• Lets take off the table the obvious answers of Barbarossa, declaring war by Germany and Italy on the U.S, and the first two waves at Pearl Harbor as choices.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I’m going to go with Using the people of Western Russia.

    The best way to defeat Russia, is to have Russia defeat herself, by her own people.  Make it turn into a civil war, like the Spanish Civil war.  The Axis should have pushed harder to let those Russian meats kill thier own masters…

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Yea thats what they did in the Great War to defeat Russia… by sending Lenin on that train to agitate and weaken the Czar. Making the operation as a “liberation of communist control” would have worked much more easily than a war of extermination.  Germany organized many nations into fighting in Russia for the purpose of destroying Communism.


  • @ABWorsham:

    Lets take off the table the obvious answers of Barbarossa, declaring war by Germany and Italy on the U.S, and the first two waves at Pearl Harbor as choices.

    Before I attempt to answer your question, I’d like to spend a little time exploring why Germany and Japan made the decisions they made in the first place. In 1940, Britain produced more military aircraft than Germany. In addition, large numbers of U.S.-built planes were sent to Britain for use against Germany, with plans to multiply that number several-fold over the coming years. Germany needed to vastly expand its own production to avoid destruction from the air. For that, it required more resources, a larger labor force, more oil, and more industrial capacity. Its leaders were also gravely concerned about the effect the British food blockade was having on Germany’s food supply. Hitler felt the answers to Germany’s problems could be found to the east, in the Soviet Union. The Russian Army fought poorly during WWI, and the Red Army embarrassed itself during its invasion of Finland in 1940. On the other hand, Hitler believed war between Germany and the U.S.S.R. was inevitable, giving him an incentive to strike quickly, before the Soviets were ready. In 1941, Germany killed or captured fifteen Soviet soldiers for every German soldier lost, resulting in the death or capture of over 4.1 million Soviet soldiers. By the battle of Kursk in 1943, the German combat effectiveness ratio would be reduced to 3:1; and at Stalingrad the Soviets achieved a nearly 1:1 ratio. The Soviets had vastly more people than Germany, so anything remotely approaching a 1:1 ratio spelled certain doom for Germany.

    1942 was the pivotal year for the Axis. Either Germany would strike a decisive blow against the Soviet Union, or else it would doom itself to defeat. Both Hitler and Stalin understood this. Hitler’s plan had been to take the Caucasus. Had he done so, he would have controlled 90% of the Soviets’ oil supply. Also, the Caucasus contained farmland, needed mineral deposits, industrial capacity, and a respectably large population, all of which were needed by German wartime industry. (By 1942, captured Soviet soldiers were starving to death, despite Hitler’s orders that they be fed, because Germany lacked the food with which to feed them. As a result, Germany lost millions of people who–up until their starvation–had been put to work in German factories making weapons.)

    Hitler’s decision to declare war on the U.S. was motivated by four beliefs. 1) The belief that over the short and medium term, the U.S.'s attention would be fully occupied by Japan. 2) the belief that 1942 was the key year of the war, for the reasons described above. The opportunity to sink the large numbers of American ships sending military aid to the Soviets was one Hitler was reluctant to pass up. 3) The belief that the U.S. had already converted its factories into an engine of war against Germany. 4. The belief that in the long run, FDR and other members of the pro-war faction would succeed in getting the U.S. to go to war; just as the American pro-war faction had ultimately succeeded in causing the U.S. to enter WWI.

    With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it’s clear where both Hitler and the Japanese leaders went wrong. Both were guilty of vastly overestimating Japan’s ability to wage war against the U.S. Also, Japan’s leaders totally misjudged the American public’s reaction to their Pearl Harbor attack. The U.S.'s kill Germany first strategy began creating problems on the ground for Germany in late '42 (Algeria). By '43 the U.S. Army, together with the British, had pushed into Italy. Hitler had given Germany too short a window to exert pressure on the Soviets before the German Army would be diverted by the threat of the American Army in the west.

