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( History ) The Greatest General of All Time

Phil Perry

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This is yet more from the story of Herr Wilhelm Flicke of the German Intercept Service. It has been mentioned before that Herr Flicke’s opinion is that Signals Intelligence is of the highest importance. Few would argue with him but as well as intercepting and deciphering wireless messages, they have to be evaluated and distributed to the relevant people. Having received them, these people should then act on them.


The “greatest General of all time” is our old friend the little Austrian Corporal Adolf. The sarcastic title has been awarded by Herr Flicke based on his knowledge of Adolf’s attitude to signals intelligence as well as a few other things. The two striper had his own view of the world and all in it, anything that clashed with that view was incorrect and could be ignored plus its supplier could well get an earful of abuse, or worse. He even insisted on seeing raw intelligence, no analysis of it was allowed.


This article will attempt to provide a few examples where this happened and the consequences where possible.


To my poor little mind, the two biggest mistakes Adolf made were declaring war on the USA and attacking the USSR. You could argue the holocaust but disgusting as it was, it did not finish him off and I think those two decisions ensured Germany lost the war. Strangely enough, there is a connection.


First obvious misinterpretation was his belief that neither the UK nor France would fight to support Poland. He was very wrong, we declared war on him but as it was a phoney war he thought we would eventually get bored and come to an agreement with him.


When Operation Sea Lion was going on, it was not done under cover or camouflage but out in the open. It was like the Germans were sending a message. Adolf still wanted peace with the UK and its help against the USSR (based on pre war anti Bolshevik comments made by Churchill). The implication is that the threatened invasion was a bluff and designed to force the UK’s hand. When this didn’t do the trick, the next step was to threaten the UK’s colonies in the Far East, using the Japanese, so as to split the disposition of Britain’s military. The Germans had forgotten one thing and that was if the Japanese tried to disturb the balance of power in the Far East, the USA would not stand by and watch; relations were already tense over the Japanese invasion of China.


The Japanese raised an objection to this, they did not want the USA involved. Von Ribbentrop assured them that the USA would be in no position to cause trouble because Germany would declare war on the USA and both the USA and the UK would have to split their forces to deal with two fronts and the USA would then be too weak to threaten the Japanese.


In September 1940 the Germans had intercepted traffic that gave a fair picture of the USA’s production capabilities and estimates for the the next two years. Compared with German production these figures were enormous. Hitler and Ribbentrop said these figures were pipe dreams, they knew best. It was typical Hitler, facts that do not agree with his ideas must be wrong.


Next came the “if I attack the USSR, based on anti-Bolshevik utterances of Churchill, the British are bound to join in with us and also attack the commies”. That worked out well for him too, He eventually ended up with the perennial German nightmare, war on two fronts, three if you include Italy.


Hitler had decided in about September 1940 to attack Russia. He wanted the oilfields of Mosul in Iraq and wanted to attack them via Russia and North Africa. The British landed troops in Iraq to counter this and about this time Hess flew to Scotland with his attempt to negotiate, it was unofficial but with Hitler’s blessing.


Originally one of the routes chosen to Mosul was via Turkey, with or without its approval. the Ambassador in Ankara von Papen convinced Adolf to go another way. Hence the attack on Crete but it was so costly, the result was the Germans abandoned that route. Treachery was again suspected when the defence of Crete seemed so resolute and the British seemed to know the German plan.


Hitler expected the USSR to collapse under the weight of the German onslaught as it blitzkrieged its way through Russia. It didn’t and instead of demoralising the Russians, each German victory spurred them on. Talk of a holy war in the East was replace by the Lebensraum theory, how I hate that word. Even the White Russians left in Germany were advocating fighting for the Motherland, this was stamped on by the Gestapo.


Intelligence provided reports that the Russian Air Force had over 10,000 aircraft as well as significant production capability. The Nazi bigwigs, including Adolf, ridiculed this idea and decided there was no way they had more than 3,000. After the Germans had announced that they had destroyed more than 6,000 Russian planes, the bigwigs decided that the method of reporting of Russian losses was to blame, not their estimate of the initial strength.


