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Was the German Army (Heer) really so superior?

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  • Originally posted by deterrumeversor View Post
    Hello folks,
    My highlighting

    My statement was as much socio-political as it was military in nature; and you pretty much answered it yourself with the line that I highlighted. With the exception of the Finns who wanted to be at war with the Soviet Union, the other Axis Minor Powers did not want to be. The average Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, etc... soldier was a long way from home, had no desire or motivation to be there, and it showed. They were in an unpopular war both with the soldiers at the front and their families back home. (Does this sound familiar?)

    The Axis Minor Power's industrial capacity, and supply capabilities were inadequate to meet the needs of the war. Plus, the equipment they were able to produce was inferior to the Germans, and the Soviets during almost the entirety of the war.

    Look at it from this perspective. If you were a soldier there.

    You don't know in a broad sense why you are there. You do know however that you are out gunned and out manned by the Soviets, chronically under supplied and equipped, and that you are treated like an unwanted inlaw by your supposed Allies. Under these circumstances it would not , and did not; take long for morale to plummet. With that drop in morale went a corresponding drop in combat effectiveness! Napolean said it best "An Army's effectiveness depends on its size, training, experience, and morale. Morale is worth more than any of the other factors
    combined."


    Soldiers and units can only be as combat effective as their leadership and supplies allow them to be. Unfortunately for their men in the field, the Minor Powers were sorely lacking in both of these.
    A good example of this same issue is what happened to France in 1940. They had a well trained, highly respected Army with above average equipment, but the morale levels of the average French soldier and civilian were so terribly low, and their leadership abysmal, that well.... Need I say more?

    As much as you are correct that the Finns did not actively engage in major offensive operations against the Soviets after the winter of '41/42 they did mount enough minor ones to tie up an disproportionately large amount of Soviet manpower and equipment defending the positions that they did occupy. They had better morale, motivation, and equipment than the other Minor powers. Plus, they believed in the war; both at the front and back home. And arguably Mannerheim was a better leader than any other Commander of the Minor Powers and I think that he was better than the majority of the Commanders of the Wehrmacht.

    Cheers,
    Deter
    Morale, organization and leadership is progressively tested as the army is engaged in more battles and at greater distances. Just as equipment is.

    It was easier for the Finns to maintain better morale, better cohesion, better leadership and better equipment since they were mostly static in good defensive positions. The Romanian army went all the way to Stalingrad, hence its morale, cohesion, leadership and equipment (already defficient) had plenty of chances to get seriously attritioned.

    Thus, I don't think the usefulness of the two armies should be judged based on the state of their morale, cohesion and leadership since they faced two radically different conditions.

    As for morale in Romania, I don't have exact info on this but I think it only plummeted after Stalingrad.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by ljadw View Post
      Many reports appear to include only Heer troops,others appear to include all troops meant for ground combat(Heer ,SS and LW),some include various paramilitary elements such as RAD,NSKK and OT and others may include some,but not all such elements,some include nonmilitary administrative and service personnel(Wehrmachtserfolge),and so on .Then,of course, there is the problem of which type of strength they mean:Ration,Ist,Tages,Gefechts,..
      So when comparing German strengths to Allied strengths we should deduct from the Allied totals all those troops in port operating units, airfield construction, railway repair, military police, military government types and a whole host of other administrative trades and service troops because that is the way the Germans want to count their troops?

      As usual it seems the calaculation is: German netto, Allied grosso.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by deterrumeversor View Post
        Hello folks,
        My highlighting

        My statement was as much socio-political as it was military in nature; and you pretty much answered it yourself with the line that I highlighted. With the exception of the Finns who wanted to be at war with the Soviet Union, the other Axis Minor Powers did not want to be. The average Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, etc... soldier was a long way from home, had no desire or motivation to be there, and it showed. They were in an unpopular war both with the soldiers at the front and their families back home. (Does this sound familiar?)
        That's rubbish. The Axis Allies for the most part sent the troops which were willing to fight alongside the Nazis - the Romanian army actively participated in the Holocaust, for example, and you can't do such things with a bunch of unwilling wavering peasants as you want to present them.The Hungarians and Romanians were mainly engaged in occupation duties, which they performed with extreme brutality, especially the former.

        The Axis Minor Power's industrial capacity, and supply capabilities were inadequate to meet the needs of the war. Plus, the equipment they were able to produce was inferior to the Germans, and the Soviets during almost the entirety of the war.
        Rubbish again. The Soviet were desperate to construct makeshift tanks to defend Moscow by the end of 1941. On the Leningrad front many artillery pieces all the way up to summer 1942 could only shoot 3 shells a day to counter German heavy siege batteries. What the Soviet armies did was concentrate their men and equipment at the breakthrough point, and it is from these engagements that the Nazi tales of 10 to 1 superiority come from, not because they had more equipment overall.

        Look at it from this perspective. If you were a soldier there.

