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American military leadershp in WW2
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c***@gmail.com
2017-05-27 14:51:56 UTC
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I recently came across a discussion about German leadership during WW2, and one of the people made this point in support of his proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was grossly incompetent. He gave these figures: USSR equivalent division strength - 500 divisions; German equivalent division strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent division strength - 100 divisions. He also conceded that the British, Poles, French, etc., also contributed to the US equivalent strength. His point was that US military leadership was far stronger than German, and did far more with far less than did Germany.

His point was that US military leadership outclassed Geerman military leadership in every way, both as to staff and line positions. He even said that a case could be made that Marshall was the preeminent general in WW2 (although he didn't reach this conclusion, he only said that it was possible.)

So ... switch generals, give the US Halder, Beck, Jodl, Manstein, Rommel, Guderian, etc., and give Germany Marshall, King, McAuthur, Eisenhower, Smith, Patton, etc. Assume that political difficulties are waved away.

Results?

CC.
Don Phillipson
2017-05-27 17:30:54 UTC
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. . . proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was grossly
incompetent.
He gave these figures: USSR equivalent division strength - 500 divisions;
German equivalent division strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent
division
strength - 100 divisions. . . .
His point was that US military leadership outclassed Geerman military
leadership in every way, both as to staff and line positions.
This argument is not coherent (and we cannot verify its source.)
Not many people equate leadership with manpower. (This is why
people try to evaluate leadership independently of manpower.)
If we knew the criteria for saying US leadership outclassed
German, we could discuss appropriately.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Alex Milman
2017-05-27 18:03:28 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
I recently came across a discussion about German leadership during WW2, and one of the people made this point in support of his proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was grossly incompetent. He gave these figures: USSR equivalent division strength - 500 divisions; German equivalent division strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent division strength - 100 divisions. He also conceded that the British, Poles, French, etc., also contributed to the US equivalent strength. His point was that US military leadership was far stronger than German, and did far more with far less than did Germany.
Did this person try the cold showers or perhaps laxatives? None of them would
cure the mental illness but they could distract from writing nonsense. :-)

Doing "far more" with "far less" is just precious: the US troops started
doing <whatever> successfully with having FAR MORE than the Germans in the
terms of the numbers, equipment, supplies, etc. The argument above totally
ignores the fact that a major part of the German divisions were on a wrong
side of Germany from the US troops. Anyway, "much more" by which criteria?
In the terms of a territory conquered at the maximum extent, the Germans were
well ahead (going all the way to Volga and Caucasus). In the terms of the
casualties caused, the same.
Post by c***@gmail.com
His point was that US military leadership outclassed Geerman military leadership in every way, both as to staff and line positions.
I don't recall when exactly the US was fighting Germany singlehandedly.
Taking into an account that the US troops never faced the bulk of the German
forces, the comparison is pretty much pointless.

Of course, the staff work of the Western Allies (for which some credit goes
to the Brits) was extremely impressive, at least as far as organization of
Overlord is involved but the German staff workers also pulled out some
quite impressive work (like Barbarossa).
Post by c***@gmail.com
He even said that a case could be made that Marshall was the preeminent general in WW2 (although he didn't reach this conclusion, he only said that it was possible.)
The case could be made for pretty much anything but the fact remains that
Marshall was not directly involved in the military operations and was acting
mostly as a War Minister.
Post by c***@gmail.com
So ... switch generals, give the US Halder, Beck, Jodl, Manstein, Rommel, Guderian, etc., and give Germany Marshall, King, McAuthur, Eisenhower, Smith, Patton, etc. Assume that political difficulties are waved away.
Results?
How about the German defeat in 1940? :-)
SolomonW
2017-05-28 00:36:58 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
I recently came across a discussion about German leadership during WW2, and one of the people made this point in support of his proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was grossly incompetent. He gave these figures: USSR equivalent division strength - 500 divisions; German equivalent division strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent division strength - 100 divisions. He also conceded that the British, Poles, French, etc., also contributed to the US equivalent strength. His point was that US military leadership was far stronger than German, and did far more with far less than did Germany.
How does divisional strength measure military leadership?
The Horny Goat
2017-05-29 19:12:37 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
So ... switch generals, give the US Halder, Beck, Jodl, Manstein, Rommel, Guderian, etc., and give Germany Marshall, King, McAuthur, Eisenhower, Smith, Patton, etc. Assume that political difficulties are waved away.
Well obviously Eisenhower and "von Nimitz" would have been seen as
great GERMAN leaders - if you remember Herman Wouk's The Winds of War
he has a fictional 'book within a book' by an "Armin von Roon" who was
claimed to be a German general who survived the War and "wrote his
memoirs" - von Roon talks in exactly those terms about Nimitz and
Eisenhower.
Dan
2017-05-30 18:57:04 UTC
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I'm not sure where the original idea came from but it's obvious nonsense

