Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Worst General?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by TheRedBaron, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,523
    Likes Received:
    142
    Not true, while the British had hoped to take the area around Caen in the first few days in order to give themselves enough space for their operational requirements, there was never any plan for a major breakout from the British sector accept in the event of a German collapse. The major breakout was always intended to come from the American sector.
    here are some sources to back it up.
    Fron the Lonely Leader by Alister Horne.
    Monty was addressing the Generals and other leaders on Apr 7 1944 at his old school St Paul's about his plans for Normandy.
    "Defining the roles of the various armies under his command Monty explained how Dempsey's British on the eastern flank would size the key centre of Caen 'as early as Second Army can manage 'pivoting on it to form a powerful shield while Bradley's First Army broke out from their beachheads to cut off the Cherbourg Peninsula and capture the vital port of Cherbourg. Patton's Third Army would then push through Bradley's front clearing Brittant and covering Bradley's southern flank while he broke out towards Paris."

    From Victory in Normandy;_ "His plan provided for a bridgehead in Normandy and isolation of Cherbourg followed by a major offensive against Cean designed to commit the major part of the German defensive effort in the British Sector and so pave the way for an American breakout in the west and a subsequent encirclement of the German Seventh Army."

    From. An History of WW11 by Readers Digest." The British and Canadians were tying down ever more German forces around Cean. By late July 14 enemy divisons including six panzer were engaged leaving the Americans facing a miscellany of under strenth infanrty units backed by only two panzer formations, and the German command chain was in chaos."..."The Germans could put up only token resistance."

    About GOODWOOD. This is a very big subject and has occupied historians for years and years. But Belchem says that Monty never intended to breakout, he even gave Gen O'Conner a memo telling him not to go beyond the Bourguebus Ridge.
    Gen Richardson another of Monty's planners says that Monty did not intend to break out but he intended that the job should have been done better.
    Monty called for air British and American air attack to convince the Germans that it was a breakout attempt and thus stopping them from transfering panzers to the American Front. Tedder second in command to Ike and Montgomery's arch enemy said in anger that Monty had tricked them in to giving him air support when all the time he never intended to break out.
    If the Americans were doing all the fighting why did the Germans at the time of the American breakout have the majority of their forces facing the British and Canadian armies??
    Because facing the Americans were 190 tanks and 85 infantry battalions. In front of the British and Canadians were 645 tanks and 92 infantry battalions.

    Liddell Hart described Normandy as " an operation that eventually went according to plan, but not according to timetable", but as Max Hastings states in his book "Overlord"
    "A good case can be made that the Allies disappointments and delays in gaining ground eventually worked in their favour. Just as in Tunisia ,more than a year earlier, Hitlers obsessive reinforcement of failure caused him to thrust division after division into the cauldron for destruction. By the time the breakout came, no significant forces lay in front of the Allies before the German border"

    [ 01. January 2003, 04:01 PM: Message edited by: redcoat ]
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    Redcoat,

    all that´s because the area where Monty´s troops were was the best for tank movements, troop movements etc. And the shortest route to Germany. That´s why the German tanks were there.That´s why Monty was there in the first place, I would think, to be the first to make it to Germany.

    It was suggested at one point ( probably early 1944 ) to Monty that the US troops would land in the eastern parts and would take the leading role in the Normandy.Monty would not co-operate according to those sites I put here. And so it was a huge surprise to the US as they had to help Monty as all the US troops were meant for Brittany in the first place.Operation Cobra paved the way out of Normandy. Naturally Goodwood was of help but surprisingly didn´t make it through.

    ----------
    Monty´s view:

    Bernard Montgomery was criticized by some American commanders during the Normandy Campaign.

    Eisenhower complained that Dempsey was leaving all the fighting to the Americans. His attention was drawn to my basic strategy, i.e. to fight hard on my left and draw Germans on to that flank whilst I pushed with my right. It was pointed out that he had approved this strategy and that it was being carried out; the bulk of the German armour had continuously been kept on the British front. Eisenhower could not refute these arguments. He then asked why it was we could not launch major offensives on each army front simultaneously - as the Russians did. It was pointed out to him that the German density in Normandy was about 2.5 times that of the Russian front, and our superiority in strength was only in the nature of some 25 per cent as compared to the 300 per cent Russian superiority on the eastern front. We clearly were not in a position to launch an all-out offensive along the whole front; such a procedure would be exactly what the Germans would like and would not be in accord with our agreed strategy. We had already (on the 25th July) launched the break-out operation on the right flank. It was an all-out offensive; it was gathering momentum rapidly. The British Second Army was fighting to keep the Germans occupied on the left flank. Our strategy was at last about to reap its full reward. What was the trouble?

