Flaws in the Atlantic wall

Discussions on the fortifications, artillery, & rockets used by the Axis forces.
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hauptmannn
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Flaws in the Atlantic wall

Post by hauptmannn » 27 Sep 2003 04:48

I was wondering not too long ago if there were flaws within the construction of the atlantic wall. e.g. may be poor designs, etc. Can anyone give us more info if there were any flaws in the wall and what they were?

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De Ruyter
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many flaws!

Post by De Ruyter » 27 Sep 2003 20:18

hi there!

There were many flaws, here are some:

1. The artillery, observation and other bunkers were in many places built with to weak anchoring in the ground. This meant that they could easily be "knocked" out of place with heavy artillery, thus making their defensive weapons almost impossible to aim and fire!

2. There were WAY to few mines. Rommel estimated that he had placed ca 30% of the number of mines he wanted placed before june 6 1944.

3. Many defensive positions were not ready at the time of the invasion. Bunker complexes and trenches were not properly conected and this made overview and commanding a very hard task indeed for the defenders.

Please let me know if you wish to discuss this further!

Regards,
Dustin

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 27 Sep 2003 20:39

Is this thread only about Normandie, or......???

Erik

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Dan Mouritzsen
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Post by Dan Mouritzsen » 27 Sep 2003 22:15

Hi Dustin

You say that:

The artillery, observation and other bunkers were in many places built with to weak anchoring in the ground. This meant that they could easily be "knocked" out of place with heavy artillery, thus making their defensive weapons almost impossible to aim and fire!

On what source do you base that statement?

Regards

Dan Mouritzsen

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Post by wibblebong » 27 Sep 2003 22:54

i heard a story once that french people who were forced to build the concrete pillboxes used seawater in stead of normal water for the concrete. thatway the concrete was weak so allied shells could easily destroy it. don't know if that is true tho.

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Atlantic Wall fortifications

Post by Paul Hanson » 28 Sep 2003 03:21

I agree with Dan. The Germans were no rank amateurs when it came to structural engineering, so I ask the same thing: where do you get your information that the Atlantic Wall was poorly designed and constructed?

I have heard of sabotage( or sabatoogie, as Curly would say)during construction of the Wall but this would have compromised only local areas. And with the mass pours of concrete that would have been required to construct most of the fortifications it may not have been all that effective if the Germans were halfway paying attention.

PH
Paul

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hauptmannn
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Post by hauptmannn » 28 Sep 2003 07:59

Erik E wrote:Is this thread only about Normandie, or......???

Erik


No this is not specifically for Normandie. I am aware that you have considerable knowledge on these things, perhaps you can enlighten us? :D

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 28 Sep 2003 12:51

perhaps you can enlighten us?


First of all, there is another member here with much more knowledge than me! :)

This is a very complexe quesytion, and there is a different answer for each part of it....Let me try a few: :)
I don`t think there were any flaws in the construction of the bunkers itself as seen in the Westwall. The plan was good, but resources only allowed strongpoints at certain places, instead as a continous "Wall" as in the westwall. This made gaps between batteries/strongpoints, only protected by mines. The atlantikwall was never completed, and it would be wrong to judge a uncompleted defenceline.

Medium artillery and bombings were no real danger for the bunkers. Ofcourse weapons in open emplacements would be destroyed, but the personell survived most attacks. You would need some serious artillery to knock out a bunker. The allies found out that the best way to do it, was in close combat.

A few flaws:

Communication:
During the raid at Maalöy in Norway 1941, British warships attacked a coastal battery belonging to the Heer. They were not able to contact the Navy battery a few km`s east. The British warships afterwards attacked the navy battery from close range. By the time the navy realized what was going on, most of the invasion force had landed. When they finally managed to open fire, 2 of 3 guns jammed after a few shots. The guns were from ww1.

Weapons:
The lack of enough real coastal artillery lead the Germans to use old captured guns in batteries. These were often regular 10,5cm field artillery in open emplacements. How much damage could 4 10,5 fieldguns do to an invasion force? Most of the new equipment went directly to the eastern front. Strongpoints in AW are known to have had 2,5 cm pak as late as 1945, and these guns were no longer any threat for tanks. The machineguns,mortars, pak, artillery allmost everything was old German equipment or captured weapons. The book "Alarmküste" describes many batteries engaged with the enemy, and you would be supprised to see how many of these weapons jammed under heavy fire!

Personell:
The Atlantikwall was built to stop an invasion not slow it. In order to stop it, you would need much more personell than the Germans ever placed.
The strongpoints in the AW had to rely on the regular army to support them. If they didn`t show up immedeatly, the Stp would be in serious trouble. If we take the Normandy landing as an example, If the Germans had doubled their personell and firepower, would then the allied casualities be doubled? Who knows what would have happened if the "wall" was finished?

Airdefence:
There was not much the stronpoints could do to fight back an air raid. They had no protective fighters, and had to rely on their own flak units.
Air raids were not a major threat to the personell, but without their heavy weapons, there was not much to do..... A good example is the battery at Pas de Calais. The battery even today looks like it was placed on the moon! There are craters everywhere, but a interesting detail is that most bunkers are still intact.

Erik

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hauptmannn
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Post by hauptmannn » 28 Sep 2003 12:59

Any ideas on what artillery should be used?

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 28 Sep 2003 16:47

Hello all!
Erik E. has really said all important facts.
As for Norway, the usage of about 30 different guns/origins/calibre made the ammunition supply quite difficult. At times, single coastal batterys were without proper ammunition for months.
However, one very important fact not mentioned, is the obvious weakness in command & control. As it turned out, both the Army and the Navy had their own coastal artillery units. The lack of cooperation usually showed great weakness, even if placed in almost the same areas; the cooperation was very poor.
Things did however improve after 1944.

B.

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 28 Sep 2003 20:59

Any ideas on what artillery should be used


Modern artillery, pivot mounted, not wheels! They should also be placed in casemates instead of open emplacements!
The Kriegsmarine SKL guns were perfect for this purpose! The KM 12,7 cm SKL was used until the 90`s!

A major upgrade started around 1942-43, changing all the guns from regular fieldartillery, to permanent mounted guns. However it started too late, and were never completed.....

Erik

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