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zraver
22 May 07,, 04:38
Ok guys, your vote, which battle was the single most important contest of arms 39-45?

Bluesman
22 May 07,, 05:33
The Battle of the Atlantic.

leib10
22 May 07,, 06:11
Kursk. The Germans finally and permanently handed the initiative to the Red Army, whose following offensives didn't stop until they had Berlin in their hands.

This, IMO, was the most important battle of the war, especially on the Eastern Front.

zraver
22 May 07,, 06:34
The Battle of the Atlantic.

Do'h!

Big K
22 May 07,, 10:02
Attack on Pearl Harbor...

i think Japans missed the main goal...US Carriers werent there...

by the way the wake of sleeping giant prepared the end of Axis..

this is my opinion...

gunnut
22 May 07,, 10:06
Midway.

Japanese navy lost the core of its highly trained, highly experienced, and irreplaceable carrier pilots.

aktarian
22 May 07,, 11:52
As WW2 was fought on many different fronts there isn't a single battle which proved decissive for entire war.

Battle for Kiev, 1941. Forcing Germany to divert forces south, postponing attack on Moscow and thus allowing Soviets to strenghten it's defences

Battle for Atlantic, as others said before.

Coral Sea on PTO. Removed threat from Australia and allowed forces to be concentrated elsewhere leading to Midway.

deadkenny
22 May 07,, 16:49
I tend to agree with Bluesman ( if you can believe that! ) regarding the importance of the so called 'Battle of the Atlantic'. If that 'battle' had been 'lost', then Britain could not have continued and the US could not have significantly intervened in Europe. With those conditions, Germany may well have been able to defeat an 'isolated' Soviet Union and thereby have won the war. Having said all that, the 'Battle of the Atlantic' was really more of an ongoing 'campaign' that lasted the entire length of the war.

Of those on the list that are more recognizable as distinct 'battles', I chose Stalingrad. My reasoning is as follows: first, IMHO Japan never had any reasonable prospect of victory against the US. So although there were key battles in the Pacific, I would not select any of them as it was just a matter of time. On the other hand, IMHO Germany was much more of a potential threat - especially if allowed to consolidate control of the continent. Given that the defeat of Germany was the key, and again IMHO the eastern front was critical in the defeat of Germany I selected what I thought was the key battle in deterimining the course of the war in the east. Within that context, I believe Stalingrad was key, as it decided that Germany could not win in the east and therefore it was just a matter of time before the much greater strength of the combined Allies could be brought to bear and Germany defeated.

Dreadnought
22 May 07,, 17:51
Its a diffacult choice but IMO The majority of the battles for the pacific island chains. And the march across Europe to Berlin. Russian battles included.

Deans
23 May 07,, 05:30
IMO, there was no single decisive battle in WW2, but I'd go for a decisive month - Dec 41, for 2 reasons:

1. The Germans were first stopped and then pushed back from Moscow. What was important was not just the failure to take Moscow, but the surprise achieved by Soviet counterattack and the realisation in OKH that the war was not going to be won in a hurry.
It did not help that Hitler then sacked a lot of his key generals.

The Germans also failed to take Leningrad and in the South were pushed back from Rostov. That represented a failure of all 3 German army groups to take their objectives.

2. The attack on Pearl Harbour which bought the US into the war - after which American Industrial might ensured the war was unwinnable for the Axis.

Triple C
23 May 07,, 09:00
Ditto.

The Battle of Moscow, 41. That was the high mark of the German advance, after '42 it was a matter time before the Soviets re-activate their industrial and military power.

Bigfella
23 May 07,, 10:16
The most important battle of '39-45 isn't generally considered part of WW2 - The clash between Russia & Japan at Khalkin-Gol.

First up, this was a geniune battle. Japanese force were wiped out, losing more man than Australia lost in the entire war.

The result of the battle had enormous consequences.

By ensuring that Japan would never again threaten her eastern flank, Russia freed up resources that were to prove crucial in stopping Germany's only serious chance at winning - taking Moscow.

The battle also ensured that the Naval faction in the Imperial Government gained supremacy - leading inevitably to a confrontation with America.

My votes for most important battles of the regular war are Moscow - Germany's only chance to beat Russia; and Pearl Harbour, which ensured Japan's defeat & by dragging America into the war provided great (& perhaps crucial) assistance to Russia from the US.

Tasman
23 May 07,, 13:06
I agree with gunnut. The Battle of Midway turned the Pacific War as Japan was unable to replace its experienced pilots. Japan continued to produce carriers (though not on the same scale as America) and aircraft but it could not match the USN pilot training program in either quantity, or more importantly, quality. Too many of the pilots who would have made fine instructors were lost with their four carriers at Midway.

Cheers

Stan187
24 May 07,, 00:18
My votes for most important battles of the regular war are Moscow - Germany's only chance to beat Russia; and Pearl Harbour, which ensured Japan's defeat & by dragging America into the war provided great (& perhaps crucial) assistance to Russia from the US.

Its arguable whether the Soviet Union would have been beaten if Moscow fell.

JAD_333
24 May 07,, 00:35
I picked Leyte Gulf before sneaking a peek at the posts. Stalingrad is a good pick for the European theater. Midway might be a better choice in the Pacific theater. It did more damage to the Japanese navy. But had the Japanese succeeded at Leyte Gulf US forces already on the beach and preparing to push on to take Luzon would have been been seriously mauled and the retaking of the Philippines would have been delayed and with it the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland. The retaking of the Philippeans meant the Japanese could no longer defend the sealanes they depended on to ship oil to the homeland. So, if Leyte wasn't the most decisive battle; it ranks high up there.

Officer of Engineers
24 May 07,, 06:24
Pearl Harbour - got the US into a bloodlust

yoda9999
25 May 07,, 03:36
I would say Stalingrad in that both sides really really needed to win it. The other battles weren't as crucial. Even if America lost Midway, more aircraft carriers were being built and Japan didn't have enough resources.

Maybe this poll should be separated between Pacific and European theatre?

JAD_333
25 May 07,, 04:38
Maybe this poll should be separated between Pacific and European theatre?

I had the same thought.

gunnut
25 May 07,, 09:16
I picked Leyte Gulf before sneaking a peek at the posts. Stalingrad is a good pick for the European theater. Midway might be a better choice in the Pacific theater. It did more damage to the Japanese navy. But had the Japanese succeeded at Leyte Gulf US forces already on the beach and preparing to push on to take Luzon would have been been seriously mauled and the retaking of the Philippines would have been delayed and with it the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland. The retaking of the Philippeans meant the Japanese could no longer defend the sealanes they depended on to ship oil to the homeland. So, if Leyte wasn't the most decisive battle; it ranks high up there.

I doubt US would be detered if Japan actually won the battle at Leyte. US, by 1944, was cranking at near full capacity. There were endless waves of reinforcements heading into the Pacific. Japan could not afford to lose a decisive battle. The US didn't have a decisive battle. Every single battle was one in a long chain for the US on a very broad front. It was like a rich man playing poker with an average Joe. The rich man can commit the full amount of the average Joe owns, on every hand. Losing one hand doesn't dent the rich man's pocket. Losing a hand will lose the average Joe's game.

Bluesman
25 May 07,, 13:49
GREAT analogy.

dalem
25 May 07,, 19:03
The GMT game Empire of the Sun tries to address the perfect analogy that gunnut gave us by tying political points to certain events. The designer's theory is that if the U.S. suffers enough losses they'd have to sue for peace in the Pacific theater due to public pressure, independent of the assemply line of ships, men, and planes. I don't really buy his premise, but the game is a lot of fun so I don't really care that much. :)

-dale

gunnut
26 May 07,, 00:59
Thank you both for the endorsement!

I don't buy the premise of that game you're talking about, Dale. That sounds like a game based upon the 60s mentality, and today's political climate. Back in WW2, the American people were quite pissed off and they weren't gonna pull back until the enemy was smashed to bits. Everything in the nation was geared to put our boots in Tokyo and Berlin. Nothing short of total victory would suffice.

deadkenny
26 May 07,, 01:10
I tend to agree that the premise is rather questionable under the circumstances. However, it is a convenient game mechanism to 'keep things moving' and provide for some possibility of 'victory' for the Japanese player - beyond the less than totally satisfying 'get completely crushed more slowly' type of victory condition.

Without either a 'timer' or other 'pressure' for the Americans to take the offensive, they might just 'play it safe' and retreat to the west coast until the entire '100 carrier' fleet, with fleet trains, is ready!

dalem
26 May 07,, 05:03
I tend to agree that the premise is rather questionable under the circumstances. However, it is a convenient game mechanism to 'keep things moving' and provide for some possibility of 'victory' for the Japanese player - beyond the less than totally satisfying 'get completely crushed more slowly' type of victory condition.

Without either a 'timer' or other 'pressure' for the Americans to take the offensive, they might just 'play it safe' and retreat to the west coast until the entire '100 carrier' fleet, with fleet trains, is ready!

Yeah. In my opinion a better way would be to simply play the whole thing out and tally the cost of the eventual American/Allied win in the Pacific. If it cost more than X then the Japanese get a "morale victory". Tons of games scale unbalanced scenarios that way.

-dale

JAD_333
27 May 07,, 20:05
I doubt US would be detered if Japan actually won the battle at Leyte. US, by 1944, was cranking at near full capacity. There were endless waves of reinforcements heading into the Pacific. Japan could not afford to lose a decisive battle. The US didn't have a decisive battle. Every single battle was one in a long chain for the US on a very broad front. It was like a rich man playing poker with an average Joe. The rich man can commit the full amount of the average Joe owns, on every hand. Losing one hand doesn't dent the rich man's pocket. Losing a hand will lose the average Joe's game.

You are probably right. And we now have the benefit of hindsight. However, Had the Japanese succeeded at Leyte Guld the war would have been prolonged, but not lost, though at the time the Japanese still held 60% of their conquests and hoped to hold out indefinately. But for the cold feet of one Japanese admiral, the Japanese stood a good chance of holding key positons in the Philippeans from which they could protect their one remaining oil shipping lane to the homeland. But since the battle was not a turning point per se, it was not decisive. It did more or less finish off the Japanese navy, which the Japanese were fully prepared to sacrifice to hold onto Luzon. It was also the largest naval battle of all time, but that is beside the point. Point is yours.

cape_royds
30 May 07,, 06:41
I think the most important battle in the Second World War was the Battle of France in 1940.

That's the battle that really made the Second World War what it was. The whole character of the war derives from it.

If the German attack on France bogged down, WWII becomes a very different war. Perhaps it doesn't become a "world war" at all, but remains a European War.

For example:

--The Battle of the Atlantic only became a major affair after the defeat of the Allies in France. Prior to the debacle of 1940, the naval situation wasn't bad from an Allied perspective. But after winning the Battle of France, the Germans gained valuable strategic bases in the West, while the Allied fleet got stretched thinner after the loss of the French.

--Does the USA become as involved in the affair if Britain's plight is not as desperate?

--Does the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact stay intact, or does Stalin finally do what the Germans claimed he was planning to do? At any rate, it was only after the collapse of the Western allies in France that the Germans could contemplate a war with the USSR.

--The rout of the Western Allies in 1940 certainly encouraged the Japanese to try to exploit the situation to their advantage, viz. the unresisted occupation of Indochina.


But although the Battle of France was the important battle in determing what sort of war WWII became, could it be said to be the most "decisive" battle? After all,

1. The winner of the battle lost the war.
2. The battle did not end the war or even turn the its tide.
3. Was a different outcome even possible? How can something be "decisive" if the outcome is forgone?

#3 is an interesting question. I started a thread a while ago asking whether Gamelin could have made a better plan. Link:

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/history-warfare/36224-its-1940-youre-general-gamelin.html

But the consensus opinion (with which I don't fully agree) seems to be that the Allied armies in 1940 had no chance of achieving the stalemate they desired, that they were at too great a disadvantage in terms of doctrine, command structure, and morale to not be rapidly defeated etc.


So if the Battle of France was not a "decisive" battle, then what?

Well, from there, I made the following deductions, reasoning mostly from the scale of events:

A. Most decisive theatre: Europe.

B. Most decisive front in that theatre: Russia.

So then it would be a question of which battle on the Russian Front was the most decisive.

Since neither side's forces were largely destroyed at Moscow or Kursk, that basically leaves it down to either Kiev, Stalingrad or "Bagration."

Kiev was the biggest victory of the three, but again the winner of the battle lost the war. It was not "decisive" then, it determining the war's outcome.

Between the remaining two, Stalingrad and "Bagration," I choose Stalingrad.

While "Bagration" I think was more destructive of Axis forces, Stalingrad not only has the "tide turning" aspect, but it was also fought by the Soviets without the aid of an active Second Front.

leib10
30 May 07,, 07:12
Although the men and materiel lost by the Germans at Stalingrad was grievous and the effect on morale was devastating, it was a blow they could've recovered from.

By comparison, Bagration caused the essential destruction of an entire Army Group, the Germans losing about a fourth of their total Eastern Front strength in just a few weeks. It also cut off Heeresgruppe Nord, resulting in the eventual formation of the Courland pocket, where that army group met its end. Heeresgruppe Sud was forced into Rumania and Hungary, where they engaged in a steady retreat into Czechoslovakia, Austria, and southern Germany until the bitter end.

Bagration was, by the numbers game, probably the single greatest defeat of the Wehrmacht. It broke the back of the Wehrmacht in the east permanently.

JBG
31 May 07,, 10:26
For me, there are two Midway and Stalingrad ( though Alamein occurred at aboout the same time as Stalingrad ) as there we see the battles that show the definite turning of the tide.

Given the parameters of the question, it is hard however to avoid subjectivism.

Jonathan

deadkenny
31 May 07,, 15:01
I think the most important battle in the Second World War was the Battle of France in 1940.

That's the battle that really made the Second World War what it was. The whole character of the war derives from it.

If the German attack on France bogged down, WWII becomes a very different war. Perhaps it doesn't become a "world war" at all, but remains a European War.

I agree that the result of the ‘Battle of France’ was both a surprising result at the time and critical to the ‘course’ of WWII, if not the outcome of WWII.



For example:

--The Battle of the Atlantic only became a major affair after the defeat of the Allies in France. Prior to the debacle of 1940, the naval situation wasn't bad from an Allied perspective. But after winning the Battle of France, the Germans gained valuable strategic bases in the West, while the Allied fleet got stretched thinner after the loss of the French.

--Does the USA become as involved in the affair if Britain's plight is not as desperate?

--Does the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact stay intact, or does Stalin finally do what the Germans claimed he was planning to do? At any rate, it was only after the collapse of the Western allies in France that the Germans could contemplate a war with the USSR.

--The rout of the Western Allies in 1940 certainly encouraged the Japanese to try to exploit the situation to their advantage, viz. the unresisted occupation of Indochina.

Some very interesting discussion points here. No doubt the Atlantic bases in France gave the Germans a big advantage in the Battle of the Atlantic that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. However, I believe that the battle would still have been fought, with the u-boats trying to damage the Allies’ merchant shipping, just as they did in WWI.

Regarding the US entry, I believe Roosevelt still wants to help the Allies and certainly a Japanese attack on the US facilitates that. But does the US agree to a ‘Europe First’ strategy if the Allies are still holding a front in France? For that matter, does Japan attack the US at all in that context?

Another good point regarding the Soviet Union. If Germany is ‘bogged down’ fighting in France, one can probably assume that Stalin would at least be more aggressively asserting his claims in Scandinavia and the Balkans, if not actually ‘stabbing Germany in the back’.


I started a thread a while ago asking whether Gamelin could have made a better plan. Link:

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/history-warfare/36224-its-1940-youre-general-gamelin.html

But the consensus opinion (with which I don't fully agree) seems to be that the Allied armies in 1940 had no chance of achieving the stalemate they desired, that they were at too great a disadvantage in terms of doctrine, command structure, and morale to not be rapidly defeated etc.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that the Allies had ‘no chance’ of achieving a stalemate / attritional battle. I would say it is likely that they would have collapsed eventually – but that it might well have taken much longer and been much more costly for the Germans. The French were prepared / trained / equipped to fight a WWI style attritional battle. The longer they can ‘force’ that style of fighting, the longer they have a chance to fight the Germans on more or less ‘even’ terms. The problem is that they were incapable of handling a German armoured breakout, once it occurred. Further, keep in mind that once the French had completed their mobilization they were pretty much at the max manpower level they could maintain. However, the Germans had much greater manpower reserves, as they were continuing to expand their forces even into 1940. So, if an attritional battle had manifested itself for some period, it would have had the net effect of weakening the French relatively more than the Germans, making an eventual breakthrough increasingly likely over time. I remain of the opinion that the Germans would have broken through sooner or later, one way or the other. At that point, it’s all over as the French could not have reacted quickly enough to ‘seal’ any major breakthrough.


Although the men and materiel lost by the Germans at Stalingrad was grievous and the effect on morale was devastating, it was a blow they could've recovered from.

By comparison, Bagration caused the essential destruction of an entire Army Group, the Germans losing about a fourth of their total Eastern Front strength in just a few weeks. It also cut off Heeresgruppe Nord, resulting in the eventual formation of the Courland pocket, where that army group met its end. Heeresgruppe Sud was forced into Rumania and Hungary, where they engaged in a steady retreat into Czechoslovakia, Austria, and southern Germany until the bitter end.

Bagration was, by the numbers game, probably the single greatest defeat of the Wehrmacht. It broke the back of the Wehrmacht in the east permanently.

In terms of material losses, agreed that Bagration was worse for the Germans than Stalingrad. However, when considering the ‘decisiveness’ of the battle, one has to consider the position each side was in prior to and after the battle. Bagration, along with the breakout from Normandy, were 2 of the final nails in Germany’s coffin, but to mix metaphors, the Germans already had one foot in the grave prior to those battles. German strategy for ‘victory’ in ’44 was based on first crushing the Allied landing in France and then concentrating everything on a major defeat of the Russians. So really, by failing to recognize Normandy as THE landing, and therefore failing to release the forces necessary to crush it, Hitler had already lost his only chance to ‘win’ in ’44 by mid-June



… though Alamein occurred at aboout the same time as Stalingrad …

Interesting that El Alamein gets most of the ‘press’ as far as being the ‘turning point’ in the west, which is compared to Stalingrad which is considered the ‘turning point’ in the east. However, the Axis defeat in Tunisia was actually much more decisive in terms of what was lost. Rommel’s ‘Afrika Korps’ was so small by the time of the defeat at El Alamein that the Germans could have afforded to lose the entire force and hardly notice it whereas the losses in Tunisia were comparable to what was lost at Stalingrad.

Grim
31 May 07,, 17:53
It is really hard for me to say it is this battle or that. But I feel there is one that has yet to be mentioned that was of great importance. July 10, 1940 to Oct 31, 1940 The Battle of Britain during which England lost 915 aircraft (1 in 3 of its air crews) and Germany lost 1733 of 4200 Aircraft. The objective of this battle was to destroy the British RAF so Operation Sealion the German invasion of England could commence totally free of aerial threat. Hitler was also aware of the importance of Operation Sealion and said "This operation is dictated by the necessity to eliminate Great Britain as a base from which the war against Germany can be fought." OH how right he was! The failure of his Air Campaign in the Battle of Britain prevented his invasion plans from ever seeing the other side of the Channel. The loss of the Battle of Britain and total fizzle of Operation Sealion was the first to fall of a long line of dominoes. This one battle forced Hitler to keep vital troops in western Europe when they were desperately needed on the Eastern Front.

deadkenny
31 May 07,, 17:58
There's another thread on the ETO specifically where the Battle of Britain is explicitly listed and discussed.

nabilfannoush
01 Jun 07,, 14:12
Hello guys
It's hard for one to place so much of the fate the world during that time on any one battle: Neither side would back down or change their policy or strategy due to the outcome of the battle, at least not the ones listed above in my humble opinion, though Stalingrad obviously had a devestating effect on Hitler's position on the eastern front.

for me, if an outcome of a battle or the battle itself was an event that effected the course of WWII, I think the most likely would have been the battle of britain...It was the closest hitler ever got to bringing the british empire to its knees, and thus smash the hopes of an allied front against him for years to come. It was such a close-run thing, that there were times when practically the whole of british RAF fighter squadrons were in the air without any reserves, and the battle was bleeding britain of its precious few pilots. The british themselves admit that 2 more weeks of the Luftwaffe campaign against RAF installations would have for all practical purposes destroyed the RAF, rendering even the powerful Royal Navy helpless against the might of the Luftwaffe and making Operation Sea lion possible. It was Hitler's typical impatience and his rage at the small raid of british bombers on Germany that ultimately saved the gallant RAF because he switched to attacking the civilian population of London itself, and although it was barbarous act, it actually helped the RAF regroup and rearm, gaining once again control of britain's sky and operation Sealion became a dud; a fact which made Hitler's turn eastwards towards Russia.

Like I said before, in my view the Axis did not lose the war because of any one battle, they made too many mistakes, and their resources were already stretched too thin by the time the Russian and American goliaths got into the war.

pdf27
06 Jul 07,, 11:26
Concur with the Battle of Britain, although in a rather wider context than purely the battle fought by fighter command in summer 1940. Had the Germans fought and won the extended Battle of Britain (i.e. up to and including a successful Operation Sea Lion, however unlikely this may be) then the character of the war changes fundamentally.
The British Empire might not be knocked out of the war, but are fundamentally powerless if the UK is taken out. Furthermore, the US got involved in the European side of the war almost entirely through it's involvement with the US while the Germans had at the time no real interest in fighting the US aside from it's involvement with the UK.
Hence, if you take out the UK from the war it is no longer a world war but two fundamentally seperate conflicts - a European land war between Russia and Germany, and an Asian naval war between Japan and everybody else (one in which I can't see the result being noticeably different from that we saw - Japanese strategy would probably be pretty much unchanged).

All that makes it an awfully decisive battle - even if in reality the result was never in doubt due to the Germans not having anything like the ability to invade the UK without major help from Alien Space Bats...

Feanor
08 Nov 07,, 00:20
Add Barbarossa to the list.

Dwarven Pirate
08 Nov 07,, 02:56
Pearl Harbor, Dec 7 1941.

Tipping point to bring America to commit troops in both Europe and the Pacific. Sealed the doom of the Axis.

The Chap
08 Nov 07,, 05:00
I have voted "other".

The Battle of Britain was not the sole factor in defeating "Sealion". The RN would have torn them to shreads regardless. The battle of/for the Atlantic probably deserves the title - even though a prolonged vs. deciscive action. Bomber Comand shortened the war rather than changed a tide Germany was dead even if Kursk had been won. The war of logistics had been lost to the Nazis.

I'm not submitting the final above any more than that it negates the obvious pacific US victory. (Yamamato: I have seen Detroit etc.)

In perhaps minor terms I would like to submit El-Alamein or Tubruk.

I shall explain m'self.

#1 it diverted material.
#2 Great Britain sorely needed a victory for moral.
#3 the Libyian oil fields.
#4 Suez
#5 Rommel. Tied up with Brits. Not winning the Eastern Front.
#6 the cauldron that lead to the SAS.
#7 Italy essentially ou of the war (see#2)
#8 veteran troops for Overlord.

Tommy kept Ivan moving.:rolleyes:

RustyBattleship
08 Nov 07,, 07:37
Is there any way I can vote for two? WW II was fought on two different sides of the world. Loss of either one by the Allies could possibly cause defeat in the other.

Naval operations in the Atlantic were not all that decisive except for anti-submarine warfare. Germany had no surface Navy of respectable size and Italy was bottled up in the Mediterranean. Vichy French ships didn't want to go anywhere past Casablanca.

So, decisiveness had to hinge on a major (or series of major) land engagements. I have to pick the Normandy invasion for that. The occupation of the Allies in the west prevented Germany from sending reinforcements to the Russian front. If they could, the battle for Russia may have only ground to a stand still at the original borders.

But in the Pacific, that was a whole different ball game. Though the invasions of the Pacific Islands (Iwo Jima, Saipan, etc.) were critical steps, they could not have been carried out without Naval superiority. Not just air superiority, but Naval ships and Naval aircraft combined.

Japan had a Navy larger than all the European Axis powers combined (not much of a Navy in Albania or Lithuania). It's Naval strength had to be either defeated or held back far enough to allow the invasions of Island hopping. To do that we had to crush Japan's Naval air arm that was supported by quite a number of Aircraft Carriers, AND the rest of its surface Navy of some very fine surface combatants and with a seaborne supply system that rivaled our own (mostly destroyed at Truk).

