D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Aug 2019 14:52

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Aug 2019 05:44
The loss rate/attrition of german divisions was not particularly outstanding compared to the battles of the Eastern Front but what it is notable it that a lot was accomplished by firepower and not expending a lot of assault infantry in massed infantry struggles,
Hi,

I've got a copy of the first edition of Zetterling's book on Normandy and don't recall seeing an analysis of what had caused the casualties suffered by the German formations there. I'm now eagerly awaiting the second edition which you have linked to - it looks like it is due out this autumn. I've seen some British analysis of the effectiveness of German weapons in inflicting casualties on British troops, so am now eagerly looking forward to seeing similar detailed analysis of the causes of German losses.

I'd be really grateful if you could point to a reference that supplies similar statistics for German losses on the Eastern front so that a genuine comparison could be made between the impact of "firepower" on the causes of German casualties - hopefully one that details how many casualties were caused by artillery, air-delivered ordnance, infantry fire, etc.

Many thanks.

I also second Mori's recommendation of Ian Gooderson's book - his work shows how sparse the data are on which to make such judgements.

Regards

Tom

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Michael Kenny » 23 Aug 2019 16:35

Mori wrote:
23 Aug 2019 11:05


When suggesting reading on air power effectiveness, I was thinking of the little known volume by Ian Gooderson (https://www.amazon.com/Air-Power-Battle ... 00C7TB7AO/).

His Thesis was online, 495 pages in total.


https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... _1943-1945

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Cult Icon » 03 Sep 2019 05:35

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
23 Aug 2019 14:52

I've got a copy of the first edition of Zetterling's book on Normandy and don't recall seeing an analysis of what had caused the casualties suffered by the German formations there. I'm now eagerly awaiting the second edition which you have linked to - it looks like it is due out this autumn. I've seen some British analysis of the effectiveness of German weapons in inflicting casualties on British troops, so am now eagerly looking forward to seeing similar detailed analysis of the causes of German losses.

I'd be really grateful if you could point to a reference that supplies similar statistics for German losses on the Eastern front so that a genuine comparison could be made between the impact of "firepower" on the causes of German casualties - hopefully one that details how many casualties were caused by artillery, air-delivered ordnance, infantry fire, etc.

Many thanks.

I also second Mori's recommendation of Ian Gooderson's book - his work shows how sparse the data are on which to make such judgements.
1. On this forum, about 30+ threads focusing on tactical/operational analysis and statistics of battles/campaigns have been compiled, the bulk of which were made in 2013-2016. EF 1941-1945, West Front 44-45. I don't know of "overall data" but you're talking about tens of millions of dead here.....

https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/foru ... rld-war-ii

2. Besides reports of various units/formations it can be inferred without knowing the overall data for the war given the wide differences in combat doctrine and tactics between the Soviets and the "western" forces in years of prior and subsequent combat. The Red Army offensives had a particularly casualty insensitive style of achieving operational results. The still-active "Combat tactics East/West Front" thread attempts to explore this massive subject which includes content on the artillery firepower in the East and the West.

3. a strong tonal shift from the German POV from all of its literature and reports between East and West fronts- the role of artillery in the West was greater, the role of infantry was greater in the East. Air power had great pre-emptive and greater practical effects in the West, although the extent of which was not comparable to the superiority of artillery in the West. If there is a "scientific" study on this I'm all ears but nevertheless I'm convinced by the great quantity of information that I've seen in this timeframe. Overall like air power, artillery has been neglected in the popular literature. I've bookmarked Shieldrake's book and will be getting it as soon as it unlocks.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by jesk » 03 Sep 2019 06:28

Cult Icon wrote:
03 Sep 2019 05:35

3. a strong tonal shift from the German POV from all of its literature and reports between East and West fronts- the role of artillery in the West was greater, the role of infantry was greater in the East.
In the eastern front quoted and is relevant here. The Soviet command in the offensive relied specifically on artillery and tanks. For example, the distribution of forces by the 1 Belorussian Front before "Bagration".

