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German superiority, myth or fact?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by USMCPrice, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    German superiority myth? or reality.

    When I was younger I was sure that the Germans in WWII had a superior military and the most technologically advanced weapons, aircraft and equipment. Over the years my reading, studies and military experience cast doubt on the truth of this perception. Much published material, many websites and the opinions of many WWII history buffs tended to support my original perceptions but I became more and more convinced that it was myth not supported by fact.
    Some thoughts:
    1.) The early German successes were more a product of Allied unpreparedness than of German superiority. In the West the German successes were as much the result of a military trained up to a wartime footing (Germany) vs. militaries in a peacetime mode or just beginning to move towards a wartime footing. To support this view just look at the Japanese, they had been at war or preparing for war since the 1930's. They decisively defeated the militaries of many of the same countries that Germany defeated. Their military conquered more territory, as quickly, if not more so than the German military. Contemporary perceptions were that they were invincible; they went virtually unchecked from one victory to another. In retrospect this can not be attributed to superior technology, very little to superior weapons (Zero fighter, Long Lance torpedo being the exceptions), and not to some inherent superiority of the Japanese soldier or their organizations. They were simply more proficient than their opponents at that point in time due to their level of training and combat experience. Early German success in Russia had as much to do with the Red Army still trying to recover from Stalin's purges of its leadership as it did to any inherent German superiority.

    2.) Armored vehicles/tanks-Yes the German vehicles looked cooler but were they better? When it appeared in the deserts of North Africa, in British service, the M4 Sherman was the best tank on the battlefield, outclassing the German tanks it faced. When the T-34 first faced German armor on the Eastern Front it outclassed its German opponents even though it was still undergoing teething problems. Germany regained an individual technological advantage with its Tiger and Panther tanks (the latter a direct response to the T 34) but both were plagued throughout their service with mechanical unreliability issues. The Allies could have fielded more advanced tanks had they chosen to but they opted for mechanical reliability, mobility, and mass production. Upgrades to their tanks kept them competitive on an individual basis while numbers gave them a decisive edge overall. For instance the M4A3E8 Shermans and T34mod44 were still deadly to the late war German tanks. During the closing months of the war the U.S. fielded the M-26 Pershing and the Soviets the T-44 both of which re-established technological superiority over German Tanks and could have been fielded earlier than they were had the issue of victory over Germany been in doubt.

    3.) Aircraft-From the start of the war the Western Allies enjoyed technological parity, more often than not superiority, as time progressed they increasingly enjoyed numerical superiority and they produced pilots of equal quality to Germany's pilots only in far greater numbers. The Soviets though initially suffering from inferior pilots and aircraft continually progressed. They developed a number of aircraft types that were, at least the equal of German types. They produced large quantities of pilots, many of which became the equals of the Germans they faced. They developed tactics that minimized their shortcomings in aircraft and pilot quality vs. the Luftwaffe until both pilots and aircraft types had time to improve.
    An example often cited as showing German technological superiority in aircraft types is the fielding of the ME-262. The fact is that the British developed the first jet engine; the Gloster Meteor was fielded only a short time after the ME-262 and the U.S. P-80, using British supplied jet engines, followed closely on their heels. Had Great Britain and the United States needed a jet aircraft to succeed in the air war over Europe they could have fielded jets earlier and in greater quantities than Germany could ever have hoped to achieve. The simple fact of the matter is, the Western Allies had large numbers of advanced performance aircraft in the air over Europe, had air superiority and fielding an operational jet aircraft was not of high priority. The Germans on the other hand were desperate for an edge to counter allied airpower, but various technical difficulties prevented fielding of the 262 any earlier than they did. Also, the 262, while providing a great increase in performance, didn't translate this increase into improved combat effectiveness. The ME-262 had a aerial kill ratio of 5:1, compare this to the P-51 11:1, the F6F 19:1, the F4U 11:1, the F4F 9:1 and the P-47 7.5:1.*
    The ME-109 had a better kill ratio than the 262!*
    *note: The kill ratios for the ME-109 and F6F are greatly skewed and those for the F4U and P-51 also, to a lesser degree. Early in the war the Germans faced more mediocre aircraft types and in many cases poorly/lesser trained pilots, especially in the East. When they encountered well trained pilots and good aircraft (such as in the Battle of Britain) their kill to loss ratio dropped dramatically. Later on the Eastern Front, when the Soviets had better tactics, pilots who'd survived the early slaughter and better aircraft, the kill to loss ratio narrowed. The F6F entered the war at a time when the quality of Japanese pilots had dramatically decreased; Japanese aircraft no longer enjoyed a performance edge as they had early war. The F4U Corsair though, first entered service while Japan still possessed large numbers of highly trained, veteran pilots. The initial versions of the Corsair were not as dominating as the later variants would be but, they leveled the playing field performance wise with the Zero, increased range over the Wildcat, while retaining the strengths, such as heavy firepower, ruggedness, pilot protection, etc. that had characterized it's predecessors in U.S. service. Late war while it still performed in the fighter role, more and more it's primary mission evolved into ground support, so when comparing it's kill ratio, to that of the Hellcat, you're not really getting a true picture.

