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When did Germany lose the war?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by David Scott, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    No LJAd, ANZAC is not making the classic mistake of being fixated on the Soviet losses, anymore then you being fixated on German losses, I'm
    going by the comments made by both Soviet commanders after the loss of the six armies before Moscow at Vyazma/Briansk.

    Both Koniev & Zhukov, after personally inspecting the front said they had no way of stopping the Germans period.

    THEN, before the battles ended, the 'Rasputitsa' turned good tank ground into this.......

    File:Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-289-1091-26, Russland, Pferdegespann im Schlamm.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Adam Tooze in 'Wages of Destruction' [IIRC you once said you've read & recommended him, even though he's a bit dated now I guess] says quote...'On the 8th of October the Autumn rains began, within days the entire central sector of the German army was turned into an IMPASSABLE QUAGMIRE!'

    Kershaw gives a vivid account of the push on Moscow through the muck, often from the ordinary soldiers perspective, it's well worth a look.

    Don't get me wrong, the final battles for Moscow were obviously won by the unbreakable will of the average Soviet GI, I have nothing but admiration for the millions who sacrificed their lives to finally stop the Nazis.


    But for a few weeks after Vyazma/Briansk the Soviets were desperate & needed time to hustle up enough men to do the job, & thats when a combination of Rasputitsa & poor roads came in.

    On Erickson, personally I think anyone who's interested in the Eastern front must have his books on their shelf, he's still the man that most currant writers still turn to for info [including Tooze.]

    BTW have you read Erickson's companion pieces 'The Road to Stalingrad & 'The Road to Berlin'?
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    IMHO,the effect of the Soviet losses of Vyazma/briansk is overestimated.I know what Zhukow was writing:that he had only 90000 men,but,how long was this critical period lasting ?I think that the claim that" for a few weeks after Vyazma/Briansk the Soviets were desperate and needed time to hustle up enough men to do the job" is very questionable and not proved .
    And,the German situation :was it possible for the Germans to advance to Moscow,without the Rasputitsa ? How many German units were operational ?What about the fuel,what about the number of operational tanks ?And,an advance to Moscow would depend on the "speed" of the ID ,because,without them,the mobile units would be very vulnerable .
    Third point,the Raspututza :here I have to disagree with Tooze,because,I have found other,and contradictory dates .While he states that the Rasputitza started on 8 october and was blocking the German advance,Magenheimer (in Hitler's War) is writing the following (note 94,Chapter 2) :
    "The autumn mud period has already set in with rain and snowfall on the night of 7 october,but the ensuing week had again brought TOLERABLE weather conditions for military operations.See Wagener,"Moscow 1941,P 82 et seq.,Reinhardt P 73 ."
    Thus, I am absolutely not convinced that , immediately after the battles of Vyazma/Briansk, there was a window of opportunity for the Germans, and that the Soviets were saved by the sudden start of the Rasputitza, because
    1)We don't know how long lasted the "90000 men " period of the Soviets
    2)We don't know if AGC could,after the Vyazma/Briansk battles,advance to Moscow
    3)We don't know when the Rasputitza started, and, how serious were its consequences .
     
  3. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I forgot one point :if the Rasputitza was blocking the German advance to Moscow,how was it possible that at the end of november,the Germans were at the suburbs of ...Moscow ?
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About Erickson:his merite was that he was the first to mention the Soviet role in the war with Germany,this role was underestimated/ignored,for a lot of reasons(a.o. due to the Soviets).
    But;),'The Road to Stalingrad" was published in 1975(30 years after the war) and now,we are 2011 (66 years after the war):IMHO,he is outdated .
    An other,very important point,Erickson was one the first to use Soviet sources(and, not only German ones),but,I am very suspicious to the pré 1989 Soviet sources,who are unreliable,and,IMHO,only propaganda figures .In 1975,Breznjev was ruling the SU .
    Most of the works about WWII from that period in the West also are affected by propaganda and are not recommendable .
    Last point,although it is a long time I have read "the road to Berlin",I remember that Erickson was spending a lot of pages about Kursk(you know:the greatest tank battle in history),while today,the general agreement is that Citadelle was only one of the many battles of the war in the East,and that its importance is very relative .
     
  5. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    As an Englishman, I like to see things from a naval perspective.

    Logically, Germany lost any hope of prosecuting a successful war against England in 1935, at the Washington Naval Conference. It has often been stated that it was a diplomatic coup to gain maritime concessions from Great Britain to be able to build a fleet at all. Actually going ahead and building it was an error of the gravest kind, for Reich Admirals in power at the time were all 'big ship theorists'.