The German timetable was wrecked, but even if they had occupied Moscow, what would have happened. Napoleon had done just that and the Russians had withdrawn enticing him to advance further still. He did not, he retreated, and the Germans would have gone no further.


From August to October 1941, the Russians built up 40 divisions to the rear of the fighting. The Germans intercepted the signals and could identify what was going on. Colonel Kettler, Chief of these Intercepts composed an exhaustive report detailing what the Russians were up to and sent it via General Fellgiebel, Chief of Armed Forces Signals, to the General Staff who passed it on. It was rejected and returned to Fellgiebel with these comments


They ought to put this Hosenscheisser (trouser shitter) Kettler out of business, from Jodl (a bit of a brown noser from all accounts).

This is also the opinion of the Führer, from Fegelein (later husband of Eva Braun’s sister).


The report was returned to Kettler who was then given a command at the front. Late in October the traffic ceased and at his Wolf’s Lair, Hitler was convinced it had been a Russian hoax, the little Austrian convinced himself he had been right once again. But the defence around Moscow was strengthened with the reserves and the Germans, against their expectations , were held.


Among German Army commanders, an awakening began to dawn. They started to remember what their Signals Intelligence had been telling them about the timetable of Russian mobilisation and the capacity of the munitions industry beyond the Volga. Hitler had a theory that a population of one million could muster x divisions, the Russian population was about 180 million so from that he had a theoretical maximum number of Russian divisions. Needless to say, the Soviets actually produced more than this theoretical maximum.


In the middle of this the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the USA declared war on Japan and Germany declared war on the USA. Just as the Russian campaign was slowing down, the fool goes and declares war on the USA which was already supplying equipment to the USSR. Since August 1941 Hitler had wanted Japan to join the war against the USSR but Japan’s gaze was in another direction and in fact the Japanese eventually came to an agreement with the USSR that they would not attack it, thereby freeing up more Red Army divisions to be used against the Germans.


Who can forget the Downfall videos mocking Adolf. One of his first sentences is “Das war ein Befehl, der Angriff Steiners war ein Befehl” or “That was an order, Steiner’s attack was an order”. Well, Steiner had a semi-mythical force that didn’t really exist except on paper but the Führer convinced himself it was real and lost the plot when it did not follow orders. Even to the end, having been so wrong on so many things, he was still at it. The man obviously had some kind of talent, if only he could have used it for good rather than evil.


Well Chuffed 2018


going postal blog



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  • 4 weeks later...

Interesting, but in great need of paragraph breaks!


Perhaps the person who made the greatest contribution to defeating Hitler was Richard Sorge; who was a real life James Bond type. His reports allowed Stalin to transfer huge numbers of troops, tanks and aircraft from Siberia just in time to stop the German advance.


Richard Sorge - Wikipedia



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Interesting, but in great need of paragraph breaks!

Perhaps the person who made the greatest contribution to defeating Hitler was Richard Sorge; who was a real life James Bond type. His reports allowed Stalin to transfer huge numbers of troops, tanks and aircraft from Siberia just in time to stop the German advance.


Richard Sorge - Wikipedia

Yes OK,. . .sorry about that. . .the original had much better formatting but it was 'Disqus' which is Krap, and doesn't travel well.. I must've posted it too late, or got interrupted. . .I normally try to restore the original layout, and embolden subheadings too. . . I'll try to do that next time I post one.



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Wasn't the greatest general of all time... either Pompey, or Julius, or Genghis, or Napoleon... I'm afraid some unknown German in WW2 doesn't cut it.

I thought that Marty. . . . but I never edit someone else's work. Even the naughty bits. . .WHY ? Cuz they are (normally) several orders of magnitude Better than any article I ever penned !


AND. . . I always pass on the critique received from this House of course . . it just makes them try harder.


