Best Army Commander of the WW2 Allies - Page 10




View Poll Results :Which Allied General/Field Marshall Outshone the Rest??
Field Marshal Bernard Law Viscount Montgomery (United Kingdom) 5 13.16%
General George Smith Patton (United States of America) 14 36.84%
Marshal of Soviet Union Georgii K. Zhukov (Soviet Union) 9 23.68%
Field Marshal Gustaf Mannerheim (Finland) 2 5.26%
General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower (United States of America) 8 21.05%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

 
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January 17th, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Dopp, both Hitler and Stalin were central to their nations' victories and defeats. Both enforced stupid policies -- like killing your soldiers if they retreated and such.

Zhukov was willing to play by Stalin's rules, so we might assume we are able to blame some of his wastefulness on Stalin himself. When we take a closer look, we find Zhukov doing it of his own accord. That comes down as a bad mark on him.

Zhukov was brilliant when things went as planned. He was relentlessly one-tracked in his thinking and often refused to adjust to unexpected changes.
January 18th, 2005  
serbianpower
 
[quote="godofthunder9010"]Dopp, both Hitler and Stalin were central to their nations' victories and defeats. Both enforced stupid policies -- like killing your soldiers if they retreated and such.

Zhukov was willing to play by Stalin's rules, so we might assume we are able to blame some of his wastefulness on Stalin himself. When we take a closer look, we find Zhukov doing it of his own accord. That comes down as a bad mark on him.

Zhukov was brilliant when things went as planned. He was relentlessly one-tracked in his thinking and often refused to adjust to unexpected changes.[/quot

I can agree about everythig you said. zhukov`s lack of operational and practical flexibility is why I would not vote for him.
the finn, manerheim was not allied comander.
patton was good soldier but probably crazy and rasist.
monty was arogant, egoist...
I vote for eisennhower. I am not sayng that he was extraordinary tactician, but his ability to chose right people to work with and give them practical freedom in the field, deal with generals personal conflicts(patton- monty), and detailed planing is realy something. that is kind of comander I like.

if I would have to vote for most important army comander in ww2 I would say zhukov with no doubts.
January 18th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi Fellas.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

It wasn't necessary to completely destroy the Red Army in 1941, although the Germans had a good stab at it. The Red Army suffered more casualties in 6 months than any army in history but Moscow was the key to victory. Cut off the head of the snake and the body dies. Thus, by capturing Moscow, the Wehrmacht in effect would have beheaded much of the command and control and logistical centre of the USSR, as well as a good deal of the political apparatus.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

I think the world of 'what ifs'' was pretty well explained by Clarke.
The Germans taking all the right options, and the Russians just keep taking the wrong ones.
Seems unfair to me.

Anyway, in this 'what if' say that Guderian was given his head and made for Moscow.
Does it follow that he, and army group center would have without a doubt taken Moscow?

But lets say he got there with his Panzer army, then what?
Quickly take the city?

I dont think the Russians would give up without a fight, do you?

A pretty good army, the 6th, [quoted by Hitler talking to Von Paulis ''with an army like yours you could storm the heavens''] made a pigs ear of ''taking'' Stalingrad, didn't they,
and this was against what you said was ''a desperate Soviet defense''
In my ''What if'' is it not even slightly possible that Moscow could have turned into another Stalingrad, or even worse, another Verdun?

And another thing, on 23/8/'41 when Guderian met hitler and failed to persuede him to attack Moscow, he pleaded with Hitler, as he stated 'not to split my Panzer group as was intended but to committ the whole group to the operation'.

Clarke asks to what extent this decision to make the whole panzer group march south instead of husbanding some of the divisions to rest at the center, was responsible for the failure of the attack on Moscow when finally it was launched is hard to determine.

Halders view was that it was a bribe by Hitler to induce Guderian to acquiesce in the plan.


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Ashes, surely you know the key man for defeating the Germans in Russia was paradoxically Hitler, rather than any Soviet personage. And I'd even say that Stalin had a bigger impact than Zhukov. Stalin's stirring speech on October 7th, 1941 had a tremendous impact on Soviet morale and stiffened resolve and the will to resist of the ordinary Soviet citizen. Stalin was a tyrant and a sadist but he played a big part in the survival of his nation.

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If you mean by Hitler invading Russia in the first place, I entirely agree.

If, on the other hand, you mean Hitler interfering in the campaign, well, I refer you back to Clarke.

Stalin interfered, and was a millstone around the Russian armys neck, every bit as much as Hitler was to the German army.