    You said that the obvious answers to your question (such as Barbarossa and the declarations of war on the U.S.) were off the table; and that you were searching for some other “worst mistake” the Axis had made. For the purposes of your question, I will assume that Germany’s decision to attack the Soviet Union in June of '41 is locked in; just as the German and Japanese decisions to go to war against the U.S. in December of '41 were also locked in. The question then becomes, is there anything Germany or Japan could have done to exit one or more of their major wars after having entered them?

    Neither Germany nor Japan could launch a credible invasion of North America. Germany had a very small window of opportunity during which it might have invaded Britain. However, it lacked the surface fleet and transport capacity necessary to take advantage of that opportunity.

    During Hitler’s administration, the German Navy consistently received around 10% of overall military funding. It’s easy to imagine German naval spending being double what it actually was in the period from '37 - '40. The objective would have been to build up a credible surface fleet and transport capacity. After the fall of France, Germany would have used this fleet in a desperation move to take Britain as quickly as possible. This invasion would not necessarily have succeeded. But it might have–especially if, after the fall of France, Germany fully committed itself to making the invasion work. (And was willing to launch the invasion with a less than 100% chance of success.) A successful invasion would have cleared off Germany’s western front, allowing it to fully focus on the coming invasion of the Soviet Union. Germany’s failure to prepare for the invasion of Britain is one possible candidate for worst mistake.

    Assuming Germany had been unable to launch Operation Sea Lion, it still might have been able to win its war against the Soviet Union. To do so, Hitler would have needed to put the right people in charge. Ideally, this would have meant putting Speer in charge of armaments production in 1939 at the latest; with von Manstein given overall responsibility for preparing for war in the east. Von Manstein and Speer would have worked closely with each other to determine the weapons and equipment needed by the German military; and Speer would have done whatever was necessary to provide. Von Manstein would also have been given permission to fight the war as he wanted. Von Manstein’s approach would have been very opportunistic and free-flowing; with the intended goal of inflicting maximum harm on the enemy while minimizing the harm to the German Army. He might sometimes have retreated, in order to tempt the Soviets into an ill-advised advance. Then, when the Soviets were in the process of moving forward–away from their fixed defenses–von Mannstein would counterattack and destroy the Soviet force in question. (The series of battles he directed in the wake of the Stalingrad defeat were a good example of this.) The overall effect of von Manstein’s generalship would have been to maximize Soviet losses while minimizing German losses. He would also have conquered large quantities of ground.

    Most of the German generals opposed the planned blitzkrieg of France, and supported the idea of the attack at Kursk. (The latter was an attack the Soviets obviously knew was coming, and against which they had prepared.) Von Manstein opposed the idea of attacking Kursk, and suggested the Germans attack in the south instead–where the Soviets were not expecting. In addition, he worked together with Guderian to develop the brilliant plan to blitz France. (He opposed the German generals’ idea of re-using the WWI-era Schlieffen Plan.) He was an outside-the-box, unconventional thinker, and rose above the generalship of the German generals or of Hitler. This was the man who should have been given overall responsibility for the war in the east!

    As long as I’m on the “putting the right people in charge” theme, I should also address the subject of Goering. In 1940, Goering greatly reduced the number of engineers allocated to the development of jet aircraft. As though determined to make 1940 a banner year for himself, he persuaded Hitler that the British Expeditionary Force could be destroyed from the air. (And in so persuading, he paved the way for the Dunkirk evacuation.) Determined to top these achievements in 1942, he promised Hitler that the Stalingrad pocket could be adequately supplied by air. Taking the city had been very difficult in the first place–the Germans experienced a 1:1 exchange ratio–so abandoning it would have been very painful. Goering’s ability to over-promise and under-deliver directly led to the German Army’s worst defeat of the war. Practically anyone would have been preferable to Goering, but I’d like to nominate Kesselring for leading the Luftwaffe.

