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-   -   The Liberal View of the German Soldier (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=16004)

Sylvester Stadler 14th February 2009 01:25

The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
On 4 June 1940 Winston Churchill presented one of his famous speeches
to his Parliament and to the western world wherein he praises his
armed forces and basically states that the success of the Wehrmacht in
the battle for France (and Holland and Belgium) was based on superior
numbers. This argument still is alive and well in the U.S. and the
United Kingdom, and other countries.
In this speech, which is published in the excellent book The Battle of
France: Then and Now by Peter Cornwell, which anyone with an interest
in the aspect of the air campaign should read, Churchill credits the
success up to that point to the "Eight or nine armoured divisions,
each of about 400 armoured vehicles of different kinds" and "the
mechanised onslaught" of "a number of German divisions in lorries"
and "behind them again there plodded the dull brute mass of the
ordinary German Army and German people..." Churchill also credits
the defense by the British Army of Boulogne and Calais of preventing
the German Army from reaching Dunkirk before the British Expeditionary
Force could be rescued and evacuated. Churchill claims that Calais was
defended by 4000 British and 1000 French and that it took "four days of
intense street fighting" for the German Army to take Calais. Churchill
also claims that "At least two armoured divisions had to be sent to
overcome them."
The facts are much different than Churchill likes to portray them.
The only division contronting the Allied forces in Calais was the 10th
Panzer Division which was reinforced by the XIX corps artillery and
the Stukas. The Panzer Brigade was prevented from taking part since
the German higher commanders did not wish to sustain losses to their
tank units which would be required to be used to advance on open
terrain. The 10th PD had a Infantry Brigade of two rifle regiments
(Schützen Regiment) and four rifle battalions were used in the assault
with the assistance of the 90th recon battalion. The assault begain
at day break on the 25th of May and was over at 1645 on 26 May. The
10th PD took a total of 13,000 prisoners. Also the halt order from
Hitler is well known and this alone prevented Guderian from reaching
Dunkirk and prevent the evacuation of over 330,000 troops. The German
version of events if taken from the book Die Zehnte P.D.: Die
Geschichte der 10. Panzer-Division by Albert Schick (1993).
During the time I was in U.S. Army intelligence, I heard a NCO state
his opinion that the ordinary German soldier lacked the necessary
skills of initiative, knowledge, and drive that if the German officer
commanding the unit were killed or otherwise incapacitated, the
soldiers would not be capable of further action. This is the type of
German soldier often portrayed by Hollywood and what unfortunately
Hollywood portrays is often taken as fact and truth by even
intelligent people.
Many university professors also express such thoughts. When I
attended the university, a professor of American Foreign Policy,
stated that when German invaded the Soviet Union, the Germany Army was
equipped with 35,000 tanks (!) (actually around 3500) and that this
alone explained the rapid advance in 1941. The professor also claimed
that Stalin tried to decline Lend-Lease aid except for aluminum.
The University of Utah professors Ronald Smelser and Edward J. Davies
II have written the book The Myth of the Eastern Front wherein they
paint the picture that many Americans have been brainwashed by the
Cold War when the only available view of the fighting on the Russian
front came from apologists such as Heinz Guderian and Erich von
Manstein and authors who wrote about such German servicemen and heroes
such as Erich Hartmann and personal participants such as Otto Carius
who they all tie to war crimes. The authors criticize those who
admire and show a primary interest in the German armed forces
(Wehrmacht) and call them gurus and romancers.
These two authors seem to admire the Soviet armed forces (what do they
label themselves?) and tend to denigrate the German soldiers. On page
24 of the book they describe "the picture of the Russian soldier that
emerged was that of a patient, long-suffering, but also frequently a
handsome, literate, innovative soldier who capable of great individual
initiative." Then on page 14 the authors state that "Russian infantry
also performed effectively whether working in formations or isolated
and on their own." Then they make a comparison with the German
soldiers who "floundered when cut off from their units just as they
often struggled inadequatly when confronted with winter weather or
difficult terrain."
One popular author who also appeared as a guest on many documentaries
was Stephen Ambrose, now deceased, who wrote several book and also
made many fantastic claims which many have accepted as the gospel
truth. On one occasion I heard him state that the Western Allies in
Normandy were of equal numbers to the German forces and that in order
to win the battle and campaign, the Allies had to "fight smarter."
Ambrose liked to count all the soldiers in the German Army including
support troops and only count Allied soldiers in actual combat units.
Also he never mentioned the support of Allied airpower and the
firepower provided by the various navies. Ambrose also liked to count
the number of divisions in the German Wehrmacht and assumed all of
then were at full strength. Again Niklas Zetterling provides
some interesting statistics on the German military in his book
Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and
Organizational Effectiveness.
Zetterling states that on 25 July 1944 the Allied armies in Normandy
had a total of 1,452,00 soldiers facing about 380,000 German
soldiers, a superiority of 3.8:1. The firepower was even greater.
The Allies had 46 tanks for every 10 German tanks, a ration of 4.6:1.
The history of the 12th SS Panzer Division consistently faced three
British divisions until attrition forced them from the front line.
Probably not even Rommel could have prevented a collapse.
Ambrose once claimed that democracies produce better soldiers than do
totalitarian governments. To him this alone explains the Allied
victory. He makes this argument by producing false statistics. For
example, he claims that the Americans in Bastogne during the Battle of
the Bulge were outnumbered by a ratio of 10:1 but that the
paratroopers prevailed against ten times their number. The actual
ratio was 30,000 Germans against 20,000 Americans.
The liberal establishment today continually tries to connect everyone
in German military with war crimes as they try to do to the American
serviceman in Iraq and Afghanistan. Years ago when several German
soldiers were still living, including my uncle, I asked all of them if
they were aware of war crimes being committed by their units in
Russia. All of them stated they did not participate in war crimes or
that they were even aware of war crimes committed by their fellow
soldiers. This certainly is not evidence that their units did not
commit violations of the laws of war, but the accusers certainly have
not made their case that the German military was guilty as a whole of
committing such crimes.

