Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
VeenenbergR
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by VeenenbergR » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:02 pm

Mkenny: Yes Reynolds is reasonably German biased. The titles of his books at least suggest so.

Byron Angel: what I did not realised is that Glantz his argument was that the Russians did not retreat or give away easily during the German approach to Stalingrad. They counterattacked where ever
they could to trickle away the German will and self esteem and drain their manpower.
So even the retreat was planned in a way to obtain an exhausted German Army at the Gates of Stalingrad.
The of coarse came the difficult fighting of attrition in the city and factories itself.
The constant Soviet infiltration tactics during the night and on 19-22november, when they got encircled, all German divisions were deprived of their basic fighting power:
with 8.500 to 9000 men average per division, the infantry or panzergrenadiers had lost 50% of their strength.
Among the 50% present a lot of new recruits were also there, so 6th Army was no longer that mighty Army which it was at the start of Fall Blau.

From that moment on the German Wehrmacht in the East remained (too) low on infantry strength to be able to sustain a tough fight.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:02 pm

On January 10th, 1944, when the USA was in the middle of the war against the Axis Powers and just months away of "Ike´s invasion" of Normandy, Time magazine dedicated it´s cover to a General. Nothing surprising considering the world was in it´s fifth year of a global war and Generals were the stars of the moment. However the interesting feature is the nature, or origin, of this General:

http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641 ... 44,00.html


It´s spèaks a lot when Time magazine dedicated this cover in 1944, when the German officers were the core of evil according to popular western mythmaking and not object of academical study. In an incredible distinguished company of some of the most brilliant senior officers of the XXth Century as Guderian, Hoth, Rommel, Balck, Hauser, Schoerner, Rundstetd, Kluge, Kleist, Heinrichi, etc. the image of Eric von Manstein stands alone and above of his peers, both friends and foes.

Manstein, whose image can be stained by the fact that he endosed several nazi originated orders against civilian population in the East and his antisemitism, was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, general of WWII.

He was the one that avoided a butchery in France in 1940 when his plan for the invasion was adopted by Hitler bringing the french to their knees in record time. His performance in the East in 1941 put him as the rising star of the German generalship, specially after Sevastopol. His plans to knock out Leningrad were only frustated when the required forces were taken by Hitler to the South. And to the South he was brought, too late and without enough resources, to save Paulus´ Sixth Army at Stalingrad. However it was in defeat where his genius shine the most: Kharkov speaks alone. Kursk was a bet taken too late by Hitler, again, and the northern part of the offensive failed because of that. Nevertheless at the southern part the Waffen SS Panzer Divisons were advancing and beating the Soviet hordes of Vasiliesky when the whole offensive was called off. At the Dnieper he showed, again, his mastery but his constant argumentation with Hitler finally got his dismissal ( I always wondered what would have happened to a US General that argumented with Ike the way Guderian, Rundstedt and Manstein did with Hitler).

No other General, nor in the West nor in the East, was so highly intelectually gifted as Manstein in terms of tactical, operational and strategical thinking and performance.

George Marshall and Ike were also gifted but in another areas: politics, diplomatic and organizational skills. Zhukov was rough and will at it´s escense. Patton can be circumscribed as the best allied Army commander, title that he has to share with Clark.

Rommel`s oportunities were always dwarthed by numerical inferiority and his health (but as a friend says, if he had his hands free on June 6th, 1944 and being on the spot maybe Monty`s biggest screw up would not have been Market Garden but the onslaught at the landing beaches). But still Rommel bright is not enough to match up with Manstein, whose gifts outshines those of all the WWII Generals.

Still, nowadays, far from January 10th, 1944, the mastery of Manstein has dissapeared from the public eye because notions of the nature of "Ike is the man that beat Hitler", single handed without any russians, dominate the landscape . Maxwell Taylor, Monty, Bradley and Bedell Smith are the political correct figures that we see in the so called "historic channels" or cheap magazine articles regarded as those architects of victory wih not a bit of Manstein`s genius.

The Syndrome is there, plain to see.

