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Saturday, 03 October 2015


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You think maybe ole Vlad might start muttering about some poor put upon Russian minorities somewhere in NATO, say, one of the former eastern members of his old empire? Vlad the Uniter and protector of all the Slavs.


Some thoughts.

Until the 1930's the "100,000" man German army, unhindered by considerations of using equipment they did not have, put a lot of thought in how to use equipment they might have someday.

The Anglo-French forces in 1940 were not so much out fought as out maneuvered. Every one, including the Germans thought that in a new western front war the Germany would use a new and improved Schlieffen Plan. When the Anglo-French forces deployed the German General staff saw weak spot they could attack and cut off the north west portion of the Anglo French. Solider for solider and small unit for unit the both the British and French mostly held their own.

As a result of that campaign HM's armed forces were in a bad way for two years or so.

The psychological impact along with the loss of most of the equipment and personnel, created much of the German superiority myth.

Without a doubt, 'Whiters', so if I lived in the Baltic states I would be exceedingly nervous!

It's true, Hank, that the Anglo-French forces were out-manoeuvred but it's worth remembering that the Germans were less than creative with their *first* plan which was a re-run of the old Schlieffen plan and which everyone expected. It was only when a small recce plane was shot down and one of the officers on board was found to have a complete copy of the German plan that Hitler turned in some desperation to Manstein who suggested what he had always thought was best - an armoured thrust through the Ardennes.

As our mutual 'friend', Gen. Dupuy, makes clear neither our fighting troops or yours ever came close to the efficiency of their German counterparts. Nothing to do with courage, everything to do with rigorous, well-thought out doctrine and training.

I'm thinking - yeah I know - David, Hank's got more to his point but probably, somewhat like me, "with frost comin' on" time is limited. But very unusually .. heck perhaps a first .. I'm gonna steal from both you and your cited author.

"It also had the world's largest Navy by some margin and stood at the centre of the biggest global trading network the world had ever seen."

That mighta been the advantage it really might have, had it not been for the skinny guy. (But then we wouldn't have the tidy way we enjoy deploying the term "WW.")

All rather glib. Germany was defeated by general winter and the vaste numbers of russians but it didn't come easy.
As for the japanese how was it thst there were so many bloody battles if they were really weak. Iwo jima gave the USA thought.
Remember the winner was the USA. The British Empire melted away.

"Glib"! Have a care, Sir, you are addressing one of the finest strategic minds in the country. I would remind you that when I was promoted to Corporal it was 'substantive' not 'acting'!

However, John. I would also remind you that Russia was in an equally precarious situation to begin with and Moscow was saved - just! - because the Germans lacked the automotive power. I have just read the next chapter of Mr. Holland's book which details the utter shambles of the German automotive industry - scores of different factories producing scores of *different* vehicles none of which shared common spare parts and a lack of trained mechanics to repair them. It was a shambles, the Germans were fighting a 19th century war!

"Substantive, not acting?" Dammit, outranked!

G'day Duffers,

For a good potted history of the Brits at war I'd suggest Warrior Race by Lawrence James

Quite so, 'Thakers', and it only took me seven years!

Now look here, AussieD, I'm not talking to you Aussies after your impertinence in embarrassing us Anglos at the very home of rugby yesterday. Appalling manners!

At the risk of being insensitive [a trait for which I have occasionally been falsely accused] I must say that after recent matches between the Great and Glorious Wallabies and Engeland where some prat kept kicking field goals instead of heading for the try line your lot deserved a walloping. Just to remind your lot what the game is all about of course - nothing malicious.

I can't recall who said it, but (and assume I paraphrase) "Britain starts every war ready to fight the last". The consequence of losing is that it makes you think about what went wrong - minds are changed - new ways emerge. In general Britain has won most of it's wars and so we get complacent.

I don't think your main point about the economic result is so little known (at least amongst historians). I would tend to agree that the general public (if they think about it at all) assume the Germans were very productive.

To take a few points. Britain alone outproduced Germany in fighter production during the Battle of Britain. At the start of the Battle of France the French had more tanks and planes than Germany. Clearly the issue was not decided by simple numbers.

You'll also find in the history books that British economists of the time thought Germany unable to sustain it's war effort. They thought the economy would collapse of its own accord.

Another fascinating fact (which again I can't locate) is that German War production in the First World was greater than in the Second.

Against all this is the fact that the French army collapsed in weeks - it seems the soldiers hadn't seen the GDP figures!

Thanks, TDK, and you're right, the historians knew all about German economic weakness, it's just that I haven't read a book before in which it was stressed quite so much. I am just reading about the German officer who was placed in charge of the German automotive industry in a desperate attempt to make it more efficient - worst job in the war! Also, it makes it more understandable that German output actually *rose* during the bombing campaign because, I suppose, they started at such a low ebb.

Adam Tooze - the Wages of Destruction - makes a similar point. The Nazis ran into recurrent balance of payments problems in the 1930s, with the result that their rearmaments programme was in constant state of 'stop-go'. If Britain and France had punched their economic weight militarily, WWII would have been a rerun of WWI, with eventual German defeat in a war of attrition which they could not fight, because they lacked access to non-European resources.

Dammit, 'H', that is the book I should have read yonks ago and then I wouldn't have been quite so surprised by German economic feebleness in WWII. Now, when I can find where the 'Memsahib' has hidden my Kindle ...

My grandfather was in the French artillery. Was made to go hither and tither, never seeing any actual war (probably a good thing since I'm here!) and then deserted when all was done.

Also, I was told when visiting the tank museum in Saumur that although French tanks were far superior, they had no radios. Which is quite an impediment for various obvious reasons. Not obvious enough for the people at the top apparently.

Now look here, Monoi, we can't have you French chappies coming onto our turf - it's we Brits who do 'stoopid', it's our speciality.

Mind you, deserting *after* the war was over is pretty dumb - but thinking about, it I bet there was a mademoiselle involved - your grandmother, perhaps?!

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