Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Was the German Army (Heer) really so superior?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Was the German Army (Heer) really so superior?

    144
    Absolutely no question. They were easily the best for pretty much the entire war
    0.69%
    1
    The Heer possessed an innate superiority but was overwhelmed by sheer numbers and degraded by attrition
    11.11%
    16
    Clearly more than a match for any opponent in the first half of the war at least; and even after that still often gave better than they got
    24.31%
    35
    Easily the best during the early 'Blitzkrieg' campaigns and remained at least competitive thereafter
    20.83%
    30
    The Heer enjoyed something of an edge in the early campaigns but their opponents caught up quickly
    11.81%
    17
    As per option 5 but some of their opponents actually bettered them on at least one level
    9.03%
    13
    German strategic skills were never anything special; and their tactical & operation skills were only slightly better in the early campaigns
    7.64%
    11
    As per option 7 but Allied armies had clearly at least equally them tactically and bested them on other levels from 42/43 onwards
    4.86%
    7
    They only won the early campaigns through a combination of luck, and the incompetence & lack of preparedness of their opponents. They were never anything special
    4.86%
    7
    The Germans were never much good. It's all propaganda
    1.39%
    2
    Other (please state and explain)
    3.47%
    5

    The poll is expired.

    Hi all,

    Following a suggestion that came out of the 'How innocent was the Wehrmacht?' thread, I thought something like this might be a good idea for those who wish to discuss the relative merits of the German Heer, in terms of their military skills and prowess on the battlefield.

    The addition of poll options might give us some idea where the spread of opinion is strongest. I did take a little time over the wording of the options but I didn't have all day, so please forgive me if I haven't got them quite right, or if I have missed an important option. To allow for this, option 11 is 'Other', with a request to explain.

    Hope this goes some way towards meeting what is an obvious appetite to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the Heer in battle, based on their actual performance, relative to the armies that opposed them during the war.

    Please note that this thread is not intended to deal with the subject of war crimes, which is already catered for in the above-mentioned 'Wehrmacht innocence' thread.

    I have enabled 'multiple choice' so members can select more than one option if they think that's appropriate.

    Have at it, guys, and please enjoy.
    Last edited by panther3485; 04 Feb 12, 05:39.

  • panther3485
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    That's all part of the 'method'.
    OK.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
    Is it possible also, that the 'small team dynamics' and ability to use initiative at lower levels, were better in the German army?
    That's all part of the 'method'.

    Leave a comment:


  • lcm1
    replied
    Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
    Is it possible also, that the 'small team dynamics' and ability to use initiative at lower levels, were better in the German army?
    Although having experienced them firsthand I do not claim by any means to be an expert on them and their tactics.I did find one thing about them though that has stuck in my memory, if they were 'dug in' they were stubborn fighters and very difficult to move. lcm1
    Last edited by panther3485; 22 Mar 12, 23:18. Reason: spelling correction in quote

    Leave a comment:


  • panther3485
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    The German army in Poland was just as green as every other army. Its advantage lay in method, which was much more flexible than Polish or French or British. Care must be taken not to inflate a few German tactical reverses and draw the conclusion that they did not actual hold those advanatges. Likewise, inflating Polish abilities because they succeeded here and there also can lead to wrong conclusions.

    As a rule German method was superior and it showed in the success of the Germans between 1939 and 1942. German materiel was no better nor were its troops more brave or robust. It was the tempo of German operation that left the others behind and opened tactical opportunities that junior ranks were permitted to exploit. That in itself made a huge difference.
    Is it possible also, that the 'small team dynamics' and ability to use initiative at lower levels, were better in the German army?
    Last edited by panther3485; 22 Mar 12, 23:17.

    Leave a comment:


  • RichardS
    replied
    The problem evaluating the German Army in Poland was that by trying to defend everything in Poland the Poles, while brave, defended nothing.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    The German army in Poland was just as green as every other army. Its advantage lay in method, which was much more flexible than Polish or French or British. Care must be taken not to inflate a few German tactical reverses and draw the conclusion that they did not actual hold those advanatges. Likewise, inflating Polish abilities because they succeeded here and there also can lead to wrong conclusions.

    As a rule German method was superior and it showed in the success of the Germans between 1939 and 1942. German materiel was no better nor were its troops more brave or robust. It was the tempo of German operation that left the others behind and opened tactical opportunities that junior ranks were permitted to exploit. That in itself made a huge difference.
    Last edited by The Purist; 22 Mar 12, 16:40.

