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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Battles & Campaigns

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Battles & Campaigns Whether it's an individual combat account or a massive clash of arms; the strategy, tactics & operations of WW II are open for discussion here.

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  #151  
Old 11 Sep 14, 07:54
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So I believe that the only hope is to use the LW as an all or nothing proposition in conjunction with a surgical operation that should last no more than a couple of days. Almost all resources should be wagered in this effort against the normandy beachhead and ammunition & units should be relentlessly used.

This would require long range planning and the massing of air and bomber reserves months in advance. Artillery and means of air cover (flak) would also need to be massed.
You are talking about using resources that where not available.
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  #152  
Old 11 Sep 14, 07:58
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I'm aware that the LW liquidated itself in 43-44. This is why I said that the Germans would have anticipated the tactical factors of the normandy situation as early as late 1943. They would have to curtail many meaningless aerial operations they did from late 1943 to mid 1944 and build up a strategic air reserve.

The most obvious is Operation steinbock, which cost them several hundred bombers in 44' and did little except kill civilians & give the RAF practice. It depleted their fight and bomber inventory by the time they faced D-day.

In the actual d-day operation, I can see them doing a 'Bodenplatte' style operation- "all-in" and expending everything they had in one blow. Even as they are being defeated, they may be able to stall the allies for a couple of days. This should be long enough to move in an artillery korps against the beachhead and the reorganized 1- panzer battalion panzer divisions with flak regiments instead of battalions.
Pure fiction. Would not work and you are imagining resources that did not exist.
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  #153  
Old 11 Sep 14, 08:05
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The German army in normandy was largely equipped and organized not too differently from those in the east. Most were organized to sustain a long defensive battle on the 2000 km front in the soviet union. The mobile units were organized to launch counterstrikes and counterattacks in the east. The summer of 44' was a rude awakening for them from top to bottom. The top generals did not envision the fact that they would be unable to execute large scale counterstrikes in the west all summer.

The problem I already see with the German army in normandy is how all their assets are spread out outside of the panzer divisions. There is no 'point of main effort' here, just ten average formations and the rest below average. I have personally thought that they were better off just degrading all their infantry divisions even further to volksgrenadier status, keeping a corps reserve panzer brigade to combat mechanized penetrations, and then strengthening the assault capable panzer divisions to the point where they could organize a counterstrike.

In the subsequent retreat and defense southeast, their infantry defending the line would suffer significantly higher weekly losses due to having much of their AA/Artillery/some mobility taken away but operational reserve counterattacks and counterstrikes may have become more effective.

The west front required radically different organization, operations, and tactics based on a differing set of expectations.

Their flak and artillery purchases starting from late 1943 would certainly have to change. Maybe more long range artillery? more 20mm quads instead of singles? etc. There was already a double 37mm being considered on paper. The Atlantic wall projects should have been abandoned.

I don't think that a one week, throw the kitchen sink performance was 'mission impossible'. The superiority of the allies wasn't that great.
You are ignoring that the ID's in the west were already below par. You are simply ignoring reality.
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  #154  
Old 11 Sep 14, 08:10
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The centralization of artillery was opposed to German doctrine so that is why they relied on informal liaison units. In practice, this was inefficient and uneconomical for the purposes of massed fire (soviet style) but the Germans rarely sought to use artillery in this manner. They suffered from coordination problems, general unfamiliarity and inexperience with new partners, and jurisdiction issues. (particularly between luftwaffe units)..
You clearly do not know much about the use of artillery by the german army.
In a breakthrough battle extra assets would be given from corps and army level and sometimes even from other divisions.
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  #155  
Old 11 Sep 14, 08:14
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What's your point?

AA suppression means that the fighter-bombers cannot deploy their ordnance, or deploy it accurately. During the battle of bulge, the axis columns did succeed in beating off squadrons, although not all the time.

As far as the East goes, I know that major counterstrikes with massed armor during the battles around Kiev in Dec 43- Jan 1944 (Operation Walraut, Operation Winterreise in the Ukraine) i and in Korsun were employed with the VVS not stopping the assembly or playing a major role in ruining the assault. The victory was the work of soviet ground forces.
On the eastern front the air situation was far better for the german army than in the west.
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  #156  
Old 11 Sep 14, 09:22
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The question should really be 'Can Armchair General stop Tiger Ivan'.

24 posts in 2 days no less................

