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In the sweep of history the french military reputation towers over the german.......


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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 4:52:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2012 5:10:36 PM PDT
patrick says:
it was...but for first time they actually had the means to -reach- the enemy civilian who was not on or near the battlefield itself.

the limited means that the Germans acquired to strike at the British civilians in WW1, they soon took up, with the Zeppelins/Gothas etc..and even some naval raid bombardments of UK coast towns..
its probably surprising that they did not attempt a poison-gas attack from the air..the bombings caused a lot of consternation as it was...the 1930s Douhet theory went that any civilian population being bombed in a sustained way would eat up their own government and force capitulation...there seemed no signs of that in WW2, but in WW1 apparently they did make a big stink about the Zeppelins, considering that the physical effects, although not actually harmless, were still very trivial in relative terms.....

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 5:00:45 PM PDT
patrick says:
i saw a documentary which attempted to portray German occupation of UK,,maybe it was based on the book?
More than one book wargamed a successful German invasion itself, of course, including Kenneth Macksleys..

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 5:04:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2012 5:08:39 PM PDT
patrick says:
which the French actually routed that Italian thrust into the Riviera...
how must those French troops have felt, a funny kind of feeling, winning a battle of no consequence, with a war lost....when you beat up the head-bullie's little spruiker...
of course, in any event, that part of France is actually spared direct occupation.

it is an interesting scenario what effect in Germany would have been, civilian or military communities, if any of those early invasions FUBARed or met with repulse or trouncing...
they even pulled off the Norway one, one of the most apparently dangerous of them all..things could probably very easily have still gone wrong in Netherlands and Belgium, too..
If Norway had failed, i guess, it would at least have been the easiest failure to excuse away...because of the sea component..

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 9:22:02 PM PDT
IGS says:
Patrick

Good to hear from you. The means has always been there. Here's a particularly egregious example. The 100 Years War. They slaughtered more civilians away from the battlefield than they ever did near it. And they could be very selective and thorough about who they killed and what they laid waste to.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 9:23:34 PM PDT
IGS says:
Probably. Crete probably would have be one to write off as well. Almost was as it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 5:23:07 AM PDT
patrick says:
yes, forgot about aftermath of Agincourt in particular...they say that they went berserk and raped and murdered the French in something you might liken to the behavior of a Japanese army in China in 1930s or something..its said to be the foundation of French Anglophobia.

What i meant was, that beginning in WW1 on a small scale, and then in WW2 on a massive scale, you could carry the war to the enemy civilian who isnt even within arms reach or rifle or cannon range.
Obviously the British civilian in particular, was out of reach till then.
I guess even through all that, the US civilian remained a difficult reach, although a not completely implausible target of relative novelty stunts...
the Japanese fire balloons in Oregon...the Germans' New York bomber, if they had pushed that idea.
Actually rather odd that they didnt attempt some kind of Doolittle-esque gesture-warfare raid on America.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 5:26:26 AM PDT
patrick says:
Forgot about Crete.
Yes, probably the closest to well, like a German Arnhem it could have ended as.
If Freyberg's New Zealanders hadnt pannicked and handed them an airfield at the critical moment, when their prospects actually looked grim..
and if they were not so frigging good at seizing such opportunities, at that stage of the war.
But...it is engaging Freyberg with 20/20 hindsight.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 5:26:54 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
The Kiwis didn't actually bug-out - Freyberg was a fine officer and authorized his men holding the hill dominating the airfield to break out when they reported paratroopers all around them. He figured they could regroup and retake the hill in the morning.

The truth was, the Fallschirmjager were too scattered to make an attack until they could link up at dawn.

And Freyberg hadn't fought the Fallschirmjager before and didn't realize how tough they were to dislodge from a good position. Before he could do it the Alpine Gebirgsjager were coming in under fire in the Ju-52s faster than they could be blown away.

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 3:27:07 AM PDT
briefcandle says:
so the kiwis lost crete? Who would've thunk it. They spent the rest of the war in italy didn't they? in some very unanzac orbats.
I think my cold tablets are too strong, either them or the scotch.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 7:03:42 AM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
The Kiwis returned to the Western Desert for the rest of 1941 on till the invasion of Italy, where they had plenty of opportunity to regret not finishing off the Fallschirmjager when they had the chance. Notably at Monte Cassino.

They got back to Africa in time for Freyberg to have a hand in driving out Rommel's Panzers on their first attempt to break into Tobruk's defenses. They had plenty of action at Tobruk in 1941, and the back and forth fighting of the following year.

I recall one German staff officer writing of nightmares of a Kiwi bayonet charge, which the Germans took rather seriously. The Kiwis were pretty fierce when riled.

The Aussie Divisions returned home in early 1942 to defend Oz from the Japanese, but the British convinced Freyberg and his Government to remain and leave it to the US to defend NZ.

