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Posted: 12/22/2001 8:28:26 AM EDT
After rereading a fairly recent book on WWII, there is a new take on the Battle of the Bulge. Eisenhower, after beating against the West Wall for 4 months, wanted a way to get the Germans "out of their holes," so he could kill them. It seems that Hitler and the Japanese envoy, Oshima, confided in each other and the attack plans were sent to Japan in code, which was intercepted by MAGIC. Thusly, Eisenhower knew ahead of time of the attack and allowed it to happen, so he could wipe out th enemy in the open. Alot of green troops were subsequently sacrificed in the Ardennes, if this theory is correct. Supposedly, George Marshall was close to sacking Eisenhower if progress was not made against the West Wall. The Allies did in fact chew up an awful lot of lives - a couple hundred thousand casualties, or so, among the U.S., British & the Canadians, trying to punch through. What do you fellows think? The book is titled "West Wall," by Charles Whiting. Thanks, John
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 12:44:00 PM EDT
I think it's unlikely but could be possible. Ike wasn't all that much of a saint. After the war he knowingly let thousands of German POWs starve to death after they surrendered to us.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 1:09:34 PM EDT
Grin, FDR was no saint, either. It is pretty clear that the facts about Pearl Harbor did not appear until after 1995. John
Link Posted: 12/23/2001 7:24:47 PM EDT
It wouldn't surprise me, that we knew about the German breakout befor it happen. If you will look back on most US wars, clear back to the French, Indian, it seems we were always willing to accept more losses than others. I was related a story, that in WWII they found the low level jump point by dumping troopers out at lower and lower levels, until casalities were "unacceptable"!!! Duce:
Link Posted: 12/24/2001 7:24:52 AM EDT
Just bought a new book, "Roosevelt's Secret War," by Joseph E. Persico. Thumbing through it, I saw a lot of references to Oshima. I am not so naive to think that our leaders are so morally above the enemy in any era.
Link Posted: 12/25/2001 8:13:08 AM EDT
I tend to disbelieve the story. Considering we stormed the beaches in June and were to the borders of Germany in six months with citizen soldiers and a 3000 mile long supply line is remarkable. Consider how long it took the Soviets and how many million more casualties they took, I applaud the Western Allies(excepting the French, of course).
Link Posted: 12/25/2001 8:18:56 AM EDT
I don't know that I would agree with that. Saying an attack is going to occur does not mean that a breakthrough for the Germans was or Wasn't going to happen. Things are much to fluid for that kind of thinking. I would have to read the book before I could draw any conclusions but the story presented above sounds like a rationalization to me and is probably false. "Hind Sight is Twenty Twenty" But in the HERE AND NOW things have a tendency to play on you differently. Benjamin
Link Posted: 12/25/2001 9:51:08 AM EDT
Benjamin, I of course, don't know for certain, either. I think that we can agree that various codes wer broken, and we knew a lot about what the Axis was preparing to do. Eisenhower was not a field general. He was an organizer who had his hands full with Montgomery, Patton, Bradley, Brooke, and all the rest of the commanders. The West Wall was built with enormous expense in the '30s and then abandoned until 1944, when Hitler decided to rearm it. When the Allied armies reached it in September, 1944, they expected the war to be over by Christmas. Not to be. Cracking the wall took a lot more than they thought. The Ardennes action by Hitler was a disaster for him. "Nordwind" also was a waste. His generals were against the attacks, but Hitler was, well, Hitler. He was in a dream world by then. Had he reached and taken Antwerp, the situation would have changed quite a bit. All in all, the time between September '44 and April '45 was very costly for the U.S. Just my thoughts, based on what I have read. John
Link Posted: 12/26/2001 8:50:42 PM EDT
Hi guys. I'm just going from memory here. Ike may have found out but I don't think was a planned trap. There were airborn troops there for a rest, they had been in the thick of t on D day and then in Monty's market garden. so although not a great number of them, these were very tested troops. Isn't this when Patton made his mad dash an finnally turned this arround? If so, I don't think Ike could have planned tha Patton could have achived the time frame he did accross frozen an devasted land. Seems that Ike would have movedPatton closer alot sooner. And had men an materials set up to throw into this when the german advance got to a certian point an they didn't. If the Germans supply lines hadn't gotte so screwed up they would have gotten alot further. This seems like Saturaday morning quarterbacking to me. JB
Link Posted: 12/26/2001 8:57:43 PM EDT
Hi,Just one more thought. One of the best things going for the Germans was the weather. It kept our air cover grounded. and had it not cleared when it did an Patton not made his mad dash, the Germans would have gotten alot further an doe alot more distructin. I'm not sure even Ike could have held command through that. JB
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:18:16 AM EDT
in a semi-related story- my father was in ghq under gen mac, pacific command but held the same security clearance as oppenhiemer (whom he met at some 'parties'). he had unrestricted access to gen mac's residence etc etc. just to qualify who he was. when in uniform he would wear that one of a sergeant, but in his pocket he carried a card that allowed him the priveleges and powers of a colonel. ANYWAY - he once told me a story that i wish i paid more attention to. it was about the REAL commander of allied forces europe who was killed in a plane crash in greenland (?!?) on his way to the theatre of operations. this lead to the delay of overlord AND the subsequent promotion of IKE who was described as a self serving brown noser who couldn't make a descision to remove a paper bag from his head. can't remember the name of the general - but the inference was that IKE was a moron and a yes man for someone else. so as far as IKE doing this or that....whatever! my father passed away over two years ago - and to the day he died - he took secrets to his grave the he said to me "i can't say because if they find out, there would be a knock on the door and that would be it". he only admitted to me he did 'contract' work for the OSS/CIA (1937-1962) in 1992 after a guy i met at a dinner party (who worked with, but was not in the CIA) told me to ask my dad about a name. this name triggered the nervous confesion! "but dad, how would they know you said anything?" "trust me son, they would know. and i can't tell you, because that would put you in trouble." he died in his sleep @13:30 hrs 13 sept 1999. what's wierd is that his ssn was coded to pay the highest allowed social security benefits even after his death to his spouse. steve
