2008/05/19

Some myths and associated expectation of gratitude

It's not uncommon to hear/read by some Americans that Europeans should be more grateful for being saved against Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union by the USA.

Well, these guys need to get their facts straight in my opinion.

Nazi Germany had lost WW2 in autumn of 1941 when it had lost ten thousands of motor vehicles (that doesn't offer such a nice chronicle entry as the Battle of Stalingrad, but was more important). It never recovered because truck production was very limited in wartime due to the need for tank production. Passenger car production was even very reduced in comparison to 30's and 1940. The winter 1941/42 caused additional vehicle losses, replacements never came close to these losses.
This meant that the German army lacked the capability to sustain mobile warfare on the Eastern Front - its superiority in static warfare was much smaller, and it eventually got ruined by attrition. Foreign material played only a minor role in the Red Army (and not all foreign material was American anyway).
The Russians survived the onslaught because the British kept about 30-40% of the German warfare potential away from the Eastern Front, especially some armored troops and lots of trucks in North Africa. This and the attrition on the Eastern Front doomed the Wehrmacht long before U.S. forces became relevant in Europe.

Another myth is that the U.S. saved Europe against the Soviet Union.
Well, it's difficult to tell where the lines between Western Allies and Red Army would have been in 1945 without the U.S.Army participating in the Normandy invasion and subsequent land operations to the Elbe (probably on Germany's western border). But France and Italy would certainly not have been in Stalin's zone of influence.
Afterwards, both UK and France quickly became nuclear powers with mostly intact manpower reserves whereas both Germany and Russia were bled dry and incapable to sustain large-scale conventional warfare for any useful length till at least the late 50's.
The USA was never really necessary to protect Western Europe against the Soviets, simply because the Soviet military power as we remember it was in great part a fantasy of U.S. intelligence services. Two European nuclear powers (more would have been easily possible) and the fact that by a large margin most NATO military power in Europe was European and not American in 1950-1989 shows that.

Europe and the world don't need to be more grateful than they are, and the USA never protected others without serving its own interests.

Sven Ortmann

Some numbers:
First five weeks of Operation Barbarossa = 4,772 cars and 6,927 trucks lost, 429 cars and 1,928 trucks replaced (Schustereit, "Vabanque").
First six months of Operation Barbarossa: 103,704 non-armored motor vehicles lost, 33,313 replaced (Frank, "Personenkraftwagen der Wehrmacht").
Keep in mind that surviving motor vehicles were increasingly worn out and maintenance was difficult due to many different types (civilian vehicles, French and other foreign vehicles).
179,600 horses (about 20% of entire Wehrmacht inventory, probably about 30% of Eastern Front inventory) died between December, 1st 1941 and March, 15th 1942. The quantity of horses was eventually increased during 1942 to compensate for motor vehicle losses at least in infantry divisions, but most of the additional horses were indigenous horses - smaller, weaker and only suited to pull smaller wagons (Buchner, "Das Handbuch der deutschen Infanterie").

End note:
Besides that, the quasi-official turning point for the war in Europe was in late 1942 (that's the easily comprehensible, history book version as two major battles happened in late '42) - before U.S. forces became major opponents of German forces.
There's no doubt that Americans experienced some sacrifices (not much in comparison to many European countries) in the fight against Germany, but that didn't save Europe from the Nazis as the Nazis were already defeated before G.I.'s shot at German soldiers for the first time. 1943-1945 was mopping-up time - bloody, but hopeless for the Nazis.

20 comments:

  1. In fact, the USA should be grateful to General Lafayette for saving their bacon in the War for Independence. If the French hadn't saved the rebels, they'd all be speaking British English and writing "honour" with a "u" like Canadians still do!

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  2. It is quite true that the German Army lacked the capacity for mobile warfare at the Strategic- and Operational Levels, and that its capabilities were mostly confined to the Tactical Level. With only Armoured and Mechanized formations (and the few Luftwaffe Parachute formations) possessing more or less full motorized transport, the German Army could never mount, let alone sustain, any mobile operations over Armoured Corps or at most Armoured Group/Army level.

