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Thread: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

  1. #121
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    Default Re: Operation Sealion

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Thanks for that informative post.
    In light of subsequent posts, possibly not.

    I'd still like an answer to my original question on the quality of steel used in fortifications as a source for warships.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
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  2. #122
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    Default Re: Operation Sealion

    [QUOTE=Rising Sun*;171130]Thanks for that informative post.

    It's not my field, so two questions spring to mind.

    1. Was the steel used in fortifications the type of steel that could have been used equally well for warships?


    Its amazing that still after 70 years western History of WW-II still lacks the view from the other side to balance their understanding of the war. Ususally after 50 years a more balanced history emerges. I guess that’s what the ‘cold war’ has done to the history of this war.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Thanks for that informative post.

    It's not my field, so two questions spring to mind.

    1. Was the steel used in fortifications the type of steel that could have been used equally well for warships?

    2. Isn't there a degree of irony (no pun intended) in Germany devoting so much effort and material to fortifications after its experience in defeating the French fortifications on the Maginot line by flanking them?
    Yes,Westwall used mostly rebar and concrete for basic construction and this represented the bulk of all steel utilized, so this would be transferable for any building stucture etc but not warship. However at least 100,000 tons was special steels that could be used as STS steel or KC armored steel for naval construction.

    Whats even more amazing is that the estimated 65,000 tons of armored steel in the 'West wall' was more than the estimated 62,000 tons of armored steel that is represented in the entire Wehrmacht Armored fighting vehicle programme from 1934-1941. Inother words to Hitler, the Westwall was more important than Panzer programme.


    The Westwall was built between 1937-1940 so it ran parrallel to late Maginote Line building and extension programme. None of this would have been built had it not been for Hitlers dramatic '1936 four year plan', which forced germany away from building a medium size mechanized army backed up by a total war economy, being prepared for 1-2 year massive war effort.

    German strategists had spent the 1920s and 30s debating the issue of Trench Warfare and concluded that only high speed mechanized operational manuever warfare had any hope of allowing Germany to defeat their neighbours in battle. They formulated [some time in the late 1920s/early 1930s] a multi phased plan to rebuild the German warmachine instep with a war economy and secured resource base; over a 15 year time period.
    The first phase involved force structure training and industrial expansion. To fund all three armaments purchasing was limited to rehashing hidden illegal WW-I armaments, combinded with weaponizing civilian product. The main emphasis was based on defence against a combined Franco Polish invasion.

    The second phased involved systementic and selective replacement of the above armamennts based on exploiting what Von Blomberg refered to as ‘technical possiblities’. This prewar initiative is where all those special WW-II weapons came from. The aim was to push German technology a generation ahead of the advesaries and extend the warfighting capacity to total war based on a infantry defence followed by select mechnized army to eject any invader. At this time still viewed as France and Poland, however this was to be followed by invasion of these agressor nations with the expection of a wider European war to erupt. The second phase was to be completed by the late 1930s and followed by the third phase through the early 1940s. That phase never materialised because Hitler hyjacked the entire process in 1936 with his four year plan to force germany into war by 1940, not 1945.

    The third phase involved the explotiation of total war economy to convert the prewar force structure from a mostly leg based horse drawn defensive infantry army into a high speed mechanized force able to mount lighting wars to preempt any agressor by invading the country first and defeating the armies .

    But Hitler called for a review in 1936 [start of the second phase] which showed that if anything the ultimate realiastion of this plan could take until the late 1940s and he could not tolerat such a delay. Hitler rejected the plan and insisted their would be no need for such an army and such a war economy, so the whole process to fast track war could be achieved by 1940. According to Hitler europeans would fall sequentially to his will power and superior german race, etc, etc....along with surprise strategic alliances etc.

    So in the late 1930s the Heer was forced to become a larger 'come as you are army', backed up by only a limited war economy. Just by increasing the mobilizable armed forces by 1 million men in the late 1930s, forced German into a massive crash building project for barracks and rushed facilities, that they consumed ½ of all steel and warmaking resources being produced for the German economy at that time.

