Hitler and Sung Tsu




 
--
 
December 25th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 

Topic: Hitler and Sung Tsu


In 1939 Japan, Italy, the USSR and Germany were an unbeatable force. Their combined navy, airforce and ground forces were formidable and their strategic location invaluable.

Fortunately for the allies, the leaders of all 4 nations violated every principle of Sun Tsu.
We shall concentrate on Hitler, since he led the strogest nation and should have also led the other 3.

First of all, Hitler wasted the most valuable element of surprise, since even on September 1, 1939, nobody really thought that Hitler would unleash WW II, so soon after the millions of deaths in WW I.

Germany attacked alone and invaded a country which did not present a threat or provide a major advantage to Germany. Therefore attacking Poland alone (Stalin would invade it only after the allies had declared war on Germany) provided few benefits, started the war in a very unfavorable position (with extremely few submarines, risking a counter attack from the west and without capturing any crucial enemy territory and pitting Germany alone against 8 nations all over the world).

Likewise, Mussolini wasted the surprise element, entering the war almost a year after Germany, by invading the already beaten France, exposing itself to bombing by British planes and shelling by British ships, without enough planes or adequate tanks to even conquer Egypt.

Japan entered the war 2 year after Germany did and instead of exploiting the surprise element and wiping out the British fleet and capturing invaluable British territories, etc, Japan forced the US into the war.

Most crucially, not only did Hitler not use the USSR adequately, but he invaded it at the worst possible time, dooming his country.

Sun Tsu states that one should attack the most important and least protected territories using all the allies to defeat the enemies peacemeal. In contrast, Hitler attacked alone, charging always against the thickest enermy forces.

Had Hitler coordinated with Japan, the USSR and Italy, so that instead of Germany invading Poland alone in September 1939, they captured together the extremely poorly defended Malta, Aden, Madagascar, South Africa, Ceylon, Egypt, Iraq, Norway & Persia so that the axis would have plenty of oil and the long range Japanese submarines and 4 engine planes could attack the South Atlantic from South Africa. Invading Norway in conjunction with the USSR would have been quite easy and allowed the Soviet and German submarines excellent bases to operate in the North Atlantic from 1939. Likewise, occupying Persia and Iraq (who were por German) from the USSR and from the Persian gulf would have been quite easy. The combined submarine fleet of Japan, the USSR and Germany in the Atlantic would have paralized British shipping. Dividing the British and French empires among the 4 axis allies would have strengthened their economies and provided them with strategic positions for further conquests.
Once these strategic positions were captured, Hitler should have encouraged Stalin to invade Poland alone (except the Danzig corridor), which would have been quite costly for Stalin and induced the Poles to eventually join the Germans against Stalin.

Even if Hitler intended to invade the USSR eventually, it made a lot of sense to use its huge army to weaken and defeat France and Britain first.

Britain would have been in a precarious position, unable to receive troops and goods from Australia, SA, India, Burma, etc, and without the oil from Persia and its bases in Malta and Alexandria it would have had to abandon the Mediterranean beyond Gibraltar. In short, it would have had to sue for peace.
December 25th, 2011  
lljadw
 
The usual rubbish :Japan (or Germany,or Italy ?) capturing South Africa ?
December 25th, 2011  
lljadw
 
The usual rubbish:Japan capturing South Africa,why not the US ?
--
December 25th, 2011  
Der Alte
 
So what you say is: If Hitler had read it, Germany would have won the Second World War?

But, my friend, there is no instant recipe for success, no cookbook for ruling the world.

It is important to recognize the difference between the Western (European) and Eastern (Chinese and Japanese) methods of waging war. The Western style, which comes from the Greeks and Romans, is confrontational, hard, and decisive. "Get in the enemy's face" sums it up nicely. Asians customarily fought with missiles, and preferred not to close with the enemy until victory looked certain. The Greeks praised those who fought at close quarters, while denigrating archery. Homer's Iliad portrays archers as ineffective or even cowardly, while praising the spear fighters. Archery, even from the Persians, was not very effective against heavy Greek armor.

Some of the principles of war overlap. Some of them seem to contradict each other. That's because in different situations some principles are more suitable than others. As Sun Tzu said, the wise commander will adapt the principles to the specific situation.

Sun Tzu's warfare tends, despite all his cleverness, to be of the total, "winner take all" variety, while Clausewitz recognizes the legitimacy of more limited objectives.

One of the most important requirements of strategy is that the leadership correctly "establish ... the kind of war on which they are embarking." This is often understood to mean that leaders should rationally decide the kind of war that will be undertaken. In fact, the nature of any given war is beyond rational control: It is inherent in the situation and in the "spirit of the age." Good leaders, avoiding error and self-deception, can at best merely comprehend the real implications of a resort to violence and act accordingly.

