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  • #16
    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong
    There is another school of thought that believes Hitler's long term strategy, in part, was an alliance with Britain. Hitler had to knock out France and Russia to convince Britain that they would face Germany alone. An alliance with Britain would be necessary for a German global domination against the only other challenger the United States. Consequently, he had to invade Russia and get an early knock out.

    Consequently, according to the other school of thought, Hitler's orders to Rommel were to defend, not attack the Brits in North Africa. Rommel believed in the theory of knocking out the Brit's and too great risks to accomplish it. It was after the invasion in Russia that Rommel realized he was not in the main war sector.

    rna
    This would tie in remarkably well with the sequence of events.
    Rommel arrives in Tripoli in winter 1941 with orders just to bolster Italian defence in North Africa, remain the status quo, not to go over to the offensive . To stand on the defensive however runs against Rommel's character and in March '41 his Afrika Korps attacks, although Rommel has received no orders for an attack and has been warned by the OKW not to expect any reinforcements. Off course he will not receive any, because unknown to Rommel, the OKW will need all reinforcements on the Bug for Operation Barbarossa, not for the side show which North Africa soon will be.

    Perhaps if Rommel had let in on the secret of 'Barbarossa', he would have understood better the intention of the higher commander and not have attacked so explosively.
    Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 06 Aug 06, 09:41.
    BoRG

    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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    • #17
      Perhaps, but German leaders were trained to attack and were usually expected to attack if they saw an opportunity. Since Pzs are not normally used for defense unless necessary, giving them to Rommel is not a signal to hold fast. He could have been given SPs instead of Pzs to get the point across.

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      • #18
        Panzers in a mobile defense is a good use of tanks, particularly in the desert.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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        • #19
          The point is why would the high command sanction the use of valuable panzers for defense in a sideshow? That defies all military logic.

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          • #20
            Maybe someone on the high staff understood that you do not wage warfare in the desert with foot infantry, even in defense. And if you do not have a camel corps, why not panzers?
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by grognard
              The point is why would the high command sanction the use of valuable panzers for defense in a sideshow? That defies all military logic.
              Good point.
              It could be that the Germans wanted seriously to strengthen the defence of their Italian allies in distress in North Africa for political reasons. Beef them up against the common British enemy. Sending tanks (and fighters) (and Rommel) is just such a signal, even if it goes at the expense of valuable panzers which could very well be used elsewhere.

              A couple of months later the Germans did this again on a much bigger scale after the disastrous Italian move into Greece. Many military historians believe that this second 'coming to the rescue' fatally delayed the starting date of Barbarossa.
              Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 07 Aug 06, 15:26.
              BoRG

              You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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              • #22
                I think Rommel's ultimate goal was to capture the Suez canal and cut Britain off from her eastern empire. He would never accomplish this with a purely defensive strategy. The armored forces were the ultimate for attacking in the desert and he very nearly succeeded. If the Axis would have been able to keep him supplied I think he would have ultimatly won in North Africa before the arrival of Monty and the Allied invasion of North Africa began.
                History is a set of lies agreed upon - Napoleon Bonaparte

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by zinkyusa
                  I think Rommel's ultimate goal was to capture the Suez canal and cut Britain off from her eastern empire. He would never accomplish this with a purely defensive strategy. The armored forces were the ultimate for attacking in the desert and he very nearly succeeded. If the Axis would have been able to keep him supplied I think he would have ultimatly won in North Africa before the arrival of Monty and the Allied invasion of North Africa began.
                  Perhaps this was Rommel's goal, but I have never understood that it was OKW's intention to capture the Suez Canal at that point in time (winter '41). I think that in OKW's opinion Rommel would have done a very creditable job in Libya by just keeping the British at bay, while the real war was being fought elsewhere.
                  By going over to the offensive and having tremendous success at it, Rommel forced the hand of the OKW.
                  BoRG

                  You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                  • #24
                    Originally Posted by captainsennef Perhaps this was Rommel's goal, but I have never understood that it was OKW's intention to capture the Suez Canal at that point in time (winter '41). I think that in OKW's opinion Rommel would have done a very creditable job in Libya by just keeping the British at bay, while the real war was being fought elsewhere.
                    By going over to the offensive and having tremendous success at it, Rommel forced the hand of the OKW.
                    You are probably right about OKW, and perhaps in 1941 it was not Rommel's intention either, but by El Alamein it was definelty on his mind. Check out this sketch.

                    http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/WH...WH2Ala04a.html
                    History is a set of lies agreed upon - Napoleon Bonaparte

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                    • #25
                      OKW wanted Rommel to stop at the Egyptian border in 1942 and planned to take Malta. Rommel appealed to Hitler because he thought the 8th army so weakened he could take Cairo. Hitler agreed with Rommel and the rest is (non-alternate) history.

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