Biggest Mistake of WWII

Discussion in 'General' started by Paratrooper, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    We seem to have a couple of threads that have strayed into one however I will respond here with both answers.

    With respect to the biggest mistake, if Hitler had not declared war on the US, Roosevelt would have only been allowed to deal militarily with the Pacific war against the Japanese. Hitlers declaration took that problem out of Roosevelts hands.

    1- Roosevelt would have declared war on Germany.

    2- That would not have changed by much, anyway. Since in 1941 the US was years away from developing the capabilities of attacking Europe.

    With respect, the quoting of bare GNP percentage figures is ridiculous and somewhat insulting. Without screwing those figures down into what was sent and how it enabled Russia to pull up stumps, survive the crucial process of moving east and then being able to concentrate their production more fully into certain crucial areas makes your argument ambiguous to say the least. Russia's scorched earth policy denied Germany resources however it affected Russian manufacturing as well in the short term. The comprehensive supply of food products and "finished" materials allowed Russia to commence production immediately in many areas by taking out one level of the manufacturing processes at those crucial times.

    Sure, but if they sent more it would be better. It was a mistake sending only 17 billion of lend-lease to Russia. They should have sent more.

    This is clearly another shooting from the hip comment that was not possible to achieve. Shipping, the elements and scourge of distance are just a few of the prohibitive factors that would never have seen this level of volume achievable.

    The US could make more ships. The US could have allocated more ships to lend-lease supply to Russia.

    And yes, they could have supplied more materiel to the USSR. And the fact that they did not was a mistake.
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    And yes, they could have supplied more materiel to the USSR. And the fact that they did not was a mistake


    It wasn't charity...and it was negotiated yearly on a by-year basis, the Soviets got what THEY wanted -

    "pre Lend-lease" 22nd June 1941 to 30th September 1941 (paid for in gold)

    first protocol period from 1st October 1941 to 30th June 1942 (signed 1st october 1941)

    second protocol period from 1st July 1942 to 30th June 1943 (signed 6th October 1942)

    third protocol period from 1st July 1943 to 30th June 1944 (signed 19th October 1943)

    fourth protocol period from 1st July 1944, (signed 17th April 1945), formally ended 12th May 1945 but deliveries continued for the duration of the war with Japan (which the Soviet Union entered on the 8th August 1945) under the "Milepost" agreement until 2nd September 1945 when Japan capitulated. On 20th September 1945 all Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union was terminated.

    ....AND how much the various routes could actually bear. It wasn't a case of JUST the shipping tonnage given over to it - but also ferry crews available for aircraft, the aircraft handling capacity of the airfields and routes used, the plant and personnel required in Bessarabia for assembly of LL vehicles, the freight capacity of the TransSiberian Railway - even the freight handling capacity of Vladivostock.
     
  3. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    It wasn't charity...and it was negotiated yearly on a by-year basis, the Soviets got what THEY wanted

    All right. So I will drop the charges on "insufficient lend-lease" as an strategic mistake in WW2.
     
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    One OTHER factor that not many people realise that limited U.S.aid to the Soviets arriving through Vladivostock...

    The USSR was Neutral with respect to Japan....but the shipping under Russian flags STILL transited Japanese waters!!! IIRC they had to reach agreement with the Japanese over numbers of ships etc.
     
  5. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    having looked over JPP's "Blitzkrieg in the West" ATB.
    Von Rundestedt did make the decision to halt and Hitler who was worried about attacks in the flank of the advance agreed and endorsed the decision to halt.
    LJ was correct. :)
     
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    The mistake on the german part was to take the bait and allocate 17 panzer divisions to Army Group South in June while there were only 3 panzer divisions in Army Group center. The Russians counted on that to the amazing sucess of the offensive.

    The attack worked in part because the panzer divisions, with have a vital strategic role to play: to counter attack breakthroughs, weren't allocated correctly.

    In June 1944 Army Group center had only 39 divisions (3 panzer) while Army Group South had 56 (of with 17 panzer). The result was the destruction of 30 divisions, and the permanent crippling of the wehrmacht. The greatest allied victory in the war.

    Source: Strategy For Defeat: The Luftwaffe 1933-1945.
    'm interested in these 17 panzer divisions in Army Group South, can you give me info on which ones you are referring to? I cant find that number in my sources.
     
  7. L J

    L J Senior Member

    :confused:
    The 2.6 million figure to which you are alluding,includes a lot of non fighting rear elements .
     
  8. L J

    L J Senior Member

    1- Ever heard of the concept of operational casualty? I think that MIA is not a very good statistic because it counts prisoners, and prisoners are soldiers that surrender themselves because they lost a battle/engagement, and what makes then surrender themselves are the combat casualties.

    2- I don't have good data on MIA.