    The very moment the industrial wheels began to turn to attempt to revitalize the Kriegsmarine Surface Fleet reduced all other possible victories for Germany to a landlocked status. A Reich Navy beginning the war with 500 U-Boats would have sunk enough shipping in the first twelve months of the war to bring Britain to the conference table, (the initial period of the Battle for the Atlantic was the best chance for making an impression on English politicians sufficient to drag them to the conference table on German terms). The Royal Navy guaranteed that invasion prospects for Germany were not to be contemplated. Getting command of the North Sea and the coast of Ireland would have hit the British right where they lived. After Poland, then the French fiasco, it would have been a lot easier for Germany to request a peaceful conclusion to their Western affair, leaving them totally free to invade the Soviet Union.

    No American intervention in Europe spells doom for the Soviet Union. The Soviets were VERY dependant on American credit just to be able to pay the Red Army without collapsing their currency entirely! No American credit, no Lend Lease....all of a sudden, Russian factories must make difficult production choices. The Red Army must have trucks and jeeps as well as AFVs, and the Soviets just could not build both. This type of American aid meant that their industry could stremline it's effort and turn out tanks like the T-34 at approx. 2,000 units per month.

    So, failure to command the seas meant that Britain could survive Dunkirk with a cheeky smile, secure in the knowledge that any attempt to make the 'Sea Lion' roar would be a fiasco. Standing on the channel and rebuffed by the RAF, Hitler became more concerned with achieving his 'purpose' IN HIS OWN LIFETIME. This explains very nicely why he invaded the Soviet Union before finishing England. Adolf was convinced that 'providence' would see victory in Russia. But, the Red Army was a paid force of soldiers, and they had a regime that was willing and able to sacrifice as many individuals as it took to preserve the Paradise of Workers and Peasants.

    So, the industrial choices of prosecutable sea power, as handed to them on a stick in 1935, spelt doom from the outset.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    One thing,the Soviets were not dependant on US credit,and,what they did pay,they did it with gold :the Soviet currency was worthless outside the SU.
     
  7. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Technically the 11.3 billion (135.4 billion in todays dollars) in food, equipment, supplies and raw materials the Soviets recieved from the U.S. under Lend-Lease were on credit.
     
  8. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Theoretically would be better.
     
  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Either way no gold, or hard currency was required.
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    A lot of exagerations and wrong points
    1)The 500UBoats in september 1939 were OUT OF THE QUESTION,unless you think that Germany could fight without army and LW:it was either UBoats ,or, tanks and aircraft
    2)That the SU could not build AFV AND trucks is wrong :in june 1941,the Red Army had 24000 AFV and 200000 trucks, and,during the war the SU built 100000 AFV and 200000 trucks
    3)No American intervention in Europe spells doom for the SU:wrong,in 1941,the US aid to the SU was negligible (the British aid in 1941 was bigger),and, it was in 1941 that the SU twice stopped the Germans :at the end of the summer,and at the end of the autumn.Also:eek:nly in 1941 did the Germans have any chance to defeat the SU .
    4)Adolf was convinced that "providence" would see victory in Russia :that is nonsens,unless,you can give us a proof that Adolf was convinced that "providence" would see victory in Russia .
    5)The German admirals at the time were "big ship" theorists.....like the British,US,...admirals .
     
  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Always giving the amount of $ the LL was worth,is giving a wrong picture:if the LL to the SU was 11 billion $ or 10 or 8 ,is meaningless .
    The only thing important,is what the SU received ,...compared to the Soviet production;):the SU received 6000 US tanks,and built 83000=7 %,that's a useful comparison,it received 350000 US trucks and built 200000,that's a useful comparison .
    Btw:as always,the British and Commonwealth LL to the SU is overlooked and ignored :the SU received 4600 British and Canadian tanks =5%
     
  12. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    Volga Boatman can respond for himself, however, I'd like to respond to two of your answers.

    1. I'm not sure, but it seems that the point made was that the Uboats should have been built instead of a surface fleet, not instead of tanks. This was a blunder because Germany was not capable of building a fleet the size of which would be effective against the Royal Navy, and therefore was a waste of effort and resources. You can build quite a few Uboats with the same resources you are using to build 2 carriers (laid down, but never completed), 2 enormous battleships, 2 large battlecruisers, 3 pocket battleships, 5 heavy cruisers (2 laid down, but not completed), 11 light cruisers (5 laid down, not completed), 40 destroyers, of which 21 were completed before the war and 19 more during the war. This fleet contributed little if anything to the overall war effort. The effort and resources required to build and maintain this fleet, however could have been used to build a huge submarine fleet which would have obviously had a much more profound effect on the war.

    3. I agree that the American intervention in Europe didn't aid the SU that much, but Soviet intellegence informed Stalin that the Japanese were not intending any attacks on Siberia, therefore he was able to accumulate more than 50 divisions trained and equipped for winter fighting for a counteroffensive against the Germans starting on December 5. The reason the Japanese were not intending any offensive against the Japanese is obvious. This, IMO, was the biggest contribution the Americans made to the SU until they opened the second front in 1944: they took the Japanese out of the picture by becoming their primary target.

