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Is it true that Germans had better strategies than Allies?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.

Re: bottom line

Postby LWD on 25 Mar 2007 18:38

Jim Eagle Feather wrote:Had Germany faced just England or just Russia it could have defeated them. Against only Britain Germany would have won fairly easily.

This is highly debateable. The German military of 1939 to 1945 was not really designed to make a major cross channel invasion. Relative to German naval and avaiation power Britain got stronger (omstly on her own) during the first few years of the war. If you also even things out by not requireing the British to fight on two fronts (ie no Pacific war) it is far from clear that Germany has the strength to prevail. Certainly not enough to do so easily.
As for Russia, take away British and American aid - allow Germany to concentrate all her forces on Russia - take away the Bulkan and Greece sideshow that the Brits helped to stage against Italy - causing Hitler to put off his invasion of Russia by at least one entire month - and you have a Russia likely pushed back to the Urals.

Again by no means is this clear. German forces were stopped before Moscow mostly by Soviet efforts. Very little impact of US or British aid was felt by this point. The additional forces used in North Africa and the Balkans were not such as to have made a hugh impact especially given the role logistics played in this battle. Also I believe I have read that the weather was bad for that earlier month the so it might not have bought the Germans anything or might even have cost them.
Hitler could have won in Russia anyway, had he just sent winter supplies to his troops.

That's sort of like saying if he had just sent them a few more armies. They didn't have the logistics structure to do so just as they didn't have the additional troops or weapons.
Or, failing that, had he stopped his forces in November 1941and had them dig in and build a fortified line with a defense in depth. This could have withstood what Russia had to throw at the Germans in winter. The following Spring the Germans would have been strong enough to not only cross the Volga near Stalingrad (Avoiding that Verdun to starve it from the east bank of the Volga) but Germany could also have made the short jump to throw Stalin out of Moscow and roll the Russians back to the Urals.

Very much into what if areas now and not ones I'm an expert in but I doubt it would be as easy or clear cut as you present it.
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Postby Gothard on 25 Mar 2007 19:24

Hitler could esily have defeated Russia - much more so than he was ever aware of. His maain error was strategic. The concept, ideas and means to carry them out were available - regardless of his ideology. Yet German strategic planning failed him. As far as Britain - impossible while roosevelt was in office. Fascists had a lot of sympathy globally. Germanys foreign policy strategy was dirt poor. Lot of different strategies in different areas combine to make a war. While germany unquestionably applied better tactical doctrine in certain areas. those same doctrines really dont stand up to close strategic scrutiny. I think this topic is way to broad.
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Postby Qvist on 25 Mar 2007 23:59

Hitler could esily have defeated Russia - much more so than he was ever aware of. His maain error was strategic. The concept, ideas and means to carry them out were available - regardless of his ideology.


Uh, what do you mean? What means were available to Hitler that he could have used to defeat the Soviet Union, but didn't? What main error was this, and how was it strategic in nature? It appears quite obvious to me that these means were exactly what they did not have - where were they supposed to have come from? In terms of manpower and armaments Germany was badly stretched already at the outset of Barbarossa, and they knew full well that a sustained campaign was likeliy to be beyond their means - this with an idea of Soviet military potential that was vastly short of reality.

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Postby peteratwar on 26 Mar 2007 10:59

Neither Stalin nor the communist party were loved at that time. If Hitler and his troops had entered as liberators and treated the populace with kindness and courtesy, they might well have won very easily as various disaffected bodies (probably everyone who wasn't a communist) would have rallied to him. Many did in any event

As it was the brutality with which they acted made it ridiculously easy for Stalin to use 'the Motherland is in danger' as a warcry
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Postby Andreas on 26 Mar 2007 12:19

peteratwar wrote:Neither Stalin nor the communist party were loved at that time. If Hitler and his troops had entered as liberators and treated the populace with kindness and courtesy, they might well have won very easily as various disaffected bodies (probably everyone who wasn't a communist) would have rallied to him.


And if pigs had wings, your breakfast rashers would be delivered by air.

If Hitler and his lot had in the least intended to treat the population with kindness and courtesy, they would not have invaded the Soviet Union in the first place.

All the best

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Postby Qvist on 26 Mar 2007 12:41

Very much into what if areas now and not ones I'm an expert in but I doubt it would be as easy or clear cut as you present it.


You can say that again.

As for Russia, take away British and American aid - allow Germany to concentrate all her forces on Russia - take away the Bulkan and Greece sideshow that the Brits helped to stage against Italy - causing Hitler to put off his invasion of Russia by at least one entire month - and you have a Russia likely pushed back to the Urals
.

How does that happen? And, 1) there was no US or british aid before Barbarossa, and almost nothing appeared during 1941, b) Barbarossa was also delayed by weathre conditions in the East.

