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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Military (and other) History => Topic started by: LongBlade on June 22, 2013, 06:32:07 PM

Title: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 22, 2013, 06:32:07 PM
Having a discussion with someone regarding which operation was of greater significance.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 22, 2013, 06:38:51 PM
Actually, for clarification the suggestion was that Barbarossa didn't rank with D-Day in terms of significance.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 22, 2013, 06:59:51 PM
A few divisions landing on a coast vs the largest invasion force in history.  Hmmm
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: mirth on June 22, 2013, 07:03:58 PM
^Exactly. Without Barbarossa and the war in the east, the Normandy invasion would have never been possible.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Longdan on June 22, 2013, 07:13:28 PM
Well I hate to agree with you gentlemen but I do.  IMHOP the war was won somewhere during the Barbarossa campaign.
If that is not the case then the Axis could not have won at all.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Longdan on June 22, 2013, 07:30:03 PM
Let me rephrase that.  If the Western Allies were to have any say over post war Europe the Overlord operation
had to occur.  In that it is extremely important but for a very different reason.  Der Fuhrer was buggered when he went East
but France and part of Germany and Italy had to be seized by force in order to keep them in the western community
of nations.  France and Italy nearly voted themselves out when they were essentially occupied by the US.
Thus the Italian operation was important as well.  We could have ended up with a couple more Yugoslavia's if we were lucky.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: phredd1 on June 22, 2013, 08:06:16 PM
D-day had to succeed in order to salvage as much of Western Europe from postwar Communism as possible.

Had Barbarossa succeeded, this world would be a much uglier place.

Of course, had D-Day failed, this world would also be much uglier.

Of the two monsters, I think Hitler is worse than Stalin, if only by a eyelash, and therefore I feel Barbarossa was the more important event.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Gusington on June 22, 2013, 08:09:28 PM
Barbarossa...to me it began the central struggle of WWII. Sounds like a cliche but Barbarossa changed the world forever.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: TheCommandTent on June 22, 2013, 08:45:13 PM
I am going to be that guy and ask for clarification.  Significance to what?  Just to the war or the historical impact of the war.  If you are just talking about in the context of WWII then I would agree with the others that Barbarossa was more significant.  However, if you are talking about the lasting historical significance beyond the war I think, as others have mention, that D-Day would take the cake due to the impact of the West having a say in Europe during the Cold War and beyond.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Longdan on June 22, 2013, 08:58:37 PM
When Barbarossa failed the war was lost by Germany.  When Overlord succeeded the War was won  (sort of) by the Western Allies.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 22, 2013, 09:08:07 PM
When Barbarossa failed the war was lost by Germany.  When Overlord succeeded the War was won  (sort of) by the Western Allies.

I agree. I'll go so far as to say that when Barbarossa started the war was pretty much lost for Germany - at least in 1941.

Had Germany held off on Barbarossa until they had launched Operation Sealion then we might have an interesting discussion.

Several caveats would have to be placed. First, the RAF would have had to have remained the primary target for the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain until it had been decisively defeated.

Then we get into the prep time and logistics surrounding a sea invasion of Britain. That in itself is a dicey proposition. The Germans ultimately could have succeeded...but at what point does Stalin cease to believe in Molotov-Ribbentrop? At what point might he take the initiative and launch his own attack on Germany?

If (big if) the Germans can actually get the UK to sue for peace (perhaps along the lines of Vichy France) - by no later than 1943 - Maybe Germany has a good shot to take on the USSR by itself. And win. They nearly did it in '41, but as usual Hitler managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory so many times that it didn't matter how well his troops performed.

In the end, Germany's best chance to win WWII is not to have Hitler calling the shots. That rewrites history so far that it's difficult to wrap your brain around how the Germans manage to kick off the war in '39.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 22, 2013, 11:14:47 PM
as an operation Overlord wasnt even the largest amphibious landing conducted during WW2.  without it the US would still have had working nuclear weapons to help shape post war Europe.  WW2 was not won or lost on the events of D-Day.  it was however won or lost on the outcome of Barbarossa.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: bob48 on June 23, 2013, 05:14:03 AM
Just to play the Devils Advocate here, since this is an interesting subject that is worth some discussion.

