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The German's greatest mistake in WWII

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  • I'm being a lil' bit a prick here, but as convincing and economical Tooze is, I do wish that there were competing economic narratives.

    I think there's only one so far.

    Typically, in the economic history field, one can find dozens of different perspectives about the same thing. In WW2 scholarship, there's only Tooze and Ellis.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
      I'm being a lil' bit a prick here, but as convincing and economical Tooze is, I do wish that there were competing economic narratives.

      I think there's only one so far.

      Typically, in the economic history field, one can find dozens of different perspectives about the same thing. In WW2 scholarship, there's only Tooze and Ellis.
      "Feeding The German Eagle" by Edward Ericson is a very good work that's well worth the time and money.
      Sgt.

      Comment


      • Who Financed Hitler; J.Pool & S.Pool; Dial Press 1978; ISBN 0-8037-9039-2

        A bit dated, but the authors go into detail who backed Hitler and how he came to power, Schacht's scheme to pay for goods with IOUs, etc.

        William Manchester also describes the intrigue as it pertained to Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, who ran the Krupp enterprises, in his book The Arms of Krupp. Very interesting book.

        Regards
        Scott Fraser
        Last edited by Scott Fraser; 04 Apr 13, 02:28.
        Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

        A contentedly cantankerous old fart

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        • War and economy in the third reich (R.Overy)

          Comment


          • Originally posted by ljadw View Post
            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.
            The British War Office figures I have say the Brits suffered 68,972 total casualties. 4,206 KIA 16,815 WIA with 47,949 MIA, most becoming PoW's.

            If you add the War Office figures of 224,585 men that managed to escape that would make about 270,000 PoWs.
            Of course we don't know how long the Brits would resist & how many would be KIA.

            Originally posted by ljadw View Post
            Btw :the evacuation already started before the halt order
            The first evacuations started on 27 May.
            Runstedt gave the stop order on 23rd of May, Hitler overturned Brauchitsch & confirmed the stop order on the 24th.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_Evacuation

            What dates do you have?

            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.
            And later Runstedt tried desperatly to disassociate himself from the order.

            But there's not much doubt 'if'Hitler kept his dead hand out of it & it was left to OKH, Brauchitsch would have quickly ordered Rundstedt to extract his digit & unleash the Panzers, with Guderian about 15 to 20 miles from Dunkirk with virtually nothing in front of him.

            Guderian, Halder, Brauchitsch & co were bewildered by the stop order, and it wasn't just the Germans who were bewildered, Alexander himself said 'on 24 May, 'the B.E.F. was absolutely ripe for the plucking.'

            And General Andrew Thorne, who was desperately trying to hold the flanks commented... 'The one thing I feared, of course, was a massed attack by German armor. What astonished me was that this was never made, when success was almost assured, and Dunkirk would have been at their mercy.'

            British historian Niall Ferguson, ed. Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals [Basic Books, 2000]. Said if Hitler had not ordered the German panzer divisions to halt from 24 May to 26 May, but instead ordered an all-out attack on Dunkirk, the retreating Allies could have been cut off from the sea and destroyed. If the British forces had been captured or killed at Dunkirk, morale in Britain could have possibly sunk so low as to have toppled the government and replaced it with one more disposed to making an accommodation with Nazi Germany.

            Not sure the Brits would have caved in, but thanks to Hitler it was never put to the test.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Aussie View Post
              The British War Office figures I have say the Brits suffered 68,972 total casualties. 4,206 KIA 16,815 WIA with 47,949 MIA, most becoming PoW's.

              If you add the War Office figures of 224,585 men that managed to escape that would make about 270,000 PoWs.
              Of course we don't know how long the Brits would resist & how many would be KIA.



              The first evacuations started on 27 May.
              Runstedt gave the stop order on 23rd of May, Hitler overturned Brauchitsch & confirmed the stop order on the 24th.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_Evacuation

              What dates do you have?



              And later Runstedt tried desperatly to disassociate himself from the order.

              But there's not much doubt 'if'Hitler kept his dead hand out of it & it was left to OKH, Brauchitsch would have quickly ordered Rundstedt to extract his digit & unleash the Panzers, with Guderian about 15 to 20 miles from Dunkirk with virtually nothing in front of him.

