brackets] . In fact the amount of ship construction and armored steel left over in 1940-42 time period would have allowed the “Twins” to be re gunned from 9 x 11” guns to 6 x 15” guns plus over 20 destroyers built. In addition either two of the H class battleships; all three of the OPQ battle cruisers or up to 4 of the P class Panzerschiff; could also have been built with these displaced resources.

A scaled down simpler ‘Westwall’ programme could have still continued, but been limited to thousands of infantry bunkers and built up gun positions for static divisions to occupy.


Thanks for that informative post.

It's not my field, so two questions spring to mind.

1. Was the steel used in fortifications the type of steel that could have been used equally well for warships?

2. Isn't there a degree of irony (no pun intended) in Germany devoting so much effort and material to fortifications after its experience in defeating the French fortifications on the Maginot line by flanking them?

Wizard
08-28-2010, 06:14 PM
I am aware of the wargame. I just cannot find any actual OOB for it....I'm not looking for the outcome of such a study but the OOB for it....

Some work has been done, for instance the following post on the Axis History forum; http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=114&t=152290

Note; the numbers in the chart are not actual ships, but "deployment months", i.e. one destroyer deployed in a specific area for one month. So, for example, the number "911" in the category "Home Waters" for 1940, represents an average of about 76 destroyers deployed in Home Waters for the 12 months of 1940.

The links in the post are for RN cruiser deployments

Wizard
08-28-2010, 08:06 PM
They didn't beg him to invest in any large navy or super bomber force! These were all programmed and underway when Hitler took over power. Both programmes were doable within the constraints of the existing strategic situation. Both programmes were squashed in a fatal attempt to address Hitler’s ever-expanding demands for more occupation troops....

No, they weren't. There were ostensibly no German plans at all to build beyond the very few moderate sized "capital" ships they were allowed under the Versailles Treaty until Germany negotiated the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1934, two years after Hitler took power. That was when the Kriegsmarine began to formulate plans to modernize and increase it's fleet. But even then, it was still rather modest compared to it's possible enemies. The famous, and hopelessly ambitious, Z Plan was formulated in 1939.


...The lack of resource issue was pressurized by German heavy industry, which wanted nothing to do with Hitler’s warmongering. Not that they were against Hitler, they just had no faith in diverting their heavy industry towards war. They feared more the loss of their traditional market share than any enemy threat, so the hoarded the steel production and thus prevented further armaments expansion through the late 1930s...

Uhm, what "market" existed for German warship production in the 1930's?

And my understanding of the German economy was that by the late 1930's, it was virtually a "command economy" with steel resources, and other vital commodities, allocated by the government. German heavy industry wasn't hoarding steel or much of anything else in the late 1930's.


The armored steel component built for the Westwall was about 65,000-70,000 tons. In many cases that was wasted building massive steel wall of 10-35cm thick-armored steel, for a machine gun position along with similar thickness armored doors. Worse hundreds of massive armored copulas [some times 130 tons] were built for light mortar or machine gun positions in these fortifications. Since German military doctrine was built on mobile warfare such luxuries as heavy fortification went completely against doctrine.

No, it didn't. The West Wall was built because Hitler realized he would be badly outnumbered by his potential enemies and he badly needed to economize on the number of troops required to defend Germany while he embarked on his anticipated conquests. The fortifications allowed him to use second rate garrison troops for defense while his best mechanized formations were engaged in Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc.


To give you an idea of this wastage, the entire German warship-building programme through 1934-1940 [~ 21 major warships of which only about ½ were completed, even through 1942-43] required an investment of ½ million tons steel including nearly 110,000 tons of armored steel. Many of the above mentioned warships were repeatedly delay or never completed due to the shortages of steels going to existing army projects like the Atlantic Wall etc. In fact all warship-building schedules had to be set back an additional year in 1937, due to these resource shortfalls.

Yes, the failure to meet ambitious naval construction objectives was due to resource "shortfalls", but steel was probably one of the least important. The German shipbuilding industry simply didn't have enough slips capable of accommodating large warship construction, and repairing the numerous large warships damaged early in the war in the Norwegian campaign exacerbated that problem. Moreover, there was a chronic shortage of experienced shipyard workers due to conscription into the German Army. Expanding shipyard capacity would have cost as much, if not more, than expanding aircraft production and tank production, both of which enjoyed higher priority than warship construction. Germany simply didn't have the money and had to make hard choices; these choices did not favor the Kriegsmarine.

