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No Dieppe, No Normandy?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Mussolini, May 17, 2018.

  1. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    One of the first instances of this in a major assault was for HUSKY. In planning the operation it was realized the beaches were too shallow and the vehicles would have to wade some 150 to 200 feet though water up to ten feet deep. The solution developed was to load aboard sections of "naval lighterage pontons" (developed in 1939 and tested 1940-1941), which then were assembled as a floating causeway some 175 feet long. The NLP were also the basis of the Rhino Ferry, which was simply NLP sections bolyed together as a raft with outboards, which could be towed by a LST, further increasing its useful load and also available to act as a causeway when needed. I suspect that was the impetus for development of the Newport design. The question of course is why they felt it was necessary to have it as a permanent part of the design, since using NLP when necessary...or just building extempore bulldozed causeways, was a more flexible solution.
     
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  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Excellent info, as usual from you Rich. As for why the permanent adaptation, I'd suspect it has much to do with how short response times are to crisis situations post-WWII/Korea. Initially, you have to fight with what you bring. When the Newport class LST's were built in the mid-60's we had already adopted the policy of forward deploying amphibious task forces to meet crisis situations. If the President says put troops ashore in Lebanon or South Korea or wherever, you don't always have the time to assemble and transport NLP's where you need them. You could for follow on forces, but not the ones you need to get there ASAP.
     
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  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense to me...at least if you assume the whole wacko postwar policy of piddly interventions everywhere you can possibly go makes sense. :D But then I'm a military historian and analyst rather than a political "scientist" so my point of view may be a bit warped by reality. :p
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    One project of the McNamara era was the Fast Deployment Logistic ship, intended to move military equipment and rapidly offload it either at ports or over-the-beach. This led Senator Richard Russell to comment "If we can go anywhere and do anything, we'll always be going somewhere and doing something."
     
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  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Ah, but the 20 kt. top speed also translates into a higher cruise speed, IIRC the Newport class cruise speed was comparable to that of the top speed of WWII and post war DeSoto Class LST's. While this isn't definitive evidence, the sailors did nickname LST's "Large Slow Targets" so speed must have been an issue, at least in the minds of the sailors.
    As for the LPH, I made several deployments aboard them, they weren't the optimal design of that ship type, but they did work. The follow on LHA's were a marked improvement in habitability, functionality and capabilities. They also had a well deck. The LPH's were also designed more than half a decade before the Newport class LST's (USS Iwo Jima LPH-2 was laid down in April 1959-USS Newport LST-1179 Nov 1966), so time for a lot of technological and operational improvement over that time span. The Iwo Jima class LPH's were markedly better than their predecessors. LPH-1 (later re-designated LPH-6) was the converted Casablanca class CVE, Thetis bay. She displaced 10,400t fl, had a flight deck of a little over 500ft, a top speed of 19kts and a crew of 860. LPH-4,-5, and -8 were converted Essex class carriers. 47,120t fl. displacement, a flight deck of 844 ft. (the biggest advantage), a top speed of 33kts. (superfluous), and a crew about three times larger than the Thetis Bay (negative). The Iwo Jimas LPH-2, -3, -7, -9, -10, -11, and -12, displaced 18,474t fl., less than 40% of the converted Essex and a little more than half again the displacement of the Casablanca. It had 100 ft. longer flight deck, 3knts. higher speed and crew only 2/3d's the size of the Casablanca. While not optimal, it was markedly better than what was available. The LHA's, the first of which was laid down half a decade (Nov 1971) after the first Newport were again much more advanced.

    On the other hand you don't expose a larger, costlier vessel to enemy shore fire. If it's an administrative landing you put your shore party ashore in a "Mike" boat drive the ship near shore. deploy the causeway, and drive you vehicles directly out of the vehicle deck, across the bow and down the causeway. If it's an opposed landing, the LCAC can get large numbers of troops and heavy support like armor ashore rapidly with little regards to the type of shoreline you're crossing. They can launch from over the horizon, can move at 40+ kts. at full load, and up to 70+ kts. light. Not too shabby.

    [​IMG]

    That's a pretty decent sized load.​

    I deployed to Lebanon aboard her, and yes it was out of Norfolk/Little Creek. If I remember correctly, I took this picture in Chesapeake Bay.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I think you are, perhaps mischievously, missing the point.

