Best Army Commander of the WW2 Allies - Page 6




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 1st, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi Doppleganger.

Dont entirely agree with some of your arguments.............
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There are many reasons why Leningrad was never captured by the Wehrmacht. To solely attribute this to Zhukov is incorrect. Manstein's attempted capture of the city in 1942 mainly failed because he did not have the resources to do the job. The capture of Leningrad was never really seen as vital by either OKH or Hitler and in truth it was relatively easy for the Wehrmacht to put the city under siege. Something they may have considered for Stalingrad with hindsight.
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I didn't say that it was solely attributable to Zhukov, Stalin sent him to help organize the city's defences to make sure it wasn't taken.

This he did.

It might be that Leebs armies didn't have the resources, but I dont think the Russians were in top shape after the hammering they'd taken either.

At the beginning of the battle for Leningrad was the 8th, 11th and 27th Soviet Armies of Northwestern Front. Soviet forces conducted actions in Pribaltic and had taken large losses. Only seven rifle divisions from 23 were at full strength, 11 divisions have 2-3 thousand soldiers, three mechanized corps have all 332 tanks. In total at the beginning of the battle the armies of Northern and Northwestern Front totaled 45 divisions (33 divisions, seven tank divisions, five motorized), three brigades ? 8 forts,in all: 540.000 personnel, 5000 guns, 700 tanks, 235 aircraft.

Germans had 31 divisions, including 8 Finnish, in all: 810.000 men, 5300 guns, 440 tanks, 1200 aircraft.


Hitler originally wanted the city taken or destroyed, and for Leebs armies to swing against Moscow, instead of being tied down for 3 years.

Leningrad was as much a symbolic target as it was a strategic one for Hitler, who fully expected the birthplace of the Russian Revolution to be reduced to rubble quickly and with ease. The Red Army’s ferocious defense of the city, however, made that impossible.

In David Glantz's book he explains how the struggle for Leningrad impacted other theaters of operation along the Eastern Front, eventually forcing the Germans into their long and costly retreat back toward Berlin.

The Germans blindly drove into Russia, they didn't do any homework at all, but all the luck was on their side. On june 22 1941 Hitler was rolling the dice, he rolled 100 out of 12 and he still lost the war, that summarizes it all.

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Zhukov played a vital role at the Battle of Moscow, so I give him full credit for that. However, it must be realised that although numbers on paper may have been roughly even, the condition and combat power of the German divisions was very much less than the divisions Zhukov marshalled from Siberia. These troops were well supplied and fresh whereas the Germans were exhausted
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Yes, but Zhukov held those fresh troops back untill the Germans were fought to a standstill by equally tired Russian troops, then used the Siberian troops in a counter attack, driving the Germans back from Moscow.


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Zhukov was nowhere near Stalingrad at the end of 1942 so whatever you've read is incorrect and he cannot be given much credit for that victory. He was a thousand miles or so North near Moscow, conducting the Soviet military offensive code-named Operation Mars against German Army Group Centre. It was General A. M. Vasilevsky who was in charge of Operation Uranus, the offensive to capture Stalingrad and destroy the German 6th Army. Operation Mars has rightly been called Zhukov' greatest defeat by the noted military historian David Glantz. This defeat was deliberately hid and covered up by the Soviet Union for decades after WW2 had ended.
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But it was a joint plan by both of them according to Antony Beaver, author of Stalingrad, and historian David Glantz..........

Glantz shows that Zhukov spent far more time preparing Operation Uranus than Operation Mars. According to Glantz's timetable, from September 26 (when Stalin made Zhukov the Stavka coordinator for Operation Mars) until October 12, Zhukov was in fact visiting the army commanders on the "Stalingrad axis" and studying the ground for Operation Uranus. He was simply not in a position to oversee plans for Mars, especially since the operational orders for it were issued by the Stavka on October 1 and the revised orders on October 10, both during his absence near Stalingrad.

While Vasilevsky visited Eremenko's armies to the south of the city, Zhukov toured forward positions on the northern side of the Stalingrad salient. Zhukov's involvement in the planning of Uranus continued up until its launch. He returned to the "Stalingrad axis" with Vasilevsky yet again just before the final meeting in Moscow in November which took place less than forty-eight hours before Uranus's opening bombardment.

Glantz himself acknowledges that "Uranus was Zhukov's operation as well as Vasilevsky's."

And as for Operation "Mars" - Was it a large disaster, or a part of the victory in Stalingrad?
it was necessary at any price to hold the main forces of the Army Group "Center" and to prevent Germans to redeploy reserves from the Western to a Southern direction.
Army Group "Center" had 79 divisions, it was 30% of all Axis divisions in the Soviet-German Front, or 41% of German only divisions, it was a setback for the Russians, but it made sure no German reinforcements would be helping on the Stalingrad front.

While causing heavy Soviet casualties, the German divisions themselves were fought to a frazzle. It was no coincidence that several months later Model asked for and received permission to abandon the Rzhev salient. He and his army could ill afford another such victory.
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You mention Kursk, but again I cannot give Zhukov any credit for that eventual slight Soviet victory. It was the German's 2nd biggest strategic blunder of the war (after the delay of Operation Typhoon in 1941) and it was doomed to failure simply because the Soviets knew it was coming and had weeks to build up massive defences. The numbers were not even and in almost every major battle on the Eastern Front the Soviets maintained some kind of numerical superiority. In any case, the Germans played into the Red Army's hands and although they inflicted much higher casualties on the Soviets, they did not achieve their objectives and Hitler called off the attack in July when he heard the Allies had landed in Sicily.
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'Slight Soviet victory' Well, in casualties maybe, but it was the last great offensive by the Germans and was a vital battle for them.

As you said 'Once Kursk was over the Germans no longer had any way to regain the strategic initiative.'

Although outnumbered, they had one of the most formidible forces they'd ever put on the field; nearly 1 million men.
In one sector they had 3rd panzer, gros deutschland, 11th panzer, ss leibstandarte, ss das reich, ss totenkopf, 6th panzer, 19th panzer, 7th panzer, 9 of the best German divisions, all shoulder to shoulder on a narrow 30 mile front.

Led by commanders like Manstein and Model,and equipped with Tigers and Panthers.
But this time, instead of poor defensive positions and pathetic commanders like early in the war, the Russians had superb defences and great commanders in control like Zhukov and Vatutin.