    3- The purpose of these graphs is to illustrate the relative importance of each front. I think casualties directly related to combat are a better indicator than total casualties. I read the argument for the utilization of operational casualties in this site: Operation Barbarossa: the Complete Statistical Collation and Military Simulation, by Nigel Askey

    this page on the site explains why you should not consider missing as an important casualty in the determination of the defeat of an armed forces.
    MIA are not POW ;they are soldiers of whom nothing is known .They could be POW,they could be death;ex:the crew of the Bismarck were MIA
    A lot of soldiers do surrender during the battle :before the German capitulation at Stalingrad,a lot of soldiers of the 6th army had already surrendered .
    It is totally wrong not to count MIA as casualties,because MIA are no longer available to the army :the thousands of allied aircrew shot down and becoming MIA or POW are casualties .
    Some figures of MIA on German side (on the east front )
    july 1944 till 10 january 1945 :
    136493 KIA
    628028 WIA
    568834 MIA
    Losses on the East front (without the 20th army ):eek:nly army and Waffen SS :june 1941 till 20 april 1945
    Death:1005413
    Wounded :3992O62
    Missing :1369174
    Source :Panzerarchiv:Verluststatistik P 4
    I know the site of Askey
     
  9. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

  10. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    1- Roosevelt would have declared war on Germany.

    2- That would not have changed by much, anyway. Since in 1941 the US was years away from developing the capabilities of attacking Europe.



    Sure, but if they sent more it would be better. It was a mistake sending only 17 billion of lend-lease to Russia. They should have sent more.



    The US could make more ships. The US could have allocated more ships to lend-lease supply to Russia.

    And yes, they could have supplied more materiel to the USSR. And the fact that they did not was a mistake.
    Why should they? They had their own 2 wars to fight - The Pacific and Western Europe. America and Britain didnt Have to send anything - but the fact is they did. And good men lost their lives getting that aid to the Soviet Union.
     
  11. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

  12. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Senior Member

    All right. So I will drop the charges on "insufficient lend-lease" as an strategic mistake in WW2.

    Here is a good link to an article from Time magazine of March 19th, 1945 which contains this section:

    In Washington the fourth Lend-Lease agreement with Russia was in process of fulfillment. Nearly all goods shipped to date were of the immediately expendable type (planes, trucks, food). But the emphasis was shifting. Unofficial reports said present negotiations stressed goods that may outlast the war (railroad equipment, machinery, etc.). These goods would not be "lent," they would be sold on terms like those of the new French Lend-Lease agreement (30 years to pay with interest at 2 3/8%).


    See:

    ECONOMICS: $7 Billion Comrade? - TIME

    It makes a nice supplement to the post containing the earlier L/L agreement dates.
     
  13. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Actually - HALF of the referenced post is correct - the SECOND half ;)

    Just a very quick point. Prior to WWII, the US actually manufactured very little in the way of military equipment and had no stocks of old, outdated, obsolete military equipment to send.

    Yes they did...WE got it! :lol: All those .30-06 P 17s for the Home Guard? The thousand 75mm QFs they very quickly re-carriaged and sent us?

    There were certain types of equipment they didn't have ;) They were busy transiting to "decent" monoplane fighters at the start of the war....and a lot of what the USN and USAAF had been using BEFORE the war had been sent instead to various South American allies and neutrals. WE didn't want them - we couldn't use them in a European air combat environment

    WE instead ordered and paid for newer types - just as the French, Norwegians etc. did :mellow: And sadly - a LOT of what we got even then wasn't really suitable - the early-mark Douglas Bostons, Curtiss Hawks, Bell P-39s, even the Brewster Buffalo....but WE did one of TWO things with them all...

    1/ used them in unimportant, quiet fronts (as thought!)...We sent Buffalos to the Middle and Far East, for example, and used Hawks in the relatively-quiet Ten Group Fighter Command...

    2/ :D OR WE PASSED THEM ON TO THE RUSSIANS! :D

    Similarly, there was little old British equipment to send, as the cupboard was a bit bare after the equipment losses of 1940


    Again, not quite correct - we DID have all the "unliked" American stuff to send, and we sent them a lot of Blenheims and Hurricane Is...well-second hand ;)

    And one important thing to remember is....half the total production of Matilda IIs/IIIs went to the USSR :mellow: When WE were suffering from a lack of armour in the Desert in mid 1941, we started shipping them instead to the Russians. Arguably they were more easily GOT to the Russians than to the Middle East!...but that's not quite the point!:lol:
     
  15. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Senior Member

    Actually - HALF of the referenced post is correct - the SECOND half ;)



    Yes they did...WE got it! :lol: All those .30-06 P 17s for the Home Guard? The thousand 75mm QFs they very quickly re-carriaged and sent us?


    In early to mid June (a year before L/L) there was an American shipment of almost 1,000 75mm guns and ammo as well as the June 13th 1940 rifle shipment from the US;

    Examples of large pre-Lend Lease British orders included Stevens-made No. 4 Enfields, off-the-shelf Colt pistols and revolvers of all descriptions and Smith & Wesson .38/200 revolvers from the AOD; Thompson submachine guns were ordered by the French and the British, and Johnson machine guns and rifles were ordered by the Dutch. After the fall of both the Dutch and the French these weapons were also sent to Great Britain to both equip the Home Guard as well as the Free French, the Free Dutch, and the Free Poles also received some of these weapons.