The war against Russia was poorly handled, and Hitler made many mistakes in conducting the war. Its possible that Germany could have knocked the Soviet Union out in which case the liberation of Europe would have been a much tougher scenario.

Just one point (amongst many) is the 'broad front' deployment. What if, instead of halting AGC he had made a lunge for Moscow while the weather was still in his favour, maybe also using 4th Pz group from AGN (or at least, one of the Pz Korps from that Group). The terrain facing AGN through the Baltic States was poor tank country at best, so maybe the armour would have been of more use bolstering 2nd or 3rd Pz groups.

Lets just consider a scenario where Moscow was taken before winter, and before any significant resources had been moved to the Urals (and much of the party administrative mechanisms).
Moscow was a significant rail and communications hub, and its loss would have had a severe effect on the Soviet war effort and may have had a significant impact on the movement of forces/supplies and have a paralyzing effect on command control - given that it was pretty poor at that point anyway following the purge of the officer corps.

I'm aways surprised that Hitler did not pressure the Japanese to exert a bit more of a threat to Russia as well, which may have prevented the transfer of significant forces from Siberia to bolster the Moscow defences.

Further on, the splitting of AGS into army groups 'A' and 'B' seriously weakened the southern offensive (plus the Russians had learned to fall back, preserve forces and trade space for time).

Not only that, but there really was no strategic need to commit 6th Army to taking Stalingrad. It was not that significant as an a strategic objective, and oil traffic along the Volga could have been interdicted at a number of other points.
Even so, Hitlers insistence of Paulus to hold Stalingrad was clearly wrong and served no purpose, and the failure of German intelligence to detect the build-up of Soviet forces east of the Volga finally doomed 6th Army to its fate.

OK, I could go on with more, but I'll let someone else continue the debate  :)

Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: besilarius on June 23, 2013, 07:45:36 AM
Keegan mentions a meeting between some of the german generals and Hitler. 
He proclaims that he has read Clausewitz and understands it better than the generals.  One of Clausewitz's points was that a nation's capitol is not an objective of the first degree.
Threatening the capitol, in the black gunpowder era of the Napoleonic wars, could lead to decisive results.  (At that time, losing your capitol, with all of its unique administration abilities, could be a war loser.)
In Clausewitz' view, it was more important as a means of getting the enemy army to fight a decisive battle.  Destroying the enemy army was the first, and primary, objective.
I think this meeting is very important in illustrating how Hitler viewed war, differently from his generals.
It is often stated by Hitler that he understood the whole of a war.  Not just the warfighting, and the methods of fighting.  However, he fought his wars as a beginning wargamer would do. 
In the long meetings, especially when LGen Zeitzler replaced Halder as army Chief of Staff, they would start at the end of the line, and go through the entire East Front, division by division.
This is not strategy and not in any form strategic planning.  It was a microscopic focus on divisional tactics.
By taking over the army leadership, Hitler basically usurped all serious strategic planning.  He had gotten the army and nation into a situation where the future was not just bleak it was terrible.  Rather than grapple with that, he immersed himself in details.  Work that should have been decided at the divisional level, corps level, army level, was being done by Fuehrer headquarters.
And by his heavy reliance on Clausewitz, which was based on that person's work during the Napoleonic Wars, Hitler had a basic view that was based on an earlier age.  A pre railroad age, when communications were limited to the speed of a fast horse.
The less Hitler got involved in controlling the army, and the minute details of command, the better he was.  His strategic insight could be very good (France '40 for example), but his inability to face reality led him to try and take more control.  This fed into his very real weaknesses, and the string of poor decisions he made on the Eastern Front.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: bob48 on June 23, 2013, 08:01:26 AM
^Good points, bes.

Also, Hitlers early successes only served to convince some of his doubters that he was indeed a military genius, with unfortunate repercussions.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 23, 2013, 09:18:25 AM
ya'll might want to pick up this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Allies-Had-Fallen-Alternate-Scenarios/dp/1616085460

it goes into some detail as to why Germanys defeat cant all be placed at the foot of Hitler.
my only issue with the books scenerios is the part covering Kursk and written by Glantz.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Martok on June 23, 2013, 09:38:34 AM
Damn you Star, for making me add to my already-absurdly long "to read" list.  That looks good. 

Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 23, 2013, 12:03:59 PM
oh its perfect for the bathroom as each scenerio is 5 to 10 pages max.

the overall jist is that no, Germany and the Axis couldnt have won WW2.  I disagree but they have some interesting arguments.
except for Glantz whos just a Soviet suck up all day long.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 23, 2013, 03:26:03 PM
except for Glantz whos just a Soviet suck up all day long.

How else is he going to get access to their glorious archives?
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Longdan on June 23, 2013, 03:49:19 PM
Some love the Soviets some love the Germans.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 23, 2013, 03:53:58 PM
Some love the Soviets some love the Germans.

 ::)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 23, 2013, 03:56:33 PM
except for Glantz whos just a Soviet suck up all day long.

How else is he going to get access to their glorious archives?

cash like everyone else  ;)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 23, 2013, 04:13:13 PM
In Soviet Russia archives study you!
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 23, 2013, 04:22:50 PM
well he needs to study a concept called objectivity.
there is not one person here that hasnt wargamed Kursk and won as the Germans.  not only won but won across a large number of models, stats, platforms and levels of play from squad to front level strategy.  I say Sir!  the history of wargaming proves Glantz is worng.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: pawelj on June 28, 2013, 06:55:57 AM
When Barbarossa failed the war was lost by Germany.  When Overlord succeeded the War was won  (sort of) by the Western Allies.
Germany lost the war on the day they declared the war on the US in December 1941. Barbarossa and in fact the entire Eastern front qould be considered a rather bloody side show. It may seem counterintuitive, but Eastern Front was pretty irrelevant to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
There would have been no Eastern Front progress without the Western Front, but the Western Allies would be able to defieat Germany without Eastern Front. The reason is the quality disparity between German and Western Allies, particularly in the area of Artillery support and Air power.
Soviets had numbers, but they had very bad combined arms tactics which resulted in huge casualties. Any progrss on the eastern front only happened after July 1943 when the Allies landed in Italy. From that point Hitler lost real interest in the East and the best units were sent or held in the West. He was essentially refighting WW I when Germany lost in the West, but won in the East.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: bayonetbrant on June 28, 2013, 07:08:50 AM
Soviets had numbers, but they had very bad combined arms tactics which resulted in huge casualties. Any progrss on the eastern front only happened after July 1943 when the Allies landed in Italy. From that point Hitler lost real interest in the East and the best units were sent or held in the West. He was essentially refighting WW I when Germany lost in the West, but won in the East.

You could also make the argument that the Russians simply improved from 1941 to 1943, and that as the war went on, Russian troops improved, and the incompetent ones were Darwinized out of the force.  I know a lot of folks (we're talking "PhD in Soviet Studies" and "PhD in Military History with dissertations on the Eastern Front" kind of dudes) that would point out substantial improvements in Soviet combat prowess that came about after Stalin quick arbitrarily screwing with the leadership and let the generals fight, as well as the dissemination of the lessons learned from 41-42.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 28, 2013, 07:24:48 AM
You could also make the argument that the Russians simply improved from 1941 to 1943, and that as the war went on, Russian troops improved, and the incompetent ones were Darwinized out of the force.  I know a lot of folks (we're talking "PhD in Soviet Studies" and "PhD in Military History with dissertations on the Eastern Front" kind of dudes) that would point out substantial improvements in Soviet combat prowess that came about after Stalin quick arbitrarily screwing with the leadership and let the generals fight, as well as the dissemination of the lessons learned from 41-42.

It's difficult to argue with this.

The major difference that I see is that although Hitler and Stalin were alike in many ways, Stalin somehow found the courage (can we call it that?) to let go of micromanaging his paranoia. I haven't read up on him enough to know why, but it seems to me that as Stalin let go, Hitler doubled down on the practice. The results speak for themselves.