So, obviously the answer there is the Battle of Midway. Without the large attack Carriers, the Japanese Navy was left vulnerable to both sea and air attacks.

I think BOTH Normandy and Midway had to be won by the Allies to bring the war on BOTH sides of the world to an end.

So, webmaster, how can I legally vote for BOTH? If I can't vote for both (being my honest personal opinion) then I won't vote for any.

Feanor
08 Nov 07,, 10:47
Even after normandy only about 10% of the German army was committed to the Western Front. Even though most Americans don't like to admit this, the second front was only opened to prevent the Red Army from taking over all of Europe.

AK Fan
08 Nov 07,, 12:47
These two battles took place roughly at the same time and, of course, can not be compared in quantitative terms. Several months and millionth armies from both sides in Stalingrad versus one month (active phase - two weeks) and two armies both of some 100 000 men in Al Alamein. But strategically German victories could led basically to the same results. In both cases Germans had they won over Russians or Montgomery could have had access to Caspian or Midlle East oil, met their supporters in Iran, Egypt and eveywhere in the region (imagine Romell as the winner marching in Cairo at least with one regiment), Turkey at war on the German side and many other horrible things changing drastically the entire picture of war.

S2
08 Nov 07,, 13:23
"Even after normandy only about 10% of the German army was committed to the Western Front."

I count 144 German Heer, Luftwaffe and S.S. divisions in the east, including tng. divisions but not separate brigades as of June 15, 1944 according to this site. I didn't count German arctic forces nor those in the Balkans/Greece. As of the same date, there were 57 German Heer, Luftwaffe, and S.S. divisions on the Western Front, to include reserve divisions and those refitting or forming.

Feanor, Germany never came close to 570 divisions. Wrong again-

German OoB June 15, 1944 (http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=6474)

I don't believe that the Soviets EVER fought against the quality and density of armor that faced the allies in June/July, 1944. Consider the beachhead- Liebstandarte, Das Reich, Hohenstauffen, Frundsburg, Hitlerjugend, Gotz Von Berlichgen, Lehr, 2 Panzer Div, 21 Panzer Div, 9 Panzer Div, 116th Panzer Div. All of those divisions near, at, or exceeding their nominal strength. So too the Fallschirmtruppen. This doesn't even consider the fortress divisions and subsequent infantry reinforcement during the battle.

Normandy was far beyond the capabilities of the Red Army.

I chose Kursk. It was the most dynamic battle of the war, IMHO. Still, not decisive in retrospect. I'm increasingly thinking that Barbarossa might have been. I subscribe to the notion that the German Army had beaten the Soviet Union by July 16, 1941 only to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory through operational dilettance. Indeed, I think that I could make a case that the Soviet Union was defeated as early as June 26, 1941 but for the ineptitude of Erich Von Manstein and his commander, Erich Hoepner. Finally, I believe that had the Germans occupied the Moscow-Gorki battlespace by 30September, 1941 it would have led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Feanor
08 Nov 07,, 14:04
If that OoB is correct, then I'm wrong, but why are you not counting the Arctic front? Was fighting it against penguins and polar bears?

Blashy
08 Nov 07,, 16:34
The battle for Intelligence, once the Allies broke the German codes it was all downhill for sure.

RustyBattleship
08 Nov 07,, 19:19
If that OoB is correct, then I'm wrong, but why are you not counting the Arctic front? Was fighting it against penguins and polar bears?

Norway and Greenland.

The Germans took over Norway through Norway's fascist President Quisling. The Arctic Circle does project down into Norway and Tellamark isn't far from it. Tellamark was critical in producing Deuterium (Heavy Water) for Germany's atomic bomb research.

Even after the US took posession of Greenland from Denmark, German units were still there and required resupply if not an evacuation dog sled. Most were hunted down and captured by US Coast Guard personnel.

Oh, by the way. Though Polar Bears eat Seals, they don't eat Penguins.

Reread your post and think about it.

Elbmek
08 Nov 07,, 20:00
Other: Battle of The Atlantic

themistocles
09 Nov 07,, 00:15
Battle Of Britain

Had the Axis nations taken away the RAF then the UK would surely have fallen. The RN would have little aircover to defend themselves and would have been depleted unrecognisably.

If the UK had fallen then the battle on the western front would not have gone any further. No battle in the West = most Axis troups in the east, thus at very best extending the war in Europe and at worst... defeat for the soviets.

This would possibly also have the effect of taking the USA out of the European war and possibly ending the war in asia much quicker?

so battle of Britain... without it:-

1 No Western Front
2 No Base from which French, Polish, czech, Dutch, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian, British or American forces to operate in Europe.
3 Possibly no US involvment in the war in Europe
4 Soviets left to fight Axis power alone
5 British overseas territories become German controlled rapidly.
6 USA able to concentrate efforts in Pacific
7 Japan and possible German allies in ex British controlled areas of Asia thwarted more quickly

What say you??

RustyBattleship
09 Nov 07,, 02:16
You know, every one of these major battles were crucial to the outcome of the war. Alone and if the only battle ever fought, they would be almost insignificant. But each one is tied in with the others and the loss of any one of them would have altered the course of the war drastically.

The old adage:

For want of a nail, a horseshoe was lost.
For want of a horseshoe, a horse was lost.
For want of a horse, a messenger was lost.
For want of a messenger, a message was lost.
For want of a message, a battle was lost.
For want of a battle, a war was lost.

Rocketsci4
09 Nov 07,, 02:33
It pains me to agree with Big K and the Office of Engineers but I have to agree -- Pearl Harbor. Once the US entered the war it was over for the Axis. They couldn't match our protection and we were immune to strategic bombing and attack. It became a war of attrition and the US had the means to frind it out in the long haul.

The Russaians may have had the harder battles, but part of their succeses came from the destruction of Germany factories and their ability to replace lost war material by American (and British) strategic bombing.

Feanor
09 Nov 07,, 04:06
Norway and Greenland.

The Germans took over Norway through Norway's fascist President Quisling. The Arctic Circle does project down into Norway and Tellamark isn't far from it. Tellamark was critical in producing Deuterium (Heavy Water) for Germany's atomic bomb research.

Even after the US took posession of Greenland from Denmark, German units were still there and required resupply if not an evacuation dog sled. Most were hunted down and captured by US Coast Guard personnel.

Oh, by the way. Though Polar Bears eat Seals, they don't eat Penguins.

Reread your post and think about it.

Notable chunks of Arctic front fought in Finland. And when I was talking about fighting penguins and polar bears, I was just being sarcastic. I know penguins are south pole.

S2
09 Nov 07,, 06:31
"Notable chunks of Arctic front fought in Finland."

I'm unsure about this. The front never really moved, did it? How many major operations or battles were fought in this area? I think that it quickly became apparant that the Germans, Finns, and Soviets were mutually incapable of militarily altering the arctic front. Hell, it hardly changed further south on the Karelian isthmus. The terrain, weather, and absence of road networks relegated this front to patrol actions intended to interdict the Murmansk-Moscow link-usually unsuccessfully and the axis defense of the Petsamos nickel production.

More than anything would be the air-sea battle fought over lend-lease on the Norwegian approaches to Murmansk. Of course, the Soviets weren't much help in securing their own supply routes. Allied convoys became accustomed to fighting their way through without Soviet assistance to keep the Red Army from collapsing for lack of critical basic needs.;)

BD1
09 Nov 07,, 08:16
Finns AFAIK refused to move beyond their 1939 border line . Mannerheim refused it because all they wanted was to get back their territories and not to be seen as agressors .
But I could be wrong here . Could be ´lack of capability seen as virtue´.

Feanor
10 Nov 07,, 03:36
You're wrong on a different count. The finns did actually move into Karelia past the old border.

BD1
10 Nov 07,, 11:01
You're wrong on a different count. The finns did actually move into Karelia past the old border.

Yes , turns out You are right.

cape_royds
13 Nov 07,, 04:04
The Finns didn't press any attacks on Leningrad, however.

Siege of Leningrad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad#Finnish_offensive_in_Karelia)

Continuation War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuation_War#Political_development)


Interesting to see how a minor power can attempt to wage its own limited war within a total war between great powers.

Also shows how wise it is for statesmen to always distrust good fortune.

Donnie
13 Nov 07,, 06:45
I chose Stalingrad, it humiliated Hitler. This is also where urban warfare created the mold of all future urban engagements.

MrFirst
17 Nov 07,, 21:26
Finns AFAIK refused to move beyond their 1939 border line . Mannerheim refused it because all they wanted was to get back their territories and not to be seen as agressors .
But I could be wrong here . Could be ´lack of capability seen as virtue´.


Interesting to see how a minor power can attempt to wage its own limited war within a total war between great powers.

Also shows how wise it is for statesmen to always distrust good fortune.

I suppose the only reason why Finns refused to move beyond 1939-border line because they weren't assured which one of great powers will win.

nizawa
26 Nov 07,, 04:38
Modern Wars are decided by industrial power , no matter how many
battles could be won by the Axis. The end result could not be in their favor.
Just think about fighting against the power of USA+USSR+others, must
really have some doubts in believing the intelligence of the Axis leadership.

watnee
30 Dec 07,, 14:24
o.k. I know compared to stalingrad..midway etc it dosen't figure too highly on most historans list BUT the german high command lamented the loss of precious time(1 month) spent on this minor distraction as they stood on the russian tundra within sight of Moscow as the winter snows ground their advance to a halt.;)

Elbmek
30 Dec 07,, 15:01
Stalingrad was a monumental battle but how much of the Soviet victory is attributable to the weather? If this had been summer would the same result have occurred?

S2
30 Dec 07,, 19:09
My thoughts. First, there were, IMHO, two elements to the Soviet victory, 1.) denying Stalingrad as a coup de main by German forces in late August, 1942 and, 2.) enveloping the 6th Army during Operation Uranus.

To the German advantage would an open Volga River throughout the battle. However, it should be noted that the Volga remained open, I believe, until shortly before Uranus was conducted. As such, Soviet re-supply/reinforcement of Chulikov's Stalingrad garrison was conducted across open water throughout the most critical days of the battle- before the Soviet counter-offensive.

The days would have been longer. This works both ways. Longer days means greater flying time for the Luftwaffe resupply of Stalingrad after the encirclement. Longer days means more time per day for the less-operationally skilled Soviet mobile forces to press their encirclement under conditions of visibility. Soviet mechanized offensive operations had not yet developed the nuanced command & control skills necessary to press an assault with coherance in conditions of darkness.

Terrain would be dusty and dry instead of frozen and snowy. Uranus began on the southern wing of 6th Army against the Romanians in conditions of icy fog and low visibility. While these conditions would not have impeded mechanized forces, summer weather would possibly improve the mobility of the infantry forces for both the Soviet and German/Hungarian, and Romanian forces most immediately affected. Too, the Italians along the Voronezh front further north would have a slight improvement in their mobility.

Aerial reconnaissance of Soviet assembly areas both north and south of Stalingrad may have been improved by flying time and visibility, or not. Certainly, wooded copses would have afforded concealment for Soviet assembly of assault forces along the flanks. Covered crossings of the Volga, however, would have few hours of darkness to facilitate Soviet movement into forward assembly areas and would require the ferrying of all armored elements to the west bank. I don't know how assembly of these forces were handled by the Soviet General Staff in actuality, however. When, specifically, did the Volga freeze? Was it's thickness sufficient to sustain the weight of T-34s and KV1s moving into assembly areas just prior to the offensive? If not, then ferry operations would have been required to reach west bank assembly areas.

Elbmek, I'm uncertain how all that shakes out, but those would be the mitigating factors that I foresee offhand.

Canmoore
30 Dec 07,, 20:57
I chose stalingrad.. Hitler became fixated on this one city, he could have avoided the entire quagmire and still achieve his goals..but instead, in his madness he sent thousands of Germans into a giant meat grinder.

clackers
30 Dec 07,, 23:40
BUT the german high command lamented the loss of precious time(1 month) spent on this minor distraction as they stood on the russian tundra within sight of Moscow as the winter snows ground their advance to a halt.;)

Although, Watnee, Sir John Keegan writes:

The Balkan campaign, often depicted by historians as an unwelcome diversion from Hitler's long-laid plan to attack the Soviet Union and as a disabling interruption of the timetable he had marked out for its inception, had been in fact no such thing. It had been successfully concluded even more rapidly than his professional military advisors could have anticipated; while the choice of D-Day for Barbarossa had always depended not on the sequence of contingent events but on the weather and objective military factors. The German army found it more difficult than expected to position the units allocated for Barbarossa in Poland; while the lateness of the spring thaw, which left the eastern European rivers in spate beyond the predicted date, meant that Barbarossa could not have begun very much earlier than the third week of June, whatever Hitler's intentions.

clackers
31 Dec 07,, 00:07
Stalingrad was a monumental battle but how much of the Soviet victory is attributable to the weather? If this had been summer would the same result have occurred?

The Soviets had incorrectly guessed the location of the 1942 German offensive. Stalin massed huge reserves around Moscow, but the actual attack was to the south. Vasilevsky and Zhukov convinced the dictator that within forty-five days they could be relocated to launch a pincer attack around Stalingrad (Uranus) as well as a (failed, as it turned out) offensive in the Moscow area (Mars) ...

The pincers met up on the Don river within four days ... in the summer, it may have been even quicker, Elbmek.

And if not for the winter and Manstein's counter attack, perhaps the First Panzer and Seventeenth Armies wouldn't have had time to abandon and escape from the Caucasus ... the Russian attempt to stop them was Operation Saturn ... so German losses may have doubled if not for Sixth Army's sacrifice ...

S2
31 Dec 07,, 02:02
"Barbarossa could not have begun very much earlier than the third week of June, whatever Hitler's intentions."

David Glantz and R.H. Stolfi have suggested that the Balkans operations also served as camoflauge for the assembly of German forces in the east. The Bug river was still in spring flood-stage as of late May.

Good points about 1st Panzer and 17th Armies in 1942-43.

S2
03 Jan 08,, 05:06
Содержание // Проект "Военная литература"
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PART IV. GERMAN CASUALTIES, TANK LOSSES AND LOGISTICS
Chapter Ten. German Casualties and Tank Losses: Did the Germans Have the Combat Strength to Seize Moscow in the Summer of 1941?

HISTORICAL convention avers that the Germans suffered severe casualties from the beginning of the Russian campaign and faced lengthy rest and reorganization by the end of July 1941, before continuing the advance into the Soviet Union. Contrary to this view, the Germans suffered relatively light casualties, especially considering that during Barbarossa violent fighting took place along the entire front as the Germans advanced everywhere to bring the war to a quick end. German forces on the eastern front stood at a strength higher than any other time in the war and, according to all accounts, the Russian infantry fought stubbornly in defensive positions and counterattacked fiercely, often in wave after wave. Thus, the convention has maintained without adequate verification that the Germans attacking along the entire front must have suffered crippling casualties.

It is evident today that either the Soviets had been surprised and adopted a makeshift strategy to attack the Germans as far west as possible with all reserves, or they had been caught in the middle of an offensive deployment of their own. As a German observer pointed out, however, "In pursuing this policy they evidently grossly overestimated German losses.{1} This acute observation—largely accurate—might also have read, "In pursuing a policy of defense to the last man and counterattack without regard to tactical reality or losses, the Soviets evidently felt that the Germans were suffering severe losses similar to their own." By 3 July 1941, the Germans had completed the fast phase of Barbarossa—Army Group North had broken out of the Dvina bridgeheads and moved north in a late but great rush toward Leningrad, and Army Group Center had moved away from the large pocket near Minsk and moved east toward Smolensk. That date is a reasonable one to check German casualties and gauge the possibilities of a push for Moscow in the immediate future. Table 7 compares German and Soviet casualties during this period.

Table 7. German and Soviet Casualties Compared (22 June-3 July 1941, entire front)

German (documented) Soviet (estimated)
Killed 11,822 Killed 200,000
Wounded 39,109 Wounded 400,000
Missing 3,961* Captured 335.000
Total 54,892 Tota 935,000


* Comprised of captured and killed, with some of the former also wounded.

The Germans attacked with dose to 3,000,000 personnel, and the Soviets initially had approximately 2,500,000 men committed in western Soviet Russia. German forces would be drawn down gradually during Barbarossa. while the Soviets would be immensely reinforced by mobilization. Soviet mobilization, however, was counterbalanced by the tactical and operational superiority of the German field armies, reflected in catastrophic Soviet casualties, particularly in captured and killed. The result is that at any single moment during Barbarossa, with one notable exception, one could expect to find approximately 3,000.000 Germans engaged in combat with a similar number of Russians. The exception is early in August, when Army Group Center was so successful that the Soviet forces opposed to it, according to German intelligence estimates, appeared to have been reduced to roughly half the strength of Army Group Center. To grasp whether or not German casualties in the fast phase of Barbarossa were leading toward a German collapse in August, one should note that the campaign involved approximately 6,000,000 men who could be engaged in combat at any time. German casualties totalling 54,892 in the fast twelve days of combat, involving some 6,000,000 men, can be described as moderate. German casualties compared with Soviet losses during the same period show an overall exchange ratio of approximately I German casualty for every 15 Soviet casualties. The Germans suffered so few casualties and managed to extract so uneven a ratio in their favor that any analysis of casualties supports the view that the Soviets were losing on 3 July 1941 and had little time left to survive if the Germans continued their pace.

They did. By 16 July 1941, when they seized Smolensk, they had lost only 102,488 men. and by 2 August they had taken 179,500 casualties. On the latter date, had they been operating under the hypothetical case of a direct advance on Moscow from Smolensk, where they were at that moment, they would have been less than two weeks from a final offensive on Moscow and scarcely deterred by the casualties incurred up to 2 August. The casualties were small for the results achieved, the sizes of the German and Soviet armies engaged, and the closeness of the Germans to victory in the entire campaign.

Not surprisingly, the Germans had anticipated casualties in the war they had planned, and they had providentially taken steps to be prepared for them. They estimated their losses in the great "border" battles, anticipated to last from June to August 1941, would be 275.000 and felt that they might incur another 200,000 in the month of September.{2} For an army so often accused of grossly underestimating the challenges of war in the Soviet Union, the Germans anticipated casualties, one of the challenges of war, with uncanny accuracy. The army anticipated 275,000 casualties for June-August 1941 and had that number available in its field replacement battalions and the Field Replacement Army to replenish the forecasted losses. Actually, the army slightly overestimated the casualties it would take under the army scheme of maneuver (as opposed to Hitler's eventual procrastinated maneuver) in Barbarossa, suffering roughly 257,000 casualties during that period. Hence, it can scarcely be claimed that the Germans were surprised and thrown off stride by the severity of their losses, which were less than they had anticipated, or that they were inhibited significantly by casualties in launching a great strategic offensive toward Moscow on 13 August 1941.

Other Means of Gauging German Casualties:

The Situation in the Divisions

Other ways of gauging German losses can be used to sense how dose the Germans were to victory in the opening stages of the campaign. The Germans attacked with approximately 141 divisions reinforced by "army troops." The latter troops were held by corps, army, and army group commanders and assigned as required to support the operations of the divisions. The army troops comprised powerful forces, particularly of artillery, pioneer, chemical mortar (smoke), and self-propelled storm gun units. They &t into the picture of combat in Barbarossa and the other campaigns largely by the way they were used to reinforce operations by the German divisions. The divisions were the largest self-contained maneuver elements used by the Germans, and they can be used to gauge casualties in Barbarossa. On 22 June 1941, the attacking German divisions were powerful combat organizations averaging approximately 15,745 men among the infantry, panzer, and motorized infantry types.{3} On 23 August, approximately when it would have been closing in on Moscow under the hypothetical direct advance, and after fighting a series of hard battles (Roslavl, Rogachev, and Gomel) to open the way south, Panzer Group Guderian controlled eight divisions averaging 12,543 men, each at "engagement strength."{4} The divisions had additional men in unevacuated, lightly wounded, and temporarily sick. The German divisions of the heavily engaged Panzer Group Guderian of Army Group Center were 'operating at 80-percent personnel strength compared with their numbers at the beginning of the war.{5} That strength shows that Army Group Center would not have been prevented from taking Moscow because of casualties.

Contrasting Numbers and Qualities of the Opposing Tank Forces, 1941

The German army was not inhibited on 2 August 1941 by casualties, but it still could have been crippled by losses in its single most important weapon during the advance—the battle tank. In 1941, the German battle tanks, in contrast to reconnaissance types, were relatively light vehicles that could have suffered heavy losses at the hands of the numerically large Soviet tank and antitank forces. The Germans held the tanks shown in Table 8.

The German Pz.Kw. II was scarcely suitable for tank-versus-tank combat or infantry support. A weak tank production effort in serious battle tanks had forced the Germans to use the Pz.Kw. II alongside battle tanks in combat. The Germans used them judiciously, emphasizing their value in reconnaissance and coups de main, but the tank could be expected to suffer heavy losses.

Table 8. German Battle Tanks, Barbarossa, 1941 Specifications*

German Tank Tons Armor,** mm Gun, mm Road Range, km Maximum speed, km/h
Pz. Kw. II A-E{6} 10 15 20 260 48
TNHP 38 (Czech){7} 10 25 37 230 42
Pz.Kw. II A-H{6} 20 30 50 175 40
Pz. Kw. IV A-E{6} 21 30 75 200 40


*The German tanks include numerous letter variants complicated in turn by retrofitted material, but the specifications are predominately as shown.

**Max armor at a few frontal locations.

The Czech-manufactured TNHP 38 tank was no heavier but had thicker armor in several frontal locations and a much more potent 3.7cm long-barreled, high-velocity cannon. The German tank was a light reconnaissance vehicle used to play a presumptuous role as a battle tank. By the standards of the day, the Czech-manufactured TNHP 38 was at least a marginal battle tank. comparable to the Soviet ВТ cavalry tanks and T-26 infantry support tanks available in huge numbers to the Red Army. At the beginning of the war, the Soviets had approximately 17,000 of the ВТ and T-26 tanks, compared with 746 German Pz.Kw. II and 812 TNHP 38 tanks in the invading field armies. In similar types of marginal battle tanks, therefore, the Soviet tanks outnumbered the Germans numerically by more than an order of magnitude. A more complete picture of Soviet battle tanks is given in Table 9.{8}

The more credible German battle tanks—Pz.Kw. Ill and IV—were overmatched by the Soviet T-34, KV-I, and KV-2 vehicles, especially in the tank-versus-tank combat qualities of armor protection and main armament. In a curious turnabout in the campaign, high-quality Soviet tanks in small numbers faced German tanks in larger numbers with similar missions but inferior qualities. In the first months of the war, the Soviets probably used approximately 500 of these vehicles. The Germans, in contrast, entered the Soviet Union in the first days of the war with 1,065 combat-model (as distinguished from command-vehicle) Pz.Kw. Ill and 489 Pz.Kw. IV tanks. It is only fair to note that these German tanks would have their hands full with the immense numbers of ВТ and T-26 vehicles, almost all of which were armed with the Soviet 4.5cm tank cannon—quite capable of penetrating the armor of most larger German tanks at realistic combat ranges. These same German tanks would also have their hands full with the larger Soviet tanks, whose armor was impervious to the projectiles fired by the German 5.0cm L42 and 7.5cm L24 tank cannon. The Germans were saved in this almost incredible technical mismatch by the flexible use of other weapons to support the tanks, including the 10.5cm light field howitzer, 10.0cm field gun, and 8.8cm flak (antiaircraft cannon).{9} The German tanks could knock out a few of the Soviet T-34, KV-1, and KV-2 tanks only because of their high rates of fire and impacts best described as statistical outliers— unlikely impacts, or combinations of impacts against gun tubes, drive sprockets, and the junctions between turrets and hulls.{10}

Table 9. Soviet Battle Tanks, Barbarossa, 1941 Specifications*

Soviet Tank Tons Armor,** mm Gun, mm Road Range, km Speed, km/h
T-26 A-C 10 15 45 225 48
BT-2,5,7 12 13 45 375 52
T-34 A,B 26 65 76 400 52
KV-1 A-C 48 120 76 335 35
KV-2 52 110 150 250 26


*The Soviet tanks include different letter variants, but the specifications are predominately as shown.

**Max armor over wide areas at front of hulls and turrets.

The Importance of Tanks in the German Blitzkrieg

The Germans depended for success in Barbarossa largely on aggressive, self-confident panzer leaders and the qualities and numbers of their tanks. Tanks were so important to them that a shorthand way of comprehending the strategic possibilities would be to compare the numbers of tanks available at any stage in Barbarossa. The Germans, of course, had combined tanks with other combat arms, such as motorized and eventually mechanized infantry (i.e armored, tracked vehicles to carry riflemen), motorized artillery, pioneers, antitank guns. and special communications, repair, and supply detachments. Tanks could not perform effectively in combat without the support of the other combat arms and service units. The synthesis of these weapons in panzer divisions represented a unique achievement of the Germans in the interwar period.

