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WW2 - german military vs. us

Old 03-30-08, 09:56 AM
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WW2 - german military vs. us

i had a discussion with a guy the other day about World War 2. To make a long discussion short my argument was this:

the US military at its peak (45?) (including the pacific theater) vs. the german military at its peak (41? 42?) would win.
He argued the german military would win.

Obviously it's theoretical, but if we were to make educated guesses based on quantity and quality. Of course, he forgot that the US was making nukes in 45..so we had to modify it so nukes weren't involved.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-30-08, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Parcher
i had a discussion with a guy the other day about World War 2. To make a long discussion short my argument was this:

the US military at its peak (45?) (including the pacific theater) vs. the german military at its peak (41? 42?) would win.
He argued the german military would win.

Obviously it's theoretical, but if we were to make educated guesses based on quantity and quality. Of course, he forgot that the US was making nukes in 45..so we had to modify it so nukes weren't involved.

Thoughts?
That's a tough question to answer. I doubt any scholar or historian would be able to say for sure. First you are assuming a one-on-one fight, which greatly complicates matters. The U.S. was fighting a two fronted war. Germany was fighting on 2+. We would also have to take into account which theatre. Would we be fighting in Europe? Would Germany be attacking the U.S. mainland, or would we be fighting on neutral territory (i.e. Africa)?

I think Germany's odds of winning would be much greater if we fought one-on-one in Europe, simply because they couldn't match our supply chain on neutral territory. It really comes down to quantity vs. quality. Germany's equipment was superior to ours, but we had them greatly outnumbered. It would be similar to a non-nuclear U.S. vs. China battle.

In an all out "paintball style" capture the flag scenario, I think the U.S. would've won in the long run simply based on geography. It's a lot harder for Germany to mount an invasion on the U.S. mainland, then for the U.S. to launch an invasion on Germany. You can't hide boats in trees.

Last edited by wabio; 03-30-08 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:09 AM
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the reason the german military was able to win in 1939 - 1942 was technology. it was the first military to put radios in every tank. quality wise all the other european powers had better quality tanks and other hardware

radios in every tank enabled germany to react faster than other militaries and out maneuver them

the US was able to win because we destroyed most of Germany's oil supplies and shut down their airforce. if this wasn't the case, D-Day would have gone very differently. look what happened in italy
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Old 03-30-08, 11:16 AM
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By 1945 US military had some very impressive military hardware too don't forget: B-29 Superfortress, 14 Essex class aircraft carriers, M-26 Pershing tanks (not many but equal to the German Tigers). The US would have dominated the skies with 1945 era upgraded P-51 Mustangs, P-47 Thunderbolts, etc. The German military industrial complex would have been obliterated by hundreds of B-29s, in my opinion. The US Navy would be able to keep the German U-boats under control ruling the skies and sea. The US industry would be free to keep producing hardware while the Germans would eventually run out (same thing that happened for real). When you think about it, it's the Atlantic Ocean (and Pacific) that protects the US industry the most.
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Old 03-30-08, 11:27 AM
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the bomber losses were very heavy until the US developed a long range fighter escort
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Old 03-30-08, 11:29 AM
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When you think about it, it's the Atlantic Ocean (and Pacific) that protects the US industry the most.
Which makes it an even greater tragedy that we have shipped most of it overseas
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Old 03-30-08, 11:31 AM
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Depends on where the battle was.

For WWII, bombing the enemy's cities into oblivion to destroy their production abilities and civilian workers was important.

Bombing the German production facilities into oblivion would be the problem in Europe - ditto for us if the battles were being fought on US soil.
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Old 03-30-08, 11:47 AM
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The problem with the original thesis is the premise that everything is static in warfare. As al bundy stated, at the start of World War 2, Germany not only had advancements in technology, but also had tactics that negated the advantages of tactics from World War 1. As World War 2 progressed, Germany failed to advance tactics and even reverted to World War 1 tactics by wasting resources strengthening the Siegfried Line.

