Best Army?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Fireman, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    I don't know if this question has been asked before but here goes:

    Which army, allied or Axis do the members of the Forum think was the best during the war years?(2nd WW that is!) I exclude from that the courage of the fighting soldier as I firmly believe that every army has it's full quota of courageous fighters. Also size, I'm talking about quality not quantity although that dosn't exclude those countries with huge armies.

    I include subjects like organisation, discipline, supply, innovation, tenacity, skills, ability to soldier in all environments and possibly the most important aspect, the will to win.

    Many countries supplied troops, The whole of the Commonwealth, U.S.A, Russia, African, Japanese, German, French, Rumanian, Italian, the list would cover most countries on the planet but which one would you think is the best. It would be easy to go for the U.S.A. because they seemed to meet every criteria but I don't think so. Neither do I think the British were the best (unfortunately!) My own view, and I realise it may not be popular given the sensitivities involved but trying to be objective, would be the German army.
     
  2. Ropi

    Ropi Biggest retard of all

    My favourites are the Brits, but that doesn't necesserely mean that they were the best.
    On operational opportunities, I'd say the Soviets were the best at the time, because their all-weather/all-terrain capabilities. I mean the soviet soldiers needed 3 potatoes to run for 3 days, the T-34s (which ran with almost every kind of fuel) couldn't be stopped unless destroyed, the infantry weapons were ultimately reliable, they had high mobility artilery support (120mm mortars treated as arty pieces, and the Katyushas), and if there was something a bunch of T-34/85s or IS-2s couldn't crack, there were the Shturmoviks ready to jump any target.
    They also had the "will to win", but I'd say more they had the will to pay back for the Germans.
    As a matter of organisation, it was an army of masses, but my dad defined the Guard units as "the nightmares of even the most elite SS units".
    Discipline? Please. My Grandma told me about guys being shot down by 60s every day for being drunk. My other Grandma, on the other hand told me stories about how they were being hidden (them, kids!), in order not to get raped by the common soviet soldier.
    Supply: see above.
    Innovation: there weren't huge innovative things like ballistic missiles, assault rifles, just smaller ones, like T-34 (sloaped armour, no German tank could penetrate it in the beggining!), Katyusha (wide area supressed with a barrage).
    Tenacity: The Germans froze, they... they froze less.
    Skills: my dad told me, that after Stalingrad, some elements were pulled back to give them some proper training. After what they'd been through, they didn't need it really.
    Ability to soldier in all environment? Please... (see above)

    This is my point of view.
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Having bee there and done it..There is no doubt at all in my mind the British Army is far and away the best.And has proved it allover the world.

    They reduced the finest that Germany could produce to a bloody shambles.
    Sapper
     
  4. Combover

    Combover Guest

    The British Army. It just has to be, it's just a shame that they dropped a clanger early on in the war (Crete / Greece). Had they been slightly better organised, i'm sure the war would have been very different. Still, the point stands.

    I also believe that the German army was VERY good but by 1943, their inept leadership was causing servere troubles. If one were to put a German soldier up against a British soldier and tell them to think on their feet according to the battlefield conditions, you would end up with pretty similar results. To tip it in the favour of the German, he is historically much more likely to fight longer, even when he knows the game is up.

    Slightly off topic here, but having been on other forums when this question has been asked, I am slightly concerned that no good will come of asking this question. As you say, it is a very emotive subject. I just hope this forum is different as it is a very interesting subject.
     
  5. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

    How about the 8th Army, they started the turn-around on land
    The Few in the air
    and us Aussies put up a good fight!!

    regards

    Robert
     
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Fireman

    Why am I not surprised by your choice ?

    Like Brian (Sapper) I've been there, done it, got the T-Shirt and therefore it should equally come as no surprise that my answer is ,unequivocally, The British Army.

    Ron
     
  7. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Can you expand on that Ron? I'd like to hear why from someone who HAS been there and done that. :)
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Combover

    You say:
    Can you expand on that Ron? I'd like to hear why from someone who HAS been there and done that. :smile:


    I don't think I need to.

    For the same reason that HM The Queen doesn't have to look behind her before she sits down (because she knows a chair will be there), I, and everyone of my generation, knew that we were the best and nothing that has occurred over the passing years has caused me to change my mind.

    Ron
     
    Algee likes this.
  9. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    Ron,
    Why are you not surprised by my choice? It can't be my age, I'm not quite your venerable age but I'm definitely no sprog! Something in the past I have said perhaps? In any event there is no disrespect intended and I sincerely hope no offence was taken. I think you know my views on how the German army went about their business and of course it wasn't to their credit but I was simply trying to establish something other than what they are rather notoriously remembered for.
     
  10. I guess here we got another question we are not able to answere satisfyingly. I guess everyone has his reasons. and refering to our veterans on the forum: as "time witness" of the 8th of may, they proof that allies had the best armys among them in the long run.

    should compare the different armys by leadership, training, organisation and so on.

    watch a short clip filmed while FJ training in COLOUR

    YouTube - Ausbildung deutscher Fallschirmjäger
     
  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    In a heretical mood I'll say the best armed forced of WW2(II) were the German ones.

    The largest Alliance the world ever saw and is unlikely to see again took all those years to bring them to defeat, despite all their strategic errors they committed and their defective leadership.
     
