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Thread: Worst Military Performances of WW2: Pick Yours!

  1. #1
    Berliners Remember
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    Worst Military Performances of WW2: Pick Yours!

    There are so many Especialy on the Eastern front. I thought this could be an interesting thread.
    For me its Operation Compass, this gives a pretty accurate depiction of the battle/operation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Compass

    Total incompetence and complete lack of leadership from the Italian high command.

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Dunkirk, Hitler's absolute stupidity in holding back, to let the BEF escape....

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by Berliners Remember
    There are so many Especialy on the Eastern front. I thought this could be an interesting thread.
    For me its Operation Compass, this gives a pretty accurate depiction of the battle/operation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Compass

    Total incompetence and complete lack of leadership from the Italian high command.
    Oh yes, as soon as I saw the title, I thought "Italians...". I mean the campaings in Greece, North Africa, the control of the Mediterranean, Italy itself...Now, I had never known the exact numbers from their intial disastrous defeat in North Africa, and then I saw this:


    Strength:
    Western Desert Force: British 7th Armoured Division, Australian 6th Division
    Indian 4th Infantry Division : 36,000 soldiers, 120 guns, 275 tanks.
    Casualties: 494 dead, 1,225 wounded

    Italian Tenth Army: 200,000 soldiers, 1,600 guns, 600 tanks.
    Casualties: 130,000 captured, 400 tanks, 1,292 guns.


    I believe those numbers speak for themselves. Now, several arguments have been made in defence of the Italians: poor equipment, bad command, low moral, etc...even if we consider such things, their performance during the war was still awful - allies? they certainly were a hindrance to the German war effort. I mean, how can an army of 200.000 strong inflict only 1731 casualties to a 5 times smaller force? So the whole Italian performance (except for some few exceptions..) during World War 2 was definitely the worst. And Operation Compass was perhaps the crowning event. Good choice, Berliners Remember.

  5. #4
    Berliners Remember
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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by INS
    Dunkirk, Hitler's absolute stupidity in holding back, to let the BEF escape....
    Hmm. Ture enough it was bad for the German war effort that thousands of French and British were able to escape only to return to fight another day, however it's kind of hard to tell how effective the attack would have been had Hitler not issued his famous 'Halt!' order. The panzers were stretched to thier limmits and had pretty much outrun thier supply lines so stratiegicly it was not a terrible move on Hitlers part..especialy if you take into the account that Hitler still thought Britain could be an ally and Dunkirk was sort of an act of good will.

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Italians. Didn't win a single campaign without German help (with the exception of Ethiopia).

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by INS
    Dunkirk, Hitler's absolute stupidity in holding back, to let the BEF escape....
    100% agreed Hitler was totally foolish with the british, it costed him the war eventually.
    Besides those prisoners would have been valuable workforce and negotiation pieces.

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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    if you ask me, hitler was pretty stupid in general.

    his big idea "lets go attack russia in the middle of winter!"

  9. #8
    Berliners Remember
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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Offensive against the Soviet Union started in late Summer.

  10. #9
    Cnooc
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    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    contrary to popular opinion, Hitler's invasion of Russia did not come at a bad timing. Russia at the time had a late spring, and the ice did not thaw out until May. Contrary to the infracture of Germany, Russia's was very underdeveloped, and the roads were far and few between. And hardly any Russian highways could withstand the weight of the columns of Panzer divisions. Thus most of the time the Panzers traveled off roads, and at the time of May, the fields were damp and muddy, and the ground too soft for any panzer travel. Thus Hitler had to wait until late summer before the Russian ground could support the weight of his panzer columns and the roads not give away underneath the tanks (which still happened, alot).

    Thus Hitler's folly was not his timing, but his over-confidence and greatly under estimating the enemy. His biggest mistake was not properly fitting his troops with winter clothing, (the same mistake that Napoleon made), and thus the might of the Wehrmacht was greatly enfeebled. Despite Russia's poor performation in the Russo-Finnish War, Russia at the time of WWII was definately not a weak country. Because of the rapid industrialization that occured during the 1930's, Russia was second only to the US in terms of industrial capacity. Not only that, a mucher higher percentage of Russia's industrial capacity was geared towards the military. Why the German army was so successful in the initial stages of the war could be attributed to luck, Stalin, because of his paranoid nature, had recently just done a purge of the Red Army, eliminating its most seasoned and veteran generals, and severely crippling the leadership of the Army. Not only that, he changed the command structure, making the commanders responsible to the political commisars of the party, who have no military experience whatsoever and were quite incompetent in military leadership.

    i vote the worst military performance was Japan's. They lost almost every major engagement against the US, and suffered much higher casualty rates. At least the Italians won some of their battles.

  11. #10

    Re: Worst Military performances of WW2: pick yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Jarl View Post
    Oh yes, as soon as I saw the title, I thought "Italians...". I mean the campaings in Greece, North Africa, the control of the Mediterranean, Italy itself...Now, I had never known the exact numbers from their intial disastrous defeat in North Africa, and then I saw this:


    Strength:
    Western Desert Force: British 7th Armoured Division, Australian 6th Division
    Indian 4th Infantry Division : 36,000 soldiers, 120 guns, 275 tanks.
    Casualties: 494 dead, 1,225 wounded

    Italian Tenth Army: 200,000 soldiers, 1,600 guns, 600 tanks.
    Casualties: 130,000 captured, 400 tanks, 1,292 guns.


    I believe those numbers speak for themselves. Now, several arguments have been made in defence of the Italians: poor equipment, bad command, low moral, etc...even if we consider such things, their performance during the war was still awful - allies? they certainly were a hindrance to the German war effort. I mean, how can an army of 200.000 strong inflict only 1731 casualties to a 5 times smaller force? So the whole Italian performance (except for some few exceptions..) during World War 2 was definitely the worst. And Operation Compass was perhaps the crowning event. Good choice, Berliners Remember.

    My first reaction was the same. The Italians really blew the campaign in Greece and later couldn't even defend Italy. Both cost the Germans since they had to dirvert troops to fix those problems. The Italians did comprise most of Rommel's army in North Africa and did reasonably well under his command.

    The German mistakes can usually be traced to mistakes by Hitler in military decision making so this constitutes a whole seperate category: Hitler's Mistakes.

    Other big failures might include the failure of the US to stop the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The sinking of the Bismark and decisions surrounding it, other related German ships and the total strategy in the North Atlantic. The failure of the Luftwaffe (Udet and Goering) to build four engine bombers. The failure of the Germans to get some of their Wunderwaffen developed and employed.

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