    The mission of Combined Operation included planning and developing the techniques for launching amphibious assaults to be used on D Day. Combined Operations was part of the Overlord Planning team - the "how" part rather than "where or when"

    The key thread is the implications of the need to deliver concentrated fire support for the assault troops. Lesson #1 of the Dieppe report Oct 1942 summary para 324 and expanded on in para 355 which lists the artillery support needed per brigade and para 357 which spells out the need for inshore craft capable of delivering close support. This was not a trivial observation but a big ask. It was a demand for a major slice of ship building effort. Compare Op Husky with the 1943 Op Overlord plan presented at Quebec. Op Husky, mounted over a long sea crossing landed seven divisions over 100 miles. The Op Overlord plan postulated an initial landing of three divisions over twenty miles. The logic was accepted by the joint Chiefs who did not demand that the COSSAC team returned with a more ambitious plan.

    You have misquoted the opening paragraph of the ETOUSA conference - "one of the purposes was to collect ..." but missed the next paragraph. "The business of the conference was aimed at one fundamental goal: that of crossing the English Channel....to hold and maintain beach-heads through which might land a major invasion force advance against the enemy." i.e. this was a conference about planning how this might be done. In that conference, Maj Gen Haydon representing Combined Operations, stated that he did not think surprise is possible, and referred to the level of fire support needed as comparable with El Alamein - and refers to the navy being asked to produce support craft. There is no record of dissent from this view.

    The LARGS course was run by Combined Operations to train staff officers for Op Overlord The lectures at the star of "Support for the Assault" Part I General starts with the necessity of adequate fire support for assaults on strongly defended beaches. Part III mentions the (Most Secret) support craft and part IV artillery from, landing craft, and part V command and control of artillery fire. So the solution to the close support firepower,identified in the Dieppe Lessons, has now been built and part of the assault brigade fire support plans.

    On the appointment of Eisenhower as Supreme Commander and Montgomery as Land force Commander they demand a wider initial landing. This is not achieved by thinning out the fire support to the densities of Op Husky, but by a last minute programme to build enough landing craft and support ships to effect a landing by eight assault brigades from six divisions.

    Brigadier Todd, CRA 3rd Canadian Division is quoted as saying that "Dieppe made D Day easier. The generals were all keen to supply what I wanted" . (Quoted in Whittaker Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph)

    Oh and Crerar briefed Canadian officers after D Day and acknowledged the significance of Dieppe.

    QED

    I am getting a little bored with Dieppe. Here are some notes I prepared earlier
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps...or perhaps not. :D

    What new "techniques for launching amphibious assaults" did they plan and develop for D-Day that were unknown prior? New methods of loading and launching craft on assault ships? New methods of loading and unloading assault ships?

    But delivering "concentrated fire support for the assault troops" was an issue everyone was already aware of when it came to amphibious assault of a defended coast. Combined Ops was already aware - as were the Canadian planners for JUBILEE and the British planners for RUTTER - that the fire support provided for Dieppe was inadequate, before the operation. It was discussed and decided that "surprise" would substitute.

    Meanwhile, the inshore fire support craft developed were conversions of existing craft, of LCT that were already built, so a minor slice of the ship building effort. For example, the LCG(L) that faired so badly on D-Day were all converted from LCT-III...most before Dieppe in the spring of 1942. More LCF and LCG were converted in 1943, mostly for USN crews, for NEPTUNE, but they already existed and their purpose of inshore fire support of amphibious assaults was already there.

    Fair that, it was a deliberate decision on my part, but not mischievous. :D I was looking for the "second" purpose, or third, which were implied, but never found them. The "business of the conference" statement was simply repeating the mission statement of the CCS/COSSAC regarding OVERLORD.

    And yet the allies landed repeatedly in the dark in the Med in attempts to gains surprise after Dieppe.

    Except, again, they knew that before Dieppe and had built the fire support craft, then decided to use minimal support in Dieppe and suffered the consequences (not that much more would have been achieved even with heavier fire support). So Combined Ops was simply confirming what was already known.

    The inshore fire support craft included LCG(L) 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 424, 426, 449, 680, 681, 687, 764, 811, 831, 939, 1007 and 1062. Of those, 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, and 18 were all completed in the first half of 1942. 424 and 426 were completed 22 February and 6 April 1943. 680, 681, 764, and 811 in July 1943. 831 was converted from an LCF in 1944. 939, 1007, and 1062 were converted September-October 1943. The only one that was "last minute" was 831.