    Again to give an idea of alternatives to ‘Westwall’, part of the long term German strategic plan [pre 1936] envisage a medium sized German mechanized military supported by total war economy fighting lighting wars of maneuver lasting months not years. To achieve this the stockpiling of the resources was going to become the cornerstone of such an effort. Even in the late 1930s this envisaged 3-4 million tons of fuel stockpiled. Historically because of Hitlers insistance on limited war and no stockpiling; Germany started the war with only 1.5 million tons of reserve fuel. The resources devoted to much of the West wall construction could have instead fast tracked the synthetic fuel industry by over ¾ million tons production per year and added ~ 2 million tons to the fuel reserves at the same time.

    Unfortunately both "Wizard and Nickfresh" post are so far from actual german history and too close to ango american history to be worthy of any response. I have no doubt they and western histories believe these things they claim, but they are not supported by German histories of the 1920s-1940s period.

    If you want to understand what and why the allies did what they did through this period, fine go ahead and read anglo american histories of the war. But you will never understand German war effort or Russian war effort unless you actually go to their histories of this period. The view always looks different from each side of the fence.

    But in point forum to dispose of some of there misconsceptions!

    German WW-I warship building industry had ~30 firms and 191 slipways ranging from 75-300 meters. This was reduced after the war , but by WW-II they had rebound considerably. Ultimately during WW-II, 25 firms and 119 slipways would be used for major warship construction plus hundreds of smaller ship yards for the thousands of coastal vessels Hitler demanded for the war effort. By the 1920s the amount devoted to actual warship construction was merely 1/10th of this capacity, but the firms were there and build large numbers of capable ocean going vessels. By war time , this naval building industry had rebound to more than ¾ of the ship building capacity. Even in the last year of the war 1/10th of this ship building capacity was still being used for civilian vessels construction.

    In 1928 German government agreed to break the ToV where ever possible and tabled a plan to build the following fleet in a Depression era peace time economy.

    1 x Aircraft Carrier [illegal under ToV]
    6 x Panzerschiff
    6-12 x kreuzer
    44 x Zestroyers
    16 x Uboats [illegal under ToV]

    The final parlimentray approval for this programme didn't emerge until mid to late 1932, months before Hitler came into power. From the moment Hitler siezed power he squashed any attempt to impliment this plan. His fleet was to be mostly a coastal protection fleet with ability to dominate the Baltic and North Sea. However no matter what; any such programme could not be directed at the UK. Hitler had a special place for the UK in his aryan Europe as more of a neutral silent partner or out and out allie.

    It took every thing in Grand Admiral Raeders arsenal to progressively force Hitler to allow the building of a balanced battle fleet that could eventually be used against the UK in the mid to late 1940s. As a comprimse Raeder argued this fleet in the short term was needed to counter the French fleet and as such most new German warships followed French [not British] designs and numbers. As a further comprimse to Hitler about ½ of the ships build were to fill auxiliary fleet roles not new warship roles , so as not to scuttle Hitlers delicate courtship of the UK.
    Last edited by ubc; 08-29-2010 at 01:50 PM.

  3. #123
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    In light of subsequent posts, possibly not.

    I'd still like an answer to my original question on the quality of steel used in fortifications as a source for warships.
    I would as well, but I haven't read specifically other than recalling that U.S. gun crews had little difficulty shattering emplacements on the Siegfried Line even when using medium caliber weapons. I believe German steel-making was constrained prior to WWII by her lack of open access to raw materials and that the Allies (mistakenly) regarded this as their main strategic advantage that would ultimately cripple Hitler's Germany in a 'long war.' And I'm sort of sick of writing extended replies on the internet today, so I'll get back to ubc's interesting, revisionist alternative history timeline above that is rather removed from any sources (he never seems to cite anything for his statistics).