    Conversely, however, the Red Army's capacity for Strategic- and Operational-Level mobile warfare was afforded by the supply of some 300,000 U.S.-made trucks, in addition to the U.S.S.R.'s own domestic production. Operation Bagration and the Red Army drive into Eastern and Central Europe almost certainly could not have occurred when they did, and as quickly as they did, without those American-made trucks.

    Granted, the majority of Red Army formations
    relied upon animal-drawn transport; but the ability to rapidly move great numbers of troops and supplies over considerable distances with those trucks in support of major operations, and the ability to concentrate overwhelming force at critical points at critical times, to keep them sustained, and to quickly shift axes of main effort, was practically impossible without those trucks.

    Best,

    Norfolk

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  3. (*Avoiding an argument about the importance of railways and the rare occasion of Soviet operational surprise.*)

    Most people of whom I'm speaking about consider the fighting contribution and not the lend-lease contribution as something that deserves gratitude till today.

    Take anonymous as an example; the assertion is most often like 'if we hadn't invaded France in Normandy and defeated the Nazis in France, Europe would have stayed under Hitler's control'.

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  4. Sven Ortman wrote:

    (*Avoiding an argument about the importance of railways and the rare occasion of Soviet operational surprise.*)

    Sven, I'll certaintly concede to you on the matter of the strategic importance of railways, although I would argue that the Soviets achieved sufficient Operational surprise - such as in their counter-offensives at Stalingrad and Kursk, and above all with Operation Bagration - when it really counted. I would not go as far as to say that the Germans were necessary always unaware that the Soviets were up to something on those occasions, but sufficiently caught-off guard to make a real difference. Like you said, not too often; but I would say on some of those occasions when it could make the most difference.

    Best,

    Norfolk

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  5. The Germans knew about the Soviets' forces position and strength before the Stalingrad and Kursk counter-offensives. The OKH simply chose to ignore that information, though - especially in the case of Stalingrad.
    But that's in the time after the quasi-official turning point anyway.

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  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-lease

    Some non-trivial items:

    Aircraft 14,795
    Tanks 7,056
    Jeeps 51,503
    Trucks 375,883
    ...
    Machine guns 131,633
    Explosives 345,735 tons
    ...
    Railroad freight cars 11,155
    Locomotives 1,981
    ...
    Food supplies 4,478,000 tons
    ...
    Cotton 106,893,000 tons
    Leather 49,860 tons
    Tires 3,786,000
    Army boots 15,417,001 pairs

    Fifteen million barefoot Soviet Soldiers obviously had no bearing on the war on the Eastern Front, though. No big deal, and American aid to them was clearly a non-factor. Who needs a couple thousand locomotives, anyway?

    As for the comment regarding The great Marquis d'Lafayette, some of us do indeed remember him, not to mention the Statue of Liberty. This one also remembers WWI, WWII, and a certain (mis)adventure in SE Asia, which for whatever stated reasons had a secondary effect of protecting French interests in their former colony, to an extent, and for a while.

    I leave the host of this page to his belief that the USA wasn't necessary to victory in WWII, etc. Ani-Americanism has historically played well in Europe, anyway. At least you can't say I ignored the importance of railways.

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  7. Well, you didn't get the point, that's it.
    Most of this stuff was delivered long after the turning point of the war.
    The Americans who annoy with their "we saved your ass, be grateful" nonsense even have the combat in mind, not lend-lease.

    And fifteen million barefoot soldiers? Do you have ANY idea about WW2? Such boots lasted few months, during mud seasons even only some weeks.
    Almost all delivered tanks and aircraft were 2nd class at best and little more than fodder.
    Finally; a lot of the 1942 deliveries never arrived due to sunk cargo ships.

