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Thread: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

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    Forum Veteran iamspamus's Avatar
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    Dont confuse the outcome and technology with doctrine.

    German doctrine if you will was conceptually the same in 1939 as it was in 1914, 1870, Moltke Sr., etc. the Germans sought the decisive battle of annihilation. The only difference really between Moltke Sr and early WWII was the equipment. the penetrations became deeper and faster (easy now Psycho.

    I refuse to drink the Naveh cool-aid. Too much credit is given to the Russians. Some would call comparing the Soviet deep op doctrine to the Germans is blasphemy. the argument there is that the Germans never realized Operational level of war in their doctrine. Note that Clausewitz thought that recognzing this level presented a hazard of adding something complex to something already complex. Of course we Americans think that all we Americans are stupid. We did not put the operational level of war into our docrtrine until the 1980s and had never thought of it before.

    If there is interest, will elaborate a little when I have more time.

    Chas
    Don't know if the Russian origins are true or not, but they're interesting to read. Also, don't forget that the Germans were doing their tank training in Russia during the interwar years. You know, they weren't allowed to have them or ships or planes or an army... That was a major allied oversight, huh?

  2. #292

    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Guys,

    Here is a review of some things. There is academic disagreement, so just trying to lay some things out.


    The US Army's "intellectual awakening" happend in the late '70s. We were using defense delay tactics as doctrine for potential European conflict. ie, studied how the Germans defended against the Russians. The Arab-Isr wars was an eye opener. Conflict quick, brutal, deep, etc. Part of this awakening was to then study the Soviets. Guys like Glantz, Naveh, etc, thought the Russkies had it right. Arguments were that the Soviets did deep operations, operational level of war, and 'systems thinking'. Part of this was because of a theorist who wrote that something had to be conceptualized to link strategy to tactics. (Understand that most people misuse the term strategy).

    The arguments were that the Germans did not link strategy to tactics, nor did they think in terms of operational warfare. Additionally, we as Americans were much the same. Arguments for the Soviets and against us were that we didnt do deep ops like them, nor did we do systems thinking, etc.

    I believe what the Russians did but have several arguments completely against this line of thinking.

    -The Germans did not put operations in doctrine, but clearly thought about it. Yes, I have a man-crush on Manstein, but if you read his book these things clearly come out. Unfortunately the arguments tend to be well, the Germans lost so the didnt do it. Rather than recognize that maybe if the strategy was bad.......

    -Most arguments against the Germans fail to recognize culture or the German way of war. Blitzkrieg was the German way of war for many years. Doesnt mean it was good or bad, just is what it is.

    -Because some Russkie wrote it down doesnt mean it was Soviet doctrine. Many German officers described the Russians late in the war as doing exactly what the Germans had done previously.
    -Soviet deep ops. Does not fit the American way of war. The casualties suffered were astronomical. And contrary to most Soviet love, the Germans escaped many of the encirclement.
    -Statements that the US never did deep ops like the Russians fails to recognize reality on the ground. Once the Russians reached territory that was more ‘European’, there penetrations were on the scale and depth of what the Americans were doing. Ie, one thing to do it on the open plains, another to do it with numerous rivers, cities, etc.

    -The US did have a similar intellectual awakening as the Russians in the late 1920s. Never got into doctrine but was taught at the staff colleges and was 2 years at that time. Also, the schools were joint at the time as well. Throughout the 30s these were the guys that were then the Generals in WWII.
    My monograph discussed some of this and analyzed the Marianas Campaign using modern doctrine. Ie, the Americans did execute, even though not in doctrine. Deep ops, what about 1300 miles into enemy territory?
    YMMV on this. As stated, scholars disagree on who was what and when. The intellectual awaking in the late 70s was necessary. I am very curious as to why those guys did not study the US in WWII and rather focused on the soviets. Something for me to study later.

    Chas

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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Chas, the awakening you speak of did it result in the "Air-Land Battle 2000" doctrine?
    Be mindful of thy name and tremble not, for not better can betide a marshal soul than lawful War

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    Chief Defender of the Faith ADMIN Dr Zaius's Avatar
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Those are good points, Chas. It's one thing for the Russians to fight on the open plains of their home turf, it's quite another for them to attempt the same type of deep encirclement operations further into Western Europe.
    "I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself." - Dr. Zaius

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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Some think Barbarossa was the turning point of the war. Once he invaded Russia it was only a matter of time.

    Actually,

    I think the cancellation of Sea Lion in August 1940 set the Germans up for failure.

