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Old 13th April 2018, 02:35 PM   #81
theprestige
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, in all fairness, a lot of people excelled in professions they didn't have a formal training in. E.g., Einstein didn't have a physics degree, he was technically qualified only to be a teacher.
I don't think it follows from having a physics teaching degree that he wasn't formally trained in physics. In fact he did quite well in his physics education.
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Old 13th April 2018, 11:11 PM   #82
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The point was that Rommel didn't go to staff college, and Hubert seems to think that having the diploma is important in order to be competent. My point is merely that Einstein also didn't go to a physics college, and he seems to me competent enough.

And I focus on the diploma part, because in the army that's the alpha and omega. The word that was escaping me previously is: "certified". To do any job, down to operating a radio or even a designated marksman rifle, it's not enough to have studied it in your free time or have equivalent experience, you have to do the course and pass the certification.

Which makes sense too, because what they want to avoid is stuff like those berks who called a JDAM strike on their own coordinates, because they forgot to set the actual coordinates. Or stuff like someone firing an AT missile from a room. Lots of things can go slapsick comedy when you're playing with cordite.

But the point isn't that you can't be competent without the course, like Hubert seemed to say. The point is that if there's any probability you aren't, they'd rather not take the chance. They want EVERYONE who gets a bazooka to be actually certified that, yep, they're competent enough to know what's behind before firing a missile.
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Old 13th April 2018, 11:20 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
The latter was because the Allies had an extensive deception operation going which even after D-Day suggested that the main force was still to come, and land around Calais.

Why, BTW, do you restrict yourself in the above to France? Belgium has 70 km of beautiful beachy coast line, Holland even more, and it's not further away from England than Normandy.
Let us suppose they want to invade Rotterdam or The Hague or that general area. That is about 191 km from Harwich port. Do not think they could risk landing any closer to England as it would be too close to Calais or some major rivers which would make movement inland difficult. Compare that with 132 km from Portsmouth to Normandy. Yes I know that had forces all over South of England, but then they would also have had similar forces if they invaded elsewhere.

Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
I'd like to know your source for that as everything I've read says that the German high command was completely deceived, both because of Operation Fortitude and because an attack on the Pas De Calais fitted their own preconceived notions.

<snip>
Here is one source https://militaryhistorynow.com/2014/...s-at-normandy/
Quote:
Thanks in part to a remarkable Allied campaign of deception, Hitler was adamant that the massive operation on D-Day was only a feint and that the real blow would land elsewhere, namely at the Pas de Calais.
That is not where I read it, but finding that would involve hours spending reading books I have.
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Old 14th April 2018, 04:09 AM   #84
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If you'd like some great insight into just how incompetent Hitler was I suggest reading (or listening to on audio book) "Storm of War" by Andrew Roberts. He publishes transcripts of Hitler's meetings (for most of the war, Hitler had court reporters present for the staff meetings). There's a pretty good dissection of how Hitler failed to manage the war economy of Germany, destroyed his armies in the Soviet Union and completely misread the Western Allies. It's a very accessible read.
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Old 14th April 2018, 10:10 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Indeed.

Hubert's comment reminds me of Browning's words at the end of the movie: "According to himself, technically, Market Garden was 90% successful." But with Market Garden, 90% doesn't count. Without the Arnhem bridge, the object of the whole operation failed. The Rhine had not been crossed, there was no open road into Germany, and meanwhile, the approaches to Antwerp had not been cleared while all supplies still had to come from Cherbourg and the Normandy beaches.
Minor addition.
Even with the Arnhem bridge there would not have been an open road to Germany. There was still the IJssel river standing in the way.
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Old 14th April 2018, 02:08 PM   #86
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Well... Seems a lot of emotions are at stake here. Seems I did not express myself well, but -- my basic point was not really discussing individual people, but that competence is not just one dimension. Hitler ... It was not just some twist of luck that put him at the helm of the Third Reich: He was very good at intrigues, and at capturing people's imaginations. He was not a good military leader, but as long as he more or less left that to his generals, Nazi Germany did quite well. Later, as he increasingly started to micro-manage, and more and more lost grip of reality, things went downhill.

It was a very complex picture.

Hans
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Old 14th April 2018, 03:21 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
Minor addition.
Even with the Arnhem bridge there would not have been an open road to Germany. There was still the IJssel river standing in the way.
Fair point. What was the plan?
1) that British 1st Airborne would also capture the IJssel bridges at Westervoort (5 km East of the John Frost bridge)? or
2) that after consolidating positions North of Arnhem, the Allies would try to capture one of the other IJssel bridges (Doesburg, Zutphen, Deventer, Zwolle, Kampen - there's quite a choice there).

In any case, the IJssel would have been much easier to cross than the other Rhine branches.
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Old 14th April 2018, 03:30 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well... Seems a lot of emotions are at stake here. Seems I did not express myself well, but -- my basic point was not really discussing individual people, but that competence is not just one dimension. Hitler ... It was not just some twist of luck that put him at the helm of the Third Reich: He was very good at intrigues, and at capturing people's imaginations. He was not a good military leader, but as long as he more or less left that to his generals, Nazi Germany did quite well. Later, as he increasingly started to micro-manage, and more and more lost grip of reality, things went downhill.

It was a very complex picture.

I’m sorry, but this quotation is untranslatable (the google's attempt is ridiculous) and only for the benefit of MRC_Hans:
Quote:
Min bror er sønderjysk mester i kalvekastning.
Han kan kaste en kalv 185 meter.
Det er dyrplageri, men det er kraftædeme godt gjort!
Preben Kaas-monolog (Youtube, 20:28-42)

But the general idea of the joke is to poke fun at considering something to be an admirable achievement or effort even though the act itself is despicable.
The absurdity of the OP is to take the Holocaust, i.e. the extermination of Jews, Communists and other undesirables, ignore the purpose, and then consider if the Nazis were actually any good at it.
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Old 14th April 2018, 05:14 PM   #89
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Nothing is untranslatable.
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Old 14th April 2018, 06:56 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well... Seems a lot of emotions are at stake here. Seems I did not express myself well, but -- my basic point was not really discussing individual people, but that competence is not just one dimension. Hitler ... It was not just some twist of luck that put him at the helm of the Third Reich: He was very good at intrigues, and at capturing people's imaginations. He was not a good military leader, but as long as he more or less left that to his generals, Nazi Germany did quite well. Later, as he increasingly started to micro-manage, and more and more lost grip of reality, things went downhill.

