Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

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searay
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by searay » 31 Jul 2019 13:32

Not exactly a new interpretation considering that I covered much the same ground in my book "The Devil's Garden" on the Omaha Beach defenses published by Stackpole back in 2013. It was also featured in the TV documentary "D-Day 360" that aired in 2014.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Jul 2019 23:02

searay wrote:
31 Jul 2019 13:32
Not exactly a new interpretation considering that I covered much the same ground in my book "The Devil's Garden" on the Omaha Beach defenses published by Stackpole back in 2013. It was also featured in the TV documentary "D-Day 360" that aired in 2014.
Are you the author of that work? I had not read your excellent book, but would have bought it if I had seen it on the shelves of the museum book shops in Normandy this year. It is a shame if has been elbowed out by some of the hastily written and badly researched or edited publications that dominate.

The spur to the blog post was the paucity of information about AR 352 and the repetition of what seemed to be ill informed comment over the 75th - including by historians who might have been expected to dig a little deeper.

Sir, we do not have the same interpretation.

My article as a different artillery order of battle and dispositions to those in The Devils'Garden. Where did you get them from? My reckoning - based on the evidence provided by this forum gives the defenders three batteries of 15 cm, three of 10.5 cm and one 15.5, and locations that look sensibly sourced. That is about 40% more than in the Devils Garden.

What is the evidence that Flak Regiment 1 engaged targets on Omaha beach? They aren't mentioned in the divisional signals log.

I don't think we have used the AORG study in the same way. The Devil's Garden refers to the AORG study, and quotes from the data but I have reworked the AORG 291 calculations adding in the artillery, and tried to draw draw some conclusions from the results.

It may be a nit pick, but the AORG estimate of Omaha Beach casualties was 3,000 not 2,476, as stated in the Devil's Garden.
AOTG 292 page 1.jpg

It may not have made any difference to your interpretation, but it would to mine

It is encouraging to find someone so eminent has been thinking along the same lines, and I hope I have moved thinking on a stage further.
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Manuferey » 02 Aug 2019 18:55

The D-Day operation at Utah Beach was actually a combined operation in the three dimensions with sea and air landings. One should not forget the contributions and losses of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions that really need to be counted in the Utah sector. The paratroopers destroyed several German batteries in the rear of Utah (batteries of AR 191 with their 10.5 cm light howitzers at Brécourt and Holdy, 28 cm rockets of 1st battery of I/schw.SWR near Brucheville, 7.62 cm light howitzers of 13./GR 919 above Utah, housings at Mézières of the men of 1./HKAR 1261 with their 12,2 cm guns that had been moved from St-Martin-de-Varreville to new positions nearby and could have fired at the beach, etc.) and paralyzed many German artillery units.

Emmanuel

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Sheldrake
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Aug 2019 23:28

Manuferey wrote:
02 Aug 2019 18:55
The D-Day operation at Utah Beach was actually a combined operation in the three dimensions with sea and air landings. One should not forget the contributions and losses of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions that really need to be counted in the Utah sector. The paratroopers destroyed several German batteries in the rear of Utah (batteries of AR 191 with their 10.5 cm light howitzers at Brécourt and Holdy, 28 cm rockets of 1st battery of I/schw.SWR near Brucheville, 7.62 cm light howitzers of 13./GR 919 above Utah, housings at Mézières of the men of 1./HKAR 1261 with their 12,2 cm guns that had been moved from St-Martin-de-Varreville to new positions nearby and could have fired at the beach, etc.) and paralyzed many German artillery units.

Emmanuel
Agreed. Stephen Badley made this point in 2004 about Omaha Beach.

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Aug 2019 00:25

Sheldrake wrote:
02 Aug 2019 23:28
Manuferey wrote:
02 Aug 2019 18:55
The D-Day operation at Utah Beach was actually a combined operation in the three dimensions with sea and air landings. One should not forget the contributions and losses of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions that really need to be counted in the Utah sector. The paratroopers destroyed several German batteries in the rear of Utah (batteries of AR 191 with their 10.5 cm light howitzers at Brécourt and Holdy, 28 cm rockets of 1st battery of I/schw.SWR near Brucheville, 7.62 cm light howitzers of 13./GR 919 above Utah, housings at Mézières of the men of 1./HKAR 1261 with their 12,2 cm guns that had been moved from St-Martin-de-Varreville to new positions nearby and could have fired at the beach, etc.) and paralyzed many German artillery units.

