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Thread: European Theater - What was the turning point?

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    Default European Theater - What was the turning point?

    At which battle did the tide turn against the Axis Powers? Was it the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Kursk, or the Normandy Invasion. Or was it something else?

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Tide turned probably at the Battle of Britain stage - or maybe not exactly turned but was stopped on its headlong charge.

    Stopped the Axis expansion in Europe and led Hitler to disregard the British and the capability of Britain to survive and continue the fight - no quick easy victory

    Enabled Britain to be an unsinkable aircraft carrier and supply depot for the build up of US forces, disruption of Axis infrastructure by bombing, spreading out of Axis resources and dwindling manpower (over 400,000 badly needed troops stayed in Scandinavia for the whole duration of the war taking relatively little part in the fighting).

    Gave hope to Europe and showed determination to stand up to aggressors which reaped increasing benefits as time wore on, convinced some nations to stay out of the war (mixture of bribes, materiel provided, unwillingness to jump in to grab what they can when they may just lose it all) - Spain and Turkey as examples

    Kept open two supply routes for lend lease to the Soviets when they eventually were forced to join in (Arctic Convoys and Persian rail route)

    Diverted large amounts of resources and manpower away from the East which affected the fighting more and more as time went on - not just in units committed to fighting which were substantial, but as anti invasion forces and defences, huge amounts of air defences both guns and planes, lost production due to bombing of factories and disruption of infrastructure.

    It was not the one major right at that time event - it was more one that led to many things later - if Sealion had gone ahead and succeeded somehow or Britain capitulated along the lines of Vichy France - things might have been very different.

    No US involvement in Europe, No Lend Lease to USSR, possibly Spain and Turkey joining the Axis, larger amounts of troops and equipment available for use in the Axis future endeavours, possibly British production added to Axis - gets into lots of 'what ifs'
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Tide turned probably at the Battle of Britain stage - or maybe not exactly turned but was stopped on its headlong charge.

    Stopped the Axis expansion in Europe and led Hitler to disregard the British and the capability of Britain to survive and continue the fight - no quick easy victory

    Enabled Britain to be an unsinkable aircraft carrier and supply depot for the build up of US forces, disruption of Axis infrastructure by bombing, spreading out of Axis resources and dwindling manpower (over 400,000 badly needed troops stayed in Scandinavia for the whole duration of the war taking relatively little part in the fighting).

    Gave hope to Europe and showed determination to stand up to aggressors which reaped increasing benefits as time wore on, convinced some nations to stay out of the war (mixture of bribes, materiel provided, unwillingness to jump in to grab what they can when they may just lose it all) - Spain and Turkey as examples

    Kept open two supply routes for lend lease to the Soviets when they eventually were forced to join in (Arctic Convoys and Persian rail route)

    Diverted large amounts of resources and manpower away from the East which affected the fighting more and more as time went on - not just in units committed to fighting which were substantial, but as anti invasion forces and defences, huge amounts of air defences both guns and planes, lost production due to bombing of factories and disruption of infrastructure.

    It was not the one major right at that time event - it was more one that led to many things later - if Sealion had gone ahead and succeeded somehow or Britain capitulated along the lines of Vichy France - things might have been very different.

    No US involvement in Europe, No Lend Lease to USSR, possibly Spain and Turkey joining the Axis, larger amounts of troops and equipment available for use in the Axis future endeavours, possibly British production added to Axis - gets into lots of 'what ifs'
    I agree with your concise and accurate summary.

    I'd suggest only that, despite being defeats, the Battle of Dunkirk, and the wider evacuation of British troops to Britain then and later as France fell, should be linked with the Battle of Britain soon afterwards as the return of those troops, despite leaving their heavy weapons and transport in France, still left Britain with considerably more means to defend itself against an invasion than would have been the case if those troops had all been captured.