    One thing I noticed though is that both Wizard and ubc have cited Wages of Destruction by Tooze. I have yet not read it but it seems to be rather interesting discord in both interpretations, but I'm pretty sure that ubc also relies on Anglo-American "histories" when it suits his belief system that only Hitler caused Germany's defeat, a view certainly shared by his former generals while writing their ex post facto memoirs and treatises on the War. Very convenient, but yet not necessarily altogether helpful as they are chocked full of hindsight and tend to ignore many individual mistakes made by the other parties in the Third Reich...

    But I'd like to state a couple of things in general. Firstly, Germans ARE WESTERNERS! Most Anglo-American historians in fact speak German or otherwise have used primary German sources, not just American and British ones...

  4. #124
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Not enough room on the previous post ....;.

    With reguards to Airfoce , it was created by Lufthansa director Knaus in the early 1930s based on studies which concluded that only a fleet of hundreds of multi engined long range strategic bombers would serve Germany as a deterrent force against neighbouring agressors. The target fleet of 400 multi engined long range strategic bombers was set in 1934 and the industry and fledgling airforce expanded from production of hundreds of planes to thousands of planes; in a matter of years. After Hitlers ‘4 year plan’ in 1936, the Luftwaffe was checked in its expansion due to labor financing and resources being redirected to the Heer and numerous building projects. Goering was able to offset much of this slow down by secretly authorising the LW to utilise 'fixed price contracting' [much more efficent] with its dedicated industry , in direct opposition to Hitlers demamd for 'cost price financing'. Cost plus financing allowed for more highly refined armaments to be produced but fixed price allowed for much greater production for the same industrial/finanical and labor efforts [over time, ‘fixed price contracts’ could produce three times as much as ‘cost plus contracting’, due to reduction in wastage of resources plus much more effiecent useage of manhours labour and industrial floor space .

    Unfortunatley I'm only able to scratch the surface of their miss consceptions and in any event I'm only enabling the poor histories that such views are based on; so instead I recommend the following reading list to others who are more 'open minded' to studying German history.


    The 6 volume set of "Germany and the Second World War" Ed ; Research Institute for Military History [translated]
    "The Wehrmacht and German Reamament" Diest
    "German Warships 1815-1945" ;vol 1-2 Groener [translated]
    "German industry in the Nazi period"; ed Bucheim [translated]
    "German Military in the Age of Total War"; ed Diest [translated]
    "Design for total war", Carrol [not bad for an english prof]
    "Wages of Destruciton", Tooze [also not bad for an english prof]
    "Why the allies won "; Overy[also not bad for an english prof]
    "War and Economy in the Third Reich"; Overy[also not bad for an english prof]

    there are numerous other text and articles some on line for further reading.


    But I'd like to state a couple of things in general. Firstly, Germans ARE WESTERNERS! Most Anglo-American historians in fact speak German or otherwise have used primary German sources, not just American and British ones...
    Nick; you can't seperate the observer from the observation ; they are both products of their exposure; training; schooling and upbring etc. So the same sources read from two differing POV ,will produce two different conclusions. Every historian is biased one way or another.
    Last edited by ubc; 08-29-2010 at 01:57 PM.

  5. #125
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by ubc View Post
    Y...Inother words to Hitler, the Westwall was more important than Panzer programme....Again to give an idea of alternatives to Westwall, part of the long term German strategic plan [pre 1936] envisage a medium sized German mechanized military supported by total war economy....
    I think you're restating the "Blitzkrieg Legend" and giving far too much credit to the German high command here. Firstly, it was Hitler that was benefactor to Heinz Guderian after reading his seminal work Auchtung Panzer!. Hitler also was said to have stated, 'That's what I need. That's what I want to have!' after witnessing panzer demonstrations. Guderian also faced much opposition from the conservative forces in the Heer, and there was no unified consensus as to how Germany was to fight its next war as Guderian and Rommel both ignored and countermanded halt orders to drive to the Channel in 1940...

