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Number of German troops in France on June 6, 1944?

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  • Number of German troops in France on June 6, 1944?

    How many soldiers/men did Germany have in France on the eve of the Normandy Landings?

    Also would it be possible if Germany had more manpower stationed in France that would make any amphibious landing unfeasible?

    Like if Germany never went to war with the USSR or defeated them in 1941 so all of the casualties that they would have taken on the Eastern Front after 1941 plus losses in equipment and so on, that's what a least a million men that could be stationed in France even if a large amount were pulling occupation duty in the conquered East?

    Could an amphibious landing be made if Nazi Germany had 500k to 1m+ troops in France ready for Allied attack? Plus thousands more tanks, artillery, vehicles, aircraft etc.

  • #2
    Too many for me.
    But it ain't the reply you're waiting for.
    That rug really tied the room together

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cmyers1980 View Post
      Could an amphibious landing be made if Nazi Germany had 500k to 1m+ troops in France ready for Allied attack? Plus thousands more tanks, artillery, vehicles, aircraft etc.
      The did have about a million there that day, if you count the BeNeLux area, and look all the way down to the Rivera. But in the South there were only 5 Infantry and one Panzer Div.

      What they were lacking was airpower, and that wasn't because of Russia. It was because of the tremendous air battles over Europe, see the "Big Week" of March of 1944. And the LW wasn't exactly missing over France, that was just D-Day, they lost about 1,000 fighters over France that summer.

      What really screwed the Germans up was the deception campaign that was so effective that Hitler forgot his own hunches (he guessed Normandy months in advance) and nailed much of the mobile reserves in place for weeks after the landings!
      Incredibly, he and others assumed that Normandy was a feint. I have no idea how that could be possible, but they did, and for far to long.
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #4
        While it is so that the German forces in France varied between 600000 and 1 million, this figure is irrelevant,because

        a) a lot of those men belonged to non combat units

        b) only the forces belonging to Rommel's AGB should be counted

        c) And NOT all of them :forces of AGB who were stationed outside France could not intervene during the decisive first days /hours


        d) A lot of the German forces in the West were NOT operatinal : exemple : the LSS

        PS : a detailed summary of the German forces in the West has been published by Richard Anderson on Feldgrau and the AHF .

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post

          What really screwed the Germans up was the deception campaign that was so effective that Hitler forgot his own hunches (he guessed Normandy months in advance) and nailed much of the mobile reserves in place for weeks after the landings!
          Incredibly, he and others assumed that Normandy was a feint. I have no idea how that could be possible, but they did, and for far to long.

          This is not correct : on 6 june,everything that was available was sent to Normandy .

          Exemple : on 6/7 june, SS PzD Das Reich,stationed in the Toulouse region,was sent to Normandy .

          : a few days later,2 SS PzD who were stationed in the SU (9 and 11) were sent to Normandy .

          Other point : that Hitler was sending reserves to Normandy BEFORE Dday,did not mean that he believed in a main Allied landing in Normandy,but the reason was that the forces in Normandy were to weak .

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          • #6
            The OP is starting from the wrong POV that the landing in Normandy was essentail for an Allied victory : it was NOT .The Allies landed in Normandy because the German defense in Normandy was weak;if the Germans had been to strong in Normandy,there would have been no Allied landing,but Germany still would be defeated .

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            • #7
              Richard Andersen gives the following figures on AHF viewtopic 166768

              Total WM strength : some 1.6 million

              Heer : 800000/850000

              The rest : LW;KM;Police, RAD/OT/NSKK,Hiwi and Osttruppen .

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              • #8
                What they were lacking was airpower, and that wasn't because of Russia. It was because of the tremendous air battles over Europe, see the "Big Week" of March of 1944. And the LW wasn't exactly missing over France, that was just D-Day, they lost about 1,000 fighters over France that summer.
                Just to be picky, the losses began from mid-1943 (ie the summer before); the fighter force was in serious trouble by March 1944 when the P-51 began to see service, but the loss of so many experienced pilots and junior leaders can be dated from the beginning of sustained operations in 1943.