Do more with less, when was there ever less.

USA starts with a bigger population and economy than Germany, and while Germany fighting for 2.5 years was gaining them experience they were also obviously taking losses.

This is the myth of American exceptionalism, Britain has a similar myth of ourselves alone in 1940, but the truth is more complicated,

The British Empire of the day includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, SriLanka, most of Africa including South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, most of the Middle East,
You then have both the Soviet Union and China,
In Europe many of the defeated nations had evacuated some forces to the UK, the Poles in 1945 had multiple Divisions on both Eastern and Western fronts, (politically they disagreed with each other but that's another story).

The US Navy won the Pacific war on its own, the European war was a bit more complicated.
jerry kraus
2017-05-31 13:19:21 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
I recently came across a discussion about German leadership during WW2, and one of the people made this point in support of his proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was grossly incompetent. He gave these figures: USSR equivalent division strength - 500 divisions; German equivalent division strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent division strength - 100 divisions. He also conceded that the British, Poles, French, etc., also contributed to the US equivalent strength. His point was that US military leadership was far stronger than German, and did far more with far less than did Germany.
His point was that US military leadership outclassed Geerman military leadership in every way, both as to staff and line positions. He even said that a case could be made that Marshall was the preeminent general in WW2 (although he didn't reach this conclusion, he only said that it was possible.)
So ... switch generals, give the US Halder, Beck, Jodl, Manstein, Rommel, Guderian, etc., and give Germany Marshall, King, McAuthur, Eisenhower, Smith, Patton, etc. Assume that political difficulties are waved away.
Results?
CC.
I think part of the problem here, cart, is that it's a little unclear how the American generals would fit into the Nazi way of doing things, and how the Nazi generals would fit into the American way of doing things. After all, the American soldiers would probably simply "frag" the German generals because of their tyrannical leadership styles, and the German soldiers would probably just ignore the American generals because they wouldn't understand what they were talking about or really wanted them to do, whether they spoke in German, or English.

That said, I think what you're driving at is the possibility that American generals might be more creative and effective than German generals. It's possible, but, I rather doubt it. Generals of all armies know how to arrange organized killing, it's a universal skill. America won WWII because America had far more industrial power and natural resources, not because of superior generalship. As for the Germans having more mobilized divisions than the U.S., well, the Germans were having to take on the entire Soviet Military, so, I think that explains what all the other German divisions were doing. If we eliminate the Soviets from the picture, say, by a quick conquest of Russia by Nazi Germany, then the U.S. might have had a very difficult time indeed defeating Nazi Germany. Indeed, I doubt the U.S. would even have attempted it!
c***@gmail.com
2017-06-01 00:08:31 UTC
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Phil McGregor
2017-06-01 13:53:26 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
I recently came across a discussion about German leadership during WW2, and one of the people made this point in support of his proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was grossly incompetent. He gave these figures: USSR equivalent division strength - 500 divisions; German equivalent division strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent division strength - 100 divisions. He also conceded that the British, Poles, French, etc., also contributed to the US equivalent strength. His point was that US military leadership was far stronger than German, and did far more with far less than did Germany.
His point was that US military leadership outclassed Geerman military leadership in every way, both as to staff and line positions. He even said that a case could be made that Marshall was the preeminent general in WW2 (although he didn't reach this conclusion, he only said that it was possible.)
So ... switch generals, give the US Halder, Beck, Jodl, Manstein, Rommel, Guderian, etc., and give Germany Marshall, King, McAuthur, Eisenhower, Smith, Patton, etc. Assume that political difficulties are waved away.
Results?
Well, for a start, the figures are wrong.

