Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Feb 2020 18:08

Sheldrake wrote:
24 Feb 2020 10:09
...

Hind sight is a wonderful thing.

- D Day could have gone horribly wrong.
- The V Weapons could have been sufficiently effective to drive the British out of the war.
- The allies could have lost patience with Montgomery's Normandy strategy and diverted forces for a dumb operation against Brest.
- The Germans could have seen through Op Fortitude and deployed a lot more infantry to Normandy by D+6.
Any sources for a proposal for that, or any other operations against other points on the coast, or airborne ops for that matter? The only one I've run across is a remark that Motny took a look at a July landing on the west Contention coast.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Feb 2020 22:08

Sheldrake wrote:
24 Feb 2020 10:09
Hind sight is a wonderful thing.
Ain't it just?
- D Day could have gone horribly wrong.
OMAHA is about as horrible as it could have gotten with the German troop densities.
- The V Weapons could have been sufficiently effective to drive the British out of the war.
Yeah, all they needed was a nuke warhead.
- The allies could have lost patience with Montgomery's Normandy strategy and diverted forces for a dumb operation against Brest.
They did and they did, without much effect.
- The Germans could have seen through Op Fortitude and deployed a lot more infantry to Normandy by D+6.
That is probably the greatest threat, but eventually they did deploy most of their mobile infantry to Normandy...it just took longer than it probably would have if FORTITUDE and the Transportation Plan were not effective.
"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

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2435
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Feb 2020 23:57

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
24 Feb 2020 18:08
Sheldrake wrote:
24 Feb 2020 10:09
...

Hind sight is a wonderful thing.

- D Day could have gone horribly wrong.
- The V Weapons could have been sufficiently effective to drive the British out of the war.
- The allies could have lost patience with Montgomery's Normandy strategy and diverted forces for a dumb operation against Brest.
- The Germans could have seen through Op Fortitude and deployed a lot more infantry to Normandy by D+6.
Any sources for a proposal for that, or any other operations against other points on the coast, or airborne ops for that matter? The only one I've run across is a remark that Motny took a look at a July landing on the west Contention coast.
I noticed the papers for a study for an operation to seize the Brest area using airborne forces. It wasn't what I was looking for so I didn't make a copy. It is either in the wardiaries of the British element of SHAEF or 21 Army group

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Feb 2020 02:57

A quick look at the defense suggests why that would be a high risk operation. Maybe with a corps size beachhead adjacent & healthy dose of Commandos & Rangers...

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Feb 2020 06:31

Sheldrake wrote:
24 Feb 2020 23:57
I noticed the papers for a study for an operation to seize the Brest area using airborne forces. It wasn't what I was looking for so I didn't make a copy. It is either in the wardiaries of the British element of SHAEF or 21 Army group
Marshall kept trying to egg on Eisenhower into doing a deep penetration airborne assault...complete with ferrying in infantry divisions into an air head. He kept it up into 1945.
"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

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2435
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Feb 2020 09:26

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Feb 2020 22:08
- D Day could have gone horribly wrong.
OMAHA is about as horrible as it could have gotten with the German troop densities.
Omaha Beach was a successful if bloody victory. C 3,500 casualties out of 34,000 landed in the day onto is a success even by attrition standards. Defeats look more look the Rapido River action Jan 1944, several places on the Eastern Front or the 1916 Somme or 1918 Meuse Argonne battlefields. Omaha Beach could have been a lot worse if:-

1. The Germans had more artillery ammunition. Historically they ran out around noon.
2. The Germans Corps reserve of a reinforced infantry Regiment had not been lured away by dummy paratroops and a few SAS men and lost in a doomed counter attack against Gold Beach.
3. A Panzer division had been deployed south of it.
Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Feb 2020 22:08
- The V Weapons could have been sufficiently effective to drive the British out of the war.
Yeah, all they needed was a nuke warhead.
Or chose to use the Sarin nerve agent they had invented.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2435
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Feb 2020 09:29

