Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

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stg 44
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Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by stg 44 » 08 Nov 2021 23:29

What would the consequences of the landings at Omaha Beach failing? The specific reason why isn't really important, so take your pick either Bradley loses his nerve (he apparently strongly considered calling off the attack after the first waves were largely destroyed) or Kampfgruppe Meyer is correctly routed to the beach instead of chasing phantoms. Let's say the attack is cancelled around 11:30 am. It seems that rerouting the remaining troops of V Corps was not possible for some days due to the tight schedule of landings at the other beaches, so 1st and 29th infantry divisions are effectively out of the battle for a few days. The 352nd division is also locked down defending it's section of the beach, so isn't able to be rerouted either.

How does this impact the rest of the campaign with the Germans holding several dozen miles in between Utah and Gold beaches? For the sake of argument the other beaches play out as they did historically on D-Day up to the cancellation of the Omaha landings.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by Futurist » 09 Nov 2021 00:25

Do the Germans have any chance of completely destroying the Utah beachhead in this scenario after the Omaha landing fails?

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 Nov 2021 02:50

It would have been possible to use the entire Kampfgruppe MEYER (Gr.Rgt.915) facing the GOLD bridgehead and probably limit the British breakthrough towards Port en Bessin, Bayeux and RN.13. But that remains just a guess, factors such as the air or naval threat cannot be concealed.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by stg 44 » 09 Nov 2021 03:22

Futurist wrote:
09 Nov 2021 00:25
Do the Germans have any chance of completely destroying the Utah beachhead in this scenario after the Omaha landing fails?
Probably not. At most I'm thinking that they could theoretically turn it into another Anzio situation given the Allied naval gunfire support and air supremacy.
AETIUS 1980 wrote:
09 Nov 2021 02:50
It would have been possible to use the entire Kampfgruppe MEYER (Gr.Rgt.915) facing the GOLD bridgehead and probably limit the British breakthrough towards Port en Bessin, Bayeux and RN.13. But that remains just a guess, factors such as the air or naval threat cannot be concealed.
Yeah, Allied air supremacy more than anything would be a huge factor:
https://www.historynet.com/die-another- ... rmandy.htm
Since 3 a.m., when Kampfgruppe Meyer was first put on alert because of the parachute landings, it had been marched, countermarched, divided up, regrouped and countermarched again as it received a series of different missions from the LXXXIV Corps staff at St. Lô, which was desperately trying to come to grips with the contradictory reports flooding its headquarters. The unit, which had begun D-Day threateningly close to Omaha, had ultimately gravitated well to the west, near the American airdrops, and then was ordered in mid-morning to turn about and move laterally across the Omaha sector to strike the British forces threatening Bayeux.

Throughout the rest of the day, Kampfgruppe Meyer painfully worked its way east, its progress marked by tall columns of oily black smoke as one vehicle after another fell victim to Allied fighter-bombers, or “Jabos,” searching for prey along the roads. Thrown piecemeal against the invaders in evening assaults, one German battalion and some self-propelled guns briefly retook Colleville-sur-Mer from U.S. 1st Infantry Division pushing inland from Omaha Beach before the German battalion was surrounded. Around 5:30 p.m., the balance of Kampfgruppe Meyer formed up for a two-battalion attack against British 69th Brigade Group from Gold Beach but was simply overwhelmed by the size and violence of the British advance. The 90 men of Kampfgruppe Meyer who survived D-Day were absorbed by another severely mauled German unit.
Assuming the POD is the KG heads toward Omaha after the landings start around 6:30am they could get there before the skies cleared enough for fighter-bombers to show up and hinder their push to the coast, which seems to have been after 9am. Once there they would be busy until no earlier than noon before they got any orders to move out and after taking time to form up they'd probably not get moving until 2pm.

Then it would be too late:
https://www.historynet.com/d-day-german-lens.htm
Since Allied naval gunfire was ranging deep, the battle group had to loop south of Bayeux rather than head directly up the main road. Then the weather suddenly changed. As the skies cleared, they filled again with Allied fighter-bombers (jagdbomber; German soldiers called them jabos). Often thought of as killers, the fighter-bombers were in fact best at hampering German movement. The clock slipped past 11 a.m. and on to noon, and Meyer decided to postpone his counterattack until 2 p.m. That deadline, too, came and went. Much of the battle group was now strung out along the road, either pinned to the ground or taking cover from the rain of Allied bombs and strafing. By 3 p.m. it was too late. Elements of the British 50th Division now went over to the attack, Sherman tanks in the lead, jabos screaming overhead. The 50th easily overran the German assembly area, killing Colonel Meyer in the process, and soon the bulk of the regiment was in a hurried retreat to the west. Calling Kampfgruppe Meyer’s counter­attack a failure isn’t quite accurate. It never even got started.
At best they are in position to not be overrun in their assembly area and can maintain the division's position on their section of the front for the rest of the day. Question is how quickly could reinforcements arrive to support them?

