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Old 4th May 2018, 05:14 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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
Based on what they did do - they'd strip the car and try use the parts to make their Volkswagen work.

Preferably while making the previous owner do the work and reminding said previous owner that they should be grateful for the opportunity to work on a piece of fine German engineering....
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:49 AM   #122
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Well, anyway, I'm still bored, so let's look at the strategic genius of the most famous WW2 German general of them all: the man, the legend, the Desert Fox himself, Rommel. Namely at his awesomely alliterative African adventure.

Before I get into it though, let's state the strategic objective there: what was in it for Germany? Why did they divert resources to save Italy's sorry ass?

Well, the prize for Germany was the Italian navy keeping the Suez Canal shut. By just existing. When Italy entered the war, the UK pretty much shut it off on their own. Rather than deal with the Italian navy, the UK just directed all convoys all the way around Africa instead. Which added thousands of miles to the route, and drastically reduced throughput for the same number of ships, due to the increased round-trip time.

So let's put it even simpler: the prize for Germany was that Italy doesn't drop out of the war. That's it. That's all it had to achieve.

So the future Afrika Korps starts as a "tank stopping force". (No, literally, that was it's name in German.) Initially it was to be composed of just one light tank division. Meaning not that it had only light tanks, but that it had only one tank battalion, and the rest was infantry. Later that would be beefed up to two of these light divisions.

Not a lot of troops, but they only had to beef up the existing Italian troops there and stop the Brits from overrunning the Italians. Which would hopefully keep Italy from dropping out of the war.

Problem is, Rommel unilaterally decides to go on the offensive instead, and starts asking for more and more troops, equipment and supplies there. And he gets them. I'm not entirely in the clear if that happened because it looked like he could win, or because he was BFF with Hitler, but it's probably a little from column A, a little from column B.

Now let's look at what happens meanwhile in Fall Blau. Germany only has 9 tank divisions, and 5 motorized divisions on the WHOLE eastern front. Both kinds of unitts are at a premium. This results in stuff like Hitler having to PERSONALLY strong-arm Von Bock to release his 3 tank divisions and 2 motorized divisions to drive south before he finished securing Voronezh. Or divisions getting reassigned back and forth to make do with the limited number of tanks. Or stuff like Kleist being ordered to drive comically around in circles, as the orders for his tanks kept changing. Or the pincer maneuvers coming up empty because the infantry can't keep up, and they really don't have the tanks and motorized to make those encirclements work before the Soviets run right out of them.

(Incidentally, Von Bock displays the same inability to see things strategically. He keeps the tanks 2 precious days there to tie tactical loose ends, at the risk of jeopardizing the STRATEGIC objective. And would have kept them more, if Hitler dind't have a fit and force him to release the tanks to do their planned job.)

But basically if you put it into the context of 1941 and 1942, Afrika Korps is a HUGE amount of resources diverted from where the war was being lost for Germany. They had around 20% of the tank divisions that Germany had TOTAL, and an oversized number of motorized troops, when put into the same context. They also got the lion's share of the powerful captured and converted 76.2mm Soviet guns, both the towed variety and the Marder variety. Etc.

But it gets worse. See, the Brits did kick all their commercial ships out of the Mediterranean, but they still had military ships there. And they were posing the same threat to shipping supplies to Africa, that the Italian navy had been posing to UK's ships. To make it work, a huge amount of planes are diverted to Italy.

So how much worse does it get? In 1942, at the same time the Luftwaffe failed to supply or support the troops at Stalingrad enough, approximately 40% of the Luftwaffe bombers were in Italy, to support Rommel's merry adventure. That's how much worse.

Rommel's offensive is tying up disproportionate amounts of resources.

And the question is: for what? Do the ends justify the means there? What can Germany gain even if Rommel manages to take Egypt?

Well, nothing, really. He doesn't have to actually take Suez and shut it, because the UK had already done that.

