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stasisLAX
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The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:09 am

From BBCNews website - a somber rememberance.

A day of commemorations has begun in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. The first ceremony took place at dawn on Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk, where a German battleship fired the first shots on a Polish fort in 1939. Poland's president and prime minister led a sombre ceremony at the fort.

Foreign leaders from 20 countries including Germany and Russia are expected in Gdansk later in the day as ceremonies continue. At 0445 (0245 GMT) Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk joined war veterans beside a monument to the heroes of Westerplatte. The ceremony marked the exact time on 1 September 1939 when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire at point-blank range on the fort.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8225093.stm
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
oly720man
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:20 am

It was in the Times this morning that there is still a lot of ill feeling in Poland for Russia's invasion of Poland from the East 2 weeks later... and seemingly a lot of Russian wishing that there'd never been any pact with the Nazis.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6816403.ece

It seems that there are still some deeply unresolved issues in that part of the world. I hope they don't overshadow the main aims of the day.
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:37 am

WWII, perhaps the best example of man's inhumanity to man.
 
swissy
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:48 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
WWII, perhaps the best example of man's inhumanity to man

Well I guess we should include WWI..... from soldiers perspective.... 2 unbelievable wars that might or should showed us, war is not the answer.... I truly hope it will never ever happen.
 
northstardc4m
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:55 pm



Quoting Swissy (Reply 3):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
WWII, perhaps the best example of man's inhumanity to man

Well I guess we should include WWI..... from soldiers perspective.... 2 unbelievable wars that might or should showed us, war is not the answer.... I truly hope it will never ever happen.

Large scale warfare for the purpose of territorial gain i would think are over...

That said, lack of access to resources will cause another world war, someday... it's just a question of who and where.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
YVRLTN
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:37 am

I remember my history teacher saying Britain entered WW2 as they had a pact with Poland to defend them if they were ever attacked. Is this correct??
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BA
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:36 am



Quoting YVRLTN (Reply 5):
I remember my history teacher saying Britain entered WW2 as they had a pact with Poland to defend them if they were ever attacked. Is this correct??

That's correct. They entered into the pact after Nazi Germany violated the Munich Agreement and occupied Czechoslovakia.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
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OA260
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:44 am



Quoting Swissy (Reply 3):
Well I guess we should include WWI..... from soldiers perspective

Very true ...

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, fought from 1 July to 18 November 1916, was among the largest battles of the First World War. With more than 1.5 million casualties, it is also one of the bloodiest military operations recorded.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Somme

--------------

On a side note

Dame Vera back in the charts

Forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn has became the oldest living artist to make it into the top 20 of the UK albums chart, her record company said.
Dame Vera, who kept up the spirits of millions with her songs and personality during the darkest days of the Second World War, entered the album chart at number 20, at the age of 92.

Her album, We'll Meet Again - The Very Best of Vera Lynn, returned her to the charts almost six decades after she topped them in the 1950s.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090830...ra-back-in-the-charts-5f8abb3.html
 
Acheron
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:05 am

 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:00 pm



Quoting OA260 (Reply 7):
Dame Vera back in the charts

A bit of humour after getting a bout of watery eyes from

Quoting Acheron (Reply 8):
Quoting OA260 (Reply 7):
On a side note

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUx3M...9iM6c

http://monologues.co.uk/004/Day_War_Broke_Out.htm
The day war broke out... my Missus said to me... she looked at me and she said, "What good are you?"
I said, "Who?"
She said, "You!"
I said, "How do you mean, what good am I?"
"Well..." she said, you're too old for the army..." she said, "you couldn't get in the navy... and they wouldn't have you in the air force... so, what good are you?"
I said," I'll do something!..."
She said, "What?"
I said, How do I know?... I'll have to think!"
She said, "I don't see how that's going to help you... you've never done it before!..." she said, "so what good..."
I said, "Don't keep saying what good am I," I said, "there'll be munitions."
She said, "How can you go on mun..."
I said, "I never said anything about going on munitions, I simply said... there'd be some!"
"Well," she said, "All the young fellas'll be getting called up and you'll have to go back to work!"
Ooh... she's got a cruel tongue!
Anyway, I haven't had to go back to work... I'm a lamplighter!
Then she turned round and she said, "Our Harry'll be getting called up... and when he's gone there'll only be his army around... so what are you going to do then?"
I said, "Well, I'll have to try and manage on it."
She said, "You'll have to try... what about me?"
I said, Well, there'll be my insurance."
She said, " I can't get that until you're dead!"
I said, "Well, you'll have to wait!"
She said, "What if I die first?"
"Well," I said, "you won't need it!"
You can't reason with her... she's got no brains at all.
Anyhow... I got fed up, so I went down to the local and there was a fella there... ooh, he was tight as a... and there was another fella... and one of them was filling in a form and he said to the other fella, he said, "Harry?... what's the name of the street outside this pub?"
So the other fella said, "The name of what?"
"The name of the street... outside the pub!"
The other fella said, "Oh I don't know... I've never been outside the pub!"
So I asked them what the form was they were filling in and he said it 'ad summat to do with the Home Guard and he read it out to me... and it said, 'Wanted, real men, men who are neither afraid of bombs, tanks, incendiary devices, high explosives or anything else... men who are ready to lay down their lives in any shape or form.'


And more.
 
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WarRI1
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:44 pm

Let us hope we have learned something over the last 70 years. I doubt it. We now have smaller wars, but war just the same.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
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OA260
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:11 pm



Quoting Acheron (Reply 8):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUx3MU9iM6c

At 2:01 on that video you can see the Lufthansa logo.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 9):
bit of humour after getting a bout of watery eyes from

LOL... those songs are timeless though. My Grandmother used to know all those.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EosbVtaB8I

She wasnt bad for her age back in 94 when that video was filmed on the QE2 ! She never lost her voice thats for sure.
 
GDB
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:51 pm

A sombre anniversary.

I would rate WW2 as the worst, since it featured an attempt to wipe out a whole religion (though the Nazi's classed the Jews as a race), as well as others who did not the racial ideals of a criminal government.

As well as being a 'world' war on a bigger global scale.

Not just in Europe, the sheer brutality in the Far East too, for China, the war started in 1933.

Britain (and France) did have a treaty to protect Poland, though it was in a sense of a deterrent rather than anything viable militarily.
Certainly the relatively small British Army had no direct means of aid and the RAF did not possess anything that could either reach Poland or cause any significant damage in Germany.

France did the Europe's largest army, some say had an offensive been mounted against the Germany frontier stripped of it's defences for the Polish invasion, things might have been different.
But that ignores that the French Army, like so many else in Europe still scarred by the slaughter of WW1, was almost a completely defensive force.
It had some of the tanks, but not the planning, doctrine nor coordination to mount such an attack.
The cash had been splashed on another symbol of the desperate need to try an avoid another abattoir in the trenches, the Maginot Line.
Plus the negative affects as a whole on the nation due to the political instability of the 3rd Republic.