The ultimate answer is that through lack of natural resources and rigidity of political control over tactics, Germany was destined to fail.
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Old 03-30-08, 12:23 PM
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i am, of course, a patriot... i have relatives in the gardens at Normandy, Iron Bottom Sound, lost in Italy, etc... i have some of their hand written letters home form the various theatres... i love the US and our troops and veterans...

but in the simple truth of it...

the German Army, man for man, in every aspect of combat... was the finest army to take the field in any theatre of WW2... followed by Japan... then the US...

that's the facts of it...

when faced with the dedication and willingness to fight of the average German or Japanese soldier in a battle, US veterans used terms like ''fanatical' and the like to describe the absolute commitment in the enemy troops... that was simply not matched in the US army... US soldier's couldn't comprehend that level of commitment for the most part...

we had great heroes... don't get me wrong... brave men of valor... lots of them...

but in the context of armies, the number of men, say out of every 10, who actively participated in a fight was lower in the US forces compared to Japan and Germany... in every way... and our commanders knew it in WW2...

as our greatest ace of WW2, Dick(Richard) Bong, said so aptly... somehow most of the men in every squadron i flew in managed to get 'lost in the clouds' and would talk on the radio about 'i can't find you' when the fighting came... he mused, somehow the Japanese pilots didn't seem to suffer the same malady... they were always there, and often right on my ass... he was in the pacific theatre... he downed around 4X or so planes... compare that to the greatest German ace, Erich Hartmann, with 35X kills, and his first kill was in 1942, after we were at in in the pacific... in fact there were more than 2 dozen WW2 German aces who had more than 200 kills IIRC, i'm pretty close there... think about that... you have to go WAY down the line to get down to 40 kills...

Dick bong fought until his guns were empty many times and continued downing Japanese planes by flying up behind them in a dogfight and literally cutting off the rear stabilizers of Japanese planes with his propeller... he did this many times and had many eyewitnesses to this tactic...

his simple and factual observation was that most US pilots were not eager to engage in the fight like he was... and this was known in Europe also, in the air and on the ground... the German pilots would ram their fighters into our bombers when the ran out of ammo, and bail out and float to the ground, and get in a plane a fly again the next day...

Patton had great difficulty with this in his campaign across Europe... and Italy... while there were Waffen SS troops routinely fighting to the last man... the US had men sitting in hospitals that 'couldn't take it', that wound up getting Patton in some trouble when he saw it personally... Patton had no patience for the 'US' idea of war...

it's not widely known that men on transport ships, and in bases, who had served under Patton celebrated the news of his death with loud yells of approval... and his men, in whole, did not like him... he drove to get out of them what was needed to win a war, not what the average US soldier was WILLING to give...

the US army never faced the might of the German war machine, not even part of it... we fought the remnants of it, and old men and boys late in the war... who beat the German's?... General Zhukov and his troops did... they were the army who wore down the might of the German military... and the Russian losses in WW2 were staggering because of it... unbelievable numbers lost facing that German army

if those Panzer reserves, that were refused to be released by Hitler, had been sent to Normandy as requested by the German Generals... D-Day would have been pushed into the sea and crushed, almost everyone agrees... that alone would have turned the whole D-Day invasion back, and into a tragedy... it's only because we had almost no opposition that the allies took the shore and held it...

we had industrial might... and raw numbers... that was our advantage in WW2... raw industrial might and output of planes, ships, and vehicles...

and even at that we had the worst tanks in the war, the Germans had to stop using their armor piercing rounds in tanks because they went through both sides of a Sherman tank without exploding, as one instance... we had the least able fighter planes until late in the war... etc...

and though it's mostly forgotten... look into the 'America Firsters', and similar groups and look what they had to say about WW2 and compare it to things said about war today... interesting stuff if you care to look into it... the propaganda of US history was that EVERYONE was for a 'just' war in WW2, that was not the case at all...
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Old 03-30-08, 12:49 PM
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The Germans were a tough army. We won because of several factors focused on strategic bombing, destroying the enemy's ability to produce the materials needed to wage war.
*We had no fighting on our soil and were at full wartime production.
*We had a bomber base (the UK) from which to conduct massive strategic bombing (this true in the Pacific theater as well later in the War).
*We managed to protect our long supply lines relatively well.
*We recognized the futility of fighting a roughly equal enemy across a large ocean and reduced him to an inequality. You want the fight as UNFAIR as possible (in your favor).