It was a very complex picture.

Hans
Well, sure, that skill at creating chaos and exploiting it had served him well at grabbing the power and keeping it. I don't think many people deny that it took some skill to pull his coup.

My contention is that that doesn't translate into a useful skill at leading Germany afterwards. I mean, as in, useful for Germany. It was just useful for keeping himself in power, but it's generally regarded as one reason why Germany LOST the war.

And it's not just about leading countries. The guy who pits everyone against everyone, and creates chaos, so he becomes indispensable as the only guy who can manage it, is generally a management antipattern. Sure, it's a skill, and a certain kind of competence. But it's not the kind of skill that serves the organization or the investors, nor the kind of competence that is at the job he's supposed to do.
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Old 15th April 2018, 12:31 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Nothing is untranslatable.

Not true! It can be explained, however:
The difficulty is the pun on the Danish word kalvekastning. It means abortion in cows caused by brucellosis (Wikipedia). But it can also be interpreted as throwing (kastning) a calf (kalve).
So the joke is about a guy who admires his brother's achievement as the South Jutland champion of ... kalvekastning. He threw a calf 185 metres, which may be cruelty to animals, but still a very impressive accomplishment!
Which, of course, only goes to show that jokes are ruined if you have to explain them.
Sorry about the derail.
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Old 15th April 2018, 06:41 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Fair point. What was the plan?
1) that British 1st Airborne would also capture the IJssel bridges at Westervoort (5 km East of the John Frost bridge)? or
2) that after consolidating positions North of Arnhem, the Allies would try to capture one of the other IJssel bridges (Doesburg, Zutphen, Deventer, Zwolle, Kampen - there's quite a choice there).

In any case, the IJssel would have been much easier to cross than the other Rhine branches.
As far as I understand it, the plan was to strike north through Apeldoorn and on to Kampen (thus taking possession of the entire left flank of the IJssel river).
After resupplying the plan would then be a deliberate crossing of the IJssel river and then go into Germany.

Although I don't believe this. I suspect (just based on me being cynical and such) the real reason for the Market Garden would be the cutting off of Holland from the rest of the Netherlands (except via the Afsluitdijk) and thus stopping the V-2 attacks on London from the launch sites around the Hague.

Remember the first launch at London from the Hague was on September 8th, while planning for Market Garden started at September 10th.

The V2 launches were mentioned as a reason for Market Garden, but seeing as all the 'promotional' maps of Market Garden (with the well known hook to the right into Germany) omit the existence of the IJssel river and thus make it seem like the last obstacle was the Rhine river and the bridge at Arnhem and after that the way into Germany would be free.
That's just not the way the landscape works there (even if we ignore the fact that the IJssel river is faster flowing than the Rhine and has quite a few marshes on the left bank around the Doesburg area).

So. It's my opinion that the real reason for Market Garden was looking north and then left, but for political reasons was sold as North and then right.

Hard to prove this though. But if this is true, then Market Garden was an even bigger failure then usually thought of.
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Old 15th April 2018, 12:07 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, sure, that skill at creating chaos and exploiting it had served him well at grabbing the power and keeping it. I don't think many people deny that it took some skill to pull his coup.

My contention is that that doesn't translate into a useful skill at leading Germany afterwards. I mean, as in, useful for Germany. It was just useful for keeping himself in power, but it's generally regarded as one reason why Germany LOST the war.

And it's not just about leading countries. The guy who pits everyone against everyone, and creates chaos, so he becomes indispensable as the only guy who can manage it, is generally a management antipattern. Sure, it's a skill, and a certain kind of competence. But it's not the kind of skill that serves the organization or the investors, nor the kind of competence that is at the job he's supposed to do.
I don't think usefulness is a criterion for competency. And it was certainly useful for getting him to the power he apparently craved.

We can discuss for quite long why Germany lost the war, but sure, one reason was that Hitler was NOT a competent war commander.

Hans
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Old 15th April 2018, 12:37 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
As far as I understand it, the plan was to strike north through Apeldoorn and on to Kampen (thus taking possession of the entire left flank of the IJssel river).
After resupplying the plan would then be a deliberate crossing of the IJssel river and then go into Germany.

Although I don't believe this. I suspect (just based on me being cynical and such) the real reason for the Market Garden would be the cutting off of Holland from the rest of the Netherlands (except via the Afsluitdijk) and thus stopping the V-2 attacks on London from the launch sites around the Hague.

Remember the first launch at London from the Hague was on September 8th, while planning for Market Garden started at September 10th.

The V2 launches were mentioned as a reason for Market Garden, but seeing as all the 'promotional' maps of Market Garden (with the well known hook to the right into Germany) omit the existence of the IJssel river and thus make it seem like the last obstacle was the Rhine river and the bridge at Arnhem and after that the way into Germany would be free.
That's just not the way the landscape works there (even if we ignore the fact that the IJssel river is faster flowing than the Rhine and has quite a few marshes on the left bank around the Doesburg area).

So. It's my opinion that the real reason for Market Garden was looking north and then left, but for political reasons was sold as North and then right.

Hard to prove this though. But if this is true, then Market Garden was an even bigger failure then usually thought of.
Especially in the light that the continued V2 threat from The Hague and environs eventually led to one of the most disastrous bombings in the Netherlands, with over 500 killed.

How would your suspicion on the objective be (dis)proven? Would that be recorded anywhere on paper or would that only have been in the heads of Monty and/or Browning?

As to the V2 threat, Monty had already started to plan Operation Comet, the precursor to Market, on 2 September, so before the first V2 launch.

