Jump to content


Achtung Panzer: The Blitkzrieg, Myth and Reality


  • Please log in to reply
41 replies to this topic

Revan #1 Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:02 AM

    Captain

  • Member
  • 23170 battles
  • 1,836
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    11-13-2012

 A popular view of the German armed forces in WW2 (Wehrmacht) would be that they had the best equipment , tanks and plane of the war but were swamped by superior manpower and industrial capacity of the Allies. For some reason German wonder weapons like the V1 and V2, ME 262, Heinkel 162 and tanks like the King Tiger II have captured the popular imagination. Allied secret weapons (that actually worked) such as the nuclear bomb and the British ability to crack German codes tends to get over looked.

 

 A quick look around the net will also reveal debates raging about things like the quality of German armor or how the German tanks were unreliable. I am quoting in this thread mostly from memory but I can recommend Adam Tooze's Wages of Destruction as a good point which illustrates the difficulties of the German situation. Put simply Germany was doomed to lose the war before the first shot was fired. Any alternative history arguments often fail to appreciate how dire the situation was the Germans found themselves in. The only realistic chance the Germans had of winning the war was pre December 1941 and you would also have to make the assumption that the USA would stay out of the war. Realistically there was no way the Germans could counter the development of the atomic bomb nor could they mathc the Areseal of Democracy. The USA geared up to fight WW2 vs Japan and German alone if need be. The Germans were aware of the American military build up or even British rearmament from 1938 or so. Germany may have jumped the gun in 1939 the gamble being the Allies would not go to war over Poland but there was a certain logic to it. Britain alone in the early war years out produced Nazi Germany with a smaller population and the Luftwaffe went into Russia in 1941 with a smaller fleet than they had in 1940 due to the Battle of Britain. 

 

 Apparently Germany was also an industrial power house and the Nazi regime was to sexist to put women in the factories like the Allies did. Well that at least was the myth. Germany was not as industrialized as Britain and they had a higher % of women working in agriculture which meant less were available to work in the factories any way. Germany had an ammo crisis in 1938 and they used up most of there ammunition stocks in the invasion of Poland in 1939, hence the Sitzkrieg until April 1940. Germany was also short on steel as domestic steel was often of poor quality due to the ore found in Germany and the Nazi regimes reliance on imports from Sweden. German rearmament and the economic miracle were mostly a propaganda effort as Germany was essentially bankrupt in 1938. There is a reason why no sane country has followed Nazi economic policy since the war. Rearmament was paid for by foreign loans and confiscating property of the Jews and trade unions- some 8 billion Reichsmarks worth. The cost of the Battleship Bismarck cost 200 million Reichsmarks so the Germans stole enough assets to build 40 Bismarck class ships and the 1936 exchange rate was about 4 RM to the US dollar. The Americans by comparison spent around 2 billion dollars on the Manhatten project. In any event Germany could not produce enough steel to built 40 Bismarck ships and one can actually look at more productive uses of that steel or the opportunity cost of the Bismarck and Tirpitz (more Panzer Divisions). 

 

 The prewar annexation of Austria gave the Nazis around a years supply of gold reserves while seizing the Sudetenland and then the rest of the Czech lands resulted in a great Panzer heist. The Czech tanks were excellent designs by 1938/39 standards and when Germany invaded Poland around 20% of the German Heer's (army) Panzer strength was Czech tanks and 95% of the Panzer Corp were light tanks with a handful of Panzer IVs in service. The blitzkrieg doctrine was a sign of German desperation not strength as they wanted to avoid the attrition battles of WW1. After the war Speer also claimed that the Kaisers Germany produced more steel and armaments than Nazi Germany. Talking about Speer people think he was a genius who somehow boosted Germany's industrial production. There was no miracle about it as German industrial capacity was fully engaged by 1941. Before he took office the Germans were already building new factories which take 12-18 months to get up and running and the Germans simply put more input into the factories. By 1944 Germany had over 6 million foreign workers in the Third Reich and fertilizers etc were diverted to make more armaments at the expense of the German/European civilian population. In 1945 the Dutch and Germans started to go hungry and starve as a consequence of that decision. 