    This also allowed Britain later to send land forces to North Africa to divert Axis forces and resources from Europe and Germany's eastern thrust. This also kept the Suez Canal open which kept a vital supply line open to and from Britain and its interests and dominions in India, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand throughout the war (and to Burma, Malaya etc before Japan came into the war), where closure of the Canal would have imposed unacceptable burdens on merchant and naval shipping around the Cape of Good Hope and seriously undermined Britain's war effort.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 05-12-2015 at 08:27 AM.
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Hey guys, both great answers. Let me ask this......... Why didn't Spain join with the Nazis? After all, didn't Hitler send forces to fight on the side of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War? I've often wondered why they stayed neutral.

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by garm1and View Post
    Hey guys, both great answers. Let me ask this......... Why didn't Spain join with the Nazis? After all, didn't Hitler send forces to fight on the side of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War? I've often wondered why they stayed neutral.
    Franco needed materiel to rebuild the country after the war, he had a huge debt to Italy and Germany for their help. The Allies could supply food and material which Germany and Italy could not.

    Germany transferred a few tanks to Spain, had a lot of sympathisers in Spain and even raised Spanich units in an anti bolshevik league (Azul Division being amongst them) but could not provide what Franco wanted.

    You could look at it this way - Germany promised Gibraltar to Spain - If Germany lost though Spain would be on the losing side with all that entails, if Germany wins Britain would have capitulated which makes it more likely Spain could take Gibraltar and retain it.

    So staying Neutral with a leaning to the Axis provided Spain with security in any eventuality, the allies provided food and materiel to keep Spain out of the war, Spain provided Germany with troops and limited resources in exchange for limited equipment.

    Spain supporting (even though tentatively) Germany did have longer lasting effects though, Spain was placed on a blacklist for British military technology so when they wished to purchase the Leopard 1 tank it was refused on the grounds it had the British L7A3 fitted. France was not as reluctant.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Thanks leccy. Name:  thumbsup.png
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Interesting replies. A good case indeed for the Battle of Britain. An interesting, if unhistorical speculation is whether, even if the Luftwaffe had "suppressed" Fighter Commannd, the Wehrmacht could have brought off "Sealion". It is unlikely that the suppression of Fighter Command would have been complete, and the Luftwaffe would have suffered heavy losses even to achieve temporary "suppression". And then, of course, there was Bomber Command, and the greatly superior Royal Navy. Against this, there is the point that the Germans were very ill-equipped, technologically, to mount a seaborne invasion of anywhere. The Kriegsmarine had few, if any, specialized landing vessels. The idea was to transport the whole land-based invasion force across the Channel in unsuitable vessels, mainly canal barges requisitioned from rivers and canals across western Europe, escorted by a German fleet much weaker in almost all respects than the Royal Navy under air cover from the Luftwaffe. Because of the inadequacies of marine ship location at the time, and the clumsiness of the transports, this operation would necessarily have been conducted in daylight.

    This plan had a high prospect of miscarrying. Without going into all the complications, the armada of inherently unseaworthy barges and so on would have been highly vulnerable to the "Spanish Armada scenario" - one good storm in the Channel at the wrong moment could easily have destroyed it. Furthermore, the launch of the invasion fleet would have to be handled with very great care to have any chance of success at all. In view of the inadequacy of Britain's land forces at the time, there can be no doubt that Churchill's government would have regarded the immediate threat of invasion as what is now commonly described as an "existential threat". When the moment came, they would have thrown everything they had at the invasion fleet - Bomber Command, the remains of Fighter Command, and all available units of the Royal Navy.

