What mistakes do you think Hitler made?

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Gyles
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Post by Gyles » 13 Dec 2002 11:59

Some of Hitlers errors would include

1) Allowing the British to evacuate at Dunkirk. He had the BEF traped but rather opted to take Paris first. The Panzers could have easlily taken the beach if not ordered to halt. If so then the Brits would have been far more likely to come to the bargaining table with the loss of some 300,000 troops. Luckily fatso got his way.

2) During the battle of Britain he switched from attacking the airfields to bombing London hoping Britain would sew(SP) for peace. The RAF really had been getting close to breaking point, but even then there are far too many shortcomings in the Kraut amphib force.

3) As far as the easternfront is concerned, hitler should of focused more on army group centeral instead of driving south in 42, refusing to pull out of Stalingrad was a major mistake.

4) Not fully mobilizing the economy for war.

Not going into total war production in 1940-41, it may come as a surprise to some that Germany’s military production during the years 1939-1942 was nowhere near it’s full capacity. Women were not used in the production process and production of consumer goods was still considerable. The economy had not be fully mobilized for war and as a result Germany’s war production level was far below it’s potential(Germany did not fully mobilize for war until the beginning of 1943).


Thus what would have been the result, if Hitler had fully mobilized the economy for war in 1940-41?

To provide and example, in the month of July of 1944 Germany produced 4,219 aircraft, this was achieved despite heavy bombing, huge manpower losses and the loss of much of the territories(loss of resources) conquered in 1939-1941.
Thus one can deduce, that the production level that Germany would have achieved at full capacity in 1942( when there was less bombing, greater manpower and resources available), would have been even greater.

5) Not employing pacification strategies in Russia

Not employing a pacification program in the invasion of Russia. Initially the German where greeted by many Soviets (Ukrainians for instance) as liberators. Many provinces of the Soviet Union despised communism and welcomed the Germans openly.

If Hitler and his command had been cunning, they would have exploited this opportunity (using propaganda and pacification strategies). Such use of this method could have dramatically reduced the level of Soviet resistance and could have had a decisive effect on the campaign.

But as soon as the barbaric SS/Einsatsgruppen arrived, these communities soon released who was their real enemy. The butchery and stupidity of the SS alienated the people and thus their resistance changed from mild to fanatical.

6) Declaring war on American, Hitler’s act of declaring war on America was almost as strategically stupid as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor attack had provoked the American public to war against Japan but the attack was not directly associated with Germany. Germany had no obligation to Japan to declare war on the USA ( did Japan declare war on Russia in 41 or Britain in 40). Declaring war on America gave Roosevelt the opportunity he was waiting for, by this insane act, Hitler brought the massive power of the United States against Germany and sealed that country’s fate. It is probable that the USA would have come in eventually, but by declaring war in December of 1941, Hitler accelerated American’s entry. What difference would it have made to his Russian and North African campaign, if America did not come into the war in Europe, say until 1944.

7) Not having a Britain first strategy (Mediterranean)

Hitler by attacking the Soviet Union provoked a two front war, a major strategic error. A Britain first strategy, would have been the correct approach.


Germany could not invade Britain in 1940, it did not have the capability to do this task successfully. But Germany could have defeated Britain by other means. The first and most obvious strategy would have been an air and sea blockade, this would require the building of a massive U-boat fleet and long-range air capability(the development of long range maritime strike aircraft with long range fighters to protect them).

Additionally the development of strategic(long range) fighters and bombers to carry out air supremacy missions, attacking ports and critical industrial targets(ball bearing plants, oil refineries, dams ) over Britain would be required.


While undertaking the above process, Hitler could have taken Britain’s Mediterranean assets. He should have used his army( as soon as possible, 1940-41) to attack Spain and take Gibraltar from the north. Britain at the time was hardly in a position to aid Spanish resistance, the invasion would be difficult(the mountain ranges) but a 1 million strong army with strong air commitment and superior tactical and operational skill would have been sufficient to defeat the Spanish.

With Gibraltar seized and reinforced with air power, Britain interests in the Mediterranean would be
cut-off, without reinforcement and supply, Malta and Cyprus would be neutralized.

The taking of Gibraltar would provide, what is in effect, a land bridge to North Africa. This land bridge would have alleviated much of the logistical problems of supplying a large German force in North Africa.

With a firm logistical supply route, Germany could have sent a large force of 500,000 men to take Egypt the Suez canal and the Persian oil fields. According to Admiral Raeder, a blockade imposed on Britain, through the Suez canal, could have been as effective as the blockade imposed on Germany during world war 1.

The combined effect of an effective sea blockade and the loss of Britain’s Mediterranean assets would have probably been enough to bring Britain to it’s knees, without the need of an invasion.

Additionally Germany would have gained a tremendous oil reserve (correcting one of the country’s major strategic weaknesses).

Of course, there are risks with this strategy, Russia attacking in the East, but 1.5 million troops( with a mobile panzer reserve) entrenched in Germany’s eastern territories would have provide an adequate defense. Germany efforts on the Eastern front, demonstrated that numerically inferior German forces in entrenched positions, could defend themselves against Russian attacks.

