D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

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ljadw
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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 19 Jul 2021 13:38

Sheldrake wrote:
19 Jul 2021 10:14
Returning to the topic itself.

The question of whether Hitler was woken over the night of 5-6 June is important.

In case anyone has forgotten, Hitler was unhappy with the proposals made by Rundstedt and his staff for a defence inland. He appointed Erwin Rommel to command a new Army group to command the troops on the likely invasion front, removing Rundstedt from direct command. Rommel's shared Hitler's views about the importance of defeating the allies on the coast. All weapons pointing at landing beaches. All reserves close at hand for rapid counter attacks - except where they could only be released by OBWest or OKW

Everything in Rommel's concept depended on prompt effective actions on D Day - hence the name of the book and film - "The Longest Day."

So it really mattered that the Germans identified when and where D Day was happening. Everyone needed to be awake and at their posts

It was a risky strategy selected by Hitler which failed when tested. Lots of predictable problems had not been thought through.

1. There is no evidence of test exercises to check response times or identify problems in reporting "D Day" During the cold war NATO responses depended on political leaders being made rapidly aware of Warsaw Pact aggression. This was tested in annual communication exercises. Nothing seems to have been done to test what might happen on the eve of D Day.

2. There was no contingency Army Group B plan for what would happen if there was a D+1. ARKO 1st SS Panzer Corps artillery said that there was no prior survey of possible artillery positions or provision of 1:25,000 scale maps.

3. The assumption that the allies would not attack in poor weather allowed Rommel to absent himself from his HQ at the critical moment to visit his family.

Like much of the Third Reich the Atlantic Wall was bluff and wishful thinking. It should be no surprise that the plans to respond to a cross channel assault were also bluff. Whether it was Hitler or his staff who decided not to intervene promptly is irrelevant.
If Rommel shared Hitler's views,why were the reserves not close at hand ?
PzL was more than 150 km away
The first units of 12 SS arrived at Evrecy at 22.00H 6 June,and Evrecy is 15 km away from Caen,which is 15 km away from the Channel .15th Army had asked at 1.45 H the commitment of 12 SS,but this was refused ..by Speidel.
About your first point : you can't compare what happened 76 years ago to the means of communication of NATO during the Cold War .There was no AWACS in 1944 .
About point 3 : Rommel's absence was irrelevant : Overlord would not have failed if Rommel was not absent .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 19 Jul 2021 16:17

About point 2 : no contingency plan : the reason for this was that if Overlord did not fail on D 1, it could not fail on D 2 . And it was over for Germany .
The timely intervention of the PzD,presented since 77 years as something that could/would save Germany, but wasted by ...We all know who: the ideal scapegoat from the Berghof,is something totally irrelevant .
Why ? Because German win on 6 June did depend on the static divisions .The PzD would arrive too late and exhausted,even if they were closer to the coast and they would be matched ( and were matched )( by the allied ''infantry '' divisions ..And the static divisions were too weak .
The only possibility was the proposal from Rommel to disband the PzD de facto ,to divide them in separate battalions and to distribute these battalions among the static divisions in Normandy . But there were not enough PzD for the coastline . And these battalions could not help each other ,which means that if the Allies were breaking through the front line of division A, there was nothing to stop them .
The Germans had a few mobile divisions who had manpower, firepower and mobility and the rest were divisions with few manpower,firepower and mobility .These divisions would be in the front line and would succumb without the intervention of the mobile divisions .But because the static divisions were that weak, the mobile divisions had to take over their defensive role and the Germans were forced in a defensive role and very soon,the allied divisions which had more firepower,manpower and mobility,would break through .
The problem was insoluble ,and waking up Hitler at night would not help .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by MarkF617 » 19 Jul 2021 19:20

Ljadw said:

[If Rommel shared Hitler's views,why were the reserves not close at hand ?]

