Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Cult Icon » 22 Feb 2020 01:15

Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 00:51
the infantry divisions needed to maintain the front and allow the panzers to assemble - neither of which was possible.
How was this impossible?

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Kingfish » 22 Feb 2020 01:47

Cult Icon wrote:
22 Feb 2020 01:15
Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 00:51
the infantry divisions needed to maintain the front and allow the panzers to assemble - neither of which was possible.
How was this impossible?
Because the majority of the infantry divisions defending Normandy were static and tied to the coast. They had no means of withdrawing back behind the line Caumont-Caen while at the same time maintaining a credible defense against the far more mobile allied divisions. So what you end up with is a repeat of the historical - the infantry divisions are either overrun or seriously mauled, and the arriving panzers forced into front line duty to plug holes.
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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Cult Icon » 22 Feb 2020 01:56

It doesn't seem to be a foregone conclusion at all to me. They were overrun however they had been greatly weakened by the previous fighting. In Russia what the Germans did was to send in armored battalions or other forces to screen gaps.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Kingfish » 22 Feb 2020 02:19

Cult Icon wrote:
22 Feb 2020 01:56
They were overrun however they had been greatly weakened by the previous fighting.
Yes, while trying to hold the defenses along the coast. Now imagine them trying to withdraw against those same forces.
In Russia what the Germans did was to send in armored battalions or other forces to screen gaps.
Which is irrelevant to the situation facing them in Normandy. There is a reason why 12th SS Pz, having arrived in Normandy on June 7th, would still be manning the front line a month later.
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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2020 22:05

Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 02:19
Cult Icon wrote:
22 Feb 2020 01:56
They were overrun however they had been greatly weakened by the previous fighting.
Yes, while trying to hold the defenses along the coast. Now imagine them trying to withdraw against those same forces.
In Russia what the Germans did was to send in armored battalions or other forces to screen gaps.
Which is irrelevant to the situation facing them in Normandy. There is a reason why 12th SS Pz, having arrived in Normandy on June 7th, would still be manning the front line a month later.
Fundamentally infantrydivisions needed to be pulled away from the pas de Calais but happened too late because one feared another landing there. So pz div ended up holding the front .

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2020 22:08

Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 00:51
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2020 18:36
Possibly the Uber panzer battle of 3_4 mechanized corps Geyer intended, planned, prepared, and rehearsed for. I can't say his vision was practical or possible, but the intent & preparation was there.
Practical or possible it certainly wasn't. For the Germans to organize a multi-Corps offensive in Normandy two things would have had to happen: The required forces needed to arrive quickly, and the infantry divisions needed to maintain the front and allow the panzers to assemble - neither of which was possible.
Only possible if one replaced the inf div that had had been at the coast which means pulling them away elsewhere.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Feb 2020 03:16

Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 02:19

Yes, while trying to hold the defenses along the coast. Now imagine them trying to withdraw against those same forces.
In Russia what the Germans did was to send in armored battalions or other forces to screen gaps.
Which is irrelevant to the situation facing them in Normandy. There is a reason why 12th SS Pz, having arrived in Normandy on June 7th, would still be manning the front line a month later.
Don't think your imagination is correct...German divisions can insert forces to screen fronts. This was routine in high intensity defensive actions in Russia. They did just this in Normandy by putting in KG Weidinger during EPSOM and routinely moving KGs of 2.SSDR around in the US sector. A counteroffensive would have to take place BEFORE the severe attrition of German frontline units via defense and costly counterattacks. July-something would be too late.

This claim of "allied mobility" being some sort of death knell seems to be a normandy trope, I've never seen concrete evidence of it being a must-been. The Soviets were much more aggressive in offensive combat.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Aida1 » 23 Feb 2020 10:34

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Feb 2020 03:16
Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 02:19

Yes, while trying to hold the defenses along the coast. Now imagine them trying to withdraw against those same forces.
In Russia what the Germans did was to send in armored battalions or other forces to screen gaps.
Which is irrelevant to the situation facing them in Normandy. There is a reason why 12th SS Pz, having arrived in Normandy on June 7th, would still be manning the front line a month later.
Don't think your imagination is correct...German divisions can insert forces to screen fronts. This was routine in high intensity defensive actions in Russia. They did just this in Normandy by putting in KG Weidinger during EPSOM and routinely moving KGs of 2.SSDR around in the US sector. A counteroffensive would have to take place BEFORE the severe attrition of German frontline units via defense and costly counterattacks. July-something would be too late.

This claim of "allied mobility" being some sort of death knell seems to be a normandy trope, I've never seen concrete evidence of it being a must-been. The Soviets were much more aggressive in offensive combat.
You are not seeing the problem which is that there needed to be more inf div inserted from the beginning as those at the coast were shattered quickly. Pz div were forced to be holding the front which made largescale counterattacks impossible. Same problem existed on the eastern front. Not enough inf divisions to hold the front.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Kingfish » 23 Feb 2020 10:35

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Feb 2020 03:16
Don't think your imagination is correct...German divisions can insert forces to screen fronts.
No kidding, except in the first days of the Normandy campaign those forces turned out to be the majority of Lehr, 12th SS and 21st Pz across a front stretching from Bayeux to Troan. The gap was too large and the forces opposing them were too powerful to simply screen sections of the front with the odd detachment.
A counteroffensive would have to take place BEFORE the severe attrition of German frontline units via defense and costly counterattacks. July-something would be too late.
Very good, now how do the Germans pull that off when half of the available panzer divisions in the west are fixed to defensive positions on the front line, and the relieving infantry divisions many weeks away?
This claim of "allied mobility" being some sort of death knell seems to be a normandy trope, I've never seen concrete evidence of it being a must-been. The Soviets were much more aggressive in offensive combat.
On July 28th the US forces broke thru the German defenses on the western side of the Normandy front. By August 1st they were across the bridge at Pontaubault. By August 7th elements had arrived opposite the ports of Lorient and Brest, while others had rolled into Le Mans.

