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16 December 1944 revised

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  • 16 December 1944 revised

    Hitler decides, as in history, to commit a winter offensive to buy a respite.

    You are the Field Marshal in command of said effort. You will have the historical lead time, resources, and approximate start date.

    You may choose any front; you may tweak the start date (as historically) to take advantage of suitable weather, but you are attacking in December.

    Where would you choose to launch the attack, what would be your objective, what is your hoped-for outcome?


    EDIT: No one is suggesting that there is any hope for national victory; what is in play is simply what other plans could have been undertaken, and to what effect?
    Last edited by Arnold J Rimmer; 07 Jan 19, 20:50.
    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.

  • #2
    My objective would be to deliver my men safely to western allies on the condition they get humane treatment and better rations
    no battle
    negotiated surrender
    road to Germany is wide open

    Comment


    • #3
      I would probably direct the offensive against 21st Army group and the British in particular. The objective would be to cause large numbers of casualties, particularly among infantry units while doing sufficient damage through shallow penetrations of the front to disrupt operations. I'd then conduct a fighting retreat back to my start positions.

      The advantage of this is that Montgomery, faced with heavy infantry casualties that are not going to be easily replaced (Britain was already very short on replacements) and a serious disruption of his front would almost certainly respond by wanting a significant pause to reorganize, rest, and rebuild his units. This in turn, would have caused the Americans to have to slow their own advances as well as a political rift as the Americans would be impatient with Montgomery over that while he would complain he's in no position to advance

      That might buy the Germans another 4 to 6 months.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        I would probably direct the offensive against 21st Army group and the British in particular. The objective would be to cause large numbers of casualties, particularly among infantry units while doing sufficient damage through shallow penetrations of the front to disrupt operations. I'd then conduct a fighting retreat back to my start positions.

        The advantage of this is that Montgomery, faced with heavy infantry casualties that are not going to be easily replaced (Britain was already very short on replacements) and a serious disruption of his front would almost certainly respond by wanting a significant pause to reorganize, rest, and rebuild his units. This in turn, would have caused the Americans to have to slow their own advances as well as a political rift as the Americans would be impatient with Montgomery over that while he would complain he's in no position to advance

        That might buy the Germans another 4 to 6 months.
        Clever. And would preserve the bulk of your forces.
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          I would probably direct the offensive against 21st Army group and the British in particular. The objective would be to cause large numbers of casualties, particularly among infantry units while doing sufficient damage through shallow penetrations of the front to disrupt operations. I'd then conduct a fighting retreat back to my start positions.

          The advantage of this is that Montgomery, faced with heavy infantry casualties that are not going to be easily replaced (Britain was already very short on replacements) and a serious disruption of his front would almost certainly respond by wanting a significant pause to reorganize, rest, and rebuild his units. This in turn, would have caused the Americans to have to slow their own advances as well as a political rift as the Americans would be impatient with Montgomery over that while he would complain he's in no position to advance

          That might buy the Germans another 4 to 6 months.
          Plausible, but meanwhile the Soviet Armies roll on regardless of what might happen in the west. A negotiated armistice would be the only answer if possible.
          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
          Samuel Johnson.

          Comment


          • #6
            With 21st Army Group, you have three very disparate armies you're dealing with, along with Monty's personality. You have 1st Canadian, and Crerar who just gets along with Montgomery but is always given second fiddle, so-to-speak. You have 2nd British Army with Dempsey who's Monty's boy and the favored army and commander of the group. Then there's 9th US who is the also-ran with Monty.
            If you hit 2nd British hard the attrition nature of the battle is the last thing Monty can afford or wants. The Canadians and Americans on 2nd's flanks are not in a position to do much to help them the way Third Army did in the Ardennes.
            Monty's response would be similar to that of his in the Ardennes I'd think. Pull back into more defensible positions and let the German attack peter out against a prepared defense.
            But, the Germans manage it as a spoiling offensive. They give the British a bloody nose and then conduct a fighting withdrawal much as they did in Normandy. Monty would want to make set-piece offensives to regain the ground after a careful build up. That stalls 1st Canadian and 9th US and everything from the Ruhr north in Germany off the hook for an offensive for several months. That allows the Germans time to build a Rhine defense in the south against the more energetic American armies.

