This is coolbert:
Here is an article from Military History Online
that deals with controversy regarding the superiority, presumed, of the German soldier in World War Two [WW2]. It has become a given, within conventional circles, accepted as more as less fact, that the German soldier in WW2 was more able and competent than his allied or Soviet counterpart.
[let me warn you in advance that this article is a hard read. Appears to have been written by a PhD for other PhD's? But is interesting.]
The "experts", the conventional military historians, have long postulated that Allied and Soviet victory in WW2 was a function of overwhelming numbers used in an inexorable manner to wear down and defeat the German military. These "experts", the conventional historians, suggest that the German soldier just had all around better fighting ability and gave a very good account of himself until the final end.
There is however, a group of American iconoclasts who disagree with this contention of the "experts". These men, all historians, and military men themselves, suggest that the American fighting man [the Britisher also], were better than the German. The war WAS
won by allied [Russian too??] fighting ability, numbers alone
not being the major factor in defeating the fascist forces.Mythos revisited: American Historians and German Fighting Power in the Second World War.
by Thomas E. Nutter
About the author:
"Tom Nutter is in his 25th year of practicing domestic and international patent, copyright and trademark law, and is the Managing Partner of an intellectual property law practice in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds the Masters and Doctorate degrees in diplomatic/military history
from the University of Missouri."
[this man would seem to be a heavy hitter himself
in the area of history and other intellectual disciplines. Well suited to make the comments and critique that he has!!][My comments in bold as is usual]
"A fashionable argument
in the past two decades has been that the Allies won World War II only through the sheer weight of materiel
they threw at the Wehrmacht in a relatively unskilled manner
. This argument is actually a restatement
of the theory put forward by German officers to explain their defeat, as evidenced by wartime interrogations and postwar manuscripts prepared by the defeated."
"Britain's caution about a premature direct confrontation on land with Germany in Western Europe stemmed from a number of factors, not least of which were a healthy respect for the capacity of the enemy to resist
, and a disinclination to become involved in a slugging match
that might give rise to casualties on a scale comparable to those suffered in the First World War."
"Events, as well as English persistence, conspired to favor the pursuit of the indirect approach
."Attack through Italy and the soft underbelly of the fascist crocodile, the Balkans. This was what Churchill advocated. Did not work in Italy, and was not tried in the Balkans, but was the idea. This was the indirect approach as conceived and advocated by Basil Lidell-Hart, the acolyte of J.F.C. Fuller.The conventional military historians [the "experts"] that maintain the German soldier was the superior soldier in WW2 include:S.L.A. Marshall,
Russell Weigley, Martin Van Creveld
, John Keegan
, Max Hastings
, Trevor N. Dupuy
, John Ellis.In the cases of Marshall, Keegan, Van Creveld, Dupuy, you are speaking of the real big names in the field of military history. Really big. If you were to take a military history course in college, undoubtedly, you will read a book by one of these men.The American iconoclastic naysayers regarding German military superiority in WW2 are:
Keith Bonn, Peter R. Mansoor, Michael D. Doubler, John Sloan Brown.
S.L.A. Marshall, "Men Against Fire
"an American general officer, S.L.A. Marshall, as the font of error on the subject of the relative fighting qualities of the German and United States armies."
Russell Weigley, "Eisenhower's Lieutenants
"Another historian pilloried by his critics for having 'trumpeted the tactical superiority of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the American army' is Russell Weigley, one of the most prominent American military historians of the post-World War II era."
Martin Van Creveld, "Fighting Power
"Among those targeted by the self-appointed defenders of the honor of the U.S. army for their alleged bias in favor of the Wehrmacht
, none has incurred more vilification than Martin van Creveld."