And I find it hard to believe you're serious when you say that Stalin's stirring speech had more impact then Zhukov's efforts in Barbarossa.

Your not pulling my leg are you?

Do you think that without that speech the Russians were going to roll over and give up?
Or without Churchills speeches Britain would give up?

Dont think i've ever heard or read a politician's speech that ''stirred'' me.
And that includes Johnny Howard, George W, or Blair.

All Stalin did, especially early in the war, was almost bring Russia down, so much so that it seemed he was helping the Wehrmacht more then Russia.

The one thing Stalin did right was to put Zhukov in command.

Just in time.


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

You still haven't provided any evidence as to why Zhukov was as great as you claim. Can you even convince me that he was better than Marshall Konev?
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________


{Probably not, given your apparent disdain for Zhukov, [although i've never really claimed that he was "great" so much as extremely important, and the first commander to turn Russias fortunes around.}

{I think we're starting to go around in circles here, but I refer you to my first post on this thread}

If that doesn't convince you, I guess i've failed.

All kind of reasons [ or excuses ] can be attributed to Germany's defeat by Russia, but brilliant commander or just a dill, Zhukov was in place at the decisive battles of the 20th century, perhaps the most decisive of all time, and if he was'nt there just because of his good looks [lol] in my book at least, he was the right man at the right time.
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January 18th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Hi Fellas.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

It wasn't necessary to completely destroy the Red Army in 1941, although the Germans had a good stab at it. The Red Army suffered more casualties in 6 months than any army in history but Moscow was the key to victory. Cut off the head of the snake and the body dies. Thus, by capturing Moscow, the Wehrmacht in effect would have beheaded much of the command and control and logistical centre of the USSR, as well as a good deal of the political apparatus.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

I think the world of 'what ifs'' was pretty well explained by Clarke.
The Germans taking all the right options, and the Russians just keep taking the wrong ones.
Seems unfair to me.

Anyway, in this 'what if' say that Guderian was given his head and made for Moscow.
Does it follow that he, and army group center would have without a doubt taken Moscow?

But lets say he got there with his Panzer army, then what?
Quickly take the city?

I dont think the Russians would give up without a fight, do you?

A pretty good army, the 6th, [quoted by Hitler talking to Von Paulis ''with an army like yours you could storm the heavens''] made a pigs ear of ''taking'' Stalingrad, didn't they,
and this was against what you said was ''a desperate Soviet defense''
In my ''What if'' is it not even slightly possible that Moscow could have turned into another Stalingrad, or even worse, another Verdun?

And another thing, on 23/8/'41 when Guderian met hitler and failed to persuede him to attack Moscow, he pleaded with Hitler, as he stated 'not to split my Panzer group as was intended but to committ the whole group to the operation'.

Clarke asks to what extent this decision to make the whole panzer group march south instead of husbanding some of the divisions to rest at the center, was responsible for the failure of the attack on Moscow when finally it was launched is hard to determine.

Halders view was that it was a bribe by Hitler to induce Guderian to acquiesce in the plan.
Hi Ashes. Good to cross swords again. I just wanted to say that you appear very dependant on one source of information. In my experience it is better to get information from several sources and then weigh it up.

Firstly as you may know by now it's my opinion that Barbarossa was launched 6 weeks or so too late. Because of that fact, it was imperative that Moscow be taken as quickly as possible to secure the city before the onset of winter. Any delay, such as a diversion to take the Ukraine was fatal.

It is possible that Moscow could have been another Stalingrad although I don't think it would have transpired that way. You see, there wasn't the same volume of Soviet forces around Moscow that there was around Stalingrad towards November and December '42. However, I can't rule out a desperate fight to take and hold the city from either side.

Don't you think Guderian knew what he was doing when he pleaded with Hitler to strike for Moscow and keep his Panzer Army intact? We are talking about the man who created the Panzerwaffen in the first place. Don't you think he had a better idea than Hitler, or Clarke for that matter, what the best option for his Panzer Army was? Trying to assume you know better than Guderian about armored warfare is like your average physics teacher trying to tell Albert Einstein about quantum physics. Would you honestly take Halder's view over Guderian's?

