How to Refight WW2

Sep 2013
819
Chattanooga, TN
#51
Very interesting thread, Chlodio. I wish you would make a similar thread about Confederate mistakes in the American Civil War.


Hitler's ghost ruminates for 15 years on his mistakes and circa 1960 puts pen to paper in a book entitled "How I Would Do it Differently if I Could Do it All Over Again." In his book, Hitler devotes one chapter to each of his major mistakes. List the chapter titles and include a short, one sentence synopsis of what each chapter is about.

Here's my list to get us started:
Chapter 1 Prewar Preparation - fewer battleships, more submarines and maritime strike aircraft
How many battleships did the Germans have? The only battleship that I know of that the Germans had in WW2 is the Bismark. That sounds like a sound strategy though. The Germans put a lot of resources into the Bismark only to have her sunk without having done any good.

Chapter 2 The Phony War - very few mistakes here, fewer naval losses in the Norway Campaign would have been nice
The stated purpose of this thread is to assess Nazi German mistakes in WW2. Just saying fewer navals losses in a campaign would have been nice is not meaningful in terms of assessing German mistakes. That's like assessing Confederate mistakes in the Civil War and saying "losing fewer Confederate troops in battle would have been nice." It does not tell us anything about what the Germans could have done differently.

Chapter 3 The French Campaign - first big mistake of the war was letting the BEF escape at Dunkirk
Please elaborate on this. Did the Germans have the troops mobilized and available to destroy the BEF at Dunkirk?

Chapter 4 The Battle of Britain - did this even have to be fought? If yes, stick to one strategy
To me, this implies that the Germans did not stick to one strategy in the Battle of Britain. What are the multiple strategies that the Germans used? Which one strategy should the Germans have used?

Chapter 5 Keep Developing New Weapons
In what war throughout history would the losing side have not benefitted from developing new weapons? If there is not such an example, the statement is not meaningful.

Chapter 6 North Africa - deploy more airpower to the Mediterranean, capture Malta, sink the Royal Navy
I suspect that the Germans used all the airpower that the Germans had available in WW2. I doubt that the Germans had a lot of extra bombers and fighter planes available and just decided "No, I don't want to bother to use these planes. We will just keep them in the aircraft hangar for the duration of the war.". Where should the Germans had deployed less airpower to compensate for deploying more airpower to the Mediterranean?

How would capturing Malta have helped the Germans? Please elaborate.


Chapter 7 The Balkans Campaign - finish the job before moving on/ Why capture Crete if you're not going to use it?
How did the Germans not finish the Balkans Campaign before moving on? What should the Germans have used Crete for?

Chapter 8 Barbarosa - set realistic objectives and stick to them
How were German objectives in Barbarosa not realistic?

Chapter 9 Stalingrad - better to destroy enemy armies than to capture his cities
Wasn't the Soviet Army in Stalingrad so that you had to do one to do the other?

Chapter 10 Kursk - better to attack sooner rather than let your enemy prepare
Okay.

Chapter 11 Mobile Defenses are Better Than Fixed Defenses
Okay.


Chapter 12 The Bombing Campaigns - never lose control of the air
How could the Germans have kept control of the air? Just saying "Never lose control of the air" and leaving it at that is like saying "The Confederates made a mistake in the Civil War by letting the Union capture Vicksburg" and leaving it at that. It's like listing mistakes that the University of Alabama football team made in the National Championship game against Clemson and saying "Alabama made the mistake of not scoring more points than Clemson" and saying nothing else. Meaningless on its own.



Chapter 13 D-Day - early to bed and early to rise... or the value of delegation
Please elaborate.


Chapter 14 The Battle of the Bulge - maybe these forces should have been used elsewhere
Okay.