I believe it has been pointed out in a previous discussion that the 2 PzD were about as close as you can get. Remember they don't know it was Normandy whwere the landings would take place. PzL had to be placed where there is a good road network leading to multiple points on the coast. The road netwotk parallel to the coast was inadequate so they couldn't move laterally, they also couldn't use the same roads as 12 SSPz or they would end up with a massive trafic jam and absolute chaos. Most arguments seem to revolve around placing units to attack Normandy beaches as if they knew they were the target (Rommel thought it would be in the bay of the Seine).

As to the point of the topic, since Jodl could have released the Panzers without Hitlers consent it doesn't matter if he was awake. It also seems that the information Jodl had was so confused he was right to await better info (I believe Rundstedt was sending 12 SSPz in the wrong direction when Jodl told him to stop).

Thanks

Mark.
You know you're British when you drive your German car to an Irish pub for a pint of Belgian beer before having an Indian meal. When you get home you sit on your Sweedish sofa and watch American programs on your Japanese TV.

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 20 Jul 2021 13:11

I agree with your points, but I still stick to my point that too much importance is still given to the PzD .
If they had an offensive role ( = to push back the Allies in sea ) ,they should be used very fast (which was impossible ) and concentrated (which was also impossible as tanks need space to deploy and space was not available .) Besides,the static divisions needed their help .
If they had a defensive role (= to help the static ID as mobile artillery ) , they had to be divided in small parts and distributed along the front .The problem was that there were not enough tanks to hold the front line :the crow distance Caen-Cherbourg was 122 km .
Germany could only win in Normandy,if it was able to start in the first days an offensive to drive the Allies back in sea .But such an offensive was impossible as the forces to be used in the offensive were tied by defensive missions = to hold the front .
With some exaggeration one could compare the bodenständige divisions to the divisions of Saddam who had to stop the US divisions in the Gulf Wars .There was a difference of light- years between both in 1944 and 1992 .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Jul 2021 13:58

Hi ljadw,

You post, "If they had an offensive role ( = to push back the Allies in sea ), they should be used very fast". Yup, I wouldn't argue with that.

But how do you square this with, ".....if it started early on 6 June this does not mean that the division would be sooner in position"?

You would appear to want them to hurry, but not too fast!

Cheers,

A confused Sid.

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 21 Jul 2021 09:23

I have already said that ,if they were going to Normandy early in the morning of 6 June, this does not mean that they would arrive and be ready earlier than if they were going to Normandy early in the evening of 6 June .
Leaving at 6.00 H does not mean that you will arrive 12 hours earlier than if you left at 18.00 H.
Besides, whatever would be the moment( here : the day ) that they would be in Normandy,what was the chance that they could have an offensive role against the chance that it would be a defensive role ?
The PzGr Regiment of 21 Pz D was at 30 km from Caen .It took a long time for it to go to Caen ,and when it arrived, it was condemned to a defensive role .
The moment the PzD would arrive ( with total strength ) was not very important, as they would be condemned to a defensive role .They would always arrive too late for an offensive .
And several of them were incomplete : the second tank battalion of PzL was going to the East (paying Peter by robbing Paul ) and the anti-tank battalion of 12 SS was not combat ready .
Everything was depending on the fortifications and the static divisions .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Jul 2021 09:35

ljadw wrote:
21 Jul 2021 09:23
The PzGr Regiment of 21 Pz D was at 30 km from Caen .It took a long time for it to go to Caen ,and when it arrived, it was condemned to a defensive role .
The moment the PzD would arrive ( with total strength ) was not very important, as they would be condemned to a defensive role .They would always arrive too late for an offensive .
This is not true.

1. A strong detachment of 21st Panzer Division of two PGr battlaions, the divisional anti tank battlaion and an artillery battalion were deployed north of Caen ether side of the Orne river. Some of their companies were engaged as early as 01.00 as British airborne troops landed on them.