    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWmontgomery.htm

    -----------

    In the long line Monty´s strategy is clear. He advanced slowly in Africa, and as well because of his wish to have the necessary supplies he slowed down at Sicily, and Caen.And needed help to get going.

    Monty wanted the glory but did not want to use his manpower and Caen stood for 1.5 months as he noticed the Germans were putting up a tough fight.
    Caen was the answer for fast advance out of Normandy and victory in 1944. Monty´s tactics were not meant for this kind of operation, unfortunately.
     
  3. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    all that´s because the area where Monty´s troops were was the best for tank movements, troop movements etc

    Kai, the above may be true, but it also confirms preponderance of forces in front of the British/Canadian sector, whether the US or the Brits or Canadians SHOULD have been in other locations rather than that finally alloted is neither here nor there on the arguments you present earlier...The fact the majority of panzers were facing one group of forces will and did inevitably mean that force will have a tough fight, and this seems to be forgotten time and time again when Monty and his tactics at the precise time are consistantly critisised..In hindsight which is a great thing, it may well have proved differently if the US had been allocated these areas, who knows...But they were not and the main German panzer forces faced the Brit/Canadian sector not the US sector, so it is sometimes galling to see statement along the lines that US forces did all the fighting.

    I think personally it may have been better for the US to have been allocated this sector, but on the evidence of the US actions in the Cherbourg peninsular at the same time (Max Hastings gives a good account) I honestly dont think there would have been much difference in dates and times objectives were won in the initial days after D Day.

    Regards.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    I think Monty´s plan was not that good in the end as he "claimed" he held the German armour and so it would make an easier war for the US.

    2/3 of the allied DEAD in Normandy were US soldiers. So I think they did the dirty job.

    the British soldiers were brave but Monty in this case, with his strategy, left the US do the work. If it was so much easier ( by Monty ) for the US to go ahead then why did they die like that?

    :confused:

    The Battle of Normandy was fought between forces of substantially equal strength. It lasted 75 days. Allied casualties were more than 200,000. Of the 40,000 who died, two-thirds were American.

    From previously.

    [ 02. January 2003, 01:56 AM: Message edited by: Kai-Petri ]
     
  5. Gerald Duval Compositeur

    Gerald Duval Compositeur Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, IMHO, Monty was a good commander what was made to look bad by the Market Garden disaster. He is disliked by many of us yanks because he was a calculating brit. He didnt have that tenacity and almost reckless abandon prefered by our generals. As for the worst generals I'm surprised that noone has mentioned General Richie. He was Montys predecessor in afrika. I dont have any specifics, but from what i remember he just wouldn't follow any orders, he had to do it his way. That of course lost every battle that he fought rommel in as well as countless british lives.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    On the strategy on Overlord and especially Caen:

    1. COSSAC plan

    This document was prepared in the summer of 1943 under the supervision of Frederick Morgan , chief of staff to the supreme allied commander (who had not yet been designated). Frequently referred to as the "COSSAC plan," it proposes simultaneous landings by three divisions on three beaches in the Caen-Bayeux area, along with an airborne assault on the city of Caen (paragraph 24). Bernard Montgomery, with the approval of Dwight Eisenhower, later expanded this plan to include five landing beaches and two air assault zones.

    There remains the attack on the Caen beaches. The Caen sector is weakly held; the defenses are relatively light and the beaches are of high capacity and sheltered from the prevailing winds. Inland the terrain is suitable for airfield development and for the consolidation of the initial bridgehead; and much of it is unfavourable for counter-attacks by panzer divisions. Maximum enemy air opposition can only be brought to bear at the expense of the enemy air defense screen covering the approaches to Germany; and the limited number of enemy airfields within range of the Caen area facilitates local neutralization of the German fighter force. The sector suffers from the disadvantage that considerable effort will be required to provide adequate air support to our assault forces and some time must elapse before the capture of a major port.

    After a landing in the Caen sector it would be necessary to seize either the Seine group of ports or the Brittany group of ports. To seize the Seine ports would entail forcing a crossing of the Seine, which is likely to require greater forces than we can build up through the Caen beaches and the port of Cherbourg. It should, however, be possible to seize the Brittany ports between Cherbourg and Nantes and on them build up sufficient forces for our final advance Eastwards.

