Most decisive battle in WW2? - Page 23




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

 
--
 
December 28th, 2010  
lljadw
 
1) some splitting of hairs:it is my assumption that the real threat for AGC was in january
2)about the Russian winteroffensive:saying that it nearly destroyed AGC,means that it failed,and,why did it fail?
1)the winter was hindering more the advancing Soviets than the defending Germans
2) the Stavka made some faults
3)and this is decisive:the German defensive capacity was stronger than the Russian offensive capacity (for Typhoon,it was the opposite)
4)but this is disputable :Hitler's no retreat order.
December 28th, 2010  
George
 
IF 1 battle could be looked at as decisive, I'd have to go with the loss of the Japanese carrier pilots(not to mention the Carriers) @ Midway. The "Phillipines Turkey Shoot" was a direct result of the loss of expierienced pilots.
December 28th, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
One of the main reasons why AGC almost crumbled at the end of 1941 was a lack of defensive preparation. Mainly because the retreat order from Hitler came too late and the weather prevented the German engineer and infantry divisions from making any proper defensive formations. Those German formations that did have the time and ability to dig in, such as von Kluge's 4th Army, survived the Soviet counter attack more or less intact. Capturing Moscow would have allowed a defensive line to be built. The danger is whether they have the time to do this.

I would not put my house on the Germans holding Moscow through the winter, but if they can get set and dig in, using Moscow itself as a fortress, then I believe it's possible that they see out until February/March 1942. The Soviet formations in late 1941 were bolstered by a large quantity of green troops with very little basic training and short of equipment. They are not the same troops that surrounded Stalingrad a year later. There is no coordinated battle plan as there was at Stalingrad a year later. Historically, Zhukov ended up checking divisions piecemeal at the Germans who in the main chewed them up. The Soviets pushed the Germans back because the Germans had no defensive line and had to retreat.

Regarding the German 39th Korps I have two things to say. Firstly that it was just one Korps and secondly that the Cholm Pocket itself would likely not have existed had the Germans taken Moscow. Therefore I don't see this as having much relevance to the subject at hand.

The only other thing to consider is that the most likely scenario for Germany to capture Moscow is to race for it in August instead of targeting Kiev. This opens up a whole new set of debate which is probably best left for another thread.

The problem is that had they gone for Moscow in August they probably would have taken it but it would have left AGC extremely exposed in a huge salient with AGN tied up outside Leningrad and AGS somewhere around Kiev I seriously doubt that AGC could have effectively defended such a huge area especially given Hitlers "no retreat" policies, I also seriously doubt that with German troops in Moscow Hitler would have allowed a withdrawal had the Russians launched a winter offensive and as such you have strong forces in a city with weakly defended flanks.

As far as the 39th Korps goes I think it is important because it was the southern flank of Guderians forces and I am not sure any army commander can under estimate the destruction of one of its flanks.

However back to the question at hand, since Germany still held the initiative for almost 12 months after Moscow I stand by the argument that while the battle of Moscow was important it was not decisive.
However after Stalingrad Germany had lost the initiative and it was all one way traffic from then on which was proven at Kursk thusly Kursk was not decisive either which leaves Stalingrad as the most decisive battle of WW2 in the east and the European theatre.

As far as the Pacific goes Midway would have to be considered the turning point there.
--
December 29th, 2010  
hardlec
 
Russians, and especially Russian Soldiers, are tough. Tough of mind. Tough of Body. Tough of Spirit. Russian Soldiers went to battle armed with sticks and were expected to arm themselves with the rifles of dead troopers who had gone in before. The idea that Russian morale would collapse is not something I would propose.
The Soviet Union was another matter. Stalin was unpopular before the war, and Communism was not doing very well. If the Nazi's had taken Moscow, it is possible, even likely, that the Ukraine would have split off from what was left of the Soviet Union and Stalin would have disappeared. Moscow was more than symbolically the heart of the power of communism. Destroy it and you do not destroy Russia, but very likely you destroy the Soviet Union/Stalin/Communism. If the Nazis do that, they win the war in the East. Britain alone can not win the war in the West.