I suspect that the fact that Germany was operating it's armed forces on an extremely constrained fuel budget also impacted warship construction. The sustained operations of even a small number additional large, or medium-sized, surface warships would have been impossible for Germany without significant new oil resources, so there was little point in expending scarce raw materials and labor in constructing them.


This means even ½ of the steel allocated to the ‘West Wall’ plus all the armored steel also diverted, could have allowed Germany to build a prewar fleet of two aircraft carriers [0]; 4 battleships [2]; plus 5 heavy cruisers [2] and two light cruisers [0] ; supported by ½ dozen [4] fast replenishment tankers and 30 destroyers [22] to be completed by 1940 [Actual number completed by end of 1939 is in brackets] . In fact the amount of ship construction and armored steel left over in 1940-42 time period would have allowed the “Twins” to be re gunned from 9 x 11” guns to 6 x 15” guns plus over 20 destroyers built. In addition either two of the H class battleships; all three of the OPQ battle cruisers or up to 4 of the P class Panzerschiff; could also have been built with these displaced resources.

This assumes, of course, the availability of the shipyard capacity, which wasn't there, the shipyard workers, who were to a large extent serving in the German Army, and the oil to operate these vessels, which remained in oil fields under Soviet control.

In any case, the ships planned would have been but a drop in the bucket compared to what was realistically needed to confront the Royal Navy with any chance of success.

Nickdfresh
08-28-2010, 08:48 PM
They didn't beg him to invest in any large navy or super bomber force! These were all programmed and underway when Hitler took over power.

Interesting, because I had the understanding that no Luftwaffe existed in any meaningful form prior to Hitler's takeover of power in 1933 and his regime predates the formation (unofficial in 1934) and official in 1935 by years IIRC. I've read that the original commander (Weaver?) certainly wanted strategic parity if not superiority with the Entente and certainly lusted after four engine bombers. But German industry had been retarded by the defeat of 1918, the resulting punitive Versailles Treaty abortion, The Great Depression, and the fact that Germany was largely strategically isolated with limited access to resources severally restricting the capabilities of German workers and engineers. Germany was also years behind the Allies in aircraft design and engine manufacturing and had very limited ship building capability. So they had to focus very carefully under the Allied Inter-Military Commission. The main reason why the Luftwaffe's bomber fleet was basically restricted to twin-engined medium bombers was that they were much easier to produce technically speaking than four engine bombers were. And the Luftwaffe wanted numbers more than anything, and for all its power an technical innovation, the Luftwaffe also suffered from a strategic incoherence under Udet and his successor, and Goering was a pompous arsehole that routinely lied to Hitler to cover fundamental fissures in the air weapon. It simply isn't 'all Hitler's fault!' Although I agree there was a great deal of Nazi economic incompetence until Speer turned things around --too little, too late...


Both programmes were doable within the constraints of the existing strategic situation. Both programmes were squashed in a fatal attempt to address Hitler’s ever-expanding demands for more occupation troops.

No they weren't! You can't just build up what doesn't, or hardly, exists in less than a decade! And I have no idea what you mean by "occupation troops." Germany wasn't occupying anything more than the Rhineland when the programs were started...


The lack of resource issue was pressurized by German heavy industry, which wanted nothing to do with Hitler’s warmongering. Not that they were against Hitler, they just had no faith in diverting their heavy industry towards war. They feared more the loss of their traditional market share than any enemy threat, so the hoarded the steel production and thus prevented further armaments expansion through the late 1930s. Westerners just don’t seem to understand how much Hitler’s demands molded and crippled the German rearmament and war effort . Perhaps you need to read more translated German histories and less English histories of the war?

