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Did Nazi Germany have the greatest armed forces in history?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Vet, Aug 4, 2008.

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  1. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 Member

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    You generally inflict more casualties than you take, in defensive combat in which you are not encircled or routed. The Germans did spend the greater part of the war on the defensive.
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Give a source or sources for your argument.
     
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  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    When war began, The Germans were better prepared for war, short term that is, than the allies. The British and French were not really in the mood for a fight so they were too late in gearing up for war. This is what made the German victories possible along with the German propaganda. Poland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Czechoslavkia, Norway and Yugoslavia had no modern armies to speak of that could stand up to Germany. The only army which was superior to Germany's was France. But again, their leadership was obsolete.

    Now we go into 41' with the invasion of Russia. Even with poor leadership and logistics, Germany could not defeat Russia. Logistics was mentioned and this is the key factor. Not enough of the newest weapons and modern equipment. The majority of the German army was still horsedrawn. Germany was 'just' getting by. The German soldier at this time was highly trained but the tide was turning when the Russian soldier was being trained and the German was not.

    The American and British armies were using the time to retrain and re-equip for the invasion. The allied air forces had control over German skies which contributed to success bombing campaigns.

    The German army did not fight agains all of the allies until 42' with the Americans landing in North Africa. From that point on, it was down hill. So your comment about the Germans taking on mulitple countries is unfinished. The German army took on muliple countries unsuccessfully. Look at the results.

    WWII Losses:

    Germany: 5,533,000
    USSR: 10,700,000
    Great Britain: 382,600
    United States: 416,800

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

    The rates for the US and GB include those losses in the Pacific as well. Had the Russians provided better leadership, their losses would have been far less but it got the job done. The Russian losses was 13% of its population. The German losses was 10% of its population. So the rate is almost even.

    No, Germany did not have the greatest army. It obtained its victories by sheer gambler's luck. Hitler took advantage of the western allies' pacifist stance in the 30's. But when faced with their resolve, Germany failed at gaining any more victories.
     
  4. Hawkmoon432k

    Hawkmoon432k Dishonorably Discharged

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    PzJgr:
    Your figures prove my point, even though under supplied, the Germans inflicted 2:1 casualties on their numerically superior and better equipped Soviet foes, and that's not even including the casualties against the western allies. As for poor Soviet leadership, well the same can be said of the German high command after 43 or even earlier, so the German army was at least as hamstrung as the Soviet. As for failing to get victories, that does not matter so much as how well they fought even in defeat. And without American lend lease help, the Soviets might well have collapsed before the Americans formally entered the war.

    And Poland, Norway and Greece may have been in Germany's favor, but all three countries fought hard and well and also took their % of German casualties. Norway inparticular, due to its location and terrain was a difficult and risky campaign.
     
  5. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    When looking at casualties, it is important to take it in perspective. The bulk of the Russian casualties were in the beginning when Russian policy was to attack along a broad front in huge masses. The same policy that saw so many Chinese die in Korea. When the Russians started to fight intelligently, their losses were much lower. Still higher than the other Allies, but still a reasonable level. Numbers do not mean much in combat losses. The Russians lost 10M and won. The Germans loss 5M and lost.

    The losses for the Germans are not an accurate reflection of their abilities because at the end, they were throwing untrained rejects into the fronts.

    Consider that all the major player nations involved, were there because their homes and families were in direct risk. All but one. That country was there more for a cause they believed in, rather than their backs against the walls or as conquerers. It had advantage in being able to produce weapons in great numbers without high risk, but also had the disadvantage of having to get their men and weapons half way across the world. And traveling across oceans that faced a serious threat from Axis attack.
     
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Are saying the German leadership post "1943 or earlier" was comparable to the disastrously incompetent Soviet one at Barbarossa? That's quite a condemnation, most people here including me have greater respect for the Germans than that, you know.
     
  7. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    You have to approach relative causality ratios with a great deal of caution; I don't think they have the simple meaning you are ascribing to them.

    The relative casualty ratios US forces experienced in the ETO and PTO, as expressed in combat deaths per 1000 men per day of combat were something like 2.35 in the ETO (versus the German Army) and 7.5 in the PTO (versus the Japanese Army).

    Does that mean the Japanese Army was more than twice as good as the German Army? I don't think so. The US versus Japanese casualty ratios for the overall PTO was about 1 to 7 (although this was highly variable in each battle) It certainly doesn't make the case that the US army was seven times better than the Japanese Army, and , by inference, fourteen times better than the Germany Army.
     
  8. Hawkmoon432k

    Hawkmoon432k Dishonorably Discharged

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  9. Hawkmoon432k

    Hawkmoon432k Dishonorably Discharged

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  10. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Tell me Hawkmoon, have you heard of 'Books'?