    4.) Electronics-Here the Western Allies enjoyed a marked technological advantage, in virtually all areas. Every German advance was quickly countered by further allied advances.

    5.) Industrial technology-Germany wasn't even close.

    6.) Military Engineering and Logistics-Once again Germany wasn't even close.

    7.) Naval-German Naval prowess is most often illustrated by using the Bismark/Tirpitz and the U-Boat campaign as examples.
    We'll take the U-Boats first. The Germans had advanced submarines, highly proficient officers and crews, superior tactics and were extremely effective for a short period of time. Allied tactics, electronics, and warship design/construction were developed to counter this threat and marginalized it. However, the German submarine threat did require the Allies to commit a significant portion of their war making* ability towards replacing losses and combating the threat. Resources that could have been utilized in other areas.
    *note: By this I mean money, material resources, industrial capacity, labor, military manpower and equipment, research and development assets, merchant seamen, etc. The effects went far past just ships, materials carried and sailors lost.
    We all know of the effectiveness of the U-Boats against the Allies but the U.S. submarine war against Japan was even more effective, despite the U.S. campaign having to deal early on with defective torpedoes. So where is the German superiority?

    I think few would disagree that the U.S. Iowa class battleships were the finest, most technologically advanced battleships to appear in the war but they were of a newer generation of naval construction than the Bismark. While the Iowa class was ordered 4 years after the Bismark they were much more powerful, capable ships on basically the same tonnage.

    Iowa/Bismark-displacement 45,000tons std / 41,700tons std--top speed 31kts / 30.1kts--range 14,890 miles / 9810 miles--main armament 9 x 16"/50 / 8 x 15".
    The American and British treaty battleships were equal to or more powerful as a surface combatant vs. the Bismark. The were fitted with better AA suites, superior electronic sensors, had superior fire control and munitions. All around, more capable ships but with only 80% of the displacement. The only area the Bismark had an advantage was speed and that was by only a couple of knots. Why the myth of the Super-Ship Bismark?

    While pondering these issues, there is only one area/piece of equipment where Germany showed an advantage for more than a short period of time and that’s in its MG42 machine gun. It’s advantages were however somewhat cancelled out by Allied tactics, increasing the numbers of automatic rifles/LMG’s at the squad level to compliment their older model machines guns, and attaching mortars at the company level.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I think "illusion" would be a better choice of words than myth. There is little doubt that the German war machine was the highest motivated and best equiped military in the world in 1939.

    Germany rolled through Poland and France without much of a hiccup. The first moment of "pause" was the "Battle of Britain" which stopped the German's Western expansion.

    Had the German's utilized 1941 to consolodate and fortify their forces, instead of pressing east, the map of the world would look much different today.

    By 1942 the German pace of advance slowed to "mark time" as the US entered the picture.

    By the spring of 1943 Germany began losing ground as US shipping, volume and production, increased and bombing raids became more effective.

    Winter of 43 Spring of 44 Germany began it's death spiral.

    Summer 1944 Germany was alone to face the Allies and all except for two final gasps (*Market Garden & Buldge) the German War Machine was in full retreat.

    The German Army fell victim to the oldest soldiering monicker :
    "Good initiative; poor judgment in execution"

    Germany unleashed upon the world a new kind of warfare: True combined arms operations encompassing every quadrant of the battlefield that smothered opponents with their speed and numbers.

    They let the momentum of their victories carry them to untenable distances. Like the snake that is too long to see it's own tail and realised too late that it was being consumed from both ends.

    * During Operation Market Garden I think the Germans had an "ah ha" moment where they saw a way to exploit the rapid advance of the Allies and used weather as a weapon, just as the Russians had, in what was to become the "Battle of the Buldge".
     
