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RE: Why was Patton so great?

 
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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 5:28:13 PM   
CCB


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Joined: 3/21/2002
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston

362 posts now. Surely that alone is vindication of Patton's greatness - who else would get such a response !


I can think of several criminals who would


I can think of a certain German battleship!

You want to know the REAL reason Patton was so great? OK I'll tell you:

GEORGE C. SCOTT!!!


There, the riddle is solved. You're welcome.

_____________________________

Peux Ce Que Veux
in den vereinigten staaten hergestellt

(in reply to Kevinugly)
Post #: 391
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 5:41:12 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly
… those commanders we wish to elevate to 'greatness' need to show they apply other principles too…

Finally, Patton never fought a battle where he didn't have materiel superiority on the ground and the air, where he was fighting a battle where he had to hold ground rather than take it. It's very difficult to make a case for him to be compared with WW2 commanders like Manstein and Slim who showed their capacity to successfully apply all of the principles of warfare even in the most adverse of situations. It's even more difficult to place him with the greats of all military history.
Interesting. I disagree in some areas.

The Germans did well when they had air superiority and numerical/qualitative superiority, and when they didn’t they faired poorly. So what? Should the accomplishment of the Germans in 1940 against France be dismissed because they attacked second rate troops with overwhelming force, while having air superiority?

In my opinion, German commanders as a group are overrated by most people, and Erich von Manstein is no acceptation. He understood the nature of armored warfare during this period, a rarity among German commanders, but was not a miracle worker. When in a tactically disadvantages situation he achieve no radical victories, and while his handling of Panzer forces was very good, his command of infantry forces was adequate. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t brilliant, just that his victories were achieved under similar circumstances you dismiss so easily in your post.



1. He did well with 56th Panzer Corps in 1941 with a superior force and air superiority, against a surprised and poorly lead Soviet troops.

2. His handling of 11th Army in the Crimea can best be described as adequate, but before Sevastopol fell his Army was spent.

3. His action while commanding forces attacking Leningrad can hardly be called brilliant.

4. His command of Army Group Don was not successful.

5. The counter attack in the winter of 1942/43 was excellent, but it was concentrated German armor against an exhausted, strung out and poorly supplied Soviet force.

6. His commander of Army Group South consisted of a failed offense and endless retreat.



"Field-Marshal von Manstein had proved the ablest commander in the German Army. He had a superb sense of operational possibilities and an equal mastery in the conduct of operations, together with a greater grasp of the potentialities of mechanised forces than any of the other commanders not trained in the tank army. In sum, he had military genius."

Captain B.H. Liddell Hart


PS. I am not comparing the abilities of any general, just pointing out that the “circumstances” that are dismissed when helping an Allied victory were also used by the Germans.



Stirring the pot.


Culiacan Mexico:

Excellent summary

And of course you make very valid points.

You are not stirrig the pot, when what you say is true.

Most of all the early German victories; most of all the fame the German armies gained; much of the reputation gained by German generals; was done against weaker, poorer, and inferior forces in Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Norway, etc, etc. . .

Cheers!

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Post #: 392
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 5:55:29 PM   
Von Rom


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Joined: 5/12/2000
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quote:

Correct. Thay are not the subject of discussion. So why make them so! Stop changing the subject. I posted the article as a timeline. It tallies with Williamson, MacDonald, Parker and Pimlott. In any case I thought you wanted to discuss Metz! We've already discussed the SS and the 'Bulge' into the ground and frankly the level of repetition is becoming excrutiatingly boring. Get over it, let's move on


Next time, read what you are posting BEFORE you post it and remove the sensationalist parts. Otherwise I am forced to reply to it.

That timeline stops at Dec 23.

Nope - we're not moving on until we settle the 1SS Panzer issue first.

Like I said - you are pitting that website timeline against the Official History?

Please. . .

quote:

This is from a forum discussion. You 'copy and paste' this and then dare to criticise my sources


Your sources?

Please. . .

Of course, I knew you wouldn't be able to figure out what I did.

I included that last bit of info because the author clearly uderstood what he was talking about, and indicated what happened to the 1SS Panzer after January, 1945. It was for information purposes only. The author also included his sources.

It also corroborates what happened with the official history.

I know it''s hard for you to sort out truth from fiction; to tell good sources from bad; but someday, hopefully, you'll be able too.


quote:

. There is no 'Der Fuhrer' division


It was called the "Adolf Hitler".

A rose by any other name. . .

quote:

This is just another 'personal memoir'


Where do you think most history comes from?

All those personal memoirs just back up and support and confirm what is already in the Official History.

Stop for a moment and think about what you are saying. . .

Are you really calling the Official History - unreliable?

Yet, you call Whiting a "distinquished" historian?

heheheh. . .

Oh, dear. . . I think I'm about to fall off my chair laughing. . .

heheheh

This is too much. . .

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/19/2004 4:25:23 PM >


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Post #: 393
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 5:57:18 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly
… those commanders we wish to elevate to 'greatness' need to show they apply other principles too…

Finally, Patton never fought a battle where he didn't have materiel superiority on the ground and the air, where he was fighting a battle where he had to hold ground rather than take it. It's very difficult to make a case for him to be compared with WW2 commanders like Manstein and Slim who showed their capacity to successfully apply all of the principles of warfare even in the most adverse of situations. It's even more difficult to place him with the greats of all military history.
Interesting. I disagree in some areas.

The Germans did well when they had air superiority and numerical/qualitative superiority, and when they didn’t they faired poorly. So what? Should the accomplishment of the Germans in 1940 against France be dismissed because they attacked second rate troops with overwhelming force, while having air superiority?

In my opinion, German commanders as a group are overrated by most people, and Erich von Manstein is no acceptation. He understood the nature of armored warfare during this period, a rarity among German commanders, but was not a miracle worker. When in a tactically disadvantages situation he achieve no radical victories, and while his handling of Panzer forces was very good, his command of infantry forces was adequate. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t brilliant, just that his victories were achieved under similar circumstances you dismiss so easily in your post.



1. He did well with 56th Panzer Corps in 1941 with a superior force and air superiority, against a surprised and poorly lead Soviet troops.

2. His handling of 11th Army in the Crimea can best be described as adequate, but before Sevastopol fell his Army was spent.

3. His action while commanding forces attacking Leningrad can hardly be called brilliant.

4. His command of Army Group Don was not successful.

5. The counter attack in the winter of 1942/43 was excellent, but it was concentrated German armor against an exhausted, strung out and poorly supplied Soviet force.

6. His commander of Army Group South consisted of a failed offense and endless retreat.



"Field-Marshal von Manstein had proved the ablest commander in the German Army. He had a superb sense of operational possibilities and an equal mastery in the conduct of operations, together with a greater grasp of the potentialities of mechanised forces than any of the other commanders not trained in the tank army. In sum, he had military genius."

Captain B.H. Liddell Hart


PS. I am not comparing the abilities of any general, just pointing out that the “circumstances” that are dismissed when helping an Allied victory were also used by the Germans.



Stirring the pot.




Can't I tell.