    Substantial British losses could, in these circumstances, have been expected. However, in provoking an all-out, to-the-death confrontation with the Royal Navy and the whole of the RAF, the losses to the German side could have been crippling. The transport element of the fleet would have highly vulnerable to disruptive bombing, and even attack from RN capital ships, which could have delivered fire into it from ranges that would have limited the effectiveness of German bombers against them (co-operation with the U-boat arm of the Kriegsmarine might have been more of a threat - but even there, the RN's superiority in destroyers and other "submarine killers" would have represented a counter-threat). In summary, there is a very strong possibility that, even with a partially-suppressed Fighter Command, the British, at cost no doubt, could have reduced the sort of invasion fleet projected by the Germans to a bloody mess. The effective destruction of the first wave of a German invasion, combined with follow-up attacks (including Grand Fleet bombardment of German forces waiting to take part in subsequent waves) could have compromised the whole Wehrmacht seriously; certainly enough to bring Hitler's dream of an early strike on the Soviet Union into serious question.

    Not historical, of course. Just a thought. Yours from the Dover Castle Caves, JR. PS - to my British friends I might lend (paraphrased) a line from an old Oirish Republican song - "Thank God you're surrounded by water" ... JR.

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by garm1and View Post
    At which battle did the tide turn against the Axis Powers? Was it the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Kursk, or the Normandy Invasion. Or was it something else?
    Looking at it more broadly, every battle and campaign Britain and its Commonwealth fought up 7 / 8 (depending on which side of the international dateline you're on) December 1941 was a turning point, purely because nobody else was fighting the Axis powers.

    Had Britain capitulated as France did, everything upon which the Allied response to the Axis powers was based after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941 and Japan attacked in December 1941 would have been impossible.

    America would have been confined to the continental US and Hawaii, with no realistic ability to launch a successful invasion of Britain or continental Europe.

    The USSR would have been denied materiel support from and through Britain.

    The USSR would have faced much larger German forces then were actually deployed against it.

    The USSR would have been on its own, with a much higher risk of defeat.

    America would probably have defeated Japan, but to what end when its trade with Britain and Europe was cut off? Presumably it would have done as the rancid American capitalists like Henry Ford wished, and traded with the Nazis for profit, as indeed the rancid American capitalists did while Britain was single-handedly fighting Germany and Italy while Ford and General Motors, among others, were happily supplying the Nazis because, not least, the Nazis agreed with their anti-Semitic and anti-communist views apart from offering great profits to supplement the profits made from supplying Britain at the same time.

    America's entry to the war certainly tipped the balance in favour of Allied victory, but without Britain holding the fort alone for the bleak years of 1940 and 1941 on its own shores and in North Africa, Greece, Crete, and against the Vichy French, Italians and Germans in various places, America's entry to the war would not have had Britain as, as Leccy said, the unsinkable aircraft carrier which was the necessary and only base for the land assault on Germany from the west, along with the Mediterranean for the land assault on Italy from the south.

    I'm not ignoring the major contribution of America's Lend Lease program to support Britain during the bleak years, but the fact remains that Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting the Germans and Italy for a critical year to eighteen months while the rest of the world either surrendered or looked on.

    The USSR and America came in only when attacked and with no choice but to fight, while Britain, with France, got itself involved from the outset by standing up to Nazi expansionism.

    The modern world should be eternally grateful to Churchill for, in the face of appeasers and defeatists in Britain, fighting on and laying the foundations for Allied victory over the evils of the Nazis and the Japanese. The modern world would be a very different place if the British appeasers and defeatists had capitulated to Germany.
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    Ref Sealion I have recently started to look at some German Documents that have been made available by the Russians and put online (ones they captured from the germans).

    One of the methods for supplying the troops from lighters on the beaches tested was literally to build a railway on the beach. each successive lighter would line up with the tracks to disgorge its load of wagons which were towed by halftrack and then static winches on a cable system.

    The whole system had sidings, branch lines, winch stations, hardly a suitable system even in peace time.

    It is slow going translating them (as they are scans of the original documents) but I have found 6 relating to Sealion so far
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Very interesting contributions. For the heck of it, I would like to state a case for "Operation Barbarossa" and, specifically, its failure to knock the Soviet Union out of the war by December, 1941.