So, yeah, Rommel... I'll grant him that he was awesome at tactical and maybe operational level, at least compared to his opponent. But again he doesn't seem to even think at all about the strategic objectives of it all.
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Old 4th May 2018, 10:33 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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.
May I make some observations on your argument here? The Nazis evidently wanted to cause the collapse of the hated Judaeo-Communist, as they perceived it, Soviet state.

If they had any sense they didn't plan on engaging in a protracted war of attrition in that vast country; and in any case their proven field of expertise was delivering powerful but relatively short range blows at the enemy, with the intention - and up to 1941 the effect - of knocking him out before he could bring his full strength to bear in the contest. The resources of the USSR would in the case of Soviet political collapse fall as trophies to the Nazis anyway.

Given these motives and constraints, the idea of an unexpected full speed advance on Moscow doesn't seem completely absurd to me. "A rehash of France", which might after all produce the same results as were obtained in France looks, on the face of it at least, like a plausible programme.
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Old 4th May 2018, 10:48 AM   #124
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A rehash of France would produce similar results if the conditions are similar. Which, really, they weren't. E.g., having proven that you can give short blows is not much use when now you have to give very long blows, and the enemy isn't pinned back against anything.

Basically repeating my successful kicking the ball to another team mate may work well if we're still playing football, but not so well if this time we're on a handball or basketball field

Plus, there's a reason why Hitler's plan hinged on those exact objectives: because without getting the oil FAST, Germany couldn't win. They'd be limited in the number of tank and motorized divisions, they'd be limited in trucks and ships and other logistics, and would soon be overwhelmed by increasingly more Soviet armour that didn't have those constraints.

But at any rate, I find it rather inexcusable to just ignore the given objectives and say nothing. He COULD have told Hitler something like, "nope, we can't reach the Caucasus, but we could try to do France all over again", but he didn't. He just made the plan to go after something completely different than the strategic objectives he was given, and didn't tell anyone until the plan was well underway.

Unrelated, that kinda brings back Pacal's point too. The NAZI objectives are one thing, but the Wehrmacht was SUPPOSED to be a different entity from the Nazi party, and in fact apolitical. Especially if you read their memoirs. It wasn't a general's job to decide what best serves the Nazi ideology.
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Old 11th May 2018, 04:49 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Unrelated, that kinda brings back Pacal's point too. The NAZI objectives are one thing, but the Wehrmacht was SUPPOSED to be a different entity from the Nazi party, and in fact apolitical. Especially if you read their memoirs. It wasn't a general's job to decide what best serves the Nazi ideology.
But that was a complete and utter fiction at best, and at worst, it's post-hoc justification and whitewashing by military leaders who were in fact enthusiastic Nazis pursuing Nazi objectives all along. In the Nazi state, there was in essence no difference between party and country.
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Old 11th May 2018, 04:58 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
But that was a complete and utter fiction at best, and at worst, it's post-hoc justification and whitewashing by military leaders who were in fact enthusiastic Nazis pursuing Nazi objectives all along. In the Nazi state, there was in essence no difference between party and country.
I think that was HansMunstermann's reason for the capitalised "SUPPOSED"
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Old 11th May 2018, 05:39 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I think that was HansMunstermann's reason for the capitalised "SUPPOSED"
That's how I read it.
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Old 11th May 2018, 05:57 AM   #128
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Quote:
Well, the prize for Germany was the Italian navy keeping the Suez Canal shut. By just existing. When Italy entered the war, the UK pretty much shut it off on their own. Rather than deal with the Italian navy, the UK just directed all convoys all the way around Africa instead. Which added thousands of miles to the route, and drastically reduced throughput for the same number of ships, due to the increased round-trip time.
Italin Navy had nothing to do with diverting convoys away from the Med and everything to do with the Luftwaffe.

