What If?

Discussion in 'General' started by Dac, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Dac

    Dac Senior Member

    What would have been the result if the German high command had penetrated the deception operations protecting the Allied Normandy campaign in June-July 1944? No longer needing to protect the Pas de Calais, the 15th Army could have been moved to the area around Caen. The Germans would then have(possibly) been able to concentrate their panzer divs for attack. Would this have been decisive?
     
  2. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    For sure! If that weight of armour had been waiting just off the beaches. Goodnight nurse!
    Sapper
     
  3. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Dac@Jul 21 2005, 07:48 PM
    What would have been the result if the German high command had penetrated the deception operations protecting the Allied Normandy campaign in June-July 1944? No longer needing to protect the Pas de Calais, the 15th Army could have been moved to the area around Caen. The Germans would then have(possibly) been able to concentrate their panzer divs for attack. Would this have been decisive?
    [post=36711]Quoted post[/post]

    Had hitler allowed the panzer divs held in reserve to move as soon as the invasion started then the 15th army would only have been used for mop up operations. Eisenhower had actually written a statement in case the landings had failed.
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    If 15th army had been on the beaches, surely the allies system of intelligence would have picked up the move beforehand and reconsidered the landing site although the did miss the paratroop division that defended Omaha beach on D-day.

    If 15th army was there, the allies didn't know about it and the Panzers had freedom of movement, there would have been almost no chance of the invasion succeeded, none at all.
     
  5. Dac

    Dac Senior Member

    Originally posted by sapper@Jul 21 2005, 01:05 PM
    For sure! If that weight of armour had been waiting just off the beaches. Goodnight nurse!
    Sapper
    [post=36713]Quoted post[/post]

    How about after the Allies were established ashore in late June or early July? I've read that British anti-tank screens were very effective. Would they have been enough to stop a multi-divisional attack by, for instance, the 9th,10th, and 12th SS panzer.

    Doug
     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Originally posted by Gnomey@Jul 22 2005, 08:16 AM

    If 15th army was there, the allies didn't know about it and the Panzers had freedom of movement, there would have been almost no chance of the invasion succeeded, none at all.
    [post=36716]Quoted post[/post]

    Concrete bunkers on the beach and a brick wall behind it!!!!!!!!
     
  7. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    Even when Germans able to concentrate their forces, there would be nothing much they could do, as nothing can callenge Allies air supremacy and naval bombarbment along the coast,..

    Like Bayerlein said during the dessert campaign,. nothing could compensate for for the lack of air force...
     
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Originally posted by GUMALANGI@Jul 22 2005, 03:30 PM
    Even when Germans able to concentrate their forces, there would be nothing much they could do, as nothing can callenge Allies air supremacy and naval bombarbment along the coast,..

    Like Bayerlein said during the dessert campaign,. nothing could compensate for for the lack of air force...
    [post=36739]Quoted post[/post]


    Maybe not Gumalangi, but the troops still had to get off the beach. At stages during the landing there were those who were looking to put out the pick up order as they were being "murdered".

    This with total air supremacy and the greatest armada ever seen concentrating their firepower in such a small area.
     
  9. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    but the troops still had to get off the beach. At stages during the landing there were those who were looking to put out the pick up order as they were being "murdered".

    Got your point there,..

    it just happened to me to see that the accuracy of Naval bombardments were outstanding,.. it was infact which killed 12th HJ SS Div commander, standartenfuehrer Fritz Witt,.. and Allied Supremacy was actually defeated the Germans,..admitted one Germans Normandy's veteran..

    regards
     
  10. Dac

    Dac Senior Member

    Originally posted by GUMALANGI@Jul 21 2005, 10:30 PM
    Even when Germans able to concentrate their forces, there would be nothing much they could do, as nothing can callenge Allies air supremacy and naval bombarbment along the coast,..

    Like Bayerlein said during the dessert campaign,. nothing could compensate for for the lack of air force...
    [post=36739]Quoted post[/post]

    My opinion too. I just thought I'd check it out.
     
