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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Robert Elbrønd

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  1. Why Nazis Lost the War

    You are right. Reading previous posts is important, and then either accept it, at least as a probability, or seek it verified or falsified. My problem is that a google search for "Frank Tizzard" does not hit anything with mention of what you say, and a search for, for example, "Intelligence Service" + "German" leads you to different reviews of conspiracy theories. I think it's interesting, but what are your sources? The attack was used to motivate the American population, but for that purpose, it was hardly necessary to "sacrifice" Pearl Harbor.
  2. Why Nazis Lost the War

    I’m learning a lot. I started out with a von Clausewitz logic stating that a Japanese attack was inevitable. They should have known. Now that has been backed by a substantial amount of knowledge from others and it seems they must have known. It’s just that they did not expect that it be pearl Harbor. No, apparently, and hopefully, not. But if you know, then you’ve got to expect it could be anywhere. If they even knew it was going to be soon, then a facility like Pearl Harbor should have been on alert. Yes, afterwards it was used to great effect too motivate the war effort, but for that purpose a Japanese attack, in itself, would have been enough. I believe that there was people in high places who did not want the public to know what they had done, or more likely, didn’t do. I have no idea exactly who, when, what or how, but I think it reflects that some of the higher-ranking officers and some politicians had an arrogant attitude towards the Japanese and must have underestimated their capabilities, which in turn meant that the people on the ground were left in an unnecessarily difficult situation at Pearl Harbor.
  3. Why Nazis Lost the War

    Then again. One of the first CXAM systems was placed aboard the USS California (sunk on December 7th) Maybe as early as May 1940. I have not seen any mention of this radar. It probably had lesser range, maybe 100 nautical miles, but in this case a public phone can’t excuse any delay and a few minutes is much more of a warning than zero. All in all it’s a mystery to me why it came as such a surprise. What really happened may never surface.
  4. Why Nazis Lost the War

    I see no reason to try to correct the view from veterans. That would be disrespectful, and I am very grateful for what they did. Historians? The winner writes the history and then it is re-written some generations later. The personal experience is of great value. It is, however subjective and prone to be influenced by propaganda. In this matter there’s at least two things to be considered. (1) A well-known way for leaders to increase the morale of an army is to make the enemy seem weaker, also at the individual level. (2) A meeting with a beaten, tired and hungry, surrendered enemy, who has been pounded by artillery and aircraft strafing for days, probably won't give the true picture of who he once was. Goebbels made propaganda into an artform, but it was, and is, used by both sides, in any conflict. Always has been. Truth is the war's first victim. Even in democracies leaders speak contrary to better knowing. For the “benefit of the nation” or whatever excuse they may choose. Often they may themselves believe what they say, but it is their personal interpretation of filtered, incomplete intelligence. It’s not a total contradiction when I say I try to trust my leaders, but I almost never believe what they say.
  5. Why Nazis Lost the War

    Apparently, Yamamoto was incoherent in his perception of the situation and in his decisions. He planned the attack. He put his career on stake for it to become reality. Then he hesitates, he doesn’t finish it. The famous quote: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve" probably is a Hollywood thing. On the other hand, although he might still be disrespectful of the leadership, he could have sensed something in the way these totally surprised people fought back with everything they had.
  6. Why Nazis Lost the War

    Of course. RADAR. My admiration for von Clausewitch, and his understanding of the political situation, blocked for simpler technical details. According to Wikipedia, I have no access to original sources, a flight of aircraft at 7:02 was detected at a range of 136 miles (219 km) due north. The aircraft warning center misidentified it as a flight of U.S. bombers known to be approaching from the mainland. The alarm went unheeded, and at 7:48, the Japanese aircraft first struck at Pearl Harbor. In theory a 46-minute warning. Don’t know about communications. It is understandable if new technology wasn’t fully trusted, but, from an European perspective it happened well into the war, and Britain had used Radar to great success in the Battle for Britain. They shared their information. And shouldn’t there at some point be two groups on the screen? It seems that they totally disregarded it, no benefit of the doubt and not just a little bit of extra attention. I wasn’t there and will not judge, but it seems very strange. It’s when you are completely sure, you do your greatest mistakes. Always being in doubt can be stressful, but sometimes it gives you an invaluable second chance.
  7. 9 Famous Firearms from History