US divisions were roughly three times the size, on official TO&E, of equivalent German units ... and, when you consider their *actual*
strength, the size ratio was even more in their favour.

And that doesn't include non-divisional combat units counted as division equivalents.

From memory, as far as manpower was concerned, the US had the equivalent of around 400-500 German division equivalents.

UK Divisions were, likewise, equivalent in manpower and equipment to about 3-4 German divisions.

Russian and German divisions were roughly equivalent in manpower.

Then, when you consider the fact that the US and British-Commonwealth armies were 100% motorised (either innately or through the application
of Corps and Army level support units) while the German Army was never more than around 15% motorised, and that the allies had more
artillery at all levels (and more ammo for those artillery units) the combat multipliers make the German army look sick indeed.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU); RBB #1 (FASA); Road to Armageddon;
Farm, Forge and Steam; Orbis Mundi; Displaced (PGD)
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Email: ***@tpg.com.au
c***@gmail.com
2017-06-01 18:56:45 UTC
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Post by Phil McGregor
Then, when you consider the fact that the US and British-Commonwealth armies were 100% motorised (either innately or through the application
of Corps and Army level support units) while the German Army was never more than around 15% motorised, and that the allies had more
artillery at all levels (and more ammo for those artillery units) the combat multipliers make the German army look sick indeed.
My question (and it really was a question in the nature of playing the evil's advocate) was, whether the US military leadership in WW2 was substantially better than Germany's. I was brought up on a diet of, "German generals were a lot better, German weapons were a lot better, than ours." When I was in the US Army in the early 1970s, we got that about Soviet weapons as well. Too, the received wisdom WRT to the ACW is that the Confederate leadership was substantially better than the Federal leadership, and the reason that the South was inferior in men and material, but not inferior in the righteousness of its cause.

So, the question is, what is the case that American leadership in WW2 outclassed the German leadership?

My own opinion, not an educated one BTW, is that George Marshall won the war. I've never read this, an as far as I know I'm the only person that thinks this, it's only my impression from my (limited) knowledge of WW2.

CC
jerry kraus
2017-06-01 19:05:33 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Phil McGregor
Then, when you consider the fact that the US and British-Commonwealth armies were 100% motorised (either innately or through the application
of Corps and Army level support units) while the German Army was never more than around 15% motorised, and that the allies had more
artillery at all levels (and more ammo for those artillery units) the combat multipliers make the German army look sick indeed.
My question (and it really was a question in the nature of playing the evil's advocate) was, whether the US military leadership in WW2 was substantially better than Germany's. I was brought up on a diet of, "German generals were a lot better, German weapons were a lot better, than ours." When I was in the US Army in the early 1970s, we got that about Soviet weapons as well. Too, the received wisdom WRT to the ACW is that the Confederate leadership was substantially better than the Federal leadership, and the reason that the South was inferior in men and material, but not inferior in the righteousness of its cause.
So, the question is, what is the case that American leadership in WW2 outclassed the German leadership?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by c***@gmail.com
My own opinion, not an educated one BTW, is that George Marshall won the war. I've never read this, an as far as I know I'm the only person that thinks this, it's only my impression from my (limited) knowledge of WW2.
CC
Uh, no, Cart. U.S., Canadian and Soviet armaments production won the second world war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II