Many military officers in other states—especially Britain. France, and the Soviet Union—emphasized the development of tanks and tank divisions, but none combined tanks and the other combat arms so effectively into balanced combat organizations capable of strategic movement and swift campaigns. In counterpoint to this concept of combined arms, although tanks could not move effectively without the complex organized support of other arms and service units, blitzkriegs in turn stopped without the tanks. The Germans executed the ultrablitz into the Soviet Union with panzer divisions in the lead. The striking power of the divisions and, in turn, the strategic possibilities for the Germans therefore can be represented by the number of tanks available at any time for German panzer leaders to deploy over the Russian countryside.

An analysis of the value of tanks can be made by summarizing the numbers (Table 10), then showing whether or not the Germans had enough to do the job required in Barbarossa.

Table 10. Russo-German Tank Balance. Barbarossa, 1941

Russians Germans{11}
T-26 A-C c.12000{12} Pz.Kw. II 746
ВТ 2,5.7 c.5000{12} TNHP 38 812*
T-34 А, В c.1200{13} Pz.Kw. III 1065
KV-1, 2 c.582{13} Pz.Kw. IV 479


* Number indudes some older TNHS 35 vehicles.

The balance supports a number of important generalizations about Barbarossa, some old and well known, others new and inadequately explored. To the Germans, tanks were so important that the qualities and numbers of Soviet vehicles were debated at all levels. Hitler, with his penchant for detail, was concerned about Soviet tanks. He underestimated their numbers, lending support to the thesis that the Germans fatally underestimated the numbers and qualities of Soviet weapons. Guderian. however, who led the largest panzer group into the Soviet Union and fought against a large share of the Soviet tank force, seems to have had no illusions about the numbers (even 18,000 to as many as 22,000).{14} With respect to the qualities of the enemy tanks, Guderian was seriously discomfited by the appearance of significant numbers of Soviet T-34 tanks in October 1941, but he was not surprised by their qualities. The German army had been roughly handled by Allied tanks at the end of the First World War. As a direct result, the infantry and mobile divisions built in the 1930s had many antitank guns, anticipating the threat of great numbers of Allied infantry support tanks in any war.{15} This anticipation carried into the war against the Soviet Union, and a large percentage of the extraordinary numbers of Soviet tanks destroyed in Barbarossa was accounted for by the German infantry divisions' antitank guns.

The Soviets had so many tanks they could deploy huge numbers in battalion-level organizations to support their infantry divisions. They could also place large numbers in motorized-mechanized brigades and tank divisions before the German attack. The Soviets employed so many tanks and deployed them so extensively that the German infantry divisions met huge numbers and knocked out virtually all with the 3.7cm and 5.0cm antitank guns of the antitank battalions and regimental antitank companies (the fourteenth company of each German infantry regiment).{16} In the opening days of the war the German 256th Infantry Division, advancing from the northwest toward Bialystok, was forced to stop and defend itself against Soviet tank attacks from 24 to 26 June at Kuznica. The infantry division antitank guns and attached self-propelled storm artillery destroyed 250 Soviet tanks in this engagement{17} and contributed to pinning down and encircling huge Soviet forces in the Bialystok pocket.{18}

The panzer groups, particularly in Army Groups Center and South, faced similar powerful counterattacks. The panzer divisions of the groups averaged approximately 164 battle tanks each and could advance against strong Soviet tank forces. Even the panzer divisions and their accompanying motorized infantry divisions ran into powerful Soviet mechanized formations, which could be neither bypassed nor ignored and forced major tank battles from the first day of the war. Such battles lasted from several hours to a full day in Army Groups North and Center, and even longer in Army Group South. The German panzer and motorized rifle divisions would drive into a mass of at least 8,000 and possibly as many as 12,000 tanks as the Soviet tank forces were attracted to the more dangerous, deeply penetrating mobile divisions. Considering the numbers, one wonders how the Germans advanced at all against such a mass of Soviet tanks.

Hitler and the Balance Between the Soviet and German Tank Forces

In a conversation with Guderian in July 1941, knowing that his field armies were wrestling with vast Soviet tank forces, Hitler remarked that he would not have attacked the Soviet Union had he believed Guderian's earlier estimate of 10,000 Soviet tanks in the late 1930s. The remark shows that Hitler had underestimated the number of Soviet tanks and leads to an interpretation of the campaign in which the masses of Soviet tanks had slowed, then stopped, the Germans, The Germans were surprised by the appearance of extremely high quality T-34 A and В and KV-I and 2 tanks in and among the more numerous lighter vehicles.{19} The conventional wisdom gathers impressive support in the thesis that the Germans were halted by the numbers and quality of the Red Army, particularly its tanks. In short, the masses of moderate-quality lighter vehicles slowed the Germans, while enough of the superior quality T-34s halted the Germans short of Moscow by December 1941.

Hitler probably underestimated the size of the Soviet tank force and the special qualities of a small but important part of it. Yet the German tank force—tanks combined entirely in the four 'panzer groups—advanced so swiftly against the defending Soviets in June and July 1941 that it established the preconditions for defeat of the Soviet Union. Hitler's underestimation of the size and certain qualities of the Soviet tank force is accurate but irrelevant to the Russian campaign because the German panzer groups advanced against the Red Army and its tanks on a schedule that could be projected in June-July 1941 into the defeat of the Soviet Union. If Hitler underestimated the Soviet tank force, and yet the German panzer groups advanced swiftly through it, logic demands that Hitler must have underestimated the striking power of his panzer forces. The intriguing generalization supported by such argument is that the underestimations cancel themselves. The underestimated Red Army and its tanks found themselves all but eliminated by the pace, destructive power, and territorial gains of the underestimated German army and its panzer groups by the first of August 1941.

German Tank Losses In the Great Opening Battles of the Russian Campaign

By that time. in Army Group Center, Panzer Groups Guderian and Hoth had destroyed or captured 1,638 Soviet tanks in the Bialystok-Minsk battles and, assuming a similar percentage of Soviet losses in the Dvina-Dnieper and Smolensk battles, an additional 1,635 vehicles. While maintaining a blitz pace and positioning themselves east of Smolensk much earlier on 15 July 1941, the panzer groups had "knocked out" approximately 3,273 Soviet tanks.{20}. This astounding achievement in so brief a time along the high road to Moscow is a convincing argument to support the thesis that the Germans had the capability to defeat the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. We know the Soviet tank losses, and they could be characterized as fatal if the Germans had the strength to push on immediately toward Moscow. The question has been posed, however: Did the Germans lose so many tanks in fighting their way through massed Soviet vehicles along hundreds of kilometers of unpaved Russian roads that they were checked by the beginning of August 1941?

The striking power of the German panzer forces attacking the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 is equatable with their 3,102 battle tanks. By early August, to win the campaign. Army Group Center had to begin the attack on Moscow soon and depend for success largely on the number of tanks available. OKH data for August show the Germans early in the month had approximately 85 percent of their tank strength available for combat and only 15 percent as total losses. The Germans still had most of the tanks with which they had begun the campaign, but a significant fraction of these could not advance because of needed repairs. Preparing for an advance as important as that on Moscow, the Germans would make a strong effort to effect those repairs and in Army Group Center would have had approximately 65 percent of their original strength in tanks available to advance on 13 August 1941 and some 20 percent in the work shops{21}. Having started the campaign with 1,780 battle tanks in Army Group Center, the Germans still had approximately 1,157 tanks running and 356 in repair. This impressive number of tanks would have been with the field armies in August for an advance on Moscow and probably augmented by approximately 390 additional tanks from Army Group North. On 4 August, when it appeared possible that Hitler had changed his mind and decided in favor of an advance on Moscow, Guderian and Hoth estimated for OKH that their combat strength for the next offensive, against Moscow, would be 50 percent and 60 percent, respectively{22}. The panzer leaders based their estimates largely on tanks available for the advance. The two panzer groups of Army Group Center were similar in size. Thus the estimates show approximately 55 percent of the original total of tanks in the army group ready for a hypothetical advance on Moscow on about 13 August. The 65 percent estimate in the listing above, applied to Army Group Center, is more optimistic but probably also more accurate than those made by the panzer group leaders for a projected offensive hedged in by Hitler's reservations, excursions, and ancillary tasks. Had they known before the end of July that they would be called on to drive singlemindedly for Moscow, they probably would have achieved the tank percentage suggested above.

German Tanks Available for the Advance on Moscow in August 1941

The figure of 65 percent of the original German tank strength gives a realistic picture of the numbers of tanks the Germans would have used in an offensive against Moscow in the first half of August 1941. The percentage is pessimistic with respect to the remaining striking power of the panzer groups. When the Germans attacked the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 with 3,102 battle tanks, a significant percentage would have been under repair for the attrition associated with the assembly for Barbarossa. This was particularly true among the panzer divisions concentrated at the last moment in Wave 4b for the offensive{23}. Tanks under repair on 22 June can be estimated at 10 percent, but the important point is that the striking power of the German panzer force was not 3.102 battle tanks but approximately 90 percent of that figure. All German estimates of tank strength after 22 June 1941 use percentages of an original strength of 3,102. This strength was never available because the Germans attacked on 22 June with about 2,792 combat-ready tanks (and 310 in repair). Thus, the Germans on 13 August would have been attacking with an estimated 65 percent of the tanks available on 22 June, but approximately 72 percent of their striking power on the first day of the war. Actual percentages would be slightly different, but the percentages used by the Germans to measure remaining striking power would have to be adjusted upward.

By about 13 August 1941, the Germans had suffered Soviet combat action losses of approximately 12 percent of their original tanks. For Army Group Center, with 1,780 battle tanks in its divisions when it attacked earlier in June, this translates into 214 German battle tanks "knocked out" by Soviet combat action on the eve of the hypothetical German advance on Moscow. During the same period the German tanks of Panzer Groups 2 and 3 destroyed and captured 3,273 Soviet tanks. Although German tanks did not damage all of the Soviet tanks that were destroyed in the Soviet totals, the exchange ratios in tank losses were I German tank lost to 15 Soviet. By early August 1941, the German tank formations and infantry divisions had inflicted fearsome tank losses on the Soviets, and the panzer units unquestionably had enough striking power to advance to Moscow and beyond.

The Soviet T-34 Tank: Reality, Myth, and Irony

One of the great myths of the Russian campaign is that the Soviet T-34 tank appeared as a miracle of Soviet technology to produce an element of superiority over the Germans, which turned the tide in favor of the Soviets in October-December 1941, especially at the gates of Moscow in November and December, Myths are difficult to analyze and dispose of because of their combination of truth and fiction. The T-34 tank was superior to any German tank deployed in Barbarossa in gun power, armor thickness and slope, and cross-country mobility—major factors in tank-versus-tank combat. Yet it is rarely mentioned that the Soviet T-34 A and В tanks had poor observation out of the vehicles, had virtually no radios for effective command and control, and, incredibly, were designed with inefficient two-man turrets. Despite their frustration at seeing their tank gun projectiles having little effect on the thick, sloped armor of the T-34 hulls and the well-shaped turrets, German tank crews were amazed that they would fire two, three, or four rounds against the T-34s to every round they received. In the Soviet two-man turrets, the tank commander had to double as gunner, thus reducing dramatically the rate of fire and the ability to acquire new targets—particularly in fluid operations and sudden, meeting engagements.

The Germans faced a severe technical inferiority: German tank cannon projectiles would not penetrate the Soviet T-34 tank. Soviet tank cannon on the T-34 penetrated the armor of all German tanks in the east in 1941, at extended ranges for the day of approximately 1,000 m. Fortunately for the Germans, the Soviets had only a few T-34 tanks available for combat in June and July 1941. Obligingly they distributed them across the entire Russian front, singly or in groups of two or three, among other tanks, including the similarly shaped ВТ cavalry tanks. With their combined arms teams, including 5.0cm antitank guns, antiaircraft guns, and artillery, the Germans could handle the T-34s comfortably in June and July. It was not until October 1941 that the T-34 tanks menaced the Germans so greatly that the tanks have been identified as one of the most significant causes of the German defeat in the battle for Moscow{24}. By then, the Soviets had shifted production toward the T-34s, which appeared in more significant numbers (with the same superior qualities) in packs of twelve to twenty tanks capable of slowing the thinned German panzer divisions of October-December 1941.

In June, July, and August, however, the Soviets lacked enough T-34s to form big concentrations and affect the campaign. The Germans were not menaced by the T-34s until the first week of October 1941, when Guderian's tanks near Orel in Operation Typhoon were two months behind schedule on the road to Moscow and unable to advance against them as they appeared in medium-sized packs. The T-34s show the potential fatal nature of time delay in a blitz against a strong opponent. Had the Germans attacked Moscow on the army schedule of about 13 August 1941, they would not have met the T-34s on the road to Moscow. Those tanks could not have been there in significant quantities to produce any noticeable effect on the advance of Army Group Center.

From another viewpoint the situation was also ironic. Hitler perceptively insisted on a campaign against Soviet Russia as early as possible, sensing correctly that every moment counted to prevent the Soviets from growing stronger and more dangerous by their armaments production. Once the campaign began, he who had been in a rush to end the Soviet armaments menace in 1941 procrastinated and by his dilatory and indecisive conduct of military operations gave the Soviets the opportunity to employ T-34 tanks. The T-34 myth emerged from an area that would have fallen to the Germans about 18 August 1941, and the tanks were manufactured largely in facilities in Moscow that would have been captured by approximately 28 August.

WarisHell
10 Feb 08,, 15:26
I would say the Battle of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be up there.

Probably saved a few hundred thousand US/Cth lives and a few million Japanese/Korean ones.

Elbmek
10 Feb 08,, 16:21
I would say the Battle of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be up there.

Probably saved a few hundred thousand US/Cth lives and a few million Japanese/Korean ones.

Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese mainland, would have cost so many lives it would have been the biggest, bloodiest, costly, battle in all of history. Every single Japanese person, male and female were prepared to defend every single field and alley, every street and bridge. And the Russians would probably have invaded from the north.

The island of Okinawa was almost packed solid with body bags for the expected casualties. The dropping of the atomic bombs, and I can see the sarcasm on Warishell's post, undoubtedly killed many people BUT it saved the lives of millions!!!

The economic wealth enjoyed by Japan post war would not have been possible as there would have been virtually no Japanese nation to rebuild.

marklv
13 Feb 08,, 11:28
Ok guys, your vote, which battle was the single most important contest of arms 39-45?

Without a doubt, Stalingrad. A German victory would have opened up the whole Soviet Union and caused its collpase within months. Limitless raw materials would then have become available to the Germans, far out of range of allied bombers. Maybe Hitler would then have got the 'bomb' even before Roosevelt!

marklv
13 Feb 08,, 11:31
Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese mainland, would have cost so many lives it would have been the biggest, bloodiest, costly, battle in all of history. Every single Japanese person, male and female were prepared to defend every single field and alley, every street and bridge. And the Russians would probably have invaded from the north.

The island of Okinawa was almost packed solid with body bags for the expected casualties. The dropping of the atomic bombs, and I can see the sarcasm on Warishell's post, undoubtedly killed many people BUT it saved the lives of millions!!!

The economic wealth enjoyed by Japan post war would not have been possible as there would have been virtually no Japanese nation to rebuild.


*******s - a total myth. No invasion would ever have been necessary, as a blockade of Japan would have caused its collapse before the end of 1945. The dropping of the atom bombs saved no lives, but took over 200,000 innocent ones. It was a war crime.

glyn
13 Feb 08,, 13:18
Maybe Hitler would then have got the 'bomb' even before Roosevelt!

I disagree. The small German nuke project had home-grown talent, whereas the pick of the crop from the rest of the world were working on the allied bomb (with disaffected German scientists included).

wabpilot
13 Feb 08,, 14:18
*******s - a total myth. No invasion would ever have been necessary, as a blockade of Japan would have caused its collapse before the end of 1945. The dropping of the atom bombs saved no lives, but took over 200,000 innocent ones. It was a war crime.That is not the judgement of the military professionals involved.

astralis
13 Feb 08,, 14:43
marklv,


*******s - a total myth. No invasion would ever have been necessary, as a blockade of Japan would have caused its collapse before the end of 1945. The dropping of the atom bombs saved no lives, but took over 200,000 innocent ones. It was a war crime.

the allies were already gearing up for the invasion. it was already planned and signed off on.

by the way, had the allies instituted a blockade, the USSR would have gone ahead with ITS invasion of the home islands- they were gonna hit hokkaido ASAP.

astralis
13 Feb 08,, 14:45
marklv,


Without a doubt, Stalingrad. A German victory would have opened up the whole Soviet Union and caused its collpase within months.

no, it wouldn't have. stalingrad was important literally in name only. a german victory would have made life harder for the soviets, but wouldn't have changed any of the strategic factors behind the german defeat.

Kansas Bear
13 Feb 08,, 15:38
*******s - a total myth. No invasion would ever have been necessary, as a blockade of Japan would have caused its collapse before the end of 1945.

Which wouldn't have effected the Japanese troops in China, Korea, or Indochina.


The dropping of the atom bombs saved no lives, but took over 200,000 innocent ones. It was a war crime.


And yet, the Japanese government still didn't surrender after the Hiroshima bombing.:rolleyes:

clackers
15 Feb 08,, 02:55
I disagree. The small German nuke project had home-grown talent, whereas the pick of the crop from the rest of the world were working on the allied bomb (with disaffected German scientists included).


Yes, Glyn, the project was also barking up the wrong tree, possibly due to one of the leaders (Heisenberg of Uncertainty Principle fame) hindering its efforts ...

The team did have to tell the rest of the government that progress was being made, lest they actually be drafted to serve in the armed forces ... the German manpower shortage was getting drastic ...

clackers
15 Feb 08,, 02:58
by the way, had the allies instituted a blockade, the USSR would have gone ahead with ITS invasion of the home islands- they were gonna hit hokkaido ASAP.

In fact, Astralis, at the Yalta conference Roosevelt and Churchill made Stalin commit to attacking Japan within 90 days of a German surrender ... I don't know about a sea invasion, though ...

clackers
15 Feb 08,, 03:01
by the way, had the allies instituted a blockade, the USSR would have gone ahead with ITS invasion of the home islands- they were gonna hit hokkaido ASAP.

In fact, Astralis, at the Yalta conference Roosevelt and Churchill made Stalin commit to attacking Japan within 90 days of a German surrender ... I don't know about a sea invasion, though!

reve893
21 Mar 08,, 19:19
The most significant battle in my opinion was the Battle of Normandy. This destroyed all hopes for Germany to win the War. The allies strategic bombing was not really disrupting the production of war materials. During this Germany was producing more tanks than ever, not to say tanks were better than the Allies. Germany had five/six panzer divisions and many more infantry divisions in France. The idea was that they defeated the Allies armies and than use those forces to launch an offensive against the soviet union, and stabilize the front. The Americans and British would not be able to gather enough resources for another attempt for a number of years, or would have to pursue a diplomatic solution. They were not having any success in Italy, and Stalin told Roosevelt and Churchill that a second western front was necessary, for the war to be won. It would still be pretty far for Germany to win the war, but nonetheless a different outcome would have occured. For this reasons Normandy was the most important and significant battle.

Sinister
22 Mar 08,, 04:28
Many battles have been decicive , such as Stalingrad or Pearl Harbour , I somewhat personaly find it that Kursk was the most fundamental specialy on eastern front as it destroyed cruicial german reserves that they could not recover , it was also the biggest tank battle in history.

nizawa
23 Mar 08,, 09:19
I would like to put the attack of Pearl Harbour as the most decisive battle
of WW2 as this enable USA to bring the full war potential to bear on Allied
side to win the war.

cuba
23 Mar 08,, 09:24
If a battle isn't defined as mutual then i would say Pearl Harbour as well.

Ray
23 Mar 08,, 21:18
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Ended a long drawn out war!

JAD_333
24 Mar 08,, 03:33
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Ended a long drawn out war!


I suppose you could call that a battle.

But 'decisive' would depend on how one defines the word. The bombing brought a swift end of a war that was already lost. Is that decisive or would that label go to the Battle of Midway or Philippines Sea? The first turned the tide and the second wiped out what navy the Japanese had left.

Ray
24 Mar 08,, 05:02
Well, technically the bombing could not be called a battle and you are right about that.

Ray
24 Mar 08,, 05:08
As per some these are supposed to be decisive:

Polish Campaign 1939
Dunkirk 1940
Britain (Battle of) 1940
Moscow 1941
Pearl Harbor 1941
Singapore 1942
Midway 1942
Guadalcanal 1942
Stalingrad 1942
El Alamein II 1942
Kursk 1943
Normandy 1944
Ardennes 1944
Okinawa 1945
Decisive Battles (http://www.lbdb.com/DecisiveBattles2.cfm?ZEra=TW)

BruceLee94
13 Apr 08,, 20:20
I would say the battle of Britain because without no D-day which was launched from British soil, there would be no occupation of France, and later Germany from the west. Britain remained the only unoccupied allied place is Europe. lots of vital British soldiers would be captured still in Britain, also, How would Canadians, Americans etc go without the British coast? They could have landed in German occupied western France, with heavy defenses, or spain, and risked turning to war with neutral Spain. The only hope would have been from Russia, who i don't think could have managed without the British support of Spitfires etc.

I think US would have to enter Europe by going the other way round through Russia, and onto the Eastern front. And that would have been an altogether different war, it's very hard to say what would have happened.

glyn
13 Apr 08,, 21:33
I would say the battle of Britain because without no D-day which was launched from British soil, there would be no occupation of France, and later Germany from the west. Britain remained the only unoccupied allied place is Europe. lots of vital British soldiers would be captured still in Britain, also, How would Canadians, Americans etc go without the British coast? They could have landed in German occupied western France, with heavy defenses, or spain, and risked turning to war with neutral Spain. The only hope would have been from Russia, who i don't think could have managed without the British support of Spitfires etc.

I think US would have to enter Europe by going the other way round through Russia, and onto the Eastern front. And that would have been an altogether different war, it's very hard to say what would have happened.

Thank you professor! Are you really quite sure that you should be a member of WAB? The reason I ask is because I find you to be a complete embarrassment.

nizawa
14 Apr 08,, 05:37
Quite agree, without battle of Britain, with a Nazi occupied Britain,not sure whether US would have entered the war. The only way to win the war is to have US on your side.

cesm
14 Apr 08,, 22:25
Hard to say. Can't select a special one. On the top of my list are :
- battle of Britain (how could USA fight Germany and help Russia if the English Empire surrenders ?) and the first round : the air-battle of France (853 german planes destroyed by RAF+FAF, some pilots killed, tired german units which have to rest and reinforce before the second round)
- Pearl Harbor (with or without the full help of the USA, it's a very different war)
- battle of Atlantic and the Enigma challenge (like battle of Britain, if Germany wins it's a disaster for the link between the USA and the others, and for the continuation of the war against Germany)
- some decisive battles of the russian front : Moscow, Stalingrad and maybe Kursk. If USSR collapses, good luck on the West front.

"Franco-German frontier 1939", no comment...

rm444
22 Apr 08,, 02:33
It'd have to be 'Midway' in the PTO and the Ardennes<Bulge> in the ETO.
Seconds would be Pearl Harbor<PTO>, they missed our carriers.And Stalingrad.
I hate to say it, but if the Nazis had been able to hang on, we wouldn't have been racing the Reds to Berlin.Oh, well.

McFire
10 Jul 08,, 17:36
I'll have to go with Midway in the Pacific. Japan never recovered from the pilot and carrier losses.
Kursk and Stalingrad on the Eastern Front. Germany could never recover and the Soviets didn't care about losses in men or materials, just overwhelm the Germans.
Battle of Britain. Hitler never finished taking out Britain, which then set the stage for D-Day.

nizawa
11 Jul 08,, 05:11
Mcfire is right. Loss of task force in Midway was painful for Japan. But to win
the war, Essex class carriers were essential. Material loss for Soviets was
recovered by massive helps from U.S. Britain had no chance to win if without
help from U.S.

American Empire
11 Jul 08,, 22:09
My vote goes to both Stalingrad AND Midway both were the turning points in their respectable threaters.

von Spreuth
12 Jul 08,, 15:31
Battle of the Atlantic.

Without the convoys, Britain would have starved, and had no equipment, well only what came back from Dunkirk, the Russians would not have had the millions of tons of U.S kit. There would never have been a Normandy invasion.

