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The German's greatest mistake in WWII

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  • #31
    Previous comments label the premature start to WWII, but it was already in action. The Spanish Civil War was being fought and it ended only four months before Hitler's invasion of Poland. During this time Britain was oblivious to what was going on the European continent. The Spanish Civil War started WWII from the moment that Mussolini and Hitler gave armaments to the rebels against the legitimately elected Spanish Republican government..

    The major error was to not reinforce Rommel's Afrika Korps as opposed to attacking the USSR without a source of adequate supplies. Mussolini's insane military policy did not help, wasting troops in the Balkans. The Balkan operations were a useless drain on the German army. Had Rommel been reinforced and Egypt taken the path to the oil fields would be open.
    Last edited by Nickuru; 21 Mar 13, 15:33. Reason: clarification
    When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
    Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
    "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

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    • #32
      It was Hitler, he was the one that messed up the German invasion of Russia.
      "With foxes we must play the fox."
      -Thomas Fuller

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      • #33
        That's what Manstein,Guderian and the other vons were claiming after the war,but,we all know that their memoirs are not better than the adventures of baron von Münchhausen .

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        • #34
          Do you mean by turning south to Kiev?

          If yes, then it was possibily one of his best moves. He likely saved AG Centre from destruction in the following winter. In August AG Centre did not have the fuel, spares or available units to push on to Moscow nnor had the supply lines advanced close enough to the Smolensk front to support such a move.

          In short, since AG North could not advance and the Germans failed to destroy the Red Army west of the Dnepr by September, the war was effectively lost.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by ljadw View Post
            That's what Manstein,Guderian and the other vons were claiming after the war,but,we all know that their memoirs are not better than the adventures of baron von Münchhausen .
            I mean his no retreat policys and others messed it all up.
            "With foxes we must play the fox."
            -Thomas Fuller

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            • #36
              No retreat in 1941 saved the army.

              No retreat after that didn't matter. Germany had lost.
              The Purist

              Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Nickuru View Post
                ...the major error was to not reinforce Rommel's Afrika Korps as opposed to attacking the USSR without a source of adequate supplies. Mussolini's insane military policy did not help, wasting troops in the Balkans. The Balkan operations were a useless drain on the German army. Had Rommel been reinforced and Egypt taken the path to the oil fields would be open.
                As has been pointed out ad nauseum, there was no way to reinforce Rommel because of port capacity. If there is no Balkan war there is no reason for 3 british and Commonwealth divisions to go to Greece and Crete, no support from Crete for the Vichy's in the Levant. Five british divisions are now sitting in Egypt with nothing better to do than defend Alamien. After April 41 the number increases to 8 divisions, in June 11 divisions.

                Rommel was successful in April 1941 because XIII Corps was not supported and had to scramble to find reserves when the Germans and Italians struck. They had just enough because of the Balkans and the developing situation in the Levant
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Dann Falk View Post
                  The most unforgivable mistake was declaring war on the US.

                  If Hitler had let things be, the US would have been involved in an exclusive war in the Pacific. This would have prevented the US from becoming involved in Europe for several years.
                  That would be my #2, second only to starting the blamed thing in the first place. (I am currently reading The Wages of Destruction ) Barbarossa would be my #3.
                  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"

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                    As has been pointed out ad nauseum, there was no way to reinforce Rommel because of port capacity. If there is no Balkan war there is no reason for 3 british and Commonwealth divisions to go to Greece and Crete, no support from Crete for the Vichy's in the Levant. Five british divisions are now sitting in Egypt with nothing better to do than defend Alamien. After April 41 the number increases to 8 divisions, in June 11 divisions.

                    Rommel was successful in April 1941 because XIII Corps was not supported and had to scramble to find reserves when the Germans and Italians struck. They had just enough because of the Balkans and the developing situation in the Levant
                    Dang, I was going to post that. bit not as eloquently.

                    Susie
                    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"

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                    • #40
                      I'll post three- chronologically:

                      1. Acting as conquerors rather than liberators; abusing and killing rather than offering a better future to the newly absorbed peoples. The genesis for this lies in the pre-war period, however.

                      2. Allowing the B.E.F. to escape from Dunkirk.

                      3. Declaring war on the United States.
                      Sgt.

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                      • #41
                        1)Acting as liberators was impossible,and,the negative results of acting as conquerors were almost negligible,while there were also positive results.

                        2)That's a and a joke :the responsability was shared,and the consequences negligible

                        3) the same and with hindsight :for Adolf,war with the US was certain and nearing .

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                          1)Acting as liberators was impossible,and,the negative results of acting as conquerors were almost negligible,while there were also positive results.

                          2)That's a and a joke :the responsability was shared,and the consequences negligible

                          3) the same and with hindsight :for Adolf,war with the US was certain and nearing .
                          The fact that it was impossible given National Socialist ideology does not change the fact that it was a mistake. The consequences were in fact significant out of all proportion to any benefits. It spurred resistance all across conquered territories and drained resources (both German and "enemy") that might have been used by the Germans had they been more receptive to the idea of an empire in which non-Germans or "Aryans" had a place. The genesis of this dates from long before the war; nevertheless, it was the first of the wartime mistakes that arose from it.

