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Thread: Could Germany have won WWII?

  1. #1
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth
    How can one say that Germany is nothing? This is absurd. Even after being torn to bits by the allies and russians in WWII it is still the beating heart of Europe economics wise. It is THE country to talk about when we are talking manufacturuing. German cars and industrial machines are a staple for quality, not American ones.

    Germany was divided, a lot of intellectuals and scientists were moved to either the USSR or the USA. Most of the inventions claimed to be done by the USA are actually done by European (and mostly German) scientists.

    That Germany waged sucessfull war in WWII versus so many opponents is a feat of military prowess which the USA has not even come close to matching. All your wars were versus two-bit third world countries. And even then you sometimes got your arses handed to you (Veitnam). In fact, if Hitler had not spared the British troops the war might have been a tad bit harder, especially since the USA and Canadian navies suffered heavy losses to German submarines.

    It is also a fact that the heavy lifting in WWII was done by Soviet troops, and the fall of the Wehrmacht was due mainly to lack of minerals and fuel to resupply the armoured corps and Luftwaffe. Is their modern army not up to the same standard? Probably. But they have they industrial capabilty and the discipline to get back at it if they WANTED to. But warmongering and stealing resources is left to other powers...
    Quote Originally Posted by Papewaio
    Myth Germany lost because it was arrogant, had a big mouth and didn't have the ability to back it up.

    Amateurs fight shiny metal object vs shiny metal object. Professionals talk logistics.

    Not just the wealth and industrial might to be at war and develop nuclear weapons, nor the industrial might to rebuild an air craft carrier faster than your enemy can conceive it (Midway), the ability to supply both USSR and UK with the materials to fight against an arrogant aggressor and build ships like the liberty.

    Then add to it after the Allies defeated the Axis the industrial might to rebuild the economies from scratch. If you want an object lesson in the intent and capability of the US then compare and contrast what Japan and Germany did to their occupied nations and then compare how Western Germany did vs Eastern Germany.

    Western Germany was so prosperous that unification for them was a scary thing as the debt to bring Eastern Germany up to scratch was massive.

    So lets get real here. WWII Germany was a bunch of bully boy facists who lost most of their great scientists before the war even started. The only awards for logistics that won were best slave and concentration camps and mass graves awards. They started a war, they got trounced and lost all their colonial assets.
    Quote Originally Posted by Myth
    Of course logistics plays a key role, and it is closely related to the issues I pointed out:

    - Not enough steel to manufacture spare parts (this includes trucks which are what makes an army supply go forward)
    - Not enough fuel for not just tanks but also for the non-combat vehicles, so the forward positions were left woefully undersupplied

    So much was the issue that a unit of 50 veteran foot soldiers was ass signed to a single anti-tank cannon (I know the name but can't spell it and not make a jackass of myself since I can't spell in German)

    In any event, your notion that Germany lost because they got arrogant is too linear IMO. It is never this simple, and never this black and white. First of all, Germany was set up for WWII. Poland was committing genocide in Prussia and waving their d**cks at Hitler from across the yard, knowing that they had a secret deal with France and England that they'd back them up if Germany invaded.

    Hitler surrounded the English army on the atlantic coast and could have captured/massacred them. Instead, he let them go, to show a gesture of good faith to Churchill, who then insisted that the war continued.

    Stalin was preparing for war regardless of the German invasion. As such, picking a war with the USSR wasn't Hitler's biggest mistake (as some say) but rather the timing of it and the objectives.

    Thinking they could thwart mighty Russia in 2 months time (dreadfully short summer in those parts) IS arrogant. And not counting in the fact that Russia had dirt paths and taiga for infrastructure also... And the biggest one (after letting all those Brits go to their island kingdom) is throwing so much manpower in capturing Moscow. Amrygroup Center was essentially wasted effort. He should have gone for Stalingrad and get the Caucassian oil fields and the iron and coal mines in the Ural mountains, then entrench for the winter.

    WWII Germany with enough oil, steel and manpower (from occupied Europe. And not all people were opposed to Nazi rule. It sure as hell wasn't teatime and pancakes for the Ukranian folk. Hell, they viewed the German soldiers as LIBERATORS) could keep a firm hold on Europe that the USA would not be able to crack sans nuclear weapons.

    Also, excuse me if I'm wrong, but Germany was actually closer to getting nukes than the USA before it all hit the fan... Regarding occupation - German occupied countries did just fine. The most prosperous countries in Europe now are direct descendants of the HRE (Germany, Austria, Northern Italy) or are Scandinavian. USSR occupation is what made Eastern Germany (as well as Poland, Czheckoslovakia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria) so bad. In fact, this example defeats your own - the German people, when left to freely pursue their industrial and disciplined way of life, can and will build a country that is just awesome.

    Germany lends money out now, the USA borrows money. I think that's pretty obvious. Hence, you can see the value of each economy. The real produced and exported goods and services.

    That the USA supplied airplanes to the USSR and sent ships to help Britain hold out was remarcable. I admire them for that, but it is, after all an entire CONTINENT and all it's industry directed to war manufacturing. But I say again, if Germany didn't have so much on its plate, the USA would really have a hard time projecting power on continental Europe. Imagine D-Day with a well supplied, veteran, entrenched Wehrmacht waiting for you...

