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The German's greatest mistake in WWII

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  • Originally posted by Wellington95 View Post
    The Germans' greatest mistake of WWII: Hitler.

    He was the best allied general of the war...and knew how to snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory.

    I see :you know your Manstein

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    • Originally posted by Aussie View Post
      Those who contend that the mistake Hitler made in allowing the B.E.F. to escape from Dunkirk have a couple of good points, from the scenario of the possibility the Brits 'may' have negotiated a peace as has been mentioned, had the Germans over ran the Dunkirk pocket & destroyed the British army as Von Brauchitsch had planned.

      Would Britain have negotiated a peace in those circumstances?
      That would have huge consequences in it's self.


      And perhaps another point could be made for the 24th May 1941,as being the writing on the wall for the Werhmacht, when Hitler committed the first of what would be many incredible blunders of the war, when he stepped in & stopped the Panzers with the BEF about to be over run.

      Would destroying the BEF have any dire consequences for Britain in the short term, probably not, but thankfully, the first of many blunders by Hitler certainly had dire consequences for Germany.
      I see :incredible blunders with dire consequences for Germany : you also know your Manstein,Guderian,Speer,von ...,von.....

      Comment


      • And what led to Hitlers first great blunder...

        Rundstedt had doubts about the aggressive tactics of Guderian and argued that his tanks should halt until infantry divisions could catch up so that a more conventional assault could be made on Allied troops.

        After Guderians Battle at Sedan sealed the fate of Belgium and France, in his run to the Channel he had very little between him & Dunkirk, [not twenty miles distant] & Brauchitsch ordered Von Kliest from army A to Army B, & with Guderian coming from the West would catch the retreating British & Belgians between the hammer & the anvil.

        IF the operation was left in Brauchitsch's hands it almost certainly meant the end of the BEF, but Hitler countermanded his orders & confirmed von Rundstedt's stop order at Dunkirk.

        General Andrew Thorne, comments about Dunkirk to Anthony Eden [June 1940].........

        What an extraordinary thing. That now explains something I have never understood. The Division I was then commanding, the 48th, was defending the flank of the British Army as it was retreating into the Dunkirk perimeter and to do that we were holding, amongst other places, the position on Cassel Hill, which has a wonderful view over the whole surrounding plain of that part of Flanders.

        The one thing I feared, of course, was a massed attack by German armour. What astonished me was that this was never made, when success was almost assured, and Dunkirk would have been at their mercy.

        Basil Liddell Hart, The Other Side of the Hill [1948].......

        The escape of the British Army from France has often been called "the miracle of Dunkirk". For the German armoured forces had reached the Channel coast behind the back of the British Army while this was still deep in the interior of Flanders. Cut off from its own bases, and from the bulk of the French Army, it seemed likely also to be cut off from the sea. Those who got away have often wondered how they managed to do so.

        The answer is that Hitler's intervention saved them when nothing else could have. A sudden order stopped the armoured forces just as they were in sight of Dunkirk, and held them back until the retreating British had reached the port and slipped out of their clutches.


        From Halder's diary during May, 1940........

        18th May, 1940: Every hour is precious. F H.Q. sees it quite differently. Fuhrer keeps worrying about south flank. He rages and screams that we are on the way to ruin the whole campaign. He won't have any part in continuing the operation in a westward direction, let alone to the south-west, and still clings to the plan for the north-westerly drive.

        24th May, 1940: The left-wing, which consists of armoured and motorized forces and has no enemy in front of it, will be stopped dead in its tracks upon direct order from the Führer. The finishing off of the encircled enemy army is to be left to the Luftwaffe.

        26th May, 1940: Brauchitsch is very nervy. I can sympathize with him, for these orders from the top make no sense. In one area they call for a head-on attack against a front retiring in orderly fashion, and elsewhere they freeze the troops to the spot where the enemy rear could be cut into at any time. Von Rundstedt, too, cannot stand it, and has gone up forward to Hoth and Kleist to look over the land for the next armoured moves.

        30th May, 1940: Bad weather has grounded the Luffwaffe and now we must stand by and watch countless thousands of the enemy getting away to England under our noses.

        Comment


        • The Other Side of the Hill = the same as "the German Generals talk" =the German Generals lie.

          It was the beginning of the propaganda offensive by the German Generals to convince the world that Hitler,not they,was responsible for the German defeat .

          Comment


          • No. It was all a propaganda offensive to convince the Germans they lost through military incompetence.

            The reality is the German Military were very effective. . . . The German government, the guys who gave them the aircraft, tanks and artillery to play with was monumentally incompetent.

            Comment


            • At last,he is admitting that Speer was monumentally incompetant.

              Comment


              • What might be some of the consequences of Hitlers first major blunder in saving the BEF?

                For a start if the BEF went into captivity, commanders like Montgomery, Alexander, Brooke ect went into the bag.

                And in 'Dunkirk: a miracle of war'Andrew Roberts, says 'if the BEF had been captured wholesale – more than a quarter of a million PoWs – there is no telling what concessions must have been wrung out of the British government, or whether Churchill could have survived as prime minister if he had demanded a continuation of the war.'

