Thursday Forum: November 20, 2014

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1,072 Responses to Thursday Forum: November 20, 2014

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  1. Gab

    Zulu, that’s terrible. Just dreadful and especially so as it’s the final year on the farm.
    Post as many bawdy ballads are you care to.

  2. Roger

    As I said on another thread, Roger, we need a modern version of Charles Martel.

    Yes, I saw that – couldn’t agree more.

    But while our civilisation – Western civilisation – may be strong militarily, it is weak in terms of the characters of its leaders; we can only hope and pray that cometh the hour…

  3. …or calls for legislation to outlaw virginity…

    Detection of non-compliance, and subsequent enforcement of the law, could attract quite a few applicants.
    About half of General Duties would request an immediate transfer to the “Maidenhead Squad”.

  4. WhaleHunt Fun

    Now the 1933 Qld Nurses examination, that was a significant event.
    Check out Question One.
    What are the observations to be made by a nurse concerning a patient’s Stool? Describe any abnormalities that may occur?

  5. Rabz

    ZK2A – if it’s any consolation, you’ll live, Squire.

    Such are the vagaries of human existence.

    Reflect on and savour the many great moments in your life – and I’m sure there are many.

    Oh – and enjoy the intoxicants as well – they help dull the sharp unpleasant edges. 🙂

  6. Rabz

    PS: It was the 1989 AFL GF, not NRL, that that was best game of football in the past 50 years, Rabz.

    Tom – I still vividly remember both showdowns – enlivened as they were by Roy and HG’s magnificent calls.

    Their calling of the VFL half time contretemps was truly RAOTFLMAO.

  7. Rabz

    But while our civilisation – Western civilisation – may be strong militarily, it is weak in terms of the characters of its leaders; we can only hope and pray that cometh the hour…

    Rog – I’m directly descended from the Venetians who triumphed at Lepanto.

    The West’s abject, suicidal cowardice can only be tolerated for so much longer.

    Time is running out.

  8. Kae

    Making a game of reading Ellis’ meandering insanities?

    Nah, not a game, torture.

  9. .

    More significant battles:

    Agincourt
    Stamford Bridge (the losses here meant Hastings was going to be hard to win for the Saxons).
    Bosworth Field
    Lepanto

    WWI and WWII have many large scale battles but probably the most significant of WWI I’d argue was the Battle of Jutland or the Second Battle of the Marne (leading to victory at Amiens), for WWII it was probably Stalingrad or Leyte Gulf.

  10. WhaleHunt Fun

    The battle for the remote?

  11. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
    (Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
    The hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,
    The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
    He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
    The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
    They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
    They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
    And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
    And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
    Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
    Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
    They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
    The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
    They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
    Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
    And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
    Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
    And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign—
    (But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
    Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
    Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
    Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
    Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
    Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
    White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
    Vivat Hispania!
    Domino Gloria!
    Don John of Austria
    Has set his people free!

    Part of “Lepanto,” by G.K. Chesterton. Learned at school, donkey’s years ago.

  12. Armadillo

    we need a modern version of Charles Martel.

    Just reading through a few links. There is a mention of “Greek Fire” in reference to later naval battles. Is that a reference to sending burning ships into the enemy’s fleet? I’m having a guess here (didn’t do ancient history, but something rings a bell, possibly a movie I watched).

  13. Rabz

    or WWII it was probably Stalingrad or Leyte Gulf

    The most decisive battle of the European theatre of WW2 was the Battle of Britain – fought in mid 1940.

    Everything else, especially the nayzees’ inability to slay the red dragon stemmed from their failure to subdue the “few”.

  14. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    There is a mention of “Greek Fire” in reference to later naval battles.

    “Greek fire” was the Byzantine equivalent of napalm. Developed about 600A.D., could be projected through a nozzle, went on burning even when floating on water, and almost impossible to put out.

    You’re thinking of fire ships, used by Drake against the Spanish in the 1500’s.

  15. tomix

    Our benevolent Gummints and their numerous apologists aren’t keen on discussion of the many bloody battles fought against overwhelming odds on Australian soil by heroes defending the country.

    Imo, that’s at least part of the reason why the Eureka Myth is tolerated and the criminal Ned Kelly is promoted.

    Here’s one that was recorded: the destruction of the Kalkadoon.
    http://www.gattonmurders.com/thekalkadoons.pdf

  16. Armadillo

    Ahh…here’s what they meant – “Greek Fire”.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_fire

  17. Armadillo

    You’re thinking of fire ships, used by Drake against the Spanish in the 1500?s.