6th Army was the most powerful German Army in the field in 1942. However, by the time it started to drive towards Stalingrad Hitler was essentially calling most of the shots in OKH. 6th Army actually had the chance to take Stalingrad virtually unopposed in August, but Hitler wanted to secure the Caucasus oil fields first. Had Hitler listened to his Generals who stated that whoever holds Stalingrad holds the Caucasus then who knows what might have happened. You say it made a 'pigs ear' of taking the city but truth is, from October '42 until January '43 this 'pigs ear' of an Army tied up no less than 61 Soviet formations. 'Pigs ear' you say yet look at the casualty rates 6th Army inflicted upon the the Red Army notwithstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Ashes, surely you know the key man for defeating the Germans in Russia was paradoxically Hitler, rather than any Soviet personage. And I'd even say that Stalin had a bigger impact than Zhukov. Stalin's stirring speech on October 7th, 1941 had a tremendous impact on Soviet morale and stiffened resolve and the will to resist of the ordinary Soviet citizen. Stalin was a tyrant and a sadist but he played a big part in the survival of his nation.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

If you mean by Hitler invading Russia in the first place, I entirely agree.

If, on the other hand, you mean Hitler interfering in the campaign, well, I refer you back to Clarke.

Stalin interfered, and was a millstone around the Russian armys neck, every bit as much as Hitler was to the German army.

And I find it hard to believe you're serious when you say that Stalin's stirring speech had more impact then Zhukov's efforts in Barbarossa.

Your not pulling my leg are you?

Do you think that without that speech the Russians were going to roll over and give up?
Or without Churchills speeches Britain would give up?

Dont think i've ever heard or read a politician's speech that ''stirred'' me.
And that includes Johnny Howard, George W, or Blair.

All Stalin did, especially early in the war, was almost bring Russia down, so much so that it seemed he was helping the Wehrmacht more then Russia.

The one thing Stalin did right was to put Zhukov in command.

Just in time.
Stalin was gravely at error for discounting the overwhelming intelligence presented to him about the imminent attack of Germany. Aside from that, what else could he have done in 1941 after the war had started?

Also, if you are not in the situation of the average Soviet citizen in 1941, knowing that a mighty, seemingly unstoppable army is rolling relentlessly towards your home, how can you possibly tell how much a speech by your leader might stir you? You and I have both never been in the path of an invading army that seems unstoppable (at least I hope you haven't). Don't underestimate the impact of propaganda, especially in that time when media coverage and information was far less widely available than it is today.

Ok. I don't think you can seriously argue that in WW2 Stalin was as much a millstone around the Red Army's neck as Hitler was to the Wehrmacht. This is simply not true and I'm sure you know that Stalin allowed his Marshalls to generally fight the war, especially from 1943 onwards. Conversely, Hitler went the other way and insisted on micro-managing the whole campaign after mid 1942 and history shows what happened. The Wehrmacht, aside from flashes of brilliance demonstrated by von Manstein, was not the same fighting force as a result.

By all accounts there was a sense of panic gripping the entire USSR in 1941. Stalin seriously considered moving from Moscow at one stage. So his speech on October 7th '41 was vital and proved critical in bolstering the morale of the average Soviet citizen. I have no trouble in believing that the Soviet soldier generally had no such need of any bolster to fight and die for his country. I've already stated several times how incredibly brave and stubborn the average Red Army soldier was. But for the non-combatant; the farmer, the factory worker, the housewife there was a real need for Stalin to show true leadership and this he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

You still haven't provided any evidence as to why Zhukov was as great as you claim. Can you even convince me that he was better than Marshall Konev?
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________


{Probably not, given your apparent disdain for Zhukov, [although i've never really claimed that he was "great" so much as extremely important, and the first commander to turn Russias fortunes around.}

{I think we're starting to go around in circles here, but I refer you to my first post on this thread}

If that doesn't convince you, I guess i've failed.

All kind of reasons [ or excuses ] can be attributed to Germany's defeat by Russia, but brilliant commander or just a dill, Zhukov was in place at the decisive battles of the 20th century, perhaps the most decisive of all time, and if he was'nt there just because of his good looks [lol] in my book at least, he was the right man at the right time.
I don't have any disdain for Zhukov. Just because I dispute his standing and legacy doesn't mean to say that I don't have a good opinion of him. Hell, I've stated several times during the course of this discussion that I thought he was a very fine commander - how is this showing disdain? I'm not one to blindly believe what I read without doing some checks of my own though. Once I did this, I discovered that Zhukov's greatness was not all that it was cracked up to be. I mean, if I just believed what I read/heard without question I'd still believe that Rommel was the best German commander of WW2.

I'd still like you to:

1. Counter my argument about the fact that at the Battle of Moscow victory for the Soviets in the winter counteroffensive was foregone because of the state of their respective forces.

