Avalancheon wrote: ↑
19 Apr 2021 04:08
Instead of jumping to the question of what would have happened if there were four
panzer divisions available for immediate use on the first day of the Normandy landings, it would be more useful to demonstrate what could have happened if there were just two
Instead of jumping to the question of what would have happened if there were any additional Panzer divisions in Normandy, it would be more useful to demonstrate why
these multiple points-of-departure would occur.
Disaster at D-Day by Peter Tsouras offers a demonstration of how differently the landings could have went. In this story, there are several points of departure (POD) that change the initial conditions of the battle, and allow the Germans to put up a much stiffer fight against the Allies. Some of the changes that occur are:
-Erwin Rommel is able to convince Hitler to move the 12th SS Panzer division closer up to the beachs of Normandy.
Rommel's intent was not to place 12. SS-Panzer "closer to the beachs [sic] of Normandy". IIRC, he intended to place it in and around Coutances. From there, you need to look at why Carentan is named Carentan les Marais.
-Rommel decides to stay in Normandy instead of leaving for Germany to visit his wife. He visits Erich Marcks at his headquarters, and both men are present when the airborne and naval landings begin. They are able to quickly take control of the situation and organise a rapid response.
Tsouras sadly displayed considerable ignorance about the German situation in that book. If Rommel did not leave for Germany, wouldn't he instead be at La Roche-Guyon? Or at Reims for the exercise? Why would he visit Marcks at his headquarters 250-odd kilometers away?
On the first day of the invasion, several things happen that spell the doom for Operation Overlord:
-The 12th SS Panzer division sends a kampfgruppe to Utah beach, preventing the 82nd and 101st Airbone divisions from linking up with the 4th Infantry division. The Airborne divisions are hit hard, and the 4th Infantry division is pinned down.
Regardless of where the 12. SS was, Acon or Coutances, Rommel has zero control over its movements. It remains OKW reserve. And, again, les Marais, as usual, the terrain tells you quite a bit about what was possible. In this case, the crossings of the Merderet are key...as are the scattered pockets of airborne in route.
-The landing craft headed for Omaha beach get scattered, and as a result, the LCTs land their tanks directly in front of German strongpoints where they are quickly destroyed. The 1st and 29th Infantry division have a longer and tougher fight to get off the beach.
This is just silly. The "landing craft headed for Omaha beach" did get scattered...at least a number of LCVP did, which is what actually gave the 1st Division and atached elements of the 29th Division a longer and tougher fight to get off the beaches. There were few problems with the larger and more powerful LCT and LCI(L). The wading tanks of the 741st Tank Battalion did land, more or less, directly in front of German strongpoints...the 743d did not, but the presence of the strongpoints kept them hemmed in and marginally useful.
-The 12th SS Panzer division sends a kampfgruppe to Omaha beach, arriving just in time to stop the 1s and 29th infantry division from advancing inland. The Germans launch a determined counter-attack and drive them into the sea, causing the landings to be abandoned.
Its 54 kilometers Coutances to the bridges at Isigny. When does OKW finally release 12. SS? How long does it take for them to get through past La Cambe to the beaches? They need to do that before noon 6 June to have any effect.
At 0130 6 June, the commander and CoS of 12. SS were aware the invasion had begun...they issued an alert order to the division an hour and a half later. Why do they move faster in this POD? At 0500, two hours later, Ob.West took unilateral control of the division, assigned it to HG-B, and directed it begin to move, IRL to the zone of 711. Inf-Div, in this case lets say to the zones of 352., 709., and/or 91. Inf-Div. At 1000, Ob.West rescinded the orders subordinating the division to HG-B, but allowed the division alert and movement to continue. At 1432, OKW agreed to the Ob.West request and HG-B was notified of release of 12.SS-Pz.Div. and Pz.-Lehr Div. At 1500, I SS-Pz.K. with 12.SS-Pz., Pz.Lehr Div., and s.SS-pz.Abt.101. was attached to 7.Armee, with 12.SS temporarily under command of LXXXIV AK. When it arrived at the front I SS-Pz.K. was to take command of 12.SS, Pz.-Lehr, 21.Pz., and 716.Inf.Div and prepare to counterattack. 12. SS actually began moving around 1800.
Why does any of that timeline change? "Because Rommel" is the usual "reason", but that isn't really a reason. Why would Rommel, at La Roche-Guyon, be any better apprised of the situation than the staff that was there that took the actions outlined above?
"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