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Hans von Seeckt

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by harolds, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I can see a number of possible defintions. It all depends on what angle you want to look at it from. That's one reason I don't much care for "best" threads as usually there is no agreed upon or even stated defintion of "best". If for instance you take into account resources and manpower I think the Finn's might merit some consideration as best especially in the 38-40 time frame. Depending on what kind of operations and whether you are looking at overall capablity and how you are defineing the various sub capabilites you can get quite a variety of different answers.
     
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  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    These people were totally excluded as replacements for Seeckt :Ludendorff was considered as gaga (not wrongly) and the others were to young in 1926:von Stülpnagel :46,von Schleicher : 44,von Brauchitz :45.

    Besides,von Stülpnagel was eliminated by von Schleicher,who was a politician:he never commanded even a batallion .
     
  3. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    If one is accusing Göring to be responsible for the defeats of the LW,who started in 1942 (exception :the BoB),one must give him the credit for the expansion and the victories of the LW.

    Udet was not a drunk:he started to drink to much in 1941,when he was faced by insoluble problems,which were not his fault.
    The problems were mainly caused by the aircraft industry(the role of Messerschmidt was nefast)who refused to follow the orders of the LW,using their connections :it took the threat of Mich to put these gentlemen in Dachau to make them to toe the line.
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Must one? I'll agree there's more to history than just "so-and-so was stupid", but criticisms of Goring are based on specific acts or policies of his which had demonstrable negative effects. How many specific positive contributions can we point to? His relationship with Hitler no doubt helped the Luftwaffe in the battles for funding and resources, but it's not like there wouldn't have been a German air force without him. The German military appreciated the significance of the air arm, going back to von Seeckt and the covert development program in Russia. Goring and Udet might get credit for the dive bombers, but the Germans in WWI had pioneered close air support and designed aircraft specifically for that purpose. Goring's Luftwaffe had little coherent policy in the 1930s except expansion, and it was still barely ready for war in 1939. I'd be glad to give Goring credit for any accomplishments, but what were they?
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Perhaps we can say that Goring helped to create the Luftwaffe as an independent force, not part of the Heer or Kriegsmarine. ("Everything that flies belongs to me!") After BoB, his influence was mostly, but not entirely, negative and it got worse as time went on. Typical examples were ones we have been discussing: putting the wrong people in positions they weren't qualified for and using the "divide and dominate" technique (Hitler's favorite) without reining in conflicting personalities within his organization.

    Sorry LJAd, Udet was pretty much a hard partying guy from the word go, which certainly wasn't a unique trait among airmen. It probably got worse towards the end, but a competent Reichsmarshall wouldn't have put him in the job in the first place.

    The Luftwaffe had to fight a war while trying to establish itself as an independent service starting from almost scratch in 1935. Goring over-promoted the capabilities of his service leading Hitler to believe that it was capable of much more than it actually was. Strategic bombing of the UK with a mostly tactical force, and the Stalingrad airlift are good cases in point. It should also be noted that Goring was particularly servile in his relationship with Hitler, without the moral fortitude to confront him.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)If one is criticizing Goering for the fefeats of the LW since Stalingrad,one must also praise him for the victories of the LW till 1943,because Goering was commander of the LW in both periods.

    2) If one is saying that the LW would have been victorious between 39/42 without Goering,one must also say that the same LW also would have been defeated between 43/45 without Goering .

    Otherwise (for both 1 and 2) one will fall in the trap of the German generals who claimed the victories,while blaming Hitler for the defeats (the Soviet generals were not better:they did the same,but replaced Hitler by Stalin).

    A good source(one of the few) is : "demystifying the German armament miracle.
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    For Udet:it is the same :blaming him for what was going wrong,but,also praising him for what was going well .Besides:would someone else have doing better than Udet ? It is to easy to blame Udet,to use him as a scape-goat,that's saving one the trouble to look farther:were there not other reasons for the problems in tempore Udet? Structural ones ?
     
  8. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Goring was very instrumental in making sure the LW was an independent arm and, as Carronade says, was able to steer a lot of money and resources into the new service. He was more interested in having a lot of aircraft than anything else. As long as the LW was doing well Goring left well-enough alone. Once things started going bad, such as in the BoB, he reacted in ways that were actually to the detriment of his service's war-making. The BoB was the first time the LW ran into a first-class air defense. Both Poland and France had second rate air forces but even then, the LW's highest one day loss of aircraft happened during the Battle of France. After the BoB Goring was more likely to make spontaneous, reactive, knee-jerk decisions that usually made things worse. I'm not saying that EVERY Goring decision was bad after 1940, but certainly the preponderance were. The good thing about Goring was that he made the Allied air force's job easier.

