Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

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Michael Kenny
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2021 22:58

Orwell1984 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 22:09
Milner's book , Stopping the Panzers mentioned early in this thread is expanded from this article:
No Ambush, No Defeat
https://www.canadianmilitaryhistory.ca/ ... t-2012.pdf

which gives a good view of what really happened.
Interesting point made is that the Canadians had beefed up artillery and anti-tank capacity precisely because they were expected to be attacked by the bulk of German armour available for this purpose.
The area was photographed whilst the attack on Authie was in progress. Several Pz IVs can be seen skirting the north of the village
June 7th Authie bb.jpg


but other than the 3 Shermans hulks just east of Franqueville
Screenshot_62ee.jpg
no other wrecks are visible. I have been unable to spot a single knocked out Pz IV and there are very clear views of the area where 3 Pz IVs were admitted as losses. Its very odd.
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Apr 2021 23:26

Orwell1984 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 22:09
Milner's book , Stopping the Panzers mentioned early in this thread is expanded from this article:
No Ambush, No Defeat
https://www.canadianmilitaryhistory.ca/ ... t-2012.pdf

which gives a good view of what really happened.
Interesting point made is that the Canadians had beefed up artillery and anti-tank capacity precisely because they were expected to be attacked by the bulk of German armour available for this purpose.
I think both sides of the argument are based on performance under optimum conditions. Allied plans , especially the fireplan were based on the assumption of good weather. The German response also assumed that the Allies would wait for good weather. The Germans assumed that they would be able to work out quickly where the landings were taking place.

Eisenhower's decision to launch Op Overlord in poor weather meant that the fireplan was less effective than hoped, and the landings took longer. Many troops scheduled to land on D Day did not land until D+1 and congestion on the beaches meant the allies took longer to conduct their operations inland. The Germans were caught out by the weather and stood down the first team. They were also caught out by the parachute landings which were scattered across the Cotentin and Calvados regions and took place several hours before the seaborne landings started. In the absence of firm direction moje junior commanders committed reserves against the airborne threat.

The weak link in using naval gunfire was in the communications. The FOB with 9th Armoured Brigade could not communicate with the ship assigned to support the attack. On 7th June there was no artillery support for the 9th Birgade thrust ambushed by Meyer. Marc Milner's point is that this has obscured the greater success of stopping the 12 SS Division in the following days, This drew on a lot of well organised artillery support.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Apr 2021 00:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Apr 2021 15:28
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:15
And allied Intel knew nothing about the presence of 352nd Bang on the beach!
There is so much misinformation afloat on this issue that it now approaches the realm of mythos.
1. Somehow missing the point of this post. It is very informative no doubt.. but the context?
Really, I thought it is rather obvious. You were spreading the mythos that "allied intel knew nothing about the presence of 352nd Bang on the beach!" And that somehow that is a significant indicator of how an Allied landing could fail in the event the Germans were prescient as well as had the resources to mass three or more divisions along a 20 mile front, by noon on D-Day.
When the chips were down.. did the US 1st Army know that they will meet the 352nd on the beaches? Did they factor that in? Whether they were better off later with the best reserves decimated upfront, was not the context here.
When the chips were down it made not one iota of difference. Do you follow that context?
2. All the west to east and east to west talk too has confusing context here..since my posts have been about three Pz Divs concentrated against the British-Canadian beaches on the 6th afternoon. And no, it wasnt a "confined space" for those Three Pz Divs. And there is no point trying to write it all off with talk on how well the allies were prepared to meet the panzers. The makeshift, grossly understrength 21st Pz's performance is NOT representative of what the allies would have faced, had the HJ and Lehr ganged up with 21st and gone hell for leather, on the afternoon of the 6th, in unison. The Canadians in particular, would have had a hell of a fright. 2nd Army with much more experience in handling German armour, would have fared better. But still..
Since you brought up the yada yada 352nd on the beaches and OMAHA, I would think the context was obvious?

Cue the nifty black uniforms and silver lace big cats routine...in 1, 2, 3... :roll:

The Allies believed 21. Panzer would follow the standard German organization with one battalion of Panzer IV and one of Panthers. They knew where it was located and inferred it was the primary counterattack force. They also knew the locations of the other Panzer divisions, although they were unaware in many cases of their exact strength since the pro forma was not broken until July. They also calculated the time of arrival, with pretty good accuracy, and planned accordingly. They were unable to do the same with the infantry formations, so depended a lot on trying to identify the locations and armament of the fixed positions.
"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

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 18 Apr 2021 06:15

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 18 Apr 2021 06:21

Michael Kenny wrote:
17 Apr 2021 20:33
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 20:23


I don't know what's the point of saying all this since I have repeatedly posted on this thread that anything after sundown on the 6th was / would be .. too late.