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  8. edit: I shortened this post to reply to the sane parts and to cut out the impertinences. Next time it will be a simple delete.
    Sven
    ---------------------------

    I surely do love your capacity for research. Here you go:

    http://www.olive-drab.com/od_soldiers_clothing_combat_ww2_combatboots.php

    "A World War II soldier received an initial issue of two pairs of shoes which could be resoled twice, then were replaced with a new or rebuilt pair. The replacement rate varied depending on conditions where the shoes were worn, ranging from a year in the US to only five months in the Southwest Pacific."

    Five months being a practical minimum, nevertheless 15 million pr. of boots is a non-trivial contribution. Especially when you consider what conditions harsh enough to wreck a pair of boots in a matter of mothst would do to unprotected feet.

    As for tanks and aircraft being "2nd class at best and little more than fodder", I'll throw your own ad hominem back at you: Do you have ANY idea about WW2? The M4A2 Sherman, as an example, was indeed a second-class track, but it was the primary tank of the Allies on the Western front. The utility of a tank isn't always defined by its capacity to slug it out toe-to-toe with the enemy's tanks.

    I like how you attempt to write off Lend-Lease by casually assuming that WWII was "over" in 1942, using technical terms like "a lot".

    You confuse a "turning point" with victory itself. Without America's entry into WWII, things would likely have been very different indeed, as GB alone (without the USA's logistic and combat support) didn't have the capacity to pose a serious threat to "Fortress Europe". You cited a draw-down of Germany's capacity to replace its transport. That didn't happen magically. The reasons thereof I leave as an excersize for the sudent.

    Which leads to the final point: the USA's entry to the ETO of WWII (a war whose foundations were laid by Europeans, at Versaille, and bungled into by Europeans, and which we fought for very little (apparent) direct benefit) robbed Germany of the most valuable resource of all: Time. All in all Allied victory in Europe was a group effort, and removing _any_ of the major players (as you are poorly attemping to do), whether American or Soviet, would radically alter the outcome.

    It is instructive for the student of history to compare the territory that Stalin would have had, if Hitler had honored his agreement, with the territory that the USSR _actually_ incorporated after WWII, though.

    P.S. Your slip is showing. The point of your exercise is made plain in your writing. You have no interest in honestly assessing WWII, and your true goal is a peurile attemt to silence Americans that are annoying you. Cherry-picking your facts won't accomplish that goal in the least, as those who know more than you do WRT WWII (a large group) can see through you, ...
    (edited part)

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  9. OK, a chronological reply:

    Check your own quote; "...the replacement rate varied depending on conditions where the shoes were worn..."
    Eastern Front was different. The mud periods destroyed boots in very short time. Lots of marching (never done on that scale by the U.S.Army) changed the picture entirely. In other words: Your quote is not descriptive of the Eastern Front.

    The utility of tanks is not always defined by tank on tank combat, true - but the Russians themselves had a poor opinion about most lend-lease tanks and used those tanks in secondary roles at best.

    It's obvious that most of the economical effort, killing and destruction of WW2 was after 1941 and even after 1942, but the turning point counts in this case. It counts simply because the common assertion is like I wrote in the mini-article: Many Americans claim that Europe would have remained fascists without their invasion & fighting. And that is with on certainty bordering likeliness wrong.

    I guess you refer to the strategic bombing campaign with
    "That didn't happen magically."
    Well, looks like you didn't do much number crunching on WW2.
    Germany military hardware output was largest in 1944, while car output dropped by 1940/41 and truck output never developed similar to general military hardware production - and ceased to satisfy needs on the first day of the mobilization. I referred to this stuff for good reasons.

    About WW1: Blame Wilson, he did the crappy policy, don't blame Europeans.

    The Soviet Union's borders were almost the same before Barbarossa and after WW2, that's completely unrelated, though. That is, unless I would sometime decide to remind the British that they failed their original official war objective.

