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Alternate Defense Strategy After 6 June

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
    Early in April, 1945, the commander of Army Group Vistula, Colonel General Heinrici, attended a conference in Berlin, in anticipation of the impending Russian attack. He informed Hitler that his army group could resist for a few days, but as he anticipated losses of one division per week, and as he had no reserves, after that 'it must all come to an end.'

    Goering then promptly offered Heinrici 100,000 Luftwaffe men, and Doenitz offered to release 12,000 men from ships and 'rush them to the Oder.'

    The reason I have stated this is that Heinrici's response was both revealing and, surely, accurate :

    'These men are not combat-trained. They have been in rear areas and offices, on ships, or in maintenance work at Luftwaffe bases. They have never fought at the front; they have never even seen a Russian..... Don't you think there is a difference between fighting at sea and fighting on land? I tell you, all these men will be slaughtered at the front! Slaughtered!'

    The above account, and the quotation, is from 'The Last Battle' by Cornelius Ryan, by the way.

    Whilst it may be fun to talk about 'the Soviets being hit by a bucket load of troops' perhaps it would be better to consider the actual practicality of what you have proposed.
    Originally posted by Michele View Post
    Hear, hear. And in order to consider that practicality, one might look at the actual historical performance of the Luftwaffe Felddivisionen. Looking at those, one will also notice that apart from the decisive issue of training, "bucketfuls" of air force recruits would also have to fight essentially with rifles and bajonets.
    Thank you for the above insight.

    Which shows how desperate the Germans got, even chucking in a bucket load of troops, considering the palour state as quoted it would be a meatgrinder.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      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.
      Defeat at the hands of the Soviets was inevitable, so there was no means by which fighting in the west could have prevented the end. In the west, the situation was hopeless (for the Axis) anyway:

      1. Allied air power
      2. Allied industrial might

      Germany wasn't ready for war against the Allies when it happened. They had to either win fast, or lose. They didn't win fast.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
        Leaving aside Hitlers influence; after it was clear Rommels strategy to defeat the invasion on the beaches had failed, [...]
        Excuse me? Rommel's strategy didn't fail. Rommel wanted forward positioning, not holding forces in reserve further back. Although he didn't know it in advance doing so wouldn't only have worked against air interdiction, it would also have worked much better against the deception of the Allied Fortitude operation which kept those reserves in the wrong place for 3-6 weeks.

        The way things were decided the high command made itself more vulnerable to deception. Of course the deception did cause them to want to hold back forces in the first place, so you would have to fix deception first. But either way if the forces had been where Rommel would have placed them they would have done something useful for those 3-6 weeks.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Redwolf View Post
          Excuse me? Rommel's strategy didn't fail. Rommel wanted forward positioning, not holding forces in reserve further back. Although he didn't know it in advance doing so wouldn't only have worked against air interdiction, it would also have worked much better against the deception of the Allied Fortitude operation which kept those reserves in the wrong place for 3-6 weeks.

          The way things were decided the high command made itself more vulnerable to deception. Of course the deception did cause them to want to hold back forces in the first place, so you would have to fix deception first. But either way if the forces had been where Rommel would have placed them they would have done something useful for those 3-6 weeks.
          I think you're understanding Carl wrong. Rommel's strategy=hold the allies at the beaches. History=Rommel did not hold the beaches. Summation=Rommel failed at holding the beaches.
          "In the absence of orders...find something and kill it!" Lt. General Erwin Rommel, 1942

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Redwolf View Post
            Excuse me? Rommel's strategy didn't fail. Rommel wanted forward positioning, not holding forces in reserve further back. Although he didn't know it in advance doing so wouldn't only have worked against air interdiction, it would also have worked much better against the deception of the Allied Fortitude operation which kept those reserves in the wrong place for 3-6 weeks.

            The way things were decided the high command made itself more vulnerable to deception. Of course the deception did cause them to want to hold back forces in the first place, so you would have to fix deception first. But either way if the forces had been where Rommel would have placed them they would have done something useful for those 3-6 weeks.
            I think you're missing a couple of points:

            Armoured reserves forward does not necessarily put them in the right place, or closer eg if they're on the coast at Calais then they're effectively further away from the battlefield as they have to travel back to Paris to cross the Seine, as the lower Seine bridges have been destroyed.

            Even where the armoured reserves were forward ie 21 Panzer they were not effective on D-Day - their main attack got stopped dead by anti-tank fire and they were even unsuccessful against airborne forces. Even during Dieppe the closest armoured unit did not make it to the beach in time.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by smallvillekalel View Post
              I think you're understanding Carl wrong. Rommel's strategy=hold the allies at the beaches. History=Rommel did not hold the beaches. Summation=Rommel failed at holding the beaches.
              Thank you.

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