    That the USA is a megapower because it can now sustain its economy and mass produce weapons is known. That it has the best power projection in the world currently, is also fact (navy, marines, airforce). But for a country which was left to its own devices on an entire continent I'd rather say this was expected. The industrial might to rebuild France, England and so on is no argument here. Germany was torn inside-out. Entire factories were dismantled and moved to Syberia.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brenus
    Myth: I don’t want to start a debate on History (there is a place in the org for that) but all your facts are absolutely wrong and come from Rightist/revisionist propaganda.
    Germany and its allies (that somehow you forget) lost the war because they were ill prepared for war they initiated and started. All others points (as Stalin preparing a war) are unproved and in fact utterly false. Hitler didn’t want to save the British Army, Hitler, remembering WW1, wanted to secure the flank of his armies, as the French in Lille were still fighting against all odds, and Hitler couldn’t be sure what could come from this. And the battle of Gembloux has proved to the Germans that their tactic could be defeated, so more caution was required.
    And yes, you are wrong. Germany even not approached the atomic power, as their path (Heavy Water) was a Cul de Sac.
    The myth of USSR saved by the USA material: The first defeat in the Eastern Front came even before the USA was pushed in war (Moscow). And in term of tanks, the Soviets ones were much better than the British, French or US of the times. Or German for the matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Myth
    I've actually seen a T55 and I have a colleague who was part of its crew during the mandatory military service era of not so long ago. They were an average tank - not as bad as the French ones, but nowhere near as good as the German ones. But the sheer volume of manufacturing capability and the manpower behind the USSR is waht made that tank into a monster. Having a 5 to 1 numeric advantage would let spearchuckers win vs. so few German tanks.
    So... Let's get it started then! Most of my information on WWII is from history channel/youtube videos/high school and I haven't read a book about it indepth. So i'd like an educational discussion where perhaps I can benefit from the knowledge of more informed scholars.
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  2. #2
    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Hitler surrounded the English army on the atlantic coast and could have captured/massacred them. Instead, he let them go, to show a gesture of good faith to Churchill, who then insisted that the war continued.
    Hitler wasn't trying to give a gesture of good will. He was stalled by the French army who valiantly fought the Germans to a stand still and made sure the British could retreat in good order.

    The fact that the British could retreat was because they still ruled the Channel and at least the fear of their fleet kept the Germans at bay. That the British people helped the British army retreat speaks to how tenacious the people were. An flotilla of small personal boats and yachts helped rescue the men from the beaches.

    One of my great uncles was at both Dunkirk and Normandy. So I've had second hand accounts of it growing up from my mother.
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  3. #3
    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    The most prosperous countries in Europe now are direct descendants of the HRE (Germany, Austria, Northern Italy) or are Scandinavian. USSR occupation is what made Eastern Germany (as well as Poland, Czheckoslovakia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria) so bad. In fact, this example defeats your own - the German people, when left to freely pursue their industrial and disciplined way of life, can and will build a country that is just awesome.
    That prosperity is directly related to the Marshall Plan and the additional billions pumped in pre and post those four years.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marshall_Plan.svg
    Look at this page to see a graph of the money spent and it essentially is a picture of the countries you listed. The soviet bloc did not receive that investment because the investment was to counter communism.

    The rebuilding of Europe was so successful that "By 1952, as the funding ended, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels; for all Marshall Plan recipients, output in 1951 was at least 35% higher than in 1938"

    So it wasn't some sort of übermensch it was simple economics and a desire not to repeat the mistakes post WW I. So post WWII recovery can be directly linked to US investment.
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    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Papewaio View Post
    Hitler wasn't trying to give a gesture of good will. He was stalled by the French army who valiantly fought the Germans to a stand still and made sure the British could retreat in good order.

    The fact that the British could retreat was because they still ruled the Channel and at least the fear of their fleet kept the Germans at bay. That the British people helped the British army retreat speaks to how tenacious the people were. An flotilla of small personal boats and yachts helped rescue the men from the beaches.

    One of my great uncles was at both Dunkirk and Normandy. So I've had second hand accounts of it growing up from my mother.
    I think it was a little of both.

    The attack on Dunkirk was halted for several days. I think, in part because Hitler had never wanted war with the UK and admired them. It was Hitler who ordered the battle halted, and then resumed.

    It is very conflicted. At any rate, the Germans stopped the attack for three days and allowed a defensive perimeter to be established and the evacuation to be organized, allowing something of around 338,000 allied troops to escape. The entire battle lasted 11 days and it was the French defense that allowed the British time to evacuate, as well as that three day pause in the battle. Had the attack been pressed it would have been an even greater disaster for them.


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    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Germany was rebuilt after the war, which was mostly made possible by the US and whoever else paid for the Marshall plan (It's been a while since I did this in school, so I can't remember if it was just US)

    The way WW2 went, Germany could not have won it. There are a lot of reasons for that, one of the biggest was probably that the country wasn't prepared for the war to get as big or last as long as it did.
    Could Germany have won WW2 if WW2 went differently? Who knows? What was Hitler trying to win? What was the idea he had for the country, or empire rather. The better question would probably be whether Germany could have realised his ideas and plans.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    The attack on Dunkirk was halted for several days.” Not really. Goering and Hitler though that the Luftwaffe could do the job. Even today, we have people over-estimating Air-power… And even if the English would have lost the BEF, it was “only” hundreds of thousand soldiers. More important, they lost all the heavy material, which was a blessing as their tanks were under gunned and too slow.

