Best Axis Army Commander of WW2 - Page 7




View Poll Results :Best Axis Army Commander of WW2
Erich von Manstein 11 19.30%
Heinz Guderian 15 26.32%
Erwin Rommel 23 40.35%
Gerd von Rundstedt 3 5.26%
Walther Model 0 0%
Hasso von Manteuffel 0 0%
Frederick Paulus 1 1.75%
Fedor von Bock 1 1.75%
Paul Hausser 0 0%
Hermann Hoth 0 0%
Albert Kesselring 0 0%
General Tomoyuki Yamashita 1 1.75%
Lieutenant-General Masaharu Honma 1 1.75%
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi 1 1.75%
General Mitsuru Ushijima 0 0%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

 
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October 3rd, 2007  
Kunikov
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Probably nothing but then what did he do that was worse, on top of this isn't it true that his counter attacks around Karkov in 1943 are considered as one of the most brilliantly executed and successful plans of recent military history?
Nothing special about cutting off over-extended units down in tanks and supplies.
October 3rd, 2007  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
Nothing special about cutting off over-extended units down in tanks and supplies.
There is in doing it while your forces are in retreat.
October 3rd, 2007  
Kunikov
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
There is in doing it while your forces are in retreat.
Does that mean Hitler with his infamous order in the winter of 1941/1942 deserves the same recognition?
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October 4th, 2007  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
Nothing special about cutting off over-extended units down in tanks and supplies.
The special part is knowing when to do it and actively planning to do it. What happened in early 1942 when Army Group Centre stabilized is entirely different. The Soviet counterattack had "reached its limit of strategic consumption", to quote Clausewitz, just as Army Group Centre had in December. We never got to see whether Manstein could have repeated it at the Sea of Azov but at that time a doctrine of 'elastic defence', which Manstein's backhand stroke essentially was, could have paid dividends for Germany.
October 4th, 2007  
Kunikov
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
The special part is knowing when to do it and actively planning to do it. What happened in early 1942 when Army Group Centre stabilized is entirely different. The Soviet counterattack had "reached its limit of strategic consumption", to quote Clausewitz, just as Army Group Centre had in December. We never got to see whether Manstein could have repeated it at the Sea of Azov but at that time a doctrine of 'elastic defence', which Manstein's backhand stroke essentially was, could have paid dividends for Germany.
Those are at least three general statements thrown together. Planning an operation is what commanders are trained to do, cutting off an overextended enemy unit is nothing special, should I repeat myself again? Soviet forces were advancing with open flanks, there is only one thing that that can be done in that situation. This happened again and again in the winter of 1941/1942, why aren't you praising those commanders who did it then?
October 4th, 2007  
Doppleganger
 
 
You have no need to repeat yourself again Kunikov. For whatever reason, you do not consider the Third Battle of Kharkov to be anything other than an ordinary military victory. I disagree, as do many others.

The difference I would say between the above mentioned battle and say the 2nd Battle of Kharkov or the First Rzhev-Vyazma Offensive is the relative strengths and abilities of each army between late 1941 and early 1943, in both manpower/equipment, doctrine and tactics. Monty also hit the nail on the head when he mentioned that German forces in the southern sector were in headlong retreat in early 1943 after Stalingrad, whereas in Winter 41/42 they were often dug-in or partially dug-in due to Hitler's standfast orders. It's one thing to attack enemy flanks when your own forces are digging in, quite another to do it when your forces are in general, and often headlong, retreat. Finally, Hitler's standfast order probably did stop the German forces in the Moscow area from routing but I'm sure he issued that directive for political rather than military reasons.

I think the Third Battle of Kharkov stood out because a) it was the last successful German offensive in the East and b) it demonstrated what the Germans probably should have done next instead of trying to revert to WW1 tactics as they did at Kursk.
October 5th, 2007  
Kunikov
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
You have no need to repeat yourself again Kunikov. For whatever reason, you do not consider the Third Battle of Kharkov to be anything other than an ordinary military victory. I disagree, as do many others.

The difference I would say between the above mentioned battle and say the 2nd Battle of Kharkov or the First Rzhev-Vyazma Offensive is the relative strengths and abilities of each army between late 1941 and early 1943, in both manpower/equipment, doctrine and tactics. Monty also hit the nail on the head when he mentioned that German forces in the southern sector were in headlong retreat in early 1943 after Stalingrad, whereas in Winter 41/42 they were often dug-in or partially dug-in due to Hitler's standfast orders. It's one thing to attack enemy flanks when your own forces are digging in, quite another to do it when your forces are in general, and often headlong, retreat. Finally, Hitler's standfast order probably did stop the German forces in the Moscow area from routing but I'm sure he issued that directive for political rather than military reasons.