Ask a German, if you don't believe me.
Dean
2017-06-01 19:57:21 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Phil McGregor
Then, when you consider the fact that the US and British-Commonwealth armies were 100% motorised (either innately or through the application
of Corps and Army level support units) while the German Army was never more than around 15% motorised, and that the allies had more
artillery at all levels (and more ammo for those artillery units) the combat multipliers make the German army look sick indeed.
My question (and it really was a question in the nature of playing the evil's advocate) was, whether the US military leadership in WW2 was substantially better than Germany's. I was brought up on a diet of, "German generals were a lot better, German weapons were a lot better, than ours." When I was in the US Army in the early 1970s, we got that about Soviet weapons as well. Too, the received wisdom WRT to the ACW is that the Confederate leadership was substantially better than the Federal leadership, and the reason that the South was inferior in men and material, but not inferior in the righteousness of its cause.
So, the question is, what is the case that American leadership in WW2 outclassed the German leadership?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by c***@gmail.com
My own opinion, not an educated one BTW, is that George Marshall won the war. I've never read this, an as far as I know I'm the only person that thinks this, it's only my impression from my (limited) knowledge of WW2.
CC
Uh, no, Cart. U.S., Canadian and Soviet armaments production won the second world war.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II
Ask a German, if you don't believe me.
You keep believing that. Those items are mere tools. People win or lose wars, not tools.
jerry kraus
2017-06-01 20:16:11 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Phil McGregor
Then, when you consider the fact that the US and British-Commonwealth armies were 100% motorised (either innately or through the application
of Corps and Army level support units) while the German Army was never more than around 15% motorised, and that the allies had more
artillery at all levels (and more ammo for those artillery units) the combat multipliers make the German army look sick indeed.
My question (and it really was a question in the nature of playing the evil's advocate) was, whether the US military leadership in WW2 was substantially better than Germany's. I was brought up on a diet of, "German generals were a lot better, German weapons were a lot better, than ours." When I was in the US Army in the early 1970s, we got that about Soviet weapons as well. Too, the received wisdom WRT to the ACW is that the Confederate leadership was substantially better than the Federal leadership, and the reason that the South was inferior in men and material, but not inferior in the righteousness of its cause.
So, the question is, what is the case that American leadership in WW2 outclassed the German leadership?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by c***@gmail.com
My own opinion, not an educated one BTW, is that George Marshall won the war. I've never read this, an as far as I know I'm the only person that thinks this, it's only my impression from my (limited) knowledge of WW2.
CC
Uh, no, Cart. U.S., Canadian and Soviet armaments production won the second world war.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II
Ask a German, if you don't believe me.
You keep believing that. Those items are mere tools. People win or lose wars, not tools.
So true, Dean. A 100 Megaton H-bomb has no power over the human spirit. Right, Dean?
The Horny Goat
2017-06-02 04:43:11 UTC
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Post by Dean
Post by jerry kraus
Uh, no, Cart. U.S., Canadian and Soviet armaments production won the second world war.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II
Ask a German, if you don't believe me.
You keep believing that. Those items are mere tools. People win or lose wars, not tools.
Funny - Stalin said "quantity has a quality all of its own!"
Alex Milman
2017-06-01 20:39:22 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Phil McGregor
Then, when you consider the fact that the US and British-Commonwealth armies were 100% motorised (either innately or through the application
of Corps and Army level support units) while the German Army was never more than around 15% motorised, and that the allies had more
artillery at all levels (and more ammo for those artillery units) the combat multipliers make the German army look sick indeed.
My question (and it really was a question in the nature of playing the evil's advocate) was, whether the US military leadership in WW2 was substantially better than Germany's.
There is a need to define what "better" means in that specific case: America
and Germany had been fighting WWII under substantially different conditions so
the same criteria most probably would not apply.

The US was clearly ahead in the terms of a massive application of a hardware,
especially as far ass the amphibious operations had been involved and the same
goes for the massive deployment of the heavy bombers (the Germans simply did
not have anything of the kind).

But how can you compare leadership of an army that was winning (while it was
winning) by maneuver with one that had to win by an overwhelming advantage in
a material? Especially taking into an account that the Germans had been
fighting on two fronts and suffered huge losses and defeats before the US troops
landed in Europe in really big numbers. Ike was a great allied commander but
his main merit was an ability to prevent the rivaling prim donnas from getting
their way. Now, how would this map in the qualities important in the Nazi
army? What about minimization of the losses being one of the top criteria?
Patton with his claim that no unit can suffer 20% without disintegration
would be a laughing stock in the German, Soviet and Japanese armies, so what?
Post by c***@gmail.com
I was brought up on a diet of, "German generals were a lot better, German weapons were a lot better, than ours."
It is always better in which sense and for what? A single Panther was "better"
that a single T-34 or Sherman in its ability to destroy an opponent but the
whole point was in having MUCH MORE Shermans and T-34's than more sophisticated
Tigers and Panthers so the right question would be something like would 100
German tanks be better than 500 American tanks supported by aviation?

