Changing the army - how?

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
It really should be a fairly straightforward process (note this does not imply simple). I suggest the problem is too much thinking around the requirement and a want of diligence in sticking to time and budget constraints, both of which should be defined early on (especially the time aspect).

Also, perhaps, confusion over whether the objective is to have the best possible example of whatever-it-was-you-wanted or a replacement that is somewhat better than what it replaces and on time.

‘The perfect is the enemy of good enough’ should be tattooed on every Sandhurt graduates forehead.
The British Army beat the Germans with good enough.
 

lextalionis

War Hero
‘The perfect is the enemy of good enough’ should be tattooed on every Sandhurt graduates forehead.
The British Army beat the Germans with good enough.
They didn't though, did they? The rout of the British and French by the Germans in 1940 must go down as one of our worst (the worst?) military defeat of our history.

The German military, much more thoroughly professional and prepared than ours could ever imagine, were only finally defeated by the Soviets' capacity to sacrifice million upon million for Holy Mother Russia and by the ruthlessness of Uncle Joe. We had a supporting role, not the lead.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
They didn't though, did they? The rout of the British and French by the Germans in 1940 must go down as one of our worst (the worst?) military defeat of our history.

The German military, much more thoroughly professional and prepared than ours could ever imagine, were only finally defeated by the Soviets' capacity to sacrifice million upon million for Holy Mother Russia and by the ruthlessness of Uncle Joe. We had a supporting role, not the lead.

Which explains why when not grievously outnumbered, the British Army had no problem kicking the German armies derrire.

And Dunkirk was not a rout
 

lextalionis

War Hero
Which explains why when not grievously outnumbered, the British Army had no problem kicking the German armies derrire.

And Dunkirk was not a rout
When exactly? I think the only occasions on which we deated the German *Army* were in the deserts of North Africa with all the problems of long supply chains. I don't think we ever beat the Wehrmacht on our own (or with only Commonwealth/Free French support) on terms more favourable to them. And Montgomery was one of our better generals.
 
Because for the most part, most of what it does (the essential up close and personal bit) is not intellectually challenging.
Errrr... I found it the most intellectually challenging activity of my life, just training to do infantry stuff. I can't see that doing it on operations would be any easier.

There was always something to think about, something to anticipate; lines of sight, ranges, distance/demand/duration, likely threats, actions on, alternatives. There was never enough time to think about it, either; my brain was running at full tilt just to come up with reasonable plans, now (not "excellent plans, late" stuff). Not to mention the imagination required to figure out what cold, tired, and occasionally confused section and platoon commanders would probably do / might be doing, doubly so for platoon commanders who were gifted with bright ideas, or sh!t with a map and weren't where they thought they were (assuming they actually knew).

And that was just on FTXs - planning decent training, constantly trying to figure out who and where and what and how, to get the best quality training and outcomes from the limited time and resources available? Fvck, that took some hard thinking. I'm not claiming individual heroism, either; most of us were working as hard as we could, to deliver the best we could.

I suppose instead I could have just wandered along with my thumb up my arrse and my brain in neutral, but that hardly seems the best way to approach things, does it?
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
When exactly? I think the only occasions on which we deated the German *Army* were in the deserts of North Africa with all the problems of long supply chains. I don't think we ever beat the Wehrmacht on our own (or with only Commonwealth/Free French support) on terms more favourable to them. And Montgomery was one of our better generals.

last time I checked, it was Tommy that parked his tanks on Hermans lawn in 1945
 

lextalionis

War Hero
last time I checked, it was Tommy that parked his tanks on Hermans lawn in 1945
Raising_a_flag_over_the_Reichstag_2.jpg
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
When exactly? I think the only occasions on which we deated the German *Army* were in the deserts of North Africa with all the problems of long supply chains. I don't think we ever beat the Wehrmacht on our own (or with only Commonwealth/Free French support) on terms more favourable to them. And Montgomery was one of our better generals.

Operation BLUECOAT?

More generally, at the small unit level, I’ll quote Sydney Jary, who served from July 1944 to war’s end in France and Germany.

