Sheldrake wrote: ↑
04 Nov 2021 19:58
I am applying Occams razor.
Always the best policy.
Staudinger was ARKO of one of the Army Corps controlling the Panzer reserves. His testimony states that he and his staff were forbidden from making any recces on security grounds. He also states that the blame for the lack of artillery preparation was the conflict within the German high command over the assignment of reserves. We know that Rommel Armmy Group B had strong views on deploying reserves forward and OB West similarly strong views on retaining a central reserves. In that context it is easy to understand subordinate commanders avoiding any appearance of taking sides.
I understand that, but I think we are diverging between individual's capabilities and unit capabilities.
Staudinger was the Stabsoffizier der Artillerie of I. SS-Panzerkorps. As such, he had a "staff" of two NCO and two enlisted. Unlike an American Corps Headquarters, the German Korps did not have a full Headquarters and Headquarters Battery for planning, plotting, and coordinating artillery fire. Yet again, functional capability required the assignment of an ArKo and and Artillery-Regiments-Stab z.b.V. If neither was available, they piggybacked off the divisional artillery regiment Stab.
I don't understand why it is necessary to hypothecate implausible explanations based on manpower shortages in order to dismiss this first hand testimony.
I'm not hypothesizing anything. That is simply the way the German artillery was organized for combat. I'm sure Staudinger and his four NCO and enlisted could format brilliant artillery plans, but the grunt work required additional bodies.
The Corps could simply have called for a couple of officers to be seconded from any of its formations for a few weeks. It could be positioned as a a good opportunity ambiitous regimental officers to shine in front of the corps commander and his ARKO. That is what we did when we needed additional resource in my HQRA. Marcks and Dollman, both Gunners could have asked for a survey team from Suippes at any point in the first half of 1944. What could possibly have been more important?
Sure, except that overall the German Heer did not have a surfeit of officers, they functioned officer-light. Seconding officers from the few Heeresartillerie units present would take away from the capability of those units. Nor could Suippes provided that, since it was an artillery training school trying to produce the officers, NCO, and EM required for the artillery to remain functional. Its "survey team" was busy trying to train other officers, NCO, and EM in survey...until it was called up to the front as emergency invasion-repelling troops.
Fundamentally, the Heer was a mass of non-specialized infantry with a small core of technically proficient specialists...like all the mass armies of the period. However, one place they seem to seriously failed to specialize enough in was in producing units capable of the command and control of large numbers of artillery units in a mobile battle...the general officers? Sure. But the grunts? Not enough.
That is not to say that indolence was not also a part of it. The failure of the Heer to have every square kilometer of France surveyed is inexplicable. Part of it may have been the simple inability of some circles to accept that the Western Allies were capable of and had the balls to launch an invasion directed at the Atlantic Wall. Guderian, for example, may not have believed that the threat was real. There is also the factor that some of the smarter in the ranks of the Heer - and the SS - probably realized the war was lost. That may have contributed to the actions - or perhaps inactions is a better word - of Feuchtinger and probably others.