German Wündertanks vs Shermans

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It worked in WW1, which is where Monty was apprenticed. Remember always Prof Michael Howard's description of Monty: "A very good WW1 General"
Monty was an interesting person and the book "psychology of military incompetence" actually touched on him having some of the characteristics which define incompetence.

He was a great Divisional Commander in France 40 and was probably just over promoted, because Brooke liked him. Percival of Singapore fame, was over promoted thanks to the COS. The peter principle is a common problem with many armies, but ours in particular is notorious. Carter, doesn't fill me with any confidence, he is not a warrior, he is a player.
 
the book "psychology of military incompetence"
An entertaining read, and it's author (a one-armed former RE EOD operator, ironically) was a modest yet very entertaining speaker.

Sadly, in the 40 or so years since its first publication, psychology has moved on, and pretty much every theory underpinning the book has been debunked.
 

AfghanAndy

On ROPS
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Seems believable. I recall being told by a respected historian (possibly Chris Donnelly) the early Waffen SS recruited a higher proportion of the Dutch male population than of the German one (although I have never established whether that was before or after the other heads of armed services managed to hoist Himmler on the Nazi Aryanization policies that were his personal petard)
Mentioned in ‘the World At Wat’ documentary series. If you have the DVD there’s additional bonus material with an old interview with Noble Frankland talking about why the various episodes were broken down in the way they were. You’ll notice from the episode list that the occupation of Holland had an entire episode dedicated to it.

The reason being was that so many Dutch volunteered for service in the SS.

The World at War - Wikipedia
 
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An entertaining read, and it's author (a one-armed former RE EOD operator, ironically) was a modest yet very entertaining speaker.

Sadly, in the 40 or so years since its first publication, psychology has moved on, and pretty much every theory underpinning the book has been debunked.
Not sure, I entirely agree, some theories are still sound; but happy to concede on certain rear arguments !!

If you look at the MOD and Pentagon, I don't see a great deal of the best and brightest.. I do see a lot of ticket punchers and politicians, who are inevitably more competent, than davies examples, because the job makes more educational demands.
 
The reason being was that so many Dutch volunteered for service in the SS.
I believe it's slightly less clear cut, but I've never bothered to try and bottom it out.

It seems to go like this: Nazi racial theory led to policies whereby Aryan types in lands subsumed by Das Reich would be incorporated into the Hermanic Peeple.

They were categorised: Netherlands peeple were Volksdeutsch (Of The Blood, kinda)

Balkan types - that Moslem Division - were Reichsdeutsch (they fit some bollocks and conveniently elastic framework involving nasal dimensions and phrenology/the size of the head/phrenology etcetera).

And the SS were to be the spearhead of advancing and expanding the Aryan Ubermensch on the Earth.

Heini Himmler was the brains behind all this.

Which bit him hard on the but-tocks when the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force (seeking to protect their own recruiting) talked OnkelAdolf into signing off on a law that limited the SS to recruiting (from memory) no more than 40% of their total strength from within Hermany.

I don't know whether the Dutch recruitment figure pre-or-post-dated that law, which might make a difference as to how to interpret the fact.
 
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Not according to any of the psychologists I worked with in MOD.

And the contents of the book were being questioned 30 years ago, at the time Norman Dixon was talking to my Staff College course.
Well they would say that :) I do agree, he probably had an overly simplified theory, but it did and still does, explain some of the worst examples.
 
If you look at the MOD and Pentagon, I don't see a great deal of the best and brightest.. I do see a lot of ticket punchers and politicians, who are inevitably more competent, than davies examples, because the job makes more educational demands.
@Sarastro put some very trenchant words on this, on an Arrse thread a coupla years ago. I only stumbled on it recently, and I keep meaning to go back to it. I'll pm you when/if I ever do.
 

AfghanAndy

On ROPS
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I believe it's slightly less clear cut, but I've never bothered to try and bottom it out.