    Provided that the necessary air situation can first be achieved, the chances of a successful attack and of rapid subsequent development are so much greater in this sector than in any other that it is considered that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

    In the light of these factors, it is considered that our initial landing on the Continent should be effected in the Caen area, with a view to the eventual seizure of a lodgement area comprising the Cherbourg-Brittany group of ports (from Cherbourg to Nantes).

    -------

    "Neptune" Initial Joint Plan

    The "Neptune" Initial Joint Plan is frequently referred to as the Montgomery Plan because it is the only order for the Normandy Invasion issued by General Bernard Montgomery, commander of the 21st Army Group, the Allied expeditionary ground forces at the time of the invasion.


    THE MAIN ASSAULT

    63. The object will be to capture the towns of St. Mere-Eglise 3495, Carentan 3984, Isigny 5085, Bayeux 7879 and Caen 0368 by the evening of D Day.

    65. Second British Army will assault with five brigades between Asnelles 8786 and Ouistreham 1179. The main task of Second British Army will be to develop the bridgehead South of the line Caen 0368 -- St. Lo 4963 and South East of Caen in order to secure airfield sites and to protect the flank of First United States Army while the latter is capturing Cherbourg.

    There is no intention of carrying out a major advance until the BRITTANY ports have been captured.

    http://www.britannica.com/normandy/pri/Q00295.html

    -------

    Looking toward the early capture of Cherbourg and the secure flow of supplies that port would ensure, Montgomery argued in favor of a broad attack somewhat west of Caen. Stretching from the area below that city into the region beyond the town of St. Martin-de-Varreville, the front he envisioned would have a breadth of some sixty miles. When Morgan's planners responded that a bridgehead of that size would require resources far in excess of those available, Montgomery asserted that nothing less would work and that the Allies would either have to find the means or another commander.

    Over all, Allied planners intended to gain a lodgment between the Seine and Loire Rivers. Assuming that the Germans, after initial resistance, would choose to withdraw their forces behind the natural barrier provided by the Seine, they estimated that the task would take about ninety days. After a pause to regroup and resupply, the Allies would then begin an advance into the regions beyond the Seine and toward Germany.

    ------

    General Bernard Montgomery was once described as "the biggest obstacle facing the planners." (The Valour and the Horror). A perpetual strategist, he insisted that all men be completely prepared for battle, and that persistence and longevity are more important to success in battle than speed. Montgomery was an egotist, who believed that he deserved the most important task and objectives purely due to his worth, but that made him pompous and difficult to work with. In the end, his career reflected that personality.

    http://cghs.dade.k12.fl.us/normandy/leaders/allied/churchill.htm

    ------------

    The decision makers at 21st Army Group were now convinced that heavy bombers could be used consistently in close support of the army. Harris was not particularly happy with this conclusion. He noted it had taken a 1,000 tons of bombs to get the army forward one mile. "At this rate it will take 600,000 tons to get them to Berlin."

    Harris took great delight in making such provocative statements, but in fact Bomber Command co-operated with the army throughout the balance of the campaign.

    http://www.legionmagazine.com/features/canadianmilitaryhistory/98-11.asp

    ---------

    Losses in Normandy:

    Germany: 30,000 dead, 80,000 wounded, 210 000 missing ( over 70% of these captured )

    UK 11,000 killed, 54,000 wounded and missing

    Canada 5,000 killed, 13,000 wounded and missing

    US 29,000 dead, 106,000 wounded and missing

    http://www.umich.edu/~navyrotc/MOI/NS_410/Battle%20of%20Normandy%20Crossen%20and%20Jakob.ppt

    Anyway, the US troops in Normandy according to these figures learned how to die...

    the U.S. 90th Division :The division suffered heavy casualties as a result—150 officers and 2,315 enlisted men during June and 310 officers and 5,188 enlisted men during July. More experienced units also suffered terribly in the bocage. A U.S. Army survey of casualties in portions of the 1st, 4th, 9th, and 25th Infantry Divisions between 6 June and 31 July 1944 found that rifle companies lost nearly 60 percent of their enlisted men and over 68 percent of their officers.
    Bradley:"we had estimated that the infantry would incur 70 percent of the losses of combat forces. By August we had boosted that figure to 83 percent on the basis of our experience in the Normandy hedgerows." Bradley illustrated his point by noting that, in fifteen days of fighting around St. Lo, the 30th Division sustained 3,934 battle casualties, a loss rate of 25 percent for the unit as a whole but of 90 percent in its rifle platoons, where three out of every four casualties occurred.

    :eek:

    [ 02. January 2003, 04:23 AM: Message edited by: Kai-Petri ]
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    Bernard Montgomery, with the approval of Dwight Eisenhower, later expanded this plan to include five landing beaches and two air assault zones.

