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Thread: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

  1. #76
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Nick - agree with your points. I would go further - the failure of the German government to activate a full war economy was based on political considerations, and was supported by what amounted to extensive looting of occupied territories. Also relevant was a set of rather lazy assumption as to the possibilities for looting further in Soviet territories not yet acquired - and never actually acquired. Thus came about what German historian Gotz Aly characterized as "the accommodating dictatorship". The German population was shielded from the full rigors of war, at the expense of the occupied populations, and of course of the Jews. One expression of this came in a speech delivered by Hermann Goering in October, 1942 - "If anyone is to go hungry, it will not be a German !". The defeat at Stalingrad (and related failure of the Caucasus campaign, something under-rated) resulted in a quick transition to "Total War", as the possibilities for looting suddenly dried up.

    Regarding slave labor - indeed a double-edged sword. The Third Reich employed compelled or impressed in a wide range of forms. The advantages are obvious. The disadvantages perhaps less so. These ranged from dependence on workforces under strong compulsion with little incentive to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively to the dislocation of local economies in occupied countries through forced or semi-compelled displacement of local labour forces, to (in the East) the destruction of the productive capacity of regions through the "harvesting" of their workers for employment elsewhere. One point to be borne in mind about the employment of slave labour (and indeed looting) employed on this scale in the modern environment unused to such measures is that it involves a choice, and a complex one at that. This form of direction of labour (and of other productive resources and products), rather than trying one's best to employ these resources in situ and under minimum compulsion, is likely to be a considerable reduction in the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the economy. There is ample evidence of this in the Third Reich context. Best regards, JR.

  2. #77
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    Yes, I get the D-Day analogy, but not certain that the two are analogous. The German coastal defences in 1944 were far more substantial than anything Britain had in 1940. Arguably, the German success on land in Europe didn't translate, because they didn't try it. So I guess it remains a moot point. The reason I queried as to whether Hitler was serious about invading Britain, is that he doesn't appear to have asked for an alternative plan. Most staff planners present their commanders with options. As we know, the German high command had some very able people, and Hitler could be open to innovative ideas or totally blinkered and inflexible. There are those that argue that the whole invasion exercise was merely a screen to cover the preparations for Barbarossa.

    Thanks for the link.
    The Germans struggled to come up with a really detailed plan - but that is not surprising when the Army wanted a broad front invasion but the Navy wanted a narrow front - fundamentally disagreeing on where to even land - hard to do any plans past that. Saying that though they did persue both plans but in a more half hearted way as it seems the officers nominated to come up with ideas had no illusions as to the ability to actually launch a crossing in any circumstances except the collapse of the British government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I think there was sort of a trite belief that by conquering France, Poland and with the final assimilation of Czechoslovakia that the armaments question would take care of itself. The Germans did have a war economy -- sort of. But there was a bizarre tendency to attempt to continue the production of consumer goods in an effort to maintain the good graces of the German people and insulate them as much as possible from the abnormalities of war until relatively late - when crises began to escalate and cascade. Most do not realize how agrarian the German economy was at the beginning of WWII. For instance, some will say that German never properly mobilized its female population for war production the way that the United States and Britain did (i.e. no German equivalent to "Rosie the Riveter"). But actually much of the German female adult population was involved in making up for the shortage of male agricultural workers in this period, so in a sense the did mobilize their adult female population for production.

    In 1938 more German women were in work as a percentage of the population (mostly on the land) than in the UK at its highest level which was in 1944 (in all industries and services).
    Britain was a more industrialised nation particularly in agriculture and livestock than Germany, Britain also had the vast Commonwealth providing food and goods so subsidising its homegrown produce - it did not need the labour heavy farming methods Germany had to use (not withstanding the huge call ups of the farms principle motive power - the horse)


    The Reich also believed they could make good some shortages via the use of slave labor and captured transport from France. Certainly, the French weapons and trucks went a long way in helping the Wehrmacht until they began to break down or quickly became obsolete and relegated to secondary fronts against partisans. Slave labor was a Catch-22 at best, as many of the best trained machinists were Jews that Germany was trying to work-to-death or kill outright. Starved slave laborers are not very productive and might actually constitute a net loss since you're feeding them a starvation diet that only allows them to pass out in factories and be unproductive but is enough to draw rations away from more productive German laborers - whom were often demoralized by the brutality of the regime they witnessed with complete disregard for the lives of foreign conscript workers...