              Guderian, Halder, Brauchitsch & co were bewildered by the stop order, and it wasn't just the Germans who were bewildered, Alexander himself said 'on 24 May, 'the B.E.F. was absolutely ripe for the plucking.'

              And General Andrew Thorne, who was desperately trying to hold the flanks commented... 'The one thing I feared, of course, was a massed attack by German armor. What astonished me was that this was never made, when success was almost assured, and Dunkirk would have been at their mercy.'

              British historian Niall Ferguson, ed. Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals [Basic Books, 2000]. Said if Hitler had not ordered the German panzer divisions to halt from 24 May to 26 May, but instead ordered an all-out attack on Dunkirk, the retreating Allies could have been cut off from the sea and destroyed. If the British forces had been captured or killed at Dunkirk, morale in Britain could have possibly sunk so low as to have toppled the government and replaced it with one more disposed to making an accommodation with Nazi Germany.

              Not sure the Brits would have caved in, but thanks to Hitler it was never put to the test.
              1) you can't use the casualty figures of the BEF to calculate the strength of the forces encircled at Dunkirk ,because these loss figures are for the period 10 may 22 june .

              From what I know,the BEF strength on 10 may (RAF included) was some 400000.
              Losses:70000
              Evacuated from Dunkirk:200000
              Evacuated from the French western ports(operation Ariel :130000)

              The losses should be divided in
              1)10 may -24 may
              2)The Dunkirk fighting
              3)Post Dunkirk

              2)I have not much faith in Ferguson(although he is one of the favourites of PH),but ,even he is cautious :he said :the retreating allies could have been cut of and destroyed .
              My reply is :it is also possible that they could not have been cut of and destroyed .
              It is only speculation .

              3)In The Blitzkrieg Legend,Frieser writes on P 301:

              both the British and the French began considering an evacuation on the first tile on 19 may.
              by 26 may,it was possible to embark 27936 soldiers from Dunkirk,Boulogne and Calais .
              Last edited by ljadw; 04 Apr 13, 06:13.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Aussie View Post
                But there's not much doubt 'if'Hitler kept his dead hand out of it & it was left to OKH, Brauchitsch would have quickly ordered Rundstedt to extract his digit & unleash the Panzers, with Guderian about 15 to 20 miles from Dunkirk with virtually nothing in front of him.
                Guderian's Panzers were reducing Boulogne (till the 25th of May) and Calais (until the 26th). An attempt in that period to also cross the Aa was rebuffed.
                No halt order for Heinz!

                Comment


                • About Thorne :as he did not know what would be the strength of a masses German tank attack;his statement can be discarded .

                  The 10 German PzD had a strength of 2585 tanks on 10 may,losses (not including damaged) were 649 in may.
                  I would not be surprised that on 24 may only the half of the 2585 were still operational .
                  Heeresgruppe A (Rundstedt) had 7 PzD,and,on 24 may,not all were at the Dunkirk perimeter .
                  following the Blitzkrieg legend ,Only ONE PzD was at the perimeter on 24 may :1st PzD ,at a distance of 20 km,the other PzD were far away .

                  Now ,one can debate the possibility for one PzD (120 operational tanks) to advance to Dunkirk and to roll up the British defense lines.
                  But,IMHO,this possibility is very small.
                  Last edited by ljadw; 04 Apr 13, 06:39.

                  Comment


                  • About what Alexander was saying :"the BEF was ripe for the plucking":

                    as Alexander did not command the BEF,only a division,his statement is for under the bus .


                    About Guderian : it is wrong to say that there was virtually nothing between him and Dunkirk :there were some 20 miles between him and Dunkirk .

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                      I'm being a lil' bit a prick here, but as convincing and economical Tooze is, I do wish that there were competing economic narratives.

                      I think there's only one so far.
                      .
                      The standard work that Tooze was departing from is by Alan Milward.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                        About Thorne :as he did not know what would be the strength of a masses German tank attack;his statement can be discarded .

