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Hitler gives Manstein and Model 'Joint' command of AGS

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  • Hitler gives Manstein and Model 'Joint' command of AGS

    Hitler, Manstein, and Model had interesting relationships.

    Hitler respected Manstein, but differed on him on certain issues, especially the 'stand fast' order. Model was his favorite general, as he delivered defensive results like Manstein but also did not yield that much ground. However, Manstein, due to his aggressive use of maneuver was more flashy in terms of operational results, and had the potential to win bigger than Model.

    Throughout 1943 Manstein failed yet out of respect for him Hitler found a way to fire Hoth and Kempf instead of Manstein. However, he eventually was tired of Manstein's mistakes and the limited success of his counterstrikes in 1943-1944.

    Manstein was thus replaced with Model- probably the most successful defensive commander but with an indifferent record conducting offensive operations.

    How would the war progress if Manstein and Model were given 'joint' command of Army Group South in the Spring of 1943?
    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

  • #2
    The concept of a joint command is not realistic as this will never work, particularly not with opposite personalities like Manstein and Model.
    The real alternate timeline is Model being in charge of AGS alone at an earlier date.
    This would not make a fundamental difference as the unfavourable odds and the objectives imposed by Hitler would remain the same. The only advantage Model would have is that he could easier get away with necessary retreats with or without Hitler's authorisation given his reputation. He also could maybe get more reinforcements quicker.
    The irony is that Model gave the impression of obeying Hitlers orders but actually had a greater tendency of disobeying them and getting away with it .
    During the summer of 1943 Model had also to retreat very far so there can be no illusion that replacing Manstein with Model at whatever date really changes anything to the outcome in the area of AGS.
    It was the whole concept of trying to hold too much with too little that was the real issue. The disagreement on this is what eventually led to Mansteins dismissal but Hitler was wrong if the thought that another commander would do better.


    • #3
      Much has been made about Hitler's not one step back orders...but were they really followed? Both of these generals did, often, not follow their orders as did many others...I'm not aware of any that were punished, excepted to be retired and that rarely.


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