What mistakes do you think Hitler made?

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ISU-152
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Post by ISU-152 » 23 Dec 2002 16:32

Gyles wrote:
Do you really think Im just making excusus for the Germans?
Me? :roll: I don't think so! Ok, I will find a more credible source. Gone searching......

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nasdaq7
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Re: Poland

Post by nasdaq7 » 23 Dec 2002 20:29

haoster wrote: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.
Henry
I agree, there are some things Hitler did, which make no sense at all.
Is it possible Hitler attacked Poland to restore the German Reich to
its former glory - in which Prussia played a major role? Didn't part
of the German military elite came from a region in Poland and Czechoslovakia?

Other things Hitler did, made no strategic sense: no invasion
plans for Britain. Not invading Britain, declaring war on Russia
instead. Some say Hitler wanted to preserve culture: Hitler admired
the British empire and its colonies and considered it preservers of
culture, while he looked down upon the East - he didn't consider the Russians as preservers of culture. Hitler wanted Germany, like the
British Empire, to have colonies. It was custom to win a war and sue
for peace - perhaps he hoped Britain, the preservers of culture, would
sue for peace.

Other things are also strange. Like believing the stories of German philosophers about the idea of the master race, the mythology of
German heroism that encouraged loyalty to the group and that
glorified death for the country. Studying Hegel who argued that the State;has the supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the State. German legends were full of heroes and heroines like Hagen, Siegfried, and Brunhild, who were so superbly depicted in Richard Wagner's opera, the Nibelungenlied. Heroes such as those, inspired Germans including Hitler, to think of themselves as larger than life and capable of bringing great glory to Germany through both life and death. Never allowing his army to retreat - which made no strategic sense.

Not listening to his military officers. Believing strictly in the Prussian
military code of honor: a cruelly disciplined army, led by a narrow bureaucracy that strictly followed commands without question.

Superstitions guided some of his decision making. The day, the non-aggresion treaty was signed with Russia, the sky was blood red. Hitler remarked that this was a sign that the signing of the treaty was a mistake.

Hegel foresaw in the early 1800's that Germany's hour would come and that the country's mission would be to redevelop the world. A German hero would complete this mission (Landry). Hitler believed that he was
this hero. Goebbels and others reiterating: 'Hitler is Germany, Germany
is Hitler'.

Not invading Turkey or not making an alliance with Turkey - no strategic
sense.

Hitler avenging the treaty of Versailles - invading France,
the symbolism of accepting the surrender of the French army in
the same train where the treaty of Versailles was signed.

And finally, why did he invest so much energy in his hatred of Jews? Why did the night trains that took them to their death have priority over the military convoys that were taking badly needed troops to the front?

Some people believe Hitler never wanted to take over the world - he
wanted to preserve culture in a strong Germany that stretched from the Atlantic to the Camchatka.

I recon we can only guess Hitler's true intentions, however his
his ideas and his actions upon the nations of the world, influence the way we see the world today.

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Gyles
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Post by Gyles » 24 Dec 2002 00:53

Your chances of disproving the effect of winter, logistics, equipment, reinforcments on the Moscow battle are next to nill. By March 1st 1941 112,617 German soliders had been incapacitated by frostbite.

But in any case happy hunting! :D

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davethelight
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Post by davethelight » 27 Dec 2002 17:47

Honestly, I would say it was a mistake for him not to marry Eva Braun in, say, 1938 (she was hot), have a couple of kids, retire to Bavaria, open a cheese factory and write his memoirs. He could have made a decent profit from the royalties once the film came out.

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Javier Acuña
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Post by Javier Acuña » 27 Dec 2002 19:17

I don't know if it has been said earlier but I think that posponing the Malta invasion and not sending enough goods and mens to Rommel when he needed and instead preparing for war in the east front was one of hitler's biggest mistakes. then he was forced to invade France and to send 250 000 men to africa, I think that with half of all those men Rommel could get to suez and even try to make it further.

