Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Alternate Defense Strategy After 6 June

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Alternate Defense Strategy After 6 June

    Leaving aside Hitlers influence; after it was clear Rommels strategy to defeat the invasion on the beaches had failed, what would the best alternate German strategy be? The earlier pre 1944 plans had revolved around leaving the largest practical garrisons in the ports and delaying the Allied armies to the maximum extent inland, while seeking opportunities to defeat them operationaly or tactically as against the Red Army on the eastern front in 1942-43. Would some variation of that have worked better in the west against the Overlord and Dragoon operations, exhausting the invaders & keeping the front well inside France & Belgium by the onset of bad weather in October?

    PoD I am placing at late 10 June. This was after a corps size counter attack by armored units had failed earlier in the day, and after much of the confusion of the first four days had cleared within the German command in France. On the evening of the 10th Rommel had sent a realistic evaluation in a report to Rundsteadt, so this looks like a good early PoD.

    However, feel free to present any arguments for alternate PoD.

  • #2
    Interesting premise.

    One question though.

    Without Hitler's influence as stated in the OP, what would be the deployments of the Pz divs on D-Day ? IOW, would German armour have been available earlier than in RL ?
    Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

    Comment


    • #3
      To clarify, this is to discount Hitlers frequent 'no retreat' directives as a influence post PoD.

      The question here comes from some reading I was doing a while back on the problems of a ground/air force transiting from littoral operations to inland operations. that is from a combined ground/air/naval force along the coast to inland operations. It occured to me to look at the problem from the defenders PoV, which led to using the German problem defending France as a vehicle.

      So, no stand and die orders from above. The purpose is to examine the problems Rundsteadt, Rommel, and the assorted army & corps commanders would face trying to execute something other than a static attritional battle in Normandy. To make it clear to the simple minded this is not a advocation of a alternate plan, but a look at the details of alternatives.

      Comment


      • #4
        Surrender.

        Look at Salerno. The Allies did not have air superiority over the beaches. They had less naval support. They landed three infantry divisions and a tank brigade.

        The Germans had a panzer division on the beach intact. They threw in about the same number of panzer and panzergrenadier divisions over the next few days against the Allies. They lost.

        There is NOTHING that Rommel can do with the forces available to win in Normandy. He will be defeated. It's that simple. Surrender is the only viable option.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree that throwing the invasion back into the sea isn't an option, I disagree that nothing can be done.

          The British are on their last legs, manpower-wise, at this stage. The Bocage is excellent defensive terrain. If the Germans focused upon a delaying campaign while seeking to inflict the maximum number of losses, especially on the British, they could drag out the war quite a bit. Without the pounding they took in the Falise, the could have made the advance across France slower and a lot more expensive than it was.
          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
            I agree that throwing the invasion back into the sea isn't an option, I disagree that nothing can be done.

            The British are on their last legs, manpower-wise, at this stage. The Bocage is excellent defensive terrain. If the Germans focused upon a delaying campaign while seeking to inflict the maximum number of losses, especially on the British, they could drag out the war quite a bit. Without the pounding they took in the Falise, the could have made the advance across France slower and a lot more expensive than it was.
            And you have a confined area and the Allied Heavy Bombers carpet bomb it to oblivion, actually they did just that.

            By the time Operation Overlord had been launched the Germans were overstreched to the max.

            I could put up a scenario, but i would be accused of being a Nazi Sympathizer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
              I could put up a scenario, but i would be accused of being a Nazi Sympathizer.
              Then address the problem in the abstract, in this context.

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              The question here comes from some reading I was doing a while back on the problems of a ground/air force transiting from littoral operations to inland operations. that is from a combined ground/air/naval force along the coast to inland operations. It occured to me to look at the problem from the defenders PoV, ....

              Comment


              • #8
                If the allies stuck to their rather conservative plan for advance the Germans may not have been able to do much. Transitioning from the coastal areas to the interior of France could have been costly but allied doctrine was conservative and risk averse. A few set backs and advances would likely be held back until the required firepower, land and air, was available. If the allied motor/mech divisions advance behind curtains of HE and careful application of Methodical Battle they will advance bound by bound, chewing up German formations.

