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Officer of Engineers
15 Jul 14,, 08:49
Son, your post here

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/world-wars/44806-why-do-aussies-kiwis-hold-grudges-about-douglas-macarthur-18.html#post970498

does not deserve my venom. I'm sorry. But you are wrong.

I can understand a certain admiration for generals for doing more with less ... but in the end, your German Generals lost ... and lost big. Guderian was a pioneer but Patton was a Master. Bradley clobberred Vpn Manstien's ideas left right and and centred. Montgomery put Rommell to shame ... and no German General could ever answered Zhukov or Chuikov.

Your German Generals won in the beginning for a reason ... and they've also lost in the end for a reason ... and war does not give second prizes for also runs. In the end, son, German Generals prove themselves the infeiror to American, Russian, Indian. Canadian, and Australian Generals ... and you've came into a forum where the people here knows the facts.

Goatboy
15 Jul 14,, 09:16
I don't have a dog in this fight. But there are many highly motivated, informed scholars that take an opposing view from yours. You just said that Russian, Indian, Canadian, American and Australian generals are superior to German generals right? Aren't these "opinions", not "facts"?

Officer of Engineers
15 Jul 14,, 09:17
aren't these "opinions", not "facts"?Fact! The Germans lost the war! Twice!

In fact, they've lost every engagement whenever it counted. I suggest that you do not know the facts!

Goatboy
15 Jul 14,, 09:24
Fact! The Germans lost the war! Twice!


So losing the war automatically pigeonholes specific German generals to a "inferior" status relative to generals from the allies?

Officer of Engineers
15 Jul 14,, 09:25
So losing the war automatically pigeonholes specific German generals to a "inferior" status relative to generals from the allies?No shit Sherlock! Two Nothing! Figure it out!

Goatboy
15 Jul 14,, 09:31
No shit Sherlock! Two Nothing! Figure it out!

Respectfully, I guess I don't understand how one can throw that level of burden onto a general. Robert E. Lee can't be blamed for the relative lack of industrialization of the Confederacy can he? Isn't this a large part of why the South lost the war? So he sucks compared to McClellan because the South can't produce enough steel?

Officer of Engineers
15 Jul 14,, 09:37
So he sucks compared to McClellan because the South can't produce enough steel?YEAH! Are you that stupid?

War is about force on weak. War is never about a fair fight. If you cannot force your strong on your enemy's weal while preventing the enemy's strong on your weak, then you should not even be a General.

Yamamotto read the US right. He had six months to impose Japanese strong on American weak, after that, he lost the war ... and he was right.

Get it?

Goatboy
15 Jul 14,, 09:46
YEAH! Are you that stupid?

War is about force on weak. War is never about a fair fight. If you cannot force your strong on your enemy's weal while preventing the enemy's strong on your weak, then you should not even be a General.

Yamamotto read the US right. He had six months to impose Japanese strong on American weak, after that, he lost the war ... and he was right.

Get it?

Are there published scholars, perhaps West Point graduates, that disagree with you as to whether German generals are inferior to Indian, Chinese, American, British or Russian generals? If you must know, I'm commenting on your absolutist stance, not the topic of whether a general is "worthy" or not.

Officer of Engineers
15 Jul 14,, 09:57
Are there published scholars, perhaps West Point graduates, that disagree with you as to whether German generals are inferior to Indian, Chinese, American, British or Russian generals? If you must know, I'm commenting on your absolutist stance, not the topic of whether a general is "worthy" or not.My absolutiist stance is unchallengable. The German Generals lost their battles when it counted!

Get it?

Triple C
15 Jul 14,, 10:12
If you want to talk about the opinion of military professionals and historians who study the Second World War for a living, recent historiography strongly supports OOE's position. Murray's (Harvard University) general history of the conflict, A War to Be Won, goes into some length exploring specific German operational and strategic failures that unambiguously put them into the camp of inferior commanders when compared to their adversaries especially after 1942. David Glantz's (Colonel, US Army War College, Slavic Military Studies) When Titans Clashed, a history of the Eastern Front, is a detailed post-mortem examination of the Nazi-Soviet match. While certain facts of Glantz's work had been called into question by recent statistical works compiled by Zetterling as well as new facts uncovered by Glantz's own original research, the big picture is substantially correct.

By late 1942, German commanders were judged to be outmatched by their opposite number not because their forces were weaker, but because they repeatedly failed to "read" their opponents and committed missteps that delivered their armies into danger. Blaming Corporal Hitler doesn't cut it because the chain of events, reconstructed with existing record of conferences and military orders, suggest German generals were often as clueless as their Furhrer and their claims of having opposed his orders are inaccurate and distorted.