mkenny 14th February 2009 13:19

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81368)
Zetterling states that on 25 July 1944 the Allied armies in Normandy
had a total of 1,452,00 soldiers facing about 380,000 German
soldiers, a superiority of 3.8:1. The firepower was even greater.
The Allies had 46 tanks for every 10 German tanks, a ration of 4.6:1.

So the total of all soldiers/tanks in the is the key indicator?
Can we have the figures for 6 June 1944 and an explaination as to why the overwhelming German superiority was not decisive?
It seems that number manipulation is not confined to your 'opponents'.
It is just another 'we wuz outnumbered' excuse from one of the faithful.


Quote:

The liberal establishment today continually tries to..........
Oh sorry. I had started to take you seriously, my mistake. Goodbye.

Franek Grabowski 14th February 2009 17:34

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mkenny (Post 81387)
Oh sorry. I had started to take you seriously, my mistake. Goodbye.

Well, I am not sure if the word liberal is used properly, but it is often used to describe a rather influential leftist ideology widespread in the West. It is a matter of fact, that those circles were either pro-Soviet or pro-communistic, and were instrumental in establishing several myths about Soviets. That said, the user, who is so ashamed of his name that is forced to use SS-man name as his cover, enters into the trap of German propaganda, which could be summarised that they were overwhelmed and not guilty. This is just ridiculous, but I am not sure if there is any sense in discussing this with the man.

lingodog 15th February 2009 00:52

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Gentlemen please! The first post I find interesting and unusual. Even though you may disagree with the statements contained in it, surely they deserve a measured reply? I feel that the subject would benefit from the application of light, rather than heat. That way we lesser-informed mortals (and I am in that class) can learn. Thank you.

Franek Grabowski 15th February 2009 17:54

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
There is no purpose in discussing anything with an anonymous nazi supporter, as this will lead only to spread nazi propaganda.

Sylvester Stadler 15th February 2009 18:59

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mkenny (Post 81387)
So the total of all soldiers/tanks in the is the key indicator?
Can we have the figures for 6 June 1944 and an explaination as to why the overwhelming German superiority was not decisive?
It seems that number manipulation is not confined to your 'opponents'.
It is just another 'we wuz outnumbered' excuse from one of the faithful.




Oh sorry. I had started to take you seriously, my mistake. Goodbye.

Mr. MKenny:

Since you don't take me seriously, perhaps you won't even read this, but for other more interested serious persons here is the information re: 6 June in Normandy:

Allies: Six divisions plus the three airborne divisions; 156,000 men were landed. I don't have statistics re: the number of tanks on the Allied side.