  11. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    I think that if Rommel had been able to move 12SS Panzer up just before the attack (Peter Tsoura's scenario in Disaster at D-Day), the Germans might have crushed the Omaha landing.
     
  12. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Gnomey@Jul 21 2005, 10:16 PM
    If 15th army had been on the beaches, surely the allies system of intelligence would have picked up the move beforehand and reconsidered the landing site although the did miss the paratroop division that defended Omaha beach on D-day.
    [post=36716]Quoted post[/post]

    Just for the record, it was not a parachute division. It was the 352nd Infantry Division, which was a standard infantry field division. Only one regiment of the division was close enough to the beach to intervene early on D-day.
     
  13. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Kiwiwriter@Jul 22 2005, 04:58 PM
    I think that if Rommel had been able to move 12SS Panzer up just before the attack (Peter Tsoura's scenario in Disaster at D-Day), the Germans might have crushed the Omaha landing.
    [post=36762]Quoted post[/post]

    Omaha Beach is not the obvious choice of landing beach in the sector compared with Sword, Juno and Gold, which also lay closer to the main threat axis towards the Seine and Paris. This is why in actuality the bulk of the German armour was drawn onto the British and Canadian front, but over a number of days and weeks, although elements of 12 SS Panzer were in action on D+1.

    Allowing for the fact that the Panzer divisions, as part of Panzergruppe West, lay outside Rommel's Army Group B command and even outside the control of Runstedt as OB West*, coming directly under OKW control until released, it is not Rommel but Hitler who would have needed to authorise the deployment. But, assuming that he did, then it would make more sense to deploy both 12 SS Panzer and Panzer Lehr closer to Caen/Bayeux and to allow 21 Panzer to be concentrated ready to operate as a divison (many of its units were scattered for area defence and took time to assemble on D-day and after).

    In other words, I do not see the Panzers concentrating against the American sector, but it would have been very bad news for the British and Canadians.

    * As it happened, Runstedt did not agree with Rommel regarding forward deployment of Panzers.
     
  14. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    It's simple:

    If the Panzers get close to the beaches, the USN and RN blow them up entirely, with the RAF and USAF mopping the rest.

    Can land forces throw into the sea a land force defended by a naval force? NO.

    It was the midnight of August 19th-20th 1944 when a heavy cruiser steamed through the Irben route, between Courland and Oesel Island. It moved noiseless, with lights off and slyly to the front.
    This front, of course, meant the Army front on land, because at sea the fighting was all around: the ship could hit a mine at any time, a mine laid by Soviet aircraft weeks or hours ago; the ship could also be attacked by a submarine, even if the General Staff knew that there had not been seen any Russian submarines in the Baltic since 1942, except for the blockaded Finland Bay. Despite of that, it was to be expected that Soviet aircraft raided her at sunrise. Then the antiaircraft artillery of all-calibres on-board the ship could welcome them warmly.
    The big ship, escorted by four destroyers and five torpedo boats was the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, whose task was supporting German Army Group ‘North’ with her guns.
    At 0300 hours everybody on-board the  Prinz, as she was friendly called, were given the order to attend their battle-stations. With clear decks, she would get into battle as soon as the alarm signal was sounded. She was heading to Riga Bay where the Soviet armoured columns had reached the shores, isolating the German garrison at Riga and the forces in Courland, creating then a gap 25-kilometres-wide. The German armoured units inside the pocket were planning a counterattack to re-establish contact with the city of Riga. The German Army did not have artillery powerful enough to adequately prepare the attack, there was the need to reinforce it with the naval guns.
    On August 20th, at 0700 hours the cruiser shot her first test-rounds. The artillery officer on-board was closely in touch by phone —by ultra short wave— with a Navy hydroplane flying over the objective as well as was in touch with the forward infantry and artillery observers and scouts of the Army. The target was invisible from the cruiser and was the town of Tukkum, 15-kilometres in-land, which was an important railroad centre and there were where the strongest enemy spots were located.
    When the  Prinz Eugen shot her first 8-inches rounds, it was heard a noisy mixture of cheerful screams: “Bravo! Exactly on the target! Donnerwetter! My friend, you did as you promised! This is going incredibly good! Vorwärts!”
    Everybody were talking loudly and simultaneously. The cruiser requested to “moderate their enthusiasm”. When she kept firing round after round the observers informed that eighty-per-cent were direct hits, despite that the cruiser was not firing from a stable position, she was actually sailing hither and thither. There was no doubt that the Prinz was incredibly accurate.
    Meanwhile, the destroyers were also intervening, giving a good use to their more modest, but effective as well, small guns. When the Riga garrison made an attempt to reach the German armoured columns they were not attacked by the Russians, who had been absolutely taken by surprise. Although the commanders of the Prinz Eugen were very concerned about the possibility of a Soviet air-attack, none took place; not even one Russian plane appeared and the German watchmen searched in the sky, in vain. The heavy bombardment continued unmolested.
    By the late afternoon the Army sent a note of sincere gratefulness to the  Prinz Eugen for her effective support. The Russian lines were more than annihilated and by that moment, there was no more need of the Navy’s fire support. “25-ton T-34 tanks had been blown up, two or three at the time by the Navy’s guns. These ‘steel monsters’ actually flew some 3-metres above the ground when the  Prinz’s shells exploded” described an Army artillery observer. The heavy cruiser steamed as fast as it could to leave the Bay of Riga to prevent any sudden air-raid; there, the  Prinz would have been very vulnerable in those strait and narrow waters. She went back to Gotenhafen without setbacks and there she was made ready to sail once more.

