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DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 981
Joined: 2005
Germany loses Africa
1/18/2021 2:57:38 PM
Reading one book has led me to explore a bit more detail on the end of the war in Africa for Germany, Italy and their axis allies. At the end, the Axis armies"...sustained 40,000 casualties in Tunisia alone..," while, "...267,000 German and Italian soldiers became prisoners of war." Overall in Africa, the Axis armies suffered roughly 620,000 casualties while the Brits and her allies suffered 220,000, a significant variance between the two indeed.

Now, there may be some play in these numbers but overall, that Germany was able to suffer the losses at Stalingrad February 1943, then 2+ months later in Tunisia, May 1943 and shortly after that the pummeling they took at the Battle of Kursk, August 1943, is it appropriate to say that Germany in these three battles sealed their fait accompli!? Or, were the Stalingrad/Tunisian campaign losses so significant, that no matter what happened at Kursk, Germany due to this manpower loss was all but finished by late spring/early summer 1943?



Dan
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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 151
Joined: 2008
Germany loses Africa
1/18/2021 8:59:08 PM
Quote:

Now, there may be some play in these numbers but overall, that Germany was able to suffer the losses at Stalingrad February 1943, then 2+ months later in Tunisia, May 1943 and shortly after that the pummeling they took at the Battle of Kursk, August 1943, is it appropriate to say that Germany in these three battles sealed their fait accompli!? Or, were the Stalingrad/Tunisian campaign losses so significant, that no matter what happened at Kursk, Germany due to this manpower loss was all but finished by late spring/early summer 1943?

Dan


I have been amazed that Germany was able to last so long in World War II. With their relatively small population base and the massive casualties they took. It would explain why they made use of what they considered inferior races.

Pity the poor Alsatian, Czech or other occupied peoples who were "German" enough to be cannon fodder . From What I understand Alsatians and people from Lorraine where drafted into the German Army at times during the war.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2893
Joined: 2010
Germany loses Africa
1/18/2021 9:12:04 PM
Quote:


Pity the poor Alsatian, Czech or other occupied peoples who were "German" enough to be cannon fodder . From What I understand Alsatians and people from Lorraine where drafted into the German Army at times during the war.


Yes while their older brothers wallowed in POW camps classed as traitors because they had fought in the French Army. There is a tragic tale to be told.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3782
Joined: 2004
Germany loses Africa
1/18/2021 9:18:18 PM
Dan, fascinating initial post. But are you deliberately keeping the name of the “one book” from us, as a kind of punishment?

In discussing the North Africa campaign, you mention Germany and her allies, and give numbers of German and Italian prisoners of war. Does your “one book” start counting PoWs and casualties from the opening of the North Africa campaigns, or only from the entry of Germany into that theatre?

Can I also assume your numbers for the Brits and her allies includes US losses?

I agree with you that the accuracy of the numbers is less important than the cumulative effect of those numbers, particularly if one extrapolates – as you are – into the impact on future battles.

I’m certainly of the belief that the German losses in the East sealed the fate of Germany. Paulus and the Sixth Army at Stalingrad was, I believe, a critical point both in the greater European Theatre of War. Kursk was an incredible victory, but was not as significant. Thinking with my fingers, might we argue that Stalingrad was a battle of ideologies while Kursk was a battle of mechanics?

I loved your shot from the IWM collection, though would have loved a bit of description. Looks to be officers of three different armies in an act of surrender. IMW is an incredible source.

Thanks, Dan. Challenging post.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 981
Joined: 2005
Germany loses Africa
1/18/2021 9:35:38 PM
Brian:

Initially, I began browsing through the books I have on the Africa campaigns then decided to go online to see what I could find regarding casualties/POW's, after a bit I went with the numbers from a web page of which I did not cite nor recall at this moment.

Regarding the picture it shows; "Colonel General Von Arnim talking with Major General E.C. Gepp, CB.,DSO., and Colonel Richardson." at some point during his surrender of German forces in Tunisia, which I pulled from the Imperial War Museum webpage: [Read More]

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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5105
Joined: 2004
Germany loses Africa
1/27/2021 6:28:41 AM
Dan,

Those Axis casualties in North Africa included a great preponderance of Italian POWs. Even at " Tunisgrad", the great haul was diluted by a large portion of Italians. Even in the summer of 1944, with catastrophic setbacks East and West, Germany was still able to deploy formidable forces. Look no further than the Ardennes in December 1944.

So, without wishing to diminish the importance of North Africa, I would argue that in terms of numbers the German casualties were not big enough to make the sort of difference that you cite.

The geo political importance of Axis defeat there, however, was immense.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5105
Joined: 2004
Germany loses Africa
1/27/2021 11:21:34 AM
Half of all the Germans who were killed in the war died in the final ten months. Even as late as July 1944, the number of German soldiers recorded as killed was smaller than it had been in WW1. The ensuing onslaught, East and West, was to change that dramatically. I must not claim accuracy here, since this is an impression rather than something I can authenticate with references.

That such an apocalyptic struggle could be waged in that final year suggests that there were still plenty of men available after the summer of 1943.

The capitulation at Tunis was still an immense blow to the Third Reich. One hundred thousand German soldiers went into the bag there ; along with nearly as many Italians and about fifty thousand assorted " odds and sods" who helped fill the cages.

Some of the Germans were struggling to cope with the humiliation.

It was a sight that Dad never forgot, and he told me that the experience of seeing endless columns of German prisoners at Cap Bon was exhilarating after all the back and forth fighting of the previous two years.

Old soldiers tell lots of tall stories, and Dad certainly indulged in that, but it was clear to me that this time the evocation was profound and authentic.

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6517
Joined: 2006
Germany loses Africa
1/27/2021 4:37:50 PM
Didn't Germany lose In Africa in WWI, as well??

Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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