    I don't see myself slipping, but you do agree with my basic point without seeing it. You don't argue with invasion & combat 1943-1945 (anymore), but with lend-lease. That's OK, but not the same as what I criticized. I criticized the assertion that U.S. forces saved Europe against Hitler.

    Finally; this is not a troll forum, but a comments section. Less passion/aggressiveness, more objectivity would suit your comments well.
    Comments with impertinent parts will be deleted completely, quickly and without trace in the future.

    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/05/comment-policy.html

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  10. Why should I be "objective"? You aren't being objective in the least. You've indulged in high-handed deletions & editing, ad hominems, and threats of same. You have dismissed factual challenges with vagaries and unsupported assertions.

    Example: You assert without facts that Soviet mud was more destructive than the jungle mud of the Asian area, and ignore the effects of that same mud on unprotected feet.

    Apparently, "impertinence" means handing you inconvenient truths. Witness what you did with Stupor Mundi's first post in this comments section. You called the words (to paraphrase) 'nonsense', can called him a "troll". A troll is _not_ someone you disagree with or dislike. I've dealt with trolls for a long time, and post-editing is a fairly common trick among them.

    I doubt you'll leave this post alone, either. But nothing ventured...

    Wilson's fault? From Wiki:
    "Opposition to the Fourteen Points among British and French leaders became clear after hostilities ceased: the British were against freedom of the seas; the French demanded war reparations.

    Wilson was forced to compromise on many of his ideals to ensure that his most important point, the establishment of the League of Nations, was accepted. In the end, the Treaty of Versailles went against many of the principles of the Fourteen Points, both in detail and in spirit. Rather than "peace without victory," the treaty sought harsh punishment of Germany both financially and territorially. The resulting bitterness in Germany laid the seeds for the rise of Nazism in the 1930s which resulted, in part, from the economic depression of the 1920s in Germany which the Versailles Treaty helped create."

    IOW, blaming Wilson is an untruth. He was an accomplished historian, having written "A History of the American People" (1902), and with his "Fourteen Points" was clearly trying to help Europe avoid the mistakes America made with Reconstruction. your unsupported allegations don't change historical facts.

    And as for "agreeing" with you WRT "your basic point", not at all. WWII was _not_ finally decided in 1941-2. American combat arms were at least as important to Allied vicroty as anything the Soviets did. I merely focused on Lend-Lease because the basis for your original post hinged on German logistics.

    If you prefer combat operations, you are welcome to attempt that in another post.

    In closing, I never said you were "slipping". I said "your slip is showing". If you are unfamiliar with the idiom, and are unable to correct your lack via Google, I'd be happy to explain it to you. In the meantime, I'll retain a copy of this post, just in case you want to play editing-troll again, over the (gasp!) "crime" of "impertinence".

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  11. As a German or Russian you'd see no need to search for sources on the durability of boots on the Eastern Front. It's quite commonplace, not the least because some soldiers survived to become grandfathers and tell the story.
    Statistics are generally hard to come by simply because the official supply of boots was only a fraction of the general supply. Companies had their own craftsman to repair and even produce boots and many soldiers used captured boots and civilian winter footgear.
    Besides that, it's going off-topic. There's no real doubt that a country of more than 100 million inhabitants could produce some extra 15 million boots over the course of several years and the deliveries took place mostly if not completely after the turning point.

    "inconvenient truths"? That's a cheap trick, to assert the other side doesn't listen to fact. Fact is that you fail to address my core point properly - and most likely you don't understand it anyway, or you wouldn't deviate from it so regularly.

    Wilson entered the war needlessly and without any promise of improvement for his own nation. That's why he's at fault. The USA shouldn't have been in the war in the first place - it fell prey to UK propaganda and lobbyism.

    It's certainly not necessary to agree here, but to behave properly and not overly aggressive or impertinently is necessary.
    Who cannot see impertinence in what I've deleted of his posts should go back to parents and learn civil behaviour. That was simply no behaviour as expected amongst adults.

