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German Army discussion (from Great Quotes III)

Discussion in 'World History' started by Kyriakos, May 19, 2017.

  1. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    Yeah
    According to dutch intelligence the german plans changed 17 times, the last one executed.
    Getting control of the harbors of both Rotterdam and Antwerpen made sense, getting control of the airbases as well.

    The bombing of Rotterdam on May 14, destroyed the old centre, killed 600-900 and made 80.000 homeless.
    However terrible... not yet a high war casualty.

    We did not call the bluf of Hitler
    we should have continued to buy time
     
  2. Gen.Mannerheim

    Gen.Mannerheim Grand Moff

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    I think that holding out longer would have been unrealistic by 39-40. The problems with the Dutch wasn't the numbers. In terms of population, men under arms, and geography the Dutch have historically been particularly suited to a defensive war. Indeed they owe their existence to it. The problem in WWII was in equipment. Dutch military procurement have been abysmal in the 1930's. Many contemporary commenters noted that the KL looked unprepared for a war on a 1918 scale, not just for the late 30's. Outdated rifles, a messily 5 tanketts, and an airforce made up of mostly decades old biplanes (It should be noted that biplane tech was in itself not entirely outdated, both the British and Italians had 1930's model biplanes still in use at the start of WWII).

    Military buildup was handicapped by the Depression, which the Dutch had a harder time dealing with than most other Western European nations for various reasons, as well as their relationship with Germany. While nobody serious was arguing for an alliance with Berlin, the ruling conservatives had historically been pro-German and Germany was (and possibly still is) the Dutch's biggest trading partner. Any Dutch buildup would have been seen internationally as being directed against Germany, and the Dutch government didn't want to risk it with a trigger happy Hitler Germany. Also, most Dutch military contracts were placed with Germany companies, so when the Dutch finally started to build up in 38-39, unsurprisingly the Germans "took their time" filling the orders.

    The best chance for the Dutch holding out would have been to actually join the Allies when they offered it in 39. This would have opened up the Dutch military to British & French resources, military planning, and probably would have led to filling orders with the Americans and South America instead of Germany.
     
  3. PhroX

    PhroX Chieftain

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    For the Dutch to hold out, I see two things as necessary. First, and most importantly, France holds out (i.e. the attack through the Ardennes fails and the German attacks are bogged down in more static fighting, not just a trapped force fighting to the last). If the Germans can bring their full military force against the Dutch, the latter are screwed no matter what they do. But if the French are holding, then they are going to be the Germans prime objective and the latter might well judge "Fortress Holland" to much effort to attack immediately. Secondly, all the bridges over the Water Line need to be destroyed - historically, some of those to the south had the demolition charges disarmed so as to ensure they weren't accidentally detonated when the Anglo-French troops arrived. Inevitably, the Germans got there first and promptly seized the bridges, leaving a simple way past the main Dutch defensive line. With an intact Water Line and Germany focusing its main force elsewhere - particularly if Britain can help with air defense by transferring a couple of squadrons of fighters across the Channel - Holland can probably last for as long as the French do.
     
  4. Gen.Mannerheim

    Gen.Mannerheim Grand Moff

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    Another aspect that bears remembering, is that one of the major reasons that France fell so quickly was because the Netherlands were attacked. The German attack caused the Allies, particularly the French, to over commit in their rush into the Low Countries. French armored elements even reached Rotterdam. This drew French units further away from the Germans intended main thrust, thus depriving the Allies of real reserve close at hand that they would have had if they only had to defend Belgium.
     
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  5. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    The army was indeed subpar compared to others.
    And guns ordered at Krupp did not came ofc.
    But the bunkers, well placed in the wetlands, were there.

    Some figures:
    NL did spend about the same % of GDP as for example UK.
    In NL a constant level of 2% after the war with belgium early 19th century, peaking to 6% during WW1 (conscription cost I guess). back to 2% and from 1932 sharply rising to 4%.
    UK, also a nation with expensive colonial military cost like NL, is at 3% of GDP, flat up to 1939, peaking to over 40% during WW1 and WW2.
    So all in all a slightly lower % of GDP during peace, but of a country with lower GDP per head, also because of the economical poor situation, as you describe.

    Political.... joining that Anglo-French Alliance...
    NL had during WW1 succes with her policy of neutrality.
    I guess they did not want to risk that option.

    But all that is for me not good enough a reason to walk out of a fight before it has really started !!!
    BY not surrendering directly, they would have forced the position of Germany.
    And bought time.... perhaps a week. But that's a lot.

    When I was looking into those figures I stumbled on info of Colijn, former army officer, oil business, Dutch Indies governing background, PM in 1925-1926 and from 1932-1939 (after him came a Chamberlain type).
    Colijn's opinion in May 1940 was: "perhaps it is better to be under a longer lasting German government".
    (He died BTW in German exile in 1944)
     

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    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  6. historix69

    historix69 Chieftain

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    The full story of Czechoslovakia has more details :

    (As far as I recall from my memory ...)

    Using the new idea of self-determination, after end of WW1 and the resulting destruction of the Russian, Austrian-Hungarian, Osman and partial German Empire numerous new small nations/states were founded or reestablished.
    Among these were Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, German-Austria, Hungaria, Yugoslavia (Greater Serbia), ... border lines were undefined and battled in early 1920s.
    After WW1, France, Czechoslovakia, and other states formed several defensive alliances targeted against Germany, German-Austria and Hungary to prevent a restoration of German, Habsburg or Hungarian power, e.g. France, Czechoslovakia and Poland against Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania (supported by France) against Hungary, while German-Austria was surrounded by Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Italy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Entente

    An early attempt to unite the Germans from Germany and German-Austria after WW1 in one nation was prohibited by the allies (violating the idea of self-determination).
    In early 1938 Hitler united Nazi-Germany and his home-country Austria (after gaining Mussolini's support during the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyssinia_Crisis )
    (Note : Many historians call it the "rape" of Austria ...)
    Hitler's next goal was the incorporation of the german settled territories of Czechoslovakia called Sudetenland by using the idea of self-determination. The Germans in Czechoslovakia were cooperating with Nazi Germany.

    Czechoslovakia was a former part of Austria-Hungary, a small state with around 6.7 million czechs, more than 3 million Germans and around 2 million slovaks. While it was seen as a democracy, german and slovak minorities felt dominated by the czechs.
    Benez, the Czech leader, mobilized the czech army in May 1938 in fear of a German invasion and called for French, British (and Soviet?) support. Shortly afterwards, probably in response to the czech mobilization, Hitler ordered secret preparations for an optional invasion of Czechoslovakia in October.
    In end of September, Germany, France, Britain and Italy agreed on the Munich agreement which forced Czechoslovakia to cede territories with minorities to Germany, Poland and Hungary. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement )
    This was hard for Czechoslovakia since it was allied with Britain and France. Benez resigned.
    The ceded territory included the czechs fortifications against a German attack.

    In 1939, March 14th the slovaks split from Czechoslovakia, forming a pro-Nazi-state Slovakia. Czech president Hacha went to Berlin on negotations and was talked by Hitler into capitulation. Hacha surrendered the rest of Czechoslovakia without fight. German troops occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. During the war it was known as protectorate Bohemia and Moravia.
    Slovakian troops took part in the Poland Campaign in September 1939.

    Become friend with Italy, uniting with German-Austria and taking out Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1938/39 were major steps by Hitler to destroy the French post-WW1 defensive (offensive?) security system targeted against Germany.

    In 1944/45, Czechoslovakia was liberated by Soviet Union.
    After the war, Czechoslovakia was rebuild, most of the 3 million Germans were removed in ethnic cleansing (around 15.000 civilians killed (official number)) with disappropriation.

    Czechoslovakia stayed in Soviet Union's zone of influence until 1989.
    1968 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_Spring
    In 1993, Czechs and Slovaks split in two separate states.

    Czechoslovakia (Greater Czech), Yugoslavia (Greater Serbia) and Poland (Greater Poland) can be seen as failed multi-national national states born by the unfortunate treaty of Versailles.
    (In the 1920/30s a third of Poland's population were minorities, among them Germans, Belorussian, Ukrainians, partly caused by gain in territory after the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish–Soviet_War . Around a million Germans left the territories ceded to Poland after WW1. Stalin later liberated the russian and ukrainian minorities/ lost territories in 1939/45.
    Yugoslavia was occupied in 1941 by German Wehrmacht and suffered a bloody civil war / partisan war (1.7 million killed) until around 1945 between several ethnic and political groups, e.g. pro-Nazi-croats, communists, serb-partisans fighting communists. Later around 1992 Yugoslavia was dissolved after another civil war between serbs and the other ethnic groups.)

    The idea of self-determination is difficult. I think today people believe more in ethnic cleansing by the more powerful ethnic groups.

