The German Army...

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Lucky13, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    What was it that made the German Army so successful in the Beginning of WWII, was it their training, education, officer schools etc.?
    How did these factors compare between the fighting armies?
    What education did the NCO's and higher ranking officers receive?
    Was it much of a difference between Army, Navy and Air Force?

    Not interested in the 'political education' here, just the pure military one...
     
  2. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    The same can be asked of the Japanese as well.
    I've long felt it is a matter of unbalanced, or mismatched forces, surprise, and momentum.

    The Axis did best when their opponents were weak.
    As the years went by, momentum was lost and a sort of parity was achieved.
    Finally, momentum swung to the side of the Allies and the war reversed.
    Then the Allies did best when their opponents were weak.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    What gave the Wehrmacht an edge initially, was it's mobility and close air support. If you look at their performance early on, they enjoyed great successes with this formula, but as the air superiority started to diminish, so did their gains.

    Eventually, the Wehrmacht suffered the same fate their opponents experienced early in the war, when the Allies gained aerial supremacy over the battlefield. Without the luxury of air dominance, they had to restrict movements and tactics or else be mauled before they ever made contact with opposing ground units.
     
  4. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "....was it their training, education, officer schools etc.?"

    They started wars on their terms ..... preemptive.
     
  5. Angels one-five

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    Some of the themes that always seems to appear for me when reading about German battlefield successes is a sound doctrine encompassing all-arms battle and Auftragstaktik - a mission command ethos that enabled all levels of command to support the higher commanders intent - permeating through the officer and NCO corps. Of course these are generalisations and a simplification of why the Wehrmacht was such a capable force, but the doctrine that underpinned integrated all-arms battlegroups was not really practiced effectively by any of the Western Allies. I think the Germans managed to develop the thinking soldier earlier on than others and it is no coincidence that Mission command is now a feature of most joined-up Armies.
     
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  6. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Not sure, but what about motivation?
    Since Germany was crippled from the WW1 settlement and its reparations, a lot of Germans felt that this was unfair and unjust and had a score to settle - mostly with the French?
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Operational doctrine, leadership and training. The same factors that made the German Army so formidable during WWI.
     
  8. pattle

    pattle Member

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    In a nut shell the Germans knew how to use modern weapons such as tanks and aircraft where the British and French did not.
     
  9. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Er, among our chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and near fanatical devotion to the Pope! Um, I'll come in again...
     
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  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of things the Germans had going for them at the beginning of the war. Better training of NCO's and junior officers for one. A real emphasis on these leaders coming up with a plan of action in just a few minutes and communicating it the plan to the units (or men) needed to carry it out. One saying was a good (or even not so good) plan that you can start putting in action in 5 minutes beats the best plan in the world that starts an hour later. ( I may have botched that up but hope it gives the idea). The Germans relied more on radio communication than other armies. They still used field phones to a very large extent but most other armies use of radios was very sketchy. This allowed the Germans to react quicker to changing situations. The Germans were also partially motorized, even a "standard" division ( if the Germans had such a thing) that had thousands of horses had enough trucks that the supply train for the divisional artillery had many more tons of ammo than the equivalent Polish of French Divisions.
    Even if the men are marching on foot, how much artillery support do they have (rounds per gun per day) and how fast can they resupply?

    There are many more reasons why the German army at low levels out performed most other armies.
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    This is altogether the wrong question. The question that needs to be answered is why, despite having so many overwhelming advantages, they still manged to screw the pooch and lose.

    The Germans entered the war with greater economic potential, better trained manpower, a more cohesive and decisive leadership, more friends, better and more numerous equipment levels, better leadership, effective doctrines, higher levels of motorization central positioninterior lines surprise, and many other advantages. They still managed to lose the initiaitve in the west by 1941, upset their friends, isolate themselves, fight too many wars at the same time, waste their strength on unimportant fronts, become sloppy in their security, waste their military leadership, lose their training edges, mismanage their economy and so many other failures. And yet, people across the world belive in the myth of superior german war performance during the war.
     
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  12. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #12 DonL, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
    I think your analyse got it to the point especially for the Heer and partly for the LW, the KM is an other issue.

    Your whole post is political motivated and has very little to do with the intention of the thread, the focus on battlefield success and the reasons for this success.

    A while back your posted this:

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/polls/should-allies-have-bypassed-italy-32824-4.html

    from post 46-71.

    The Germans entered the war with greater economic potential (debatetable), better trained manpower, a more cohesive and decisive leadership( only military), more friends (wrong), better and more numerous equipment levels (numerous is wrong), better leadership (only military), effective doctrines, higher levels of motorization central positioninterior lines surprise, and many other advantages. They still managed to lose the initiaitve in the west by 1941 (political), upset their friends (political), isolate themselves (political), fight too many wars at the same time (political), waste their strength on unimportant fronts (political), become sloppy in their security, waste their military leadership (political), lose their training edges, mismanage their economy (political) and so many other failures. And yet, people across the world belive in the myth of superior german war performance during the war.