Might be worth taking this to another thread. It is an interesting subject and one I'm sure several members here would like to debate but I fear it's going to be 'swept up' in Von Roms endless quest to prove Pattons brilliance



Kevinugly:


quote:

Might be worth taking this to another thread. It is an interesting subject and one I'm sure several members here would like to debate but I fear it's going to be 'swept up' in Von Roms endless quest to prove Pattons brilliance


Ah, yes this is the sort of analysis I was expecting from you.

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/19/2004 4:01:06 PM >


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Post #: 394
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 6:02:03 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: CCB

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston

362 posts now. Surely that alone is vindication of Patton's greatness - who else would get such a response !


I can think of several criminals who would


I can think of a certain German battleship!

You want to know the REAL reason Patton was so great? OK I'll tell you:

GEORGE C. SCOTT!!!


There, the riddle is solved. You're welcome.


I couldn't agree more - Scott was brilliant

Cheers!

_____________________________


(in reply to CCB)
Post #: 395
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 6:11:35 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
Status: offline
kevinugly:

Let's compare Whiting, whom you call a "distinquished" author, with that of the Official History of the United States Army of the Ardennes Battle.


Here are some readers' reviews of some of Whiting's books:

The Other Battle of the Bulge: Operation Northwind (West Wall Series) > Customer Review #1:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thoughts on Whiting

Reading the other posts about this book compels me to say a few things about the author. Charles Whiting is a popular, readable and prolific writer of WWII stories, but he is not a historian in any way, shape or form. If you have read more than one of his books you will recognize the following:

1) lack of any kind of endnotes and few footnotes: where is this material coming from?

2) quotes from interviews with the author, which are not in any way anotated at the end of the book

3) praise of the common US soldier but uniformly harsh criticism of all senior U.S. leadership, especially Eisenhower

4) comparisons with Vietnam which, while occasionally interesting (he points out that William Westmorland fought in the Huertgen Forest without learning its lessons) usually border on the ridiculous

5) plagarism from his own works, including entire chapters, some of which have not even been re-written, but simply included whole in different books

6) where are the @and*#and! maps?

This book, like his "Ardennes: The Secret War" posits that Operation Nordwind was a bigger threat than the Battle of the Bulge to the Allies because it nearly defeated the Alliance politically at a time when they had already won the war militarily. It is an interesting conjecture, but it is tainted by the half-hidden glee that Whiting seems to feel over any disaster involving American troops and particularly their leadership. Everything he writes is written through that distoring lens. In any endeavour, if you want to find fault, you will, and in war this is particularly easy. Eisenhower was an armchair warrior and a true mediocrity as a strategist, but he was a superb military politician, maybe the only man who could have kept such a contentious alliance together until final victory. He deserves credit for holding it all together.

I have read five of Whitings books and found most of them to be very entertaining, especially because he tends to focus on American disasters which naturally have not gotten much press since the war, and thus have not been written about extensively. He puts books together like a novel, and is far from a dry writer. But his scholarship would not have met the standards of my high school history teacher, much less those of a true historian. He seems to write about what interest him only, is careless with his statistics and dates, includes facts that suit his opinions, states his opinions as facts, and constantly recycles his own material. You could probably file his books under historical fiction before you could file them under history."


*****************************************8

Whiting, Charles. The Battle for Twelveland: An Account of Anglo-American Intelligence Operations Within Nazi Germany, 1939-1945. London, Leo Cooper, 1975. The Spymasters: The True Story of Anglo-American Intelligence Operations Within Nazi Germany, 1939-1945. New York: Dutton, 1976.

Constantinides says this is "a potpourri of fact and fiction, actuality and myth, assumptions, sketchy versions of certain events, contrived tie-ins, and a certain confusion." Nevertheless, the author is "sometimes so accurate as to indicate access to well-informed sources or successful combining of certain versions." There is also "a good segment on SIS's role and the basis of its intelligence successes against Germany."


*************************************

Whiting, Charles. Gehlen: Germany's Master Spy. New York: Ballantine, 1972.

NameBase: "Charles Whiting's book is somewhat sensational in tone and doesn't cite sources.... There are altogether too many exclamation points, along with direct quotes that appear to be added for effect rather than accuracy. Most of the book concerns Gehlen's career in Germany, particularly after the war, rather than his associations with U.S. intelligence."

http://intellit.muskingum.edu/alpha_folder/W_folder/whitf-whz.html



********************************************

Now let's look at the OFFICIAL HISTORY


NOTE: NO historian has EVER criticized the Official History of the Ardennes Battle.



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II

The European Theater of Operations

THE ARDENNES: BATTLE OF THE BULGE by Hugh M. Cole



OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF MILITARY HISTORY
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
WASHINGTON, D.C., 1965



The OFFICIAL HISTORY:

This is what it says about the Ardennes Battle:


"This volume represents the most exhaustive collection of personal memoirs by leading participants ever attempted for a general staff history of a major campaign. The memoirs take two forms: interviews with American participants shortly after the action described, and written accounts prepared immediately after the end of World War II by the German officers who took part in the Ardennes Campaign. The use of the combat interview in the European Theater of Operations was organized by Col. William A. Ganoe, theater historian, but the specific initiation of an intensive effort to cover the Ardennes story while the battle itself was in progress must be credited to Col. S. L. A. Marshall. The enlistment of the German participants in the Ardennes, first as involuntary then as voluntary historians, was begun by Colonel Marshall and Capt. Kenneth Hechler, then developed into a fully organized research program by Col. Harold Potter, who was assisted by a very able group of young officers, notably Captains Howard Hudson, Frank Mahin, and James Scoggins."


Further: here are just some of the personal accounts included.

Sources:

The German sources contributing most directly to this chapter are MSS # B-23, 5th Parachute Division, 1 December 1944-12 January 1945 (Generalmajor Ludwig Heilmann); # B-041, 167th Volks Grenadier Division, 24 December 1944-February 1945, Corps Hoecker, 2-10 March 1945 and 59th Infantry Division, 20 March-24 April 1945 (Generalleutnant Hans Hoecker); # B-068, 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, Ardennes (Generalmajor Walter Denkert); # B-151, Fifth Panzer Army, Ardennes Offensive (General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel); # B-151a, sequel to MS # B-151 (General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel); # B-235, Fifth Panzer Army, 2 November 1944-16 January 1945 (Generalmajor Carl Wagener); # B465, 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, 16-28 December 1944 (Generalmajor Walter Denkert); # B-592, Fuehrer Begleit Brigade, 16 December 1944-26 January 1945 (Generalmajor Otto Remer); # B-701, Army Group B, 15 October 1944-1945 (Col Guenther Reichhelm); # B-799, LXXXIX Corps, 24 January-8 March 1945 (Lt Col Kurt Reschke).

See MSS # A-932 (Gersdorff); B-041 (Hoecker); and B-799 (Reschke).

The operations of the Third Army in the Bastogne counterattack are the subject of a special journal prepared by the TUSA 3 staff (in the author's possession). In addition the TUSA chief of staff, General Gay, kept an official Third Army diary (referred to hereafter as Gay Diary), a copy of which was used by the author. The personal data on General Patton is interesting but adds little to the official records. See also George S. Patton, Jr., War As I Knew It (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1947) and Harry H. Semmes, Portrait of Patton (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1955).