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 1:25:10 PM EDT
OK, I skipped to the bottom, so I sure hope someone hasn't beat me to it... scenario..... You have almost total control of the air... you can maneuver without being seen and your enemy has big troubles doing the same... You see an attack coming and it's gonna hit you hard in a soft spot.... what do you do to impress your boss.... A) do nothing, take high losses B) move troops covertly into positions where you can cause MASSIVE damage once the enemy is out in the open... I'm gonna guess that the Bulge was a surprise.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:34:59 PM EDT
The premise that Ike allowed the Germans to attack so we could catch the Germans in the open just doesn't seem right. The Ardennes really isn't open & we lost a lot of troops just pushing them back to original attack points. Also didn't make much headway until weather cleared in 45. There is the fact that the divisions & resources Germany moved from the east were used up, could not be returned, allowing the Russians to make their massive breakthroughs. Most likely they would have anyway but the Geramn resistance was greatly reduced because of the assets they pulled & could not return. The command blunders at the Hurtgen Forest seem to be too easily forgotten.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:25:35 AM EDT
Steve M5; Its interesting that you posted this story. I am friends with someone who doesn't exist. And yes they will never tell. Benjamin
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 7:01:40 AM EDT
Grin, looking back in retrospect, it does not seem plausible, but back in 1944, Eisenhower was getting a lttle frustrated at lack of progress. The enemy WERE stuck in their holes on the Siegfried Line. Most of them were 2nd and 3rd line troops, not much good in ordinary combat, but they could sit behind a ton of concrete and shoot an MG42. A lot of Americans were getting killed and wounded. Eisenhower was getting flack from his superiors. That's been written many times. Montgomery wanted to go around the West Wall from the north, but Bradley and Patton hated him and threatened to resign if Monty was first to cross the Rhine. I am not saying that Eisenhower deliberately sacrificed thousands of green troops, I'm just stating that Ike KNEW the Germans were coming out and he was relieved. He has been quoted on that. John
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 3:21:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 5:04:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2002 5:05:58 PM EDT by MrClean]
Raf, you say it's bullshit. Well, I don't know if I'd exactly rate the premise of my original post quite like that. You would agree that our people WERE reading the Japanese codes, correct? If so, it would not necessarily be bullshit that Oshima, a real person, could have transmitted secrets to Tokyo that we picked up, and that the Allied High Command knew what was going on.
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 5:24:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 5:37:25 PM EDT
If Ike had known he would likely have dployed forces into position to attack at the german supply line. He might have left the fresh troops on the line, but he would be stupid not to have fresh troops to exploit the enemies flank. I think that it is unlikely that he knew in advance.
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 9:58:26 PM EDT
Just thought I'd correct a bit of false comparative history expressed by Mr. SS109 earlier. The American Army's jaunt through France and Germany during 1944-1945 cannot be compared to the brutal combat on the Eastern Front throughout WW2. The Americans fought for the most part an exhausted,inexperienced German Army which hd been bled white fighting in Russia. The biggest battle the US Army ever fought was the Battle of the Bulge and it was touch and go for about two weeks. Coming into contact with divisions which had Eastern Front experience was a brutal shock for the Americans who were used to fighting "stomach divisions" and Hitler Youth. This was the one and only battle where American "citizen soldiers" tasted a tiny portion of what was par in the East. The Soviets won the ground war in WW2. They fought twenty or thirty battles bigger than the Bulge and inflicted 80% of German casualties. Even after D-Day (a gigantic operation but a relatively small battle) 2/3 of German resources were devoted to fighting the Soviets, and huge areas in western Germany were left virtually undefended. When large units surrendered to the Americans or British it was often to escape service in the East, not because they'd been beaten in battle. That explains the lower casualties of the western Allies in Germany. At the end of WW2 the Red Army was the best in the world at fighting Germans.
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 10:01:04 PM EDT
Just thought I'd correct a bit of false comparative history expressed by Mr. SS109 earlier. The American Army's jaunt through France and Germany during 1944-1945 cannot be compared to the brutal combat on the Eastern Front throughout WW2. The Americans fought for the most part an exhausted,inexperienced German Army which hd been bled white fighting in Russia. The biggest battle the US Army ever fought was the Battle of the Bulge and it was touch and go for about two weeks. Coming into contact with divisions which had Eastern Front experience was a brutal shock for the Americans who were used to fighting "stomach divisions" and Hitler Youth. This was the one and only battle where American "citizen soldiers" tasted a tiny portion of what was par in the East. The Soviets won the ground war in WW2. They fought twenty or thirty battles bigger than the Bulge and inflicted 80% of German casualties. Even after D-Day (a gigantic operation but a relatively small battle) 2/3 of German resources were devoted to fighting the Soviets, and huge areas in western Germany were left virtually undefended. When large units surrendered to the Americans or British it was often to escape service in the East, not because they'd been beaten in battle. That explains the lower casualties of the western Allies in Germany. At the end of WW2 the Red Army was the best in the world at fighting Germans.
