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Thread: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

  1. #1
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    Default Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    I think it would be either Erwin Rommel or Fedor von Bock.
    Erwin Rommel because he was an amazing desert warfare general and almost stopped the Allies during the D-day invasion. Fedor because he almost defeated the Russians but Hitler made his tanks go to Kiev.
    But my ultimate choice would have to be Rommel.

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Spooky...
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Do I detect Deletions ? Yours from the Stygian Depths, JR.

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Mr. Vehicle is another Spammer, we seem to be attracting this sort of late. Soon as they are noticed, we send them to the depths you mentioned.

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Thanks for the explanation, tankgeezer. Just sorry that my post went with it. This was a pretty silly thread proposition - but it might have been a bit of fun, minus Chinese pumps ... JR.

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Goering, Guderian, Gille, Rommel, Keitel but many of them was the best
    "The consciousness that I am alive, makes me wild dreams every day"
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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    Do I detect Deletions ? Yours from the Stygian Depths, JR.
    Nein! No deletions...

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Sometimes, the entire thread started by a spammer is removed as part of the banning process. Individual spam, or troll posts are deleted, while leaving the rest of an otherwise legitimate thread intact. In the case of this thread, only the spammer has been given the Hammer.
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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Rommel.

    He was against hitlers policies of hating jews and killing jew british soldiers but was a true German nationalists and was only fighting for Germany, not hitler.

    Also he saved a British Soldier from certain death- he went against Hitler's orders of killing captured jewish british soldiers.

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by aly j View Post
    Rommel.

    He was against hitlers policies of hating jews and killing jew british soldiers but was a true German nationalists and was only fighting for Germany, not hitler.

    Also he saved a British Soldier from certain death- he went against Hitler's orders of killing captured jewish british soldiers.
    Panicked at Arras in May 1940 and vastly overestimated British forces against him and therefore stalled his advance, aiding British evacuation from Dunkirk.

    Lost in North Africa March 1943.

    Lost Atlantic Wall defence 1944, which opened way for Western advance to Berlin and eventual Western defeat of Germany.

    Hardly the greatest commander Germany had.

    Reminds me of a comment attributed to Paul McCartney when asked if Ringo was the best rock and roll drummer in the world. McCartney replied "He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles."

    Rommel certainly did well in many battles but, judged against many other German commanders engaged in much larger campaigns, his military significance was fairly minor compared with his exaggerated public profile. Rather like MacArthur on the Allied side.
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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Panicked at Arras in May 1940 and vastly overestimated British forces against him and therefore stalled his advance, aiding British evacuation from Dunkirk.

    Lost in North Africa March 1943.

    Lost Atlantic Wall defence 1944, which opened way for Western advance to Berlin and eventual Western defeat of Germany.

    Hardly the greatest commander Germany had.

    Reminds me of a comment attributed to Paul McCartney when asked if Ringo was the best rock and roll drummer in the world. McCartney replied "He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles."

    Rommel certainly did well in many battles but, judged against many other German commanders engaged in much larger campaigns, his military significance was fairly minor compared with his exaggerated public profile. Rather like MacArthur on the Allied side.
    Not just panicked at Arra's but by over-estimating the British force he caused several German Armoured Divs to be re-directed to deal with the new threat. This was the period of the first German halt and allowed the Allies to prepare defences to face the Germans at the ports - (reporting he was under attack by several British Armoured Divs when in fact it was a very weak Armoured Brigade lacking artillery and infantry - coupled with Britain only had one Armoured Div at the time at that did not land in Normandy until the day after the Arras battle).

    The constant daring and being at the front meant he was often out of contact with his higher HQ's, his successes were more to do with his HQ Staffs work than his own once battle was joined as he was too busy being at the front and controlling at a more local level.

    His early victories and the German cult of personality/heroes meant he was attributed with major victories (which were in themselves not ones) and so increased the thoughts of many that he was unbeatable and could do anything with nothing - part of the reason he was not given as much aid as he wished or really needed - 'he always said a task was impossible then did it (more due to allied fatigue and incompetence than his own brilliance).

