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Old 12-19-2010, 07:01 AM
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Hermann Goring- was He Really Up To The Job?


I don't mean as a combat pilot as I doubt that his bravery and skill earlier on could be doubted.

Also I understand that he bought to the Nazis a lot of popular appeal as a war hero.

However, eventually it seems that the Luftwaffe suffered by not having the correct aircraft, or possibly not having the vision to get the correct aircraft (in particular heavy bombers and long range aircraft to support the U Boats). There also seems to be plenty of evidence that Goring didn't support Doenitz with the Condors that were available.

I'm not sure who would have been better- both Manfred and Lothar von Richtofen were dead= perhaps their cousin Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen.

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:15 AM
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To my mind one of Göring's biggest issues was he did not have a proper view as to the use of air power. At Dunkirk it has always been more or less understood that the German infantry arrayed against the surrounded Allied forces had more than enough advantage in manpower and equipment to essentially destroy the pocket and captured hundreds of thousands of men. The British themselves only expected to be able to do evacuations for two days.

I've read different arguments in history about why the Germans didn't move in earlier with infantry. The most common version of the story is that Göring wanted to display the might of the Luftwaffe and he sold to Hitler the idea that there was no reason to send in the infantry who would sustain significant casualties in the fighting. Other sources seem to indicate that Hitler was not actually part of the decision, but just agreed to it after it had been made.

Either way, Göring was convinced he could destroy a force of infantry numbering something like 300,000+ with solely aerial bombardment. In the end, while such a move was hectic on ground forces, it's akin to trying to kill a bunch of ants with a sledgehammer. Sure, you'll get some of them, but you'll miss a lot of them too. Even today with better weapons in the air, purely air power cannot alone defeat huge forces of infantry. Men can hunker down, find cover, etc. If you want to take out 300,000+ soldiers you need to use other soldiers (at least for now, although infantry drones are of course coming into widespread use.)

This decision by the Germans was a fairly large blunder, and it was entirely because Göring felt air power could be an end in and of itself. In truth, especially during WWII, the primary function of air power was as part of combined arms operations with land and sea forces. Göring's failure to see that, at least at Dunkirk, suggests he wasn't the most qualified person for his position.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:38 AM
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He was pretty much a fat, perverted idiot who never understood the real strengths or, more importantly the limitations of air power...especially German air power. Consider his assertions that he could supply the besieged army at Stalingrad. Pure fantasy. I don't believe that the Luftwaffe ever even achieved half of the target supplies necessary to keep the army up to snuff, and Goring's assertions that he could and the thought train that lead to the decision to hold there was a disaster.

Hitler get's some of the 'credit' for being an idiot as well and keeping his hand in on key decisions for the Luftwaffe's future development of air frames, tactics and the use of new air craft (like their insistence of using the ME262 as an attack air craft, as well as their foot dragging on getting a jet into the production pipeline as fast as possible), but I'd say the lions share of that falls squarely on Gornin's copious lap.

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Old 12-19-2010, 11:52 AM
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He was pretty much a fat, perverted idiot who never understood the real strengths or, more importantly the limitations of air power...especially German air power. Consider his assertions that he could supply the besieged army at Stalingrad. Pure fantasy. I don't believe that the Luftwaffe ever even achieved half of the target supplies necessary to keep the army up to snuff, and Goring's assertions that he could and the thought train that lead to the decision to hold there was a disaster.


-XT
Look at how much effort supplying Berlin was for us in [relative] peacetime ...
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By 24 July 1949 three months' worth of supplies had been amassed, ensuring that there was ample time to re-start the Airlift if needed. The Berlin Airlift officially ended on 30 September 1949, after fifteen months. In total the USA delivered 1,783,573 tons and the RAF 541,937 tons, totaling 2,326,406 tons, nearly two-thirds of which was coal, on 278,228 flights to Berlin.[67] The RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) delivered 7,968 tonnes of freight and 6,964 passengers during 2,062 sorties. The C-47s and C-54s together flew over 92 million miles in the process, the distance from Earth to the Sun.[67] At the height of the Airlift, one plane reached West Berlin every thirty seconds.[5]
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:55 AM
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Arrowdreams, an anthology of alternate-history stories involving Canada, includes one that touches on this: what if Roy Brown had merely wounded instead of killed Manfred von Richthofen during WW1? The author speculates that Richthofen would be forcibly grounded after his near-death, would survive the war (which would end pretty much as expected) and eventually hold Göring's position in the years leading up to WW2, where his better training methods and professionalism would lead the Luftwaffe to unqualified victory in the Battle of Britain.

