The Normandy "Masterplan"

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HistoryFan76
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by HistoryFan76 » 07 Apr 2012 08:25

Tom, you get 10 out of 10 for that find!
To a small extent on this issue and to a larger extent on some of the Normandy strategies, several months ago I read 'Normandy: the Landings to the Liberation of Paris'. While some factual errors by the author caused me to have an increasingly skeptical eye and the section on the post Paris liberation was a bit off the beaten path for my personal tastes, I enjoyed the book overall. It definitely takes a few POVs that I had not seen before (albeit maybe I need to read more or better books :) ). You might want to try this book (just be prepared for the author to give, at moments, not very flattering views of some of the main players and combatants).

uhu
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by uhu » 26 May 2012 03:34

If I may be forgiven for being slightly off topic. Saw a fictional movie via Netflix I haven't seen in 45 years, and it is on German attempts to find out where the landings would be, Calais or "Die Normadie". A little hokey, but watch it for a change of pace. It even has that younger Sgt. Schultz (John Banner) in it. The title is 36 Hours . You can look up the movie plot and actors here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057809/

Enjoy.

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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by PaulJ » 10 Jun 2012 22:55

Well, perhaps I’m biased here, but RichTO90’s comments on my work strike me as rather unfair, if I do say so.

This is Paul Johnston, the author of that article “D+20,000” (I thought that was a good title, if nothing else), and I’m just sitting down on warm sunny afternoon with my laptop, gin and tonic in hand, and what do I find?

What I was trying to do in that piece was succinctly introduce interested and intelligent but non-expert readers (in particular military officers), to the main debates in the literature, and identify for them the major competing schools of thought. I was not particularly trying to “endorse” any of those campaign histories.

RichTO90’s beef with my piece seems to boil down to me not being hard enough on Keegan, Hastings Ambrose, and perhaps Jack English. In my own defence, let me just say that the whole point of my piece was to survey the literature, and whatever one may think of those authors and their works, they are certainly, as I put it, “of note” i.e. prominent works of which one should be aware. And I would argue that Jack English’s book was indeed the definitive work on the Canadian Army in Normandy at the time I wrote, whether you or I might agree with his interpretation or not. Since then, what one might call the “Terry Copp” school has gained ground. And I did mention Copp in my section on German vs Allied Fighting Power. Since 2000, he has produced two significant works in this vein: Fields of Fire and Cinderella Army.

But coming back to the campaign histories from Keegan, Hastings and Ambrose, for what its worth, I suspect that I share much of RichTO90’s aversion to those works. Regarding Keegan, I rather like the way Christopher Bassford once put it – “willful misunderstanding of Clausewitz.” And I don’t think Keegan’s scholarly reputation has, or will ever, recover from The Iraq War (the fawning vignette of Franks in the appendix at end is almost physically painful to read). What puts many people off Hastings is his well developed Teutonophilia – is that the reason for your aversion to him? I did try to give at least a sense of that debate in my section on “Allied vs German Fighting Power.” And lastly, Ambrose, who to be fair did a lot of good work with oral histories, but whose analyses (such as he offers) I’ve never liked either. His reputation, too, is somewhat in tatters now of course (faking much of his Eisenhower research and all). The thing is, even as I look back on it now, those still seem to me the most prominent campaign overviews, flawed though they may be. Would you point to others? The interesting question, surely, is what should be added to what I wrote back then, in particular in the category of campaign histories? The only thing that comes to mind (in the way of campaign histories) is Anthony Beevor’s D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

And as I said, my article’s real point was to outline what the major debates are, and in that regard, have any major new subjects of debate emerged? I’m not sure that any really have, the only thing that might qualify as a new major debate would be the question of the campaign’s effect on the French civilians living in the area, something Beevor stresses in his new book. We’ll see if this catches on and sparks a new area of debate.

Of course, lots of new works have been published. Honourable mentions should, I think as I sit here pondering it, go to Stephen Hart for Colossal Cracks, Russell Hart for Clash of Arms and John Buckley for the collection he edited The Normandy Campaign: 60 Years On.

Lastly, the suggestion that I should have included Richard Lamb's Montgomery in Europe is, of course, absolutely correct. Looking back at my section on “Monty” I’m mortified that I didn’t include it. No excuse. And next time I write about them I shall try to be more critical of Keegan, Ambrose and Hastings. Perhaps I should use language like “calling shit shit.”

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Pips
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Pips » 11 Jun 2012 01:38

Well put Paul. Always fascinating to hear directly from the author!