    On the production side, putting the right people in charge would have caused Germany to have more and better aircraft, tanks, and other weapons. The increased number and quality of aircraft could have been decisive in the Battle of Britain. Cooperation between Speer and von Mannstein could have led Germany to produce large numbers of effective yet mechanically simple tanks for use against the Soviet Union. Putting a man of some intelligence in charge of the Luftwaffe could have led to Germany getting jet aircraft significantly sooner than it did. As it was, Germany began using small numbers of jet aircraft in combat in '44. It wasn’t just jet aircraft that Goering had slowed. In general, he opposed Hitler’s faith in “miracle weapons,” thereby causing him to lie about the performance of some of those so-called miracle weapons. For instance, he claimed that a radio-guided bomb Germany had used against a British ship hadn’t worked, that the British had jammed the radio signals, and that the ship had to be sunk by conventional means instead. This kind of misinformation prevented Germany from intelligently allocating resources to the best available miracle weapons projects, while refraining from funding dead ends.

    Had the right people been put in charge back in '38, it’s quite possible that the German summer offensive of ‘42 would have succeeded in its objective. (The objective was to take the Caucasus.) If that objective seems overly ambitious in hindsight, it’s largely because the German military was significantly weaker and less effective than it would have been, had the right people been put in charge. In 1942, the Soviets outproduced Germany by a margin of 3:1 - 4:1 in most major land weapons categories, and by 2:1 with respect to military aircraft. Had Speer been given a few years to build up Germany’s war machine, I do not think he would have let that happen. Hitler’s failure to put the right people in charge is another candidate for “worst Axis mistake.” (This is not to suggest the Allies were perfect about putting the right people in charge–they weren’t–but the Allies’ advantage in industrial capacity and manpower meant they could afford far more mistakes than Germany.)

    The subject of chemical weapons is an interesting one. Germany’s chemical weapons research was significantly more advanced than the Allies’. However, it was understood that, if one side used chemical weapons, the other side would immediately and massively retaliate in kind. Hitler’s decision to refrain from using chemical weapons was made with that understanding in mind. However, chemical weapons programs were secret, and the Germans didn’t realize how far ahead they were in chemical weapons research.

    Suppose Germany had begun using advanced forms of nerve gas in its war against the Soviets. You didn’t actually have to breathe this stuff in for it to kill you: mere exposure to the skin was enough. Had this gas been stored in artillery shells and lobbed against Soviet targets, the results on the battlefield would have been devastating. This weapon would have been especially effective against large numbers of Soviet soldiers concentrated in relatively small areas–such as the area in front of Moscow. German soldiers would have needed gas masks and goggles to deal with retaliatory Allied chemical weapons attacks. Soviet soldiers, on the other hand, would have required complete head-to-toe skin covering, with some material which would allow zero air penetration. It would have taken quite some time to procure such apparel for Soviet soldiers. In the meantime, Germany could have drastically thinned out the Soviets’ numerical advantage, while conquering large amounts of land in the process. (In contrast, Germany would have prepared its soldiers for all this in advance, by giving them the gear necessary to deal with Soviet chemical weapons attacks.)

    There is the fear that, if the Germans used chemical weapons on the battlefield, the Allies might have retaliated by using them against German civilian populations. The use of chemical weapons would have necessitated a significant commitment to Germany’s rocketry program; including the longer-ranged designs Werner von Braun had planned. Had an Allied nation launched a chemical attack on a German city, Germany would have responded by using rockets to deliver a chemical payload to one of the offending Allied nation’s cities.

    There are three different things Germany could have done to have potentially knocked a major Allied participant out of the war. (Preparing for the invasion of Britain, putting the right people in charge, and using chemical weapons against the Red Army.) Of the three, I’m most inclined to vote for the middle one as the biggest mistake. Once you have the right people in charge, they will tend to make whichever decisions need to be made to get the job done.