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Old 12-19-2010, 12:51 PM
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Goring is being simultaneously misunderstood and underestimated here. Misunderestimated!

Goring was not a stupid man by any stretch of the imagination. He was cynical and opportunistic; it's not even clear that he was all that devoted to the philosophy of Nazism, but he was happy to go along with it if it meant he got powerful and rich. Himmler killed people because he hated them. Goring killed people because it meant he could get bigger houses.

Goring was openly doubtful about every escalation of the war, and his promises to Hitler were, as much as anything, a reflection of the fact that Hitler didn't want to hear anything but the most positive predictions anyway. And it's not like the Luftwaffe under Goring was a band of fuckups; they achieved some of the greatest aeiral campaign victories of the war. Actually, they acheived ALL their successes under Goring and none under the people who led it afterwards. You can't blame Goring for Dunkirk or the Battle of Britain without also giving him credit for the Luftwaffe's incredible successes against France, Poland, and the Soviets in 1941. The invasion of Crete was also a Goring campaign.

I also don't think it's being sufficiently noted that by late 1942, Goring was no longer really calling most of the shots for the Luftwaffe, and after Stalingrad he was calling no shots at all. Things like how the Me-262 were deployed - which would not have made a damned bit of difference anyway - weren't his call.

As to whether the Luftwaffe was appropriately equipped and whatnot, I'd suggest that it was in fact the greatest air force on the planet for quite some time and fanwanking over whether they'd have done better by building more FW-190s and fewer Me-109s, or whatever, is really missing the point entirely. There is no realistic change in strategy that would have resulted in German victory; they were outnumbered by an absolutely ridiculous degree by enemies who could build planes every bit as good as anything Germany was building. Changing production from this plane to that does not change the fact that in 1943 alone, the United States built almost as many planes as Germany built in the entire war.

Germany was not going to win the Battle of Britain. There simply wasn't any way they were going to shoot down enough RAF planes to completely take Britain out of the skies. They were not going to win the war against the Soviets with strategic bombing, and they sure as hell weren't going to beat the USA. No amount of tabletop wargaming guesses are going to change the outcome of World War II.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:55 PM
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Goering was a smart, rich, charismatic war hero. These were the things that endeared him to Hitler. He was also a lazy, vainglorious, morphine-addicted hedonist. This hurt his administrative abilities.

It also didn't help that Goering wore so many hats. He wasn't just head of the Luftwaffe. He was also President/Reichsstatthalter of Prussia, Minister of Forestry, Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan, head of the Forschungsamt, and for about a year, Minister of Economics.
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Old 12-19-2010, 01:00 PM
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He was also a lazy, vainglorious, morphine-addicted hedonist. This hurt his administrative abilities.....
The Rachael Ray story, in a nutshell.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:21 PM
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In WWI, military aviation was only a sideshow to the action on the ground. Dogfights happened when different sides' spotter planes encountered each other. Planes were little threat to ground targets. The Germans tried bombing London from Zeppelins but did little damage. Bear in mind that Goring was tasked with creating something entirely new in the world -- an air force with aggressive capacity. Of course he made mistakes.
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:38 PM
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However, eventually it seems that the Luftwaffe suffered by not having the correct aircraft, or possibly not having the vision to get the correct aircraft (in particular heavy bombers and long range aircraft to support the U Boats). There also seems to be plenty of evidence that Goring didn't support Doenitz with the Condors that were available.
The Allied record is hardly any better in this regard. Sir Arthur Harris did his damnest to deny Coastal Command any 4 engined bombers and later on airborne radar sets, calling Coastal Command "an obstacle to victory," despite Coastal Commands vital role against the U-boats. He also threw fits whenever the heavies were called upon to attack tactical targets in Normandy after the landings, and had protested against being ordered to target the French rail system in the lead up to D-Day, which was of vital importance in isolating the battlefield and slowing the German ability to respond to the landings. Any use of heavy bombers that wasn't "dehousing" the Germans he considered a waste.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:32 PM
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Goring is being simultaneously misunderstood and underestimated here. Misunderestimated!
Excellent post.
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:28 PM
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No amount of tabletop wargaming guesses are going to change the outcome of World War II.
You're no fun at all.