Which led to one of Goebbels' more effective propaganda campaigns - he loved reminding the Kiwis that back home, the US Marines were looking after their wives and girlfriends.

That didn't seem to make them any less effective fighting the Germans, but they were also a mite irritable when they had to share a bar with Yanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 1:53:09 PM PDT
*so the kiwis lost crete? Who would've thunk it. They spent the rest of the war in italy didn't they? in some very unanzac orbats.

Wasn't the invasion of Crete a waste? Malta turned out to be the real threat. We can guess how the Africa campaign would have gone without that threat.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 2:15:58 PM PDT
IGS says:
Joe

"Wasn't the invasion of Crete a waste? Malta turned out to be the real threat. We can guess how the Africa campaign would have gone without that threat. "

I don't think you are looking at it quite right. Crete would have been the threat if Malta was not. There were a dozen other such islands that the British could have based from and accomplished their goals, Lampedusa, for example. It wasn't that Malta that was so important, but rather an airbase enabling attack of German sea lanes. Heck even Gharbi would have been great if they could have hung onto it. They had many options if it came to it. In the end, they should have probably spent the effort taking it, but I am not sure it solves their problems.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 3:12:10 PM PDT
patrick says:
He was a fine officer and a WW1 VC, and they were fine troops..I didnt say other than that, but that loosening of the pressure on the 'Devils was the inch from which they snatched a mile, if there was a turning point in the battle for the island thus far going wrong for the attack, that is usually cited as being it, the key stall from which the plane couldnt be recovered.
I hastened to point out that it was 20-20 hindsight to judge the move, too...they did feel that they might be being cut-off, as you have said.Was it a fair call in conventional military science on the spot, I guess, but if they had stayed and continued giving them hell...who know for sure what might have been.

Yes, they did opt for the ETO after North Africa wrapped up-the Australians progressively bugged out of ETO as major ground formations as North Africa improved and the Pacific broke out and worsened.

Apart from elements of the airforce the Australians missed "Sunny Italy" the Monte Casino which was a 'movie' the NZers caught and suffered badly in....while they ground on through New Guinea from defensive Kokoda to offensive north coast.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 5:22:06 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
I recall Freyberg was also called one of the 'most wounded' officers of WW I - goes with the VC.

After the 'Great War' they were guests at a country house and Churchill insisted Freyberg let him count all his wounds. When Churchill announced to all that he had counted 42 wounds, Freyberg replied that was an exaggeration, actually - many were exit wounds, so Churchill was really counting them double...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 9:49:31 AM PDT
*I don't think you are looking at it quite right. Crete would have been the threat if Malta was not. There were a dozen other such islands that the British could have based from and accomplished their goals, Lampedusa, for example. It wasn't that Malta that was so important, but rather an airbase enabling attack of German sea lanes. Heck even Gharbi would have been great if they could have hung onto it. They had many options if it came to it. In the end, they should have probably spent the effort taking it, but I am not sure it solves their problems.

Good point both Island needed to be taken for logistical purposes.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 10:56:13 AM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
Crete was a forward base in the Aegean and stepping-stone for a return to Greece.

If Crete hadn't fallen, Churchill might well have persuaded the US into a Balkans campaign aimed at Romania instead of Italy, reducing German oil supplies and keeping Stalin from gaining control there.

If Malta had fallen before the Battle of El Alamein, as originally planned, Rommel would have been in much better shape in the Battle. Especially if Hitler had allowed him to pull back when Rommel found he couldn't get around Montgomery's flank.

An attack on the Italian troops at Pantelleria and Lampedusa wasn't viable until 1943.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 12:25:45 PM PDT
IGS says:
FG

"An attack on the Italian troops at Pantelleria and Lampedusa wasn't viable until 1943."

Why?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 6:24:42 PM PDT
patrick says:
A guy called Carton De Wiart was also pretty often chewed up..one of those classic pompous gung-ho looking British officers, but that guy was tough...he wrote his own little memoir about half of which deals with his experience in the trenches, its a great little war non-fiction..

I think on Somme Day July 1 1916, he had 3 GSWs by lunchtime, was patched-up each time and back out into it..this is a guy who had lost an eye b4 Ww1 even began, when a rebellious Somali tribesman strode up to him matter-of-factly and jammed his spear in his eye...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 8:02:28 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
Mainly the Luftwaffe.

It was touch and go for Malta until August 1942, but after 64 Spitfires were flown in from USS Wasp and HMS Eagle on 9 May and shot down 102 Axis aircraft in two days, the Luftwaffe never had another good day over Malta.

The month before, the RAF on Malta had gone for a week with no more than One serviceable Spitfire.

But getting transports with supplies and spare parts to Malta was still tough in August, and with Rommel preparing for the assault on El Alamein the British couldn't afford to further divide their efforts.
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  26
Total posts:  244
Initial post:  Jun 2, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 10, 2012

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