Additionally Germany’s gains in the Mediterranean and Africa would have to be consolidated with air power and land forces( to prevent possible Anglo-American counterattacks). Thus for the above strategy to work, Germany must go to full wartime production in 1940 and expand it’s forces. The expansion of it’s forces would require the full-mobilization of the German population.

8) Operation Citadel (The Battle of Kursk) was a bungled operation from the start, the Russians perdicted the German attack, positioned themselves and destroyed the majority of Germany's armor. The Germans relinquished their gift for manouverability and tried to out-slog a far greater Russian force (never a good idea). IMO they should have stayed on the defensive. However, one could easily argue that the Eastern Front was dommed to fail from the beginning. Hitler, countered on the so-called 'racial superiority' of the Germans over the Russians to guarantee victory. Military History Rule No 1: don't invade Russia, too big, too many people, by WWII too industrialised, and a fantastic sense of patratism and self-sacrafice for the Motherland. Although a think NATO could do the job today (so long as things stay conventional) :P . Hitlers major problem was he overestimated German power, and underestamated greatly the ability and resolve of his enemys. But after all what can you expect, he was Crazy. :roll:
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Post by ISU-152 » 13 Dec 2002 13:13

Gyles wrote:
Of course, there are risks with this strategy, Russia attacking in the East, but 1.5 million troops( with a mobile panzer reserve) entrenched in Germany’s eastern territories would have provide an adequate defense. Germany efforts on the Eastern front, demonstrated that numerically inferior German forces in entrenched positions, could defend themselves against Russian attacks.
Really? :roll: Check operations Bagration and Yassy-Kishinev. Don't see any chances for germans to hold on to their positions.
Gyles wrote: Hitler, countered on the so-called 'racial superiority' of the Germans over the Russians to guarantee victory. Military History Rule No 1: don't invade Russia, too big, too many people, by WWII too industrialised, and a fantastic sense of patratism and self-sacrafice for the Motherland.
Why is it fanatical? It is the same patriotism with which your countrymen fought in the WWII. Or you dislike something here?
Gyles wrote:
Although a think NATO could do the job today (so long as things stay conventional) :P .
You are more than welcomed :D . Ukraine sold all its hardware to different counries and ukrainian people are eager to join EU. As long as you don't start to hang people on the streets. :D

Best regards

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Post by Qvist » 13 Dec 2002 13:51

Gyles

I agree with most of your points, but would like to make some comments.
3) As far as the easternfront is concerned, hitler should of focused more on army group centeral instead of driving south in 42
This is, at best, highly debatable. Personally I would incline towards the view that an early attack against Moscow with such strong and undefeated Soviet forces along a vast flank could ultimately have produced very negative results indeed. At the very least, it would have been a high-risk approach.
Not having a Britain first strategy (Mediterranean)
I'm not so sure... A mediterranean approach must be seen as strictly complementary to a more direct campaign against Britain, it could never be decisive in itself. And would there have been time to make a strategic campaign count? It would have taken a long time to develop the resources to do it successfully.
Operation Citadel (The Battle of Kursk) was a bungled operation from the start, the Russians perdicted the German attack, positioned themselves and destroyed the majority of Germany's armor. The Germans relinquished their gift for manouverability and tried to out-slog a far greater Russian force (never a good idea). IMO they should have stayed on the defensive.
This is partly plain wrong. Citadel did not destroy the majority of German armour - they lost some 250-350 tanks, depending on whether you include long-term damaged or not. This was less than 10% of German tank strength in the East. Staying on the defensive (or rather, the counteroffensive) might have produced better results, but I don't think this is given. Of course, the operation failed, and as such I don't disagree that it was a mistake to launch it at the time and in the form it happened. It's more a question of how decisive it was.


cheers

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Gyles
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Post by Gyles » 13 Dec 2002 16:46

Gyles wrote:


Of course, there are risks with this strategy, Russia attacking in the East, but 1.5 million troops( with a mobile panzer reserve) entrenched in Germany’s eastern territories would have provide an adequate defense. Germany efforts on the Eastern front, demonstrated that numerically inferior German forces in entrenched positions, could defend themselves against Russian attacks.


Really? Check operations Bagration and Yassy-Kishinev. Don't see any chances for germans to hold on to their positions.

OK then, waaay more than 1.5 million, and no doubt Bagration steamrolled the Germans. First off, I have a few minor poiints to make. By the time the Russians attack (1943 onwards??) the German position in Poland becomes much stronger.

Given time Germany would have consolidated its grip on Europe.
Having agreed to an armistice the UK/Germany would cease fighting on all fronts. This frees up hundreds of thousands of troops to be sent to Poland. The hundreds of German fighters combatting the RAF would be available for the EF. All are hardened veterans experienced at combined- arms ops in Western Europe, Greece, North Africa etc...
European resistance groups would be nowhere near as effective without the massive help provided by the British OSS. Heck it could even cease altogether.