By all accounts Hitler sent orders to Army group centre to begin Citadel ''within the first 5 days from April 28th'', but Model in conference with Hitler persuaded him that it would be better to stay in defensive lines and to let the Russians attack first, Hitler, not confident of Citadel, agreed to pospone the attack until the 'wonder tanks' were ready.

So Model must take a share of the blame for the late start.

Glantz and House's book demolish many of the myths that suggest Hitler might have triumphed if Operation Citadel had been conducted differently.

As for the numbers, later in the war it favoured the Russians but in '41 when Russia was on it's knees, it was Zhukov who Stalin turned to, to stabilize the front against the odds.

This he did.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Manstein was dismissed on March 30th, 1944 and so played no part in the final battles of the Eastern Front.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

The germans could have had a dozen Mansteins at that stage, all it would have meant was more dead people, by this stage Germany was kaput.


I wonder how the first 6 months of Barbarossa would have turned out if Zhukov was in command from the beginning.

For starters the Germans probably would'nt have trapped the Russians at Kiev, Zhukov got into hot water with Stalin when he strongly argued they pull back before they were encircled, that would have saved about 650,000 men.

And lend lease, although helpful was not deciesive IMO.

Plus what's often overlooked is Zhukovs thrashing of the Japanese at Gorkum Kol in 1938.
When Hitler pressed the Japanese to attack Russia, its probable that the Japanese diden't fancy any more tank warfare and thought that a jungle campaign South was more their style.



Regards Ashes.
January 1st, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Hi Doppleganger.

Dont entirely agree with some of your arguments.............
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

There are many reasons why Leningrad was never captured by the Wehrmacht. To solely attribute this to Zhukov is incorrect. Manstein's attempted capture of the city in 1942 mainly failed because he did not have the resources to do the job. The capture of Leningrad was never really seen as vital by either OKH or Hitler and in truth it was relatively easy for the Wehrmacht to put the city under siege. Something they may have considered for Stalingrad with hindsight.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________


I didn't say that it was solely attributable to Zhukov, Stalin sent him to help organize the city's defences to make sure it wasn't taken.

This he did.

It might be that Leebs armies didn't have the resources, but I dont think the Russians were in top shape after the hammering they'd taken either.

At the beginning of the battle for Leningrad was the 8th, 11th and 27th Soviet Armies of Northwestern Front. Soviet forces conducted actions in Pribaltic and had taken large losses. Only seven rifle divisions from 23 were at full strength, 11 divisions have 2-3 thousand soldiers, three mechanized corps have all 332 tanks. In total at the beginning of the battle the armies of Northern and Northwestern Front totaled 45 divisions (33 divisions, seven tank divisions, five motorized), three brigades ? 8 forts,in all: 540.000 personnel, 5000 guns, 700 tanks, 235 aircraft.

Germans had 31 divisions, including 8 Finnish, in all: 810.000 men, 5300 guns, 440 tanks, 1200 aircraft.


Hitler originally wanted the city taken or destroyed, and for Leebs armies to swing against Moscow, instead of being tied down for 3 years.

Leningrad was as much a symbolic target as it was a strategic one for Hitler, who fully expected the birthplace of the Russian Revolution to be reduced to rubble quickly and with ease. The Red Army’s ferocious defense of the city, however, made that impossible.

In David Glantz's book he explains how the struggle for Leningrad impacted other theaters of operation along the Eastern Front, eventually forcing the Germans into their long and costly retreat back toward Berlin.

The Germans blindly drove into Russia, they didn't do any homework at all, but all the luck was on their side. On june 22 1941 Hitler was rolling the dice, he rolled 100 out of 12 and he still lost the war, that summarizes it all.
Hi Ashes, thanks for the intelligent and well constructed reply, which I don't always get when arguing about the Eastern Front with someone on this board. If I recall it was also the battleships of the Soviet Baltic Fleet, used as shore batteries, that helped swing the battle in the Soviet's favour.

It is correct that the failure to capture Leningrad did affect operations and of course the Wehrmacht would much have preferred to capture it. But with hindsight I think they made the correct decision. The city was ferociously defended by the Soviets as you rightly said (like pretty much every strongpoint where the Red Army held out). It would have been very expensive in casualties to go in and take a city of that size where determined defenders are in place and Hitler made the right decision there.

You're absolutely correct to say that the Germans did not do their homework when marching into Russia. Just as well they never did because they did very well for a time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
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Zhukov played a vital role at the Battle of Moscow, so I give him full credit for that. However, it must be realised that although numbers on paper may have been roughly even, the condition and combat power of the German divisions was very much less than the divisions Zhukov marshalled from Siberia. These troops were well supplied and fresh whereas the Germans were exhausted
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Yes, but Zhukov held those fresh troops back untill the Germans were fought to a standstill by equally tired Russian troops, then used the Siberian troops in a counter attack, driving the Germans back from Moscow.
I don't think you can say it was Zhukov's decision to hold them back until the German troops were fought to a standstill. The 25 Siberian divisions in question were being held there in case of a Japanese attack. When Stalin learned that no such attack would probably be taking place, it was then that he ordered Zhukov to rush them to the West. I can't see how this can be the measure of Zhukov's ability as he only followed orders and common sense.

The Russian troops may also have been tired but you don't mention the advantages of being a defender. They had ever shortening supply lines which meant they were better supplied. As you know the retreating Red Army had followed a policy of 'scorched earth' and there was very little for the Germans to salvage, meaning everything had to be brought in or captured in the field. The Red Army was adequately equipped for winter warfare unlike the Germans who were still fighting in summer uniforms in -40 degree celcius temperatures.

There is also the contention that Zhukov failed at the Battle of Moscow as he had the chance to completely smash the bulk of Army Group Centre but was unable to do so. The Wehrmacht forces around the Moscow area were utterly spent and were in a process of disruption. They were there for the taking and although Zhukov pushed them back and the Germans suffered heavy casualties (as did the Soviets) they were not smashed and the nucleus survived.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
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Zhukov was nowhere near Stalingrad at the end of 1942 so whatever you've read is incorrect and he cannot be given much credit for that victory. He was a thousand miles or so North near Moscow, conducting the Soviet military offensive code-named Operation Mars against German Army Group Centre. It was General A. M. Vasilevsky who was in charge of Operation Uranus, the offensive to capture Stalingrad and destroy the German 6th Army. Operation Mars has rightly been called Zhukov' greatest defeat by the noted military historian David Glantz. This defeat was deliberately hid and covered up by the Soviet Union for decades after WW2 had ended.
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But it was a joint plan by both of them according to Antony Beaver, author of Stalingrad, and historian David Glantz..........

