The most impressive fighting withdrawal in history

Apr 2019
42
world
Hitler was not thinking planning any grand gesture of letting British Army retreat so he could win hewarts of British to love him and Nazi philosophy so there could be peace. All those vague claims he made on Army Group A field HQ on 24 May 1940 (he visited Army Group HQ AFTER Army Group Commander General Von Rundstedt made Halt Order with support of Panzer Group Commander General Von Kleist on their own same morning. Since they were leading and commanding the armies and campaign they saw that they extended too far after two weeks of constant advace , panzer divisions needed a rest and resupply and replacements since combat attrition and mechanical breakdowns took out most of armored vehicles in panzer units. That was when Hitler learned Halt Order and supported field commanders rather than OKW staff officers in Berlin whom he distrusted due to domestic party politics) were later twisted by later German and Nazi biased historians that Hitler had been so humanatarian and peaceful , did not wish war , he won the war anyway etc...

Frankly evacuating their army (only field army British had back then) so they could fight on and return back is much better and honorable than trying to capture a city because it has Stalins name (Stalingrad) and hold its ruins rather meanwhile waitng an entire army than focusing campaign goals two years later in Caucausian Campaign in 1942.

If there was signals intelligence back then (Germans reading Royal Navy wireless partially but relations between German Navy , Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe was quite bad , coordination between armed forces of Germany-except close tactical air support of army-was terrible) as for sattalite technology if that existed back then maybe neither Pearl Harbor attaack would not be a smashing sucess nor Battle of Midway would be a decisive US victory , nor could Allies catch Germans suprised in D-Day.....If only....if only. But then there was no sattalitte technology in 1940'ies..there is that. (and intelligence process in among varios departments of German Armed Forces high Command was quite bad even if they had perfect intelligence) That is the historical fact. Not what if counter fact gaming.

I can't really disprove an argument about logistics because I have no primary sources. Maybe if sometime there is a 1:1 simulation about this based on train tonnage and quartermasters journals, then we could see if that argument can be tested.

Also, I'm not implying what the British did somehow made the Nazis or Hitler honourable: I'm just saying that Dunkirk was a last ditch improvised evacuation, that worked better than anyone expected. It was only necessary because a of a cascading set of diplomatic and finally military disasters that led to the BEF being cornered just out of arms length of the german juggernaut. I was admonished for being off-topic, but so is the issue of dunkirk. The topic calls for a _fighting_ retreat. Show me any serious fighting in the whole dreary affair.

Also the French share equal shame with the gross ingratitude they showed during the liberation of Paris. De Gaulle's "True fighting france" had actually put its hands up after sedan.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,240
T'Republic of Yorkshire
"How is sneaking away from retreat anything but an inglorious manoeuvre"

That is just laughable, glory had nothing to do with the matter, the Germans had won the battle for France and all the British had left to do was to withdraw as many of their men as they could, to prevent them from being captured and to have an army to be able to fight in the future. Neither diplomacy nor war has anything to do with "glory", it is always the matter of making the best of the situation in the circumstances in which those who are negotiating or fighting find themselves.
How does the saying go - there are old soldiers, and there are bold soldiers. There are no old, bold soldiers.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,646
Spain
Although Glory means happiness before God, it is also understood as "Fame", "Honor". So, I agree wih Linschoten about WW2... not honor at all by any side... it was the Industrial War....but yes, in War you can find the Glory and Honor (at least between 16th to 18th Centuries.. I also add some actions in 19th centuries and in 1914 - 1918)...

Don García de Paredes (Aquiles de España) and Monsieur Bayard (Le chavalier sans peur et sans reproche ) were always in search of glory for the honor of their sovereigns and fame of their kingdoms....nothing as that took place in the 1939 - 1945 Industrial War... I agree with Linschoten... not honor and not glory, not fame in that industrial war...it was a war made by proletarians and burgueois... What that kind of people know about Honor, Glory or Fame?

So... i think the last remains of Honor and Glory were buried in Flanders, Carso or Galitzia in 1914 - 1918.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
How does the saying go - there are old soldiers, and there are bold soldiers. There are no old, bold soldiers.
An uncle of mine escaped from Dunkirk on one of the small boats, he didn't have any complaint about being deprived of the opportunity for a glorious death; and the way in which his escape was secured was in fact rather remarkable, the 'legend' of Dunkirk was not all a matter of compensatory myth-making!
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,240
T'Republic of Yorkshire
An uncle of mine escaped from Dunkirk on one of the small boats, he didn't have any complaint about being deprived of the opportunity for a glorious death; and the way in which his escape was secured was in fact rather remarkable, the 'legend' of Dunkirk was not all a matter of compensatory myth-making!
Indeed. "Glory" is a vastly overrated concept, often advocated by people who have never actually served in a war.

