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Tags alternate history , Nazi Germany history , World War II history

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Old 25th October 2012, 08:02 AM   #161
Krikkiter
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
I think agricultural yields were far lower in the thirties, so farmland was much more of an strategic asset. Note Stalin starving whole populations to sell grain.

And Germany didn't have oil.

But I wonder if controlling Russia would have gotten Germany out of it's economic problems.

I'm not sure what you're getting at but I think I was trying to say the same thing.

Germany didn't have (much) oil which is one of the reasons Hitler wanted Russia. But it wasn't just oil, it was iron ore and a whole lot of other metals that were vital to industrial economies.

However, I do remember reading somewhere (I apologise, it's been a while since I've read this stuff but I can check the bookshelf if I have to although Mien Kampf went in the bin years ago), that Hitler saw the Ukraine as a potential food source for Greater Germany in the future. But I'd be more than happy to be corrected/educated on that.
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Old 25th October 2012, 08:05 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by Simon666 View Post
The extent to which "Holodomor" was "engineered" by Stalin is still up for discussion by historians. But this will probably make me a revisionist commie, a Stalin lover ...
Maybe. Either way, it'd get you pretty close to being off topic
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Old 25th October 2012, 08:39 AM   #163
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I've read some stuff about Sealion and although I'm a self confessed arm-chair strategist, I'm pretty sure most of it would make for some pretty good comedy amongst the people who actually know stuff about the logistics of this kind of an undertaking at that stage of the war.
Sealion was doomed. Germany had no landing craft as we think of them. They were going to use barges with ramps over the bows to land light vehicles and infantry, Their plan relied on capturing a main port intact and sailing their ships up to the dockside.
It relied on the RAF and the Royal Navy doing nothing. Even wity the RAF neutralised the RN would still have destroyed the invasion ships and the idea of acpuring a major port intact is rediculous. When the Allies landed in Normandy they took with them their own prefabricated harbours the 'Mulberries'. they knew it might be months before they had a port both captured and opened and able to take large ships. Plus in addition the othe landing craft that took the troops and tanks ashore in the first wave there were huge landing Ships that allowed the stores to be driven straight out and up the beach. Plus there was a direct pipeline laid from England to France to pump fuel direct to the beach. In the early 70s a large 'War game' was played out at Sandhurst. Surviving commanders from both Britain and germany took part. . They allowed the Germans to have local air superiority on day one and also delayed the RN from arriving in force for 24 hours. this allowed the Germans to get their 'first wave' onto the beach. They had no heavy armour and only armoure cars motorcycles and some light vehicles for transport as per the plan.
Although they did make some headway off the beaches they were stopped a few miles inland and never got near any ports. The ports were minded and harbour entrances cloes with scuttled 'blockships' anyway. On the second day the RAF had air superiority and the RN got into the invasion fleet. Those forces ashore were pushed back to the beaches and either surrendered or made their way off in what boats they still had.

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Old 25th October 2012, 08:49 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Sealion was doomed. Germany had no landing craft as we think of them. They were going to use barges with ramps over the bows to land light vehicles and infantry, Their plan relied on capturing a main port intact and sailing their ships up to the dockside.
It relied on the RAF and the Royal Navy doing nothing. Even wity the RAF neutralised the RN would still have destroyed the invasion ships and the idea of acpuring a major port intact is rediculous. When the Allies landed in Normandy they took with them their own prefabricated harbours the 'Mulberries'. they knew it might be months before they had a port both captured and opened and able to take large ships. Plus in addition the othe landing craft that took the troops and tanks ashore in the first wave there were huge landing Ships that allowed the stores to be driven straight out and up the beach. Plus there was a direct pipeline laid from England to France to pump fuel direct to the beach.
I knew this much. Also, as the German's began their lame attempt at assembling the invasion craft the RAF were bombing the crap out of them while they were in harbours and rivers.

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
In the early 70s a large 'War game' was played out at Sandhurst. Surviving commanders from both Britain and germany took part. . They allowed the Germans to have local air superiority on day one and also delayed the RN from arriving in force for 24 hours. this allowed the Germans to get their 'first wave' onto the beach. They had no heavy armour and only armoure cars motorcycles and some light vehicles for transport as per the plan.
Although they did make some headway off the beaches they were stopped a few miles inland and never got near any ports. The ports were minded and harbour entrances cloes with scuttled 'blockships' anyway. On the second day the RAF had air superiority and the RN got into the invasion fleet. Those forces ashore were pushed back to the beaches and either surrendered or made their way off in what boats they still had.
Had no idea about this. Was there a name for it so I can look it up? Sounds really interesting!
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Old 25th October 2012, 09:01 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by Simon666 View Post
The extent to which "Holodomor" was "engineered" by Stalin is still up for discussion by historians. But this will probably make me a revisionist commie, a Stalin lover ...
No it just makes you ill informed and wrong, and off topic for that matter. As far as the OP goes your only proposal appears to be that the British and French sit on their hands while Hitler conquers Poland; quite unlikely after the German occupation of the remaining Czech territory.
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Old 25th October 2012, 09:51 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
However, I do remember reading somewhere (I apologise, it's been a while since I've read this stuff but I can check the bookshelf if I have to although Mien Kampf went in the bin years ago), that Hitler saw the Ukraine as a potential food source for Greater Germany in the future. But I'd be more than happy to be corrected/educated on that.
I think your referring to the "Hunger Plan", in which the Nazi's were planning to starve off all "excess" urban civilian population in eastern Europe, so there would be a surplus of food for ethnic Germans. Which itself was part of "Generalplan Ost", maybe the largest genocide ever conceived in human history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger_Plan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost

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Old 25th October 2012, 10:39 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by Simon666 View Post
The extent to which "Holodomor" was "engineered" by Stalin is still up for discussion by historians. But this will probably make me a revisionist commie, a Stalin lover ...
No, there's a real dispute here, although it's not in doubt that the collectivisation famine was responsible for millions of deaths, and that it was brought about by Stalin's agrarian policies, and made worse by his callous disregard for human life. But whether he set out to create a famine as such, and conducted collectivisation for the purpose of causing the deaths of these millions, or as a device to commit genocide against the Ukrainians, is more open to argument.

There is something that makes me a little nervous of the Holodomor and the figure of seven million Ukrainian victims. Some (not most, let alone all) of the proponents of this model of events are anti Semites. They use a word resembling Holocaust - although it is a perfectly reasonable Ukrainian word - and they claim the high figure of seven million ... The Jews suffered six million deaths.

But I must stress: Stalin was an unspeakable tyrant who particularly oppressed the Ukrainians, and whose outrageous agrarian policies were responsible for the deaths of millions in Ukraine, and in other parts of the USSR. This is quite beyond any doubt.
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Old 25th October 2012, 12:32 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
Had no idea about this. Was there a name for it so I can look it up? Sounds really interesting!
Just google sealion wargame sandhurst or similar.