    Regarding Greece.
    Greece had a hard time after WW1 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Turkish_War_(1919–1922)
    Nazi-Germany would have preferred a neutral Greece during WW2. The failed italian attack (1940) and british troops in Greece forced the Wehrmacht in 1941 to occupy Greece to protect the flanks for the war against Soviet Union and the romanian oil fields. In fact Nazi-Germany would have also preferred a neutral ITALY during WW2. (Hitler was working on a treaty with spain, france and italy but failed due to italy's unreasonable requests on french territory.)
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  7. historix69

    historix69 Chieftain

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    When the French planned the Maginot Line, they left the belgian border by purpose undefended. It was expected by the French, that the Germans would avoid Maginot Line and would attack through Belgium and that French soldiers then could help the belgians to defend Belgium. The French could so avoid fighting on French territory. (No damage to France) It was a way to draw Belgium (and Netherlands) and Britain into a French-German war like in 1914.

    If the French would have lengthened the Maginot-Line to the sea, the Germans could not have used the Manstein-Plan and probably would have attacked France straight, leaving Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg neutral. A full Maginot-Line would have allowed the French to keep a large reserve and react on a german attack. One could say that the French fell into their own trap.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  8. Gen.Mannerheim

    Gen.Mannerheim Grand Moff

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    The Allies in WWI were perhaps the poster child of hypocritical foreign policy. From the illegal British blockade (and interdiction of Neutral ships), to violating the rights of Neutral nations (Greece), and only applying the principals of "self-determination" to the determent of the former Central Powers and not to the benefit of all oppressed peoples, the Allies track record was pretty shabby.

    The French army of 39-40 could be a case-study in how being a "modern technological army" can be a false shield. For example, the French had large numbers of armored units and were considered "well-drilled". However, when entering into combat against the Germans, their tank platoon tactics proved to be completely inadequate for modern tank warfare.
     
  9. r16

    r16 not deity

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    not invading Netherlands was seen as a "mistake" by about 1920 . It was to be a perfect operation in the Nazi sense , Brandenburgers masquerading as Dutch troops and SS taking the honours as doing it all . And just to be an annoyance Meuse is the "feint" and Low Countries is the "real" . Adolf ordered Schwerpunkt changed only on the 14th or so when Germans discovered they had succeded in feinting , and on the scale of more than their wildest dreams . Rotterdam did not hurry anything either .
     
  10. r16

    r16 not deity

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    uhmm ... Hullo ? Hullo , anyone hears me ? In case nobody has noticed , ı have been saying the narrative over the last 75 years and hence 10 000 books are wrong and that Germans did not expect to defeat the Allies by making it to the Channel and did not plan anything to that end , but were both surprised and yet ready when the opportunity presented itself ... And not a single LOL what ?
     
  11. Wastl

    Wastl Chieftain

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    Well, it's obviously complete nonsense. There was no change in "Schwerpunkt" on the 14th. You can't just change that on a whim, nor would it have been possible to move the units around in the middle of an operation that relied on speed. The low countries were the feint, they were never supposed to be more than that in this plan. Germany relied on movement, and all the troops capable of quick movement were assigned to the ardennes.

    What they didn't forsee, was that the Allied plan played right into their hands. This move allowed to cut off far more units than had been planned. Hitler was ecstatic that the allies actually walked right into the trap, as he wasn't sure whether they would actually do that. At no point did they change the Schwerpunkt of the operation. The early stages of Manstein's plan had a somewhat bigger tank force head into the northern parts of Belgium, but that had been dropped by the time the operation was actually happening.
     
  12. r16

    r16 not deity

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    thanks for the nonsense part .

    well , obviously it's about the expectation that the Allies would see the massive relocation of the mobile forces to Sedan , a location would allow the Germans to turn to take the Maginot line from the back or even turn to the Channel . Am pretty sure the plan was modified over time after lack of any interest from the Allies and 3 Panzer Divisions became something like 6 , with hopes that they would be spotted , now ... And a change of concentration of air attacks is certainly possible . Even if that would be merely semantics in itself , a full retreat of Guderian behind Meuse would have been totally acceptable if the feint had succeeded in netting Belgium and the Netherlands .
     
  13. historix69

    historix69 Chieftain

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    If you are interested in this theme I recommend :
    2005 : Karl-Heinz Frieser : The Blitzkrieg Legend: The Campaign in the West, 1940

    For additional insight into the German position you can also look directly into the books of the famous German Generals :
    Manstein, Guderian, Rommel (posthumous in "The Rommel Papers")
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
  14. r16

    r16 not deity

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    am the same idiot that ı was back in 2008 . ı didn't change ; the world did . Or haven't and has ; grammar was never a strong point of mine . The discipline of history requires ... Well , ı have never been able to choose whether it's an art or a science , such debates are far too advanced for me . Yeah , the discipline requires evidence and some quantifiable background to let people decide whether they should take you seriously . The background stuff in spoilers , while the gist of argument follows .


    as ı have been long saying , am a guy that has one book on one subject and come up with stuff , many of it pointless . The book in question is a kinda short one on Armour , combining articles by 10 persons with 7 of them teaching at Sandhurst in around 1989 . This ı believe to be the place where British Army officers are trained . The guy am about to qoute , just a moment later , is though an Hauptmann in the Bundeswehr at the time , working at their history department . The German Army Groups are named B, A and C , lined respectively from the North Sea to the Swiss border . B will advance on the Low Countries and secure the Ruhr from aerial attack , both by defensive measures and threatening England through bomber attacks through the airbases captured . Everybody sees this is the best they can do and of course the Anglo-French armies will simply flood into Belgium . If the neutrality of the Dutch is at risk , much better , they will simply even go deeper . Speed is essential so all the Panzers are allocated to B . Enter von Manstein . The chief of staff to von Rundstedt's A , he is fully aware that as a full infantry formation their laurels will end up short if they don't get some panzers . With less depth of an invasion at the pace of a walking man . Soooner or later they are to meet the French tanks , too . He comes up with the Ardennes , unsuitable for tank operations . Guderian concurs . Hey , wait , turns out ı have a second book . Let's call them 1 for the first and 2 for the second which was written by Charles Messenger .


    "In the meantime Hitler had been considering a subsidiary operation in this direction [north of Sedan], and it was agreed one panzer division would be allocated to von Rundstedt." (2)

    "Indicative of the growing influence of von Manstein's plan was an amendment to the operation order of 29 October:

    'All precautions will be taken to enable the main weight of the attack to be switched from Army Group B to Army Group A should the disposition of enemy forces at any time suggest that Army Group A could achieve greater success.'

    A few days earlier Hitler had agreed to transfer the whole of Guderian's XIX Corps, which now consisted of three panzer divisions... to von Rundstedt."(2)

    then the Mechelen incident , where the German war plans end up in the hands of the Allies at January 10 , 1940 . A series of war games played through out January and February , Hitler briefed in person by von Manstein and the "final plan was issued on 24 February 1940." (2) He then goes on to discuss the operations in accordance to the narrative . Meanwhile


    "When, in February 1940, Hitler ordered the Army High Command to draw up an operations order based on Manstein's concept (without actually presenting it as Manstein's) OKH not only concurred but made an even more radical shift of the Schwerpunkt to the South than Manstein had wanted." (1)

    "The German High Command was hoping for a breakthrough at Sedan that would result in a bridgehead on the left bank of Meuse. But its final operational order did not stipulate how things would develop beyond that point. Indeed the plan entailed such obvious risks that a successful breakthrough could not itself be guaranteed. The long columns of tanks might, for example, be disrupted by Allied air attack during their passage through the Ardennes. There were also fears that, even in the event of a successful breakthrough, an immediate advance deep into France (towards the Channel coast, for example) would leave a long and wide open left flank with the communications of the valuable panzer divisions virtually unprotected from any attack from the south." (1)


    ı have taken the liberty of bolding that relevant part ...



    after "a bridgehead [was] established, Guderian was left with a critical decision. As we have noted, his orders contained no instructions as how to proceed once breakthrough had been affected. He could have spent time securing his southern flank. Instead, considering that the French would be unable to threaten that flank before the [German] infantry divisions had caught up, he decided to drive on towards the Channel coast." (1)


    books quoted , r16 stuff begins . Guderian might also have turned behind the Maginot line , "achieve its destruction" and faciliate the advance of Mussolini's "legions" . But because the sicklecut was so brilliant in its final achievement , the narrative has completely ignored the rest and insists it was the only one at all . The second book certainly believes thus when writing in order "to keep the cream of the Franco-British Armies, tied up in Belgium, Hitler, in his Directive No 11 dated 14 May ordered Army Group B to continue to apply pressure, although acknowledging that the main advance was to be made by Army Group A, to whom all panzer and mechanised divisions would be transferred as they became available."


    what happened ? The Dutch have surrendered while the first panzers have crossed the Meuse . Luftwaffe has discovered there are no 400-450 mph Spitfires , at least for the duration and the Allies are fast as the average snail . They have no concept of the tankspeed , while the Germans had marched "thousands" of tanks into Austria and spent years to improve their logistics accordingly . Proving the whole in Poland . No sign of advanced anti-tank measures either in the Allied camp . Thus becomes Guderian's massive raid , the very feint , the schwerpunkt of the entire offensive . Destruction of the limited means of Allied CAS planes over the extremely well defended bridges and choke points allow the Germans to travel at will over France . As the French Army disintegrates with the constant hammering it receives . Now that the penny packets of French armour are merely tactical distractions that get the full Stuka package . De Gaulle , the prophet of the French Armoured theory , will certainly edit his passages that tactical aircraft are nothing to worry about after his attempted attack on 19th of May gets crushed by dive bombers .


