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Axis Teamwork .


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#1 4th wilts

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:02 PM

Hi guys, I've read and argued about allied "Teamwork",Monty and Bradley for example,in different threads on different forums,but rarely Axis "Teamwork".I would like to know your views on any Axis teamwork you can think of.cheers.4th.
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#2 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:47 PM

You can have Rommel/Kesselring and Rodolfo Graziani as a sample. But more or less as a sample of how it had not worked like. I believe that there was not such a"Teamwork" for the reason that the German High Command hasn´t seen their allies as equal to them.
Regards, Ulrich

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#3 Carronade

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

Rommel felt that Italians could be good soldiers if properly led and equipped, or if teamed with German forces. He often attached the Ariete armored division to the Afrika Korps, and he used mixed battlegroups at El Alamein: Ariete/21st Panzer, Littorio/15th, Trieste motorized infantry division/90th Light. IIRC German and Italian paratroops also worked well together; as elite forces they probably felt they had much in common.

General Giovanni Messe was sufficiently well regarded that his 1st Italian Army in Tunisia 1943 comprised German and Italian troops.

#4 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

Thats correct Carronade! But that was at a "lower" level. There have been some good units at the italian side like the Bersaglieri and the Alpinis. The problem was much more at the higher levels.
The teamwork of the Allied had to grow during the war, it was not from the beginning. They learned to accept each other and knew that they need each other. From the beginning the British had been a bit of snooty to the US boys or like they´ve siad the " Yanks", cause their battle experience was very little to nothing. But this changed very quick and the Brits learned to gain respect.
Regards, Ulrich

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#5 scipio

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:57 PM

You could have Rommel and a whole list of Italian Generals, eg Bastico who Rommel, as usual, never bother to inform that he was starting Sonneblumen - "General Bombastico" - Rommel's nickname for him gives a clue to his thoughts.

Or Gambara who after another tirade from Rommel was heard to wish that he could live another 20 years in order to fight the Germans again.

Of course, many Italians Generals had done just that in WW1 - and on many occasions, even lower ranks in the Italian Army were of the opinion that they were fighting for the wrong side - that their real Foe was Germany and old Ally, Britain.

Beside which Rommel fell out with everyone on his own side except Hitler. Cursed Halder (to his face) for sitting on his bum and never being involved in real fighting.

#6 urqh

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:01 PM

What about Doenitz and Raeder or is that stretching it..

British Army 1939-1945 - World War II Tribute Video

 

 

[URL="http://youtu.be/Zbp_4XBmD4w"]

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 


#7 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:09 PM

They´re out of the same stable but their teamwork wasn´t good.
Regards, Ulrich

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#8 LRusso216

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:01 AM

...I believe that there was not such a"Teamwork" for the reason that the German High Command hasn´t seen their allies as equal to them.

I think Ulrich is correct. I have seen nothing to suggest that the Nazis felt that their allies measured up to them. While the Allies may have bickered, there was not a feeling of "us" and "them" which seems to have been endemic to the German High Command.

image001.png

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#9 4th wilts

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:17 PM

I also Understand Rommel "Blamed"axis shipping losses on Italian dockers being spies.Is there any truth in this,or was it simply"ultra",and the not much discussed British submarine activity.And of course the R.A.F.,and later U.S.activity in the Mediterranean.cheers.4th wilts.
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#10 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:43 PM

Heard this too and in my opinion it was more a helpless act of Rommel. Maybe that there was the one or other harbor worker a spy, why not? But this wasn´t the real reason for the losses.
Regards, Ulrich

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#11 harolds

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

As far as Germany's allies go, you must list the Finns and the Romanians. Now the Romanians were, I believe, sort of a satilite nation to Germany. However, they took heavy casualties in their army on the Eastern Front. They also contributed some air units to the fight. Of course they also had the all-important Ploesti oil field complex that contributed heavily to the Axis cause.

