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Thread: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

  1. #1
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    Default The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    We Americans love our " top ten" lists. We have our top ten college football teams and basketball too. I propose we rate in our own opinions the ten best German generals of the war. Here is my list:

    1- Von Manstein

    2- Guderian

    3- Rommel

    4- Von Manteuffel

    5- Heinrici

    6- Hoth

    7- Kesselring

    8- Model

    9- Balck

    10- Dietrich

    Well, what do you guys think? I know there many other good ones not mentioned, but these are the ones I'm most familiar with.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    Definitely would put Rommel ahead of Guderian.
    Rommel did not write a book about "panzers warfare", but he just showed what to do with them. Guderian had interesting visions beyond the basic tank, but they seemed redundant when the war broke out. His idea of the 4 panzers was overcomplex and led to the panzer "III and IV" shared role question.
    Rommel did not have visions, he had strategy and tactics. Rommel only failed when victory was not possible.
    Last edited by steben; 10-13-2013 at 03:21 PM.
    It is nice to have big heavy tanks, it is even nicer not to need them

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    I can see your point, makes good sense. How about the rest of them, any changes there?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    While it is still very subjective, what you have posted seems good to me,

    I'm sure others will disagree , but we have hindsight which is always 20/20.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    It's all very subjective, but I like your list. I agree that Manstein should be at the top. If a poll was taken of the 9 other generals on your list--or of the German General Staff--he would finish first.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by jgb View Post
    It's all very subjective, but I like your list. I agree that Manstein should be at the top. If a poll was taken of the 9 other generals on your list--or of the German General Staff--he would finish first.
    I have a lot of respect for von Manstein. If Hitler had listened to him more often, the outcome of the war might have been quite different.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    You know, the tactics and strategies that Manstein employed--in the "miracle on the Don", the re-taking of Kharkov, etc--are still studied at military academies all over the world.
    Last edited by jgb; 03-10-2014 at 10:59 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Top 10 German Generals of WW2

    Some comments. I would definitely put Manstein at the top of the list - although I am not sure that I would have liked him very much, personally. He was a great strategist - perhaps the best strategist of WW2. He did, however, have his drawbacks as a general. I cannot place it, but I recall a comment from Hitler's "table talk", in which someone had the nerve to ask Hitler why he had arranged the polite dismissal of Manstein in 1944. Hitler's reply was to the effect that Manstein was the sort of general who was brilliant where forces could be deployed in an orderly manner, but was less effective where the situation required a forceful "fireman", dealing with pressured disorderly situations. This may seem unfair when one looks at cases like Kharkov, but may also have been perceptive. There is some truth in it. Revisionists who criticize Manstein for risk taking on a huge scale on occasions miss the point, I think. In a sense, he really was the "chess playing general". He was not without compassion for his troops. However, an overview of his career as a senior commander does suggest a "chess playing" mentality - at a certain level, the forces at his disposal or (early in the war) subject to his plans were regarded by him as pieces on the board. This approach yielded great success. However, there is some question as to whether the situation facing Germany, even from early 1943, was amenable to the Manstein approach. Hitler may have had a point in preferring people like Model and Schorner towards the end of the war may not have been so unwise; they were "firemen", adept (insofar as was possible) at addressing problems that arose in the course of a military collapse. Of course, by that stage, the Germans had effectively lost the war, anyway .... Best regards, JR.

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