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 29 Dec 2002 00:40

I think Hitler had too much faith in his own ability and inserted his will in situtations in which he should have stood aside and allowed the local commanders to command. At one point, he was the absolute leader of the German people and commander of an Army Group on the Eastern Front. As if either job was anything less than a full time responsibility,

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Mike K.
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Post by Mike K. » 29 Dec 2002 01:02

Sam H. wrote:I think Hitler had too much faith in his own ability and inserted his will in situtations in which he should have stood aside and allowed the local commanders to command. At one point, he was the absolute leader of the German people and commander of an Army Group on the Eastern Front. As if either job was anything less than a full time responsibility,
The majority of his early successes were due to his own assertion of command. This defiantly gave him a lot of confidence in his abilities, which hindered a large scale operation such as Barbarossa by his micro-management.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 02 Jan 2003 15:25

Gyles/ISU
Not one of Valera's more impressive moments I'd say, though there are one or two valid points.
Quote:
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.
Well, ISU is right about Kursk though his point, hardly seriously meant, is of course not valid. You seem to have an inaccurate impression of losses at Kursk, which is not surprising considering all that has been written over the decades.
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?
The Soviets certainly faced problems from the cold, but they did not face the SAME problems. Logistically, the situation could hardly have been more different - the Germans were operating at the end of overstretched supply lines, whereas the Soviet Army was operating in the direct vicinity of the densest communications network in the USSR, and with one of their main basing areas directly at their back. This again contributed to the delay in getting winter equipment forward for the Germans. Apparently, many Soviet units were also inadequately supplied for winter conditions, but a fair portion, those transferred from the far east, were more than well equipped. Finally, the Red Army committed to the offensive fresh and prepared forces, whereas the Germans defended with depleted formations.
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
Actually, you can't acclimatise yourself to cold, physically speaking. A Greenland Inuit is no more and no less vulnerable to cold than a Sahara tribesman. But you can of course learn to deal with it, practically and mentally. The soldiers of both armies though depended on adequate equipment being supplied to deal with winter conditions, the general perceived "hardiness" of the Soviet soldier would not assist him in resisiting frostbite or worse.
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
This is not accurate. Firstly, the defence of Moscow for the most part did not rely on Workers militia units, and secondly, the Germans were not defeated by the forces covering Moscow, but rather by the Soviet counterattack - which certainly did not rely on workers militia, but on some of the best trained and equipped units in the Soviet Army.
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
.

Perhaps because they know well that the weather all in all worked to their advantage?
Do you know that the Soviets managed to shift entire armies in one night from one sector to another?
I didn't actually, but if that is the case, there would be no easier place of doing that than ahead of Moscow, where the lateral communications were of unsurpassed capacity in Russia. Which again illustrates the above logistics point.


cheers

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Gyles
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Post by Gyles » 05 Jan 2003 02:56

Qvist wrote:Gyles/ISU
http://www.battlefield.ru/library/books ... inter.html

Not one of Valera's more impressive moments I'd say, though there are one or two valid points.


There certainly are. The thing is, ISU's preaching to the converted here. The article was aimed at Whermacht apologists who blame the Moscow defeat solely on winter conditions.
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 Panazer reserve (to squash any breakthroughs) would meet a similar fate.

Well, ISU is right about Kursk though his point, hardly seriously meant, is of course not valid. You seem to have an inaccurate impression of losses at Kursk, which is not surprising considering all that has been written over the decades.
I agree, but please don't misunderstand me. There is allot of disagreement and controversy surrounding what happened at Kursk. For example, Second World War by Martin Gilbert (an excellant book) claims 3000(!) German tanks destroyed, as well as 1,392 aircraft, 5,000 motor vehicles, and 844 field guns captured. Russian losses regarded as 'horrific' are generally agreed to have been some 50% of their original strength. These figures are quoted from 1989, and since then a lot more evidence has come to light.

