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Effect of a successful Market Garden on Operation Watch on the Rhine

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  • Effect of a successful Market Garden on Operation Watch on the Rhine

    If Operation Market Garden had succeed, would there have been a German offensive that resulted in the Battle of the Bulge?

    Would the troops the German's used in the Watch on the Rhine offensive have been drawn into blocking the allied forces flowing across the Rhine?

    If the Germans managed to scrap together forces for an offensive in the West in December 1944 would it instead be directed towards the Allied forces coming out the Netherlands into Germany following a successful Allied offensive in Market Garden?
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    I think Montgomery would have stopped after crossing the Rhine in order to bring up more supplies. He would have also asked for American troops to come under his command so he could have someone on his flanks when he did decide to advance. His tactics could be described as getting the Camel's nose under the tent flap. I don't think anyone told him that the Americans were seeing the bottom of their manpower barrel. The Battle of the Bulge several months later did get three divisions shipped to Europe instead of the Pacific. They arrived too late to do much. The last arriving divisions did not do much in Europe with the exception of Terry Allen's new division.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      Yes, I'd say the forces being husbanded for Watch on the Rhine would almost certainly been committed to blocking a further advance after a successful Market Garden and also been thrown into piecemeal counter-attacks against the penetration.

      Were there any forests of a size large enough to conceal a major planned counter-offensive against the Allies in the Netherlands?

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      • #4
        It would make no difference. Montgomery would still have to sit and focus on opening Antwerp and clearing the Scheldt. 1st Canadian Army would then have to conduct the polder battles to clear his rear and flank of pocketed German forces.

        Montgomery's call for one "full blooded stroke" towards Berlin (led by him of course) wasn't going to happen. Eisenhower and the top command weren't going to give him all the supplies and starve the rest of the Allied forces.

        As such, the likely German response would still be the same attempt to thrust through the Ardennes and the perceived weakest section of the Allied lines in a bit to take Antwerp. I could see the second part of Wacht am Rhine, Nordwind, being refocused north against Montgomery rather than south against 7th US Army.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          It would make no difference. Montgomery would still have to sit and focus on opening Antwerp and clearing the Scheldt. 1st Canadian Army would then have to conduct the polder battles to clear his rear and flank of pocketed German forces.
          Canadian and other Allied forces had cleared the Scheldt allowing the first convoy to arrive on November 28th.

          This should have allowed forces under Field Marshal Montgomery to start offensive actions in early December.
          "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
          Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

            Canadian and other Allied forces had cleared the Scheldt allowing the first convoy to arrive on November 28th.

            This should have allowed forces under Field Marshal Montgomery to start offensive actions in early December.
            But, it didn't. There was lag involved. Besides, that gives the Allies just like 10 days between the Scheldt being cleared and the Ardennes Offensive starting. Montgomery was not known for his quick and agile offensive actions.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              Montgomery's call for one "full blooded stroke" towards Berlin (led by him of course) wasn't going to happen. Eisenhower and the top command weren't going to give him all the supplies and starve the rest of the Allied forces.
              After a successful Market Garden, with British 2nd Army holding deep bridgeheads over the Ijssel on the North German Plain, you imagine Eisenhower will allow Bradleys Army Group to continue inching their way forwards through the Siegfried Line towards the Rhine slowly and at huge cost?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

                Canadian and other Allied forces had cleared the Scheldt allowing the first convoy to arrive on November 28th.

                This should have allowed forces under Field Marshal Montgomery to start offensive actions in early December.

                With 2nd British Army stretched holding a long line and probably under frequent German counter-attacks, they probably won't be able to spare the Corps for operations to open the Scheldt/clear to the Maas that proved historically necessary in October 1944.
                Unless Eisenhower allocates a US Corps to 1st Canadian Army I can see operations to clear the Scheldt taking longer than they did.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gooner View Post


