Last Major German Victory of World War II

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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Lexxx
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Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by Lexxx » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:42 am

The cover to SEVASTOPOL 1942: VON MANSTEIN'S TRIUMPH by ROBERT FORCZYK states the Sevastopol Campaign was the "last major German victory of World War II." Can that be true? Certainly, the Germans had localized success after Sevastopol. But, think about it, was there a clear-cut victorious German campaign (not battle) for the remainder of World War II after the Crimean Campaign of 41/42?

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by ericv » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:58 am

Well there was the major victory after Stalingrad during which large numbers of soviet forces were defeated culminating in the reconquest of charkov early 1943...

I probably forget countless others..

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by Lexxx » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:54 am

True, but can von Manstein's counteroffensive to stabilize the line after Stalingrad truly be called a "campaign"?

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by ericv » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:15 am

Well, if you look at it like that, there were only a handful of succesful german campaigns.

1. the campaign against Poland. (the most succesful for that matter, enemy defeated in the first week)
2. the campaign against france and the low countries
3. the campaign against norway and denmark
4. the campaign against greece and yugoslavia.

All the other campaigns were eventually lost by the germans (russia, africa and the mediterranean, u-boat warfare, surface vessel warfare, air campaign over Britain etc)

Von manstein's counteroffensive in 1943 was as much, and probably even more a campaign than just conquering sevastopol and clearing the Krim.

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by Domen123 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:41 pm

you look at it like that, there were only a handful of succesful german campaigns.

1. the campaign against Poland. (the most succesful for that matter, enemy defeated in the first week)
What? :shock:

Why not defeated in the first 2 hours or yet on 31.08.1939? I would say so - sounds even better, and pretty much true to the same extent as your statement.
4. the campaign against greece and yugoslavia.
You claim it less successful than the Polish Campaign? No further comments. :shock:
2. the campaign against france and the low countries
Already decided ("enemy defeated" - as you would say) in the first 7 to 10 days, when the German troops reached the English Channel?

And this campaign was the most successful out of these 4 ones considering the strength and capabilities (unused capabilities) of German enemies.

But I would say that early phases of Barbarossa (until the battle of Moscow) were much more successful even than Westfeldzug of 1940.
3. the campaign against norway and denmark
Denmark was captured in 1 day?

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by ericv » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:28 am

ah, you're still here, I almost forgot that you were, living in this alternate reality where poland won the 2nd world war. hahaha :wink:

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by Domen123 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:03 am

ah, you're still here, I almost forgot that you were, living in this alternate reality where poland won the 2nd world war. hahaha
I'm not going to reply to your stupid personal insults / jokes nor stick to the same level of forum culture as the one represented by you in your last post.

I just want to say that if you present some controversial theories, you should support them by sources and explain exactly what do you mean and why.

Polish Campaign of 1939 lasted for 37 or 36 days according to both Polish and German sources. Namely - "Heeres Verordnungsblatt" from 02.01.1940 states that the Polish Campaign ended on 7th of October 1939 ("Feldzug gegen Polen 1.9.1939 bis 7.10.1939"). The two biggest battles of the campaign started in the second (battle of Bzura) and in the third (battle of Tomaszow Lubelski) weeks of the campaign, not in the first week. The battle of Tomaszow Lubelski ended in the fourth week of the campaign. Warsaw and Modlin surrendered in the fifth week of the campaign and the last operational force (Independent Operational Group "Polesie") surrendered on 06 - 07.10.39.

Yugoslavia in 1941 was defeated in 9 to 12 days. Greece surrendered after 18 days. Jugoslavian army numberred over 1,000,000 soldiers and Greek army + British reinforcements numbered over 500,000 soldiers. German casualties in the whole Balkanfeldzug (both Greece + Yugoslavia) according to the initial Hitler's speech were 1067 KIA, 385 MIA and 3752 WIA - while according to the most recent data - report of Organizationsabteilung d. Gen.Stb. d. OKH. from 6 Feb 45 (and probably close to the truth as it is more or less confirmed by the Volksbund database) 1593 KIA, 644 MIA and 4845 WIA. To this we must add Luftwaffe losses of 99 KIA, 163 MIA and 149 WIA.