"Creveld concludes that the 'German army was a superb fighting organization
. In point of morale, elan, unit cohesion, and resilience, it probably had no equal
among twentieth century armies.' He attributes this conclusion principally to that army's internal organization, which he sees as 'creating and maintaining fighting power.' His view of the German soldier also makes him a marked man among historians, for he opines that the landser
was motivated not by Nazi ideology, but by the reasons that men have always fought: because the German soldier saw himself as a member of a well-integrated, well-led team whose structure, administration and functioning were perceived by him as being generally equitable and just. . . the German army . . . sent its best men to the front; 'its organization was designed to produce and reward
John Keegan, "The Second World War
"Peter Mansoor describes the works of John Keegan, Max Hastings and John Ellis as praising "the combat effectiveness of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the victors of World War II" and as having accepted 'the arguments of Weigley and van Creveld without much alteration.' According to Mansoor, all three of these men contend that the German army 'was much more competent in combat effectiveness
than its Allied counterparts.'"
"Keegan does take the view that the German army was innovative, aggressive and resourceful in defense, and that its panzer arm was without peer
in the practice of mobile warfare. He shares these perceptions with a considerable number of historians."
Max Hastings, "Overlord
"Max Hastings is another English historian who has been accused of swallowing whole a theory that the German army was in every respect superior to its Western opponents, and that it was defeated only
by the grinding of sheer numbers."
Trevor N. Dupuy, "Numbers, Predictions & War
"Sharing with Martin van Creveld the unenviable distinction of being the historian most despised
by Mansoor, Bonn and their cohorts is a retired United States Army Colonel, Trevor N. Dupuy."
"Dupuy "the vanguard of a group of historians who trumpeted the tactical superiority of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the American army.'"
"Dupuy's 'assertion of the inferiority of American combat units on the European battlefields of World War II' and avers that he 'concluded that German units were on the average 20 percent more effective
than their British and American counterparts.'"120 Americans or 120 Englishmen to defeat 100 Germans on the battlefield. Also, 200 Russians to defeat 100 Germans on the battlefield. All this of course with UNITS OF BRIGADE SIZE [5,000 troops] OR LARGER!! NOT as individual soldiers!!
"Dupuy observes that '[W]e didn't like one of the two conclusions which this adjustment forced upon us---that 100 Germans were roughly the combat equivalent of 120 Americans or British---but we could not
ignore the fact that our numbers demonstrated that this was so.'"
"the factors found by Dupuy to be responsible for this outcome included 'better utilization of manpower, more experience, greater mobility, better doctrine.'"To reiterate the factors as identified by Dupuy:
* Better utilization of manpower.
* More experience.
* Greater mobility.
* Better doctrine.
* More effective battle drill.
* Superior leadership.
* Inherent national characteristics.
Dupuy developed a range of equations that allowed him arrive at his conclusions. These were based upon empirical date from primarily the Italian campaign of WW2. Dupuy also applied these equations to the various conflicts between the Israeli Army and the various Arab forces it has fought over a series of decades. The conclusion of Dupuy in this case was that it took 200 Egyptians to defeat 100 Israelis, again at unit size of brigade [5,000 troops] or larger.
Dupuy also gives reasons again, as to why the Israeli seems to be superior to the Arab on the battlefield. These factors include:
* Israeli leaders were more flexible, aggressive, and dynamic.
* Israeli doctrine, and its execution were better.
* More adaptable [the Israeli] and make better use of sophisticated weaponry.
Please recall too the rating scheme of the Japanese Colonel Tsuji. Rated military forces with regard to fighting ability in WW2. The Japanese and their opponents they had faced on the battlefield:
# 1 - - Japanese. [of course.]
# 2 - - Chinese. [this is probably the Chinese Communist Eighth Route Army.]
# 3 - - Russians.
# 4 - - Ghurkhas.
# 5 - - Americans.
# 6 - - Australians.
# 7 - - British Indian Army troops.
# 8 - - English.
"Keith Bonn excoriates Dupuy on two bases. He argues first that the "incredibly complicated series of parameters" (the availability of ammunition and fuel, the effects of weapons and morale, the quantities of troops available, "et cetera
ad infinitum") utilized by Dupuy to analyze ground combat did not exist "as such during the period when the battles being analyzed were fought." Consequently, in Bonn's view, those parameters "are artificial and ex post facto
at best, irrelevant at worst." The second basis upon which Bonn criticizes Dupuy is that the latter included in his analysis intangible variables not easily amenable to assessment."The Theory and Science of War, as I have stated in a whole series of blog entries, is NOT something that is easily arrived at, agreed upon, or well understood. It seems that the axioms and maxims of Napoleon, the Principles of War as enunciated by Fuller, and NOT a whole lot more constitutes the "Theory and Science" of the subject. So much is variable and "not easily amenable to assessment". True, very true. But having some science, equations, etc., is better than having none? Someone has to try somewhere, even if not 100 % correct. "Fudge factors", if present, are needed to account for the variables as best can be done. Can someone suggest better?
"Dupuy was quite aware of the criticisms leveled against his analysis. As he observes, the most common critique of his work is that such an historical approach is scientifically invalid. Dupuy points out, however, that while the scientific techniques and experience of his technically-oriented critics (or those who purport to rely upon such techniques and experience) are reliable in dealing with scientific questions, they are less so when applied to human behavior in the historical context."
"Dupuy and his group applied the same assessment method to both the First and Second World Wars. In both of these struggles, German combat effectiveness was superior to that of its western European and American opponents by nearly identical figures. In the same manner, German combat effectiveness superiority with respect to that of the Russians was nearly consistent
over both World Wars."See my very recent blog entry regarding German performance in World War One.
John Ellis, "Brute Force. Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War
"Peter Mansoor lumps together John Keegan, Max Hastings and John Ellis, contending that they "round out the field of authors who praise the combat effectiveness of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the victors of World War II." Mansoor asserts that Ellis, like his two fellow Englishmen, has swallowed uncritically the alleged contentions of Russell Weigley and Martin van Creveld that the German army was more competent and combat effective than those of its opposition. While Ellis apparently remains unknown to Bonn, Brown and Doubler, nevertheless it is worth dealing, however briefly, with Mansoor's charge."
"John Ellis is neither a soldier nor an academic historian."Barbara Tuchman was a woman and an academic historian, and yet she wrote good military history, including the "Guns of August".
"his first major theme is that the stupendous collective industrial potential of the Allies gave them such a preponderance of the means for warmaking---weapons and soldiers---that it was incumbent upon the Axis to force a quick negotiated peace in their favor, and when they did not, their inevitable defeat was assured by the "prosaic arithmetic of natural resources, generating capacity, industrial plant and productivity."
"His second theme is that in applying this overwhelming force, "American, Russian and British commanders made considerably less than optimum use
of the resources at their disposal and in almost every theatre serious mistakes
were made." The result was that Allied "commanders seemed unable to impose their will upon the enemy except by slowly and persistently battering him to death with a blunt instrument."Serious mistakes were made by all combatants in all theatres of the war. Without question or qualification. Everyone made very serious mistakes of some nature. With hindsight of course.
"Typical of this lack of foresight was the Marcks plan for the invasion of Russia, in which the plan's author, then Generalleutnant Erich Marcks, opined that the Red Army "will soon succumb to the superiority of the German troops and leadership." Likewise, the OKH Deployment Directive of 31 January 1941 blithely asserted that the Russian armies would be separated and destroyed by the Wehrmacht. As Ellis observes, these assumptions were made less upon the basis of detailed analysis, of which there was little or none, than upon simple wishful thinking."This is not totally accurate. When Marcks conceived his plan for the conquest of Russia, he had taken into account that the Soviet possessed a total of 180 divisions. And this estimate was pretty accurate PRIOR TO OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES on the eastern front. By the end of 1941 the German forces had DESTROYED as many divisions as they thought existed in the Red Army total. The plan Marcks had developed was successful, but meaningless. Soviet forces were still actually expanding, even after German goals had been achieved. Marcks and all the other German commanders were NOT AWARE of the divide by two system the Red Army had embedded prior to the war. A system that allowed for a smooth transition to DOUBLE THE SIZE of the Red Army within less than a year in time of war.
