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  • Different Atlantic wall

    It took the Allied armies about two hours to smash through the beach defenses of the Atlantic wall making them a pathetic failure. On the other hand the fortifications surrounding the ports held out for days in some cases and months in others. Between that and the destruction of the port facilites the port denial strategy was a resounding success.

    It is fairly obvious the correct use of the effort put into the Atlantic wall should have been dumped into defending the ports. The landward defense mega stronger, with 3-5 divisions defending each fortress after they were surrounded. This would have left the Allied armies unsupplied, weak and starving, and stalled on the French coast allowing more German strength to be sent east.

  • #2
    Well, tend to disagree with this statement by Old Blood and Guts:
    Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.
    It seems to me the point of fixed fortifications such as a vauban type defense is not to absolutely stop an apponent but to delay and raise the cost of overcoming it. In the case of the Atlantic Wall I think it moderately achieved its purpose, delaying and raising the effort necessary to make a successful invasion (not only special equipment-tanks and Mulberrys- but also near total control of air and sea). If there had been a bit quicker German reaction and troop committment to D-Day perhaps even more difficult (even disastrous?) for the British/Americans/Canadians.

    A boxing term analogy: the fixed fortifications are the left jab and counterattack by mobile forces the right hook.
    Hmm. A variant? Monty failing repeatedly to breakout at Caen versus Patton successful breakout? Just kidding! (Well, mostly).
    Last edited by Tuor; 25 Oct 12, 07:00.

    Comment


    • #3
      This would have left the Allied armies unsupplied, weak and starving, and stalled on the French coast allowing more German strength to be sent east.
      I took some time befor the allies took a port and had it up and running. Cherbourg was not useable until mid Aug. Before that Paris had been liberated.

      Supplies continued to flow over the beachs for a long time after that. So your idea that the allies would have been starving on the beachs doesn't stand up to historical fact.
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Marjirnet View Post
        It took the Allied armies about two hours to smash through the beach defenses of the Atlantic wall making them a pathetic failure. On the other hand the fortifications surrounding the ports held out for days in some cases and months in others. Between that and the destruction of the port facilites the port denial strategy was a resounding success.

        It is fairly obvious the correct use of the effort put into the Atlantic wall should have been dumped into defending the ports. The landward defense mega stronger, with 3-5 divisions defending each fortress after they were surrounded. This would have left the Allied armies unsupplied, weak and starving, and stalled on the French coast allowing more German strength to be sent east.
        a) First to remember is that the Wall was never completed.
        b) Than the Wall was not propely manned.
        c) The Invasion was probably the best planned and prepared operation at that time ever.
        d) The German military leader(s) would strip once area of the better human resources and replace them with fillers making up the numbers but lacking the qualities of the units they replaced.
        e) It was a boon for the allies to land after a storm front had past though. The Germans did not know what hit them until the very last moment. Just think how things would have been different, had the ideal weather conditions for the invasion prevailed.
        f) The allied invasion had total air cover. This slightly hampered German movements to say the least.

