Hitler's military mistakes

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,675
It would have been costly but doable. Acceptable losses. Remember, the "staggering" casualties taken by Fallschirmjäger and other troops that assaulted Crete were only high in relation to those lost in Poland and France. They were nothing to compared to what happened during Barbarossa, let alone the winter of 41-42 and subsequent years. By the time the operation to take Malta was set to occur, spring '42, Germany would have been willing to lose numerous divisions to achieve a legit operational victory.
Those at Crete he dropped into AA fire were whiped out, not just staggering loosses, slaughtered. 50% losses (overall losses in crete) in a few days is beyond anything in Barbaossa or the winter of 41-42.


And ALL of Malta is rocky. Landing on Rocks with paratroopers, not good,

In April to june 1941 , 221 Hurricanes were sent to Malta, the vast majority arriving. This was during the German air offensive, ( I surprised just how many were sent)

Club Run - Wikipedia
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Those at Crete he dropped into AA fire were whiped out, not just staggering loosses, slaughtered. 50% losses (overall losses in crete) in a few days is beyond anything in Barbaossa or the winter of 41-42.

And ALL of Malta is rocky. Landing on Rocks with paratroopers, not good,

In April to june 1941 , 221 Hurricanes were sent to Malta, the vast majority arriving. This was during the German air offensive, ( I surprised just how many were sent)

Club Run - Wikipedia
Wrong. We're talking less than three divisions worth of troops. 50% does not mean wiped out, wiped out means wiped out, 100%. And the assaulting forces didn't even suffer a total of 50% casualties. What they suffer was acceptable, because they won. It was only in the context of when it happened, just before Barbarossa kicked off, and considering the relative unimportance of Crete and that it was only attacked because they figured it would be weak, that those losses were thought to be severe.

Take Smolesk as a further example of acceptable losses. July 1941, one month after Crete was wrapped up. Over 140,000 German casualties, also resulting in the loss of far too many panzers belonging to the schwerpunkt of Army Group Center. Those tanks were not replaced, those lost troops were not replaced, while Germany drove deeper to the East afterwards.

With the strategic and operational importance of Malta, and will more supporting assets by units actually taking the mission seriously (which planners of Crete did not really do), they'd have been more willing to accept losses, while performing risk mitigation in the planning cycle to use more firepower to prevent them. Kesselring was not the same person as the individuals who planned Operation Mercury were.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,948
There was no where to land gliders other than the airfields, paratroopers dropping into defenders positions with AA guns is a slaughter. It;s a very small Island with desnity of defenders There is no place you could drop that would not be outside the range of AA guns.
AA gun can be neutralized by air and/or sea bombardment (there were not that many anyways)....with no british reinforcements coming the axis could afford to bombard for several days to degrade british defenses..... plus these landings can take place at night to further hamper AA fire

As a comparison the D Day landing covered a frontage of some 80 KM (which is more or less the total frontage of Malta, along its 4 sides) and the germans had some 50 000 troops in the area.... allies paras dropped a few km from the beaches
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,675
Wrong. We're talking less than three divisions worth of troops. 50% does not mean wiped out, wiped out means wiped out, 100%. And the assaulting forces didn't even suffer a total of 50% casualties
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Around 50% in a few days. There is a bit of debate about paratrooper losses on crete. Losses of actual paratroopers dropped not all forces involved.
Those dropping into actaul AA guns suffered much more heavily.

Take Smolesk as a further example of acceptable losses. July 1941, one month after Crete was wrapped up. Over 140,000 German casualties, also resulting in the loss of far too many panzers belonging to the schwerpunkt of Army Group Center. Those tanks were not replaced, those lost troops were not replaced, while Germany drove deeper to the East afterwards.
.
Absolute numbers meaningless. Find me higher losses as a porportional of troops involved over the same number of days.


With the strategic and operational importance of Malta, and will more supporting assets by units actually taking the mission seriously (which planners of Crete did not really do), they'd have been more willing to accept losses, while performing risk mitigation in the planning cycle to use more firepower to prevent them. Kesselring was not the same person as the individuals who planned Operation Mercury were.
Given german planning performance assuming better performance seems unwarreented. Just how coul dfire power help? Naval bobbardment and airstrikes cannot be going in at the same time paratroops are landing.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Around 50% in a few days. There is a bit of debate about paratrooper losses on crete. Losses of actual paratroopers dropped not all forces involved.
Those dropping into actaul AA guns suffered much more heavily.
So is 50%=100%? No. Its half, not whole. All German forces got mauled, not just paratroopers or glider infantry(many of whom weren't even trained in airborne operations). It was a slapdash operation, planned rapidly, with poor staff work.

Absolute numbers meaningless. Find me higher losses as a porportional of troops involved over the same number of days.
Its not meaningless. You are discounting it because in June 1941 Germany took just over 20,000 casualties. Meanwhile in July 1941, in Army Group Center's operational theater alone, not counting side operations done by ACM, nor operations being conducted by AGN nor AGS, they took over a 120,000 just to take Smolesk. That shows what the Germans were willing to commit in order to take something of importance.

