Been doing some WW2 reading lately...

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by airmotive, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. airmotive

    airmotive Tin Kicker

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    I’ve had a few long haul flights lately and have been catching up on some reading of various WW2 books that have been languishing on my iPad for a while.
    “D-Day through German eyes”, parts 1 & 2.
    Basically, interviews with various German soldiers who were defending Normandy. The interviews were conducted both before D-Day and several years after the war. The interviewer worked for the Nazi media during the war, and sought to reinterview as many of the same soldiers after the war as possible. But he died before publishing his memoir and his notes were lost until his grandson discovered the notes a few years ago, translated them to English and published them.

    Some interesting takeaways....
    The German soldiers really didn’t understand why the hell America and the Brits didn’t join the Nazis in fighting the Russians. Germans generally felt the Allies were cousins of Germany, of the same race, culture, history and values as Germanic people. They also thought Hitler screwed up by declaring war on the US. Japan attacked the US. Let them fight over there; not here. After the fall of France, Germany was done expanding westward. “Germany united Europe! That’s a good thing! Why would Britain not want a united Europe? Why would the US even care?” (Ironically, 50 years later, it would be France pushing for a united Europe)
    I was also surprised that several of the soldiers interviewed, after they were taken prisoner, were shocked to see the Allies’ complete lack of horses. Everything was mechanized. The German Army traveled with horses for performing all the menial heavy moving and logistics. Several soldiers said they knew they were destined to lose the war when they saw the American logistics machine. All the American army’s needs were supplied from the rear, by truck; nothing needed to be taken from conquered lands to feed, house, fuel or equip the army. The German army, by contrast, was designed to consume what it conquered.
    This got me to thinking....The ‘eat what you kill’ design of the German army made the Russian retreat strategy of ‘scorched earth’ particularly effective. As the Germans advanced, there was nothing to feed the army, no housing, no horses, oil, coal, timber....nothing. The German horse-drawn logistics couldn’t meet the supply demands from the rear, and the army ground to a halt, without food or shelter in the Russian winter. I would argue that the Russian retreat played a bigger factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany than any single offensive.

    Both Parts 1 & 2 are easy reads of a few hours each, and are pretty eye opening.
    Next up, “Germans in Normandy”. Only a few chapters into it, but I have a trans-Atlantic flight this afternoon....so maybe some thoughts on that later.
     
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  2. catman71

    catman71 Spewer of TROOF

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    Nice summary
    That sounds like an interesting book
     
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  3. G19Tony

    G19Tony Sneet CLM

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    I read both of those a while back. The whole mechanized thing really stuck with me.
     
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  4. Bradley T

    Bradley T

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    I think General Patton even said something about "fighting the wrong enemy" at some point.
     
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  5. DirectDrive

    DirectDrive

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    Strange how they had better tanks, better anti-tank weapons (88), a better general purpose machine gun (MG-42), yet still relied on horses.
     
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  6. lazarus66

    lazarus66

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    One of the reasons Hitler didn't use gas was that it's hard to protect the horses from it.
     
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  7. Batesmotel

    Batesmotel

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    The Germans were commandeering River barges and fishing boats to invade England.

    It must have been psychological deviation for them to see the allies land an armada and see LSTs belching out mechanized equipment day after day.

    An old friend was captured by the Americans and sent to a prison farm in Utah. He never went back. He thought America was just a few big cities on the coasts and all farmland in the interior. The average soldier didn’t believe the stories about all the factories.
     
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  8. jim goose

    jim goose "The Goose"

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    I think because the US did not enter ww1 until the final 6 months they thought we’d sit out.
    There are some good books from the German perspective, most notably “panzer commander” by Hans Von Luck.

    Those German soldiers fought non stop, on many different fronts, for 6 yrs.
     
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  9. illrooster132

    illrooster132

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    the weird things about reading and understanding the other side of the story is that every thing comes clashing in your mind . you get to understand why the other side fights and they have their own right to do so.
    look Latin America today . those who were seen as heroes are now the criminals.
     