There is a fictionalised novel based on it but I cant remember its name.

I do have a gripe with it though, and we had a thread about it some while ago, but the whole thing starts with "And so the Germans, they land on the beaches, yeh?" which neatly misses out the principle difficulty the Germans would have faced which was actually getting across the channel.

As Captain_Swoop mentioned, they were going to try and cross the channel in few hundred Rhine barges. Most of which were unpowered so would have to be towed. It would have taken well over 12 hours to cross meaning at least a portion of the journey would have to have been undertaken in daylight. And crossing the channel with its currents, sandbanks, shoals and tides with that motley collection of barges at night is just insane in any case.

The whole concept is ludicrous beyond belief.
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Old 25th October 2012, 01:11 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Oh come now.

Everyone with a basic understanding of the eastern front knows that it was more than just Moscow and Stalingrad that were affected by Nazi logistical idiocy in 1941/42 and 1942/43 respectively.

In each case the Nazi's had failed to make adequate provision for the Russian winter and in each case they paid an appalling price for it.

The Wehrmacht didnt "fall apart" in 1944. It was still capable of delivering nasty shocks to the allies right up to the Seelow Heights.

The reason for this is the same reason for the early successes.

That the Wehrmacht was derived from the supreme military tradition with the finest officer corps in the world. Their initial success and later resilience was down to the tactical and operational brilliance of the German field army in spite of the Nazi's catastrophic strategic and logistical incompetence.
It's true if you have only a basic understanding of the Eastern Front you might well conclude that the Wehrmacht's logistics were poor. But this was not in fact the case.

In 1941/2, Army Groups North and South held virtually all of their ground and were able to ward off numerous Soviet offensives from December 1941 onwards without real difficulty. Both army groups had to withdraw overextended salients (to Tikhvin and Rostov), but this was largely because of a shortage of forces and the strength of the opposing Red Army forces, not because of logistics. Army Group North benefited considerably from not only sea transport but also the shorter rail links through the Baltic states to the Leningrad front, and had little difficulty in maintaining the siege until January 1944. Certainly no real logistical difficulties.

Soviet offensives on the southern flank of Army Group North, advancing in parallel to offensives against the northern flank of Army Group Centre - and achieving their original penetration more or less along the army group boundary - succeeded in temporarily encircling II Corps at Demyansk, which was then supplied by air. That was the very first time aerial resupply was used on a major scale in military history, and the success of the operation led to a fatal overestimation of Luftwaffe capabilities at Stalingrad.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those glide-over-maps alternative history morons like RHS Stolfi who thinks that the Wehrmacht could have taken Moscow in 1941 "if only" they'd done X. They clearly bit off more than they could chew in 1941, but the same would apply to any other army of the era. The distances, environment and climatic conditions were just that bad in Russia. (And they also affected the Red Army quite seriously, with large numbers of Soviet soldiers freezing to death, too. Greatcoats were also standard issue for the Red Army that year.)

The defeat before Moscow was extremely serious, and was in part caused by overextended supply lines which were very close to breaking point in November 1941. Undoubtedly, the Wehrmacht suffered heavier losses than it needed to because of the failure to provide winter uniforms, and it was unable to resist the Soviet winter offensive as well as it might have done. But it did resist, it resupplied and it reinforced (using rail, road and air transport) successfully, stopping the offensive in its tracks.

The Wehrmacht was in fact better at logistics than its opponents until mid-war. Certainly better than the BEF and British forces in Greece, and better also than the British forces in North Africa early on. Massively better than the Red Army on a tactical and operational level. Observing the efficiency of German maintenance units led directly to the establishment of REME in 1942.

The British became very good at logistics, but never figured out operations, and British strategy was influenced by another politician-amateur, with frequently disastrous results.

Wehrmacht logistics on the Eastern Front in 1942/43 functioned very well for Army Groups North, Centre and A; it was only Army Group B, and more specifically 6th Army plus the flanking Axis forces, which experienced problems, and then only in the immediate context of the Soviet counteroffensive at Stalingrad.

General Wagner, the Quartermaster-General, warned about the overextended supply lines earlier in the autumn, and was extremely worried about what might ensue. Obviously, Halder also warned Hitler about the impending disaster and was sacked for his pains. Wagner and Halder worked extremely well together and generally had a very good understanding of the significance of logistics, the exception being the vabanque move towards Moscow in late 1941 when Halder's usual good sense deserted him.

Despite the disaster at Stalingrad, Wehrmacht logistics were more than capable of moving a very sizeable force from western Europe to plug the hole, and restabilise the frontline.

Some other general measures of logistical efficiency would be things like ammunition supply and expenditure. The figures show that munitions expenditures increased year on year on the Eastern Front. See Gerhard Donat, Der Munitionsverbrauch im Zweiten Weltkrieg im operativen und taktischen Rahmen. Osnabrück, 1992.

From 1942, too, one also finds proper winter clothing provided, and the number of pictures showing Wehrmacht soldiers in decent winter kit from 1942/3 and 1943/44 proves that they reached the troops - the exception really does seem to have been Stalingrad, and even there one can find evidence of winter uniforms being worn in some cases.

By 1944, however, attrition was starting to cause problems, as were the demands of stockpiling ammunition for other theatres, despite overall increased production. Moreover, in the winter of 1943-44, we see the start of a slow breakdown in virtually all aspects of the Wehrmacht, in logistics we see poorer maintenance rates, an increased loss of vehicles and inability to recover vehicles, which became critical on the retreat. The progressive demotorisation of the Wehrmacht is well known, although a lot of that was down to the massive overexpansion of the army between 1941-44 which distributed more vehicles overall among even more formations, reducing each division's share of the vehicle park (et cetera).

Since more than half of the Eastern Front as well as the entire Western Front collapsed in the summer of 1944, then I think I'm entitled to say that the Wehrmacht fell apart. It stitched itself back together again in a very fragile condition, only to fall apart once more in January 1945. Because so many army groups and armies were effectively wiped out in 1944, this affected their rear area services severely, so that many logistic units were destroyed without being replaced.

Although in 1944-45 there were shorter supply lines coupled with increased production of weapons and ammunition, the logistic situation deteriorated dramatically due to the effects of the combined bomber offensive's raids on German oil plants and the loss of Romania. This eventually caused the Wehrmacht to grind to a halt for lack of fuel, and caused massive losses in 1945.