    In short, I think Hitler believed the easiest way to take Britain was to defeat, or at least severally cripple, the Soviet Union and its government by capturing the most productive areas of industry and agriculture. He would deprive Britain of one of her main hopes and solve the ultimate crisis the Reich faced in terms of access to resources and production shortfalls and limitations - ultimately with an eye towards a total war with the United States and its "Jewish Shadow Government". Of course the Russians had another idea about that...
    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.

  3. #78
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    The Germans struggled to come up with a really detailed plan - but that is not surprising when the Army wanted a broad front invasion but the Navy wanted a narrow front - fundamentally disagreeing on where to even land - hard to do any plans past that. Saying that though they did persue both plans but in a more half hearted way as it seems the officers nominated to come up with ideas had no illusions as to the ability to actually launch a crossing in any circumstances except the collapse of the British government.
    Which begs the question: did Hitler ever really intend to invade the UK?


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  4. #79
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    Which begs the question: did Hitler ever really intend to invade the UK?
    Simple answer - no - he wanted Britain to surrender or seek peace terms (after all part of the British government did want to seek terms and had spent years appeasing the Germans).

    But ................

    From what I have read (and several years of discussions on various sites and books - including one running to over 10k posts over 7 years) - it was a yes if the issues could be solved (when it became clear early on Britain would continue to fight) - he did not appoint the juniors who did the actual grunt work for the planning (or tried to). He appointed the 'Names' and basically said - get it done - those 'names' appointed the junior staff officers and units that actually did the planning and the development of equipment to be used.

    Those in the higher ranks seemed to be under no illusion in their capability to work together (all arms and forces) and actually cross the channel in force with enough strength to defeat the British, never mind the constant resupply afterwards.

    Goering seemed to be the only one convinced that it could be done, while he seemed to ignore the state of his own forces - propoganda hype or winning streak blinding him to facts maybe.

    The KM were to block the channel with all available mines at one end (including captured and training mines this amounted to just over 6000 sea mines), the other end was to be covered by shore based artillery - this was supposed to prevent the RN from getting into the channel area.

    A slight problem though that at the height of the threat the RN already around 80 destroyers/corvettes/sloops in the Channel ports, to which must be added the armed trawlers and other boats of the 'Lilliput Navy' - far outnumbering and outclassing the entire KM fleet even with captured vessals included. The RN did not need to get its larger surface fleet into action.

    Even reducing the crews of the KM ships to the bare minimum for their tasks so that the rest could be used to crew the captured and requisitioned ships and boats, they would have to call up just about anyone who had crewed a boat including those who were purely pleasure boat owners - to man all the craft they had.

    The KM understood this so were less than enthusiastic about planning it (especially after the losses in Norway - including some spectacular losses in destroyers to outnumbered attackers).

    Germany did call up all boat skippers, barges and small craft (over a certain tonnage) even from the lakes in Germany and the occupied zones - it reduced their production capacity due to the disruption to the transportation network. Seems odd to slow down war material production for months just to do something for show.

    Hitler did not have a concept of how hard a sea crossing and landing on a hostile shore would be - all their experience was with river crossings (which they assumed could be scaled up), where multiple units could cross with full support from their organic artillery or close air support, using existing bridges/fords or their organic engineer capability - none of which would be present when crossing the channel.
    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.

  5. #80
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Simple answer - no - he wanted Britain to surrender or seek peace terms (after all part of the British government did want to seek terms and had spent years appeasing the Germans).

    But ................

    From what I have read (and several years of discussions on various sites and books - including one running to over 10k posts over 7 years)
    So, where's the book?


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  6. #81
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    So, where's the book?
    If you really want to do some reading and have a few brain cells killed off with impossible claims (from both sides)

    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=123559

    There was another long one of WW2 talk I participated in but cant find that one right now (not been on the site for a few years) - 0ne thread was by someone trying to sell a book of his - despite his continual fighting (he claimed it would have been easy to invade Britain and win) he failed to answer valid questions and all his arguments were taken apart - I am really going to have to look at that again - I can get a little passionate or carried away at times about things.
    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.

  7. #82
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    If you really want to do some reading and have a few brain cells killed off with impossible claims (from both sides)

    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=123559

    I am really going to have to look at that again - I can get a little passionate or carried away at times about things.
    If only I were that keen...


