George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

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Re: Re:

Postby lwd » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:30 am

mellenthin wrote:
Liam wrote:
George McClellan was one of the most incompetent Generals the Union had. No way is he worthy of comparison to Erwin Rommel. Rommel didn't hesitate and chicken out and delay and fool around like McClellan did.

No, he just made a complete hash of his army's supply and logistics, thereby ensuring their eventual total defeat!

He had no responsability for the supplying of the forces in North Africa.

However he was responsible with what was done with the supplies that got there.
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Re: Re:

Postby mellenthin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:08 am

lwd wrote:
mellenthin wrote:
Liam wrote:
George McClellan was one of the most incompetent Generals the Union had. No way is he worthy of comparison to Erwin Rommel. Rommel didn't hesitate and chicken out and delay and fool around like McClellan did.

No, he just made a complete hash of his army's supply and logistics, thereby ensuring their eventual total defeat!

He had no responsability for the supplying of the forces in North Africa.

However he was responsible with what was done with the supplies that got there.


You are turning things upside down. An operational plan is made and then the requirements are formulated. And a commander can factually not do something for which he does not have the neceaasry supplies.
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Re: Re:

Postby lwd » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:25 am

mellenthin wrote:You are turning things upside down.

Not really.
An operational plan is made and then the requirements are formulated. And a commander can factually not do something for which he does not have the neceaasry supplies.

This is very reminisent of the parable of Achillies and the Tortise. One can easily come up with a plan to drive to another city and do so, once you are there it may become apparent that you don't have the gas to get back home or the cash to buy more gas. Rommel had the supplies to launch the offensive and to carry it as far as he did, after that it's questionable.
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Re: Re:

Postby mellenthin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:54 am

lwd wrote:
mellenthin wrote:You are turning things upside down.

Not really.
An operational plan is made and then the requirements are formulated. And a commander can factually not do something for which he does not have the neceaasry supplies.

This is very reminisent of the parable of Achillies and the Tortise. One can easily come up with a plan to drive to another city and do so, once you are there it may become apparent that you don't have the gas to get back home or the cash to buy more gas. Rommel had the supplies to launch the offensive and to carry it as far as he did, after that it's questionable.


I do not remember the high command ordering Rommel back from El Alamein because it found itself in the impossibility of supplying him there. That could have been decided and Rommel would not have shed tears over it. But it was not done as Hitler was not in the habit of giving things up.
If you are not able or are not prepared to give sufficient support to a theatre then you must draw the obvious conclusion from that. That was the responsability of the high command. Rommel has no responsability there. He simply has to state what his needs are.
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Re: Re:

Postby lwd » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:25 am

mellenthin wrote:I do not remember the high command ordering Rommel back from El Alamein because it found itself in the impossibility of supplying him there.

And your point is? Since no one has suggested that they did and their lack of doing so is irrelevant it appearse you are just trying to obscure the point.
That could have been decided and Rommel would not have shed tears over it. But it was not done as Hitler was not in the habit of giving things up.

Even more irrelevant to the topic under discussion.
If you are not able or are not prepared to give sufficient support to a theatre then you must draw the obvious conclusion from that. That was the responsability of the high command. Rommel has no responsability there. He simply has to state what his needs are.

But he's also responsible for living with what he's got. Starting a 1,000 mile round trip when you only have enough fuel for say 600 miles and little prospect of getting more is rather irresponsible.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby mellenthin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:22 am

At no time Rommel was at a point where he could not be supported.
There was for example no impossibility of supporting him at El Alamein.
The main difficulty was always supplies being sunk before they arrived.
Before Rommel started his attack in august 1942, for example,he had received the assurance that he would get the fuel he needed,if necessary by air.Ufortunately,the tankers were sunk and Kesselring did not succeed in fullfilling his promise of getting enough fuel through by air.
The german and italian high commands could have theoretically ordered a retreat for logistical reasons but obviously that did not happen as it would have meant giving up a lot of terrain.In addition the position at El Alamein was a very good one from a defensive viewpoint.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby lwd » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:47 pm

mellenthin wrote:At no time Rommel was at a point where he could not be supported.
There was for example no impossibility of supporting him at El Alamein.

