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Should Hitler have chosen Manstein rather than Rommel for the North African campaign

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by scipio, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Rommel had his uses, But they where best used when he had a superior above him that could keep him in check, Give him a tank division and he could do some great work but give him an entire army with no one to answer to and he got ahead of him self. Rommel may have made a great Corps commander or even Commander of an army but he was given such a role far too soon in his career. None the less he did make great use of what little assets he was given he just had to learn that some times its better to sit back and let the enemy exhaust them selves on your static defense rather then his use of a 'defense by attack'
     
  2. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Just wanna chip in one idea: sent neither Rommel or Manstein. Pick another.
     
  3. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Who do you believe would be the better choice than these two and why, just asking?
     
  4. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Rommel was a very good choice.
    Very small battlefields, small numbers of soldiers (compared to Russia for example). Rommels was a very skilled motivator, he usually leads his soldiers by personal orders and he was tricky.
    And he prefers to attack himself by choosing the right time, usually when the enemy prepares an attack himself. Manstein was a typical german general, he prefers the counter attack. I think, northern africa was the ideal playground for Rommel.
     
  5. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Rommel's influence was irreplacable and I agree that he at the head of German forces at North Africa was suitable. Because fighting on desert was resource draining without the outcome of developing the captured lands of desert - let me rule of oil or gas discovery for now, their presence would have been game changers.
     
  6. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Let me clarify a bit.

    My idea is that influence of generalship is an important factor in NA. Because Italian NA was in the central position, the nation needed leadership and more to take initiatives to move either eastward or westward or both to push British and/or American farther away from the the central position. Rommel's influence had that motivation.
     
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Manstein was less of a celebrity. Ultimately the Axis strategy for North Africa became driven by Rommel's ego and Hitler's wishful thinking.

    One of the principles of war is concentration of effort, which matters to a force inferior in numbers. The Mediterranean was always a sideshow once Operation Barbarossa opened the Eastern Front. By the end of 1941 it should have been clear that the defeating the USSR would have to be the highest priority - particularly once Hitler declared war on the USA.

    The complete loss of North Africa would not have mattered if the USSR had surrendered in 1942, but failure to beat the Soviet Union would inexorably lead to Berlin regardless of what happened in the Middle East and Africa.

    There is a German expression that can be liberally translated as "death through victory" or "winning yourself to death" Rommel in Africa is a case in point. The greater his success the more problems it caused for the Axis.
     
  8. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Do not know if this is utmost correct but Italy in Axis strategy was to hold the southern front but push eastweard or westward in tactical manuveours. Not in my opinion, how would Rommel's ego be better used ?

    Take him to Ukraine for leading a Ukrainian insurgent against the SU ?
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Influence of generalship is bery exaggerated .

    The only reason Italy was fighting in NA was its DOW in june 1940.And the only reason for its DOW in june 1940 was Mussolini's assumption that the war would be over in a few weeks,and that he had to be hasty to join the war to obtain some spoils.
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The Ukrainian revolt against the SU is a post war myth .It did not happen .
     
  11. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    To sum up, the idea that Rommel's tactic, motivation and influence on soldiers was critical was more important than whom to be sent for leadership to N.Africa.

    1) Shall Germany send troops to help Italy in N. Africa ?
    2) Shall Germany send leadership -- generals or higher ranked officer(s) -- to help Italy In Africa ?
    3) If both 1 and 2 were true, whom would you send ?
    3a) Rommel
    3b) Manstein
    3c) Rommel and Manstein
    3d) Neither Rommel and Manstein
    3e) Rommel and other leader(s)
    3f) Manstein and other leader(s)

    For Von_noobie, 3e) was a choice. For Triton, 3a) was a choice.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    From the description by Triton, I think German plus Finland offensive at the beginning of Continuation War into East Karelia would be better for Rommel than N. Africa. Both landscapes were harsh. However, in East Karelia, Finnish and German troops only faced the Red Army and the White Sea was at the Soviet back. So once the CW during the OB had started, the invasion forces must push the defender into the Sea and cut or capture the Murmansk railway for their own use. In other words, offense would be prized than defense. Also, Finnish troops and leaderships were already experts in defense; Rommel could lead outnumbered German and Italian troops -- if the latter were transferred from the AGS to Finland in another what if -- to take East Karelia in before December 1941, given the prospect of adequate supplies by transferring resources and troops which would be less effective elsewhere -- like the Italian started in non-frontlne duties under AGS at the beginning of the OB.

    Could German or Italian leadership provide another who was a motivator, effectively influential on tactic and strategy -- yet he may not carry out the order himself, and decisive precisely about both offense and defense ?
     
  12. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    I'm pleased for your interest towards the Finnish fronts. We have changed thoughts about your what if -scenario (either the Italians or Germans attacking with the Finns in Karelia in summer 1941) already before. Unfortunately I still see it extremely unlikely/impossible for multitude of reasons. Here are some of them:

    - the Finnish offensive in 1941 was not certain. First there had to be a German-soviet war, a German attack against the SU AND a soviet attack against Finland. Finland could not be sure of her moves before the Barbarossa actually started. After all Germany had surprisingly allied with the SU and sold e.g. Finland to the soviets just short time earlier.Having a German Corps in Southern Finland in peace time preparing for Barbarossa would have been a political impossibility and a casus belli for the soviets
    - there was not supposed to be any need for any extra troops. If/when the German-soviet war started and Finland was attacked (likely to happen in that situation), the Germans were supposed to do the bulk of the actual fighting. The Finnish troops were basically just to follow the retreating soviets. As we know now, the reality turned out to be something else...
    - in 1942 it would have already been too late anyway
     
  13. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    The choice of general is much less important than the fact that Hitler sent a huge force to the Balkans to supposedly secure his S flank and a ridiculous 2 divs, without enough trucks, planes, FLAK, fuel, munitions, Pz IV, etc, with orders to hold Tripoli and only after Italy had lost 130,000 men and almost all its planes, armor, artillery, etc, in Libya.

    Raeder, etc, insisted that attacking with a strong army the weak British force in Egypt would secure the S flank and the Med simultaneously and open access to ME oil.
    Hitler could have coaxed France to allow use of Tunisian ports and RR to supply Libya more easily and he could have sent 4 divisions with plenty of trucks, planes, supplies, etc, this is a much better investment than sending a large force to the Balkans, for no gains and a lot of trouble.

    Tunisia renders Malta moot, since it is much easier to unload materiel, supplies and reinforcements there than in Tripoli. Italian shipping can transport more tonnage to Tunisia than to Tripoli and with fewer losses. Capturing Egypt renders invading Yugoslavia and Greece pointless. It is a much better lesson for Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey to defeat the British in Egypt rapidly with a moderate force in early 1941, than to invade the Balkans with a huge force at a critical time. Had Hitler not decided to invade Greece through Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav king (his ally) would not have been deposed. What harm can British forces in Greece do after Egypt falls?

    A huge German and Italian force invading useless territory, ill suited for Panzers or 4 German divisions in territory ideal for Panzers early in 1941.
     
  14. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Thanks, I am more or less resting from discussion so here I am, staying away from discussion.
     

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