2. Acknowledge that Operation Mars was fully a Zhukov disaster and that this should have an impact on his overall reputation. Hardly anyone outside having a specific interest in this subject knows anything about it. You do, yet you seem to act like it doesn't matter.

3. Explain to me why Zhukov is so much better than Konev. I believe he is better but not that much better. Konev isn't so far behind.

You're coming across as biased towards the Soviets in general and Zhukov in particular. Prove me otherwise.
January 18th, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
I concur with the point about expectations and hype. Zhukov is made out to be so great and wonderful that "nobody was skilled enough to stop the Germans but Zhukov." As you learn more, you tend to become disillusioned.

That doesn't mean that he wasn't a good commander.
January 23rd, 2005  
Ashes
 
Sorry i'm late again, Cricket commitments.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Hi Ashes. Good to cross swords again. I just wanted to say that you appear very dependant on one source of information. In my experience it is better to get information from several sources and then weigh it up.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Yep, good to pick up the cudgel again.

Do you mean Glantz or Clarke?
If you mean Clarke, he's a great conduit to many other sources, he backs his arguments up with about 460 notes from, among others, Bayerlein, 'with the Panzers in Russia''. Bormann, 'the Bormann letters'. Chuikov, 'beginning of the road'. Churchill, 'second world war' Cianos, 'diaries' Goebbels 'diaries' Guderian, 'Panzer leader' Halder, 'diaries' Hitler, 'table talk' Liddell Hart, 'the other side of the hill' Manstein, 'Memoirs' Trevor Roper, 'the last days of Hitler.'and dozens more.

Also, like you I suppose, i've read mountains of books, articles, magazines and watched enough doco's on the history channel, plus Cricket of course, to give me square eyes.



__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Firstly as you may know by now it's my opinion that Barbarossa was launched 6 weeks or so too late. Because of that fact, it was imperative that Moscow be taken as quickly as possible to secure the city before the onset of winter. Any delay, such as a diversion to take the Ukraine was fatal.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I agree.
It was a mistake.
Thank God for Mussolini and the Greeks, ANZACS, Brits, and General Boris Mirkovic of the Yugoslavian air force, for leading the coup in Yugoslavia.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Don't you think Guderian knew what he was doing when he pleaded with Hitler to strike for Moscow and keep his Panzer Army intact? We are talking about the man who created the Panzerwaffen in the first place. Don't you think he had a better idea than Hitler, or Clarke for that matter, what the best option for his Panzer Army was? Trying to assume you know better than Guderian about armored warfare is like your average physics teacher trying to tell Albert Einstein about quantum physics. Would you honestly take Halder's view over Guderian's? __________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I think you've misunderstood me there, perhaps I didn't explain too well..

I didn't mean split Guderians forces for the attack on Moscow, I meant for the attack South.
By all accounts the whole of Guderians Panzer army wouldn't be needed for the operation, and OKH wanted to overhaul some units and rest the crews for Moscow, but Guderian didn't want any of his Gruppe to be taken from his command.

Clarke asks to what extent this decision to make the whole panzer group march south instead of husbanding some of the divisions to rest at the center, was responsible for the failure of the attack on Moscow when finally it was launched, is hard to determine.

And I didn't realise it was off limits for anyone to question Guderian on any of his tactics or decisions, he was good, but not infallible.



__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

6th Army was the most powerful German Army in the field in 1942. However, by the time it started to drive towards Stalingrad Hitler was essentially calling most of the shots in OKH. 6th Army actually had the chance to take Stalingrad virtually unopposed in August, but Hitler wanted to secure the Caucasus oil fields first. Had Hitler listened to his Generals who stated that whoever holds Stalingrad holds the Caucasus then who knows what might have happened. You say it made a 'pigs ear' of taking the city but truth is, from October '42 until January '43 this 'pigs ear' of an Army tied up no less than 61 Soviet formations. 'Pigs ear' you say yet look at the casualty rates 6th Army inflicted upon the the Red Army notwithstanding.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I'm afraid you're misinterpreting my words here, I never said that it was a "pigs ear" of an army, or that it didn't inflict heavy casualties on the Russians, but that it failed in it's objective, which was to capture Stalingrad.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Stalin was gravely at error for discounting the overwhelming intelligence presented to him about the imminent attack of Germany.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Well, would'nt you agree that his failure to do so was possibly one of the gravest errors made by either leader throughout the entire campaign?
His failure to believe his own intelligence, and not even bothering to pass it on as a warning to his front commanders,of the date, time and whereabouts of the German attack, was an act of criminal stupidity, and just one of many mistakes that almost ruined Russia.