The RN drove the Italian Navy in to port, they never had the upoer hand or looked like tsking control of the shipping lanes.
The RN had a free run to sink supply ships bound for North Africa, that is what ultimately defeated Rommel.
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Old 11th May 2018, 07:25 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I think that was HansMunstermann's reason for the capitalised "SUPPOSED"
Yes, I get that, I just wanted to elaborate a bit, since being a general in the Nazi dictatorship wasn't like being a general just anywhere.
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Old 11th May 2018, 07:53 AM   #130
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Be that as it may, if Italy dropped out of the war, the Luftwaffe airbases in Italy would be lost too. One way or another, Hitler just needed Italy to not drop out of the war. That was the whole goal.

What Rommel actually did had nothing to do with anything that was a strategic goal for Germany. And we'll also get into what defeated Rommel and what further problems does that cause, if you want to discuss what defeated Rommel.

Even Halder, which I just bad-mouthed for being unable to think strategically, was able to see that there's no point in Rommel's offensive. Halder keeps telling Rommel to frikken stay put.

Gariboldi, the chief of the Italian army, also tells Rommel to stay put, because the Italians are not prepared for an offensive. Not only, well, the Italian army sucked throughout the war anyway, but now they're still licking their wounds after having their asses handed to them by the Brits in a major way. The Italian tanks sucked majorly anyway, but at this point they just lost most of them to the Brits. In fact, at this point the Brits are fielding more Italian tanks (captured) in Africa, than the Italians.

So basically the German Afrika Korps is the only force there really capable of engaging the Brits.

But there's a more perverse issue at work there: logistics. I keep repeating the military dictum that amateurs talk about tactics, professionals talk about logistics. Rommel is totally amateur when it comes to logistics.

Halder, the same guy who ignored logistics when he planned his invasion of the USSR, is actually invoking the logistics argument on Rommel. The logistics just aren't there to support the swift thrust that Rommel wants. So, yeah, even Halder has more logistics sense than Rommel. Which is an achievement.

But then Halder actually went to staff college, so...

Rommel flies to Berlin and has his BFF Hitler strong-arm Halder to let him have his offensive. Halder once again tells Rommel that the logistics just aren't there. Halder concedes though: ok, you can take Mersa Brega (which was a natural bottleneck and an ideal place to concentrate a defense), maybe a limited push in the general direction of Ajdabiya, but then STAY PUT and await further orders.

Meanwhile Gariboldi also concedes that ok, we can take Mersa Brega and dig in there, but NO FURTHER.

On the 1st of April, with direct orders to advance no further, and with no further support from the Italian army, Rommel asks his subordinate Streich, "When are we going to meet in Ajdabiya?" You can't make it up.

And so on and so forth. Rommel is basically from this point on defying direct orders and stretching logistics past what everyone thought was sane.

Now I'm not going to narrate the whole war here, but let's look at where this all comes to bite him in the ass: at El Alamein. See, Rommel tries to take it and go into Egypt, but even without the RN or RAF or the British opposition there, that's where his logistics leash hits a hard limit. Even getting there was a long series of stop and go, but this is the end of the line. He CAN'T go any further.

His whole plan of taking Egypt was impossible from the start, because the logistics don't actually allow him to go that far. Just like Halder had told him from day 1.

He is, however still tying up disproportionate resources, for something that can't succeed and never had a reason to be started.

All those ships, and the trucks, and airplanes are using up ridiculous amounts of fuel just to keep his tanks supplied, at a time when Germany had to DE-motorize some divisions to make ends meet fuel-wise. I've already mentioned that Rommel ties up some 40% of the Luftwaffe bombers. What I forgot to say before is that he also ties up a THIRD of all the Ju-52 transport planes that Germany had total, to try to overcome that logistics constraint.

A third of the Ju-52's is IMMENSE, considering that in the same 1942, the other two thirds were not enough to resupply Stalingrad even to subsistence point.

Rommel ultimately defeated HIMSELF by ignoring logistics, but more importantly, he helped Germany get itself defeated in the process.
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Old 11th May 2018, 08:48 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Rommel ultimately defeated HIMSELF by ignoring logistics, but more importantly, he helped Germany get itself defeated in the process.
Best German general of WWII then?

