The myth of german better preparedness for a war in 1942 or 1944


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
in the field , the Germans outnumbered the Soviet Army until late 1942 ,
during offensive the soviet outnumbered the Germans at the local point of attack , but were pretty much equal or less on other areas
for Kursk the forces were in the proportion of 2/3 in favor of the soviets defending for the original assault but 15 to one when Cherniakovsky bursted on the back of Model
it's not that he had plenty but that the Germans had depleted their ranks
that would be the whole story for late 43 to the fall of 44 ,
the soviets had superior numbers at the point of attack and excellent intelligence of the Germans order of battle
they attacked weakness after some diversion which unerringly the Germans jumped at .

the Germans had miserable intelligence with a perfect record of being wrong every times , sitting down in static position
with their weak reserves running around too late to the wrong place to be minced in their turn
they were like a rabbits in the headlights of an oncoming truck

German generals were brilliant tactician but miserable strategists ,
they spend tons of ink and paper fubbling their poor records and excusing themselves of various blunders and crimes

if one discount the year 1941 , the ratio of loses for both tend to move toward a 3/2 ratio ,not bad for the attacking side
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Aug 2013
That sounds like nonsense.
It is, 10:1, endless hordes or even 2:1 overall strengths are all myths coming from the exuses of German generals the OP mentions.

The Germans and the Axis as a whole had numerical superiority in the number of fighting men during Barbarossa and the balance only tipped during the course of 1942. Now for sure the Red Army had plenty of other problems too, but in general, the Germans were only advancing when/where they were numerically superior.

Oil was certainly a factor for the Germans and also the ever increasing lines of supply. This was the entire reasoning behind Fall Blau in 1942 - Germany needed to get the oil then while at the same time depriving the Soviets of that same oil. When Fall Blau failed, the war was pretty much decided, and the best Germany could hope for after that was a negotiated peace.

Lend-Lease did not have enough impact to help the Soviets stop the Germans, it was only a small trickle at that point. It did grow enough in volume to be of serious help in driving the Germans back in 1943 and onwards.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Did some searching in my books and this is from "A world at arms " from Gerhard L. Weinberg

" Once Germany had by her rapid rearmament gained a head start over her neighbors ,the sooner she struck, the greater the chances for success.
The longer war was postponed, the more likely it would be that rearmament program inaugurated by others in response to the menace from Germany
could catch up with and surpass that of the third Reich.
lacking within her original borders the economic resources for the repeated replacement of one set of weapons by more modern ones
Germany could either strike while she still had an advantage over others or see the balance of strength shift in favor of her potential adversaries... others brought into production on their greater economic base more recently developed and more numerous weapons "

for memory the ME 109 was a generation older than the spitfire and the T-34 one generation above the PZKW-3
within a few months the production lines would be able to produce enough to re- equip the armies
other weapon systems were in the same situation .
it's all about budgetary allocation, by Munich time the Western allies got serious money into re-armament ,
much to the spite of Hitler, they bough production time with the carcass of Czechoslovakia

The issue was not would Germany would be stronger by 1942 ? yes , she would
the issue is, would her qualitative advantage be greater ? no it wouldn't
The main operational advantage of Germany was its integrated arms control through radio , it's most advanced weapon system in actual use
this was imitated and equaled by 1943 by her adversaries
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Ad Honoris
May 2014
Eh, 1939 seems like the best year for Germany to attack. It's when the production differential is most in their favour IIRC, and they've had a few years to get start rearming after they tore away the Versailles restrictions.
A delay would have meant that Britain and France would have had more time to rearm, no? If so, it appears that your point here is spot-on.

Had France challenged the remilitarisation of the Rhineland in 1936 in force Hitler would merely have been one in a long list of failed 20th century dictators.
For this to actually succeed in permanently derailing Hitler, you might very well need to have the French march straight to Berlin right afterwards.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
in 1936 there was no appetite for war in France and no support whatsoever for it in Britain ,
the French got badly burned as the bad guy during the military occupation of the Rhur in 1923
hitler was still not taken as anything more than one of the many nationalists infesting the continent
and some saw merit in his claims of Germany being hard done by
Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
One of the reasons the Germans did so well 39-41 is simply they were more prepared in 'relative' terms. If the nazi's had delayed, their opponents may have been more capable to stop them. Hitler accidentally attacked at the right time.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about WW2.

The French military operated on a system of professional soldiers, not mass mobilization of conscripts. Which means that the French would need the money to mobilize their standing army, which they did not have since the whole world was on an economic downturn, depression arguably but certainly a recession or on the verge of one. If the French started a war in 1936 it would have severely damaged their economy and turned public opinion against the government. The French populace was already against the war as a result of WW1 and ill suited to fight the war anyway. The British and Polish were not inclined to fight in 1936 either and French action in 1936 would have been seen as enabling the Soviets, due to the 1934/35 Franco-Soviet Pact, which Britain, Poland and Germany all resented.

The potential military concerns are extremely complex.
For starters the French would need access to Belgium in order to carry out an offensive into Germany, which Belgium was unwilling to do at that time. The French army commanders rejected any proposals to wage offensive war into Germany in 1936 and the French army did not have the soldiers on hand at that exact moment. While the Germans were unprepared to fight any conflict in 1936, an actual war would have led to either the Germans conceding or having them organizing for an all out war which the French probably wouldn't have won except with extremely high casualties (for which they required Belgian compliance to fight the Germans anyway). The actual proposal for "invading Germany" wasn't even an all out invasion either, it was merely to keep the Germans from reoccupying the Rhineland. The French commanders understandably interpreted German actions as being supported by large forces, though incorrect since the Germans only sent a couple of Divisions. But there was no serious proposal by the military to fight Germany, only among political circles was this ever considered.

So in either case it wouldn't have changed much, maybe sway public opinion in Germany against France some more, more so than in 1923-1928 which likely would have been a political victory for Hitler's government anyway. For context the 1923 French Occupation of the Ruhr caused an uproar in Germany which led directly to the Munich Putsch as well as many other coup attempts across Germany. It also prompted Hitler to rethink his political position to include "the French Question" and was a leading issue in the 1928 German Federal Election. In France there was also political turmoil since this incident also coincides with the political riots and demonstrations and then the political persecutions in France carried out from 1934 to 1936, as well as the 1936 French Legislative Elections. A war with Germany in 1936 was simply bad politics.
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Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
Because they needed to outflank German positions by moving through Belgium. If not to attack then at the very least to defend Belgium and keep the Germans from invading through Belgium. This was the case in 1914, 1936, 1939 and 1944.


Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
Because they needed to outflank German positions by moving through Belgium. If not to attack then at the very least to defend Belgium and keep the Germans from invading through Belgium. This was the case in 1914, 1936, 1939 and 1944.
in 1936 I dont think Germany was in a position to attack Belgium if it were already engaged in a war with France

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