What else do you expect people to do during the holidays?

Last edited by Jackmannii; 12-20-2010 at 06:29 PM. Reason: If I'd only known beforehand.
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:35 PM
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Well, I mean.... "Nasi Goring is never boring"....

Correct?

Firesign.

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Old 12-20-2010, 08:33 PM
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Well, I mean.... "Nasi Goring is never boring"....

Correct?

Firesign.

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Except to rebels who prefer Goebbels?
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:49 AM
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Goering seems a classic example of the "Peter Principle" in action.

He did an outstanding job as an individual pilot. But as the head of the German Air Force, he had little understanding of the use of air power overall in a strategic sense. And even less understanding of the logistics of maintaining a functional air force, and the process of developing & mass producing planes & spare parts.

Well, well beyond his competence range.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:43 AM
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Arrowdreams, an anthology of alternate-history stories involving Canada, includes one that touches on this: what if Roy Brown had merely wounded instead of killed Manfred von Richthofen during WW1? .
That's if Brown was responsible for shooting down von Richtofen anyway. That would be another thread.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:53 AM
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Goering seems a classic example of the "Peter Principle" in action.

He did an outstanding job as an individual pilot. But as the head of the German Air Force, he had little understanding of the use of air power overall in a strategic sense. And even less understanding of the logistics of maintaining a functional air force, and the process of developing & mass producing planes & spare parts.

Well, well beyond his competence range.
Wouldn't that apply to most of the Nazi hierarchy ? The only ones to whom it shouldn't (possibly) apply that I can think of from the top of my head are Speer and the finance minister (whose name escape me at the moment).
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:57 AM
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In WWI, military aviation was only a sideshow to the action on the ground. Dogfights happened when different sides' spotter planes encountered each other. Planes were little threat to ground targets. The Germans tried bombing London from Zeppelins but did little damage. Bear in mind that Goring was tasked with creating something entirely new in the world -- an air force with aggressive capacity. Of course he made mistakes.
I'd have to disagree with a lot of this post. Fair enough in WW 1 it started out as a sideshow to the army and number wise always was. However, the importance of reconnaissance and even more importantly spotting for the artillery was recognized.

It was clearly realized that fighter pilots going up and shooting each other down was going to achieve nothing- there was a reason that they were there and that was to destroy or defend the enemies capability for spotting and scouting.

In addition, planes were recognised as threats to ground targets (I'm not sure of your connect between planes and Zeppelins). The Gothas and especially Giants did cause a number of deaths and panic to the civilian population which caused diversion of fighter squadrons from the Western Front - something which Trenchard and Haig tried to avoid. The aggression was there. (A side note- not one Giant was lost to enemy fighter action). There was also bombing of Paris which is less reported.

A book which has a lot of detail on this is "The First Blitz".

So Goring already had a model he could follow about the aggression of heavy bombers.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:27 AM
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Wouldn't that apply to most of the Nazi hierarchy ? The only ones to whom it shouldn't (possibly) apply that I can think of from the top of my head are Speer and the finance minister (whose name escape me at the moment).
Was it Schacht? I think he was fired by Hitler.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:25 AM
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Germany was not going to win the Battle of Britain. There simply wasn't any way they were going to shoot down enough RAF planes to completely take Britain out of the skies. They were not going to win the war against the Soviets with strategic bombing, and they sure as hell weren't going to beat the USA. No amount of tabletop wargaming guesses are going to change the outcome of World War II.
Exactly, Even during the height of the Battle of Britain we were out-manufacturing and out-repairing the Germans. Curiously, given the stereotype of German efficiency post-war, their failure was one of organisation not equipment.

There were pockets of brilliance out in the field of course but Goering wasn't able to, or wouldn't make use of them. But then Hitler encouraged arse-covering and in-fighting. That didn't really lend itself to the "best" rising to the top and Goering was not alone in his mistakes and deficiencies.

Had they listened to their better generals and given them greater scope......who knows? Had they smashed us at Dunkirk we may well have looked at a deal.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:33 AM
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Incidentally (well not really) I'd recommend James Holland's book on the Battle of Britain It gives a lot of context to Goering's actions around that period.
It is also an excellent and unbiased view of the run up to the summer of 1940 with a wealth of first hand accounts from both sides of the Channel.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:40 AM
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Don't forget that Goering had one asset that no potential rival had - influence. And that was a vital asset in the Reich. The German government was a model of inefficiency. Everything had to go through Hitler so everyone had to compete for his favor.

