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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Military/History Related Hobbies > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The plausible "what if's" of military history.

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  #16  
Old 18 Jul 17, 10:06
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
The actual D-Day plan assumed that the Germans would have spotted the mine-sweeping fleet on the approach, and the defences in Normandy would have been on alert.

As noted earlier the Germans should also have noted a 'fleet' moving towards Calais.

...
As it was the minesweepers in the Seine Bay were not spotted, and the radar deception off Calais was reported to the Army HQ all the way to Paris. For the morning many German commanders thought there was a enemy fleet off Calais. A idea that was not discarded until after dawn. Patrol boat and air recon sorties were run to confirm this.

The defenders in Normandy were alerted between 01:30 & 02:30 (depending on the unit) when reports of a paras reached the local HQs. German records and eyewitnesses show the beach defenses were reported manned and ready between 04:30 & 05:00.
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  #17  
Old 18 Jul 17, 10:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
No. The Germans brought old men, kids, and crap to a major @$$ kicking by professional @$$ kickers. They were going to lose by just showing up.
Still Germans inflicted equal casualties on Allies despite being outnumbered 3 to 1 in men and much more in other domains. If they had a much stronger presence in Normandy at time of landings, the situation would be far worse for the Allies.
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Old 18 Jul 17, 13:03
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Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Still Germans inflicted equal casualties on Allies despite being outnumbered 3 to 1 in men and much more in other domains. If they had a much stronger presence in Normandy at time of landings, the situation would be far worse for the Allies.
Fair to say that the more there are of the enemy, the more casualties they will inflict. So the Allies landing in Normandy suffer more casualties, but I don't see how it affects the outcome at all. There are a number of reasons why the Germans could not send reinforcements to the Normandy bridgehead in a timely fashion, but in my opinion, without the airpower to support them, they would have suffered even greater numerical losses than they historically did.
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  #19  
Old 18 Jul 17, 13:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asterix View Post
Fair to say that the more there are of the enemy, the more casualties they will inflict. So the Allies landing in Normandy suffer more casualties, but I don't see how it affects the outcome at all. There are a number of reasons why the Germans could not send reinforcements to the Normandy bridgehead in a timely fashion, but in my opinion, without the airpower to support them, they would have suffered even greater numerical losses than they historically did.
It's complex. On one side you get more targets, on the other you're more likely to become a casulaty yourself.

I was thinking about a scenrio when Germans actually send the reinforcements to Normandy. For exemple Fuhrer decided that the Allies will invade there and send the SS Panzer Corps.
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Old 20 Jul 17, 08:06
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Even if the Germans were informed of the exact time and location (and acted on it) of the d-day invasion 6 months in advance they were not going to stop it.

If the Germans attempted to send additional forces to Normandy prior to d-day they'd simply be located by the resistance and chewed up by the allied airforce. If by some miracle they moved in unnoticed their supply situation would render them ineffective anyway.

If the Germans knew the exact landing locations the best thing they could do would be to move in about 500 hundred heavy artillery pieces with 50000 shells and hide them within range of the beaches. 100 barrels for each beach and 100 rounds per gun. But since the Germans didn't have cloaking technology it's kind of pointless.
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  #21  
Old 20 Jul 17, 09:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Still Germans inflicted equal casualties on Allies despite being outnumbered 3 to 1 in men and much more in other domains. If they had a much stronger presence in Normandy at time of landings, the situation would be far worse for the Allies.
Right up until you count in POW's. Then the Germans get clobbered. And, yes, POW's are losses for the Germans as sure as if they were killed or wounded.
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  #22  
Old 20 Jul 17, 11:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Right up until you count in POW's. Then the Germans get clobbered. And, yes, POW's are losses for the Germans as sure as if they were killed or wounded.
Most of the POWs happened in the late stage of campaign, especially in Falaise pocket. It's the result of operational and strategical situations, much less about the tactical situation and quality of troops.
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  #23  
Old 20 Jul 17, 12:56
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Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Most of the POWs happened in the late stage of campaign, especially in Falaise pocket. It's the result of operational and strategical situations, much less about the tactical situation and quality of troops.
That's because the operational and strategic levels of battle are where the campaign is won or lost. The Germans lost every time at those levels. They failed to launch a single successful offensive operation between 6 June 1944 and the end of the war in the ETO.
Sure, they had some good tries, but never succeeded in making a significant dent in the Allied advance into Germany and Germany's eventual defeat.
The closest they came was the two weeks, give or take a few days, during the Ardennes Offensive where they managed to destroy most of two US infantry divisions for the loss of virtually all their offensive panzer and panzer grenadier divisions in the West in return.