Oh please! German heavy industry is certainly culpable in Hitler's "warmongering" as the industrialists greatly profited from it. Nobody in Germany complained about rearmament. Nobody should have as the German state had a right to self defense in proportion to its importance. In the beginning, no one saw rearmament as anything more than Germany retaking her rightful place in Europe and maintaining parity to the Soviet threat. I think you are blurring the distinction between rearmament, which most Germans (and many Europeans) saw as inevitable and necessary, to his later aggression to which most Germans would have been blissfully unaware, including his general staff, until the late 1930s. The German rearmament program of the 1930s was an absolute boon for them. But Hitler, nor anyone, could change the fact that Germany was strategically vulnerable and isolated with a heavy reliance on the hated Bolsheviks for trade and resources. But you could kindly enlighten us all on "Hitler's demands?"

As for reading less English and more German histories, I in fact purchased The Blitzkreig Legend co-written by a colonel in the Bundeswehr, Karl-heinz Frieser, who used primary archival resources to dispel many of the myths of the Heer's "mobile warfare" formations. Perhaps you can suggest some others?


We don’t have any idea how much resources Hitler’s nazi wasted on the massive building projects to suite nazi vanity before the war. Examining secondary military programmes like the "West Wall”, the Steel alone allocated to the 'West wall' was on the order of ¾ million tons plus millions of tons of concrete; sand; gravel & timber. This production effort spanned 4 years requiring ½ million workforce and nearly 2 billion RM investment to build a string of hundreds of mini “Atlantic Wall” style fortifications, backed up by thousands of infantry bunkers and gun/artillery positions. Just to give you an idea, the entire German armaments building programme from 1935-1939 amounted to about 6 billion RM, in otherwords West Wall amounted to fully 1/3 of this investment. The armored steel component built for the Westwall was about 65,000-70,000 tons. In many cases that was wasted building massive steel wall of 10-35cm thick-armored steel, for a machine gun position along with similar thickness armored doors. Worse hundreds of massive armored copulas [some times 130 tons] were built for light mortar or machine gun positions in these fortifications. Since German military doctrine was built on mobile warfare such luxuries as heavy fortification went completely against doctrine.

Interesting, but very flawed. Firstly, the German steel going into the emplacements was poor quality, utter crap and barely viable to reinforce concrete pillboxes and blockhouses against medium caliber shell fire. How do you think it would have done in the hull of a ship undergoing temperature fluctuations from arctic to tropic seas? Or when a the first British or French shells hits a Marine destroyer?

It is also very arguable as to how much "mobile warfare" was emphasized in German doctrine overall. Much of its logistical system was still horse-and-ox-drawn behind the mighty panzers. And defensive doctrine is as important as practicing blitzing everyone...

Secondly, the West Wall/Siegfried Line may well have SAVED Hitler's regime in the early part of WWII by blunting and demoralizing the French Army during the "Saar Offensive!" Without the West Wall, even the most reactionary French officer and politician would have had a hard time justifying its halting if there hadn't been a triumph of German propaganda in metaphorically building up what was a sorry defensive position held by immobile, half-trained Heer conscripts who were devoid of armor, artillery, and who probably would have folded in the face of a determined French drive --fortifications or not. The West Wall also provided some difficulties for the Americans sweeping into Germany. And its imposing breastworks--vauntingly inflated by Goebbels' lies--even inspired the U.S. Army to build massive specially built gun carriages they would never use ...


To give you an idea of this wastage, the entire German warship-building programme through 1934-1940 [~ 21 major warships of which only about ½ were completed, even through 1942-43] required an investment of ½ million tons steel including nearly 110,000 tons of armored steel. Many of the above mentioned warships were repeatedly delay or never completed due to the shortages of steels going to existing army projects like the Atlantic Wall etc. In fact all warship-building schedules had to be set back an additional year in 1937, due to these resource shortfalls.

This means even ½ of the steel allocated to the ‘West Wall’ plus all the armored steel also diverted, could have allowed Germany to build a prewar fleet of two aircraft carriers [0]; 4 battleships [2]; plus 5 heavy cruisers [2] and two light cruisers [0] ; supported by ½ dozen [4] fast replenishment tankers and 30 destroyers [22] to be completed by 1940 [Actual number completed by end of 1939 is in brackets] . In fact the amount of ship construction and armored steel left over in 1940-42 time period would have allowed the “Twins” to be re gunned from 9 x 11” guns to 6 x 15” guns plus over 20 destroyers built. In addition either two of the H class battleships; all three of the OPQ battle cruisers or up to 4 of the P class Panzerschiff; could also have been built with these displaced resources.

