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1998 Closed threads from 1998 (read only)

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Old 29 December 1998, 05:13 AM   #11
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Anybody see the special on the Waffen SS last night on Discovery? Germany made a great "account" of herself during WW1 & WW2. Brutalizing Europe and Russia was a great "account" of herself. When a war isn't driven by religion, it's generally driven by power inflated egos. ie. Kaiser Willy and Adolf Hitler. I respect many of the men that were thrown into these horrible situations and had to fight there way out but the men behind the madness were monsters.

Both wars were such a huge waste of good men.
War's a grim business. I respect men who come out of it with a shred of morality but I don't hate them if they don't. After seeing so much death and destruction it doesn't seem so wrong to blow an unarmed prisoner away I guess. What I'm saying is that I can't judge unless I've been through it and war might have made me into a monster too.

Old 29 December 1998, 05:33 AM   #12
Matt Witt
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Dead on target with your response to the query "where were the Germans during the cold war." I was a control and reporting center crew Senior Director with a combined US Army, USAF, and GAF crew. I also had access to a wide range of Intell assessments, including some intercepted Soviet Force evaluations of Allied capabilities. The Germans scared the hell out of the Soviets and with good cause. While the American strategy for WW 3 was to fight a reargaurd action and to try to hold at the Rhine (or more likely the Seine) for reinforcements, the German attitude was to give no ground and to "retreat" in force (so as to be in "full" compliance with the American OPLAN) towards Moscow. In retrospect they were closer to being right than were the Americans.

As for the suggestion that the Brits are the economic and political leaders of Europe (made by another, not you), what utter nonsense. I love the Brits, but they are an economic shambles, particularly as compared to the German juggernaut. The very reason the Brits aren't participating in the full measure of EU initiatives is because they know the likelihood is that the Germans and the French will simply swallow them. Britain (sadly from my view) is not the leading European state, much less a significant player on the world stage. (The Brits are right to be hesitant about the EU: it will reduce Britain to a mere European state (with a small "s"), destroy what makes Britain Britain, and will ultimately reduce the British citizenries' voice in their own governance.) ..... Uh,.... ahem....uhh.. which will reduce funding for WW 1 airplane museums and study. (There , that wasn't too far off topic, was it?)
Old 29 December 1998, 09:03 AM   #13
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Hitler was probably the worst human ever to live who was given birth by the English and French with the Treaty of Versailles. The kaiser was an immature Bombast who stumbled into war because he did not think, along with many others in 1914.
Germany committed many atrocities in WWII and has been and will continue to be held in low esteem for them.

But, England! She has committed atrocities in every century of her existance and yet is held up as some sort of shining example of virtue. What a load of Dreck that is. And England a world economic power. Once she was, but except for her special relationship with the US is hardly of any real significance. She lost the peace efter WWI and WWII and will either follow germany'd lead in a United Europe or continue to wither on the vine.

