Most decisive battle in WW2? - Page 2




View Poll Results :Most decisive battle in WW2?
Battle of Stalingrad 34 33.33%
Battle of Kursk (Operation Citadel) 15 14.71%
Battle of Moscow 10 9.80%
Battle of Leningrad 0 0%
Battle of El Alamein 3 2.94%
Operation Overlord (Battle of Normandy) 17 16.67%
Battle of Midway 11 10.78%
Other 12 11.76%
Voters: 102. You may not vote on this poll

 
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April 21st, 2005  
DTop
 
 
I can add additional choices to your poll if you'd like, including Midway, Iwo Jima, etc.(perhaps just Other).

As for the Battle of Britain, if nothing else, it kept Britain in the war and bought valuable time for the Allies. I'd say that would be a valid argument for it being termed a "turning point" of the war.

The Fall of France could also be considered a valid "turning point" of the war because if France had held, the war would certainly have gone quite differently, don't you think?

You want to know why D-Day was so important? Very simply, any hope the Axis had of victory ended on June 6th.

Each of these battles were decisive in their own time. That is to say, that had any of them turned out differently, perhaps some of the others would never have taken place whatsoever.
April 21st, 2005  
beardo
 
How can you think that the largest amphibous assault in history, opening up another flank, and forcing the germans to retreat again wasnt a decisive battle
April 21st, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beardo
How can you think that the largest amphibous assault in history, opening up another flank, and forcing the germans to retreat again wasnt a decisive battle
It was but the Germans were already beaten by the time it was launched. All D-Day did was to speed things up and stop Soviet domination over all of Europe. Like it or not we faced a gutted German Army in June 1944 - for the most part the best of the German forces were either already destroyed or on the Eastern Front. I know there were 'elite' Waffen SS and Panzer divisions in France but they were mainly elite in name only. Aside from an experienced NCO/Officer core they were mainly composed of men previously declared too old or unfit to fight, Luftwaffe personnel who had no planes to fly/service, Hitler Youth and troops who had very limited training. If you want to know more read this excellent article.

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...s/default.aspx

Put it another way. Pretend that either Germany never invaded Russia or had beaten them say in 1941/42. Do you think D-Day would have been as successful? Remember 75% of the Wehrmacht was over 1000 miles to the East fighting the Soviets. If you can't answer yes to that question, and give me good reasons why, then it can't be called a decisive battle.
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April 21st, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Funny, but Stalin wouldn't have agreed with you. He demanded that the western front be opened up and as Italy was essentially a stalemate the Normandy invasion was the only way that was going to happen. Obviously, he felt Normandy was decisive.

Could the Russians have won on their own? Maybe, maybe not. What is certain is that without the huge amount of equipment sent to them by America with Lend Lease and by the British as well they wouldn't have been very likely to have held on. True, they had vast reserves of manpower, but manpower without equipment is just so many targets as the Russians well proved when they sent men into battle without weapons and expected them to get a rifle from the dead.

Frankly, I'm sick of all this "they did it all" deal so far as the Russians go. They didn't do it all. The Allies did it together. Many battles were decisive. Midway was decisive, El Alamein was decisive, Guadalcanal was decisive and oh so many others.

In all actuality the two most decisive battles aren't even in your list. The battle of Poland was the most decisive for Germany because it ensured that the Allies would eventually oppose them and put an end to appeasement. Germany never had a chance to win against the combined might of the Allies. And yes, Russia did take half of Poland in that bargin, but that only ensured that Poland would no longer be a buffer between them and Germany and Hitler's dream of leibensraum would go on so that they too would oppose Hitler. Likewise, for Japan Pearl Harbor was the most decisive as it ensured that their dream of expansion in the Pacific would be put to an end as well.
April 21st, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charge 7
Funny, but Stalin wouldn't have agreed with you. He demanded that the western front be opened up and as Italy was essentially a stalemate the Normandy invasion was the only way that was going to happen. Obviously, he felt Normandy was decisive.

Could the Russians have won on their own? Maybe, maybe not. What is certain is that the huge amount of equipment sent to them by America with Lend Lease and by the British as well they wouldn't have been very likely to have held on. True, they had vast reserves of manpower, but manpower without equipment is just so many targets as the Russians well proved when they sent men into battle without weapons and expected them to get a rifle from the dead.

Frankly, I'm sick of all this "they did it all" deal so far as the Russians go. They didn't do it all. The Allies did it together. Many battles were decisive. Midway was decisive, El Alamein was decisive, Guadalcanal was decisive and oh so many others.

In all actuality the two most decisive battles aren't even in your list. The battle of Poland was the most decisive for Germany because it ensured that the Allies would eventually oppose them and put an end to appeasement. Germany never had a chance to win against the combined might of the Allies. And yes, Russia did take half of Poland in that bargin, but that only ensured that Poland would no longer be a buffer between them and Germany and Hitler's dream of leibensraum would go on so that they too would oppose Hitler. Likewise, for Japan Pearl Harbor was the most decisive as it ensured that their dream of expansion in the Pacific would be put to an end as well.
It's true that Stalin demanded that the Western Allies open up a second front (or in this case a third one). That's different though from stating that said second front was actually decisive, which is the topic of this thread after all.