You fail to mention that Germany had a surface fleet in WWI that it hardly used as it was hemmed in by the Royal and French Navies. You also fail to mention that the Kriegsmarine's emphasis was on the u-boats mission of strangling Britain as it was much cheaper and more economically sensible to do so. Secondly, this grand fleet would also have been a waste of resources as much of it would have been sent to the bottom by the navies of France, Britain, and later the United States and also could have been used as a crux by the Allies to build up their own militaries and hasten their own rearmaments programs earlier in the 1930s that were years behind the Germans otherwise..


A scaled down simpler ‘Westwall’ programme could have still continued, but been limited to thousands of infantry bunkers and built up gun positions for static divisions to occupy.

Hindsight is all 20/20 my friend. :) The French and British would also have greatly benefited from it and expended as much of their resources on bad judgments at least as much as the Germans did. Probably far more so...perhaps the French could have heeded De Gaulle's call in the early 1930s to maintain a large, professional armored striking force in the French Army instead of the general staff attempting to damage his career and pass him over for promotion for his impetuous outburst against the status quo of 'methodical battle' operational concepts and "broad front" strategy?

Nickdfresh
08-28-2010, 09:10 PM
...

I suspect that the fact that Germany was operating it's armed forces on an extremely constrained fuel budget also impacted warship construction. The sustained operations of even a small number additional large, or medium-sized, surface warships would have been impossible for Germany without significant new oil resources, so there was little point in expending scarce raw materials and labor in constructing them. ...

An excellent point I failed to mention was the lack of access to petroleum by the German state that was even more critical than just about anything else. There was a push for Germany to expand its production through the use of synthetic oil plants early on. But the technical challenges were immense. I think one needs to look no further than the inability of the Imperial Japanese Navy to sortie its capital ships late in the War due to fuel constraints to see the limitations Germany faced...

Rising Sun*
08-29-2010, 09:10 AM
Thanks for that informative post.

In light of subsequent posts, possibly not.

I'd still like an answer to my original question on the quality of steel used in fortifications as a source for warships.

ubc
08-29-2010, 12:47 PM
Thanks for that informative post.

It's not my field, so two questions spring to mind.

1. Was the steel used in fortifications the type of steel that could have been used equally well for warships?


Its amazing that still after 70 years western History of WW-II still lacks the view from the other side to balance their understanding of the war. Ususally after 50 years a more balanced history emerges. I guess that’s what the ‘cold war’ has done to the history of this war.


[QUOTE=Rising Sun*;171130]Thanks for that informative post.

It's not my field, so two questions spring to mind.

1. Was the steel used in fortifications the type of steel that could have been used equally well for warships?

2. Isn't there a degree of irony (no pun intended) in Germany devoting so much effort and material to fortifications after its experience in defeating the French fortifications on the Maginot line by flanking them?

Yes,Westwall used mostly rebar and concrete for basic construction and this represented the bulk of all steel utilized, so this would be transferable for any building stucture etc but not warship. However at least 100,000 tons was special steels that could be used as STS steel or KC armored steel for naval construction.

Whats even more amazing is that the estimated 65,000 tons of armored steel in the 'West wall' was more than the estimated 62,000 tons of armored steel that is represented in the entire Wehrmacht Armored fighting vehicle programme from 1934-1941. Inother words to Hitler, the Westwall was more important than Panzer programme.


The Westwall was built between 1937-1940 so it ran parrallel to late Maginote Line building and extension programme. None of this would have been built had it not been for Hitlers dramatic '1936 four year plan', which forced germany away from building a medium size mechanized army backed up by a total war economy, being prepared for 1-2 year massive war effort.

German strategists had spent the 1920s and 30s debating the issue of Trench Warfare and concluded that only high speed mechanized operational manuever warfare had any hope of allowing Germany to defeat their neighbours in battle. They formulated [some time in the late 1920s/early 1930s] a multi phased plan to rebuild the German warmachine instep with a war economy and secured resource base; over a 15 year time period.
The first phase involved force structure training and industrial expansion. To fund all three armaments purchasing was limited to rehashing hidden illegal WW-I armaments, combinded with weaponizing civilian product. The main emphasis was based on defence against a combined Franco Polish invasion.

