WWII

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WWII

Postby RodgePodge » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:27 am

What was the tipping point? When was Germany's last hope of victory? (define "victory," of course).

There are lots of casuals and armchair historians, but let's see what everyone thinks.

Some argue that Germany failed because they didn't bring Britain to its knees.
- Dunkirk
- Battle of Britain
- Note: Britain refused multiple peace treaties from Germany.

Some argue that Germany failed because Operation Barbarossa was delayed by having to pick up Italian slack in Greece and North Africa, and having to invade the Scandinavian countries.

This goes with weather - Hitler claimed, and it seems, that everything was a year delayed due to a) poor weather and b) Italian failures. Every minute gave the USSR more time to build up.

Some say that Barbarossa itself was a failure, despite the stunning tactical successes.

Some say (maybe most) that Fall Blau (Case Blue) was the turning point, aka the campaign that led to Stalingrad.

Some argue that it could have been turned around after Stalingrad, at the latest, Kursk. They cite 3rd Kharkov. I think that summer 1943 is the last time that anyone would argue that Germany really had a chance to "win."

Once again, "win" needs to be defined.

My personal opinion? I think that Germany was shocked that the UK and France declared war in 1939 over Poland. I think they (rightly) assumed that neither country cared about Poland at all (as evidenced by Poland's occupation by the Soviets at the end of the war, and by the Soviet invasion of Poland at the same time which strangely drew no act of war from the West). From then on, Germany was in trouble and ahead of schedule. The next great problem was the UK. The Battle of Britain was screwed up on their end by switching from military to civilian targets to "avenge" British bombing of German civilian topics. They fell for the bait and paid.

Then of course, the over extension of German forces leading up to Barbarossa and the reliance on foreign armies. It was incredible what they pulled off in the first year, but it finally ran out at Stalingrad. It's hard to say what they should have done. The Don river needed to be secured to secure the left flank of the advance, BUT most oil fields were already destroyed as scorched earth anyways and it seems unlikely that Germany would have benefited from them.

But, most of Hitler's generals wanted to advance on Moscow, which Hitler did not want to do based on Napoleon's 1812 experience.

It's interesting and I think that by the time of Fall Blau there were no "good" options - they probably picked the best one. Too many things had gone wrong by that point to sustain the massive level of warfare required. In fact, I find it incredible that they still held on for so long.

No matter what, WWII is fascinating. Feel free to provide thoughts.
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Re: WWII

Postby BF004 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:20 pm




This link will take you to the proper quote.
https://youtu.be/9mTlnrXFAXE?t=89
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Re: WWII

Postby BF004 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:31 pm

Obviously plenty of items you can single out. Biggest is clearly turning attention to Russia before finish off Britain. Even if they do conquer Russia, they had lost all air superiority and the Atlantic to the RAF and the addition of the US forces by that time.

Also with the Battle of Britain I remember some professor talking about how every time a RAF pilot was shot down, he could be back in a new plane in 12 hours, when the Luftwaffe plane was shot down, they lost a pilot. Came down to more about having able bodied pilots than it did building planes. Always seemed to make sense to me. So perhaps focusing more on select strategic bombings and implementing more on a blockade around the UK, stopping US supplies coming could have been well more effective.
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Re: WWII

Postby Pckfn23 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:07 pm

BF004 wrote:Biggest is clearly turning attention to Russia before finish off Britain.


That would be the main culprit. The timeline is interesting. The month after the Nazi's stopped bombing Britain they invaded Russia through Operation Barbarossa. It is interesting that Hitler got his way in attacking Stalingrad, but didn't get his way in Operation Sea Lion (invading Britain). The US doesn't enter the war until the Battle of Stalingrad.

Another major reason was Japan dragging the USA directly into the war.
Last edited by Pckfn23 on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: WWII

Postby Papa John » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:21 pm

In hindsight, the turning point was when Hitler declared war on the United States. Hitler probably didn't see it that way at the time. The U.S. hadn't yet become a military superpower; in fact, our army was smaller than Portugal's. I think the U.S. intervention was immensely more influential than Hitler expected it to be.
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Re: WWII

Postby RodgePodge » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:53 pm

Papa John wrote:In hindsight, the turning point was when Hitler declared war on the United States. Hitler probably didn't see it that way at the time. The U.S. hadn't yet become a military superpower; in fact, our army was smaller than Portugal's. I think the U.S. intervention was immensely more influential than Hitler expected it to be.