    Many forget he was beaten in 1941, 1942 and 1943 after panicking in 1940 - there were many German Generals who were militarily more capable than Rommel.
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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    His early victories and the German cult of personality/heroes meant he was attributed with major victories (which were in themselves not ones) and so increased the thoughts of many that he was unbeatable and could do anything with nothing - part of the reason he was not given as much aid as he wished or really needed - 'he always said a task was impossible then did it (more due to allied fatigue and incompetence than his own brilliance).
    I wouldn't limit cult of personality to Germany.

    MacArthur and his sycophantic cabal elevated it almost to a science, albeit a disgraceful one frequently devoid and at times quite the opposite of any factual basis. Unlike Rommel, MacArthur often did little with the relative bounty he was given, from losing his excellent bomber force on the ground in the Philippines at the start of the war to nearly losing Papua New Guinea in 1942 by, unlike Rommel, never getting with even a few thousand miles of his topographically and meteorologically unique battle front and therefore completely failing to understand the extraordinary problems facing his ground and air forces in the terrible terrain and weather conditions which hampered ground and air operations.

    MacArthur was probably the least significant, least successful, least competent, most demanding in the sense of wanting more troops and resources, and most whining Allied theatre commander in WWII judged on any military basis. He was also the most shameless, dishonest and outstandingly successful self-promoter with probably the best personal propaganda machine outside Germany. Apart from Eisenhower, MacArthur (who detested Eisenhower from Eisenhower’s prior service under MacArthur, which detestation was fully reciprocated by Eisenhower) was by far the best popularly known theatre commander thanks to his remorseless personal propaganda campaign, which in part was aimed at securing nomination for a tilt at the US Presidency. Admirals King and Nimitz, and especially King, are far less well known publicly but did vastly more to win the Pacific war than MacArthur ever did, especially in the crucial years of 1942 to early 1943 when MacArthur was deluding himself that he was about to make a decisive thrust into distant, impregnable and strategically fairly unimportant Japanese held Rabaul and therefore idiotically denying forces and resources to his only battle front in Papua New Guinea. He went close to losing Papua New Guinea because of his continuing incompetence but was rescued from another major defeat largely by the Japanese diverting forces and resources to Guadalcanal in Nimitz’s theatre of operations and as a consequence of Nimitz’s naval operations in the Coral Sea, at Midway and more locally in more minor operations.

    I don't know whether Rommel's popular fame comes from self-promotion like MacArthur or from Gemany's propaganda machine fastening upon him, but of the two Rommel was by far the better and much more deserving of his popular reputation.

    The problem with popularly well-known commanders such as Rommel, MacArthur and Patton is that their colourful characters and popularised presentations are mistaken by an uninformed public for outstanding military ability when really they were at best highly competent and notably successful at times and at worst not very good (which can apply to even the best commanders) or, certainly in MacArthur’s case, even utterly useless at critical points and periods. The latter is less true of Patton compared with the failures of Rommel and MacArthur, but he was fighting when the odds were much more in his favour. O’Connor was at least as good in North Africa as Rommel was, but his name means nothing to the public educated by Hollywood films and journalists of limited knowledge spouting the usual uninformed and unanalysed fictions about Rommel, MacArthur, and Patton.

    As for Rommel "doing anything with nothing", no Western force went close to the Japanese for really doing quite a lot with not a lot. From ancient memory, the comparative tonnage scales to support ?1,000? troops in the field in Papua New Guinea in 1942 were 4 tons for the Japanese, 19 tons for the Australians and, not surprisingly, considerably more for the Americans. Similarly, General Yamashita declined the offer of at least one (?two? my memory is getting steadily worse) extra division(s) in planning his Malayan campaign, partly because he correctly recognised that the logistical burdens and difficulties would be unacceptable – he was better off with a well supplied smaller force than a poorly supplied larger one.