 

 So why did Germany not make more tanks instead of silly things like the Bismarck and Tirpitz battle ships? Why did they make King Tigers when the opportunity cost was 5 more Panthers or PanzerIVs? Why did they keep making ME 109's when the Focke Wulf 190 was the better plane? For most of the war Germany had chronic fuel shortages, not just towards the end where the problems are well known. Even if they built them they could not fuel them. Hence the Germans obsession with super tanks and ideas like the Maus. The Germans could make synthetic fuel but that was limited and grossly expensive- around 6 times the cost of natural oil as they had to mine coal and process the coal to do it. Those coal miners could have been making more Panzers for example which the Germans could not then fuel as they had no coal miners digging coal to turn into fuel. You see my point about the German problems by now I hope. The French campaign was the only campaign the Germans launched where they finished the campaign with more fuel than what they had at the start of the campaign. They seized the French stocks. The FW190 ran on higher octane gas than the 109 so once again it was a tough decision for the Germans. Sub standard fuel caused problems for German engines. Captured examples of German planes in post war trials using Allied fuel often surprised the Allies in terms of performance

 

 This fuel shortage also caused problems in occupied Europe. On paper the Germans had more industrial capacity than the USA in occupied Europe. However fuel use in occupied France for example plummeted 90% in the war years and France was one of Europe's largest food producers. Occupied Norway needed to import food and tractors had no fuel.  Horses were a good alternative but the German army took 500 000 thousand horses from France to use in Russia. Food production in Europe plummeted in the war years. Each year on the eastern front the German attacks got smaller and smaller. For example Barbarossa was an attack on 3 fronts, in 1942 the attack (a single front) was a thrust into the Caucasus, and in 1943 Kursk was only a counter attack on one sector of one front. The Stalingrad debacle was a quest for more fuel the Germans were getting that desperate. The same year (1942) the Kriegsmarine basically ran out of fuel. 

 

 Ironically the Axis had all the fuel they needed in Libya but it was beyond the scope of extraction with 1940's technology. Various alternative histories seem to like to imagine a German victory had Rommel won in the desert. Assuming he won at El Alamein in 42 and pushed through to the oil fields in Iraq and Persia it still would not have mattered. The development of those oil fields was a post war thing and even if they could claim the oil they had no real way of shipping it back to Nazi Germany in any  event. There was no pipeline to send the oil to ports in Lebanon either and the Allies controlled the seas. In the war years the largest production of fuel was in the USA and Venezuela. The Germans still would have lost at Stalingrad, the Americans would still have been developing the bomb. Once the Allies bombed the German synthetic plants and the Romanian Ploesti oil fields the game was up so to speak. Some long and boring links.

 

http://vanrcook.trip...uelshortage.htm

http://www.airpower....-aug/becker.htm

 

 The last myth is the late war German tanks and the allies being unable to develop a decent heavy tank or a medium tank with a large gun with a few exceptions like the Firefly and M26 Pershing which arrived late. German tanks were also unreliable buckets of junk. Being unreliable though did not matter to much as the Average tank would only last for 6 weeks at the front anyway and the Germans were not alone with mechanical problems. The British Covenanter for example was a terrible design. 1700 were produced (more than the tiger) but they were so bad they were relegated to training roles before being withdrawn in 1943. The Russian KV series had massive mechanical failings along with the IS3, IS4, and IS8/T10. Mechanical problems were more of a feature of 1940's tank design than an exclusive German problem. 

 

 The other myth was that the Americans could not design a good tank and the Sherman was also a terrible tank. The Sherman was not designed for tank on tank action and most models were for infantry support. Most sources I have read seem to indicate that on the western front in 1944 around 80% of the German panzer losses were to the Allied air force and that tank on tank encounters were less than 5% of the German losses with the other tanks being destroyed by artillery and infantry. Allied shipping capacity also played a role in using the Sherman. In the war years and post war years there was a worldwide shortage in shipping. People starved to death in Bengal because of interruptions in the worlds food supply and shipping. The best anti tank gun was a Jabo or fighter/bomber. For example see either the Falaise Pocket or once the weather cleared in the Battle of the Bulge. German infantry and the humble StuG killed more Allied and Soviet tanks than the German kitties. 

 

 Put simply most of the German myth for WW2 in WoT terms involved seal clubbing dumb pubs with the exception of the French who often had better (and more) tanks than the Germans. The French were not cowards either as they lost 120 000 men in 6 weeks. At that rate French casualties exceeded French WW1 casualties, the war was just over a lot faster. The French were losing 1.2 million a year at that rate or around 4 times the rate of French WW1 casualties hence the surrender in 1940. Late war when the Allies encountered them in France the Germans were using 50% crews against 75% crews with a few veterans like Wittman with 100%+ trained crews. The Soviets destroyed most of the German army but in hind sight the Germans most likely never had a chance in the second world war. 

 

 


Edited by Revan, 26 February 2014 - 07:36 AM.

Empowered by the dark side, fueled by pubbie tears. 