"In 1986, John Sloan Brown
published "Draftee Division
", a history of the US 88th Infantry Division in World War II. Brown uses the history of the 88th Infantry Division as a sort of case study to illustrate how American divisions formed primarily of draftees trained for war and fared in combat in Europe. At the time he wrote Draftee Division, Brown was a serving officer in the U.S. Army. His maternal grandfather commanded the 88th Infantry Division in World War II, and his father served as an officer in its ranks."Keith Bonn
published the first of these works in 1994 under the title "When the Odds Were Even
". Bonn, who was an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army at the time he published his work,Michael D. Doubler
, yet another U.S. Army officer then on active service, published "Closing with the Enemy
" in 1994. His purpose is to illustrate beyond doubt the superiority of the U.S. army over its German opponent.Peter R. Mansoor's
"The GI Offensive in Europe
" appeared in 1999, and is in some ways the most virulent of its genre. Mansoor wrote his work while an active duty lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army
"The works of Brown, Bonn, Mansoor and Doubler collectively express a new understanding about the relative capacities and proficiencies of the German and American armies in the Second World War. In their view, the outcome of that struggle between two very different armed forces was determined, in the final analysis, by superior practice of the soldier's art
. This thesis runs contrary to what each of the authors characterizes as conventional wisdom
, which holds that the German army represented the more technically skilled and proficient of the two forces."Keith Bonn
and the Level Playing Field.
"In 1994 Keith E. Bonn published his tendentiously titled work, "When the Odds Were Even." Bonn is a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and at the time his book was published, was serving as an infantry officer at Fort Lewis, Washington. When the Odds Were Even grew out of Bonn's doctoral dissertation in history at the University of Chicago."I will say one thing about Bonn, West Point grad and going for the doctorate in history from the University of Chicago. Our [American] military does produce some officers that have brains and do think and are first rate scholars.
"Bonn claims that Creveld's work is shot through with historical inaccuracies about the U.S. Army. To illustrate this, he claims that Creveld represents that U.S. combat divisions used such things as pigs, bees, monkeys, centipedes, and belligerent dogs for their unit insignia, and that these "whimsical" designs embarrassed American troops and adversely affected their morale. In fact, the passage in Creveld's work to which Bonn alludes reads as follows:"
"Like their German counterparts, American units were known by either roman or Arabic numbers. Most also had nicknames, though the enormous variety of whimsical designs---belligerent dogs, ducks, centipedes, spiders, bees, bulls, birds, monkeys, wolves, bears, horses, pigs and cats, among others---that accompanied American units into combat suggests that these meant little to the troops. Except for Merill's Marauders, an outfit operating against the Japanese, I know of no case in which an American formation was known after its commander."This is just absurd in the extreme. Creveld is an Israeli who was born in Holland. I would think the "problem" here is just a misunderstanding, if there is one, with translation. When we speaking of birds, we are speaking of eagles or hawks [101st Airborne Division = "Screaming Eagles]! When we speak of pigs, we are speaking of wild boars [the Roman legions were fond of using the wild boar as a symbol]! When we speak of horses, we are speaking of stallions! Animals that have a ferocity about them and are known to be DANGEROUS!! Creveld might JUST NOT UNDERSTAND THE WORDS AND THE MEANING GIVEN THE CONTEXT. Michael Doubler
, "Closing with the Enemy".
At the time Michael Doubler published Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945, in 1994, he was a serving Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.
"it is beyond doubt that it and its British and other western allies enjoyed substantial advantages over the Wehrmacht
in terms of human and materiel resources. Contrary to the inference that Doubler and others would have us draw, these advantages made a difference. They did so because they were both numerical and, at least with regard to personnel, qualitative as well."This is WITHOUT QUESTION ABSOLUTELY TRUE!! NO ONE in the their right mind would question this fact. The Soviets and Americans between them produced over 70,000 tanks of the caliber of T-34 or Sherman. Contrast this with the production of 1,000 Tiger tanks TOTAL by the Germans during the war!! Aircraft too the same way. This WAS A TREMENDOUS ADVANTAGE AND WAS USED IN AN ADVANTAGEOUS WAY, AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!
