Author Topic: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????  (Read 2088 times)

Offline M.A.D

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Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« on: April 27, 2017, 01:30:32 PM »
In a historical perspective, can anyone take an educated guest as to which Australian WWII Army, Navy and Air Force higher ranking practitioner/tactician's/strategist could be categorised as Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever.........

M.A.D

Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 04:27:53 PM »
For the RAN I'd have thought Sir John Collin's was right up there.
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 06:39:12 PM »
For the RAN I'd have thought Sir John Collin's was right up there.

Thank's mate, that's the feedback I'm after, and need!
I need a given experience and influential ranking practitioner's/tactician's/strategist's from each service (Army, Navy and Air Force) for my 'Alternative ADF ORBAT' backstory, architects who will be the driving force in establishing the 'new' ADF post-WWII; which is specifically far more independent and less focussed on reliance/dependence on either Britain and or the United States........Architects who enthusiastically and logically adapt and adopt the hard earned lessons of combat and cutting-edge technologies........

M.A.D

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 08:13:04 PM »
Hector Waller, commander of the Scrap Iron Flotilla and captain of Perth, died at the Battle of Sunda Strait.

Army I would say Thomas Blamey, its quite popular to hate him but the man was actually quite exceptional.  Monash sung his praises, giving him credit for much of the planning work on the combined arms operations late WWI, making him one of the first generals (if not the first) to successfully integrate tanks and aircraft into attack plans.  In WWII he tried to get preproduction helicopters assigned to New Guinea to supply troops in the field, the man was quite visionary.

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 02:35:36 AM »
Army I would say Thomas Blamey, its quite popular to hate him but the man was actually quite exceptional.  Monash sung his praises, giving him credit for much of the planning work on the combined arms operations late WWI, making him one of the first generals (if not the first) to successfully integrate tanks and aircraft into attack plans.  In WWII he tried to get preproduction helicopters assigned to New Guinea to supply troops in the field, the man was quite visionary.

I would tend to agree.  Unfortunately it is popular to denigrate him in m any circles but if the circumstances were different after WW1 he could very well have become known as one of the outstanding generals/visionaries.  As you have stated, he was instrumental as Monash's Chief of Staff in WW1 and played a critical part in the planning and execution of actions such as the Battle of Hamel which was arguably, the first modern combined arms action involving the use of tanks (including supply tanks), artillery, infantry, aircraft (including airborne supply drops).  It is also known for being the first use wirelesses to send messages from captured objectives.  Finally, and often overlooked, the Battle for Hamel was also the first offensive action by American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) units and indeed represented the first time in history that US troops would fight under a foreign commander.
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Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 08:14:52 PM »
Another Army to consider is Leslie Morshead.

I'm training as a guide at the AWM, and we discussed today how well he did at Tobruk, El Alemein and Tarakan.

Learnt his trade in the First World War (Gallipoli, Western Front) then did well in the Second as advised.

Ming the Merciless was his nickname..................

And Chauvel (although he was WW1) - two Knighthoods MUST mean something...............

Navy - Farncomb - there is debate who was the higher flyer - Collins or Farncomb.


Air Force is a little different.  You might consider Lou Spence, CO 77 Squadron in Korea.  Was slated/expected for higher until the fateful day his aircraft didn't recover from a napalm pass...................

Spence was only a Wing Commander (but then again, so was I...)

Another option might be Richard Cresswell.  Flown to take over 77 when they lost Spence.

Flew (from memory) Kittyhawks, Mustangs, Meteors and I believe qualified in the Mirage before he finished.  Fought for the introduction of the Meteor (Sabre's were unavailable until 1954 or so) against higher officers who considered Korea ä bit of a side-show".

Only man to command 77 Squadron on three occasions  believe.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 10:47:55 PM »
Chauvel was very keen to form a standing army post WWI and motorise it.  If you look at his plans and what ended up being needed in WWII its clear he knew what he was talking about.

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 04:08:33 AM »
Another Army to consider is Leslie Morshead.

I'm training as a guide at the AWM, and we discussed today how well he did at Tobruk, El Alemein and Tarakan.

Learnt his trade in the First World War (Gallipoli, Western Front) then did well in the Second as advised.

Ming the Merciless was his nickname..................

