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Thread: WW2: IF the axis did not attack the USSR, could they have captured England?

  1. #1 WW2: IF the axis did not attack the USSR, could they have captured England? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Heres the Scenario:

    WW2 German command estimates they are not able to win a war on multiple fronts and decides to have treaties with the USSR and avoid war with Russia (at the very least until the UK is occupied and the Mediterranean is under axis control),
    and instead put most of the resources of the eastearn front to invade England as a first step. Then focus on blockading/controlling the Mediterranean and access to oil fields, etc)


    If they had much less forces on the eastern front and focused on the UK instead, could they have succeeded in occupying England/UK?


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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Heres the Scenario:
    WW2 German command estimates they are not able to win a war on multiple fronts and decides to have treaties with the USSR and avoid war with Russia (at the very least until the UK is occupied and the Mediterranean is under axis control),
    and instead put most of the resources of the eastearn front to invade England as a first step. Then focus on blockading/controlling the Mediterranean and access to oil fields, etc)
    If they had much less forces on the eastern front and focused on the UK instead, could they have succeeded in occupying England/UK?
    Not without massively building up their navy (and a whole slew of amphibious warfare ships).
    The UK was already outproducing Germany in aircraft (and, despite some claims, wasn't short of pilots - the flying schools were still, even at the time of the Battle of Britain, giving new entrants peace-time curricula and there was a ton of pilots ready but not yet assigned to squadrons).
    The longer the delay (absolutely necessary for Germany to gain sufficient strength) the more time favoured the UK.
    It may have been possible IF the u-boat campaign (and numbers) had switched drastically, but again, the longer it went on the better the counters to u-boats became.

    What tends to get over looked (or, in fact ignored altogether) in most histories is that the British Empire/ Commonwealth was ~1.5 BILLION people, with the concomitant economy and production facilities.
    David Edgerton's book - Britain's War Machine - debunks modern myth-making, and points out that the UK went into the war with the expectation of winning, not just "surviving" and that that attitude didn't really change throughout the war. The "plucky little island fighting alone back against all odds" is very much a post-war rewrite: not the case as it was at the time.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Thanks its an interesting aspect I was not aware of. So in your opinion its a "maybe" with drastic efforts, an expedited time table and some luck on the part of the Axis (which seems to suggests that unless they had occupied the UK early on, hey were doomed as it was just a question of time).

    In the event the Axis had gone all out vs the UK early on and had been lucky enough to win and occupy the UK, would that have made it more difficult to leverage the contribution of the rest of the British Empire?
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    "Whoever lights the torch of war in Europe can wish for nothing but chaos. We, however, live in the firm conviction our times will see not the decline but the renaissance of the West. It is our proud hope and our unshakable belief Germany can make an imperishable contribution to this great work."
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    With the British capture of the enigma machine, their advancements in radar technology, having the best fighters of the time, and a navy second to none in Europe, me thinks the Germans where out classed. The invasion of continental Europe would have been much trickier, had the Germans not been distracted on the Russian front.
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    The Germans decided to attack the USSR because of their difficulties with the UK in the first place (they had always planned to attack USSR: just the original plan, if it could be called such included the UK instead of fighting against them). They needed to quickly capture Europe to ensure the stability of their empire (iirc their economy depended heavily on war victory and war in general).
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    I think Hitler needed the oil from the Balkans, so he didn't really have much choice but to either invade Russia, or trade with Russia.

    Much like how Japan was forced out of neutrality with the USA when the USA refused to sell them oil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Not without massively building up their navy (and a whole slew of amphibious warfare ships).
    The UK was already outproducing Germany in aircraft (and, despite some claims, wasn't short of pilots - the flying schools were still, even at the time of the Battle of Britain, giving new entrants peace-time curricula and there was a ton of pilots ready but not yet assigned to squadrons).
    In this scenario, Germany would probably have taken some of its focus away from tanks and other land war production. That should free up some production to build more airplanes.

    The war with Russia gave them different priorities.


    The longer the delay (absolutely necessary for Germany to gain sufficient strength) the more time favoured the UK.
    It may have been possible IF the u-boat campaign (and numbers) had switched drastically, but again, the longer it went on the better the counters to u-boats became.

    What tends to get over looked (or, in fact ignored altogether) in most histories is that the British Empire/ Commonwealth was ~1.5 BILLION people, with the concomitant economy and production facilities.
    David Edgerton's book - Britain's War Machine - debunks modern myth-making, and points out that the UK went into the war with the expectation of winning, not just "surviving" and that that attitude didn't really change throughout the war. The "plucky little island fighting alone back against all odds" is very much a post-war rewrite: not the case as it was at the time.
    So basically Nazi Germany needed to achieve naval dominance quickly enough to stop Britain from gaining air superiority. If the Germans had naval dominance, then production from the rest of the empire would have no way to get to Britain itself. And also raw materials wouldn't be getting in.

    But.... the other problem is that in order to disrupt trade with the USA and prevent the USA from supplying them, Germany would need to break its neutrality with the USA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    The Germans decided to attack the USSR because of their difficulties with the UK in the first place (they had always planned to attack USSR: just the original plan, if it could be called such included the UK instead of fighting against them). They needed to quickly capture Europe to ensure the stability of their empire (iirc their economy depended heavily on war victory and war in general).
    I think in this, that Hitler's big mistake was in failing to realize that, just as much as the people of Germany looked on Eastern Europeans as an "inferior race" - the British also looked upon Germans as an "inferior race". Hessians to be hired and used as cannon fodder in England's wars, not coequals.

    As such, the British would fight to the last man rather than allow themselves to be conquered by Germany.

    Sometimes racists forget that racism is a double edged sword. It cuts both ways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    The Germans decided to attack the USSR because of their difficulties with the UK in the first place (they had always planned to attack USSR: just the original plan, if it could be called such included the UK instead of fighting against them). They needed to quickly capture Europe to ensure the stability of their empire (iirc their economy depended heavily on war victory and war in general).
    I think in this, that Hitler's big mistake was in failing to realize that, just as much as the people of Germany looked on Eastern Europeans as an "inferior race" - the British also looked upon Germans as an "inferior race". Hessians to be hired and used as cannon fodder in England's wars, not coequals.

    As such, the British would fight to the last man rather than allow themselves to be conquered by Germany.

    Sometimes racists forget that racism is a double edged sword. It cuts both ways.

    I do not think is correct, indeed the British had self belief that came from the Age of Empire and being at this point so militarily capable and dominant over other nations for the best part of two centuries, they believed they could overcome the Germans despite even given their significant superiority of weapons and numbers, but it was never about racial superiority ideology. This is very much attested to and demonstarated by the way in which the British treated their German prisoners of war and indeed the German civillian population as whole.

    The barbarity inflicted upon those races considered inferior by the Germans was never repeated or displayed by the British to any other nations people's during the war, of course the Bitish considered the axis powers their enemies because they were at war with them but any suggestion of perceiving them as inferior either racially or by nationality is just not supported by any evidence at all.

    I would also suggest that many examples from the first world war show how that the British had a great respect for their German counterparts and indeed shared considerable cultural similarities. Captured enermy pilots were often known to have spent large periods of their captivity socialing with British officers and pilots and certainly treated with the respect of equals.

    No I would suggest the viewpoint of ideological racial superiority demostrated by the Nazi's was actually quite rare and certainly not a particular trait shared by any of the allies and certainly not the British.