    It may not be the most pleasant gun to handle. It was light and used a full-size rifle cartridge. Basically both properties have their good sides, put together the recoil could be difficult to control on full auto. A 20 round detachable box magazine sticking out on the left didn’t help to keep the balance. It came with a standard bipod, though, and a platoon equipped with the FG42 didn’t need specialized machinegun teams. They could lay out their own suppressive fire and change positions much faster. I tried to add a picture but failed. Try this link. https://www.google.dk/search?q=fg42&client=firefox-b-ab&dcr=0&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiTjNi70rHXAhWOaVAKHfwaDpUQsAQINA&biw=1787&bih=822#imgrc=UeDmQS2pjQAWCM:
  8. 9 Famous Firearms from History

    Probably a never-ending list but I think the “FG 42” or “Fallschirmjägergewehr 42” should be mentioned.
  9. Why Nazis Lost the War

    This view of German command philosophy is very wrong. It was quite different. I’m speaking of the “Wehrmacht”. The Germans invented the “Auftragstaktik“. Mission-type tactics” or mission command. It was studied, and copied, post war by all major western forces. “Gentlemen, I demand that your divisions completely cross the German borders, completely cross the Belgian borders and completely cross the river Meuse. I don’t care how you do it, that’s completely up to you” ―Oberst Kurt Zeitzler, Chief of Staff Panzergruppe Kleist, 13 May 1940” Yes, they were disciplined. Because they understood the value of it. Yes, they were good at following orders. If they made sense, that is. The individual soldier was respected and counted on They were the first, in fact the Prussians, to understand that you cannot keep your line of command during the heat of battle. If you can’t contact the colonel, the captain is in command. If you can’t reach the captain, the lieutenant is in command. And so forth, all the way down to the individual soldier. It was the German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke who said: “No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy”. This simple fact was acknowledged and considered by all links in the chain of command. The task remained the same and you were expected not to stay put awaiting new orders, from someone you could not get in contact with, because the original plan was no longer appropriate. The “Wehrmacht” was the most flexible army of its time, and probably the most effective. Also during retreat. I’m sure there must be some examples, I just don’t know of them, where superior German units, in numbers and material, were defeated by allied troops in open battle. Not speaking of commando raids or such. You may not approve of their doings, I certainly don’t, but I do respect them.
  10. Why Nazis Lost the War

    Yes, you are right. I didn’t mean to include the US as a member of the League of Nations. English isn’t my first language and I probably didn’t use the right words. Maybe the expression “The US embargo was in accordance with (instead of backed by) the League of Nations” is better. I did not know that the Japanese had done the same thing at Port Arthur. Yet another reason a Japanese attack should not be surprising.
  11. Why Nazis Lost the War

    Please don’t get me wrong. I will gladly elaborate my views on Danish history, more specifically the first years of WWII. We were not German allies, but we were nevertheless contributing to their war effort. Denmark weren’t the “Snow White” they taught me about in school and I’m in no way anti-American. This said to prevent J. McCarthy to come and get me. The background for the conflict is a cascade of unforgiven deeds that dates back to the twenties. The US blockade is an historical fact. Whether it justifies a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, is another question. The Japanese thought so. On the other hand, the United States had good reasons for establishing a blockade. Or so they felt, and they had The League of Nations backing it. All in all, I’ll say that the embargo was justifiable. The Japanese Empire were conducting wars of conquest on their neighbors for no other reason than “inherited right”. Their version of “Lebensraum” thinking, so to say. What worries me is if the embargo is left out of US history and, likewise, if the reasons for the embargo is left out of Japanese history. If so, then why is it done? Is it that our leaders, even in democracies, don’t think that we, the common people, will understand? Or maybe even understand to well? I’ll elaborate on that later. Was it necessary to neglect the blockade to make the world, particularly the US population, back the war and find the use of atomic bombs justified? What kind of thinking would that be? One should not use the bomb to punish the Japanese population. I have argued that the atomic bombings were the right thing to do, but due to some very different reasons. Or, more likely, in my opinion, is it that the leaders wanted to hide their own incompetence? In fact, the attack on Pearl Harbor should not come as a surprise. Again, and I should re-read my von Clausewitz, and the leaders at the time should have read him just once, because he would have predicted an attack. Not as a risk, but as unavoidable. Not necessarily on Pearl Harbor, but some reaction had to come, simply because the embargo was highly effective. Even more so, from a Japanese perspective they were, although by proxy, already at war with the US, since loans and weapons aid were given to the direct opponents of the Japanese. Helping these opponents was also, in my opinion, justifiable, but to let themselves, and the whole nation, be surprised by the Japanese? That was, no offense meant, arrogant incompetent leadership. Reality is complicated but to paint a black and white picture is dangerous. It lays the ground for future conflict.
  12. Why Nazis Lost the War

