Best Battlefield Commander of World War II ... Period!! - Page 3




View Poll Results :Who was the very best Battlefield Commander of World War II??
Field Marshall Carl Mannerheim (Finland) 5 8.33%
Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (United Kingdom) 2 3.33%
Field Marshall Philippe Leclerc (France) 0 0%
General Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin (USSR) 1 1.67%
Field Marshal Ivan Konev (USSR) 0 0%
Field Marshall Georgii K Zhukov (USSR) 12 20.00%
General George S Patton (USA) 6 10.00%
General Mitsuru Ushijima (Japan) 0 0%
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Japan) 1 1.67%
Lieutenant-General Masaharu Honma (Japan) 0 0%
General Tomoyuki Yamashita (Japan) 2 3.33%
Field Marshall Hermann Hoth (Germany) 0 0%
Field Marshall Fedor von Bock (Germany) 0 0%
Field Marshall Walther Model (Germay) 1 1.67%
Field Marshall Erwin Rommel (Germany) 9 15.00%
General Heinz Guderian (Germany) 8 13.33%
Field Marshall Erich von Manstein (Germany) 5 8.33%
General Dwight D Eisenhower (USA) 4 6.67%
General Omar Bradley (USA) 1 1.67%
General Douglas MacArthur (USA) 3 5.00%
Voters: 60. You may not vote on this poll

 
--
 
April 21st, 2005  
LIBERTY
 
 
MacArthur for me, he did a great job on the western front.
May 1st, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi doppleganger, back at last.
Just a few points on your post of April 8th.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Firstly, where did you get those figures from? There are numerous sources for troop numbers for the Eastern Front, not all of them correct.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Those pesky figures.
I think we hammered this out some time back, and as I said at the time, what figures do you believe?
I notice one of your sites seem to have gotten the figures from.....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad.
This site states total Axis casualties as 850,000.

You mention William Craig, author of Enemy at the Gates (1973), he states total casualties as.......
Soviets: 750,000 killed, wounded, missing.
[Plus 100,000 civilians.]
German: 400,000
Italian: 130,000
Romanian: 120,000
Hungarian: 120,000
total Axis: 770;000
[Slightly less then wikipedia.]

Not sure about the numbers of Hoths 4th Panzer army, or the Hungarian 2nd army, but the Italian 8th army figures in November '42 were a total of 230,000 men, and the Romanian 3rd and 4th army's were about the same.

The following link, among others, where I got my figures from, would probably be close to the mark.
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...stalingrad.htm
Hit up the main page and then ''Stalingrad''

Also the ''Cambridge History of Warfare'' states........

''In all the battle of Stalingrad may have cost the Axis armies nearly a million men killed, wounded, missing and captured. Nearly one quarter of their strength on the Eastern front.''


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

The Battle of Moscow represented the first time in 1941 that the Red Army had material and troop superiority in numbers.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________


I dont understand this statement, it seems to contradict what you've been saying, that the Russians always had superior material and numbers?

Although I think you said on another post that the numbers at Moscow were about even.

Does that mean My Leningrad figures are right?

For Moscow, my figures are from, among others, "The Road to Stalingrad" by John Erickson.

The Germans, as you've said before, were handicapped, but to be fair, don't you think that the Russians were too?

Erickson says that after Briansk/Vyazma,they were scrapping the bottom of the barrel.
By then, virtually the whole of the Russian standing army facing the Germans at the beginning of Barbarossa was eliminated.

They'd lost about 3,335,000 men in prisoners alone in '41.

Untrained, undermanned divisions were rushed to the front, on average a battalion of about 675 men, had less then 300 rifles.

Their was only 600 tanks on the whole Moscow front.

Until more of the Siberian divisions arrived,[18 Divisions and 9 tank Brigades], the Russians were outnumbered.

On Stalingrad.
According to Alan Clarkes ''Barbarossa'' [which I highly recommend]...........