For Britain, still neither recovered financially nor physiologically from WW1, the declaration of war not only an admittance of the failure of what they thought was a chance of diplomacy, but also the end of an attempt since 1936 to re-arm before hostilities started.
So while he is, understandably and quite fairly still commended as the 'appeaser', there had been another imperative in the policy of Chamberlain, playing for time to re-arm.

When Churchill took over in May 1940, at the darkest time, he may have said I did not become the King's First Minister to preside over the end of the British Empire he must have known that by fighting on, that is what he was doing.

For young children like my mother, the outbreak of war meant the possibility of evacuation from the major cities to new lives for the duration, usually in rural areas, which some slum children had never seen before.
But many, like her parents, just could not bear to be parted from their children.
So the coming air battles and later V weapons attacks, would be part of their war.
As well as rationing, mum did not remember banana's before the war, being too young, but she would not actually recall eating one until her teens.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:28 pm



Quoting YVRLTN (Reply 5):
I remember my history teacher saying Britain entered WW2 as they had a pact with Poland to defend them if they were ever attacked. Is this correct??



Quoting BA (Reply 6):
That's correct. They entered into the pact after Nazi Germany violated the Munich Agreement and occupied Czechoslovakia.

Correct, and so did France. Both Britian and France declaired war on Germany on 3 September 1939.

Quoting Swissy (Reply 3):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
WWII, perhaps the best example of man's inhumanity to man

Well I guess we should include WWI..... from soldiers perspective.... 2 unbelievable wars that might or should showed us, war is not the answer.... I truly hope it will never ever happen.

There is one major difference, the number of civilians killed during WWI greatly exceeded the number of soldiers killed on all sides. In WWI, about 20M were killed, mostly military personel During WWII, more than 60M were killed, about 15M of them were military personel, and the rest were civilians.

Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 10):
Let us hope we have learned something over the last 70 years. I doubt it. We now have smaller wars, but war just the same.

I agree, but it is not really up to the US, or most other civilized countries of the world. There are several things that could start a WWIII, some nut with a nuke throws it somewhere, forcing the superpowers to take sides, or a major food or water shortage. I think it will most likely be over food and water.
 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:06 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
As well as rationing, mum did not remember banana's before the war, being too young, but she would not actually recall eating one until her teens.

And the first ones I saw when they came back, about 1947 or 48 were BLACK!

I vaguely knew about their absence but did not really remember what they were. Oranges, what are oranges???

Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
So while he is, understandably and quite fairly still commended as the 'appeaser', there had been another imperative in the policy of Chamberlain, playing for time to re-arm.

Criticised is more the word rather than commended? This is quite true and the argument has force, but history has submerged it.

Take a check on first the number of Spitfires in service on Sept 1 1939. Then check their propeller, at best two speed wooden, the condition of the guns. The problem of the hot breech and cordite had yet to be solved. Take that through a number of other systems and the UK was in no position to fight in 1939. Arguably it was not ready for the START until about early 1941. The radar was sort of ready. The fleet had the nearest to the capacity needed, except of course for ASW.

But the first real fight would be in the air, and until the end June 1940 the UK was not even half ready. Single engine fighter production was only then getting to required levels. And pilot training, well the plans had been laid, but the results were not to come until late 1940.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:28 am

Quoting StasisLAX (Thread starter):
Foreign leaders from 20 countries including Germany and Russia are expected in Gdansk later in the day as ceremonies continue.

Apparently some eyebrows were raised by the ultra low-key representation sent by the US.
It's understandable that Obama was too busy having ramadan at the White House and given his background his interest or attachment to Europe is minimal, but to send some second-tier, unelected official when everybody else is sending heads of state is almost a diplomatic faux pas.

[Edited 2009-09-03 01:24:32]
 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:08 am



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 15):
but to send some second-tier, unelected official when everybody else is sending heads od state is almost a diplomatic faux pas.

Remind us of the role that the US played in WWII during the invasion of Poland. It has slipped my mind.

Ramadan is usually spelled with a capital R. Politeness I think Mr Tweedly.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:42 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 14):
Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
So while he is, understandably and quite fairly still commended as the 'appeaser', there had been another imperative in the policy of Chamberlain, playing for time to re-arm.


Criticised is more the word rather than commended? This is quite true and the argument has force, but history has submerged it.

Well, Neville Chamberlin really wasn't interested in re-arming Great Britian. I point to the various weapons systems developed under his regiem. His "heavy bomber" developement was only twin engine bombers, at a time the US already had the 4 engine B-17 flying (although the early model B-17A/B/C were not very good), and the B-24 was in developement. The RAF knew the rangesw required for the bombers, and knew of the Luftwaffe fighters. The early Spitfires and Hurricanes were animic at best, The RN was mostly relying on WWI built warships, except for the Rodney class battleships, built in the 1920s. The 1935 built King George V class BBs were a joke for most of WWII, only being equipped qith 14" guns at a time when France, Italy, and Germany were building 15" gun BBs, the US 16" gun BBs, and Japan 18" gun BBs. Chamberlin would not impliment the the "escalation clause" to the London Treaty, like the US did due to Japan dropping out of the London Treaty. Chamberlin also did not re-equip the British Army, or the RM, who were also fighting with WWI equipment.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 14):
Take a check on first the number of Spitfires in service on Sept 1 1939. Then check their propeller, at best two speed wooden, the condition of the guns. The problem of the hot breech and cordite had yet to be solved. Take that through a number of other systems and the UK was in no position to fight in 1939. Arguably it was not ready for the START until about early 1941. The radar was sort of ready. The fleet had the nearest to the capacity needed, except of course for ASW.

No, the RN Fleet was not ready for WWI. The USN gave the RN 50 WWI vintage "four piper" destroyers to help with convoy escort duties, under the "lend lease" program. The most powerful ship in the RN, the BC HMS Hood, was sunk at the Battle of Denmark Straights to KM Bizmark after only three salvos (Hood was never refit between the two wars to improve her armor protection, even though the RN knew their BCs had problems with plunging fire in WWI). The WWI BB HMS Royal Oak was sunk in the hugh RN Naval Base at Scapa Flow by a KM U-Boat. The RN also did several tactical things wrong. I point to the 1940 loss of the RN aircraft carrier HMS Glorious, which had only two escort DDs when they ran into the KM BCs Sharnhorst and Gnisanau. Even Churchill made a big tactical mistake by directing ever warship within range to track down and sink one KM BB, the Bizmark. Then the CA HMS Dorchester left most of the Bizmark survivors in the water, picking up only about 130, or so.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 14):
But the first real fight would be in the air, and until the end June 1940 the UK was not even half ready. Single engine fighter production was only then getting to required levels. And pilot training, well the plans had been laid, but the results were not to come until late 1940.

