Hitler's Biggest Mistake

Discussion in 'General' started by paulyb102, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    The declaration of war on the US didn't have a great impact in the war. Because the US was giving aid to Britain and the USSR before and the American navy was shotting German naval vessels before that too.

    By far, the invasion of the USSR was Hitler's biggest mistake.
    Nope, the biggest mistake was bringing America into the war, for no good reason, on the European side. The war would have been a completely different affair without the US in Western Europe.
     
    James S likes this.
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Strategic bombing is for fags. :p

    The function of the airforce is to give support to the ground forces. The kind of terrorist bombing practiced in WW2 by all belligerent powers, with the exception of the USSR, didn't have any impact in Britain 1940-1941, and on Germany 1942-1945, had the rather small impact of reducing munitions production by about 20% in 1944. But by them the USSR had already defeated the Wehrmacht.

    Ah yes, of course we all know that the Reich's petroleum and synthetic fuel production had been eaten up by the papilloma virus. No need at all for the Leuna and Ploesti bombing campaigns.
     
  3. L J

    L J Senior Member

    An exponent of the Tactical branch of air doctrinev then -figures :D
    :mad::mad: ,have to support Guaporense (perish the thought :mad: )against the adherents of the failed Douhet theory :ex :Harris saying to Chuchill late 1943 :BC will destroy Berlin,it will cost us some hundreds bombers and the war will be over (myth of the cheap winning )
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    And the massive campaign against the French and German railway systems before Overlord did nothing much more than expedite German troop and supply movement.
     
  5. L J

    L J Senior Member

    The aim of this massive campaign was to support the ground forces (it happened with a unwilling Harris ),or was it to make Overlord superfluous ?:D
     
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    There's a place for Tactical Doctrine in War, no question, its really important. What I dont like is when people make comments like "Strategic Bombing is for fags". I dont particularly have a problem with someone disagreeing with the doctrine and provided that they are respectful then thats ok. That wasnt respectful, Guaporense. It wasnt respectful to the men of the strategic bombers in ANY airforce. If you have an opinion then fine, by all means say it. But going for the "cheap gag" speaks more about you than the doctrine you are dissing.
     
  7. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    I think I was too gross in my remark.

    However, I think that the strategic air war was not very effective in relation to the resources expended on it. And it only worked out because the ger failed to predict and allocate adequate resources to counter it.
     
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Strategic bombing is for fags


    Does that mean the Hiroshima city fathers are f....

    :unsure:
     
  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    :mad::mad: ,have to support Guaporense (perish the thought :mad: )against the adherents of the failed Douhet theory :ex :Harris saying to Chuchill late 1943 :BC will destroy Berlin,it will cost us some hundreds bombers and the war will be over (myth of the cheap winning )
    I agree with your assertion LJ that Douhet's theory was a failure, specifically because the Allied bombing offensive did not erode Germany's "will to win" a key component of the strategy. However, Destruction of Germany's Oil plants showed that Strategic Bombing can be successful. The Germans produced nearly 15-17,000 fighter aircraft in 1944 but this was useless as they had no fuel to equip them with. This is not to state that Strategic Bombing is better than its Tactical Counterpart, merely pointing out an example of its usefulness. :D
     
  10. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    I freely admit that I am an airwar boy and that that is where my primary interest lies, but there is a programme on Radio 4 tonight about some recently declassified Churchill letters that concerned the bribing of Spanish Generals to make sure Spain stayed neutral. This might well be "old hat" to some of you guys but here is the link
    BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Document, 30/11/2009
    The investigation shows two things. (1) the British government thought it was worth £2.5 million sterling to make sure the Generals influenced Franco and (2) they needn't have bothered because Hitler had already told Franco he didnt want Spain as part of the Axis (Hitler worried he would have to bankroll Spain).
    With my modern eyes that seems like a huge mistake. With German guns on the straights of Gibralta and German warships in Cadiz then Britains whole Med / North Africa campaigns look a whole lot less viable!
    As I have said, this isnt my subject so please feel free to shoot me down in flames ! :)
     
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hitler tried to tease Franco on to the Axis side but it would have stretched Hitler's resources.While the Middle East was an area where Hitler hoped to drive a path to the Canal Zone through to Palestine and on the the Black Sea with then, the far fetched idea of a push into Persia and on to India,his first and high priority was elimination of the Soviet Union and the establishment of the Greater German Reich to the Urals.The Middle East campaign was thought to be secondary by Hitler where as the struggle with S.U was the struggle to eliminate an hated ideology and seize its territories.