Ive now finished reading 'Tank' by Patrick Wright. Highly recommended. It has altered my views of the battle slightly. A 'titanic clash' between two vast tank armadas - that is how John Erickson describes it, but this sort of imigery, often used in the memoirs of German generals is distrusted by many historians. If viewed objectively, it was actually a series of four battles not just one involving a 'thousand machines'. The Northern asault lead by Model's 9th army failed to penetrate more than 10km, while to the South Hoth's stronger force advanced by some 35km punching their way in in vast tank 'fists', of as many as 200 massed machines, threatening Oboyan and attemppting to encircle Prokhorovka.

It was on 12 July, south of Prok... that the major defeat was inflicted on 2nd SS Panzercorps byy the 5th gaurds and 5th gaurds tank army. Historians continue to argue as to the exact number of tanks used in that encounter. Soviet sources claim 500 German tanks faced 793 Soviet tanks. 'The US historian' of the Deaths Head Division suggests it was actually only 273 German tanks up against 900 T-34's. Whatever the numbers it was certainly the largest armoured clash in history. Though not as numerous as the original 100 claimed by the Soviets the Tigers still had better armour and range than the 34's. The battle is said to have become an enourmous brawl, blah, blah, blah.

What matters is that the Russians contained, ground down and counter-attacked against the Germans. It was a decisive moment and the Germans lost strategic control of the eastern front. At the time this wasn't universally accepted by German commanders. They had seen the upset of their timetable for the assaullt, and suffered heavy casualties too., with 20,000 killed amoung the SS divisions alone. Tank losses were comparitivly light, especially compared to the Soviets and they had inflicted major damage on the enemy. The fact remains however they were forced into a headlong retreat. With their forces so exhausted and attrited they in turn could never hold the Russians in check. The Red Army followed the German defeat by launching an offensive in the south againt Kharkov again. After that as one German private put it 'began the great drive west'.


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

Actually, you can't acclimatise yourself to cold, physically speaking. A Greenland Inuit is no more and no less vulnerable to cold than a Sahara tribesman. But you can of course learn to deal with it, practically and mentally. The soldiers of both armies though depended on adequate equipment being supplied to deal with winter conditions, the general perceived "hardiness" of the Soviet soldier would not assist him in resisiting frostbite or worse.
cheers
Hmmm. I agree that equipment was the deciding factor and of course doubt Russians had some kind of biological hardiness against the cold. What I will say is that Red Army soliders living in Western russia should be able to cope better mentally than their German counterparts.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 06 Jan 2003 13:51

Gyles
I agree, but please don't misunderstand me. There is allot of disagreement and controversy surrounding what happened at Kursk. For example, Second World War by Martin Gilbert (an excellant book) claims 3000(!) German tanks destroyed, as well as 1,392 aircraft, 5,000 motor vehicles, and 844 field guns captured. Russian losses regarded as 'horrific' are generally agreed to have been some 50% of their original strength. These figures are quoted from 1989, and since then a lot more evidence has come to light.