Glantz shows that Zhukov spent far more time preparing Operation Uranus than Operation Mars. According to Glantz's timetable, from September 26 (when Stalin made Zhukov the Stavka coordinator for Operation Mars) until October 12, Zhukov was in fact visiting the army commanders on the "Stalingrad axis" and studying the ground for Operation Uranus. He was simply not in a position to oversee plans for Mars, especially since the operational orders for it were issued by the Stavka on October 1 and the revised orders on October 10, both during his absence near Stalingrad.

While Vasilevsky visited Eremenko's armies to the south of the city, Zhukov toured forward positions on the northern side of the Stalingrad salient. Zhukov's involvement in the planning of Uranus continued up until its launch. He returned to the "Stalingrad axis" with Vasilevsky yet again just before the final meeting in Moscow in November which took place less than forty-eight hours before Uranus's opening bombardment.

Glantz himself acknowledges that "Uranus was Zhukov's operation as well as Vasilevsky's."

And as for Operation "Mars" - Was it a large disaster, or a part of the victory in Stalingrad?
it was necessary at any price to hold the main forces of the Army Group "Center" and to prevent Germans to redeploy reserves from the Western to a Southern direction.
Army Group "Center" had 79 divisions, it was 30% of all Axis divisions in the Soviet-German Front, or 41% of German only divisions, it was a setback for the Russians, but it made sure no German reinforcements would be helping on the Stalingrad front.

While causing heavy Soviet casualties, the German divisions themselves were fought to a frazzle. It was no coincidence that several months later Model asked for and received permission to abandon the Rzhev salient. He and his army could ill afford another such victory.
You cannot seriously argue that Operation Mars was anything other than a crushing defeat for Zhukov. Operation Mars was not an operation to prevent Army Group Centre from redeploying reserves southwards nor was it an operation just to contain it. It was designed to smash said Army Group as a viable fighting force in the field and speed up the end of the war and in this it utterly failed. It's true that Model's Army Group suffered too and it was a close run thing but the casualty figures tell all.

BTW you should really reference any passages because I can tell you've lifted some of your passages directly from the website I linked to you. Well almost anyway. For some reason in your last paragraph above you substituted the original word 'catastrophic' with your word 'heavy'. Why?
Catastrophic casualties indicates a decisive failure to me, no?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
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You mention Kursk, but again I cannot give Zhukov any credit for that eventual slight Soviet victory. It was the German's 2nd biggest strategic blunder of the war (after the delay of Operation Typhoon in 1941) and it was doomed to failure simply because the Soviets knew it was coming and had weeks to build up massive defences. The numbers were not even and in almost every major battle on the Eastern Front the Soviets maintained some kind of numerical superiority. In any case, the Germans played into the Red Army's hands and although they inflicted much higher casualties on the Soviets, they did not achieve their objectives and Hitler called off the attack in July when he heard the Allies had landed in Sicily.
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'Slight Soviet victory' Well, in casualties maybe, but it was the last great offensive by the Germans and was a vital battle for them.

As you said 'Once Kursk was over the Germans no longer had any way to regain the strategic initiative.'

Although outnumbered, they had one of the most formidible forces they'd ever put on the field; nearly 1 million men.
In one sector they had 3rd panzer, gros deutschland, 11th panzer, ss leibstandarte, ss das reich, ss totenkopf, 6th panzer, 19th panzer, 7th panzer, 9 of the best German divisions, all shoulder to shoulder on a narrow 30 mile front.

Led by commanders like Manstein and Model,and equipped with Tigers and Panthers.
But this time, instead of poor defensive positions and pathetic commanders like early in the war, the Russians had superb defences and great commanders in control like Zhukov and Vatutin.

By all accounts Hitler sent orders to Army group centre to begin Citadel ''within the first 5 days from April 28th'', but Model in conference with Hitler persuaded him that it would be better to stay in defensive lines and to let the Russians attack first, Hitler, not confident of Citadel, agreed to pospone the attack until the 'wonder tanks' were ready.

So Model must take a share of the blame for the late start.

Glantz and House's book demolish many of the myths that suggest Hitler might have triumphed if Operation Citadel had been conducted differently.

As for the numbers, later in the war it favoured the Russians but in '41 when Russia was on it's knees, it was Zhukov who Stalin turned to, to stabilize the front against the odds.

This he did.
Firstly, you'll never see me say that it was possible for Germany to win the war decisively at this stage. It wasn't. However before Kursk it was still possible for Germany to force Stalin to the negotiating table and win a limited victory.

Kursk was a slight 'operational' Soviet victory in that although they had blunted the German offensive, their own counter offensive was only marginally successful. In casualty terms the Soviets had much the heavier as would be the pattern all the way through to Berlin. Looking at the following reliable link will confirm this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk

The delay of Operation Zitadelle so that the new Panther and Elefant tanks were ready was mainly Hitler's decision. What evidence do you have that Model was also instrumental in this? Please provide links or sources because I'd be surprised if Model had anything to do with that decision. And why would Hitler listen to Model more than Manstein? After all Manstein won him 2 brilliant victories.

Manstein and Guderian did not want to pursue Zitadelle at all. Manstein's alternate 'backhand' plan called for feigned retreats all the way along the southern defensive line to lure the Soviet South and Southwestern Fronts in and then trap them against the Sea of Azov. It was a brilliant audacious plan but Hitler didn't like it because it called for retreat. I see no evidence whatsoever of Zhukov ever having come up with a plan like that or even 'Fall Gelb', the masterplan that defeated France, another Manstein effort. Unless you can provide it?

The wonder tanks were not ready and most of them broke down at various points. Guderian, who by this time was Inspector General of Panzer Troops, unsuccessfully argued to focus on production of the latest variant of the Panzer IV instead as they were utterly reliable, many more could be made and the crews knew how to fix them in their sleep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
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Manstein was dismissed on March 30th, 1944 and so played no part in the final battles of the Eastern Front.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

The germans could have had a dozen Mansteins at that stage, all it would have meant was more dead people, by this stage Germany was kaput.


I wonder how the first 6 months of Barbarossa would have turned out if Zhukov was in command from the beginning.

