Col. Greer: Enemy blunder shown clearly in holding war (11-20-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 20, 1943)

Col. Greer: Enemy blunder shown clearly in holding war

Nazis sacrificed men at Stalingrad and in North Africa
By Col. Allen J. Greer, North American Newspaper Alliance

Buffalo, New York –
The phenomenal successes of the Prussians in their wars during the last century gave to the German general staff a reputation for infallibility in military planning that persisted even after German defeat in World War I, its prestige was revived by the decisive victories the Nazis won against Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Greece and against Russia in 1941.

While early in 1942 the Germans won victories in Russia and North Africa, the tide has turned. In North Africa, Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery decisively defeated Marshal Erwin Rommel at El Alamein and forced the Axis forces to begin the long retreat which ended with their destruction in Tunisia.

Show Nazi blunders

The Allies had air supremacy and superiority in ground forces. Common sense demanded that Rommel withdraw toward Tripoli but he remained and the Allied victory which followed showed the blunders and fallibility of the German High Command.

The next German disaster was at Stalingrad where the Germans continued to attack after chances of taking the city has disappeared and withdrawal was postponed until it become impossible. The High command’s blunder cost 340,000 German casualties.

Nazi force sacrificed

While Allied troops landed in North Africa in November 1942, instead of the Germans realizing they could not hold territory beyond a sea controlled by Allied warships and evacuating as many troops as possible, they sent strong reinforcements which, although delaying the Allied conquest, ended in their destruction. This was another blunder by the German High Command.

In 1943, the Germans opened their summer offensive on July 5 against Kursk without the necessary superiority in air or ground forces to assure success and without securing surprise. Disastrous defeat was the logical result of blunders in planning and preparation.

Retreat to Dnieper

The German defeat gave the Russians the opportunity to start their counteroffensive which is still progressing. When the Germans were driven from Orel, Belgorod and Kharkov, they retreated to the Dnieper River.

Even then probably they contemplated an ultimate withdrawal to the Polish-Romanian border but stopped temporarily at the Dnieper, supposing that the Russians did not have the power and means to continue their drive. This may have appeared reasonable but it turned out to be another costly blunder of the German High Command.

Nazis consider prestige

The Russian victories that followed, the hasty German retreat and the highly-dangerous situation of their troops now in the Dnieper bend and the Crimea all resulted from the German persistence in remaining too long in positions they had not the strength to defend.

Today, German forces are dispersed in Italy, the Balkans and Norway, all far less important areas than the Russian front. Reluctance to abandon these countries is understandable but sound judgment should demand that it be done.

Apparently, considerations of prestige at home and abroad, not strategic judgment, have dominated and are still governing the decisions of the German High Command.