    Yep Kai, the above is true, but the version I know of, left out Eishenhower, Monty told Allenbrooke and aimed for Chruchill, that he would not accept his position in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS.. unless the landing beaches etc were incresased, he was adamant there would be no Monty around if this was not accepted.

    Yep, he was pompous too...and an ego bigger than his own small size maybe, but so too was Patton and Mcarthur, and I would say most any commander of any army in any war.

    I will ask one question of you though..Have you read Hastings, and his version of events in Cherbourg penninsular and his writings on the US airborne having to do far more than what they expect4ed to do in the immediate aftermath of the landings, and particularly the section on their taking over tasks from the infantry as they didnt seem to be up to the task...?

    I like the Url's you quote, but would be interested in a personal view. As I dont always trust to internet sites of anysort or for that matter wrtites, even Hastings. Interested in your own views you have aquired through your research, as you obviously are well informed..But are all these sites your own pesonal views...Sorry thats not meant to be inflamatory at all, just like to get peoples own views from between the lines occasionally.

    Regards.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    Urgh,

    Agreed on the standard "General profile" in WW2. Mean and ugly...On MacArthur´s part I am not willig to comment as I haven´t read enough on him to say a thing.Patton was "crazy" but efficient, and had the strategist´s eye. As a person I probably would not have liked him, I guess. I have said enough on Monty so I won´t repeat myself anymore here.

    Nope, not yet on Hastings but with the tip I´ll soon probably will.

    When I started on this Forum everybody wanted sources from me, which is not a bad thing. So I check what I want to say in the net and as a back up include the site so those interested can have a look for more info as well.
    Usually I don´t go for one site only that cover´s the "story" but 2-3, so there´s more to be trusted in the story. in "If" stories one site is enough...

    But I do believe the things I put down, or I put a load of question marks after it, literally. Then again, I don´t say what I write could not be wrong as we are only human. So far the bitterest thing has been the battle of Prokhorovka, for 25 years I believed in it and now ( since 1997 it seems ) we have data to prove that Germans never lost more that 30-40 tanks on that day.Not that big battle for Germans like the Russians claim, then..The Russians claim over 400 destroyed tanks in the area but like on one article " They are all Russian origin...".

    Anyway, loadsa new stuff seems to be coming in, and we must keep our eyes open. Sometimes the things aren´t that simple as you´re told. Or what you´ve learned.For instance it was not that clear that the 1944 invasion would be northern France.It could have been the Balkans, Trieste
    ( Churchill )or Southern France. Or the German chain of command in 1944: sounds good but works awfully...

    We think like this:

    Hitler served as supreme commander of the Wehrmacht, the nation's armed forces. Navy Group West and the Third Air Fleet, in turn, managed Germany's naval and air forces in Western Europe, while the ground force, some 58 divisions, came under the Oberbefehlshaber West (OB West), headed by Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt.OB West controlled two army groups, Army Group G, which had charge of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of France, and Army Group B under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who had charge of anti-invasion forces along the Channel coast as far south as the Loire River. Rommel commanded two armies: the 15th, guarding the Pas de Calais and the Normandy coast to a line just south of the Seine River with 19 divisions (5 panzer), and the 7th, with 13 divisions (1 panzer), covering the coast from the boundary with the 15th Army to the Loire River.

    And it was like this:

    Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt. Yet even this veteran army commander had no direct authority over Navy Group West or the 3rd Air Fleet, which were crucial to the security of his theatre. Both of these forces reported to their own high commands, which in turn reported to Hitler. The same situation applied to the theatre armoured reserve, Panzer Group West: its commander was to deliberate in concert with OBW, yet none of its well-armed, mobile divisions was to be moved without the explicit permission of the Führer. Finally, through Army Group B, Rundstedt directly controlled some 30 infantry divisions and air force field divisions as well as several armoured units from Britanny to the Dutch-German border; yet even the commander of this group, Erwin Rommel, having been awarded the title of field marshal, was entitled to appeal personally to Hitler with pressing tactical concerns--a resource that this determined general was not loath to exploit...

    :confused:

    [ 03. January 2003, 07:19 AM: Message edited by: Kai-Petri ]
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    I was puzzled by all this different information still existing so I read alot to make the ends meet. Actually something quite weird came up, at least something I could have never thought of before. I hope you guys like as well what I found.Anyway, the most I like when I do some research and find some "real" results.