For starters the Germans probably would'nt have trapped the Russians at Kiev, Zhukov got into hot water with Stalin when he strongly argued they pull back before they were encircled, that would have saved about 650,000 men.

And lend lease, although helpful was not deciesive IMO.

Plus what's often overlooked is Zhukovs thrashing of the Japanese at Gorkum Kol in 1938.
When Hitler pressed the Japanese to attack Russia, its probable that the Japanese diden't fancy any more tank warfare and thought that a jungle campaign South was more their style.



Regards Ashes.
The 2nd World War's best strategic commander was not around for the last year of the war. Yes it was too late but earlier you had implied that Manstein was around to the end. Had Hitler given control of OKH operations to Manstein I guarantee that Kursk or the Battle of Bagration in June 1944 would not have been allowed to unfold the way they did.

It's only speculation what Zhukov may or may not have done differently. In truth he may not have allowed himself to be outflanked and encircled at Kiev but this was Stalin's decision to hold Kiev at all costs. Do you think at that stage of the war he'd have listened to Zhukov? Doubtful IMO.

Lend-Lease was absolutely vital IMO for 4 big reasons. This being the supply of locomotives, railroad tracks, radios and trucks. Without this aid being received by the red Army they would have been unable to:

1. Deliver enough supplies to the one place to conduct large scale operations

2. Move enough troops around for the same reason as above

3. Properly coordinate their tank crews and respond to tactical situations in the field as they arose

Without the above there would have been no counteroffensive at Moscow, no counteroffensive at Stalingrad and no counteroffensive at Kursk. The Soviet Rifle Divisions would have been largely reduced to trudging it on foot. In short, it would have been very difficult for the Red Army to fight effectively against the Wehrmacht and they would have lost the war in the East.

http://orbat.com/site/sturmvogel/SovLendLease.html

In short, you haven't provided any information I did not know already and nothing where Zhukov could be compared favorably to Manstein, the best commander of WW2.
January 1st, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
You don't see Rommel in the polls, devilwasp, because the topic is "Best commander of the WWII ALLIES".
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January 2nd, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Why was Germany so successful in the early stages of WW2? Hitler

Why did the German military make numerous blunders that ultimately guaranteed their defeat in WW2? Hitler

Oversimplification, true, but its interesting I think.
January 2nd, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by godofthunder9010
Why was Germany so successful in the early stages of WW2? Hitler

Why did the German military make numerous blunders that ultimately guaranteed their defeat in WW2? Hitler

Oversimplification, true, but its interesting I think.
He really was their greatest asset and worst liability at the same time.
January 4th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi again doppleganger.
Just a few points.........

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I don't think you can say it was Zhukov's decision to hold them back until the German troops were fought to a standstill. The 25 Siberian divisions in question were being held there in case of a Japanese attack. When Stalin learned that no such attack would probably be taking place, it was then that he ordered Zhukov to rush them to the West. I can't see how this can be the measure of Zhukov's ability as he only followed orders and common sense.
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I think youv'e misunderstood me here,

I know they were called back from Manchuria when the Russian master spy Richard Sorge somehow convinced Stalin that the Japanese were striking South.
I ment that Zhukov only committed a few of them in stopping the Germans at Moscow, keeping them ready for the counter attack that threw the Germans back. Failing in this battle, and virtually finishing Russia before winter '41 IMO, was where Germany lost whatever chance they had in winning in the East, and perhaps still controlling Europe today.

Zhukov used the same tactics at Stalingrad, just feeding in enough troops to hold the city while building up reserves on the flanks to break through in the great pincer movement that trapped the 6th army.

Hitler told Jodl that the Russians would be finished by the time they reached the Dnieper, and it would be just a case of mopping up. 'You just have to kick in the door, and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down' How wrong can you be?
Perhaps thats why he did'nt worry much about logistics or the winter.


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The delay of Operation Zitadelle so that the new Panther and Elefant tanks were ready was mainly Hitler's decision. What evidence do you have that Model was also instrumental in this? Please provide links or sources because I'd be surprised if Model had anything to do with that decision. And why would Hitler listen to Model more than Manstein? After all Manstein won him 2 brilliant victories.
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It's in Alan Clarks book 'Barbarossa' saying that Model was a flavour of the month at that time and Hitler listened to him. And brilliant victories or not Manstein got the sack. Hitler told Jodl that 'Manstein can operate with divisions as long as they are in good shape.
If the divsions are roughly handled, I have to take them away from him in a hurry, he cant handle such a situation. That has to be a person who works completely independent of any routine'.
Shows how little the Corporal knew about his Generals.

Clarks book is a good read, not so much for the campaigns, which are not very detailed, but for the behind the scenes mascinations at OKH and OKW.

The urealalty at Hitlers headquarters and the bickering and backstabbing between some German Generals.
For example Kluge and Guderian were always fueding.

Clarke claims that it was Zietzler who was the fly in the ointment regarding Mansteins Backhand plan.
He thought that Backhand was to risky and ment giving up ground [which Hitler hated to do] so he put forward pinching off the Kursk saliant as less risky and not needing so many reserves.

Hitler was never keen on 'Zitadelle' and after fixing early may to attack, postponed at Models urging in a memorandum from him, to explore further possabilities, then decided to wait until the wonder tanks were ready.
Big mistake.

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The 2nd World War's best strategic commander was not around for the last year of the war. Yes it was too late but earlier you had implied that Manstein was around to the end. Had Hitler given control of OKH operations to Manstein I guarantee that Kursk or the Battle of Bagration in June 1944 would not have been allowed to unfold the way they did.
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I know Manstein was sacked before Germany was defeated, Could you show me where I implied he wasen't?
If I did, I diden't mean to.

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It's only speculation what Zhukov may or may not have done differently. In truth he may not have allowed himself to be outflanked and encircled at Kiev but this was Stalin's decision to hold Kiev at all costs. Do you think at that stage of the war he'd have listened to Zhukov? Doubtful IMO.
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I think your a little unfair here.
You say you can guarantee what Manstein might have done, then say it's only speculation what Zhukov would have done.
Truth is, no one knows what would have occured for sure.

As you say, Stalin interfeared as much as Hitler early in the war with catastrophic results, until the penny dropped and he put Zhukov in control.

I think Stalin made it relativity easy for the Germans by emasculating the officer corps, poor defensive positions, and commanders like Budunny was a recipe for disaster.

I think it would be safe to say if he had Zhukov in overall command from the beginning, it might not have been the tragic disaster it was.