            In the East, the Germans just have to hang on as long as they can.

            But, if the result is the Soviets move further West than they did and it becomes a clash of postwar politics, it could go much worse than it historically did, particularly if Stalin doesn't want to give up turf that's not his under previous negotiations.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

              Plausible, but meanwhile the Soviet Armies roll on regardless of what might happen in the west. A negotiated armistice would be the only answer if possible.
              No one is suggesting that there is any hope for national victory; what is in lay is simply what other plans could have been undertaken, and to what effect?
              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


              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                With 21st Army Group, you have three very disparate armies you're dealing with, along with Monty's personality. You have 1st Canadian, and Crerar who just gets along with Montgomery but is always given second fiddle, so-to-speak. You have 2nd British Army with Dempsey who's Monty's boy and the favored army and commander of the group. Then there's 9th US who is the also-ran with Monty.
                If you hit 2nd British hard the attrition nature of the battle is the last thing Monty can afford or wants. The Canadians and Americans on 2nd's flanks are not in a position to do much to help them the way Third Army did in the Ardennes.
                Monty's response would be similar to that of his in the Ardennes I'd think. Pull back into more defensible positions and let the German attack peter out against a prepared defense.
                But, the Germans manage it as a spoiling offensive. They give the British a bloody nose and then conduct a fighting withdrawal much as they did in Normandy. Monty would want to make set-piece offensives to regain the ground after a careful build up. That stalls 1st Canadian and 9th US and everything from the Ruhr north in Germany off the hook for an offensive for several months. That allows the Germans time to build a Rhine defense in the south against the more energetic American armies.

                In the East, the Germans just have to hang on as long as they can.

                But, if the result is the Soviets move further West than they did and it becomes a clash of postwar politics, it could go much worse than it historically did, particularly if Stalin doesn't want to give up turf that's not his under previous negotiations.
                Good points.

                But if properly done, the German armored reserves might come out in far better shape, which could offset the Soviet's added time.
                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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  With 21st Army Group, you have three very disparate armies you're dealing with, along with Monty's personality. You have 1st Canadian, and Crerar who just gets along with Montgomery but is always given second fiddle, so-to-speak. You have 2nd British Army with Dempsey who's Monty's boy and the favored army and commander of the group. Then there's 9th US who is the also-ran with Monty.
                  If you hit 2nd British hard the attrition nature of the battle is the last thing Monty can afford or wants. The Canadians and Americans on 2nd's flanks are not in a position to do much to help them the way Third Army did in the Ardennes.
                  See the actual situation map

                  US 9th Army was not under Montgomery at this point.

                  Situation early December:

                  We were now tidy along the line of the Rivers Roer and Meuse except for an enemy salient in the Heinsberg area, and virtually the only commitment remaining as a preliminary to major operation between the Rhine and the Meuse was the elimination of this pocket. I ordered Second Army to carry out the clearance of the Heinsberg area in early December, but eventually operations had to be postponed owing to the complete saturation of the countryside.
                  You're proposing an armoured attack over flooded lowlands, including assault crossings of the Meuse against an enemy who can easily retire to multiple defensive waterlines, with armoured divisions in reserve and Comet tanks arriving.


                  Available also through the Library of Congress web site as a raster image.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aber View Post

                    See the actual situation map

                    US 9th Army was not under Montgomery at this point.

                    Situation early December:



                    You're proposing an armoured attack over flooded lowlands, including assault crossings of the Meuse against an enemy who can easily retire to multiple defensive waterlines, with armoured divisions in reserve and Comet tanks arriving.