I returned yesterday from a GREAT weekend event labelled 'The Pi$$ up at a Brewery'. This was a gathering of ne'er do wells from seven of the blogs which I frequent.We all ate at a superb restaurant in the huge cellar of the brewery, and the quality and range of food along with the level of service was superb.


It's great to meet people that I've been chatting to online FOR YEARS, they never EVER look like you would expect from the manner and content of their posts. Without being too specific. there was a large cross section of society. From a Highly ranked member of the Judiciary ( recently retired ) an ex-MP, the founder of a small UK political party, 3 serving professional pilots, 1 civil, 2 Mil, a container ship Master, some blog journalists, several published authors and the rest comprising of very ordinary folk, plus a couple of sub-normals, rather like me. 165 people in all.


I was highly surprised at the amount of Ladies present, I WON'T be showing Angie any pictures of them ( ! ) We have a retired Lady university lecturer in higher mathematics, who sets ' Maffs' exercises on some of the blogs and actually plays with numbers and makes it look interesting. . .( No,. . Really. . .) She would give Einstein a good run I'm sure. . .


I did not come out of it well though, I was helping a group of Lades to erect their huge tent thing, ( As you do, as they are fairly hopeless at MAN stuff. . .) and tripped over a guy rope in the dark and the rain ( well, this Is England. . ) I smashed the side of my head on the corner of a table containing food and drinks ( So I was told later ) and was out cold for around half an hour. Some campers were medical staff, a couple of (off duty ) first responder paramedics, who kindly cleaned up all the blood and guts.


They dragged me in the tent and I awoke finally nearly conscious at 6AM on Saturday morning in a tent full of half naked snoring women. . . No questions will be taken on this part of the story, other than the fact that I was well looked after, being fed bacon rolls and coffee, until I was able to stand and make my way to the shower block. . .


First time I've gone without Even a glass of wine for a whole weekend . . .( some Pi$$ up ! )


Still feel a bit woozy, but I'll live.



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MRI HeadScan yesterday revealed 'Moderate Concussion' I'm now banned from driving until I gets better. The specialist was Horrified that I'd driven a car 75 miles to get home. . .I felt, sort of OK at the time though. . . . . .got a lump the size of a Goose Egg on the right side of me bonce. . . .



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Perhaps the person who made the greatest contribution to defeating Hitler was Richard Sorge; who was a real life James Bond type. His reports allowed Stalin to transfer huge numbers of troops, tanks and aircraft from Siberia just in time to stop the German advance.


Richard Sorge - Wikipedia

Speaking of Stalin and the Soviets, a couple of weeks ago I was reading about the numbers of Bell King Cobras supplied to the Soviets under the lend lease agreements. I think the numbers were in the 2,500 area. I couldn't figure out why the agreement was that the Soviets weren't allowed to use them to fight Germany.


After a bit of googling, I came across the story that the Americans were expecting the USSR to declare war on Japan in the near future and the agreement was that the King Cobras would be stationed in Russia's far East only. I'd assume their thinking was that if not stipulated that way, the Soviets would have lost a lot of them fighting the Germans and it would have depleted a possible future force against Japan.


Apologies for thread hi-jacking, Phil. Just a bit of WW2 trivia.



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  • 3 weeks later...

The greatest modern age general is without doubt Sir John Monash, a plucky aussie. He stopped the bullshite of trench warfare and rolled the Germans in quick time. He used all the tech of the time as a combined war machine and quickly routed the hun. He used artillery bombardment, troops, tanks, aircraft and soldiers as a coordinated force. No more of this slaughter of millions to get a few feet. Monash was a engineer and used all his intellect to form battle strategy's that awestruck the enemy. He was determined to not have his men as mere fodder for machine guns.


His battle genius probably saved millions of lives on both sides and quickly ended war war one.


Generals don't get any better than that.



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...and Rupert Murdoch's father had convinced our PM to sack him, but when Hughes got to Europe he found a very different story to what he'd been told.

But Monash had the last laugh. He was the first General in 200 years to be knighted on the Battlefield by a reigning English Monarch.



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