    Immediately after the Dunkirk evacuation, AOD`s (Army Ordnance Dept.) inventory was reduced by massive shipments to Great Britain that included 865,000 M 1917 rifles on June 13th (plus 270,000 more by February 1941), 25,000 BARs, 86,000 other machine guns (both Browning and Thompson), 25,500 revolvers and 144.5 million rounds of ammunition. (See American Rifleman, January 1988, p. 34)

    These weapons may have been "outdated" (in some cases), but they were far from useless. Two of our armory ammuniton producers also continued to crank out .303 and Mosin-Nagant calibers as well. We (America) still had the dies for the Russian/Soviet rounds from pre-WW1 when we supplied the Tzarist forces with both rifles and ammunition.
     
  16. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    The 2.6 million figure to which you are alluding,includes a lot of non fighting rear elements .

    So, what about the 4 million figure? :confused:
     
  17. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    Why should they? They had their own 2 wars to fight - The Pacific and Western Europe. America and Britain didnt Have to send anything - but the fact is they did. And good men lost their lives getting that aid to the Soviet Union.

    Yes, but they should have sent more help to the eastern front. Considering how important it was.

    Since, as Phylo pointed out, the allies sent everything that the Soviets asked, I think that they should have sent manpower instead. Yes, british and american boys to fight side by side with the russians. They should have made a treaty were after europe was liberated, poland to the west would become again sovereign states. If the soviets accepted the treaty, them, they (US+Britain) would send millions of men to the front right in late 1941 and 1942, instead of entering the war in significantly large numbers only in the second half of 1944, when the soviets had already won the thing after 30 million death. The war would be over sonner and less people would die, they could have saved a few million civilians.
     
  18. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    MIA are not POW ;they are soldiers of whom nothing is known .They could be POW,they could be death;ex:the crew of the Bismarck were MIA

    Sure. However, most MIA were pows, and since we don't know if they were or not pows, then I say that MIA is not useful to determine the intensity of combat, unless it is statistically corrected for pows.

    A lot of soldiers do surrender during the battle :before the German capitulation at Stalingrad,a lot of soldiers of the 6th army had already surrendered.
    Sure, however, a soldier does not surrender when he is shot.

    It is totally wrong not to count MIA as casualties,because MIA are no longer available to the army :the thousands of allied aircrew shot down and becoming MIA or POW are casualties.

    Sure, they are strategic casualties. However, these kind of casualties happen most when the outcome of the war was already decided. For example, if we have 3 countries, were 2 are in war for 5 years, then one of the countries is winning, the enemy is near its breaking point, but it stops attacking and makes an armistice. If the other country enters the war and attacks the country near its breaking point, they would sure make a loot of prisoners and occupy the country, however it was the first country that won the war, not the one that entered after.

    Some figures of MIA on German side (on the east front )
    july 1944 till 10 january 1945 :
    136493 KIA
    628028 WIA
    568834 MIA
    Interesting, but this is for all the wehrmacht or army only?

    =Losses on the East front (without the 20th army ):eek:nly army and Waffen SS :june 1941 till 20 april 1945
    Death:1005413
    Wounded :3992O62
    Missing :1369174
    Source :Panzerarchiv:Verluststatistik P 4
    I know the site of Askey
    Interesting, for the entire armed forces the losses would be 1.5 million KIA instead of only 1 million, and 5 million wounded instead of 4 million.
     
  19. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Being Devils advocate her.

    I seem to recollect that our brave sailors taking the Arctic convoys through to the frozen parts of Russia were not even allowed off the ships.

    What makes you think that Stalin wanted allied troops fighting alongside his own troops?
    Allied airmen who found themselves in Russia were as I recall interned and many never returned.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  20. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Yes, but they should have sent more help to the eastern front. Considering how important it was.

    Since, as Phylo pointed out, the allies sent everything that the Soviets asked, I think that they should have sent manpower instead. Yes, british and american boys to fight side by side with the russians. They should have made a treaty were after europe was liberated, poland to the west would become again sovereign states. If the soviets accepted the treaty, them, they (US+Britain) would send millions of men to the front right in late 1941 and 1942, instead of entering the war in the second half of 1944, when the soviets had already won the thing after 30 million death. The war would be over sonner and less people would die, they could have saved a few million civilians.
    ok, first of all the statement "entering the war in the second half of 1944" is ridiculous and ignorant. We have a number of veterans (allow me to name two, Ron Goldstein and Gerry Chester) who fought the Germans in the North African and Italian Campaigns. Would you care to converse with them about their experiences?

    What I find really annoying about this sort of response is that instead of discussion about the war, we end up with "We did more than you" style assertions with loads of stats to prove how inconsequential the other fronts were.

    Guaporense, I actually enjoy discussing the Eastern Front, its my favourite area of study but why are you pushing this line of thinking? You dont need to adopt this tone. You're pushing against an open door, mate. People do recognise the contribution of the Soviet Union here to the Victory over The Third Reich. But making posts like that only serve to alienate other members who might otherwise agree with you. And no, I'm not trying to stop you from (rightly) praising the Soviet effort. But to do so whilst denigrating other countries efforts is exteremely disrespectful.
     
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