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Top 5 biggest mistakes

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by nicklaus, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    This has been discussed here many times. Here is a post I previously wrote on another thread.

    First of all, Germany could never have fully conqured Russia. It is possible with all other Allies out of the war they could have settled for a peace treaty giving them some of Russia. Germany lacked the manpower and industrial power needed to defeat the Soviet Union. And this was very clear by the time the battle of Moscow was being fought. The logistics of the entire operation were just terrible. The men lacked clothing, food, amunition, food. Men were freezing to death, men were starving to death. The supply lines were streched to their limits almost, as each army group had one train line to support them. This is partly due to the fact that the Russian tracks were different than the German.

    Second, the Russians had already withdrew all their industry behind the Urals, they had moved all the high political figures out of the city, (Stalin was prepared to depart in an armored train if he needed), they had already picked a city to act as the capital if Moscow fell. They had also rigged the city with bombs and was prepared to leave a gurrilla fighting group to make any German movements through Moscow quite difficult. Based on this IMO i dont think that Moscow means the fall of Russia.

    Thridly, the winter offensive the Soviets launched on December 5, 1941 would probably still have happened, it might have been delayed a month or so, but if it was succesful (as it was when lauched dec 5) it could probably drove the Germand out of Moscow.

    http://www.ww2f.com/what-if/11720-i...ow-what-do-you-think-would-have-happened.html

    http://www.ww2f.com/what-if/12105-what-if-hitler-captured-moscow.html

    http://www.ww2f.com/what-if/12058-what-if-hitler-captures-moscow.html
     
  2. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I don't think German troops in front of Moscow were starving to death en masse, but the Russian winter definitely killed more of these veteran troops than fire from Soviet weapons.

    The German plan was not to conquer all of the Soviet Union, but to advance forward and capture most of the Russian population along with most of her weapon and resource gathering facilities until it was virtually impossible for the Soviets to ever recover.

    The plan was to drive the Red Army towards the Ural Mountains. Then, 1/3rd of the German military would then hold a defensive posture along the Reich's new frontier while German specialists consolidated the Nazi gains and built suitable conditions to launch the next great effort.

    Meanwhile, the other 2/3rds of the German military would be withdrawn from the immediate front line to recuperate and rearm.
     
  3. J.A. Costigan

    J.A. Costigan Member

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    My feelings echo what many have already said.

    -Operation Barbarossa
    -Germany and Italy declaring war on the United States
    -The Attack on Pearl Harbor
    -Dunkirk
    -Germany not becoming a total war economey until 1943.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There is a very good chart that's been posted on a number of BOB threads that shows the relative strength of the fighter arms of the two forces. The Germans rapidly lost their early edge and continued to decline relative to the RAF. At the time the British thought that the Germans were replacing fighters much faster than they were and the Germans thought the British had a much lower replacement rate so both sides thought that the Germans were winning which is a source of a lot of the misinformation. The BOB thread over on the axis history forum (what if sub forum I think) has a lot of info on this but is very long.
    The question is what could they realistically hope to accomplish in the time required and what would the costs be? Dunkirk would not have been an easy nut to crack and the German army in particular the panzer arm needed some R&R. Later war experience also showed that tanks didn't really want to duel with DDs.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A rather odd statement to make since most of the build up for El Alamein didn't come through the Med.

    The Germans simply didn't have the capacity to take Gibraltar without Spain on their side and that wasn't going to happen.
     
  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Perhaps a week or two before the Russian counter offensive, but certainly not the case after.
     
  7. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I wasn't sure.

    Not that Wolfy is a member of that illustrious group, but it's often extremely difficult to separate what passes for fact from fiction in the pronouncements of the "Germany-should-have-won" crowd.
     
  8. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    By the way... I don't think that deliberate, State-planned mass genocide counts as a 'mistake'... :rolleyes:
     
  9. macker33

    macker33 Member

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    Jagdtiger::My point is the german army would have entered moscow before the rain and winter set in,,its a lot easier to endure the weather in a city than it is in a field,,,also the russian counter attack wouldnt have been as easy because no doubt the T34 would have been far easier to deal with in a city..

    Germany in moscow would also have had airstrips in the capital which would have allowed the germans easy access the the russian rear...
    maybe stalin could have escaped but that wouldve made order 227 untenable,,how could commissars seriously enforce a command that no one should retreat when stalin himself ran away.
    There would have been no patriotic war if stalin ran..

    lwd:i disagree that the germans would have had much difficulty taking gibralter,i'll start a thread up and post the link here,this is a good thread and i wouldnt want to turn it into something else.