Again a bit of a strawman although a more cleverly worded one than usual. No one has claimed he could not be supported or that it was impossibile to support him in front of El Alamein. However the logisitical support was clearly inadequate on a number of ocasions and at El Alamein was one I believe.
The main difficulty was always supplies being sunk before they arrived.

The evidence is pretty clear that this is not the case. The problem was moving material to the front from the ports as has been clearly described a number of times over on the axis history forum. Usually just before you get another account banned.
Before Rommel started his attack in august 1942, for example,he had received the assurance that he would get the fuel he needed,if necessary by air.Ufortunately,the tankers were sunk and Kesselring did not succeed in fullfilling his promise of getting enough fuel through by air.

I.e. he couldn't recieve adequate logistical support.
The german and italian high commands could have theoretically ordered a retreat for logistical reasons but obviously that did not happen as it would have meant giving up a lot of terrain.

Why you keep repeating this pieces of irrelavancy I don't know.
In addition the position at El Alamein was a very good one from a defensive viewpoint.

Not given the length and vulnerability of his supply lines it wasn't.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby mellenthin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:26 pm

The length of the supplyline was never the main problem.
It complicated things,not more. When sinkings were low adequate amounts of supply could be built up in advance of a defensive or offensive battle. When sinkings were high the situation became ver difficult.
The position at El Alamein was a good one because it allowed a statistic defense.
Retreating to Sollum would not reduce the sinkings and would not signficantly reduce the distance to Tripoli. It would be a position that could be turned which would necessitate a mobile defense which would be a serious problem if tankers were sunk.
Therefore,even for purely military reasons a retreat was not really a solution.
And in addition to that Hitler and Mussolini were not in the business of giving things up.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby mellenthin » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:41 am

When Rommel is accused of putting his forces in alledgedly unsupportable positions it is very relevant to point out that those in charge at the high commands did not share this opinion as no retreat was ordered.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby lwd » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:06 am

mellenthin wrote:When Rommel is accused of putting his forces in alledgedly unsupportable positions it is very relevant to point out that those in charge at the high commands did not share this opinion as no retreat was ordered.

You really should take a course in logic some time. The above is an excelent example of logical fallacy.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby mellenthin » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:24 am

lwd wrote:
mellenthin wrote:When Rommel is accused of putting his forces in alledgedly unsupportable positions it is very relevant to point out that those in charge at the high commands did not share this opinion as no retreat was ordered.

You really should take a course in logic some time. The above is an excelent example of logical fallacy.


Certainly not. Rommel dod not go rogue in North Africa. If ,as some allege, it is so evident that Rommel could not be supported where he had advanced then those in charge at the high commands should have been aware of that In the first place and are responsible for not ordering him back to where he alledgedly could be supported and for allowing the advance .
Not that I agree that he could not be supported but those that think so must critizise those at the top and not Rommel. He only had to propose plans and formulate his requirements.It is those in the high commands who have to correlate objectives and the resources one is willing or able to spend in a theatre.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby lwd » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:22 am

mellenthin wrote:
lwd wrote:
mellenthin wrote:When Rommel is accused of putting his forces in alledgedly unsupportable positions it is very relevant to point out that those in charge at the high commands did not share this opinion as no retreat was ordered.

You really should take a course in logic some time. The above is an excelent example of logical fallacy.

Certainly not. Rommel dod not go rogue in North Africa.

Strawman. A well known logical fallacy by the way.
If ,as some allege, it is so evident that Rommel could not be supported where he had advanced then those in charge at the high commands should have been aware of that In the first place and are responsible for not ordering him back to where he alledgedly could be supported and for allowing the advance .

Not really.
Not that I agree that he could not be supported but those that think so must critizise those at the top and not Rommel.

Why? I think there are sufficient grounds to critizise all concerned.
He only had to propose plans and formulate his requirements.