Zhukov, and the imput he had in the most important victories in the East, Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Bagration and Berlin, would have done a bit better then the ameuter Stalin, and his hacks like Buddeny.

As for lend lease, Clarke says that the full impact of aid from the allies did'nt realy kick in until late Autumn '43, and by then the tide had already turned.

From what i've read, it's about 50/50 by experts, that it was, or wasen't vital.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

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In short, you haven't provided any information I did not know already and nothing where Zhukov could be compared favorably to Manstein, the best commander of WW2.
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Ah, but yes I have, about Model convincing Hitler to postpone 'Zitadelle'

And perhaps you diden't know that Mansteins real name was Von Lewinsky, and he was of Polish extraction.

Pity he diden't stay in Poland, and fight for them isen't it?
The war may have been over almost before it began.


I'm not saying that Manstein wasn't a great commander, but in the end he failed [ for one reason or another ] to take Leningrad, save Von Paulis at Stalingrad, or break through at Kursk, 3 vital battles that went a long way in deciding the war.

Lets just say that you can go with Manstein, and i'll go with Zhukov.

There's always a myriad of reasons put forth as to why Germany lost the war.

It was to far to Moscow, logistics were poor, the weather, Hitler medaling, lend lease, to many Russians etc, etc,etc, all these could be part of the reason, but whats sometimes overlooked is the amazing resillience and unbreakable will of the ordinary Russian soldier, men and women, who went through hell and tragically died in their millions to defend their motherland.
But they came through and wiped out one of the most insidious regimes in history from the face of the earth.

You have to admire them.

Cheers Ashes.
January 4th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Hi again doppleganger.

I know they were called back from Manchuria when the Russian master spy Richard Sorge somehow convinced Stalin that the Japanese were striking South.
I ment that Zhukov only committed a few of them in stopping the Germans at Moscow, keeping them ready for the counter attack that threw the Germans back. Failing in this battle, and virtually finishing Russia before winter '41 IMO, was where Germany lost whatever chance they had in winning in the East, and perhaps still controlling Europe today.

Zhukov used the same tactics at Stalingrad, just feeding in enough troops to hold the city while building up reserves on the flanks to break through in the great pincer movement that trapped the 6th army.

Hitler told Jodl that the Russians would be finished by the time they reached the Dnieper, and it would be just a case of mopping up. 'You just have to kick in the door, and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down' How wrong can you be?
Perhaps thats why he did'nt worry much about logistics or the winter.
Hi Ashes. It was my belief that Stalin refused to believe Sorge and had him executed.

Zhukov committed as many as were needed. I don't think it was case of carefully planned tactics but more of desperation. Those 25 divisions made a huge difference but again this is no demonstration of any ability of Zhukov's.

There was no Soviet tactics at Stalingrad in the end. They were desperate to hold the city (as were the Germans) and so they fed in division after division. This is not tactics, this is desperation! They committed much of their reserves and suffered much bigger casualties than the Germans and got the job done. This would be an operational pattern for the Red Army for the rest of the war.

Agreed, Hitler was far too contemptuous and both him and the German General Staff severely underestimated the USSR. They underestimated the size of the country and the courage and will of the average Soviet soldier. Hitler stupidly refused to put German industry on a war footing and also believed that German soldiers wouldn't require any winter uniforms as they'd be sitting with their feet up in a Moscow dascha by that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
It's in Alan Clarks book 'Barbarossa' saying that Model was a flavour of the month at that time and Hitler listened to him. And brilliant victories or not Manstein got the sack. Hitler told Jodl that 'Manstein can operate with divisions as long as they are in good shape.
If the divsions are roughly handled, I have to take them away from him in a hurry, he cant handle such a situation. That has to be a person who works completely independent of any routine'.
Shows how little the Corporal knew about his Generals.

Clarks book is a good read, not so much for the campaigns, which are not very detailed, but for the behind the scenes mascinations at OKH and OKW.

The urealalty at Hitlers headquarters and the bickering and backstabbing between some German Generals.
For example Kluge and Guderian were always fueding.

Clarke claims that it was Zietzler who was the fly in the ointment regarding Mansteins Backhand plan.
He thought that Backhand was to risky and ment giving up ground [which Hitler hated to do] so he put forward pinching off the Kursk saliant as less risky and not needing so many reserves.

Hitler was never keen on 'Zitadelle' and after fixing early may to attack, postponed at Models urging in a memorandum from him, to explore further possabilities, then decided to wait until the wonder tanks were ready.
Big mistake.
Hitler's personality traits unfortunately (or fortunately for us!) meant that he could not accept that there were men who knew more about strategy and war than he did.

Kluge and Guderian were bickering because Kluge did not fully understand mobile warfare and Guderian knew it.

Hitler was not keen on Zitadelle yet he still approved it over Manstein's 'backhand' plan, the tactics of which had already been successfully demonstrated when Manstein used the II SS Panzer Korps to retake Kharkov in early '43.

Zitadelle's main problems were that it was delayed and that it was so obvious to anyone with half a brain. The Soviets knew it was coming and this was confirmed by their own intelligence network working as part of the Lucy Ring. Despite this though, had Zitallede been launched in April or even May IMO it would have been successful in its objectives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
I think your a little unfair here.
You say you can guarantee what Manstein might have done, then say it's only speculation what Zhukov would have done.
Truth is, no one knows what would have occured for sure.

As you say, Stalin interfeared as much as Hitler early in the war with catastrophic results, until the penny dropped and he put Zhukov in control.

I think Stalin made it relativity easy for the Germans by emasculating the officer corps, poor defensive positions, and commanders like Budunny was a recipe for disaster.

I think it would be safe to say if he had Zhukov in overall command from the beginning, it might not have been the tragic disaster it was.

Zhukov, and the imput he had in the most important victories in the East, Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Bagration and Berlin, would have done a bit better then the ameuter Stalin, and his hacks like Buddeny.

As for lend lease, Clarke says that the full impact of aid from the allies did'nt realy kick in until late Autumn '43, and by then the tide had already turned.