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I don´t want to be disrespectful Kurt Godel,  but can you bring it down to a laconic phrase a few times?!..when I start reading your comments it´s sometimes hard for me to check out what you are potentially saying…

    In my Opinion it is Dunkirk so we can almost cross out Malta and Tunesia, secondary would be the treatment of the Russian civilians to turn em against red russia…


  • Hitler trying to run the show was the big mistake, he should have put the right people in the right spots to do the best job at eliminating his enemy
      I like Kurt’s posts…… but then I have an infatuation with WWII

  • Moderator

    In my opinion you don’t have the right answer up there at all.  although there are some good choices. The biggest Mistake made by the axis Powers in my opinion

    THE HALOCAUST-  The Biggest Waste of manpower and human resources ever. Not to mention the loss of some of the worlds most brilliant minds.  If Germany would have waited till they won the war to excercise the final solution (I do not agree with it), they would have 8 million + in man power and Production power and scientific research power. Germany would have been almost unstopable. Imagine if Einstein had not left. Need i really say more….


  • @aequitas:

    I don´t want to be disrespectful Kurt Godel,  but can you bring it down to a laconic phrase a few times?!..when I start reading your comments it´s sometimes hard for me to check out what you are potentially saying…

    In my Opinion it is Dunkirk so we can almost cross out Malta and Tunesia, secondary would be the treatment of the Russian civilians to turn em against red russia…

    I tend to write long posts, and with that last one I may have gotten a little carried away. I admit that just looking at it is a little intimidating from a length perspective.

    That said, I’m appreciative of the fact that there are those who take the time to read my long posts. I’m especially grateful for compliments from posters like Surprise Attack.


  • @Deaths:

    In my opinion you don’t have the right answer up there at all.�  although there are some good choices. The biggest Mistake made by the axis Powers in my opinion

    THE HALOCAUST-�  The Biggest Waste of manpower and human resources ever. Not to mention the loss of some of the worlds most brilliant minds.�  If Germany would have waited till they won the war to excercise the final solution (I do not agree with it), they would have 8 million + in man power and Production power and scientific research power. Germany would have been almost unstopable. Imagine if Einstein had not left. Need i really say more….

    Jews fought very well with the Kaiser’s Army in the Great War. They had some really crack units. Of the 100,000 men that served 12,000 dies, 30,000 were awarded during the War.


  • well, for Germany their big mistake was hitler. If hitler would of listen to his generals, germany would have won the war. You know, hitler did not let his army out of stalingrad, Dunkirk, War against America and so on.

    Japan should not have declared war on US at all. they could focus on India and China.


  • @empireman:

    well, for Germany their big mistake was hitler. If hitler would of listen to his generals, germany would have won the war. You know, hitler did not let his army out of stalingrad, Dunkirk, War against America and so on.

    Japan should not have declared war on US at all. they could focus on India and China.

    Your post touches on some of the points I raised in my ridiculously long post earlier in this thread. I agree with you that it was a mistake for either Germany or Japan to have declared war on the U.S. (Though part of Germany’s declaration involved faulty information–information which had been fed not just to Hitler, but to his generals.)

    Stalingrad represents a case of Hitler having listened to the wrong general: Goering. Goering had claimed, falsely, that he could supply the Stalingrad force by air. The Dunkirk evacuation was also Goering’s work: he’d claimed he could destroy the British Expeditionary Force by air; and that there was no need to use up Germany’s valuable ground forces to get rid of it.

    Had Hitler listened to the majority of his generals in May of 1940, the German Army would have used a modified version of the Schlieffen Plan to invade France. This was exactly what the French and British were expecting Germany to do; and they were very well-prepared against such an attack. Instead, Hitler listened to a small minority of his generals–Guderian and von Manstein–who advocated taking France with blitzkrieg tactics and an attack through the Ardennes Forest. The fact that Hitler ignored the majority of his generals was why Germany conquered France in 1940. Had those generals’ plan been followed, the war against France would probably have bogged down for years, much like it had in WWI.

    Also, the majority of German generals favored the attack against Kursk in 1943. This was the largest land battle in human history. It was also a bad idea, because it was an obvious move, and the Soviets were expecting it. The German attack failed to penetrate the Soviets’ six layers of defenses. (Though some of the outer layers were penetrated.) This was a case in which both Hitler and the majority of German generals were wrong, and where von Manstein was right.


  • @KurtGodel7:

    @empireman:

    well, for Germany their big mistake was hitler. If hitler would of listen to his generals, germany would have won the war. You know, hitler did not let his army out of stalingrad, Dunkirk, War against America and so on.