Afterall, he did defeat Rommel.
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Old 11th May 2018, 09:37 AM   #132
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Most of his fuel and ammunition ended up at the bottom of the Med.
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Old 11th May 2018, 09:38 AM   #133
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I generally subscribe to the view (of Umberto Eco, I think?) that fascism is ultimately self-defeating in an inherent inability to correctly assess its enemies and ascertain the objectives needed to be secure for the much-vaunted "final victory" that fate will bring about.

Hitler himself famously viewed warfare in terms of the "will" of commanders and leaders. "Oh, I'll have Himmler lead the defense here, he has the right will!!"
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Old 11th May 2018, 09:51 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Best German general of WWII then?

Afterall, he did defeat Rommel.
LOL. Very much so
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Old 11th May 2018, 09:53 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Most of his fuel and ammunition ended up at the bottom of the Med.
Yep. But that too is a part of the logistics problem he ignored to the bitter end.
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Old 11th May 2018, 10:48 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Italin Navy had nothing to do with diverting convoys away from the Med and everything to do with the Luftwaffe.

The RN drove the Italian Navy in to port, they never had the upoer hand or looked like tsking control of the shipping lanes.
The RN had a free run to sink supply ships bound for North Africa, that is what ultimately defeated Rommel.
The Italian Navy did not have a great record in World War 2. Every time they got into a major surface scrap with the Royal Navy, the ended up withdrawing,even if the situation was not really that bad.
The Italian Sailors themselves called it "The Card Board Fleet".
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:42 PM   #137
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Mention of the desert campaign made me think of the one area in which the Germans were indisputably inept, intelligence operations. A few small coups aside they failed miserably. Enigma was broken, their entire spy network in the UK was subverted, their efforts to land saboteurs in the USA was laughable, and they were totally taken in by Garbo, whose initial reports about the British showed he had never been to Britain:

Quote:
He moved instead to Lisbon, and – using a tourist's guide to Britain, reference books, and magazines from the Lisbon Public Library, and newsreel reports he saw in cinemas – created seemingly credible reports that appeared to come from London. He claimed to be travelling around Britain and submitted his travel expenses based on fares listed in a British railway guide. A slight difficulty was that he did not understand the pre-decimal system of currency used in Britain, expressed in pounds, shillings and pence, and was unable to total his expenses. Instead, he simply itemised them, and said that he would send the total later.
There's also the suggestion that Admiral Canaris head of the Abwehr was actually working for the British. Now that's ineptitude of the highest order!
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Old 11th May 2018, 01:04 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Mention of the desert campaign made me think of the one area in which the Germans were indisputably inept, intelligence operations. A few small coups aside they failed miserably. Enigma was broken, their entire spy network in the UK was subverted, their efforts to land saboteurs in the USA was laughable, and they were totally taken in by Garbo, whose initial reports about the British showed he had never been to Britain:



There's also the suggestion that Admiral Canaris head of the Abwehr was actually working for the British. Now that's ineptitude of the highest order!
Indeed 'Double Cross' fed huge amounts of false info to the Nazis. Deliberately fake and obviously stupid info was included just to test the German reaction, they took it as real info because they trusted the turned spies.

Double Cross convinced the Germans that Normandy was only a diversion from the main invasion to such an extent they kept reserves out of the fighting for weeks, waiting for landings that never came.

Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre is the definitive history and story of the entire operation. it covers the biographies of the various spies and their handlers and the way they passed information over.
Brilliant book.
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Old 11th May 2018, 01:11 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Indeed 'Double Cross' fed huge amounts of false info to the Nazis. Deliberately fake and obviously stupid info was included just to test the German reaction, they took it as real info because they trusted the turned spies.

Double Cross convinced the Germans that Normandy was only a diversion from the main invasion to such an extent they kept reserves out of the fighting for weeks, waiting for landings that never came.

Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre is the definitive history and story of the entire operation. it covers the biographies of the various spies and their handlers and the way they passed information over.
Brilliant book.
I second that Double Cross is an excellent book.
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Old 11th May 2018, 01:13 PM   #140
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I also recommend "Codename Tricycle" about Duško Popov - who was another larger than life double agent. It was where I found out about Garbo, as mentioned by Garrison, as well.
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Old 11th May 2018, 01:30 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I second that Double Cross is an excellent book.
The Germans were persuaded to send cash to the spies in the UK as they needed money to live and bribe people etc. It was brought through Portugal by the spies that travelled backwards and forwards to the UK on 'business'. Some was also air dropped.

Enough was coming in to make the whole Double Cross system pay for itself. Germany was in effect paying British Intelligence to send them false information.
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Old 11th May 2018, 01:33 PM   #142
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Macintyre also wrote a very good book on Operation Mincemeat aka "The Man Who Never Was", he brings out a lot of information that was simply not available when "The Man Who Never Was" was published in the early Fifties.
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Old 11th May 2018, 02:59 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
The Italian Navy did not have a great record in World War 2. Every time they got into a major surface scrap with the Royal Navy, the ended up withdrawing,even if the situation was not really that bad.
The Italian Sailors themselves called it "The Card Board Fleet".
Pfft. If World Of Warships taught me anything, the Italians should have just bought the premium anime camo for their battleships

*Ahem* More seriously, nobody said that they had to win in pitched battle against the RN. The Kriegsmarine didn't either. Heck, at that point, I'm not sure anyone could really be a threat to the RN close to their own bases. Not sure if even the USA could win against the RN YET, so of course I'm not proposing that Italy could.

The combination of the Italian navy and the Luftwaffe operating from Italy just had to be enough of a threat to civilian shipping, for the UK to prefer sending them the safe way around Africa. That's all I was saying there.
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Old 11th May 2018, 03:22 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
I generally subscribe to the view (of Umberto Eco, I think?) that fascism is ultimately self-defeating in an inherent inability to correctly assess its enemies and ascertain the objectives needed to be secure for the much-vaunted "final victory" that fate will bring about.

Hitler himself famously viewed warfare in terms of the "will" of commanders and leaders. "Oh, I'll have Himmler lead the defense here, he has the right will!!"
Well, I never thought I'd end up defending Hitler but what would you have done there?

To recap, Hitler's whole decision of invading Russia in the first place, was based on asking Halder if he can draw up a plan that takes him at least to the oil fields of Maikop or so, and do that in 4 months. Actually Germany at that point has oil for only 2 months of going full tilt, but they figure they can stretch it to 4 in a pinch, before they drive the whole German economy into the frikken ground.

And by that I mean in '41 for example Opel has to close a truck factory because they're not even getting enough fuel to test the fuel pumps when the vehicles come off the assembly lines. They eventually get a special dispensation to get even the tiny amount of fuel they needed for THAT.

The fuel situation is really THAT bad in Germany.

And to understand the context, the top 3 oil exporters in the world at that point are the USA, followed at a looong distance by Venezuela, followed by the USSR. When the UK entered the war, the RN cut Germany off from either the USA or Venezuela. And the USSR is going to stop selling Hitler oil, if he attacks them.

Basically without Halder reassuring Hitler that yes, he's confident he can get the Soviet oil fields within 4 months, declaring war on the USSR is the last thing you'd want to do. It's the equivalent of kicking your own chair when your head is in the noose.

Halder can't (well, nobody could,) but tells Hitler that yes he can and that he's drawing up an invasion plan that can do just that.

He's lying. He draws up a plan that doesn't even try to get anywhere in that direction.

Hitler only learns of what's happening when Barbarossa is well underway. Worse yet, he learns that the Soviets had about 10 times more tanks than he had, and the ability to make more at THAT rate. And his bright general just failed to deny them the fuel, and lied about it.

At this point Hitler pretty much knows that he's screwed. He's more screwed than a porn star.