    The Nazi's demonstated a total lack of respect for human life of any of those they considered inferior which motivated horrific experiments and deaths by the millions against civillians, the British never acted towards the Germans in this manner so any comparison of ideological attitudes just doesn't hold water at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post

    I do not think is correct, indeed the British had self belief that came from the Age of Empire and being at this point so militarily capable and dominant over other nations for the best part of two centuries, they believed they could overcome the Germans despite even given their significant superiority of weapons and numbers, but it was never about racial superiority ideology. This is very much attested to and demonstarated by the way in which the British treated their German prisoners of war and indeed the German civillian population as whole.
    So you're suggesting that English nationalism was more about believing in their own self superiority, rather than German inferiority.

    More about nationalism and less about racism? I'm wondering why the French didn't fight harder. They had an empire too.




    The barbarity inflicted upon those races considered inferior by the Germans was never repeated or displayed by the British to any other nations people's during the war, of course the Bitish considered the axis powers their enemies because they were at war with them but any suggestion of perceiving them as inferior either racially or by nationality is just not supported by any evidence at all.
    They weren't barbarians about it. That's definitely true. And they certainly didn't see the German people as "subhuman" or anything extreme like that.

    However, the imposition of "reparations" on Germany after WWI would seem to show a certain lack of respect on the part of the British toward the German people.

    No I would suggest the viewpoint of ideological racial superiority demostrated by the Nazi's was actually quite rare and certainly not a particular trait shared by any of the allies and certainly not the British.
    This I consider to be somewhat "revisionist history". Remember the internment camps in the USA where all the ethnic Japanese people were corralled?

    Fortunately the American government was kind enough to stop short of trying to work them to death. But then again, America never found itself in a situation desperate enough to where it might need the extra manpower badly enough to have been pushed to consider the option. Also food was one resource that wasn't in short supply for the USA, so it was easy to meet the nutritional requirements of the internees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post

    I do not think is correct, indeed the British had self belief that came from the Age of Empire and being at this point so militarily capable and dominant over other nations for the best part of two centuries, they believed they could overcome the Germans despite even given their significant superiority of weapons and numbers, but it was never about racial superiority ideology. This is very much attested to and demonstarated by the way in which the British treated their German prisoners of war and indeed the German civillian population as whole.
    So you're suggesting that English nationalism was more about believing in their own self superiority, rather than German inferiority.

    More about nationalism and less about racism? I'm wondering why the French didn't fight harder. They had an empire too.




    The barbarity inflicted upon those races considered inferior by the Germans was never repeated or displayed by the British to any other nations people's during the war, of course the Bitish considered the axis powers their enemies because they were at war with them but any suggestion of perceiving them as inferior either racially or by nationality is just not supported by any evidence at all.
    They weren't barbarians about it. That's definitely true. And they certainly didn't see the German people as "subhuman" or anything extreme like that.

    However, the imposition of "reparations" on Germany after WWI would seem to show a certain lack of respect on the part of the British toward the German people.

    No I would suggest the viewpoint of ideological racial superiority demostrated by the Nazi's was actually quite rare and certainly not a particular trait shared by any of the allies and certainly not the British.
    This I consider to be somewhat "revisionist history". Remember the internment camps in the USA where all the ethnic Japanese people were corralled?

    Fortunately the American government was kind enough to stop short of trying to work them to death. But then again, America never found itself in a situation desperate enough to where it might need the extra manpower badly enough to have been pushed to consider the option. Also food was one resource that wasn't in short supply for the USA, so it was easy to meet the nutritional requirements of the internees.
    The idea that the French didn't fight hard enough seems a little daft really, remember they were fighting for the sovereignty of their country and indeed their own freedom, it seems unlikely that the French army wouldn't have given their best. The fact is the Germans overwhelmed the French with superior training and tactics, they managed highly coordinated attacks of multiple forces that even with greater numbers the French simply couldn't withstand, by this point no army facing the Germans had been able to withstand their tactics.
    But this was never about trying hard enough, the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) couldn't cope with the Germans either and had to be evacuated from Dunkirk because the Germans were simply to strong, it was only the English channel that stopped them from rolling across Britain in the same manner they had the rest of Europe. The Battle of Britain fought in the skies prevented the Germans gaining the aerial superiority they required to get their invasion force across the channel. The French never had this luxury of a large natural water barrier such as the channel, instead they relied on the Maginot Line to prevent invasion, a huge line of defensive fortifications that could counter any attack, however they caught off guard by the speed of the German attack that simply avoided the Maginot Line altogether and went through Belgium instead!

    Simply put, under the circumstances the French put up the best fight they were capable of and unfortunately for them it just wasn't enough, but not though a lack of effort or willingness to fight!

    As for the second point you raise, no doubt this is certainly true that some demonstration of racist attitudes were employed with regard to the internment of Ethnic Japanese, but I would strongly suggest this was more motivated by a sense of fear and security concerns about spying and sabotage rather than any type of racialistic and or nationalistic notions of superiority. Obviously during wars people are scared and concerned about those they consider enemies, but this doesn't mean that people automatically reject there value as human beings in the way demonstrated by the Nazis.

    Were these Ethinic Japanese subject to large scale execusions or tortured without cause or reason, the answer is simply no they were never treated in this manner. In wars it's pretty hard to assume a moral high ground, given the scale of human suffering caused by all sides, but certainly against the Nazis the allies can and should for all time be remembered to be on the side of right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The idea that the French didn't fight hard enough seems a little daft really, remember they were fighting for the sovereignty of their country and indeed their own freedom, it seems unlikely that the French army wouldn't have given their best.
    Unfortunately it's well documented that, overall, the French didn't "give their best".
    Large numbers of French troops were ill-trained and even worse motivated 1. While there were a good number of instances where French forces acted more than creditably 2, there were also an equal number instances of French troops giving up and "retreating" before engaging in combat.

    1 A contemporary British report by an English military liaison states a number of times hearing "Jamais encore" (Never again) from French troops. Initially he took it to mean "Never again will French soil be conquered". He found out that what was actually meant was "Never again will we lose so many troops in a war".
    2 One German officer stated after the war that there were 3 battles he'd never forget due to their ferocity: Monte Cassino, Stalingrad and... one most people have never heard of: Stonne 1940.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The idea that the French didn't fight hard enough seems a little daft really, remember they were fighting for the sovereignty of their country and indeed their own freedom, it seems unlikely that the French army wouldn't have given their best.
    Unfortunately it's well documented that, overall, the French didn't "give their best".
    Large numbers of French troops were ill-trained and even worse motivated 1. While there were a good number of instances where French forces acted more than creditably 2, there were also an equal number instances of French troops giving up and "retreating" before engaging in combat.

    1 A contemporary British report by an English military liaison states a number of times hearing "Jamais encore" (Never again) from French troops. Initially he took it to mean "Never again will French soil be conquered". He found out that what was actually meant was "Never again will we lose so many troops in a war".
    2 One German officer stated after the war that there were 3 battles he'd never forget due to their ferocity: Monte Cassino, Stalingrad and... one most people have never heard of: Stonne 1940.

    Ok fair point, I'm willing to accept that, however I can't believe you could really think that this gives any credence to Kojax's assertion that the British considered the Germans to be racially inferior.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok fair point, I'm willing to accept that, however I can't believe you could really think that this gives any credence to Kojax's assertion that the British considered the Germans to be racially inferior.
    Kojak is wrong in both directions. The NAZI considered the English people a sister Germanic people (rather obvious given their language) and Aryan. I've never seen anything that suggest racial hatred by Brits towards Germans either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    however I can't believe you could really think that this gives any credence to Kojax's assertion that the British considered the Germans to be racially inferior.
    I don't think that.
    I fact I didn't even see Kojax's claim - until now.
    But I also disagree with him.
    (The only "racially inferior" view that I'm aware of with regard to enemies in WWII was against the Japanese: they were, by and large, dismissed as a military threat of any credence until far too late - after they'd gained a few victories. That caused a radical shift of opinion).
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    I wasn't thinking English saw German people in the way German people saw Jewish or Eastern European people. Not like "life unworthy of life" or anything crazy like that. But willing to be ruled by them?