''The initial attacks by Paulis on Stalingrad, [August] was with 9 infantry divisions in the center, 2 panzer and 2 motorised divisions on the North flank, and 3 panzer 2 motorized divisions on the South flank.
A total of 18 divisions.
Chuikov had 11 understrength divisions.
''There's no doubt the Germans had superior men and material at Stalingrad''

And.........

''During the first days of the September offensive the Germans enjoyed a superiority of 3 to 1 in men, over 6 to 1 in tanks and the Luftwaffe held complete domination of the air''

From then on each side kept feeding in more men. For most of the fighting in the city, the Russians were outnumbered, but Chuikov kept Paulis occupied while massive reserves were secretly built up on the flanks for the Classic ''Cannae'' maneuver Operation Uranus, and that was the end of the 6th Army, elements of 4th Panzer army, Romanian 3rd and 4th armies, Italian 8th army, Hungarian 2nd army and various other units, with the casualties stated above.

After the catastrophic disasters of the first months of Barbarossa in '41, and again after Kharkov in '42, and fighting in the Don Basin, the Russians were in dire straights and hanging on at Leningrad, Moscow and later, Stalingrad, but fought the Germans to a standstill until reserves were built up to counter attack.


Cheers Ashes.
May 1st, 2005  
Strongbow
 
 
I like von Manstein.

Considering the problems the Germans encountered as the war progressed, particularly on the Eastern Front, von Manstein was an excellent strategic thinker.
--
May 1st, 2005  
Arclight
 
MacArthur seems to have done a pretty good job in Pacific Front (not to mention the early part of the Korean War, but that doesn't count ). The strategy of by-passing enemy strong points with the island-hopping campaign seems to have had a lasting effect on the way war is conducted.

From what I am reading now (book on the 10th Mtn. Division), German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring did a fairly good job of tying up the Allies in Italy with a lesser force. Though he did blunder in his chance to repel the Allied invasion at Salerno...
May 1st, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Hi doppleganger, back at last.
Just a few points on your post of April 8th.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Firstly, where did you get those figures from? There are numerous sources for troop numbers for the Eastern Front, not all of them correct.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Those pesky figures.
I think we hammered this out some time back, and as I said at the time, what figures do you believe?
I notice one of your sites seem to have gotten the figures from.....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad.
This site states total Axis casualties as 850,000.

You mention William Craig, author of Enemy at the Gates (1973), he states total casualties as.......
Soviets: 750,000 killed, wounded, missing.
[Plus 100,000 civilians.]
German: 400,000
Italian: 130,000
Romanian: 120,000
Hungarian: 120,000
total Axis: 770;000
[Slightly less then wikipedia.]

Not sure about the numbers of Hoths 4th Panzer army, or the Hungarian 2nd army, but the Italian 8th army figures in November '42 were a total of 230,000 men, and the Romanian 3rd and 4th army's were about the same.
Those pesky figures indeed! Here we have 2 internet sites, that both quote the same reference sources and where the text is identical yet one states 850,000 Axis casualties and the other only 500,000. Who to believe?

This link is a link from the link you posted:

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

Interesting to note that the figures stated in the sidebar don't tally up. It states that 500,000 Axis troops were involved yet they suffered 850,000 casualties? This can't be right and indeed must be a typo somewhere. The Soviet casualty figures seem low to me and I know that there must have been more than 40,000 civilian deaths. Why? because it's generally agreed by all sources that only around 5,000 civilians survived Stalingrad and the pre-battle population was certainly much greater than 45,000.

This is the link I posted:

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;...2_1&sbid=lc02b

The figures tally up and the Soviet casualties seem much more realistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
The following link, among others, where I got my figures from, would probably be close to the mark.
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...stalingrad.htm
Hit up the main page and then ''Stalingrad''

Also the ''Cambridge History of Warfare'' states........

''In all the battle of Stalingrad may have cost the Axis armies nearly a million men killed, wounded, missing and captured. Nearly one quarter of their strength on the Eastern front.''
I note that this source is unreferenced and therefore unless one can personally vouch for the credentials of the author I would not rely on it as a basis to back an argument. Anyone can write some text on a website as you're no doubt aware. I cannot vouch for the Cambridge History of Warfare (which appears to be a publication with a very wide ranging scope) as I've never read it.