If you want to be pernickety, you can of course accuse the Germans of not 'getting' something they didn't even have a word for in this era. Logistik only comes into use after 1945 in the Bundeswehr (dunno about the NVA), the Wehrmacht thought in terms of Heeresversorgung. But they had evolved a very sophisticated supply doctrine, one that stressed 'supply is a part of warfare' according to the field manual, and which integrated the narrower sphere of military rear area services with the use of railways together with economic exploitation and most of all, living off the land. German "logistics" made use of a wide range of military, paramilitary and civilian organisations. This is why flicking through Der Vierjahresplan for the war years is basically like reading a lengthy paean to the achievements of Nazi logisticians.

Considering that in 1941, Army Group Centre harvested more potatoes and grain than it expended in ammunition, saving on vast quantities of rail capacity in the process, German supply doctrine was as geared to Eastern Front conditions as it was possible to achieve.

Oh, and that 'lean Wehrmacht' image? Total myth. Teeth/tail ratios were skewed heavily in favour of tail, virtually until the end of the war (by which time any able-bodied younger soldier had been sent to a rifle company).

To my mind, the fact that Wehrmacht quartermasters (Ib, Qu, OQu) were always General Staff officers whereas the intelligence branch was turned over to reservists and other line officers at lower levels sums up where the Wehrmacht placed its priorities. Operations first, then supply, finally intelligence.
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Old 25th October 2012, 01:22 PM   #170
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It's amazing how many people ignore this and come up with clever schemes for Hitler to invade Britain; ignoring the fact that it was never part of his plans until well after the war started and even then as you say it was never a serious option; more an attempt to squeeze the British into coming to terms.
Far as I know, Britain and France declaring war wasn't even part of Hitler's plans, was it?
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Old 25th October 2012, 01:40 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
It's true if you have only a basic understanding of the Eastern Front you might well conclude that the Wehrmacht's logistics were poor. But this was not in fact the case.

In 1941/2, Army Groups North and South held virtually all of their ground and were able to ward off numerous Soviet offensives from December 1941 onwards without real difficulty. Both army groups had to withdraw overextended salients (to Tikhvin and Rostov), but this was largely because of a shortage of forces and the strength of the opposing Red Army forces, not because of logistics. Army Group North benefited considerably from not only sea transport but also the shorter rail links through the Baltic states to the Leningrad front, and had little difficulty in maintaining the siege until January 1944. Certainly no real logistical difficulties.

Soviet offensives on the southern flank of Army Group North, advancing in parallel to offensives against the northern flank of Army Group Centre - and achieving their original penetration more or less along the army group boundary - succeeded in temporarily encircling II Corps at Demyansk, which was then supplied by air. That was the very first time aerial resupply was used on a major scale in military history, and the success of the operation led to a fatal overestimation of Luftwaffe capabilities at Stalingrad.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those glide-over-maps alternative history morons like RHS Stolfi who thinks that the Wehrmacht could have taken Moscow in 1941 "if only" they'd done X. They clearly bit off more than they could chew in 1941, but the same would apply to any other army of the era. The distances, environment and climatic conditions were just that bad in Russia. (And they also affected the Red Army quite seriously, with large numbers of Soviet soldiers freezing to death, too. Greatcoats were also standard issue for the Red Army that year.)

The defeat before Moscow was extremely serious, and was in part caused by overextended supply lines which were very close to breaking point in November 1941. Undoubtedly, the Wehrmacht suffered heavier losses than it needed to because of the failure to provide winter uniforms, and it was unable to resist the Soviet winter offensive as well as it might have done. But it did resist, it resupplied and it reinforced (using rail, road and air transport) successfully, stopping the offensive in its tracks.

The Wehrmacht was in fact better at logistics than its opponents until mid-war. Certainly better than the BEF and British forces in Greece, and better also than the British forces in North Africa early on. Massively better than the Red Army on a tactical and operational level. Observing the efficiency of German maintenance units led directly to the establishment of REME in 1942.

The British became very good at logistics, but never figured out operations, and British strategy was influenced by another politician-amateur, with frequently disastrous results.

Wehrmacht logistics on the Eastern Front in 1942/43 functioned very well for Army Groups North, Centre and A; it was only Army Group B, and more specifically 6th Army plus the flanking Axis forces, which experienced problems, and then only in the immediate context of the Soviet counteroffensive at Stalingrad.

General Wagner, the Quartermaster-General, warned about the overextended supply lines earlier in the autumn, and was extremely worried about what might ensue. Obviously, Halder also warned Hitler about the impending disaster and was sacked for his pains. Wagner and Halder worked extremely well together and generally had a very good understanding of the significance of logistics, the exception being the vabanque move towards Moscow in late 1941 when Halder's usual good sense deserted him.

Despite the disaster at Stalingrad, Wehrmacht logistics were more than capable of moving a very sizeable force from western Europe to plug the hole, and restabilise the frontline.

Some other general measures of logistical efficiency would be things like ammunition supply and expenditure. The figures show that munitions expenditures increased year on year on the Eastern Front. See Gerhard Donat, Der Munitionsverbrauch im Zweiten Weltkrieg im operativen und taktischen Rahmen. Osnabrück, 1992.

From 1942, too, one also finds proper winter clothing provided, and the number of pictures showing Wehrmacht soldiers in decent winter kit from 1942/3 and 1943/44 proves that they reached the troops - the exception really does seem to have been Stalingrad, and even there one can find evidence of winter uniforms being worn in some cases.

By 1944, however, attrition was starting to cause problems, as were the demands of stockpiling ammunition for other theatres, despite overall increased production. Moreover, in the winter of 1943-44, we see the start of a slow breakdown in virtually all aspects of the Wehrmacht, in logistics we see poorer maintenance rates, an increased loss of vehicles and inability to recover vehicles, which became critical on the retreat. The progressive demotorisation of the Wehrmacht is well known, although a lot of that was down to the massive overexpansion of the army between 1941-44 which distributed more vehicles overall among even more formations, reducing each division's share of the vehicle park (et cetera).

Since more than half of the Eastern Front as well as the entire Western Front collapsed in the summer of 1944, then I think I'm entitled to say that the Wehrmacht fell apart. It stitched itself back together again in a very fragile condition, only to fall apart once more in January 1945. Because so many army groups and armies were effectively wiped out in 1944, this affected their rear area services severely, so that many logistic units were destroyed without being replaced.

Although in 1944-45 there were shorter supply lines coupled with increased production of weapons and ammunition, the logistic situation deteriorated dramatically due to the effects of the combined bomber offensive's raids on German oil plants and the loss of Romania. This eventually caused the Wehrmacht to grind to a halt for lack of fuel, and caused massive losses in 1945.