Had Stalin attempted to run the war as he had the Winter War it seems unlikely that the Soviet Union would have survived.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 28, 2013, 08:20:25 AM
the Eastern Front was hardly a side show.  if the Western allies had to face Germany without Russia I think the war itself would have lasted longer if the allies were able to stomach the casualties.  and thats a big if.  look at the historic level of German forces in Italy and France.  then quadruple them.  think of all of that airpower spread out across the steppe and then concentrate it back in western Europe.
Babarossa arguable lost Germany the war, D-Day did not.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: W8taminute on June 28, 2013, 09:21:55 AM
Interesting discussion gentlemen.  I'm going with Barbarossa on this for mostly the same reasons that others have so elegantly explained. 

Based on my studies I've always believed that Barbarossa was winnable but H messed everything up, and without 75% of German assets tied up in the east the Western Allies would have had a tough time winning.


Had Germany the time to develop it's atomic program (and it would have without a Barbarossa), and with it's V2 rockets to carry them, Germany could have captured the world.  Hence Edith Keeler must die.  (Oh and Barbarossa needed to happen)   8)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: undercovergeek on June 28, 2013, 09:34:17 AM
the Eastern Front was hardly a side show.  if the Western allies had to face Germany without Russia I think the war itself would have lasted longer if the allies were able to stomach the casualties.  and thats a big if.  look at the historic level of German forces in Italy and France.  then quadruple them.  think of all of that airpower spread out across the steppe and then concentrate it back in western Europe.
Babarossa arguable lost Germany the war, D-Day did not.

not that its a realistic reason but playing HOI III i always tried to stay away from Barbarossa - it was a massive mistake

Question then - without Barbarossa, and a western europe focused Germany, would Russia have come to the allies aide without a reason to declare war on Germany?
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 28, 2013, 09:45:31 AM
Question then - without Barbarossa, and a western europe focused Germany, would Russia have come to the allies aide without a reason to declare war on Germany?

Tough question.

Churchill was in no mood to make peace with Germany. That means eventually the US is going to war against the Axis.

Unless we can untangle that hypothesis Germany has to keep a bunch of forces tied up guarding their Atlantic wall. The UK has to be taken out of the equation. Even then it remains distinctly possible that the US could launch an amphibious assault across the ocean, but it's likely going to land in North Africa and then have to struggle into the northern Med some place. It starts to get less likely, but it still could happen.

Assuming that Germany ties down its western front? Stalin, I think, was afraid of Germany. He's probably still purging his military for suspect political crimes. Germany gets to roll over the Soviets at their leisure.

Of course, then the question is how badly Hitler bungles the offense. Because he's going to. He'll probably make Stalingrad a pissing contest because it has Stalin's name on it. So the 6th Army is going to get ground to freeze-dried dust. Where else will it go wrong?
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Gusington on June 28, 2013, 10:04:42 AM
The Eastern Front was the central front of WWII...in the minds of German and Soviet belligerents, German race policy, Lebensraum and about 100 other points. Even the UK amd US knew the Eastern Front was paramount, even if they would not admit it publicly.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: bayonetbrant on June 28, 2013, 10:06:18 AM
always tried to stay away from Barbarossa - it was a massive mistake

but where was the 'mistake'?  Was it in its existence? Or the way it was handled?

Could an East-Front offensive succeed if it was limited in scope and intent?  What if is was just "capture the Ukraine and offer terms to Stalin" and stop there?  Gets you the breadbasket, Black Sea ports, and oil, all with a population that wasn't fond of the Russians.  But don't drive on Moscow, or over-commit north (other than to shore up the Polish border) and operate with a limited scope, and success is easier to achieve. 
Hit singles and quit swinging for HRs. 
Take the Ukraine by '42.  Pause.  Keep West front in check. 
Go back to East Front in '44 (b/c Allies are now tied down more in Africa/Italy w/ a peaceful East front, so D-Day isn't in '44) and take next objective.  Stop.  Consolidate. 
Deal with '46 invasion of France by US/UK (if it could even happen by then).

Basically, alternate which front you're fighting on, rather than both at once, by limiting scope and objectives.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 28, 2013, 10:15:08 AM
always tried to stay away from Barbarossa - it was a massive mistake

but where was the 'mistake'?  Was it in its existence? Or the way it was handled?