    As the question of the French tanks, they were better than most of the Germans tanks. The German had a better tactic and were trained to be aggressive. They trained for years, when France was very reluctant to go for other slaughter. Unfortunately, the several French Governments (and UK) couldn’t believe that a leader in Europe would go for another one…
    But, the reality is that the Germans answered to the Russian Tanks. The Pz IV was the early answer to the T34 and KV. Then they developed the Panther, then the Tiger. But the T34 evolved as well, and in term of innovation, the T34 with the slope armour and large caterpillars were more ahead than the Germans tanks.
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    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_DnRn9hyFU

    They might've, but it would've required Nazi Germany to act like not-Nazi-Germany.

    The Pz IV was the early answer to the T34 and KV.
    Well, the up-armament projects were the answer, but the Pz 4 was designed before the Germans faced the T-34 and KV.

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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Could Germany have won? Yes. The odds against Germany were pretty steep though.


    With Major Shifts from History
    An easy win would have required several major alterations of history including a war production board aligning Germany's economy for war; a greater emphasis on motorization and logistical transport/tank recovery units; discarding the use of naval surface vessels past those needed for service strictly in the Baltic so as to greatly increase the numbers of submarines and reprovisioning submarines available; a far greater effort to neutralize/conquer Gibraltar and Malta; A greater willingness to turn the panzer spearheads loose without worrying about their flanks so as to multiply the speed/shock impact; and under no circumstances declare war against the USA until after they have declared war on you. Just a few minor things.....


    Without
    Absent major changes from what happened, it is possible, though still a bit unlikely, that Germany might have punched through to Moscow -- with it's attendant destruction of a big slice of Soviet heavy industry and their rail infrastructure -- had the Germans followed the conquest of Smolensk with short operational pause and a direct strike at the Soviet capitol (beginning c. 15 Sep not 2 Oct). Would have been tough going logistically, but might have brought Stalin's regime down and/or shattered the entire front as the rail network went down for everything North of Vorozneh [sic?]. Apparently, Sep/Oct of '41 was the only time the Russians were truly on the brink of an outright collapse. The Caucuses campaign in '42 was hard on the Soviets, but never brought them to the brink of collapse.

    And yes, ultimately, it all hinged on Russia. Had Germany won there it would have been almost impossible for the USA/UK to retake Europe. With Atomic weapons years away -- and some worried it was many years yet at the time -- it is arguable that some form of peace deal could have been made that left Germany in charge of pretty much all of Europe East of the Rhine.
    Last edited by Seamus Fermanagh; 10-02-2013 at 02:39.
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Aside from "everything going right in just the right ways", a few of the more critical changes:

    *Taking Moscow and killing/capturing Stalin (who refused to evacuate, historically)
    *"Liberating" the Western Republics, including Ukraine, and assimilating/accomodating them politically and socially so as to maximize both long-term resource extraction and collaboration while minimizing the partisan threat and thus required security presence and logistical instability
    *Not doing that thing with the Jews and Gypsies, and rather using their patriotism, technical knowledge, and manpower toward the war effort
    *Taking Baku and rapidly restoring at least 10% of production
    *Going HOI3-style and mobilizing the full war-economy from the beginning
    *Keeping Hitler away from Operations
    *Not getting involved in Yugoslavia and Greece; this factor is usually underestimated for its contribution to the ultimate failure of the Eastern Campaign
    *Abandoning the North African campaign from the beginning as a logistical trap

    Oh, and maybe getting Japan heavily involved in Pacific Russia. This would have been militarily and economically ineffectual against the USSR overall, but may just have kept the Japanese busy enough to avert Pearl Harbor.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 10-02-2013 at 17:18.
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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube View Post
    IIRC, Soviet Industry was already on its way east of the Urals by the time the attack on Moscow stalled. Had the Germans taken Moscow and kept the momentum up against the Russians, I think they would still have had to create a defensive line at some point for the winter. Perhaps the allies wind up pumping all their resources into russia from the east, perhaps Japan even manages to make that incredibly difficult for a time, but I think eventually the Germans are still overcome by logistical inequalities. The Nazi's weren't exactly getting the most bang for their buck from occupied land, so unless the Germans drive all the way to the Pacific there's just no way. Eventually they get bogged down in Russia somewhere, and momentum takes over.

    The only way Germany wins is if they somehow avoid war with Russia. It is crazy to think that ideology and an over-abundance of hateful enthusiasm is what doomed the German war-machine. In more rational hands than the Nazis, they may have won control of most of Europe and retained it to this day.
    Soviet industry was on its way east, with some 1500 critical factories (12% of weapons manufacturing) moved East (the Germans trashed/captured over 30k factories of various kinds). While production resumed at the Ural "shadow" facilities as quickly as early December 1941, pre-invasion production levels were not reached until March/April -- and then rapidly surpassed as efforts continued. In terms of material, the window for German victory was the final quarter of 1941.

