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Hitler's Blunders vs Stalin's Blunders

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  • Hitler's Blunders vs Stalin's Blunders

    This is an invitation to discuss a number of subjects:

    Who was more detrimental to his own cause?

    Why are Hitler's blunders so much better known and discussed?

    Who exploited the other's blunders more effectively?
    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

  • #2
    Originally posted by ShAA View Post
    This is an invitation to discuss a number of subjects:

    Who was more detrimental to his own cause?

    Why are Hitler's blunders so much better known and discussed?

    Who exploited the other's blunders more effectively?
    Given that Stalin won and Hitler lost, not much of an argument really.

    As the war went on it appears to me that Stalin was more able to delegate, while Hitler began to micro manage more and more. Given the scale of the conflict, this ability to delagate is paramount.

    It seems to me that Stalins mistakes were greatest early on, but that he learned from them. Hitlers gambles paid off early, and when they backfired, he blamed others. As time went on he gambled more and more, and lost, as does anyone who has the odds stacked against him from the start.

    However, my knowledge of the Eastern Front is sketchy and I am quite prepared to be shot down for my ignorance .
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    • #3
      Stalin's biggest blunder was that he trusted in Hitler's word.

      Hitler's biggest blunder was that he believed in his own infallibility.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ShAA View Post
        Why are Hitler's blunders so much better known and discussed?
        Simple; after the war, we got to read all the documents that the Germans had, including the secret stuff. Those boys are compulsive record keepers.
        We know even more about what he did wrong than what the Kaiser did, since in WW1 Germany surrendered in time to avoid occupation, and we didn't get to bust open their vaults.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gorque View Post
          Stalin's biggest blunder was that he trusted in Hitler's word.

          Hitler's biggest blunder was that he believed in his own infallibility.
          Ok, let's say we've found their biggest blunders By the way, Stalin was almost as confident in his military genius well up to mid-1942 as Hitler closer to the end of the war.

          Still, I'd like to have a more detailed discussion. For example, Stalin was clearly to blame for the dispersion of forces along the whole length of the front in early 1942 which led to the catastrophe of the 2nd Shock Army and eventually, to the German Fall Blau. He was under the illusion that the Germans ran out of their breath after the Moscow counteroffensive and the time for the long-awaited Great Counterstrike had come.

          Then there's the Kiev pocket for which he is at least partially to blame as he refused to authorise the withdrawal of Soviet forces to the eastern bank of Dnieper. You can add several more pockets to his personal "negative score", although it would be difficult to separate his own contribution to these disasters from the whole organisation of the Red Army, its doctrine, generalship, command and control, etc.

          If we count the overall losses caused by his personal decision-making in the first year of the war, they would greatly exceed whatever the Germans suffered because of his stand fast order near Moscow (which was, as some historian argue, the right course of action for the German troops) and even the Stalingrad offensive. The Kiev pocket alone claimed about 700 000 killed or captured, which is twice higher than the number of Germans trapped in Stalingrad.
          www.histours.ru

          Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
            Simple; after the war, we got to read all the documents that the Germans had, including the secret stuff. Those boys are compulsive record keepers.
            We know even more about what he did wrong than what the Kaiser did, since in WW1 Germany surrendered in time to avoid occupation, and we didn't get to bust open their vaults.
            Well, it's not about micromanagement, but the main decisions taken in 1941, for example. You don't need to go though lots of archives to realise whether it was right or wrong to launch a massive operation at a given point of time.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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            • #7
              It will be interesting to see what were the real blunders caused by the inability to see the reality and which were caused by a lack of informations and false reports.
              There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

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              • #8
                Stalin could be talked out of his stupid ideas more often than Hitler

                Stalin could afford to blunder, even if Hitler didn't blunder he probably would have lost anyway, at least once he started the war
                (which was his biggest blunder)
                You better drop your flag an withdraw.

