German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 06:44

What if Germany attacked across the Rhine in May 1940 instead of going through the Low Countries as in the OTL?

There are two key aspects to this ATL: political and operational.

Political

The political aspect is that Germany wants to keep the war limited in scope and therefore does not violate the neutrality of any country not already involved in the war. Therefore, Germany never invades Denmark or Norway, and doesn't invade Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands as part of its attack on France. There are two reasons not to attack neutral countries. The first is that it improves Germany's international reputation as a country that can be trusted to honor international political agreements. Yes, Germany's reputation was damaged by its expansions in 1938 and 1939, but there were plausible explanations that could be sold for those expansions, whereas attacking neutral countries in 1940 would absolutely kill Germany's international reputation.

The second reason is to try to keep the United States out of the war. If Germany conquers 5 neutral countries in a US presidential election year, then whoever is elected will have a stronger anti-German stance than if Germany did not. Yes, the USA had a negative opinion of Germany anyway, but opposition to Germany became much stronger after Germany's run of conquests in 1940. If Germany merely conquers France, it has simply beaten a country that declared war on it.

Operational

There are several operational considerations relevant to an attack across the Rhine.

Numbers. The Netherlands had 10 divisions. Belgium had 22 divisions. The BEF had 10 divisions. France had 117 divisions total, with 106 deployed for operations against Germany. Thus, when Belgium and the Netherlands are taken into account, the Allies had a total of 148 divisions, as opposed to 116 without them, a difference of 32 divisions. Germany had a total of 157 divisions, with 135 deployed for the campaign against France. 9 German divisions had been deployed against Norway and Denmark in April 1940 and presumably were not available for the campaign against France. Thus, if Germany respects the neutrality of all non-belligerents, it could deploy 144 divisions against 116 British and French divisions, as opposed to 135 divisions against against 148 Allied divisions in the OTL.

Surprise. The Allies were expecting the Germans to attack through northern/central Belgium. The entire BEF and the best French divisions were deployed in the far north of France along the Belgian border, roughly 400 KM from the Rhine. The French had a total of 36 divisions deployed along the Maginot Line, of which the majority were deployed in Lorraine against the land border with Germany. Only 4 French infantry divisions held the entire length of the Rhine. Could Germany have successfully deceived the French as to their intentions? Germany was repeatedly successful at such deception operations throughout the war. Germany fooled the Allies as to their expected attack point in May 1940. Germany fooled the Soviet Union as to its expected attack in 1941, with a deception campaign to make the Russians think Germany was going to invade the UK. And Germany fooled the Soviets again in 1942, with a deception plan that made them think Germany was going to attack Moscow. So yes, it is plausible that Germany could have deceived the Allies into expecting the main attack to come through Belgium.

Feasibility. The main issue with feasibility is terrain. There is the Rhine river, followed to the west by several kilometers of thick forest, followed by the Vosges mountain range across the entire length of Alsace. The Rhine river itself should not foreclose the possibility of this operation being successful. The Germans were very good at river crossings, and while the Rhine was larger than most, it's comparable to the Dnieper, which the Germans successfully crossed against determined Russian opposition at Dnepropetróvsk in August 1941. The French defended the river with concrete casemates spaced roughly 1 every kilometer. The Germans easily destroyed these casemates with 88mm guns and crossed the river in the OTL in June 1941. The main issue is exploiting the crossing, which will be slowed by the forests and mountains of Alsace. But the Germans successfully crossed the thick forests and mountains of the Ardennes in the OTL. Terrain itself is not enough to slow an invading army. There need to be troops there to impede the advance, and the French did not have an immediate reserve beyond the 4 divisions spread along the river.

Response. The key to this ATL is the Allied response. If the Allies respond immediately and quickly redeploy substantial forces to Alsace, than the Germans get bogged down in the Vosges mountain range and it becomes a losing war of attrition. But we know the Allies, especially the French, were slow to respond to changing events in the OTL. This ATL would have caught the French completely by surprise, with their main forces deployed 400 km away from the German point of attack. We can expect at least several days of indecision where the French vacillate and wait to see if this attack is just a diversion or the real deal. Reinforcements from Lorraine can reach the Strasbourg sector relatively quickly, but the southern gap in the Vosges mountains, from Mulhouse to Belfort, is another 100 KM. With the German panzer troops on pervitin, it's plausible to expect them to take Belfort and get across to the open country in the south before Allied reinforcements can arrive. As a frame of reference, Guderian traveled roughly 430 km from the German/Luxembourg border to Calais in the OTL.