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  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Brad makes a good point, illusion is likely a better term. Another thing that always amazed me is that the Nazis went off in all kinds of directions developing different weapons systems instead of sticking with a "good thing". When they did stick with a "good thing", it was the wrong thing. I would put retaining the bolt action rifle, in that category, but the Stuka and Me-109s should be in there too. Also, as mentioned one "new good thing", the MG42 came online just as they were beginning to loose momentum and that couldn't reverse the trend.
     
  4. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I believe you put too much importance in technology, the Germans didn't have either numerical or tecnological superiority during most early victories (the balcans campaign being the notable exception, Poland was a gamble leaving only a few, and mostly still mobilizing divisions West, the Germans were weaker than the combined Polish + French, (BEF was still forming). You must look elsewhere to understand how they managed to achieve what they did.

    This is not a good explanation, a military should not fail to get to "wartime footing" in seven months (Sept. 1939 to May 1940).


    The Western allies could count on lots of old but still useful equipment left over from WW1 while Germany had to start from nearly nothing in 1933, given that industrial capacity favoured the allies the failures were in execution not capability.
    The real problem was the western military leaders didn't believe a decisive victory could be achived on the ground so they planned to fight Germany by blockade, like in WW1, and eventually strategic bombing. A land offensive would only come when the Germans had been sigfnificantly weakened. This left the initiative in German hands with the results we all know.

    The German war machine had some big shortcommings, it was not equipment but lack of grand strategy and limited logistics capability. This only became apparent in the USSR when the fighting lasted for more than a few months.

    By the time the USA entered the war they had already lost their best chance of victory in front of Moscow.
     
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  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Thank you for your replies. You both make good points!
    I agree but would add highly trained.

    I'd disagree to a degree. While it appears that way, during several points of the 1940 France Campaign it was a near run thing. Bold leadership, correct decisions and a bit of luck allowed the campaign to retain it's momentum despite some really heroic stands and hard fighting by the allied forces.

    As for whether myth or illusion is the correct term. I hadn't considered using the term illusion. Upon further reflection I think it would be more accurate to say, that initially it was illusion and has now turned into myth.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    put alot of the blame on the high German general stab along with the short ugly Austrian.

    one must admit the insantity of tech designs tried and not true tested to some point by the degraded Luftwaffe in 1945 things were being developed for both day/night use right up to the closing weeks
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    for the Luftwaffe:phoenix Triumphant (E.Hooton) is a must :the German aviation industry had to start from zero,they were years behind the west.It is amazing,that in a few years and with few resources,they realized that much .
     
  8. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    I dont think that it was illusion. They had the best equipment. But they where made for a quick war called "Blitzkrieg", a short battle with maximum 2-3 months. Their supplies were also for a short time made and not for a long lasting war. The problem was the shortage on copper, zinc other metalls, fuel and so on. The Luftwaffe was well equipped for this strategy but lost value while having no long range bombers and good fighters. And they had not enough of this. They had problems with wrong decisions too, like to use the Me 262 as an "Blitzbomber" and not as an fighter.
    So the Kriegsmarine too! Instead of building better submarines and more cruisers or carriers they built huge battleships and an lot of senseless trash like Mini subs and so on. Also the Strategical position of their harbours in the north sea and the baltic sea was an disadvantage. And the biggest disadvantage was to have an " Grösster Feldherr aller Zeiten( Gröfaz)! The western allies had at the beginning of the war Officers which were trained to lead battles like in WWI, Trench warfar. They were slow thinking and didn´t send their troops in a mass at a battle, only in small pieces.
    Gen.FM Rommel said in Africa of his opponent Gen. Claude Auchinleck: " Great, he send his army in small pieces so i have destroy only pieces, if he would send it complete we´re loosing the campaign"!
    Later they learned how to make it right. Than the advantage of the great economical power of the allies. A two front war and a war at Russia where whole Divisions disapeared in that country that acted like a sponge. And so on... it would give an endless list of problems, shortages and wrong decisions.
    I am sure that if you had made the invasion in the early 1942 it would have been the biggest catastrophy in the history for you. In winter 1942/43 the Wehrmacht was running out of resources and one of the Generals said after the war" We lost the war in Dezember 1942 and was amazed that nobody of our enemies noticed it"! For now i can´t remember the name of the General, but i will look if i can find it.