    Punching through to Moscow, especially if it ended up killing Stalin and/or Beria, would have been a decapitation blow. It is arguable that the Soviets might have sought terms. There are even suggestions that Stalin would actually have evacuated and then sought terms (while building for revenge later). At a minimum, the Soviet counter offensive would have been far more limited as, without the rail nexus of Moscow, rapidly slotting in all of the Eastern forces would have been a far more difficult task.

    Absent the Soviets suing for peace after a catastrophic shock, there was little or no chance for Germany to win. As you rightly said, the logistics/ecomics were not there. Only the last four months of 1941 were a potential window for victory and only if Moscow fell before December, and preferably with a dead Stalin.


    However, I disagree with you as to "avoid war with Russia." Part of the reason for the success of Barbarossa is the extensive forward deployment of Soviet forces and the preponderance of forces south of the Pripyet marshes. A number of writers have argued that, without Barbarossa, Hitler goes to war in mid-1942 to counter the Soviet invasion of Rumania and Bulgaria. In short, the war against Russia was likely inevitable, only the particulars would have been altered.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    If Germany had not declared war on the US post Pearl Harbor could they have won a war in Europe before the US got around to it? Even including a fight with the Soviets.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    If you read RHS Stolfi's Hitler's Panzers East, he makes the argument (quite convincingly) that had not Hitler redirected his armored units south into Ukraine in July/August 1941 and taken Moscow as planned, he could have effectively taken the Soviet Union out of the war. England & the US would have seen Stalin as effectively beaten and would have husbanded their war material instead of shipping it overseas.

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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by boarwild View Post
    If you read RHS Stolfi's Hitler's Panzers East, he makes the argument (quite convincingly) that had not Hitler redirected his armored units south into Ukraine in July/August 1941 and taken Moscow as planned, he could have effectively taken the Soviet Union out of the war. England & the US would have seen Stalin as effectively beaten and would have husbanded their war material instead of shipping it overseas.
    Its a great read. Stolfi acknowledges that it still might have come up a bit short -- the logistics/tank recovery teams might have pulled it off but it would've been close. But Guderian was correct and OKH and Hitler wrong. They needed to have kept up the skeer and didn't. That was the one chance for victory.

    'damascus:
    Had the USA never been involved in Europe aside from the Lend Lease we supplied before the end of 1942, Germany would still have lost. After the last quarter of 1941, The USSR could have beaten them even had England sued for peace. Stalin and Beria were willing to kill 40 million Russians to win -- say what you will about them being monsters, you cannot fault their resolve -- and Germany never had the wherewithal to land a killing blow after the first Winter. Absent the USA and absent Britain, the USSR may not have won until 1949 or 1950, but eventually they would have. Like Gelcube notes above, the economics of the thing meant that anything that didn't result in a decisive win for Germany in the opening year translated as an eventual -- however Pyrrhic -- victory for the CCCP.
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    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    had not Hitler redirected his armored units south into Ukraine in July/August 1941 and taken Moscow as planned, he could have effectively taken the Soviet Union out of the war.
    Not likely. Stolfi never took the time to do the logistical calculations for what the Germans could throw at Moscow in July/August. At best, considering the rail repair and re-gauging time, and a brief halt to regroup after all of the furious Soviet counter-attacks against AGC, the Germans could have mustered about 20-30 divisions according to the Quartermaster General Wagner (and this if the Germans suspended all advances on the other fronts).

    Let me quote you some numbers in the chapter entitled "Russian Roulette" from Martin van Creveld's book called "Supplying War":

    "From the middle of July, the supply situation of Army Group Center was developing signs of schizophrenia. On the one hand Wagner [the Quartermaster General] and Halder [OKH Chief of Staff] were aware of some 'strain', but nevertheless confident of their ability to build up a new supply basis on the Dnieper, from which further operations were to be launched at the end of the month. They appeared not to hear the loud cries of help from the armies. The consumption of ammunition throughout this period was very high, and could be met only-if at all- by means of a drastic curtailment in the supply of fuel and subsistence. 9th Army was fighting around Smolensk, but its nearest railhead was still at Polotsk [a distance of 250 miles]-and this at a time when a basic load of fuel lasted for only 25-30 miles instead of the regulation 65 miles. Around the middle of August, both 9th and 2nd Army were living from hand to mouth, with stocks of ammunition still falling instead of rising in preparation for a new offensive."

    Not a very nice situation to begin a major offensive with a city of over 2 million residents at the end of it. And if the strong forces present in the Kiev district are not eliminated, the Germans now have a very long, exposed flank with the majority of available Soviet armor sitting poised for a counter-attack from the south.

    And of course everyone assumes that if Moscow falls, the Soviets automatically throw in the towel, which certainly isn't the case considering that a large chunk of their weapons and munition producing areas are completely out of reach of the Germans.