Goncharov "Bagration"

http://militera.lib.ru/h/sb_bagration/index.html

p.93
1 Belorussian front

из 240 км общего протяжения фронта прорыв обороны противника намечался на участке в 28 км. На направлении главного удара было сосредоточено: пехотных дивизий — 24 (или 62 %), танков и самоходных орудий — 806 (или 90 %), орудий полевых (дивизионной артиллерии, корпусной и РГК) — 2469 (или 93 %), минометов — 1910 (или 63 %).

out of 240 km of the total length of the front, a breakthrough of the enemy’s defense was planned on a 28 km stretch. The following was concentrated in the direction of the main attack: infantry divisions - 24 (or 62%), tanks and self-propelled guns - 806 (or 90%), field guns (division artillery, corps and RGK) - 2469 (or 93%), mortars - 1910 (or 63%).

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Cult Icon » 03 Sep 2019 12:51

When Art and I was researching this subject (in particular the material he dug up on ammunition expenditure are enlightening- also the historian Dunn in his books makes the same argument- this also appears in operational histories such as glantz)- the Red Army followed the "many guns, few ammo" principle in general. Their total ammo expenditure was basically at the level of the Wehrmacht, or even less depending on the period. The impressive numbers of tubes were not matched with an impressive expenditure of ammunition. However, during major offensives, there was a build-up of massively superior ammunition that was accumulated that would be fired briefly (in a manner of days) to grease the wheels of the operation with a short-term, overwhelming strike. Nevertheless this was not the trait of long term trends, as there was a sharp ammunition dip in between offensives as ammunition was hoarded for the next operation.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Sep 2019 15:24

Cult Icon,

In response to your post:
Cult Icon wrote:
23 Aug 2019 05:44
https://www.amazon.com/Normandy-1944-Or ... way&sr=8-3

This single reference makes the unit strengths clear and in a quick way although lacking the details of the unit histories. eg. so you can see roughly how long it took for divisions turned into half divisions and then into regimental battlegroups. Also, how many casualties attacks cost and the overall low level of replacements (reinforcements depended on shifting new units in) This can be matched this with a battle history and one can come up with their own conclusions.

The loss rate/attrition of german divisions was not particularly outstanding compared to the battles of the Eastern Front but what it is notable it that a lot was accomplished by firepower and not expending a lot of assault infantry in massed infantry struggles, making the casualty rate on the allied side rather moderate. Infantry mattered more in other battles than this one. In the East, the differences in artillery and air support was not this great and the Soviet infantry use was much more aggressive.
I asked:
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
23 Aug 2019 14:52
I've got a copy of the first edition of Zetterling's book on Normandy and don't recall seeing an analysis of what had caused the casualties suffered by the German formations there. I'm now eagerly awaiting the second edition which you have linked to - it looks like it is due out this autumn. I've seen some British analysis of the effectiveness of German weapons in inflicting casualties on British troops, so am now eagerly looking forward to seeing similar detailed analysis of the causes of German losses.

I'd be really grateful if you could point to a reference that supplies similar statistics for German losses on the Eastern front so that a genuine comparison could be made between the impact of "firepower" on the causes of German casualties - hopefully one that details how many casualties were caused by artillery, air-delivered ordnance, infantry fire, etc.
To which you replied:
Cult Icon wrote:
03 Sep 2019 05:35
1. On this forum, about 30+ threads focusing on tactical/operational analysis and statistics of battles/campaigns have been compiled, the bulk of which were made in 2013-2016. EF 1941-1945, West Front 44-45. I don't know of "overall data" but you're talking about tens of millions of dead here.....

https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/foru ... rld-war-ii

2. Besides reports of various units/formations it can be inferred without knowing the overall data for the war given the wide differences in combat doctrine and tactics between the Soviets and the "western" forces in years of prior and subsequent combat. The Red Army offensives had a particularly casualty insensitive style of achieving operational results. The still-active "Combat tactics East/West Front" thread attempts to explore this massive subject which includes content on the artillery firepower in the East and the West.