                The Germans need to be close at hand to plug any gaps created in the line so they will need to stack up behind the infantry a la Normandy. They may have a few more opportunities to shoot up a few formations but manoeuvre in the open will cost them and the Germans do not have the fuel to put a mobile defence into practice in the face of allied air dominance. Once the trucks are gone, there would be no more fuel deliveries.

                German strategy in Normandy, in hindsight, was likely as good as they were going to get. Hold until the line collapses and then run until the allies are out of range of their supply capability. When you think about it, Second ALamein and the pursuit to El Agheila and Normandy to the German border are the same thing except in scale and duration.
                The Purist

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  So long as the Allies have near mastery of the skies in both tactical and strategic use of aircraft, I don't think the Germans could have done anything alternatively to prevent the inevitable. Thanks to the superior airpower and eyes on the ground, the Allies also have a very good advantage in intelligence gathering as opposed to the Germans.

                  There are no doubt certain measures the Germans could have taken pre and post invasion to make the Allies pay more in casualties, but in the end they're still being pushed back. So maybe the prolong war by a few months...perhaps, but the Germans still lose. By June 1944, Stalin is on a roll and not about to stop.....if the western Allies are held up for too long, it could embolden the Soviet leader to push further West than previously agreed to at Yalta. From that perspective, a prolonged defense in Normandy could have been a serious detriment for Germans in the long run.
                  You'll live, only the best get killed.

                  -General Charles de Gaulle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've started by looking at this in small increments. One is the most likely PoD, which may be the late afternoon 10th June. To that point the 7th Army HQ, Rommels HQ & Rundsteadt dont seem to have had a clear idea of the situation in the battle zone. I may be wrong here, if anyone has some clear evidence otherwise please post it here. This was also when Rommel learned the corps size attack planned for the 10th was going nowhere. His report to Rundsteadt that evening was fairly pessimistic.

                    The next point I've been pondering is, if the 10th is the PoD then what would the effects of planning a orderly withdrawl of German forces into Cherbourg? This does not necessarily have to be executed instantly on the 11th, but rather it been planned and prepared for properly, vs the much more ad hoc defeat & retreat between the 10th and 19th. In OTL Cherbourg was besieged for a few days and capitulated in the last week of June. Would a orderly and prepared withdrawl allow the defenders to extend the siege by a week or more? It took approx six weeks to restore the ports capacity to its nominal peacetime intake, and another month to bring it to the hoped for intake (approx 20,000 tons per day). Each week the Germans can hold the port cuts into the Allied supply in August & beyond.

                    So does anyone see any possiblity of the Germans denying the port longer by a better prepared fight in the fortified zone around the city vs the fields of the Cotintien? Or was there little the 7th Army & the corps commander could have done to improve the situation even with a clearer plan and goal?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                      If the allies stuck to their rather conservative plan for advance the Germans may not have been able to do much. Transitioning from the coastal areas to the interior of France could have been costly but allied doctrine was conservative and risk averse. A few set backs and advances would likely be held back until the required firepower, land and air, was available. If the allied motor/mech divisions advance behind curtains of HE and careful application of Methodical Battle they will advance bound by bound, chewing up German formations.

                      The Germans need to be close at hand to plug any gaps created in the line so they will need to stack up behind the infantry a la Normandy. They may have a few more opportunities to shoot up a few formations but manoeuvre in the open will cost them and the Germans do not have the fuel to put a mobile defence into practice in the face of allied air dominance. Once the trucks are gone, there would be no more fuel deliveries.

                      German strategy in Normandy, in hindsight, was likely as good as they were going to get. Hold until the line collapses and then run until the allies are out of range of their supply capability. When you think about it, Second ALamein and the pursuit to El Agheila and Normandy to the German border are the same thing except in scale and duration.
                      When the Allies want a hole big enough to push a division through the German lines they could easily repeat what Bomber command did once, then 8th AF did a second time in Normandy: Have a thousand + bombers carpet bomb the German positions into oblivion. Tigers are useless. Infantry dies. Artillery is smashed. Look what happened to Panzer Lehr when over 2000 bombers, heavy, medium, and light dumped on them.