By comparison Heer casualties in Polenfeldzug according to the most recent data were at least 16,843 KIA and 320 MIA. Luftwaffe lost an additional number of 549 KIA or MIA (this includes: Fliegendes Personal - ca. 430; Bodenpersonal - ca. 50; Flakartillerie - ca. 70) and Kriegsmarine lost 77 KIA and 3 MIA for a total of 17,792 KIA / MIA soldiers of Wehrmacht. Number of WIA according to the most reliable and detailed sources was as follows: Heer - 35,932+ (this includes: 4. Army - 2258+; 3. Army - 4,768; 8. Army - 5,840; 14. Army - 7,767+; 10. Army - 13,096; plus GA Reserves and Guderian's 19th Corps), Luftwaffe - 407, Kriegsmarine - 115 for a total of at least 36,454 WIA. Total number of KIA + MIA + WIA of German Wehrmacht was at least 54,246 compared to 7,493 in the Balkanfeldzug (which gives the ratio of 7,24 : 1).

Belgium - with an army of 600,000 men and supported by French and British forces during the "Dyle Plan"- was defeated by Germany in 18 days. During this time German army captured 95% of the territory of Belgium (the remaining 5% - or 1,700 square kms - were still controlled by the Belgian side). While in Poland during the first 17 days of the campaign (until the Soviet Invasion of Poland) German army managed to capture less than 50% of the Polish territory – or more or less the following Voivodeships: Slaskie, Krakowskie, Lodzkie, Poznanskie (which was not defended), most (ca. 90%) of Pomorskie, around half of Warszawskie, around 4/5 of Kieleckie, around 2/5 of Lwowskie and around half of Bialostockie – which means that they captured a total of ca. 145,000 - 150,000 square kms of Polish territory which totaled 389,720 square kilometres – so they captured ca. 35 – 40% of Polish territory (including Poznanskie). The remaining 65 – 60% were still controlled by Polish military and civilian administration and Polish armed forces. Most of this captured territory (Slaskie, Krakowskie, Lodzkie, Warszawskie, Pomorskie, Poznanskie, Kieleckie and even Lwowskie Voivodeships) were border territories which were neighbouring directly with Germany.
enemy defeated in the first week
Until 17.09.1939 – so during the first two weeks + three days – in total 10 Polish infantry divisions were forced to surrender, dispersed, eliminated or destroyed, of them two should be considered as just dispersed:

3 DP - 11.09.1939 (capitulation of the Radom pocket) -> since 13.09.1939 being reorganized as 3 BP
7 DP - 05.09.1939 -> remnants joined Army „Prusy” and were eliminated
9 DP - 05.09.1939 – around 40% survived in several groups, reinforced other units and continued combats
12 DP - 11.09.1939 (capitulation of the Radom pocket) -> on 17.09.1939 reconstruction in progress in Kowel
18 DP - 13.09.1939 (Andrzejewo) – around 15 – 20% in several groups avoided captivity
19 DP – dispersed between 08.09.1939 and 13.09.1939 -> since 13.09.1939 being reorganized as 19 BP
21 DP - 16.09.1939 (Oleszyce) – around 25% in one group avoided captivity and took part in further combats
22 DP - 10.09.1939 – around 25% in one group avoided captivity and took part in further combats
29 DP – dispersed between 08.09.1939 and 13.09.1939 -> since 13.09.1939 being reorganized as 29 BP
36 DP - 11.09.1939 (capitulation of the Radom pocket) -> on 17.09.1939 reconstruction of it was in progress

In total reorganized into Infantry Brigades (BPs) – three (3 BP, 19 BP, 29 BP)
In total partially rescued – three (9 DP, 22 DP, 21 DP)
In total being in the course of reconstruction on 17.09.1939 – two (12 DP, 36 DP)
In total completely lost – two (7 DP, 18 DP)

The remaining 27 Polish DPs + 3 DPs reorganized into brigades + 3 partially surviving divisions (Numeration: 1., 2., 4., 5., 6., 8., 10., 11., 13., 14., 15., 16., 17., 20., 23., 24., 25., 26., 27., 28., 30., 33., 35., 38., 39., 41., 55. + three divisions reorganized into brigades + 3 partially surviving ones) were fighting.

In the meantime (until 17 IX) also 2 more Polish divisions (improvised) were formed – 60 DP and DP “Brzoza”.