It seems to go like this: Nazi racial theory led to policies whereby Aryan types in lands subsumed by Das Reich would be incorporated into the Hermanic Peeple.

They were categorised: Netherlands peeple were Volksdeutsch (Of The Blood, kinda)

Balkan types - that Moslem Division - were Reichsdeutsch (they fit some bollocks and conveniently elastic framework involving nasal dimensions and the size of the head etcetera).

And the SS were to be the spearhead of advancing and expanding the Aryan Ubermensch on the Earth.

Heini Himmler was the brains behind all this.

Which bit him hard on the but-tocks when the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force (seeking to protect their own recruiting) talked OnkelAdolf into signing off on a law that limited the SS to recruiting (from memory) no more than 40% of their total strength from within Hermany.

I don't know whether the Dutch recruitment figure pre-or-post-dated that law, which might make a difference as to how to interpret the fact.
Is agree that it’s not that clear cut. Many people joined The first effective army of a united Europe (the Waffen SS). These ranged from adventur, the lure of a nice uniform, an engrained hatred of Jews and more than likely a desire to fight the Bolsheviks.


As I say, the occupation of Holland was an intersting time. Collaboration however seemed to be mor driven by a hatred of communism.
 
Well they would say that :) I do agree, he probably had an overly simplified theory, but it did and still does, explain some of the worst examples.
I disagree.

The real explanation lies in the culture, and the career management structure of an organisation which keeps promoting to the highest levels, the kind of people who are incapable of getting one jump ahead of the enemies of the Crown, preferring instead to pursue promotion on the basis of a clear understanding of finger-food etiquette.

I've reluctantly accepted that - while Monty is never gonna make it into the ranks of The Great Generals - he was pretty much the best available from a by-and-large adequate bunch, once you've excluded the outstanding Bill Slim, who was a mere Brigadier at the start of the war, and somewhat occupied elsewhere by the time Monty was parachuted in to fight El Alamein.
 
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I disagree.

The real explanation lies in the culture, and the career management structure of an organisation which keeps promoting to the highest levels, the kind of people who are incapable of getting one jump ahead of the enemies of the Crown, preferring instead to pursue promotion on the basis of a clear understanding of finger-food etiquette.

I've reluctantly accepted that - while Monty is never gonna make it into the ranks of The Great Generals - he was pretty much the best available from a by-and-large adequate bunch, once you've excluded the outstanding Bill Slim, who was a mere Brigadier at the start of the war, and somewhat occupied elsewhere by the time Monty was parachuted in to fight El Alamein.
Not really the thread for this, but were on the subject. I agree with everything you have to say. My personal choices, would probably be Auk and Wavell, both were dealt very poor hands and if they had the resources of Monty, they were likely better thinkers and could have come up with some interesting what ifs.

Monty, always reminds me of McClellan from the US Civil War. Great organiser, but relied entirely on weight.
 
As I say, the occupation of Holland was an intersting time. Collaboration however seemed to be mor driven by a hatred of communism
One of the things I have to keep reminding myself, is that Democracy in UK (in the sense of people having the vote, rather than just rich males), was still relatively new in Britain, and Socialism and Fascism were both held (by violently opposed people) to be legitimate 'isms' - with the former much more distrusted (by non-Jews) than the latter.

The past - it's a different country.
 
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Great organiser, but relied entirely on weight
Partly because the manpower resources available to him (adequately trained, but not well-trained, happy to do their bit but largely without gung-ho, and led by an officer corps of indifferent quality, in many ways) meant he had few alternatives.

I wonder how much better Slim might have done, but while it's a racing certainty he'd have enjoyed better relationships with his American colleagues, he'd still have been lumbered with a UK-based doctrine, training and BCR system of moderate quality, and competition with Nye Bevin for a declining pool of manpower of an age to fight battles or dig coal.
 
McClellan from the US Civil War. Great organiser, but relied entirely on weight
Wasn't he the guy who built a great army, and then hadn't the bottle to use it?

No comparison with Monty. He never flinched from a fight.