    Oh, and this statement sums it all up pretty succinctly considering all the discussion of this type I've been involved with:

    They might've, but it would've required Nazi Germany to act like not-Nazi-Germany.
    Last edited by ReluctantSamurai; 10-03-2013 at 04:12.
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    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    'damascus:
    Had the USA never been involved in Europe aside from the Lend Lease we supplied before the end of 1942, Germany would still have lost. After the last quarter of 1941, The USSR could have beaten them even had England sued for peace. Stalin and Beria were willing to kill 40 million Russians to win -- say what you will about them being monsters, you cannot fault their resolve -- and Germany never had the wherewithal to land a killing blow after the first Winter. Absent the USA and absent Britain, the USSR may not have won until 1949 or 1950, but eventually they would have. Like Gelcube notes above, the economics of the thing meant that anything that didn't result in a decisive win for Germany in the opening year translated as an eventual -- however Pyrrhic -- victory for the CCCP.
    What about nuclear weapons?

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube View Post
    The Soviets were closer to a bomb than the Germans ever were. We still don't know who the mole(s?) in the Manhattan Project was.
    We learned a lot about their penetration of the project post 1991. The answer is that Fuchs and others had the US/UK effort fairly well penetrated. Didn't mean the Russians could just read our mail and create their own nukes overnight, but they did spool it up quickly despite much tougher quality/science base hurdles. And you are right, GC, the Germans --despite a higher science and quality base than the Soviets -- were several steps behind.


    Sp4

    Atomic weapons were, to put it kindly, a craft industry at the time. We might have reached a 10/month production level by mid-1946. Would that have been enough of a "hammer" to force a German surrender? Remember, they had endured 1,000 plane raids and fire-bombing infernos on several occasions during the war and their resolve had not faltered.

    Tactically, the atomic bombs were devastating to whatever they hit, wiping out all structures that were not especially hardened within a 1 mile radius of the blast and doing sever to significant blast damage (and follow on fire) to anything within a 3 mile radius. However, their accuracy was no more pinpoint than any other air-dropped dumb bomb of that era and the deploying plane had to drop the weapon from a height of 30k feet. This limits effective deployment to fairly large, relatively slow moving or stationary targets. Limited counter-force ability, mostly a counter-value weapon (city killer) At the time, the Germans were better than anyone around in developing and using hardened facilities and dispersed production etc. (Albert Speer was effective, the rat). The Heer was as good as anyone in that era at ducking air-operations against its forces and continuing to fight effectively, and -- assuming the war with the CCCP had succeeded -- the Luftwaffe would have been far more capable of defending against the US/UK air forces than it historically was. Allied air superiority was likely, but not the air supremacy that was enjoyed for the a-bomb missions. Effective use of the bombs against active opposition would be decidedly more difficult.

    Finally, there are real questions as to the willingness of public opinion to support a bombing campaign of that nature. Unlike with Japan, there would have been a deluge of pictures available through Sweden and Switzerland that may have swayed public opinion. Sadly, given attitudes at the time, there was less concern over the use of these weapons on "the Japs." Would the same harsh attitude of vengeance have prevailed in employing the weapons against German and other European targets? A somewhat harder question to answer.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    I'm not sure the Germans were viewed in a much better light by the time the war was winding down.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    The answer to this question is in the German Plan. The Plan was to destroy the Russian Armies at the borders, to stop them to retreat and to re-group. Barbarossa failed in this aspect, so the all concept of the Victory for Germany, swift and decisive failed. All the later offensives were just a hope that a new push will finally destroy the Red Army.

    Pz 4 was designed before the Germans faced the T-34 and KV.” : “Work on the Panzer IV began in 1934 when Rheinmettal-Borsig, Krupp and MAN each produced a design under the codename Bataillonsführerwagen (battalion commander’s vehicle), or BW. The Krupp design (VK2001/K) won the design contest, although the original six-wheeled interleaved suspension was eventually replaced by an eight wheeled leaf-spring double bogie system. The resulting tank closely resembled the Panzer III – the Panzer IV Ausf A was actually shorter than the Panzer III Ausf A, although it was wider and taller. By the time the Panzer III design settled down with the Ausf E the Panzer IV was longer and taller, but the same width. What it did have was a bigger turret ring, which would later allow it to carry heavier guns than the Panzer III.”
    From Http://www.historyofwar.org/articles...panzer_IV.html

    You are technically right. However the 75 mm long barrel was an answer to the T34/KV. And the PZ V "Panther" was still an answer to the T34.
    Last edited by Brenus; 10-04-2013 at 21:32.
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    "Yeah, lad. But I was holding the metal"
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenus View Post
    ...You are technically right. However the 75 mm long barrel was an answer to the T34/KV. And the PZ V "Panther" was still an answer to the T34.
    Quite right.

    The Germans, however, really should have shifted away from the IV in favor of alternate format III's (a more successful chassis) and the V. As it was, they kept upgrading the IV. Easy to say in hindsight of course.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    The V had a lot of mechanical flaws, as gearbox and turret motor weak. Crews had trouble with the caterpillars and it was a hell of work for maintenance and repair.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire.

