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

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  • #61
    Campaigns: I'm not sure if this counts as a campaign but since there's no other field I could more comfortably slot it in; British blockade of occupied Europe and its unsung effect on the entity that would, before the war, be the biggest economy on earth.

    Japan's war in China and the impact of having so manydivisions tied down there on prosecution of war elsewhere.

    France 1940 from French point of view, especially post encirclement.

    Developments:
    Techonological ? Nuclear energy maybe.

    Historical movements:
    Bringing out the biggest economic superpower out of isolationism for good. Rise of welfare states.


    Decision: Uhhh it's the deluxe hindsight/armchair general question. Let's cheat and say; variety of decisions that led to the historical size of British forces in France in 1940.

    Weapon:
    Trucks / US-UK radio-artillery infrastructure

    Military unit:
    I dunno really. 2nd Polish Corps in Italy and their journey ?/nationalistic pitch.

    Intelligence war: Dunno not my field.

    Personality: Mannerheim perhaps

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by lodestar View Post
      Not to take anything away from the great courage and daring of Western female pilots who served so bravely ...but...the Soviets had female COMBAT pilots.

      The really are unsung. At least in the West.

      Imagine if there had been a Briton or an American female combat pilot? Just one.

      WE WOULD NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT!
      Books, movies (Paltrow?, Streep?, Winslet?, Blanchett?, Foster?, Portman?, Knightley?), TV mini-series, documentaries, the works.

      But then sometimes... when its not one of our guys or gals its kinda not the same is it?
      Or am I being too unfair?

      As I nearly always stress with my thread-starters: it's about PERSPECTIVE. Or at least it should be.
      Always was with my tutes back in the day and will be again if I ever get back in the ring (and they can be a real contest if they're run properly)

      Good discussion. Hope my above observations don't dry it up.

      Regards
      lodestar
      I wouldn't have thought that the exploits of Soviet women aviators were particularly obscure.
      Many have heard of Lydia Litvyak and 588th Night Bomber Squadron, "The Night Witches", who are frequently cited as examples of ferocious females.
      Last edited by BELGRAVE; 26 Jan 17, 17:14.
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by Tuck's Luck View Post
        1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The French and British were in no position to 'attack' Germany and even if they had been, at that point with appeasement and negotiation still an option, albeit a tenuous one, politically and logistically it would have escalated hostilities, and not subdued Germany or even sent a shot across their bows, let alone defeated them.
        Great Britain and France declared war on Germany 3 September 1939 and then did what exactly?...Lets use the Saar offensive on 7 September 1939 as an example of the timidity of the French at the time. France had some 2500 tanks facing the Siegfried line in which the Germans had less then 50. The French also had 100 divisions to Germany's 50. What did they do?.. They withdrew their forces 17 September after some brief clashes at the Siegfried Line against German undermanned forces.

        On a forum in 2017 it all sounds so easy to say the British and French 'should have', but in 1939 given the economic and political climate, and the internal social and political concerns of all the major players - an Anglo/French attack on a Germany invading Poland could never have happened. Easy for the 2017 revisionist to say 'they should have done it', but other than that, a moot point.
        You are also on the same forum in 2017 giving your opinion. Why can't I give mine? Do you think the Germans economic and political climate was leaps and bounds ahead of the French and British at the time?..hmm.
        Germany, however, took advantage of the 8 months the French and British gave them to come up with an excellent plan of attack, taking them completely unawares, resulting in the Dunkirk evacuation and the capitulation of France. The Germans did all this despite being outgunned and outmanned. They had faith in their armored doctrinal plan and used it.

        The French/allied forces had a total of some 165 divisions including 13 of the BEF and those of Belgium, Holland, and Poland. The Germans had 135 of which just 50% were combat ready, and were more poorly equipt then the French and British who had some 14,000 artillery pieces, roughly 50% more the the Germans. Allied tanks numbered 500-700 more then Germany depending on the source, of which a large percentage had more armor and firepower. All this can be confirmed by reading Frieser's "Blitzkrieg Legend"

        From Guderian "Panzer Leader"

        I think I should explain why I looked forward to the pending operations with such confidence. To do so I must go back somewhat in time.