    Germany was still in a strong position to wage war in Summer, 1941. Britain continued to defy Hitler, but was temporarily neutralized, except in relation to its operations in North Africa (yet another complication facing the Germans as a result of Italy's ill-judged declaration of war on Great Britain). The USA was not yet at war with the Axis, and it was far from certain that it would ever get involved. Germany had not yet instituted a fully-fledged war economy. However, the strain on the economy of Germany and German-occupied western Europe were already coming into evidence. As against this, the German war effort was still in a position to support itself with the aid of, in effect, resources looted from the occupied countries, ranging from industrial production to captured war materiel and - importantly - reserve stocks of the "sinews of war" accumulated in these countries, notably of oil. Perhaps there was, at least for now, the capacity to strike a decisive blow in the East.

    I know that it is unhistorical to speculate on what might have happened if Germany had captured Moscow and/or Leningrad in 1941. However, I do not subscribe to the view that the Soviet Union could easily have survived the loss of Moscow in particular, a view that seems to have received some currency in recent times. 1941 was not 1812. In 1812, Moscow was important as a communications centre - but only for its river communications. It was Russia's capital, having a relationship not dissimilar to the of Amsterdam with Den Haag in the Netherlands today. However, it was not crucial to the operation of the administrative and political system. At this period, Russia was an empire ruled by a primitive medieval-style autocracy, assisted by a small middle class, lording over a huge mass of people of no education. By 1941, Moscow was a very important hub of a backward, but crucial road and rail network. Furthermore, the Soviet Union was an absolutist dictatorship ruling over a population that was to some extent educated and, to a large degree, literate at least. The late and unlamented Comrade Stalin was brilliantly and brutally effective in controlling this polity (actually an unusually effective performance viewed in a broader historical context). However, the situation over which he exercised control had the potential of considerable volatility. Apart altogether from the enhanced importance of Moscow in communications terms, its loss had the potential to destabilize the faith of the Soviet population in the régime that did not exist in 1812. The paradox of modernization - it requires a substantial educated workforce, but a literate workforce, inevitably, poses the possibility of revolutionary opposition, given the right circumstances. After all, the Russian Empire was destroyed, not mainly by simple military defeat, but by the bunch of rather second-rate intellectuals that constituted the Russian Social Democratic Party. A reasonable conclusion would be that the capture of Moscow would have produced serious disruption in Soviet military transport to the extent that the Soviets might easily have been forced to order a general retreat with, potentially, serious adverse consequences for the régime.

    Germany's failure to capture Moscow (or at least Leningrad, which would have allowed the Germans to "outflank" Moscow from the north in a hypothetical Summer, 1942 campaign) had very serious consequences for the Germans. The spoils of the western campaign - particularly the "stockpile" element - were now greatly reduced or running out. Far from crumbling, the Soviet Union remained strong, with a huge potential to mobilize human and material resources for the war effort. A new generation of Soviet commanders was emerging to replace the victims of the "Army purges", and many of these proved highly effective. By contrast, the Germans' need to obtain the oil and mineral resources of the Caucasus was brought sharply into focus. In this context, the highly risky (and, thanks to Hitler, ill-executed) concentration of German effort in the South in 1942 is not at all illogical; it was an improbable last throw, leading to the Germans' calamitous defeat at Stalingrad, and their withdrawal from the Caucasus, events that, arguably, sealed their doom.

    Just a speculation, of course. Also, it occurs to me that another candidate for the real turning point took place, not in Europe, but far, far away at Pearl Harbour. That is another story ... Yours from Admiral Nagumo's bridge, JR.

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    JR*

    My inclination is that Stalin would have maintained control even if Moscow fell, and that the USSR still had good prospects of defeating Germany or at least fighting it to a standstill, not least because:
    1. He was never under threat of being toppled during WWII, even in the USSR's darkest days.
    2. He / the USSR could have just kept moving everything east, as they did in the real war, thus extending Germany's strained lines of communication while shortening their own and building to a successful war of attrition for the USSR.

