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The Truth.... As We Know It


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The_Chieftain #301 Posted Feb 23 2015 - 18:57

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View Postxlightwavex, on Feb 23 2015 - 13:20, said:

 

maybe true but when does one intend to ever withdraw as a plan in war

 

 

When you have a strategically untenable position. Sicily was one of the few occasions where the German High Command did something right, and did not issue a "Defend to the last man" order. Sicily was an island. Close to Italy, yes, but an island. How easy would it have been to keep German forces there supplied indefinitely? As soon as they realised that the Allies were not going to be pushed from the beach (and it was a close-run thing) Sicily became, for the Axis, a delay-and-attrit operation. The invasion was the morning of the 10th, the Italian Commando Supremo within a day or so quickly objected to the German sending of new units. The most dangerous German unit, the Herman Goring division was sent from the American front to deal with the British as the most dangerous opponent. OKW agreed that the allied main effort was Montgomery's force. By the 13th, Kesselring, the German CO had also concluded that the island was untenable, but fighting for time and attrition was worth it. Jodl, at OKW, soon agreed that Sicily could not be held.

 

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but the fact is it was Sicily was Montys baby and he is the one that got bottled up

Pattons move simply made the German defense untenable

 

This is incorrect. The entire successful landing made the Axis defense untenable. On the night of the 17th, Axis forces actively disengaged from Seventh Army, they were not forced back by combat. Indeed, it took over two days before the Americans started to follow, much to the surprise of the Germans who had expected a pursuit.

 

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also note that monty was not the first pick for the 8th army William Gott was

 

Which has what to do with the price of tea, exactly? The argument here is not over personalities, it's over forces and positioning. Gott was considered to be a competent commander. Monty was considered to be a competent commander. Patton was considered to be a competent commander. Assuming that the enemy has a CO which has a vague idea what he's doing is probably a safe bet, the question is whose forces are the most dangerous.

 

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the Germans did respect him as a good army commander

in that ...

a major part of the disinformation plan for operation fortitude relied on, the positioning of his army, it was a major part of the deception strategy

 

Fortitude cannot be taken as an indicator of what the Germans thought of Patton as a commander. Just because the Allies felt that the Germans had a fear of Patton doesn't mean that the Germans agreed. Secondly, as I mentioned above, Fortitude's proposed forces could have been commanded by any competent general, the Germans still had to respect the threat indicated by British Fourth Army  and FUSAG.

 

The question of the post-war quotes by Germans about Montgomery was directly addressed by Yeide. He found nothing written at the time to indicate any overarching awe or respect for the man. They respected him, yes, but not as the Second Messiah of warfare.

 

Some other post-war quotes:

"Montgomery and Patton were the two best that I met. Montgomery was very systematic" (Von Rundstedt)

"Patton was speedy in the advance. Montgomery was the one general who never suffered a reverse" (Blumnentritt)

Rommel only mentioned Patton once, distinguishing him from Monty. "Montgomery was undoubtedly more a strategist than a tactician. . In the field of higher strategic planning he must be credited with outstanding achievements. The American generals showed themselves to be very advanced in the tactical handling of their forces, although we had to wait until the Patton Army in France to see the most astonishing achievements in mobile warfare"

On the other hand, for example: "In the beginning [of the French campaign] I thought Patton was the best because of his quick and fearless exploitation of opportunities and the breakthroughs with armored forces. From our reports, we later learned to respect Bradley even more as a cool, clear and determined commander with more directional genius. Hodges also was considered good." (Bayerlein)

 

The problem is focusing on what Patton was good at. Once he had decided that he was going to conduct an armoured maneuver, there were few better. But there's more to being a general than a controlling a skillful mobile offense once it's off the mark.

 

And, again, this is distinguishing between how much effort the Axis needed to divert between stopping the Soviets, the British, and the Americans as opposed to Zhukov, Montgomery and Patton in particular.

 

 



WalkerSteele #302 Posted Feb 23 2015 - 19:32

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View PostDunfalach, on Feb 04 2015 - 22:45, said:

 

By all the accounts I've seen, Pickett's Charge was not hubris but lack of information regarding what he was truly up against. Gettysburg was an encounter battle...fought in a place that the two armies met. rather than a pre-determined battle plan. Lee was a gambler, yes. But a calculated gambler of necessity. The South could not turtle up and wait it out on the defensive; they lacked the manpower and industrial power to win a long war of attrition against the north. While the tactical situation may have favored the defense, the strategic situation did not.

 

For every historian that credits Johnston and Longstreet with vision and justifiable caution, there's another that credits them with lost opportunities and sluggish obstinacy. It's a constant debate. What we do know is that the north offered Lee command of the Union Army before he resigned his commission to return to Virginia, and he seems to have remained respected by his opponents.

