Fire Support Battle In Normandy

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Carl Schwamberger
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Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Oct 2010 20:06

This segues into the larger question of fire support, which if topic drift, tho not so gross as pondering SHAEF logistics in October. On the chance it connects to DD tanks I'll offer a few bits.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:BTW last night, before drifting off counting general transport companies, I managed to begin reading the Omaha chapter in Rich's book - as I read the narrative describing the experiences of the engineer teams it struck me how many teams and landing craft were struck by shells. The German's would have pre-registered targets along the obstacle belt I suppose, which explains why the artillery fire seemed so accurate. So perhaps the heavy casualties were caused by the defences working as planned? Combination of obstacles and direct fire weapons traps assaulting troops in the planned DF targets of the indirect fire weapons for extended period producing heavier casualties than on other beaches?

Regards

Tom
RichTO90 wrote:
Um, yes? Do you suppose it might have also had something to do with the greater concentration of direct and indirect fire weapons in the OMAHA sector and the near perfect observation granted by most of the German positions there? That there was a fairly large concentration of German field artillery that could and did fire into the sector? :wink:

I also suspect that a fair number of hits on the landing craft may have been direct fire as well. Certainly from what I can make out of the damage to some of the LCT and LCI (L) many of the hits were from the 88mm and 75mm guns and certainly the LCG (L) were engaged by direct fire.

Cheers!
I've not compiled a satisfactory count of the indirect fire weapons in range of any of the beaches. Numbers, caliber, ammo supply, and command/control set up are on my to do list, but its another one of those things you really need the right sources for. Balikowski or Walter Lord may counted many thisngs in detail, but German artillery was not one of them.

I do recall a remark, that the Germans had removed their reserve artillery ammo to a location out of the way of the pre Neptune air raids. Which left the batterys supporting Omaha beach short. No details following that of course. That caused me to consider what the German artillery might have done. With just a 'basic load' in each four gun positions for indirect fire the short answer is not much. Omaha Beach was a 'target rich enviroment', like the others. Considering the number of battalions of all types forced ashore in the first two hours & the area they occupied sme guestimates can be made for the ammount of ammo needed to 'nuetralize' the assualt force & initial following elements. A basic load, or the ammount ordinarily carried by a artillery battery would be thinly spread, even when multiplied by four battalions worth of cannon. Eighty rounds per gun (a common figure) may sound like a lot, but at a sustained rate of fire thats hardly a hours worth of steady fire missions @ perhaps 8 - 10 targets. Half that if nuetralization of the target is seriously desired.

Even were two basic loads, or units of fire, were present at the battery positions of each battalion its still not a lot to deal with a assualt force of one Ranger, six infantry, two tank, X engineer, & the equivalent of a couple other support battalions. Add in the several landing craft comming & going & the German artillery commander would be nervous about ammo at hand, if there is less than a all day supply in reach. That would lead to being selective about the targets approved, and the ammount of ammo allocated to each attack.

Related to this is the post H hour fire plan for the NGF was to shift a portion of it onto the identified & suspect artillery battery positions. What effect that had on the German artillery I dont know.

While the German artillery fire on Omaha Beach had some effect & was terrifying to anyone under it a clinical look suggests the density on the ground and over time was far too thin to stall the assualt. With some kind of clue about how many cannon fired on the beach, how much ammo was on hand or fired, the descriptions from the beach might make more sense concerning artillery effects.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Delta Tank » 27 Oct 2010 22:46

Carl,

80 rounds per gun would not last an hour! Mortars?

Mike

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Oct 2010 04:30

Delta Tank wrote:Carl,

80 rounds per gun would not last an hour! Mortars?

Mike
200? 300? 400? Dont know, just like the field artillery. There might have been 50, or 500. Not a clue here.

Another point to ponder is the effect of the sand & fine gravel beach. Not a good bursting surface. Some of the eyewitnesses refer to the mortar & cannon shells penetrating the sand before bursting. Nothing like that to keep the casualties down. Air bursts would have negated that problem, but the books mention nothing about those. Did the Germans not have the appropriate fuzes? Anyone have the German fireplan docs & daily ammo reports for the Normandy area at hand?