2. The remainder of the 21st Panzer Division 30 km south was on the move and directed towards the airborne bridgehead east of the Orne on AM 6th June. It was then redirected west of the Orne. After turning around the division in the suburbs of Caen, the 21st Panzer Division carried out an attack on the British advancing south to Caen, where it was beaten back by British armour and anti tank guns at Periers Ridge, although one battlegroup reached the coast between Sword and Juno beaches.

3. Recce elements of 12 SS Panzer Division reached Gold Beach even though their dividion had returned to its positions around Liseux after the abortive move against reports of paratroops in the 15 Army area. 12 SS Could have been deployed in force on D Day in the Bayeux sector - possibly allowing the LXXXXIV Corps reserve to counter attack against Omaha Beach.

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 21 Jul 2021 13:48

The truth is that the elements of 21 Pz who were committed on June 6,did not better than the elements of 12 SS and PzL who were committed later .
The following is from the Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift 1985 :
Militärgeschichtliche Nachlese zur Invasion in der Normandie (1944 ):Gedanken zur operativen Führung des deutschen Abwehrkampfes.
'' Das Verhältnis der Kräfte verschob sich damit auch an Land rasch zugunste der Allierten,zo dass die Küstendivisionen zerschlagen wurden,befor sich die deutschen Verstärkungen und Gegenasngriffe in entscheidendem Masse auswirken konnten ''
Even on land the balance of power was changing fast to the benefit of the Allies,with as result that the static divisions were defeated,before the German reinforcements and counter-attacks could have decisive results .
And :'
''Durch die fortschreidende Vernichtung der Küstendivisionen drohte das statische Element wegzufallen,und dessen Funktion musste unverzüglich durch die tropfenweise im Kampraum eintreffenden Reserven-vor allem Panzer-Divisionen-übernommen werden.
Damit wurden diesen eine inadäquate,weil infanteristische Kampfform aufgezwungen,welche die Lebensdauer der Panzerverbände zusätzlich stark herabstzte .Alle Versuche,die Panzerverbände durch Infanterie-Divisionen zu ersetzen und die wertvollen Panzer-Divisionen wieder einer operativen Verwendung zuzuführen,schlugen fehl .''
Translation :
There was a danger that the static element would disappear because of the destruction of the coast divisions and their function had to be taken over by the reserves (especially the PzD ) who were coming to the fighting era drop by drop.These were imposed an inadequate infantry way of fighting which decreased their lifespan .All attempts failed to replace the PzD by ID and to give the PzD again an operative function .''
To summarize : the PZD had to take over the mission of the ID ,something for which they were not equipped,nor trained and they were not available for their own mission,which was to drive the Allies back in the water .
Nothing would change if they arrived sooner at the front,because the faster they arrived,the weaker they were .
And,when they were there in full strength, it was too late as the Allies were too strong .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Jul 2021 16:12

Hi ljadw,

You post, "Leaving at 6.00 H does not mean that you will arrive 12 hours earlier than if you left at 18.00 H." Certainly it doesn't necessarily mean that, but the default position is that, all other things being equal, it would arrive earlier than it actually did by leaving at 1800.

Can you offer a good reason why PanzerLehr would still be in the same place at 1800 if it was ordered to move at 0600 on 6 June? We have already seen that Allied air power was not incapacitating on 7 June, so why would it be on 6 June? And if not air power, what else would you suggest might prevent PanzerLehr from moving at all for 12 hours if ordered to do so?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 21 Jul 2021 16:46

That Allied Air Power was not incapacitating on 7 June or on 6 June,is a claim, not a reality .
The reality is that an advance by daylight would be slower and more dangerous than an advance by night .And the result would also be that the panzer units would be weaker if they left at 6.00 H than at 18.00 H .
See 21 PzD : its first units were counterattacking at 10 .00 H on 6 June ,but without any results :because of their weakness,they had to stop their attack .If 21 PzD had attacked later, it could have attacked with stronger forces .
12 SS was released at 6 June at 15 .00 H and its FIRST ELEMENTS ( NOT the division ) arrived at Caen on 7 June 9.30 H . If 12 SS had started its advance later, it could also have arrived on 7 June t 9.30 H and with stronger units . Not that this would have made any difference .
The PzD did not arrive at a definite hour,but it took them not hours,but days to arrive, to assemble ,to make the needed plans and preparations for an attack .
The units of 12 SS that arrived ,let's say on 8 June at 16.00 h ,would not arrive earlier if the first units had started their advance not at 15.00 H on 6 June,but at 12.00 H and they would not have arrived later if the first units had started later .
The faster the first units would leave and arrive, the weaker/smaller they would be .
The stronger they would arrive, the later they would arrive ,