From East Prussia to Slovakia a massive defensive would scar the barren landscape. Bunkers, emplaced turrets, artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers, minefields ranging from anti-infantry 'man murderers' to anti-tank traps of heavy 'JS Busting' buried mortars. All designed to funnel any Russian attack into carefully arranged 'kill zones'. Real defense in depth.


Allied Fascist governments would be installed in just about every country under occupation(quaslings are easy to find). The Axis would have grown to include all these governments and all would have contributed a certain number of divisions to the Polish border. Some kind of Central Command would be created with a German General as Supreme commander (imagine a Nazi NATO). In time the minor axis allies would have to fall in line with the Whermacht ans start using compatible equipment. Some kind of unviersal operational doctrine may also have been required with the likes of the Italiens/Romaniens/Hungariens going through a major overhaul of combat gear. The Axis (as well as the SU) could have had an awsome line-up

As I see it, if the Russians were to attack Germany through Poland, they would be playing into the hands of the Germans, for the following reasons:

1, The Germans would have a much more narrow frontage to defend, which would have led to a far more effective defense, compared to their historical defense, deep in Russia and overextended.

2, German logistics and supply (two of the chief factors in Germany's defeat in Russia) would be substantially improved, so much closer to the German frontier, aiding Germany's defense considerably.

3, Their would be no Russian winter, the winter in the Polish region, is nowhere near as severe, as in Russia. Another major reason for the German defeat historically.

4, Would you agree that one of the major reasons for Russian success was the belief they were fighting for their country??

At that period in time their performance in attacking other coountries had been rather abysmal eg Finland.The Finns were hopelessly outnumbered, but inflicted terrible casualties on the Soviets.
Their determination in Poland and Germany in 1944-45, was largely generated by years of fighting to defend their homeland and the destruction inflicted on Russia by the Germans. Even in 1944 Russian losses were staggering.

5, By concentrating their forces near the German frontier, the Russians would be playing into the hands of their German counterparts. This would have given the Germans/Axis forces, ample opportunity to encircle and destroy them. Historically, the Russian were saved to a large degree, by withdrawing into the huge Russian interior, avoiding encirclement.

The Germans would have used the superior power of defense to wear down the attack. And then use their superior tactical and logistical ability, to launch an effective counter attack. Such a response, may have been able to cut off and reduce the Russian spearheads.

6, Don't forget that the competence of the Russian army in 1941, was very poor, while the German army was the finest in the world. And unlike the Finish, the Germans had huge industrial output and millions of men.

Also, the Germans had the benefits of superior doctrine and tactics ( at that time, 41-42), compared to their Russian counterparts. Additionally, during the war, they demonstrated that their skill in defense was at best phenomonal.

7, Many Soviet provinces did not believe in the benefits of communism, for example many Germans were greeted with open arms initially, they were actually seen as liberators! This further raises the question mark, of how motivated the ethnic Russian soldier would have been.

Obviously I've emplyed some major guesswork here, but I think most points are valid.
Why is it fanatical? It is the same patriotism with which your countrymen fought in the WWII. Or you dislike something here?
No, of course not. All im saying is that in a war of racial extermination (according to AH) the Russians were bound to fight even harder.
You are more than welcomed . Ukraine sold all its hardware to different counries and ukrainian people are eager to join EU. As long as you don't start to hang people on the streets.
8O Wouldn't dream of it
:D :D

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Post by ISU-152 » 17 Dec 2002 09:37

Gyles wrote: As I see it, if the Russians were to attack Germany through Poland, they would be playing into the hands of the Germans, for the following reasons:

1, The Germans would have a much more narrow frontage to defend, which would have led to a far more effective defense, compared to their historical defense, deep in Russia and overextended.
Ok, let's see. Zeelow Heights were as prepared for defense as one can get and still very were penetrated within 3 days. :roll:
Gyles wrote: 2, German logistics and supply (two of the chief factors in Germany's defeat in Russia) would be substantially improved, so much closer to the German frontier, aiding Germany's defense considerably.
German logistics was good indeed and it is not a key factor in germany's defeat.
Gyles wrote: 3, Their would be no Russian winter, the winter in the Polish region, is nowhere near as severe, as in Russia. Another major reason for the German defeat historically.
The germans were simply unlucky. I checked the temperature and the winter of 1941 was the coldest one in Russia in the whole 20th century :(
Usually the winter is much more mild then that. I guess the mother nature defends russian territory against any intrusion :P
Gyles wrote: 4, Would you agree that one of the major reasons for Russian success was the belief they were fighting for their country??
Of course, this was the one.
Gyles wrote: At that period in time their performance in attacking other coountries had been rather abysmal eg Finland.The Finns were hopelessly outnumbered, but inflicted terrible casualties on the Soviets.
You should not compare Soviet armies of 1939 and 1944. The same army that struggled in 1939 over a piece of land in Finland for long months - took the same strip of land in 10 days in 1944.
Gyles wrote: Their determination in Poland and Germany in 1944-45, was largely generated by years of fighting to defend their homeland and the destruction inflicted on Russia by the Germans. Even in 1944 Russian losses were staggering.
That is a feeling of a wolf which has just slaughtered a flock of sheep and is hiding in his lair because the shepherds are out there hunting for its skin. Hitler's lair in East Prussia was called like that - Wolf shelter, I believe. Do you think high losses would stop the Soviet command (shepherds) from doing justice and vengeance on that stinky wolf (nazi)?
Gyles wrote: 5, By concentrating their forces near the German frontier, the Russians would be playing into the hands of their German counterparts. This would have given the Germans/Axis forces, ample opportunity to encircle and destroy them. Historically, the Russian were saved to a large degree, by withdrawing into the huge Russian interior, avoiding encirclement.
The Soviet command was smarter by 1944 and would deny any opportunities for German forces to encircle its own troops. Guess why the Soviets didn't launch Berlin offensive in February 1945? They were within 60 km from Berlin. Because there was a strong group of german troops still hanging on in the Baltic region which could threaten the rear of 1st Belorussian front. Therefore, once this threat was eliminated in april 1945 the offensive begun.
Gyles wrote:
The Germans would have used the superior power of defense to wear down the attack. And then use their superior tactical and logistical ability, to launch an effective counter attack. Such a response, may have been able to cut off and reduce the Russian spearheads.
They could have inflicted higher losses but not to defend the positions. The soviets were off well ahead in production of anything + lend lease. One salvo of 1000 Katyushas is much more effective than any defensive strategy.
Gyles wrote: 6, Don't forget that the competence of the Russian army in 1941, was very poor, while the German army was the finest in the world. And unlike the Finish, the Germans had huge industrial output and millions of men.
Gees, what year are we talking here? I got confused :oops:
Gyles wrote: No, of course not. All im saying is that in a war of racial extermination (according to AH) the Russians were bound to fight even harder.
They were forced by the germans to fight this sort of warfare.

Best regards

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Post by Qvist » 17 Dec 2002 10:40

I think you are both underestimating one factor - The Soviet army was what it was in 1944 on the basis of having fought the Germans for three years. A lot of mistakes had been made, lessons learnt, answers found, incompetence weeded out the hard way, obsolete equipment stripped away through battle losses. It does not seem likely that the same could have been achieved in three years of peace.

Also, I must agree that in the case of a Soviet attack on Germany, morale and motivation on the Soviet side could hardly have been as high as it was as a result of the German attack.

cheers

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Post by Gyles » 17 Dec 2002 19:13

Ok, let's see. Zeelow Heights were as prepared for defense as one can get and still very were penetrated within 3 days.
Oh PUH-LEEZE 8)

Seelow was taken in 1945. Buy this time time the Whermacht was finished as a fighting force. Lacking the men, ammunition, tanks, heavy arty, it was a brave but hopeless stand that never stood a chance of success. Their ranks were filled with the sick, drafted straight from German Berlin, the old, the young, and inexperienced. Heinrici had to really scrape the barrael to assemble the meagre force. What the Russians faced were the last shattered remnants of the Bagration debacle.

Joining this scratch force was a unit largely made up of both old and young Volksturm men. Many had to wear blue-french helmets and even uniforms. Ist BF benefited from overwhelming superiority in men and materials, as well as complete air dominance (I have the figures :P ). I can go into much greater detail if you wish to refute. Beevors book 'Berlin' is proving very helpfull. :lol:

When the attack broke in the pre-dawn hours of April 16th, Heinrici was prepared. Zhukov's rifle armies failed to capture the Heights on schedule. Instead of marching over dead Germans, Soviet troops encountered stiff resistance to their advance -- thanks to Heinrici's tactical withdrawal shortly before the Soviet artillery obliterated his first line of trenches. The massive artillery barrage had fallen on empty earthworks and, to make matters worse for the Soviet soldiers, the searchlights, intended to create artificial daylight, produced blindness and confusion in the ranks, while creating useful silhouettes for the German defenders. Soviet casualties were enormous.

Frustrated by the slow pace of the advance, Zhukov committed his armor to the breakthrough battle (1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies). It was a serious tactical error. These units had been held in reserve to exploit the anticipated breakthrough so they had not been allotted space in the front line; no coordination between the rifle armies and the tank armies now entering the battle area had been prepared. The swampy terrain forced the armor to use the overburdened roads that the rifle divisions were already using. A giant traffic jam ensued.

An advance of almost six kilometers had been achieved in some areas but the German lines remained intact. Zhukov reported his failure to breech the German lines to Stalin around 1500hrs. It was an unpleasant conversation. Stalin informed Zhukov that Konev's forces, unlike his own, were advancing rapidly and asked him to report back in the evening. That second call was even less reassuring. Stalin correctly accused Zhukov of bad judgement in employing his tank armies so early in the battle. Worse still, Stalin told Zhukov that Konev would be given permission to wheel his tank armies towards Berlin from the south. The battle of the Seelow Heights was proving to be a serious blow to Zhukov's prestige. Soviet losses were immense and the Germans proved quite capable of picking off teh Russians as teh floundered through the swamps. The first few infantry and tank waves were massacred.