Emmanuel
Agreed. Stephen Badley made this point in 2004 about Omaha Beach.
What? That it was a combined sea and air landing? That would be incorrect.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 03 Aug 2019 08:21

I have always found this thread to be confusing with so many different listings but if we are going to start saying that the D-Day Landings weren't a combined operation then I think we are going too far.
Alan

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Aug 2019 10:40

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Aug 2019 00:25
Sheldrake wrote:
02 Aug 2019 23:28
Manuferey wrote:
02 Aug 2019 18:55
The D-Day operation at Utah Beach was actually a combined operation in the three dimensions with sea and air landings. One should not forget the contributions and losses of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions that really need to be counted in the Utah sector. The paratroopers destroyed several German batteries in the rear of Utah (batteries of AR 191 with their 10.5 cm light howitzers at Brécourt and Holdy, 28 cm rockets of 1st battery of I/schw.SWR near Brucheville, 7.62 cm light howitzers of 13./GR 919 above Utah, housings at Mézières of the men of 1./HKAR 1261 with their 12,2 cm guns that had been moved from St-Martin-de-Varreville to new positions nearby and could have fired at the beach, etc.) and paralyzed many German artillery units.

Emmanuel
Agreed. Stephen Badsey made this point in 2004 about Omaha Beach.
What? That it was a combined sea and air landing? That would be incorrect.
No. In Culture, controversy, Caen and Cherbourg, in Normandy 60 years Badsey "raises the question and to why no thought was given to splitting the airborne divisions top put down airborne brigades between Caen and Bayeux and due south of Omaha."
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by jazote » 03 Aug 2019 12:33

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
03 Aug 2019 08:21
I have always found this thread to be confusing with so many different listings but if we are going to start saying that the D-Day Landings weren't a combined operation then I think we are going too far.
Thanks.
Right, I stopped reading it....
Regards
JLM

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Aug 2019 16:03

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
03 Aug 2019 08:21
I have always found this thread to be confusing with so many different listings but if we are going to start saying that the D-Day Landings weren't a combined operation then I think we are going too far.
Yes, it would be confusing if you read it that way. However, where did I say that the D-Day landings weren't a combined operation? To be clear, the UTAH and SWORD operations were combined sea and air landings. OMAHA, GOLD, and JUNO were not. NEPTUNE was a combined land, sea, and air operation that included both seaborne and airborne landings.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Aug 2019 16:05

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Aug 2019 10:40
No. In Culture, controversy, Caen and Cherbourg, in Normandy 60 years Badsey "raises the question and to why no thought was given to splitting the airborne divisions top put down airborne brigades between Caen and Bayeux and due south of Omaha."
Interesting. I'm not sure that no thought was given to it, but I doubt it was ever seriously considered given airborne doctrine based on North African, Sicilian, and Italian experience had shifted from widely dispersed "raiding" operations to more concentrated landings.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Aug 2019 23:44

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Aug 2019 16:05
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Aug 2019 10:40
No. In Culture, controversy, Caen and Cherbourg, in Normandy 60 years Badsey "raises the question and to why no thought was given to splitting the airborne divisions top put down airborne brigades between Caen and Bayeux and due south of Omaha."
Interesting. I'm not sure that no thought was given to it, but I doubt it was ever seriously considered given airborne doctrine based on North African, Sicilian, and Italian experience had shifted from widely dispersed "raiding" operations to more concentrated landings.
Badsey also referred to the institutional pressure within the allied airborne army to operate as "divisions."

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Aug 2019 05:40

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Aug 2019 23:44
Badsey also referred to the institutional pressure within the allied airborne army to operate as "divisions."
That would have been difficult, since the FAAA was not organized until August 1944. :D

I've done a quick dig and it seems the initial COSSACK outline in July 1943 envisaged two British airborne brigades landing in the vicinity of Caen and seven American separate Parachute battalions dropping on various bridges and coast artillery positions. All this was governed by the assumption that there would be scant Troop Carrier Command aircraft available (similar to the landing craft problem). However, by February when the initial NEPTUNE outline plan was composed, the TCC situation had improved to the point where it was expected two divisions could be dropped prior to D-Day, one on the left near Caen and one on the right in the Cotentin. By that time, experience in HUSKY and AVALANCHE had pretty well indicated that the idea of battalion-size parachute raiding forces dropped onto key choke points, which had dominated what passed for Allied airborne doctrine up to then, while well and good, simply begged to be overwhelmed if the enemy reacted quickly. Furthermore, dropping at night, which was also the accepted doctrine, virtually guaranteed increased dispersion. All in all that led to the decision for division-size drops, which was facilitated by additional TCC aircraft.