    It goes back to a small bit of mention I found during the founding of the USA, about America's then view of German people. Of course that's over a century and a half before World War II, so there's no saying things hadn't changed.

    Ben Franklin on "Stupid, Swarthy Germans" - Dialog International

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Franklin
    And in Europe, theSpaniards, Italians, French, Russians andSwedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, theSaxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth.


    I can't say for sure whether this attitude would have persisted, or to what degree mainland British people shared in it. However Benjamin Franklin was technically British before the revolution, so it is a recorded statement by a prominent British person of the late 18th century.


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    House of Windsor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The House of Windsor is the royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I.[1] The most prominent member of the House of Windsor is its head, Queen Elizabeth II, who is the reigning monarch of 16 Commonwealth realms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    House of Windsor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The House of Windsor is the royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I.[1] The most prominent member of the House of Windsor is its head, Queen Elizabeth II, who is the reigning monarch of 16 Commonwealth realms.
    Anti-german sentiment? That tends to happen when you're at war. It doesn't imply belief racial superiority.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post

    Anti-german sentiment? That tends to happen when you're at war. It doesn't imply belief racial superiority.
    Wrong point, it was the Kojack's point about the Brits being unwilling to be ruled by Germans that I was responding to.
    Last edited by dan hunter; May 28th, 2014 at 08:33 PM. Reason: typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I wasn't thinking English saw German people in the way German people saw Jewish or Eastern European people.
    It certainly seemed that is what you were thinking when you stated in post 8 "just as much as the people of Germany looked on Eastern Europeans as an inferior race- the British also looked upon Germans as an inferior race".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I wasn't thinking English saw German people in the way German people saw Jewish or Eastern European people.
    It certainly seemed that is what you were thinking when you stated in post 8 "just as much as the people of Germany looked on Eastern Europeans as an inferior race- the British also looked upon Germans as an inferior race".

    "Just as much" was probably an overstatement. Or maybe the difference is not the degree of racist attitude, but the degree of willingness to do horrible things to those deemed inferior. I'm just surprised to see so much of a reaction.

    It's like people just don't want to admit that prior to WW2 just about everyone was racist. It wasn't an exclusively Nazi failing. The Nazis just took it to an extreme - and showed the rest of us where it can lead.

    If you're trying to say something to the effect of "my own people weren't racists" - then that's just revisionist history. If all you're saying is that the British didn't have racist feelings specifically toward Germans, then that might bear out. And in any event, they certainly weren't racist toward Saxon Germans. ... Although I am unsure whether Hitler was Saxon or not.
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    I thought Hitler invaded the USSR because he was defeated in the Battle of Britain?

    Though if he didn't attack Stalin, he could have had time to build a navy to rival the Royal Navy. Though he attacked the USSR at the same time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor so he more or less was on the back foot from then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlinsomes View Post
    I thought Hitler invaded the USSR because he was defeated in the Battle of Britain?
    Uh no.
    He was always planning to attack the Soviet Union.
    It's just that he'd have preferred England out of the fight first (which didn't happen).
    Ideally he wanted England on-side with him.

    Though if he didn't attack Stalin, he could have had time to build a navy to rival the Royal Navy.
    Not a chance in hell.

    Though he attacked the USSR at the same time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
    Um yeah.
    Because on his calendar 22nd June 1941 and December 7th 1941 were the same day.
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    If you look at the overarching idealism of the Nazis, it looks like they wanted to leave naval dominance up to the British. Also building a large navy didn't fit very well into their long term goals, because it would do little or nothing to help them in the conquest of Russia.

    Anglo-Saxon Roots of German Nazism*|*Oriental Review

    Germany's ambitions were mostly inland.

    It's interesting to wonder why Britain didn't join Germany. They could have dominated the world together. I'm sure the USA wouldn't have cared.

    Britain is pretty much the only reason the USA participated in the first place. Germany had to declare war on the USA because the USA was shipping arms to all of its enemies. Japan attacked because the USA embargoed them. And both of those choices were necessary because Britain was against Germany. The USA got drawn in because it was supporting an ally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Germany's ambitions were mostly inland.
    By his own admission, Hitler was a hero on land but a virtual coward at sea. After WW1 Germany was restricted in the size of their ships and navy. Hence the pocket battleship. The Royal Navy would have blown any invasion fleet out of the water (that much was conceded by a German commentator).
    Not only in warships did the Germans have inferior weapons. The armour that invaded France was pitiful. They had to rely on Blitzkrieg. With few exceptions their planes were inferior to Britain's. In any case the Germans would never have got past the lines of pillboxes which can still be seen on the coast and lining the banks of rivers in England. Walking down the small River Parrett in Somerset which is well away from an invasion site, a week ago, I noticed a long line of these still standing.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pillbox.JPG

    It's interesting to wonder why Britain didn't join Germany. They could have dominated the world together. I'm sure the USA wouldn't have cared.
    Needed a man like Churchill to see the bluff that the Germans tried to advance about Britain and Germany not being natural enemies.
    Last edited by ox; May 17th, 2014 at 07:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    The armour that invaded France was pitiful. They had to rely on Blitzkrieg.
    There was no such thing as Blitzkrieg.
    Germany, therefore, did not rely on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    The armour that invaded France was pitiful. They had to rely on Blitzkrieg.
    There was no such thing as Blitzkrieg. Germany, therefore, did not rely on it.
    blitzkrieg (military tactic) -- Encyclopedia Britannica ??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    The armour that invaded France was pitiful. They had to rely on Blitzkrieg.
    There was no such thing as Blitzkrieg. Germany, therefore, did not rely on it.
    blitzkrieg (military tactic) -- Encyclopedia Britannica ??
    Dywyddyr is more correct here. Blitzkrieg was not a coherent tactic or strategy in German doctrine at any time, but when used, simply meant political/military strategy to win on a front swiftly enough to avoid the static draining two front wars it thought likely. Here is a discussion about much of the poor military history associated with the term.

    The Myth of Blitzkrieg

    It's swift victory over France and England (presence on the continent) had a lot more to do with French military doctrines still rooted in WWI, their lack of fuel after making a few poor decisions and repositioning, and the refugee population that clogged up the roads and rail network so bad it made tactical maneuvers in response to the German advance all but impossible.
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    That's relying on old - and now discredited - interpretations.
    Germany, at the time, NEVER used the word, nor anything that could be taken to imply it.
    Hitler gladly took credit when "Blitzkrieg" was pushed by the Allies as the reason for the fall of France (because it added to the myth of German superiority), but later came to regret adopting the term.
    Karl-Heinz Frieser spent a large amount of time going through contemporary German records and reports and his research shows that there was no such thing.
    The victory in France was entirely as much of a surprise to Germany as it was to France and the rest of the world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    That's relying on old - and now discredited - interpretations.
    Germany, at the time, NEVER used the word, nor anything that could be taken to imply it.
    Hitler gladly took credit when "Blitzkrieg" was pushed by the Allies as the reason for the fall of France (because it added to the myth of German superiority), but later came to regret adopting the term.
    Karl-Heinz Frieser spent a large amount of time going through contemporary German records and reports and his research shows that there was no such thing.
    The victory in France was entirely as much of a surprise to Germany as it was to France and the rest of the world.
    Oh I see, so blitzkrieg tactics didn't exist yet because nobody had yet called it a "Blitzkrieg" yet. Apparently things don't exist before we give names to them.

    I suppose that, had the Wright brothers constructed a machine with wings and an engine driven propeller, which could fly and flown it..... but failed to coin the word "airplane" to describe it - we would also have to say "airplanes" didn't exist yet.