    Yep. I was.

  18. Rabz

    Part of “Lepanto,” by G.K. Chesterton.

    Ta, Zk2A.

  19. egg_

    Lateline: Phil Coorey looks like he’s got a Brazilian strip on his bonce?

  20. egg_

    The battle for the remote?

    Won by the Supreme Ruler.

  21. custard

    Zulu………. and I thought the car business was fucked…

    I know nothing

  22. Makka

    ‘Everything else, especially the nayzees’ inability to slay the red dragon stemmed from their failure to subdue the “few”.’

    That and their failure to win the Battle of the Beams during that same period;

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

  23. Geriatric Mayfly

    Digging the new canal across the American isthmus, via Nicaragua, is due to begin in December. A great opportunity here for the CMFEU to go trans-national in its operations.

  24. Leigh Lowe

    Sounds like you were there, Leigh?

    Unfortunately not, Roger.
    One of the legendary “what happens on the field stays on the field” moments came at the tribunal hearing afterwards.
    Brian “Whale” Roberts appeared at the tribunal as a witness with two black eyes and a nose which was not aligned with his chin.
    He couldn’t (wouldn’t) shed any light on what had caused his injuries.
    Finally, a frustrated tribunal chairman pushed Whale to come clean.
    “Can you provide us with any evidence as to the cause of your obvious injuries, Mr Roberts”
    “Well” replied the Whale, leaning forward in his chair, “I can’t be absolutely sure …. but I think I might have been kicked by the Police horse”
    Rotten Ronny Andrews got six for smacking the Whale, but it wasn’t due to Whale”s evidence.

  25. WhaleHunt Fun

    Here is the link, if I have it working properly

  26. Leigh Lowe

    Lateline: Phil Coorey looks like he’s got a Brazilian strip on his bonce?

    Most cnuts have that strip of hair immediately above.

  27. WhaleHunt Fun

    No i have not got it to work

    Maybe here

  28. Rabz

    makka – don’t get me started on the tactical blunders the nayzees made during the Battle of Britain.

    I’m still surprised, that given the monumental, ongoing and inevitable strategic and tactical blunders that the nayzees were condemned to making throughout the duration of the war, that it lasted as long as it did.

    Anything after the surrender of France was one inexplicable fuck up after the other, starting with Norway (yes, slightly before).

    I mean, Dunkirk, FFS – why didn’t the Heer just annihilate the BEF on the ground, without waiting for nayzee goring and his pathetic lufwaffe to try and claim the glory?

  29. Steve

    Yes, but a certain personage did just that, very recently, on this blog – who was it dot?

    Something akin to:

    “I think there will be a world market for possibly five 3D printers.”

    Wasn’t me Rabz. I think the 3D printing is brilliant. It will allow the creation of things that would otherwise be near impossible.
    I just tried to point out that we will still need a manufacturing industry into the foreseeable future.
    We won’t be 3D printing Dots’ next Volvo any time soon. It contains things like bearing surfaces, materials that are made from process like vulcanisation or are toxic or volatile when molten. Many, many consumer items can be made from plastics or sintered metals, many can’t. Most will still be better made and cheaper by traditional mass production techniques in big factories on a large scale.
    People need to use some common sense. Look around the room you are in and ask yourself how much of the stuff in there you would want to 3d print for yourself. Ask yourself how big the cartridges of metal and plastic powder, or cellulose would need to be to make your next bookshelf or washing machine.
    Ask yourself if the white metal in bearing surfaces, or the nichrome wire in heating elements lend themselves to this process. I read an article by a very enthusiastic young man who believes he will be able to 3D print solar panels. He obviously has no idea how solar panels work, or are manufactured by doping silicon. Yet the comments section was full of enthusiasm for how the future will be full of 3D printers printing other 3D printers and 3D printing pizza and beer. Clueless.
    Some might choose to believe that the kitchen of the future will contain a 3D printer with cartridges of flour and flavourings, I think the kitchen of the future is more likely to contain a cooktop, fridge and oven, and a cupboard full of food products manufactured in a mostly traditional way. You won’t buy a 200 litre tub of Solent green to load into your 3D printing kitchen. Or 200 litres of cellulose and download a design for your next bit of furniture, that would be silly. You will order a piece of furniture made in a factory, by traditional processes. That factory may use a 3D printer in the design step.
    Yes, things get better, 3D printing will get better and cheaper, but I think the main enthusiasm for it comes from the same kind of greeny dreamers who fifteen years ago you saw taking off on those lying down cycles, with solar panels attached, a modem and a bunch of crap about how they were going to do their job over the net, whilst on the road, because it was the whole new paradigm, man. You know, freedom, and green power and the paperless office. Where are those dudes now?