Triple C
15 Jul 14,, 10:35
[Continued]

A good example is Stalingrad. The Germans committed their finest and largest military unit, the Sixth Army, swelled by reinforcements from the Fourth Panzer Army, to a city fight of dubious military value. It is often suggested that Hitler was psychologically fixated on the city because it was Stalin's namesake. The Russians had no illusions about the importance of the city. All the Soviet commanders ever wanted was to turn it into a meatgrinder by holding it with as little force as possible. Even though the Russian total casualties exceeded the German, existing records suggest that German superiority in frontline strength was about 2:1, and far more in artillery and tanks. The Soviet economy of force operation was exceedingly successful in attriting the Germans. As a result, the Germans committed everything they had on their side of the Volga into the city. Since the Volga is frozen solid in winter, this move cannot be justified in the name of flank security.

The result of this miscalculation was that the 800 km communication line through the Don-Donetz landbridge between Rostov to Army Groups South and B was wide open, a danger that the German high command was oblivious to. The Russian strategic offensive of the winter of 1942-43 was a complex attack that had three hooks. The short hook was destroying the Sixth Army by crossing the Volga. The medium range hook was to bag Army Groups South and B. The long hook was to take a shot at Army Group Center. Von Manstein had no idea of the scope of Russian plans. While he was busy dealing with the short hook (rescuing Paulus in Stalingrad) the Russians hit him with the second hook, forcing him to abandon the operation (By the way, von Manstein didn't think he had any reason to contradict Hitler's stand-fast order to Paulus until it was too late). The second hook failed to destroy AG's South and B, but did succeed in inflicting attrition rates favorable to the Soviets. Though von Manstein decisively defeated the third hook, on the balance Stalingrad was a huge mark on the loss column.

And this was last hurrah of the Wehrmacht. Almost every campaign after this date ended in outright defeat for the Germans. It's not only the what--that they lost--but also the how--the way they were out-planned and out-maneuvered.

Triple C
15 Jul 14,, 10:42
Bradley clobberred Vpn Manstien's ideas left right and and centred.

Sir, I would like to ask you to throw me a bone with regard to Bradley. In what way and in which campaigns did Bradley show a better grip on the craft than von Manstein?

Officer of Engineers
15 Jul 14,, 11:17
Sir, I would like to ask you to throw me a bone with regard to Bradley. In what way and in which campaigns did Bradley show a better grip on the craft than von Manstein?Good Heavens, where do I begin? Wheras Von Maninstein understood blitzkreig, Bradley understood strategic depth. Bradley's assigments to strategic bombing targets far outweigh Manstien's sending out dive bombers for targets of oppertunity.

In the Normandy campaign, Bradley could have cared less about enemy tanks, it was rail, roads, and bridges that he was after.

In the Falise Pocket vis-a-vi Kursk, Bradley fought the fight he wanted to fight. Von Mainstien fought the fight that Zhukov wanted to fight.

tankie
15 Jul 14,, 11:43
Heres one I posted in the other locked thread , and without delving into the history books says it all in one short statement .It also backs up OOEs posts and historians .

Consider this , the krauts held all the cards , they were fully prepared and equipped , their great Generals still got their arses kicked all the way back to Berlin . Shame they worshiped a numfuck leader who they tried to kill , and couldn't even manage that . 2 WWs and got battered both times with their superiority , and why just pick on yank Generals ?[quote]

However I will say this , Rommel was widely respected by the Brits as a gr8 General and soldier , but he still got beat .

gf0012-aust
15 Jul 14,, 12:27
Your German Generals won in the beginning for a reason ... and they've also lost in the end for a reason ... and war does not give second prizes for also runs. In the end, son, German Generals prove themselves the infeiror to American, Russian, Indian. Canadian, and Australian Generals ... and you've came into a forum where the people here knows the facts.

the other major point is that initially the germans won because of a new style of warfare - but, the allied generals were able to not only adapt but establish their own paradigm/conditions - ie they turned from being tactical respondents to dictating the engagements on their own terms

the axis ran out of advantage when they failed to adapt. it's a bastardised variation of the axiom about maintaining momentum and tempo.

Big K
16 Jul 14,, 13:12
Good Heavens, where do I begin? Wheras Von Maninstein understood blitzkreig, Bradley understood strategic depth. Bradley's assigments to strategic bombing targets far outweigh Manstien's sending out dive bombers for targets of oppertunity.

In the Normandy campaign, Bradley could have cared less about enemy tanks, it was rail, roads, and bridges that he was after.

In the Falise Pocket vis-a-vi Kursk, Bradley fought the fight he wanted to fight. Von Mainstien fought the fight that Zhukov wanted to fight.

i am the last person to comment these issues here i am to learn.

but i have a question about these points.

what was the role of the Wehrmacht's inventory & capabilities of that inventory & his troops? on Manstein's decisions?

as far as i know strategic bombing was never be a priority for the OKW?

about the Falaise pocket what was the role of air superiority, lack of human(i mean the quality/quantity of fighting force) & other resources?

about Kursk, what was the role of intelligence on the decisions & results of the battle?