    Was it an accidental coincidence that the German advance just so happened to overwhelm the enemy before they could mobilize their forces? Was that part just totally unforseen? Did the possibility play no role at all in any of the planning prior to the invasion?


    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Needed a man like Churchill to see the bluff that the Germans tried to advance about Britain and Germany not being natural enemies.

    Was it indeed a bluff? I don't really see a lot of evidence for it being a bluff.

    If you look at who gained the most and lost the most in WW2, it looks to me like Germany and Britain lost the most. Germany suffered humiliation and defeat against Russia, while Britain "lost the empire".

    Russia and the USA, on the other hand, emerged as the two world superpowers.

    Just imagine who things might have worked out if, instead of obliterating each other, Britain and Germany had worked together. Maybe the "superpowers" would have been a different pair of nations. Russia would very likely have fallen. The USA would have remained isolationists who primarily traded with Britain, had they not been drawn into the war.
    Last edited by kojax; May 18th, 2014 at 12:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Oh I see, so blitzkrieg tactics didn't exist yet because nobody had yet called it a "Blitzkrieg" yet. Apparently things don't exist before we give names to them.
    No.
    Blitzkrieg didn't exist because it didn't exist.
    I fail to see how you managed to get "didn't exist because it didn't have a name" from what I wrote.
    Germany used standard - i.e. non "Blitzkrieg" - military strategies, tactics and procedures.
    Blitzkrieg did not exist, nor did it take place.
    There. Was. No. Such. Thing.

    Was it an accidental coincidence that the German advance just so happened to overwhelm the enemy before they could mobilize their forces? Was that part just totally unforseen? Did the possibility play no role at all in any of the planning prior to the invasion?
    Which part of my previous comment - "The victory in France was entirely as much of a surprise to Germany as it was to France and the rest of the world" did you not understand?
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    The closest thing to "Blitzkrieg" in military doctrine anywhere is the American "Shock and Awe" doctrine.

    Anyway. I think somebody mentioned already that Germany had expected the rest of Europe to support them if they attacked the Soviet Union. So the questions of how the oil supplies and fighting on two fronts would have been resolved are meaningless. The war, if Britain had not decided to defend Poland's independence, would have been the Soviet Union against Germany, USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, India, Africa, South America, The rest of the British Empire, and last but not least Iceland.

    Contrafactuals are always true because the premise is false.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    The armour that invaded France was pitiful. They had to rely on Blitzkrieg.
    There was no such thing as Blitzkrieg.
    Germany, therefore, did not rely on it.
    'Blitzkrieg' or lightning war or whatever you call it was used where applicable and whether or not the word was heard in battle. A swift advance was in part possible because the Poles were attacking German tanks with horse power and the Belgians with pedal power. The Germans were able to advance overland with the element of surprise and around the Maginot Line where the French sat waiting to surrender. 'A cunning Nazi trick' (Capt. Mainwaring).
    England was a bit different though, even though to begin with it had a small army and a small airforce. It had the best navy and it was surrounded by a moat. It had short-sighted politicians, but cometh the hour cometh the man - Winston Churchill with his connections to the US.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    'Blitzkrieg' or lightning war or whatever you call it was used where applicable
    Nonsense.
    There was no "Blitzkrieg".
    If you're claiming that a quick advance in the face of a collapsing enemy is "Blitzkrieg" then:
    A) it was neither new nor unknown, and
    B) it's been practised by every army since wars began.

    the Poles were attacking German tanks with horse power
    Also nonsense.
    That didn't happen.

    and the Belgians with pedal power.
    What?

    The Germans were able to advance overland with the element of surprise and around the Maginot Line where the French sat waiting to surrender.
    So basically you're claiming that strategic surprise is "Blitzkrieg"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    If you're claiming that a quick advance in the face of a collapsing enemy is "Blitzkrieg" then:
    A) it was neither new nor unknown, and
    B) it's been practised by every army since wars began.
    Glad you agree that the quick advance was called Blitzkrieg in German.
    'the Poles were attacking German tanks with horse power'.
    Also nonsense.
    That didn't happen.
    Yes it did according to Christina Bielenberg who was living in Germany in her book The Past is Myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Glad you agree that the quick advance was called Blitzkrieg in German.
    Very funny.
    There was no such thing as Blitzkrieg.

    Yes it did according to Christina Bielenberg who was living in Germany in her book The Past is Myself.
    Ah, right.
    And a non-combatant living Germany would know what happened on the battlefield in Poland, wouldn't she?
    It didn't happen.
    false reports of Polish cavalry attacking German tanks
    no cavalry charges were made by the Polish Cavalry against German tanks
    the myth of the “charge against tanks” was born
    myth of the second world war, fostered by Nazi propagandists
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    'Blitzkrieg' or lightning war or whatever you call it was used where applicable
    Nonsense.
    There was no "Blitzkrieg".
    If you're claiming that a quick advance in the face of a collapsing enemy is "Blitzkrieg" then:
    A) it was neither new nor unknown, and
    B) it's been practised by every army since wars began.

    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.

    All through history nations had been able to take it for granted that, if an enemy attacked, there would be a reasonable amount of time between the moment they crossed the border, and the moment they showed up at your military bases. An army can only advance as fast as its supply line, and historically, supplies were transported by horse and carriage - so reasonably slow.

    The arrival of tanks surprised a lot of people. There were still military commanders who believed horses would never be supplanted. One of Patton's early achievements that advanced his career was to design a better sabre for use in American Cavalry. (Which should tell you that a number of American military leaders still thought that cavalry swords were relevant.)

    It's always easy, in hindsight, to say that "nobody would be so daft" as to fail to see the implications of a new technology, but it isn't always the case.


    So basically you're claiming that strategic surprise is "Blitzkrieg"?
    Yes. Literally translated, the word "Blitzkrieg" means "Lightning War".

    Advancing so fast that your enemy doesn't have time to mobilize is pretty much the sum total of the tactic.

    It's possible that the Germans stumbled onto it by accident. And probably WW2 is the only time it would ever have worked. And probably it only worked because the defensive planning of Germany's neighbors had failed to take into account the implications of the new technology they faced.

    Any modern opponent won't plan their defense around the expectation of an enemy using horse drawn carriages to transport their ammunition and supplies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.
    What utter nonsense.
    All that's needed is an advance rate fast enough to beat the enemy's response time.
    ANY period in history where overall command is wielded well behind the front lines opens itself to disruption in this manner.
    It's as much dependent on communications as anything - if HQ can't find out what's happening on the front line, and can't issue orders in time to counter, then they're buggered.

    An army can only advance as fast as its supply line, and historically, supplies were transported by horse and carriage - so reasonably slow.
    Excellent!
    So, by this argument, the Germans did NOT use Blitzkrieg.
    80% of the German army was horse-drawn.
    A 1940 panzer division fielded over 300 horses, by 1943 that figure rose to 1,700.
    (In fact the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) was, at the time, the ONLY fully motorised/ mechanised force in the world).

    The arrival of tanks surprised a lot of people. There were still military commanders who believed horses would never be supplanted. One of Patton's early achievements that advanced his career was to design a better sabre for use in American Cavalry. (Which should tell you that a number of American military leaders still thought that cavalry swords were relevant.)
    Machine guns put paid to cavalry - that was one of the major lessons of WWI.

    It's always easy, in hindsight, to say that "nobody would be so daft" as to fail to see the implications of a new technology, but it isn't always the case.
    Ooh, like Fuller's Plan 1919?

