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What if Rommel got his way

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by GunSlinger86, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Before the D-Day invasion Rommel and Von Rundstedt had differing opinions on strategy. Rommel wanted to keep Panzer forces near the possible landing spots and hit the Allies right when they started the invasion on whatever beach it was to be. Von Rundstedt thought it would be wise to keep the Panzers outside of Paris, and call them in when they knew where the real landing zone was. Hitler compromised both by keeping Panzer forces close in reserve, but only he could decide when to deploy them.

    If Rommel won the argument and was able to keep substantial Panzer forces near Normandy, could the Germans have succeeded in knocking the Allies back to the sea, and a failure to gain a toehold in France? I also read that Speidel had 3 Panzer divisions near the Normandy front but purposely held them back so the Allies would have more success, because he was in on the Valkyrie plot, and wanted to make the German situation as dire as possible so the attempt on Hitler's life and overthrow seemed urgent and necessary.
     
  2. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

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    First, who says the three division wil be near Normandy and not near Calais? After all the decent infantry divisions were there, while the ones in Normandy were mostly 3rd rate.

    Second, if they are near Normandy the Allies still got the option of delaying the invasion of northern France until after the invasion of southern France. With the latter being conducted sooner.
     
  3. Richard71

    Richard71 Member

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    This is one of the most interesting of the commonly discussed 'what ifs'; the answer in my view is that the defeat of the Luftwaffe in the West before June 1944 meant that, whether Panzer divisions deployed close to, or at a distance from, the invasion beaches (assuming that the Germans chose the correct location thereof) Allied aircraft and naval gunfire support would be a trump card. The evidence of the Normandy campaign is that Allied numbers, supply, air power and the Ultra decrypts, couldn't be overcome, at Normandy or after; there were no German strategic victories after June 1944 and that suggests that the outcome of D Day would probably have been the same whatever the location of German forces. A huge proportion of German fighting divisions were deployed in the East; that was a vital factor in Allied victory in the West.
     
  4. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The Germans had 50 divisions in France and the low countries, and another 18 in Denmark and Norway. From the book I read and a documentary I've seen, Speidel had 3 Panzer divisions near Normandy, but didn't call them in because he was in on the Valkyrie plot and felt the Germans needed to take a severe blow for the coup to really work, and a foothold in the Allies in Normandy would have been that blow.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It would have taken 24 hours to employ even the closest panzer forces (they weren't expecting the attack at Normandy). By that time, the allies were on the beach and some miles inland. As Richard71 points out above, those forces were backed by an enormous naval presence who would have made a moonscape of any area hosting a panzer attack. The air superiority is a bit more problematic, because as you'll recall the weather shut down again for several days after the landing.

    Still, the Germans did bring Panzer Divisions to Normandy (late), but found them almost impossible to use in an offensive role simply because of the terrain. The same problem faced the allies and the fighting over the next 6-7 weeks was almost entirely an infantry affair with armor playing only a supportive role. In the British/Commonwealth zone the terrain was a bit more open, but even here the hedgerows and broken terrain offered every advantage to the defender. Every British and Canadian armored attack was blunted with heavy losses over the next six or seven weeks.
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Moved topic to proper forum.
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The Speidel story can be discarded .
     
  8. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The same for the 3 PzD:

    1 SS was in Belgium and not operational

    2 SS was in Touse

    17 SS was on the Loire and had no tanks .

    2 Pz was on the Pas de Calais

    PzL was at Le Mans and the half of its tanks were going east .

    9 and 11 Pz were in the south and not operational

    116 Pz was in Paris and not operational

    remaining : 12 SS and 21 Pz,who also had problems and were far away from the coast .


    Other point : at 5 AM,OBW still did not know if the landings were a feint, a secundary or main landing .
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Your post is a useless comment. Not that I disagree with what it states, but because it in no freaking way enlightens the OP as to why. You excel at the single sentence monologue of disdain. Which renders any discussion moot. You really should provide clarifications for your single statement drivebys.
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    No : your story about Speidel is useless : what are your sources? an unknown book ? and a documentary ? The first rule for someone who in interested in WWII is never to look at a documentary .

    I could have asked for your sources,but I know that the story is not true ,if it was,it would have been a scope and all historians would have talked about it .

    We know that Speidel was involved in the 20 july conspiracy (indirectly) and that he betrayed Rommel to the Gestapo to save his neck .But this has nothing to do with Overlord .Overlord was 6 june and Walkyrie was 20 july .

    Besides, and you should know this, Speidel had no 3 PzD,Speidel had even not a batallion : Speidel was chief of staff of Rommel,and in the German Army,a chief of staff was an executant, he took no decisions .

    Last point : the Speidel story is totally irrelevant for the OP ,which is : the Panzer controversy (which has already been discussed ad nauseam) :

    Rundstedt and Rommel started from the same (correct) POV : the Atlantikwall in Normandy and the ID could not prevent an allied invasion .

    Rommel's solution was to move the PzD to the coast and to divide them in battle groups (one on Omaha,one on Utah,etc) and to give them a defensive function .

    Rundstedt disagreed (and he was right):if one of the KG was unable to drive the allies back in her sector,the other KG could not intervene .:to eliminate Omaha was not enough:all "beaches" had to be eliminated .

    The proposition of Rundstedt (supported by the Panzer establishment:Guderian) was to hold the PzD away from the coast and than to start a concentrated attack: an attack of 2 PzD against Utah beach would be stronger than an attack of one battle group .

    Rommel disagreed (and he was right) : such an attack would be impossible because of the allied air superiority .


    But, no one was consulting Speidel , who had no role in this discussion .
     
  11. green slime

    green slime Member

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    To whom are you replying? Who has a story about Speidel?
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    See post 1 and 4
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Ah! Thanx! That makes much more sense now.
     
  14. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    It was from a book about the Valkyrie Plot by Pierre Galante, and the a BBC Documentary series had one about what really happened to Rommel where they talked about that Speidel point I added. I've read in numerous books that Rundstedt and Rommel had different ideas as to where the hold the Panzer reserves. One was called "50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition World War II" and numerous BBC documentaries mentioned that point. If its not correct that's fine, I just thought it was something that could have been in the back story.
     
  15. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The BBC Special said Von Rundstedt wanted to keep the Panzer Reserves North or Paris, and Rommel wanted to keep them in groups near possible landing sites. If that's not correct fine but I wasn't just making that up. One was called "Secrets of World War II" and the other was "World War II in Color."
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I always advise people to look at the author,before buying a book,and,what I know from P.Galante,is not something to have much faith in the content of the book .

    P.Galante (1909-1998) was a French journalist,who worked for Paris Match and belonged to the jet-set (he was ONe of the spouses of O.de Havilland): normally,historians are avoiding such persons as the plague .
     
  17. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

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    Anyone knowing how many tanks and TD the allies landed just on D-Day?

    AFAIK the number was large, not sure if it was roughly as large as the number of tanks the Germans had in all of France or even larger.
     
  18. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The BBC Special is wrong (not unusual): ONE PzD was located north of the Seine (2 PzD),PzL,12 SS,21 and 116 were located south of the Seine .And,the quarrel between Rommel was NOT about where to station the PzD,but how to use them ,about a lineair defence against an elastic defense .
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    From Christos military and intelligence corner (Normandy 1944:What IF scenarios and the Fortitude deception)

    On 6 june,the Germans had on the landing places 85000 men,112 PzIV and 67 StuG,while the allies were able to land 150000 men and 922 Armoured Vehicles .
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    A good source (with the needed reservations) is :The Panzer Controversy:The Employment of the PZ Divisions in the defence of Normandy ,june 1944
     

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