Ultimatly German defeat in this final battle of the Eastern Front seemed to have been a forgone conclusion. Yet, Heinrici managed to do what no-one else could have done under the circumstances. He delayed Zhukov by three days, embarrassing the best commander in the Soviet army in the final days of the war. It turned what was to be Zhukov's triumphant march to Berlin into a race against Konev, who had faced a far lesser opponent. In short the Russians faced a very weak oppenent. If the Russians attacked in 43/44 they'd be attacking not only millions of well entrenched Whermacht, SS troops, but their axis allies like the Italiens, Romaniens, Hungariens Vichy French, who by this time would have modernised and reequiped up to German standards. Then factor in that the Germans are battle hardened with an operational doctrine that works against a virgin Red Army. Also dont forget the Luftwaffe would be avaailable in large numbers and none of the Reichs forces would be preoccupied by fighting the British and Americans. The airspace would be very contested. The Germans would try to maximise the enemy kills just as usual, while keeping theirs acceptably low, and grind teh Russians down. T-34s wading through extensive minefields would make easy pickings for 88s, and the Germans would make sure to establish good fields of fire and fire support plans to mow down the Soviets as they advanced. Once the Russians have been ground down enough, hit back with massed mobile panzer reserves (Im thinking a few thousand here) and finish them off. IMO what your asking for is Kursk in reverse, followed by an Axis counteroffensive.
German logistics was good indeed and it is not a key factor in germany's defeat.
Really, just about every book Ive read cites overstrched logistics lines as major factors in the German defeat. Face it, the Germans troops were fighting on the end of a thousand mile shoe string in hostile territorty frequently attacked by large organised aprtisan resistance. In turn the Germans then had to kaunch large anti-partisan sweeps which greatly depleted front line strength. Fihgting in Europe they'd have an excellent road/rail grid to transport supplies to the troops. Meanwhile the Russians would suffer logistically.
You should not compare Soviet armies of 1939 and 1944. The same army that struggled in 1939 over a piece of land in Finland for long months - took the same strip of land in 10 days in 1944.
I consider the comparison as relevant. My point is that although the Red Army became battle hardened veterans it was through hard fought experience in which many major disasters occured. If they attacked the in 1944 they'd still lack that vital experience which the Germans had in droves. I think they'd suffer greatly for this. Qvist has already cleared this up. Also the Germans wouldnt have been worn down as in our time line but due to a few years of peace would have been well rested, trained, with updated equipment (eg more refined Panthers and Me262s). Many advanced designs would be less troublesome with the pressure of speedy wartime production getting in the way.
That is a feeling of a wolf which has just slaughtered a flock of sheep and is hiding in his lair because the shepherds are out there hunting for its skin. Hitler's lair in East Prussia was called like that - Wolf shelter, I believe. Do you think high losses would stop the Soviet command (shepherds) from doing justice and vengeance on that stinky wolf (nazi)?
Wolfs Lair? :wink:
The point about high losses was that fresh Whermacht divisions working in conjunction with large mobilesed numbers of Axis troops (following German doctrine and equipment) would incurr huge casualties on the attacking Russians, much higher than in our time line. If they wernt fighting for their homeland then Ill hazard a guess that morale would drop. German propoganda could also prove very effective to ethnic Soviets. Just maybe.
They could have inflicted higher losses but not to defend the positions. The soviets were off well ahead in production of anything + lend lease. One salvo of 1000 Katyushas is much more effective than any defensive strategy.
Gees, what year are we talking here? I got confused
Sorry I think I should make myself clear on this one. My scenario is based upon the assumption that Hitler followed a med strategy, agreed an armistice with the UK and reorientated all his forces to the East. The Axis forces arrayed against the Soviets in 1943/44 would be huge in number, nothing like the ragtag army at Seelow.
They were forced by the germans to fight this sort of warfare.
Yeah, I agree.

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Post by Andy H » 17 Dec 2002 22:23

Starting WW2 in the first place and at the time when he did.
Not finishing of Britain
Not giving Rommel enough equipment/men
Invading Russia
Not enough U-Boats
To much red tape (Self defence mechanism, against enemys within Germany)
Not declaring Total War at the start of WW2
Declaring war on the US, though eventually they would have joined.
Not harvesting the intial goodwill of the peoples "liberated" by the German drive into Russia.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Post by witness » 18 Dec 2002 07:56

I am also convinced that his birth was his first and graviest mistake.
Unfortunetely it took so many lifes to fix it by making him drive a bullet into his head.