Now, on the other hand, the Finns were a small nation but wow, could they fight. Of all the countries the Soviets fought in WW2 and thereafter, they occupied every capitol of their enemies except one--Helinski!
I don't know how many Soviets died on the border region of Finland but I know it was a bunch! I also know the Germans did NOT feel the Finns were inferiorior to them.
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#12 scipio

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:03 PM

But was there any real co-operation between the Finns and the Germans - both seemed to do their own thing and that does not amount to teamwork.

Same applies even more to the Japanese and Germans. No teamwork because there was no team to begin with.

The only thing approximating to a team were Italians and Germans and that was mostly appalling.

#13 harolds

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

The Germans and Romanians cooperated in the air defence of Polesti and also in the sending of Romanian army units to Russia. German army units were used in Finland so that took cooperation also.

#14 4th wilts

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 02:08 PM

Hey guys,so would you agree that Germany and Romania produced the best teamwork,on the Axis side in the war.Cheers,4th.
"G-Garmans here.? I don't care much for Garmans .!"Thanks 4th wilts.:) !

#15 Carronade

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 02:47 PM

I wouldn't. The Romanians in Russia operated in distinct armies, and their sectors of the front offered opportunities for Russian breakthroughs, most notably the encirclement of Stalingrad, before the Germans could respond (this was also true of Italian and Hungarian forces on the Ostfront). I think the mixed German-Italian battle groups and armies in North Africa evinced a much higher level of teamwork. The British at times targeted the weaker Italians, to which Rommel reacted by "corsetting" them with German units.

I don't know much about the Finns, hopefully someone does, but I expect the Germans had more respect for them than some of their allies.

#16 harolds

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:06 PM

The fact that the Italian and Romanian forces were not particularly effective in stopping Soviet advances does not mean that they didn't cooperate with the Germans. I might also add that the Romanian AF had some fairly good fighter units (armed with Bf/Me 109s).

I do know that the Finns had to train the German soldiers to operate in their arctic environment, so again, some level of effective cooperation.

Edited by harolds, 27 April 2012 - 04:08 PM.
clarification


#17 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

IMO there was a lot instances of cooperation from but generally the axis nations fought parallel wars.
Possibly Nazi race superiority theories contributed to this, hard to create a team when one side thinks he's genetically supperior.
Truth is the first victim of conflict

#18 brndirt1

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 07:23 PM

This is a sort of interesting topic; I don’t see any real co-operation as in “team-work” in the Axis powers from the top down. It is rather difficult to see how it could be implemented as to a joint direction as per outcome. Those who joined with Germany/Italy in the Axis, were always going to be subservient to Germany with even Italy being a second class participant due to their lower rung on Hitler’s racial ladder.

The European “Axis” was always going to be subservient to Hitler’s Nazi state sort of attitude and the Japanese as “Honorary Aryans” were completely outside of the circle. Now while the western allies of the UK and USA eventually became dominated by the USA, there was a Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) organization established within three months of America “joining the fray” officially. This included land, sea, and air force generals from both sides on an equal footing as per strategy and logistics where everybody’s opinion seemed to be weighed and discussed. The UK may not have had as powerful an input as they wished, but they were listened to and respected non the less.

This created a system by which the two most powerful opponents to the Axis in the west coordinated their military actions to the benefit of both. Now, the Soviets were not included in the CCS, but they were not excluded either as they were informed of most of the major actions which the UK and USA would launch against the Nazi state. The Stalinist regime always thought the west wasn’t doing enough, but in reality they were doing all they could considering the distances involved. The Soviets were fighting in their own back-yard, the British had the Channel, and the USA had the Atlantic as buffers. The Soviets had their own directions and tactics of battle on their own fronts, the western allies did as little as possible to obstruct them and as much as they could to aid them. That is sort of “left-handed” teamwork.

