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Hans von Seeckt


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#26 LJAd

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 10:51 AM

Must one?  I'll agree there's more to history than just "so-and-so was stupid", but criticisms of Goring are based on specific acts or policies of his which had demonstrable negative effects.  How many specific positive contributions can we point to?  His relationship with Hitler no doubt helped the Luftwaffe in the battles for funding and resources, but it's not like there wouldn't have been a German air force without him.  The German military appreciated the significance of the air arm, going back to von Seeckt and the covert development program in Russia.  Goring and Udet might get credit for the dive bombers, but the Germans in WWI had pioneered close air support and designed aircraft specifically for that purpose.  Goring's Luftwaffe had little coherent policy in the 1930s except expansion, and it was still barely ready for war in 1939.  I'd be glad to give Goring credit for any accomplishments, but what were they?

1)If one is criticizing Goering for the fefeats of the LW since Stalingrad,one must also praise him for the victories of the LW till 1943,because Goering was commander of the LW in both periods.

 

2) If one is saying that the LW would have been victorious between 39/42 without Goering,one must also say that the same LW also would have been defeated between 43/45 without Goering .

 

Otherwise (for both 1 and 2) one will fall in the trap of the German generals who claimed the victories,while blaming Hitler for the defeats (the Soviet generals were not better:they did the same,but replaced Hitler by Stalin).

 

A good source(one of the few) is : "demystifying the German armament miracle.



#27 LJAd

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 10:55 AM

For Udet:it is the same :blaming him for what was going wrong,but,also praising him for what was going well .Besides:would someone else have doing better than Udet ? It is to easy to blame Udet,to use him as a scape-goat,that's saving  one  the trouble to look farther:were there not other reasons for the problems in tempore Udet? Structural ones ?



#28 harolds

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 05:15 PM

Goring was very instrumental in making sure the LW was an independent arm and, as Carronade says, was able to steer a lot of money and resources into the new service. He was more interested in having a lot of aircraft than anything else. As long as the LW was doing well Goring left well-enough alone. Once things started going bad, such as in the BoB, he reacted in ways that were actually to the detriment of his service's war-making. The BoB was the first time the LW ran into a first-class air defense. Both Poland and France had second rate air forces but even then, the LW's highest one day loss of aircraft happened during the Battle of France. After the BoB Goring was more likely to make spontaneous, reactive, knee-jerk decisions that usually made things worse. I'm not saying that EVERY Goring decision was bad after 1940, but certainly the preponderance were. The good thing about Goring was that he made the Allied air force's job easier.

 

Udet was not just a scape-goat. He actively stated that he wasn't qualified for the job! He was right. Udet's failings came home to roost in late '42 and into '43 when there weren't any replacements for the pre-war designed aircraft.



#29 LJAd

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 08:28 PM

The LW losses in the Battle of France were as high as in the Battle of Britain:

 

may/june 1940 :lost 1236 aircraft from all types and 323 damaged

 

july-october 1940:1250 fighters and bombers (damaged aircraft included)

 

74 years after the facts,the air war above France,Belgium and Holland is still ignored.

 

About the Battle of Britain : can one say that Goering was responsible? Yes,as he was the commander of the LW.No,because,one can not lay wrong discussions at his door,who were causing the defeat .If Kesselring had been commander of the LW,the result of the BoB would have been the same .

 

It is the same for Udet : if Milch had been Generalluftzeugmeister,the same problems would have existed .One is blaming Udet for his Stuka mania,but one is forgetting that the commitment of the Stukas was essential for the victory in the West .

 

the question is : was there someone else who could have done better than Udet? If not,one can not blame Udet .

 

the problems were caused by the continuous big losses,resulting in the decision to continue the production of the "old" types:the Germans were obliged to replace quality by quantity.

 

Although the production was going up,this was not enough to AND replace the losses AND create new units;

 

1940 : fighters :3710,bombers :4782,Stuka:611

 

1941: fighters: 4732, bombers : 2874,Stuka :476.



#30 harolds

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 01:40 AM

I agree whole-heartedly that the BoB would have been the same no matter who was in charge. However, Kesselring would have never blamed the fighter pilots and called them cowards. He would have been much more analytical about the problems and certainly have come up with more constructive (from the German point of view) solutions.