The German Siegfried Line extended north up to the Nijmegen / Kleve (Cleves) area, so nearly up to the German part of the Rhine. That makes Arnhem the most southern point to go around it.

Intriguingly, Wikipedia features this map which shows a planned perimeter on 19 September which includes the IJssel bridges at Westervoort.

ETA: this map shows that too. It seems to have been made for the website go2war2.nl, but I can't find its context there (nor can Tineye).

But if that was not the initial plan, how hard would it have been to later cross the IJssel? You mention it's "fast flowing", but how fast in comparison to the Nederrijn from Arnhem onwards? (or the Waal, for that matter, that was crossed by the US 82th to capture the north end of Nijmegen bridge)? I could only find numbers for the water volume, not the speed, which gives the IJssel half the volume of the Nederrijn and 1/6 of the Waal.

As to the landscape, the IJssel flows through a broad, low-lying valley - but not lying below the water level, at least for the most part. By contrast, the Nederrijn from Arnhem at least to Rhenen has steep hills on the northern side, from the last ice age, and a southern bank (Betuwe) which lies below the river level and can (and was) flooded by breaking the river dykes.

I'd say that would make the IJssel at least the most easily crossable river. But I'm far from a military expert, so I'm eager to hear your comments on that.
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Old 15th April 2018, 05:46 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I don't think usefulness is a criterion for competency. And it was certainly useful for getting him to the power he apparently craved.
That's ignoring what I just said: useful for Germany. Look, short version: his job was to lead Germany. He didn't lead it well.

Longer version: look, "competence" is a very vague topic, and we're already seeing the goalposts moving all over the field. Unless we can reach some agreement as to "competent at WHAT", this is pointless. We'll veer off in which of them was competent at collecting stamps, and which of them was competent at driving a department into the ground, and so on.

And I still propose that the only competence that really matters is competence at their primary job. If you ask if a lawyer is competent, you don't include stuff like whether he's competent at abusing his wife and still having her not leave him. If you ask if a surgeon is competent, you probably don't include stuff like, yeah, he killed half his patients, but he's competent at lawyering up. Or if you ask if a webmaster is competent, you probably don't include stuff like, dude, he wrote the book on Feng Shui. You wouldn't hire any of those as a lawyer, surgeon or respectively web-master, if their only competence is fully irrelevant to the actual job of being a lawyer, surgeon, or respectively webmaster.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
We can discuss for quite long why Germany lost the war, but sure, one reason was that Hitler was NOT a competent war commander.
Again, that's not what I said. What I said was that the same skill at creating chaos, and pitting people against each other, that kept Hitler in power, was actually counter-productive even for the war. There was chaos in running the country, and chaos in the army.

Even just in the land army, there were THREE parallel HQs that operated in parallel, and only Hitler had authority over them all, and occasionally bypassed them all. There were land divisions who didn't answer to the armed forces HQ, and there were land divisions who didn't answer to the land army HQ, and then there were the SS who at one point were allowed to go, "Screw you, guys! We're making our own HQ! With blackjack! And hookers!" And then there were divisions who didn't really answer to ANY HQ, but bypassed it all and worked directly for Hitler, like Rommel who was already mentioned. And generals who were actually decorated for disobeying their direct orders from any HQ, like Sepp Dietrich or yes, Rommel.

These didn't just act disorganized, they were competing for resources and logistic capacity, and had resources diverted on a whim from each other. E.g., Rommel got resources diverted from Barbarossa, for his unilateral decision to disobey orders and go on an offensive. And the SS routinely got dibs on equipment and supplies, and then went and wasted them on actions that didn't coordinate with the rest of the army.

In the airforce, you had stuff like Milch working against Goering himself. In fact already by the end of '39, Goering had effectively lost control of the aviation ministry, and it went downhill from there. And then in '43 it was put under Speer, completely separating Goering from the procurement of equipment and supplies for the Luftwaffe.

You had people mis-using their rank to settle personal score. E.g., Milch again banned Messerschmitt from submitting designs, and almost did the same to Junkers. If he had his way, there'd have been no BF-109. But of course, the fun of the chaos and everyone working against everyone else, also meant that Messerschmitt bypassed and outmaneuvered him.

You had attempted coups, like, you guessed, Milch again allied with Goebbels and Himmler to try to depose Goering in '44. Goering won and deposed Milch. Then Speer rescued Milch and made him his subordinate.

That GoT theme is no way to run a country well in any case, and much less one that is busy losing a war.

Hitler actively promoted this kind of having people under him work against each other, theoretically in the name of the Aryan "will to conquer". Survival of the fittest, really. But really it was how he kept himself impossible to depose.

Sure, it's a skill and a competence, but it's kind of being competent at driving Germany into the effing ground. I don't think many people asking whether a leader or manager is competent, mean "competent at driving that organization into the effing ground, and profiting himself from it."
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Old 16th April 2018, 12:07 AM   #96
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Or to try to put it even clearer: the question is meaningless unless you narrow it down to what they're supposed to be competent at.

I'll submit to you that the vast majority of humans are competent at SOMETHING. In virtually any organization that ever existed, almost everyone is competent at SOMETHING. It may not be at their job, but they have some hobby or skill that they perfected their whole life.

Except some will be competent at brown-nosing the boss instead of doing their job. Some will be competent at making others do their job too, and then taking credit for it. Some will be competent at pretending to work. Some will be competent at passing the blame. Some will be competent at creating drama. Etc.

And then there are the unrelated hobbies and interests. They say you need 10,000 hours to become really good at something, so sure enough, some people will eventually be very competent at working on their motorcycle or collecting stamps or whatever. If nothing else, everyone probably had some co-worker who was real good at finding every single cat video on youtube.

I literally had a boss who was a couple of years away from pension and correctly figured out that he's more trouble to fire than to keep, so he could only give less crap about doing anything if he were the ancient god of constipation. But he was very competent at all things related to spectator sports. He'd do the rounds to actually keep people from doing their work, to talk to them about sports, and he knew everything that happened recently in everything from football to cyclism to dressage. Most people stick to one spectator sport, but for this guy apparently watching anything from hitting a ball to whacking a shuttlecock to curling sure beat doing his actual job.