                    The Heimsberg salient / roermond was a ninth army Us / 12 corps joint operation cleared in Operation blackcock , ending on Jan 26/1945
                    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aber View Post

                      You're proposing an armoured attack over flooded lowlands, including assault crossings of the Meuse against an enemy who can easily retire to multiple defensive waterlines, with armoured divisions in reserve and Comet tanks arriving.
                      Unless the Germans can sneak a dozen divisions into the Roer Triangle with nobody noticing ...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aber View Post

                        See the actual situation map

                        US 9th Army was not under Montgomery at this point.

                        Situation early December:



                        You're proposing an armoured attack over flooded lowlands, including assault crossings of the Meuse against an enemy who can easily retire to multiple defensive waterlines, with armoured divisions in reserve and Comet tanks arriving.

                        Errr- not quite.
                        On Nov 2nd Model proposed swinging Autumn Smoke North upon reaching the Meuse/Maas, along with a concurrent attack against British 2nd between Aachen and Geilenkirchen, with luck isolating 16 divisions in a pincer. This would have required a second crossing of the Ourthe.
                        I am curious as to when Simpson's Ninth army left Montgomery's ' control -

                        On the Morning of the 20th, Eisenhower gave Montgomery overall command of everything on the North Side of the German penetration.....which would include Simpson's army...
                        Possibly, Montgomery gave Simpson full reins as he saw fit. the two worked well together. The American ninth Army was a well commanded group.

                        I might be wrrr, ooog , wrrbit, errr, not quite right- much as I hate to admit it...
                        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          9th Army was placed under 21st Army Group at the beginning of the Ardennes offensive when it was cut off from 12th Army Group. After that, it was variously put under 21st Army Group control as the Allies advanced into Germany. Most of the time it was under 12th Army Group (US) prior to that.

                          But, a northern offensive against 2nd British Army is possible. The areas flooded are mostly to the North of them and in the area being operated by 1st Canadian Army. The road net is better, and while there are more water obstacles, most are relatively small.

                          The big advantage would be 2nd British would respond to the attack more slowly than US forces would. This can be seen in Monty's response to the Ardennes Offensive versus 3rd Army's in the South. Monty took control of US forces on the North side of the offensive and with his own attempted to establish a solid defensive line by a series of withdrawals and movement of units further back (eg., defend the Meuse). The US response was generally to make ad hoc defenses on the spot and throw units forward and counterattack.

                          The attack area would be roughly the same as into the flank of Market-Garden, which the Germans managed pretty well.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            The road net is better, and while there are more water obstacles, most are relatively small.
                            Image result for maasstrict meuse width
                            The Meuse at Maastricht.

                            Have fun getting German armoured spearheads across the river downstream from here in winter.

                            The big advantage would be 2nd British would respond to the attack more slowly than US forces would
                            A big part of the slow 12th Army Group response was the lack of reserves. On the other hand if the British were attacked IIRC XXX Corps was pretty much in reserve on 16th December.
                            Last edited by Aber; 08 Jan 19, 16:55.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              9th Army was placed under 21st Army Group at the beginning of the Ardennes offensive when it was cut off from 12th Army Group. After that, it was variously put under 21st Army Group control as the Allies advanced into Germany. Most of the time it was under 12th Army Group (US) prior to that.

                              But, a northern offensive against 2nd British Army is possible. The areas flooded are mostly to the North of them and in the area being operated by 1st Canadian Army. The road net is better, and while there are more water obstacles, most are relatively small.

                              The big advantage would be 2nd British would respond to the attack more slowly than US forces would. This can be seen in Monty's response to the Ardennes Offensive versus 3rd Army's in the South. Monty took control of US forces on the North side of the offensive and with his own attempted to establish a solid defensive line by a series of withdrawals and movement of units further back (eg., defend the Meuse). The US response was generally to make ad hoc defenses on the spot and throw units forward and counterattack.

                              The attack area would be roughly the same as into the flank of Market-Garden, which the Germans managed pretty well.
                              You're right. Monty was too timid to react properly. He would pull back and dig in, the same way he 'won' the fight at El A; he was a product of the last war. If the Germans moved fast enough they could have snapped up a number of rearguards and escalated British losses.
                              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

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