        As for the fortified harbours along the French coast holding out so long.
        Hell, Eisenhower Inc. brought their own harbour along, which did nicely so the immediate pressure was off.
        The allies dedicated one army (the Canadian) to rolling up all remaining German held installations along the coast from Normandy through Belgium to the Dutch (Zeeuwsche) Islands. That should tell everyone who asks how high the taking of an additional port really was on the allied agenda.
        And whist the Canadians were at it, just add operations to their
        tasks, like rooting out V- installations. That the allied campaign hit the rapids and excellerated beyond their, wildest, expectations. With the American armies at Germany's borders and the British nearly at the Dutch borders, the supply lines overstretched the need for a harbour became imminent. Oh diddums!
        Both sides knew that capuring an intact port was essential to the success of allied operations in North West Europe, that goes without saying. And the Germans were well prepared to over-salting the allied soup.
        As to the suggestion of even more fortifying the Atlantic and Channel ports.
        but leaving the inbetween bits for what they were. I really have only one answer. The Germans never had the men nor the means available to defend all in depth. Thus a line however seemingly thinly defended was better than nothing at all. If anything it could/should buy the time necessary to organise
        counter measures. Yes the Germans were confused, but the battles that ensued immediately after took their toll of the allied armies. Never be in the
        mistaken belief that the allied victories in Normandy came easy.
        Back to the fortification of the ports. One should bear in mind that the number of guns employed being mostly capured equipment had a limited
        number with limited availability of ammunitions. The captured equipment
        of which there were greater numbers deployed at the coast was often removed again and re-deployed at other fronts. Similarly with the ammunition stocks originally available the strategy of stealing from Peter to pay Paul, was employed by the German army. Just bear in mind that the battle for Omaha was decided once the German defenders ran out of ammunition after midday 6th June 1944. If one wonders why some German sectors in Normandy were so easily breached. Just consider this aspect of the battle. The Germans had to make every shell count and this was their instruction to the gun crews for countering the invasion. Now in the greater scheme of things the port fortifications were better served. However they were initially by-passed. The allies had learned a costly lesson at Dieppe.

        Ed.
        Last edited by dutched; 25 Oct 12, 08:20.
        The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Marjirnet View Post
          It took the Allied armies about two hours to smash through the beach defenses of the Atlantic wall making them a pathetic failure. On the other hand the fortifications surrounding the ports held out for days in some cases and months in others. Between that and the destruction of the port facilites the port denial strategy was a resounding success.

          It is fairly obvious the correct use of the effort put into the Atlantic wall should have been dumped into defending the ports. The landward defense mega stronger, with 3-5 divisions defending each fortress after they were surrounded. This would have left the Allied armies unsupplied, weak and starving, and stalled on the French coast allowing more German strength to be sent east.
          One of its biggest reasons for its rapid failure was the lack of a mobile defense. If Rommel could have had command of the Panzer Divisions from the get go closer to the beaches like he wanted, not tied up by Hilter the beach heads could have been much harder to gain if not hold. Rommel said he had to stop them on the beaches or not at all...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
            I took some time befor the allies took a port and had it up and running. Cherbourg was not useable until mid Aug.
            According to Ruppenthal 'Logstics in Overlord' (one the US Army Green books) chergourg took in 34,000 tons from 1-25 July. Expected intake through Cherbourg had been 150,000 tons for that period. For comparison the peace time capacity of the 1930s was nominally placed at 8,000 tons per day.

            Later in September Cherbourg achieved a surge of 20,000+ tons per day for some weeks. That was gained by using the port construction material and manpower intended for the uncaptured Brittany group of ports to expand Cherbourgs capacity. I dont see precisely what the sustained average through the winter was, tho IIRC it was noticablly less than the 20,000 mark of September.

            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
            Supplies continued to flow over the beachs for a long time after that. So your idea that the allies would have been starving on the beachs doesn't stand up to historical fact.
            Yes & no. Ruppenthals brief 110 page summary of US Army logisitcs for Overlord shows a few details of where the Allied logistics plans fell apart and the adaptations. The cross beach supply/Mulberrys did the job for the first 90 days, but were not viable after 120 days.

            The OP is a question I cant remember seeing before & the answers are not obvious in just the five minutes I have here this afternoon. While it is correct this would change the Allied logistics situation that changed from plans in a big way anyway. So, its not obvious if the change would be positive of negative.

            Comment


            • #7
              Peacetime data on Cherbourg does not say if it was working at full capacity. Once taken that of course change with added piers and handling equipment.
              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Call me nuts, but is not this the alternatives section?
                I suggest saving the deployment of the Gooseberry at Utah and keep the material until later.
                Blow the ports in German hands, by-pass them and build oneself a second port on another piece of suitable beach further north.
                As for the German super installations on the Pas de Calais. Didn't the US have something called "Little David" available in Europe? That would keep Jerry occupied for a while.

                Ed.
                The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                  ... A variant? Monty failing repeatedly to breakout at Caen versus Patton successful breakout? Just kidding! (Well, mostly).
                  Except Patton didn't break out from any where. It was Bradley's 1st Army that planned and executed Cobra. Third Army did not become active (with Patton in command) until August 1st.