What about Dunkirk? The Battle of Britian was the first real fight for the RAF, but not the rest of the British Military Forces. The RAF would have lost the Battle of Britian had Hitler not poked his fingers into the Luftwaffe and changed the bombing from the RAF Airfields to the cities. That gave the RAF the time it needed to recover from the hugh losses it was getting in the Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 15):
Apparently some eyebrows were raised by the ultra low-key representation sent by the US.
It's understandable that Obama was too busy having ramadan at the White House and given his background his interest or attachment to Europe is minimal, but to send some second-tier, unelected official when everybody else is sending heads of state is almost a diplomatic faux pas

Part of the "change".

Quoting Baroque (Reply 16):
Remind us of the role that the US played in WWII during the invasion of Poland. It has slipped my mind.

It didn't, but neither did Italy. But the US was a big partisipant in WWII, and without her help, you would be speaking Japanese now, the UK, USSR, and France would be speaking German.
 
futurepilot16
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:10 pm

Funny thing is, I was watching a youtube video with Pat Buchanan defending Hitler for some of his actions claiming that Hitler was practically goaded into a war by the allies. I don't know why people still listen to that guy.
"The brave don't live forever, but the cautious don't live at all."
 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:19 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
Well, Neville Chamberlin really wasn't interested in re-arming Great Britian. I point to the various weapons systems developed under his regiem. His "heavy bomber" developement was only twin engine bombers, at a time the US already had the 4 engine B-17 flying (although the early model B-17A/B/C were not very good), and the B-24 was in developement.

What a load of rubbish.

I will just hit one of them to the boundary.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Stirling
The Short Stirling was the first four-engined British heavy bomber of the Second World War. The Stirling was designed and built by Short Brothers to an Air Ministry specification from 1936, and entered service in 1941. The Stirling was fated to have a relatively brief operational career being relegated to second line duties from 1943 onwards when other four-engined RAF bombers, specifically the Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster, took over its role.

You might be getting confused by the attempt to use the Vulture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Halifax
Handley Page produced the H.P.56 design to meet Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a twin-engine medium bomber for "world-wide use." Other candidates for the specification were the Avro Manchester and a Vickers Warwick development; all used twin Rolls-Royce Vulture engines. The introduction of the successful P.13/36 candidates were delayed by the necessity of ordering more Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington bombers first.

Performance and reliability with the under-developed Vulture was found to be lacking. Modifications resulted in the definitive H.P.57 which upon acceptance gained the name "Halifax" following the practice of naming heavy bombers after major towns; in this case Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The H.P.57 was enlarged and powered by four 1,280 hp (950 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines. Such was the promise of the new model that the RAF had placed their first order for 100 Mk I Halifaxes "off the drawing board" before the first prototype even flew. The maiden flight of the Halifax took place on 24 September 1939 from RAF Bicester, 21 days after the UK declared war on Germany.


You can call them medium bombers if you like, but in that case the B-17 would have to be a light bomber, but then it never did carry much more than the twin engined Mossie, and often carried less, as they said "50 mph slower and a bit lower".

Usually it is worth some debate KC, but you really are out to lunch on the 1936 to 1942 period.

Ask Scharnhorst* how it liked the 14 inchers of the Duke of York. Even the P of W scored a hit on Bismark that was critical in getting it to head for Brest, and it had its turrets full of folk from the shipyard during the battle.

PS you can find it at the bottom of the Barents Sea, not that far from Snow White as it happens!!
 
victrola
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:48 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
It had some of the tanks, but not the planning, doctrine nor coordination to mount such an attack.

Funny thing about the French army's lack of doctrine. Before the war Charles de Gaulle, I think he was a colonel at the time, wrote a book called "Vers l'Armee du Metier" where he developed a doctrine of concentrated armor attack. It was completely ignored by the French general staff. However the German general staff studied it very carefully and incorporated its ideas into their Blitzkrieg.
 
GDB
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:41 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 14):
Criticised is more the word rather than commended? This is quite true and the argument has force, but history has submerged it.

Spell check cock up, I meant comdemned.

There was a serious rearmanment effort from 1936, however Naval Agreements worldwide limited some design and construction.
But the real focus was on home defence, the setting up of the 'Chain Home' radar network, but just as importantly, the facilities who command and control the defence too.

The RN was more concerned, with some reason, with the threat of German 'Commerce Raiders', modern warships like Crusiers and 'Pocket Battleships', ranging far and wide attacking the supply lines, which remember for Imperial Britain, was not just trans-Atlantic.
What happneed with the Graff Spee being an example.
Also used in the same role were armed converted merchant ships.

U-Boats were seen as a threat, however they were seen as secondary to the surface one.
Much faith was placed on 'ASDIC' (Sonar), but in the actual conditions of combat it often was not the 'magic bullet' expected.
However, the U-Boats did become a critical problem when the 'Wolf Pack' tactics were employed, since this was a counter to the convoy system, which was also seen as a major obstacle to successful U-Boat operations.

But the US had one advantage when it came to ramping up for war production to the UK, in Britain there had been no equivalent to the work programmes under FDR in the 1930's.
So production here was harder and took longer to ramp up.
But it had by the declaration of war.
 
NAV20
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:25 pm

KC135TopBoom, please research things better and don't rely on what, I have to say, amounts more to folklore than to history?

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
His "heavy bomber" developement was only twin engine bombers, at a time the US already had the 4 engine B-17 flying (although the early model B-17A/B/C were not very good), and the B-24 was in developement.

As others have said, the British four-engined bombers were designed under a VERY far-sighted specification issued in 1936. They were designed from the start to carry an unheard-of weight of bombs (the Lancaster, the best of them, ultimately proving able to carry the 22,000lb. - 10-ton - earthquake bomb). Equally importantly, the Air Staff realised that heavy bombers would not be able to operate in daylight in face of the fighter defences already in service, and therefore they were designed from the start for night operations. RAF four-engined types began coming into service in mid-1941.

By contrast, the B17 - an early-thirties design - could carry a maximum of only four tons; and even at that, its midwing design produced a shallow bomb-bay. It could only carry bombs of 1,000lbs. or less, and was utterly unsuitable for night operations. As a result it was not until 1943 that it was risked over Germany - and the daylight raids were soon discontinued after dreadful losses. Until the P51 Mustang began arriving in Europe to escort the heavies - at the end of 1943 - the USAAF was unable to venture again over Germany. Perhaps I should add that the Mustang was derived from a 1940 British RAF specification, and only became a war-winner after the British experimented with fitting Merlin engines to it.....?

I consider it one of the greater tragedies of WW2 that huge numbers of US airmen were sent over Germany to their deaths in aeroplanes that could not operate at night, with no escorts, only hand-operated machineguns to defend themselves with, and bombs that were simply not powerful enough to destroy the machinery in the factories they were expected to attack..........