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Delta Tank » 28 Oct 2010 11:13

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
Delta Tank wrote:Carl,

80 rounds per gun would not last an hour! Mortars?

Mike
200? 300? 400? Dont know, just like the field artillery. There might have been 50, or 500. Not a clue here.

Another point to ponder is the effect of the sand & fine gravel beach. Not a good bursting surface. Some of the eyewitnesses refer to the mortar & cannon shells penetrating the sand before bursting. Nothing like that to keep the casualties down. Air bursts would have negated that problem, but the books mention nothing about those. Did the Germans not have the appropriate fuzes? Anyone have the German fireplan docs & daily ammo reports for the Normandy area at hand?
Carl,

The Germans must of had timed fuzes, at least they had them for their AA batteries.

Mike

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Oct 2010 01:46

I wonder if the field artillery batterys had any that morning? Lot higher WIA with properly timed airbursts.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by RichTO90 » 29 Oct 2010 04:33

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I wonder if the field artillery batterys had any that morning? Lot higher WIA with properly timed airbursts.
It was three batteries of 10.5cm le.F.H., each battery with 4 pieces, each piece with an 1. Muni-Ausstattung (first ammunition allotment) of 225 rounds, one battery of 15cm s.F.H. with 4 pieces, each piece with 150 rounds, one battery of 10cm le.F.H. (t) of 4 pieces, and one battery of 15.5cm s.F.H. (f) of 4 pieces. The ammunition allotment to the Czech and French pieces was probably similar to that of the corresponding German pieces or even more. Ziegelmann, the divisional Ia, reported that all the batteries fired off their entire 1. Muni-Ausstattung on 6 June. In the OMAHA sector, a target area roughly 8,000 by 300 meters carefully surveyed and under accurate observation, the total ammunition fired then by the field artillery was potentially 4,800 rounds. The idea that the Germans wouldn't have time fuses is unlikley since they were common and commonly used, the standard being selectable to 30-second delay.

The fixed 5 cm and 8cm mortars, 17 on them, would have had in the neighborhood of 150 rounds each or more (since they were in fixed positions), as would have the mortars assigned to the infantry companies there, possibly another 21 8cm and 3 5cm ones, so about 41 mortars and perhaps 6,000 rounds. The 5cm and 7.5cm type Pak and le.I.G. (most of 7.5cm of which were French, Czech, or Russian) would have between 150 and 189 rounds each, although probably more, given that the 8.8cm Pak 43 in WN 61 reportedly fired at least 200 rounds before it was disabled when it wouldn't return to battery. Call it another 3,000 to 4,000 rounds.

So conservatively 14,000 rounds or one for roughly every 13 by 13 meters square...call it 40 by 40 feet. Given the lack of cover, especially from mortars, the relatively hard surface, and the possiblity of secondary missiles from the shingle cover (high explosive blasting into a one to three foot thick layer of 1/2 to 3 inch hard rock?), I think I would say that although not excessive, the Germans probably considered it adequate (for defense against a major massed assault they assumed 595 rounds per piece for the 10.5cm and 287 for the 15cm...for a ten day period)...and the assault forces too much. Luckily the fixed Werfer batteries (38 X 4 = 152 rockets) apparently did not fire, or at least did not fire en mass as was planned.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by JonS » 29 Oct 2010 08:37

RichTO90 wrote:Luckily the fixed Werfer batteries (38 X 4 = 152 rockets) apparently did not fire, or at least did not fire en mass as was planned.
IIRC, Balkoski talks about these quite a bit (well, maybe a page's worth) in his 'OMAHA'. I think, again IIRC, there's ebven a photo of them firing

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by RichTO90 » 29 Oct 2010 14:01

JonS wrote:
RichTO90 wrote:Luckily the fixed Werfer batteries (38 X 4 = 152 rockets) apparently did not fire, or at least did not fire en mass as was planned.
IIRC, Balkoski talks about these quite a bit (well, maybe a page's worth) in his 'OMAHA'. I think, again IIRC, there's ebven a photo of them firing
No, but it's covered pretty thoroughly here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... ilit=omaha
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Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 29 Oct 2010 15:43