    To return to some things that made the Normandy battle what it was:

    1. Rommel ( since 9th June bakc at Normandy ) was pondering whether to put the main force to attack the US troops and stop them from getting to Cherbourg and gain a harbour or to stop them from getting through at caen, the closest route to Germany.Rommel decided to stop them at caen.He knew he could not do both.
    Somehow we have forgotten him behind all this...

    2. The US troops were never taught how to fight after the beaches so the Bocage came as a surprise. I don´t know was this the problem for the British troops but there was a better ground to advance in the Caen area.
    By bombing the place to kingdom come often the Allied made the advance much harder for themselves as the craters would stop the tanks and made the area easier to defend for the Germans. ( Remember Monte Cassino ).

    3. The British tactics:

    On Helmut Ritgen´s " Memoirs of a panzer Lehr officer":

    " The British allowed junior commanders too little iniative.Co-operation of the all-arms-team left much to be desired.The shortage of armored transports and combat vehicles for the infantry and artillery observers led to heavy losses from enemy fire and very high casualties during attacks.The British tanks were either tied to the tempo of the infantry attacking on foot, or were separated from them.They suffered corresponding losses and, in spite of bravery of their crews, achieved relatively minor successes in relation to their number."

    " The British seldom succeeded in detecting the positions of German panzers prior to attack. Single outpost panzers were often sufficient in alerting the companies located under cover further to the rear.Thus, time for vehicle maintenance and crew rest was available."

    "Electronic intelligence often revealed British intentions and respective warnings could be issued within a short period of time.Thus surprise and losses could be avoided."

    "..wherever they were able to stand for any time was due only to British fighting methods and equipment." :(

    4. Monty´s stubborn way of never changing tactics once he had decided what to do. Did he ever change his tactics? :(

    5. Before "Goodwood" Germans had made a defence belt of 5 rings in the area of Caen by Rommel´s orders. The British intelligenece never figuret it out until it was too late.

    6. According to Helmut Ritgen the US had very well co-ordinated their tank-artillery-planes-soldiers , but they still did not how to fight in the Bocage. As well he claims that by the middle of July at St.Lo, the Panzer Lehr was totally wasted, and the US could have driven through them, but the US tactics were " from 1918 " and the idea was to wear them all down.The US troops did not even try to push through, just trying to cause as many casualties as possible So it took another week before "Cobra" was started.( For German this must have been a waste of offensive power )

    7. Very good luck for Germans as well as nerves of iron, and fanaticism.
    For example "the Goodwood" was largely a failure due to the actions of one Major von Luck. Read the book " Panzer Commander ". The bombings had destroyed the German lines but with four 88´s they destroyed several British tanks that were advancing without soldiers to cover them.

    8. In "Goodwood" the bombs fell in Caen and the deeper defence lines were untouched, if I remember right. Instead many French died.

    9.At the beginning of battles there were 21st Panzer, 12 HJ and Panzer Lehr. It would be until 29th June that Leibstandarte would arrive, as well Das Reich arrived about the same time.
    The 9th and 10th SS arrived at late June as well from Poland, so the Allied had some 3 weeks to use before the German reinforcements.

    10. The German Logistics problem. The Allied had enough but the bombings had made the Normandy roads and railways unsuable. The Germans were not able to make mobile attacks by July, and even had to leave several Panthers ( destroeyd ) to the enemy. For operation Luttich the Germans had oil for a couple of days to attack.
    ---------------

    The first time General Bradley thought of "Cobra" seems to be around 10th July. So he never could have meant that the US were to attack from behind and the British were meant to stop the German forces meanwhile. Actually the "big" attack by Patton became evident as the "Cobra" was a success. As well this decision was thus fatal, as the Brittany attack was very important for the logistics of Allied army. It was meant that there would be a semi-artificial harbour at Quiberon Bay, in Brittany. It would have been important to get Brest first as there were German naval artillery that could destroy the parts of the pier elements on their way to Quiberon.
    The idea was that the Normandy railroad would be destroyed but Colonel Harold Mack had noticed, that the best railroads in France ran along the coast of the Bay of Biscay. This is where the deep water vessels would land and 7,000 tons a day would come in. It was called operation "Chastity" and were stamped "Top Secret Bigot".

    Somehow though as "Cobra" was a success, Patton instaed turned east and only the 8th was sent to Brittany.later on the Allied could not meet the need for supply and were forced to stop. So Patton " shot himself in the leg" as he was later on forced to stopand received no oil...

