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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

cegorach

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Winner said:
Not really. Polish military was too old-fashioned to deal with blitzkrieg tactics. The Germans just exploited the doctrinal weakness of their enemies and defeated them with numerically inferior force.

I hope it won't happen in this AAR too :D


Actually it is not correct.

The only clash which seen moderate numerical advantage on Polish side was at Lvov against the 1st Mountain Division which appeared rather quickly marching from eastern Slovakia and managed to block the path before the southern group of Army Kraków.

The only battle lost mostly because of a number of mistakes with relatively similar chances of success happened at Piotrków Trybunalski - the relatively ready northern group of reserve Army Prusy was mostly defeated by the XVIth Panzer Corps and that could be avoided with better use of existiing forces.

The entire rest seen serious numerical advantage on German side.

Let's not forget that most of the army kept its integrity for a long time, despite tiresome night marching and the usual enemy pressure.
Cavalry especially fought very well - the avarage survival time for a regiment of cavalry was 21 days.

Combat performance was also comparable, but only Poles seen enemy forces enjoying numerical advantage as well as greater mobility.
Suprisingly German recon was poor (its mistakes were costly) and they clearly lacked much when it comes to certain cases of greater pressure from the Polish side (Kałuszyn, Mszczów, earlier parts of battles at Bzura and Tomaszów Lubelski) especially during the night fighting, but all in all they could afford it all enjoying almost all advantages anyone could enjoy.


@trekaddict

To quote the Duke: "Better die on your feet than live on your knees."

Only sometimes it is a good idea. Besides I didn't see Poland make such decision anytime during the 2nd WW - armies fought untill it made sense, untill there were supplies and possibility to achieve something etc.
Even if the last priority was to escape through Romania or Hungary, or Latvia or Lithuania it was taken the moment it became obvious there is no chance to win i.e. after the Soviet attack.
Ironically a day before a bottle of champagne was opened in the HQ of the Polish Army because there were some promising prospects to achieve a notable and important victory in the south i.e. destruction of German XXIInd Panzer Corps and establishemnt of a new line of defence.
Unlike some people think the famous battle at Bzura didn't end the campaign. Even Warsaw had no crucial value anymore at that time.

So what you are saying is not too useful here. The usual Polish proverb is to fight another day if you lose in the beginning - no wonder the last battle of the campaig ws actually fought to reach Kielce area - where Swiętokrzyskie Mountains allowed organised guerilla activity which already started some 3 weeks earlier.
Gen. Kleeberg was going to survive to kill, not to be killed with no results.
There are only some, rare cases where Polish units frought to the death - at Węgierka Górka and Wizna, some units at Mława against Germans and at Sarny against the Soviets - each time fortification crews which are always a bit suicidal.




Asking smaller nations to acept that is quite silly. Besides the Czechs already know well what can happen - tested and felt in 1618-22.
Some can afford losses, some cannot because there is noone else left to carry on after it is all over.




So much with this awfully long off-topic. My apologies.
 

trekaddict

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Still. They fought at all, which is my point btw. It makes no sense sacrificing yourself for no possible gain, but fighting while you can does.
 

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Sorry, but if you're saying that the Polish army lost because it was numerically inferior, it's an illusion. Most of polish armies were not crushed by overwhelming numbers of Germans, they were outmaneuvered and cut off by a very small force comprised of German armoured and motorized formations. Polish military was large, but it lacked this kind of mobility. Poland had no real armored force which could have been deployed as mobile reserve. It relied on masses of infantry, which were wrongly deployed on the border with Germany, thus making it even easier for the Germans to encircle them.

Poland had no chance - it was isolated, encircled by enemies and outgunned. Resistance, though brave, has eventually costed Poland millions of dead people, the highest per capita casualties suffered by any European country. Their people were forcibly expelled from the western parts of their country, their elites were murdered by the Russians and Germans alike, their capital city was leveled and razed to the ground. That's the price they had to pay for their symbolic resistance. As one of my teachers used to say, "you can find plenty of heroes at cemetaries".

Czechs are not like that, they're survivalists and cynical realists, while the Poles are romantic idealists ;)
 
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trekaddict

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Winner said:
Czechs are not like that, they're survivalists and cynical realists, while the Poles are romantic idealists ;)

Then I must be one of them. Still, I can see the point of the Czechs. My mind must be influenced by the cold war though, because according to several who served the West German Army would have fought to the death.
 

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trekaddict said:
Then I must be one of them. Still, I can see the point of the Czechs. My mind must be influenced by the cold war though, because according to several who served the West German Army would have fought to the death.

Well, Soviets would nuke most of Europe into oblivion anyway, and NATO would then turn most of Central and Eastern Europe into radioactive wasteland, so I doubt they'd get the chance to die fighting ;) However I enjoyed Team Yankee and I am still trying to get my hands on Hackett's Third World War: the Untold Story
 

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Winner said:
Well, Soviets would nuke most of Europe into oblivion anyway, and NATO would then turn most of Central and Eastern Europe into radioactive wasteland, so I doubt they'd get the chance to die fighting ;) However I enjoyed Team Yankee and I am still trying to get my hands on Hackett's Third World War: the Untold Story

Buy Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" to smooth over the wait. Not as good as the others but still a spiffing read. I can also recommend "The last War?" which can be found here, with new chapters regularly posted on the Naval Fiction board, the newest one is chapter 97.
 