 

Actually, there were certainly officers in the Luftwaffe who better understood aeronautical engineering and industrial production methods. At least they could have found someone with capacity to learn what he needed to know and would go about learning it. An example: Adolph Galland, when he became General (Inspector) of Fighters learned these things by talking to Milch and Speer, among others. It wasn't just Udet's "stuka mania" which manifested itself by insisting that the He 177 be able to dive bomb (!?), but also in the fact that there was no replacement for the old, obsolete Ju 87. However, Goring insisted he take the position so I feel the blame for these things were really his.

 

Goring's principal failure, besides having very poor leadership skills, is his failure, after the BoB, and the entrance of the USA into the war, of his inability to see the need for drastically increasing the fighter component of the LW. No fighter pilot ever went through the General Staff school and in fact, the fighter arm was poor little step-child of the LW. Can we blame Goring? OH YES! Personally, I credit him with about 80% of what was wrong with the LW. The other 20% is due to the LW being a brand new service and thus its officer corps lacked depth, plus the conflict of strong personalities within the LW that had a hard time being team players.



#31 LJAd

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:54 AM

OTOH....the history of the fighter arm was a history of lack of discipline and of cases of open mutiny. I wonder:would these things have been admitted in the RAF?Although Dowding also had problems with fighter pilots who knew better than their commander-in-chief.

 

Already during the BoB,there were several cases where the fighter pilots refused to obey Goering's orders .

 

About the increase of the fighter arm : I don't think that this would have been a good thing ;Germany could only win the war if it was taking the offensive,which meant : more bombers and,as Hitler demanded more bombers,Goering only could follow.

 

It is also not so that the Jäger were the poor step-child (I have seen the argument that it was the opposite:that they received to much resources in the first war years):

 

Production

 

1940:fighters :3710/Bombers:3393

 

1941:F:4732 /B 3250

 

1942: F :6966 / B  4768

 

1943 :F  13726  / B: 6660

 

1944 :  F :30885 /B :4790

 

Bombers include Stuka and Schlacht.



#32 harolds

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 03:28 PM

Fighters aren't defensive or offensive. The BoB demonstrated that the bombers can't go where there is no fighter cover! The USAAF had to learn that the hard way. Your figures show airplane production. The problems in the fighter arm of the LW wasn't just in aircraft. It's real problem was fighter pilots! As losses rose, especially among the fighter leaders, there wasn't anybody close to their quality to replace them. This was really true after 1942. Fighter pilot recruiting and training was pretty much always inadequate. This became more so as the war went on. Fighter production increased, but pilot production drastically decreased in quality to keep up. Goring went into denial on the air threat confronting the Reich and thus couldn't/wouldn't adequately anticipate future needs. Finally he was often by-passed by Milch and Speer.

 

The "Fighter Pilots Revolt" against Goring is a huge black mark on his record!. I think all people on the front line will alter their orders in order to get the job done and keep their patooty in one piece. In the RAF you found squadron leaders going to the finger-four formation even while official doctrine specified the 3-plane vic.



#33 Carronade

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:00 PM

1)If one is criticizing Goering for the fefeats of the LW since Stalingrad,one must also praise him for the victories of the LW till 1943,because Goering was commander of the LW in both periods.

 

One only has to praise someone when they do something praiseworthy.  Every criticism of Goring is based on some specific thing he did which was deleterious to the Luftwaffe or to Germany's overall prospects.  Praise should be held to the same standard. 

 

I don't think anyone would object to hearing about accomplishments to Goring's credit; indeed it would be educational.

 

It's possible that a Luftwaffe without Goring would have had a smaller share of Germany's resources, but that's more of a testimony to his relationship with Hitler than to any particular talent on his part.



#34 Carronade

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:12 PM

Goring might get credit for an independent air force, but the Luftwaffe's greatest successes came from operations in support of the army.  Its greatest failure was the attempt at strategic air warfare in the Battle of Britain.  I would submit that an air-ground team overrunning whole countries is conducting strategic warfare, although that might offend the air purists.  The Luftwaffe's relatively small-scale maritime operations were a help to the navy and particularly the U-boat war; more emphasis on that area might also have been highly beneficial.



#35 LJAd

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:35 PM

  Every criticism of Goring is based on some specific thing he did which was deleterious to the Luftwaffe or to Germany's overall prospects.  

