german general mistake?

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aurelien wolff
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german general mistake?

Post by aurelien wolff » 03 Aug 2020 07:16

I often see the classic "hitler should have listen to his general" as if the general were some kind of genius who never did any mistake during the war ,so my question is :what mistake did the german general do? I remember that franz halder view were quite flawed per example (particulary the "drive to moscow" thing during barbarossa if I remember correctly)

Senex
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Re: german general mistake?

Post by Senex » 06 Aug 2020 22:49

I would say a couple of instances.
The decision to invade the USSR for one. I would have to go back to David Stahel's excellent Operation Barbarossa and German's Defeat in the East, but I believe a number of German generals had serious reservations as to the force the objectives Hitler set out would require.

Another example was a "backhand" in the summer fo 1943, versus the Zitadel "forehand." A straightforward offensive exactly at the time and place the Soviets were expecting was a bad idea. Guderian objected and Manstein (I believe) had recommended letting the Red Army attack, and then pinching off Soviet penetrations and destroying the Red Army's mech/tank forces in a kesselschlacht. Hitler opted for forehand.

The Mortain counteroffensive in July 1944. Kluge said the attack had zero percent chance of success (it was, in effect, sticking more and more German forces further and further into the noose). Hitler ordered the attack anyway.

steevh
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Re: german general mistake?

Post by steevh » 11 Aug 2020 08:54

Hitler was always the great risk-taker, whereas the generals took a rather more cautious (realistic) approach -- so it looked like genius when Hitler's plans panned out, such as in Poland and France.

However, Hitler never really had a Plan B for anything, so when it didn't pan out, in Russia, he began to flounder. His approach was just to try the same again (Case Blue, Citadel), as a shift to the defensive did not suit his temperament and basically trades a slow death (by resource starvation) for a quick one.

As for the generals. they could make mistakes, but only on a much smaller scale, so they didn't have much impact on the overall outcome of the war.

Mori
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Re: german general mistake?

Post by Mori » 11 Aug 2020 13:55

There are quite some errors by the German generals, and I mean errors which can almost only be attributed to them.

A big one is the Orsha-conference decision to have another go at Moscow in autumn 1941. This is really Halder and Bock taking the decision, not Hitler. Consequence is the 1941-42 winter crisis.

Another is the Kursk decision. Let's remember it's generals who first came with the idea of the operation (it's Schmidt at AOK2, immediately backed by Kluge). However, the same generals lobbied for a postponement of the operations until mid-May. Then Hitler decided to delay the operation even later. But late June, generals didn't show any doubt about the success of the operations, as their estimates showed. (Roman Töppel has the best discussion on the pre-Kursk sequence, going further than the classic work by Klink. Other works are thus outdated).

Again another one what generals expected early 1945 on the Western Front. They considered all Allied options and assessed that the wasn't any probability the main attack would come from the North (but that's just what the Allies did, operation Veritable). Less significant, because it wouldn't have changed much anyway, were very wrong locations of reserves prior to Plunder-Varsity and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

AriX
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Re: german general mistake?

Post by AriX » 03 Sep 2020 14:44

Underestimation of SU in 1941( and later too). Maybe, if Hitler impementer TOtalKrieg in early autumn of 1941 the course of war in the East would be different.

aurelien wolff
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Re: german general mistake?

Post by aurelien wolff » 15 Sep 2020 21:08

AriX wrote:
03 Sep 2020 14:44
Underestimation of SU in 1941( and later too). Maybe, if Hitler impementer TOtalKrieg in early autumn of 1941 the course of war in the East would be different.
not sure considering they'd still have logistical problem and you need to take ina ccount the allie industrial capacity/ressource they had at their disposal (+if the war lasted longer ,maybe an atomic bomb would be thrown on nazi germany,I remember reading the ally had plan to do that[although it would need to transfer B29 to europe wich could take quite sometimes])

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