Hi Indie; What do you think would have happened if Gudarian was sent to North Africa to fight the British and Rommel was sent to Russia ,Would it have changed anything ?
Can’t change anything. The logistics are a nightmare. Malta would have to be taken before spring to allow enough logistical buildup to even attempt a breakthrough at El alheiem, which CAN be done But probably requires far more oil, more bombers, and active paratrooper operations. Then Vichy France MUST become an active Axis ally to fortify its Atlantic Defenses before the Americans come in, which is likely, which the Africa must roll up Middle Eastern Command and get to Iraq.
Rommel was getting something like 20% of the motor pool IIRC but his logistics were still a shoestring being cut by Malta. At the very least Malta must be taken a cleared so that shipping can get to Bengazi and Tobruk unaccosted when those ports are retaken Hitler needs OIL and he’s better off opening a third front in Turkey than Case Blue if he can play defensive all summer in Russia.
Army rolls on it’s stomach, panzers on oil drums, and Rommel fought well while being strangled half to death by the Royal Navy. Guderian can’t do better.
Hi Charlotte . I am aware of the supply problems Rommel and Guardian for that matter had . It reflects the truth all the tanks . and front line planes you my have had is worthless without fuel . What i am curious about is how the 2 would have tactically fared . Rommel got to North Africa and attacked the Allies as soon as he got his army ashore . and Guardian was also known to be agressive would had done the same as Rommel ? And attacked as soon as he could ?
I don’t think we can say. Guiderian never had to command a smallish, exposed force dependent on cooperation with inadequate and often incompetent Italian leadership.
I don’t think we have the references in the soft power departments to guess nor any distinguishing incidents on the east front that might indicate what he might have been like as a desert commander.
But I say all this is irrelevant because Rommel did as well as any commander could and WAY better than expected. The needed changes go to the strategic level.
And honestly, who cares about an alternative but still doomed campaign?
hi I was only wondering if Guardian would have been as successful in the early campaign as Rommel was . It s Obvious he Lost in the end . the German and Italian armies were defeated . but it took a long time and it wasn’t easy . I am also curious how Rommel would have fared in Russia . would he have had the freedom of action and movement he had in the desert . One thing I heard somewhere about Rommel after he defeated the Americans at Kasserine pass he was impressed how quickly the Americans replaced their losses he said had his army been defeated and lost the ammount of men and equipment they did it would take months to recover…
This is a very interesting and provocative hypothetical. How would each commander act-react differently, given the same circumstances of war in N Africa. I’ve read a few books on Rommel and none on Gudarian.
I look forward to the dialogue and appreciate the question!
Hi ; yes that is what I’ve been wondering . Guardian and Rommel were both agressive commanders . Rommel was becoming a household name , thanks to his victories in France and North Africa Gudarian was also famous but i don’t know to what extent . . It would also be interesting to see what Gudarian would have done if he was put in command of the Atlantic Wall ,Although iI don’t really
think either one could have won against the force the Allies had .
As far as the Atlantic Wall went, I imagine that their choices would have been similar as far as forward defense went. But only too an extent. Guderian wanted a mobile Panzer reserve to hit the enemy when it was found where they were attacking. Rommel was of the opinion that allied air power would make this impossible and the battle had to be won on the beach. Rommel may have been more correct here but I think he had seen more allied air power and was pessimistic at this point. I think both would agree that if the air power was that stifling then they were bound to lose.
Problem for both of the. Is that they weren’t given overall control of the forces. As long as the reserves were under Hitler’s direct control, neither strategy could be tried.
IMHO, both were excellent commanders but neither were miracle workers. Once the allies got ashore, it was over. They could have delayed it but that was it.
I wou.d say we care because it is a good discussion. If we ignored doomed campaigns we would have stopped looking at the German perspective by 1942. Certainly by 1943 most German commanders knew the war was doomed.
I found Panzer Leader, the American title, to be a very entertaining read on Guderians wartime activities. However, I am not sure it is not slanted in his own favor to a rather great extent. Many you tubers I respect seem to think less of him than he thought of himself. This seems to be true of lot a lot of German post war writings where greater blame may be placed on Hitler in order to make themselves look better.
I once heard Stephen Ambrose say: If Hitler would have allowed Rommel control of the panzers at Normandy, the ultimate result would have been delayed, such that Europe may have been the first to see the atom bomb—I found that and interesting perspective.
I don’t rule it out entirely but I don’t believe the had the strength to push the allies into the sea even with a more forward defense. If they couldn’t do that how much more would it delayed? It is also possible that more panzers at once would have led to a greater defeat later. Not sure Normandy was a great spot for massed armor either with all the hedgerows. Fun speculation.
Hi while it is true Roman wanted the Allies stopped to the beach by hitting them with a large Force before they got a chance to set up a defensive perimeter. The allies head some big guns watching over the troops. It’s hard to move Columns of Tanks anti-tank guns in large concentrations of troops why you’re being bombed from the air. And there are large caliber Naval guns from battleships and cruisers offshore ready to rain death down on anyone who’s getting close enough .I guess in this instance whether it was Gudarian or Rommel in this case the allies an overwhelming power on their side
Excellent points, particularly interesting to this conversation is the battleships offshore. As I remember, the UK and US used older battle wagons, expecting them to take major hits from German heavy guns… but it just didn’t happen. Apparently the aiming procedure for the German guns was flawed so no hits were made. Interesting to think of the possibility of battleships slowing down panzers on the beach!
Indeed, it’s likely the landing would have probably been slowed down just a bit with a big loss of German armor in June. What’s the old saying about it being easy to arm chair, day after…a good chat though!
Hi among the older Battleships bombarding the shore line was HMS Warspite a veteran of the battle of Jutland in WWI and USS Nevada a survivor of Pearl Harbor . These and others like it may have been old but they could still hurl a shell the size of a small car around 15 miles . so if a German tank was within 10 nmiles or so of the beaches they would see first hand what an older 14 and 15 inch naval gun could do
Awesome info on the battleships-they were not relying on speed for this mission, just ready to be artillery platforms in the channel.
The problem didn’t require sending Guderian to replace Rommel, it required sending Kurt Student to Malta with his Fallschirmjaeger.
Hi, the right on the fact that at the end of the day the Germans had to do something about Malta,it was an Unsinkable aircraft carrier like Midway was for the Americans. couldn’t be sunk and unless you do something about it it’s always going to be there . But in the end it stayed in British hands and most of Rommel’s reinforcements ended up at the bottom of the med. Actually I was more speculating on command Style and aggressiveness these two Commander’s possessed. And I was interested in what Guderian would have done, and how would it been for Rommel in Russia