Goering was one of Hitler's favorites (at least through the thirties). That meant that he could get things done that no other Lufwaffe head could have.

As for the questionable decisions he made about what was needed, Goering was not alone. Air power advocates in every country had spent the years between the world wars arguing that airplanes would single-handedly win the next war. They all oversold air power.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:42 AM
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Was it Schacht? I think he was fired by Hitler.
Yes, that was the one I was thinking of.

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Don't forget that Goering had one asset that no potential rival had - influence. And that was a vital asset in the Reich. The German government was a model of inefficiency. Everything had to go through Hitler so everyone had to compete for his favor.

Goering was one of Hitler's favorites (at least through the thirties). That meant that he could get things done that no other Lufwaffe head could have.

As for the questionable decisions he made about what was needed, Goering was not alone. Air power advocates in every country had spent the years between the world wars arguing that airplanes would single-handedly win the next war. They all oversold air power.
Everybody was kind of under the influence of Douhet, about the supremacy of bombers ("Bombers will always get through !", right ) and real-life examples like Guernica tended to prove them right, until they faced an opponent that wasn't wiped out of the sky.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:54 AM
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I also don't think it's being sufficiently noted that by late 1942, Goring was no longer really calling most of the shots for the Luftwaffe, and after Stalingrad he was calling no shots at all.
Can you substantiate that? I hadn't heard it before now. I knew he eventually earned a place on Hitler's lengthy list of hated people, but I thought that was pretty late in the war, his failure to defend against strategic bombing being more or less the last straw.

Here's why I put him in the Worst Military Leader Elimination Game.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:14 AM
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But as a Nasi, he was never boring.



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Old 12-22-2010, 11:19 AM
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As for the questionable decisions he made about what was needed, Goering was not alone. Air power advocates in every country had spent the years between the world wars arguing that airplanes would single-handedly win the next war. They all oversold air power.
Not only that, but Goering pushed tactical air supremacy, such ac as the Stuka. Now yes, in a long range strategic air battle, like vs GB, 4 engined bombers and long range fighter escorts would have been better. But the Stuka (+ the various medium 2 engined bombers and the Messerschmit) managed to win the ealrier land battles and made Blitzkreig work. If Goering had gone for strategic airpower early, then the Nazis never would have won vs France.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:27 AM
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In terms of air doctrine, I think that Germany, being in the middle of the continent, seemingly surrounded by enemies, felt compelled to build it's military strategy and doctrine(s) based on Army centric ones.

In this role (tactical ground support and scouting), the Luftwaffe was at it's best, because that is what it was conceived to be: aerial artillery.

With hindsight, it's clear that more consideration to Strategic doctrines (air defense of the homeland, long range strategic bombing, Sea Lane denial) and designs that support those roles should have been made.

But I don't know how much of that is Goering's fault.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:37 PM
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I've read different arguments in history about why the Germans didn't move in earlier with infantry. The most common version of the story is that Göring wanted to display the might of the Luftwaffe and he sold to Hitler the idea that there was no reason to send in the infantry who would sustain significant casualties in the fighting. Other sources seem to indicate that Hitler was not actually part of the decision, but just agreed to it after it had been made.
I think this is unfair. The German leaders were not stupid. They would have crushed the pocket if they could have and taken many prisoners. They didn't, I would guess, because they couldn't...or at least without great risk.

The German army was not invincible even in 1940. Many people don't realize that POLAND actually put the hurt on the wermacht...they lost a not insignificant of men, material and planes taking on the Polish.

Even with the stunning successes in France, the German army/airforce were straining. They needed time to resupply and refit. The German leaders thought they had a few days to do this because the Allies weren't going anywhere at Dunkirk (so they thought). So...why not refit and resupply and let the Luftwaffe harass them for a few days?

Not an unreasonable decision. Heck, I probably would have done the same. It turned out to be the wrong one as they probably should have just thrown their army against the pocket.