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
No, the RN Fleet was not ready for WWI. The USN gave the RN 50 WWI vintage "four piper" destroyers to help with convoy escort duties, under the "lend lease" program..


Presumably you meant WW2?   The favour of the escorts was in fact returned later - US shipping on the Eastern Seaboard was mercilessly attacked by U-boats from the outset, and the US Navy had virtually no anti-submarine capability at first. The British and Canadians provided thirty or forty escorts, and their crews, to help defend the US coastal sealanes through 1942.

And really - do I have to remind you how 'ready' the US Navy was on 7th. December 1941, and what happened to most of their battle fleet? 16-inch guns notwithstanding........   All the democracies got caught with their pants down at first, by both the Germans and the Japanese...........

Sure, the British had severe losses - but in the end, between the RN and the RAF, it was British forces that knocked out the entire German, Italian (and, of necessity, the French) navies, almost all of them before the USA even entered the War?

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
It didn't, but neither did Italy. But the US was a big partisipant in WWII, and without her help, you would be speaking Japanese now, the UK, USSR, and France would be speaking German.

Of course the United States made a huge contribution; no-one is denying that. But it should not be presented as some kind of 'rescue.' From start to finish it was an equal partnership between Britain, the Commonwealth, and the United States. For good reasons, the US had to allocate a large proportion of its resources, particularly naval resources, to the Pacific; and the British and their allies carried the main burden in Western Europe. In point of fact, until August 1944, there were more British and Commonwealth troops facing the Germans in Italy and France than there were American ones........

In the end the British and the USA came together and most of the credit for the eventual defeat of both the Germans and the Japanese belongs to those two countries.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
The RAF would have lost the Battle of Britian had Hitler not poked his fingers into the Luftwaffe and changed the bombing from the RAF Airfields to the cities. That gave the RAF the time it needed to recover from the hugh losses it was getting in the Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Just don't get that. The RAF had more fighters in service at the end of the Battle of Britain than it had at the beginning. Sure, they'd lost about 800 pilots killed and wounded - but the Germans had lost nearly 3,000 aircrew in the same period. The Germans' problem, oddly enough, was basically wrongly-designed aircraft - the Me109 was a 'pure' interceptor, lacking the range to escort the bombers, and the Me110 could barely defend itself against single-engined fighters, leave alone defend anyone else..........

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
But the US was a big partisipant in WWII, and without her help, you would be speaking Japanese now, the UK, USSR, and France would be speaking German.

To my mind, as soon as Hitler lost the Battle of Britain, and responded by dropping all such plans and invading Russia, there was never any question of him conquering Britain, and precious little chance of him even managing to hold on to France and the Low Countries. From that moment his fate was sealed. In exactly the same way, once the Japanese were foolish enough to attack the United States, and also invade India, there was never any doubt as to what would eventually happen to them..........

[Edited 2009-09-05 09:36:17]
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GDB
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:45 pm

Well NAV20, you saved me from a lot of typing!

The issue of the B-17 was instructive, it was boasted that it's Norden bomb-sight would make possible almost precision attacks, which of course should mitigate the smaller bomb load and avoiding perhaps, the need for 'total war' flattening of large urban areas in the drive to damage the war industry.

And the bomb-sight was impressive, dropping loads at a target (a cartoonish rendering of a stereotypical Japanese), in the desert ranges in the US.
But NW Europe was nothing like that, not having the crisp, clear weather, but having flak, fighters, smoke from the ground.

That said, it was probably inevitable that a day as well as night bombing campaign was kept up, aside from anything else it was the main way for some time the US could seriously engage Nazi Germany.
Rather like the British in fact.
Until the Italian and then D-Day landings.

I think it's fair to say that the danger of invasion for the UK, though always a highly dubious idea (as the German High Command also thought), passed by Autumn 1940.
The more real danger, from the supply lines to keep the country in the war, diminished then passed by late 1942 and into 1943.
Certainly the U-Boats were beaten enough to even attempt the build up for the Invasion of France in 1943/1944.
And despite even quite recent attempts by Hollywood to imply otherwise, that was largely a RN/RCN/RCAF/RAF/Merchant Navy effort.
However, mention should be given to the often astonishing rapidity of US construction of Liberty Ships , which enabled losses, even if they had continued at 1940-42 levels, to be replaced.

The Battle Of Britain had it's critical moments for the British at times, but it was the mighty Luftwaffe who broke first, in losses - both in crew and aircraft and eventually, crew morale.
It must have been hard going over after being told the RAF was on it's knees, again, only to get shot up, again, and in many cases, actually shot down.
The Luftwaffe crew losses in the BoB, also show that many aircraft limped back with some of the crew dead and dying, as well as those not coming back at all.
Must have disturbed quite a few of the 'Aryan Supermen'.

Though Hitler famously turned attention to London, after a RAF raid on Berlin, the truth is that it was always the intention to go for attacks on cities, had the British refused to seek terms for peace, in the hope that Churchill would lose the support of the population.
Since such terms were never going to be sought, the bombing of London and other major cities was always going to happen.
Also that German intelligence of what was going on in the UK, was always very poor to seemingly non existent at times. The Abwehr found more than a match in MI5 and MI6.
They well well have thought further attacks on RAF installations were to use a more modern term, 'bouncing the rubble', (or re-cratering the grass?)
 
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:33 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
The issue of the B-17 was instructive

The issue of the limited 'capabilities' of US bombers in WW2 is very instructive, GDB.  Smile

My favourite story concerns General Groves, the guy who ran the Manhattan Project. He did a fantastic job in organising the development of the atomic bomb, but - his experience being entirely in the Army Corps of Engineers - it didn't occur to him until quite late in the day to start researching the 'means of delivery.' In fact, not until late October 1943, when he appointed Norman E. Ramsey, a Columbia/Cambridge academic, to lead the newly-formed 'Delivery Group.'

Ramsey quickly realised that there was no US bomber in service that had any chance of carrying the proposed five-ton 'pencil-shaped' uranium bomb - 'Thin Man' - just on grounds of weight; and that nothing the US had 'under development,' not even the proposed B29, which was still at the design stage, could hope to carry 'Fat Boy' - the equally-heavy 'onion-shaped' plutonium bomb - due to their shallow, narrow bomb-bays.

As a resourceful man, Ramsey activated his British contacts, and travelled to Canada, where he met Roy Chadwick, Avro's chief designer, and was shown Lancasters in production. Chadwick was able to assure him that the Lancaster would be able to carry the new weapon to its maximum radius of action with only minimal modifications.

As Ramsey put it in the (almost suicidal) memo that he sent to the violently anti-British Groves, "The bomb-bay is 33 feet long and 67 inches wide. The current depth is only 38 inches, but this could easily be modified. The Lancaster's ceiling is 27,000 feet, its speed 285 mph, and takeoff (fully-loaded) requires only 3,750 feet - a possibly critical factor if small airfields need to be utilised in mainland European or Pacific locations."