RichTO90 wrote:
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
On a slightly more serious note I wonder if the two tank battalions had been equipped with predominately 105mm cannon would their fires have been noticeably more effective? I'm thinking smoke ammo as well as HE & AP types.
Smoke? No, the intended "Smokers" (LCP fitted out with chemical smoke generators) on all the beaches were discontinued because the wind was too great and it dispersed too quickly. The AP round for the 105mm was a HEAT-type and at that time had little effectiveness versus reinforced concrete, while the HE probably would only be marginally more effective. None of them were seriously effective against the big gun emplacements except those that were incomplete unless they hit the firing slit...and even that wasn't necessarily a guarantee.

Cheers!
Both the HE shells for the 105mm howitzer and the 76mm high velocity gun were found to be superior to the 75mm HE shell in dealing with concrete and masonry in the March 1945 battle for Manila, during combat in at the old Spanish fortress of Intramuros.

The 105mm HE shell with concrete penetrating (CP) fuse had three times the HE payload of a 75mm HE shell with CP fuse and and the 76mm's higher velocity let it get it's smaller payload of HE farther into the structure of concrete to more effectively shatter it.

The superiority of the 76mm in the concrete busting role was noticed as early as Nov 1943 with Japanese reinforced concrete positions at Makin via the combat experiences of the 193rd Tank battalion -- which was using M-10 tank destroyers in lieu of M-8 75mm SPM or M-7 105mm SPM in its assault gun platoon -- and was later confirmed in the July 1945 weapons tests at Ft Hood versus replica Japanese cave positions in the conventional weapons half of Operation Sphinx.

As for smoke at Omaha, this shows a point I keep running across with Ike's crew. They only learned from their own direct experience and discounted the combat experiences of other American field commanders. If they didn't personally see it themselves in the Louisiana Maneuvers or North African fighting. It didn't exist for them.

We saw this with General Cota and his emphasis on LVT's which Ike's crew disregarded and we see it again with the inadequate smoke plans on Omaha beach. Salerno, Anzio and the Operation Dragoon landings were all far superior in their use of large scale smoke screens than Ike's show on Omaha beach.

The following passage is from the CHEMICALS IN COMBAT US Army green book on the August 1944 Operation Dragoon landings. It shows how US Army Chemical troops coming ashore with, or riding on, DD-Tanks in Southern France screened the beaches there:
page 342

The smoke troops again were to come from a chemical decontamination
company, this time the 21st. On 25 March 1944 the unit's 2d
Platoon moved from Palermo to a beach near Oran, where it was attached
to the 40th Engineer Combat Regiment to prepare for the
invasion. Practice in assault landings and in the erection of beachhead
smoke lines constituted the bulk of this unit's training. In turn, the
Engineers gained the experience of working in a haze limiting visibility
to fifty yards
. By June the platoon rejoined the 21st in Italy where it
passed on its recently acquired amphibious experience to its three
sister platoons.®^

During the last weeks of July and the first week of August the three
divisions which were to make the assault and their supporting troops
underwent brief but effective practice for the appointed task.*^ The
culminating point was a full dress exercise in which the conditions
expected on the beaches of southern France were realistically duplicated.
Live ammunition, beach obstacles, and smoke screens helped to achieve
authenticity.®'

page 343

The I St Platoon, 21st Decontamination Company, received an extra
amount of training because the 3d Division had detailed plans for the
use of ground smoke during the initial phases. The additional work
for the platoon, and for a detail of two officers and thirty enlisted men
from the 3d Chemical Mortar Battalion which augmented the division's
smoke troops, was aimed at producing physical hardness, self-reliance,
and proficiency in tactics of the infantryman.

The 3d Division's target area was the St. Tropez Peninsula. Elevations
here reached 1,000 to 1,500 feet, providing the defenders with
excellent observation of the sea, the beaches, and the narrow strip of
wooded dunes. The 3d Division's assault areas on the peninsula, designated
Red Beach and Yellow Beach, were both flanked by capes, a
situation which enhanced the possibilities of German observation and
provided the motive for the flanking screens of the attacking force.
But if the terrain was unpropitious, its defense was another matter.