Given german planning performance assuming better performance seems unwarreented. Just how coul dfire power help? Naval bobbardment and airstrikes cannot be going in at the same time paratroops are landing.
Naval gunfire can suppress some targets while attempting to annihilate others (render them further inop). If you think Operation Mercury was well planned, you know nothing about the battle of Crete. Even the Germans knew it had been rushed and planned poorly. Kesselring was 1) A field marshal 2) Respected by Hitler, and thus more power than any of the competing officers in a fractured chain of command that had planned the invasion of Crete. He had access to better intelligence at the time (especially since Black Code was still operational). He had more support, more forces at his disposal. The only thing he didn't have was a subordinate who followed orders, Rommel, who violated orders and drove further east, having enough success at the time to warrant Hitler intervening to reinforce his success, which ultimately culminated in the eventual El Alamein battles. Rommel squandered the fighting power of the German forces and got nothing to show for it. At least taking Malta would have helped contain the Allies in the Mediterranean. Rommel trying to take Egypt was nothing more than "I won at Gazala and then took Tobruk, I guess I should keep going. Charge!"
 
May 2017
213
Monterrey
Wrong. We're talking less than three divisions worth of troops. 50% does not mean wiped out, wiped out means wiped out, 100%. And the assaulting forces didn't even suffer a total of 50% casualties. What they suffer was acceptable, because they won. It was only in the context of when it happened, just before Barbarossa kicked off, and considering the relative unimportance of Crete and that it was only attacked because they figured it would be weak, that those losses were thought to be severe.

Take Smolesk as a further example of acceptable losses. July 1941, one month after Crete was wrapped up. Over 140,000 German casualties, also resulting in the loss of far too many panzers belonging to the schwerpunkt of Army Group Center. Those tanks were not replaced, those lost troops were not replaced, while Germany drove deeper to the East afterwards.

With the strategic and operational importance of Malta, and will more supporting assets by units actually taking the mission seriously (which planners of Crete did not really do), they'd have been more willing to accept losses, while performing risk mitigation in the planning cycle to use more firepower to prevent them. Kesselring was not the same person as the individuals who planned Operation Mercury were.
If you base your knowledge of military operations on RTS games then perhaps 50% losses don't seem excessive. But IRL such a unit would be considered destroyed/inoperable. Defending units can remain operational even with high losses, but only for the purpose of static defence. I mean this is no rocket science: if a division loses half of its men and material there is no way that it can function as a divsion anymore. Of course, it can function in other ways.

I mean, you have a job, no? If half the people there suddenly got fired would the company still work just the same?

Malta is basically just rocks, with plenty of heights that cover empty and rocky ground. I think there's like one real forest on the island, and even that is man-made. It's the worst possible location of amphibious or airlanding operations.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,675
AA gun can be neutralized by air and/or sea bombardment (there were not that many anyways)....with no british reinforcements coming the axis could afford to bombard for several days to degrade british defenses..... plus these landings can take place at night to further hamper AA fire
Aorund 172 AA guns. Enough for the small area defended. The German air offensive did not reduce the AA guns.

As a comparison the D Day landing covered a frontage of some 80 KM (which is more or less the total frontage of Malta, along its 4 sides) and the germans had some 50 000 troops in the area.... allies paras dropped a few km from the beaches
The e Land area of Normandy was much much greater than that of Malta. Your math is fundamentally flawed.


For losses on contested paratroop landings on crete

The 480- men of the 2nd Battalion Fallschirmjager Regiment 1 suffered 312 men killed, 108 men wounded within 20 minuites of landing.
In the first 12 hours 3,000 paratoopers were killed or wounded almost half the paratrooper force. 12 hours.

source

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a401127.pdf
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,675
So is 50%=100%? No. Its half, not whole. All German forces got mauled, not just paratroopers or glider infantry(many of whom weren't even trained in airborne operations). It was a slapdash operation, planned rapidly, with poor staff work.
Any airbourne opertaions would have been planned by Student. Same guys would have planned Malta as cerete.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
If you base your knowledge of military operations on RTS games then perhaps 50% losses don't seem excessive. But IRL such a unit would be considered destroyed/inoperable. Defending units can remain operational even with high losses, but only for the purpose of static defence. I mean this is no rocket science: if a division loses half of its men and material there is no way that it can function as a divsion anymore. Of course, it can function in other ways.

I mean, you have a job, no? If half the people there suddenly got fired would the company still work just the same?

Malta is basically just rocks, with plenty of heights that cover empty and rocky ground. I think there's like one real forest on the island, and even that is man-made. It's the worst possible location of amphibious or airlanding operations.
50% was acceptable. How do I know this for a fact?

BECAUSE GERMANY WON THE BATTLE OF CRETE
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Any airbourne opertaions would have been planned by Student. Same guys would have planned Malta as cerete.
Student wasn't the only one who planned Crete. I love how you jumped onto Wikipedia in the 5 minutes since my last post. Now go read who else was involved from within the Wehrmacht in planning that operation, including those who outranked Student.

Now tell me which one of them outranked Kesselring and would have been able to pressure/bully him into conducting an operation in a way he didn't want to do it.

There was one person. His name was Rommel.