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 21 Jul 2021 17:05

Sheldrake wrote:
19 Jul 2021 09:59
ljadw wrote:
18 Jul 2021 20:28
It is very possible that if the march had started early on 6 June ( let's say 6 AM at earliest ),the delay would have been bigger than if the division had moved at 6 PM ,due to the enemy's air superiority .
You are also underestimating the losses incurred by an advance in daylight : on 7 June on the road from Le Mans to Caen, PzL lost 5 tanks and 170 trucks, while the losses for the whole month of June were 51 tanks and 376 trucks.........................<snip>
The very big losses of PzL on 7 June (BEFORE they fought against allied forces ) is a proof that an advance at daylight on 6 June would not only be very risky but would not be a wise decision . It could result in the arrival of non operational parts of the division .
Not only would it not be a wise decision, but there was also no need to move the division at 4.30 ,as 2 hours before OBW told the chief of staff of 7th Army that there was no big action going on .
OBW was saying at 2.30 : nothing special and 2 hours later was asking to have the reserves of the WFS,knowing very well that they could not be committed on 6 and even not on 7 June . Besides : why should PzL go to Caen and not to the American sector ?
Jodl's refusal was very well justified .
Ljadw, You are quoting figures that have been challenged. In Normandy 1944 Niklas Zetterling points out that the high figures for losses on the road were post war recollections by Bayerling without any access to documentation. There is an argument that there was a bias by German Generals to blame air power - i.e. the failure of the Luftwaffe. According to a report by Ritgen the commander of the repair and maintenance company of the Pz IV battalion these figures were exaggerated. There is a further report dated `10th June which says that the Lehr Division did not suffer significant losses on its march. The total losses for the month of June were 82 SW and 10 prime movers.
A late reply .
I am not convinced.
Why ?
Because,
how could Ritgen know the loss numbers ? There was no need to tell them :he was only the commander of the repair and maintenance company of the PzIV battalion ,and the Panzer IV battalion was only ONE of the several battalions of PzL .
the figures I have given do not specify if they were total losses of temporarily losses : how many of the 90 trucks were destroyed and how many were damaged ?And why would damaged trucks be returned to the repair company of the Pz IV battalion ?
how could Ritgen ( or any one else ) know if these losses happened on 6 or 7 or 8 June ?
It is even possible that these loss numbers were underestimated,that trucks who were damaged/destroyed on 6 June at 23.30 H were counted as losses on 7 June,because they were discovered only on 7 June .
Ritgen had no time for paperwork : his task was to repair as fast as possible as many as possible trucks, tanks of the Panzer IV battalion that were coming to his company .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Jul 2021 07:23

Hi ljadw,

You post, "That Allied Air Power was not incapacitating on 7 June or on 6 June,is a claim, not a reality." Well, you yourself posted that the Panzer Lehr lost only five tanks to air intervention on 7 June. Are you now saying that this was incapacitating in a unit with nearly 100 tanks?

Yup, "The reality is that an advance by daylight would be slower and more dangerous than an advance by night .And the result would also be that the panzer units would be weaker if they left at 6.00 H than at 18.00 H ", but not, it would appear, by much, and they would in all probability still have been in position earlier than if delayed by 12 hours.

