The 'Myth' of the Afrika Korps ?

By all accounts, the armoured doctrine and training of the British Army were generally rotten. That was easily enough to batter the Italians, but against a first class opponent, we found our tendency to spread out, operate in isolation to other arms and our officer class were simply a mite too unprofessional.

It was called 'Swanning'…

Very dashing, very suicidal against modern AT guns


Once they convinced the dashing young chaps, well the ones not already deaded, to stop that silliness and work with the guns and infantry, things improved immeasurably
 
Fanbois and apologists have done a really good job of whitewashing the Wehrmacht and, to an extent, the Waffen-SS, since the War. It helps considerably that, with a very few exceptions, atrocities against the Western Allies were infrequent and generally small-scale (although Heer, Luftwaffe and SS all did a bang-up job in inflicting misery on civilian populations in France and Italy in response to maquis or Partisan activity locally).

The truth is that the Wehrmacht generally had a patchy record on atrocity and willing compliance with nuts Nazi racial policies and that, while Heer units generally didn't do the sort of mass-grave filling that the Police and SS units did, they certainly weren't averse to helping out.

The bulk of Germans were all for National Socialism and the restoration of German greatness, at least until the tide decisively turned and that would include the Wehrmacht. There *were* brave individuals willing to violate thie oaths before then, just not terribly many.

If you look at 20 July, even if they'd managed to get the big feller, the piss-poor staff work on the part of the plotters and the failure to secure unequivocal commitments of immediate armed support in and around Berlin mean that they were fucked - the best-case end state for Valkyrie would have been civil war (and, probably, the Russians in Berlin six months earlier).

Indeed…

In the West, the opportunity didn't much present to kill the Untermensch in large quantities, as the Herren were usually going backwards.

On their occasional offensives though, all of the German arms were quite happy to do a spot of recreational POW murdering.
 

Nato123

War Hero
There were loads of people from eastern Europe, who had Nazi connections, especially from Ukraine, who found haven in Canada after the war. Attempts to extradite them to face justice for major war crimes were ignored due to a combination of cold war diplomacy and domestic politics. Israel was quite unhappy with Canada over this, as were a number of eastern European countries. Time and old age has resolved most of that problem however.

If you go through eastern Europe, particularly the former Soviet Union, there are plenty of people and organisations with Nazi connections whose past has been whitewashed as these new countries tried to construct a somewhat more glorious past for themselves than history would justify.

There was a local German Nazi here (southwestern Ontario) whom although I'm not aware of him being accused of war crimes provides for a few amusing anecdotes which I thought I would take the opportunity to relate purely for the sake of entertainment. After arriving here he managed to amass a small fortune in the property market through the creative use of bankruptcy law and various other dubious stratagems. Whenever in his numerous civil court appearances the judge or opposing lawyer would refer to him as a "neo-Nazi" he would get quite upset, insisting that he wasn't a "neo-Nazi", he was a genuine original Nazi and demanded that he be referred to as such if anyone wanted to bring up the subject.

He eventually retired from business to his "estate" outside the city, where he collected Nazi memorabilia and built a "shrine" to his Nazi heroes (I can't recall the details). His "estate" (just a large house on a large property, really) was under the flight path to the local commercial airport, and he had his gardener mow the grass into a giant swastika so that the passengers on the planes landing at or taking off from the airport could see it.

Near the end of his life he found that his children had little interest in carrying on the Nazi tradition, so he tried to adopt someone as his heir who would maintain his Nazi shrine and the memory of his cause. He had little luck with this, and last I heard when he died his children proceeded to fight over the inheritance so they could sell the "estate" off to developers to be broken up into housing developments.

From 'The Stun' but still valid


Likewise

 
Massive topic but briefly I would say:

1. Rommel's MO was to go hard at an opponent, unsettle them and then roll up the chaos - something he learned against the Italians in WW1. This worked against inexperienced forces with dodgy doctrine and inexperienced commanders but it landed him in the dwang when he came up against a commander who couldn't be hustled (Auchinleck) or strong fixed defenses (Tobruk, before they were dismantled for the Gazala Line, and Alamein). The dash to the wire was pointless, causing chaos and loss, while the primary outcome of his chase to Alamein was to leave the Afrika Korps at the end of a hopelessly over-extended supply line. He was also fortunate not to come a cropper at the Battle of the Cauldron. His faults were well-known to his peers.
2. One day someone's going to write the unvarnished truth about the British Army for much of WW2 and it will make uncomfortable reading. Politically it suited Churchill to have Rommel as some sort of superman because it was an easier story to tell than the fact that British forces were poorly commanded, doctrinally baffled and seemingly incapable of inter-arm co-operation to the point of gross mis-trust. Montgomery kept 8th Army on a tight leash for Alam Halfa and 2nd Alamein for much the same reason.
3. Rommel can't escape his association with Hitler (and I came across something which quoted him as saying he would have been happy to fight on had Germany had nuclear weapons) but he had no hesitation in disobeying instructions such as Hitler's Commando Order and the conduct of German forces in Africa seems to have generally reflected Rommel's outlook. That's to his credit given what the Wehrmacht got up to elsewhere.
4. Despite his shortcomings as a commander, he showed the ability to learn, particularly with regard to the impact of airpower. D-Day might have gone differently had the Germans fought it as he wanted to, with his armour well forward.