Could an East-Front offensive succeed if it was limited in scope and intent?  What if is was just "capture the Ukraine and offer terms to Stalin" and stop there?  Gets you the breadbasket, Black Sea ports, and oil, all with a population that wasn't fond of the Russians.  But don't drive on Moscow, or over-commit north (other than to shore up the Polish border) and operate with a limited scope, and success is easier to achieve. 
Hit singles and quit swinging for HRs. 
Take the Ukraine by '42.  Pause.  Keep West front in check. 
Go back to East Front in '44 (b/c Allies are now tied down more in Africa/Italy w/ a peaceful East front, so D-Day isn't in '44) and take next objective.  Stop.  Consolidate. 
Deal with '46 invasion of France by US/UK (if it could even happen by then).

Basically, alternate which front you're fighting on, rather than both at once, by limiting scope and objectives.

That's a very sound strategy but I think it runs counter to the Germans' way of thinking.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on June 28, 2013, 10:48:32 AM
in all of the strategic wargames Ive played its always payed off to delay the Big B by a year.  get the Atlantic under control, consolidate the minor areas and countries and set up your invasion.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Windigo on June 28, 2013, 02:18:13 PM
I think avoiding the declaration of war on america would have been the smartest move for germany, that and taking the hit invading britain.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: TheCommandTent on June 28, 2013, 02:47:53 PM
I think avoiding the declaration of war on america would have been the smartest move for germany, that and taking the hit invading britain.

Even if they didn't declare war on the US how long would it really have been before the US declared war on them?  Especially if they made serious overtures to invade Britain.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Windigo on June 28, 2013, 03:35:38 PM
I think avoiding the declaration of war on america would have been the smartest move for germany, that and taking the hit invading britain.

Even if they didn't declare war on the US how long would it really have been before the US declared war on them?  Especially if they made serious overtures to invade Britain.

IMO America would have stayed out of it for years, even if UK was going down.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: besilarius on June 28, 2013, 05:51:26 PM
If Hitler did not declare war on the US, there was practicly no chance of FDR orchestrating a declaration of war on Germany for at least three years.
After Pearl Harbor, the focus of the american public and congress was Japan.  That would not have changed without some german Pearl Harbor, or if they had made the great mistake of declaring their alliance with Japan and going to war against america.
So obvious, who could be that dumb?
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Gusington on June 30, 2013, 08:02:28 AM
Adolf Hitler?
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: besilarius on June 30, 2013, 11:44:47 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xUS30-RFf0
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Staggerwing on June 30, 2013, 12:33:57 PM
Pretty funny as well:

http://youtu.be/0mmIR9xaYi8

(Note, subtitles NSFW)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: TheCommandTent on June 30, 2013, 01:45:40 PM
This may be my favorite


Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: besilarius on June 30, 2013, 02:24:56 PM
On a serious note, (but just for a moment), there is a book I'd like to recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/Nomonhan-1939-Armys-Victory-Shaped/dp/1591143292/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372623507&sr=8-1&keywords=nomonhan+1939

There is only a little "military" history, maybe a third of the book is about the actual battle and fighting.
However, if you have ever wondered why Japan did not pile on Russia at some point in the war, this book has the most comprehensive treatment.
If you're familiar with the battle, it will be no surprise how little the Japanese appreciated modern warfare in 1939. lt took them totally by surprise the way Zhukov fought the battle, using massed artillery and tanks.  No fighting in China prepared them for this type of war.
Later, when Barbarossa was surging, they stayed out because of their resounding defeat by the Red army.
Also, for gamers, there is a section of "what if" concerning if the battle had not occurred in reality.  The author makes some sharp suggestions of what would have happened then.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: LongBlade on June 30, 2013, 04:39:20 PM
On a serious note, (but just for a moment), there is a book I'd like to recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/Nomonhan-1939-Armys-Victory-Shaped/dp/1591143292/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372623507&sr=8-1&keywords=nomonhan+1939

There is only a little "military" history, maybe a third of the book is about the actual battle and fighting.
However, if you have ever wondered why Japan did not pile on Russia at some point in the war, this book has the most comprehensive treatment.
If you're familiar with the battle, it will be no surprise how little the Japanese appreciated modern warfare in 1939. lt took them totally by surprise the way Zhukov fought the battle, using massed artillery and tanks.  No fighting in China prepared them for this type of war.
Later, when Barbarossa was surging, they stayed out because of their resounding defeat by the Red army.
Also, for gamers, there is a section of "what if" concerning if the battle had not occurred in reality.  The author makes some sharp suggestions of what would have happened then.