    And btw, that's it. Most intelligent replies and discussions came by e-mail, as usual.

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  12. "The Russians survived the onslaught because the British kept about 30-40% of the German warfare potential away from the Eastern Front, especially some armored troops and lots of trucks in North Africa. This and the attrition on the Eastern Front doomed the Wehrmacht long before U.S. forces became relevant in Europe."

    Okay, but try the counter-factual. What happens if UK does not keep that 30-40% otherwise occupied? What if Britain is not conducting nightly raids on industry that hampers production(even if it is causing stops and starts in production they lead to shortages in the field.). What if for a lack of destroyers in the Atlantic and Med Britain was unable to continue to get the pertol. it needed and foodstuffs? Does this 'turning point' still happen?

    Obviously, it does not.

    So, you're left with the mainstream answer of Team Victory. The Sovs, real slouches when it came to operational level warfare(Zhukov was a great general, but the logistical train simply wasn't there to allow his genius to be used. Which lead to higher levels of casualties for the Sovs, sadly), don't face that logistically challenged Germany without Lend-Lease because Britain isn't there to cause teh industrial damage and dilution of strength(which you yourself cite as rather critical).

    That's where your analysis seems to fail, IMO.

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  13. Well, first of all; this is again not the same argument as the one that I refute in my text. The typical assertion is that U.S. forces saved Europe, not about Lend-Lease doing so.

    And Britain's situation in '41 was not really dire, even without U.S. assistance.
    German submarines were few and the logistics to operate in the Western half of the Atlantic (where the USN protected British convoys) was very limited.
    The sea mining campaign was over.
    The IJN didn't threaten Far Eastern trade routes yet.
    The surface raider threat was very much reduced to few auxiliary cruisers who only left Germany during winter months.
    At most one bomber wing was busy with anti-shipping missions around the British Isles.

    The British would have had more problems without U.S. assistance, but the effect on Germany would have been quite the same. One reason for this is that many defensive troops in Norway, Benelux, France and Greece doubled as occupation troops.

    Btw, British night raids were very ineffective in 1941.

    And the fact that only about 60% of Germany's forces were went against the Soviet Union does not tell with certainty what would have happened if it were 100%.
    the railway and street networks were already overburdened, additional troops would have reduced the average supply of divisions.
    And most of the other troops were newly raised, partially and non-standard equipped and in general a majority of these security forces were the bottom 20% quality. The two divisions in Africa and few divisions in France were top 20%, of course.

    The Western nations never really appraised the difficulties that the Wehrmacht encountered in the East and the importance of the Eastern theatre. It wasn't opportune to praise the Russian's efforts during the Cold War and this still stains our perception of WW2.

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  14. Well, I understand that my take might be considered a little 'nonstandard'. Point is: I've never bought the claim that the war was 'won' solely by the SovUn or at any battle or because of any one factor. This type of analysis is a little bit easier and more valid in the Pacific where one can look and see that, yes, IJ had lost it's ability to even feed itself because of the loss of so much of its merchant marine, but here it is a much harder sell.

    You're making the logistics('amatuers study tactics, professionals study logistics') argument. I just don't think it is as solid as you assert. For instance, the famed 'Blitzkrieg' army that pushed into Poland and France was itself predominately horse drawn in terms of logistics. Some of the formations were true mechanized formations, but most were not. It also ingores that despite the losses to the logistical train it was still capable of launching offensives long after Autumn 1941, one's the that pushed the SovUn to the wall.

    I'm puzzled here. First the problem is too few forces to fuel the war(logistical or otherwise) and now it would be beyond c3 and infrastructure to support more? Having 1/3 of total Wehrmacht logistical support bound up in feeding the N. Afrika campaign now is a boon because all of that extra for the Eastern Front would be more problem than a help? Explain please. This is not making much sense to me at the moment.