I will concede that if the follow-up battles after Stalingrad are included (that could be counted as part of the main campaign itself) then yes, more than 500,000 Axis troops were lost. But the point of my initial argument was that Zhukov had overwhelming numerical superiority and whatever figures one uses that fact remains unchanged. I'll direct you to an interesting related thread on the Axis History site that addresses the issue of whether Russian numerical superiority really did make a big difference as some 'Wehrmacht Sympathizers' maintain. Several of the posters on that thread; Tom Nutter, Michate, Qvist, are very academically minded, have good credentials and have done some extensive research on the topic.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...+proponderence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

The Battle of Moscow represented the first time in 1941 that the Red Army had material and troop superiority in numbers.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________


I dont understand this statement, it seems to contradict what you've been saying, that the Russians always had superior material and numbers?

Although I think you said on another post that the numbers at Moscow were about even.

Does that mean My Leningrad figures are right?

For Moscow, my figures are from, among others, "The Road to Stalingrad" by John Erickson.

The Germans, as you've said before, were handicapped, but to be fair, don't you think that the Russians were too?

Erickson says that after Briansk/Vyazma,they were scrapping the bottom of the barrel.
By then, virtually the whole of the Russian standing army facing the Germans at the beginning of Barbarossa was eliminated.

They'd lost about 3,335,000 men in prisoners alone in '41.

Untrained, undermanned divisions were rushed to the front, on average a battalion of about 675 men, had less then 300 rifles.

Their was only 600 tanks on the whole Moscow front.

Until more of the Siberian divisions arrived,[18 Divisions and 9 tank Brigades], the Russians were outnumbered.
I don't think I've stated that in 1941, before the November timeframe that the Soviets had numerically superiority in the field. I did state that Zhukov always did though as a commander. The Soviet potential equipment and manpower levels of course were much higher than Germany's but the Red Army's staggering losses in 1941 completely wiped out that advantage. However, from about November onwards the Red Army was no longer losing upwards of half a million men per battle and aided with the arrival of the Siberian divisions, coupled with German attritional losses, meant that the Soviets finally had numerical superiority to bear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
On Stalingrad.
According to Alan Clarkes ''Barbarossa'' [which I highly recommend]...........

''The initial attacks by Paulis on Stalingrad, [August] was with 9 infantry divisions in the center, 2 panzer and 2 motorised divisions on the North flank, and 3 panzer 2 motorized divisions on the South flank.
A total of 18 divisions.
Chuikov had 11 understrength divisions.
''There's no doubt the Germans had superior men and material at Stalingrad''

And.........

''During the first days of the September offensive the Germans enjoyed a superiority of 3 to 1 in men, over 6 to 1 in tanks and the Luftwaffe held complete domination of the air''

From then on each side kept feeding in more men. For most of the fighting in the city, the Russians were outnumbered, but Chuikov kept Paulis occupied while massive reserves were secretly built up on the flanks for the Classic ''Cannae'' maneuver Operation Uranus, and that was the end of the 6th Army, elements of 4th Panzer army, Romanian 3rd and 4th armies, Italian 8th army, Hungarian 2nd army and various other units, with the casualties stated above.

After the catastrophic disasters of the first months of Barbarossa in '41, and again after Kharkov in '42, and fighting in the Don Basin, the Russians were in dire straights and hanging on at Leningrad, Moscow and later, Stalingrad, but fought the Germans to a standstill until reserves were built up to counter attack.


Cheers Ashes.
The problem I have with Alan Clarke's work is that it was published in 1985. Therefore, it does not take into account new information that was forthcoming after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 (and therefore communism) from Soviet archives. Much of the material in older historical works (particularly relating to troop and material numbers) are the result of Soviet disinformation or propaganda. So whilst in older works the German numbers appear to be generally accurate (as we've had numerous German general memoirs and other sources of information) the Soviet numbers had to be taken from either German records or estimates or the then official Communist Soviet records. Now that we have balanced Russian records we can get a better and more accurate figure of material numbers. With regard to your Leningrad numbers I'll give you the benefit of the doubt as I don't consider that battle to have been decisive and therefore have chosen not to focus on it.

