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  • #76
    Originally posted by Javaman View Post
    All things considered with the throw weight of the naval artillery, its limited to the coastal area and only in weather that allows accurate fire. For example, the storm that pounded the fleet for 3 days and destroyed the Omaha Mulberry wasn't exactly good weather.
    Even if the Naval artillery is incredibly effective, what does that accomplish? A Verdun like moonscape that Allied Soldiers eventually have to cross? Also, its not like the Germans will put their substantial artillery assets within range of the ships. If the Germans react more quickly and with more troops they will contain the beach heads more quickly and in smaller areas than the historical timeline. This creates a smaller area for them to defend, higher troop density along the perimeter and a smaller area to concentrate their own artillery. If the Germans figured out the invasion target was Normandy even 90 days before the landing they could have contained it for months longer than they did historically.
    To be able to get more troops there, the Germans needed to have more mobile troops. This lack of mobility affects most of the garrison troops in France and other occupied territories. The other problem facing these garrison troops is that they are usually recovering from a bout of combat on the Eastern Front and are being given barely trained teenage conscripts. The French Resistance would be quickly telling London if the garrisons were moving out to concentrate in Normandy and Picardy.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
      I will add to this impressive scenario, by filling in at 500 metre intervals 75mm and 88mm PaK guns this would take care of incoming barges and those carrying tanks. Plus laying down up to 500 metres off shore a belt of mines that can be detonated by remotely fired charges (controlled from various CP), this incluudes your beach laid mines.

      I support your bloodbath stance, within five hours Operation Overlord is turning out as a massacre, none of the invading troops that survive the off shore mines and the onshore mines can travers the beach expanses without being torn apart from automatic gunfire and the landing tanks are eliminated by PaK fire, General Dwight D Eisenhower makes the decision to call and end to the Operation and begin recalling as many troops as possible back to the fleet.

      The casualty list is a damning endictment to the failure, approximately 200,000 troops are killed including over 125,000 American, where as the Germans lose no more than 5,000 troops, General Dwight D Eisenhower is forced into a humiliating public address on US radio that leads to his forced resignation. Other knock on effects include British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill's continious failure at large operations such as Galipoli, Dieppe and others ends with him losing a vote of no confidence and is forced to resign and that Clemment Atlee becomes Prime Minister. One outcome to also follw is that Operation Dragoon is cancelled outright.
      Yes, and I flick my light switch on and off in mock celebration.
      The problem for the German defender was the the supply of ammunition and reserves to the formost front line. This was not achieved.
      Furthermore the guns your refer to were mostly not pointing out to sea, but raking the beaches. It was the larger guns that ranged out to sea.
      I would like to prove this point, but of course I cannot find photos that actually convey this setting clearly. Mainly due to the fact that almost all these photos are taken from close by and and do not show the relation of the position with respect to the sea.
      Trust me, you just have to believe me on this one.
      I walked the full lenght of those beaches. All of them.

      Ed.

      I will try and find some of the photos I took of the normandy beaches
      hopefully some might show what I have been saying.
      Last edited by dutched; 27 Jun 12, 17:49.
      The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

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      • #78
        Hmmm.... a lot of discussion of naval gunfire. I've not the time to write up a extended or even short technical essay. here are a few random points:

        Weather. Visability is not a show stopping technical problem. The ships allocated to Neptune were equipped with radar for gunnery spotting. During Op Neptune they used it to supplement optical gunnery as the haze made observation from the ships stations 5000+ meters offshore problematic. In many other shore bombardment operations NGF fires were directed at night as well as day. More important is that only scheduled NGF fire, usually the preperation fires were shot under shipboard control/spotting. All other fires were controled by either air or ground observation - spotting teams.

        Duration. The NGF preperation for the Op. Neptune assualt ran between 45 minutes and 70 minutes depending on which beach. That is actually very little and I strongly feel it should have been more considering the conditions of the battlefield. Still the Allied assuallt battalions carried through the defense in a few hours. Even on Omaha Beach where arguablly all five perperatory and assualt fire support modes failed unsupported infantry companies were infiltrating and destroying German defense positions within two hours.

