Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

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HistoryGeek2019
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Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 10 Oct 2019 07:26

In 1935, Erich von Manstein was appointed deputy chief of staff of the OKH and was on track to eventually replace Ludwig Beck as OKH chief of staff. But in 1938 Hitler reorganized the Werhmacht, promoting political lackies and demoting 40 generals, one of whom was Manstein. Instead of Manstein, Franz Halder got the job of OKH chief of staff.

While no lackey, Halder had limits that would haunt Germany during the early years of WW2. Halder was fixated with taking enemy capitals. During Fall Gelb, Halder favored a direct drive on Paris instead of sealing off the French and BEF by driving to the Channel. And during Barbarossa, Halder was obsessed with taking Moscow, doing everything he could to make Moscow the priority instead of following Hitler's command to focus on surrounding and destroying bits and pieces of the Red Army one by one. This culminated in the failed Operation Typhoon. Even in 1942, Halder seems to have been on a different page from Hitler, preferring to reinforce Army Group Center as opposed to the forces in the south.

So, what if Manstein had become OKH chief of staff in 1938 instead of Halder? Manstein was arguably Germany's best general during WW2, excelled at maneuver warfare, and drafted the "sickle stroke" plan that won Fall Gelb. It's hard to see Germany doing any better than it did against France in the OTL, but might Manstein have helped plan Barbarossa better than Halder? Halder insisted on the panzers driving straight for Moscow as fast as possible, whereas in 1943 Manstein recognized that territory could be sacrificed in order to outmaneuver an opponent. Might Manstein have developed a plan for Barbarossa that would have lured Russian reserves into a trap (as in Fall Gelb), rather than mindlessly driving as fast as possible into the midst of the Soviet reserves (as Halder did in the OTL at Smolensk)?

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Robert Rojas
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RE: Manstein Becomes O.K.H. Chief Of Staff Instead Of Halder.

Post by Robert Rojas » 10 Oct 2019 12:27

Greetings to both History Geek 2019 and the community as a whole. Howdy H.G.2019! Well sir OR madam, in deference to your point OR points-of-view as articulated within your introductory posting of Wednesday - October 09, 2019 - 10:26pm, old yours truly is of the school of thought that the person of Erich von Manstein would not have fared any better than any one else who was tapped for the job. Eventually, the man would have run afoul of the all knowing Bohemian Corporal. Erich von Manstein's intellect and Prussian lineage would have clearly seen to that. Yes, I will concur with you that Erich von Manstein was undoubtedly retained the finest operational brain in the Wehrmacht, but unlike Jesus Christ, the man could not walk on water. It's just some sobering food for thought. Well, that's my initial two Yankee cents worth on this wholly subjective topic of interest - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by Aida1 » 10 Oct 2019 21:20

Manstein would have done better if given free rein but that would not be the case. If you put Manstein in charge then or later it will always be better for Germany but Manstein needs to be able to work without interference from Hitler.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Oct 2019 14:30

Aida1 wrote:
10 Oct 2019 21:20
Manstein would have done better if given free rein but that would not be the case. If you put Manstein in charge then or later it will always be better for Germany but Manstein needs to be able to work without interference from Hitler.
But Hitler often made correct military decisions against the advice of Halder. Hitler was right to go for the Channel coast instead of Paris during Fall Gelb. Hitler was right to seek to encircle and destroy the Red Army in 1941 instead of driving straight for Moscow. Perhaps Manstein would have been on the same page as Hitler on these matters, or at least not been obsessed with foolish military goals like Halder.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by Aida1 » 11 Oct 2019 17:20

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Oct 2019 14:30
Aida1 wrote:
10 Oct 2019 21:20
Manstein would have done better if given free rein but that would not be the case. If you put Manstein in charge then or later it will always be better for Germany but Manstein needs to be able to work without interference from Hitler.
But Hitler often made correct military decisions against the advice of Halder. Hitler was right to go for the Channel coast instead of Paris during Fall Gelb. Hitler was right to seek to encircle and destroy the Red Army in 1941 instead of driving straight for Moscow. Perhaps Manstein would have been on the same page as Hitler on these matters, or at least not been obsessed with foolish military goals like Halder.
Exploitation in depth is more important than just encircling and destroying because you need to make it difficult for your opponent to set up a new defenseline .Manstein would probably also think along these lines.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Oct 2019 20:49

Aida1 wrote:
11 Oct 2019 17:20

Exploitation in depth is more important than just encircling and destroying because you need to make it difficult for your opponent to set up a new defenseline .Manstein would probably also think along these lines.
That's debatable. The Germans waited until the Dunkirk pocket was liquidated before continuing their assault on France. This gave the French time to set up a new defensive line, and the Germans went right through it. Defensive lines were almost completely ineffective during WW2. The only defense that really worked was Kursk, but there it wasn't the defensive line that held the Germans, but the overwhelming superiority of the Soviet reserves held for a counterattack.

Running headlong into enemy territory got the Germans into trouble every time they tried it - at Smolensk, Moscow and the Caucasus.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by Aida1 » 12 Oct 2019 09:35

If you want to achieve the best result, going deep is the only option . Mobile units must keep going so be replaced with infantrydivisions in the encirclement as fast as possible.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 12 Oct 2019 14:29

Aida1 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 09:35
If you want to achieve the best result, going deep is the only option . Mobile units must keep going so be replaced with infantrydivisions in the encirclement as fast as possible.
Then I guess the Germans should have just driven in a straight line to Vladivostok!