That they fought well at the platoon and company level alone is meaningless. The best example is the often cited action by Michael Wittmann at Villers Brocage. Wittmann managed to shoot up a British tank regiment some (his score was less than most exaggerated accounts would have it) for the loss of all of his own attacking tanks. The town was held by the Germans for less than 48 hours as a result.
A mediocre tactical result that had no impact on operational or strategic outcomes.

The Wehrmacht in the ETO performed poorly overall. Sure individual small units fought well, but even that wasn't consistent. Overall, the Wehrmacht was in a word, lousy.
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  #24  
Old 20 Jul 17, 13:28
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There are reports on the behavior of certain German Divisions during the Ardennes where you can identify poor leadership/training. I remember reading a report from a US Artillery Officer saying a certain Fallschirmjaeger Division was going through open areas like a herd. That just makes it easier to kill them. Many of the divisions were recently rebuilt and it mattered how the veterans led the newbies. The 3rd and 5Th Fallschirmjaeger were filled up with guys pulled in from the Luftwaffe and were really short on experienced Junior and Field Grade officers. A couple of the Volksgrenadier Divisions were graced with a good core of veterans to guide the green people.

The Germans destroyed two Divisions? They captured two Infantry Regiments from the 106th Infantry and splattered the 28th all over the battlefield. Survivors from one Infantry Regiment made it to the Northern shoulder. Another InfReg made it all the way to the Western shoulder and the last InfReg was on the Southern boundary of the Bulge.

The Army attached a couple of Separate Infantry Regiments (Line of Control Troops) to reconstitute the Infantry and attached Artillery and other troops from Corps and Army Command. The 28th took longer to rebuild as they had to be filled with replacements.

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  #25  
Old 20 Jul 17, 16:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
That's because the operational and strategic levels of battle are where the campaign is won or lost. The Germans lost every time at those levels. They failed to launch a single successful offensive operation between 6 June 1944 and the end of the war in the ETO.
Sure, they had some good tries, but never succeeded in making a significant dent in the Allied advance into Germany and Germany's eventual defeat.
The closest they came was the two weeks, give or take a few days, during the Ardennes Offensive where they managed to destroy most of two US infantry divisions for the loss of virtually all their offensive panzer and panzer grenadier divisions in the West in return.

That they fought well at the platoon and company level alone is meaningless. The best example is the often cited action by Michael Wittmann at Villers Brocage. Wittmann managed to shoot up a British tank regiment some (his score was less than most exaggerated accounts would have it) for the loss of all of his own attacking tanks. The town was held by the Germans for less than 48 hours as a result.
A mediocre tactical result that had no impact on operational or strategic outcomes.

The Wehrmacht in the ETO performed poorly overall. Sure individual small units fought well, but even that wasn't consistent. Overall, the Wehrmacht was in a word, lousy.
It would be very difficult perform for them better than they did. They were too outnumbered to achieve something. And even if they did, they had no reserves to exploit their success.

What is however was badly done on a tactical levle, was the repetitive use of similar tactics like counterattacking or using the terrain to cut enemy columns, especially the transports.
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Old 20 Jul 17, 17:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
It would be very difficult perform for them better than they did. They were too outnumbered to achieve something. And even if they did, they had no reserves to exploit their success.
On the contrary, they could have done better, but made poor choices repeatedly. Some examples:

In August - September the US was romping across France virtually unopposed. The panzer divisions that fought in Normandy were smashed into ruin. The Germans had a number of freshly trained and equipped panzer brigades (about half a dozen) available.
The OKW and Hitler sent these into counterattacks along with local infantry divisions. The panzer brigades were chewed up in a matter of days for no visible effect on the US advance.
If instead, these units were used to rebuild the panzer divisions, and some additional reinforcements were sent to further fill those divisions out, the Germans might have been in a position to mount a much more serious combined arms counter attack a few weeks later than they did.