Intelligence sources indicated that the enemy would not defend the
area too strongly because of commitments in northwest France. Moreover,
the rather skimpy fixed defenses of the area were manned by non-
German and limited service troops.^*

Preceded by heavy naval and air bombardment the VI Corps landed
on 1 5 August against light resistance. During the actual assault the
Navy used smoke only in the 3d Division sector. Here smoke pots and
generators in landing craft screened the flanks of the boat lanes and
concealed incoming craft from enemy fire. Each of the four smoke
details, two per beach, was to land at H-hour in an LCT. Training
trials had demonstrated that under favorable conditions the detachments
with their allotments of 1,200 M4 smoke pots could unload in
about five minutes. It was hoped that the final stage of the trip to
the beach would take place in specially buoyed medium tanks which
were on the LCT's.
If this were not possible the pots were to be
floated ashore in rubber boats, or, in an extreme case, the packing boxes

page 344

with the pots enclosed could be tied in tandem and towed ashore by
hand.

The smoke detail on the left flank of Red Beach was led by Lt.
Frank J. Thomas, commanding the 1st Platoon, 21st Company.
According to plan, four amphibious tanks carried the men across the
beach to the railroad about 150 yards beyond. Fanning out to four
positions at l00-yard intervals, the detail began operations within ten
minutes of landing. The smoke line was gradually pushed inland to
a road 250 yards from the beach.
Until this time the smoke troops
had not received enemy fire, but now mortar and small arms fire caused
one casualty. No casualties were suffered in the heavily mined
woods through which the smoke troops passed to reach the road.
The detachment from the 1st Platoon, which landed on the right
flank of Red Beach, was led by Capt. Sam Kesner, assistant chemical
officer of the 3d Division. For some reason the landing craft dropped
its amphibious tanks some 1,000 yards from shore. Consequently,
Kesner's party, which remained in the LCT, had to unload Its pots
the hard way. Some were thrown into two 6-man rubber boats and
towed to the beach. The rest of the smoke munitions were tossed overboard
and floated ashore in their crates, an expedient made necessary
by the pressure of enemy small arms fire. The situation was made more
difficult because the LCT had landed 400 yards to the right of its
assigned area in order to avoid mines. The smoke plan called for four
positions on the beach, a number soon increased to twelve because of
the adverse winds. The smoke detail soon pushed inland about 100
yards, suffering four casualties in the early hours.

The two smoke details in 3d Division's Yellow Beach came from the
3d Chemical Mortar Battalion. Each of the one officer-fifteen enlisted
men details landed at H-hour, meeting conditions not unlike those
found on Red Beach. Because of the offshore mines, the LCT carrying
the right flank party beached south of the assigned area. The group
worked northward into position using smoke grenades for concealment
from small arms fire. Opposition was heavier near the center of the
beach but the smoke screen helped to eliminate observation, with the
result that enemy fire became erratic, ceasing about H plus 30 minutes.
The total length of the two screens on Yellow Beach was 2,000 yards.

Although the smoke mission for Dragoon was extremely well
planned and executed there was still room for improvement. Captain
Kesner felt that the eggs should not have been placed in so few baskets

that a larger number of craft should have carried the members of the
smoke details during the assault. In this way the sinking of any LCT
would not have been an irreparable disaster. Maj. Albert L. Safine,
Chemical Officer, 3d Division, suggested that in landings where enemy
opposition would be substantial (resistance at Dragoon was weak)
the smoke detail should land at H plus 30 and that the equipment
include amphibious mounted generators.
Compare that plan as executed with Omaha Beach!

The issue with the failure to use large scale smoke screens adequately at Omaha seems to be bound up with pre-war US Army internal budget politics and existing racial attitudes towards black -- called Negro then -- troops.

General Leslie McNair was a part of a special board seeking budget cuts to save the US Army from the Depression era cut backs. He recommend the elimination of the Chemical Warfare Service.

