At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 22 Sep 2002 03:04

The basic problem is that Hitler failed to end the war with Great Britain before tackling the Soviet Union. Hitler thought with Barbarossa--and make no mistake that his generals backed him on this--that operationally-superior German force-of-arms could save an unfavorable long-term strategic situation.

I think the Germans lost the war by failing to take Gibraltar in 1941 and also failing to take Malta and effectively blockading Alexandria, which would have contained the British from the Mediterranean and boosted the Axis. Therefore, Barbarossa was a desperate "way out" of stalemate in the West instead of an opportunity to secure Germany's back door, and hopefully also to gain directly the resources of an unreliable and reluctant Soviet partner.

Capturing the BEF at Dunkirk might have ended the war, but it is unlikely that the Germans could have done that because they still thought they had the French to defeat, and the generals wanted to play it safe and halt the panzers, to which Hitler agreed.

Also, I agree that Stalin/Molotov overplayed the Soviet hand in 1941 with Hitler, and he resolved to end that uneasy partnership and eliminate the burgeoning Russian threat.

Germany probably would have still lost the war without American involvement. But I do not see how Germany could have still won the war after Pearl Harbor and American involvement. At best, she could have not LOST the war if she had developed the atomic bomb in time as a diplomatic deterrent.
:)

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Brig
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Post by Brig » 22 Sep 2002 03:04

When he failed to let his generals do their own thing, the thing they knew to do. SO, thus I'd say when Hitler refused to allow Goering to attack Britain directly after the fall of France. It only takes a month to build an airforce. That pause between campaigns was fatal to the Luftwaffe, who was a critical part to Hitler's war machine, as were his Panzers and U-Boats. Also, probably after Crete. Hitler decided then that the day of the Fallschirmjager was over, due to heavy losses. However, we still see up through today how useful they are

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 22 Sep 2002 03:58

Brig wrote:Also, probably after Crete. Hitler decided then that the day of the Fallschirmjager was over, due to heavy losses. However, we still see up through today how useful they are

Airborne troops are vastly overrated. They are useful if adequately supplied with firepower and heavy weapons and can operate in an environment of complete aerial supremacy.
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Brig
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Post by Brig » 22 Sep 2002 04:00

you must remember that are troops are useless unless they have the adequate firepower

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scott3000
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agreement

Post by scott3000 » 22 Sep 2002 04:19

Barbarossa was defiitely the turning point, I'm not convinced that russia could have successfully invaded germany and won either though.

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 22 Sep 2002 04:22

Brig wrote:you must remember that are troops are useless unless they have the adequate firepower

Well, this is especially true of paratroops because of the challenge of getting them heavy weapons and support. A bunch of overmotivated guys with submachine guns dropping all over the place and trying to regroup in the dark is not necessarily useful. Paratroops might have been helpful during Barbarossa to seal off encirclements until the marching infantry could catch-up , thus allowing the panzers to press ahead. Airborne troops were also useful seizing key objectives or holding them like at Bastogne. But they require a particularly extensive support structure in an environment where ordinary motorization was a luxury. And without the support, even elite troops are cannon fodder.
:)

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Defining moment

Post by varjag » 22 Sep 2002 05:42

I regard Churchill's person as being instrumental in Hitlers defeat. When PM Neville Chamberlain resigned in,was it May 1940, and Churchill, rather than Lord Halifax,became Prime Minister - every and any hope, of peace for Hitler in the west disappeared. No matter what he did - Germany was bogged down in a war, that sooner or later was going bring the USA to the assistance of Britain. Churchills person, kept the war alive, when saner minds wanted to end it.

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admfisher
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hestitation in france

Post by admfisher » 22 Sep 2002 06:16

I will go with the hestitation in france, then when the allies were allowed to pull the 325 000 off of Dunkirk.
If Hitler had stayed the coarse and allowed the generals like Guderian and Rommel to carry on there attacks Britian would of had no army to speak anymore.