Very detailed coverage of the 80th Division operation will be found in the combat interviews. The division records are less useful than the AAR's and journals of the three infantry regiments. See also, Capt. Roy T. McGrann, The 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion (Pittsburgh, Pa.; Geyer Printing Company, 1946).

With the exception of those conducted with the 101st Airborne Division, the combat interviews with the 4th Armored Division are the most informative of all those bearing on the battle at Bastogne. The 4th Armored AAR and G-3 journal provide little exact or detailed information. The combat command AAR's and journals remedy this lack. Each battalion has either an AAR or unit journal. See also K. A. Koyen, The Fourth Armored Division (Munich, 1945); Lt. Col. D. M. Oden, 4th Armored Division-Relief of the 101st Airborne Division, Bastogne, Pamphlet Series, Command and General Staff College, 1947; History of the Ninety-Fourth Armored Field Artillery Battalion (n.d., n.p.); and The Armored School MS, Armor at Bastogne (May 1949).

Further: these sources represent information gathered from thousands of participants, including from Allied and German generals, from their staffs, from officers of all grades, as well as from the soldiers involved.

Further: these sources were cross-checked with official unit histories as well as general histories.

Further: this Official History was last updated in the year 2000. It is updated when NEW information is discovered.

Further: the Official History version of the Ardennes Battle took many years to write and runs over 900 pages

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/19/2004 5:01:36 PM >


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Post #: 396
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 7:02:20 PM   
Kevinugly

 

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Von Rom, I never called Whiting 'distinguished' - I posted a review from another website that called him that to show you that the opinions of his work were not the only ones. Don't you understand this?

The above post regarding the 'Official History' and 'Whiting'. It's the fourth time you've posted it and we've already gone over that ground. I don't understand why you feel the necessity to keep repeating the same 'cut and paste's'


The cut and paste from the other forum because 'the author clearly knew what he was talking about' Seems you have a sense of humour since you are not taking this debate seriously at all.

quote:

Kevinugly:


quote:

Might be worth taking this to another thread. It is an interesting subject and one I'm sure several members here would like to debate but I fear it's going to be 'swept up' in Von Roms endless quest to prove Pattons brilliance


Ah, yes this is the sort of analysis I was expecting from you.




Do you deny this has been what you have been doing for the last 14 pages? Surely not

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Post #: 397
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 7:04:19 PM   
Kevinugly

 

Posts: 438
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From: Colchester, UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: VicKevlar

How about we see the temperature on this thread drop a little hmmmm? Also, knock off all the personal shots.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.


Or what?

Am I supposed to take that as a threat?

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Post #: 398
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 7:08:05 PM   
Von Rom


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Kevinugly:

Using your sources:

Indicate to all of us where the 1SS Panzer Division was in the Battle of the Bulge AFTER December 25, 1944.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 7:22:02 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
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quote:

ORIGINAL: riverbravo

You guys that are argueing over the 1st SS panzer and what they did and where they did it can go in circles all day.

We all know that often KG's were pieced together from a company from here and platoon from there etc etc.

So it can seem that a division is "all over the place" but it is actualy just a few units pieced together and under the command of a SS officer.


I agree with you if we are talking about the views from a single source or two.

But the Official History of the Ardennes Battle includes the views of THOUSANDS of participants includng the Generals, their staffs, other officers, their memoirs, unit histories, general histories, etc.

The views from Peiper alone run over 3,000 transcript pages.

No historian disputes the Official History of the Ardennes Battle.

Why is this a difficult thing for anyone to see?

If we cannot distinquish between what is a credible source, from what is a questionable source, then we are indeed in a sorry state.

If our critical reasoning skills are in such a poor state, such that we think ALL authors and sources should be given equal weight - then what hope is there for any of us?

Surely we can evaluate authors and sources in an intelligent way. . .

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/19/2004 6:33:29 PM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 7:28:36 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

Von Rom, I never called Whiting 'distinguished' - I posted a review from another website that called him that to show you that the opinions of his work were not the only ones. Don't you understand this?

The above post regarding the 'Official History' and 'Whiting'. It's the fourth time you've posted it and we've already gone over that ground. I don't understand why you feel the necessity to keep repeating the same 'cut and paste's'


The cut and paste from the other forum because 'the author clearly knew what he was talking about' Seems you have a sense of humour since you are not taking this debate seriously at all.

quote:

Kevinugly:


quote:

Might be worth taking this to another thread. It is an interesting subject and one I'm sure several members here would like to debate but I fear it's going to be 'swept up' in Von Roms endless quest to prove Pattons brilliance


Ah, yes this is the sort of analysis I was expecting from you.




Do you deny this has been what you have been doing for the last 14 pages? Surely not



Kevinugly:

quote:

Von Rom, I never called Whiting 'distinguished' - I posted a review from another website that called him that to show you that the opinions of his work were not the only ones. Don't you understand this?


That was not a review. It was a short, one sentence blurb from some individual. The website it was from was an entertainment site. You couldn't do better than this?


quote:

The above post regarding the 'Official History' and 'Whiting'. It's the fourth time you've posted it and we've already gone over that ground. I don't understand why you feel the necessity to keep repeating the same 'cut and paste's'


It seems I have to since you are utterly incapable of distinqishing between good and bad sources.

quote:

Do you deny this has been what you have been doing for the last 14 pages? Surely not


We are talking about you, your views, your opinions and your sources.

I have yet to see from you a single, credible source for your so-called "assessment", or for where the 1SS Panzer was after December 25, 1944.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 7:33:45 PM   
Von Rom


Posts: 1705
Joined: 5/12/2000
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quote:

ORIGINAL: VicKevlar

How about we see the temperature on this thread drop a little hmmmm? Also, knock off all the personal shots.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.


I agree 100%

Thanks for stopping by Vic

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/19/2004 5:48:45 PM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 8:16:23 PM   
VicKevlar

 

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From: Minneapolis, MN
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

Or what?

Am I supposed to take that as a threat?


No threat....just an heads up for everyone to have things cool down and to eliminate the insults.

As to the 'what?'.....repeated violations can lead to suspension from the forums.

< Message edited by VicKevlar -- 7/19/2004 12:45:56 PM >


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Post #: 403
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 9:29:49 PM   
wulfir


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Patton?

I think T. said it best:
"Fair on a sunny day."

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Semper in Primis

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Post #: 404
RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/19/2004 10:53:12 PM   
IronDuke_slith

 

Posts: 1595
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From: Manchester, UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico

quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly
… those commanders we wish to elevate to 'greatness' need to show they apply other principles too…

Finally, Patton never fought a battle where he didn't have materiel superiority on the ground and the air, where he was fighting a battle where he had to hold ground rather than take it. It's very difficult to make a case for him to be compared with WW2 commanders like Manstein and Slim who showed their capacity to successfully apply all of the principles of warfare even in the most adverse of situations. It's even more difficult to place him with the greats of all military history.
Interesting. I disagree in some areas.