                Out of interest, how many soldiers and usable formations (ie infantry, artillery, armour, paratroop, SS) were not in Norther France or the East as of 6th June? Was holding Italy, Scandinavia and the Balkans tying up a lot of potentially useful combat troops as well as POL, ammunition, flak etc.?
                History is not tragedy; to understand historical reality, it is sometimes better to not know the end of the story.

                Pierre Vidal-Naquet

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                • #9
                  German manpower distribution
                  Source: "Strategische Lage im Frühjahr 1944", Jodl, Vortrag 5.5.1944. (referenced to BA-MA, N69/18.)
                  . Date: 5.5.1944 (situation likely of April 1944)
                  East: 3,878,000
                  Finland: no figure given
                  Norway: 311,000
                  Denmark: no figure given
                  West: 1,873,000
                  Italy: 961,000
                  Balkans: 826,000
                  Sum: 7,849,000

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                    While it is so that the German forces in France varied between 600000 and 1 million, this figure is irrelevant,because

                    a) a lot of those men belonged to non combat units

                    b) only the forces belonging to Rommel's AGB should be counted

                    c) And NOT all of them :forces of AGB who were stationed outside France could not intervene during the decisive first days /hours


                    d) A lot of the German forces in the West were NOT operatinal : exemple : the LSS

                    PS : a detailed summary of the German forces in the West has been published by Richard Anderson on Feldgrau and the AHF .
                    The Germans were hugely overstretched - they also had to keep several hundred thousand in Scandanavia 'just in case', they had many thousands stuck in the 'Italian Underbelly', and they of course had an engaging contretemps on the boil on their eastern front.

                    A lot of what they had left were 'stomach battalions' and fresh faced kids - some well indoctrinated and others just wanting to go home to mother.


                    There were still enough hanging about Northern France to make D-Day far from being a picnic, and to cause some aggro in the vicinity of Caen and in the bocage. And of course they had that little surprise up their sleeve in the Ardennes later on, causing Patton to do a quick left turn and charge to the rescue - rather like Custer, only with a little more back-up.
                    Last edited by Wooden Wonder; 26 Aug 15, 04:06.

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                    • #11
                      From Müller-Hillebrand, Heer 3, p. 173:

                      "Ration strength in the West", 1. March 1944 (referenced to OKW War diary)

                      Army 806,927
                      SS and Police: 85,230
                      Foreign volunteers, mainly Eastern troops: 61,439
                      Allies: 13,631
                      Luftwaffe (air force): 337,140
                      Kriegsmarine (navy): 96,084
                      Wehrmachtgefolge (auxiliary civil personnel): 145,611

                      Sum: 1,546,062

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cmyers1980 View Post
                        Also would it be possible if Germany had more manpower stationed in France that would make any amphibious landing unfeasible?
                        IIRC COSSAC key planning condition was no more than 12 mobile divisions in NW France.

                        Of course Stalin asked, what if there are 13?

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                        • #13
                          Date: 5.5.1944 (situation likely of April 1944)
                          East: 3,878,000
                          Finland: no figure given
                          Norway: 311,000
                          Denmark: no figure given
                          West: 1,873,000
                          Italy: 961,000
                          Balkans: 826,000
                          Sum: 7,849,000
                          That is a lot of people, weapons, vehicles, POL, ammunition, energy, transport and paperwork away from the 2 main fronts
                          History is not tragedy; to understand historical reality, it is sometimes better to not know the end of the story.

                          Pierre Vidal-Naquet

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bluenose View Post
                            That is a lot of people, weapons, vehicles, POL, ammunition, energy, transport and paperwork away from the 2 main fronts
                            It's what happens when you lose the initiative, you have conquered more than you can occupy, the locals dislike you and get supplied as guerrillas, and the enemy can count on strategic lift capabilities.
                            Michele

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                            • #15
                              It's what happens when you lose the initiative, you have conquered more than you can occupy, the locals dislike you and get supplied as guerrillas, and the enemy can count on strategic lift capabilities.
                              Beware having morons as your commander in chief, huh?
                              History is not tragedy; to understand historical reality, it is sometimes better to not know the end of the story.

                              Pierre Vidal-Naquet

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