Further, a war often takes on a dynamic beyond the intentions of those who launched it. The conduct of war always rests, in unpredictable proportions, on the variable energies, interests, abilities, and character of the peoples, the fighting forces, and the governments involved. Political leaders may easily misjudge or lose control of passions on their own side. Further, their opponents have similar such uncertainties as well as wills and creativity of their own. Because the flow of military events is uniquely shaped by the specifics of every situation, from its politics and personalities to the terrain and even the weather, the course of war is never predictable.
December 25th, 2011  
42RM
 
Well Sam, someone just pulled the chair out from under you.
December 25th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 42RM
Well Sam, someone just pulled the chair out from under you.

I've never known a bloke to be shot down in flames so many times. Is this a record?
December 25th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
East Vs. West:
The Greeks and Romans were rather primitive warriors. Even the Athenians relied on Scythian horse archers to defend their access to the port when they were besieged by Sparta. The Romans were repeatedly obliterated by eastern Parthian horse archers (Crassus, Marc Antony, etc,). Alexander defeated the Indians thanks to Scythian horse archers. A few thousand mobile Cartaginians wreaked havok in Rome for years (even Spartacus did the same). Attila extorted both the eastern and western Roman empires with a few thousand horse archers from Hungary.
Call them Scythians, Parthians, Huns, Mongols or Turks, they were highly mobile and deadly, while Greek and Roman troops took for ever to arrive to battle, requiring a lot of money and supplies to do so. Just as Hitler's troops did invading the huge USSR on foot and using horses to pull artillery and supplies.
In the west Napoleon is considered a bright strategist, yet he was using muzzle loading, bronze cannon centuries after Agbar the great used breech loading, steel cannon and Napoleon invaded Russia with over a half million men on foot many centuries after the Mongols successfully invaded it with a few tens of thousands of horse archers. I am convinced that with his bronze cannon, foot soldiers and slow loading musckets, Napoleon could not have survived a battle against Genghis.

The Chinese excelled at hand to hand combat, had excellent crossbows long before the Europeans did, mass produced identical, inter changeable cross bow parts and chrome plated bronze dart tips. Had much superior ships, cast steel over a millenium before Europeans did and their strategy was far more advanced. Fortunately for the west, a series of equally competent kingdoms kept fighting constantly and then a series of crazy emperors set back the country a century each.
Chinese wars were by far deadlier and more elaborate than any Roman campaign against primitive tribes. Julius Ceasar considered himself exceptional for conquering the Gauls, but he would not have lasted a day against the Chinese.

Guderian was one of the few westerners ever to realize the importance of surprise, mobility and concentration in order to deliver deadly blows deep into enemy territory.
December 25th, 2011  
Der Alte
 
The best to describe Guderian is he was a tank engineer that knew tanks more than anyone, but his knowledge of other aspect, such as infantry and artillery, was quite medicore. Guderian's best place was when he was appointed Inspector-General of the Panzertruppe. As a field commander, he was inspirational, bold, but those qualities were useful only when Germany had the initiative. His conduct during the Soviet counter-offensive in December 1941 was disastrous to say the least.

I think that your problem with the fact-interpretation distinction is that you, like all social observers, select your facts. That is, they choose from an infinite number of data about everything that ever happened in the past. But their choice of facts is shaped by the questions they ask. The facts are not simply lying there, waiting for the observer to come along and put them in the "correct" pattern. The facts are selected depending on the author's questions and methodological approach. I might even say that without interpretation, there can be no facts.
December 25th, 2011  
shuban
 
I don't care about history.
December 25th, 2011  
George
 
A bit obvious with 20/20 that Germany shouldn't have attack the Russians nor the Japanese attack the US. The Soviets only invaded Poland after the Polish military was defeated for the most part & they got slapped strongly when they invaded Finland. Probably not much chance of declaring war on England. England declared war on Germany for invading Poland, but failed to do so on the Soviets for the same thing & admits to thinking of declaring war after the Finland invasion, but still doesn't. Sounds like the Soviets would have stayed neutral, ending speculation about the Iranian oil fields. Italy barely handled the Ethiopians, had thier butts kicked by the Greeks who not only stopped the invasion but were well on their way to taking Albania from the Italians, as well as the British well on the way to taking Libya. Italy should have done what Spain did, stay out of it. In not involving the US Japan may have taken Australia, maybe India, were winning in China right up to the end of the War, but that is about it. Can't see any real threat to most of Africa from the Japanese or Germans. US & USSR neutral, a stand off between England & Germany & Japan having most of its Co-prosperity sphere. At least while talking about conventional warfare. Eventual development of the A Bomb by Germany would have broken the stalemate with England & Hitlers hatred of Communism resulting in a eventual attack on Russia with atomic arms. Lots of what if from there!