I will repeat one more time. The show on 7th was a sorry affair, with the 21st already battered on the 6th in its solo, piecemeal efforts agnst prohibitive odds.. and the HJ arriving in bits and pieces.

My bet is limited to a concerted, three div, full blooded attack on the afternoon of the 6th, against disbalanced allies.

And I will continue to reference actual events that show what did happen when these panzer Divisions met the enemy. Your belief on what 'might happen' is always going to founder on my showing what 'actually happened'. I believe the bookies call that form-though I am projecting back in time.






So you insist on referencing "actual events" which happened 24 hrs later and with a different force level to strike down a proposition predicated on what the allied situation was 24 hrs earlier and with a much higher German force level.

Right. So then please allow me to reference "actual events" which took place 2 months later, circa 8th August, in Operation Totalise, to show just how incompetent the Canadian doctrine, planning and execution was ACTUALLY, down to the level of basic command and control AND discipline!

With such a force facing them, with such leadership, doctrines, level of experience and battle ethos and in much lesser numbers, a German GegenAngriff with Three Pz Divs in full strength, had a good chance on the "afternoon of the 6th".

Cheers
Sandeep

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 18 Apr 2021 06:25

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
18 Apr 2021 06:15
Three Pz Divs in full strength, had a good chance on the "afternoon of the 6th".

They did not do too well during EPSOM. In fact forewarned by ULTRA that a German counter-attack was looming Monty pulled in his horns and waited for the blow. It was so easily dealt with they were still waiting for the 'main attack' after it had been called off.
In all 1st SS, 2nd SS, 9th SS, 10th SS, 12th SS, 17th SS, 2nd Pz, 21st Pz, Lehr, sSS Pz Abt 101, sSS Pz Abt 102 & sPz Abt 503 had their chances and made no headway

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Juan G. C. » 18 Apr 2021 06:58

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Apr 2021 20:24
Paris would probably be too far to travel and organize a afternoon, or evening attack. Straight line its 160+ km from central Paris to Caen. Even without air attacks & downed bridges its more than a morning drive. There were five armored divisions within 200km of Caen, the 2d Pz being the furthest at about 190km straight line. The other four ranging from 120km to under 20.
maltesefalcon wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:04
Moving a formation (or formations) of that magnitude from Paris to the coast in half a day's time is simply not realistic. To put this in perspective, IRL it took 2 days for 2nd SS Das Reich just to go from Montauban to Oradour sur Glane, which is roughly the same distance.

Plus the columns would be an absolute magnet for air attack moving in broad daylight.
Then when could Rundstedt's hypothetical cantoral reserve around Paris have counterattacked, provided he had been allowed to move it when he wanted IRL, after being informed of the airborne landings?

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Apr 2021 07:34

Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Apr 2021 19:54
Had the Germans been able to have in Normandy four Panzer divisions by the afternoon of D-Day, could they have defeated the landings with them?
Did the Germans have four armored divisions that COULD have been deployed to Normandy on the afternoon of June 6?

If so, which ones? Where were they historically? Why do they leave those positions and go to Normandy? Why not Picardy?

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Apr 2021 07:45

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 03:49
My contention is that on the afternoon of 6th, the allies on the ground were disorganized, disoriented and command & control was fragile. If a concerted, massed Panzer attack went in against the British and Canadian beaches, the chances were good for a positive outcome.

The much delayed attack of a single formation, 21 Pz, the weakest amongst them all, caused enough consternation. The 21st was harried and harassed through confused, conflicting orders since last night and had units spilt off to fight paras inland. But still the effect they had, can safely lead us to believe that if the HJ and Lehr too were thrown in that time, the Germans would have reached the sands in strength.

With the rear areas compromised, the commonwealth troops inland maynot have been able to fight.
If 21.Pz had the combat power of two-three divisions including reserves moving up behind their spearheads then their orders would have been different. It would be vital that they not retreat from the coastline to service the threat of airborne landings.

I have read the Milner book commented upon here which covers the naval and artillery fire supporting 3rd division. My comments are aimed at over-insuring the defeat of the beachhead (the well worn capability of halting armored attacks with artillery fire or massed air attack- in the Western front this was done in heated actions of 44 with 10,000 rounds of TOT field artillery a day from corps and divisional artillery- this was also done in the previous landings) by dramatically increasing the tempo and scale of assault into a continuous night and day cycle, eg. in sum, 20 times and more to offset the historical small scale- regimental- and infrequent German attacks. The German forces should be prepared to have tactical failures for once and the Allies should be constantly under attack. So in a way I am not agreeing with the OP that 4 Pz divisions was the appropriate organization. It was too many Pz divisions and not enough reserves.