  10. BigBluefish

    BigBluefish

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    Ok
    The Germans had an auto industry, particularly with respect to commercial vehicles, that was not nearly the size of that in the US. There were a number of small manufacturers, none with the capability to produce a large number of vehicles of standard type. Nor was there an industry capable of maintaining & servicing the wide variety of vehicles they pressed into service. Basically, Germany, like much of Europe, had a fraction of motor vehicles in the general population and commercial sector that the US did and in that regard simply could not complete with the US in providing their military with any form of motorized transport.
     
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  11. P99er

    P99er GT Ombudsman

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    One of the most interesting tidbits I've run across about WWII was that German factories were only running 1 shift, while America was running ours 24 hours.
     
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  12. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

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    The United Europe part is interesting.
     
  13. Wishoot

    Wishoot

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    There's also a very interesting book about submarine warfare from a German U-Boat's perspective.

    Steel Boat Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505
     
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  14. norton

    norton

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    There is a great scene near the end of the Band of Brothers episodes. One of the American paratroopers stands up in the back of a truck. American soldiers are headed in one direction, defeated German soldiers are headed the opposite. The Germans have horses pulling their wagons. The American screams at them "what were you thinking? We have trucks, you have horses". Or words to that effect.

    btw
    I highly recommend the book "Parachute Infantry" by David Kenyon Webster. He is the "college guy" in Band of Brothers. Webster is very candid about his role in the infantry, and how his main objective was just to survive. This book was written shortly after the end of WW2. Webster died in the early 1960's, long before the Band of Brothers series was produced.
     
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  15. J_Rico

    J_Rico

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    Well there was the Holocaust for one thing.
     
  16. Tomcat1977

    Tomcat1977 Unapologetic Deplorable.

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    Shows you the power of propaganda and Lies on the soft witted, which are most people. Goebbels's conveniently forgot to remind them that Hitler Declared war on America, or that the French and Brits really didn't appreciate having a totalitarian state forced on them by force of arms. Or that Hitlers declaration stemmed from an agreement with the Japanese who had just attacked us.

    The only "cousin's" Hitler figured were out there were Scandinavian's and Danes and even then you'd better hope you weren't a Jewish one. He thought the Slav's were scum. Bad mouthed the Japs and Asian's in Mein Kamph , considered America to be infested with Jews, blacks, and other lesser races. He, and most of the Nazi leadership, had an idiots view of the outside world. They'd never been there.

    Goebbels played the victim seed very well and they had the population, less 9 m undesirables, feeling very victimized indeed. It never occurred to them when they terror bombed Warsaw, London, Conventry, Belfast, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Rotterdam....ect that anyone would do the same to them. His play on Dresden was a beaut, a piece of propaganda that survived for decades even tho it was a total fabrication, helped by some Yank POW there who saw there was a lot to be made writing a sci-fi book during the Hippie days of the '60s.

    Dresden was a legitimate military target with over 110 military Industry's and was a major rail hub for transport of troops and war goods to the eastern front. Goebbels started a fabrication there was nothing there, P51's were mowing down woman and children fleeing, and up to 200,000 refugee's were killed. Once again the German's were "victims".

    Today German Historians themselves state no more then 25,000 were killed and probably less and the German's were experts at counting bodies. But the world bought Goebbels line. Most of all the West and even Churchill distanced himself from the head of bomber command.

    The Japanese were no different. Their population actually believed their soldiers were en-freeing Asian's from western rule when in fact they were subjugating them to a far, far worse one.



     
  17. J_Rico

    J_Rico

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    Long time ago, I took a class in 20th Cent European history. The book we used (do not remember title) claimed that some people in Western Europe saw Hitler and totalitarianism as the solution to the failures of Democracy. People blamed Democracy for the Great Depression and some longed for more structure. Had Hitler treated them as new citizens and not subject peoples, he would have had cooperation.

    Not sure how accurate that is, but I found it interesting.
     
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  18. as400guy1

    as400guy1

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    Sounds familiar
     
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  19. Jan R Whitaker

    Jan R Whitaker

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    I have the same books on my Kindle. Great read, interesting the story from the other side.
     
  20. JohnBT

    JohnBT NRA Benefactor

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    "Germans generally felt the Allies were cousins of Germany, of the same race, culture, history and values as Germanic people."

    They were even stupider than I thought. My father fought with 13th Air Force in the Pacific until the end of the war and some of them thought that the US should have saved the second atom bomb for the Germans.