_stevethegecko_ #2 Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:10 AM

    Major

  • Beta-Tester
  • 29350 battles
  • 13,193
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    03-13-2012
Well written Revan.

kilig ako


LXX_ignis #3 Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:31 AM

    Major

  • Beta-Tester
  • 33679 battles
  • 7,761
  • Member since:
    05-01-2012
Thanks Revan...

Lost - 1 signature, last seen about 1 week ago.

Will come to the name Fireguard_.

Please PM me if you find it...


Revan #4 Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:33 AM

    Captain

  • Member
  • 23170 battles
  • 1,836
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    11-13-2012

View Postfire70, on 26 February 2014 - 07:31 AM, said:

Thanks Revan...

 

 

Heh. 

 

 Just finished readong one of those links. The entire German synthetic fuel production in WW2 per year would fuel the USA for 3 and a half days. Per Capita the USA had X50 the amount of cars as Germany where they were a luxury good in the pre war years. 


Edited by Revan, 26 February 2014 - 06:34 AM.

Empowered by the dark side, fueled by pubbie tears. 

jpkiwi #5 Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:45 AM

    Staff sergeant

  • Beta-Tester
  • 26198 battles
  • 390
  • [1AR-M] 1AR-M
  • Member since:
    05-16-2012
Fighting on 2 fronts bad...  IT killed them in WW1 and it killed them in WW2.. But an interesting write up .

Edited by jpkiwi, 26 February 2014 - 06:45 AM.

History is the most dangerous product ever concocted by the chemistry of the intellect. It causes dreams, inebriates nations, saddles them with false memories … keeps their old sores running, torments them when they are not at rest, and induces in them megalomania and the mania of persecution.

 


_KayGeraint_ #6 Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:45 AM

    Rushes mid every game :^)

  • Member
  • 62313 battles
  • 4,753
  • [N_P_C] N_P_C
  • Member since:
    12-20-2012
Nice read +1

Obj 260 Get! 298/300 done with honors!  75/75 obj 260 missions done,73 with honours! :^)

3 mark: 1390 leo pta is-7 e5 t26a 2 mark: m46,obj 907, 50100, e100, batchat 25t,  t57 heavy, grille 15, obj 140, is-6, is-3, vkd, pzivh, mutz, spic, CAX, 113

Helljumper, Helljumper, where you been? Feet first into hell and back again! When I die please bury me deep! Place an MA5 down by my feet! Don't cry for me, don't shed no tear!
Just pack my box with PT gear! Cuz one early morning 'bout zero-five! The ground will rumble, there'll be lightning in the sky!
Don't you worry, don't come undone! It's just my ghost on a PT run!

http://cdn-frm-sg.wa...-1407289026.gif


Yorrick #7 Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:07 AM

    Captain

  • Beta-Tester
  • 23904 battles
  • 1,588
  • [TCM] TCM
  • Member since:
    07-15-2012

Nice read raven

it didn't help having a syphilis ridden, lunatic, megalomaniac at the helm either :tongue:


Tank Company Mercenary [TCM] A Tank Company,Strongholds,Platooning, Enthusiast's clan
We Play for Victory, Kill for Laughs, Die for the Team, Honour,Glory and a Bloody Good Time
Bringing together skilled Tankers, who want to play in skilled, friendly, competitive teams in Tank Companies, Campaign Clan Wars, and Platoons .Have you got what it takes to become a Mercenary? Skilled, Willing to learn/teach and play as a strong team with a Friendly Well Organised, United clan.RECRUITING NOW
check us out and apply here http://tankcompanyme...ary.shivtr.com/ to find out


Revan #8 Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:11 AM

    Captain

  • Member
  • 23170 battles
  • 1,836
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    11-13-2012

View PostYorrick, on 26 February 2014 - 08:07 AM, said:

Nice read raven

it didn't help having a syphilis ridden, lunatic, megalomaniac at the helm either :tongue:

 

Nope but by the time he made his most moronic decisions Germany had already lost the war. The reasons they invaded the USSR were somewhat logical, but they messed it up like diverting units to attack Kiev instead of pushing on Moscow. As I said they had to win the war before the USA got involved and they had to keep the USA out of the war. 


Empowered by the dark side, fueled by pubbie tears. 

Yorrick #9 Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:39 AM

    Captain

  • Beta-Tester
  • 23904 battles
  • 1,588
  • [TCM] TCM
  • Member since:
    07-15-2012

true and the early winter in Russia didn't help that campaign for the Nazis as they were not equipped for winter

The Russian scorched earth policy in their withdrawal back to the caucuses' was a tried and tested move

same thing happened to Napoleon , luckily early winter and leaving the invaders nothing, no supplies, food, oil, warmth shelter, horses  bridges nothing

also helped with their failed attempt to gain labour steel food and oil

 


Edited by Yorrick, 26 February 2014 - 07:40 AM.