    what happens then ? We have the basic idea that there are no period documents that support that von Manstein invented the whole run to the Channel thing ; not only because there was no such thing in the first place . Except a general agreement that if everything was 150% perfect a turn to the coast might be attempted to envelop the Allies in Northern France and Belgium and starve them or something . Reading is always a good thing , one might see accounts of how all conquering 20th Century panzer divisions were practically helpless against Vauban fortifications and had to wait for infantry divisions happily marching on , days behind . Or the unwavering RN with its destroyers in gun duels with the panzers ; extremely concerned the Ju88 might prove to be a wonder weapon and sink some battleships , after the disturbing signs of capability in the Norwegian waters . There were battleships and Ju88s in 1944 and how that ended ?


    allies confident that they will weather the limited German attack and sit out the rest of the war as panicked Germans turn to East , before the mighty economy of the Democracies crush them . Any German attack to Sedan , even when fully leaked is nothing to be concerned of . Eben Emael falls , with the expected 5 day resistance of the Belgians cut down to one . The British merely send up an armoured car patrol to Bruxelles , arriving on the 2nd day of the battle , instead of the planned 5th . No doubt planned according to the speed of the marching infantry , while the French are still not in Belgium . This is their only concern , not some thousand panzers rolling onto the Meuse . It will take 9 or 10 days for the German infantry to march there and nobody can bridge a river without a solid infantry presence ; this , my friend , is the military science . Exactly why panzer divisions had their own infantry , but anyhow ... Yeah , which makes the brilliant German feint a failure , but then it was brilliantly turned into the main event .


    now the supporting stuff . A period piece , and let me say , a rather long wall of text at some 46KB ; which makes it about the lenght of 2 magazine articles . Well, being too long it didn't pass the forum software . Seems you can't post anything more than 30 000 words . Well , stuff one learns . That's in the post to come .


    well , it appears to be wrong in all the bridges over the Meuse were blown up by the French at least according to later sources and all those traitorous French troops fought to the best of their ability ; with the moral breakdown appearing only after the river line was crossed in a day or two , instead of the year or two it should have taken the Germans to do so . ı copy pasted it from a book trawled from the web . Compiled by some guy without much attention to the discipline of history , but possibly with a bit of Nazis Germans were supermen attitude ... Period stuff , from a different book ı learn the Allies made a PR priority of telling their masses that Luftwaffe was composed of starving youths ; some intel type who interrogated the first POWs off those Do-17 recon flights was appalled by that it was nothing of the sort . Hence the unnamed author above divides Luftwaffe into two : Experts who hit anything in contrast to the guys who can barely keep formation ... Fifth columnists and parachute troops are everywhere . Not in this book but the widespread reporting of them allowed Tommies to hide their warcrimes , in at least one case where flak guns hit a bomber and all those who parachuted out of it were fifth columnists , who were duly shot on the spot . Really ? No , only 3 came out of that Heinkel and two could not even open their chutes and the one executed was wearing civilian attire ... But at least later books provide less of a shock :


    Spoiler :
    "At 5.30 a.m. on 10 May 1940 German soldiers invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. On 14 May they crossed the River Meuse and drove into the heart of France. On 20 May they reached the Channel and Abbeville. The following day British forces attempted a counter-attack at Arras, but it failed and the British Expeditionary Force fell back to Dunkirk. On 24 May von Rundstedt halted the German Panzer forces outside Dunkirk, for reasons which have been controversial ever since. On 25 May Boulogne fell and on the 27th Calais followed. Next day Belgium surrendered. On 29 May Lille, Ostend and Ypres were over-run by the Germans. Between 27 May and 4 June, 338,000 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.




    On 12 June British forces surrendered at St Valéry-en-Caux. On 14 June Paris fell, and on 22 June France itself capitulated.



    At this time nobody, not even the Germans, could understand how or why all this could have happened..."


    happened because :



    "Disillusionment was now widespread. Before hostilities began the French Army was said to have a substantial number of 70-ton tanks, which would be more than a match for anything the Panzers could produce. The ‘substantial number’, thought to be in the region of a thousand, now turned out to be about twenty, but even these were not in evidence. The famous French 75-mm guns, which could have given the German tanks a warm reception at every bend in the road, were nowhere to be seen.


    It had been assumed that the Belgians would be able to hold the German attack; no one had dreamt of such lightning blows as that at Eben Emael. The French troops which had entered Belgium in company with the British were of vastly superior quality to those in the Meuse area, but when both advancing and withdrawing they were badly hampered in their movements by the flood of refugees. Swift and orderly progress became impossible."




    and let's just add what the Brits have been upto ...


    Spoiler :

    "Vickers had produced the 2-pdr gun in the Spring of 1938 with a great flourish of trumpets. Though small, it was explained to students at the Small Arms School at Netheravon, it was of an unbelievable power and could kill any tank with its solid slug. Originally it was intended as a weapon to be used by both the Royal Artillery and the infantry, but it was soon made plain that the infantry did not want it. Already it had been given, or promised, the Bren, the Boys rifle, the 2″ and 3″ mortars and a platoon of small tracked carriers. These were quite enough to be getting on with and battalion guns had been dropped two centuries before. In any event General Wavell was urging infantrymen to cultivate the arts of the gamekeeper, the poacher and cat-burglar, arts that did not depend upon possession of this clumsy and unfamiliar tool. Later on the cause was altered and infantry clamoured for guns. Martel, like some others, needed no warning that the 2-pdr might be just good enough to cope with the tanks of 1938 but that thicker armour against which it would be impotent could not be far off. He received no encouragement. A bigger tank gun meant carrying fewer rounds and an increase in the size of its turret. It would be better to wait until change was unavoidable.


    Then there was the matter of mines. These had proved their effectiveness in 1918 and were both cheap and easy to make. Infantry Training 1937 spoke airily of them, proclaiming mines to be Sapper business. In the summer of 1939 few, if any, British-made ones existed. During the first post-mobilization course at Hythe a few hours were taken up with digging holes in Sandling Park and laying the three which made up the Small Arms School’s stock. Two, shaped like slab cakes, were the British Mks I and II; the third, about the size and shape of a Stilton cheese, was called the French mine. The Instructors admitted handsomely that nobody knew very much about any of them. The Official History mentions the existence of mines in the arsenal of the BEF but nobody remembers encountering any.


    In July, 1939, there appeared Captain Liddell Hart’s new book The Defence of Britain. It implied that the ‘teething troubles’ of the Christie cruiser were over and praised the light tanks for being much better protected than their predecessors, and for having gone far towards beating the anti-tank gun. Mr Hore-Belisha’s guru must have known that this was stretching the truth... All the same, July, 1939, was not the time for outstanding candour about the state of British armour. The Germans were known to be regular readers"


    or

    "one company of Rifles who went off to war ‘in the vehicles of a travelling circus,including barred lions’ cages, all still bearing their striking, not to say blinding, decor of scarlet and gold’. Nobody seems to have remarked upon these being the colours of the 11th Hussars."


    "The capacity of mankind for deluding itself when it wants to is infinite...On paper the German Order of Battle did not disclose any great superiority in numbers or matériel. By the spring of 1940 they mustered on the western front 136 divisions, ten of them being armoured. The French opposed them with 101 divisions along with fifty-six tank battalions of varying degrees of effectiveness. The British divisions had reached the ominous figure of thirteen, the bulk of the infantry now coming from the Territorial Army. It has to be repeated that all this was on paper. The German Army was organized as an army. The Allies were not... The French, had their High Command known its business, could have put against them an equally formidable array, for they had fifty-six tank battalions to the German thirty-five; these varied greatly in establishments from eighty machines to a former cavalry regiment down to thirty-four in those equipped with the Char B, a tank better than anything opposed to it. Though the Rue Ste Dominique still dreamt wistfully of Napoleon, the grandees of the army had forgotten one of his sovereign maxims: ‘Scatter to forage; concentrate to fight’. It is easy to be highly critical of the French, but having regard to our own miserable contribution it is hardly becoming...It was a demonstration of how, whatever mathematicians may say, two parts can be greater than a whole. Most German tanks of 1940 were not particularly formidable; by the standards of four years later they were puny affairs. Minefields a fraction of the size of those to be used at Alamein would have halted them. Any piece of artillery could knock them out. That is, of course, on the assumption that both guns and gunners were in their proper places. It was the business of the other partner to see that they were not. The Ju 87 dive-bomber was easy meat to the fighters; even musketry and light automatic fire from the ground could keep it at arm’s length. When either the troops did not stand or the fighters were absent, however, the combination of Panzer and Stuka was irresistible. The sheer speed and surprise of numbers of aircraft, apparently with the eyesight of vultures and carrying punches almost equal to medium artillery, gave the tanks an easier run than anybody had bargained for – including General von Kleist, Guderian’s Chief. Gott indeed appeared to be Mit Uns, for the skies remained peacock blue throughout as the Stukas required them. A week of low cloud and rain might have altered things considerably.