American Empire
12 Jul 08,, 22:46
Germany lost the war due to deficiency in logistics and manpower and Hitler's hard on for mirco-mangement. Lets look at a few fun facts.

1. The early political stages and arming the Wehrmacht were conducting reasonably well. Austria and Czechoslovakia were taken without a fight. Poland fought back hard but with no success and the USSR took over Eastern Poland. However the Third Reich failed to began full war production and total mobilization after both France and Britian declared war on them.

2. Ending the war in France in 6 weeks was stunning victory made possible by Heinz Guderian, Erich von Manstein and the soldiers of the Wehrmacht, however it is not without its flaws. Rundstedt and Hitler ignored Guderian when he wanted a trust to destroy the BEF at Dunkirk. The 300,000 man strong BEF was sitting there running back to the UK in pure panic and this juicy golden target was let go. If they had captured the BEF it would have been a massive blow to the British war effort 300,000 captured would have depleted British manpower reserves and moral. The UK would probably have sued for peace if the BEF had been lost. Thus resulting in a total victory for Germany in the West.

3. During the Battle of Britian Hitler ordered The Luftwaffe to stop targetting RAF airfields and industrial plants to attacking British cities. This only strengthened the British resolve to fight and win. The British Empire was the largest oversea empire ever created. However it was dying and not that strong. If Germany had just kept pounding Britian with air raid after air raid the RAF would slowly but surely give way and Operation Sealion could begin, I think the British ground forces could have put a huge dint in the invasion force but I don't think they could have defeated the Wehrmacht.

4. Trusting Italy to secure Africa and the Balkans was a mistake as well. The Italians had launched a invasion of Southern France during the 6 week battle there and did very poorly. This was a campiagn that the German High Command and most people today seem to pay no attention to. The resources wasted (Afrika Korps, Balkans campiagn) to undo Italian failures were great in number. The campiagn in Africa could have been avoided completely and the Balkan campiagn could have been over much sooner. Germany would have been better off not allying itself with Mussolini's Italy and going it alone or sending in German advisors to build the Italian military.

5. Operation Barbarossa was launched before Britian was taken care of thus beginning a two front war. The Wehrmacht won victory after victory on the stepp destroying whole Soviet Fronts with minimal losses Kiev alone yielded well over 600,000 Soviets killed or captured. However Barbarossa displayed Blitzkriegs main and pretty much only flaw. IF IT FAILS THERE IS ALMOST NEVER A PLAN B. And thus Germany found itself in a long war that it was not prepared for. Hitler also sent troops away from Heeresgruppe Mitte To Ukraine and Leningrad (Leningrad could have been in German hands but Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht NOT to enter the city). The Germans had not been issued winter clothing before the infamous general winter came into play. Germany as was stated earlier was not ready for a long war.

6. Germany then delcared war on the United States. This was a massive mistake on Hitler's part. Germany was not required under the Tripartite Pact to do this and tossed its free ride to avoiding war with US down the trash. Germany could have gotten Japan to attack the Soviet forces in Eastern Siberia thus forcing Stalin and RKKA to leave Moscow pretty much defenseless. Germany and Japan pretty much did their own thing through out much of the war they pretty much weren't allies at all.

7. A year later with the offensive on Stalingrad in full swing Hitler sent the Wehrmacht after two objectives the industrial powerhouse of Stalingrad and the oil fields of Caucasus. The whole offensive lost its power when it went after the two targets when it only had enough power to achieve a single objective. When Georgi Zhukov Operation Uranus Hitler foolishly ordered Paulus to hold Stalingrad the 6th Army had a chance to escape but Hitler turned it down and 300,000 troops of the 6th Army were lost as a result. Those 300,000 men could have come in handy in the operations on the Eastern Front yet to come...

8. Kursk was anoher blunder on Germany's part. victory after Stalingrad was not possible but if the Wehrmacht had went on the defensive and stayed there Germany might have achieved a stand still. refusing Manstein's plan to pimp slap the Red Army after the victory at Kharkov he went onto attack Kursk. He might have been able to win Kursk if he had kept up the the fire around Prokhorovka. Hitler allowed the Afrika Korps and Italian forces to be destroyed in North Africa, they could have come in handy in defending Sicily and Italy from the invasions that were about too take place. As Rommel later said failing to stop the Western Allies at the beach really screwed things for them up... badly....

9. The Normandy Invasion could have been fought off if Hitler had not been asleep and Rommel visiting his wife. This left the mighty Panzer Divisions halted as the allied infantry stormed the beach. As the US, British and other allies dashed across France the Soviets launched Operation Bagration which took out Army Group Center and led to a advance all the way to outskirts of Warsaw. This was due to Army Group Center being deployed way too far forward and failing to place a commander with some talent (they later did after the damage had been done).

10. By the end of the war Germany was fighting a four front war:

1. Eastern Front
2. Western Front
3. Italian Front
4. Genocide against various peoples

the forth was counter productive in every shape and form. It destroyed many potential allies such as the Ukrainians, Belorussians, baltic peoples and jewish geniuses it wasted a massive amount of resources and manpower into this pointless and self defeating task. The path to victory lay not in a single massive war but in a number of wars one by one paving the way to victory. Hitler also appointed more people who were intuned with his ideas (ie 'yes' men) such as Himmler, Goring and others to field commands. especially towards the end. He put the ME 262 project coulda had it out in 1942 but Hitler didn't like it... This is due to a massive amount of oversight by Hitler. He should have put some time into building a strategic bomber force so he could reach industry which was outta the reach of his short range tactical dive bombers. His ego simply got to big for Germany's good he believed he was unstoppable (who can really blame him? The Wehrmacht was doing the impossible time and time again!) and the result led to disaster.

I believe Germany lost any chance to win the war when Hitler took over surpreme command of the Wehrmacht after the failed assault on Moscow.

American Empire
12 Jul 08,, 23:58
Lets look at why Japan lost WWII.

1. Too many wars going on at once - Japan made the same blunder Germany made by trying to get things over with quickly. Despite not having defeated the Chinese (both nationalist and communist) and went after the US. IIRC Japan had over 2/3s of its forces in China throughout most of the war.

2. Deciding to fight the US - There was little if any danger of the US coming to bit them. The cry was "no foriegn wars" from almost the entire US population. And they changed that mind set overnight by bombing Pearl Habor. They also did not seek out the American carriers when they had the chance, focusing on battleships instead which as the Pacific War later showed could easily be trumped by huge swarms of aircraft. The battleships during WWII were mostly good for only fire support roles and the very small number of ship to ship engagements.

3. Faulty doctrine - the IJN was way too into the big guns of their mighty battleships and heavy cruisers and often neglected the fact that aircraft carriers were the key to victory. Japanese commanders such as Isoroku Yamamoto saw the role that aircraft carriers were the key to victory but no one saw this until it was too late. The IJA was believed that things like Bushido and banzai charges against the enemy would bring them to victory. Just the opposite was proven when it was tried against machine guns and semi-auto rifles.

4. Loss of experienced personal - This happened a lot at both Midway and Guadalcanal among other places. The Japanese kept their experienced troops in the fight rather than sending them back to Japan to train raw recurits. The result was that these men were lost against the allies without passing on their experience to the troops in training and therefor the troops replacing them did not have a chance to benefit from the experience of the veteran troops. As a result the highly professional Japanese military turned into a ill trained and equiped rable.

5. Lack of good equipment - As far equipement goes the Japanese were a 30s military. The navy still believed in battleships and the Japanese did not have tanks that could be used for anything other than infantry-support. They lacked communcations as well as powerful artillery in many cases. AT weapons were also very poor.

6. Much weaker industrial output - the US alone had WAY more industrial capablities than Japan. Japan could not afford its losses against China and the US. It was bogged down in China and 2/3s of their ground forces were already stationed there and taking high losses against the Chinese and were already overstrenched when they attacked the US.

von Spreuth
13 Jul 08,, 10:42
6. Germany then delcared war on the United States.

Debatable. The U,S comitted MANY war like acts leading UP to that;


Declaration of War on the US by Adolf Hitler Dec 11th 1941

Deputies, Men of the German Reichstag!

On the 27th January 1940, a U.S. cruiser in contravention of International Law advised enemy naval forces of the movements of the German steamers, Arauca, La Plata and Mangoni.

On the 27th June 1940, he ordered, in complete contravention of International Law, a restriction of the freedom of movements of foreign ships in U.S. harbours.

In November, 1940, he ordered the German ships Reugeu, Niedervald and Rhein to be shadowed by American ships until these steamers were compelled to scuttle themselves so as not to fall into enemy hands.

On 30th April 1941, followed the opening up of the Red Sea to U.S. ships, so that they could carry supplies to the British armies in the Near East.

Meanwhile, in March, the American authorities requisitioned all German ships. In the course of this German nationals were treated in a most inhuman manner, and in contravention of all notions of international law designated places of residence were assigned them, travelling restrictions imposed upon them, and so on.

Two German officers who had escaped from Canadian captivity, were – again contrary to all the dictates of international law – handcuffed and handed over to the Canadian authorities.

On the 24th March the same President who stands against every aggression, acclaimed Simovitch and his companions who gained their positions by aggression and by removing the lawful government of their country.

Roosevelt had some months before sent Colonel Donovan, a completely unworthy creature, to the Balkans, to Sofia and Belgrade, to engineer a rising against Germany and Italy.

In April, he promised help to Yugoslavia and Greece under the Lend-Lease Act. At the end of April, this man recognized the Yugoslav and Greek émigré governments, and once more against international law, blocked Yugoslav and Greek assets.

From the middle of April onwards, the American watch over the Western Atlantic by U.S.A. patrols was extended, and reports were made to the British.

On the 26th April, Roosevelt transferred to the British 20 motor-torpedo-boats and at the same time, British war-ships were being repaired in U.S. ports.

On 5th May, the illegal arming and repairing of Norwegian ships for England took place.

On 4th June American troop transports arrived in Greenland, to build airdromes.

On 9th June, came the first British report that, on Roosevelt's orders, a U.S. warship had attacked a German u-boat with depth charges near Greenland.

On 4th June, German assets in the U.S.A. were illegally blocked.

On the 7th June, Roosevelt demanded under mendacious pretexts, that German consuls should be withdrawn and German consulates closed. He also demanded the closing of the German Press Agency, Trans-ocean, the German Information Library and the German Reichsbank Central Office.

On 6th and 7th July, American Forces occupied Iceland, which is within the German fighting zone, on the orders of Roosevelt. He intended, first of all, to force Germany to make war and to make the German U-boat warfare as ineffective as it was in 1915-16. At the same time he promised American help to the Soviet Union.

On 10th June, the Navy Minister, Knox, suddenly announced an American order to open fire on Axis warships.

On 4th September, the U.S. destroyer Greer, obeying orders, operated with British aircraft against German U-boats in the Atlantic. Five days later, a German U-boat noticed the U.S. destroyer acting as escort in a British convoy.

On 11th September Roosevelt finally made a speech in which he confirmed and repeated his order to fire on all Axis ships.

On 29th September, U.S. escort-vessels attacked a German U-boat with depth charges East of Greenland.

On 7th October, the U.S. destroyer Kearney acting as an escort vessel for Britain again attacked a German U-boat with depth charges.

Finally, on 6th November, U.S. forces illegally seized the German steamer, Odenwald, and took it to an American port where the crew were taken prisoner.

.............................


The Declaration of War on the US by Adolf Hitler (http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/Adolf_Hitler/index.htm)

From Hitler, BUT all facts can be checked.

So WHO declared war on who?

To say the LEAST, under this provocation, and international law as it then stood, Germany was JUSTIFIED in declaring war on the U.S.

(Those in bold being the most serious breaches).

Triple C
13 Jul 08,, 11:07
Those German warships were in international waters, were they not? Hitler did not declare war because the US Navy was shooting up its ships. He declared war because Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and he honored the Axis Pact.

von Spreuth
13 Jul 08,, 12:06
Those German warships were in international waters, were they not?

So we can add "Piracy" to the charge sheet.


Hitler did not declare war because the US Navy was shooting up its ships.

My quote prooves differently.

I think it is fair to say the "the horses mouth is 100% better than 100% supposition"?

Triple C
13 Jul 08,, 13:51
So we can add "Piracy" to the charge sheet.


The Germans put GB under interdiction. That was a direct challenge to the American policy of keeping the Atlantic open for trade. German ships, not American, were attacking merchant vessels.



My quote prooves differently.

I think it is fair to say the "the horses mouth is 100% better than 100% supposition"?


No supposition here. The US Navy had been engaged against German U-Boats for how long? Hitler had suffered USN's combat actions against the KM for years. Suddenly on the day of Pearl Harbour he couldn't take it anymore? What a coincidence!

von Spreuth
13 Jul 08,, 14:10
The Germans put GB under interdiction.

Oh deary me. War like actions when they are ACCTUALY AT war!!! Gosh how un cricket like of them.


That was a direct challenge to the American policy of keeping the Atlantic open for trade.


Then they should have openly declared war, instead of hiding, like coward, behind "neutrality".


German ships, not American, were attacking merchant vessels.


On the 27th January 1940, a U.S. cruiser in contravention of International Law advised enemy naval forces of the movements of the German steamers, Arauca, La Plata and Mangoni.

In November, 1940, he ordered the German ships Reugeu, Niedervald and Rhein to be shadowed by American ships until these steamers were compelled to scuttle themselves so as not to fall into enemy hands.

On 11th September Roosevelt finally made a speech in which he confirmed and repeated his order to fire on all Axis ships.


Finally, on 6th November, U.S. forces illegally seized the German steamer, Odenwald, and took it to an American port where the crew were taken prisoner.

"NOT AMERICAN" I believe you said?

Triple C
13 Jul 08,, 14:21
Don't be sour because you lost.

von Spreuth
13 Jul 08,, 14:31
Don't be sour because you lost.


:confused:

Lost what?

Triple C
13 Jul 08,, 14:56
Finally, on 6th November, U.S. forces illegally seized the German steamer, Odenwald, and took it to an American port where the crew were taken prisoner.


Do you expect me to express sympathy for the poor Nazis who had been so wronged by the USN? Or are you trying to convince me that Hitler declared war on America for any reason other than he needed to get Japan into Siberia? :confused:



Then they should have openly declared war, instead of hiding, like coward, behind "neutrality".


That is a very cheap shot, considering Hitler had been cowering for a year and a half before calling Roosevelt out. And look how well that went :rolleyes:

Hitler had an exceptionally dishonest mouth when it comes to why he declares war on other nations. What he wrote up to his generals was nothing more than a rear-end covering move to paint on Germany what colors he could to make it appear as if he was in the right.

He had been suffering American attacks on his navy for more than a year. I find it incredulous that, somehow, when Japan declared war on the US, those "acts of war" that he had hitherto endured suddenly became an intolerable insult to Germany's national honor. I also find it mighty convenient that he joined Japan's fight a month after Operation Uranus trapped his 6h Army in Stalingrad. Coincidences are amusing, wouldn't you say?



Lost what?


You know, the big war?

von Spreuth
13 Jul 08,, 15:11
He had been suffering American attacks on his navy for more than a year. I find it incredulous that, somehow, when Japan declared war on the US, those "acts of war" that he had hitherto endured suddenly became an intolerable insult to Germany's national honor.

Just like the British cowards that did bugger all in Europe till the U.S turned up you mean?


You know, the big war?

My family were Norwegian/Swedish, Scottish on one side, and German on the other, all of them in the various navies, including some of the Women. So basically I could not give a **** "who won" so long as it was not the Russians.

I MUST admit to hating England with a vengence though.

Triple C
13 Jul 08,, 15:22
No, I mean that your statement



So WHO declared war on who?

To say the LEAST, under this provocation, and international law as it then stood, Germany was JUSTIFIED in declaring war on the U.S.


etc. etc., does not hold water if you are trying to tell me that Germany did not make a big mistake in declaring war against the USA. As for 'justification' well yes, if Germany was fighting a just war :rolleyes:

von Spreuth
13 Jul 08,, 17:42
In declaring war on the U.S in the face of the provocation I quoted above, then the war WAS just.

Just because unjust things happened within it, does not make it unjust per sé.

Using YOUR argument I am quite within my rights to say that the WHOLE Briitish war effort was unjust because of Dresden.

zraver
13 Jul 08,, 19:00
No, I mean that your statement



etc. etc., does not hold water if you are trying to tell me that Germany did not make a big mistake in declaring war against the USA. As for 'justification' well yes, if Germany was fighting a just war :rolleyes:

America was already going to war with Germany it was only a matter of time. Japan had after all made war on both the US and UK on Dec 7/8 1941. Hitler's mistake in declaring was was that it gave FDR a reason to go Germany first, instead of Japan first as the public wanted. How much time this caused Speer, and how many Russian lives it saved is the real issue. Japan probalby could not have been defeated before 1945, but they could have been stopped by the battle of the Coral Sea is the USAAF in Austrailia had more B-17's which the Japanese feared like the wrath of God. If the first 1000 B-17's had been diverted to the Pacific and daylight bombing in Europe delayed 6 months the invasion of France would have to wait till the spring-summer of 45.

This is important becuase it was not until early 1944 that Hitler finally froze the replacement circle that was bleeding the Russians white. Before then a German unit could get a beating be rotated west and repalced with a fresh unit. After that the Germans were suddenly facing a shortage of equipment even with Speer's improvements. If the replcment circle continues and the wastage by allied bombing is reduced the Soviets have a very rough road to hoe. Soviet losses 43-44 were staggering, more than or nearly so than 41-42 IIRC. Every inch of liberated territory came at a huge cost. It was also early 44 when the German Army used up the last of its recruiting base. Between losses, duties in the west and competition with the other services by 1944 German Army in the east dipped below 2.5 million men in the feild in 164 divisions (121 more in the west).

ArmchairGeneral
13 Jul 08,, 22:55
Japan probalby could not have been defeated before 1945, but they could have been stopped by the battle of the Coral Sea is the USAAF in Austrailia had more B-17's which the Japanese feared like the wrath of God.

They did?! Why? They couldn't reach the homeland, they were abysmal at attacking ships, and apart from bombing airfields I don't see what else they could be used for. Was it just effective propaganda on our part?

zraver
14 Jul 08,, 01:36
They did?! Why? They couldn't reach the homeland, they were abysmal at attacking ships, and apart from bombing airfields I don't see what else they could be used for. Was it just effective propaganda on our part?

In the Pacific in 1942 the B-17's were better at killing Japanese pilots than any US figther. At altitude they were as fast as the zero (giving the B-17 gunners long times to aim and fire), much more stable gunnery platforms and the midwing robust design with 4 engines and self sealing tanks was much more able to take 7.7mm and 20mm hits than the zero could take .50 cal hits. They excelled as recon platforms to direct in allied strikes on shipping and in numbers could have pasted any Japanese base within range severly curtailing Japan's ability to march down New Guinea. General Kenney never could get as many as he wanted and was forced to use Liberators. But the combination of US heavy bombers do recon and harrasing attacks USAAF medium bombers and RAAF attack bombers like the Bueafighter did as much to help the allies win in New Guinea as the ground troops with the victories like the battle of the Bismark sea.

The first successful attack of that battle saw 3 merchant ships sunk with 1500 Japanese troop losses for 1 B-17 shot down.

For the entire battle alied forces of 39 heavy bombers, 41 medium bombers, 34 light/attack bombers, and 54 fighters lost just 2 bombers and 3 fighters for Japanese losses of 8 transports (of 8) 4 destroyers (of 8) and 20 fighters and upto 5000 critical ground troops. If more air power assets like the B-17 had been in theater it is quite possible they alone could have starved the Japanese out anywhere in range.

The info on the effectiveness of the B-17 and Japanese dread in facing it coems from "Fire in the Sky, the air war in the South Pacific" by Eric M Bergerud.

Triple C
14 Jul 08,, 06:25
Fire in the Sky is a great book. Wish I had the time to finish it with so much work laying arround. It is surprising that B=17s could be used as aerial superiority battle planes, probably the only time air power purists wet dream comes true throughout the conflict.

I wonder how much Hitler expected Japan to help on the eastern front. Sergei that German diplomat turned Russian agent stationed in Japan reported to Stalin that the possibility was nil. Wouldn't it be safe to assume that the information was availabe also to German leadership? Or they just saw what they wanted to see?

Triple C
14 Jul 08,, 06:40
In declaring war on the U.S in the face of the provocation I quoted above, then the war WAS just.

Just because unjust things happened within it, does not make it unjust per sé.

Using YOUR argument I am quite within my rights to say that the WHOLE Briitish war effort was unjust because of Dresden.

I don't need you to tell me what my arguement is. By my argument Germany lost all creditable claim to a just war the minute they marched into Poland.

First principles. The essence of an act is its cause. The Americans attacked German military vessels, in reponse to the German blockade of Great Britain. Germany was involved in attacks on merchant vessels on international waters because it had entered into a state of war with Britain, which was the result of an act of unprovoked agreession of its doing, against the nations of Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Belgium, and Holland.

Hitler declared TOTAL WAR on Germany's racial enemies. Germany bombed Rotterdam as a deliberate terrorist attack, an act that resulted in GB's termination of its own ban on strategic bombing against Germany. Germany's invasion of Russia, also unprovoked, with cruelty unparalleled in history, resulted in at least 13 million civilians killed, most of which deliberate murder. Counting starvation as a result of plundering the land for rations without consideration to the suruvival for the indigenous populace, would push the number up towards tens of millions.

Germany gave no quarters. By its own policy to justify its war crimes in Russia by emphasing Soviet non-adherence to the Geneva, it forfeited its own entitlement to decent treatment as a vanquished combatant.

S2
14 Jul 08,, 07:55
"So WHO declared war on who?

To say the LEAST, under this provocation, and international law as it then stood, Germany was JUSTIFIED in declaring war on the U.S."

and

"In declaring war on the U.S in the face of the provocation I quoted above, then the war WAS just."

Your comments are most interesting, if debatable. Just because Hitler and Goebbels suggest these events as provocation doesn't necessarily make them so- if you get my drift. Generally, those two monsters lack a wee bit of credibility. Be prepared to justify these events with more than simply their perspectives as addressed before an assembled audience of sworn believers. That will require some significant research, I suspect, to make your case that these events did transpire as indicated by Hitler and are in contravention of the then accepted norms of behavior.

Meanwhile, the German military and government had long since shredded any semblance of remaining moral credibility by the time Germany declared war on the United States. Thus the dye was VERY much cast.

Finally, the notion that Hitler's declaration of war on America is justified misses the more central point. It was a self-destructive death warrant for Nazi ambitions. It's a commonly accepted perspective that Roosevelt had much to do with engineering our entry to the war- thank God. So too the Nazi party and the Japanese army with their rapacious behavior.

"Just because unjust things happened within it, does not make it unjust per sé."

You read suspiciously like a fascist apologist with a chip on your shoulder and a bizarre axe to grind. Am I correct?

von Spreuth
14 Jul 08,, 10:27
Just because Hitler and Goebbels suggest these events as provocation doesn't necessarily make them so- if you get my drift.

The attacks are a metter of record. As to whether they were a provocation, see what happened when a civy ship was ACCIDENTALY sunk early in the war by Lemp on U-110.

Good for goose good for gander.


You read suspiciously like a fascist apologist with a chip on your shoulder and a bizarre axe to grind. Am I correct?

My Grandmother was chased out of Norway with the S.D at her heels. They caught her Sister who then was taken to Auschwitz where she was killed.

My Grand father was a U-Boat commander, My Great Grandfather was British merchant navy in BOTH wars, being sunk twice Once by my Grandfather (!!!), I had Uncles that were in the R.A.F, and Uncles that fought along side the Jugoslavian partisans as part of OSS. I also had an uncle that was in the SS.

My OTHER Grandfather was one of the first British soldiers into Belsen, and was in charge of one of the groups engaged on Burial and barrack clearing after that.

So I am TOTALY neutral.

BUT If I see something that is wrong or unjust, I will defend whom so ever is being wronged whether it be Churchill, Hitler, or my bloody window cleaner.

Triple C
14 Jul 08,, 11:13
Impressive geneology you have got there.

Putting Britain under interdict had been done before. The top Nazi brass had every reason to expect America to treat this as a provocation of war. Putting jus ad bellum aside for a second, by sending U-boats to the Atlantic the Germans had already provoked the Americans on an issue that they have made clear would have dire consequences.

Frankly, I do not buy the argument that the so-called American provocation of firing on German subs had anything to do with Hitler's decision to declare war on the USA. Nor do I believe at all that somehow, a nation that had invaded every country at its borders and beyond could claim it was justified in declaring war on yet another enemy because the said country stood between Germany and world hegemony.