Now, the other side of this is how the commanders on the field treated and used their “allies”, and in those cases I would venture that the Germans used and respected the troops offered them by other nations as well as they could without turning them into “cannon fodder”. And with a few exceptions so did the western allies. One of the outstanding flaws here is the relationship between Chiang's Chinese and the American/British. Somehow they never really presented a "teamwork" front against the Japanese. That is most likely another example of racial hatred/suspicion on both sides, a breakdown of "teamwork", and it resulted in disaster in the Far East.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#19 LRusso216

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

I agree with TOS about both the Germans and the Japanese. Cooperation is not the same as teamwork. Both cooperated with their allies, but the belief in their superiority viz a viz their enemies precluded any sense of teamwork. Each believed so strongly in their superiority that they found it impossible to create a true team. The Germans in the west and the Japanese in the east felt that those who cooperated with them were somehow tainted with their inferiority, thus true teamwork was unlikely.

image001.png

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#20 harolds

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:12 PM

However, let's remember that the ..."two most powerful opponents to the Axis in the west..." had one advantage: a (more or less) common language and culture. Even within this alliance, there were definite strains and problems from day one.

While I think the Romanians were kind of under Hitler's thumb, the same cannot be said of the Finns. I think in this situation Mannerheim called the shots militarily, not the Germans.

#21 Volga Boatman

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for a great topic, Wiltsy!

It is only a matter of speculation, now, as to how much better tha Axis war effort might have performed with better co-operation on all fronts.

I think the Italians were more than willing to achieve a better co-operative effort. It's a mistake to assume that the German government took the Italians very seriously at all. I think this was based more on their wartime experience as enemies. Carporetto was a watershed moment for Italian/German relations. Rommel's 'Pour Le Merite' was awarded for his part in this battle, and Rommel's dreadfully outnumbered forces managed a mighty coup, taking a major mountain position for hardly any cost at all. The Italians surrendered willingly in 1917, just as they were to do in the Western Desert. But, I cannot bring myself to see it from any but an Italian perspective. Better equipment could and should have been provided by Germany. The Regia Aeronautica could have been given real teeth. The Regia Marina suffered from lack of Radar sets, (which the Germans could easily have furnished), and the fuel allocations from Berlin were not enough to allow the Italians to conduct meaningful operations for a majority of their service time in the Med.

Rommel must share a greater portion of the blame for this. He consistently blamed the Italians for failure to protect his reinforcement and supply lines, when the greater majority of troops and stores that were sent to Rommel did, in fact, reach their destination. This must have irritated the Italians to no end, especially when Rommel praised them publicly, then rubbished them to Hitler. Rommel, of course, was too conceited as a commander to cop anything from the Italians, (or for that matter, anyone else), with a smile. His relations with Italian senior offices reflect more than a smidgin of his post-Carporetto opinion. It is not surprising, therefore, that Rommel's attitude to the Italian High Command actually mirrored his own relationship with the German General Staff, of which he, Rommel, was NOT a graduate of their college, and had none of the 'like-mindedness' that this training provided, Tannenburg is a classic example of what the General Staff could achieve with General Staff officer all trained at the same facility. Rommel's Desert Campaign is a classic example of a commander who not only ignored advice from his superiors, but actually to doing the opposite of what they intended. Rommel proved in Normandy that he couldn't get along with his cohort officers either, so we must look at what happened in the Med with the Italians as having more to it than met the eye at the time.

It's comical to look at the Nazi war effort and realise that, within their three services, co-operation was abysmal, so it's really no surprise to see something similar with their allies as well.

FINLAND- Co-operative ventures here were set back by three issues...Firstly, this was very much a backwater theater, and isolated, too. Germany would very much have like to cram Finland with troops, but air-lifts can only bring in so much, and with Hango, Finland's port facilities were not much chop either.
Secondly, it's difficult for the Finns to run their own objectives AND be co-operative when the Finns had little interest in grabbing Russian territory. Reluctant they were to even enter Leningrad. This was from pure fear of post-war Russian policy. It also says an awful lot about the cognitive capabilities of Mannerhiem and his advisors. They probably felt that German victory in Russia was not a very likely scenario, which limited their own enthusiasm for the 'Continuation War', forcing policy from their perspective to be extremely limited in scope.
Thirdly, Finland had already suffered far too many casualties for a military force of their size. Serious campaigning in Russia would have required much more equipment and men than the Finns could possibly provide.