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  #157  
Old 11 Sep 14, 09:30
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The problem with your response to my ATL it assumes everything with 100% certainty and addresses little that I posted prior. "The allied landing was invincible! They will sweep everything away. You see?" That was really your argument. With ATL's, you are supposed to bring up examples of actual combat conditions.

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The Germans only created a handful of artillery divisions (the 18th wasn't the only one) mostly because they didn't need them and they weren't that effective. They didn't do anything the HArkos couldn't do. Concentrating the artillery would make them great targets for medium and heavy bombers against which the 20mm, even if they were available in sufficient numbers, would be useless.
Nope. The artillery korps was the king of the eastern front and a key differentiation between the Axis and the Soviets. The manner of fire plan and way the soviets rationed their ammunition supplies was significantly different than western artillery (they hoarded ammunition and supplies for those key operational moments and minimized day to day use while Allied/German artillery was more organized for continuous tactical support). Overall, the firepower faced by the germans in the targeted zones against these soviet korps and divisions were of a higher concentration than what they faced against the Allies in normandy.

18th Artillery division was an improvisation ordered by FM Manstein in 1943. He was impressed by the restructuring of soviet artillery divisions into artillery korps and how they defeated his forces again and again. They not only tore gaps in the axis front; they also also supported soviet attacks by saturating german counterattacks. It was their only division I believe. In the Rzhev salient battles, General Model also managed to reorganize 9th Army's scattered artillery assets and integrate them into a rigid, centralized system that was his trump card & force multiplier against Zhukov's great offensive. It was de-facto artillery korps although not officially as such.

You seem to envision that the pieces are closely packed together, in rows. They need only be united by a centralized communications network.
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  #158  
Old 11 Sep 14, 11:52
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18th Artillery division was an improvisation ordered by FM Manstein in 1943. He was impressed by the restructuring of soviet artillery divisions into artillery korps and how they defeated his forces again and again. They not only tore gaps in the axis front; they also also supported soviet attacks by saturating german counterattacks. It was their only division I believe. .
The history of the 18 th artillery division which is included in the divisional history of the 18 th Panzer by Wolfgang Paul states on page 288 that the idea for the settiing up of the artillery divisions came from the OKH which intended to take the artillery from divisions in OKW theatres which is why the OKW did not like the idea.
Hitler accepted the proposal and the setting up was ordered by the OKH on 7 september 1943.
The author makes the following concluding comments on pp331-332: " The division was a typical unit for the attack to create a decisive centre of gravity but these times were past.
In the defense it was a luxury unit whose missions could be better performed by regiments or brigades....Once more it set up the from military history wellknown and famous 'artillery protection positions' with whom once battles were fought. Like the artillery from the past,Iit learnt by experience that without protection by infantry or cavalry such concentrations could lead to high losses, when in addition there was a lack of antitankkweapons. The end was therefore predictable ".
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  #159  
Old 14 Sep 14, 20:33
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The problem with your response to my ATL it assumes everything with 100% certainty and addresses little that I posted prior. "The allied landing was invincible! They will sweep everything away. You see?" That was really your argument. With ATL's, you are supposed to bring up examples of actual combat conditions.



Nope. The artillery korps was the king of the eastern front and a key differentiation between the Axis and the Soviets. The manner of fire plan and way the soviets rationed their ammunition supplies was significantly different than western artillery (they hoarded ammunition and supplies for those key operational moments and minimized day to day use while Allied/German artillery was more organized for continuous tactical support). Overall, the firepower faced by the germans in the targeted zones against these soviet korps and divisions were of a higher concentration than what they faced against the Allies in normandy.

18th Artillery division was an improvisation ordered by FM Manstein in 1943. He was impressed by the restructuring of soviet artillery divisions into artillery korps and how they defeated his forces again and again. They not only tore gaps in the axis front; they also also supported soviet attacks by saturating german counterattacks. It was their only division I believe. In the Rzhev salient battles, General Model also managed to reorganize 9th Army's scattered artillery assets and integrate them into a rigid, centralized system that was his trump card & force multiplier against Zhukov's great offensive. It was de-facto artillery korps although not officially as such.