__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

Aside from that, what else could he have done in 1941 after the war had started?
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

As i've stated before, put Zhukov in command, and let him run the show.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Also, if you are not in the situation of the average Soviet citizen in 1941, knowing that a mighty, seemingly unstoppable army is rolling relentlessly towards your home, how can you possibly tell how much a speech by your leader might stir you? You and I have both never been in the path of an invading army that seems unstoppable (at least I hope you haven't).


By all accounts there was a sense of panic gripping the entire USSR in 1941. Stalin seriously considered moving from Moscow at one stage. So his speech on October 7th '41 was vital and proved critical in bolstering the morale of the average Soviet citizen. I have no trouble in believing that the Soviet soldier generally had no such need of any bolster to fight and die for his country. I've already stated several times how incredibly brave and stubborn the average Red Army soldier was. But for the non-combatant; the farmer, the factory worker, the housewife there was a real need for Stalin to show true leadership and this he did.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

He was virtually a nervous wreck on the verge of skedaddling, don't know who, or what, gave him a bit of backbone, that he decided to stay a bit longer.

As you point out, the Russian soldier was fighting and dying in their tens of thousands for the Mother country well before his speech, so they needed no exulting.

As for the farmer, factory worker and housewife, how many Germans were they going to kill?

The factory workers were working their butts off, many behind the Urals in primitive conditions.

Morale is important of course, but it amounts to nothing if pathetic commanders in the field are making the wrong decisions and you're being overrun and slaughtered.



__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Ok. I don't think you can seriously argue that in WW2 Stalin was as much a millstone around the Red Army's neck as Hitler was to the Wehrmacht. This is simply not true and I'm sure you know that Stalin allowed his Marshalls to generally fight the war, especially from 1943 onwards.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Well, as you said'' Stalin was gravely at error for discounting the overwhelming intelligence presented to him about the imminent attack of Germany''.

And that is just one of many grave blunders he made in the first 6 months of the campaign, when the war was up for grabs, and when the most carnage was inflicted on the Red army, it was Stalin by a country mile, seemingly doing everything he could to help the Germans.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but when Stalin at last put Zhukov in command, things started to turn around for the Russians.

Stalin learned his lesson, and as you say, mostly left it to his Marshalls from '43.
But the blunders he made in the initial, and perhaps most important days, were immense.



__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I'm not one to blindly believe what I read without doing some checks of my own though.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Same with me.

__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

1. Counter my argument about the fact that at the Battle of Moscow victory for the Soviets in the winter counteroffensive was foregone because of the state of their respective forces.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Things were bad for the Germans, no doubt, but Bock thought they could still take Moscow, and virtually said 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going'.

Bock reminded his staff of the battle of the Marne which was given up for lost when it might have been won.
He said both opponents are calling on their last reserves of strength and the one with the more determination or will should prevail.

And General Alfred Philippi took another tack, putting a lot of blame on lying Nazi propaganda, he said.....

"More serious however was the fact that the fighting spirit of the troops had suffered. The boasts of the National Socialist propaganda that Russia was already prostrate had proved an illusion, for the reorganisation of the Soviet army groups on Oct. 10 and the appointment of Zhukov to the command of the 'west front' [ on both sides of Moscow ] and General Konev to the command of the Kalinin front had infused the Soviet forces with a new spirit of initiative.
Soviet resistance was stiffening and counter attacks were increasing in intensity."


The Russians, after their initial staggering losses, were scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Raw recruits, with hardly any training, were rushed to the front line, along with the lucky survivors of Briansk/Vyazma, light on tanks and artillery in some sectors, taking on nearly a million German veterans.

These were the men that initially stopped the Germans, until the Siberian divisions were unleashed.

As I said the Germans were in a bad way, but it didn't mean that they were totally incapacitated.

If they virtually couldn't fight at all, how the heck did they stop the Russian counter attack, led by the Siberian divisions with T-34's?

It took a lot of fit fighting men with a lot of usable firepower to do that.

Almost all German accounts i've read say it was almost entirely down to the weather, nearly all Russian reports say it was the determined resistance from their soldiers.