    In relation to Pearl Harbor, that introduces a new aspect to garm1and's original question as Japan wasn't an Axis combatant for the first couple of years of WWII. Japan's entry certainly brought America into the war as a decisive Allied combatant and, more importantly, military industrial power, but it also started a fresh set of "tide turning" battles or campaigns in the Pacific, being those on land and sea in the second half of 1942 (Land: Guadalcanal, Papua. Sea: Coral Sea and, critically, Midway).

    However, these Pacific battles and campaigns had no or very little bearing on what was happening in Europe, apart from the diversion of British and its Commonwealth forces from, primarily, the Mediterranean / North Africa / Greece / Crete etc. Ignoring for the moment the various logistical problems in getting them there and supplying them, had those forces been available in the latter theatres it is unlikely that the results would have been much different.

    Indeed, had, say, the not very good Indian divisions deployed in Malaya been added to the forces in Greece, it is likely that they would have done no more than contribute even more chaos to the British retreat. Their principal contribution would probably have been to add to Germany's burden in dealing with POWs for the rest of the war. The Australian 8th Division's two brigades in Malaya and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders would have fought well in Greece as they did in Malaya, but probably without changing the result and also making their lasting contribution only by adding to Germany's burden of POWs, along with most of the rest not very good British units actually deployed in Malaya.

    Perhaps the critical tide turning effect of Pearl Harbor was not in the field but was to encourage Hitler, unnecessarily as there was no treaty with or other obligation to Japan to do so, to declare war on the USA. This removed all impediments to Roosevelt's desire to join the war against Germany and took the formerly largely isolationist American people with him as the US Senate and House of Representatives responded with a unanimous vote declaring war on Germany (and Italy).
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 05-14-2015 at 09:34 AM.
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    P.S.

    Another important consequence of Japan's entry to the war which helped turn the tide against Germany was the geographic division of responsibilities between Britain and America for fighting Japan.

    America became responsible for the Pacific, which relieved Britain of a potentially massive and impossible to meet naval and land force burden in defending Australia and New Zealand in accordance with its agreements with and obligations to those dominions.

    Australia and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand became bases for America's thrust northwards to Japan.

    The shorter lines of communication between the west coast of America and Australia / New Zealand flowing from this division of responsibilities allowed much greater Allied efficiency overall, and decreased dramatically the burden on Britain of defending its Australasian dominions, than the much longer lines of communication from Britain and consequently much higher consumption of oil and shipping tonnages / miles which were critical to both sides in the war.
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    The real turning point in the Pacific war occurred in March 1942 when Japan, infected with 'the victory disease', chose to go beyond its original firm plans to conquer the Netherlands East Indies and proceed to the provisional but not very useful targets of Papua / New Guinea, and then beyond those provisional targets to, among others, Guadalcanal.

    This over-extension produced convincing defeats on land in Guadalcanal and Papua by the start of 1943 and set the stage for the long, grinding and generally little known conflict in New Guinea which absorbed about 400,000 Japanese troops who were steadily reduced to semi or full starvation as the Allies cut off their supply lines from 1943 to the end of the war. (And in worse condition were loyal Indian troops serving in Malaya who had refused to join the Indian National Army Mks I and or II, who were transported to New Guinea and worked in conditions not much better than those on the Burma Railway but about whom nothing of substance has been written to compare with the relatively vast library of Anglo-Australian-American POW experiences).

    These extensions beyond the original firm plan bled Japan of land forces; naval forces; and naval and merchant shipping in attempting to maintain over-extended lines of communication in the face of increasingly damaging Allied attacks on those lines of communication. These problems were compounded by Japan's practice of supplying its troops with initial rations which soon reduced in the expectation that its troops would live off the land. This was feasible, at least for a time, as Japanese troops moved like locusts across the landscape in China and to a lesser extent in Malaya and the Philippines. It was not feasible in places like Papua New Guinea where there was no large scale agriculture or animal husbandry but instead only scattered small villages with modest vegetable gardens and a few animals sufficient to meet the subsistence needs of the villagers. Add in the high rate of tropical diseases experienced by troops on both sides in these areas but without much in the way of medical staff or supplies for the Japanese and the result was that by 1944 many Japanese troops were on the way to being or were reduced to pitiful states of hunger and disease which rendered them of little or no use as fighting, and certainly not as sustained attack, troops.