    :rolleyes:
     
  15. Dac

    Dac Senior Member

    Interesting piece Friedrich, I had no idea that naval gunfire could be so accurate in the support role.
     
  16. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Originally posted by angie999+Jul 22 2005, 05:22 PM-->(angie999 @ Jul 22 2005, 05:22 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Gnomey@Jul 21 2005, 10:16 PM
    If 15th army had been on the beaches, surely the allies system of intelligence would have picked up the move beforehand and reconsidered the landing site although the did miss the paratroop division that defended Omaha beach on D-day.
    [post=36716]Quoted post[/post]

    Just for the record, it was not a parachute division. It was the 352nd Infantry Division, which was a standard infantry field division. Only one regiment of the division was close enough to the beach to intervene early on D-day.
    [post=36764]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b]
    My mistake thanks for correcting me angie anyway it was a veteran division and did a lot of damage despite having only one regiment (1/3) of the division close enough to Omaha on D-day to engage the 'liberators'.

    Nice story Fredrick, but I still believe that the allies would have taken very heavy casualties and maybe have been forced to re-embark on the ships, but then Fredricks story also makes me think that it could have been a very very close fight if the Panzer divisions had been active on and around the beaches.
     
  17. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    And there's more:

    Despite the disaster at Hela, the other ships of "Thiele’s Fighting Squadron", named like that in honour of its commander, vice admiral August Thiele, kept getting into land battles as the situation seemed more and more desperate. On November 18th 1944, after an intense preliminary bombardment of twelve hours against Sworbe peninsula, the Russians attacked. The outnumbered Germans, of course, could not face such an opposition and decided to withdraw; though they expected to evacuate the troops and their precious equipment, which could be done only by halting the Russian advance. That is why the heavy guns of the navy had to intervene; to allow the land troops to get away from the enemy. Vice admiral Thiele sailed towards Sworbe with the just-repaired Prinz Eugen and the Lützow.

    After thirty-six hours of shelling and smashing the Russian positions with terrific accuracy, the ships ran out of ammunition, but then arrived the Admiral Hipper and the Admiral Scheer to relieve them. The shelling went on uninterrupted.

    However, things weren’t as easy as they had been in August, during the first bombardment at Tukkum. Day by day, the Russians realised the great damages and losses made by the German ships and they were determined to neutralise them at any cost. When Russian batteries —of 170mm calibre— started counter-battery fire, the ships simply pulled back to the sea and kept firing —because their range was superior to the Russian’s and then sent torpedo and high-altitude bomber planes. The Admiral Scheer changed course and manœuvred desperately to prevent being subjected to massive fire —she was obviously, the main target of Russian 11-inch guns. Heavy bombs exploded beside her and huge water splashes broke on her decks. It was a tribute by the Russians to her enormous power. But no bombs or torpedoes hit the target.