        The First World War on the Western Front, after being for a short time a war of movement, soon settled down to positional warfare.No massing of war material, no matter how vast in scale, had succeeded in getting the armies moving again until, in November 1916, the enemy's tanks appeared on the battlefield. With their armor plating, their tracks, their guns and their machine guns, they succeeded in carrying their crews, alive and capable of fighting, through artillery barrages and wire entanglements, over trench systems and shell craters, into the center of the German lines. The power of the offensive had come back into its own.

        The true importance of the tank was proved by the fact that the Verailles Treaty forbade Germany the possession or construction of armored vehicles., tanks, or any similar equipment which might be employed in war, under pain of punishment.

        So our enemies regarded the tank as a decisive weapon which we must not be allowed to have. I therefore decided carefully to study the history of this decisive weapon and to follow its future deployment. For some observing tank theory from afar, unburdened by tradition, there were lessons to be learned in the employment, organization, and construction of armor and of armored units that went beyond the doctrines then accepted abroad. After years of hard struggle, I had succeeded in putting my theories into practice before the other armies had arrived at the same conclusions. The advance we made in the organization and employment of tanks was the primary factor on which my belief in the forthcoming success was based. Even in 1940 this belief was shared by scarcely anybody in the German Army.

        A profound study of the First World War had given me considerable insight into the psychology of the combatants. I already, from personal experience, knew a considerable amount about our own army. I had also formed certain opinions about our western adversaries which the events of 1940 were to prove correct. Despite the tank weapons to which our enemies owed in large measure their 1918 victory, they were preoccupied with the concepts of positional warfare.

        France possessed the strongest land army in Western Europe. France possessed the numerically strongest tank force in Western Europe.

        The combined Anglo-French forces in the west in May 1940disposed of some 4,000 armored vehicles. The German Army at the time had 2,800, including armored reconnaissance cars, and when the attack was launched only 2,200 of these were available for the operation. We thus faced superiority in numbers, to which was added the fact that the French tanks were superior to the German ones in both armor and in gun calibre, though admittedly inferior in control facilities and speed. Despite possessing the strongest forces for mobile warfare the French had also built the strongest line of fortifications in the world, the Maginot Line. Why was the money spent on the construction of these fortifications not used for the modernization and strengthening of France's mobile forces?

        The proposals of de Gaul, Daladier, and others along these lines had been ignored. From this it must be concluded that the highest French leadership either would not or could not grasp the significance of the tank in mobile warfare. In any case all the maneuvers and large scale exercises of which I had heard led to the conclusion that the French command wanted its troops to be trained in such a way that careful movement and planned measures for attack or for defense could be based on definite, pre-arranged circumstances. They wanted a complete picture of the enemy's OOB and intentions before deciding on any undertaking. Once the decision was taken it would be carried out according to plan, one might say methodically, not only during the approach march and the deployment of troops, but also during artillery preparation and the launching of the attack or the construction of the defense as the case might be. This mania for planned control, in which nothing should be left to chance, led to the organization of the armored forces within the army in a form that would not destroy the general scheme, that is to say their assignment in detail to the infantry divisions. Only a fraction of the French armor was organized for operational employment.

        So far as the French were concerned the German leadership could safely rely on the defense of France systematically based on fortifications and carried out according to a rigid doctrine; this doctrine was the result of the lessons that the French had learned in the First World War, their experience with positional warfare, of the high value they attached to fire power, and of their underestimation of movement.

        We knew and respected the French soldier from the First World War as a brave and tough fighter who had defended his country with stubborn energy. We did not doubt that he would show the same spirit this time. But as far as the French leaders were concerned, we were amazed that they did not take advantage of their favorable situation in the Autumn of 1939 to attack, while the bulk of the German forces, including the entire armored force, was engaged in Poland. Their reasons for such restraint were at the time hard to see. We could only guess. Be that as it may, the caution shown by the French leaders led us to believe that our adversaries hoped somehow to avoid a serious clash of arms.* The rather inactive behavior of the French during the winter of 1939-40 seemed to indicate a limited enthusiasm for war at the time.*
        *why declare war?