By all accounts Groves was speechless for some time after reading that. Then he telephoned both Arnold and President Roosevelt, and started a sequence of events that resulted in Boeing being 'leant on from a great height' to ensure that, at all costs, Groves' 'brainchild' would not have to be delivered by a 'Goddam Limey' bomber.........

In fact, due to strenous efforts by Boeing, the B29s 'managed.' But they were at, or almost beyond, their performance limits. It's worth remembering that 'Enola Gay' nearly ran out of runway and crashed taking off from Guam en route to Hiroshima, and 'Bock's Car,' returning from Nagasaki, had to 'land short ' at Okinawa with all but one engine stopped because it had run out of fuel..........

Given that the Japanese were so short of fuel that they couldn't send fighters up, had Lancasters been used, both raids would, from a flying point of view, have been 'milk-runs' - to use RAF slang of the period.

"Piece of cake, old boy......."

http://www.cybermodeler.com/history/silverpl/silverpl.shtml
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:50 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
But the US was a big partisipant in WWII, and without her help, you would be speaking Japanese now, the UK, USSR, and France would be speaking German.

That's funny, I'm American, but speaking Japanese today - what gives???  Silly

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
once the Japanese were foolish enough to attack the United States

This is something I just don't get for the life of me. One can read all the history leading up to the remilitarization of Japanese government and the Meiji/Taisho experiments with isolationism and all that - but how it led to the wartime government thinking they had even a shot in hell of taking on the US?? It just boggles the mind - Tojo and his band were either completely insane, had very poor intelligence on US resources and capabilities, or both.  Yeah sure What a waste of 4 million people.
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:53 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 25):
how it led to the wartime government thinking they had even a shot in hell of taking on the US?? It just boggles the mind

Churchill's memoirs record his feelings going to bed (presumably fairly sober for once  ) that night, within hours of Pearl Harbor, Aaron747:-

"To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all!...Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder."

Maybe I should add a lesser-known, but deeply-moving, quotation from the same passage of the man's memoirs - it maybe isn't well-known that Churchill was half-American on his mother's side:-

"Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand bloodletting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyse their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people.

"But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a rermark which Sir Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before - that the United States is like "..a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate."

"Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful."


Have to say, Churchill sure 'wrote a bookful' that time. He was a truly great writer. I particularly admire his unerring use of the full-stop. Meself, I tend to over-use the semi-colon - failing to remember that it vastly diminishes 'impact.'

[Edited 2009-09-07 07:59:35]
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LMP737
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:44 pm



Quoting FuturePilot16 (Reply 18):
Funny thing is, I was watching a youtube video with Pat Buchanan defending Hitler for some of his actions claiming that Hitler was practically goaded into a war by the allies. I don't know why people still listen to that guy.

He has a book about it called "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War". I've read some of it while at Borders. Truth be told one can only take it in small doses as it's history revisionism at it's worst. IMO Pat Buchanan is nothing more than an old fool with knows little of history.

This is obvious when you say things like "In World War II, patriots argued the wisdom of FDR's "Europe-First" policy that left our men on Corregidor to the mercy of the butchers of Bataan." Never mind the fact the US Navy was in no position to relieve the Philippines in 1942.
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:53 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
The RN was mostly relying on WWI built warships, except for the Rodney class battleships, built in the 1920s. The 1935 built King George V class BBs were a joke for most of WWII, only being equipped qith 14" guns at a time when France, Italy, and Germany were building 15" gun BBs, the US 16" gun BBs, and Japan 18" gun BBs.

The King George V class did its job rather well in WWII. While the Bismarck had 15in guns compared to the King George V class the King George V class could fire a heavier broadside. And it had better armor protection overall compared to the Bismarck class. Not that it really matters since the Bismarck did not last long and the Tirpitz was sunk in port by aircraft.

While the Japanese had the biggest guns with the 18 incher the Yamato and Musashi spent most of their time in port. As Yamamoto put it "as useful as a samurai sword".

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
No, the RN Fleet was not ready for WWI. The USN gave the RN 50 WWI vintage "four piper" destroyers to help with convoy escort duties, under the "lend lease" program. The most powerful ship in the RN, the BC HMS Hood, was sunk at the Battle of Denmark Straights to KM Bizmark after only three salvos (Hood was never refit between the two wars to improve her armor protection, even though the RN knew their BCs had problems with plunging fire in WWI).

It's all relative, except for the IJN the RN was more prepared for WWII than the Kriegsmarine. Or the USN for that matter. The German Navy did not want the war to start when it did. With only around 60 U-boats and a handful of surface vessels they were no position to take on the Royal Navy toe to toe. As for the US Navy most it's fleet consisted of old WWI battleships and some aircraft carriers. Two of which were unsuited for fleet action.

[Edited 2009-09-11 15:09:08]
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BigBadBoo
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:29 am

The most amazing thing about WW2 to me is how it's repercussions are still so prominent today. The Middle East conflict (based as it is on the creation of Israel) especially is a direct result of map-redrawings and government changes coming because of the war.

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 1):
there is still a lot of ill feeling in Poland for Russia's invasion of Poland

Quite true - but the Poles are also rightfully pissed off at the Western Allies since even though the war was nominally started to defend Poland, it was the Poles who paid the biggest cost while the aggressors got rewarded and embraced after the war...by the end of the war Poland was sold down to river into 40 years of Communist Russian quasi-occupation. Poland severely resents how quickly {Western} Germany was accepted into the community of civilized nations, given money, rebuilt, etc... without any "punishment" for the severe damage inflicted on Poland...yet Poland was left to suffer under Stalin, not rebuilt, and left to serve only Soviet interests... Poland paid the most in terms of percentage of population lost of any country in the war; likewise Poland may have paid the biggest cost in terms of post-war costs.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
t the US was a big partisipant in WWII, and without her help, you would be speaking Japanese now, the UK, USSR, and France would be speaking German.

The Germans were defeated by the USSR with relatively smaller contributions by the US on a less decisive and smaller front.

Germany tried and failed to get to Britain before the US even entered the war and was successfully pushed back during the Battle of Britain.

The US hastened the end of the war in Europe, but did not decide it.

In the Pacific, the US was unqeustionably the sole reason for Allied victory.

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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:53 am



Quoting BigBadBoo (Reply 29):

The US hastened the end of the war in Europe, but did not decide it.

Doubtful, to say the least. The US decided it and ended it. That's not to say that other countries didn't have a hand in it, but without the manpower and industrial strength of the US, the UK would've been against the wall in '44, perhaps defending against the big invasion.

You're trying to tell me that the Commonwealth, the Free French, and various resistance movements would've ended it in Europe?

What about the Pacific? Let me guess... the undermanned Aussies/Kiwis and the in-fighting Chinese would've retaken everything from Midway to New Guinea.