    Udet was not just a scape-goat. He actively stated that he wasn't qualified for the job! He was right. Udet's failings came home to roost in late '42 and into '43 when there weren't any replacements for the pre-war designed aircraft.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The LW losses in the Battle of France were as high as in the Battle of Britain:

    may/june 1940 :lost 1236 aircraft from all types and 323 damaged

    july-october 1940:1250 fighters and bombers (damaged aircraft included)

    74 years after the facts,the air war above France,Belgium and Holland is still ignored.

    About the Battle of Britain : can one say that Goering was responsible? Yes,as he was the commander of the LW.No,because,one can not lay wrong discussions at his door,who were causing the defeat .If Kesselring had been commander of the LW,the result of the BoB would have been the same .

    It is the same for Udet : if Milch had been Generalluftzeugmeister,the same problems would have existed .One is blaming Udet for his Stuka mania,but one is forgetting that the commitment of the Stukas was essential for the victory in the West .

    the question is : was there someone else who could have done better than Udet? If not,one can not blame Udet .

    the problems were caused by the continuous big losses,resulting in the decision to continue the production of the "old" types:the Germans were obliged to replace quality by quantity.

    Although the production was going up,this was not enough to AND replace the losses AND create new units;

    1940 : fighters :3710,bombers :4782,Stuka:611

    1941: fighters: 4732, bombers : 2874,Stuka :476.
     
  10. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I agree whole-heartedly that the BoB would have been the same no matter who was in charge. However, Kesselring would have never blamed the fighter pilots and called them cowards. He would have been much more analytical about the problems and certainly have come up with more constructive (from the German point of view) solutions.

    Actually, there were certainly officers in the Luftwaffe who better understood aeronautical engineering and industrial production methods. At least they could have found someone with capacity to learn what he needed to know and would go about learning it. An example: Adolph Galland, when he became General (Inspector) of Fighters learned these things by talking to Milch and Speer, among others. It wasn't just Udet's "stuka mania" which manifested itself by insisting that the He 177 be able to dive bomb (!?), but also in the fact that there was no replacement for the old, obsolete Ju 87. However, Goring insisted he take the position so I feel the blame for these things were really his.

    Goring's principal failure, besides having very poor leadership skills, is his failure, after the BoB, and the entrance of the USA into the war, of his inability to see the need for drastically increasing the fighter component of the LW. No fighter pilot ever went through the General Staff school and in fact, the fighter arm was poor little step-child of the LW. Can we blame Goring? OH YES! Personally, I credit him with about 80% of what was wrong with the LW. The other 20% is due to the LW being a brand new service and thus its officer corps lacked depth, plus the conflict of strong personalities within the LW that had a hard time being team players.
     
  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    OTOH....the history of the fighter arm was a history of lack of discipline and of cases of open mutiny. I wonder:would these things have been admitted in the RAF?Although Dowding also had problems with fighter pilots who knew better than their commander-in-chief.

    Already during the BoB,there were several cases where the fighter pilots refused to obey Goering's orders .

    About the increase of the fighter arm : I don't think that this would have been a good thing ;Germany could only win the war if it was taking the offensive,which meant : more bombers and,as Hitler demanded more bombers,Goering only could follow.

    It is also not so that the Jäger were the poor step-child (I have seen the argument that it was the opposite:that they received to much resources in the first war years):

    Production

    1940:fighters :3710/Bombers:3393

    1941:F:4732 /B 3250

    1942: F :6966 / B 4768

    1943 :F 13726 / B: 6660

    1944 : F :30885 /B :4790

    Bombers include Stuka and Schlacht.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Fighters aren't defensive or offensive. The BoB demonstrated that the bombers can't go where there is no fighter cover! The USAAF had to learn that the hard way. Your figures show airplane production. The problems in the fighter arm of the LW wasn't just in aircraft. It's real problem was fighter pilots! As losses rose, especially among the fighter leaders, there wasn't anybody close to their quality to replace them. This was really true after 1942. Fighter pilot recruiting and training was pretty much always inadequate. This became more so as the war went on. Fighter production increased, but pilot production drastically decreased in quality to keep up. Goring went into denial on the air threat confronting the Reich and thus couldn't/wouldn't adequately anticipate future needs. Finally he was often by-passed by Milch and Speer.