The German plan was to defeat the invasion as near to the beaches as possible. Any delay hazarded this.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 22 Jul 2021 11:05

It is not correct to determine the strength of a PzD by the number of its tanks .PzL lost not only 5 tanks, but also 90 trucks,etc ..And the loss of 90 trucks could hurt PzL more than the loss of 5 tanks .
An other reason why one should not use the number of tanks is that the 100 tanks of PzL did not arrive all of them on 8 June ( day when the first elements of the division arrived in Normandy ).
On 8 June ,66 Panthers arrived in Normandy ,but half of them were not ready for action .(Source : Normandy 1944 P 413 )Why were only 34 Panthers ready for action ?
Maybe the others were not ready for action on the moment they were transported ,but why would an intelligent person wast time,road space and rail space to send non operational tanks to the front ?

Maybe these tanks became non operational because allied air attacks which destroyed/damaged a lot of trucks ?
And, the German plan was NOT to defeat the invasion as near as possible to the beaches : you forget something essential = TIME .
The German plan was to defeat the invasion as fast as possible and as near to the beaches as possible .
But we know that this was out of the question :
From Normandy 1944 P 418
Allied tank strength in Normandy (Cumulative daily total )
6 June : 1478
7 June : 1852
8 June : 2195
9 June : 2585
German tank strength
6 June : 112
7 June : 210 ( 49 not ready )
8 June : 375 ( + 98 not ready )
9 June : 474 ( + an unknown number that was not ready )
The only way for Germany to be able to defeat the invasion on the beaches was to have on 6 June at each of the 5 landing zones a Panzer Division .
This was impossible as Germany had no 5 Panzer Divisions available,and ,if the Germans had them ,it was impossible for these divisions to be supplied and to operate if they were concentrated behind the landing zones .
All attempts to send as fast as possible as many reinforcements as possible were doomed to fail : all these reinforcements could do was to prevent an allied breakthrough in the first weeks after the landing, but this was only delaying the inevitable .
And, the stronger the reinforcements, the bigger the delay : a division is advancing slower than a battalion .
On 9 June HG D said the following : the Allies can transport supplies and reinforcements faster because of their Merchant Fleet than we can do using roads and trains .

Every day the Allies became stronger,thus the discussion about the claim that the sleeping Hitler delayed the transport of German reserves,is fruitless .
The strength ratio between both sides was becoming every day more and more to the benefit of the Allies .
Rommel knew this, that's why he presented his solution . But this also would fail .
An other alternative = to concentrate the PzD nearer to the beaches would also fail,as a division stationed at 20 km from the combat zone would not arrive faster at this zone than division that was located at 50 km from the combat zone .
There was no solution .

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Jul 2021 11:37

ljadw wrote:
22 Jul 2021 11:05
#
And, the German plan was NOT to defeat the invasion as near as possible to the beaches : you forget something essential = TIME .
The German plan was to defeat the invasion as fast as possible and as near to the beaches as possible .
Sorry but this is factually incorrect. THE Germans did not have a single plan to defeat the allies. Some Germans had one plan and some had other ideas. However the men who did have a plan and were in a position to implement it were Rommel and Hitler, who appointed Rommel to command Army Group B. The plan was to defeat the to defeat the Allies on the beaches on D Day. This required them to have their hands on the controls on the night the allies landed. In simple terms. They made a plan that failed. They screwed up. Hence books and movies called "The Longest Day" and the question about whether Hitler was asleep when D Day started.

The debate about Pz Lehr losses is a typical AHF piece of nitpicking. It is undoubtedly true that fear of air attack slowed the German response. But the losses have been exaggerated.

Bayerlin's comments were made under interrogation in the context of explaining why is troops did not rush during daylight towards the landing beaches. Ritgen did command the maintenance company of the Pz IV battalion in WW2, but he also wrote the divisional history published in 1979. It is reasonable to assume that his work is based on other sources than just his memory or the actions of II/Pz Regt 130.

The status report for 1st July shows that the Division lost 82 SPW and 10 prime movers during the whole month of June, during which the Division had been in extensive combat that cost nearly 3,000 casualties and over half its tanks out of action.