The Germans did well when they had air superiority and numerical/qualitative superiority, and when they didn’t they faired poorly. So what? Should the accomplishment of the Germans in 1940 against France be dismissed because they attacked second rate troops with overwhelming force, while having air superiority?

In my opinion, German commanders as a group are overrated by most people, and Erich von Manstein is no acceptation. He understood the nature of armored warfare during this period, a rarity among German commanders, but was not a miracle worker. When in a tactically disadvantages situation he achieve no radical victories, and while his handling of Panzer forces was very good, his command of infantry forces was adequate. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t brilliant, just that his victories were achieved under similar circumstances you dismiss so easily in your post.



1. He did well with 56th Panzer Corps in 1941 with a superior force and air superiority, against a surprised and poorly lead Soviet troops.

2. His handling of 11th Army in the Crimea can best be described as adequate, but before Sevastopol fell his Army was spent.

3. His action while commanding forces attacking Leningrad can hardly be called brilliant.

4. His command of Army Group Don was not successful.

5. The counter attack in the winter of 1942/43 was excellent, but it was concentrated German armor against an exhausted, strung out and poorly supplied Soviet force.

6. His commander of Army Group South consisted of a failed offense and endless retreat.



"Field-Marshal von Manstein had proved the ablest commander in the German Army. He had a superb sense of operational possibilities and an equal mastery in the conduct of operations, together with a greater grasp of the potentialities of mechanised forces than any of the other commanders not trained in the tank army. In sum, he had military genius."

Captain B.H. Liddell Hart


PS. I am not comparing the abilities of any general, just pointing out that the “circumstances” that are dismissed when helping an Allied victory were also used by the Germans.



Stirring the pot.


Not at all, a post that challenges one of the standard lines about WWII is always welcome, particularly when backed with good examples. (I only pulled out of the Patton thread, if someone hijacks it to discuss something more interesting, I reserve the right to get involved )

quote:

The Germans did well when they had air superiority and numerical/qualitative superiority, and when they didn’t they faired poorly. So what? Should the accomplishment of the Germans in 1940 against France be dismissed because they attacked second rate troops with overwhelming force, while having air superiority?


I think the point is that they didn't have these things. There was no real superiority in terms of numbers. I thought if anything they deployed marginally fewer divisions into the field than the combined numbers arrayed against them. The Wehrmacht in the west deployed almosty 142 divisions, 28 of which were held in OKH reserve. They faced 144 divisons of the French, British, Dutch and Belgian armies.

In tanks, only the french and British fielded armour against them from what I can see. The french seem to have deployed around 3250 tanks to the Germans 2600. In addition, the majority of the Germans tanks were I or IIs fielding machine guns of 20 MM cannon. The majority of the french models carried 37MM or 47MM guns and were generally better armoured. There was no advantage in armour, therefore, the Germans had fewer tanks, and they were undergunned and underarmoured compared to the French designs.

The Germans were outnumbered 2:1 in field guns but had maybe a 5:4 advantage in aircraft. The Germans did not have the aircraft to attain air superiority, did not have better weapons and did not outnumber their opponents. There were a number of divisions in the French armed forces that were considered category B and perhaps less capable than the category A, but most of these seem to have been protected by fortifications that left the category A divisions to advance into Belgium when the war started.

Therefore, the reason the German defeat of France was one of the finest victories of it's type, was that they created the conditions for the victory themselves. They correctly anticipated the battle plan of the enemy, (The Breda variant), then struck along the Meuse in overwhelming strength, massing their own forces (land and air) to create a battlefield on which they did have superiority, in the middle of a war in which they didn't.

Personally, I think the plan was first class, reminds me a little of Napoleon's victory of Austerlitz where he sets his forces up so as to evoke a certain response from the enemy, before attacking at precisely the required point to cut off that response.

A number of the french troops at Sedan were considered second rate, but they were behind a river in pillboxes, and better forces were in the area.

quote:

In my opinion, German commanders as a group are overrated by most people, and Erich von Manstein is no acceptation. He understood the nature of armored warfare during this period, a rarity among German commanders, but was not a miracle worker. When in a tactically disadvantages situation he achieve no radical victories, and while his handling of Panzer forces was very good, his command of infantry forces was adequate. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t brilliant, just that his victories were achieved under similar circumstances you dismiss so easily in your post.


I'd take the opposite track to this. I thought the Germans seem to have produced any number of good commanders. I think the reasons date back to the inter war years and the Reichswehr, but after five years of war the Germans were still producing good Senior Commanders (Balck, Heinrici etc). Rundstedt, Bock, Guderian, Manstein, Rommel, Model, Kesselring, the list seems endless, and all I think would have shone in Allied colours, given the advantages they had late war.

quote:

1. He did well with 56th Panzer Corps in 1941 with a superior force and air superiority, against a surprised and poorly lead Soviet troops.


No argument, although I wouldn't overplay the advantage of air superiority in an environment as large as Russia. He also went a long way, it's easy to downplay but German casualty returns from the first six months indicate that however badly led and poorly trained, the Russians had a lot of fight in them.

quote:

2. His handling of 11th Army in the Crimea can best be described as adequate, but before Sevastopol fell his Army was spent.


Quite the opposite, I think. Sevastapol was a formidable fortress, and he didn't have control of the sea. The forces at his command were very limited, and often reduced as Army Group South pushed eastwards and stripped him of formation. The Russians also invaded the eastern Crimea themselves whilst he was outside Sevastapol. Operation Bustard Hunt was a stunning success, and he eventually took Sevastapol. I don't think it could be described as merely adequate at all.

quote:

3. His action while commanding forces attacking Leningrad can hardly be called brilliant.


Don't know much about this, but I never thought he was there very long. A few weeks at most.

quote:

4. His command of Army Group Don was not successful.


This is one of those comments which hides more than it reveals. Many commentators rank his defence whilst in command of this Army Group as his finest moment. It culminated in the victory at Kharkov, but with limited forces, he held major Russian formations at bay whilst German forces escaped from the caucasus, and found time to attempt to free the forces in Stalingrad (with only two understrength Panzer Divisions). I think his command here was exemplary. So whilst one could say, all he did was stabilise the front, he stabilised it when it had no right to be stabilised.

quote:

5. The counter attack in the winter of 1942/43 was excellent, but it was concentrated German armor against an exhausted, strung out and poorly supplied Soviet force.


Yes, but it was partly strung out because he manouevred onto it's flanks, rather than block and stop it. He was fighting in the depths of winter, and the formations that destroyed the Russian spearhead had previously defended Kharkov itself so had spent some time moving arouind in the field themselves. It achieves some notoriety as the last German victory of real fame in the east, but was the culmination of a magnificent campaign.

quote:

6. His commander of Army Group South consisted of a failed offense and endless retreat.


A reference to Kursk and then the Russian summer and winter offensives that broke in to the Ukraine I'm guessing.