Hell, we even had a village idiot (in the village, not the company) who was pretty good at running around with his arms outstretched making engine and gun sounds. He even made loops and passes that were actually a pretty good imitation. You could say he's really competent at pretending he was an aircraft. If you needed a guy to stress your dog by pretending to do aerial strafing runs at the dog, you couldn't get more competent than that guy.

So if you don't put some kind of constraints as to "competent at WHAT", the question is meaningless. If you include any possible skill or hobby or counter-productive behaviour, then the answer can't be anything else than "yes", no matter who you ask about.


Additionally, "the nazis" is an even more ambiguous term. It can mean the actual NSDAP leadership as a ruling party. Or it can mean everyone who was a party member. Or everyone who voted for the NSDAP. Or everyone who had any kind of far right views. Or even any kind of extreme views or behaviour of any kind. (See, "grammar nazi", "soup nazi", etc.)

Again, if you don't put some kind of constraint there, it's a pretty meaningless question.


And when both are undefined, the intersection is incredibly wide. You can obviously find a lot of people, millions even, who are good at SOMETHING or another, even if it's just at drinking lots if beer, and who happen to have some kind of extreme views or far right political sympathies.
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Old 16th April 2018, 02:01 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Especially in the light that the continued V2 threat from The Hague and environs eventually led to one of the most disastrous bombings in the Netherlands, with over 500 killed.

How would your suspicion on the objective be (dis)proven? Would that be recorded anywhere on paper or would that only have been in the heads of Monty and/or Browning?

As to the V2 threat, Monty had already started to plan Operation Comet, the precursor to Market, on 2 September, so before the first V2 launch.

The German Siegfried Line extended north up to the Nijmegen / Kleve (Cleves) area, so nearly up to the German part of the Rhine. That makes Arnhem the most southern point to go around it.

Intriguingly, Wikipedia features this map which shows a planned perimeter on 19 September which includes the IJssel bridges at Westervoort.

ETA: this map shows that too. It seems to have been made for the website go2war2.nl, but I can't find its context there (nor can Tineye).

But if that was not the initial plan, how hard would it have been to later cross the IJssel? You mention it's "fast flowing", but how fast in comparison to the Nederrijn from Arnhem onwards? (or the Waal, for that matter, that was crossed by the US 82th to capture the north end of Nijmegen bridge)? I could only find numbers for the water volume, not the speed, which gives the IJssel half the volume of the Nederrijn and 1/6 of the Waal.

As to the landscape, the IJssel flows through a broad, low-lying valley - but not lying below the water level, at least for the most part. By contrast, the Nederrijn from Arnhem at least to Rhenen has steep hills on the northern side, from the last ice age, and a southern bank (Betuwe) which lies below the river level and can (and was) flooded by breaking the river dykes.

I'd say that would make the IJssel at least the most easily crossable river. But I'm far from a military expert, so I'm eager to hear your comments on that.
I'm not a professional military expert either. My father was born in Arnhem during the fighting and one of the few such babies who survived the war. Still does not make me an expert. just somewhat more interested than usual.

Anyway I did live in Arnhem and Doesburg. And while you can swim in the Rhine at Arnhem, the IJssel is certainly not recommended for that. There were vortexes in that river, which the Rhine did not have (in my youth at least).

I'll try to look into Urquharts book this afternoon. There is a plan for the 1st airborne in there, so I'll look into it what it actually says about Westervoort railway bridge.

As said. I can't prove anything, other than how it all feels to me.
I certainly can understand Montgomery using the hook into Germany as a bait for getting approval for Market Garden. I don't think US public would approve stopping the US army which had just entererd germany on the 13th for a british operation if that would not go directly into Germany, but had some other target first.

Just my hunch. I can be wrong of course.
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Old 16th April 2018, 04:16 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or to try to put it even clearer: the question is meaningless unless you narrow it down to what they're supposed to be competent at.*snip*
Well, fair enough. And the OP question was about its influence on the war, so I must agree that we must be talking about competencies relevant for winning the war.

- And I actually tried earlier to submit that even that is a complex picture. I think the big overall failure on the Nazi side was to overestimate their own abilities. History shows us that even rather mediocre war commanders may prevail if the scope is limited, but when you take on to effectively concur the world, you better be damn good, because you're gonna have a lot of enemies.

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Old 16th April 2018, 12:01 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Especially in the light that the continued V2 threat from The Hague and environs eventually led to one of the most disastrous bombings in the Netherlands, with over 500 killed.

How would your suspicion on the objective be (dis)proven? Would that be recorded anywhere on paper or would that only have been in the heads of Monty and/or Browning?

As to the V2 threat, Monty had already started to plan Operation Comet, the precursor to Market, on 2 September, so before the first V2 launch.

The German Siegfried Line extended north up to the Nijmegen / Kleve (Cleves) area, so nearly up to the German part of the Rhine. That makes Arnhem the most southern point to go around it.

Intriguingly, Wikipedia features this map which shows a planned perimeter on 19 September which includes the IJssel bridges at Westervoort.

ETA: this map shows that too. It seems to have been made for the website go2war2.nl, but I can't find its context there (nor can Tineye).

But if that was not the initial plan, how hard would it have been to later cross the IJssel? You mention it's "fast flowing", but how fast in comparison to the Nederrijn from Arnhem onwards? (or the Waal, for that matter, that was crossed by the US 82th to capture the north end of Nijmegen bridge)? I could only find numbers for the water volume, not the speed, which gives the IJssel half the volume of the Nederrijn and 1/6 of the Waal.

As to the landscape, the IJssel flows through a broad, low-lying valley - but not lying below the water level, at least for the most part. By contrast, the Nederrijn from Arnhem at least to Rhenen has steep hills on the northern side, from the last ice age, and a southern bank (Betuwe) which lies below the river level and can (and was) flooded by breaking the river dykes.

I'd say that would make the IJssel at least the most easily crossable river. But I'm far from a military expert, so I'm eager to hear your comments on that.
Operation Market

Operational instructions 1st Airborne division nr. 9.