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  8. #83
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    If you really want to do some reading and have a few brain cells killed off with impossible claims (from both sides)

    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=123559

    ....
    And the requisite alcohol it takes to get through Armchair General threads...

  9. #84
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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Simple answer - no - he wanted Britain to surrender or seek peace terms (after all part of the British government did want to seek terms and had spent years appeasing the Germans).

    But ................
    Agreed, generally speaking. I think Hitler tended to however not let himself be muddled with military details like logistics and all. I do think Hitler believed that if the British were not sensible enough to simply come to terms the invasion could be worked out, initially. But as he came more to obsess with the Soviet Union and ultimately the Jewish "controlled" United States, he thought he would need to secure the resources of the USSR. Hitler had victory disease at this point and had successfully forced his will on his generals hesitant to invade France, and combined with their sensible obstinacy, came up with a (Sickle cut) plan that achieved their victory. I agree he disfavored an invasion of Britain, but I do think he thought it could be done if the necessary resources existed and everything would sort of take care of itself. I think we have to keep in mind also that the Wehrmacht was almost as unprepared for its early victories and there was sort of a "what next?" mentality. They didn't even have a real war plan versus the French until well after the Polish Invasion started...

    From what I have read (and several years of discussions on various sites and books - including one running to over 10k posts over 7 years) - it was a yes if the issues could be solved (when it became clear early on Britain would continue to fight) - he did not appoint the juniors who did the actual grunt work for the planning (or tried to). He appointed the 'Names' and basically said - get it done - those 'names' appointed the junior staff officers and units that actually did the planning and the development of equipment to be used.

    Those in the higher ranks seemed to be under no illusion in their capability to work together (all arms and forces) and actually cross the channel in force with enough strength to defeat the British, never mind the constant resupply afterwards.

    Goering seemed to be the only one convinced that it could be done, while he seemed to ignore the state of his own forces - propoganda hype or winning streak blinding him to facts maybe.
    It's hard to know what Goering actually believed since he lied so much, he basically lied about everything including the Luftwaffe's ability to take on Britain. But he may well have thought it could be done, but only by willful burying his head in the sand as his underlings told him of the gaping challenges facing German air arms in a long war...

    The KM were to block the channel with all available mines at one end (including captured and training mines this amounted to just over 6000 sea mines), the other end was to be covered by shore based artillery - this was supposed to prevent the RN from getting into the channel area.

    A slight problem though that at the height of the threat the RN already around 80 destroyers/corvettes/sloops in the Channel ports, to which must be added the armed trawlers and other boats of the 'Lilliput Navy' - far outnumbering and outclassing the entire KM fleet even with captured vessals included. The RN did not need to get its larger surface fleet into action.

    Even reducing the crews of the KM ships to the bare minimum for their tasks so that the rest could be used to crew the captured and requisitioned ships and boats, they would have to call up just about anyone who had crewed a boat including those who were purely pleasure boat owners - to man all the craft they had.

    The KM understood this so were less than enthusiastic about planning it (especially after the losses in Norway - including some spectacular losses in destroyers to outnumbered attackers).

    Germany did call up all boat skippers, barges and small craft (over a certain tonnage) even from the lakes in Germany and the occupied zones - it reduced their production capacity due to the disruption to the transportation network. Seems odd to slow down war material production for months just to do something for show.

    Hitler did not have a concept of how hard a sea crossing and landing on a hostile shore would be - all their experience was with river crossings (which they assumed could be scaled up), where multiple units could cross with full support from their organic artillery or close air support, using existing bridges/fords or their organic engineer capability - none of which would be present when crossing the channel.
    I think we should add the institutional weakness that the Wehrmacht had as far as its complete inexperience and even ignorance of amphibious warfare. Both the British and American navies had Marines and a lot of institutional naval experience that was lost in Germany after WWI. Of course, Hitler would be rather flippant about that as well. There actually was a small unit of German naval infantry, they were repulsed with heavy casualties in the opening hours of the Polish Campaign.

    I personally think Sealion was nothing but pie-in-the-sky and that both the Heer and Kriegsmarine dragged on plodding as ordered while hoping Hitler would come to his senses and focus on the Soviets - which he did, although that was far from sensible...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 09-22-2016 at 12:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Why did Guderian stop at Dunkirk?

    Test. Test...

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