After Kursk, where the Wehrmacht lost the strategic initiative, the Red Army was more than capable of beating the Germans alone, but you're right - they did need western help. In fact, western help IMO was absolutely critical to Soviet success. Not because of D-Day or El-Alamein, important though they were. Because of Lend-Lease, which in my opinion was CRITICAL to the survival of the Soviet Union in WW2.

Without Lend-Lease the Soviet Railroad system would have collapsed, meaning it would have been very difficult for the Soviet Union to supply, mobilise and deploy her armies. One of the biggest impacts is that most of the Soviet motorised rifle divisions would have had to slog it on foot. Furthermore, the Red Army would not have been capable of moving enough supplies and equipment to conduct large scale operations such as the defense of Kursk or the Battle of Bagration. They would be limited to conducting rolling waves of localised attacks that would have easily been outflanked and out maneuvered by the more mobile German divisions.

Taking that into consideration and also the fact that Lend-Lease delivered large supplies of extremely useful supplies such as tyres and machine tools, the Red Army would have been very hard pressed to wage war on anything like equal terms with the Wehrmacht and it's my opinion that they would have eventually collapsed. Even with Lend-Lease the Soviet-German casualty ratio was around 5-1 for the first 2 years of Operation Barbarossa; it would have been much worse without.

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

I wouldn't say that the Battle of Poland was decisive, because although it did ensure that France and Great Britain (NOT the US at this stage) would oppose Germany, by itself it did nothing to turn the tide of events. Although France and the UK had declared war, they actually did very little whilst Germany happily conquered Poland. Therefore, the expected 2-front war did not materialize at that time. By 1940 France was humbled and the UK isolated. At that point there was little in the way of actual large-scale combat until 1941. You could argue then that Germany, at that point, had already won the war.

I would agree that Pearl Harbor was utterly decisive because it ensured that the US would enter WW2 - until that event direct US participation in WW2 was far from certain. I think we need to separate the European and Pacific Theatres because for all extents and purposes they were separate campaigns.

One final thing - you state that Germany would never have been able to defeat the combined might of the allies. I don't agree with that statement at all. That's why the Nazis were so dangerous - they really could have won. Germany had every chance and one could argue that Germany as much lost the war as the Allies won. Germany made some huge mistakes in WW2, none bigger than Operation Barbarossa. Not because they decided to launch it, more because they did so with such unbelievable overconfidence. That's why IMO US involvement, Pearl Harbor or not, would probably have occurred at some point. With the German technological superiority in chemistry and rocketry, the US could not longer play the isolationist card.
April 21st, 2005  
Zucchini
 
Lend lease was major for the Russians, but much of it came in the form of trucks, railway equipment, and cargo ships. Those things make a big difference. They did get warplanes.

Normandy was an important battle, but it wasn't a turning point.

If you look at the Russian army, not long after its humiliating defeat by Finland, a country with virtually no air power, little armor, and meager artillery, and combine that with the supposed victories of Germany's lightening war in France and Poland, then I think you can make a pretty good case that the Battle of Moscow was the actual turning point of the war.

So many things were at issue. The biggest one was the continuation of Russia in the war. If they had lost at Moscow, that would have meant the results in Finland were final and binding - that the Russian army just plain sucked and was going to continue to suck until quickly eliminated in mass by a truly superior strategy.

In point of fact, those results were not final. What the Fins exposed was that lightening war was full of inherent weaknesses. The Fins survived all aspects of lightening war: air power, fast tanks, and fast and massive infantry. The key was having a rear (depth) and never giving up. Lightening war had no knockout punch, and it wore itself out. It was too easy for meager forces to inflict crippling casualties on it.

The Fins proved infantry, with improvised explosive devices and battlefield wit, could eliminate large numbers of tanks. They proved that air power, as it existed in WWII, was easily survivable by a fighting force, and they proved that reliable submachine guns in the hands of dedicated fighters could destroy large numbers of bolt-action infantry - certainly enough to force a superior force to accept peace.

All the Russians had to do was to turn all of that around on the attacking Germans, and it took them just a matter of months to get it done.

The outcome of the war, other than the rest of the dying, was decided. Blitzkrieg was an overhyped failure as a strategy. For the rest of the war in Europe it would continue to fail. It became the ETO's version of the Banzai in that, regardless of who used it, it was usually a gift to its opponent.

The Americans never gave up on it, and it never really worked very well for them either. And their blitz was the fastest and most sustainable in war.

The Russians discovered the war's victorious strategy, and they discovered it very early in the war: pray for more blitzes, then kill them.
April 21st, 2005  
Farseer
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DTop
I can add additional choices to your poll if you'd like, including Midway, Iwo Jima, etc.(perhaps just Other).

As for the Battle of Britain, if nothing else, it kept Britain in the war and bought valuable time for the Allies. I'd say that would be a valid argument for it being termed a "turning point" of the war.

The Fall of France could also be considered a valid "turning point" of the war because if France had held, the war would certainly have gone quite differently, don't you think?