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    The best Army


    I would suggest the Army that is fighting a just cause against tyranny.

    Perhaps a looping thread without an answer.
     
  13. Combover

    Combover Guest

    I don't think anyone is looking for an answer. Just opinions backed up with reason.
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I guess here we got another question we are not able to answere satisfyingly.
    Perhaps a looping thread without an answer.

    I'm with you chaps.
    'Best' is always too subjective for me really. A bit too general to make valid comparisons. Somewhat like the incessant 'Best tank' discussions the Internerd is full of, it perhaps needs a stronger peg to hang your opinion on if you're to build any sort of sensible or useful view.

    Best in what terrain?
    Best in what year/month/week?
    Best in attack?
    Best in defence?
    Best morale?
    Best led?
    Best NCOs?
    Best equipped?
    Best at playing Crown & Anchor?
    Best Doctrines?
    Best statistically?
    etc.

    It was a big old war, and each and every side can make a claim to be the best depending on a variety of constantly shifting factors. So I can't really choose a 'best', as I'm never that comfortable comparing apples with oranges.

    Favourite however - I have a soft spot for Tommy Atkins, or I wouldn't be running this place; but even then, I'm pretty fascinated by the Germans, and the Aussies, and the Canucks, and the Kiwis (end even the Hiwis). If they took part in WW2 then I'm usually interested...





    As an aside, how long have the British Army been using 'Be the Best' as a recruiting slogan?
    I thought it had been around for years, even since I was a kid, but is my memory deceiving me?..

    [​IMG]

    I wonder how many other nations use a near identical slogan?
    Not much point having an Army after all if you don't consider your own to be the best. ;)

    ~A
     
    L J likes this.
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I would suggest the Army that is fighting a just cause against tyranny.
    But, but. but... isn't evil in the eye of the beholder?

    Didn't Discovery Channel ever run a "10 Best Armies" feature? As well as the "10 Best Screwdrivers", "10 Best Lollipops", etc? :D

    [​IMG]
     
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    But, but. but... isn't evil in the eye of the beholder?

    Didn't Discovery Channel ever run a "10 Best Armies" feature? As well as the "10 Best Screwdrivers", "10 Best Lollipops", etc? :D

    [​IMG]

    Za it is indeed
     
  17. It is a circular argument in some respects. Every army had strengths and weaknesses, and the hope is that the former outnumber the latter to give you victory.

    I’m British, most of my reading has been on British experiences and operations, so naturally I have an affinity for the British way of doing things, but it was a long way from perfect. I’m still minded that the Royal Artillery was the pre-eminent practitioner of the gun on the battlefield throughout NWE but that doesn’t mean that the US were slouches, just that the Brits and Canucks shade it to me.

    The armoured innovations such as flail tanks, AVREs and Crocodile flamethrowers, and later Kangaroo APCs all had much Commonwealth influence in their introduction. 8th Army was always a multicultural affair with numerous Australian, Indian, New Zealand and South African units and formations on the ORBAT. Their combined involvement made a massive contribution, and came at an equally high cost.

    But it’s a hard hearted soul who won’t give credit to the US. The US Army went from an almost standing start at the end of 1941 to a major world force by the start of 1945, which isn’t too shabby for four years work. They had advantages, such as a large population base to recruit from, and being geographically removed from their enemies, but that latter also meant they had massive distances to cross to even get to the fighting.

    Then there’s the most misunderstood Army of them all, the Red Army. Their metamorphoses from the verge of annihilation in 1941 to planting the hammer and sickle banner over the Reichstag in less than four years, with the enemy constantly at their throat would normally give them the title…but there’s always that Stalinist dictatorship angle that us Western folks can’t quite compute.

    No one answer to me. Take any of the main players out of the frame, and the advantage tips back to the Axis powers.
     
    Slipdigit likes this.
  18. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    In a heretical mood I'll say the best armed forced of WW2(II) were the German ones.

    The largest Alliance the world ever saw and is unlikely to see again took all those years to bring them to defeat, despite all their strategic errors they committed and their defective leadership.

    Za,
    Your opinion mirrors my own but as Adam has noted this really turns in to an apple and oranges comparison.
    While they may not have been the "best", I have the utmost respect for the Allied citizen armies who volunteered, trained, fought and then went back to being civilians. They may never have reached the standard of the professional Wehrmacht soldier but they accepted the challenge, learned their craft the hard way and simply got the job done. Considering their accomplishments and amazing exploits, the humility of these men is mind blowing!
     
  19. Algee

    Algee Very Insignificant Member

    I think it shouldn't be "Best Army" as this is more dictated by the Government of the day with funding etc.
    A more accurate way would be to ask which country has the best soldiers.

    In which case (And I AM biased here!) The British Soldier gets my vote.
    I've seen the British Squaddie do amazing things with next to no kit, where Americans in a similar situation just sat down and waited for support and kit to arrive.
    This is based on my experiences serving with, or as a contractor/advisor, with several modern Armies ranging from the US, Canada, NZ, Germany, Greece, France, Albania (Long Story!) Turkey, Saudi, Kuwait, Chile, and finally the Russian Federation.

    The basic training in the UK is no harder than many others but the indoctrination and "Can Do" attitude instilled is what sets us apart (Or is that sheer stubbornness?)
     

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