I agree, sort of. The biggest contribution of the US was supplying the UK and USSR through lend-lease, which allowed them to survive. Without lend-lease both would have been toast. But lend-lease was in effect prior to the US entering the war.

BF004 wrote:Obviously plenty of items you can single out. Biggest is clearly turning attention to Russia before finish off Britain. Even if they do conquer Russia, they had lost all air superiority and the Atlantic to the RAF and the addition of the US forces by that time.

Also with the Battle of Britain I remember some professor talking about how every time a RAF pilot was shot down, he could be back in a new plane in 12 hours, when the Luftwaffe plane was shot down, they lost a pilot. Came down to more about having able bodied pilots than it did building planes. Always seemed to make sense to me. So perhaps focusing more on select strategic bombings and implementing more on a blockade around the UK, stopping US supplies coming could have been well more effective.


The biggest flaw with the Battle of Britain was switching from military targets (airfields) to civilian targets. This was in response to the UK bombing German civilian targets, and Germany wanted to retaliate. When they switched, the RAF was on the brink of defeat.

As for when to turn the attention to the Soviet Union, it really should have been sooner. Every month that passed was worse for Germany and better for Stalin. Germany would have been much better off attacking in 1940 and may well have won. That was the original plan but it was postponed.

And actually Hitler never really wanted war in the west. I think he figured it would be inevitable but his real target was east. Having to turn and deal with France and the UK was just something that had to be done, but it wasn't the main goal. Actually many, including Pat Buchanan, have argued that the UK would have been much better off accepting Germany's peace offerings in 1940, and I happen to agree. They would have not wrecked their colonial empire and economy, and Germany would have been free to deal with the Soviets, who were a much larger existential threat to the West.
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Re: WWII

Postby Pckfn23 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:14 pm

Hitler very much wanted to invade Russia. There were three main reasons why. First he wanted to destroy communism and the bolshevics. Second, he wanted room for the Arian Nation. Third, and most importantly, they needed the resources that Russia, especially Western Russia, contained. At the point they stopped bombing the UK, they switched their attention over to the eastern front. Their timeline to invade was only postponed a month, but they waited too long in developing the invasion. They very much underestimated them, Hitler is on record saying as much.

Hitler also very much wanted to invade Britain, but his Generals openly opposed the idea.

As for the US, we as a nation had absolutely no desire to get into another European war. We had become isolationists. This was one of the biggest reasons why we had a small standing army. By the late 30's the US was mobilizing for all out war, but was still not involved. The Lend-Lease Act very much kept the Allies in the war, without it they had no hope. Had Japan not attack the US, the results may well have been very different.
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Re: WWII

Postby RodgePodge » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:37 am

Pckfn23 wrote:Hitler very much wanted to invade Russia. There were three main reasons why. First he wanted to destroy communism and the bolshevics. Second, he wanted room for the Arian Nation. Third, and most importantly, they needed the resources that Russia, especially Western Russia, contained. At the point they stopped bombing the UK, they switched their attention over to the eastern front. Their timeline to invade was only postponed a month, but they waited too long in developing the invasion. They very much underestimated them, Hitler is on record saying as much.

Hitler also very much wanted to invade Britain, but his Generals openly opposed the idea.

As for the US, we as a nation had absolutely no desire to get into another European war. We had become isolationists. This was one of the biggest reasons why we had a small standing army. By the late 30's the US was mobilizing for all out war, but was still not involved. The Lend-Lease Act very much kept the Allies in the war, without it they had no hope. Had Japan not attack the US, the results may well have been very different.


Are these points addressed to me or just in general?
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Re: WWII

Postby wallyuwl » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:14 am

Hitler made many blunders. If Germany wins the Battle of Britain then the West is screwed and Hitler can focus pretty much exclusively on the East and, especially at that time, beat Stalin. He'd have had an Alexander the Great type of empire. Great Britain barely hung on, but by them doing so it turned the long-term direction of the war and probably the next 100 years of human history.
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Re: WWII

Postby Pckfn23 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:04 am

RodgePodge wrote:
Are these points addressed to me or just in general?

General.
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Re: WWII

Postby RodgePodge » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:33 am

Pckfn23 wrote:
RodgePodge wrote:
Are these points addressed to me or just in general?

General.