HUNGARY- The late charge of the Fascist 'Arrowcross' movement indicates that hUNGARIAN efforts under Admiral Nicholas Horthy were suplicative and half-hearted. Far too many Hungarian soldiers perished on the Ost-Front for lack of modern equipment. More economic co-operation was needed, but Hungary under Horthy might not have been trusted very much at all by Berlin. In 1941, it was geography that determined Hungarian attitudes, and the strong Fascist movement within their country. If Horthy had been kicked out much earlier, Berlin may well have supplied the Hungarians with some of what they needed. By the time 'Arrowcross' staged their coup, it was already too late to affect the course of Hungarian war.

Edited by Volga Boatman, 28 April 2012 - 09:57 AM.
idiocy

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#22 scipio

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:46 AM

The idea of co-operation should start at the top - although there was disagreement in strategy between the British and Americans, there was an excellent procedure for arguing through the differences and coming up with an agreed strategy. This was never the case with the Axis powers. Just look at how often Hitler and Mussolini started their own campaign without (even deliberately in some cases) informing the other one.

If there had been genuine co-operation between the Finns and Germans at the top level then I would expect that they would have co-operated in taking Leningrad but I believe that the Fins stopped short for their own political reasons.


The British and Americans had the advantage of language certainly - although you should not dismiss the negative effect of the difference in military culture.


The other advantage was that Britain knew from its experience with France what not to do it. Just look at the position of Lord Gort in the chain of command - Gamelin, George then Billotte and then finally Lord Gort.

Any number of liaison officers could not make up for this and remember communication was by land-line thanks to French nervousness about radio communication.

The remedy of inter-lacing American-British- American- British commanders as far down as realistically possible in the command chain great assistance co-operation.

#23 Karjala

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

As far as Germany's allies go, you must list the Finns and the Romanians. Now the Romanians were, I believe, sort of a satilite nation to Germany. However, they took heavy casualties in their army on the Eastern Front. They also contributed some air units to the fight. Of course they also had the all-important Ploesti oil field complex that contributed heavily to the Axis cause.

Now, on the other hand, the Finns were a small nation but wow, could they fight. Of all the countries the Soviets fought in WW2 and thereafter, they occupied every capitol of their enemies except one--Helinski!
I don't know how many Soviets died on the border region of Finland but I know it was a bunch! I also know the Germans did NOT feel the Finns were inferiorior to them.


In the Winter War the soviet casualties varied. Initially Mannerheim estimated 200.000 soviets having been KIA/died/MIA, the German intelligence estimated 275.000 and the soviets' (Molotov's) own statement (lie) was 49.000. Every new reserch in Russia has increased this figure. Now it is 150.000 (Andrei Saharov). I have no doubt, that this figure will continue to rise, although we will never be sure. Every level in the red army tried to lie their own casualties downwards in the fear of punishment for poor performance...

In addition there were (according to the Russians) 265.000 medical casualties (189.000 wounded, 58.000 ill and 18.000 frostbitten) and 5.000 POW. Personally I agree with them, who see these figures far too small and estimate the real figure for wounded to be somewhere 300.000-500.000.

The Finnish real casualties in the Winter War were 26.000 soldiers KIA/died/MIA and 1.000 civilians. In addition there were 43.600 soldiers wounded and 1.000 POW. Molotov claimed that "at least 60.000 Finns died and 250.000 were wounded..."

In the Continuation War the red army casualties were 300.000 dead (prof. Yuri Kilin), 385.000 wounded and 64.000 POW. Figures do NOT include the casualties of the navy and the air force.

The Finnish total casualties were 63.200 dead soldiers and 1.100 civilians, 158.000 wounded and 3.500 POW.

About the teamwork:

The Finns were disappointed of the poor performance of the German armed forces in the Finnish theatre for most part of the war. The Germans were not used to fight in the forests/swamps without proper roads nor did't have the essential survival know-how for operating in the cold climate.

Also the different objectives of the war didn't help the co-operation. E.g. the Finns didn't get involved with the Leningrad siege, didn't continue their attack south from the Syväri/Svir River nor continue their attack towards the strategic Murmansk railway at Sorokka/Byelomorsk, although Germany was pushing Finland for all those operations.