    Your criticisms of the Siegfried Line are again just 'hindsight' as I've pointed out on many occasions as your posts seem to be a mixture of some good points, "what-ifs," and questionable assertions based on supposedly what Hitler prevented Germany from doing without acknowledging that it was Hitler that burned Versailles, formed the Luftwaffe, reintroduced conscription, pressured his generals for a more mechanized and dynamic thinking...

    If Germany was unprepared for War in 1939-40, the Allies were ever more so. We could just as easily say if only France's defense establishment hadn't been dominated by Daladier and Gen. Gamelin in the late 1930s, and whom led France in the War of 1939, and instead the ideas of Paul Reynaud (who supported Gen. Georges to becomes the supreme French commander over Gamelin) came to fruition, perhaps more dynamic leadership favoring earlier formations of French panzer divisions (DLM) allow for a more mobile, professional French Army based on the abstract ideals of De Gaulle --and France never commits to the disaster of the Dyle plan?
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 08-29-2010 at 02:09 PM.

  6. #126
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    Default Re: Operation Sealion

    Quote Originally Posted by ubc View Post
    ...Unfortunately both "Wizard and Nickfresh" post are so far from actual german history and too close to ango american history to be worthy of any response. I have no doubt they and western histories believe these things they claim, but they are not supported by German histories of the 1920s-1940s period.
    This is amusing, as though "German history" were on some sort of celestial plane far above the mundane efforts of lesser nations. In fact, there is no reason to believe that "German History" is any more accurate or less error-prone than the histories produced in other nations. American, British and French historians have access to the same primary documents as do German historians; there is nothing special or particularly difficult to understand about them. Nor is there any reason to believe that historians in other countries are any more likely to distort or "spin" the data to support possible "agendas".

    It appears ubc uses these kinds of remarks to subtly suggest that he alone has access to superior information, when his data is challenged.

    Quote Originally Posted by ubc View Post
    German WW-I warship building industry had ~30 firms and 191 slipways ranging from 75-300 meters. This was reduced after the war , but by WW-II they had rebound considerably.
    The fact is that in the late 1920's and throughout the 1930's, the German shipyard industry was in very desperate straits. Between 1918 and 1929, not a single warship larger than a destroyer was built anywhere in Germany. Between 1929 and 1933, only three cruisers (panzerschiff, ostensibly of 10,000 tons each) were built in Germany. Shipyards capable of building large warships represent heavy investments in resources including yard space, machinery, and yard workers; no country can afford to maintain this type of facility without putting it to work building warships, and in fact the German companies did not.

    Therefore, in the 1930's, Germany was forced to invest large amounts of scarce cash in rebuilding it's naval construction industry. By 1945, there were just three private companies, and one naval shipyard, with the capacity to build a warship larger than a destroyer. These were F. Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, Deustchewerke in Kiel, and the Wilhelmshaven Naval Yard. Krupp and Deutschewerke had two large slips for warship construction, Blohm & Voss and the Naval yard each had one.

    Some idea of the difficulty in preparing a warship construction or repair facility can be had from the fact that the Allies went to great lengths to destroy the only dock outside of Germany capable of accepting the Bismarck class ships by ramming it with an old US destroyer packed with explosives.

    Quote Originally Posted by ubc View Post
    Ultimately during WW-II, 25 firms and 119 slipways would be used for major warship construction plus hundreds of smaller ship yards for the thousands of coastal vessels Hitler demanded for the war effort. By the 1920s the amount devoted to actual warship construction was merely 1/10th of this capacity, but the firms were there and build large numbers of capable ocean going vessels. By war time , this naval building industry had rebound to more than ¾ of the ship building capacity. Even in the last year of the war 1/10th of this ship building capacity was still being used for civilian vessels construction.
    This must be information gleaned from those super-accurate German histories; unfortunately, it's quite untrue unless you count destroyers and large escorts as "major warships". In fact, Germany during WW II, had a maximum of just six slips capable of handling major warship construction and repair. The country was far from capable of building or maintaining a major fleet of anything larger than a destroyer, not that there was much interest in doing so after the Norwegian campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by ubc View Post
    In 1928 German government agreed to break the ToV where ever possible and tabled a plan to build the following fleet in a Depression era peace time economy.