Germans: 352 Infantry Division (12,734 men)
716 Security Division (Infantry) (7,771)
711 SD (7,242)
709 SD (12,320)
Reserve: 21 PD (16,297)
12 SS PD (20,516)
Total German: 76,880 men plus corps and HQ. The security divisions were static and did not have the firepower of regular infantry divisions.

The two reserve armored divisions were released late and only the 21 PD engaged in combat with part of the division. So where is this German superiority in numbers on D-Day?

BTW, I don't take anyone seriously who does not do his own research.

To Franek G:
I don't know why you enter discussions to which you have nothing to contribute.

mkenny 15th February 2009 19:24

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81487)
Mr. MKenny:

Since you don't take me seriously, perhaps you won't even read this, but for other more interested serious persons here is the information re: 6 June in Normandy:

Allies: Six divisions plus the three airborne divisions; 156,000 men were landed. I don't have statistics re: the number of tanks on the Allied side.

Germans: 352 Infantry Division (12,734 men)
716 Security Division (Infantry) (7,771)
711 SD (7,242)
709 SD (12,320)
Reserve: 21 PD (16,297)
12 SS PD (20,516)
Total German: 76,880 men plus corps and HQ. The security divisions were static and did not have the firepower of regular infantry divisions...........

Hmmm........earlier you gave the totals of all the men in Normandy yet here you now use specific totals for one event. See how you alter the criteria to suit your agenda.......

Quote:

The two reserve armored divisions were released late and only the 21 PD engaged in combat with part of the division. So where is this German superiority in numbers on D-Day?
Give me the total of Germans in France on 6/6/44 and the total of Allies on the same date..........just like you did in your first post.
Who outnumbered who?



Quote:

BTW, I don't take anyone seriously who does not do his own research.
I feel the same way about someone who bends facts to fit his perceptions...I will give you a figure though. 1000 Allied tanks landed on June 6th.

You clearly (because of your excuse loaded opening post) belong to the group of people who believe 'you' lost only because everyone else ganged up on you....for no good reason either!

Franek Grabowski 15th February 2009 22:18

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81487)
To Franek G:
I don't know why you enter discussions to which you have nothing to contribute.

Plenty actually, but what for if you have no balls to use your own name.

Ruy Horta 15th February 2009 23:59

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lingodog (Post 81444)
Gentlemen please! The first post I find interesting and unusual. Even though you may disagree with the statements contained in it, surely they deserve a measured reply? I feel that the subject would benefit from the application of light, rather than heat. That way we lesser-informed mortals (and I am in that class) can learn. Thank you.

Please take note of this remark.

Discuss if you wish by reason, not by insult...

Six Nifty .50s 17th February 2009 12:56

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81368)
On 4 June 1940 Winston Churchill basically states that the success of the Wehrmacht in the battle for France (and Holland and Belgium) was based on superior numbers. This argument still is alive and well in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and other countries.

I see a problem with your manifesto. You assume that every British reader who measures the words of the Prime Minister will believe anything he says. Churchill was later voted out of office, wasn't he?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81368)
The facts are much different than Churchill likes to portray them. Also the halt order from Hitler is well known and this alone prevented Guderian from reaching Dunkirk and prevent the evacuation of over 330,000 troops.

Maybe not. The German army was mainly horse-drawn. The Nazi propaganda films always tried to conceal that fact because their Napoleonic-era transport system was embarrassing to Hitler and his generals. German troops also walked a lot, and if you know anything about the physical endurance of horses, you know why.

Based on the motorized forces and upfront supplies available, are you sure that if Hitler countermanded this halt order it would change the outcome?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81368)
During the time I was in U.S. Army intelligence. I heard a NCO state his opinion that the ordinary German soldier lacked the necessary skills of initiative, knowledge, and drive that if the German officer commanding the unit were killed or otherwise incapacitated, the soldiers would not be capable of further action. This is the type of German soldier often portrayed by Hollywood

Had you served in "US Army intelligence" you would have quickly learned that German soldiers were guilty of making the same comments about American soldiers.

Nationalism and xenophobia are pervasive worldwide, so what is your point?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylvester Stadler (Post 81368)
Hollywood portrays is often taken as fact and truth by even intelligent people. Many university professors also express such thoughts.

This seems to be a common view of European journalists. They sometimes give opinions that suggest his/her understanding of Americans arises not from personal contact, but from watching too much television.

The Hollywood portrayal of German soldiers is no less accurate than the highly-cliched characters portrayed in German-made films like STALINGRAD. The political correctness and unlikely situations put in the script were not very convincing.

