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overlord fails.

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by 4th wilts, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    if op overlord failed,how long after do you think another landing would have taken ?.do you think more emphasis would be put on op dragoon?,does anyone know of any liturature,or comments made by rooservelt,churchill or the joint chiefs of staff,or any allied generals?.ive pondered these questions many times,and have not come to any conclusions:confused:.id be interested in your own thoughts and opinions though,cheers.
     
  2. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    Failure would have meant a 12 month delay. The tides and weather made this so.

    I suppose the bombing campaign would have vastly intensified, and 1945 would have succeeded.

    The Russians would have been on the Rhine by then.


    John.
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I was thinking a year to relaunch any assault operation too, more down to rebuilding the massive force required.
    Soviet advance more considerable, a different shape Europe postwar.

    However the ultimate arbiter of a failure of Overlord is the Atom Bomb. Whatever may have happened in the conventional war they would surely be deployed to finally cease German resistance (with half an eye on Soviet advance perhaps) if and when necessary.

    ~A
     
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  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I agree wholeheartedly.

    IF
    Normandy/D-Day had failed, and the western allies were just maintaining themselves, it might well have been the Stuttgart/Haigerloch area as a target for the first atomic devices. Remember it had been the original reason for the Manhattan Project and the Tube Alloys/MAUD teams. Fear that Germany would get it first. And for the entire war the whole idea was to take out the European Axis partners, and then finish off Japan.

    The target I would speculate on would be the Stuttgart/Haigerloch area. That was because just like the area east of Berlin, it was the area into which the German atomic project had been transferred. But definitely not Berlin which was being "bombed" nearly flat by conventional weapons as 1944 progressed anyway.

    Let us not forget that there were two Allied bombers capable of carrying both atomic weapons: the Boeing B-29 (when suitably modified into the Silver Plate version) and the existing Avro Lancaster. The Lancaster had ample room internally for the gun-type uranium bomb, and it was a prodigious weight lifter; it almost won the contest overall in the beginnig as it was an existing model. And if an atomic had been needed in the ETO the "Lanc" would have filled the bill with no modifications to itself or existing air fields since they were already carrying the Tallboy internally, and it was 21 feet long, 38 inches in diameter and weighed in at about 12,000 pounds.

    In contrast the "Little Boy" gun-type uranium bomb was only about 10 feet long, and 28 inches in cross-section width and weighed 8,900 pounds. The atomic "Fat Man" wouldn’t have fit internally in the Lanc, since it was 60 inches wide, but its weight was only 10,300 pounds well under the Lanc’s lifting capability. The implosion types may not have been needed in the ETO, as I believe the Germans would not have needed two atomics to get the "message", but even if needed there were a total of five "gun-type" uranium bombs built and only taken out of stockpile by 1949, when their U-235 was converted into the "combo" implossion bomb which was our (America's) largest in number stockpiled atomic for years.

    The "Lanc’s" only drawback would possibly be its lack of speed in escaping the blast area like the modified B-29s could do. The Enola Gay executed a high performance diving turn to open as much distance as possible before the detonation. Enola Gay was 11.5 miles away at detonation and was still rocked by the shock wave. The B-29 was about 80 mph faster than the Lanc, so it would be much closer at detonation, slower speed equals more intense shock wave effect. Only one remote airfield in Britain would be needed for "improvement" to allow the 29 to take off and land, and that could have been done in the year between a "failed Overlord", and the completion of the first air-drop capable atomic device.

    At any rate, America knew full well where the German research teams were working, that was one of the driving forces behind the complete bombing destruction of Leipzig. To not only destroy the research works, but to keep them from falling under Soviet control. The USAAF and RAF had bombed the German nuclear production works near Berlin into rubble, and ended the German nuclear threat for all intents and purposes in that area.

    By 1943, the air raids on Berlin were becoming so intense that work became impossible there. So an area was sought which was still relatively safe from air attacks. South-West-Germany had largely been spared from such attacks so far. In Nazi Germany it was also foreseen (by reasonably intelligent people) that in the event of occupation, hardly any Soviet troops would penetrate this far west, or into this area (near Stuttgart). So the final nuclear research system was constructed at Haigerloch, with the bombed out Kaiser Wilhelm institute abandoned and left a worthless shell with no documents, no physicists, nor material by 1943-44 for the Soviets to recover.