Aftermath. So what if the Germans get across the Vosges before the Allies can respond? Well, this leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the French countryside. It's 300 km from the southern Vosges to Paris. The Germans won't get that far, but they can lure the French and British away from their prepared positions into a spot where they are forced to deploy, without adequate preparation, to defend Paris. It then becomes a question of who can recover from this redeployment faster: the Germans or the Allies? On the one hand, the Allies have the advantage of redeploying by rail whereas most of the German army will have to march on foot. On the other hand, the Germans have the initiative and can effectively dictate where the battle will be fought. With careful planning (Guderian assigned to Poland so he doesn't pull a Yelnya), the Germans can lure the Allies into a spot where they can be encircled and destroyed. Specifically, the Germans need to encircle the BEF, which will actually be easier than in the OTL since this battle will not take place anywhere near the Channel. In any event, Germany outnumbers the French and British 144 divisions to 116 in the open country of central France, so even if the Germans don't successfully encircle the BEF, they still have the superior army and room to maneuver. The campaign might take months instead of weeks as in the OTL, but Germany has the advantage.

Logistics. The French destroyed all the bridges across the Rhine even before fighting commenced. The Germans need to capture the rail bridges and repair them quickly in order to keep their forces supplied. In the OTL, Germany was able to keep its army in northern France supplied despite having to cross multiple rivers with destroyed bridges, so it should be plausible for Germany to do the same here. Allied attempts to knock out German bridges with artillery and bombers failed horribly in the OTL, so it's plausible that the same would happen here.

Final Outcome

It's plausible that the operation is a success and France surrenders at some point in 1940, with terms similar to those of the OTL armistice. It's plausible that the BEF will be destroyed, or at least suffer heavy losses. If the BEF isn't destroyed, Germany's position relative to Britain is the same as in the OTL, except it now has its entire surface fleet available to support an invasion, plus Germany had no need to use its Ju-52s for paradrops in this ATL, so Germany has more air and naval assets to support an invasion of Great Britain. Such an invasion is still unlikely to succeed, simply because the British were completely dominant at sea, but also because the Germans lack the use of Dutch and Belgian ports to support such an invasion. The real question is, will Germany tone down its aggression in the aftermath of the battle, in order to calm anxious American voters in the upcoming election? Does a contender for president in the United States say that Germany has only attacked a country that declared war on it, so there's no reason for America to get involved? If we take Richard Overy's belief that Hitler did not want war with the western powers in 1939, then it's plausible that he follows a strategy designed to minimize the scope of the war, since he knows Germany is not yet ready for all-out war against all of the world's powers. If Germany follows this "mellow" path in the aftermath of the fall of France, stops aggression against Britain, and maybe even makes a separate peace with France, then it's possible the British see no point to continuing what is effectively a phony war against Germany by themselves. Of course Mussolini would screw it up by jumping in and attacking Greece, but Germany could at least try to tone things down after the fall of France.

Note: I had previously made a thread on a hypothetical German frontal assault on the Maginot Line, but this one is much more specific to the Rhine river so I thought it deserved its own thread.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=244268&hilit=maginot

Sources: Lloyd Clark: Blitzkrieg: Myth, Reality and Hitler's Lightning War: France 1940 and Clayton Donnell: The Battle for the Maginot Line
Last edited by HistoryGeek2019 on 11 Nov 2019 07:15, edited 2 times in total.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 918
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 11 Nov 2019 07:01

Ok I'm just gonna provide the first couple posts from my "Future Internet" algroithm:
Aida1 wrote:It is written in the Book of Manstein (peace be upon him) that the attack goes through the Ardennes. Who are we to question His wisdom? What holy mark of prophecy dost thou bare to shake my faith in Him?
Jesk wrote:I hope you mean "across the Rhine towards Moscow." That guarantees victory in everything.
Richard Anderson wrote:I have spent the last 19 hours pouring over the reports of the School Crossing Guard for Koblenz, Germany, whose records report that little Gunther scraped his knee on the way to school and Hilda fought with Greta. THERE IS NO MENTION OF GERMAN PANZER MOVEMENTS IN THIS SECTOR BY THE KOBLENZ CROSSING GUARD OR ANY OTHER. Therefore, how can you prove that the Germans could have moved troops in the direction you suggest?
MarkN wrote:I want to emphasize that I agree with everything Richard Anderson said and add something even less relevant, once I think of it.