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Post by ISU-152 » 18 Dec 2002 09:23

witness wrote:I am also convinced that his birth was his first and graviest mistake.
Unfortunetely it took so many lifes to fix it by making him drive a bullet into his head.
:roll: :roll: :roll: Didn't he take poison instead? :roll: :roll:

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Post by ISU-152 » 18 Dec 2002 09:51

Gyles wrote:

Joining this scratch force was a unit largely made up of both old and young Volksturm men. Many had to wear blue-french helmets and even uniforms. Ist BF benefited from overwhelming superiority in men and materials, as well as complete air dominance (I have the figures :P ). I can go into much greater detail if you wish to refute. Beevors book 'Berlin' is proving very helpfull. :lol:
The same ragtag forces defended Moscow(armed militia with nothing more than Mosin rifle, Degtyarev machine-gun and a couple of grenades for each) in 1941 yet German generals always claim it was winter weather that caused their defeat. Many had no military uniforms at all. They fought in their usual civil clothes. Their fighting spirit was high indeed.
Moreover many Red Army soldiers claim in their memoirs that those Volksturm men on an average fought better than the old hardened veterans who were depressed by many defeats and really had no desire to fight any longer.
Gyles wrote: The airspace would be very contested. The Germans would try to maximise the enemy kills just as usual, while keeping theirs acceptably low, and grind teh Russians down. T-34s wading through extensive minefields would make easy pickings for 88s, and the Germans would make sure to establish good fields of fire and fire support plans to mow down the Soviets as they advanced. Once the Russians have been ground down enough, hit back with massed mobile panzer reserves (Im thinking a few thousand here) and finish them off. IMO what your asking for is Kursk in reverse, followed by an Axis counteroffensive.
Last I checked it was the Germans who inflicted were high tank losses in Kursk Salient. If you are suggesting a Kursk in reverse would it mean the opposite with Germans suffering heavy losses in armor and artillery?
Gyles wrote: Really, just about every book Ive read cites overstrched logistics lines as major factors in the German defeat. Face it, the Germans troops were fighting on the end of a thousand mile shoe string in hostile territorty frequently attacked by large organised aprtisan resistance. In turn the Germans then had to kaunch large anti-partisan sweeps which greatly depleted front line strength.
Then, I have to take my words back on german logistics. You know it is very convenient to blame it all on something like partisans, cold weather, outstretched logistics. Looks like all those loosers are still looking for an excuse to their failure. The Soviets faced the same problems like logistics, cold weather and such, or you believe that long distances, cold weather and tiredness do not affect the russkies? Yet they managed to solve them all and you will not find any Soviet general complaining in his memoirs about how bad the weather was. Do you know that the Soviets managed to shift entire armies in one night from one sector to another? Logistics problems? Certainly, but who cares if you have to do it anyway.
Gyles wrote: Also the Germans wouldnt have been worn down as in our time line but due to a few years of peace would have been well rested, trained, with updated equipment (eg more refined Panthers and Me262s). Many advanced designs would be less troublesome with the pressure of speedy wartime production getting in the way.
Well, the Soviets weren't sleeping either. Check how many new tank and aircraft designs were produced in 43/44. Moreover they learned from combat mistakes and thus improved considerably their armor and planes. IS-3 at the end of the war became a paragon which all countries would look at when designing their tanks.
Gyles wrote: Wolfs Lair? :wink:
Right, I forgot that.
Gyles wrote: The point about high losses was that fresh Whermacht divisions working in conjunction with large mobilesed numbers of Axis troops (following German doctrine and equipment) would incurr huge casualties on the attacking Russians, much higher than in our time line. If they wernt fighting for their homeland then Ill hazard a guess that morale would drop. German propoganda could also prove very effective to ethnic Soviets. Just maybe.
Who says that the Soviets would attack right away? How about getting all artillery pieces and barrage those trenches. Let's say 5000 Katyushas to weed out entire corps from the face of the planet. How the morale of the troops would be affected under constant artillery barrages? I guess quite heavily. And russies relied quite a lot on their artillery, they called it a "God of War".
Gyles wrote: Sorry I think I should make myself clear on this one. My scenario is based upon the assumption that Hitler followed a med strategy, agreed an armistice with the UK and reorientated all his forces to the East. The Axis forces arrayed against the Soviets in 1943/44 would be huge in number, nothing like the ragtag army at Seelow.
The composition of forces is quite irrelevant. Their fighting spirit is important. You will not do much with a bunch of weenies.

Best regards,
Sergei

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Gyles
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Post by Gyles » 19 Dec 2002 20:48

The same ragtag forces defended Moscow(armed militia with nothing more than Mosin rifle, Degtyarev machine-gun and a couple of grenades for each) in 1941 yet German generals always claim it was winter weather that caused their defeat. Many had no military uniforms at all. They fought in their usual civil clothes. Their fighting spirit was high indeed.
1) They did an outstanding job, I agree but you've gone waaay off course and avoiding my main point. You brought up Seelow remember. I just showed it wasnt the stunning blitzkreig you claim it to be.