    The Haigerloch "Atomkeller" still remains today as a long, rectangular room (open to tourists), the walls are the rough, undisguised rock face. The whole tunnel reminds every visitor to it of its original origin; an uncompleted railroad tunnel. The reactor prototype was once located at the end of this tunnel. The Nazi supply of U-238 (1100 tons) was still in Stuttgart when it was captured by the scientists of ALSOS and transported to the US for enrichment to U-235. This was known to the western allies, so rather than Berlin (as a target) if the first one had been ready when it was historically, I would suggest it most likely would have been used in the Stuttgart/Haigerloch area where Heisenberg had relocated his team, his research and the uranium oxide storage. And let’s not forget that the early atomics were basically surface destruction weapons, and not too very effective against bunkers and or underground research facilities but it would have turned them radioactive and made their continued use rather problematic.

    Just my opinion of course, but the Germany first attitude would have still been in effect, and it wasn't until later that anyone expressed any "ethical" distaste at using the atomics when their radiation effects started to become more evident. I don't think even the "don't bomb Japan" scientists in the US would have raised that debate if it was their original target (Germany) which was destroyed.
     
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  5. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A failed Overlord would mean no Falaise pocket so possibly more troops to slow or halt the Soviets.

    Also I'm not convinced Churchill would allow usage of the A bomb on Germany as, contrary to the Japanese that never had a realistic capability to hit the continental US, the Germans retained the capability of a limited but concentrated strike on London with some chance of success until nearly the end. While it made no sense to squander the few luftwaffe assets left on a conventional bombing campaign the risk of provoking of a retaliatory strike with some sort of "unknown nasty stuff " out of the labs would prevent the usage, by then the Allied leadership should have been aware they were dealing with a madman and as the Allies were winning anyway from the British standpoint the risk was not worth it.
    We know now, with 20/20 hindsight, the "terror weapon" didn't exist but the 1945 leaders didn't have perfect intelligence. Also I very much doubt the A-bomb would have had the same effect on Hitler that it historically had on Hiro Hito, the two personalities and circumstances are quite different, Hitler was never going to surrender and a drop that didn't "physically bag" Hitler would have unpredictable rtesults.
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    On the 23rd of July '45, when Churchill received reports on the US atomic weapon, he became intensely excited at the prospect of it's future use, or threatened use, in redressing the balance of power against the Soviets. Alanbrooke confirms that he (Churchill) had considerably more faith in it's effectiveness and future diplomatic worth than the CIGS himself yet understood. I've no doubt whatever that were the war with Germany still raging he'd have had no hesitation in supporting it's use against selected German targets, and would have had widespread support for such action from the population (he even harangued the house of commons as late as 1951 for it's '"dilatoriness" (as he saw it) in manufacturing a British weapon (incorrectly as he discovered on returning to office later in the year).
    The extra (no doubt massive) allied bloodshed involved in a failed Overlord would, I feel, do nothing but add to the potential political, military & civil support for the bomb's deployment.
    The intended target of such a strike might perhaps best be defined as 'the fighting will of German people' rather than Hitler himself.

    ~A
     
  7. DocCasualty

    DocCasualty Member

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    Excellent post as always, Clint. I also agree with the others proposed delay for reasons cited on the next attempted ground invasion. This really would place the A-bomb option on the table as time went on.

    I certainly agree with your last point. I don't really wish to go OT, but this is an issue I've pondered before without drawing any firm conclusion as to why the change of heart amongst these particular scientists about using the A-bomb. It may be as straightforward as the fear of unleashing what they had created, once they realized what it really was capable of destroying. On the other hand, I really suspect that their motivations were really driven by their hatred (for lack of a better word) toward Hitler and the Nazi final solution. More of a "personal interest" if you will, based on many of their backgrounds, origins, etc. Once Germany was defeated, I don't think they viewed ending the war in the Pacific in quite the same way. I could be wrong.
    I also disagree with this assessment. From everything I have read and concluded about the A-bomb at the time it was first deployed, eveyone initially just thought of it as another, bigger bomb. Most began to realize rather quickly after Hiroshima and Nagasaki that this was an entirely different level of weapon. I think only those intimately involved with the test at Los Alamos had any clue about what was going to be unleashed.
     
  8. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    As always, this next is only my opinion as well. It may not have been simply their dislike (read hatred) of Hitler and the Nazis, the initial impetus for their creating the "bomb" was to beat the Germans to the device. Once they were defeated, the threat of the Japanese having advanced anywhere near that level of ability was dismissed. They were correct in that, the Japanese weren't even much past the theoretical on blackboard work. Their only cyclotron (a gift from E. Lawrence BTW), had been destroyed at the Riekan (sp?) Institute in one of the bombing raids on Tokyo.