Snip (thnings about maps, only confirmation by spoken word and that the Polish 1e parachute brigade is attached.

Target.
The 1st Airborne division conquors Arnhem 7378 and the bank connections over the Lower Rhine; followed by a bridgehead North of the city.


This suggests to me a focus towards Apeldoorn and certainly not towards Westervoort rail bridge.
See attachment
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Old 16th April 2018, 01:23 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or to try to put it even clearer: the question is meaningless unless you narrow it down to what they're supposed to be competent at.
I would say that as far as the Nazi regime goes you have to look at the same areas as you would for any government:

Economic management

Defense

Social policy

Infrastructure

And so on.

Overall the Nazi's were pretty bad at all of them.
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Old 17th April 2018, 12:27 AM   #101
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So basically, as I was saying: competence at running a country. Seems like we are in agreement.
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Old 17th April 2018, 03:13 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So basically, as I was saying: competence at running a country. Seems like we are in agreement.
Yes that's it in a nutshell, as a Government the Nazi's were inept. The myth of the super efficient state is just that, a myth.
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Old 17th April 2018, 08:17 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
This suggests to me a focus towards Apeldoorn and certainly not towards Westervoort rail bridge.
See attachment
Thank you! I should definitely read more about it, I've lived most of my life in the area too.
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Old 17th April 2018, 08:19 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Yes that's it in a nutshell, as a Government the Nazi's were inept. The myth of the super efficient state is just that, a myth.
Which finally brings us up to date with the first page of this thread.
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Old 20th April 2018, 07:40 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Yes that's it in a nutshell, as a Government the Nazi's were inept. The myth of the super efficient state is just that, a myth.
I think this is the fallacy of excluded middle ground. I have actually not heard of a super-state myth, but that would certainly not be true. Nazi Germany made many mistakes, some of them very stupid, and towards the end of the war they deteriorated into near collapse, but if they were actually inept, we need to ask ourselves why it took the combined strength of Great Britain, USA, and Russia nearly four years to bring them down.

Now, had you spoken of Fascist Italy ....

Hans
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Old 20th April 2018, 08:06 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I think this is the fallacy of excluded middle ground. I have actually not heard of a super-state myth, but that would certainly not be true. Nazi Germany made many mistakes, some of them very stupid, and towards the end of the war they deteriorated into near collapse, but if they were actually inept, we need to ask ourselves why it took the combined strength of Great Britain, USA, and Russia nearly four years to bring them down.

Now, had you spoken of Fascist Italy ....

Hans
They got to loot some countries without having to expend too much. Like Czechoslovakia. (Chamberlain even gave them gold stored in GB...) Also they got to use Czech industrial base to prop up German economy. (Unlike theirs, ours was in good condition)

And don't forget Allies got to make damn too many mistakes themselves.
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Old 20th April 2018, 12:45 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I think this is the fallacy of excluded middle ground. I have actually not heard of a super-state myth, but that would certainly not be true. Nazi Germany made many mistakes, some of them very stupid, and towards the end of the war they deteriorated into near collapse, but if they were actually inept, we need to ask ourselves why it took the combined strength of Great Britain, USA, and Russia nearly four years to bring them down.

Now, had you spoken of Fascist Italy ....

Hans
I think the question is on which level were the Nazis inept.
They were very competent on the tactical level (on the tactical level the Germans were probably the best army
in Europe until late 1943) pretty competent on the operational level until late 1942 but as far grand strategy goes they were.on the whole, pretty inept. Thing is strategic mistakes tend to be delayed action; it takes longer for the impact to show up.
And on the economic level they were pretty bad. See Tooze's "The Wages Of Destruction" for details.
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Old 20th April 2018, 01:26 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I think this is the fallacy of excluded middle ground. I have actually not heard of a super-state myth, but that would certainly not be true. Nazi Germany made many mistakes, some of them very stupid, and towards the end of the war they deteriorated into near collapse, but if they were actually inept, we need to ask ourselves why it took the combined strength of Great Britain, USA, and Russia nearly four years to bring them down.

Now, had you spoken of Fascist Italy ....

Hans
I'm not entirely sure that that's proof of competence. You let a major industrial nation build up a big army, and annex even more industrial power, and of course it will take time to push them back. No nation can afford to keep millions of soldiers on a single border full time, to stop it before it started. Even the USSR, after some EXPONENTIAL expansion of their army, were overwhelmed by more than 2 to 1 in the initial stage of Barbarossa.

Most nations have a concept of elastic defense to give themselves time to recover from such an attack and push it back. And yes, it might take time. Even years.

But the ultimate proof of the pudding is in the eating. It's not who starts a blitz, it's who wins.

Plus, see what I was saying before. I'm not sure that starting the war in the first place hints at any competence. Any resources they needed could have been obtained far cheaper than through a war, and without stalling the economy.
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Old 20th April 2018, 01:39 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not entirely sure that that's proof of competence. You let a major industrial nation build up a big army, and annex even more industrial power, and of course it will take time to push them back. No nation can afford to keep millions of soldiers on a single border full time, to stop it before it started. Even the USSR, after some EXPONENTIAL expansion of their army, were overwhelmed by more than 2 to 1 in the initial stage of Barbarossa.

Most nations have a concept of elastic defense to give themselves time to recover from such an attack and push it back. And yes, it might take time. Even years.

But the ultimate proof of the pudding is in the eating. It's not who starts a blitz, it's who wins.

Plus, see what I was saying before. I'm not sure that starting the war in the first place hints at any competence. Any resources they needed could have been obtained far cheaper than through a war, and without stalling the economy.
Oh, I agree with the last, certainly. Before you set out to concur the world you should consider the number of enemies you are gonna make.

Hans
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Old 20th April 2018, 01:40 PM   #110
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nice homophone there MRC Hans.
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Old 20th April 2018, 02:20 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not entirely sure that that's proof of competence. You let a major industrial nation build up a big army, and annex even more industrial power, and of course it will take time to push them back. No nation can afford to keep millions of soldiers on a single border full time, to stop it before it started. Even the USSR, after some EXPONENTIAL expansion of their army, were overwhelmed by more than 2 to 1 in the initial stage of Barbarossa.