Tank Company Mercenary [TCM] A Tank Company,Strongholds,Platooning, Enthusiast's clan
We Play for Victory, Kill for Laughs, Die for the Team, Honour,Glory and a Bloody Good Time
Bringing together skilled Tankers, who want to play in skilled, friendly, competitive teams in Tank Companies, Campaign Clan Wars, and Platoons .Have you got what it takes to become a Mercenary? Skilled, Willing to learn/teach and play as a strong team with a Friendly Well Organised, United clan.RECRUITING NOW
check us out and apply here http://tankcompanyme...ary.shivtr.com/ to find out


Splattimus #10 Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:44 AM

    Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.

  • Beta-Tester
  • 26110 battles
  • 3,304
  • [PANZA] PANZA
  • Member since:
    09-15-2012
The people starved to death in Bengal, which was also the first use of the word "Holocaust". It was also directly linked to the British policy of Scorched Earth to defeat the advancing Japanese. Apparently someone forgot to bother with "what will the people eat if we burn their crops to stop the Japanese having them".

WARNING!!! THE ABOVE POST WILL CONTAIN SARCASM. My day job does not allow sarcasm, so its use may be obscure and liberal.

Sarge: What a way to go. Killed by my own mechanical creations. I'm sure there's a philosophical lesson to be learned from all this.
Simmons: Something about the dangers of technology and the unwavering pride of mankind?
Sarge: No, something about hiring better help that doesn't just stand around watching you die!

I don't believe we should kill all the stupid people. Just remove some of the warning signs and let nature take its course...


Retia #11 Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:16 AM

    Major

  • Member
  • 22662 battles
  • 10,360
  • [DPS] DPS
  • Member since:
    12-09-2012

Probably a nice text, but I stopped reading after this:

 

View PostRevan, on 25 February 2014 - 11:02 PM, said:

 A popular view of the German armed forces in WW2 (Wehrmacht) would be that they had the best equipment , tanks and plane of the war but were swamped by superior manpower and industrial capacity of the Allies.

 

It's commonly known (That is for people that read more than Wikipedia) that from the very beginning the "superior" german technology was anything but superior.

 

The french military was better equipped than the German's, that goes for infantry, tanks and planes.

If the french facist party wouldn't have taken control over large parts of the military's supply/r&d the french would have been able

to field more and superior aircraft, more and superior tanks and infantry weaponry of the same quality.

 

Goes to show again, politics ruin the best army. *looks at Bundeswehr and shudders*

 

And from that point on whenever the Germans had the lead in something it was either countered quickly by the allies or came too late.

For example jets like the Me-262 were lethal to the allied bombing raids, but by the time they entered service they either crashed due to technical issues or

were destroyed on the airfields and in the factories.

Plus allied fighters could easily escape their grasp with evasive maneuvers once they realised the danger, so the jets could only effectively take out bombers.

 

That said, could the Axis have won world war II?

Of course, history has shown time and time again that it's possible, Rome, Egypt, Persia... it wouldn't be the first time the "known world" was conquered

by one alliance/nation.

 

I doubt that they could hold their reign for long, but that's another story.

Link, even though it's fiction, says it quite well.


Edited by Retia, 26 February 2014 - 08:17 AM.

 

 

Playing without Mods would be boring.

 

 


Ottomatic_Reiffel #12 Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:24 AM

    SealClub Number 6

  • Beta-Tester
  • 24192 battles
  • 4,246
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    07-15-2012
Wouldn't say 80% of panzer losses were from air assets or at the very least not from direct kills. Ground kill claims of air pilots are often vastly over stated. However if you include stuff like couldn't maintain tanks because the factory was bombed then fair enough.

See no bots, hear no bots, speak not about bots

WoT's most dedicated players


FunkMan #13 Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:38 AM

    Major

  • Member
  • 33201 battles
  • 3,737
  • Member since:
    03-21-2013
Just goes to show, it was an ill thought out venture - consume and destroy everything in your path at whatever cost and at the end there is nothing left for anyone.

 


Mick42 #14 Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:57 AM

    Major

  • Member
  • 13890 battles
  • 5,852
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    05-09-2012

Moved to correct section, Revan thanked.

 

~Mick42.


Check out my Minion's voice mod!