    The other effect of the over-extension was that by spreading its troops thinly and over-extending its lines of communication Japan severely reduced its ability to execute its somewhat ill-conceived war plan of taking territory and holding it to great cost to its enemies, primarily America, if they attacked so that eventually its enemies would negotiate a peace allowing Japan to hold all or most of those territories.

    As it was, Japan bit off more than it could chew, and gradually choked on what it had bitten off.

    Or, in the terms of this thread, Japan created a rising tide and then turned it on itself, and duly drowned.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 05-14-2015 at 10:54 AM.
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Looking at it more broadly, every battle and campaign Britain and its Commonwealth fought up 7 / 8 (depending on which side of the international dateline you're on) December 1941 was a turning point, purely because nobody else was fighting the Axis powers.

    Had Britain capitulated as France did, everything upon which the Allied response to the Axis powers was based after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941 and Japan attacked in December 1941 would have been impossible.

    America would have been confined to the continental US and Hawaii, with no realistic ability to launch a successful invasion of Britain or continental Europe.

    The USSR would have been denied materiel support from and through Britain.

    The USSR would have faced much larger German forces then were actually deployed against it.

    The USSR would have been on its own, with a much higher risk of defeat.

    America would probably have defeated Japan, but to what end when its trade with Britain and Europe was cut off? Presumably it would have done as the rancid American capitalists like Henry Ford wished, and traded with the Nazis for profit, as indeed the rancid American capitalists did while Britain was single-handedly fighting Germany and Italy while Ford and General Motors, among others, were happily supplying the Nazis because, not least, the Nazis agreed with their anti-Semitic and anti-communist views apart from offering great profits to supplement the profits made from supplying Britain at the same time.

    America's entry to the war certainly tipped the balance in favour of Allied victory, but without Britain holding the fort alone for the bleak years of 1940 and 1941 on its own shores and in North Africa, Greece, Crete, and against the Vichy French, Italians and Germans in various places, America's entry to the war would not have had Britain as, as Leccy said, the unsinkable aircraft carrier which was the necessary and only base for the land assault on Germany from the west, along with the Mediterranean for the land assault on Italy from the south.

    I'm not ignoring the major contribution of America's Lend Lease program to support Britain during the bleak years, but the fact remains that Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting the Germans and Italy for a critical year to eighteen months while the rest of the world either surrendered or looked on.

    The USSR and America came in only when attacked and with no choice but to fight, while Britain, with France, got itself involved from the outset by standing up to Nazi expansionism.

    The modern world should be eternally grateful to Churchill for, in the face of appeasers and defeatists in Britain, fighting on and laying the foundations for Allied victory over the evils of the Nazis and the Japanese. The modern world would be a very different place if the British appeasers and defeatists had capitulated to Germany.

    I agree Britian did hang on and not surrender when they could have. But I cant agree that Britian saved the world the way you make it sound. First Britian is lucky enough to be an island with a strong navy which France was not which made it easier for Britian to resist the Germans when on their own. They may have been one of the only ones fighting the Germans for a year or so but they were getting beat almost everywhere on land as they got kicked out of France and Greece and were getting banged around in North Africa for a while and it was mostly Itialians they were fighting in the desert as Germany only had 2 divisions in the desert. And actually the reason I feel Monty finally did defeat the Germans and Itialians in the desert was that Rommel just could not get the supplies that Monty did as you can see in some of the later battles Monty had up to a 1000 tanks and Rommel many times had less the 200 tanks. To me Rommell forces could not get the supplies it needed most of the time and Monty just eventually outnumbered him so much in tanks and supplies that Monty had to win sooner or later in the desert. They did have some naval and air battles they won of course and they fought very bravely where ever they were fighting. But on land early in the war Germany was to strong for them or anyone at that point and to me if they had not been an island nation Britian would have fallen in 1941.