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trekaddict said:
Buy Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" to smooth over the wait.

I've already read it, but it felt too "clancy", I hope you know what I mean.

Not as good as the others but still a spiffing read. I can also recommend "The last War?" which can be found here, with new chapters regularly posted on the Naval Fiction board, the newest one is chapter 97.

I'll take a look, thanks for the link.
 

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Winner said:
I've already read it, but it felt too "clancy", I hope you know what I mean.

Indeed. But still I like it because it is a very thrilling read despite it all.

Winner said:
I'll take a look, thanks for the link.

I can higly recommend it. The Author goes much more into detail and paints a much broader picture than anything I've seen in that way. Currently the Allies are preparing an Air attack against Moscow in reprisal for a cruise missile attack on NY and Washington that destroyed half the congress and the Statue of Liberty and an air attack againt London where the sovs used thermobaric Bombs. ( all conventional of course. Note the Theatre Weapons Treaty in the introduction. )
 

robw963

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Here are several interesting passages from Norman Davies' book God's Playground that relate to your discussion:

"The Polish Army, commanded by Marshal Śmigły-Rydz, possessed some 40 divisions, but was overwhelmed in many sectors before reserves could be mobilized. It was hampered by severed communications, by inferior weapons and organization, and by roads blocked with innumerable panic-stricken refugees. Even so, it should be remembered that the task of the Poles was not to defeat the Germans. In accordance with military discussions held in the summer, the Polish Army was only expected to hold the Wehrmacht for the two weeks required for its Western Allies to launch a major offensive with seventy battle-ready French divisions across the Rhine. In the event, the Poles fulfilled their task; the French and the British did not."

and a bit later...

"The Poles were indeed courageous; but they were not necessarily foolish. They were faced with an enemy whom they never expected to face alone, and they were deserted by their allies."

See my Game Goal #6...the betrayal shall be avenged. :mad:
 
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robw963 said:
See my Game Goal #6...the betrayal shall be avenged. :mad:

Give them hell for us too :D
 

gooy

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will churchill shoot himself in a bunker under downing street 10 or will he manage to escape to brazil ? ;)
 

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To be fair...I don't hold Churchill accountable (he wasn't prime minster yet). Daladier and Chamberlain were the villains.
 

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Winner said:
Sorry, but if you're saying that the Polish army lost because it was numerically inferior, it's an illusion.

No, I didn't. But if you look close enough you will see that it was the case in the situations when Wehrmacht won.

Besides often it didn't have to fight at all to achieve some results - the border was too long and reserves were delayed so there were numerous weak spots.


Most of polish armies were not crushed by overwhelming numbers of Germans, they were outmaneuvered and cut off by a very small force comprised of German armoured and motorized formations.

Too much Guderian, too little ... Only XIXth corps can actually claim something like this, but the problem was it fought against basically just two infantry divisions for almost the entire campaign. Even the famous attack on Brest was against three battalions of infantry.

Besides very small is somehow... strange to say - compared to what ? Their opponents ? Or the entire size of the entire Polish army and the entire Wehrmacht.
That is a difference, pretty large actually.


Polish military was large, but it lacked this kind of mobility.

Yes, it lacked mobility - motorized and armoured forces are very costly, but that is not the point here anyway.


Poland had no real armored force which could have been deployed as mobile reserve.

Not true. There were two brigades. Five overall were planned. Polish armoured forces were 7th largest in the world actually.
Of course you are referring to the number of none existent armoured divisions, but that is not a proper response.
It is not a bidding competition who has more tanks, but what is the army for.
Poland didn't need more than 5 mechanized brigades which were according to the plans and the developed doctrine flexible enough to counter any enemy mobile forces - remember that cavalry units were essential to fight the Soviets and didn't require so much fuel.

IN 1939 the only problem was that in the key area of Army Łódź and Army Prusy existing anti-tank units were partially wasted and partially not sufficient while the plan to deploy a mixed mobile corps in the Czestochowa gap was not implemented in time.

Of course there were no sufficient forces to actually attack enemy Panzer divisions head on, but that was never the idea which could be used.
Delaying actions were the key and were actually pretty well performed in the real life. However the key problems were the existence of the gap in Czestochowa area and the defeat of reserve army Prusy which opened some areas to the penetration of German mobile forces.

It relied on masses of infantry, which were wrongly deployed on the border with Germany, thus making it even easier for the Germans to encircle them.

Poland wasn't a 1st WW army. Static defence was never the case. Manouver was important, however you are forgetting the most important factor - the politics.
Munich 2 was as much realistic option as a local coup in Danzig.
The leadership had to take that into the consideration as it did - otherwise we would as well lose Pomerelia, Greater Poland and Silesia without a single shot.
The only clear mistake is the situation of Army Pomorze with 9th Infantry Division too much to the north and 27th infantry div. still regrouping, but that was due to the possible Danzig scenario which actually was discussed in Germany too.
9th division was destroyed after 3 days while 27th suffered heavy losses (number or rail transports was limited and they were caught moving or preparing to move), but that is about it.