    As to trucks, I don't know if it's intended or not, but it seems that the value of trucks to the SU is being underplayed here. In the war on the eastern front trucks were of almost paramount importance.
     
  13. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)IMHO,build UBoats instead of a surface fleet,also was impossible,because,the shipping-companies who made the Bismarck,could not make UBoats.Then,not only had the Germans to build 500 UBoats in 4 (!!!) years,but,they also had to train the crews for 500 UBoats in 4 years :it was impossible .
    Other point,as I already has said several times :the figure of 500 UBoats is meaningless.In march 1943,the Germans had 400 UBoats ,of which 222 front-line boats,of which 70 on combat patrol.
    Also,to say that 1940 was the best chance to make an impression on the British ,is wrong :if the Germans had more UBoats,the British would have more ASW,more UBoats does not mean that more merchant ships would be sunk,and,most important :1939-1940 was a good period for the British:the losses of the British merchant fleet were annulled (and more than annulled) by the capture of a great part of the German and Italian merchant fleet,and by the obtaining of the Norwegian and Dutch merchant fleet :in january 1941,Britain had more tonnage available than in september 1930.
    2)About the trucks :I disagree totally with the sentence that"in the war on the eastern front,trucks were of almost paramount importance ".What was of almost paramount importance,were the railways.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About the UBoats :
    in 1939,Britain lost 95 ships and 500000GRT from all causes;the UBoat losses were :50 ships ,thus,250.000GRT would be reasonable.
    In 1940,the losses from all causes were 511 ships and 2.725.000 GRT;the UBoat losses :225 ships with 1.300.000 GRT (IMHO,a reasonable guess)
    Against a loss (1939 +1940) of 275 ships and 1.550.000 GRT,Britain obtained 1000 Norwegian ships,with 4000.OOO GRT,this is without the Dutch merchant navy,and a great part of the Italian an German merchant navy ,and,without the construction of new ships .
     
  15. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    It's difficult to understand why you are so, almost frantically, intent on argument when discussion would be so much more fruitfull.

    It's hard to follow your logic in your claim that it would have been impossible to build 500 Uboats and train the crews in the 4 years preceding the war when during the war they built nearly 1000 Uboats and trained their crews, and that was under wartime conditions. No matter how unlikely due to political considerations in the government and the Kriegsmarine, it certainly was not impossible. But I agree that the 500 number is not that meaningful. Karl Donitz thought if he had 300 at the beginning that he could have better affected the course of the war.

    Im afraid your comment on trucks vs trains makes no sense. If you consider logistics you would have to understand that trains and trucks would be of equal importance. Trains only transport material to hub points while trucks distribute to end users.
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Well,it is a very unwise thing to compare war production with production in peace time,it would be the same to say that,because the US built 83000 tanks during the war (and trained the crews for these tanks),they could have done the same between 1937-1941:how many factories were capable to build tanks in 1937 ?
    About the trucks versus trains :you are forgetting that the LL trucks had a capacity of 1.5/2 tonnes,while a train had a capacity of 400 tonnes .It was impossible to supply/move an army by trucks :the US had the experience in september 1944,with the Red Ball Express:it failed .
    Btw :first,you said that trucks were of almost paramount importance,now,you are saying that they(trucks and trains) are of equal importance :no,they have different functions,which are not comparable .:trucks cannot replace trains .
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    the following figures are from UBoat net:German Uboat production :
    1935:14
    193621
    1937:1
    1938:9
    1939:18
    1940:50
    1941:199
    1942:237
    1943:284
    1944:229
    1945:91
    You are free to think that in 1936,the Germans could buil 199 UBoats,but,IMHO,this is impossible .
    An exemple:AG Weser(Bremen) built 2 UBoats between 1934-1936.
    Other points:during the war,it took 6 months to build a Type XXI UBoat;the basic training for the crew of a UBoat also was 6 months.
    And,there are a lot of questions:could the German naval bases handle 500 UBoats?The efficiency of these UBoats also would be limited by the fact that it was taking the UBoats a lot of time to go to the Atlantic:Bremen-Far Oer Islands is 1300 km.And,most important:why should the Germans build 500 UBoats,who could be operational,ONLY after the fall of France ?This would presume that the aim of Hitler's policy was :war with Britain,and,till today,I have not seen any proof for this .
    The commitment of the UBoats in WWI was no success:it failed to eliminate Britain,and,it resulted in the intervention of the US.Thus,I have to see a good reason why the Germans would build 500 UBoats .
     