    I dont mean to take anything away from how great the British were fighting but in all honestly if they were a nation on the main continent of Europe like France and Hungary they may had fallen to the Germans early in the war but being and island nation and having a strong navy and air force was a good advantage they had over nations on the mainland Europe since Hitlers strongest forces were his land forces which could not get to the British on their island.

    Now please dont take this the wrong way as the world is grateful for what Britian did to stand firm and not surrender as they could have easily taken Hitler's offer but they decided to stand and fight. I am merely pointing out that it helped them being an island nation to be able to hold on until Germany attacked Russia and eased up on Britian. Britian was also a great help to the USA for being and island nation as without them the USA may not have had anywhere to send their troops along with the British to built their forces for the invasion of Europe. Ron
    Last edited by 383man; 06-06-2015 at 03:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 383man View Post
    I agree Britian did hang on and not surrender when they could have. But I cant agree that Britian saved the world the way you make it sound. First Britian is lucky enough to be an island with a strong navy which France was not which made it easier for Britian to resist the Germans when on their own.

    You get into some big what ifs there - If Britain had not been an island then it may not have had such a powerful Navy, it would have spent more on its Army instead of the majority of the budget being spent on the navy - and when re-equipping RN, RAF then army got what was left - In 1938/39 when the army was told to quadruple in size it was told it had to do it with the budget which had already been deemed too small to fully equip the existing divisions. With Britain being part of the mainland - that would probably have not been the case - The British Army may have continued with its Experimental Mobile Force trials and formed proper armoured divs prior to 1939 - The Army would probably have not been developed around a Commonwealth police force with limited capability on the mainland.

    They may have been one of the only ones fighting the Germans for a year or so but they were getting beat almost everywhere on land as they got kicked out of France and Greece and were getting banged around in North Africa for a while and it was mostly Itialians they were fighting in the desert as Germany only had 2 divisions in the desert.

    British forces in France and the Low Countries and later Greece were outnumbered and poorly equipped - of the nearly 1000 tanks and armoured cars Britain fielded on mainland Europe in May 1940 only around 200 had AT guns - less than 30 Matilda Seniors and the rest various marks of Cruiser (if Britain had been part of mainland Europe it would have had a continental army and not one equipped to police the empire.

    The British Commonwealth Forces in North and East Africa faced overwhelming numbers of Italian troops with much more equipment - most of it comparable to or better than what Britain could field. Even when the Germans entered the field of battle they too were beaten by the British Commonwealth Forces and pushed back to their start point - it was not all 'Rommel' winning, he lost and German tank crews even had cases of 'Matildatitis'.

    The British stopped when they pushed the Italians out of Egypt and all the way across Libya as they were exhausted and out of supplies - Germans attacked the weak holding garrison and pushed them back past tobruk which they could not take after an 8 month siege - British forces again push the Axis back across Libya and run out of supplies - not for nothing was the war in North Africa called 'The race track war - or the back and forth war' - the biggest killers of British tanks were mines and AT guns, German armour itself often coming of badly against British armour - but their AT gun screens which were impervious to British tank guns pretty much stopped the British.

    British Forces were also on the long end of supply lines and Middle East Command - did not just deal with a single front - facing Rommel - but the whole of the Med and Africa - it had to provide troops, equipment and supplies for all the forces which were fighting in North and East Africa, internal troubles in Palestine etc, antagonistic regimes in Iraq, Iran, Syria



    And actually the reason I feel Monty finally did defeat the Germans and Itialians in the desert was that Rommel just could not get the supplies that Monty did as you can see in some of the later battles Monty had up to a 1000 tanks and Rommel many times had less the 200 tanks. To me Rommell forces could not get the supplies it needed most of the time and Monty just eventually outnumbered him so much in tanks and supplies that Monty had to win sooner or later in the desert. They did have some naval and air battles they won of course and they fought very bravely where ever they were fighting. But on land early in the war Germany was to strong for them or anyone at that point and to me if they had not been an island nation Britian would have fallen in 1941.

