Does luck explain German military successes up to end of 1941 ?

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,312
And yet those tanks and planes won in 1939, '40, and '41. It's not just the size of the army or its technology. Doctrine was also important. As a result of their better doctrine the Germans were able to use their military much more effectively than the British or French. That doctrine, popularly called blitzkrieg, began to be implemented several years before the British and French gave serious thought to the next war. Hence, Germany initially had a head start but it didn't last.
Which goes back to my previous point, forward defense as the wrong choice for the allies, in Poland, in France and in the USSR
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,365
I notice someone wrote off the French when commenting on point 7. Understandable, but that isn't what happened. Firstly, the French responded to the crisis by mass recruitment. So many were drawn out of civilian life that the government were forced to send some back in order to maintain industry. Now it is true that commonly the French were not happy about going to war - it was noted that anti-war graffiti and the behaviour of French soldiers was not pro-military. Further, it was evident that French leadership was woeful. That said, France was a nation with some deep internal issues anyway. Governmental stability was lacking as at least one elected government lasted only hours, and continual industrial action by workers was inhibiting production and the economy.

As the war broke out the French attacked Germany, advancing a few miles before calling a halt. The army commander felt it was dangerous to invade without proper preparations.

However it remains true that as the British retreated to Dunkirk the French began responding with aggression. Too little, too late, and they were hampered by poor tactics and unreliable machinery.

I should add that the French have never forgiven the British for the capture and sinking of naval vessels, ordered to prevent their capture by the Germans. French veterans maintain that they were not going to meekly hand over their ships. Britain wasn't so sure, but then, they had America to impress - the US was at that stage predicting Britain's defeat within months.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
5,015
Dispargum
What was the term for Australian and New Zealand forces at Galipoli? Wasn't that ANZAC, too?
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,400
Kansas
What was the term for Australian and New Zealand forces at Galipoli? Wasn't that ANZAC, too?
You are completely correct. ANZAC refers to a hybrid unit of Australian and New Zealand servicemen fighting under an integrated command structure. Both countries fought independently after 1916, although often in close support of each other. New Zealand servicemen went on to gain a great reputation as shock troops. If you have ever seen them play rugby you can probably see why :)
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,765
SoCal
Yes, the german army was an effective fighting machine.. Yes Adolf was a wily operator..... But how much was really down to luck ?

1. Adolf escaped unscathed literally dozens of attempts on his life, at least a couple of which were quite serious


members of the Polish Army attempt to detonate hidden explosives during Hitler's victory parade in Warsaw. 500 Kg of TNT are concealed in a ditch, ready to be detonated by Polish Sappers. However, at the last moment, the parade is diverted and the saboteurs miss their target.

German Carpenter Georg Elser places a time-bomb at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, where Hitler is due to give his annual speech in commemoration of the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler leaves earlier than expected and the bomb detonates, killing eight and injuring sixty two others
Technically speaking, if Hitler gets assassinated, this doesn't necessarily mean that Germany is going to fail to defeat France in 1940; it simply means that Hitler won't be around to see this if this still occurs.

2. The allies do nothing over the Anschluss... More importantly they do nothing over Czech
Yep.

3. The allies are unable or unwilling to get the USSR on board
Yep. Also, the Allies foolishly break the Stresa Front as a result of Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia.

4. The allies do nothing serious to defend Poland
Was it in their capacity to actually do much? Still, it would have been nice to be up-front about this with the Poles before the war.

5. The Poles, then the French and the soviets all adopt forward defense , which is literrally the worst possible option against blitzkrieg (it is like choosing paper when your adversary has scissors)
What's a better defense strategy?

6. The US decides not to get involved in Europe. A US involvement in early 1940 (or before) while France was still in the game, would have spelled disaster for Germany.
Yep. Blame Woodrow Wilson for that for refusing to compromise with the Republicans in the US Senate--many of whom were actually willing to agree to a post-WWI treaty of alliance with Britain and France but opposed Wilson's quixotic fight for US entry into the League of Nations without any meaningful reservations (even though the former was much more important than the latter was).

7. France surrenders in only 6 weeks. At the time it still had significant land, air and naval forces.... No one could have foreseen this
The French couldn't have prevented the rest of metropolitan France from falling to the Nazis after the Nazis had already conquered Paris, though.

8. The soviets basically make a bet that Germany will not attack in 1941
Yep.

It would be interesting to assess the probability of events being so much in favor of Germany for that time period.....
Well, in regards to the USSR, Germany was probably helped by having Stalin come to power there after Lenin's death. Someone else might not have purged the Red Army officer corps so extensively in the late 1930s.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,765
SoCal
You are completely correct. ANZAC refers to a hybrid unit of Australian and New Zealand servicemen fighting under an integrated command structure. Both countries fought independently after 1916, although often in close support of each other. New Zealand servicemen went on to gain a great reputation as shock troops. If you have ever seen them play rugby you can probably see why :)
Was the informal name for them Kiwis? I know that ANZAC was the formal name for them.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,400
Kansas
Was the informal name for them Kiwis? I know that ANZAC was the formal name for them.
Yes, Kiwi is an informal name for someone from New Zealand, and happily it is not considered offensive.

The original name for the formation was going to be Australasian Army Corp, but the New Zealand contingent rightfully kicked up a stink and the name was changed.
 
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