    Yes. Literally translated, the word "Blitzkrieg" means "Lightning War".
    Advancing so fast that your enemy doesn't have time to mobilize is pretty much the sum total of the tactic.
    And was neither the German plan nor a policy.
    The German victory was due at least as much to the collapse of France as it was to the tactics/ strategy of Germany.
    Prior examples of strategic surprise include Pearl Harbour (you're going to tell me that was "Blitzkrieg"?), Trenton, 1776 (another example of "Blitzkrieg"?), Hannibal crossing the Alps (guess what...).
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; May 28th, 2014 at 02:12 AM.
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    (Interjecting a comment)
    In one thing the Soviets excelled. If Hitler could have waited another year Stalin might have finished executing everybody in the Soviet military and the Germans would have had no generals to fight against to the east at all.
    Has anybody ever heard of Mikhail Frunze or Alexander Svechin?
    Georgii Isserson was an extremely important Soviet strategist and really developed most of the Soviet operational strategy.
    Last edited by dan hunter; May 19th, 2014 at 07:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    (Interjecting a comment)
    In one thing the Soviets excelled. If Hitler could have waited another year Stalin might have finished executing everybody in the Soviet military and the Germans would have had no generals to fight against to the east at all.
    Has anybody ever heard of Mikhail Frunze or Alexander Svechin?
    Georgii Isserson was an extremely important Soviet strategist and really developed most of the Soviet operational strategy.
    At least Frunze got a "school" named after him.
    Where's the recognition for Triandafillov?
    Possibly the best armour theorist/ strategist Russia's had (Zhukov ascribed his own success to Triandafillov's work).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.
    What utter nonsense.
    All that's needed is an advance rate fast enough to beat the enemy's response time.
    ANY period in history where overall command is wielded well behind the front lines opens itself to disruption in this manner.
    It's as much dependent on communications as anything - if HQ can't find out what's happening on the front line, and can't issue orders in time to counter, then they're buggered.
    Yes, but that period of history was the only time when enemy's had not accounted for the speed of advanced when setting up their response times.

    The flaw was with the defenders. This is nothing new. Changing technology often outpaces field tactics. The best example of tech outpacing tactics would be the American civil war, when most of the battles had enormous casualty rates because repeating rifles had only recently made it onto the battlefield, but many commanders were still using tactics left over from the single shot and pre-rifle eras. The armies would line up to face off, and just plain massacre each other.

    In World War II, the issue was mechanized transportation. Defenders were still using tactics based on a slower advance, because in previous wars, nobody had ever been able to advance as fast as Germany did in WW2. If they had seen the potential of the technology sooner, they might have prepared better and been fine.


    An army can only advance as fast as its supply line, and historically, supplies were transported by horse and carriage - so reasonably slow.
    Excellent!
    So, by this argument, the Germans did NOT use Blitzkrieg.
    80% of the German army was horse-drawn.
    A 1940 panzer division fielded over 300 horses, by 1943 that figure rose to 1,700.
    (In fact the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) was, at the time, the ONLY fully motorised/ mechanised force in the world).

    I had to research that myself before I believed it.

    Horses in World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Although it seems they still moved supplies substantially by rail, using the horses for distribution once the train reached a nearby hub.



    It's always easy, in hindsight, to say that "nobody would be so daft" as to fail to see the implications of a new technology, but it isn't always the case.
    Ooh, like Fuller's Plan 1919?

    As far as I've read of plans being introduced in the US military, it often takes a long time between when the plan is proposed by someone, and when enough officers are convinced of it that the military actually adopts it.

    Anyway, reading the horse article mentioned above, it looks the USA was uncommonly ahead of its time in abandoning the use of horses.

    Yes. Literally translated, the word "Blitzkrieg" means "Lightning War".
    Advancing so fast that your enemy doesn't have time to mobilize is pretty much the sum total of the tactic.
    And was neither the German plan nor a policy.
    The German victory was due at least as much to the collapse of France as it was to the tactics/ strategy of Germany.
    Prior examples of strategic surprise include Pearl Harbour (you're going to tell me that was "Blitzkrieg"?), Trenton, 1776 (another example of "Blitzkrieg"?), Hannibal crossing the Alps (guess what...).
    A better example would be found in looking at tactics used by the Mongols under Ghengis Khan.

    Trenton and Hannibal's expedition would hardly even be close. Pearl Harbor would count as a Blitzkrieg if it had been part of a larger advance that moved from base to base and continued to hit every military base in the USA before the USA could summon a response. Unfortunately it hit only one base, and used Kamikaze tactics so the Japanese were not even in a position to actually hold it once they were done destroying the naval force there.

    It's not about mere strategic surprise. It's about forcing your enemy to fight as individual units instead of as a combined army. If you hit them one base at a time, in rapid succession so they can't gather their armies, then you're always hitting a small army with a big army. Each outpost finds itself outnumbered something like 10 to 1, immediately falls, and your army just moves right onto the next outpost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Yes, but that period of history was the only time when enemy's had not accounted for the speed of advanced when setting up their response times.
    - snip -
    Defenders were still using tactics based on a slower advance, because in previous wars, nobody had ever been able to advance as fast as Germany did in WW2.
    Actually this is wrong.
    I cant' find my copy at the moment but T. N. Dupuy's Numbers, Prediction and War pretty much lays that to rest.

    Trenton and Hannibal's expedition would hardly even be close.
    Because?
    They are both examples of strategic surprise, and, according to Ox, Blitzkrieg is an "advance overland with the element of surprise".

    It's not about mere strategic surprise. It's about forcing your enemy to fight as individual units instead of as a combined army.
    Oh wow!
    You can't even get the definition of a non-existent manoeuvre correct.
    Blitzkrieg is (supposedly), not engaging the enemy: it's about bypassing resistance and disrupting lines of communication.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Yes, but that period of history was the only time when enemy's had not accounted for the speed of advanced when setting up their response times.
    - snip -
    Defenders were still using tactics based on a slower advance, because in previous wars, nobody had ever been able to advance as fast as Germany did in WW2.
    Actually this is wrong.
    I cant' find my copy at the moment but T. N. Dupuy's Numbers, Prediction and War pretty much lays that to rest.

    Trenton and Hannibal's expedition would hardly even be close.
    Because?
    They are both examples of strategic surprise, and, according to Ox, Blitzkrieg is an "advance overland with the element of surprise".
    Strategic surprise is not, on its own, a blitzkrieg. Just google the word "blitzkrieg", here's the 1st four links


    Blitzkrieg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    Blitzkrieg (Lightning War)


    The word itself is of recent origin historically, and so I really couldn't care less what a dictionary says about it, because it doesn't have any meaning in the ancestral English. As practiced, the tactic involved more than just strategic surprise. It was about dividing and conquering. Preventing the enemy from being able to unite their forces, so they had to meet your united force as individual units.

    It's not about mere strategic surprise. It's about forcing your enemy to fight as individual units instead of as a combined army.
    Oh wow!
    You can't even get the definition of a non-existent manoeuvre correct.
    Blitzkrieg is (supposedly), not engaging the enemy: it's about bypassing resistance and disrupting lines of communication.
    Since it doesn't exist, it's kind of hard to define it incorrectly.

    I was wrong only sofar as I didn't extend the tactic to its full use. The goal is two fold.

    1) - Divide up your enemy's units into small pieces so you're always engaging a small force using a large force.

    2)- Disrupt your enemy's ability to coordinate, so that #1 is easier to achieve.


    Moving quickly between outposts is, of course, not the only way to achieve it. Positioning your army in such a manner so that forces are blocked from being able to reach one another also helps, as does destroying key logistics so they have less ability to move. Clearly if you can slow them down, that's just as good as going fast yourself.

    The key reason it works is that you never encounter the enemy in a situation where their numbers/tanks/planes/whatever is nearly a match for yours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    As practiced
    Except that Blitzkrieg wasn't practised.
    It did not exist.

    It was about dividing and conquering.
    Oh, the historical concept.
    I.e. old enough to have been said in Latin.
    I.e. not new at all...