    Monty was the last of a string of Generals who fought Rommel - and he was not the first who had success against him. The Axis failed to provide the resources required by their forces on the ground in North and East Africa - saying there was none available - but then you look at the sudden influx of men and equipment,well supplied which were sent to Tunisia in 1942/43 when the war was lost already there (and the axis situation was more desperate in the Soviet union) and you can see that if they were serious they could have provided more troops, equipment and supplies to North Africa when it mattered and could be used.

    Rommels inability to take Tobruk initially also compounded his supply problems as he wasted huge amounts of fuel, food and transport just getting supplies to the front along the single road, similar to the Allied problems - huge distances from your depot areas


    I dont mean to take anything away from how great the British were fighting but in all honestly if they were a nation on the main continent of Europe like France and Hungary they may had fallen to the Germans early in the war but being and island nation and having a strong navy and air force was a good advantage they had over nations on the mainland Europe since Hitlers strongest forces were his land forces which could not get to the British on their island.

    Hungary was an Axis nation it did not fall to the Germans until it tried to surrender in 1944 - even then it was a Hungarian puppet government in charge afterwards.

    Rommel is seen as this great General - but most don't seem to understand him - he was one of the causes for the first German halt in France - when the limited spoiling attack at Arras took place by a small improvised brigade with a few tanks, no artillery and limited infantry support panicked him - He reported he was under attack by several allied tank divs - this forced OKW to stop the advance and turn several armoured divs around to counter this threat - in reality less than 100 Matildas (26 A12 Matildas) and a few Light Mk VI ripped a hole through the German forces - broke an SS unit causing it to flee the battle, Stopped the german advance and allowed the BEF and French forces in the area a chance to recover.

    Again, if Britain had been part of mainland Europe its army would have been different - that is a what if that we can never know what would have happened - you have to try to work out centuries of european warfare to even begin to work out a possibility and that would be impossible as it would have changed the whole nature of Britain


    Now please dont take this the wrong way as the world is grateful for what Britian did to stand firm and not surrender as they could have easily taken Hitler's offer but they decided to stand and fight. I am merely pointing out that it helped them being an island nation to be able to hold on until Germany attacked Russia and eased up on Britian. Britian was also a great help to the USA for being and island nation as without them the USA may not have had anywhere to send their troops along with the British to built their forces for the invasion of Europe. Ron
    As for Britain 'Holding on' they were active constantly against the Axis in the air and sea - most of the Kriegsmarine were sunk in the battle for Norway so negating German surface sea power, apart from two short 'happy periods' the U-Boat arm was not very successful (they came closer in WW1 to starving the british out than at any time in WW2)

    Raids against the continent notably ones like 'Vaagso' meant Hitler kept over 400,000 troops in Scandinavia for the duration of the war - they were so worried Britain may try to invade which would cut off their ore supplies. 400,000 badly needed troops with all their equipment that were still there in 1945.

    France itself was not beaten by the Germans - it was beaten by itself - Petain was so mindful of the death and damage wrought to France during WW1 that he seeked an armistice when over half the country was unoccupied - when the french forces had started to get the measure of the Germans (and beat the invading Italian army) and were inflicting large numbers of casualties on the Germans.

    Germany were stopped at the Channel by their failure to understand sea borne assaults, an inability to actually develop equipment or techniques required, the RN threat (especially as the Kriegsmarine surface fleet was all but finished after Norway), the RAF (no matter how close it may have come for the RAF, the German aircrews and equipment were at breaking point - crew morale was low with high incidences of early turn backs among bomber crews, reliability of planes was slipping lower and lower as German industry could not keep up - unlike Britain when fighter strength increased as the BoB progressed)
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

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