2) Im well aware of the many poorly equiped draftees fighting in Moscow, but don't pretend they alone halted the German offensive. Not only was the wheather acting against the attackers, but the Russians fought with much greater tenacity than originally hoped for. Rather rapidly, they were also being steadily but heavily reinforced. On 18 November the Germans attacking Venev were themselves attacked by a Siberian diviasion and armoured brigade, both fresh and newly arived from Siberia with a full complement of T-34s. So cold was it that German autiomatic weapons could only fire single shots. As the Siberians advanced in their white cammo uniforms 'the panic' a German army report later noted, reached 'as far back' as Bogorodisk.

'This was the first time that such a thing had occured during the Russian campaign, and it was a warniing that the combat ability of our infantry was at an end, and that they should no longer be expected to perform difficult tasks.'

In short the Germans had out-fought and overextended themselves in the previous months of fighting. Between November 16, and 4 December 85,000 Germans had been killed (repeat KILLED) on the Moscow front. This is teh same number of troops as had died on the whole Eastern Front between Mid June and November. OKW admitted to expecting too much from clearly exhausted units. The Germans due to the lack of recon flights were virtually unaware of the coming offwensive.

As the Germans attrited themselves in desperate and futile attacks to break the major defensive ring at Zvietkovo and Koloma, the Russians established a new rearward defence line. Behind this, as the Moscow front line defences held off the Germans (a very close run thing) fifty-nine rifle divisions and 17 cavalry cavalry divisions grouped for the counter-offensive. The Germans remained completely in the dark about this untill it was too late. Hitlers order not to withdraw was obeyed, and with the arrival of a hundred fresh Russian divisions from the 'rear' 30,000 German troops were killed south of Moscow at the Tula salient. You might want to look it up some time :wink:
Last I checked it was the Germans who inflicted were high tank losses in Kursk Salient. If you are suggesting a Kursk in reverse would it mean the opposite with Germans suffering heavy losses in armor and artillery?
Could we drop the cute act please?
Kusrk was a disaster for the german armour in the East. The Soviets knew they were coming, took the necassary defensive procedures, and put the Germans through a meatgrinder. After a short advance the SS Panzer divisions suffered massive losses and simply couldnt advance any further. IMO a Russian attack in '44 against millions of veteran, well coordinated, very well equipped axis troops with a deep defenses and a major Pnazer reserve (to squash any breakthroughs) would meet a similar fate.

The rule of attack is that you need at optimum a three to one advatage. Even with massive numerical superiority the Russians suffered unbelieveable casualties. Even in 1944 they were losing 6 Russians for every German. This was against a greatly weakened enemy without adequate mobility, logistics, artillery air support, and being bled on all fronts.

Now consider that the Germans and their Axis allies combined would not be involved in any other theatres of war. That means hundreds of thousands of Germanys best troops, as well as Axis allies all eye to eye with the Soviets all along the Polish and Romanian borders.

You musn't obscure the fact that both Berlin and Tokto greatly overextended themselves. In November 1943 3.9 Jodl concluded a survey of German troop strength. 3.9 million German troops (as well as 283,000 poorly lead and equipped Axis troops) were trying to hold off 5.5 million Russian on the Ostfront.
*A further 177,000 troops were in Finland
*Norway and Denmark were garissoned by 486,000 men. This was largly because they feared a British invasion in these two areas. With an armistice they'd be freed up for the Eastern Front.
*There were 1 ,370,000(!) troops in France and Belgiam, again, to prevent any Anglo-American landings.
*Another 612,000 men were tied down in the Balkans for the same reason
*Another 430,000 were emplaced in Italy. Hitlers armies were scattered the length and breadth of Europe and were inferior in strengh and number on every front.

Would you like to se the effect of strategic bombing and the implications of a total lack of it. German production would remain untouched. Please dont make me clarify/repeat the blindly obvious. Without war with the UK/US allience Germany would have a massive amount of extra manpower to deploy against the Russians. Can you seriously deny it???
Then, I have to take my words back on german logistics.
Followed swiftly by...
You know it is very convenient to blame it all on something like partisans, cold weather, outstretched logistics.
If you read my post you'd see I ststed they were key factors in Germanys defeat in the East. Try not twisting my words.
Looks like all those loosers are still looking for an excuse to their failure.
Which losers, would taht be, myself, the dozens of researchers and historians, or the front line combat troops. Im not a German/Nazi sympathiser ISU, never have been, never will be. These are facts I can easily back up. If you like I can dig up plenty of sources showing that statment for what it's worth.
The Soviets faced the same problems like logistics, cold weather and such, or you believe that long distances, cold weather and tiredness do not affect the russkies?
Russias a damn cold country, especially in winter. Russians would naturally be more aclimatised to this than the foreign invaders. The Germans knew this but believed they could win before Winter proper set in. For this reason they wern't equipped for winter fighting. Nor could a last minute order to commandeer womans fur coats througout Germany be effective in time to avert the extreme effects of cold. They screwe up in a big way. On the contrary, the fresh Russian troops were (for the most part) equipped with winter shoes, hats and coats. The fact remained that when your better able to resist the cold, you fight better.