    Moving quickly between outposts is, of course, not the only way to achieve it.
    Oh wait. Hadn't you previously claimed that Blitzkrieg was speed-reliant?
    had not accounted for the speed of advanced when setting up their response times
    or even
    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.
    and
    nobody had ever been able to advance as fast as Germany did in WW2.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    At least Frunze got a "school" named after him.
    Where's the recognition for Triandafillov?
    Possibly the best armour theorist/ strategist Russia's had (Zhukov ascribed his own success to Triandafillov's work).
    I hadn't heard of Triandafillov.
    I assume he wasn't the theoretician whose work determined their tactics during the (1939-40) Winter War against Finland.
    They had massive superiority, in terms of resources, during that war and suffered huge losses before the conflict ended.
    They did win in the end, but had to settle for less than their original demands. It has been argued the original plan called for the complete defeat of Finland and the imposition of a Soviet-style Communist government there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    I hadn't heard of Triandafillov.
    I assume he wasn't the theoretician whose work determined their tactics during the (1939-40) Winter War against Finland.
    They had massive superiority, in terms of resources, during that war and suffered huge losses before the conflict ended.
    They did win in the end, but had to settle for less than their original demands. It has been argued the original plan called for the complete defeat of Finland and the imposition of a Soviet-style Communist government there.
    I don't think so.
    Triandafilov died in a plane crash in 1931.
    Edit:
    It does illustrate what I said earlier though. By the time of the Winter War Stalin had either executed or exiled about a third of his best officers.
    If Triandifilov had not died in 1931 Stalin likely would have done the same thing to him as Stalin did to Triandifilov's cousin Stillian.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post

    I don't think so.
    Triandafilov died in a plane crash in 1931.
    Edit:
    It does illustrate what I said earlier though. By the time of the Winter War Stalin had either executed or exiled about a third of his best officers.
    If Triandifilov had not died in 1931 Stalin likely would have done the same thing to him as Stalin did to Triandifilov's cousin Stillian.
    I was aware Soviet military tactics, against the Finns, were not based on the ideas of Triandifilov.
    My post was more concerned with an argument put forward in another thread, about the Soviets and the Germans, that seemed to suggest resource superiority is hardly ever less than crucial in determining the outcome of a war.
    I have little sympathy for Stillian Triandifilov as Wiki says he was a member of the Soviet Secret Police. Interestingly, Wiki describes him as the director of the NKVD. He may well have been a top functionary of that organisation, but he was not the boss as the title "director" would seem to suggest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    As practiced
    Except that Blitzkrieg wasn't practised.
    It did not exist.
    It is quite possible that Germany did it by accident, not knowing what would happen.


    It was about dividing and conquering.
    Oh, the historical concept.
    I.e. old enough to have been said in Latin.
    I.e. not new at all...
    Actually German doesn't descend from Latin. Both Latin and German descend from a common predecessor "Indo-European".

    So there would never have been any time at which the word "Blitzkrieg" existed in Latin.


    Moving quickly between outposts is, of course, not the only way to achieve it.
    Oh wait. Hadn't you previously claimed that Blitzkrieg was speed-reliant?
    In a no-holds-barred footrace, there are two ways to beat your opponent to the finish line.

    1) - Run faster.

    2) - Slow them down and/or place barriers in their path to stop them outright.

    I unfortunately neglected to mention option #2. I suppose we could argue that only fair footraces are speed reliant, since no-holds-barred footraces can be won without being fast.

    had not accounted for the speed of advanced when setting up their response times
    or even
    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.
    and
    nobody had ever been able to advance as fast as Germany did in WW2.
    I have examined the matter more closely, since you mention all of this.

    It seems, during World War I, the normal course of war was trench warfare. The battle moved in a very slow, grueling process, with thousands of soldiers dying just to advance a few meters.

    The defensive strategy that came out of World War I was focused on not ceding terrain. The reason being that if you allowed the enemy to gain any ground, you'd likely never get it back again. Or you might get it back, but it would be ten thousand corpses later, and months of hard fighting.

    So, it seems that Germany's neighbors used a defensive strategy based on spreading their army out along the border so that there wouldn't be any gaps in coverage. If an enemy attacked, the soldiers guarding that part of the border would dig in and fight as long as they could to allow time for reinforcements to arrive to back them up.

    However, technology changed between World War I and World War II. Tanks had developed essentially into something that could almost be thought of as a mobile artillery platform, and aerial bombing had improved accuracy and payload. When the soldiers guarding an area of the border dug in to hold them off as long as they could, "as long as they could" was all of about 5 minutes.

    The game had changed. A large force could defeat a small force in a very short time, and then just pick up and keep moving on to the next battle.



    Now the reason blitzkrieg wouldn't work as well in the modern era, is that defensive strategies have changed. The military defense force of most countries is not spread out as much, but rather is kept concentrated in a few bases. If an enemy were to somehow bring a force to the border undetected and attack, they could get pretty deep into the defender's territory before they face any resistance at all. But when they do face resistance, it will be a massed combined force.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Actually German doesn't descend from Latin. Both Latin and German descend from a common predecessor "Indo-European".
    So there would never have been any time at which the word "Blitzkrieg" existed in Latin.
    Irrelevant, not what I claimed and a strawman.
    YOU stated that
    As practiced, [Blitzkrieg] ... was about dividing and conquering
    Which is, as I pointed out, a concept and practise that predates (by a considerable margin) "Blitzkrieg" and therefore contradicts several of your earlier claims, e.g.
    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.
    In a no-holds-barred footrace, there are two ways to beat your opponent to the finish line.
    1) - Run faster.
    2) - Slow them down and/or place barriers in their path to stop them outright.
    And no. 2 has bugger all to with "Blitzkrieg" as claimed/ envisioned.

    Now the reason blitzkrieg wouldn't work as well in the modern era
    Bwahaha. I wonder if that's why the vast majority "modern nations" teach/ promote modern warfare based the fundamentals of the "concept of Blitzkrieg".
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  51. #50  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Actually German doesn't descend from Latin. Both Latin and German descend from a common predecessor "Indo-European".
    So there would never have been any time at which the word "Blitzkrieg" existed in Latin.
    Irrelevant, not what I claimed and a strawman.
    YOU stated that
    As practiced, [Blitzkrieg] ... was about dividing and conquering
    Which is, as I pointed out, a concept and practise that predates (by a considerable margin) "Blitzkrieg" and therefore contradicts several of your earlier claims, e.g.
    Yeah. Dividing and conquering is nothing new.

    Using time as an important factor is all that gets added with Blitzkrieg. Your enemy is united politically, but doesn't have enough time to actually gather together into a sufficiently large fighting force to oppose your advance.

    Instead of "dividing" your enemy, what you are doing is simply finishing them off before they have time to unite. They already are divided by geography.

    Kind of like when you're playing "Counterstrike" online, and one team gathers into a group and sweeps the map. In a 5 on 5 match, if all 5 members of one team is running together and the other team is all spread out, then each player on the other team finds them self outnumbered 5 to 1, one after the other.

    Note, however, that I'm saying "kind of like". That is not exactly a blitzkrieg, but it applies the fundamental principle.



    It wasn't even a possible tactic prior to World War I at the earliest.
    In a no-holds-barred footrace, there are two ways to beat your opponent to the finish line.
    1) - Run faster.
    2) - Slow them down and/or place barriers in their path to stop them outright.
    And no. 2 has bugger all to with "Blitzkrieg" as claimed/ envisioned.
    Seems like what is described in this link

    Blitzkrieg (Lightning War)

    Push through enemy lines in a narrow front until you're behind their lines, then encircle and force individual units to surrender. Why do you think you encircle them?