Officer of Engineers
17 Jul 14,, 01:06
Think you already know the answers to your question but the insight you're missing is that the German generals did not have a clue to the new doctrine of shaping the battlefield. Bradley started fighting his battle long before troops saw sight of each other.

Albany Rifles
17 Jul 14,, 01:22
Goatboy, do really want to roll out Lee as the "great general" of the Civil War?

Really?

Go down to the ACW threads and you will see he is well and truly smashed as a mythical figure.

And Colonel, as usual, you are a gentleman to go into the Public Forum and offer a gracious apology.

Sometimes I think we should change the name of the WAB to The Shark Tank!!!

Goatboy
17 Jul 14,, 01:29
Goatboy, do really want to roll out Lee as the "great general" of the Civil War?

Really?

Go down to the ACW threads and you will see he is well and truly smashed as a mythical figure.

And Colonel, as usual, you are a gentleman to go into the Public Forum and offer a gracious apology.

Sometimes I think we should change the name of the WAB to The Shark Tank!!!



You misread me.

My point was that I was surprised that it's necessary to shove every general from the losing side in WW2, or in the American civil war, into a box labeled "incompetent".

gf0012-aust
17 Jul 14,, 01:35
You misread me.

My point was that I was surprised that it's necessary to shove every general from the losing side in WW2, or in the American civil war, into a box labeled "incompetent".

Its not about the losing side, its about where and what battles were lost (and conditions) ..... by whom

Goatboy
17 Jul 14,, 01:50
Its not about the losing side, its about where and what battles were lost (and conditions) ..... by whom

That's my opinion as well. But it seemed others took a different view, at least from the 1st page of this thread. Looking back it's easy for me to see why I thought this, but perhaps I misread. Doesn't matter....

gf0012-aust
17 Jul 14,, 02:33
That's my opinion as well. But it seemed others took a different view, at least from the 1st page of this thread. Looking back it's easy for me to see why I thought this, but perhaps I misread. Doesn't matter....

it also needs to be framed around how often they got it right or wrong in complex environments. :)

I'd also reinforce that as far as determining Lee's quals/capability in ACW I'm way out of my comfort zone and that I'm a lurker in these debates :)

Officer of Engineers
17 Jul 14,, 05:06
You misread me.

My point was that I was surprised that it's necessary to shove every general from the losing side in WW2, or in the American civil war, into a box labeled "incompetent".A ICBM wing can take on the combined might of Caesar, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Hannibal and all their enemies combined and not break a sweat. Does that make them incompetent Generals? No, it made them obsolete Generals.

That's the point you're not getting. German Generals were not incompetent. They were obsolete.

Stitch
17 Jul 14,, 06:23
Goatboy, do really want to roll out Lee as the "great general" of the Civil War?

Really?

Go down to the ACW threads and you will see he is well and truly smashed as a mythical figure.

And Colonel, as usual, you are a gentleman to go into the Public Forum and offer a gracious apology.

Sometimes I think we should change the name of the WAB to The Shark Tank!!!

Reaching here . . . .

I'm guessing Lee would've been a "great figure" in the 18th Century?

Warfare had changed by the 19th C., and those trained in the "Napoleonic arts" didn't stand a chance?

IIRC, we were fighting a 19th C. war with 18 C. tactics; mass armies, mass fire, rigid formations? Technology (again) exceeded our capabilities (WW I, anyone?).

gf0012-aust
17 Jul 14,, 06:43
doctrine evolves during wars though - eg combined arms was first effectively practiced by Monash at Hamel in WW1. Success at Hamel refined the approach at Amiens

Big K
17 Jul 14,, 06:51
Think you already know the answers to your question but the insight you're missing is that the German generals did not have a clue to the new doctrine of shaping the battlefield. Bradley started fighting his battle long before troops saw sight of each other.

Sir,

i see, you mean that "being a good general" does not only means "being a good tactician" but being a good,resourceful politician too in order to get an influence whether there will be a war/battle or not, and when it happens, it is to be able to funnel the best available equipment/human resources to his unit.

can we say that?: therefore Manstein / Germany already lost the battle/WW2 long before troops saw eachother?

because according the economic & industrial figures in R.A.C Parker's book "Struggle For Survival" (Oxford University Press, 1989; re-titled The Second World War in 1997), Germany entered a war that could only be won by some quick victories in succession with a lack of will power of Allies which is highly expected by OKW.

am i wrong?