Regards
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Bgile » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:38 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: Maxwell Taylor, Monty, Bradley and Bedell Smith are the political correct figures that we see in the so called "historic channels" or cheap magazine articles regarded as those architects of victory wih not a bit of Manstein`s genius.

The Syndrome is there, plain to see.

Regards
Karl, I really think you are confusing commercialism with some kind of plot to brainwash the world. If someone in Hollywood wanted to make money, and that is after all why they are there, and most of your viewers are going to be US veterans of WWII, do you really think you would make something showing how great the German Generals were and not even mention the ones these guys fought under?

If the movie were made by the Russian Propaganda Ministry, who do you think would figure prominently there? Manstein might show up, but only as the embodiment of Great Evil.

The only way these guys would have gotten the kind of press you want for them is if Germany wins WWII. I don't think it's a big plot to change history; it's just the way commercial products are created. In fact, I suspect a lot of what you want to see was created by the German Propaganda Ministry and shown to the German people repeatedly during the war.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:40 pm

Bgile:
The only way these guys would have gotten the kind of press you want for them is if Germany wins WWII.
Not necesary. We have movies as Blue Max or Das Boot in which things are in a very good perspective, even allowing themselves to get into the dynamics of totalitarism. However is not Hollywood, per se, what I´m refering about, but the exploitation of what is now the "new educative world" as History Channel, the news magazines and news channels, the architects of opinion and historic memory.

It´s tegiversation of the reality: in your country it already happened with the Civil War because your kids think it started because Lincoln launched a cruzade to free the slaves whilst not a single word is being said on the rights of the states, which was the real issue. In two decades from now WWII would start, for our grandchildren, at Pearl Harbor and will end on June 6th, 1944... Ike would be the President of the US and he fought the nazis to free the jews from the extermination camp of Auschwitz. And is likely that those same "educational sources" will avoid the Eastern Front at all and will tell us fancy and offensive things... however they will be political correct...
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Bgile » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:30 pm

Actually I'm afraid the only thing my kid remembers about the American Civil War is what he picked up from the movie Gettysburg, which presents both points of view. I have relatives in the south, and Southerners mostly seem to think the ACW was about state's rights. In fact it was more complicated than that, although the act of secession is the act which started the war.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:42 pm

Bgile:
Actually I'm afraid the only thing my kid remembers about the American Civil War is what he picked up from the movie Gettysburg, which presents both points of view. I have relatives in the south, and Southerners mostly seem to think the ACW was about state's rights. In fact it was more complicated than that, although the act of secession is the act which started the war.
In my country (which History goes as back as the early 1500s) the "official" accounts do not even go as far as 1940ies, which is when "social developments" happened. An act of invisibilization has erased all Historical memory because it do "not fit" our "social state".

And that is what is happening with WWII.

Now, the issue at hand is the fact that the best officer corps of WWII was German, and German was the greatest General: Manstein.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

Byron Angel

Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Byron Angel » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:09 am

Sorry, Karl, but I have to agree with Bgile here. You're mistaking crass, commercially driven American pop cultural themes for some deep plot to co-opt the historical record. I really hope that you do not take the stupid war movies churned out by Hollywood seriously. If the accomplishments of the German armed forces in WW2 seem absent from the record or unappreciated, I'd suggest that the real reason is post-war Germany's general reluctance to embrace or acknowledge them.

---

As for Manstein, he was a great operational military commander that any army would have been proud to count among its leaders. But elevation to divine status is not warranted. Manstein's victory over the Soviets in the Battle of Kharkov, as great as it was, was pre-dated by Pilsudski's almost identical 1920 master stroke against the invading Red Army in the Battle of Warsaw, a victory which not only crushed the invading Soviets and brought Poland back from the brink of defeat. but also arguably guaranteed the political birth and survival of the fledgling modern state of Poland itself.

Another point is that Manstein never had the opportunity to demonstrate his skills or prove himself as a commander at the strategic level. It is therefore impossible to objectively measure him in that arena.


BRgds / Byron
Last edited by Byron Angel on Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by mkenny » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:21 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote: I always wondered what would have happened to a US General that argumented with Ike the way Guderian, Rundstedt and Manstein did with Hitler.
Try Bradley's reaction when Eisenhower told him he was putting some of his troops unders Monty's command in the Bulge.
Or even Montgommery's bad mouthing of Ike in 1944. You really should try and get over this hero-worship of all things German from WW2.



