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Hitlers biggest War Mistakes

Discussion in 'Leaders of World War 2' started by AL AMIN, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    ANZAC said it. The German's were great at improvising, lousy at strategic planning. Somewhat of an "unintended consequence" of perfecting the art of a short, sharp war. You begin to forget that there are other possible outcomes.
     
  2. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    The Germans had a principle in war I don't remember what it's called because the name is so German and hard for me to pronounce. But it dictated that commanders on the field have control of their battlefield initiative. For example the Germans HQ would set a plan but when it came down to squad level they were given and objective and it was their job to make their way to it. I believe it is based on the same tactics used by Fredrick the Great where he gave him commanders control to do whatever they wish as long as they get the job done.
     
  3. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    It's a Prussian army tradition , famously encapsulated in the dialoge

    " You have been made an officer of the king Army to know when to disobey an orders ! "

    It was expanded by Gaspard Hausser in his training of SS commanders , giving priority to the local commander judgment ,
    objectives were explained all the way down the chain of command so everybody had a clue as to what was going on and could use some initiative to help .
    The result was shorter decision time , faster reaction to local conditions and better moral

    P.S. I agree with Anzac , not preparing for a long hard war in 1941 could be understandable if dumb , after the Moscow counter-offensive it was delusional

    .
     
  4. CzechSoldier

    CzechSoldier New Member

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    Also another big mistake was to tell his senior officers not to disturb him in any way while he was napping on June 6, 1944. Cause then Rommel got word of D-Day and was going to tell Hitler, but he didn't wake him up.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Do you think it really would have made much difference? The war had been lost for a year or more by that point in time.
     
  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    A sleeping Hitler would have only helped the German cause. He wasn't going to listen to his military tacticians regardless.
     
  7. CzechSoldier

    CzechSoldier New Member

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    Yes I do believe that it would've made a diffrence. Hitler had multiple Panzer divisions near Normandy, and if we woke up, he could've told those divisions to Normandy.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I think we've discussed this a few times. From what I recall they weren't likely to be able to move to the coast as fast as one might assume and then coming under the guns of the allied naval support would have been a bit of a problem. The net result could well have been that German resources were attrited earlier in the campaign. Of course the allies weren't ready for a breakout yet either but the early destruction at potentially minimal affect on the allied troops could have impacted the campaign in a number of ways not many of which would be beneficial to the Germans.
     
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  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    He did eventually wake up and was briefed on the invasion. He still balked and did not send the Armored Divisions until it was too late. Regardless, it wouldn't have made a difference anyway. Once the Allies secured the beach it was over. They were running roughshod for the most part) across the Cotentin cutting off the port.
     
  10. CzechSoldier

    CzechSoldier New Member

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    He should've sent the Armored Divisions into Normandy, it could've given the German troops stationed elsewhere "time" to get "to" Normandy
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The German armored divisions did not do all that well against Allied land & air powers when the were further inland. How well do you expect them to fare when you add naval bombardment to the mix?
    [​IMG]
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What divisions are you talking about? There were some already in Normandy but it would still have taken them a bit of time to get there. What troops stationed elsewhere do you think Germany could toss into the mix? Is it going to help long term? (It might actually ... If the German army in the West is essentially destroyed in Western France then the western allies may actually advance faster with more of Germany falling under their control at leas tinitally which would be to the advantage of the Germans both civilian and military who are in the area and survive.)
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Active Member

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    The sequence of events and the possible actions versus imaginary actions is pretty misunderstood.

    By most accounts, on the morning of 6 June Hitler stayed up late as was his habit and did not go to bed until c. 0300-0400. However, he was awake by 0900, because he had a morning meeting scheduled. Meanwhile, most of the decisions were made by the staffs of OKW, Ob.-West, HG-B, and 7. Armee and they exhibit the confusion and cross purposes that are typical in major military operations. Remember Clauswitz's dictum "Everything in war is very simple. However, the simplest thing is difficult."

    So first off, what "armored divisions" were available and what was its subordination?