You are forgetting that Longstreet urged Lee after day one at Gettysburg to withdraw toward Washington, and force Meade to attack  the Confederates "on ground of our choosing". Longstreet was aware of the great advantage of being on the defensive, and that the Union had a huge manpower/reserve advantage as well.



Donward #303 Posted Feb 23 2015 - 20:15

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Lee was far better as a counter-puncher reacting to his opponents attacks. The two times when he took the offensive in 1862 and 1863, culminating at Antietam and Gettysburg, Lee's force deployment was every bit as clumsy and disjointed as the Union's.  It certainly helped that for most of his career, he was fighting on the defensive with interior lines of reinforcement on ground that he (or his men) were familiar with. And when finally faced with a more competent commander, first in Meade and finally Grant, Lee was unable to make good on temporary tactical successes.

 

And as mentioned before, the Confederate handling of the Western Theater was a travesty of incompetence and hubris.



Canadian_Reaper #304 Posted Feb 23 2015 - 21:30

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IS there any mention of how the German's felt about their Soviet counterparts like Zhukov or Rokossovsky etc?

I know there seems to be the idea that the USSR just kept throwing men at the Germans, but stuff like Bagration seems to have been well planned and executed.



sirericbreheny #305 Posted Feb 24 2015 - 04:51

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Feb 11 2015 - 16:50, said:

 

I don't know if Montgomery had any particular reputation per se, but the reason that the Germans focused on him seems to be the same reason they didn't care much about Patton: Monty's forces were in the most threatening geographic position. In North Africa, he pushing against Libya where the Axis were focused. In Sicily, his forces were the ones heading directly to the Axis route of escape. In Europe, he was the one closest to the German industrial heartland, taking the most direct route.

 

Montgomery's forces could have been commanded by any competent general, in that position, the Germans would have to honor the threat regardless.

Yep totally agree on the above statement.   And Montgomery probably knew that the Arabs oilfields and the Russian ones were very very important that Rommel wanted the supply lines to every oilfield he could think to plan a battle against.


Edited by sirericbreheny, Feb 24 2015 - 04:55.


Donward #306 Posted Feb 24 2015 - 06:14

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Ummm. WHAT Arab oilfields? The Middle East oil fields were very much in their infancy in terms of exploration and discovery. Unless the Nazis really did have that Time Machine the History Channel experts assure us they had.

Kyphe #307 Posted Feb 25 2015 - 05:05

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Nothing compared to post war levels but still militarily significant.  Oil was found in Iran in 1908 leading to the formation of the anglo-persian Oil company which is now called BP.  They found and began pumping oil in Kirkuk in northern Iraq in 1927 and two major pipelines were laid. One across Syria to Tripoli and the other over Iraq to Haifa.

 

Annual volume is said to be in the range of 4 million tons refined.

 

The pumping stations of the pipeline were regular targets for attack both by German forces and anti British locals.



Donward #308 Posted Feb 25 2015 - 15:15

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It is 849 miles in a straight line from Cairo to Kirkuk.

 

As a comparison, it is 715 miles from Warsaw to Moscow.

 

That means every can of beef, box of bullets and Jerry can of fuel would have to be sent down the boot of Italy, marshaled in transports, loaded, shipped across the Med. Sea, avoid submarines and attack planes, dropped off in Tripoli, shipped across North Africa. depoted in Egypt, loaded again to cross the Suez, shipped up through the wastes of Palestine either by train or truck (still all the while avoiding sabotage attempts), through the mountains of Syria and across the desert in order to get to Kirkuk. There were not enough trucks in Europe all of Europe to get supplies to feed that sort of logistical effort.

 

The Turks were unable to DEFEND that region 20 years earlier and they had all the infrastructure already in place from hundreds of years of rule. How would the Germans attack across it?

 

This is not a simple matter of capturing Egypt and pushing into Middle East on the Risk or Axis and Allies board and rolling the dice again in hopes of getting lucky.


Edited by Donward, Feb 25 2015 - 15:17.


Kyphe #309 Posted Feb 25 2015 - 20:45

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I don't think it was a viable supply of oil to Germany, I think it was more a question of denying oil to the British and being able to temporarily refuel on site. Germany initially supported the coup regime of Rashid Ali who made a very half assed attempt to kick the British out, but the Germans could only supply the forces they sent to Baghdad by air which was simply not a real proposition at the time.

ArcherII #310 Posted Feb 25 2015 - 22:59

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I am absolutely convinced the German forces under the Nazi's had absolutely no strategic concept whatsoever.  They appear to have been focused almost entirely upon the Operational and Tactical levels of War, with no clear idea of an overarching strategy or operating at the Strategic level of War.