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Old 12-25-2010, 04:47 AM
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Many people don't realize that POLAND actually put the hurt on the wermacht...they lost a not insignificant of men, material and planes taking on the Polish.
You say this as if the Poles were some gutless cowards fighting with longbows or something. The Polish Army was quite large and hardly lacking in bravery. IIRC it was their lack of mechanization that really did them in. They had mechanized units, just not nearly enough of them. But they were very good soldiers.
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Old 12-25-2010, 04:58 AM
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You say this as if the Poles were some gutless cowards fighting with longbows or something. The Polish Army was quite large and hardly lacking in bravery. IIRC it was their lack of mechanization that really did them in. They had mechanized units, just not nearly enough of them. But they were very good soldiers.
Actually, I read that the other way- that the Polish were great fighters and did hurt the German Military

I'm not sure if I agree that they hurt them a great deal but they sure tried their best. And I agree that they did not have sufficient mechanized units.

Thanks for the thoughts folks.
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Old 12-25-2010, 05:00 AM
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Actually, I read that the other way- that the Polish were great fighters and did hurt the German Military

I'm not sure if I agree that they hurt them a great deal but they sure tried their best. And I agree that they did not have sufficient mechanized units.

Thanks for the thoughts folks.
I guess it was just the way he capitalized POLAND, as if it's some shocker that they could fight. But perhaps I read too much into it.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:49 AM
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As commander of the Luftwaffe, Goering was a complete disaster. First, he failed in the bombing campaign against England. Instead of bombing the English cities, he should have concentrated on detroying the Royal AF bases-this would have defeated the British. Second, his mismanagement of the aircraft procurment was legendary-Germany had too many different types of planes-which made spare parts/mainatinence difficult. They also failed to develop a 4-engined heavy bomber-which made offensive operations against Russian cities impossible.
When the first jet fighters appeared, he failed completely to stop piston engine fighter-had the concentrated on jets, they might have stopped the Allied bombings.
Goering spent too much time stealing art and paintings, and inventing bizarre uniforms for himself-and not enough time running the airforce.
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:34 AM
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The idea that the RAF was near to collapse is rather overstated.It would have needed the redeployment of other units, but they were available.

What had happened was that certain groups had borne the brunt of the air defence role, the reality is that the RAF had plenty of other coverage across the rest of England, as the Luftwaffe found to their cost when they tried attacks across the North Sea instead of the Channel, and found them up in plenty of numbers and as well prepared. Its this as much as anything that probably convinced the Germans that the RAF was far from near to collapse, has the RAF been on its last legs, it could not have defended across the North Sea.
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:19 AM
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<snip>What had happened was that certain groups had borne the brunt of the air defence role, the reality is that the RAF had plenty of other coverage across the rest of England, as the Luftwaffe found to their cost when they tried attacks across the North Sea instead of the Channel, and found them up in plenty of numbers and as well prepared. Its this as much as anything that probably convinced the Germans that the RAF was far from near to collapse, has the RAF been on its last legs, it could not have defended across the North Sea.

Do you mean that raid ?
. It was the ONLY raid attempted by Luftflotte 5 out of Norway.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:55 AM
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I guess it was just the way he capitalized POLAND, as if it's some shocker that they could fight. But perhaps I read too much into it.
Right or wrong, many people think Germany lost 4 guys and a horse taking out Poland. In reality, Germany took some losses in Poland. What amazes me is the amount of damage the Luftwaffe took over Poland...I can't remember the % but it was not insignificant.

People seem to greatly overestimate Germany's capability early in the war. They did great with what they had but were not invincible (or at least didn't have to be). The Dunkirk pocket not being crushed falls into this.

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Old 12-28-2010, 01:06 PM
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Poland suffered three other gigantic disadvantages in addition to its level of mechanization.
  • The German methods were new and a surprise to everyone, especially massed tank attacks closely coordinated with tactical airpower. This pretty much handed every army a defeat on initial encounter. Even the Americans suffered (at Kasserine Pass).
  • After the Germans absorbed Czechoslovakia, the frontier wrapped completely around the western half of Poland, allowing the Germans to come from a huge variety of directions, rendering defense very difficult.
  • The eastern half of Poland, which was not surrounded by Nazis, was overrun by the Soviet Union shortly after the Germans invaded.

There's no conceivable way the Poles could have won that conflict. They did a heroic job of resistance and they did bloody the Wermacht's nose.