    Ok.got it started.... http://www.ww2f.com/wwii-general/32362-yes-no-gibralter.html#post396396
     
  10. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    Well the problem is that the Germans were not advancing during the fall around Moscow. The muddy roads had made it almost impossible to move supplies and troops and made them vulnerable to attack from small soviet forces. Such was the case as Guderian's thrust was halted at Tula and forced to dirvert his troops along one long road to Mtsenk. His forces were constantly assaulted by small attacks from Katukov's 4th armored brigade. Tula was never to give in, and all of this happened before the infamous "russian winter" set in.

    Then there are two other points I don't understand. The point about Stalin makes no sense to me. Clearly Stalin would retreat...what do the soldiers expect the leader of their country to stay and fight in the streets with them. That is typically not how it works...generals and leaders retreat because they are clearly more important than regular troops and I really don't see the russian soldiers not accepting that.

    Also your point about the T-34. I am assuming that you mean that the Germans would be able to flank the tanks and use shape charges. However, if this is your point why does it not apply to German tanks as well?

    You have also seemed to dissregard my points about the unimportance of Moscow. Now it is possible that with Britain out of the war (very unlikley but for the sake of argument) the capture of the city might lead to a signed peace as was discussed amongst Stalin and his Generals. However, with this not the case, Germany just could destroy russia. And I realize that the initial plans of Operation Barbarossa only included the European part of Russia but clearly they wanted to extend beyond that.
     
  11. Sentinel

    Sentinel Member

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    How about a wild card? Perhaps the invasion of Poland, which Hitler believed would not provoke a serious reaction from Britain and France. This started the war in 1939, instead of in 1945 as Hitler had apparently planned. It also started the war in the West, against enemies he hadn't wanted to fight.

    The German military forces were in the middle of a vast modernisation program, which was to have been largely complete by the mid-forties. The Tiger I was part of this plan, for example. If the war had started with the army Hitler was building for the 40s, rather than the one he actually had in 1939, things might have been different.
     
  12. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Macker33,

    When Germany invaded Russia, she was going to hit one of the two, either Rasputista or the Winter. There have been numerous accounts of Germany making more progress in the winter then in Rasputista as the roads were frozen and heavy equipment could move forward....

    There would have also been nothing of use in Moscow. The entire city was booby trapped.

    The infamous order 227 did not exist at the battle of Moscow, it only came to be at Stalingrad.

    As General Gotthard Heinrici said:

    Politically, Hitler underestimated the inner stability or the Bolshevik system. It proved to be tenacious and consolidated. The spirit within the Russians to defend 'Mother Russia' was stronger than their rejection of the Communist dictatorship.
     
  13. macker33

    macker33 Member

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    Jagdtiger: You said the germans werent advancing on moscow because of the rain,thats exactly my point,if barbarossa hadnt been delayed by 6 weeks then the rains would have come too late to stop the germans,,

    As for moscow how can you say moscow was unimportant?you see what happaned the germans after the collapse of army group center,

    1.it would have greatly extended the lines of communication between the russian armies in the south and the russian armies in the north.Probably to the detriment of one of them.

    2. it would have been a great staging area for the german armies.

    3.the effect on russian moral would have been enormous.

    4.the russians would have HAD to attack moscow to get it back thus stripping the russians of attackers advantage.

    As to my point about the t34,cities are not natural tank country,thus its effectiveness compared to open tank country would have been less,same goes for the germans of course.

    lastly,maybe i could have explained it better but see my answer to Sloniksp's query on order 227 below.Stalin said he wouldnt retreat but i agree with you that he probably would have.

    Sloniksp: order 227 didnt exist at moscow but it did eventually come to exist,if stalin retreated would he have had the neck to issue the order "not one step backwards".
    Stalin ordered the commissars to shoot anyone who retreated,would that have included himself...he could not have hypocritically issued the order..
     
  14. Sentinel

    Sentinel Member

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    I think you might be underestimating the hypocrisy of political leaders. :cool:
     
  15. macker33

    macker33 Member

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    No i dont,we've the lisbon treaty coming up so i get to look at it everyday.unfortunatley.
     
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  16. Vanir

    Vanir Member

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    Securing the Balkans was sort of necessary due to an open flank for the British left by inadequate Italian action. Be rather embarressing to commit to Barbarossa with the Brits mounting a combined action behind your lines and Turkey might've had a bigger role to play (even if just facilitating an Anglo-American linkup in the Balkans should the yanks enter the war which they did and everybody knew the government was egging to).
    A second factor for the delay of Barbarossa was logistical. The early Friedrich Messerschmitt was grounded due to weak structure and the improved version wasn't on strength until 6/41. In the meantime patched up Emils were placed back into production but these weren't really any better than the new generation of Soviet fighters in early development and field testing (roughly one third of all front line fighter squadrons were equipped with the MiG during the first half of 1941 although pilot familiarisation lagged and wherever possible they preferred to keep older types like the I-15 and I-16...basically because Commissars often perceived training accidents as sabotage and treason).