Or let me guess, the good ol' USSR would've conquered everything from the mountains of Indonesia to Oslo. By the way, we would be living in a world without this stupid forum if that had happened, but hey, if that's your dream... whatever.

I find your statement not only to be ridiculous, but completely ignorant of any sort of history.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:56 am



Quoting BigBadBoo (Reply 29):
In the Pacific, the US was unqeustionably the sole reason for Allied victory.

Well, the Brits, Australians, New Zealnders and not to forget the Indians (the British Indian Army was seperate from the British Army, also don´t forget the various African units used in Burma) also did their share, especially for the British, Indians and Africans in Burma and the Australians in New Guinea.

Jan
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baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:18 am



Quoting BigBadBoo (Reply 29):
BigBadBoo

Hard to argue with much of that BBB.

However re Japan, while all and sundry fought hard against the Japanese here, there and everywhere, not least in PNG, once the Russians rolled into Manchuria in mid 45, it was all over red rover for the Japanese. The atomic bombs were spectacular and NEW, but just look at the defeat handed out in a week in Manchuria. Tired old stuff, but frightened the willies out of the Japanese military. It is odds on they really never knew what hit them in Hiroshima, but they sure as hell noticed losing an army in a week.
 
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:17 am



Quoting Baroque (Reply 32):
It is odds on they really never knew what hit them in Hiroshima, but they sure as hell noticed losing an army in a week.

It took the Russians 3 months to move their battlehardened troops over from Europe to Eastern Siberia, but once they had them in place they gave the Japanese the same medicine as Germany had received from Stalingrad onwards.
Massive artillery bombardment, followed by massive atacks by armour and mechanised infantry.

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baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:00 am



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
Massive artillery bombardment, followed by massive attacks by armour and mechanised infantry.

Of a kind and strength that the Japanese had never seen - well apart from a bit of a stoush they had back in 1939 with none other than Zhukov!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khalkhin_Gol

The Japanese lost a division just the day before Poland was invaded.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:31 am



Quoting Baroque (Reply 34):
Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
Massive artillery bombardment, followed by massive attacks by armour and mechanised infantry.

Of a kind and strength that the Japanese had never seen - well apart from a bit of a stoush they had back in 1939 with none other than Zhukov!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khalkhin_Gol

The Japanese lost a division just the day before Poland was invaded.

Previously most battles the Japanese fought were infantry battles in jungle terrain or naval engagements between islands with little use of tanks, more hand to hand fighting (apart from bombardments by carier based aircraft or naval artilley). They never faced tanks and landbased artillery to this extend. The Japanese Kwantung Army in China (considered to be the best trained Japanese unit in land warfare) had so far mostly fought Chinese guerillas in hit and run warfare (if one excludes the shoeings they received by Zhukov in the late 1930s). T-34s and IS-2 tanks en masse, supported by thousands of srtillery pieces, tankriding infantrymen and IL-2 Sturmovik ground attack aircraft was something new for them (especially since the Japanese only had tanks in small numbers, and in this case only lightly armoured light to medium models. So far they had never needed them, but for the Russians the plains at the border between Chinaand Siberia were ideal tank country).

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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:00 pm



Quoting Jcs17 (Reply 30):
Doubtful, to say the least. The US decided it and ended it. That's not to say that other countries didn't have a hand in it, but without the manpower and industrial strength of the US, the UK would've been against the wall in '44, perhaps defending against the big invasion.

You're trying to tell me that the Commonwealth, the Free French, and various resistance movements would've ended it in Europe?

What about the Pacific? Let me guess... the undermanned Aussies/Kiwis and the in-fighting Chinese would've retaken everything from Midway to New Guinea.

Or let me guess, the good ol' USSR would've conquered everything from the mountains of Indonesia to Oslo. By the way, we would be living in a world without this stupid forum if that had happened, but hey, if that's your dream... whatever.

I find your statement not only to be ridiculous, but completely ignorant of any sort of history.

Take any of the 3 major allies out after the fall of France and you would have had a totally different war. And i do not believe it is possible to simply say without X Y would be speaking Z. Particularly as we do not know how Germany would have reacted and how their tactics would have been different - heck, they might have even made a few good decisions.

To undermime the contribution of those awful awful commies though in Europe, regardless of their behaviour before during and after the war, I feel is doing them a great disservice. They paid with lives and their sacrifice was staggering, if any one nation defeated the Nazis it was them.

We should really be celebrating the fact that nations/colonies/people of drastically different backgrounds, put aside their differences, at least for a few years, and worked and fought together to overcome the the horror of the Nazi party and the horror of war itself.
 
BigBadBoo
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 pm

Quoting Jcs17 (Reply 30):
The US decided it and ended it.

Do us a favor Josh, study history; it doesn't make you look weaker to accept the reality here, it actually makes you look weaker to deny it. How many Germans were killed on the Eastern Front versus the Western Front? How many divisions involved?



The Eastern Front was the scene of more fighting and more deaths than all the other theaters in the war COMBINED. The Soviets inflicted BY FAR the most damage on Germany and deserve the most credit for ending the war. The Western Allies swept up the much weaker German strength in the West and had, relatively speaking, a much easier time of it.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
Well, the Brits, Australians, New Zealnders and not to forget the Indians (the British Indian Army was seperate from the British Army, also don´t forget the various African units used in Burma) also did their share

Sure. The rational way to look at who did what during the war is look at things like damage inflicted on the enemy (combat deaths or divisions/ships used/lost) - this information is readiliy available and the unbiased answer as to how much each country contributed to the war effort is plainly clear.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 36):
We should really be celebrating the fact that nations/colonies/people of drastically different backgrounds, put aside their differences, at least for a few years, and worked and fought together to overcome the the horror of the Nazi party and the horror of war itself.

I'm not sure celebrating is right for any except those who admire and derive self worth from the brutal animal feelings of superiority that come from physical fighting and domination. It's pleasant perhaps to think about how the Western Allies came together, but not pleasant to think about how this perpetuated the Soviet authoritarian regime that killed as many as Hitler and kept half of Europe without freedom for more than 40 years.

BigBadBoo

[Edited 2009-09-12 11:56:08]
 
GDB
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:51 pm

Maybe in Hollywood-land the USSR did not have much to do with the defeat of Germany, but the reality says otherwise, whatever we think, or even thought then, of that regime.

The numbers are staggering, the scale of the battles too.
Also this was of course, Hitler's self proclaimed 'war of annihilation.
Which came back to be applied to Germany.

But, as stated, raw numbers and perceptions don't tell it all.

What if Hitler's original plan to attack Russia, in April 1941, had happened?
Two more months to advance before the Russian winter.
The reason for the delay? The absurd Mussolini needed bailing out in the Mediterranean and Balkans, again.
Bailing him out before had led to the formation of the Afrika Korps, encompassing the best of German armour and seasoned troops.
Because the British and Commonwealth were still in the fight.
Churchill's risky decision not to abandon the Mediterranean and North Africa in 1940, despite the appalling military situation he faced much nearer home, bore fruit.