    relevant as it is the part of the narrative am opposing here , even if altered over time . ı assume it's common knowledge that Liddell Hart was a PR power for Guderian in the warcrimes trials in return for the German's admittance that he had read it all in Hart's books . This is indeed where the supersmart German makes its appearance , deceiving the Allies that it's attacking in Belgium and had the British feel like paying attention they could have armoured divisions that would defeat the Wehrmacht , even without one single Frenchman taking part in the fight . History is very selective , you see , not even the most ardent Nazi fan ever takes note of the story in Liddell Hart , where 300 to 350 Fallschirmjaeger trick and bundle out 3000 to 3500 French infantry , British commandos and American rangers out of Medjez Al Bab or some place similarly named in Tunisia . Only because it's a masterful application of the ever conquering indirect approach , which Liddell Hart is a most believing supporter .



    and then von Manstein himself , with Russians after him for his total adherence to the Commissars order and the lot . Guderian offering some of the same protection by making him the originator of the concept to driving to the Channel , not as a guy who just wanted a Panzer division or two . In any case Rommel was to be the star of the show . With his Pour le Merite in Caparetto , then the Commander of Adolf's Leibstandarte or whatever , now invading Belgium , riding at the very front , crossing rivers in the first wave . Which was faciliated by his stealing of the bridging capacity of the 5th Panzer , in addition to the latter's PzKw IVs and then complaining the latter had fallen behind and was not protecting his flanks . Then facing the British counterstrike at Arras . Once again lucky that his Nazi regiment bolted ; to cover the "fact" Goebbels came up with that there were 5 Allied divisions there ... Else Rommel might have been reduced to command some infantry depot .









    thinking to link elsewhere to see anybody else on the planet might also agree ? Well , the background thing that has to exist , to let people gauge whether ı might be right . Ever heard am a Starfleet Admiral ? Don't , if you don't like ...



    Spoiler :
    dude , it's really over the top , are you sure you wanna do this ?
    Spoiler :
    after some painful experiences ı ended up in some weird Turkish language only forum ; all the other participants are retired old dudes , with some reputation in places and let's say the whole world knows that . Back in 2102 some US diplomatic personnel gets an invitation for a courtesy visit but as the Counter-revolution in Turkey goes on wildly successful at the time , she decides to not to offend people who matter . People who matter are certainly not those old has-beens afterall . Then 2013 happens in its many guises ; with Ankara asking Washington her name so that she can be arrested as a hostage to stop Washington toppling Ankara in a colour revolution , while Washington certainly knows it's not toppling Ankara in a colour revolution . Yours idiotly becomes important only in that guise , for maybe ı will call the oldies that maybe a second visit "should" be arranged . You know , nobody ever believes that ı do not count for anything , and that after a decade of calling me an idiot . So , she is repeatedly seen in town , attempting to arrange a meeting ; because America's best pals are eating each other in a not so civil war and the oldies are like totally supposed to put some sense in those who come (and go) after them so that the Counter-revolution and the destruction of Turkey can go unabated .


    some two years of this nonsense and there's really a thing going on that people gossip that she is after some affair and not on official business . Did ı ever mention am something between an orc and an hobbit ? This becomes an issue only after London decides to be so protective of her . Possibly because Trump gave New Turkey as a fief to May and the American is supposed to be an instrument for compensating the financial issues of Brexit . More is to follow ; with BAE naturally winning a contract to "design" a fighter jet for New Turkey . You see , ı would have have no idea on why Boris Johnson was made the Foreign Minister , but in Ankara he is a natural friend , now that his grandfather was lynched or something in the 1920s soon after the Kemalists won ; he surely would be for the Counter-revolution . As some A-K-P troll makes numbers fly in the air , on how the New Turkey has 44 billion US dollars to spend on the jets , yours idiotly inevitably says it's not gonna happen . Bans and infractions rain down despite years of ranting ; anywhere and everywhere on the web . BAE definitely hates the thing that particular troll is henceforth taken as the authorative spokesperson of them and whatever he says is the official position of the British company -now that they love each other so much . Particularly a tasteless thing after the spat ı had with the Lockmart some years back . Not because ı count for anything but for my pals in some forum . Not that ı count for anything but we will expect Rolls Royce to provide nuclear engines for the Nimitz size CVN New Turkey will surely build or explain themselves on the why and why not of it . Isn't that just fair ? Please no wikipedia pictures as the total tech transfer ; with New Turkey having more projects than an average CGI guy has pictures on Deviantart we are like fed up with that , on a slow day they just announced a tilt-rotor is on the way . Nobody will care that the news release says nothing of the sort , but merely some small scale affair in civilian energy production ; in consideration of the effort spent on me .


    this new found love for New Turkey extends to stuff . Like the extensive information on how ISIL sympathies has led to a suicide attack while ı would have assumed the guy was more an Nusra sympathiser ; because New Turkey , according to general consensus in the West , supports such groups . Even this is a topic that gets to be discussed amongst 15 year olds ; an age bracket that pays some amount of attention to the presence of the American around . They pay no attention to the possibility that it's more about what might happen between Qatar and the Saudis . Well , ı don't care if they go to war ; it would be a great service to mankind . Despite blaring of the Voice of Russia that supporting Qatar would suddenly bring peace to Syria , ı don't care for Qatar in anyway . If they want to go to exile , ı really think the Qataris should consider talking to the Algerians . They are rather manlier in helping to those who have fallen into hard times , especially compared to any oil rich sheik ...


    so here it is ; some historic stuff , which ı will probably have to be accepted with typical r16 rant which either proves am a total idiot or ample reason why it will happen . ı have no particular doubts that ı will bring the whole edifice down ; that narrative of Germans planned to reach Abbeville to knock France out of WW II . Along the lines of ı will get my posts and threads back in this century or the next ; am seriously good at that kind of nonsense .
     
    Hrothbern likes this.
  15. r16

    r16 not deity

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,962
    ugh , still more than 30 000 ...

    Spoiler :
    “THE Germans are bound to attack in the late spring or early summer. They simply cannot wait until we and the British attain superiority in manpower and materials.” It is the French Minister at the Hague speaking, the clever and charming Baron de Vitrolles, and the date of my conversation with him is January 1940. He continues: “Where will the battle be fought out? There are two traditional battlefields in Europe — Lombardy and Flanders. The second will be the scene of the big battle of the present war, just as it was of another great war — Waterloo. The Germans will attack via the Netherlands and Belgium and the decisive battle of this war will develop somewhere within a radius of fifty miles from Waterloo. It will be a war of movement. And in this kind of warfare we always have been superior to the Teutons.” The Minister’s words, except the last sentence, were almost prophetic. They showed that responsible French quarters knew that the attack on their country was bound to come and that it would come via the Low Countries.




    Why did France and the Low Countries not do everything in their power to forestall the German move? The answer is a sad one. It is a tragic story of lack of statesmanship in Belgium and the Netherlands, where King Leopold and Queen Wilhelmina refused to conclude an alliance with the Western Powers or to make military arrangements between the respective general staffs. It is a story, moreover, of incompetence, inefficiency and fifth column activities both in the Low Countries and in France.




    For two years the Low Countries had been living in constant fear that their mighty neighbor, Nazi Germany, might launch a sudden attack against them and would start its advertised Blitzkrieg against France across their territories. Though this fear had existed for a long time, both Belgium and the Netherlands refused to make alliances or initiate staff talks with the Western Powers. And though they refused to make arrangements for the crisis, they expected these two Powers to help them when it came. As far back as the end of March 1939 the world press published alarming reports of Germany’s intention to launch an attack against Switzerland and Holland. All the small neutrals felt it necessary to take certain military precautions. Then in August 1939 the war clouds started to gather in earnest. Again the small countries were compelled to effect precautionary measures. Both Holland and Belgium took for granted that if war should break out over Danzig, the Western Powers would try to help Poland by moving against Germany; whereupon Germany, to counteract this move, would launch her motorized divisions into the Low Countries with a view to pushing through into Northern France. Now Belgium had been constructing considerable defense works ever since 1931. As the threat of war became more imminent she increased the pace. Holland, owing to Socialist and other pacifist influences and a long tradition of neutrality, had considerably neglected her defenses. Yet she also started to develop fortifications and defense works, coupled with inundation preparations.




    When I arrived in Holland in October 1939 there were persistent rumors, based on the concentration of forty Nazi divisions opposite the Low Countries, of an imminent German attack. At the beginning of November the situation became so tense that King Leopold, tipped off by German friends, rushed to The Hague to see Queen Wilhelmina in the hope that the two countries might avoid an invasion by making a conciliatory offer to Berlin jointly. The meeting of the two rulers took place on November 6. The next day steel helmeted police, armed with carbines and revolvers, suddenly appeared around all public buildings in Dutch cities. Today we know that the Dutch Nazis had organized a putsch for November 11. But the authorities discovered the plan in time and arrested many Nazis, among them several score officers and soldiers. Furthermore, the head of the British secret service, Captain Stevens, and his assistant, Sigismund Payne Best, were kidnapped on November 9 by the Gestapo at a Dutch frontier village, Venloo. The next day the German troop concentrations were augmented. Holland mobilized all her forces in readiness to repel what seemed an imminent attack.