    "I've been in few famous last stands, lad, and they're butcher shops. That's what Blouse's leading you into, mark my words. What'll you lot do then? We've had a few scuffles, but that's not war. Think you'll be man enough to stand, when the metal meets the meat?"
    "You did, sarge", said Polly." You said you were in few last stands."
    "Yeah, lad. But I was holding the metal"
    Sergeant Major Jackrum 10th Light Foot Infantery Regiment "Inns-and-Out"

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenus View Post
    The V had a lot of mechanical flaws, as gearbox and turret motor weak. Crews had trouble with the caterpillars and it was a hell of work for maintenance and repair.
    Emphatically true of the Ausf D, but significantly less so by the time Ausf G was rolled out. Admittedly the last gear of the final drive was still more prone to failure than it should have been which is why they planned on using the drive from the Tiger II in later iterations of the Panther. Turret rotation speed was slow compared to the M4 with its electrical assist and slightly slower than the t-34 series, but was comparable to all the other AFVs then extant. Apparently the Tiger I was the slowest. Sadly for their maintenance crews, most German AFV's were more labor intensive to maintain than their Allied counterparts.

    Apparently, [/insert cheesy Mecklenburg accent] "I want solid repairs -- no short-cuts!" [/cheesy accent] was inevitable for the Germans.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

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  22. #22

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    They seldom do in board gaming either - http://axisandalliesworldclub.net/MatchLog.asp

    So far in October the allies have a commanding 99 to 61 lead over the axis.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Germany could have won the war up to and including the battle of Kursk had the military leadership been given the operational flexibility to maneuver and react to battlefield conditions. The Soviets were never as strong as their numbers implied, and Allied performance in North Africa, Normandy, Italy, Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge strongly suggests that they would not have fared well against first-line German military units; the vast majority of which were in Russia throughout the war. That's not to say that had Hitler not constantly stymied his generals, Germany would have mopped up the Allies with little issue. The likelihood of success that late in the game would be slim, but I can envision a path to victory via large scale envelopments of Soviet spearheads such as those executed during the 2nd and 3rd Battles of Kharkov. The Russian manpower/supply situation was not endless, and I do not believe they could have sustained another season of enormous losses any more than the German forces could after Bagration. If Stalin could have been made to sue for peace or effectively marginalized - which, again, I believe would have been possible but not likely in '43 - the Allies would have been cake.
    Last edited by PanzerJaeger; 10-10-2013 at 04:28.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Germany could have won the war up to and including the battle of Kursk
    If Stalin could have been made to sue for peace or effectively marginalized - which, again, I believe would have been possible but not likely in '43
    The best Germany could ever hope for by Kursk, was a stalemate. I would like to see some sort of plan that even remotely gives them a chance to win, by that time......

    Allied performance in North Africa, Normandy, Italy, Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge strongly suggests that they would not have fared well against first-line German military units
    A rather harsh and decidedly untrue statement. The Eastern Front, while it certainly attracted a much higher total number of German units, doesn't automatically qualify that theatre of operations as having the 'vast majority' of first-line units.
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    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    On the western front post D-Day it was mostly green troops (in fact often too old or too young to boot) or unhappy conscripts from occupied countries that the allies faced.
    This can only be said of the static coastal defense units. Without delving too far into OOB's, here's a few units that fought in Western Europe during the summer of 1944:

    1st SS Panzer Corps, which consisted of the 1st SS Panzer Division, the 12th SS Hitlerjugend, and the 17th SS Panzergrenadier
    Panzer Lehr Division
    2d Panzer Division
    21 Panzer Division
    1st SS Panzer Division Liebstandarte
    2d SS Panzer Division Das Reich
    9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen
    10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
    II Fallschirm Corps containing the 3d & 5th Fallschirm Divisions
    schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 and schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 (both with a mix of Tiger I's and King Tiger's)

    ......and the list goes on. If you have any kind of access to OOB/TO&E lists (like Nafziger), you'll quickly see that most of those divisions just mentioned were elite or highly rated German units. One could do a listing for infantry units and find a number of highly rated units, as well. So the notion that the Allies in Western Europe fought the dregs at the bottom of the German manpower barrel is a myth.

    I think that's irrelevant compared to the air power and artillery advantages the Allies had from D-Day on though.
    And yet in one of the most famous armored battles between the Western Allies and Germany (Arracourt), which was fought entirely in the fog and rain (hence no air support whatsoever for the Allies, ended in a major defeat for the Germans. One could also point to the Ardennes Offensive in Dec 1944-Jan 1945 as another battle fought largely without air support for the Allies, yet resulted in another major defeat for the Germans despite the element of nearly complete surprise and the presence of two elite Panzer Armies in the 5th and 6th, along with a who-is-who list of German generals. Bastogne grabs all of the highlights and glory, but the defense of St. Vith was just as crucial to stopping the German advance and was a brilliant piece of tactics by Brigadier General Robert W. Hasbrouck who fought with a patchwork of units from several different US divisions against major elements of 6th Panzer Army.
    Last edited by ReluctantSamurai; 10-10-2013 at 12:03.
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerJaeger View Post
    Germany could have won the war up to and including the battle of Kursk had the military leadership been given the operational flexibility to maneuver and react to battlefield conditions. The Soviets were never as strong as their numbers implied, and Allied performance in North Africa, Normandy, Italy, Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge strongly suggests that they would not have fared well against first-line German military units; the vast majority of which were in Russia throughout the war. That's not to say that had Hitler not constantly stymied his generals, Germany would have mopped up the Allies with little issue. The likelihood of success that late in the game would be slim, but I can envision a path to victory via large scale envelopments of Soviet spearheads such as those executed during the 2nd and 3rd Battles of Kharkov. The Russian manpower/supply situation was not endless, and I do not believe they could have sustained another season of enormous losses any more than the German forces could after Bagration. If Stalin could have been made to sue for peace or effectively marginalized - which, again, I believe would have been possible but not likely in '43 - the Allies would have been cake.
    It is a certainty that, by 1943 if not earlier, Hitler was far more debilitating to German war efforts and there is no doubt that Germany's performance could have been more effective absent his "leadership." So, I suppose Citadel (or something at about the same time frame) succeeding might have engendered enough casualty through encirclement that Stalin asked for a cease-fire (might have been labeled peace but would have only been a cease fire for rebuilding in practice). I really doubt it though. The numbers simply do not line up.