    Now the reason blitzkrieg wouldn't work as well in the modern era
    Bwahaha. I wonder if that's why the vast majority "modern nations" teach/ promote modern warfare based the fundamentals of the "concept of Blitzkrieg".
    Shock and Awe? Yeah it's just working wonderfully. Except when the tactical objective is to overcome an insurgency.

    Of course, the USA and allies haven't deployed their armies against an opponent of anything near to equal technology in half a century (unless you count England vs. Argentina, and I don't.) So there's no way to know by experience whether the tactic really works or not.

    Just because they teach it doesn't automatically mean it works. In a perfect world, maybe.
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    In Max Hasting's book All Hell Let Loose (2011) his comments on Blitzkrieg are:
    The doctrine of blitzkrieg evolved progressively, in the course of Germany's 1939-40 campaigns in Poland and France. But in 1941, Hitler explicitly committed himself to destroy Russia by waging a 'lightning war'. His armed forces, and Germany's economy, lacked the fundamental strength to accomplish anything else.
    Also, I would like to point out to the duck that I did not say that the Poles were mounting cavalry attacks with lances or rifles against German tanks. As I understand, they had no armour of their own and to the Germans it would have appeared that they were confronting them with cavalry, and this was the sort of thing that was being reported in the German press.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Seems like what is described in this link
    Blitzkrieg (Lightning War)
    Except that that link is fundamentally flawed. It contains this statement "Germany quickly overran much of Europe and was victorious for more than two years by relying on a new military tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war)." which is utterly incorrect.

    Shock and Awe? Yeah it's just working wonderfully. Except when the tactical objective is to overcome an insurgency.
    No and no.
    I'm talking about "army vs. army" not asymmetric warfare.

    So there's no way to know by experience whether the tactic really works or not.
    Yeah, maybe you could ask, for example, Israel about that...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Also, I would like to point out to the duck that I did not say that the Poles were mounting cavalry attacks with lances or rifles against German tanks.
    So what exactly did you mean by the words "the Poles were attacking German tanks with horse power"?

    As I understand, they had no armour of their own
    Yeah, so I wonder why the Germans got themselves stuffed so badly at, for example, Piotrków Trybunalski. Presumably it wasn't because Polish 7TP tanks pursued and kept beating the rest of the [German] tanks off.
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    Duck, I suggest you get hold of some proper military history and not rely too much on anonymous websites.
    By that I mean military historians such as Max Hastings and John Keegan. Here is what Keegan has to say (in summary) in his book A History of Warfare.
    "In the event Poland's 40 divisions, none armoured, were surrounded by 62 German divisions, and were overwhelmed in 5 weeks. The Polish airforce was wiped out on the first day. The Polish campaign unveiled the new tactics for which Germany's land and air forces were equipped and trained. Called Blitzkrieg, lightning war, a journalist's term but a descriptive one, it concentrated tanks into an offensive phalanx, supported by squadrons of dive-bombers as flying artillery. Tanks could keep up a pace of 50 miles a day (achieved by Rommel in France). Radio sets enabled orders to be transferred in real time. Erhard Milch (Luftwaffe general) remarked at a pre-war conference on blitzkrieg tactics: 'the dive bombers will form a flying artillery, directed to work with ground forces through good radio communications. The real secret is speed - speed of attack through speed of communication.' The results of the campaign in France and the Low Countries appeared to bear this expectation out."

    Compare 50 miles a day with the 50 yards a day in WW1. Alexander and Napoleon used such tactics but not with that backup. So Blitzkrieg is as good a description as any.

    This is what Bielenberg writes in her book.
    The Poles had apparently no airforce, and were, with incredible bravery, charging the invincible German tanks with their horse cavalry.
    I am willing to concede that this might not be strictly accurate, but the Poles proved themselves to be incredibly brave at times, and no doubt that is how it appeared from a German perspective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Duck, I suggest you get hold of some proper military history and not rely too much on anonymous websites.
    You're joking of course.
    Apart from the book I've already linked to (Blitzkrieg Legend) I own ~8,000 (hardcopy)books, about 25% (minimum) being military history/ technology.

    By that I mean military historians such as Max Hastings and John Keegan. Here is what Keegan has to say (in summary) in his book A History of Warfare.
    And I suggest you get hold of current historical books, instead of relying on outdated (and incorrect) tomes.

    The term Blitzkrieg was NEVER used by the Germans (until AFTER the Allies used it as an excuse - they co-opted it, as I explained) and Blitzkrieg (as a tactic/ strategy) did not exist and was therefore never used.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; May 30th, 2014 at 04:51 PM.
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    Max Hastings is not an historian, nor does he have any military experience, nor has he ever done any authentic historical work examining original source materials. He's a journalist who's written a few historical fictions that were sensationalized, deeply biased to sell to British audiences and criticized for their historical inaccuracies.
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  58. #57  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Duck, I suggest you get hold of some proper military history and not rely too much on anonymous websites.
    You're joking of course.
    Apart from the book I've already linked to (Blitzkrieg Legend) I own ~8,000 (hardcopy)books, about 25% (minimum) being military history/ technology.
    Totally irrelevant how many books you own. I'm a member of 6 library groups (about a 100 libraries in total, one of them being the biggest public library in Europe - so I have instant access to about 2 million books).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Max Hastings is not an historian, nor does he have any military experience, nor has he ever done any authentic historical work examining original source materials. He's a journalist who's written a few historical fictions that were sensationalized, deeply biased to sell to British audiences and criticized for their historical inaccuracies.
    Hastings is a journalist turned historian. He was a reporter in Vietnam before he turned to writing the history of C20th wars. His latest book is Catastrophe about the events leading up to and including 1914.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Hastings
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Totally irrelevant how many books you own.
    Given your admonition:
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Duck, I suggest you get hold of some proper military history
    It's NOT irrelevant.
    You seemed to be operating under the assumption that "anonymous websites" were all I was going on.
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    Fact is, proper military history is seldom written by people who were there at the time. The reason why I like Max Hastings is because he had experience of real war in Vietnam and the Falklands. For the conflicts he was absent he was prepared to interview as many combatants as possible and delve into recently released archives. I'll wager that these anonymous websites are not properly researched like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Max Hastings is not an historian, nor does he have any military experience, nor has he ever done any authentic historical work examining original source materials. He's a journalist who's written a few historical fictions that were sensationalized, deeply biased to sell to British audiences and criticized for their historical inaccuracies.
    Hastings is a journalist turned historian. He was a reporter in Vietnam before he turned to writing the history of C20th wars. His latest book is Catastrophe about the events leading up to and including 1914.

    Max Hastings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    While I'm glad there are people in the world who write well enough and can spin and liven up a story well enough to bring history (even distorted forms of it) into our lives, Max Hasting is at best historical journalist, an amature. You'll note he's not written a single scholarly historic work--not one. He is no more an historian than a science journalist is a scientist. And he's wrong about Blitzkrieg--either ignorant (likely) or deliberately reinforcing the myth that started as a successful propaganda campaign and British excuse to its people for loosing their grip on the Continent so quickly and decisively--one even 70 years later they still need to sell books apparently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Fact is, proper military history is seldom written by people who were there at the time. The reason why I like Max Hastings is because he had experience of real war in Vietnam and the Falklands.
    Oh yeah "people who were there at the time".
    Hastings - the guy widely lambasted by his fellow journalists for spending the entirety of the Falklands war on board the Great White Whale (SS Canberra) until just before Stanley fell, and then jumping the queue to get hailed as the first Britisher to enter the Port.
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    Got to hand it to you, duck. You are of course correct in everything you say. Hastings was a glory seeker. But hang on a minute. Wasn't he also in the Parachute Regiment himself at one time? Wasn't he in the thick of the action in Belfast? Wasn't he shot at in the Vietnam conflict? Wasn't he there at the final day in Saigon? Wasn't he present at conflicts in Africa (Biafra, Rhodesia, Angola) and the Middle East? Wasn't he on board the ship when the missiles were raining down in the Falklands?