Chapter 15 The Bunker - the Alps are lovely in the spring
What in the nation does that mean?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,523
Dispargum
#52
Gray Fox,
In the OP I only asked for a short, one sentence synopsis of each chapter, but if you want more details, here goes:
Chapter 1 fewer battleships, more submarines and maritime strike aircraft. Someone above, maybe Lord Fairfax, pointed out that Germany did not have a good torpedo bomber. So if Hitler had it to do over again, maybe he would have put more R&D effort into torpedo bombers and other maritime strike aircraft. Circa 1942 Hitler gave up on surface warfare and put all subsequent naval resources into submarines. If he had it to do over again, maybe he would have skipped battleships altogether and just gone straight to submarines. In the 1930s, Germany built two battlecruisers, two battleships, plus started but did not complete two more battleships plus two aircraft carriers. Hitler should have learned from Wilhelm II's experience that Britain was always going to be more motivated to keep control of the sea than Germany ever would be to take it away from Britain. The one chance that Germany had to really hurt Britain was with the U-boats.
Chapter 2 fewer naval losses in Norway. You're right, it's easier said than done. Hitler's options might include skipping the Norway campaign altogether or attempting a less audacious plan. It was relatively easy and safe to invade Southern Norway near Oslo. That was a part of the ocean where the Royal Navy did not operate. Attacking Norway's west coast, especially as far north as Narvik, exposed the Kriegsmarine to the Royal Navy and Germany paid the price.
Chapter 3 Dunkirk. As some posters in this thread have noted, destroying the BEF in a ground attack would have been difficult. The German armored formations were disorganized and exhausted by their rapid advance to Abbeville. On the other hand I do believe the German Army stopped fighting out of a belief that the BEF could not escape. I think there was some untapped potential there that the Germans failed to utilize.
Chapter 4 Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe kept changing their strategy just as some of these strategies may have been paying off. The first Luftwaffe attacks were on convoys in the English Channel. These were so successful the British stopped sailing some types of convoys. When the Luftwaffe shifted to attacking ground targets in England they had less success - probably because it took the Luftwaffe longer to reach their targets and the British had more time to react. If there were no more convoy targets, the Luftwaffe could have bombed ports along the south coast - keep the range short and keep the combat over the Channel, not over England. A German pilot who bailed out over the Channel might be picked up by German air/sea rescue. A German pilot who bailed out over England was a POW. The same is true in reverse for British pilots. Bail out over the Channel and you might drown or be captured by German air/sea rescue. Bail out over England and you can fly again tomorrow. In Phase 2, the Germans bombed British radars. Radar was critical to British success, but the Germans gave up almost immediately. In Phase 3 the Germans switched to bombing British airfields. They had some success here but then they switched to bombing cities - Phase 4. Bombing British cities resulted in much higher German losses - the highest of the Battle of Britain. Had they picked one plan and stuck with it, they may have had more success.
Chapter 5 Keep developing new weapons. This refers to a famous order by Hitler in the summer of 1940 cancelling the development of all weapons that could not be fielded by 1942. As a result jet fighters, the V-1, the V-2, and other wunder weapons were all delayed and only became operational when it was too late for Germany to win the war. Germany's atomic bomb may have been a similar casualty.
Chapter 6 More airpower in the Mediterranean - this goes back to chapter 1 - develop more maritime strike aircraft. You're right, Germany did not withold available aircraft, but what if they had more aircraft available? And the right types of aircraft. North Africa was all about supply. Rommel was not going to win so long as the Royal Navy controlled the Med.
Chapter 7 Crete could have been developed into a bomber base that was in range of the naval base at Alexandria, Egypt. Again, using air power to defeat the Royal Navy. The Balkans Campaign was rushed. The Germans were anticipating Barbarosa and were not as thorough in Yugoslavia as they should have been. Too much of the Yugoslav Army escaped into the mountains where they reorganized as partisans. For the rest of the war Germany had an internal security problem in Yugoslavia.
Chapter 8 Barbarosa's objectives - I think the Germans overemphasized the importance of Moscow. The Germans lacked the fuel reserves to sustain a six month offensive. The big battles of encirclement in 1941 were probably more useful for Germany, but the capture of cities like Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev were competing objectives that served only to distract the Germans from more useful goals.
Chapter 9 The Soviet Army was everywhere, not just at Stalingrad. The Gemans were really good at battles of encirclement, but there was no opportunity to do that in Stalingrad. The Germans ended up fighting the wrong kind of battle. Had they fought the Soviets somewhere else, they may have had a better chance at victory.
Chapter 12 The air war. Maybe you're right.
Chapter 13 D-Day. This refers to the famous story of Hitler staying up late on the night of June 5 and sleeping late on the morning of the 6th. No one wanted to wake him up and tell him about D-Day. Because Hitler retained personal control over the armor reserves in France, the tanks didn't start moving toward Normandy until relatively late in the day. Either delegate control of the tanks or keep regular hours.
Chapter 15 The Bunker - Hitler could have abandoned Berlin before it was surrounded and cut off and could have gone to Berchtesgarden instead. He probably could have held out in the mountains longer than he did in Berlin. Had he gone to the Alps, he may have been captured by the Americans rather than killing himself to avoid capture by the Soviets.
 
Likes: grey fox
Sep 2013
819
Chattanooga, TN
#53
Gray Fox,
In the OP I only asked for a short, one sentence synopsis of each chapter, but if you want more details, here goes:
Chapter 1 fewer battleships, more submarines and maritime strike aircraft. Someone above, maybe Lord Fairfax, pointed out that Germany did not have a good torpedo bomber. So if Hitler had it to do over again, maybe he would have put more R&D effort into torpedo bombers and other maritime strike aircraft. Circa 1942 Hitler gave up on surface warfare and put all subsequent naval resources into submarines. If he had it to do over again, maybe he would have skipped battleships altogether and just gone straight to submarines. In the 1930s, Germany built two battlecruisers, two battleships, plus started but did not complete two more battleships plus two aircraft carriers. Hitler should have learned from Wilhelm II's experience that Britain was always going to be more motivated to keep control of the sea than Germany ever would be to take it away from Britain. The one chance that Germany had to really hurt Britain was with the U-boats.
Okay.