"The defense of the Metz "fortress" fell to Division Nr. 462, which Doubler estimates to have been 14,000 strong and composed of "fortress troops and students, staff, and faculty members of the numerous military schools located in Metz. Many of these soldiers were among the best the German army had to offer, having been selected for additional schooling based on their exemplary performance on the battlefield."
"Doubler also characterizes the division as "experienced".
"The division was never in combat before or after its ordeal at Metz. Its table of organization changed almost continuously for the two years of its existence. The units which moved in and through it were, from beginning to end, intended to be replacement formations. Nevertheless, this force managed to frustrate its opponents for the better part of two months, and to exact a heavy toll in American casualties."This is a perfect example of German use of "ad hoc" units. Create a fighting force out of disparate elements and give a good account on the battlefield. Would not have trained together AS A UNIT but did not necessarily need too. Was probably fighting a defensive battle. Easier to do than being being on the offensive. From the description given in the text, it would seem that this "unit" was comprised of combat veterans, albeit not veterans that had again fought as A UNIT!!Peter R. Mansoor
, "The GI Offensive In Europe".
"A fashionable argument in the past two decades has been that the Allies won World War II only through the sheer weight of materiel they threw at the Wehrmacht
in a relatively unskilled manner. This argument is actually a restatement of the theory put forward by German officers to explain their defeat, as evidenced by wartime interrogations and postwar manuscripts prepared by the defeated."
"if Mansoor and Brown believe that the U.S. army is unfairly prejudiced by Dupuy's comparison of it with "elite" German units, then how is it that neither of them takes into account the decrepit condition of the "run of the mill" German formations most often encountered by the Allies in Western Europe in 1944-1945?"
"Mansoor puts the case that the German army encountered in Western Europe in 1944-1945 "had combat veterans in command of the vast majority of its units". Such a statement needs must be at least plausible, given the fact that, taking into account the time period of which Mansoor is speaking, the German army had been engaged in combat operations consistently for the better part of the previous five years."NO ONE would even for an instant suggest that the German soldier of 1944-1945 was the equal of the German soldier of 1939-1941. Attrition was just too great on all fronts for that to be so. It CAN BE SUGGESTED that the German leaders that had survived had gone through a DARWINIAN SELECTION PROCESS. Those that were able commanders had learned their command tasks the hard way and knew what to do, what could be done, and how to do it. If they had not learned, they would have been either dead or a POW.
"from Normandy, to the Vosges Mountains, to the Ardennes, the German army was composed of an ill-trained rabble, particularly when compared with the highly-trained, cohesive force that was the United States Army."I would qualify that in saying that even an ill-trained rabble, if it was that, IF PROPERLY LED AND COMMANDED IN A JUDICIOUS MANNER, can give a good account of itself, again, IF PROPERLY LED AND COMMANDED IN A JUDICIOUS MANNER. AND PERHAPS ALSO, FIGHTING A STRICTLY DEFENSIVE BATTLE, NOT OFFENSIVE.
"Indeed, during the Second World War, the United States army also based its system of discipline upon a fear of retribution. This is demonstrated by the provisions of federal statutes in effect during wartime, as detailed in the 1943 edition of The Officer's Guide: A Ready Reference on Customs and Correct Procedures Which Pertain to Commissioned Officers of the Army of the United States:"
from the Army is punishable by death in time of war.Advising, persuading or assisting desertion
from the Army in time of war is punishable by death.Misbehavior
before the enemy is punishable by death.Compelling
commander to surrender is punishable by death.Forcing a safeguard
in time of war is punishable by death.Betraying a countersign
in time of war is punishable by death.Aiding the enemy
is punishable by death.Acting as a spy
in time of war is punishable by death.Sentinels found drunk or sleeping
on post or leaving their posts
in time of war shall be punished by death."This is all exaggerated as the laws ARE on the books, but almost never enforced. The U.S. military did imprison 20,000 men for desertion during WW2. But executed ONLY ONE man for desertion [that being in the face of the enemy]. That man of course being Eddie Slovik. I have several blog entries on this subject, here and here. The U.S. and the British for that matter NEVER did resort to draconian measures to get their troops to fight, as did the Germans or the Soviets, or even the Italians in World War One.