Those Panzers and men really form Hitler's point of view, really needed to have been in Russia.

It was the mere Commonwealth and British (that order is deliberate in terms of numbers) who were amongst the first to stop the Japanese advance in the Pacific theater.
The Aussie's on their own in New Guinea.

Other indirect consequences, including of the Allied bombing of Germany, was to bleed the Luftwaffe to death.
Aircraft were withdrawn wholesale from the Eastern front to defend Germany.
Previously, German pilots on that front had racked up huge kill rations, now just as the Red Air Force was regrouping/reequipping, the Luftwaffe were ceding by default control of the air over Russia.
One consequence of this was the loss of aerial reconnaissance, meaning time and again the Russians could prepare and mount huge offensives, always taking the Germans by surprise.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:19 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 38):
One consequence of this was the loss of aerial reconnaissance, meaning time and again the Russians could prepare and mount huge offensives, always taking the Germans by surprise.

One thing the Russians were very good in was camouflage and infiltration. Whole divisions would suddenly appear where the Germans didn´t expect them. E.g. the encirclement of Gen. paulus´s 6th German Army in Stalingrad came by surprise. Suddenly there were two huge Soviet units cutting through the German rear like scythes.

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LMP737
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:00 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 38):
But, as stated, raw numbers and perceptions don't tell it all.

What if Hitler's original plan to attack Russia, in April 1941, had happened?
Two more months to advance before the Russian winter.
The reason for the delay? The absurd Mussolini needed bailing out in the Mediterranean and Balkans, again.
Bailing him out before had led to the formation of the Afrika Korps, encompassing the best of German armour and seasoned troops.
Because the British and Commonwealth were still in the fight.
Churchill's risky decision not to abandon the Mediterranean and North Africa in 1940, despite the appalling military situation he faced much nearer home, bore fruit.

That's what makes all this talk about who did what that much harder. It's all the "what ifs" and the little historical facts that people forget about. Like those you pointed out.

What if Hitler waited a couple years to build up his Navy so it could take on the RN on the high seas? What if focused all his energies on subduing England THEN went after the USSR? Or what if he had just sat on the border with France and did nothing? My guess is the French would not have crossed the Rhine. What if Rommel had been at Normandy and ordered the Panzers to the beaches?

My personal opinion is that even without US involvement Germany probably would have lost. The USSR had no problem throwing men into the meat grinder. It murdered millions of its own people remember. It would have been an even bloodier war and the people of Western Europe would have exchanged on oppressor for another.

However that theory goes out the window if Germany developed an atom bomb. See the point I'm getting at? All the what ifs are just that, what ifs. No one can ever be sure the outcome because there are just too many variables and unforeseen events.
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HAWK21M
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:50 am



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
Well, the Brits, Australians, New Zealnders and not to forget the Indians (the British Indian Army was seperate from the British Army, also don´t forget the various African units used in Burma) also did their share, especially for the British, Indians and Africans in Burma and the Australians in New Guinea.

True....It was a combined effort.

I guess the turning point was the mistake of Germany attacking Russia.If they had waited to finish off the battle on the west front first,the result might have been different.


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NAV20
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:44 pm



Quoting LMP737 (Reply 40):
What if Hitler waited a couple years to build up his Navy so it could take on the RN on the high seas? What if focused all his energies on subduing England THEN went after the USSR? Or what if he had just sat on the border with France and did nothing? My guess is the French would not have crossed the Rhine. What if Rommel had been at Normandy and ordered the Panzers to the beaches?

Have to mention first of all that Rommel was in fact in direct command of the German forces in Normandy, LMP737, and continued in that role until the Bomb Plot later in 1944.....

You're quite right about all the 'what ifs,' though.

But there was in fact no practical chance of Hitler ever succeeding in invading Britain. The basic problem that Hitler had was that Germany was never ready for WW2. For a start, it didn't HAVE any sort of real navy - only a few 'pocket battleships' which the (much larger) British Royal Navy, and the RAF, were able to 'polish off' fairly soon. The main naval strength of the Axis was in fact the Italian navy - and that too was mostly 'knocked out' by the British during 1940/41. Secondly, but just as important, the Luftwaffe was not trained or equipped for the establishment of 'air superiority' - which is why they lost the Battle of Britain.

Hitler had always counted on the 'effete' democracies making peace (effectively, giving up and doing a deal) rather than fighting to the finish. That strategy worked with the French and most of the rest of Western Europe - but not with the British. So Hitler, perforce, had to settle for trying to 'contain' Britain (mainly with submarines) and press on with the rest of his 'grand plan.'

This primarily rested on the Mediterranean, particularly the capture of the Suez Canal. It's pretty clear with hindsight that both he and the Japanese leadership dreamt of the Germans and Italians attacking eastward from Suez, and the Japanese attacking westward through India, and the two forces linking up in Iran - putting them in control of both the world's major trade routes and of most of its oil........

One has, to my mind, to think in terms of 'turning-points.' Obviously, Pearl Harbor was one of those - by all accounts, Hitler was furious, as he believed (probably with some justice) that the United States would not have entered the War, even if the Japanese had indeed invaded Burma and India, if it had not been directly attacked itself.

Another 'turning-point' I would point to is the battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein in September/October 1942. Not only did the 'British' (actually, very much Commonwealth) Eighth Army win those battles, it killed or captured at least half Rommel's forces and then drove the rest back a thousand miles, all the way to Tunisia. Churchill, as so often, had a phrase (or six!) for it; "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat." And, to his beloved House of Commons, "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Those battles took place before a single American fighting soldier arrived in the European theatre. Though it has to be said that two large, urgent shipments of Sherman tanks had helped the Commonwealth forces immeasurably.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwa.../wwtwo/launch_ani_el_alamein.shtml

Another 'turning-point' which receives less attention was the 'Kokoda Track' in New Guinea in July 1942. This was the first time that a Japanese field army was defeated in WW2. The Japanese, even though they out-numbered the Aussies 4:1, were driven back to their beachhead and forced to evacuate as many of their fighting troops as they could. This was all the more surprising in that all Australia's best troops were in North Africa helping to defeat Rommel - the Japanese were initially opposed only by Australian 'militia,' basically a sort of home guard which had originally joined up on the understanding that they would only serve in Australia. And they were fighting in jungles and mountains (the latter up to 12,000 feet high) that could hardly have been LESS like the Australian terrain in which they had been (sketchily) trained.

http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww2/bfa/kokoda.html

A third one receives almost no attention at all. It's not generally known that the Japanese deployed big field armies in Burma and Malaya, and planned to conquer Northern India. Much of credit for stopping and defeating them goes to the all-volunteer Indian Army (much of it recruited from what is now Pakistan) but there was one occasion (a week in April 1944)when an entire 15,000-man Japanese division was stopped in its tracks by a mere 1,200 'Allied' troops - just the one British battalion at first (Queen's Own Royal West Kents) and units of the Indian Assam Regiment and the Burma Rifles.