Thanks. Added to the list :)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: pawelj on July 01, 2013, 06:59:18 AM
The Eastern Front was the central front of WWII...in the minds of German and Soviet belligerents, German race policy, Lebensraum and about 100 other points. Even the UK amd US knew the Eastern Front was paramount, even if they would not admit it publicly.
It was certainly in the Soviet minds, not so much in Hitler's after 1943. Remember that he views were formed by WWI. Any successfull landing in the Western Europe puts his enemies much closer to Germany then the Eastern front was in 1943. It was the US forces that were first to to capture German city of Aachen in 1944, so Hitler's being more worried about the West was entirely justified. For the Western Allies Eastern from would provide some distraction of forces, but not as much as it as being assumed. You need to look at the level of supplies and equipment sent to East and West after 1943. And even before 1943, Africa Korps with its 3 divisions (still maintaning the old, larger OOB), plus supporting units was equipped with enough vehicles to equip 70 odd standard divisions on the Eastern front.

Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: Gusington on July 01, 2013, 07:42:23 AM
Yes to all of the above...which explains the German collapse, defeat and surrender!

Thanks for the book above Bes, added to my list too :)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: W8taminute on July 01, 2013, 08:33:51 AM
...And even before 1943, Africa Korps with its 3 divisions (still maintaning the old, larger OOB), plus supporting units was equipped with enough vehicles to equip 70 odd standard divisions on the Eastern front.

I'm struggling with this claim.  The Afrika Korps was in a constant state of either being supplied with the minimum necessary to fight or being undersupplied.  They didn't get the best equipment all the time either because the eastern front were soaking them up or the cargo was sunk in the Mediterranean.  By 1943 sure there were some good pieces of equipment in Tunisia but at that point it was too little too late. 
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on July 01, 2013, 09:29:07 AM
Ive never seen any evidence that any German unit in Africa was ever up to full strength.  ;)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: bob48 on July 01, 2013, 11:46:21 AM
At one point, the DAK reported that they had 'Sufficient equipment, but insufficent men'

Here are a couple of good books;

'Rommels Desert War; The Life and Death of the Afrika Korps' by Samuel.W.Mitcham, Jr.
'Exit Rommel. The Tunisian campaign, 1942-43' by Bruce Allen Watson.
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: besilarius on July 01, 2013, 04:47:57 PM
After Gazala, most of Rommel's transport for his invasion of Egypt were captured british vehicles.  (Battle of El Alamein, Fred Majdalany.  This is a good book, but his other one on Monte Cassino is better.  He was involved in both battles as an infantry commander.)

In regards to the over equipment.  It is possibly worth noting that one of 90Light's infantry regiments (361st I think) was composed of ex French Foreign Legionaires.  They were often starved for equipment but made up for it with creative scavenging.  Siegfried Westphal, Rommel's Operations officer (Ia), reported once that while driving near 90Light, Rommel told him to lock up the spare wheel on their van.  Otherwise, it would shortly disappear.  Shocked, Westphal asked, "They would not dare to steal the army commander's equipment."  Rommel reportedly just gave him an ironic shrug in reply.

Reportedly, this story took on a life of it's own.  Years later, at the French Foreign Legion headquarters in Corsica, among their wartime booty was a worn down tire, that had a simple label attached.  "FML Rommel's tire."
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: GDS_Starfury on July 01, 2013, 06:08:39 PM
is there anything you dont have a side story for?  :)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: W8taminute on July 01, 2013, 06:52:10 PM
Brilliant story besilarius.  Thanks for sharing.   8)
Title: Re: Barbarossa or D-Day?
Post by: besilarius on July 01, 2013, 06:57:53 PM
Oh yes, but what fun would it be to not know?

If we ever should get together for a beer, ask me about Admiral John Bulkely's career after They Were Expendable, or Ned Beach on Trigger.  Bulkely was in charge of the Board of Inspection and Survey and ripped me a spare ahole in 1976.
Beach went to Annapolis with my dad, and I tagged along to their reunions.  Had to work hard to try and remember some great sea stories.