Hitler could have won in Russia anyway, had he just sent winter supplies to his troops.


Oh, why didn't he think of that. Must have been kicking himself when he thought of it in May.

Or, failing that, had he stopped his forces in November 1941and had them dig in and build a fortified line with a defense in depth. This could have withstood what Russia had to throw at the Germans in winter.


How do you know? Do you have any idea how they were to have constructed a fortified line in November? Do you know how the Soviets would have reacted in such a situation?

The following Spring the Germans would have been strong enough to not only cross the Volga near Stalingrad (Avoiding that Verdun to starve it from the east bank of the Volga) but Germany could also have made the short jump to throw Stalin out of Moscow and roll the Russians back to the Urals.


And you've had a really good look at the force relation at that time? And know just how it would have been impacted by what went before? And looked at a map?

Can holes be poked through all my speculations? Sure.


Affirmative.

As anyone knows, battle plans all last until the first bullets are fired. And such speculations are only fictional battle plans.

But I didn't create these topics...


I can only speculate what strange logic is at play here.

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Postby peteratwar on 26 Mar 2007 14:39

And if pigs had wings, your breakfast rashers would be delivered by air.
[Quote]
if Hitler and his lot had in the least intended to treat the population with kindness and courtesy, they would not have invaded the Soviet Union in the first place.

All the best

Andreas
[Quote]

Oh dear me can't you think. The sworn enemies of Hitler & his cronies were Stalin. Fight against Stalin and you have a host of willing volunteers.

When you win one battle then you instal a puppet government & away you go.

More is achieved with sugar than vinegar.

Divide and conquer.

Think about it and think of the situation in Russia at the time.

Hitler should have taken advantage of that. Fortunately it seems he wasn't capable of thinking that deeply
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Postby Qvist on 26 Mar 2007 15:04

Peteratwar:

As Andreas correctly pointed out, your argument presupposes that Hitler and his regime be something drastically defferent than what it in fact was. There can be no discussion of historical options without delving into the contrafactual, but when such an argument is developed along lines that presupposes a different world than the real one, it ceases to be of any interest. That is the line between a viable contribution to the discussion, which is welcome, and unsourced, speculative nonsense, which isn't. Your post was on the wrong side of that line.

Now, you can either drop it, or you can provide us with a decent argument showing how the policy you suggest could plausibly have been conceivably arrived at by the Nazi leadership given their basic conceptions of the world and their aims.

And, in your shoes I would think at least twice before once more endeavoring to suggest that a fellow poster "can't think" - particularly after preceding that statement with an argument that reeks of oversimplification. You can consider that a warning.

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Postby Andreas on 26 Mar 2007 15:38

peteratwar wrote:Oh dear me can't you think. The sworn enemies of Hitler & his cronies were Stalin. Fight against Stalin and you have a host of willing volunteers.


Hitler and his cronies saw the Slavs and anyone they deemed to belong to that group, as a whole, regardless of their political persuasion, as a race of subhumans which could just be eradicated from the planet, and the invasion of the Soviet Union was the tool to achieve just that. The German occupation policies were consistent with the German ideology. To get different occupation policies you would have needed a different ideology.

To get pigs to fly, you need to imagine they have wings. I'd say that is about as likely to imagine as is Hitler & co having a Slav-friendly ideology.

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Postby peteratwar on 26 Mar 2007 16:16

Oh yes, I don't disagree that Hitler's mindset wouldn't let him think along those lines.

Probably just as well that he didn't.

However I remember a while back talking with an elderly German who was a lucky one who had fought throughout the war. He had been in a unit which was one of the first to attack in the East. After breaking through initially they were welcomed with flowers.

Major missed opportunity
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Postby Gothard on 26 Mar 2007 16:59

Qvist wrote:
Hitler could esily have defeated Russia - much more so than he was ever aware of. His maain error was strategic. The concept, ideas and means to carry them out were available - regardless of his ideology.


Uh, what do you mean? What means were available to Hitler that he could have used to defeat the Soviet Union, but didn't? What main error was this, and how was it strategic in nature? It appears quite obvious to me that these means were exactly what they did not have - where were they supposed to have come from? In terms of manpower and armaments Germany was badly stretched already at the outset of Barbarossa, and they knew full well that a sustained campaign was likeliy to be beyond their means - this with an idea of Soviet military potential that was vastly short of reality.