                      Even if it is just ground forces every British and US division is the equivalent of a very strong panzergrenadier or panzer division. The Germans don't have the forces to stop that. Their infantry formations are just speed bumps by 1944.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                        I've started by looking at this in small increments. One is the most likely PoD, which may be the late afternoon 10th June. To that point the 7th Army HQ, Rommels HQ & Rundsteadt dont seem to have had a clear idea of the situation in the battle zone. I may be wrong here, if anyone has some clear evidence otherwise please post it here. This was also when Rommel learned the corps size attack planned for the 10th was going nowhere. His report to Rundsteadt that evening was fairly pessimistic.

                        The next point I've been pondering is, if the 10th is the PoD then what would the effects of planning a orderly withdrawl of German forces into Cherbourg? This does not necessarily have to be executed instantly on the 11th, but rather it been planned and prepared for properly, vs the much more ad hoc defeat & retreat between the 10th and 19th. In OTL Cherbourg was besieged for a few days and capitulated in the last week of June. Would a orderly and prepared withdrawl allow the defenders to extend the siege by a week or more? It took approx six weeks to restore the ports capacity to its nominal peacetime intake, and another month to bring it to the hoped for intake (approx 20,000 tons per day). Each week the Germans can hold the port cuts into the Allied supply in August & beyond.

                        So does anyone see any possiblity of the Germans denying the port longer by a better prepared fight in the fortified zone around the city vs the fields of the Cotintien? Or was there little the 7th Army & the corps commander could have done to improve the situation even with a clearer plan and goal?
                        What difference does a port make? The Allies brought two with them and can run supplies over the beach as well. All that they can do is possibly slow the Allies down a bit, maybe a few weeks at most.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          When the Allies want a hole big enough to push a division through the German lines they could easily repeat what Bomber command did once, then 8th AF did a second time in Normandy: Have a thousand + bombers carpet bomb the German positions into oblivion. Tigers are useless. Infantry dies. Artillery is smashed. Look what happened to Panzer Lehr when over 2000 bombers, heavy, medium, and light dumped on them.

                          Even if it is just ground forces every British and US division is the equivalent of a very strong panzergrenadier or panzer division. The Germans don't have the forces to stop that. Their infantry formations are just speed bumps by 1944.
                          Allied motorisation is wonderful for road marches, it meant little on the tactical battlefield. Those speed bumps slowed and absorbed every allied attack until German mobile reserves sealed the breaches and brought the attacks to a halt.

                          The only reason Cobra broke through was because the reserves were no longer available and even infantry had been exhausted. That is why Pz Lehr was in the line. Every allied attack prior to Cobra had been brought to a halt by a combination of defensive depth, defensive firepower and mobile reserves. Allied air dominance did not prevent German reserves from shifting to seal penetrations of the line. Normandy happens in 1944 not in 1941, firepower is again the trump over manoeuvre. The allies were not practitioners of manoeuvre or possessors of an operational doctrine (no one was, even if the Red Army came closet to the theory). The allies used Methodical Battle on steroids and the heavy bomber was simply an allied stand in for the Soviet artillery corps and rocket brigades.

                          Even as late as Jan-Feb 1945 German infantry divisions were still dragging allied attacks to a crawl while mobile forces came up to halt them. The allied campaign in north-west Europe was textbook 1918 doctrine. Only after the last of the German army in the west was defeated did the allies run across Germany.
                          The Purist

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            Allied motorisation is wonderful for road marches, it meant little on the tactical battlefield. Those speed bumps slowed and absorbed every allied attack until German mobile reserves sealed the breaches and brought the attacks to a halt.
                            Every US and British division had a tank battalion + attached. That gives their infantry more tanks than a panzer division in many cases. Then you attach 50 to 100 antitank guns, several engineer battalions with more mechanized construction equipment than a German field army has, then throw in battalions of artillery on top of that and the Germans are done. They were done every time they tried a major counter offensive.
                            Look at Mortain. 5 Panzer divisions versus essentially one US infantry division. The Germans lose. Every time they launched a big counter attack on the British the same thing happens.
                            Averanches, Nancy and the September - October counter offensive with all those panzer brigades on 3rd Army. Smashed for no discernable gain.