                  Patton managed the open field running once Bradley's forces did the heavy lifting but that would not have been possible without the British, Canadian and Polish forces tieing down 90% of the German armour in the east.

                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    here here
                    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                      Peacetime data on Cherbourg does not say if it was working at full capacity. Once taken that of course change with added piers and handling equipment.
                      Highest 'peacetime' number I've seen for Cherbourg is 10,000 tons per day. but, all the numbers I've seen are English language sources. Ruppenthal draws directly from the overlord logistics plans for his number. I'd think French sources from the 1930s would be the better source.

                      Originally posted by dutched View Post
                      Call me nuts, but is not this the alternatives section?
                      I suggest saving the deployment of the Gooseberry at Utah and keep the material until later.
                      Blow the ports in German hands, by-pass them and build oneself a second port on another piece of suitable beach further north.
                      You are touching on the concept behind Operation Chasity, the third prefab harbor that was to have been built in Quiberon Bay in the latter half of July.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastity

                      It is also refered to in this Hyperwar section. From page 372 is a outline of the Overlord logistics plan/effort/problems/solutions.

                      http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/BigL/BigL-7.html

                      There is a more detailed description in Ruppenthals 'Logistics in Overlord', one of the Green Books which may or may not be online. I've not found it.

                      To summarize: Op Chasity was part of the expected development of the Brittiany port group. It was planned that all or most of the Brittiany ports would be captured between D+30 & D+50. Supply intake through those ports was to start soon after with a discharge of 10,500 tons per day expected by D+60, 17,500 @ D+90, & 23,000 @ D+120. Intially the prefabharbor at Quiberon Bay would carry the load with a intake of 10,000 tons per day by D+40. For comparison the Normandy port group including the Mulberrys and cross beach intake was expected to be 26,000 @ D+60, 28,000 @ D+90, & 15,700 @ D+120.

                      As part of this a massive complex of supply depots was to be established in the country side surrounding Rennes at the base of the Breton peninsula, with railroad links to the French interior & Belgium.

                      The failure to capture anything in Brittiany by D+40 led to suggestions to cancel the Chasity Operation. Offcial cancelation was not made until 9 September, but from late July material and manpower designated for OP Chasity was diverted to expanding Cherbourg, the Mulberrys, and the other smaller Normandy ports. One of the prerequisites for the Quiberon Bay harbor installation was the capture of the Brest & LOrient fortresses. With those in German hands the USN was unwilling to guarantee the safety of cargo ships approaching Brittany.

                      Bottom line here is the Chasity/Quiberon Bay Op. represents a additional capacity & flexibility in the Allied logistics effort.

                      Originally posted by dutched View Post
                      As for the German super installations on the Pas de Calais. Didn't the US have something called "Little David" available in Europe? That would keep Jerry occupied for a while.

                      Ed.
                      No, a limited number of the 'Little David 90cm mortars had been ordered into production in 1944, but were not ready to deploy to Europe until 1945. Those were taken from a design used to test the impact ballistics of aircraft bombs. It had a limited range. The 240mm caliber cannon was the largest & best 'siege' cannon of the US Army & several groups of those were ready & deployed in 1944.

                      Getting back to the Mulberry/cross beach supply thing; the intake of the Mulberrys, and the other beaches dropped off to nothing in October. All the beaches except Utah were exposed to the Atlantic gales coming east. The Mulberry breakwaters were not designed or intended to stand up to the winter storms. Quiberon Bay was a excellent natural harbor & would have been useful all winter, if the adjacent German fortress problem could have been nuetralized.

                      Ruppenthal cites Overlord planners as estimating requirements as at 26,000 tons per day to supply 15 divisions, plus support units totaling 770,000 men*. However the expansion of the Allied force to two Army Groups required a lot more. The actual US intake into Normandy from 1-25 July totaled 446,900 tons or 17,900 tons per day. Obviously less than required for the planned US Army strength ashore by D+60.