Old 29 December 1998, 09:18 AM   #14
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Micahel, While I agree with mosy of what you say, wasn't the all metal ground support Junkers an innovative design well suited for its role?
Old 29 December 1998, 11:33 AM   #15
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Matt: thanks for confirming my oratory. "People are smart when they agree with you!" I recall a discussion with some Belgian tankers many years ago, saying that they admired the W German forward-deployed positions, rather than sitting back to absorb some of the shock of a Soviet tank army churning through the Gap--even if it meant their own life expectancy in combat was measured in minutes.
Airpower perspective: this story made the rounds a few years before The Wall came down. It's Day 12 or whatever, and the WarPact CO looks out the window of NATO HQ in Brussels, where the T-72s and BMPs are now parked. He is literally eating his opposite number's lunch. Peeling a banana, he turns to his chief of staff and asks, "Tell me, Yuri, who do you suppose won the air war?"
Moral being: airpower wouldn't have decided WW III unless it went nuke--the Soviets would have attacked in the worst weather possible, and with their numerical superiority we could have gained a 6-1 kill-loss ratio and still had a tie in the air.
Tongue in cheek humor: American definition of "tactical nuke": any nuclear detonation in Germany.
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Old 29 December 1998, 11:39 AM   #16
Jim 'ACE'
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Matt and others,
I am the 'other person' that you referred to in your reply. I may have been mistaken about the British leading in the world economy and perhaps I don't know every single facit of the American plan during the cold war, but consider this ... Germany was responsible for the deaths of how many millions of people (not just Jews) during the years from 1914 to 1918, and 1940 to 1945? In both wars they were the belligerents. As far as England being pure, white, and holy, NOT BY A LONG SHOT considering how they oppressed the Irish for 700 years. But they weren't the innovators of the Konzentrationlager now were they? The dreams of empire died during the first world war along with a few monarchies. It gave birth to evils such as communism, nazism. The world has paid a heavy price in the wake of that world war due to the ideologies that it spawned. But who was responsible for the war? Germany was held as responsible and rightly so. Britain's culpability in any 'criminal' behaviour during that war was allowing such butchers as Haig and Rawlinson and Gough to lead their armies. Look at the battle of the Somme alone where the total casualty figure is 1,360,000 Allied and German dead. How many was there for each battle of Ypres? Who really won? How many lives were expended for each yard of territory taken? You look at the 'Big Picture' and you'll see that nobody really won. The 1st World War was an orchestration of industrialized murder. Sheer weight of numbers defeated the Central Powers. But atrocities... what about the Kindermord at Langemarck (Germans) and the 'Pals' at the Somme (England). Those are the real atrocities, the stupid plan at Gallipoli. The plan of attack by 'Pere' Joffre ( massed frontal assault). Has any other armies in any other wars mutinied en masse? The butchery of Falkenhayn during Verdun. The insanity of Passchendaele (attacking through the mud). The best and the brightest of a generation was ground into the earth by that war. Tell me again how the German's or any other of the participant's countries came out as real winners. At least there were clear cut objectives in mind during the 2nd WW, the Great War was a pyrrhic victory at best for any of the victors. But that victory at least stood as a victory in history's eyes. So allowing the victors to dictate policy to the vanquished (losers). It doesn't always mean that they were right, it just means that it didn't matter because they could! I once heard it quoted 'The victors always write the history books' if that is true then what we are seeing is the victor's version of history. My points in this tirade is ' Culpability for atrocities rests with everyone, The Allies won(but looking at their losses in men, did they really?) And the governments that wee spawned in the wake of the war ( did anybody really win?)
Old 29 December 1998, 01:12 PM   #17
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Jim: You're shooting yourself in the foot with the Concentration Camp example! Invented by General Kitchener during the Boer War for housing Boer civilians. Thousands died in the insanitary conditions I believe. Right up there with the 1919 Amritsar massacre as one of our less glorious imperial moments.

Balkenkreuz: IMO you are in danger of being quite offensive. If I were Jewish I am sure I would feel very strongly about you calling the Holocaust "a few war crimes" that can be easily compared with those perpatrated by the Allies.

Matt Witt: I agree with your analysis of the UK's situation in Europe. Trouble is it is quite depressing for us subjects of HMQE2! Much better to look forward to our "modern" role in "the heart of Europe". Least that's what Mr Blair will be telling us at the referendum....

As for the question in hand, it's a tricky one which I don't pretend to have an answer to. I'll have to dig out a pouch of rough shag and put my thinking cap on. This is a 3 pipe question!
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Old 29 December 1998, 06:11 PM   #18
Jim 'ACE'
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Ok then how about I change that to extermination camps, will that suffice? Nobody prior to the Germans in the 2nd WW had ever set up camps for the purpose of extermination of a race. Anyway the point in fact is, yes the Allies won but we've paid for it ever since 1918. And IMHO if one looks real close at how WW1 was fought and the casualty count, it's really tough to tell who the clear cut winners are. As far as 'nuclear war'...I hope to God the world is a little more sane than to ever come as close as it did during the 7 Days that shook the world (Cuban Missile Crisis). If it happened then we'd all be losers.
Old 29 December 1998, 07:38 PM   #19
Matt Witt
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A couple quick shots:
No winner in WW 1? Nonsense. The US won big. It went from being a second rate military and economic power to a major world power in a matter of months with relatively light casualties while, at the same time, the world's former great powers had by and large annhilated themselves.