    Both ex post facto. Again, find a copy of John P. Campbell's Dieppe Revisited: A Documentary Investigation. London: Frank Cass, 1993 for a more in depth examination.

    As am I, but thanks.
     
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  8. Christopher67

    Christopher67 Member

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    What about Dieppe being a "dry run" to test German reactions and to see what sort of signals and other intelligence could be gained?

    A small "raid" would be most unlikely to trigger a large enough German response to be able to reap any benefit from intelligence sources.

    Also, German reactions would give a good "dry run" for possible reactions to the 'real' thing. And could a port be taken at all head on and straight out of the landing craft rather than having to be "towed" across the channel as a "Mulberry"?

    For that matter, was the concept of "mulberry"already in existence prior to Dieppe, or was it a result of experience gained there?

    Another intelligence issue, I have heard a recent rumour from classified documents that have been recently "declassified" that Dieppes entire purpose was fopr thwe ground forces to drag back as many examples of German field signals intelligence equipment (ala "Enigma") with their rotor settings intact from the days usage. These could then be compared with the known rotor settings and contyrasted with what likely rotor settings would be used in a 'real' invasion emergencey.

    To big to be a 'raid', too small to be the 'invasion', but the perfect size to get a fairly good glimpse of likely German intentions, methods and strategy when the balloon finally 'went up' for Operation "Round-Up in 1942", tht became "Sledgehammer" in 1943 and finally "OVERLORD", the Montgomery modified plan that was finally accepted.

    Chris
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    wow--just reading this yesterday and the old thread pops up:
    The Americans at DDay by McManus page 33--not much but here it is:
    ''''the disastrous Dieppe raid....showed the strength , even at that early date, of German port defenses......the Allies knew [ from Dieppe....? ] that such port assaults would be suicidal......To escape such a fate, they designed....a plan to build artificial harbors....''''
    parentheses mine
    ..would appear Dieppe greatly influenced the artificial harbors
     
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I may be repeating something I have written earlier, but there is no real mystery about the origins of the Dieppe raid or what it meant to the people who approved it.

    The Combined Joint Chiefs of Staff was the body reporting to Churchill and Roosevelt. There was a broad agreement in allied strategy to hit Germany first, but no agreement between the British and the Americans about how to do this and what should be done first. Marshall visited London in April 1942 to press for a cross channel assault in 1942. Brooke considered this to be folly and would risk Britain's last army. Uncle Sam would not have anything like enough troops in theatre in 1942 to take on the Germans. German success in Spring 1942 in Russia put even more pressure on the allies to do something. Anything. This tilted the arguments in favour of American proposals for either a full invasion or a limited offensive to capture the Cotentin peninsular. Enter Lord Louis Mountbatten with a cunning plan Op Rutter/Jubilee: a large scale raid. A dashing good looking authentic royal he charmed the Americans ; Brooke made a diary note that the forces committed were about the minimum size to satisfy demands for a proper force - bigger than a division. So it was a political gesture to demonstrate good intentions but the difficulty of launching a cross channel attack.
    The intention wasn't to fail as spectacularly as it did, but it was launched as a demonstration.

    To be fair, Dieppe did work, after a fashion. Hitler did withdraw the SS Corps, a paratroop division and a couple of bomber groups from the Eastern Front. They might have tipped the balance at Stalingrad. Better still OKW became complacent about the Atlantic Wall and poured millions of tons of concrete protecting ports that were never going to be attacked from the sea. The Americans shut up about crossing the channel in 1942 and bought into Op Torch. That was a win for Brooke. A lot more caution and thought was given to planning for Op Overlord. D Day never looked seriously like failing, Overall, the unintended consequences Dieppe turned out quite well.
     
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  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    While I agree with your post overall, at least the first part, I cannot agree with the "after a fashion" success business conclusion. The SS_Panzerkorps headquarters was created in the Netherlands in July 1942 and the two SS divisions, LSSAH and DR, were already in France. LSSAH arrived in Normandy in July and DR joined it on 12 August. Nor was a paratroop division sent. 7. Fallschirmjaeger did assembled in southern France in the summer of 1942, but with the intent of reorganizing and reequipping in preparation for executing HERAKLES.

    I'm not so sure about the bomber groups either, but hesitate to try to track them down.

    Nor did the "Americans shut up about crossing the channel" because of the evident risks demonstrated by the failure at Deippe. The decision for TORCH occurred long before that.
     