If Rommel wins at El Alamein, and goes on to take Egypt, the Home Islands are (mostly)cut off from India and Australia. The English may not need Mid East oil, but the Nazi's most surely can use it. They already had agents in the Mid East. Part of that legacy is the Bath party. Saddam Hussein's trainers and teachers were, in part, taught by the agents of Himmler.

It might be worth noting that the Axis quite nearly won the war in 1941/1942.
December 29th, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardlec
Russians, and especially Russian Soldiers, are tough. Tough of mind. Tough of Body. Tough of Spirit. Russian Soldiers went to battle armed with sticks and were expected to arm themselves with the rifles of dead troopers who had gone in before. The idea that Russian morale would collapse is not something I would propose.
The Soviet Union was another matter. Stalin was unpopular before the war, and Communism was not doing very well. If the Nazi's had taken Moscow, it is possible, even likely, that the Ukraine would have split off from what was left of the Soviet Union and Stalin would have disappeared. Moscow was more than symbolically the heart of the power of communism. Destroy it and you do not destroy Russia, but very likely you destroy the Soviet Union/Stalin/Communism. If the Nazis do that, they win the war in the East. Britain alone can not win the war in the West.

If Rommel wins at El Alamein, and goes on to take Egypt, the Home Islands are (mostly)cut off from India and Australia. The English may not need Mid East oil, but the Nazi's most surely can use it. They already had agents in the Mid East. Part of that legacy is the Bath party. Saddam Hussein's trainers and teachers were, in part, taught by the agents of Himmler.

It might be worth noting that the Axis quite nearly won the war in 1941/1942.
But lets be honest here had the Germans been a little less racially motivated there is a strong possibility that the Russian people would have won the war for the Germans anyway, for the first few months of the invasion they were liberators but once the people discovered that the devil invading was worse than the one they knew it was always going to be a rough time for the Germans.

As far as the Rommel and the middle east went well that was always going to be a side show even had Rommel taken Egypt all he would have achieved was longer supply lines while the British and Commonwealth troops were getting closer to their supply bases in South Africa and India.
The North African campaign was folly at best given the limited number of troops committed to it.
December 29th, 2010  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
The problem is that had they gone for Moscow in August they probably would have taken it but it would have left AGC extremely exposed in a huge salient with AGN tied up outside Leningrad and AGS somewhere around Kiev I seriously doubt that AGC could have effectively defended such a huge area especially given Hitlers "no retreat" policies, I also seriously doubt that with German troops in Moscow Hitler would have allowed a withdrawal had the Russians launched a winter offensive and as such you have strong forces in a city with weakly defended flanks.
Well, the Lötzen Decision is a topic for a new thread I think. Regarding the defence of a German-held Moscow I agree that it is far from certain that the Ostheer could hold it through the winter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
As far as the 39th Korps goes I think it is important because it was the southern flank of Guderians forces and I am not sure any army commander can under estimate the destruction of one of its flanks.
Again Monty, the circumstances in which the 39th Korps was destroyed wouldn't necessarily happen if the circumstances have changed from what happened historically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
However back to the question at hand, since Germany still held the initiative for almost 12 months after Moscow I stand by the argument that while the battle of Moscow was important it was not decisive.
They may have held the initiative but they could no longer win the war. Before Moscow they could. That is the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
However after Stalingrad Germany had lost the initiative and it was all one way traffic from then on which was proven at Kursk thusly Kursk was not decisive either which leaves Stalingrad as the most decisive battle of WW2 in the east and the European theatre.
It wasn't quite all one way traffic Monty. The 3rd Battle of Kharkov stabilized Army Group South's position and had Manstein been given his head the entire Soviet South and Southwestern Fronts could have been blown wide apart. Even given that the best the Germans could have hoped for was a draw. They were not set up to fight a prolonged war and no longer had the manpower or other resources to achieve the task.
December 29th, 2010  
lljadw
 