Re Kursk, well, he walked into the most heavily defended real estate the world has ever seen. In the north, they were halted after just three or four miles. He advanced steadily for eleven days, and was within striking distance of his objective when ordered to withdraw. His forces fought off the largest armoured counterattack in history around Prokhorovka and inflicted huge casualties. A defeat yes, but again I think he did better than should have been expected. It is also a unfair battle to criticise anyone over, it was a soldier's battle. Little or no manouevre, just gruesome attrition. It is to the Divisional and Regimental Commanders that the credit for what gains were made must go.

As for the defensive battles thereafter, I think they tell us several things. I think there was a decline in the fighting abilities of the Wehrmacht, and an improvement in the operational abilities of the Russians. Coupled with the overwhelming numbers they could put into the field where they chose, and the writing down of so much of the German armoured force at Kursk, I am not surprised his magic ran out. There were only a few short months between the last of these battles and Bagration, which perhaps show that the Wehrmacht was at the end of it's tether by late 43. His performance as commander of Army Group Don may have been magical, but he was not a miracle worker, and the strategic situation 8-12 months later was beyond everyone, not just him.

quote:

"Field-Marshal von Manstein had proved the ablest commander in the German Army. He had a superb sense of operational possibilities and an equal mastery in the conduct of operations, together with a greater grasp of the potentialities of mechanised forces than any of the other commanders not trained in the tank army. In sum, he had military genius."

Captain B.H. Liddell Hart


I'd agree, particularly about the grasp of operational possibilities.

Regards,
IronDuke

< Message edited by IronDuke -- 7/19/2004 10:42:56 PM >

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 12:28:08 AM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wulfir

Patton?

I think T. said it best:
"Fair on a sunny day."


The same could be said about German Blitzkrieg and/or about any German general in the war.

German Blitzkrieg was fine against weaker, inferior forces, such as those of Poland, Denmark, Holland, etc.

Yet, what happened when there was bad weather or a prepared foe?

Could Axis planes fly in heavy rain and in heavy snow? (Patton was often faced with bad weather at Metz and at the Bulge).

Could Axis tanks and trucks move easily in mud-covered, or snow-covered, roads? (Patton's forces often had to contend with this).

Perhaps, it is just our imagination that German armies were stopped before the gates of Moscow in Dec, 1941, and then repulsed by a counter-attack by the Soviet Union, when it launched a major counterattack against the center of the front, driving the Germans back from Moscow between 100 to 250 km by 7 January 1942. . .

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/19/2004 10:44:45 PM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 2:38:19 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom


quote:

Do you deny this has been what you have been doing for the last 14 pages? Surely not


We are talking about you, your views, your opinions and your sources.



You can't even keep this in context can you. Nice piece of editing though, although I'm sure anyone reading through this thread will recognise your agenda.

"That was not a review. It was a short, one sentence blurb from some individual. The website it was from was an entertainment site. You couldn't do better than this?"


Like the reader reviews from Amazon, gosh, they carry lots of weight. In any case, I've never quoted from Whiting so I don't need to comment. You are the one who repeatedly brings him up. Give it a rest

< Message edited by Kevinugly -- 7/20/2004 12:42:53 AM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 2:58:34 AM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kevinugly

quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom


quote:

Do you deny this has been what you have been doing for the last 14 pages? Surely not


We are talking about you, your views, your opinions and your sources.



You can't even keep this in context can you. Nice piece of editing though, although I'm sure anyone reading through this thread will recognise your agenda.

"That was not a review. It was a short, one sentence blurb from some individual. The website it was from was an entertainment site. You couldn't do better than this?"


Like the reader reviews from Amazon, gosh, they carry lots of weight. In any case, I've never quoted from Whiting so I don't need to comment. You are the one who repeatedly brings him up. Give it a rest




You completely ignore/turn your nose up at the Official History of the Ardennes Battle, preferring some private web page regarding the 1SS Panzer.

Then I ask you for a single source that shows where 1SS Panzer was after Dec. 25, 1944.

Any source.

I'll even take Whiting.

And this is your very weak response?

Like I said:

Now I know why horses have tails.

So far, you have indicated that you are only a silly, juvenile person with absolutely NOTHING to say.

So, unless you can come up with something about the 1SS Panzer, then I am just going to ignore your posts.

Now run along. . .

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/20/2004 1:40:16 AM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 3:10:46 AM   
Kevinugly

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom


I am just going to ignore your posts.



No change there then

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 4:24:39 AM   
Golf33

 

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According to J-P. Pallud, The Battle of the Bulge: Then and Now, 1.SS-Pz.Div. was assigned to 5.Pz.A. on 28 December after being savagely mauled in the fighting of the northern sector. It was assigned to Decker's XXXIX (39) Pz.Korps, which was to attack from the East in the direction Eschweiler-Lutrebois. To quote from Pallud on the condition of the Korps:

quote:

On the eve of the operation against the corridor, the forces comprising the eastern pincer directed on Assenois were even more disorganised than those on the west. The 1. SS-Panzer-Division had lost most of its striking power in the Kampfgruppe Peiper venture and the remaining units had become bogged down moving south across the main lines of communication feeding the divisions fighting to the west. The 167. Volks-Grenadier-Division had experienced a number of problems assembling for the attack as its units had detrained far from the area, some of them east of the Rhine! Although the two divisions were to be supported in the attack by the Panzer-Lehr-Division's Kampgruppe 901 and F.S.Rgt. 15 of the 5. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division, in the line south-east of the town, the offensive value of these units was very much lessened by the losses they had sustained in the fighting so far. The assorted armour of 1. SS=Panzer-Division, extricated from its service with 6. Panzer-Armee, included those Tigers from the regiment's attached s.SS-Pz.Abt. 501 and the few panzers of SS.Pz.Rgt 1 that had not moved north of the Ambleve with Kampfgruppe Peiper. These presumably included a large proportion of the Panzer IVs belonging to the regiment's 7. Kompanie, and, in the same way, a sizeable number of the Jagdpanzer IV/70s of SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 1. Added to these were the remaining Panzer IVs of a company assigned to the Panzer-Lehr-Division's Kampfgruppe 901.


From Jentz, Panzertruppen vol II, we get the starting strength of 1.SS-Pz.Div (e.g. prior to the destruction of KG Peiper):

quote:

SS-Pz.Rgt. 1
s.SS-Pz.Abt.501: 45 PzVI
I.: 37 PzIV(lg), 42 PzV, 4 LlakpzIV(2V), 4 FlakpzIV(37)
3 Dec 44


Peiper took basically the whole SS-Pz.Rgt. 1 with him, so what you're looking at there is most of a single company of PzIVs, most of two companies of PzJg IV/70s, and a handful of PzVI. Add to this whatever was left of the single company of PzIVs that comprised the tank strength of KG 901 at the start of the battle (e.g. for the initial attack) and you can see that the total is something like a single understrength battalion of mixed PzIV and PzJg IV/70 with a few Tigers thrown in.

Of course none of these came into contact with Thrid Army until after it had reached Bastogne, so it has no bearing on Patton's performance in the drive to relieve the town.

Regards
33

< Message edited by Golf33 -- 7/20/2004 1:26:41 PM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 8:04:56 AM   
Culiacan Mexico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rune Iversen

quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico]
Stirring the pot.