                      *Note, there was a factor for French civilians built into these estimates.
                      Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 25 Oct 12, 19:19.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If the Allies wanted a port, any port, badly enough then 3 to 5 German infantry divisions were not going to stop them from taking it. Between a land assault and a naval and aerial bombardment they would have reduced any port defenses in a matter of weeks and taken the place with a concerted effort.

                        The US Navy was by 1944 masters of salvage and port operations. Between them and the US Army any port, regardless of condition would be opened and operational in a matter of weeks, a month or two at the longest.
                        Cherbourg, which the Germans thoroughly wrecked and blocked was opened for the first ships less than 90 days after it fell. By German engineer's estimates they thought it would never be reopened.

                        In fact, once the US Navy started clearing wrecks they cleared a number that were there from 1940 and before that the Germans and French couldn't clear. The other thing that didn't help the Germans was they were rank amateurs at wrecking ports. Again, the US Navy salvage experts remarked on the number of serious mistakes they made in doing the job that made clearing the port easier.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Cherbourg was isolated when US infantry reached the west coast of the peninsula on 18 June. Contact was made with the actual defense works on the 20th. The garrison commander surrendered on the 29th. Cargo ships started anchoring in the harbor in late July & were unloaded by lighters. Beaching ramps were installed for LST, lighters & DUKWS. A bit over 10,000 tons of cargo were taken in there in July. The docks went into use in mid August.

                          Confusion in the German command left the fortress supply rooms nearly empty, and interfered with many of the areas defenders retreating to the cities fortress. The 21,000 men who ended up there were mostly service units, FLAK, naval personnel, and the remanants of the 709th Division.

                          Brest on the other hand had a fair amount of supply, was reinforced by a airborne division and two infantry divisions, totaling 40,000 men. The land ward defense works had a few days worth of last minute preperation. It was isolated in early August & surrendered 19th September.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dutched View Post
                            a) First to remember is that the Wall was never completed.
                            b) Than the Wall was not propely manned.
                            c) The Invasion was probably the best planned and prepared operation at that time ever.
                            d) The German military leader(s) would strip once area of the better human resources and replace them with fillers making up the numbers but lacking the qualities of the units they replaced.
                            e) It was a boon for the allies to land after a storm front had past though. The Germans did not know what hit them until the very last moment. Just think how things would have been different, had the ideal weather conditions for the invasion prevailed.
                            f) The allied invasion had total air cover. This slightly hampered German movements to say the least.

                            As for the fortified harbours along the French coast holding out so long.
                            Hell, Eisenhower Inc. brought their own harbour along, which did nicely so the immediate pressure was off.
                            The allies dedicated one army (the Canadian) to rolling up all remaining German held installations along the coast from Normandy through Belgium to the Dutch (Zeeuwsche) Islands. That should tell everyone who asks how high the taking of an additional port really was on the allied agenda.
                            And whist the Canadians were at it, just add operations to their
                            tasks, like rooting out V- installations. That the allied campaign hit the rapids and excellerated beyond their, wildest, expectations. With the American armies at Germany's borders and the British nearly at the Dutch borders, the supply lines overstretched the need for a harbour became imminent. Oh diddums!
                            Both sides knew that capuring an intact port was essential to the success of allied operations in North West Europe, that goes without saying. And the Germans were well prepared to over-salting the allied soup.
                            As to the suggestion of even more fortifying the Atlantic and Channel ports.
                            but leaving the inbetween bits for what they were. I really have only one answer. The Germans never had the men nor the means available to defend all in depth. Thus a line however seemingly thinly defended was better than nothing at all. If anything it could/should buy the time necessary to organise
                            counter measures. Yes the Germans were confused, but the battles that ensued immediately after took their toll of the allied armies. Never be in the
                            mistaken belief that the allied victories in Normandy came easy.
                            Back to the fortification of the ports. One should bear in mind that the number of guns employed being mostly capured equipment had a limited
                            number with limited availability of ammunitions. The captured equipment
                            of which there were greater numbers deployed at the coast was often removed again and re-deployed at other fronts. Similarly with the ammunition stocks originally available the strategy of stealing from Peter to pay Paul, was employed by the German army. Just bear in mind that the battle for Omaha was decided once the German defenders ran out of ammunition after midday 6th June 1944. If one wonders why some German sectors in Normandy were so easily breached. Just consider this aspect of the battle. The Germans had to make every shell count and this was their instruction to the gun crews for countering the invasion. Now in the greater scheme of things the port fortifications were better served. However they were initially by-passed. The allies had learned a costly lesson at Dieppe.

