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What is the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII?

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  • One of the overlooked facts about WW2 is also the willingness of peoples to fight when their armies were lost, meaning that under no doctrine or Art of War, the nations cannot be quelled simply by overrunning their capitals and destroying their armies. Partisan warfare in the Balkans and Russia for instance. Or the resistance movements everywhere in Europe. You could easily have your cause for lost once the Axis armies and security services combed your lands and spread fear. But people risked and gave their lives, sleeping and hiding in forests in winter, walking for several days to deliver information, fighting against trained and organized enemy with barely any chance of success. Organized underground that worked just as well if not better than that 'above ground'. That requires immense courage and shows inspiring ingeniousness and will.

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    • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
      What I think has always been overlooked is why German factories were able to go on churning out planes/tanks/guns/ammo etc throughout the entire war?
      Why didn't the allies simply bomb them to rubble?
      They did, repeatedly. The answer is twofold, and quite ingenious.

      1. The Germans broke everything down into sub-assemblies that could me made most anywhere, basically cottage industry level.

      2. These sub-assemblies were them moved by any means available to a designated assembly site, by now often underground, and there assembled into an operational unit.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

      Comment


      • Originally posted by KapetanBrina View Post
        One of the overlooked facts about WW2 is also the willingness of peoples to fight when their armies were lost, meaning that under no doctrine or Art of War, the nations cannot be quelled simply by overrunning their capitals and destroying their armies. Partisan warfare in the Balkans and Russia for instance. Or the resistance movements everywhere in Europe. You could easily have your cause for lost once the Axis armies and security services combed your lands and spread fear. But people risked and gave their lives, sleeping and hiding in forests in winter, walking for several days to deliver information, fighting against trained and organized enemy with barely any chance of success. Organized underground that worked just as well if not better than that 'above ground'. That requires immense courage and shows inspiring ingeniousness and will.
        Actually they could sometimes be quelled and it was necessary for such forces to "keep their powder dry" until the opportune moment arrived. Thus the French resistance did not carry out obvious acts of sabotage and attack until shortly before the D day invasion and paid a heavy price for it as did the general population against whom reprisals were made. Before then they concentrated on intelligence gathering and covert sabotage. In a similar fashion the Polish Home army restrained itself and concentrated on survival, intelligence gathering and covert sabotage until 1944 when Operation Tornado and the Warsaw uprising took place for which they paid an extremely heavy price.

        Such operations succeeded most if coordinated with cooperation with and from external operations by allies and unfortunately for the Poles this was not forthcoming. It was also necessary to supply them with arms and equipment by air drops and sometimes landings on improvised air strips. For obvious reasons this was usually done at night and the RAF as the Western Allies main practitioners of night operations supplied arms to partisan/resistance forces in France, Italy, Yugoslavia and Poland in this manner

        Such partisan operations are by no means unique to WW2, one has only to think of Spanish and Portuguese guerrilla operations in the Peninsula War. Again there was a degree of cooperation with the British Army especially in the case of the Portuguese and in 1812 General Wilson, who was involved in this, was despatched to Russia to provide the benefit of the experience gained to Russian irregular operations against the French Grand Army. His journal was published some years ago and makes a fascinating read.
        Last edited by MarkV; 14 Feb 18, 08:34.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • Originally posted by RichardS View Post
          ..Now some I read are absolute rubbish: Rudel, Sajer etc. etc. I'd just treat them as comic books to be read for fun..
          Ah but if there are innacuracies, we can have FUN shooting them down..
          I've read Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier" and quite liked it because most parts of it have the ring of truth.
          As for "the "iffy" bits in all "true" books, I suppose the writers can't resist the temptation to jazz it up with embellishments to please the publisher and boost sales, plus of course if they're written 20 years or more after the war (like Sajers TFS) the writers memory might not be as sharp as it was.
          The most outrageous book I've read is 'The Long Walk' by Slavomir Rawicz about the escape of him and his chums from a gulag, it's supposed to be true but it's full of inconsistencies and silliness. For example he says the camp commandants wife helped them escape, what a load of tosh!

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          • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
            Ah but if there are innacuracies, we can have FUN shooting them down..
            I've read Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier" and quite liked it because most parts of it have the ring of truth.
            As for "the "iffy" bits in all "true" books, I suppose the writers can't resist the temptation to jazz it up with embellishments to please the publisher and boost sales, plus of course if they're written 20 years or more after the war (like Sajers TFS) the writers memory might not be as sharp as it was.
            The most outrageous book I've read is 'The Long Walk' by Slavomir Rawicz about the escape of him and his chums from a gulag, it's supposed to be true but it's full of inconsistencies and silliness. For example he says the camp commandants wife helped them escape, what a load of tosh!
            Agree about the 'Forgotten Soldier' true or not it was a good read. lcm1
            'By Horse by Tram'.