    Japan should not have declared war on US at all. they could focus on India and China.

    Also, the majority of German generals favored the attack against Kursk in 1943. This was the largest land battle in human history. It was also a bad idea, because it was an obvious move, and the Soviets were expecting it. The German attack failed to penetrate the Soviets’ six layers of defenses. (Though some of the outer layers were penetrated.) This was a case in which both Hitler and the majority of German generals were wrong, and where von Manstein was right.

    Well, Germany should have not attacked kursk, Really SIX layers of defense.
    Of course, Hitler ordered an attacked, which failed bad.

    Also, Germany was at the gates of moscow, they could of took it, but then Hitler order to move to Lenningrad. Then South. Soon the German troops were really tired. Then they got back to Moscow. Hitler ordered an attack, but they were tired and weary plus a bunch of Russian Infantry just arrived is moscow from the east.

    Soon, Russian was at the gates of Berlin.


  • This looks like a repeat discussion of 2011’s

    Dreadful Axis Mistakes

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=22808.15

    The Axis suffered massive pilot losses early in GBR and the Pacific, while the USA and GBR recovered and sent theirs up again in replacement planes as veterans.

    Also, Germany and Italy were lacking Aircraft carrier capability.  They could have built it in the Mediterrainian and made a breakout to the N Atlantic.


  • @Linkon:

    This looks like a repeat discussion of 2011’s

    Dreadful Axis Mistakes

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=22808.15

    The Axis suffered massive pilot losses early in GBR and the Pacific, while the USA and GBR recovered and sent theirs up again in replacement planes as veterans.

    Also, Germany and Italy were lacking Aircraft carrier capability.  They could have built it in the Mediterrainian and made a breakout to the N Atlantic.

    yep……

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    well Hitler wasn´t a genius as being a Lord of War (before u correct me: I prefer it my way ,lol ruff movie)
    but allways that saying: his or the Generals of Hitler would have done it better is not correct and it might be to the German ability to allways mourn over things and then saying that they would do it better, but seriously they don´t and DIDN´t…
    There were only few who had the courage to do what is somehow right and fewer to say in hitlers face that they disagree in some points…

    -Dunkirk to me played out a vital role because of the experienced Human resource England was able to keep and bring it  fully back in on D-Day

    -stalingrad became a hard loss at the end ,but not in the beginning of planning, most books refer to they should not have bombed stalingrad so bad or it was a mistake to split tank forces. there were actually a couple of plans out there how to engage Stalingrad but had been changed according to the situations occured and it is almost not mentioned that allready a lot of Wehhrmacht soldiers died on the way to Stalingrad due to beeing exhausted through marching and fighting their way. Leaving Stalingrad aside would create a pocket as well . Stalingrad needed to be taken to cut off the supply route and it could have helped out to only keep the westside of Stalingrad, just long enough for get stability into the frontlines…we can assume that Stalingrad could have been taken with more forces…we may disagree on what would have been the right time…


  • A bridgehead across the Volga to cut off the supplies in Stalingrad would have helped the Germans greatly.


  • Losing their aircraft and pilots during the Battle of Britain…and, their refusal to mass produce simplified tanks on the Eastern Front.


  • @HolyLand_Crusader:

    Losing their aircraft and pilots during the Battle of Britain…and, their refusal to mass produce simplified tanks on the Eastern Front.

    The Battle of Britain was indeed harmful to the Luftwaffe, as you’ve pointed out. I also agree that the German tank designs were too complex and difficult to manufacture.

    One reason for the latter was that the German war effort was more or less thrown together. In 1939, nearly all of Germany’s tank force consisted of obsolete light tanks, unsuited for tank-on-tank warfare. By 1940, Germany had a reasonable number of non-obsolete medium tanks. (Though most of its tanks were still obsolete light tanks.) A significant portion of German tank production came from the Czech factories it had acquired in 1938. Not only were German tanks inferior to their French counterparts in 1940, but the French and their allies in Western Europe had about 40% more tanks than the Germans. The Germans made up for this through superior tactics, better generalship and training, and via air superiority.