    Jonathan Gawne " 1944 Americans in Brittany "

    http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj88/bartlow.html

    "The Chastity mission was assigned to Gen Omar N. Bradley's 12th Army Group. For various reasons, General Bradley and his subordinate, General Patton, relegated the logistics plan to a low priority:

    As a result, Lorient and Quiberon were not captured; the Chastity plan of supply was never put into operation, and, although St. Malo and Brest finally were captured, they proved to be completely useless from a logistical standpoint. . . .
    While General Bradley planned classical campaigns, slow and methodical, General Patton displayed a quality of original thinking, improvising, hitting hard and fast, and anticipating in advance the enemy moves. General Patton later wrongly claimed, however, that the indications were that it was a deliberate withholding of gas from his army by higher authorities. He was wrong in this respect. There just wasn't enough to go around. . . .
    Unfortunately for all concerned, his genius was curtailed and his victorious advance stopped because of the initial failure to carry out the Chastity plan, needed to keep him supplied. By September 1st, his army was short of everything-gas, rations, blankets, winter clothing."

    Oh-hoh.... :eek: :confused:

    [ 07. January 2003, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: Kai-Petri ]
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    [​IMG]

    Brittany Peninsula

    [​IMG]

    Quiberon bay
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    Some thoughts should come up...?

    Zetterling, Niklas. Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness. Winnipeg, Manitoba: J.J. Fedorowicz, 2000.

    "When Operation Cobra was launched, the Germans had brought to Normandy about 410,000 men in divisions and non-divisional combat units. If this is multiplied by 1.19 [Zetterling's factor for adding service and support manpower outside German divisions and non-div units] we arrive at approximately 490,000 soldiers. However, until 23 July, casualties amounted to 116,863, while only 10,078 replacements had arrived. This means that no more than 380,000 soldiers remained in Normandy or supported the fighting in Normandy.
    On 25 July there were 812,000 US soldiers and 640,000 British in Normandy. This means that the Allies had a 3.8:1 superiority in manpower. This was better than the superiority enjoyed by the Red Army on the Eastern Front. On 1 June 1944 the Soviets pitted 7.25 million men against 2.62 million Germans."

    The German attack at Mortain is frequently cited as an example to show the effectiveness of the fighter-bombers as tank killers. Actually, this engagement is an example of vastly exaggerated claims. The British 2nd Tactical Air Force claimed to have destroyed or damaged 140 German tanks in the Mortain area from 7-10 August, while the 9th US Air Force claimed 112. This actually exceeded the number of German tanks employed in the operation. In fact, no more than 46 tanks were lost in the operation and of these only nine had been hit by air weapons.

    Instead, the benefits of the Allied dominance of the air according to Zetterling could be felt most strongly through indirect results such as forcing troops to take cover, limiting road movement to hours of darkness or bad weather, diminishing command and control functions, and reducing the ability of the German command to transfer troops to the front by rail.

    ...Had the Germans not used most of the rail capacity to move combat units, the rail net could probably have coped with the supply needs. But in June the number of troop trains exceeded supply trains by a factor of four. A balanced conclusion seems to be that Allied air attacks inflicted sufficient damage on the rail net to seriously curtail large-scale troop movements. But to do the same to supply movements was much more difficult, since it required an almost complete shutdown of the rail net.

    German soldiers certainly were not supermen, and they were never invincible, but in Normandy they absolutely managed to do more with considerably less than most historians have previously conceded. "

    --------

    :eek:
     
  12. Heartland

    Heartland Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    3
    Er...not by a long shot! That is the losses of the entire 7th Armoured Division for June 13, not those caused by Wittman in the action against "A" Company, 4th County of London Yeomanry and attached infantry .

    The description is also at least misleading, but in my opinion entirely wrong. What really happened is that Wittmans tanks had been delayed and damaged on the approach to the front lines. This caused the tanks to be dispersed and heavily camouflaged in order to perform maintenance and repairs.

    The British attack on Villers Bocage in June 12 with a tank and infantry brigade took them right past the dispersed tanks without noticing them. As Wittman approached, the British halftrack units had halted in a long line on the road, while the tanks were in defensive positions at the front. Tank crews and infantry were dismounted. As Wittman came up behind the British tanks, he rapidly destroyed two unmanned tanks, a Cromwell and a Sherman. Proceeding down the road the road machinegunning halftracks and infantry, he eventually encountered a further three tanks, unmanned command Cromwells, which were destroyed. A fourth was firing back at a slow pace due to incomplete crew, but as a Firefly Sherman appeared and damaged Wittmans tank, he only manged to damage the Cromwell before retreating at high speed. On the way he damaged another tank without a gunner.

    Wittmans complete score for the day was a handsome 5 tanks destroyed, 2 damaged, and some 15 halftracks machinegunned with serious damage. Most were unmanned, and Wittman was driven off at the first sign of opposition, making it not so much a "devastating surprise attack" as a successful raid.