If you want to be pernickety, you can of course accuse the Germans of not 'getting' something they didn't even have a word for in this era. Logistik only comes into use after 1945 in the Bundeswehr (dunno about the NVA), the Wehrmacht thought in terms of Heeresversorgung. But they had evolved a very sophisticated supply doctrine, one that stressed 'supply is a part of warfare' according to the field manual, and which integrated the narrower sphere of military rear area services with the use of railways together with economic exploitation and most of all, living off the land. German "logistics" made use of a wide range of military, paramilitary and civilian organisations. This is why flicking through Der Vierjahresplan for the war years is basically like reading a lengthy paean to the achievements of Nazi logisticians.

Considering that in 1941, Army Group Centre harvested more potatoes and grain than it expended in ammunition, saving on vast quantities of rail capacity in the process, German supply doctrine was as geared to Eastern Front conditions as it was possible to achieve.

Oh, and that 'lean Wehrmacht' image? Total myth. Teeth/tail ratios were skewed heavily in favour of tail, virtually until the end of the war (by which time any able-bodied younger soldier had been sent to a rifle company).

To my mind, the fact that Wehrmacht quartermasters (Ib, Qu, OQu) were always General Staff officers whereas the intelligence branch was turned over to reservists and other line officers at lower levels sums up where the Wehrmacht placed its priorities. Operations first, then supply, finally intelligence.
I dont at the moment have time to go through your post now with the care and analysis it deserves.

But I do want to say thank you for posting it, it seems very well reasoned.
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Old 25th October 2012, 01:47 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Far as I know, Britain and France declaring war wasn't even part of Hitler's plans, was it?
The Soviets were always Hitler's #1 enemy, however I think he wanted to conquer France right from the onset. He saw it as revenge for WW1, and the Treaty of Versailles I believe. He did not see Britain as a "natural enemy" however and hoped they would come to terms after the fall of France.

Someone else can probably elaborate much better.


@Nick Terry, amazingly well written post. To sum up, Germany took logistics very seriously, were quite good at them, but the distances, harsh conditions, and lack of infrastructure in the USSR was just too much for anyone to overcome?

Also their lack of intelligence bit them in the ass. They were counting on highways they saw on captured maps, that turned out to be dirt tracks etc.

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Old 25th October 2012, 02:11 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
I dont at the moment have time to go through your post now with the care and analysis it deserves.

But I do want to say thank you for posting it, it seems very well reasoned.
Very little has been written about Wehrmacht logistics, probably because it's not a very glamorous field of study even for Allied armies. But it became clear to me when researching my PhD that we have somewhat underestimated the logistical efforts exerted by the Wehrmacht in WWII.

Moreover, those logistical efforts connect directly to war crimes and genocide, not least via the Hunger Plan in its "operational" guise, but also encompassing how the Jews of Vilnius were put to work in Heereskraftfahrpark 562.

I'm of the opinion that there were fundamental limits to German economic and manpower mobilisation which could never have been overcome no matter how 'cleverly' they organised the economy or administered the occupied territories. The Nazi war effort ran up against those limits from a fairly early stage.

This applies even to 'Barbarossa' which involved a fairly significant overmobilisation of the Army to a size beyond which it could be sustained at 'Allied' levels of replenished manpower and materiel on a consistent basis. Is it more critical that the divisions of Army Group Centre had lost men and equipment or that they couldn't be supplied? Arguably, the former could be seen as more critical, since tactical defeats were often caused by the failure of understrength battalions down to the size of companies or platoons.

In which case, a critical bottleneck wasn't logistics, but the replacement system, which in many respects functioned with astonishing efficiency, yet had to cope with a fundamentally oversized army, thereby leaving formations undermanned and underequipped at the crucial moments of decision, even though the Wehrmacht's powers of regeneration are generally regarded as legendary.

FYI, my doctoral supervisor was Richard Overy, and I'm an inside-cover-listed contributor to Occupied Economies: An Economic History of Nazi-Occupied Europe 1939-1945.
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Old 25th October 2012, 02:18 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
I knew this much. Also, as the German's began their lame attempt at assembling the invasion craft the RAF were bombing the crap out of them while they were in harbours and rivers.



Had no idea about this. Was there a name for it so I can look it up? Sounds really interesting!
Channel 4 (UK) did a series a couple of years ago about the defence of Britian in WW2 and the Home Guard. One of the progs had a big section on Sealion and the Wargame. Can't remember what it was called at the moment though
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Old 25th October 2012, 02:36 PM   #175
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battleplan that may hav worked imho

Germany begins the war exactly as it did but continues fighting England until it air force cannot mount a viable defence. While keeping the RAF ineffective the Luftwaffe and Navy then concentrate on shipping within 100 miles of GB taking out both Royale Navy and all supply ships from USA/Canada that are in British waters. Germany blockades GB by sea and air. Bombs only airfields, ports and factories until England sues for peace.
This gives less reason for USA to engage in Europe, and if Germany can delay Pearl Harbour by 6 - 10 months they can consolidate their position in Europe.
This would also take the heat off the Italians in Africa until Germany has England surrender at which time more resources can be sent to Africa to again secure the entire Meditrranean.
Now a propeganda campaign targets Ukraine and wester USSR states decrying the abuses of Stalin. The USA is occupied in the Pacific and thir is little pressure to come to the aid of the British colonies if a English govt in exile is asking for it.
If Russia attacks Japan then Germany goes further into Russia and strikes for Moscow, "liberates Moscow".
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Old 25th October 2012, 02:49 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by jaydeehess View Post
Germany begins the war exactly as it did but continues fighting England until it air force cannot mount a viable defence.

The bolded is one tall order. The RAF was fighting a defensive battle over its own territory, and just as in land battles, that conferred a considerable advantage. Moreover, the RAF was actually outproducing the Luftwaffe in fighter aircraft. While certainly the RAF lost many aircraft and pilots, so did the Luftwaffe. Any process by which the RAF was reduced to a force too small to offer meaningful resistance would have likewise reduced the Luftwaffe to an ineffective force.
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Old 25th October 2012, 02:54 PM   #177
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I thought the conventional take was that the RAF was on its last legs when Germany swiched from targetting RAF to targeting population
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Old 25th October 2012, 02:59 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Far as I know, Britain and France declaring war wasn't even part of Hitler's plans, was it?
Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
The bolded is one tall order. The RAF was fighting a defensive battle over its own territory, and just as in land battles, that conferred a considerable advantage. Moreover, the RAF was actually outproducing the Luftwaffe in fighter aircraft. While certainly the RAF lost many aircraft and pilots, so did the Luftwaffe. Any process by which the RAF was reduced to a force too small to offer meaningful resistance would have likewise reduced the Luftwaffe to an ineffective force.
I dunno. I've always heard the story goes as Fighter Command was pretty close to being defeated, they were not able to produce enough planes to match losses, when the Luftwaffe changed tactics to terror bombing.

But in any case, Germany certainly had a much greater industrial capacity than Britain in the years leading up to the war and in 1940. So had they concentrated more on building an air force to defeat the UK, could they have done so?