And yes he knows it. This is around when he starts accusing his generals of having no economic sense at all. (Something they all disparaged him for in their post-war memoirs. I mean, pfft, he's talking economics instead of strategy. He must be crazy.)

The only sane thing to do at this point would be to surrender. Unfortunately the Allies have made it amply clear that they won't settle for anything short of unconditional surrender. They learned their lesson about Versailles. And that's just the UK. Stalin is outright PISSED ÒFF and out for blood.

So, really, at this point all Hitler can do without just blowing his brains out some 4 years early, is to preach the ol' will to conquer and hope it'll at least buy him time until he can try again in '42. What else CAN he do?
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Old 11th May 2018, 09:43 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Pfft. If World Of Warships taught me anything, the Italians should have just bought the premium anime camo for their battleships
...
Nah, just they needed some Level 2 consumables and some extra flags...

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Old 11th May 2018, 10:22 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Pfft. If World Of Warships taught me anything, the Italians should have just bought the premium anime camo for their battleships

*Ahem* More seriously, nobody said that they had to win in pitched battle against the RN. The Kriegsmarine didn't either. Heck, at that point, I'm not sure anyone could really be a threat to the RN close to their own bases. Not sure if even the USA could win against the RN YET, so of course I'm not proposing that Italy could.

The combination of the Italian navy and the Luftwaffe operating from Italy just had to be enough of a threat to civilian shipping, for the UK to prefer sending them the safe way around Africa. That's all I was saying there.
Hmm, with the French fleet gone, the Regia Marina was, on paper, on par with the RN Med fleet. Plus they were operating within from from friendly air range. Its not all that crazy to have expected noted from them.
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Old 11th May 2018, 11:06 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Mention of the desert campaign made me think of the one area in which the Germans were indisputably inept, intelligence operations. A few small coups aside they failed miserably. Enigma was broken, their entire spy network in the UK was subverted, their efforts to land saboteurs in the USA was laughable, and they were totally taken in by Garbo, whose initial reports about the British showed he had never been to Britain:



There's also the suggestion that Admiral Canaris head of the Abwehr was actually working for the British. Now that's ineptitude of the highest order!
I think this ties in what Tubbablubba said just above.

At its core, intelligence is putting yourself in the thoughts of the enemy in order to asses pieces of information you do have to determine what the enemy will do.

With a few exceptions this was something the nazis just could not do.
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Old 12th May 2018, 03:37 AM   #148
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Well, forget about trying to figure out what the UK thinks or wants. The Nazis/Fascists couldn't even figure out what each other wants.

When Japan wants to attack the USSR, Germany makes a pact with it. Then Hitler declares war on the USA together with Japan, hoping they'll join in on the USSR, and... Japan just returns the favour. They made their own non-aggression pact with the USSR.

Hitler wants to keep Greece neutral so he doesn't get attacked there by the Brits, so of course he wakes up one morning to news that Italy just attacked Greece. He has a fit. Italy asks for Germany's help to just hold the British, Rommel drags them into a glorious reconquest that the Italians never asked for, and in fact beg him not to do, 'cause they're not ready.

Hell, even inside the same country. Halder can't figure out what Hitler wants him to do, even after being told. TWICE. Gets butthurt when Hitler finally has Jodl (IIRC) fix his plans so he actually does what he was asked.

Rommel can't figure out what Halder wants. (Hint: keep his resources for the do-or-die war against the USSR.) Or previously what Guderian wants. (Hint. he'd like to at least know where his supposed subordinate is with his division.)

Manstein also never gets what Hitler wants. Even after watching the de-motorization for lack of fuel, heck, even after watching the whole war be lost for lack of fuel, he still thinks that Hitler was insane to talk about economics instead of strategy.

Milch, who handles airplane procurement, outright doesn't give a flying f-bomb about what Goering wants. He's just out to settle personal scores. By the time Goering gets blamed for not supplying Stalingrad, actually he had completely lost control of what airplanes he's getting. (Mind you, I know that resupplying Stalingrad by air wasn't HIS idea, but he gets the blame anyway.)