    I don’t know enough about all the commanders in the vast campaigns in Europe, particularly eastern Europe, to pick the best, but in the Pacific War the best land commanders at divisional level and above in the early phase were all Japanese. I’d back any of them against Rommel and MacArthur in any half way equal contest at the time, as indeed the Japanese thrashed an arrogant, over-confident, bombastic and unforgivably ill-prepared MacArthur in the Philippines in the real war and damaged his forces in Papua New Guinea 1942-43 far more than would have been the case had MacArthur been a competent commander focused purely on his battle fronts instead of being more a show pony publicity hound aiming to compensate for his loss of the Philippines by an impossible invasion of Rabaul.
    ..
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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    What about -

    Top strategist - Manstein

    Top Staff Tactician - Halder

    Top Army level commander - Runstedt

    Top Staff/Logistical commander - Runstedt

    Top Defensive Scrapper in Helpful Terrain - Kesselring

    Top Defensive Scrapper in Not-Necessarily-Helpful Terrain - Model

    Houdini Award (for breakout/escape experts) - shared between Rendulic and Gille

    Special Award for Waffen-SS mass murderers - Dirlewanger (Special Mention - Stroop)

    Special Mention for Hiding in Giant Concrete Bunkers - shared by Keitel and Jodl.

    Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    ...
    Special Mention for Hiding in Giant Concrete Bunkers - shared by Keitel and Jodl.

    Best regards, JR.


    Wasn't Keitel "the grave digger of the German Heer?"

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    Default Re: Who was the best Nazi/German general during WWII?

    The problem with these "best" threads is that there is no correct or definitive answer. One might as well ask "Who was the best rock band in the [insert era]" or "What is the best film ever made."?"

    A further problem in the military sphere is that one has to determine the criteria for "best".

    Does "best" mean most successful in battle, campaign, or war? Or something else, such as not pointlessly sacrificing troops in a lost cause?

    Does "best" allow for surrounding factors such as logistics, relative strength of enemy forces, political support for the general or his campaign, and other factors bearing on performance?

    Do we look only at wins, or successful losses?

    Putting some of these things together, Montgomery could be seen as a very much better general in France in 1940 in withdrawing his formation relatively intact under intense German pressure than Rommel was in failing to continue the pressure he had with Germany's many advantages when Rommel stalled because he exaggerated the British forces he thought were against him.

    Situations reversed, Rommel might be seen as doing rather better in 2nd el Alamein with significantly inferior forces to Montgomery. Or Rommel could just be absolved of responsibility, given that he was in Germany for medical treatment for a month before the campaign began and he returned only after it started.

    Similarly, Rommel was in Germany on leave on D Day, with his commanders on the Atlantic Wall having failed to implement his orders for strengthened defences which certainly would have made the Allies' assault more costly, although not necessarily unsuccessful.

    While Rommel probably shouldn't be blamed for what happened in North Africa while he was in Germany, he is certainly responsible for the failure of his subordinate generals to implement his orders for defence of the Atlantic Wall. The latter failures reflect directly upon him as a commander (as do MacArthur's even more egregious failures in the Philippines but which, thanks to MacArthur's personal publicity machine; a wartime public desperate for positive responses to Japan's seemingly unstoppable advances; and subsequent uncritical popular acceptance of the MacArthurian bullshit from this era) and undermine the uninformed popular perception of Rommel (and MacArthur) as exceptionally competent and successful commanders.

    The end result is that if we take Rommel as but one example of a German commander supposedly the best, he is as flawed as the worst on any side at times. And without a win in any of the major campaigns in which he commanded, being France in 1940 when he had all the advantages; North Africa subsequently; and D-Day 1944.

    A professional boxer with a similar record of three losses in his only three major bouts wouldn't win a belt. And neither should Rommel.

    Doesn't mean Rommel wasn't a great fighter, but he wasn't the world champion either.
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