From what i've read, it's about 50/50 by experts, that it was, or wasen't vital.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.
Well I contend that no-one, no matter how good they were, could have prevented the initial disasters that befell the Red Army in 1941. Because of Stalin's insistence that there was no pre-emptive German strike coming, the Red Army formations were not properly organised for defense and not even on heightened alert until a few hours before the Germans struck. Plus, the Red Army had no inkling on the effectiveness of Blitzkrieg and combined arms tactics. The Wehrmacht at that time was head and shoulders above every other army in the world in terms of professionalism and operational effectiveness. And finally the VVS aircraft were not properly dispersed and protected on the ground, making them easy targets for the Luftwaffe. All these factors almost guaranteed huge initial successess for the Wehrmacht.

What I do know is that Budenny wanted to withdraw from Kiev because he knew that being encircled was a real possibility. Stalin refused. Would he have listened to Zhukov had he been in Budenny's position? I think not. Budenny was removed and replaced by Timoshenko who listened to Stalin and allowed himself to be encircled. Would Zhukov had disobeyed Stalin? Could he have? Budenny wasn't the most ablest of commanders but he wasn't a total fool. He wanted to withdraw but wasn't allowed to.

The Red Army put up a tremendous fight when it was allowed to fight on it's own terms, i.e defending strongpoints. I have nothing but admiration for the courage and tenacity of the average Soviet soldier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Ah, but yes I have, about Model convincing Hitler to postpone 'Zitadelle'

And perhaps you diden't know that Mansteins real name was Von Lewinsky, and he was of Polish extraction.

Pity he diden't stay in Poland, and fight for them isen't it?
The war may have been over almost before it began.
Yes I knew that Manstein was born Von Lewinsky, but I don't see what it has to do with this discussion. Whatever he was called, he was a brilliant strategist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
I'm not saying that Manstein wasn't a great commander, but in the end he failed [ for one reason or another ] to take Leningrad, save Von Paulis at Stalingrad, or break through at Kursk, 3 vital battles that went a long way in deciding the war.

Lets just say that you can go with Manstein, and i'll go with Zhukov.

There's always a myriad of reasons put forth as to why Germany lost the war.

It was to far to Moscow, logistics were poor, the weather, Hitler medaling, lend lease, to many Russians etc, etc,etc, all these could be part of the reason, but whats sometimes overlooked is the amazing resillience and unbreakable will of the ordinary Russian soldier, men and women, who went through h**l and tragically died in their millions to defend their motherland.
But they came through and wiped out one of the most insidious regimes in history from the face of the earth.

You have to admire them.

Cheers Ashes.
I have studied this subject a lot Ashes and my knowledge of it is above average I would say. There are many reasons why Germany lost as you said. And I do admire the Red Army for coming back in the way that they did. NO other army on earth could have recovered from such a hammering and the average Soviet Soldier was as tough as they come. But this is getting kind of off-topic.

I do think Zhukov is a good commander and one of the best Soviet commanders of the war. But I wonder if like Erwin Rommel, his star and legacy are lauded simply because they are most well known in the West and because both are seen as 'good', rather than for any objective reasons. For example, I can't see how Zhukov is any better than Konev.
You certainly cannot compare him to Manstein as a strategic commander and most knowledgeable historians indeed rate Manstein as the best commander of WW2, perhaps of the modern era.

To summarize. Operation Mars and Zhukov's appalling casualty figures and reliance on brute force (along with other Soviet Marshalls to be fair) means that he cannot be upheld as the best Allied Commander of WW2.
January 5th, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
There are many problems with trying to use comparisons to the best German commanders as a basis for comparing Allied commanders.
1.) Nobody in the Allies camp could hope to compare to the best German commanders unless somebody is being very biased in favor of their own countries people and they have no idea what their talking about. Both happen a lot of course.
2.) The Allies' Commanders all had one very important thing in common --> overwhelmingly superior numbers, better supplied forces ... more of everthing. Its astounding that Germany was ever successful at all. Credit belongs to some very brilliant commanders who managed an endless string of miracle victories with the odds and numbers stacked against them. They had to be better than allied commanders. Much better.

One problem with rating Zukov is definitely Operation Mars ... but it didn't end there. He was a big advocate of unnecessarily rushing offensive operations, and this was one of many factors that led to some extremely disproportionately high losses against the Germans. 14 to 1 losses should get you fired. The proportion got better, but you seldom saw a major operation manage 2 Soviet casualties for every 1 German. Most were at least 4 to 1. This remained true to form all the way to the last bit of Berlin.

This becomes a problem when we start comparing it to the performance of the Western Allies ... but that also comes complete with its own problem. The West almost always managed far better in proportional losses vs the Germans, but they were also going against the "second string" players. Some were taking a break from the terrors of the Eastern Front -- a vacation of sorts. In some cases, there were some very good German commanders (if compared to those of the Western Allies), but we never faced the best they had except only briefly. Remember -- such terrors as Michael Whitman were being given a break from the Ostfront when the Western Allies defeated them in battle.

To sum up, Zhukov and other Soviet commanders faced the very best German commanders, bigger and better forces. They were probably the only nation on Earth that could have stopped Germany and then they drove them back and defeated them.

In the balancing out of things, I do not believe that Montgomery, Patton, Bradley, MacArthur or any other brilliant Western operational commander would have lost so many Russian sons if they could have taken Zhukov's place. And, as has been stated, Zhukov was not necessarily the best that the USSR had -- he was just in the right place at the right time to save the USSR from collapse during Barbarossa and Typhoon.
January 6th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Crikey, they're very strict on this board aren't they?
I wonder if you are allowed to say..........Heaven?

Or is it just H@$% that's not allowed?

Sorry for my slow replies doppelganger, but it's the Test Cricket season down here, [ no, it's nothing to do with insects ] and i've been glued to the T.V. watching my country beating Pakistan 3-zip in the series.

Anyway, where were we.... __________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Hi Ashes. It was my belief that Stalin refused to believe Sorge and had him executed.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Nope, Sorge's spy ring was broken and he was arrested by the Kempatai, [Japanese secret police] and executed near the end of the war.
He was made a hero of the Soviet Union, and had commemorative stamps made of him.

I think the reason Stalin believed him was that he was desperate.
With the Germans knocking loudly on his front door, he probably thought it prudent to believe Sorge and forget about the distant back door for the time being.
Thank God.

The story of Sorge is a fascinating one, of how he hoodwinked both the Japanese and the Germans for so long.



__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

There was no Soviet tactics at Stalingrad in the end. They were desperate to hold the city (as were the Germans) and so they fed in division after division. This is not tactics, this is desperation! They committed much of their reserves and suffered much bigger casualties than the Germans and got the job done.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Yes, they were desperate at the beginning, but as the battle unfolded the Russians had a win, win situation.