You want to know why D-Day was so important? Very simply, any hope the Axis had of victory ended on June 6th.

Each of these battles were decisive in their own time. That is to say, that had any of them turned out differently, perhaps some of the others would never have taken place whatsoever.
It would be nice if you add Battle of Midway and maybe "Other" to poll. For Battle of Britain and Fall of France I think that they really made war much different, since it gave many possibilities to Hitler. Well I still doubt that British Empire would have surrendered even with their main island down, they still had their positions around the world.

And for D-Day, I think that it saved Western Europe from Stalin's grasp and made it much more quickly to take down Germany. Still I think that even without landing in France Stalin's forces would have won in East with Western Allies just in Italy and bombing Germany. And Stalin probably wanted landing for two reasons: With Germany having problems in west, his forces could launch their final assault to Berlin and force Germany allies and co-belligerents to join into Comintern with certain defeat seemed inevitable. Interesting is that main attack was launched to Finland in 9 June 1944 to force Finland out from war and install it as puppet regime. Plan which (once again) failed by strong defenses and German reinforcements.
April 22nd, 2005  
DTop
 
 
There you go, you're welcome.
April 22nd, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zucchini
Lend lease was major for the Russians, but much of it came in the form of trucks, railway equipment, and cargo ships. Those things make a big difference. They did get warplanes.

Normandy was an important battle, but it wasn't a turning point.

If you look at the Russian army, not long after its humiliating defeat by Finland, a country with virtually no air power, little armor, and meager artillery, and combine that with the supposed victories of Germany's lightening war in France and Poland, then I think you can make a pretty good case that the Battle of Moscow was the actual turning point of the war.

So many things were at issue. The biggest one was the continuation of Russia in the war. If they had lost at Moscow, that would have meant the results in Finland were final and binding - that the Russian army just plain sucked and was going to continue to suck until quickly eliminated in mass by a truly superior strategy.

In point of fact, those results were not final. What the Fins exposed was that lightening war was full of inherent weaknesses. The Fins survived all aspects of lightening war: air power, fast tanks, and fast and massive infantry. The key was having a rear (depth) and never giving up. Lightening war had no knockout punch, and it wore itself out. It was too easy for meager forces to inflict crippling casualties on it.

The Fins proved infantry, with improvised explosive devices and battlefield wit, could eliminate large numbers of tanks. They proved that air power, as it existed in WWII, was easily survivable by a fighting force, and they proved that reliable submachine guns in the hands of dedicated fighters could destroy large numbers of bolt-action infantry - certainly enough to force a superior force to accept peace.

All the Russians had to do was to turn all of that around on the attacking Germans, and it took them just a matter of months to get it done.

The outcome of the war, other than the rest of the dying, was decided. Blitzkrieg was an overhyped failure as a strategy. For the rest of the war in Europe it would continue to fail. It became the ETO's version of the Banzai in that, regardless of who used it, it was usually a gift to its opponent.

The Americans never gave up on it, and it never really worked very well for them either. And their blitz was the fastest and most sustainable in war.

The Russians discovered the war's victorious strategy, and they discovered it very early in the war: pray for more blitzes, then kill them.
If you're referring to the Winter War, the Finns didn't survive Lightning War at all because the Soviets in 1940 had no idea how to practice it. Lightening War, or Blitzkrieg, was 'introduced' to the Soviets in 1941 and it took until 1943 onwards before the Soviets fully grasped the principles behind it. The Finns won that war because they utilized all their strengths and were fighting in terrain that they knew inside out whereas the Soviets went in utterly overconfident and with no clear tactics or back-up plan.

How can you say that Blitzkrieg was an overhyped failure when it humbled France as no nation had been humbled for centuries and drove the BEF back into the sea. Moreover, Blitzkrieg inflicted on the Red Army in 1941 and 1942 more casualties than any other army had suffered in history. To say that Blitzkrieg had no 'knockout punch' is to demonstrate a flawed understand of the process. It was precisely this concept of 'Panzerfaust', or 'Armoured Fist' that was one of the main tenets of Blitzkrieg. Guderian argued that "Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern", translated "You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread." By this he meant that you must use overwhelming force at weak points along your enemies line to smash through and penetrate to their rear area.

Blitzkrieg came to grief for the Germans for 3 reasons. One being that once the momentum of Blitzkrieg is checked it becomes difficult to re-establish. Another being the fact that the sheer distances involved in the Soviet Union took a huge toll on the Panzers and men involved - Blitzkrieg does not work well as an extended operation unless time is given for the rear units and supply convoys to catch up. Finally, Germany's enemies adopted Blitzkrieg as their own and thus Germany no longer had the same operational and tactical edge they enjoyed in the early years of the war.

Blitzkrieg is still around today and used by all modern armies in a modified form. Blitzkrieg was the first operational use of combined arms theory in war - hardly an overhyped failure.
April 22nd, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
I'm in complete agreement with Doppleganger on this one. The Air/Land battle is the hallmark of US military doctrine today and the direct decendant of blitzkreig. Obviously, if it was a failure we wouldn't still be using it.