The second phased involved systementic and selective replacement of the above armamennts based on exploiting what Von Blomberg refered to as ‘technical possiblities’. This prewar initiative is where all those special WW-II weapons came from. The aim was to push German technology a generation ahead of the advesaries and extend the warfighting capacity to total war based on a infantry defence followed by select mechnized army to eject any invader. At this time still viewed as France and Poland, however this was to be followed by invasion of these agressor nations with the expection of a wider European war to erupt. The second phase was to be completed by the late 1930s and followed by the third phase through the early 1940s. That phase never materialised because Hitler hyjacked the entire process in 1936 with his four year plan to force germany into war by 1940, not 1945.

The third phase involved the explotiation of total war economy to convert the prewar force structure from a mostly leg based horse drawn defensive infantry army into a high speed mechanized force able to mount lighting wars to preempt any agressor by invading the country first and defeating the armies .

But Hitler called for a review in 1936 [start of the second phase] which showed that if anything the ultimate realiastion of this plan could take until the late 1940s and he could not tolerat such a delay. Hitler rejected the plan and insisted their would be no need for such an army and such a war economy, so the whole process to fast track war could be achieved by 1940. According to Hitler europeans would fall sequentially to his will power and superior german race, etc, etc....along with surprise strategic alliances etc.

So in the late 1930s the Heer was forced to become a larger 'come as you are army', backed up by only a limited war economy. Just by increasing the mobilizable armed forces by 1 million men in the late 1930s, forced German into a massive crash building project for barracks and rushed facilities, that they consumed ½ of all steel and warmaking resources being produced for the German economy at that time.

Again to give an idea of alternatives to ‘Westwall’, part of the long term German strategic plan [pre 1936] envisage a medium sized German mechanized military supported by total war economy fighting lighting wars of maneuver lasting months not years. To achieve this the stockpiling of the resources was going to become the cornerstone of such an effort. Even in the late 1930s this envisaged 3-4 million tons of fuel stockpiled. Historically because of Hitlers insistance on limited war and no stockpiling; Germany started the war with only 1.5 million tons of reserve fuel. The resources devoted to much of the West wall construction could have instead fast tracked the synthetic fuel industry by over ¾ million tons production per year and added ~ 2 million tons to the fuel reserves at the same time.

Unfortunately both "Wizard and Nickfresh" post are so far from actual german history and too close to ango american history to be worthy of any response. I have no doubt they and western histories believe these things they claim, but they are not supported by German histories of the 1920s-1940s period.

If you want to understand what and why the allies did what they did through this period, fine go ahead and read anglo american histories of the war. But you will never understand German war effort or Russian war effort unless you actually go to their histories of this period. The view always looks different from each side of the fence.

But in point forum to dispose of some of there misconsceptions!

German WW-I warship building industry had ~30 firms and 191 slipways ranging from 75-300 meters. This was reduced after the war , but by WW-II they had rebound considerably. Ultimately during WW-II, 25 firms and 119 slipways would be used for major warship construction plus hundreds of smaller ship yards for the thousands of coastal vessels Hitler demanded for the war effort. By the 1920s the amount devoted to actual warship construction was merely 1/10th of this capacity, but the firms were there and build large numbers of capable ocean going vessels. By war time , this naval building industry had rebound to more than ¾ of the ship building capacity. Even in the last year of the war 1/10th of this ship building capacity was still being used for civilian vessels construction.

In 1928 German government agreed to break the ToV where ever possible and tabled a plan to build the following fleet in a Depression era peace time economy.

1 x Aircraft Carrier [illegal under ToV]
6 x Panzerschiff
6-12 x kreuzer
44 x Zestroyers
16 x Uboats [illegal under ToV]

The final parlimentray approval for this programme didn't emerge until mid to late 1932, months before Hitler came into power. From the moment Hitler siezed power he squashed any attempt to impliment this plan. His fleet was to be mostly a coastal protection fleet with ability to dominate the Baltic and North Sea. However no matter what; any such programme could not be directed at the UK. Hitler had a special place for the UK in his aryan Europe as more of a neutral silent partner or out and out allie.