However, it is also probably true that the Germans had over-extended themselves, and would have had trouble holding all of Europe long term, and clearly could NOT have launched a major campaign across the Atlantic to invade the US.
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Old 03-30-08, 01:06 PM
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Dr Mabuse,

While I disagree with you on Islam and Christianity, I agree with you on your assessment of the German Military and conditions of WWII.
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Old 03-30-08, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
The Germans were a tough army. We won because of several factors focused on strategic bombing, destroying the enemy's ability to produce the materials needed to wage war.
*We had no fighting on our soil and were at full wartime production.
*We had a bomber base (the UK) from which to conduct massive strategic bombing (this true in the Pacific theater as well later in the War).
*We managed to protect our long supply lines relatively well.
*We recognized the futility of fighting a roughly equal enemy across a large ocean and reduced him to an inequality. You want the fight as UNFAIR as possible (in your favor).

However, it is also probably true that the Germans had over-extended themselves, and would have had trouble holding all of Europe long term, and clearly could NOT have launched a major campaign across the Atlantic to invade the US.
they not only over extended themselves, they made mistakes in the way they treated a lot of people. if they had treated the ukrainians, latvians, lituanians and estonians better along with the bellorussians the eastern front would have been a much different story. half of the soviet union welcomed the germans as liberators when they first attacked
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Old 03-30-08, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
The Germans were a tough army. We won because of several factors focused on strategic bombing, destroying the enemy's ability to produce the materials needed to wage war.
*We had no fighting on our soil and were at full wartime production.
*We had a bomber base (the UK) from which to conduct massive strategic bombing (this true in the Pacific theater as well later in the War).
*We managed to protect our long supply lines relatively well.
*We recognized the futility of fighting a roughly equal enemy across a large ocean and reduced him to an inequality. You want the fight as UNFAIR as possible (in your favor).

However, it is also probably true that the Germans had over-extended themselves, and would have had trouble holding all of Europe long term, and clearly could NOT have launched a major campaign across the Atlantic to invade the US.

I agree. The geography of the war made a huge difference.
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Old 03-30-08, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
I agree. The geography of the war made a huge difference.
The geography of the war was also a huge disadvantage for the US. For materiel to reach the front, it had to travel about 1000 miles of territory that the enemy essentially controlled (the Atlantic) or many thousands of miles, stockpile at Pearl, and then get shuffled off to various islands, Australia, etc...Althought the Japanese sub fleet didn't have near the control of the Pacific that the German wolf pack had over the Atlantic.

In terms of geography, the Soviets had it much easier. All they had to do was move production out of the range of German medium range bombers, then ship materiel overland.
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Old 03-30-08, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
The geography of the war was also a huge disadvantage for the US. For materiel to reach the front, it had to travel about 1000 miles of territory that the enemy essentially controlled (the Atlantic) or many thousands of miles, stockpile at Pearl, and then get shuffled off to various islands, Australia, etc...Althought the Japanese sub fleet didn't have near the control of the Pacific that the German wolf pack had over the Atlantic.

In terms of geography, the Soviets had it much easier. All they had to do was move production out of the range of German medium range bombers, then ship materiel overland.

Yeah but consider than the US and British had a significant naval (and air) superiority over Germany, even with their U-boats. The simple fact is that the war was never taken to the US (save Pacific territories), which gave the US a huge advantage since we were able to crank up a war machine with no threat of destruction. Now had Germany ever launched Operation Sea Lion and was successful, that would have made a major difference.

The Soviet advantage was based on land area and numbers.

Last edited by Red Dog; 03-30-08 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 03-30-08, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Yeah but consider than the US and British had a significant naval (and air) superiority over Germany, even with their U-boats. The simple fact is that the war was never taken to the US (save Pacific territories), which gave the US a huge advantage since we were able to crank up a war machine with no threat of destruction. Now had Germany ever launched Operation Sea Lion and was successful, that would have made a major difference.