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 07:05

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
11 Nov 2019 07:01
Ok I'm just gonna provide the first couple posts from my "Future Internet" algroithm:
Aida1 wrote:It is written in the Book of Manstein (peace be upon him) that the attack goes through the Ardennes. Who are we to question His wisdom? What holy mark of prophecy dost thou bare to shake my faith in Him?
Jesk wrote:I hope you mean "across the Rhine towards Moscow." That guarantees victory in everything.
Richard Anderson wrote:I have spent the last 19 hours pouring over the reports of the School Crossing Guard for Koblenz, Germany, whose records report that little Gunther scraped his knee on the way to school and Hilda fought with Greta. THERE IS NO MENTION OF GERMAN PANZER MOVEMENTS IN THIS SECTOR BY THE KOBLENZ CROSSING GUARD OR ANY OTHER. Therefore, how can you prove that the Germans could have moved troops in the direction you suggest?
MarkN wrote:I want to emphasize that I agree with everything Richard Anderson said and add something even less relevant, once I think of it.
:lol:

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 918
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 11 Nov 2019 08:41

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The real question is, will Germany tone down its aggression in the aftermath of the battle, in order to calm anxious American voters in the upcoming election?
IMO that is the real question but it seems that this doesn't change anythnig re USA. As Tooze documents, it was after Kristallnacht that anti-Hitlerism gained steam as an ideological matter. Until then we were okay with a lot of crazy Hitler shit because we still had, e.g., the Chinese Exclusion Act and Jim Crow. Flamboyant violence was a bit gauche for us though, as ever for liberals.

As a practical matter, we had scant interests in Scandinavia and the Low Countries that didn't apply with equal force to France: A Hitler who wages war on France is about as threatening to US material interests and moral self-image as OTL.

I agree with the broad outlines of your military analysis. France was F'd no matter what operational plan Germany used; it's just a matter of surrender in summer or fall.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1811
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by maltesefalcon » 11 Nov 2019 12:47

This is basically the same proposal (by the same author) with a different title:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=244268

I think the discussion and analysis of the above one was already pretty well covered.

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 13:41

maltesefalcon wrote:
11 Nov 2019 12:47
This is basically the same proposal (by the same author) with a different title:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=244268

I think the discussion and analysis of the above one was already pretty well covered.
I noted my previous related, but substantively different, thread at the bottom of my post. I even linked to it!

This thread is much more specific than the previous one. The previous thread was a general exploration of the strength of the Maginot Line, which really wasn't the Rhineland casemates. The real strength of the Maginot Line was the series of large ouvrages in Lorraine that proved impossible for Germany to crack in the OTL. There were no such ouvrages along the Rhine. The Rhine was defended by a triple layer of concrete casemates that Germany had little difficulty cracking in the OTL.

This thread is specific to the issues involved in a Rhine crossing and contains substantially more detail about the strength of each country and the political ramifications of such a strategy.

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 13:52

The main benefit for Germany in this ATL is political. It doesn't violate any country's neutrality, with the result that its international reputation is preserved, maybe even improved, since Germany has demonstrated that it will not violate Belgium's neutrality, unlike in 1914. On the other hand, @TheMarcksPlan notes that Germany's international reputation was already hurt by Kristallnacht, so the odds of everyone giving Germany a pass and letting them keep Poland are slim.

The main drawback for Germany is economic. Germany doesn't get to plunder and exploit the neutral countries in this ATL, and the supply of Swedish iron ore might be cut off in the winter due to British mining of Norwegian waters. Then again, the Norwegians can always just clear the mines. In addition, Germany can try to circumvent the British blockade by using the neutral countries as conduits. There will be growing political pressure on Britain to end the war by neutral countries who aren't happy about having to comply with the blockade.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1811
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by maltesefalcon » 11 Nov 2019 17:32

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 06:44
The Germans were very good at river crossings, and while the Rhine was larger than most, it's comparable to the Dnieper, which the Germans successfully crossed against determined Russian opposition at Dnepropetróvsk in August 1941. The French defended the river with concrete casemates spaced roughly 1 every kilometer. The Germans easily destroyed these casemates with 88mm guns and crossed the river in the OTL in June 1941.
Curious why the French would defend a Russian river?