        Impassable Moonscape: Unlike the Somme or other Great War battlefields the Op Neptune assualt was heavily supported by engineer units from the first wave. Entire brigades were allocated to each divisions sector, which included multiple companies specifically for clearing obstacles and restoring roads. Those were based of expected need & were the need to be greater they would have been increased. In any case the ground in the vicinity of the principle German resistance nests was usually turned into a 'moonscape' . ie: The 'resistance nest' directly opposite the initial landing site on Utah Beach recieved over 75 tons of aircraft bombs in a area nominally two square kilometers. Similar heavy bomber attacks occured on Gold, Juno, & Sword beaches. Overlaid onto German obstacles, ditches, minefields, natural soft sandy dunes, cliffs, sinkholes or marsh pits, and shingle the concentrated bomb crater obstacles were just another technical problem.

        Concentration of Targets = Losses+:
        One of the little details I noticed back when I was paid to think about these things is that increasing the density of men & material in the target area does not lead to a straight forward proportionate increase in casualties. That is a 50% increase in number of defenders does not lead to a 50% increase in losses. Three or fourfold increases in density makes a significantly higher loss likely. A related factor is the problem of sheltering the extra men & weapons from enemy fires. If the decision to 'overload' the Calvados beaches with defenders is made in January or Febuary then work can be halted on the protection elsewhere and the number of concrete protected bunkers or shelters can be increased. If the decision is made later & the units moved in say May then the reinforcements will be sitting under open sky with not much more than some sandbags to protect against 203mm cannon projectiles from the sea, or 50kg & 250 kg bombs from the sky.

        As pointed out by several others in this thread the Allies had very good information on the Germans locations. The sight of massive reinforcements to Normandy is certainly going to cause a array of reactions. Since suprise is obviously lost a extended preperatory bombardment could occur, extending German losses. More important would be pulling the old Roundup plans out of the file and updating those for attack the Calais area. Overloading Normandy with defenders leaves other areas weaker & points of opportunity. Once again the Overlord plans were not set in stone in january 1944 and impossible to change. Significant alterations occured weekly as the SHAEF/21st AG staffs observed German preparations. Dropping Op Neptune & executing something based on any of the Roundup plans is not out of the question.

        Were the Overlord entry point redirected elsewhere that leaves the enemy defense west of Caen in a awkward position. The same air campaign that effectively isolated Normandy from reinforcement and supply would serve to slow the movement out of there to the actual battlefield.

        In support of the massive reinforcement concept I'd think it would work were the Allies led by generals of the same level of experience as those of 1915-1916. That is instead of men like Eisenhower, Monty, & their capable staff generals who were out of their depth and making entirely wrong decisions on how to deal with the battle they were faced with.

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        • #79
          Thank you for a detailed and informed post. A nitpick:

          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
          Weather. Visability is not a show stopping technical problem. The ships allocated to Neptune were equipped with radar for gunnery spotting. During Op Neptune they used it to supplement optical gunnery as the haze made observation from the ships stations 5000+ meters offshore problematic. In many other shore bombardment operations NGF fires were directed at night as well as day. More important is that only scheduled NGF fire, usually the preperation fires were shot under shipboard control/spotting. All other fires were controled by either air or ground observation - spotting teams.
          This doesn't convince me. Sure you can fire at night - unobserved fire. And you can fire under radar direction - if the target is a geographical feature that you know hosts a fixed enemy position, a fortification.

          But here we were discussing about engaging with naval artillery a counterattack by mobile forces. You can still use unobserved fire against geographical bottlenecks, crossroads, bridges etc. to hinder the approach of enemy forces, but you can't accurately engage the enemy units themselves with that.

          So what remains are the FOs. But if the visibility is 500 meters... then that's the area of vulnerability for enemy units, less the distance you want to leave between your most advanced units and the target point in order to avoid friendly fire casualties.