Do you think all that could been achieved with marching infantry?
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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Feb 2020 16:05

Cult Icon wrote:
21 Feb 2020 19:02
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2020 18:36

Possibly the Uber panzer battle of 3_4 mechanized corps Geyer intended, planned, prepared, and rehearsed for. I can't say his vision was practical or possible, but the intent & preparation was there.
sources for this? The details that is
Assorted descriptions of Panzer Group West, Geyrs command, descriptions of the arguments over the deployment of the armored units in Rundsteadts commands. I don't have the Rommel Papers in front of me so cant confirm my memory of that. Ditto for a couple of the others. In front of me is Margaritas 'Countdown to D-Day'. In Chapter 'February 1944', the section for 17 February, a war-game run by PanzerGruppe West is described. Attending are Rommel & his cmd staff, plus the army & corps commanders of 7th & 15th Armies. The game is described as methodically assembling the panzer group over several days, then destroying the enemy line inland of the invasion site. Margaritas lists 60+ sources for his book, but this volume does not have items footnoted for specific sources. Since the text is thick with names and dates there are sign posts.


To digress

Post exercise Rommel is described as criticizing the lack of interference by enemy air power. He refers (not for the first time) to Allied aircraft attacking his HQ in Africa and losing members of his HQ staff to these attacks. More to the point he refers to the restrictions on the movement of Axis forces imposed by air attacks in Africa & Italy. As in other examples in Margaritas account the veterans of the eastern front are described as usually skeptical of Rommels view. Margaritas describes several incidents of this debate. As in other books it always seems to boil down to the East Front veterans vs the Mediterranean veterans in the expectation of effects of Brit/US airpower.

General Marcks, commander of 84th Corps was the 'enemy commander' in this exercise. He criticized the choice of enemy landing site. Apparently Geyrs script gave him no choice in that. Marcks argued for Normandy, specifically the Calvados coast. He described how the enemy could use Caen as a left flank anchor of pivot for isolating the Cotientin & eventually Brittany. Rommel spoke his disagreement & repeated his arguments for the coast north of Le Harve, to Calais as the landing site.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Feb 2020 16:13

Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 00:51
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2020 18:36
Possibly the Uber panzer battle of 3_4 mechanized corps Geyer intended, planned, prepared, and rehearsed for. I can't say his vision was practical or possible, but the intent & preparation was there.
Practical or possible it certainly wasn't. For the Germans to organize a multi-Corps offensive in Normandy two things would have had to happen: The required forces needed to arrive quickly, and the infantry divisions needed to maintain the front and allow the panzers to assemble - neither of which was possible.
I tend to give the Allied air power more credit than some others.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Aida1 » 23 Feb 2020 16:34

Kingfish wrote:
23 Feb 2020 10:35
Cult Icon wrote:
23 Feb 2020 03:16
Don't think your imagination is correct...German divisions can insert forces to screen fronts.
No kidding, except in the first days of the Normandy campaign those forces turned out to be the majority of Lehr, 12th SS and 21st Pz across a front stretching from Bayeux to Troan. The gap was too large and the forces opposing them were too powerful to simply screen sections of the front with the odd detachment.
A counteroffensive would have to take place BEFORE the severe attrition of German frontline units via defense and costly counterattacks. July-something would be too late.
Very good, now how do the Germans pull that off when half of the available panzer divisions in the west are fixed to defensive positions on the front line, and the relieving infantry divisions many weeks away?
This claim of "allied mobility" being some sort of death knell seems to be a normandy trope, I've never seen concrete evidence of it being a must-been. The Soviets were much more aggressive in offensive combat.
On July 28th the US forces broke thru the German defenses on the western side of the Normandy front. By August 1st they were across the bridge at Pontaubault. By August 7th elements had arrived opposite the ports of Lorient and Brest, while others had rolled into Le Mans.

Do you think all that could been achieved with marching infantry?
Exactly. From the beginning the panzerdivisions had to be inserted in the front because there were insufficient inf div to hold the front.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Aida1 » 23 Feb 2020 16:36

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Feb 2020 16:13
Kingfish wrote:
22 Feb 2020 00:51
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2020 18:36
Possibly the Uber panzer battle of 3_4 mechanized corps Geyer intended, planned, prepared, and rehearsed for. I can't say his vision was practical or possible, but the intent & preparation was there.
Practical or possible it certainly wasn't. For the Germans to organize a multi-Corps offensive in Normandy two things would have had to happen: The required forces needed to arrive quickly, and the infantry divisions needed to maintain the front and allow the panzers to assemble - neither of which was possible.
I tend to give the Allied air power more credit than some others.
It deserved a lot of credit as german movements were seriously inhibited directly and indirectly.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Feb 2020 16:45

Thats my view, tho I've followed many discussions of the argument the air interdiction was relatively ineffective. Among some its a popular idea.

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Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Aida1 » 23 Feb 2020 16:58

Reading german sources one is very aware of the material and psychological consequences of allied air superiority.

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