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 2:09:42 AM EDT
I would agree with you for the most part unclejoe, the war on the eastern front did wear down the German army. I would'nt say the Red army was the best at fighting the Germans though. The Russians beat the Germans with just overwhelming numbers and crucial mistakes due to Hitlers stubborness. If you look at even the great victory at Kursk, the Russians took staggering losses. Had Paulus been allowed to break out of Stalingrad early, who knows what would have happened?
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 6:52:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2002 6:53:08 AM EDT by MrClean]
A couple of more things. When the Germans initially enter the USSR, they were regarded as liberators by some. It did not take very long for the Nazis and the SS to turn these peasants into cruel partsans. Hitler squandered thousands of troops by insisting on stand or die tactics. Many authors have written that "the German Army of 1944 was nothing like the army of 1940." As for the Bulge, one of the key ingrediants was the seizure of U.S. fuel dumps, as the Germans had not enough of their own. Manteuffel basically ran out of gas. I have bought another book, still unread, "FDR's Secrets," about the President & secret intellegence in WWII. (Joseph E. Persico) I have not gotten into it yet, but there are references to Oshima, as well as photographs.
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 6:59:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 6:24:39 AM EDT
The first step is not to be ready for winter. The second step is stretching your front lines across a 600 mile front instead of the chocked off front near Kiev. This in my view is what destroyed the Germans. NO DEPTH. If the Germans had merely attacked the Soviets and gained all strategic ground close to the German border say within 300 miles or so, then the Soviets would not have been able to mount so effective a counter attack. If they would errected a defense in depth along this narrower front during the winter and been prepared for it they would have lasted longer in the east. Just some thoughts. But the responsibility for the German defeat ultimately lies with Hitler for his stupidity and the Russian Conscripts for their sheer number and the amount of blood. Benjamin
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 8:38:36 AM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: Uncle Joe, an observation, and a couple of questions. The Soviets fought the Germans on their doorstep, as it were. And fought the majority of the German army, no arguement. However, one must ask the following questions: Could the Soviet army have successfully fought the Germans without the tens of thousands of trucks supplied by the US? Stalin, as quoted at Yalta, thought not. How many opposed assault landings fron the sea did the Soviets carry out? Tell us about the Soviet air armadas that crippled the Reich. Please. How about all those Soviet parachute assaults- the Soviets, at the beginning of the war, had the most airborne divisions. Oh. and lastly, the US and Britain fought worldwide land, air, and sea battles and campaigns the likes of which the Soviets could never attempt. Lastly, the German forces in the Ardennes offensive, veterans all, supplied with the best and latest weapons the Reich could supply, got their asses kicked by stupid, inept Americans. Just like they did in WW I. German always lose, in the end.
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My main point of contention with unclejoe was that the soviet army was the best at fighting Germans. While in the end this could be true it is a much too subjective statement due to many variables. For as well as the Americans fought at the bulge, the Russians fought equally as well at Stalingrad and Leningrad. On your points you belittle the Russian war effort way to much. Why diddnt the Russians have assault landings from the sea and airborne attacks? Geographically they had no reason for sea attacks and I can't think of a single successful airborne attack. Air armadas. Like the German air force, the Russian air force was more of a tactical support for ground troops. Heavy bombers were not part of their philosophy. Heavy bombing may have crippled the Germans but not to the extent you give it. You only have to look at the battle of Berlin to show that. U.S. and England fighting world wide campaigns that the Russians could never match? The campaign on the eastern front used up way more resources of the Germans and Russians than the rest of the combatants combined. At the battle of Kursk the Russians beat 30 army divisions and 7 panzer divisions. Where did the U.S. and England fight such a force? Even after d-day there were never more than 70 German army divisions in the west. The units in the west were sent there for rest from the fighting in the east. Concerning the best of Germany being sent to the bulge. While in some cases this is true, ie. 6th SS panzer division under Dietrich, these troops were tired from running battle to battle on the eatsern front before being rushed to the west. The battle of the bulge was a mistake by the Germans, ill conceived and not supported by the general staff. I seriously doubt the allies had anything up there sleeve like is suggested here and in fact I am of the thought the after Kursk the war was over. Eventually the Russians could have beaten the Germans without any help from us.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 1:07:08 AM EDT
I think the point was that England and the USA put alot of resources into things the Russians did not. A navy? Nope. Just a few subs. An airforce? It was 1944 that Russian vets said they saw more than a token few Russian aircraft. There is a neat story floating out there about the Russians bombing Berlin in 1941/2. Stalin heard that Diesel engines were more fuel efficient, and ordered Russian bombers to be reengined with diesels to make the trip. They turned out to be more dangerous to their crews than the Germans.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 4:46:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2002 4:50:30 AM EDT by OLY-M4gery]
Originally Posted By raf: However, one must ask the following questions: Could the Soviet army have successfully fought the Germans without the tens of thousands of trucks supplied by the US? Stalin, as quoted at Yalta, thought not.
