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Did Nazi Germany have the greatest armed forces in history?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Vet, Aug 4, 2008.

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  1. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

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    The US was stronger up until the Soviets had their own WMDs. After that, it got to the point that both sides were weakened by their arsenals because any step towards military engagement was also a step towards annihilation.

    However, as it has been pointed out, the Germans lost WWII so to get us back on track, they did not have the greatest army in history.
     
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    To relaunch the discussion: Vet, what makes you think the Germans did have the "greatest armed forces in history"?
     
  3. Vet

    Vet Dishonorably Discharged

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    It seems to me if they took it a front at a time they could have won the war. There have been discussions here that they could have at least had a stalemate with the USSR had Hitler allowed Manstein to have his way. Lets says Germany did what it had to do to take down Britian. I believe they could have if they were not so impatient and rushed to start another front. Then they could have had a concentrated effort with all of their forces against the USSR. This would have made things very difficult for the U.S. if Germany had defeated Britian and won the war in the east before American forces even hit the beaches.
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    All right, they made a lot of strategic blunders, but that is beside the point. What supposedly made them the greatest?

    And as for a concentrated effort, until the Italian invasion they had a concentrated effort against the Soviets, whatever they had in Afrika was only a tiny fraction of resources commited in Russia, so give us a more imaginative excuse... Garrison troops in occupied Europe won't do as well as those served well as staging grounds and rest camps for troops worn out in Russia!
     
  5. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 Member

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    OK, we'll take those as the criteria that define greatness.

    As mentioned above, equipment was very uneven. To take the high glamor item of tanks, the most plentiful German MBT, the PzIV, was matched by the much-maligned Sherman, which also vastly outnumbered the excellent but over-engineered and hard-to-produce PzV.

    Fighter Aircraft: the Germans had very few planes that could match the waves of Mustangs.

    Bomber Aircraft: the Germans never produced a bomber remotely in the same league as the B-17.

    Infantry Rifles: Germany, most everybody had bolt-action Mausers. US: most everybody had semi-automatic Garands.

    Infantry sub-machine guns: here I must say the German model was better.

    The skill and tactics items overlap. The Germans were good, no doubt. But I'd say their reputation has been inflated by 1) a string of victories against overmatched opponents, and then 2) spending a lot of time on the defensive, which is easier.
     
  6. Vet

    Vet Dishonorably Discharged

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    Coming out of the gate they had by far the better armour. The USSR made up a lot of ground and eventually passed them. I believe the Red Army was the best army in history by 1945. The thing that impressed me so much about Germany is with limited resources they had a chance and it took a lot of people to defeat them. I do not have the knowledge of units and equipment that several of you have so I will not try to argue those points. It also seemed the German soldier early on was by far the best but blunders caught up to them and they were left with kids being thrown into combat. A lot of what ifs I know. I just went through the old threads you guys had four years ago and I can understand why you guys don't like these types of threads. The one thread got kind of ugly with many of the Russian posters becoming offended. Heck, I give the Russians more credit for the defeat of Germany than anyone else and I had two grandfathers serving for the U.S. in Europe.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Out of the gate, their armor was mostly PzKw Is and IIs, with a smattering of PzKw IIIs and a leavening of PzKw IVs. Could you really mean that what they had was better armor doctrine than their adversaries? The T-34 prototypes were available only 5 months after the start of the war.
     
  8. Vet

    Vet Dishonorably Discharged

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    Five months can be a long time. Germany was defeating nations in a matter of weeks.
     
  9. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Why the hell anyone wanted to see that mad crazy bastard Hitler win the war? That swine would have murdered even a greater number of people who he took a dislike to.

    I for one am glad that stinking murdering bastard is dead.
     
  10. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Thats true Jeff. Not to mention their reliance on horses throughout the war. From beginning to end. They became less and less mechanized as the war ground on.
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Small nations, but not continent-sized nations.
     
  12. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Yeah. Countries that were not as strong nor with the large amount of military might as Germany. Up until France.
     