They could go on pouring divisions in and suck the Germans into another Verdun, or in the end just feed in enough to keep them busy while they built up massive reserves on the flanks, waiting, waiting, then BANG, it's all over for the 6th Army.

Very clever, at least it was too clever for the Germans.




__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Zitadelle's main problems were that it was delayed and that it was so obvious to anyone with half a brain. The Soviets knew it was coming and this was confirmed by their own intelligence network working as part of the Lucy Ring. Despite this though, had Zitallede been launched in April or even May IMO it would have been successful in its objectives.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Thats right, if it had gone ahead at the date Hitler first scheduled it, in early May, it might have succeded.
Model should have kept his mouth shut.

By all accounts Stalin had detailed plans for Barbarossa on his desk from the Lucy ring days before the invasion, but dismissed it as a provocation.
The idiot.

Wonder who gave Rosler the detailed plans? Stalin sometimes got them before some German commanders did, Caneris has been mentioned, but it would have to be someone higher up the chain of command them him wouldn't it?



__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Well I contend that no-one, no matter how good they were, could have prevented the initial disasters that befell the Red Army in 1941. Because of Stalin's insistence that there was no pre-emptive German strike coming, the Red Army formations were not properly organised for defense and not even on heightened alert until a few hours before the Germans struck. Plus, the Red Army had no inkling on the effectiveness of Blitzkrieg and combined arms tactics. The Wehrmacht at that time was head and shoulders above every other army in the world in terms of professionalism and operational effectiveness. And finally the VVS aircraft were not properly dispersed and protected on the ground, making them easy targets for the Luftwaffe. All these factors almost guaranteed huge initial successess for the Wehrmacht.

What I do know is that Budenny wanted to withdraw from Kiev because he knew that being encircled was a real possibility. Stalin refused. Would he have listened to Zhukov had he been in Budenny's position? I think not. Budenny was removed and replaced by Timoshenko who listened to Stalin and allowed himself to be encircled. Would Zhukov had disobeyed Stalin? Could he have? Budenny wasn't the most ablest of commanders but he wasn't a total fool. He wanted to withdraw but wasn't allowed to.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

I wonder, as I said, poor forward defensive positions were a great handicap.

Imagine if the Russian's had good positions, say a hundred miles back, and in a depth of 150 miles like Zhukov wanted, they wouldnt be able to be instantly overrun in the initial Blitzkrieg, at least it would give the Russians some breathing space.

The same with the forward airfields, further back, they might not have been sitting ducks.
But anyway thats all history now, isn't it?

Clarke says that if Budenny was not the worst General of the war, he was close to it.
He goes as far as calling him a near imbecile.
Even after Stalin ordered him not to retreat, he virtually ran his armies around in circles like a chicken with it's head cut off, practically putting up no cohesive defense.

He says that someone with a bit of nous, like Zhukov, couldn't have failed to put up a better fight, perhaps blunting the Germans for a while.
After all, Budenny had over a million men under his command.


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Yes I knew that Manstein was born Von Lewinsky, but I don't see what it has to do with this discussion. Whatever he was called, he was a brilliant strategist.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________
As you say it has absolutely nothing to do with Manstein being a brilliant strategist or not, or with this discussion, just seeing if I could catch you with a bit of military trivia.

Some military buffs dont know that about Manstein, but I guess there's very little you dont know about him.



__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

To summarize. Operation Mars and Zhukov's appalling casualty figures and reliance on brute force (along with other Soviet Marshalls to be fair) means that he cannot be upheld as the best Allied Commander of WW2.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I dont think it was just all brute force from the Russian commanders.

Glantz says that the Red Army's 1944 Operation Bagration, was a stunning sequence of multi-front strategic offensives and pincer movements, and remains a feat unmatched in the history of warfare.
It was the biggest defeat ever suffered by Germany, over 500,000 casualties, twice as many as Stalingrad.

There's not much doubt that Zhukov didn't seem to worry about casualties, but would anyone else have been able to do better?
The Germans were very good after all, take the ultra cautious Monty or Bradley on the Eastern front for instance, and the war might still be going on today.

Or MacArthur, well, he was caught with his pants down in the Philipines, I think Inchon was his master stroke.

Perhaps Patton, he was a nutter, but he sure could handle armoured divisions, he was more like his German adversaries, took a lot of risks. He could get away with it on the smaller scale Western front, with the marvelous logistics the Americans were famous for, but on the giant Eastern front, if he stuck his neck out like he often did, he might have got it cut off, like the Russians did at Kharkov.

All in all, best or not, I still stick with Zhukov as the main man for the Allies, and the most importent commander of the war.


Cheers Ashes.
January 6th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Sorry for my slow replies doppelganger, but it's the Test Cricket season down here, [ no, it's nothing to do with insects ] and i've been glued to the T.V. watching my country beating Pakistan 3-zip in the series.
With a name like Ashes might have known you were a cricket fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Hi Ashes. It was my belief that Stalin refused to believe Sorge and had him executed.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Nope, Sorge's spy ring was broken and he was arrested by the Kempatai, [Japanese secret police] and executed near the end of the war.
He was made a hero of the Soviet Union, and had commemorative stamps made of him.

I think the reason Stalin believed him was that he was desperate.
With the Germans knocking loudly on his front door, he probably thought it prudent to believe Sorge and forget about the distant back door for the time being.
Thank God.

The story of Sorge is a fascinating one, of how he hoodwinked both the Japanese and the Germans for so long.
Ok I stand corrected on that one. No doubt he was a great servant to the USSR and allowed Stalin to feel that he could freely draw on his Siberian reserves, which proved to be decisive in the Battle of Moscow.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

There was no Soviet tactics at Stalingrad in the end. They were desperate to hold the city (as were the Germans) and so they fed in division after division. This is not tactics, this is desperation! They committed much of their reserves and suffered much bigger casualties than the Germans and got the job done.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Yes, they were desperate at the beginning, but as the battle unfolded the Russians had a win, win situation.

They could go on pouring divisions in and suck the Germans into another Verdun, or in the end just feed in enough to keep them busy while they built up massive reserves on the flanks, waiting, waiting, then BANG, it's all over for the 6th Army.