Edit: According the Churchill's own estimates only 50 of the planes Germany lost were Bf-109's! What if Germany had many more of them?

http://www.airforce-magazine.com/Mag...808battle.aspx see the chart

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Old 25th October 2012, 02:59 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by jaydeehess View Post
I thought the conventional take was that the RAF was on its last legs when Germany swiched from targetting RAF to targeting population

That is more myth than fact. It was hard-pressed at times, but near collapse it was not. Fighter Command actually ended the Battle of Britain stronger than when it had entered it.
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Old 25th October 2012, 03:21 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
I dunno. I've always heard the story goes as Fighter Command was pretty close to being defeated, they were not able to produce enough planes to match loses, when the Luftwaffe changed tactics to terror bombing.

Britain was actually outproducing Germany in fighters, so available aircraft was never really a problem for Fighter Command. The Germans did not realize this as they were plagued with bad intelligence throughout the battle. Many times the Luftwaffe wasn't even bombing the right airfields—it was hitting Coastal Command, training, or secondary airfields rather that the important sector stations. And even then airfields were rarely put out of action for long. Relatively few Fighter Command aircraft were destroyed on the ground throughout the battle. There was some issue with a shortage of pilots in the latter part of August 1940—but much of that is at least as attributable to administrative inefficiencies as an actual a lack of pilots.

It makes a great story to say that the RAF was on the edge of defeat and was only saved by the German switch to London as a priority target—but it is only just a story. The reality was that the Battle of Britain was never really that close. The odds were stacked against the Luftwaffe from the beginning.

Most modern analysis I've read says that the best chance for the Luftwaffe to prevail would have been to make the radar stations a priority target and knock them out as they were a key component in the British defence. But these were difficult pinpoint targets. Medium bombers were too inaccurate, and the Stuka too vulnerable if RAF fighters were in the area. The best bet would have been low-level fighter-bomber attacks by squadrons specifically created and trained for this purpose. But the Luftwaffe only had one of those, and it was an experimental one.

The others things the Germans would have needed to do is have drop tanks for their Me 109s so as to extend their range and give them more combat time over southern England, as well as leave their fighters in the free-chasing role. The problem with the latter is that it means higher bomber losses. As it was, the bomber crews screamed for more support so the fighters were ordered to stay in close escort on the bombers which gave the advantage to the RAF. (The USAAF in Europe later in the war had to learn the same lesson—it was the unleashing of the escort fighters from close escort which decimated the Luftwaffe in the early months of 1944.)
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Old 25th October 2012, 03:32 PM   #181
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Not to mention that replacement radar could have been installed in relatively short order. I believe that mobile radar systems were already in production before the Luftwaffe focused on London as the primary bombing target.
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Old 25th October 2012, 03:53 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
However, I do remember reading somewhere (I apologise, it's been a while since I've read this stuff but I can check the bookshelf if I have to although Mien Kampf went in the bin years ago), that Hitler saw the Ukraine as a potential food source for Greater Germany in the future. But I'd be more than happy to be corrected/educated on that.
Lebensraum. Sturdy German farmers would turn the area into a bread basket for the Reich. Locals would rot hog or die.
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Old 25th October 2012, 04:35 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Lebensraum. Sturdy German farmers would turn the area into a bread basket for the Reich. Locals would rot hog or die.
Ta. That's what I was thinking. Could this then be seen as one of the main reasons Schicklgruber invaded Russia?
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Old 25th October 2012, 05:23 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by Zowert View Post
I would like some opinions from everyone that knows a lot about the Second World War.

There has always been the question of 'what if' Germany won World War Two? When I first thought about this, I asked myself, "Well could Germany have won? Realistically.." The more I get to thinking about it, I believe Hitler could have won if he had done a few things differently.

1. Adolt Hitler should have let his generals call the shots. Let them mobilize troops when and where they needed them, as well as allow the Wermacht to retreat and regroup if need be.
After the Second World war, maqny of the surviving German generals in interviews and in their memoirs blamed Hitler for losing the war. The talked about "Lost Victories" and such.

Their position boiled down to "If it wasn't for Hitler, we would have won the war for him!". And sad regret that they did not do so. This surviving memoir literature has been shown to be self derving and frankly frequently full of lies. It frankly massively distorted the real story. One of things ignored was just how much Many German Generals agreed with and accepted Nazi belifs and "morality".

In point of fact Hitler was more responsible for Germanies Run of victories early in the war, and that after December 1941 only a miracle could have given Germany victory. THe German generals complained mightidy after the War about huitler refusing withdrawls etc, carefully ignoring the with drawls Hitler did agree too and the fact that on many occassions Hitler had support from generals for his refussal to withdraw.

Many German generals after the war down played and ignored and in fact denied after the war the fact that they were complicit up to their eyeballs in the Nazi regime.

In trial after trial they lied under oath about their involvement in atrocities. What the they also ignored was that so many of the Generals were the recipients of massive secret monthly payments, i.e, bribes in return for their loyalty.

It became convienent after the war to blame Hitler for losing it. Hitler being dead could not deny it. The simple fact is that Hitler more than any single person was responsible for the success of the German military in 1939-1941. After that victory was impossible. Defeat could only be prolonged not averted after that. The German generals , most of them stayed loyal to the regime right to the end mainly because in the end they shared a similar belief system to the Nazi regime. That they were dragging Germany into the abyess didn't appear to be a huge [roblem for them. (The july 1944 coup attempt was the effort of small minority.) The German generals after the war basically wanted to have their cake and eat too.

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2. Hitler should have never gotten himself into a war on two fronts. He actually had a war on three fronts during the height of the war; West Europe, East Europe/Russia and the Middle East/North Africa. He spared Britain and turned to the East, leaving the Western front vulnerable to an allied invasion.
Hitler could not get at Britain, having failed in the Battle of Britain. Further despite having control of continental Europe he did not have a fleet capable of getting at Britain. He was also embarrsingly dependent on the Soviet Union for certain essential raw materials. More specifically oil. He had nothing remotely cabale at sea of removing the British navy. So long as Britaibn was supported by the USA final victory over Britain looked remote. Then it had been the dream of the Pan German lobby since the late 19th century to capture "living space" in the east. A geo-political fantasy Hitler shared, with murderous additions.

Many of the German generals shared the dream of capturing "living space" and virtually all thought that the Soviet Union would be desposed off in the few months. The staff planning Barbarrossa thought it extremely unlikely the campaign would last int winter. If Hitler undersestimated the Russians so did the grerat majority of German generals.

The option of concentrating on Britain was considered but dropped on the grounds it would take far too long and enabled the Soviet Union to become a real danger aside from being basically unworkable and useless so long as the USA supported Britain with eco0nomic aid. This wasn't just Hitler's opinion it was the opinion of the German general staff.