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Trucks?? every army except the US and Britian still used horses or mules for transport. Sure trucks helped. But what we did by supplying trucks was let the Russian concentrate on building tanks. They built about 20,000 more T-34's than we built Shermans. Not to mention their very heavy assualt guns and tank destroyers, or their Josef Stalin I, II, and III series with 122mm guns.
How many opposed assault landings fron the sea did the Soviets carry out?
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How many German tank columns made it through to Nebraska??
Tell us about the Soviet air armadas that crippled the Reich. Please.
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The Russians had tactical aircraft, like the IL-2 Stumovik, aka the cement plane according to the Luftwaffe. The Western Allies faced a small percentage of German fighters, because they were busy keeping the Russain ground attack planes away from their troops. Yes we did a good job at messing up production of war goods in the Reich, but once they were produced the Russians did most of the killing in battle.
How about all those Soviet parachute assaults- the Soviets, at the beginning of the war, had the most airborne divisions.
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My understnading is that both Russian and German forces did use small scale para-drops throughout the war, not divisional level stuff like the US.
Oh. and lastly, the US and Britain fought worldwide land, air, and sea battles and campaigns the likes of which the Soviets could never attempt.
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And the Russians were fighting a war like we would never want to be in 10 million soldiers on the Eastern Front on each side fighting each other. The US had what 7 million total soldiers/sailors/airmen?? 1.5 in Europe. 150,000 taking part in the the Normandy invasions. The Germans lost 600,000 in and around Stalingrad, as many as the War between the States......
Lastly, the German forces in the Ardennes offensive, veterans all, supplied with the best and latest weapons the Reich could supply, got their asses kicked by stupid, inept Americans. Just like they did in WW I. German always lose, in the end.
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Ummm, they ran out of gas, and ammo. And it took 2 months to get back the area they took in 3 days. Russia was fighting a much different war then we were. They had masses of tactical fighters, and ground attack planes. They also bombed Berlin 2 months after the German invasion with Pe-8's. They had to stop making them for a couple of years because they needed the factories to make fighters. I saw a documentary called the Forgotten War, or something like that. It was about the Eastern Front in WWII. The battles were on a massive scale, so were the losses and the logistics required to fight there. I think the US did a heck of a job in WWII, and I'm not trying to minimize it. But I think that we have minimized they scale of the combat between Germany and Russia. I think that may be left over from the Cold War. The Russians didn't fight like us and could be brutal, but they were fighting a war that was much more brutal than the part of the war the US was in. They were capable of good tactical and strategic operations.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 4:46:37 AM EDT
The Germans, the more I learn about WWII the more I'm convinced there is no way they should have been able to fight from about mid 1944 on. Their armed forces were shattered, and logistical support was spotty. Division had the strenght of good sized brigades or battalions, and were still fighting. Hitler didn't trust the regular army soldiers. Hitler was putting the newest and best weapons into the hands of the Home Guard, Stg-44's panzerfausts, MG-42's and so on, while regular army units had weapons that were older desighns, and worn out. During much of the war Russians had more and better tanks. German tankers beat them through better tactics and sheer grit. German infantry were known as the best anti tank troops in the world. They often had no tank support but could still kill enemy tanks with improvised weapons. Those guys could fight.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 7:55:25 AM EDT
Yet, OLY, the US 101st beat their best in the Ardennes. The Americans had guts and drive and excellent leadership at the squad and platoon level. To take a phrase from Stephen Ambrose, Democracy beat the Nazis. As I've stated before, Hitler was the one who squandered precious resources. Germany could not possibly keep up with the losses while the US could. The decision to delay the ME262 as a fighter in '42 was a tremendous blunder on Hitler's part. What a difference that could have been. Nobody dared to challenge Hitler. Field Marshall Schoerner stringing up soldiers he deemed to cowards, in order to motivate people. What a way to get people to fight. John
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 9:00:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By MrClean: Yet, OLY, the US 101st beat their best in the Ardennes. The Americans had guts and drive and excellent leadership at the squad and platoon level. To take a phrase from Stephen Ambrose, Democracy beat the Nazis. As I've stated before, Hitler was the one who squandered precious resources. Germany could not possibly keep up with the losses while the US could. The decision to delay the ME262 as a fighter in '42 was a tremendous blunder on Hitler's part. What a difference that could have been. Nobody dared to challenge Hitler. Field Marshall Schoerner stringing up soldiers he deemed to cowards, in order to motivate people. What a way to get people to fight. John
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Hitlers blunder was stopping the advance of army groupe center on Moscow so he could try to get the oil fields in the south. The hestitation proved costly. Democracy won the war, hardly. Without the war going on in the eastern front we probably would never have set foot in Europe. As far as the 101st fighting the best Germans and kicking butt, as I mentioned on an earlier post the 6th SS panzer division had been all over the eastern front going from hole to hole to reinforce wermacht units. Sure the 101st faced some of the finest German soldiers but they were not the same "finest" as when the Russians faced them in earlier years. Don't forget only a few months earlier the 101st got their asses kicked on the road to market garden. Coming from U.S. we focus on what we did in the war and presume that because of our greatness we won the war against the Germans. I myself am thankful that the Russians were on our side and took the majority of the German army on.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 9:41:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2002 9:58:30 PM EDT by zoinks]
Hitler made a number of blunders: wanting to caprture Crete delayed the invasion of the USSR as well as sending in a couple of armies into [blue]Yugoslavia[/blue] to punish anti-german groups. Let's not forget the stream of "stand and die" orders of 1943. There were a whole bunch ot them: Stalingrad, Kursk. The Soviets knew about the planned attack and created a defense in depth for it, the Germans knew the Soviets knew and did it anyway. As for why the Germans did not take Bastogne, The 101st and the Armored task force that was there really did put up a great defensive battle. Combined that with the fact that the Germans would only attack at a single point instead of making the customary "multiple thrusts," allowed the Americans to use what Artillery they had very effectivley. (edited because I meant to say Yugoslavia but wrote Hungary.[BD] Remember Kids: never smoke crack then try to discuss History.)