    It is possible that I am overestimating Soviet abilities and will for the 1942 season. I don't think that campaign ever carried the potential for a kill blow as did the one in 1941, but I can understand how you make that argument. With Hitler NOT involved beyond the grand strategic level and with Speer active before 1943, it is certain that Germany would have been more dangerous.

    I believe that you are both correct and wrong as to the manpower situation though. Postwar analysis reveals that approximately 1 in every 7 Soviets died during the conflict. Russia's population and growth numbers have literally never recovered from that calamity. By any rational measure, you are therefore correct that the Sovs were far closer to the "bottom of the barrel" on manpower than they seemed to be at the time. On the other hand, Stalin was at the helm. He truly had a Total War Game Series AI view of his own casualties and, I believe, had it required 1 in every 4 Russians/Soviets, that Stalin would still have prosecuted the war in much the same fashion. In other words, he would not have reacted rationally to the casualties level as we of the West would define rational.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    I almost don't trust Stephen Ambrose anymore even though I'm sure most of his stuff is right.

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  28. #28
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Many so-called SS units in the west were shells of their former selves, nowhere near full stregth and often filled with unwilling conscripts from places like Romania, Poland, or even Russia. Stephen Ambrose goes on at length about this in his book Citizen Soldiers, which I'll dig up later.
    I'll save you the trouble...and Ambrose is one of the worst sources you could possibly use:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_E._Ambrose

    Beginning late in his life and continuing after his death, however, evidence and reports have continued to surface documenting longtime patterns of plagiarism, falsification, and inaccuracies in many of his published writings and other work.
    http://www.forbes.com/2002/01/09/0109ambrose.html

    In his World War II book Citizen Soldiers, Ambrose clearly acknowledges his debt to Beyond the Beachhead, which was published by Stackpole Books . “I also stole material profitably if shamelessly” from Balkoski’s book and from that of another historian, Ambrose writes in an author’s note. He also cites Balkoski in the text–but the relevant passages tend to borrow Balkoski’s words freely without using quote marks.
    Read the rest of the article for a sample of Ambrose's plagiarism and "artful" twisting of another authors' material....

    So ok, I'll give you the OOB for the two SS Panzer Divisions of 1st SS Panzer Corps as of 6 June 1944: (from Niehorster---http://niehorster.orbat.com/000_admin/000oob.htm)

    1st SS Panzer Division

    42 operational PzIVH with 8 in repair shops
    38 operational Panthers with 0 in repair shops
    53 operational StuG IIIG's

    Artillery: 18) 10.5cm---16) 15cm---6) Wespe 10.5cm SPG---6) Hummel 15cm SPG---10) 15cm NbW rocket launchers

    12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend

    91 operational PzIVH with 7 in repair shops
    48 operational Panther's with 2 in repair shops
    3) Marder 7.5 cm SPATG
    10) JgPzIV 7.5 cm SPATG

    Artillery: 18) 10.5cm---16) 15cm---12) Wespe 10.5cm SPG---6) Hummel 15cm SPG---12) FlaK 88 ATG's---8) FlaK 37 ATG

    Do these units look like "shells of their former selves, nowhere near full strength"? Hardly. I won't bore anyone else with details of other units....you can look that stuff up at Niehorster

    I also find it interesting that the first deployment of the King Tiger came not on the Eastern Front, but with schwere Abteilung 503 in Normandy.

    And this:

    often filled with unwilling conscripts from places like Romania, Poland, or even Russia.
    For the vast majority of SS units (especially the older elite units like the LAH, Das Reich, Totenkopf, etc) this sort of thing was not permitted. One simply did not pollute pure Aryan blood with riff-raff

    But somehow I don't believe I'm going to have any luck convincing you that many of the units that fought in Western Europe were of good quality (often times elite) with good equipment and good leadership. It's hard to break folks of the myth that the Western Allies won their part of the war on airpower and artillery alone, along with unlimited resources