Trolling again I see


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 8:38:16 AM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Golf33

According to J-P. Pallud, The Battle of the Bulge: Then and Now, 1.SS-Pz.Div. was assigned to 5.Pz.A. on 28 December after being savagely mauled in the fighting of the northern sector. It was assigned to Decker's XXXIX (39) Pz.Korps, which was to attack from the East in the direction Eschweiler-Lutrebois. To quote from Pallud on the condition of the Korps:

quote:

On the eve of the operation against the corridor, the forces comprising the eastern pincer directed on Assenois were even more disorganised than those on the west. The 1. SS-Panzer-Division had lost most of its striking power in the Kampfgruppe Peiper venture and the remaining units had become bogged down moving south across the main lines of communication feeding the divisions fighting to the west. The 167. Volks-Grenadier-Division had experienced a number of problems assembling for the attack as its units had detrained far from the area, some of them east of the Rhine! Although the two divisions were to be supported in the attack by the Panzer-Lehr-Division's Kampgruppe 901 and F.S.Rgt. 15 of the 5. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division, in the line south-east of the town, the offensive value of these units was very much lessened by the losses they had sustained in the fighting so far. The assorted armour of 1. SS=Panzer-Division, extricated from its service with 6. Panzer-Armee, included those Tigers from the regiment's attached s.SS-Pz.Abt. 501 and the few panzers of SS.Pz.Rgt 1 that had not moved north of the Ambleve with Kampfgruppe Peiper. These presumably included a large proportion of the Panzer IVs belonging to the regiment's 7. Kompanie, and, in the same way, a sizeable number of the Jagdpanzer IV/70s of SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 1. Added to these were the remaining Panzer IVs of a company assigned to the Panzer-Lehr-Division's Kampfgruppe 901.


From Jentz, Panzertruppen vol II, we get the starting strength of 1.SS-Pz.Div (e.g. prior to the destruction of KG Peiper):

quote:

SS-Pz.Rgt. 1
s.SS-Pz.Abt.501: 45 PzVI
I.: 37 PzIV(lg), 42 PzV, 4 LlakpzIV(2V), 4 FlakpzIV(37)
3 Dec 44


Peiper took basically the whole SS-Pz.Rgt. 1 with him, so what you're looking at there is most of a single company of PzIVs, most of two companies of PzJg IV/70s, and a handful of PzVI. Add to this whatever was left of the single company of PzIVs that comprised the tank strength of KG 901 at the start of the battle (e.g. for the initial attack) and you can see that the total is something like a single understrength battalion of mixed PzIV and PzJg IV/70 with a few Tigers thrown in.

Of course none of these came into contact with Thrid Army until after it had reached Bastogne, so it has no bearing on Patton's performance in the drive to relieve the town.

Regards
33


This is very interesting.

I appreciate the time it took to post this.

In many of the histories I have found some discrepancies, however, I did more digging in the Offical History of the Ardennes Battle, and I will post my results in the next post.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 8:39:04 AM   
Von Rom


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Were ALL 1SS Panzer's Armour Destroyed With Peiper on December 24TH?

This post will show that 1SS Panzer's armour was present with Peiper on December 24th (and was destroyed) and it was also present on December 30 near Bastogne.

Sound impossible?

Read on:

Taken from:


The Official United States History:

THE ARDENNES:
BATTLE OF THE BULGE

by Hugh M. Cole

CMH Publication 7-8



1) According to the Official History, the 1st SS Panzer Division started the Battle of the Bulge on Decemebr 16 with 142 tanks (50 Pz IVs, 50 Panthers and 42 Tigers):


quote:

"The 1st SS Panzer Division (SS Oberfuehrer Wilhelm Mohnke) was the strongest fighting unit in the Sixth Panzer Army. Undiluted by any large influx of untrained Luftwaffe or Navy replacements, possessed of most of its T/O&E equipment, it had an available armored strength on 16 December of about a hundred tanks, equally divided between the Mark IV and the Panther, plus forty-two Tiger tanks belonging to the 501st SS Panzer Detachment" (Page 262).



2) However, Peiper's kampfgruppe was surrounded and destroyed on December 24:


quote:

"The net had been drawn tight around Peiper, as tight as it could be drawn in this complex of woods and hills. But on the morning of the 24th most of the quarry had flown... Leaving a rear guard to demolish the tanks, trucks, and guns, Peiper and some eight hundred of his command started at 0100 in single file through the woods fringing La Gleize on the south, crossed the river, and as day broke took cover among the densely wooded hills north of Trois Ponts. On the night of the 24th Peiper's force crossed the Salm, briefly engaging troops of the 82d Airborne Division in a brisk exchange of fire, and on Christmas morning rejoined the 1st SS Panzer Division south of Stavelot"(p.376).



3) If Peiper's kampfgruppe (and his armour) was surrounded and destroyed on December 24, then how could the 1SS Panzer Division also be seen near Bastogne at the end of December?

What many historians and authors seem to over-look is the fact that NOT all the tanks that originally started with Peiper were destroyed on the 24th.

That's right.

How do we know this?

The answer lies here:

quote:

"The 1st SS Panzer was still licking its wounds after the disastrous fight as advance guard of the Sixth Panzer Army, when Model ordered the division to move south, beginning 26 December. Most of its tanks were in the repair shops, fuel was short, and some units did not leave for Bastogne until the afternoon of the 29th. This march was across the grain of the German communications net and became badly snarled in the streets of Houffalize, where Allied air attacks had caused a major traffic jam, that forced tank units to move only in small groups. It is probable that fewer than fifty tanks reached the Bastogne area in time to take part in the 30 December attack"(p.623).


Did you catch it? Read the above paragraph again. A certain number of 1SS Panzer armour was in the repair shops and/or was short of fuel. These were tanks that had probably broken down, been damaged, or ran out of gas on the way to the Meuse and were recovered by German crews.

It took three days (from December 26th to December 29th) before these tanks were ready to move south to engage Third Army at Bastogne.

Therefore:

quote:

"Army Group Luettwitz would conduct the fight to restore the German circle with the XXXIX and XLVII Panzer Corps, the first attacking east to west, the second striking west to east... The eastern assault force comprised the much understrength and crippled 1st SS Panzer and the 167th Volks Grenadier Divisions; its drive was to be made via Lutrebois toward Assenois"(p.619).


In addition:

quote:

"The 167th and the kampfgruppe from the 1st SS Panzer (be it remembered the entire division was not present on the 30th) were supposed to be reinforced by the 14th Parachute Regiment and the 901st of the Panzer Lehr. Both of these regiments were already in the line southeast of Bastogne, but were fought-out and woefully understrength..." (p.623).