Most nations have a concept of elastic defense to give themselves time to recover from such an attack and push it back. And yes, it might take time. Even years.

But the ultimate proof of the pudding is in the eating. It's not who starts a blitz, it's who wins.

Plus, see what I was saying before. I'm not sure that starting the war in the first place hints at any competence. Any resources they needed could have been obtained far cheaper than through a war, and without stalling the economy.

I would say the Western Allies and the USSR couldn't really bring the full weight of their industrial potential to bear until 1944. Even then logistical issues constrained the speed of their advances west and east far more than the power of the Wehrmacht.

Also the Allies weren't willing to basically bring their countries crashing down around them to feed every available resource into the war effort.
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Old 20th April 2018, 02:45 PM   #112
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US also had to divert ,despite the "Germany First" policy, a significant part of it's war production to the Pacific War,which probably slowed down the full mobilization against Germany.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 09:11 AM   #113
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Well, I'll revive this mainly since I'm bored, and look at the myth of super-competent German generals and their success in Barbarossa. Warning: lots of text. No way around it, if we want to avoid the over-simplifications.

The thing about Barbarossa is, Hitler's explicit order was to go south and take the Ukrainian farmland and the oil fields of Caucasus first. Not only that would cover Germany's massive food and oil deficit (even the addition of Romanian oil barely halved that defficit, but it still was massive, and it was crippling both tanks and logistics) and allow it to wage war better, but it should have in theory crippled the Soviet ability to wage war too.

Basically Barbarossa was supposed to START with what would later become Fall Blau.

Which makes sense strategically.

THAT was why they gambled doing the attack anyway, even after quartermaster general Wagner already warned them that their logistics leash would only go as far as 500 to 800 km from the border. Because if they managed to pull THAT stunt, the win would be massive and give them a chance to win anyway.

Problem is, if you take a ruler to a map, Caucasus is a LOT farther away than that. They'd have to go between 3 times that (if Wagner's maximum estimate was correct), and 5 times that (if the lower one was correct.) And normally you go with the lower one, better to be safe than sorry.

Mother Russia is big, comrade

Halder doesn't tell Hitler that. He just makes his own plans that are a rehash of France. Just encircle their army, drive for the capital, and *bam* they surrender. (Never mind that they didn't when Napoleon does it.) The army group that was supposed to go after the oil fields is actually given the lowest priority for supplies and reinforcements, and are now only expected to advance a short way to an arbitrary line on the map and keep the Russians busy. And by arbitrary, I mean not even defined by any geographic features. It's literally just an arbitrary slanted line on the map.

Now while you could argue that that's the least unrealistic plan, given the logistical constraints, the fact is he never tells Hitler that the initial plan is impossible, which might have avoided the whole idiocy. He just makes a different plan that completely misses the strategic objectives, but Hitler doesn't know that. Hitler only learns what's ACTUALLY happening when he starts getting reports of the thrust to Moscow.

(And incidentally, stuff like this, where his generals lied to him and did something that missed the strategic point, may well be why Hitler starts to distrust and ignore generals later in the war. At the very least it IS why he has someone check Halder's plans for Fall Blau, and correct them. Because, surprise, Halder was AGAIN ignoring an order from Hitler.)

What Halder doesn't get, though, is that Russia isn't France. The distances are much higher, and there is no sea to pin the enemy against. Instead of adapting it to do the smaller pincers of Fall Blau (never mind that those didn't work either), the idea is to encircle a whole front or two by making one big push to... WHAT EXACTLY? But the infantry can't keep up, so essentially instead of one big encirclement, they had just created a giant bulge that the Soviets could just walk out of if they wanted. That's why they have to stop the drive to Moscow and turn south to actually complete the encirclement.

The plan is so incompetent, it's slapstick comedy. Well, it would be if it didn't involve hundreds of thousand dead.


But wait, some will say, it worked great, didn't it? They took a lot of ground, they took UNBELIEVABLE numbers of prisoners, etc. Surely it was a good plan, if it worked so well? Well... thing is, Stalin was worse at military stuff than Halder and Hitler put together, that's why it worked.


1. Stalin correctly guesses that the only sane thing to do if you were going to attack the USSR is to go south. So that sector of the front is the most heavily manned, and the northern sector is given the lowest priority for material and reinforcements.

Remember when I said before that a lot of nominally tank or motorized divisions were actually lacking parts, ammo and trucks? How that made them less mobile than non-motorized divisions, because the latter at least had horses to pull their artillery? Yeah, the effort to fix that is concentrated in the south. The northern ones remain hamstrung.

Even with evidence suggesting otherwise, as reports of German forces massing on the border start coming in and painting a different picture, Stalin actually is convinced that that's just a diversion and the main attack will go south. (Strangely foreshadowing what the Germans will believe about Normandy and Calais a couple of years later.)

Stalin actually moves MORE of the northern divisions south, to counter that supposed main thrust. When Barbarossa starts, some divisions are caught disorganized because they're in the middle of moving south.

So when the main thrust goes center instead of south, they meet by far not enough resistance there. Germany is outnumbering the USSR by more than 2 to 1 on the whole front anyway, but that situation is far worse for the USSR in the centre and northern sectors. Those guys get completely overwhelmed by the German thrust.


2. Stalin does do something smart, and that is take the time to dismantle the factories in the west and move them into the Urals. Pretty much an order of magnitude beyond what the German logistics could possibly allow reaching.

But that is going to take time. Most of those won't be producing tanks or some even trucks until 1942. He deliberately trades more land and human lives in the short term, for a better fighting chance in 1942 and beyond.

Now this isn't bad strategy, but it makes the German wins look bigger, when it's really only a loan of territory, and it will come to bite them in the ass later. Hard.