 

Spoiler


Spoiler


jpkiwi #15 Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:15 AM

    Staff sergeant

  • Beta-Tester
  • 26198 battles
  • 390
  • [1AR-M] 1AR-M
  • Member since:
    05-16-2012
WEll..Churchill had wanted to be mates with Germany..  And would have liked to gone with him to take Stalin out of the game..Churchill hated the guy with a passion. Another one of those what ifs.  Hilter stuffed up..  When u joined the German army u made an oath to Germany, Hitler went and changed that making then swear to allegiance to Hitler, Which is why most of them keep fighting ..  Prussian values and all that. 

History is the most dangerous product ever concocted by the chemistry of the intellect. It causes dreams, inebriates nations, saddles them with false memories … keeps their old sores running, torments them when they are not at rest, and induces in them megalomania and the mania of persecution.

 


Revan #16 Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:42 AM

    Captain

  • Member
  • 23170 battles
  • 1,836
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    11-13-2012

View PostYorrick, on 26 February 2014 - 08:39 AM, said:

true and the early winter in Russia didn't help that campaign for the Nazis as they were not equipped for winter

The Russian scorched earth policy in their withdrawal back to the caucuses' was a tried and tested move

same thing happened to Napoleon , luckily early winter and leaving the invaders nothing, no supplies, food, oil, warmth shelter, horses  bridges nothing

also helped with their failed attempt to gain labour steel food and oil

 

 

\

 Had army group center kept pushing who knows what would have happened. An extra 6 weeks to push on Moscow with no Siberian reinforcements ready. 


Empowered by the dark side, fueled by pubbie tears. 

TovarishTony #17 Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:48 AM

    Captain

  • Member
  • 16668 battles
  • 1,398
  • [CCCP] CCCP
  • Member since:
    01-11-2013
Nice read and don't forget about the Soviet T-34 where the German tank crews feared in 1941 and even generals like Guderian and Von Kleist described it as the "deadliest tank in the world".
Я помню! Я горжусь!

mttspiii #18 Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:16 PM

    Major

  • Beta-Tester
  • 32703 battles
  • 17,124
  • [PVP] PVP
  • Member since:
    04-15-2012

View Postjpkiwi, on 26 February 2014 - 09:15 AM, said:

WEll..Churchill had wanted to be mates with Germany..  And would have liked to gone with him to take Stalin out of the game..Churchill hated the guy with a passion.

 

Funny, I thought Hitler wanted to be mates with UK, while Churchill waited until the Germans and the Russians started killing each other. UK had some sort of balance-of-power game on Europe which relied on Fascism and Communism hating each others' guts.


I'm fierce and I'm feeling mighty,

I'm a golden girl, I'm an Aphrodite

 

 


Lunaris #19 Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:43 PM

    Sergeant

  • Beta-Tester
  • 14507 battles
  • 135
  • Member since:
    04-24-2012

View PostRevan, on 26 February 2014 - 09:42 AM, said:

 

\

 Had army group center kept pushing who knows what would have happened. An extra 6 weeks to push on Moscow with no Siberian reinforcements ready. 

And 500 thousand Soviet soldier threathening your right flank. Ready to strike your supplylines.



TovarishTony #20 Posted 26 February 2014 - 02:30 PM

    Captain

  • Member
  • 16668 battles
  • 1,398
  • [CCCP] CCCP
  • Member since:
    01-11-2013
If all of Hitler's armies were pushing to Moscow they would be easily get encircled by Soviet counterattacks from Leningrad and Stalingrad then would be cutoff from the rest of the German army so its a proper logic to split into 3 groups(Army Group North,Army Group Center and Army Group South). Meanwhile in terms of the development of panzers before the Battle of Kursk since the Germans initially having trouble in encountering T-34s and KV-1s as they started the invasion of the USSR. The Germans knew that the T-34 is cheaper in production compared to their best panzers so they wanted to copy it but the German designers are against it and in 1942 they decided to produce heavier tanks like the Tiger as their response against the T-34s. In 1943 they tried to use Tigers and Panthers for their blitzkrieg in Kursk but it slowed them down as the blitzkrieg turned into a crawl despite the Soviets had high losses of T-34s while the Germans may have less losses it cost them alot of repairing their tanks while they have to rely on the resources of Romania,Hungary and other countries occupied by the Nazis as Hitler's ambition for capturing the oil fields in the Caucasus in 1942-1943 were a disaster for Germany just like Stalingrad. One reason why the T-34 got its legendary title because of various things including good firepower,mobility and the most important thing that the panzers never had during the war is simplicity which made it suitable for mass production and it doesn't require alot of resources compared to the Tigers and Panthers.
Я помню! Я горжусь!




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users