It took every thing in Grand Admiral Raeders arsenal to progressively force Hitler to allow the building of a balanced battle fleet that could eventually be used against the UK in the mid to late 1940s. As a comprimse Raeder argued this fleet in the short term was needed to counter the French fleet and as such most new German warships followed French [not British] designs and numbers. As a further comprimse to Hitler about ½ of the ships build were to fill auxiliary fleet roles not new warship roles , so as not to scuttle Hitlers delicate courtship of the UK.

Nickdfresh
08-29-2010, 01:33 PM
In light of subsequent posts, possibly not.

I'd still like an answer to my original question on the quality of steel used in fortifications as a source for warships.

I would as well, but I haven't read specifically other than recalling that U.S. gun crews had little difficulty shattering emplacements on the Siegfried Line even when using medium caliber weapons. I believe German steel-making was constrained prior to WWII by her lack of open access to raw materials and that the Allies (mistakenly) regarded this as their main strategic advantage that would ultimately cripple Hitler's Germany in a 'long war.' And I'm sort of sick of writing extended replies on the internet today, so I'll get back to ubc's interesting, revisionist alternative history timeline above that is rather removed from any sources (he never seems to cite anything for his statistics).

One thing I noticed though is that both Wizard and ubc have cited Wages of Destruction by Tooze. I have yet not read it but it seems to be rather interesting discord in both interpretations, but I'm pretty sure that ubc also relies on Anglo-American "histories" when it suits his belief system that only Hitler caused Germany's defeat, a view certainly shared by his former generals while writing their ex post facto memoirs and treatises on the War. Very convenient, but yet not necessarily altogether helpful as they are chocked full of hindsight and tend to ignore many individual mistakes made by the other parties in the Third Reich...

But I'd like to state a couple of things in general. Firstly, Germans ARE WESTERNERS! Most Anglo-American historians in fact speak German or otherwise have used primary German sources, not just American and British ones...

ubc
08-29-2010, 01:47 PM
Not enough room on the previous post ....;.

With reguards to Airfoce , it was created by Lufthansa director Knaus in the early 1930s based on studies which concluded that only a fleet of hundreds of multi engined long range strategic bombers would serve Germany as a deterrent force against neighbouring agressors. The target fleet of 400 multi engined long range strategic bombers was set in 1934 and the industry and fledgling airforce expanded from production of hundreds of planes to thousands of planes; in a matter of years. After Hitlers ‘4 year plan’ in 1936, the Luftwaffe was checked in its expansion due to labor financing and resources being redirected to the Heer and numerous building projects. Goering was able to offset much of this slow down by secretly authorising the LW to utilise 'fixed price contracting' [much more efficent] with its dedicated industry , in direct opposition to Hitlers demamd for 'cost price financing'. Cost plus financing allowed for more highly refined armaments to be produced but fixed price allowed for much greater production for the same industrial/finanical and labor efforts [over time, ‘fixed price contracts’ could produce three times as much as ‘cost plus contracting’, due to reduction in wastage of resources plus much more effiecent useage of manhours labour and industrial floor space .

Unfortunatley I'm only able to scratch the surface of their miss consceptions and in any event I'm only enabling the poor histories that such views are based on; so instead I recommend the following reading list to others who are more 'open minded' to studying German history.


The 6 volume set of "Germany and the Second World War" Ed ; Research Institute for Military History [translated]
"The Wehrmacht and German Reamament" Diest
"German Warships 1815-1945" ;vol 1-2 Groener [translated]
"German industry in the Nazi period"; ed Bucheim [translated]
"German Military in the Age of Total War"; ed Diest [translated]
"Design for total war", Carrol [not bad for an english prof]
"Wages of Destruciton", Tooze [also not bad for an english prof]
"Why the allies won "; Overy[also not bad for an english prof]
"War and Economy in the Third Reich"; Overy[also not bad for an english prof]

there are numerous other text and articles some on line for further reading.




But I'd like to state a couple of things in general. Firstly, Germans ARE WESTERNERS! Most Anglo-American historians in fact speak German or otherwise have used primary German sources, not just American and British ones...

Nick; you can't seperate the observer from the observation ; they are both products of their exposure; training; schooling and upbring etc. So the same sources read from two differing POV ,will produce two different conclusions. Every historian is biased one way or another.

