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If "36 hours" had really happened

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  • If "36 hours" had really happened

    In the film "36 hours" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/36_Hours
    the Germans try to trick an Allied officer into divulging the location of the D Day invasion.

    WI it had really happened, and the Germans had had 36 hours, or even 24 hours advance warning that Normandy was the real location? Would it have been enough to throw back the beachead? Would the entire landing ground have been an Omaha? Or would the allies have still prevailed, but with 20,000 dead instead of 2,000 as in OTL?

    If, with hours or even minutes to spare, Allied recce had spotted droves of panzers waiting on Gold, Sword, Juno, Utah and Omaha, would/could they have called off the invasion craft?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qik15JQ6Aj0

  • #2
    Interesting point.

    The Germans would have needed more than a few minutes.

    And then there's the issue of naval bombardment-if the Panzers came up too soon, they wouldn't survive.

    I'm not sure what the Germans could have done-the best chance would be to catch the fleet at sea, but by then the Germans lacked much naval or air power.
    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.

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    • #3
      It would have been much bloodier and nastier, but in the end I'd be willing to wager that the sheer amount of naval gunfire and Christ knows how much airpower would have murdered, and wholesale at that, Germans trying to get to the beaches something fierce to unimaginable scales. In fact methinks, allied command would have loved to know they were coming in that kind of force as every route would, had to be, pre-plotted. The very same obstacles (flooding large areas, etc.) would have worked against the Germans. Old saying...

      "You make it hard for them to get in, you make it hard for yourself to get out".

      Or, out to do...whatever.
      Youthful Exuberance Is No Match For Old Age And Treachery.

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      • #4
        36 hours before hand would have been too late. Within 48 hours of D-Day, the Underground had already launch sabotage operations against road,rail and communication lines. Allied fighter/bombers would do the same during the day. If the Germans hadn't figured it out a week before, they would never figure it out. If it took deceiving someone into divulging the information only 36 hours before landings began, they had already lost.
        You'll live, only the best get killed.

        -General Charles de Gaulle

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        • #5
          They would not have believed it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
            They would not have believed it.
            They didn't believe it at the time.

            Remember, was originally scheduled for the fifth and got delayed a day due to weather.

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            • #7
              36 hours would have shown the world in vivid detail exactly what a Battleship was good for.

              The best chance the Germans would have would be to put the entire freaking Luftwaffe into a mass raid at dawn on the 6th against the invasion transports (using 250-500lb bombs and rockets and cannons). They'd lose I'd estimate 75% of their planes, but they'd do damage by benefit of an assault of sheer numbers.

              Outside of that, nothing they could do. The fleet's escorts were banging away with sonar, and e-boots would have been suicidal for no discernible benefit.
              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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              • #8
                Wouldn't Ultra have alerted the allies of German movements? Perhaps lead to wholesale slaughter of German forces moving toward the beaches?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                  The best chance the Germans would have would be to put the entire freaking Luftwaffe into a mass raid at dawn on the 6th against the invasion transports (using 250-500lb bombs and rockets and cannons). They'd lose I'd estimate 75% of their planes, but they'd do damage by benefit of an assault of sheer numbers.
                  German air force had slightly less than 300 operational fighters & bombers in range of the Channel that week. On 6th June they managed to launch a bit over 300 sorties, most of which failed to reach the battlefield. As per their plans nearly 2000 aircraft were dispatched to France from German, the Mediterranean region, and other points to France & Belgium. Some arrived imediately, others broke down, were intercepted, or not dispatched. In June or very early July a peak of 1,200 or 1,300 aircraft were in range of Normandy. The bombers were limited to night attacks, and the fighters attempted to defend their airfields & other installations or the transportation system.

                  As far as potential damage a look at the cargo losses to air attack in the Sicilian or Italian invasions would be a start. The German pilots gained some spectacular tactical suceses in the Med in 1943. The amount of invasion material they sunk is the bottom line.

                  Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
                  They didn't believe it at the time.