    I think you are a little unfair to the German people. I'm not saying you're exactly wrong about it, and I am not saying it was ok what the Germans did, but I want to point out that attacks on neutral countries and bombing civilians is not a special German conduct without precedent. In 1801 and again in 1807, the British attacked Denmark-Norway, who at the time were neutral, and in 1807 they even performed terror bombing of Copenhagen with phosphorus loaded Congreve rockets. Nor is concentration camps a German invention. They have always been in use wherever human conflict, or oppression, have occurred. The picture is blurred. It seems to me that concentration camps lie on a continuum gradually ranging from partly humanitarian facilities, over prison camps, some with discriminating food rations, that in it selves lead to death by starvation. The final step, the industrialized death camp, is a Nazi thing without precedent. No matter Stalin’s personality he could have been forced to accept a peaceful Germany It is possible to maintain an army strong enough to deter potential attackers without necessarily put it to use offensively. In fact, it was Carl von Clausewitz who said that you do not need to be the strongest, you only need to be strong enough.
  13. Why Nazis Lost the War

    I visited Japan this spring and I thought about exactly this question. The owerall effects of the atomic bombings. A simple siege might have done it. On the other hand, they were tough people with small demands. The atomic bombings had an enormous chock effect. Estimated 90,000–146,000 died in Hiroshima. Prior to that, a conventional bombing of Tokyo had created a firestorm with an estimated death toll of 100,000. That figure has later been disputed since both sides may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll. As many as 200,000 lives may have been lost in one night. Nevertheless, it didn’t create the same arousal. In Hiroshima the question: “Could this be justified?” only comes naturally. Shortly after Hiroshima I went to the island Shikoku and I realized that the answer is “Yes”. The terrain highly favors low-tech warfare. Steep mountains, narrow clefts and dense vegetation would, in my judgement, have rendered heavy equipment, including airplanes, almost useless. All the advantages would be with the defenders. The war would be prolonged significantly. Continuous terror bombing could have taken millions of civilian lives and the US military losses would be enormous. So yes. I agree with R Naumann. No matter how terrible they were, I would say the atomic bombs saved lives.
  14. Why Nazis Lost the War

    I used to say the Nazis didn’t lose WWII – They were choked. And they came in as a very impressive number 2. Jokes aside. If you compare the basics, human resources, and industrial capacity of the Allies with that of the Axis powers, the outcome couldn’t be any different. In a conventional war, that is. Hitler’s many “Wunderwaffe” are often ridiculed, and when it comes to oversized, but otherwise conventional weapons, I agree. On the other hand, some of the ideas could have turned the tides. Hitler’s racism and impatience were important factors on the personal level. Anti-Semitisms caused a brain drainage of physicists with Jewish heritage and hindered the development of a nuclear weapon and with just a little more time Werner von Braun would have been able to deliver such warheads. But, but, but… Without Hitler, World War II probably would not have taken place.
  15. What was the best fighter plane of WWII?

    Yes, you are correct. No one’s perfect. And that’s why I mentioned the Hurricane. The Spitfire is undoubtedly the glamorous star in the “Battle of Britain”, but the Hurricane had in fact better handling at low speeds and therefore better suited to maneuver in a bomber formation. Another example of the “Who’s best? At what?” controversy. However, one could speculate how many they would have brought down if they haven’t had 17 fighter planes, each, to look out for.