        Bold emphasis is mine.




        2. I don't understand at all what point you are are making here. What I will say though is to call the Soviet Army in WW2 a 'determined bunch' has to be the understatement of the 20th and 21st centuries.
        You picked out 5 words out of my entire description of the Soviets that suited your sarcastic remark.

        The point I am trying to make is that the Germans totally, with extreme prejudice, underestimated the Soviet Union!!...Does this rewording and phrasing of my point suit you now?

        3. Again I'm bemused. Churchill who was Hitler's greatest opponent, at that time, got it wrong (according to you) by telling the Americans the way to defeat the Nazis was to attack from the south. And those stupid Americans believed him despite obviously having their own access to intelligence, their own generals, their own military strategists. And instead they should have attacked via North West France a year earlier and it would all have been hunky dory. So they all got it wrong, and you, in 2017 know better?
        This is my opinion, and I am entitled to it, and yes even 75 years after the fact. Try reading this:

        http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineA...3churchill.pdf

        I just love it when someone in a few trite sentences on a forum tells us that all those who were actually there in 1939-1945, facing Hitler and the Nazi war machine, measuring and calculating the Allies' intelligence and resources, trying to feed and keep their own people safe, and attempting to ensure their fighting forces were most successful and effective in all arenas ... were in fact wrong.
        Once America entered the war the Germans had to fight the 3 largest super powers in the world on 2 fronts. And the USA had unlimited resources with which to aid Britain and Russia (which they were already doing).

        Not invading NW Europe in 1943, IMO, while possessing ridiculous advantages in air and sea power with a nation separated from Germany by the expanse Atlantic ocean (U.S.A.) who's industrial ability to produce supplies for the war would be undisturbed by bombing and whose civilians at home were safe, was a mistake.

        If the war had ended one year earlier how many innocent people that were sent to the gas chambers could have been saved if the United States had went with their first decision and not agreed to Churchill's demands.

        1 million?
        2 million?.....

        Regards,Kurt
        Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 26 Jan 17, 17:13.
        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post

          Not invading NW Europe in 1943, IMO, while possessing ridiculous advantages in air and sea power with a nation separated from Germany by the expanse Atlantic ocean (U.S.A.) who's industrial ability to produce supplies for the war would be undisturbed by bombing and whose civilians at home were safe, was a mistake.

          If the war had ended one year earlier how many innocent people that were sent to the gas chambers could have been saved if the United States had went with their first decision and not agreed to Churchill's demands.

          1 million?
          2 million?.....
          As has been pointed out the US Army was in no position to invade France in 1943.
          The Allied strategy was to make sure they were in a position to win and not a 'lets see who is the better fighter by giving the Germans the chance to win'.
          Saving people from the gas chamber never was an Allied priority. By that I mean they were never going to risk losing the war in order to possible save another nations population. Churchill's first priority was his own population.
          Despite a belief to the contrary the US only became the largest component of the Allied Army fighting in Europe in September 1944.

          Comment


          • #65
            Hershey bars! The start of many sessions of "international relations".
            Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
            Hyperwar, Whats New
            World War II Resources
            The best place in the world to "work".

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            • #66
              I stand by my evaluation that Russia could not have won on their own.

              The nationalistic argument is the same nonsense as calling anyone you disagree with a racist etc.

              Then the thread moves on to virtue signaling by recounting the contribution of females. Like most things today discourse seems to follow a script. Just as our music and entertainment industries rely on formulas not creativity so does most conversation. Where in the past propaganda and patriotism made the history books sound as through Britain and the U.S. defeated Germany on their own it is now fashionable to say Russia won the war. Both positions are equally simplistic.

              Unless you believe that Russia had already won the war in 1941 I don't see how you could be convinced that the Germans were never close to over running the Soviets.
              We hunt the hunters

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by m kenny View Post
                As has been pointed out the US Army was in no position to invade France in 1943.
                The Allied strategy was to make sure they were in a position to win and not a 'lets see who is the better fighter by giving the Germans the chance to win'.
                Saving people from the gas chamber never was an Allied priority. By that I mean they were never going to risk losing the war in order to possible save another nations population. Churchill's first priority was his own population.
                Despite a belief to the contrary the US only became the largest component of the Allied Army fighting in Europe in September 1944.