  30. Rabz

    steve – paragraphs and line breaks, please, squire!

    That is unreadable beyond about the second line. 😡

  31. MartinG

    cynical1
    #1519630, posted on November 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Kobani has become a place where ISIL pour resources in, only to have them destroyed for no gain. While they are losing fighters in Kobani, they are not able to deploy them elsewhere and are losing their reputation as being an unstoppable force.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/17/islamic-state-propaganda-videos-foreign-recruits

    Don’t give up your day job.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate.

    Crushing the bastards would have made them slightly less attractive to recruits…

    How would removing the Kurds from Kobani and then turning the city into rubble be construed as crushing ISIL. They would just plant their black flag on bricks and debris and claim victory.

    Then there would be the inevitable propaganda videos boasting how they beat the Kurds and coalition air strikes to emerge victorious. How the fuck could that not ensure an even better recruiting tool than they have now?

    I was going to post you a link to a video of Kurdish fighters dumping a pile ISIL fighters in a hole for burial but perhaps it’s best I don’t because it might be inappropriate for this blog. There are many pictures of ISIL fighters buried in the Kobani rubble, do you think that potential recruits would be inspired by such images?

  32. Makka

    ‘one inexplicable fuck up after the other’

    Yes, it’s quite a litany of clusterfvcks. I found after reading ” A Bodyguard of Lies” many were explained.

  33. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Armadillo
    #1519694, posted on November 21, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    You’re thinking of fire ships, used by Drake against the Spanish in the 1500?s.

    Yep. I was.

    Back in the days when the A.B.C, showed halfway decent BBC documentaries, there was one on Drake, the fire ships, and the Spanish Armada.

    Good Queen Bess – A.K.A. Elizabeth 1 – allowed the sailor’s who had just defeated the Armada – to die of disease or to beg for their bread in the streets, rather than pay them outstanding wages.

    King Phillip of Spain (of whom it was said that he allowed no experience of the failure of his policies to convince him of other than the classical excellence of said policies) gave instructions that all those who survived the Armada were to be paid all outstanding wages, before being properly discharged “His Majesties service.”

  34. Snoopy

    3D printing of beer? Wouldn’t it be easier to just drink straight from the printer cartridge?

  35. Rabz

    3D printing of beer?*

    FFS, there is no such thing as “virtual beer”.

    The real liquid will only ever suffice, I tells ya!

    *Unless a device is invented which massively speeds up the brewing process.

  36. Steve

    FFS, there is no such thing as “virtual beer”.

    Okay, I made the bit about beer up, it was, um, poetic licence. But they are dead serious about 3D printing food, and cutting out the pizza delivery guy.

  37. Grant B

    Makka, yes the Battle of the Beams. There were certainly more important “battles” in WW2 but the contribution of men like Prof RV Jones and Dr Alan Turing (treated disgracefully post war) is hard to quantify.
    Most Secret War by Prof Jones is well worth a read.

  38. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
    (Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
    He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri’s knees,

    From “Lepanto’ by G.K. Chesterton”

    From the long lost days of youth

    “Please Sir, what’s a houri?

    Shut up, you wretched boy.”

  39. incoherent rambler

    Can we 3D print – beer, pizza and blues?
    Where do I buy it?

  40. Dr Alan Turing (treated disgracefully post war)

    IIRC he was sentenced to be castrated after being convicted of homosexuality. As a result he ended up topping himself.

    Thanks for helping win the war Dr. Turing.

  41. Armadillo

    FFS, there is no such thing as “virtual beer”.

    I’m calling bullshit. Exhibit A – Hahn Light. Honestly, what’s the point?

    And I’m pretty certain “Clayton’s” was a leftie invention – “The drink you’re having, when you’re not having a drink”. WTF was that all about?

  42. Steve

    Most significant battle.
    Balaclava.

  43. MartinG

    cynical1
    #1519645, posted on November 21, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Oh come on

    So? Now that the citizens of Kobane have left, what’s happening there is far more important than the structural wellbeing of the town. It’s the only place where the whole world can see ISIS slowly being ground down. If ISIS is routed in Kobane, it’ll be a devastating propaganda setback.

    That’s the point.

    The town is being trashed slowly.

    Why not obliterate the section held by ISIS?

    Send a proper message.