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Feb 2020 06:31
Sheldrake wrote:
24 Feb 2020 23:57
I noticed the papers for a study for an operation to seize the Brest area using airborne forces. It wasn't what I was looking for so I didn't make a copy. It is either in the wardiaries of the British element of SHAEF or 21 Army group
Marshall kept trying to egg on Eisenhower into doing a deep penetration airborne assault...complete with ferrying in infantry divisions into an air head. He kept it up into 1945.
The nearest thing was Operation Market Garden.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Feb 2020 16:58

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Feb 2020 09:26
Omaha Beach was a successful if bloody victory. C 3,500 casualties out of 34,000 landed in the day onto is a success even by attrition standards. Defeats look more look the Rapido River action Jan 1944, several places on the Eastern Front or the 1916 Somme or 1918 Meuse Argonne battlefields. Omaha Beach could have been a lot worse if:-
Oh, I agree.
1. The Germans had more artillery ammunition. Historically they ran out around noon.
That would have unlikely have changed anything, since by noon the beachhead was secured and troops were well inland. More casualties might have ensued, but they likely would have been firing blind shortly since most of their BOPs were out of commission.
2. The Germans Corps reserve of a reinforced infantry Regiment had not been lured away by dummy paratroops and a few SAS men and lost in a doomed counter attack against Gold Beach.
Again, they got to GOLD too late, so they likely would have gotten to OMAHA too late. A single two-battalion reserve was inadequate for such a front.
3. A Panzer division had been deployed south of it.
Unlikely, the limited north-south communications across the Aure and Esque valley meant any such deployment would have a hard time getting to OMAHA unless it was posted in the vicinity of St Lo and even there it would have to go through the Isigny bottleneck. Otherwise Bayeux, but then the Germans simply didn't have the divisions to do so and did not want to deploy them that far forward and reduce their ability to shift laterally.
Or chose to use the Sarin nerve agent they had invented.
Again, unlikely for the very reasons they chose not to use Sarin or any other chemical agent. They could not know that the Allies had not also invented nerve agents and they had to anticipate that the Allies had plenty of conventional war gasses (as they did) and were better able to deploy them.
"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

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Feb 2020 17:02

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Feb 2020 09:29
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Feb 2020 06:31
Sheldrake wrote:
24 Feb 2020 23:57
I noticed the papers for a study for an operation to seize the Brest area using airborne forces. It wasn't what I was looking for so I didn't make a copy. It is either in the wardiaries of the British element of SHAEF or 21 Army group
Marshall kept trying to egg on Eisenhower into doing a deep penetration airborne assault...complete with ferrying in infantry divisions into an air head. He kept it up into 1945.
The nearest thing was Operation Market Garden.
And look how well that turned out. I would have to dig, but IIRC one of Marshall's pet ideas was to deploy all available Allied airborne divisions to seize Paris in a coup de main and then re-inforce them by airlifting in conventional divisions as per Allied airborne doctrine of the time. It oddly matched one of Geyr's pet obsessions and of course was crazy as a dog in a hubcap factory. :lol:
"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

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Tactical innovation PRIOR to the Bocage

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Feb 2020 19:25

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Feb 2020 17:02
... And look how well that turned out. I would have to dig, but IIRC one of Marshall's pet ideas was to deploy all available Allied airborne divisions to seize Paris in a coup de main and then re-inforce them by airlifting in conventional divisions as per Allied airborne doctrine of the time. It oddly matched one of Geyr's pet obsessions and of course was crazy as a dog in a hubcap factory. :lol:
I wonder if I check Holt I'll find a section in the FORTITUDE deception op aimed at leading the Germans to think about such a threat.

FYI it does not work on the game board either. What can work is stalking a under defended port & picking it off with a combination of airborne and commandos, reinforced with some well trained veteran infantry. That may not have been a option for Ike, but if it is for a game player he should jump on it.

Return to “What if”