Roger that, I thought so, and I agree.
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Re: WWII

Postby Beagle » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:53 pm

As far as Lend-Lease goes, that has a wide range of views from historians about the actual impact it had on the war. Especially as far as how much it actually helped the war effort. Lend Lease certainly did not stop Hitler at the gates of Moscow and it did not Win the Battle of Britain nor stop the invasion of the British Isles. For two very simple reasons:

1) Hitler did not have the Navy or the resources to cross the channel, especially with the British Royal Navy lurking about.
2) Hitler was stopped cold at the Gates of Moscow before Lend Lease even started to make any impact at all. Hitler had diverted resources South to clean up his flanks (including Panzer Divisions) stalling the drive to take the capital. This cost Hitler precious time and is very debatable as to why Hitler lost his initiative in the East. Even if Hitler takes Moscow, the war may not have ended there.

Lend lease did however help the Soviets push the German out much faster due to all of the trucks, radios and other war fighting equipment it supplied. It also allowed the Soviets to use their limited factories to produce tanks, planes and guns and not have to worry about much else. We also supplied them with a lot of raw materials and technology that upgraded their gas and oil output in their refineries.

Here is a list of what we supplied:

Aircraft - 14,795
Tanks - 7,056
Jeeps - 51,503
Trucks - 375,883
Motorcycles - 35,170
Tractors - 8,071
Guns - 8,218
Machine guns - 131,633
Explosives - 345,735 tons
Building equipment valued - $10,910,000
Railroad freight cars - 11,155
Locomotives - 1,981
Cargo ships - 90
Submarine hunters - 105
Torpedo boats - 197
Ship engines - 7,784
Food supplies - 4,478,000 tons
Machines and equipment - $1,078,965,000
Non-ferrous metals - 802,000 tons
Petroleum products - 2,670,000 tons
Chemicals - 842,000 tons
Cotton - 106,893,000 tons
Leather - 49,860 tons
Tires - 3,786,000
Army boots - 15,417,001 pairs

Most of this arrived well after January of 1942 after the Soviets had stopped the Germans before taking Moscow. In a nutshell, Lend lease amounted to about 4.5% of the entire Soviet military production and around 7.5% of the civilian.

If not for all of the trucks, the Soviets would have to have literally "walked" to Germany. There were a lot of factors that went into the Soviets ultimately beating the Germans and taking Berlin but I don't think Lend Lease was decisive. It certainly played a role, but they would have won the war without it, most likely.
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Re: WWII

Postby RodgePodge » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:57 pm

Beagle wrote:As far as Lend-Lease goes, that has a wide range of views from historians about the actual impact it had on the war. Especially as far as how much it actually helped the war effort. Lend Lease certainly did not stop Hitler at the gates of Moscow and it did not Win the Battle of Britain nor stop the invasion of the British Isles. For two very simple reasons:

1) Hitler did not have the Navy or the resources to cross the channel, especially with the British Royal Navy lurking about.
2) Hitler was stopped cold at the Gates of Moscow before Lend Lease even started to make any impact at all. Hitler had diverted resources South to clean up his flanks (including Panzer Divisions) stalling the drive to take the capital. This cost Hitler precious time and is very debatable as to why Hitler lost his initiative in the East. Even if Hitler takes Moscow, the war may not have ended there.

Lend lease did however help the Soviets push the German out much faster due to all of the trucks, radios and other war fighting equipment it supplied. It also allowed the Soviets to use their limited factories to produce tanks, planes and guns and not have to worry about much else. We also supplied them with a lot of raw materials and technology that upgraded their gas and oil output in their refineries.

Here is a list of what we supplied:

Aircraft - 14,795
Tanks - 7,056
Jeeps - 51,503
Trucks - 375,883
Motorcycles - 35,170
Tractors - 8,071
Guns - 8,218
Machine guns - 131,633
Explosives - 345,735 tons
Building equipment valued - $10,910,000
Railroad freight cars - 11,155
Locomotives - 1,981
Cargo ships - 90
Submarine hunters - 105
Torpedo boats - 197
Ship engines - 7,784
Food supplies - 4,478,000 tons
Machines and equipment - $1,078,965,000
Non-ferrous metals - 802,000 tons
Petroleum products - 2,670,000 tons
Chemicals - 842,000 tons
Cotton - 106,893,000 tons
Leather - 49,860 tons
Tires - 3,786,000
Army boots - 15,417,001 pairs

Most of this arrived well after January of 1942 after the Soviets had stopped the Germans before taking Moscow. In a nutshell, Lend lease amounted to about 4.5% of the entire Soviet military production and around 7.5% of the civilian.