    The air strikes are targeting buildings being held by ISIL so as not to hit the Kurdish fighters. Street fighting involves taking building by building, street by street, cellar by cellar and wall by wall.

    The Kurds are pretty damn good at it, the ISIS jihadists not so much.

  44. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Dr Alan Turing (treated disgracefully post war)

    IIRC he was sentenced to be castrated after being convicted of homosexuality. As a result he ended up topping himself.

    Thanks for helping win the war Dr. Turing.

    Saw Bletchley Park some years ago. Saw the cottage where Turing was living. Living in the motor pool was a cat, that no one knew where said cat had come from – so the staff called the cat “Enigma.”

  45. Rabz

    Yes, it’s quite a litany of clusterfvcks. I found after reading ” A Bodyguard of Lies” many were explained.

    Not quite – a western perspective won’t explain fuck ups like the pre Barbarossa Balkan campaign (due entirely to the Italian dictator’s envy and inadequacy), the numerous tactical blunders (especially from September to December 1941) once Barbarossa was underway and the failure to initially allow Rommel the resources he needed to end the campaign in north Africa – compounded by the stalingradesque defeat in Tunisia in 1943.

    Gibraltar and Malta – two more inexcusable fuckups, which anyone with a modicum of “in for the long haul” totalitarian nous would have dealt with by the end of 1941.

  46. Peter

    I mean, Dunkirk, FFS – why didn’t the Heer just annihilate the BEF on the ground, without waiting for nayzee goring and his pathetic lufwaffe to try and claim the glory?

    It goes to the nature of the Blitzkrieg style of warfare. Essentially, it is aimed at causing the enemy to retreat or surrender by cutting his lines of communications and disrupting his tactics. NOT by steamrolling straight over the top of him.

    The Germans knew that it was a high-risk method that relied on shock and speed of advance. It worked very well in open country against an unprepared enemy. What it did not work well against, was an enemy backed into a corner with very tight lines of supply and communication, that refused to – or could not – retreat.
    This was proved again and again, first at Tobruk and then repeatedly by the Russians. Consider also how long it took the Germans to crush the Jews in Warsaw.

    The Luftwaffe was NOPT considered “pathetic” at the time. Aerial warfare was still in the development stage and it was considered theoretically possible for a large, modern airforce to crush any city or force of enemy troops. That this later proved to be false should not be used to argue that the strategists of the time of Dunkirk were stupid when they were merely inexperienced with the technology.

    Then you must appreciate that Hitler did not initially anticipate having to invade England. His aim at the time was a truce that would leave him at liberty to consolidate France and turn on Russia. Destroying the BEF would have been a blow to England, but it would not have made a successful invasion of England in the teeth of the Royal Navy and without established air superiority (defending your own people on the ground is a severe hobble in an aerial war.) The Germans simply did not have the ability to transport and supply a large force across the Channel.

    Yes, they made some major errors…. the biggest of which was starting the war in the first place.

  47. Was

    Just dropping in here but “Claytons” was a non-alcoholic drink widely advertised on TV in the early or mid 1970’s. It was styled as a sophisticated alcohol substitute (maybe when RBT first came in at .08) and surprise-surprise it didn’t actually catch on too well though the name became famous in its own right.

  48. Splatacrobat

    The battle of Vienna 1689
    The battle marked the historic end of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe.

    Unfortunately just like George Costanza they are “Back baby back!”

  49. MemoryVault

    I am planning on “doing a Rabz” tonight – there is good Tobermorey to be had, so if Cats will do me the courtesy of ignoring challenges to mortal combat, postings of bawdy poetry, or calls for legislation to outlaw virginity, I would be obliged.

    Go for it, ZK2A. All transgressions will be forgiven on the morrow, the kittehs will undoubtedly clean up the broken glass – as they always do – and Lizzie, Johanna and Philippa will arrange new cushions.

    All challenges to mortal combat will be interpreted as toothpicks at ten paces.

  50. Peter

    the failure to initially allow Rommel the resources he needed to end the campaign in north Africa

    That failure should be laid at Rommel’s door, for attempting a campaign knowing that the required forces and materiel were not available.

    As I noted above, Blitzkrieg is a bity of a one-trick pony. Works very well until your enemy works out how to deal with it and makes you fight on his terms. Probably the greatest German failing was hubris…. underestimating your enemy.

  51. Rabz

    Peter – the BEF was encircled on largely open ground, with no cover such as intact or demolished urban structures. They were at the mercy of the nayzees – who were given specific orders to cease their advance.