    In 1941, it had become clear that even non-obsolete German medium tanks were inferior to Soviet T-34s. Panther and Tiger tanks were intended to outmatch T-34s by at least as much as T-34s had outmatched Germany’s tanks of '41. However, Panthers and (especially!) Tigers were expensive to produce.

    What Germany needed was a tank as good or better than a Panther or Tiger, but much simpler and easier to produce. Its E-Series tanks were intended to fill exactly that role. The E-Series tanks were better than the Panthers and Tigers they were intended to replace, and were much easier to mass produce. However, the war ended before Germany could put its E-Series tanks into mass production.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    DELETE


  • None of the above!


  • @Enigmatic_Decay:

    None of the above!

    ftw


  • @Enigmatic_Decay:

    None of the above!

    Then what is the worst Axis mistake of the War?

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Starting what they couldn’t finish.


  • @ABWorsham:

    @Enigmatic_Decay:

    None of the above!

    Then what is the worst Axis mistake of the War?

    “Mistakes” is an ambiguous word that encompasses bad judgment and insufficient information.  But in its primary sense, it is used to refer to bad judgment.  When you make a “mistake” on a test, it is not because you could not have known the answer, it is because you should have studied more.  When a server makes a “mistake” on your restaurant bill, it is not because the correct amount could not be known, it is because the server made a mistake.  I, and likely some others in this thread, probably take your “mistake” to refer to an error in judgment based on faulty judgment.  In other words, your question is “what is the stupidest thing the Axis did?”

    If you think about things that way, almost none of the items on your list were particularly stupid, so they are inappropriate examples of “mistakes”.

    If you wanted to ask “What was the single decision by the Axis that most negatively impacted their progress in the war”, the question of judgment is eliminated.

    For example, Dunkirk.  People look back and say “lol retard”.  Or they say Hitler was stupid, or trying to make some retarded political decision &c.  Actually, there is no citation of why the Germans did not press.  Without such citation, and documentation, nothing is really known.

    There are any number of excellent reasons why the command not to press the attack could have been passed.

    Consider the political situation.  Suppose Hitler believed that a decision not to press at Dunkirk would lead to diplomatic negotiations with UK that would lead to a UK/German alliance against Russia.  Consider the huge gains to Germany, and to the UK.  Now consider what would happen if Germany slaughtered the crap out of over 200,000 UK soldiers.  (Of the 330,000, about 200,000 were UK).

    If you know the political situation, you realize that a Ger/UK alliance was hardly out of the question.  It did not come to pass, but it COULD have.

    Probably the biggest “mistakes” were Germany’s misjudgment of the Soviet Union situation, and its failures in production.

    Re:  Soviet Union - insufficient intelligence regarding anticipated routes.  Improper assessment of the Soviet Union’s mobilization capabilities.  Failure to use anti-Stalin propaganda to recruit partisans.

    Insufficient intelligence - they had maps.  But maps are simply not enough when you are waging a war.  You ideally want first hand reports from scouts.  This could have been addressed by recruiting partisans, at the very least.  Granted, gaining the level and detail of information that would have been “proper” would not have been easy.  All in all, this is “understandable”.

    Insufficient assessment of Soviet Union mobilization capabilities.  In point of fact, the Germans beat the hell out of the Russians, man for man, achieving 13:1 casualty ratios in some battles, but regularly performing at . . . I forget, was it 8:1?  Anyways, something stupidly massive.  Plus the Red Army had gone through purges.  Plus the Soviets didn’t have a particularly developed industrial sector (when comparing landmass to industrial development), although it did have a history leading up to WW2 of reversing that trend that Germany could have paid closer attention to.  Again, Germany could be forgiven for its failures in this area.