                  With 2nd British Army stretched holding a long line and probably under frequent German counter-attacks, they probably won't be able to spare the Corps for operations to open the Scheldt/clear to the Maas that proved historically necessary in October 1944.
                  Unless Eisenhower allocates a US Corps to 1st Canadian Army I can see operations to clear the Scheldt taking longer than they did.
                  I would think clearing the Scheldt would be a priority. So General Eisenhower may well have provided U.S. Forces.
                  "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                  Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    With 2nd British Army stretched holding a long line and probably under frequent German counter-attacks, they probably won't be able to spare the Corps for operations to open the Scheldt/clear to the Maas that proved historically necessary in October 1944.
                    Unless Eisenhower allocates a US Corps to 1st Canadian Army I can see operations to clear the Scheldt taking longer than they did.
                    If the US were to commit naval and land forces to the operation, it would have gone much quicker. The US has far more naval and air resources to commit. The problem would be finding the necessary ground forces. One solution might have been in this case to bring fresh divisions directly from the US to do the landings and combat rather than pulling units from elsewhere in the ETO.
                    Unlike the British, the US had no overall shortage of manpower available. For a short period in the ETO there was an infantry shortage due to heavy casualties and intense operations. That didn't happen elsewhere for the US and is an exception, not the rule. The US could have with relative ease simply shipped a couple of new divisions from the US as they did in Torch to make landings.

                    There is no shortage of warships to make NGFS for such landings, nor is there really a shortage of USAAF and USN air forces to conduct support missions.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post


                      There is no shortage of warships to make NGFS for such landings, nor is there really a shortage of USAAF and USN air forces to conduct support missions.
                      I'm trying to find a list of Allied Naval forces involved in clearing the Scheldt. I imagine there was a good amount of air and naval support given. In the end it would have to be a ground fight that settled things.
                      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                      • #12
                        A good start might be J. L. Moulton, Maj. Gen. Battle for Antwerp The Liberation of the City and Opening of the Scheldt 1944

                        The biggest guns were those of Warspite (6 x 15" as X turret no longer worked), and the monitors Roberts and Erebus with 2 x 15" each. Supporting these were a screen of destroyers mostly for ASW work rather than NGFS. The bulk of the fire support were gun and rocket equipped landing craft of various sorts.

                        The RAF came in before the assaults and indiscriminately carpet bombed the islands to be taken making it much harder as the dykes broke and flooded much of the land making it all but impassable.

                        Most of the German coastal defenses had to be overrun to take them out.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          There is no shortage of warships to make NGFS for such landings, nor is there really a shortage of USAAF and USN air forces to conduct support missions.
                          There was no shortage of Royal Navy or RAF either!
                          On Walcheren D-Day itself visibility was poor meaning limited air support and no air observers for the NGFS.

                          The RAF came in before the assaults and indiscriminately carpet bombed the islands to be taken making it much harder as the dykes broke and flooded much of the land making it all but impassable.
                          Most of the German coastal defenses had to be overrun to take them out.
                          No, the RAF had discriminately bombed the dykes earlier to deliberately flood Walcheren. This put much of the German defences (and ammunition) underwater. It also made movement for the Germans much harder, in contrast to the fitter Allied troops, who had the use of Buffaloes, Terrapins, Weasels etc
                          Yes most of the coastal gun batteries had to be taken out by the troops but wasn't that always the way?
                          The German Naval Chief North stated
                          "Upon the enemy landing on Walcheren early on 1 Nov, the batteries Dishoek, Zoutelande and Westkapelle, which controlled the Scheldt Estuary, were eliminated after brief fighting due to lack of infantry defence. The battery Kernwerk and the antiaircraft batteries Flushing had been destroyed for the most part by enemy action before the landing."

                          The Coastal gun defence:

                          "According to a report from A Gp B to O.B. West, naval coast artillery gun strength on Walcheren on 22 Sep 44 was
                          55 guns and 12 anti-aircraft guns of the following calibres:
                          2 75-mm Belgian infantry guns
                          4 75-mm British infantry guns
                          10 94-mm cannon
                          12 150-mm cannon
                          4-220 mm coastal artillery pieces
                          23 coastal artillery pieces of unknown calibres
                          and
                          12 105-mm antiaircraft guns"

                          There were also 'beach' guns plus some of the artillery of the German 70th Division.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

                            I would think clearing the Scheldt would be a priority. So General Eisenhower may well have provided U.S. Forces.
                            The US 104th Division was attached to British I Corps for Operation Pheasant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pheasant

                            Even to launch the assault on Walcheren, the German 15th Army would have to be defeated first, so at least another three US divisions in absence of British XII Corps?

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