Karl Heidenreich wrote:Rommel`s oportunities were always dwarthed by numerical inferiority and his health
Rommel was a chancer. When it worked the results were spectacular. When it went wrong (as it always did) he was soundly defeated. He used his 'health' to escape the ignomy of the defeat.
Karl Heidenreich wrote:if he had his hands free on June 6th, 1944 and being on the spot maybe Monty`s biggest screw up would not have been Market Garden but the onslaught at the landing beaches
The Allies landed the equal of 5 Panzer Divisions on the 6th of June alone . There was never any chance a German PD would get anywhere near the beaches. Unlike the Germans the Allies had a balanced Armed Force with a highly effective Air Force and Navy.

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Taylor, Monty, Bradley and Bedell Smith are the political correct figures that we see in the so called "historic channels" or cheap magazine articles regarded as those architects of victory wih not a bit of Manstein`s genius.
Only a fool believes anything on the History Channel. You seem to be singularly ill informed about what we in Europe know about the Eastern Front.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Bgile » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:05 am

mkenny wrote:Rommel was a chancer. When it worked the results were spectacular. When it went wrong (as it always did) he was soundly defeated. He used his 'health' to escape the ignomy of the defeat.
Whoa. Rommel did not get his reputation by things always going wrong. He was highly respected by friends and enemies alike over several years of desert warfare. I won't bore you with the facts because you know them. For some reason it's become politically correct lately to bash Rommel, but for those who were there with him in the desert he was a legend. The Allies were in awe of him and several British officers were replaced for their failure to beat him with seemingly overwhelming force.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by alecsandros » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:30 am

mkenny wrote:
There was never any chance a German PD would get anywhere near the beaches.
Why do you think that?

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by Bgile » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:52 am

I'm not sure, but I believe one US CL (Savannah) was responsible for breaking up a German armored counterattack at the Anzio beachhead.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by mkenny » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:17 pm

alecsandros wrote:
mkenny wrote:
There was never any chance a German PD would get anywhere near the beaches.
Why do you think that?

Err........they had been planning the invasion for several years. They knew the destruction a PD would cause if it got near the beach......so they made plans to prevent it happening?
For instance having a deception plan that kept the Germans tanks away from Normandy because they did not know the landings were in Normandy. Blowing up rail lines and bridges so the tanks could not travel by road to the beaches.....ect, ect, ect.
All these wet dreams about Tigers knocking out Battleships on Gold Beach take no account that said tanks would have had to have actualy been on the beach itself on the morning of June 6th. It was never even a remote possibility.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by RF » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:34 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
We have movies as Blue Max or Das Boot in which things are in a very good perspective, even allowing themselves to get into the dynamics of totalitarism. ...
In which the subjects of the film are defeated at the end of it.......
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by alecsandros » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:44 pm

mkenny wrote:
For instance having a deception plan that kept the Germans tanks away from Normandy because they did not know the landings were in Normandy. Blowing up rail lines and bridges so the tanks could not travel by road to the beaches.....ect, ect, ect.
Well, this is an established historical fact.
I thought you dismissed the possibility of panzer divisions to be able to attack at the beaches.

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Re: Revisionist tendencies and Ambrose Sindrome

Post by mkenny » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:11 pm

alecsandros wrote: Well, this is an established historical fact.
I thought you dismissed the possibility of panzer divisions to be able to attack at the beaches.

Well how could they attack the beaches on June 6th? Are you talking about some 'what if' scenario where we magicaly transport some of these Panzer Divisions to the beachead?
They would have been bombarded by the Naval Task Force.
They would have been bombed by the USAAF/RAF
Attacked by the 6000 TAC Fighters
Met by the 1400+ Allied tanks/SP's landed on June 6th
There is simply no way that any Panzer Division could arrive fresh and able to attack effectively.
Right from the start the Allies were able to re-inforce the beaches faster than the Germans could bring troops from the interior of France. Historicaly the Germans were beaten from day 1.

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