  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Rich,

    I am merely quoting Hitler as per the attached translation of a Fuehrer order dated 9 July 1942..

    In some ways it does not matter to what extent the SS Panzer Corps was formed in France as opposed to how many SS men of the LAH and DR were withdrawn from Russia. What is important was that German resources were diverted to France in response to a perceived threat. Even the timing is wonderful; Hitler thinks he has preempted an invasion.

    Roosevelt made his decision in favour of Torch on 30th July, in the face of opposition from Marshall and King. It is a brave politician who overrules his senior professional advisers. Dieppe reinforced the wisdom of Roosevelts judgement.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sure, but that cannot be as a reaction to Dieppe, which is the point I was making.

    Again, 19 days before Dieppe, so the result of Dieppe could have zero influence on that decision.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..I was on the LPH Inchon, LSTs Sumter and Manitowoc, and LHA Nassau
     
  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Have another look at the Fuhrer Order.

    It is based on German intelligence assessment from the build up to Op Rutter/Jubilee i.e the logistic and aerial preliminaries to mounting Dieppe. The order deploying troops to France was a direct consequence of the decision to mount the Dieppe raid. If shipping had not been concentrated in the south coast ports, Hitler had no rational basis to redeploy forces. Had operation Jubilee been cancelled at the last minute it would have been a successful deception operation, possibly on a par with the Man Who Never Was.

    The unintended consequence of the historic sequence of events was that Hitler had a false confidence in his ability to identify the timing and location of a landing and of the Germans defences to repulse one on the shoreline
     
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I have. You are not quoting it, you are paraphrasing it.

    Yet again, Dieppe was not the causative agent for Hitler's decision. You need to reread it youself.

    Hitler states the decision is based on: "1. Our rapid and great victories..."In the preceding 11 days BLAU had shown great success, such that the feeling was the Soviets were on the edge of collapse.

    Because of that success by German arms in the East, Hitler's assessment was it would "place Great Britain before the alternative of either staging a large-scale invasion with the object of opening a second front, or seeing Russia eliminated as a political and military factor."

    The evidence supporting that assumption was a., b., and c.

    The evidence for "agents" was tenuous to say the least.
    The evidence for "heavy concentration of ferrying vessels" was apparently the raid by two FW 190 on Yarmouth Roads, which resulted in damage to two LSI.
    The evidence for "holding back the RAF" is tenuous as well.

    That all was going on before and later as well. I can't see why suddenly it was RUTTER that drove Hitler to act?

    He did? What he "identified" was "In the first place, the Channel coast, the area between Dieppe and Le Havre, and Normandy."

    Wow, but that pinpoints it, doesn't it? Anyway, where did LSSAH go? Dieppe of course...wait, no, they went to Lisieux. Why? To rebuild the LSSAH Brigade up to a full division, which process was not completed until 9 November 1942. It would not have been available as a division to reinforce the Ostfront until then in any case.

    Then DR must have gone to Dieppe? No, they went to St. Lo. Also to rebuild from the heavy casualties they suffered in the east.

    Then 7. Fligerdivision must have gone to Dieppe? No, they went to Normandy...well, division headquarters and 1. and 3. FJR did, 2. FJR went to Germaany and eventually became the basis of 2. FJD. The rest of the division later moved to Germany...then back to the Ostfront in September, so no ill effect WRT Stalingrad there.
     
  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Agreed. Hitler correctly identified the allied pressure to do something on the channel coast. That was an indication that the allies would have a strong motive to launch an attack. The evidence Hitler acted on was the indications of the preparations for action, the capability to launch an attack. Threat = motive + capability

    I am not sure what point you are trying to make. Are you arguing that Hitler would have deployed troops to France regardless of whether the British looked as if they were going to attack?
     
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  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, St. Nazaire was also a pretty good indicator. It didn't take a genius to figure out the British would do whatever they could to help the Soviets, who were in extremis.

    The point I was trying to make is that Dieppe did not result in changes in German dispositions, so crediting the raid with that is simply incorrect.

    Yes, indeed those deployments were going to happen anyway, because that was how the Germans rebuilt divisions, transfer to France, rebuild, retrain, back to the east. LSSAH was redeployed before Hitler's order. Das Reich went later, but was going to go anyway. The first wasn't a division, but was built up as one in France and the second was a wreck of a division that would have made no difference to BLAU.
     