    Britain.(IN a nutshell, you ignore the logistical effects here of US uninvolvement while it is entirely the basis of your case that the war was already decided in Europe, not over but decided, before the Japanese perform Pearl Harbor). CHurchill himself admits in 1940 that not only were more merchant ships being sunk than being built but that they were very close to dropping below the 20 ship arrivals/day needed to stay in the war, so, I think you're a bit off to say that they were not in a dire situation. They most definitely were. The industry to fuel their war effort is strangled without Lend-Lease and US 'loans(they were anything but, that was not a neutral act)' of destroyers to aid in convoy running.

    What does a drop in a) merchant ships being 'donated' b) convoy escorts being 'donated' do to the bottom line of some 100K tons of food and fuel necessary for Britain to stay in the war do? well, Battle of Britain seems a lot less likely a UK victory if petrol is a problem(can't fly agains the even short legged MEs if you don't have petrol for your own birds). Op Sea Lion, though never a very robust OpPl, becomes not only likely but chances of success increases as well(no air cover if all those fighters are destroyed on the ground from lack of fuel, lack of oil for Home Squadron also becomes a problem.). What does that do to the N. Africa campaign(which is subsidized with US war material like the 'Ronson' tanks)? Is the Afrika Corps still needed to back up the Italians there, or are the Italians able to match the Brits who are now facing severe materiale shortages since not enough destroyers are around to ensure supplies get to Tobruk? (This doesn't even get into the threat from two sides the Afrika Corps faces once the Americans land to the west of their position in N. Africa. Which, even with the walk over battle at 1st Kasserine, was enough of a problem that Rommel himself feels he has to attack.) It does not look like it supports the claim that the war is decided because there are more forces available for the Wehrmacht(logistical or otherwise), to continue with(and those later assaults have greater chances of success, particularly if Britain is forced from the war which doesn't threaten Ploeshte(sp) and cause operational confusion in Barbarosa.) on the Eastern Front. It does not seem to unfold, sans US support(material or otherwise), as you put forth.

    The Wehrmacht was never a trully mechanized force. It's greatest victories were won with horsedrawn logistics. Trucks seems to be a very weak place to start. Without the other two Allies causing trouble for Germany in terms of industry SovUn is in very bad straights. Diminished production DID lead to formations operating well below TO&E for the Wehrmacht even if the factories were producing better product. Any situation where an extra tank platoon would've changed the outcome was not undone because there was no tanks to do so. That only occurs if the US is helping the UK, either with the Battle of the Atlantic or helping secure the Med as a British lake by invading N. Africa.

    It ignores that Stalin himself, many times, is practically begging UK and US to open a second front to bleed off Wehrmacht forces.

    I have never bought the idea that because more Russians and Germans died on the Eastern Front that it was the most important. It's a flawed idea of importance to me. It's like saying because more US and IJ persons died on Okinawa it was the most important battle of the war between them, and that's false.

    We still haven't gotten to the same problems you claim doom the Wehrmacht are the same one's that the massive formations the Red Army used for the repeated double envelopments. It cuts both ways. No trucks, bad roads, no rail lines, works against both. In fact, one could say that the LOC were so much worse when the Reds moved west than when the Fascists did(with their predomiately horse drawn supply train).

    In sum: you didn't apply your logistical shortcomings leading to overall defeat to the other, just as likely, possibilities. Hence, Red Army does not win all by its lonesome. Without US involvement Autumn 41 is indecisive for logistical reasons leading Britain to drop out or be utterly ineffective in aiding SovUn in tying up/down(however you want to say it) German logistical support in N. Africa. Not to mention leaving a few spare divisions for counter attacks along the Sov flanks as they pressed forward to give them 'a taste of their own medicine'. No, I agree that too little attention has been given to the Eastern Front, but not that it was all over by Autumn 41. The Wehrmacht accoplished the Fall of France with horse drawn logistics. I don't see why, baring a very well made argument, that could not be repeated in the East.

