Most decisive battle in WW2? - Page 5




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 29th, 2005  
Zucchini
 
The history of WW2 is undergoing a major reconciliation. The following indicates the types of myth busting that is being done with regard to the war in Russia:

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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.

Close examination of Soviet sources as well as German archival materials cast many of these judgments into the realm of myth.

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The Cold War severely distorted the history of WW2, and it is just now being undone.
April 29th, 2005  
DTop
 
 
Zucchini please post the source for the information you posted.
April 29th, 2005  
Zucchini
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DTop
Zucchini please post the source for the information you posted.
http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/fms...es/e-front.htm
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April 30th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Quote:
Even so, had all the German Panzerkorps present followed the operational plan delivered by the II SS-Panzerkorps it still *might* have been possible for the Wehrmacht to eke out a victory.
Yes but at a phenomenal cost and to a large degree one the Germans couldnt afford but the Russians could.
Well not really a phenomenal cost. Despite the failure of Kursk, German losses at Kursk are less than what is generally believed. For example, German tank losses at Kursk amounted to no more than 300 machines compared to 1600 Soviet tanks destroyed. The Luftwaffe lost 200 planes compared to the 1000 lost by the Soviet VVS. The Wehrmacht lost 56000 men killed compared to 177847 Red Army soldiers KIA. A force loss ratio in favour of the Germans of 5.1, 5.1 and 3.1 respectively, despite the Germans being the aggressors. As you can see the Soviet losses were staggering when compared against those of the Germans. The following site lists these figures and it is well referenced and accurate.

http://www.answers.com/topic/battle-of-kursk

Those force ratio losses were more or less repeated almost right up until the end of the war. You're right about one thing though. The Germans could not afford even their modest losses without anything to show for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Quote:
The thing is, the Germans did have a chance to win at Kursk, but only if they had launched it quickly. Instead they took far too long to assemble and Hitler insisted on waiting for the new Panther and Elefant tanks to be ready before giving authorization for the operation to begin. This gave the Soviets plenty of time to build up very formidable defences.
Doesnt this indicate that by Kursk the Germans had already lost the initiative?
We are talking about the conducting of a major battle being taken from the military commanders assigned to do the job and the use of new, untried equipment to me this shows a lack of confidence in both the command and equipment being used on that front.
The planning and conducting of Operation Zitadelle (Kursk) was not taken away from German commanders by Hitler. It's just that Hitler listened to the wrong commanders. Hitler wanted to ensure that Kursk succeeded and he felt that deployment of powerful new tanks would do just this, despite Guderian's objections that the new Panthers and Elefants were not ready. I don't think there's any argument that by Kursk the Germans had just about lost the initiative. Kursk was the wrong option for Germany. Allowing Manstein instead to utilize his 'backhand' plan would have been far better and IMO would have resulted in the initiative remaining firmly with Germany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Quote:
However, from a grand strategic viewpoint it definitely could not be considered decisive as it did little to affect the eventual outcome of the war. The Battle of Britain also falls into that category.
I initially thought this as well but then I thought "ok had Germans won both the Battle of Britain and El Alamein what would have happened next."
My conclusion was:
With the RAF out of the picture there was little chance of stopping the Germans invading or just pounding Britain into a giant pile of rubble I doubt the Royal Navy would have been able to operate in the channel long enough to stop an invasion given Luftwaffe air supremecy.

A loss at El Alamein would have made Egypt untenable and opened up the entire middle east to German attack (Wasnt Iraq/Iran already in a minor revolt at this point), it would have taken the Suez canal and Mediterainian out of the war for the allies and to some degree it would have depleted the oil supplies of Britain by forcing much longer sailings while allowing the axis to concentrate its antishipping capabilities.
German records have shown that, even had the Luftwaffe won the Battle of Britain, any invasion of England would have been unlikely. There were just too many other potential problems and the Kriegsmarine quite frankly was not up to the task in 1940. I agree more with your El Alamein assessment but I still do not think it was as decisive as say, Kursk.
May 1st, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
German records have shown that, even had the Luftwaffe won the Battle of Britain, any invasion of England would have been unlikely. There were just too many other potential problems and the Kriegsmarine quite frankly was not up to the task in 1940.
Agreed, but out of interest what do you think would have happened next had the RAF been destroyed during the BOB?.