Nothing obliged Germany to fight the Americans. All that the US asked of them was to stop invading other countries and masscreing their inhabitants. They failed to comply.

S2
14 Jul 08,, 14:37
"The attacks are a metter of record. As to whether they were a provocation, see what happened when a civy ship was ACCIDENTALY sunk early in the war by Lemp on U-110."

You see. Making this "case" is a pointless exercise. Justification? Laughable. Germany initiated war with the one nation entirely capable of destroying it.

You suggest that America was wrong or unjust to provoke Nazi Germany to declare war. That hardly strikes as neutral or even equal application under the law, if you will. Given nazi Germany's legacy up to December, 1941, it's more surprising that we hadn't declared war upon Germany. We had our reasons. Ultimately you made it easy for us.

You are neither neutral nor even balanced in your view.

zraver
14 Jul 08,, 20:50
Fire in the Sky is a great book. Wish I had the time to finish it with so much work laying arround. It is surprising that B=17s could be used as aerial superiority battle planes, probably the only time air power purists wet dream comes true throughout the conflict.

I would not call it an air superiortity plane, but the Japanese knw they would lose planes and pilots if they faced a B-17. The triple combination of forcing low level big winged fighters fight hig, lck of protection an armament, and a complete lack of anti-bomber training or ogranized combat tactics was dreadfully painful to Japan.


I wonder how much Hitler expected Japan to help on the eastern front. Sergei that German diplomat turned Russian agent stationed in Japan reported to Stalin that the possibility was nil. Wouldn't it be safe to assume that the information was availabe also to German leadership? Or they just saw what they wanted to see?

Japan could have at least gone after reflagged American vessels doign the valdivostock run using a copy of Loyds. This might have had a real impct on Lend Lease. A more agressive pursuit of an invasion of India would have helped as well. Or keeping a bigger naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

Albert1981
20 Jul 08,, 18:14
The Guadalcanal Campaign.

navy namvet
26 Jul 08,, 22:57
I don't think there was 1 battle. Normandy was vital to retake Europe. but the battle of the Atlantic ensured it. on the Pacific side Midway stopped the J*S Navy dead in its tracks. and we started the long bloody battles to Okinawa. you could also says the A bombs ended it.

snapper
07 Sep 08,, 01:49
Atlantic and Stalingrad for me: Atlantic for all the good reasons above - if England had fallen getting back into Europe would have been hard from another continent. Stalingrad because it secured the oil resources of the Caucases for the USSR, and for the moral blow it sent to the German army.

snapper
07 Sep 08,, 01:57
My Grandmother was chased out of Norway with the S.D at her heels. They caught her Sister who then was taken to Auschwitz where she was killed.

My Grand father was a U-Boat commander, My Great Grandfather was British merchant navy in BOTH wars, being sunk twice Once by my Grandfather (!!!), I had Uncles that were in the R.A.F, and Uncles that fought along side the Jugoslavian partisans as part of OSS. I also had an uncle that was in the SS.

My OTHER Grandfather was one of the first British soldiers into Belsen, and was in charge of one of the groups engaged on Burial and barrack clearing after that.

So I am TOTALY neutral.

BUT If I see something that is wrong or unjust, I will defend whom so ever is being wronged whether it be Churchill, Hitler, or my bloody window cleaner.

Wow!

More to the point though didn't Germany declare war on the US?

zraver
07 Sep 08,, 06:39
Wow!

More to the point though didn't Germany declare war on the US?

Snapper, if the poster has been banished for an extended period of time, the safe bet is you won't get an answer.

nizawa
07 Sep 08,, 08:22
Fully agree to Big K

USSWisconsin
09 Dec 08,, 18:43
IMO Midway was more important than just the Pacific war, had the US lost -- I wonder if they would have been able to pursue the war in Europe like they did. Had the Japanese been able to wipe out the Pacific fleet, I suspect that US support for the Soviets and UK would have been much less effective, or even abscent. Imagine the US preparing for and fighting a Japanese invasion on the west coast, launched from a Japanese controlled Hawaii -- I think WWII would have been very different without that victory.

Officer of Engineers
09 Dec 08,, 20:26
Do you actually think the Japanese had a chance in hell to take Hawaii?

bugs
09 Dec 08,, 20:46
There is no indication as they were willing to push further than Midway.

ace16807
09 Dec 08,, 23:37
IMO Midway was more important than just the Pacific war, had the US lost -- I wonder if they would have been able to pursue the war in Europe like they did. Had the Japanese been able to wipe out the Pacific fleet, I suspect that US support for the Soviets and UK would have been much less effective, or even abscent. Imagine the US preparing for and fighting a Japanese invasion on the west coast, launched from a Japanese controlled Hawaii -- I think WWII would have been very different without that victory.

Taking a US outpost out in the middle of the pacific is one thing... Taking Hawaii is another... I doubt the IJN and IJA had the ability to land on and take such a hardened target... Let alone provide the logistics for it.

zraver
10 Dec 08,, 01:35
Taking a US outpost out in the middle of the pacific is one thing... Taking Hawaii is another... I doubt the IJN and IJA had the ability to land on and take such a hardened target... Let alone provide the logistics for it.

They should be able to land and take it, they took the Dutch East Indies after all, the only differance is distance. But even if they do take it, what then? Wake turned into a death trap, Malaysia and Indonesia became prisons etc. As you point out Japan could not sustain logistics that far away from home.

Officer of Engineers
10 Dec 08,, 01:46
How? Pearl Harbour was a surprise. Could the Japanese do it again with the USN and all their birds airborne going hunting for them? Not to mention that even had the IJN won the air battle at Midway, the Marine garrison was more than ready to receive them. Magnify that a 100 fold on Hawaii.

Let's not forget the sub fleet is going to wreck havoc since IJN ASW well doesn't exist.

zraver
10 Dec 08,, 01:49
How? Pearl Harbour was a surprise. Could the Japanese do it again with the USN and all their birds airborne going hunting for them?

In December 1941, after the Pearl harbor attack, the Japanese battle fleet was the big boy on the block. It had the most carriers, the most battleships, the best pilots and aircraft that while far from ideal, worked well enough vs what the US had at the time.

The troops would have landed, the US carriers were too spread out and would have taken several days to regroup, form a fleet and then move on the landings.

Officer of Engineers
10 Dec 08,, 01:54
Gotcha, you mean 8 or 9 Dec, 1941.

S2
10 Dec 08,, 02:25
It'd been a helluva fight and doubt they could have taken it. Honolulu alone would have eaten them alive- and I'm certain that we'd have fought to hold it. I can't imagine a surrender ala' Singapore.

The wake-up call was rapid. 25th I.D. was deployed within hours, IIRC, and had completed their move within a day or two to the beaches.

I'm otherwise occupied right now but it merits elaboration on what WAS DONE in the aftermath and what further could have been done to resist an invasion.

Further, the troops necessary by the IJA to do so. Finally, how long for our carriers to return and under what conditions could they have been mustered- a TF lurking in their rear probably wouldn't have been comforting.

zraver
10 Dec 08,, 02:30
Gotcha, you mean 8 or 9 Dec, 1941.

It would have to be, within a couple of weeks most of the US fleet will have sortied from the West Coast, passed through the canal, raced across the world etc to try and build a battle fleet to save the Islands.

Shamus
10 Dec 08,, 02:36
Let's not forget the sub fleet is going to wreck havoc since IJN ASW well doesn't exist.Just a quick point here Colonel.While the US had argueably the best designed subs in the conflict they also had the most ineffective torpedos.Malfunctioning exploders and depth control problems made being a US sub commander early in the war a very frustrating experience.

zraver
10 Dec 08,, 03:47
It'd been a helluva fight and doubt they could have taken it. Honolulu alone would have eaten them alive- and I'm certain that we'd have fought to hold it. I can't imagine a surrender ala' Singapore.

The wake-up call was rapid. 25th I.D. was deployed within hours, IIRC, and had completed their move within a day or two to the beaches.

I'm otherwise occupied right now but it merits elaboration on what WAS DONE in the aftermath and what further could have been done to resist an invasion.

Further, the troops necessary by the IJA to do so. Finally, how long for our carriers to return and under what conditions could they have been mustered- a TF lurking in their rear probably wouldn't have been comforting.


Assuming its the Malayan invasion force rerouted, the Japanese would have about 70,000 troops and a couple hundred light tanks. In real history they did 3 landings. I'm not sure the 25th ID could have held while being flanked.

If we go by the troops on the Bataan Peninsulas they would fight bravely and to their last ,measure but it wouldn't be enough. Japanese troops are also less likely to be ravaged by diseases, our sanitation and development and the time of year would aid an invader. Although they won't hurt the defender either.

If the USN can't find a way to break the Japanese fleet, I think it falls, although some smaller islands might hang on until the US fleet is rebuilt.

USSWisconsin
10 Dec 08,, 07:44
Do you actually think the Japanese had a chance in hell to take Hawaii?

I do think there is a possibility that IF the battle had gone the opposite opposite way (all 3 US carriers and their planes lost) The Japanese might have been able to invade Hawaii in mid 42. On further reflection the US probably would have stripped the Atlantic fleet to prevent it, and a serious attack on the west coast probabaly wouldn't have been an option for them. But the impact on the US contibution to the European front would have been substantial, it might have prevented operation Torch (Fall 42) for example.

nizawa
10 Dec 08,, 10:23
The war in Europe 1939-1945 in Pacific 1941-1945, to win a war of such long duration,
industrial war potential is decisive, who had such potential? only Uncle Sam and no one
else. So decisive battle was how to bring USA on your side, Hitler's loss at Stalingrad
might have been painful for Nazi, but could still hold in Eastfront much longer if they could
forget the Westfront. Even the 3 carriers were destroyed in Midway. In one year or so,
the Essex + Independence+ Escort Carriers could still defeat the in tact Japanese Carriers in the next battle. Neither Nazi nor Japanese had the industrial power to build up
their war fighting capabilities in such short time like USA had done in 1942-43.

ace16807
10 Dec 08,, 12:35
I do think there is a possibility that IF the battle had gone the opposite opposite way (all 3 US carriers and their planes lost) The Japanese might have been able to invade Hawaii in mid 42. On further reflection the US probably would have stripped the Atlantic fleet to prevent it, and a serious attack on the west coast probabaly wouldn't have been an option for them. But the impact on the US contibution to the European front would have been substantial, it might have prevented operation Torch (Fall 42) for example.

The IJA and IJN can't wait until mid 42. With each passing week it only gets harder for the Japanese to invade US held possessions. And as previously stated, invading a hardened target that's so far away from a base of operations is horrific for logistics. I doubt the Japanese could have kept the invasion force supplied.

Castellano
10 Dec 08,, 13:45
I am very GLAD this possibility is being discussed.

I have always wondered if there was a good reason why the Japanese didn't go on to capture Hawaii immediately after Pearl Harbor. Never saw anywhere that it was discussed even as a possibility, which makes me think there must be a really good reason the Japanese didn't do it. It seems to me that capturing Hawaii would have been a huge gain for the Japanese Empire in its war against the US, much better prize than other operations they launched. The strike in Pearl Harbor, as successful as it was, seems to me a half measure in comparison.

I'm unconvinced the logistics was the problem, it's such as big prize that it would have been well worth the effort, and at the same time, had the US lost Hawaii, the US logistic problems would have been immense, among very many other problems that would have been created.

I just would like to understand why an invasion of Hawaii immediately after Pearl Harbor apparently wasn't even in the cards for the Japanese.

Castellano
10 Dec 08,, 15:18
If the Japanese achieve air & naval superiority they can soften some beaches of their choosing and try to get to them. How prepared were those beaches to repel an invasion?

nizawa
12 Dec 08,, 00:44
Do not think the IJN or IJA had any plan of landing in Hawaii 1941. As after attack P.H.
The IJN task force left without a second strike. Although officers of the IJN task force
made such suggestion but was turned down by Nagumo(CIC). With the base facilities almost
in tact. US Navy could recover quickly. With an invasion in mind, the IJN task force would
have attacked continuously until all military targets are destroyed.

ANZAC
30 Dec 08,, 04:59
I voted Moscow, unless Fuhrer Directive 21 succeeded in the first Summer, it was more or less cactus for the Nazis.

And all the ''what ifs'' if the Germans [Hitler] had done this instead of that, while fun to play around with, can't be taken too seriously.

As Alan Clarke explains in his book ''Barbarossa''..........


''It is often asked could the Germans have won the war if they had not made certain mistakes.

The general answer I believe is that the Russians also made huge mistakes.
Which is the more absurd....to allow, with the wisdom of hindsight, an immaculate German campaign against a Russian resistance still plagued by those blunders and follies that arose in the heat and urgency of battle, or to correct both and to reset the board in an atmosphere of complete fantasy, of each side making the correct move like a chess text, when " white must win "? "

Just about sums it up in a nutshell.

DRichards1968
01 Jan 09,, 19:02
Ok guys, your vote, which battle was the single most important contest of arms 39-45?


It's tempting to vote Stalingrad, but I would actually say Moscow in November/December 1941. If the Germans had captured Moscow and held it, before the onset of Winter, the Russian situation would have been very grave. Moscow was a communications hub as well as an important political and economic centre. With Moscow in German hands the Russians would have found it extremely difficult to move troops up and down the front.

nizawa
02 Jan 09,, 06:46
For me, the decisive battle was the attack of Pearl Harbor as this brought USA into war.
As all other parties UK, Soviet , Germany, Japan, China, etc. having war potential almost
equal on both side. In case of win/lost, it could not be an unconditional result. Such victory
was only possible with USA on your side.

DRichards1968
02 Jan 09,, 19:25
For me, the decisive battle was the attack of Pearl Harbor as this brought USA into war.
As all other parties UK, Soviet , Germany, Japan, China, etc. having war potential almost
equal on both side. In case of win/lost, it could not be an unconditional result. Such victory
was only possible with USA on your side.


I disagree, because I am certain the USA would have come into the war anyway.

ANZAC
06 Jan 09,, 08:15
I disagree, because I am certain the USA would have come into the war anyway.

Your probably right DR, but what water do you think the following scenario holds...

Yamamoto feared that Japan did not have the resources to win a war with the U.S., so reluctantly advocated a surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and then over run South East Asia, fortify island bases and bleed the Americans so much that they would eventually think it wasn't worth the effort.

But by making that undeclared attack on PH, it stirred up a hornets nest, and made the Americans determined they would never stop until Japan was completely crushed.
The attack against Hawaii was probably the worst possible thing that Japan could have done.



But If Japan, [as part of the Tripartite pact,] didn't attack Pearl Harbour, and instead just attacked the European colonial possessions like Malaya and East Indies, while doing their best to placate the U.S. would America declare war?

Given the isolationist temperament of the U. S. Congress at the time, and the American public, [the polls showing that 74% of Americans didn't want to be involved in the war in Europe even when Britain was the last major Democracy fighting the Nazi's and when American warships were being sunk and Americans killed] and 64% didn't want war with Japan unless attacked, is it questionable, even doubtful, that that the United States would have responded directly to the seizure of those foreign Colonial possessions?


Roosevelt would probably conjure an entry into the war against Japan somehow, [and without going as far as the conspiracy theories of Theobald or Toland or the many others around today about Roosevelt's implication in the PH attack, there was more then one way to skin a cat] but it would probably take some pretty devious footwork.

And how long would the Americans fight, taking the huge casualties that they did, more or less to save European colonies?

There's a different perspective on the war when you yourself are the victim of a sneak attack.

Officer of Engineers
06 Jan 09,, 09:04
Which again comes back to this point. Supposed that Hitler had beaten Stalin for whatever reason or effort, what was going to save Tojo?

ANZAC
06 Jan 09,, 13:19
Which again comes back to this point. Supposed that Hitler had beaten Stalin for whatever reason or effort, what was going to save Tojo?

Not sure what you mean here OoE, could you expand a little?

Officer of Engineers
06 Jan 09,, 17:52
Once Stalin finishes his fight with Hitler, win or lose. Do you think he was going to let Tojo run around in his rear? In fact, if Stalin did lose his war with Hitler, he would need China and Korea more as they will be his only means of survival. And that means smashing the hell out of the IJA and destroying the Imperial Japanese Empire.

bugs
06 Jan 09,, 19:33
YouTube - Come And See (with English subtitles). Part 2 (4 of 8).

bielorusia 1943

TwelveAM
06 Jan 09,, 19:57
As much as I hate Stalin and his regime, I gotta admit that the battle of Stalingrad is probably the single most decisive battle of WWII, due first to the scale of the battle as well as the strategic location of the city of Stalingrad which of course made it so bloody as both sides were pouring their resources and manpower into it.

ANZAC
07 Jan 09,, 05:35
Once Stalin finishes his fight with Hitler, win or lose. Do you think he was going to let Tojo run around in his rear? In fact, if Stalin did lose his war with Hitler, he would need China and Korea more as they will be his only means of survival. And that means smashing the hell out of the IJA and destroying the Imperial Japanese Empire.

Think I see where your coming from now.

But I still can't understand the bit about needing Korea, as Korea was a completely subjugated vassal state under the Japanese, no help for Stalin there.

As for smashing the hell out of the IJA and destroying the Imperial Japanese Empire.

Well, you're probably thinking about the Red Army circa 1945, when it was the most powerful army in the world, and went through a second rate Japanese army in Manchuria like a hot knife through butter.

But 'if' Stalin did lose his war with Hitler, I don't think the Red Army would be any position like 1945.

With the loss of the Ukrainian bread basket, White Russia etc and about 70 million people, the Red Army gutted, and most importantly, the Caucuses oil gone, and having to guard against Germany and Turkey, the last thing Stalin wants is to come to grips with 2 million crack Japanese troops.

Best he could hope for is that the Japanese Manchurian army didn't get their way in pushing for a invasion of the Soviet Union, that's if there was any ''Union'' left.

Triple C
07 Jan 09,, 06:39
No ANZAC,

Zhukov soundly defeated the Japanese Imperial Army at Khalkhin-Gol in 1939. So complete was the Russian victory that, in 1941, Richard Sorge told Stalin he need fear nothing from the Japanese because they had no stomach for another fight with the Red Army.

Attacking the Caucasus was never going to be successful with or without the Russian counterstroke in Stalingrad. The German forces were immobalized by Fall 1942.

gabriel
07 Jan 09,, 06:48
For Romania it was Stalingrad, were my grandfather served with the Romanian 1 cavalry division. The Odessa loses were also high but Stalingrad...

Officer of Engineers
07 Jan 09,, 07:07
With the loss of the Ukrainian bread basket, White Russia etc and about 70 million people, the Red Army gutted, and most importantly, the Caucuses oil gone, and having to guard against Germany and Turkey, the last thing Stalin wants is to come to grips with 2 million crack Japanese troops.OH COME ON! The Soviets smashed that army in less than 3 weeks. The Japanese was never a match and was a damned WWI army and every body knew it, especailly Stalin.

ANZAC
07 Jan 09,, 08:15
No ANZAC,

Zhukov soundly defeated the Japanese Imperial Army at Khalkhin-Gol in 1939. So complete was the Russian victory that, in 1941, Richard Sorge told Stalin he need fear nothing from the Japanese because they had no stomach for another fight with the Red Army.

Attacking the Caucasus was never going to be successful with or without the Russian counterstroke in Stalingrad. The German forces were immobalized by Fall 1942.

That's correct, Zhukov gave a couple of divisions a bloody nose in '39, before the Wehrmacht gutted the Red Army, but going by OoE's scenario, Stalin loses the war, which following on with that 'what if' means the Germans have the caucuses.

Little or no oil for what's left of the Red Army's war machine, 70 million population swept from the map, loosing the Ukrainian breadbasket, German armies and Turks on their Western borders, and 2 million Japanese in the East.

Plus, in this 'what if' if the Soviets moved against the Japanese, Hitler could decide to move in and take Siberia.

Don't think the Japanese have much to worry about in this 'what if' scenario.
But back in the real world, by '45, it's curtains for Japan.



OH COME ON! The Soviets smashed that army in less than 3 weeks. The Japanese was never a match and was a damned WWI army and every body knew it, especially Stalin.

I explained that above, in 45' the Kwantung army was an under strength, second rate army, the best men in China and the Pacific, and no match for the Red Army, by then the best army in the world.

But under your 'what if' scenario, this is 41/42, and as you say Stalin has LOST the war, meaning the Red Army is in in even worse condition then they were historically, and light years away from what they were in '45 and for the reasons I posted above, would have been in heaps of trouble.

Officer of Engineers
07 Jan 09,, 08:17
But under your 'what if' scenario, this is 41/42, and as you say Stalin has LOST the war, meaning the Red Army is in in even worse condition then they were historically, and light years away from what they were in '45 and for the reasons I posted above, would have been in heaps of trouble.There were 45 Soviet Divisions that never went West.

ANZAC
07 Jan 09,, 08:37
There were 45 Soviet Divisions that never went West.

And 200+, German and Axis divisions on one border, and 50 Japanese Divisions on the other.

Triple C
07 Jan 09,, 11:14
Anzac,



Little or no oil for what's left of the Red Army's war machine, 70 million population swept from the map, loosing the Ukrainian breadbasket, German armies and Turks on their Western borders, and 2 million Japanese in the East.


Given a plausible German victory, control of the Crimean oil fields remained impossible. The Wehrmacht marched on Crimea with their best Army Group and it was stopped without the aid of forces from other Fronts. The Caucasian mountains was enough for the Red Army to fall back on.

The lost of Ukraine and Belorussia already occurred in 1941. That was a given and it did not weaken the Red Army in the Far East. The point is that the Japanese got wiped out by the Russian army of 1939 freshly wounded from the Great Purge. In order for the scenario you elaborated to be true, the IJA must beat the Russian army of 1941. The Eastern troops remained the elites of the Red Army well into 1945 and as OoE noted, was held in reserve.

Think about it.

Officer of Engineers
07 Jan 09,, 11:23
And 200+, German and Axis divisions on one border,Irrevelent since that part of the war is over.


and 50 Japanese Divisions on the other.And 87 Chinese Divisions that now would come under Zhukov's command.

Triple C
07 Jan 09,, 11:26
I think you are missing out on the earlier dicussions on where the Wehrmacht would end up if it took Moscow. The government had moved East with most of the war industry and Russia out-produced Germay already in 1942. Siberia was -30 degrees, and still several hundred miles further from supplies than where the Wehrmacht actually starved to death.

Basically, the Germans would end up with less defendable frozen ground of no value, exposed to a colder climate and begging all the harder to get destroyed. Won't take much effort to keep them at bay. On the meanwhile, Japan would fight Zhukov with the same old infantry divisions, with the same tanks, same under-motorized logistics.

TwelveAM
07 Jan 09,, 12:12
Well, if assuming that Hitler had defeated Stalin, I highly doubt he would have let the Soviets maintain such powerful army as they did.

jlvfr
07 Jan 09,, 12:47
Battle of Britain. Stopped Hitler from forcing the UK to surrender. Everything that came after was only possible thanks to this.

Triple C
07 Jan 09,, 14:30
Well, if assuming that Hitler had defeated Stalin, I highly doubt he would have let the Soviets maintain such powerful army as they did.

It's not up to Hitler.

zraver
07 Jan 09,, 16:34
The lost of Ukraine and Belorussia already occurred in 1941. That was a given and it did not weaken the Red Army in the Far East.

1941, took over half the Eastern troops, 50%+ loss of combat power is indeed weakening.



The Eastern troops remained the elites of the Red Army well into 1945 and as OoE noted, was held in reserve.Think about it.

The eastern troops were not the elites, AFAIK, the spearhead sin 45 were troops shipped from the west because they had combat experience, modern equipment, and knew how to fight a deep battle. The Eastern troops had been sitting still for over six years.

astralis
07 Jan 09,, 19:30
triple C,


Basically, the Germans would end up with less defendable frozen ground of no value, exposed to a colder climate and begging all the harder to get destroyed. Won't take much effort to keep them at bay. On the meanwhile, Japan would fight Zhukov with the same old infantry divisions, with the same tanks, same under-motorized logistics.

i thought i had a feeling of deja vu. :biggrin:

in this scenario, i wonder how plausible it would be for the germans to draw a line from the ukraine up to estonia and try to hold on to that. the amount of destruction wreaked upon soviet industry and transportation following a fall of moscow and a withdrawal behind the urals would also consequently give the germans time to fortify their defenses, regroup and retrain their troops.

not so sure if the western allies would have wanted to attempt a normandy after that- and without the allies, you'd be looking at a stalemate and perhaps a three-way cold war.