    Anti-Stalin propaganda - Soviet partisans did huge damage to the German war effort throughout the war, and if recruited to the German side, could have provided a massive boost in intelligence and power.  In a way, this failure could also be forgiven, but the reasons are far less.  Germany had initially purposed to obtain Lebensbraum quickly, with an anticipated effective collapse of Soviet resistance within one to two years.  With the additional land, Germany purposed to feed the west.  That is, Germany deliberately planned to kill off massive numbers in the east with starvation, to provide the food needed to feed the west.  So there are reasons.  But those are poor reasons.  Recruiting Soviets would have benefited the Germans in any case (although they would of course have had to deal with sabotage, &c &c from within so integration would not have been possible . . . but still.)  Killing civilians with starvation could and should have been planned for after the fact of conquest.

    All in all, these are understandable errors in judgment, although the last is more along the lines of a true “f-up”.  But COMBINED, they do not speak well for German preparedness against the Soviets.  Granted, the Germans plowed through everyone to that point, granted the Germans actually plowed the heck out of the Russians.  But they did not plow enough, or quickly enough, which was probably preventable if Germany had been appropriately prepared.

    As far as Germany attacking Russia, there is decent evidence to support the position that Russia was going to attack Germany anyways.  The idea was that Stalin planned to let Germany and UK screw with each other, kill off a bunch of imperialists, then sweep in and kick ass.  Considering that view, the fact that Germany attacked Russia can’t really be considered a “mistake”.  It was necessary.  The “mistake” was the lack of proper preparation.

    Re:  failures in production - Germany didn’t use its women in industry.  Fail.  Germany didn’t standardize production.  Fail.  Again, there were reasons not to.  Maybe Germany considered its victory to be swift and sure, so didn’t try to prepare for the long term.  Maybe there were political reasons not to do so.  (Actually that is certainly true for production.)  But as with Germany’s overall underpreparedness against the Soviets, such arguments only go so far.  The need to boost and standardize production was clear.


  • @Bunnies:

    “Mistakes” is an ambiguous word that encompasses bad judgment and insufficient information.  But in its primary sense, it is used to refer to bad judgment.  When you make a “mistake” on a test, it is not because you could not have known the answer, it is because you should have studied more.  When a server makes a “mistake” on your restaurant bill, it is not because the correct amount could not be known, it is because the server made a mistake.  I, and likely some others in this thread, probably take your “mistake” to refer to an error in judgment based on faulty judgment.  In other words, your question is “what is the stupidest thing the Axis did?”

    If you think about things that way, almost none of the items on your list were particularly stupid, so they are inappropriate examples of “mistakes”.

    If you wanted to ask “What was the single decision by the Axis that most negatively impacted their progress in the war”, the question of judgment is eliminated.

    For example, Dunkirk.  People look back and say “lol retard”.  Or they say Hitler was stupid, or trying to make some retarded political decision &c.  Actually, there is no citation of why the Germans did not press.  Without such citation, and documentation, nothing is really known.

    There are any number of excellent reasons why the command not to press the attack could have been passed.

    Consider the political situation.  Suppose Hitler believed that a decision not to press at Dunkirk would lead to diplomatic negotiations with UK that would lead to a UK/German alliance against Russia.  Consider the huge gains to Germany, and to the UK.  Now consider what would happen if Germany slaughtered the crap out of over 200,000 UK soldiers.  (Of the 330,000, about 200,000 were UK).

    If you know the political situation, you realize that a Ger/UK alliance was hardly out of the question.  It did not come to pass, but it COULD have.

    Probably the biggest “mistakes” were Germany’s misjudgment of the Soviet Union situation, and its failures in production.

    Re:  Soviet Union - insufficient intelligence regarding anticipated routes.  Improper assessment of the Soviet Union’s mobilization capabilities.  Failure to use anti-Stalin propaganda to recruit partisans.

    Insufficient intelligence - they had maps.  But maps are simply not enough when you are waging a war.  You ideally want first hand reports from scouts.  This could have been addressed by recruiting partisans, at the very least.  Granted, gaining the level and detail of information that would have been “proper” would not have been easy.  All in all, this is “understandable”.