Very clever, at least it was too clever for the Germans.
It really wasn't all that clever by the Soviets, more failings on the part of the Germans. It was painfully obvious that the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies charged with holding the German 6th Army's flanks would not withstand a determined assault by Soviet Tank formations and this proved to be the case. I think both sides were blinkered here and the battle was won because the Soviets had more men and they could afford the losses whilst the Germans couldn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

Zitadelle's main problems were that it was delayed and that it was so obvious to anyone with half a brain. The Soviets knew it was coming and this was confirmed by their own intelligence network working as part of the Lucy Ring. Despite this though, had Zitallede been launched in April or even May IMO it would have been successful in its objectives.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Thats right, if it had gone ahead at the date Hitler first scheduled it, in early May, it might have succeded.
Model should have kept his mouth shut.

By all accounts Stalin had detailed plans for Barbarossa on his desk from the Lucy ring days before the invasion, but dismissed it as a provocation.
The idiot.

Wonder who gave Rosler the detailed plans? Stalin sometimes got them before some German commanders did, Caneris has been mentioned, but it would have to be someone higher up the chain of command them him wouldn't it?
Yes Stalin was desperate to be seen not to do anything that would provoke the Germans and I think he was afraid that forces were trying to drive a wedge between himself and Hitler.

Hmm very difficult to say who was supplying Rosler with his info. Certainly someone privy to the highest levels of OKW and I don't think anyone knows to this day who it was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Well I contend that no-one, no matter how good they were, could have prevented the initial disasters that befell the Red Army in 1941. Because of Stalin's insistence that there was no pre-emptive German strike coming, the Red Army formations were not properly organised for defense and not even on heightened alert until a few hours before the Germans struck. Plus, the Red Army had no inkling on the effectiveness of Blitzkrieg and combined arms tactics. The Wehrmacht at that time was head and shoulders above every other army in the world in terms of professionalism and operational effectiveness. And finally the VVS aircraft were not properly dispersed and protected on the ground, making them easy targets for the Luftwaffe. All these factors almost guaranteed huge initial successess for the Wehrmacht.

What I do know is that Budenny wanted to withdraw from Kiev because he knew that being encircled was a real possibility. Stalin refused. Would he have listened to Zhukov had he been in Budenny's position? I think not. Budenny was removed and replaced by Timoshenko who listened to Stalin and allowed himself to be encircled. Would Zhukov had disobeyed Stalin? Could he have? Budenny wasn't the most ablest of commanders but he wasn't a total fool. He wanted to withdraw but wasn't allowed to.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

I wonder, as I said, poor forward defensive positions were a great handicap.

Imagine if the Russian's had good positions, say a hundred miles back, and in a depth of 150 miles like Zhukov wanted, they wouldnt be able to be instantly overrun in the initial Blitzkrieg, at least it would give the Russians some breathing space.

The same with the forward airfields, further back, they might not have been sitting ducks.
But anyway thats all history now, isn't it?

Clarke says that if Budenny was not the worst General of the war, he was close to it.
He goes as far as calling him a near imbecile.
Even after Stalin ordered him not to retreat, he virtually ran his armies around in circles like a chicken with it's head cut off, practically putting up no cohesive defense.

He says that someone with a bit of nous, like Zhukov, couldn't have failed to put up a better fight, perhaps blunting the Germans for a while.
After all, Budenny had over a million men under his command.
Budenny was an old school cavalry man. He was just not up to the job of modern mobile warfare. As Gerd von Rundstedt remarked about him, "Enormous moustaches, tiny brains!". There's no doubt that Zhukov would not have repeated the worst errors of Budenny or Timoshenko but I also think that the advantages that the Germans enjoyed as detailed above were still to great to be overcome.

If the Soviets had employed good defensive positions then yes it would have been harder for the Germans no doubt. However, I still think they would have had spectacular successes because the Red Army was in no condition to counter Blitzkrieg tactics. No army was at that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Yes I knew that Manstein was born Von Lewinsky, but I don't see what it has to do with this discussion. Whatever he was called, he was a brilliant strategist.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________
As you say it has absolutely nothing to do with Manstein being a brilliant strategist or not, or with this discussion, just seeing if I could catch you with a bit of military trivia.

Some military buffs dont know that about Manstein, but I guess there's very little you dont know about him.
Heh I'm sure there's lots I don't know about him but cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

To summarize. Operation Mars and Zhukov's appalling casualty figures and reliance on brute force (along with other Soviet Marshalls to be fair) means that he cannot be upheld as the best Allied Commander of WW2.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I dont think it was just all brute force from the Russian commanders.

Glantz says that the Red Army's 1944 Operation Bagration, was a stunning sequence of multi-front strategic offensives and pincer movements, and remains a feat unmatched in the history of warfare.
It was the biggest defeat ever suffered by Germany, over 500,000 casualties, twice as many as Stalingrad.

There's not much doubt that Zhukov didn't seem to worry about casualties, but would anyone else have been able to do better?
The Germans were very good after all, take the ultra cautious Monty or Bradley on the Eastern front for instance, and the war might still be going on today.

Or MacArthur, well, he was caught with his pants down in the Philipines, I think Inchon was his master stroke.

Perhaps Patton, he was a nutter, but he sure could handle armoured divisions, he was more like his German adversaries, took a lot of risks. He could get away with it on the smaller scale Western front, with the marvelous logistics the Americans were famous for, but on the giant Eastern front, if he stuck his neck out like he often did, he might have got it cut off, like the Russians did at Kharkov.

All in all, best or not, I still stick with Zhukov as the main man for the Allies, and the most importent commander of the war.

Cheers Ashes.
It wasn't all brute force true and the Red Army from 43 onwards was a very fine army with good tactics, very good equipment, well motivated men and had learned the lessons of Blitzkrieg well from the Wehrmacht. Despite this, they were still outmatched by the Germans both tactically and man for man and this may partly account for their high casualty rates. I don't think the Western Allies would have done any better but I still think STAVKA were liable to pour men into an engagement without the same need to minimize casualties as a Western commander may felt inclined to do. Zhukov was as guilty of this as any other Soviet Marshall.

As far as Operation Bagration goes the Red Army did have a big numerical advantage in every possible area. I dispute your casualty figures for the Wehrmacht. The following site which I find quite reliable lists nearly 350,000 German casualties. The Soviets by contrast lost over 770,000 men. See what I mean about using brute force and throwing away men?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Bagration

Those reasons and Operation Mars are the reasons why Zhukov cannot be the best Allied Commander of WW2.