    Franco could easy chose to stay out of the Axis alliance because Hitler,again did not have the resources to force Franco into an alliance.Furthermore, had he done so,to protect Spain against the Allies,he would have also had to take Portugal which would mean extended commitments to safeguard the coasts of his newly acquired satellites.

    But the other very important point was that Franco was not sure of an Axis victory.Putting his money on the wrong horse would have seroius consequences in the event of the defeat of the Axis alliance,which he was not prepared to gamble.Had Franco led Spain into an alliance with Hitler,then Franco would have been deposed by the Allies in 1945 and Spain would have been an occupied country unitl democracy could be established.As it was,Franco's dictatorship rule was not challenged in his lifetime.
     
  12. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    While many would disagree, Everything I have read has shown Franco to be quite astute.

    One of my previous posts on the subject from:

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/nw-europe/4913-why-gibraltar-not-invaded.html

    I feel there is another reason for Spain’s refusal to enter the war with the Axis powers. We need to take into account the military nous of one Francisco Franco Bahamonde. Franco was a military lifer who went into the Academy at 14 and at 20 in Morocco’s Colonial War where he achieved rapid promotion. By 1920 he was 2IC of the Spanish Foreign Legion, the youngest Brigadier General in Europe by 1926 and Director of the Military Academy in Zaragoza (Saragossa) in 1927. This was followed by other appointments as well as Chief of the General Staff in 1935 at the ripe old age of 42. He was a well respected strategist and administrator and also renowned for his ruthlessness and brutality. .

    Franco “owed” Hitler for previous assistance and at their meeting in June 1940 offered to join the Axis however Hitler was not interested as Franco wanted more than Hitler was prepared to offer. When their next meeting took place on October 23rd Hitler put forward a proposal however Franco knew that Germany could not win a sustained war.

    Further to that the British & Americans were supplying Franco with consumables and fuel to keep him neutral and he knew that an embargo would greatly affect his country.

    He was also made aware that if he moved on Gibraltar, Britain would invade the Canary Islands (contained in previous post).

    Franco would have also been aware that the "Battle of Britain" was nearing completion and could see the writing on the wall that Hitler would not cross the channel. Playing both sides of the fence, he still provided submarine refuelling bases, reconnaissance and strategic raw materials.

    Added to this, a week before their October 23rd meeting, it was common knowledge that 16,000,000 Americans had registered for the draft and one way or another, America would enter the war. Franco was then already looking towards the end of the conflict and Spain’s position in the post war re shuffle.
     
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Just a point about the role of Bomber Command from the early days of the war.

    True, B.C was not effective in the early stages of the war,the aircraft and the technolgy was simply not there. Other air forces were similarly effected and apart from the the Luftwaffe's Blitzkreig on the Polish and western fronts, had little to show for their efforts in terms of inflicting damage to a home war economy. However it was the only measure that Great Britain could do at the time to carry the war to the German homeland.It also fullfilled the wishes and morale of British civilians that the Germans were receiving attacks on their towns and cities.

    As the raids on the German homeland mounted by day and night,it was Harris's forecast that Germany could be knocked out of the war by demoralising her civilians.This might have been the case in a somewhat democratic country but in a totalitarian state such as Nazi Germany we now know it was virtually impossible.It would have taken a considerable shift in German public opinion to oppose the Nazi regime by standing down and not supporting the homeland.History has also revealed that it was also a very difficult task to depose of Hitler and any proposal projected to assassinate Hitler was flatly refused,being contrary to an overall policy by the Allied leadership of the wish to avoid the likelihood of Hitler being martyred.On April 25 1945 it did not matter,the Allies were confident that the regime could not survive.