Just my view but, overall, a decent soldier and a decent human being with flaws.
Then again , there is another school of thought that says the armour would have been annihilated by the gunfire of God knows how many Allied cruisers off shore , 2nd TAF and Bomber Command .
 
Indeed…

In the West, the opportunity didn't much present to kill the Untermensch in large quantities, as the Herren were usually going backwards.

On their occasional offensives though, all of the German arms were quite happy to do a spot of recreational POW murdering.
I think you'll find that murdering POWs wasn't the sole preserve of the Germans eh Ivan?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Then again , there is another school of thought that says the armour would have been annihilated by the gunfire of God knows how many Allied cruisers off shore , 2nd TAF and Bomber Command .
That's probably right but they'd have done a lot of damage first and when and where it mattered. As it was, they got annihilated anyway but by then the Allies were well established.
 
That's probably right but they'd have done a lot of damage first and when and where it mattered. As it was, they got annihilated anyway but by then the Allies were well established.
ISTR that 12thSS Pz DivHQ was DF'd thanks to poor radio discipline and stonked by the Navy , which resulted in the divisional commander and many staff officers being killed , and that some of their attacks against the Canadians were broken up by naval gunfire . Same happened to 21st Pz Div
 
In effect West Germany at least had a 'don't ask don't tell' attitude post 1945 totehir former SS/Gestapo members and in that I include people who were members of such units as police battalion 101.



Then you have the interview with Oskar Groennig in the Laurence Rees documentry Auschwitz and the Final Solution, who has just been to court but for many years slipped back into German society with little in the way of retribution for his actions. There were very many like him.
This is why Barder Meinhof came into being.
 
we were specifically speaking about the Germans vis a vis the western allies your dullness.
Thanks for clearing that up - I wasn't referring to the Red Army, just addressing you by name.

Ever heard of 'too late chum'?
 

That they did, and it was returned in kind.
very stupid German act, galvanised US troops to insane acts of resistance, Often fighting to the death, and got orders cut telling US troops no SS to be taken prisoner.

Ditto Canadians, fought a very bitter and personal war with the SS after the murder of Canadian POWs in Normandy. after that, surrendering to Canadians troops if you were SS was a tad problematic.
 
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very stupid a German act, galvanised US troops to insane acts of resistance, Often fighting to the death, and got orders cut telling US troops no SS to be taken prisoner.

Ditto Canadians, fought a very bitter and personal war with the SS after the murder of Canadian POWs in Normandy. after that, surrendering to Canadians troops if you were SS was a tad problematic.
Yup, and when the camps were being liberated American troops killed quite a few SS Guards, and a blind eye was turned to that behaviour.
 

Mufulira

Old-Salt
IIRR, before he was vanquished in North Africa, Montgomery or the army command specifically referred to the need to lay off said kind of big upping of The Desert Fox. I've been searching for the reference, which I recall distinctly, but so far I haven't found it.
Check Peter Caddick-Adams book "Monty and Rommel parallel lives" pp 261. Actually it was Auchinleck who posted an Order of the Day 1-2-42 "There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magician or a bogey man to our troops... it would still be highly undesirable thata our men should credit him with supernatural powers"

PS I am NOT jealous of Rommel

Signed C.J. Auchinleck CinC, MEF
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Manstein?* opposed the various "eliminate the slavs orders" and didn't act on them - He also forbade troops from unofficially helping out / using it as a photo op.

When it comes to the Eastern front it was a cold war convenience to point at the SS and pretend the average German took no part. In reality there was little to pick between them.

Mind you we also tend to forget just how eager Eastern European civ pop was to round up the Jews

*I could have the wrong General/ Marshall
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I read a biography of him about twenty years ago....one of the learning points for me was the emphasis laid on the methods the NSDAP used to subvert the results of the 1933 election.

This led to the long-standing canard that the Nazis were a democratically elected government.

' The Nazis registered a large increase in votes in 1933. However, despite waging a campaign of terror against their opponents, the Nazis only tallied 43.9 percent of the vote, well short of a majority. They needed the votes of their coalition partner, the German National People's Party (DNVP), for a bare working majority in the Reichstag.

This would be the last contested election held in Germany before World War II. Two weeks after the election, Hitler was able to pass an Enabling Act on 23 March with the support of all non-socialist parties, which effectively gave Hitler dictatorial powers. Within months, the Nazis banned all other parties and turned the Reichstag into a rubberstamp legislature comprising only Nazis and pro-Nazi guests.
'
 
It was called 'Swanning'…

Very dashing, very suicidal against modern AT guns


Once they convinced the dashing young chaps, well the ones not already deaded, to stop that silliness and work with the guns and infantry, things improved immeasurably
Until we repeated the whole learning exercise again in Normandy as our institutional learning was AWOL.... The veteran Divisions from North Africa were seen by Montgomery as gun shy and nervous. But the casualty rates suggested the UK based Divisions training was a joke.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
^ as ever an interesting thread ruined. WTF has that got to do with the DAK myth. Nice chattin' I'm orf
Why?....It is no more of a digression from the myth of the Desert Fox than many another already rehearsed here...it bears ( although tangentially) on the character of Rommel.

That is - was he the Reich's Golden Boy who could do no wrong ( until he lost)?

- or a humane, essentially decent professional soldat working for a regime composed of the criminally insane?

Don't flounce old top, always good to have an alternative view.
 

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