    The historical accounts are in conflict, but given the general pattern of the war in the west at the time, the BEF was at the nayzees’ mercy. The Heer were told to stop while the schicklegruber made an utterly ridiculous appeal to the British to surrender “as fellow nordic peoples” while they still could.

    Churchill point blank refused and the rest, as they say, is history.

    It wasn’t known as the “Miracle of Dunkirk” for no good reason.

  52. Armadillo

    Why not obliterate the section held by ISIS?

    Out of my depth here, but didn’t the Germans reducing Stalingrad to rubble actually help the Russians to defend it? More sniper positions. Limited ability for tanks, heavy artillery and so on?

    No doubt, Kobane is a different proposition with pin point accuracy of air support and so on. So
    I guess I’ll just shut up, and let the ones who are there work out the military strategy. It’s possibly sage advice.

  53. Peter

    Good Queen Bess – A.K.A. Elizabeth 1 – allowed the sailor’s who had just defeated the Armada – to die of disease or to beg for their bread in the streets, rather than pay them outstanding wages.

    That would have been a decision made by her ministers.. I doubt that her majesties’ personal fortune was sufficient.
    There is also the point that Spain was still the superpower of the day, with the world’s most powerful; army just across the channel. Ugly as it may sound, ensuring that the defences of the country were further built up may just have been a higher priority .

    Ruthless times.

  54. Makka

    I don’t know if you have read it Rabz but the Balkans , North Africa and Greece are explained in ‘A Bodyguard of Lies’. Many of the Reich’s poor strategic judgements in the Western European and Med theatres were because of dupes they fell for, set up by the Brits. That and the German intelligence structure undermined by Ultra and Canaris/Abwehr went a long way to ensuring Germany’s defeat in the West.

  55. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    All challenges to mortal combat will be interpreted as toothpicks at ten paces.

    Memory Vault, I do recall offering to “back your bill” on a previous occasion, after which we heard no more from JC on the subect….All the best.

  56. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    There is also the point that Spain was still the superpower of the day, with the world’s most powerful; army just across the channel.

    Fair comment, and, IIRC, there was more than one “Spanish Armada?”

  57. Peter

    Rabz…..

    Not quite. Hitler had planned for a truce with England, for the time being. It was a part of his long-term strategy, not just a quixotic gesture. The “miracle” was in getting the troops back across the channel under an intense aerial attack…. not that the Germans decided to preserve their precious Panzer divisions intact for the next phase of operations.

    The lead-up was not inclined to make the Germans believe that it would be easy. In the battle or Arras, Rommel only preserved his own lines of communication buy what was described as a “last ditch” effort. Fighting was heavy and confused in Battle of Wytschaete where the German armour was badly hindered by lack of visibility due to terrain and vegetation. The Dunkirk perimeter was strongly defended and the Germans suffered 20-30,000 casualties overall, even tho the defence was limited in the final stages of the battle.. They were not making easy progress.

    Incidentally, it was not Hitler but von Runstedt and von Kluge who called for the halt in order to consolidate their situation.

  58. Peter

    there was more than one “Spanish Armada?”

    Didn’t they burn a previous version at Cadiz?

  59. MemoryVault

    Memory Vault, I do recall offering to “back your bill” on a previous occasion,

    It is not forgotten, ZK2A. I remain eternally grateful.
    There are very few who comment here, who have actually sat on the brink of losing everything.
    Those who have bleed with you.

  60. Leigh Lowe

    And I’m pretty certain “Clayton’s” was a leftie invention – “The drink you’re having, when you’re not having a drink”. WTF was that all about?

    The TV campaign was headed by Australia’s original Clayton’s actor, Jack Thomson.

  61. Stalingrad was survivable. Yes, it was a nasty setback for the Germans, but they kept their morale up and went back for seconds. It was the Russian counter offensive at the end of Operation Citadel that tore the guts out of the Wehrmacht in the east, and wrecked Army Group Center. Manstein was made to hold back too long and gave the Russians the chance to recover. Had he hit them at the end of the spring thaw, he would have won.

  62. Rabz

    Many of the Reich’s poor strategic judgements in the Western European and Med theatres were because of dupes they fell for, set up by the Brits. That and the German intelligence structure undermined by Ultra and Canaris/Abwehr went a long way to ensuring Germany’s defeat in the West.