Ive now finished reading 'Tank' by Patrick Wright. Highly recommended. It has altered my views of the battle slightly. A 'titanic clash' between two vast tank armadas - that is how John Erickson describes it, but this sort of imigery, often used in the memoirs of German generals is distrusted by many historians. If viewed objectively, it was actually a series of four battles not just one involving a 'thousand machines'.
I'm afraid I can't agree with you concerning the excellence of Gilbert's book generally. And in this particular case his figures are completely absurd. The Germans only had about 3200 tanks in the East altogether, and total write-off losses at Kursk amounted to some 250-70. Clearly he has done like so many others - he has lifted figures from official Soviet numbers, which needless to say are wholly unrelated to reality. Erickson makes many of the same mistakes. In one case, he quotes German losses from a classified Soviet estimate, which is bad enough. As it happens, this estimate was only slightly exaggerated (as I recall, 89,000 rather than 79,000), but while the Soviet estimate is for Killed and wounded, Erickson reproduces it as 89,000 killed. It is naturally impossible to glean anything like an adequate impression of the cost of the battle on such a basis. Generally speaking, few actions during the war have been more inadequately dealt with than Kursk. It also seems that unlike most aspects of the war in the East, Western writing on this particular battle has been mainly influenced by the official Soviet view. In summation - with the exception of one or two books (These being Zetterling/Franksson's Kursk 1943- A statistical analysis and Glantz' The battle of Kursk, at least as far as Soviet figures are concerned), I wouldn't trust any figure I come across to be accurate even within a margin of several hundred percent, unless it was referenced to a bona fide source (which rules out most of them). The SS casualties you mention is a case in point (from Erickson?). II SS Panzer Corps' total CASUALTIES (and this according to primary documentation) were in the area of 10,000 as I recall, and needless to say the great majority were wounded. So here we have another case of numbers being close to 10 times too high. Indeed, even without a source, it is hard to see why any researcher would seriously consider such a patently absurd figure. There are normally 3-4 times as many wounded as killed. If II SS Panzer Corps had 20,000 killed, it's total casualties would have been larger than it's total strength, even if there had been no more than about 2 wounded for each killed (which is rare indeed).
What matters is that the Russians contained, ground down and counter-attacked against the Germans. It was a decisive moment and the Germans lost strategic control of the eastern front
Well, that is debatable. Concurrently, there were several major Soviet actions going on, in the North, at Orel, along the Mius, then around Kharkov. Which is reflected in the fact that less than half the German casualties in the East in July were suffered by the armies fighting at Kursk. The 2nd Panzer Army, defending at Orel, took bigger casualties that month than any of the Citadel armies. As far as writing down of German strength is concerned, it is without a doubt neccessary to look at all of these battles, not just Kursk - the german army was as much "ground down" along the Mius and before Orel as it was at Kursk. And while Citadel was the single greatest and most important among these, I think a very strong case can be made for viewing the totality of the major summer battles as the decisive turning point in initiative.
What I will say is that Red Army soliders living in Western russia should be able to cope better mentally than their German counterparts.
I think so too. I suspect the Germans not only lacked the knowledge of how to deal with cold in terms of physical measures, but also that they were generally not aware of it's mental requirements. this is just a suspicion - but I have seen many references to comments about apathy among the troops during the cold season. Some seem to interpret this as lowered morale - I have never understood why nobody, commanders or historians - takes into account the relatively well-known fact that even a slight drop in body temperature produces just such a mental state. To an extent, it can be mentally countered, but of course you have to be aware of it to do that.

cheers
Last edited by Qvist on 07 Jan 2003 17:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 07 Jan 2003 16:32

II SS Panzer Corps' total CASUALTIES (and this according to primary documentation) were in the area of 10,000 as I recall, and needless to say the great majority were wounded. So here we have another case of numbers being close to 10 times too high.

I looked up the figure, and actually it is more than 10 times too high. KIA for II SS Panzer Corps amounted to some 1800.

cheers

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Post by wotan » 07 Jan 2003 17:37

I read some comments from GER commanders that although they inflicted heavy casualties on the USSR it was regarded as a total loss.

One write that before the battle the panzer armies where all at full strenght, well equipted and in a "glorius standard".. after the battle there were nothing left and they would never reach the same standard.

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Post by Qvist » 08 Jan 2003 14:01

I read some comments from GER commanders that although they inflicted heavy casualties on the USSR it was regarded as a total loss.

One write that before the battle the panzer armies where all at full strenght, well equipted and in a "glorius standard".. after the battle there were nothing left and they would never reach the same standard.
Who was this exactly?

German memoirs are not always particularly reliable, even about their own actions. For example, Fritz Bayerlein makes some very strong statements about the big losses encountered by Pz.Lehr from allied air activity during the march to Normandy, statements that are bluntly contradicted by the units' own records. Exaggerations are not rare.

The quoted statement is demonstrably not accurate. Even some of the Panzer divisions that participated in the offensive were well below establishment strength as the offensive commenced, and generally speaking the quality of the tanks at least was rather low at that point compared to six months later, with Pz. IIIs still in frequent use. The records of the units involved clearly contradicts the statement that there was nothing left, as does the fact that most of them were almost immediately again sent into heavy combat after the withdrawal at Kursk. The statement that they would never again reach the same standard may be true for some units, but clearly not for all.

cheers

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