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Re: D-Day Started while Hitler was Sleeping - Which Sources?

Post by ljadw » 22 Jul 2021 15:51

Sheldrake wrote:
22 Jul 2021 11:37
ljadw wrote:
22 Jul 2021 11:05
#
And, the German plan was NOT to defeat the invasion as near as possible to the beaches : you forget something essential = TIME .
The German plan was to defeat the invasion as fast as possible and as near to the beaches as possible .
Sorry but this is factually incorrect. THE Germans did not have a single plan to defeat the allies. Some Germans had one plan and some had other ideas. However the men who did have a plan and were in a position to implement it were Rommel and Hitler, who appointed Rommel to command Army Group B. The plan was to defeat the to defeat the Allies on the beaches on D Day. This required them to have their hands on the controls on the night the allies landed. In simple terms. They made a plan that failed. They screwed up. Hence books and movies called "The Longest Day" and the question about whether Hitler was asleep when D Day started.

The debate about Pz Lehr losses is a typical AHF piece of nitpicking. It is undoubtedly true that fear of air attack slowed the German response. But the losses have been exaggerated.

Bayerlin's comments were made under interrogation in the context of explaining why is troops did not rush during daylight towards the landing beaches. Ritgen did command the maintenance company of the Pz IV battalion in WW2, but he also wrote the divisional history published in 1979. It is reasonable to assume that his work is based on other sources than just his memory or the actions of II/Pz Regt 130.

The status report for 1st July shows that the Division lost 82 SPW and 10 prime movers during the whole month of June, during which the Division had been in extensive combat that cost nearly 3,000 casualties and over half its tanks out of action.
I answered on Sid,who was focusing on distance and ignored time .And on 6 June distance could not be translated in time .
There is no proof that the unit that was the nearest would be the unit that would arrive the first and be the first to be combat ready .
The problem for the Germans was that if they wanted to act at night ,they had to use the coast divisions. Only the coast divisions .The arrival of the PzD would occur too late : the first units of PzL arrived at 8 June ,and,than the dies were cast .If 21 PzD could not eliminate the Allies on 6 June,why would PzL and 12 SS be able to do it after 6 June ? Thus ,the postponement of the release of these two divisions,wrongly attributed to the claim that no one wanted to wake up a ''sleeping '' Hitler, had no influence on the outcome of the battle .
Rommel had proposed to station mobile units at the coast and to use them in a non mobile function .The problem was that if there was on everyone of the 5 landing zones a Kampfgruppe with a few tanks,this would be insufficient to block the landing .
21 PzD failed, not because it was released too late, but because its units were to weak .
About PzL :
is it true that it did not rush under daylight to the beaches ?And if so : why .
Zetterling said that its Pz IV battalion was on the morning of 7 June stopped north of Alencon and was short on fuel .Alençon is some 60 km from Le Mans : if the battalion started from Le Mans, it is possible that it started under daylight .The division arrived only at 8 June and we don't know what the Pz IV battalion did on 7 June .But, as the distance between Alençon and Caen is something as 120 km ,would it not be probable that PzL continued its advance under daylight? I don't see the units of PzL who were advancing by road ( others advanced by train ) to do 120 km by night .
If PzL was released earlier, would its units have reached the combat zone earlier ? And how many of them ?
The same question can be asked for 12 SS . 12 SS had 139 operational tanks on 1 June and 90 on 16 June .
If on 6 June 12 SS was released earlier, how many more of its tanks would be in Normandy on 8 June ?
On 8 June 165 of its tanks were in Normandy ,of which 132 combat ready .Would that be different if in the ATL 12 SS had been released earlier ?
A lot of people are still believing that an earlier release would result that more men and more tanks would be earlier in Normandy than happened in the HTL .
But, there is no proof for this .
The losses in June of 82 SPW do not disprove the loss of 90 trucks on 6 June .On 1 June PzL had 183 combat ready tanks, on 18 June only 52 .

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