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Market Garden succeeds

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by AntiWank, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    Its quite simple to do really, just remove most of the British Officers whose astonishing incompetence ruined a good plan.

    The errors made were numerous:

    1. 1st British Airborne, the weakest unit was given the furthest bridge. That mission should have gone to the 6th British Airborne whose Hamlicar Gliders could carry Tetrarch Light Tanks that would have blown the initial German Scout Car response away.

    2. Inappropriate Radios. The British radiomen knew their radios weren't going to cut it, yet did not want to rock the boat. The radiomen also were mostly incompetent or poorly trained as radio operators.

    3. Air reconnaissance showed the presence of German Armor yet no preparation was taken, such as giving every British 10 man Section a PIAT or Bazooka which would help out in more ways than one. Nor was air support properly used, which brings us to

    4. No Lysander or Piper Club Liaison Aircraft were attached to the Airborne troops. Such craft could have served as radio relay, scouts, marked targets for CAS, with ESTOL capability, they could have landed to drop off ammo, medicine, food, and pick up wounded or commanders so they could fly to HQ and ensure that Montgomery rerouted air resupply drops.

    5. Urquhart while showing bravery was incompetent. Instead of delegating someone to find his XO, he went himself and found his XO and took him with him to find other units. It resulted in his XO being taken captive and Urquhart having to hide in order to avoid capture. For 40 hours his units had no guidance. With the radios as they were he should have stayed at his HQ and used runner on bikes, which

    6. 1st Airborne didn't bring enough ATBs for everyone so they could rapidly bike 10 to 20 kilometers per hour instead of a 4kph march to their objectives. Considering they didn't drop enough vehicles to lift them, they should have had at least brought bikes for everyone.

    7. What Moron Put The Entire Plan In A Glider For The Drop!!!

    8. Why wasn't General Hobart's 79nth Armor Division in the forfront of the plan. The Allies knew they would have to cross several rivers and Hobart's Funnies and other Engineering Marvels, not to mention LVTs and Higgins Boats on truck trailers would have been needed if the Airborne Divisions failed to hold the bridges or they were blown up. If all else failed, Hobart's equiptment would have salvaged everything.

    9. Poor crowd and traffic control. More MPs should have been brought along to get traffic unstuck. The Tanks and other Tracked Vehicles should have stayed off the road and drove paralel to it as much as possible, which would have provided protection to the trucks hauling their equipment. Free Dutch Forces should have been involved as well with loud speaker equipted vehicles to tell the Dutch to stay off the road and if it came down to it, Allied Forces should have fired their machine guns over the Dutch's heads to get them to disperse off the road.

    10. Misuse of Airpower. Liaison Aircraft should have been swarming the area with A-26s loaded with Napalm or Incendiaries on call to burn any Forests near the road. Further they should have had complete control of all CAS planes.

    11. No commandos were used to assist before hand. Commandos should have been dropped two days before hand and siezed the Bridge spans on D-Hour when everyone dropped. They would have also informed the pilots and planners before hand by radio the status of the Bridges defenses and where Flak was so Liaison Aircraft could mark them for CAS. It would have had allow units to land closer to the bridges.

    12. Paratroopers brought Rifles to a built up city/forest fight. Every paratrooper 10 man squad/section should have had a light machine gun, an antitank weapon, a designated marksman with a scope for his rifle, and seven submachine guns, plus bags of grenades. This would have given them firepower parity with the SS and overmatch against regular Heer units.

    Doing it Right:
    Well I already implied what should have been done when I laid out the mistakes and how they could have been fixed.

    So is the success enough to get to Berlin or are we still looking at more trouble?
     
    Eddie D likes this.
  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    And replace them specifically with what other Officers in your opinion that would have been better? You mentioned most. How far down the line would you go? Where would those other Officers come from?
     
  3. Eddie D

    Eddie D Member

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    AntiWank, i agree with everything you said. very nice job!
     
  4. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I think there were logistical reasons why Tetrach's weren't deployed. And the Tetrach has only 14mm of armor...easily defeated by a lot of the equipment mounted on German Rec. units. (20mm guns, which are on most of their scout cars) The Tetrachs that landed in Normandy performed poorly.

    There actually wasn't that much German armor in the operation and in any event, giving every British section a PIAT would deprive them of 2 men in each section with a weapon with dubious range and utility. I'd think more anti-tank guns would have been better, but those are rather heavy..

    I think there may be too much emphasis on small arms, because what the airborne needed was real firepower (mortars, artillery, etc.)

    A standard Heer section at this stage of the war had maybe 9 men, 2-3 smg, 1 marksmen and/or one rifle grenadier, 1 MG42 team, and a few riflemen (with panzerfausts as well). A SS panzergrenadier section was around the same, but with 2 MG42s instead of one.