    The point has been made about the raids on the German synthetic oil industry.Very early in the war the RAF determined and identified 17 oil plants which throught the course of the war were targetted by the RAF and USAF.This policy was hugely successful as the German leadership disclosed in their interrogations post war.By August 1944,the Luftwaffe High Command had to impose far reaching limitations on operations in order to conserve available supplies which had a bearing on all fronts.By the autumn of 1944,there was a severe effect on the Luftwaffe air training programmes.Aircraft engine testing had been hit by a restriction on fuel from as early as the summer of 1943 and deteriorated to such an extent that only 20% of aircraft undertook a proper acceptance flight and the others were test flown for 20 minutes before being sent to the front.The lack of oil became one of the major reasons for the German defeat and it was based on the Hitler concept that his campaigns would lead to swift victories.One of his many gambles that did not pay off.

    A point has been made about the RAF's contribution to deny the enemy,to maintain the Normandy bridgehead.In early spring of 1944,the RAF were given the task of destroying the French rail and road networks into Normandy.It was conducted such that the operations would not alert German intelligence to the the likelihood of the invasion between the Seine estuary and the Cherbourg penisula.Research will reveal the extent of the delay in getting German support into Normandy because of the state of the rail and road networks.For instance, it took the 2nd SS Panzer Division,3 weeks to get into Normandy, albeit,its journey was hampered by the resistance from its journey from SW France.
     
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    True, B.C was not effective in the early stages of the war,the aircraft and the technolgy was simply not there. Other air forces were similarly effected and apart from the the Luftwaffe's Blitzkreig on the Polish and western fronts, had little to show for their efforts in terms of inflicting damage to a home war economy. However it was the only measure that Great Britain could do at the time to carry the war to the German homeland.It also fullfilled the wishes and morale of British civilians that the Germans were receiving attacks on their towns and cities.

    The Cabinet totally screwed the development of Bomber Command in 1938; after Dowding's statement to Cabinet that Fighter Command couldn't yet defend the UK Home Base if war was declared in 1938 over Czechoslovakia....Cabinet slapped a moratorium on ANY further spending on Bomber Command until Fighter Command was up to strength as per the Air Plan.

    The Air Plan was designed and layered to "grow" EVERYTHING up to the end of the summer of 1939 - but NOW bomber aircraft development and purchasing was halted; bomber crew training aircraft development and pourchase was halted; the start of night navigation training for bomber crews was postponed, in the end right into the sumemr of 1939 IIRC.

    We lost 18 months' development and growth in EVERYTHING to do with Bomber Command - AND actually Army Co-op too! ;) Hence going to France with Battles and Lysanders when we SHOULD have had a Battle replacement on hands by the spring of 1940. Even Coastal Command suffered; with no new longrange or inshore land-based aircraft they had to borrow Bomber Command's Ansons and Oxfords for a year, reducing the number of multiengined bomber crew trainers even further!

    In the end we went to war BANG on the date that the Air Staff predicted and planned for since February 1933! So everything would have been done on schedule ANYWAY if Cabinet had left well-alone. But because of that shortsighted decision we did so with one offensive arm tied behind our backs.
     
  15. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    True, B.C was not effective in the early stages of the war,the aircraft and the technolgy was simply not there. Other air forces were similarly effected and apart from the the Luftwaffe's Blitzkreig on the Polish and western fronts, had little to show for their efforts in terms of inflicting damage to a home war economy.

    However, the B-17 wasn't available since 1936?

    However it was the only measure that Great Britain could do at the time to carry the war to the German homeland.It also fullfilled the wishes and morale of British civilians that the Germans were receiving attacks on their towns and cities.
    Sure, psychological war is always important. The USSR did psychological bombing on Germany too.

    As the raids on the German homeland mounted by day and night,it was Harris's forecast that Germany could be knocked out of the war by demoralising her civilians.This might have been the case in a somewhat democratic country but in a totalitarian state such as Nazi Germany we now know it was virtually impossible.
    They had all of Europe. Do you think that they would surrender because of some bombing over their cities? To surrender you have at least to lose a few territory.