We won't even get into BG Evans idea of dropping two divisions between Evreaux and Dreux... :D

Insofar as I can tell, the area behind OMAHA was never really considered as a good DZ...few areas large enough and flat enough for the battalion and regimental DZs required. The Cotentin provided a number of good places for them. Furthermore, the valley of the L'Esque running west to east from Isigny was correctly assessed as a barrier to mechanized and even foot movement to OMAHA from the south to a point east of Trevieres, so the only way a counterattacking force could easily get to the landing beaches was only by moving laterally either from Isigny or from Bayeaux. So the original plan was to drop the 101st east of the Merderet to secure the causeways from the beaches and the 82d west of the Merderet to get a running start to cutting off the Cotentin. That was scotched by the late arrival of the 91. Inf.-Div. (LL) on their drop zones.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Sheldrake
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 04 Aug 2019 08:59

Richard Anderson wrote:
04 Aug 2019 05:40
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Aug 2019 23:44
Badsey also referred to the institutional pressure within the allied airborne army to operate as "divisions."
That would have been difficult, since the FAAA was not organized until August 1944. :D

Fair point, but there were enough airborne troops and generals who had bet their war time careers on the airborne concept to warrant the term. The British and US had made a sizeable investment in airborne forces. Their advocates saw themselves leading a strategic aerial envelopment as in Norway, Rotterdam and Crete and not frittered away as storm troops in front of the land armies, under some other generals' command. Arguably the formation of the airborne army was to ensure that there were airborne generals commanding the airborne. An organisation looking for a suitable mission, but that is one for the Op Market Garden thread.

I am sure your analysis of the OP Overlord thinking is right. But the airborne troops rarely fought as companies or battalions let alone regiments. Just as in Sicily and Italy C2 was lost from the start and not recovered until D+1.

In retrospect the biggest impact the airborne forces had on D Day was the sheer chaos caused by scattering paratroops widely over Calvados from the Cotentin to the Seine. Described as the LGOPs factor. Little Groups Of Paratroops. Heavily armed, well trained aggressive off young men without adult supervision, annoyed at being in the wrong place, and looking to kill anyone who didn't look like them.

This was emergent strategy, i.e. what happened rather than what was planned to happen.

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Aug 2019 16:57

Sheldrake wrote:
04 Aug 2019 08:59
Fair point, but there were enough airborne troops and generals who had bet their war time careers on the airborne concept to warrant the term. The British and US had made a sizeable investment in airborne forces. Their advocates saw themselves leading a strategic aerial envelopment as in Norway, Rotterdam and Crete and not frittered away as storm troops in front of the land armies, under some other generals' command. Arguably the formation of the airborne army was to ensure that there were airborne generals commanding the airborne. An organisation looking for a suitable mission, but that is one for the Op Market Garden thread.
Sorry, but that remains a bit cart before the horse thinking and does not truly fit the situation as it developed in February-May 1944. For the Allies, the original concept for the airborne division was to seize airfields, allowing rapid reinforcement by air of regular infantry divisions. Parachute forces were only intended to assist the glider troops in the initial seizure and to conduct deep raiding attacks on other installations and communications centers. However, HUSKY and AVALANCHE tested the use of airborne forces to isolate the amphibious beachhead and appeared successful, while the deep raiding concept fell into disfavor, especially after the attempts to do so at Primasole and Avellino.

The use of the British airborne division was always in the plan, but the use of the reinforced American airborne divisions was a product of enough aircraft being supplied and the loss of favor for the raining concept, which made the 1st Airborne Brigade in England redundant. However, the reinforced division organization created was unique to the ETOUSA and the requirements of NEPTUNE (and to a degree later MARKET)...officially the two glider and one parachute infantry regiment organization did not change until 16 December 1944. Furthermore, while I Airborne Corps was organized in December 1943 as an administrative entity, it and XVIII Corps, which became "Airborne" in August 1944, were not envisaged as operational-tactical entities until the simultaneous creation of the FAAA. They were a product of the Normandy experience...it was the experience of that mission that created them rather than vice versa as you imply.
I am sure your analysis of the OP Overlord thinking is right. But the airborne troops rarely fought as companies or battalions let alone regiments. Just as in Sicily and Italy C2 was lost from the start and not recovered until D+1.
Yes, it was, but it was believed new tactics and techniques would prevent that. The planning was for battalion and regiment/brigade size drops with operations directed by a divisional headquarters.
In retrospect the biggest impact the airborne forces had on D Day was the sheer chaos caused by scattering paratroops widely over Calvados from the Cotentin to the Seine. Described as the LGOPs factor. Little Groups Of Paratroops. Heavily armed, well trained aggressive off young men without adult supervision, annoyed at being in the wrong place, and looking to kill anyone who didn't look like them.