    And all those miltary history books are his own reportage. WW1, WW2, Korea,
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Wasn't he also in the Parachute Regiment himself at one time?
    No.
    He was in the TA. Briefly. With an attachment to the Paras for one exercise.
    In his own words "I would have been a disastrous soldier."

    Wasn't he in the thick of the action in Belfast?
    Right. Because it's always been British policy to let civilians into "the thick of it"...
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    Ducking and diving as ever.
    Glad to see your reference has disproved the assertions made by Lynx Fox in #56. He did have military experience (in the TA parachute regiment) and he is an historian who writes on a mix of military and social history. He was indeed too tall and not athletic enough to be an effective soldier, but at least the will was there for him to try. The best ones tend to be quite short (the SAS for instance).
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Glad to see your reference has disproved the assertions made by Lynx Fox in #56. He did have military experience (in the TA parachute regiment)
    Try reading.
    He wasn't in the paras. Ever.
    And "military experience" would be somewhat limited in the TA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    (...) I own ~8,000 (hardcopy)books, about 25% (minimum) being military history/ technology.

    This is irrelevant to this discussion, but how do you manage to keep so many books and book shelves in your house?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    This is irrelevant to this discussion, but how do you manage to keep so many books and book shelves in your house?
    I don't have a TV!
    Most shelves are stacked with 4 rows (2 books front-to-back and 2 high) for paperbacks.
    Hardbacks, being larger, are more problematic, but somehow I manage.
    I'm currently in the middle of tidying up, but normally, I have piles of books (that migrate round the place) stacked up to 4 feet high in every room except the kitchen, and magazines similarly (I own, for example, 43 years' worth of one monthly magazine - except for 1 issue, which I'm tracking down slowly...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Seems like what is described in this link
    Blitzkrieg (Lightning War)
    Except that that link is fundamentally flawed. It contains this statement "Germany quickly overran much of Europe and was victorious for more than two years by relying on a new military tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war)." which is utterly incorrect.
    So who was this guy Heinz Guderian? I'm sure he didn't coin the term "blitzkrieg" to describe his tactics, but his tactics describe the very thing that the West would later go on to call a "blitzkrieg". At a minimum, the German army was making use of the fundamentals of "shock and awe" - which you appear to equate with "blitzkrieg"

    Heinz Guderian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Is the word itself really the big issue here for you? Does it change everything, if somebody else's name for it was more catchy, and therefore came to be adopted by historians? Is the name giver now the inventor?

    I suppose we must also give credit for the "Big Bang" theory to Fred Hoyle, since he coined the term "Big Bang", whereas Georges Lemaître only managed to come up with a silly idea about the entire universe having expanded from a single point. Which he, unfortunately, was not intelligent or creative enough to think of calling "The Big Bang".





    Shock and Awe? Yeah it's just working wonderfully. Except when the tactical objective is to overcome an insurgency.
    No and no.
    I'm talking about "army vs. army" not asymmetric warfare.

    So there's no way to know by experience whether the tactic really works or not.
    Yeah, maybe you could ask, for example, Israel about that...
    I'll look into that. I hadn't thought about Israel. They've only fought defensive wars, but I hadn't considered the possibility that the principles of shock and awe could still be used in a defensive war.
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    I don't have a TV!
    Most shelves are stacked with 4 rows (2 books front-to-back and 2 high) for paperbacks.
    Hardbacks, being larger, are more problematic, but somehow I manage
    This is scarily similar to my house... The number of hard copy books has stalled at ~4000 since I bought a kindle (but I've acquired ~2000 eBooks in the 3 years since I bought it...)
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    Similar at my place. Peaked at about 3000 or so but the wife and I have been purging, in her case lots of scifi and dated psychology college text while I've gotten rid of hundreds of military history books since retiring from the Army. Today we're at about 2200, and still every room has multiple book shelves many of them double stacked. It's pretty easy to get that many over the years when my wife and I both purchase one or two a month, often take more college courses, and relatives are generous with more during the holidays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    but his tactics describe the very thing that the West would later go on to call a "blitzkrieg".
    Except for the unfortunate fact that his "tactics" were nothing new, nothing different and not out of the ordinary.

    [quote]At a minimum, the German army was making use of the fundamentals of "shock and awe" - which you appear to equate with "blitzkrieg"[/quote
    Uh, that I associate with Blitzkrieg?
    Why would I associate anything with a non-existent manoeuvre?

    Is the word itself really the big issue here for you? Does it change everything, if somebody else's name for it was more catchy, and therefore came to be adopted by historians? Is the name giver now the inventor?
    Since nothing was invented there's no one to take the credit.

    I'll look into that. I hadn't thought about Israel. They've only fought defensive wars
    Right...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    but his tactics describe the very thing that the West would later go on to call a "blitzkrieg".
    Except for the unfortunate fact that his "tactics" were nothing new, nothing different and not out of the ordinary.

    What was new, was not stopping to secure territory after he took it. Guderian would get orders from high command telling him to hold off and then go out and do a "reconnaissance in force" to the next zone. He's also the guy who was famously ordered to stand down at Dunkirk.

    Clearly Guderian's own tactics were what we now today call a "blitzkrieg" tactic. However, German high command doesn't seem to have agreed with what he was doing.

    So if we're asking whether "Germany" implemented blitzkrieg, as in "German High Command", then the answer is "No." If we're asking whether Guderian was implenting a blitzkrieg tactic - then the answer is probably "yes". And he had command of a substantial portion of Germany's forces, so it's kind of splitting hairs to try and differentiate between "Guderian's Blitzkrieg" and "Germany's Blitzkrieg".





    Is the word itself really the big issue here for you? Does it change everything, if somebody else's name for it was more catchy, and therefore came to be adopted by historians? Is the name giver now the inventor?
    Since nothing was invented there's no one to take the credit.

    I'll look into that. I hadn't thought about Israel. They've only fought defensive wars
    Right...
    Never considered the 6 day war to be an aggressive war, but I guess Israel did fire the first shot.
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    By nothing new should probably be put in the military historical context as an extension of existing maneuver warfare doctrines where mobile forces were concentrated and bypassed strong points and encircled them while creating lots of confusion and cutting off logistical support. Other than being applied to armored forced and now also able to add air support (before cav were largely on their own out of range of arty) it wasn't really any different than standard cavalry and light mobile infantry operations used so effectively in the past by capable field commanders such as Napoleon. The German officer corp was well trained in maneuver warfare (in a school system widely copied since). We study much of this extensively in the US officer corp as well, despite the fact that attrition warfare is used much much more often than maneuver warfare throughout US military history.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    What was new, was not stopping to secure territory after he took it.
    Arrant nonsense.
    Numerous commanders have pushed forward and left actual engagement/ mopping up to following units.
    (WWI sturmtaktik springs to mind here too).

    Clearly Guderian's own tactics were what we now today call a "blitzkrieg" tactic.
    No.
    He simply kept going where resistance was weak. That idea (and practise) is centuries old.

    However, German high command doesn't seem to have agreed with what he was doing.
    IOW, as I originally stated, it wasn't German thing and it wasn't a policy.

    So if we're asking whether "Germany" implemented blitzkrieg, as in "German High Command", then the answer is "No." If we're asking whether Guderian was implenting a blitzkrieg tactic - then the answer is probably "yes". And he had command of a substantial portion of Germany's forces, so it's kind of splitting hairs to try and differentiate between "Guderian's Blitzkrieg" and "Germany's Blitzkrieg".
    And, since he didn't do anything new, it wasn't exactly revolutionary.
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