Turning point of WW2 - Page 13




 
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September 7th, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyontheRight
According to Alan Clarke, who was the leading historian on Barbarossa In the decade or two after It happened, the real importance of lean-lease came through trucks to mechanize the Infantry. The Soviet Infantry was behind the rest of the world In the first phase of the war, and this Is why you saw German encirclements so successful, because their operational maneuverability was so poor. The Mech Infantry allow the Soviets to push the advantage after Kursk, and did not allow time for Hitler to coordinate a strong defensive line, or rebuild up his forces like he did after Stalingrad. But this is not a Russia vs. Germany discussion, it's a turning point discussion.
Remember though that it wasn't just the Red Army that suffered from a lack of mechanization. The Wehrmacht too never fully achieved Guderian's ideal of fully motorized Panzergrenadier battalions that drove alongside the Panzers. As you probably know the German Army took over 600,000 horses with them into the Soviet Union in 1941. Therefore you can't just put down the Red Army's appalling losses to their lack of mechanization as other factors were far more important. It's important too to recognize that Germany's initial stunning successes in Russia were as much due to the brilliance of some of her frontline commanders and strategists (Guderian, Hoth, Manstein, Bock et al) and the revolutionary nature of Blitzkrieg and combined arms as it was due to any failings in the Red Army.

Trucks were obviously very important to the Soviet Union's war effort but it was locomotives and not trucks that brought Zhukov's 25 Siberian divisions to the rescue and played a very decisive role in winning the Battle of Moscow for the Red Army.

Here's a link:

http://orbat.com/site/sturmvogel/SovLendLease.html
September 7th, 2004  
GuyontheRight
 
I do not contest that, or the importance of locamotives, but it was the ruckes which kept Zhukov on the adavnace In '44, and really helped accelerate the collapse of the German forces In the East.
September 7th, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Hey dopp, you forgot to throw credit to Stalin for decapitating the Red Army by purging most of its commanding officers. The Red Army of during Barbarossa is akin to a headless dragon (only not dead). Tremendous potential, no direction.
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September 14th, 2004  
Baker
 
I too would have to go with Pearl Harbor, I see it as a turning point because the Japanese failed to catch the Carriers in port...The US was going to enter the war, it was just a matter of time. Missing the carriers was a critical turning point.
September 14th, 2004  
Rufus Excalibur
 
On such a subject consensus is almost impossible. To compare the Eastern Front with Pearl Harbour is a most dangerous route to pursue. Historians like to take dates and events and attribute additional importance to them (usually as they are writing a book on it at the time).

In my opinion one event impacts on another, Battle of Britain - then Hitler turns East. German Propoganda films deluded even the Nazi High Command, so much that they never reached peak industrial output and so on. Indeed the BoB was preceded by Dunkirk, failure to evacuate here could have left GB scrambling for peace with Adolf, then no BoB and so on.

I would conclude with the fact that Germany (economic reasons aside) should have held back from war until 1943/44. This could have meant the RAF and USAF fighting Jet Fighters, V2 rockets a plenty and even an atom bomb.

Surely the haste of Mr Hitler was the real 'turning point' of the war even although it had yet to start.
September 14th, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Hitler was the greatest asset and the greatest downfall of the Third Reicht. This fact has too many examples to document. Blitzkrieg would have never had a chance to develop if Hitler had not been around. Rethinking all aspects of the German military goes along the same lines. Germany could have have won the war if it hadn't been for Hitler. The miracle of Dunkirk was courtesy of Hitler. The Russians still holding Moscow after Barbarossa ground to an icy halt was also thanks to Hitler. Wartime production was stifled by Hitler. Whole lot of roles to take for a funny little man with a stupid looking moustache.
September 15th, 2004  
PE_Sushi
 
First, the question is biaised : if you consider there was a turning point in the war, this means that one side could have won until the turning point and, after the turning point, the other side took advantage and finaly won.
So if you say there was a turning point it means that Axis could have won the war...maybe, maybe not

I also think that every important event is partly a consequence of events before, so you can not really make one single event standing out.

Anyway, Pearl Harbor is not a turning point, itís just US entrance in the war. I strongly believe that US would eventualy have entered the war, even without Japanese agression and the following German declaration of war against US.
From this point, war was eventualy to be won by allies because US had the A-bomb.
In the long term, Japan didnít stood a chance against US.

About Europe, the Eastern Front is the only one that matters. (North Africa was a small scale thing, I guess more soldiers have fought around either Moscow, St Petersburg/Leningrad or Stalingrad than in whole North Africa !)

D-DAY was of a great importance (although you canít compare with Barbarossa for example),it made the war in Europe end way faster and relieved Soviet forces (and spare the western European countries to fall into Stalinís hands but thatís another story). But D-DAY was possible only because England managed to win the Battle of Britain (could they have lost this one anyway ?) BoB was Germanyís first important defeat, and a big spank on myth like LW unvulnerability!

On the Eastern front I wonít put Stalingrad in the first place. From a morale and symbolic point of view Ė which is important Ė Stalingrad stands out, but I think german lost when they started to loose time at Smolensk and Kiev and were unable to launch attack against Moscow before it was too late.

After Stalingrad, germans were still able to kick soviets in many occasions (failure of operation Mars), but after Kursk (mid-1943) they never gained initiative and Soviets were always on offensive.

So I would say Kursk is the turning point of WWII in Europe, even if as I said above, you canít speak of a single turining point if any.
September 15th, 2004  
03USMC
 
 
El Alamien in the ETO/MED/AFRICA

Stalingrad on the Eastern Front

Midway in the pacific
September 15th, 2004  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PE_Sushi
On the Eastern front I wonít put Stalingrad in the first place. From a morale and symbolic point of view Ė which is important Ė Stalingrad stands out, but I think german lost when they started to loose time at Smolensk and Kiev and were unable to launch attack against Moscow before it was too late.

After Stalingrad, germans were still able to kick soviets in many occasions (failure of operation Mars), but after Kursk (mid-1943) they never gained initiative and Soviets were always on offensive.

So I would say Kursk is the turning point of WWII in Europe, even if as I said above, you canít speak of a single turining point if any.
Yup. Germany was indeed still in a pretty good position after Stalingrad, but only after Manstein brilliantly recaptured Kharkov and stabilized the entire Southern wing of the Wehrmacht.

Kursk was significant because it actually happened in the first place. Consider this. Operation Mars has failed to destroy Army Group Centre, the Wehrmacht has recaptured Kharkov and the Soviet South and Southwestern Fronts are vulnerable to being outflanked and overextended. Germany has 2 options:

1. Pinch out the salient centered around Kursk, which would shorten the German defensive line, capture the useful railroad town of Kursk and destroy 4 entire Soviet Armies in the process.

2. Feign a counterattack against the South and Southwestern Soviet Fronts and then retreat into the Donets Basin. The newly re-formed 4th Panzer Army would then attack from Kharkov and trap the Soviet Forces against the Sea of Azov, causing possible collapse of the entire Soviet southern defensive lines.

Trouble is that Option 1 was so bloody obvious the Soviets had weeks to prepare for it. It was never gonna be as successful as the Germans had planned for this reason alone. Option 2 was a daring plan that had the element of surprise and IMO Manstein and Guderian (the 2 principal architects of this plan) would have pulled it off. Had they done so, the Wehrmact would have been in a much more dominant position and the outcome of the entire war may have been different.

Hitler chose Option 1, bless him.
September 16th, 2004  
03USMC
 
 
IMO Stalingrad gave the Red Army a big morale boost and momentum after a severe shellacking during the early stages of the engagement. It also effected the morale of German Army who was used to running over all opponets.