    Leave a comment:


  • Acheron
    replied
    I have a wonder: I read of several battles during the Poland campaign where the Wehrmacht got it rather badly. During the western campaign, several battles also were rather casualty heavy for the Wehrmacht no? Could it be that at the starts of the war, the Wehrmacht wasn't so great on the tactical level, but on the operational / strategic level? After all, in the early campaign, the Wehrmacht successfully concentrated its forces to achieve breakthroughs, having the mass of their army defeat enemy forces in detail, and so on. I wonder could it be that this was reversed later in the war, with the Wehrmacht becoming superior on the tactical level, being experienced by many years of war, but being outmaneuvered on the strategic level, trying to hold everything at once while the enemy picked his Schwerpunkt and defeat with his mass German formations in detail?

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluenose
    replied
    Actually, following the fall of France time was on Germany's side.
    I'm with ljadw; the summer of 1940 was a false apogee for the 3rd Reich; in terms of raw materials they were in a worse position than that prior to Fall Gelb because they now had the entire of Western Europe to feed and supply with none of the imports from overseas that their new dominions had been used to receiving. As Europe was a net importer of necessities, this further impressed the need to break the UK or take Russia.

    Coupled with this was a degree of administrative incompetence that their enemies could never believe, resulting in potential [short-term] benefits being wasted.

    Leave a comment:


  • ljadw
    replied
    The Germans were fighting against general time,and,this was dictating them the strategy to follow .

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
    My remark about the Germans not having time on their side was solely in regards to the possibility of invading England. lcm1
    Ah! True. The longer they waited the more insane that idea becomes......

    Leave a comment:


  • panther3485
    replied
    Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
    My remark about the Germans not having time on their side was solely in regards to the possibility of invading England. lcm1
    In my opinion, the Germans not having time on their side remains true anyway, whichever way we cut the cake.

    Leave a comment:


  • lcm1
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Actually, following the fall of France time was on Germany's side. Hitler's mistake was wanting to force a move east and open up Russia rather than finish with what he'd already started.
    If the Germans were more strategic minded they would have finished Britain first. They could have done that by concentrating on the air war against Britian along with the U-boat campaign while sitting on plans for Russia.
    When North Africa and the Balkans become problems the Germans could have dealt with them too. If anything, with no Russian campaign Britain would have been doomed in the Middle East.
    Once Japan enters the war things would have only gotten worse for Britain with a Germany focused on defeating them alone. He could have also avoided war with the US. (I've advocated he declare war on Japan after the US is attacked spewing some Aryan nonsense about supporting another Aryan nation against Asian untermenchen or something).

    But, Hitler was more interested in fufilling his political dreams as quickly as possible and he ended up with everybody at war with him. Good strategy would have been finish the enemy you have before adding several new ones to your list.
    My remark about the Germans not having time on their side was solely in regards to the possibility of invading England. lcm1

    Leave a comment:


  • panther3485
    replied
    On the question of leaving the Soviets be, and concentrating Germany's war effort against Britain:

    From Hitler's PoV definitely (and in reality also, almost certainly IMO), leaving the Soviet Union alone for the sake of concentrating on Britain simply was not an option. Hitler's real ambitions lay to the East, and they were of the utmost urgency for his timetable. Also, he was aware that the Soviet Union would grow steadily proportionally stronger and better prepared, relative to Germany. His only chance of defeating the Soviets - slender as it may have been - was to do it as quickly as possible.

    I would also go so far as to say, that Germany's only chance to win WW2 was to do it relatively quickly.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Two points.

    If this and this are correct, then Britain could have still have won just by holding on. One of the odd elements about Britains position in Europe, after June 40, is that in many respects, Britains economic strength actually increased. Being the only remaining buyer of very many goods only available outside Europe, it was actually able to bargain lower prices. Britain could pick and choose who they wanted to buy from. On the otherhand, Germany's economy was overheating. It could never have waited to defeat Britain and needed the assets in the East.

    Back on topic. If you read about the actual units who fought each other on and around Hill 112 in Normandy 44 (source here), then the elite SS don't appear anything special. Considering those SS units were the elite, and that the British Army had 3rd choice of men after the Navy and RAF, the average Tommy acquitted himself more than admirably. The Allies had advantages in artillery and number of tanks, but the ground was prepared, and the elite SS actually outnumbered the CW at points of contact much of the time.

    When single CW Battalions are pushing back SS Panzer Grenadier regiments (equal to a CW brigade ie 3 Battalions), and the latter is in prepared defenses, the SS look less than capable imo.

    Leave a comment:

Latest Topics

Collapse

Working...
X