On the other hand it would have been impossible for Finland to protect herself or continue the war without the arms, ammunition and food shipments from Germany. The best example of the Finnish-German co-operation was in the summer 1944, when the valuable German aid helped Finland to stop all soviet attacks. The flight detachment Kuhlmey effectively doubled the strength of the Finnish air force for the crucial time.

Edited by Karjala, 28 April 2012 - 01:55 PM.
addition

"We do not want a single foot of foreign territory..." -Stalin
"The idea of a concentration camp is excellent" -Stalin
"I repeat that is in the interest of the USSR that a war breaks out between the Reich and the capitalist Anglo-French Bloc" -Stalin 1939


#24 4th wilts

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 02:58 PM

Thankyou for the vote of confidence Volga,even though I can't type alot,I try to ask questions where you guys hopefully give it a thought and respond.4th.
"G-Garmans here.? I don't care much for Garmans .!"Thanks 4th wilts.:) !

#25 harolds

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

I don't think one can make too many direct comparisons between the Anglo-American alliance the the Axis powers. This is because on the Axis side there was all the differences of military strength, military cultures and national objectives. Germany's military strength was far superior to any of its allies so a partnership of equals was unlikely. However, there was cooperation between Germany and its allies, but it was different than the Anglo-American alliance because it had to be. It was cooperation and teamwork but it was a different sort of cooperation and teamwork.

With the Italians, supposedly the German-Italian forces in the Med were under Commando-Supremo with Hitler and Mussolini sort of overseeing the whole thing. Later, when this arrangement was floundering, Kesselring was sent in, not only as over-all commander of German forces in the Med, but also as Hitler and OKW's personal rep. He dealt with Mussolini and the Commando Supremo. He was able to get a large measure of cooperation going because he was an Italiophile and spoke the language. As far as Germany providing oil and aircraft to the Italians, I do believe some Italian aircraft used Daimler-Benz engines, but at that time Germany wasn't building enough aircraft for its own use, much less enough to supply the Regia Aeronautica. The same thing goes for fuel oil. Rommel was probably not as much a problem in his alliance than Monty was in the US/UK relationship and I believe his main problem was the lack of fighting capability of the Italian army. I'm sure most of us understand the Italian weakness. Besides a horrible command structure and poor weaponry, Mussolini's government couldn't really energize the Italians for a major war.


Germany did provide aircraft to the Romanian AF and from some things I've read, they did pretty well with them. Romanian ground forces however were never as effective as the German ones and could not be relied on to provide the same results. Like the Italian army, the Romanian army had some good units but many others were pretty poor.

I've never heard of the Germans wanting to "cram Finland with troops". The German forces there were designed to bolster the Finns and provide a limited offensive capability. However, this area was mostly arctic wilderness so there was no way to supply large numbers of troops in that area. German forces had to be retrained in alpine warfare techniques before they were effective in Finland. There was a offensive, I believe, but it only went a short distance before the Soviets were able to reinforce the area and for most of the time the fighting was fairly static until late 1944. However, they did tie down Soviet forces so I feel this partnership was a plus for Germany.

Before I end this, a word or two on the Anglo-American partnership. I feel that much of the success that was achieved here was due to a rather unknown American general by the name Fox Connor. He mentored Marshal, Eisenhower and even Patton. His dictum was that it was always best to fight wars with Allies, but ALWAYS with a unified command. He had been a staff officer to Pershing and saw the problems in WW1. That meant that the Americans insisted on a unified command structure and got it. It also helped that both countries had a general unity of purpose (Defeat Germany!) and their citizens had been steeled for a hard war. However, the main problems in the Atlantic Alliance were some of the same ones that plagued the Axis. There was a some difference in post-war national objectives and also serious friction between some commanders in the two armies due to feelings of superiority over the other. Also, as the war progressed the UK became weaker while the USA became the much stronger and dominant partner which caused a certain amount of problems in the relationship.
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