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The clock ticks down to D-Day

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by ww2thebigone, May 31, 2016.

  1. ww2thebigone

    ww2thebigone Member

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  2. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    It is still difficult to believe that the Wehrmacht wasn't even aware that they were coming. I mean, so many soldiers hanging around in harbours and the Operation still remained a secret...

    They spent an incredible effort in all these bunkers, fortifications, mines of which more than 99 % were at the wrong place and they "forgot" to gather enough information about the allied plans. I always wondered what would have happened when Rommel knew about D-Day 2 or 3 days before the start.
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    But they were indeed aware they were coming. Just not exactly where and when. The invasion was no secret at all in that sense.

    Well, given that the 7. Armee fortifications were well on there way to being as complete as those in the 15. Armee sector and much more complete than those in the 1. Armee sector, it is difficult to see how 99% were at the wrong place? Although I will give you perhaps 90% given the invasion front was only about 150 miles of the roughly 1,670 miles of the Atlantic Wall.

    I suspect if Rommel knew 2 or 3 days before, then Lucie wouldn't have gotten a new pair of shoes.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    A lady told me her birthday a few years ago. 6/7/63 I replied "D+1" to which she replied "+19."

    I married her.
     
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  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    As Rich said, everyone on the German side knew a cross-Channel invasion was coming sometime in the spring-summer of 1944. Fuhrer Directive 51 in fall 1943 made anti-invasion preparations a top priority, and Rommel's appointment accelerated construction of defenses, mines, obstacles, etc.

    One key advantage for the Allies was their superior knowledge of weather patterns, which of course mainly move west to east. Thus both sides knew that the weather those first days of June was stormy, but only one side knew there would be a break on June 6.
     
  6. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    What i meant: They didn't know at D-Day that they were coming until they saw the ships.
    That's difficult to understand given the fact that they knew about the preparations. No surface radar, no reconnaissance at sea.

    I read that the invasion forces fought with 1200 german soldiers at the beaches. Ammunition ran out after 2 or 3 hours. The Wehrmacht just couldn't defend the whole coast and the harbours from Norway to France properly, so why didn't they tried harder to gather information about the landings?

    How much artillery there was in Normandie? A dozen of old field guns?
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The air and surface reconnaissance would have been hammered hard by the RAF and USAAF, with our ships getting in a few hits on anything still afloat. The surface search radar was delegated first to the Calais area.

    For more reading, Cross-Channel Attack, part of the Green Books.
     
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  8. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    The S-Boats tried to do the job, they were difficult to catch. But there were only a few and fuel was a problem as always.
    After the invasion, officers of the Kriegsmarine wished they had something like the US PT-Boats. Fast, very small and armed with torpedos. And cheap to build.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Where did you hear or read this? From all I've read the S-boats were considered the best of their class by far and they did indeed carry torpedoes. Never heard anything about the KM officers wanting US style PT boats.
     
  10. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    From Lothar-Günther Buchheim. He talked to an officer after the invasion. PT boats could deal with shallow waters.
    The S-Boats were great, but considerably bigger and needed 3 engines when the PT Boats needed only one.

    The RAF flew very dangerous reconnaissance missions to know about almost everything they needed. They even sent out frogmen to take a closer look at the landing beaches. I never heard similar missions of the Luftwaffe.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The Elco 80-footers and the Higgins 78-footers all had 3 Packard 4M-2500 V-12 Marine Engines, with each engine powering a separate propeller shaft. AFAIK, most of the British types had 3 engines also, and some even had 4.
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    One of the more interesting aspects of modern analysis of the weather records is that the supposed "window of opportunity" predicted by Stagg actually didn't exist. As best we know now, Eisenhower made the right decision based upon faulty analysis, while Rommel made the wrong decision based upon accurate analysis,
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear, I may have to scold you. There were approximately 1,200 to 1,800 soldiers directly engaged in the WN on OMAHA. 716. Inf.-Div. had something around 8,000 personnel on D-Day. 352. Inf.-Div. over 12,000. 709. Inf.-Div. also over 12,000. 21. Panzer 16,297. 91. LL about 10,000. Overall, probably at least 60,000 troops in the invasion area. There were at least 216 Heer artillery pieces supporting them, plus KM batteries.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'd like to see a source on that. By the way I did a quick google and found a number of draught values for E-boats but they were all under 5' while the US Higgins boats drew a bit over 5'.
     
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Not sure how much difference draft would make in patrolling the Channel in order to detect an invasion force before it came within sighting distance of the shore. S-boats frequently patrolled across the Channel to the English coast to lay mines and attack whatever targets they encountered, like the LSTs at Slapton Sands.

    People have various opinions, and its not uncommon for military men to complain about their own equipment or wish they had something like the enemy's. However one conversation does not indicate a general feeling. The S-boats were widely respected by both their users and opponents.

    One thing they might have envied about the PTs, which would be relevant to this discussion, was their radar.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I was thinking the same thing. Not sure how far radar sets made their way down the KM force structure though. Even if they had the equipment the fact that the allies felt free to use theirs on a pretty much continuous basis was a factor as well.
     
  17. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    It wasn't the radar, it was the ability to deal with shallow waters. They needed something for surprise attacks from nearby the coast, small and fast vehicles with torpedoes. Much like the american PT-Boats. I guess the comparison with them was made by Buchheim after the war, i can hardly imagine that a german officer in France ever saw such a thing.

    The PT Boats were about half the size of the S-Boats (regarding tonnage not engines, they had 3 of them too, my fault), maybe they could even be made simpler and cheaper with no big trade-off in speed and torpedo-armament. Fuel capacity was't important, there were still the S-Boats for the longer journeys.

    If Rommel knew about the invasion 1 or 2 days earlier, i don't think it would have made a big difference. Maybe Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc would have been failures and more allied casualties, but as soon as the ships hammered the beaches, it was impossible to defend them even with some more men and ammunition.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As I referenced earlier the E-boats didn't draw as much water as US PT boats they should have been able to handle shallow waters as well or better than the PT boats. If you look at speeds the S-boots were faster than the design speed of the US PT boats and only a bit slower than faster PT boat variants (~44 knots compared to 45-50 knots). Some of the US boats started to plane at pretty low speeds which might be of some advantage in shallow water but once you are planning you aren't going to be surprising very many people.
     

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