          As to airborne spotters, if the visibility is 500 meters, will they take off?
          Michele

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          • #80
            Actually, you can, Michele, that is the domain, stock & trade of sea borne FC Computers aboard ships. They are designed to calculate & direct fire against moving targets - in addition to doing it while the naval rifles they are directing are aboard warships that are under way & maneuvering as well. Eyes in the sky for fire direction (or even on scene forward observers) calling fall of shot allow for correction. FC computers also take into account the observed speed & bearing of targets for their firing solutions. If the battleship is much more stable because it is not manuvering wildly itself or stationary, then it becomes an even less complex equation of fire direction.

            Is it perfect - hell no, but it is at least as effective as typical long range ground based artillary & battleships are firing rounds much larger & with much larger blast effect radius than the vast majority of land based artillery.

            Not a case here of me saying that the navy could 'save the day', only an illustration of the fact that all lying off shore at Normandy could have wrought one helluva lotta hades upon anything it was ever considerably directed against & to much more depth than just the coast. The biggest part of this kind of Alternate scenario is that it wasn't unleashed historically because the landings did succeed & ground forces supported more by air did the job - thus, it is very hard to even conceive that so much that existed & was at sea could have made a huge impact ashore simply because it didn't happen... which doesn't mean that it could not have if required in the total scheme of alternate possibilities.

            Anybody that ever witnessed or knows the effect of Black Dragon in Vietnam when called upon can sommat slightly fathom the possibilities, but few otherwise seemingly. Hell, just one HE round from the Dragon's 16"/50 cals could clear a 200+ ft LZ in a jungle. Somebody here wanna tell me any infantry & unarmoured formations are gonna fair much better just from such proximity in the open - on the move or otherwise? (< Not really a question) And even that which does not suffer casualty in greater proximity sure as hell ain't gonna be just rushing anywhere near headlong forward in the face of it - the psychological impact alone becomes sommat a factor as to be considered a form of casualty to the expedition of the endeavour itself.

            Just sayin & again, just me opinion - don't under-rate or even try to ignore entirely what was possible just because no real use of what was certainly off shore materialized in the historical scheme of events.


            On the Plains of Hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest-and resting... died. Adlai E. Stevenson

            ACG History Today

            BoRG

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            • #81
              Originally posted by Admiral View Post
              Actually, you can, Michele, that is the domain, stock & trade of sea borne FC Computers aboard ships. They are designed to calculate & direct fire against moving targets - in addition to doing it while the naval rifles they are directing are aboard warships that are under way & maneuvering as well. Eyes in the sky for fire direction (or even on scene forward observers) calling fall of shot allow for correction.
              I'm aware you can hit moving targets with naval gunnery - that's what ship vs ship duels are about.

              The point was that you have to see, or detect, those moving targets.

              LOS is needed. Alternatively, radar, but it is one thing to use radar to direct fire against a big warship out at sea, and entirely another one - at least with 1944 tech - to use radar to detect moving ground targets. US bombers were using radar targeting to bomb through clouds in 1944, and their accuracy was worse than that of the RAF night bombers - while aiming at very big, stationary targets.

              So, as you say, you're back to ground FOs or spotter airplanes. Which was I said.

              And if the visibility is 500 meters, the FOs will see out to 500 meters, and the spotter planes may even be grounded.

              You can still have unobserved fire beyond that, and given the firepower involved, that's nothing to scoff at. You'll have natural bottlenecks - say roads, bridges, etc. - to keep under continuous fire, for instance. Still, it's not like aimed fire.
              Michele

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              • #82
                Originally posted by Michele View Post
                But here we were discussing about engaging with naval artillery a counterattack by mobile forces. You can still use unobserved fire against geographical bottlenecks, crossroads, bridges etc. to hinder the approach of enemy forces, but you can't accurately engage the enemy units themselves with that.