To be fair, Goering also never gets what the Luftwaffe needs. He insists that the best pilots go to the dive bombers. Couple of guys below him apparently also don't get what he has in his fat head, 'cause they just bypass him. They just flunk the best pilots so they get assigned to fighters. You just can't make that up.

Ferdinand Porsche, to the bitter end, doesn't get what the army wants. E.g., that it would be nice to have reliable tanks, or at least ones that don't spontaneously catch fire. He insists on making prototypes with a drive that he still hasn't quite made to work. Essentially he's just doing research on what should be tried-and-tested reliable designs.

Etc.

There's an institutionalized chaos at all levels in any case, which is how Hitler keeps himself in power. But some people go even above and beyond that, even above and beyond the call of duty to not have a clue.
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Old 13th May 2018, 04:46 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I never thought I'd end up defending Hitler but what would you have done there?

To recap, Hitler's whole decision of invading Russia in the first place, was based on asking Halder if he can draw up a plan that takes him at least to the oil fields of Maikop or so, and do that in 4 months. Actually Germany at that point has oil for only 2 months of going full tilt, but they figure they can stretch it to 4 in a pinch, before they drive the whole German economy into the frikken ground.
It's been a while - weren't they doing okay with the Romanian oil fields for the time being?
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Old 13th May 2018, 07:18 AM   #150
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Nope. That covered just a bit over half of Germany's deficit.

I suppose they could have stretched it to cover most of the economy, but, you know, not if they want to drive a lot of tanks and trucks into Russia, and more trucks to keep them supplied.
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Old 13th May 2018, 08:34 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Nope. That covered just a bit over half of Germany's deficit.

I suppose they could have stretched it to cover most of the economy, but, you know, not if they want to drive a lot of tanks and trucks into Russia, and more trucks to keep them supplied.
Right, thanks.
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Old 13th May 2018, 06:15 PM   #152
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Just to make it extra clear, though, Germany does have enough oil if they don't, you know, go to war. The imports from the USSR cover the rest of the deficit, even if Germany wants to keep its big army fully supplied and training.

Basically they don't really NEED to attack the USSR for the oil. Kinda the other way around, in fact. They need to be sure they take the oil quickly TO be able to conduct a major offensive against the USSR. But as far as having oil is concerned, war is not the only option there. Just the most appealing to Hitler's delusions of how great autarky and world conquest are.

The 4 month chronometer only really starts ticking from the moment they declare war on the USSR, basically.

And it does tick down. If anyone is curious about why the German offensive runs out of momentum in October in a major way... Yeah, it's not just the weather. July, August, September, October... yeah, that's the 4 months deadline that Hitler predicted from the start. Well, probably not he himself, but he had listened to the economists for a change. Occasionally he can actually listen to people.

But once those 4 months have ticked down, it's either slow the hell down or completely break the German economy. So they stay put and on the defensive, which doesn't need as much fuel, plus some of the backlog because of insufficient logistics starts reaching the front line, and they survive the winter. Barely.

Logistics, man. That's the real killer
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Old 14th May 2018, 05:23 AM   #153
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The shortest land route to the Baku oil fields leads through Vichy Syria, Iraq and Iran, which both had considerable pro-Nazi factions. And it doesn't involve having to scale the Caucasus. Did Hitler ever contemplate that line of action?
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Old 14th May 2018, 06:13 AM   #154
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Not that I know of. Though, again, he didn't design the plan of attack himself. Thinking up that route would have been Halder's job, and, well, we know what route he chose.
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Old 14th May 2018, 06:38 AM   #155
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But basically to nail any doubts that Halder's idea to just take Moscow and accept surrender was stupid, let's hear what the Russians had to say about that. Here's what Marshal Timoshenko had to say in a secret speech to the Supreme Defence Council in Moscow in November 1941:
"If Germany succeeds in taking Moscow, that is obviously a grave disappointment for us, but it by no means disrupts our grand strategy. Germany would gain accommodation [that is, shelter from the cruel Russian winter], but that alone will not win the war. The only thing that matters is oil. As we remember, Germany kept harping on her own urgent oil problems in her economic bargaining with us from 1939 to 1941. So we have to do all we can
(a) to make Germany increase her oil consumption, and
(b) to keep the German armies out of the Caucasus."
To emphasize: losing Moscow would be just a "disappointment" for the USSR.