The House Armed Service Committee chairman whose district the Edgewood Arsenal was in told the US Army to pound sand. McNair and the rest of the Army remembered this, and when the Army expanded in 1940-late 1941, the CWS got nothing.

It took the Japanese using mustard gas on the Chinese Nationalist troops in the summer of 1941 to get the FDR Administration to throw a lot of money at the CWS.

By then, it was too late for any smoke generating troops to be available for the Louisiana Maneuvers. And since no one ever used smoke troops, they were given a very low manpower rating by both the AGF and ASF, and thus were assigned a lot of black troops. Fifteen of the Army smoke generator units (not counting the decontamination companies) used in the ETO and MTO theaters were black.

Smoke Generator companies were also assigned a very low transport rating for North Africa, so the few smoke companies sent there arrived late and were were used to guard sea ports against German air attacks.

Later, when black smoke generator and chemical decontamination companies were sent to Europe, they were turned into general labor troops.

And even when black smoke troops were used as they were designed to in Italy and succeeded, Ike's crowd ignored their successes. Once Anzio turned into a debacle, any combat experience from it was "unclean."

See:

THE EMPLOYMENT OF NEGRO TROOPS
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/ ... pter20.htm
page 593

Certain units, like the engineer dump truck companies, always in demand, always used, and almost always Negro, were considered of great value by the using commands and were therefore well and fully employed; others, like chemical smoke generator companies, also with a heavy Negro representation, were less generally used for their primary missions, often being put to guarding warehouses and prisoners and operating depots. When formally converted to other missions, units developed high efficiency in their new tasks when they were convinced that these tasks were of more obvious and immediate value than their former assignments. Such was the case, for example, in two quartermaster service companies whose personnel came from disbanded units. These men learned rapidly, gaining "in efficiency until approximately seventy per cent were performing technical duties and only thirty per cent were performing general service duties."1


page 637

Occasionally, special purpose units were employed in landings. At Salerno, the first Mediterranean assault landing to use smoke screens extensively, Navy and Army units laid screens on and off the beaches over an area twenty miles long to protect landing craft from enemy fire. In the D-day assault on 9 September 1943, a detachment of the 24th Chemical Decontamination Company, equipped with M 1 smoke pots, and Navy personnel with generators mounted in boats screened the Paestum beaches where boats were being unloaded. During the following days the unit operated thirty-six naval mechanical generators ashore. The men laid a smoke haze daily at twilight to conceal anchorage and unloading areas from enemy bombers and screened the beaches during alerts. Smoke generally covered an area of twenty to thirty square miles. Not a single ship in the smoke cloud at Paestum was hit by enemy bombs.120 The 24th, with other smoke companies, moved to Naples to maintain the smoke screen there. For the Anzio landings on 22 January 1944 the 24th was attached to VI Corps to provide smoke as needed. Equipped with eight Navy generators and a quantity of smoke pots it went ashore, laying its first screen on 24 January. More generators were brought in later. A British smoke unit took over the operation of smoke pots on 8 February, leaving the 24th free to operate mechanical generators, now thirty-six in number. These units ran the antiaircraft smoke screen until 24 February, when the 179th Smoke Generator Company, a white unit, arrived to extend the line to Nettuno. At Anzio, the smoke operators lived the life of front-line infantrymen, with foxholes and caves dug, the Fifth Army chemical officer reported, so that "a German shell would have to execute a corkscrew to get at them." 121 For its work at Anzio the 24th Decontamination Company received one of the first four Fifth Army plaques and the first awarded to a chemical unit. This company later operated chemical depots.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by RichTO90 » 29 Oct 2010 19:18

