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What If Manstein Had Been Heeded?

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  • What If Manstein Had Been Heeded?

    I was wondering, what does everyone think would have happened on the Eastern Front had the German High Command(read:Hitler) had heeded Manstein's advice after the events of Stalingrad(that being the need of an elastic defence). Would there have been, at the most, a stalemate(outright victory after Stalingrad was impossible due to the loss of so many experienced men and material and of the Russians almost inexhausible supply of both)?

    Jeff

  • #2
    This would definitly have at least prolounged the war. Manstein knew what he was doing and was a very capable commander. Im sure he would have made a diffrence if he was allowed to.
    "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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    • #3
      Originally posted by HistoryFan
      I was wondering, what does everyone think would have happened on the Eastern Front had the German High Command(read:Hitler) had heeded Manstein's advice after the events of Stalingrad(that being the need of an elastic defence). Would there have been, at the most, a stalemate(outright victory after Stalingrad was impossible due to the loss of so many experienced men and material and of the Russians almost inexhausible supply of both)?
      In my opinion not much would have changed other than the Germans may have delayed their defeat by a few weeks/months. The benefits (avoiding casualties) the Germans would have gained by not launching Citadelle would have been cancelled by the Red Army avoiding casualties suffered during the Kursk battles. By the summer of 1943 the Red Army had improved its operational doctrine to the point to where it could operate deeper and more successfully once through the Germans lines. By 1944 this had been raised almost to an art (penetration exceeding 150-200 kms in depth) where drives were brought to a halt not by German resistance but by logistics limitations. The retreat to Dnepr may have been bloodier and the Russian offensive in 1944 in the south may have begun further east, but I doubt it would have effected much in the center or the north. The Germans had the classic problem of needing to defend everywhere while the Red Army could pick and choose where and when to attack.
      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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      • #4
        As a caveat to the above, the German people may well have suffered many less casualties than they did historically during the horrific fighting of Winter 1944-5 since the Soviet offensive would have started further East and the German defences would have been better manned as well as more effectively positioned. There are all sorts of problems with this kind of speculation since it requires a drastic change in German strategy and the acceptance of the inevitability of defeat - something that I doubt Hitler and his cronies would have accepted.
        Signing out.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Full Monty
          ... There are all sorts of problems with this kind of speculation since it requires a drastic change in German strategy and the acceptance of the inevitability of defeat - something that I doubt Hitler and his cronies would have accepted.
          Agreed. For the Nazi regime to have accepted a passive defensive role in the east would have meant that it recognized that it could not find the military means for victory over the "sub-human Slavs". A rational government would then have sued for peace rather than subject its people to the shattering defeat and near destruction of the nation. Instead they continually sought to first defeat the Soviet Union in 1941, 42 and 43 or pry apart the coalition in 1944 (the Ardennes).
          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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          • #6
            Like any pro-German what if, if vonManstein makes a really big difference then the first a-bombs are dropped on Berlin and another German city.

            Adrian

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            • #7
              Being a huge fan of Manstein, I can't believe that I disagree with everybody.

              Although German skill at arms and command experience, not to mention their Aufragstaktik, would tend to carry them a long way, Germany's rapidly dwindling resources and the mastering of the concept of maneuver warfare by Red Army commanders would have eventually limited any advantage offered by Manstein's tactics of elastic defence.
              Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tigersqn
                Being a huge fan of Manstein, I can't believe that I disagree with everybody.
                Actually, Tiger, I think you are agreeing with the majority. With exception of Tom and fanboy, it appears the consensus is "not much help at all".
                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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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AdrianE
                  Like any pro-German what if, if vonManstein makes a really big difference then the first a-bombs are dropped on Berlin and another German city.

                  Adrian
                  I 'ummmed and ahhhed' over that one but decided to ignore it to keep the debate simple.

                  As an aside, if Berlin had been targeted I'm not sure the Soviets would have been so keen to occupy it.
                  Signing out.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Full Monty
                    I 'ummmed and ahhhed' over that one but decided to ignore it to keep the debate simple.

                    As an aside, if Berlin had been targeted I'm not sure the Soviets would have been so keen to occupy it.
                    I don’t know I understand that Stalin wanted a nice big mushroom.
                    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tsar
                      I don’t know I understand that Stalin wanted a nice big mushroom.
                      He was misheard. He asked his interior designer for a nice big plush room.
                      Signing out.

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                      • #12
                        It has been more than speculated that there existed as it was (in 1943) secret negotiations between the Soviets and Germans for an armistice on the eastern front. These required Hitler to give up what he still held in Russia and of course he was not inclined to do so. The negotiations fell apart so there was no such agreement. Had the Germans not suffered so at Stalingrad however, they would have been in a much better position (maybe not have to give up so much) to get the war in the east to cease then turn more attention to the western allies.

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                        • #13
                          Also, the German army as a whole would be better of for many reasons:

                          a) The Wermacht would not have it's moral hurt as much if the 9th Army (right?) didn't surrender at Stalingrad.

                          a2) This might mean no July Bomb plot, and therefor no retaliatory purges of the officer corps, which means that later on in '43 - '45 Hitler might listen/trust his Generals moreso than he did near the end.

                          b) That many men might be just the things to tip the scales in the Germans favor (unlikely), maybe just help establish a stalemate, or might just delay the inevitable.

                          c) More German soldiers means that the Allies will be even more wary of Operation Overlord, knowing that the Germans still have many troops.

                          d) The Wermacht would keep some of it's experienced troops from becoming KIA/POW.

                          The critical question would really be, what would be done with 9th Army? Send it south (for the oil), or north to help at Moscow (would be a great bargaining chip for Hitler against Stalin).

                          I guess the best case outcome for the Germans is to settle a peace with the Russians on favorable terms (for them). Of course, Hitler and Stalin are both egotistical meglomaniacs bent on world domination ( Like Dr.S with facial hair ), so peace is unlikely.

                          Maybe if Germany seized Moscow, they might kill Stalin, which would probably improve Germany's chance at a settlement.

                          But if Russia is removed from the conflict, the Allies would almost definetly settle with Hitler.

                          (And if the US does nuke Germany, Germany would immediatly step up it's nuke program, and we would all die in Atomic fire...)




                          You don't know how lucky you are, Boys... back, in the USSR!

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                          • #14
                            Daemonofdecay, regarding point a), I believe it was the 6th Army that was surrendered at Stalingrad. Those troops sure would have been nice to have around at the time of Kursk. Imagine 6th Army following up the 2nd SS Panzers on the South pincer (can you say "German victory"?).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by granite
                              Those troops sure would have been nice to have around at the time of Kursk. Imagine 6th Army following up the 2nd SS Panzers on the South pincer (can you say "German victory"?).
                              I don't think it would have been enough. I'd also be inclined to believe that had those troops been available the whole operation would have been that much more ambitious and still would have failed.
                              Signing out.

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