Chapter 2 fewer naval losses in Norway. You're right, it's easier said than done. Hitler's options might include skipping the Norway campaign altogether or attempting a less audacious plan. It was relatively easy and safe to invade Southern Norway near Oslo. That was a part of the ocean where the Royal Navy did not operate. Attacking Norway's west coast, especially as far north as Narvik, exposed the Kriegsmarine to the Royal Navy and Germany paid the price.
What was the German's purpose for doing the Norway Campaign?


Chapter 3 Dunkirk. As some posters in this thread have noted, destroying the BEF in a ground attack would have been difficult. The German armored formations were disorganized and exhausted by their rapid advance to Abbeville. On the other hand I do believe the German Army stopped fighting out of a belief that the BEF could not escape. I think there was some untapped potential there that the Germans failed to utilize.
Okay.


Chapter 4 Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe kept changing their strategy just as some of these strategies may have been paying off. The first Luftwaffe attacks were on convoys in the English Channel. These were so successful the British stopped sailing some types of convoys. When the Luftwaffe shifted to attacking ground targets in England they had less success - probably because it took the Luftwaffe longer to reach their targets and the British had more time to react. If there were no more convoy targets, the Luftwaffe could have bombed ports along the south coast - keep the range short and keep the combat over the Channel, not over England. A German pilot who bailed out over the Channel might be picked up by German air/sea rescue. A German pilot who bailed out over England was a POW. The same is true in reverse for British pilots. Bail out over the Channel and you might drown or be captured by German air/sea rescue. Bail out over England and you can fly again tomorrow. In Phase 2, the Germans bombed British radars. Radar was critical to British success, but the Germans gave up almost immediately. In Phase 3 the Germans switched to bombing British airfields. They had some success here but then they switched to bombing cities - Phase 4. Bombing British cities resulted in much higher German losses - the highest of the Battle of Britain. Had they picked one plan and stuck with it, they may have had more success.
Okay.


Chapter 5 Keep developing new weapons. This refers to a famous order by Hitler in the summer of 1940 cancelling the development of all weapons that could not be fielded by 1942. As a result jet fighters, the V-1, the V-2, and other wunder weapons were all delayed and only became operational when it was too late for Germany to win the war. Germany's atomic bomb may have been a similar casualty.
Then there was a point indeed when you wrote this the first time. I stand corrected.


Chapter 6 More airpower in the Mediterranean - this goes back to chapter 1 - develop more maritime strike aircraft. You're right, Germany did not withold available aircraft, but what if they had more aircraft available? And the right types of aircraft. North Africa was all about supply. Rommel was not going to win so long as the Royal Navy controlled the Med.
Okay.

Chapter 7 Crete could have been developed into a bomber base that was in range of the naval base at Alexandria, Egypt. Again, using air power to defeat the Royal Navy. The Balkans Campaign was rushed. The Germans were anticipating Barbarosa and were not as thorough in Yugoslavia as they should have been. Too much of the Yugoslav Army escaped into the mountains where they reorganized as partisans. For the rest of the war Germany had an internal security problem in Yugoslavia.
Okay.


Chapter 8 Barbarosa's objectives - I think the Germans overemphasized the importance of Moscow. The Germans lacked the fuel reserves to sustain a six month offensive. The big battles of encirclement in 1941 were probably more useful for Germany, but the capture of cities like Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev were competing objectives that served only to distract the Germans from more useful goals.
OKay.


Chapter 9 The Soviet Army was everywhere, not just at Stalingrad. The Gemans were really good at battles of encirclement, but there was no opportunity to do that in Stalingrad. The Germans ended up fighting the wrong kind of battle. Had they fought the Soviets somewhere else, they may have had a better chance at victory.
Okay.


Chapter 13 D-Day. This refers to the famous story of Hitler staying up late on the night of June 5 and sleeping late on the morning of the 6th. No one wanted to wake him up and tell him about D-Day. Because Hitler retained personal control over the armor reserves in France, the tanks didn't start moving toward Normandy until relatively late in the day. Either delegate control of the tanks or keep regular hours.
Okay.


Chapter 15 The Bunker - Hitler could have abandoned Berlin before it was surrounded and cut off and could have gone to Berchtesgarden instead. He probably could have held out in the mountains longer than he did in Berlin. Had he gone to the Alps, he may have been captured by the Americans rather than killing himself to avoid capture by the Soviets.
Okay.
 