The Soviet advantage was based on land area and numbers.
Although the British had surface superiority over the German Navy, subsurface the German's had superiority until May 1943. From 1939 to 1941, the first "Happy Time" German submarine packs went mostly unmolested and were only held back in the total of tonnage sank by the amount of torpedoes that they could carry. If they came across a solo transport, they would surface and destroy it with their deck guns as to save torpedoes for the target rich environment of a convoy.

During the second "Happy Time" from 1941 to 1942 German submarines were routinely sinking ships within sight of the East Coast. The first was a Norwegian tanker that was sunk soon after exiting Long Island Sound. It wasn't until the invention of HF/DF and the Hedgehog around 1943 that the German subs were pushed back into the mid-Atlantic.
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Old 03-30-08, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
....Althought the Japanese sub fleet didn't have near the control of the Pacific that the German wolf pack had over the Atlantic.

For the record, the German U-boat threat was only a major problem the first couple of years into the war when limited submarine countermeasures existed. After the navy figured it out....the U-boats were decimated and spent just as much time running as they did fighting.
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Old 03-30-08, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Now had Germany ever launched Operation Sea Lion and was successful, that would have made a major difference.
Letting the BEF escape at Dunkirk was a huge mistake. Sea Lion would have succeeded.
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Old 03-30-08, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
The geography of the war was also a huge disadvantage for the US. For materiel to reach the front, it had to travel about 1000 miles of territory that the enemy essentially controlled (the Atlantic) or many thousands of miles, stockpile at Pearl, and then get shuffled off to various islands, Australia, etc...
Both an asset and a liability. But it beats the crap out of having people fighting on, bombing, and generally ruining your dirt.

Also it became doctrine for 50+ years for the US to have the logistics to project power and fight such wars. "We wreck your dirt, not ours." I believe the fact it became doctrine means that we decided, in balance, it's the way to go.
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Old 03-31-08, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
I thought the consensus was the indiscriminate bombing of cities and towns, such as Dresden and Hamburg, was strategically ineffective and not a decisive factor for the Allies' ultimate victory.
Only by apologists and revisionists.
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Old 03-31-08, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
I thought the consensus was the indiscriminate bombing of cities and towns, such as Dresden and Hamburg, was strategically ineffective and not a decisive factor for the Allies' ultimate victory.
those were the exceptions

most of the cities were destroyed because back then bombs landed somewhere within a mile radius.most of the bombing was meant to destroy germany's capacity to wage war
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Old 03-31-08, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
I thought the consensus was the indiscriminate bombing of cities and towns, such as Dresden and Hamburg, was strategically ineffective and not a decisive factor for the Allies' ultimate victory.
I guess I hadn't heard that. But in general the bombing to rubble of cities was pretty important during WWII. There's a reason they were doing it

It didn't always kill of a lot of soldiers, but it does destroy factories and industry (along with some people, of course). It's generally more important to kill soldiers than equipment, but especially with WWII, industrial capacity to create tanks or planes or artillery or whatever was pretty important.

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Old 03-31-08, 09:33 AM
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Was it Victor Davis Hansen who made the argument that, militarily, democracies invariably win over dictatorships or other totalitarian regimes? The argument is that democracies value the individual more, which allows for greater flexibility and innovation in command in control, leading to a more effective military.
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Old 03-31-08, 09:43 AM
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Has anyone made a comparison with the German military and the British, French, and the Russian military at the start of the war?

men under arms
airplanes
tanks
artillery
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Old 03-31-08, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Was it Victor Davis Hansen who made the argument that, militarily, democracies invariably win over dictatorships or other totalitarian regimes? The argument is that democracies value the individual more, which allows for greater flexibility and innovation in command in control, leading to a more effective military.

there have been good and bad commanders on each side

when you compare the top generals of WW2, Germany probably had a lot more of them. same thing in WW1. Germany had the best military and the only thing that kept them from winning was time and the US entry into the war. many consider Belisarius to be the best Roman General of all time, hundreds of years after the Republic turned into the Roman Empire

at the start of WW2 US military thinking was pretty backwards as well and the the way the war was fought was different than how it was originally planned in the 1930s
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