Did I say that the German's couldn't excel at defensive operations? Did I say anything about Normandy or March 1943? I thought the discussion was about the winter of 41-42 in which the Germans had serious issues in coming to grips with their outdated defensive doctrine. The Germans became quick learners and it was to their credit that they adapted to the Russian environment and became quite skilled at defensive operations. Since you are so quick to tell everyone that they need to do some reading and since you back none of your points with any references, let me add a concrete reference to add to your enlightenment called "Standing Fast: German Defensive Doctrine on the Russian Front During World War II. Prewar to March 1943" by the US Army's Command and General Staff College.
I'll even throw in a few passages for free that I think are relevant to the discussion since throwing around any professional prose seems to be less in fashion than throwing around poorly conceived perceptions.
“Particularly misunderstood are the general methods by which the German Army conducted defensive operations against the Soviets. Various Western writers have mistakenly generalized the German defensive system as being a "strongpoint line" backed by powerful mobile reserves or occasionally even a "mobile defense."3 Likewise, the myth persists that "on a tactical level . . .the Germans consistently stopped the Red Army's local offensive
."4 The strategic defeat of Hitler's armies in Russia is commonly regarded as having been done in spite of this permanent German tactical ascendancy and accomplished by a Red Army that remained throughout the war "a sluggish instrument that depended on numbers of men and tanks to achieve victories."5 The widespread belief in these myths hampers contemporary analysts in their search for historical lessons and fails to do justice either to the Germans' complex and difficult defensive problems or to the Soviets' tactical skill and adaptability.”
Here's another one.
“The German Elastic Defense doctrine made the following assumptions about modern warfare, and they would be severely tested in the campaign against Russia.
• The burden of any sustained defensive fighting would be borne by infantry divisions, supported only as necessary by panzers held in reserve for counterattack.
• Sufficient quantities of German infantrymen would be available in defensive situations to organize a cohesive defense in depth.
• The principal threat would be posed by the enemy's infantry forces, and therefore, any German defense should be disposed primarily with an eye to defeating a dismounted attack.
• German commanders in defensive operations would be allowed the flexibility to select positions and conduct the defense in an "elastic" fashion as had been the 1918 custom.
None of these assumptions had been disproved in the 1939 or 1940 campaigns. However, within the first two years of the Russian campaign, the German Army conducted major defensive operations under circumstances that invalidated them all.
The fact is that the Germans were largely untrained in major defensive operations IN THE WINTER OF 41-42 and had a poorly conceived defensive doctrine that they couldn't even implement due to vast expanses of Russia and the lack of infantry to conduct said defense. If you have a differing theory that is in contrast to the US Army's own staff study conducted to prepare NATO forces against similiar Soviet attacks, by all means, produce some documentation so we can discuss this.
ORIGINAL: el hefe
I'd like to add that two factors in which no one seems to acknowledge was the inadequate German defensive doctrine that was basically a slightly modified World War One concept with little innovation and Soviet complete tactical and strategic surprise. The Germans spent thirty years in developing the classic modern mobile warfare but almost completely neglected their own defensive doctrine which was totally inadequate and incapable of being employed in Russia. The Germans conducted very little defensive training and conducted very few major defensive operations in the thirty years since World War One. It was the defeats during the Soviet counteroffensive combined with Hitler's stand-fast orders that saw the development of the strongpoint defense backed by reserves. The strongpoint defense, which became a German staple for the rest of the war, had no precedent in German doctrine until this winter. I don't think a simple dig in to level 3 with good supplies is enough to stop the counteroffensive cold IMO.
Having said that I think there are some issues that need to be addressed which is the generous German supply situation, massive German disabled losses in the winter, and the near perfect luftwaffe readiness during the blizzard.
MY POINT is that if the Germans had they not exhausted their supplies, units, ammo in the last few operations to push for Moscow and prepare for the winter they would have been in much better shape to handle the sov Dec counter attack.
One thing people continue to fail to realize is that the decisions not to send winter clothes and winterizing equipment was Hitler's directive for supplies/ammo/fuel to take priority to push in Nov/Dec. I WANT A PLAYER to choose whether he wants to push or hold the line. Is it that hard to understand? If you give the sov player the ability to retreat units and reap the rewards of that latter, YOU MUST allow the axis player similar strategic choices that impact the game balancing so much... IMO
And you fail to understand my point, no offense intended again. The germans could have stopped the November offensives and sent winter clothing, I understand that - but that would still mean fewer supplies to the front. This not only obviates any offensive, it also (in my opinion) affects the overall status of the units. The entire supply operation was a shoestring affair, as you know.
That supply of winter clothing does nothing to lessen the effect of the winter on the German equipment. Nobody expected fuel to gell, packing grease to freeze solid, oil sumps to harden into immobility. Not only that, how does the training come into effect, over and over one reads of weather related problems from simple daily activities that men weren't prepared for? Also, does such supplies mitigate the psychological effects of the weather, eliminate it, or do nothing for it?
I appreciate you seem to think I do not understand any of the history, logistics, or such of the campaign - but you also seem to fail to see that I was not arguing for simple winter coats, gloves, and such at the front. I was arguing that even with there there were no ways to ready for much of the effects of winter that severe unless the entire system knew that it was coming.
I make allowances for internet memes to push focus on language, and assume an attacking tone on my part - however, my points were not simply winter clothing, as you can see if you reread my initial post, but more the rest of the gamut of problems that no amount of winter clothing could have solved.
Are you joking about Germans not being able to excel at defensive operations? Wow, that is the craziest thing I've ever heard. They were masters at defensive and delaying actions. Just look at what the accomplished in NA and Normandy. Oh and yes, on many occasions on the east front (Manstein's backhand blow 43). If it had not been for Hitler continual meddling in affairs to NOT allow structured retreats and the use of mobile forces to maneuver on the defensive to destroy possible sov thrust.. thing would have been different... longer war on the east?
So don't tell me that the Germans didn't excel at defensive operations if allowed to do so. That is the point again, we play this game not to play under the constraints of a mad man like Hitler or Stalin. Well at least I didn't buy the game for that.
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