    While I realized the seriousness of the situation, I was of the opinion at that time that this German move was partly a measure of intimidation, but that most of all it was tactical. One of the probable purposes of the German feint seemed to me to find out how Belgium and Holland would act in case a Blitz attack really occurred; but more than that, its purpose was to find out what the French and the British would do. If this was the aim of the Germans they succeeded in attaining it. In November of last year they knew exactly where and when the Dutch were going to flood their territories and what regiments would be rushed where. They knew how quickly the first line of the Dutch defenses could be manned in a crisis. The same occurred in Belgium. This was the information the Germans needed to enable them to calculate the moves of their own army so as always to be hours — or even only a few minutes — ahead of the respective defensive moves of their opponents.




    The Germans also learned through their spies about the movements of the French and British troops along the extension of the Maginot Line. They came to the conclusion that the French and British could not send help fast enough to Belgium and the Netherlands to be effective if no special arrangements had been concluded in advance between those four countries. They also wanted to find out whether the Allies were going to rush important air forces to Holland. From their knowledge of Allied dispositions in the November 1939 crisis in the Low Countries the German Staff came to the conclusion that neither Holland nor Belgium could count on really substantial aërial help from Britain, and that almost none would come from France.




    Nevertheless, there were factors in both the Dutch and the Belgian defense moves — the Belgian especially — which necessitated certain alterations in the original Blitzkrieg plans. The Germans noticed that Belgium had been feverishly improving her defenses along the Albert Canal. Yet the German plan was to launch the first blow at exactly the same spot as in August 1914. It was a return to the original Schlieffen Plan, which did not make the 1914 mistake of leaving out Holland. In 1914 the first Uhlans crossed the Meuse south of Visé; in 1940 the German motorized divisions crossed the river north of Visé, only a few miles distant. “On revient toujours à son premier amour.”





    But before actually launching their blow the Germans wanted to make a further rehearsal which would also serve the purpose of attracting the Belgians’ attention to a part of their defenses where the Germans had no intention of attacking. For this purpose an “incident” was shrewdly staged. An airplane with two German staff majors landed near the Belgian frontier, allegedly because of lack of gas. In the plane were found the plans of an impending attack, presumably scheduled for January 13, 1940. According to these plans the Germans contemplated piercing the Belgian defense lines between Andenne and Huy on the Meuse River. The subterfuge worked. The Belgians now started feverishly to fortify their positions in that sector, diverting their attention from the Lower Meuse and the Albert Canal where four months later the decisive German attack was actually launched. After this second alerte in Belgium in January 1940, came a third at the beginning of April. It, too, turned out to be another feint, this time designed to divert attention from the German movement of troops in preparation for the attack against Denmark and Norway.




    Two days afterwards that attack took place. The alerte of January 1940 had already caused Belgium to take a further step towards completing her mobilization. The Belgian mobilization consisted of five phases, of which “D” was the last. By it virtually all men who could carry arms or were experts were mobilized. Belgium had now put phase “D” into operation. In April Holland also took further mobilization measures and continued feverishly working on her defenses. Hardly had the excitement caused by the start of the Norwegian campaign died down when it was renewed by fresh rumors of an impending attack on the Low Countries. It became known that the Germans had constructed concrete piers in the Moselle and Sauer Rivers opposite Wasserbillig and Echternach (both in Luxembourg), and it seemed obvious that these piers were part of a construction by which German tanks were to ford the two rivers. The fright in the city of Luxembourg reached such proportions that many persons fled into neighboring Belgium. There also were great German troop movements which obviously were intended to intimidate the Netherlands and Belgium. Along the whole stretch of German frontier from the North Sea down to the Saar — that is, facing the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg — the Germans had by then concentrated eighty divisions (including, as I said above, fourteen of their seventeen motorized divisions). About May 6 there was every evidence that the German attack was soon to be launched. All leaves in the Dutch and Belgian Armies were stopped and for three nights Dutch patrols had to stay constantly in their foremost defense positions in a state of complete readiness.




    May 9 apparently brought some alleviation of the strain. Military circles in Brussels became convinced that the attack was postponed, at least for a few days. Why did the Belgian General Staff think the Germans had postponed the date of the attack? According to a semi-official Belgian explanation, the relaxation of tension came from the fact that several of the German motorized divisions were known to have been moved away from the district of Aix-la-Chapelle. (Where they were taken was not then known. We found out later that they had been moved overnight to positions opposite Luxembourg!) The fifth column in Belgium helped to emphasize this “change for the better” by talking about the new disposition of the German tank corps. Some of my Belgian friends have openly said that members of the Belgian General Staff must have been, knowingly or unknowingly, tools of the German secret service. At any rate, they accepted the illusion of a détente to such a degree that on May 9 leaves were restored in the Belgian Army.




    Only a few hours later the truth was known. About 4:30 A.M., when dawn was just breaking, more than a hundred German bombing planes appeared over Brussels and discharged their deadly cargoes. At the same time an attack was launched against the frontiers of the three Low Countries from the North Sea to the Saar. But the brunt of the attack was directed at two points: against the undefended small Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and against the Maastricht “appendix.” The old Schlieffen Plan! The chief attack did not come where the Germans feigned it was coming in January, namely between Namur and Liège on the Meuse, but on the Meuse above Liège and on the Albert Canal.


    Undoubtedly the Germans knew that this Maastricht corner was probably the weakest spot in the Albert Canal defenses. They had laid their plans well to subdue it. The bridge on the Meuse (Maas) at Maastricht, in Dutch territory, fell into their hands through treason. The bridge across the Albert Canal which continued the railroad and highway coming from this Maastricht bridge was also of great strategical importance. It fell to them intact. The Belgians alleged that the officer in charge of the dynamite chamber was killed by a German aërial bomb, and thus was unable to carry out the blowing up of the bridge. The Germans openly boast that they bought the whole group which was to blow up the bridge. As a matter of fact, much the same thing happened twenty miles to the northwest, where another important bridge on the Albert Canal was not blown up. It is given as an extenuating circumstance that this bridge was full of refugees and that the officers were hesitant to blow up their own compatriots. This may or may not be true. But if it is true,then their hesitation contributed heavily to bring about the downfall of their whole country.




    Another bad case was that of the fortress Eben Emael. This formidable group of strong forts was one of the strongest parts of the Liège system. That system consisted of the Liège fortress proper and of the four other fortresses of the Liège plateau: Neufchâteau, Pepinster, Battice and Eben Emael. Battice was the mighty fort which dominated Aix-la-Chapelle; Eben Emael’s function was to rule the road from Aix-la-Chapelle to Maastricht and beyond. It was put out of action by the Germans as early as noon on the very first day of the campaign, May 10.




    According to the Belgian semi-official version, Eben Emael was taken so soon because the Germans concentrated all their surprise technique on it — an extraordinarily violent barrage of heavy guns and vigorous aërial bombardment, in combination with an attack by parachutists. Now it is true that this sudden onslaught on a garrison not yet tried in war must have confused the defenders; but Eben Emael consisted of a whole series of forts and pillboxes. The Germans made similar extremely heavy attacks on other fortresses in the Liège district, and these fortresses were still holding out five and six days later. Why did the strongest and most modern of them all surrender so quickly? One cannot help feeling that what was believed by some military attachés must have been true, namely that Flemish traitors contributed to the result.




    The capture of the key fortress of Eben Emael and of three bridges on the Meuse and the Albert Canal opened the way to the German motorized columns. When I visited the Albert Canal defenses in April of this year, Belgian staff officers told me that they calculated these defenses could hold out for twenty days. Other more conservative foreign observers believed that the Belgians would be able to hold on at the Albert Canal for at least five days. Five days were considered enough to bring French and British troops up to the second line, Antwerp-Louvain-Namur. On the very first day of the German invasion, the Germans had succeeded in piercing the defense line which was expected to hold out anywhere from several days to several weeks.




    While German motorized troops were pouring into Belgium through the gap thus created, German bombing planes (allegedly numbering about two thousand, and in any event many hundreds strong) were busy all the morning bombing the remaining Belgian positions between Hasselt and Liège, as well as the rest of the Belgian lines. It seems that the material damage caused by these German bombers was small in proportion to the numbers used, but the moral effect was devastating. According to Belgian officers who participated in the last war, the air bombardments of this year were not nearly so deadly and efficient as the old heavy-artillery barrages used to be. But German propaganda succeeded in all countries in creating such a psychosis about aërial bombardments that when the deadly cargoes of the bombing planes were released on the Belgian troops their morale completely collapsed; and by the afternoon of May 10 the Belgian line between Hasselt and Liège was already in dissolution. This bombardment was carried through with the evident aim of spreading fear. According to what I learned from Belgian officers, many of the German flyers were quite young and had only had from four to eight weeks of training. Their machines were inferior. All this was by design. The Germans did not think it necessary to sacrifice good machines to spread “frightfulness.” Any young aviator who knew how to fly in formation and had been taught how to release bombs was good enough; there was no need for dive bombing or even for flying low. It was different with the airplanes sent to bomb Brussels or military objectives behind the lines. Those were excellent Heinkels or Dorniers, with highly trained crews.