 

 

I like to see exemples of specific things from Göring which were deleterious to the LW/to Germany's overall prospects (most of these things were things done by the Allies,but were later attributed to Göring as an excuse for the defeat of Germany,as it happened with Hitler).

 

People are always giving to much importance to the actions of a commander,of an individual .Göring was playing with the cards he had,and,these cards were bad,for a lot of reasons.Göring was fat,yes,corupt,yes,at the end he was no longer concerned about the LW,but with someone else in his place,the result would be the same .As Hitler,Göring made mistakes,but,it is not so that (between 1939/1942)these mistakes prevented Germany to win,or that they caused the German defeat (42/45).

When at the end on june 1940 Britain decided to continue the war,Germany could not win and,excepted for a miracle,Germany had lost .

 

My conclusion is that from a military POV,the actions of Hitler and Göring,although they are not immune for criticism,were,on the average,satisfactory(a 7 on 10)



#36 lwd

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:47 PM

Yet you really supply no decent argument to support your opinion indeed most of the support is just additional opinion.  The arguments to the contrary on the other hand have been well supported.



#37 harolds

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:29 AM

I provided several examples of Goring's mishandling. I can provide more.



#38 LJAd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:55 AM

Yet you really supply no decent argument to support your opinion indeed most of the support is just additional opinion.  The arguments to the contrary on the other hand have been well supported.

It is on those who are saying that the role of Göring was nefast,to prove their claims by giving exemples of Göring's mishandling.

 

Are there exemples of Göring's mishanding in the BoB ? In NA ? During Barbarossa ? During the siege of Stalingrad ? During the air attacks on Germany ?



#39 lwd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:30 PM

It is on those who are saying that the role of Göring was nefast,to prove their claims by giving exemples of Göring's mishandling.

If you had simply stated that their contention was unproven you would be correct that they would be the ones who should support their claims.  However you  have made a claim that is just as substansive in the other direction that means that if questioned you should support your position as well.  Furthermore they  have produced facts and logic to support thier position.

 

Personallly I think there is some merit in both positions but at this point one side has supported thier position and you haven't.



#40 LJAd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:45 PM

Oh yes ? 

 

Let's look at Göring's orders on 15 august 1940 (available on : Document 33:directive by Herman Göring aug 15th 1940) : IMHO these orders do not seem to be the work of an incompetent and drug-addicted person .

 

Point 9 : 

 

"It is doubtful if there is any point in continuing the attacks on radar sites,in view of the fact that not one of those attacked has so far been put out of operation" .

 

Is point 9 something reasonable,or is it an order which was deleterious to the LW and to Germany's overall prospects ?

 

Attentive readers will also notice that point 9 is invalidating the usual claims about the stupid Germans  who were unaware of the importance of the radar sites (some H CH authors even claimed that the Germans did not know that these sites were radar installations)

 

We should be very careful with what Galland and associates were telling after the war:simplified: they were doing as Manstein,Guderian and associates,claiming the victories and blaming Göring /Udet,etc  for the defeats .

 

The result of the biased stories (which were swallowed and amplified  in the movies) from Fighter pilots is that we have a distorted and wrong view of the LW leadership during the war .(And let's not talk about the stories from a professional liar as Speer) .

 

How many people know that Udet was not alone in the promotion of the Stukas,but that he had the support of the LW chief of staff Jeschonnek ?



#41 lwd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:51 PM

Something of a straw man there though isn't it?  Has anyone argued that Goering in particular or the Germans in general were "stupid"?

As for Point 9.  I thought that the Germans had at least temporarily put some of the radar sites out of operation.  There's also the question of whether or not they should have continued to target them but perhaps changed the mode of attack.  At least your are trying to support your position now, just not doing a very good job of it.   The wandering off into other topics doesn't really help either.



#42 harolds

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 04:15 PM

Example: When asked by Hitler if the LW could supply Stalingrad throughout the winter, Jeschonnik said yes. Later, after doing the math he realized that there was no way that could be done. He told Goring he would go to Hitler, explain the mistake and take the blame. Goring forbade him to do so saying that the LW couldn't disappoint Hitler any more. Goring may have been very culpable in the Stalingrad disaster.

 

Example: Goring going into denial about the Allies having the capability to field a long range fighter; even going to the extreme of ordering Galland that the P-51s shot down over Germany were NOT shot down over Germany! He categorically stated that such things were "impossible".