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 5:12:15 PM EDT
The Germans were caught off guard by the Italian invasion of Greece. Once the shooting started the English rushed troops in to assisst the Greeks. Hitler didn't want a foothold in the Med. for them. The Italians were reporting good progress for the first 3 days. The Greeks deposited them back on the border by the end of the week. The Greeks also had a lot of modern equipment they didn't have prior to the invasion, they had to get the manuals translated from Italian tho'............. If you get into Hitler's blunders, there really are too many to list. Of course he also had some successes too. Hitler needed those oil fields to run his war machine. Moscow was like a giant bunker, it would have been another Leningrad, requiring a long seige. When Japan attacked the US, the USSR knew that they could move troops from the Asian Front to the Eastern Front, because Japan's forces would be occupied with US forces elsewhere. I'm also not sure that the 101'st BEAT the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Yes they went toe to toe with them, like few US divisions did, or could. But the German failure was that they ran out of gas and ammo. They also knew that as soon as the weather cleared the forecast called for Typhoons and Thunderbolts........ There has been some discussion that the Germans didn't suffer any where near the losses that the Russians reported in the Battle of Kursk. In fact supposedly many German Leaders didn't know they had been in a major battle until they got the kill numbers for Russian tanks, and equipment. The Russians told Uncle Joe that they had intercepted battle plans etc. So if they failed they died. So they may have embellished the reported kills so that they looked like the won the battle.
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 5:53:15 PM EDT
The more history I learn the less history I am certain of...
Link Posted: 1/6/2002 8:51:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2002 8:53:41 PM EDT by Atencio]
Originally Posted By SS109: The more history I learn the less history I am certain of...
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Yeah I agree. I have learned much on some of these posts. I think that had the Germans kept attacking Moscow even if it became a stronghold like Leningrad the psychological impact on the Russian psyche would have been great. I have never read anywhere that the German losses at Kursk were inflated, I would love to read a source if you have one. I do know that the Germans inflicted very heavy losses on the Russians that they covered up but in the end it was a loss for Germany because they could not replace what they lost whereas the Russians could. On a side note the Panthers performed terrible at Kursk and the Tigers had a hard time as the tank to tank fighting was so close that the T-34s were able to out manuver them. Agreed, the Russians knew well in advance of operation Citadal and Stalin commanded Zhurkov not to engage the Germans until they attacked. The information came from the spy(cant rememeber his code name) who was able to get lots of valuable information about German military plans to the Russians. Never was found out who he was. Believe I read about him in Enemy at the Gates. Plus after Kursk the Germans never really pressed the attack on the Russians which indicates to me that their losses were great.
Link Posted: 1/7/2002 6:17:35 AM EDT
The Russian spy was Richard Sorge, who was part German, I believe, but converted to communism very early on. I think he worked in the Tokyo embassy untill he was caught and excecuted. He managed to pass on a lot of secrets to Stalin. As for an earlier comment, the U.S. was, in fact, much better at retrieving damaged tanks for repair. John
Link Posted: 1/7/2002 7:37:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MrClean: After rereading a fairly recent book on WWII, there is a new take on the Battle of the Bulge. Eisenhower, after beating against the West Wall for 4 months, wanted a way to get the Germans "out of their holes," so he could kill them. It seems that Hitler and the Japanese envoy, Oshima, confided in each other and the attack plans were sent to Japan in code, which was intercepted by MAGIC. Thusly, Eisenhower knew ahead of time of the attack and allowed it to happen, so he could wipe out th enemy in the open. (deleted) What do you fellows think? The book is titled "West Wall," by Charles Whiting. Thanks, John
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I haven't read "West Wall", so my comments are limited to what I've read in Charles McDonald's book "A Time For Trumpets" which is the most detailed history of the Battle of the Bulge/Ardennes Offensive I've read myself. My amateur comments in no particular order: -The Jap ambassador, Baron Oshima, was told by Adolf himself that Germany was planning a "major offensive in the West" for "After November" -Oshima asked Ribbentropp (IIRC Germany's foreign minister) about the offensive at a later date. Herr Ribbentropp was vague on details. After this conversation Oshima sent a message back to Tokyo saying in sneering terms that he didn't believe that Germany was really going to launch a major western front offensive. -A few days after this message, Oshima changed his mind and messaged Tokyo saying they could take "at face value" a German western major offensive. -I may need to reread ATFT, but from my skim tonight it seemed that Oshima did not know details about when and exactly where the offensive took place. Therefore, MAGIC intercepts would not be real helpful other than general intel. If all 3 Oshima messages mentioning the attack were intercepted, I'd think the intel folks would be pretty confused to say the least. "He's changed his mind twice about this German offensive idea." -McDonald did mention the US intercepted the jap messages back to Tokyo and the decrypted info sent to Washington. Whether this info was sent to Ike I couldn't find easily in my re-skim of the book tonight. (more in next post)
Link Posted: 1/7/2002 8:03:41 PM EDT