  18. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    You appear to be arguing simply for the sake of argument. I was simply responding to your certainty that it would have been impossible for the Germans to have built 500 submarines in the 5 years before the war, when it obviously was not impossible. I can't believe that you are even arguing this.

    The same goes for the trucks. Yes, I said they were "almost paramount" in importance, which they were. Just like trains. Without EITHER the logistics of moving supplies would not happen. If you are saying that all that is needed is trains, then you are comletely mistaken. You need both.
     
  19. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    It certainly wasn't overestimated by Stavka, Zhukov & Koniev. The situation was so critical they said another determined German attack couldn't be stopped.

    The Panzers & what infantry wasn't needed to clean up the pockets [about 40%] were already moving. [SLOWLY]


    Your entitled to go with Magenheimer, I'll stick with Erickson, Clarke, Kershaw etc

    On Magenheimer, isn't he the guy who backs up Suvorov in his claim that Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union was in the nature of preemptive strike, & does he claim that it was primarily the Soviets who were responsible for initiating the many atrocities on the eastern front, plus that Nazi Germany may have come closer to defeating the Allies (or ending WW2 in stalemate) than has been previously thought.

    If so, I think I'd treat any of his claims with VERY great skepticism.
    Revising the twentieth century's 'perfect storm' (review)
    http://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-War-Military-Strategy-1940-1945/dp/1854094726

    Well tell that to the Russians, because when the enormity of what happened 'immediately after the battles at Vyazma/Briansk' got back to Moscow, panic hit the streets, or as Alexander Wirth put it 'the great skedaddle' began.

    Officials & the general public vied to get onto anything with wheels to head East, expecting the Germans to arrive at any time, even Lenins tomb was whisked away, it took Beria & the NKVD put things in order as only the NKVD could.
    And I don't suppose Zhukov & Koniev sending back reports to Stavka saying they have no way of stopping the Germans cheered anyone up too much either.


    Already been answered.

    Ditto

    Yes we do....
    "The autumn mud period has already set in with rain and snowfall on the night of 7 october...[Magenheimer,] but I go with Erickson, Clarke, Kershaw, etc, etc.
    Already explained the consequences.

    You seem to be having a dollar each way here, earlier you were saying....

    On one hand you doubt that the Germans could move after the battles, then you say 'how was it possible that at the end of november,the Germans WERE at the suburbs of ...Moscow ?' [not only moving, but ended up at Moscow with the Rasputitsa AND the minus 35 degrees celsius blizzards of winter without winter gear.]

    So could they move without the Rasputitsa? Obviously yes.

    And to answer your question of how they moved through the mud, [thought you would have been up to speed on something like that] anyway, there's any
    number of good descriptiions of it but this is from Kershaw which I recommend......


    "Roads resembled muddy moonscapes with metre deep craters which were filled with water. Thousands of trucks were stranded. Construction egineers continually laid log strips which could take up to 48 hours to negotiate 10 km. Only light artillery could be moved at speeds of a km an hour despite monumental efforts. In many cases 24 horses were required to move a single artillery piece. Heavy guns remained where they were.
    Carriage wheels for light guns had often to be removed and carried by hand through the mud. 6th Panzer division remained stuck for two days, it was strung out along 300 km, whereas the normal length of a division was 40 km."
    He goes on giving accounts from the officers & GI on the spot, mainly from letters sent home from the front.

    Clarke mentions at times the Panzers could only move one day out of three.
    Overnight the frosts froze the roads & some movement was possible before it thawed or the next heavy rain.

    But they 'eventually' got there, only problem for them was so was a reorganised Red Army.



    Well it must have been a very long time since you read "the road to Berlin", because Erickson gives the last massive try by the Wermacht to wrest the initiative from the Soviets 14 pages out of over 1,000 pages of his classic book.

    Why don't you re read Erickson & see if you can pick up anything that stands out as 'only propaganda figures' because I certainly can't.
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)To say that the Germans could build 500 UBoats in 4 years (35_39),because they built 1000 in 6 years (39/45),is nonsens,because,it is the same of saying
    that they could build 25000 tanks before the war,because they built 50000 during the war
    that they could build 60000 aircraft before the war,because they built 120000 during the war
    that the US could build 150000 aircraft beore the war ,because they built 300000 during the war
    etc
    2)the number of 500 U Boats also is meaningless,because to have 500 operational Uboats,more than 2000 U Boats are needed;500 UBoats means 70 operational
    3)the number of 500 U Boats also is meaningless,because the first types of U Boats were worthless :they could not be used for active service:the only which were usable,were the VII type,of which,only 15 were built before the war
    4)the Germans had not the time,the raw materials,the money,the manpower to build a U Boat force of 500 units .
    5)NO country had the means to have a war time armed force in peace time .
     

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