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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 11 Jun 2012 01:44

While the subject is up... any opinions on the book 'The Germans in Normandy' published by Stackpole. I've from the start been frustrated by the attenuated attention to the details of the German defense in Normandy and found this title interesting. ...but does it pass inspection with the experts?

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William Russ
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by William Russ » 11 Jun 2012 23:44

Carl,
Are you talking about Richard Hargreave's book? If so Richard's book is mostly about the personal experiences of the soldiers and civilians involved in the campaign. Not much on the strategy and tactics used by the Germans or Allies. However, this book, and Richard's Blitzkrieg Unleashed and Hitlers Final Fortress are great reads if you like to read about the civilian and soldiers points of view of being in a war.

all the best, Bill

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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 12 Jun 2012 02:50

William Russ wrote:Carl,
Are you talking about Richard Hargreave's book?
That would be it. I was wondering how through or accurate the material in it was. Good translations or poor, bais or agenda ( I did not notice anything obvious). On the first round through it I noted a lot of material usefull for understanding or anlysisng the battles, so I hope for some sort of indicator of the usefullness of the book before I run off some cliff or other.

Thanks

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 02 Jan 2014 21:23

Another good Primary Source for Montgomery's "Masterplan" for Normandy that I found on line (Eisenhower Foundation website IIRC):
"Minutes of Supreme Commanders Conference, Norfolk House, 21 Jan 1944:

II - COMMENTS BY GENERAL MONTGOMERY
It would be preferable to make the widest possible landing between the areas of heavy fire of the CHERBOURG guns on the right and the HAVRE guns on the left. In this area the US forces should be placed on the right and the BRITISH on the left. It should be the task of the US forces to capture CHERBOURG and then to make a drive for the LOIRE Ports and BREST, while in the meantime the BRITISH-CANADIAN forces would deal with the enemy main body approaching from the EAST and South-East.
If anyone still misunderstands Montgomery's basic overall plan for Normandy then I will try to draw a picture to make it even more simple... :lol:

It is interesting, to see what Eisenhower said in reply:
III - COMMENTS BY SUPREME COMMANDER
8. The Supreme Commander agreed with General MONTGOMERY that it was desirable that the assault should be strengthened and that CHERBOURG should rapidly be captured.
9. However, we ought to look upon the elimination of the 'ANVIL' attack only as a last resort...we must not recommend [to the Combined Chiefs of Staff] that 'ANVIL' shuld be reduced to a threat unless we were convinced that 'OVERLORD' could not otherwise be successfully mounted. We must consider whether we could not manage a successful 'OVERLORD' without damaging Operation 'ANVIL'.
10. [...] He [Eisenhower] proposed that General MONTGOMERY should be left in sole charge of the ground battle.

34. The Supreme Commander then said that a further small meeting would be held at 1500 hours that afternoon to arrive at decisions in the light of the facts and opinions expressed that morning.
In between 10 and 34, Ramsay and Leigh-Mallory described the difficulties they faced in meeting Montgomery's widened front, although interestingly LM said that he much preferred the proposal to use the airborne forces in the Contentin Peninsula rather than at CAEN!

Regards

Tom

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Sheldrake
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Mar 2014 22:09

Here is an original source for you. on end June 1943 Brigadier General Norman Cota made a key observation about planning when addressing the ETOUSA conference on assult landings
The Combined Operations Headquarters, and Norfolk House here in London provide a good example of organization for planning. They are based on the following mottoes -"United we Conquer""One Foe, One Fight, One Force"
Much of the post war writing seems to be based on the assumption that the US Forces were somehow in competition with the british and the aim of history is to demonstrate how the US were better than the British rather than to defeat the Germans as a joint force of the United Nations.

The Allied strategy for "Normandy" is clearly lai8d out in the documentation.
The object of Operation 'OVERLORD' is to mount and carry out an operation, with forces and. equipment established in the UNITED KINGD~,:, and with target date 1st May, 1944, to secure a lodgement on the Continent from which further offensive operations can be developed. The lodgement area must contain sufficient port facilities to maintain a force of 80me twegty-six to thirty divisions and enable that force to be augmented by follow-up shipments from the UNITED STATES or elsewhere of additional divisions and supporting units at the rate of three to five divisions per month.
(Op Overlord final draft 7 July 1943)

There was no plan beyond the establishment of a lodgement area, including the capture of the Brest peninsular. In the briefings in April 1944 Montgomery as land Force Commander gave his appreciation including his view that the Germans would regard the threat of a break out from Eastern side of the lodgement area as more dangerous and thus make this their main point of effort. The Germans had a big say in whether allied attacks would gain ground. it was their choice to deploy the bulk of their armour and artillery against the British and their choice to neglect the reserves opposite the US Army. It was their choice to wear out their troops in a battle of attrition.