A classic, mobile German tank attack could be made but then when hard resistance is met a security line should be maintained with a continuous "funnel" of reserves flowing into the battlefield. The structure of the regular Pz division, was designed more for maneuverability and a wide range of functions rather than something like defeating D-day or taking Stalingrad.

Of the divisions available for I SS Pz Corps were the Pz Lehr- which was the division most designed to defeat the landings. Besides the armored recon battalion they had 4 SPW mounted battalions. 2.Pz had 2 SPW battalions. The 12th SS and 21.Pz were regular in this capability. All were weak in infantry relative to what they encountered. So in this "4 Pz division OP" I suppose that the ones available would be these. A meatgrinder approach by the German high command would have helped. This is more along the lines of what the Soviets and the Germans did in the battle for Stalingrad.
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 18 Apr 2021 07:53

Michael Kenny wrote:
18 Apr 2021 06:25
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
18 Apr 2021 06:15
Three Pz Divs in full strength, had a good chance on the "afternoon of the 6th".

They did not do too well during EPSOM. In fact forewarned by ULTRA that a German counter-attack was looming Monty pulled in his horns and waited for the blow. It was so easily dealt with they were still waiting for the 'main attack' after it had been called off.
In all 1st SS, 2nd SS, 9th SS, 10th SS, 12th SS, 17th SS, 2nd Pz, 21st Pz, Lehr, sSS Pz Abt 101, sSS Pz Abt 102 & sPz Abt 503 had their chances and made no headway
Actually since Epsom was a British offensive not German, its not comparable to the cotext here. Btw as I remember it, the 2nd Army abandoned Epsom in apprehension that "the main attack", as you call it, was coming. And in the process Frundsberg stormed the tactically vital, Hill 112 and the Scots gave up the Gavrus bridges across the Odon!

Again the context is totally different here. We were speculating on the likely performance of the green Canadians, on 6th afternoon, if faced with a full blooded, three panzer divisions attack. And in my quoted post I had referenced the actual Canadian performance later, with much superior balance of forces, on 8-9 August, in Operation Totalize.

Cheers
Sandeep

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Aber » 18 Apr 2021 08:28

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
18 Apr 2021 07:53
Again the context is totally different here. We were speculating on the likely performance of the green Canadians, on 6th afternoon, if faced with a full blooded, three panzer divisions attack.
For context:
  • There is very little evidence of effective German armoured attacks against British forces after the end of June 1942
    The 3 German panzer divisions do not have combat experience as a unit, or of working together
    The Canadian division was overstrength with an armoured brigade, and extra artillery (especially anti-tank) attached (see Milner's article quoted above)
    They trained and expected a heavy German armoured counterattack
    The Canadian actual performance on 6th and 7th June was pretty good (again see Milner's article)
And the key question - where are those 2 extra German panzer divisions based, when do they get told to move and where to, given the confusion in the German command as to what was actually happening at the beaches?

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 18 Apr 2021 08:28

Cult Icon wrote:
18 Apr 2021 07:45
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 03:49
My contention is that on the afternoon of 6th, the allies on the ground were disorganized, disoriented and command & control was fragile. If a concerted, massed Panzer attack went in against the British and Canadian beaches, the chances were good for a positive outcome.

The much delayed attack of a single formation, 21 Pz, the weakest amongst them all, caused enough consternation. The 21st was harried and harassed through confused, conflicting orders since last night and had units spilt off to fight paras inland. But still the effect they had, can safely lead us to believe that if the HJ and Lehr too were thrown in that time, the Germans would have reached the sands in strength.

With the rear areas compromised, the commonwealth troops inland maynot have been able to fight.
If 21.Pz had the combat power of two-three divisions including reserves moving up behind their spearheads then their orders would have been different. It would be vital that they not retreat from the coastline to service the threat of airborne landings.

I have read the Milner book commented upon here which covers the naval and artillery fire supporting 3rd division. My comments are aimed at over-insuring the defeat of the beachhead (the well worn capability of halting armored attacks with artillery fire or massed air attack- in the Western front this was done in heated actions of 44 with 10,000 rounds of TOT field artillery a day from corps and divisional artillery- this was also done in the previous landings) by dramatically increasing the tempo and scale of assault into a continuous night and day cycle, eg. in sum, 20 times and more to offset the historical small scale- regimental- and infrequent German attacks. The German forces should be prepared to have tactical failures for once and the Allies should be constantly under attack. So in a way I am not agreeing with the OP that 4 Pz divisions was the appropriate organization. It was too many Pz divisions and not enough reserves.