    When I visited the eastern suburbs of Brussels in the morning of May 11 I found to my great amazement that they were filled with Belgian soldiers, in full equipment, already back from the front. They were surrounded by anxious crowds inquiring what had happened. They told of a complete débâcle. In exaggerating the magnitude of the German attack they helped create further uneasiness amongst the Brussels population, already panicky as a result of the constant bombardment of the city by German planes. Soon the streets of Brussels itself were full of returning soldiers, mixed with refugees coming from northeastern Belgium. I saw trucks bearing the inscriptions of various cities — Liège,Verviers, Tongres. Three Belgian divisions were in complete dissolution, and others had been badly affected by desertions.




    What I saw on this the second day of the totalitarian war in Brussels was a replica of the debacle of the Italian Army described by Ernest Hemingway in his book “Farewell to Arms.” It was another Caporetto. Half-hearted attempts were made to collect the demoralized troops and reform them at the “Cinquantenaire” exhibition grounds. The effort was in vain. Most of them continued their hasty retreat and I encountered some of them again a few weeks later in southern France.




    A remaining section of the Belgian Army tried to reorganize on the second line of defense, namely on the line Antwerp-Louvain-Namur. By May 12 two British divisions and some French troops had arrived on this line and tried to bolster up the badly shattered Belgian forces. Though many of the British were unexperienced territorials, they fought bravely against heavy German odds, standing up heroically under the devastating mass bombardments of the German airplanes. British fighting planes were still absent, or present in very small numbers. The Germans were able to bomb the British troops unpunished.




    On this day, May 12, the Germans repeated their technique of the first day, sending an incredibly large number of planes (arriving in groups of 300 every half hour) to bomb the Belgian-British positions between Louvain and Namur. The bombardment along the center of the line was done by inexperienced flyers who loosed bombs in masses just to terrorize; but on the two wings expert bombers were working on the two fortress cities of Namur and Louvain. Within a few hours they were reduced to smouldering ruins. The destruction of Louvain and Namur, and the partial destruction of Antwerp, deprived the British of important pivotal points; for by the time larger numbers of British troops reached these places there were no depots, stores or billets left. This made their continued defense almost impossible.




    At this juncture an important question of responsibility must be raised. The débâcle of the Belgian Army in the northeast during the very first hours of the war must have been known to the British and French General Staffs. What a newspaper man like myself knew in the first 48 hours, British and French military observers must certainly have known too. Why was no urgent warning issued to dissuade the respective staffs from sending further troops into positions which were bound to prove traps? Or if such a warning was issued, why was it not heeded?




    This is a question of judgment and responsibility in the field. The underlying

    responsibility rests largely with King Leopold as Commander-in-Chief of the Belgian armies. It is almost impossible to send troops suddenly into a foreign country to assist an untried army efficiently if no previous plan has been concluded between the respective general staffs. King Leopold had absolutely refused to conclude such an agreement. It was the death blow to his country. Even so, when the British heard (and they must have heard it, despite the optimistic reports sent out by the Belgian Army) that the Belgian troops had experienced a Caporetto on the Albert Canal, they should have desisted from sending further reinforcements into Belgium. Had they rested in their fortifications which formed an extension of the Maginot Line, they might have withstood the German attack with a fair chance of success. I believe (and some military experts share this view) that resistance was possible on the extension of the Maginot Line, despite the gap made by the Germans near Sedan. But let us now turn our attention to the southern part of the Belgian lines.




    While the divisions of the British Army were extremely quick in reaching eastern Belgium, the French Army organization failed completely in getting its reinforcements fast enough to those places in Belgium which, according to the plans of the French General Staff, were to be protected by French troops. The British calculation had been that it would take them five days to reach the Louvain-Namur line; many British troops, however, reached this line on the second day. The French calculated that they could take over the Namur-Givet line within 48 hours; but after that period had passed they still were far from their positions.




    Before examining what happened south of Namur, we must make an excursion to the Ardennes part of Belgium, a hilly, rough country, broken by many woods and rivers. This part was fortified by a system of pillboxes and small forts. At the beginning of the Blitzkrieg the Germans did not concentrate their attack on the Ardennes. Instead, they rushed their troops into undefended Luxembourg. The Luxembourg Army consisted of 156 men and the city was already full of German fifth columnists disguised as tourists.




    But everybody in Brussels believed that the French could launch their divisions into undefended Luxembourg just as quickly as the Germans could. In actual fact, the Germans succeeded in occupying almost the entire Grand Duchy within a few hours without meeting any serious resistance from the French. And when Luxembourg had been occupied, the Germans were able to rush their troops into southeastern Belgium. With their artillery they mowed down the first defenses. Instantly, German motorcyclist troops rushed cross-country into the Belgian Ardennes at a speed of sixty miles an hour. The motorcyclists did not wait to attack the pillboxes. That was left for the tanks that followed.These passed the pillboxes and attacked them from the rear. The Ardennes was thus occupied within 48 hours. This done, the German motorized troops were able to proceed to the attack on the upper reaches of the Meuse, south of Namur. It had been calculated, as I said above, that the French could take over the Belgian section of the Meuse between Namur and Givet within two days. Here happened the other tragedy of the war: the folding up of the French Ninth Army. It was this army, under the command of General Corap, which was supposed to take up the positions between Namur and Givet.
     
  16. r16

    r16 not deity

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,962
    meant to show the Allies still have no clue on tankspeed as this piece is written . And meanwhile the journalist is keeping the tempers safe at home on how weaker races could not resist the temptation of the German Mark , the craze is just about to begin , how tanks alone will win this war .

    Spoiler :
    Ever since the beginning of May extreme vigilance had been ordered along all the Allied fronts. Yet General Corap was absent from his headquarters when the war began and arrived back only some hours later. Six bridges on the Meuse were not blown up. By May 12 the whole Ninth Army was supposed to have taken over the defense of the Meuse below Namur. But only fractions of it had arrived. Over the unblown bridges, German motorized troops were pouring into France. No doubt, the German effort near Sedan was carried through with a large number of motorized divisions. But where were the French tanks? Where were the French troops, the French artillery, the French anti-tank guns? Is it any wonder that the word “treason” was spoken openly among the rank and file? And it either was treason or unforgivable incompetence. For General Corap and his staff failed absolutely to carry through a plan drafted and calculated in minute detail by the experts in Paris. It is true that there proved to be much inefficiency in the French Army. There also was a surprise element in the German attack. Granted. But there is no excuse for six unblown bridges, for troops far behind their schedule, for artillery unused.


    Whatever the reason, on May 12 the German armored and motorized divisions were pouring into France. In a few hours the breach was fifty miles wide and almost as deep. Tanks, spreading fire and destruction, supported by airplanes with which they were connected by radio contact, were rapidly advancing. The task of bringing up French reinforcements was being impeded by the desperate flight of refugees from the invaded districts. German fifth columnists had been planted in advance in the border regions to induce panic. Others mingled with the refugees and carried the alarm from one town and village to the next.




    Nevertheless, I still maintain that this breach between Dinant and Sedan could have been filled up (just as the breach at Verdun in the March offensive in 1918 was filled up) if there had been a firm and continuous front along the Belgian-French border. But this front was in movement, because large numbers of British troops were still pouring into Flanders, not realizing that their right flank was in danger. On May 15 the French evacuated Namur, and on May 16 the British fell back on Brussels. We heard the sound of the heavy guns in Brussels, and saw more and more British troops coming in to the defense of the Belgian capital. By that time the Seventh French Army, which had been sent to operate in the Zeeland part of Holland, was obliged to withdraw to Antwerp. Its able commander, General Giraud, was later captured by the Germans.




    On May 17 I left Brussels, which now was in the war zone. The same day the British troops fell back to the Dendre River, a day later to the Scheldt River, where they offered heroic resistance. Only on May 20 did they give up their positions on the Scheldt. They then fell back on the Lys, the river where they fought so well 23 and 22 years ago. Their subsequent retreat and evacuation via Dunkerque is too well known to need description here. While the British put up a magnificent fight, the behavior of the French divisions was irregular. Though some disappointed the friends of France, others upheld the best French traditions, and one heard of decimated regiments and companies offering resistance over and over again to the invaders. But nobody could make good the mistake committed by the British and French General Staffs in unwisely sending their troops too far into Belgium, and nothing could repair the Belgian catastrophe on the Meuse in the first hours of the campaign.




    Let me now revert briefly to the causes of the defeat of the Netherland Army. The Dutch, unlike the Belgians, fought really heroically. When in February of this year I visited the Dutch defenses, one of the high officers told me confidentially that the Dutch expected to hold out two days on the first line, two days on the second — the Grebbe Line — and that altogether they hoped to resist the attacker for six or seven days. They kept the “timetable” in the first five days (except only at Maastricht) and capitulated only after the fifth. By that time fifth column activities had weakened their resistance, especially in the rear, and no more supplies could reach the fighting forces.