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Here is what I think Hitler should have done, if he were going to have any chance at conquering Europe, Russia and part of Africa. I would like to hear your battle plan for Germany too, what you think they should have done to win the war...

Hitler should have gone East first. I don't think France or Britain would have bothered intervening if Germany and the Soviet Union went to war. Especially if Hitler could get Italy and Japan to attack Russia with him. I think the Japanese would be willing to attack Russia from the Pacific, if the Germans and Italians invaded the Soviet union through Europe.

Hitler could have waited until the until the Spring of 1940, to avoid getting stuck in a Russian winter. By the Wermacht and Luftwaffe could have built up a massive force. Italy could send troops to Germany, where they would disguise the movements of Italy and Germany doing "war games". It may raise a red flag to the Soviets but if Italy could mobilize a few hundred thousand men in a week, there would be no real time for the Soviet Union to react.
As mentioned by others Poland was in the way. Such an attack could only have been made by conquering Poland first. Secondly Italy was not the slightest bit interested in attacking Russia. Mussolini wanted to dismantle the French and Brtish empires in ther Middle East attacking Russia would not further any goals that Mussolini had. Mussolini in fact joined Hitler at the tail end of the French campaign when he hoped that the French and Brtish Colonial empires would be ripe for plucking. An invasion of Russia interested Mussolini not at all.

The fact is the conquest of western Europe gave Germany immense resources and enabled Hitler to massively build up his forces. Any army that Hitler would have built up by the Spring of 1940 would have much smaller than what was hurled against Russia in 1941. The result would have been a much quicker German defeat in 1940 than was in fact the case. Further Hitler would have had to leave forces in the west anyway. As for Japan attacking. possible but not likely. In the late 1930's Russia had throughly thrashed Japan in a border war and Japan was up to her eyeballs in China adding the Soviet Union to her enemies would have been considered a very ricky move. This senario is unlikely.

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Once 5 million German and Italian troops are in country, Japan could launch a major assault on Russia from the Pacific. Drawing the Red Army to the opposite side of the country. After about a week, most of the Soviets would be concentrated on the far East side of Russia and the largest land invasion in the history of mankind could take place. It would only take a day to roll through Poland and into the Soviet Union. The Luftwaffe could bomb Russian bases, factories and transportation routes, day and night. Relentless bombing.
Italian troops are unlikely in the first place. 5 million is anlikely number to have available for an invasion of Russia in 1940. Oh and spring is a bad time to invade Russia, for spring has turned the rioads to muck. Given the vast distances of Siberia any Japanese attack would have quickly run out os steam and the Russians would never have transported the bulk of their army to the east, besides such a process would have taken months. As for bombing bases, transportation routes, factories the German aitforce lacked the capacity to bomb factories in a territiory as large as European Russia, as for tranportation nodes etc, they could only do so within at most 300 kilometers of the border before their efforts were disapated. Even after the total surprise of Barbariossa German air power failed to be very important after the first month or so except on a local tactical basis.

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If executed well enough, I don't see how the Soviets could keep from collapsing and losing the war by the end of summer 1940. Unless the Soviets got some help, but who would come to their rescue? Once the USSR is conquered, Hitler could move his forces back and strike whatever kind of deal the Japanese would like. I'm sure they would ask for assistance in a future war against the United States, where Hitler could say, "Wait until I conquer Europe. Then we will gang up on the Americans. I'll attack on the East coast U.S. and you can take them on the West."
Since I find it very unlikely that Germany could have accumulated the resources to attack the Soviet Union in 1940 and no going through Poland would not have taken a "day", I suspect the Soviet Union would have survived. After all during the second world war it mangaged to build up by december 1941 a significant manpower superiority ov er the Germans, which increased as the war went on, but throughout the war maintained a million man army in Siberia to contain the Japanese. And given the vast distances of European Russia let alone siberia I frankly doubt the German ability to conquer Russia. They were hoping for a state c9ollapse which was from the start rather unlikely. I suspect at best they could hope for was a stalemate. AS for an attack on the Us east coast. Very unlikely. The ecomomic resources of the USA were immense any attempt to invade would have been soundly crushed. Hitler would have had significant problems holding on to his gains an invasion of the USA would have been a non-starter. Even if the Siviet Union had been disposed of there would still have been the British empire with America supporting her.

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With the Soviet Union out of the picture first, France and Britain would be in DEEP trouble. Unless they could get the United States involved. If the U.S. stays out of it, then Hitler could roll right through the French. The British would be a little tougher, but they'd eventually lose once Hitler could neutralize the British Navy and find a way across the English channel. Hitler could also re-arm Soviet POWs and send them to the front lines.
Thus it is unlikely that France and Britain would have stood aside. Given that the French, despite post war myth were NOT pushovers in 1940, I doubt it. Given that Hitler at best would have had a stalemate in the east I doubt he would have even tried to attack France under those circumstances. Hitler would not likely have been able to negate the Brtish navy, esspecially in the french navy had joined the British and it is all too likely American support would easily have been forthcoming to Britain. Soviet POW's would almost certainly not have been interested in fighting for Hitler against the British and French without massive coercion and their combat value would have been very low. And given how Hiler had Soviet POW's treated most would have been in very bad shape if not dead. THe policy of shootingt and starving to death Soviet POW's was one that Hitler carried out and a policy supported by the great majority of the German Generals, who loathsome duty was to carry it out.

The speculation of using Soviet POW's by the millions in combat goes back to hoary old myths that if H8itler had come as a liberator the Soviet Union would have collapsed. Well that is similar to saying if rained in the desert we would have more flowers. All this speculation requires is that Hitler not be Hitler, ( And the German Generals not have posionious anti-slave attitudes) and all would be well. It is fantasy.

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Once Europe is taken, the only thing left is the United States (and Canada) but Canada would have been fighting in Europe already, aiding the U.K. So its likely most of the Canadian military would have been destroyed by this time. If the U.S. had not gotten involved early, or at least started a massive military build-up once Hitler went after France and Britain. It's likely the Germans, Japanese and Italians could take the United States.
Unlikely in the extreme, the Canadian military was not in Euope in large numbers until 1944, so theire was no large military to be destroyed earlier. Further the economic resources of the USA were so large I doubt the ability of any combination of powers to sucessfully invade the USA in the 1940's. Oh and the USA disd start a military build up in 1938.

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I know this plan seems unlikely, as one simple difference could change the entire outcome. Like France and Britain aiding the Soviet Union before they could be defeated. Or the United States getting involved in Europe before Hitler could take France, etc.