"During the night of 29 December the tank column of the 1st SS Panzer moved up along the road linking Tarchamps and Lutremange. The usable road net was very sparse in this sector. Once through Lutremange, however, the German column could deploy in two armored assault forces, one moving through Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, the other angling northwest through Lutrebois. Before dawn the leading tank companies rumbled toward these two villages. At Villers-la-Bonne-Eau Companies K and L, 137th Infantry, came under attack by seven tanks heavily supported by infantry. The panzers moved in close, blasting the stone houses and setting the village ablaze. At 0845 a radio message reached the command post of the 137th asking for the artillery to lay down a barrage of smoke and high explosive, but before the gunners could get a sensing the radio went dead. Only one of the 169 men inside the village got out, Sgt. Webster Phillips, who earlier had run through the rifle fire to warn the reserve company of the battalion west of Villers" (p.625).

"The main body of the 1st SS Panzer kampfgruppe appeared an hour or so before noon moving along the Lutremange-Lutrebois road; some twenty-five tanks were counted in all. It took two hours to bring the fighterbombers into the fray, but they arrived just in time to cripple or destroy seven tanks and turn back the bulk of the panzers. Companies I and K still were in their foxholes along the road during the air bombing and would recall that, lacking bazookas, the green soldiers "popped off" at the tanks with their rifles and that some of the German tanks turned aside into the woods. Later the two companies came back across the valley, on orders, and jointed the defense line forming near the chateau.

"Thirteen German tanks, which may have debouched from the road before the air attack, reached the woods southwest of Lutrebois, but a 4th Armored artillery observer in a cub plane spotted them and dropped a message to Company B of the 35th Tank Battalion. Lt. John A. Kingsley, the company commander, who had six Sherman tanks and a platoon from the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion, formed an ambush near a slight ridge that provided his own tanks with hull defilade and waited. The leading German company (or platoon), which had six panzers, happened to see Company A of the 35th as the fog briefly lifted, and turned, with flank exposed, in that direction. The first shot from Kingsley's covert put away the German commander's tank and the other tanks milled about until all had been knocked out. Six more German tanks came along and all were destroyed or disabled. In the meantime the American tank destroyers took on some accompanying assault guns, shot up three of them, and dispersed the neighboring grenadiers"(p.627).



Summary

Contrary to popular belief, all of the tanks of 1SS Panzer were NOT destroyed on December 24th when Peiper was surrounded.

It seems highly probable that many tanks were damaged, broke down, or simply ran out of fuel BEFORE December 24th. The Official History states that a number of tanks were in the repair shops when the order came on December 26th for 1SS Panzer to move south.

Thus, when the 1SS Panzer actually moved south to Bastogne on December 29th, there were about 40-50 tanks that started the trip.

The Official History is very clear that the striking power of the 1SS Panzer Division had been greatly reduced, and by December 30 calls it the 1st SS Panzer kampfgruppe.

On December 30, 25 tanks of the 1SS Panzer kampfgruppe appeared along the Lutremange-Lutrebois road, and were spotted by elements of Third Army.


Sources:

The records of Peiper's unit were destroyed just before his capture. In 1945, however, Peiper was interviewed by members of the ETO Historical Section. (See Ferriss, Rpt Based on Intervs in January 1945, passim.) Much of the tactical detail used herein comes from the 3,268page trial transcript of the so-called Malmedy Case tried before the U.S. General Military Government Court in 1946. A good summary of the latter is found in a manuscript by Royce L. Thompson entitled The ETO Ardennes Campaign: Operations of the Combat Group Peiper, 16 26 December 1944 (1952), in OCMH files.

The German sources contributing most directly to this chapter are MSS # B-23, 5th Parachute Division, 1 December 1944-12 January 1945 (Generalmajor Ludwig Heilmann); # B-041, 167th Volks Grenadier Division, 24 December 1944-February 1945, Corps Hoecker, 2-10 March 1945 and 59th Infantry Division, 20 March-24 April 1945 (Generalleutnant Hans Hoecker); # B-068, 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, Ardennes (Generalmajor Walter Denkert); # B-151, Fifth Panzer Army, Ardennes Offensive (General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel); # B-151a, sequel to MS # B-151 (General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel); # B-235, Fifth Panzer Army, 2 November 1944-16 January 1945 (Generalmajor Carl Wagener); # B465, 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, 16-28 December 1944 (Generalmajor Walter Denkert); # B-592, Fuehrer Begleit Brigade, 16 December 1944-26 January 1945 (Generalmajor Otto Remer); # B-701, Army Group B, 15 October 1944-1945 (Col Guenther Reichhelm); # B-799, LXXXIX Corps, 24 January-8 March 1945 (Lt Col Kurt Reschke).

The German estimate of the opposing forces and Allied reserves moving into the Ardennes may be traced in the daily Ic. Feindlagekarten attached to the OB WEST KTB.

< Message edited by Von Rom -- 7/20/2004 3:51:27 PM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 9:08:18 AM   
Culiacan Mexico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico
The Germans did well when they had air superiority and numerical/qualitative superiority, and when they didn’t they faired poorly. So what? Should the accomplishment of the Germans in 1940 against France be dismissed because they attacked second rate troops with overwhelming force, while having air superiority?

I think the point is that they didn't have these things. There was no real superiority in terms of numbers. I thought if anything they deployed marginally fewer divisions into the field than the combined numbers arrayed against them. The Wehrmacht in the west deployed almosty 142 divisions, 28 of which were held in OKH reserve. They faced 144 divisons of the French, British, Dutch and Belgian armies.

In tanks, only the french and British fielded armour against them from what I can see. The french seem to have deployed around 3250 tanks to the Germans 2600. In addition, the majority of the Germans tanks were I or IIs fielding machine guns of 20 MM cannon. The majority of the french models carried 37MM or 47MM guns and were generally better armoured. There was no advantage in armour, therefore, the Germans had fewer tanks, and they were undergunned and underarmoured compared to the French designs.

The Germans were outnumbered 2:1 in field guns but had maybe a 5:4 advantage in aircraft. The Germans did not have the aircraft to attain air superiority, did not have better weapons and did not outnumber their opponents. There were a number of divisions in the French armed forces that were considered category B and perhaps less capable than the category A, but most of these seem to have been protected by fortifications that left the category A divisions to advance into Belgium when the war started.

Therefore, the reason the German defeat of France was one of the finest victories of it's type, was that they created the conditions for the victory themselves. They correctly anticipated the battle plan of the enemy, (The Breda variant), then struck along the Meuse in overwhelming strength, massing their own forces (land and air) to create a battlefield on which they did have superiority, in the middle of a war in which they didn't.

Personally, I think the plan was first class, reminds me a little of Napoleon's victory of Austerlitz where he sets his forces up so as to evoke a certain response from the enemy, before attacking at precisely the required point to cut off that response.

A number of the french troops at Sedan were considered second rate, but they were behind a river in pillboxes, and better forces were in the area.

At Sedan, the cream of the German Army with the full support of the Luftwaffe face second rate French reserve units. German mechanized tactics relied heavily on the concept of “concentration of force” and Erich von Manstein plan was based on the belief that not only would Sedan bring this force where it was least expected, but because of this face a lesser foe.