Hitler false believe that Britain would back done after the fall of France was fatal.


BUT,,,
Hitler, maybe he was the mistake.

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Sorry I was not clearer.

Post by Citadel » 22 Sep 2002 15:18

Houndie, I merely meant that Barbarossa was the symptom of the underlying problem. History traditionaly records it as the turning point but the failure of Germany to incorporate Russia into the Axis is, to my mind, the earlier turning point. After that the conflict which ruined the Reich was a matter of when, not if.

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Post by Karl da Kraut » 22 Sep 2002 15:55

THe turning point int the War against the British Empire was probably the day the Luftwaffe began it's useless massive terror raids instead of continiuing to pound the RAF-airfields. "We need a miracle" (Downing in his diary). Well, he got his miracle.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 22 Sep 2002 16:29

Rob S. wrote:May(?) 1940 when Hitler gave the order to let the BEF escape to Dunkirk.


Well, he didn't exactly let them get away:
http://www.panzerworld.net/Dunkirk.htm

Christian

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 23 Sep 2002 04:57

Karl da Kraut wrote:THe turning point int the War against the British Empire was probably the day the Luftwaffe began it's useless massive terror raids instead of continiuing to pound the RAF-airfields. "We need a miracle" (Downing in his diary). Well, he got his miracle.

One of the reasons that Luftwaffe raids were becoming increasing frustrating (what Americans would call "mission creep") was because the RAF would NOT give fight. It was retreating into the safety of the interior and the raids on the airfields were no longer effective. The rationale was that they will never come to the peace table without a decisive hammer-blow, and therefore attacking targets that MUST be defended, like bomber factories in built-up areas, would possibly do this.

We know from hindsight that this only galvanized the people to work harder for their government, right or wrong, so strategic bombing was a diplomatic mistake and not a Douhetian panacea. Furthermore, without long-range escort fighters that were either faster or more maneuverable than the Spitfires, the bombers could not be escorted in the daytime, and they would have to go to area-bombing night attacks (with increased loss of civilian life).

The Germans could not afford a Luftwaffe that could be all things to all parties, air-supremacy, reconnaissance, logistics, strategic, Army support, Navy support, etc., so the best strategy would have been to use the Luftwaffe against shipping tonnage, with occasional raids on harbors and drydocks that must be defended by the RAF. Then a switch from shorter-range Army support aircraft to longer-ranged naval support aircraft supporting an all-out U-boat war. This would have had the maximum strategic and military effect, while still keeping diplomacy an option. With Britain slowly twisting in the wind, and Hitler making conciliatory rhetoric, Churchill would have been booted out on his duff in less than a year, thus making talks possible.

And the Soviet Union was not quite ready to try anything in 1941. The General Staff should have been thinking about ways of securing Gibraltar and blockading Alexandria to Allied shipping. Barbarossa should have been unthinkable without containing Great Britain somehow, or preferably securing a workable peace treaty.
:)

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Post by DarExc » 23 Sep 2002 08:03

Stalingrad for sure but they would have won over all had Russia stayed an ally and not attacked Germany.

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Post by Ovidius » 23 Sep 2002 13:04

From the military point of view, there will never be a generally accepted date at which Germany "lost the war" - at any moment in the war there was still a chance.

But, if we think, like Scott Smith does, the war as a political act, then it was lost, with just a very slim chance to avoid defeat, on March 4, 1933.

Guess why.

~Ovidius

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admfisher
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agree

Post by admfisher » 23 Sep 2002 18:02

Ovidius wrote:From the military point of view, there will never be a generally accepted date at which Germany "lost the war" - at any moment in the war there was still a chance.

But, if we think, like Scott Smith does, the war as a political act, then it was lost, with just a very slim chance to avoid defeat, on March 4, 1933.

Guess why.

~Ovidius


Ovidius, this is line with also, Hitler was the reason the war lost. After all one cannont loss what one is not in.

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