IMHO,the importance of the Germans taking and holding or not Moscow,is mainly a myth .
If the Germans were taking -in november- Moscow,not much would change .
If the Germans could hold Moscow till the spring,not much would change
If the Germans were losing Moscow in december,not much would change .
Because already in october,the Germans had lost any chance to win the war in the east .
December 30th, 2010  
Korean Seaboy
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lljadw
IMHO,the importance of the Germans taking and holding or not Moscow,is mainly a myth .
If the Germans were taking -in november- Moscow,not much would change .
If the Germans could hold Moscow till the spring,not much would change
If the Germans were losing Moscow in december,not much would change .
Because already in october,the Germans had lost any chance to win the war in the east .
Well, on what evidence to you hold your claims on?
I thought I explained quite extensively why Moscow was so important
December 30th, 2010  
lljadw
 
because every month the Germans were becoming weaker:exn 1 september ,they already had lost 400000 men,WITHOUT any replacements and 1179 tanks,with only 95 replacements .
because every month the Russians were becoming stronger:ex:they were sending every month average 1 million men to the front;on 1 september there already were more Russians on the front than on 22 june .
In plan Barbarossa,it was stated very clearly that the SU had to be defeated in a quick,thus short campaign;well,on 1 september,the SU was not defeated,thus the dies were cast.
After 1 september,there was no chance for the Germans to defeat the SU,to attain the territorial goal(the Wolga) before the winter .
A battle for Moscow in november was very bad for the Germans ;any big fighting after august was very bad.
Thus,what happened after august was not decisive:the decisive period was between 22 june and 1 september .
Thus:the importance of the battle for Moscow is a myth,unless,there are convincing proofs (no assumptions) that the fall of Moscow would result in the collaps of the SU.
December 30th, 2010  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lljadw
because every month the Germans were becoming weaker:exn 1 september ,they already had lost 400000 men,WITHOUT any replacements and 1179 tanks,with only 95 replacements .
because every month the Russians were becoming stronger:ex:they were sending every month average 1 million men to the front;on 1 september there already were more Russians on the front than on 22 june .
In plan Barbarossa,it was stated very clearly that the SU had to be defeated in a quick,thus short campaign;well,on 1 september,the SU was not defeated,thus the dies were cast.
After 1 september,there was no chance for the Germans to defeat the SU,to attain the territorial goal(the Wolga) before the winter .
A battle for Moscow in november was very bad for the Germans ;any big fighting after august was very bad.
Thus,what happened after august was not decisive:the decisive period was between 22 june and 1 september .
Thus:the importance of the battle for Moscow is a myth,unless,there are convincing proofs (no assumptions) that the fall of Moscow would result in the collaps of the SU.
The Germans had two choices in September 1941, after the Battle of Kiev had been concluded:

1) Press on to Moscow and hope that the Red Army are almost finished and aren't able to replace their huge losses in the field
2) Form a defensive line using the Dnieper River as the basis and wait out the winter until spring

Clearly, the 2nd option allows the Red Army time and breathing space and also ensures that the current German initiative is lost. It is possible for the Germans to resist any Soviet counter-attacks and allow their forces to rest and refit and reestablish the initiative in Spring 1942. This is, in fact, what they did historically and in this scenario the Germans could do so again without having suffered the losses in Operation Typhoon. This is using the benefit of hindsight, of course.

With hindsight, pressing on for Moscow is a viable strategy if you believe your enemy is on its knees and almost finished. This is precisely what the Germans believed. Although the cautious Hitler wanted to go for Option 2 he was persuaded by his senior commanders that the Ostheer could capture Moscow and knock the Soviet Union out of the war. Without the benefit of hindsight (and with the knowledge that your enemy has recently suffered greater numerical losses than any other army in history) Option 1 seems like a gamble worth taking.

The importance of the Battle of Moscow is not a myth. It determined the eventual outcome of the war in the east. To say that this had already been determined in September is silly.