"As a practical matter, all of this meant that by the time the Allies did invade Western Europe, they did so, according to Mansoor, with only a 1:1 ratio of combat divisions vis-a-vis the German army."This may be true, but is irrelevant. The numbers lie big time. Allied forces MAY HAVE HAD "a 1:1 combat ratio of combat divisions vis-a-vis the German army", but the combat power in totality of Allied forces was much greater than anything the German forces could ever hope to muster. That combat power of the allies would of course include the numbers of troops, the overwhelming airpower, the abundance of material, etc. A striking power of major importance and superiority over the German!!
It has even been suggested that striking power of the allied forces on the western front in WW2 was deliberately underestimated and progress of that force again deliberately retarded as the result of machinations carried out at the highest levels of strategy formulation by Soviet agents of influence. I have not, ever see, however, any evidence that would indicate this is so. Seems to be merely speculation and unproven intuition on the part of some.
"Operation Blue, as the 1942 offensive in the east was called, ended not in the victory that Hitler, at least, had anticipated, but instead in one of the most catastrophic defeats suffered by any army in the modern era."This was the German offensive on the eastern front, 1942. Initially a great success. The German 6th Army made it as far east as Stalingrad, obliterating all Soviet forces in their path, while other German units made it as far as 400 MILES EAST OF STALINGRAD, INTO THE CAUCUSUS THEMSELVES!! A GERMAN ALPINE UNIT ACTUALLY SCALED MT. ELBRUS JUST TO SHOW HOW FAR THEY HAD COME EAST!! Those troops 400 miles to the east of Stalingrad WERE ABLE TO EXTRICATE THEMSELVES FROM DISASTER! Blue was a debacle because of Hitler, NOT BECAUSE OF INCOMPETENCE ON THE PART OF THE GERMAN GENERALS OR SOLDIERS!!John Sloan Brown
, "Draftee Division". The 88th Infantry Division in World War II.
"John Sloan Brown's Draftee Division had its origin in the author's doctoral dissertation at Indiana University. The author's personal nexus with his subject, however, is of much greater significance to his work than his professional interest in it. Brown is a professional soldier; his father served as a junior officer with the 88th Infantry Division, and his maternal grandfather, Major General John E. Sloan, commanded the formation throughout its career in the Second World War."This is of course the U.S. 88th Infantry Division of World War Two fame. Dupuy has the greatest praise for this American unit. Rated it, according to his equations, as at least equal to the BEST of the German divisions on the Italian front. The commander of the 88th Division is the grandfather of J.S. Brown!!
"Deprived of formidable defensive positions, German units of 1944 and 1945 were generally inferior to their American counterparts. German soldiers were not only less numerous, they were also less physically fit, less experienced as marksmen, less thoroughly trained, less well equipped, less well supported, and less able to make a combination of arms work for them."I guess the keyword here would be formidable. Everything that is said is true, but keep in mind that DEFENSE IS THE STRONGER FORM OF COMBAT. Even lacking fortifications to fight from does not lessen the potential for a defender if they make proper use of terrain and tactics. Those on the defensive can do more with less and do it easier than those on the offensive.