(continued from last post) -McDonald does a good job of describing the confusing mass of data the codebreakers and cryptos and intelligence folks had to contend with. The Brit Euro-theater code breaking ("ULTRA") was a valuable tool but they deciphered 50+ messages a DAY. This was in addition to info from the bottom up (reports from lower unit intel) and the top down ("MAGIC", or the diplomatic code breaking done back in Washington). Also, the Germans had a substantial misinformation effort going so sifting the intel was no easy task. -Another useful insight MacDonald describes is the low status given US Army intelligence officers. The one intel Colonel who came closest to predicting the German offensive was described by other officers as "if he's so smart I wonder why he's in intel" as if intel is like being banished to exhile or career suicide. -The US Army colonel in question wrote a detailed brief of a German offensive, but put the location north of the Ardennes forest by at least 50 miles or so. There was a prevalent accepted notion that the Germans would launch some kind of attack in or near Aachen (north of the Ardennes) but the feeling was that it would be a diversionary attack only to upset the US offensive in the Aachen area. -MacDonald is the only author I've seen so far who describes how even Patton was mistaken in his first impression of the attack. Gen Bradley called Patton on the phone for him to turn loose one of his armored divisions to turn north and counter the German offensive. MacDonald says Patton's first reaction was like "Aw, Brad, it's only a spoiling attack. No need to take one of my divisions to meet it" Now, Patton changed his tune pretty quick in a day or two when realizing this was a BIG attack. -Allied high command reaction across the board on day one was almost universal in thinking the attack was small and localized. Also, it took at least 18 hours for word of the first artillery barrages to reach Ike's HQ. I personally feel if Ike knew of the attack then he would have had a faster communication network set up to update him and his staff on developments. -MacDonald talks about how most US attention was on their attacks in the Aachen area (north of the Ardennes) and in the Saar area (Patton's Third Army south of the Ardennes). Although progress was slow, the German West Wall was penetrated in a few areas. I get the impression that the allies thought the West Wall was a tough nut to crack but not impervious as they were making some headway. (continued)
Link Posted: 1/7/2002 8:05:51 PM EDT
(continued from previous post) -MacDonald quotes several German high commanders and talks in detail about how little sense the Battle of the Bulge was. The German plan to drive as far as Antwerp assumed that the allies wouldn't even begin to react and shift units to meet the attack until January after at least 2 weeks of supposed paralysis. Put another way, the German plan assumed that they would reach the Meuse river before any allied reaction began. Some German generals knew this was a fantasy at best. One was quoted as saying if they reached the Meuse river at all they should be incredibly thankful. -Omar Bradley himself opined "No G-D fool would do it" on a major attack through the Ardennes. In other words, the location of the attack made no sense at all except for unexpected surprise. However, surprise couldn't make up for the poor road network through the area which severely hampered the speed of the German advance. Considering how far the Germans expected to get before the allies started to react, the choice of the Ardennes just made no sense. So, to summarize my thoughts, I don't know that Ike ever got the MAGIC intel from jap messages, and I'm skeptical of the idea that he knew all about the coming Battle of the Bulge. Also, the Ardennes is not what I'd consider "open ground" and my guess is if a major offensive was known, the first reaction would be to move more units to stop the attack from the initial boundaries between US/German units. My expertise in history is worth every penny you paid for it. Edmund
Link Posted: 1/7/2002 11:08:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Atencio: Eventually the Russians could have beaten the Germans without any help from us.
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I have to disagree with this. The Russians didn't need our [i]combat[/i] help to beat the Germans, it is true. They did need our industrial help. High yield gunpowder, trucks, planes, tanks, etc. I'm not sure the Soviets were better at fighting the Germans, either. We were able to destroy entire divisions using tactical air assaults. Our air support dominated the sky. The Soviets could never accomplish this. The US Army may not have seemed all that impressive to the Germans or Soviets, but it was the most powerful force of the war when supported by our air resources and our industry.
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 7:11:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MrClean: The Russian spy was Richard Sorge, who was part German, I believe, but converted to communism very early on. I think he worked in the Tokyo embassy untill he was caught and excecuted. He managed to pass on a lot of secrets to Stalin. As for an earlier comment, the U.S. was, in fact, much better at retrieving damaged tanks for repair. John
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must be a different spy. The one that gave the Russians info about Stalingrad and Kursk plans was code named "Lucy" and was in Switzerland. orginally posted by DonS
I have to disagree with this. The Russians didn't need our combat help to beat the Germans, it is true. They did need our industrial help. High yield gunpowder, trucks, planes, tanks, etc. I'm not sure the Soviets were better at fighting the Germans, either. We were able to destroy entire divisions using tactical air assaults. Our air support dominated the sky. The Soviets could never accomplish this. The US Army may not have seemed all that impressive to the Germans or Soviets, but it was the most powerful force of the war when supported by our air resources and our industry.
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If you notice I said eventually. Our lend lease efforts did help the Russians through 41-42 and no doubt help hold the German advance but by 43 the Soviet industry was up and running on her own. As far as the US being the most powerful force of the war, that could be a great debate. If left alone from each other I think the Soviet and German war machines would match up well against us. Like I said before if Germany and Russia had remained allies we would have never set foot in Europe.