Secondly, one of te main aspects of Barbarossa was that the Russian logistical situation improved as they withdrew towards Moscow
Do you know that the Soviets managed to shift entire armies in one night from one sector to another?
Yes, again this was with shorter supply lines around Moscow. Doing that thousands of miles away in Poland is much harder to pull off.
Logistics problems? Certainly, but who cares if you have to do it anyway.
Id say troops at the front would have a few words to say about it. Secondly, Russian logistics wasn't as perfect as you make out. Bagration came to halt not from German resistance (outnumbered and ineffectual) but from a breakdown in the logistical string. The advance was a great success but the fuel supplies dried up and needed replenishment.
Well, the Soviets weren't sleeping either. Check how many new tank and aircraft designs were produced in 43/44. Moreover they learned from combat mistakes and thus improved considerably their armor and planes. IS-3 at the end of the war became a paragon which all countries would look at when designing their tanks.
I agree the Russians turned out excellent equipment, but youve missd the point. Without a major war, weapons development would inevitably be slower. The IS-3 for example was a product of hard earned battle experience against Panthers, Tigers etc. They'd simply lack the vital experience and perfected operational doctrine of the Germans.
Come on, just admit it! :D
Who says that the Soviets would attack right away?
Not me, Im sure of that.
How about getting all artillery pieces and barrage those trenches. Let's say 5000 Katyushas to weed out entire corps from the face of the planet. How the morale of the troops would be affected under constant artillery barrages? I guess quite heavily. And russies relied quite a lot on their artillery, they called it a "God of War".
Thats all very well and good, but again your choosing to ignore all the other factors involved. Need I sayit again for you :roll:

*logistics
*experience
*battle doctrine
*No battalions being pulled from the front for anti-partisan sweeps
*Huge Benefits of defense
*Huge benefits one front war
*No strategic bombing hitting German production
*Soviets arn't on home turf fighting for the motherland. Perhaps seen as a dubious cause once casualty rates hit theroof
*No General Winter
*German ability to incite risings in eg Ukraine

For the record, I don't think the Axis would be any more able to pull off Barbarossa any easier (probabbly 10x hader) than before either.
The composition of forces is quite irrelevant.
8O I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Im surprised to be hearing such moonshine from you of all people :lol:

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Poland

Post by haoster » 20 Dec 2002 10:25

I agree with Andy's first point -- why attack Poland at all? It had little offensive capability, and was poorly defensible. There was no justification by any stretch of the imagination. Yet the German General Staff went along with the buildup and threat and feint maneuvers leading up to the fabricated border "incident," supposedly providing justification for invasion. Germany had until that time achieved much more by "negotiation," (strong-arm tactics, but at least peaceful). Hitler's assumption of multiple roles vis-a-vis the military allowed for much confusion between military and his vacillating political and economic policies. The invasion of Poland was the first signal of his failed strategy, likely a result of his plan for genocide.

Query -- what happens if Berlin decides to ally with Warsaw against Russia? Could a twin pronged attackfrom East Prussia with permission of Poland, and from Slovakia succeed? (It would start alot closer to Moscow.)

Henry

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Post by ISU-152 » 20 Dec 2002 13:21

Gyles wrote:
The same ragtag forces defended Moscow(armed militia with nothing more than Mosin rifle, Degtyarev machine-gun and a couple of grenades for each) in 1941 yet German generals always claim it was winter weather that caused their defeat. Many had no military uniforms at all. They fought in their usual civil clothes. Their fighting spirit was high indeed.
1) They did an outstanding job, I agree but you've gone waaay off course and avoiding my main point. You brought up Seelow remember. I just showed it wasnt the stunning blitzkreig you claim it to be.

2) Im well aware of the many poorly equiped draftees fighting in Moscow, but don't pretend they alone halted the German offensive. Not only was the wheather acting against the attackers, but the Russians fought with much greater tenacity than originally hoped for. Rather rapidly, they were also being steadily but heavily reinforced. On 18 November the Germans attacking Venev were themselves attacked by a Siberian diviasion and armoured brigade, both fresh and newly arived from Siberia with a full complement of T-34s. So cold was it that German autiomatic weapons could only fire single shots. As the Siberians advanced in their white cammo uniforms 'the panic' a German army report later noted, reached 'as far back' as Bogorodisk.
http://www.battlefield.ru/library/books ... inter.html

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Post by Gyles » 20 Dec 2002 23:26

Wow, very well researched article, im so impressed....NOT.

Im a frequent visitor of 'Russian Battlefield and love reading the old veteran stories, but that article was really something else. Its totally subjective and fails to take a balanced perspective. Not very impressive by any strech of the imagination.

Ill say it again. Russian tenacity, bravery and determination were not the only factors involved in the defeat at Moscow. Exhaustion, logistics, high casualty rates, the weather, winter equipment and aclimatisation and huge Russian reinforcements can't be ignorned by anyone seriuously looking at the situation.

Your really barking up the wrong tree again ISU. I know all about Russian fighting spirit and dont need a lecture in good patriotism. By mentioning other reasons for the German defeat, I AM NOT belittleing it. Do you really think Im just making excusus for the Germans?

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