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Poor and polemic.
on 26 March 2010
So much has been written and yet so little is understood about military decisions in the Second World War. What if Hitler had been in the Navy? What if Rommel had served in the East? The Classic and misunderstood reasons for the German loss in Normandy; Hitler's faults and Rommel's restrictions? All of it silly and poorly understood. One might as well ask, What if England had a land boarder with France in 1940? Surely the Germans would have won then?
All of the chapters miss one crucial point; realism. Peter Touras wrote a book called Disaster at D-Day, in which he changed very little, save for a few key decisions on the Allied, rather than German, side. And this is the point. Authors focus far too much on what the Germans did or don't do rather on their capabilities. Could the Germans have carried out Sealion even if the Luftwaffe won the Battle of Britain. No. As the complicated tests as Sandhurst showed in 1974 (which used the eaxct plan and former German CAS').
Would Rommel have won the war in the East? No. Once agin the public's perception of Rommel, as with most German Generals, is a German genious undermined by his Fuhrer. Yet, for all Rommel's tactical ability, he was vey bad at operational art (logisitics and intelligence) and evn worse at formulating military strategy. This is perhaps why the German GS referred to him as "the best battalion commnader the German Army ever had".
Could he have defeated the Allies at Normandy? No. He might have contained them had he been given the appropriate forces, by Allied air, material and naval superiority would have seen the Germans defeated, as shown during very complicated re-runs of the senario in various military academies around the world. The Panzers would have been obliterated by Naval artillery (as at Anzio) if they had attempted to 'crush' the beachheads.
Could the Germans have won the battle of the Atlantic? Yes. But would this have saved the Third Reich in the East? No.
The German failures, both industrial, in terms of military strategy, and politically, was the core product of the defeats in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. Failure sof production until 1944, failures in prioritising theatre of operations, failure in weapon procurement (producing specialised heavy tanks like the Tiger and Panther, instead of focusing on cheap Mk IV Panzers), failure to produce heavy bombers or have a U-Boat fleet fit for purpose by 1939), were all key.
In reality, the decisions were made in 1933-39. The Germans had lost the war before in had begun. This author, as with most others, seems to believe wars are fought and won purely on the Battlefield. It depends on whether the Germans turned south instead of east at Kiev, or south instead of east at Rostov. Tis is not the case. Alternate realities deserve more than this. Much more.