It's true that in the early days the Germans had numerical superiority in the area but come October that situation changed dramatically. As for the actual fighting the in the city the Soviets performed brilliantly to maintain a grip that at one point, looked perilous. When Zhukov ordered the counterattack he had a big numerical superiority, perhaps not in the city itself but certainly in the surrounding area.

Anyway, my whole point is that Zhukov, planned and committed offensives in the full knowledge that he had greater material and manpower and reserves at his disposal than his enemy. His operational style was based on that knowledge and he was wasteful of the men and material under his command, perhaps with some pressure from Stalin for results. He conducted all his major offensive operations from a position of (sometimes) overwhelming strength. However the main reason why Zhukov cannot be considered as best commander of WW2 is his conduct during Operation Mars. This one battle shows all the flaws of Zhukov and shows a man frivolous of resources and with little regard for the men under his command. Despite knowing the operation was failing and could not meet any of its objectives he continued to pour men and material into the German feeder in an almost Hitlerish manner. This failure was Zhukov's alone - unlike his German counterparts he could not claim that he was being overridden by his leader.
May 4th, 2005  
Jack_Mordino
 
 
This was very difficult to answer as some of the figures lead in a clearly strategic level (Zhukov, von Manstein etc) whilst others acted more on the operational level (Rommel, Guderian). I voted for Rommel as his cunning, clear tactical thinking and ability to get results while saving his men and equipment was unparalleled in WW2. Zhukov might have won but the numbers don't pay much credit to him, he had to sacrifice a lot of men to extricate his victories and that is not good leadership for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by clark130
Ike is the best General in history
I'll post a few names here which perhaps help you rethink your opinion:

Alexander
Hannibal
Jenkis Khan (yes, he was cruel and barbaric but he was also cunning as a fox)
Marlborough
Napoleon
many WW2 names from this poll

The above personalities are all admired by historians all over the world for their tactical and/or strategic ability and have won battles in terrifyingly uneven odds. What was so special that Ike did?
May 8th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi Doppleganger.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Those pesky figures indeed! Here we have 2 internet sites, that both quote the same reference sources and where the text is identical yet one states 850,000 Axis casualties and the other only 500,000. Who to believe?

This link is a link from the link you posted:

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

Interesting to note that the figures stated in the sidebar don't tally up. It states that 500,000 Axis troops were involved yet they suffered 850,000 casualties? This can't be right and indeed must be a typo somewhere. The Soviet casualty figures seem low to me and I know that there must have been more than 40,000 civilian deaths. Why? because it's generally agreed by all sources that only around 5,000 civilians survived Stalingrad and the pre-battle population was certainly much greater than 45,000.

This is the link I posted:

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;...2_1&sbid=lc02b

The figures tally up and the Soviet casualties seem much more realistic.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

Those two sites listed are virtually the same, with the same mistake,and there's others like them, except for adding that Russian figures may be higher. Not saying if their civilian or military.

I think that just referencing links to web sites, may be a waste of time on most occasions, as you pointed out with those sites above for instance.

Many of them are fairly sketchy, and they often contradict each other as we've seen.

In depth studies by top writers, such as Erickson's 'The Axis and the Allies', 'Hitler Versus Stalin', 'The road to Stalingrad', Clarke's 'Barbarossa', Stephen Walsh's, 'Stalingrad', The Infernal Cauldron 1942-1943', Liddell Hart, 'The other side of the hill and in particular the works of David Glantz are very good. Glantz is very hard to come by down here, have you read any of his books?

One of the best German accounts of the war is the Federal Republic of Germany's military history Dept,
Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg.[Germany and ww2]

This effort is important because it underlines the degree to which criminal ideology formed a crucial part of the Wermacht's participation in the war, particualarly the war in the east.
These books naturally go into much more depth and accuracy then most web sites.