And Chauvel (although he was WW1) - two Knighthoods MUST mean something...............

I suppose my issue with either Morshead or Chauvel is that whilst both were undoubtedly good soldiers and leaders of their men and fought successfully, were either innovative from the viewpoint of strategy or tactics in the same way as someone like Guderian or indeed Monash/Blamey as detailed above? 

One [obvious] candidate for the Air Force side would have to be Sir Richard Williams.  He was a proponent for air power being independent of other branches of the armed services just as was the case with other leading Air Power theorists around the world.  In fact, he along with Thomas Blamey (again adding to his status) were both instrumental in the creation of the RAAF. He also took leading positions with the RAAF (including serving as Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) three times over seventeen years in the 1920s and '30s).  He thus 'shepherded' the nascent RAAF during its formative years when it could easily have been reabsorbed by either the Army or Navy.  He also played a role in encouraging the local aerospace industry.

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 09:53:42 AM »
The thing is with Chauvel was his (and others) roles were played down by the propagandists and anti French elements in the Foreign Orifice to enhance to appearance of the Arab Uprising breaking and defeating the Ottoman Empire.  Having Arab self rule (in the opinion of Arabists) strengthened Britain's hand in the Middle East and weakened France, critically providing the UK greater control over the oil in the region, admitting the truth, i.e. the Arabs did very little of the fighting and that Laurance of Arabia was a delusional, melodramic, nut case would have revealed that most of the fighting and almost all of the success was down to the predominantly infantry, predominantly English allied force out of Egypt. 

Where Chauvel excelled was in leading what was apparently the largest cavalry (mounted) force ever assembled and effectively deploying it against a seasoned enemy in their home territory.  The Middle East was seen as a side show by London so didn't get many of the resources it required, i.e. Chauvel always wanted more aircraft, armoured cars and tanks, he was very keen on motor lorries too.  He effectively employed the limited aviation and armoured support he did have.  Post Beersheba he issued swords to the Light Horse and employed them in highly successful manoeuvre warfare, bypassing, encircling and cutting off enemy forces.  He also negotiated surrender terms  where the Turks would keep their weapons to defend themselves from our Arab "allies", on occasion, Light Horse Units would actually deploy in defensive positions around the Turks to keep our "allies" from butchering them.  Damascus, famously captured by the Arabs had actually already surrendered to the 10th Light Horse Regiment as it passed through the city pursuing the retreating Turks, the battle had already been won before Feisals army got there, the rest is politics.

Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2017, 04:41:41 PM »
All GREAT discussion - but the original question was for WW2 people.   :o


Oh - and not to lower the tone, but in a presentation to us during training the head Historian from the AWM lamented Beersheba as a terrible waste of effort/lives that was probably not required  (And YES - I know we could say that about a LOT of stuff in the Middle East or SW Pacific late in the war).

GTX - one point for Moreshead COULD be that he was the first to defeat/stop Rommel during the siege - when (as I understand it) his "tactic'was to let the Panzer's pass the first line, cut them off from their supporting troops, then kill them from behind.

As I read in a book once - "Hunting tanks is fun and easy" (unless they have infantry support.........)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 04:48:47 PM by ScranJ51 »
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 06:43:18 PM »
For the RAN I'd have thought Sir John Collin's was right up there.

Sorry, not up up there in Naval rank and affairs....So as Chief of Naval Staffin 1948, Collins is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of Defence. So am I right in say his ideas and notions would be very influential?

M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2017, 02:56:28 AM »
All GREAT discussion - but the original question was for WW2 people.   :o

Agreed, though one could argue that those who were there in the lead up to WWII were the ones most relevant to the strategist debate (as was the case with someone such as Guderian).  That aside though, if we want to focus on those who had operational commends in WWII itself it is somewhat more difficult as for the most part Australian commanders were subordinate to either British or American commanders during the war.  Given this, Sir Leslie James Morshead probably does stand out given his role in both North Africa and the Pacific theatres. It is also interesting that Blamey had recommended  Morshead should succeed him as commander-in-chief in the event that he became incapacitated.

Using the same criteria for the RAAF, I suppose you have Air Marshal Sir George Jones or Air Vice-Marshal William Bostock (both are pictured below with Thomas Blamey aboard the USS Missouri at the Japanese surrender ceremony):



Interestingly, both were friends and started out as infantry at Gallipoli before becoming pilots in WWI.