Mil-tech Bard wrote:
RichTO90 wrote:Smoke? No, the intended "Smokers" (LCP fitted out with chemical smoke generators) on all the beaches were discontinued because the wind was too great and it dispersed too quickly.
As for smoke at Omaha, this shows a point I keep running across with Ike's crew. They only learned from their own direct experience and discounted the combat experiences of other American field commanders. If they didn't personally see it themselves in the Louisiana Maneuvers or North African fighting. It didn't exist for them.
Excuse me? How do you get there from here? The experience "for smoke at Omaha" was exact;y the same at SWORD, JUNO, and GOLD and had nothing to do with "Ike's crew" (how could it since it was "Monty's crew" there?)
We saw this with General Cota and his emphasis on LVT's which Ike's crew disregarded and we see it again with the inadequate smoke plans on Omaha beach. Salerno, Anzio and the Operation Dragoon landings were all far superior in their use of large scale smoke screens than Ike's show on Omaha beach.
Cota? I think you mean Corlett? In any case, we've been through the LVT business before, ad nauseum, and there is no evidence for their superiority at OMAHA. Note that I haven't looked at the AVALANCHE and SHINGLE landing plans for a while, but I don't recall much in the way of a smoke plan for the assault, since that was to be at night anyway?
The following passage is from the CHEMICALS IN COMBAT US Army green book on the August 1944 Operation Dragoon landings. It shows how US Army Chemical troops coming ashore with, or riding on, DD-Tanks in Southern France screened the beaches there:
Sure...and the Chemical Corps smoke pots and generators mounted on LCP to screen the boat lanes was identical to their planned employment on OMAHA (and SWORD, GOLD, JUNO, and UTAH) that I alludded to in my original post. I can't imagine you missed that ssince you included a quote of it in your post. "Smokers" were LCP with smoke generators and smoke pots. Chemical mortars were an integral part of the landing plan and were to be landed in the follow-on assault waves, the Chemical plan was an integral part of the assault plan...but didn't work on any of the beaches because of the unfavorable wind speed and direction on the morning of D-Day and so was discontinued.

BTW, I'm away from my sources this weekend but I'll try to return to the discussion of HE versus the German-style defenses. But, typically it was found that direct hits on reinforced concrete with M12 155mm guns firing M107 CP-fuzed were ineffective and did not penetrate and hits on firing and observation slits were the only practical way to silence those with gunfire. I'll see what I can add next week.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 Oct 2010 02:58

Rich.... thanks for this infor. I'm 150+ kilometers from my desk & wont be able to analyze this with my fire effect info til next week. But, there are a few questions/remarks in the hope of clarification.
RichTO90 wrote:
Carl Schwamberger wrote:I wonder if the field artillery batterys had any that morning? Lot higher WIA with properly timed airbursts.
It was three batteries of 10.5cm le.F.H., each battery with 4 pieces, each piece with an 1. Muni-Ausstattung (first ammunition allotment) of 225 rounds, one battery of 15cm s.F.H. with 4 pieces, each piece with 150 rounds, one battery of 10cm le.F.H. (t) of 4 pieces, and one battery of 15.5cm s.F.H. (f) of 4 pieces. The ammunition allotment to the Czech and French pieces was probably similar to that of the corresponding German pieces or even more.
Whats your source? I'd like to be able to add that to my list of things to collect. Is that suposed to be the total divsion artillery, or just what was allocated to the Omaha beach area?
RichTO90 wrote: Ziegelmann, the divisional Ia, reported that all the batteries fired off their entire 1. Muni-Ausstattung on 6 June. In the OMAHA sector, a target area roughly 8,000 by 300 meters carefully surveyed and under accurate observation, the total ammunition fired then by the field artillery was potentially 4,800 rounds.
If I'm adding that up correctly thats 156 rounds per cannon for 32 cannon total. 6,200 might be closer if the per cannon allotment is 225/150.
RichTO90 wrote: The idea that the Germans wouldn't have time fuses is unlikley since they were common and commonly used, the standard being selectable to 30-second delay.
That was my original assumption. But, when I went looking for eyewitness descriptions of the effects they have been thin. lots of remarks about artillery fire exploding in the sand & gravel but of it detonating overhead. Am keeping the jury empanneled pending more evidence.
RichTO90 wrote: The fixed 5 cm and 8cm mortars, 17 on them, would have had in the neighborhood of 150 rounds each or more (since they were in fixed positions), as would have the mortars assigned to the infantry companies there, possibly another 21 8cm and 3 5cm ones, so about 41 mortars and perhaps 6,000 rounds. The 5cm and 7.5cm type Pak and le.I.G. (most of 7.5cm of which were French, Czech, or Russian) would have between 150 and 189 rounds each, although probably more, given that the 8.8cm Pak 43 in WN 61 reportedly fired at least 200 rounds before it was disabled when it wouldn't return to battery. Call it another 3,000 to 4,000 rounds.

