Could the Germans have won WW2?

...and yet they often treated the indigs with utter contempt and barbarism.

Some of their worst massacres were carried out against non Jews in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Italy.France... pretty much wherever they went.

Heart and minds it wasn't, which says something about how not to build and rule an Empire
Like I said, it worked for the USSR at the time.
 
As Nathan Bedford Forrest said…

'You win by getting there firstest with the mostest'… and you were always that.


And your industrial mobization was a work of genius. General Marshalls admonition that all GI equipment should be capable of being operated and fixed by 'a farmboy from Kansas' was war winning.


Change the transmission on a Sherman - three guys, a wrecker with an A frame, a set of wrenches and a couple of hours.


View attachment 434604
Change the transmission on a Tiger, a fully equipped workshop, a special crane to remove the turret, dozens of guys and 3 days

View attachment 434606
Whilst the Sherman was mass produced as an infantry support tank, I wouldn’t feel thrilled to fight German Armour in it come 1944 and beyond.

I would have preferred to be in the Tank Destroyer Corps if that was an option. The M18 Hellcat would have been my ride of choice. But Field Artillery would be even better! Being an infantryman would just suck.

The Germans had Gucci kit, but not enough of it.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
  1. Over-engineered equipment against the cheap and cheerful / mass producible approach of the Allies (Tiger / King Tiger / Panther v Sherman / T34, for instance).
  2. The failure to close the shipping lanes across the North Atlantic.
  3. The strategic decision to not destroy the BEF around Dunkirk / Calais in 1940.
  4. The strategic decision to not allow armour to be deployed forward immediately post the D-Day landings.
  5. The strategic decision to not redeploy forces from the Pas de Calais to Normandy in Jun 44 until it was too late to make a difference.
Not sure about the last two. Germany's defeat was a given by D-Day. The invasion determined how far west the Russians would get.
 
Whilst my view is that we won and the Germans lost and that was probably going to happen sooner or later I did set out some points that may have made a difference:



As I say politically none of the points were likely to occur due to the political landscape and I would further suggest that if the political will was conducive to these points then the nazis may well have become a historical footnote.

As for the U-boats, considering that Churchill said it was the only thing that really worried him. Unlike the usual what ifs? Which require large amounts of coincidences to get them even vaguely underway, V-weapons, jets, super tanks and the like the U-boats could have been built with existing technology and in place for 1938-9.

Given the state of the Atlantic campaign when the war started starting with six times the number of U-boats (during 'The happy time' 1940-41 that would have meant wolfpacks of 36 rather than half a dozen) would have had a considerable effect on the early days of the war, possibly changing strategy if not tactics.

Bottom line for me is that we won (again) and swarms of Me 262s with dodgy engines and lacking fuel or even all the other V-weapons including nerve gas* would have delayed rather than stopped the inevitable loss of the war by the axis.

*Interesting to think that Hitler's personal experience and fear that the allies might have similar or worse played a part in nerve gas not being deployed. Unilateral nuclear disarmament anyone?
Churchill was a master of the propaganda war
If he's announced to the public in 1943, 'Things are a bit tough in the North Atlantic but no worries, we're licking them', the public would not have knuckled down to working harder and economising more.
Winston in 1943 had his eye on the main prize, maximising the build up for May 1944 when we took the war back to Europe.

The problem with this U boats scenario is it requires a couple of Back to the Futures

The Germans invent out of the blue Wolfpack tactics in 1939

It assumes losses are directly scalable - double the U boats = double the convoy losses.
As was shown, more U boats came to equal more U boats in a given area and easier to find and sink as the Germans insisted on keeping in radio contact with them.


The largest convoy battle of WWII was SC122/HX229 in March 1943

90 ships and 16 escorts vs 38 U boats
22 ships lost vs 1 U boat


Total allied merchant ship losses for March 1943, all areas, was 120 ships

The Americans alone delivered 1,800 merchant ships in 1943

And by May 1943, we were winning… 43 U boats (25% of the U Boat arm) sunk in the Atlantic for just 34 ships (58 all areas)
 
Not sure about the last two. Germany's defeat was a given by D-Day. The invasion determined how far west the Russians would get.
Agreed - I was going to add that caveat about the last two maybe just delaying the inevitable, but got distracted and forgot!! Ta for highlighting it.
 
Whilst the Sherman was mass produced as an infantry support tank, I wouldn’t feel thrilled to fight German Armour in it come 1944 and beyond.

I would have preferred to be in the Tank Destroyer Corps if that was an option. The M18 Hellcat would have been my ride of choice. But Field Artillery would be even better! Being an infantryman would just suck.

The Germans had Gucci kit, but not enough of it.

Nah… a 76 Sherman was a damn good tank, much better than the German crap.
Fast, reliable, comfy, decent enough armour and with a gun capable of killing the enemy at combat ranges with a superb turret drive.

Consider this

If a Sherman was hit, they tended to burn, not blow up, and the average loss rate for crews was 1 KIA, 1 WIA (usually from whatever had come through the armour). You had a good chance of survival, and they were, as @California_Tanker proves, an easy tank to get out of in a hurry

Now your 'better' German tanks?

Well, if you thought the early Shermans ammunition stowage was bad… the Germans was utterly horrific.
They stuffed ammunition into every inch of the sponsons and turrets of their tanks, none of it in armoured bins, much more rounds than a Allied tank… but that came with a downside. Penerate a German tank and a very satisfying KABOOM! often followed killing the entire crew.

Some interesting info from US records

50% of M4's that landed in Normandy were still turning their tracks on VE Day
only 10% of M4's in the ETO fired an AP round outside a range

And don't try this in any German tanks

 
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Amaze your friends at parties by pointing out that the B-29 programme was the most expensive single development project of the war: $3 billion compared to $1.9 billion for the Manhattan project.