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by Futurist » 09 Nov 2021 03:37

stg 44 wrote:
09 Nov 2021 03:22
Futurist wrote:
09 Nov 2021 00:25
Do the Germans have any chance of completely destroying the Utah beachhead in this scenario after the Omaha landing fails?
Probably not. At most I'm thinking that they could theoretically turn it into another Anzio situation given the Allied naval gunfire support and air supremacy.
Can you please elaborate on this part? Just how much of a bloodbath are we talking about here?

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by OpanaPointer » 09 Nov 2021 04:06

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Utah would have been "cut off", but that means everything "Omaha" would have been directed to Utah. That was essentially the way it was planned.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by Futurist » 09 Nov 2021 04:36

Yes, I've seen a map of this before. But you're right that it does make sense to devote Omaha's resources to Utah if Omaha itself fails, especially if it fails quickly.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by Avalancheon » 09 Nov 2021 05:56

Operation Overlord would be substantially affected by failure at Omaha beach. Losing the beach head would remove several divisions from the American OOB, interfere with the buildup of other divisions, and shift the force ratios significantly in favour of the Germans.

Consider that the 352nd infantry division had to face 2 divisions on June 6, 3 divisions on June 7, and then 4 divisions on June 9. If the landings at Omaha beach fail, then they don't have to deal with any American forces at all: Instead, they can be thrown against the British forces.

Failure at Omaha beach means slower progress at Gold beach. It also means that there is a huge gap between the American and British beach heads that will take at least an extra week to close. The Allies will have to conquer more ground with fewer divisions. Meanwhile, the Germans will be able to move in reinforcements and slow their progress even further.


This is the balance of the forces in action on the first 5 days of Operation Overlord.

June 6
Germans: 709th infantry division, 91st infantry division, 352nd infantry division, 716th infantry division, 711th infantry division, 21st panzer division.
Americans: 4th infantry division, 82nd airborne division, 101st airborne division, 1st infantry division, 29th infantry division.
British: 50th infantry division, 3rd infantry division, 6th airborne division.
Canadians: 3rd infantry division.

June 7
Americans: 90th infantry division, 2nd infantry division.
British: 51st infantry division, 7th armored division.
Canada: 2nd infantry division.

June 8
Germans: Panzer Lehr division.
British: 79th armored division.

June 9
Americans: 2nd armored division.

June 10
Americans: 9th infantry division.


So we can estimate the force ratios between the German and Allied forces as so:
June 6: 6 German divisions vs 9 Allied divisions.
June 7: 6 German divisions vs 14 Allied divisions.
June 8: 7 German divisions vs 15 Allied divisions.
June 9: 7 German divisions vs 16 Allied divisions.
June 10: 7 German divisions vs 17 Allied divisions.

With the landings at Omaha beach having been thwarted, the force ratios will shift like so:
June 6: 6 German divisions vs 9 Allied divisions.
June 7: 6 German divisions vs 11 Allied divisions.
June 8: 7 German divisions vs 12 Allied divisions.
June 9: 7 German divisions vs 13 Allied divisions.
June 10: 7 German divisions vs 14 Allied divisions.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by Avalancheon » 09 Nov 2021 06:05

OpanaPointer wrote:
09 Nov 2021 04:06
Utah would have been "cut off", but that means everything "Omaha" would have been directed to Utah. That was essentially the way it was planned.
Futurist wrote:
09 Nov 2021 04:36
Yes, I've seen a map of this before. But you're right that it does make sense to devote Omaha's resources to Utah if Omaha itself fails, especially if it fails quickly.
They'll have to wait in line. The unloading schedules for the divisions at both Omaha and Utah beach were intricately planned. At any rate, suddenly evacuating 1st and 29th infantry divisions off of Omaha beach will cause some (temporary) disruptions to the unloading schedule.