                            The only reason Cobra broke through was because the reserves were no longer available and even infantry had been exhausted. That is why Pz Lehr was in the line. Every allied attack prior to Cobra had been brought to a halt by a combination of defensive depth, defensive firepower and mobile reserves. Allied air dominance did not prevent German reserves from shifting to seal penetrations of the line. Normandy happens in 1944 not in 1941, firepower is again the trump over manoeuvre. The allies were not practitioners of manoeuvre or possessors of an operational doctrine (no one was, even if the Red Army came closet to the theory). The allies used Methodical Battle on steroids and the heavy bomber was simply an allied stand in for the Soviet artillery corps and rocket brigades.
                            Then the next offensive wipes out what is left. The Germans lose. The panzers were in the line because right from the start the infantry divisions alone couldn't hold the front. If the front was just infantry divisions they would have disintegrated in days and then the panzers would be the divisions holding the line just like they were.
                            The British were masters at the fixed battle of attrition. It was Monty's speciality.
                            As for maneuver, the Germans learned all the wrong lessons in Russia and when they applied them versus the Western Allies in 1944 they got hammered for it. Attacking in penny packets without proper reconnissance, lacking artillery support, trying to move rapidly along multiple lines of advance just got them hammered by the far superior combined arms and communications ability of Britain and America in 1944.

                            Nancy and the September counter offensive against 3rd Army is a perfect example of this. Even in Market Garden it was the German's biggest failing.

                            Even as late as Jan-Feb 1945 German infantry divisions were still dragging allied attacks to a crawl while mobile forces came up to halt them. The allied campaign in north-west Europe was textbook 1918 doctrine. Only after the last of the German army in the west was defeated did the allies run across Germany.
                            German infantry divisions were virtually nothing but speed bumps in the West. With one exception, they were never able to successfully carry out an attack on a Western infantry division on their own, regardless of number, of any large size and win. The exception is in the Ardennes against 106th US ID where the 18th and 62nd VG managed to do it.
                            Otherwise, it was only the panzers that really managed any major resistance to Allied advances.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              What difference does a port make? The Allies brought two with them and can run supplies over the beach as well. All that they can do is possibly slow the Allies down a bit, maybe a few weeks at most.
                              Go back and reread your Ruppenthal (Logistics in Overlord. Volumes I & II). Right off the bat the Allied prefabricated ports were shut down by a storm, which would have affected none of the French Atlantic or Channel ports. Second, the damage to both Mulberry A & B reduced the overall capacity. Discharge across all beached and across the Mulberry pierheads never reached more than 80% of the expected quantity and the average for the fifteen weeks of full operations was closer to 70% of expectations.

                              More important was the necessity to shut down the cross beach intake in September, and the Mulberry pierheads in October. In November Mulberry B took in maybe 10% of its peak, for a few remaining days. At that point the Allied logisticians were racing to open the channel to Antwerp before the depots dependant on the Mulberrys emptied out.

                              Cherbourg had its nominal peace time capcity of 8,000 to 10,000 tons per day more than doubled by September, suffcient to supply two armies worth of combat power, including air support. Op. Overlord estimates projected a requirement for 80-90 divisions and full support to cross the Rhine. In October there was not yet the capacity for a army of 60 divisions, and as in Italy the logisticians discovered the requirements for the civilian population were far larger than estimated.

                              Getting back to the Mulberrys, those had some severe restrictions. Bulk cargo like grain, coal, cement were not in the design. Neither were the ability to land railroad rolling stock rails and sleepers which were needed desperately in large quantities. Those quantities were waiting in the storage depots and ports of the US & UK. Cherbourg had some ability to receive locomotives ect. but Le Havre with its ferry docks was important.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X