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Thread: Most important war operation ww2

  1. #46
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    Default Re: Most important war operation ww2

    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    I'm actually coming to the conclusion that one of the biggest wrong decisions/turning points was in November 1939 when General Gamelin went to the Dyle rather than Eschaut plan. A large part of the reason for the disaster in France was that the allies were overextended in Belgium and trying to hold a line without the field fortifications they'd been promised by the Belgians. If they'd held to their original plan and kept a strong mobile reserve (as Gamelin's deputy wanted to), Fall Gelb would probably have been a disaster for Germany. If so, the war would probably have been over by 1942.
    I agree. It should be noted that I think I read the original Dyle Plan was to be little more than a politically expatiate nominal assistance to Belgium. The expectation was only of slowing down the Germans, not stopping them as only ten French infantry divisions were originally earmarked to incur into Belgium --instead of the 30 divisions comprising the best of the French mobile forces. The bulk of the armor was to stay in France back from the front waiting for the Heer to wear itself down.

    Even as it was, Fall Gelb was a close run thing benefiting from luck, very good luck in the Germans' case and very bad luck for the French. If the French Arme de l'Air and the RAF had launched serious air strikes over Ardennes in the two weeks it took the Heer to get their 40,000 vehicles through instead of the desperate, belated attempts to severe the bridges over the Meuse afterward, things might well have been different...

  2. #47
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    Default Re: Most important war operation ww2

    Especially at the beginning of this thread, a number of posts pointed out the futility of this thread: too much depends on how you define "important," "operation," etc. But I'll just toss out a couple of possible candidates I haven't seen mentioned yet.

    The French Invasion of the Saar, 1939: important not because of what it was, but what it wasn't. It was too weak, too half-hearted, at a time when Germany had virtually all its resources in the east, and the German heartland lay vulnerable to good solid kick at the western door. Recall too that the French Army was widely viewed as the best in the world at the time. Yeah, there are issues like French logistics and will to fight, but.... Consequences include not only the non-assault on Germany (or even defeat thereof, or perhaps alienating the German people to the Hitler regime), but also brought the Soviet Union into the invasion of Poland because it was obvious the West was going to nothing (and thereby putting a final nail in Poland's coffin). It also brought portions of the Soviet forces forward of their prepared defenses, and that much closer to the German army that would strike them when the time came.

    The Soviet Assault on the Mannerheim Line: incredibly important as it reinforced France's belief in static defenses, and as part of the Winter War in general, contributed to the revamping of the Soviet army after the Purge. Soviet performance in the Winter War contributed to Hitler's assessment of the USSR as a house of cards, just waiting for a good kick. It was also perhaps important for a lesson learned/not learned: the Soviets learned they were not as prepared for winter combat as they thought -- the brutal winter of 39-40 being far worse than average and caused endless mechanical problems. The Germans, anticipating "just" another summer blitz, paid no heed to the implications for their own plans.

    The Western aerial campaign against Germany: forcing the recall of Luftwaffe forces from the east, arguably costing Germany her air superiority on the Eastern front and all that implies.

    In terms of importance and far-reaching consequences, I would tend to favor early actions, as they set the stage for all that followed. Poland, Dunkirk, and Pearl Harbor have already been mentioned. I would suggest the Battle of Britain deserves consideration as well, not only for its effect on the Luftwaffe (and on Operation Sea Lion, though the chances of success for the latter is open to debate), but also on British morale and will to fight. You could also toss in a variety of "pre-war" actions, like the German re-occupation of the Rhineland. Battles like Stalingrad, Kursk, El Alamein, and others I would describe as being "climaxic" rather than important in and of themselves: they resolved the situations already set up by earlier events. But maybe that's just semantics. As somebody else observed, this can be a fun topic, but it's unlikely to reach a definitive conclusion.
    Last edited by Ardee; 08-21-2013 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typos
    "...we have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo (Walt Kelly)

  3. #48
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    Default Re: Most important war operation ww2

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    As a pivotal point in turning the war eventually against the Axis (combined with Hitler's almost simultaneous and quite unnecessary and idiotic declaration of war on the US which brought the European war into America's areas of operation when, perhaps, that might not have happened otherwise), I agree that it was the single most important operation in WWII from an overall strategic point of view.

    However, without a series of frequently unsuccessful operations by the British Commonwealth in various theatres before Pearl Harbor, combined with a series of frequently unsuccessful operations by the Soviets in the previous half year or so and a much longer series of largely unknown and ignored operations in China against the Japanese for nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, that attack could have confined America to a response to Japan rather than entry into what became WWII.

    Also, without the Soviets being the only forces consistently fighting the Germans on European land for a couple of years after Pearl Harbor, there could have been nothing to allow a Western Allies invasion of Europe.

    My points are simply that:
    1. While one can identify critical turning points such as the Battle of Britain or Pearl Harbor or D Day, they are all pieces in a much larger jigsaw picture which, no matter how large the piece is, are merely necessary parts in the whole picture.
    2. Trying to identify the most important operation in WWII ranks with other pointless tasks upon which there can never be agreement, such as identifying the best / 5 best / 10 best / 20 best / 50 best / 100 best movies (although "The Outlaw Josey Wales" is clearly the best Western ever made ) / albums / songs / books / poems / paintings etc in a given period or ever.
    All that is true, RS, and there were many critical points during WWII that were/are important. Every ally was important and made its significant contribution, most of all the combined Russian and Anglo-Saxon forces. Nevertheless, without the sheer weight, industrial strength, air and naval power and land manpower of the US, I doubt the war could have been successfully concluded. At some point in 1944, the US Navy alone was larger than all the navies in the world combined. Considering the vastness of the Pacific War, it is remarkable that the US never committed more than 10%-15% of its total wartime resources to the defeat of Japan. The rest went to North Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe. Subtract Lend Lease from the Russians, the supplies, trucks, aircraft, etc. and at best one has an uncertain conclusion.
    Last edited by royal744; 08-18-2013 at 02:06 PM.

  4. #49
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    Default Re: Most important war operation ww2

    I would go with Op URANUS. It was the first successful Soviet operation in ww2 and from then on the Germans were on the back foot and never really recovered! this led to the frantic and doomed Kursk operation for the Germans. Then ultimately to the end of the war.

  5. #50
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    Default Re: Most important war operation ww2

    I would have to go with Operation Overlord.
    Last edited by Wittmann; 11-23-2013 at 12:26 AM.

  6. #51
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    Default Re: Most important war operation ww2

    Quote Originally Posted by Wittmann View Post
    I would have to go with Operation Overlord.
    Compared with the rather larger and longer operations by the Soviets on the Eastern Front, it wasn't the most important operation which led to Germany's defeat. But, as with many other operations, it was a critical part in Germany's defeat. We just know a lot more about it because of the bias of Western news media and subsequent Hollywood versions.

    The problem with all "best" or "most important" etc lists is that they usually ignore what went before. Such as sustained bombing raids on Germany for months before D Day designed, among other things, to draw out and destroy German air forces so they couldn't resist the D Day landings.
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