The allies did not anticipate that the Germans would wear themselves out in Normandy nor that they would compound their mistake with the Mortain counter attack, dooming their armies to the losses of the Falaise and Seine pockets. Carlo d'Este does analyse the difference between what the allies said they would do at the time with what they said afterwards. His beef with Montgomery is not that he changed his mind or adjusted the strategy , but that he claimed post war that he had not done so. D'Este is far weaker on the German influence on allied strategy.


If you have not done so you shgpould add some of the modern british and Canadian writing on Noramdy ypu could try:-

John Buckley The Normandy Campaign 1944: Sixty Years On -a good anthology.
Stehen Hart's Montgomary and Collossal Cracks.
Terry Copp: Fiuelds of Fire

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Pips
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Pips » 18 Mar 2014 11:12

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Robin Neillands "The Battle Of Normandy 1944". I found it to be quite a comprehensive account of the Normandy battles and the key players, albeit partly aimed at justifying Monty from the viewpoint that his plan was basically sound.

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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Mar 2014 18:39

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Another good Primary Source for Montgomery's "Masterplan" for Normandy that I found on line (Eisenhower Foundation website IIRC):
"Minutes of Supreme Commanders Conference, Norfolk House, 21 Jan 1944:

II - COMMENTS BY GENERAL MONTGOMERY
It would be preferable to make the widest possible landing between the areas of heavy fire of the CHERBOURG guns on the right and the HAVRE guns on the left. In this area the US forces should be placed on the right and the BRITISH on the left. It should be the task of the US forces to capture CHERBOURG and then to make a drive for the LOIRE Ports and BREST, while in the meantime the BRITISH-CANADIAN forces would deal with the enemy main body approaching from the EAST and South-East.
If anyone still misunderstands Montgomery's basic overall plan for Normandy then I will try to draw a picture to make it even more simple... :lol:
I cant comprehend how anything could be clearer. A quick glance at a map shows the logic in this and how it works on the ground.

To digress. In the literure on the planning what covers the earlier itterations of the Overlord plan/s. The 1943 COSSAC plans and the development of the SHAEF (Montys) plan from January through May?

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Sheldrake
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Sheldrake » 29 Mar 2014 01:42

The COSSAC plan was constrained by the limitations imposed on assault shipping that restricted the initial lift to three divisions. The deployment was on what would be Sword, Gold Juno and Omaha beaches with the aim of capturing Caen and establishing a stable beachhead.

The intention would be to capture Cherbourg and build up and expand to the 90 days lines much the same as in April 1944. The ideas that "Monty" came up with the Overlord plan is a piece of PR. The key difference between the COSSAC and SHAEF plans was the availability of assault shipping. That was Ike's doing rather than Monty's. Monty may have seen the importance of the extra ships, but only Ike had the clout to win that from the Chiefs of Staff.

The Americans would always be deployed on the West and the British on the East. This logic was driven by incompatibility of British and US logistics. The British were still at war on the East of the country while the Americans landed on the West side of Britain determined the balance of allied build up. This ultimately also determined the Occupation Zones.

Aber
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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Aber » 29 Mar 2014 10:03

IIRC Sword was not one of the original COSSAC beaches.

The January revision to the plan not only expanded the landing to 5 beaches, with a larger airborne element, but also as a result changed the sequence of the operations for capturing Caen and Cherbourg. There were also more technical changes to the command structure post- invasion. While some of the changes were obvious, there was a substantial recasting of the COSSAC plans by Montgomery which go beyond "PR".

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two books

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 18 Apr 2014 09:26

The_Enigma wrote:I recently scanned through two of the Green Books (Cross Channel Attack, and the one that deals with Ike … Supreme Command ?)
1) The Americans move on Cherbourg while the Anglo-Canadians hold the left flank and attract attention.
2) The Americans launch the breakout, and then all allied forces would advance together on a broad front.
1) Normandy bridgehead, Major General H Essame
2) Breakout: drive to the Seine, David Mason
I presumed that these two books can give information about your question and interest ?

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Re: The Normandy "Masterplan"

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Mar 2019 16:50

I thought that this diagram from SHAEF QM Records (WO219/3002) might be of interest for this debate and for those who are interested in Allied logistics difficulties during the advance across France and Belgium to the frontier of Germany:
Capture.JPG
I'm currently transcribing the Staff Study to which this was attached, if anyone is interested I'll post up here as well.

Regards

Tom
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