Nickdfresh
08-29-2010, 02:06 PM
Y...Inother words to Hitler, the Westwall was more important than Panzer programme....Again to give an idea of alternatives to Westwall, part of the long term German strategic plan [pre 1936] envisage a medium sized German mechanized military supported by total war economy....

I think you're restating the "Blitzkrieg Legend" and giving far too much credit to the German high command here. Firstly, it was Hitler that was benefactor to Heinz Guderian after reading his seminal work Auchtung Panzer!. Hitler also was said to have stated, 'That's what I need. That's what I want to have!' after witnessing panzer demonstrations. Guderian also faced much opposition from the conservative forces in the Heer, and there was no unified consensus as to how Germany was to fight its next war as Guderian and Rommel both ignored and countermanded halt orders to drive to the Channel in 1940...

Your criticisms of the Siegfried Line are again just 'hindsight' as I've pointed out on many occasions as your posts seem to be a mixture of some good points, "what-ifs," and questionable assertions based on supposedly what Hitler prevented Germany from doing without acknowledging that it was Hitler that burned Versailles, formed the Luftwaffe, reintroduced conscription, pressured his generals for a more mechanized and dynamic thinking...

If Germany was unprepared for War in 1939-40, the Allies were ever more so. We could just as easily say if only France's defense establishment hadn't been dominated by Daladier and Gen. Gamelin in the late 1930s, and whom led France in the War of 1939, and instead the ideas of Paul Reynaud (who supported Gen. Georges to becomes the supreme French commander over Gamelin) came to fruition, perhaps more dynamic leadership favoring earlier formations of French panzer divisions (DLM) allow for a more mobile, professional French Army based on the abstract ideals of De Gaulle --and France never commits to the disaster of the Dyle plan?

Wizard
08-29-2010, 06:20 PM
...Unfortunately both "Wizard and Nickfresh" post are so far from actual german history and too close to ango american history to be worthy of any response. I have no doubt they and western histories believe these things they claim, but they are not supported by German histories of the 1920s-1940s period.

This is amusing, as though "German history" were on some sort of celestial plane far above the mundane efforts of lesser nations. In fact, there is no reason to believe that "German History" is any more accurate or less error-prone than the histories produced in other nations. American, British and French historians have access to the same primary documents as do German historians; there is nothing special or particularly difficult to understand about them. Nor is there any reason to believe that historians in other countries are any more likely to distort or "spin" the data to support possible "agendas".

It appears ubc uses these kinds of remarks to subtly suggest that he alone has access to superior information, when his data is challenged.


German WW-I warship building industry had ~30 firms and 191 slipways ranging from 75-300 meters. This was reduced after the war , but by WW-II they had rebound considerably.

The fact is that in the late 1920's and throughout the 1930's, the German shipyard industry was in very desperate straits. Between 1918 and 1929, not a single warship larger than a destroyer was built anywhere in Germany. Between 1929 and 1933, only three cruisers (panzerschiff, ostensibly of 10,000 tons each) were built in Germany. Shipyards capable of building large warships represent heavy investments in resources including yard space, machinery, and yard workers; no country can afford to maintain this type of facility without putting it to work building warships, and in fact the German companies did not.

Therefore, in the 1930's, Germany was forced to invest large amounts of scarce cash in rebuilding it's naval construction industry. By 1945, there were just three private companies, and one naval shipyard, with the capacity to build a warship larger than a destroyer. These were F. Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, Deustchewerke in Kiel, and the Wilhelmshaven Naval Yard. Krupp and Deutschewerke had two large slips for warship construction, Blohm & Voss and the Naval yard each had one.

Some idea of the difficulty in preparing a warship construction or repair facility can be had from the fact that the Allies went to great lengths to destroy the only dock outside of Germany capable of accepting the Bismarck class ships by ramming it with an old US destroyer packed with explosives.


Ultimately during WW-II, 25 firms and 119 slipways would be used for major warship construction plus hundreds of smaller ship yards for the thousands of coastal vessels Hitler demanded for the war effort. By the 1920s the amount devoted to actual warship construction was merely 1/10th of this capacity, but the firms were there and build large numbers of capable ocean going vessels. By war time , this naval building industry had rebound to more than ¾ of the ship building capacity. Even in the last year of the war 1/10th of this ship building capacity was still being used for civilian vessels construction.