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Germany sustained relatively heavy losses, especially in vehicles and planes: Poland cost the Germans approximately the equipment of an entire armored division and 25% of its air strength.[83] As for duration, the September Campaign lasted only about one week less than the Battle of France in 1940, even though the Anglo-French forces were much closer to parity with the Germans in numerical strength and equipment.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:02 AM
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A book I got for Christmas has a little about this- it doesn't say much about the German losses during the campaign. However it does state that Germany came extremely close to running out of ammunition in the Poland conflict and did learn a considerable amount from it.

I think though that it should be taken into account that the "real" war in France started about 8 months after the Polish conflict and the Germans had plenty of time to make good the losses.

There is no doubting that Germany was seriously at a disadvantage compared to France and Great Britain in numbers of just about everything- the break through from the Ardennes was a huge gamble.

This book also says Goering was a far better organiser of industry with his charm and power than he was a military leader. Seems he only ever wanted to hear good news about the number of aircraft he had- not number available (haven't finished the bbok so can't say much more).
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:46 AM
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I think though that it should be taken into account that the "real" war in France started about 8 months after the Polish conflict and the Germans had plenty of time to make good the losses.
True, but it's not the Poles' fault the Anglo-French failed to act while Germany's back was turned. The physical damage and logistical exhaustion the Poles inflicted should have helped the Anglo-French war effort, had there been one.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:05 AM
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Goering was a smart, rich, charismatic war hero. These were the things that endeared him to Hitler. He was also a lazy, vainglorious, morphine-addicted hedonist. This hurt his administrative abilities.
Actually he was neither rich nor morphine addicted until he met Hitler. He grew up in a series of castles and expensive boarding schools courtesy of his wealthy godfather, Ritter Hermann von Epenstein. Von Epenstein was a self made wealthy businessman who purchased his titles and several castles and other aristocratic trappings and converted to Catholicism- he was born of secular Jewish parents. He became friends with Heinrich Göring- Hermann's elderly father and a career foreign service bureaucrat- and invited the family to live as his guests after Heinrich's retirement. It's believed by some if not most biographers that von Epenstein, a notorious womanizer, had a long term affair with Heinrich's much younger second wife, Franziska, and in his own lifetime he was rumored to be the father of Göring's younger brother Albert (here's a pic of von Epenstein for comparison). The Görings and von Epenstein eventually had a falling out and he essentially evicted them from the castle where they were living and afterwards their standard of living sank significantly, but Hermann remained close to his godfather until von Epenstein's death.

So he grew up surrounded by castles and upscale schools and aristocracy, but also nouveau riche and with the knowledge that none of the money was his. (In fact he did eventually inherit von Epenstein's castles, but from v.E.'s much younger widow rather than the man himself and at least in part from his protection of her during the anti-semitic legislations- even though she was not Jewish and her husband had converted she was still in danger.)

The morphine addiction began of course due to injuries he sustained during the Beer Hall Putsch, specifically splinters to his groin. Because he and his first wife, his beloved Carin (a former Swedish countess who had left her first husband and her son and a life of luxury to live in near poverty with Göring) had to go on the run he was never able to have the wound properly treated and became addicted to morphine and heroin and other painkillers. He went through several rehabs and his drug of choice changed over the years (by the end of WW2 he was no longer using needle drugs but he was gobbling paracodeine tablets like they were Tic-Tacs) but he had only isolated periods of being drug free until Nuremberg, when they weaned him off of drugs cold turkey and realized just how sharp a mind was still there. He gave such a well worded and unrepentant defense of Hitler and Nazism that prosecutors were stunned to learn he, his wife and their 7 year old daughter (Hitler's godchild) were all under house arrest with a death warrant hanging over them when Hitler died.
  #40  
Old 12-30-2010, 09:13 AM
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As commander of the Luftwaffe, Goering was a complete disaster. First, he failed in the bombing campaign against England. Instead of bombing the English cities, he should have concentrated on detroying the Royal AF bases-this would have defeated the British. Second, his mismanagement of the aircraft procurment was legendary-Germany had too many different types of planes-which made spare parts/mainatinence difficult. They also failed to develop a 4-engined heavy bomber-which made offensive operations against Russian cities impossible.
When the first jet fighters appeared, he failed completely to stop piston engine fighter-had the concentrated on jets, they might have stopped the Allied bombings.
Goering spent too much time stealing art and paintings, and inventing bizarre uniforms for himself-and not enough time running the airforce.
IIRC the switch to bombing cities was as much a failure of untelligence as a failure of command. The Luftwaffe's intelligence arm had no idea of the actual effect of their attacks on the RAF, just as they had no idea of the effect of the earlier attacks on the radar system. Nazi Germany's strategic intelligence gathering ability, and the use they made of what info they did get, was crappy.