                Remember at one time everybody thought the world was flat...

                https://www.amazon.com/Second-Front-...5480014&sr=1-2

                An interesting review on the book that was written just 5 months ago:
                This book was difficult to find, but I am extremely happy to have found a copy in wonderful condition (call it "new") that was shipped with care (packed in a cardboard box, not dropped in an envelope or wrapped in plastic) by the seller. Let's face it, it's 30+ years old, "out of print" because it's topic is not "popular", and unlikely to be reprinted ("may be uneconomical to reprint"). But enough of that.

                This book presents a very interesting intellectual thesis: Could the Allies have landed in France in 1943 (opened the so-called "Second Front"), waged a successful campaign in France against German forces and still won the war in Europe?

                The author claims it is possible. He combines a wonderful and wide-ranging mixture of research data, some of it displayed in numerous tables, with revelations from British Intelligence (ULTRA decrypts, spies, etc.) archives available at the time (1978) to present a comprehensive picture of unit strengths, locations, and "external influences". The "external influences" range from the politics and personalities of the various leaders, to the status of on-going battles elsewhere in Europe, to the "attitudes" of military commanders, and to the amount and quality of intelligence each side had of it's opponent. Unit locations, strengths, and movements are based on historical records. It is surprising to read how this mixture of data is woven into a very reasonable thesis with a very factual basis.

                Ultimately the author concludes that a "Second Front" was possible in France in 1943, but it was deferred to 1944 due to political reasons that were mainly driven by Churchill with support from the British Military. The author clearly shows how the British had very accurate data regarding the German forces (comparable to information the Russians obtained from their spies that had direct access into the German General Staff), but he speculates the British were not forthcoming with all of the data they had when they met with their American allies. The reasoning for this shortcoming was Churchill having his own grandiose ideas of how the postwar world should look in Europe and the Balkans, not to mention wanting a weaker Russia after the war. The author supports his claims by refuting Churchill's claims with hard historical facts, even to the point of catching Churchill in outright lies where some of his public statements completely undermined his own stated prerequisites for an invasion of France in 1943.

                As the author expresses in his final chapter, it is very difficult to admit in public during the war the reasons for extending the war in Europe longer than was necessary (in military terms) were political and senseless. The author also admits that proving those motivations in available records was almost impossible as of 1978 when this book was written.

                As for the writing in the book, it is "detailed" and "technical" and "factual". It is difficult to make such content "read like a novel", but this book is divided into very reasonable chapters.

                This book is for the "World War 2 history geek" (that is who I am) and "military researcher" out there. It is not "light reading for the masses".
                Regards,Kurt
                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                Comment


                • #68
                  The "5,000+" hulls that crossed the Channel were mostly landing craft and most of them didn't exist in 1943.
                  Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                  Hyperwar, Whats New
                  World War II Resources
                  The best place in the world to "work".

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                    Remember at one time everybody thought the world was flat...

                    https://www.amazon.com/Second-Front-...5480014&sr=1-2

                    An interesting review on the book that was written just 5 months ago:

                    Regards,Kurt
                    I would suggest working your way through this thread as it is the
                    most detailed one on the subject I seen
                    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=99879

                    Dunn's work is referenced in it a number of times.
                    Also discussed here :
                    http://community.battlefront.com/top...scott-dunn-jr/
                    http://www.historynet.com/what-if-th...ce-in-1943.htm

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post

                      An interesting review on the book that was written just 5 months ago:
                      The book itself is from 1980 and falls very neatly into the Monty/Churchill bashing style so common in post-war US memoirs. The usual claims that all the setbacks in WW2 were the result of the devious cowardly Brits being too afraid to take on the German Army until it was on its knees.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by dutched View Post
                        Canned foods have been available since the 19th century. Variety of foods only limited by commercial popularity.
                        True, but I believe TAG is talking about the standardization and packaging of food into things like C-Rations and K-Rations. One box per man per day. Intended to provide the necessary balance of protein, fat, and carbs along with vitamins, coffee (GI Pervitin? ), drink powder, sugar, cigarettes, etc.