  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    So you want to ignore Hitler's Fuhrer directive which specifically links these deployments to his perception of a threat?

    If these moves were administrative move that would happen regardless of the threat, why are they included at all ? If these orders describe formations with no combat value, who was he trying to kid? Even if moved purely for administrative purposes they are a shift of some 40,000 men and enough equipment for two panzer grenadier divisions to the West in the second half of 1942. If the Germans were to win in 1942 they needed all the troops at the decisive point - the Caucasus and Stalingrad?

    The German policy of rebuilding formations in France is a retrospective. It was in response to the 1942 Furher orders (Feb and July) recognizing the threat of an Allied landing. If there was no threat of a second front there would have been no need to rebuild or retain them them there at all.Why not rebuild,units in Poland or behind the lines in Russia?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
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  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Nothing of the sort. I simply cannot agree with cart before the horse reasoning. You stated:

    {quote]To be fair, Dieppe did work, after a fashion. Hitler did withdraw the SS Corps, a paratroop division and a couple of bomber groups from the Eastern Front. They might have tipped the balance at Stalingrad. Better still OKW became complacent about the Atlantic Wall and poured millions of tons of concrete protecting ports that were never going to be attacked from the sea. The Americans shut up about crossing the channel in 1942 and bought into Op Torch. That was a win for Brooke. A lot more caution and thought was given to planning for Op Overlord. D Day never looked seriously like failing, Overall, the unintended consequences Dieppe turned out quite well.[/quote]

    That is simply temporally incorrect. Hitler did not "withdraw the SS Corps"...it was never in the East to be withdrawn. It was created in the west to counter a possible threat to the Norman coast perceived a month before Dieppe occurred and before the Fuehrer Befehl.
    LSSAH, which was not yet a division but a combat-weakened brigade was already in France before both the Fuehrer Befehl and Dieppe.
    Das Reich was moved to France after the Fuehrer Befehl but before Dieppe.
    The fragments of 7. Flieger went to France and Germany, but it is unclear if it was after Dieppe...and if it was, none of the division went anywhere near Dieppe and nor did any of the other formations.
    Nor am I really convinced that much significant additional work was done to the port defenses between August 1942 and December 1943 when Rommel did his inspection. IIRC most of the port defenses were rated sufficient. If anything, Dieppe convinced many Germans the pouring of additional concrete was unnecessary until Rommel disabused them of that notion.
    Nor did Dieppe cause the Americans to change their mind. That decision was made long ebfore the Fuehrer Befehl and Dieppe.
    Finally, if Dieppe caused a "lot more caution and thought" given to NEPTUNE, I would wonder why the overall NEPTUNE plan still called for a direct assault on the German defenses, but just moved it away from ports. With the partial accidental exception of UTAH, every assault battalion landed directly on a German StP, rather than the beaches between them.

    Huh? The remnants of LSSAH, DR, and 7. Flieger moved to France likely totaled less than half that. Nor di the two SS units have the "equipment for two panzer greandier divisions" since they did not have that equipment until it was issued to them in late 1942 in France. Before that LSSAH had a few assault guns left and DR and a few armored cars. Otherwise they had LKW, PKW, and Kraeder. They had minimal combat value in summer 1942 and needed to be rebuilt. France was where divisions were rebuilt.

    Sorry, but no, Ob.West was fully integrated into the Ostfront as a reservoir of manpower. As early as 16 December 1941, Ob.West was notified 8 of the strongest divisions in the West, 4 ½ Divisions of the Walküre program and 7.Geb.D. would be sent east. That Ob. west was concerned by the possible threat to the Channel Coast is indictaed by their response on 19 December, that not including the divisions to be transferred from the East for rebuilding or being formed, the 23 divisions at OB West’s disposal had a combined Fehl of 18,205 men, which would increase by a further 2,500 due to the ordered culling of replacements from 83., 205., 211. and 225.ID. in the West.

    Similarly, the formation of the three divisions of the 20. Welle was done in France, relieving three divisions for transfer East...in December 1941, as was the 19. Welle of four divisions in France and Belgium in February and April and transferred East in June 1942.

    After the 17, and 18, Welle divisions in December 1941-January 1942, few were organized in Poland, since it was simply easier to do so in France, which was "occupied" territory rather than territory of the Reich. They did double duty in France defending the coast as well as securing the occupation, which was not seen as necessary in Poland.
     

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