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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Robert Abraham

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  1. What was the best fighter plane of WWII?

    That alleged quote was made during Battle of Britain - long before the Mustang appeared on the scene
  2. What was the best fighter plane of WWII?

    He did have an interest in this?
  3. What was the best fighter plane of WWII?

    An excellent plane but not built as a fighter - although it was fast enough and capable of mixing it. Reconnaisance, pathfinder and precision light bomber.
  4. Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    Hitler was well aware of what happened to Napoleon's Grande Armee in 1812 but he believed the Wehrmacht could finish the business and be safely in winter quarters in Moscow before the worst of the winter hit. By the time he realised this was not to be, it was too late and he quite rightly gave his "stand fast" order. It should be pointed out that the Russians were just as, if not more so, dependant on horse transport than the Wehrmacht. However the Russian panje horses were much more able to cope with the conditions than Western European horseflesh.
  5. Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    22 June was certainly later than Hitler's ideal, but the situation in the Balkans needed to be dealt with and Hitler reacted accordingly. The postponement need not have been fatal if Army Group Centre had been kept going towards Moscow. The diversion to Kiev was not really a "for some reason or other". There were arguable strategic reasons for it - the strength of the Soviet armies around Kiev - they took almost 3/4 million prisoners and vast quantities of material. Even this, need not have proved fatal. In mid October there was effectively a power vacuum in Moscow and if the Germans had launched a serious airborne assault they might very well have killed/captured Stalin and senior officials and brought about a collapse - in the period before the NKVD managed to restore order.
  6. Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    Reinhart Heydrich headed the SD (the intelligence branch of the SS) NOT the Abwehr who were his great rivals. Never heard a price paid for the intelligence but understand it was passed via the Czechs. Whether Stalin genuinely believed it or not, it was a happy excuse to move against what he paranoidicly perceived as potential rivals in the military. Whatever the numbers involved, it must have concentrated the minds of those left to avoid stepping out of line or attempting anything which might attract "the Boss's" disapproval.
  7. Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    It was hardly "needlessly". The surrounded 6th Army was tying down huge Soviet forces which could have been very effective in bolstering the Red Army's drive to Rostov and thereby cutting off the German Army Group in the Caucasus. It was for this reason that Hitler refused to allow 6th Army to surrender even when the end was imminent. The T34 was certainly not an American design. The only American component was the Christie suspension which was effectively bought by the Soviets on the open market. I believe the British also bought and experimented with this but did not pursue it.
  8. What was the best fighter plane of WWII?

    Technically the "best" fighter of WWII would have to be the Messerschmitt 262. It heralded in the start of the Jet Age. In the hands of an experienced pilot it could outperform anything the Allies could throw against it. The main reason why it failed to achieve more, was the lateness of its introduction, partly caused by Hitler's interference insisting on its suitability as a fighter bomber. By that time fuel shortages and the loss of experienced pilots grossly diminished its effectiveness. Judged on effectiveness, either the Spitfire or the Mustang would get my laurel. The Spitfire for its effect in the Battle of Britain (and its sheer beauty) and the fact that it could be developed and improved through numerous models until Victory and beyond. The Mustang because its range and durability were a game changer which opened the door to allow the Allies to control the skies over Germany and bomb the crap out of the Third Reich
  9. Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    Hitler had just conquered most of Western Europe with a Wehmacht not expanded to the level he had expected to be necessary. He did not seriously expect Britain and France to fight. His accommodation with Stalin was viewed by both as only a temporary expedient, with, at that time, Stalin being very definitely the junior partner. After the fall of France Hitler started making plans for the reckoning with Russia, even before Britain had been disposed of. He had watched Russia's invasion of little Finland and judged the utter incompetence of the Red Army. In fact, in the early months of Barbarossa, there was not very much to persuade him that this judgement was mistaken. The appearance of the KV1 and the T34 was a very unpleasant surprise but they were not available in sufficient numbers to upset the applecart. General Winter was a helpful excuse for the failure in December 1941. Even in 1942 with the advance towards the Caucasus and the Volga, Hitler genuinely believed the Russians were at breaking point. In fairness his assessment of the situation was not that outlandish. It is generally believed that a serious parachute assault into Moscow in October 1941 could have turned the trick and brought the Soviet Union down, particularly if it had managed to kill or capture Stalin. Also the margins were extremely tight in October/early November 1942 at Stalingrad. The Soviet Union was a closed society and Hitler has access to very little serious intelligence out of it. During the non aggression pact, Soviet representatives were given access to German tank factories. The Germans were flummoxed by Soviet insistence that they were not being shown the MBT, which might have roused the suspicion that they had something heavier and better.
  10. What was the best Allied tank of WWII?

    Firepower only promoted it to adequate. However it was still a Ronson!
  11. What was the best Allied tank of WWII?

    The T34 was good enough to survive until the Korean War where it was faced by much improved UN tanks, beyond the Firefly (although Shermans did see use in Korea). In fact the Firefly was largely a British adaptation rather than American. The beauty of the T34 (76 or 85) was its simplicity. It was designed for mass production and for use by largely unsophisticated peasants. Their training, compared to the already experienced panzer crews, combined with leadership which had survived the purges and lacked initiative and talent for mobile warfare, made high losses inevitable while they learned their trade. This contrasted with the US which had ultra efficient and sophisticated production techniques and generally more educated crews and some degree of continuity in its tank leadership. I do not claim that the T34 was the "best" tank of WWII, it was certainly the best at the time of its introduction, but it was definitely the tank which made the most notable impact on the war. If I was sent off to war in a WWII battle and was given the choice between a T34/85 and a Sherman (Firefly or otherwise) I know which I would be happier to entrust my ass to.
  12. What was the best Allied tank of WWII?

    The T34 was used by the Germans as a basis for the design of the Panther (although they could never admit to drawing inspiration from the "untermensch"). The Panther was generally accepted to have been the best tank of the war. As far as I'm aware, they never made any effort to copy the Sherman.
  13. What was the best Allied tank of WWII?

    Sherman Firefly was just an up-gunned Sherman with all its faults. The larger gun only gave it some ability to pierce the armour of a Tiger or Panther, but defensibly it was still a "Ronson" The T34/85 was certainly not immune to the firepower of German tanks but with its diesel engine and sloped armour it had a slightly better chance of survival than the Sherman and the 85mm gun was capable of inflicting punishment