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 9:13:40 PM EDT
Say, Atencio, I did a little quick research, and the guy's name was Rudolf Roessler, German Communist. He was based in Lucerne. According to my source, Roessler is spoken of as one the greatest spies of all time. (Simon & Schuster's "Encyclopedia of WWII.") Thanks, John
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 10:09:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MrClean: Say, Atencio, I did a little quick research, and the guy's name was Rudolf Roessler, German Communist. He was based in Lucerne. According to my source, Roessler is spoken of as one the greatest spies of all time. (Simon & Schuster's "Encyclopedia of WWII.") Thanks, John
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cool, didnt know that. I'll check it out, Thx
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 11:11:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Atencio: If you notice I said eventually. Our lend lease efforts did help the Russians through 41-42 and no doubt help hold the German advance but by 43 the Soviet industry was up and running on her own. As far as the US being the most powerful force of the war, that could be a great debate. If left alone from each other I think the Soviet and German war machines would match up well against us. Like I said before if Germany and Russia had remained allies we would have never set foot in Europe.
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I disagree. Our air power was able to totally dominate. We were able to interdict almost any German daylight troop movement, and the Soviets were not able to do anything like that. Our industry, based upon our free-market system, was the source of our power. On the other hand, qualitatively, the Germans were the best, at least on the tactical level. The allies and the Soviets made better stratigic decisions.
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 11:18:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery: Trucks?? every army except the US and Britian still used horses or mules for transport. Sure trucks helped. But what we did by supplying trucks was let the Russian concentrate on building tanks.
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Actually, the Soviets were fully motorized with US made trucks. So were the Brits, the Poles, the Canadians, etc. And all of these nations also used lots of Shermans, US made planes, etc. Don't knock the truck. Tanks need fuel and ammo and parts and infantry support, and these are all brought up on trucks. While the Germans remained the tactical superiors of the Russians to the very end, the Russains did very well at the stratigic level, massing huge numbers of troops and equipment in prepreation for assaults on the Germans. And it was trucks, American made trucks, that allowed them to do this. Trucks were critical.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 7:33:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DonS:
Originally Posted By Atencio: If you notice I said eventually. Our lend lease efforts did help the Russians through 41-42 and no doubt help hold the German advance but by 43 the Soviet industry was up and running on her own. As far as the US being the most powerful force of the war, that could be a great debate. If left alone from each other I think the Soviet and German war machines would match up well against us. Like I said before if Germany and Russia had remained allies we would have never set foot in Europe.
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I disagree. Our air power was able to totally dominate. We were able to interdict almost any German daylight troop movement, and the Soviets were not able to do anything like that. Our industry, based upon our free-market system, was the source of our power. On the other hand, qualitatively, the Germans were the best, at least on the tactical level. The allies and the Soviets made better stratigic decisions.
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Had the Germans not been fighting the Russians how many more resources and aircraft would have been able to confront our bombers. The Germans lost hordes of planes on the eastern front. Lets suppose the Russians and Germans never fought. Even if eventually the allies were able to land on Normandy (which I doubt) the advance would have been slow. During this time the Germans could have been farther along on their jet aircraft ideas and then what? If our air power totally dominated the war why did we let the Russians take Berlin when we and the British had been bombing the living hell out of it? And why did the Russians loose so many men taking Berlin? Trucks are nice for sure but not truly needed. The Germans main vehicle of movement was still the horse and they did ok. From what I have read after 42 the Soviets only used our Shermans as well as the British tanks they got for training purposes as they did not hold up well. I agree that industry was the source of our power.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 7:59:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2002 8:07:07 AM EDT by OLY-M4gery]
Originally Posted By DonS:
Originally Posted By Atencio: If you notice I said eventually. Our lend lease efforts did help the Russians through 41-42 and no doubt help hold the German advance but by 43 the Soviet industry was up and running on her own. As far as the US being the most powerful force of the war, that could be a great debate. If left alone from each other I think the Soviet and German war machines would match up well against us. Like I said before if Germany and Russia had remained allies we would have never set foot in Europe.
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I disagree. Our air power was able to totally dominate. We were able to interdict almost any German daylight troop movement, and the Soviets were not able to do anything like that. Our industry, based upon our free-market system, was the source of our power. On the other hand, qualitatively, the Germans were the best, at least on the tactical level. The allies and the Soviets made better stratigic decisions.
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No the Soviets were by many acounts undisputed masters of the skies when facing the Germans during the latter part of WWII. They devoted their air force to TACTICAL air operations. They used it like the Russians used conventional artillery. They had no real stategic air power however. If our air dominance was so great why were the Germans production levels constantly rising until about 1945? We gave the Russians trucks and some tanks. They made an unbelievable amount of AT guns, artillery pieces, mortars, rifles, mg's, smg's, and armored vehicles. I'm not saying we didn't contribute. But Russian industries were also making a enromous amount of weapons. FYI we also made them pay in gold for the weapons we sent over. If Germany hadn't attacked Russia......... The Germans would have had 10 million soldiers to throw at us instead, not to mention all the planes that were tied up in Russia. Many of us have been taught about WWII from a US point of view, which is cool it is who we are, but the USSR contributed in blood and weapons to the victory over Germany. I've heard that Japanese schools don't talk about Pearl Harbor when the teach about WWII.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 10:33:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery: No the Soviets were by many acounts undisputed masters of the skies when facing the Germans during the latter part of WWII.