All the divisions that were scheduled to land at Omaha beach will have to wait their turn before they can land at Utah beach. They can't just be impromptly dumped onto the beach, because that will cause all kinds of congestion and traffic jams.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 Nov 2021 06:28

Then comes the use of 30.Schnelle.Brigade which could have been engaged on Carentan, with the support of a battalion of Gr.Rgt.914.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 Nov 2021 09:44

In hypothetical support from Gr.Rgt.915, Füs.Btl.352 and Pz.Jg.Abt.352, I./Art.Rgt.352 that was probably reoriented towards the east in the direction of Seulles. Additional support is also in the form of the Pi.Btl.352 engaged on the evening of the 6th. Such a deployment (around 2,500 men) is a definite asset for braking actions in the GOLD sector. The 36 or 48 hours saved thus giving the time needed to set up properly the Pz.Lehr.Div. But here again, the notion of air supremacy and maritime support tipped the scales in favor of the allies.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by stg 44 » 09 Nov 2021 10:50

Avalancheon wrote:
09 Nov 2021 05:56
Operation Overlord would be substantially affected by failure at Omaha beach. Losing the beach head would remove several divisions from the American OOB, interfere with the buildup of other divisions, and shift the force ratios significantly in favour of the Germans.

Consider that the 352nd infantry division had to face 2 divisions on June 6, 3 divisions on June 7, and then 4 divisions on June 9. If the landings at Omaha beach fail, then they don't have to deal with any American forces at all: Instead, they can be thrown against the British forces.

Failure at Omaha beach means slower progress at Gold beach. It also means that there is a huge gap between the American and British beach heads that will take at least an extra week to close. The Allies will have to conquer more ground with fewer divisions. Meanwhile, the Germans will be able to move in reinforcements and slow their progress even further.


This is the balance of the forces in action on the first 5 days of Operation Overlord.

June 6
Germans: 709th infantry division, 91st infantry division, 352nd infantry division, 716th infantry division, 711th infantry division, 21st panzer division.
Americans: 4th infantry division, 82nd airborne division, 101st airborne division, 1st infantry division, 29th infantry division.
British: 50th infantry division, 3rd infantry division, 6th airborne division.
Canadians: 3rd infantry division.

June 7
Americans: 90th infantry division, 2nd infantry division.
British: 51st infantry division, 7th armored division.
Canada: 2nd infantry division.

June 8
Germans: Panzer Lehr division.
British: 79th armored division.

June 9
Americans: 2nd armored division.

June 10
Americans: 9th infantry division.


So we can estimate the force ratios between the German and Allied forces as so:
June 6: 6 German divisions vs 9 Allied divisions.
June 7: 6 German divisions vs 14 Allied divisions.
June 8: 7 German divisions vs 15 Allied divisions.
June 9: 7 German divisions vs 16 Allied divisions.
June 10: 7 German divisions vs 17 Allied divisions.

With the landings at Omaha beach having been thwarted, the force ratios will shift like so:
June 6: 6 German divisions vs 9 Allied divisions.
June 7: 6 German divisions vs 11 Allied divisions.
June 8: 7 German divisions vs 12 Allied divisions.
June 9: 7 German divisions vs 13 Allied divisions.
June 10: 7 German divisions vs 14 Allied divisions.
3rd Fallschirmjager started showing up on the 10th of June, albeit in pieces and didn't fully arrive until the 22nd.
The 12th SS was in combat starting June 7th around Caen.
The 346th German ID was fighting the British 6th airborne on June 7th around Breville after arriving from le Havre.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by stg 44 » 09 Nov 2021 11:11

Futurist wrote:
09 Nov 2021 03:37
stg 44 wrote:
09 Nov 2021 03:22
Futurist wrote:
09 Nov 2021 00:25
Do the Germans have any chance of completely destroying the Utah beachhead in this scenario after the Omaha landing fails?
Probably not. At most I'm thinking that they could theoretically turn it into another Anzio situation given the Allied naval gunfire support and air supremacy.
Can you please elaborate on this part? Just how much of a bloodbath are we talking about here?
I didn't say bloodbath, just a contained bridgehead. The battle of bloody gulch would be a serious defeat for the 101st:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bloody_Gulch
At this critical point, six tanks from Combat Command A of the 2nd Armored Division and accompanied by infantry of the 29th Division,[3] counterattacked southwest from Carentan at 4:30 p.m.,[3] inflicting severe casualties on the Germans and forcing them to withdraw with the loss of four tanks.[4] The American victory led to the linkup of forces from Utah and Omaha Beaches, creating a secure lodgement area for further American operations.
They came from V corps/Omaha sector, which obviously wouldn't be present in this scenario. Dick Winters and his company might have been wiped out then and there. If Carentan is then retaken by the Germans they'd be able to cause the 101st a lot of problems, especially given they would have had to keep units posted to deal with the 352nd division to their east and therefore not have significant reserves to stop even a weak Panzergrenadier division.