        You don't know in a broad sense why you are there. You do know however that you are out gunned and out manned by the Soviets, chronically under supplied and equipped, and that you are treated like an unwanted inlaw by your supposed Allies. Under these circumstances it would not , and did not; take long for morale to plummet. With that drop in morale went a corresponding drop in combat effectiveness! Napolean said it best "An Army's effectiveness depends on its size, training, experience, and morale. Morale is worth more than any of the other factors
        combined."
        Yeah, if he was a soldier fighting a genocidal war for a Nazi cause he could desert or surrender. This is in case he is a human being with morals and conscience. However, these guys took an active part in all these crimes, therefore they were bound to their masters by the bonds of blood they shed together. Therefore they either lost the will to fight at all, struck by a sudden blow, or fought like cornered rats, much like the Nazis in Berlin.

        Soldiers and units can only be as combat effective as their leadership and supplies allow them to be. Unfortunately for their men in the field, the Minor Powers were sorely lacking in both of these.
        This only matters when they are fighting a much superiorly prepared enemy. Many of the Soviet armies were underfed and underequipped throughout the first part of the war, so all these complaints are groundless.

        A good example of this same issue is what happened to France in 1940. They had a well trained, highly respected Army with above average equipment, but the morale levels of the average French soldier and civilian were so terribly low, and their leadership abysmal, that well.... Need I say more?
        Wow, now are you gonna say the French lost cause they didn't want to fight? I thought Blitzkrieg tactics and tank offensives had something to do with it.

        As much as you are correct that the Finns did not actively engage in major offensive operations against the Soviets after the winter of '41/42 they did mount enough minor ones to tie up an disproportionately large amount of Soviet manpower and equipment defending the positions that they did occupy.
        Even more ridiculous rubbish. From late 1941 to mid-1944 the Finns faced the Karelian front and the 23rd Army of the Leningrad front. The Karelian front numbered 150-200 thousand people for the most part of that period, and the 23rd Army, drained of most of its units, was about 60 thousand. One can add the Soviet Naval personnel which fought on the ground, about 50 000. The well-equipped Finnish Army numbered about 470 thousand plus there was the German force of about 90 thousand tasked with the capture of Murmansk and cutting the Murmansk railway.

        Therefore, the ratio was: about 300 000 Soviet troops vs 550 000 Finns+Nazis

        A disproportionate tie-up indeed

        They had better morale, motivation, and equipment than the other Minor powers. Plus, they believed in the war; both at the front and back home. And arguably Mannerheim was a better leader than any other Commander of the Minor Powers and I think that he was better than the majority of the Commanders of the Wehrmacht.
        A better leader would not get his nation involved in a war which would bring it totally nothing, only 70 000 dead and huge reparations.
        www.histours.ru

        Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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        • Originally posted by ShAA View Post
          the Romanian army actively participated in the Holocaust, for example, and you can't do such things with a bunch of unwilling wavering peasants as you want to present them

          Yeah, if he was a soldier fighting a genocidal war for a Nazi cause he could desert or surrender. This is in case he is a human being with morals and conscience. However, these guys took an active part in all these crimes, therefore they were bound to their masters by the bonds of blood they shed together.
          The majority of soldiers did not take part in war crimes.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Bravo Zero
            They must of had lessons from the Red Army.
            Lol, and which exactly lessons?

            So I take it you approve of their extermination of innocent civilians? Say yes or no.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

            Comment


            • Originally posted by deterrumeversor View Post
              Hello folks,
              My highlighting

              A good example of this same issue is what happened to France in 1940. They had a well trained, highly respected Army with above average equipment, but the morale levels of the average French soldier and civilian were so terribly low, and their leadership abysmal, that well.... Need I say more?

              Cheers,
              Deter
              That's wrong. French "morale" was less or better than in other wars or others people. When the question is to defend your soil you do it. And they did, having in four weeks the same killing rate as in Verdun.
              The romanians did fought good (at their own level) untill Stalingrad where they also fight "as they could" and stopped the first wave of the russian attack in the south of Stalingrad in the first days.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by grosnain View Post
                When the question is to defend your soil you do it.

                Ha! Ha! Don't talk bollocks... show me a piccy of Paris to compare with these.



                The long toll of the brave
                Is not lost in darkness
                Over the fruitful earth
                And athwart the seas
                Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                Unquenchable forever.

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                • It's obvious to answer this question you must objectively analyze the strengths and weaknesses(oh yes they had them) that they possessed and compare them to each other nation individually. The war was heavily influenced by multiple fronts.

                  As many have said, you have to take into account that the nature of the German military entity as a whole changed throughout the war. It certainly degraded through it's leadership and logistics and industry.

                  General Characteristics -
                  As far as the group of people who identified eachother as "Germans", there was a great sense of unity and support. However, this made any cooperation with allies of other ethnicities difficult and a weakness, so it's a double edged sword.

                  The Germans were trained to operate on the agenda to achive a mission within certain parameters by their own devices, and not by strict written orders. This made them very adaptable, which combined with their high state of morale and combined arms oriented tactics, they mastered a new way of war quicker than their enemies.