In 1928 Seeckt published Thoughts of a Soldier (1928). In this book he questioned the value of huge conscript armies and predicted "the whole future of warfare appears to me to lie in the employment of mobile armies, relatively small but of high quality, and rendered distinctly more effective by the addition of aircraft…” Heinz Guderian's book Atchung, Panzer further illustrated the need to concentrate the mechanized force in one force and focus it on a single point: “Mass not driblets”.

The Germans believed that high quality combined arms mobile forces were what counted; and the number of tanks, men, and guns was meaningless if not used effectively. Quality and good tactics can beat numbers, especially if those numbers are handicapped by low experience, morale, leadership, etc.

The German victory in 1940 is that of a modern military over one that was not. Yet years later when face with opponents who now had adopted similar tactics… German fortunes changed. The advantages needed for victory were long gone.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 9:11:51 AM   
Golf33

 

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von Rom,

That seems fairly reasonable.

I would be interested in any sources closer to the Germans - like the OKW diary, if it goes into that level of detail, or strength reports from 1.SS-Pz.Div. - since I would not regard an American official history as necessarily definitive when it comes to details of their opponents. There are plenty of reasons why captured personnel may not be completely honest, and of course it's in the interest of the official history to make the enemy sound as tough as possible.

For comparison, take a look at the official XI Fliegerkorps report on the attack on Crete - they might have started out by underestimating the defences, but by the end of the battle they were significantly overestimating the enemy. Some positions, from which the Allies had already withdrawn, were described as being stubbornly defended (!) and this sort of thing tends to creep into official histories of both sides pretty easily. I do believe Cole is a pretty good source, I'd just be rather wary of using him as the be-all and end-all of the Ardennes histories.

Regards
33

< Message edited by Golf33 -- 7/20/2004 6:15:07 PM >


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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 9:37:34 AM   
Culiacan Mexico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico
In my opinion, German commanders as a group are overrated by most people…

I'd take the opposite track to this. I thought the Germans seem to have produced any number of good commanders…
Rommel commented in France on much of the German leadership when he said (paraphrased) that in the early part of the war they never believed in mobile warfare when it was possible, but now when that era had long past they wanted to try it: reserve Panzer Divisions hundreds of miles from the beaches.

Captain B.H. Liddell Hart was correct with regards to Field-Marshal von Manstein of the commanders not trained in the tank army he best understood mobile warfare, but most never did. Most German Generals were ridged, divorced from the average soldiers (aristocratic in nature), and inspired little loyalty or motivation in the men. There were exceptions of course Guderian or Rommel being one of the most notable, but they were exceptions. When one examines the performance of the German troops, one finds a common thread throughout… German units (pre-1944) we remarkable able, and while quality did vary somewhat, one is left with the impression that either all Generals were equally qualified or that the strength of the German units lied less with the General and more in other factors, such as training, experience, equipment ,and tactics.

At the small level German tactical abilities (qualitative) could make up for being out numbered, but at the strategic level the Germans were repeatedly beaten. German leadership repeatedly made poor decisions, but since early in the war they had major advantages, they got away with it… later they were not so lucky.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 9:50:10 AM   
Culiacan Mexico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico
His handling of 11th Army in the Crimea can best be described as adequate, but before Sevastopol fell his Army was spent.

Quite the opposite, I think. Sevastapol was a formidable fortress, and he didn't have control of the sea. The forces at his command were very limited, and often reduced as Army Group South pushed eastwards and stripped him of formation. The Russians also invaded the eastern Crimea themselves whilst he was outside Sevastapol. Operation Bustard Hunt was a stunning success, and he eventually took Sevastapol. I don't think it could be described as merely adequate at all.

Perhaps, but there was no quick victory and it was costly in terms of men and equipment. I believe that there are a number of German officers that could have done just as well. Adequate but hardly brilliant.

quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Culiacan Mexico
The counter attack in the winter of 1942/43 was excellent, but it was concentrated German armor against an exhausted, strung out and poorly supplied Soviet force.


Yes, but it was partly strung out because he manouevred onto it's flanks, rather than block and stop it. He was fighting in the depths of winter, and the formations that destroyed the Russian spearhead had previously defended Kharkov itself so had spent some time moving arouind in the field themselves. It achieves some notoriety as the last German victory of real fame in the east, but was the culmination of a magnificent campaign.
This an area in which his brilliance did shine… mobile warfare, yet he was not allowed to practice it very much. Often time I think his reputation is based more on this one achievement and on “what might have been” than his actual performance during the war.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 10:05:32 AM   
Culiacan Mexico

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Von Rom
Culiacan Mexico:

Excellent summary

And of course you make very valid points.

You are not stirrig the pot, when what you say is true.

Most of all the early German victories; most of all the fame the German armies gained; much of the reputation gained by German generals; was done against weaker, poorer, and inferior forces in Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Norway, etc, etc. . .

Cheers!
In my previous post, I was perhaps being a little more critical than I truly fell.

Regarding early victories, the German reserve units called up in 1939/1940 were not much better than the French reserves, but the combat and operation experience gained by these men in there victories over inferior force was invaluable. I believe this is why the German units became very capable (1940-43): a core unit of competent experienced NCOs and junior officers. They made mistakes and adapted, becoming very good in the process, unlike the upper leadership which made numerous mistakes and never seemed to change.

As for fame, I agree for the most part. The fame of the upper crust of German leaderships came from beating hapless opponents, yet when these advantages were lost… they faltered.

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 11:23:31 AM   
frank1970


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The largest advantage German troops had, was doctrine.
German oficers fought along their ideas to reach a special target.
Allied an Soviet officers were more bound to orders.

Best idea to compare the consequences would be a SPWAW game in which one side has "commands" off (German side), the other side "commands on".

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RE: Why was Patton so great? - 7/20/2004 3:59:33 PM   
Von Rom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Golf33

von Rom,

That seems fairly reasonable.

I would be interested in any sources closer to the Germans - like the OKW diary, if it goes into that level of detail, or strength reports from 1.SS-Pz.Div. - since I would not regard an American official history as necessarily definitive when it comes to details of their opponents. There are plenty of reasons why captured personnel may not be completely honest, and of course it's in the interest of the official history to make the enemy sound as tough as possible.

For comparison, take a look at the official XI Fliegerkorps report on the attack on Crete - they might have started out by underestimating the defences, but by the end of the battle they were significantly overestimating the enemy. Some positions, from which the Allies had already withdrawn, were described as being stubbornly defended (!) and this sort of thing tends to creep into official histories of both sides pretty easily. I do believe Cole is a pretty good source, I'd just be rather wary of using him as the be-all and end-all of the Ardennes histories.

Regards
33


Golf33:

I agree that more sources are certainly better, and that the American version (even with all the sources used) might still be open to some bias on the part of the historian writing it.

It would be interesting indeed, to read an account of the official unit history of the 1SS Panzer.

When I read the Official History version I was struck by two things:

1) How many books assumed that the 1SS Panzer was destroyed on December 24th (and therefore could not have been at Bastogne); and

2) How very similar the account given by your sources is to the Official History version. The only discrepancy seems to be in some of the numbers of armour given. This type of thing seems reasonable given the circumstances of the battle and the inherent confusion.

I find this to be a very fascinating subject to discuss.

Cheers!

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