If not for all of the trucks, the Soviets would have to have literally "walked" to Germany. There were a lot of factors that went into the Soviets ultimately beating the Germans and taking Berlin but I don't think Lend Lease was decisive. It certainly played a role, but they would have won the war without it, most likely.


Yep, lend lease was huge. Thanks for the statistics. IIRC the US also provided 80% of the aluminium needed to build tank engines, without which the Soviets would have not been able to build such massive quantities of tanks.
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Re: WWII

Postby Pckfn23 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:14 pm

Lend-Lease was signed into law more than a year and a half before the Russians were finally able to repel the Nazis in Stalingrad. It had a significant impact on the ability of the Russians to fight Germany. While it did not help the British fight through the Battle of Britain, it did help them recover from it.

As for Naval superiority, the Allied powers didn't gain the advantage in the Atlantic until midway through 1943.
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Re: WWII

Postby Beagle » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:33 pm

Pckfn23 wrote:Lend-Lease was signed into law more than a year and a half before the Russians were finally able to repel the Nazis in Stalingrad. It had a significant impact on the ability of the Russians to fight Germany. While it did not help the British fight through the Battle of Britain, it did help them recover from it.


Stalingrad (Part of Fall Blau (Case Blue) launched by the Germans in the summer of 1942) was a side show to the ill fated drive on Moscow. Moscow was by then a fortress never to be taken so with their capital safe, the Soviets could allow the Germans to drive deeper into the Caucasus. The Germans aim was to capture the oil fields. Just like the drive on Moscow, it failed even after initial early successes.

So, what was the actual affect of Lend Lease in Stalingrad? Some tanks, food, cigarettes, clothing and ammo were used, but he Red Army had a starting tank park in 1942 of 7,700 tanks, added to that the 24,719 produced that year and another 3,000 of Lend Lease, you can see that Lend Lease made up less than 10% of the tank park for that year. During Operation Uranus (The encirclement of the 6th Army in Stalingrad) less than 10,000 Lend Lease motor vehicles were used while the motor vehicle pool in the Red Army was 378,000.

As far as Lend Lease being signed in advance: First, the signing on 11 June 1942 was the ratification of the "Russian Master Agreement", it was not the beginning of Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union. The first protocol actually dates to 1 October 1941 with the formal request by the Soviet Union for aide. The declaration of eligibility was agreed by the US and UK on 7 November 1941 and the first Lend-Lease (as opposed to "Cash and Carry") shipments sailed on that date. But preliminary talks began as early as August 1941 IIRC.

Second, Lend-Lease shipments completed to the USSR from the US were:

1941: 180 tanks, 150 planes, 8,300 vehicles, total value about $435,000.
1942: 3,000 tanks, 2,500 planes, 79,000 vehciles, total value $35,479,000. In addition, the UK shipped 2,600 tanks and 2,000 aircraft.

By 1 March 1943, 3,250,000 US tons of goods had been shipped, including 49,000 tons of toluene and TNT, 94,000 tons of critical non-ferrous metals, and 92,000 tons of rail-road rails and equipment. In the first six months of 1943, a further 49,000 motor vehicles were shipped and by 30 June 1943 a total of 1,000,000 tons of food had been shipped.

As for Naval superiority, the Allied powers didn't gain the advantage in the Atlantic until midway through 1943.


Germany never really had a Navy that could deal with Great Britain, much less the US, so Germany never could implement Operation Sealion (The planned operation to land troops and take London) at any point in WW2. By 1943, the US was on-site (along with 5 Carrier Groups and BB's and escorts) so the Germans could only use their U-Boats to harass shipping.

The truth is, Germany never could have landed troops and they knew it and that is one of the main reasons they never launched an attack. Even worse, they could never keep a force supplied across the English Channel either. The British were way too strong. They wanted to knock out the Soviets quickly, then sue for peace. As it was previously pointed out, Hitler never wanted a war with Great Britain.

IMO, once Germany lost the chance to take Moscow, it was all downhill from there and just a matter of time before she lost everything. Lend lease helped speed that up immensely.

EDIT: These are excellent sources for Lend Lease:

Harrison, Mark. Accounting For War. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Kaberov, Igor. Swastika In The Gunsight. Leningrad: Lenizdat Publishing House, 1975.
Krivosheev, G. F. Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century.
Red Hammers, Soviet self-propelled artillery and Lend Lease armour 1941-1945 by Charles C. Sharp
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