                So what remains are the FOs. But if the visibility is 500 meters... then that's the area of vulnerability for enemy units, less the distance you want to leave between your most advanced units and the target point in order to avoid friendly fire casualties.
                That last 1000 or 500 meters is the most effective zone for using your fire support. In this thread there is developing a misapprehension that the NGF was used a lot for interdiction or 'deep fires' as was the term later in the 20th Century. In the Normandy battle the bulk of the NGF was fired at targets directly affecting the ground combat units. That is against enemy in their final assemblly areas, crossing their line of departure, and in their assualt. Alternately enemy in strong points and other defense positions holding up the advance. Interdiction is great when you have accurate target information, and so is counter battery, attacking HQ, supply points, ect... but as I wrote the bulk of the NGF ammunition fired onto the Normandy battlefield was vs observed manuver units.

                The artillery of NGF observer is most effective when with the battalion or company comander, which unless you are in the desert or mountains keeps your usual LoS well under 1000 meters. In the sort of agricultural & wooded landscape of Normandy a LoS of 1000 meters was uncommon and under 500 meters common on a clear day.

                I can also say from direct experience illumination rounds are usefull as a spotting round in low visability. Even a relatively small 1,000,000 candle power howitzer illum. round burns through a lot of fog and overcast.

                So no, two or three days of heavy rain & very low overcast wont render NGF ineffective. However I can dig up some German accounts of how such weather bollixed their attacks by armor or infantry

                & while not 100% relevant to the Normandy battle I have had to adjust artillery fire in fog. It is possible.

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                • #83
                  I understand what has been said by the Artillerists here, however that does not invalidate what I said about additional German troops arriving or already located within the invasion area. A higher troop density does not automatically correlate to "troops in the open". What is does specifically mean in German doctrinal terms is that a proper defense in depth can be employed with all of its inherent advantages that go a long way in negating/mitigating Allied firepower. It means giving ground much more stubbornly, slowly and at a much higher cost to the Allies. As far as defeating the invasion on the beaches, I doubt that was actually possible due to Allied air power interdicting German counter attacks to the point that they no longer had sufficient mass to push the Allies back.

                  Since it was not stated how the Germans discover that Patton's army is a ruse, I was assuming that the Allies still attack Normandy. If the Allies chose to attack the Calais region I would have to assume the Germans would react differently than they did historically to the Normandy invasion. Any invasion in that area would be much more quickly and hotly contested.
                  "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                  -Omar Bradley
                  "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                  -Anonymous US Army logistician

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                    ... A higher troop density does not automatically correlate to "troops in the open". What is does specifically mean in German doctrinal terms is that a proper defense in depth can be employed with all of its inherent advantages that go a long way in negating/mitigating Allied firepower. It means giving ground much more stubbornly, slowly and at a much higher cost to the Allies. As far as defeating the invasion on the beaches, I doubt that was actually possible due to Allied air power interdicting German counter attacks to the point that they no longer had sufficient mass to push the Allies back.
                    Thats a lot better than the 'pile up targets on the beach' plan. Assuming the Allied intel system is functioning as in OTL SHAEF has the option of seeking other avenues than Op Neptune for making Op. Overlord succeed. A April Anvil Op. went off the the table, & was a little later revived as a August Dragoon Op. A entirely new operation might be lashed together aimed at Quiberon Bay & leading to Op. Chasity.


                    Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                    .
                    Since it was not stated how the Germans discover that Patton's army is a ruse, I was assuming that the Allies still attack Normandy.
                    As long as the Allied command & intelligence system is intact the Germans still have difficulty gaining the intiative. people get wrapped around the axle on how detailed in planning Op Neptune was, which carries them past the overall flexibilty the Allies/SHAEF had through the broader longer haul. Significantly reducing the Allied intelligence advantage is the other half of the a implied German improvement in this discovery of the Bodyguard/Fortitude South/FUSAG/Calais deceptions. The Germans need more than just better information or a better guess on their side to get a step ahead.

                    Assuming SHAEF does not grasp the nature of the new German defense in Normandy then yes this multi layerd defense in depth would slow drastically the advance of 21 Army Group, and raise the loss rates for both sides.