Triple C
17 Jul 14,, 10:04
That's my opinion as well. But it seemed others took a different view, at least from the 1st page of this thread. Looking back it's easy for me to see why I thought this, but perhaps I misread. Doesn't matter....

I think you've misread. OOE specifically mentioned that although Yamamoto lost, his judgement of American intent and capabilities was correct. This is, however, not true of von Manstein, von Rundstedt, Rommel or Model... they lost and their judgement was wrong in multiple battles. They didn't fight as well as their means could have afforded if they knew how.

Albany Rifles
17 Jul 14,, 14:50
Stitch,

As Bob Uecker stated....you must be in the front row!!!

And even then you could argue against that point. Recall the generals who he had success against.....McClellan, Pope, Burnside and a wounded/concussed Hooker.

Once he ran into a general who better understood modern warfare, Meade, he lost.

And he never won again.

Monash
17 Jul 14,, 15:26
Fact! The Germans lost the war! Twice!

In fact, they've lost every engagement whenever it counted. I suggest that you do not know the facts!

OE, while not disputing the blunt truth of your statement should it perhaps be noted that Generals of any any nationality can lose wars for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability in their chosen profession. Taking WW11 as a case in point it could be argued that the Allies won (and Germany lost) for much the same reason Hannibal lost (lack of material support). I'm not suggesting that German Generals were superior to Allied Generals of any particular Nationality just that any General, no matter how competent can't win a war in the face of overwhelming material, technological and numerical advantages. I don't believe I'm denigrating US Commanders like Patton when I state that the Allies had vastly superior industrial production, larger reserves of manpower and greater access to raw materials than Axis forces.

Generalship is a skill like any other I think the key test would be what would have been the outcome if you swapped roles? Put Patton in charge of the defending the French coast and Rommel in charge of Overlord and the follow-up push into France. Would the outcome have changed much? In the detail no doubt a lot, but given the relative size of the forces and industrial capacity available to both sides in June 1944 would Germany have been able to change the outcome of the war and defeat the Allies? I doubt it.

With hindsight there's lot you can criticize the German High Command for chief amongst them not offing Hitler as soon practicable (and I mean before he achieved power.) But in the end it doesn't matter how good you are at what you do - rig the odds enough and the best in the world will fail.

Cheers

Triple C
17 Jul 14,, 18:01
The entire OKW failed to understand Calais was a red herring, not just Hitler. If memory serves, both Rundstedt and Rommel considered the Normandy invasions a diversionary attack well into the first week after D-Day.

The German generals can't blame Hitler for Kursk either. It's Zeitzler's plan, not Hitler's, and every general went along with it... actually according to Guderian, Hitler was terrified of Operation Zitadel, but decided to listen to his professionals.

Amled
17 Jul 14,, 19:56
Goatboy- So losing the war automatically pigeonholes specific German generals to a "inferior" status relative to generals from the allies?

They lost didn't they????? This ain't horshoes.

Big K
17 Jul 14,, 20:46
..The German generals can't blame Hitler for Kursk either. It's Zeitzler's plan, not Hitler's, and every general went along with it... actually according to Guderian, Hitler was terrified of Operation Zitadel, but decided to listen to his professionals.

according wiki, at Kursk, Germans faced almost twice as many tanks, men, guns an aircraft as they had. plus Russians were waiting for them. Despite these drawbacks Germans caused almost 6 times more tank, 3 times more aircrafts, 4 times more men, casualities than their own.

now it seems that if there were no intel on German plans this might be a disaster for Russians. am i wrong?

Officer of Engineers
17 Jul 14,, 21:05
With hindsight there's lot you can criticize the German High Command for chief amongst them not offing Hitler as soon practicable (and I mean before he achieved power.) But in the end it doesn't matter how good you are at what you do - rig the odds enough and the best in the world will fail.Explain Alexander over the Persian Empire, the Mongols over the Arab, Persian, and the Chinese civilizations, Cortez and the Conquistadors, the Qing over the Ming, the British over India ... history has shown that an inferior numeric force can and did overcame and conquer a superior numeric and resourced foe.

What's more both the Germans and the Japanese were running amok against superior numeric forces in the beginning of the war? What changed?

Officer of Engineers
18 Jul 14,, 01:58
now it seems that if there were no intel on German plans this might be a disaster for Russians. am i wrong?Kursk was a battle not worth fighting for the Germans. Even if they had won, they were so spent that they could not have held on to their gains wheras the Soviets replaced all their losses within the year.

astralis
18 Jul 14,, 02:31
the problem with the german generals is that they fundamentally saw warfare as a matter of operational art, not strategic art. moreover, their world view was quite limited. it's a very Prussian thing.*

look at the way they fought-- a focus on "campaign seasons", an overwhelming fixation on a decisive "Kesselschlacht" (cauldron battle), and the use of extremely risky gambles as a matter of routine. they gambled even when they didn't need to, and when they had a LOT to lose. note how the german generals LOVED to create "elite units" filled with combat veterans-- excellent in the short-term and absolutely disastrous in the medium/long-term after they were attrited.

the allied approach was far more methodical and low-risk. they stuck to a strategy of attrition, and through a series of operations ground the Wehrmacht into dogmeat.