    With the Germans out of the loop, the Japanese weren't seen in the same light in the field of nuclear physics. They had some brilliant minds in their own right, but in much the same way as the Soviets it wasn't a lack of talent in that area. It was needed expertise in the field of engineering which the Japanese lacked. Again, just the way I have read stuff over the years, from all kinds of sources, and how it has "jelled" in my own mind.
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I didn't look at it this way, you're probably right here and I'm the one using 20/20 hidsight.
    I still doubt that if used it would have had the same effect on the Germans as on the Japanese unless Hitler was killed by it and the Nazi leaderhip lost the following sttruggle for power, aerial campaigns have usually proven ineffective at breaking national morale and often had the opposite effect (Battle of Britain, Vietnam, Germany) breaking the leaderhip's will to fight (Rotterdam, Serbia, or Hiroshima) is a different story. IMO a German unconditional surrender (as required by the Allies) is impossible as long as Hitler holds power.
     
  10. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    even before an atomic device was ready,i certainly think churchill would not be too happy at soviet forces on or oover the rhine...liberating western countries like stalin imo would have.i reckon the red army would have got at least to the rhine,like ozjohn says.christ knows what would have happened to europe.cheers guys.:)
     
  11. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I am not arguing one point for sure, the effect of an atomic on either of the remaining Axis partners would be different for different reasons. In Japan it may easily be assumed that a bomb which turns the "power of the sun", against the Empire of the Sun, ruled by the Son of the Sun Goddess would have a differerent effect than it would on a nation who prided themselves on their science and technology superiority.

    One must remember the wording of the "unconditional surrender" declaration of Feb. 1943. They only were to be applied to the Nazi leaders, if they had been arrested (as was Mussolini), or assassinated, or simply placed in custody the conditions of surrender would have been less draconian. As they were for Italy. Then, as to the effect of a "wonder weapon", one must also figure in the effect on the German population of the Nazis own propaganda, such as this little item delivered directly after the first V-1s fell on Britain:

    "...Our revenge action is not at an end, but at its beginning. Military experts far and wide are of the opinion that our revenge weapons are a revolution in military technology. What will they say when our newest and even more impressive weapons come into use!…"

    "…However, one would underestimate German thoroughness and German scientific fanaticism if he assumed that our institutes and laboratories had given up. They have done more than the enemy likes. Their latest inventions are nearly all finished. Some are in the final testing stages, but most are already in production.

    The Question of Revenge

    Hitler himself had proclaimed in a radio address, concerning "Wunderwaffen; (imagine what)…"the decisive effect these ‘all-annihilating wonder weapons’ are going to have on the war!". Hitler was speaking of the V-2, Me-262, and Me-163, ect. but in such "secret terms" they could have meant anything, including an atomic bomb.

    Adolf Hitler, in a conversation with officers of the German Ninth Army on March 13th told them; "We have invisible aircraft, submarines, colossal tanks and cannon, unbelievably powerful rockets, and a bomb with a working that will astonish the whole world. The enemy knows this, and besieges and attempts to destroy us. But we will answer this destruction with a storm and that without unleashing a bacteriological war, for which we are also prepared.... All my words are the purest truth. That you will see!...We still have things that need to be finished, and when they are finished, they will turn the tide." (Das Geheimnis by Edgar Mayer and Thomas Mehner)

    And while the idea of an "atomic device" had been dismissed by Heisenberg, nuclear physics was a "point of pride" in the German scientific community, they (and supposedly their families) understood that they could be built but at great cost. That is why Heisenberg could, with a straight face tell Hitler; "For the present I believe that the war will be over long before the first atom bomb is built." (Heisenberg, statement to Hitler in 1939).

    Then as the head of German research (Heisenberg) could honestly report to Hitler later, in July of 1943 that; "though our work will not lead in a short time towards the production of practical useful engines or explosives, it gives on the other hand the certainty that in this field the enemy powers cannot have any surprise in store for us."

    He of course had no clue that the Fermi team had succeeded a full seven months before his claim, and had created the world’s first controlled nuclear reactor in Chicago.
     
  12. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Huh, I still don't see how likely Overlord was to fail. The skies over the battle front was packed with CAS aircrafts and the seas full of ships with very big guns. This battle had almost no depth to speak of so everything the Germans could throw at the allies were well within range. How were they going to stop the assault of eight crack to veteran divisions with mostly uninspired coastal troops? I know the panzers got there eventually, but after the first day, that really was too late.
     
  13. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    I'd think the optimal targets would be in the Ruhr and similar industrial centers, and specifically with ground zero near the railroad junctions. By 1945 it was becoming evident to the Allied airforces leaders that the intertwined oil and transportation industries were the best targets. Two or three such dropped on targets in the Ruhr wold bring about the sort of paralysis that required massive airstrikes in the spring of 1945.