    1 x Aircraft Carrier [illegal under ToV]
    6 x Panzerschiff
    6-12 x kreuzer
    44 x Zestroyers
    16 x Uboats [illegal under ToV]

    The final parlimentray approval for this programme didn't emerge until mid to late 1932, months before Hitler came into power...
    It certainly would be interesting to see some documentation for this claim; I've searched through all my naval histories, including Breyer (a "German" naval history), and can find no confirmation of any of this except for the Panzerschiff and a class of 12 destroyers

  7. #127
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    ....One thing I noticed though is that both Wizard and ubc have cited Wages of Destruction by Tooze. I have yet not read it but it seems to be rather interesting discord in both interpretations,...
    I referenced "The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze, but did ubc? I saw where he mentioned some of Tooze's work, but I don't remember ubc specifically citing his book of that title or quoting from it?

  8. #128
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    I referenced "The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze, but did ubc? I saw where he mentioned some of Tooze's work, but I don't remember ubc specifically citing his book of that title or quoting from it?
    I thought he had referenced it, perhaps he didn't and just mentioned it. He does list it one of his many (Anglo) sources for his views though....

  9. #129
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I thought he had referenced it, perhaps he didn't and just mentioned it. He does list it one of his many (Anglo) sources for his views though....
    Yes, I noticed his reading list included Tooze's book plus a few by other British historians. It seems that not all "Westerners" get German history wrong, only those that ubc disagrees with.

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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sickles View Post
    Just finished John Mosiers book "The Blitzkrieg Myth" It is a well researched book written by a credible historian...
    Well. Not everyone would agree...

    The Myth Of Blitzkrieg

    by John Mosier
    The Blitzkrieg Myth, written by John Mosier, is a disappointment. Mr. Mosier, an English professor, is hopelessly out of his league when grappling with the issues of strategy, doctrine, tactics, and technology in the Second World War. As anyone who is familiar with the literature on the war reads this book, it will become apparent that Mosier writes simply to provoke rather than inform. His book is poorly researched, arrogantly dismissive of decades of amassed knowledge, and woefully incomplete.

    ...Mosier is an amateur historian, and it shows. His use of sources is deeply flawed: he relies upon a very narrow range of research material, uses particular sources excessively or inappropriately, and does not have an appreciation for the development of knowledge over time. Mosier is blithely unaware of the fact when doing research one must pay most attention to scholarly works and only carefully use works that are known to be of questionable value.
    ....

    In a nutshell: historical research at its rock-bottom worst.
    http://www.uni.edu/~licari/review17.html

  11. #131
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    Default Re: Blitzkrieg Fact or Fiction?

    Well, "Blitzkrieg" is a propaganda/media term (actually invented by Allied media...), but you don´t need a fully motorized force for "blitzkrieg" (or rather "German Clausewitzian mobile mission (instead of orders, its called Auftragstaktik) oriented warfare"). Saying, The infantry´s task was to deal with the pockets the Panzer divisions "left behind". Mobile does not mean "fast", and the "The German army was only 20% motorized" excuse for denying "Blitzkrieg" is complety invalid, because you dont need a fully motorized army for "Blitzkrieg", as said before. Also you can just look at the modern Isreali and German armies, who both use Auftragstaktik (Isreali commander "observed", and German commander maintained). They are both extremely succesfull fighting forces.
    And when it comes to historians...Some are quite objective: This Mosier seems like a German-hater, and let´s say Glantz, is passionate about "proving" that the Red Army wasn´t "only numbers" (which is partially/quite true, but they had no value for the lives of their soldiers, and didn´t give a xxxx about casualties...).

    Greets, Hjørtur

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