But he executed those plans whether or not his requirements were met did he not? And weren't some of his "requirements" rather in excess of what was reasonable at the time?
It is those in the high commands who have to correlate objectives and the resources one is willing or able to spend in a theatre.

At some level but that's rather irrelevant to the topic at hand.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby mellenthin » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:39 am

Rommel has the right to ask what he needs. It is the high command that has to make up its mind whether it is willing or able to meet these requirements.
And if one is not willing or able to devote the necessary resources in a theatre then one needs to consider giving it up.
When Rommel did not get what he wanted,he needed to make do with less. This challenges a commander and Rommels successes within the restrictions he was working under are the reason why Rommel was an outstanding commander. An average commander will not be able to do this.
Unfortunately the willingness to send more troops came when it was too late.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby lwd » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:53 am

mellenthin wrote:Rommel has the right to ask what he needs. It is the high command that has to make up its mind whether it is willing or able to meet these requirements.

Agreed.
And if one is not willing or able to devote the necessary resources in a theatre then one needs to consider giving it up.

Or perhpas doing less. It' s not an all or nothing proposition as you seem to imply.
When Rommel did not get what he wanted,he needed to make do with less.

And he overextended himself in the process. "making do with less" usually involves implementing plans that use less resources.
This challenges a commander and Rommels successes within the restrictions he was working under are the reason why Rommel was an outstanding commander. An average commander will not be able to do this.

In many ways however his successes lead to his failures. What an "average" commander can or can't do is irrelevant.
Unfortunately the willingness to send more troops came when it was too late.

Yes if they had sent him more troops sooner those would have been lost as well making things easier for the allies as the war progressed.
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Re: George McCllelan over Erwin Rommel?

Postby mellenthin » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:16 am

Just sitting on the defensive and leaving the intietive to an enemy with a growing material supeiority,particularly in a theatre like North Africa,with its high suitability for mobile warfare will only lead to defeat . Taking the initiative is the best option. That is what Rommel did(with approval)° and he got very far. There certainly was a window of opportunity for pushing the british back to the Nile in 1942 but insufficient resources were committed.
Also,If you really want a defensive strategy then you should not sent Rommel.
Rommels proposals for the offensive in 1942 were approved so he was not where he was because he went rogue.
He was certainly never overextended as he could be supplied wherever he was on the condition that what was sent also arrived.
Some may allege that the supply effort was run at peak efficiency but that is very doubtable, if only because of the italian way of doing things. Some may allege that a lenthy supplyline is an insurmountable problem but that is also untrue. A longer supplyline in an area without railways only means more trucks and fuel are needed. In 'Für Rommels Panzer durch die Wüste, Helmuth Frey Brienna Verlag 2010 which is a collection of letters written by the Divisionsnachschubführer of the 15.Panzerdivision to his brother, one of these letters(of 5 june 1941)gives a simple explanation about how the needed truck capacity can be calculated :

'...that with a daily consumption of 100 tons(food and fuel), I need to bring forward 100 tons. Now ,the distance is 1600 km. With a daily distance achieved of 300 km, I need 11 days for 3200 kms and two days for rest and maintenance,thus 13 days and correspondingly a column volume of 1300 tons, The trucks also need fuel . For 100 km 30 liters fuelconsumption. For one vehicle for one trip 960 liter =1 ton. As a truck has 3 ton load capacity 1/3 more. Thus loadcapacity 1300 ton + 400 tons = 1700 tons.
There was not taken into account munitions,water,medication,...and especially spare parts for trucks. I put these theoretical considerations here to show the difficulties a supply over longer distances has without railways. Fortunately there are modern solutions.
My columns have achieved enormously . ...Monthly achievement: 900.000 t- kms. Hereby 2/3 of the columns was used. With t -km I count only the kilometers which were driven loaded. When one reflects that trucks are only driven with a load of 2 ton in the desert, then one can correctly pretend that our drivers know every night what they have achieved.'
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