    I've a patchwork collection of diary notes from the Wehrmacht General Staff which cites attrition caused by the diversion of tank forces to Kiev and back again as the primary factor damning the assault on Moscow (entire corps had less than 50 serviceable tanks and all required full tear down maintenance at the time the Moscow attack was finally to begin, also ammunition supplies were so low most machine guns were out of action). The incapacitating mud (mobile troops were no longer mobile and supply lines ran at walking pace, plus artillery was immobilised, etc.) and the withdrawl of Luftflotte 2 to the Mediterranean (no aerial artillery available, remaining attachments were too small in number to maintain serviceability under the weather conditions) are cited as the major secondary damnations. Nobody in the General Staff believed in the attack on Moscow at this stage, and under prewar ruling the General Staff had the authority to override the command structure. This of course wasn't the case under the Nazis.

    T-34 will also kick butt on PzIII and IV in a street brawl. Best bet is massing Pz38(t) on them and luring them into PaK 40 fire, but I don't think the 75 was on strength yet, most Panzerjäger battalions were still stuck with the 37mm or captured French and Czech types, a handful had the "new" 50mm (which could at least take a T34 at close range using tungsten shot that was just starting to appear).
    Point being don't get in a street fight with a T34 in 1941. Get him out in the open and hit him with the big guns.
     
  17. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    Ok as to your first point...yes their lines of communications might have been streched. However, what you have to understand is that Germany just dosen't have the strength to combat 3 major superpowers at once. In the east at that time as I explained earlier, the logistics of the situation were completly failing. The germans had advanced too far from their homeland and couldn't keep their troops supplied. Furthermore, the abundance of their supplies were waning quickly. The germans were trying to fight a two-front war at that point and didnt have the recources or industrial capabilites to keep control of those two fronts. As for the possibility of a Russian agreed peace, IMO, it is possible but not likely. Stalin did discuss it, but based off of the actions the russians took in preparation of the German capture of Moscow makes it seem to me that they weren't about to give up. They moved their industry behind the urals, they picked out another capital in which all of the major political players had moved.

    As for your second point...the Russians had rigged the city with explosives and was prepared to leave behind a group of gurrillea fighters...I dont think it would have been a good staging area for any German troops.

    As for your third point..yes clearly it wouldn't have been good for moral

    As for your fourth point...I don't understand how they would loose their "attacker's advantage" when they are attacking.

    And your argument about Stalin really needs to stop...it doesn't make any sense. What was Stalin supposed to do, stay and get captured?? Why would the russian soldiers expect that??
     
  18. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    Or coordinated infantry assault with artillery, smoke, mines, and explosive. (and if possible, use some Panzers and/or heavy Flak guns to distract/destroy them) Many of the Soviet heavies like the KV were knocked out with the infantry.

    At this stage,only the platoon commander's T-34 had a radio and training, vision, organization & firing in the T-34/76 was generally poor.
     
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  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The problem with this is that Germany is very close to bankruptcy in 39 without the war and plundering of most of the rest of Europe it's not at all clear that the Germans can continue their plans as far as 45. Certainly not at the pace hoped for. In the mean time Britain, France, the Soviets, and the US had all realized that war was coming and were ramping up production and working on new vehicles. The BOB was lost in part because the British were already producing more planes than the Germans due to pre war planning. Japan also can't wait that so the odds are the Pacific has been settle or nearly so by that point. Not a good situation for Germany unless Hitler can figure out how to get at least one of the other major players on his side and keep the rest neutral when he goes after the Soviets.
     
  20. macker33

    macker33 Member

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    jagdtiger1::I have no doubt that you know a lot about moscow,chances are more than i do but you fail to see the obvious.

    If stalin ran away at moscow would he have issued order 227?quite possibly,but would the commissars have been as sucessful,the dilution of the patriotic war would have been immeasurable.
    Certainly it wouldnt have done stalins reputation any good..

    I was suprised to hear that the russians had rigged the city with explosives and were willing to leave behind a guerilla force,,what was wrong with the russians to say they werent prepared to leave a whole army behind?

    Of course they would have lost much of their attackers advantage,would rommel have been so successful in africa if the british knew where he was going to attack every time?same thing here.

    Vanir:: i guess the mistake wasnt securing the balkins but was trusting the italians to do it.
     

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