3. Stalin has to do one more dumb thing, and this one tops it all. It's so idiotic, that even just a little more idiocy would cause it to collapse into a singularity of human stupidity, and the shockwave would leave the whole galaxy running around with pencils up the nose and underpants on the head

By his orders, and enforced by the NKVD commissars, there is only one allowed course of action: keep frontally counter-attacking to drive the Germans out. There is no strategic retreat, no regrouping, no reinforcing flanks or lines of supply. You can only order a frontal attack towards the west, or the commissars will override you. And shoot you.

Remember how I said that Germany didn't create as much encirclements for a while, as bulges that you could leisurely walk out of, if you wanted? Remember how they took ridiculous numbers of prisoners anyway?

Yeah, the Russians counter-attacked themselves into encirclements

Halder's plan was crap, but by Jove, Stalin worked hard to make it work anyway
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:58 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I'll revive this mainly since I'm bored, and look at the myth of super-competent German generals and their success in Barbarossa. Warning: lots of text. No way around it, if we want to avoid the over-simplifications.

The thing about Barbarossa is, Hitler's explicit order was to go south and take the Ukrainian farmland and the oil fields of Caucasus first. Not only that would cover Germany's massive food and oil deficit (even the addition of Romanian oil barely halved that defficit, but it still was massive, and it was crippling both tanks and logistics) and allow it to wage war better, but it should have in theory crippled the Soviet ability to wage war too.

Basically Barbarossa was supposed to START with what would later become Fall Blau.

Which makes sense strategically.

THAT was why they gambled doing the attack anyway, even after quartermaster general Wagner already warned them that their logistics leash would only go as far as 500 to 800 km from the border. Because if they managed to pull THAT stunt, the win would be massive and give them a chance to win anyway.

Problem is, if you take a ruler to a map, Caucasus is a LOT farther away than that. They'd have to go between 3 times that (if Wagner's maximum estimate was correct), and 5 times that (if the lower one was correct.) And normally you go with the lower one, better to be safe than sorry.

Mother Russia is big, comrade

Halder doesn't tell Hitler that. He just makes his own plans that are a rehash of France. Just encircle their army, drive for the capital, and *bam* they surrender. (Never mind that they didn't when Napoleon does it.) The army group that was supposed to go after the oil fields is actually given the lowest priority for supplies and reinforcements, and are now only expected to advance a short way to an arbitrary line on the map and keep the Russians busy. And by arbitrary, I mean not even defined by any geographic features. It's literally just an arbitrary slanted line on the map.

Now while you could argue that that's the least unrealistic plan, given the logistical constraints, the fact is he never tells Hitler that the initial plan is impossible, which might have avoided the whole idiocy. He just makes a different plan that completely misses the strategic objectives, but Hitler doesn't know that. Hitler only learns what's ACTUALLY happening when he starts getting reports of the thrust to Moscow.

(And incidentally, stuff like this, where his generals lied to him and did something that missed the strategic point, may well be why Hitler starts to distrust and ignore generals later in the war. At the very least it IS why he has someone check Halder's plans for Fall Blau, and correct them. Because, surprise, Halder was AGAIN ignoring an order from Hitler.)

What Halder doesn't get, though, is that Russia isn't France. The distances are much higher, and there is no sea to pin the enemy against. Instead of adapting it to do the smaller pincers of Fall Blau (never mind that those didn't work either), the idea is to encircle a whole front or two by making one big push to... WHAT EXACTLY? But the infantry can't keep up, so essentially instead of one big encirclement, they had just created a giant bulge that the Soviets could just walk out of if they wanted. That's why they have to stop the drive to Moscow and turn south to actually complete the encirclement.

The plan is so incompetent, it's slapstick comedy. Well, it would be if it didn't involve hundreds of thousand dead.


But wait, some will say, it worked great, didn't it? They took a lot of ground, they took UNBELIEVABLE numbers of prisoners, etc. Surely it was a good plan, if it worked so well? Well... thing is, Stalin was worse at military stuff than Halder and Hitler put together, that's why it worked.


1. Stalin correctly guesses that the only sane thing to do if you were going to attack the USSR is to go south. So that sector of the front is the most heavily manned, and the northern sector is given the lowest priority for material and reinforcements.

Remember when I said before that a lot of nominally tank or motorized divisions were actually lacking parts, ammo and trucks? How that made them less mobile than non-motorized divisions, because the latter at least had horses to pull their artillery? Yeah, the effort to fix that is concentrated in the south. The northern ones remain hamstrung.

Even with evidence suggesting otherwise, as reports of German forces massing on the border start coming in and painting a different picture, Stalin actually is convinced that that's just a diversion and the main attack will go south. (Strangely foreshadowing what the Germans will believe about Normandy and Calais a couple of years later.)

Stalin actually moves MORE of the northern divisions south, to counter that supposed main thrust. When Barbarossa starts, some divisions are caught disorganized because they're in the middle of moving south.

So when the main thrust goes center instead of south, they meet by far not enough resistance there. Germany is outnumbering the USSR by more than 2 to 1 on the whole front anyway, but that situation is far worse for the USSR in the centre and northern sectors. Those guys get completely overwhelmed by the German thrust.


2. Stalin does do something smart, and that is take the time to dismantle the factories in the west and move them into the Urals. Pretty much an order of magnitude beyond what the German logistics could possibly allow reaching.

But that is going to take time. Most of those won't be producing tanks or some even trucks until 1942. He deliberately trades more land and human lives in the short term, for a better fighting chance in 1942 and beyond.

Now this isn't bad strategy, but it makes the German wins look bigger, when it's really only a loan of territory, and it will come to bite them in the ass later. Hard.


3. Stalin has to do one more dumb thing, and this one tops it all. It's so idiotic, that even just a little more idiocy would cause it to collapse into a singularity of human stupidity, and the shockwave would leave the whole galaxy running around with pencils up the nose and underpants on the head

By his orders, and enforced by the NKVD commissars, there is only one allowed course of action: keep frontally counter-attacking to drive the Germans out. There is no strategic retreat, no regrouping, no reinforcing flanks or lines of supply. You can only order a frontal attack towards the west, or the commissars will override you. And shoot you.