===

*look at the Seven Years' War as an example. Britain fought a world war, fighting in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Frederick the Great, on the other hand, had significant difficulties even fighting in his own region. very similar to WWII, where the Western Allies had the transport, logistics, and strategy to think and fight on a global level whereas Germany could not.

there's a lot of talk about how Germany could not fight a two-front war. it's important to note that was precisely what the US and UK did, over far larger distances, without the advantage of interior lines.

Officer of Engineers
18 Jul 14,, 03:47
there's a lot of talk about how Germany could not fight a two-front war. it's important to note that was precisely what the US and UK did, over far larger distances, without the advantage of interior lines.Three. You forgot Italy

Doktor
18 Jul 14,, 06:13
Explain Alexander over the Persian Empire, the Mongols over the Arab, Persian, and the Chinese civilizations, Cortez and the Conquistadors, the Qing over the Ming, the British over India ... history has shown that an inferior numeric force can and did overcame and conquer a superior numeric and resourced foe.

What's more both the Germans and the Japanese were running amok against superior numeric forces in the beginning of the war? What changed?
Water, USA and USSR.

Big K
18 Jul 14,, 10:13
Kursk was a battle not worth fighting for the Germans. Even if they had won, they were so spent that they could not have held on to their gains wheras the Soviets replaced all their losses within the year.


Sir,

i see, you mean that "being a good general" does not only means "being a good tactician" but being a good,resourceful politician too in order to get an influence whether there will be a war/battle or not, and when it happens, it is to be able to funnel the best available equipment/human resources to his unit.

can we say that?: therefore Manstein / Germany already lost the battle/WW2 long before troops saw eachother?

because according the economic & industrial figures in R.A.C Parker's book "Struggle For Survival" (Oxford University Press, 1989; re-titled The Second World War in 1997), Germany entered a war that could only be won by some quick victories in succession with a lack of will power of Allies which is highly expected by OKW.

am i wrong?

Triple C
18 Jul 14,, 10:37
according wiki, at Kursk, Germans faced almost twice as many tanks, men, guns an aircraft as they had. plus Russians were waiting for them. Despite these drawbacks Germans caused almost 6 times more tank, 3 times more aircrafts, 4 times more men, casualities than their own.

now it seems that if there were no intel on German plans this might be a disaster for Russians. am i wrong?

You are right. But Kursk was a trap and the Germans walked straight into it.

The salient was untouched for the spring season, a more than ample duration of time for the Russians to turn the sector into a truly hard target. Did the Germans think the Russians would be too oblivious to shore up the Kurst-Orel salient? Or did they simply assume the superior tactical proficiency of the German troops would overcome any resistance, even though Stalingrad proved otherwise? We don't know. But holding on to either of those highly problematic assumptions is not a sign of good generalship.

In contrast, the Russians expanded a great deal of energy and care to mask their preparations from prying eyes and extensively probed opposing German forces to ensure that the Wehrmacht was, in fact, falling for the trap. The Russian high command also crafted excellent battle plans that covered different scenarios that the battle might develop into. The result was that the Russians were prepared for the outcome of Kursk but the Germans were not.

In the aftermath of Zitadel, the Germans were surprised that, far from reeling from the losses suffered at Kursk, the Russians launched powerful strategic offensives immediately after the battle. Those unanticipated offensives, conducted over a broad front, overwhelmed von Manstein's ability to improvise. German mobile reserves repeatedly counterattacked Red Army formations that were offered up to them as sacrifice. Massive losses of hard-won territories and irreplaceable soldiers for the Germans ensued.

The German generals were fighting a war with inferior numbers, but their troops were excellent. The Russian generals, in contrast, had numbers, but their troops were not nearly as well trained or disciplined. For the Russians to win, they had to anticipate the flow of the campaign and make damn sure they can shape things to a favorable scenario. This was what they did.

Monash
18 Jul 14,, 11:40
Explain Alexander over the Persian Empire, the Mongols over the Arab, Persian, and the Chinese civilizations, Cortez and the Conquistadors, the Qing over the Ming, the British over India ... history has shown that an inferior numeric force can and did overcame and conquer a superior numeric and resourced foe.

What's more both the Germans and the Japanese were running amok against superior numeric forces in the beginning of the war? What changed?