Like most aspects of Nazi Germany, aircraft procurement decisions, especially in the pre-war and early war periods, were heavily influenced by how much political influence the manufacturers had with the Nazi hierarchy. In addition, multiple designs are a hedge against unexpected problems with the manufacture or use of any one design, as well as providing more operational flexibility with designs with different strengths and weaknesses. (Why did the US "mismanage" bomber production by building B-17s AND B-24s? B-25s AND B-26s AND A-20s?)

Switching to all-jet production would have disrupted production just when they needed more aircraft than ever before. Note as well that the first jet engines were very unreliable with a theoretical life of ~50 hours for the Jumo 004 and an actual life of about 15-25 hours, depending on the skill of the pilot and maintenance crew. Jet engines also required more of scarce alloys and used more of the limited available fuel (although of lower grade) then piston engines. (And again, any decision on this would have been heavily influenced by Nazi internal politics.)
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:38 AM
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IIRC the switch to bombing cities was as much a failure of untelligence as a failure of command. The Luftwaffe's intelligence arm had no idea of the actual effect of their attacks on the RAF, just as they had no idea of the effect of the earlier attacks on the radar system. Nazi Germany's strategic intelligence gathering ability, and the use they made of what info they did get, was crappy..)
We're not sure. Admiral Canaris was the head of the Abwehr, and he was staunchly anti-Hitler. At times it's clear he fed Hitler, etc with bad info on purpose. Hard to tell how much and how often, and how much was just due to crappy intelligence. Of course, other than the Allies code-breaking, intelligence was pretty crappy over-all.

Adm Canaris strongly advised Franco to stay out of WWII, for which act there should be statues of Canaris all over Spain.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:01 AM
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True, but it's not the Poles' fault the Anglo-French failed to act while Germany's back was turned. The physical damage and logistical exhaustion the Poles inflicted should have helped the Anglo-French war effort, had there been one.

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Germany sustained relatively heavy losses, especially in vehicles and planes: Poland cost the Germans approximately the equipment of an entire armored division and 25% of its air strength.[83] As for duration, the September Campaign lasted only about one week less than the Battle of France in 1940, even though the Anglo-French forces were much closer to parity with the Germans in numerical strength and equipment.
So, the Polish army was exceptional in their fight against Germany, and to prove that Poland resisted only one week less than France

AND

France didnt really fight at all.


You need to make up your mind.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:20 AM
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So, the Polish army was exceptional in their fight against Germany, and to prove that Poland resisted only one week less than France

AND

France didnt really fight at all.


You need to make up your mind.
Oh piffle, you're hunting for what's not there. I said France didn't fight at all during the phoney war period, when whatever damage the Poles had managed to do to Germany was still fresh and might have helped France.

France fought later, after the Germans had been given time to recover and analyze lessons from the Polish campaign. But the miscalculation of France's aggressive move into the low countries, their dismissal of the Ardennes front, and their famous dispersal of their superior tank strength into "penny packets" to bolster the "continuous front" defense were too many mistakes to overcome.

Last edited by Sailboat; 12-30-2010 at 11:22 AM.
  #44  
Old 12-30-2010, 11:35 AM
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Oh piffle, you're hunting for what's not there. I said France didn't fight at all during the phoney war period, when whatever damage the Poles had managed to do to Germany was still fresh and might have helped France.

France fought later, after the Germans had been given time to recover and analyze lessons from the Polish campaign. But the miscalculation of France's aggressive move into the low countries, their dismissal of the Ardennes front, and their famous dispersal of their superior tank strength into "penny packets" to bolster the "continuous front" defense were too many mistakes to overcome.
Ok, thx for the clarification. I think there's another recent thread here (Ill check later) where that was debated.
I mean the only opportunity window France had was during the Poland invasion. Many posters argued that even with Germany's forces busy in Poland, there still was the Siegfried line and, as France tested it a bit, it was quickly assessed that it would be a massacre to try to take it. Better to let the Germans come (even though the German army was inferior in numbers, the pops of both Germany and France at the time meant that Germany could replenish its ranks, France could hardly do that. So the number advantage wasnt really in favor of France).
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:39 AM
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France Was No Pushover!