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  15. The conditions of the French campaign were very dissimilar to the conditions of Brabrarossa after the first couple of weeks.
    Worse roads, less dense railway network, much longer duration, much larger distances.
    The German army of 1940 fits well to a "spear" comparison - steel tip, solid wood in center and almost rotten wood at the end. I'm aware of this, but the French campaign saw only minimal loss of motor vehicles in comparison to Barbarossa. In fact, many civilian cars and trucks were captured and used in France even before the armistice.

    The Soviet armies were pushed back in summer 1942 by the HGr Süd, but the extent of this territory loss was in large part because they deloberately provoked an overextension; the Germans went beyond the culmination point of success as planned. The Russian forces who delayed this advance were not encircled and destroyed anything like 1941.

    The truck transportss from Africa were significant and the British contributed to the Nazi's downfall a lot as I said before. But trucks to sustain two division wouldn't have been much help on overburdened roads/railways in support of about a million additional troops (which were historically not deployed against the SU).

    I assert that the British would have continued to fight Nazis even without U.S. assistance because of the size of their merchant fleet - the Germans would have needed a long time to deplete that to a critical level. The early 1940 troubles were mostly troubles with mines, but those were neutralized at the time fo the BoB. The force strength requirements in Northern Africa were met without significant lend-lease material till about mid-'42 IIRC (when M3 Grants arrived).

    I understand that you point at the importance of trucks for the Red Army (I'm disappointed that nobody else did before).
    Well, my reasoning on this is that the Russians were quite on par with Germans in slow and positional warfare. Especially their indirect fires were very powerful.
    The Germans depended on their mechanized troops' strength in mobile warfare to balance the Russian numerical and other strengths.

    Btw; I don't see much value in politician's statements during wartime. Churchill and Stalin had strong interests to draw a dramatic picture of the situation.

    It's always difficult to tell what would have happened if condition xy was changed. This applies to my assertion just like to the assertion that I criticized in the post. I'd accept if somebody would consider both as questionable.

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  16. Sven, the logistical means to supply 2 divisions is better than none. My point is, two fold. 1) that extra capability may have altered the outcome(which you counter with terrain and weather) 2) that same amount can act as replacements for (some)the losses.

    You can assert it, but that doesn't change the fact that battle for the Atlantic was definitely not over yet. Mine ops were curtailed, but there's still the shortage of surface combatants(sans the US contribution) to win the Atlantic. That has to come into your evaluation at some point. What happens to the ability to feed Gibraltar then? What force multiplier comes out of a secure petrol supply for the Nazis instead of the Brits? I can't quote steel output for Britain but I don't think it's enough to meet all their needs.

    Without surface combatants and things like the PBY loans Britain is in a bad way and unable to continue.

    Also, if Britain is unable to continue, or without LeMay, there's no killing of the artisans and machinists. This *can* mean that the modernization of the Nazi industrial base(Byzantine as it was) makes up the loss on logistical ability.

    Heh. I don't know a lot about the Red Army, but I do know, from studying operational level warfare, that they had some problems in WW2. The Allies weren't great either(PAtton's Red Eye Express was an expedient that ruined itself in short order, as an example), but it was better than the RA. Had Zhukov the Allies capability of supply for his Armies it would've been a totally different war.

    Hey, why aren't you jumping in on this(http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/2008/05/from_the_cold_w.html) and this(http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/2008/05/talking_of_the.html)? We need different perspectives over at the Castle. Be forewarned, sometimes people play mean, but the admin goes after people via personal emails.

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  17. It's getting a bit confused.
    I meant that I believe the British would have been able to bind German forces without Lend-Lease.
    That's not the same like to claim that they won the Battle of the Atlantic in 1941 - they did so in '43. Merchant shipping fleet and Churchill's resolve were strong enough to keep them in the war without Lend-Lease imho.

    The night bombing campaign was rather ineffective till at least mid-1942 and certainly not influential on the Eastern Front till at least that date (probably not so till mid-43).