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  9. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    You need to look at what they were up against. All of the countries that Germany rolled through 1939-41 were still training and preparing to fight "The Last War". Germany's involvement in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) signaled a change in what could be expected on the new battlefield.

    Germany's participation/ aid in the Spainish Civil War let the "cat out of the bag" in regards to it's capabilities and tactics it would use to conduct future military operations. Most European nations were too close to have time to react to the changes that Germany presented to the Battlefield and did not have time to upgrade and respond to the new German war machine. (France, Poland et al)

    So, in one aspect your thesis of German technology ruling the day in the beginning stages of the war is right on target, up to the point of US/British participation.

    The Allies, US/Great Britain, had the advantage of distance and time that allowed them to adapt and overcome the advances Germany had made in the conduct of land warfare. If anything the way the Germans conducted the early stages of the war proved the theories of: Close Air Support, Forward Air Superiority, Fire and Manuver, Communication, Arieal Envelopment and violence of action to that had been floating through the US military since WW1.

    The World was still a pretty big place in 1939.
     
  10. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    The Germans in the 1930's saw themselves as defeated, exploited and impoverished by the allies, and surrounded by enemies - but thanks to Hitler, powerful once more. War under such conditions is almost natural.

    The Germans had certain advantages over the allies at the beginning of the war. Already existing German national traits such as industriousness, loyalty, stoicism, duty, and pragmatism lent themselves to succesful military service. Also Hitler and Goebbels understood the national character and played the German people like violins - most of those who marched off to war in 1939 understood, or thought they understood, why they were doing it - and most went willingly. This makes a huge difference when going up against an unwilling army of conscripts.

    The Germans had also carefully studied their world war 1 experience and planned accordingly. Most of the allied nations did a poor job of this and came prepared to re-fight world war 1. The Germans had many genuine military visionaries in their ranks, including Generals Guderian, Manstein, Rommel, Admiral Erich Raeder, Admiral Doenitz (submarines), and Feild Marshall Erhard Milch (luftwaffe). Moreover almost all the German officer corps above field grade also had combat experience in world war 1.

    There are more factors, but the Germans until 1942, succeeded in over-running almost every nation in Europe. And there's no arguing with history.
     
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  11. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    I do believe that Germany was superior in the fields that it involved itself in but there is another side to the coin.

    First (Go figure =]) lets think of tanks, the Germans constantly changed their tank designs before 1939 with the PanzerIV being the result appeared during the Polish campaign. Decent armor, decent gun, as well as a reasonable engine to boot all went together into a reasonable vehicle that easily could have competed with the Sherman as an MBT of German design, just like the Sherman, it took on many roles. That would be an example of parity between the two groups.

    But then along came to the Tiger which filled in the still relatively new role of a heavy tank, but it proved an excellent gamble, as it had an excellent gun and excellent armor the downside to the Tiger was that it didn't have a properly designed engine as well as other flawed internals, which could have been worked over in later versions but that is the other side of the coin, the German's didn't hang back and improve, they kept going, they set the Tiger into production but then jumped on to the next thing and then the next and so on.

    The only good thing that came out of their future designs was the Panther as it is essentially a 1940's version of todays MBTs but they didnt refine that design either, and what-do-you-know by the end of the war they were already working on the Panther II.


    The idea that German infantry were better was somewhat true, but also limited in fact.
    Germany had built up their numbers of NCOs during the rapid rearmament after the retaking of the Rhineland as well as training their divisions to the highest degree, they started also with excellent doctrine which allowed NCOs to adapt to changing circumstance on the field which allowed much more flexibility rather then the long command chains that plagued the French. They weren't "Supermen" but they were able to fight a war through a soldiers eyes rather then a far back General.

    Then when the MG42 came along, sections were built around it leading to a highly effective fire and maneuver strategy, this was somewhat of a make up for the lack of a semi-auto rifle. All and all the German squad proved an equal match to the Allies, their downfall was walls of Shermans that faced them, and the general lack of AT weapons but this was again nullified by the arrival of the Panzerfaust, which proved to be a nightmare to the Allies in the Forests and cities in Western Germany and the Benelux; again restoring the Status quo of a German sections potential.


    My final verdict is that they were on a land perspective, superior in numerous cases, parity in perseverance; but it was stretched logistics, idiotic choices by the leadership and Allied numbers that won the day.
     