    Superior german battlefield performance isn't a myth and the military leadership are not the political leadership and they arn't the decision-maker for nearly all your arguments.

    From the post starter:

     
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  13. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    You could ask why were Germanys opponents so bad. The French Army shouldnt have collapsed like a punctured balloon, when they fought the Germans on more equal terms they generally gave the Heer a bloody nose. If the French Army had fought in May 40 more like it fought in June 40 (when things were terminal) its quite possible that Germany would have got no further than they did in 1914. The BEF didnt exactly cover itself in glory but at least retreated in generally good order. I sometimes read about the Fall of France and shake my head "How could Armies and there political masters get so many things so wrong", is it a case that Democracies are generally not very good at the start of wars but at least learn from there mistakes if given a chance.

    The armies of Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands were little more than border guards so dont really count. As for Poland I dont know enough about the Polish Army or the September campaign to comment.
     
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  14. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately politics is too tangled up with the military to talk about military matters on its own. The military is an arm of government just like diplomacy and economics without discussing Germanys (and its opponents) home political/economic situation you cant discuss its military organisation the two go hand in hand.
     
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  15. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    I heavily disagree!

    The education and training of the german Army had nothing to do with the Nazi Regime.
    The doctrine of Auftragstaktik and combined all-arms (Infantry, LW, tanks, artillery and anti-tank units), had also nothing to do with the Nazi regime.
    The whole organisation of the Wehrmacht, regiments and division (infantry and tank), except the Oberkommando of the Wehrmacht had also nothing to do with the Nazi regime.
    All this was developed and worked out between 1920-1939 from the german military leadership of the Reichwehr and the Wehrmacht.
    It is well known that the german military leadership was educated unpolitical. The highest General, which was a real Nazi was von Reichenau, not anyone which much influence to the named issues.
    The Wehrmacht and it's leadership was weather involved which were the Allies of Germany, nor at which time the Nazi Regime declared war on other Nations. Also it was to no time involved in the war economy organisation!

    Now we can discuss the military success compare to the Polish-, French, GB- and Russian Army at the first three years and the reasons, or we can make destructive comments and posts, which only involve political and econimical Nazi reasons.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Because it was NOT a myth on the unit level. Say Division or smaller. Either that or studies made during the war were attempts to cover up allied bungling of small unit tactics and training. If German troops were ( to pick a number out of a Hat) 1.3 times more effective than allied army "A" troops it doesn't matter to the out come of the war if the German leadership bungles things so badly that they have to fight 2-3-4 times their numbers. Their "edge" gets swamped.
    And there is only so much that combat units can do. They are dependent on supply and the German army units almost always operating on a shoestring ( a broken, tied together one at that) after the first few campaigns.

    And like ALL armies, there were some very good units and some not so good units so you are looking at averages and not specific examples.
    The French get a bit of a bum rap when some of their units fought very well but their leadership let them down. And leadership can include the command structure and signals. If the high command fails to "see" that Unit XX is exposed and about to be cut off because unit YY has retreated and also fails to get orders to Unit XX to withdraw in a timely fashion then the blame lies with the high command (bad reconnaissance, bad signaling, bad situational awareness) and NOT with Unit XX which may have fought well.
     
  17. pattle

    pattle Member

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    You have to remember that politics was involved heavily in certain German military decisions such as Stalingrad, and it is also worth remembering that German military leadership did make crucial mistakes that lost decisive battles.
     
  18. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    Which decisive battles or any battles were lost through crucial mistakes of the military Army leaders?
     
  19. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "...Which decisive battles or any battles were lost through crucial mistakes of the military Army leaders?"

    Was putting the Romanians and Italian forces at the end of your flank at Stalingrad the wisest military deployment -- DonL ...? In hindsight ..... it was the weak spot and Chuikov cracked it.
     
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  20. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #20 DonL, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
    This was also a political decision from several primary sources.

    Both AoK 6 and Heeresgruppe B wanted emphatically a mixed flank protection with much more german troops.
    The Leaders of Romania and Italy insisted that their Army's could only be apllied as closed units.
    They threatened to call their Army's back if their Army's would be mixed with german divisions.

    Both Romanians and Italians were very sensitive and bigheaded at this issue, because the german local military leaders knew the lower fighting power of the axis Army groups, but Hitler had not the nuts at several conferences to this issue to enforce the opinion of his local military leaders against Romania and Italy.
     
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