But he made sure - albeit with some notable exceptions - that the fight was on his terms
 
I believe it's slightly less clear cut, but I've never bothered to try and bottom it out.

It seems to go like this: Nazi racial theory led to policies whereby Aryan types in lands subsumed by Das Reich would be incorporated into the Hermanic Peeple.

They were categorised: Netherlands peeple were Volksdeutsch (Of The Blood, kinda)

Balkan types - that Moslem Division - were Reichsdeutsch (they fit some bollocks and conveniently elastic framework involving nasal dimensions and the size of the head etcetera).

And the SS were to be the spearhead of advancing and expanding the Aryan Ubermensch on the Earth.

Heini Himmler was the brains behind all this.

Which bit him hard on the but-tocks when the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force (seeking to protect their own recruiting) talked OnkelAdolf into signing off on a law that limited the SS to recruiting (from memory) no more than 40% of their total strength from within Hermany.

I don't know whether the Dutch recruitment figure pre-or-post-dated that law, which might make a difference as to how to interpret the fact.
From what I've read, in the Netherlands and Belgium (and elsewhere), many of the personnel for "foreign" (non-German) SS units were raised through the local fascist and nationalist parties who wanted "their" followers under arms in order to gain as much influence as possible in the new European order. In at least some cases various ethnic or nationalist groups (e.g. Flemings versus Walloons) wanted to make sure that their rivals didn't end up in a position of dominance over them by having more followers under arms.

The Germans themselves were simply looking to tap into more manpower pools and so put up with this sort of rivalry. The bulk of the foreign SS units recruited tended to be of poor quality but were still useful either as canon fodder or for internal security work.

This is a rather famous photo of some Dutch SS thrown in here for no particularly good reason. Definitely a dodgy looking bunch of characters. It's easy to imagine them as war criminals in waiting.

dss5.jpg
 
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Partly because the manpower resources available to him (adequately trained, but not well-trained, happy to do their bit but largely without gung-ho, and led by an officer corps of indifferent quality, in many ways) meant he had few alternatives.

I wonder how much better Slim might have done, but while it's a racing certainty he'd have enjoyed better relationships with his American colleagues, he'd still have been lumbered with a UK-based doctrine, training and BCR system of moderate quality, and competition with Nye Bevin for a declining pool of manpower of an age to fight battles or dig coal.
The RAF and lesser extent the Navy were fabulously overmanned.. The germans had the same problem, with the luftwaffe managing to put much of there surplus into the field. It seems a common problem with western powers, in particular, having a lot of superfluous posts.

A more self contained campaign would be something like Malaya, where you have 100k troops, but, in terms of teeth arms probably no more than 15-20k. I once spent an amusing afternoon, trying to work out what they all could be doing and you still end up with 1000s left over.
 
Not according to any of the psychologists I worked with in MOD.
The trouble with Psychology is it tries to follow the scientific principle but can't because there are too many variables. It is thus subject to a higher than normal degree of subjective [i.e. fashionable] thinking. The MoD is not going to employ a psychologist who subscribes to the view that all of its senior officers are unfit for purpose even if it is true.
For what it's worth I'd suggest that the military has an inbuilt problem. Much of its structure is built on adherence to orders and conformity. Successful combat generals frequently do not fit this mold. Without the pressure of war to demonstrate the failings of the conformers they will get promoted. In addition as the ministry itself is unfit for purpose VSOs have to try and do their job for them and thus we need politically astute VSOs. This is even less likely to make a good combat officer.
 
If you can get hold of a copy of Colossal Cracks (by the RMAS-based one of the Hart twins) you'll find yourself reading a rigorous academic analysis of Monty's operational methods, and an appraisal of the extent to which his awareness of the brittle state of his troops morale led him to limit his ambitions for pretty much every Op he initiated.

You might well find a copy of a summary paper (same title) to download from my page on Scribd: pretty sure I parked one there, yonks ago.
How does one access this? TA
 

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