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  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    I think that is a very accurate and astute observation.

    I think you misunderstood part of what I was trying to say, probably because I didn't state it clearly enough.:eek: I do not think that, with few brief exceptions, the Germans enjoyed technological superiority. That is an illusion that was created and has now become a myth, not substantiated by fact. Initially they did have a superior doctrine, as you described above. I think that during their initial encounters with allied troops they were better trained. Hitler mobilized his armies before the western powers. Hitler's armies were training for war, while France, Britain and the United States were still on a peacetime footing. Hitler committed his forces to the Spanish Civil War as you stated.
    So while the western nations officers debated tactics on a theoretical level and their small peacetime armies sat in garrison, the Germans were putting their theories to the test. They were refining their tactics. Their officers and NCO's were learning to fight their troops under combat conditions. Developing and equipping their forces for the fights to come. Spain was really just a really large live fire exercise used to hone the German army's skills. When Poland was invaded war became imminent, Germany used their incursion into Poland to refine their organizations and tactics. In response, allied troops were deployed to counter a possible invasion of France but how much training can be accomplished while deployed to the front?

    marc780
    Very true, I think this is an accurate generalization of how the German people felt.
    I don't think they possessed these traits in any greater abundance than their potential adversaries, particularly the British. Loyalty, stoicism and adherence to duty perfectly describes the British soldier, who had a long and distinguished military tradition. I also think you would be hard pressed to find a people more industrious and pragmatic than the Americans.

    A very good observation and I feel a very accurate one.

    I agree.

    I don't want to argue with history. What you stated in an undisputed fact. But why? Today, many attribute it to an inherent superiority in the German soldier, advanced German engineering, and the best, most technologically advanced weapons systems. I don't buy this. I think it's a myth.
     
  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    That's one of the points I was trying to make. I don't think the Germans enjoyed technologial superiority. I don't see anything inherently superior in German engineering.


    I don't think that the allies had the opportunity to train up to the level of the Germans. They deployed to France in the case of the British or to the front in the case of the best French Divisions. They were moved there to counter a German invasion when Poland was invaded and war declared. They couldn't engage in intensive training or large scale exercises where the units could work out the kinks, or the various forces fine tune their coordination. Commanders couldn't practice on anything but a small scale their command and control of units. There was too great a risk that they would be caught out of position by a German assault.


    I don't think this is accurate. Pre-war planning would indicate otherwise. France constructed the Maginot Line to protect that flank and to channelize a potential German assault through Belgium. If Germany did attack the Maginot Line it would be very costly and while tied up with a battle of attrition there, mobile reserves would move into position and counter attack. The allies concentrated their best and most powerfull divisions near the Netherlands and Belgium where they thought the German attack would take place. Once the Germans attacked The Netherlands and Belgium the allies would use their mechanized/armored forces to counterattack and destroy the German assault. In fact, the initial German plan by the General Staff was to be conducted as the allies theorized. A very junior officer by the name of von Manstein came up with an alternative, high risk plan that Hitler signed off on. Germany feinted towards Belgium and the Netherlands. The British, French and Belgium forces moved rapidly forward to counter attack. Two days later a strong, armored force burst forth from the supposedly impenetrable Ardennes, fell upon second rate French forces tearing a 50 mile hole in the lines. They pushed on, driving to the coast and cut off and trapped nearly 40 of the best divisions in the allied army. It wasn't that they didn't think they could beat the Germans, they just didn't.



    I am in total agreement with this last statement.
     
  14. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Exactly! If you look at the first Allied engagements: Dunkirk, Casserine Pass etc. The outcomes predicated changes in tactical doctrine as a result of lack of training and general preparedness. Follow on troops were afforded a great deal more training prior to being put onto the field. As the war progressed the training times increased. Some units spent anywhere from a year or more training prior to being sent to Europe.

    Conversely the German Army simply did not enjoy the same luxury as their war progressed they were faced with sending troops into combat that received either minimal training or those that had been redeployed from the east.

    Yeah ....the German Army was in contact of one form or another since 1936. Fielding an incredibly increasing number of troops with each passing year as more and more troops were mobilized.

    As has been said before: If Germany had spent more resources on the logistical end; things might very well have gone quite differently. The fielding of 18,000,000 (18 Million) troops is quite a feat especially when you consider the 1939 census puts the population of Germany at 69,000,000 (69 Million).

    Good initiative; poor execution in judgment.
     
