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Thread: Worst Military Performances of WW2: Pick Yours!

  1. #21
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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    It's odd no one yet mentioned the French military resistance. Ligne Maginot ?

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    One of the worst ones must have been Soviet Union during the Winter war. Soviet casualties were some 10 times higher than Finlands even though Soviet army was much better equipped. Finnish army had much nothing else than Mosin Nagants and some inventions such as the Molotov cocktails as anti-tank weapons. Against Soviet war machine the situation was worse than hopeless.

    I really cannot imagine what kind of a hell that must have been for Finns, during human wave assaults there were so many Russians to shoot, but ammo getting short... But nevertheless Soviets blew it!

  3. #23
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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lissu View Post
    One of the worst ones must have been Soviet Union during the Winter war. Soviet casualties were some 10 times higher than Finlands even though Soviet army was much better equipped. Finnish army had much nothing else than Mosin Nagants and some inventions such as the Molotov cocktails as anti-tank weapons. Against Soviet war machine the situation was worse than hopeless.

    I really cannot imagine what kind of a hell that must have been for Finns, during human wave assaults there were so many Russians to shoot, but ammo getting short... But nevertheless Soviets blew it!

    Very true and ironically after all hostilities had ended; despite the massive Soviet onslaught, much of the Mannerheim line remained relatively intact.

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by Berliners Remember View Post
    Very true and ironically after all hostilities had ended; despite the massive Soviet onslaught, much of the Mannerheim line remained relatively intact.
    Soviets tend to claim that Mannerheim line was strongly equipped (to explain why the invasion failed so badly) while the truth was that it was much nothing else but a modest line of trenches with dugouts; nothing really impressive. The performance of Finnish generals and more so the performance of an ordinary Finnish soldier was something truly amazing.

    AFAIK the Mannerheim line was more or less smashed to pieces, so it really served it's purpose. Today the only remains of it are trenches and rubble. And it was built across the ishmus so there were nothing on the northern side of lake Ladoga but invasion was stopped there also. Actually the most brutal battles (for Russians) were fought north to Lake Ladoga.

    Some Battles of Ladogan Karelia according to Wikipedia:
    Raate-Road
    Suomussalmi
    Kollaa

    Take a look at the ratio of casualties...

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    One of the most useless tactics developed during World War II were those which involved the USSR's anti-tank war-dog unit. Some Soviet planner came up with the brilliant idea of training dogs to lie down underneath tanks. The dogs were taught to associate those spaces with food and shelter.

    Of course, nobody told Rover that he was expected to wear a backpack full of explosives (triggered with a lit fuse) so that both dog and tank could be blown to smithereens simultaneously.

    When the Germans invaded in 1941, the Soviets decided to unleash their war-dogs on the Panzers. Unfortunately, the dogs had been trained to crawl under RUSSIAN tanks - they eagerly did just that. A number of Soviet armoured vehicles were destroyed and after that the sight of bomb-bearing dogs became too much for the Russian tankers; they disengaged and left their positions with all available speed. The Germans took their objective - virtually without firing a shot.

    There was Hell to pay after this debacle; as often happened within the Soviet system, everybody blamed everybody else and came up with whatever theory happened to offer the best chance of saving their own necks from the next purge. One of the handlers suggested that Russian and German tanks had different smells and that the dogs were instinctively homing in on tanks that smelled familiar.

    Aeric

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    It's my opinion that you can't distinguish between the military and plain economics in a World War.

    I agree that the Italians win for an overall show of incompetance in military matters. However in the bigger scheme of things I think this honour should fall on the Germans for switching to Total War too late in the war. If their war material production (u-boats, planes and tanks) were optimized at the beginning of the war they had a good chance of winning. Production only took off after Albert Speer took over in 1943?

    An excellent trained army is useless without enough weapons, this is even more true when fighting a numerically superior enemy.

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorWolff View Post

    An excellent trained army is useless without enough weapons, this is even more true when fighting a numerically superior enemy.
    Finland never had enough weapons (the main supplier was the Soviet Union via war booty), the weapons that existed were more or less crappy but still the result was excellent. During the major offensive in summer 1944 against Finland 1/3 of the total manforce of the Red Army was against Finland, still the offensive was stopped even if the Red Army was equipped by the Americans.

    EDIT: However, in todays warfare technology does play way more important role. But still the scariest army of today is the one that is willing to die and take other people with them. No matter how powerful their enemy is, they are more or less helpless against those.

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Germany had the worst military performance overall of WWII. The Germans suffered the most catastrophic defeat. Much of that had to do with political decisions, but that is part of the normal course of warfare.

    The worst political decision of WWII, was Germany's declaration of war on the US.
    Last edited by Madoc; Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    I would probably personally agree with Madoc, above. Before the US got involved, the whole war was essentially Germany's to lose. And yet history tells us what happened.

    Well, there clearly were many grievous mistakes, like Dunkirk, for example, but one that I was interested in recently was the Battle of the Bulge. Recently I saw a special on the History Channel about it and they were mainly focusing on a few American divisions which had been pinned down unexpectedly and still performed for the most part almost miraculously given how badly they were outnumbered and the general circumstances. Several American vets were discussing their personal experiences of being able to literally pick off German soldiers as though it were a shooting gallery. Particularly focused on was a Slavic-American vet named Milosevich (no relation to the former Serbian dictator evidently), one named Quigley, a Melvin Biddle (won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his acts during the Battle of the Bulge), and an Italian-American vet called Cicchinelli, who took part in one of the few bayonet-charge attacks of the war, wherein his little group (what was left of them) killed, in hand to hand combat, approximately 64 Germans.

    The whole thing was a huge gamble on the part of Hitler, basically, and it ended badly.

    " Autumn Mist had inflicted 19,000 casualties on US 12th Army, and had taken 15,000 American prisoners. But the cost to the German Army had been 100,000 men killed or wounded and 800 tanks destroyed - losses which could not be made up.

    In contrast, Autumn Mist had merely caused a hiccup in the Allied preparations to break into Germany, while denying desperately needed reinforcements to the German Army on the Eastern Front. "

    Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwa...bulge_01.shtml

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