I will start by stating that it is not my contention that all the factors I mentioned before (manpower reserves, resources and technology etc ) trump superior leadership. Instead what I'm saying is that a large or significant disparity in these factors between two sides makes it harder for the 'superior' General to win a war. In addition the closer in terms of ability two leaders are the more important these other factors become. All other factors being equal a 'great' general with 10,000 will always defeat an incompetent one with 30,000 but would that 'great' general be able to defeat a merely 'competent' opponent if his own men were starving, he was cut off from re-supply and reinforcements and his opponent possessed superior technology, strong supply lines, plentiful reinforcements and had time on his side? He might but I would suggest the odds are against it. So I would suggest then that while a superior commander might win the 'battle (or even a series of battles) he won't win the the war if the other side has all the other cards to play and he has none.

Taking each of you examples in turn. Alexander won over the Persian Empire because he was clearly the superior General but he also had superior technology in terms of arms, armor and unit organization - the sarissa, the phalanx etc etc and access to resupply during his advance into Persia, as he advanced he co-opted local administrations into his new "empire" and recruiting and maintaining his army as he went. As a result when Alexander advanced he managed to stay at more or less as strong as he was when the campaign started whereas with every loss Darius got weaker.

The Mongols had clear technological advantages over the Arabs in terms of communication, unit organisation, weaponry (their bows etc )and re-supply - travel fast and light using the locust approach to resupply issues in foreign lands. Plus they had HUGE manpower reserves ia subject levies. And while they did beat each of the cultures you named they did this over an extended period of time not by fighting them all at once. The Egyptian Mamluk Dynasty did manage to stop them using similar technology and tactics (if only just) and the Song in China required a long, costly and bloody campaign which saw several severe reverses for the Mongols along the way.

Cortez had technology and his invasion force consisted almost entirely of South American Indians (7,000 or so) from neighboring tributary states of the Aztec Empire, all of whom hated the Aztecs guts and all of who foolishly believed they could trust their new 'allies'. Without them his campaign against Tenochtitlan would have been a disaster. As it was there were several close fights the Aztecs nearly won.

Can't talk to the Qing v Ming don't know enough about the history of the campaign and will have to research it.

As for the British in India. Technically there was no 'India' if by India you mean the modern state but rather series of smaller states. I believe at the beginning of England's advance into the sub-continent the most powerful by far of these was Maratha Empire but even it did not control all of the sub-continent. (I will be guided by our Many Indian WAB members in the details here and apologies if I oversimplify a very complex story that deserves a far more detailed examination than I can give it but...) the English set about conquering India in much the same manner as one sets about eating an Elephant i.e. one piece at a time. They didn't just use superior military leadership, they also used a combination of diplomacy and economics at least as much if not more than force of arms. There were at least 3 separate wars with the Marathas, and it took decades of endeavor before their control was assured. So Generalship was only part of the picture.

Finally Japan and Germany's early successes during WWII can I think largely be explained by a combination of momentum and unpreparedness on the part of the Allies. The Axis powers initiated the conflict at times, locations and in manners of their choosing allowing them to concentrate their forces at places of weakness in the Allies deployments. The Allies on the other hand were still working up their rearmament programs and weren't ready when the Axis struck. Britain, America and the rest of the Allies were therefore forced to fight defensively until the US especially managed to fully mobilize its vast industrial capacity for military purposes and its large reserves of well educated manpower. (Meanwhile Russia went through much the same process on the Eastern front, caught by surprise with its Army not yet recovered from Stalin's purges and forced to retreat and hold on while it bought time to re-arm and mobilize.)

None of the above is meant to argue against the vital importance of superior generalship. Just that while such leadership will win you battles it won't necessarily win you a prolonged war without injections of all the other factors I mentioned in passing.

Cheers.

Mihais
18 Jul 14,, 12:40
A superior general will not be caught on an unprepared battlefield.The dilemma of WW2 German generals was that they had no strategic leadership,but they were also not in a position to create one.The moment Adolf was the political leader(not a bad one to a point),the commander of the Wehrmacht,the land forces,theaters of operations and of Army Groups,all went to hell.Adolf the Fuhrer gives orders to Adolf the military leader and Adolf the CINC gives orders to Adolf the subordinate commander several steps down the ladder.

So when you're Rommel or von Kluge in Normandy,you don't really have much of a choice.
The issue is not so much on individual merit.The issue is that Allied and Soviet generals were part of a command system,while the German ones had no such thing.

Overlord depended on whether the German mobile reserves could counterattack the moment allied soldiers set foot on French soil.But the armored units in France were under direct command of Hitler,who at the very moment of invasion was taking a nap at Berchtesgaden(or wherever he was at the time).