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7141
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 11 Nov 2019 17:45

The French defended the river with concrete casemates spaced roughly 1 every kilometer. The Germans easily destroyed these casemates with 88mm guns and crossed the river in the OTL in June 1941. The main issue is exploiting the crossing, which will be slowed by the forests and mountains of Alsace. But the Germans successfully crossed the thick forests and mountains of the Ardennes in the OTL. Terrain itself is not enough to slow an invading army. There need to be troops there to impede the advance, and the French did not have an immediate reserve beyond the 4 divisions spread along the river.
The ease was due to the lack of French field units, which had been withdrawn. The casements were not designed as stand alone defense, but as a reinforcement for field forces of combined arms corps. When the attack came in June the four infantry divisions referred to had been withdrawn. There were no field units or reserve of any sort in Lorraine by this date. The fortress regiments manning the casements had to patrol the intervals themselves & were unable to defend the intervals, other than with harassing fires.

Direct assault on the planned French defense has been gamed out by more than a few. Against the standing field forces in place its bloody, with reinforcements from the French strategic reserves, its liable to rival any battle of WWI or II. Just depends on how long the Germans keep at it. The French advantage is this devolves into a set piece battle. There the French artillery has a huge advantage.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2825
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Nov 2019 18:36

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 07:05
:lol:
Er, no, not quite, you shouldn't try to rely on spurious misinformation from TMP for support. It, along with a basic lack of interest in what the historical realities were, is what he specializes in and why I have him on ignore. Oh, then there is the basic lack of self-awareness that goes along with it.

First, you need to ask yourself why the German assault across the Rhine, Kleiner Bär, was so easily accomplished when the French had made plans and preparations to defend those sectors of the Maginot Line against just such an attack for eleven years?

Then you need to asky yourself, how were the Germans able to move up and emplace 8.8cm Flak guns for direct fire of the riverside infantry casemates without any effective opposition?

Here is a hint. As of 11 June, four days before Kleiner Bär began, the French 54e ID, the "interval troops" for Secteur Fortifié de Colmar, was at Saône, 150 miles away. With it were most of the 22 semi-mobile 75mm and 20 semi-mobile 155mm guns of 1e Groupe, 170e Régiment d'Artillerie de Position, which had left behind 4 90mm Modèle 1877 de Bange, 4 120mm Modèle 1878 de Bange, and 10 155mm Modèle 1877 de Bange to support the 25-odd mile wide defensive sector. You see, all the mobile elements of 8e Armee began withdrawing to the southwest as part of the last ditch defense of Dijon about a week earlier in response to Rot. The infantry remaining to defend the sector against the assault by three German infantry divisions consisted of four fortress battalions and possibly three regular battalions. In effect, each German division faced about four French companies of infantry along the riverbank.

So then, you need to ask what would happen in your scenario, where the German assault faces the planned French defense rather than the ad hoc remnants of a defeated army?

Last, ask what happens when the Germans attempt to emplace their 8.8cm while under the fire of 58 75mm and 44 155mm guns...in addition to the 18 antique fixed pieces? And what happens to the German infantry that does manage to cross and then gets counterattacked by the 54e, supported by the 16 BCC? And where do the French strategic reserves, GCC 1, XX1e CA, and XXIIIe CA with its 2 armored, 1 motorized infantry, and 11 infantry divisions go if there is no threat in the Low Countries or Ardennes?

BTW, you need to re-examine your basic assumption. It was not "Only 4 French infantry divisions held the entire length of the Rhine". That sector, from Lauterbourg to Saint-Louis was held by elements of 4e, and all of 5e and 8e Armee. So 13 DI, 4 GBC, and 1 BS, along with the 5 SF and 3 DIF.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 19:31

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Nov 2019 18:36

BTW, you need to re-examine your basic assumption. It was not "Only 4 French infantry divisions held the entire length of the Rhine". That sector, from Lauterbourg to Saint-Louis was held by elements of 4e, and all of 5e and 8e Armee. So 13 DI, 4 GBC, and 1 BS, along with the 5 SF and 3 DIF.
Source?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2825
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Nov 2019 20:07

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 19:31
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Nov 2019 18:36

BTW, you need to re-examine your basic assumption. It was not "Only 4 French infantry divisions held the entire length of the Rhine". That sector, from Lauterbourg to Saint-Louis was held by elements of 4e, and all of 5e and 8e Armee. So 13 DI, 4 GBC, and 1 BS, along with the 5 SF and 3 DIF.
Source?
Les Grandes Unités Françaises de la Guerre 1939-1945, Historiques Succincts, Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre, Vincennes : SHAT, 1967.