S2
07 Jan 09,, 20:33
Back to Barbarossa...:))

That should put to rest the question of most important battle.

"Basically, the Germans would end up with less defendable frozen ground of no value, exposed to a colder climate and begging all the harder to get destroyed."

There's an argument for the capture of Moscow-Gorki space before the end of September. The German defense extends, obviously, into the Volga bend east of Moscow. Soviet troops would subsequently use this "frozen ground of no value" as their assembly areas. Occupying such in late September pre-empts the Soviet Winter Offensive preparations aside from the obvious benefits of dislocating the Soviet government and capturing their north-south rail nexus and the western hub of their rail lines.

Could have happened but didn't.

Triple C
08 Jan 09,, 04:31
S-2,

I was wondering when you'd join us. I voted for the Battle of Moscow.

If the Germans captured or made a substantial breach on the Leningrad-Moscow-Stalingrad line at 41, USSR probably would fall. As I understand it, that was Guderian appreciation of the original Barbarossa plan and was furious that Pz. Group 2 was diverted to the Army Group South.

I was been sloppy in my thinking with the dates. A 1941 German victory would do Russia in. After that, there was no chance for the Germans to capture the Crimean oil fields or decapitate the Red Army. The best they could do was to force a stalemate. The Russians would still have plenty left to deal with IJA which was no match for the Red Army units already in place then.

S2
08 Jan 09,, 05:02
"After that, there was no chance for the Germans to capture the Crimean oil fields or decapitate the Red Army."

Well, they captured the Crimean-all of it by that summer with Sevastopol that late spring. I think you mean the trans-Caucasus fields. They got Maikop by that early fall, I think.

I suspect that there are operational decisions or even strategic considerations that would have turned Case Blue into a success. With that, who knows?

Still, Moscow for me-specifically Barbarossa. I'm not sold that they needed Typhoon to get it done but I AM sold that if they could reach the Kremlin spires by December 6th with short days, crappy weather, and fresh troops opposing them that the same or better was possible in mid-August to mid-September under far more favorable circumstance.

"The Russians would still have plenty left to deal with IJA which was no match for the Red Army units already in place then."

That's where my eyes glaze over with you guys. The IJA were a non-issue. I don't think they wanted any part of the Soviets after 1939, felt their hands full in China/Pacific and were grateful for the distraction lest they felt honor-bound to actually pick up the cudgel and whack away at the Soviets-fruitlessly.

The IJA understood the lessons of Khalkhin Gol thoroughly.

I'm sure the Soviets absolutely knew this instinctively and feared very little from the east.

Officer of Engineers
08 Jan 09,, 06:19
I'm sure the Soviets absolutely knew this instinctively and feared very little from the east.Thank you Steve for making this point!! Is there anybody who would wake the case that the IJA was ever aismatch for the Red Army anywhere in their history ... (looking at you ANZAC)

S2
08 Jan 09,, 08:40
Colonel,

"Thank you Steve for making this point!!"

Happy to oblige, sir. Happy New Year to the younguns', missus, and you.:)

nizawa
08 Jan 09,, 10:07
I am happy to see ANZAC's reply to this question which is exactly I wanted to say but did
not do due to overdrinking in the Newyear celebration.

bugs
08 Jan 09,, 20:53
The T-34 posed new challenges for Soviet industry. It had heavier armour than any medium tank produced to that point, and subassemblies originated at several plants: Kharkov Diesel Factory No. 75 supplied the model V-2 engine, Leningrad Kirovsky Factory (former Putilov works) made the original L-11 gun, and the Dinamo Factory in Moscow produced electrical components. Tanks were initially built at KhPZ No. 183, in early 1941 at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory (STZ), and starting in July shortly after the German invasion at Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No. 112 in Gorky. wiki

Kharkov Diesel Factory No. 75 was evacuated during October 1941 , but without Guderian turn south in august it`s hard to imagine that army group south would succeed in capturing Kharkov during 1941 . The tank output of the soviet factory's would be unchanged even if the Germans would succeed in taking Moscow.

ANZAC
10 Jan 09,, 06:31
And 87 Chinese Divisions that now would come under Zhukov's command.

So Zhukov is going to take over the Chinese army, and turn it into a war winning combo, lot's of luck.

Think it would take more then Zhukov, [if he was still alive and kicking, Soviet Generals who lost BATTLES in Barbarossa, often got shot, in your scenario Zhukov lost the WAR] to take those Chinese divisions who had next to no armour, no air force, and turn them into a war winning fighting machine.
He was good, but not that good.



I think a couple of you guys are getting slightly crossed lines between the ''real world'' [which I suppose we should stick to] and the ''what if's''like OoE's
In answering OoE's ''what if'' scenario, where Hitler WINS the war, which means [in my thinking] he has taken the Caucuses oil, which was one of his major targets, [He was so desperate to get his hands on it, he once remarked ''if we don't control the Caucasus oil, we have to end the war'']

But if he wins the war, and controls the Caucasus oil, which was almost 100% of Soviet war needs, what's left of the Red Army is cactus.
For Stalin to even think of starting a war with Japan, after being crushed by the Germans, with next to no oil, is nothing short of lunacy, especially if Hitler decided to help his Japanese buddies with his 200+ divisions.
IMO the best Stalin could do was to hope and pray the Western Allies didn't make peace with Hitler, and instead kept fighting.

And by all accounts, If Hitler had won the war he had plans to exterminate about another 30 million Slavs and Jews, as well as controlling about 70 million, the rest could have fun in Siberia, as long as they behaved themselves.



I am happy to see ANZAC's reply to this question which is exactly I wanted to say but did
not do due to overdrinking in the Newyear celebration.

Got a bit smashed myself nizawa.:biggrin:

Officer of Engineers
10 Jan 09,, 07:24
So Zhukov is going to take over the Chinese army, and turn it into a war winning combo, lot's of luck.You're seriously joking me! If the scenario holds true, then the Red Army need not fight MARS and URANUS, never mind Kursk. That's enough armour and artillery to smash Japan 100 times over.

When the Soviets came over during AUGUST STORM, they left all their equipment in Europe and picked up new ones on their way over. No luck needed.

In fact, if the scenario holds true, Zuhkov and his Siberian divisions would not have had a chance to meet Von Mainstein and Guderian. They would not have had time to set up MARS and URANUS which means all the more to smash the Japanese with.


Think it would take more then Zhukov, [if he was still alive and kicking, Soviet Generals who lost BATTLES in Barbarossa, often got shot, in your scenario Zhukov lost the WAR]Please tell me how Zhukov could have lost the war?


to take those Chinese divisions who had next to no armour, no air force, and turn them into a war winning fighting machine.The Chinese soldier has proven time and time again that he was not the inferior to the Japanese soldier who was really not better armed, even when talking heavy equipment. Under proper leadership in Burma and in SE Asia, they proved more than decisive against their Japanese counterparts. Which comes down to why the Chinese were so ineffective, a squabbling leadership who was more interested in fighting each other than with Japan.


He was good, but not that good.You're talking about a man who made use of Penal Battalions. Yes, he was that good.


For Stalin to even think of starting a war with Japan, after being crushed by the Germans, with next to no oil, is nothing short of lunacy, especially if Hitler decided to help his Japanese buddies with his 200+ divisions.No matter what the situation, Hitler had no hope and no desire to cross the Urals. Doing so meant he lost the war he just won.


IMO the best Stalin could do was to hope and pray the Western Allies didn't make peace with Hitler, and instead kept fighting.We have had a long enough thread here to produce a very strong counter opinion, the US and Western Allies could have done it on their own.


And by all accounts, If Hitler had won the war he had plans to exterminate about another 30 million Slavs and Jews, as well as controlling about 70 million, the rest could have fun in Siberia, as long as they behaved themselves.You read wrong.

Triple C
11 Jan 09,, 05:23
Contrary to what some might think, Soviet generals often survive lost battles and fight on. If that was not true, Zhukov, Timoshenko, Rokossovsky would all have been shot. Stalin was no fool.

ANZAC
11 Jan 09,, 07:40
You're seriously joking me! If the scenario holds true, then the Red Army need not fight MARS and URANUS, never mind Kursk. That's enough armour and artillery to smash Japan 100 times over.

When the Soviets came over during AUGUST STORM, they left all their equipment in Europe and picked up new ones on their way over. No luck needed.

In fact, if the scenario holds true, Zuhkov and his Siberian divisions would not have had a chance to meet Von Mainstein and Guderian. They would not have had time to set up MARS and URANUS which means all the more to smash the Japanese with.


So you're saying that the Soviets would end up in better shape after losing the war then winning it?
If the Sovs lost the war, I presume that the defeats would be even more crippling then the above battles, Leningrad, Moscow, Caucuses, [90% of Soviet oil,] Don basin, [90% of Soviet coal], all gone, possibly top commanders like Zhukov, Konev ect, ect, dead.

Think it might be a pretty grim scenario 'if' the Sovs were completely defeated.



You're talking about a man who made use of Penal Battalions. Yes, he was that good.


The infamous penal battalions, a very nasty set up, often used in attempts to break through particularly stubborn enemy defences; to clear minefields as tramplers - men who ran through the minefields ahead of regular assault forces to detonate the mines, 60% death rate.

As I said Zhukov was good, but he had his tail handed to him on the Rzhev salient by Model.
Lost an estimated 335,000 men, and 1,600 tanks.

In the words of author David Glantz : "In the unlikely event that Zhukov was correct and Mars was really a diversion, there has never been one so ambitious, so large, so clumsily executed, or so costly"

Plus the Seelow Heights, 700 Russian tanks lost in 4 days, and Zhukov bitter at the result blamed himself for this setback.




Doing so meant he lost the war he just won.


Not sure what you mean here.




You read wrong


John Keegan editor The Collins Atlas of WW2. page 91.
ISBN 0-681-50446-3
My source, perhaps you have a source to refute Keegan?

As I said before, ''what ifs can be fun, but they often degenerate into complete fantasy, and that's where this is rapidly going.

Triple C
12 Jan 09,, 09:21
ANZAC,

The point is that Hitler could defeat the Red Army in European Russia without successfully gaining the Caucasus oil fields. The early success of Case Blue reflected the Soviet appreciations of where the battle of decision would be fought in '42, not German strengths. The capture of Moscow would not have been a deathblow to the Soviet Union as it had already completed the evacuation of all vital industries and government organs out of German striking range by the end of 1941.

The loss of Don-Bas had occurred historically, as well as the Ukraine breadbasket. Russian economy remained able to regenerate men and weapons in superior quantities to the Germans. What is more, it is unlikely that the Germans would have much more success at breaking a Soviet new defensive line in inner Russia, which by this time would be the new Russian industrial heartland.

The Red Army could beat the IJA senseless on any day regardless of what went on in the west, IMHO.

astralis
12 Jan 09,, 15:16
triple C,

really incredible if you think about it, considering all the crap the USSR went through between 1905 and 1939. japan had a serious, serious case of Victory Disease after the Russo-Japanese War.

Torgut
13 Jan 09,, 05:35
I had to chose the Battle of Atlantic. I'm surprised it wasn't included as an option.

ANZAC
13 Jan 09,, 06:42
ANZAC,

The point is that Hitler could defeat the Red Army in European Russia without successfully gaining the Caucasus oil fields. The early success of Case Blue reflected the Soviet appreciations of where the battle of decision would be fought in '42, not German strengths. The capture of Moscow would not have been a deathblow to the Soviet Union as it had already completed the evacuation of all vital industries and government organs out of German striking range by the end of 1941.

The loss of Don-Bas had occurred historically, as well as the Ukraine breadbasket. Russian economy remained able to regenerate men and weapons in superior quantities to the Germans. What is more, it is unlikely that the Germans would have much more success at breaking a Soviet new defensive line in inner Russia, which by this time would be the new Russian industrial heartland.

The Red Army could beat the IJA senseless on any day regardless of what went on in the west, IMHO.

Chuckle...I KNEW I shouldn't have gotten into this fantasy ''what if'':biggrin:

I'm not too sure about your first point.

Perhaps Germany could defeat the SU without taking the Caucuses, and without breaking them at Moscow, and even perhaps without taking Leningrad..... but it would take some fancy footwork. :)

What do you think it would take?

Seriously though, taking the Caucuses was vital according to Hitler, it was one of the main reasons he started the war in the first place, smash the Red Army, and take the Caucasus oil.

''If'' the Germans win the war, the Caucasus are gone for dead certain IMHO.

The final somewhat vague final stopping line for the winning Wehrmacht was on a sweeping line from Archangel in the North, to Astrakhan in the South.

If this objective was reached, it's hard to see what the Sov's could do,

Their armies smashed, 70 million people gone, virtually no coal, plus more importantly....no oil, rampant Panzer's in front, Turks on their flank, top Generals dead, [not only at German hands, in July '41 alone eleven Sov Generals were court marshaled, and most, including Pavlov were shot IIRC] so a good chance of more top defeated Generals suffering the same fate...... except if they got in first.

What might have happened to Uncle Joe after the mess he'd led them into ?

In that scenario, I personally wouldn't give them two cents for any new defensive line in inner Russia.

As for the Red Army beating the IJA senseless on any day regardless of what went on in the west.

Well that might depend, see above.

Triple C
13 Jan 09,, 08:12
Seriously though, taking the Caucuses was vital according to Hitler, it was one of the main reasons he started the war in the first place, smash the Red Army, and take the Caucasus oil.

''If'' the Germans win the war, the Caucasus are gone for dead certain IMHO.

The final somewhat vague final stopping line for the winning Wehrmacht was on a sweeping line from Archangel in the North, to Astrakhan in the South.

If this objective was reached, it's hard to see what the Sov's could do,


Other than illustrating Hitler's typical weakness of being obssessed with irrelevancies, this analysis of Hitler's was also wrong. At no point was victory in the East predicated by the Caucasus, because to attack the Caucasus oil fields without neutralizing Soviet offensive potential, as Hitler did in 1942, was suicide. With Red Army's ability to strike back taken out from play, there was still no guarantee that Caucasus won't turn into a giant slugfest now that it aborbed both OKH and STAVKS's attention.

It is easily concievable that the Germans entrenched to static positions in the west, without being able to make headway to the east or south. Which was the situation to which OoE responded.

Everything depends on the destruction of the Russian army. The priority no. 1 of the Barbarossa design was exactly that. Siezure of economic targets, in the view of Guderian mere diversions from the main effort, was added by Hitler's insistence.

Johnny W
13 Jan 09,, 19:24
Other than illustrating Hitler's typical weakness of being obssessed with irrelevancies, this analysis of Hitler's was also wrong. At no point was victory in the East predicated by the Caucasus, because to attack the Caucasus oil fields without neutralizing Soviet offensive potential, as Hitler did in 1942, was suicide. With Red Army's ability to strike back taken out from play, there was still no guarantee that Caucasus won't turn into a giant slugfest now that it aborbed both OKH and STAVKS's attention.

It is easily concievable that the Germans entrenched to static positions in the west, without being able to make headway to the east or south. Which was the situation to which OoE responded.

Everything depends on the destruction of the Russian army. The priority no. 1 of the Barbarossa design was exactly that. Siezure of economic targets, in the view of Guderian mere diversions from the main effort, was added by Hitler's insistence.

Wasn't taking the oilfields a goal of the Stalingrad assault, with the destruction of the Russian Army's offensive capability a necessary step towards acheiving that goal?

Triple C
14 Jan 09,, 06:42
Yes. What I mean is that the precondition for taking the oil fields is to render the Red Army incapable of counterattacking the Caucasus force. It does not follow that the Red Army would lose a defensive battle for the oil fields even if it had been reduced to offensive impotence. Caucasus is rugged, good defensive country. During Blue, the Soviets were able to fight delaying actions and withdrew orderly against the main weight of the Wehrmacht. If the Russian schwerpunkt was also placed in the Caucasus, who knows? Even an enfeebled Red Army stood a good chance of guarding the few mountain passes.

Triple C
14 Jan 09,, 06:44
Then, in OoE's scenario, the Russians would still possess sufficient reserves in the Far East to deal with the IJA without breaking a sweat.

ANZAC
16 Jan 09,, 03:46
See post 180, :)

It seems as though Russians vs Japanese have always been, and would always be, a no contest according to some, I came across this from OoE.............


Is there anybody who would wake the case that the IJA was ever aismatch for the Red Army anywhere in their history ... (looking at you ANZAC)

1905 anyone?

Bigfella
16 Jan 09,, 04:02
See post 180, :)

It seems as though Russians vs Japanese have always been, and would always be, a no contest according to some, I came across this from OoE.............



1905 anyone?

Pretty sure the Red Army didn't exist before 1917-1918 ANZAC.

There might have been some point in the first few years of the Red Army when the IJA was a better army, but since the IJA did very little fighting between 1905 & 1937 there is no useful way to judge its capabilities in during the early years of the revolution.

If anyone has any accounts of combat between Japanese troops who briefly occupied Siberia & Red Army troops during the Russian Civil War it might tell us something, but not much (I'm guessing the engagements wouldn't have been big if they happened at all).

From what I can work out every time the IJA & Red Army met during the 30s & 40s the IJA came off second best. Usually by a fairly horrific margin.

Officer of Engineers
16 Jan 09,, 04:03
WRONG READ AND I AM SURPRISED BY YOUR SUGGESTION!

The 1905 War was a political victory for Japan, no question, but militarily, it was best a tie. The Japanese were bingo men and ammo while the Russians were rushing re-enforcemnts through.

Compare that to both 1939, no doubt a Soviet domination, and 1945, no dount another Soviet domination and in between 1939 and 1945, there was no doubt the Kwantung Army was getting weaker while Soviet supremacy was only increasing.

The IJA spent 10 years in China without winning and lost two major wars against Moscow in 1939 and 1945. Prove to me that they've gotten stronger and not weaker as the evidence has shown between 1939 and 1945.

Triple C
16 Jan 09,, 06:41
The 1905 War was a political victory for Japan, no question, but militarily, it was best a tie. The Japanese were bingo men and ammo while the Russians were rushing re-enforcemnts through.



Bravo Sir.

I should have known this... I have read it, actually! The Japanese economy would have collapsed had Roosevelt refused to mediate in N. Hampshire! IIRC... When the truce was negotiated, Japan had no more manpower reserves in either the army or the factories. Without infusions of foreign capital and goods, the economy would have crumbled. The Russians did not even begin to mobilize.

Anyhow, the Red Army of 1940s is emphatically a different beast.

nizawa
16 Jan 09,, 07:38
No doubt, the U.S.S.R. has been carrying most heavy burden in the war defeating Nazi,
whether that factor alone was enough to defeat Hitler is centre-point of discussion,without
the PQ convoys and Normandy Landing, and a in tact Luft-Waffe, Hitler may hang on a bit
longer.

Mertus
16 Jan 09,, 08:56
Battle of Stalingrad

nizawa
16 Jan 09,, 09:37
No one could destroy Hitler if there were no US support for war material, if Luft-Waffe
were not so busy to fight the massive bombing fleet of B17+B24 so that ground supporting
for Panzer were almost non-existent. Do not have to mention the B29 bombing of Japan
ended up with Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Without US involvement, all these could not happen.

jlvfr
16 Jan 09,, 11:58
I'll stick with my choice: Battle of Britain.

If the UK had lost, germany would almost certanly have forced a peace with the UK, Churchill's speaches to the contrary (and no, I'm not refering to an invasion. Just a settled peace, similar to Vichy's France). No more diverting of resources for U-Boats, no more diverting of the Luftwaffe's limited bomber and transport units for the med, no more wasting paras in Crete. No more RN blocking german trade ships in the atlantic. No more RAF bombing campaign forcing divertion of Luftwaffe resources from 41 onwards and no more wasting time helping Mussolini!

astralis
16 Jan 09,, 17:02
triple C,


Bravo Sir.

I should have known this... I have read it, actually! The Japanese economy would have collapsed had Roosevelt refused to mediate in N. Hampshire! IIRC... When the truce was negotiated, Japan had no more manpower reserves in either the army or the factories. Without infusions of foreign capital and goods, the economy would have crumbled. The Russians did not even begin to mobilize.


thread hijack here, but...

the funny thing about it is that roosevelt won a nobel prize for peace for the negotiation.

however, had the russians held on a bit longer and the japanese collapsed, the result would have been either a status quo antebellum or probably some war indemnity paid by the japanese. either way, the japanese adventure into china would certainly have been pruned or set back and the worst aspects of japanese imperialism probably would have been far slower to develop. china, without the explosion of japanese influence after the war, may have developed into a constitutional monarchy instead of a revolution.

the russians, after defeat in the far east, started to turn their attention more towards europe, particularly in the balkans...

so the peace negotiations then indirectly led to the expansion of japanese imperialism, WWI, and chinese revolution and chaos.

ANZAC
17 Jan 09,, 06:29
Pretty sure the Red Army didn't exist before 1917-1918 ANZAC.

There might have been some point in the first few years of the Red Army when the IJA was a better army, but since the IJA did very little fighting between 1905 & 1937 there is no useful way to judge its capabilities in during the early years of the revolution.

If anyone has any accounts of combat between Japanese troops who briefly occupied Siberia & Red Army troops during the Russian Civil War it might tell us something, but not much (I'm guessing the engagements wouldn't have been big if they happened at all).

From what I can work out every time the IJA & Red Army met during the 30s & 40s the IJA came off second best. Usually by a fairly horrific margin.

Hi neighbor.

Yep, I'm thinking White Russians instead of Red.

As you say, the IJA was probably the better army early on, but when guys like Tukhachevskii came on the scene and helped revamp the Red Army with armoured and mech divisions, and the first ever Paras if IIRC, plus deep his battle theories, the Red Army was soon superior.

Wonder why Japan, who developed some top notch aircraft, super Battleships and carriers, couldn't or wouldn't get serious about armour?
Any idea's?


But it was an amazing effort by Japan just the same.

In 50 years they had transformed a feudal and isolated state into a power, capable of taking on and defeating a European army like Russia's, and sinking it's fleet to boot.

Don't have anything about combat during the Russian Civil War, and apart from Khalkhyn Gol, only relatively minor engagements before Autumn Storm, like the battle of Lake Khasan where 20,000 Japanese defeated a 23,000 man unit of the Red Army.

The Soviet General was arrested by the NKVD and executed.

Think more Soviet Generals were shot by Stalin then by Russia's enemies.

ANZAC
17 Jan 09,, 06:39
WRONG READ AND I AM SURPRISED BY YOUR SUGGESTION!


Not half as surprised as I am that you think militarily it was a tie.



Prove to me that they've gotten stronger and not weaker as the evidence has shown between 1939 and 1945.

I've never suggested any such thing.


Bravo Sir.

I should have known this... I have read it, actually! The Japanese economy would have collapsed had Roosevelt refused to mediate in N. Hampshire! IIRC... When the truce was negotiated, Japan had no more manpower reserves in either the army or the factories. Without infusions of foreign capital and goods, the economy would have crumbled. The Russians did not even begin to mobilize.



Even taking all this into account, what relevance does it have to what actually happened, and that is that Russia was defeated militarily; how anybody could suggest otherwise quite frankly astounds me.




Anyhow, the Red Army of 1940s is emphatically a different beast.

Nobodies disputing this.

Triple C
17 Jan 09,, 07:41
Even taking all this into account, what relevance does it have to what actually happened, and that is that Russia was defeated militarily; how anybody could suggest otherwise quite frankly astounds me.


It was not a military defeat but a political one. Anyone who said otherwise haven't took a hard look at Japan's military picture at the end of the fighting. Japan's naval action against the Black Sea Fleet on the other hand was a smashing success.



Wonder why Japan, who developed some top notch aircraft, super Battleships and carriers, couldn't or wouldn't get serious about armour?
Any idea's?


Considering Japan's meagre industrial resources, its overall strategy as a maritime empire, and its likely battlefields in the Pacific Ocean, that is not very surprising. The only tankable place they really hold is China, and until the Soviets crashed their party there wasn't any need to build a world-class mechanized force.

astralis
17 Jan 09,, 07:54
ANZAC,


Not half as surprised as I am that you think militarily it was a tie.

then you haven't really studied the war. the point is, if japan's diplomats had not beaten russia's diplomats in New Hampshire- the war would have started up again...and japan would have lost. defeat of the japanese army would have led to the loss of the japanese position in manchuria and korea, even taking into account the shattering IJN victory at tsushima.