                          2. Hitler confirmed the stop order and was the responsible party for lifting it. Britain's ability to reform it's army and continue the war on land anywhere is primarily due to this error.

                          3. One of Germany's fundamental grand strategic problems was the specter of a two front war. The center of gravity of that problem was the United States- which even alone had the manpower, resources, and industry to eventually overcome every obstacle of time and space and defeat all the Axis powers. Therefore- however inevitable that conflict may have been, it was a major mistake to bring it on any sooner than it had to occur.

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                          • #43
                            1)NO :the pillage of the occupied countries was giving Germany a lot of resources,which Germany would not have,if its rule was "softer" .

                            :the resistance was mainly not caused by the German pillage,and started only after Stalingrad


                            2)NO :it never has been PROVED that without the stop order,the BEF was lost

                            :at Dunkirk,"only" the half of the BEF was encircled :less than 200000 men

                            3)NO: if Adolf was not declaring war on 11 december,he could not declare war in january or later:he would be ridiculous

                            :if he did not declare war,the US would :this was a fact (following Adolf)

                            :it would last till february 1943 before the first US ground troops were fighting against the Germans,thus,the direct result of the DOW of Adolf were negligible .

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                              1)NO :the pillage of the occupied countries was giving Germany a lot of resources,which Germany would not have,if its rule was "softer" .

                              :the resistance was mainly not caused by the German pillage,and started only after Stalingrad


                              2)NO :it never has been PROVED that without the stop order,the BEF was lost

                              :at Dunkirk,"only" the half of the BEF was encircled :less than 200000 men

                              3)NO: if Adolf was not declaring war on 11 december,he could not declare war in january or later:he would be ridiculous

                              :if he did not declare war,the US would :this was a fact (following Adolf)

                              :it would last till february 1943 before the first US ground troops were fighting against the Germans,thus,the direct result of the DOW of Adolf were negligible .
                              1. The resources that Germany gained were added to her stocks, and not to her output. The limited output of many raw materials that Germany required was not alleviated by captured stocks; and the output reemerged as a major limiting factor by mid 1941. So much so was this that the German Army seriously considered a partial de-motorization of the army. to reduce oil consumption. Access to these stocks was in large part negated by the presense of German garrisons in these territories that could have been used elsewhere (a procedure that began with Poland and continued in every nation that Germany conquered).

                              2. I never said anything about proving that the B.E.F. would have been lost. The fact still remains that without the stop order, the Germans had an increased possibility of destroying or capturing the B.E.F. and French forces that eventually escaped and helped form the nucleus of expanded British and Free French armed forces. Had this happened, the British may have accepted a negotiated peace despite Churchill's stand. Now, a debate as to how likely that was could go on indefinitely, but that is irrelevant. What matters is that any British withdrawal from the conflict would have effectively terminated U.S. interest in eventual intervention (the U.S. populace wasn't going to accept intervention in order to help the Soviets). This being the case, the Germans should have bent every effort toward forcing the British to the negotiating table. By allowing the allied forces in the pocket to escape, the Germans just increased the likelyhood that this would not happen- and that was a major mistake.

                              3. The idea here was to postpone U.S. entry into the war for as long as possible. Toward that end, any German declaration was a major strategic mistake. The longer that the U.S. remained out of the conflict (tied up with Japan or not), the more time that the Germans had to deal with the Soviet Union. Instead, they added the greatest adversary possible to an already extensive list.

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                              • #45
                                1)You are under illusions : an other German occupation policy would have changed nothing :initially,a lot of people were going working in Germany :this had nothing to do with a harsh/soft German policy :they went to Germany for a living(there was no work in their country),they stopped going to Germany because of the bombardments and were looking for work in their own country(work that also benefited the Germans .

                                2)There is no proof at all that the escape /capture of 200000 soldiers at Dunkirk had any influence at allon the British decision to continue the war,thus Dunkirk having no influence (military/political) ,it can't be considered as a mistake

                                3)The opinion in the US is irrelevant,what was relevant,was what Adolf was seeing : a gigantic US mobilization,end of isolationism:the 2 1940 presidential candidates were openly hostile to Germany and there was cash and carry,succeeded by Lend Lease,there was the openly US intervention in the Battle of the Atlantic.
                                There was Arcadia ;Churchill and FDR were meeting each other at the coast of New Found Land,discussing the reconstruction of the world after the defeat of Germany .

                                And:there was the British decision to continue the war,which had as reason
                                the certainty that the US would intervene .

                                Every day,there were more and more incidents on the Atlantic,which would give the US the excuse to declare war on Germany .And,if they did not,they would finish Japan,and than turn against Germany .
                                By declaring war,the US would be forced to divide its forces,the strategy would be :Japan first,and meanwhile,they would leave Europe alone .

                                Wel:this was the POV of Adolf,and,without hindsight,this POV was not stupid .

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