I think the Third Battle of Kharkov stood out because a) it was the last successful German offensive in the East and b) it demonstrated what the Germans probably should have done next instead of trying to revert to WW1 tactics as they did at Kursk.
So I'll say it once more. Germans retreated in the winter of 1941/1942 and plenty of commanders, following Hitler's orders, brought their men back into the line and cut off various Soviet forces, armies and corps, all along the front lines. Why do these men not get the recognition that Manstein gets? Secondly, it can be argued that Manstein was only able to stop his forces from retreating because Soviet forces had outrun their supply lines and couldn't keep up with retreating German forces. But, that isn't as distinguished for the Wehrmacht as saying that their troops and wonderful commander inflicted yet another loss on the Red Army. Added to this is the fact that throughout all of 1941, after the Soviet Union was invaded, Soviet forces were on the retreat and inflicted quite a few defeats on the Wehrmacht, yet one hardly hears equal recognition of Soviet commanders for their feats, they are mostly forgotten or never heard about. And lastly, just because it was the 'last' successful offensive doesn't make it special, it should, rather, make it the norm.
October 5th, 2007  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
So I'll say it once more. Germans retreated in the winter of 1941/1942 and plenty of commanders, following Hitler's orders, brought their men back into the line and cut off various Soviet forces, armies and corps, all along the front lines. Why do these men not get the recognition that Manstein gets?
Well, if German commanders were bringing their men back into the line they were not explicitly following Hitler's orders, which only called for pulling back to previously agreed defensive positions, or if they were already in defensive positions to standfast. In fact, later Hitler ruled out even limited withdrawals. Secondly, why do you think these commanders do not get the credit that Manstein does? Why should they? Manstein as a commander is not solely judged on one battle - it is his performance from 1939-1944 that is being assessed. Perhaps Manstein benefits from his 'fame' but Guderian also called him "our finest operational mind". Surely Manstein, or Guderian for that matter, earned their plaudits more than say Rommel did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
Secondly, it can be argued that Manstein was only able to stop his forces from retreating because Soviet forces had outrun their supply lines and couldn't keep up with retreating German forces. But, that isn't as distinguished for the Wehrmacht as saying that their troops and wonderful commander inflicted yet another loss on the Red Army.
I'm sensing just a little sarcasm here regarding Manstein. You clearly don't think he deserves his post-war reputation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
Added to this is the fact that throughout all of 1941, after the Soviet Union was invaded, Soviet forces were on the retreat and inflicted quite a few defeats on the Wehrmacht, yet one hardly hears equal recognition of Soviet commanders for their feats, they are mostly forgotten or never heard about. And lastly, just because it was the 'last' successful offensive doesn't make it special, it should, rather, make it the norm.
What defeats did the Red Army inflict on the Wehrmacht before December 5th 1941? Certainly none that can be classed as meaningful. Whilst you're right that many fine Soviet commanders do not get anything like the recognition they deserve, one of them, namely Zhukov, gets far too much IMO.

The 3rd Battle of Kharkov is recognized because it is a fine operational example of a numerically inferior enemy retreating to suck in a numerically superior enemy and then going on the offensive and inflicting a decisive defeat. It is a great example of elastic defence in action.
October 5th, 2007  
Kunikov
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
Well, if German commanders were bringing their men back into the line they were not explicitly following Hitler's orders, which only called for pulling back to previously agreed defensive positions, or if they were already in defensive positions to standfast. In fact, later Hitler ruled out even limited withdrawals. Secondly, why do you think these commanders do not get the credit that Manstein does? Why should they? Manstein as a commander is not solely judged on one battle - it is his performance from 1939-1944 that is being assessed. Perhaps Manstein benefits from his 'fame' but Guderian also called him "our finest operational mind". Surely Manstein, or Guderian for that matter, earned their plaudits more than say Rommel did.
First off, this is solely one example and the Moscow Counter-offensive made a chaotic situation out of the front lines, so commanders acted differently, the point being they would eventually annihilate a good amount of Soviet forces which had penetrated and were trying to keep open supply lines, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
I'm sensing just a little sarcasm here regarding Manstein. You clearly don't think he deserves his post-war reputation.
Not even close, he is very much over-hyped as is the Wehrmacht in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
What defeats did the Red Army inflict on the Wehrmacht before December 5th 1941? Certainly none that can be classed as meaningful. Whilst you're right that many fine Soviet commanders do not get anything like the recognition they deserve, one of them, namely Zhukov, gets far too much IMO.
Yelnya by Zhukov in the center and the various operations around Smolensk bleed the Germans and halted their offensive. Vatutin trapped two German Corps in the North in an encirclement and held up the Germans for three weeks. In the south the Germans were thrown out of Rostov. These are just the widely known examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
The 3rd Battle of Kharkov is recognized because it is a fine operational example of a numerically inferior enemy retreating to suck in a numerically superior enemy and then going on the offensive and inflicting a decisive defeat. It is a great example of elastic defence in action.
I can say the same about the entire operation Barbarossa but I'm not that gullible. The Kharkov operation was half being at the right place and at the right time and half the fact that the Soviets over stretched themselves, that's all.
October 6th, 2007  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
Not even close, he is very much over-hyped as is the Wehrmacht in general.
A harsh and unjustifiable assessment IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
Yelnya by Zhukov in the center and the various operations around Smolensk bleed the Germans and halted their offensive. Vatutin trapped two German Corps in the North in an encirclement and held up the Germans for three weeks. In the south the Germans were thrown out of Rostov. These are just the widely known examples.
I'm not sure how significant the actions in the Yelnya bend really were. True it was a local success for the Soviet forces but did it really have any meaningful impact? It did not delay the start of Operation Typhoon for example.

I was under the impression that Vatutin's trapping of 2 German corps at Demyansk occurred in January 1942. As far as Rostov goes it was too far south to have any strategic impact on the main axis of Barbarossa, which ended up being Kiev then Moscow. No doubt that it was a legitimate Soviet victory though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunikov
I can say the same about the entire operation Barbarossa but I'm not that gullible. The Kharkov operation was half being at the right place and at the right time and half the fact that the Soviets over stretched themselves, that's all.
A simplistic and unsatisfactory explanation. We'll have to agree to disagree on this matter.