cheers


Easy enough - Germany survived the most massive bombing campaign in History - Production was not only relatively unaffected but grew enormously.
It's all about machine tools. Industry that creates machinery. Russia didnt have it. All their major arms factories were new and were loaded with american ( and German ) machine tools. THats why so much care was taken to transfer the machinery, also why russians tended to oversimplify their vehicles and made so few modifications.. The Loss of Dno stopped the German strategic offensive before it could start, but the implications are there. The germans were aware of the russians weakness in the machine tool area. It's serious business. Now of course its extremely difficult to really damage industrial machinery in a bombing raid, but enough damage couldve been done to disable thru lack of spares.. etc.. and production wouldve been shut down for long periods while the equipment was offline. they only had 4 main factories producing the majority of their weapons, no locomotive industry to speak of and couldnt even produce rails to any degree. they simply didnt have an industrial flexibility that wouldve allowed them to recover from a strategic bombing effort. Key point being that germany had a dispersed industry with strong machine tool production capacity and redundant stocks of tools and floorspace from closed civilian goods manufacture. The russians had a critical shortage of tools and there industry was concentrated and centered around the tools they had. given russias huge equipment losses in combat a disruption of industry wouldve stopped them dead in their tracks. They made a serious effort to initiate strategic bombing of the ural factories based on the airfields around Dno. The loss of the city ended the project. A new focus on the marshalling center of moscow likewise failed due to Bagration. If there had been a larger strategic emphasis on strategic warfare in the east the results wouldve been drastic.


viewtopic.php?t=116652 take a look at this site - read thru the lines and you'll see how vulnerable russia was. regardless of his racial policies Hitler always lost when he got bogged down in an attrition fight. Sustained disruption of any of the russians 4 main factories wouldve drasticaly affected the outcome of any of the major battles from stalingrad to kursk and beyond.
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Postby Jon G. on 26 Mar 2007 18:08

Wars aren't won and lost just by machine tools. Britain had a shortage of machine tools too. You're suggesting that the Germans should have embarked on a strategic campaign against the USSR, while at the same time presupposing the huge losses of materials which the Soviets lost in 1941 - in other words, the strategic campaign would have had to be ancillary to a major ground war in order to be effective. Raw materials - above all oil - are at least as important as machine making tools; Germany's shortage of strategic materials meant that Germany did not have the resources for a drawn-out strategic campaign against the USSR.
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Postby Andreas on 26 Mar 2007 18:45

Gothard wrote:Easy enough - Germany survived the most massive bombing campaign in History - Production was not only relatively unaffected but grew enormously.


Highly simplistic analysis. How much material would Germany have produced if no bombing campaign had taken place, but the same re-organisation had been introduced? Also wrong - once the bombing campaign went after the synfuel plants it was game over for the Germans in terms of moving all the kit they produced. So to say that Germany survived the campaign is misleading, because it focuses on one single element, production of kit on machinery, against production of other materials, transport effort, etc.

The first massive raid was flown on 12 May 1944 and directed against five plants. Other raids followed successively and continued into the spring of 1945. The severity of the raids was immediately recognized by the Germans. Between 30 June 1944 and 19 January 1945, Albert Speer directed five memoranda to Hitler which left no doubt about the increasingly serious situation. Speer pointed out that the attacks in May and June had reduced the output of aviation fuel by 90 percent. It would require six to eight weeks to make minimal repairs to resume production, but unless the refineries were protected by all possible means, coverage of the most urgent requirements of the armed forces could no longer be assured. An unbridgeable gap would be opened that must perforce have tragic consequences.32 Continued attacks also negatively influenced the output of automotive gasoline, diesel fuel, Buna, and methanol, the last an essential ingredient in the production of powder and explosives. If, Speer warned, the attacks were sustained, production would sink further, the last remaining reserve stocks would be consumed, and the essential materials for the prosecution of a modern technological war would be lacking in the most important areas.33

In his final report, Speer noted that the undisturbed repair and operation of the plants were essential prerequisites for further supply, but the experience of recent months had shown that this was impossible under existing conditions.34 Behind Speer’s warnings was his awareness that once production of fuels was substantially curtailed, once reserves and the fuel in the distribution system were depleted, the Germans would be finished and the end could be predicted with almost mathematical accuracy.35


http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airc ... becker.htm

Of course, how you can claim that Germany shrugged off the bomber offensive with no effects, but at the same time argue that a strategic campaign would have finished the Soviets, is not quite clear to me.

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Postby Qvist on 26 Mar 2007 20:32

Well, there is a point in Soviet production being confined to a much greater extent to a small number of large facilities, and hence as such more vulnerable than German productive facilities to strategic bombing. But there is also the point that Germany didn't have a strategic bomber force, not to mention that the Soviets were demonstrably capable of moving their plants.

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Postby Andreas on 26 Mar 2007 20:41

Sorry, it wasn't made explicit that the Soviets would just sit on their rears and not do anything while their factories were turned into dust. :-D

By that logic, the Germans would never have produced large numbers of Tigers, BTW. ;-)

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