Out of these 10 infantry division, some were never fully mobilized and combat ready before being attacked:

36 DP - only 5 infantry battalions, complete lack of field artillery, lack of other non-regimental (divisional) units.

12 DP - only 7 infantry battalions, almost no AT guns, lack of one battery of field artillery, lack of part of services, stocks and supply columns.

3 DP - only 2 infantry regiments (6 battalions), only one battalion of field artillery (light), lack of major part of services, stocks and supply columns as well as lack of major part of non-regimental units.

29 DP - without one infantry regiment.

22 DP - without two infantry battalions.

Units which did not manage to join these divisions before they were eliminated, later mostly reinforced either other units or they were used during reorganization or reconstruction of their integral divisions. So the real loss was not as serious as it seems to be just from simple terms (e.g. 36 DP destroyed = just 5 battalions destroyed).

Out of 11 Polish Cavalry Brigades (Namely: Krakowska, Kresowa, Mazowiecka, Nowogrodzka, Podlaska, Podolska, Pomorska, Suwalska, Wielkopolska, Wilenska, Wolynska) – Pomorska BK was almost destroyed but around 35 - 40% of its forces survived and formed the Collective Rgt. of Pomorska BK, which fought at the Bzura. Also Wilenska BK was dispersed but its forces mostly survived and reinforced other units including the Collective Cavalry Brigade of colonel Zakrzewski (an improvised but strong brigade size unit). Also Kresowa BK suffered very heavy casualties and was probably the weakest out of all remaining Polish BKs on 17.09.1939.

So Poland still had got 9 Cavalry Brigades out of the initial number of 11 – this includes Kresowa BK – to this we must add units of Wilenska BK (fighting divided in few places, but still existing) and two improvised BKs which were formed ad hoc in the meantime – Collective BK of Zakrzewski and BK “Wolkowysk”. In total 11 BKs.

To this additional two armoured-motorized brigades which were still very strong and both were fully combat ready on 17.09.1939 – 10th Motorized Brigade (10 BK) and Warszawska Armoured-Motorized Brigade (WBPM). We must include also one mountain brigade (3 BG) out of three which were available on 01.09.39 (1., 2., 3. BGs).

Apart from these WJs (Great Units - GUs) Poland on 17.09.1939 (so after 17 days of war) had got one improvised, formed ad hoc during the war, unit of infantry division strength (Operational Group "Wlodzimierz"), one integral and four improvised units of infantry brigade strength (Fortification Group "Silesia",Groups "Sandomierz, "Zolkiew", "Stryj and "Grodno") and a lot of smaller units and garrisons of towns and other positions (including some fortificated positions).

Additionally in the Coastal Regon LOW (Ground Defense of the Coast) with circa 12,000 men was still fighting + the garrison of Hela (ca. 4,600 men).

Altogether Poland soon before the Soviet Invasion had got 2 armoured-motorized brigades, 27 divisions, 2 improvised divisions, 1 improvised unit of divisional strength, 9 cavalry brigades, 2 improvised cavalry brigades, 1 mountain brigade, 3 brigades formed from dispersed divisions (divisions reorganized into brigades), 5 improvised units of brigade strength + 3 destroyed divisions during reconstruction in Eastern Poland + remnants of some other units (including 3 divisions) + a lot of smaller units and garrisons of towns / cities, etc.

Plus forces in the Coastal Region (LOW and garrison of Hela).

Plus the Reserve Army which was being formed in the rear area of Eastern Poland from OZs (Spare Units).

So - was the enemy defeated in the first week or even in the first 17 days? I don't think so.

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Re: Last Major German Victory of World War II

Post by Domen123 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:43 am

Until 17.09.1939 – so during the first two weeks + three days – in total 10 Polish infantry divisions were forced to surrender, dispersed, eliminated or destroyed, of them two should be considered as just dispersed:
Out of 37 Infantry Divisions Poland had got in total (although some of them were not yet mobilized on 01.09.1939, most of which ended mobilization during the war - but some of them never achieved full combat readiness and did not concentrate all of their integral units - examples of such DPs are provided in the above post).

Poland planned to mobilize 39 DPs (including 30 active + 9 reserve), but 44. and 45. DPs were never concentrated and formed as such - their units fought separately during the war in many different locations (sometimes reinforcing other DPs and sometimes as separated small units ordered to defend certain positions or posts).

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