The truth may be somewhere in the middle.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

2. Acknowledge that Operation Mars was fully a Zhukov disaster and that this should have an impact on his overall reputation. Hardly anyone outside having a specific interest in this subject knows anything about it. You do, yet you seem to act like it doesn't matter.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I thought I already had acknowledged that, i've said that Mars was a serious setback for Zhukov and Russia.
And it should have an impact on his overall reputation, as i've already stated more then once, I certainly dont think he was infallible.


__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

3. Explain to me why Zhukov is so much better than Konev. I believe he is better but not that much better. Konev isn't so far behind.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I repeat again,I dont think Zhukov was a military genius, he was just the winning commander of the most decisive battles of the war.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

You're coming across as biased towards the Soviets in general and Zhukov in particular. Prove me otherwise.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

That's a strange choice of words, I don't see where having a different opinion can be called biased [ and I don't think i'm any more so then yourself toward the Germans for that matter ] I may be seeing it more from the Russian perspective, but only as a counter balance to the many who seem to think that the German commanders, particularly Manstein and Guderian, could do no wrong.
Having said that though, I stand firmly behind everything i've said about Zhukov and his importance to the Russian war effort.

As i've been at pains to point out, I don't classify him as the greatest, but he was the man who was involved, to varying degrees, in all the major operations that first halted, and then finally defeated, the German invasion. After all,they were the reason the war in Europe was won, if not for them taking on and causing over 80% of total German casualties, where would Europe be today?


De Gaulle said it was almost a miracle that the Germans got so far, but perhaps Russia recovering from the disasters that befell them, and winning the war, was an even bigger miracle.

Cheers, Ashes.
January 23rd, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 

Topic: Ashes


Ok, fair enough mate. You've got a decent knowledge of the subject and it's always a pleasure to arg...er I mean debate with one who understands and appreciates the topic at hand!

Zhukov was indeed a fine commander and was involved in pretty much all of the big battles that drove the Germans back to Berlin. In my eyes he's certainly above the likes of Monty and Eisenhower for different reasons. Zhukov in many ways was similar to Patton although operating at a different level. He was a fighter and Stalin needed fighters and his flaws notwithstanding, he got the job done.

I think Bock was unaware of the Soviet forces in front of him, or still displaying the stupid contempt for the Soviet soldier when he thought the Germans could still take Moscow in late November/December. Perhaps he was just motivating his men to greater heights like any good leader would. Weighing up different sources and accounts it's clear to me that the Germans clearly were reaching their operational limit and needed to withdraw to a defensible line to wait out the worst of the winter, allow resupply and combat replacements to reach them and to repulse the Soviet counteroffensive. Had they done this early enough, they would have been in an even better position than they were historically in 1942.

As for how the Wehrmacht stood firm I think it's probably a combination of superior German professionalism, initiative and tactical skill, a degree of luck and a degree of failure on the part of the Soviets. Although to be fair the Soviets did push the Germans back quite a bit and would have destroyed much more German material had sensible German commanders like Guderian not ordered their armies to retreat to more defensible positions. I think determined resistance from the Soviet defenders did play a large part in repulsing the last German attacks, although it's also hard to ignore the plentiful photographic evidence of the extreme weather conditions. The Germans unfortunately happened to encounter the coldest Russian winter for 140 years, with unusually heavy autumn rains which before the frost had turned the steppes into seas of mud.

As for De Gaulle's comments I have little time for them, or the man himself. I guess it must have seemed like a miracle how German armies with mainly light training panzers totally humiliated his nation. Like all new styles of warfare it must have felt like magic, like a miracle had taken place. I just think it was down to the right tactics at the right time with the right leaders in place.
February 25th, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
The poll ought to be redone with a better list of options. Mannerheim is amazing, but he doesn't count. Finland was Axis all the way. Here is what we have so far:

Montgomery
Patton
Zhukov
Eisenhower
MacArthur
Konev
DeGaulle (not sure on this one)
Bradley

Who else ought to be added? I seems strange that there are no options for the Japanese side of things (other than MacArthur). I am looking for Battlefield commanders, so no Air Force and no Navy. I would also like to think that there are some other notable British and Soviet commanders.

Also, if any moderator feels that recreating the topic would be bad, then of course I won't do it.
February 25th, 2005  
Zucchini
 
I think you do need a new poll.

Ike and Patton aren't in the same category.

General Kuribayashi's defense of Iwo Jima was masterful.
February 27th, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zucchini
I think you do need a new poll.

Ike and Patton aren't in the same category.

General Kuribayashi's defense of Iwo Jima was masterful.
His being a general for the Axis Powers rules him out of course, but I agree with you.