    The "OKW Reserve" (i.e., under the direct control of OKW and the FHQ...so "under Hitler's orders") was Panzergruppe West and I SS-Panzerkorps with 1. and 12. SS-Panzerdivision, Panzer Lehrdivision, and 17. SS-Panzergrenadierdivision. What many miss is that Panzergruppe West's principal task was administrative rather than operational. It was dual-hatted as a training formation with operational responsibilities when the Allies attacked. Along with supervising the training and refitting of units in I. SS-Panzerkorps, it also commanded 10. Panzerbrigade, the training formation at Mailly-le-Camp responsible for training the new Panther battalions for divisions (many of the Panthers in France were actually earmarked for the Eastern Front and were not available). Of the divisions, 1. SS was refitting in the vicinity of Beverlo, Belgium and was unfit for operations. In 12. SS was headquartered at Acon (between Dreux and Verneuil-sur-Aure) and only two-thirds of its Panthers had arrived, but it was otherwise ready for combat. Panzerlehr was also ready for combat and in the vicinity of Nogent-le-Retrou (east of Alencon)...but "its" Panther battalion was actually an attachment from 3. Panzerdivision and was in route to join that division in the East on 6 June - it did not join the division until 11 June. Finally, 17. SS-Panzergrenadier was at Thouars (vicinity of Angers) and was just completing its training and outfitting. It was short many of its motor vehicles. Of all those divisions, only 12. SS and Lehr were in a position to intervene in Normandy "quickly" (they were roughly 120 road miles away, so at least five hours of "normal" road march speeds.

    The "HG-B" Reserve" was under the direct control of Rommel. It consisted of XXXXVII. Panzerkorps with 2., 21., and 116. Panzerdivision. Of those, 116. was training and organizing and was unavailable for combat until mid July. The other two were ready, although 21. Panzer was still replacing the French tanks it trained with for Panzer IV (it had no Panthers and a hodge-podge of German and French vehicles). Those two were "on the beach" according to Rommel's defense scheme. 21. Panzer had one of its two infantry regiments in immediate reserve of the beach defenses between SWORD and JUNO. The division as a whole was operationally subordinate to 7. Armee, WHEN RELEASED by HG-B, In the same way, 2. Panzer, which was very complete and ready for action, was subordinate to 15. Armee (and was at least six hours normal motor march from Normandy). Except, the release authority at HG-B was Rommel, who was on leave and his CoS Spiedel was a waffler.

    However, there was also a "AG-G Reserve". Armeegruppe (AG) "G" was different from Heeresgruppe (HG) "B". In German doctrine, a AG was an ad hoc HG with more limited capabilities. It had only existed since 28 April when it was created to command 1. and 19. Armee in Bordeaux and Southern France. Its Panzer reserve was LVIII Reserve-Panzerkorps (a training unit) with 9. and 11. Panzerdivision and 2. SS-Panzerdivision...none of which were ready for combat except in the gravest of emergencies. 9. Panzer was not ready until the end of July. The remnants of 11. Panzer were actually arriving from the East on 6 June and did not complete assembling in France until 15 June. It was not actually considered ready for action until mid August...when it was forced to retreat to Germany after the Allied invasion of Southern France. Finally, 2. SS was a shell, arriving in fragments from the East in April it was slowly built up again. It was committed to Normany beginning 12 June, but piecemeal as units became operational.

    The reality was only 21. Panzer, 12. SS-Panzer, and Panzerlehr were available and in a position to possible intervene.

    So on 6 June, the first intimations of invasion was the parachute assault. At 0030, 21. Panzerdivision HQ notified Major von Luck at Vimont of paratroop drops and was ordered to prepare to "round them up". The sequence of events sped up quickly from there:

    0035 – 21.Pz.Div. HQ issued an alert to the division
    0130 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. commandiing officer woke up his CoS with news that the invasion had begun
    0200 – 2.Pz.Div. HQ issued its alert order
    0230 – CO Pz.-Lehr Div. was notified of paratroop drops by OKW
    0300 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. issued its alert order
    0350 – Ob.West notified HG-B that it considered the parachute drops to be a limited operation
    0415 – Pz.-Lehr Div. HQ issued its alert order
    0500 – Ob.West unilaterally assumed control of 12.SS-Pz.Div. and assigned it to HG-B, ordering it to move to the sector of 711.Inf.Div. (i.e., EAST of the Orne River between Ouistreham and Le Havre, NOT where the invasion actually landed)
    0535 – Kriegesmarinegruppe West reported engagements with Allied naval forces west of La Havre
    0620 - Spiedel phones Rommel in Germany regarding the situation
    0624 – Ob.West issued invasion alert and requested release of OKW Panzer Reserve
    0645 – HG-B released 21.Pz.Div. to 7.-Armee
    0700 – 7. Armee attaches 21.Pz.Div. to LXXXIV Armee Korps. At the same time, OKW orders 12 SS-Pz.Div. movement halted
    c. 0900 - Hitler awakes and was briefed on the situation, such as was known
    0900 – Pz.-Lehr Div. ready to move (note the reality, this is six and a half hours AFTER the division was alerted)
    0910 - Pemsel, CoS 7. Armee phones Spiedel and finally confirms the seaborne landings
    1000 – OKW rescinds the subordination of 12.SS-Pz.Div. to HG-B, but allowed the movement to continue
    1432 – OKW (Hitler) agreed to Ob.West request to release the OKW REserve and HG-B is notified of release of 12.SS-Pz.Div. and Pz.-Lehr Div to its command
    1500 – HG-B attached I SS-Pz.K. with 12.SS-Pz., Pz.Lehr Div. and s.SS-pz.Abt.101. to 7.Armee, with 12.SS temporarily under command of LXXXIV AK. When it arrived at the front I SS-Pz.K. was to take command of 12.SS, Pz.-Lehr, 21.Pz., and 716.Inf.Div
    1600 – 21.Pz.Div. assembles west of the Orne and prepares to attack beachhead
    1620 – 21.Pz.Div. attack begins
    1700 – Pz.-Lehr Div. ordered to move to Normandy by 7.-Armee (note: two hours AFTER 7. Armee assumes command)
    c.1800 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. begins moving to Normandy