“It has become the custom for some of our younger military writers to extol the professional ability of the Wehrmacht whilst decrying that of our own fighting arms, particularly our armour and infantry. This has perplexed me because it runs contrary to my experience. My 18 Platoon were better soldiers than any we fought. So was "D" Company and the whole 4th Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry. Admittedly it was a good battalion but I find it hard to believe that it was unique.
This tendency among writers is understandable. They are too young to have taken part in the operations about which they write and therefore they have had to rely mainly on official records and personal interviews with those who were present. Official documents so often contain "the story for the record". Written after the battle, they are extraordinarily incomplete and sometimes too subjective. Interviews with old soldiers, whatever their rank, can also be misleading. Memory fades or becomes distorted and, particularly with the British, little thought has been given over the post-war years to battles long ago. Sadly, interviews with all but a few ex-infantrymen must necessarily be of limited assistance because very few of them survived long enough to have much to contribute…
…Although they lost, the German soldiers and their families are proud of their exploits, many of which were considerable. It is, of course, very much in their own interest to encourage the theory and myth that, although superior as fighting men, they were beaten only by numerically superior forces and firepower. In my experience this was not so. In many attacks the prisoners we took outnumbered our attacking force and German units who would continue to resist at close quarters were few indeed. Unlike us, they rarely fought at night, when they were excessively nervous and unsure of themselves. Where we patrolled extensively, they avoided it. I can remember only one successful German patrol and not one successful night action.
If our positions had been reversed, I doubt if they would have performed better than we did. Without doubt, some Wehrmacht formations were extremely professionally competent but many were not. Some of the enemy infantry fought with fanaticism but most did not.” (“18 Platoon”, Sydney Jary)

A more nuanced appraisal turns up questions such as the German performance in Op OVERLORD (from June to August 1944), where - despite four years of preparation and planning time, holding some of the most wonderfully defensible terrain imaginable, and fighting an enemy who had to bring every soldier, every tank, and every bullet, bean, battery and drop of fuel across by sea and land it across open beaches… the “highly regarded” German forces were kicked from Normandy to the Seine in a few weeks of fighting, losing half a million men (twice as many as their Allied opponents) and most of their equipment. Yes, they put up a fight… but they lost, and lost hard, and most of the elite Panzer forces were being thrown against the British (and Commonwealth) .

“The Combat Soldier: Infantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries” by Anthony King also has some interesting analysis and investigation, noting similar issues: that, particularly when both sides of the story are told, the German performance was - while by no means bad - not noticeably superior to their opponents, particularly when fighting on terms other than their own.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
The withdrawal to Dunkirk was a rout, though.
No, a rout is something like Singapore where most of the force is marched into POW cages for the duration (or killed, or - as on the Eastern Front - having three million POWs surrender in 1941, and nine-tenths of them being dead of starvation, exposure and/or disease by the next spring).

Lifting 338,000 troops out from under the enemy's nose is a very successful withdrawal: it's not a victory, but it's how you avoid a defeat becoming a disaster.
 
When exactly? I think the only occasions on which we deated the German *Army* were in the deserts of North Africa with all the problems of long supply chains. I don't think we ever beat the Wehrmacht on our own (or with only Commonwealth/Free French support) on terms more favourable to them. And Montgomery was one of our better generals.
Pish. Consider the Battle of the Scheldt. Or the approach to, and crossing of the Rhine.

The German Army was sh!t at logistics, and sh!t at strategy. They got to run around for the first few years of the war because they'd had a headstart knowing that war was coming, but after that they got their arses kicked on every front.
 

lextalionis

War Hero
No, a rout is something like Singapore where most of the force is marched into POW cages for the duration (or killed, or - as on the Eastern Front - having three million POWs surrender in 1941, and nine-tenths of them being dead of starvation, exposure and/or disease by the next spring).

Lifting 338,000 troops out from under the enemy's nose is a very successful withdrawal: it's not a victory, but it's how you avoid a defeat becoming a disaster.
Being thrown out of France in a matter of weeks (which never occurred during the Great War) is, surely, a rout by any standards. The fact that we got most of our troops home was a blessing, but it doesn't make the defeat any less serious.
 

lextalionis

War Hero
Pish. Consider the Battle of the Scheldt. Or the approach to, and crossing of the Rhine.

The German Army was sh!t at logistics, and sh!t at strategy. They got to run around for the first few years of the war because they'd had a headstart knowing that war was coming, but after that they got their arses kicked on every front.
And yet they almost managed to conquer most of Europe, from the Bay of Biscay to the walls of Moscow. There are shades of excellence and perhaps they were not the very brightest, but they were not very far from it either. The Kriegsmarine almost defeated us in the Battle of the Atlantic despite our famed naval supremacy.
 
No, a rout is something like Singapore where most of the force is marched into POW cages for the duration (or killed, or - as on the Eastern Front - having three million POWs surrender in 1941, and nine-tenths of them being dead of starvation, exposure and/or disease by the next spring).

Lifting 338,000 troops out from under the enemy's nose is a very successful withdrawal: it's not a victory, but it's how you avoid a defeat becoming a disaster.
How many were left behind, dead or captured, on the routes to Dunkirk?
 

Latest Threads

Top