If you wanted someone at the more operational level you have Clive Caldwell or Bobby Gibbes.  Both were top flyers who led units in North Africa (No. 112 Squadron RAF and No. 3 Squadron respectively) and were both also sent to the Pacific.  Controversially, both were also involved in the "Morotai Mutiny", in which several senior flyers resigned in protest at what they saw as the relegation of RAAF fighter squadrons to dangerous and strategically worthless ground attack missions. Whilst their action was subsequently justified both were court martialled for their involvement in alcohol trafficking on Morotai and were reduced to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

I suppose my only issue with any of the ones listed here is that were any of them really instrumental in developing new tactics/strategies in the way that Guderian, Dönitz, Wever were.  Sure, they were great 'soldiers' and probably outstanding leaders of men at the operational level but did they really contribute to the development of tactics/strategy or even the organisations in the way the others did.  This is part of the reason why I tended to look at the likes of Blamey and/or Williams.
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2017, 09:14:20 AM »
Yeah thank's Greg....

Quote
as for the most part Australian commanders were subordinate to either British or American commanders during the war.

And this is one of the major findings and criticisms of the Royal Commission into Australia's Preparedness and Conduct of the Second World War [or something to that effect - I'd appreciate some input to a Commission title!!] in my backstory, which is brought about by servicemen and public out cry alike for the costly debacles of Malaya/Singapore, Crete, New Guinea, Borneo .........; the woeful obsolescent and outclassed weapons and equipment that Australian servicemen had to fight with till the American's could spare us production and Australian indigenous production could be effective .....
It is this public and service pressure and accountability which brings about the impetuous for a more professional, less allied dependent and standalone ADF and defence industry in Australia! .....

Quote
I suppose my only issue with any of the ones listed here is that were any of them really instrumental in developing new tactics/strategies in the way that Guderian, Dönitz, Wever were.  Sure, they were great 'soldiers' and probably outstanding leaders of men at the operational level but did they really contribute to the development of tactics/strategy or even the organisations in the way the others did

My sentiments exactly Greg, hence why I'm reaching out for the wealth of knowledge and intellect of forum members  ;)

M.A.D
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 09:55:00 AM by M.A.D »

Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2017, 09:23:42 AM »
Given some criteria - how would you include Wever?

Sure - had some great ideas, but his death (due to his own error) meant they were never followed through.

I'd dismiss Jones AND Bostock.  Spent too much time bickering between themselves about who should be Chief to achieve anything.

Good point about Caldwell - another option, but again - REALLY influential in tactics.

What a pity Sir Keith Park was a Kiwi..........................


(Bought his Biography when I was in Rotorua - his birthplace - earlier this year.  Haven't got around to reading it yet.

I recently picked up a second hand book : Command - from Alexander the Great to Zhukov - The Greatest Commanders of World History.

In the WW2 section - Guderain and Doenitz are named - Wever isn't.

And the closest we get in Freyberg - a Kiwi.  NO Aussies!

Monash is named in the WW1 section - only Aussie - note Sir Ian Hamilton is also named - which dulls selection somewhat...........................
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2017, 10:11:52 AM »
Thank's ScranJ51
The Wever thing is derived from his foresight before his death - re the imperative need for the Luftwaffe to have and use long-rang heavy bombers against Germany's enemies! Something I think he was proven correct...

Im open to other suggestions mate  ;)

For me personally, Blamey became too much of a political populist animal and was very unpopular with his subordinates - sorry having a close affiliation with the 39th Battalion, 'Rabbits caught in the spotlight' doesn't go down with the men fighting and dying aimlessly for Blamey to divert criticism from MacArthur  ::)   

M.A.D

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2017, 10:21:59 AM »
Thank's ScranJ51
The Wever thing is derived from his foresight before his death - re the imperative need for the Luftwaffe to have and use long-rang heavy bombers against Germany's enemies! Something I think he was proven correct...