Oct 2015
345
Belfast
#54
Course - painting

Student - Adolf Hitler

EXAMINER'S REMARKS.

This student has some artistic talent, but not a great deal to be successful. He could benefit with more tuition.

I cautiously award him a pass mark for this examination.
 
Jan 2019
3
GRAVESEND, UK
#55
Hi Grey Fox.

Regarding Chapter 6....Malta ?. A significant island that enabled British and Commonwealth forces to fight effectively in N Africa before and after Operation Torch. A constant thorn in the side of German and Italian ambitions and African/Med campaign with the destruction of vital fuel for Rommel. The Germans missed a great opportunity in early 1941, even late 1940. Germans could have after Sealion postponed redeployed its strong airborne assault forces along with several front line fighter, dive bomber and bomber squadrons to rapidly gain air superiority and force the Royal Navy away so any seaborne support etc would have no opposition. Axis forces would have taken the airfields and sufficient territory away from the British artillery in Valletta and counterattacks by any British Army land units liquidated. A short siege of Valletta with the threat of significant civilian casualties and no reinforcements due to powerful Luftwaffe and Italian forces would have resulted in the capitulation of Malta. OK, Operation Barbarossa comes to mind but the Germans had sufficient strength to deploy at least 8 fighter squadrons, Italians 4, 3 dive bomber and at least 8 bomber squadrons for required air superiority as the RAF late 1940 into 1941 had a handfull of biplanes, very few Hurricanes, no Spitfires and a few slow torpedo bombers. Having visited Malta several times and areas of proposed landings and land topography, in those crucial months German and Italian forces would have won so leaving the Axis supply and troop movements to N Africa with no losses as had happened in 1941-43.
 
Jan 2015
3,194
Rupert's Land ;)
#56
without the Axis alliance (which, as far as I can tell, did Germany no good) the US would likely have warred against Japan and stayed out of Europe.
The US would not be able to war against Japan without the British Empire supporting the embargo


no lend-lease. no massive food supplies to Britain and the USSR.
.
Lend Lease did not depend on Japan, as, FDR was also strongly opposed to the Nazis.
Also, the British & Allies do not depend on US food or supplies, so not sure what the downside would be. (Assuming no war vs Japan)
 
Oct 2016
1,051
Merryland
#57
The US would not be able to war against Japan without the British Empire supporting the embargo.
don't understand this statement. how on earth could the Brits interfere with a USA-Japan war?
what embargo?


Lend Lease did not depend on Japan, as, FDR was also strongly opposed to the Nazis.
Also, the British & Allies do not depend on US food or supplies, so not sure what the downside would be. (Assuming no war vs Japan)
without USA declaring war v Japan they might not have offered lend-lease.
Britain might have survived without USA food but would have been very difficult, as well as for the USSR. not to mention all the US ships and escorts to transport same.
 
Jan 2015
3,194
Rupert's Land ;)
#58
don't understand this statement. how on earth could the Brits interfere with a USA-Japan war?
I do not believe that FDR could support an unprovoked attack against Japan in 1941, and Japan was determined to avoid conflict with the US.
FDR needed Japan to fire the first shot.
US needed British support for the oil embargo.

In July 1941 the US embargoed oil sales to Japan, the Dutch and British Empire also stopped selling oil and metals.
We know from Imperial Japanese records, that Japan did NOT want to attack the US, and ONLY did so because they could not secure oil and metals frtom the Dutch and British.
 
Likes: redcoat
Dec 2014
386
Wales
#60
What about allying with Stalin and liquidating the British Empire together with him?
But Hitler doesn't want to 'liquidate the British Empire', he wants to destroy the Russians. The entire point to WW2 was the German invasion of Russia - the creation of Lebensraum based on Polish and Russian territory is one of the founding tenants of Nazi ideology (not to mention of Hitler's personal ideology). Why would Hitler ally with the Russians? What does Germany get out of it? Hitler is not going to trade the possibility of the Ukraine and Belorussia - the breadbaskets of Russia - for Irag or Syria, especially when he would be dependant on moving his forces thousands of miles through Russian territory to get there. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was a marriage of convenience, and both sides entered it knowing one of them was probably going to break it at some point.

Hitler detests communists, blaming them - along with the Jews - for the defeat of Germany in WW1. Stalin doesn't trust the Germans anymore than they trust him - Russia still remembers the humiliation of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. Both nations are at the heart of expanding empires trying to secure more territory for themselves and share a border almost 3,000 km's long. Both are totalitarian regimes with a history of breaking treaties. Both have massive armies and a willingness to use them. Neither of them like Britain, but they hate and truly detest each other. The Germans regard Britain as a dangerous enemy, but they regard the Russians as sub-human animals to be exterminated

Even long after his death there is nothing that would make Hitler consider allying with the Russians.
 

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