3. a strong tonal shift from the German POV from all of its literature and reports between East and West fronts- the role of artillery in the West was greater, the role of infantry was greater in the East. Air power had great pre-emptive and greater practical effects in the West, although the extent of which was not comparable to the superiority of artillery in the West. If there is a "scientific" study on this I'm all ears but nevertheless I'm convinced by the great quantity of information that I've seen in this timeframe. Overall like air power, artillery has been neglected in the popular literature. I've bookmarked Shieldrake's book and will be getting it as soon as it unlocks.
Which appears to me to be a long way of (even without wading through the 50 page thread of book reviews you seem to have linked to on ArmchairGeneral) saying that you can't provide me with a reference to detailed analysis of the causes of German casualties in either Normandy or on the Eastern Front, but that you have "inferred" that "firepower" caused more German losses in Normandy. Is that right?

In the British official medical history of their war in the Mediterranean, for example, there is an in-depth analysis of the causes, severity and location of wounds caused to individual troops (IIRC of 50th Infantry Division). That is the kind of analysis that I thought you had found. Am I wrong?

Regards

Tom

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by jesk » 08 Sep 2019 08:50

In the battles for Orsha in 1943, the bulk of Russian soldiers died near German positions when artillery ceased to shoot.

https://inosmi.ru/russia/20131111/214597962.html

The artillery forces of the Red Army were so numerous that on average up to 260 guns were located on each kilometer of the front line. In terms of the use of weapons, it resembled the battles of the First World War. Heinrici, who in 1916 commanded a battalion near Verdun, also understood this. Recalling his past experience, he ordered the construction of powerful field fortifications a few kilometers from the front line, while at the front line he left only small forces. And when the Soviet artillery opened a crushing fire, these forces instantly pulled back to the fortifications.

When the Red Army launched an attack on infantry and tanks, the artillery stopped the cannonade so as not to endanger its own forces. But the latter came across German defensive fortifications and were destroyed.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by jesk » 08 Sep 2019 09:09

46% of losses from mines and 9% from shells. This is in favor of the bulk of losses in close combat. 300-500 meters between enemies when artillery did not shoot. Mortar is an infantry weapon. It is easier to move in fight.
In the figure, the wounded. According to the killed, 35% are bullet, 65% fragmentation.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Aida1 » 27 Oct 2019 10:13

Mori wrote:
18 Aug 2019 20:14
Aida1 wrote:
18 Aug 2019 18:22
I doubt that the author had a message.It is simply a collection of testimonies.
"Just collecting testimonies" and ignoring whatever else is a message, especially for a topic as documented as Normandy.

Having to mention this is just stating that 2+2=4. The more I read your comments the more your intellectual capabilities come in doubt.
It is not. It makes it easy for those that do not read german. I did not buy the book because it bring me nothing new as i have read enough testimonies in the many german language books i own. Anyway, whether you read testimonies collected in one book or spread out over lots of books, you will always realise that it was no fun to be a Landser in Normandy, being bombed out of existence day and night by artillery, naval guns and air attacks. Only illustrates very vividly what the effect was from allied superiority in firepower and total air superiority. One does not even need the testimonies to know about these factors.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Oct 2019 20:19

Hi Guys,

It was less a matter of choice than circumstance. Maritime powers like the UK or USA didn't need big armies in peactime because they had navies to protect them. By contrast, continental powers needed large armies for protection against each other. As soon as the Maritme powers had to engage in continental scale warfare, they, too, built large armies.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 14 Dec 2019 22:43

Blimey, you take three years off AHF and all hell breaks loose...

No, there's no specific analysis of the Normandy campaign in my book. I'm a storyteller, narrative historian. If you want tactical studies and serious military history, look elsewhere.

That said, it's not simply a series of first-hand narratives from Landsers thrown on a page. A lot of work and research went into it, as well as translation. The author must decide, for example, which accounts to believe, to use, and which to dismiss. Most (un)published accounts of Normandy by German participants are largely authentic, though they may be embellished somewhat, or blurred by the distance of time (which is why I much prefer to work with contemporary records). I don't trust Eckhertz - the lack of a German language edition alone is enough to set alarm bells ringing. I mostly avoided the post-war manuscript series produced for the US military. And I stayed well clear of Speidel's memoirs which are pretty much worthless... except as an insight into the highly-questionable actions and motives of this very slippery general.