While I realise the Germans lacked any serious amphibious capability I am not sure thay could have or would have passed up the opportunity to land in Britain.
May 1st, 2005  
Ashes
 
I agree with those who say the Eastern front decided the war in Europe.

Up to 80% of total German casualties in the war occurred on the Eastern front.


Probably the only chance the Germans had to defeat Russia was in the first 6 months of the war.
It was logistically beyond them.

The Cambridge History of Warfare said that the German military planning for Barbarossa was ''a mixture of tactical and operational genius, with woolly headed political optimism and logistical imbecility.''

After the Germans were fought to a standstill at Leningrad and then Moscow, and pushed back in the Russian counter attack, they were always going to struggle to defeat Russia.

A simultaneous offensive by the 3 army groups was then out of the question.

After that, Russia had the chance to build up and equip their massive reserve armies and outproduce Germany from new factories behind the Urals, plus Hitler declaring war on America, committing Germany to a war on two fronts.

So my vote would go for the battle of Moscow, with the Stalingrad fiasco ruining their Southern offensive, and by Kursk, the largest tank battle of the war [Germany's last throw of the dice] starting so late, they were virtually kaput.

Mansteins ''Backhand'' plan, although a brilliant concept on paper, might have had less chance of success then Manstein thought it would.

The Americans were always going to defeat Japan once production was in full swing, even if they blundered along the way, and Germany had next to no chance of crossing the channel.
May 1st, 2005  
Strongbow
 
 
I'm a bit caught between the battles of Stalingrad and Moscow.

I'll plum for Moscow because it was the Germans first big reversal. The gateway to Moscow was wide open at one stage but was closed again in November/December 1941.

The Germans had to make a major "strategic" retreat. It was a near collapse for a while (after the Russians counterattacked).

The battle for Moscow gave the Russians more time. The Germans didn't have that luxury. They needed a quick win.

I agree with Doppleganger that Lend Lease was critical for the Russians.
May 1st, 2005  
redcoat
 
 
I've voted for the battle of Moscow, because to win in the Soviet Union the Germans needed to fight a short, quick campaign.
With the failure to take Moscow, Germany was commited to fighting a war for which she hadn't prepared, and in which the odds would eventually favour the Soviets.
Moscow ensured that the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk would eventually be fought.,
May 1st, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Quote:
German records have shown that, even had the Luftwaffe won the Battle of Britain, any invasion of England would have been unlikely. There were just too many other potential problems and the Kriegsmarine quite frankly was not up to the task in 1940.
Agreed, but out of interest what do you think would have happened next had the RAF been destroyed during the BOB?.

While I realise the Germans lacked any serious amphibious capability I am not sure thay could have or would have passed up the opportunity to land in Britain.
I think that the Luftwaffe probably would have introduced terror raids on purpose (rather than by accident as happened historically) in an attempt to put more pressure on the UK to come to terms. There would be the possibility that Churchill would be forced to step down and be replaced by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, but frankly I doubt this would have happened, for various reasons. There was a rumor that Halifax was not opposed to coming to separate terms with Hitler. If Churchill had remained in power then events would not have unfolded much differently from what happened historically.
May 1st, 2005  
redcoat
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
With the RAF out of the picture there was little chance of stopping the Germans invading or just pounding Britain into a giant pile of rubble I doubt the Royal Navy would have been able to operate in the channel long enough to stop an invasion given Luftwaffe air supremecy.

.
How does the Luftwaffe stop the RN if it attacks the invasion fleet at night