                        That was a big advance over large cans of meat that had to be divided up between several men along with the package of hardtack or crackers.

                        The D-Ration was the real winner in the WWII US military. It was a chocolate bar in the sense that it contained chocolate, and it was intended to provide a meal's worth of energy. The specification was:

                        - Weigh 4 ounces (112 g)
                        - Be high in food energy value
                        - Be able to withstand high temperatures
                        - Taste "a little better than a boiled potato"

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                          Great Britain and France declared war on Germany 3 September 1939 and then did what exactly?...Lets use the Saar offensive on 7 September 1939 as an example of the timidity of the French at the time. France had some 2500 tanks facing the Siegfried line in which the Germans had less then 50. The French also had 100 divisions to Germany's 50. What did they do?.. They withdrew their forces 17 September after some brief clashes at the Siegfried Line against German undermanned forces.
                          A summary of French Army doctrine :

                          "The French Army Between the Wars

                          The methodical battle had its origins in the campaigns and methodology of 1918. After the disasters of 1916 and 1917, it seemed that the French Army had finally discovered the secret of success on the battlefield, by carefully planned offensives with massive firepower. These forerunners of the methodical battle proved their effectiveness in the Summer and Fall of 1918. In its essence, the tactics of late 1918 were geared to the minimization of casualties of the French Army.
                          "

                          http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...-inter-war.htm

                          A summary of Allied strategic planning for West Front :

                          "The French strategy [Dyle-Breda plan] would see the strong 7th Army deploy in the north, in the Turnhout – Breda – Antwerp region. That army comprised two motorized infantry divisions and a strong mechanized division besides some regular infantry units and an additional tank brigade. It was largely composed of so called ‘active’ formations, the best the French army could produce. The Germans expected – peculiarly enough – particularly British forces to be pushing north and guarding the Antwerp-Scheld region. The basic idea of the allied strategy was quite well appreciated by the Germans, but they considered Antwerp more of a British interest than a French. According to the logics of that era the German perception was well founded, but they had not anticipated the irrational strategy that Gamelin produced months before the campaign started, which was materialized in the Dyle-Breda variant. A strategy much disputed amongst French generals and only advocated by the French generalissimo Gamelin."

                          http://www.waroverholland.nl/index.p...uted-territory

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            The French had no 2500 tanks facing the Westwall and they had not 100 divisions : after their mobilisation (which lasted 20 days ), the French had 81 ID and the equivalent of 7 CD in France and NA;the fortress units constituted also the equivalent of 20 divisions .

                            These units had to protect also the borders with Span, Italy and Switserland with as result that the French had no quantitative superiority against the Germans .

                            Gamelin had promised to launch an offensive 14 days after the DoW with the majority of his available forces .

                            The truth is that on september 17 the French had no 50 divisions available to start an offensive .

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by NoPref View Post

                              The D-Ration was the real winner in the WWII US military. It was a chocolate bar in the sense that it contained chocolate, and it was intended to provide a meal's worth of energy. The specification was:

                              - Weigh 4 ounces (112 g)
                              - Be high in food energy value
                              - Be able to withstand high temperatures
                              - Taste "a little better than a boiled potato"
                              This is basically just a heat-resistant chocolate bar

                              Chocolate has a ridiculously high amount of calories as it is mostly fat.
                              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


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                                This is basically just a heat-resistant chocolate bar

                                Chocolate has a ridiculously high amount of calories as it is mostly fat.
                                Which is what's required in a situation where a high amount of calories is actually expended.
                                Going back to the South African War 1899-1902, British Empire soldiers were issued with an emergency ration which consisted of a single,small metal container which had two compartments, one containing chocolate and the other dried beef, Both could be eaten raw or else mixed with water to make a sustaining drink.
                                Last edited by BELGRAVE; 27 Jan 17, 15:38.
                                "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                                Samuel Johnson.

                                Comment

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