German generals weren't dumb or obsolete,IMO,they were out of the loop.

astralis
18 Jul 14,, 16:27
Big K,


can we say that?: therefore Manstein / Germany already lost the battle/WW2 long before troops saw eachother?

because according the economic & industrial figures in R.A.C Parker's book "Struggle For Survival" (Oxford University Press, 1989; re-titled The Second World War in 1997), Germany entered a war that could only be won by some quick victories in succession with a lack of will power of Allies which is highly expected by OKW.

am i wrong?

Germany wanted to fight WWII as a series of small wars, not a big war. that's what their military was designed for.

however, Germany never adjusted to reality until it was far too late. this applied to everything from operational art to logistics to industrialization.

Albany Rifles
18 Jul 14,, 16:43
Big K,



Germany wanted to fight WWII as a series of small wars, not a big war. that's what their military was designed for.

however, Germany never adjusted to reality until it was far too late. this applied to everything from operational art to logistics to industrialization.

Germany was a continental power at best and organized its military that way..

Look at its organization of forces:

The Heer was organized in 1939 with the horse as its prime mover and the infantry footborne for mobility. For all of the vaunted Blitzkrieg and supposed superweapons, the Germany Army of World War 2 was a 3 mile an hour force based on the speed of their Landsers.

The Luftwaffe was a tactical air force, organized and equipped to support corps and army level formations. Its aircraft were shortlegged, bombload were insufficient and bombers were, at best, in the medium range.

The Kriegsmarine was a coastal navy to guard teh Baltic and North Sea. Its main striking weapon, the U-Boat Type VII was basically a coastal submarine. Its capital ships were few and afr between. Most of its surface navy was dedicated for shallow draft, shallow water operations.

Ergo, its doctrine was not strategic in scope.

By contrast, American doctrine (because of the idea to ALWAYS play an away game) and British doctrine (because of Imperial repsponsibilities) was global and strategic from the 1920s on.

astralis
18 Jul 14,, 17:17
precisely so. as the saying goes, let your strategy drive tactics, not the other way 'round.

having said that the german tactics/operational art was so good (relative to their opponents) at the beginning of the war that it ALMOST made up for the blinding lack of strategy. their one biggest mistake, by far, was declaring war on the US.

even declaring war on Russia in 1941, while stupid, was salvageable.

it makes me wonder what would have happened if hitler decided that the USSR could wait one more year, and instead planned for a massive offensive on Turkey/the Middle East. Suez Canal likely falls, and with it the Churchill government.

dual-pronged offensive into russia in 1943 or 1944, with secure oil supplies, a secure Western Front, much better logistics, air cover from the Caucasus...russia with no/limited L/L from the allies...oh man.

Officer of Engineers
18 Jul 14,, 18:20
German generals weren't dumb or obsolete,IMO,they were out of the loop.When you get clobbered over the head enough times, you have to soon learn to duck or go down. Germany's last big push, the Battle of the Buldge, no one had given a thought to blocking Patton's 3rd Army when it has been shown again and again that Patton could turn that army around on a dime.

Never mind what Hitler allowed or didn't allow, German Generals were hit again and again by forces that they had no idea where they were coming from, shouldn't they at least try to learn where everybody is before their big push?

Triple C
18 Jul 14,, 18:36
In so far as I know, Hitler didn't tell Rommel that the Allies were going to land on Calais. Even after Rommel realized there might be an invasion in Normandy, he continued to concur with OKW's belief that if an attack in fact occurred in Normandy, it would be a diversion. Also to the best of my memory, Rommel, von Rundstedt, von Kluge et al. continued to believe in a second invasion for days after D-Day.

For the Battle of the Bulge, I agree that the whole the enterprise was unsound. But again, Hitler didn't forbid Rundstedt and Model to assign a Panzer Korp to St. Vith and Bastogne. They neglected to do this in spite of knowing how bad the roads were.

Hitler was no strategist but he couldn't be blamed for all of Wehrmacht's miscalculations.

Albany Rifles
18 Jul 14,, 19:49
If you want to see where a real difference showed at teh tactical/operational level between the US & German forces, read about the Vosges Mountain Campaign, OCT 44 - JAN 45. The US forces faced a shortage of artillery ammunition and almost no air support due to weather. It was an uphill fight for the Americans against a well dug in enemy. Yet the Americans prevailed at every turn due to superior operational art.

astralis
18 Jul 14,, 20:28
wasn't much of an equal fight when the US had the crazy 442nd...:biggrin:

Mihais
20 Jul 14,, 17:22
dual-pronged offensive into russia in 1943 or 1944, with secure oil supplies, a secure Western Front, much better logistics, air cover from the Caucasus...russia with no/limited L/L from the allies...oh man.