A classic, mobile German tank attack could be made but then when hard resistance is met a security line should be maintained with a continuous "funnel" of reserves flowing into the battlefield. The structure of the regular Pz division, was designed more for maneuverability and a wide range of functions rather than something like defeating D-day or taking Stalingrad.

Of the divisions most closely available for I SS Pz Corps were the Pz Lehr- which was the division most designed to defeat the landings. Besides the armored recon battalion they had 4 SPW mounted battalions. 2.Pz had 2 SPW battalions. The 12th SS and 21.Pz were regular in this capability. All were weak in infantry relative to what they encountered. A meatgrinder approach by the German high command would have helped. This is more along the lines of what the Soviets and the Germans did in the battle for Stalingrad.
1) I dont see 4 Panzer Divs available in Normandy, on 6 June, in the first place, under conceivable circumstances, without totally changing the historical background. 3 Divs .. yes.

2) The frontage was sufficient for the forces. I am NOT saying that they go in with something like that crazy 1000 yds forntage allotted to a Pz Div, as was done by Lt Gen Simonds during Totalize (with 4 CAD and 1 PAD)..But the 20 odd miles available here, was par for the course, for a Panzer Korps with one of its Pz Divs following in reserve.

3) Canadians, at this stage, were not good with coordinating arty support for mobile battle groups or calling in the air "cab ranks" either. For instance Lt Col R.S. Lucas, FOO, 23rd Regt (SP) supporting 4 CAB during Totalize says : "...during these actions we never received one request for fire support and we began to think we were just along for the ride." And remember what happened on the morning of the 8th after the 2 CABs had broken through in overwhelming strength and waited for 7 hrs for the US B17 bombers (8th AF), who came and promptly bombed the Candians as a thank you!
canadian.armor.totalize.JPG
4) IF the Germans had 3 full strength Pz Divs in eastern Cotentin, in the afternoon of the 6th.. Even money has them reaching the sands by evening and veer 90 degrees into the rear and staging areas of the Commonwealth forces.

Cheers
Sandeep
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Avalancheon » 18 Apr 2021 09:17

The responses to this thread are sadly predictable. Right on the first page, everyone quickly lines up to chant the tired old mantra: ''nAvaL gUNfiRe wiLl sAVe tHe dAY!'' Even though they offer absolutely no qualifications for this. They don't tabulate the firepower of the Allied battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, or measure it against the German formations that will be counter-attacking.

For those of you asserting that naval gunfire is a silver bullet panacea to panzer divisions rushing the beachs, how far does this go? You think that the Allies could stop four panzer divisions. How about six, or eight, or ten? Where is the breaking point? Do you think naval gunfire support could fight off an effectively infinite number of mechanized forces? Qualify your claims, put them in words so that they can be scrutinized. Don't just say 'LOLNOPE, the Germans can never beat the Allies at Normandy, regardless of circumstance.' Thats lazy and unproductive.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Avalancheon » 18 Apr 2021 09:22

Kingfish wrote:
15 Apr 2021 10:08
Juan G. C. wrote:
15 Apr 2021 07:47
What if instead of four there have been five, six or seven by the afternoon of D-Day?
Are you simply looking for that magical 'tipping point' where the Germans are able to throw the allies back into the sea?
How dare he try to pin you down to a concrete number and make you elaborate on your vacuous claim?

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 18 Apr 2021 10:28

Aber wrote:
18 Apr 2021 08:28
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
18 Apr 2021 07:53
Again the context is totally different here. We were speculating on the likely performance of the green Canadians, on 6th afternoon, if faced with a full blooded, three panzer divisions attack.
For context:
  • There is very little evidence of effective German armoured attacks against British forces after the end of June 1942
    The 3 German panzer divisions do not have combat experience as a unit, or of working together
    The Canadian division was overstrength with an armoured brigade, and extra artillery (especially anti-tank) attached (see Milner's article quoted above)
    They trained and expected a heavy German armoured counterattack
    The Canadian actual performance on 6th and 7th June was pretty good (again see Milner's article)
And the key question - where are those 2 extra German panzer divisions based, when do they get told to move and where to, given the confusion in the German command as to what was actually happening at the beaches?

I don't know if you have been reading the thread sir...

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