    Hmmmm – not convinced – strategy in particular, was largely impervious to low level intelligence, especially in the context of WW2. Most of the tactical blunders (especially in the Battle of Britain) were a result of chance happenings – the underestimation of radar, accidental bombings of civilian areas and eventually, larger strategic dictates, such as the reallocation of luftwaffe formations to the main game in the East.

    Anyway – not ever trying to excuse the nayzees – they got what they deserved (although they also deserved some nuclear action in my opinion) but their continual monumental blunderings makes me glad that the war panned out the way it did.

    The only thing that really sticks in my craw is that the allies didn’t then finish off that other most monstrous idiotology in human history (especially with some nuclear action) while they were totally tooled up and had a once in a lifetime chance – commoism.

    Patton was correct in this instance – and the West blew it.

  63. “What would you do if you caught me smuggling 4 litres of Scotch Whisky?” (Kate Kendall to Peter Phelps in “Stingers”, as part of an examination to perfect cover as a customs officer)
    “Blended or Single Malt?”
    “What’s difference does it make?”
    “If it was Blended, I’d arrest you and confiscate the Whisky – but if it was Single Malt I’d shoot you, and drink the Whisky myself”

  64. While we’re all on Nayzee defeats & so forth…. anyone happen to recall the name of the army officer (Australian, either on exchange/secondment, or actually in the British army) who singlehandedly blocked the Soviets from taking Denmark in 1945?

    He passed on in circa 1995.

  65. Out of my depth here, but didn’t the Germans reducing Stalingrad to rubble actually help the Russians to defend it? More sniper positions. Limited ability for tanks, heavy artillery and so on?

    Armadillo, yes, quite right. But the Russians also used the right tactics – bleed the enemy into impotence, only allow enough reinforcements to keep the bleeding going, and build up the reserves. Then strike at the weakest spots – the flanks held by Italian and Rumanian troops with bugger all anti tank defenses.
    Next…

  66. Rabz

    Incidentally, it was not Hitler but von Runstedt and von Kluge who called for the halt in order to consolidate their situation.

    And the corporal then compounded the cautious blundering by seeking the fat air marschall’s advice.

    BTW, there were German commanders in the field who criticised the absurd caution of their superiors at the time, including Guderian. It would be interesting to go back to von Manstein’s memoirs and get his view on the aftermath of the implementation of his plan. I last read them about 33 years ago.

  67. Rabz, I have about five memoirs of von Mansteins campaigns. I’ll go through them and let you know. If you can get a copy of ‘Manstein: His Campaigns and His Trial’ by RT Paget, there are some real eye openers. Especially the aftermath of Stalingrad and the build up to Kursk.

  68. Rabz

    Thanks Winnie – I studied WW2 in great detail for my HSC – for two reasons – to spite my history teacher, who refused to teach anything about the actual course of both WW1 and WW2 – and because my dad was involved in WW2 from Jan 1943 to mid 1945 (and he wouldn’t tell me anything about it).

    My dad was the spitting image of von Manstein, BTW. Funny how things work out.

  69. Peter

    Stalingrad was survivable. Yes, it was a nasty setback for the Germans, but “…………

    Most setbacks are…… If your response is good enough.
    Hence the dictum of good historians that, when speculating, you cannot change just one thing.

    Rabz.
    I’m not in love with the fashionable theory that the Germans were such über-warriors that every failing had to be the result of major incompetency. More often it is the case of men with incomplete information juggling competing options. It is normal for plans to go awry because the enemy does not react the way that you expect or has something up his sleeve that you didn’t know about.
    Principles that I try to keep in mind are that war is not simple……. it is more than mere cynicism that drives the comment, “if everything is going to plan, you are about to run into an ambush”. Nor is it any more cynical to note the memoirs of officers trying to justify their decisions (or junior officers with less information and less weight on their shoulders) should be taken with at least a grain of salt.

    In this case, the Germans were trying something that was relatively new. It’s probably unfair to argue that Hitler went to Fat Hermann “for advice” and more true to say that with the field commanders (and you should always listen to your men-on-the-spot) calling for consolidation and a degree of caution, the ex-Corporal looked around the whole room full of brass and asked what other options were open. In this case, the Luftwaffe looked like the low-cost option..

  70. Yohan

    Only a few weeks ago I finished reading von Manstein’s Lost Victories. As an avid wargamer I can now understand how influential this book was on the industry and WW2 historical analysis as a whole.

    It was annoying to find out the German edition was over 100 pages longer, most of those pages a full breakdown of Citadel/Kursk, which in the English edition was just reduced to a 6 page summary.

    Any other memoirs you guys like please recommend them.

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