Himmler taking over the replacement army in October 1944 brought on the Volksgrenadier divisions. These were divisions formed by bean counting off a sheet of paper. You needed 12,000 men (give or take), x number of artillery pieces, etc. That's what they got, from anywhere and everywhere in Germany.
You had divisions with ex-sailors and Luftwaffe ground personnel, old men, troops in garrison units, whatever. But, there were 12,000 of them on paper. The artillery might be ex-Russian pieces, or worse something out of a warehouse in Denmark that were pre-WW 1 guns. But, the number supplied on paper was the correct amount.

Even before the invasion, the Germans were more concerned with numbers on paper than the value of the units themselves. Many of the "divisions" manning the Atlantic Wall were garbage. They lacked transport, lacked the proper weapons getting captured material instead, etc.
Having fewer divisions but ones that could actually fight would have done the Germans better than the polyglot of iffy and useless ones they actually had.

Quote:
What is however was badly done on a tactical levle, was the repetitive use of similar tactics like counterattacking or using the terrain to cut enemy columns, especially the transports.
Or, attacking without proper combined arms support
Or, attacking without reconnaissance and preparation
Or, attacking and putting the mobile assets in small columns to move along parallel routes expecting that speed would disrupt the enemy when instead, it allowed the enemy to defeat the columns in detail
Or, producing units that lacked heavy weapons and had poor communications capacity
Or...

By 1944 the Wehrmacht was committing all sorts of blunders. They were desperate and had learned all the wrong lessons in Russia for fighting the US and Britain.
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Old 20 Jul 17, 17:24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
On the contrary, they could have done better, but made poor choices repeatedly. Some examples:

In August - September the US was romping across France virtually unopposed. The panzer divisions that fought in Normandy were smashed into ruin. The Germans had a number of freshly trained and equipped panzer brigades (about half a dozen) available.
The OKW and Hitler sent these into counterattacks along with local infantry divisions. The panzer brigades were chewed up in a matter of days for no visible effect on the US advance.
If instead, these units were used to rebuild the panzer divisions, and some additional reinforcements were sent to further fill those divisions out, the Germans might have been in a position to mount a much more serious combined arms counter attack a few weeks later than they did.
USSR did exactly the same thing early in the war. Yes, on the long run this proved to be a bad move during the counter-offensive at Moscow but at the moment it was probably the best solution.
The thing is that in those situations you grab everything you have and you threw it at the enemy. A few weeks later mean that those infantry divisions could be destroyed and territory would be lost to the enemy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Himmler taking over the replacement army in October 1944 brought on the Volksgrenadier divisions. These were divisions formed by bean counting off a sheet of paper. You needed 12,000 men (give or take), x number of artillery pieces, etc. That's what they got, from anywhere and everywhere in Germany.
You had divisions with ex-sailors and Luftwaffe ground personnel, old men, troops in garrison units, whatever. But, there were 12,000 of them on paper. The artillery might be ex-Russian pieces, or worse something out of a warehouse in Denmark that were pre-WW 1 guns. But, the number supplied on paper was the correct amount.

Even before the invasion, the Germans were more concerned with numbers on paper than the value of the units themselves. Many of the "divisions" manning the Atlantic Wall were garbage. They lacked transport, lacked the proper weapons getting captured material instead, etc.
Having fewer divisions but ones that could actually fight would have done the Germans better than the polyglot of iffy and useless ones they actually had.
Germans simply didn't had anything more to arm them. They were in short supply of everything. Having less divisions would be an option, they already had too few men guarding the coast. It's better to have a garbage division in place that having any. Just like it can be better to have two times more men but of lower quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Or, attacking without proper combined arms support
Or, attacking without reconnaissance and preparation
Or, attacking and putting the mobile assets in small columns to move along parallel routes expecting that speed would disrupt the enemy when instead, it allowed the enemy to defeat the columns in detail
Or, producing units that lacked heavy weapons and had poor communications capacity
Or...

By 1944 the Wehrmacht was committing all sorts of blunders. They were desperate and had learned all the wrong lessons in Russia for fighting the US and Britain.
They made many errors, sure. But what other options they had ? You view this from an American point of view when you get plenty of everything in every possible domain. Germans lacked evertyhing in all domains. And they had the Eastern front draining much of the ground forces.
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