  13. Vet

    Vet Dishonorably Discharged

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    Nobody here is saying they wanted Germany to win the war. I just have no trouble respecting some of their equipment and the skill of their soldiers. I'm not here for the political garbage. JC I agree with your reponse.
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    That is obvious to me. Y'all discuss without the rancor.
     
  15. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    They fought well in a bad cause, with (many times) inferior equipment, little if any logistic support, almost no reserves, in an extremely over-extended arena.
    Best ever......as was said NO.
    Competent/capable/as good as any/and perhaps.....better with less....scary....yes?

    Dominated/overwhelmed/destroyed completely.....also yes.
     
  16. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    The Germans had a fair army in 1939. Mainly, they had audacity and some experience. None of their equipment was earth shattering, but it did have some advantages. By 1943, they still had a 1939 army with a major disadvantage. Their political leadership was too involved in strategy planning.

    The Russian army took notice of how their troops were being wiped out and Stalin let the military leaders that had survived the purge, weed out the incompetent officers. They got a big breather from nature, and started to put things together. They put together some basic weapons that could match the German arsenal, and made sure the factories produced or else. They took the German tactics and improved on them. But what really made the difference was they learned the lessons of logistics that the Germans had not.

    Had the German political leadership learn the lessons that the Russians did, their efforts may have been more prolonged. If the Russians made the same mistake the Germans did with their leadership, who knows what might have happened.

    As for the German weapons, they did not make much of a gain as they were given credit for. The Me-262 may have been the first jet in combat, but other nations had them in development. They just were not desperate enough to push them into combat as an immature product. Many of their weapons were never up to snuff. The B-17 was a viable weapon throughout the war, and its replacement (B-29) was already in production at the end. The German bombers were obsolete by 1940.
     
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  17. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    If you look at what the Germans achieved in a short time, with such limited transport and supply as well as the limited armoured units, I think they did pretty well, considering the amount of allied countries they were against. Yes the Germans had allied soldiers of their own, but how many wahted to fight for the axis powers, and were actually equipped to do so?

    The Best in History? Well you can not answer this question in such a broad way. You can not compare the Roman army to the Germans, nor the current USA to the Mongolians, they are all different years, technologies, doctirnes, experiences, training, equippment, and situations.

    Best in WW2 in a whole? If you were to put the best of everything that Germany had against every country in the world one at atime, ignoring Supply, logitics, Industrial power and just make them completely and utterly the same (except with the best of their own forces and doctrines of their time, I think it would be very close either way.

    But in terms of Historic ww2, based on the fact that they lost, and the amount of blunders and mistakes by in the military and the technology dies of things, no.
     
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    And who am I to gainsay you? :D

    Yes, it certainly was no walkover.

    That's fair enough.
     
  19. 1911Colt

    1911Colt Member

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    lmfao!
     
  20. Hawkmoon432k

    Hawkmoon432k Dishonorably Discharged

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    The Leibstandarte, Hitler's elite Waffen 1st SS division, fought more battles in its first 6 months than Napoleon's Guard in its 12 yr or so history. The Luftwaffe had 100 aces with over 100 kills (allies highest scoring 80 or so (Soviet)), all the Panzer aces by a long shot, their divisions fought longer and killed more enemy soldiers, armor and planes than army in history even though they were almost always outnumbered and often undersupplied, tired and worn out by non stop fighting and in later years hampered by faulty leadership in their own high command. Only in the Sniper combat branch are they outdone by the Soviets while they were roughly equaled in Submarine warfare by the US. The soldier of the Reich kept on fighting against impossible odds, empowered by love for his country, his family and for his fellow soldiers. He fought and died, and he made his enemy pay dearly in more lives than were lost on his side. I'd say they makes the Army of the Third Reich a fair contender for the Greatest Armed Forces in History.

    Among all Axis and Allies armies there were outstanding individuals and units. Sadly, of course, it also true that Germany was with its Government and many but not all of its citizens responsible for outstanding brutalities and war crimes, which like its skill in arms have rarely been equaled in history.
     
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