Im open to other suggestions mate  ;)

For me personally, Blamey became too much of a political populist animal and was very unpopular with his subordinates - sorry having a close affiliation with the 39th Battalion, 'Rabbits caught in the spotlight' doesn't go down with the men fighting and dying aimlessly for Blamey to divert criticism from MacArthur  ::)   

M.A.D

If I recall correctly Blamey was actually saying that the way to fight the Japanese was to chase them down their rabbit holes, not that the 39th had run like rabbits as often assumed.  The thing that stuns me is the tall poppy cutting of Blamey while Bennet, who from everything I have read appears to have been an egocentric incompetent, is put on a pedestal.

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2017, 11:00:34 AM »

Quote
If I recall correctly Blamey was actually saying that the way to fight the Japanese was to chase them down their rabbit holes, not that the 39th had run like rabbits as often assumed.  The thing that stuns me is the tall poppy cutting of Blamey while Bennet, who from everything I have read appears to have been an egocentric incompetent, is put on a pedestal.

Fair enough mate.
But speaking and knowing these men of the 39th, Id have to take their point of view and experience, as they were there, as opposed to a later revisionist perspective of trying to save ones [Blamey's] dignity.

But this isn't really the subject at hand.

As per usual, I value your opinion and input Volkodav


M.A.D
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 12:32:59 PM by M.A.D »

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2017, 01:13:45 PM »

Quote
If I recall correctly Blamey was actually saying that the way to fight the Japanese was to chase them down their rabbit holes, not that the 39th had run like rabbits as often assumed.  The thing that stuns me is the tall poppy cutting of Blamey while Bennet, who from everything I have read appears to have been an egocentric incompetent, is put on a pedestal.

Fair enough mate.
But speaking and knowing these men of the 39th, Id have to take their point of view and experience, as they were there, as opposed to a later revisionist perspective of trying to save ones [Blamey's] dignity.

But this isn't really the subject at hand.

As per usual, I value your opinion and input Volkodav


M.A.D

Just read this again.....Sorry Volkodav, please don't interpret my statement as me accusing you of being a revisionist! Contrary , I'm meaning the person you've quoted Blamey was actually saying that the way to fight the Japanese was to chase them down their rabbit holes - I think it was his Adjutant??

M.A.D

Offline ScranJ51

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2017, 02:10:29 PM »
M.A.D

I understand about Wever - I had to brief about him on Staff Course.  Agree that had he survived - things may well have been VERY different!!

Re Collins - RAN.

I base my proposal on both his wartime record plus the fact he spend over 6 years as Head of the Navy effectively.  While the RAN reached the post-war zenith in the early-mid 60's with 2 Carriers etc. which were acquired during or just after Collin's time - so I believe he would have been influential in their acquisition and planning around building the Fleet Air Arm etc.  I'm not sure Farncomb had as much influence post war.  Just so you know - my father served on HMAS SHROPSHIRE under both these guys - so I may be a little bias.

I stick by my guns about Moreshead - the more I learn the more I think he is YOUR man for what you want.


I'll get back to you about the RAAF.  One to consider might be Schergher (did I spell that right?  32years RAAF you think I'd know how) - I need to do some more digging.

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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2017, 05:56:21 PM »
Thank you ScranJ51, you've afforded me some great insight, and I greatly appreciate your assistance!

It sounds like you've had an interesting life and career thus far!

I got your PM thanks, and will delve into it asap!

M.A.D

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2017, 02:28:27 PM »
Found something interesting on Blamey, an AWM review of a book on him, I may need to get a copy.

https://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j34/bridgerev/

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2017, 03:30:48 PM »
Found something interesting on Blamey, an AWM review of a book on him, I may need to get a copy.

https://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j34/bridgerev/

Thank's Paul, an interesting quick read  ;)
By my own admittance, I may be biased against Blamey, but more I read about him, I think he might have sufficed in a desperate political environment of politician's/population desperation at the moment of hysteria about impending Japanese invasion, as opposed to his true command and tactician capacity. I'm still of the opinion that it's easy for historians to write/interprete/reinterprete history years, decades after, when those who were there, personally experienced and physically bleed are overlooked. But I digress..... I really wonder how effective Blamey would have been post-WWII, as an organiser, a listener to younger front line men who saw and understood modern post-WWII technology, tactics and doctrine, which deviated from what Blamey knew or comprehended.
I have a numb feeling in my mind that in post-WWII Blamey might have been a little like Goring in a sense, when he established the Luftwaffe - Somewhat living in a romantic past as a war hero, wanting to appease his political masters, maybe even his own political aspirations, when the world had moved on and his focus on task of designing, implementing a new ADF.