So conservatively 14,000 rounds or one for roughly every 13 by 13 meters square...call it 40 by 40 feet. Given the lack of cover, especially from mortars, the relatively hard surface, and the possiblity of secondary missiles from the shingle cover (high explosive blasting into a one to three foot thick layer of 1/2 to 3 inch hard rock?), I think I would say that although not excessive, the Germans probably considered it adequate (for defense against a major massed assault they assumed 595 rounds per piece for the 10.5cm and 287 for the 15cm...for a ten day period)...and the assault forces too much. Luckily the fixed Werfer batteries (38 X 4 = 152 rockets) apparently did not fire, or at least did not fire en mass as was planned.

Cheers!
If theGermans did or did not have adaquate ammounts of ammunition on had there are other factors to examine. A. Was their fire control/command control agile enough at the battalion/regiment level to get fires on target in a timely manner? Being veterans of the eastern front or X ammount of training time in France does not guarantee this. Equipment & details unit SoP or doctrine influences this.

B. How fast did the US counter fires degrade the German artillery. At 06:30 a portion of the NGF shifted to suspected counter battery targets inland. Was this effective to any degree?

C. How long did the bulk of the artillery observation posts and command posts remain in action. At around 08:30 the German regimental commander in overall charge of the Omaha beach area reported to the division CP that his communications were breaking down & he had lost comm with several company CP. That suggests the artillery was losing its communications to the observation posts & infantry CP as well.

A lot of stuff for me to look up.

Later

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 30 Oct 2010 03:09

An interesting issue MilBarb, has brought up, :milwink: "The marginalisation of African American rear echelon soldiers in support functions of combat units or lack thereof in WWII" and how that affected the overall combat strenght of some units at certain times. This idea/theory deserves much further discussion than besides D-day. It is possible the prejudices of the US Army, precluded proper coordination, which lead to higher casualties.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by JonS » 31 Oct 2010 22:04

RichTO90 wrote:
JonS wrote:
RichTO90 wrote:Luckily the fixed Werfer batteries (38 X 4 = 152 rockets) apparently did not fire, or at least did not fire en mass as was planned.
IIRC, Balkoski talks about these quite a bit (well, maybe a page's worth) in his 'OMAHA'. I think, again IIRC, there's ebven a photo of them firing
No, but it's covered pretty thoroughly here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... ilit=omaha
Hmm. I just checked, and he does discuss them though not in great detail, and sans any photo.

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Re: DD Tanks

Post by RichTO90 » 01 Nov 2010 03:53

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Rich.... thanks for this infor. I'm 150+ kilometers from my desk & wont be able to analyze this with my fire effect info til next week. But, there are a few questions/remarks in the hope of clarification.

Whats your source? I'd like to be able to add that to my list of things to collect. Is that suposed to be the total divsion artillery, or just what was allocated to the Omaha beach area?
Ziegelmann and BAMA RH3/V135. It's what was assigned to the OMAHA sector, not including the battery at Pointe du Hoc for obvious reasons.
If I'm adding that up correctly thats 156 rounds per cannon for 32 cannon total. 6,200 might be closer if the per cannon allotment is 225/150.
Er, sorry, but huh? Something got lost in translation. That's 16 105mm types at 225 round each and 8 150mm types at 150 each. Where in God's name did 156 come from?
That was my original assumption. But, when I went looking for eyewitness descriptions of the effects they have been thin. lots of remarks about artillery fire exploding in the sand & gravel but of it detonating overhead. Am keeping the jury empanneled pending more evidence.
I'm not sure that eyewitness accounts may be the best way to develop assumptions from? I suspect that a proportion were time-fuzed, but who knows how many?
If theGermans did or did not have adaquate ammounts of ammunition on had there are other factors to examine. A. Was their fire control/command control agile enough at the battalion/regiment level to get fires on target in a timely manner? Being veterans of the eastern front or X ammount of training time in France does not guarantee this. Equipment & details unit SoP or doctrine influences this.
Given that the defenders had four years to develop the fire plan that they had inherited I would suspect it would likely be timely.
B. How fast did the US counter fires degrade the German artillery. At 06:30 a portion of the NGF shifted to suspected counter battery targets inland. Was this effective to any degree?
AFAIK the CB program was directed at coast artillery postions. Maisy and its two batteries were targeted for example. But the others? They may not even have been identified.
C. How long did the bulk of the artillery observation posts and command posts remain in action. At around 08:30 the German regimental commander in overall charge of the Omaha beach area reported to the division CP that his communications were breaking down & he had lost comm with several company CP. That suggests the artillery was losing its communications to the observation posts & infantry CP as well.
Throughout the day AFAIK. The post at Ponte du Hoc held out until 7 June IIRC and Pluskat's post at Château d’Etréham the same?