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  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Totenkopf, I generally agree with most of what you posted and is pretty much along the lines I was thinking.
    I would agree that the German infantry was better, initially, and for the reasons you mentioned among others. I don't think the superiority lasted. When better trained and combat experienced allied units appeared, I think the German advantage disappeared and a rough parity between the allied and German soldier existed.
     
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  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    formerjughead,
    Your last post is exactly what I was trying to get across. You did however state it better than I could have. I think we're on the same page.
    Thank you Marine!
     
  17. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    All the best weapons in the world are only as good as the people using them....

    The best strategy in the world is only as good as the people that execute it in detail and substance.

    Great technological advancements can be rendered null and void if you cant find a way to mass produce it.

    Good tactics and training disappear as your losses grow and the ratio of trained people to civilians in uniform becomes lower and lower.

    Much effort was wasted eliminating Jewish people. Eichmann made sure the trains kept rolling even at the expense of other, more vital areas of logistical support. Pure madness.....

    Finally, when you begin to believe your own propaganda service and live in a fairytale world of your own creation, naturally delusion as to the circumstances that are or put you there starts to take hold.

    And don't blame it all on Adolf Hitler, the most conveniant scapegoat for the German Officer Corps around. They lost the war through their own misconduct, and their leader was no excuse for their own strategic failings.
     
  18. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I think we mostly agree on why they lost the war, Volga sums it up nicely, but the OP was why they initially won so many times against long odds.

    Morale, doctrine and better operational planning (they never had a real grand strategy) go a long way towards explaining the early victories. The main early German advantage was air ground cooperation, far from perfect but a lot better than anything the allies had.

    Allied lack of training ...... I don't buy that, units were routinely rotated out of the line for training, it was was not lack of training it was that they were basically training for the wrong war. I did find some reports that the harsh winter of 1940 limited training but it loks like excuses, seven months is a long time to form conscripts that had already undergone a year or more of compulsory training into a coherent unit. The BEF was formed around a strong professional standing army core and should have even less problems.

    I would not overestimate the Spannish war effects either, the Soviets and Italians sent a lot more advisors and equipment than the Germans and it did them little good.

    Calling then Lieutenant-General Manstein a "very junior commander" is wrong, his fateful meeting with Hitler was when he was reassigned from chief of staff of Von Rundtsted's Army Group A to commanding an army Corps, neither is a junior position. What most western histories try to forget is that Hitler personaly played a major role in the development of Sichelschnitt, that on that occasion he was more inspired than his generals probably contributed no little to his megalomania.
     
  19. wikingII

    wikingII recruit

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    Hi all - first post

    Also consider that when allies [east and west] met they figured correctly that if they faced they Germans in any equal situation they were going to lose. The western allies tended to use the tactic of massive firepower, where the soviets used more swarming tactics where losses were no object.

    Mantein's miracle often displays where a numerically inferior and indeed technologically 2nd rate force acheived a tremendous victory. His actions in the first Crimea battle also ring true

    I'd say the 'myth' which did exist amongst the allies also backfired on the Germans by creating overconfidence - one of the worst emotions
     
  20. Vinny Maru

    Vinny Maru Member

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    This topic is my favorite peve of WW II. What you stated I could not have put it better myself. I would like to extend it a little farther in that this also accounts for the Nazi fascination that seems to be in vogue today.

    I also think that the success of the Nazi propaganda, mostly prewar, has had a great effect on this illusion because I think it is still working in the present. Where else would all the TV shows get their film about the Germans. Show me the offsetting Allied films. With the vast amount of film available, and it's contant reuse, it still affects the younger generations as they don't seem to be taught anything about WW II except in passing, so the TV influnces much of their perception of who the Nazis were.

    My take on some things:
    1. Who did they defeat initially? A bunch of countries that didn't stand a chance.
    2.When they came up against France and Britain neither country was prepared to deal with the German armored doctrine. England escaped, France just gave up.
    3. When they attempted to attack England they got much more than a bloody nose from it.
    4. Against Russia they were fighting a rabble initially, but a rabble that would fight to a great extent, especially by the time of Moscow.
    5. After the turning points, they fought a defensive war which is always easier than the attack especially with interior supply lines supporting you.
    6. The Allies in the west fought a material war tradeing machines for men makeing them look somwhat less proficient on a man to man basis. Russia, on the other hand took more casulties as they used a more brute force approach.
     

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