Despite popular belief, the Germans encountered heavy resistance in France. Over 60,000 Germans were killed, and scads of tanks knocked out. There was even an armored attack (let by an obscure colonel named DeGaulle) who almost knocked out a German armored column.
  #46  
Old 12-30-2010, 12:07 PM
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There was even an armored attack (let by an obscure colonel named DeGaulle) who almost knocked out a German armored column.
DeGaulle wasn't particularly obscure at the time (and I know you're being ironic). He was fairly well known in the French Army as, basically, "That jerk who won't shut up about tanks."
  #47  
Old 12-30-2010, 12:25 PM
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DeGaulle wasn't particularly obscure at the time (and I know you're being ironic). He was fairly well known in the French Army as, basically, "That jerk who won't shut up about tanks."
I know you're being facetious, but the French Armee loved tanks- as infantry support, as was standard tactics at the time. In fact, they had more (iirc) and perhaps better tanks than the Germans- but the French used them poorly, DeGaulle being correct (on this, anyway)

Indeed, France did hold off Germany for a while, but as France was a World Power- and Poland not even close, Poland actually did better, all things considered.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:32 PM
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My take on Göring from reading several books is that he was great at developing the air force but his greatest talent was in choosing very capable men to run the production sides for him (ala Howard Hughes and Noah Dietrich). He was more than a figurehead but less than fully hands on, and the strategy was too tampered with by Hitler and others to be fully credited or blamed on any one person.

Speer was mentioned earlier. Has anybody read the part of Inside the Third Reich where he mentions being summoned in the middle of the night by Göring late in the war? He arrives and Göring, drugged up and half out-of-his-mind and wearing baronial robes, tells him of the brilliant idea he has had to combat the Nazi steel shortage: make tanks out of concrete! True, you'll still need steel for the wheels and engine and gun but everything else- concrete! And true concrete is less durable, but that's okay- just make more concrete tanks!

This man was clearly not hands on. I doubt he even remembered that 'idea' or talk the next day. By this time of the war his hands were so tied anyway that he didn't have much to do but overindulge himself.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:55 PM
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A bit off-topic, but the two greatest depictions of Göring on screen (imho) are:

Joss Ackland in The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (the miniseries is mediocre but Ackland's performance rises above it).

Brian Cox in Nuremberg- perfect performance, and he won some awards for it IIRC. It did take a few liberties, one of the biggest being Göring sitting with his wife and daughter at a table on visiting day (in fact he was separated by a pane of glass), but it also includes many factual details such as the "Deep in the Heart of Texas" singalong on the night of his arrest.

There was a docudrama called Nuremberg: Goering's Last Stand that was also good, though the actor playing Göring was miscast. He looked a lot like Liam Neeson and was generally too tall, hale and hearty for the lead, though that said he acted it well.
  #50  
Old 12-30-2010, 03:52 PM
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IIRC the switch to bombing cities was as much a failure of untelligence as a failure of command. The Luftwaffe's intelligence arm had no idea of the actual effect of their attacks on the RAF, just as they had no idea of the effect of the earlier attacks on the radar system. Nazi Germany's strategic intelligence gathering ability, and the use they made of what info they did get, was crappy.

Like most aspects of Nazi Germany, aircraft procurement decisions, especially in the pre-war and early war periods, were heavily influenced by how much political influence the manufacturers had with the Nazi hierarchy. In addition, multiple designs are a hedge against unexpected problems with the manufacture or use of any one design, as well as providing more operational flexibility with designs with different strengths and weaknesses. (Why did the US "mismanage" bomber production by building B-17s AND B-24s? B-25s AND B-26s AND A-20s?)

Switching to all-jet production would have disrupted production just when they needed more aircraft than ever before. Note as well that the first jet engines were very unreliable with a theoretical life of ~50 hours for the Jumo 004 and an actual life of about 15-25 hours, depending on the skill of the pilot and maintenance crew. Jet engines also required more of scarce alloys and used more of the limited available fuel (although of lower grade) then piston engines. (And again, any decision on this would have been heavily influenced by Nazi internal politics.)
I am interested in the German jet planes. I know that the ME-262 was pretty unreliable, but waht about the Arado fighter-bomber? Allied pilots who flew them after the war considered them to be pretty good aircraft.
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