                            Ed.
                            Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                            Highest 'peacetime' number I've seen for Cherbourg is 10,000 tons per day. but, all the numbers I've seen are English language sources. Ruppenthal draws directly from the overlord logistics plans for his number. I'd think French sources from the 1930s would be the better source.



                            You are touching on the concept behind Operation Chasity, the third prefab harbor that was to have been built in Quiberon Bay in the latter half of July.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastity

                            It is also refered to in this Hyperwar section. From page 372 is a outline of the Overlord logistics plan/effort/problems/solutions.

                            http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/BigL/BigL-7.html

                            There is a more detailed description in Ruppenthals 'Logistics in Overlord', one of the Green Books which may or may not be online. I've not found it.

                            To summarize: Op Chasity was part of the expected development of the Brittiany port group. It was planned that all or most of the Brittiany ports would be captured between D+30 & D+50. Supply intake through those ports was to start soon after with a discharge of 10,500 tons per day expected by D+60, 17,500 @ D+90, & 23,000 @ D+120. Intially the prefabharbor at Quiberon Bay would carry the load with a intake of 10,000 tons per day by D+40. For comparison the Normandy port group including the Mulberrys and cross beach intake was expected to be 26,000 @ D+60, 28,000 @ D+90, & 15,700 @ D+120.

                            As part of this a massive complex of supply depots was to be established in the country side surrounding Rennes at the base of the Breton peninsula, with railroad links to the French interior & Belgium.

                            The failure to capture anything in Brittiany by D+40 led to suggestions to cancel the Chasity Operation. Offcial cancelation was not made until 9 September, but from late July material and manpower designated for OP Chasity was diverted to expanding Cherbourg, the Mulberrys, and the other smaller Normandy ports. One of the prerequisites for the Quiberon Bay harbor installation was the capture of the Brest & LOrient fortresses. With those in German hands the USN was unwilling to guarantee the safety of cargo ships approaching Brittany.

                            Bottom line here is the Chasity/Quiberon Bay Op. represents a additional capacity & flexibility in the Allied logistics effort.



                            No, a limited number of the 'Little David 90cm mortars had been ordered into production in 1944, but were not ready to deploy to Europe until 1945. Those were taken from a design used to test the impact ballistics of aircraft bombs. It had a limited range. The 240mm caliber cannon was the largest & best 'siege' cannon of the US Army & several groups of those were ready & deployed in 1944.

                            Getting back to the Mulberry/cross beach supply thing; the intake of the Mulberrys, and the other beaches dropped off to nothing in October. All the beaches except Utah were exposed to the Atlantic gales coming east. The Mulberry breakwaters were not designed or intended to stand up to the winter storms. Quiberon Bay was a excellent natural harbor & would have been useful all winter, if the adjacent German fortress problem could have been nuetralized.

                            Ruppenthal cites Overlord planners as estimating requirements as at 26,000 tons per day to supply 15 divisions, plus support units totaling 770,000 men*. However the expansion of the Allied force to two Army Groups required a lot more. The actual US intake into Normandy from 1-25 July totaled 446,900 tons or 17,900 tons per day. Obviously less than required for the planned US Army strength ashore by D+60.

                            *Note, there was a factor for French civilians built into these estimates.
                            Awwk!! too much information

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Marjirnet View Post
                              Awwk!! too much information

                              Welcome to the world of ACG.

                              We have experts, scholars, teachers and even published authors on many subjects.

                              ACG isn't the best history forum because of lack of good members
                              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                              Comment

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