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Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: DD Tanks

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Nov 2010 06:31

I can see another thread ought to be split off of this one. Something titled Fire Support - Op Neptune maybe. Will attend to that pending opnions on where it might properly belong.
RichTO90 wrote:Ziegelmann and BAMA RH3/V135. It's what was assigned to the OMAHA sector, not including the battery at Pointe du Hoc for obvious reasons.
Ok. It looks like they were not set up to reinforce the fires of those six batteries with others in different sectors. 8,000 meters+- of Omaha beach is not too far from a divisions defense frontage. You would ordinarily find 48 howitzers & guns allocated to indirect fire missions on that sort of width. Maybe it is not a large shortfall, tho there does not seem to any effective corps artillery in support. The Pont du Hoc battey of 15 cm guns effectively were out of action. Even with the werfern rockets & extra mortars the fire support looks a bit lite in terms of tubes.
Carl Schwamberger wrote: If I'm adding that up correctly thats 156 rounds per cannon for 32 cannon total. 6,200 might be closer if the per cannon allotment is 225/150.
RichTO90 wrote:Er, sorry, but huh? Something got lost in translation. That's 16 105mm types at 225 round each and 8 150mm types at 150 each. Where in God's name did 156 come from?
I see there is one Cezch 10 cm bty, not three as I originally read.
That was my original assumption. But, when I went looking for eyewitness descriptions of the effects they have been thin. lots of remarks about artillery fire exploding in the sand & gravel but of it detonating overhead. Am keeping the jury empanneled pending more evidence.
RichTO90 wrote:I'm not sure that eyewitness accounts may be the best way to develop assumptions from? I suspect that a proportion were time-fuzed, but who knows how many?
There's one crunch - we dont know for sure how many. Was the standard allotment matched to the number of illumination rounds which require time fuzes? Or, was there a larger allowance to include the HE ammo? A second question is if they were correctly set. A miscalculation in the meterological message that morning could leave them with .2 seconds too much time on the clock, leaving them as surface detonations. In any case I'm not at the point of a assumption but am wondering why there are so few refrences to airbursts?

Its a bit like the werfen rocket launchers. One starts with visions of massed rocket fires raining down at critical points on the beach. Instead one finds remarks about some hitting here or there but nothing approaching fires that would turly nuetralize the areas they were hitting.


C. How long did the bulk of the artillery observation posts and command posts remain in action. At around 08:30 the German regimental commander in overall charge of the Omaha beach area reported to the division CP that his communications were breaking down & he had lost comm with several company CP. That suggests the artillery was losing its communications to the observation posts & infantry CP as well.
RichTO90 wrote:Throughout the day AFAIK. The post at Ponte du Hoc held out until 7 June IIRC and Pluskat's post at Château d’Etréham the same?
The question here is how well connected did these OP, or the others, remained with the artillery batterys & to the overall command system? Being able to connect to one or two batterys is not the same as being able to mass multiple batterys, set up long linear targets, methodically shift suppresion attacks about. As noted earlier the regimental commander of this sector was complaining about failing communications at 08:30. Had they been written AARs from the artillery commanders & their comm officers would be facinating reading on this.

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