http://www.britain-at-war.org.uk/html/body_stand_at_kohima.htm

The inscription on the memorial to the British Army's Second Infantry Division (which played the major part in winning the Battle of Imphal, which included Kohima) is probably the most touching of all such tributes. Very few blokes ever died in the line of duty quite as far from home as those poor guys did:-

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/kohep.jpg
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:04 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein in September/October 1942. Not only did the 'British' (actually, very much Commonwealth) Eighth Army win those battles, it killed or captured at least half Rommel's forces and then drove the rest back a thousand miles, all the way to Tunisia. Churchill, as so often, had a phrase (or six!) for it; "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat." And, to his beloved House of Commons, "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Those battles took place before a single American fighting soldier arrived in the European theatre. Though it has to be said that two large, urgent shipments of Sherman tanks had helped the Commonwealth forces immeasurably.

Is true although I would argue (you knew I would argue NAV!!) that Alam Halfa was the critical battle and that relied on the British having finally figured out that the Pakfront or anti-tank screen was the way to defeat a tank attack. Presumably having been taught the lesson by Rommel, before the Russians demonstrated it to an much greater extent. I see that Wiki thinks Pakfront development was later, but Alam Halfa did unto Rommel what he had done unto Auchinleck.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
Burma

Yes Burma has been given the title of the longest war. And without Indian troops, that would have been a disaster too. It also was arguably with the battle of the Admin Box, the first real defeat of Japanese infiltration tactics. With Kokoda, you could barely infiltrate as travel off the track was even more bloody difficult than along it.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:06 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
A third one receives almost no attention at all. It's not generally known that the Japanese deployed big field armies in Burma and Malaya, and planned to conquer Northern India. Much of credit for stopping and defeating them goes to the all-volunteer Indian Army (much of it recruited from what is now Pakistan) but there was one occasion (a week in April 1944)when an entire 15,000-man Japanese division was stopped in its tracks by a mere 1,200 'Allied' troops - just the one British battalion at first (Queen's Own Royal West Kents) and units of the Indian Assam Regiment and the Burma Rifles.

http://www.britain-at-war.org.uk/html/body_stand_at_kohima.htm

The inscription on the memorial to the British Army's Second Infantry Division (which played the major part in winning the Battle of Imphal, which included Kohima) is probably the most touching of all such tributes. Very few blokes ever died in the line of duty quite as far from home as those poor guys did:-

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/kohep.jpg

Read George McDonald Fraser´s "Quartered Safe Out here" about an eyewitness account (he was a lance corporal with the Border regiment in the 17th Indian Army Division, the famous "Black Cat" division") of the fighting in Burma (he was at Meiktila and onwards).

Jan
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LMP737
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:06 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
Have to mention first of all that Rommel was in fact in direct command of the German forces in Normandy, LMP737, and continued in that role until the Bomb Plot later in 1944.....

Oh yes I know he was in overall command there. However when the invasion occurred he was visiting his wife on her birthday. Therefore he was not in direct control of those forces when the invasion happened.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
NAV20
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:00 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 43):
Is true although I would argue (you knew I would argue NAV!!) that Alam Halfa was the critical battle

Have to ask, Baroque mate, what we're arguing ABOUT?  

As a {strictly amateur, and merely peacetime) gunner, I'd be the first to agree that Monty got Alam Halfa dead right. Lure Rommel's armour into the open and then give the gunners the order we all used to dream of - ("Fire at will, open sights").

Not commonly known that ALL gunners ALWAYS feel that they know better than the guys fifteen miles back directing fire. For a start, you can feel the wind on your cheek at that moment, and 'make a judgement' - you're not working on reports from thirty miles away, anything up to half an hour ago....

Fair to say, IMO, that if they'd given me and my 'TARA' - ('Technical Assistant, Royal Artillery') mates full 'targeting autonymy,' the Russians would have got nowhere at all......   Others will no doubt disagree - but, of course, the Russians never tried, it never happened, so we'll never know.

Only MY opinion, anyway......God knows that I've been wrong before, and there's little, if any, doubt that I will be again.........  

In short, fully agree that Alam Halfa was the first, and most important, battle of the Alamein campaign. BUT - that's more or less what I SAID in my post?

[Edited 2009-09-13 08:07:19]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:51 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 46):
Have to ask, Baroque mate, what we're arguing ABOUT?

Nothing significant, just suggesting a greater emphasis on A Halfa because for most El Alamein is that meat grinder of a battle in October (and of course none of those two would have taken place had not the Auk won the first Battle of El Al). Rommel was defeated first by having his supply lines strangled from Malta and then wrecked not by shiny new tanks, but by anti tank guns. Arguably this would have happened earlier if the larger anti tank guns had been available in quantity earlier. It would have been a great help if the 6 pounder had replaced the 2 pounder a lot earlier, and of course if they had had the 17 pounders at Alam Halfa, one wonder if Rommel would have dared to stick his neck in the trap!! War works in mysterious ways as they say.

Funny thing about the 6 pounder calibre, it is still popular - a rel of mine has (hopefully not charged) 57mm rounds (Russian) on our sideboard in Indonesia! There is devotion to his duty as an artillery instructor.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 46):
Lure Rommel's armour into the open and then give the gunners the order we all used to dream of - ("Fire at will, open sights").

Yes, happy chappies that day, even in the dust!!
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:23 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 47):
Arguably this would have happened earlier if the larger anti tank guns had been available in quantity earlier. It would have been a great help if the 6 pounder had replaced the 2 pounder a lot earlier, and of course if they had had the 17 pounders at Alam Halfa, one wonder if Rommel would have dared to stick his neck in the trap!! War works in mysterious ways as they say.

It would have been even better if they´d designed an armour piercing round for the 3.7" AA gun, the British equivalent of the German 88 mm gun, which was used in both roles, medium AAA and AT.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
baroque
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RE: The 70th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of WW2

Sun Sep 13, 2009 5:09 pm



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 48):
It would have been even better if they´d designed an armour piercing round for the 3.7" AA gun, the British equivalent of the German 88 mm gun, which was used in both roles, medium AAA and AT.

Oh indeed. Quite a nasty beast the 3.7", hell of a crack when it went off. 5.25s were worse for noise mind you but not many of them around happily for one's ears.

I have never seen a good explanation of why the 88 trick was not used with the 3.7 but the 88s mounting left it very exposed in the anti tank role if there was not good cover. This was the case in the desert, but in the bocage you could hide the bloody things almost anywhere. But by then there were plenty of 17 pounders around, and many in Fireflies. The 6 pounder by contrast was relatively low profile. But now we are in NAV's territory. Wonder what he thinks on the lack of use of the 3.7"

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