                  Any nation in France's place I think would have met a similar fate. Manstein was left in charge of that operation and at that time, I think the Germans would have MILITARILYdefeated the Russians (as far as direct conflict between large organized forces). This would not have ended the war, as it had in WW1, due to the ethnic war crimes that would inevitably be commited.

                  Before long range large bombers were built in large numbers and fighters and tactics also improved accordingly, the Luftwaffe was superior up until the Battle of Britain, where it showed their fighters were also not up to par with what was required.

                  Their tanks were of superior quality as far as the Tiger and Panther models are concerned. But the T-34 and Shermans were much simpelr designs, and this proved to be a much smarter decision, as having 500 Tiger 2's is pointless against some 40-50,000 T-34's and an equal number of Shermans. Very early on against the British in North Africa they enjoyed a slight advantage early on, but lacked numbers and supplies to truly take advantage of this
                  Even early on, German tank tactics far exceeded the quality of their tanks. Sadly, German tank tactics would degrade as better tanks came out due to large numbers of experienced commanders being killed on the Eastern Front. So while the Germans at one point enjoyed both advantages by themselves, they never truly realized their potential due to the decline in tactics as tank designs improved.

                  Which brings us to those designs. Tigers and Panthers were complex to repair and difficult to supply. Many crews just abandoned their machines due to being in hostile territory and having the machine break down.

                  The Germans lacked motorized transport, prefering to march their armies on foot and supplies by horseback. This system inevitably broke down in Russia.

                  The Luftwaffe's superiority was short lived, as soon the Allied armies caught up and surpassed it. They never developed long range bombers, further compounding their weakness to wars of attrition, as a World War seems to inevitably come to.

                  Their Navy was the weakest arm. Their most effective weapon was the U-boats and even those were eventually countered quite efficiently.
                  This was a huge weakness because Germany was at war on two fronts with nations directly bordering her and was severely restricted by trade in addition to having bombing campaigns constantly waged against her.

                  The decline in leadership, largely due to the country's faith in Hitler, which even though it gave them strength in unity, brought them weakness with the racial war crimes and erratic decision making of the Fuhrer. Every territory they occupied rise against them, further weakening them. Hitler's military blunders in the East, as relative ignorant dimissal of the importance of the Atlantic and African fronts, cost the Germans dearly from the beginning.

                  Most people probably imagine the slow grinding attrition after a narrow missed chance at victory due to Hitler and a couple chance decisions.

                  Really it was a failed dream from the beginning. While it might have been remotely possible for Germany to have beaten France and won the battles of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad, obtained the oilfields at Grozny, won North Africa and the Atlantic, that would have been it.

                  Pressure from the U.S., Britain, the combined efforts of resistance of tens of millions of people, would have still inevitably done the Germans in. Russia alone had far more industry located even farther east in even more remote areas. as long as Germany commited their war crimes, which because of Hitler who had started the war in the first place, you cannot imagine a war where they don't take place. That alone is their worst weakness, and in itself is fatal.
                  Last edited by El Grim; 10 Feb 12, 05:20.
                  In dreams there is truth, dare to be wise-Unknown

                  The cycle of chaos and clarity is the heart of existence. A candle has no purpose without darkness-Unknown

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                  • Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                    Ha! Ha! Don't talk bollocks... show me a piccy of Paris to compare with these.

                    [ATTACH]46135[/ATTACH]
                    Stalingrad

                    [ATTACH]46136[/ATTACH]
                    London

                    Not wise to ask this:there are pictures of the suburbs of Pais (Boulogne-Billancourt,etc..) ,of Rouen,etc,etc, compared to which the pictures of London are insignifiant
                    Btw:the destructions were caused ...by the RAF
                    And,why should the destruction of a city prove that an army was fighting or not ?
                    I am sure that Grosnain could post these pictures .

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                    • How many times did the Luftwaffy raid Paris... they bombed Liverpool 300 times?
                      The long toll of the brave
                      Is not lost in darkness
                      Over the fruitful earth
                      And athwart the seas
                      Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                      Unquenchable forever.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                        How many times did the Luftwaffy raid Paris... they bombed Liverpool 300 times?
                        and you could add violin also. maybe flute...

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                        • The question also is :why would the French sacrifice Paris,while the British were leaving France

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                          • Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                            The question also is :why would the French sacrifice Paris,while the British were leaving France
                            Well that's me told innit!!!???

                            images.jpg
                            The long toll of the brave
                            Is not lost in darkness
                            Over the fruitful earth
                            And athwart the seas
                            Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                            Unquenchable forever.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                              The question also is :why would the French sacrifice Paris,while the British were leaving France
                              It's just as well we left, so that we would be in a position to support the resistance, give Free French forces a base, and to come back and help liberate France .
                              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                              • Well,I don't see the seriousness of the "argument" of von Richter,saying:the British fought better,because there were more destructions due to air attacks in London,than in Paris .
                                I could repy (and I will) that I could use the same meaningless argument by saying :more French civilians (67000) were killed by air attacks than British one (60000),thus,the French were fighting better.

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