maltesefalcon wrote: ↑
30 Dec 2019 13:08
Might be worth mentioning that one of the main reasons Manstein's plan was finally adopted IRL was that the original plans were accidental captured.
Mays in 'Strange Victory' traces the evolution of the many attack plans from October 1939 to May 1940. The primary plan in place at the end of the Polish campaign Halder had already regarded as obsolete and unworkable. Previous map exercises using that plan had failed to achieve any decisive result and showcased weakness from new circumstances. Halder directed several fresh plans be developed rapidly, to be tested at his HQ at Zossen in early November. One plan was to place the main effort or schwerpunkt with Army Group B, the second plan was to have the main effort with AG A, & the third had no initial schwerpunkt. A large reserve was to be held back, to be used as opportunities developed. Manstein as the CoS of AG A was naturally most enthusiastic about the plan placing the schwerpunkt there. His main contribution was to locate it within the AG A area in the Ardennes, vs the Belgian plain north of the Meause River.
The November Zossen map exercise or game was inconclusive. The only thing it proved in the view of the participants was that withholding the reserve was a definite bad idea. in the other two cases the results were better but still indecisive. Halder directed more staff studies and the plans were rewritten to accommodate the expected additions to the OB by 1 January. These plans were gamed out at Zossen, at the Army Groups, and the individual armies. No one was satisfied with the results.
When the January offensive was canceled Hitler demanded a 'new plan'. Halder shrugged and directed the current plans be updated to include the additional aircraft, infantry and mechanized units that would be ready in the Spring.
ljadw wrote: ↑
30 Dec 2019 15:24
The last sentence is not correct : the original plans were not captured in January 1940, but only a very small and even not important part was captured, and the immediate reaction from Hitler was to order to attack the following day. But the weather prevented this .
Specifically it was the bombing plan for one of the air corps. It had some background info about the overall plan, but lacked any details outside that air corps. The French intelligence service advised Gamelin & by extension his subordinates the plan the Belgians had captured was probably disinformation deliberately planted by the Germans. I don't know if Georges or any of his army commanders actually saw a copy of the document, they may have only received mention of it in the regular intel. reports issued daily. The Belgians took it seriously, but had trouble seeing anything in it other than the German had intended to make air attacks all over the low countries in support of a large scale ground offensive. No surprise in that.
The original plans were abandoned, not because an insignifiant part was captured ( the officer in question belonged to the LW ),but because there was a growing doubt in the OKH about the feasability of the original plans .
There was also the need to up date to use the additional 800 aircraft added to the air forces operating strength, adding six new armored divisions, and 20+ infantry divisions. Plans made up for January & snow-covered roads would not be appropriate for sunny May. As Mays describes; Halder kept the Zossen and army command staffs busy all autumn, winter, and spring revising and testing the plans over and over.
The usual 'Hitler' narrative concerning his favor of the sickle cut maneuver seems a bit off. Assorted staff officers present that winter describe him as waffling in every direction concerning which plan to use. He understood the risks of the sickle cut & at least four times between 10 & 22 May he had a crisis of confidence & wanted the Panzers halted. Finally got his way after the battle of Arras when Rundsteadt also thought a halt was a good idea.
Halder & several others thought placing the schwehrpunckt through the Ardennes a good idea. Tho many others including most of the army commanders thought it would not work. Rundsteadt thought it worth pursuing as none of the other plans did any better and most were worse. I cant say if anyone would have thought of it had not Manstein put it in the plan for the Zossen war-game of November. But it remained one of the several plans studied and tested, and was in the final plan adopted February-March.