The USSR is also very aware of Germany's oil problem, and -- once Stalin has gotten past his phase where only frontal counter-attacks westward are allowed -- even entertaining the notion of making Germany use more oil. Which might actually explain what happened the next year in Fall Blau.
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Old 14th May 2018, 06:40 AM   #156
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They would have had to go through Turkey, and even then why not go for the Mid-East oil?

The reason for that is simply that Russia was Hitlers aim all along.
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Old 14th May 2018, 07:11 AM   #157
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The middle east wasn't producing much oil at the time. The top producers in 1940 are:

- USA, with 180 million metric tons
- Venezuela, 30 mil
- USSR, 27 mil
- Indonesia and Iran, about 8 mil each (rounded)
- Mexico and Romania, about 6 mil each (again, rounded)

From there it goes downhill fast. Iraq, I can't find a value in tons, but in barrels that's 4.5 million barrels in 1940, and it actually drops to 3.75 during 1941. Considering that there's just short of 8 barrels of crude oil in a ton, yeah, that's not very much. The Saudi Arabia area is producing 0.75 million barrels per year, and Egypt around 0.8.

So, yeah, there's not all THAT much oil being produced in the middle east at the time. Yet.

Some middle eastern and north-african countries don't even know they have any oil yet. E.g., Rommel fights literally on top of some substantial oil deposits in Lybia, but they wouldn't be discovered until the 1950's.
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Old 14th May 2018, 07:24 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The middle east wasn't producing much oil at the time. The top producers in 1940 are:

- USA, with 180 million metric tons
- Venezuela, 30 mil
- USSR, 27 mil
- Indonesia and Iran, about 8 mil each (rounded)
- Mexico and Romania, about 6 mil each (again, rounded)

From there it goes downhill fast. Iraq, I can't find a value in tons, but in barrels that's 4.5 million barrels in 1940, and it actually drops to 3.75 during 1941. Considering that there's just short of 8 barrels of crude oil in a ton, yeah, that's not very much. The Saudi Arabia area is producing 0.75 million barrels per year, and Egypt around 0.8.

So, yeah, there's not all THAT much oil being produced in the middle east at the time. Yet.

Some middle eastern and north-african countries don't even know they have any oil yet. E.g., Rommel fights literally on top of some substantial oil deposits in Lybia, but they wouldn't be discovered until the 1950's.
You can see by that just how important it was for Germany to get Romania into the Axis, which may not have happened had Stalin not annexed Bessarabia.

Also, do you have any info on how much oil Germany was able to synthesize by year?
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Old 14th May 2018, 07:43 AM   #159
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Ah, should have thought of that!


Still, going the middle east route to Baku would have been a bit of a 'mare.
And you then have to get over the mountains, don't you?
I just can't envision it.
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Old 14th May 2018, 01:39 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The middle east wasn't producing much oil at the time.
That is, the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE).

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The top producers in 1940 are:

- USA, with 180 million metric tons
- Venezuela, 30 mil
- USSR, 27 mil
- Indonesia and Iran, about 8 mil each (rounded)
- Mexico and Romania, about 6 mil each (again, rounded)

From there it goes downhill fast. Iraq, I can't find a value in tons, but in barrels that's 4.5 million barrels in 1940, and it actually drops to 3.75 during 1941.
According to the League of Nations Yearbook, Iraq produced 4 million metric tonnes in 1939. (page 6 in the PDF)
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