Historical Malpractice







By military historians I assume that he means grade B war movies made during World War II.  Actually, since the development of stosstruppen tactics in 1916-1917,  German soldiers of all ranks were taught to take the initiative on the battlefield and to be flexible in their tactics.  During World War II Allied generals noted this time and again and envied the ability, as a result, of the Germans to take apparently shattered units, weld them together and put useful ad hoc combat forces back into play in remarkably short time.

All of this is very well known and repeated time and again in standard military histories of World War II.  To see a historian recycle the stale propaganda of German soldiers being mindless automatons is to despair of basic literacy among too many current scholars who are ever eager to sacrifice historical truth to make a contemporary political point.

Well, if the German infantry was that good how did we win?  Numbers partially if we include the Soviet hordes who killed, with the help of American trucks and American food, three out of four of every member of the Wehrmacht who was killed in World War II.  More importantly, the Americans and, to a lesser extent the British, had huge advantages in air supremacy, naval supremacy and mechanization of ground units.  The average American leg infantry division had more tanks, trucks, halftracks, tank destroyers, etc than the average German panzer division.  The Germans relied heavily on horses to move supplies and ammo which struck American GIs as a throwback to our Civil War, if not the Middle Ages.  American divisions deployed immense fire power, in addition to on call air power and centralized corps artillery, which meant that unless some special factor was involved, lousy weather in the Ardennes or the dense forests of the Hurtgen, German offensives against American and British units were often an invitation for mass suicide by the landsers.  German propaganda sometimes hailed their troops as the Supermen of tomorrow.  Actually it was their American and British opponents who were the vanguard of warfare of the future.  A fed up GI put it profanely in the concluding episode of Band of Brothers:



Published in: on April 25, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Historical Malpractice  
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