    The final complication was that many of the most important commanders were not available at their headquarters. Rommel, CG HG-B was in Germany. His deputy, Pemsel, had stayed up late at a party and went to bed at 0100. He was woken after less than an hour sleep with news of the parachute drops. The commanders of 7. Armee, LXXXIV. Korps, 21. Panzer-Division, 91. Infanterie-Division were all in route to a major map exercise scheduled for 6 June in Rouen (the 21. Panzer Division CG used it as an opportunity to cavort with his Schwartz-Schauspielerin in Paris :rolleyes:).
     
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  14. KyleConn

    KyleConn New Member

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    The Axis made some bad decisions that cost them dearly (wondering what the result would be if they had held back when required). Hitler was undoubtedly a great leader but many of his actions lost him his own men and the world war and his descend towards the end reminds of the infamous 'Mad King Aerys'
    - Invasion of Russia
    - Declaring war on the USA
    - Heavy reliance of Wonder Weapons (Nuclear to end it with)
    - Not concentrating on his sea power
    - Repression of occupied territories
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not sure how you arrive at the conclusion Hitler was a "great leader". A great orator certainly but he lead Germany on a course that had little hope of anything other than ruin.
    As to your other points:
    The Invasion of the USSR was not as bad an error as going to war with the West over Poland in many ways.
    Declaring war on the US let him pick the initiation point for full hostilities. He would have been arguably a bit better off if he had gotten his uboats in position to take full advantage of the declaration but at that point the war was lost in any case.
    I've seen nothing to indicate that he had any real hopes for atomic weapons ending the war.
    Sea power was not something Germany was going to excel at, especially when facing Britain and the US. Putting more effort there would have cost him elsewhere and probably in more critical areas.
     
  16. Croft

    Croft Member

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    Declaring war on the USA. He should have declared Germany's neutrality the day of Pearl Harbor.
    Operation Blue heading for the Caucasus and Stalingrad in 1942. After the fall of Voronezh and Rostov in July all panzers should have been concentrated at Voronezh for a drive northwards for Moscow.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Theoretically Germany was already neutral in spite of the "shoot on sight orders". The only way to throw a real monkey wrench in the path of the US joining the war against Germany was to declare war on Japan. Don't see that happening and probably wouldn't make a huge difference in the long term anyway.

    By 42 Moscow is not a useful objective. They simply can't make it and if they do they are going to be in a battle they have no real chance of winning. From late 41 on to have any chance of defeating the USSR (which is a distinct goal from winning which is so close to impossible that it doesn't make any difference) is to focus on destroying the Red army. That means strong defensive positions and local counter attacks to encircle and destroy Red Army forces when and where possible.
     
  18. Croft

    Croft Member

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    If you don't declare war on the US but declare your neutrality instead the ball is now in America's court as to whether it goes to war with Germany or not. No doubt it would still supply Britain and Russia but that's not the same as a build up in Britain leading to D-Day 1944.
    An assault north from Voronezh would not have captured Moscow but it would have done precisely what you advocate, inflicted massive damage on the Red Army Briansk front instead of haring off into the empty north Caucasus. After a month at most the troops go back to the Voronezh-Rostov line to face attacks by Soviet Southern and South-Western Fronts and you have that defensive war.
     
  19. Croft

    Croft Member

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    If Hitler had kept to the Munich agreement instead of marching in to Prague in March 1939 Germany would have survived. By scrupulously keeping to the Munich agreement and leaving Czechoslovakia and Poland alone Hitler could have counted on British and French support had Stalin ever invaded eastern Europe. With the British and French empires providing fuel and other resources not to mention their own armies to support a German bulwark against communism Berlin would never have ended in the hands of the Russians.
    But that would have been a sane strategy aimed simply at keeping Germany safe. Hitler however wanted to build a great empire on the bones of Russia so Germany was doomed.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Germany would still have had massive economic problems. While Germany would have survived the Nazi government was almost assuredly doomed. For a deeper understanding read Wages of Destruction
     

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