If you look closer you will notice that only two divisions were destroyed in first 3 days (9th in Pomerelia and 7th in the Czestochowa gap) - the rest usually regrouped and fought for a long time, exception can be attributed to the situation with southern group of Army Prusy, but it was not mobilised and its units (parts of the divisions which were moving to the area) often fought somewhere else


Poland had no chance - it was isolated, encircled by enemies and outgunned.

It is not true. You are using hindsight and the present knowledge instead of analysing the real life options which were known at that time.

Noone expected the Soviets to attack - probably except the French, but they didn't share the knowledge. Noone expected that the war will be marked with betrayal so much as it was. Noone expected that the UK and France literally would commit suicide acting to the best interests of the enemy.

Ironically French reluctance to do anything was fuelled by the M-R Pact they knew while Soviet invason was inspired mainly by the French reluctance they learnt about...
Neither is something Poland could see - it had no knowledge about those.

Still the failure of the French was seen as highly possible, however ultimate victory was always the case and worth fighting for.


Resistance, though brave, has eventually costed Poland millions of dead people, the highest per capita casualties suffered by any European country.

No it didn't. Nazi and Soviet genocide campaigns did. Do you think that it would be different ?
Inhuman and barbarous standards were not expected by anyone.


Their people were forcibly expelled from the western parts of their country, their elites were murdered by the Russians and Germans alike, their capital city was leveled and razed to the ground. That's the price they had to pay for their symbolic resistance. As one of my teachers used to say, "you can find plenty of heroes at cemetaries".

It implies that standing and doing nothing is the best option which is not true, because you are left at the mercy of the enemy.



Czechs are not like that, they're survivalists and cynical realists, while the Poles are romantic idealists ;)

Czechs cannot try to risk, Poles can, should and would - that is a difference between relying on someone or doing something yourself.
The price to have influence and don't have it.
It can pay to play safe as long as the enemy respects this lack of resistence, plays according to the rules etc, but attributing the kind of thinking to others is not too wise.
It is neither a universal rule or something available and profitable to everyone.

The brutal truth is the key would be the size - we can afford losing, Czechs cannot so noone should blame them or criticise us.
It is not that Warsaw would be saved if it wasn't defended, it is far from certain as examples from the 2nd WW show a number of times.

Besides...realistically fighting was the best option.

Present me alternative scenarios and you will see that it was the ONLY option available.

It could end much, much, much worse.

Examples -

allying with Hitler - Poland ends as two times smaller and paying compensation to the Soviet Union, not to name other 'attractions'.
If Hitler won this of course would be even worse in the hell of Nazi Europe.

allying with Stalin - Poland ends as a wasteland as the battleground for the most time of the war + a communist dictatorship with far worse economic conditions than now. In addition most likely smaller than now and with a larger part of society in Gulags and such since there would be no army in the exile in the West while there would be some anti-communist pro-German collaboration forces established during the war in the wake of popular dissent against the Soviets.
It could result in Poland being a part of the SU - and that would be something really horrible.
The relative freedom (compared to the SU, not the democratic West) would not be the case while a large Russian minority might suddenly appear and be used as a political tool later. For sure there would be 2-3 anti-Soviet national uprisings from 1945 to 1990 too.
I cannot even name all the consequences of Soviet influence for whole decades - far into the XXIst century if the communism would end to that time.

giving up in 1939 - Poland fights anyway because neutrality couldn't be an option with all the destruction it suffered anyway and most likely some additional territorial losses.

Other options ? None, not really....




People from that period didn't expect anything worse than during the 1st WW - try to remember that.

You don't expect Germans to behave like barbarians and Soviet style deportations and massacres aren't something you consider possible if you don't know they will actually attack.

Alternative results is another thing to think about - I repeat it could be much worse.
Quite personal, but in fact I am quite sure I would be dead by now if some of those scenarios would actually happen. Quite selfish, I admit that, but it is hardly something I see as a happy ending.
 

TheExecuter

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Sep 18, 2006
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Marchalk_Zjukov said:
Don't you guys think that this discussion is getting out of hand?
Can't you guys make a thread somewhere else and talk there and stop spamming this AAR with off topic stuff?

Amen...this one and the Stresseman AAR...I find myself just skipping pages worth of posts because of the opinions. Dudes...IT"S FICTION!

:D
TheExecuter
 
May 13, 2005
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TheExecuter said:
Amen...this one and the Stresseman AAR...I find myself just skipping pages worth of posts because of the opinions. Dudes...IT"S FICTION!

:D
TheExecuter

So true....
 

unmerged(47937)

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Aug 25, 2005
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actually, I believe the options to create these kind of open discussions are really the strength of all paradox games...

That's what Alt History is all about right, pro's and con's. And you'll want this AAR to become Alt history, because the alternative is mere defeat... Even if resistence is stiff