Ohh yes,a dual pronged attack into Russia in 1943.With 20 Pz divisions equiped with 3-4000 Pz III &IV(75mm short) vs 29 Mech Corps with 30000 KV&T34. :biggrin:

Albany Rifles
20 Jul 14,, 17:51
wasn't much of an equal fight when the US had the crazy 442nd...:biggrin:

Not to mention the Texans of the 36th Infantry Division....led by Van Johnson!

astralis
20 Jul 14,, 17:53
mihais,


Ohh yes,a dual pronged attack into Russia in 1943.With 20 Pz divisions equiped with 3-4000 Pz III &IV(75mm short) vs 29 Mech Corps with 30000 KV&T34

USSR with no lend-lease and the germans a short-hop from 80% of the USSR's oil? no second Front? the move of all the Western Front anti-aircraft guns into anti-tank roles? german access to mid-east oil? yeah, i'd take those odds.

probably wouldn't be quite that bad on the German side either, given another year or two to absorb their immense conquests.

the numbers and the equipment differential on the soviet side wouldn't help them much that first year given all the odds and sods they had for leadership. it took about a year, year and a half of very painful attrition and winnowing until the leadership emerged that could fight the Wehrmacht on their own terms, and another year after that to -beat- the Wehrmacht decisively.

Mihais
20 Jul 14,, 18:14
Well,too bad Uncle Joe wasn't going to let the Germans do that.
Second,Baku was important,but it wasn't the only source for the Soviets.Third,Lend Lease covered what the Soviet industry could not because it was destroyed.Fourth,Germans still don't get ME oil,because there weren't pipelines.
Fifth,it doesn't really matter how inexperienced the Soviet leaders are.All they need to do is a run for Ploiesti.They would have had troubles doing that in 1940 or 1941.But from 1942 onwards,that's a piece of cake.

astralis
20 Jul 14,, 18:40
mihais,


Well,too bad Uncle Joe wasn't going to let the Germans do that.

what, an invasion of Germany instead? man, the Wehrmacht would LOVE that; the problem for them in 1941 was finding and killing all the Soviet divisions, and here they are serving themselves up on a platter, with the Germans using lines of interior movement and a better transportation network.


Second,Baku was important,but it wasn't the only source for the Soviets

not the only source but the major source. Ploesti wasn't such a point-source failure, 35% vs 80%.


.Third,Lend Lease covered what the Soviet industry could not because it was destroyed.

true, but any invasion of the USSR would certainly mean a lot of Soviet industry wrecked. if it's the other way around there's not this issue, but Soviets on the offensive with 1941-type of leadership...


Fourth,Germans still don't get ME oil,because there weren't pipelines.

actually, there were existing pipelines in the area already. the British actually attacked Vichy France in Syria in 1941 precisely to prevent Nazi domination over Iraq-Syria/Lebanon pipelines. given a pliant Turkey eager to give Russia a black-eye and several years of peace, the existing pipelines could have been enlarged.


Fifth,it doesn't really matter how inexperienced the Soviet leaders are.All they need to do is a run for Ploiesti.They would have had troubles doing that in 1940 or 1941.But from 1942 onwards,that's a piece of cake.

heh, easy to state, not that easy to do. you're thinking of OUR 1944 Red Army, already hugely battle-tested, and with great leadership.

an inexperienced Red Army with 1941 leaders trying to execute an offensive...Winter War showed what even a second-rate power could do to that Red Army.

gunnut
25 Jul 14,, 23:23
Good Heavens, where do I begin? Wheras Von Maninstein understood blitzkreig, Bradley understood strategic depth. Bradley's assigments to strategic bombing targets far outweigh Manstien's sending out dive bombers for targets of oppertunity.

In the Normandy campaign, Bradley could have cared less about enemy tanks, it was rail, roads, and bridges that he was after.

In the Falise Pocket vis-a-vi Kursk, Bradley fought the fight he wanted to fight. Von Mainstien fought the fight that Zhukov wanted to fight.

Sir, I learned more from this one post than reading books on the subject.

But something still troubles me. Were there no German generals who saw the strategic side of things like the Allied Generals did?

It sounded to me that Bradley and Zhukov both had similar vision about "deep battle." Why was this not recognized by the German staff? Was it a cultural intransigence of the German (or Prussian) tradition?

Officer of Engineers
27 Jul 14,, 23:56
But something still troubles me. Were there no German generals who saw the strategic side of things like the Allied Generals did?Mainly because they were still winning ... or at least winning enough. They were still smashing Russian armies and fought the British-Americans to a standstill in Italy and beat them back at Arnhem and inflicted terrible losses at the Schelt. Just a few more such victories and the Russians would have ran out of armies and the Americans and British would have tired bleeding themselves on the various German Lines like the Gustav and Zeigfried Lines.

Model and Kluge destroyed Zhukov's OPERATION MARS but they did not see their strategic retreat as a loss but rather consolidating their lines in order to finish the remenants of Zhukov's forces.