    Insufficient assessment of Soviet Union mobilization capabilities.  In point of fact, the Germans beat the hell out of the Russians, man for man, achieving 13:1 casualty ratios in some battles, but regularly performing at . . . I forget, was it 8:1?  Anyways, something stupidly massive.  Plus the Red Army had gone through purges.  Plus the Soviets didn’t have a particularly developed industrial sector (when comparing landmass to industrial development), although it did have a history leading up to WW2 of reversing that trend that Germany could have paid closer attention to.  Again, Germany could be forgiven for its failures in this area.

    Anti-Stalin propaganda - Soviet partisans did huge damage to the German war effort throughout the war, and if recruited to the German side, could have provided a massive boost in intelligence and power.  In a way, this failure could also be forgiven, but the reasons are far less.  Germany had initially purposed to obtain Lebensbraum quickly, with an anticipated effective collapse of Soviet resistance within one to two years.  With the additional land, Germany purposed to feed the west.  That is, Germany deliberately planned to kill off massive numbers in the east with starvation, to provide the food needed to feed the west.  So there are reasons.  But those are poor reasons.  Recruiting Soviets would have benefited the Germans in any case (although they would of course have had to deal with sabotage, &c &c from within so integration would not have been possible . . . but still.)  Killing civilians with starvation could and should have been planned for after the fact of conquest.

    All in all, these are understandable errors in judgment, although the last is more along the lines of a true “f-up”.  But COMBINED, they do not speak well for German preparedness against the Soviets.  Granted, the Germans plowed through everyone to that point, granted the Germans actually plowed the heck out of the Russians.  But they did not plow enough, or quickly enough, which was probably preventable if Germany had been appropriately prepared.

    As far as Germany attacking Russia, there is decent evidence to support the position that Russia was going to attack Germany anyways.  The idea was that Stalin planned to let Germany and UK screw with each other, kill off a bunch of imperialists, then sweep in and kick a**.  Considering that view, the fact that Germany attacked Russia can’t really be considered a “mistake”.  It was necessary.  The “mistake” was the lack of proper preparation.

    Re:  failures in production - Germany didn’t use its women in industry.  Fail.  Germany didn’t standardize production.  Fail.  Again, there were reasons not to.  Maybe Germany considered its victory to be swift and sure, so didn’t try to prepare for the long term.  Maybe there were political reasons not to do so.  (Actually that is certainly true for production.)  But as with Germany’s overall underpreparedness against the Soviets, such arguments only go so far.  The need to boost and standardize production was clear.

    Good post.

    I agree that the Soviet Union would have invaded Germany sooner or later. Germany did well to get that war started in 1941, before the Soviet Union was ready for it. In 1941 Germany achieved a better than 10:1 exchange ratio with the Red Army, and conquered large portions of badly-needed land in the process. Later in the war the normal exchange ratio would become around 3:1 - 4:1. The Soviets made up for that with numbers, by outproducing Germany during '42 and '43, and by having the British and American Armies draw German attention away from the Soviet Union. (Algeria in '42, Italy in 43, France in '44.)

    One significant problem Germany faced was the British food blockade imposed against it. All the major Western European nations under German control ran at significant food deficits. So too did the Polish and Soviet territory Germany had conquered–except for the Ukraine. Even the Ukraine’s surplus was much smaller than had been the case before Stalin’s industrialization. Given those circumstances, tens of millions of residents of German-occupied territory were destined to die of starvation somewhere. Hitler chose to impose the worst burdens on the Poles, Russians, and (especially) the Jews, while preventing outright starvation in Western Europe. If anything, Germany proper needed to increase its food inflow, to be able to feed the millions of Soviet POWs put to work in German factories. (Hitler had ordered that they be fed, but millions starved to death anyway due to lack of adequate food supplies.)

    If Germany shouldn’t have resolved its food problems by starving or otherwise exterminating tens of millions of former Soviet citizens, what other group of tens of millions of people should it have starved to death instead? This is a zero sum game, unless you see a way that I’ve missed for Germany to have either broken the British food blockade or otherwise have improved its food situation.

Suggested Topics

  • 12
  • 38
  • 30
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1
  • 23
  • 19
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys

41
Online

16.3k
Users

38.0k
Topics

1.6m
Posts