 

I think this is reflected in their thinking across the board in regards to weapons systems, logistic support structure (or lack thereof), organizational structure, and concept of operations across the board.  It's almost as though a competent tactical military, with a huge advantage in terms of small unit leadership, becomes a bunch of amateurs above a certain command level.

 

Interested in any comments....It's been spinning in my head for a while now.

 

Great discussion so far.  Very enjoyable.



Dunfalach #311 Posted Feb 25 2015 - 23:53

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View PostArcherII, on Feb 25 2015 - 16:59, said:

I am absolutely convinced the German forces under the Nazi's had absolutely no strategic concept whatsoever.  They appear to have been focused almost entirely upon the Operational and Tactical levels of War, with no clear idea of an overarching strategy or operating at the Strategic level of War.

 

I think this is reflected in their thinking across the board in regards to weapons systems, logistic support structure (or lack thereof), organizational structure, and concept of operations across the board.  It's almost as though a competent tactical military, with a huge advantage in terms of small unit leadership, becomes a bunch of amateurs above a certain command level.

 

Interested in any comments....It's been spinning in my head for a while now.

 

Great discussion so far.  Very enjoyable.

 

To a large extent, your statement can be summed up in one word: Hitler. A dictator convinced of his own genius and surrounding himself in places of highest authority by people who share his hunger for power but are not themselves threats to his own power, content to fight over his scraps while remaining loyal to his own insane ideas either through blind loyalty, fear of execution, or fear of someone else gaining advantage by agreeing more enthusiastically. Add to that an unstable mind prone to making decisions based on the last person to talk to and impress him, and you get a competent military with an unstable approach to war because everything must be approved by that one unstable man.



ArcherII #312 Posted Feb 26 2015 - 15:04

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I don't disagree with the influence of a corrupted dictatorship, and certainly a megalomaniac like Hitler influences your force, but the lack of Strategic focus on the part of the German Military in WWII cannot be laid solely at Hitler's feet.

 

I think there's more to it.  It's as though an entire component of their Doctrinal thought was abridged somehow.  Most officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, and indeed all NATO type forces are introduced to this type of strategic thinking fairly early in their career training. even though their primary function will remain (and in many cases will always be) executing tactical maneuver supporting the operational campaign plan.  Indeed, while receiving it later, the Senior NCO Corps of most Western Armies also has this type of strategic indoctrination.  From my point of view, it appears there's a gap in the interwar doctrinal thought on the part of the Germans.

 



Walter_Sobchak #313 Posted Feb 26 2015 - 18:00

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View PostArcherII, on Feb 26 2015 - 09:04, said:

I don't disagree with the influence of a corrupted dictatorship, and certainly a megalomaniac like Hitler influences your force, but the lack of Strategic focus on the part of the German Military in WWII cannot be laid solely at Hitler's feet.

 

I think there's more to it.  It's as though an entire component of their Doctrinal thought was abridged somehow.  Most officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, and indeed all NATO type forces are introduced to this type of strategic thinking fairly early in their career training. even though their primary function will remain (and in many cases will always be) executing tactical maneuver supporting the operational campaign plan.  Indeed, while receiving it later, the Senior NCO Corps of most Western Armies also has this type of strategic indoctrination.  From my point of view, it appears there's a gap in the interwar doctrinal thought on the part of the Germans.

 

 

Long term strategic planning was certainly not a hallmark of German ww2 leadership.  To be honest, a big part of the problem is that Germany under the Nazi regime had a completely unrealistic set of long term strategic goals.  This led to strategic planning that was based on a combination of incredible risks and wishful thinking, since there was no realistic strategy by which Germany could obtain her strategic goal of dominating Europe considering her own lack of strategic resources. 

 

You might enjoy "The German Way of War" by Robert Citino if you want to explore this topic further. 



ArcherII #314 Posted Feb 26 2015 - 18:45

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View PostWalter_Sobchak, on Feb 26 2015 - 12:00, said:

 

Long term strategic planning was certainly not a hallmark of German ww2 leadership.  To be honest, a big part of the problem is that Germany under the Nazi regime had a completely unrealistic set of long term strategic goals.  This led to strategic planning that was based on a combination of incredible risks and wishful thinking, since there was no realistic strategy by which Germany could obtain her strategic goal of dominating Europe considering her own lack of strategic resources.

 

You might enjoy "The German Way of War" by Robert Citino if you want to explore this topic further.

 

 

I will certainly check the reference out.....thanks!



lightwaveTT #315 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 02:03

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Block Quote

 since there was no realistic strategy by which Germany could obtain her strategic goal of dominating Europe considering her own lack of strategic resources. 