This was emergent strategy, i.e. what happened rather than what was planned to happen.
Not exactly, because improvisation is not emergent strategy; it's improvisation. The desire to further the development of the airborne doctrine - the emergent strategy - was tested in MARKET by jumping in daylight to facilitate better retaining battalion and regimental concentration.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 16 Aug 2019 07:39

And this thread is still going... Mind you it seems to be heading towards a general discussion about the origins of WW2.

Sheldrake,

I’m directing all that follows to you – but obviously I will get abusive responses from various others.

Re post #250…SAA 989 was equipped with 12.2cm howitzers ie. SFH 396(r). Maximum range ~11.8km NOT 20km. That is, 2./989 had to move from Amblie on the morning of 06June. Unless of course the battery commander of 2./989 physically carried his shells towards Benouville!

Re post #253… I agree with jpz4. SAA 989, for example, had more than one month to lay ~6000m of land-line to each of their respective OP’s.

Post #257… Firstly, the sentence from WO 291/262: “It is assumed that this was also so for the American areas, and these guns will not be considered further….” says it all about the mentality of the analysts ie. heads buried deep in the sand.

Secondly, as suggested once or twice, there was somewhat more than “some shellfire” observed in the Juno/Gold/Sword assault areas. That is, on the beaches, and, inland. However, the 716 Div was badly over stretched, and it was being assailed by a force many times it’s size. Hence, its own batteries, including the additional firepower of SAA 989 & I/Pz AR155, were never going be able to concentrate their fire, let alone stop the attack. It meant their fire was spasmodic, sometimes heavier for short periods of time. NOTE! This not a generalisation, I've assessed every beach sector in some detail - in relation to which specific batteries were able to hit them (when the batteries were actually put out of action etc). Also, taking into consideration every mortar actually in range.

Thirdly, again, the Omaha area got the worst of it ie. a large volume of direct fire from mg’s & guns, and, indirect fire from mortars, artillery and rockets.

Posts #259 to 262…To other people’s info/maps on the AR352. Yes, I/352 and IV/352 were in range of, and able to hit the beaches assaulted in the Omaha area. II/352 was in range of, and able to fire onto the beaches in the Utah area. III/352 was in action against the assault by 50 Division in the Gold area.

However, unlike all the batteries of AR 1716, SAA989 & I/Pz AR155, we still do not have exact locations for most of the batteries of AR352.

And beware of ‘fake’ evidence!
The “Batterie list” (which keeps reappearing!) is part of a Bauprogramme ie. construction program with an envisaged completion date of 01-06-44. That is the information on this “list” is accurate to about March 44.
The map from Oberstleutnant Frits Ziegelmann is a sketch map made in 1947 - which shows the approximate locations of the batteries – likely accurate to a grid square or two!
The map which depicts 7./1716 (of II/1716) near Vaux Sur Aure does not reflect the situation on 06June either. By 06June 7./1716 had been moved to WN28a near Beny Sur Mer (leaving the three batteries of III/1716 under command of 352 inf Div).

Post #265 I didn’t think it was particularly “lazy comment”. The list from Post #264 is garbage…

Post #266. Yes, Sheldrake you are correct. 3./1716 was indeed located near Breville (the exact grid reference is known due it being attacked by No. 6 Commando on 07June). Yes, its 7.5cm guns had been replaced by 10cm leFH 14/19(t). The confirmation of this is a ‘war gaming’ source called Gliederung der 716 Inf Div 1.5.44 (from the US National Archives T312 Roll 1566).

Post #272 Yep, purchased & read “The Devil’s Garden” about four years ago. Indeed, nice work by searay for analysing the German defensive fire encountered that day. Though, at the time I read it, I was hoping that he had dug up more info on III/1716, the location of 10./1716 in particular. Alas not. However that has been solved on this forum. Again (for others) there is no actual evidence, that 10./1716 (equipped with 4 15.5cm howitzers) was anywhere else but in action in the Omaha area - firing on American forces landing on Dog and/or Easy beaches.

On the subject of casualties in the Omaha area, of all the various contemporary reports/ modern authors, Rich Anderson has come closest to the truth (in CHAW).

Artee

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