You seem to envision that the pieces are closely packed together, in rows. They need only be united by a centralized communications network.
Nope, all around.
18th was not the only German artillery division:
Heer Artillery divisions
  • 18th Artillery Division (formerly 18th Panzer Division)
  • 309th Artillery Division
  • 310th Artillery Division
  • 311th Artillery Division
  • 312th Artillery Division
  • 397th Artillery Division
http://www.axishistory.com/axis-nati...rie-divisionen

Your "de-facto" artillery korps were not an amazing tactical innovation by Model, but the manner in which the HArko commands were expected to operate (except for the rigid part).
The Soviets centralized artillery in divisions and corps because they had difficulty coordinating offensive fires.
The Germans sent at least 15 independent artillery battalions and 20 werfer battalions to Normandy, a "defacto" artillery korps if you will, nicely distributed.
You want the advantages of concentration but claim the artillery will be dispersed when reality doesn't fir your ATL.
You seem to think that the allied air forces only consisted of P-47s and Tempests. Even these were not going to be nullified by 20mm four barreled, open topped AA vehicles. The numbers required to protect your artillery korps and keep open supply and ammunition lanes would be fantastic.
Your ATL seems unable to deal with any facts that don't fit into your WWI style arty fest, which apparently only works for the Germans. "The German Artillery Korps would have been invincible! They will sweep everything away. You see?" That really is your argument.
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  #160  
Old 14 Sep 14, 21:25
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I disagree with the content and reasoning of your entire post, including several misrepresentations of the my posts prior and your characterization and your mental conception of artillery, flak, and air power. You did get me on the artillery divisions with that internet search, though.

You are incorrect about the artillery liaison being an optimal setting, for reasons I already posted earlier.

Compared to the offensives on the Eastern Front, D-day and the first week were nothing special outside being the largest amphibious operation. The concentrations and force correlations of Allied tubes, manpower, and armor was not special outside of the aircraft during the first few days.

You also give the Soviets a short shift- their methods of using artillery to support a breakthrough, and then an exploitation were highly effective, faster & considerably more decisive than than the methods of the West if short term casualties are not taken into consideration. They made use of their technical shortages in an effective way and their concept regarding artillery was different from the west.

Let me ask you this: Why didn't the Allies use thousands of four engine bombers to quickly wipe out the Wehrmacht's historical artillery forces in Normandy instead, thus neutering them completely? Then they could just simply bomb all those divisions blocking them, and annihilate them for a 'rapid' breakout.

As i said before, you are envisioning the corps being concentrated in rows, and somehow lacking Flak guns, which are being used as artillery. The air offensive provided is meant to relieve pressure from the ground forces, including the artillery.

My thesis was this: If the character of the landings was known by the Axis in 1943, they would have prepared against them differently and with more emphasis on a short operation, on artillery, on AA, and combined this with a surgical air offensive. I believe that there was a possibility that one landing could be beaten off, but not a second.

You seem to think that the landings were invincible.

How would you have prepared the German forces to fight against 'the invincible' D-day?
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  #161  
Old 15 Sep 14, 00:45
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I disagree with the content and reasoning of your entire post, including several misrepresentations of the my posts prior and your characterization and your mental conception of artillery, flak, and air power. You did get me on the artillery divisions with that internet search, though.

You are incorrect about the artillery liaison being an optimal setting, for reasons I already posted earlier.

Compared to the offensives on the Eastern Front, D-day and the first week were nothing special outside being the largest amphibious operation. The concentrations and force correlations of Allied tubes, manpower, and armor was not special outside of the aircraft during the first few days.

You also give the Soviets a short shift- their methods of using artillery to support a breakthrough, and then an exploitation were highly effective, faster & considerably more decisive than than the methods of the West if short term casualties are not taken into consideration. They made use of their technical shortages in an effective way and their concept regarding artillery was different from the west.

Let me ask you this: Why didn't the Allies use thousands of four engine bombers to quickly wipe out the Wehrmacht's historical artillery forces in Normandy instead, thus neutering them completely? Then they could just simply bomb all those divisions blocking them, and annihilate them for a 'rapid' breakout.

As i said before, you are envisioning the corps being concentrated in rows, and somehow lacking Flak guns, which are being used as artillery. The air offensive provided is meant to relieve pressure from the ground forces, including the artillery.

My thesis was this: If the character of the landings was known by the Axis in 1943, they would have prepared against them differently and with more emphasis on a short operation, on artillery, on AA, and combined this with a surgical air offensive. I believe that there was a possibility that one landing could be beaten off, but not a second.

You seem to think that the landings were invincible.

How would you have prepared the German forces to fight against 'the invincible' D-day?
You are extrememy optimistic about German resources.
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