 

It is your opinion that Galland, Guderian, etc were out and out liars. Haven't heard that from any historians of note. Certainly, there were errors because much of these autobios were done from memory.



#43 LJAd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:41 PM

Did I say that Galland was a liar ? I said that he was biased,because he was inspector general of the fighters and as thus biased :the POV he was giving after the war was that of the fighters,which was something biased .

 

 

About Guderian : he was a liar and collaborated after the war with Basil Hart,whose reputation was the same . In Panzerleader, Guderian kept hidden that when he was out of office in 1942,he was travelling in Poland  searching  for an estate and that he finally found one the owner of which  had disappeared mysteriously (if he was lucky to Dachau,otherwise to Auschwitz),but,this did not prevent Guderian to proclaim after the war that he always had opposed the nazis.



#44 LJAd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:51 PM

Example: When asked by Hitler if the LW could supply Stalingrad throughout the winter, Jeschonnik said yes. Later, after doing the math he realized that there was no way that could be done. He told Goring he would go to Hitler, explain the mistake and take the blame. Goring forbade him to do so saying that the LW couldn't disappoint Hitler any more. Goring may have been very culpable in the Stalingrad disaster.

 

 

This is not correct : the truth is much more nuanced (a good source would be Joel Hayward):Göring had no responsability for Stalingrad : at the moment of the encirclment,Hitler asked if it was possible to supply 6 Army by air ;the answer of Göring was affirmative,and,maybe he was right :maybe it was possible to supply Stalingrad for a few weeks .But,if Göring had said : no,this would not change the situation:the truth was that 6 army was encircled and could not break out;if it could be supplied or not,was irrelevant .Besides,the LW did wwhat was possible .

 

 

It is the same for the story (told by Galland ?)of the P 51 shot down over Germany :if it was true, there was nothing that the Germans could do against it .



#45 LJAd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 06:13 PM

I would advise the interested ones to read the 14 pages (available on the net) written by Joel Hayward on "Stalingrad:an examinatin of Hitler's decision to airlift".



#46 LJAd

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 06:51 PM

As for Point 9.  I thought that the Germans had at least temporarily put some of the radar sites out of operation.  There's also the question of whether or not they should have continued to target them but perhaps changed the mode of attack.  At least your are trying to support your position now, just not doing a very good job of it.   The wandering off into other topics doesn't really help either.

 

 

1)Göring was asking the question if one should continue the attacks on the radar installations,because,the informations from the LW Ic (Martini) indicated that these attacks had no result . If the informations were wrong,this was not the fault of Göring.

 

2)Why would the observation of Göring be wrong? The importance of radar has been much exaggerated,may I observe that 3 years later,the Allies did not attack systematically the German radar installations ?

 

3)You asked me to give "good" orders from Görong: the directives from 15 august 1940 were,IMHO,"good" orders, not  things that were deleterious.I am still waiting for exemple(s) of a nefast role of Göring = of orders from Göring which were nefast for the LW,NOT for mistakes that were irrelevant for the outcome of the war .



#47 harolds

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 01:37 AM

Stalingrad may have been surrounded, but early on it still had the power to break out especially if they had help from the outside. Later, when it was tried the encircling forces were too strong. The point being that Goring didn't tell Hitler the truth and gambled the 6th Armee's life that he could somehow bring it off. He and the 6th Armee lost.



#48 harolds

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 01:41 AM

Goring's idea that the P-51s shot down were hit over France or Belgium was an drug addict going into denial. Galland knew who and where they fought the Mustangs. This denial and refusal to acknowledge the truth was a long-standing tradition with the Reichsmarshal starting with the BoB. By 1944 Goring was totally discredited with Hitler and the other services, not to mention with many in his own service.



#49 harolds

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 02:28 AM

On Guderian: That he may have given the impression that he did all the heavy lifting re. the formation of the panzer arm but I've never heard of him being an out and out liar. As far as the Estate goes, he does mention it in Panzer Leader. Hitler was carrying on the tradition of Koenigs and Kaisers of giving land to retiring generals of note. However, it was not Poland to Guderian, it was East Prussia. Now, of course, it is Poland.



#50 LJAd

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 07:55 AM

It was not East Prussia,but West Prussia which for the main part had become a part of Poland after WWI .






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