Germany the "belligerent" in WW 1? No moreso than any of the Allies. Germany had a mutual defense treaty with Austria. Russia mobilized against Austria and Germany was obliged to respond or see its credibility destroyed in both diplomatic and military circles. The same was true for the French who then mobilized based upon their own treaty with the Russians. Likewise the English coming to the defense of Belgium based upon a British guarantee. If ANY of these countries had failed to respond as they did, the war would have been much briefer, more localized, with far fewer casualties while, at the same time it would have run the risk of significantly reducing the credibility of the nation(s) which did not honor their obligations. Whether that would have further destabilized Europe or not is anyone's guess. What we do know is WW 2 was a direct result of countries refusing to enforce their treaty rights and authority or to stand by their international obligations.

The EU will destroy Britain if Britain joins, but will render Britain irrelevant if it doesn't. Does an Englishman really want a Belgian telling him, by law, how much breading must be on his fish or what type of oil his chips must be cooked in? Or a Scotsman how much virgin wool must be in his kilt? (I admit I'm a diehard Secessionist, I still stand for Dixie and didn't go see the movie "Gettysburg" because my side always loses. The bigger/more populous the country and the more powerful the central government, the fewer rights and less control are held by the individual.)

The Generals weren't "criminals" or butchers or any of that other nonsense. They were men trained in relatively mobile, low rate of fire warfare who were suddenly thrust into a fixed position war in which the rates and volumns of fire made possible by technological and logistical advances and by the industrial revolution were unlike anything previously known to man. They did the best they could without the luxury of hindsight.

Barrett, I've heard of a high level NATO briefing in which a USAF General was dismissing the tremendous numerical superiority of the Soviet AF as merely constituting a "target rich environment". An RAF Air Marshal in attendance responded that that same thought had probably occured to Gen. Custer as he rode on the Little Bighorn.

Finally, the German Air Service was tactically innovative, much moreso than any of the Allies. The Boelcke Dicta are still standard training sources, though sometimes by different names, for fighter pilots throughout the world. To suggest that the Allied program of constant air offensive was the "right" strategy has little to recommend it. The German emphasis was on local air superiority, just as it MUST be for an outnumbered AF. To do otherwise would be to play directly to your opponent's strongest point with the result that you would bleed yourself white. Instead the Germans were able to nearly bleed the Allies white despite having only a fraction of the total available air assets of the Allies. BOTH sides played to their respective strong points admirably.

Old 30 December 1998, 02:16 AM   #20
Jim 'ACE'
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Please explain your theory to the 21,000 Englishmen who died in the first hour or two of the Somme Offensive, because they were told to walk across no man's land in an orderly fashion, the British have to make a proper show of it. Also please explain how the Generals were doing the right thing when the reports of difficulties and losses were coming back, from the divisions being shot up during 3rd Ypres, to them and they knew of the problems with the weather and the conditions (i.e. no air reconnisance, artillery ineffectiveness, lack of adequate artillery, and men being kept in the line for more than the reasonable rotation). The relief troops were already exhausted by the time they had struggled 300 yards up through the mud to get on line! How absurd to say that the Generals were doing an effective job. The thing that beat the German armies wasn't the wastage of troops, it was the blockade that didn't allow needed supplies to be shipped in. Yes the Americans didn't lose that many troops because we weren't involved that long, but for Germany being a belligerent, I'm right as they had a stronger military force at the time than a lot of the other participants did, hence the jumping in on Austria's side against Russia. France had the numbers but butchered them in 1914-1917 in frontal assaults at Verdun. Why do you think the whole d---ed French Army mutinied? They were tired of being wasted by stupid tactics. But hey, I guess you must know what the big plan was eh?


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