The same goes for the generals who (what a pity) are not individual fighters
anymore. Was Rommel (surely a very good general) able to produce a miracle
in France? AFAIK, he was not so the allied generals ended up being better.
Post by c***@gmail.com
When I was in the US Army in the early 1970s, we got that about Soviet weapons as well.
The Soviet weapons had been "better" in one sense: they tended to be simpler,
easier to learn and easier to take care of. AK-47 is an iconic example of
such a weapon (it took few minutes to learn how to use it and learning assembly/disassembly was taking almost no time either) but was it better
in the terms of range and precision? I doubt it. When it comes to the more
complicated weapons, how "better" could be on a Soviet side with the electronics
being rudimentary? That's why these weapons had been popular in the 3rd World:
they were easy to learn how to operate and did not require too sophisticated
maintenance.

[]
Post by c***@gmail.com
So, the question is, what is the case that American leadership in WW2 outclassed the German leadership?
In the areas where it mattered they did. But when Ike and Bradley decided to
maneuver they got so excited that they overlooked the whole German Army Group
forming just under their noses. However, the whole thing ended up badly for
the Germans so who outclassed whom?
Post by c***@gmail.com
My own opinion, not an educated one BTW, is that George Marshall won the war.
He was definitely critically important in mobilizing American resources but
AFAIK the US did not fight WWII alone so you are getting dangerously close
to the Soviet notion that the war was won by Stalin (who surely was in charge
of the Soviet resources and probably more involved in planning military
operations than Marshall). Why is it necessary to pick up a single person in
what was a very complex group effort?
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-06-01 22:26:00 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
with the electronics
being rudimentary?
Soviet electronics did have one advantage, valve circuits are immune to
the EM pulses produced by nuclear explosions
The Horny Goat
2017-06-02 04:47:26 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Soviet electronics did have one advantage, valve circuits are immune to
the EM pulses produced by nuclear explosions
One presumes you are talking about some Patton 1945 fantasy scenario
since we were talking about WW2.

With that in mind how early was electromagnetic pulse understood? My
understanding was that it was first noticed after electronic equipment
started burning out after tests at Bikini and Eniwetok which was long
after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Bradipus
2017-06-06 18:28:46 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
I recently came across a discussion about German leadership
during WW2, and one of the people made this point in support
of his proposition that the German leadership in WW2 was
grossly incompetent. He gave these figures: USSR equivalent
division strength - 500 divisions; German equivalent division
strength - 300 divisions; US equivalent division strength -
100 divisions. He also conceded that the British, Poles,
French, etc., also contributed to the US equivalent strength.
His point was that US military leadership was far stronger
than German, and did far more with far less than did Germany.
His point was that US military leadership outclassed Geerman
military leadership in every way, both as to staff and line
positions. He even said that a case could be made that
Marshall was the preeminent general in WW2 (although he
didn't reach this conclusion, he only said that it was
possible.)
So ... switch generals, give the US Halder, Beck, Jodl,
Manstein, Rommel, Guderian, etc., and give Germany Marshall,
King, McAuthur, Eisenhower, Smith, Patton, etc. Assume that
political difficulties are waved away.
Results?
Would political leaders switch seats too?

F.D. Roosevelt in Reichskanzlerei and A. Hitler in White
House...

In that case, American led Germany had not begun war in 1939,
maybe in 1949 (make war the American way).

Inversely, (Nazi)German led US had invaded Mexico AND Canada in
1939...
--
Bradipus
The Horny Goat
2017-06-06 21:02:53 UTC
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On Tue, 06 Jun 2017 20:28:46 +0200, Bradipus
Post by Bradipus
Would political leaders switch seats too?
F.D. Roosevelt in Reichskanzlerei and A. Hitler in White
House...
In that case, American led Germany had not begun war in 1939,
maybe in 1949 (make war the American way).
Inversely, (Nazi)German led US had invaded Mexico AND Canada in
1939...
With respect, the United States Army of 1938-39 would NOT have been
much of a threat to the world.

Even OTL's US Army of 1940 would not have been unduly scary for the
Canadian army of 1940 (other than the obvious fact that the best
Canadian division was in the UK not Canada). Now OBVIOUSLY a
demobilized US has much more expansion capability than a mostly
mobilized Canada so it's a silly proposition.

*FD Hitler could have taken both Canada and Mexico and even a United
States of Europe (e.g. FDR led German plus Britain and France) would
have had a hard time recovering them for no other reasons than
logistics.

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