Your Axis history link you gave me is interesting, but is just another forum board, like this one, and I dont know how qualified anyone on it are.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________

I cannot vouch for the Cambridge History of Warfare (which appears to be a publication with a very wide ranging scope) as I've never read it.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________


It's a very good overview of the war on the Eastern front [ ISBN 0 521 44073 4 ] Published by the Cambridge University Press.

Not as in depth as some of the books above, but it's contributing writers are top academics from England and America, it's edited by Geoffrey Parker, educated at Cambridge, professor of history, Ohio state university, Deputy chair at Yale, and widely published author, as well as other contributers like...

William Murray, BA, MA, PhD from Yale, served in the U.S.A.F., visiting professor at air war collage U.S. military academy, and naval war collage.
Books, Luftwaffe '85, Path To ruin '84, German military effectiveness '92.

Victor Hansen, university of California, Stanford university, author of many military books.
And many other highly qualified contributers.


__________________________________________________ _________________________________________


I don't think I've stated that in 1941, before the November timeframe that the Soviets had numerically superiority in the field.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________

I think you said on another post that early in the war the Russians outnumbered the Germans. __________________________________________________ __________________________________________


The problem I have with Alan Clarke's work is that it was published in 1985. Therefore, it does not take into account new information that was forthcoming after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 (and therefore communism) from Soviet archives. Much of the material in older historical works (particularly relating to troop and material numbers) are the result of Soviet disinformation or propaganda. So whilst in older works the German numbers appear to be generally accurate (as we've had numerous German general memoirs and other sources of information) the Soviet numbers had to be taken from either German records or estimates or the then official Communist Soviet records. Now that we have balanced Russian records we can get a better and more accurate figure of material numbers.

__________________________________________________ _________________________________________


Now I think you might be getting to the heart of the debate on some of the misleading facts and numbers.

But it seems to work both ways, German, as well as Russian, mistakes.

It seems to be one of the myths of the war that it was only the Russians that misinterpreted the numbers.

As Glantz says, after the war, the Russians soon became the 'evil empire' and Russian historians were quickly dismissed, like you yourself have said, as "Soviet disinformation or propaganda" while German writers, in particular the German Generals Memoirs, were believed as the accurate account of the war, particularly in America.

The only problem with this, is that the German writers, especially many of the Generals, were just as loose with the facts and numbers as the Russians.

The 'Cambridge History of Warfare' goes as far as to state, in a review of post war German Generals writings........

"The new wave of historical research has underlined what most historians have generally suspected, the complete unreliability and intellectual dishonesty, even by the standards of the genre, of post war memoirs by German generals."

Just a few examples, From David Glantz and Liddel Hart, [among others]..........

Kleist's version of the Stalingrad campaign, according to Liddell Hart, [ and published in 'The other side of the hill ] p 220, is extremely inaccurate, and takes the traditional avoiding action by blaming Hitler, and where factual, runs counter to the other evidence, namely that of Manstein and the OKH movement orders.

Figures in Mansteins book 'Lost Victories' of opposing force ratios are in conflict with those shown by archival materials of Fremde Heeres 0st (Foreign Armies East), Gehlen's organizations, and of the OKH.
Again Soviet superiorities are overstated.

Paulis often exaggerated Russian figures at Stalingrad, having a rough time in taking the city, he always wanted reinforcements, so kept sending reports to OKH stating numerous new Russian divisions they kept coming up against, where in reality they were just stragglers of divisions and brigades that hardly existed, some consisting of just a few hundred men, but they were listed as a full divisions.

Sometimes it might have been just expediency, but it was certainly unreliable, and exaggerated the Russian overall figures out of context.

These, plus many more errors, [plus Russian errors] are explained fully by the editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies, retired U.S. Army Colonel David M.Glantz on.....
http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/fms...es/e-front.htm
[Zucchini posted it on another thread.]