    A secondary effect would be the effect on wire and radio communications. The effects of the EMP is still not popularly known. Perhaps because much of the information is still considered secret by the military and locked away. Both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs temporarily disrupted electronic communications across a area far beyond the area of physical destruction of the bombs. A similar effect was noticed in the area surrounding the Trinity test and the later Crossroads tests.

    From Richard Rhodes 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' it is confirmed the US had construction of five more 'devices' scheduled for 1945. Parts for one of those was enroute to Tinian island in August shortly after the first two bombs were dropped o Japan. From elsewhere I've seen claims that up to 18 more devices could have been assembled in 1946 from the expected Plutonium production. Have not yet confirmed this, but with one reactor at Haniford producing at expected capacity and two more nearing completion this seems possible.

    The bottom line here is the destruction of the Atomic bombs would have been added to the enourmous weight of conventional bombardment aimed at German industry. What the Germans might have thought of that I will leave to others.
     
  14. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    "Failure" is not well defined here. There are many degrees of failure and some would leave the option to attack again soon. So the circumstances of faiure need to be defined.

    This applies to the German side as well. The assumption by the German command, that the Normandy invasion was a diversion, lasted into July. A early failure of operation Neptune would leave the Germans watching FUSAG & the related Fortitude deception measures, so a imeadiate huge rush of reinforcements to the east is unikely. The launchng of Bagration would affect this as well. If the USSR holds off on this one then Germany may not send much at all east imeadiately, not seeing the need. particularly if the combat units in France require rebuilding. Not much use in sending depleted corps.

    "Failure would have meant a 12 month delay. The tides and weather made this so."

    No. The tidal conditions specified for Op. Neptune occured at least once a month, sometimes twice. Also the required tidal conditions depended on the tactics selected. The original target date for Overlord had been May. The June execution date had to do with waiting for more landing craft to be sent from the US. The planners wanted a higher rate of combat and supprt battalions put ashore each day than the number of landing craft available in May allowed.

    A target date earlier than May was considered less desireable due to the worse weather of late spring.
     
  15. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    hitler will focus his strenght on the eastern front, the July conspirators rethink (since a german victory might still be possible,) they'll succeed in killing hitler, they'll cut out a deal with the russians and the brits.
     
  16. paratrooper506

    paratrooper506 Member

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    nah the russians would probably have won anyway as germany was scraping the bottom of the man power barrel and russia was just getting started so either way nazi germany would meet its end oh and another thing I think the reason there were not that many germans at nomandy was because they were dealing with all the american paratroopers cause one german officer actually said this in an after action report everywhere we go there are americans firing at us
     
  17. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Carl,
    Good call on the tides.

    Tired Old Soldier,

    The strength of German forces in the East is not effected by Falaise Pocket at all. The German troops destroyed there were all OB West troop* already in theater prior to Overlord. In the unlikely event that Neptune fails, that failure will only confirm that American-Commonwealth forces will attack the West in greater force again. No troops will go to the East.

    *Edit: On 2d thought, that would be mostly. 9th & 10th SS Pz Div were transferred from Poland to particiate the battles near Caen. However, I stand by my statement the vast majority of German armor and infantry destroyed at Failaise were troops already deployed... By keeping the Germans preoccupied & without firing a shot, the threat of an Atlantic invasion is already doing yeoman's service to Bagration.

    Mac,


    The Allies will cut no deals with the Third Reich. Forget about the Russians! Even the conspirators weren't so naive.
     
  18. paratrooper506

    paratrooper506 Member

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    you know what if the americans basically sent in raiding partys armed with welrods and combat knives to clear out the germans would that have helped them at all with the landing
     
  19. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    ok, back to the original plan. they kill hitler and surrender unconditionally faster than you can say "traitor!"
     
  20. DocCasualty

    DocCasualty Member

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    Here is an interesting brief read about D-Day and the weather from BBC - Weather Centre - Features - History, Literature and Religion - D-Day

    I always understood that weather would have been an even worse factor getting into autumn and winter and so May-June was viewed as an optimal "window". You make a very valid point about defining failure and all discussion falls off from there. I guess I took the OP to mean the landing failed to take hold, which would have meant devastating losses to the Allies. Based on the need to re-build, re-supply, etc., at best this would take months. That would now put us into autumn-winter. I confess I really don't know that they wouldn't have attempted invasion during this time of year but given what they were looking for in weather stability, it seems it would have been much harder to achieve. Does anyone know if this had been discussed at the time?

    I think in hindsight it is difficult to see how Overlord could have failed, but as in many things, SHAEF did not know that for certain ahead of time.
     

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