Thanks to novelists like Karl May, Luftwaffe pilots were more fascinated (some say obsessed) with American Western films than were American pilots. Today, not many Germans are aware of this and their ignorance makes me smile whenever I read about references to Cowboys and the Wild West in news reports from Germany.

Achtung Indianer!

Nick Beale 17th February 2009 13:44

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski (Post 81411)
Well, I am not sure if the word liberal is used properly, but it is often used to describe a rather influential leftist ideology widespread in the West. It is a matter of fact, that those circles were either pro-Soviet or pro-communistic, and were instrumental in establishing several myths about Soviets.

No Franek, it is a matter of opinion - and your opinion in particular.

Steve_Fossey 27th February 2009 02:25

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
This first part may be somewhat tangential.What books or other sources discuss Luftwaffe pilots, their interest in American Western movies, and the use of the term Indianer?

On the main point of the thread. Liberal may not be the best descriptor of the point I think is trying to be raised. Perhaps “the popular view in English speaking nations of the German soldier” might more accurate. I have read a number of Stephen Ambrose's books and did not come away with the impression that the average German soldier was not a fine soldier.

There is a book that consciously makes the comparison. I have not read the book, but it is telling that the blurb for the book talks about the myth of German army superiority.When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign, October 1944-January 1945 (Presidio, 1994) by Keith Bonn (based on his PhD thesis in International History at the University of Chicago) considers the relative effectiveness of German and US infantry. U Chicago is a first rate university and Bonn’s background makes him very well qualified: “An infantry officer with extensive tactical experience in various command and staff positions in airborne, infantry, light infantry and joint units in Korea, Central America, and the continental United States. A ranger and master parachutist, he earned a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA) with a concentration in the German language, an M.A. from the University of Chicago in European history, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in International history. His doctoral dissertation became the basis for his first book,When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign, October 1944-January 1945 (Presidio, 1994). He authored the 48th, 49th, and 50th editions ofThe Army Officer's Guide (Stackpole Books, 1999, 2002, and 2005). With Master Sergeant Tony Baker, Bonn co-authoredA Guide to Military Operations Other Than War (Stackpole Books, 2000). Bonn taught various core and upper-division elective courses in history during a three-year assignment to the Department of History at USMA.”


Here is a review of the book: http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/a...krev/bonn.html

Steve

PeterVerney 27th February 2009 15:19

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
I think we are all being too simplistic. AND living in the modern age. Back then people thought differently. That said, man for man, I don't suppose there was a great deal of difference. The advantages the Allies had were several, pricipally that the German war machine was becoming exhausted and young , partially trained troops had to be slung in to fill the gaps. And mentally, the Germans were beginning to realise they were on the losing side, and like in playing sports or poker, one is defeated by defeatism.

Franek Grabowski 2nd March 2009 13:07

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Beale (Post 81588)
No Franek, it is a matter of opinion - and your opinion in particular.

What is the opinion, the fact of supportive actions of several so called intellectuals, who supported various communistic regimes?

One important thing, I believe. Here you are bio notes of figures involved in concentration camp system. It is in Polish, but this is not important. Note birth dates of those men and women, those were people mostly grown in Kaiser period, and only few may be called as being under influence of Nazi propaganda.
http://www.majdanek.com.pl/biogramy/a.html

Jukka Juutinen 22nd March 2009 19:16

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Beale (Post 81588)
No Franek, it is a matter of opinion - and your opinion in particular.

No Nick, it is a hard fact. Today many of the die hard Stalinists of the 1970s have now migrated into various Green parties (e.g. Joschka Fischer) as the path to power is easier from the ranks of them vs. traditional Marxist parties. The political agenda of current Finnish president during the 1970s was little short of true Stalinism and which is today reflected in her stupid policy on landmines and civilian weapon ownership.

A great many Finnish journalists that now occupy key positions in the media are products of the so called "Tampere school", thoroughly indoctrinated by professor Pertti Hemanus, a stalinist in truest sense.

lingodog 22nd March 2009 20:15

Re: The Liberal View of the German Soldier
 
A most interesting observation. There is currently on TV a short series called "The Lost World of Communism". The first program was about East Germany and the second Czechoslovakia. The majority of people in those countries rejoiced at the fall of communism but some regretted the ending of an era. It is thought that it will take another two generations to erase the memory of those times.


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