                Going by this...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_194...Cabinet_Crisis....

                It seem it was touch & go between Churchill & Halifax for a time, with Churchill's brilliant oratory carrying the day in the end.

                Comment


                • Andrew Roberts is repeating the old nonsens : the whole BEF was not present at Dunkirk(only the half of the BEF):thus only 190000 men could be taken POW.
                  Btw :the evacuation already started before the halt order
                  :the whole BEF was 400000 men
                  :the loss of the 190000 men at Dunkirk does not mean that Brooke,Montgomery and Alexander would be POW
                  :if they were taken POW,well,there were other generals available (Montgomery was only the second candidate for the 8th Army)

                  Roberts could have avoided all these mistakes,if he had consulted the available informations,but,he was to lazy to do it .

                  Comment


                  • The initial British expectation was that no more than 30,000 British troops would be evacuated (rather than the 200,000 rescued) and they were still planning to fight on.

                    Comment


                    • It's worth pointing out that planning to fight on in the expectation that some of the B.E.F. would be rescued is not the same as having to decide on a further course of action in the knowledge that Britain's largest ground formation had been eliminated from their order of battle. We'll never know what the British would have done.
                      Sgt.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Aussie View Post
                        What might be some of the consequences of Hitlers first major blunder in saving the BEF? ...
                        Hitler did not "save" the BEF.

                        The operational commander (Rundstedt) acknowledged that German panzer forces had suffered significant losses (some units were at 50% effective strength) and had outrun both their supporting infantry and supply lines. He ordered the halt.

                        Hitler concurred when presented with the actual facts of the situation (which many seem to ignore) and when Goering convinced him that the Luftwaffe would be effective in reducing the pocket.

                        Someone around here, likely ldajw, puts up the casualty figures for the Battle of France when this discussion resurfaces. It was not the cake-walk that mythology presents. The Germans anticipated a fierce battle around Dunkirk and needed to be ready.
                        Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

                        Comment


                        • Whoever was at fault for "allowing" the BEF to return to UK ports is a moot point,the OP is about GERMAN mistakes.
                          I don't think it was necessarily an outcome changing event.
                          Within a year most of them were in Africa anyway.
                          On the other hand Hitlers unbelievably stupid decision to DW on the USA is not only daft for WW2 but all of history.
                          He didn't need to,why did he do it?It beggars belief!

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by flash View Post
                            Whoever was at fault for "allowing" the BEF to return to UK ports is a moot point,the OP is about GERMAN mistakes.
                            I don't think it was necessarily an outcome changing event.
                            Within a year most of them were in Africa anyway.
                            On the other hand Hitlers unbelievably stupid decision to DW on the USA is not only daft for WW2 but all of history.
                            He didn't need to,why did he do it?It beggars belief!
                            I certainly concur that declaring war on the USA was a major blunder. Tooze suggests that the USA was Hitler's bugbear all along (in the "Second Book") and that he was setting Germany up for the "inevitable" clash with the USA, hopefully allied with Britain. Hitler's warped worldview was to see the USA as the stronghold for the "Jewish Capitalist" conspiracy. BTW, the USSR was Jewish, too. Go figure.
                            Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                            Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                            For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                            And battles long ago:
                            -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by flash View Post
                              Whoever was at fault for "allowing" the BEF to return to UK ports is a moot point,the OP is about GERMAN mistakes.
                              I don't think it was necessarily an outcome changing event.
                              Within a year most of them were in Africa anyway.
                              On the other hand Hitlers unbelievably stupid decision to DW on the USA is not only daft for WW2 but all of history.
                              He didn't need to,why did he do it?It beggars belief!

                              1)The German DoW would only be stupid,if without this DoW the US would be /remain neutral

                              2)From Hitler's POV (and he was not entirely wrong) the US and Germany were already at war de facto

                              3)The immediate negative results of the DoW were marginal

                              4)If Hitler did not declare war after PH,when should he declare war ?A German declaration of war in january;march,may 1942 (or later) would be ridiculous ,and,meanwhile,FRD would intensify the de facto war against Germany .

                              5)Saying that the German DoW was incredibily stupid is arguing with hindsight .

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                                Hitler did not "save" the BEF.

                                The operational commander (Rundstedt) acknowledged that German panzer forces had suffered significant losses (some units were at 50% effective strength) and had outrun both their supporting infantry and supply lines. He ordered the halt.

                                Hitler concurred when presented with the actual facts of the situation (which many seem to ignore) and when Goering convinced him that the Luftwaffe would be effective in reducing the pocket.

                                Someone around here, likely ldajw, puts up the casualty figures for the Battle of France when this discussion resurfaces. It was not the cake-walk that mythology presents. The Germans anticipated a fierce battle around Dunkirk and needed to be ready.
                                In may/june 1940;the LW lost 1236 aircraft,and 323 were damaged ,these losses were not negligible.Source :the Blitzkrieg legend)

                                In july ,august and september 1940,the LW lost (due to the BoB) 1166 aircraft and 212 were damaged (source:eagle in flames)
                                Last edited by ljadw; 31 Mar 13, 13:31.

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