No disrespect intended to you Paul or Blamey  :-[

But as Greg often says:
Quote
"remember, this is what if
!" ;)

M.A.D
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 03:46:50 PM by M.A.D »

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2017, 06:08:53 PM »
Ok, disclaimer first up: I'm a South Australian, so I may be a little biased.

However, I'd like to put Sydney Rowell into the mix. The secret is not to look into his war history (the colour of which depends on whether the author is pro- or anti-Blamey ... & I've yet to read a history that wasn't one or the other) but, rather, at who he mingled with between the wars & what he actually did post-war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Rowell

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rowell-sir-sydney-fairbairn-11575

https://www.awm.gov.au/people/P10676605/
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2017, 06:33:52 PM »
Thank's for your interest and contribution Old Wombat (Even though you are a crow eater  ;D

Thank's for the links mate!
Between the links supplied by yourself, volkodav and 
ScranJ51, I'm getting educated  :P

M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2017, 02:50:36 AM »
I think he might have sufficed in a desperate political environment of politician's/population desperation at the moment of hysteria about impending Japanese invasion, as opposed to his true command and tactician capacity.

I believe his capacity as a commander and tactician was well proven during WW1.  Not only did he participate right at the front line in places like Gallipoli (incl leading patrols to gather intel') but also as a Staff Officer on the Western front under bother Sir William Birdwood and Monash.  and whilst many like to deride the role of 'Staff Officers' remember that in reality, only the best and brightest were given these roles.  In fact, his contributions to the successful battles at the end of the war (The Battle of Hamel, Battle of Amiens and the Battle of the Hindenburg Line) were highly regarded.  In fact, one could argue that these laid down the pattern for many subsequent combined arms operations for the next 100 odd years.  Not a small undertaking.

During WWII, one could argue that he was a 'prisoner of circumstance' being forced to share the limelight with Douglas MacArthur (something the latter probably wouldn't have liked...).  Moreover, I find the following statement by official historian, Dudley McCarthy, quite telling:

Quote
At the very peak of this leadership development was General Blamey himself. His greatness was demonstrated almost daily by a knowledge unparalleled in Australia of how an army should be formed and put to work; by his exercise of the vital field command at the same time as he kept within his grasp a vastly detailed control of the Australian Army as a whole; by his sagacity and strength in meeting the rapidly changing demands of a difficult political situation; by his ability speedily to encompass the requirements of the new war and plan far ahead of the events of the day as he controlled them; by his generally unappreciated humanity.

I really wonder how effective Blamey would have been post-WWII, as an organiser, a listener to younger front line men who saw and understood modern post-WWII technology, tactics and doctrine, which deviated from what Blamey knew or comprehended.

By all accounts Blamey was extremely interested in technological innovation and was a keen advocate for them, being a leading proponent for introducing aspects such as tanks and the like.  He was also shown to advocate the development of appropriate tactics and strategies for their deployment.  This was shown both in the military and the Police force. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that he wouldn't have continued to be relevant post war had the opportunity presented itself  As it was, one of the things he devoted himself after the war was the promotion of the welfare of ex-service personnel.  An admirable undertaking.

Also, remember that he was not one of the 'old guard'.  In fact, it is often overlooked that he was directly involved in creation of the RAAF as an independent service arm - again showing a willingness to adapt.

I have a numb feeling in my mind that in post-WWII Blamey might have been a little like Goring in a sense, when he established the Luftwaffe - Somewhat living in a romantic past as a war hero, wanting to appease his political masters, maybe even his own political aspirations, when the world had moved on and his focus on task of designing, implementing a new ADF.

On what basis do you make this statement?

I recommend you have a closer read of his life and reconsider his abilities.
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Offline M.A.D

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Re: Australia's Guderian, Dönitz, Wever..????
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2017, 02:54:07 PM »
Greg, in the interests of the forum, topic and foresight of what I’m trying to achieve, I wish to relinquish and abstain from replying to this valid question.
I don’t want to get bogged down in a quagmire of words - :(

M.A.D