Bigfella
17 Jan 09,, 10:47
ANZAC,



then you haven't really studied the war. the point is, if japan's diplomats had not beaten russia's diplomats in New Hampshire- the war would have started up again...and japan would have lost. defeat of the japanese army would have led to the loss of the japanese position in manchuria and korea, even taking into account the shattering IJN victory at tsushima.


A question from someone who hasn't studied the war, but knows some Russian history.

Would it be fair to say that the reason that the Russian diplomats 'blinked' was that the strain of the war on Russia was such that there was a Revolution. Further, might it be accurate to suggest that had the war not ended or been re-started that what happened in 1917 (broadly speaking) might have happened 12 years earlier?

In this case I'm wondering if the point about 'military' vs 'political' victory matters all that much (apart from disproving ANZAC's point). Japan had crippled Russian naval power & fought on land to a point where Russia was about to fall apart. The Russian army may have been undefeated, but it was unable to bring victory or even a sustainable draw. Bit like WW1 in some ways.

Side note: what if Russia had experienced revolution in 1905? It certainly changes the shape of pre-WW1 politics dramatically. The Bolsheviks probably don't take power. Perhaps some sort of coalition of reformist politicians from the Tsarist era & Social Revolutionaries. Is Russia likely to be so keen on risking war with Germany? Does Germany see a chance to snatch territory in the East & start a war before 1914? Lots of fascinating possibilities (sorry to derail the thread - perhaps a seperate thread)

Triple C
17 Jan 09,, 15:51
Bigfella,

Good question. I'll leave that to better informed people than myself...

On the other hand, I think you'd be interested to know that Japan also had outbreaks of huge riots after the Russo-Japanese War because the people thought Japan had not won enough!

Officer of Engineers
17 Jan 09,, 16:05
BF, I also think you're missing the racial aspects. You do know how easy it is the raise the spectre of the Tartars in Russia.

astralis
17 Jan 09,, 17:18
BF,


Would it be fair to say that the reason that the Russian diplomats 'blinked' was that the strain of the war on Russia was such that there was a Revolution. Further, might it be accurate to suggest that had the war not ended or been re-started that what happened in 1917 (broadly speaking) might have happened 12 years earlier?

probably not. support for the tzar was higher then- the protestors always made a point to have an icon of the tzar, whom they honestly believed was just being tricked by his evil ministers. also, the "in" revolutionary moment back then was anarchism, not communism- and as you expect, organization in an anarchist society is a lot weaker. the russian gov't spooked out too early, the japanese gov't would have collapsed first.

i'm pretty sure if the russian gov't collapsed in 1905, you'd see the civil war start up early. my guess is that the imperialists would win, though.

Officer of Engineers
18 Jan 09,, 05:18
You all know what I got all of this exchange ... that the only people who appreciated Soviet military foresight were the Wehrmacht. ALL the theories about blitzkreig and subsquent Deep Battle came from the Soviet Schools of thought, specifically Tukhachevskii. Deep Battle WAS Guderian, Rommel, and Von Mainstein who took those theories to heart and applied them before the Soviets can re-learn their own thinking.

However, much to the Germans' dismay, Zhukov was the better student.

And thus far, the Japanese were NEVER students and they were slaughtered BOTH times and the 2nd time, not even bothered to read Tukhachevskii.

nizawa
18 Jan 09,, 06:06
Britain's courage in battle of Britain was point of admire no doubt. But if Nazi did not care
of their back with USSR. Without Uncle SAM's War material support, courage might not be
enough to stop Hitler. Uncle Sam's participation decided the outcome of WW2, the trigger
of this move was Pearl Harbor.

Officer of Engineers
18 Jan 09,, 06:23
Your read is a bit late and a bit shallow.

Officer of Engineers
18 Jan 09,, 06:30
Even taking all this into account, what relevance does it have to what actually happened, and that is that Russia was defeated militarily; how anybody could suggest otherwise quite frankly astounds me.Because it showed that the IJA has failed to learn the one lesson so well taught by by the failure of Napoleon Bonapart and by the success of William Tecumseh Sherman. And the driving force behind the military thinking of Soviet mastermind Tukhachevskii.

And why that they were destined to lose in 1939 and 1945.

ANZAC
18 Jan 09,, 08:40
...Japan had crippled Russian naval power & fought on land to a point where Russia was about to fall apart....


Think that bit more or less nails it.

ANZAC
18 Jan 09,, 08:50
Because it showed that the IJA has failed to learn the one lesson so well taught by by the failure of Napoleon Bonapart and by the success of William Tecumseh Sherman. And the driving force behind the military thinking of Soviet mastermind Tukhachevskii.


That post didn't have much to do with Tukhachevskii OoE, it was about the war of 1905, Tukhachevskii came on the scene in the 20's and thirties.

clackers
18 Jan 09,, 23:19
ALL the theories about blitzkreig and subsquent Deep Battle came from the Soviet Schools of thought, specifically Tukhachevskii. Deep Battle WAS Guderian, Rommel, and Von Mainstein who took those theories to heart and applied them before the Soviets can re-learn their own thinking.

We shouldn't forget the contribution of the Brits ... very early on, the German manual on armoured fighting vehicles was actually a translation of the British one ... Guderian was an avid reader of Fuller and Liddell-Hart, and took them more seriously than their own countrymen did ...

Freeloader
19 Jan 09,, 04:31
The most important battle of '39-45 isn't generally considered part of WW2 - The clash between Russia & Japan at Khalkin-Gol.

First up, this was a geniune battle. Japanese force were wiped out, losing more man than Australia lost in the entire war.

The result of the battle had enormous consequences.

By ensuring that Japan would never again threaten her eastern flank, Russia freed up resources that were to prove crucial in stopping Germany's only serious chance at winning - taking Moscow.

That's a really good point, one I did not think of.

From the list, I have to go with the crowd on this one and say Stalingrad. If Germany does not invade Russia and they remain neutral, perhaps Japan and Germany are able to control Europe. If those troops are hammering on the French and Britain, perhaps a cease fire or surrender is asked for years before Japan sees 2 atomic bombs dropped on their island? When German's lost their eastern flank security, everything really began to crumble. I wonder how things would of went if all those resources were used to truly "crush" all French and British resistance. I mean, it's hard to not strongly consider it when it was the largest battle in human history.

ANZAC
19 Jan 09,, 04:37
We shouldn't forget the contribution of the Brits ... very early on, the German manual on armoured fighting vehicles was actually a translation of the British one ... Guderian was an avid reader of Fuller and Liddell-Hart, and took them more seriously than their own countrymen did ...

Hi clackers....

Yep, Panzer commanders like Guderian etc, were certainly fans of Liddell-Hart, I have an old book with mementos of L-H, in which it shows a signed photo of Guderian saying..... "To B.H Liddell Hart from one of his disciples in tank affairs"

And one from Manteuffel .... "To Liddell Hart, the creator of modern tank strategy"

So the German Panzer commanders were devouring everything they could read from the likes of L-H and Fuller.

Unfortunately, as you say, conservative high commands in Britain and in France, [where men like Paul Andre Mais and Doumemc were advocating the same as L-H ] were convinced that the tank should be used as infantry support.

At least in the West the tank experts like L-H went on to see their ideas vindicated, as apposed to the Soviets, where all Tukhachevskii got for his pains was a NKVD bullet in the nape of the neck, [along with many comrades] and his deep battle writings went down the toilet, although it all came together later in the war and the classic August Storm operation.

If men like L-H, Doumenic, and Tukhachevskii were backed to the hilt like Guderian was with Hitler, do you think there might have been a different outcome, or where the Panzer commanders just to good early on?

clackers
20 Jan 09,, 00:49
Hi clackers....

Yep, Panzer commanders like Guderian etc, were certainly fans of Liddell-Hart, I have an old book with mementos of L-H, in which it shows a signed photo of Guderian saying..... "To B.H Liddell Hart from one of his disciples in tank affairs"

And one from Manteuffel .... "To Liddell Hart, the creator of modern tank strategy"

The love was reciprocated, Anzac ... he wrote a couple of books after the war based on interviews with the German generals in custody. :)


Unfortunately, as you say, conservative high commands in Britain and in France, [where men like Paul Andre Mais and Doumemc were advocating the same as L-H ] were convinced that the tank should be used as infantry support.

Well, there were many Germans who felt that too. When it came to philosophies about tank use, most countries in fact hedged their bets. The German Mark III, British cruiser and French Somua were the Fuller-style exploitation vehicles. On the other hand, the Mark IV, Matilda and Char B were designed to be the heavier support or breakthrough types.

This applied to organizing the tanks too. The Germans created ten Panzer Divisions, but in 1940 the British had a special armoured division of their own, and the French six.


At least in the West the tank experts like L-H went on to see their ideas vindicated, as apposed to the Soviets, where all Tukhachevskii got for his pains was a NKVD bullet in the nape of the neck, [along with many comrades] and his deep battle writings went down the toilet, although it all came together later in the war and the classic August Storm operation.

Yes, and Tukhachevskii's tank corps were disbanded as untrustworthy indulgences ... but as the war went on, and Hitler listened to his generals less and less, Stalin went the opposite way, trusted the pleas of his officers and allowed independent tank formations to be reformed in 1942.


If men like L-H, Doumenic, and Tukhachevskii were backed to the hilt like Guderian was with Hitler, do you think there might have been a different outcome, or where the Panzer commanders just to good early on?

The Allied plan was a very Liddell-Hart like indirect path to victory ... to attack Germany from Holland and Belgium in '41-'42 with an all-mechanized army going around the Westwall to the Ruhr, instead of through it to the Saar. Fuller-like mechanization of conscript armies and growth of the airforces was an ongoing process from 1935 onwards that was always going to take time.

Unfortunately, in 1940 it was all about the senior generalship. The British Army was in fact the only all-mechanized army in the world at that time, but Gort turned out to be just as panicky a BEF commander as Sir John French had been in WWI. The 220,000 strong force suffered maybe as few as 500 casualties before Gort led it to the beaches for evacuation.

And French leadership was far worse, outweighing any technical advantages they had amongst their aircraft, artillery and tank inventories.

The German plan depended on a lot of things going right, but got a boost when Gamelin sent the central reserve army (perfectly positioned to oppose Rommel's Meuse crossings) to the Channel coast, against his theatre commander's wishes. What did he replace it with? Nothing! :frown:

ANZAC
20 Jan 09,, 06:40
Well, there were many Germans who felt that too. When it came to philosophies about tank use, most countries in fact hedged their bets. The German Mark III, British cruiser and French Somua were the Fuller-style exploitation vehicles. On the other hand, the Mark IV, Matilda and Char B were designed to be the heavier support or breakthrough types.

This applied to organizing the tanks too. The Germans created ten Panzer Divisions, but in 1940 the British had a special armoured division of their own, and the French six.


The big French tanks looked like monsters compared to the Panzer's, but some design flaws, and in the main, poor tactics, cost the French their advantage.

Char B1 potential was probably wasted being committed to piecemeal battles and not concentrated as the German panzertruppen, and the S35 was a ripper, a one-man turret which required the commander to load, aim and fire the gun, didn't leave much time for actual commanding, did it?:)




Yes, and Tukhachevskii's tank corps were disbanded as untrustworthy indulgences ... but as the war went on, and Hitler listened to his generals less and less, Stalin went the opposite way, trusted the pleas of his officers and allowed independent tank formations to be reformed in 1942.



Yeah, guys like Kulik for instance, must have been the direct antithesis of Tukhachevskii, arguing that armoured or motorised divisions were more or less a wast of time, and that the best thing for tanks was infantry support.

Between the purges of '37/38, and the catastrophes of Barbarossa, it must have been hell on earth for the Red Army, not knowing if the Germans or low life killers like Mehklis and his bully boys were going to top you.

And look how they ended up in '45, talk about coming back from the dead.





Unfortunately, in 1940 it was all about the senior generalship. The British Army was in fact the only all-mechanized army in the world at that time, but Gort turned out to be just as panicky a BEF commander as Sir John French had been in WWI. The 220,000 strong force suffered maybe as few as 500 casualties before Gort led it to the beaches for evacuation.


Well I 'll be blowed, you learn something every day.

Thought the Brits casualties were fairly low, but had no idea it was as low as that.

Gort on one front, could you say Percival on the other?

clackers
20 Jan 09,, 08:26
Char B1 potential was probably wasted being committed to piecemeal battles and not concentrated as the German panzertruppen, and the S35 was a ripper, a one-man turret which required the commander to load, aim and fire the gun, didn't leave much time for actual commanding, did it?:)

Yes, that's what Guderian meant when he said French tanks were superior to the German ones both in armour and gun calibre, 'although admittedly inferior in control facilities and in speed'.

The 47 mm weapon that was used by the infantry, by the tanks you've mentioned and by the AT turrets of the Maginot Line, was in 1940 the most powerful standard issue antitank gun in the world, able to go through 50 mm of plate at 1000 metres (the heaviest German tank had 30 mm bow armour).

There were two hundred Char Bs in service when fighting broke out, and as John Mosier has written:


The only weapon capable of destroying the B1 was the German 88-millimeter antiaircraft gun - which the Germans had quickly impressed into ground duty in May 1940. In May 1940 a B series tank named "Jeanne d'Arc" received ninety direct artillery hits in two hours and was still operating; a B series tank named "Amiens" received two direct hits from a German 105-millimeter howitzer without any ill effects.

The old FT apart, the superior armouring of the B series tanks was in fact a characteristic of all French tanks, and reflected the concerns of the French high command over the proliferation of the German 37-millimetre antitank weapon. The French believed that by 1937 there were roughly seven thousand of these weapons in service, and in field testing discovered that the older standard of armour 20 to 30 millimetres thick was inadequate against such a weapon. As a result all French tanks produced after 1934 had 40-millimetre frontal armour.

Over on the Eastern Front in 1941, T34 and KV1 crews were to call that standard German AT gun (which was also mounted in the PzkpfwIII) 'The Doorknocker'. :)

A similar story applies to the airforce which while it had many obsolete aircraft, was re-equipping:


French squadrons equipped with the Curtiss 75A fighter shot down 33 German fighters and lost only three of their own; units equipped with the Morane-Saulnier 406 fighter plane shot down 31 German planes and suffered only six losses - this despite the fact that the MS 406 was thought to be obsolescent. Units equipped with the Bloch 152 shot down 156 German planes and lost 59. French pilots flying Dewoitine 520 fighter planes lost forty-four of their own and accounted for 175 Germans.

But the lack of command and effective maintenance meant that only about a quarter of the French fighters were ever committed to the battle (less than the RAF!), and the ground attack aircraft were committed piecemeal (like the tank attacks you're talking about) without escort and were really massacred, both by fighters and by AA units attached to the German army (who were the best in the business).

Hardware does you no good if you can't use it properly, and academics like West Point's Robert Doughty have pointed out that there were intrinsic problems with the senior generalship of the 1940 French army. 100,000 French troops died (four times the German number) defending their country in only five weeks when their political and military leaders threw in the towel.

As Gerhard Weinberg wrote: "That under these circumstances [of structural chaos] some of the French units broke in battle is not nearly as astonishing as the fact that so many of them fought so well. In World War I it had been said, with at least some degree of justice, that the British soldiers had fought like lions but were led by donkeys. In the first stage of World War II, this description best characterised the French."



Between the purges of '37/38, and the catastrophes of Barbarossa, it must have been hell on earth for the Red Army, not knowing if the Germans or low life killers like Mehklis and his bully boys were going to top you.

Sure ... it's no fun working for a lunatic ... just ask Rokossovsky, who suffered nine missing teeth and three cracked ribs when he was 'purged' in 1937, but was released to become a corps commander in 1941.

He and everyone else didn't fight the way they did on behalf of some Bolshevist cause, they were fighting for their homes and their families.


Well I 'll be blowed, you learn something every day.

Thought the Brits casualties were fairly low, but had no idea it was as low as that.

Yes, most British casualties in the early part of the campaign came during the defence of the beach ... about 3,500 deaths. This is much less than the 7,500 Belgian soldiers and airmen killed, for example.

But by June 22nd, overall British dead, wounded and captured totalled nearly 70,000 - including most of the 51st Highland Division which couldn't be evacuated with the BEF.


Gort on one front, could you say Percival on the other?

Yes, Brian Bond takes the view that despite his good intentions (and Gort later became a successful governor of besieged Malta), he had been 'promoted above his mental ceiling'.

Keith Simpson writes sympathetically of Percival, someone who 'neither had the temperament, the experience, the ability or the necessary robustness to meet the appalling challenge he faced in 1941 as GOC Malaya'. The blame lay with Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff, who should never have appointed him.

ANZAC
21 Jan 09,, 05:04
But the lack of command and effective maintenance meant that only about a quarter of the French fighters were ever committed to the battle (less than the RAF!), and the ground attack aircraft were committed piecemeal (like the tank attacks you're talking about) without escort and were really massacred, both by fighters and by AA units attached to the German army (who were the best in the business).



That might have been the crux of it, IIRC, the Luftwaffe suffered more casualties then the French/Brits, but paved the way for the Heer's mobile artillery the JU-87's.

The thing that strikes me most is the accounts of the utter terror of troops [and civilians] more or less paralysed with fear, or taking to their heels, when the Stukas with those screaming sirens came at them in waves.

Anytime the Heer was in some kind of a bind, call in the JU-87's.

Wasn't quite so terrifying in the BOB though, was it?:))

clackers
21 Jan 09,, 13:20
IIRC, the Luftwaffe suffered more casualties then the French/Brits

Luftwaffe losses were substantial, ANZAC, but overall the French and Brits lost a lot more aircraft!


Anytime the Heer was in some kind of a bind, call in the JU-87's.

Wasn't quite so terrifying in the BOB though, was it?:))

Yep, a very accurate weapon, but pretty much a defenceless one too, that the Germans were unable to replace during the war ... much more vulnerable than the Hurricane/Typhoon, Sturmovik or P47 ...

ANZAC
22 Jan 09,, 07:38
Yeah, was thinking about the RAF's effort, mainly over Dunkirk, when Spitfires were flying up to four sorties a day from England, and pilots like Bader, Tuck and Sailor Malan entered the fight.

There was some pretty one sided numbers originally quoted, but odds are, many of those 'confirmed kills' - on both sides - are inflated.

Few planes were visible over the beaches during the evacuation which led to the myth that the RAF "wasn't there" but David Wilson writes "the effectiveness of the RAF can be seen in that, during Operation Dynamo, the Luftwaffe was only able to seriously threaten the evacuation on two and a half days – May 27, the afternoon of May 29 and June 1. Luftwaffe II Air Corps’ war diary described May 27 as a “bad day”, and reported the loss of 23 aircraft to RAF fighters protecting the beachhead."

Wonder if the army still feels that way today?

clackers
25 Jan 09,, 11:24
There was some pretty one sided numbers originally quoted, but odds are, many of those 'confirmed kills' - on both sides - are inflated.

Yes, Anzac, casualty counts are a problem in all campaigns.

I believe that in Hough and Richards' The Battle of Britain, they estimate RAF claims to be inflated by a factor of 2x, and German ones to be even worse ... a factor of 3x.


Wonder if the army still feels that way today?

Surely not! The RAF lost 106 valuable fighters protecting their withdrawal ...

Pink
21 Feb 09,, 15:18
To say it was the battle of Stalingrad that was the turning point of the 2nd world war is a bad attempt by western historians to explain the course of the 2nd world war. The battle for the city of Stalingrad had to a large degree been already won by the Germans. It was the series of Soviet offensives and counter offensives around the city which turned the tide of war in favour of the Soviets.
Starting with Operation Uranus which encircled the city and smashed the Romanian army in the North and in the South of Stalingrad. This was then followed by Operation Saturn which in turn decimated the Italian 8th army and cut off German forces in the Caucasus.
Operation Mars further in the North then pushed the Germans back from Moscow.

So for me it would have to be Normandy because without it the Soviet army would have taken alot more than Eastern Europe. It doesn't bare thinking about.

cape_royds
22 Feb 09,, 04:32
Anzac, clackers, good discussion.



Yes, and Tukhachevskii's tank corps were disbanded as untrustworthy indulgences ... but as the war went on, and Hitler listened to his generals less and less, Stalin went the opposite way, trusted the pleas of his officers and allowed independent tank formations to be reformed in 1942.

I recall reading somewhere, perhaps in Glantz' Stumbling Colossus, that the Soviets were actually in the process of re-forming corps-level armoured units in early 1941, drawing on their observations of the French campaign. These large units, still in the process of getting sorted out, were wiped out during the 1941 summer disasters.



Between the purges of '37/38, and the catastrophes of Barbarossa, it must have been hell on earth for the Red Army, not knowing if the Germans or low life killers like Mehklis and his bully boys were going to top you.

Look at it another way, though. When everything went as badly as it could, Stalin at least didn't have to deal with any of his generals plotting a coup. By contrast, Hitler had spared his generals even though he suspected their disloyalty to his regime. He was rewarded with an assassination attempt, in the midst of the biggest crisis of the war. Lesson for the tyrant: purge early, purge often!

Another thing: Stalin didn't expect war in 1941. He thought that the French and British would hold out long enough for the USSR to complete the reorganization of its armies, whereupon he could either intervene decisively, or intimidate the exhausted victor from the West, whoever that might be. I don't regard such an attitude as unreasonable on his part; it just turned out to be mistaken.

Stalin saw the "black swan event" when Manstein annihilated the Allied armies within a few weeks. That must have caused some consternation in the Politburo!

From that point, in mid-1940, what were the choices? The two extremes would be to openly prepare war (and no doubt invite it), or the opposite, craven appeasement with every effort to avoid "provocation." In the event, Stalin fell between the stools. He wanted to show a bit of toughness in Bessarabia and along the Baltic littoral, rapidly seizing his due under the terms of the M/R Pact. At the same time he wanted to avoid provocation, so he forbade a high level of preparedness among his armed forces. Again, his conduct wasn't necessarily unreasonable, after all what politician has ever not tried to have things both ways? But he was badly mistaken. His displays of toughness didn't deter the Germans (who after all now had both hands free) in the least, while his lack of open preparedness was a contributing factor to the USSR's early defeats.

Bigfella
22 Feb 09,, 08:23
Look at it another way, though. When everything went as badly as it could, Stalin at least didn't have to deal with any of his generals plotting a coup. By contrast, Hitler had spared his generals even though he suspected their disloyalty to his regime. He was rewarded with an assassination attempt, in the midst of the biggest crisis of the war. Lesson for the tyrant: purge early, purge often!

CR,

Stalin & Hitler were in radically different positions in relation to their respective militaries. The Red Army in particular had been built from the ground up (more or less) by the Communist party. Despite the presence of former Tsarist officers, it was very much a creature of the party. It had proven its loyalty during the Civil War & the Kronstadt uprising. Whatever Stalin's paranoid fantasies, his generals didn't have the independence or freedom from party oversight to really threaten him. Without the purges Stalin MIGHT have been at risk in the dark days of 1941, but it would have needed some sort of alliance between the NKVD & senior generals - something extraordinarily risky for either party.

Hitler was in a very different position. He needed the Army as much or more than it needed him, but it was never his to command absolutely (except perhaps at the very end). The Wehrmacht had political independence & the ability to rally at least conservatives (and under some circumstances centrists) to them if need be. Ultimately the Army preferred to cut a deal with Hitler over issues like the SA than end up in open conflict. Had it chosen the latter path, however, it would have wiped out the Nazis easily. Even the non-lethal purging Hitler did in the late 1930s caused potentially fatal problems for his regime. Attempting a Stalin-like purge would have convinced all but the most hardened Nazis in the senior ranks that it was time to have their own 'night of the long knives'. Hitler & his senior men knew it, so they had to be careful in dealing with the Generals unless they had solid grounds.

This, BTW, is why I have an extraordinarily low opinion of the German officer corps during the Nazi period. They had choices. Even those who did not have the guts to seriously attempt to remove Hitler at least had the option of resigning or retiring. Instead they chose to actively assist in the subdugation of Europe & the mass murder of tens of millions (about which they knew a good deal). Stalin's generals had no such options. It will amaze me to my dying day that men who were prepared to risk their lives to further Hitler's ends seemed largely unwilling to take similar risks to end his rule. A morally repugnant body of men unredeemed by their military skills.