    The Russians at that time were Germany's ally and the Russians had no interests in the West as of that time. They were looking south into Persia for conquests.
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    Guys,

    Here is a review of some things. There is academic disagreement, so just trying to lay some things out.


    The US Army's "intellectual awakening" happend in the late '70s. We were using defense delay tactics as doctrine for potential European conflict. ie, studied how the Germans defended against the Russians. The Arab-Isr wars was an eye opener. Conflict quick, brutal, deep, etc. Part of this awakening was to then study the Soviets. Guys like Glantz, Naveh, etc, thought the Russkies had it right. Arguments were that the Soviets did deep operations, operational level of war, and 'systems thinking'. Part of this was because of a theorist who wrote that something had to be conceptualized to link strategy to tactics. (Understand that most people misuse the term strategy).

    The arguments were that the Germans did not link strategy to tactics, nor did they think in terms of operational warfare. Additionally, we as Americans were much the same. Arguments for the Soviets and against us were that we didnt do deep ops like them, nor did we do systems thinking, etc.

    I believe what the Russians did but have several arguments completely against this line of thinking.

    -The Germans did not put operations in doctrine, but clearly thought about it. Yes, I have a man-crush on Manstein, but if you read his book these things clearly come out. Unfortunately the arguments tend to be well, the Germans lost so the didnt do it. Rather than recognize that maybe if the strategy was bad.......

    -Most arguments against the Germans fail to recognize culture or the German way of war. Blitzkrieg was the German way of war for many years. Doesnt mean it was good or bad, just is what it is.

    -Because some Russkie wrote it down doesnt mean it was Soviet doctrine. Many German officers described the Russians late in the war as doing exactly what the Germans had done previously.
    -Soviet deep ops. Does not fit the American way of war. The casualties suffered were astronomical. And contrary to most Soviet love, the Germans escaped many of the encirclement.
    -Statements that the US never did deep ops like the Russians fails to recognize reality on the ground. Once the Russians reached territory that was more ‘European’, there penetrations were on the scale and depth of what the Americans were doing. Ie, one thing to do it on the open plains, another to do it with numerous rivers, cities, etc.

    -The US did have a similar intellectual awakening as the Russians in the late 1920s. Never got into doctrine but was taught at the staff colleges and was 2 years at that time. Also, the schools were joint at the time as well. Throughout the 30s these were the guys that were then the Generals in WWII.
    My monograph discussed some of this and analyzed the Marianas Campaign using modern doctrine. Ie, the Americans did execute, even though not in doctrine. Deep ops, what about 1300 miles into enemy territory?
    YMMV on this. As stated, scholars disagree on who was what and when. The intellectual awaking in the late 70s was necessary. I am very curious as to why those guys did not study the US in WWII and rather focused on the soviets. Something for me to study later.

    Chas
    Good points Chas.
    Kevin Kenneally
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    That's what she said! Psycho's Avatar
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kenneally View Post
    Actually,

    I think the cancellation of Sea Lion in August 1940 set the Germans up for failure.

    The Russians at that time were Germany's ally and the Russians had no interests in the West as of that time. They were looking south into Persia for conquests.
    Actually it was Barbarossa, dumbass! Once he started fighting on two fronts he was done. Somebody once said "don't start a land war in Asia" or something along those lines.
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Actually it was Barbarossa, dumbass! Once he started fighting on two fronts he was done. Somebody once said "don't start a land war in Asia" or something along those lines.
    Land war?

    You mean to say that WWII was NOT a simulation?

    It was NOT a game invented by the "elders"?
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  9. #299
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Actually it was Barbarossa, dumbass! Once he started fighting on two fronts he was done. Somebody once said "don't start a land war in Asia" or something along those lines.
    The invasion of Denmark was the turning point of the war. To argue otherwise is sheer folly!
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    Re: Stalingrad was not the turning point of the war, nor Kursk

    I vaguely recall Keitel or Halder opined that they felt the war was lost once it became a two front war. Regardless of how much luck (or bad luck as it were) played into Halder/Keitel's comment bearing fruit, I suppose there's some merit to the statement that a defeatist attitude helps foster defeat. If that sentiment was shared by the OKW/OKH staff, it could certainly be noted it was 'just another nail in the coffin'.

    What I am gathering from all the discussion, is that finding a 'silver bullet' or exact moment in time is not really manifesting itself; a lot of the arguments carry good merit and cannot be discarded; instead it seems more like a series of events, failures and blunders that culminated in a "cascade failure".

    As an aside, "Somebody once said "don't start a land war in Asia" or something along those lines." Does this quote also pertain to Ghengis Khan and Alexander or is there an arbitrary date enforced on when this is applicable? :-)

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