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  18. We're at an impasse then. Lend Lease was imperative to the convoy system that protected merchies in the mid-Atlantic. The cracking of Enigma and the central control by Rader giving away Wolf Pack positions did not end the threat. Britain was on the ropes economically without Lend Lease because the destroyers necessary to win wouldn't be there without LL.

    Merchant ship construction in the UK was not keeping up with losses in 1940. Without that the N. AFrica campaign looks very different, and that means re-inforcements are available to blunt Zhukovs kessel making campaigns later. The Germans would hae logistical support as the pulled back, which they did not have in reality because so much of it was destroyed on the Eastern Front or deployed to the Western Front.

    The point of the Harris economic bombing is that it caused production shortages. In the absence of that bombing you aren't seeing the killing of the artisans necessary to keep the auto-industry going much less the machinery. That means Germany could recoup the losses, particularly as the LOC shorten for the Wehrmacht and lengthen for the Red Army.

    Sum: No destroyers from the US and there is no winning of the Altantic for the Brits. If you can't move on this point then we're stuck because I'm as comitted to it being the right interpretation of the events as you are against it. No Atlantic then no need for N. Africa and the Panzer division needed for Barbarosa to succeed when Hitler starts paring stuff off to the AGS is still there.

    Take care of yourself Ortmann.

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  19. I wrote a lengthy comment and deleted it. We won't come to an agreement indeed. I simply believe that you see the Battle of the Atlantic too much as being lost.

    The British had still a lot of reserve options at that time.
    In fact, they didn't need to sink any subs. They could have de-valued the subs with several measures, like the use of faster transport ships (subs only ran at about 18 knots max).

    Remember the 1916/17 famine in Germany; it didn't take out Germany when it was under a much greater pressure (two-front land war) than the UK in 1942.

    Would Russia have become unable to crush Germany if the UK passed out in 1942? I don't think so, but I understand if anyone considers it as a close call.

    The bombing effects can still justify hundreds of research studies. But we know for sure that whatever effects the night bombing had - the early bombing was incredibly inefficient, provoking only a minor reaction and the city-devastating bomb attacks came quite late.

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    Again: Those who express their belief that the USA saved Europe in WW2 don't talk about Lend-Lease (if they know it at all) - they think of Normandy invasion & boots on the ground. Those people most often talk about what happened in 1944/45. No literature known to me suggests a later turning point of the war than summer of 1943 (Battle of Kursk).

    I think we agreed long ago that the major U.S. forces actions against Germany happened long after the turning point, ry.

    My reasoning here can be called alternate history and be rejected. I have no problem with that - because this "we saved Europe" asserts an alternative history scenario (no U.S. participation = slaved Europe) as well.
    So either way - the conclusion is the same; no credit to the "the USA saved Europe in WW2" idea.

    I've seen this idea being used to put Europeans under pressure. That happens only in public debates and likely not among politicians, but it irritates me ad that's why I wrote this to debunk the idea.

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  20. The list of US wartime aid to the USSR lifted from Wikipedia includes an obvious error. The tonnage of cotton was considerably more than total world production for the duration of the war. It's about as much as current world production for the same duration. Wrong units, I presume, or some extra zeros. But it does make me mistrust the accuracy of the source used by Wikipedia.

    If we consider what would have happened if the USA had not intervened in the war in Europe, we should ask "Why not?". Because it did not join in the war at all, or because it concentrated on Japan? If the latter, we could expect a smaller British commitment to the Far East, & some different policies. With resources at home in shorter supply, I can imagine a greater effort to mobilise Indian resources, a greater willingness to accede to Congress demands, & action against the Japanese in Burma being purely defensive - unless the Americans provided material & even troops, which would be logical, if concentrating on Japan. It would be another front for the USA in their war on Japan, & would enable them to assist the Chinese war effort.

    All this - and the inevitable more rapid Japanese defeat in the Pacific - would free troops & material for the war against Germany.

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