Or just about any decent OB distillation, such as Leo Niehorster's (don't use Wiki's, it confuses the DIF with a DI and has a number of other errors IIRC).

BTW, I did check and was actually incorrect. It appears that 4e Armee was only concerned with the Sarre, so it was just 5e and 8e Armee, but then I did not include the division count for 4e Armee. As of 10 May,

5e Armee had: 16e, 24e, 30e, 31e, 35e, 44e, 62e, and 70e DI, 103e DIF, and SF Rohrbach and Hagenau.
8e Armee had: 13e, 19e, 27e, 54e, and 67e DI, 104e and 105e DIF, and SF Altkirch, Montbéliard, and Belfort.

Oh, and Groupe d'Armées 2, of which they were a part, had 4e DIC and 87e DIA as army group reserves.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 20:18

So you're claiming that of the 36 French divisions deployed along the Maginot Line, well over half (21) were deployed along the Rhine? Can you cite an English language source, or give a page shot of your French source?

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 20:49

Ok, I've looked into it further and this is what I found.

According to Clayton Donnell, the French Fifth Army held the sector connecting the Saar to the Rhine. This army wasn't deployed along the Rhine facing east, but primarily across the land border with Germany facing north.

The French Eighth Army held the west bank of the Rhine from Strasbourg to Switzerland. This army had 5 divisions, and the Third Army Group to which it belonged had 2 divisions in reserve. In addition, there were two fortress divisions (104 and 105) holding the west bank of the Rhine south of Strasbourg. The other fortress divisions you list (SF Altkirch, Montbéliard, and Belfort) were deployed in the south facing Switzerland. 54 and 67 DI were B series divisions in reserve, and 67 DI was deployed to the south facing Switzerland, not the Rhine.

So, a crossing of the Rhine to the south of Strasbourg would have come up against 8 French divisions, 2 of which were fortress divisions, and 1 of which was in reserve.

As for German 88s being annihilated by French artillery fire as soon as they were brought into position, Clayton Donnell notes that both sides exchanged fire across the river in the months leading up to Fall Gelb, so it is not as though the Germans were incapable of deploying direct fire forces on the east bank of the Rhine. In this ATL the Germans would have substantially more artillery deployed along the Rhine than the French in order to suppress French artillery and allow the 88s to go to work on the casemates, and then to lay down a smoke screen to allow German assault rafts to cross the Rhine. Obviously there would have been casualties, but it's plausible that the Germans could break through by deploying overwhelming force at key crossing points in a surprise attack against a numerically inferior foe.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2825
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: German attack across the Rhine in May 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Nov 2019 21:59

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 20:18
So you're claiming that of the 36 French divisions deployed along the Maginot Line, well over half (21) were deployed along the Rhine? Can you cite an English language source, or give a page shot of your French source?
I am not claiming anything. I am stating facts. Why do I need to give an "English language source" or a "page shot"? Les Grandes Unités Françaises de la Guerre 1939-1945, Historiques Succincts is the basis for any good English-language history of the campaign from the French perspective.

The deployment "along the Maginot Line" was:

3e Armee and 4 Armee held the line from Longuyon to the juncture of the 5e Armee at SF Rohrbach with 18 DI, 1 DLC, and 4 SF (plus 51 Highland Division). 5e Armee was deployed with roughly half defending the Sarre and half the Rhine. It held the Rhine from Lauterbourg south to its juncture with 8e Armee. Its VIII CA at Meisenthal (24e and 31e DI and SF Rohrbach) was oriented north on the Sarre and its XII CA at Pfaffenhoffen (16e, 35e, 70e DI and SF Haguenau) were oriented northeast and east on the Rhine, its XVII CA at Molsheim (62e DI and 103e DIF) was oriented east to the Rhine, its XLIV CAF at Ingwiller (61e DI) held the entrance to the Vosges as a backstop position. Its 44e DI and GBC 501 and 517 were in army reserve.

So 19 divisions (and 1 British) along the Sarre, then 2 divisions of 5e Armee on the Sarre, 3 divisions in the Saar-Rhine bend, 1 division of 5e Armee on the Rhine, and then 5 divisions of 8e Armee along the Rhine (not counting DIF BTW). Plus 4 divisions in reserve.

In any case, you appear to have missed the point. The defenses just described were not the defenses faced by the Germans in Kleiner Bär. By that point, all the mobile formations of the 3e, 4e, 5e, and 8e Armee had withdrawn from the frontier defenses in an attempt to stop Fall Rot.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Return to “What if”