                    To digress for a moment historians like Hargreves, Ellis, and a few others have noted the loss rates for both sides in the normandy battles of June 7 July exceeded the averages for about every other two month long battle in WWII. Putting aside mass surrenders like the Yugoslav, Greek, or Red Armies in 1941; or the Stalingrad & Tunisian capitulations, the per division or corps weekly losses in Normandy were among the highest of any stand up fight in WWII.

                    I've a rough idea of what the replacements were for each side. The Germans managed to bring in a bit over 10,000 individual replacements between 6th June and early August when the Allied breakout finally occured. Given the same Allied interdiction of the battlefield and general German shortages a larger on hand force will see the same quantity of replacements for the combat battalions, and the same levels of artillery ammunition/fuel/medical/vehicle replacements delivered to a defending army much larger at the start than our OTL. What that might do I'll leave for now.
                    Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 29 Jun 12, 13:32.

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                      Since it was not stated how the Germans discover that Patton's army is a ruse, I was assuming that the Allies still attack Normandy.
                      Yes, the Allies still attack Normandy. Since Patton's FUSAG is a fake army, their forces are not configured for an attack through the Pas-de-Calais.

                      There are many ways the FUSAG ruse could have been discovered, but in starting the thread I gave just one simple example"

                      Simply establishing that one landing craft or one tank was in fact a dummy built of plywood and rubber would have led the Germans to think, "Why would they put dummy landing crafts and tanks around Dover?" That and the countless other ways the deception could have been uncovered would lead the German High Command to the obvious conclusion that, "The Allies want to deceive us into believing that the main invasion will be through the Pas-de-Calais."
                      This could have been discovered by agents on the southeast coast or by a team of German reconnaissance commandos landing around Dover during darkness via U-boat and dingy. I justify the practicality of such a mission by the fact that the Allies did just that (landing reconnaissance teams by submarine and dingy during darkness) in order to collect samples and establish the physical characteristics of the sand on the different Normandy beaches.

                      I believe defenses against such incursions on the British coast would have been weaker than the German defenses on the Normandy coast since it was mainland Europe that was under threat of invasion in 1943/44, not Britain. So if the Allies were able to get away with such missions on the Normandy beaches, the Germans should have been able to do the same on the southeastern beaches/ports of Britain.


                      Philip
                      Last edited by PhilipLaos; 29 Jun 12, 13:54.
                      "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

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                      • #86
                        In 'The Decivers' by Holt I found a curiosity. Holt had a passage decribing the post campaign analysis of the Bodyguards sucess. When the signal intel folk went through the German signal intel docs and interviewed the officers/techs they found that a large collection of Fortitude South/FUSAG radio messages had been stored, along with those from the real forces. Those had been collated, organized, sorted, decoded in part and many translated. ...but, there was no systematic analysis. No group at the upper levels went through the FUSAG radio deception to see what it all meant, or if there was any fakery in it. No summaries were found, no detailed reports, nothing forwarded to Berlin of any real value. Holt concludes Hitler & co in Berlin were working primarily from the Abwehr agents in UK and some spurious input from from Forigen Armies West. Other historians have commented on the third rate or nonexistant analysis work performed at that intel organization.

                        What all that implies is a complex & difficult commando recon is not required, but rather the simpler measure of using the existing intel organizations to do proper work up of the information collected and analysis.

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by philiplaos View Post
                          This could have been discovered by agents on the southeast coast or by a team of German reconnaissance commandos landing around Dover during darkness via U-boat and dingy. ...
                          Checking some web sites I'm reminded the fake boats, loading ramps, fuel tanks, and repair sheds were built in the Thames estuary and similar sites further north. Those look like they were mixed in with the real forces for Neptune that were stationed in the same area.

                          (If you can find a copy of the maps of the amphib fleet routes to the Norman coast you will see one of the Brit corps embarked on the Thames and the Harwich area.)

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