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While the Germans certainly were not masters of the skies on the Eastern Front during the last part of the war, the Soviets were never able to truely dominate the sky like we did. Excpet for the very end, it was a contest on the Eastern Front, in the West the game had been up for a long time . . .
Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery: They devoted their air force to TACTICAL air operations. They used it like the Russians used conventional artillery. They had no real stategic air power however.
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As did everyone except the Brits and Americans.
Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery: If our air dominance was so great why were the Germans production levels constantly rising until about 1945?
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Because stratigic air power failed, except when atomic bombs were used. Stratigic airpower using conventional bombs never won a war. Where our airpower kicked ass was in tactical operations, specifically interdicting their ground forces before they reached the front. They couldn't move anything during the day without massive losses. We even destroyed whole armored division on the front, using air power alone. The Soviets could never do anything like this. Of course, the Soviets destroyed whole German divisions and even armies, but they had to commit huge ground forces and accept huge losses in order to do so.
Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery: We gave the Russians trucks and some tanks. They made an unbelievable amount of AT guns, artillery pieces, mortars, rifles, mg's, smg's, and armored vehicles. I'm not saying we didn't contribute. But Russian industries were also making a enromous amount of weapons. FYI we also made them pay in gold for the weapons we sent over.
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Some of the stuff we provided was critical. The trucks were critical. So was the high yield gunpowder, which their tank and AT guns needed agaist German armour. They made lots of stuff on their own, but we provided lots of stuff to them, and much of what we provided they needed. And we didn't get paid for all of what we provided. I agree that the Soviets did most of the ground fighting. Our actual contribution on the ground is typically exaggerated. But our contribution of warstuffs was significant and critical.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 12:18:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DonS: I agree that the Soviets did most of the ground fighting. Our actual contribution on the ground is typically exaggerated. But our contribution of warstuffs was significant and critical.
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I guess in the end I can agree with that statement, well put.
Link Posted: 1/10/2002 1:50:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2002 1:55:45 AM EDT by pogo]
The soviets acquired under lendlease about 4/5 of all trucks they used in ww2. EDIT: we also sent them several million tons of food. That is enough to feed an army of 10 million for how long? The Soviets wern't exactly fat by wars end. High octane gas: That makes the high performance aircraft engines work. We sent all of it. etc, etc. This isn't glamerous, but it provided a winning edge. And yes, the Russians are still paying the lendlease tab the Soviets ran up during ww2 and have a few years left to pay up on the note. From what I understand, the Soviets continued to pay on their lendlease bill through the worst days of the cold war.
Link Posted: 1/10/2002 12:01:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2002 12:02:01 PM EDT by DonS]
Originally Posted By Atencio: Had the Germans not been fighting the Russians how many more resources and aircraft would have been able to confront our bombers. The Germans lost hordes of planes on the eastern front.
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The organization of the Luftwaffa was inherently flawed. Their training system did not permit them to produce large numbers of qualified pilots quickly. Consequently, they had significant trouble recovering from the Battle of Britain. We would have smashed them in the air, Soviets or not.
Lets suppose the Russians and Germans never fought. Even if eventually the allies were able to land on Normandy (which I doubt) the advance would have been slow.
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As it was, part of the Normandy landing was almost called off due to heavy casualties. Had the allied intelligence services not been so successful, the Germans may have stopped the landing on the beaches, Soviets or not. However, the allied air force would have interdicted German attempts at daylight troop movements, even if the Luftwaffa was not involved in the Soviet Union.
During this time the Germans could have been farther along on their jet aircraft ideas and then what?
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Unless they redesigned their training program, they would never have had enough pilots to make good use of the jets. And unless the changed their production priorities, they would never have had enough jets. In any case, jets like the Me-262 could have ended the daylight strategic bombing of Germany, but would not have been as much of an advantage in ending tactical strikes by allied 'jabos'.
If our air power totally dominated the war why did we let the Russians take Berlin when we and the British had been bombing the living hell out of it?
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We never made an attempt to take Berlin, since our fearless leader had already given it to the Soviets. In any case, what our dominance of the air did was prevent daylight troop movements by our enemies. It is not nearly as useful in seizing cities, at least as long as we restrict ourselves to conventional bombs.
And why did the Russians loose so many men taking Berlin?
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Street fighting sucks. Strategic bombing was a failure, except when we used atomic bombs. Nevertheless, we dominated the sky, and then interdicted the enemy and provided direct ground support. The main value of controlling the air is interdiction and recon. Direct support comes next. Strategic uses are dubious.
Trucks are nice for sure but not truly needed.
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No doubt Alexander and Caesar did just fine without them.
The Germans main vehicle of movement was still the horse and they did ok.
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Against others who lacked trucks. The Soviets were good at beating the Germans at the strategic level, by massing huge forces prior to an attack. Trucks were critical for this.
From what I have read after 42 the Soviets only used our Shermans as well as the British tanks they got for training purposes as they did not hold up well.
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This would no doubt surprise the Soviets who drove Shermans into Austria in 1945. [url] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0803229208/002-0650206-9089658[/url] [url] http://history.vif2.ru/library/lend/sherman.html[/url]
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