Pink
22 Feb 09,, 14:42
Unfortunately, in 1940 it was all about the senior generalship. The British Army was in fact the only all-mechanized army in the world at that time, but Gort turned out to be just as panicky a BEF commander as Sir John French had been in WWI. The 220,000 strong force suffered maybe as few as 500 casualties before Gort led it to the beaches for evacuation.
The British Army hadn't enagaged the German Army in significant numbers when the order came to retreat, Gort did not panic he was concerned about his right flank which was held by the French 1st Army. The French were falling back after the Sedan breakthrough and so Gort was left with no alternative but to cover his rear. The tank Battle at Arras proves the British at that point were not resigned to an evacuation at Dunkirk. That came later after the Germans reached the channel and the French showed No sign of a counter offensive. Also the British army was not all mechanized and the Infantry still had to march considerable distances.

clackers
24 Feb 09,, 01:04
Lord Gort had been a Victoria Cross winner in the trenches in WWI, Pink, but he shouldn't have been leading the BEF. It was a surprise when he got the job ahead of Dill and Ironside.

Two weeks after the start of the German offensive, Gort found himself in a similar position to Sir John French in WWI. That BEF leader was worried about the German breakthrough in 1914 and wanted to run ... Joffre turned up at his headquarters and pounded the table, pleading for him to be part of his Marne counterattack, which saved the Allies in that war.

In 1940, right when Weygand wanted a simultaneous north-south pincer attack on the German corridor, Gort decided to pull his counterattack units out of the line without permission (or even notification) of either the French generals he was subordinate to or the British War Cabinet.

The Arras counterattack, hasty, premature and disorganized as it was, panicked Rommel and the German high command, who knew how vulnerable the Panzers now were, and the panzer commander Kleist and army group commander Rundstedt asked Hitler for a halt.

Unfortunately, what poor Gort, out of his depth, needed was somebody more senior to lead him. But the CIGS, Ironside, didn't do this the way Kitchener had done in 1914, and instead of Joffre, the French had Gamelin (somebody Gort had admired) admitting to Churchill he'd wasted the mobile reserve, the army group commander Billotte paralyzed and the area commander Georges sobbing.

BTW, as for British mobility, no one was more motorized at the war outbreak ... even with the expansion since 1939, it was way ahead of anyone else ... the BEF had 66,000 trucks and APCs in 1940, not counting tanks. It moved rapidly to the Dyle river as part of Gamelin's plan, and then it has to be said, had no problems withdrawing from it!

LadyLawyer
24 Feb 09,, 03:19
I chose Stalingrad. I don't have anything special to offer.

I would suggest a great book though. The War Makers. Takes you from WWI to WWII to Vietnam....as one continuous war. Short and concise on the diplomacy of the era. That was the greatest battle lost.

zraver
24 Feb 09,, 04:39
I chose Stalingrad. I don't have anything special to offer.

I would suggest a great book though. The War Makers. Takes you from WWI to WWII to Vietnam....as one continuous war. Short and concise on the diplomacy of the era. That was the greatest battle lost.

Given that time frame 14-73 I don't think Stalingrad is up there. I would argue the greatest defeat of the period was the failure of the Spring Offensive. its failure led to the rapid collapse of German morale and fighting ability.

S2
24 Feb 09,, 06:00
Our lady lawyer may not be versed in WHICH spring offensive you're referring between 1914 and 1973. German should narrow matters to no later than 1945 and no further than greater Europe.

I suppose we'll see.

Bigfella
24 Feb 09,, 08:29
Given that time frame 14-73 I don't think Stalingrad is up there. I would argue the greatest defeat of the period was the failure of the Spring Offensive. its failure led to the rapid collapse of German morale and fighting ability.

At the risk of taking the thread further off course, I would be tempted to throw in the Viet Minh victories of 1954 - the well know one at Dien Bien Phu & the much less well known but equally devastating (for French hopes)collapse of operation ATLANTE in central Vietnam.

gabriel
24 Feb 09,, 08:40
Given that time frame 14-73 I would argue the greatest defeat of the period was the failure of the Spring Offensive. its failure led to the rapid collapse of German morale and fighting ability.

The German oil supply was tight throughout the war, and was a controlling factor in military operations. The chief source of supply, and the only source for aviation gasoline, was 13 synthetic plants together with a small production from three additional ones that started operations in 1944. The major sources of products refined from crude oil were the Ploiesti oil fields in Romania and the Hungarian fields which together accounted for about a quarter of the total supply of liquid fuels in 1943. In addition, there was a small but significant Austrian and domestic production. The refineries at Ploiesti were attacked, beginning with a daring and costly low-level attack in August 1943. These had only limited effects; deliveries increased until April 1944 when the attacks were resumed. The 1944 attacks, together with mining of the Danube, materially reduced Romanian deliveries. In August 1944, Russian occupation eliminated this source of supply and dependence on the synthetic plants became even greater than before.

Production from the synthetic plants declined steadily and by July 1944 every major plant had been hit. These plants were producing an average of 316,000 tons per month when the attacks began. Their production fell to 107,000 tons in June and 17,000 tons in September. Output of aviation gasoline from synthetic plants dropped from 175,000 tons in April to 30,000 tons in July and 5,000 tons in September. Production recovered somewhat in November and December, but for the rest of the war was but a fraction of pre-attack output.

http://www.usaaf.net/surveys/eto/ebs11.htm

Pink
24 Feb 09,, 10:07
Lord Gort had been a Victoria Cross winner in the trenches in WWI, Pink, but he shouldn't have been leading the BEF. It was a surprise when he got the job ahead of Dill and Ironside.In your opinion


Two weeks after the start of the German offensive, Gort found himself in a similar position to Sir John French in WWI. That BEF leader was worried about the German breakthrough in 1914 and wanted to run ... Joffre turned up at his headquarters and pounded the table, pleading for him to be part of his Marne counterattack, which saved the Allies in that war.

In 1940, right when Weygand wanted a simultaneous north-south pincer attack on the German corridor, Gort decided to pull his counterattack units out of the line without permission (or even notification) of either the French generals he was subordinate to or the British War Cabinet.I think you'll find that to be inaccurate. He withdrew to the Escaut position as part of a general withdrawl. The order came from Billotte.



The Arras counterattack, hasty, premature and disorganized as it was, panicked Rommel and the German high command, who knew how vulnerable the Panzers now were, and the panzer commander Kleist and army group commander Rundstedt asked Hitler for a halt. Sir Basil Liddel Hart had no doubt about the halt order He said "It may well be asked whether 2 Battalions have ever had such a tremendous effect on history as the 4th and 7th RTR acheived at Arras. The effect in saving the British army from being cut off from its escape ports provides ample justification for the view that if 2 well equipped armoured divs had been available the Battle of France might have been saved"


Unfortunately, what poor Gort, out of his depth, needed was somebody more senior to lead him. But the CIGS, Ironside, didn't do this the way Kitchener had done in 1914, and instead of Joffre, the French had Gamelin (somebody Gort had admired) admitting to Churchill he'd wasted the mobile reserve, the army group commander Billotte paralyzed and the area commander Georges sobbing.He was out of his depth due to the out of date tactics employed by the British army!


BTW, as for British mobility, no one was more motorized at the war outbreak ... even with the expansion since 1939, it was way ahead of anyone else ... the BEF had 66,000 trucks and APCs in 1940, not counting tanks. It moved rapidly to the Dyle river as part of Gamelin's plan, and then it has to be said, had no problems withdrawing from it!Yes we were highly mechanized, but for example The infantry that took part in the battle of Arras marched there and were exhausted when they arrived and were not trained to fight with tanks :redface:

LadyLawyer
24 Feb 09,, 16:09
Our lady lawyer may not be versed in WHICH spring offensive you're referring between 1914 and 1973. German should narrow matters to no later than 1945 and no further than greater Europe.

I suppose we'll see.

Haha, no I understood the war quite well. I speak Russian or I should say, understand it. :(

But, I was going a bit off topic, because I thought the book was interesting....and failure of diplomacy is the first and biggest lost battle.

zraver
24 Feb 09,, 16:25
The German oil supply was tight throughout the war, and was a controlling factor in military operations. The chief source of supply, and the only source for aviation gasoline, was 13 synthetic plants together with a small production from three additional ones that started operations in 1944. The major sources of products refined from crude oil were the Ploiesti oil fields in Romania and the Hungarian fields which together accounted for about a quarter of the total supply of liquid fuels in 1943. In addition, there was a small but significant Austrian and domestic production. The refineries at Ploiesti were attacked, beginning with a daring and costly low-level attack in August 1943. These had only limited effects; deliveries increased until April 1944 when the attacks were resumed. The 1944 attacks, together with mining of the Danube, materially reduced Romanian deliveries. In August 1944, Russian occupation eliminated this source of supply and dependence on the synthetic plants became even greater than before.

Production from the synthetic plants declined steadily and by July 1944 every major plant had been hit. These plants were producing an average of 316,000 tons per month when the attacks began. Their production fell to 107,000 tons in June and 17,000 tons in September. Output of aviation gasoline from synthetic plants dropped from 175,000 tons in April to 30,000 tons in July and 5,000 tons in September. Production recovered somewhat in November and December, but for the rest of the war was but a fraction of pre-attack output.

http://www.usaaf.net/surveys/eto/ebs11.htm

The battle for the skies of the Reich is important, but I think the failure of the 1918 Spring Offensive had more immediate and catastrophic effects. it left the Germans unable to effectively contest the 100 days offensive being too short on food, ammunition, guns and bled out of its best and most aggressive fighters.

S2
24 Feb 09,, 19:46
"Haha, no I understood the war quite well. I speak Russian or I should say, understand it."

ladylawyer, this was Zraver's response to your comment about Stalingrad-

"Given that time frame 14-73 I would argue the greatest defeat of the period was the failure of the Spring Offensive. its failure led to the rapid collapse of German morale and fighting ability."

To what "spring offensive" in this period do you believe Zraver refers and why would speaking Russian matter?:)

gabriel
24 Feb 09,, 20:01
The capture of Stalingrad was important to Hitler for two primary reasons. Firstly, it was a major industrial city on the Volga River – a vital transport route between the Caspian Sea and Northern Russia. Secondly, its capture would secure the left flank of the German armies as they advanced into the oil-rich Caucasus region – with the strategic goal of cutting off fuel to Stalin's war machine. The fact that the city bore the name of the leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, would make its capture an ideological and propaganda coup. Stalin realized this and, despite being under tremendous constraints of time and resources, ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent out to defend the city. The Red Army, at this stage of the war, was less capable of highly mobile operations than the German Army; however, the prospect of combat inside a large urban area, which would be dominated by hand-held small arms rather than armored and mechanized tactics, minimized the Red Army's disadvantages against the Germans.

After Stalingrad the Italian, Romanian, Hungarian army's in the east practically ceased to exist.

nizawa
25 Feb 09,, 06:19
Can not agree more to gabriel about the question oil supply situation. Not only Germany
had this problem to solve, what if the allies without Uncle Sam's massive support?

ANZAC
25 Feb 09,, 06:22
The German oil supply was tight throughout the war, and was a controlling factor in military operations. The chief source of supply, and the only source for aviation gasoline, was 13 synthetic plants together with a small production from three additional ones that started operations in 1944. The major sources of products refined from crude oil were the Ploiesti oil fields in Romania and the Hungarian fields which together accounted for about a quarter of the total supply of liquid fuels in 1943. In addition, there was a small but significant Austrian and domestic production. The refineries at Ploiesti were attacked, beginning with a daring and costly low-level attack in August 1943. These had only limited effects; deliveries increased until April 1944 when the attacks were resumed. The 1944 attacks, together with mining of the Danube, materially reduced Romanian deliveries. In August 1944, Russian occupation eliminated this source of supply and dependence on the synthetic plants became even greater than before.

Production from the synthetic plants declined steadily and by July 1944 every major plant had been hit. These plants were producing an average of 316,000 tons per month when the attacks began. Their production fell to 107,000 tons in June and 17,000 tons in September. Output of aviation gasoline from synthetic plants dropped from 175,000 tons in April to 30,000 tons in July and 5,000 tons in September. Production recovered somewhat in November and December, but for the rest of the war was but a fraction of pre-attack output.

http://www.usaaf.net/surveys/eto/ebs11.htm

What might have been Gabriel.............

More from the survey.......

The Germans viewed the attacks on oil and synthetic plants as catastrophic. In a series of letters to Hitler, among documents seized by the Survey, the developing crisis is outlined month by month in detail. On June 30, Speer wrote: "The enemy bombing has succeeded in increasing our losses of aviation gasoline up to 90 percent by June 22d. Only through speedy recovery of damaged plants has it been possible to regain partly some of the terrible losses." The tone of the letters that followed was similar.

As in the case of ball-bearings and aircraft, the Germans took the most energetic steps to repair and reconstruct the oil plants. Another czar was appointed, this time Edmund Geilenberg, and again an overriding priority on men and materials was issued. Geilenberg used as many as 350,000 men for the repair, rebuilding, and dispersal of the bombed plants and for new underground construction. The synthetic oil plants were vast complex structures and could not be easily broken up and dispersed. The programs of dispersal and underground construction that were undertaken were incomplete when the war ended.

Consumption of oil exceeded production from May 1944 on. Accumulated stocks were rapidly used up, and in six months were practically exhausted. The loss of oil production was sharply felt by the armed forces. In August the final run-in-time for aircraft engines was cut from two hours to one-half hour. For lack of fuel, pilot training, previously cut down, was further curtailed. Through the summer, the movement of German Panzer Divisions in the field was hampered more and more seriously as a result of losses in combat and mounting transportation difficulties, together with the fall in fuel production. By December, according to Speer, the fuel shortage had reached catastrophic proportions. When the Germans launched their counter-offensive on December 16, 1944, their reserves of fuel were insufficient to support the operation. They counted on capturing Allied stocks. Failing in this, many panzer units were lost when they ran out of gasoline. In February and March of 1945 the Germans massed 1,200 tanks on the Baranov bridgehead at the Vistula to check the Russians. They were immobilized for lack of gasoline and overrun.............


"If" instead of the P-38' and P-47' in July 42 and Dec 42, the Packard Merlin P-51 was deployed, the sooner the war would probably have been over.

jlvfr
25 Feb 09,, 12:36
"If" instead of the P-38' and P-47' in July 42 and Dec 42, the Packard Merlin P-51 was deployed, the sooner the war would probably have been over.

The Packard Merlin P-51's prototype started flying in December '42, with series production in early 43, so...

LadyLawyer
25 Feb 09,, 16:47
"Haha, no I understood the war quite well. I speak Russian or I should say, understand it."

ladylawyer, this was Zraver's response to your comment about Stalingrad-

"Given that time frame 14-73 I would argue the greatest defeat of the period was the failure of the Spring Offensive. its failure led to the rapid collapse of German morale and fighting ability."

To what "spring offensive" in this period do you believe Zraver refers and why would speaking Russian matter?:)

Is this a test?

Considering I just referenced a book that had followed WWI to Vietnam, do you think they might have followed the entry of the United States into the First WWI?

The reference to Russian was an oblique reference to knowing that the Germans were still fighting the Russians at the END of WWII, something they were NOT doing at the end of WWI.

While European history as a whole is not a strong suit, some things can be gleaned through years of casual reading. Or at least big picture theory.....like the Spring Offensive. :) I would not attempt to go into the detail of the above folks, and frankly don't care, that is not the type of historian that I tend to be.

zraver
25 Feb 09,, 20:17
Can not agree more to gabriel about the question oil supply situation. Not only Germany
had this problem to solve, what if the allies without Uncle Sam's massive support?

Unless the German's manage to close the med and take the suez and thus increase the tonnage sunk, the British won't have much in the way of fuel problems.They had the ME and Iran. Russia had the Caucuses and new fields in Siberia as well.

The only thing the US really added was refining capacity and high octane gasoline that was resistant to knock thus allowing higher levels of boost (super or turbocharger) without the add of an injection cooling system like methanol.

Turbo/superchargers force more air into the cylinder. This allows more fuel to be added= more power. However air/fuel ratios a re critical. Anything leaner than 14.7.1 and the ammount of heat goes way up as the fuel begins to explode instead of burn. This can melt or even shatter piston heads. One way to combat this is with higher octane. Octane does not increase power, it is actually less flammable the higher the rating. A 50 octane fuel will ignite much more readily than a 100 octane fuel so knock is a much more serious problem.

If you don't have high octane fuels you need another way to cool the incoming air (so it gets denser) so more fits in the cylinder. The Germans used methanol (among others) for this. This injection rapidly cools the air and cylinder walls so heat is less of a problem, there is more air and spark is retarded for an even burn. Hence more fuel can be added greatly upping power output.

Injection systems can also be added to turbo/supercharger applications. As can intercoolers. An intercooler cools the air after it passes through the chargers impeller. This is important on turbo applications because turbos are exhaust driven so the turbo adds a huge amount of heat to the air. For example on my car, my turbo can safely run 10 pounds of boost without an intercooler, but with an intercooler could run 18-22 pounds of boost. On my car each pound of boost is equal to an additional 10-15hp.

Aircraft engines with bigger cylinders could see even more gains. Plus a turbo/supercharger aids in high altitude performance by making sure the engine gets dense air even at extreme heights.

The allies had a huge advantage with the availability of high octane avgas from America, but without it the Brits/Russians would not have run out of fuel.

S2
25 Feb 09,, 20:55
"Is this a test?"

I think a modest test, yes. You did very well.:)

W.W.I is beginning to very much recede from memory and few generally understand the importance of the German spring offensive. You don't appear to be one of those.

LadyLawyer
26 Feb 09,, 02:07
"Is this a test?"

I think a modest test, yes. You did very well.:)

W.W.I is beginning to very much recede from memory and few generally understand the importance of the German spring offensive. You don't appear to be one of those.

Hard pressed on my right, my center is yielding, my left has collapsed. Impossible to maneuver. Situation is excellent. I am attacking. Ferdinand Foch.

I tend to like personalities and diplomacy rather than nuts and bolts, but usually know the big sweep of what happened. ;) Glad I least passed a modest test.

gabriel
26 Feb 09,, 02:17
I tend to like personalities and diplomacy rather than nuts and bolts, but usually know the big sweep of what happened. ;) .

Big fan myself of Churchill and Roosevelt ...not really :rolleyes:

ANZAC
26 Feb 09,, 06:52
The Packard Merlin P-51's prototype started flying in December '42, with series production in early 43, so...

Yeah it was a pity the way it worked out.


.....The airframe [for the Mustang] was ready [for the Brits] in just 100 days but installation of the Allison engines delayed production, the first plane delivered to Britain was November '41, one month before the attack on Pearl Harbour.

In April '42 the Brit test pilots first suggested that the Merlin would make this very good aircraft an absolute winner, but it was used as ground attack and recon.

At the prodding of Major Thomas Hitchcock, the Americans began working along the same lines (using the Packard license-built version of the Merlin), and the first Merlin-equipped Mustang, the P-51B, flew in November, 1942. The results were impressive, to say the least. At 30,000 feet, the improved Mustang reached 440 MPH, almost 100 MPH faster than the Allison-equipped Mustang at that altitude.

charts shows how effective the P-51 was in range and performance against all other fighters.


Although it exhibited better performance, had greater range, cost less than other fighters, the P-51 was still almost overlooked by the U.S. military. General H.H. Arnold frankly admitted this mistake in his memoirs: “It may be said that we could have had the long range P-51 in Europe rather sooner than we did. That we did not have it sooner was the Air Force’s own fault.”


The attitude of mind on the part of the Air Force policy makers and planners delayed the strategic deployment of this critical, almost decisive, weapon by well over nine months before it was actually deployed for combat........


BTW, by all accounts the chief design engineer to the Mustang project was Edger Schmued, a German trained engineer who in 1930 immigrated to the US via Brazil.





On.........................
http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:NftuKoe8264J:https://www.afresearch.org/skins/rims/q_mod_be0e99f3-fc56-4ccb-8dfe-670c0822a153/q_act_downloadpaper/q_obj_d1d0fb6b-72fa-4abe-8ec1-1a8b43d032ab/display.aspx%3Frs%3Denginespage+the+idea+of+the+P-51+Mustang+to+escort+bombers&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=au

Triple C
26 Feb 09,, 07:37
The fact that the city bore the name of the leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, would make its capture an ideological and propaganda coup. Stalin realized this and, despite being under tremendous constraints of time and resources, ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent out to defend the city.

This is actually untrue. Stalin held the city with minimum resources at all times to bait the Germans into reinforcing failure. The Red Army manifestly did not give Stalingrad any priority over the counteroffensive building up east of Volga.

clackers
26 Feb 09,, 11:22
In your opinion

Not just my opinion, Pink.

Even the very generous Brian Bond in Churchill's Generals named the possible choices for the position as "Dill, Ironside and - least likely - Gort."

Low opinion of his generalship was shared by both corps commanders unfortunate enough to serve under him (Dill and Brooke), and one of his division commanders (Montgomery) ...

... and London, which never put him in command of a British army again.



I think you'll find that to be inaccurate. He withdrew to the Escaut position as part of a general withdrawl. The order came from Billotte.

Not unless a ouija board was involved.

You've got your withdrawals mixed up here. On the evening of May 25th when as I said Gort defied the orders from London to be part of the northern half of Weygand's counterattack, Billotte had been dead for two days.



Sir Basil Liddel Hart had no doubt about the halt order He said "It may well be asked whether 2 Battalions have ever had such a tremendous effect on history as the 4th and 7th RTR acheived at Arras. The effect in saving the British army from being cut off from its escape ports provides ample justification for the view that if 2 well equipped armoured divs had been available the Battle of France might have been saved"

Yes, Pink, it was the sort of counterattack Army Group A feared, which was why it called for a halt of its Panzers.


He was out of his depth due to the out of date tactics employed by the British army!

So do you blame the failure to employ modern tactics on the highest ranked field commander in the British Army - John Gort?

Or the failure to develop modern tactics by the prewar Chief of Imperial General Staff - also John Gort? ;)

clackers
26 Feb 09,, 12:42
... refining capacity and high octane gasoline that was resistant to knock thus allowing higher levels of boost (super or turbocharger) without the add of an injection cooling system like methanol ...

What follows is as good a summary of the technical issues as I've ever read, Zraver!

jlvfr
26 Feb 09,, 12:51
I still say "Battle of Britain". Without it, the germans and italians would have a free rein on the Med, the germans would not waste massive resources on the atlantic war, (and wouldn't have their trade routes blocked...) there would be no bombing campaing (and the slow bleeding of the Luftwafee with it...), no the US would have nowhere to base an attack on Europe and no ally in the Far East, the only decent US-Russia supply route would be the Alaska-Siberia...

jlvfr
26 Feb 09,, 12:55
“It may be said that we could have had the long range P-51 in Europe rather sooner than we did. That we did not have it sooner was the Air Force’s own fault.”


He was probably refering to the US's mania about "our bombers are too well armed to need escorts!" (despite the fact that everyone else's real life experience had proved otherwise...). That didn't last last long, but it did delay a lot of things...

gabriel
26 Feb 09,, 18:09
This is actually untrue. Stalin held the city with minimum resources at all times to bait the Germans into reinforcing failure. The Red Army manifestly did not give Stalingrad any priority over the counteroffensive building up east of Volga.

Yes it is a exageration.

zraver
26 Feb 09,, 19:33
I still say "Battle of Britain". Without it, the germans and italians would have a free rein on the Med, the germans would not waste massive resources on the atlantic war, (and wouldn't have their trade routes blocked...) there would be no bombing campaing (and the slow bleeding of the Luftwafee with it...), no the US would have nowhere to base an attack on Europe and no ally in the Far East, the only decent US-Russia supply route would be the Alaska-Siberia...

There was no way for the Germans to win the BoB and the follow on Sea Lion. An early effort to close the Med and seize Egypt would have had far greater effect. It would have removed the need to invade Greece and free up an eventual Panzer Armee, an airflotte and kept Italy in the war. Also with the Axis in control of the Med Spain and Turkey could have been brought under more pressure to join in.

gabriel
26 Feb 09,, 19:52
There was no way for the Germans to win the BoB and the follow on Sea Lion. An early effort to close the Med and seize Egypt would have had far greater effect. It would have removed the need to invade Greece and free up an eventual Panzer Armee, an airflotte and kept Italy in the war. Also with the Axis in control of the Med Spain and Turkey could have been brought under more pressure to join in.

But the German army would have to base his logistical tail for such a campaign on the Italian Navy, after the Battle of Taranto, that was no longer a option.
Rommel achieved more than the German High Command ever hoped.

Johnny W
26 Feb 09,, 22:01
If the Germans had, after the fall of France, concentrated all their efforts on choking off the UK's supplies by building up the Uboats, the Navy, and the Luftwaffe, England might have been forced out of the war before Germany attacked Russia. Therefore, IMO the battle of the Atlantic (prior to Russian and US entry) was the most important, or would have been had Hitler prosecuted the war in a better manner.