    The fact that the land troops were able to withdraw from Sworbe was a good sign of the effectiveness of the ships. The Army commanders sent wireless messages to their comrades at sea to express their gratitude and Thiele smiled, happily. For four years he had been forced to use his hips for training in the Baltic and now he saw that the waiting hadn’t been in vain, as the Army observers’ enthusiastic descriptions by ultra-short wave devices could prove.
    The Russians tried to prevent the Germans from withdrawing, using gun boats and light vessels, but they only found fierce opposition by minesweepers, frigates and gun boats, part of 9th division of rescue, under whose protection German troops and almost all of their equipment were carried to Courland. On the morning of 25th November, the red divisions advanced to the extremes of the peninsula, but they attacked empty positions and only found destroyed ships.

    A week or two later, the Admiral Scheer went back to her base in Gotenhafen. Her crew had just tight her to the pier, when they noticed several Army soldiers —with bandages and crutches— walking towards the ship. "What are you looking for around here?" asked someone on deck. "Were you guys at Sworbe?" asked the soldiers. "Of course we were. Why?" Without answering, the soldiers went onboard and hugged the mariners. "Thank you" was the only thing they could say "Thank you a lot!"

    Questions and answers went hither and thither. The crew of the Admiral Scheer was delighted when listening about how effective their fire had been. Effectively, the soldiers had just arrived from Sworbe. "We had started losing all hope when you guys came and gave the Russkies your heavy shells…"

    Little after, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz published the following message:

    December 1944.
    To Grand Admiral Dönitz, Commander in Chief of the German Navy:

    After the battle of Sworbe, I feel I have to express how thanked I am, as the whole Eastern Army is, to all the members of the Navy for their heroic efforts, sacrifices and decision in helping us. I am convinced that our struggle against an enemy immensely superior has strengthened in great shape the brotherhood liaisons between the German Army and the German Navy.

    Colonel general Heinz Guderian, Chief of Staff of the Army. :rk:

    [​IMG]

    Vice admiral August Thiele.

    [​IMG]

    Admiral Scheer

    [​IMG]

    Lützow

    [​IMG]

    Admiral Hipper

    [​IMG]

    Prinz Eugen
     
  18. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    Originally posted by Dac@Jul 22 2005, 09:09 PM
    Interesting piece Friedrich, I had no idea that naval gunfire could be so accurate in the support role.
    [post=36768]Quoted post[/post]

    Well, like i stated before, it did the 12th SS PzG HJ's HQ and took the Divisional Commander as well.that definetely give an example on how accurate it was
     
  19. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Friedrich H@Jul 22 2005, 08:53 PM
    If the Panzers get close to the beaches, the USN and RN blow them up entirely, with the RAF and USAF mopping the rest.
    [post=36767]Quoted post[/post]

    I do not think it is quite that simple. While tactical air was quite effective in the German rear, close air support was not a developed art in 1944 and air was often not able to attack the enemy front line because the opposing forces were too closely engaged.

    And it should be remembered that due to cloud cover, conditions for tactical air were not good until late in the day on 6 June. At the time of the landings, many if not all of the landing areas had 10/10 cloud cover.

    Regarding artillery, naval or land, there were problems on D-day due to high casualties among the forward observers. The key problem was identifying the targets and getting the information back to the guns.
     
  20. Dac

    Dac Senior Member

    The reason I started this topic is I read in Bodyguard of Lies, the crucial importance Allied high command(Churchill, Brook, Eisenhower et. al.) put in decieving Hitler about Allied intentions even a month after the Normandy landings. They feared that the introduction of strong German forces such as the Divisions defending the Pas de Calais would allow the Germans to overwhelm the Allied right flank. I was wondering if these fears were truly reflected on the battlefield.
     

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