    Your revised British section has 7 stens with 40 meter effective combat range, 1 Bren, 1 marksmen, and piats need 2 man teams. That's not a very good kit because the stens lack accuracy and range. More Brens are needed, not stens.

    I don't remember the specifics (so I may be wrong on this), but I was under the impression that a British parachute section has two Brens.


    I'm thinking this: 10 man parachute squad: 3 X (1 Bren/Assistant with rifle/SMG man) +1 marksman

    Doubt it, it was a massively overambitious plan, kind of like the German Ardennes Offensive.
     
  5. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    Browning and Urquhart should be it. Since the Paras will for the most part be fighting independent actions At the divisional level, the actual overall Airborne Commander will be little more than a Liaison between the Airborne and high command to trouble shoot problems. A solid dependable man can do that. Besides 6th Airborne will be doing the jump with 1st in reserve.
     
  6. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    True, but its 40mm gun would out range the Scout Cars and destroy them. some extra protection could probably be added to the front with sand bags upon landing.

    True another man has to carry the ammo on his back for the initial siezure, but afterward they will be holding the bridge from houses over looking it. They just simply shoot from cover there and stack the rounds close by.

    They brought more than enough, the problem was the resupply because the Germans over ran the supply drop zones and Liaison Aircraft weren't on station to relay calls to shift the SDZs or even drop ammo off themselves.

    About right.

    Considering the buildings would reduce fighting to within that range I don't see the problem as grenades would be more useful than the stens or rifles for that matter. If the Sten is still two weak, then either get the Tommy Guns or Garands so paratroopers aren't fighting with bolt actions. The PIATs will also be needed to breach walls and ambush tanks that penetrate the perimeter as the Tetrarchs will have since outlived their usefullness after blasting the initial resistance.

    Perhaps, it would help if we could find the TO&E to give a better clue.

    Except the Allies have the fuel and Engineering equiptment to pull it off.
     
  7. Boozie

    Boozie Member

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    No, I don't think the operation succeeds. The Allies had way to many planning and logistical problems from the start. Not only in the weapons department, but major supply and transport problems. They could not have put a bridge across the Waal and Rine in the event the Germans destroyed them. Again poor planning.The Germans had already placed explosives under those structures.

    With 80,000 + thousand Germans of the 15th Army with 500 to 600 artillery pieces in their path it seems a little incredible that the plan succeeds. Way to much was expected from the airborne units at Market Garden. Trying to hold for four days is a little much for those units.

    They don't get across the Rhine.
     
  8. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    Victory against German armored forced recon with tetrach's is only theoretical- these weapons were rife with design flaws. Much of the contingent that landed in Normandy suffered accidents and the company had little effect on the battlefield. Their service in WW2 was hardly sterling. They were also very thinly armored..about as much as an armored halftrack.

    They were also small, clumsy (with only a 3 man crew to do all the duties) and inflexible. Probably not too potent against fast moving German armored cars so victory is not always decided. Secondly, a lot of German recon vehicles carried 37mm/75mm guns..


    They would have to allow the enemy armor get into very close range which often didn't happen due to enemy doctrine. German infantry tended to reach them first. That's why I stated that real A/T guns were more useful.
    Overall, attaching a Piat team to every section is too cumbersome an act with neglible benefits.

    Having an entire squad mostly armed with Stens/Tommyguns on the defense (on the offense, it makes more sense..) reduces their effective firepower to almost nil past 50 meters. The Germans would just attack out of that range and direct firepower towards their positions. And the 9mm round can't penetrate obstacles very easily.

    The difference in the effective firepower of a garand vs. an enfield is negligible. What counts is more LMGs in the squad, which would be augmented with more Bren teams, particularly in the defense.
     
  9. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

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    Wolfy is pretty much right about the small arms, and about the tetrach as well. Stats don't tell you about reliability, and in that, the tetrach was lacking.

    However, I think the PIATs might have been justified. Although they wouldn't have helped the overall situation (way too outnumbered and under-equipped), a PIAT would have limited usefulness in Arnhem, and Arnhem only. Outside, in the forests around, Wolfy is right about German doctrine: the tanks would be too far for a PIAT to be effective. On the other hand, the streets of Arnhem, or any city, for that matter, would be advantageous to a PIAT team. Outside Arnhem, even an old Boys AT rifle would be better than a PIAT.

    Range is of the utmost importance in defense, and a sten would only allow for about 70 meters of real damage. A tommy would fare about the same. Rifles and LMGs matter here, even in an urban fight.

    A garand had only a little faster effective rate of fire than an enfield, anyway, because nobody really fired it that fast, except in the video games. If it really did, you would think the Brits would happily trade national pride for a much better weapon? But it really wasn't worth the cost of resupplying and redirecting the factories, and also, rechambering the Garand or manufacturing a whole different caliber slug. (The British never really manufactured 30-06 Springfield rounds.) They produced only the .303 British, which was used in all their weapons except for the Sten. They used the Enfield all throughout the war well, and nothing really was going to make them trade for a weapon with essentially the same performance.

