Worst Armchair Generals

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
i would say nothing of Hitler's thought bubbles were thought through at even the basic level to qualify as strategy.
I'd disagree. I think hitler had a better sense of strategy than most of his general staff, who largely disregarded anything associated with politics (which strategyis based on). That was the problem, few contributed, most showed resentment from the beginning, most did deserve to be relieved as they refused to follow national policy. Those that did were unusually useful like Model, who Hitler probably wished he could clone.

I compare the basics of the festerplatz strategy to the US Army conducting numerous "hold at all cost" operations in places like Bastogne, which is basically identical to what Hitler wanted to happen.

I think Hitler's greatest flaw was his refusal in 1944 to allow his forces to build proper defensive lines on rivers. I get his reluctance, it would create a situation where they'd keep having to fall back on them and would be bad for morale, as troops and commanders would be quick to retreat knowing they had another defensive line behind them, and blink and they're back to the Oder or Rhine. But at same time the were simply too many instances or German armies penetrated and others flanked, where retreats were absolutely necessary but there were no defenses to fall back on.

After the big post Kursk Red Army offenses that broke much of Army Group South many Germans figured they were retreating to already built defenses on the Dnieper. Nope, nothing built, so they couldn't hold it long.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,981
I'd disagree. I think hitler had a better sense of strategy than most of his general staff, who largely disregarded anything associated with politics (which strategyis based on). That was the problem, few contributed, most showed resentment from the beginning, most did deserve to be relieved as they refused to follow national policy. Those that did were unusually useful like Model, who Hitler probably wished he could clone.

I compare the basics of the festerplatz strategy to the US Army conducting numerous "hold at all cost" operations in places like Bastogne, which is basically identical to what Hitler wanted to happen.

I think Hitler's greatest flaw was his refusal in 1944 to allow his forces to build proper defensive lines on rivers. I get his reluctance, it would create a situation where they'd keep having to fall back on them and would be bad for morale, as troops and commanders would be quick to retreat knowing they had another defensive line behind them, and blink and they're back to the Oder or Rhine. But at same time the were simply too many instances or German armies penetrated and others flanked, where retreats were absolutely necessary but there were no defenses to fall back on.

After the big post Kursk Red Army offenses that broke much of Army Group South many Germans figured they were retreating to already built defenses on the Dnieper. Nope, nothing built, so they couldn't hold it long.
None of Hitler's interference r strategic Ideas had any sort of nuance. Flat absolute statements. Rank amateurism.

he also replace the heads of staff with pliable yes men rather than those suited to the role. More focused on pliable military than one that was good at it;s job.

German generals staff in both world wars for operations over strategy. I would agree they were often strategically weak. But the sort of simplistic views expressed by Hitler hardly helped.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,285
I don't see where that is true for Churchil or Stalin. Where did they micromanage their generals? And what military defeats were caused by their interference?
Gallipolli for Churchill to start with...... Kiev for Stalin, the biggest military defeat the soviets suffered...(and its not the only one)
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,981
Gallipolli for Churchill to start with...... Kiev for Stalin, the biggest military defeat the soviets suffered...(and its not the only one)
Gallipolli was not solely Churchill decision, nor was the shape of the operation his doing. They were a few hands involved, a lot of professional military, if the Professionals had opposed it unilaterally Chrchill would not have persisted.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,285
None of Hitler's interference r strategic Ideas had any sort of nuance. Flat absolute statements. Rank amateurism.

he also replace the heads of staff with pliable yes men rather than those suited to the role. More focused on pliable military than one that was good at it;s job.

German generals staff in both world wars for operations over strategy. I would agree they were often strategically weak. But the sort of simplistic views expressed by Hitler hardly helped.
First the problem is that the history (as told by the generals, each of whom tends to claim that if HE had been running the war then Germany would have triumphed ) tends to focus on times when Hitler disagreed with his generals, whereas in the majority of cases he agreed with their recommendations. It was also true the other way around, i.e generals often agreed with him... Most importantly Barbarossa was a consensus, one would be hard pressed to find any german general of note who disagreed with Barbarossa prior to June 1941. Conversely german generals often disagreed between themselves (Guderian got a very bad reputation during the 41 campaign, "stealing" units and resources from others, Rommel and Rundstedt could not agree on how to defend France in 1944, Rommel and Kesselring were at odds over how to run the NA campaingn and one could multiply the examples)

Second Hitler brought to the table additional parameters and dimensions that generals simply did not consider: this included resources, notably Oil (manouever warfare is all good and well when you have the Oil for mech/tank divisions.... Germany was running on a shoestring oil budget so at some point prolonged manouevers were no longer an option), diplomacy, nation morale , industrial production etc.... This is not to say that Adolf was always right, just that the german generals were often completely clueless outside of purely military matters and sometimes even clueless in some military matters (for example Rommel was famously disastrous at logistics and poor at strategy and his handling of the italians was, well, suboptimal to be polite)
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,285
Gallipolli was not solely Churchill decision, nor was the shape of the operation his doing. They were a few hands involved, a lot of professional military, if the Professionals had opposed it unilaterally Chrchill would not have persisted.
That is always the case, is it not.. .it does not relieve him of the responsibility for this disaster....
 
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Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,544
Japan
Beresford - great trainer, organiser and all round good guy. Probably shouldn’t have commanded more than a Division though.

McClennan. - sound knowledge. Good on paper. Stirling job training the Potomac. Struggled in the field... couldn’t handle the pressure? Or loved the AoP too much to wreck it in battle?
 
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Sep 2016
1,356
Georgia
At least Hitler did what he could to make Germany lose the war.
Oh yeah ? He also did plenty to make Germany that powerful and to defeat France + Poland. In fact, his resolve and accepting Manstein's plan ( while all others rejected that idea ) were crucial in defeating France so quickly. While generals were convinced that Germany would suffer a major military defeat invading Poland, and invading France.

Stand fast order by Hitler also saved army group center after the failed battle of Moscow because the soviet counterattack would have broken the germans if they didn't dig in and that turned out to be a saving move.
 
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Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,135
Navan, Ireland
There is no need to respond sentence by sentence to another poster. It makes the posts get progressively longer and makes it impossible for other posters to engage in a debate with you *which, I suspect, is why you do it). Quote the other poster and compose just a few blocka of text to answer teh salient points.

This is a friendly request. I would prefer to jeep it that way.
Not quite sure what you mean or how it hinders debate but I will of course comply and I apologise for any inconvenience. .