                  Remember, was originally scheduled for the fifth and got delayed a day due to weather.
                  Bingo. One of the intelligence chiefs in the west had a spy in the French underground and through him correctly identified the radio alerts directed at the French. That occurred on the 4th IIRC. The intel officer went directly to Rommels staff & sent a message to Rundtsteadts HQ. Both dismissed the warning as unsupported by other evidence. ie: no commando ops identified, no clear change in the bombing patterns, no warning from the upper levels of the intelligence services in Germany, and most important: no reports of a invasion fleet setting out to sea.

                  There had been a 'Invasion Alert' in May, which caused everyone to drop their shovels and man the weapons for a day or two. That false alarm may have made the HQ staff more demanding for evidence.

                  At 01:30 6th June the first parachute battalions started landing & the 7th & 15th Armys were at full alert between 02:00 & 03:00. In the 352 Div the commanders of the beach defense sectors reported their posts fully manned and ready between 04:00 & 05:00, before any reports of a fleet offshore were recorded by units of 7th Army. 15th Army did receive reports of a enemy fleet from their radar stations. A British signals deception operation spoofed the German radar operators into seeing a return signal from a fleet just on the horizon off the Pas de Calais. This was about the same time dummy paratroops were dropped in the 15th Army area near Calais.

                  Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                  Wouldn't Ultra have alerted the allies of German movements? Perhaps lead to wholesale slaughter of German forces moving toward the beaches?
                  ULTRA, the French underground, air reconniasance... However; The US 1st Army and its subordinate corps did receive a warning the German 352 Inf Div had moved from near Leasay in the Cotinten to the Calvados coast between Carentan & Bayeux. Both Bradley and Collins in their post battle reports state there was very little they could do. The plan was so complex that significant changes in the last 48 hours could wreck large parts of it. that is to say anything the enemy might do had to be on the scale of wrecking the invasion plan, to justify wrecking it in reaction. The air forces commanders did have some flexibility in redirecting part of their air attacks, but that still required approx 24 hours notice. Starting a naval bombardment earlier was difficult as the Channel was not swept of mines until the early morning of 6th June.

                  On the German side there is still the problem of Hitler himself being deceived by the Allied deception ops & thinking the Normandy attack was a secondary diversion. It would require some incredible evidence to convince the folks in Berlin that their solid gold spies in the UK were wrong and that a invasion in Normandy in two days would be the main event.

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                  • #10
                    36 hours would have made no difference. One, because like others have said, they wouldn't have believed it. Two, that's just not enough time to have a large impact.

                    36 days ? perhaps but it probably only would have changed the death toll and not the outcome.

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                    • #11
                      What if Overlord had turned in to a Jubilee, with 15,000 dead and 5,000 captured?

                      With D Day an epic failure, what do the Allies do next to prosecute the war against Germany apart from bombing?

                      Does an expanded vengeful Dragoon still go ahead in August 1944, or is Allied morale too shattered?

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                      • #12
                        How about:
                        1) more intensive bombing of France/Germany
                        2) a greater effort in Italy
                        3) Retake Crete, with allied air and sea superiority and a long coastline on both sides of Crete for the Germans to defend could be feasible. Then use it to expand Ploesti bombing and (delighting Churchill no end) play around more with Greece mainland/Balkan raids.

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                        • #13
                          British manpower reserves were running low, and with a failed D Day leaving Calais in German hands to launch yet more V1s & 2s on London, could British morale become malcontented?

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                          • #14
                            I don't think D-Day could have really failed. The Germans simply did not have a ability to penetrate the air & naval screen with sufficient force to turn the fleet back.

                            On a strategic level, the Germans lost D-Day months before. You don't stop an invasion on the beaches.
                            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.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                              They would not have believed it.
                              Importantly the likes of Hitler and other figures who could overrule their better thinking generals were pretty set on Calais being the main invasion point. It was obvious and 'logical' and Patton had a phantom army just waiting for the go.

                              Give thanks to Hitler, his crystal balls and his sleeping pills - and the nervousness of those around him to call wakey wakey and pass on the bad news.


                              Mifletz - The British still had a lot of spirit left, and the V1s were increasingly being intercepted by guns and aircraft, and their ramps destroyed; also the V2s were receiving attention from the air while they were in transit, and even courtesy of the RAF 'earthquake' bombs in the underground factories and stores.
                              Last edited by Wooden Wonder; 04 Jun 14, 16:32.

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