Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

This is coolbert: During WW2, the German army, as it did in WW1, performed very well. Was a formidable force. Always killed more of the enemy than had killed themselves. Took on [the German military] the combined forces of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Imperial Britain, defeat ONLY occurring when faced with overwhelming numbers.

What are the reasons for this? Perhaps the most important reason is superior leadership. There existed in the officer corps a large number of superior leaders that provided that edge that allowed the German Army to excel.

There were a number of reasons for this superior leadership existing.

One was a result of the Versailles Treaty. The German Army after WW1 was reduced markedly in size and was limited to an active force of 100,000 troops total. Well, the Germans found a way to live with this. They responded by saying to themselves, "well, we will have an army of 100,000 men, but it will be the best army in the world for it's size." Meticulous selection process for enlistees guaranteed that only the cream of the cream was chosen for induction and training. Out of say 700 prospective enlistees, only perhaps half a dozen would be chosen for induction. In addition, the troops of the Weimar Republic were also trained to the highest possible level. Each man was trained to be a potential officer. So, that if the day came in the future [and it did come too], so that the size of the German Army had to be increased say fifty times [as it was], a potential officer corps was already trained and ready to take command [and it did].

Secondly during WW2, the German Army also had an intensive officer training program [OCS type course] for enlisted men.

In particular one can point to the OCS program of the Waffen SS as taught in the picturesque Bavarian town of Bad Tolz. Capable, experienced enlisted would be trained to the highest level possible in the Junker [yoon-ker] Schulen [school]. Run by a one eyed General named Hausser. These enlisted were put through a rigorous regimen of training.

This training was to produce a superior officer in every sense of the word.

A lot of emphasis was placed on producing a "gentleman". A military man who had not only military training but was also trained in "sophisticated" behavior as well. To this end professionals were employed in a variety of fields as instructors. To include:

* To learn ball room dancing, ballerinas were employed as dancing partners.

* The techniques, rules and etiquette of fine dining were taught by maitre d's of exclusive restaurants.

* The fine points and appreciation of classical music was expounded upon by conductors of symphony orchestras [while probably listening to Wagner].

* For physical training, Olympic caliber athletes taught the enlisted students the techniques of the winning competitor to give them the extra edge in a variety of sports, fencing, boxing, track and field, marksmanship, etc.

This intensive training did produce an officer corps of superior caliber. In addition, SS troops would have been instilled with indoctrination of a political nature. A combination of factors at work here made for superior leadership that demonstrated marked ability on the battlefield!