    Also, when he went back later in the day all the Tigers were immidiately destroyed by the Brits.

    This was due to the divisional commanders failure to request more infantry from his superior army, rather that with Wittmans raid though, as the quote implies.

    [ 09. January 2003, 04:20 AM: Message edited by: Heartland ]
     
  13. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    German soldiers certainly were not supermen, and they were never invincible, but in Normandy they absolutely managed to do more with considerably less than most historians have previously conceded. "

    Agree with that totally..

    I think allied soldiers both American and British, can be allowed the thoughts that they knew that the war would end in allied favour, the material and industrial base behind them meant it was inevitable in my view. Although not always available for various reasons in certain actions, the air power, artillery, and resupply (if allowed to get it ahsore) was always going to win the war in Europe.

    Not wanting to be flippant and say the allies didnt have to try too hard, but maybe not the same dedication as the Wermacht, as even the Generals were not in hindsight as concerned as we here, are today with timelines and individual actions that went wrong, they knew what the final outcome would eventually be once inshore at Normandy.
    There would be setbacks, but the allied commanders probably knew what the final outcome would be.

    Germans troops could stare defeat in the eye with immesurable odds against them and put up a tremendous fight with little facilities available to them, but the outcome on a theatre basis was never in doubt once America got into gear in Normandy. Thats not to back down on my previous statements on Montgomery in earlier posts, just a realisation that I might defend Montys actions in the Normandy battles, but aftet the initial Normandy battles, we Brits must look at being the secondary partner in this theatre, something Monty could never accept.

    Back to the Germans, their defence against hopeless odds, surrounded in many positions but more thought of a break out than surrender, whereas maybe allied troops with ammunition expended, no resupply etc might be more apt to surrender...I
     
  14. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    Damn dont you just hate it when you havent finished ranting and you accidently hit the send button....

    Ok to finish...I dont think the allied soldier in Normandy was in the same league as the German soldier. And something in Max Hastings book on Normandy sticks with me....If Nato where to have found itself in that oft thought of nightmare battle in Germany with the Russians...I would have been happier like him to think of a defence built on an example of the Wermacht in Normandy than the charge of Patton, or the administration hold ups of Monty. OK RANT OVER.
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    Also, when he went back later in the day all the Tigers were immidiately destroyed by the Brits.


    Aye but not before taking out more armour.
    Then went off on foot, and at end of day Germans returned and took out most of an armoured regiment and infantry battalion on that day...from memory so correct me if Im wrong...

    The area was in German hands at end of day which was in no means due in part to Mr.W.
     
  16. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    Again though, in thinking about this, Mr.W was credited with 25 tanks on that day if we are to believe some German accounts, but like Battle of Britain figures, always suspect on the day, most were infantry vehicles as you point out in V.Bocage not tanks.

    Still one of the best individual tank crew commanders of the war, and his actions on the Eastern front cannot all be massaged figures surely.
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    So far I have not mentioned the circumstances of the German soldiers. These are some of my views I have learned during reading, if there´s something wrong I´d be happy for corrections.

    1. At least in the eastern sector up to Caen the Allied cruisers would hit them with their naval gunsall the time.

    2. In the eastern sector carpet bombing every now and then.I think in the western sector ( The US sector )the Germans faced carpet bombing just before "Cobra".

    3. On both sectors massive allied air power.

    4. In the US sector huge artillery power: the Germans could not move an inch or make a sound or they would get it! The Germans could not do anything but stay in one place. So they started getting swellings in their feet as they sat in their tanks for days, and in the front it was 4 days ( intervals ) and time to change men in the trenches , and always several grenadiers died as the US fired with their artillery for every sound they heard.

    So, not very much fun for the Germans, eh...I wouldn´t want to be in their shoes for that battle!

    :eek:
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,086
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    Finland
    Found the main story on von Luck´s actions during "Goodwood" and the 88´s.

    My one hope was that the 8.8cm battery at Cagny and the two 7.5cm assault-gun companies would delay the enemy long enough for reserves to be brought up. These were the 1st SS Panzer Division and the 12th SS Panzer Division of "Hitler-jugend." Both had recently been taken out of the front to be restored to strength in the Falaise and Lisieux area, where they now were.

    Late in the morning of 18 July, reports came in from two of Becker's batteries, which were in action with I Battalion on the left flank; "Individual companies of I Battalion have taken up the fight against the following infantry. We gave support as far as possible.