    And speaking of overwhelming firepower via artillery and airplanes...why do we never have this type of discussion about the Soviets? Just do a little reading into OOB's for Soviet offensives starting with Uranus. It's simply astounding that any German could survive a Soviet artillery bombardment at the opening of an offensive considering the ungodly tonnage of TNT applied........
    Last edited by ReluctantSamurai; 10-10-2013 at 23:36.
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    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    logistics and fire support made the difference in the west.
    Aye, that it did. And thankfully, perhaps for me, it made the difference in the PTO, as well.....my father fought with the 40th US Army Division, and if the US had to use more manpower in lieu of firepower......well, I might not be here having this discussion
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Could Germany have won WWII?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReluctantSamurai View Post
    The best Germany could ever hope for by Kursk, was a stalemate. I would like to see some sort of plan that even remotely gives them a chance to win, by that time......
    As I previously stated, both the Russian and German armies were exhausted by '43. The Russians had more men in uniform, but the military's ability to recover from the kinds of massive losses experienced in the previous two fighting seasons had largely reached its limit. (This can be seen in the difficultly Russia had replenishing its losses after Kursk as compared to the quick rebound between '41-'42, which contributed to their inability to fully exploit the counteroffensives conducted after the battle and the relatively static nature of the Eastern Front until Bagration.) I believe a large scale envelopment (or several smaller scale ones) could have destroyed not only the offensive capabilities of the Red Army but also Stalin's will to continue the fight. In contrast to the myth, the man certainly did not have a "steel" constitution, and it is conceivable that, facing a major reversal, he would have sued for peace.

    The Germans mustered a very powerful force for Kursk, one capable of taking the fight back to the gates of Moscow under the unrestrained leadership of Manstein and Model and with a bit of luck. It was unfortunate, or I suppose fortunate, that it was thrown against a brick wall specifically crafted to destroy it. As I stated, the Germans demonstrated the ability to outmaneuver and defeat much larger Soviet formations late into the war (Kharkov) and even well after Kursk (Iasi Offensive). Neither Model nor Manstein wanted any part of the highly predictable, frontal attack that Hitler approved for Kursk, preferring to allow the Soviets to attack first and defeat them through maneuver and envelopment, which would have played to the German forces' strengths. Given the Soviet's propensity for over extension of their forces, a "backhand" operation could have achieved the kind of envelopment necessary to remove entire Soviet armies from the game.

    Essentially, the situation at the front was far more tenuous than is often implied through the numbers, which do not take into account combat effectiveness. I certainly do not think it would have been likely, but it is possible that the Germans could have delivered a powerful enough blow to reverse the fundamental calculus dictating the course of events on the Eastern Front. They had the forces and leadership in place to do so.

    A rather harsh and decidedly untrue statement. The Eastern Front, while it certainly attracted a much higher total number of German units, doesn't automatically qualify that theatre of operations as having the 'vast majority' of first-line units.
    Allied performance speaks for itself - while consistently overmanned and oversupplied, they also consistently underperformed as compared to their Russian and German counterparts. They lacked a sense of strategic and/or tactical urgency, consistently failing to take advantage of their material superiority or their enemy’s weakness.

    Take the Battle of the Bulge for example. The Allies were at the height of the operational capabilities in manpower, material, and experience while the Germans’ capabilities had been eroded to a great degree; many of the units taking part – once arguably the best in the world – were shadows of their former selves, brought up to full strength with Volkssturm and other conscript units. And yet, when the German assault exhausted the resources necessary to keep moving forward, the infighting and confusion/lack of situational awareness that characterized Allied operations throughout the war prevented a decisive response and the vast majority of German forces were simply allowed to withdraw back to their starting lines (and give the Seventh Army quite the mauling in the process). Allowing such a large, weak, and exposed enemy salient to simply evaporate at its own pace without even an attempt at envelopment would have been unthinkable on the Eastern Front, where commanders on both sides would have recognized the need to act without haste to take advantage of the situation.

    And speaking of The Bulge, I have a few issues with your characterization:

    One could also point to the Ardennes Offensive in Dec 1944-Jan 1945 as another battle fought largely without air support for the Allies, yet resulted in another major defeat for the Germans despite the element of nearly complete surprise and the presence of two elite Panzer Armies in the 5th and 6th, along with a who-is-who list of German generals. Bastogne grabs all of the highlights and glory, but the defense of St. Vith was just as crucial to stopping the German advance and was a brilliant piece of tactics by Brigadier General Robert W. Hasbrouck who fought with a patchwork of units from several different US divisions against major elements of 6th Panzer Army.
    a) Not to discount the efforts of the Allied soldiers – they fought hard and did delay the German timetable to some extent – but the offensive ground to a halt due to fuel and ammunition shortages and an inability for supply lines to keep up with the spearheads, as the German commanders predicted.

    b) “Largely without air support” is incorrect. The offensive began on December 16 and the battle lasted until January 25; by December 23 Allied air power was again fully operational. So the Allies operated without air support for roughly one week out of a six week engagement, a period in which they were shattered and thrown back in disarray.

    c) Calling any German unit that participated in the Bulge “elite” is a bit of a stretch. There were some elite banners carried into battle, but those units truly were shells of their former selves at that point. While the Germans were quite resourceful in quickly building surprisingly competent divisions from scratch through the clever distribution of battle hardened veterans in key positions, an ever increasing number of corners had to be cut by that stage of the war to meet the offensive's start date. I can detail the lack of training, use of Volks personnel to augment depleted units, deficit of fuel and supplies, etc. if you like. Such conditions were present throughout the German force, even in 1SS, Hitler’s namesake unit.
    Last edited by PanzerJaeger; 10-12-2013 at 07:16.

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