                        The 10 German PzD had a strength of 2585 tanks on 10 may,losses (not including damaged) were 649 in may.
                        I would not be surprised that on 24 may only the half of the 2585 were still operational .
                        Heeresgruppe A (Rundstedt) had 7 PzD,and,on 24 may,not all were at the Dunkirk perimeter .
                        following the Blitzkrieg legend ,Only ONE PzD was at the perimeter on 24 may :1st PzD ,at a distance of 20 km,the other PzD were far away .

                        Now ,one can debate the possibility for one PzD (120 operational tanks) to advance to Dunkirk and to roll up the British defense lines.
                        But,IMHO,this possibility is very small.
                        Yes,and the typical Panzerwaffe tank had many,many miles on the clock by now,they were all involved in Austria,Czechoslovakia and Poland,then across France,Holland and Belgium,they had very little second hand value.
                        A complex machine that has got perhaps 2000 miles on it is not going to be easy to keep at readiness.

                        Comment


                        • []
                          Originally posted by clackers View Post
                          The standard work that Tooze was departing from is by Alan Milward.
                          Milward is obsolete,but,on certain points,Tooze can be criticized(no one is infaillible)

                          Comment


                          • The following figures from WWII Stats.com are the 10days German Army casualty reports for may and june 1940.(Norway included)

                            1)10-20 may:KIA 2774 WIA 13208 MIA 1898

                            2)21-31 may:KIA 5530 WIA23252 MIA 3736

                            3)1-10 june KIA 6007 WIA 26846 MIA 4114

                            4)11-20 june KIA 4140 WIA 17682 MIA 2582

                            5)21-30 june (practically 22/25 june) KIA 1401 WIA 4130 MIA 557


                            These figures are indicating

                            a)The post Dunkirk period was bloodier for the Germans than the pré Dunkirk
                            period
                            b)The second 10 days (21-31 may) was costly for the Germans(32518 men),as this period is including most of the Dunkirk fighting,the conclusion is obvious : Dunkirk was no walkingover and the BEF was not ripe for plucking.

                            BTW: one should not forget the help of the French and Belgians.(in the Dunkirk hagiography,the story is about the small BEF against the big WM,while the BEF was only a minority)

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                              The following figures from WWII Stats.com are the 10days German Army casualty reports for may and june 1940.(Norway included)

                              1)10-20 may:KIA 2774 WIA 13208 MIA 1898

                              2)21-31 may:KIA 5530 WIA23252 MIA 3736

                              3)1-10 june KIA 6007 WIA 26846 MIA 4114

                              4)11-20 june KIA 4140 WIA 17682 MIA 2582

                              5)21-30 june (practically 22/25 june) KIA 1401 WIA 4130 MIA 557


                              These figures are indicating

                              a)The post Dunkirk period was bloodier for the Germans than the pré Dunkirk
                              period
                              b)The second 10 days (21-31 may) was costly for the Germans(32518 men),as this period is including most of the Dunkirk fighting,the conclusion is obvious : Dunkirk was no walkingover and the BEF was not ripe for plucking.

                              BTW: one should not forget the help of the French and Belgians.(in the Dunkirk hagiography,the story is about the small BEF against the big WM,while the BEF was only a minority)
                              I know that some Belgians continued to fight after Leopold's capitulation, and the French were fighting hard.
                              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


                              • The Belgian army was capitulating on 28 may (4 days after the halt order),that means that on 24 may,not 190000 British soldiers were encircled,but some 1 million Allied soldiers,of which 20 % British .

                                At 24 may,the French (and thus the Germans) were still at Valenciennes,100 km away from Dunkirk (as the crow flies).
                                Also on the same day:
                                the 1st PzD was at Gravelines (30km from Dunkirk)
                                the 2nd at Boulogne (not available)
                                the 10th at Calais (not available)
                                the 6th south of StOmer(46 km from Dunkirk)
                                the 8th at Aire(44 km as the crow flies,but real distance was 65.4)
                                the 3th,4th ,7th and 5th around Bethune(59 km as the crow flies)

                                Afaics,the 9 PzD belonged to AG B.

                                Thus,we are discussing about the possibility for an unknown German force to advance to Dunkirk ,fighting against an unknown British and allied force and,that the temporary halt order for this German force was a big German mistake .
                                Last edited by ljadw; 05 Apr 13, 13:39.

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