    The fifth column in Holland was organized in part directly by the Germans, in part by the Dutch Nazis under the leadership of A. Mussert and Rost van Tonningen working with the Germans. Mussert was a man of small abilities; the deputy leader, Rost van Tonningen, formerly League of Nations Commissioner for Austria, was an ambitious and more able man who coöperated very closely with Baron von Hahn, an official of the German Legation in The Hague. Baron von Hahn was the “putsch expert” of the German Nazis. He had fled from Austria after helping to organize the putsch which ended Chancellor Dollfuss’s life. He was asked to leave his posts in Hungary and Belgium, but the unfortunate Dutch Government allowed him to be installed as a member of the German Legation at The Hague. There he exploited to the full the pacifism of the ruling house and of the ruling class. Queen Wilhelmina’s pacifism made her sympathize with the Oxford Movement. The representative of that movement for Scandinavia and Holland — an American, the Reverend Mr. Blake — was not only popular in high society in The Hague, but was seen in company with Baron von Hahn. Another and unsuspecting link between the Nazis and Dutch higher circles was Prince Bernhard, a good friend of the German Minister, Herr von Zech.




    In all, the German Legation in The Hague had 43 members entitled to extraterritorial privileges, five of them with the rank of counsellors. In addition, there were the staffs of the German consulates in The Hague and other Dutch towns. In these headquarters the plans for fifth column activities were made and from them the various orders were distributed. In addition, the Germans had able journalists to help in their propaganda work. To The Hague they sent Herr Aschmann, the former Chief of the Press Bureau in the Wilhelmstrasse; and the present German press chief, Dr. Dietrich, repeatedly visited Amsterdam.




    The Dutch Nazis had their “representatives” in the army, navy, air force, meteorological institute, as well as here and there throughout the government offices; in addition fifth columnists in large numbers were supplied direct from Germany in the form of tourists and businessmen. Some of these were actually camouflaged soldiers. Thus, just prior to the outbreak of hostilities three large Rhine barges arrived in Rotterdam, supposedly laden with German goods. In reality they contained German soldiers who on the morning of May 10 spread out to undertake various assigned jobs in the city. These first troops were soon reinforced by Nazi officers and noncommissioned officers arriving on transport planes. In coöperation with parachutists and Dutch Nazi fifth columnists they captured a section of Rotterdam and the aerodrome of Waalhaven. Desperate attempts were made by the Dutch, and later by the British, to take Waalhaven back. But even with the help of the R.A.F. they never succeeded.




    In Belgium, where the fifth column was not organized on the same scale as in the Netherlands, many parachutists were shot down descending from the air; the few who landed unnoticed in woods during the cover of the night proved no more dangerous than fifth columnists already present in the country. After all, resident fifth columnists can destroy railroad junctions and stores and put communications out of order even more effectively than parachutists. The parachutists become deadly when they can be advertised to such an extent that they create a psychosis. In Brussels and other Belgian towns I saw people shouting “parachutists” at a swallow, and the police and soldiers would have to abandon important jobs to scour the neighborhood. Nor were the Germans particularly successful with their troop transport planes in the Netherlands except in cases where they managed to land on an uncontested flying field with fifth columnists ready in the neighborhood to help. Many of the Junker troop transports, very bulky and heavy, were wrecked by antiaircraft gunfire or by mishaps in landing on the soft Dutch soil.




    The causes of the German successes in the Netherlands, as in Belgium and Northern France, were partly superiority in numbers of planes and tanks, partly better armament, such as double-breasted armorplate on tanks and rapid fire large-caliber antitank guns. But all this, I believe, would not have availed them had they not already enlisted other allies — incompetence, treason and fifth column sympathizers. Back of these immediate factors was, in the case of Holland, the one I have mentioned already — the fact that the De Geer government always followed a policy of absolute, consistent and blind neutrality. It refused to treat on military and political matters, not only with England and France, but even with Belgium.






    In Belgium the methods employed by the Germans were similar. They aimed at undermining civil government and at creating unrest in the army and air force as well as among the police. They also promoted pacifism. King Leopold was a weak and sentimental man, affected by a melancholy strain inherited from both his father and his mother. His mother’s Bavarian family had produced many gifted but abnormal people, among them Louis II of Bavaria and the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. He also disliked the English intensely. During the World War he was an exile in England, and it is an accepted axiom that a foreigner learns either to love or to hate England in an English public school. Leopold was not a success in his school days, and never got over it. The friendship of a brilliant German lady also helped to increase his pro-German sympathies. So did the advice of General van Overstraeten, his aide-de-camp, who always counselled him to blind “neutrality.” The Roman Catholic Premier, Hubert Pierlot, and the Socialist Foreign Minister, Paul-Henri Spaak, were definitely pacifists. Both also opposed military understandings with Britain and France. They fought with all the means at their disposal to maintain Belgian neutrality. This suited the Germans perfectly. All these currents of pacifism were of course exploited by German agents. Otto Abetz, the well-known German agent who had such a part in influencing various French politicians and is now Hitler’s diplomatic representative in France, was very active in Belgium also, both in spreading propaganda and in distributing funds. At the outbreak of the war, Abetz went back to Berlin to become the head of the propaganda section against France. His colleague, Liebe, then took over the “management” of German propaganda in Belgium.




    The Germans also naturally used the pro-Nazi elements among the German minorities in Eupen, Malmédy and St. Vith. They exploited to the full the divergences between the Flemish and the Walloon populations, and gave moral and financial support to the Flemish extremists, the “V.N.V.” under the leadership of Declerq, as well as to the French-language Fascist movement of the Rexists, led by Léon Degrelle.




    If in the case of both countries I have seemed to overemphasize the rôle of enemy agents and domestic sympathizers and pawns, this is because their activities were better organized than in other wars in modern times and because they were so astoundingly successful. I do not underestimate the other factors. I only say that the organizing skill and lavish expenditures of Nazi Germany’s agents contributed directly to the defeat of the Netherlands, Belgium and, subsequently, France.


     
  17. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    wow, what an incisive comment
     
  18. r16

    r16 not deity

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    whenever a thread shows up in the alerts section , ı check whatever ı last said ; thus a glimpse at the wannabe history thing gets me to read


    "400-450 mph Spitfires" , somewhere anbove in my posts above but ı am yet to learn to selectively qoute . Imagine the surprise that night at home when ı start checking the downloads of the day :

    "Steve Hinton Jr flew North American P-51D Mustang N551VC Voodoo to a new world piston-engined air speed record ... on 2 September, with an average speed of 531.53mph (855.41km/h) over four runs of the 3km course. It is the first time a Rolls-Royce Merlin powered aircraft has gained the record.

    The previous holder was Lyle Shelton and his Grumman F8F Bearcat Rare Bear, which made four runs over a 3km course in New Mexico in August 1989 at an average speed of 528.31mph (850.24km/h).


    During Hinton’s first timed run on 2 September he got Voodoo up to a phenomenal 554.69mph (891.57km/h). The highly modified Mustang ... was flown to victory ... at Reno by Hinton Jr in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Once the 2017 Reno races are completed on 17 September, it is said that Voodoo will be retired, and is rumoured to be heading for the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC."


    the laws of physics and the like ... A wartime P-51D would be barely doing 700 with with standart engines and that was real fast for 1944 . F8Fs long duked it out with Mustangs and held the record because large radials have a massive swept volume advantage over the Merlins which reportedly DO lack persistence at overboost . Merlin might have less drag but radials keep on . And then the limitations of propeller which becomes utterly useless as tip speed approaches that of the sound . And now that we are talking almost 900 kilometers per hour , the fuel mix must be really "exotic" . Not to worry , this will be a historical thing , though this "latest" British victory has led that magazine to have a special record breakers section for the month ...


    though not particularly noticeable in the magazine , there was once an attempt to win a speed record with the Merlin . A Spitfire modified and even before its first flight the Germans drive it up with the Me209 to 755 or so . Far beyond what the Brits might do in 1939 . Must be particularly galling now that the airframe and engine combination is "supposed" to descend from what had won the Schneider Cup for eternity . Everybody halfway interested planes will possibly have heard that the Cup was meant to increase awareness for hydroplanes and it made huge strides in tech during the cash stripped 1920s . First country to win the races 3 times getting it for good and the dire straits of the 1929 Crash making it impossible for the Democratic UK to fund a competitor until a rich widow comes up with 100 000 pounds or maybe 10 000 , for inflation does strange things to the value of currency over time ; and Duce's fascists fail to show up in time ... And smart Britain proud of its little plane converts it to the really cool looking Spitfire and wins the Battle of Britain , saving the members of the CFC from the horrors of learning German and nothing else ; but then as a Turk , ı wouldn't even exist ... Hmm , could perhaps be a good debating point , arguing pros and cons of not having r16 around ; in return for right hand salutation of the Fuehrer's picture at every street corner .


    and yes , it really needs r16 hisself explaining that how some proud Brit wanted to build a replica of those racers in the 1990s and gave up and the narrative [as a result] now extremely stresses that while the airframe was unimportant (and a dead end) Rolls Royce learned a lot from Type R , which produced an amazing 2000 horsepowers at the time when an average fighter engine would be a worldbeater with 600 . And yeah , ı really love Voodoo ending up in a museum , because ı have read a bit about the Reno races and know they turn a lot and this keeps the average speed down and expect it will never be clocked at 890 . "Again" ... Trust me being extremely unpopular with the experts though , with some rant on the "limitations" of computer simulations of 1990s falling real short ...


