Would von Manstein's alternative to Kursk have succeeded?

Discussion in 'World History' started by Lotus49, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    Granted, but France still would have been outnumbered byt the Germans, unless they also built fortifications to free up troops for that kind of service.
     
  2. Lotus49

    Lotus49 Emperor

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    The only area where you can say the Allies were really 'outnumbered' by the Germans during Fall Gelb was in terms of aircraft. The Allies had more tanks (about 50% more), more guns (about twice as many more), more divisions, etc. Also, the Maginot Line really wasn't that bad. It served it's purpose. Only thing is, the French were caught totally by surprise when the Germans went through the Ardennes.

    Anyway, in the PC game Hearts of Iron, I've been able to hold off the Germans (when playing as France), in Belgium - and actually pressed deep into Germany by fall 1940. Of course, my 20/20 hindsight helps, in these matters. ;) Plus I like to start extending the Maginot Line all the way to Lille starting in 1936... that doesn't hurt, either. Then throw in some really good, concentrated tank divisions (alternate history doctrines), and you can start to do some serious damage to the Germans in Belgium. Also, take command of the Belgian divisions, and use them as fodder (as planned, historically).

    But the Maginot Line stands there, with minimal manning... even still the Germans would be stupid to make a direct attack. Thus, you just have to position your army in the right place, and the historic 'attack through the Ardennes' maneuver gets stopped in it's tracks.

    It ain't easy, though. You've gotta know what you're doing, and prepare your forces accordingly, starting back in Jan. '36.

    And speaking of 1936, when the Hitler violated the Versailles Treaty, the French alone could have attacked and easily kicked Germany's @ss back in the mid-late 30's.
     
  3. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    Is this in HoI I, II or both?
    I've got the impression that switching doctrines is harder in HoI II.;)
     
  4. Lotus49

    Lotus49 Emperor

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    Funny you should say that; I just got HoI 2, and once I get my new laptop in a week or two, I'll set out on giving it a shot. I was referring to HoI w/ last/final v. of CORE. I took a quick look at HoI 2, and I'm not sure if I like the tech tree. But I'd better give the gameplay a chance before I comment further.

    I was disappointed they didn't use the map (w/ so many provinces) from Victoria. I'm a big WWII buff, but I think Victoria is probably Johan's masterpiece, not to mention perhaps my favorite game. The more complicated, the better. That world market, the politics, the POPs, the factories, the diplomacy, oh God I love it.
     
  5. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    In perfect agreement about Victoria!:goodjob:

    As chance would have it my current minuscule-spare-time-gaming-project is actually to try to bolster the French enough to stem the German tide in HoI II. From what I can deduce you can't go down the land warfare doctrine route giving the most boost to Blitzkrieg tactics. You get infantry mass combat, with a defensive slant, with Gamélin as the "tech team" (crappy) best suited to develop this prior to 1939. Wait, and you get Weygand, who is better, but it's still the same doctrine.
     
  6. Ace

    Ace Emperor

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    The Allies didn't lose France because they were outnumbered, they lost because they were still fighting WWI like they had planned for 1919. While the Germans developed the Blitzkrieg concept and the panzer division to implement it. The really dicisive role in 1940 was command and control. The Germans were using modern "shock and awe" tactics, while the allies were still using carriar pigeons (sp?) to control their armies. Gamlin and Wegland, sitting back in Paris, had no chance against Guderian, and Rommel leading from the lead tank.

    Back in the 60s when Avalon Hill tried to wargame the battle of France, it was extremely difficult for the Germans to win or at least, to come even close to what happened in real life because it was impossible to build into the game the command and control factor. I can still remember the endless debates about modifying the unit strengths to adjust that and than the other side screaming about equal numbers and tanks so units should be the same size.
     
  7. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    You're right. I don't think we're trying to argue otherwise. It's more about emphasis. The Maginot Line still worked as intended: it locked down a large stretch of frontline with less use of troops than would otherwise have been possible. :)

    The French then massed their forces in the north, pluged ahead, only to find their two best armies, and the whole damn reserve, stuck somewhere around the Dutch border, while the Germans broke through at the swing-point and bagged the lot.

    So, while superior German command and control can be modelled in a game, it's very hard to model that precise action in 1940. Well, you can code it for the AI, but once you have a human player on the French side, a speedy German victory is almost impossible. And historically it should have been, had the German taken on either the Maginot Line or the bulk of the French army head on. (This is why all WWII games make the French understrength. This goes for Paradox Entertainment's Hearts of Iron series as well.)

    Iirc Cold War Soviet military analysts even worked out an equation as to at which point simply cramming troops into a restricted area will automatically make everything grind to a halt, never mind the quality of said troops. Considering the numbers involved in the Low Countries in the 1940's that's probably what would have happened, even if the Germans had won every single limited engagement there.

    The speed and momentum of the battle of France did hinge on the Germans managing to surprise bypass the bulk of the opposing forces, and their fixed fortifications. The opposition it did encouner they beat down, greatly helped by the fact that the French command was perpetaully badly behind the horizon of events, groping blind mostly, and that the French units encountered lacked coordination and were fumbling around in the dark as much as their commanders.
    And incidentally this doesn't equate me saying the Battle of France was not much of a battle or something silly like that. It involved some quite hard fighting, which turned out to be absolute murder for the French, but the Germans payed quite heavily too, even if their success was astounding compared to the French debacle, and a low price to pay for the elimination of France from the war.
     
  8. BaneBlade

    BaneBlade Prince

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    You should better install DAIM(better AI), SMEP (better/more events) and GIP(better graphics).
    That's the way HOI2 is meant to be played!:goodjob:
     
  9. neutrino

    neutrino Warlord

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    Fortifications should not be despised. The problem is not the fortifications themselves, but using them outside their proper context. For the most part, you fortify, in order to defend a stretch of area with minimal manpower: Economy of force. In order to make them effective, they must be within reach of relieving force. Understandably, how you station relieving forces is very critical. Isolated fortifications are good as dead.

    The Maginot Line: It did its intended job, as the main German offensive went after its northern flank. The problem was that the better part of Allied mobile reserves were deployed towards northern France and when the Germans first blitzed into the Low Countries, the Allies overreacted. By the time the Germans stormed across the Ardennes and took Sedan, there were no large Allied reserves available to prevent a major German bridgehead.

    Manstein 1943: Though the Germans may have come off with tactical victories, I doubt he was in position to change the inevitable outcome. The problem was the steady attrition that the Germans have been going through since 1941. In 1941, they were able to allocate Panzergruppen to all of their three army groups (PzGrp 4 @ North, PzGrp 2 + 3 @ Center, PzGrp 1 @ South). The Germans were able to impose four separate mechanized blows which creamed the Russians just short of Moscow, Leningrad, and Rostov. In 1942, the bulk of their mechanized forces had to be concentrated in the South at the expense of the North and the Center (PzArmee 1 + 4). The situation did not improve in 1943. By mid-1943, the Russians were well on their way to reestablishing their own mechanized forces -- five Tank Armies and numerous separate Tank and Mech Corps. A reversal of operational dilemma: The Russians are now the ones who have the capacity to launch broad-front mechanized attacks.
     
  10. Damnyankee

    Damnyankee Honest Abe

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    I'm not much of a military historian, but if I was the Germans, I would have ordered a strategic retreat, along with a scorched Earth policy. Th Russians would get overstretched,then I would attack and cut off as many of the Russians as possible, and smash them in detail.
     

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