This must be information gleaned from those super-accurate German histories; unfortunately, it's quite untrue unless you count destroyers and large escorts as "major warships". In fact, Germany during WW II, had a maximum of just six slips capable of handling major warship construction and repair. The country was far from capable of building or maintaining a major fleet of anything larger than a destroyer, not that there was much interest in doing so after the Norwegian campaign.


In 1928 German government agreed to break the ToV where ever possible and tabled a plan to build the following fleet in a Depression era peace time economy.

1 x Aircraft Carrier [illegal under ToV]
6 x Panzerschiff
6-12 x kreuzer
44 x Zestroyers
16 x Uboats [illegal under ToV]

The final parlimentray approval for this programme didn't emerge until mid to late 1932, months before Hitler came into power...

It certainly would be interesting to see some documentation for this claim; I've searched through all my naval histories, including Breyer (a "German" naval history), and can find no confirmation of any of this except for the Panzerschiff and a class of 12 destroyers

Wizard
08-29-2010, 06:25 PM
....One thing I noticed though is that both Wizard and ubc have cited Wages of Destruction by Tooze. I have yet not read it but it seems to be rather interesting discord in both interpretations,...

I referenced "The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze, but did ubc? I saw where he mentioned some of Tooze's work, but I don't remember ubc specifically citing his book of that title or quoting from it?

Nickdfresh
08-30-2010, 06:49 AM
I referenced "The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze, but did ubc? I saw where he mentioned some of Tooze's work, but I don't remember ubc specifically citing his book of that title or quoting from it?

I thought he had referenced it, perhaps he didn't and just mentioned it. He does list it one of his many (Anglo) sources for his views though....

Wizard
08-30-2010, 02:22 PM
I thought he had referenced it, perhaps he didn't and just mentioned it. He does list it one of his many (Anglo) sources for his views though....

Yes, I noticed his reading list included Tooze's book plus a few by other British historians. It seems that not all "Westerners" get German history wrong, only those that ubc disagrees with.

Nickdfresh
10-17-2010, 11:47 AM
Just finished John Mosiers book "The Blitzkrieg Myth" It is a well researched book written by a credible historian...

Well. Not everyone would agree...



The Myth Of Blitzkrieg

by John Mosier
The Blitzkrieg Myth, written by John Mosier, is a disappointment. Mr. Mosier, an English professor, is hopelessly out of his league when grappling with the issues of strategy, doctrine, tactics, and technology in the Second World War. As anyone who is familiar with the literature on the war reads this book, it will become apparent that Mosier writes simply to provoke rather than inform. His book is poorly researched, arrogantly dismissive of decades of amassed knowledge, and woefully incomplete.

...Mosier is an amateur historian, and it shows. His use of sources is deeply flawed: he relies upon a very narrow range of research material, uses particular sources excessively or inappropriately, and does not have an appreciation for the development of knowledge over time. Mosier is blithely unaware of the fact when doing research one must pay most attention to scholarly works and only carefully use works that are known to be of questionable value.
....

In a nutshell: historical research at its rock-bottom worst.

http://www.uni.edu/~licari/review17.html

Hjortur
04-19-2011, 04:29 PM
Well, "Blitzkrieg" is a propaganda/media term (actually invented by Allied media...), but you don´t need a fully motorized force for "blitzkrieg" (or rather "German Clausewitzian mobile mission (instead of orders, its called Auftragstaktik) oriented warfare"). Saying, The infantry´s task was to deal with the pockets the Panzer divisions "left behind". Mobile does not mean "fast", and the "The German army was only 20% motorized" excuse for denying "Blitzkrieg" is complety invalid, because you dont need a fully motorized army for "Blitzkrieg", as said before. Also you can just look at the modern Isreali and German armies, who both use Auftragstaktik (Isreali commander "observed", and German commander maintained). They are both extremely succesfull fighting forces.
And when it comes to historians...Some are quite objective: This Mosier seems like a German-hater, and let´s say Glantz, is passionate about "proving" that the Red Army wasn´t "only numbers" (which is partially/quite true, but they had no value for the lives of their soldiers, and didn´t give a xxxx about casualties...).

Greets, Hjørtur