Japanese troops died "glorious" deaths by the thousands on the beaches of the Pacific islands, and what did they achieve, other than depriving their country of an entire generation?
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
Although Glory means happiness before God, it is also understood as "Fame", "Honor". So, I agree wih Linschoten about WW2... not honor at all by any side... it was the Industrial War....but yes, in War you can find the Glory and Honor (at least between 16th to 18th Centuries.. I also add some actions in 19th centuries and in 1914 - 1918)...

Don García de Paredes (Aquiles de España) and Monsieur Bayard (Le chavalier sans peur et sans reproche ) were always in search of glory for the honor of their sovereigns and fame of their kingdoms....nothing as that took place in the 1939 - 1945 Industrial War... I agree with Linschoten... not honor and not glory, not fame in that industrial war...it was a war made by proletarians and burgueois... What that kind of people know about Honor, Glory or Fame?

So... i think the last remains of Honor and Glory were buried in Flanders, Carso or Galitzia in 1914 - 1918.
I come from a military family and my father fought his way through Africa, across to the landing in Sicily (where he was awarded an MC for leading his men to safety and even capturing prisoners after being landed miles from the proper place) and then up through Italy; there was much concern for honour among officers of his generation - although they wouldn't have expressed it in quite that way - but none at all for glory or fame, such considerations would have seemed indecent in the circumstances. The glory of the regiment, perhaps.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,646
Spain
I come from a military family and my father fought his way through Africa, across to the landing in Sicily (where he was awarded an MC for leading his men to safety and even capturing prisoners after being landed miles from the proper place) and then up through Italy; there was much concern for honour among officers of his generation - although they wouldn't have expressed it in quite that way - but none at all for glory or fame, such considerations would have seemed indecent in the circumstances. The glory of the regiment, perhaps.
Yes I understand. Also I come from a military family ... but I think the Industrial Revolution and industrial mass and mentality destroyed the sense of "fame", "Glory" and "Honor"... I read a lot about wars between Spain-France-United Kingdom-Prussia-Austria etc... and I could seee lot of facts about "Glory" and "Honor"... Also we can find in 1914- 1918 in some aspects...and yes, to look for glory would have seemed indecent in WW2 because save Churchill...and DeGaulle... any other politician came from Nobility...(Not Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin...etc etc)..

Well, European Nobility was educated and instructed for War... for them War was a "kind of game"....nor proletariat nor Bourgeois has been educated from birth to fight in war... that´s the reason because the "bourgeois/proletariat" war is more terrible than the "Aristocrat" war.... often average people don´t accept death as yes it was accepted by Nobility for centuries.
 
Apr 2019
42
world
Kesselrings war in italy
Yeah, while the Italians melted away, the Germans whipped themselves into new heights of sadomascohistic rage and fought on. The Gothic line for example was one of the most impressive fortifications in modern warfare. I guess when you have a slave-army of millions you can do such projects quickly. Sounds harsh but thats how the third reichs war economy powered itself. They literally captured people to work in farms and factories in germany by blockading streets in poland or ukraine and forcing people in trucks. They brought the attitude of 18th century plantation economy to a european nation with long traditions of high civilisation.

“After the invasion of the USSR, Hitler’s contempt for what they stood for was reflected by award of the south-west Ukraine to the Romanians and of Galicia to the General Government. Rosenberg’s hopes of an independent Ukraine vanished, and when the Abwehr’s OUN-B units mutinied in protest they were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In Koch’s Reich Commissariat all Ukrainian activism was driven underground. ‘No German soldier will ever die for that ni**er people,’ Koch declared, adding that whenever he met an intelligent Ukrainian he felt obliged to shoot him.24”

Excerpt From: Mazower, Mark. “Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe.” iBooks.

220px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-E10855,_Polen,_Juden_zur_Zwangsarbeit_befohlen.jpg320px-Lapanka_zoliborz_warszawa_Polska_1941.jpg
 
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Mar 2019
1,839
Kansas
Indeed. "Glory" is a vastly overrated concept, often advocated by people who have never actually served in a war.
Sun Tzu made a point in his book to always allow the enemy a way to avoid dying for glory. Otherwise he will fight with super human strength because he clearly has nothing left to live for
 
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