            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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            • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
              Ah but if there are innacuracies, we can have FUN shooting them down..
              I've read Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier" and quite liked it because most parts of it have the ring of truth.
              As for "the "iffy" bits in all "true" books, I suppose the writers can't resist the temptation to jazz it up with embellishments to please the publisher and boost sales, plus of course if they're written 20 years or more after the war (like Sajers TFS) the writers memory might not be as sharp as it was.
              The most outrageous book I've read is 'The Long Walk' by Slavomir Rawicz about the escape of him and his chums from a gulag, it's supposed to be true but it's full of inconsistencies and silliness. For example he says the camp commandants wife helped them escape, what a load of tosh!
              I was at a Grossdeutschland reunion at the Bundeswehr base in Munster (tank school/museum) in 2002. I met 2 vets that had spoken with Sajer personally. They said they were highly skeptical of Sajer's time in GD, but after meeting him they stated they had no doubt that he was. So, for what its worth... That doesn't mean his story is 100% accurate, but he does exist and did serve in GD on the Eastern Front.
              "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
              -Omar Bradley
              "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
              -Anonymous US Army logistician

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                I was at a Grossdeutschland reunion at the Bundeswehr base in Munster (tank school/museum) in 2002. I met 2 vets that had spoken with Sajer personally. They said they were highly skeptical of Sajer's time in GD, but after meeting him they stated they had no doubt that he was. So, for what its worth... That doesn't mean his story is 100% accurate, but he does exist and did serve in GD on the Eastern Front.
                I read the GD unit history (all 3 volumes, line for line) and looked at "forgotten soldier". He gets many of the locations that G.D was shifted about right.
                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                  I was at a Grossdeutschland reunion at the Bundeswehr base in Munster (tank school/museum) in 2002. I met 2 vets that had spoken with Sajer personally. They said they were highly skeptical of Sajer's time in GD, but after meeting him they stated they had no doubt that he was. So, for what its worth... That doesn't mean his story is 100% accurate, but he does exist and did serve in GD on the Eastern Front.
                  Thanks..
                  Panther of Grossdeutschland, Russia-

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                  • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
                    Thanks..
                    Panther of Grossdeutschland, Russia-
                    This photo was taken at Targu Frumos, Romania
                    Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                    Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                    Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                    Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                      This photo was taken at Targu Frumos, Romania
                      The original caption on the internet said "Russia", so as usual we don't know which is the correct one..

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
                        The original caption on the internet said "Russia", so as usual we don't know which is the correct one..
                        This is part of series of photographs taken in Romania May 1944 (it is reprinted in the histories associated with GD)
                        Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                        Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                        Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                        Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                          This is part of series of photographs taken in Romania May 1944 (it is reprinted in the histories associated with GD)
                          Thanks..
                          Incidentally I know GD weren't SS, but this is me in a Waffen-SS replica jacket I've just bought for myself online, I'm going to strut around town in it and later I'll try to get some sew-on patches for it and award myself the Tank Destruction badge..


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                          • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
                            This thread is about "underestimated aspects" so I'm saying the Allies seriously underestimated their ability to take out the factories.
                            Mosquito.

                            - make three Mossies for the cost of one B-17 or Lanc.
                            - crew three Mossies for one B-17 or Lanc.
                            - Actually hit targets with a CEP of 50 meters instead of a CEP of 5 miles.
                            - 100 feet altitude high speed ingress and egress rather than pottering along at 200 mph at 20000 feet and announcing your arrival an hour before you're actually over target.
                            - 1/3 of the loss rate of the bombers.
                            etc.

                            Countered by:
                            - Bomber Harris is not ever to be criticized.
                            - There's not enough plywood.
                            - We won anyway.
                            - The Germans would have invented something to shoot down more Mossies.
                            etc.

                            Well, as you can see, I favour the Mossie over lingering along at vulnerable altitudes and bombing accuracy that defines a point of impact at a distance of three miles as a direct hit at the target.
                            "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return"

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                            • Originally posted by Rutger View Post
                              Mosquito.

                              - make three Mossies for the cost of one B-17 or Lanc.
                              - crew three Mossies for one B-17 or Lanc.
                              - Actually hit targets with a CEP of 50 meters instead of a CEP of 5 miles.
                              - 100 feet altitude high speed ingress and egress rather than pottering along at 200 mph at 20000 feet and announcing your arrival an hour before you're actually over target.
                              - 1/3 of the loss rate of the bombers.
                              etc.

                              Countered by:
                              - Bomber Harris is not ever to be criticized.
                              - There's not enough plywood.
                              - We won anyway.
                              - The Germans would have invented something to shoot down more Mossies.
                              etc.

                              Well, as you can see, I favour the Mossie over lingering along at vulnerable altitudes and bombing accuracy that defines a point of impact at a distance of three miles as a direct hit at the target.
                              "Bomber"Harris has probably received more criticism (justly or not) than any other military leader of WW2.
                              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                              Samuel Johnson.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                                "Bomber"Harris has probably received more criticism (justly or not) than any other military leader of WW2.
                                Wot, even more than adolf?
                                Is it Harris personally that's criticised, or the policy of area bombing, I'm not sure which?

                                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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