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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. scipio

    scipio Member

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    According to Keegan, Hitler had intended to send Manstein to North Africa but on 3rd Feb 1941 changed his mind and replaced him with Rommel - the reason - Hitler thought Rommel would be more inspirational.

    My question is would Manstein have been more effective in this theatre than Rommel?
     
  2. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    MAnsteins talentswould have been wasted in such a small theateer. Rommell was best until the end
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    A factor to consider is, would Manstein have followed Hitler's original mandate, not to allow the Italians to be overwhelmed above all other concerns. Rommel "stretched" his orders to attack as deeply and as often as he could. A more conservative approach may have had better long term prospects without the periodic emergency resupply/reinforcements.
     
  4. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    This treads dangerously close to a "What If ?"
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    What If, Manstein had done as you say? What difference do you see kind sir? ;)
     
  6. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Symantics be damned.....thread moved....mind your manners and cite your sources.
     
  7. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    :stickpoke: :rofl:
     
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Guys, settle down.
     
  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    No need to warn us sir, it is all my fault. As a former adrenaline junky when Brad used the term "dangerously";
    , I couldn't resist pushing the envelope. Then when I did push, I couldn't resist poking him with a stick. I'll mind my manners. Sorry Brad, collateral damage you know.
     
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  10. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Hey babe, I like a good train wreck as much as the next guy...I just have never seen a locamotive with a bayonet lug that I wasn't driving.....have fun my friend...have fun
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    If the original mandate was just to help the Italians hold their postion as it existing when German forces were sent to Libya, then I think it was unrealistic. The position was untenable if the British were allowed to hold Cyrenaica and build up forces, especially air forces, there. They could threaten Axis sea lines of communication, cover their own naval forces and convoys to Malta, and fly air reinforcements to the island; it might even be within ferry range for single-engine fighters. In time they would build up to the point of resuming the ground offensive.

    Rommel created a much more defensible position by securing Cyrenaica, including having some depth to fall back and recover if a battle like Crusader went against him. With Greece and Crete in Germans hands, the positions were mutually supporting. His mistake was pressing further east into Egypt.
     
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  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Keep this up and you two will have to get a room. :twohearts:
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Please get that image outta my head! :eek:
     
  14. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Wow.....way to man it down...thanks buddy
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Permission to scratch my eyes out?
     
  16. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Mmm - I seem to excited some passions. For the record, I plead guilty to introducing a WHAT IF (or maybe that should be a "might have been").

    Thanks to Cannonade for his post which has crystallized my own thoughts.

    Al Algeila was not a viable stop line for either protagonists and the benefits of holding Cyrenaica in Axis hands are overwhelming. I don't think Defence however ever entered Rommel's brain.

    Any German contingent would have overwhelmed the British at Al Algeila after Compass and Churchill had denuded an already exhausted and worn out Army. Manstein would have at least reached Tobruk.

    And I can't see Manstein making any attempt on Egypt without securing Malta and building up sufficient reserves.

    Although it is difficult to believe he could have held once the Commonwealth had a tank (the Sherman) which was the equivalent of the Panzer IV, a decent AT Gun in the 6 Pounder and dominance of the Air, I think he might had made a more orderly retreat.

    I know this is jumping to far but Manstein would IMO have likely got more co-operation from von Arnim and could well have converted Kasserine in a real strategic gain by forcing his way through to Bone.

    He definitely would not have thrown away his Panzers attacking Monty's prepared Defence at Medenine.
     
  17. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Manstein would have been absolutely better choice but he couldn't change the outcome decisively. Rommel's myth has been created mainly by Göbbels and in part by Montgomery.

    In this case we must take into consideration dependencies and shortages Germany was facing simultaneously during that period both in the North Africa and at the Eastern front. It was impossible to take something and relocate it without harming situation at the other side.

    Well, if you consider swapping Manstein and Rommel, that castling would have shortened the war considerably. Manstein couldn't have changed anything in the North Africa while Rommel would have caused disaster at the Eastern front because he wasn't an adequate choice for solving difficult problems Manstein has faced at the east.

    You might have noticed that in another thread I have pointed to Manstein's involvement in disaster of the 6[SUP]th[/SUP] Army but it should also be noted that Manstein has minimized an overall damage by making certain selfish sacrifices.

    My 2c.
     
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  18. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    This isn't totally on or off topic, but a quite interesting video concerning Manstein and both his personality, and his military talents.


    Manstein program in the Hulu collection called Hitler's warriors:

    Goto:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/290977
     
  19. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Thanks Clint for the link but the video library can only be watched from within the United States. I'll get that video, this way or another. ;)

    EDIT: Here it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fprz1JoWDJE
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Manstein or Rommel:it would be tweedledum or tweedledo
     

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