This book covers the action from Utah beach to Cherbourg falling, so is a helpful resources for this discussion:
https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/utah/utah5.htm

Looks like if Carentan falls on the 13th to the 17th SS division counterattack with the remnants of the 6th FJ regiment US positions are going to be seriously endangered given the lack of reserves and cover from V Corps.
Image

I doubt that that would be nearly enough to defeat the bridgehead since the US had several divisions in line by that point, but it would crumple the 101st division and require a pull back by US forces to secure their southern flank, which further restricts area to deploy new divisions. I'm guessing the 9th infantry division could be freed up to be sent south. That is a huge problem since it means ending efforts to expand the bridgehead and effectively means the Germans should be able to bring in enough reinforcements to contain the Utah, as now there is really no room to deploy new divisions for the VII corps. Once the rest of II parachute corps (fallschirmjager) show up that really crimps the ability to drive on Cherbourg.

Now for the British sector:
Something like Operation Perch around Caen wouldn't have been possible on the 12th it looks like:
Image
The formation of the "Caumont Gap". During the night of 9/10 June 1944 the German 352nd Infantry Division fell back under US pressure, creating a wide gap in the German front line. This was exploited by the British 7th Armoured Division in an attempt to flank the Panzer Lehr Division via Villers-Bocage and Point 213.
Image

Looks like no Omaha bridgehead means the 352nd ties down the British 50th division, no Caumont Gap is then able to form and Panzer Lehr + 3rd FJ division + 17th SS recon battalion + 2nd Panzer all get into line from the 7th to 13th. With Allied air power and naval gun fire support they can hold their line probably (until the storm on the 19th), but they're not really going to be able to expand west.

Seems like the panzer divisions won't be all that effective in the offensive given the terrain and this report from the 2nd Panzer division about fighting conditions in Normandy in June-July:
https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/the-figh ... july-1944/

It even sounds like without Omaha the 12th SS might have done better in the initial fighting on June 7th:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation ... tion_Perch
During the afternoon, the German LXXXIV Corps ordered its reserve, 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend (Kampfgruppe Meyer), to strike into the flank of the 50th Division north of Bayeux. While advancing to the attack, a battalion was ordered towards Omaha beach, weakening the counter-attack which was a costly failure.[13]
With the 352nd ID still holding around Bayeux with the 30th Schnell Brigade it would reduce the build up of the British in that direction and lock down the 50th British ID for a few days until the 3rd FJ division shows up to support them, same with the Panzer Lehr division, albeit further south. On the 13th assuming the 17th SS retakes Carentan then the 352nd has no need to screen their western flank against the 101st, so that frees up some troops to use against the British. When the storm on the 19th comes then if the British beaches are still hemmed in and effectively stalemated I wonder if they would consider withdrawing given the resulting supply problems from the storm.

So the potential for the British to end up in a stalemated bridgehead seems to be more likely than stopping the Utah bridgehead breakout. V corps would have a hard time getting deployed here given the slowed expansion of the bridgeheads:
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g5701sm.gc ... 59,0.208,0

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by Cult Icon » 09 Nov 2021 14:38

The big issue with the Germans was the lack of concentrated GHQ Artillery assets available to support these divisions as they lacked air support.

In looking at the order of battle there were some 20 + GHQ artillery units, most of them battalions in the Normandy campaign however these were spread out, came in at different times, and not concentrated right from the start. IF concentrated this would have greatly increased their effectiveness.

To make any substantial push a large artillery force should have been available immediately and supplied with hundreds of thousands of rounds, similar to the Allied camp. However the Germans could not fight the battle they wanted to fight.

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Re: Consequences if Omaha Beach fails

Post by OpanaPointer » 09 Nov 2021 14:42

Was the shortage of arty rounds theater wide or did Calais suck up the bulk of the available?
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