    though Germans did believe that the R could do 2000 and "it" would be soon available . Stuff like compression ratios , reliable heat resistance and gear ; which led to such optimistic forecasts , like the original Ju-88 idea . Uncatchable and long ranging enough to fly combat patrols around the British Isles that the Luftwaffe had no qualms at abandoning the B-17 concept ; long before Italians decided the Germans were fools and sought a license , losing such time at gauging whether the 88 was real or not . You see , ı DO have an high opinion of the Merlin , though reliably reported to be far too noisy . Say , when my nephew had to write an assignment on the uses of Mathematics and asked for any examples over the ones she already had , ı readily offered that it was a matter of Life and Death . With Germans running amok and Rolls Royce at a plodding rate of advance with regards to its WWII masterpiece , some rather good mathemacian that has practically never seen an aircraft engine is brought in by the not so subtle pressure of RAF and the guy (simply by pencil and paper) figures out what should be happening when and the result is the 60 series Merlins that find an equally worthy employment in the Mustangs and sweep the Luftwaffe out of the skies , with one method or the other .


    actually Germans running amok is also the responsibility of the Merlin . It's available elsewhere on the web how a theorical investigation of future capabilities was based on "Liberty Mk II" . A non-existing engine that sought to examine what might be possible if projected improvements were succesfully perfected . Basically down to a simple question of "What if engine power rises 4 times over the course of 20 years?" . Same volume with the WWI classic and a V-12 as big radials looked too expensive and too large for fighter work . Fighters being orphans at the time with Douhetism much in vogue . With a rather large fighter then projected around it , 46 ft wingspan , some 400 square feet of area and flown as Lindbergh would have done (lean mixtures to extend range) ... A whole new beast ! The strategic fighter that can escort bombers deep into hostile airspace during day , meaning Airforces can really bomb factories and nodes of transportation . Instead of using them as smokescreens while wantonly murdering Civilian population . The Brits buried their heads in the sand as they are wont to do while Continental Europeans to a man decided it was A) impossible or B) even if possible too much work for a single pilot and went to multiplace types . That gained a second engine in a natural progression of thought and hand moved weapons as assumed agility was simply BS . The heavy fighter , because nobody could imagine the paper aircraft could be realised in time for the clearly coming war , had to defend itself against interceptors with rear gunners because it could not turn with them , for nobody could imagine having a Type R in regular service . Russians , naturally , did one better with Stalin accusing Tupolev of leaking the results of long hours and expenditure of so many Roubles of thinking to the Germans in the form of Bf-110 ...

    germans have always loved the Westerns ; with the oppression and the like of the Metternich Europe could be a thing of the past if one emigrated to America and the authorities did their best to exaggerate the dangers of the Frontier . Which made it more romantic and the like . Thus when an Anglosaxon pilot in combat saw enemies he would scream "Bandits" on the radio , while Germans would be screaming "Indianer" . Thus the strategic fighter was already a Wildepferde in 1934 or so , with nobody wanting some . But in case it happened it had to be countered , hence the Bf-109 , a engine with the smallest possible wing or something ; nobody can ever make sense on why the Luftwaffe could have chosen it , if you read anything about it . All about climbing fast and ignoring a turning fight , even if the early series of the '109 were nice planes before they got the 1000 hp engines that were meant to turn them into the brutes Udet thought he needed . With 109 and 110 cornering the fighter market , Tank of Focke Wulfe needed a different tack for business . Udet was financially involved with the Messerschmidt , so Tank needed another Bavarian company - which Udet was also involved . The radial engine leading the 190 to become a Dienstpferde , A Cavalry horse , durable and capable , compared to the racehorses the V-12 inlines represented . Russians decided they would forever be behind so opted for turning while for the Japanese it was the shocks of the early fighting in China that led them to investigate escort fighters and they simply could not put a twin on a carrier . Hence A6M . Certainly not durable but trusted to outturn the Wildepferde .

    the theorical studies were carried out by the USN which was kinda awed by the distances in the Pasific ; also a follow up to the days of 1898 when they decided they should invent heavier than air flight , you know to shoot down Zeppelins . And hosted by Grumman . The chosen engine was "V-1710" basically designed to propel Navy airships . So what happens ? Lockheed decides there's a something afoot and organizes the Black way of designing , actually imitating first and claiming discovery second and gets the US Army to adapt to the 1710 in full so that Lockheed can deny the high end engines to any of its competitors with Army being a bigger customer and Lightning "promising" to be better than anything imaginable , allowing the Army to order any "supercharging" removed from any design that wasn't the P-38 . Oh , there is a reason the abomination is not called an F-38 Lightning II , for the whole world would have said it was far too much . On the other hand USN needs torpedo bombers and a V-12 can not provide the push , so they give it up in the end . Though it's a belt and braces approach and even caters for the invention of an inverted American V-12 , which is basically turning a regular aircraft engine upside down and much preferred by the Germans . Meh , any first year aviation engineering student will tell you that the Mustang's front end is that way because canopies are massive producers of drag and were needed to be small , while the pilot actually has a valid need to see ahead and the shape produces an acceptable view over the nose . Let him/her keep believing that ... Though when Goering first saw it , there were high doubts about such a large volume of radiator (you know the not exactly famous Meredith effect) and the Bf-110 would have a smooth underbelly with 109 type underwing cooling system ; before it was changed into a twin . And yeah , Goering knew the war was lost as soon as he saw the P-51s over Berlin , because he had not only turned down the Wildepferde in 1934 , but also singularly had failed to provide the needed impetus to the Mustang killer , the Me 262 . In development since 1938 . Had Nazis proper brains , they would spend every saved pfennig on the jet , after "perfecting" Jumo 213 by 1942 at the latest and matching it with various forms of the Fw-190 . Clearing the entire Messerschmidt development offices for what actually counted . Instead of grating the massive Junkers company was somehow truly not "respectful" enough to the Nazi ideals and had to be taught its place with limiting its business ... You know to send every single Junkers dude to the concentration camps immediately after the victory ... Germany produced 40 000 fighters in 1944 , but they were kinda all of the wrong types . If inclined to the aviation history at the slightest , ı know you are now almost having an heartattack , splitting your sides with laughter but let's top this with a comparision of what Grumman actually did . The Wildcat with a sloping cowling . Because USN was the only air arm that practised deflection shooting before the war started . Because it's a cool thing and not because if anyone hostile perfected a Liberty multiplied by 4 for the global war that was clearly coming , American naval pilots would be really hard pressed to catch targets . And as such reduced to snapshots . People can be surprised the area behind the cockpit of a Wildcat is practically empty , with no structural elements . Because USN wanted to store a liferaft there and not because Roy Grumman could have put a bubble canopy like the F5F , but every single knot could be needed when some Wildepferde started a diving run on you . Do not believe F6F is an aberration , immediately needed instead of the true 2000 hp Wildcat , because the Zero was too much a plane . And it's obviously ridiculous that the final form of the Mustang , the T-28 and the Bearcat are like whatever .


    brits , you say ? One of the days , fed up with the much storied holy grail and the like , Rolls Royce started a private venture V-12 , with the Lord in charge clearly warning the RAF not to interfere . They were not aiming to reach 1600 horses , the celebrated 4 times the Liberty ; considering they had the Griffon for that . But sales could be brisk now that everybody was talking about it ; RAF clearly opposed it . Americans , you say ? When the war came and Germans could somehow enter a full alliance with the Russians and RAF discovered fighters could do more than mere stunts in the air and RAF wanted to buy P-40s . North American claimed they actually could , with an engineer of theirs having seen the Messerschmidt papers and the lot . Traitorous elements within the RAF approved and like doubled the fuel capacity the Americans were thinking about . And all the writers are talking about the brilliance of Anglosaxons' superior mind . Americans designing a plane in 102 days while every civilized country on the planet "knew" about it for the past 6 years and the British immediately and brilliantly corrected the glaring "omission" , changing the castrated V-1710 with a Merlin ...

    summary ? Every warplane that took part in the WWII was designed under the shadow of the Mustang , but am a P-47 man as always . Explanation ? Germans became bolder when they noticed none of the Allied planes were that fast , and capable so dangerous as they could have been .
     
  19. r16

    r16 not deity

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    oh , an "useful" necro . My stuff in this thread would be like the May 1940 attack was a massive "feint" in which the breakthrough on the Meuse was to attract the Allies and make them abandon Belgium and the Netherlands . But Germans were mentally ready to do other stuff . So , a biography of Guderian reprinted in 2003 has this following passage , if you will .

    <Yet it is interesting that Guderian once called the advance via Amiens to Abbeville a raid. Perhaps it was the careless use of a word: maybe it reflected uncertainty of the final outcome and he was prepared to backpedal if necessary – mentally he was as flexibly attuned to retrograde panzer movements as to progressive ones ...

    "the spirit of von Seeckt, the general who had once demanded of the good commander that ‘He will always fix his goal somewhat beyond the point he feels to be really attainable. He will leave a margin for luck, but wise restraint and an artistic sense are necessary to prevent him fixing the goal too far outside a reasonable sphere of action’.">
     
  20. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Not so much any more. Modern comparisons tend to be the T-34 was the worst tank out of the 3 main tanks (T-34, PzIV, Sherman).

    It was argueably good in 1941 vs German light tanks. It looks good on paper but things like ergonomics, optics, ammo storage etc were bad.

    What won the war IMHO was the blood of the Soviet soldiers and the Baku oil field.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019

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