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                • #9
                  I can't think of a bigger blunder than having Germany declare war on the US. On military decisions Stalin's Kharkov Offensive played right into the German forces prepared to launch Operation Blau. Hitler didn't panic when the initial Soviet attack made penetrations that came close to Kharkov and I think it was Hitler who directed the show, encircled several Soviet formations and basically destroyed much of the Soviet STAVKA reserves. AFAIK, from here on out Stalin is supposed to have turned over military strategy to his military men while Hitler's hubris in this victory soared to new heights that led to the eventual incredibly stupid decision to brake up AGS in two: one group (6th Army and 4th Panzer Army)concentrated on Tsaritsyn while 1st Panzer Army and 11th Army went into the Caucasus. As the distance between the two AG increased it became impossible for either to support the other.

                  This incredibly stupid decision led directly to the encirclement of the German 6th Army and most of 4th Panzer Army and the destruction of the Italian and Romanian Armies guarding the flanks. IMO, this decision by Hitler (along with declaring war on the US) must rank as BCS National Championship one vs two and clearly leaves Stalin other stupid decisions playing for consolation prize.

                  I'm going on memory here that has been clearly influenced by years of western anti-Soviet propaganda so if the details are messy then please do correct them.
                  "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post

                    This incredibly stupid decision led directly to the encirclement of the German 6th Army and most of 4th Panzer Army and the destruction of the Italian and Romanian Armies guarding the flanks. IMO, this decision by Hitler (along with declaring war on the US) must rank as BCS National Championship one vs two and clearly leaves Stalin other stupid decisions playing for consolation prize.
                    I am not going to let generals of the hook here.
                    They had 5 armored divisions in the Stalingrad area: 4 german ( 14th,16th, 23rd,24th) and 1 romanian ,versus 3 soviet tank corps ( 1st,4th,26th) 2 mechanized corps (4th , 13th ) and 1 guards mechanized corps in reserve.

                    at least 3 motorized divisions vs 3 cavalry corps.

                    Disregarding the soviet designations, there were sufficient armored forces
                    to check the soviet armor, if axis armor was used correctly.

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                    • #11
                      Isn't hitler like one of the most studied people in history

                      probably why his blunders are discussed more, that an people are usually more interested in the attacker than the defender
                      You better drop your flag an withdraw.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post
                        I can't think of a bigger blunder than having Germany declare war on the US.
                        It was only a matter of time before the US declared war on Germany anyway.

                        As it was at least the U-boats had a second 'happy time'.

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                        • #13
                          When did the German leader start making mistakes?

                          Its hard to see how he could have played his hand better.

                          The same cannot be said of the Soviet leader.

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                          • #14
                            From a purely military point of view, Hitler's greatest mistake was having a policy of alienating the population of the lands he was invading. The last thing an army needs is a bunch of civilians taking potshots out of every window.

                            One would think he had learned from WWI? obviously not. Then again, one looks at the Condor Legion in Spain, and home policies towards minorities and the picture becomes clear. I tried reading Mein Kampf once, but I could not even get halfway, I threw the book up against the wall out of disgust. So it does not surprise me that Hitler commited the worse blunders.
                            When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nș 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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                            • #15
                              It seems to me that both of them had significant initial blunders;
                              -Both underestimated the other's military strength and over estimated their own.
                              -Stalin's purges of the Red Army as presented by Glantz as well as the overly aggressive expansion of the Red Army combined to make it an ineffective field force in manuever warfare throughout 1941 (Major blunder). Too slow to react in manuever warfare, but effective in static defense.
                              -Hitler ignored relevant Intelligence on Red Army strength, the weakness of his own logistical support beyond Smolensk and the overall lack of German strength to support a protracted war (while still at war in the West). Major blunder


                              Beyond the initial issues above I agree about Stalin's meddling with the defense of Kiev and also Hitler's insistence on attacking Moscow after early November.

                              This is Eastern front until January of 1942 only of course. After that I think the war's outcome was pretty academic unless the Axis asked for an armistice in the East by summer of 1942.
                              "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

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