 

You might enjoy "The German Way of War" by Robert Citino if you want to explore this topic further.

 

From what i have researched myself, in the both the pre-war and wartime for economics concerns

oil, iron, vital raw materials, population, time or rather (limited time) and political strategic situations

i would fully agree with this.

 

The official middle school version of his decisions is very naive.

On the strategic economic logistical level.

Hitler may have not been so mad as history makes him out to be.



ZebraK9 #316 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 05:09

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I'm reading these posts and seeing Patton being trashed. I wonder, have any of you ever been a REAL tanker? I'm sure there are a few. I have.20 years on everything from an M60a2 (if any of you know what that was) to the M1A1HA. Most of my time was in the Cavalry.

 

One thing that Patton had that Monty didn't (and we wont even talk about Canadian Tankers.....can anyone name a famous one?) is panache. That daring instinct that American Cavalrymen have had since they were called Dragoons. Patton had it. My Grandfather rode with him during the Punitive Expedition (again you might want to Google that). Bottom line, go big or die trying. As a Private I was taught that you might kick my butt but you cant whip me. Such is the additude of the American Tanker from the begining until this day.



The_Chieftain #317 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 05:30

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View PostZebraK9, on Feb 27 2015 - 04:09, said:

I'm reading these posts and seeing Patton being trashed. I wonder, have any of you ever been a REAL tanker? I'm sure there are a few. I have.20 years on everything from an M60a2 (if any of you know what that was) to the M1A1HA. Most of my time was in the Cavalry.

 

One thing that Patton had that Monty didn't (and we wont even talk about Canadian Tankers.....can anyone name a famous one?) is panache. That daring instinct that American Cavalrymen have had since they were called Dragoons. Patton had it. My Grandfather rode with him during the Punitive Expedition (again you might want to Google that). Bottom line, go big or die trying. As a Private I was taught that you might kick my butt but you cant whip me. Such is the additude of the American Tanker from the begining until this day.

 

 

You probably want to do a little bouncing around this subforum. You'll find that most of us don't need to google the punitive expedition to know what it is, and the fact that some of us are tankers and cavalrymen in real life has absolutely no bearing on an assessment of Patton.

 

It should be noted that nobody is trashing Patton, the question is whether he deserves the popular reputation he has. 



Life_In_Black #318 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 05:46

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View PostZebraK9, on Feb 26 2015 - 23:09, said:

I'm reading these posts and seeing Patton being trashed. I wonder, have any of you ever been a REAL tanker? I'm sure there are a few. I have.20 years on everything from an M60a2 (if any of you know what that was) to the M1A1HA. Most of my time was in the Cavalry.

 

One thing that Patton had that Monty didn't (and we wont even talk about Canadian Tankers.....can anyone name a famous one?) is panache. That daring instinct that American Cavalrymen have had since they were called Dragoons. Patton had it. My Grandfather rode with him during the Punitive Expedition (again you might want to Google that). Bottom line, go big or die trying. As a Private I was taught that you might kick my butt but you cant whip me. Such is the additude of the American Tanker from the begining until this day.

 

Radley-Walters would like a word with you. Perhaps you should look up the Canadian forces in WWII, you might actually learn something.

Donward #319 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 07:13

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View PostZebraK9, on Feb 26 2015 - 20:09, said:

I'm reading these posts and seeing Patton being trashed. I wonder, have any of you ever been a REAL tanker? I'm sure there are a few. I have.20 years on everything from an M60a2 (if any of you know what that was) to the M1A1HA. Most of my time was in the Cavalry.

 

One thing that Patton had that Monty didn't (and we wont even talk about Canadian Tankers.....can anyone name a famous one?) is panache. That daring instinct that American Cavalrymen have had since they were called Dragoons. Patton had it. My Grandfather rode with him during the Punitive Expedition (again you might want to Google that). Bottom line, go big or die trying. As a Private I was taught that you might kick my butt but you cant whip me. Such is the additude of the American Tanker from the begining until this day.

 

Wait. What? Panache? Holy Hell, you can complain about Monty for any number of things, but saying that man didn't have panache is about the most insulting thing that you can say about him, considering his affectation towards wearing every conceivable form of uniform and headgear that was humanly possible in the British Army which was rather known for its surfeit of uniform options.

 



Shifty__ #320 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 07:52

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Patton was a great general, just like Monty, Bradley, etc.  I feel like Patton was only famous to the American public and to much of the allies due to his reputation, hard hitting, merciless, and very ragey in a way.  

 

I'll have to read that book, it sounds interesting.  Patton was full blown offense all the time, so it would be nice to see his flaws as well, make him a bit more "human"






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