I've accrued a fair bit of new material on Normandy since 2006 and am considering a second edition to tidy up some mistakes, translations and incorporate the extra accounts, in particular include much more from the Luftwaffe side, although it won't fundamentally change the general tenor of the narrative.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 14 Dec 2019 22:43

Blimey, you take three years off AHF and all hell breaks loose...

No, there's no specific analysis of the Normandy campaign in my book. I'm a storyteller, narrative historian. If you want tactical studies and serious military history, look elsewhere.

That said, it's not simply a series of first-hand narratives from Landsers thrown on a page. A lot of work and research went into it, as well as translation. The author must decide, for example, which accounts to believe, to use, and which to dismiss. Most (un)published accounts of Normandy by German participants are largely authentic, though they may be embellished somewhat, or blurred by the distance of time (which is why I much prefer to work with contemporary records). I don't trust Eckhertz - the lack of a German language edition alone is enough to set alarm bells ringing. I mostly avoided the post-war manuscript series produced for the US military. And I stayed well clear of Speidel's memoirs which are pretty much worthless... except as an insight into the highly-questionable actions and motives of this very slippery general.

I've accrued a fair bit of new material on Normandy since 2006 and am considering a second edition to tidy up some mistakes, translations and incorporate the extra accounts, in particular include much more from the Luftwaffe side, although it won't fundamentally change the general tenor of the narrative.

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 15 Dec 2019 08:31

You did what you did. And it was/ is still good.

Still on my bookshelf....

Jan-Hendrik

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Re: D Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France, by Jonathan Trigg

Post by Simon Trew 1 » 15 Dec 2019 13:46

I agree that Richard's book has many strengths. This is the descriptive entry from my forthcoming bibliographical guide to the German perspective on the Normandy campaign:

Hargreaves, Richard: The Germans in Normandy – Death Reaped a Terrible Harvest (Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Barnsley 2006; xv + 271pp., maps, illustrations). This book provides a lively narrative of the Normandy campaign, seen from the German perspective. The emphasis is on describing personal experiences and attitudes, as articulated by all ranks from ordinary infantrymen to the highest commanders. Effective use is made of documents held in the archives of the Imperial War Museum, London, and material translated from German-language secondary sources. The content is well balanced, with the perspectives of ground, air and naval forces being effectively represented. The book offers a good starting place for anybody who wants to begin learning about the German view of the Normandy campaign.

In my guide I will specify the ten books that I believe collectively represent the starting point for anybody who is interested in the German perspective on the Normandy campaign, but who know nothing about it already. For various reasons I will probably make this an English-language list (though I may add a second list for those who read German and/or French). Richard's book will certainly be on the list.

I'm afraid I can't be as positive about JT's book, partly because of its reliance on Eckhertz - which is almost certainly a work of fiction (although there may be fragments of truth within it). This is what my guide say's about 'D-Day through German Eyes':

Trigg, Jonathan: D-Day through German Eyes: How the Wehrmacht Lost France (Amberley Publishing, Stroud 2019, 320pp., maps, illustrations). This is a lively account of the summer 1944 campaign as seen from the German perspective. The book is weighted towards the events of 6 June, although the entire campaign is described. The author makes some analytical points, but his focus is on reproducing personal accounts drawn from the tactical level of war. Many of those whose experiences are described are familiar figures, reflecting the fact that the book mostly contains extracts from previously published works. The contents suggest some lack of awareness of recent scholarship, although the text is still a reasonable starting place for those who are interested in the soldier’s-eye-view of the campaign. The book has one serious deficiency, i.e. it makes extensive use of material taken from Holger Eckertz’s ‘D-Day through German Eyes’ (QV). Since Eckhertz’s book is largely (if not entirely) a work of fiction, this diminishes the overall quality of what Trigg has achieved in his own work.

I very much look forward to seeing Richard's second edition - I agree that there are some excellent German jagdgeschwader and kampfgeschwader histories (insofar as my lousy German-language skills allow me to understand them), with more appearing all the time, and it would be nice to see the Luftwaffe perspective more powerfully articulated. Luftwaffe air units didn't achieve a great deal during summer 1944, but I think they tried pretty hard!

Simon

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