For the record, i'm not a Hitler lover. I think the guy was a complete nutjob and aside from Stalin, the most evil man in history. Anyway, how do you think Nazi Germany could have successfully conquered Europe or even the entire world? If you think it was possible, even if the odds were very slim..?
I agree it is very unlikely. In fact a German victory in World War II once they attacked Russia was very unlikely indeed.
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Old 25th October 2012, 06:08 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
Ta. That's what I was thinking. Could this then be seen as one of the main reasons Schicklgruber invaded Russia?
If you believe Mein Kampf, yes. European Russia was vacant of Aryan life, and thus to be considered up for grabs.
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Old 25th October 2012, 09:12 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
That is more myth than fact. It was hard-pressed at times, but near collapse it was not. Fighter Command actually ended the Battle of Britain stronger than when it had entered it.
Has anyone mentioned that as the fighting was in the skies over the UK, RAF pilots who survived being shot down were soon back in action, often the same day, while Luftwaffe ones were taken prisoner? And of course planes can be built faster than pilots can be trained.
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Old 26th October 2012, 01:04 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Has anyone mentioned that as the fighting was in the skies over the UK, RAF pilots who survived being shot down were soon back in action, often the same day, while Luftwaffe ones were taken prisoner? And of course planes can be built faster than pilots can be trained.
This!

As long as the losses in battles themselves would be somewhere even, the Royal Airforce could never be defeated in the Battle of Britain.

Hard pressed yes. Suffering setbacks, yes.
But succumbing to the attrition instead of the Luftwaffe? No.
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Old 26th October 2012, 02:59 AM   #188
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Originally Posted by Krikkiter View Post
I knew this much. Also, as the German's began their lame attempt at assembling the invasion craft the RAF were bombing the crap out of them while they were in harbours and rivers.



Had no idea about this. Was there a name for it so I can look it up? Sounds really interesting!
Try here, here and here. It was run by Paddy Griffith.

Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Just google sealion wargame sandhurst or similar.

There is a fictionalised novel based on it but I cant remember its name.

I do have a gripe with it though, and we had a thread about it some while ago, but the whole thing starts with "And so the Germans, they land on the beaches, yeh?" which neatly misses out the principle difficulty the Germans would have faced which was actually getting across the channel.

As Captain_Swoop mentioned, they were going to try and cross the channel in few hundred Rhine barges. Most of which were unpowered so would have to be towed. It would have taken well over 12 hours to cross meaning at least a portion of the journey would have to have been undertaken in daylight. And crossing the channel with its currents, sandbanks, shoals and tides with that motley collection of barges at night is just insane in any case.

The whole concept is ludicrous beyond belief.
The novel is Richard Cox's Operation Sealion.
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"The German Paratroops jumped at dawn, as they had done in Holland, in Belgium, in Norway. But this time there were more of them. Nearly 8000 Fallschirmjager of the 7th Fliegerdivision, carried by a stream of 600 Junkers 52 transports.

The time was 6 o'clock on the morning of September 22nd 1940, just a few minutes after the official sunrise on a grey cloudy, windless day.

Below the long lines of aircraft the unwontedly calm sea was dark with the countless barges and motorboats of the invasion fleet. By breakfastime close on 90,000 troops were successfully ashore on the beaches between Folkestone and Seaford. Operation Sealion had begun."

Few of the studies or wargames of Sealion factor in Churchill's enthusiasm about chemical weapons; the landing beaches would likely have been drenched with Britain's limited stocks of phosgene and sulphur mustard.
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Old 26th October 2012, 03:10 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
I dunno. I've always heard the story goes as Fighter Command was pretty close to being defeated, they were not able to produce enough planes to match losses, when the Luftwaffe changed tactics to terror bombing.
Not really, I suggest you look over this symposium on the BoB for a good overview.
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Old 26th October 2012, 03:41 AM   #190
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Germany wasn't realy aware of the Chain Home rader system. Mention has been made of the Zeppelin mission before the war. An Airship with scientists and electronics aboard flew up and down the North Sea listening for British Radar. they were however expecting it to resemble their own systems. Chain Home was on a lot longer wavelength and it had a frequency that was the same as the Power grid. It also used a 'Phased Array' rather than a rotating Antenna.
they did detect the transmissions but thought they were seeing interference from the electricity power grid and discounted it.

Attack on the radar Stations was expected and provision had been made for it.
If the radar stations had been hit they had good overlap and there were portable sets ready to fill any gaps while repairs were made. Ventnor for example had a semi portable backup station all of its own as it was in a voulnerable location.
Chain Home stations were also well hardened against attack with widely distributed backup generators etc.

Good links
http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/s...or/index.shtml
Ventnor Chain Home Station as it is now and then.

http://www.radarpages.co.uk/
History of RAF Radar.

Don't forget the British captured a German Radar station in a commando raid. Scientists went on the raid to identify and seize the important equipment.

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Old 26th October 2012, 04:17 AM   #191
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And if the Germans had landed then they would have been totally confused and demoralised by the cunning removal of all the road signs before being picked off by the Home Guard.
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Old 26th October 2012, 05:21 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
And if the Germans had landed then they would have been totally confused and demoralised by the cunning removal of all the road signs before being picked off by the Home Guard.
Was similar removal of road signs and other geographical indicators practiced by the Germans late in the war, when their own country was invaded from east and west? I can't find any reference to this.
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Old 26th October 2012, 07:51 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Not really, I suggest you look over this symposium on the BoB for a good overview.
I've skimmed through that article (I'll read in full when I have time), and even it states "And, whilst talking of civilians, let us not forget those who suffered in the bombing of towns and cities, as Hitler's forces were directed away from a potentially winning strategy. It may not have been generally realised, at the time, that their prolonged period of trial was in fact a consequence of Nazy Germany's first major defeat." - pg 97

Was the battle on a "knife edge" with the RAF ready to collapse any day in late summer 1940? No. It seems newer research on the battle generally concludes that it was never even close to being lost, but older histories make a case that it was much closer. I'll quote a paragraph from wikipedia:

Other scholars assert that this period was the most dangerous of all. In The Narrow Margin, published in 1961, historians Derek Wood and Derek Dempster believed that the two weeks from 24 August to 6 September represented a real danger. According to them, from 24 August to 6 September 295 fighters had been totally destroyed and 171 badly damaged, against a total output of 269 new and repaired Spitfires and Hurricanes. They assert that 103 pilots were killed or missing and 128 were wounded, which represented a total wastage of 120 pilots per week out of a fighting strength of just fewer than 1,000. They conclude that during August no more than 260 fighter pilots were turned out by OTUs and casualties in the same month were just over 300. A full squadron establishment was 26 pilots whereas the average in August was 16. In their assessment, the RAF was losing the battle.[170] Denis Richards, in his 1953 contribution to the official British account History of the Second World War, agreed that lack of pilots, especially experienced ones, was the RAF's greatest problem. He states that between 8 and 18 August 154 RAF pilots were killed, severely wounded, or missing, while only 63 new pilots were trained. Available aircraft was also a serious issue. While its reserves during the Battle of Britain never declined to a half dozen planes as some later claimed, Richards describes 24 August to 6 September as the critical period because during these two weeks Germany destroyed far more aircraft through its attacks on 11 Group's southeast bases than Britain was producing. Three more weeks of such a pace would indeed have exhausted aircraft reserves. Germany had seen heavy losses of pilots and aircraft as well, however, thus its shift to nighttime attacks in September. On 7 September RAF aircraft losses fell below British production and remained so until the end of the war.