    It would have taken a considerable shift in German public opinion to oppose the Nazi regime by standing down and not supporting the homeland.
    Well, in fact the negative morale effects on the country caused by bombing were quite significant.

    History has also revealed that it was also a very difficult task to depose of Hitler and any proposal projected to assassinate Hitler was flatly refused,being contrary to an overall policy by the Allied leadership of the wish to avoid the likelihood of Hitler being martyred.
    The problem is that Hitler was the greatest asset the Allies had :p. His incompetence in military matters combined with the fact the he was in charge of strategy implied in a severe strategic errors. To kill him would greatly improve Germany's military capabilities. In other words, ww2 would become even uglier than it was.

    The lack of oil became one of the major reasons for the German defeat and it was based on the Hitler concept that his campaigns would lead to swift victories.One of his many gambles that did not pay off.
    The two main problems Germany had in the war were:

    Lack of oil.

    Lack of manpower.

    These two problems were caused by the failure of Barbarossa. In fact, one can make the case that by December, 5, 1941 the outcome of the war was already decided.

    It was conducted such that the operations would not alert German intelligence to the the likelihood of the invasion between the Seine estuary and the Cherbourg penisula.Research will reveal the extent of the delay in getting German support into Normandy because of the state of the rail and road networks.
    Sure, in this case bombing was fundamental. But, it was a rather tactical function (i.e.: support troops in the ground).
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The USSR did psychological bombing on Germany too


    You DO know the history of those two raids, don't you???

    To surrender you have at least to lose a few territory.

    By no means; you just have to be in a worse position by some factor than you expected to be or wanted to be. Or your population came knocking on your door with their pitchforks and demanded you surrender - which was the idea behind Douhet-style air campaigns.
     
  17. L J

    L J Senior Member

    However, the B-17 wasn't available since 1936?

    Sure, psychological war is always important. The USSR did psychological bombing on Germany too.

    They had all of Europe. Do you think that they would surrender because of some bombing over their cities? To surrender you have at least to lose a few territory.

    Well, in fact the negative morale effects on the country caused by bombing were quite significant.

    The problem is that Hitler was the greatest asset the Allies had :p. His incompetence in military matters combined with the fact the he was in charge of strategy implied in a severe strategic errors. To kill him would greatly improve Germany's military capabilities. In other words, ww2 would become even uglier than it was.

    The two main problems Germany had in the war were:

    Lack of oil.

    Lack of manpower.

    These two problems were caused by the failure of Barbarossa. In fact, one can make the case that by December, 5, 1941 the outcome of the war was already decided.

    Sure, in this case bombing was fundamental. But, it was a rather tactical function (i.e.: support troops in the ground).
    These two problems were caused by the failure of Barbarossa : I should say it was the opposite: Barbarossa was failed(AMONG others ) by the lack of manpower and oil
     
  18. L J

    L J Senior Member

    That Hitler was the greatest asset the Allies had:that is foolish:maybe a proof that without Hitler,Germany could have won :D:D ?
     
  19. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    But then without Hitler the war wouldn't even had started.

    Damn, it's past 10am, I'm late for my Elvis tour already. Now he was an attention wh0re!
     
  20. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    You DO know the history of those two raids, don't you???

    Two?

    Well, the western allies dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs in nazi europe. 1.5 million in germany proper. (source: wikipedia)

    How many tons of bombs the germans dropped on russia? They managed to kill 500.000 russians, nearly as much as the 570.000 germans killed in bombing. How many tons of bombs the russians dropped on germany? I would guess a few tens of thousands of tons of bombs (1% of western allied war effort?).

    By no means; you just have to be in a worse position by some factor than you expected to be or wanted to be. Or your population came knocking on your door with their pitchforks and demanded you surrender - which was the idea behind Douhet-style air campaigns.
    Well, I think that the power of bombing was always overestimated in ww2. By the nazis and by the allies. How would germany surrender in 1943 when they had most of europe in their hands and still were keeping the russians at bay? No nation has ever surrendered only because of bombing.
     

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