    The "Fighter Pilots Revolt" against Goring is a huge black mark on his record!. I think all people on the front line will alter their orders in order to get the job done and keep their patooty in one piece. In the RAF you found squadron leaders going to the finger-four formation even while official doctrine specified the 3-plane vic.
     
  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    One only has to praise someone when they do something praiseworthy. Every criticism of Goring is based on some specific thing he did which was deleterious to the Luftwaffe or to Germany's overall prospects. Praise should be held to the same standard.

    I don't think anyone would object to hearing about accomplishments to Goring's credit; indeed it would be educational.

    It's possible that a Luftwaffe without Goring would have had a smaller share of Germany's resources, but that's more of a testimony to his relationship with Hitler than to any particular talent on his part.
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Goring might get credit for an independent air force, but the Luftwaffe's greatest successes came from operations in support of the army. Its greatest failure was the attempt at strategic air warfare in the Battle of Britain. I would submit that an air-ground team overrunning whole countries is conducting strategic warfare, although that might offend the air purists. The Luftwaffe's relatively small-scale maritime operations were a help to the navy and particularly the U-boat war; more emphasis on that area might also have been highly beneficial.
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I like to see exemples of specific things from Göring which were deleterious to the LW/to Germany's overall prospects (most of these things were things done by the Allies,but were later attributed to Göring as an excuse for the defeat of Germany,as it happened with Hitler).

    People are always giving to much importance to the actions of a commander,of an individual .Göring was playing with the cards he had,and,these cards were bad,for a lot of reasons.Göring was fat,yes,corupt,yes,at the end he was no longer concerned about the LW,but with someone else in his place,the result would be the same .As Hitler,Göring made mistakes,but,it is not so that (between 1939/1942)these mistakes prevented Germany to win,or that they caused the German defeat (42/45).
    When at the end on june 1940 Britain decided to continue the war,Germany could not win and,excepted for a miracle,Germany had lost .

    My conclusion is that from a military POV,the actions of Hitler and Göring,although they are not immune for criticism,were,on the average,satisfactory(a 7 on 10)
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Yet you really supply no decent argument to support your opinion indeed most of the support is just additional opinion. The arguments to the contrary on the other hand have been well supported.
     
  17. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I provided several examples of Goring's mishandling. I can provide more.
     
  18. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    It is on those who are saying that the role of Göring was nefast,to prove their claims by giving exemples of Göring's mishandling.

    Are there exemples of Göring's mishanding in the BoB ? In NA ? During Barbarossa ? During the siege of Stalingrad ? During the air attacks on Germany ?
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If you had simply stated that their contention was unproven you would be correct that they would be the ones who should support their claims. However you have made a claim that is just as substansive in the other direction that means that if questioned you should support your position as well. Furthermore they have produced facts and logic to support thier position.

    Personallly I think there is some merit in both positions but at this point one side has supported thier position and you haven't.
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes ?

    Let's look at Göring's orders on 15 august 1940 (available on : Document 33:directive by Herman Göring aug 15th 1940) : IMHO these orders do not seem to be the work of an incompetent and drug-addicted person .

    Point 9 :

    "It is doubtful if there is any point in continuing the attacks on radar sites,in view of the fact that not one of those attacked has so far been put out of operation" .

    Is point 9 something reasonable,or is it an order which was deleterious to the LW and to Germany's overall prospects ?

    Attentive readers will also notice that point 9 is invalidating the usual claims about the stupid Germans who were unaware of the importance of the radar sites (some H CH authors even claimed that the Germans did not know that these sites were radar installations)

    We should be very careful with what Galland and associates were telling after the war:simplified: they were doing as Manstein,Guderian and associates,claiming the victories and blaming Göring /Udet,etc for the defeats .

    The result of the biased stories (which were swallowed and amplified in the movies) from Fighter pilots is that we have a distorted and wrong view of the LW leadership during the war .(And let's not talk about the stories from a professional liar as Speer) .

    How many people know that Udet was not alone in the promotion of the Stukas,but that he had the support of the LW chief of staff Jeschonnek ?
     

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