"Brown then moves on to take the same tack as Mansoor by asserting that the Germans raised more than three hundred divisions during the war."When we speak of a division in the German manner, do not think of it as a division as was understood by American forces in WW2. A German division might consist of a unit of considerably small size than a normal infantry division. German "divisions" sometimes held a line with as few as 2,000 ready troops!! On paper - - a German division might appear to have 10,000 troops or so, but in reality, quite often far less in number!! American divisions were about 50 % larger to begin with than their German counterpart, and a steady stream of replacements was used to keep those American divisions in the line up to size.I have my own intuitive comments and observations on the subject of alleged German superiority in WW2. Can only be intuitive as I am not a historian nor can say to have studied the subject in depth.
* The German was probably as a soldier superior to his allied and Soviet counterpart. But NOT, at least with regard to the allied troop, SO MARKEDLY SO! Was better, but not that much more. Remember too, when these evaluations are made, we are talking about a body of troops at the brigade size [5,000 men] and larger. NOT individual soldiers.
* The German fought, against the Allied forces and the Soviet, during the time 1944-1945, a DEFENSIVE war. With rare exceptions, the German was on the defensive and had to react accordingly. Both during the Italian campaign and the Battle of France in 1944, the German resisted defensively. DEFENSE IS THE STRONGER FORM OF COMBAT. Easier to do and produces better results with less than the offense. The German had an advantage in this regard over the allies and the Soviet.
* The Battle of France  was fought in a measured manner as a result of a conscious decision by Eisenhower. Ike made the decision to advance slowly and in a measured manner over a broad front, not favoring either allied force [American or British] over the other. Eisenhower placed a premium on keeping the coalition together and have them work in harmony.
This was done on purpose by Ike, as according to his estimate of the situation [that favorite military term], the German was NOT going to be beaten by a sudden breakthrough [rupture of defenses] with rapid advance into fascist territory. This WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!
Ike knew full well that the German commanders in the defense excelled at plugging breakthroughs and inflicting very heavy casualties upon the attacker. German commanders also excelled at taking what would be called "ad hoc" units and making credible fighting units out them. Units that especially on the defense would give a good account of themselves.
A quick and easy defeat of the German forces in WW2 was NOT to be had. Brilliant strategies and breakthrough offenses would not succeed against the German. Once Ike made the decision that he did, a war of attrition was inevitable. Harder for the attacker in that case.
"ad hoc - -
adv. For the specific purpose, case, or situation at hand and for no other: - - adj. Formed for or concerned with one specific purpose . Improvised and often impromptu."From the Mythos article on German "ad hoc" units:
"The same stresses led, as the war continued, to wholesale conversion of Luftwaffe
personnel into field combat troops, in many cases comprising what came to be known as Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen
. Likewise, extraneous naval personnel became replacements for army formations. In both situations, Bonn recognizes, there could be no expectation that training in infantry combat techniques would be sufficient."These were naval personnel whose surface ships no longer sailed, or Luftwaffe ground crews that no longer had planes to service!!
"In fact, the division's [16.Volks-Grenadier-Division] Grenadier-Regiment 221, 223 and 225 each disposed of only one battalion of troops. As Bonn notes, the division included security, fortress and jaeger
troops; it also, however, included a motley array of Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe
and army training formations. All in all, 16.Volks-Grenadier-Division did not hold promise for high combat effectiveness."Each regiment was only a battalion of good troops. Typical of the German divisions at the end of the war. And the rest of the divfision was rounded out by a "motley array" of soldiers.
"48.Infanterie-Division had been formed as a static infantry division in February 1944. It was destroyed in the retreat across France. Its ranks included a battalion of Armenians, a regiment of former Luftwaffe
trainees and troops from replacement and fortress units. It had six battalions of infantry, three of artillery and a panzerjaeger
battalion."An ad hoc unit if there ever was one. When they say static infantry, they mean troops meant only for guard duty and defensive operations, and nothing more. NO real capability to do otherwise.
In a nutshell, Tom Nutter does not
categorically say that the German soldier performed in a superior manner in WW2. But he does suggest
that Bonn, Doubler, Mansoor, and Brown have overstated their case with a misreading of the "experts".
The German soldier was the superior performer
in WW2?? Probably so! For a variety of factors. Some of which should be emulated, some that should not be.