Remember how I said that Germany didn't create as much encirclements for a while, as bulges that you could leisurely walk out of, if you wanted? Remember how they took ridiculous numbers of prisoners anyway?

Yeah, the Russians counter-attacked themselves into encirclements

Halder's plan was crap, but by Jove, Stalin worked hard to make it work anyway
Another remarkable aspect of this is how after the war so many of the German generals wrote in book after book, (Guderian and Manstein for example), about how Hitler was so incompetent and how his stupid and insane orders deprived them of victory and of course about how brilliant they were. Also including in this stew was how honorable they were, about how they had nothing to do with the atrocities of the regime, so on and so forth.

A great of the above is self serving lies. The German Generals were very effectively Nazified and many took part with enthusiasm in the atrocities of the regime. Further their blaming of Hitler for military defeats etc., was also very self serving and to a very large extent wrong and yes their plans were often not that brilliant.

The German General memoir literature also avoids discussing how they benefited from massive under the table bribes from Hitler. This lying literature should only be used with great caution.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 05:35 PM   #115
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Well, yeah, the memoirs are rather self-serving and inaccurate at best. Which is why I felt a need to write the above.

ETA: I don't think they were lying per se, though, or rather not consciously. Some actually seemed to be convinced of their own greatness even at the time, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Dunning-Kruger, perhaps? E.g., since I've already mentioned Halder, he would later complain bitterly about Hitler's interference in Fall Blau. But the thing is, all that "interference" was forcing him to flippin' go after the STRATEGIC objectives already. He's so lost in his operational level thinking, that just ignoring the strategic objectives seems like the obviously correct thing to do. He's not just the guy who thought he'd surprise Hitler by winning the war without going for anything of any strategic value -- and would try to repeat the same again verbatim in 1942, if Hitler again failed to check -- but also the guy who had actually proclaimed the war won after like two weeks or so of Barbarossa, never mind that he wasn't even achieving his own goals at that point. Basically my take is that he's not even as much lying about it, as just plain too incompetent to be even talking about it, much less to be the guy whose plan for Barbarossa gave the OK to the whole thing.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 08:59 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, yeah, the memoirs are rather self-serving and inaccurate at best. Which is why I felt a need to write the above.

ETA: I don't think they were lying per se, though, or rather not consciously. Some actually seemed to be convinced of their own greatness even at the time, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Dunning-Kruger, perhaps? E.g., since I've already mentioned Halder, he would later complain bitterly about Hitler's interference in Fall Blau. But the thing is, all that "interference" was forcing him to flippin' go after the STRATEGIC objectives already. He's so lost in his operational level thinking, that just ignoring the strategic objectives seems like the obviously correct thing to do. He's not just the guy who thought he'd surprise Hitler by winning the war without going for anything of any strategic value -- and would try to repeat the same again verbatim in 1942, if Hitler again failed to check -- but also the guy who had actually proclaimed the war won after like two weeks or so of Barbarossa, never mind that he wasn't even achieving his own goals at that point. Basically my take is that he's not even as much lying about it, as just plain too incompetent to be even talking about it, much less to be the guy whose plan for Barbarossa gave the OK to the whole thing.
Actually a lot of the time they did lie quite deliberately. For example both Manstein and Guderian coolly and deliberately lied about their knowledge and involvement in the atrocities of the Nazi regime. They also coolly and deliberately lied about how they were a-political military men who did not share many of the ideological tropes of the Nazi regime. They actually did and lied about it in their memoirs. Manstein was tried for war crimes after the war and his testimony was a stream of utter lies. Many, many of the German Generals followed the shoddy example of Manstein and Guderian in their memoirs.

Further their characterization of their relationship with Hitler and the nature of his "interference" was so one sided and distorted has to amount to willful deliberate lying. For example Guderian's description of the circumstances of his dismissal in late 1941 is politely a tissue of lies.

The German General memoir literature of World War II contains a great deal of mendacious crap and should only be used with caution.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 06:24 AM   #117
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May I suggest that any reputation for exceptional competence the Nazi military machine may enjoy, was acquired through the freakish sudden capitulation of France in the face of the German offensive of May-June 1940.

This I believe is what emboldened Hitler to risk Barbarossa. Whatever magic had worked against France would surely manifest itself once more, and the whole rotten structure of Stalin's regime would collapse in ruins under the initial Blitzkrieg onslaught, without being able to deploy its full military and economic resources, so that a protracted war of attrition (which Germany couldn't win) would never develop.

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Old 3rd May 2018, 07:56 AM   #118
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Sort of. As I was saying, a rehash of France was Halder's idea, not Hitler's idea. Hitler didn't even know that's what's happening until it was half-way underway.

ETA: mind you, Hitler's plan was even more unfeasible, but at least was going after important strategic objectives.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 01:58 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Actually a lot of the time they did lie quite deliberately. For example both Manstein and Guderian coolly and deliberately lied about their knowledge and involvement in the atrocities of the Nazi regime. They also coolly and deliberately lied about how they were a-political military men who did not share many of the ideological tropes of the Nazi regime. They actually did and lied about it in their memoirs. Manstein was tried for war crimes after the war and his testimony was a stream of utter lies. Many, many of the German Generals followed the shoddy example of Manstein and Guderian in their memoirs.

Further their characterization of their relationship with Hitler and the nature of his "interference" was so one sided and distorted has to amount to willful deliberate lying. For example Guderian's description of the circumstances of his dismissal in late 1941 is politely a tissue of lies.

The German General memoir literature of World War II contains a great deal of mendacious crap and should only be used with caution.
I think the (apocryphal) quote about 'Lions led by donkeys' is more appropriate for the WWII Wehrmacht than the WWI British army.
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Old 4th May 2018, 02:25 AM   #120
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I think more like "Lions led by Chihuahuas" tbh. You know, aggressive and willing to fight all right, but with a seriously ridiculously overblown sense of their own greatness and lacking a sense of exactly what they can take on with any chance of success. And, considering the lack of strategic sense, basically never stopping to consider what they'd do with a car if they ever caught one
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