    About command and logistics, you were right, especially about the traffic jams and bridge contingency plans, but for the command, what would you have done? Sacked the whole lot before Market Garden began? Replace them with recruits? (The Allies weren't exactly filled with experienced officers, and those that were battle-fit were fighting in other fronts or in other places.)
     
  10. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    Well the only other thing I can think of is to land a Universal Carrier modified to hold a 6 pound gun or a 17 Pounder. If the guns are a bit big to land with the carrier, perhaps land them separately and mate them together on landing? Then again if the 6th in the Revised Plan were to land closer and Commandos already secured the bridges with Dutch Freedom Fighters, they can just go with Bren Gun towed AT Guns.

    The Ideal is to hold the bridge at least in the city. If the south side becomes untenable, snipers and mortars in the city can at least prevent demolition teams from wiring the Bridge.

    Fairly well then, I'll concede to that.
    Only Browning and Urquhart need to go. Urquhart wasn't even Jump Qualified till he jumped at Arnhem, as he wasn't a paratrooper! Urquhart can and should be transferred to another unit. Browning who failed to ensure there were Liaison Aircraft and CAS to assist the Paratroopers can be replaced by Ridgeway who will mostly serve as a Liaison between the Paratroopers and Montgomery for the operation.
     
  11. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    17 pounder on a universal carrier? Is that possible?
     
  12. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    Post war a 25 pounder was done http://www.combatreform.com/brentankettewith25poundergun.jpg

    I can not even imagine what the recoil would have done.

    6 pound will do for side shots, but a 17 pound can do frontals provided the carrier hides amongst the rubble.
     
  13. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

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    alright, the command situation has been sorted out. For the most part, you were right. Market Garden was riddled with supply and logistical errors. The weapons and equipment is another matter, and could not have changed the situation very much at all. However, even if your changes were taken into account, Market Garden was an overly ambitious campaign. Success would not mean victory (Go figure). Imagine a salient 20-30 miles long and only ten miles wide. Not a good military situation at all. The best way to fix it would have been not to attempt it at all.
     
  14. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I'm guessing that dropping large numbers of 17-pounder grade weapons mounted on specially designed universal carriers would take up a lot of transport capacity (at a cost of reducing supplies/infantry contingents elsewhere).

    But they'd need the 17 pounder to deal with the (40-45 units)King Tiger Battalion that was deployed near the end of Market Garden...... and they'd need side shots..
     
  15. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

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    i would love to see a little bucket the size of a VW Beetle sporting two 6 pdr side guns and a 17 pdr front gun. But what i would love even more is seeing that drop from the sky.
     
  16. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    That is why there would be follow on forces that would open it wider. And it was over 60 miles long actually.

    The main hitting power of the Germans in the Area was in the Scheldt Estuary and if the Allies link up at Arnhem, the German 15th Army would be in danger of being trapped.

    If Forces could be scraped together to seize the Hague, perhaps the 1st Airborne Division and Polish Brigade with an Amphibious Assault can seize the place while 1st Canadian Army holds the 15th German Army in Place.

    Second British Army can swing fresh troops towards the Hague and Rotterdam to complete the encirclement and destruction of the German 15th Army. With breakout at Arnhem Bridge, the Driel Ferry in operation, the next exploitation Phase can be carried out by a fresh Army that can be either American or Commonwealth Forces.
     
  17. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    Another option is to mount a cut down 75mm pack howitzer they did drop with and tow with jeeps, and go for side hits. The British delivered theirs with Horsa Gliders.
    Source
     
  18. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    The 17 pounder is the only Allied weapon that is truly proof against the worst Axis heavies. 75mm guns against Tiger II's.. they'd have a lot of problems, even in the defense.....as they'd have to get real close and/or ambush them, as it was generally against German tank doctrine to advance suicidally close into urban environments.

    And these haphazard A/T guns tended to suffer heavy losses..usually disproportionate to the enemy tanks destroyed.
     
  19. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    True on an open field, but in devastated Arnhem, there would be plenty of places to hide and the initial threat would be STUGs with Infantry behind them.

    However with Lysanders overhead marking the area during day, the real danger is at night when the Lysanders have to go home. Then the Germans will bring out their heavy boys.

    When daylight comes the Germans have to hide their heavy equiptment lest a Lysander marks them and rolls in Typhoons, P-47s, Mosquitos, P-40s, and A-26s.
     
  20. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    Stugs (assault artillery) are still behind the infantry. The Germans also have the luxury of concentrating numerical supremacy over target areas.

    Relatively few German tanks were destroyed by allied airpower. (and at this stage of the war, they were often integrated with 20mm/37mm mobile flak) It was the unarmored vehicles that were highly vulnerable.

    And Tiger IIs had Armored Flakpanzer or self-propelled quad 20mm batteries.
     

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