Indeed, and it was only just getting into its stride on VJ Day!

On VJ Day, the Americans cancelled orders for

3,526 B-29
5,000 B-29C
200 B-29D
 
The Sovs loved them.

I'm not reading through the the whole of this link, but i believe that they were supplied to the Sovs supplied fully kitted out including small arms? Think that i read this on an earlier thread?

Nice interview with a Russki Tank Bod.


Yes, beloved of Guards units and called 'Emcha'.

Yes, unlike ours were our nice people insisted all the toys were deleted, Russian Lend Lease ones came with a full set of equipment, including a full set of spares, a full tool kit, Thompsons, a pair of binoculars and a crate of ration packs.
 

Diko

Clanker
The German people never had rationing like we did nor did they work a shift system like our workers. They worked an eight hour day shift. The Germans also had luxury goods, handbags, makeup etc Hitler saw to it they didn’t go without their little luxuries.
 
Yes, beloved of Guards units and called 'Emcha'.

Yes, unlike ours were our nice people insisted all the toys were deleted, Russian Lend Lease ones came with a full set of equipment, including a full set of spares, a full tool kit, Thompsons, a pair of binoculars and a crate of ration packs.
I read somewhere that early tanks to UK did come with added extras but these were liberated by various dockers - so they stopped wasting resources
 
The Battle of the Hurtgen Forest was a shambles for the US Forces because they elected to sent their troops and armour through forests and on mountain tracks, rather than the lower ground on decent roads. It was a classical error of the war which is now recognised as such. As for supplies, the US troops had plenty of food and adequate fuel, but were lacking badly in warm and waterproof clothing and footwear. Another lesson learned.
There were indeed lessons learned, one of the primary ones being that commanders needed to have a better understanding of what was actually going on at the front and the conditions in which battles were actually fought. I think the article I quoted mentions that our Gen Horrocks was the first general the troops had seen, and I've read Gen Gavin's article on it. - he wasn't too impressed, but ended up by saying that the general air of expecting the Germans morale to have collapsed led to unwarranted complacency at higher levels.

A major factor with forests wasn't so much the environment itself but that the Germans had had plenty of time to prepare their defences and the Americans had forgotten how to fight in forests. Good roads aren't necessarily going to make things easier if they act as a funnel for pre-registered artillery.

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There were indeed lessons learned, one of the primary ones being that commanders needed to have a better understanding of what was actually going on at the front and the conditions in which battles were actually fought. I think the article I quoted mentions that our Gen Horrocks was the first general the troops had seen, and I've read Gen Gavin's article on it. - he wasn't too impressed, but ended up by saying that the general air of expecting the Germans morale to have collapsed led to unwarranted complacency at higher levels.

A major factor with forests wasn't so much the environment itself but that the Germans had had plenty of time to prepare their defences and the Americans had forgotten how to fight in forests. Good roads aren't necessarily going to make things easier if they act as a funnel for pre-registered artillery.

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The Germans had time to prepare their killing zones, and air burst in trees is an ugly thing. The Hurtgen and Aachen were some hard lessons to relearn.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
A major factor with forests wasn't so much the environment itself but that the Germans had had plenty of time to prepare their defences and the Americans had forgotten how to fight in forests. Good roads aren't necessarily going to make things easier if they act as a funnel for pre-registered artillery.
Fighting in the forests was all about the environment. Everything was obscured, the trees were not conducive to letting anything dry - meaning that the ground was a sea of mud - blah, blah, blah, but the worst thing of all was that the forest cover was being shattered to produce secondary projectiles on the troops below, as well as diverting the shrapnel from air-bursts downward. Everything to do with the environment.

Movement on decent roads can create killing zones for the opposition if there is no friendly air cover - when the area around the border between Holland / Belgium and Germany was being fought over, the Allies had all the first class ground attack aircraft they needed. Yet another reason why the US should have circled the Hurtgen Forest, which is very hilly to the point of being mountainous, in the first place.

Edited to add: beat me to it LJ!
 
Fighting in the forests was all about the environment. Everything was obscured, the trees were not conducive to letting anything dry - meaning that the ground was a sea of mud - blah, blah, blah, but the worst thing of all was that the forest cover was being shattered to produce secondary projectiles on the troops below, as well as diverting the shrapnel from air-bursts downward. Everything to do with the environment.

Movement on decent roads can create killing zones for the opposition if there is no friendly air cover - when the area around the border between Holland / Belgium and Germany was being fought over, the Allies had all the first class ground attack aircraft they needed. Yet another reason why the US should have circled the Hurtgen Forest, which is very hilly to the point of being mountainous, in the first place.

Edited to add: beat me to it LJ!

It was a bitter fall and winter for the US Army, when one looks at the fighting that was endured. But I don’t know about leaving a potential German stronghold untouched. Besides having to guard it, it also gave the Germans a chance to rest and reconstitute units and supplies. The idea was to keep the Nazi’s under constant pressure so they couldn’t resist as effectively. But the closer to Germany we advanced the more their resistance stiffened.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
It was a bitter fall and winter for the US Army, when one looks at the fighting that was endured. But I don’t know about leaving a potential German stronghold untouched. Besides having to guard it, it also gave the Germans a chance to rest and reconstitute units and supplies. The idea was to keep the Nazi’s under constant pressure so they couldn’t resist as effectively. But the closer to Germany we advanced the more their resistance stiffened.
Agree totally. That battle had everything going to delay the US advance which is why it's sometimes called the 'Meat Grinder' due to the horrific conditions and GI losses. Anyway, about these Germans and their potential for winning the whole sorry episode in history...
 

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