    Well if Wiki says its right... That must be right. Its infallible... Like God.


    Oh... Wait...

    Im an atheist.
     
  11. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Member

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    Germans? Over-engineer? Say it ain't so!
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    And no doubt flown to the moon while juggling nuclear weapons on huge rocket powered aircraft carriers... made from Iceland. :eh:

    Trying to find the history of that odd question and it's zealous sole answer.
    Not as transparent as Wikipedia is it, and that's saying something.

    Hmmm.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  13. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I love this line, from this page WikiAnswers - Which country had the best fighting army in World War 2
    Interesting that the author is so proud of his essay that he did not include his name, nor did he cite even a single source.
     
  15. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Once again Im not surprised LOL. No name. No sources. Yet we are supposed to take this as fact? Just an opinion piece with no FACTS to back it up.
     
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Ah, yes, Wiki, as democratic as can be. Whoever comes first gets to write the article, and the whoever dissents has the right to modify it as he pleases. Or add comments. As a good gauge to the interest this article raised the only comment to it is:

    I've seen Wikipedia articles bent beyond recognition, to the seething anger of the original well meaning author. But that's Wiki for you, tread in at your own peril. Or if you don't agreee change it.

    Anyway, the German Army WAS the best fighting force in WW2. Even being the best, strangely after a few years the country was in ruins and under foreign occupation, a complete defeat that hadn't happened to the other greatest army of all times, the German Army of WW1. If it failed so miserably it couldn't really be that good, could it?

    There's more to being a great army than wowy weapon details, pretty uniforms and snazzy tactical movements. You don't win, you're a loser.
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Also from Wikianswers:

    Q: "What if Germany had won in WW2?"

    First answer: "They might have won if they didn't stop bombing the British airfields in 1940. The Japanese could never have won, because they were not aware of the mass industrial capabilities of the United States. So it's likely that Germany could have won if Hitler listened to his generals, and equipped his troops on the eastern front with winter clothings. "

    It does add credibility, it certainly does :D
     
  18. Hawkmoon432k

    Hawkmoon432k Dishonorably Discharged

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    If you have time to read it here's another whole bunch of opinions on the subject of best soldiers of WWII, seems like the general trend is the Germans. Funny, how this forum is completely different.

    Who were the best soldiers in the war? in Wars in History Channel

    By the way, giving me a flame for so called shameless behavior? Wow, I've never insulted anyone, yet I get a flame. Yet Za, that confederate with the pipe and the baron have done so numerous times. Very lame favoritism of the moderator.
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    How did we get dragged into this? We have no input as to what members do when dispensing reputation points.
     
  20. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Well that thread is just more unsubstantiated opinion from people... No real facts there.

    I wonder how the supposed 'best in history' managed to lose? I also dont hold with this 'the Germans fought the world' claptrap. The German Armed Forces had plenty of non-national volunteers and their own set of Axis allies...

    I personally think the Germans were the best in 39,40 and maybe for a whil in 41. But after that their quality declines as they enter a war of annilation.

    Bayerlein, commander of Panzer Lehr, stated that the German infantry from the end of 43 was on the whole appaling in terms of quality and he sites this as the reason that Panzer-Grenadier and Panzer divisions were forced to remain in the line when the role of defence should have been that of the infantry division. He states that this factor, the decline of the infantry, was the main reason for the subsequent decline of the Panzerwaffe as it tried to make up for the infantrys short comings (See 'Panzer Lehr' by Steinhardt).

    This in my book then removes a crucial element from the title of 'best'. Their infantry was, in the words of the German generals, inadequate for the task and the line was only stabilised by the forced use of Panzer and panzergrenadier units.

    So... Lets look at other parts of the armed forces as it is 'The Best Armed Forces'. You seem preoccupied with the Heer. The Luftwaffe was never as successful as its opponents in total war. While it was an excellent force for short duration air superiority tasks, it lacked the doctrine and the leadership to be able to fufil a role of air supremacy. The tallies of various German air aces are not a measure of the Luftwaffes ability. In fact they show the German shortcomings. The Luftwaffe was outclassed and outfought by the RAF and the USAF and even began to suffer against the Red Air Force from 1944. So yet another mark against them being the 'best armed forces'.

    As for the Kreigsmarine... Well the best left sid about that the better as far as Im concerned. never a match for the Royal Navy which was the best Naval force at the time along with the US Navy in the Pacific. Those two navies outclassed the Germans by a long way.

    So... The German air force was not the best, the German navy was not the best... So how can their Armed forces be the best?

    Simply put... They werent.

    What they were good at was positional defence (a situation that always favours one at a numerical advantage) and thats about it from 44 till the end.
     
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