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RE: Manstein Becomes O.K.H. Chief Of Staff Instead Of Halder.

Post by Robert Rojas » 12 Oct 2019 14:48

Greetings to both citizen AIda1 and the community as a whole. Howdy Aida1! Well sir OR madam, in deference to your point OR points-of-view as articulated within your installment of Saturday - October 12, 2019 - 12:35am, old yours truly is in a quandary how to address of what I perceive as doctrinal absolutism on your part. Now, are you describing the dynamics of Europe's battlefields during the course of the Second World War OR are you describing the dynamics of the contemporary battlefields of the Twenty First Century? I, for one, cannot imagine how Field Marshal Erich von Manstein could have successfully fought THE THIRD BATTLE OF KHARKOV (February 19, 1943 - March 15, 1943) while attempting to seal off overextended Red Army spearheads with quite slow moving foot slogging infantry divisions. Conversely, at the risk of being accused of false equivocation, I do not recall General Tommy Ray Franks of the United States Army having ANY foot slogging infantry divisions available to him as his mechanized formations made their mad dash to the City of Baghdad during the INVASION OF IRAQ (March 19, 2003 - May 01, 2003). It's just some friendly food for thought. Fallafel anyone? Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this now expansive topic of interest - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in your corner of the now disintegrating European Union.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by maltesefalcon » 12 Oct 2019 15:27

One should also consider that Halder was replaced in any case with Zeitzler. Halder's downfall was largely due to the fact that he openly expressed his opinions, which in many cases directly opposed those of Hitler.

Hitler really did not grasp the concept of logistics and wanted a toady that would agree that any preposterous suggestion from himself could be successfully undertaken.

Hitler also fought with Guderian, Rundstedt, Manteuffel, Jodl to name but a few. Doesn't really matter who the figure head of the armed forces is, if Hitler won't listen to him.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by Aida1 » 12 Oct 2019 15:40

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 14:29
Aida1 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 09:35
If you want to achieve the best result, going deep is the only option . Mobile units must keep going so be replaced with infantrydivisions in the encirclement as fast as possible.
Then I guess the Germans should have just driven in a straight line to Vladivostok!
No. Advance as far as possible until you inevitably come to a standstill.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 12 Oct 2019 17:34

maltesefalcon wrote:
12 Oct 2019 15:27
One should also consider that Halder was replaced in any case with Zeitzler. Halder's downfall was largely due to the fact that he openly expressed his opinions, which in many cases directly opposed those of Hitler.

Hitler really did not grasp the concept of logistics and wanted a toady that would agree that any preposterous suggestion from himself could be successfully undertaken.

Hitler also fought with Guderian, Rundstedt, Manteuffel, Jodl to name but a few. Doesn't really matter who the figure head of the armed forces is, if Hitler won't listen to him.
The figurehead of the Heer was Brauchitsch, who caved to Hitler early and often. The Chief of Staff was still responsible for coming up with plans to carry out Hitler's objectives and for implementing them. Halder seems to have been consistently bad at that, in that he had the wrong priorities (taking the enemy capital instead of destroying the enemy's army). Manstein would have been a good deal better.

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 12 Oct 2019 17:45

Aida1 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 15:40
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 14:29
Aida1 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 09:35
If you want to achieve the best result, going deep is the only option . Mobile units must keep going so be replaced with infantrydivisions in the encirclement as fast as possible.
Then I guess the Germans should have just driven in a straight line to Vladivostok!
No. Advance as far as possible until you inevitably come to a standstill.
That's great. Outrun your logistics and your infantry and air support. Lose vehicles, men and equipment to wear and tear along the way. And then come to a standstill in the midst of the enemy's gargantuan reserve armies. That's bound to work! Remind me again when such a strategy has ever worked at any point in history?

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RE: Manstein Becomes O.K.H. Chief Of Staff Instead Of Hslder.

Post by Robert Rojas » 12 Oct 2019 18:06

Greetings to both History Geek 2019 and the community as a whole. Howdy H.G. 2019! Well sir OR madam, in reference to your posting of Saturday - October 12, 2019 -8:45am, the powers of clairvoyance notwithstanding, you clearly read my mind concerning the incredulous nonsense espoused by citizen Aida1 within his or her posting of Saturday - October 12, 2019 - 6:40am. Rhetorically speaking, I often wonder where citizen Aida1 conjures up these peculiar notions since his or her understanding of Military Science is obviously lacking. Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this ongoing sojourn down the road to perdition - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: Manstein becomes OKH Chief of Staff instead of Halder

Post by Aida1 » 12 Oct 2019 18:29

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 17:45
Aida1 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 15:40
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 14:29
Aida1 wrote:
12 Oct 2019 09:35
If you want to achieve the best result, going deep is the only option . Mobile units must keep going so be replaced with infantrydivisions in the encirclement as fast as possible.
Then I guess the Germans should have just driven in a straight line to Vladivostok!
No. Advance as far as possible until you inevitably come to a standstill.
That's great. Outrun your logistics and your infantry and air support. Lose vehicles, men and equipment to wear and tear along the way. And then come to a standstill in the midst of the enemy's gargantuan reserve armies. That's bound to work! Remind me again when such a strategy has ever worked at any point in history?
That is what you always do in deep mobile advances. "Gargantuan reserve armies" is seriously over the top.

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