I maintain that with better pre-war planning and production, it's not beyond the realm of possibility, that Germany defeats the RAF.
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Old 26th October 2012, 08:04 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
And if the Germans had landed then they would have been totally confused and demoralised by the cunning removal of all the road signs before being picked off by the Home Guard.
The men of the Home Guard were a tough, capable, well oiled, deadly fighting force, more than capable of defeating the Fallschirmjäger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD4EtvzBAsM
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Old 26th October 2012, 08:13 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
I've skimmed through that article (I'll read in full when I have time), and even it states "And, whilst talking of civilians, let us not forget those who suffered in the bombing of towns and cities, as Hitler's forces were directed away from a potentially winning strategy. It may not have been generally realised, at the time, that their prolonged period of trial was in fact a consequence of Nazy Germany's first major defeat." - pg 97

Was the battle on a "knife edge" with the RAF ready to collapse any day in late summer 1940? No. It seems newer research on the battle generally concludes that it was never even close to being lost, but older histories make a case that it was much closer. I'll quote a paragraph from wikipedia:

Other scholars assert that this period was the most dangerous of all. In The Narrow Margin, published in 1961, historians Derek Wood and Derek Dempster believed that the two weeks from 24 August to 6 September represented a real danger. According to them, from 24 August to 6 September 295 fighters had been totally destroyed and 171 badly damaged, against a total output of 269 new and repaired Spitfires and Hurricanes. They assert that 103 pilots were killed or missing and 128 were wounded, which represented a total wastage of 120 pilots per week out of a fighting strength of just fewer than 1,000. They conclude that during August no more than 260 fighter pilots were turned out by OTUs and casualties in the same month were just over 300. A full squadron establishment was 26 pilots whereas the average in August was 16. In their assessment, the RAF was losing the battle.[170] Denis Richards, in his 1953 contribution to the official British account History of the Second World War, agreed that lack of pilots, especially experienced ones, was the RAF's greatest problem. He states that between 8 and 18 August 154 RAF pilots were killed, severely wounded, or missing, while only 63 new pilots were trained. Available aircraft was also a serious issue. While its reserves during the Battle of Britain never declined to a half dozen planes as some later claimed, Richards describes 24 August to 6 September as the critical period because during these two weeks Germany destroyed far more aircraft through its attacks on 11 Group's southeast bases than Britain was producing. Three more weeks of such a pace would indeed have exhausted aircraft reserves. Germany had seen heavy losses of pilots and aircraft as well, however, thus its shift to nighttime attacks in September. On 7 September RAF aircraft losses fell below British production and remained so until the end of the war.

I maintain that with better pre-war planning and production, it's not beyond the realm of possibility, that Germany defeats the RAF.
As has been pointed out that's much harder than it looks and again it falls down on the same problem that Hitler wasn't planning for war with Britain. Even if the Luftwaffe gained air superiority over Southern England for a while the Heer and Kriegsmarine didn't have the means to exploit it. Hitler hoped Britain would see reason(from his perspective) and come to terms.
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Old 26th October 2012, 08:23 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
As has been pointed out that's much harder than it looks and again it falls down on the same problem that Hitler wasn't planning for war with Britain. Even if the Luftwaffe gained air superiority over Southern England for a while the Heer and Kriegsmarine didn't have the means to exploit it. Hitler hoped Britain would see reason(from his perspective) and come to terms.
Oh, never did I say an invasion had any real chance of success, it ludicrous to suggest that. The RN had 16 Battleships/Battlecruisers to Germany's 3 (Tirpitz wasn't yet commissioned) + 3 "Pocket BB's" in summer of 1940. They wouldn't have had a chance.
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Old 26th October 2012, 09:34 AM   #197
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One thing I have read is that the Battle of Moscow was won when the Soviets transported troops from the far east back to Moscow. These troops were well trained and equipped (by Soviet standards, at least); relativily fresh and organized. Those were a big component of the troops that held the line and pushed the Germans back from Moscow.

If Japan had avoided war with the U.S. for a bit longer, and maintained a threatening posture towards the Soviet far east for a while longer, would those far-eastern troops have been delayed from reaching Moscow? If so, would the Soviets still be able to hold on to Moscow - and if not, would the loss of Moscow make the collapse of the Soviet government or military more likely?

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Old 26th October 2012, 10:48 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Was similar removal of road signs and other geographical indicators practiced by the Germans late in the war, when their own country was invaded from east and west? I can't find any reference to this.
I suspect this is where they went wrong. Had they removed the signs pointing to Berlin the Allies would have wandered endlessly in circles once they crossed into the Reich.

But seriously, I can't conjour up a scene of bemused tank commanders staring fixedly at the crossroads, shaking their heads in disbelief at the enemy's resourcefulness.
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Old 26th October 2012, 10:55 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
I suspect this is where they went wrong. Had they removed the signs pointing to Berlin the Allies would have wandered endlessly in circles once they crossed into the Reich.

But seriously, I can't conjour up a scene of bemused tank commanders staring fixedly at the crossroads, shaking their heads in disbelief at the enemy's resourcefulness.
I see your point! So why was it done in the UK?
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Old 26th October 2012, 12:45 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Has anyone mentioned that as the fighting was in the skies over the UK, RAF pilots who survived being shot down were soon back in action, often the same day, while Luftwaffe ones were taken prisoner?

The advantage of fighting defensively over one's own territory.


Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
As long as the losses in battles themselves would be somewhere even, the Royal Airforce could never be defeated in the Battle of Britain.

Hard pressed yes. Suffering setbacks, yes.
But succumbing to the attrition instead of the Luftwaffe? No.

The heavy fighting on August 18, 1940, is representative of the kind of losses endured by both sides during the battle. On that day 38 RAF fighters were destroyed while the Luftwaffe lost 69. In terms of aircrew, the RAF had 30 casualties (11 killed, 19 wounded) while the Luftwaffe had 159 (94 killed, 40 captured, 25 wounded). Thus for every four RAF fighters destroyed the Luftwaffe lost seven aircraft, and for every one RAF casualty inflicted the Luftwaffe suffered five.

If the Luftwaffe had managed to break the back of Fighter Command, it would have been itself broken—a Pyrrhic victory.
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