He is generally noted as one of the foremost western writers on the Eastern front, spending decades studying it, and has written many books on the subject.

In this article he also explains some of the myths of the Eastern Front.

This is just a small part of it............

"Conclusions: The Reconciliation of Myths and Realities.

The dominant role of German source materials in shaping American perceptions of the war on the Eastern Front and the negative perception of Soviet source materials have had an indelible impact on the American image of war on the Eastern Front. What has resulted in a series of gross judgments treated as truths regarding operations in the East and Soviet (Red) Army combat performance. The gross judgments appear repeatedly in textbooks and all types of historical works, and they are persistent in the extreme. Each lies someplace between the realm of myth and reality. In summary, a few of these judgments are as follows:


- Weather repeatedly frustrated the fulfillment of German operational aims.

- Soviet forces throughout the war in virtually every operation possessed significant or overwhelming numerical superiority.

- Soviet manpower resources were inexhaustible, hence the Soviets continually ignored human losses.

- Soviet strategic and high level operational leadership was superb. However, lower level leadership (corps and below) was uniformly dismal.

- Soviet planning was rigid, and the execution of plans at every level was inflexible and unimaginative.

- Wherever possible, the Soviets relied for success on mass rather than maneuver. Envelopment operations were avoided whenever possible.

- The Soviets operated in two echelons, never cross attached units, and attacked along straight axes.

- Lend lease was critical for Soviet victory. Without it collapse might have ensured.

- Hitler was the cause of virtually all German defeats. Army expertise produced earlier victories (a variation of the post World War I stab in the back. legend).

- The stereotypical Soviet soldier was capable of enduring great suffering and hardship, fatalistic, dogged in defense (in particular in bridgeheads), a master of infiltration and night fighting, but inflexible, unimaginative, emotional and prone to panic in the face of uncertainty.

A majority of Americans probably accept these judgments as realities . In doing so they display a warped impression of the war which belittles the role played by the Red Army. As a consequence, they have a lower than justified appreciation for the Red Army as a fighting force, a tendency which extends, as well, to the postwar Soviet Army. Until the American public (and historians) perception of Soviet source material changes, this overall perception of the war in the East and the Soviet (Red) Army is likely to persist"..........



Like you, I believed western [ or German ] versions of the war, but to be fair, as Glantz says, it has to be concluded that both sides were, at times, overstating facts and numbers.

Anyhow you've given me the benefit of the doubt on Leningrad, so perhaps that's one battle won against the odds, although I know you don't regard it as so important.


Cheers Ashes.
May 8th, 2005  
melkor the first
 

Topic: lies,damned lies and statistics


(Not Doppelganger but...)I think thatit should be taken as a gives that all memoirs from the German and Russian sides were not "vetted" as much for accuracy to ths standards that we have come to expect. If, by noting the date of Alan Clark's Barbarosa one may take it that the onformation may be dated, then of course the same will hold true of 'memoirs'. (In "A War to be Won" the authors call Guderian's memoirs one of the most self serving of all the German memoirs). Zhukov's seem to be not much better. Still taken as a whole, the German's did perform very well against the odds, what is not generally recognized as well as it should that, after an appalling start an losses, the Russians did learn from the earlier actions, adapted their tactics and improved. It still does not seem that the general impression of the Russian Army is unfair. I defer to Max Hastings Armageddon for his assessments of the Ruusian, American, British and Germans. Best JWC
May 9th, 2005  
Dean
 
 

Topic: What about admirals?


I'm gonna be a bit of a poop disturber here, but what about the Japanese admirals during the war? Yamamoto, Nagumi et al were far from pushovers, and some of them were brilliant tacticians, in spite of the fact that the US was reading their mail. If the US had never had that advantage, the war in the Pacific would have had a far diffierent character, my friends.

Dean.
May 9th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Take a look at the list again, Dean. You'll see several Japanese in the list. Two generals have votes.

As for Admirals that's a different topic. This is about battlefield commanders - not naval commanders. You'll find a naval commnaders thread here already running for quite awhile.