    "A second wave of British tanks had turned west after the disaster at Cagny and was advancing toward the Bourgebus hills. We gradually had to disengage, therefore, to avoid being encircled."

    Major Becker was at my command post. I called him over.

    "Listen, Becker, I need your batteries more urgently than ever, since for the moment the two panzer battalions are out of action owing to the bombardment. All the batteries, especially those isolated on the left flank, must operate on their own responsibility, cover the grenadiers for as long as possible and above all attack the advancing British tanks from the flank. We must bring the tank thrust to a halt."

    Major Bill Close, British, who led one of the tank companies of the regiment in the 11th Armored Division that had veered west, is today a good friend of mine. As he was to tell me later, "We had warned the Guards Armored Division coming after us about Cagny. In spite of that they pushed on and within seconds lost about 20 tanks at Cagny. We could see how the front regiment tried to avoid the fire from Cagny. In so doing several tanks were again knocked out, this time from woodland in the east. The attack came to a standstill. We were glad we had been able to turn off to the west and so escape the fire of your damned 'eighty-eights.' We pushed forward to the south across the Paris-Caen road. We saw fires burning here and there in Caen, lying on our right, and in front of us, about 5 kilometers to the south, the Bourgebus hills, our first objective, which we should have reached early that morning.

    "Unhindered we moved forward in wide formation, my company in the lead.

    "Suddenly, when we had got to about 1,000 meters from the villages on the hills, we came under concentrated fire from 'eighty-eights.' Within seconds about 15 of our tanks were stationary and on fire. All attempts to turn aside to left or right failed. By late afternoon I had only a few tanks left that were still intact. The other company fared no better. We had to break off our advance and withdraw. Shortly after came the order from Brigade to suspend hostilities for the day. New orders followed next day."

    After the arrival of the reconnaissance battalion I felt I had stabilized my right flank to some extent. I had still not had time to change, let alone have something to eat. For the next few hours everything hung on the flak battery at Cagny. I got into my tank again and rolled cautiously into the village. By the church I stopped the tank and ran to the four guns, where an almost indescribable sight met my eyes:

    --The 8.8cm cannons were firing one salvo after the other. One could see the

    shots flying through the corn like torpedoes. The men on the guns were proud

    of their first engagement as an antitank unit. All four guns were intact and

    had not been attacked.

    --In the extensive cornfields to the north of the village stood at least 40 British

    tanks, on fire or shot up. I saw how the tanks that had already crossed the

    main road were slowly rolling back.

    --Becker's assault-guns had also joined in the battle. From the right flank they

    shot up any tank that tried to bypass the village.

    The young captain came up to me. I congratulated him. "A platoon from my staff company will be here in a few minutes to protect you from surprise attacks. I repeat my orders of this morning: you will hold your position for as long as you can and oppose the enemy tank attack. As soon as the situation becomes critical, destroy your guns and retreat with the grenadiers to my command post."

    With that I left this battery, which had played such a decisive part on that 18 July.


    :eek:
     
  19. vonManstein39

    vonManstein39 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Back on topic...

    Percival just HAS to take the bottom spot on this one - what a buffoon that man was!

    For those who don't know the story, Percival was the man who committed this stupidity:

    When the Japanese had overrun most of Malaya and were rapidly advancing toward Singapore itself, Percival refused to allow British engineers to build a heavily fortified line across the peninsula. To start with he refused to explain why, even to his subordinate generals. When pressed strongly, he finally explained that he believed that building a defensive line would demoralise the civil population. And he simply would not be budged until just before the Japanese arrived, when it was far too late.

    Few generals, even the worst Italian and French ones who suffered appalling defeats in WWII, have categorically REFUSED to allow his army to defend itself for so pathetic a reason.

    He just couldn't believe the Japanese were winning, and so he decided NOT to believe it. A classic case of 'ostrich mentality'.

    Had he given permission for fortification to begin in January, the British could have held Singapore for a year.

    Actually, if I'd been Percival's aide, I'd have shot him dead in sheer exasperation, and taken the consequences!
     
  20. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    955
    Theres a famous quote oft repeated on Percical when near the end he stated its time to fight or along those lines..

    The newspaper the Straits Times I think it was came back on him along the lines of we shold have been fighting a long time ago.

    If someone finds it before I have time too would love to be reminded of it...

    Mcarthur ivited Percival and was it Wainright to Tokyo bay for the surrender ceromonies in 45, and gave both of them pens used in the ceromony..was it Wainright??

    If so honouring Wainwright in the same terms as Percival was probably demeaning in hindsight to Wainright who did his best.
     

Share This Page